Lately I’ve been getting a lot of questions from the audience and I do try to answer each one of them individually, but they’re starting to get past me because it’s wedding season and I’m busy and, well, there are just too many of them. So I thought I’d start doing occasional Q&A posts so everyone can find the answers to their questions easily.

The #1 question I hear is (in a nutshell): “I’m just getting started in photography. What equipment do you recommend. I’m on a budget.”

A: This is such a hard question to answer. As they say, you get what you pay for. But I think the one thing that people don’t realize when they’re first starting out (I didn’t realize!) is that you can pay $600-$1000 and still not be happy with the quality of your images. It is EXPENSIVE to take good quality images! One would think that several hundred dollars should be enough to take some really great pictures, but alas, it is a drop in the bucket. The second thing people don’t realize is the importance of the lenses. I would recommend that you purchase a camera body only and hand-pick your lenses individually. Start with the 50mm f/1.4. The wider aperture is going to allow you to take better indoor pictures and produce that lovely blurred background everyone wants. Then save up money for some lenses that will survive the transition to your next camera body.

Q. What equipment do you use?

A. 5D MkII, 7D (backup), 50mm 1.4, 24-70 2.8, 70-200 2.8, 16-35 2.8, 15mm fisheye.

Q. What software do you use to post process?

A. Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop.

Q. What actions/presets do you use?

A. Totally Rad Actions, Kevin Kubota Actions, Rebecca Lily Presets, and Rawsii original presets (not yet available for purchase).

Q. How do you get your images so sharp? What resolution do you post on facebook to make them look so clear?

A. I use one of several sharpening actions. One I made myself, the others I find in the Kubota and TRA action sets. For facebook, I have an action that creates 1200×800 300dpi images, sharpens using unsharp mask, and adds my watermark on them. When I load them to facebook, however, it resizes them to 72dpi so my final images are 720×522 72dpi.

Q. Since you’re not teaching for another 18 months, do you have another class you can recommend?

A. They’re very few and far between, but I’ve found another class that offers approximately the same things that I do. Because of the rare find, it appears she is also very busy and has a waiting list. But you can check it out here:

Q. How in the world do I get one of those awesome Rawk Hard t-shirts?!?!?

A. 🙂 DON’T buy them directly from the supplier! You have to order at least 6 and they cost more! Just let us know what size you want and we’ll hook you up for only $29!

I can’t do a post without a picture! I know I have a lot of blogging to catch up on, but here’s a picture from Jesse and Jamie’s engagement session. I get to do their wedding this weekend and I’m REALLY excited!!