Your Photography Questions Answered

I always love to answer your photography questions, its really what started the idea of this site and I think is a great way to get some of the top issues that people are dealing with in the open and answered for everyone. Today I am going to cover a few questions that came in on Facebook and Twitter, so here you go…

Question from Kylie on Facebok “How do I take photos indoors and not have the end result with so much noise in the photos?”:
A: Noise really comes from 2 things, high ISO and bad exposure. I you really don’t want noise then make sure to start off with an ISO lower than 800. This depends on your camera, some can handle high ISO better than others so first know your camera limit as to what you are not happy with for noise at certain ISO levels. Next, make sure that you have your exposure perfectly dialed in. If you are underexposing and then have to fix it later in Photoshop or Lightroom that will increase the noise.

If you don’t have enough light inside to get a good exposure then you have to either shoot with a faster lens and have it wide open (a 50mm 1.4 lens is a great, inexpensive and fast lens to shoot indoors with), or add light. When adding light many times having 1 flash isn’t going to be enough to do the job so knowing how to add multiple lights to a scene is key. If you are just starting to learn flash photography check out my earlier article; An Intro to Off Camera Flash.

Question from Alex on Facebook “I’m somewhat afraid of taking group photos at a wedding, reason enough not to book one yet, I worry to much as to where to focus in a group shot and will the picture come out soft in the end. 5dmki-24-70L-CactusV5’s-3X430exii.”
A: This is a pretty simple one to solve Alex but the key is light. Depending not he depth of the shot you will want to photograph the group with a mid range aperture. Group portraits at a church are usually the only time at a wedding I will shoot with a mid range aperture and normally with pretty flat lighting, but here is what I usually do. First get a sturdy tripod to secure the camera. I’ll normally be shooting at ISO 400 and set my aperture to f/8 to have a good range of focus (or f/5.6 depending on how deep the group is). Since churches are normally pretty dimly lit i’ll setup 2 lights about 5 feet to each side of the camera pointing directly at the group. Most of the times these are usually just Canon speed lights so I can set them up really quick and bouncing into an umbrella. I focus in the center and will have a well lit and sharp image.

Question from Chyna on Facebook “What is the most important thing to do in order to optimize a website? Well I guess that’s not really a photo question, but a photo business question.”
I have always thought websites should be a 2 pronged approach. First I want a pretty simple and straightforward navigation so when you get brides to your site they can find anything they need right away. Easy way to contact you, get information, along with the best of the best for your work showing.

The other part that is really key is getting your website SEO optimized. When I started my business when I was in my last year of school I wanted to have a tagline of “Fine Art Wedding Photography”. At the time I was finishing up a degree in Fine Art and really wanted my work to capture the artistic side of things. When building out my website over the years I always wanted to be found by the keyword “Fine Art Wedding Photography” so did a few different things to make that happen. First though before really focusing on getting keywords into your site you should think about what the top 5 keywords you really want to focus on and if they are worth your effort to focus on. “Fine Art Wedding Photography” is a very broad search term and won’t always bring me the brides I want so I focus on many keywords most which are much more specific and relevant like “San Jose Wedding Photographer” or even specific venues that I really like to work at.

Back to SEO optimization, I started to write out some key places to include keywords but this will be a fairly long article so hold on for that one. I’ll try to finish my thoughts on SEO and keywords in a new post later this week.

Question from Kathy “Any articles on how to build up portfolio and where to start on pricing? I found the $60 for 8×10 one. I REALLY want to help families who want custom portraits, but can’t pay $150 sitting fees. I’d like to make some spending money, but help more than make. Would be nice to pull in a few “full price” people.”

A: I have always believed that we should first focus on building our portfolio to a point where we think the work is very solid and at a point where it is a level above other professionals in your field. Up until then I don’t think pricing should be much of an issue, if you are still building the portfolio then charge with that in mind for everyone. Then once your work is ready charge as you should as a professional. Part of this means not thinking about what people can afford and REALLY don’t think what you can afford that will always throw you off and get you in the wrong mindset. Pricing should start out very simple, first think how much you would normally make in a career. Around here in the valley I would say if I am going to be an engineer how much would I make. Then take that salary and diving it by how many shoots you estimate on doing, after expenses. For ease of examples say you want to make $80,000 a year and do portraits. You plan on shooting $80 portraits a year so need to make $1000 per portrait session. That’s what you need to take home though, so figure you will take home only 30% after all costs. You really need to make $3,333 per portrait session to end up with $80,000 a year take home. Of course this is a very broad way of thinking of pricing and you should get much more detailed and granular but it gives a starting point and for post people makes them really think about how much they are charging.

I’ll have some more specific pricing articles coming out in a few more weeks so stay tuned. Also for anyone who wants to make sure to keep up to date on our posts, you can subscribe to our email update and receive a notice with our new articles. Just enter your email near the top right of the site to join.

If you aren’t a fan on our Facebook page then come on over and join us here: Digital Photo Buzz on Facebook and keep those questions coming!

If you like our articles remember to share them on Facebook, Twitter or +1 them on Google. I appreciate you spreading the word to your photo friends and it helps me to continue writing content for everyone!

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Author: Mark

Mark is a fine art wedding and portrait photographer from Northern California. He has been passionate about photography since childhood and started his studio 12 years ago to bring a fresh style of photography to the wedding and portrait world.

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