Today's question is from Kendra, who asks the following:
Q: I absolutely love your work, and would love to ask you about a million questions, but since I can't do that...:) Here are mine... What are the actions you use most often? Especially to achieve bright, vivid colours? I love the skin tones of your portraits - how do you achieve these? What are your best marketing ideas for a new photography business-emphasizing the fresh, modern approach your business reflects? Thanks...looking forward to your replies!
A: Thanks, Kendra! Well, I have to confess that I have a sordid past as an action junkie. Maybe my desire for fun new actions will wane now that I've reviewed this year's expenditures for my taxes--LOL--but maybe not! I will say, though, that 95% of the time for my color photos I just doodle myself in Photoshop. Crazy with all those actions, but it's true. I'll adjust to taste in levels, and then do a duplicate soft light layer and play with the opacity. 100% opacity on the soft light is always way too much for me. A partial screen layer can lighten the effect of the soft light, but you'll have to watch for blown bits then. Sometimes I'll do a curves layer instead of the soft light. For the skin tones, the quality of the light and proper exposure is the key; indeed, they are the key for creating great color period. When I was a beginner, I was a chronic underexposer, and even when you lighten underexposed photos in PS you'll notice that they just don't have that same wow factor that a perfectly exposed photo does. Now the quality of light is much harder to discern. It will take lots of practice. Remember that light is always reflecting and bouncing off of everything in the room you're in, or everything nearby if you are outside. Near a gray wall or particularly shady area with no "clean" light around? Well, the skin tones will reflect that and be murky or green. It sounds like a non-answer answer, but it really is something that you need to learn over time. You will always see things tomorrow in the photos you took today that horrify you! That's part of learning and developing. : ) Finally, marketing ideas. So far I've done everything 100% word of mouth and website. I will diversify my marketing efforts this year, but truly it is "so far so good." I find that the clients who come to me through the website are aware of my style and ready to book, whereas I would need to prequalify clients who, for instance, saw an ad of mine somewhere. In other words, I would need to insure that they understood what I was about so that I could insure that they'd be satisfied. I'd say the key is to have a great website. I made sure I had a polished website from the second I opened my doors for business. Make sure you show what you want to shoot, and make sure the text on your site is clearly written and informative. I'm always saying if I had enough time I would start a side business helping photographers brush up the wording on their sites. I do think it makes a difference, although your images will always be at the forefront. Hope that these answers were helpful!