We recently started a feature for our workshop Alumni group and on our Instastories called, "ask us anything".....and it is exactly that.
So, week 1's random assortment of questions covers everything from Lightroom presets to lens recommendations to advice on finding your 'top 3 influencers' in photography.
Here's a reminder in case you missed it!
Question: I’ve been seeing a lot of adverts in my Facebook newsfeed lately for these filter packages. Would you say they’re worth it?
Yes yes yes I get these all the time too, and will probably get more after this conversation!
To be honest they are all pretty much similar. The thing you need to really look for is the white balance, (the colour tones). Muted / desaturated greens and yellowish skin tones seems to be a big trend amongst photographers at the moment and to be honest Lianne and I have always come from the mindset of NOT following editing trends and have kept whites 'white' / skin tones 'normal', rather than looking too orange, less green etc.
The best thing to do is look at the 'before and after' examples and see which ones you feel you like the best.
For mobile photography, VSCO seems to be the best tool I've found for filters but they can be too much of a film-look so I then find myself tweaking the yellows and greens and contrast a lot anyway.
Question: Apart from a 50mm, which other lens is worth investing in and why?
Definitely a 35mm or 85mm would be your next step!
Remember that prime lenses will always be more consistently sharper than zoom lenses. If you like 'wider' shots then a 35mm - if you like more of a portrait lens then explore the 85mm options. The Sigma Art 35mm is so sharp, I use it for all of my shoots.
If you wanted to explore more arty options than have a look at the range by Lensbaby. They are manual focus lenses so take a bit of getting used to by the bokeh and effect are so interesting.
Question: what should a hobbyist photographer's first step be if they want to start it as a career?
I would suggest three things:
2- practice on real life friends and family
3- choose your top 3
Ok so 1 and 2 are quite self explanatory...study and practice as much as possible. Follow your interests and find what lights you up as a photographer!
"Choosing your top 3". This means, choosing 3 other people to be influenced by. In a world where we are overwhelmed with choice, options, inspiration and sometimes 'noise', this means letting all of that pass you by but REALLY focusing on 'your chosen 3' only. Study their images, look at how they have used light in their images, their compositional style, the colours they use, the subject of their images. You will find that your chosen 3 changes as you mature as a photographer, because that is about you constantly reflecting and moving on in your journey.
Question: What Lightroom presets would you recommend for those beautiful, soft, sandy tones?
For client work, we both use VSCO Lightroom presets but they have now been discontinued and are only available for mobile phone photography.
However, I have just started using Brixton Film Lightoom presets for my personal work and my go-to with that is the preset 'cooling notes'. Of course with all presets you need to tweak and experiment but it's a great starting point!
I also love Meg Loeks' presets that she sells through Meridian Presets.
Our 'ask us anything' will be a weekly open online session, so keep an eye out.