Bailey: Photography has been a highly requested topic for you all in this blogging series, and if I’m being honest, I know very little about this topic other than editing my images. Since Drew takes my photos, I asked for him to take over my blog today to talk a little bit about our photography strategy and how he sets up the camera for shoots. He claims to be an amateur, but I think he’s fabulous, and I’m so appreciative of all the hard work he puts into my blog. I hope you enjoy!
How long have you been taking Bailey’s photos?
I’ve been taking Bailey’s photos since she started her blog – almost 2 years now. But if you know Bailey and her group of girlfriends I guess you can say I’ve been taking her photos since we met.
Are you an experienced photographer? How did you learn to use a camera?
My friends tease me about being a “professional” photographer now, but I take pride in and consider myself an “amateur” photographer. I’ve learned organically from trial and error, and prefer that method of learning when it comes to photography.
What type of camera do you use? What kind of lens?
This is evidence that I really do consider myself an “amateur” photographer – I had to confirm with Bailey to make sure I answered this correctly. We started with a Nikon D90 (which she said is not made anymore) and now use a Nikon Full Frame D750 with a Fixed 50mm lens.
What camera setting do you shoot on?
I shoot on Manual and I try to keep the F-Stop as low as possible, which creates the blurred background effect. As far as lighting goes, I try to keep the ISO around 100 and then adjust the shutter speed based on how bright it is outside or where we are shooting. I’m a numbers guy in my “day job”, and superstitiously like when we are shooting and the lighting dictates a 320 or 640 shutter speed.
- F-Stop- this is indicated by your lens. We like to keep it as low as possible to allow for a strong depth of field i.e. blurry background. Most of our images are shot at 1.4-1.8 F-stop. To increase the blur of an image add distance between the subject and background.
- ISO – this camera feature controls the amount of light being let into the lens. Low ISO is less light, but a sharper image. We try to keep this setting as low as possible for a crisp image, but when shutter speed isn’t enough to adjust lighting then you can increase ISO slightly.
- Shutter Speed – this is the camera feature we play with most. Higher shutter speeds means less light being let into the image and lower shutter speeds add more light into an image. You can only decrease shutter speed so much before it starts blurring the subject. The max we lower shutter speed is 40 before we move to adjusting ISO.
- So remember, first adjust shutter speed, then ISO (slightly), and if that doesn’t work then turn up your F-stop to allow more light.
What do you consider before and during a photo shoot?
In my opinion, the three most important considerations:
- Find a setting where Bailey’s look and the location match or complement each other. For example, if Bailey is wearing an edgy, urban style outfit – doing a shoot in the middle of a field or garden doesn’t make sense (or maybe it does – see #3 below).
- Lighting – if Bailey had a designer purse for every time I said “lighting” during a photo shoot, she’d be one happy camper.
- Lastly, and my favorite consideration – once setting and lighting are all set – as a photographer you can just start shooting and let the creative process take over. Sometimes I’ll use the background to frame Bailey, whether it’s an archway or walking path. Sometimes I’ll try the opposite, break away from a symmetrical photo look, and shoot Bailey in a way that makes it look like she doesn’t belong – sometimes that can be captivating and result in an interesting photo. The point is – once you feel good about your shoot location and lighting settings – be creative, have fun with it, try different things.
What advice would you give someone trying to learn photography or how to use a camera?
When people tell me they want to get into photography I offer two bits of guidance:
- Jump in and do not be afraid to experiment and have fun with it
- Make it easy on yourself in the beginning – the easiest lighting to work with is early in the morning or a couple hours before sunset. Also, pick a location that you already know is picturesque.
What is the most important characteristic for a photographer?
Patience – which has never been my strong suit. There have been several shoots where Bailey and/or I were not liking how the photos were looking. It is amazing how a bland photo can drastically change to a fascinating photo by making a subtle change such as a different angle, changing the distance between the camera and Bailey, adding/removing an object to the background, or even just Bailey changing her stance or expression.