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Ask Me Anything: 1

Thu. August 5, 2010   |   photographers
One of the things I'm going to try to do a little more often here is post answers to some questions I get frequently. You might not know this, but every day, I post and interact on my FACEBOOK PAGE! From now on, I'd love it if instead of emailing questions, you would post them in the DISCUSSION area there so that the answers can help others too. Questions that lots of people seem to want to know about will get posted here and discussed sometimes too :)

Anyway, yesterday I was thinking about some questions I get asked frequently, and I figured, why not answer a few! So here we go:

Q. What lenses do you use?

A: I am a die-hard Canon prime lens user. The reason is that I find them so much sharper, faster, and easier to use than the zoom lenses. The images have a quality to them that I just never see with prime lenses. Right now, I think the Nikon cameras are better, but I just can't give up those gorgeous Canon lenses. If you ever see me shooting you'll see that I have a Shootsac and a few lenses that never leave my side. They are:

50 1.2: This is probably my favorite lens of all time--it's my go-to for portraits, details, and "money shots"
35 1.4: A relatively new addition to my bag, the first time I used it, it was LOVE! Great for the family photos, bridal party, getting ready, ceremony, and half room shots.
24 1.4: I use this lens for pretty much ALL party/dancing photos and wide ceremony and room shots.
100 2.8L: I just got this lens a few months ago and it is INSANE! It blows the older version of it out of the water. I use it for ring shots, small details, invitations, and it's quickly replacing my 70-200 for long shots as well.

Those are my main lenses. At any given time, I have one on my camera, and three in my Shootsac.
Q: Do you use fill flash, reflectors or other lighting in your outdoor photos?

A: The short answer is, "No", I do not. There is no flash or reflectors used in any outdoor photo you have ever seen on this blog. Years ago when I was first starting out, I was taught how to light outdoor photos for fill and balance. Over the years, my style evolved to use the light available to me, which was a better fit for me with the way I shoot. Since I shoot so quickly and on the fly, I don't want to take the time to set up lighting, so I look for spots where the lighting is already how I want it. No flashes, reflectors, or other lighting are used in any of my outdoor portraits.

Q: Did you go to photography school? Should I go?

A: I find it so hard to answer this question! No, I did not go to photography school, and aside from one class in high school, never took classes. I worked as an associate photographer for four years for another studio when I was first starting out, which is where I learned camera mechanics, how to use and read a light meter, and what to do when I showed up at a wedding. Nowadays, there are TONS of classes, workshops, and forums available to teach you those things much faster! For me though, getting to work as a photographer and not have the responsibility of a business to run myself was invaluable. I think it is safe to say that I wouldn't have a successful business right now if I hadn't had a front row seat to seeing how someone else ran their business, learning both things that were good to do and things that weren't.

I can't tell anyone whether or not they should go to photography school, but I can tell you this--you should educate yourself somehow. If you plan to start and run a photography business, you need information both on photography and on business, not one or the other. I think there are many ways to get this knowledge, and the "how" isn't so important!

And because everyone knows that posts are boring with no photos, here's a shot from the Utterly Engaged party I shot the other night styled by Grey Likes Weddings with desserts by the incomparable Melody of My Sweet & Saucy:


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