3 Questions to Answer Before You Buy Your Next Lens + BLACK FRIDAY SALE!!

BLACK FRIDAY CAME EARLY to LDP! If you have been on the fence about learning how to use your camera online, NOW is your time to purchase! You’ll receive $10 off THIS week AND! And! And! You’ll get a 20-minute Lightroom Crash Course if you purchase THIS week! Everything you need to know about Lightroom to help you upload, familiarize yourself with the important parts of the program and export for web or print—is packed into 20 minutes! You’re welcome! :)

The best compliment from someone who took the course?

“I’m just frustrated that I spent like hours and hours trying to figure this all out by reading things online and watching YouTube videos but could never really get a good idea of what I was supposed to do—then I was able to understand it all in under like 15 minutes from watching your videos” - Christina

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So I know which camera to buy, but what lenses do you suggest for what I want to photograph?

Okay YES! If you are still on the fence about what camera to buy, read this post here!

Guys, if I had someone experienced at my side when I was purchasing lenses, it would’ve saved me some bucks! To start, I still suggest purchasing the nifty fifty first! There are a few questions I’d say you want to answer before you purchase and TWO FACTORS you need be aware of.

3 questions before you buy:

  1. What kind of camera do you have? Is it crop sensor or full frame?

  2. What do you mostly want to photograph?

  3. Consider the aperture of the lens—this is what makes lenses $$$ to $$$$

#1 is important because for Nikon, IF you have a crop sensor camera, then you must purchase the DX version of some lenses—specifically the DX 35 1.8. Nikon has a DX version of this lens for ONLY crop sensor cameras. If you don’t think you’ll upgrade cameras, then THIS is what you want. And it’s a great price! If you think you’ll upgrade to a full frame OR DO have one, then you want this 35 1.8. Now, if you have an even higher budget, then you can upgrade to the 35 1.4—remember, aperture makes the $$ go up! ;-)

And if you’re a Canon-user with a crop sensor and don’t plan to upgrade to full frame, the 35 f/2.8 is for you!

#2 is important, because different subjects/purposes are best with different lenses.

  1. For example, I’d recommend the 35 1.8 for kiddos, newborn or lifestyle, because it’s a wider lens, and it allows you to capture more (imagine little kiddos running and trying to capture them—a wide lens is helpful!!). I’d recommend the 85 1.8 to someone who loves portraits, like seniors, engagements, maternity, etc. Keep in mind, you’ll need to often shoot in wide open spaces (outdoors, fields, etc.), because the 85 is a telephoto lens. However, it’s known as the “cream machine” because of it’s glorious condensed blurry bokeh background! As stated above, if you’re a mom with a crop sensor camera and mostly plan to photograph your family, the 35 1.8 is a GREAT option for you! Again, just know it won’t work on a future full frame camera you may buy!

  2. The 85 is known as the “cream machine” because of how it condenses the background and creates a creamy bokeh blur.

  3. I was talking with an interior photographer at a local coffee shop who said he loved using the Nikon 24-120 f/4 lens, because of it’s wide range inside and the fact that he WANTS to capture what’s inside the room, and the higher aperture starting at 4 simply works for him. This lens would also be excellent for traveling with its wide range. Just take note that in darker situations, it’s aperture of 4 may not give you the best leverage.

  4. If you want to capture details, like insects, jewelry, even food photography, considering a macro lens like the 105 f/2.8 might be a good option for you.

  5. For anyone shooting weddings, I always recommend having at least a wide lens (35) and a telephoto lens (85 or above). You want the leverage to be in tight spaces with a wide lens, and you the leverage to be able to zoom in in large, potentially dark areas (for example, inside ceremony venues). This brings me to the most expensive lens we own and always suggest new photographers start out renting: 70-200 2.8. Anything in between is fluff—you want at least 1 wide lens, 1 telephoto and your nifty fifty. We rented the 70-200 2.8 from BorrowLenses.com for our first several wedding and never regretted it. The telephoto range of 200mm allows us to zoom in on the couple’s faces during the ceremony and open our aperture as low as 2.8 in low lighting—dang low aperture # is what makes the price tag so high!

#3 is important, because depending on your need or use of your lenses, you can very well save a lot of $$ by purchasing the 1.8 aperture versus the 1.4. You notice that I suggest this above, because I’m assuming many of you are first starting out. In my opinion, investing in a lens with a 1.8 aperture when you’re starting out is a wise financial decision and will get the job done. When you’re at the point professionally where you want to invest in more professional glass—specifically 1.2 or 1.4 apertures, you can DO that with profit AND either sell your original 1.8 or use it as back up (we do).

2 factors to be aware of:

  1. Is the lens DX (crop sensor) or FX (full frame); meaning, will the lens work on BOTH types of cameras or only one? Usually the more cost efficient lenses will work ONLY on crop sensor cameras and not full frames. You’ll see DX or FX in the name or description when buying. If you never plan to upgrade your camera, it’s a budget-friendly idea to purchase a DX lens—specifically the 35 1.8 for moms.

  2. Does the lens have a varied aperture? This means that on lenses with a zoom, as you zoom in and out, the maximum aperture changes based on the focal length. For example, while using the 18-55mm lens, you can zoom out wide to 35mm and utilize the maximum aperture of 3.5, but when you zoom in to 55mm, the lens automatically jumps the aperture higher and you’re limited to an aperture of 5.6 . It’s difficult to have control and to learn how to use your camera in manual and have full control when your lens doesn’t allow you that. These lenses, again, are for more of the amateur photographer needing a cost efficient lens. The 18-55 kit lens has a 3.5-5.6 range. When you look at the lens, you’ll know if it has a varied aperture if the aperture # behind the focal length of the lens has a dash: 70-300 (focal length) with varied aperture 4.5-6.3.

While this is probably enough to get the wheels turning, there is SO much more I could share on lenses. Maybe this will get you started! If you feel like you want to learn more about all of these details in person, join me December 1 or January 12—but don’t miss the early bird rate!

The order in which we purchased our lenses for wedding photography in mind:

  1. 50 1.8 (later upgraded to 50 1.4)

  2. 24-70 2.8 (versatile in the beginning but now I use mostly prime lenses)

  3. 85 1.8

  4. 70-200 2.8

  5. upgraded from Nikon D3100 to Nikon D610

  6. 35 1.4

  7. 105 2.8 (macro lens used specifically for ring + detail shots—5% of wedding day)

  8. 50 1.4 (upgraded and moved 50 1.8 to back up)

    *We now use Sigma Art 50 1.4 and Sigma Art 85 1.4, because I like their quickness, clarity and sharpness better than the Nikon 50 1.4 and Nikon 85 1.4. Our 50 1.4 and 85 1.4 are moved to back ups.

In-home Beginner Photography & Editing Courses | Dates Announced

Hi-ho-hhoooray!!

It’s been a minute since I’ve been able to host photographers in OUR HOME (Richardson, TX), but this is one of the things that I have LOVED to do since we were living in our TINY apartment in our college town of Las Cruces, New Mexico. A little over 3 years ago, Jordan and I hosted our first ever workshop geared toward beginning photographers who are wanting to learn how to simply USE their camera.

But not only USE it, they truly want to be confident with it.

They want to capture moments to make them last longer, because they know their value.

They want the flexibility and versatility of a hobby that can not only capture moments you can savor but provide side income, provide an outlet to serve and get those creative juice flowing.

Photography has been all of this and more to me, don’t you get me started! ;-)

And while I LOVE my online version of The Capture Course, I know many of you have been asking about an in-person option, and I HEAR YOU!! The extrovert within me is like, “YES, come over, and let me watch it CLICK for you! Let me MAKE SURE you truly understand and aren’t unsure.”

I want you to leave with the basic understanding of:

  • becoming familiar with the buttons you need to know on your camera

  • shooing in manual (how ISO, shutter speed and aperture work together)

  • nailing tack sharp images

  • shooting indoors versus outdoors (finding the light)

  • lenses and what they can do for you

  • 15 “look-fors” that you’ll need to go from “amateur-eye” to “pro-eye” in no time flat

  • understanding and using “natural reflectors”

  • how to use the sun to backlight your subjects

    • Yes, we will have an opportunity to practice inside and outside!

BONUS

  • ACCESS to the online courses of The Capture Course incase you need refreshing afterward

  • ACCESS to an inclusive Capture Course Community group where you can forever ask questions as they arise (because they will!).

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SO YES. You did hear me. There is an EDITING option for the course, and I am SO happy about it!

For the first time in Dallas (we taught it in Las Cruces), I’m teaching about the editing program that has given me life BACK.

