This page is currently under construction but should be good to go in a couple of weeks! Thanks for your patience and in the meantime check out my Facebook and Instagram page and feel free to email me at email@example.com for more information!
So I’m just gonna be completely honest with you, I messed up big time when I started designing my website. I had my old SquareSpace website up with the blog up and running for about the first half of designing my new website over on Showit and in true Manali fashion, I got entirely TOO […]
So I’m just gonna be completely honest with you, I messed up big time when I started designing my website. I had my old SquareSpace website up with the blog up and running for about the first half of designing my new website over on Showit and in true Manali fashion, I got entirely TOO excited and pulled a noob move by hitting “Publish” instead of “Preview” to see how the new site was functioning! And of course, my whole domain got switched to my Showit website design instead of SquareSpace and I had no idea how to switch it back. So I stuck up a (lame) “Construction” page and continued building the rest of the website, including the new blog, behind the scenes. This meant a lot less blogging about stuff that was going on through Friday Fun posts.
So this post is getting back to blogging on Fridays and covers a bit about what exactly I’ve been up to this summer! As a lot of you know, I graduated from UVA this past May and as some of you know, I have a job for the fall lined up with Accenture. I’ve had the job lined up since last year which was a goal that I thankfully hit during my fourth year. However, due to reasons that were out of my control, after asking to start at the end of August or the beginning of September, I got asked to start working in the beginning of November. And when I tell anyone that, I immediately get a look of shock, disappointment and surprise all balled up into one weirddd look from people. Somewhere along the lines of becoming a postgrad student, it became unacceptable to have a job that didn’t start during summer or the beginning of fall. And to be honest, this was how I initially felt when I got the email stating that I wouldn’t start until November. I felt like I had somehow done something wrong and that I wasn’t successful or going down the right path if I had so much time before I started working full time.
But about a week or so after I got that email, I decided to flip that feeling of unreasonable guilt on its head. This could be the best thing that has ever happened to me. I had six months to do whatever it was that I wanted to do. I’m thankful that my parents are supportive enough to let me stay with them until I start working and that I truly do have that freedom. Anyone I told about this extended break told me that I should travel as much as humanly possible while I still can and although I appreciate the sentiment and normally would have LOVED to do just that, I decided to do something a little bit different with my spare time over this summer and early fall.
Not a lot of people know this but for the entire summer, except for the week where my family traveled, I have been working 6-8 hours every day on my photography business. People see the highlights and results of this work but not necessarily the amount of work that goes in on the back end. It’s not something that I can explain to anyone during a quick conversation, I usually just say something like “Oh yea I’m doing a lot with photography.” But what does that REALLY entail besides taking pictures? A lot apparently!
This summer I’ve been working to create a system to stay on top of my inquiries, provide a smooth workflow that includes conveying my information and process to people, drafting up contracts and templates, coordinating with venues, building and continuously updating my wedding & couples portfolios, tracking my expenses and income, upgrading my gear and investing in A LOT of education (!!!) in order to increase the quality of service I can provide to my clients! I also completely redid my entire website after switching to a new platform, have been consistently blogging posts to increase traffic & SEO (starting to slowly understand what the heck that even is), and created a guide that helps my clients through the process of picking out outfits and styling for their sessions. Again with the upgraded experience 🙂 I developed a consistent system for backing up all of my images in multiple places, practiced & honed in my style to cut my editing and turnaround time IN HALF (woo!!), networked with other people in the industry to get more second shooting positions, learned how to work on marketing, and am still constantly reevaluating my to-do list to add in things that will grow my business down the road! No day looks the same because there are so many tasks that you do and that you COULD be doing to push yourself forward. I’m referencing ALL of this when I say I’ve been working on photography. And it legitimately takes 6 to 8 hours of work every day, meaning that a lot of times I’m doing some work on the weekend too. It’s a lot but I genuinely enjoy it and wouldn’t have wanted to “free” time over the summer any other way!
So for the past couple of months after I’ve been graduated, I haven’t been working “full time” as people would think but I HAVE been working full time for myself and in a way. It’s without a doubt been the most rewarding summer experience I’ve ever had. I’ve put in the hours of work and I’ve started to see the kind of progress I’ve always wanted towards turning photography into a full time business 1 to 2 years down the road. And so instead of seeing not starting with Accenture until November as this awful situation, I have started seeing this time before I start working as a blessing in disguise.
Thank you to Caroline Zhang for the wonderful headshot above!
Maggie and William have actually been engaged for two years and they finally had their engagement pictures taken last week in Georgetown! They chose the location due to the Key Bridge looking much like the one in Fredericksburg where they will be getting married next June! They met back in 2011 and started off dating […]
Often when I tell people that I second shoot weddings, I get funny faces and stares. A lot of people don’t know what that is! A second shooter is a photographer that accompanies the main photographer for the wedding day! Their job is to grab different angles of photographs, make sure every detail is covered, help out the main photographer with anything that they need throughout the day. Click here to find out more!
