FAQ : Reader Questions, V

Photography

Yesterday I received an email from a blog reader and it broke my heart. But this isn’t the first time I’ve hurt someone’s feelings…I try not to, but it just happens. As much as I want to, I cannot personally respond to every email I receive. Well, because, it isn’t humanly possible…even if I sat all day and responded to email, I STILL couldn’t respond to them all. For this, I’m sorry.

I try to use these FAQ Posts as a way to connect to my readers’ questions and hope they help others in the process. To those of you who I’ve hurt for lack of personal response, I’ll try to make it up to you somehow! 😉

Angela asked:
My question is how much do you actually use flash/strobes and do you use it off camera? On camera? Does JD help with moving your lights around? What sort of lighting do you use? Your pictures never look flashy – even the night time reception ones and I’d love some insight into how you acheive this look.

I don’t use flash at all during the day. I bring out my flash for the reception once the sun has set, and I also set up an off-camera light. I blogged about my off-camera lighting a while ago, so definitely check that post out as I think it may answer more of your questions.
I have a flash set up on my camera, as well as an off-camera flash I fire with my every-trusty Pocket Wizards…love those babies! Once I set up the off-camera flash, I don’t move it the rest of the night. And, really, I think JD might kill me if his main job was to follow me all night with flash! 🙂

Jayme asked:
I love how almost all your shots look like you never use flash, I hate flash and struggle to get that look. Are you using flash or a high ISO? If the high ISO, I am curious the most with which camera you are using and your usual ISO setting. 🙂

Like I mentioned before, I don’t use flash during the day. I know there are a ton of amazing photographers who do, but it’s just not my cup of tea. I prefer using only natural light…but this means I have to work harder finding spots that will allow me to do what I want to do. But I’m okay with that.
I definitely shy away from using high iso, and prefer to manipulate my shutter speed instead. I like keeping my photos as noise-free as possible, so low ISO definitely helps.
I’m always in search of natural light reflectors and naturally diffused light…I like to think that God designed the perfect outdoor studio…I just have to figure out ways to use it! 🙂

Chris asked:
How do you decide when to use flash and not to use flash? I see the ones outside (the majority) are without flash which I understand ( minus the fact that I do that sometimes and get raccoon eyes ) – but inside? No flash?

This is a somewhat complicated answer because every situation is different. I definitely don’t have a hard and fast rule, but I can say that I haven’t used flash indoors (outside of the reception) in my last 20-25 weddings. I prefer to shoot wide open and use ambient light for prep photos and always try to position myself to catch the most favorable light. I asked JD to do the same thing when he shoots the groom because I think this style of shooting yields prettier images, and are much more realistic to the moment.

Michael asked:
Can you show more processing tips using Kubota actions? I recently bought them, but I don’t know where to start. I really like your photos, but I don’t know how to make mine look as good as yours.

The best thing about Kubota actions is that you can–and should–use them to define your style. It’s awesome to look to other photographers as inspiration, but always keep in mind Photoshop actions should only be used to enhance a photo…a photo that belongs to you! 🙂 The best way to best understand Kubota actions is to play with them and see what actions do what. I love mixing actions so they don’t look like I simply clicked a button and made it into something that looks like thousands of other photos.
If you’d like to see more Photoshop processing using Kubota actions, click here to see my last blog post. For today, here are a few photos with the Kubota actions listed accordingly…

Saturation -68%
Channel Mixer 70/20/10
Contrast +3
Magic Sharp

Daily Multivitamin 35%
Too Warm Daylight Tungsten 1 17%
Magic Sharp

Mocha B&W 9%
Radiant People 42%
Magic Sharp

Fuji Snappit 43%
Magic Sharp

KevX Process Combo 17%
Magic Sharp

Saturation -75%
Channel Mixer 45/32/32
Contrast +4
Magic Sharp

I use Kubota’s Artistic Tools the most, and always use Kubota Production Tools to finish off my images with Magic Sharp.

I often get asked if I Photoshop every single wedding image and the answer is no. It’s literally impossible! 🙂 My editing is done through Lightroom and love the end result. If you’re overwhelmed with the editing process, I definitely recommend checking out Photographer’s Edit to help you. Nathan Holritz and his team are fabulous and they’re always finding new ways to help people…definitely check them out! 🙂 He also extended a 20% discount on your first order when you use jstar as the promo code, so I hope this will help a few people!

Happy Wednesday!