“What photography YouTube videos do you recommend for beginners wanting to learn?”

-I love this question so much because watching YouTube videos was actually how I first learned how to use my camera and take pictures. There is SO much education out there about photography that you literally have free tools for learning at your fingertips.

Here are some of the channels that I found to be most helpful when I was first starting:

CREATIVE LIVE - This is literally an endless resource of online photography courses geared toward different aspects of the art form and business side of photography. Highly recommend!

SLR LOUNGE - This is a great resource for tips on the technical approaches to photography and lighting. You can learn about everything from lenses, to editing, gear review, and so much more. You can check out an article on the SLR Lounge site that I contributed to HERE.

JASMINE STAR - While her focus has taken a turn to teaching social media and branding strategy (which is still so helpful for learning how to run this part of your business) she started out teaching the basics about photography. She has tons of great content and I can guarantee you will learn something from her.

“How do you manage your health and diet when you’re on the go so much? I struggle with getting enough food and eating the right things.”

-This question made me laugh because, while I do try really hard to maintain a healthy lifestyle, there are some days ( also weeks and/or months) I completely fail. I think the one thing I KNOW I can’t compromise on is getting enough SLEEP. I am definitely a person who needs her sleep and I truly believe it is so important. I try to make sure I’m getting at least 8 hours of sleep and I listen to my body during the day if I feel like I need to take a power nap.

Another aspect of my health I’m good about being consistent with is drinking enough water everyday. I’m totally that person who responds with “You’re probably dehydrated. Drink more water” anytime someone tells me they’re tired, or have a headache, or they’re getting sick…you get it. My answer is always WATER! Since I do spend a lot of time driving to shoots, getting to weddings, and traveling I rely heavily on my 64 oz HydroFlask to keep me hydrated. This is the one I have. I got a cool straw for it at Whole Foods but you can probably order one online. People often comment on it and laugh at me for carrying it around, BUT DID YOU KNOW, that you should be drinking half your body weight in ounces of water everyday?! But seriously, just fill up that water container in the morning and make it a goal to drink it all throughout the day. You’ll feel SO much better!

Smiling as I leave the kitchen because the dishes are clean and I didn’t have to cook anything.

Smiling as I leave the kitchen because the dishes are clean and I didn’t have to cook anything.

There have been so many times in my busy season when it’s simply easier for me to drive through at In N Out Burger or some other fast food place…it’s late, I’m too tired to cook at home, I just want something yummy NOW! SO GUILTY! The important thing though is that I don’t let myself do that all the time. If I feel my jeans getting tighter or my cheeks getting “fluffier” I let myself know it’s time to focus more on the foods that nourish me and give my body energy. I love the pre made salads and wraps at Trader Joe’s. Having things in the fridge that are already made or very easy to assemble ( I don’t love to cook) makes it so much easier to make smarter choices. I also swear by morning green smoothies for a breakfast that is SUPER fast to make but packed with nutritional value. I put collagen peptides, flax seeds, chia seeds, and protein almond milk in mine…along with greens and fruit of course.

So, in answer to your question, I guess I don’t really “maintain” healthy eating. I just honestly try my best and go through phases when I’m really doing great at making smart choices and then other times when I kind of “forget”. Not great but, guess what, I’m not perfect and I give myself grace on those days. The important thing I think is to treat each day like a new day and to try to be the best self you can be that day. In closing, I drink a lot of water, I try to prioritize my sleep, I buy pre packaged healthy meals, and I eat a lot of In N Out Burger. :)

Here is a small list of the daily habits I prioritize in my routine:

-8 hours of sleep a night

-TONS of water everyday

-Try to move my body everyday. Walking is my favorite form of exercise.

-Daily supplements. Taking Omega oils, Magnesium (most people are deficient), and Turmeric everyday has transformed how my body feels.

-I try to avoid sugar, dairy, and gluten. My tummy just feels better.

-I try to incorporate a fruit or vegetable into every meal.

“I know with film it’s common to shoot 1 stop overexposed for creamy skin tones and backgrounds. Do you shoot overexposed to create the same look with digital images?

- Short answer. Yes. Long answer. Sometimes no. The main thing you need to be concerned about when overexposing is making sure you aren’t blowing out (losing detail) in your highlights. You can tell when you’ve done this if you literally only have a white patch of data on your image and cannot recover any shadows or details in that spot. An example of a scenario when this could happen is when you’re shooting in an open field and “backlighting” with very harsh light behind your subject. If you overexposed by one or even two stops, you could run the risk of blowing out the light behind the subject, therefore losing your ability to edit detail in the highlights.

While I do expose for the shadows on my subject and then adjust to overexpose by a stop (depending), I typically keep my images exposed for correctly in camera and then I will lift the exposure in Lightroom during the editing process. This allows me to maintain the details in my highlights. If you’re shooting in a situation with more even light (like a model indoors by a window), you could certainly overexpose without running the risk of blowing out the highlights as much. The trick is to find that balance somewhere right in the middle.

Another great tip for getting that “creamy” look you were talking about is to shoot “wide open”. This means you are shooting at a low aperture of something like f2.0. For example, if I’m shooting a person, I’ll typically place my focal point on the eye and the background of the portrait will be creamy, bokeh goodness (blurry background). Check out this Maternity Session for a good example of when I did NOT overexpose so I could maintain the highlights in the dappled (spotty) light behind them…I lifted most of their images in editing.

*Exposure means you are looking at the meter in your camera. When you “overexpose” an image you are adjusting your settings to let in MORE light, therefore making the image brighter. If you overexpose too much you can completely blow out an image. “Underexposing” is when you adjust your setting to let less light in. Underexposing too much can completely black out an image. You want to learn how to read your camera’s meter to know how you should expose the shot.

I overexposed the shadows on my subject in this image to counteract the harsh sun in the background. However, you can still see the detail in the highlights surrounding her…especially in her dress.

I overexposed the shadows on my subject in this image to counteract the harsh sun in the background. However, you can still see the detail in the highlights surrounding her…especially in her dress.