I often get asked about my equipment/shooting/lighting techniques so I thought I would also post a little about my process. I hope yall don’t mind 🙂 I shoot with a Canon 5D Mark III and my fave lens ever on earth is the 85mm 1.2. I love a buttery bokeh (blurred background). I am obsessed with nature..the trees, changing leaves, plantation but mostly the SUN! ‘Playing’ with the sun is what really helped me in finding my place in the photography world, as well as my style. When I first started almost 5 years ago I was an ‘everything and anything’ photographer, and after awhile I started feeling lost and experienced a bit of “burn out” which I think is something all of us photographers feel at some point! I finally decided I wanted to have a niche and really find what made my heart happy. I started photographing high school senior girls (only) a year or so ago and haven’t looked back since 🙂 I love connecting with them on more than just a photographer/client level, making them feel comfortable and most importantly making them feel good about themselves. The first time a mom told me that her daughter had a new level of confidence after having her shoot honestly brought me to tears. Not only do I get to do what I love, but the greatest satisfaction ever is to know that I had a tiny part in making a difference in a young girls life! Wow, I had no idea the impact I could make through my journey with my camera. So when I say I have the best job ever, even sometimes working 60-80 hrs/week during ‘peak’ season, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. On the other hand, another thing I have come to realize is that the only constant in life is CHANGE. I used to have the hardest time with change, as I think we all do, but now I’m learning to embrace it. I will be posting more in the next few weeks (this is sort of a small prelude to my big announcement!;)) but for now back to the before & after!
First and foremost ‘getting it right’ in the camera is the most important. I used to not pay attention much when people harped on this subject thinking, “I can just fix it in photoshop!”, but it really is true and will save a lot of TIME. As I said before, I LOVE a buttery background but I never shoot completley wide open – usually 2.0 is the go to place for me. I use a large white/silver reflector and sometimes a beauty dish depending on the lighting situation. I just ordered an Octobank which I’m super excited to get and play with! The next thing (well really first) is FINDING THE LIGHT! I always look to find a stream of light and place my subject so it’s hitting the back of their hair to give the pretty ‘halo’ effect (which is my absolute favorite!). As far as post processing I try and keep it to a minimum. I used to play with all sorts of actions then all my photos would look crazy and different. Ever since I started using the same 2 to 3 actions to create my “Super action” I can tell SUCH a difference. There are a million and one actions out there and my best advice if you want to use actions would be to stick to your favorite one or 2. The rest is the curves tool and some sharpening. She has amazing skin & eyes already but I also do just a bit of skin softening and eye brightening. In this particular image there was a lot of bokeh ‘twinkles’ on the right side so I just cloned a few on the left to give it a bit more symmetry. And voila that’s how I created this image from start to finish!
I would love to start sharing more! If there is anything I could talk about forever, it’s photography! So if you would like to hear more please let me know either by leaving a comment or message 🙂 XOXO, Claire
To see more from Samantha’s session click HERE!