In addition to being a photographer, I've recently been teaching photography workshops around the Boston area to help people get to know and love their cameras.
While working with clients, I'm always met with a lot of questions about what camera I shoot with, my equipment and inquiries about my editing style. I figured there is no better outlet than my website to share with everyone the various applications, lenses, posing techniques, etc. that I use on a daily basis and have made me a better photographer.
So in this post, I'll expose my dirty secrets and address a few tips you may find helpful in your photographic endeavors!
1. WHAT CAMERA DO YOU USE?
Personally, I'm a Canon girl through and through. I shoot with a 5D Mark III and a 6D as my backup. Both cameras are absolutely amazing and have become extensions of myself. They provide stunning clarity, detail and focus, allowing me to be creatively flexible (they also perform incredibly in low-light situations).
2. AND LENSES? WHAT ABOUT THEM?
I love using fixed lenses when shooting clients. Currently, my favorite lenses are the 50mm f1.8 and the 85mm f1.8. Because both are fixed, I'm encouraged to get more creative with my subjects, angles and poses.
3. WHAT EDITING APPLICATIONS DO YOU USE?
I live in Lightroom (as do many photographers). I never use Photoshop unless I absolutely must (and that's just a personal preference). Preset packages are a necessity for me: I love moodier, more romantic looks. Tribe Archipelago works wonders and so do Heck Yeah Presets from Ben Sasso.
For apps, I use Snapseed for making minor adjustments, Beauty Plus for smoothing faces and VSCO and Afterlight for overall editing.
4. ANY EDITING TIPS OR TRICKS YOU SWEAR BY?
As basic as it may seem, not all hobby and amateur photographers shoot in manual. This is a mistake. Get to know and love your camera. Read the manual, understand what each icon is and the effect it has on an image you're taking. Go through each item one-by-one. Understand how shutter speed, aperture and ISO work and how they benefit each other.
I believe in under-saturation (when it sets the mood). I never over-saturate or over-filter when using apps. I probably use bokah more than I should. bokah aesthetically blurs out parts of the foreground or background while maintaining clarity on the subject. Just make sure you're using a lens that allows you to shoot with a very wide aperture (f1.8-2.5).
Always, always, ALWAYS shoot in RAW. It is a file format that captures all image data when you take a photo. Because of this, the image quality is significantly higher than a JPEG file. Shooting in RAW allows you to make more adjustments and edits that are much smoother than if you were to shoot in JPEG, and the effect that this has on your images is huge. You can correct White Balance, Brightness and even Posterization (color or brightness discoloration when dealing with bright skies or back-lit people). When you make corrections or edits to a RAW file, you aren't actually changing the original image data. What you're doing is actually creating a set of image instructions or changes for how the JPEG or TIFF should be saved. Lastly, the print version of any RAW file just looks so insanely better than any JPEG file (color gradient is spot on and the clarity is maintained).
Of course, editing styles change with preference and with time. For example, during the fall months, I love changing the color gradient of greens to yellows. I also enjoy adding a "dehaze" effect during the colder months to offer a more moody and romantic experience.
As for poses, I adjust my recommendations based on who the client is. I always try to bring in banter, jokes and even games when shooting couples as a way for them to loosen up. If you need tips, go on to Pinterest for some posing inspiration.
5. ANY OTHER PIECES OF ADVICE?
Keep challenging yourself. Challenge yourself by shooting new subjects, shooting new angles, testing out new lighting and techniques. Never underestimate the power of framing and composition. A great place to start is to play around with the Rule of Thirds. And remember, each photograph you take tells a story. You're simply there to capture it and turn it into art.
Take a lot of pictures. A LOT. That's the best way to find out what you're own style is. Find inspiration from others and add your own spin.
6. CAN WE BOOK YOU? CAN YOU SHOOT CONTENT?
Of course I'd love to work with you (review my pricing here). If you're in the Boston-area and in need of a photographer, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your inquiry, type of shoot and time frame. I'm also available for travel.
I love to shoot content for brands, both local and national (check out my Instagram for some examples). I've worked with a few local Boston boutiques and high-name brands like Coach.
Whether you're looking for a new camera, interested in photographing new subjects or simply needing editing inspiration, I hope a few of my tips will help you. If you ever want more information, don't hesitate to reach out or ask to meet for a cup of coffee!