For our first guest blogger post of 2020, we wanted to figure out a way to incorporate other photographers. There are so many talented and successful individuals out there and they all took different paths to get to where they are now. Our friends at Maison Meredith Photography and Katie Schubert Photography were kind enough to answer some questions and let us grab a few photos of them!
1. How did you learn how to use Photoshop and Lightroom? Is it necessary to take classes or go to school?
I’m a combination of being self-taught, and learning from another photographer that I admire!! I work almost 100% in Lightroom and love how I can use it as a tool to create a consistent style for my clients. I personally think that with enough practice and dedication, you can absolutely learn it on your own.
It’s kind of funny actually — I (Maison) only know how to use Lightroom and Caleb only knows how to use Photoshop! We are both self-taught on each software so needless to say, I don’t think it’s necessary to go to school to learn. Classes can help you to learn quicker and there are a lot of options online; for example, once you purchase LR or PS, Adobe has a lot of free tutorials and videos you get access to. You can also watch YouTube videos!
I started using Photoshop when it was first released in the 90s, mostly using it for web design. It was extremely overwhelming with all the different tools, but I just learned a few tools at time until I knew what everything was. Lightroom was much easier since it shared a lot of similarities with Photoshop!
Photoshop was also a part of my college major as well (Lightroom wasn’t around yet when I was taking my photography courses—clearly, I am old!), but I do not think it’s necessary to take a class to learn them. The one-on-one with a professor was nice and I did learn new ways to use the software, so this would be a great option if you learn better by asking questions. However, there are so many great tutorials online that are free, and they teach you so much (CreativeLive and YouTube are amazing)!
The biggest thing with both programs is just to spend time playing with them and to remember, just because you can doesn’t mean you should! Simple edits are better than all of the edits ?
2. What camera and lens combination do you use the most? What would you recommend for food photography?
Oh boy, this is a tough one! I always shoot on a Canon 5D Mark IV, but I use different lenses for things. Although I will say that I use prime lenses 99% of the time (I just love the look I can achieve with them) and if I had to pick just ONE, I would probably choose a 50mm lens! The portraits I shoot with that lens tend to be my favorites!
I don’t do much food photography (besides some delicious desserts on a wedding day!) but I’d still go with my 50mm for it!
HANDS DOWN, our 5D Mark IV with a Sigma Art 50 mm lens. In our opinion, this is the most “true-to-life” lens which is why we love it for photographing people and wedding days. I am not super familiar with food photography but for similar reasons, I would probably use the same combination.
By far, I use my Nikon D850 camera paired with my Nikkor 35mm F/1.4 the most. I use this camera and lens for EVERTHING. The lowlight capabilities of the camera cannot be beat, and the 35mm lets me be close enough to who/what I am shooting that I don’t feel like I am yelling to be heard or running back and forth constantly. It also works perfect for tighter spaces, such as when the bride is getting ready.
For food photography, with a DSLR, a 35mm or 50mm would work perfect. A F/1.4 might be overkill, so a more affordable F/1.8 might be the better way to go. Another great option would be a macro lens, such as a 60mm, so you can really get those closeup textures if needed. A macro lens will let you shoot within inches of an object, whereas a 35 or 50 you must be at least a foot away.
3. What is the biggest challenge that you face as a photographer?
One of the best things about being a photographer is also one of the most challenging – you run the show. It’s YOUR business and you get to make the decisions. But I think it’s really difficult not to get caught up in what photographers are “supposed” to do. Although it might seem like it based on what you see on social media, there’s no rule book for how to run your photography business, and sometimes doing things that aren’t necessarily the “right” way might actually be what sets you apart in the industry and brings you success. It’s a challenge that I face all the time but one that I gladly accept, because I’ve realized what’s on the other side of it.
As a photographer who almost exclusively photographs people, I would say the biggest challenge comes in dealing with people’s insecurities. 100 out of 100 people could look at an image of a bride and think it to be the most beautiful photo they have ever seen and that she is radiating joy. The bride in that very same photo could look at the image and hate it. Do you see what I’m saying? This makes me so sad and I am thankful for the conversations that are happening right now around body image, social media, and self-acceptance — but it is still a reality and very big struggle for a lot of people, myself included.
