my top fifteen frequently asked questions… | hartselle alabama photographer

when i started photography, i was literally jumping in head first…i dove. i have loved photography my entire life, so i knew a little bit, but probably not enough to actually call myself a legitimate business owner.

now that i’ve taken online courses, learned from tons of experience in the field and traveled to do what i love…people are recognizing that i actually know what i’m doing now!!!

my inbox gets flooded with random photography questions here and i want to put a blog post out that answers my top 15 frequently asked questions!

1} what camera do you use?

while i could just graciously answer this question with a simple link to my camera model…there is so much loaded into this question!!! obviously there’s a little more to my photography than what i shoot with…it makes a difference, but it isn’t the only thing that produces the types of images that i love. so to answer the question…a Nikon D4s. i used semi-pro cameras before upgrading and having a full frame sensor has made a huge difference in my work. i also have a Nikon D810 as a backup camera at weddings. that’s my digital set up. my film set up is a little more simple 🙂 i shoot a medium format Pentax 645nii with a 75mm lens and a 35mm Nikon N80 with a Nikon 50mm 1.8 lens that NEVER comes off of it.

2} why don’t you just buy one lens that does it all?

hehe…this one makes me laugh. i have quite a few lenses. i have 4 main lenses that i shoot with. why do i have so many??? because i shoot with primes. my lenses do not zoom at all. i let my feet do the walking! {read more about this HERE}

3} i want to start taking better pictures. where should i start?

well first off…you need a good camera! does it have to be a super expensive camera? no. but it will depend on what you want to use it for. if you want to take pictures in low light, you’ll need to invest in a better camera body that can handle higher ISO’s and you will need a prime lens. i recommend the nikon d750 and a 50mm 1.8 lens to start. it is pricey but it will change your photography game! i also know a lot of people that have loved their nikon d7000. but the prime lens is a must. for canon lovers…i think a rebel t5i is the camera body to start with. canon also has a 50mm 1.8 lens.

4} how did you get into photography?

i’ve ALWAYS loved photography. i have owned countless cameras in my lifetime. from polaroids, to polaroid sticker cameras, smart phones, point and shoots, film cameras and dslr’s. i have just always been drawn to the fact of being able to remember something forever. i feel like a photograph does that. but a great photographer will be able to bring up an emotion and memory in a photo for someone who wasn’t even there when the photograph was taken. with a love for photography it was only natural to ask friends and family if i could take their pictures. and then it turned into them asking me to take their picture and now, i have a lot of people asking me! it’s the simplest way i can answer this question without an entirely separate blog post!

5} what’s your favorite thing to photograph?

this one is hard for me. there isn’t really anything i don’t like photographing…but if i had to narrow it down to one thing i would just have to answer with love. whatever that love may be, whether it is between a newly engaged couple or a family with a newborn. the newborns and their parents, the newborn and their siblings, the young in love couple that goes to sonic every tuesday for half price burgers or the older couple that has watched their children grow up and have their own children. i just love it all!!!

6} how to you juggle editing with two kiddos around?

just like i would anything else. i have to separate my work time from my mommy time. occasionally, when i have a meeting at a coffee shop i will leave an hour or two early and work before my client arrives. most days i try to edit or blog during my kids’ nap time. they typically nap for about 2-2.5 hours in the afternoon, but sometimes i have to do other things during that time! so if i don’t get to work during nap time, i will work later into the evening or ask clint {my husband} to watch them while i go to a coffee shop. during busy season, i will outsource my images so i don’t lose any family time and i don’t feel like i’m drowning in my work!

7} how do you edit your photos?

i edit primarily in lightroom. if i have to add two images together or do a face swap (yes, i have to do those!) i will edit in photoshop. i have an adobe subscription so i don’t have to buy a new version of lightroom or photoshop every year! i get automatic updates to the programs and i can have it on two different computers, which is great because when i travel i like to take my laptop with me and get a little bit of stuff done 🙂

8} why didn’t you finish nursing school?

i did! i graduated with my BS in Nursing. i also took my state boards test. i never had a passion to be a nurse. i loved school but i dreaded being in the hospital!!! because i didn’t have a passion for nursing…i didn’t give it 100% when preparing for my state boards exam. i barely missed the passing level too. should i have gone back to take it again and pass? probably. but at that point in my life, it wasn’t the #1 priority. my husband and i have a life plan…a 5 year, 10 year and 20 year plan. we revisit them often. me in a hospital or working as a nurse, wasn’t in the cards at the time. growing my photography business, was! and i am very grateful that he allowed me to pursue it at the pace that i did. slow and steady wins the race.

