When I first picked up an SLR camera, I was rockin’ a kit lens and was parading that thing around town like I was the next Nigel Barker. It was a 28-135mm f/5.6.At this point, I knew nothing about how your lens can change a photograph entirely.

One day out of curiosity, I pulled out Pat’s 50mm f/1.4 lens because it was always just sitting in his bag unused. This lens changed everything I thought I knew and aperture clicked instantly. I’ve stolen it from him and refuse to give it back…until I get the f/1.2 anyway. Since then, I’ve added the 85mm to my arsenal and cry tears of joy when I take a picture with it.

Having a lens with a high aperture changed my portrait style completely. I now set the f stop around 1.4, depending on my distance from the subject, focus on the person’s eyes and let everything else soften in the background. It really makes the person the focus. In my opinion, I don’t need trees, sidewalks, random people in the background etc tack sharp in a picture. It only deflects away from the subject. If you’re photographing a group of people, you’ll definitely want a lower aperture so everyone is in focus. Like I said, it’s only my opinion and how I like to shoot.

We always start off photographing a client with longer lenses. Pat uses his 70-200mm and I use my 85mm. You don’t want to be in someone’s face when you initially start a shoot. Let them get comfortable in front of the camera and interacting with you. No one is comfortable if you pull out your 35mm and you get up in their grill in the first 5 minutes. Take your time with people.

Once everyone has gotten over their butterflies, I pull out my 50mm and Pat will be pulling out his 24-70mm f/2.8 that he’s waiting for in the mail. I do still want to be changing my lenses back and forth to be getting a different feel within the same pose.

For instance, if you have 2 people leaning in with their foreheads you can use a lens like the 35 or the 50 and get the bigger picture. That’s great and all but lets change it up from there. Move your position and then take out a lens like the 85 and the moment will feel much more intimate.

If you haven’t noticed, I like prime lenses and Pat likes zoom lenses. It’s a matter of preference. I don’t refuse to use them though, my next lens will be the 70-200 f/2.8 to use during wedding ceremonies.

Hope this was helpful even though it was long! There’s so much more to cover but I didn’t want to go crazy. Leave your own tips in the comments!

Here’s a photo I took this weekend in Boston at f/1.4 with my 50mm. See how the eyes are completely focused and everything else softens  around the face. That’s what mama likes!

Todays Post: Lets Talk About Lenses business

Todays Post: Lets Talk About Lenses business

Being a girl, I am so self conscious in photographs. To me, my butt looks ginormous, my gut looks the size of Mount Rushmore, my double chin is just out of hand and the list goes on. Luckily, Pat and I took a posing class with the amazing Bambi Cantrell in Vegas. I have to say, I had the wrong impression of Bambi. I originally was a little put off by her when I’ve watched her judge photographs online but she was so sweet in person. She took the time to talk to everyone and showed us how to slim the body with small adjustments. I took lots of notes for reminders for myself and to also share with all of you guys.

Tips to look your snazziest in a photograph:

  • Never stand directly facing the camera. Always angle your body slightly in to create a better shape.
  • Always keep your legs shoulder width apart, never have them close together so they don’t look heavy.
  • Keep your weight on your back leg and bend your front leg. Never stand flat footed, you want to shift that weight.
  • Push your stomach slightly forward. This sounds weird but it instantly helps straighten out your back.
  • Make sure your arms are away from your body to show off your shape. Put your hand on your hip and point your elbow out instead of having it pressed against your side.
  • Drop your chin, it will make your eyes bigger and more of a focal point.

Tips for photographers

Bambi made a good point so I made sure to write down her quote. “It’s not about the photographer, it’s about the client.” Pay attention to who they really are. When you have a sense of someone, you’ll instinctively know how to interact with them and make them comfortable.

  • If you can, try to avoid shooting up. You want to shoot down to slim out their face.
  • Don’t tell your client to move left or right. Move in the direction you would like them to face and say, “Look over in my direction” or “shift your body towards me”. This helps with the confusion of, your right or my right?
  • Use light across the body to sculpt and shape. At the same time, use shadows to create a slimming effect.
  • When shooting a client sitting down, have them sit at the edge of the seats. This naturally straightens out their backs.
  • Have them interact with one another and lean into each other to create a real connection. For me, this is where I insert a cheesy joke to get them to smile.

I could go on but these ones are the top ones we learned. I think my next blog will be what to wear to a photo shoot. Stay tuned!

Just for the sake of a picture. Here’s one of Pat and I on the Vegas strip

How to Look Good in a Photograph personal

How to Look Good in a Photograph personal