In the past several months, I’ve had several emails from amateur photographers asking me questions about how I do certain things. I’ve taken most, but not all, of these questions from the latest email and am answering them here. I know that I certainly had a fair number of questions early on, so hopefully this can help some of you a little bit. But please know that my way is not the only way, nor is it going to be the best way — it’s just the way it’s evolved for me. Keep on researching the methods that work best for you.
What’s In Your Camera Bag?
My go-to camera body is my 5D Mark iii, but I also have a 5D Mark ii. For film, I have a Canon 1V 35mm and a Contax 645 Medium Format.
Lenses: Canon 24mm f/1.4 L II, Canon 50mm f/1.2 L, Canon 85mm f/1.8, Canon 135mm f/2, and Zeiss 80mm f/2 Planar
Compact CF Cards: Lexar 3 32GB and 2 64GB, 1066x, 160mb/s
Lens hoods, cleaning cloths, small handheld reflector, transfer cables uv filters, neutral density filter, extra battery
Backpack: Lowe camera backpack
How do you store photos?
On high quality external desktop back up drives.
What is the best way to get photos to a client?
I interpreted this question as asking about the best way to get digital images to a client. The simplest answer is to put them on a flash drive. Another option, depending on the usage and type of client, is to use a service such as Dropbox. And of course, a third option, is to open an account with a service such as Zenfolio or Smugmug, and allow direct downloading from the site.
The longer and more complicated answer is that you also need to look at the bigger picture (no pun intended) and decide what you think is the best way to run your business. Are you selling only digital files, or are you offering prints and products. Why are you doing what you’re doing as far as this goes?
Clearly, this will be different for different photographers. And having grown up in the film world, perhaps I see digital files differently than some folks, more like a physical negative. Because I want to make sure that my clients have beautiful images they can hang on their wall or view in a beautiful custom album, I don’t just sell digital files. While I understand the desire to have digital files to make reprints for family members or “just to have,” the reality is that many people put these digital files on a hard drive and never get around to doing anything with them. Moreover, it’s my job to provide products that are truly beautiful, and that means I’ve tested out my labs, made sure the color on my monitor is as close as can be to the prints that we order, and that the product is made to last. I want to make sure that my client’s investment feels tangible and gives them pleasure on a daily basis. After all, when I make a big purchase on something I’ve wanted for a while, I want to see it or touch it or wear it — not have it sit in a drawer or a closet or out in my garage. For that reason, I want to make sure that my clients have something physical – tangible – right in front of them — prints or a gallery wrap or an album. See, touch, smile, love.
So coming back around to the original question, if it’s just about digital files, then put them on a flash drive or upload them to Dropbox or another file sharing service. But if it’s about prints and products, then you’ll be delivering those in person in whatever format (print, gallery wrap, etc.) you and your client have decided is the best fit for the image and the client’s space.
How do you organize your photos?
I have to say, I wish I’d had a better grasp of this when I first started out. Here’s what I do now, and believe me, I’m sure there are better systems out there. The first thing I do after every shoot is back up the photos onto an external drive; some people believe you should have a RAID system set up, but I don’t have that. Each one of my backup drives is a desktop 4TB drive.
Once the images have been transferred to the backup drive, I name the image folder in Year_Month_Day_Client/Event format (for example: 2016_05_30 Omohundro Family Session). I use Lightroom as an organization tool once I begin working on the files, and there are some great articles on the best ways to organize within Lightroom.
Why do I prefer the camera body I use?
Honestly, I don’t think it matters whether you use Canon or Nikon or Sony or whatever you have. What I think matters is what you can do with that camera. I learned on the most basic of basic film cameras when I was 15 years old, and got my first SLR on my 16th birthday. It was a Minolta x370, and it was downright fancy compared to the camera I had been using from my high school yearbook. I used that camera for several years, and then got a Sony film camera. After that, I got a Canon film camera, and then I was given a Sony digital camera that sat in a bag for 3 years before I ever decided to play with it. When I finally decided to buy a nice digital camera, I chose Canon. Why? Because the Canon film camera I had was my favorite camera ever, and the dials and controls were instinctive for me. Purchasing a Canon digital camera made sense for me, because my fingers and thumbs knew right where to be to adjust settings on the fly – no thinking involved. To be fair, I researched a Nikon thoroughly and loved its features, but when I held it in my hands, it was foreign to me. Go with what feels right, plain and simple. Brand doesn’t matter.
