Category Archives: Photog Blog

Some ramblings from a photographer

3 Mistakes I’ve made as a Wedding Photographer

I’ve been a part-time photographer for 7 years now, and in the full-time biz for a year. In that short time, I’ve already made more mistakes than I care to count. In sharing a few of them with you, I hope that you can avoid them!

1. Not having a system.
I am a typical artist. Un-organized, scatterbrained, and a little bit forgetful. (where are my keys?) So often, my editing process would double and sometimes triple in time because I couldn’t remember which photos had been culled, or what I had promised to one client in our discussions. Charge the same amount for everyone, have a set rule for what each client receives, and for the love of your poor soul- get someone to help you figure out a system. Ex. Import photos AS SOON AS YOU GET HOME, have a backup system (I have an external harddrive, as well as online backup. https://www.backblaze.com/).

2. Not Knowing My Value
Do you believe your work holds value? Do you believe that you have something to offer that no one else does? You should. Because you do. You are the only version of you in existence.  Only you can see the world as you do.  Only you can inspire people’s souls as you do.  I have often allowed others to devalue me.  Not necessarily always by word, but also in deed.  When someone has tried to discredit my value by telling me that I am “too expensive” in the past, I have often tried to meet them by offering a discount. DO NOT DO THAT. Am I saying that you should never cut someone a deal? Absolutely not.  But I am saying that if someone devalues you from the start, they are not the person you want to work with. No $$ value is going to make them see your worth. In agreeing with them and lowering your cost, you are telling them that they are correct: “You aren’t worth what you are asking. ” Please, Please, PLEASE! Remember that this costs you more than money. Your life holds significant value, what time is spent on these clients is time never gotten back. It IS NEVER WORTH investing your time and heart and soul and sacrificing them for people who don’t love what you do.

(Need to hear more about your worth? Read a previous post about “Knowing Your Worth“)

3. Viewing Everyone as Competition
This ties into #2. Technically, where I live is an incredibly oversaturated photography market. We all do. With the growing accessibility to nice cameras, everyone and their dog has opened photography “businesses.” While it has been incredibly tempting to judge and hold resentment on those who drive the industry pricing downwards without offering much to the industry itself, I have learnt that this is a harmful mindset.  All of us begin somewhere.  Remember that every person has intrinsic value. All of us have been touched by art in some form or another to have picked up a camera. To view them as competition is to view them as an object, an obstacle: Something to crush or jump over. Instead, view your fellow photographers as companions: together you are inspiring the world with beauty. Someone inspired us to pursue our passions. We are all People first. Artists second. Businesses last.

I hope that you have found something in this list to guide you away from a few of the mistakes I’ve made. Any thing to add, or do you have any questions? I’d love to hear from you!

love ehjae

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How to capture unique and intriguing ring shots

 

Lately, I’ve been getting a lot of inquiries about my ring shots.  To be honest, this is one of my favourite parts about shooting weddings. Every couple has a different set of rings that represent their personalities and their love for each other.

Almost all of my ring shots are taken with my AF-S Micro Nikkor 105mm 2.8 and ALWAYS in manual focus. I cannot emphasize the importance of knowing how to focus your lens manually. If you aren’t comfortable doing this, practice with random objects around your house and don’t settle for anything less than a crystal clear, crisp image.  The crispness is beautiful and when I can capture that moment when it’s in focus, my heart melts.

If you are really struggling with focusing your lens, you may need to calibrate it. To be honest, I’ve been struggling lately to find the focus points, and am going to calibrate my lens when I have a chance. Wondering what I’m talking about?? http://photographylife.com/how-to-calibrate-lenses 

A huge part of photography is engaging in the world around you to capture the essence of what is happening. I don’t think there is a “right” or “wrong” way to capture ring shots, and I really don’t want you to just take up my methods, because you should find your own artistic way to express your art.

I’ll try to tell you a bit about the background behind the shots that I’ve taken and hopefully guide you towards your own ring inspiration.

How to capture unique and intriguing ring shots
Using your surroundings (Nikkor 105 mm, ISO 160 f/9 1/160)

This couple married under a big tent out in the country, and we were surrounded by a beautiful prairie landscape. It was a no-brainer to gather some of the wildflowers together. The sun is setting just behind and above this shot, creating a soft, yet bright glow.  I had to stand on a log to capture this shot.

How to capture unique and intriguing ring shots
Celebrating the couple’s heritage (ISO 1000, 50mm, f/3.5, 1/160)

The groom’s grandfather owns and rebuilt this beautiful Thunderbird, so the couple had the wonderful pleasure of riding around in it all day. The groom’s ring is actually a nut from his longboard.

