A photographer went to a socialite party in New York. As he entered the front door, the host said 'I love your pictures - they're wonderful; you must have a fantastic camera.' He said nothing until dinner was finished, then: 'That was a wonderful dinner; you must have a terrific stove.' - Sam Haskins
What exact camera and lens do you have?
This is my most asked question, but I truly believe that you can’t achieve the same results as any photographer if you have their same camera and lens. It’s all about the time you put into editing the image to achieve great results. This question is the same as saying to a chef, “Your food tastes so great, what knives did you use?” It's not about the equipment, but the work you put into it.
To answer this question: I am a Canon girl all the way, but honestly Nikon ain’t that bad either. If you haven’t purchased a camera yet, I would recommend going to a store that has both so you can look at the functions and see which one works better for you. I started with a Canon and kept upgrading to a newer model as I got better. I am loving the Sigma Art Lenses, which can be a little more expensive than the Canon lenses, but the results are amazing. They have mounts for both Canon and Nikon.
I can recommend the Rebel T3i for beginners, it should come with a kit lens but if you are willing to spend an extra $150-$300— look into buying a prime lens like the 50mm 1.8 or 1.4. I also recommend getting a prime lens for Nikon users.
How can I get into fashion blogging photography?
Reach out to the local bloggers in your area and let them know you exist. Send them a link to your online portfolio whether it be your website or your instagram along with your rates. If you have no pictures to show off, offer a free or discounted shoot with the blogger to add to your portfolio. When you get confident that you have enough images, start sending out your normal rates. I charge per look, but I know plenty of people that find charging hourly to work better for them.
Lightroom or Photoshop?
Both! Try out both of them to see which one you like best. If I have extra time, I’ll go into Lightroom to do all of my coloring and then bring it into Photoshop for touch-ups. With experience spending a lot of time in Lightroom and a lot of time in Photoshop-- I just prefer to do everything in Photoshop since it has a program called Adobe Camera Raw that is similar to Lightroom. I do all of my coloring with selective color, curves, and color balance in Photoshop.
How do I get my images so crisp and sharp like yours?
There are many ways to achieve this, If you check out my blog post here: Quick Editing Tips To Know. I explain how I achieved the sharpness in my image. There’s also a sharpening tool in Adobe Camera Raw, Lightroom, and even on instagram. It’s usually under the triangle icon.
How did you gain such well-known clients?
Word of mouth and posting and delivering great content. I give every image the attention it needs. I think that spending the extra time to perfect an image will only add great things to your reputation and will definitely show in the end result. With a better product to deliver, the higher the chances your photo will be re-posted by a huge company— meaning exposure for the client, allowing them to get more jobs and them wanting to go to you again for doing such a great job the first time.
Where are your favorite spots to shoot in Fort Worth?
I love my city but the locations are very limited. Katey McFarlan and I even shoot in neighborhoods now! But I recommend, the Cultural District which includes the Kimbell Art Museum, Amon Carter Museum and The Modern Art Museum. Off of Magnolia, it’s a shabby chic area with cute little jobs and works with any casual outfit. West 7th has some adorable walls and a great shopping area. Near Shipping and Receiving bar is more of an industrial look and you can also find cool graffiti in this area. Sundance Square in Downtown Fort Worth is my absolute favorite area, the backdrops are gorgeous and pretty much works with every outfit. The stockyards has bright buildings but I definitely don’t recommend this area because the parking is very limited, the best time to shoot here is in the morning. Last but not least, the stunning TCC Trinity Campus located in Downtown Fort Worth. This area has a gorgeous waterfall and tons of neutral backgrounds.
Do you shoot multiple outfits at a time and where do your clients change?
Yes, we are always shooting 3-6 looks at a time to make it worth our time-- that way they have content to post and can write their posts in advance. For changing, most of my clients prefer to use their cars but I do have a pop-up changing tent that I purchased on Amazon that was around $35! It has made all of my clients old/new very happy!
