This week's post is a guest post written by photography comrade Russel Klimas.
What’s up fam. My name is Russell Klimas and today we are going to talk about light painting photography. I like to consider myself an expert in this field of photography as I’ve been published with BBC, Fox, and the Daily UK. I’ve also given a Tedx Talk on the subject. I hope you enjoy learning a little bit of what I love so much.
Let’s start with what is light painting photography, it’s a style of long exposure photography where you use lights to create an image in your camera. You’ve most likely seen some basic light painting photos with car lights, star trails or people writing their names with sparklers. We are going to go WAY deeper than that today. You might be wondering with the niche of light painting (which you might have never heard of) why do I, Russell Klimas, like it so much? To me capturing seemingly impossible images in camera gets me so excited. It pushes me to increase my skill to become better at photography and share this world with everyone. I never get tired of seeing people’s faces when they see what we created together on the back of a camera, it feels like real life magic.
So today I’m going share some of my techniques with you, discuss the tools that I use, and show you the pictures that came out of using those tools.
In this picture I used a fluorescent safety tube which you can get from Home Depot for $3.50, some wax paper, to diffuse the light, and a flashlight inside the tube. I also had a sparkler attached to the end. ISO 400, F 2.8, Shutter Speed 1 second. This was all created in camera, how cool is that?
To create your own tube watch my youtube tutorial here. To specifically create this effect you can either use a wireless trigger to perfectly time and control your shot or you can put your camera on a timer and set your shutter speed between 1 second to 30 seconds on most cameras. I normally use a trigger so I can be behind the model light the firework turn on the flashlight and spin around the tube and then end the exposure with the trigger. You can’t see me because I’m behind her and she is wearing a dress to hide my feet.
Next up we have a fiber optic whip. You can get all sorts of different versions of these, but I personally get mine from Ants On A Melon. With the whip and flashlight I also use a Universal Connector from Light Painting Brushes to allow for ease of use. ISO 500, F4, Shutter Speed 17 seconds. I also used a Portrait Light from Light Painting Brushes to light her and the rocks around her. It’s basically a diffused light bar similar to an ice light but is powered by a flashlight instead. Once I had my model get in a comfortable position I simply shook the fiber optic whip around until I was satisfied then hid it behind the rock and lit my model with the Portrait Light. The Portrait Light is a scanning type tool I use to scan my model after the creative light painting and shape the light in my environment.
For this last image I used a plexiglass blade which comes from Light Painting Brushes and a flashlight on strobe mode. Examples flashlights can be found here and here. This image was taken right outside Las Vegas and I used the city’s ambient light to expose my scene. At the same time I made similar movements on both sides of my models body to create these plume feather wings. ISO 4000, F 2.8, Shutter Speed 17 seconds.
These are only some examples of the possibilities that you can do with light painting. If you don’t want to have people be your subjects it works great on cars, products, and even houses! If you want to get really creative you can do stuff with drones too. The sky is the limit when it comes to light painting in my opinion and nothing beats the feeling of nailing a picture in camera. If you haven’t tried light painting before or have some experience I would love to see your work, or if you have a comment or question please share and I’m happy to entertain either one.
One thing I, and so many other artists, sometimes struggle with is: how to find inspiration? When you’ve got the urge to create something awesome, but are running dry on ideas, it can be super frustrating! But below I have some tips that should help you build up a well of ideas to keep you going on and on!
Present, Past and Future
Lot’s of people look toward the past for inspiration. This can be great, as there are so many great photogs who’ve come before us. It’s important to know what’s contemporary as well. Find people who are currently guiding the conversation around photography, and whose work you admire. Follow them closely!
Find inspiration in other mediums. 2D art, film, graphic design (personally I love looking at packaging) and consider how these could influence or coincide with photographic elements.
Go to museums. This helps with #1 by exposing you to examples of both past and contemporary photographic artists, trends and movements. It also helps with #2 since many museums house works of art spanning many different mediums.
Many major museums have a wing or gallery dedicated to photographic art. See the bottom of this post for a list of some museums dedicated specifically to photography.
The Outside World
Leave your house, and while you’re out there, keep your eyes open and aware. Try to keep your primary camera with you at all times. If that’s your cell phone, great! If it’s your DSLR/Mirrorless, avoid the temptation to leave it behind thinking it’s too cumbersome or that you’re not likely to see something that catches your eye. The key is to be always prepared to get the shot!
