FAQs – technical

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Over the years we’ve been regularly sent emails from brides-to-be, clients and new photographers often looking for advice and answers on the below information.  Some of the questions are starting to come more and more frequently so we thought it might be worth putting together a little FAQs section on our website – if there’s something you’d like to ask and we haven’t covered it below please feel free to email us.  We benefited hugely from other photographers helping us when we started out and so we are more than happy to pass on anything we know that might help you!

So here are some of the more common questions we get….

- What gear do you use?
In our camera bag you will find:

2 x Canon 5d Mark iv
Canon 5d Mark iii (back up)
Canon 35mm 1.4L
Canon 50mm 1.2L
Canon 85mm 1.8
Canon 24mm 1.8
Canon 135mm 2.0L
2 x Speedlites 600 EX
lots and lots of CF cards and batteries!

 – Why do you only use prime/fixed lenses?
Prime lenses tend to have really wide apertures, which means they let in loads and loads of light, much more than zoom lenses can. We love to use as much available light as possible, so the more light we can get into our images and into my camera the better! Prime lenses means we can shoot away indoors without using flash and they give a lovely depth of field/bokeh (in simple terms – blurry backgrounds)!   They are faster, sharper and we pretty much just love them!

- What software do you use to edit your photos?
We upload our photos to our computers and then cull them using Photo Mechanic which is lightening fast and saves us a lot of time.  Once we’ve chosen which images to edit, we move them into Lightroom.  We occasionally will use Photoshop for something more complex but 95% of our actual editing is done in Lightroom.  

- I’ve just got my first DSLR, any tips?
We’re getting more and more of these emails every week! It’s not easy to just pick up a DSLR and know how to use it – sure, you can stick it into auto and snap away but then there isn’t much point in you having a DLSR, you may as well just get a good quality pocket camera. If you really want to learn… you need to be willing to put some time and effort into it.  Reading the manual is a good start! You need to know what you’re doing and why! Learn the basics – you should definitely take the time to learn about the following things (and how to control them)

  • Shutter Speed
  • Aperture
  • ISO
  • Exposure
  • the importance of accurate focussing

And in addition to the theory, get out there and start practising – it doesn’t have to be on anything special, things in your garden, household objects, your kids, your friends…
Another wee tip to any budding photographers: if you’re shooting people outside in bright daylight (when the sun is high in the sky), shadows can be very harsh and unflattering. Look for areas of shade (ie. against a wall, under a tree or overhang) and position your subject there – you’ll find the lighting much softer, more flattering and will make skin appear smoother (always a bonus to us girls!).

- I want to buy my first DSLR, which one should I go for?

This is hugely dependant on budget, but for a couple of hundred pounds you can get a nice canon or nikon entry level camera body.  The kit lenses that come with these DLSR's are generally not that great, and often photographers will end up replacing them within a short time as they see their limitiations.  It might be a good idea to buy a camera body (without the included lens) and then invest in a better lens.  The first lens we ever bought was the canon 50mm 1.8 for about £80 and it will always have a special place in Gill's heart :) although it had a run in with a tiled kitchen floor and we had to say goodbye... 

- How can I photograph my kids better?
We’ve covered some more technical stuff in the question above, but we think the best thing to do with kids is to get down on their level.  As simple as that.  If you can get them outside, even better, kids love the space to run around.  But if you can’t (we live in Northern Ireland, lets be realistic) just find a nice big window and get them to turn towards it (with your back to the window).  If the sun is shining directly through the window then you’re going to have nasty big shadows so it might be worth looking specifically for a north facing window.

- What should I wear on my photoshoot?
Something you LOVE.  Something you feel 100% relaxed in.  Something you aren’t having to adjust/pull at lots.  Something that is really YOU. You want to feel great on your photoshoot – yes, no doubt to start with you’ll feel a little bit nervous or strange (photoshoots aren’t something you do everyday!) so if you feel totally relaxed and great in your outfit, then that will be one less thing to worry about.   Some people like having pockets so they have somewhere to put their hands, or a chunky scarf that they can muzzle in to.

- Where should we have our photoshoot?
Anywhere! It’s worth thinking outside the box.  We do a lot of photoshoots at coastal destinations, which is natural as we live on the north coast, but We’re always delighted when clients suggest something a little bit different! It doesn’t have to be the ‘prettiest’ place… On a kids photoshoot, it’s good to have somewhere that they’ll be happy and have space to run around.  So location depends on who is having their photo taken and also the look that you’re after.  But ultimately, it’s up to you.