FAQ: Round 7

Hello!
I’ve decided to start FAQ posts again. For a long time I was answering questions via Formspring (you can still view them here), but lately am wanting to keep as much content right here on my blog as possible. It’s hard keeping up with multiple sites/accounts all over the internet! (Same reason I’m thinking about deactivating my twitter account… but that’s a whole other thing.) Back to the reason you’re here: I get lots of questions though email and Facebook;everything from shopping and decorating to how to start a photography business. And a lot of them are really good questions! So today I’m going to answer a few about photography equipment.

Candice asked: What program do you use to make your marketing materials (pricing guides, contracts, business cards?) I love the look of them but don’t know much about design. Is it an easy program to learn?
-Thanks! I really enjoy designing those pieces. I use Adobe Photoshop and InDesign (CS5) for almost all of my projects. You can download a free trial of Photoshop if you want to try it out. When I was first learning I Googled absolutely everything then watch videos and tutorials to learn the program. I found that I learned best by trying one new task at a time. That way I didn’t get overwhelmed. Then once you learn Photoshop you’ll easily get a grasp on InDesign. The programs have so many similarities. Take it slow. You will be so impressed with yourself before you know it!

Amy asked: I love your work and am looking to start my own photography business. I don’t have any training but would like recommendations as to what camera and lenses to start with. My goal is to buy all my equipment this year.
-Good for you! I usually recommend the Canon Rebel for beginners. It’s a great camera for someone starting out on a budget. And Canon keeps coming out with new models, so it’s easy to find a used one at a great price. I got one right after college and used it for years. It’s reasonably priced, and you can learn how to shoot manually when you’re ready. I’d buy just the camera body and invest in a good lens though. The lens that comes on the Rebel isn’t very good, and you won’t use it at all once you start buying nicer ones. Practice, practice, practice!

Ryan asked: What camera do you shoot with and what are the lenses you use most?
– I have a Canon 5D Mark II and a Canon 50D for backup. Most used lenses: Canon 50mm f/1.4 and Canon 15mm f/2.8.

Sara asked: I’m looking to buy a new zoom lens but I’ve read that you really prefer fixed lenses. Can you explain?
-Fixed lenses produce clearer images. I’ve bought and sold several zoom lenses over the years and have one right now that I rarely use (Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8), because the quality just doesn’t compare to my fixed lenses. I do shoot with it when we travel sometimes or when I shoot personal projects, but that’s about it.

Chelsea asked: I have the Canon 50D and one good lens and am trying to decide if I should upgrade the body first or buy a new lens.
-I’d go with a new lens or two before buying a new camera. The 50D is a great camera.

Thanks to everyone who submitted questions! If you have a question, feel free to leave it in the comments or send me an email. Happy Thursday!