Matthew Upton Photography & Design


Photo / Video / Web / Events / Solutions

Welcome to MUPD – Matthew Upton Photography and Design, a portal to learn a little bit about myself and take a look at my work.


Find Your Images


Who Needs to Go to School For Photography?


Who Needs to go to School for Photography?

Photography is an experiment of knowing the limits and capabilities of equipment, the study of line and color, but, most importantly, personal style. Going to school for the arts in general is wonderful for being able to sit through critiques of your own work while having access to equipment that is not normally available. Going to school is also great for having a hands on critique with an experienced teacher. It is that hands on and group learning that can be required by some people.

It is for the most part that I believe that photography is about personal style and experimenting. With the capabilities of cell phones, online learning through free sites such as YouTube. There is not much that you don’t have access too on your own or even in your pocket. There are many people that make a living with photography just through social media with even just a cell phone camera.

The capabilities that are available are astonishing will be ever growing more competitive. Work hard, always prepare for something to go wrong and keep driving your-self forward to know and experience more.

  • Writter: Matthew Upton
  • Date: 15 Oct, 2016

What Helped me the Most?


What Helped me the Most?

The best place to start off is, understanding the exposure triangle. The exposure triangle are focused on the three primary settings; shutter speed, aperture and iso

Shutter speed in brief is the amount of time the sensor of the camera is exposed. Playing with shutter speed can have a huge effect. Depending on the amount of light coming in through the other aspects shutter speed is best described as the control of motion. Shutter speed is normally depicted as 1/240. In this example, the sensor is exposed for 240th of a second. 1/240 is normally the minimum shutter speed to stop motion. To be more specific, in order to stop motion, it is best to have double the focal length of the lens. I will go into much more detail in a later post on specifics and neat tricks.

Aperture is the opening in the lens that lets light in, this is measured in F stops. F is the most common, normally seen as F 3.5-5.6. The smaller the number, indicates the largest opening, thus allowing more light in, then of course the larger number, indicates a smaller opening. . The example given shows is a variable aperture, meaning that the aperture can change from one length or mm to another. The opening of the lens as well as its length greatly determines the area of focus or depth of field. The smaller the opening, or larger the f stop will allow more of your subject in focus. Then of course a smaller f stop will have a narrower field of focus.

ISO is and should be the last setting you adjust. This is the cameras ability to make the sensor more sensitive and let more light in digitally. The higher the iso, the more the camera is working to bring in more light. When the camera is working harder than it should be, it will add noise or even colors. A high iso can easily make an image unusable.

It is with the balance of these three that forms an image. It is in knowing the limits and the effects of each will allow you not only to get a good idea what settings will work best in a situation.

One of the most influential videos I have seen to how to frame and find an image. Composition is key and I know it’s a long video but a wonder collection that will give you a better understanding than most photographers in the industry. B and H’s YouTube channel is also a wonderful collection of content with full lectures and presentations being posted online for free. Go To Video

Here is a great example of a photographers mind set. I personally found It very inspirational, especially with those photographers that are looking at taking portraits. Go To Video



How I Got Started

I got started by being the stereotypical nerd that likes expensive tech. My first DSLR was a bundle sold through BestBuy. It was a Canon Rebel XS, Canons entry level DSLR. With a kit 18-55 and 55-300 lens. I started to play around with it. I was still very much in auto and it took me about 8 months before I started to teach myself, just the very basics.

My eureka moment was when I purchased the nifty 50, the plastic fantastic, Canons 50mm 1.8 lens. The best and pretty much only lens you can buy for $100-129 and it changed everything. At that point I started to learn the limits of the camera, not as much as I could of but, it took me about a four months from there to look at upgrading.

At this point I still never had a direction for what I wanted to do with the camera, not even an interest.

I justified upgrading to the Canon 60D to help with my graphic design. My original idea was to go shop to shop and make impromptu fliers, for each shop with a suggested or adapted style. In order to gain exposure and start creating a name for myself. Well that was the plan at least, I only did it for a couple shops and didn’t get me far because I really wasn’t that good at that level.

Everything really started when I got into bands, first getting to know the Stillwinter, that brought me to my first show headlined by Eve6, that got me in contact with One Hundred Proof and Assuming We Survive. After that the rest became history.

What I Learned From the Studio


What I Learned From the Studio

It is hard to narrow it down, from how much I was able to learn. The biggest lesson I have learned is preparation is key. I was already previously aware of it, normally but in the business realm when dealing with single to multiyear contracts, no short cut should be created.

The second lesson is that no one has gone out of business for not growing fast enough, but many have grown to quickly, over expecting and not being self-sufficient to operate during the slow times. This is greatly related to hiring employees. An employee should be hired if it can’t be run in any other way. In the expectation of demand it is important to distinguish between a spike and increased growth. If an employee is hired on a spike then in many cases, the business will lose money due to employee wages rather than if the job was turned down.

