Archive - October 2012


Tyler Gardner, St. George, UT

How long have you been a photographer?

About three years.

What first piqued your interest in photography?

I had just started dating a girl who was a model (she later became my wife!). We had been dating for a few weeks when she invited me to come along to one of her photo shoots. I decided to go and see what it was like. The photographer she worked with was really cool and let me help out. I mostly held lights and reflectors for him while he told me what he was doing. I had never been a part of something like that, and the pictures he was taking looked amazing. I knew after that day that I wanted to be able to create images like that. Soon after that, I enrolled at the Art Institute of Salt Lake and started learning all I could about photography!

What is your favorite thing to shoot?

I love taking black-and-white portraits of people. If I had my way and could make a living doing it, I would just take portraits of people all day. I have a process that I like to use that brings out all the details and gives life to the picture. I love being able to see all the details down to the last little hair. It’s so much fun for me setting up my lights in new ways and creating stories with people. One night my wife and I invited a family over to take pictures just for fun and ended up putting fake mustaches on the kids, and we got some really fun pictures out of it. That’s what photography is all about, having fun and making memories!

What is your photography forte? 

My forte is adding artificial lighting to outdoor portraits. I love taking my lights on location. It gives me the ability to create really stunning pictures. It also gives me more control of what I can do outside. With artificial lighting I can get a proper exposure of the whole picture, not just parts of it. For example, assume I was taking a picture of a couple in a field near sunset. Without my flashes, the couple would be overpowered by the sun and I would lose all detail in their faces. With on-location lights, I can bring them back into the picture and get the sunset too!

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

It’s not really a tip or trick, but learning how to actually use my camera—being able to take it off auto mode and shoot in manual. Having to shoot in auto mode really limits a photographer’s creativity. Once you learn how to control shutter speed, aperture, ISO, and more, you will really be able to get serious!

Where is your dream location to shoot?

Up until last year it was Ireland, but my wife and I went there for our anniversary last year! It was amazing. We were only able to stay for a week; I wanted to stay for months, just so I could see and capture everything! I loved all the old castles. What a different world we live in today. I really want to photograph China someday, and New Zealand is at the top of my wish list too!

What advice would you give to new photographers?

Take your time and get to know your camera and its features. Shoot in manual mode and have fun with it. Learn how to use photo-editing software correctly. Most importantly, don’t compare yourself to other photographers; create your own style!

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

I have submitted temple photos, landscapes, and a few portraits.

How important is Photoshop in your final image?

For me, Photoshop, Lightroom, SilverEfex, ColorEfex, and a few other editing programs are crucial. These programs are the digital photographer's “darkroom.” Photoshop and other types of editing software have for some reason gotten a bad name over the past few years. I don’t really understand why. Since the beginning of photography, photographers have had some kind of “post production.” They might not have had a computer, but they were altering their work and striving to make the most beautiful art they could. If used correctly, photo-editing software is another great tool photographers have to create beautiful and stunning images. Much like a great camera and lens, editing software is another tool to be used!

What is your favorite lighting?

I like a mix of both natural lighting and flash photography. I like how natural light feels real and warm. On the other hand I like the clarity and detail you can get when using a flash. So I find the best results come when you mix the two. 

—Tyler


Amanda Stevens, Roy, UT

How long have you been a photographer?

I have loved taking pictures of friends and family for a long time now, but it's only been in the last few months that I have begun really studying photography.

What first piqued your interest in photography?

The answer to that question might be best served by asking "who?" As with any first-time mother, when I held my first baby in my arms, I knew I never wanted to miss a moment of his life. This was true for my second child also. Also, my father has been a photographer for as long as I've been alive and has captured many beautiful images which help inspire me.

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

Just keep "clicking"! In an age where you do not have to worry about wasting film, there is no reason to not be constantly taking pictures. You never know when a truly emotional, funny, beautiful expression, movement, or moment is going to occur—so keep clicking! I actually learned this from my husband, who is not a photographer, per se. One day he was taking pictures of our sons, and there was no rest for the camera. When we downloaded them later, he had caught some really great expressions on my kids' faces that I had missed. In short, don't sit and wait for the perfect moment or shot, because what you may think is perfect may never come, and then you'll miss out on other "perfect" moments.

Also, I like to keep a little notebook with me while I am taking pictures so I can refer to tips and tricks I've learned from others, and so I can write down new things I learn about my camera/lighting/etc. on that particular shoot. I love to play and experiment with all the different settings on my camera and see the different effects I achieve.

What is your photography forte?

As I am somewhat new to the trade—so to speak—I am not sure that I have a particular forte. If I had to choose something, though, I would say that it is capturing the feelings and expressions of my children. They make me smile so much, and I could photograph them all day. I never know what they are going to do next, which keeps life (and my photography) fresh and fun!

What is your favorite lighting?

When the sun is setting, the hour before it sets until it actually does. Everything looks gold and/or pink at that time of the day.

What do you love about photography?

As we were growing up, my father used to take pictures of people we knew at different events and places and then get them printed. He loved giving them to people and seeing their joy that someone had thought to capture that moment for them. He held onto some pictures for a long time and would then give them when someone lost a loved one, moved away, or went through a difficult time. They were grateful to be able to have that memory and that person held forever in a photograph. That is what I love about photography—you can keep your memories forever.

Where is your favorite location to shoot?

Anywhere there is either water or green grass or both. Moving water and water droplets and light reflecting off of water add a lot of fun and beauty to any photograph. I also believe any subject looks good against a backdrop of green grass or trees.

What adjectives best describe your photography?

Fun, simple, ever-evolving.

What about photography inspires you?

I have found that since owning a camera, I look for the beauty in everything. I am on a constant quest to find something or someone beautiful, and I always find it. Photography has given me a deeper sense and appreciation for what Heavenly Father and our Savior have created for us.

—Amanda