faq: round 3

Sarah asked:
I’m really interested in your shooting techniques… the lenses you use and how you achieve such a super-clear, sharp image.
Hey Sarah,
I get this one a lot, but I always feel like “Who am I to be telling people how to shoot?” I still have so much to learn, but I’ll give you the dish. Last year I realized that my camera’s Manual Mode is my best friend. I was shooting in Aperture Priority Mode a lot but realized that I was using it as a crutch. My images just didn’t have the feel that I wanted. Since I’ve been shooting exclusively in Manual I’ve seen a huge difference in my images.

My favorite lenses are all fixed. That means they don’t have any zoom capabilities. The images produced from these lenses are clearer and crisper than those from a zoom lens. There are technical reasons, but I don’t know what they are. (If you’re interested, Google it!) I also like that I have to physically move around to get different angles rather than just zooming in or out with the lens. This forces me to get more involved with the subject. I do have a few zoom lenses but don’t use them much. Anderson enjoys using the 70-300mm, but I think he just likes being up in peoples’ faces without them knowing! Also, all my lenses are Canon. I know I’ve said this before, but I really believe in investing in high-end lenses rather than off brand versions. It really does pay off in the end!

Helpful Tip: Read your camera manual. I’m serious! If you’ve been a photographer forever it’s a great refresher. And if you’re picking up your camera for the first time you will learn all you need to know about operating it.

Jessica said:
I’m 20 years old and really don’t know what I want to do with my life. Ha! I love photography but hate school. Can you give me some insight on what I should do as far as school if I want to pursue photography?
I feel your pain! My first two years of college were not the best, because I was wading through all those core classes. But once I picked a major I fell in love with school! Here’s the thing, I’m really passionate about college and think everyone should attend if given the opportunity. For me, it’s not about the academics as much as the experience. My college experience was eye opening, challenging, sometimes uncomfortable, exciting and wonderful. It wasn’t just about the classes I took but more about the people I had the opportunity to meet. I grew up in a small town and had never really interacted with people who were different from me. Those four years definitely stretched me and made me a better, more open person.

That said, if you want to pursue photography my advice is to make it your major. I minored in it, because I didn’t have the guts to be an “artist” at the time. But the great thing is that my communication degree helps me a lot with doing all of my own advertising and design, writing, etc. I would definitely choose a minor too. If you want to own your own photography business one day, consider a business minor. That’s one area where I always seem to need help from others. 🙂

The most important thing is not to get discouraged! Stay focused on your strengths, and work hard to keep building them. Some things just don’t matter in the big picture. For instance, my “Ds” in college algebra!!!

Since I’m talking about college I have to post this lovely old picture from my days at JU. This is: Sarah, Becky, Me and Pamela. We were all in the broadcast communication program together. Yes, I’m wearing a Black Kow Manure trucker hat. What?!

Thanks for the questions and your patience with my responses. I really try to answer everyone. Hope you are all having a great week! I’m gearing up for a busy May; my busiest photography month to date. Yikes! I’m a little nervous. I have a feeling Anderson will be cooking dinner a lot over the next few weeks. 🙂