May 30 Day Photoshoot Challenge

Inspiration

It’s May 1st, 2020, and I feel like I’m in a creative rut. I’ve been quarantined at my parent’s farm in Missouri for the past six weeks, which is just a little bit like culture shock from the way my life looked a few weeks before that, when I was living in New York City, doing photoshoots every day, hosting my art gallery show, and staying busy cultivating my craft. Due to COVID-19, quarantine, and social distancing, I can’t go out and do shoots, my weddings have been cancelled, and music festivals are all postponed, which is a pretty big bummer considering those were my summer plans.

But it’s time to recalibrate! I’ve been playing with the idea for a few years now to do a photo challenge for a month. The goal is to create one photo each day for the entire month. It sounds daunting, right? I tried it for approximately three days a few years ago, only to realize I wasn’t ready to dedicate time to such an intense project. But here we are in 2020, and I suddenly have a lot of free time on my hands, so I thought, let’s give it a try. I’m going to be doing self portraits every single day during the month of May 2020, and I have a lot of ideas already! Wish me luck, let’s go!

Day 1: Pink Cellophane

I found this pink bag laying around my house, and I wanted to see what I could come up with! I set up a white sheet and took pictures with my trigger attached to my camera. In Photoshop, I overlayed the bag shots with the portrait shots to get this effect! I absolutely love how they turned out.

Day 2: Living Room Fashion Shoot

I set this up in my living room. I wanted the sunhat to cover my eyes a bit, and when I did the edit in Photoshop I added blues to the shadows to give it a fashion feel. Blue isn’t usually my go-to color, so it was fun to play with a new tonality.

Day 3: Yeehaw

I used a pink gel on the left light to get the pink edge for this shot. My original idea was for a champagne and mimosas shot with hard flash, but while I was shooting inspiration struck and I came up with this. I’m obsessed!

Day 4: Pineapple

Today was a test in Photoshop. I shot this on a white background and took a bunch of those pineapple shots. Then I Photoshopped the whole thing together. It took almost two hours, but I love how it turned out! Shout out to my parents for buying that pineapple!

Day 5: Pink Wonderland

This is probably my favorite shot from the entire series. It took FOREVER to Photoshop, but it was totally worth it. I took the picture out in a field at my parent’s farm and then added tons of layers to create a pink wonderland! And yes, this is what the inside of my brain looks like.

Day 6: Glitter Lips

I had seen versions of this done many times, so I wanted to finally give it a go. This tasted terrible but I love how the tones turned out. And I love all things glitter and sparkles, so I’m happy with it!

Day 7: Butterflies

I got these butterflies from a craft store in college and had done a photoshoot with my roommate years ago with them. When I was cleaning out my closet, I found them and thought they would be fun for a whimsical self portrait. The oranges are super saturated and I love how I’m looking off into the distance.

Day 8: Rainy Day

This one is probably my least favorite shot of the series. I had wanted to do an outdoor shoot, but then it started raining all day, so I decided to pivot and try an outdoor rainy shot. Blues and greens aren’t my go-to tones, so maybe that’s why I don’t like it as much as the pink shots.

Day 9: When life gives you lemons…

I had about 4 minutes to take this picture today, so cutting up a lemon seemed like a good option. This is a simple and cutesy portrait, but I like how minimal it is. Sometimes the best portraits don’t have to be overly complicated.

Day 10: Sunglasses

Today I wanted to make a GIF! I was feeling sassy so the pink fur coat went on and I planned to use the sunglasses as something that could be changing in every frame. I love the end result! Check out how it turned out right here.

Day 11: Green Grass

This was made from pink streamers that I got for $3 on Amazon. I spread them around on the ground and did a downward angle shot. I love how the pink “grass” gives it a magical feel.

Day 12: Flower Power!

We saw these yellow flowers on the side of the road, so I made Justin stop so we could take a picture. I added the yellow squiggles for an accent, and I think it’s cute.

Day 13: Cupcakes!

I stopped by Sweetology and got this delicious cupcake in St. Louis, so I thought it would be fun to use it as a prop for the photo. I tried a bunch of different angles and didn’t love it, until I switched it up and did some shots from the side. Pink, playful, and sweets is my go-to, so it felt like this shot was in line with my brand.

Day 14: Balloons!

