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FAQ | Photographers

If you know anything about me, is that i don’t take compliments well. In fact, they make me uncomfortable and kinda anxious and… squirmy. I mean that in a good way. When people come up to me and tell me how much they enjoy my work, i start to fidget and my cheeks probably blush a bit. you see, i have always considered myself to be lucky to be doing this. and even MORE lucky to be considered “good” at it. i cannot do what i do without my amazing clients. period.

so when i am consistently asked questions about photography tricks, techniques, advice, etc… i feel very humbled

At any rate, i get tons of emails about photography and i thought i would share them with you, in the event that you are asking the same things about my technique/style/process/knowledge.

I’ll be making this a recurring theme on the blog, so if you DO have questions, please send me an email or leave a comment!

Have you ever thought about doing a workshop?

I get asked this question often. And I can’t help but chuckle a little bit each time. Not that I’m being ugly or rude… but because I have never considered myself to be of “workshop worthy” status. I still have so many workshops that * I * want to attend myself. But if you really wanna know… yes. i have considered it. and am currently “talking” about the possibilities.

I have a 70-300mm 4.5 and I have a Tamron AF 28-75mm 2.8. Im not good at low light. How do you get your pictures so crisp. I don’t ever notice any grain.

My first advice is to invest in better lenses. I know it’s expensive and often discouraging to hear this from photographers. But I PROMISE you the difference is well worth the investment. The 70-300mm lens is “variable aperature” and doesn’t really lend well to indoor low light events unless you are pairing it with a flash. (BTW – excluding wedding receptions, I almost NEVER use a flash). Additionally, i shoot with a Canon 5D so there is little-to-no-grain in most of my shots to begin with because the camera itself is really great in noise and grain control!

What type of lens do you use for indoor low light?

My favorite lenses for low light situations are the 50mm 1.4, the 35mm, f1.4L, and lastly the 24-70mm f/2.8L. In that order. Btw- this is just what works best for me and could be completely different for another photographer.

How do you handle the “shy” thing when having to get in front of people to get good angles?

I have said it many times, but it’s worth repeating… If I have any talent – it’s in having the ability to get on a personal level with my clients VERY quickly. They usually have no issues letting loose and being “themselves.” And truth be told, I get very very VERY close to my clients faces!!! (see below) This doesn’t usually come with a warning either! I like to invade your personal space. I don’t really know if there is a “secret” to be shared here. Perhaps this is something that is better asked to one of my clients…


What lens do you use? Which ones do you use for different sessions? (Child, Wedding, etc) What is your favorite lens?

I’m addicted to my 50mm f/1.4. I use it about 80% of the time. I’m not a lazy photographer. I will get down and dirty (which is why I almost always show up in jeans and my old pair of trusty Uggs!) For the most part I use prime lenses: 50mm, 85mm, 35mm, 100mm … and then I zoom with my feet. However, for children, I have found that my 24-70mm 2.8L is the most handy. And that thing takes a beating!!! Lastly i use the 70-200mm to allow me to zoom during ceremonies- keeping it a “ceremony” and not a “photo shoot.” Occasionally and VERY rarely, i will use this lens if i am working with a child who is especially shy and hasn’t warmed up to me yet. I will make a game of chase – ensuring that they are smiling – and use that lens to zoom into them.

if you talk numbers to me all i hear is “blah blah blah”

well… unfortunately, being good at this requires you to be able to speak numbers. I shoot in Manual mode 100% of the time. Even though I joke that putting it on P means you’re shooting in Professional Mode. I am CONSTANTLY changing my settings. I have become very fluent in photography mathematics and can do this rather quickly. A good place to start with helping you understand your settings and how your camera works is to invest in the “Understanding Exposure” book. I read something similar in my college photography courses and hear great things about this book. Until you understand exposure and how to achieve it properly, your investment in cameras, lenses, and editing software will not reach it’s full potential.

How do you get kids to cooperate with you during a session?

The first piece of advice I’ll give you… is to ban the parents from standing behind you during the session if they are toddlers and older children. Let the parents know that they can watch from the side – but that they will be called upon if and when you can’t get the kid to smile. Children will generally “fake smile” if the parent is around – because i PROMISE you they have heard “show me your smile” all day in preparation for the session. The key here is to let the kid be a kid. Not a subject. Kids smile when they’re playing or when you are conversing with them. In all honesty, if you can act like a kid and shoot quickly while doing so… you’ll get good images. Get on level with them. Laugh. Tell stupid jokes. Use that crazy kid voice. PLAY with them for a little bit and THEN pick up the camera. Ask them if their dad wears pink underwear. Ask about their pets. Squeeze their cheeks. Be genuinely interested in them and they’ll play along. If all else fails…. resort to bribery.BriberyWhat is your editing process? Do you use certain actions?

First of all, i should state that i use Bridge, ACR, and Photoshop exclusively. I shoot everything in RAW. I don’t use presets in ACR but they are available. On average, it takes me about an hour and a half to edit a portrait session. (weddings, on the other hand, are an entirely different beast!) First i cull my images by rating them in Bridge. i pull the images i have rated to be the best and bring them up in ACR. I then perform “standard” processing: where i correct white balance, give my exposure a bump, and then i convert the images to JPG. At that point, i will go through and pick my most favorite from my conversions (also using Bridge). Then i pull those images into Photoshop and really “enhance” those. Like you would see here. Sidenote: i have been asked before how long it takes me to retouch a single image. Believe it or not, each image takes me about a minute. I use a handful of actions that i have purchased or created for myself. I am also on the Design Team for Andie Smith Designs - where you can find TONS of affordable tools for editing and graphic design!

There are many other questions that i have waiting to be answered, so if you don’t see yours here, please rest assured that it will get a response!!!

Chriselda Photography

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March. 20. 2010 - 11:23 am

Kristi - Great advice :)
PS I just got my Nikon 50mm 1.4G!

March. 20. 2010 - 5:13 pm

Shonda - Thanks for sharing your knowledge! It’s so helpful and so well written!

March. 20. 2010 - 7:25 pm

roman - what kind of 100mm lens do you use?

March. 21. 2010 - 12:58 am

libby - thanks for the info! definitely helpful. i’ll be checking that book out. :)

March. 21. 2010 - 9:55 pm

Mikala - I’ve always wondered what you shoot with.. I just got my 50D, and I’m loving it! I’m also a prime gal.. Trying to decide between the 35 and the 85 right now. :) And “Understanding Exposure” is a great book.. really upped my game! Thanks for sharing!

March. 22. 2010 - 6:47 pm

Steffanie - I really love that you started doing FAQs. They provide much insight and it’s great to know what other photographers are doing. Not that you don’t know this already, but your pictures are always amazing!

March. 23. 2010 - 11:45 pm

emma - Love this!!!! Thanks so much!!!

March. 24. 2010 - 12:10 pm


March. 30. 2010 - 4:28 pm

Stephanie Fretwell - I love your FAQ post! I honestly don’t have a clue about all of the “fancy” terminology, but love that you take time out of your schedule to answer!! ~Steph

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