Every now and then I get an email full of questions about photography. What has happened in the past is that I would take the time to write it, be personal about it…and then the person who asked never writes back, *sigh*.  So here’s a Q&A post that more than just one person can benefit from. If you have any questions that you would like to see featured on the blog, shoot me an email at amy@amyschuffphotography.com or click the contact link above.

These are the top three questions I get asked…

1. What camera do you use and what lens do you prefer?

I use a Nikon d300s and I always, always have my Nikkor 50mm 1.8f on my camera. The 50mm is a wonderful lens, very affordable and every beginning photographer with a dslr should have it in their camera back. It is a great lens to learn on. The 50mm is a “prime” lens, meaning it does not zoom. I prefer primes because they make me move fast, keep me sharp on my feet and I just don’t like having to zoom a lens.

2. What editing software do you use?

I shoot in RAW and edit slightly in Adobe Camera Raw and then finish off the photo in Photoshop CS4. I manage my photos with Bridge. I’ve only been shooting in RAW for a few months…and I LOVE it. It makes my editing time so much faster.

3. How do you get your client’s eyes so sharp? They always look so full of light.

First off…thank you! That is a true compliment and that is also a great question! I get asked that a lot because what makes a photo?? The Eyes. Ask any photographer and they will tell you, taking photos is ALL about the light in their eyes. When you are about to take a photo of your subject, make sure they are in great light, whether that is in a corner of a room by a window, or under a big shade tree away from harsh sun, or in the bathtub where the white of the walls will reflect into their eyes. Your subject needs to be looking slightly up and turn their body until you see the catch lights in their eyes. When you’ve got it, focus your camera on either eye and shoot.

image recipe:  2.5f, 1/100, iso800 – the light is coming from a large window in front of her (behind me).

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  • Dayna - Hey Amy – Thanks for posting this! So funny – I’ve actually been wanting to shoot you an email to ask what camera you would recommend! Thanks for your insight…I will be trying this whole concept of capturing the light! Bless you guys – DaynaReplyCancel

  • Dayna - oh – PS! haha….also – with the 50 mm lens – do you find that it is difficult to catch spontaneous stuff with it? I’m always feeling like I want a zoom so I can be out of the way and try to capture natural things going on without people feeling I’m in their space., but zooms are also heavy and can be awkward. What do you think?ReplyCancel

  • Amy - Hi Dayna! I do agree that with a prime lens we can be in people’s spaces. There are lots of pros to having a zoom lens, I just don’t mind moving around a lot and don’t find I miss the shot all that much. You’ve got to be fast though!!ReplyCancel

I remember one family gathering when I was a young girl, we were at my Aunt’s house I believe (a place that we didn’t go very often). These family reunions happened once a year, mostly at Christmastime. Now as a young woman I understand why we had such distance, but at the time I didn’t understand it at all.

At this particular reunion my Aunt took me into her garage to show me a dollhouse, complete with furniture and dolls. It was beautiful, it was more than my little eyes had ever beheld and it was not to be played with. Another thing I couldn’t understand.

As their Christmas present, my husband made our girls a doll house. It had always been my dream that if I ever had a little girl, she would have a doll house and she could play with every inch of it. It turns out that my husband had the same dream too. Pink shutters, a chandelier, a picture of our family hanging in the living room, twinkle lights and carpet…it was all put together with our two little girls in mind. As soon as the girls opened it, they put in all the little dolls they could find, they filled the rooms with beds and created furniture with whatever they could find. I love their imaginations.

I have to admit…I love it too. At one point I told my husband I’m not sure who he was making it for…the girls or me.

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  • Ashley - THIS IS SO BEAUTIFUL AND DREAMY!!!!!!!!!!!!!! How utterly sweet!ReplyCancel

  • Jessica Deane - Sigh- seriously love it. I want one too!! hehe. Your husband is so talented. Maybe I will request this out of mine too….. but… I dunno how great it will turn out! haha,ReplyCancel

  • jeanette Krzyzek - Love it. Jeremy did a wonderful job. I wish I could shrink myself down and live inside of it for a couple of days! Looks so Posh! Love love love! :)ReplyCancel

  • Juanita - Jeremy did such a fabulous job, I am very impressed. I never had a dollhouse growing up and totally wanted my girls to have one. We brought Bryttain hers, for her 3rd birthday and all 3 kids play with it still on a DAILY basis. So fun!ReplyCancel

  • Renee - These photos are so whimsical and girly, I love itReplyCancel

  • Jeremy's Dad - I love it. I didn’t know it had a chandelier or a photo of the family on the wall. Truly a special touch. Makes one wonder why an aunt would show a young girl something they couldn’t touch.

    You and Jeremy have made up for that. What a blessing you guys are!ReplyCancel

…and her of course. Now that the older kids are back in school, she’s my little buddy during the day. It has been forever since I took a photo with me in it. I was thinking about when I did my 52 week project and how much fun it was. I have yet to make an album out of those photos, but I have put my 28 day photos in a beautiful book.  February is right around the corner and I’m excited to take on the challenge again of taking a photo every day of my kids and blogging it here.

I’m making some commitments here. No matter how many people read this blog (which I know there are at least a couple! Thanks Family!! lol) I am going to post more, share some FAQ’s and photoshop tips. 2011 is a year of learning for me and for others…I really feel it. I’ve already agreed to mentor one person this upcoming month (super exciting!) and I hope to help other young photographers or “momtographers” as well. When I just started out a few awesome photographers answered my questions and one basically taught me everything I needed to know. There’s no way I’m going to turn down others who truly want to learn. I plan on taking some workshops this year as well.

If you have any feedback for me, things you would like to see more of on the blog, anything I can share, shoot me an email or find me on facebook!

I’m really looking forward to what this year as in store for all of us…

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I’m not really sure what to make of 2010. It was challenging, but not as intense as years past. I learned a lot about myself, about who I am and about the person that I am definitely not. This was a year of growth, I felt my heart and my confidence grew a thousand times over. I got really good at saying…nope…this is who I am…and this is who I am not. I’m going THAT way and no one can stop me :)

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I really feel like I watched my kids grow this year. It started with Zach as he went into Kindergarten…

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…with Abby as she began to speak like a teenager and talk to me like a friend…

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…with Lily…as she became a true to life little girl who completes her family. Oh my she brings me joy!

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…and with a little boy who isn’t even mine, but his presence in our family is healing.

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At times 2010 was painful but I am thankful we went through it. I am so very thankful for life and for hope and for possibility even in the face of evil. I can’t describe the reality of character that I have seen this year. Images and situations that I hope against all hope my children will be spared from. Pedestals have been crushed and light has been shown. It has only brought me closer to the One who is perfect in every way. So I choose to move on…to live in the freedom of Christ and of truth. Stand on truth…that is what I learned from last year.

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In 2010 I had the opportunity to photograph some amazing people. I saw couples fall in love and fall in love again. I saw babies be born and babies grow up. I got to teach and to meet new people with the same passion I have. I also got to document my kids’ little lives, to take their photos and to enjoy them as a mom who is still called “Mommy” should.

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In 2011 I am praying that I am able to take photos of MORE babies, couples & families. I pray that I personally pick up the camera more, documenting our lives as fleeting as they are. I want to write more, share more, and live in the passions God has given me. I’m excited about what is to come! I know in my heart my business hasn’t even scratched the surface of what it could be and I have a wonderful feeling that this is my year…

Happy New Year…may 2011 be *totally awesome* :)

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  • Sarah - Your photos have so much personality and life! Absolutely stunning :)ReplyCancel

  • Terri Robinson - love the post–your pics are amazing!ReplyCancel

  • Rachel - Beautiful pictures, as usual! Looking forward to see the moments that you capture this year!ReplyCancel