Here are the answers to last week’s Q&A.
1. Deirdre G.: When you first got started in business, what type of photography did you do, is there a certain area that a newbie should focus on initially?
When I first started, I took mostly pictures of nature, inanimate objects, and my dog because none of them could judge me. I could take my time to change my camera settings and if the pictures didn’t turn out well, no one would know except me.
I pushed myself to do test shoots to practice working with people because that’s what I wanted to do in the long run. I wasn’t sure exactly what kind of photography I wanted to do so I tried different things. In the beginning my online portfolio had travel, fashion, food, events, family, and weddings.
If you are starting out, I would say shoot what interests you. As time goes on, naturally, the type of photography you do will narrow down. You’ll learn what you like/don’t like and also what you’re good at/not good at. Working with people has always been of interest to me, and eventually I found weddings and photojournalism to be my niche.
2. Sophia M.: I’m wondering, how is it that the quality of photos look so much better on my Macbook? I edit on there, but when I go to my daughter’s computer, the photos look nothing like how I edited it on my Mac. How do I know that other people are able to see the same quality?
Chances are, everyone is seeing something different according to what kind of computer they have and how their screen is calibrated. There is no way to regulate this unless you invite everyone over to your place!
Most computer default settings make things on the screen look cooler. I calibrate my monitor with Spyder to see the true color of images so that when they are printed, there won’t be any surprises. Because of this, it is likely that my pictures show up more blue on other people’s computers.
As a photographer, I think what is most important is that the colors are accurate for printing.
3. Loveexa K.: Which DSLR is best for beginners???
I learned on the Canon Rebel and loved it.
4. Jamie G.: If you could be the still photographer on any movie from the past which one would it be and why?
Titanic. What a production! Early 1900’s, young Leo, young Kate, people falling off a boat…
5. Deirdre G.: How did you establish packages, rates, etc.? Did you use any particular resources? Did you begin with a portfolio building rate or just regular rates from the beginning?
In the very beginning I did a lot of test/free shoots to build my portfolio. At first I made up my own price but after a while I did some research to see what other photographers in my area were charging. That was really helpful but at the same time, I priced myself based on where I thought I stood compared to other photographers. I lacked confidence in the beginning so I undercharged for a long time.
6. Alana T.: How do you keep photography from feeling like a “job”? I LOVE it so much and would love to take only the jobs that I know I’ll get a kick out of, but, 1) I don’t have the luxury of being choosy right now, so, 2) I worry sometimes that I’ll be shooting/editing so much that it will become rote and not as fun anymore…
It’s inevitable – sometimes it just feels like work. Like anything else, things can’t be rainbows and butterflies all the time, and that’s ok! Balance out the stuff that feels like “work” with things that don’t. For example, if you are hired to do gigs that don’t necessarily inspire you, set up test shoots that do. Get a model and create something cool.
I constantly set up test shoots and photograph new things to keep inspired. I play with my film and Polaroid cameras. My friend just told me he is planning to drive up to Big Sur and if my schedule allows it, I’m going to join him because I want to take pictures!!!
7. Glenn P.: What or who inspired you to become a photographer?
I’ve always been sentimental and I like to tell stories. Growing up I was shy and I’ve never been able to articulate well what I see in words, so naturally I became drawn to photography.
8. Kimberly A.: What program is the best for beginner photographers to use for editing? Using Photoshop right now and it’s just ok…
LightRoom! When someone told me about this plug-in to Photoshop (thank you Rocco!) I was blown away. Now I think, “What on earth did I do before I had this???.”
9. Christine L.: How did you find your style of photography? Another more technical question, what level of contrast and brightness do you set your screen at when playing with photos?
I looked at photographers’ work that I admired and played around with different things. Style develops over time. I think it’s great to draw ideas from other photographers, but I also think it’s important to make it your own.
I set my brightness right in the middle of the scale when editing. Contrast is the default setting but most importantly, I calibrate my screen using Spyder.
10. Ashley B.: What’s the most difficult part about your job? And then what’s the best part?
The most difficult part is the editing. It can get monotonous after a while. The best part is getting to travel the world and work with awesome people!
Editing with Carla in Cancun in between shooting (and hitting the buffets).
11. Nina L.: How do you have time for everything? You cover in your blog, clients post, personal post, travel post, everything!
My sister saw me on my laptop during our last vacation and said, “Sis, you work really hard.” I said, “I do? It doesn’t feel like it.” I guess this is what happens when you truly enjoy what you do! My personal and work lives are more integrated than I ever thought possible. Blogging and social media do take a lot of time but they are second nature to me. I like sharing what’s on my mind with other people.
My advice is to do what you love. That is when you are truly living.