February has been such a quick and crazy month for us. Today I looked at the calendar and realized I had better get our February Ask Me Anything post done…. because it’s almost MARCH! Work has been a whirlwind since 2012 began. Usually January and February are our “catch up” months as it is a slow time for portrait photography in New England, but this year we’ve sold our home and moved, hired a new amazingly talented photographer (who I can’t wait to introduce to you all), set up to launch our new senior division in March, had a great interview on Jpeg2Raw, photographed our super fun Gender Reveal with the help of Organic Bloom’s gorgeous frames and the perfect Sweet Indulgence cake, and prepared to be a celebrity photographer for Chic Critique Forum beginning March 5th! All with a sold out studio schedule and our continued work with The Tiny Sparrow Foundation. Phew! I won’t mention the things we haven’t gotten to yet, like our 10K facebook giveaway that will hopefully happen before we hit 15k…. I promise it will happen someday soon… PROMISE! Then there is this whole being pregnant thing.
I remember with my first pregnancy, I would check out Babycenter.com every single day, counting down the hours until my due date. Time moved so slowly. Last week I received my Babycenter email update and realized I had deleted the last 4 without even reading them. How did my baby grow from a mango to a butternut squash since I last thought about being pregnant??? All I can say is that this baby girl better like the fast life because things don’t appear to be slowing down in 2012. Looking at the year ahead I feel ever-so-blessed to have so much to be excited about.
So onto your frequently asked questions for February. We accept these questions via the Heidi Hope Photography Facebook wall. Questions that get the most “likes” and are asked the most frequently get answered from month to month. You can see all of our past Ask Me Anything posts by clicking the link below. I’ve also included links to my two most recent interviews, because many of your questions may be answered there as well. I can’t wait to begin working with more of you one-on-one during our Chic Critique 4 week Critique next week. For all of the reasons mentioned above, I doubt I’ll get to another Ask Me Anything until April, but of course you can always keep up with us on Facebook and the blog :0).
From Aaron-Nicki: What is your method for showing clients their images? This must be an exciting event for them and for you as well! How do you make it special and fun while also keeping it efficient and productive?
2 weeks after each session we have a scheduled ordering appointment. This is when clients see their full gallery of images for the first time and we walk them through the ordering process. We offer beverages and start with a slideshow to keep it fun, but Shaun is pretty good at making the time together productive as well. He’s very helpful with decision-making…. If I were running the ordering appointments, we’d be there for hours trying to cut! I’m a horrible decision-maker. We use ProSelect to show clients their images and help them narrow down to their favorites for wall displays and custom designed products. The appointments generally last about 60-90 minutes.
From Jessica: Do you use a reflector (or anything else) to bounce light? In my studio, the light falls unevenly on my subjects from the East window. Thanks!
Yes! With the way that we set up in studio, our light is often from the side (about 90 degrees) and I prefer 45 degrees for more even portrait light, so I’ll use a reflector on the opposite side of the light source to fill in shadows and soften the light. Of course with a toddler on the move it is more difficult to catch perfect light, so I try to get them to look towards the light as much as I can throughout the session. If it is a very bright day, I pull the white curtains to soften the light further.
From Megan: What company do you use when ordering prints/photobooks?
From Megan: What were your biggest influences in actually learning all the little details of photography? Any favorite books, websites or blogs that you use for inspiration or for continuing education!? Thanks. Touching photographs by the way!!
Most of what I learned about photography was during my teaching years. I had to learn it to teach it! I scoured the web and school reference books for all the information I could when designing lesson plans. When I began in newborn photography, I loved looking at Baby as Art, Kristen Cook, and Kelley Ryden & Tracy Raver for inspiration…. All of whom I found on flickr in those days!
From Natalie: Who do you use for web and logo design?
I purchased website templates about 4 years back. My brother is a computer nerd (sorry Marshall) and he was so helpful in getting everything installed and set up on my website. From there I did all of the graphic work and writing on the sites. I also designed my own logo in Illustrator. Since then we’ve hired a full time graphic designer and she now handles all of the website updates and custom design work. She also recently refreshed our logo and I love it!
From Heidi: How do you adjust your white balance. Your skin tones are just perfect!
I get this question a lot! In the studio I don’t have to do a whole lot of adjustments. I set my Kelvin number in camera and then do custom balancing in ACR and photoshop after the shoot. I always feel it needs some tweaking in post processing because I’m a bit obsessed with color. I like things warm and pink, but I don’t like too much yellow. I’ll often adjust to reduce the yellow in photoshop using selective color. Also, during a typical natural light shoot, the light is constantly changing. If a cloud passes by the images will appear blue, then the sun shines in and the images warm up to yellow. This happens from moment to moment. Same thing outdoors of course! I haven’t come across a guaranteed way to get a consistent color balance throughout a natural light shoot when the conditions change so often, unless I was to keep rebalancing. Anyone who photographs toddlers knows that you have to pick your battles (and pray a little) during the shoot! If anyone has a better way, I’m all ears :0)
From Jeanne: You mentioned in a previous post that you shoot at a higher ISO setting, wide open. On these dreary winter days, I’m finding myself setting my ISO higher and higher (especially when I’m working with a fast 2 year-old or families). I’m starting to get worried about my image quality. What is your limit, how do you compensate for low light conditions, and how do you determine when to make the call to reschedule due to insufficient light?
I test out the light a few hours before the shoot. I work with natural light exclusively so I don’t compensate for low light except by setting my High ISO Compensation in camera. If I would have to go above 1600, I would call it. For toddlers, I also think about shutter speed which I like above 200 if I can. It’s also important to nail your exposure when shooting at high ISOs. If you have to edit your exposure in post processing, you will see much more noise. If you perfect your exposure in camera, you won’t notice the noise as much!