I saw an inspiration idea for this on Pinterest, so today I thought it would be fun to try it out. I had Justin take a simple shot of me outside holding my arm up, and then later in Procreate I added the balloons. Lots of my portraits this series have dealt with illusions, whimsy, and fantasy themes, so I liked this addition.

Day 15: Reverse Self Portrait

I needed a new idea today but I didn’t have anything concrete. When I was in the studio, I had the random idea to turn the other way and take a few frames that way. I only took two shots, but they came out awesome and I knew I could work with it. I added the squiggles in Procreate to give a little more line color (my new favorite thing to do) and ta-da!

Day 16: Collage

This was fun to make and not too complicated in Photoshop. I found a bunch of textures I liked and layered them, cutting around the shape of me for each one. It feels like a digital scrapbook page, which I love. And of course the pink tones are my favorite too.

Day 17: Evie and I

I guess this Procreate swoosh is becoming my signature lately! I was in Chicago today taking some family photos for a friend, and I was shooting all day long, so I knew I would have to incorporate today’s shot there or I wouldn’t have any natural light to play with. I got Evie to pose with me, and it’s so darn cute that I had to use it as today’s picture.

Day 18: Bubbles

BUBBLES. I used Evie’s bubble machine for this shot, and I do not regret it, lol. For the video of the bubbles, check it out here.

Day 19: Stereoscopic Photos!

A stereoscopic photo is one where the same scene is photographed 3-4 times, with a slightly varying perspective. When you put the images together, the end result is an image that appears to be shaking or moving slightly. I’ve been interested in these images for awhile, and today felt like a good day to try it out! Shout out to Justin for helping me shoot this, because it was a little bit complicated to get correct. Check it out here!

Day 20: A Gaby Collage

Adding movement and motion to images has been the theme this week! I did the same collage thing as earlier iin the challenge, but this time I made it move. Personally I think the motion version of this is way cooler, so click here to see it!

Day 21: Pink Brain

I have been seeing some cool collage work on Instagram, and wanted to explore the visual concept of having a bunch of stuff coming out of my brain. This took a few hours in Photoshop to do, but worth it! Here are a few of my favorite things (and the only thing I forgot to include is a Taylor Swift reference!)

Day 22: Beach Day Baby

Summer is finally here! I saw an image like this online and wanted to recreate it. I asked for Justin’s help to shoot this. He stood on our diving board and shot at a downward angle (my tripod wasn’t tall enough for me to shoot this without a person holding it up). All I had to do was Photoshop a few cracks in the concrete and it was done! This is one of my top favorites from May so far.

Day 23: Angel Wings

I wish I had wings in real life but this is cool too! I added them in Procreate after taking the photo. I had seen a lot of people doing this with PicsArt so I wanted to give it a try. Now I’m thinking about all the other stuff I can add on in future photos..

Day 24: Pool Party

Shout out to my brother Ethan for getting the drone out for this shot! I envisioned a minimalist photo with just me on the pool floatie. I had been waiting all week to do this shot, because it had been raining, and because I knew we were having a pool party on Saturday and I would be in my swimsuit anyway! The weather was perfect and the shot turned out cool. Definitely interested in doing more with the drone soon.

Day 25: Pink Ghost

I created this by using a long exposure and a pink gel on the left side. I didn’t really know what I was going for today. I was kind of just exploring, and it turned into a happy accident. The reason my right hand looks so weird is because it was holding the trigger to take the shot and I thought the image was more zoomed in, but it was wider than I thought. So when I Photoshopped the image, I took the trigger out because it was a little distracting. I love the airy quality of this shot.

Day 26: Glitter Please!

It felt like a good time to start covering all my photos in glitter and sparkles, hehe. I’m getting so close to being done with the May Photo Challenge, the weather is warming up, and life is good. It felt like a good day to celebrate.

Day 27: Paint Splash Overlay

Again, I was just messing around in my studio and I thew a pink backdrop up behind me, because I love pink. Later, in Photoshop, I overlayed this shot with paint swooshes and then changed the blend mode so they’d make me look more pink. I don’t really know the concept for this, but I thought it was visually interesting, so it became the photo for today.

Day 28: Spiral Gaby

Today got a little swirly! Josie Sanders did a shot like this at a gas station on Instagram where she added the swirls to her photo, so I tried a pink version of that and I’m absolutely obsessed with how cute it turned out. I’m sure I’ll be adding it to a lot more of my future photos.