Time management! There are so many different roles that photographers have, not just taking pictures. Answering emails, meetings/consults, accounting, social media, blogging, updating the website, editing pictures, keeping things organized and backing up all of the images, creating albums, boxing up packages, ordering, marketing, prepping for sessions and weddings, all of the driving, and the list goes on! It’s easy to get behind on important tasks just because there aren’t enough hours in a day!
4. What is the most rewarding part of being a photographer?
Before I decided to make this my career, I told myself that for me to be able to really do this, it needed to be about more than just taking pretty pictures. Yes, that’s a really great part of the job, but for me it goes deeper than that. Not only do I get to do what I love as my career, but I’m also blessed to be a part of someone else’s journey. Their legacy. To serve and love them on their biggest & best day. The photos I take will stand the test of time… they are FOREVER. I consider myself lucky to be able to do that, and also have some truly amazing people brought into my life in the process, which I’m so thankful for!
I have to say two things for this one. The first is the relationships we are able to form as we work with and get to know our clients during such a special season of their lives. Secondly, I love thinking about how we get to become a “historian” of sorts for families as we document and preserve moments for them that will help to tell their story for (hopefully!) generations to come.
Preserving moments. Wedding days seem like they take forever to get here, but once they do arrive, they are over in a blink of an eye. Pictures are one of the only things left after the day passes and capturing these memories for people is incredible. Plus, we get to meet SO MANY amazing people!
5. How long have you been working as a photographer and how/why did you get started?
I’ve been doing photography for about 5 years. But my business journey probably isn’t the one you’re expecting. Growing up, I wasn’t a kid that knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur (that title still sounds odd to me), or a photographer for that matter.
My creative journey began with a style blog. This was back in the day when it was weird to have one. I was still in college, but my weekends were spent hunting down the perfect shift dress and convincing my sweet and very patient boyfriend (now turned husband) to help me photograph it.
I’m truly very grateful that this was my beginning. My opening act. I didn’t know it at the time, but it provided so many experiences that would cultivate crucial skills for my photography business, like finding great light, coordinating colors, and posing people in a flattering way. But eventually, I started dreaming about being behind the camera. I started my business because I realized that I could use my natural gifts to capture memories and bring joy into others’ lives. I’m so grateful to each and every bride that allows me to do just that.
Our business just turned seven this month, so this upcoming summer will be our eighth wedding season! To keep this short and manageable to read, I will have to leave out a lot of details! But essentially, I (Maison) studied abroad in college and took a lot of photos while I was traveling. When I got back to the States, a friend asked if I would consider doing engagement photos as she saw my photos from abroad and thought I had “an eye for photography.” I hesitantly said yes and that yes completely changed the direction of my life career-wise. I started getting more inquiries for shoots and very quickly had to make a decision to either pursue photography or shut the door on it because I couldn’t keep up with all the sessions as well as my other job. I obviously chose to give photography a shot and … here we are!
Caleb and I were good friends in college so when photography quite literally fell into my lap and opportunities opened up, I knew I needed help learning more about the camera. Photography has always been a hobby for Caleb and so he was the perfect friend to teach me everything I now know! Another long story short – our friendship developed into something more and when we got married in 2013, Caleb joined the business full-time.
We chose to shoot weddings because we are really passionate about marriage and we love people.
I did my first engagement session in 2006 but started portraits and landscape pictures in 2004. Our first wedding was about 11 years ago! Photography was a part of my college major, although I never intended to go into the field. I planned on staying with web design! Some friends asked me to shoot their engagement session, and then their wedding. It took some convincing, but I finally agreed (and pulled Matt along for the journey) and we both fell in love with it!
6. What is one piece of advice you would give to somebody who is just starting out?
Say yes to things. Put yourself out there! You’re going to feel uncomfortable (with pretty much everything) at first. You’ll second guess yourself and feel like you’re not good enough. But we’ve all been there. Do it anyway and push through it. Get as much experience as you can under your belt, dedicate yourself to improving, persevere through challenges and one day, you’ll look back and see just how far you’ve come.
Making people feel truly known and then comfortable in front of the camera as just as (if not more) important than taking a “good photo.”
Learn your camera. The better you know your camera, the more you can focus on capturing others as they are.