kay. So I tried writing a third person narrative of this love story (as I always do), but it got too hard. I didn't know how to begin and then the details got intermixed with my perspective...and then I got emotional. And emotional writing is hardly a good thing. There are all these commas and parenthesis and footnotes. It's ugly. In light of this, I decided to share two things about Amy and Joseph that makes me know they're some of the most amazing people.
Some of the fondest memories of Amy and her family come during my mom's battle with cancer. I've been friends with Amy since childhood. We swam in her pool during the summer, watched her become a UCLA cheerleader, and prayed for her when she became a missionary in Japan. When her family discovered my mother was ill, they made the commitment to bring us dinner every week. Every Tuesday for a few years we'd find dinner on our porch. Every Tuesday. Rain, shine, traffic, life. Every Tuesday. It's acts like this that made cancer's sting less painful.
I distinctly remember sitting in Joseph's office. Small, beige walls, multiple Mac computers. He said non-chalantly he'd never marry. Said he was okay living his life on his own, perhaps one day he'd become a missionary. Joseph is an assistant pastor at my dad's church, so we've become great friends through the years. He's just one of those people you can see from a distance who makes life a little more beautiful. That's Joseph.
When I heard Joseph flew to Japan to propose to Amy, I was shocked. And then I cried happy tears. Because this world just got better by the two of them uniting. They're amazing people individually, but together, they're magical. I'm bummed I can't shoot their wedding this January, but I was honored when they asked me to document their engagement session...
Gotta love December in Orange County...87 degrees and sunny...
woke up yesterday morning determined to finish my Christmas shopping. I woke up this morning with a new pair of shoes, a new dress, and a complete list of gifts to be bought for others. Yeah, will power? I DON'T HAVE IT. In hopes of making me feel better about being totally selfish and not being in the Christmas spirit, I'm blogging a FAQ post in hopes of getting out of holiday purgatory. Like usual, I don't think I'm a photo genius or guru...my hope is that this post helps one person. If more comes from it, I'll be stoked...
My question is, do you have any tips on how to improve your manual exposure abilities? Do you have exercises that have helped you get certain lighting conditions down? Have you memorize certain settings for certain lighting conditions? Do you tend to use one metering mode, or do you switch off? Just any tips to improve my saavy (and speed) in manual exposure would be great! As I mentioned in this post, when I bought my camera, it was set to evaluative metering and I haven't changed it since. In all actuality, I use the LCD screen to gauge my exposure...I've done it from the beginning and it's worked like a charm ever since! :)
However, when I first started, I was on the beach shooting and I was challenged to shoot manually. Having no idea where to begin, I asked for help. The setting I was given for shooting midday in full sun with my 70-200IS 2.8 lens was the following: f/2.8, 2500, 100 iso. All of a sudden, I felt like someone had given me a lump of gold. I finally found a place to start! I used that setting as the benchmark for all my shooting. I'd always start there and then change my settings accordingly when I was trying to learn how to shoot. For instance, if there was less light in a different situation, I'd first find the right iso, then change the shutter speed to find the right exposure. I know this must sound stupid to many people, but this was my setting...this was an eye-opening key to truly understanding my camera and challenging myself to become a professional photographer.
I've been wanting to get more experience in the field of wedding photography ... I am willing to be an assistant shooter, however, how do I contact photographers that are in need to second shooters?
Also, in starting a photography business, do you recommend that I take classes for that? or will internet research be sufficient (that's what i've been doing so far...). I addressed the subject of procuring a role as a second shooter on this post, so I hope that helps in a small way...
It's hard recommending something not from my personal experience. Of course, I could imagine how things would be had I gone to photography school or taken classes, but that'd be like grasping at straw in a tornado. What I can talk about is my path...although I'll be the first to admit it wasn't easy or perfect!
I didn't take classes, or classes in the formal sense anyway. JD bought me a camera in 2006 and I just started practicing. A lot. I forced myself to shoot everyday. I photographed at least one thing everyday manually, so I could better understand my camera. I surfed the Internet for advice and tutorials, but nothing really hit me because I'm a visual learner...I needed to see people in action. During my first two years of business, I attended over ten workshops and seminars. Maybe more! Going to workshops was how I learned best and it exponentially propelled my growth. The people I met, the things I learned, the miles I traveled, all made up my ad hoc photo education. And I'm proud of it.
My question is, understanding that the quality of equipment makes a difference in your photography, do I need to wait until I purchase professional lenses before I can charge for my work? To be honest, I don't think you're asking the right question. In my opinion, you should ask if people are willing to pay you now, regardless of your equipment! :) I don't think equipment makes the photography...the photographer makes the photography. Honestly. Having said that, however, procuring professional lenses is always beneficial and allows you to achieve the type of images you're proud to share, and also attracts clients who appreciate your aesthetic and professional appeal.