Day 29: Gold Glitter Galore

I was itching to shoot something fun today, so at the last minute I went into the craft room and found a container of gold glitter and poured it on my face and took some shots. Then I layered a close up shot under the portrait of me to add some depth. I love the tonality the shot ended up with.

Day 30: The Pink Universe

This shot came together surprisingly quickly. I took two shots of me walking away outside, and had the idea to change out the background to add some interest. It only took a few minutes to Photoshop, and the pink clouds worked perfectly with my sweater. Another favorite from this series, and I really just stumbled into it.

Day 31: An Artist’s Portrait

Yay, the final day! I wanted to do a stripped down artist portrait for the final day, but of course with a pink twist. This is definitely more of how I look every day versus some of the more dramatic shots in this series. I love this shot because it feels like an honest capture of me as a creator and artist.

And now, a few bonuses, because I got so hyped that I accidentally made a few extra! Here are some outtakes and explorations I worked on throughout the month that didn’t quite make it into the series. As you can see, I played a lot with adding lines in Procreate. It’s been awesome to get to explore with multiple mediums, and try so many new ideas!

I started this project a month ago because I felt constrained from quarantine. I hated that I couldn’t be out shooting portraits like I normally am. This felt like a way to prioritize being creative and creating something new every single day. I was a little worried at the beginning that by doing it every day, some of the shots were going to be terrible or uninspired, but I have to say I’m pretty impressed with the quality of the images I created this month. I feel like it was because I put a lot of effort into planning and conceptualizing shoots consistently.

Surprisingly, these are some of my favorite photos I’ve taken lately, self portrait or not. So many of them were ideas for shoots I had been saying for a long time that I was going to try “when I had more time” and this month gave me the chance to execute on them. So for all my creatives out there, I would highly recommend you spend one month trying a creative project like this, whatever medium it is. It’s been an awesome experience and I feel so revitalized and rejuvenated with photography! I know I’ll definitely be spending more time in the future on more self portraits like this, because I still have so many ideas I didn’t even get to yet!

All my images from this series are on my Instagram, along with other content I’ve been creating lately and video tutorials. Head over to YouTube to check out my Gaby Answers Questions series, and for my full photography portfolio, you can go to my website to see lots more sparkly and fun imagery. Lastly, for more content like this, subscribe to my email newsletter! Every few months, I send out latest projects I’ve been working on, photo tips, and inspiration images. If you have any questions about any of the above photos, or any photography questions in general, email me at gdeimz@gmail.com. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed my May Photo Challenge!

My Favorite Product Photography Photoshoots

Inspiration

Now that #socialdistancing is the new norm, weddings and music festivals are cancelled, and most of my photography jobs are postponed, I’ve been brainstorming ways to keep practicing photography at home. One really creative way to do that is through product photography.

I’ve been doing product photography for quite awhile now, starting when I moved to NYC a few years ago. In between my freelance jobs, I’d reach out to brands and trade them product for a studio photoshoot. Luckily, now I actually get paid to do product shoots, which is awesome! So on that note, I thought I’d compile a mega blog post with my favorite product shoots I’ve done over the years.

Most of these shoots I’ve done in my apartment, but some were on location in stores or studios. You’ll notice that I love to shoot food and desserts, and that’s because I usually get to eat them after the shoot, hehe. I also shoot fashion and lifestyle products, and really anything that can be photographed in a fun and vibrant way. I try to keep that theme throughout, so my still life work still matches my portrait work.

And now, without further ado, here are my favorite product photoshoots from the past few years.

Fruition Chocolate Collab

Fruition is an awesome chocolate company with colorful packaging that was lots of fun to photograph. You can check them out here.

RDKL Skincare

I had a lot of fun adding sprinkles to this line of skincare products, and of course I went with a pink aesthetic for this shoot. Check out their website right here.

Cookie Do NYC Shoot

I’ve done a few shoots for Kristen Tomlan of Cookie Do NYC, but this one at their downtown location was my favorite! We spent all day creating flatlays and various cookie combinations for their social media and website. Check out their delicious creations here.

Babeland Toys Photoshoot

I have to say, I’ve had the absolute best time working with Babeland in NYC. I’ve done two shoots for them. The first was at my apartment, and the second was at their Soho location. They are always down for super bright and colorful shoots that convey fun and playfulness. Have a look at their website here.