Subscribe to magazines. That way you can do some finding inside the house as well! And it’s so easy, they come right to your door! And if you love treats and surprises like I do, coming home and finding the next issue in your mailbox is a nice way to pepper a little joy into your routine. I like to take them straight to my big chair and sit with some sticky tabs and mark the pages that feature photos that inspire me, so I can easily refer back to them later on. Sometimes I even cut the page out and add it to a vision board!
Magazine subs are super cheap (here’s a link to some for just $2!) and will expose you to a lot of contemporary commercial work (i.e. what today’s photogs are being paid to do!) I totally believe that there need be no starving artists, so learning how to tap into commercial work and sell your unique artistic vision is a big big plus. Also, a lot of commercial work is very innovative and artistic, don’t write it off!
Bensusan Museum and Library of Photography / Johannesburg
Maison de la Photographie / Marrakech
National Photography Museum / Rabat
Lianzhou Museum of Photography / Lianzhou
Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography / Tokyo
MAP / Bangalore (coming soon!)
Foam / Amsterdam
Fotografiska / New York, Stockholm, Tallinn
Fotomuseum Winterthur / Winterthur
Les Douches Gallerie / Paris
The Photographers’ Gallery / London
Portuguese Center of Photography / Porto
Thessaloniki Museum of Photography / Thessaloniki
Fotografiska / New York City, Stockholm, Tallinn
International Center of Photography / New York City
The George Eastman Museum / Rochester, New York
Florida Museum of Photographic Arts / Tampa
Southeast Museum of Photography / Daytona Beach
California Museum of Photography / Riverside
Museum of Photographic Arts / San Diego
Museum of Contemporary Photography / Chicago
International Photography Hall of Fame / Oklahoma City
Center for Creative Photography / Tucson
Griffin Museum of Photography / Winchester, Massachusetts
Street and travel are genres of photography that are near and dear to me, as they’re where my photographic journey began. And I continue to derive so much joy and excitement out of photography through these mediums.
Travel photography is, in a sense, simply street photography in another location. So in this article I’ll be treating them as largely the same.
ETHICS IN STREET/TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY
When you’re out in the world, you’re photographing people, places and things that you aren’t necessarily personally connected to. So I think it’s helpful for us as photographers and observers to think of ourselves as guests. We should be thankful to the places we’re in and consider it an honor and privilege to photograph them. As such, it’s important we treat our subjects with utmost respect.
Here are a few things to keep in mind in order to do so:
The golden rule, one I would drill into every single photographer’s head if I could, is: always get permission before photographing someone! It should be second nature. I especially hate when people (usually white) approach and photograph children (usually Black or brown) who they don’t know and whose parents they haven’t asked for permission. Would you photograph random children playing in your home town/country? How would you feel as a parent if you looked outside and saw an adult stranger taking pictures of your kids without your knowledge/consent? Don’t do it! This doesn't only go for children however, it should be standard practice with pretty much everyone.
Exceptions to this rule include:
ofConsider how you photograph different locations
If you’re lucky enough I travel a lot, do your photos from France look different from those you took in Morocco or Cambodia? How and why? How are the notions you arrived in a particular country with affecting how you choose to depict this country? As someone traveling and documenting, and presumably sharing your photographs with folks back home, how are you affirming or challenging stereotypes? Photographing what you see isn’t a problem, and of course two different places will look different from each other. But how you chose to portray a place, and what things you choose to emphasize, is something to pay attention to and challenge.
If you search google images for Europe photos, you get monuments, churches and bridges, Africa photos, and you get animals landscapes and large groups of people. Is Africa devoid of impressive architecture? Is Europe devoid of wildlife? Again, there’s nothing wrong with photographing Notre Dame in Paris or a lion in Tanzania. However, especially if you’re a photographer with some sort of wider-reaching platform, consider how else you might choose to depict these places. Both to challenge our established notions/assumptions/associations, and to avoid being a cliché!
As an example, National Geographic, is sort of the bible for travel photographers. And it has been sharing photos of faraway people and places with western audiences for over 100 years. This magazine has been extensively criticized for the stark contrast in how it portrays different places and people. In fact, I even had a textbook in college, Reading National Geographic, which delved deeply into the magazine’s affect on visual anthropology in our society. The magazine did eventually acknowledge its racism in a 2018 statement, where their editor in chief, Susan Goldberg (the first woman and first Jewish person to hold the role), held no punches in decrying their history of not only what they did publish “happy hunters, noble savages—every type of cliché”, but also what they didn’t “There are no voices of black South Africans. That absence is as important as what is in there. The only black people are doing exotic dances … servants or workers. It’s bizarre, actually, to consider what the editors, writers, and photographers had to consciously not see.”
