I know it’s weird, but I block entire days on my calendar. I designate them as work days and I sit at my desk and don’t get up. All day. I simply plow through my work and incentivize myself to complete tasks. Oh, like, if I get this done by noon, I can open Tweetdeck (no, I don’t keep it open throughout the day because it’s a total distraction). Or if I can that done in 20 minutes, I get to read my favorite blogs. Is this pathetic? Why, yes. Yes it is. But it’s how I roll. And when I’m done with my work, I get to walk with a limp…because I feel pretty G scratching everything off my list.

After Monday’s post about post-processing, I received a bit of email with questions. Lots of questions. And while I can’t respond to everyone personally, I use these FAQ posts to connect the dots…at least I hope so! 🙂

The top question I’m emailed is what’s in my bag and what are my favorite lenses…you can read more that in THIS POST.
The second most often asked question is what I use for off-camera lighting when needed and you can read more about that in THIS POST.

Raquel asked:
I know you like to shoot wide open, as do I, as often as possible. However I struggle with often time having one subject super crisp and clean and the groom just slightly out. I particularly noticed this on your last blog post and the last pic of that post. I noticed that you are at f2.0 and it was shot with a 50mm. They are no where near on the same plane as one another and yet, he still appears crisp in the background. Did you shoot this image from way farther back and cropped it down?

I actually get asked about focus and focusing issues quite a bit…and to be honest, I know there are thousands of people who can answer a lot better than I could. And if you’re one of them and you’re reading this, feel free to do so in the comment box! 🙂
One thing to take into consideration is your reference to ‘plane’…you have to note there’s a horizontal plane, and there’s also a vertical plane. In this particular picture, Eli is almost on the exact vertical plane as Cori, so that’s why both subjects appear focused. Also note I was shooting with the 50mm, but I was about five feet from the subjects which gave me a nice amount of space to shoot wide and manage my focal range.
Lastly, I’m a big proponent of in-camera cropping, so I don’t ever shoot wide to crop down later for a greater focal appeal. I hope this helps! 🙂

Renee asked:
You mentioned that you use Leather Craftsmen for your albums – and I’ve opened an account with them but there are just so many options… I’m wondering if there are a couple of albums/covers that are your “standard” and if you’d share that info with me.

I’m stoked you signed up with Leather Craftsmen…I know you’ll love them! And, yes, there are quite a few of amazing options. I prefer to keep my albums simple, yet classic. There are so many album trends these days, but I hope my clients’ albums look great today, tomorrow, and as they celebrate their 50th anniversary and I think a classic approach accomplishes this.
I offer only Leather bound album options and I use the Top Grain Cowhide or the Distressed Leather only. And, like always, if you’re new to Leather Craftsmen, you can receive a 50% Discount for your first print&bind sample album if you use the Jasmine50StudioSample. Also, if you’re a new client, you can also receive a 20% Discount for your first print&bind client album if you use Jasmine20Discount.

Angela asked:
Do you photoshop every picture you take on a wedding day? Doesn’t that take a long time?

Oh, lordy. No! I couldn’t possibly edit every wedding photo…I average 900-1,000 wedding photos for my clients and it’d take forever to edit that many! The photos are enhanced in Lightroom (thankyousweetbabyjesusforadobe!), but I’m incredibly stoked to work with my friends at Photographer’s Edit for the final result. After a wedding, I cull my images, back them up, place them on a hard drive, mail it to Photographer’s Edit, and in less than seven business days, my photos are edited the way I like them, and are uploaded to my clients’ online gallery for their viewing. Ta-Da! My clients are seeing their prettified wedding images less than two weeks after their wedding and I think it’s a great reflection on how to run an efficient and productive business. And, to be honest, PE does it better (and faster) than I could, and I think that’s in the best interest of my clients…I want to be a photographer, not a Lightroomer. Also uploaded is a Favorites folder of images I’ve already edited in Photoshop for their slideshow and blogpost, and any images that go into their wedding album are Photoshopped, but the key thing to keep in mind is that if you can shoot good images straight out of the camera, outsourcing to a company like Photographer’s Edit simply presents the final edit in a way I’m proud to display to my clients.
If you’re interested in trying this out for yourself, you can a 20% discount on your first order by using the jstar2010 code!