LIGHTROOM is hands down the best in it’s efficient workflow possibilities and detailed options. Every time someone says, “Oh, you can photoshop that right?”, I kind of giggle inside (and roll my eyes). Lightroom, it’s the way to go!

With that being said, you’ll walk away from the second half of the day’s Lightroom teaching with the basic understanding of:

  • how to upload your photos

  • how to cull and organize your photos in Lightroom and on an external hard drive

  • a basic overview of the Library and Develop Module

  • how to use the spot removal, adjustment brush and crop tools

  • how to edit without a preset + how to create your own preset

  • how to adjust white balance (what even IS white balance?!) ;-)

  • how to export for web or print and store safely for years to come

BONUS

  • You’ll walk away with a recording of how I edit 2 different images in a bright and clean edit so that you can be refreshed when you go home!

The Lightroom portion of the course will basically equip you to take your photos from your memory card, upload correctly, edit efficiently and quickly then export for print so that these images can end up where they belong: on your walls, in your frames and on your loved one’s desks at work.

Pricing details

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Must have or borrow:

  • DSLR camera (crop sensor or full frame)

  • At least 1 lens for your camera

  • A memory card for your camera

  • Lightroom CC Classic (paid or free trial version)

Aren’t sure whether or not this is for you?

Email me directly at lindsay@lindsaydavenportphoto.com, and we can chat to make sure you have the right gear and will walk away with the most confidence you can have to capture moments that matter. Girl, I got you!

Keep in mind, we have limited spots, due to the fact that it’s important for us to make sure we’re able to answer everyone’s questions and work 1-1 during the application portion of class.

Can’t make either of these dates but think this course would make a great gift for yourself or someone else? The Capture Course may be for you!

LASTLY! And pretty importantly, share this information with a friend who might like one or both of these courses (or with your significant other should you want it as a Christmas gift ;-) ). If you tag 3 or more friends on my Instagram post, you’ll be entered into a drawing to win a FREE TICKET to one of the 2 courses! Tag away daily, and the winner will be announced 11/7/2018. :)

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The LAUNCH DAY of The Capture Course 2.0!

AHH! It’s launch day!

Guys, there have been a whole lot of hopes, goals and ideas these past several months as I’ve refined The Capture Course to consist with what I feel like any beginner photographer would need to understand how to use their first camera. Because this is SO important to me. I truly don’t want to just put a course out there to…put it out there. I want to believe it’s just what YOU need and just what YOU can use to catapult you forward.

Stop for a second. Let’s talk about “forward”. What is this to you?? Are you somebody who:

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-Wants to use their camera to capture life around them?

-Wants to be able to save and frame your own photography for your walls from your own travels?

-Wants to say “good-bye” to that job you HATE and go toward a more flexible, creative outlet that can allow you to be home more often?

-Wants to simply use their camera to photograph your own products or images for your blog?

-Wants to learn how to use their camera simply because you’re the creative type who’s energized by learning and diving into new creative outlets?

You know you’re one of these! Which one are you? Do yourself a favor: steal one of the above and make it more specific to YOU. Are you a mom who wants to take high quality photos of her children as they grow and in turn, gift them with precious frames made by your kiddos to grandparents? It’s possible.

What can you expect to learn from the course?  

1.    to learn how to use your camera and use natural light

2.    to watch and rewatch videos at your own speed and in the comfort of your living room or your favorite coffee shop (even squeeze it in during nap time!)

3.    almost 2 hours of targeted instruction

4. A PDF of 15 look-fors when you're shooting

BONUS!! 

(and it's available to the already-enrolled photogs, YES!

There are many additions, and the best part is: THE PRICE IS STAYING THE SAME.

So you get all these goodies without an increase in price. WOOT!

*I filmed two additional videos that I felt like would be helpful to the amateur photographer headed outside to use their knowledge of ISO, shutter speed and my personal favorite, aperture. Both videos are around 10 minutes long and FULL of tips to help boost your awareness and confidence when photographing.

            Understand + Nail Backlighting

            How to find + use natural reflectors for better light

*And if you weren’t sure that the skill of photography was a beneficial one, I’m including ways for you to make cash using your camera!

*You’ll also get a HOW TO SHOOT IN MANUAL Cheat Sheet to have in front of you as you work through the class. Visual learner? #igetyou

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If you're sitting there with your new camera + the kit lens, then you definitely don't want to miss this freebie here where I explain what you don't know about your kit lens. It'll help get you started with a 5-minute video, visual examples and what you need to know to start out with success!

The Capture Course CHANGES

Now, along with the additions, there is also an adjustment: the course will no longer be available for enrollment year-round. Instead, there will be specific times during the year where you can enroll. My hope for this adjustment is that when you enroll, you feel like you're supported through 4 scheduled Facebook Lives that will take places following the closing of the course. You will have the opportunity to submit photos to Lindsay for review on focus, composition and camera settings.

I want you to say goodbye to being CLUELESS with your camera and letting memories pass you by.

You CAN confidently capture the moments that give you #allthefeels in a way that bottles it up forever!

How to Stand Out in a Saturated City {Part 4}

    Part 1    Part 2     Part 3

1.      Vendor connections

2.     Client experience

3.      Referral gifts 

Hey you, how is it going?? Have you found any inspiration or motivation on how you can stand out in the city in which you live? I sure hope so. I really do.

Because you can. Have you an idea as to what makes you different? What might draw you into clients? Or what kind of client experience you can offer them?

That’s so good. I really hope the wheels are turning!

So in this last post, I’m going to share about how I continued to keep connections going after living in Dallas for a little under a year and going fulltime with my wedding photography business. I want to also share that the purpose for this post is to encourage and continue turning the wheels in your head—not serve as a post to share about what we’ve done well. It’s our story, and it’s what has seemingly worked for us thus far. It’s not to say that we have been 100% perfect, because I’m human and am positive I have not been perfect. But thankfully, our business is still continuing to allow me to photograph weddings and do what I love.

So with that being said, one of the ways our business has kept booking is because of: vendor connections.

When I say “vendor connections”, I mean everybody on the team that you work with on wedding days: DJs, planners, florists, hair and makeup artists, rental places, the list can go on and on.

These are people who are seeing you interact with their clients on the wedding day, seeing the way you carry yourself, handle stress, interact and even treat them. I’ve found that this is so huge. It’s worth trying hard to connect with every vendor on a wedding day, even if the time or stress of the day is hard to allow, because they are potentially vendors a) you’ll either work with often or b) who will share your name with other couples.

One example that comes to mind is a florist we worked with the December we moved to Dallas. Jordan and I photographed that wedding together. While we were photographing reception details, the florist, Kim May, was decorating the cake with additional flowers. We had a simple interaction, as she was worried she was in our way while we photographed. We responded by simply saying it was no problem and we’d come back in a few minutes. Literally. So small. 

We found out later after she inquired for her daughter’s wedding that the way Jordan and I interacted with her was unusual for a photographer to do with her. She mentioned how she had been a florist for over 20 years in DFW, and the way we made her feel when we interacted with her about photographing the cake stood out to her. And guys, remember, this was a super quick, simple communication exchange! It stood out to her enough to consider booking us for her only daughter’s wedding—I’ve never forgotten this! It’s such a simple and good reminder on wedding days. Because to me, I had no idea the exchange I made with her would add a wedding to our future 2017 calendar.

We have since been so thankful to have inquires from other vendors for their own personal weddings or been so thankful to receive referrals from them for clients of their own. This is a big compliment.

And one way I continue these vendor connections is by providing them with an online gallery of the blog images the week after the wedding we collaborated together on. I let them know that the full gallery will be uploaded to the same link in the following 1-2 weeks. They have all the access to use these images for marketing purposes and on their social media.

So while these vendor connections are huge, I even mean vendor connections with other local photographers. Since living in Dallas for 2.5 years now, I have met a handful of other very kind photographers who are amazingly talented and have similar workflows and styles as mine. We keep each other in mind when we are unavailable to take weddings that inquire, and in turn, this helps support the concept of: “there are enough weddings (or X, Y, Z) to go ‘round”. It has been a huge blessing.

And hey, referral gifts definitely don’t hurt! I’ve been as simple as an online Starbucks gift card or ordering an Anthropologie candle online. Can’t go wrong, right? ;-)

So now that you’ve followed my journey of beginning my business in Las Cruces, transferring it to Dallas almost seamlessly while working fulltime, I hope you can pick out some tactical ways that you can stand out in your city too. You’re next friend!

What are you going to tackle first?! Rooting you on!

I’d loving nothing more than for you to tell me what your plan is or what has worked so far.