That conscious not seeing is a very nefarious thing for all of us to be aware of and avoid.
As protests around the country and the globe continue, street photography blends with journalism as professional and citizen photographers take to the streets to record what is happening. So, in these and all instances where power institutionalized power is at play (ie at all times and in all places) I ask all photographers to carefully examine both what they are seeing, and what they consciously are not.
TIPS FOR COMPELLING STREET/TRAVEL PHOTO IMAGES
Every photographer has their own style, and their own sense of what subject matter interests them. That said, there are a few techniques you can employ to elevate your photography if you’re feeling stuck, or if you just want to try something out!
Look for something that intrigues you
For me, one of these things is apartment building exteriors. I grew up in an apartment in a small city in Massachusetts. I think the idea of a shared living space, where one building contains many lives, experiences and stories that are affected by each other, holds a certain level of romance and intrigue for me. I also just think they look cool aesthetically. So personally I know building façades are something I look for when I’m out traveling or doing street photography in my neighborhood. This is just one example of something that intrigues me, there are plenty of other things, and everyone will have their own set of scenes that catch their eye. Pay attention to yours and soon you’ll develop a voice all your own! As you build up a collection of photos under a unified theme, you may even be able to start developing a series, and eventually host a show, how grand!
Try new angles and get close
If you feel like your photos lack a certain something, playing with angles is the easiest and most surefire way to spice things up. Think about it, if you stand upright, bring your camera to your eyes, and then click, you’re showing people things from a perspective they see the world from every single day. Whereas if you get low, or high, you start to distort and show people another way of seeing otherwise mundane/everyday things.
For example, when I was in Taipei I was exploring the neighborhoods along the MRT’s Wenhu line. Walking along the street, a saw an arch. And underneath it was a wooden staircase leading up into some woods. I had to check it out! So I climbed the stairs and after ascending about 300 yards through the trees I arrived to a clearing with a brick courtyard in front of a small building. The courtyard was covered with hundreds of little white flowers that had fallen from the tree above. The scene was so magical I had to photograph it. So I took some photos but was really disappointed that I wasn’t evoking the feeling of the place, but then I had an idea. I placed my camera on the ground, face-to-face with the flowers, and pressed the shutter from above. The result is the image below.
Explore negative space
Negative space is the area in an image that is “empty”, so to speak. Leaving some negative space inspires the viewer to draw their own conclusions on what’s outside of the frame, and what the spirit of the image says to them. With my images of apartment buildings, I’ll often frame a few with just the edge of the building visible, and taking up less than 25% of the frame, leaving the rest as open sky. This strikes an almost musical note for me, and really evokes the feeling I myself feel when I’m witnessing these scenes through my lens. Negative space can be sky, a solid wall, or any plain background really. See my images below for some examples of how to employ negative space in your work.
Symmetry in your photos can be a great thing to play with. Either try to achieve it or try to break it with an asymmetrical composition. Our eyes are acutely aware of symmetry, so it can be a powerful tool to manipulate!
Don’t be afraid of dark photos. I think recently there’s a tendency for photographers to shoot hyper-bright images. Darkness can be great! If you took a photo at night, let it look like you took it at night! Avoid the urge to brighten up your images in post production. Darkness can create some really cool moods in your photos and it’s something to learn how to wield, just as much as brightness is!
While capturing a whole scene is great, honing in on smaller details can result in some captivating images as well. Look for fine details in the scenes your shooting, or even a small segment of the overall scene that might stand well on its own. You can get some really intriguing stuff that way.
I hope these tips offer some novel ideas for how you may approach your own photography. There are as many photography styles as there are photographers, so in addition to trying some of these, be confident in forging your own path! If you have any ideas or techniques that you’ve had success with, please share in the comments, I’d love to hear them!
As a photographer and video producer, my camera is what I have to offer.
So I feel compelled to record images at protests. I do this both for history and to create images which capture and stir emotions during this crucial movement. But I especially do this to create some level of police accountability.
Having documentation of police brutality is one of the few tools we have to protect ourselves from an escalation of police violence. And when that violence does occur, to hold police accountable. Both within the context of these protests and everyday, recording the police can save a life. So as photographers/videographers at protests, our work carries immense power.
