FIRST AND FOREMOST I would like to apologise in advance for the tardiness of this long awaited blog post. (This is a classic better late than never moment!). I know many of you have e-mailed and tweeted me for months asking about my camera, lenses and techniques.
If I may have a moment of honesty, I think the reason I avoided this for so long is because I overwhelmed myself with how much writing I knew I would need to do for this post. And to share a little secret with you all… I actually can be quite self conscious about how I write. It’s a weird hang up from high school and a very mean English teacher who made me feel like a failure. But today I shall abandon my inhibitions and write without a slither of self judgement.
So here it is… Finally! A very different blog post from me today where I shall share with you all my photography secrets. Where did I study photography? What camera do I use? What lenses? Hot tips? Who photographs me? The lot!
WHERE DID I STUDY PHOTOGRAPHY?
I am completely self taught. It is a big deal for me to say this out loud because for some strange reason I feel like it doesn’t make me a legit photographer or something. But screw it! Today I’ll say it loud and proud. “I AM SELF TAUGHT EVERYONE!”. I figured that if my photos are visually pleasing to someone and can illicit some sort of emotional response, even if it’s as simple as intrigue, I’ve done my job.
How did I teach myself, you may ask? Drum roll please!… This wonderful thing called YOUTUBE.
Side note: You can find lessons on anything on youtube. I once learned how to fix my broken dishwasher on Youtube. I felt like a boss when I got it working. When my dishwasher purred like a kitten again I danced around my kitchen high five-ing a thousand angels!
So yep, since I decided to dabble in photography 8 months ago, I have spent hours upon hours watching SLR camera tutorials on Youtube. I would type into the search bar questions as broad as “How to use a Canon 7D?”, to as detailed as, “What is spot metering good for?”. I cannot recommend this enough. There are some serious gurus out there who have taken the time to film themselves broadcasting their wisdom. This blogpost is now officially dedicated to all those legends!
WHAT PROGRAMS DO I USE TO EDIT & PROCESS MY PICS?
Processing and editing is one of my favourite parts of photography. It’s where everything comes together and the magic happens.
Side note: My other favourite part of photography is the actual shooting part. I find it rather meditative. Something beautiful happens in the moment. It’s as if the world just melts away and I’m locked in and fully engaged in a private dialogue with my subject. Together we create shapes, find the perfect light and make offers to one another. Ideas are born and magic happens. My least favourite part, hands down, is the uploading of images from my camera to my computer part. BORING! (It’s a patience game really).
Back to editing programs… When I started out as a beginner, I used a free online program called PIXLR.com (It’s really user friendly and, like Instagram, has many great filters to play with). But don’t get too carried away, often raw images are best and don’t need enhancing. Less is more peeps! I have now upgraded to a program called LIGHTROOM – It’s fab! It has its challenges but every day I learn a little more. One day I would like to tackle and master photoshop. I’m thinking of enrolling myself into a short course on photoshopping.
PLAY PLAY PLAY!
It’s so important to experiment, take chances and PLAY with your camera. I can promise you will have moments of pure frustration and make mistakes. BUT you will also have triumphant moments and make accidental/serendipitous discoveries! I learn something new after every single shoot. Remember, there is no such thing as failure, only lessons. And there’s beauty in imperfection. Some of my favourite pics have happened completely by accident.
WEAR YOUR COMFIES
I have included a little gallery of some behind the scenes moments of me shooting below. You’ll notice I wear very plain comfy clothes (denim cutoffs!) which I feel somewhat guilty about since I’m claiming to be some sort of fashionista on this blog. Ha! But I assure you, it is purely out of necessity. I need to be able to move around quickly and easily – be a crouching tiger when I need to be or a ninja balancing on a precarious rock. In those moments, being fashionable ain’t my priority. Getting the shot I want is!
I only ever use natural light. You just can’t beat it. Plus I love being outdoors. My favourite time to shoot is late late afternoon/early evening to capture the golden rays of magic hour. The sun is so low you can snap a beautiful backlit shot with lens flare (Oh how I love lens flare!). And then there’s twilight. The illumination that is produced by sunlight scattering in the upper atmosphere just as the sun is out of sight and the light becomes deliciously desaturated. Heavenly!
It is important to get your model (or as I like to call them ‘my muses’) to relax. Chat to them. Photography shouldn’t be rigid and serious, it should be fun. Even if the final image has a serious tone, that doesn’t mean you can’t giggle your way through a shoot together. And never take your eye off your muse. Sometimes you can capture those beautiful candid moments like a burst of laughter or a second of pensiveness as they ponder a question you’ve asked them. There’s beauty in every moment.
WHAT CAMERA DO I USE?
Canon EOS 7D
WHAT LENSES DO I USE?
50mm (Great for close up shots to achieve that blurred out background we all love)
18-135mm (I don’t use this one anymore since upgrading but it’s great for beginners)
24-105mm (My baby, what I shoot most on)
WHAT LENS DO I WANT TO INVEST IN NEXT?
85L mm and a badass fisheye lens (better keep saving up!).
My CANON EOS 7D with a 24-105mm lens
50mm | 18-135mm | 24-105mm |
WHO SHOOTS ME?
First of all (another moment of truth serum) I don’t love being the subject of photographs. Shock horror! But It’s true. It’s a real challenge for me to relinquish control and let someone else handle the camera. But I’m learning to get over it and confidently strut my stuff in front of the lens and trust my photographer.
Initially is was difficult to find someone to shoot me for my posts. I had to rely on dear friends, ask for favours and navigate around everyone’s busy life schedules. In December last year, I faced the reality that I needed to find someone consistent. Someone readily available on weekends. Someone I just happen to spend a lot of time with and is going to be around for the long haul. But who?
Meet Rooney (or as I like to call him ‘Mister Roo’.) He is my soul mate and long time best friend (17 years to be exact). We started dating last year. In many ways, we couldn’t be more opposite (he works in finance. yup!) but in many other ways we are identical. We share the same values, a spirit for adventure and a love for Ben & Jerry’s.
He heroically put his hand up to be my in house photographer. Like me a year ago, he knew absolutely nothing about photography but over the last few months he has been a sponge. He’s my lovable nerd with a thirst for knowledge. I feel so grateful to get to journey through this wonderful thing called life with this incredible human being.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this blog post. I poured my heart and soul into it. If you have any more questions regarding my photography, please do not hesitate to contact me by e-mailing [email protected] And if you’re interested in weekly updates, please click on the ‘SHOW SOME LOVE’ icon and subscribe to GEMMA PEANUT GALLERY today! And if you’re already a subscriber, thank you heartily for your interest, love and support!
Love Miss. Peanut xx