Archive - September 2011


Angela Person, California

Angela Person
How long have you been a photographer?

I have been shooting professionally since 2008, but have loved taking pictures since I was young.

What first piqued your interest in photography?

It was in junior high school that I had my first photography class and loved taking pictures wherever I went with my little cheap point-and-shoot 35mm film camera. However, my interest skyrocketed after the birth of my first son in 2000. This was also about the time when I purchased my first digital camera (still an inexpensive, 2-megapixel point-and-shoot), and it wasn’t long before I became thoroughly frustrated by its limitations. My husband and I agreed it was time to buy me a “real” camera, and I fell in love with my first DSLR.

mom and baby
What is your photography forte?

Professionally I make portraits, mostly of babies and families, but the reality is that I love to capture anything beautiful or interesting that catches my eye.

What tip or trick have you learned along the way that made the biggest difference to the quality of your photos?

temple

On the technical side, reading and practicing what is in those owner’s manuals is essential to getting the most out of your equipment. Getting your photos to be the best possible in-camera instead of trying to fix them with Photoshop will save you from endless hours of frustration. On the aesthetic side, learning to “see” the light has made the biggest difference. Quality of light truly can “make or break” a photograph.

What do you think photographers could do to help in the Church’s call for photos?

Pay attention to the lists of what the Church needs instead of loading them up with multiples of what they already have. Take on the challenge of trying to capture the most abstract subject on the list!

bridge
What type of camera do you use?

People often ask this question, and my answer is that my main camera is a Nikon D300 (I’m a Nikon girl!), but really it doesn’t matter too much which brand you use. I chose Nikon a long time ago and have stuck with it so that all of my lenses and accessories would be interchangeable, but when you see a really great photograph, does it matter what type of camera captured it? No. Having any good camera is nice, but the magic comes from the photographer.

flower
How do you decide what to shoot and how to shoot it?

When something catches my eye, I try to look at it from as many angles as possible and really think about what exactly is beautiful about it. Is it the vibrant color? The contrast? Or a design element such as a curve or pattern? Then I choose how to best single out and capture just what I think should be in the image and make sure all distracting elements are eliminated through choice of lens, distance from subject, angle, and depth of field. Of course, it is often necessary to return to a location sometimes more than once to catch larger immovable subjects at just the right time of day. Sometimes if I think a subject isn’t very interesting on its own, I will play with some more advanced in-camera techniques like multiple exposures and image overlays, and sometimes I want to give a high-contrast subject a unique look so I’ll shoot for creating HDR images. I have found great joy in HDR photography, not for the extreme digital look, but for a very subtle effect. I still like my images to look realistic, just with a hint of something different!

shadow
What do you love about photography?

The thing I love best about photography is that I can single out and capture beautiful or remarkable images (from flowers to facial expressions to stunning landscapes to incredible architecture, which in time would fade from memory) and make them last forever. The images are not just for me personally to enjoy, but photography provides a format for images to be easily shared around the world and to be enjoyed by many. Also, I love that photography can introduce unique views of ordinary or common images, creating interest and increasing appreciation for things which otherwise would be considered uninteresting or boring. We have been blessed beyond measure with this incredible world in which we live, and photography is an expression of gratitude showing a desire to hold tighter to all that brings me joy.

flowers
What advice would you give to new photographers?

Don’t be afraid of the manual! Learn and practice one section at a time so that you no longer have to snap a ton of exposures hoping a couple will turn out how you want them to look. Know how your camera works, and shoot very deliberately; you will be much happier with the results! And learn all you can about light. Most of the very best photographs were created with great light. If a beautiful subject has caught your eye but the light is not good, sometimes you can move the subject, modify the light, or go back to that subject at a different time of day when the light will be better.

temple
How important is Photoshop in your final image?

I use Photoshop for every image I create because, as amazing as the latest camera technology is, cameras still cannot imitate the human eye and our vision of what a particular image is “supposed” to look like. I have found that my preference is for my images to not look like they have been “Photoshopped” or like digital art. So I use Photoshop to do the same kinds of things that would be done in a wet darkroom, such as dodging and burning, and I boost the contrast just a bit to add depth and vibrancy. I do a little heavier editing on portraits to give my clients photos that emphasize everything positive and minimize or eliminate the things they are self-conscious about.


Shaun Nelson, Utah

Shaun Nelson

How long have you been a photographer?

11 Years. I became serious about my work 4 years ago.

What first peaked your interest in photography?

I wanted a way to capture memorable moments of my kids and family. In June 2000 when my first son was born, being a proud new father, I bought my first digital camera. The camera was VGA (640 x 480, not even 1 megapixel) and only had enough internal memory to hold 12 images. At $500, it was an expensive camera, the pictures looked terrible, but I was able to email them to family. I was quickly bitten by the photo bug. Eleven years and seven cameras have passed since I snapped that first photo.

photography

What is your photography forte?

I don’t know that I excel at one specific type of photography. I’ve done everything from wildlife and landscapes to sporting events and portraits. I’ve enjoyed several types of photography, but in the last year have focused more on portraits. It’s very rewarding to capture the style, expression and emotion of people. 

photography

What tip or trick have you learned along the way that made the biggest difference to the quality of your photos?

The single item that has added to my photography is the understanding of different types of lighting situations.  I realize it’s something I will need to study and learn for as long as I’m a photographer.  Basically learning how differing sources of light affect my photo subject and what I can and can’t do to control it. 

What do you think photographers could do to help in the Church’s call for photos?

Share your skills and talents with the world. I met a photographer once that told me he would never produce a photo that wasn’t associated with a paycheck. Each photo in his catalog had a dollar amount attached to it. I felt bad because he had no desire to share his incredible talent and kept it within the boundaries of those who could pay to view his photos.

photography

What do you love about photography?

Learning, creating and sharing. I love learning new things from other photographers. I’m the President of the Ogden Camera Club in Ogden, Utah. I’ve learned so many fantastic things from both seasoned pros and amateur photographers. I love creating images that have meaning to other people.  I love to share my passion for photography with others by paying it forward and sharing the things I’ve learned with others.

photography

What advice would you give to new photographers?

Read photography books, study the work of other photographers, and take the time to learn your camera and digital toolset. Be open to others critiquing your work. And lastly, surround yourself with other photographers that are patient, encouraging, and honest mentors.

How important is Photoshop in your final image?

Post processing is part of the workflow on each of my photos. I believe digital tools are just as important as a darkroom for a film photographer. It’s part of the creative process. 

photography

What types of photos have you shared with the Church and members?

Most have been photos of my two sons. I’ve also submitted several photos of birds, specifically birds of prey like bald and golden eagles.

What is one tip that you would like to share?

If you are taking snapshots of your children or family, remember that it’s not about creating perfect images. It’s about creating memorable photos.  Christmas morning, birthdays, and soccer games aren’t about f-stops, shutter speeds and camera gear. It’s about capturing a moment. Improve your skills, read your camera manual, and take tons of photos.  In the natural progression of things, your skills as a photographer will show in the images you create.