I’ve been so quiet about Hayley interning you might have thought things didn’t work out, or that she was no help and we didn’t get along… but I’m happy to confirm that is not at all true! When she joined it was what I now recognize as the busiest time of year for me. It was hard to find enough time to slow down and bring her up to speed, and our schedules were not lining up. While we took our time getting off the ground Hayley persisted and I’m so glad. She has proved to be very valuable and now we are humming along as the season winds down and just two weddings remain.
As you already know, you learn so much by doing. I love giving interns the chance to see how I work and being able to offer direction as they dive right in as well. Hayley wasn’t able to come to any of the early weddings or shoots I had arranged, so in order to both see how she worked and give her a chance to see how I shoot we set something up. Lindsay and Paul were our willing subjects and in the comfort of our own second backyard (the college campus) we photographed them. I thought I would share a few of the images I shot (I really only took a few because I had daphne in the ergo with me the whole time! ha) and explain my process so you can be my virtual intern for the day and hopefully learn something!
If there is one thing I needed to work on when I was starting out, it was being consistent. It was easy for me to capture a lot of variety and not have it look like cohesive group when I was done. That was due to the follow factors:
what I decided to capture
what settings my camera were at when I captured the photos
how I edited the images
Six years after starting out I have a much better sense of what I want to capture and how I’m going to do that each time I pick up a camera. The first thing I look at is where the light is. Next I think about composing the scene in relation to that light, deciding where I’ll place my subjects and how I will frame them in the shot. From there my priority is making people feel comfortable, have fun and interact naturally.
I shoot in manual, and have done so basically since I started. I choose to do that because it give me more control of the shot. However, it’s easy to get caught up in interacting with your subject and forget to change them when you are shooting in manual. I like to take a breath during a shoot and just look over ISO, aperture + shutter speed to make sure it’s at where I want it to be. Also, it doesn’t hurt to pull out your camera manual and brush up your understanding if you feel a little lost with how to use it.
All of these images were shot on my Canon 5D mark iii + 50mm 1.2 lens with the following settings : ISO 100 | f/2.0 | 1/400
There is a fine line to editing. I think it’s important to both develop your own style of editing and to resist the urge to over edit in the process. I didn’t resist that urge in the beginning, and my early early work was in high contrast heaven. A few years ago I switched from editing in camera raw – a Photoshop application for editing raw files – to Lightroom. Why didn’t I do that sooner? I convinced Hayley to do the same this year and honestly it is so much easier to edit multiple images at once, track your changes, etc…
When it comes to actions and presets I think it’s essential to use them to keep your editing time down, however it’s your choice whether you purchase those presets or create your own. I think to develop a signature style it’s essential to have a good understanding of editing and be able to make adjustments how you see fit. So working with the presets from Totally Rad or VSCO can give you a good starting point – and help you develop your understanding of editing if you are just beginning – but ultimately creating your own will help you develop a signature style.
In the end it’s about being consistent with what you produce. So keep working + practicing!