Photographers FAQ

Welcome to my FAQ page for photographers!  I’m genuinely happy to help in any way I can as you refine your art and/or grow your business!  What you’ll find here are answers to questions I am frequently asked that are specific to me and how I personally run things.  If you’ve got a general photography question that could be answered by our big brother named Google, you won’t find it listed here. ;)  If you’ve got a question you think should be included, please feel free to contact me using my contact form. Thanks for being here and for being awesome!

Canon or Nikon?

I shoot Canon, but don’t have a preference between the two.  :)

What kind of DSLR would do you recommend for a beginner?

It’s really dependent on price range, but here are a few options.
Canon T1i
Canon T2i
Nikon D3000

What camera body do you use?

primary body: canon 5d MK II
backup: canon 5d (discontinued: you can likely find it used or perhaps new. google it.)

What are your favorite lenses?

50mm 1.2 (primary lens, as in 95% of the time)
70-200mm 2.8 IS (for ceremony and photojournalistic work at weddings, events and regular portrait sessions and engagements)
35mm 2.0 (I bought this because I needed it in a pinch and they were out of the 1.4 :) It’s not the highest quality on Earth, but it gets the job done until I can upgrade to the 1.4)

What other equipment do you use?

flash: 580 EX II + two (2) pocket wizard Plus II for off camera flash

reflector (love my reflectors!): photoflex soft gold/white opaque 52″ and 42″ (if I were going to buy one or the other, the 42″ would be sufficient for most uses)

point and shoot: Instax Mini 7 film: Fujifilm Instax Mini Picture Format Instant Film (ISO 800)

laptop for uploading/blogging during destination events: 17″ macbook pro (black)

desktop: 27″ imac

Which editing software do you use?

I do my image culling in bridge cs4.
fotofafa (who I love and could not live without!) handles my raw edits using adobe camera raw.
I do my final retouches for images that go to print using photoshop cs4.

Do you shoot raw or jpeg?

Though I maintain that there really is no way to duplicate the color quality of a well exposed jpeg image, I shoot primarily in raw. I do this because in order to get a good jpeg image, I dial in a custom white balance for each image depending on the lighting situation.  Since I’m consistently shooting in lighting conditions that vary and are inconsistent, I don’t have time to constantly be dialing in my kelvin (and I don’t trust the automatic kelvin settings in the camera).  I shoot raw so I have better control over my white balance in post processing.

I’m shooting my first wedding this weekend! Do you have any tips for me?

Set very clear and very realistic expectations with your client so you don’t over-promise and under-deliver.

Do you offer consultations?

Yes I do. Phone consultations are $150/ hour and 1 on 1 consultations are $700/ half day (4 hours) or $1000 for a full day (7 hours).

Do you offer workshops?

Yes I do. See here for more information or contact me to request a workshop in your specific area.

How long have you been shooting professionally?

May of 2007 was when I shot my first wedding.  I made a whopping $300, included a high resolution disk of fully edited files and an album. Awesome.

What camera mode do you shoot in?

Manual mode. 100% of the time.

How do you get such natural looking photos?

I show up.  Meaning, I show up emotionally to every shoot.  My clients and I work together, as a team, to create natural looking images.  If it’s unnatural, I won’t shoot it. . . unless it’s a look I’m going for for fun.

How did you get clients when you first started out?

I contacted my playgroup mommies and offered to shoot for free.  They got what they paid for. Trust me.  From there I learned and grew and word of mouth eventually kicked in. . . once I earned it. :)

Do you focus manually?

Occasionally.  My main qualm with my 5d’s is that there aren’t that many focusing points.  So OCCASIONALLY if I’m trying to line something up and can’t get my focusing point to match up, I’ll switch over to manual focus.  Truth be told? I’m not very good at it.

How did you learn photography?

I shot, a lot.  I attended workshops, but I truly feel that the most useful thing I did was SHOOT.  In retrospect, I wish I’d been brave enough to join forums and ask more questions in those sort of communities. I think that would have accelerated my learning curve substantially.

How do  you display your images for client viewing?

LOVE THEM!  Here’s why, there’s no monthly charge.  They simply charge you when you make money.  It makes so much more sense for me, because I don’t do this full time (I’m a mom first and foremost).  If I want to take a month off to be available during soccer season, I’m not paying a senseless charge to my online proofing site.  It’s fully customizable and the customer service is wonderful (and prompt!).

Do you pull every photo into photoshop before uploading for client viewing?

NO.WAY.  I only pull images into photoshop to retouch (if necessary) before going to print.

We’re vacationing on Oahu later this year, where do you recommend I go to take great pictures?

Pali Lookout
Ho’omaluhia Botanical Gardens
Waimea Falls Park

We’re moving to Oahu later this year, can you tell me where to live?

If you are looking to buy a house here on Oahu, I’d love to put you in touch with a guy. ;)

However, I definitely can’t tell you where you should live because where you choose to live is dependent on so many variables: cost, personal tastes, etc.   I can tell you that I would recommend finding a place relatively close to your employment.  Traffic here in paradise can be unspeakable, particularly on the south side of the island.  I personally love living on the North Shore, but living an hour (or more depending on traffic) from civilization is definitely not for everyone.