Blog : Mentoring

Learn how to – photography one on one sessions

Learn how to – photography one on one sessions

Mentoring budding photographers or people wanting to improve their skills for taking photos at home has been something I’ve been doing for the last few years. I’ve had the utmost pleasure of hanging out with and working with mums with cameras, hobby photographers and upcoming newborn, family and wedding photographers, sharing things I have learnt along my own photography journey. I enjoy doing this because I am working with people who clearly appreciate the value of good photography, understand the emotional value of a photograph, and who recognise that there is more to photography than just pointing and shooting.

I mentor these new friends of mine on simple things such as how to take better photos of your kids – because employing a professional photographer is not always an option but brilliant photos is the outcome that you always want. We go over what to look for when taking photos and how to store your photos on your computer and back ups – back ups are a MUST!

When we delve a little further, depending on the aims of the ‘student’, we are working on how to design albums and look for photos that compliment each other in a spread, instead of compete. We cover getting your photos in print – because digital storage is not a way to display your art! On the technical side of photography, I teach how to use Photoshop to get that creamy smooth baby skin, because we know newborns have a few blemishes in the early days! Editing out flies is an essential skill for Australian summer photography! And the tool that everyone wants to learn to use – the skinny tool!

For those looking for a more advanced mentoring in their photography journey I mentor in the use of the Adobe program, Lightroom – an essential tool in photography. Editing efficiently in Lightroom and getting photos straight from Lightroom and ready to go before moving to Photoshop are lessons that make a huge difference to your workflow – and something I am glad I learnt!

Photography mentoring is for people of all ages and skill level, with any equipment (though I continue to be partial to the Nikon!) and it is ideal to have a Mac to work on. Instead of going to cookie-cutter photography workshops that are based around their own programs and ideals, all mentoring sessions with me are tailored to what you want to learn, and as it is a one-on-one session you have all the time to ask and answer any questions you have and learn at your own pace. Photography lessons and mentoring can be done in your own home with your own computer, so that you don’t have to try and translate what you’ve learnt elsewhere to your own machine. We can work around your other duties, and have sessions during school hours, or late in the evening if that suits you.

Photography Lessons and Mentoring times and costs:

Minimum – 2 Hours – $410
Half Day – 4 hours – $700
Full Day – 8 Hours – $1100

Current dates available via Skype training only: 1-12 July 2015.

I have put a lot of time and effort into my photography, attending many workshops, training seminars and myself getting mentoring from colleagues, and I’m now paying back my dues and passing on that knowledge to people who want to be better photographers. Use the contact button or email me at [email protected] to begin your photography mentoring journey.

Below my youngest follower… After watching me in a newborn session, my niece Lacey wanted to take photos too! Here she is taking photos and telling Chelsea to smile… (she wanted to used the Nikon D4, but its a bit heavy, so we opted for the iPhone… CUTENESS!!

mentoring learn how to photography

New usb’s

New usb’s

So I love new gadgets and toys, I’m always looking for something new to really enhance the client experience. I am so aware that technology especially has a limited life with its constant evolution leaving old technology in the dust (remember floppy disks?!) which is why I wholeheartedly advocate for prints, canvases and most importantly, albums, so you can be sure you’ve forever got a copy of your beautiful photos. But when the technology is at hand, well, I like to go all out!

The newest update to client packages are these super cool, super slim USBs, which look more like Jade Norwood Photography Credit Cards (sorry, you’re not getting your hands on my actual cards!). You can literally fit it in your wallet, so you can carry it around to share with friends or just to the local printers to get your wedding photos printed ASAP! You simply flip out the attachment piece (the small rectangle) and plug it into the computer. Flip it back in to protect the connection and your precious photos, and you’re done.
I seriously love the way they look, so sleek, slim and sexy! Who know’s what I will find next!
A day in the life of Jade Norwood Photography

A day in the life of Jade Norwood Photography

Becoming a wedding photographer – a day in the life of Jade Norwood Photography

So the other day on an engagement shoot, I was asked ‘so what do you do during the day to fill in the time….if this is all you do?’. Ouch! Do people really think that running a photography business is purely about shooting; point, click, and download? I think in my blog posts ‘we all start somewhere’ + ‘the business end’;  I touched a little on the business and skill development side of photography for someone looking to take up photography as a career, but now it’s time to look at what it is a photographer does all day!
Please note: This is purely just showing what we do, I’m not saying it is the right way, or what every photographer does! Im not saying I have all my ducks in a row, and I’m always working at learning new techniques and processes to fasten things up for a better client experience and quicker turn around time. My goal for 2015, enhance the client experience + work less hours so I can spend more time with my gorgeous nieces!!

