Tuesday, November 10, 2009

♥ Your questions answered ♥

From time to time, I receive questions from other photographers asking a whole range of questions from Do you use photoshop actions, to What type of camera do you have? Sometimes, it's just a sweet note telling me that Mark and I are being prayed for, or asking how I balance my time between being a mother/wife and being a photographer.
I have to be honest with you, the first time I got an email from another photographer I thought, wow...your asking me for help? How can I teach another photographer anything when I still learn something every day?
So a couple of weeks ago I decided to hire a professional to design a new blog template for me. I thought about my old template & how many hours it took me to figure out the html coding to get it looking the way I wanted. I thought, "gosh, it would be a real shame to just send this template to my recycle bin after all of that work!" That's when I came up with the idea to have a contest to pass the template along to someone who could get good use out of it.
So, when I announced the contest, over the course of the week my email box was flooded with all sorts of questions. It took me a little while, but I did get back with everyone.
Some things I find myself answering over and over so I thought I would post the answers in case anyone else is curious.

1. What type of camera do you use? (the #1 asked question by far)
I shoot with a Nikon D700 and have a D200 as a backup camera.

2. How do you balance your time between your work life & your home life?
Gosh...I think if I knew the answer to this question I would be a rich women...Lol. The truth is I work an awful lot & sometimes it's not balanced at all. Then other times, I get really organized and surprise myself. I think that what a lot of new photographers are surprised to learn is that being a photographer is much more than just shooting & making beautiful art. It's about being a business owner, book keeper, sales person, customer service rep., artist, blogger...and the list goes on and on!
If I could give you one piece of advice, it would be to schedule your time off just like you would schedule a session. It's important not only to take care of your business, but to take care of yourself.
I hope this helps...it's something that I still struggle with every day & if I learn any new secrets, I'll be sure to pass them on :)

3. How do you get the picture on your blog to have rounded corners?
When I first stared putting round corners on my images, I would do it manually in Photoshop. Then I found a fabulous free action from this site:

There are several free actions on the web that will give you rounded corners, but I love the Coffee Shop action because it re-sizes your image as well as rounding the corners :)

4. What software do you use for editing?
Photoshop CS3

5. I love your baby portraits! How do you get so many good ones? I've done one baby session and it was really hard. The baby wouldn't stop crying & I was so nervous! I came away with only a few good ones.

First let me say do not get discouraged! Newborn portraits take practice and lots of patience so don't be too hard on yourself :)
Here are a few tips:
- Get them young! The first two weeks is ideal & if you can shoot the session during the first week, even better!
- Plan on taking lots of breaks. During my typical newborn session, the average baby eats 2 to 3 times. I also let Mom know that during our pre-session consult so she can be prepared. When baby is full, she will get relaxed and sleepy for you which makes your job a lot easier!
- Don't be afraid to position/touch the baby. I know this might sound silly, but I've talked to several photogs who are very intimidated to move babies around & you must feel comfortable doing this in order to achieve the poses you want for your images.
- Keep them warm. I always bring a couple of small, super soft blankets that I cover baby while I move them around, or to use between shots.
During the winter months, I bring a heating pad with me to warm the blankets so baby will be extra cozy.
- Don't get in a hurry! Take your time & enjoy the session :) Newborns are my absolute favorite subjects & I always try to enjoy every moment that they are in front of my camera.

6. I notice that you shoot with other photographers sometimes. Are you afraid that they are going to steal some of your secrets? After all they are your competition...

Lol...No. I don't really have any special secrets & every time that I have had the pleasure to shoot with a fellow photographer, I have always walked away a better photographer! The truth is, if they happen to learn something from me, I am flattered!
I don't really look at my photographer friends as competition for these reasons:
- There are plenty of people in Jacksonville for everyone to have a thriving business.
- When a client hires me they have done so because they saw something in my work that they love. There is nobody but me who can produce my work & even if someone tries, it's still not going to be my art.
- Photographer friends are the best! You have so much in common & they are super fun to hang out with!
- It's so nice to know that if I ever need a question answered, I can always count on my photographer friends to help me out. It also makes me feel really good if I can do the same for them!

Do yourself a BIG favor & make friends with other photographers in your area! I promise you that you won't be disappointed!

I hope this helps answer some of your questions! I have a whole list & will do another q&a post in the next couple of weeks.
It really means a lot to me that you take the time to read my blog & send me such sweet emails.

Take care everyone :)

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Tiffany Walensky November 10, 2009 at 2:25 PM  

Great info, thanks for sharing :)

Melissa November 10, 2009 at 5:14 PM  

Thank you for this. How nice of you. May I ask what kind of lenses you use? Which one is your favorite?
Also do you advertise?
thanks Erica,

Jaren November 16, 2009 at 11:02 PM  

Lady, you are the BEST! I hope to call you soon! Love and prayers, Jaren


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