Last week was SO busy! With the promo video, pictures of Martha & George, SUSHI!, pictures of Amanda & Katrina, and yummy cocktails. Besides being busy on the blog I was really busy in real life too with things going on every single night. I’m so sorry I didn’t make it to your questions from the week before. Thankfully! I had a little bit of a huge break this weekend (yes a FULL weekend without any shoots). Crazy, right? It was a wonderful little break and I got to spend so much time with Wil! And HELLO!!! watching the OLYMPICS :-D I have watched more TV in the past three days than is probably healthy for my eyes. This is a trend that will continue for the next two weeks. And I’m warning you now, there may be a post coming about how much I love the Olympics (as if this two lines wasn’t enough). Anyway! I called for questions. And you all had lots of them! I am so happy to sit down now and answer you all :-) Please know that I am an open book, and am always happy to help where I can.
Tami asks “If you could only have two lenses, which two would you choose? And when and why did you know that Wil was the right one for you?” WOW girl! Alright! I think if I could only have two lenses I would choose the 35mm 1.4L and the 100mm 2.8IS L. Because they are my two most versatile lenses. If you’d allowed me three I’d add the 85mm 1.2L because that lens is sexy…but I only use it for portraits, and it isn’t AS versatile as I’d want it to be if I were limited to that and the 35. Okay, Wil. The only a hah moment I can point to with him was at the end of our first date. Which wasn’t even really a date because I basically invited myself. But it was the first time we sat down for a meal just the two of us. I walked away from that time feeling SO comfortable (with him, with myself, and with myself around him) that I knew we were either going to be best friends or get serious really fast. Thankfully, it was both. The next time we spent time together we went to a wine tasting and then to Target because I needed silly stuff for the house like laundry detergent and we wandered the aisles like an old married couple. Our dating/courtship was nothing traditional (10 months before we got engaged), we had a really short engagement (5 months), and the smallest of small weddings. But I believe our relationships reflects “us” in the very best ways :-D I knew very early that he was the one for me. And I just wanted to go ahead and get started on forever! It’s so funny how these things work out, I always thought I would be 30+ before “settling down.” Goodness knows God had other plans for me! And I couldn’t be happier about it.
Question from Caitlin Elizabeth: What kind of laptop are you getting? Oh my gosh Caitlin. She’s here and she’s so wonderful. I got the new 15″ Mac Book Pro with Retina display (2.6 GHz processor, 16GB Memory, and 512 GB Flash Storage). Until now I’ve been tied to my desk to do all editing on my 27″ iMac. I love love my iMac and will still use it as a display when I’m working from home, but I am really excited to be able to work from anywhere now!
Alaina Bos asked about How to be more active in the APW community: First, for those of you that don’t know about A Practical Wedding. Run, don’t walk to APracticalWedding.com. It is the most sane, awesome group of women on the internet. Yes, it’s a wedding site, but it’s also about marriage and sanity. It’s the only place I currently advertise, and I love love my APW brides. To actually answer your question though I think there are a few easy ways to start getting more involved. First would be to comment/get involved in the Chicago APW Readers facebook group. Maybe attend one of the events to actually get to know these lovely ladies in person! Second would be to comment and engage in the APW Vendor Forum (which I’ve already seen you do). And third would be to actually comment and participate in the commentary on the site. There are SO many comments every day, if you can find a post you care about and engage in some intelligent conversation with these ladies, they will love you for it!
Natalie asks, “What’s your favorite lens/camera combo for a portrait session? And if I could photograph anywhere in the world, where would it be?” Right now my standard portrait session bag looks like this: the 5d Markiii with my 35mm lens to start and the 85mm and 100mm in my shootsac. My Kelly Moore bag in the trunk with my back-up body and other lenses. If I’m not driving I just carry one bag with one camera, the 35, the 85, and the 100 (for engagement and couples sessions). For headshots I’ll just do the 35 and the 85 (most of the time). And if we’re going somewhere where I know I’ll want a super-wide angle I’ll bring the 16-35. For Beloved sessions I’ve been bringing the 135 too so I can give the couple more space (and because it’s a stellar lens). And if I could photograph anywhere in the world, it would have be all over the world! I would have such a hard time narrowing down. I would love to photograph a wedding in Africa. I’d also really love to work all over Europe!
