Q&A: Nikon Vs. Canon, Taking The Leap Into Photography Full-Time

Hope you all enjoyed the 3-day weekend (unless you live outside of the US, in which case, hope you enjoyed your regular weekend).  I spent a good chunk of it with la familia. On Saturday we went to Universal Studios and on Sunday my cousin got married!

Here are the answers to last week’s open Facebook Q&A. If anyone else has any questions, I hold an open Q&A on Facebook every Friday from 9:30am-10:30am PST!

1. Catherine K.:  How do you manage your time and physical energy throughout your day?

I schedule myself so that I don’t feel overworked. When there are too many rushed back-to-back things to do, you don’t enjoy the process and the quality of what you do goes down. Quality is very important to me.

Taking care of health and wellness is top priority because if I’m not well, it’s going to penetrate into all other areas of my life. Physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually – I check in on all four of these every day.

I wish I could be one of those people who can function on 5 hours of sleep but unfortunately that is NOT me.  I always make sure to get a good night’s sleep and if I can’t, then I nap or make up for it the following evening.

Things that help keep energy up are drinking a lot of water and simply BREATHING. If I’m unable to do those (hopefully not!) or still feeling tired, I change my state of thought. The mind is powerful! Instead of dwelling in it and telling myself, “Gawd, I feel tired,” I practice saying, “I feel good today.” Then I’ll do a little dance or jumping jacks. It works!

Ayurveda With Alicia on Facebook  is a page I came upon recently that shares natural tips on how to boost energy throughout the day. There’s a lot of good stuff on there. I love Ayurvedic health!

2. Eric B.:  How did you manage to get the courage to jump into photography, knowing that there wouldn’t be a fixed income?

I owe my business confidence to my parents.  They came to this country, got their Ph.D.’s, worked their butts off, and have started multiple successful biotech companies.  They have shown me that you seriously can do ANYTHING if you are willing to work hard.

I also took into consideration what Tim Ferriss said in his book The Four Hour Work Week.  Map out the worst case scenario.  I figured that the worst case scenario would be that I don’t make enough money and would have to go back to working part-time at a restaurant temporarily.  I thought – if that is the absolute worst, then that’s not so bad!

3. Christine C.:  If you are ever in the SF Bay Area, would you mind a free assistant to shadow you at one of your photo shoots?

Sure!  🙂

4. Jamie G.: I know u r a lover of peanut butter. What is your all time favorite food that contains peanut butter and why?

I’d have to say these special peanut butter cookies that my friend Margot makes. She puts other stuff in them as well, like chocolate chips, cranberries, and some other nuts.  The peanut butteryness, the semi-sweet taste of the chocolate chips, the tart of the cranberries, the crunch of the nuts… It’s like eating fluffy clouds…with nuts in them.

This is Margot. Isn’t she cute?

5. Christine C.:  What are all the procedures that you need to go through to officially start your own photography business? (Ex: Register your business, get a logo, register your trademark/copyright, all the paperwork /backend stuff needed?)

This is a very good question. Thinking about all this makes my head hurt. I remember going through the process and learning things from my bookkeeper and CPA. To be honest, it would be best to get legal “starting a business” info from someone in that trade. I don’t want to steer anyone in the wrong direction and get them arrested!

But, here are some basic things off the top of my head to do to get started (and feel) like a business:

– Decide your company name.  It’s not good to change the company name so think long and hard about this.  How do you want to brand yourself in the long run?

– Have a logo designed

– Put up a website

– Get business cards

– Open a business account at the bank and get an EIN tax ID number

– Get Quickbooks or some kind of software to keep track of all income and expenses

– Register your company in the city that you live

– Talk to a CPA about tax laws

– Get photo insurance. This is important. Many wedding/event venues require vendors to have proof of insurance.

6. Alexada B.:  What’s the best long lasting camera to invest in?

I’m not sure if there is such thing as a super long lasting camera nowadays. With digital photography, new camera models pop up every year with technical improvements. I shoot with the Canon 5D and have had my oldest body for 4 years now. It still does me good but I think I will be upgrading to the Mark III within the next year.

7. Tim S.:  Aside from timing and scheduling conflicts, are there gigs that you won’t accept (i.e. due to location, unfavorable personalities, or any other particular red flags)?

There are some gigs that I have said no to. When hiring a photographer, I think that it’s important to look at their previous work. Your primary decision should be based on liking the pictures in their portfolio. Sometimes people come meet with me and they want a very specific type of photography that is not my style. There are some photographers who can adapt great to whatever instructions they are given, but I tell them I can’t produce it well because that’s just not how I shoot. I like to do a good job and do my best work when things flow naturally. So in this case, yes, I tell people that I don’t think I’m the right photographer for them.

8. Lauren H.:  If any one could buy you a drink and some conversation time, who would it be and why?

Right now I think I’d like to sit down with Tim Ferriss.

The 4-Hour Workweek – one of my all time favorite books by Tim Ferriss.

9, Lydia C.:  I’d love to know where you got your beautiful envelopes and paper made!

In A Card!  Irena from In A Card has been designing beautiful stationary for me for years.  Besides having GREAT taste, she is reliable, super fast, and easy to work with.

10. Asia A.:  Nikon vs Canon … Why?

Sometimes I feel like the fight between Nikon and Canon is like the East Coast and West Coast. Ahem, excuse me. West siiiiiiiiiiiiide! Can’t we all just get along?

They are both solid camera manufacturers. I recommend going to the camera store and playing with both to see which you prefer. I shoot with Canon because that’s what I started on and it does me well. I’ve picked up a Nikon before and I think they’re cool (especially the cool shutter noise the SLRs make!), but I’m happy with my Canon 5D so I don’t feel the need to have something different.

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