Here is where all of your photography questions shall be answered (and the occasional Instagram shot). Hit the ask button above to ask me anything, and use the search bar up top to see what I've already answered…
Question:I shoot weddings with Nikon prime lenses and at times it drives me crazy how off focus they can be. I have started to shoot at f2, but I still have issues with my focus from time to time. I only use the center single focus. I would love to hear if you have any advice / tips or if you have issues at times. - Anonymous
Manual focus adjustment is the best invention for pro shooting since digital. Align everything. But I always assume things are going wrong. Shooting wide fast lenses wide open ain’t easy, but I often make my life hard on purpose.
Question:Hey Ryan! How do you deal with bashfulness during receptions? Maybe I'm alone in this, but no matter how sneaky I try to be, people seem to get really camera-phobic while dancing. Any tips on putting yourself in the right place to catch the action without getting caught yourself? And is there any way to get a good shot out of the all-too-popular tight circle of dancers facing inwards? Thanks! - Anonymous
Hm, that may be something about your approach. Generally people are too drunk and having a good time to care, as long as they trust you. People reflect what you put out there, so if your attitude is “Hey, everything’s ok! I’m supposed to be here, we’re all having a great time, just keep on rocking with your bad self!” they will generally have their eyes pass over you, or see you, get a quick shot, and stop caring. If it’s just five people facing inward I will maybe just over a camera over or go for a long shot, but usually it’s not the right opportunity for a great shot.
Question:Which post-processing plug-ins do you use with lightroom and photoshop? Also, which features and tools in those two programs are the most important to your post-processing? - Anonymous
I use VSCO, but heavily modified to look very un-VSCO. I just found it to be a good springboard to get my photos to look more in Lightroom like they do in my camera, which is always my ultimate goal of tonal processing.
Question:Dear Ryan I have seen your reviews of all the Nikon gear and they were great and helpful. What camera body would you choose as a second body beside the Nikon D4? (D3, D3s, D600 or D800). I have heared about the pros and contras of this stuff but I am really interested what you would take and why? Thx. (Istvan Lörincz) - Anonymous
Probably a D600, as it has unique strengths like a quiet shutter and a body that is not too similar to the D4 so I wouldn’t confuse them in my hands.
Question:Hi Ryan, love your work! Quick question: how far out do you book weddings for? Do you book weddings just for the current year, or book them whenever someone needs it in the future? - Anonymous
I only guarantee price 18 months in advance, and may shorten that a bit. My booking cycle is shorter on average than it used to be (which is normal as markets change.)
Question:What are your tried and true camera bags of choice? - Anonymous
I’ve been using the airport international for a while. I absolutely destroyed the roller portion (and have quickly destroyed every roller ever made) but I use it as a backpack and like it better that way. NYC streets are not roller-friendly.
Question:Hi Ryan, I am Adrian from Romania. Let me tell you that you are absolutely amazing - no other photographer can really touch your awesome portrayal of wedding events. Would you be able to let us know on average how many photos do you take during a wedding (I assume it lasts about 8 hours), and how many of these are keepers that you present to the couple? Thanks so much! - Anonymous
My weddings average about 11 hours I would say. I actually take more than I used to because Photo Mechanic makes culling easier, and if there’s even a chance that the extra shutter press will make the moment better, I go for it. But I don’t machine gun away at quiet moments. I might take 3,000 to 3,500 and I deliver 600-1000.
Question:Will you ever consider getting an assistant for free for me to learn from you? - Anonymous
I use assistants all the time, though I tend to pick from my workshop attendees first because I’ve met them and know their attitude and skills. I am always open to assistants for portrait shoots, because I generally don’t use them and might only need one for one or two shots.
Question:I know you tried out the Nikon d600 at one point. Does the flash sync problem bother you a lot. What is the current camera body you are using - did you upgrade to the D4? Basically anything you want to say about your current camera bodies is fine :) Also I am in constant admiration of your work and work ethic. - rachlusky
Mine broke too fast to really encounter any problems, unless you just mean the 1/200th, which didn’t bother me all that much. Just a bit. I upgraded to the D4 largely for the live view, though I like the native ISO 100 as well. I also am very, very hard on my stuff. Thank you so much!
Question:Although I'm slowly gaining experience, it can be challenging to get established photographers to take on people like me, who want to assist/2nd shoot alongside someone who knows what they're doing. Besides portfolio, what are the one or two most important things you'd want to see from someone you may not have an established relationship with? - Anonymous
Remember it’s not about what they can do for you, but what you can do for them. The biggest things to me in an assistant are punctuality and attitude, as well as loyalty. Basically we know that the first wedding you do to us will be a giant gift to you, but the 25th or 50th will be not as great for you (law of diminishing returns) by the end but a big help for us. So being able to commit for at least a few months of weddings and to be trained to be a great help will increase your chances.
Question:Do you have a preference for primes over zooms? What influences your decision on when to pick which lens? Are there certain parts of the wedding that you know you need a certain lens for? - Anonymous
I do, only because I know what my favorite prime lenses are going to see before I put them up to my eye, so I can frame shots without a camera up to my face limiting my peripheral vision.
Question:Hey I'm new to you lol how do a learn more about this famous method of yours? :) - misaelnevarez
I’m really glad you asked! I am going to be developing the be-all and end-all of instructional videos for really, really cheap, like coffee-and-a-scone cheap. There are some videos out there now which I’ve helped with, but I’m not very happy with them, I want to start it all from the ground up. I just need a bit of time and a video guy.