Taste Republic

Last year I helped Taste Republic kick off a huge rebrand for their products and packaging. They wanted intricate flatlays of their various pastas for the website. They were also open to the idea of movement and GIFs, which I LOVE making when the opportunity presents itself. Grab some of their pasta right here.

DL 1961

This is an upscale denim company based in NYC and a few years ago I did a quick shoot for them at their storefront in the city. Have a look at their website here.

Hammond’s Ice Cream

I found Hammond’s when I was in San Diego and I asked if they would want to do a shoot for social media. They loved the idea so I went in for the day and got some great shots. And yes, they let us eat any of the ice cream we wanted. It was heaven. Get a taste of their offerings right here.

The Cookie Club

The Cookie Club is a new bakery that opened in my hometown this year. I wanted to practice shooting dessert, so I went in for a test shoot at their location and I love how adorable the shots turned out. PS their cookies are delicious. Head to their website here.

TheSmartFashionistas Makeup Line

A friend in NYC had a new line of cosmetics being released, and she asked me to take some product photos for the website. You can check it out right here.

Baked in Color Cookies

I stumbled upon these stunning cookies in Columbus Circle one day and thought, “I have tho photograph them.” They were also down for the idea, so it worked out perfectly! Check out Baked in Color here.

Ona Bars

I shoot various social media content for Ona Bars every year. I usually do lifestyle images for them, but for the last shoot they asked for studio shots. It was really fun getting all the ingredients together and playing around with the compositions for these. Check out Ona here.

Miscellaneous

As I was digging through the archives to find all these photos, I stumbled upon some other photos that weren’t for full shoots, but were still cool product shots, so I wanted to include them to because I love how vibrant they are! Again, the majority of these images were photographed on the floor of my apartment, so I hope that helps you realize that the possibilities for what you can create at home right now are nearly limitless!

I hope you enjoyed seeing some of my favorite product photography photoshoots I’ve done lately, and maybe it has inspired you to try some at-home photoshoots as well! If you need some ideas, have a look at my self portrait series I created this May. I’d also love to connect with you on my Instagram, and make sure you head over to YouTube to check out my Gaby Answers Questions series, and for my full photography portfolio, you can go to my website to see lots more sparkly and fun imagery. Lastly, for more content like this, subscribe to my email newsletter! Every few months, I send out latest projects I’ve been working on, photo tips, and inspiration images. If you have any questions about any of the above photos, or any photography questions in general, email me at gdeimz@gmail.com. Thanks for reading!

9 Poses in 9 Minutes

photography tips

If you never quite sure just how to pose with your partner for a great picture, or you’re a photographer looking for posing ideas, then this is the article for you! I’ve compiled a list of my go-to poses for couples, and I have a one-page freebie at the bottom for you to keep as a helpful guide! Big thanks to my favorite couple Jersey and Luis for being my models for this project (and standing in the freezing New York City winter weather to get these shots!) Now let’s dive into these poses.

Lean Toward Each Other

Position the couple so one person’s shoulder is leaning into the other person’s chest, and have the person behind wrap their arm around and lightly grab the right arm of the first person. It helps to mention to lean their heads toward each other and getting their noses close together. This cozy pose is great for a mid shot, or a close up.

Facing Each Other

This one is an easy one. Have the two look at each other while holding hands. Can be used for a wide shot or a close up, and you can play with how close they are standing to each other. One person can also wrap their hands around the other person’s neck and lean in close for a kiss (warning: it’s adorable!!)

Facing The Camera

The classic shot shows the couple fairly close together with one person wrapping their arm around the other. You can vary the hands–hands in pockets, hands straight down, or like in this shot, Jersey had her hand by her face, tucking her hair behind her ear. Do whatever feels most natural for you.

Half Looking at the Camera

This can be a great moment. Have one person look at their partner while the other person looks at the camera. This usually results in some natural smiles and laughs, because who doesn’t get excited when they spend a few seconds taking in how lovely their partner looks?! A great variation of this can be to alternate having both partners look at each other at the same time.

