Question and Answer

The great thing about blogs is the chance is gives us to connect with people from all over the place and to learn from each other! I know that I have learned a lot from other people – just by studying their photographs and their work and also from the things they have shared on their blogs. I have also emailed many people that I have never met to ask them questions and it amazes me how nice people always are and how willing they are to help!

For that reason, I have always tried to answer every question that comes my way and to help others out in any way that I can. Lately I have not been able to respond to everyone and it seems like I am getting a lot of similar questions, so I thought it would be great to do some question/answer sessions on here. You can still always email me though and I will do my best to respond as quickly as possible.

Anyway, thanks for all of the great questions and for being patient. Here goes…

Question 1:
i know you’ve answered some of my questions before, but here was my latest one … would you be willing to share a few shots straight from your camera? i know a great photo comes from taking a great picture, but i also know that editing can do wonders too. not looking for your secret editing tricks … just curious what your photos look like right from the start.
thanks maggie!

Posted by: laura vegas | January 18, 2007 at 05:28 PM

I am happy to share a couple of my photos straight out of camera. While I always do some tweaking after the fact, you definitely have to start with a good photo. If an image is blurry or too over or underexposed, there is only so much you can do to try to fix it and you just won’t end up with a great photo. The key is to really learn how to nail your exposure and how to get a sharp image straight out of your camera. Then with a little tweaking you can make the fine-tune adjustments that make it even better. I like to keep the post-editing to a minimum for two reasons – 1. to save time and 2. to maintain a natural, real looking photograph that doesn’t look too “photshopped”.

Below I will show two photographs with the straight out of camera image first and the final image next to it. You will see that with my color photos I typically brighten them up a little, sharpen a little and I also crop them, of course.

Elsie_color_web

Mark_toes_soocMark_toes_color_8x10_web_1

Question 2:
I like Laura’s question. I love the coloring of your photo’s…so pretty! I also want to know what you mean by “proofing” Is that a photoshop thing too? http://jolenegeorge.blogspot.com/

Posted by: Jolene George | January 19, 2007 at 12:41 PM

What I mean when I say that I am “proofing” is that I am going through all the photos from a session, choosing the best ones, editing & cropping them, and then saving them so that the client can view them on my website.

Question 3:
hi maggie!
your photography is amazing! what kind of camera do you use?
heidi

Posted by: heidi larsen | January 20, 2007 at 03:27 PM

I was just wondering what lens you use for your portraits. You’ve probably answered that before, but I must have missed it. Love your photos!

Posted by: Cynthia | January 20, 2007 at 11:44 AM

a few people asked what camera and lenses I use. My camera is a Fuji S3Pro and the lenses that I have are a 28-70mm 2.8, a 50mm 1.8 and a 30mm 1.4.
Most of the photos that I have recently shared were taken with the 50mm 1.8. I just got the 30mm 1.4 for Christmas so I will probably be using that one most often now.

Question 4:
Hey Maggie,
I was wondering if you could share with us how you handle all of your digital photos. What is your “workflow?” (I’d love details, seriously from your camera all the way through the editing, storage, printing, browsing and backup stage!) You do beautiful work! I’m excited to read answers to your Q&A.
Thanks!

Posted by: Gina | January 20, 2007 at 08:59 PM

My workflow (after the photo shoot) goes pretty much as follows:
1. Download the images onto my computer. I have a mac so I download them right into iphoto. It is quick and very easy to browse through the photos once they are on there.
2. I look at each and every photo trying to narrow it down to the very best ones. I typically choose 20-30 images for each session that I will present to the client. I write down the file number for each of the images that I have chosen.
3. Then I use photoshop from this point forward. I open each of the photos that I want to edit in photoshop.
4. I do any editing/tweaking that I want to do to the photograph. Then I save that image as a working file before I do any cropping. Next I will crop the image to a typical size – 8×10 or 5×7, add my copyright watermark, sharpen and save the image as a small jpg file to be viewed on the web.
5. I load the photos onto my typepad site so the client can view them.
6. Once the client places their order, I go back into photoshop, open the working files and crop them to the ordered size and save again as a file that can be sent to the printer.
7. I currently back up all my photos onto DVD’s and am also planning to get an external hard drive as a 2nd back up.

