Click on the image above to read our fall newsletter. Also, as a reminder, I have serveral boards on Pinterest with “What to Wear” clothing ideas for your fall and holiday photo shoot. Click here for that. Although please feel free to call me with any questions regarding your session, including “what to wear”. Be sure to get your session booked early in order to get the best fall color. Our late September and early October sessions are already starting to fill up!
Here is a cheat sheet I made up for all of my friends that are still having trouble understanding what makes for perfect exposure in your photos. These three elements are what makes a photo. They work together to make your photo exposed correctly or incorrectly depending on which mode you set your camera. Even when you are in AUTO mode, the camera “reads” the light and sets these 3 elements to the settings that the camera sees as the best exposure for the light that it “sees”. When you are shooting in Aperture Priority Mode, the camera will adjust the shutter speed based on the conditions that the camera interprets in order to expose your photo correctly. It will also adjust your ISO IF you have your camera set to AUTO ISO, Otherwise it will adjust the shutter speed based on the ISO that you have set. The same is true for Shutter Priority Mode, but reverse. Your camera will adjust the aperture based on the shutter speed you have set. The ONLY setting in which you have FULL control of the exposure is in Manual mode, where you set all three; ISO, Aperture and Shutter Speed.
Many of you have asked me what the “P” mode is. It is Program mode and it is similar to Auto mode as the camera sets the aperture AND shutter for you, but “P” mode allows you to set your ISO and whether or not to use the on camera flash. I hope this helps to demystify some of your camera’s settings. Feel free to download a copy of the cheat sheet here to carry in your camera bag!
I often get e-mails with questions from other photographers, so I’ve posted some of the more frequently asked questions here:
What Equipment do you shoot with. What Equipment would you recommend to a photographer just starting out.
What’s MOST important?? The glass (lens). Invest MORE in your lenses than in your camera body. It is a good idea to get a zoom lens that goes down to f/2.8. Always get your equipment from a reputable dealer. I use B & H photo. Learn from my mistakes! – DON’T buy from ebay or used….UNLESS you KNOW the person you are buying from and trust them.
Here is a list of my equipment ;
- 70-200mm 2.8 VR (I shoot with this lens about 60-70% of the time.)
- 50mm 1.4 (great lens for portraits and shallow depth of field)
- 85mm 1.8 (used mostly for details, outdoor portraits)
- 17-50mm 2.8 (larger group shots, back up wide angle)
- 18-200mm 3.5 VR (versatile as all get out for outdoors or in studio)
- 16-85mm 3.5 VR (only used in studio where I control lighting)
- 10.5mm fisheye (just for fun!)
- Nikon SB900 Speedlights
- Lowell i-light video light (used for ring shots and soft portrait light at night)
- LOTS of Camera Batteries
- LOTS of Lexar cf Cards
- Pocket Wizards
- Several Alien Bees Flash Units and Paul C Buff Soft Boxes
- Vagabond Mini Lithium Portable Power (LOVE!)
- Sekonic Light Meter (not sure how ANY photography enthusiast could live without one)
- Manfrotto Tripod
What actions do you use to post process your images. I use Lightroom to organize and catalog my images and Photoshop CS5 for most editing. I mostly use a combination of the Florabella actions - Totally Rad Actions and OnOne Software, along with other actions I’ve created. I never really do the same exact thing to an image, and I usually never use an action to its full strength.
Do you offer mentoring sessions? At this time, we do offer one on one personal mentoring sessions where we discuss all aspects of running a photography business, including photography and editing skills, Half day and full day sessions include a sample photo shoot with a couple and all shoots include notes and sample business forms. Please contact us for more information on pricing and what is included in a half or full day session.
There has been a lot of controversy over the past few years among professional photographers as to whether to sell digital image files or prints. A digital photo isn’t just a bunch of pixels. It’s the photographers creation, vision and art. We plan it, We capture it, and edit it, until it looks exactly the way we want it. We would be reluctant to show an unfinished proof to a customer, just as a chef would be loathe to serve a half-cooked meal to a diner.
I have stood firmly on my stance to NOT sell the digital files for many reasons that may not be as obvious to my clients. So here are a few;
1. Printing. Where will my clients get prints made? A good lab, or a horrible cheap one? A good home printer, or an even more horrible cheap one? There is a HUGE difference in printers and labs. Walgreens is NOT the place to have your images printed.
2. Size. Will they choose a print size that’s appropriate to the file size and quality? If you try to print an 16×20 out of a 4×6, you will loose tons of resolution and the print will look pixelated and blurry.
3. Cropping. If your chosen print size requires cropping (eg 8×10) will they honor your composition? Will they even bother to check the cropping before pressing “print”? If you print an 8×10 out of a file sized at a 4×6, someones head is GOING to get cut off!
4. Sharpening. Will the sharpening you applied to the file be appropriate to their chosen print method and size? Again, this can make an image look fuzzy or too pixelated.
5. Uncle Joe. This is the worst one. It mightn’t be Uncle Joe, of course, it might be cousin Joe, or buddy Joe, or Aunt Josephine. Somebody with an uncalibrated screen, a dodgy copy of Photoshop, and an enthusiasm to “fix” your images for your customer before they print them. Be very afraid of Uncle Joe.