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How to Stand Out in a Saturated City {Part 3} My favorite

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1.    Look up and don’t compare yourself to others in your city. Essentially, this is how you’ll stand out as unique, gain confidence and fit into the shoes you’re meant to fill

If you’ve made it to this blog post, it must mean that you’re truly desiring to get your name out—whether you’re moving your business, have just moved it or are struggling to get your name out in the city in which you are. And honestly, if you read any of these, this is probably my favorite.

So let me leave a little personal advice with you in this post.

I actually learned this when I lived in Las Cruces, but it transferred so well for me when I moved to Dallas. You see, when I started in NM, I started from the bottom. Haha.  Literally. I didn’t know what I was doing, and therefore, it showed in my work a lot in the early days. My work has and is continually being refined to fit my knowledge and style.

This is going to reveal such a sinful heart, but I’m being honest. I can remember looking at other local photographer’s work and feeling so much jealousy and judgment. I would pick apart their photography and editing, compare it to my own and essentially try to talk myself up (even when I was worse than them). In turn, this only hurt me more. It created such a bitter, lonely place for me to be.

When I realized the state I was in and realized the desire for other local photographers to have a relationship with me personally, not only photography-related, my heart began to change and my conviction was evident. I began to make friendships with these photographers and find my own style in the process. And as if that weren’t positive enough, I began to book more….BECAUSE of referrals from them. It was a two-way street: everybody was benefitting from this connecting. Friends, there truly are ENOUGH weddings to go ‘round. Enough sessions to go ‘round. Especially in Dallas! You don’t want to photograph a wedding EVERY weekend. Or at least I want to have a life. ;-) When I began to recite this very line to myself, it put so much into perspective and relieved so much weight from my shoulders.

Instead of comparing myself to the people around me and worrying that people would choose them over me, I began to look UP. I began to look OUT.

I started following 3 business religiously, because 1) I loved their styles 2) I loved who they were as people and 3) they shared much of their lives and business on their blogs, and I couldn’t learn enough from them.  All my time was spent learning about these 3 photographers who were in a much higher market than me, and I began to grow. I would browse their blogs before engagement sessions and wedding days so that I could be inspired by them. I perused their Instagram (and still do!) to find similar inspiration.

And when I began to do this, my work flourished. It stood out from the others in my city of Las Cruces, because I wasn’t trying to be like them. And in turn, I became confident in myself. I didn’t feel bogged down by the own jealousy and judgment I was inflicting upon myself. It was a different challenge.

So knowing this in NM, I carried it with me to Dallas. While I do know and swoon over many of the talented photographers in Dallas, I immediately stop browsing their website, blog or Instagram if it brings up feelings of insecurity in me. That’s on me. Not them. I’m the only one who can stop those feelings by changing my actions and what I’m feeding my creativity.

So with this being said, a huge encouragement from me is to: look up and out. Find your 2-3 photographers that you just love everything about. Follow them. Be inspired by them. Learn from them. And essentially put up your blinders to those around you who may (or may not) make you feel inadequate or insecure. You may just find yourself and style in the process.

And I’m wishing all the confidence in the world for you!

 Want to join in on my spring photo challenge?! 

Want to join in on my spring photo challenge?! 

How to Stand Out in a Saturated City {Part 2}

 Part 1     Part 3       Part 4

1.     Update your website/make a promo video

2.     Talk about your side hustle with others; don’t be shy

3.     Search for your tribe and connect with them

In my first post, you learned a little about my genesis with photography, how we seamlessly executed our move to Dallas from Las Cruces, New Mexico. Now, I might add that Jordan and I were both working full time when we moved to Dallas—Jordan as an ICU nurse and me as a speech pathologist in the Richardson ISD.  While it was the busiest time in my life working two fulltime jobs, the hustle was worth it. It allowed wedding photography to be a blessing and not a burden after working in the schools for 1 year. 

I shared how I marketed my business by offering free sessions before we moved, offering an unforgettable, loving client experience as soon as I came in contact with couples and tagging them on Facebook. 

So in this post, I’m going to share a little more about the logistics.

One thing I knew was that I obviously needed to update my social medias and website. I made sure to change my location to Dallas, TX and update my website with the best images I thought would speak to and stand out against other talented photographers in the areas. Because we all know, there’s incredible talent in Dallas.

So I thought about it and decided that a promo video would be an incredible way to stand out when brides look at my website. I knew that if others could see ME, see how I interacted with clients behind the camera and saw my heart behind my business in the form of a video, not just a bio on my website—that. That would help me stand out in this new city. It was personal. And not common for websites. 

Our friends from When It Clicks did an outstanding job creating a promo video for me that showed all of this--my light-hearted, joyful personality, my excitement and lack of talking during a photo shoot and the couple being photographed, laughing and showing off their love. I felt as though this was one way that I could stand out amongst the many other websites that didn’t offer a more personal touch.

 

And I have to say: many people who have booked my services, said they booked because they liked seeing who I was in my promo video. And these couples who booked because of that? They’re ideal. Our personalities match so easily, and it’s a fluid, fun experience for both of us.

Secondly, this might sound too simple, but I honestly struggled to do this at first when we moved: SIMPLY TELL OTHERS WHAT YOU DO.

I know, it’s too complex right? NO!! I’m going to give just a few examples of ways I booked clients by way of this:

·       I hung out with some of Jordan’s coworkers and when they asked what I did, I told them about my day job as an SLP and my side hustle of wedding photography—I received inquiries and have booked weddings because of this.

·       I met brides at Circle Seven Five, an organization that allows Dallas girls to network, connect and explore the city together.

·       I was slow to do this, BUT I shared my side hustle with the people I worked with in my schools—I have since photographed family members of coworkers AND coworkers themselves!

·       Bachelor watching hang outs—I’ve booked sessions from simply sharing what I do with people I’ve met from hanging out and watching the Bachelor at friend’s houses. I mean...it's the simplest, unplanned moments, y'all!

So the next time you’re in a group and someone asks what you do, don’t be hesitant to say what your day job and your side hustle is—in a sentence. It doesn’t even have to be a sales pitch. You’d be surprised how far this goes.

Lastly, I can remember searching Dallas Facebook groups for photographers who I felt had a similar look to mine, a similar faith as mine and desire to connect with others in the area. I simply reached out via email or Facebook message explaining how I was moving to Dallas and would love to grab coffee and simply connect to learn more about them. I made two sweet friends who I still keep up with today and oftentimes refer out weddings to them when I’m unavailable. The friendships are fun, and the connection, support is helpful!

Next, I'll talk about comparison and how it doesn't have to beat you down. I'm sharing from experience, y'all! It's my favorite post of the 4 in this series!

How to Stand Out in a Saturated City {Part 1}

 Part 2     Part 3       Part 4

1.     Advertise on social media before you move

2.     Stand out by being different

3.     Offer contests in exchange for free sessions

4.     Wow with client experience

Jordan and I married in my hometown of Artesia, New Mexico to return to our college town of Las Cruces, New Mexico afterward. It was a sweet, slow summer in between undergraduate and graduate school for us, and it meant that I had the summer to learn how to use my camera while Jordan worked at Chick-fil-a.

I don’t know if I’ve actually ever shared this before, but…. I actually applied for a job on campus my first semester of graduate school, and while Jordan was praying I would get it (chick-fil-a couldn’t pay ALL the bills) ;-), I was secretly hoping I wouldn’t. I was sooo in love with photography and wanted all the time to invest into learning it.

I just had this feeling (SO ME), that there was something bigger in it for me. For us. I could go on to explain this emotional story about driving home from Starbucks after I launched my Facebook business page (so official, y’all) and specific lyrics to a song that came on, but I’ll save that. ;-)

To Jordan’s dismay and my delight, I did not get the job on campus.

I told Jordan, “don’t worry! I’ll take pictures! This is meant to be!” And honestly…it worked out just fine. ;-) We learned to live with little, free Chick-fil-a meals from receipts and budgeted with envelopes. This was honestly one of the sweetest seasons for us.

While I pursued photography, was studying in graduate school and we were learning to be married, we knew all along that we’d be moving to Dallas, TX after our graduation. Meanwhile, my business was seemingly growing from senior, baby and family photography (whatever paid the bills) in Las Cruces to wedding photography in and near New Mexico. This dream of mine to transfer my business to Dallas from NM became a reality, something to consider and implement.

But how? DALLAS? I mean, it was daunting. There were and are more than enough photographers in that city to not need lil ol’ me, another new-ish photographer. But we received some valuable advice from our friends from When It Clicks. They told Jordan that if we know we’re moving, to start getting our name out before we move. They said to figure out what makes us different from all the other photographers.

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So we did.

I used Facebook and told friends and family about our move and business dreams. I posted contests on Facebook that required people to share my post in order to be entered into the contest. Winners won a free session with me when we visited Dallas/family before we moved. This allowed for not only ME to share, but other people I didn’t know to help me market myself in Dallas by them sharing my work on Facebook.

