Sunday, May 23, 2010
Guest Blogger: Emily Takes Photos
Hello fellow photogs! I’m Emily Perello (soon-to-be Emily Gutman!) of Emily Takes Photos. I’m 26, live in the San Francisco Bay Area with my fiancé, and just graduated with a BA in Photography from San José State University. Thanks to Jessica for asking me to write this post; I’m very flattered and honoured to be here!
How I got into photography:
I had just started my studies at SJSU in the Spring of 2007; I was a Recreation major with a minor in Military History (I know what you’re thinking: tons of jobs in that field). I decided I didn’t like the program, so I browsed my other options. After narrowing it down to a few majors, I literally picked photography out of a hat. Not long after, I had discovered Cameron Ingalls’ site and became an instant fan(atic). That Fall, a couple friends of mine asked if I would shoot their wedding, and I obliged. And I had SO MUCH FUN! I shot a couple more weddings in 2008, and in 2009 I launched Emily Takes Photos.
I’m going to talk about my style of shooting in two ways: my philosophy of shooting (specifically weddings) and then technically (how I edit).
One of the things I was asked a lot early in my business was how I took such emotional pictures. Honestly, I didn’t have an answer for them. I didn’t have a ton of training at the time, and I was just sort of going for it and shooting what I see. At a wedding in October 2009, a lot of guests noticed me crying (happy tears) behind my camera during an especially sweet moment of the day. My assistant pointed out that I’m a sap and I cry at just about every wedding I attend. That made me realize I connect emotionally with everyone I shoot, so my photos reflect that emotion I feel for them. Since discovering that, I have made sure to really connect with my clients on a personal level leading up to their weddings. I used to think that the engagement shoots prior to the weddings were for the benefit of the clients (to get them used to being in front of the camera), but now I understand that I benefit from these shoots as they help me better tell the stories of each couple.
When it comes to editing, I like to do a mix of minimal editing, black and white and cross-processing. I let each picture determine how it’s going to be edited, since I want the editing to enhance the feel of each image. I am in love with the tools from Totally Rad Actions for Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. Below are some before and after shots with the “recipes” for each edit.
A Beginning…Lite/ Brightside Lite/ Crop
Auto Brightness/ Auto White Balance
Black & White:
Great White/ Auto Brightness/ Fade Highlights Strong/ Exposure +0.16
Riot Juice/ Fade Highlights Lite/ Post-crop Vignette
Crop/ 50K Softer
Bitchin Camaro Lite/ Crop
Bitchin Camaro Lite/ Smack My Pix Up Lite
Boogie Nights Medium/ Fade Highlights Strong/ Exposure +0.18/ Fill Light +21
My advice to other photographers:
Do what you need to do to get the image you want. If a client likes a picture, it doesn’t matter what kind of equipment you use, whether you crop in-camera or on the computer, whether you go nuts with Photoshop or barely touch the image in post, etc. I hear so many photographers lash out against methods they don’t personally agree with, which I think is just destructive.
If you’re just starting out, try EVERYTHING. Be open to new techniques and looks, and find out what works for you. Keep in mind if you settle on a particular visual style and then decide that it doesn’t work for you, it’s okay to change it up. Obviously it’s nice to have a consistency to your work to show future clients, but you want to be sure what you’re showing them is authentic and something you want to do.
Show the work you want to do. Let’s say you have a few weddings under your belt, but you really want to make a name for yourself as an architectural photographer. Don’t put the weddings on your website! Perhaps you do want to shoot weddings, and you really like to have lots of details to shoot. Put more of those detailed images in your portfolio and you’ll attract clients who like lots of details, too.
Take time to help each other out. If someone asks you for help or advice, give it to them. Remember, there are no secrets in this industry, and what goes around really does come back around ten-fold.
A handwritten thank-you note goes a long way. Enough said.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this! If you ever have any questions you want to send my way, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, feel free to stop by my blog and see what I’m working on.