How to capture unique and intriguing ring shots
Using Whatever you have around you (105mm, ISO 400, f/10, 1/125)

The couple from this wedding had their reception in a dark basement of a hotel.  We hadn’t had time to capture some ring shots while we were doing our formals outdoors, so I wasn’t sure what we were going to do.  But then I noticed the bartop. Shiny, glittery and PERFECT for a reflection shot of the ring.  I used my flash pointed upwards, off camera and remote triggered.  (There was a counter directly above for the flash to bounce back down on the ring)

How to capture unique and intriguing ring shots
Using Home Decor  (Sigma 150mm, ISO 400 f/3.8, 1/400)

This shot was taken at the bride’s home as she was getting ready. She has a beautifully decorated home, and works as an interior decorator. It seemed fitting that this gorgeous textured plate would be a perfect background for her even more gorgeous ring. This shot was taken in natural light, with the window to the right of the photo. This is one of the shots that took me a painstaking amount of time to capture, because of the amount of light being reflected, it was difficult to focus on the ring.

A couple of tips:

1) Close up that Aperture.
Even though the shots are macro, a smaller aperture, or a deeper depth of field is good to aim for when you are using a macro lens. Don’t worry, you’ll still capture that nice bokeh effect.   If the lens is wide open, you will have a harder time focusing on all of the intricate details of the rings.

 

2) Do anything for the shot 
Don’t care about what you look like while you are taking the photos. Sometimes we worry about what it’s going to look like while we lie on the floor, or underneath a tree. DON’T. If you are inspired, do it. Your bride will thank you for it.

3)Try something new
Inspiration can come in super weird forms. Once while I was capturing some detail shots, I noticed a cool soap dish in the bathroom.  Don’t stop yourself because something seems unconventional. (But if you are going to take ring shots in the bathroom, don’t forget to plug all the drains. That could be a really bad day otherwise)

Have any thoughts? Additional tips? Questions? I’d love to hear from you.

Let the wedding bells “ring!” 🙂

love ehjae

Photogenic

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As a photographer, I often hear words like Photogenic.

It’s a word we use so often in positive regards to others, “Wow, you’re so photogenic!” And use it almost always to enforce a negative connotation on ourselves. “I’m not a photogenic person at all.” It breaks my heart to hear people talk about themselves this way.

Do you know what the word Photogenic means?

At it’s latin roots:
Photo: Light        -genic: Produced by, given life by

So essentially, it means to “give life by light,” or as Jesh DeRox puts it, “Light coming through life.”

You have a life that’s worthy of being remembered.

As a photographer, and especially as a lover of people, it’s my heart’s passion and desire to capture that glimmer of genuine life shining through and to capture that essence of who you are.

There is no such thing as a photogenic person, just a person.

You’re unique. Your heart, your life, your passions; you shine with a light that will never be shone again by another other being. Let it show. It’s beautiful.

You embody “photogenic”, you are its definition.

Photography is completely dependent on light. Some of us work with natural lighting, some of us have learned how to manipulate it. How we get the lighting isn’t the point. The point is that we can’t get a photo without that light.

In the same way, I would say that my photos are nothing without your light. Are you willing to let it shine, show me your heart?

I will keep trying to share mine with the world.  I promise.

loveehjae

Knowing Your Worth

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As someone in the art industry, I’ve struggled with feeling adequate. There are incredibly talented people everywhere around me. The even more amazing thing is how inclusive and supportive the art community is! We are there for each other, and though people seem to believe that the photography industry is cutthroat, I’ve had a completely different experience.However, it can be so tiresome to feel uninspired and after hearing clients choosing someone else after you’ve poured your heart into showing them what you offer, the rejection can really hurt. Because we are artists, we express our hearts and souls into our work- having a client turn us down isn’t really about the money.  It can really feel like they are rejecting us, our hearts, our passions.. it sucks.

Writing this post has been and up and down battle for me, (should I write it or not?) but I recently shared something on one of our wonderful Facebook networking pages for photographers and found myself hilariously inspired by the words that I supposedly wrote.  I started thinking about what I wrote on that page.  It began with a post that had been shared expressing disappointment when a client choosing to go another direction, and wondering what to say in response. The number of replies and people who had also experienced this was overwhelming.

In response to the post, I wrote “I try to think of potential clients in the same way that I view potential boyfriends: if they don’t want me enough to pursue me and take me as I am, then I don’t want them.” Now in saying that, it’s hard to remember that even in the context of dating relationships. But I adamantly stand by this, and many ladies (and guy friends) in my life can attest to the fact that I do. If someone doesn’t want you, then you don’t want them.

The reason I share this is because since doing so, I’ve realized that I’m now on the other side of the dark valley of believing that no one would like my work, or that they wouldn’t be willing to hire me.  The funny thing about being in that valley was that it was because I didn’t truly believe in my own worth as an artist. So why would anyone else?

You have worth. Your art is unique and beautiful and it’s a tangible piece of your heart that the world gets to see. That’s more incredible than we allow ourselves to acknowledge sometimes. Just remember that when you get a disappointing email or phone call.

We have to take that journey of discovering our own art.   Once we do, we will begin to find our own worth and from there– others will catch on as well, and those people are the ones that we want around.

 

loveehjae