Q&A: Ask me anything about photography

Mar 21

Anonymous said: Hya Kirk! How do you protect your film while in Airport? I've heard some of those xray guard bags don't really work..

I insist on having everything hand checked every time no matter the speed of film. I get to the airport at least 2 hours ahead of time.
I don’t use the lead xray bags because they just ask you to take the film out anyway :)

Mar 20

Anonymous said: What is the number one piece of advice you would tell a new wedding photographer, when it comes to earning a living?

Figure out what your real costs are and how much you need to make per event. This includes cost of living, not just shooting the wedding. And having a salary for yourself. And providing retirement saving and medical coverage for yourself.

There are MANY MANY MANY wedding photographers that undercharge thinking they need to to get business. They are hurting others photographers doing this, obviously, but really they are screwing themselves, because they will burn out and fade away before they get to be any good at what they do if they don’t charge what they need to charge.

Jonathan Canlas’ FIND:Biz Guide ebook is an excellent way to figure all this out. It certainly changed my business for the better.

BONUS TIP: Edit your work very very very tightly. Almost every beginning photographer shows WAAAAAAAY too much work of mediocre quality. Just show your best work, the kind of work you want to do in the future, and you will GET more of that work.

achroniclebyjames said: Hi Kirk, how high (iso) would/could you shoot portra 160 and how would you ask to get it processed? Many thanks

I would shoot Portra 160 as high as ISO400 and then ask for a 2 stop push in developing. It will look great. Great color, little shifting in color, stronger contrast.

Anonymous said: What is the average price of you wedding package?

I start at $6500 in 2014, with packages up to $8500.

Anonymous said: Hi Kirk when you shoot 800 and 160 speed film how do you rate them or meter for them? Thank!

I am positive I have answered this before. Please look back in my Tumblr.

Anonymous said: Hi Kirk, have you ever written a detailed work flow of your photography? Could you please share it with us? Thank you!

Detailed? I think you will need to go back through my tumblr to see more detail.

But, in a nutshell:

  1. After shooting a wedding (with both film and digital) I develop and scan my film. I also download my cards to my computer’s DROBO which then backs up to Backblaze.
  2. I Import all my digital files into Lightroom in a unique folder, for example: ‘Smith Wedding New York Botanical Garden.’ At import I apply the correct Mastin Labs film preset, for example Portra 400, and I import with 1:1 image previews. (This way everything is ready for culling when I get to that part without me waiting for rendering.)
  3. I import all my film scans into a subfolder in that event called ‘film’
  4. I go through both folders at the same time to cull. I use a very simple system: 1 star means it is a keeper.
  5. Any near duplicates between film and digital, I always keep the film version and un-star the digital one.
  6. Edit my images in Lightroom using my Mastin Labs system to match digital to film.
  7. Any close up portraits I bring into Photoshop for more extensive skin touch ups.
  8. I export all images into appropriate folders to upload to Instaproofs.
  9. At the same time I export all images to a folder to burn a DVD, or put on thumb-drive.
  10. If the client has ordered an album the process continues for making an album etc.

    I hope that helps!

steyciepelizon said: Oi Kirk! Estou apaixonada por seu trabalho! Gostaria de saber quais as lentes que você usa, especialmente para fotografar rostos. FIco muito feliz em encontrar um fotógrafo como você, que expõe como trabalhar e nos ajuda. Obrigada desde já. (i'm Brazilian)

Obrigado! Estou tão feliz que você gosta do meu trabalho!

Eu uso uma Contax 645 com lente 80 milímetros f2 para muito do meu trabalho casamento.

Para minhas fotos digitais geralmente eu uso uma lente de 50mm 1.4 ou uma lente de 35mm 1.4.
Espero que ajude!

Eu amo o Brasil. Eu estava lá há quase quatro meses, quando eu estava na faculdade.

Mar 06

Anonymous said: I'm looking at purchasing a 645n w/75mm 2.8 off Craigslist. If I meet up with the guy to view the camera, what sorts of things do you recommend looking at to ensure the camera is in good condition other than the obvious physical wear and tear?

Other than physical things? I guess you could get someone to do an aura reading on the camera. JK!

Ummm…. test the shutter and see how it sounds and reacts with the back off so you can actually see the shutter operate.

Look through the lens separately with a flash light shining through it to check for fungus or seperation in the glass elements.

Good luck!

Anonymous said: Would you ever consider shooting an entire wedding with manual focus lenses? - Sean Cook, Chicago/Detroit

Without hesitation :)

All my engagements are shot with manual focus lenses, and during weddings I manually focus 90% of the time.

Feb 02

Anonymous said: Hi Kirk, I found you via Cama Beach Cafe 'helpful hints for weddings'. BEAUTIFUL photos! Would you be available for our wedding 16 November ~1 pm at Cama Beach State Park. We hope so! Take care, Jennifer & Matt (aliasjennifer, mattdonel at yahoodotcom), home 206.466.2913.

Hi Jennifer and Matt! Please contact me through my contact form at http://mastinstudio.com/contact/

I didn’t see this until now so I imagine you have already found a photographer :)

I have about 300 unanswered questions in my Tumblr and it could take me a month or more to see a new question.

Anonymous said: ACHIEVE HOW INTENSE AND TYPE PASTEL TONES IN WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY PHOTOSHOP WITH THANKS

USING ONLY PHOTOSHOP IS NOT POSSIBLE. MUST USE FUJI 400H FILM AND OVEREXPOSE. MASTINLAB.COM PRESETS HELP IF YOU DON’T SHOOT FILM.

Anonymous said: Kindly please include fujfilm X-series camera versions as well for the lightroom presets. Thx.

Woking on it!

besnokia said: Hello! What model of Fuji Frontier you? Tell me please, how long were choosing between Noritsu and Fuji Frontier?

I have the Fuji Frontier SP3000.

I’ve alway preferred the look of the Frontier as I find the Noritsu scans are very red in the shadows. And Noritsu scans are overall flatter looking to me..

rachelruffer said: I saw that your low cost film of choice (from back in April 2013) was Kodak Gold 200. I can only find 400 now on BH. If you shoot the 200 rated at 100, would you shoot the 400 rated at 200? I thought it might be good to start my film journey on some less expensive film before I move up to Fuji 400H and Kodak Portra 400 :)

I have not shot Kodak Gold 400 but I think I would probably try it at ISO200 and ISO320 and see how it looks. It could also look great at it’s native ISO400 but the only way to know is to do some film testing which I recommend everyone do, to see how you like your film.

Anonymous said: Hey Kirk! What would you recommend I do to achieve such sharp focus on tight headshots? Do you use any "Plus Filters" on your 105mm 2.4 lens?

With the Pentax 645 + 105mm 2.4 lens I do not use any filters.

Nor do I use any filters with the Contax 645 + 80mm f2 lens.

I don’t use filters at all ever. Although I may start to use Green, Yellow and Red filters for BW :)

80% of my portraits are done at or near the minimum focusing distance with the aperture wide open. I focus by rocking back and forth and looking for the catchlights in my subjects eyes to be sharp. Then I take the photo. That is it.