Many times at protests this week I witnessed police getting aggressive and ran over with my camera. And when I did, the situation immediately de-escalated. I think my whiteness also had something to do with that. But the truth remains that police might alter their behavior when they realize they may be held accountable. Documenting their behavior is the best tool we have to avoid brutality. While some police will not be deterred, as evidenced by the countless horrific incidents we do have on film, it is important we do all we can.
If you feel nervous about this, or an officer tells you to stop recording, remember:
“The First Amendment generally protects filming and audio recording of government officials engaged in their duties in a public place, including police officers performing their responsibilities (during a protest or otherwise). Although the Supreme Court has not addressed the issue, six federal appellate courts have recognized this constitutional right to record, reflecting a growing consensus on the matter. Reflecting the dramatic increase in citizen journalism, these cases have also recognized that the right to gather news and access information, which form the basis for the right to record, applies to private citizens as well as Journalists.” Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
With this responsibility to record, it is also crucial we, as those documenting these incidents, make every effort to protect the civilians participating in these protests.
It’s been reported that both police and individuals use images from protests to identify and track down participants. With Ferguson specifically reporting several mysterious deaths of people who were photographed while demonstrating.
Here are some things you can do to help protect the safety of protestors when recording demonstrations:
Record police interactions, anytime you see a police officer engaged with a civilian, keep an eye and a lens on them. Especially if the civilian is Black or POC. Police can get violent in an instant, so even if it seems relatively calm for the time being, be ready to record.
Avoid photographing/videoing protestors’ faces, and also keep in mind other potentially identifying marks such as tattoos. Blurring faces after the fact in photoshop isn’t enough, as the metadata can be taken and used to undo any blurring you’ve done. See the below slideshow from digital media professional and self-proclaimed “weird image curator” PizzaLawyer420 for advice on how to obscure faces more safely:
Carefully consider what photos/videos you take and publish. Focusing your camera on protestors who are breaking things or behaving in “unruly” ways puts emphasis on that, making it easy for people to scapegoat and write off the movement based of the actions of a few. This can skew public perception against justice and what is really important. A photo of someone running off with sneakers or a stereo allows people to say “see, they’re just looters” and distracts from the main issues at hand, when the emphasis should really be on the movement that the protest is about.
So, use your camera for good
Below are some examples of photos I took at photos this week. I believe these accomplish the goals of documenting these demonstrations while protecting protestors' identities. If you notice anything I may have missed, please call me out on it!
For all photographers/videographers, do what you can to stay safe while recording demonstrations. While also not prioritizing your own comfort if you’re white. Police in New York shot a photojournalist with rubber bullets, blinding her in one eye (thankfully not her right eye, the one she uses to shoot). Other journalists were arrested while simply standing and reporting on what was going on. So while it’s immensely important that we show up, especially those of us who are white and therefore are safer in police encounters, it’s important to remain aware of and alert to police presence.
I’d encourage any white folks attending protests to place themselves on the frontlines between the police and Black people and other people of color, but the extent to which you participate in the protest is ultimately up to you. Whatever you do you must avoid getting in protestors’ way or putting them in any danger at all costs, don’t prioritize “getting the shot” over someone’s safety. If you’re filming someone being detained, ask them to state their full name on video and ask if there’s someone you can contact on their behalf to let them know what’s happening and to check in on them. See the list below for some numbers you can call to help someone being arrested.
Additionally, keep in mind that you will be walking a lot, and will need to maneuver through crowds of people often packed together tightly. For that reason, keep your gear as compact as possible. One camera body and one good lens you feel nimble with should suffice. A flash for nighttime demonstrations is a good idea as well.
Below is a list of helpful resources for those attending protests. If you have additional resources you think would be helpful, please contact me! I will continue adding to this post as much as is needed.
Wired - How to Protest Safely in the Age of Surveillance
Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press - Police, Protesters and the Press
Journalists with additional questions or in need of assistance finding a lawyer should contact the Reporters Committee’s hotline at 800-336-4243
If you or a loved one has been arrested in NYC, call 1-833-3-GOODCALL (1-833-346-6322) for free legal support 24/7
A list of nationwide bail funds
Color theory can be a helpful thing to keep in mind when planning your photo sessions.
You can coordinate backdrops, wardrobe and props to correspond with color schemes that make your images more striking and as visually interesting as possible.
When considering color, two things to consider are color harmony, and color context.
