Photography Q & A

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

My interest in taking photos started when I was very young and was fueled by my fear of loss. In my mind, if I could capture a photo of something I loved, it was like I could keep part of it forever. This slowly turned into me starting Mermaidens and investing time and love into learning about photography to better document what I love!

Trying to navigate the photography industry was, and still is, overwhelming and intimidating. While I am very trepidatious to call myself a “photographer” (eep…), I have learned a lot over the past few years and I want to share any knowledge I can with you all! Whether it's with a dslr or iPhone, a snap of a posed model or a candid moment of your friend laughing - I believe everybody should be able to create art and document the important and beautiful things in their lives!

How to get started with photography and with what equipment/software? I know there’s lots of guides online but it’s overwhelming. - Wes
I will be speaking from the perspective of someone entirely self-taught. If you have the resources for classes, that’s definitely a great option, but for me that wasn’t possible.

Here's an actionable list of things you can do to "Start" your journey:

  • Ask yourself questions and try to narrow down what you want (Do you want a flip out screen? How much are you willing to spend? Etc.)
  • Google phrases like "best cameras under $600", "best lenses under $400" (depending on your budget), etc., to help you narrow things down
  • Find out what people you admire use (photographers and youtubers usually list or talk about their favorite equipment somewhere!)
  • Found a camera/product that sounds good? Cross reference everything - read and watch as many reviews as you can on that specific camera, software, or piece of equipment

    Once you have what you need - practice practice practice! Sometimes, trial and error is the best teacher, so let yourself have fun and experiment! Try not to get discouraged or be too hard on yourself at this point, you need to give yourself room to make mistakes so you can grow.

    What camera do you use? - Annie
    I have a Canon Mark II 7D and use a 18-135 and 50 mm f/1.8 lens interchangeably. I love this camera but there are definite pros and cons - I'm not sure if I'd recommend it for people trying to take self-portraits and it is definitely not a camera for beginners. I also use my pink Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 and an iPhone 7 - both of which I LOVE. iPhones really take amazing photos these days - I highly recommend using them to start out! I also have a Pentax ME which was a gift from my Grampy which I have yet to learn but really want to...

    How do you put a portfolio together? - Wes
    Take as many pictures as possible! Take pictures of your cat, both candids and posed photos of your friends/family members, a pretty street, an experimental self-portrait, the way the sun streams into your room - and then look at them all with a critical eye. Ask your friends which they like if you need to, and then compile your favorites. You can view my portfolio here as an example if you'd like.

    How do you take nice looking self portraits? I remember you posting an old vs. new self portrait of yours and the new one looked so much more professional! - Stefania
    Thank you so much! I genuinely love taking portraits and feel like I have made a lot of progress in the past few years taking them.

    1. Research Light
    Honestly, researching portrait lighting on Google and Youtube have been invaluable to me! I saved up for a ring light * and a lighting set and started playing around. Do you need both or either though? Absolutely not. Sitting in front of natural lighting (think open windows) is an amazing and free option - it’s just always cloudy where I live and since this is my job, buying some lights was an investment I (oh so slowly) had to make. Also, look into DIY or store bought reflectors!

    * I got this one which I love, some more expensive models come with customizable intensities of light however, and this one doesn’t which is a bit of a con!

    This video by Haze Films is a great example of what a difference light positioning can make.

    2. Angles
    Figure out what angles work best for you - take photos from every angle you can think of!

    3. Backgrounds
    Play attention to your background! Invest in a paper backdrop, set up a little space in your living space that looks cute, or at the very least, make sure no mess or clutter is visible behind you!

    In general, I also highly recommend Maya Washington's incredible Tech Talk series, which is an invaluable resource (go give her a follow and like her videos to give back for all her hard work)!

    Thanks for reading! Please send me any photos you take - I'd love to see them! Also, if you have any more questions feel free to comment and I'll try to answer in part two ♡

    1. Thanks for the tips! I have always admired your photography! ♥

    2. These are all such great tips! I also love that you linked Maya's channel because her content is so insightful. I'm taking a photography lighting class this quarter in school and have been experimenting with a speedlite and soft box. Eventually, I will save up for a beauty dish, ring light, and another speedlite. Can't wait for part two!

    3. These tips are so good!! You're so creative and your photography is super unique and fun. I'd love to get a paper background soon! I took these photos of myself here - i

      but I'd love to invest in a new camera when I can <3


    Thank you for stopping by! I read (and cherish!) each and every comment, and respond to questions either via email or twitter (to make sure you see them!) ♡

    Mermaidens - Musings of a Modern Mermaid ©2011-2014 All rights reserved
    Portrait in Header Illustration by Sibylline Meynet designed by Designs Blue Moon