Question 5:
Is there drawbacks from using a non digital SLR camera (besides being able to edit it through an editing program)? Digi cameras kind of intimidate me and I am looking for a good SLR camera, but I also don’t want to hold myself back if it holds me back from great pictures.
Thanks,
Rachel

Posted by: Rachel Kulak | January 23, 2007 at 12:10 AM

I have been “digital” for so many years now that I just can’t imagine doing it any other way. I would definitely suggest buying a digital slr and here are a few of the benefits:

– You can look at your images during the shoot to see where your exposure is at, to see if eyes are closed, etc. With the small view-finder it is hard to see exactly what the final image will look like at full size, but it gives you a general idea and is very helpful.
– You can immediately download the images and start working on them once you get home and don’t have to wait to have them processed by a lab.
– The ability to edit, adjust, crop your photos is just something that I wouldn’t want to give up. I like to leave some space around my subject when I first take the photo so that I can do the cropping on my computer later. It leaves you open to being creative and trying different ways to crop the image. I also like the fact that I can convert any of my images to black and white while still having the color image also.
– You can practice, practice, practice without goint through rolls of film and without ever having to pay to have your photos developed. It makes the learning process a lot less expensive.

I would say that if you are intimidated by slr cameras, then digital is the best way to go because it really helps to be able to see your images as you are taking the photos and you can adjust your settings and learn as you are doing it.

Question 6:
Hi Maggie

What photos are you just itching to take of Baby Holmes? 🙂

Posted by: jenny | January 25, 2007 at 07:47 AM

I am very excited to have my own newborn to take photos of now that I am doing this professionally. It will be a great opportunity for me to just practice and try out different things! It will also be fun to be able to capture all of the fun shots of my own baby that I have been able to capture for clients!
I don’t know that I have any certain shots that I am thinking of. Of course I will want photos of the feet/toes, hands, etc. But, my approach is to just go with it once I am at the shoot and let things happen naturally. One thing I have learned, especially with newborns, is that they are very unpredictable and you just have to go with what their mood is and what they are comfortable with. I like the shots to look very natural and real and comfortable.

…………………..

Well, I think I answered everybody’s questions. Some were duplicates so I didn’t post your question again if it was already answered. This was a lot of fun and I hope that everything makes sense and that I was able to help out! Feel free to ask me if you have any other questions or if you need clarification on anything! I am always happy to help!! (That was a long post – sorry if there are any typos!!)

Thanks again for all of you comments and support! You have all just kept me going and helped to keep my confidence up! I am definitely my own worst critic and so I am always so surprised and so honored when you all say the nice things you do!! Photography is really just something that I love and that I have a passion for and hopefully that is what comes through in my work!

5 Comments

  • Reply
    laura vegas
    January 31, 2007 at 9:17 pm

    thanks so much for sharing maggie! love seeing the SOTC images … i think sometimes i try to hard to get “that look” while i shoot, instead of just getting a good solid shot and tweaking it later. and i’ll second the digital slr. it took a TON of convincing to get me to go digital about a year ago … but i would never go back to my film slr.
    so much good info. thanks for being willing to share with us!

  • Reply
    Jen Yancey
    February 1, 2007 at 9:51 pm

    Cute pics! How far along are you and do you know what you are having yet? Are you feeling any better? I hope so!

  • Reply
    Jolene George
    February 1, 2007 at 11:47 pm

    Thanks for the question/answer post. I LOVE what you do in photoshop. It just makes your already great photos even better. I so want that program! http://jolenegeorge.blogspot.com/

  • Reply
    Caroline Ikeji
    February 5, 2007 at 1:52 am

    thanks for the Q&A!!
    love the pics!! 🙂

  • Reply
    heidi larsen
    February 22, 2007 at 11:32 am

    maggie, thanks for answering my question! that is so nice of you to share all of your secrets! you really are talented!

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