But I knew it didn’t stop there. I couldn’t just simply ask someone to share my post or “like” my page. There was no real connection involved by doing that. I knew the product and experience I provided my clients needed to be special, noteworthy. So what did I consider that made me “different”? My passion for marriage. It’s true. When Jordan told me that I needed something unique to help me stand out, I knew exactly what that was: my genuine heart for marriage and the couples I was coming in contact with. I love it. I love them. I don’t think this is always the case. Nor do I think this is by accident or coincidence. I genuinely want to know, be friends with and stay in touch with my couples after their weddings. I pray over their marriages and genuinely hope that when times are tough, they feel comfortable and able to seek pray, wisdom or direction from us.

So as much as I was able to, I aimed to love and serve my clients by the way I made them feel over email and during their session; I aimed to under-promise and over-deliver as far as the number of images they expected goes and other little areas in my business. I aimed to really try to over-deliver in any areas I had set expectations with them. I knew that this would help me stand out.

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And so I did. Before we moved to Dallas in the fall of 2015, we had about 6-7 weddings already on the calendar for the fall in Texas. This meant that as soon as we moved to Dallas, I had engagement sessions for these couples. This meant that I had opportunities to love on, serve, surprise with a small gift (a date night in a box) and deliver images they loved. Before I even photographed some of these brides’ weddings, they were already telling their friends about my services. Not to mention, I was able to tag these couples on Facebook, which also stood out to their families and friends.

And this was the beginning of my breakthrough to stand out in a saturated city.

Though, it was foggy to me that I was actually “doing it” at the time. I hear people now who are surprised at how quickly Lindsay Davenport Photography was able to go full time and book 25+ weddings a year upon relocating cities. And honestly, I am shocked too. And humbled. I really am. But it just falls back on that feeling I had in college where I just knew there was something more for me in photography. For my family.

Next week, I’ll share a few more tangible ways I’ve reflected on that helped me stand out in a saturated city.

How To Take Your Favorite Valentines' Picture

When you have heart eyes like the background of your son's Valentines' picture...

 His expressions make me melt. 

His expressions make me melt. 

A couple weeks ago we hosted our 2017 couples in our home, and I handmade this heart decoration. I honestly loved the pop of color it added to our house, and so of course, thought, "Luke would be so cute in front of it!"

If I had planned more extensively, I might have coordinated an outfit that doesn't have a dirty diaper in it, BUT....I just love it. We're so casual, and this is my babe at home most of the time anyway! 

I'm going to walk you through:

1) how I made the heart decoration

2) how I chose this spot and 

3) my camera settings in manual 

Step 1

So first things first, purchase red napkins (or pink if you want!), chicken wire  and nail pieces of wood together to make the frame--or have your husband do so! I requested my hubby to make a 2 foot x 2 foot frame, and I wouldn't have minded it being half a foot bigger. My hubby is quite the handyman, so he probably spent more time on the frame and stain than I asked, but I'm so pleased! Always ;-) 

Anyway, you'll nail the frame together, staple the chicken wire to the back, and then begin pulling your napkins through. I started with the middle/top of the heart and worked to try to make it as symmetrical as I could. Now, this is the timely part of the craft, so don't be in a rush! :-) You'll love the finished product! Leave it up in your home and then snap some pictures of your loved ones! 

Step 2 

First thing is first, you have to know from where your light source is coming. In my case, you can see which side of Luke's face is brighter, meaning the window from our dining room was on that side, illuminating his face. If he walked much further away or turned his back to the window, his face would be AWAY from the light source and thus, darker. When we're inside, we want our subjects facing the light source or at a 90-degree angle, like Luke is, if the light isn't too harsh. I'm going to explain an editing tip in my editing software below to further discuss this! 

Secondly, like I had mentioned more in depth in this blog post here, the distance between your background and the subject matters. It's what adds depth to the photo (as well as your aperture!). So I knew that I wanted to pull Luke forward, away from my desired heart backdrop. I knew that it would draw attention to him with the pop of red and heart bokeh in the background. 

Step 3 

Okay, so what's "bokeh", you ask!? Ah, I'm glad you did! Bokeh is the blurred background that's achieved when you shoot with a wide, or low aperture. So go ahead, put your camera in manual mode and check to see how low the lens will allow your aperture to go. If you have the kit lens that came with your camera, your aperture is probably limited to a 3.5 f/stop (aperture), which means you'll get some bokeh but not as pronounced as with an aperture of say, 1.8, 2.0, 2.2 or 2.5. Basically, the lower your aperture, the more room there is for error, BUT the more creamier the background with bokeh! 

So to give you an example: I was using my 50 mm 1.4 lens. (Side note: if you only have a kit lens, I HIGHLY recommend buying the nifty fifty--50 mm 1.8 FIRST) 

My settings with this lens were set to an ISO of 1250, aperture 2.0 and shutter speed 1/200. If you've heard me before, you know I personally don't love to go below a shutter speed of 1/160, especially with littles in the frame. My ISO was set as high as 1250, because it was later in the afternoon, and we were inside, which means...less light than outside! (keep in mind that depending on your camera, the ISO qualities range--1250 may cause some camera to look grainy; mine can handle!) My aperture was set to 2.0 so that more light could come in (wider hole) AND my background would be more blurred--more bokeh with the heart background! 

 Look! Even looks TOES are out of focus! Talk about amazing depth of field--that's ALL to the low aperture of 2.0!! In contrast, if my aperture was set to something high, like 4.5, 5.0, etc., then the heart would be more in focus, as well as his toes. Make sense?

Look! Even looks TOES are out of focus! Talk about amazing depth of field--that's ALL to the low aperture of 2.0!! In contrast, if my aperture was set to something high, like 4.5, 5.0, etc., then the heart would be more in focus, as well as his toes. Make sense?

You can tell in the image above, that I scooted Luke backward toward the heart. In the images above, he was pulled forward a few more feet AND our dining room table was partially blocking the light from the window. When I scooted him backward, closer to the heart but probably 5-6 feet in distance, the light was free to hit his face a little harsher--see his left cheek/the right of the picture. Because it slightly bothered me that one side was brighter than the other, I adjusted it in Lightroom, my editing software. I'm going to show you exactly how I edited these images in a video I recorded below! 

 See! Here's a before and after! You easily tell from which side the light source was coming! 

See! Here's a before and after! You easily tell from which side the light source was coming! 

Psssst. The Lightroom video will be available through the end of February 2018...so snatch it fast! 

Can't wait to see what you create, friend! Share your success and creativity when you capture it! I'd love to do a happy dance with you. 

I Want A Camera, but Which One Should I Buy?!

If I had a penny for every time someone asked, texted or emailed me: "what kind of camera should I start out with?"

So this can be a difficult question to answer, but depending on which category you fall into, that will help guide my reasoning. I'm going to narrow you into these 3 categories below. 

Just starting out

No real budget yet amateur goals

I know how to use a camera and plan to go pro

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Two types of cameras

In short, there are two main types of cameras--crop sensors and full frame cameras.

A crop sensor actually does what it sounds: it crops your images. So when you're looking through your viewfinder, it's actually cropping what you thinking you're looking at. This isn't necessary a bad thing (my first camera was a crop sensor), BUT you have to be aware of this and possibly take a step or two back so that you can compensate for the cropping

There are 3 big differences between crop sensor and full frame:

1) price: crop sensors are much more affordable, because they’re marketed to amateurs

2) image quality and ISO capabilities: full frames allow you to photograph in lower light without compromising the image quality

3) the crop factor: crop sensor cameras actually crop your image slightly from what you see when you look through your viewfinder, whereas full frames do not.

These factors in crop sensor cameras are not things to worry about when you're initially starting out; I used a crop sensor camera the first year I was starting out with photography while I figured out how to shoot in manual and really know how to use my camera--specifically a Nikon D3100. After that, I purchased a Nikon D610 (first full frame!) and was amazed at the difference, but I have to believe that's because I first learned how to shoot in manual, compose my clients and use light on my crop sensor first! So do not fear if you fit into the first category of "just starting out". I don't think it ever hurts to learn your trade on something affordable, resell (or save as your back up) and buy a full frame whenever you've saved and have proved you are serious about it.

We currently use the D810 and really don’t see any need to upgrade in the near future, because quality and megapixels are better and bigger than a wedding photographer would need.

Which Buyer Are You?

