Here’s a little sampling of the questions I receive most often:
Q.) Do you use flash or strobes?
A.) Although I prefer natural light, I do occasionally use flash for special effects or to fill. I’ve been getting more into Off Camera Flash lately.
Q.) Who does your website & blog?
Q.) Do you have any resources you recommend to new photographers?
A.) I really enjoyed the Nichole Van Professional Workshop, but a lot of what I know about photography & post-processing I learned on my own through books, trial & error. What’s wonderful about Nichole is that she knows the actual principles and rules of art & photography. So, after years of studying art & photography in books, and having much of what I learned conflict with what was taught online & on peer-mentoring boards, meeting Nichole was a wonderful affirmation that I already knew more than I thought I knew. She is a wonderful teacher as well, and understands that lens length and composition are equally as important as mastering the tricks of “blinkies.” I highly recommend her professional workshop to anyone starting out. I also attended her lighting workshop, specifically to learn how to use Off Camera Flash, and it was great. In addition, Nichole is a very kind, down-to-earth person who is truly a pleasure to be around.
Q.) Do you plan on offering workshops any time soon?
Maybe. Check out my answer to the previous question if you’re looking for a workshop. If the time is right for my family, and I feel I have developed enough to truly have something to offer, I’ll consider it.
Q.) What about online mentoring?
Yes! I will be launching online mentoring in the summer of 2012!
Q.) What Actions do you use?
A.) I used to when I first started, but rarely now. I sometimes will finish off with a few that I’ve created for myself (not for sale – outlined on my blog) but that is it.
Q.) What about Textures?
A.) I use textures and light overlays on at least 50% of my work. Although there are a lot of good ones out there, I almost exclusively use my Kaleidoscope products for any texture/depth/special effect work necessary. You are able to achieve certain looks with texture that you absolutely cannot achieve with actions/Photoshop editing alone.
Q.) Do you plan on releasing a line of actions anytime soon?
A.) Not at this time. I have a few that I’ve created for color/depth, but I don’t know if I’ll ever release them. The basic methods are outlined on my blog. I don’t ever try to re-invent the wheel, and there are so many awesome action vendors out there right now, that I can’t imagine the endless hours it would take me to try to come up with something better.
Q.) How did you learn Photoshop?
A.) I learned Photoshop by going through absolutely every single button and function in the entire program and spending hours upon hours experimenting with different techniques. Again, I wish there was a quick and easy way to suggest, but there just isn’t one. I would highly recommend any Photoshop book by Scott Kelby though.
Q.) What are your weak areas and what comes naturally easy to you?
A.) I’m weakest shooting with Off Camera Flash, but I’m getting better at it. I’ve been told, by photographers who are much better than I am, that my compositions are very powerful, so I guess that would be a strength. Composing comes very easily to me.
Q.) Speaking of post-processing, about how long does it take you to process a typical session?
A.) A couple of hours, including artistic edits & sort time, max. I typically provide my clients with around 100+ images per session. I only do full artistic edits on a handful of them though. When I first started, it took much longer.
Q.) Raw or JPG?
A.) I shoot RAW.
Q.) PC or Mac?
Both, but mostly Macs. Everything everyone says about both are pretty right on. I prefer Mac’s for work and my particular PC for editing because the prints turn out the most true to screen. However, use what works best for you.
Q.) ACR or Lightroom?
A.) I do my initial sorting & tweaks in Lightroom, then I do full edits starting with ACR.
Q.) Camera? Lenses? Gear?
A.) I shoot Nikon now, and own a D700, a 50mm lens, an 85mm lens and the 70-200. Prior to that, I shot Canon and used a Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 5D, Canon 16-35 mmL, Canon 24-70 mmL, Canon 70-200 mmL, Canon 100mm 2.0 Macro, Canon 580 II flash, Canon 430 flash, a couple of umbrellas, light stands, sandbags, and some Power-Wizards that drive me crazy. Keep in mind, it’s less about what you own and more about what you do with what you own. There are absolute differences in each, and I am so glad I’ve shot with both, and processed images from both. I think it will help with mentoring.
Q.) I’m thinking of starting a photography business. Do you have any advice?
A.) Hang on tight – it’s quite a ride! There are literally volumes upon volumes of advice and anecdotes from other photographers online in forums regarding business practices. The only advice I would give you is to learn the basics of business and combine them with the basics of the Photography business. Build slowly, and spend carefully. The beauty of this business is that it can be started with very little capital as long as you possess talent and drive. I’ve seen incredible images created by world-renowned, highly educated, successful Photographers, and I’ve seen equally incredible images created by housewives in the Midwest who are working out of their laundry rooms. Talent doesn’t discriminate. Talent doesn’t care how old you are or how rich you are or what you’ve done in your past. If you’ve got it, work hard to develop it, and watch what happens. Good luck!