9} what type of film do you shoot?

well that depends on the setting and how much speed i need to be shooting with! portra 400 has the most latitude, so i can manipulate that film stock a little more. however, for the majority of my wedding work, i shoot fuji 400h. i’ve shot a little personal work with delta 3200 black and white film and while i love the results…it isn’t anything i am dying to shoot professionally! i also have started dabbling in portra 800…i absolutely love the tones this film stocks gives!!!

10} if you could travel anywhere to shoot a wedding, where would it be?

italy. hands down. i’ll shoot a wedding for free in italy if my travel expenses are paid for! my parents lived there before they had kids and i have always wanted to go. i love the polaroids they have from their time there! however, with two kiddos in tow and a full time growing business, i think it will have to wait a little longer unless it is a work trip 🙂 so if you want to get married there…hit me up! i can clear my schedule real quick!

11} why do you only take on a certain amount of portrait sessions?

ooooh…this is a good one! i wrote an entire blog post about it, which you can read HERE. i primarily limit my sessions because i love what i do, but i also love my family 🙂 and i cherish our time together. especially while my kids are young. i don’t ever want them to remember me as “working all the time” or being too busy to do things with them. sometimes it means editing during nap time and playing with kinetic sand when they’re awake, sometimes it means going to the zoo and planning activities, other times it means lounging in pj’s all day and i am 1,000% okay with that! another reason is because not every inquiry is a good fit for me. if i know they are not 100% my type of client, i refer them to someone else.

12} how many weddings do you want to shoot a year?

this is tricky. it changes every wedding season. my first full time wedding season i shot 17 weddings and elopements. while i absolutely loved it, i was busy a lot. not just because i shot for 17 weekends/fridays but because i was shooting that many engagement sessions as well as my regular portrait clients. by the time october rolled around and i was doing fall minis and christmas mini sessions, i was a little exhausted, to say the least! the next season, i was pregnant with my second baby and i had to slow down just because of his due date being right smack dab in the middle of spring weddings 🙂 but it worked out for the best because i was able to focus on blogging, redoing my website and cleaning up my bridal guide and updating my portfolio. this year, my comfortable number is 15. i will not shoot more than that. but i also have a comfortable number per month and won’t go beyond that…so that is a factor when i am preparing to book a bride too!

13} do you like to second shoot?

 yes yes yes! i didn’t really start out my wedding photography career second shooting like most photographers do. which was probably not wise, looking back! my first two second shooting gigs however, turned me off. the photographer i was working with was not a fan of weddings. i was a little confused why they shot them…but whatever. they weren’t a fan and i think it scared me a little. but after my first full wedding season, i started gaining a little bit of attention in my community and i’ve had several photographers reach out to me to second shoot and i’ve had a great time with them! i’ve learned a lot about myself, my shooting skills, my priorities in my business, as well as my clients by shooting with other photographers.

14} do you work all the time?

it depends on what you mean by all the time? ha! i love what i do. but i’ve had to limit myself. i’m the type of person that can easily become obsessed with something. it’s very hard to reign myself in. i love to learn during my free time (free time?! i don’t have that often!), but i’ve had to slow down on the education side of things this year and focus on making time for other aspects of my business. but i technically don’t “work” except for 2-3 days a week, 4 at most in the busy season. i mentioned outsourcing my editing earlier during my busy season and i’m 100% serious when i say, that changed my business!!!

15} why do you blog?

this is my fave!!! when i first started my business, blogging was huge! not just photographers, but everybody! everyone had a blog…even mommies that didn’t think they had anything to say. guess what? some of those mommy bloggers that i followed in the early days, when they had 120 loyal followers (one was me!), they’re now self made millionaires, podcast personalities, entrepreneurs, etc. they started with their voice and allowed the people that wanted to listen, find them. but they had to have a way to find them. blogging was that voice and that way. so i figured, why not? i want to share images and stories about my couples and my clients. i want to give them something to share to social media that’s kind of like a highlights folder, rather than just slapping some pictures on facebook and hoping someone sees it. my first year, i tried to blog at least once or twice a week. even about simple things. hello wedding wednesday! but my website hits grew every week. i started getting more and more inquires because when people were searching for a photographer, my name started popping up! did i book all of those people that found me? goodness no. but i did find some gems in there 🙂 and we still work together from time to time!


wow! that was a long blog post! thanks for sticking with me through all of that. those of you that actually know me in real life know that i am an open book. no secrets. i meet up with photographers all the time for coffee and talk about our businesses. i love helping other grow and encouraging them to brand themselves and go out there and find the same happiness that i have!

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