What are the most important things that photographers REALLY need to learn/master when they are starting out?
When you are first starting out, the hands down, number one, most important thing that you can do is to understand how your camera works. There's lots of ways to do that--you can use trial and error, you can take a class, you can read a book, you can ask a friend who is a photographer for help. When I say understand your camera, I mean, be able to shoot in MANUAL mode and be able to nail the shot. If you start shooting manual, you will become a better photographer faster than any other way I know. This is because YOU are controlling all of your settings, so you start to realize that changing things changes what kind of picture you get. I would recommend that anyone starting out have a camera body such as a Canon Digital Rebel. This one comes with a kit lens that will at least allow you to take photos while waiting to build your arsenal of lenses. It is also enough like the camera I and many professionals use, the Canon 5D that if you ever want to upgrade, you will not have to learn a whole new system. The other thing a new photographer REALLY needs to learn is how to use light to make a flattering photo. This means for starters, turning off your flash and putting your subjects in light that doesn't make them look like someone hit them over the head with a frying pan. The best thing to start out with is nice, even shade. Turn that flash off and shoot people in the shade. They should be turned toward where the light is coming from so their back will be to a darker background. Keep that direct sun off their faces, at least for now! Once you get the hang of it you can start to use the sun as a main light, or backlight.
Do you have any advice for someone starting out as a child photog? Your photos of kids are just as amazing as your weddings!
I think that people who have children have a VERY big advantage in this area just because over the course of the day, you run into a lot of other people that have children the same age as yours who would probably be game if you mentioned you were a photographer starting out. It gives you credibility from the start (you are likely not a creepy person) and puts you on a friendly basis with people. Once you have a few jobs under your belt, you can start charging and building your business through referrals. I do think that most parents (like most brides) prefer to hire photographer based on a referral from a friend. Since I don't have children or really know anyone who does, the way I built my kids business was through my cousin who at the time had a two year old daughter. My cousin is what I like to call a "hub"--she's the center of a large group of friends who all lean on each other heavily for referrals of things (photographer, nannies, florist, invitations, etc). Figuring out who in your circle of relationships is a hub is the main challenge--once you do that, you're set. Do a session for that person and do a GREAT job. Make an album or whatever you want to eventually be selling. That person will then show it to all their friends and the calls will start coming. After I made the book for my cousin and she showed the book off when she dropped her daughter at school, the NEXT day, I had a bunch of emails asking for me to come shoot and make them a book. Much simpler than weddings, that's for sure!
You get great expressions and moments with your couples and kids. Any tricks you use regularly to get these fantastic expressions?
When I am working with kids and families (but mostly with kids), I concentrate on just getting the child to interact with me as a friend. If that means I have to put the camera down and kick the soccer ball around for a few minutes with an older kid, that's fine! If it means that I have to be the pitcher while the kid takes batting practice, no problem! I also don't get angry or annoyed if they make weird faces or act out. They probably aren't used to being in front of the camera, and as anyone who has ever been the subject can attest to, it can be very intimidating! I will sometimes tell them to make a silly face, or a mean face, and then sneak happy face in there after they are laughing at me. Sometimes I play hard to get and start playing with another child or with a toy somewhere else in the room. Usually curiosity gets the better of them and they will come on over and start to play with me. With a couple, it works a little differently. I find that the best way to get great natural shots of couples together is to put them in situations where they feel comfortable. If they aren't beach people, we don't go to the beach. If they are coffee drinkers, we'll walk to the local coffee shop. If they are party people, maybe we'll go get drinks first, then shoot :) In order to capture people being themselves, you have to let them be themselves. The less you go into a shoot with a list in your head of shots you MUST get, the better the chance you will get shots for a couple that are uniquely "them".
above were taken from the blog of one of my idol, Jessica Claire..i really admire her work(since i was using compact camera, and hope to meet her in future.. :) gbone
Raya ke-2 pulak balik kampung, rumah Opah di Parit... seronok dapat bawak famili beraya di rumah opah..bukan selalu.. opah tak berapa sihat..almaklumlah umurpon dah dekat 80...tapi aku tetap respek org tua nih tentang dua perkara: GIGIH & BERANI! mana taknya..dia pergi ke Mekah seorang diri, masa umurnya 65 lebih...alhamdulillah..selesai buat haji dan selamat juga dia balik Malaysia...!!
Rumah opah nih banyak meninggalkan nostalgia pada aku sejak kecil...musim cuti sekolah selalunya arwah ayah akan tinggalkan aku di sini utk menemani opah dan arwah atuk..masa tuh makcik2 dan pakcik2 aku pon ada yg belum kahwin dan muda2 lagik... antara yg seronok nya mandi Sungai Perak(depan rumah opah jerr..), memancing ikan, tunggu durian luruh kat pondok di dusun,musim buah paling seronok.. pergi rumah orang neok TV cerita Kombat (masa dulu2 sapa miliki TV tuh kira kaya laa...hahahha.),tenaga letrik pon pakai generator jer..hehehe...lampu rumah pakai Gasolin yg dipam setiap hari... lagi apa yaa..haaa....naik sampan ke seberang,pergi pekan Manong naik bot Arwah Tok Hj Berahim, haaaa...yang paling Brutal tengok Pakcik An aku bom ikan kat sungai...giler org tua tuh(sampai skrg pon giler lagik..hahaha)...