The Ear Whisper

Alright, now that you are warmed up and have the basic poses down, here are a few advanced level poses! This one is a great prompt I use with couples. When a couple is already fairly close to each other, I’ll tell one partner to lean in and whisper something into the other person’s ear. It’s great for capturing a candid moment, because generally one of them will say something silly, or sweet, and the other person will break out into a huge smile or laugh. If you’re not great with posed photos, I recommend a pose like this, which can help bring out your personality and feel really natural.

Arm Around The Shoulder

Have one or both partners wrap their arm around the shoulder or waist of the other person. A few variations are to have them both look at each other, at the camera, and one person looking down candidly. You can also alternate between serious expressions and smiles.

Touching Foreheads

I love this pose so much! Why? Because look at how cute it is! It’s pretty simple too: hold hands and touch foreheads. For a more intimate moment, you can have them get close and close their eyes, too. For a more playful and fun shot, tell them to smile and laugh. Leaning in for a kiss is also an easy pose to go to from this one!

Walking

This can be another great natural moment between the two. You can walk toward the camera, hold hands while walking away from the camera, and even start walking away and then turn around and look back at the camera. I usually tell my couples to walk in “slow motion” so they’re relaxed and not rushed. In terms of eye contact, they can look forward, at each other, down and around. I usually tell them not to look directly at the camera, so the shot comes out looking a little more like a candid moment.

The Finale: Kiss and Foot Pop!

This is a great shot to do toward the end of the shoot. Have the couple get really close to each other, put their hands on each other’s waist or around their neck, and smooch! Jersey did the foot pop with her right foot, which I love. An advanced level variation of this is to do the dip: dip your partner halfway and then have a dramatic kiss. This might not be the pose for everyone, but if you like a grand gesture (and I do) then this can be the perfect pose!

I’ll be honest, I wrote this in part because my partner hates posing and I wanted to have a quick page of ideas that I could glance at when we’re out and I want to get a cute shot. So, I made a one-page PDF with pictures of all the poses and I’m giving it to you, too! Click here to download the freebie couple posing guide!

And if you liked this, have a look at my website, Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest! I hope this gave you some ideas to try out on your next photoshoot, and good luck to everyone with your posing! Tag me @gdeimz on social if you post any of the ideas you try out!

West Village Photoshoot with Melissa Frusco

Inspiration, photography tips

This was a fun one! Melissa and I decided to meet by Christopher Street Station in West Village in NYC for a street style shoot. It was a bit of a moody day, but I love the foggy atmosphere it provided. Her overall outfit and look fit the vibe really well, and we had a great time shooting some portraits and street shots.

One thing I love to do on city shoots is have the model walk right in the middle of the street (while the walk sign is a go, only!). It creates beautiful lines from the street, especially if there are traffic lights and cars in the background that you can blue out a little bit with bokeh. These two shots are great examples of that! It really adds an urban vibe while still focusing on the subject.

There was also a crazy man that stopped us along the way, but honestly not too surprising in NYC, haha. I also loved the pops of yellow from the signs and taxi cabs. You can use elements like this to add to the overall visual story of the shoot. And I thought the old wine store across the street made for a great grungy backdrop to match her outfit.

If you liked these photos, make sure to have a look at my website and follow me on Instagram! Feel free to drop me an email at gdeimz@gmail.com for any shoot requests, questions, or just to chat! If you’re in the NYC area, let’s grab coffee and talk lenses and shoot locations 🙂

The Butcher’s Daughter Nolita Shoot

Uncategorized

I had a super fun shoot at The Butcher’s Daughter in Nolita the other day, so I thought I would share it with you! My friend Emily Kammeyer had the idea to shoot there and I’m glad she did because I’ve been wanting to shoot there for awhile. It actually started raining during our shoot, but luckily you can’t tell in the images!

One thing I love with bright colored buildings is that they just look so crisp against light outfits. Her white top and jeans ensemble made the shoot feel light and fun against the backdrop of The Butcher’s Daughter. We went to the Nolita location at 19 Kenmare Street and it wasn’t busy at all. They have adorable yellow tables (although I did have to move a table and bench away so it didn’t distract from Emily as the focus).

She had also just gotten a cheetah print bag in the mail from Burberry (!!!) and it was the perfect pop of color to match the table. We also did some shots of her walking across the street with The Butcher’s Daughter in the background to add a street style feel.

I don’t shoot black and white very often, but we snapped a few at the end that I loved! The contrast is so nice against her white shirt and the black wall. Love how these turned out, and it just goes to show that you never know what cool shots you’ll end up with when you’re free to be creative and try new things on a shoot.