Just starting out: 

For many of you who are about to purchase our first camera, For Nikon, you can start out super simply with the basic model which is comparable to what I started out with, the Nikon D3400

Or the Canon Rebel T5 for your most basic of photography needs. These cameras have the lowest quality of ISO capabilities, but this shouldn't scare you. It just means you need to be aware of this in locations with sparse light. ISO can make much more sense to you as explained in more depth in The Capture Course

Personal side note: if you buy either of these cameras that come with the 18-55 kit lens, consider purchasing the nifty fifty along with it. The 50 1.8 is by FAR the best bang for your buck as far as versatility and price goes in lenses. As soon as you watch the course, you'll be aching for a lens that has an aperture lower than 3.5 (which the 18-55 kit lens along with the 70-300 lens limits you to). Initially, it's fine, but once you desire to use your lens in lower light and capture images with a beautiful depth of field (as seen below), then consider than nifty fifty! I personally never used the 18-55 or 70-300 after I purchased lenses with lower apertures. OOPS. Wish someone had told me!

For Nikon, it's as cheap as slightly under $200 and Canon slightly over $100. Links below.

Nikon 50 1.8

Canon 50 1.8

No real budget yet amateur: 

This is for the hobbyist or person who is just starting out but isn't needing to pinch pennies. The best bang for your buck for Nikon would be the crop sensor D7500. It's quality exceeds most budget priced DSLRs (see above). For Canon, you might consider the Canon 80D for the same reason. However, if you have the extra few hundred dollars, then highly consider your basic full frame as you'll read below. 

I plan to go pro: 

If you know how to use a camera and do not already have a full frame camera, then I highly suggest diving into your first full frame. Oh, it's so fun! 

For Nikon users, the D610 camera body is excellent bang for your buck when making the leap to the full frame. It's what we purchased, and it was excellent. Looking for more? The D750 is smaller in size, better focusing in low light and a newer, more expensive model than the 610. We currently use the D810, but unless you're diving into wedding photography for the long haul, it's more overkill than what you may need. 

For Canon users, the best bang for your buck when making the leap to the full frame would be the Canon 6D. Looking for more? The 5D Mark III is designed for advanced photographers and has a wide array of professional features without being overkill. 

Now what if you could capture what counted the day you opened your new gift!? I teach an online course geared toward those who have always wanted to learn how to use the camera sitting on their shelf or in their cart online!

Do you learn better in person?! Then come join me in Richardson, TX! We have a few seats left for our in-home workshops for photography and editing!

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How One of My Biggest Regrets Turned Into One of My Biggest Blessings

When I was in graduate school, I started this accidental photography business. It was one of the busiest times in my life, and a time I look back on with so many regrets.

Graduation day for me was so bittersweet. Bittersweet because as excited as I was to graduate and dive more into photography, I felt the weight of everything I missed out on those two years of my masters.

Missed moments. Missed intentionality. Missed opportunities and relationships.

While I was saying “yes” to a lot of things, I was saying “no” to many others. And it all hit me at gradation. I promised myself I’d simply never feel this way again. It was my “rock bottom” in a way, and I'm grateful for it so early in my business—before I started a family. God was so merciful to take me down this road during two years of graduate school versus the first two years of Luke's life. And while I rock my baby to sleep tonight, because he's sick, I realize all of this. It took over two years for me to figure out that the most sour feeling at graduation was the biggest blessing in disguise. 

Setting your own hours and being your own boss is the best and hardest thing. Sometimes I say “no” to a client, so I can say “yes” to be a friend; and vice versa; sometimes I say “no” to a friend, so I can say “yes” to my family; and vice versa. Knowing when your yeses and nos are right is hard. It’s still hard.

Sometimes I still don’t say “no” to the right things, but having that remembrance of graduation day has been such game changer and blessing for the way I see my business personally. 

I don’t ever want to look back on Luke’s childhood like I️ did my grad school years and think, “why did I say ‘yes’ to so many things and miss out?” I can’t get those years back, but thankfully, I can be stronger with my “no”s during a season that’s more rich. The Lord has graciously been showing me over this past season--how important these boundaries are to me personally. Every mama, every entrepreneur, every person has their own boundaries for their own convictions, and this is one area I learned about particularly early in life. Do I feel like I've mastered it? Not by any means. But the idea of it? Yes, I'm very aware, and I'm so grateful for that.


So today and tonight, I'm saying “yes” all day go cuddling my sick babe, and melting a little inside when all he needs to feel better is his head on Mama’s shoulder. Saying “yes” right now is the easiest thing.

Am I alone or are there other entrepreneurs/moms out there who have walked similar paths? Don't be afraid to say "no" and set boundaries. Don't wait until you feel like I felt at graduation. You can take control, and do it now. 

Sending you all the power and grace,

Lindsay 

 Iphone photo that I just loooove! 

Iphone photo that I just loooove! 

What to Look For | Tip #9

1.  Look for blurry images, and learn how to fix it.

Did you miss Tip #1?  Tip #3?  #5?  #7? Or the intro to the series?  

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Oftentimes I notice new photographers posting images that actually aren’t in focus. Hey, I’m raising my hand! I was one of them! Basically, everything that is within this series, is in it, because I’ve had an unfortunate “ah ha!” moment! :)

But I'm realizing that when you're first starting out with photography, you almost don't know what a "good" image is (I know this is subjective in ways) until your eye becomes more and more refined. So let this me an eye-opener for many!

Embarrassed to show this, but I want you to know where I'm teaching from...! I have many images like this in my portfolio from years ago. And I was honestly proud of this, because I truly didn't know WHAT to look for!

 If you look closely (or don't even have to), this is an image I took where my subject isn't actually in focus. They're soft and blurred. There's also grain in the image, which probably means I was losing light and shot at an ISO too high for my camera capabilities.

If you look closely (or don't even have to), this is an image I took where my subject isn't actually in focus. They're soft and blurred. There's also grain in the image, which probably means I was losing light and shot at an ISO too high for my camera capabilities.

So when you’re taking photos, one huge piece of advice I can give anybody starting out is to SLOW DOWN. Zoom in on your images to make sure your subject’s eyes are in focus (or whatever you’re focusing on). I was so nervous when I was first starting out and had clients in front of my camera--so nervous that I wouldn’t want to check the settings on my camera for fear that my clients wouldn’t trust me. Oh, it was bad! Or I would be so flustered that I’d forget. Honesty is welcome here! ;-)

1. What I was missing was that I would sometimes allow my shutter speed to go below 1/160 or 1/200, which is out of my comfort zone. Side note, this is a personal preference here! If my shutter stays at or above these, I typically always have a crisp image without “camera shake” unless other factors are involved. So this is one way you can do to fix blurry images.

2. Secondly, check your aperture. Did you properly choose the right aperture for what you were photographing? Remember, larger groups or groups with front, middle and back rows require a smaller aperture like 3.5, 4, 4.5 to allow everyone is in focus in their field. If you’re only photographing 1-2 people, then sticking with an aperture that’s within 2.0-2.8 is a safe bet. You can find me typically always hanging around 2.0-2.5 for engagement sessions.

3. Thirdly, slow down enough to know what your camera is focusing on. When you push your shutter button halfway down, you’re telling it to autofocus on whatever your toggle is focusing on in your viewfinder. Notice a little red dot toward the right of your viewfinder but you’re intending to focus on the middle? That red dot needs to move to the center, so that when you press halfway down, you’re telling your camera to autofocus on your subject in the middle. Yes, this of course is different if you're wanting to frame your subject using "rule of thirds" OR use "back button focusing", or "focus and recompose". This is more in depth for this post, and I touch on more in The Capture Course!

But please, do not feel as though you simply cannot STOP. Look at your camera. Look at your settings. Zoom in on a photo to be extra sure that their faces are in focus, and then move on. Even if you have to reassure your client that you are “checking for eyes to be open”, it’s better than coming home with blurry images!

 My toggle was in the middle of the frame (where your camera is able to read and focus best) for this image.

My toggle was in the middle of the frame (where your camera is able to read and focus best) for this image.

You got this. Take a breather, and your images will have the best chance at coming out crisp!

Don’t forget that making sure you have the best light for your subject helps this, as well.

Can you notice a blurred, soft image from a crisp one? Challenge yourself and look through some of your old images! 

The Capture Course | November 5th in Richardson

We're in full swing with busy season over here, and we're keeping afloat! It's honestly been really sweet seeing how the Lord has provided helpers, whether it be amazing second shooters or the sweetest babysitters to help watch Luke while I get a couple of hours in to edit and answer emails. 

And on top of that, Jordan and I are trying really hard to implement weekly (ish) date nights, because...THEY HELP amidst the craziness!! 

Anyway, with that being said, we're also in the middle of launching The Capture Course, which will be available to you to purchase online and watch from the comfort of your home sometime THIS MONTH! We had high-hopes of launching mid-October, but with last minutes tweaks and additions to the video, it may be closer toward the end of October. But hold on! 

