Hey everybody! Here are the answers to last Friday’s Facebook Q&A. For the next few months there will be an open Q&A on Facebook every Friday.
– Nick N.: How do you store/backup your photos?
I have a 2TB external hard drive and I also back up my photos to DropBox. It’s important to have a copy of your files in at least 2 different locations.
– Manelle R: How did you start getting into charging people for your service?
I asked. 🙂
– Maisoue Y: What do you tend to prefer when shooting outdoors…Natural lighting or have lights? And why?
I prefer natural light because it’s softer and more organic. I only use flash I must, like in a dark ballroom.
– Amy M: How would you recommend advertising and establishing your business?
Besides a website, set up a blog, a Facebook account, a Twitter account, and an account with as many social media sites as you can. Get reviews on Yelp. When I first started I got a lot of work through Yelp. I also offered my services on Craigslist.
The awesome thing about wedding photography is that you don’t have to spend a dime on advertising. Word of mouth, blogging, and social media have been the best forms of advertising for me. Photography is a personal thing and people like referrals.
– Lam D.: Will you take an intern from norcal?
Are you planning to move to LA? Shoot me an email!
– Sophia L: What does the photographer wear to a wedding?
All black or something that makes you blend in. One time I wore a striped sweater that I thought was subtle, but later saw the wedding video and it definitely was not! Stick to solids. I usually wear formal black pants and a black or white button up top. Closed-toe comfy shoes. No sneakers. If it’s really hot then I’ll wear a jumper or black dress with yoga shorts underneath (in case I need to climb on something).
-Marsha C.: Where did you get your logo stamp made at?
– Claudia T.: What do you think about focus and recompose?
I think it’s a great but I rarely use it. I move the focus point to where I want it to focus.
– Jamie G.: What is your favorite attraction at Disneyland & California Adventure? Why?
Disneyland – Pirates of the Caribbean. Built in 1967 – It’s a classic!
California Adventure – Toy Story Midway Mania. I am highly competitive when it comes to this game. Anyone want to play me? 🙂
– Makbule K.: What are the most common mistakes of a beginner photographer?
When I first started, the mistakes I made were based on a lack of technical skill. Know how to use your camera and be comfortable using it 100%. Also, communicate well with your clients so there are no surprises.
– Makbule K.: How do you add your logo to the photos?
I use a plug-in for Adobe LightRoom called Mogrify. You can also easily add borders to your photos with this program.
– Aysha G.: What tips do you have for nailing focus?
I use autofocus 99% of the time. Choose your focus point and your camera does the work. I only use manual when the autofocus is having trouble focusing (maybe 1% of the time).
– Lori T.: If you could only photograph one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be??
My muse Caroline. She’s vibrant, loves life, and I love her (my camera loves her too)!
– Shyrell T.: It’s been very hard to get the right photos from the 50mm. Do you have any secrets to share to nail great portraits with this lens?
I don’t think there is such thing as a “right” photo! It could be possible that the 50 is not the ideal lens for you. Everyone is different. I have some photographer friends who prefer the 24-70mm or 85mm for a portrait lens. Try renting those and see what you think!
– Olivia T.: Do you or have you ever been ‘starstruck’ when shooting celebrities?!
Not when photographing them. I have been starstruck though…by Neil Patrick Harris (love him!), Keanu Reeves, and Jeremy Piven. It’s always when you randomly bump into them!
– Steven A.: How did you develop a reputation for your wedding photography? As in like word of mouth or advertisements or location maybe?
It took some time. Word of mouth snowballed after a couple years, and things really started to get going when I began blogging.
– Lily L.: Any tips for communication with your client?
Be authentic. I know it sounds cliché but few people do it when they conduct their business. My mom advises me to never swear when I do anything work-related but honestly (sorry mom), it’s likely that I’ll drop an f-bomb here and there. It’s me and I don’t want to pretend to be someone else in order to attract others. If you are authentic, you will attract the clients that you want. Life will be good for all. For those who don’t like what you like to offer, let them think what they want to think. They aren’t your clients!
– Eliza C.: I noticed your photo style tends to lend more towards the lighter side (such as cold tones). I was wondering why colder tones?
In recent years I have added more yellow because I like the feel of a warm photo. It really depends on the particular photo. I wouldn’t make a picture of snow have warmer tones. There is not much technicality behind it (for me) and I don’t have a specific reason as to why I edit the photos the way I do. I do whatever feels right.
On a side note, my computer screen is calibrated using the Spyder 3. It’s important for people who work with graphics to calibrate their screen so that the color they see on the screen is the true color that will be printed. Computer companies tend to set the default screen color with much more blue, so if my pictures are being viewed on a screen that has not been calibrated, chances are they look more blue.
If you are a working photographer, make sure to calibrate your screen! Otherwise your clients might get a fun surprise when they go to print their photos.
– Chris N.: Do you use preset actions when editing? If so, which ones?
If you purchase presets, make sure to adjust them so that they fit your style! Everyone shoots differently so the same preset will look different on different photos.
– Deirdre G.: What equipment/programs/knowledge do you recommend obtaining before launching a lifestyle, wedding/event photography business?
Equipment: You can have any type of camera – there are some people who are paid to shoot wedding with their iPhones. When I first started I used the Canon Rebel + 50mm1.8 lens. Whatever gear you have, I suggest having back up. A lot of photographers have only one camera body. What if it stops working and you are in the middle of a job? Save up for a second body before getting that next lens.
Programs: Adobe LightRoom makes editing large quantities of photos much easier. I don’t know what I would do without it!
Knowledge: Know how to use your camera. That is first and foremost. One time I second shot for an event photographer and he said too many of my photos were blurry. I lacked skill and didn’t feel completely comfortable using my camera.
Get experience second shooting. That is the best way to learn and get acclimated to shooting weddings and events. A lot of unpredictable things can happen and you have to learn to adapt, fast!