dulu2(dlm thn 70-80an) nak balik kampung aku nih makan 1 hari perjalanan..dari pagi sampai ke petang..naik bas pon siap bertukar sebanyak 4,5 kali...ipoh->pusing->parit->spg3->manong.dari manong naik bot ke seberang, dan tumpang le sesapa sampai ke kampung opah aku-kg Mandah.Sekarang...uisshhhhh..naik kereta 30min jer dh sampai...tak perlu lagi ke manong..ada jalan trus shortcut ke kpg...Jambatan Nordin(nk ke Tg Belanja) tu pon dh tak bising lagik( Nordin Bridge adlh jambatan yg dibina drpd besi dan nk cross kena ikut turn,bunyi ya amat bising!!!)
okey lah...dh melalut banyak dh nih... aku sempat snap beberapa gambor masa kat kampung..melepas geram jugak aku dgn body 30D aku yg masih bau workshop Canon lepas repair contact point shutter..ekekek.././/.. "rumah opah" rumah nih actually dh di renovate beberapa tahun lepas oleh Pakcik An..aku dengar abis dekat berbelas ribu jugak...dulu2 rumah tuh just rumah papan sahaja...yeaaa...memang dari dulu atas bukit...menurut cherita Arwah Atuk aku dulu, waktu Banjir Besar melanda Malaya dulu(thn bila tak hengat), air masih tak cecah ke lantai rumah nih...tapi dah hampir2 jugak laa...huishhh..subhanallah...!
"balai @ d a n g a u" balai atau dangau nih kira mcm pondok laaa....org dulu2 bina sebab nak kenduri dan boleh jugak ahli keluarga berteduh dan tidur memalam kat situ... korang jgn terkejut kalau aku bgtau yg balai nih dah berusia hampir 20 tahun!!! tak salah arwah tok aku bina dlm tahun 1990..masa tuh maksu aku nok kawin... sekarang dh hampir reput..tapi kayu dan binaan dia mmg tahan....org dulu2 tak payah belajar tinggi amik bidang ijazah architecture, senibina, ukur bangunan dsb...ekekek..pon bleh buat/bina tempat tinggal...RESPEK!
ermm..dahlah..aku nak tutup komputer..ngantuk... mana tau kot2 dapat mimpi indah mlm nih beli 5DMkII ker...muehehehhe,....
start bulan Oktober hingga Disember aku terpaksa tumpukan study aku...so, job kahwin aku terpaksa slow down kan...(ish...siang tadi pon ada member offer job Wedding lagi bulan nih..adeh..petak kepala!! wang atau nyawa??sapa nak job,hangkat tangan?)
sentiasa beringat: "bukan senang nak senang, tapi bukan susah nak susah"
tahun nih raya pertama at tambun... tapi rasa sedih jugak sebab ketiadaan mak mertua aku yg dh pergi selama 2 thn amat dirasai...
namun kami sekeluarga(xcept abah berada di teluk intan) ,malam raya kami rai kan dengan penuh ceria jgak sebab kami cuba masak beramai-ramai..adikbradik semua buat kerja..yg buat bising pon ramai jugak..muehehhehe...riuh jugak mlm tuh..thanks all..esp my wife yg bertungkus lumus cuba nk masak nasi tomato, ayam masak tomato dan rendang...kahkahkah..ntah jadi ke tidak...heheh.. lemang aku bawak dari rumah mak aku...ada la 2 batang..cukup utk kami jamah sekeluarga di tambun... alamak, ada sikit problem...aku tidur pukul 3 pagi tuh sebab nasi yg wife aku masak mentah la pulak...sebab periuk tak muat kapasiti(kecil) dan 6 pot kurang air..aku malas ganggu wife yg keletihan(maklumla lepas balik kerja jam 530ptg trus kami bergegas kemas baju,bukak puasa dan masakkkkk...kesian kat dia..).so aku guna kepakaran dan tunjukajar mak aku, aku settlekan masalah nasik mantah tuh dengan jayanya... buktinya, no komplen pagi besoknyaa...hahahhahah...alhamdulillah...
pagi raya, selesai bersembahyang, kami bersarapan beramai2 apa yg kami masak mlm tadi..kami tunggu abah balik.. abah balik tengahari trus makan..hehhehe...dan sempat bergambar sblm kami semua berkonvoi ke rumah ayah angah ngan mak alang..
sempat snap famili and budak2... (gambar byklagik aplod di fotopages)
yong n famili berlepas ke kedah petang tuh lepas konvoi... aku n famili berlepas ke batu gajah umah mak aku selepas solat maghrib mlm tuh... achik, abah dan apai berlepas ke KL sebab besoknya depa bertiga nk pi bercuti ke hongkong... ...dan tinggal lah danial seorang kat umah besar tambun tuh....kesian kat dia..aku ajak ikut aku balik bt gajah dia menolak...
anyway, selamat berjumpa lagik di hari raya pd tahun depan pulak.... thn depan raya pertama aku beraya di rumah mak aku...lepas tuh baru balik tambun...