Ask Me Anything... {12/1/15}

2015-10-06_0003 I am recently starting photography and had a question about social media! How do you feel about having separate personal and professional accounts? Do you recommend it? Thanks!

This is a great question and definitely something I thought about when I started my business. Ultimately, I decided to maintain one Instagram account and I'll tell you why. I came to the realization that I AM my business. My business literally has my name in it and is made up of ME. This means that who I am as a person is a direct reflection of how I choose to brand myself. So, while most of the images I post are used to feature my work, I also post images that might help my followers learn a bit about me on a personal level. At the end of the day, the biggest thing that will set you apart from other photographers is if your clients like who you are as a person. Do you both like beer? Do you both have a love for travel? Do you and your clients have a similar sense of humor? I don't think it's a coincidence that I tend to attract clients that have very similar interests to mine. I brand myself to attract my ideal client and sometimes that means being open and a bit personal on social media.


I have a crop sensor camera. Should I get the 35mm or the 50mm 1.2L?I already own the 50mm 1.4, is there a huge difference between the 1.4 and 1.2 lens?

This is kind of a two parter question. Both related but kind of different topics. First, we'll start with your question about crop sensor cameras. There are full frame camera and crop sensor cameras. In simple terms, a crop sensor camera is going to crop part of the image in camera and will affect the look you get from different lenses. If you have a crop sensor camera and are thinking about getting a new lens you should take something called the "crop factor" into consideration. The "crop factor" is the ratio of the sensor size to 35mm. So, let's say you bought a 50mm lens with a camera that has a 1.5 crop factor. This lens would actually make images look more like 75mm. If you go for a 35mm lens and have a crop sensor camera with a crop factor of 1.5, your images will look more like they were shot at 52.5mm.

In answer to your question, the difference between the 50mm 1.2L and 1.4L is the amount of light it lets in. A 50mm 1.2L will be able to perform better in low light situations and shoot wider than a 1.4L series lens. I personally LOVE my 1.2L lens but I also haven't shot on a 1.4L. Sometimes there can be differences in how well the lens focuses, too. If you're torn and looking to make an investment, I'd recommend renting both lenses and testing them out. Do a side by side comparison and see which lens works best for what you're using it for.


How did you price your photography as you were starting out?

Pricing your photography when you're starting out can be really difficult because it's hard to sit down with yourself and decide how much you're worth. As creatives we have a tendency to doubt ourselves and it can take awhile before we feel confident enough to stand by what we're charging. I think the first step in learning how to price myself was to learn standard rates in the industry, or knowing my market. I spent a long time studying what others were charging and what my ideal client was willing to spend while also taking into consideration what my demand was. I started out charging something like 75 bucks for a session just to have work in portfolio. As my business has grown, I'm lucky enough to say my demand has also grown. As my demand grows I am able to increase my rate. The way you price yourself will be an ever evolving process. As you grow in skill and popularity, your rates should be growing as well.

You also have to ask yourself how you want to mold your business. Do you want to charge less and work more? Meaning more people are hiring you because you don't charge as much as others in your industry? Do you want to charge more and work less? This means you charge a competitive rate and don't get hired as often because you're in a higher price range. Both business models will result in equal profits. What works best for you and your lifestyle? What works best for the way you want to run your business?

Don't forget the value you're offering your clients is WORTH something. Your perspective as an artist, the time you've put into improving at your craft, the investments you've made towards working with quality equipment...these are all well worth charging for the service you're providing. Sit down and ask yourself, "What am I worth?" Now own it.







Ask Me Anything... {11/24/15}

2015-10-06_0003 What is your favorite Mastin Labs preset? What was the hardest part about perfecting  Mastin Lab's presets?

I've talked a lot about how I use Mastin Labs presets for my editing process. These presets have been the first to offer me consistency in my editing while also delivering the classic, film look I love. Using these presets isn't just the click of a button for me though. It took me some time to get into the groove of  how I can make these presets work for me. I have both the Fuji Pro and Portra Packs and use them for different environments. The preset I use about 90% of the time, however, is Fuji Pro 400H Neutral.

One of the issues I had most often when I first started using these presets was skin tone. Skin tones can sometimes seem a bit undersaturated with this preset so I typically increase the vibrance and up the warmth. I also have to be careful sometimes to avoid blowing out the highlights in my images. I usually bring highlights down a bit after applying the preset.

I don't know that I could choose just one of the packs. I think the Portra Pack and the Fuji pack are both amazing and have their place for different settings and tones. Someone just mentioned they're having a 50% sale for Black Friday! I swear I'm not getting paid to promote them. I just really love these presets and hope they can make someone else as happy as they've made me.

How did you start networking with other photographers?

I love this question because I think networking is a very important skill to have in any industry. Having a strong network of peers in your field is vital to building a supportive team that you can trust and depend on.

I think the most important tip I can give would be to participate. Participate in workshops, seminars, classes, conventions, and parties. Go out to events and be social. Attending events like WPPI has been one of the best things I've done for my business and I can't wait to go again next year. Surrounding yourself with people who are just as passionate about what they do as you are helps to ignite and inspire you.

These will be the places you meet other passionate photographers. You can swap tips and tricks, offer your services if they need an assistant, etc. I would try to avoid coming across like you want something though. A person can sense when you're using them for your own agenda. Be generally open and interested in what people have to say. Show that you're eager to learn and can be a team player. At the end of the day, we're all just looking to work with someone we can rely on to work hard while having a little fun, too.


Do you travel for weddings? I would love to hear more about you and your style! 

YES! YES! And more YES! My love for travel is a huge part of the reason I decided to pursue a career in wedding photography. In 2015, I was lucky enough to shoot weddings in Maui, Yosemite, Costa Rica, and Joshua Tree among many others. I love when I get to meet with couples who love to travel, too. Destination weddings are my favorite because they're typically a little more intimate and can be stretched out to be more of a week long experience as opposed to one day.  Next year I'm setting my intentions to book more weddings internationally... maybe a Bali wedding? Perhaps a whimsical wedding in Ireland? Mama needs some more stamps on her passport!

Hotel Costa Verde-7-3