I have this kind of secret obsession with photographer blogs. It's the reason I started my own. The first one I ever really "stalked" was Jasmine Star's. I mention her all the time on mine because she has been a huge inspiration to me as well as an encouragement. She (without even really knowing it) changed my whole photography business. I read her blog regularly and I have a nice long list of others I read as well. I honestly believe that it has made me a better photographer and business woman. I love looking at their photos, examining their style, and challenging myself to perfect a style of my own. I learn so much from reading words of wisdom from those that have been in the business for so long, and those that are just starting out. I am still pretty early in my business, and I have a very different perspective because of that. I have received several questions from other photographers and readers lately, so I am going to begin doing Frequently Asked Questions (and not so frequently asked questions, but questions that someone asked me... once). On a somewhat related note... I was clicking around today on some different blogs, and I was absolutely delighted to see that someone had my photography blog listed right along side Mary Jane Photography and Jasmine Star Photography and a couple of others as blogs they read regularly. I was completely blown away and absolutely so excited! What a HUGE compliment to me as a new photographer!
Question: What lens do you use the most?
Answer: I use the Canon 50mm 1.4 CONSTANTLY! I absolutely love it! It is perfect for portraits and in all honestly, it is often the ONLY lens I will use for a shoot. Buying that lens changes the way I shoot. It changed the look and style of my photos immensely. Its affordable and so worth it!
Question: What do you use to edit your photos?
Answer: I use Photoshop CS4. I also use a combination of photoshop actions. Right now I am using primarily MCP actions but I have my eye on the Kubota Image Tools actions and the Totally Rad actions. I have also used Adobe Lightroom in the past and it is a wonderful tool as well. One of the biggest lessons I've learned is that it is important to nail your shots. It is important to know your camera and be able to get the exposure and white balance and all of those "technical" things right when you take the picture so you wont have to spend hours trying to correct your mistake later. I use photoshop primarily to enhance my images rather than correct them.
Question: How do you get natural expressions and "unposed" pictures?
Answer: There really isn't a big fancy answer for this. I wrote a blog a week or so ago (that you can read by clicking here) that talks a little about this. The single thing that helped me the most with this was being in front of the camera myself. The more I do that, the more I see how akward it feels and how much you need to do as the photographer to make your client feel comfortable and beautiful. It has helped me to work with some great photographers as a "model". (Jasmine Star, Mark Christensen, Chris Austin) It has helped me learn to direct my clients, and learn how to make them more comfortable. I think the biggest thing you can do is to relax, have fun, and try to capture to moments in between poses. It's good to give some direction to clients when they feel lost and akward, but the biggest challenge is learning to bring their personality out instead of just standing them somewhere and taking a nice picture. That is what will set apart your photos.
Once again, I feel blessed to be doing this. I feel incredible that people check out my work and follow my life on my blog. I feel flattered that people think I have somethign to offer by asking me questions. These are probably not the best answers, or even the most acurate answers you can find, but it is simply what has helped me as a new photographer. I hope this will help someone else as they start their journey too!
I'll leave you with a picture taken of me by Erin of E.D. Austin Photography at a workshop I participated in several months ago.