Color harmony is how well two colors go together, and to arrive at this it is helpful to look at complementary and analogous colors. Complementary colors are those at opposite ends of the color wheel, while analogous colors sit next to each other on the color wheel.
Complementary colors include blue-orange, purple-yellow and red-green, while analogous colors include red-orange-yellow.
When people talk about “monochrome” looks, they’re often talking about analogous color schemes.
Color context refers to how well colors look when put next to each other in an image. For example, a small red subject on an orange background will stand out less than it would against a green background.
Below I’ll share a few personal examples of photos where I feel like the color scheme is helping drive the image. What are some ways you’ve experimented with color in your photography? Drop examples in the comments!
A lifesaver for shooting on location is a source of constant light that is portable and nimble. Cue: the light wand!
Light wands can be held in your hand, or placed on an available surface or light stand.
On the model I use, brightness is adjustable, and you can choose between 8 different colors for the light! Opening up the possibility of some really cool effects.
It also provides a nice soft, even illumination which is great for portraits. I’ve really enjoyed using it for off-stage photos of comedians between sets during the shows I cover. Here are a few examples of photos I’ve shot using it:
While flash is great under a lot of situations, shooting under continuous light offers several advantages over shooting with a flash:
If reading this has inspired you to get your hands on a wand of your own, you can find the one I use here.
Feel free to share your thoughts, questions and comments below. And if you do get a light wand of your own, share some of the images you take with it! I’d love to see your creations!
Speedlights are a type of flash that is adjustable both in terms of its brightness and the angle and direction it fires. This makes them fantastically versatile tools for lighting your photos. Speedlights can swivel left and right, and up and down, meaning you can fire your flash in many different directions while still pointing the camera lens towards your subject. This is great for if you want to aim your flash at something other than your subject, such as a reflector or even just a white wall, and reflect the light onto it. Additionally, the brightness of the flash can be adjusted from low power all the way up to full blast.
Allowing further versatility is the fact that speedlights can be used with remote firing devices, where one goes into the hotshoe of your cam, and the other onto the base of the flash. Then you can put the flash wherever you want and it’ll still fire in tandem with the shutter. You can even set it so multiple speedlights are synced with the transmitter on the camera, meaning you can have multi-point lighting using entirely speedlights.
For a demonstration and further explanation, check out the video below!
Despite having high tech cameras at my disposal, I still love using disposable cameras from time to time. I really like them for parties, trips and other lighthearted occasions where the photos taken will largely serve as momentos. You get one click, and don’t have to take it a million times, and then when you get them printed, you have something to send the friends who shared that moment with you (support the post office!)
As I learn more and more about photography, I became curious: how exactly do disposable cameras work? Do they have a crude ‘auto’ feature built into them? What’s their shutter speed? Aperture? And how exactly does the focus work?
I set out to answer these Qs, and, unsurprisingly, disposable cameras are incredibly simple.
Looking into the most popular disposable camera models out there, it’s clear they were built for versatility, to deliver decently exposed and in-focus images in a wide variety of situations. Their shutter speeds and apertures tend to hover around 1/100th of a second and f10 respectively. Those of you who read my article on shooting in low light will remember that 1/100 is about as slow as you can go while avoiding camera shake/blur. It’s fast enough that it’ll be hard to over-expose your image even in daylight, while being slow enough that you can get shots indoors and/or at night in the right conditions, especially with the help of a built-in flash. An aperture of f10 isn’t too wide, allowing a decent depth of field for a fixed focus lens, and again overexposure won’t be something you really have to worry about. However f/10 is ever so slightly on the tighter side, so if shooting inside or at night you’ll definitely want to use the flash.
This biggest thing that seems to vary between models is the ISO of the film it’s loaded with. It seems the popular models are almost always equipped with either 400 or 800 ISO film (I did see one model which has 200). Be sure to check this when buying the camera and keep your model’s ISO in mind when shooting! 800 is pretty good for low-light situations, there may even be certain interior/nighttime situations where you wouldn’t need a flash when using an ISO 800 film. On the flip side, 200 ISO film is going to be very hard to work with in those same scenarios, even with the flash.
As a general rule, I’d say:
As far as focus is concerned, check the specifics for the model you’re using. But generally speaking, for best results keep your subject about 3-10ft from the camera.
If you’re wondering what options are out there for disposable cameras, I’m a huge fan of the ILFORD black and white disposables. And for further comparison of the different models out there, the folks at Lumoid did a fantastic comparison experiment where they ranked 7 different available models, which you can read about here.