Often when I tell people that I second shoot weddings, I get funny faces and stares. A lot of people don’t know what that is, heck I didn’t know what that was until I started to get super into wedding photography. A second shooter is a photographer that accompanies the main photographer for the wedding day! Their job is to grab different angles of photographs, make sure every detail is covered, help out the main photographer with anything that they need throughout the day.
Why is it important to have a second shooter at your wedding?
While the main photographer is going to be in charge of calling all the shots and making sure that they have all the necessary pictures of details and family photos, the second photographer is in charge of grabbing shots of moments from different angles. This helps increase the amount of photos that are delivered to you as a client in your gallery, gets more variety of pictures as well as those candid shots of other guests that you want to have!
While the main photographer may be grabbing a picture of the bride and her father walking down the aisle, the second photographer will be capturing the face of the groom and his reaction watching his beautiful bride walk down. It’s impossible for the main photographer to be in two places at once and taking two pictures at the same time of different people in a room and this is where the second shooter helps out!
Although it may be pricier to have a second shooter included, you should ask your photographer for this option! If something happens to the main photographer, a second shooter steps in. If something unforeseen goes wrong with an SD card (may this never happen to anyone, but in case it does!) a second photographer has pictures throughout the day. You can’t repeat moments from the wedding day so it’s always good to have a back up.
What is the second shooter’s job throughout the day?
As a second shooter, my first and foremost job is to make sure that the main photographer has everything that they need. This can mean carrying around their bag of equipment, grabbing different lenses/flashes/batteries for them throughout the day, calling out the names of the members of the families for family formal pictures, bringing them water or food throughout the day, and being an extra eye. As a second photographer, when I’m not taking pictures, I am always looking out to make sure small details are in order such as the bride’s dress is fluffed at the bottom or a groom’s boutonniere is pinned on nicely. I also always try to help the photographer clear any clutter in a room that they are taking pictures in. All of these small tweaks that can be fixed during the wedding day allows the main photographer to take pictures with nice clean backgrounds, saving them hours while editing later and ultimately getting you your pictures back faster! Sometimes, you also get to act as a lighting testing model so that the first photographer can get their settings JUST right!
3. How do you become a second shooter?
When I first started out, I found photographers that had a kind of style that was something that I aspired to. I reached out to them and offered simply to carry equipment, lenses, bring them water, whatever they needed just to be able to come along and witness what it’s like as a photographer on a wedding day. A lot of people start this way and establish trust with the primary photographer until they are also given the responsibility of grabbing shots of more of the candid moments happening on a wedding day, covering the groom & groomsmen during the getting ready portion of the day, getting shots of families and guest during cocktail hour and more! I was lucky enough that Vanessa of Vanessa Smith Photography put her faith in me to have me second shoot at the first wedding I went along to after meeting her! I learned so much that day and have used things that I learned from then every other time I’ve second shot with her or other photographers.
And to top off the blog post, here’s some fun behind the scenes pictures of me as a second shooter at weddings! All photo credits go to Vanessa!
A couple of tips of three pieces of equipment that have changed my game in terms of photography over the past year!
Be warned, this one’s a long one but it’s only because I’m actually so passionate about this and hope that it will be useful for any newer photographers that read this! I come home from work each day and tell myself that I can’t sit in front of a computer screen for another minute. And then I log into Facebook and see a post from a photographer that I follow and then hop onto another post in which they detail helpful tricks that they use and before I know it I have fifty tabs open with photography education & tips. This happens just about every day. The amount of free online education for photographers is such a blessing and I have spent a countless number of hours soaking as much of it as I possibly can in & trying to implement what I’ve learned at just about every shoot, every blog post and client I’ve ever dealt with. Here’s the top three pieces of equipment I’ve invested in & learned about over the past year that I wish I’d known about earlier in my photography career!
1. White Balance Filter:
White balance is the camera’a measure of how “warm” or “cool” the temperature of light is. In other words think of how orangey, red the light gets around sunset versus how at dusk everything looks blueish. Instead of using the camera’s auto white balance (which does a terrible job both indoors & outdoors once the sun is set), you can preset the white balance using a white balance filter. After reading about it from the famous Amy & Jordan, I decided to try out a cheaper version of the ExpoDisc, which can be found here, and started using it at shoots to calibrate the white balance whenever I would change location. This has saved me HOURS & lots of frustration while editing my pictures since it gives me nice & neutral tones to work with despite the original lighting. My only complaint with my filter is that it runs a bit on the warmer side and the size runs a bit larger than the ExpoDisc. There’s a smaller cap version I found after I bought mine that might be useful if you’re looking into getting one!
Probably one of the best $100 you can spend on equipment starting out (besides the 50mm f/1.8 if you’re looking to buy your first portrait lens). I would actually recommend getting one of these after your second or even first lens purchase. It allows you to light darker receptions or events or even portraits with more flattering, directional light than the built in camera flash. The built in camera flash has a tendency to make everyone look like they’ve sweat more than they have and flatten images. What I’m looking for is to preserve the depth of the image while using flash. That being said, I don’t always carry my flash for personal work but I have definitely found that bringing the flash is well worth the extra bit of weight. I almost never point the flash directly at my subjects. The swivel head allows you to bounce the light off of walls to your side which help create beautiful diffused & directional light that really separates your subject from the background. Also there is a diffusing cap that goes on top of it to soften the light so that it isn’t harsh. Here is the one I invested in. Also two key tips that I’ve learned from other blogs (such as MJ & Justin & Mary who are like the industry’s flash experts you could say) are keeping the shutter speed slow (1/15) & under exposure by about 2/3 of a stop. Check out Justin & Mary if you’re interested in learning about using flash!
This software saves me HOURS at a time. I used to edit all of my pictures individually with a software similar to Photoshop called GIMP. It would take me about ten times as long to edit a photo shoot since I would have to individually import photos, run them through a secondary software if I was editing RAW files (as opposed to JPG ones), edit only using the red/blue/green curves and then rename files individually upon export. It took so long & looking back I don’t quite know how I had the patience to go through hundreds of photos like that! This doesn’t even encompass pulling in pictures only to realize there were two people blinking and the next, next photo was the one I actually wanted to edit! Lightroom allows you to import pictures quickly, it renders previews for RAW files, allows you to view multiple pictures on the screen at one time to pick the ones you want to edit, has soo many sliders to edit a photo to precision (as well as a decent clone stamp tool if needed!) and makes resizing/sharpening/exporting a breeze! You can also create presets within it for editing & exporting which saves even MORE time! There’s nothing I love more than being efficient so Lightroom was DEFINITELY worth the investment. I saved some by buying an older version and haven’t had too many issues not having the latest and greatest.
If you’re just starting out and looking in to investing in some places that will save you time & up your photo game, I definitely recommend these three! They’re not all too expensive compared to lenses and have made a big impact on my work within the last year. If you have any questions about any of what I said above feel free to leave a comment or even shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Hope these were helpful!
Looking back I’m so grateful for all the memories this year. It’s been a year of ups and downs, as any other, but I’m glad that I can look back and see how far I’ve come. Here’s some of my favorite moments from this year.
Looking back I’m so grateful for all the memories this year. These are some of the few as documented by my camera but there are so many more that are behind the scenes that I caught with my iPhone and thankfully wrote down in my journal of five years (I can’t believe it’s lasted that long!). Here’s some of my favorite moments from this year:
It’s nice to have pictures to go back and look through this year’s highlights and I can’t wait to see what this upcoming year brings!
When Annie asked me to take her head shots for an new LinkedIn picture I was ecstatic! At the beginning of the year I had set out a goal to make sure I was taking photos at least once a month in order to push myself as a photographer during the academic year and not […]
When Annie asked me to take her head shots for an new LinkedIn picture I was ecstatic! At the beginning of the year I had set out a goal to make sure I was taking photos at least once a month in order to push myself as a photographer during the academic year and not just over the summer. Annie was one of the first people to come to me asking for portraits!
We met up on a Friday afternoon on the Lawn just as the fall leaves were starting to turn. It was great getting to know her better as we took pictures around the Lawn, the Commerce School and the Gardens behind the Lawn. She told me she had transferred from an out of state school and I was so surprised because she fits in so well here at UVA! Take a look at her classic “UVA styled” (I dare say) portraits!
And to end this post, my personal favorite from this day! Annie you’re gorgeous and I hope you enjoyed your pictures and that Friday afternoon!
I can’t believe how quickly this summer has gone. Usually by the end of the long summer break I’m ready to go back to school. This time is a little different. I’ve had the most incredible summer & I’m not quite ready to go back to the grind. Here’s a quick recap of everything that’s gone down this summer!
I can’t believe how quickly this summer has gone. Usually by the end of the long summer break I’m ready, nope, DYING, to get back to the academic year. I’m one of those nuts that gets super excited about back to school shopping for supplies & loves the smell of fresh notebooks (think Hermione from Harry Potter). I was updating my personal photo journal the other day after realizing that I’d been slacking with documenting everything that happened this summer & I wanted to share bits of my summer vacation (of course, with pictures) on here as well. Here’s some great (and not so great) times that happened this summer:
This has hands down been the most eventful summer I’ve had so far. There’s been the good times, lots of firsts, big opportunities, good times with friends but there’s also been the crazy, frustrating and scary ones. But all in all, I never would have thought that this is what my summer was going to be like at the beginning and I’m really grateful that it turned out as well as it did! It’s made me a lot more open to new opportunities & taught me that passion can push you past your fear. For anyone who’s still reading this, for anyone who has every supported me with something as simple as a “like” on Facebook or someone who has gone out of their way to write me a message or tell me about their support of my photography in person, I can’t thank you enough. It really means so much to me & there have been so many times that I’ve doubted what I’m doing but your words of encouragement have kept me afloat.
Picture credits of photos taken of me go to my brother Sohum!