I promise I have the key to helping you capture what you love and are proud of with that camera you have in your hand! ;-) 

This online course is not to be confused with The Capture Course that takes place LIVE in our living room!! We're hosting the second course on Sunday, November 5th, and we still have a few seats left! We're planning for the class to last between 2-5 PM so that way we can utilize the natural light outside to explain different light and how to find/use it. 

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So with that being said, if you're free and would love to learn how to shoot in manual using natural light to capture your family, images for your blog, start a side hustle or just take stellar photos while traveling, The Capture Course will leave you equipped! We also include "the 15 things to look for that you don't know what to look for", which are tips to begin implementing once you've become comfortable photographing in manual and using natural light. 

I'm telling you, THERE ARE SO MANY THINGS to think about when you pick up a camera. So I hope to make it a step-by-step process and start with the mail goals: photograph in manual and find/use natural light. The rest of these tips are extras! :) 

Snag one of the last seats here! 

If you're not able to make it to Richardson, then our online course is going to be AMAZING for so many of you who are separated by miles!! You won't want to miss out on the opportunity to capture your kiddos candid moments, so just leave your email below, and you'll be the first to know! 

And lastly, if you're just know hearing about The Capture Course, you definitely want to catch up on our "what to look for series", so click on the blog links below to enjoy some reading with your morning coffee or your evening scroll before bed! I'd love to make you feel confident in capturing what matters most to you! 

Hey, I'd love to know what that is--what matters most to you?

What to Look for When You Don't Know What to Look For | Tip 7

Tip #7: Turn your subjects toward the sun when it's cloudy or after the sunset.

Did you miss Tip #1?  Tip #3?  #5? Or the intro to the series?  

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Wait, what!? This is going against what you’ve taught, Lindsay! And yes, I literally just shared the opposite on my newsletter yesterday.

Okay, so hear me out! Yes, you always want your clients’ backs toward the sun so that they aren’t looking into it and to backlight them with proper exposure. You’re right! BUT it changes when the sun is juuuuust about to cross the horizon OR when it already has. This applies to both sunrise and sunset. Imagine: those few minutes right before/after the sun sets, and the light is lessening. It's even. Not harsh. OR riiiight before the sun rises in the morning. THIS light is what I'm talking about.

Sunrise/Sunset

When I shoot at a particular nature preserve called Arbor Hills, I always have my clients’ backs toward the sun, but the last 10-15 minutes of the session, I am watching the sun very closely so that when it’s appropriate, I’m able to turn my clients 180-degrees to actually face the sun’s softest rays as it crosses the horizon.

At this point, the amount of sunlight coming from behind them 1) would not be sufficient enough to properly expose the front of them (it would give them grayish skin tones due to the lack of light if you did) 2) when turned toward the sun, the softness of the light is just enough to finish the session.  You’ll know it’s the right time to turn them when 1) they aren’t squinting and 2) when just looking at them, they don’t seem “blown out” or too bright to your naked eye.

When turning your subject to the sun, it should create an evenly-exposed, client-focused image that is crisp due to the amount of light being sufficient.

 This is at Arbor Hills with the sun behind them before the sun has set.

This is at Arbor Hills with the sun behind them before the sun has set.

 And this is us switching places with the sun facing them. You can tell that it has gone beneath the trees that are behind me, evenly exposing their faces. Notice that the sun is hitting behind them, so it hasn't completely set beneath the horizon yet. Also, the light-colored gravel in front of them acts as a natural reflector, bouncing up more light. This is another topic for another blog post though! 

And this is us switching places with the sun facing them. You can tell that it has gone beneath the trees that are behind me, evenly exposing their faces. Notice that the sun is hitting behind them, so it hasn't completely set beneath the horizon yet. Also, the light-colored gravel in front of them acts as a natural reflector, bouncing up more light. This is another topic for another blog post though! 

 White Rock Lake is another PERFECT example! Whenever I photograph there, I always make sure we have 10-15 minutes AFTER sunset, so that way I can photograph my clients on the dock with them FACING the direction that the sun set. But notice how evenly exposed their faces are? It's not harsh. It's perfect. The same is true RIGHT before the sun rises. I've done a sunrise session at White Rock with the same circumstances.

White Rock Lake is another PERFECT example! Whenever I photograph there, I always make sure we have 10-15 minutes AFTER sunset, so that way I can photograph my clients on the dock with them FACING the direction that the sun set. But notice how evenly exposed their faces are? It's not harsh. It's perfect. The same is true RIGHT before the sun rises. I've done a sunrise session at White Rock with the same circumstances.

Cloudy Days  

This also applies greatly to cloudy days, and I wish I had learned this sooner than I did! Instead, I would return from sessions thinking, “why are their faces so dark, have shadows under their eyes or not as crisp?”

Firstly, I love shooting on overcast days, because it does allow me to pose my subject in any direction (facing the sun, away from the sun), and it doesn’t matter. It creates an even lighting that allows you to do so!

BUT because you’re aware of this, next time you’re shooting on an overcast day, be very wary of either 1) how dense the clouds are and 2) how close to sunrise/set you are. If the clouds are very dense or the sun is almost about to rise/set, then the amount of light needed to expose your client may be deficient. In this situation, be aware, and try changing the direction your clients are facing so that they are looking into the direction of the sun. No, the sun will not be seen, because it’s cloudy, but the amount of light escaping through the clouds will be more plentiful in that direction, allowing for better exposure of light to their faces.

 The husband and wife portraits on this wedding day were riiiight before sunset, AND it was cloudy. This meant that the light was low, and to maximize what was left, I needed to turn my clients TOWARD the light source, the sun. This allowed for more light to hit their faces. For more light, placing them on a lighter-colored surface (like cement, which we did later), would naturally reflect more light on to their faces, as well. But again, more on "natural reflectors" later!!

The husband and wife portraits on this wedding day were riiiight before sunset, AND it was cloudy. This meant that the light was low, and to maximize what was left, I needed to turn my clients TOWARD the light source, the sun. This allowed for more light to hit their faces. For more light, placing them on a lighter-colored surface (like cement, which we did later), would naturally reflect more light on to their faces, as well. But again, more on "natural reflectors" later!!

Shaded Areas

You guessed it! I love shaded areas, as well, for the exact reason I mentioned above: it’s even lighting! Quite simply, just be aware of the direction your client is facing. For example, are they in the shade AND facing a wall/tree/dark area? The absence of light coming from the wall or dark area may eliminate your availability of light so much so that it’s actually too dark. In this situation, try 1) staying in the shade but 2) turning them outward toward an open area where more light is present.

What to Look For When You Don't Know What to Look For | Tip 5

Tip #5: Understand that the distance between your subject and its desired background has a purpose.

Did you miss Tip #1?  Tip #3? Or the intro to the series?  

I hear it all the time. “Oh, I love that door, wall, mural, greenery, you name it”!

My clients automatically start walking up as close to the pretty, desirable background as they can get, because 1) they love it so 2) why not stand right next to it?

This is where awareness and experience is so valuable.

If you posed your client up against a pretty wall, you might be surprised with your images when you return home to view them. Yes, they may be very lovely, but the image you had in your mind may not have been what you captured. Nor does it 100 % support the goal that your image is “client focused” with your client popping off the background.

Do you know why?

Because when you placed your subject up against this “pretty background”, it didn’t allow for much depth at all from the actual background, and depth is what we LOVE. Depth is what allows the wide open aperture (1.4, 1.8, 2.0, 2.5) to do its popular, desirable job, which is create "bokeh" and a subject that POPS off the image. So don't lose me here: first, you need a lens that allow you to shoot at apertures as wide open as these. Next, pull them away from their background to create depth. 

Your image is more “client focused” when you pull them forward a few feet (or several), because then they are completely in focus with a background completely blurred. And even more blurred than if they were standing closer to the background.

Notice this example here below. The desired background is the beautiful venue with the golden lighting reflecting off of it. Where I could have have them stand up closer to the building, instead, I pulled them forward drastically. Do you notice the effect with my client's popping off the frame?  

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In this image below, we loved the succulents on the cinderblock wall. But instead of them standing up next to the wall, I pulled them forward a few feet and allowed for the depth and them to "pop" off the neat, unique  background. Catching my drift?!

Your client can trust you when you explain that the background will be much more beautiful if they step forward as far as you instruct them, because they will pop off the image beautifully with the lovely background still present. 

The distance between you and your subject can affect your bokeh, as well! 

In the image below, I pulled my subjects maybe 5 feet away from the wall. So yes, there was depth. BUT, do you notice that the picture on the left has more blur or bokeh behind it? In the same token, the distance between you and your subjects can create a beautiful depth effect, as well. While both of these images have the clients standing in the same place, I was standing maybe 3 feet away from them (closer) in the left image and maybe 10 feet away (farther) in the right image. 