External hard drives are absolutely crucial pieces of equipment. Keeping your data off your desktop will help prevent your computer from getting bogged down with files, while also ensuring your data is more secure in case you need to factory reset your computer (something far too many people have suffered).
Thankfully the price of externals continues to drop, while their speed and storage capacity continues to increase, it’s a win-win!
One external harddrive I love in particular is my LaCie Rugged Thunderbolt USB-C. This little drive is great because it’s super portable, is built to withstand bumps and drops from heights of up to 2 meters, and since it uses “bus” power (ie draws its power from the computer it’s connected to) it doesn’t need to be plugged in separately, meaning one less needed outlet and fewer chords and wires to get tangled up in.
This model has a built-in thunderbolt cable integrated into the design, and also comes with USB C to C and USB C to A cables, meaning you have 3 options for connections. Pretty much every computer has at least one USB A port, and USB C and thunderbolt are gaining popularity. This means you can feel pretty confident that you’ll have no problem using your HD across a wide range of computers both now and probably for the next several years to come.
The model I have has a capacity of 2TB. However you can now find the same model with 5TB of storage space for just $90 more ($270 total). So at just $54 per terabyte, if I were shopping now I’d probably pay the extra money to max out my storage capacity.
One thing to note is this drive is not an SSD (solid-state drive) so it might not be as fast as certain video jobs would require. LaCie does offer their rugged drives in SSD form, however for the same 2TB the price jumps up to $530 from $180 for the non-SSD version. I haven’t run into any serious problems when it comes to speed yet, but it’s something to bear in mind!
One of the most important pieces of equipment in a digital photographer's kit is the memory device which the photos and video will be recorded to, and these days more often than not that’ll be an SD card. When shopping for an SD card, it’s important to know which cards will be conducive to the type of shooting you’ll be doing with your camera.
There are three main pieces of information printed on the face of an SD card: the capacity, the maximum read speed, and the minimum write speed. The minimum write speed is the most important number to pay attention to, because this will determine whether or not this particular card will be able to record the type of photos/video you’re trying to shoot. Importantly, to shoot 4K video you must have a minimum write speed of 30MB/s.
Minimum Write Speed
Minimum write speed is indicated by up to three symbols printed on the upper-right of the SD card: the speed class, UHS speed class, and video speed class. This may look complicated, but all three of these refer to the same thing and are in fact redundant. The reason all three are printed on newer cards is that the manufacturers were afraid people wouldn’t adapt to the new numbering systems as they came out, and therefore just kept listing all three on there.
Speed class ranges from 2 to 10, 2MB/s to 10MB/s respectively.
UHS speed class can be 1 or 3, with 1 writing at 10MB/s and 3 at 30MB/s (so you just multiply the number inside the “U” by 10)
Video speed class ranges from 6 to 90, 6MB/s to 90MB/s respectively
4K video requires a minimum write speed of 30MB/s. So, to shoot 4K, you need an SD card that says U3 and/or V30 or higher.
The number you see in the top-left refers to the maximum possible speed at which data on the card can be read by your device. Listing this speed is largely a marketing tactic, since it is the maximum possible speed and not a number you can rely on. However, the possibility of being read at 170MB/s vs 20MB/s does sound good to me, so get a higher one if you can. Bottom line: the higher the better, but don’t pay any extra for increased capacity in this particular area.
This is the simplest piece of info to understand, it’s simply the amount of data that can be stored on this device. A general guideline is that a 64GB SD card can hold about 90mins of 4K footage. It’s hard to say a number of photos it can store, since there are so many factors that change the file size of a photo. I’d say for the most part a 32GB card is sufficient for me when I’m shooting a 2hr event on my Sony A7s II (about 1,000 RAW photos) but 64GB gives plenty of breathing room which I find more comfortable. Nowadays with storage being cheaper than ever I wouldn’t buy a card with less than 32GB capacity. On the flipside I think any more than 128GB on an SD card is overkill. With it being such a tiny, high-use piece of equipment, I simply don’t want to leave that much data on it in case of loss, malfunction, etc. I’d say 64-128GB is the sweet spot whether you're recording photos or video.
The SD card pictured above works perfectly with my Sony A7s II, and can be purchased for just $20 here. If you have a different camera and want advice on which SD card to buy, feel free to ask questions in the comments below!