I will be sharing some of the things that I learned about photography within my one year. Some people might agree or might not agree with the things I say, but feel free to give me feedback because I am hear to listen and learn. This is just me answering questions that I get on the daily basis. I will also be incorporating some things that I discussed at my recent workshop. Now the information in this blog are for people who doesn't even own a camera to people who has been in this photography community for months/years, so bare with me. Also, there is no specific order of how I wrote this.
MANUAL MODE //
ISO - The lower the ISO, the darker it is. When it gets darker, the more noise and grain it will add to the photo - therefore the quality or crispness is lost.
Shutter Speed - The lower the shutter speed, the lighter is it. The higher the shutter speed, the darker it is. The lower it is, the slower the shutter is therefore if you are taking an action shot, it will have the blur effect. The higher it is, the faster the shutter is therefore you will capture more frames per second and there will not be much blur.
Aperture - The lower the aperture, the lighter it is. The higher the aperture the darker it is. The lower the aperture, the more bokeh effect you will receive. This means that the background will be blurry and the subject will be in focus and more sharp. The higher the aperture, the more focus everything is. I use the lowest aperture (depending what lens you have) like 2.8 and lower for portraits and 2.8 and higher for group photos, landscape, and food.
I always start off my ISO at the lowest ISO it can get. Once I have that set, I then mess with the shutter speed and aperture. Majority of the time I shoot portraits, therefore I leave my aperture around 1.4 or 1.8 - I mess with the shutter speed a lot when it comes to lighting, mainly because I want that bokeh effect and I do not want to lose the quality in my photos. If the photo is still too dark, then I would move the ISO up (last option). Keep in mind that shooting under exposed or over expose is OKAY. You are shooting in RAW file, so you can always change the brightness on Lightroom and the quality will still be there.
RAW VS JPEG //
Raw - It is a photo that has all of the information and quality in it.
Jpeg - Everything is compressed.
You will not see the difference on camera, but I promise you… when it comes to editing, it is CRUCIAL. Do keep in mind that Jpeg only takes 3MB rather than 30MB with raw files, so work on an external hard drive.
Clients - First, I always start by placing my subject in front of my location and tell them to stand still. I shoot them in a 180, 45, 90, 45, and 180 degrees around their body to see what is their best angle since they most likely will not know it. Then I would test what they would look like with an top, straight/middle one, and under angle.
Models - A lot of models should already know how to pose, so I wouldn’t be too worried about them. If anything just tell them to tilt their heads or chin down or up, and more.
If the subject is sitting, I recommend trying the top angle.
If the subject is standing, I recommend trying the under angle just because it makes them look thinner and taller.
If you are shooting from above, move towards their face not their stomach so they don’t look flat. Make sure their chin is also down, because when you are laying down people have a habit of having their chin aim at the camera and not their eyes.
When standing, always have their foot in front of the other (do not let them cross either). Make them point their toes and aim it at wherever the camera is. That way is makes them look more pleasing and taller.
I highly recommend learning to pose yourself. Watch videos and practice in front of the mirror. If you know how to pose, then you can pose your model. Instead of trying to talk to them, you can show them and they can mock you, which is a lot easier for them to visualize and do.
Everything else I just shoot straight on.
Spacing - Cropping is so underrated. Please keep in mind of the Instagram cropping every time you shoot whether you have a crop sensor or full frame. If you take an up close picture, when editing you can barley change the depth of it. If you back up and take a far shot, you can always go back and edit it to a close up photo. Give yourself more freedom when taking a photo. Do not leave little head or feet room, always give space. You can get 3 pictures with one photo rather than just that one photo you want to use for Instagram.
Using your phone as a prism // Put your phone against your lens and angle your phone's reflection towards the camera. Not everyone has a prism or brings a prism 24/7, but everyone does bring/ have a phone.
SD Cards // Always get an SD card that has the speed of 80 and above. That way your photos will process faster and will take more frames per second when shooting on continuous.
