Hellooo! I am so fortunate to have so many photography friends and to be able to learn from so many inspiring people. In turn I also get a lot of inquiries through emails, about my photography and for some helpful tips etc. I love to give back to the photography community and love to see others achieving their goals and dreams. So I have decided to post one of my emails to an inquiry and share with all of you.
You may know all of this, you may not..but in any case it will help you know a little bit more about me as a photographer! If you read this please leave me a comment....cause I really love to hear from my fellow bloggers! :)
Dear Keri, I stumbled upon your blog one time and I fell in love with you great work! You are such an amazing and talented photographer and you pictures make me smile. I studied photography for about a year now and I am starting my own freelance photography business in my area. I just have some questions about the whole photography business and I hope you could give me some pointers. My questions are: 1. What are some of the equipments for portrait do I need to invest in to get such beautiful pictures as yours?
2. What kinds of equipments would I need to bring to a wedding should I ever shoot one?
3. What kind of post-editing software and actions do you use?
4. If you have any tips on shooting portraits for family and kids, please feel free to share.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my email and it would be really helpful if I could get some feedback from you.
Thank you so much for your sweet comments about my photography!!
alright, so I am going to let you in on a little secret. I do not even consider myself a " super professional"
photographer. I actually really started my business only 2 years ago and 3 years ago I was doing it for FREE just to build a portfolio. I have to admit that it has come a very long way since then. which I am so blessed and grateful for. I would love to answer your questions though, because I have learned so much from other photographers and love to give back to the photography community.
#1 lets talk about portrait photography.
depending on what kind of shoot I am doing I will bring different things. I take extra memory cards, an extra battery, my external flash, a tripod and my lenses. Which are 24-78 2.8 (this is the lens primary lens that I use for most of my work). A wide angle lens. A 50mm 1.8, and a zoom/macro. Just in case I need any of them. I also will bring props such as couches, chairs, baskets, stools, old suitcases, blankets to sit on etc. These things I collected over time. Try to look for free things that you can paint, or are just ugly and cool that would look great in a photo. I also do a lot of my newborn photos in the homes of my clients and so to get the black and white back grounds I make sure and bring a black flannel/or jersey knit sheet. I will tack them up or use big clips on chairs etc. I do not have a ton of professional equipment so I improvise. I do not do any studio lighting in my photos and have not invested in that yet. Everything I do is natural light or a combo with my flash if I need it. But if you can get a handle on your lighting you can do about anything.
wedding are another story all together. you want to make sure that you are UBER prepared for a wedding, cause you know you can't to a "retake" shoot. Have an assistant go with you to carry your bags etc.
I always ask them for a list of the shots that they want for sure. This way I do not miss anything and they get what they want. I take this list with me and have my assistant make sure that I don't miss anything. I take all the same things to my wedding sessions as my portrait sessions. But not all the props. A lot of photographers have a kit that they take with all possible needs and I think that is a good idea I will take snacks and water too. If you have a back up camera it is a good idea to take it just in case. Here is a link to a helpful post on flickr. http://www.flickr.com/groups/weddingphoto/discuss/72157616396957860/?search=what+to+take+a+wedding
#3 post processing and editing....
Well, here is another surprise. up until one week ago I have not been using anything fancy. I just got an imac and CS4. (both of which I am scared of hahahahaha!) SO I have been using my pc with an external hard drive. And photoshop elements 6.0!!! for the past 3 years!!! yep, can you believe it?
the bottom line is that I have studied and studied photoshop techniques and played around with my own photos until I have achieved the look I want.
Also I do not use actions. O.K. Iied, I do use one action but not always. I use powder room from coffee shop actions, when I need some skin softening, so mostly just on the babies. I do use textures that I have created as well as some from Nichole Van (http://www.nicholevan.com) who I Iove and a few from betharmsheimertextures.blogspot.com. Mostly I have searched and joined sites like ILP (ilovephotography) Clickin moms and flickr. These sites have proved invaluable for me as I have learned mounds of things and been inspired by so many wonderful and talented photographers. I have also been to photoshop and photography classes through my local college, and taken seminars from sandy puc, as well as a bunch of online seminars, and i am going to be doing a workshop with Nicole Van in the spring ( which I am very excited about) Simply put I am an insomniac with a passion for photography and I can not get enough!!! I feel like I have a lot to learn and I need to get my business running a little better. But that is how we get better is, by always learning and wanting to be better!
The reason I decided not to use actions is that I figure if I know how to do it myself, then I can create my own look and stand out and then maybe create some for others some day :)
I have developed my method for shooting families and kids over time. It is super important to remember that things do not always go as planned. I think the one of the most important things I learned from one of my seminars is to be confident. Even if things are not working out like you thought. Family sessions seem to be stressful for everyone. Just getting everyone ready, picking out outfits, getting there and then having the kids scream or not want pics is STRESSFUL!!!!!! but that is what makes it fun and patience combined with confidence is the key. I like to tell the parents not to have expectations about the kids behavior, and to let me do the directing with them. This way I can talk to them and let them get comfortable with them and then I can get them happy instead of stressed and in trouble.
Also go to some seminars, or purchase on line mentoring, or go to a workshop. I have learned a ton from these.
I also like to ask the client what their vision/style is and then depending on how many are in the session and the location I think of poses and I try to do something original and do diff. angles etc. in each session.
talk to the kids about what they like, Dora, Diego, their favorite toy etc. Sing songs and be silly. Make the family comfortable and remind the parents to look at the camera and let you work with the kids. I find that a lot of times I will have good pics of the kids, but then one of the parents are looking/talking to them and it ruins the pic.
Another thing is getting sharp in focus pics with groups..... are you ready? this is crucial.
your Aperture needs to be correct. So for groups it should mimic the number of people in the group. If you have 5 people it should be at a 5.0 ish. etc. Learn your manual mode and lighting!! super super important for saving yourself hours in photoshop.
above all have fun find your style and your passion and run with it.
Good luck and let me know if you have any other questions. I would love to share!!!