 9-11am – Respond to emails. You would be amazed at how many emails come my way on a daily basis. There are initial enquiries, emails responses to bookings, and the planning emails with booked clients. And that’s just my brides! 2 hours doesn’t seem to be enough to clear my inbox of discussions of ideas with staff, marketing and advertising, fielding corporate photography enquiries, responding to photography feature requests……

11-1pm – Edit images. As mentioned in my ‘becoming a photographer, mastering the camera and developing style’ blog post, 10% of a photography image is completed in the editing stage. Photos are put onto the computer and through lightroom for minor adjustments. Doesn’t sound like much….but when we’re talking a minimum of 800 photos per wedding (that’s a very low estimate) and over 25 weddings a year + 50 engagement shoots + my awesome return clients for family and newborn sessions….there’s a few images to work on!

1-2:30pm – Website updates, social media presence, blog. Unfortunately websites, blogs and social media don’t update themselves! A great deal of time is spent web optimising images (because all programs treat your media differently and have a tendency to distort images and colour), drafting blog posts, responding to website and social media chatter, and posting sneak peek images of my beautiful brides!

2:30-4pm – Album design. Oh how I love wedding photography albums! These are designed around a couples favourite images and I love to tell the story of their big day in a gorgeous album.

4-5pm – Edit images I have requests for further editing of images, and I also further edit images for albums, for example black and white images, smoothing or removing imperfections (like flies…ugh!! Or random hanging twigs that just make an image untidy but can’t be avoided). Some editing is more time consuming than the rest…note – test your fake tan, bad fake tan is my editing nightmare!!

5-7:30pm – Engagement Session My wedding photography packages include engagement sessions, so weekday evenings (shoot time is different for different times of year) are spent catching up with the couples for their shoot, plus travelling to and from.

7:30-8pm – End and prep! When I get home, it’s time to download images, back up the files, and get my gear ready for the next shoot.

8-11pm – Edit images. For 10% of the image, it sure takes up a lot of time, huh!, when your dealing with over 5000 images a week.

11-11:30 – Receipts and invoices Back to the business end of things – bookwork!

(Ummmmm yes I may be a workaholic and a perfectionist!! Im still learning to have the whole work – life balance thing sorted!)

This looks like a neat and tidy day, but doesn’t always work like this cookie cutter example. There will be an urgent job that needs doing, I might be on the phone half the day chasing an order, or out making sure I know where all the venues are for an upcoming wedding. I also can spend 8 hours in a car just getting from one wedding to another….one way. Wedding day photography can start from 8am and not finish until 11pm and some weekends I might have a Saturday AND Sunday wedding. I’m always busy, never quite ‘caught up’ and have to do list post it notes flapping everywhere in my offices, and my to do lists in my daily diary never seem to be achievable….but I LOVE IT because I love the joy that my hard work brings to other people, moments that can never be recreated, captured forever!

Belinda-Jane – Marketing and Communications

I was lucky enough to start working with Jade last year, and we came up with the ‘job title’ because we needed something for the business cards, but it seems to be a lot more diverse than that!

9-11 Emails…..sooo many emails! I correspond with brides about their weddings, sending them questionnaires to be filled in so we can get information for their blog post and to create their wedding photography timeline. I’m in constant contact with Jade discussing new ideas, or the jobs on the go, and with publications and vendors about images and wedding submissions.

11-1 Writing Whether it’s a blog post, a summary of a beautiful wedding and lovely couple, advertising material or just business notes, my fingers run madly over the keyboard of my Macbook trying to keep up with the musings in my mind!