When I checked out your wedding pictures I was trying to figure out what lens you use the most? Would love & appreciate any advice. I use the 50mm, 1.2 and the 85mm, 1.2 the absolute most! I can't live without those lenses and they've become a cornerstone in how I shoot. However, I would venture to say I use the the 50mm the most out of all my lenses.
Other frequently asked questions... What camera and lenses I use: HERE Focus: HERE and HERE Lighting: HERE (using natural reflectors) and HERE (using off camera flash)
Photoshop: SOOC Comparisons, HERE and HERE for Photoshop actions I use and examples.
And because posts are always better with a photo...here's a sneak peek of what's in store in the next few days....
Life In a Series of Clips
ometimes life delivers a nice surprise. Kinda like the stork. Minus the 18-year commitment. Last month our good friends the Wenzel's came out to Orange County and we experienced Disneyland together. We had a blast and it was one of my favorite days all year! Amy brought along a Flip camera and she shot a little bit during the day. Well, today she surprised me and JD with a short video...it's so silly, but as I watched it, I wanted to keep it in my heart forever. And yet even then, forever wouldn't be long enough.
Amy, thanks for making me see life through your eyes. I love you.
If you're viewing via Google Reader or RSS, you can click here to see it.
A Sneak Peek into Grace Ormonde's New Book
t's funny how life works. When I first started shooting weddings, I turned to Grace Ormonde's Wedding Style Magazine as a source of inspiration, something to aspire toward. I first learned of Grace from Mike Colon. Mike was such a positive impact in my business early on and I owe so much to his care and support...he's an amazing photographer, but an even better person.
Speaking of Mike, one afternoon three years ago, he was in a pinch and asked if JD could be a hand model for a shoot he was working on for Grace. He needed a guy to hold bouquets for a Wedding Style magazine spread and JD's hands were, well, great hands. Mike invited me along and I schlepped bags and did whatever I could do to help. It was an awesome experience to see how Mike worked and get a behind-the-scenes look of how things unfolded.
Fast forward to yesterday afternoon standing in the Viceroy Hotel: I'm standing in the lobby getting a sneak peek of Grace's new book, and I turn the page to see....wait for it....JD! I shrieked with surprise! Hey, World, THAT'S MY HUSBAND!!!
Here are a few other pictures I snagged from Becker's blog...he was nice enough to pick me up so we could carpool...I love that guy! :)
Grace Ormonde and yours truly....
To be honest, I wouldn't have been able to meet Grace or get a peek into her new book without an invitation from my good friend Lawrence Chan of Tofurious...he and Grace have been very kind to me and I can't wait to see how they work together to take Wedding Style to a whole new level.
Kisses and Disses : Christmas Carols + Cards
o. Christmas music. JD and I butt heads regarding Christmas music. I think his mother traumatized him as a child or something because every time he hears a legit carol, he gets a nervous twitch in his left eye and he tilts his neck so that his right ear and right shoulder touch. Repeatedly. I adore Christmas music, but my husband will stand outside our house and picket my song choices.
Once, I let him choose Christmas music he liked and, I kid you not, he chose the strangest electric guitar, hip-hop, lounge music I've ever heard. I swear, he made Mrs. Clause cry. Somewhere in the North Pole, an elf died because of JD's music choice. It was THAT bad.
As of yesterday, we've made a deal. I get to listen to my music in the morning, and he gets to listen to his music in the afternoon. And every afternoon, I mourn the loss of a little elf in Santa's Village. And it's ALL JD'S FAULT. Oh, Internet, I have no doubt he'll be getting a lump of coal in his stocking this year.
And me? Well, I'll be getting what every good little girl wants: MY ENTIRE CHRISTMAS LIST. A pony included.
This week's DISSES go to:
* JD's music choices and the mass disappearance of elves.
* People who steal your parking spot at the mall. I mean, really? Who still does that? Stealing spots is so Fried Green Tomatoes in the 80's!
* Food poisoning. Big--HUGE--diss to food poisoning. Or stomach viruses. Or whatever has left in invalid for the past four days.
This week's KISSES go to:
*Christmas cards. I don't know I love them so much, but I do. I have them lined up in my living room and they make me feel special seeing friends and family sending well wishes.
* The Blind Side. Strangely enough, we walked into the wrong theater for this movie...we were supposed to see the new George Clooney movie, but somehow ended up in The Blind Side theater. Best 'mistake' in a long time. The movie was so special and I cried. More than once.
* Bing Crosby for being the bestest carole singer ever.