If there was one ideal lens you could have as a portrait photographer, what would it be?
Oh dear, this is a tough one because I love all of my lenses for different reasons, and I cycle through which one lives on my camera for spontaneous excursions. If we’re talking strictly portraits, as in really capturing a person’s face, I’d have to say the 85mm is one of my favorites. But the 50mm gives a crispness that can’t be beat, and the 135 creates the most magical bokeh, while the 24mm feels incredible and gives an unbeatable documentary perspective. I know I didn’t really answer this question, but I can’t help it! There are other lenses I plan to buy as well, but I try to keep my gear obsession in check.
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As far as unasked for advice, here’s what I’ve got for you. And you’ll hear this over and over and over from every photographer because it’s true – get your shots right in camera. Shoot in manual mode. Learn your camera; read the manual. Shoot, shoot, shoot, and shoot some more. Learn to match the image in your head with the image that comes out of your camera by really SEEING. Understand light. Most of all, have fun with it and remember why you were drawn to this amazing art form.
It was a beautiful but chilly evening, much colder than I had anticipated when I met up with this darling girl and her mother. All of the days leading up to this one had been warm and sunny, calling for short sleeves and flip-flops. But true to its nature, Montana showed us that spring here is a roller-coaster ride of ups and downs with regard to the temperature and sunshine. Sure enough, the afternoon had grown chillier and the mountains were shrouded in misty clouds, beautiful and gray and low, hiding all of the snow-covered peaks. So we got this sweet munchkin bundled up in a cozy cashmere sweater, fantastic tulle skirt, awesome brown boots, and a warm beanie hat. We were ready to go on a walk among the towering evergreens and silver sagebrush. So, walk we did, and I got to spend a lovely bit of an evening with this precious little girl and her stunning mama. xoxo
I had the great pleasure this past winter to work with an amazing calligraphic artist named Rachel Jacobson, who helped me design a new logo for my business. The process was fascinating to me, as she delved into why I wanted to bring a new look to my website. She asked many questions, and my own answers forced me to take a deep look at what I wish the blog to be and to become — a place not just to post sneak peeks, but to engage in conversation or to share what I’m thinking about, regardless of whether it has to do with photos or life in general. The resulting design she came up with couldn’t have been more perfect for me, and so here today, I’m introducing the new logo that will begin to infiltrate my work. The idea behind the new name for the blog “All The Little Wild Things” is that I want to encompass all of the crazy-beautiful-wild things about life; and in pictures, this covers everything in my mind from the tiniest littles to the high school seniors to the octogenarians I admire. I wanted a name for this other than my own name, as I feel that it gives me more freedom to express myself in a multitude of ways, so at some point in the very near future, you’ll begin to see the title “All The Little Wild Things” at the top of the blog page instead of my name alone.
Sun and snow, lens flares and big mountains — all as the backdrop for one incredibly beautiful young woman’s senior session. I loved this afternoon of shooting and look forward to showing the rest of the lovely images from this day’s session! xoxo
Had an awesome afternoon and great conversations with this handsome and funny young man! Love the way his senior pictures are coming along — too many good ones to choose from.
This was such a great session — we started out with what seemed to be decent weather, but the clouds quickly moved in and began to look serious. That picture up there in which this lovely young lady is laughing — well, she’s laughing at the rain. God I love her attitude! We had already had to reschedule once due to inclement weather, so I was hopeful that our weather would hold out on this day. And it did…..but juuuust barely. 😉 I don’t know when the last time was that I laughed so hard while hearing what a client has been up to, but this girl is pretty awesome and had a great story for me. Makes me smile right now just to think about it. I absolutely loved photographing this beautiful young woman and can’t wait to show her more of the images! Cheers, Pam
A simply stunning session with this beautiful young woman. I loved spending time with her — she’s soft spoken and kind and just a lovely person to be around. These are just a few of the wonderful images from our time together. Enjoy!
What a terrific session with this beautiful young woman! Once again, there were so many great images to choose from that I finally just had to narrow them down and post them! Many more to come….
(And yes, since I know people will ask me, that lens flare in the final image is real.)
Here are a few first looks at this incredibly gorgeous senior session a few days ago. These are just the tip of the iceberg — there are so many beautiful images of this young woman! Cheers, Pam
Sometimes there are no words to describe how much I love a session — this is one of those times. I love the natural beauty of this young woman, and her smile and her laugh and her kind spirit. Truly a wonderful afternoon. xo, Pam