1-3 Submissions, phone calls and odd jobs There is always something being developed for Jade Norwood Photography business material. We also try and submit each wedding (with permission) to wedding publications online or in print – our favourite publications are inundated with ‘Real Wedding Submissions’ so I’m often doing and re-doing submissions for the same wedding in multiple publications and their required formats. I’m on the phone discussing advertising proposals and promotion ideas and doing what I can to keep up with Jade’s ‘random ideas’ (Soooo many come through after a day of her driving on the road, I don’t think her brain ever stops! I have an email folder dedicated to them hehehe ) .

I’d like to say my day goes as smoothly as this but with a baby at home, I work when I can, on what is deemed most urgent, and while my to do list seems to grow more than it shrinks, I really enjoy all of the work that I do. A mix of creative writing, problem solving, business writing, promotion and the real kicker – reading and rewriting the always awesome stories of the brides and grooms….and getting a sneak at their galleries! I love my job!
Note from Jade: I love love love having Beej work with me, Im so LUCKY, she helps out so much and is the best word sleuth… 

jade norwood photography

A screenshot of my desktop this morning, featuring the gorgeous little Abby, from a few years ago… Couple of applications open, do you know how much I love APPLE products!! Working on retouching images for albums today… 

The business End

The business End

Becoming a wedding photographer – the business end.

Once you’ve got the camera mastered, there’s another HUGE side to being a wedding photographer – your personality and organisational skills and ohhhh all the, “business side”. I’m not talking organising your DVD’s in alphabetical order, and keeping a tidy diary. I’m talking about organising people who probably don’t want to be organised. At the end of the day, the bride, groom and their bridal party want to be having a good time like the rest of the guests. If you can’t get their photos done quickly, and with a bit of fun involved, it’s not going to be an enjoyable experience for anyone! Unless they’ve had their own wedding, some bridal party members might not even realise how important the photos are to the bride and groom, so ensuring you don’t make the portraits a chore is ensuring the best outcome for everyone.

You need to be able to make people in front of the camera feel comfortable; otherwise you’re going to end up with rigid awkward shots. Be relatable, kind, patient but in control. No matter what kind of week you might have had, or if you’re fighting a head cold, suck it up and soldier on – you’ve got a job to do…and plaster a smile on your face so you’ll get a smile back! You’re going to be meeting and working with people of all ages, backgrounds, religions, races, attitudes, languages, confidence levels etc etc etc. There is no room for your own judgement, awkwardness or bad attitudes. Be confident but not arrogant and be ready to make some friends, another perk of a great job.

Being a wedding photographer can look like a cruisy job from the outside, but like any great looking job, there is more than the eye can see – some things you might not have thought about when planning to become a wedding photographer;

You’ll need back up gear. Not just another battery and memory card, I’m talking the whole shebang of cameras, lenses and flashes. How do you explain to a bride and groom that you can’t continue photographing their wedding because you tripped and dropped your only camera? HINT: Your camera should have dual card slots in case of a corrupted card.

Insurance and legal fees. You’re running a business that delivers a service for a fee to clients. You need to take into account legal considerations and get sound contracts drawn up and cover EVERYTHING under insurance. If you’re serious about becoming a wedding photographer, you need to cover the risks.

What you will earn. There is an assumption that a wedding photographer makes a lot of money. This might be the case for an established business that has all initial investments paid off and a reliable bookings average to pay for running costs, but this is not true for a start up business of any kind. After equipment, software, training costs, insurances, professionals (lawyers, accountants), travel, client products etc, there isn’t much left over. Keep this in mind before you give up your regular paying job for full time photography.

It’s a business. Wedding photography can’t just be a hobby, it is a business and you need to deliver. You will need some small business understanding. You will need to have processes in place to getting images to the clients as soon as possible (we live in a digital and instant age, and waiting 6 months just to even SEE a gallery of the wedding is not okay). You need to be able to find a way to promote your business to get MORE business. You’re going to be giving up your weekends. You need to manage your time well and be motivated. Mostly you need to be passionate, because if you don’t love what you’re doing, everything else will fall by the wayside.

People skills. All of your clients are different people and the client is ALWAYS right. You need to be ready to go above your best for each of them, and know that each will be looking for that different ‘something special’ in their wedding photos. Their wedding is a one and only, treat it that way.