What camera setting do you use when shooting?
When I first started out, I used AV mode-- which is just in control of the aperture and ISO. Now, I do everything in Manual Mode-- which allows me to have complete control of my camera including the ISO, aperture, and shutter speed. There are many free tutorials out there on youtube and through articles, so make sure to do your research.
Did you go to school or are you self-taught?
I did go to Art Institute in Fort Worth for a semester, but honestly the only thing I learned was how to print. Which I don’t even give out to my clients today. So being that I already had experience as a photographer and were showing the instructors new things, I decided it was best for me to leave. I do recommend going to school for photography if you plan on working for a corporation or if you are looking to teach the subject professionally. I learned everything through online resources and trial and error.
What online resources do you recommend for learning?
Phlearn.com is where it’s at! They have amazing FREE video tutorials! Also, depending on what you want improvement on, just look it up on youtube. You can learn SO much from a simple youtube video. Jessica Kobeissi has my favorite fashion tutorials through youtube and she’s all about sharing useful information fo' free. Another favorite is, Jana Williams.
Do you use VSCO film to edit your images?
I have purchased VSCO film but feel like I’m not achieving the results for my style. I go for more of a editorial look, so I do everything from scratch and even make my own presets and actions on Photoshop. I plan on releasing presets for free once a month! I recommend VSCO if you are looking to achieve a film look and if you are very limited on time.
How do you think of so many poses for your clients?
I’ve never been the one to study poses, I actually catch the client in the moment while she’s free styling her posing. If I think of something in the moment I let them know. I do like to guide them and let them know which shot I’m getting at time. I start with full body then move on to details! Even though I have a mental shot list for bloggers, I always remember to capture a creative shot! Walking and action shots can add a unique touch!
What program do you use to deliver your proofs?
Pixieset! They give you 3gb for free and even a convenient favorites list that you can export. I usually delete the proofs as soon as I’m done with the shoot. So I’m never taking up any space to have to pay for more data.
What do you use to deliver your digital files?
I use to use Dropbox, but now I use Google Drive! For the most part everyone has a gmail account nowadays so they already have Drive! They can easily access their files on their phone with the Google Drive app.
What equipment should I bring for a blog shoot?
Yourself, your camera, and favorite lenses. You can ask all of my clients, I only shoot with one lens! You really only need one when you find your go-to-- for me that was my 35mm. To add a unique touch, try playing around with a reflector— So much fun!
What is the best advice you can provide for an amateur photographer?
Don’t forget to be creative and try different angles, do something new every shoot. Before you take every shot, look out for the little things (ex. no clear straps showing, lipstick on teeth, tags hanging out.) Get to know your client. Don’t be competitive with other photographers. Stay friendly, genuine and treat people how you would like to be treated— after all this is your reputation and word of mouth is everything in this industry.
How/what made you decide to do this full time?
I was working a full-time job where I kept getting promoted while doing photography on the side. I felt it was my time to go since photography was my passion and wanted to give it my full attention. With my husbands support, my business took off a month later which allowed me to leave my full-time job.
Do you use an external hard drive or what is your source for storing your photos?
Yes, I store all of my files through a portable external hard drive. I have the Western Digital My Passport, Ultra. Last year, I was using a Western Digital My Book that you have to plug into the wall, but unfortunately I tripped over the cord and broke the hard drive losing all of my 2015 files. So if you can, definitely get the portable hard drive so this never happens to you. R.I.P. My book :( Before purchasing, make sure that the hard drive is compatible for both PC and Mac to use on both systems and for data recovering purposes.
Thanks to everyone who sent in questions and for all of the kind offers for a coffee date! I received a lot of inquiries for mentoring and shadowing my shoots. Now I have a couple of questions to ask you all before I decide which route I will be taking:
Would you prefer a one-on-one mentoring session OR a workshop with other beginner photographers?
Would you prefer to work with a professional model or an actual style blogger during your mentoring session/workshop?
Let me know in the comment section below!