Sunday, April 12, 2009

Your Questions: Answered

You asked, now I'm answering:

What programs do you use?
Adobe Lightroom, Illustrator, and Photoshop

Whats in your bag?
Nikon D200, Nikkor 50mm f/1.4, Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8, Lensbaby.

**What I want in my bag?! So many things! For starters?
Nikkor 50mm f/1.2
Nikkor 85mm f/2.8 tilt shift lens

What advise do you have for someone just getting started in photography?
Ask questions and shoot.
Shoot and ask questions.
Give yourself assignments. Read. Look at Flickr. Write photographers you admire and ask them questions.

Photography bag or diaper bag?...

Both of course! I use Jessica Claire's Shootsac for photography and I love it!

How do you meter light for you photos?
I am kind of obsessed with control when I am trying to be creative, so I have my own system for light metering. Because I ONLY shoot in manual mode, I have pretty much figured out what shutter speed and aperture I need to use, in most lighting situations. That said, I always allow time for checking my LCD feedback and making adjustments to shutter speed and f-stops. I don't typically use my camera's light meter- simply out of habit. I have been learning how to use my camera's histogram and really love the technical feedback for exposure and balance.

I'd love to know what inspires you.
Music, film, history, the seasons, writing, and other photographers. My life inspires me. My love for my husband, my travels, my culture and neighborhood. My ideals. I am fascinated with relationships, patterns, nature, emotion, age and the passions and pain that make places and people so complex and diverse. I want that to be in my photos.

What are your philosophies on photography and post processing?

Post processing and photography are two very individual arts, but one underlying sentiment applies to them both for me: keep it simple. If you love photography- take pictures. Don't be afraid to give it a shot. Not everyone needs to love what you do, just you do.

On photography:

Using the rules and applying the experiences of shooting film to shooting digital, required me to become familiar with manual mode. Manual mode alone gives me the control I need. While it can be intimidating to stay away from presets and really dive in head first into the mechanics of your camera, the pay off is more than worth it. Gaining an understanding of how and why photography works by experimenting with shutter speed, white balance, aperture, etc. is essential to both viability (personal and professional) and confidence.

On post processing:

As of late I have really been focusing on simplicity and subtly with regards to how and why I use photoshop. I never want someone to see my photographs and note that the trends of time are reflected in the image's contrast, the tilt of my lens, saturation etc. While I use Photoshop tools and some actions to enhance my out-of-the-camera concept, I do not want Photoshop to be a creative distraction that draws attention from my subject, or a bandaid that covers bad camera work.

In your mind what makes a photograph powerful?
Light, intention and honesty.
I am talking about powerful here, not good, not memorable, not professional.
A powerful photograph is an abstraction, an extract of the truth. The teary-eyed father of the bride; the annoyance of sister with brother; the way age and experience impress wrinkles and bliss on a person or place. A powerful photograph is revealing and honest, and powerful to me is not always cloaked in beauty.

What are your thoughts on sharpening your pics? How do you sharpen for print and how do you sharpen for web? How do you avoid over sharpening?
I am still figuring this out. I use TRA "Sharpen for the Web" before I post my images or send them to my gallery site.

Do you use a lot of actions?
Yes and no. Last summer I taught myself Photoshop and using actions was a really great way to do that. I would apply something and go into the history to see how actions were composed. There are a few I use daily.

How do you get infants to stay still and happy when they are naked??????

First of all, I am by no means an infant photographer, but I know someone who is. I do have a one personal rule when I work with kids.
1. Don't limit yourself too much on time when working with babies.
If the parents feel stressed that there is only one hour for their little Jimmy to act happy, well, the poor little infant picks up on the parent's stress turning a fuss into a cry. Just commit to taking all the time necessary.
That said, I say if they baby cries, let them! Babies cry and its great. As a photographer I want to gather the truth of that infant so that 15 years down the road the family will remember that baby as more than just happy.

Do you shot all in RAW?
Heavens yes.

Well. That was so so much fun! Got more? Send em over!


Kiera said...

"Powerful to me is not cloaked in beauty."
I love how you put that. I completely agree. You are so amazing Ashley! I'm so glad to call you my friend.

I want to learn about'll teach me???

jenn said...

thank you!

Ash said...

I'd like to know a little more about how you use histograms while shooting. I'm always looking to improve my technique in shooting... what does a good histogram look like? Thanks for sharing, this was great!

Lauri's Photography said...

This is a great idea- I should attempt it too as I get asked all the time about my process.

And without a doubt, while shooting babies, the parents always say the baby was in a good mood earlier. I can't count how many parents thought the shoot was a disaster only to later surprise them with gorgeous prints. Its so fun!

So a question for you-
What are your thoughts on the debate as to only provide prints for your clients, or to let them have a digital copy of the images? I'm torn between the two. As a mom, of course I want all the photos on a disk, and I don't want to pay hundreds to get them. But I can see as a photographer you make more money by only offering prints and hoping your clients buy lots of them. what to do?