So if you have the skills, and you think you have the knowledge, are you ready to get into wedding photography as a career? The very brutally honest (but required) low down is this; it is very easy to be an Uncle Bob and be in the right place at the right time, in amazing light, with a gorgeous bride and groom, and have all the planets align for a perfect shot to fall in front of you as you click the shutter button. BUT, if you don’t have the full confidence to GUARANTEE to a bride and groom that no matter the situation, you will deliver, then you’re not ready. I think you’re ready when despite the conditions are thrown at you – rain, hail, full shadow, full sunshine, extremely low light, gale force winds, 5 minutes to get all the photos you need – you know where to place your client in the right light, and the right position and coach them to allow for amazing to happen…. that’s when you are truly ready to say ‘yes, I’m a wedding photographer!’.

nikon d4 wedding photographer

My trusty work horse that I spend every day with

We all start somewhere…

We all start somewhere…

It’s no secret, I have a great job that I love, and so I get a lot of the same questions when on shoots or out and about. ‘What’s an average day like for you?’ ‘What settings do you use?’ ‘You can just photoshop that right?’. And the big one; ‘how do I get into wedding photography?’. So I’m going to lay it all on the line for you in a couple of blog posts to give you some insight into a ‘day in the life of Jade Norwood Photography’, what it’s like to become a photographer, and some tips if you’re thinking of getting into the field of photography.

BECOMING A WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER – Mastering the camera and developing style.

We all start somewhere; for me, it was photographing local families on the weekends, trying to build up some dollars for some travelling. I also spent a lot of time photographing landscapes, playing with settings, and learning from YouTube videos and anything else I cold get my hands on to read. There’s a lot to be said for just getting out and spending time learning your camera; after all, mastering a man made machine is not a natural born talent!

Often I am asked how do I set up a shoot, what settings I use on my camera and how I Photoshop my images. First things first; I shoot as naturally as I can (other than styled shoots) so there is nothing that I really ‘set up’. I use my experience to recognise where the light will be, and how it will best highlight the subjects. Sometimes the wind is a hindrance, sometimes it creates a perfect veil flying moment. Rain can be off-putting, but it could also add that extra sparkle to your unique wedding photo. You work with what you’ve got.

There is no set formula for the settings on my camera, each light, distance and point of focus situation calls for different settings. Trying to explain the intricacies of bokeh, light exposure, f-stop etc all in one go is going to make this more difficult than it needs to be. My advice – practice, practice and practice some more. I might be Nikon biased, but Canon also has great short tutorials for learning about the settings of your own camera, and the projects help you to put what you’ve learnt into practice.

As for Photoshop – I would say editing makes up 10% of an image – the other 90% is made when you hit the shutter button; if you can’t get it right there, you’re not going to get it right at all. The 10% of editing is about enhancement – forget instagram filters, they can’t erase shadows on a face…learn to get it right in your camera first and then work on lightroom enhancements later and if it calls for it photoshop.

But the biggest part about the ‘settings I use’ is that they are for my style of photography – and yours may be different! Like a wedding photographer, photography style is not ‘one size fits all’. You can’t ‘copy’ a style; in fact even though in a way it’s a compliment, a lot of photographers could be offended by direct and obvious copies of any of their work (unless you’re crediting them for the inspiration). Instead, emulate styles until you find you develop something that makes you feel proud, and delivers a creation that someone else loves. THAT’S a photographer’s skill. Oh but I do get a good laugh out of… “wow, you must have a great camera” hehehe!!!

I still think that I have a lot to learn, and that is one of the things I love about wedding photography; it always throws up new challenges! Like how to shoot all the portraits you need for an album in 10 minutes because so many things have popped up throughout the day, that everything is running late…

But I do get asked these questions, and these are responses from my personal experience. I love challenging myself and learning from the best in the industry (note – not copying as it isnt proper photography etiquette). One of the things I love most about photography is that you are always learning new things as the world of photography evolves, and there is SO much to learn!

Here is one of my landscape images from years and years ago… When I was practicing practicing practicing, before I started weddings.

jade norwood photography