If you liked these photos, make sure to have a look at my website and follow me on Instagram! Feel free to drop me an email at gdeimz@gmail.com for any shoot requests, questions, or just to chat! If you’re in the NYC area, let’s grab coffee and talk lenses and shoot locations 🙂

I JUST LAUNCHED MY PRINT STORE!

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I am ear to ear smiles today, because today is the day I have finally launched my online Etsy shop of some of my favorite photos I’ve ever taken. Here’s a GIF showing you just how excited I am:

Unsurprisingly, the shop is full of PINK and SPARKLES. I would have it no other way! I thought I’d highlight some of my favorite prints up on the shop right now (which by the way I should mention is just in time for your holiday shopping!)

This is my favorite print up right now! I shot it from the Rainbow Room in Rockefeller Center of the Empire State Building. And, you know, made it pink. Did you expect anything less from me?!

I’ll never forget this New Years Eve! I got $10 tickets to see the fireworks show in London against the backdrop of the London Eye and the river. It was an absolutely stunning way to start the new year. I actually have this print hanging up in my room right now!

This photo was taken during a studio shoot in London while I was studying at London College of Fashion. We glued candy to the model’s lips! It was such a fun day of shooting and the print turned out so cool and unique.

This actually comes as a set of two prints that go together. Because what could be better than donuts + pink + icing + lipstick + blush?! They make a really cute matching wall hanging set. There’s a ton of other fun shots from a bunch of different cities, including Paris, Sedona, New York, and the Bahamas. Have a look and see if there are any you like!

Check out the full line of prints right here!

XOXO Gaby

Victoria’s Boston Photoshoot

Inspiration, photography tips

I hadn’t seen my friend Victoria since we studied in London together a few years ago, so when I traveled to Boston this weekend to shoot a wedding, I knew we had to get together and do a shoot in Boston! We did a super fun photoshoot in London at Regents Park, so round 2 was in order!

We started at the gorgeous bridge in Boston Common and wandered from there. I was obsessed with the willow trees around the park, so I’m glad I captured them in the background of the shot. This is the lake where they do the iconic swan boating in Boston! The lighting was a little overcast, but it made for really nice even lighting for her portraits, so I shot everything natural light.

Then we stumbled onto the new carousel, and I thought it would be a great spot for some colorful shots. I tried a technique at the carousel that ended up looking really cool. I slowed down the shutter speed (also called dragging) so as it moved around, it created the blurry effect on the background. I had Victoria stand really still while I dragged the shutter so she would still be really sharp in focus. I also had a little fun with the editing, using Color Selection to make the shadows blue (one of my favorite techniques–I think it adds a really editorial effect).

Then she got out her fun rainbow umbrella and we did some colorful shots around the garden. I love any excuse to add lots of vibrant color, and I think the close up portrait of Victoria looks great with the rainbow in the background.

We ended by these old cobblestone streets and tried some movement and walking shots. I edited the first one by adding a pink gradient over the image and fading it. Something simple like a gradient can totally change the vibe of the image and make it look really unique! I hope this shoot illustrates that you don’t have to shoot for a long time or with a lot of different outfits to create images that are vibrant and different from each other. Here’s one more example of a gradient I used over a black and white shot:

Send me your street style shoots in different cities, I would love to see them! If you like these photos, make sure to have a look at my website and follow me on Instagram! Feel free to drop me an email at gdeimz@gmail.com for any shoot requests, questions, or just to chat! If you’re in the NYC area, let’s grab coffee and talk lenses and shoot locations 🙂

Top 10 Photography Questions I Get Asked

photography tips

What kind of camera should I buy? I can’t tell you what to buy, but I can tell you what I use. I’ve used Nikon and Canon gear and I prefer Canon. I love the image quality, the crispness of the images, the colors, the low light compensation. I shoot with a 5D Mark iii and Mark iv, but I honestly think any DSLR body can get you started. It’s a lot more about the experience level of the person holding the camera than the camera itself. That being said, lenses can help a lot, too. I love the 50mm and the 24-70. Start playing around and see what you like!

