Interview: Expert at capturing moments, Andrea Creighton

expert at capturing moments

Over many beautiful emails I got to catch up with the warm nurturing soul that is Andrea Creighton.

Andrea passed along some great tips on how to set up your photos for your blog and biz and I’m sharing them here just for you.

1. Tell me a little bit about Andrea (expert at capturing moments) and how you got started in photography?

I am a mother of two beautiful daughters, and wife to my university sweetheart.  My career initially began in the hotel industry and later the private education system. Following the premature birth of my second daughter and a three month hospital stay, I came face-to-face with decisions, possibilities and questions that no parent ever wants to experience.  Her first few months of life were so precarious – we were so focused on how many millimetres of milk she drank and how much extra oxygen she needed.

Not until we were home with her and she began to grow and thrive, did I ache to have beautiful photographs of her when she was first born.  We would receive frames as gifts and I would ask myself:

How many of my photos have both our daughters?

How many of my photos have us photographed together?

How many of my photos include me?

How many of my photos do I love?

I wanted those types of photographs – I was a mother who didn’t exist in photographs with my children.

I developed a passion to capture life’s blessings and human connections. The birth of my two babies became the catalyst to pursuing newborn photography and exploring those profound moments in our lives with these incredible little people.

2. What do you love most about photography?

Giving families a moment to hit pause on their life, and capture a moment in time. I can give families a few hours where they get to interact and laugh with their children, smile with them, play with them, be present with them. I give the opportunity for parents to exist in photographs.

I love to create something that will be cherished by many individuals over many years!

3. What’s your number one tip for amateur photographers wanting to take high quality photos for their website, blogs and so on?

Find the light!

It could be that beautiful morning light you get through your kitchen window, or slivers of light that peek through your blinds.  Clever use of light and shadows provide your image with contrast, and make it more digestible for our eyes to survey and appreciate the scene/product/portrait.

4. In what areas do you think their time is best spent researching more about the art of photography?

I try and not spend too much time on forums like Facebook and Instagram running comparisons between myself and other artists; it isn’t healthy and can make a photographer who is just starting out feel very inadequate.  Over time, I have developed relationships with a number of established photographers not only in Australia but internationally, and I view their work and techniques as inspiration.

I have also immersed myself in the art of Photoshop, post-production and hand-editing, and have completed a number of courses with an internationally respected expert in image enhancement and retouching.

5. What kind of camera do you use and would you recommend it?

I shoot with a NIKON D800 and my 24-70mm lens is my workhorse. My advice is to get to know the camera you have inside and out and just go for it.

6. Do you have any hints for setting up a shot for success?

I have noticed a shift to minimalism; setting up product shots on a neutral tabletop, or styling a room in an uncluttered way.  This gives the viewer the opportunity to assess and appreciate the image.

Consistency is also key; if you are selling products ensure you always photograph your products on the same tabletop, with the same light.  If you are blogging about interior design, selecting images and theming in a consistent way gives your viewers a feel for your niche.

If you use borders on your Instagram photos; always use borders.  If you prefer the square crop, always use a square crop.  Consistency provides flow and tells the story of the products you are selling.

7. How do you ensure the highest quality image in terms of pixels?

I always shoot in RAW; this means every single particle of light and detail which hits my camera’s sensor is captured. However it does mean I can’t upload images straight to Facebook or other social media.  RAW files must be processed using specific software (like Lightroom or Adobe Camera Raw) in order to convert the file to something more commonly used like JPEG or PNG.

Once I have completed all the post-processing work on my RAW images, I save my master file as a Photoshop file, and then I save JPEG and PNG copies of that file for specific output purposes.

I understand Facebook business pages accept PNG image files – I feel these retain their clarity and are not as compressed as JPEG files after uploading.  I use PNG image files on my website and blog, as once again, their colour and sharpness are more superior than JPEG.

I also sharpen all of my images prior to saving and uploading – if you are using Lightroom or Photoshop there are many different ways to sharpen an image.  My preferred method of sharpening is using the Unsharp Mask in Photoshop.

8. Do you know any resources which might help budding photographers on their way?

I have found Clickin Moms to be a wonderful resource; they provide a very proactive, supportive and nurturing forum and their online courses are excellent.

Damien Symonds is the most incredibly talented retoucher and Adobe Photoshop guru; he facilitates a Facebook Group called ‘Ask Damien’ where he provides free advice on difficult Photoshop edits.  He also runs online Photoshop training classes which are second-to-none; he has a no-nonsense attitude when it comes to providing advice and guidance, and he keeps you accountable for the way in which you handle, edit and ultimately deliver your images.

9. Where can readers find out more about Andrea Creighton Photography?

My portfolio of images and most recent sessions can be found on my website.

You can also follow me on Facebook and Google+.