Mary Lou Guinn asked: Studio management software - any recommendations?
Keep it simple. We use a combination of Quick Books and Google calendar. It has color coordination and a quick glance feature that makes our lives so much easier. It's also really great for marketing plans and counting out from deadlines. We haven't had a need for a big system, but use additional things like PhotoBiz to see who viewed images and incorporate that into the sales process. Pro Select is also great for sales. We're kind of old fashioned with client traveler, but it works for us. There's no "one stop shop" for what we do, so we put together our own system with a variety of software.
Denise Hasty asked: Having trouble with lighting, especially with darker subjects. What is the best setting for my camera when shooting in the studio and how do I avoid grainy and shadowy photos? / I have a Canon XSI450d
To create the best image, it usually works best to use a low ISO to minimize the grain and make sure you're using enough light. It helps to utilize the best equipment and tools to capture the best image. If you're in an indoor setting with limited light, investing in a camera that can go to a low ISO setting will greatly reduce the granularity in the image. In the outdoors with plenty of light, it's not as important, but you definitely need it in darker situations.
OurPPA asked: What are your thoughts on digital backgrounds?
I think there's a great place for digital backgrounds! I use them more for composite images. For example, we will photograph individuals on white, create the composition and drop in the digital background when working with a group setting. They can be nice with the right situation, but it's not a fix-all. It can be easy to get carried away and the digital can be overdone, not as natural.
OurPPA asked: Favorite color?
Black! It's the absence of color with light, and all of the colors with pigment.
OurPPA asked: Chocolate, vanilla or strawberry?
OurPPA asked: Early bird or a night owl?
OurPPA asked: Favorite food:
OurPPA asked: Favorite (clean) word:
Clean? Oh man. Probably "Yes."
OurPPA asked: Where did you attend college? What did you major in?
I graduated from Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa. I double-majored in Fine Art and Graphic Design, with a double-minor in Art History and English.
OurPPA asked: What was the worst job you've ever had?
I worked concessions at a stock car track one summer. I did the sno-cones and nachos and it was a mess. It was the worst combination of salty and sweet--just the worst.
OurPPA asked: You love to travel - What's your favorite place to visit?
I spoke to the Photography Association in Denmark a few years ago, and that was wonderful. I also enjoy going to Hawaii--they have the best shaved ice! I also did the first trip down to Ecuador with Travis Gugelman and Lori Nordstrom with Dando Amor, photographing orphans.
Jen Hillenga, M. Photog. Cr. is the co-founder of Jen's Fabulous Stuff and a PPAedu contributor. You can find her educational videos, along with many industry greats on PPAedu. PPA members can easily access PPAedu by logging-in and watching the 150+ online videos. Not a PPA member? You can create your own personalized educational program by completing the Self-Assessment tool and subscribing to PPAedu!