photography q&a

Saturday, December 13, 2008

When I asked you if there was anything in particular you wanted me to blog about on this month long adventure, photography was one of the topics that got the most requests, so here's a little Q&A for you that I hope you'll find useful. Let me start by stating the painfully obvious: photography is just a hobby for me, so my knowledge is incredibly limited. There are a million, zillion people out there that have been doing this for a lot longer than I have and with much more life-changing, emotion-stirring, glorious results.
That being out there, here we go...

Q: What cameras do you use?
I've owned my Nikon D80 for exactly one year - and I love it dearly. It was a huge upgrade for me at the time… I had only ever shot on a point and shoot and I was a bit lost those first couple of months. I pushed ahead through, and know my way around that baby a bit better now, but it still has so many function that I don't take advantage of. Maybe reading the manual would help with that? Also, I recently stole borrowed my brother in law's film camera (also a Nikon) and I can't wait to develop my first roll of film. Since that clunky thing is essentially 100% manual I'm not expecting much from my first set, but I feel like it is helping me learn more about how to take photographs.

Q: What about your Polaroid?
Yes, I also own a Colorpack II which I picked up at a thrift store for $5. I was very late to the Polaroid obsession (so late in fact, that I started taking Polaroids once the company announced it was no longer planning on making the film) but I am trying to make up for missed time.

Q: Mmmhhh, but if there is no film….?
Luckily, when I impulse bought the camera I knew nothing about, I picked up one that uses peel apart film. It so happens that Fuji makes a film that can be used with my camera, so there is no risk of me running out of film. Oh yeah, AND the film is about $3 cheaper than its Polaroid version. TAKE THAT POLAROID!

Q: Ok, so back to your DSLR - what lenses do you use?
A 50mm f/1.8, a 18-135 f/3.5-5.3, a lensbaby 2.1.

Q: Which one is your favorite?
You can't ask me that! It's just not polite.

Ok, fine, just don't tell the others. My 50mm is the one I use the most, and I adore it. It is extremely light, which is key since I carry my camera with me everywhere.

Q: Wait, so do you carry your camera everywhere? Are you insane?
Yes and yes. Everywhere. I actually used to carry my camera bag with me everywhere, in addition to my handbag. Then I located a couple of spare brain cells and bought myself a nice cozy sleeve for my camera, made out of what I can only define as 'scuba diving suit material'. So I just stick that puppy in my handbag along with my wallet, keys, book, metrocard, lipgloss, and the 17 pens I routinely carry with me.

Q: What's it like to take photos for 'Every Morn and Eve'?
I wrote about that here.

Q: What are your favorite types of photos?
The ones that others take. Seriously. I can spend hours browsing other photographers streams in Flickr. So much amazing inspiration to be found! So much to learn!

Q: What format do you shoot in? And in what mode?
As of June I started shooting exclusively in RAW. It means a lot more memory usage on both my cards and my computer but it also means that I can play around more with my photos and rescue many a monster. And as of June, I also shoot mostly on my cameras manual setting. I revert to auto when things are a bit crazy, if the light is changing to frequently, if I absolutely NEED to get the shot and I only get one go at it.

Q: Do you use a flash?
As of 4 days ago I do! I was just gifted a very fancy new flash so I am just learning how to use it. My preference is taking photos in natural light, but I have to say I am blown away at how convinient owning a flash is, especially in the winter months and for indoor shoots.

Q: Do you edit your photos a lot?
Not a lot, but more than I used to at first. Since I started shooting in RAW, I've started using photoshop to edit all my shots, so a little tweaking always takes place. It's usually only a matter of boosting the contrast, sometimes playing with temperature and exposure. Never anything major. I'm not quite smart enough for any of that fancy stuff - like actions and layers? Way out of my league.

Q: How do you manage your photos?
Ha. I deliberated long and hard on this very matter and here is the solution I've come up with. It works for me, for now. I access my photos through Adobe Bridge, which allows you to view RAW files. Since I take photos every day, I create a RAW and a DEVELOPED file for each day, and then sort it by month and by year.

Q: Does taking photos of strangers make you nervous?
Yes. No. Sometimes.
I am very shy about taking photos of people I don't know, so I rarely do. In India, I really felt that I was free to break lose a bit and snap away to my heart's content - people were happy for me to take photos of them, and actually really played along with me. In other situations I still need to built up the courage i need to snap away. But I'm working on it!

Ok - that's it! I hope it was useful - but if I missed anything... just leave me a note in the comments!

Today's Soundtrack
Amos Lee - Southern Girl


Sarah said...

Fantastic, Amy! We are very much in the same boat.

Shannalee said...

You are delightful. I can't believe you say you know little about photography and take such. amazing. pictures. Seriously. No, like, seriously.

My friend is a natural photographer, too, and she has just begun a journey with a Canon 20D (hope that's the right name), and the Nifty Fifty lens is her favorite. :)

Claire said...

Amy thank you for sharing. I have learnt so much from just reading your answers. I am truly an amature photographer and so any advice is very worthwhile and valuable at this point.

please sir said...

Yay! Thanks for this amazing post! I know you emailed me with similar and very VALUABLE info! Thanks for sharing!

Elizabeth said...

Fabulous "behind the scenes" look for all your fans, including me!

Sarah said...

Amy, which photoshop do you use/recommend? There are so many!

Tartelette said...

Great post Amy!
I love my 50mm too!!

Claire, said...

I love it!

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