6. Will your grandchildren be upset with you? Please refer to an earlier blog here.
Any of the above factors could result in your photo hanging on your customer’s wall looking ghastly. When that happens, the photographer may lose referrals due to the poor quality of the print.
Is it all worth it? I’m not sure. BUT, my clients are begging for it! So I have thought long and hard as to HOW to make this beneficial for both my clients and myself.
As a trial for the remainder of 2012, here is what I can up with for Family & Children sessions (high school seniors excluded)
- 10 Images on disc $450
- 20 images on disc $650
- ALL images on disc $750
- individual image $ 90
- Images are mid res with copyright release to print up to 11×14
- My preference is that you print through MPix.com -NOT a pro lab, but better quality than WalMart.
Too many of us think that displaying portraits on our walls will make our home “look like Grandma’s house”. Honestly, this is NOT TRUE! There are a few tricks to prevent that “look”. The number one trick or rule is….8×10 is NOT a wall portrait. If you hang one or many 8×10′s on a wall in an unorganized and unfashionable way…then you risk having your home look “old fashioned”. Secondly, choose portraits that are artsy and in a similar color palate to each other. I can help design a display for your home! It is not a well known fact that prior to becoming a professional photographer, I graduated from Interior Design School…A little BONUS you get with me! Please let me know PRIOR to your session that you are interested in this option so we can plan your shoot accordingly. We also have a program that can take a photo of your existing wall space and digitally display your portraits in various arrangements and sizes until you are happy with the look! Contact me today and I will be happy to discuss your ideas, wants and needs! You’d be surprised what amazing artwork photographs of your loved ones can make in your home! It NEVER goes out of style. It’s the best kind of artwork… artwork that MATTERS.
The above is a canvas wall collage I just finished in my home. Yes, I live in Ohio…But a girl can make believe, right?
My studio manager, Brandi, ordered this display before she came to work with me.
Will Your Grandchildren Be Upset With You? Author: Fred Molesworth, Salem, Oregon
I’m willing to bet your grandchildren will be upset with you. Here’s why. Imagine, 50 years from now, as your grandchildren or great grandchildren are going through the boxes in the attic. They are enthralled with the treasures and keepsakes they find and how they tie into the story of your life. Amongst all the old items, they find a number of round silver objects. Some have writing on them, some are blank, but they resemble some kind of a small platter about 4? across, with a hole in the middle. Puzzled, they take them to their parents. “What are these, Mom?” they ask. “Oh, I think those are all of grandma’s photographs. Yep, here’s one labeled ‘My Wedding’. Here’s some more labeled ‘Family Photos,’ and some more labeled ‘Vacations’.” “How do we look at them?” they ask. “Well, I’m not sure we can. First of all, no one has the device that reads these anymore. Besides that, I doubt after all these years that they’re any good anymore. Being stored in the attic, the heat and cold probably ruined them.” The kids are very disappointed. Nowhere amongst all the treasures are any actual prints. All that history is lost. Their connection with the past and all the wonderful stories that might have gone along with all those photographs are gone as well. Along with all the wonders of our digital age come some significant problems that most people have never thought of.
Did you know that over 90% of all images taken on today’s digital cameras are NEVER PRINTED? I’m guilty of that myself. I have gigabytes of personal photographs that have never been seen other than on a computer screen. In the old days, film went to the lab and everything that was printable was printed. Even if it was a bad photograph, it still was a hard copy, a part of your family history and it had permanence. Even if they never went in an album, they at least went into a box, to be discovered as treasures years later. The same problem exists in professional portrait studios today. Many people are simply asking for the images on CD. “I’ll print them later” or “I’ll design my own wedding album” are common phrases. Usually this is done with the thought that they’ll save some money by doing it themselves. But you know what? Most never make it into any kind of an album. Life gets busy and 20 years later they’ll be looking for some way to read those disks. I bring this up only to point out the importance of what we, as a professional studio do. Our job is not just to create the images, to create wonderful story telling photographs about the people in front of our camera; it’s to create a final product, whether it be a professionally retouched and printed single image, a family heirloom wall portrait, or an incredible storybook album using a collection of the images that were created. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a wedding, a newborn baby, a senior or a family. Having the final product created for you is important. To do less is to leave the job half done and to short change the customer. So, if you’re asked for a disk with all the images “so I can print them later”, that’s fine, just make sure your customers understand that if not printed, the conversation their grandchildren will want to have about their family history may never be able to happen.
Fred Molesworth In addition to running a full time portrait studio in Salem Oregon, Fred Molesworth is a small business teacher and advisor, and the author of the Portrait Studio Marketing blog (www.portraitstudiomarketing.com). He’s also a nationally known business and marketing speaker in the portrait industry, and past president of the Professional Photographers of Oregon.
As most of you know, I don’t choose to do a lot of wedding day photography. It’s not that I don’t enjoy photographing weddings, because I do. It’s more because it is VERY time consuming and exhausting; in addition to the fact that I have an 11 year old son and I don’t want to book EVERY saturday with a wedding. But when I do shoot a wedding…it is magical. This quick video that I am sharing is a family members wedding and it was AMAZING! I hope you enjoy!