"Ask Me Anything..." | 3.20.17

Southern-california-wedding-photographer

"Ask Me Anything..." is a weekly blog segment where I take all your questions about photography, business, myself, or ANYTHING else you can think of. I'll choose my three favorite questions from Instagram every Friday and answer them here on Mondays. Check back every week for new questions! 


Is it okay to take my camera to the beach? 

You know when you come back from a day at the beach and you find little bits of pesky sand hiding in crevices you didn't even know you had? Now, imagine that in the intricate parts of your expensive camera and lenses. 

When I was first starting out I heard from a lot of sources that I should avoid taking my camera to the beach for this reason. Unfortunately, as a wedding & lifestyle photographer I don't really have much of a choice. (I know, I know...I HAVE to shoot at the beach...life is so rough.) 

The good news is that there are a couple things you can do to make sure your camera stays safe: 

1) Keep your gear in a bag that stays closed to the elements. Invest in a good bag to carry your gear while you're on location. I use a Think Tank Roller Derby bag when I'm on location for a wedding. I make sure to keep the front zipped up when I'm not using it so I can be sure nothing can get in. It also has small sectional units within the bag to keep your gear safely secured while you're moving from place to place. My favorite part is that it's the perfect size for a carry on bag when you fly with you gear. I NEVER check my camera gear! 

2) Try to avoid changing out your lenses in open air when you're on the beach. Sometimes this isn't really an option so I always do this as quickly as possible, pointing the mount of the camera body away from the ocean breeze. You really want to avoid particles from entering the body and landing on your sensor. 

3) Keep your lens caps on when you're not using your lenses. Your lens cap protects the glass from dust so make sure you get in the habit of using them! 

4) Make sure your gear is insured! If something happens, it's better to be safe than sorry. 

Here's a photo from a recent engagement session I did on the beach. Most of the time I end up knee deep in the ocean trying to get an awesome shot. When the waves washed up during this moment, I took the shot and then immediately lifted my camera above my head and pointed the lens towards the sky to avoid the lens getting splashed.

Here's a photo from a recent engagement session I did on the beach. Most of the time I end up knee deep in the ocean trying to get an awesome shot. When the waves washed up during this moment, I took the shot and then immediately lifted my camera above my head and pointed the lens towards the sky to avoid the lens getting splashed.

What is your go to favorite lens? 

My absolute favorite lens is my 50mm 1.2L lens. This is a prime (or fixed) lens, meaning it doesn't zoom in or out. I love prime lenses because they force you to be mindful of your composition since you have to physically move your body to achieve the angle you want. 

I also love this lens because it lets me shoot really wide open. I shoot at an aperture of f1.6 all the time and it's nice to know that, if I need more light, I can go all the way to f1.2. This also gives me a gorgeous depth of field (blurry background). 

This lens is quite pricey so, if you're just starting out, the 50mm 1.8 is a steal for under $200 and gives you a pretty similar feel. 

Here's a photo of me with my go to 50mm 1.2 lens in Yosemite. I probably have this lens on 90% of the time. Photo by Tiffany Gentry. 

Here's a photo of me with my go to 50mm 1.2 lens in Yosemite. I probably have this lens on 90% of the time. Photo by Tiffany Gentry. 

What is your set up/process like when you are doing a Newborn Session? How do you get the baby to stay still the whole time?

My approach to Newborn photography is a bit different from most. I don't do really posed shots with studio lights and bean bag set ups. I love the look of that type of approach, however, it's just not my personal style. 

I shoot Newborn Sessions in my clients' homes, letting them know beforehand that I will be shooting in their bedroom, nursery, or any other room that gets great window light. 

I typically keep it pretty clean and simple, swaddling the baby in a white cloth. Posing is also very simple. Depending on if the baby is asleep when I get there, I'll start with shots of parents holding the baby on their bed, interacting with the baby, and close ups of the baby's ears/feet/hands. My goal isn't so much to get cute poses, but more so to tell a story of the baby being introduced to their new family. My goal is to capture the connection and emotion of bringing a tiny human into your life. 

The first three things I do when I arrive to a client's home are wash my hands, find the room with the best window light, and then search for furniture in their home that has nice fabrics/blankets. I use what I have available to me to create a narrative. And, since it's their home, it automatically feels more personal to them. 

Working with a newborn takes a TON of patience. I basically go with the flow of what the baby is feeling at their session. If they are fussy, I wait to see what they're needing and then start again. I find that keeping the room heated is very helpful. Making sure the baby is warm at all times definitely increases the chances of a sleepy session. Some Newborn photographers find it helpful to bring a small space heater to place near the baby.

I've also had a lot of success with playing white noise from my phone. The sound soothes the baby right back to sleep 9 times out of ten. When you're attempting poses make sure the baby is deeply asleep. Of course, stay mindful of SAFETY. I only do poses on big, soft beds.  Any time I move the baby into a new pose I will usually get very close to their ear and softly make a "SHHHHHHHHHHHH" noise. I don't really know why, but it usually works. 

Elliott was asleep in his crib next to a large window when I attempted this shot. The simple grey sheet against the white swaddle cloth keep the photo clean and the focus on the baby. While I was posing his arms this way I hovered above him loudly whispering, "SHHHHHHHH." 

Elliott was asleep in his crib next to a large window when I attempted this shot. The simple grey sheet against the white swaddle cloth keep the photo clean and the focus on the baby. While I was posing his arms this way I hovered above him loudly whispering, "SHHHHHHHH." 

This shot of baby Jack is as simple as can be. I placed Jack and his dad in front of a grey wall next to a window and simply had them stand there in this pose. I directed dad to look down at his son and waited for the expression. It's not really so much about the pose for me, but more about the connection. Look how proud his dad looks in his this shot. You can see all the hopes and dreams he has for his son in this simple expression. 

This shot of baby Jack is as simple as can be. I placed Jack and his dad in front of a grey wall next to a window and simply had them stand there in this pose. I directed dad to look down at his son and waited for the expression. It's not really so much about the pose for me, but more about the connection. Look how proud his dad looks in his this shot. You can see all the hopes and dreams he has for his son in this simple expression. 

Again, very simple pose using my client's bedroom. I had mom sit on the edge of her bed facing the window light. 

Again, very simple pose using my client's bedroom. I had mom sit on the edge of her bed facing the window light. 

This client's home didn't get particularly great light. In fact, the best lighting in the house was a small patch that hit their living room couch. I simply had mom and baby lay here together and captured them interacting. I love that the focus is on his tiny fingers grasping onto hers. 

This client's home didn't get particularly great light. In fact, the best lighting in the house was a small patch that hit their living room couch. I simply had mom and baby lay here together and captured them interacting. I love that the focus is on his tiny fingers grasping onto hers.