photography questions answered

Not that I’m a beacon of knowledge or anything even close but I’ve been answering a lot of similar questions lately via email and blog comments so I thought I’d create a quick post and stick it into the sidebar. That way I have somewhere to refer peeps to who have wonderings. So if this bores you, skip the chatter and go straight to the photo at the end (there has to be a reward for reading this far, right?)

1. What camera do you have? I started in March, ’06 with a Rebel XT and upgraded in December, ’06 to the Canon 5d. Love it. Love it. Love it.

2. What lenses do you have/recommend? I have the kit lens that came with my Rebel but I honestly have no idea where it is. I think I shot with it for a month then stuck it in a drawer some place. I also have the 50mm/1.8 (although it’s out on loan), 50mm/1.4, and 85mm/1.8. I find myself exclusively shooting with the 50mm/1.4 these days but I think that’s just because it’s so cold and snowy here that I really can only shoot indoors. Once we’re out and about more in the spring and summer I’ll break out the 85 again. It just doesn’t give me enough room inside.

3. How did you learn photography? I’ve never taken a single photography class in my life. Not even in high school. I’ve learned everything I know from books, the internet, photography message boards ( and being my two faves), and my mentor, Wendy Schulz. I started to get a little more serious when I first got my DSLR last year and that’s when I really delved into shutterspeed, aperture, iso, etc. Before that I did a lot of reading just on snapshot photography. If you’re looking for books to read then I recommend How to Photograph Your Life by Nick Kelsh if you have a point and shoot camera or Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson if you already have a DSLR.

4. Do you edit all of your photos? Yep, every. single. one. It’s an addiction. Once you see what good photoshopping skills can do to your photos it’s just so hard to go back. I proof with Photoshop CS2 right now but I had Elements 4.0 before that. I love CS2 but Elements was great too. If you’re looking to learn how to get the most out of your photos using an editing program then Scott Kelby has some great books.

5. Where can I see more of your work? Yeah right, no one has ever asked this!!! But I thought it would be a good way to plug my photography site that you can see here. I know, I know, I’m a big ol’ dork!

If I left something out, let me know. This is going to be my stand-by “go read this post” when people ask me questions so I want to make sure I didn’t miss anything!

Onto the pic that I promised. My camera and I are “on a break” so there’s nothing new. This is just a snap I got the other day when Daddy and Pi’Bears were wrestling around in the living room. Used my flash for this one. Don’t hate.

TashaFebruary 15, 2007 - 2:11 pm

thanks for that!! I think you have answered all of these before, but seeing it again was refreshing.

Susie PSUFebruary 15, 2007 - 5:07 pm

You are seriously turning into a camera nerd! LOL You are so lucky to be able to take such good pictures…and so are your subjects. Wish I could be there to have my kids photoed. Is that a word?

KeriFebruary 15, 2007 - 6:20 pm

two more random questions – one photography related one kiddo related!! 😉

-what type of black backdrop did you use for the shot of just you on your photo-a-day blog? which rocks by the way…

when did you start signing with Pigbear? we’ve just started and our little man is 8 months old!

thanks for the smiles 🙂

JaniceFebruary 15, 2007 - 9:05 pm

Erin, thanks so much for all the info and links about your photography. Your pictures are an inspiration and you certainly have an eye for photgraphy. I am trying to learn as much as I can but with just a compact digital camera (Canon Powershot S400), it’s definitely a challenge (there’s always too much grain on my pictures. Anyway, keep up the good work!!!

AnonymousFebruary 16, 2007 - 5:21 am

All I know is that you are a great photographer. I love the picture. When did Pigbear change to Pi’bear?

lizFebruary 16, 2007 - 10:05 am

Good for you, taking a break. If you’d asked for slump advice, that’s what I would have given. My coach in high school used to “kick us out” of the gym for at least a week if we started going under and/or getting bad habits. He’d insult you a little to make you mad and not WANT to be in the gym, then kick you out, and you’d come back refreshed – you only forget BAD habits, not good ones. Worked for me every time!

LindsayFebruary 16, 2007 - 10:21 am

Wow…thank you for such a detailed answer about all those photo questions. Looks like it’s going to be an expensive hobby, huh? Oh well, the priceless pictures are well worth it!!

