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! 😉