Tori asked:
Lately I am have been contacted by photographers wanting to help me and learn from me. I feel so blessed and overwhelmed. I don’t know if I want to teach people in my own backyard all my secrets? Then where is my originality? I am so giving of my info and LOVE people!! I was wondering if possible I could get a little advise in that direction.

Well, Tori…you’ve probably asked the wrong person this question. I don’t believe in secrets. I don’t think I do anything that anyone else can’t do. I’m sure there are others who have secrets and they have all the right to protect them, but I’m pretty open with how/what I do. I’ve been this way from the start of my business, and I have yet to see one negative thing transpire from my decision. In fact, it’s been the opposite. I’ve made more friends in the industry and it’s opened many doors for me. If you want my honest opinion, I’m going to tell you what my mom always told me: “Give…and then give some more…you can never out-give God…”

Okay, so I’ve written way too much. But I have one more thing to say! There’s been a ton of buzz around the iPad, iPhone, and HTML5 tools, and I’m really excited to say my website has been updated with Showit to now appear on mobile devices. Woohoo! It’s super easy to update your website and now I’ve been given the chance to be completely unique anywhere on the web. This is a huge deal for me because now my dad can brag about his daughter in real time! 😉

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  1. Kristin

    May 13th, 2010 at 7:02 pm

    Thank you for all of the wonderful advice as always!

  2. inland Empire Wedding Photographer

    May 13th, 2010 at 7:10 pm

    I love the black on black on the Art Leather Album

  3. Megan (Best of Fates)

    May 13th, 2010 at 7:19 pm

    I love those albums – they seem so classy and timeless.

  4. Jan Hovland

    May 13th, 2010 at 7:48 pm


    People are always asking about how you can get sharp photos shooting wide open. I always wondered that myself, and one thing I was thinking it may have something to do with it, is the fact that you use a FULL FRAME camera, instead a 1,6x crop one.
    I think you can get a better bokeh and greater DOF using a full frame camera.
    I may be wrong, but I think that plays a good part on it.

    Keep good!

  5. Anne

    May 13th, 2010 at 8:09 pm

    Thank you for the answer to the last one. I think it’s a great answer, and very, very spot on. I hate the competitiveness that can exist among photographers. I so do love to make friends with fellow photogs and learn from one another.

  6. Amber Grover

    May 13th, 2010 at 8:22 pm

    Thanks Jasmine for this wonderful FAQ post! I was encouraged by your answer to Tori’s question! I completely agree with you! It is so cool to see how the Lord blesses those who give of themselves and their talents! You are beautiful!

  7. Jessica

    May 13th, 2010 at 9:01 pm

    I’m not sure if you’ve answered this question, but I didn’t find it in a search, so: how do you usually set your white balance? Thanks!

  8. Megan Swanson

    May 13th, 2010 at 9:05 pm

    Thank you so much for posting blogs like this one. It is so helpful for a filmographer who is trying to get into photography (like myself).

  9. Megan Swanson

    May 13th, 2010 at 9:05 pm

    Thank you so much for posting blogs like this one. It is so helpful for a filmographer who is trying to get into photography (like myself).

  10. Amanda Patrice

    May 13th, 2010 at 9:09 pm

    Photographer’s Edit here I come! I love that their turnaround time is less than 2 weeks. Thanks for the info!

  11. Dee

    May 13th, 2010 at 10:03 pm

    Thanks J* for being so open and honest, for giving us your time and sharing your talent with us all.

