Something I noticed pretty soon after I started following blogs was that there was a tendency for bloggers / instagrammers to avoid giving away the details of their equipment & editing applications at all costs. Maybe this is just coincidental to the blogs I follow, but it was semi-frustrating feeling like I wanted to achieve that “blog” quality but just didn’t have the experience or sources of information to do so. That’s why early on Porter & I decided that when we received shooting-specific comments or questions we were going to do our best to answer. So in this post, we’re doing just that, along with addressing a few other questions that seem to be cropping up more and more often.
Anna & Porter
1. What camera & lenses do you use?
Porter: We shoot with a Nikon D5500, which we’d both definitely recommend. It’s extremely user-friendly but produces very high-res, professional-grade images. Our favorite lenses are the Nikon 18-140mm for wider angle shots & Nikon’s 35mm portrait lens for more of a macro feel. They’re versatile, durable, and, again, super user-friendly.
2. What editing apps / filters do you use?
Anna: We worship VSCO. Most often, we’ll use a J2 or J5 filter from VSCO’s minimalist series, but we use A6 & A7 (from the Analog series), E4 & E5 (from the Essence series), N1 (from Modern), & S2 (from Clean) pretty regularly too. When in doubt, lower your filter, over-filtering is a very easy way to make a great photo look like it’s trying to be great, which is not what you’re going for. For fine-tuning we rely on Pixelmator. (I edit on a tablet and just find it to be a bit more intuitive than Lightroom but, in all honesty, they aren’t incredibly different).
3. How do you get a photo to have that “Instagram” effect?
Anna: I realized pretty early on that when people refer to a lifestyle photo as really “instagrammable” a lot of the time they’re referring to a really strong background blur, or low aperture, and just don’t realize it. If you don’t have the right lens or camera to achieve this effect, you can heavily soften or even blur portions of photos in apps like the ones I mentioned above (Lightroom & Pixelmator). Other little tips based on our own photographic style: desaturate don’t saturate, lower most highlighting, & always leave room for empty space in your frame.
4. What accounts do you follow for inspo?
Anna: @mikutas, @happilygrey, @mowoblog, @pepamack,@juliamateian
Porter: @josephowen, @klemenswhite, @eljackson, @doyoutravel
5. How do you figure out how to shoot at an interesting angle?
Anna: We get asked this a lot and the best advice I can give is look at a lot of pictures. A lot, a lot, a lot. The best way, I’ve found, to figure out what your own style is to find photo angles you love, save them on your phone, get comfortable mimicking them, and then springboard from there into making them your own. If you attempt to just go out and shoot without having done any of this it’s going to be tough, especially if you’re on a time crunch, or hungry, or tired….ask Porter.
6. Do you take bookings?
Porter: Yes, we do take bookings. If you’re in the Boston area and in need of a photographer we do mini shoots (1 hour, 25 high-res images) & custom shoots. For time slots & more info email firstname.lastname@example.org.
7. Can you shoot content for our brand?
Anna: Yes, we’re willing (& love) to shoot content for brands, even if the style you’re after isn’t what we typically feature here or on our own instagrams it can be fun & refreshing to edit in a completely different way for company-specific content. For more info email email@example.com.
8. Why don’t you show your face in more photos?
Anna: We’ve been asked this a few times now and I guess there are a few reasons. It’s not so much for privacy as it is for convenience, and also just relates to the overarching theme of this blog in general. I never intended for Recess City to be a showcase of me or us so much as a space to share some thoughts & our photography. That’s why you don’t see unedited photos or selfie-style images here or over on my Instagram. That works for a lot of people, but it’s just not our style or how we find fulfillment through these platforms. Also, it is so much easier to efficiently get shots of a pair of shoes than a straight-up portrait at 6:00 am when you were up all night watching @zachking videos (but actually, how does he do it..?).
9. Is it difficult working together professionally as a couple?
10. Background-type questions.
Porter: We’re both 24 and live in Boston. We’ve known each other since kindergarten & started shooting together pretty regularly about a year ago. Some favorite spots to shoot in Boston are Cedar Lane Way in Beacon Hil, the atrium / garden within the Prudential Center (great light), & the flat of the hill (there’s almost no traffic). My favorite TV shows are The Office, Peaky Blinders, Ballers, & Silicon Valley. No one asked, but I know you’ve all been wondering.
Hope this was somewhat helpful!