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.
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.