  12. Rebecca

    May 13th, 2010 at 10:04 pm

    Thanks Jasmine, you’re FAQ posts are so helpful. When are you coming back ‘down unda’ next? I think you should move here permanently. 😉

  13. Rebecca

    May 13th, 2010 at 10:04 pm

    Thanks Jasmine, you’re FAQ posts are so helpful. When are you coming back ‘down unda’ next? I think you should move here permanently. 😉

  14. Rebecca

    May 13th, 2010 at 10:04 pm

    Thanks Jasmine, you’re FAQ posts are so helpful. When are you coming back ‘down unda’ next? I think you should move here permanently. 😉

  15. Rebecca

    May 13th, 2010 at 10:05 pm

    Thanks Jasmine, you’re FAQ posts are so helpful. When are you coming back ‘down unda’ next? I think you should move here permanently. 😉

  16. Rebecca

    May 13th, 2010 at 10:05 pm

    Thanks Jasmine, you’re FAQ posts are so helpful. When are you coming back ‘down unda’ next? I think you should move here permanently. 😉

  17. Rebecca

    May 13th, 2010 at 10:05 pm

    Thanks Jasmine, you’re FAQ posts are so helpful. When are you coming back ‘down unda’ next? I think you should move here permanently. 😉

  18. Alisa Greig

    May 13th, 2010 at 10:11 pm

    in reference to the first question asked, about how the 2 subjects are in focus at f2.0–i don’t get it!–her head appears to be a good foot and a half closer to you than his! amazing!

  19. Kris Hinh

    May 13th, 2010 at 10:18 pm

    Thank You, Jasmine.

    The fact that you take your time to answer your fans questions and also do these kind of post is very cool of you. The info you share with us will truly help us move a bit easier in this line of work.

    I like the fact that you got some serious connections with these vendors, love the coupon codes.

    Kris Hinh

  20. :)julie whitlock

    May 13th, 2010 at 10:32 pm

    awesome as always!!

  21. Michelle

    May 13th, 2010 at 10:36 pm

    Is the fact that you’re shooting on a full frame camera coming into play with the focal plane stuff? I think that has something to do with it though. I’m definitely going to experiment a bit on this to make sure I nail it.

  22. Nancy

    May 13th, 2010 at 10:36 pm

    Hi Jasmine! I have a question about one of your answers. In the first photo above, you said that since he is on the same vertical plane as she is, he will be in focus. I guess I don’t quite get how that works. It seems that his face is still at couple of feet behind hers (farther from the lens) so he should still be out of focus at f2.0. What am I missing? Thanks!

  23. Michelle Hires

    May 13th, 2010 at 10:37 pm

    Is the fact that you’re shooting with a full frame camera coming into play as well with the focal plane stuff? I seem to remember reading some where that that plays a part. I’m definitely going to practice a bit more to try and nail it.

  24. Ronda

    May 13th, 2010 at 11:05 pm

    If you were here, I would kiss you for the comment about wanting to be a photographer, not a Lightroomer. I’m just starting — as in haven’t decided if I want to take the full plunge, but have been asked to do just that — and I HATE EDITING. I’m not good at it, I’m not fast at it, and it makes me cross-eyed. It’s the only thing standing between me and a new dream career, but now I have hope. Thank you.

  25. Karl

    May 13th, 2010 at 11:16 pm

    Jasmine! I am a big fan, but hate to say you messed up the description of focal plane pretty badly. Plane, by definition, is both vertical and horizontal… it’s a plane. Regarding the orientation of the focal plane: the orientation of the plane is always orthogonal to the imaginary line that goes straight out of the lens (like if your camera had a laser sight). The depth of field is measured as the ‘thickness’ of the ‘in-focus’ plane, which you could think of as the distance on that laser pointer line between the closest in focus point and the farthest in focus point. But remember, the point on that laser pointer line is just representative of the entire focal plane at that distance from the end of the lens. The horizontal/vertical aspect has nothing to do with it. Obviously in the photo in question the dept of field is fairly deep, looks to be 4 or 5 feet, which seems inconsistent with f2, but it is probably just b/c he actually isn’t really in focus, but just looks that way low res. And sorry to say it to the previous commenters, but no — the full frame doesn’t effect depth of field, just the effective focal length.

