Crystal Lee 

photography

FAQ’s: Gear, Blogging & Balance

Jul 3, 2013

For just starting and wanna-be portrait photographers, what equipment would you say is first needed (besides the camera of course!) Do you have any favorite brands?
Photography is an expensive profession to get into, I’m not going to sugar-coat that. Aside from your camera, I’d invest in a low-cost, fixed aperture lens. The 50mm f/1.8 is an amazing first choice! That means take the junky old kit lens (the one that came with your camera), put it in a drawer, and never look at it again. More than likely it’s a zoom lens with an aperture of something like f/3.5-5.6… which is junk. The 85mm f1/8 is another one of my favorites… it is beautiful for portraits, and very decently priced. My go-to lens for on-location portraits is the 70-200mm f/4. (That is, until I can save enough pennies for the f/2.8 version!) A few high quality lenses will go a long way, and really help you create some beautiful photographs.

Next, you’ll need a flash. This is going to cost you… I learned years ago that the cheap flash is cheap for a reason. Save up the cash and get the 600EX -RT. The power of this Speedlight is worth every penny, and even if you are a ‘natural light’ photographer, it’s a good rule of thumb to have a flash in your pocket and know how to use it.

And yes, I admit 100% to being a complete and total brand snob… you’ll never see a Sigma, Tamron, or other off-brand lens on my camera. I’m a Canon-only kind of gal. 🙂

What is your ‘go-to’ lens for weddings and portraits?
In-studio I shoot mainly with my 50mm 1.2. For newborns I may break out the 100mm 2.8 macro and the 35mm 2.0, but the majority of my portrait work is with the 50mm. On-location I like to pull out the 70-200mm, because I love the way it compresses the background and gives me beautiful bokeh. 🙂

For weddings, I use a variety of lenses. Again, the 50mm 1.2 is my workhorse. The 100mm macro comes out for ring shots and other details, and I like to use the 70-200 during the ceremony and family portraits. The 85mm 1.8 is my favorite lens for the first dance, and I love the 35mm 2.0 for catching fun shots on the dance floor, as well as important reception events like the bouquet toss and cake cutting. Guests tend to crowd in during those events, so the 35mm gives me just the right amount of space to work with on my full frame camera. And of course, when the dance floor get jam-packed, I love to whip out the 15mm 2.8 fisheye for some fun shots! Unfortunately, Canon stopped making that model fisheye a few years ago, and the newest version is quite pricey.

How do you balance everything? Your family, precious little girl and a full time business.
Oh my gosh… I really wish I had an answer to this! My Maddie is almost 11 months old, and I swear I’m still trying to figure it out. Finding a balance is tough, and one of my biggest goals for the second half of this year is learning to ‘unplug’ more often. I’m fortunate enough to have a very supportive family and a husband who is so wonderful, and that support has given me more time at my studio to get work done. If I’m not at the studio, I’m at my kitchen table… at 10:00 at night… eating junk food and doing work. (Like right now! Haha.)

Having a child has definitely made me want to experience life more… I’ve lived at the beach for years, yet I only see the ocean when I’m photographing there. This summer I plan on spending many days at the beach and the pool with my little girl.

I’m a major list-maker… so that is part of what helps me stay organized. I have one master list, and everytime I think of something that needs to get done, I add it to the list. Along with my digital calendar, I have a generic spiral book calendar. (Kind of redundant, I know, but I just love hand-written calendars!) Recently I have been working on planning out my time more specifically, and scheduling Facebook and blog posts so that I’m not constantly tied to the computer.

Ask me this question again 6 months from now and I should (hopefully) have a more detailed answer for you. 😉

In the meantime, I’ll use this as an excuse to show off more sweet photos of my little lovebug!

Do you use templates for blog posts?
No way! Everything I write here is 100% me. But I’m quite flattered that you think it was a template. 😉

Who is your website through?
The website is pretty awesome, isn’t it? 😉 I designed it using ShowIt. I have been using ShowIt for years, and one of my favorite features is the ability to update your website at any time and have the changes go live immediately. I probably went through at least 5 or 6 completely different website overhauls before I came up with this design, and I really love it!

Do you have a question that you’d like to see answered on my next FAQ’s post? Hop on over to my Facebook page and share it! 🙂

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Wedding     |     Newborn     |     Milestones     |     Pets