Wednesday, April 21, 2010

faq + thoughts on "copying" + what kind of questions to ask

hello everyone! :)

this is an "everything" type of post. I want to list and answer some faqs, plus some general thoughts.

general thoughts first.

I've noticed a lot lately that a lot of people (myself included) are very sensitive about "copying"... whether it be using the same type of camera, submitting to the same magazine, or taking photos with a similar idea.

It's funny. If someone talks to me asking if it's ok if they, say, buy an Instax camera, or submit to the same magazine I just got into, or use a similar idea (as long as it's not EXACTLY the same) such as having hair caught up in branches or something like that, I find myself whole-heartedly telling them that it is absolutely fine. After all, I am not the first to use this camera, submit to this magazine, or use this idea, and I will certainly not be the last. As far as cameras and magazine submissions especially, I think that it's important that people explore and get creative with different photographic mediums, and as young, passionate photographers, we are all striving to get our work seen in magazines. If I'm already accepted into it, you being in the magazine will do no harm to me and so I welcome your growth alongside my own. As much as I sometimes see it as unnecessary to ask, I do it myself, and I've realized the reason why this helps make the "copying" of whatever sort be ok is that that person is going out of their way to give you a bit of credit.

Whenever I see someone semi-blatantly "copying" something that I've just done without asking me or giving me any credit, I get kind of annoyed and itchy about it.

So maybe the simple lesson here is- we don't mind being "copied" if we're thrown a bit of a bone, like someone asking permission or crediting us in some way.

EDIT: there seems to be some confusion here. To be clear, I DO NOT mind at ALL if you submit to the same magazine or whatever as I do, and there is no need to ask me :)

I think a good way to do it is just leaving a quick line on the photo paying a bit of homage to the person whose action/idea/whatever inspired you to do something similar by just writing: "after seeing ____'s photos, I wanted to try it for myself" or "inspired by _____" or something along those lines. It's a nice thing to do :)


Next thought:
asking questions that can be easily answered by Google.

I think I may be a little oversensitive to this right now because I've been getting SO MANY basic questions lately (due to some personal real-life circumstances along with q's from people online).

Let me just say, I don't mind answering questions. Usually I love it! I love sharing my opinion on things or recommending things. But I really dislike when people ask me questions that show that they're too lazy to take the 5 seconds it would take to google it. It makes me want to reply by leaving them the link to letmegooglethisforyou.com . haha :P

I'm guessing I'm not the only one here who gets these types of questions, cause I see photogs bombarded by them all the time. So here's a quick guide of things to ask and not to ask:

- ask me "where can I buy this?" It makes me want to say... WHAT DO YOU MEAN??? There are probably hundreds of places that sell it. GOOGLE IT. I promise unless it's something REALLY rare (and no, Polaroid film is NOT *really rare*... there are tons of places you can find it by simply typing in "buy polaroid film") you will find several hundred, if not thousand, places to buy it.

I will give you some places I recommend, though:
-Unique photo

- ask me what things like shutter speed, ISO, aperture, or various settings on your camera mean or how to use them. That's something really essential and basic that I believe everyone should take the time to figure out on their own. It's confusing at first, but how do you think other photogs mastered it? We figured it out by experimenting and searching for information or tutorials on the internet. Learning it yourself is really valuable in my opinion, and I think that anyone who is serious about photography should take the time to do so.

- expect me to just give you all of my knowledge and expertise (though I am no where near an expert anyway). This just peeves me because I worked really hard to get where I am, because I have a passion for it. So I figured things out through trial and error and observing others and looking things up online. It's a really competitive market, so it's wrong of me to compromise myself and the other photographers who have put in tons of time, effort, and practice into getting to where they are now by just handing you information.