  26. lauren

    May 13th, 2010 at 11:46 pm

    will have to read this later when I have time — but want to add to the chorus that it’s really so nice and generous of you to post and share as much as you do. Best wishes!

  27. Matthew Saville

    May 13th, 2010 at 11:48 pm

    Hey Jasmine! I hope this info can be helpful to your readers: An image being viewed online and APPEARING to be "in focus" (or not) has EVERYTHING to do with the size of the image being displayed, because it’s just a 700-800 pixel image. If you were to look at a 100% crop of the image, from 12 or 21 megapixels for example, you WOULD see that one subject’s face is indeed slightly fuzzy. But because it is being displayed at 700-800 pixels wide, PLUS a "secret formula" of sharpening, you get a lot of forgiveness in the appearance of sharpness. Heck, the LCD on current generation cameras can display images at 3X VGA resolution, and you dont’ trust IT to determine sharpness without zooming in, do you? …Next, focus and depth in general has EVERYTHING to do with distance. There are two key measurements- the distance from your camera to your subject, and the distance from your subject to the background. So if your subject is 10 feet away and the background is just 2 feet behind that, it’s going to LOOK like it’s in focus. Whereas if your subject is 5 feet away, and the background is 20 feet behind that, or at infinity, you’re going to get a TON of blur. I shoot with a crop sensor camera, which has a handicap for depth and blur. But by paying VERY close attention to my subject distance relative to the background distance, I can consistently get very shallow-depth looking images, even without f/1.2 and without full-frame. Lastly, people should try not to think of vertical planes versus horizontal planes; that can get a bit confusing. Suffice it to say that yes, the dead-center of an image will *appear* to have less background blur than the edges, especially on aspherical lenses like the 50 1.2. For VERY complicated reasons that I have no clue about. But that is a very faint, faint difference and is NOT something to trust for true sharpness. Hope this info helps! Take care, =Matt=

  28. Tom Li

    May 13th, 2010 at 11:50 pm

    Great post. I just have a few questions. I’m also a little confused about your explanation of a "vertical plane". I thought that the main concern was basically the distance from the camera. That first pic was a f2.0 (there’s no exif)? I see that some people have also asked about the difference between full frame and crop sensors. My impression was that full-frame images would actually have less DOF if they are framed the same. Am I mixed up?

    Thanks for the FAQ!


  29. Scott

    May 13th, 2010 at 11:51 pm

    Thanks for sharing Jasmine.
    The depth of field on a full frame camera vs one with a cropped sensor will be different for the same focal length. The full frame camera will have a slightly greater depth of field. Search ‘depth of field calculator’ on Google and check it out!

  30. Hugo Tepe

    May 14th, 2010 at 12:15 am

    Mrs. Star! I’m just starting out in the business and have to say all You do is very, very inspirational! Thank you. Also, "Give…and then give some more…you can never out-give God…"-Mama Star, is one of the best and most touching quotes I’ve come up on. It is very true.

  31. AbiQ,

    May 14th, 2010 at 12:31 am

    Hey J*. I googled you to check out your site on my iphone and saw that your website is coming up with info for Levitra instead of normal info like Orange county photographer.. kinda odd and thought you’d want to know!

  32. Diana Grace

    May 14th, 2010 at 12:53 am

    I think you are such an inspiration! Thank you for always being so giving. 🙂

  33. Emily Abril

    May 14th, 2010 at 2:27 am

    "Give…and then give some more…you can never out-give God…" this is the BEST QUOTE.. I have to tweet this

  34. David

    May 14th, 2010 at 2:54 am

    Mark Wallace at Adorama TV did a nice video on shallow depth of field and the factors that influence it – lots of good examples packed into seven minutes: http://blog.snapfactory.com/?p=991

    Three things influence depth of field: aperture, distance from subject, and focal length of lens. Sensor size doesn’t impact depth of field, as Mark correctly points out, but it does impact how you shoot: "With a small (crop) sensor youll need to use a wider angle lens or shoot farther from the subject to get the same scene as a larger sensor  and that will impact DOF because youve changed one of the three deciding factors." (distance from subject).

