Q&A: Back-Up Equipment, DIY PhotoBooth, My First Job

I’m splitting last week’s Q&A into 2 posts since there were quite a few questions. If you don’t see your question here, it will be posted tomorrow!

1. Karen C.: What sorts of jobs did you have before you became a photographer? & how many years did it take you to become a full time photographer?

My very first job was working at a dry cleaner. In high school I worked at Macy’s in the gift wrapping department (yes, that was as fun as it sounds!). After that I waited tables at various restaurants, worked as a booker at a modeling agency, and also as a studio host at a high-fashion photography studio (this was all in NYC). I also worked with my parents for a couple years doing marketing, but quickly learned a corporate atmosphere was not for me.

After I decided to become a photographer, it took about two years to become full time.

2. Cecelia A.: How do you stay so fit?  

Ha, thanks. Overall I’m a healthy person. I believe that 80% of how healthy you are is determined by what you put into it. The rest is exercise, both mentally and physically. I don’t believe in doing something that is bad (like eating horribly) and then “making up for it” by working out. Good habits start at the beginning.

For the most part, I eat mostly unprocessed foods, don’t drink alcohol, and listen to what my body needs. Sometimes I’ll hear, “That’s all you’re eating?”(referring to a one egg spinach omelet) and other times, “Wow.  You were hungry!” (inhaling a football sized burrito and then finishing all my friends’ leftovers).  I do whatever my body needs.

As far as exercise, I do Vinyasa yoga at least two times per week (one of the best forms of exercise in my opinion), and I hike with my dog a couple times per week. Oh yeah, and I shoot weddings! Carrying around that equipment is a workout.

3. Sandy C.:  Have you ever been to Taiwan? Or France?

Yes, and yes. I have family in both places and used to visit a lot more when I was a kid. I think it’s time to go back soon.

4. Cami F.:  Do you use off camera lighting? If so, when and what is your set up! Thx!  Thinking about investing in lights. 

I don’t use off camera lighting but who knows, that can change in the future!

5. Leah F.:  Any suggestions on a DIY photo booth?

Ahhhhh, there are so many things you can do to make a super fun photobooth! Alll you need is a backdrop, a camera, and a flash (on or off camera). The backdrop can be made using anything. Once I hung up a bunch of colorful streamers. Another time I cut up paper grocery bags, crumpled them up, and taped them together. You can also keep it simple and find some fabric with a cool pattern. I’m sure Pinterest also has some really fab ideas for backdrops!

6. Jamie G.: When it comes to film, what is your favorite comedy of all time?

40 Year Old Virgin.  “Today’s forecast? Dark and cloudy with chance of drive-by…”

7. Chris N.:  What was the point you realized you made it?

When I didn’t have to worry if work would come in anymore.

8. Emily G.:  I’m shooting a wedding in NYC in the botanical gardens.  What lenses would you take?  I’m thinking of renting a super wide angle. I have a 50D.  Taking my 2.8 70-200 and my 17-55. Tripod and reflector. Any advice? Suggestions?

I don’t think you need a super wide angle if you have the 17-55. 17 is pretty wide as it is. I never use a tripod at weddings because usually there is no time to use it (you have to be able to move around fast!). You can bring it just in case but I feel like unless you are doing video, you won’t need it.

Make sure you have back up equipment (extra camera body, batteries, memory cards, flash, lenses). This is very important.  Good luck!

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