Why is hiring a photographer so expensive? I’m glad you asked! It’s expensive because we’re a business and we incur other costs besides just paying for the camera. Here are just a few annual costs photographers have: the Adobe Suite, computer updates, external hard drives, cloud storage, memory cards, seamless backdrops, lighting equipment, props, insurance, lenses, flashes, website yearly hosting and domain costs, accounting services, legal fees for photography contracts, workshops and classes. Not to mention the time and expertise you are paying for when you hire a photographer. A lot more goes into it than people think.

What’s the difference between an iPhone and a DSLR? Don’t get me wrong, you can take awesome pictures on your iPhone. But not quality ones. I use my phone every day to capture the city and document the world around me. But to really get quality images, I use my DSLR. There are so many more pixels and the file is so much bigger on a professional camera, so you can do more with the image. Higher quality and more options for lenses and depth of field creates more room to explore and experiment. But at the same time, start exploring with photography on your phone if you don’t want to buy a camera just yet. It’s supposed to be fun and creative!

How can I get the blurry background on my photos? That’s called Bokeh. You can learn all about it and how to get it on my article right here.

Do I need to learn manual mode on my camera? Yes! I think that Manual mode is key to understanding your camera and photography. You have a lot more room for creative expression if you are aware of the technical side of photography and can adjust it on-the-go. I learned by playing around with my camera, but a good place to start is with YouTube tutorials (or Linda.com if you have a library card!). When you know how to change the lighting, white balance, ISO, aperture and shutter speed on your own, you can be really sure you’re creating the types of images that you want. In my experience, learning more about my camera has only helped make my images more fun and creative!

Is editing photos important? I think it’s the crucial second step after shooting the image itself. To me, capturing the shot is a special art that takes practice and intuition, but editing that photo to your final vision is like sculpting the final details of an art piece. I use it to remove unnecessary elements from the shot, be it distracting spots in the background, wrinkles on a shirt, or cropping out space that doesn’t add to the focal point of the shot. Then I fix the white balance and adjust the color, usually making the shot more vibrant and punchy. The last thing I do is smooth out skin, whiten teeth, remove stray hair, and any other soft adjustments to enhance the subject. That might sound pretty simple, but it’s taken me years and years to perfect my editing style and find a balance of enhancing without overdoing.

How do you get paid to do photography? It’s a long process that won’t happen overnight. First you need to build a portfolio in the area that you want to produce work in. That might mean doing free or trade shoots with other vendors. For example, when I first moved to NYC, I produced styled shoots for wedding photography to build my portfolio. I got makeup artists, florists, and dress designers to lend me their products or skills in exchange for the photos to add to their portfolio as well. Other times I did free shoots for people to build my portfolio and gain experience. Once you feel you’re at a point where you have the knowledge and skillset to charge people, start doing it! Talk to other photographers and learn their pricing structure so you have something to base your rates off of. Increase as you become more skilled. It might take a few years, but your client base will grow as you do!

Is being a photographer hard? Yes and no. But mostly yes. It’s a career that you have to be really passionate about, and it will take a lot of work to be successful. I put in work almost every evening and weekend because I want my photography business to succeed. I reach out to potential clients and collaborators every week because I want to progress my brand. I shoot day in and day out and edit every free chance I get because I want to get better. So I guess no, on the surface being a photographer isn’t hard. But wanting to be a great photographer is. You have to put in the work to see results.

What do you use to edit photos and do you make your own presets? I do a base cull and edit in Lightroom and then I do all my final retouching in Photoshop. I generally make my own presets, but I also have some from photographers I like that I play around with on occasion. Presets are really nice when you have a lot of photos to edit at once–like a wedding for instance, but I like to mix things up for beauty and styled shoots. I find that I usually have a bit of a vision when I bring the raw photos into Lightroom, and I explore from there. Once I find a color and balance that I like, I’ll apply the preset to the batch and then go in and do adjustments per image.

How do you get the perfect shot? There’s really no perfect shot, just the right movements at the right time. I think being patient helps. For example, when I shoot concerts, I usually have an idea of the type of shot I’m looking for, and then I just wait ready to shoot when the artists is moving around stage. Framing is key for good shots, as well as being able to change the exposure in camera quickly. Being skilled at Manual mode really helps with this. Also, practice helps. As many times as I’ve gotten a really cool shot, I’ve also missed the shot because it was out of focus or overexposed (this happens with concerts a lot) or I just framed it wrong. The good news is that the more photos you take, the bigger chance you have of getting “the shot.”