  35. CarrieT

    May 14th, 2010 at 2:59 am

    Can’t say it enough…THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!

  36. Corrine Heck

    May 14th, 2010 at 3:11 am

    Once again you’ve amazed me Jasmine! Thank you for the information on Photographer’s Edit! We’ve been overwhelmed with this task– and it’s so great to get a reference for this type of company. I truly appreciate your openness to make us each as successful as you! HOLLA!!!

  37. Holli True

    May 14th, 2010 at 5:37 am

    You are so giving with your knowledge and I cannot express to you how grateful I am. Some of your methods have helped guide me in creating my own methods. You are always such an inspiration!! 🙂 I’m signing up with Leather Craftsmen, I can’t wait to receive my first album!!

  38. Alexander Gardner

    May 14th, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    Thank you for sharing the love!

  39. Jessica

    May 14th, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    Hi Jasmine! Quick question for you, regarding Photographers Edit, do you do this for your engagement sessions as well? Also, the photos you post on your blog & slideshows, are those edited in Lightroom, Photographers Edit, or Photoshop?

    Thank you for all your encouraging and helpful posts!

  40. Jasmine*

    May 14th, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    Thanks to those of you who responded about the focal plane…so awesome and much appreciated! 🙂 @Jessica: I have my WB set to auto all the time. @Jessica: I only use PE for wedding edits…and I edit the rest of the photos in Photoshop for my favorites from a wedding day and the engagement session. Hope this helps! 🙂

  41. Celesa

    May 14th, 2010 at 4:26 pm

    I always wonder about this too. When I have two subjects and want to have a shallow dof where do I place my focal point? This may seem like a funny questions. But if any one wants to chim in on this please do. Thanks.

  42. Juli L.

    May 14th, 2010 at 4:50 pm

    Thanks Jasmine for posting this…I was actually wondering the same thing in regard to focus on that photo. Thanks to all the great comments and help regarding this…it really helps and makes sense. Love the FAQ blogs…they are so helpful! 🙂

  43. Mark

    May 14th, 2010 at 5:07 pm

    Here is the depth of field chart for a Canon 1MarkII ,50mm ,shot at f2.0
    Subject distance 5 ft
    Depth of field
    Near limit 4.83 ft
    Far limit 5.18 ft
    Total 0.35 ft

    In front of subject 0.17 ft (48%)
    Behind subject 0.18 ft (52%)

    Hyperfocal distance 136.9 ft
    Circle of confusion 0.03 mm

    I dont understand how you have a vertical plane when it comes to DOF

  44. Lisa Cousins

    May 14th, 2010 at 5:22 pm

    Regarding not keeping secrets and sharing information .. "no body does what I can do" .. I love that Jasmine! I am going to hold on to that little jewel because I am always thinking that my photos are just as good as everybody else but they are better .. they are different .. they are me and no body can do what I can do either! 🙂

  45. Stephanie Stewart

    May 14th, 2010 at 7:22 pm

    Always love your FAQ posts, J*! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  46. Jackie

    May 14th, 2010 at 7:25 pm

    I’m so happy you don’t keep secrets! I love learning from you 🙂

  47. Erin Hernandez-Reisner

    May 14th, 2010 at 9:42 pm

    I love how open you are. I am having my first workshop this August and I have to say that I agree with you whole heartedly about giving. I photographed my first wedding for free and this business boomed from it. We won awards at WPPI and it got published… Who New!!! We give, I say we because I couldn’t do this with out my husband, a wedding away for free every year! God Blesses us everyday and you! Thank you again for your post I am looking into your off camera flashes. Is there a battery pack or is it a plug in? Thanks again

  48. Jessica @ The Budget Savvy Bride

    May 14th, 2010 at 11:10 pm

    I love reading your FAQ posts! 🙂 I really wish I had your determination to NOT open Tweetdeck- you are so right about it being a distraction! Something I need to work on as well, haha!

