FAQ : Common Questions


This past week my inbox was greeted with plenty of email…some of which I can personally respond to, some I just can’t due to time restraints. I’m so sorry! I, however, post FAQ Entries to bridge the gap between my personal and mass responses to frequently asked questions. This week, I pulled a few emails and answered the questions here. I hope there are a couple of my blog readers who can take something from this entry as well… 🙂

Jessie asked:
What is your favourite time of day to shoot?
The exact time of day changes during different parts of the year, but my favorite light is the warm and golden light just before sunset. I refer to this light as God’s Light because everyone, everything, looks so beautiful and amazing. Love it!
Your DOF is so precise and perfect. How do you ensure this with every shot? I am so impressed with the crisp perfection of your shots and your DOF perfection is my new goal.
Thanks, Jessie, but precise and perfect are VERY generous words to use! 🙂 To be honest, I shoot a lot. And fast. I keep the focal point on the subject’s eye and shoot quickly. For example, if I have a subject in a certain position, I may fire off 5-7 shots, then another 5-7 shots in a slightly different position to ensure I’ve garnished the most flattering light, complimentary angle, and sharp focal point.
Why are you hiding in the Santa Ana College photograph?:)
Contrary to popular belief, I wasn’t hiding! I set up the group shot and the only spot open was in the back…and I’m short! 😉
How do you find your locations?
To be honest, my clients choose their locations! Aren’t they the best?! I couldn’t be happier with the ownership my clients take in their photography locations. Most my brides follow my blog and know how important a fabulous environment is, so they take their jobs quite seriously! 😉 Once I arrive at a location, I scope out the site and get ideas. When the couple arrives for the shoot, we work together in choosing spots and finding the best light!
How much control do you take over wardrobe and posing?
I don’t take any control over wardrobe. My clients are in charge of their clothing choices, but—again—most my brides follow my blog and see how important a dress, shoes, hats, flowers, scarves, or accessories can be.
I do, however, take a larger role when posing. I try to let the session naturally unfold, and not put too much of myself in their shoot. I’d say I pose about 30% of the shoot, and the remainder 70% is how the client acts/interacts from my direction.

Jennifer asked:
What s your favorite lens?
I adore the 50mm, 1.2!
How do you get your images to be so sharp? They look crispy or 3D. Do I sound weird for saying that?
No, not at all! I get asked this question quite a bit. A few weeks ago, I blogged about Kubota Photoshop actions I use and I mentioned that the single action I use on every picture is: Magic Sharp. I adore it! That’s the little extra umph my photos need to have more pop. You can find the action here:

Jeramy asked:
What does it mean when you write “… : anytime” next to some of the names on your blog posts? I’m sure I’m totally missing something very obvious…..but it’s bugged me for awhile and I haven’t figured it out on my own….so…..there you go.
This email made me laugh! I photograph “Anytime” sessions…well…anytime. A client doesn’t necessarily need a reason to be photographed, it just a time in a person’s life when pictures would be a fabulous addition to their home walls, Christmas cards, or Facebook page.

JD asked:
How am I so incredibly LUCKY to be married to someone SO MUCH MORE amazing, nice, kind, pleasant, brilliant, and giving than me?
I don’t know, JD. I just don’t know! 😉

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  1. Lindsay Kipp Photography

    November 14th, 2008 at 5:03 pm

    Thank you, I love when you post FAQ’s. and the last question made me laugh! I not only ABSOLUTELY LOVE your photography but I ADORE your writing style and sence of humor! I love that I feel like I know you. Keep up the amazing work and thank you for being such an inspiration!!!

  2. Jamie Delaine

    November 14th, 2008 at 5:06 pm

    JD’s question is so cute. 😉

  3. Adrienne

    November 14th, 2008 at 5:08 pm

    That last question totally caught me off guard and had me cracking up! Thank you so much for always doing these FAQs!! Always such a wealth of information! 🙂

  4. Yunna

    November 14th, 2008 at 5:12 pm

    wahaha love the last question! 😀

  5. Sam P

    November 14th, 2008 at 5:12 pm

    Thank you sooo much for sharing your tips and tricks of the trade…It’s still mind boggling that you actually reply to most of your emails…WOW!

  6. Fishgirl

    November 14th, 2008 at 5:15 pm

    Your Hubby is amazing, God Bless your marriage,, and JD the answer is The spirit of God has come upon your Wife that’s why she is so amazing!!