While I love both images, there is more depth and "pop" in the left image, because I was closer to my subject (that was pulled forward from the desired background). 

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So with that being said, there are two ways to create dreamy depth: 1) being the distance between your subject and the background and 2) being the distance between you and your subject. 

I must say that, like all of these suggestions, this comes with experience. Your eyes will be refined as you continue to browse locations or places around your house to place items or subjects, and you will continually build confidence. There is always room to grow in this category, and I try to challenge myself with this often when the time allows!

What to Look for When You Don't Know What to Look For | Tip 3

 

Tip # 3: Avoid posing a subject in direct sunlight.

Did you miss Tip #1?  Or the intro to the series?  

Well, hello! I’m raising my hand again here! This is something I did when I first started, because I didn’t know how to “find the light”. If you scroll to the bottom, I reveal this quite obviously with you!! 

I can remember taking my roommates engagement pictures after church one Sunday afternoon in the, yep, you guessed it, harsh afternoon New Mexico sunlight. I could’ve made this work had I positioned them either in the shade or with their backs to the sun (blocking the sun from coming into my camera—AKA “backlighting”), but I didn’t. I had them looking into the sun, shadows cast on them and the whole 9 yards.

 YUP! Notice shadows? And how harsh the light is? I should have turned their backs to the sun so that there was even lighting on their faces, while backlighting them. 

YUP! Notice shadows? And how harsh the light is? I should have turned their backs to the sun so that there was even lighting on their faces, while backlighting them. 

But I didn’t know what to look for! My eyes weren’t trained nor was my knowledge sharp.

By avoiding placing your subjects in direct sunlight, you 1) avoid them from becoming too hot 2) reduce their eyes from squinting from looking into the sun 3) avoid harsh shadows and 4) allow for even light on your subject, which is very important. We’re always searching for the best light so that our clients can look and feel the best, as well as, our work look consistent.

To fix this, once you find the light, place your subject’s back toward the sun, allowing them to be “backlit” and have them look at you. You may need to use a tree, your hand or other object to block the sun from coming into your lens, because it will wash out your image (we dive a little deeper in how to do this in The Capture Course). When you block the sun from coming in, you allow for your image/subject to be crisp.

Think about the visor in your car: when the sun is shining through your windshield, it makes it hard to see clearly, so it’s necessary for you to pull down the visor to block the harsh sun for you. It’s a very similar concept as this. Next time you’re in the car and do this, think about the concept! Your eyes are the camera, the visor is your hand (or a tree/object), and the sun—is the same in both scenarios!

You’ve got this! :) Practice finding the light with someone you’re comfortable with before you take a paying client. This will bring you more confidence for when it’s your turn!

xox Lindsay 

PS: I'm getting super vulnerable with you to totally prove that ALL of these 15 tips I'm sharing with you...are simply all the mistakes I made with my first sessions! Thank goodness all my roommate Jess could see was how IN LOVE they were in these photos! ;-) You guys, these are STILL on my Facebook! I posted these to my personal FB, because I wasn't even "official" yet with my LDP Facebook page! I'll probably share some more to give examples of WHAT NOT TO DO as I look back on my work. 

However, don't forget: you've got to start somewhere! For inspiration, read my thoughts on this here. 

What to Look for When You Don't Know What to Look for | Tip #1

Tip #1: be aware of trees in the background

You finally start to understand how to shoot in manual, you’re either nervous, starting to become comfortable posing clients or totally fine, because you know who your subject is, and the last thing you want to think about at this time is the composition and background of the image you’re about to capture. 

Thinking of the background? Are you kidding?! 

Well, as I mentioned in the first post of my "What to Look for" series, I’m here to point out some simple things to look for when you’re capturing an image that I don’t feel like I learned until years into my career. I'll be sharing half of them on my blog and the other half in my newsletter. And many are so simple! 

I’m sure I can look back on many of my sessions to see myself failing at what I’m about to share with you, but you know what? It’s not the biggest deal. It’s really not.

Unless you BOMB it, and it’s definitely possible! (Like the image below on the right--that's pretty tacky.)

What I’m about to share with you is something you’ll say, “ohhh, I would’ve never thought of that!”

And that is exactly why I’m sharing it with you!

Simply put: be aware of objects or trees growing out the back of subject’s heads.

Pretty ground-breaking, yeah? It’s something that I have just become quick at noticing when I’m posing my clients, so either a) I move ever-so-slightly or b) I ask them to move ever-so-slightly. Some cases can be more noticeable or unfortunate than others depending on how far the subject is from the tree or what the background object is.

So next time you’re being a boss and 1) shooting in manual 2) confidently posing and interacting with your clients and 3) all set up to capture your image, let me add one more trick to your balancing act and save you from this little oopsie that’s a possibility!

xox Lindsay 

When I Almost Put My Camera Down | Don't Let Fear or Perfection Hold You Back

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When I first started my photography business, it wasn’t a “business”. Heck, it wasn’t even a hobby.  At least—taking pictures of people wasn’t a hobby. To me, driving around in the country or taking pictures of new, pretty things was more my hobby. But ask me how to use my camera, and my stomach dropped.

I literally can remember my soon-to-be-father-in-law (at the time) asking me at a NMSU football game how to use his camera, and I felt like an imposter. I was so embarrassed that I literally had no idea how to use my camera, although, I brought it to football games and everywhere I went to photograph in...wait for it: auto.

Why Perfect?

Why did I feel like an imposter? Why did I feel like I had to be perfect? Was it because everyone knew me as the girl who loved photography? Because I had already set unreal expectations before myself and the unfulfilling, dark road of perfection? Clearly, I should’ve extended grace to myself in this moment, because 1) I was in school for something OTHER than photography 2) I wasn’t getting paid to do what I was doing 3) I just liked taking pictures without the pressure! Lindsay, give yourself a break, sister!

Pictures for Pleasure

But over time, I continued to take pictures without expectations, just pure enjoyment. I would drive around in the country at home or out toward the Organ Mountains in Las Cruces with my music blaring, windows down, until I found something that moved me. That might sound silly, but to me, seeing God’s creation on country drives and then translating them to digital images is one way that stirred my affections for the Lord. It was and still is a sweet gift He’s given me.

Yes, at the time, I was still shooting these in auto ;-) No shame. 

Pictures of People

It wasn’t until my roommate suggested I take our other roommates’ engagement pictures that I had people in front of my camera for an actual “session”. I did what every new photographer starting out would do, and I took their pictures one Sunday afternoon after church when the sun was blaring, and the shadows were at their harshest. I took Jess and Ryan’s engagement photos, and all I can remember from that session were: 1) how happy they were and 2) how much fun I had.

It wasn’t until I got home that I realized they actually didn’t look like the photos I was trying to mimic on Pinterest or how I thought I was framing them. 

I recently listened to a sermon by Matt Chandler where he preached about society telling us that we have to be perfect at everything we do without working toward it.

I Almost Gave Up, Because I Wasn't Perfect

When I heard this, it brought back memories of deep frustration almost to the point of setting my camera down the first few months of launching by photography business. I literally almost quit, because I feared I would fail. Because I wasn't "good" at it. It was hard. It wasn't as easy as I thought it was supposed to be.

While the feelings of excitement toward this side hustle were always present, feelings of insecurity and frustration bombarded in quickly:

  • when I realized how my photos compared to Pinterest.

  • when I couldn’t produce the images I had in my head, and I had no knowledge as to why.

  • when I realized how my photos compared to the other local photographer’s.

I’m not kidding when I say that I remember staying up for hours and hours watching photography videos before a wedding one night, because I wanted my bride and her family to be pleased. I feared that I was incapable or that my work wouldn’t mimic what my brain thought I could do. I was afraid of failing. 

But you know what?

I wasn't capable. I wasn't capable of the perfection I held in front of me. 

I couldn’t walk out of my college bedroom with my camera that I shot in auto and photograph my roommate’s engagement session and create images that would be published in The Knot Magazine.  Or re-pinned 1047 times on Pinterest. I just couldn’t. I couldn't photograph my third wedding like Katelyn James without putting in the time, experience and little failures leading up to it.

It Doesn’t Happen Overnight.

I hadn’t spent anytime learning, anytime growing or anytime failing and getting back up to get me to where I currently was. 

It takes experience. Time.

There is grace. 

Society tells us we have to be perfect without the effort, and not only that, but that we can do it FAST. And that’s exactly what it shows us. We oftentimes don’t see the struggle; we don’t see the imperfection; we don’t see the frustration and grit that makes the journey extra seasoned in the end. And what can be most encouraging is seeing exactly that.