  49. Mel

    May 15th, 2010 at 12:15 am

    Good points on focus. I def. need to watch my planes more. Thanks for the tip.

  50. Bunn Salarzon

    May 15th, 2010 at 1:14 am

    I tried Photographer’s Edit, 15 free trial files, and from what I understood they only use Lightroom for the final edit. So, I’m confused by your previous post re: post-production as you use TRA and Kubota Actions, but in this post you send all your files to PE for all the editing. If PE only use Lightroom then where does the TRA/Kubota Actions come in to your regular workflow? Or, am I totally mistaken about the LR/PE thing? I’m a TRA-user myself; I just want someone to do what I do — much better and quicker — so I have time to tend to other business items.

  51. Naomi

    May 15th, 2010 at 6:45 pm

    Thank you! I love these posts. And you are not crazy–you just inspired me to work harder. Blogs and social media are great, but they can be a huge distraction for me, so I LOVE your idea! Thank you for continuing to give. I love what you said about not having seen one negative thing come out of it yet…I so often hear, "I wouldn’t want to train my competition." But I think you’re going to make a lot more friends and connections by giving…and you’ve certainly set an example for me as I’m starting out on how I want to interact with others.

  52. Colorado Wedding Photographer, JasonG

    May 15th, 2010 at 8:29 pm

    Always appreciate your FAQ posts. Also – glad I can visit your site on my iPad!! Well done!

  53. Mike

    May 15th, 2010 at 9:32 pm

    Can’t out give God… Love it, thank you!

  54. Denise

    May 16th, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    Thank you for your comment on sharing info…. I believe in this 100%. I have learned so much from you…

    thank you, thank you, thank you!

  55. kristi

    May 16th, 2010 at 5:55 pm

    great stuff, as always, Jasmine….Was so surprised to just see your sis on MTv on the "When I Was 17 " show!

  56. quincyjohn

    May 17th, 2010 at 5:48 am

    I AM REALLY LEARNING A LOT FROM YOU JASMINE! I THANK YOU SO MUCH! My friend was just talking about trade secrets and later we talked about how blessed giving is. how inconsistent! but thanks to your blog jasmine. gave me the light. there are no secrets or whatever. instead, we should share it and we’ll see how God gives you more.

  57. Jan

    May 17th, 2010 at 8:39 am

    Always love your FAQ posts!!

  58. Louis Curtis

    May 17th, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    With regards to the question about subjects being in focus. Three main factors govern DOF (Depth of Field). They are Lens Focal Length, f-Stop or Aperture, and Lens to Subject Distance. As you move further from your subject your depth of field will increase even though the lens setting hasn’t changed.

  59. life with Kaishon

    May 17th, 2010 at 11:29 pm

    Such valuable advice. Thank you.
    I am sure you are too busy to respond to this question…but here goes:
    I shot a wedding for a friend of a friend of a friend recently. It was fun but very stressful. I hired a second shooter. I rented him a camera. Basically, I spent almost $800 to shoot the wedding. I would like to send all of the pictures to be edited in lightroom, but honestly, I don’t want to spend one more penny. I feel sort of resentful that the people did not pay for this service. The bride wants all of the images on a cd. I don’t want to give them to her and let her take them to walmart to be printed. What should I do? I am befuddled.

  60. mike Larson

    May 18th, 2010 at 12:13 am

    Great post Jasmine, its so great to see you always giving back to the community!

  61. Christine Pobke

    May 18th, 2010 at 5:45 am

    Just wanted to say you’ve inspired me yet again. 🙂 Love the answer to the last question – ever since our workshop together, I’ve been trying to give back, and then give some more. And it’s all thanks to you!! I LOVES IT!! 🙂 xoxo

  62. Brittani

    May 20th, 2010 at 12:01 am

    You are lovely, my dear.
    Thank you.

  63. Andi Diamond

    May 21st, 2010 at 3:26 am

    Thank u so much for being so open and sharing!