  7. Rene Skrodzki

    November 14th, 2008 at 5:15 pm

    Wonderful FAQ, I love learning a little about what is going on inside the mind of a photographer who I admire. Makes you think, hmm I think like that too. Very helpful.

  8. Jane

    November 14th, 2008 at 5:18 pm

    You’ve reminded me to schedule a session for my facebook page. 😉

  9. lin

    November 14th, 2008 at 5:22 pm

    Thanks Jasmine for sharing your wisdom! You’re so giving. 🙂

  10. Jackie Beale

    November 14th, 2008 at 5:23 pm

    wow I didn’t even notice Jasmine in the classroom pic! That’s so funny 🙂 What does DOF stand for? I haven’t yet perfected the photography vocabs. Thank You 🙂

  11. Alan Nielsen

    November 14th, 2008 at 5:25 pm

    Love the FAQ’s. They always help me with my work. Also love the plugs for Kubota actions….gonna have to start getting some of those!!

  12. Sam P

    November 14th, 2008 at 5:32 pm

    DOF- Depth of Field

  13. Stacy Cross

    November 14th, 2008 at 5:36 pm

    Hahaha! God bless JD! 🙂 Thanks for always being such a giver on your blog, sister!

  14. Meghan

    November 14th, 2008 at 6:10 pm

    I absolutely love that you are able and willing to give so much advice to all of those who adore you. These FAQ posts really help me a lot, thank you so much from the bottom of my heart!

  15. Christy

    November 14th, 2008 at 6:17 pm

    Thank you so much for posting your tips and techniques!!! I have learned so much from your blog, I could never repay you.

    Thanks again!

  16. Regina White

    November 14th, 2008 at 6:21 pm

    OMG I never noticed you were in that photos. LOL!
    I too have learned a ton from your blog and look forward to it each and everyday! I hope you plan on doing this when your 70!
    JD is lucky to have you and you have him. You two are super cute. Thanks for answering many "inquiring mind" questions.

  17. Tracy

    November 14th, 2008 at 6:22 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing all of your great tips. It means a lot to those of us just starting out and not knowing where to go for answers. You are awesome and so is your work. Thanks again.

  18. Emily

    November 14th, 2008 at 6:23 pm

    I love your work, especially the color & sharpness of your images! Thanks for your willingness to share advice! You’re awesome! 🙂

  19. Carrie

    November 14th, 2008 at 6:38 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing! I abso-friggin-lutely LOVE your photography and writing. You inspire me daily!

  20. jeramy

    November 14th, 2008 at 6:46 pm

    thanks for the answer! i’m a dodo….but seriously, you made my year. i’m just sayin….

  21. Amy Wenzel

    November 14th, 2008 at 6:47 pm

    Amy Wenzel’s Question: What do you like better Star Trek or Star Wars? I heard you are really into Sci Fi.

  22. Andi Walpurgis

    November 14th, 2008 at 6:55 pm

    Thank you Jasmine for always taking the time to go above and beyond to make your "friends" happy…I think we all ( bloggers) consider you a friend….

  23. Katie

    November 14th, 2008 at 7:01 pm

    I have to say that I just LOVE your humor and interaction with JD through you’re blog. I laugh EVERY time!

  24. Joan Solitario

    November 14th, 2008 at 7:04 pm

    I think JD’s question was my most favorite! hahah Thanks for sharing Jasmine! To me you’re the BEST! Seriously! Y OU ARE THE BEST ;-D

  25. elizabeth

    November 14th, 2008 at 7:06 pm

    a million thanks, so many of these questions were what I was wanting to ask.

  26. Linda

    November 14th, 2008 at 7:15 pm

    Thanks so much for giving back and helping other photographers be the best they can be. You have helped me alot.

  27. Jeramy's Wife (Sharon)

    November 14th, 2008 at 7:15 pm

    He’s going to be so hard to live with now… 😉

  28. Valerie Yamile

    November 14th, 2008 at 8:21 pm

    I think I’ve said this at least 5 times here…but here it goes again: You’re the bomb J*!!!

  29. kelly beane

    November 14th, 2008 at 8:31 pm

    Can I just say thanks for being so flippin awesome!!!! Thanks for sharing your knowledge!!

  30. Jenn

    November 14th, 2008 at 9:06 pm

    I read the star trek/star wars question and I’m guessing you hate sci fi?? I DESPISE it! Thanks for posting all of the info, and adding humor to my day!

