Q&A: Why I Chose To Be A Photographer

Thanks to everyone who participated in this week’s Facebook Q&A!

Cindy C.: Did you learn photography and editing on your own or did you enroll in a program?

I got some basic tips from my friend Conway (my favorite was – “read your camera’s manual.”).

A couple years after I started shooting I enrolled in photo classes at Santa Monica Community College. The goal was to refine my skill. Even though I knew how to work my camera, there was still a lot to learn. You can never stop learning! When I have time I’d like to take some classes there again – they are super fun! My favorite was the basic B&W film class.

What is an easy way to remember the difference between aperture, ISO, and shutter speed?

ISO is the camera’s sensitivity to light. With digital cameras, it is the equivalent to film speed. ISO should be what you set first, so imagine what kind of film you would want to be putting into your camera. For those who have never shot film, I highly recommend taking a photography class where you shoot film and work in the dark room. Your understanding and skill in photography will increase ten fold!

Aperture is the size of the opening of the lens eye. This determines the depth of field.

Shutter speed is the speed of the shutter. It’s how fast or slow the shutter remains open. Fast clicky noise = fast shutter. Slow clicky noise = slow shutter.

Is there a trick to adjusting settings while in manual mode? How long did it take you to feel comfortable doing your adjusting?

There is no trick to shooting in manual mode; it simply takes practice. It took me a few months to become really comfortable using it. As you use it more, the quicker you will get, and soon you will be able to adjust your settings super fast without having to think twice!

Cristina G: What lens do you recommend to shoot portraits?

The 50mmf/1.2 is my favorite to shoot portraits.

Paskah W.: Which one do you prefer, Asian vs. Western?

I feel lucky to be a part of both. I don’t think I have a general preference but if you would be more specific (i.e. do you prefer Pho or a burger?) I could tell you my preference (it would be Pho).

Shane K.: What biotech company did your mom start?

My parents own a company called Phoenix Pharmaceuticals. They make synthetic peptides and hormones for research companies.

Den A.: Will you marry me?

Considering that (even when being asked out on a date) I prefer when someone does it in person or picks up the phone to call and ask, I’ll have to say no. I’m not heavily into rules but one of them would have to be to say no to Facebook marriage proposals. ☺

Kerry C.: Out of all your sessions, which one was your absolute favorite?

One of the most memorable weddings I’ve done is Ning and Alan’s in Bora Bora. And then there’s Amy & Jay’s wedding in the Cook Islands. And then Candice and Johnny’s crafty wedding in Malibu.

More weddings and sessions keep coming to mind. It’s hard to pick just one!

Dewi C.: Are you using flashlights? If yes, when do you recommend it?

I only have one flash – the Canon 580EX. I never work with strobes. I only use my attached flash when I am indoors and must, like when I am shooting a wedding in a dark reception hall. I like to use natural and ambient light as much as possible.

Sandra M.: What’s the quality you most admire in a person?

This one is easy – Integrity.

Dede E.: Why did you choose to be a photographer?

I am creative, sentimental, I like working with people, telling stories, traveling, and having a flexible schedule.

Crystal C.: Why didn’t you ever let me borrow your clothes when we were kids?

For those who don’t know, Crystal is my sister. I’m going to have to start putting a side note during my open Q&A’s. “Open Q&A, except from family.”

Sis, do you remember that time you stole my FAVORITE baby tee from Wet Seal – the olive green one? You stole it, went to a party, got pushed into a pool, and the chlorine turned the olive green into a poo brown. That’s why.

Su M.: When will you come to the UK?

I don’t have any set plans in the near future but I’m hoping work will take me out there soon. Anyone in the UK getting married and want me to shoot their wedding? ☺

Danielle M.: What’s the best season to shoot in and why?

My personal favorite season is Fall. I love Fall. The weather is crisp, it’s not too hot, not too cold, and you can wear fun clothes like boots and scarves. That really has nothing to do with photography but that’s why I like it. In terms of taking pictures, I don’t think there is such thing as the best season. As long as the light is splendid (which you can find at random times of the day year round), you are good to go!

Kelsey G.: Will you please come visit us in Vancouver and bring Fallon and Drew?

(I met Kelsey, Fallon, and Drew last year at a conference called Awesomenessfest.)

Kelsey! Fallon and I were talking about fitting in a road trip up to Van in late September. We need to double-check our work schedules and if all is good, we will also try and grab Drew (by his giant bicep) and come up! See you at Awesomenessfest in November?

Nathan R.: Do you do group shoots?

I will offer workshops in the near future for those who might be interested in learning and shooting together!

Tim S.: If you could have any photographer past or present take your portrait, who would it be and why?

Annie Leibovitz. Reason being out of curiosity. I wonder how she would direct me and how I would feel about a picture that she took of me.

Tim S.: If you could go on a photo safari with any photographer past or present, who would it be and why?

I would go on a photo safari with my buddy Conway. I’m always creatively inspired when I hang out with him, and he’s fun to go on photo safaris with.

Jamie G.: What, where, and who would be your bucket list photo session?

THIS IS A HARD QUESTION! For fun’s sake, I’ll say Angelina Jolie and family. They’re just a regular family like any other and it would be fun to capture it that way instead of the way the media always portrays them. Plus I like her attitude.

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