Breaking the ice // Get to know your models prior to the shoot. It is better to talk to them for 40 mins and shoot for 10 mins to get a plenty of bangers, rather than shooting for a straight 50 mins and getting stiff photos. After every 3 to 5 photos, talk to them like complimenting or changing poses to keep the momentum going. Also, playing music throughout the shoot helps a lot.
Feed // Use the app UNUM to help pre plan your feed, because having a nice feed is so so so important. It is your first impression and portfolio to clients.
iPhone Apps for Editing //
VSCO - I use this mostly for filtering
Lightroom - Change the exposure, shadows, and highlights. Mess with the luminance, saturation, and the individual colors.
Aviary - Any last minute changes with exposure, contrast, etc. I mostly use this to enhance the sharpness.
Snapseed - I use this app more for specific fixes and spots.
Pics Art - Same as UNUM, I use it to pre plan my feed.
LD - To add a little flare in your photos and prism effects.
Over - I use this to create flyers.
Camera Gear // I recommend everyone to get the 24-70mm lens just because it gives you such a big variety. You have the 24, 35, 50, and 70 mm within one lens for the price of $1400 ish depending on the brand rather than $1000 for each. If you prefer prime lens, which means a non zoom, then I recommend the 35mm. It is not to wide, but not to close. Camera body wise, it does not really matter to me because I am not a big camera geek; I would just say do research. If you are not on a budget then dream camera for canon would be the 5D mark iii. Nikon would be the D850. I do not know anything about Sony. Fujifilm would be the X2T. Photography is an expensive hobby. THIS IS STRICTLY MY OPINION, please just do research and ask photographers for their opinions or experiences with their cameras BUT always follow your instinct.
DM Models Template // Hey! My name is ______. I’m from _______ and I am a ______ photographer. I have this concept that I have been planning out and I feel like you would fit the look perfectly. I found you through ______ and would love to collaborate with you! If you are down, let me know - hope to hear from you soon & have an amazing day!
GET CREATIVE //
My top 3 mottos to being creative is…
Create something out of nothing
Make it look like it is not from Houston
Think outside the box and always challenge yourself
Shoot everyday whether it is a coffee cup or a human being
Make mistakes and experiment and learn from it
Find inspiration on Instagram and real life and write it down
Find the one thing that inspires you or a prop that you can build from and get creative with it
Start from a base and add your own style to it
Engagement is so important. When I mean engagement, I don't mean the amount of likes you get or comments per post. I am talking about engaging with the community. Go to meet ups, events, and support everyone. The more you engage, the more your name gets out there. Use it to your advantage and continue to inspire people. Comment on people's post and stories, compliment them in person, meet new people, and simply connect. It will help you so much in the long run. The more you get involved with the community, the more your circle grows, the more clients you'll receive, and the more money you'll make from doing what you love. Network is your net worth.
Meetups - For those who don't know what meet ups are, it is basically an event hosted by somebody where photographers/models come together and just shoot for fun. It is an amazing event to get in free practice and content. For me personally, I do not shoot at meet ups because I rather spend that time to match faces and Instagram handles. I use it to meet new creators. Models, get ready to be surrounded by 10+ photographers and photographers, get ready to find those unique angles to make your pictures different from others. Anyways, meet ups are fun. It is like hanging out with people who have the same interest which is cool.
YOUTUBE VIDEOS TO WATCH //
Binge watch all of their videos or the ones that interest you the most, they will help you in…
Jessica Kobessi - Camera tricks, proof that gear does not matter, and observe her models and how they pose to help your models.
Jessica Whitaker - How to build your packages for clients, how to propose to brands, talk to models, and grow your photography.
How to Light Bracket
Rule of Thirds
Reviews on lens and the camera that you plan on getting/upgrading too.
THE END. KEEP DOING YOU BOO. THERE'S ALWAYS ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT.