“Ask Chelsea”

Welcome to Chelsea’s first “Ask Chelsea” post.  Chelsea answers your questions every Wednesday. Learn a little more about photography, motherhood, twins and redheads!  Post questions on the blog, Facebook, twitter or instagram.  Questions will be collected on Monday!

Q:  Do you shoot mostly weddings or portraits?
A:  I consider myself mainly a wedding photographer. Weddings make up about 80% of my business. Portraits are the remaining 20%. I shoot portraits through out the year, but get really busy starting in September for the holiday season.

Q:  What’s the most exotic/fun place you’ve ever shot portraits or a wedding?
A:  Puerto Rico for sure!  I fell in love with Old San Juan!  The architecture is amazing, the food is to die for! The people are so nice and I always book a few days for some vacay!  You can view some Puerto Rico wedding images here!

Q:  Do you have a favorite camera bag you use?
A:   Yes, it’s actually a rolling bag I got from Home Depot for $40… oh yes, a tool bag. Can’t live without it. Why?  Because it a top opening roller bag. I ordered lens inserts from Amazon for my lenses.  I keep my night gear and lenses I don’t use that often in it.  I have a undfined bag for gear I have on me at all times.  When I’m at a wedding I use the waist bag. When I’m at a engagement session I use the shoulder bag.

Q:  What’s the best month to shoot maternity portraits?
A:  I usually advise expecting moms around 6 months. You want to have a baby belly, but you want to make sure you get it scheduled while you still feel good. I know when I was pregnant I really started to swell by 6 months.  You never know what your body has in store for you!

Q:  What is your favorite drink at the weddings you shoot? ;)
A:  Water, water, and more water!  Mama has to hydrate. It’s like getting ready for a marathon.  I notice weddings where I drank a lot of water and had a Gatorade, I don’t get the “wedding hangover” the next day.  My assistants all know to also get me a diet coke once we enter the reception.  I’m pretty predictable that way!

Q:  Team Edward or Team Jacob?
A:  This is the best question of the post… for sure!  I’m a total twihard.  (ps. you have to look up the definition) I fell in love with Twilight after the first movie and read all the books.  This began my guilty hobby of reading teen novels.  After seeing Twilight and reading the first book I was Team Edward all the way. What girl wouldn’t be Team Edward?  He’s the vampire brooding version of James Dean. He fell in love with the homely girl and really showed his sensitive side. Jacob was just like a kid brother.

While reading the second book, New Moon, you really get to know Jacob.  Edward ditched her. Jacob is a good guy and can offer her everything she needs out of life.  As an adult, I know that Edward is the bad boy we all wanted in high school. Then we grow up and marry the nice guys.  There is no such thing as a bad boy that really pulls through in the end. It’s fiction. Fabulous for books and movies. This girl just didn’t fall for the bad boy that had glitter skin, lipstick and gold contacts on for the rest of the movies. Eat a cheeseburger Edward ;)  Team Jacob!

Q:  How do I know which side is my good side?
A:  I have many clients that insist they have a good side. Sometimes I don’t see it and sometimes I don’t.  I think some of it all has to do with how ladies part their hair. If you have a blemish you want to hide I’ll angle you slightly away from the camera.  If you’ve ever broken your nose, chances are you’ll want a slight angle too.

Q:  What was your favorite site to shoot so far in your career?
A:  I am still totally in love with Firestone Crossroads Estates.  It’s beautiful, isolated, and rustic.  It’s on a vineyard with the rolling hills of the Santa Ynez Valley surrounding it.

Q:  What is your current favorite lense?
A:   My favorite lens is the 135mm and the 35mm.  I love the bokeh and compression of the 135.  The 35mm is the perfect photojournalist lens.  The 35mm allows me to get close to my subject and really live the moment.  Same answer applies for weddings and portraits :)

Q:  How do you get good shots in low light!
A:  I think the key is to have a good camera, lenses and flashes.  I love the Mark III and Mark II for their performance in focusing in low light situations.  The ISO range on the cameras also allow me shoot at a high ISO with little grain.  I try to keep my ISO at 1600 – 3200.  I keep my shutter speed at around 1/60 sec.  The slow shutter speed allows me to keep the ambient light of the room in the image.  If I want to use some flash I’ll usually bounce it off a white ceiling, giving me a nice diffused light on my subject. If you use a flash, the red focus beam also assists your lens in focusing in low light situations.  Nothing bums me out more then a reception picture that looks like it was taken with direct flash and the room looks like a dungeon ;)

{ Leave comments here if you have a follow up question or want to add a question next week! }

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  • Quinn ConahanAugust 7, 2014 - 7:51 pm

    Hi Chelsea! My name is quinn! I’m 13 and am aspiring photographer. You are such a huge inspiration and an amazing photographer and I was wondering if you possibly needed any help or an assistant where I can maybe tag along to a shoot or two. I haven’t been able to find any classes to my standard so I was wondering if you wouldn’t like me to tag along if you could give me classes? Thank you! I love your work!
    -Quinn

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