  31. Cristy Cross

    November 14th, 2008 at 9:12 pm

    I love JDs question the best. My husband leaves me little presents on my blog and it just makes my day everytime I see one from him.

  32. Jenn Best

    November 14th, 2008 at 9:24 pm

    Wow! JD is such an amazing guy to see and appreciate how amazing his wife is 😉 You are amazing, nice, kind, pleasant, brilliant and giving – I’m sure of it!

  33. Daniel Lanning

    November 14th, 2008 at 9:26 pm

    candice has told me i ask that question all the time….i think it comes out of my subconscious or when i pass out… 🙂

  34. Cathy Crawley

    November 14th, 2008 at 9:41 pm

    LOL @ JD 😉

  35. Manon

    November 14th, 2008 at 10:30 pm

    oh jasmine you are simply the best. have a great weekend

  36. Mary Marantz

    November 14th, 2008 at 10:48 pm

    love the last one!! 🙂

  37. Ashley

    November 14th, 2008 at 10:58 pm

    I was wondering about that last question as well! Ha ha. I love your sense of humor.

  38. Lydia

    November 14th, 2008 at 11:12 pm

    Aww, JD is so sweet! 😉

  39. Dani D

    November 14th, 2008 at 11:46 pm

    Oh how I wish I could have a blog about Real Estate that was as fun to read and popularly followed as yours! I so look forward to reading your blog during my evenings.

  40. Ken

    November 14th, 2008 at 11:54 pm

    While the Kubota actions certainly help "sharpness" the 3D look that Jennifer asked about is a result of using a wide open aperture on a full frame sensor camera (the Canon 5D in this case). Full frame is the difference between the "3D pop" and a "flat" image. Sure the Kubota actions help for sharpening but nothing beats the full frame 3D affect. Additionally, tests have been done that show that f/4.0 on a full frame is equivilant to f/2.8 on a 1.6x crop camera (same subject distance, framing etc. etc.). Makes a difference.

  41. Christy

    November 15th, 2008 at 2:34 am

    In the question on posing, you said 70% of the time you clients are simply interacting under your direction. I’d love to hear more on that….how do you coach to help set the mood? Obviously, by now people know what to expect from a session but when you were first starting, how did you get people to be free instead of expecing to sit and pose in tight groupings? How do I get my clients beyond that menality and help them feel free to just be?

  42. Jeanette

    November 15th, 2008 at 3:46 am

    Very interesting. I’ve only recently started following your blog and I’m in awe of your work.

  43. Feuza

    November 15th, 2008 at 4:59 am

    Great Question JD! LOL
    and Jas thanks so much for this FAQ, u save your self some email space now in your inbox, I have learnt so much in the last three weeks that I have been following your blog,.,
    God Bless you

  44. Feuza

    November 15th, 2008 at 4:59 am

    Great Question JD! LOL
    and Jas thanks so much for this FAQ, u save your self some email space now in your inbox, I have learnt so much in the last three weeks that I have been following your blog,.,
    God Bless you

  45. Araxi

    November 15th, 2008 at 6:24 am

    JD forgot funnier 😉

  46. Andi Grant

    November 15th, 2008 at 10:39 am

    Hearing that you shoot a lot of each pose is so comforting – I shoot like crazy too, end up with 300 pictures from a single portrait shoot, and I then try my best to cut it back to under 100, and now I’m working on getting it closer to 50. You really are an inspiration, and you are my 14 year old daughters favorite photographer on the web. (she is my second primary second shooter) She hopes to meet you at WPPI, it’s you then finding Bette Midler

  47. Felix

    November 15th, 2008 at 12:05 pm

    I want to ask what focal range and aperture do you use most for portrait/wedding? for example the first photo in entry "Dijana and Jason"? I really love your DOF, your colour and pop effect. Really pop my eyes. : )

  48. Karen (Mikols) Bonar

    November 15th, 2008 at 2:21 pm

    did JD really e-mail you …. silly fella shouldn’t have to ask. 🙂

  49. Bobbie Brown

    November 15th, 2008 at 3:37 pm

    As always Jasmine THANK YOU for sharing with us. You are the best! Much love….

  50. stephanie

    November 15th, 2008 at 3:47 pm

    Jasmine, i follow your blog all the time but i love when you answer questions. its very helpful! thank you

  51. Denise Skelton

    November 15th, 2008 at 6:57 pm

    Oh, I LOVE FAQ posts! Thank YOU!

