Hey, thanks for your interest in my photography. Please click the thumbnails for a slideshow of bigger images.
I am a Des Moines-area photographer specializing in newborn and childhood portraiture. If you’re in the midwest or nearby and looking for a photographer, let me know. I’d love to help you capture your loved ones! To hire me, please visit my photo biz site. I shoot the littles and my husband shoots the bigs – but mostly we tag team our shoots. We take turns bossing each other around. And he mostly carries heavy stuff. Isn’t that manly of him?
We prefer to shoot outdoors and on-location with natural light, but this is Iowa afterall. 5 months a year, it isn’t practical – especially for littles – to have shoots in snow up to their bellies. In those months, and for all our babies, we shoot here in the studio. Come on over for a fun shoot and some yummy coffee.
I get a LOT of questions about my camera and the lenses I use and “what should I buy??” kinds of questions, so I’ve assembled some answers here.
1. What camera do you use?
I answer this reluctantly, because everyone knows it’s not really the camera that matters. I mean, you wouldn’t ask a surgeon, “Oh my gosh, your surgery skills are fantastic, what kind of blade do you cut with?” Or, “This pie is amazing, what kind of stove did you use?” Right? So, this is what I shoot with, but you can make magic with your own tools.
Nikon d700 (we have 2 of these, actually)
2. What lenses do you use?** updated June 2013 **
This is where I think the equipment differences are most noticeable. Kit lenses simply can’t shoot like the nano glass (Nikon) or L-series (Canon) lenses. There is a reason why those lenses require investment. Yes, they really do make that much of a difference. In many (most?) cases, the lens you choose matters more than the body you choose.
We’ve bought and sold various other lenses that have come and gone. But those are my tools. I baby them like they are my children.
3. What is your favorite lens?
Hmmm… I’m going to go with the 85mm f/1.4. But each one above is an important tool in my arsenal.
4. What camera + lens should I buy? **updated June 2013**
I can no better answer this than I can tell you what you should be when you grow up. My advice is simply: buy the most camera you can afford. Not everyone is meant to be a professional. Accept that you can make beautiful images with a hobby-grade camera body. You really can! Don’t go into debt for a hobby. Canon or Nikon doesn’t matter. I shoot Nikon. I love my Nikon. But you can capture pretty memories with a Canon. Or Sony. Or whatever. I usually recommend Nikon or Canon simply because, at the time I’m writing this, there are a LOT of available lenses and accessories for these two brands. If you make me choose a body that makes a great start, I’d say the Nikon d5200. Buy the body only. Skip the kit lens. It’s a great camera. For a wonderful, inexpensive first lens buy the 50mm f/1.8 that matches your camera brand.
5. Do you use Photoshop? Do you edit all your photos? Can you answer my Elements or Lightroom questions?
Yes, I use Photoshop CS5. Yes, I touch every photo my clients ever see. Part of my recipe as a professional includes editing every image in their gallery. No, I don’t edit all my personal photos of my boys or personal work. Even professional photographers take snapshots of their kids. I use my iPhone a lot for those. I have never owned Elements, I don’t know much about it outside of what I can Google. I don’t use Lightroom. I own it. I haven’t opened it in years. I use ACR, it’s a wonderful tool with sliders and easy adjustments, batch editing and comes free bundles in most versions of Photoshop.
6. Do you offer mentoring, one-on-one or small group mentoring, or workshops? **updated June 2013**
I have written the free-and-available 31 Days to a Better Photo and the follow up 31 Days of Photo Tips in which I share a lot of great information to help you learn the basics. I have been asked to offer mentoring, and I have been considering it. I don’t offer workshops – first, there is an over-saturation of people who have no business offering workshops who offer workshops. I will not be among them. Perhaps in the future. I’ve only been in business for 4 years. I haven’t logged 10,000 hours with my camera. Maybe one day I’ll feel differently. But for now, I want to WORK the field, not teach it. I will teach post-production and Photoshop via Skype mentoring. Contact me for a quote and more information.
** I will continue to teach post processing and offer portfolio review and critique online. I will take 1-on-1 mentoring on a case-by-case basis and only from those outside of my market area. **
7. What do you recommend for a new hobbiest to learn more about photography?
Try the 31 Days series I linked above. In them I recommend other resources as well. But Understanding Exposure is pretty much the new photographer’s bible. Buy it. Read it. Read it again. Until you understand the relationship between ISO, aperture, and shutter speed, you will be stuck on auto. And let’s face it, a monkey could shoot in auto and get some good pics now and then. You’re smart enough to work the camera. I promise.
What’s in my bag?
I’ve made an amazon list of the equipment I use that I feel good about recommending as tried and true. I have personally used every item listed.