At our recent Photography Workshop, we had a Q & A panel session with our lovely photographers. This was a great chance for Portland Bloggers to pick the photographers’ brains and ask some important questions about how to become a better photographer. Below is a recap of the panel. Q: If you could go back in time to when you started out, what advice would you give yourself? -Margaret: Everyone has to begin somewhere. Don’t beat yourself up when things aren’t perfect, or don’t look how you think they should. -Aubrie: Save money- don’t buy stupid props. Take your camera everywhere and shoot everything. -Linnea: Don’t feel like you need to buy certain filters or actions. Stick with what you’re drawn toward. Q: What would you recommend to someone who is just starting out and only has a camera and a couple hundred dollars? -A: Editing software like Lightroom. -M: Money should go towards the lens moreso than the body. A 50mm/1.8f is great. Q: What tips do you have for taking pictures of movement (such as pictures of toddlers)? -M: Move with them, use bribery, and get on the ground with the kids. -A: Check the shutter speed. A slow shutter means blurry movement. Q: How should one get out of their usual position when styling a shoot? -A: At a restaurant, take the food outside for a new background. Move with it! -L: Have a plan/storyboard/shotlist that shows which perspectives you would like to cover. For a style shoot, it is important to ask what the client wants. Also, think large, medium, small to give variety in shots. Q: What was your first camera? What camera do you use now? What are your recommendations? -M: I started with Canon 20D, and am now shooting with a Canon 5D Mark III with a 35mm lens and a 85mm lens. -A: I started out with a Minolta X700 film camera, and now shoot with a Nikon D700. I’m a big fan of prime lenses: 50mm, 85mm for portraits, and 60mm for food. A 35mm is best for cropped lens cameras (like Canon Rebels). -L: I started with Nikon D80, and now shoot with a Canon 5D MarkII with 35mm, 50mm, 100mm, and 135mm lenses. If you’re going to get a full-frame camera, a Canon 6D is good. Q: For those without a DSLR who are just shooting with an iPhone, what tips do you have? -M: Practice! You can always be practicing since your phone goes everywhere with you. Experiment with angles. Use apps like VSCO Cam or Pic Tap Go. -A: Make sure photos are in focus. You can pick your focus on your phone. Use apps like Snapseed, Camera+, and ProCam (this one lets you shoot in manual). Q: Have you ever used lens rental services? -A: It is worth it if you want to test lenses or for one-time uses. Pro Photo is a good place to rent from. -L: Be careful not to rent constantly; do the math on what you’re spending to see if it makes more sense to buy the lens. Q: What maintenance do you perform on your camera? -A: Have the sensor cleaned once a year. Camera Solutions does a sale for cleaning twice a year- look for deals. Also, know if your camera can handle rain, and stay away from sand. -L: Use lens filters to protect the lens. Make sure the filter is clean on the inside. Q: We know that natural light is normally your friend, but what advice can you offer for shooting at night? -A: Use an off-camera flash on a radio, with a stand and umbrella reflector. Make sure to soften the light you use. Alternately, you can use a tripod and shoot on a much slower shutter speed. Know your camera and how high the ISO can go. -M: You want as much light as possible, so don’t aim to do detailed shots at night. -L: Use a manual 1/64th power flash and bounce it off of something white. Q: What advice do you have for travel photos? -L: Use a 35 mm lens. With interiors, pay attention to the depth of field- use a narrow aperture. Pay attention to horizon and lines. A tabletop should be parallel to the bottom of the frame. Keep it simple and take just 1 camera and 1 lens. Use a travel strap and put black tape over the Canon or Nikon label to make your camera look crappy. -M: Shoot every day and shoot something new. Take closeups and landscapes. -A: Use a 24mm lens for landscapes. For inspiration, follow a photo-a-day guide. Q: Finally, how do you feel about attachable lenses for iPhones? Consensus: don’t use them! A big thank you to our wonderful photographers, and we hope to see you all soon for another Portland Bloggers event!