All skills require practice to maintain proficiency and improve expertise. Photography is no exception. Whether it is a personal project or one that has been assigned for commercial work, these promote skill. Below is a brief story about a personal project that began 2 1/2 years ago, and one that I hope will continue for many years. The photograph was taken the young ladies sang after only 2 rehearsals for their parents attending an orientation meeting – amazing young women, with amazing talent. I cannot wait to see and hear them throughout the coming year. 

RISE Chorales ( began with its first rehearsal on March 21, 2016 under the leadership of Emmy Williams Burch, with the assistance of Cuffy Sullivan. The young women’s choral group was formed to promote excellence in singing, in addition to providing an opportunity for socializing and community service. The first time I photographed Emmy was several years earlier when she was the Conductor of The Savannah Children’s Choir. During the first rehearsal attended, I was almost brought to tears watching Emmy working with the children, her energy and vibrancy, her care and compassion, and always her excellence in teaching and conducting. RISE has grown since the early days and has found a home at First Presbyterian Church where they rehearse, perform during services, and offer concerts several times a year.

The majority of my photography of the group is with ambient light, except twice a year when I do headshots of the young ladies with the addition of studio lighting. The available light in the sanctuary is not bright, an understatement. I typically use ISO settings of 1600-3200 and am using f-stops between 1.4 and 3.5. Most of the photos are shot hand-held.

To view, and purchase if desired, all photos from RISE Chorales, go to and click on Client Galleries, and then RISE Chorales. Select the year you would like to view and ENJOY!

Copyright Dan Biggerstaff Photography. All Rights Reserved © 2018



It is not that long ago that manual focus was standard on all cameras. Today’s cameras have an auto focus function that is usually more accurate than manual focus. Focusing either manually or with autofocus can get tricky when you are in low light situations – like I recently was Halloween night.

A couple of tips make focusing in low light easier and more precise. First, it may take the camera a little longer than normal to focus in low light situations. Looking through the viewfinder, you may see the subject go out of focus before it comes back in focus. With my Nikon D800, this takes less than a second. If you were to push the shutter before sharp focus occurs, a blurry photo is the result. Secondly, use the fastest lens you can. I was using a 24-70 mm zoom with an f-stop of 2.8. My 28-300 mm lens has a variable f-stop from 3.5 at 28 mm to 5.6 at 300 mm. This lens will not focus as well in low light conditions as the f 2.8 lens.

A Profoto B1 monolight with a beauty dish was my primary light source. Once it got dark, I had to rely on the autofocus in my camera – in many cases I could not see well enough to manually focus the lens. An alternative would have been to use a continuous video light to make focusing easier (even shining a flashlight on the subject would work).

These are a few of the photos taken Halloween. The photo at the beginning of this blog was the very dramatic and depicts the Halloween mood well.  The last photo in group 3 shows great expression – “it is time for a meltdown.” The best way to view the photos is to click on an icon and advance with the arrow key. The NexGen Gallery only holds 20 photos, so you have to back out and click on the next group.

Any Trick or Treaters who did not receive their photo by email should send an email to me at to remedy the situation. Enjoy!

All photos copyright Dan Biggerstaff Photography. All rights reserved © 2014

Need A Camera To Take A Photo

I cannot count the number of times I have seen a photo but did not have my camera – no photograph.  One of my mentors, Jay Maisel, always has his camera. A friend of his and also very well know photographer, Gregory Heisler, on the other hand frequently does not have his camera unless he is involved in a shoot. Gregory’s thought process is that he cannot enjoy the moment (like children growing up) if he is always looking for a shot. I agree with both approaches and often have difficulty deciding which is best.

A friend of mine, Vince Lucente, invited me and several others to go fishing at Edisto Beach (SC) this weekend. A great time was had by all. I did take my camera when we went out for a drink (first photo) before a sunset cruise (second photo) and then the next morning when we went fishing (other photos). By the way, the Bull Red (fish) was put back into the water after photos. At a point, Vince asked me if I was having fun – maybe (or not) I will leave the camera in the bag for our next fishing trip.








A Great Photo

A friend recently said “I want to take a great photo.” He is a good photographer but has limited experience. My advice, basic knowledge is an obvious necessity, and then shoot and shoot and shoot. But when you are shooting, only take “good” photos. And, probably the most important ingredient is “have fun.” The photo not only shows the subject, but also the photographer. That great photo is not something that most of us can choose to take at a specific time but is something that happens with knowledge and effort.

Will and two grandsons are obviously having fun! How this photo should be categorized depends on who you ask; Will would say it is great.






All photos copyright  Dan Biggerstaff Photography. All rights reserved © 2011.

Farmer’s Market

Local events can provide a great opportunity for shooting street scenes, one of my favorite types of photography. Forsyth Park in downtown Savannah is the site for a farmer’s market every Saturday morning from early April to late November. The hours are from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. Visitors can purchase fresh vegetables, flowers, plants, herbs, pasta, breads, and meats from local farmers and vendors. Many of the foods are certified organic. The vendors are typically very friendly and helpful in making selections. Park benches provide a place to cool off in the shade, in addition to a place of solitude to read and relax. Frequently there are other activities going on in the park such as exercise classes, and on this Saturday, a rugby tournament. All in all, a good place to spend a Saturday morning.

When taking photos in varying light conditions such as bright sunlight and the shade, adjustments are needed to prevent people-pictures from being blown out (too bright) or too dark. If your camera permits, taking bracketed shots can make the process easier. For instance, I set my camera to shoot a 3-shot “burst,” the first correctly exposed, the second 1 f-stop under, and the third shot 1 f-stop over exposed. Another way to compensate for varying light conditions is to use the EV (exposure value) button that has a +/- on or by the button. This allows you to increase or decrease the exposure as needed. What ever you do, HAVE FUN!
Click on the image to view the gallery and the back button to return to the blog.

All photos copyright  Dan Biggerstaff Photography. All rights reserved © 2011.

Isle of Hope Street Scenes

As many of you know, I try to walk twice a day, for exercise and relaxation. Most of the time I have my camera with me. I love shooting photos of people, scenery, and animals, especially people. Many of the photos taken are deleted; I would never keep a photo that I felt was not really good. I prefer great photos and continuously work towards a few in that category. It is fun seeing people having fun, and that is what I enjoy capturing with the camera. If you see me out and about, feel free to wave or keep on doing what you are doing. I do not want to infringe upon anyone’s “happy space” and will put the camera down if I sense that I am. These photos will be updated periodically.

Click on the image to view the gallery and your back button to return to the blog.

All photos copyright  Dan Biggerstaff Photography. All rights reserved © 2011.

Mater is alive!

Mater is REAL!

Certain things in photography are so basic I hate to mention in a photo blog, but I will anyway. Always have your camera with you, and never go back for a shot. You cannot take a photograph, at least a high quality one, if you do not have your camera. Yeah, I know that the device in your pocket or purse that you receive text messages and a rare phone call on can take photos – give me a break. I am talking about a real photo. If we agree on point one, let’s go to number two. If you plan to go back and take a shot, odds are it will not be there, or at least the lighting will have changed dramatically.

My wife and I were driving back from Charleston to Savannah. On the far side of a small town (a really small town), Cottageville, S.C., I, all of a sudden, turned the car around, and my wife wanted to know what was going on. We had just passed the “real” Mater, and I had to get a shot. For those of you without small children or grandchildren, Mater, a tow truck, is one of the main characters in a Disney movie called Cars 2. I present the real thing. Please share with all the small children you know.

Click on the image to enlarge.

All photos copyright  Dan Biggerstaff Photography. All rights reserved © 2011.