By the way, I am a “former” first grade teacher opting to stay home with my little Marlie now. It’s the best, isn’t it? Wouldn’t trade it for the world, but it’s going to make buying all these camera accessories pretty darn hard!

CandiFebruary 16, 2007 - 10:31 am

Hey Erin I found your site thru a high school buddy of mine and a college buddy of yours..Colleen. I just wanted to say that I love your pictures…you have an amazing talent 🙂

AnnaFebruary 16, 2007 - 5:36 pm

Love your header, Erin!

Shana-LynnFebruary 16, 2007 - 5:39 pm

Erin, your new banner is AWESOME!! LOVE IT!

Jaime WattierFebruary 20, 2007 - 8:38 am

Hi Erin. Brandy’s mom Sue gave me your site to look at! I love photography, but wish i was better! After reading your post today I think I’m going to definitely buy those books you suggest!

Love, love love how you just “capture the moment” in your precious daughter!


ShelleyFebruary 20, 2007 - 7:51 pm

Thanks for all the insider information. It’s fun to hear your photography “story.”

LOANMarch 26, 2007 - 1:59 am

Thanks you very much for this precious informations!!!

I’m French, so I hope I will found all this books here 🙂

Just another question, I love the new signature you put on pictures you take, how did you do? I will be happy to invent one for myself…

Congratulations again, I’m REALLY a fan…

Sand et Loan

KatherineJune 5, 2007 - 7:00 am

Hi! I want to compliment you on a few things. My sister,, forwarded me your blog for inspiration, awe, and laughs. I wanted to leave a comment to tell you I think your photgraphy is fantastic. I keep up with your blog weekly and enjoy the spots you mention for photography and clothing. I have a four year old,, and I also wanted to say I do have a BA in photography, and I hardly ever get as many good pics as you do in one sitting. Another reason my sister forwarded me your spot, not just for the photography, but also the Gap gig, my daughter also models, which Im very proud of, but your daughter hit a home run! Fantastic! And the last comment is on the signing, I started with Stella very young, when I did work, we had a spanish babysitter, so when she wasnt around, it became easier to sign with Stella, than to speak in spanish with her! She now enjoys signing alot, she finger spells, and has such a wide vocabulary, I recommend “Signing Time” if you can get to your library. Great videos! Congrats on your pregnancy, Congrats on your photography and keep up the good work! Thanks!

KatyJune 28, 2007 - 7:17 am

I am obsessed with your pictures. I have a horrible case of baby fever, and your precious baby is my guilty pleasure (since graduate school won’t allow me to procreate right now!) I hope you love Huntsville and we need to get together some time!
Katy Reynolds (Eric Larson’s little sis)

MishelleAugust 15, 2007 - 8:33 pm

Thank you, thank you! Your photography tugs at my heart a little!

Kelly BoonstraNovember 5, 2007 - 12:55 pm

You do wonderful work!! I have a couple questions for you. I have a Canon 30d currently and I love it! Do you shoot in Manual?? What do you usually set your Aperture at when shooting groups of people versus 1 subject?? Do you leave your metering on center focus all the time or change it up?? Do you have any advice for using a white backdrop??
Thanks so much for the help!!

Kelly BoonstraNovember 5, 2007 - 12:57 pm

Hi! You do such wonderful work!!
I have a couple questions for you. I have a Canon 30D and I love it! Do you shoot in Manual mode?? What do you typically set your Aperture when taking photos of groups of people versus individuals? Do you keep your metering on center focus?? Do you have any advice for using a white backdrop??
Thanks so much!

A.K.November 5, 2007 - 1:03 pm

okay so I see that Amy S. is also getting old of her point and shoot camera- what are those books that you recommended to her?! i want to start reading some books about photography- Scotty leaves for 6 weeks in Jan and i think that’s a great time to catch up on some stuff!

Gary SpriggsJune 22, 2010 - 12:47 pm

I am going to shoot a family reunion July 4th mostly outside some shade some sun a little indoors. I have a Canon 40D with an assortment of lenses. What lens would recomend I use and also what camera settings. I do not want to be changing settings constantly.



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