Katie Nesbitt asked about what kind of foundation I use :-): Honestly I don’t wear a lot of make-up normally. Just a tinted moisturizer for every day and maybe some eye-shadow/liner/mascara if I’m going out. The moisturizer is use is Jergens Natural Glow & Protect for fair to medium skin tones with SPF 20 :-)
Erin asks, “What do you think are the next important things for an intermediate photographer to learn or practice once they have the basics of composition, aperture/shutter speed, and general camera operation?” I think the next thing you need to do is just go shoot. A lot. In every possible lighting scenario. Guess the settings, then adjust. A lot of people talk about 10,000 hours. I’d say go shoot 10,000 images in manual in less than a year and your growth will be immense!!
Deborah Zoe asks, “How do you prepare for client meetings?” Wellllll honestly I clean the house, pick up a bottle of bubbly and some pretty snacks, make sure I have relevant pictures to their wedding loaded onto the iPad (similar types of venues, etc), dress for the meeting, do more picking up (as I’ve invariably missed things), make sure I have a pricing sheet printed, turn on some music, and just try to relax. I am not so great at the relaxing and tend to bombard couples with drink options as soon as they walk in…but oh well at least I’m not starving them! :-)
Teri Pozniak asks, “1. What is something you have always wanted to try? And what is your ultimate comfort food?” I am definitely not as adventurous as others in my family (with the sky diving and such) I honestly can’t think of something that I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve always loved travel so I think the biggest thing on my list would just be to see more of the world! And my ultimate comfort food totally depends on what meal, but for breakfast it is peanut butter toast dunked in hot chocolate. It’s a breakfast food my whole family used to eat :-)
Jessica asks, “If you were to do one thing in your life over again, what would it be and why?” I think the biggest thing I would do over would be to be nicer to my sister when I was young. Really childhood through highschool she was always so nice and so wonderful to me and I really didn’t treat her well. I love her more than anything and we have a good relationship now, but I know that could be even so much stronger if I hadn’t been crappy to her for so long.
Beata asked about image selection, for what I present to the clients and what I put in the book. Hi Beata! I pick the best pictures from the wedding day or session and present those to the clients (normally somewhere around 400-500 from a wedding) and I put together a first draft of the book and allow them to make substitutions. The total I put in the album depends on the type of album they want. If they want a more art style book with only 1-2 images per spread, or more traditional with up to 6 :-) I’ve just found the whole process works so much faster when I kick start it. And then I can have a better artistic vision for making it fit together as well.
Heather asks if I have another “day job” and if I blog every single day: Hi Heather! :-) Right now I do have another job, and I do blog Monday through Friday. I find not as many people read on the weekend. And mostly I’m shooting on the weekends too so I need that time off from blogging. I blog every day because I love it. If I didn’t enjoy it I don’t think I would blog. But then I think I’d probably be better about updating facebook with albums of images :-)
Janelle C. asks, “How do you get your images to have that “cool images but creamy skin tones”? Also, what program do you use for editing? Do you use actions If so, which ones are your favorite? One last question: besides word of mouth, what else can I do to attract more clients?” I think most of the “creamy” skin tones comes from shooting wide open. I am not afraid to use my aperture all the way open at f1.2! That allows one thing (hopefully the eyes) to be super sharp in focus and everything else to be super buttery :-D I use Lightroom 4 for editing and I don’t use any actions. I’ve created my own presets but really I’m just doing basic editing for exposure, contrast, white balance, shadows, clarity, and vibrance! As far as attracting more clients I think word of mouth (and word of mouse) is actually the most powerful tool. I have no idea where you are in your career, but I would suggest setting up a shoot of what you really want to be working on, collaborating with other vendors to make it happen, and then promoting those images. People will buy what they see so show them what you love!!
Lauren asked for my cinnamon roll recipe. My dear friend. I make cinnamon rolls from the tube! It’s awful and shameful I know. And now I am totally embarassed. But they’re so EASY AND DELICIOUS! I used to make cinnamon rolls from scratch with my mom but it was messy and took FOREVER. :-) Okay I’m going to go hide in my kitchen now and make something I’m not embarassed of.
Because no post is complete without pictures…and I am so excited about this wedding I shot with Amanda…. :-D here’s a sneak peek!