Friday, August 14, 2009

An Interview with a Photographer

Molly the Ballerina

1) What is your name, business name, website/blog?
My name is Anthony Grimes of Anthony Grimes Photography, you can find my site at

2) How did you get into photography and do you do it full-time?
My interest in photography began after my parents purchased me a DSLR for Christmas 2007, and I have been hooked ever since. My desire to pursue this as a career has been steadily increasing since the beginning, however this is still not my full time job and I would not consider myself a professional photographer. I am a full time student majoring in Molecular and Cellular Biology and do medical research full time at the University I currently attend. Recently I have decided to try and become a professional wedding photographer, and my blog focuses on my transition from amateur to professional, with lots of information about photography and tips thrown in for good measure.

3) What type of photography do you do?
I am interested in many aspects of photography and would hesitate to classify myself as a specific type of photographer (i.e. landscape, portrait, etc.). I enjoy long exposure night photography and would like to get into high speed photography, and obviously I am trying to become a wedding photographer so that is going to become a larger proportion of what I pursue photographically.



4) What kind of camera do you use?
All of my photographic equipment is Canon, currently I have a Canon 50D and a Canon Rebel XTi as backup. I have yet to make the transition into full frame but I am eager to. However, it is important to understand that it takes many things to take a good picture, and in my opinion a camera body is the least important. So if you do not have a great camera, do not be discouraged, I have seen amazing photographs taken with point and shoot cameras.

5) What inspires and motivates you when it comes to taking photos?
My motivation comes from trying to do something new. I hate to try and reproduce what others have done, even though it can be a great learning experience, so I am always eager to try something new. I also enjoy all things DIY, so if I can build something that can change the types of photographs that I take, or that allows me to take new types of photos then I am definitely excited to do it.

6) When it comes to photo equipment, what has the biggest bang for your buck?
As I had said before I believe that your camera is probably the least important piece of equipment when it comes to taking a good picture. I think your lens is a much more important part, remember your lens produces the image, your camera just records it! However, unless you are an experienced amateur or professional, you may not notice the benefits of a better lens, and lenses can also be very expensive. I think the most important part of making a good picture is lighting which is fortunately the cheapest! The important thing to remember about light is that it is not about quantity, it's all about balance, and this can be easily achievable with little to no money. A lot of people make the big mistake of underestimating the importance of good light. The following pictures are taken with the same camera (Canon 50D) and the same lens (Canon 100mm f2.8 USM Macro) under the same settings, in the first picture I use the on camera flash (which is better than most), in the second picture I use a DIY softbox and off camera lights. Take a look at the difference for yourself.


This picture was taken using the on camera flash


This picture was taken using a DIY softbox, made in about 10 minutes which didn't cost a thing!

7) When you are taking pictures of beads, do you have any advice?
The biggest thing that we are gong to focus on is light, since that is the cheapest and easiest to play with. If you want to spend some money and get a lens specific for bead photography I would recommend a Canon 60mm Macro lens (or Nikon equivalent), its nice and sharp and you don't need the extra magnification achievable with the 100mm. But back to lighting, step one is to turn off your on-camera flash, its usually too much light and makes your images look flat. Try lighting from the sides and you will be able to see the dimensionality of your pieces, and don't be afraid to use multiple light sources. I would probably recommend two light sources, one from the left and one from the right. Studio lights are nice because you can control the power of them, but this is easily achievable with normal desk lamps, all you need to do is move them closer or farther away from you subject to change the perceived power. Softening the light will have a much more pleasing effect, and it is very simple to do, you just need to place a piece of white computer paper between the light source and the subject. You can also build a soft box for an even better effect, all you need is a cardboard box and some paper, cut out the sides of the box and put white paper over the holes, the end product should look something like this . I would also recommend using a tripod and use the timer on the camera to take the pictures to make sure that the camera is perfectly still. If you are using a DSLR I would enable mirror lock up to remove any internal camera shake, this flips the mirror up ahead of time to prevent any shaking that lifting the mirror would cause, also make sure that you are shooting in RAW so you can make any changes to white balance as necessary. If you have further questions, or want some more in depth advice feel free to stop by my blog and ask away in the comments. In time your pictures will be looking better than ever!


8) I love the pictures you take of Miss Molly, can people hire you to take pictures of their own kids? (4 and 2 legged)
Of course you can! However this will probably involve some serious traveling (please no mailing me your pets!) so it might not be that feasible, but if you want to work something out you can contact me through my website.

9) Out of all the photos you've taken, do you have a favorite?
Since I have a very wide range of photographic experience it is hard to have one overall favorite, but some of my favorites can be found below:






I would like to say a big thank you to Anthony for a great interview and all his tips on taking better photos.
Anthony, do you want to move back home so you can take my bead pictures? I need all the help I can get.
But I too will practice on taking better photos...

Have a great weekend!