Feature image is © dav.d photography
Transparency with my business and teachings is very important to me. Granted, I don’t need to disclose everything, but I like to show that I am human from time to time. The life we tend to share online is usually oftentimes showing be the highlights of our lives, much of it good, and we usually don’t share the not-so-perfect stuff.
A few years back a photographer colleague of mine, David duChemin, wrote an article titled “Confessions of a So-Called PRO“. This article really resonated with me. I’m definitely not perfect, and thought I would share some of my “dirty photography secrets” as well.
I use Auto White Balance.
For as long as I can remember, I have been shooting in Auto White Balance (AWB). There are some pretty amazing third-party tools to help get accurate color in-camera, including the Expodisc and the ColorChecker Passport. However, for my photography, I don’t really find them necessary. Cameras have come a long way in their ability to create accurate color from the get-go, and since I photograph in RAW and don’t need to completely recreate exact color in my photos, it’s easier for me to just let the camera do the work while I’m shooting. And then I can make minor adjustments in post after the fact.
I shoot in Aperture Priority.
Sure, I pop the camera into manual mode from time to time (or Bulb, when photographing long exposures). But for the most part, with hand-held photographs (or even my on-a-tripod food photography), I prefer to use Aperture Priority. I even wrote an entire post about it! Basically, I let the camera do the thinking for me (in other words, I choose the aperture and let it balance the meter by selecting the shutter speed for me). Then, I make exposure adjustments by adjusting the Exposure Compensation up or down. The way I see it, I’m saving myself time by letting the camera make the exact same decision I would make, without letting it distract me from creating photographs.
I don’t use a histogram.
For the most part, I rarely check the histogram on my camera. Instead, I use the “blinkies” on my Canon to look for overexposed spots. Plus, a perfectly-shaped “mountain” in the histogram doesn’t always mean that the photograph was properly exposed. Sure, I’m not getting all the information that way, but it has worked well for me so far!
Sometimes my camera gets lonely.
Yep, that’s right. There are times when I will go days, or even a few weeks, without using my camera. It’s easy to get chained to the computer (especially when writing blog posts and eBooks is what helps pay the bills!). I’m not proud of it, but I’m also not going to pretend that I’m out shooting every single day (even though I wish I were). After moving back to Portland, I definitely have gone out shooting much more regularly, as there are just so many beautiful places in Oregon, so hopefully I’ll be able to minimize the amount of time in-between outings from here on out.
I don’t put clear filters on my lenses.
If I’m going to spend hundreds of dollars on a lens, I’m not going to lessen its quality by putting a sub-par filter in front of it. I prefer to keep the front of my lens naked, so to speak. Sure, filters protect the glass, but I have never broken any of my lenses (knock on wood!). I still use filters, such as circular polarizers to cut through reflections, or ND filters for long exposures, but that is about all I will stick in front of my expensive glass.
My day-to-day food doesn’t usually look as good as what I photograph.
When I eat something beautiful, I usually photograph it. When I cook specifically for my food photographs, I make it look amazing. But when I eat just to eat, it’s pretty boring. I’m also not afraid to admit that I eat canned soup from time to time (gasp!), and I can eat the same food every day for a very long period of time without getting tired of it.
I can’t remember the last time I cleaned my sensor.
When I lived in Utah, I would regularly take my camera to Pictureline and have Nick clean the sensor for me. There’s something about doing it myself that just worries me … I prefer to leave it up to the “professionals”. I don’t have any major issues with sensor dust, but I see dots in my images from time to time (that are pretty easily fixed with Lightroom’s Spot Removal Tool). Maybe one of these days I’ll garner the courage to clean it myself. ;)
Nicole S. Young is a professional photographer living in Portland, Oregon. She is the author of several print books and eBooks, and runs her own online store for photographers, the “Nicolesy Store“.
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