  52. Jasmine*

    November 15th, 2008 at 9:12 pm

    @Felix: I shot the first image of Dijana’s Day After session at a f/1.2…that’s how I got such a shallow DOF. @Christy: You’re right…my clients definitely now know what to expect from a session after seeing so many on my blog. They now show up ready to be fun and fabulous…which is so awesome! However, in the beginning, I just talked, laughed, and listened to each couple and interacted when I felt they were becoming too stiff. I talk from behind my lens and to keep things light and fresh. I hope this helps! @Ken: Absolutely! In many, many past FAQ posts, I’ve mentioned my preference of shooting below f/2.0 almost exclusively. I took for granted having to repeat it, but I shouldn’t have. I did, however, mention in this post that Kubota’s Magic Sharp just give each image an extra "umph"…and doesn’t make the picture in its entirety. @Daniel: Obviously! 🙂 @Amy Wenzel: If you try to get me to watch Battleship Galatica show I will pinch you to death! 🙂 ** Special thanks to everyone who’s left a comment…sometimes I wonder if these FAQ are even helpful and it’s nice to know they are. Thanks! 🙂

  53. julie

    November 16th, 2008 at 2:14 am

    Could you comment more on keeping your focal point on the eyes?. Does that mean you are just focusing on the eyes or are you a set distance away from them? I think your DOF is awesome too. Sometimes I find that when shooting under 2.0 things just get too fuzzy too quick even when I’m trying to focus on the eyes. Any help you can give here would be AWESOME!!!! Also, are you auto or manually focusing…since I’m a beginning photographer with a handsome new used 40 D any help is appreciated!!! I’m trying to learn but sometimes good photos happen so accidentally I wonder "What was different here?" thanks
    Oh…..here’s the comment I’m referring to.j
    Your DOF is so precise and perfect. How do you ensure this with every shot? I am so impressed with the crisp perfection of your shots and your DOF perfection is my new goal.
    Thanks, Jessie, but precise and perfect are VERY generous words to use! 🙂 To be honest, I shoot a lot. And fast. I keep the focal point on the subject’s eye and shoot quickly. For example, if I have a subject in a certain position, I may fire off 5-7 shots, then another 5-7 shots in a slightly different position to ensure I’ve garnished the most flattering light, complimentary angle, and sharp focal point.

  54. Cindy

    November 16th, 2008 at 2:29 am

    Jasmine, your FAQ posts are ALWAYS so appreciated. You’ve got so much talent and I appreciate so much you sharing with all of us.

  55. photoTristan

    November 16th, 2008 at 5:53 am

    I’ve been meaning to ask you-why does your text on your pictures look so jaggy?

  56. Jason Drumm

    November 16th, 2008 at 12:27 pm

    J* – this was VERY Helpful!! Thank you.

  57. Natarasha N. Wright

    November 16th, 2008 at 2:53 pm

    Thanks for the insight! Very helpful. It even got me thinking about some questions that I have always wanted to ask, but too afraid to. Hopefully this question reaches you, but I am curious to know what does it mean when you say you shoot wide open??

  58. Cristen Clark

    November 16th, 2008 at 3:04 pm

    Thanks Jasmine for the great question/answer section! I love to learn what others do! Keep up your amazing work!

  59. Whitney Gray

    November 16th, 2008 at 7:52 pm

    I too LOVE the FAQ posts! What you do is pure magic and I love to learn what I can from you. How often would you say you use flash? I really hate flash- at least when I do it! Do you try to use natural light most of the time? Or are you so good at flash that it looks like natural light??

  60. Lauren

    November 16th, 2008 at 11:54 pm

    2 quick questions, does JD have a ‘day-job’ as well as being your right hand man, and why do guys always put @ before someones name (ive seen it on facebook alot!)
    Cheers, love your work!

  61. cassandra m

    November 17th, 2008 at 1:55 am

    I love your FAQ posts. I knew most of this stuff from previous posts, but it was a nice refresher course. I can’t imagine the insane amount of emails you get asking for your advice or opinions. I think this is a fabulous way to answer repetitive questions.

