School is over, summer is here, and now I have lots of time to update my blog and show you all what I've been up to lately! In the last month of school I booked 11 grad session photoshoots, which is super awesome. Through the experience, I learned a lot about posing people, great locations, what time of the day provides the best lighting, and what camera settings to use in every scenario. In addition, I recently downloaded Lightroom which makes A HUGE difference. I used to edit my photos only in iPhoto just because it was easy and fast to upload photos and make simple contrast/brightness/exposure/saturation fixes. But what I learned is that there are so many other categories that can make a huge difference when you edit (shadows, tone, spot healing, etc.) Also, Lightroom has a feature called "presents" which are basically like filters, that help with consistency when you edit. Adobe Creative Cloud also has a promotion where you can get both Lightroom & Photoshop for $10 a month, which I think is super worth it.
As a photographer, you will always reach a point where you feel limited by your equipment. You see all the amazing work that other photographers are doing and you think to yourself, "If I only had a full-frame camera with a $1,000 prime lens I could be capturing images like those too". The most important piece of advice I would give to new photographers is that when you start thinking like this, view it not as a limitation but as a challenge.
1. LENSES > BODIES
I shoot with a D3100--the lowest entry level Nikon you can get. I bought a 35mm prime for $150 on eBay and I use that lens for basically everything. Therefore, first piece of advice: figure out what you're going to be shooting and invest in a great lens. If you're shooting primarily people, objects, or food go for a prime. If you're shooting landscapes, architecture, or travel shots, go for a wide angle. The best advice I can give is that your camera body matters WAY less than the lenses you have.
2. SHOOT IN RAW
Start learning about how to adjust your camera settings so that you're capturing as many megapixels as your camera will allow. Aka ALWAYS SHOOT IN RAW. Before this year I didn't even know what RAW image settings were. I always shot in JPEG because that was my camera's default setting and I never knew there were any alternatives. Shooting in RAW creates a larger image, so it takes longer for these images to upload onto your computer. But by creating a larger image, RAW captures more detail--making your image crisper and higher quality.
3. FIND YOUR GOLDEN HOUR
Shoot at the time of day that will wipe out any sun glare and harsh shadows. Golden hour is roughly the hour after sunrise and the 45 minutes before sunset and the 30 min after sunset. If you can book a session during those times, your images will turn out way better than if you shoot in the middle of the day when the sun is the brightest. If you happen to have to shoot when the sun is too bright, always adjust your ISO to be low to under-expose the image. By under-exposing it, you can manually brighten it up in Lightroom which will yield much better results.
4. STAY TRUE TO YOUR STYLE
This piece of advice is something that I am still working on. When I first started shooting, I tried to adjust my editing style to try to accommodate what I thought my clients would like. I wouldn't discourage this, but I would say definitely try to stay consistent to what you stylistically like. If you're trying to build up photography as your brand, it's important to know what you like and to stay consistent to these preferences. In doing so, people will start booking you specifically because they like your style. This will take a lot of pressure off you when you're editing because you won't have to second-guess what you like (it'll also make it a lot more fun to edit!).