- ask me if/why I like a piece of equipment/software/website
- ask me about one thing vs. another (if you think I might know)
- ask me if I recommend a certain store or source over another due to price or quality, etc.
- ask me other things along those lines :)


FAQ time! :D

Q: What equipment do you own/use?
A: My lenses are always changing, but right now I have:
- Nikon D700 (HIGHLY recommend)
- Nikkor 50mm f/1.8
- Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 HSM (new version)
- Tamron 90mm f/2.8 macro
- SB-600 flash (rarely used)

-Nikon N65 film SLR
-Fuji Instax 210
-2 polaroids (buy these at thrift stores)
-Superheadz super fat lens Yellow Peace camera (it's just a small, yellow point and shoot 35mm lomo camera)

Q: Do you edit your photos/how do you edit your photos/what program do you use?
A: I do edit every one of my digital photos unless otherwise noted. I use Adobe Photoshop CS4. I use Picasa (a free program from Google) to organize and quickly resize and export my photos. When I edit, I always use curves. I sometimes use selective color, hue/saturation, that kinda thing. I frequently sharpen, I frequently retouch skin... sometimes not at all, sometimes barely, sometimes a lot, depending on the model's skin and the light. I don't do it to "perfect" the model, but to keep the skin from distracting from the overall photo :)

Q: what kind of lighting do you use?
A: I use natural lighting 98% of the time. If it's night time and going for an edgy look, I use my SB-600 flash. I have no idea how to use it, I just do :P

Q: have you ever taken any classes/can you recommend schools to me?
A: I'm completely self taught. But I can recommend photo schools since I was considering going to photography school and I did a lot of research into it. Feel free to ask me if you want advice! :)

Q: do you want photography to be your career?
A: I honestly don't know yet. I'm a communications major, I really enjoy my classes, and I could see myself being really happy with a steady job through that. Then again, communications is easily combined with photography. Also, it's not like you have to have one career all your life. I'd love to find myself in a situation where I was doing photography, thoroughly enjoying it, and making a good amount of money, but I don't mind if that doesn't happen, either. I'll see what comes around... and whatever makes me happy will be but I stick with :)

Q) differences between polaroid and instax?
-Polaroid: film costs $2.50/photo. square format. mid-focal-length lens. faded, retro colors. classic. $5 for a camera at a thrift store. some models offer a close-up setting. some have flashes, some don't. you can buy a flash for the ones that don't. flash is automatic if built in. most film that you can buy right now is expired, unless you buy the b&w Impossible Proj film, which I've heard isn't great quality. they are coming out with color later this year. film will eventually get more expensive and run out unless the Impossible Project is a huge success and continues production for more than a year. it's kinda cool to use it while it's still around.

-Instax: film costs $.70/photo. wide format, wide lens. amazing colors, but retains a retro feel. clear control settings, flash can be turned on and off. comes with two distance settings PLUS a "close up" lens attachment, which features a small mirror so you can elect to take self-portraits. film is widely available online and will likely continue production. the 210 model is large but the photos are perfectly sized. the 7s mini is smaller (never used it though) but the photos are credit-card sized which is too small for my personal taste. camera itself costs $70, but that's less than 3 10-packs of polaroid film.

To me, one is not better than the other and one does not replace the other, they are both useful and lovely in their own ways. Don't bash or degrade one without using a role of both at very similar times... that's just lame. :P




  1. yes, you have worded everything perfectly emily!

    i hate it when that happens, i always feel an obligation to mention the person's name at least. if it's an out of this world never seen before - kind of idea then its CRUCIAL to credit if you would like to build off of that.

    another pet peeve: *asks a question i clearly answered in the comments section* i can't tell you how many comments i get on my LOVE lightbulb photo like: HOW DID YOU DO THIS. it drives me nuts. ITS IN THE COMMENTS SHEESH.

  2. great post, great information. Thank you!

  3. You really know how to work with words. You know how to say things. It's a great quality.

    Everything you say makes sense and i hope people will read it all carefully, it's very informative.

    Though I have a question... Emily, how do you use a camera?

    Naaaaaah, I was just kidding hahaha ;D

    Have a great day and thanks for the informations. <3

  4. hehe julia, I'm glad you agree and I'm not just going crazy!! and AHH that is SO frustrating, especially since you've probably had to answer it a million times.

    second wind- aw thank you, I'm glad you thought so :)

    trish- aw trish you are lovely, you just always make me smile!! also, it's a good thing my roommate wasn't in the room because I actually laughed out loud when I read your "question" :P :P
    I hope your day is wonderful too!~ <3

  5. hahaha. i love this post, it made me laugh because i could relate so much to it - especially the whole "where do you by xyz" i'm always thinking, why don't they just google it? haha. great post, love everything you said, you write so well, everything flows - you should feel lucky because that's definitely something i struggle with haha. great blog i love it keep it up!

  6. its an absolute shame about polarois not being as commercially accessible as they used to. great photography as usual miss tebbets. i do envy your freckly face :D