FAQ : Reader Questions X

Photography

The last time JD was in Scottsdale, Arizona, he was there for a start-up company he worked for when we first got married. He traveled extensively and his absence made life feel extra lonely, but he continued to work for the company because he believed it held the keys for a bright future for us. He’d come home and recount stories of new restaurants or a cool deli he visited on his business trips and he promised to take me back one day. I politely smiled, but hoped we wouldn’t be going back for someone else’s company. I wanted us to go on our own, to be free from outside expectations and demands.
Today, I’m writing from our hotel room in Scottsdale happy to report the food has been just as good as JD recounted!

As we drove up the 51 Freeway, I turned to JD and asked, Can you BELIEVE we are here?! Together?! We’re incredibly stoked to be shooting a wedding tomorrow, and I am honored to share in such a special day with the bride and groom. Until then, however, JD and I plan on living life…free from outside expectations and demands.

I worked on a FAQ post on the plane ride, so I hope it helps at least one person. Like usual, I don’t think I’m right, cool, smart, or some type of sage…I’m simply answering questions the best I can and I hope they help! A few of the questions were emailed from readers, and others were pulled from my Facebook page

Julie asked:
Thanks for your recent post on shooting group formal photos at weddings! I’m curious what f/stop you use. Do you shoot group formals wide open with apertures like 1.8?

It’s funny because I received this question a lot after I blogged that post. While I love shooting wide open, I definitely do not shoot this way when shooting group formals. I don’t have a hard and fast rule, but I usually keep my aperture somewhere between f/4.0-5.6 (depending on how many people there are, and their formation) for bridal party pictures, and I keep the center focus on the bride

Wilamena asked:
I have a hard time coming up with things to blog about. You blog everyday without missing a beat and I can’t help but wonder how you do it. Do you have any tips on making my blog a little more personal, especially if I don’t have too many shoots to blog about?

Oh, Wilamena, welcome to the club! I struggle coming up with fresh content quite often, but I come to believe the blog is an integral part of who I am, and my business. My best piece of advice is not to think too much about what to write, think more about how to write it. Writing a story about a recent trip to the grocery market sounds mundane, but if you care about what you’re writing, readers will care too. I also have bi-weekly topics (like Kisses&Disses and FAQs) that make blogging a little more manageable. Furthermore, use your blog to share with others who you are. Do you like the QVC channel? Love cleaning your bathroom tiles with a toothbrush? Have a pet rock collection? Use your blog to showcase different components of your life to further define your character. Trust me…if you write, people will read.

Sarah asked:
Last weekend I shot a wedding and it went well except for family pictures. There was no where to shoot the groups and I felt stuck. Do you ever struggle with this and how did you handle it?

Yes and yes. I can think of two weddings rather recently when I had to make the tough choice of moving large groups of people because of harsh light/mediocre background. In both situations, the light was way too strong (once sidelit, the other backlit), and I struggled with what to do. It’s often difficult to make a decision and move a large group of people, but I definitely think it’s in everyone’s best interest. Most brides think it’s of utmost importance to have formal photos at the ceremony site (under an archway, or at the end of the aisle) and while I don’t mind this, I will kindly offer another option and explain the light would be better elsewhere. Yes, this is tough to do…but my brides hire me because I’m a professional and they trust my opinion.
In both aforementioned instances, I wanted to melt when I explained to the bride that the traditional photo location wouldn’t work, but both brides were so supportive and I’m happy with the final results. And if I’m happy, I’ve come to believe my brides will be too! 🙂

Faraz asked:
When framing, how much space should I leave along the borders of my frame so that I can crop the photo for different print sizes and still be safe?

You know, I have to admit your question make me think long and hard about how I shoot. Then I got a little worried because I don’t think in aspect ratios, I think in moments. I love shooting on the fly, so if a client orders a print later and a portion of the photo is cropped, I’ve learned to live with it because the aura/essence/moment can still be felt. Freeing yourself from thinking of how the photo will be ordered will allow you creative freedom and I think your clients will love the photo any way they order it.

Mike asked:
How much time do u spend on your images?

This is an interesting question because I don’t spend too much time on my images in Photoshop. I definitely stay away from over-processed, action influenced images, so I use Photoshop as a tool to refine my style, not define my style…if that makes sense. Every picture is different, but I don’t usually spend more than a couple minutes on an image. I know there are some photographers who roll their eyes and despise my approach, but every artist is different and I prefer to shoot images really close to how I want them straight out of camera. If you’re working with a picture you already like, Photoshop should be used to make it better. There’s commonly held beliefs that photographers can ‘fix’ an image later in Photoshop, but I’d kindly disagree with that approach and encourage newbies to hone their skills as photographers, not Photoshop artists.
Having said that, if you’d like to read more about what Photoshop actions I use, you can click HERE and HERE for detailed posts relating to this.

Happy Friday!