Ten hours of getting smart

A few days ago I spent an afternoon with my friends and their new addition to the family, a lovely tiny little girl with the cutest name. In between I asked my friend, who is very successful in business, about the role that reading and learning plays in his business. One thing I took away from our conversation is that acquiring knowledge is unavoidable if you want to succeed, and you do that either by learning from books or by learning from mentors in your specific business. I thought about how I started in business, and how I’ve never would have done it if not for mentors (some direct and some indirect, like blog reading), simply because my knowledge in business accumulated to a negative and the closest experience I had with business, is my college roommate my freshmen year was a business major! After three years of running my own business and learning a ton, I still feel the need for knowing more. I used to put aside book reading in business field, because it takes time and there are so many other things needing attention, but one thing that helps me to stop and dedicate time for it is this quote from Tim Sanders’ Love is the Killer App,

“Ten hours of getting smart will yield the same value creation as forty hours of busy work.”

And while I still have a long way to figure out the balance between acquiring knowledge and putting it all into practice, I am happy to have learned this and am excited to see the fruits of learning in my business. Happy Friday and happy reading!

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Ten reasons you don’t want to be friends with a photographer

1. They can’t just take a picture when you ask them without having to move to a different spot because of the light or background noise
2. They don’t know how to answer a simple question like, “What camera should I buy?” without going into a lecture about photography and lenses
3. They can’t just sit anywhere in a coffee shop, it has to be a spot with the most natural light
4. They won’t photograph everything, because it might not be in their “specialty”
5. They might force you to model for them in case you happened to be standing in a good light
6. They can’t just have a cup of coffee without taking a picture of it first
7. They’ll likely not like you if you ask them what camera they use, since it’s definitely the camera that takes amazing photos
8. They have the lamest jokes, since they’re in the business of making people smile
9. They might give you outfit suggestions without being asked, since they give wardrobe tips to clients on a regular bases
10. All of the above combined

And because posts are better with a photo, here’s a cute gift I received from my client and friend! Thanks Danielle, Jeff and Ridge, love you guys so so much!
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How to shoot in manual, without the stress

If I could back in time, perhaps four or five years ago, I would tell myself that it’s ok to make up your own rules!!! Well, at least when it comes photography. I was so focused on getting the rules and getting them right that it made my photography journey extremely stressful. Who says there’s a right f-stop for every shot, if you like it it’s right!!! Except this took me way longer to learn than to write. I once asked my girl friends to model for me and after lining them up as a potential wedding party, I photographed the same frame at every single f-stop to see the difference!!! That was tiring, but it narrowed my options for me, because I seemed to really like 2.0 and so I stuck with it for a few years, except now I’m more of a 2.8 girl ;). So, this post is for someone who is familiar with ISO, f-stop, white balance and shutter speed . . . and for someone who wants to use these without minimal stress ;).

Last night I met up with my friend Laura and taught her a few basic things I do at every shoot, these are tips based on how I like my photos to turn out, but definitely are not rules!

1. Set your camera in Manual mode
2. Set f-stop to 2.8 (or your favorite number ;), whichever one you like shooting at most of the time)
3. Set your ISO. 100 for a very bright sunny time of day. 400 for a sunny time of day. Over 500 hundred for a darker shooting area, but most of the time I’m never past 640 unless I’m indoor in a super dark church.
4. Set your White Balance to a picture corresponding to your light source, or to the warmth you like on the back of the screen (I sure have the best explanations ever!). I never let my camera decide the white balance on every shot, because I like to edit my photos in a batch and choosing one temperature for my photos really speeds up the process.
5. Set your shutter speed! Now this you can do by trial and error (well unless you shoot film). As one photographer once told me it’s all about making your picture lighter or darker and since he’s pretty good, I’ll take his word on this. So take a few trial shots and see which shutter speed gives you the amount of light you like!

Basically the only thing I constantly change throughout the shoot is the shutter speed, this makes it very easy for me to shoot and always be ready for any shot ;). Sometimes I might have to adjust steps 3 and 4 because the light changes, but other than that, it’s a great way to narrow down manual shooting! Laura, I hope this is helpful and if it helps another person, even better!

And since we love weddings and pretty things around here, here’s are two shots f-stop 2.8, ISO 100, shutter speed 1/500

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Don’t wait for perfection, it just might never come

“If you wait till it’s perfect, you might just miss the opportunity all together.” There are variations of this phrase, but since I don’t have my iPad handy to look up the exact quotation from a recent read, you’ll have to suffer with my paraphrasing. It’s so easy to look at someone else and assume that they’ve got it all together. If it’s a musician, they were probably born with a perfect pitch, a leading photographer . . . well he or she must have had perfect weddings since day one. Somehow we tend to focus on the beautiful present and we forget the hours of practice, and the hardships, that person faced to get to where they are today. When I started my business in 2010, photography has been my hobby for some time. Shooting in manual and exposing images correctly was much easier, but getting images in focus all the time, shooting in bright light, managing family photos, photographing details and so much more, did not come second nature. If I waited till I learned it all, I don’t think I would have ever started!!! I would have yet to shoot my first wedding, since I’m still learning to be the best photographer that I can be. So whatever it is in life you’re pursuing, don’t wait till you get it perfect to start.