So, from the girl who almost put down her camera for fear of failing, for fear of imperfection, for fear of not being able to attain the images she imagined in her head--

Don't Miss Out

  • Don’t miss out on your journey of imperfection. This is where the lessons, satisfaction and grit comes.

  • Don’t believe the lie that whatever you’re pursuing will be met with instant ease, success or gratification.

  • Don’t forget about the journey, and don’t buy into lie that this journey isn’t worth it.

  • Don't miss out on the grace there is to constantly extend yourself.

You didn’t learn to ride a bike overnight nor does a baby learn to walk overnight.

Anything Worth While Takes Time

Some dreams, some callings, some destinations take longer than we hope and feel is comfortable, but God is not powerless to grow you into what He’s called you to do or what He’s made you passionate about.

Do I feel like I’ve arrived? No, I realize my journey is never-ending. However, I can say that I see the difference from where I started and where I am now. And while I may not have this similar fear before a wedding day, I can still get nervous.

I'm On YOUR Team! 

And I want to share about these nerves and how I pep-talk myself before weddings in a second blog post to this 2-part series. I'm hoping to encourage you with the hobby that is too afraid of failing or you with story too similar to my own: set aside your fears, lean into the imperfection and grow. You've got this. I'm rooting for YOU!

So in the meantime, what are you fearful about pursuing? What are you passionate about enjoying? Write this down and allow yourself the grace and time to pursue it. Dive into it wholeheartedly and push perfection aside, because the journey is where the beauty and growth is. Don’t let society tell you it can happen over night.

LDP Basic Camera Workshop | Dallas, TX

I hear it all too often, "I have a nice camera, but I don't know how to use it! What lens do I need?"

Or, "what camera should I buy?!"

These two questions almost stump me when someone casually asks them, because, if I'm being honest, it could take hours and hours to answer!! It seems as though when you ask one question about photography, you've opened a can of worms, and it's never-ending! 

Thus, cue the confetti, because I'm hoping to answer these questions of yours in a workshop I'll be hosting in our home! The journey of photography is truly never ending, which makes it so exciting. 

Not only did it help us pay bills in college, it has now turned into my full-time career. I'm able to document my family's (little Lukey's) life because of it, and I can document products for vendors I meet (florals, cutting boards, stationery, etc.). Truly, the possibilities to make creative income or bless others are endless with a camera in your hand. 

..which is why I've been working behind the scenes to create a workshop specifically for the moms who want to learn how to use their cameras, the photographer who is wanting to master their camera faster than watching youtube videos and going through trial and error or the business owner who wants to have the skill to photograph their trade. 

We are bringing BACK workshops to LDP, because the interest is great, and I have MISSED teaching! We hosted 3 workshops when we lived in Las Cruces, New Mexico--one full day covering "everything photography" and another specific to wedding photography. This workshop will be geared toward learning how to use your camera and what to look for and think about when you're using it. 

Lindsay Davenport Photography Workshop 

If you know you're interested, you can nab a seat and the early bird rate first! 

  • The workshop price is regularly $199, but the early bird rate of $129 is lasting through the end of July. 
  • The workshop is capping off at 12 photographers attending to create a more intimate experience.
  • The workshop will take place at the Davenport residence where Jordan and I will be able to break apart and help you 1-1 after the teaching. 
  • It would be helpful to bring a DSLR camera and laptop, but we will have a couple extra cameras to pass around if you need.
  • We'll begin at 6:00 and end at 9:00 PM. If there are any questions past 9:00, we welcome you to stay until you feel confident! 
  • You'll be added to a private FB group where you can continue asking questions, getting to know one another and encouraging one another while you're at it. 

You'll learn: 

  1. The ins and outs of your camera--what does that button do?!
  2. How to shoot in manual
  3. How to learn how to meter and use light when photographing
  4. The difference in lenses and what's best for you
  5. Life hacks: what you don't know you need to be looking for
  6. How to handle your files when uploading and saving
  7. How to feel confident creating meaningful, beautiful and purposeful images to save and use

Not sure if this is for you?? Feel free to reach out and ask! We're happy to answer any questions you may have and hope this may be the perfect fit for many of you! 

Fall Mini Sessions & LDP Updates

Just like some of you out there are getting pumped for football season or maybe even seeing visions of fall and pumpkins, I, on the other hand, am getting so excited as I gear up for this busy season! Fall is a busy time of mini sessions for Christmas cards, senior sessions and weddings, weddings, weddings! But hey, I'm also on team fall, so I am one of those who is seeing visions of fall and pumpkins, as well! So while I sit here with my premature pumpkin candle burning and eat diced peaches, I wanted to share with you all the news and updates you can look forward to in the next couple months from LDP! 

Mini Sessions


With every weekend in September & October filled with weddings, I'm going to be opening mini sessions on week nights throughout the next few months in the Dallas area. I will be scheduling 4-5 minis during these evenings in designated locations that I've chosen. If one of these dates looks like it works for you, let me know sooner than later, so I can know whether to open more up and close dates. Some locations will be natural and some will be more urban, near buildings that add some color and shade. I've already had some fun with location scouting! Minis are $150 for 15 minutes and at least 20 images in a PASS gallery. 
If you're looking for a longer session, you can see where our 1-hour pricing begins here. Below are a few dates that are available now:

September 9 (full)
September 23 (Urban)
October 3 (Prairie Creek Park)
October 13 (Wilson District Cottages)

 

Wedding Referrals


Some of the best referrals and sweetest brides we've worked with are brides who were referred by friends and clients like you. We love word of mouth referrals and love that relational element attached to them. We would love for you to keep us in mind when you have loved ones who get engaged in the months to come. If you feel like we would be a good fit for them, we trust your referral and would be very appreciative! We take our referrals seriously and are so very thankful for them all, gifting you in one way or another! I mean, they truly keep our business running and are a huge reason why I'm full time right now! You can send them to our CONNECT page here, and it'll help them get started! 

Senior Sessions 


Even though weddings are keeping me busy, I sure would love to have some sweet, excited, beautiful seniors in front of my camera a few times throughout the month! If you know of anyone in need in the Dallas area, I am definitely open to taking a few as my calendar during the week allows! Our sessions begin at 1-hour, but we have bigger packages, as well. I've already photographed some beautiful, beautiful senior girls who were just such perfect jump-starters to the senior season. Ah--what an exciting time for them!

Travel Dates


And lastly, New Mexico, I see you!!! I'm comin' for you! If you book your mini in the next week, you'll receive a $25 credit, making your total $125 for your mini. My next and last two trips to New Mexico before baby Davenport are going to be shorter and sweeter so that it can be very family-saturated, so these slots will be limited. I've already been in touch with a few of you. However, I'll be back at it next spring! For now, I can say that I have these dates available for mini sessions:

September 2nd and 5th in Artesia (2-3 available)
September 3rd in Las Cruces (1-2 available)
October 7th (3 available)

Photography Coaching 


You know, I really do love photography. I find myself loving teaching, helping, finding creative marketing ideas, helping others and just anything even semi-related to photography and business. I love learning about it myself actually. I've started a separate tips & tricks newsletter that is just for photographers, which if this is you, you can sign up here. I hope to create a community online that is helpful and encouraging to others. One thing I love about our fixer upper is opening it up to others and hosting. You can bet that if the opportunity arises, I'll be hosting workshops for photographers in my home. In the meantime, 1-1 coaching is also something available. If this sounds like something your business could benefit from, I would love to see it and you flourish! 

Thanks for reading and HUGS!

Join Our Newsletter Community | For Photographers, Updates, Travel Dates & Mini Sessions

I am screaming inside! I'm so excited to have the time to invest into all the aspects of my business that I've always dreamed. One of those being: newsletters! I know these have been so helpful in the past to let New Mexico and Texas clients know about mini sessions and travel dates for us. I'm eager to grow deeper with this group.

The Newsletter

So I'm thrilled to say that: YES, they're coming back! 

And I'm even more thrilled to say that: THERE'S MORE! 

Along with updates on travels and mini sessions, I'll be sharing some insider tips and tricks on our renovation process, favorite recipes I've found and other fun things that I'm learning make a house a home. You know, for all you newlyweds out there (or soon to be!) AND those who simply enjoy the same things that I do. 

If this sounds like you, sign up here! 

And to spice it up even more.....drum roll please:

Most of you know how much I adore coaching other photographers, right? Have you caught my drift? Well, I'm going to be investing more time into helping other photographers with their businesses, sharing insider tips and simply just life hacks that we've learned along the way. 

If you're a photographer who loves learning and growing with other photographers, you might enjoy these tips, tricks and stories in your inbox. 

Excited to be in your inbox and hopefully grab some renovation and dinner ideas from you too!