When looking for a location for a B2C business, it is drastically important to wait at the location for multiple days of the week, to get a proper idea of traffic. This can be crucial depending on the product. This has the largest effect in instances where the location itself is a form of advertising. Dealing with outside influences. Especially when starting a business, it requires you to set up installation times. Power, Water, Internet, Phone are the typical services needed, but proper time for permits and fire inspections are often overlooked. Especially when one service can’t be installed or certified before another, I have learned to keep on top of communication. Paperwork can be lost, a message can be missed and so forth.

I can wright a book on many of these topics alone, but these are some of the key lessons I have taken away from opening up the studio.

When Limitations Can Be A Benefit


When Limitations Can Be A Benefit

The two main factors that are focused on in photography, which are the lenses and lighting, there is a third perceived limitation and that is in the camera body itself.

Lens and lenses all have limitations, but, to take a professional image doesn’t require a $2,000 lens. Amazing images can be taken with the kit lens that it comes with. They may not be the sharpest but with camera sensors having over 20 megapixels and a standard computer screen having little more than 2, differences are not greatly apparent. The two primary factors in a lens is its focal range and its aperture, which is the amount of light the lens is able to bring in. As long as a photographer isn’t trying to take photos in really dark situations most lenses will be able to perform just fine. Primary lenses are the perfect example of a great teaching tool. Rather than just zooming in, primary lenses force you to think creatively. Allowing you to notice the difference between each focal length, while teaching you perspective and composition.

In the situation of lighting, having a single off camera light will help you prepare for nearly any situation. A single light will teach you a great deal about how light behaves. When you understand a single light and maybe a couple modifiers than how a person poses using natural lighting or multiple lights will become much clearer. Light distance, flash duration, light drop off, the size of the light source, direction lighting or even continuous vs flash. There is a great deal that can be learned from experimenting with a single light.

In respects to the camera body, the camera body itself is more to do with convenience and situational circumstances. Being able to have multiple cards, so you always have a backup. Using a body that is water resistant and just over all better build quality so it is able to take a beating. A cameras frame rate, allowing you to take more images at a time. There are many more features and reasons to justify upgrading or spending a little more, but the only limitation that is ISO performance. The ability of the camera to digitally bring in more light. This limitation is common in every camera and will be an issue for a very long time. But once a person is able to understand the limitation of each piece of their gear, a work around is nearly always possible.


WhoI Am

Originally looked at photography as a method to further my graphic design abilities, it quickly became a focus. It became a passion as soon I became close to musicians, then it really took off. With my natural curiosity and drive to never stop learning, I then dove into web development when the web services I was using where limited in their design. With the demand for music videos and videography for weddings I dove head first into video. Studying and learning daily I will never stop moving forward.

WhatI Do

My Bachelors of Arts Degree in Graphic Design and Marketing, was only the start in finding how much there is to learn and accomplish because, schooling is nothing compared to real life experience. My experience in running a company, managing employees, handing all aspects of being a creative and looking at the bottom line for not only myself, but various industries has provided me with incite in many categories.



Experience covering corporate branding, print/web advertising, web design to apparel and press kits.


Unsatisfied with current web-tools I decided to build my own. You are using it right now.


My BA Degree and Work experience work in perfect harmony.


When the appropriate tools were not available I created my own.


Translating and understanding design, supported by analytics, proven by marketing, will develop and shape braninding.


Running a business from start to finish, including location scouting, hiring, firing, permits and payroll and so on.


Edited Photos




Years of Experience


Cups of Coffee

Watch The Latest Project

Newly released, the latest music video for My Way from the band Firing All Cylinders. Playing on the theme of the dating game with a twist, the contestant tells off the girls and separate himself from the bad influences.


Frequently Asked Questions?

Finding your Photos

You can find your photos by typing you (band name), (first name and last name), or (username) indicated when the gallery was selected, into the MUPD Archive above in red or at the bottom of the Navigation tab on the right.

Downloading your images

Press the “Select Photos” button on the top of the screen, select individual photos or all photos then the “Download” button will appear.
The photos will then download as a zip file, which will not be visible on iOS devices such as the iPhone or iPad.

I have designed my equipment to be completely portable. My truck has been specifically modified to carry all my equipment including studio backdrops to any location. With multiple large battery packs I am able to bring the full power of the studio to any location.

All photos and video will be delivered through an open or private gallery though my archive website. With unlimited storage and multiple backups, your files are always secure and accessible. Multiple levels of security make sure that your images are completely secure and as private as you would like.

Larger sized videos and graphic design files will be delivered through DropBox or your preferred file exchange server.

I am willing to rent much of my gear including my drone and motorized camera stabilizer, a signed waver will be required as well as proof/knowledge that you can operate the equipment safely and properly will be also required.

I will be available to travel any distance but travel expenses may be required.

Contact ME

Highland CA, 92346

Phone: 909.835.2255