My Editorial Kit

I'm frequently asked what lenses I use for headshots, or fashion work.  This week is the perfect chance to share because I'm putting a small kit together for my trip to Chicago.  It is a bridal shoot, but I love to treat bridals as "fashion" because really- that's what it is.  Beautiful Bride's showing off their dresses- yeah. It's fashion.  

First off, my trusty Mark II is my main body.  I will be using my Fuji more (I talk more about that here!)  My Canon has been with me for 3 years, and I love it.  I send it in once a year for a checkup, it and just keeps shooting.  While there are a few things I would change about it, it continues to be a trusty way to get my shots.  A few close friends jokingly ask when I'm going to upgrade, or get out of Canon completely and embrace that cool new Sony A7- I do plan on upgrading to the Mark III here very soon, but as far as leaving Canon completely- I honestly don't see that happening anytime soon, if ever.  I'm actually wondering when they'll stop fooling around and just come out with a mirrorless already.

As far as lenses, I love using my 50 1.2 for pretty much everything. It's my favorite focal length for weddings, engagements, small groups, fashion- almost anything I can think of, I always use my 50 as a starting point, and change focal lengths from there.  My 100 2.8 is a great lens for portraits and details.  It is completely versatile.  I don't have to worry about camera to subject distance, because it will focus either way.  I can shoot from a distance, get some great compression, OR shoot a little closer to the subject, crop in-camera and get a great tight headshot.  For engagement sessions, I love getting ring shots- the beautiful bride-to-be looking up at her fiancé smiling, her hand showing off that gorgeous ring.... as with any prime, all I have to do is move my feet.  For real versatility I love what my 24-70 does for me.  If I'm in a tight spot, and I know there will be some issues with space, or if I know we'll be outside and my clients will want wide as well as tighter shots, I trust that the 24-70 can handle it.  This was the first piece of L glass I bought, and while it's not 'version 2' it is still a really wonderful sharp piece of glass.  I love prime glass though; I love using my feet to move in and out of a space.  Zooms are great, but primes are greater.  Give me a 50 and an 85- and I'll be shooting all day.  I only use zooms out of convenience.    

I don't upgrade at the drop of a hat either.  I know there are several lenses that have had the second version come out- but my lenses work great for what I am capturing.  They are all very sharp, and they just work.  I'm sure someday if I try the 24-70 II, I'll think myself a fool for not upgrading sooner.  I'm not always on the lookout for the next lens, the next body.  If something works, I stick with it.  

I have my trusty 580EXII, (we have 2 of them), and love them.  We use them off camera, on camera, with a diffuser, without, they've survived falls, drops, mine even came crashing down onto our tile floor from 8 feet up.  I sent it in to CPS and they repaired it- but it came back good as new, and is still firing.  I don't see the need to go to the newer flash- yes I know the 600's do more- but these work just as well for what we use them for.  

This is my Speedbox 65 that I've had for over a year.  I take this thing with me on every single shoot-weddings included!  It is the most perfect speedlite diffuser that I have found.  It collapses perfectly, opens at the drop of a hat, and again- it just works.  I only have one, but would like to get the Speedbox 70 this year sometime.  I love the perfectly diffused light that comes out of this when we are outdoors.  The subjects face is perfectly lit, all shadows disappear, it's as if magic took place... seriously.  For weddings, it works great for the cake cutting, and formals.  

I'm going to have to take it apart completely for my trip- but I'm excited for the shots I'll be getting.  All photographers have certain kits for certain things.  There is no right or wrong here, you use the best tools for the job.  I mentioned my 85 1.2 earlier, that is a great lens- no complaints- but I love it most for studio work.  It is a nice heavy lens- tack sharp but love it most in a controlled setting.  

Let me know if you'd like to see blogs on anything else.

See you on the next shoot!


New Website, New Client Experience!

As you have probably noticed, many many changes have taken place on my website in the last week.  I made a big move.  After hearing Robert of Trawick Images rave about his website, I was interested.  What really gave me the push was a client who was flipping through one of my wedding albums who commented on how sharp my images were in print compared to how they appeared on my website. Ummmmm. WHAT?  This needed to get fixed immediately!

Needless to say, I started my journey to figuring out what I needed to change to give clients the best possible viewing experience.  Unfortunately it didn't come without a learning curve, lots of emails to customer service, 3 or 4 calls to my good friend Robert, and 24 hours of hard work, configuring, sweat, failures- and triumphs.  I built my last website and the sheer amount of work that goes into something like that is an experience that you just don't forget.  Digging through hard drives trying to find images from 2 or 3 years ago, writing a new bio for your 'about me' page- wording it so that you sound sincere, but wanting to be quirky, funny, and relatable at the same time- then realizing that you can't transfer any of your blogs, you will have to completely copy and paste everything over one by one- then...... and the list goes on.  

If you hang around me long enough, you will know that once I put my mind to something- that is IT.  Consider it DONE.  Did I go from not knowing anything about Squarespace at 9:30 a.m. to having nearly a complete website by 9:30 p.m.?  Yes.  Yes I did.  It was totally insane- and while images were loading what was I doing?  Laundry, breakfast, laundry, lunch, folding said laundry, dinner, playing with the girls, I was on fire Wednesday.  The idea that my current and future clients might reach a 404 "page not found" error was horrifying- so I knew I had to get as much done as I could stand.  Now....the logical person, the smart person, would have had this new site set up already BEFORE they let their other site go- but not ME!  I like to keep life exciting- you only live once right?! 

The response has been amazing.  Let me explain how huge the response has been.  New brides are reaching out to me simply because of how amazing the images look on their phones, their ipads, their computer screens.  They are sharp, colorful, brought to LIFE!  My images are being seen the way they were meant to be.  I am extremely glad I switched, and so happy that the client flipping through my albums made that comment.  If anyone is seriously thinking of changing their website over Squarespace really worked for me.  I'm completely happy with the way it looks, check it out: www.leiaphoto.com. There is still work to be done; photos still need to be loaded, settings tweeked here and there but for the most part, I'm up and running.  Clients will still receive their online galleries with print purchase and download options- so nothing has changed on that end.

Now, time to get off of this computer and go shoot!  Hope you all have a great week!