  62. Ariana W.

    November 17th, 2008 at 4:29 am

    This info helps alot! But I also have a question! On a Shoot I have a problem Keeping my lighting right! with my shutter speed, It is either super light or super Dark! I am just Learning and I have the Canon Rebel XT, Do you have any advise to help me? I still don’t understand alot about Shutter Speed and Aperture, So any advice would be a blessing!
    Thanks, Ariana

  63. Erika Lais Photo Blog

    November 17th, 2008 at 4:47 pm

    Thanks again J*, I just love yours FAQ posts and how do you share yours thoughts with us … but I have one more question: I ‘m always thinking about how do you manage your time between JD, shot sessions, weddings, shoot editions, family, personal life, gym, Polo …. so I think you let we know how is your workflow, step by step, after a shoot session … How do your clients chosse their pics (website, DVD, Pictage????). Do you use Lightroon in your workflow? How do you back your ending images???? Wow, a lot of questions …. I’ll be waiting for the next FAQ post …. XOXO

  64. Stephanie

    November 17th, 2008 at 8:33 pm

    Jasmine, you are my favorite wedding photographer! Thank you so much for not only posting your beautiful images, but posting your techniques and tools that you use. It has truly helped my photography come a long way. Thank you for being such an amazing inspiration!

  65. Larry Reeves

    November 18th, 2008 at 4:46 am

    This is cool! Thanks for telling us your "secrets"! I still remember when you hinted at wanting the 1.2L on Natalie Norton’s "what’s in your bag" segment.

  66. Cathy and David - Photographers

    November 18th, 2008 at 5:22 pm

    LOVE these entries! 🙂

  67. audrey

    November 18th, 2008 at 7:45 pm

    i hope you’ll see this post. but burried in the masses of comments, not sure that you will. but is there any chance we photographers could get you to expound upon your answer to the question "how much control do you take over posing?" this is something i’ve thought about for a while. what kind of direction do you give your clients? scenarios?
    how do you lead them into good poses 70% of the time? how do you get them comfortable initially?

  68. Esteban

    November 19th, 2008 at 12:52 pm

    Hi Jasmine. I was just wondering, do you use a polarizer or ND filter when using F/ 1.2 – 1.4 apertures on very bright sunny days?

  69. Jasmine*

    November 19th, 2008 at 2:02 pm

    @Esteban: No, I don’t use any type of filters when I shoot. @Audrey: This is a tough question to answer…partly because I don’t do any ONE thing. Every couple forces me to think differently because they love differently. There isn’t just a perfect way to engage clients, but after speaking to them for a bit, I understand who they are and what they are willing to do while posing. The 70% comes after I pose clients…they somehow melt in each other’s arms, become totally confident and modelish when placed at a distance from each other, or laugh from the silliness of it all. All of these reactions work for me! 🙂 @Erika: Wow! That will be one long post for sure! Perhaps I can get to it sooner than later! 🙂 @Ariana: There is nothing else I recommend than PRACTICE! 🙂 I’d sit for days with my camera and place a chair by the window and practice shooting the chair on Manual mode from different angles and lighting situations. It was tough, but that’s the only way I knew how to practice! @Lauren: Yes, JD has a ‘day-job’ but he works from home, so we’re around each other quite a bit! 😉 And the "@" sign just suggests who I am responding to 🙂 @Whitney: I use natural light until the very last second I can…I definitely prefer the flashless look! 🙂

  70. Sandy

    November 19th, 2008 at 7:27 pm

    When you use Magic Sharp, is it only on every web-sized photo, or full-sized full-resolution photos as well? Thank you soooo much for posting FAQ’s. You don’t know how much it helps!!

  71. Michael

    November 20th, 2008 at 12:10 pm

    Jasmine this helps out a ton! Thank you so much. Maybe you could do a post on your typical equipment list for an engagement and a wedding. You truly are an inspiration!

  72. Mag

    November 21st, 2008 at 11:42 am

    You are such a rock star!!!!

    thank you for sharing your secrets! you are an inspiration.

  73. Stephanie

    November 22nd, 2008 at 2:37 am

    Thank you for sharing so much! Very helpful! I’m new to photography, and I love your blog and photos and style. You’re truly an inspiration – keep it comin’! Will you be in the Indianapolis, IN area any time soon? Also, do you use a full-frame camera? Mine is a cropped sensor, must be why I’m lacking that awesome 3D effect you get each and every time! 😉

  74. Joseph

    November 25th, 2008 at 7:30 pm

    Jasmine, do you find that magic sharp tends to "over-sharpen" I tend to use Clarify Med… as it doesn’t create the halos I find with the MS?