Crystal Lee 

photography

FAQ’s | Editing, Mentoring & Choosing Props

Mar 1, 2013

Last week, I put a bug out on my Facebook page asking for questions from Photographers. Here are just a few of the questions that came in. 🙂

Remember… the beauty of this business is that there are a million different ways to do everything. My opinions and techniques may not work for everyone, and that’s ok.

What has been the biggest time saver that you utilize in editing?
Honestly, my biggest time saver comes before the editing even begins… and that’s getting the photo as close to perfect in-camera as possible. Exposure is so important! Once I was able to do that consistently, my editing time was cut down dramatically. It’s because of this that I can have a full wedding edited and ready for proofing in less than a week.

Aside from that, my absolute favorite, take-to-the-grave editing tool is Lightroom 4. If you’re using one of the earlier versions, I promise you, the upgrade is worth every penny! The ability to recover highlights has been a huge life-saver for me, especially when it comes to the details in a bride’s wedding dress.

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Do you use any actions or presets?
For the most part… no. The only action I use in Photoshop is the eye brightening action from the CoffeeShop, usually around 40-70% opacity. For my newborns and bridal portraits, I will sometimes use Portraiture on a separate layer in Photoshop at 50% opacity. Aside from that, the rest of my editing is done with adjustment layers and the burn/dodge tool.

But I will admit, my actions folder is pretty full… full of useless actions that I paid too much money for when I was first starting out. Full of tacky textures, horrid sepia tones, and actions to make my photos look like they came out of a badly edited version of the movie 300. If you’re going to use actions, be sure that they help enhance your personal style, not define it. 🙂

Do you offer workshops or mentoring?
This question comes to me at least every week, and as flattering as it is, this isn’t something that I ‘officially’ offer. There are just soo many workshops out there… some of the fabulous, some of them not worth the pricetag. I’m at a point in my business where my clients are a priority, so offering an official workshop or 1:1 mentoring program just isn’t something I’m ready to dedicate my time to. That’s not to say it will never happen… I’m a perfectionist, so while I’ve toyed with this idea for a while now, it will take some serious work to come up with a program that gets my OCD seal of approval. 😉

In the meantime, I’m an open book… my inbox is always open! Just send me a message on Facebook with your questions, and I would love to help you out to the best of my ability. For free. 🙂

Where can I find unique props that don’t cost a fortune?
Prop hunting is one of my favorite things! My first piece of advice… stop looking at other photographers work and trying to find their exact props and backdrops. While I’m certainly not shy about sharing when I get tons of comments on my photos asking where I get my stuff, I would encourage you to head out into your own local area and do some hunting. Stores like Ross, TJ Maxx, and Home Goods always have fun stuff, but doing some shopping at your local antique shops and yard sales is the best way to find something really unique.

One of my favorite baskets was actually this old brown basket that my Mom was selling in her yard sale… I scooped it right up, painted it white, and now it’s one of my favorite props!

Backdrops don’t need to be costly either… just hit up your local fabric store and see what patterns appeal to you! I attach my fabrics to a backdrop stand and clamp them to a piece of white molding on the bottom to give the look of a wall. Etsy is also another great place to find fun fabrics!

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That wraps up this FAQ’s post!

If you have a question (or 5) that you’d like to see answered in my next FAQ post, feel free to comment here or send me a message on my Facebook page. 🙂 🙂 🙂

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Wedding     |     Newborn     |     Milestones     |     Pets