I have been taking photographs for years and years and it has only been since having my first born, Elle, that i started to establish a style to my work. I am a story teller, a dreamer. I hope that my work reflects this.
Most of my personal work are self portraits. I find it quite soul soothing to just go out into a field on my own with only a camera, tripod and wireless remote. I feel no pressure. I can walk around until i find the perfect location, wait until the light is just perfect and take as many photographs as i like. I like being alone sometimes and i like being alone even more when i am creating and capturing something that only i can see in my head.
I wanted to put together a little FAQ as over the years, i have had many of the same questions asked to me. I will always do my best to help anyone as we all started out at the beginning and we all had to learn or figure something out on our own. I never studied photography. I just read and watched tutorials and its only been in the last year that i took a few online e-courses as, to be honest, i was just snapping and i had no idea what i was doing. Things are now more clear and i am ready to share with you.
What camera and lenses do you have? Before christmas, i photographed on a canon 350-D SLR. All of the pictures in this blog post were taken on that camera. I was then gifted a canon 600-D SLR which i now use. I only have two lenses. The 18-55mm kit lens and the 50mm 1.8 prime lens. I would love more lenses but i shall just have to save my pennies. I also use a 50mm 1.8 EF (film) lens. I have an attachment for my digital camera, and use that on manual focus. Even though they are the same lens, i find the film lens gives a very dreamy look.
What editing software do you use? I use photoshop CS4 and photoscape.
Where do you find places to take photos? Even though i live right in the centre of a town, i am lucky enough to have a river, meadows, lake and manor house right near me. I normally shoot at one of these locations as i don't drive. My family are such country folk and we like to go out on walks alot and i am always on the lookout for places that make my heart flip. I think, even if you live in the middle of a city, there are always places around that you can shoot at. There might be a corner of a park where the sun shines through a tree beautifully that you could use. Just always keep an eye out.
Where do you find your inspiration from? I used to spend hours looking at other peoples work on flickr and getting increasingly frustrated as i thought i would never be able to execute anything as well as those photographers, or come up with enchanting stories to tell like those photographers. I made myself stop looking at others work and used my own imagination to come up with shoot ideas. The whole point to my personal photography work is to tell a story or evoke emotion. I base a lot of my shoots around my own memories and i write a lot of short stories which i then use to come up with my ideas. So i guess i am inspired by my own life and my own imagination. *a tip i would give to anyone is to stop looking at others work over and over and comparing yourself. Sit down for an hour and write down song lyrics that inspire you or put on some music that makes you emotional/happy/nostalgic. Just write anything that comes into your head on paper and then re-read them another day and try and see if there is a way you can create something around those emotions*
What is your favourite lighting to shoot in? My favourite light is the golden hour just before sunset but, being a mother, you cannot always plan shoots at those sorts of times (It normally hits around dinnertime, bathtime or bedtime). I will try to avoid doing a shoot at high sun but i have shot at this time. I normally shoot with my 50mm lens so, if the sun is really high, it doesnt effect my photos too much and i still get a lovely sun kissed depth of field.
How do you edit? Do you use actions/filters? At the beginning of last year, i was lucky enough to win a place of an Eye Candy photography course run by one of the sweetest ladies, Sheye Rosemeyer. As i mentioned previously, i would just go out and shoot and i wasn't confident with camera settings at all, I learnt the complete basics of my camera and shooting in manual. It was a complete godsend. Around the same time, my aunty kindly paid for me to take another online e-course by the wonderful Kirsty Wiseman. Again, she stripped everything back and i learnt the complete basics of photography and shooting in manual. I couldnt believe how much i just guessed out on previous shoots and now, looking back at older photos, i can see where i was going wrong and how i can improve.
Previously, when i opened up a photo in photoshop, i would have to spend a long time sorting out lighting issues, exposure issues and tone issues to get the photograph to look how i had imagined but i try now to use as much of my "in camera" knowledge to get the right lighting and exposure so i don't have to edit as much in photoshop.
When i open up a photograph in photoshop now, i normally adjust the curves or levels to add or take away light and then use a sharpen tool to sharpen what i need to. I would then also warm the photograph slightly by using the colour balance in adjustments. Sometimes that is all i need to do and then sometimes i might want to take the photograph in a different and fresh direction, so i will then use actions.
When i was taking the Eye Candy course, i purchased the Eye Candy actions. Sheye offers two sets and i have them both. I use her actions sometimes on my work and find them to be a perfect fit for my style of work. Here is an example of how using an action can bring a whole new lift to a picture.
Sheye has kindly offered a $15 discount on all eye candy action sets purchased between now and the 14th february with the code FAIRY-LOVE for my readers. If you are interested, have a look here at examples of the actions.
What tips would you offer to beginners?
- Be yourself. Your work will shine and be noticed more if you have a unique style. There are bound to be other photographers out there who have a similar shooting style to you but try and make your work different.
-Read your manual!! I had my camera for 5 years before i even knew the basics of it and i just guessed most of the time. I wish i had taken the time out to read about what my camera can do and how to do it.
-Try and take an online course if you can. Once you get to know the basics and can shoot in manual, a whole world will open up to you. I had all these ideas about photos i wanted to create but i just didn't know how to make them work or how to execute them correctly, but now i know what i am doing, i am not afraid to try them out.
- Ask other photographers for help! As i mentioned, every photographer started at the beginning and had to learn. If you want to know how that photographer did a certain photo, then ask! You will be surprised at how many photographers will offer advice and want to help. I certainly do! If you have any questions, you are welcome to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org I really am not an expert, but i can try and help any way i can and i like to break the rules a bit with photography. I like to photograph my story, not try and have the most in focused, well composed shot ;)
I really hope you enjoyed reading this and maybe i might have inspired someone or helped someone. Please let me know if you have any further questions. I really am open to helping.