In my journey as a young portrait photographer, I've learned so much. Each session is a new opportunity to grow as a creative from start to finish. Along the way, I've found a few favorite resources that make the entire process both easy and enjoyable. Here's a few I'd love to share:
1. Camera Gear
Each spring I update my camera gear and this year it's led me to purchasing the Canon EF 85mm 1.2 and the Sigma 35mm 1.4 Art. I am overjoyed to own each of these and even more excited with the results I've seen so far! The Canon 85mm is everything people claimed it to be: sharp, great in low light, and perfect for portraits. The Sigma Art has been nothing but exceptional as well. While I typically have used my Sigma 50mm 1.4 for single portraits, the 35mm plays with the light in such a soft, beautiful way that it may very well be my new go-to lens. I highly recommend each of them as you prepare for the upcoming season.
Camera RAW is definitely the way to go. For any beginners out there, Camera RAW is a file format that lets you edit the actual information of the photo before it's finalized while formats such as JPEG are already final at the point you click the shutter. Camera RAW can be opened in Photoshop and has several editing features that can be used to edit in a natural, sleek manner. Switching from JPEG to RAW a few years ago, was truly the best thing I ever did.
3. Film Presets
A couple months ago, I began researching different film presets as I'm naturally drawn to soft, natural light and notice that within my own work. This is when I was introduced to Mastin Labs. I was happily welcomed into their great Facebook Group that answered any questions I had and let me see the presets in action from photographers all over the world. It really made purchasing an easy choice. Since then, I've used the Portra Pack for a variety of sessions and have always been impressed with the results. Each preset is also very customizable, which is great for those of us who have a particular style. I'm eagerly waiting to buy my next pack very, very soon.
4. Online Gallery
Another element of portrait photography that can sometimes be overlooked is the experience that a client goes through after the session is all said and done. This can often come in the form of an online gallery. I have used Zenfolio for the past few years for both its price and storage capacity, but then I found Pixieset. Pixieset by far has the best user interface that I've seen within the photo world; its both modern in its appearance and easy in its flow and structure. Each individual gallery can be customized and even connected to WHCC, one of my favorite print shops. Pixieset is an exceptional online gallery for any photographer.
Another important step of the client's experience is your website. This is usually their first impression of who you are and your work so you need to make it a good one. You need your portfolio to be clear, your style easily communicated, and your work front and center. I personally use Squarespace as I've found it to be easy to manage, beautiful in its aesthetic, and great in its user flow. The customization, grid structure, and typography is everything I want in a website service.
Photography is an art that's created through skill and passion, but there's also services along the way that can enrich the process from start to finish. While there are many exceptional services out there for photographers and creatives today, these are all top vendors on my list and some of my very favorite resources. I recommend them to any photographer, whether just beginning or years into the professional world. Enjoy!