Updated: Aug 29, 2021
What is in your camera bag? What would be another lens you would like to own?
When I started photographing, I used a Nikon D3400 and a 50mm 1.8 lens. The camera taught me A LOT and I loved it although it had its limitations. As I grew my business I needed a camera that was able to do what I needed it to do. I upgraded to a D850 and an 85mm 1.4 nikkor lens. It was a big jump and took some practice before I opened my business in January 2019. I absolutely love the camera for what I need it for. My 85mm 1.4 is also a beast and is my main lens that literally never leaves my camera. If I were to get another lens I would most definitely invest in a 105mm. Maybe in the near future!
Photo (left) taken summer 2018 with my D3400 and 50mm
Photo (right) taken spring 2019 with my D850 and 85mm
What editing software do you use?
I started out using both lightroom and photoshop but I found once I learned photoshop more, I preferred it and it became the only thing I use when post processing my images.
What mode do you use on your camera?
I always shoot in manual mode and that is how I started. It took a lot of practicing and learning how to properly expose my image in camera but you virtually have so much more control of the images you take. I don't like the idea of my camera guessing for me. Once you have the knowledge and grasp the understandings of how each setting works, its pretty second nature to what you need to adjust when you're preparing a shot.
Do you use any artificial lighting for your black background sessions?
No I actually do not use any artificial lighting at all! I am an all natural light photographer and prefer the look of natural light over artificial lighting. This is a preference of mine that I decided on after experimenting with OCF (off camera flash).
How do you get clients who are closed off and shy, comfortable in front of the camera? Tips on posing?
I believe strongly that trust and connection is the foundation of helping clients feel less stressed and worried about being in front of my camera. I do tend to interact with every client a little differently. Even before our session date, if my client seems a little unsure or asking a lot of questions, I will just pick up that phone and call them. I explain what my clients should do to prepare for their session and guide them on outfit options and just talk. I ask them about their horse/ pets/ family (whatever type of sessions they are booking for) and connect with them! People feel more comfortable if you show them confidence, reassurance and relate with them. During the session. I will just strike up conversation and laugh and chat with them. I make fun of myself a lot and crack stupid jokes and they tend to just open up on their own. I tell them not to pose but instead give them some prompts. Even if the prompt is not exactly what I want to capture, the reactions are usually pretty great and now I'm getting a more natural "pose".
I will be making a separate post next month going more in depth with posing for a horse and rider session!
What are the fist things you do when you arrive on location?
I always arrive to a session 10-20 minutes early to scope out an unfamiliar location. I find my client and say hello and that I am going to take a look around before we start. I will look for where the light is coming from as well as colors and places that can ideally frame my subjects the way I like. I will take some test shots and prepare my settings so that I am more prepared for when we actually start shooting. For Black Background sessions I will look for the best doorway to execute the shots and begin sweeping any dirt or hay from the floor to eliminate any extra editing in post. Ill ask to shut lights off and close any other doors that are letting any extra light in.
How do you get an uncooperative horse to cooperate?
This is definitely a tricky one but there are some things that I tell my clients before a session. I do inform them that a horse that is pushy and uncooperative may affect the results of their images. As a photographer we only have so much control. I will tell them to work their horse down before hand and feed them dinner to reduce any dancing around and frigidity behavior. There are a handful of horses that just decide they are not having it and get mouthy with their owners or get pushy and I will automatically let the client know to not get frustrated and stay calm. I tell them to take their horse for a short walk to give them both a break. I will also ask if there is an extra hand around to help keep the horse focused on something else. Maybe walk another horse in the distance behind me or even take a bag and toss it up in the air or run back and forth behind me. Usually having something in the distance creates curiosity in the horse and he will stand ears up for a few moments, just enough time to snap a picture or three!
First image is a straight out of camera shot of Rachel and her horse Harley. Despite loading on fly spray, the bugs were so bad and he was super fidgety, shaking and dancing around most of the session. Second image was the next shot taken. It literally takes one second to capture a moment so be prepared for that second the horse catches something interesting in the distance!
What are some of your favorite editing tutorials?
I have a few favorites that I follow and watch regularly because I always learn something from them. One is Unmesh Dinda. He is a photoshop wizard and has helped me learn my way around photoshop immensely! He goes in depth with certain tricks and tips to help you with your photography. I LOVE his channel! Another channel I absolutely love is Irene Rudnyk. She is an absolute amazing portrait photographer and I love her style so much. Her work is breathtaking! She makes amazing tutorials on shooting and editing that are super helpful and fun!
What is your editing work flow look like? Do you use presets?
I do not use presets because I personally love editing and being creative! I hand edit every image. I usually start with one image and edit it the way I like, then make a group of my layers to drag and drop on the other images from that session. I will go in and tweak things as needed, that way I'm staying consistent with images from that session. I have a variety of custom gradient map "presets" that I make and I will use one that looks good for those particular images to make them really pop and stay looking the same through out.
Thank you so much for asking all these great questions! If you liked this question and answer blog, let me know in the comments! If you have any more questions I will be sure to answer them in my next Q and A!