FAQS for Aspiring Photographers!

Each week I receive a handful of messages asking the same several questions so I figured what better to do than an updated FAQ!? If any of your questions weren’t answered below, feel free to comment or send me a message and I will try to help! 

1. What camera do you use/ what camera did you start off with?

I use a Canon 6D as backup but I currently use a Canon 5D Mark IV! I started with a Canon 50D but I strongly suggest starting out with a Canon Rebel. I like to think of Canon cameras split into three categories - rebels (great for beginners!), 6D (full frame, great price!), 5D Mark series (full frame, incredible cameras!). For starters, you can find a lot of good rebel kits at costco, or online! I also encourage buying used rebel cameras, since it's just a starter camera. (Tip: when buying used: ask for the shutter count. Camera shutters usually go bad at about 200,000.. so you don't want to invest in something close to that count.)

2. What lenses do you prefer?

So when I first started photography, I was super discouraged by how many lenses existed and the cost of them all were. It wasn’t until I went full time that I realized how much equipment you DON’T need. I’m an extremely minimalist person as it is in life, so it only makes sense that I am with my gear as well. I only use 3 primes - Sigma ART 35, 50 and 85. I hope to buy a tilt-shift soon or I like to rent super wide angles sometimes.. but for all of my shoots, I use the same 2-3 primes. 

3. What editing software do you use?

Lightroom! Photoshop is nice for specific edits, but for bulk editing and user-friendly software... Lightroom!

4. How did you find your style?

I am categorized as a “dark & moody” photographer, though I try to stay away from being too dark. There are so many different editing styles out there, but I have always had a tendency to edit with darker colors, add more contrast, & with more grit. A "dark & moody" style doesn't mean that the photos are black and boring... it actually means that we really enhance the colors and detail. I want them to stand out- with my compositions & editing. I try to give every single client a different photo from the previous, unique to them. There are photographers that tend to edit more “light & airy”, keeping the tones at a very minimal editing.. which is great too! I never knew my style until people started telling me what my style was. I just edited what I thought looked nice (and I had several editing styles before I found my niche). I wanted my photos to be different from the rest and what I personally thought was appealing. Of course some photos, especially at weddings, have a style of their own with lighting and location limitations. Essentially, I want my photos to be beautiful but timeless. I want these photos to look good in frames... 50 years from now.  

5. How did you get into portraits?

I try to take my camera everywhere with me! I take photos of everything and everybody. I really genuinely love people so surrounding myself with people, while taking photos of them, made it really easy for me. When I first started, 10 years ago, I hated portraits. I refused & vowed to only take landscape photos… that quickly changed after my first senior session. I was offered to photography my first wedding at 15 years old, and instantly fell in love with it all. Although I do love landscape photos, my heart is solely with people & making athornsphoto my ministry to capture & spend the most intimate days of people’s lives with them.

6. Are Weddings Scary? 

They aren't for everybody, that's for sure. A lot of senior or family photographers will try to book weddings thinking that they are essentially the same as a session.. that's not true. My ideal wedding allows me tons of artistic control, outdoor natural light, plenty of time for photos.. but reality is- venues are limited, timelines run late, the family members all want their own photos, the groom usually hates the camera and the groomsmen think I'm a buzzkill because I won't let them hold their beers in every shot. I love weddings however, because I really love being apart of the biggest days of peoples life with them. I love love. I love using my business as my ministry to share these moments with people. I meet SO MANY incredible couples, guests, family members and get to travel to some awesome wedding venues. There is endless magic to be made at a wedding and although the days are LONG, especially after doing 3 in one weekend... you always are left feeling like there is even more you can create. I REALLY wish there were words to describe the high you feel after you capture a photo you know is going to make the bride feel like a model, that will make the mother cry her eyes out, that you just KNOW is going to be the face of your website. I love people, I love love, and I love the challenge. It's not for everybody.. but it's my dream job. 

7. Should I do newborns, seniors, family, weddings or products?

This is where practice comes in. I personally LOVE seniors and weddings.. I love working with couples and having them interact with each other. I also REALLY love all of the crazy senior ideas I have. I love being able to focus on one person and incorporating their style with some cool locations. (check out my senior blog to see examples of some untraditional senior photos we did in 2017!).

I only accept so many families a year because 1. I want the families to have strong chemistry with me and I want the children to be comfortable around me. 2. A lot of families will book you, hoping for the Pinterest perfect photos, but in reality... if you have a two year old- you'll be lucky to get a photo of him NOT crying AND looking at the camera. Newborn photos I really love, because they come out so cute.. but you have to have the right set up for those and they tend to get expensive creating the perfect scenes. Newborn sessions also can last up to FIVE hours because the newborn is feeling fussy or hungry. (Note: I do my newborn sessions in-home).

Photography full - time isn't for everybody, but it can be a hobby for everybody. Everybody deserves nice photos and how cool to be able to take them yourself? There are also A LOT of places that need second shooters and editors. Like, a crazy amount of places. If you're not ready to do the gritty business side of things yet - contact your local photographers and ask them if they have any spots for a personal assistant/editor/second shooter! That gives you time to practice and/or you can become an associate of the business. Companies often look to hire photographers as well. The possibilities are endless! The best way to start is just to pick up a camera- even if it's your phone. Practice truly makes perfect. Find inspiration from others, from music, from nature. Even on days when I feel like I created nothing.. I learned something for next time. I offer mentoring sessions (edit with me, come to a shoot with me, have coffee and ask me questions, etc.) if you feel like you want a more hands-on Q&A! I LOVE teaching and I would love to help others with their dreams!