A few blog posts ago I gave you advance notice of the Christian Ward Photography Blog v2.0 – the bigger, better place to not only check out our latest work, but now The Place to come to read interviews with world class photographers, local suppliers that we love, and much more…
With great, great pleasure, we’re ecstatically pleased to feature Jamie Sangar as our first photographer interviewee. Jamie’s based in Indiana, USA where she lives with her husband Simon and her newborn baby Jude. Before the existence of this blog that you’re reading right now, I discovered Jamie one day while looking for web design inspiration for how to further develop our website. As often seems to happen on the web, I ended up on Jamie’s blog by way of a series of random clicks. Now, there are some websites you land upon that give you a real feel of excitement…a new discovery…and Jamie’s website was just like that; the most perfect portraits of babies and children, and beautifully natural wedding photography. Jamie’s work continues to inspire us as photographers and what better way to share the inspiration than an interview…Here’s Part One, with Part Two to follow tomorrow. All photographs in this post copyright Jamie Sangar.
-Hi Jamie! How are you feeling today?
Great, but tired, ha! It’s tough work being a mommy and trying to run a business!
-For how long have you been a professional photographer?
I have been in business for 3.5 years, but have only been doing it full time for a year and a half.
-What made you want to become a photographer?
I kind of accidentally fell into the business. I had a career in Advertising as an Account Manager out of college. At one point, my cousin asked me to take some photos of her three kids because I had a decent camera (Canon Rebel). Those photos then got emailed around to her friends, then to her friends’ friends, etc….and one day I got a call from a woman saying that she had seen the photos I’d taken, and asked if I’d take her daughter’s photos. Completely caught off-guard, I said “yes!” From there, my business snowballed off of word of mouth. At that point, it was a side hobby that I did on the weekends and weekday evenings. Once I realized though that there was enough to keep me busy full-time, the idea of owning my own business and working out of my home quickly became an attractive idea to me.
-Did you know straight away that it would work out for you as a full time photographer? Or was there a certain point you reached where you realised ‘this is really going to work?’
No, I did not know right away that this would work out to be my full time job. But, that was not my original intent either. I liked my career in Advertising and thought that this would just be a fun thing to do on the side. Once I really got serious booking more shoots and weddings, I quickly knew that this is what I wanted to do. After a year and a half of balancing both jobs, I quit my Account Manager position and started focusing on my photography full-time.
-Can you tell us a bit about your favourite kit?
I love shooting with my Canon 5d II and the Canon 85mm f1.2 L. I use that combo 85% of the time for my work. It’s the only lens I use for my kid/family work, but at weddings I do use a set of additional lenses. Although the 85mm lens is my favorite at weddings as well, it doesn’t work in every situation. I also use the 70-200mm f2.8 IS L for ceremonies, the 16-35mm f2.8 L for ceremonies and large group shots, the 50mm f1.2 L for some portraits and group shots, and the 100mm f2.8 macro for detail shots.
-What’s your best wedding day tip for the bride and groom?
To remember that this is one of the only times that they will get to be professionally photographed. So I tell them to relax and take advantage of
-And for a wedding photographer?
Get to know your bride and groom AND the families of the couple. Then, focus on every interaction and facial reaction between these people. In the end, these will be the photos that are most meaningful to the bride/groom and family members.
-Whose photography inspires you?
Jasmine Star, Jessica Claire, Tara Whitney, Bobbi & Mike
-I’ve always thought your work has a beautifully natural look. Can you tell us a bit about your shooting and post-processing style?
I’m constantly pressing the shutter to make sure my subject is in focus, even if I don’t end up snapping the shot. I just wait for that perfect reaction, so I want to make sure that I’m focused and ready for it. As for post-processing, I like my photos to have a very warm feel. I think that “natural look” has mainly to do with the candid reactions that I like to capture. I use Lightroom for 90% of the processing, then I take some of the images that I post on my blog into photoshop for additional work. In photoshop, I use the Totally Rad Actions.
-Our wedding photography workflow has taken some figuring out and I’m sure there are still some aspects we can improve upon. Can you give us an overview of your workflow?
After importing all of the RAW files, I backup my computer overnight with the DROBO to make sure I’ve got a copy of the files safe. Then I bring all of the files into Lightroom and rate them with either a “5” or a “0”. The 5’s are then the ones that I keep and color correct (typically my couples end up with about 550-700 images). Before I color correct all of them, I pick my favorites out of the bunch that I will post on my blog. I color correct those in Lightroom and Photoshop and then watermark them with my logo. Then I go back through all of the “5’s” and make sure that they’re all color corrected to match the ones that will go up on my blog. I then schedule the event through Pictage, and use the event ID number to put into the file names when they’re exporting from Lightroom. (I use the same file naming system with all of my photos. It’s always my initials “JS”, then the Pictage event number, then a number sequence starting with “001. So it looks like “JS_765896_001”, “JS_765896_002”, etc.). Once I setup this file naming convention, I export the high-res jpgs before uploading them overnight to Pictage. At that point, I then do another DROBO backup so that all edits are saved in my backup. This exact same workflow is used for my portrait sessions as well.
Well that’s Part One; don’t forget to come back for Part Two! Want a reminder when it’s posted? Sign up to our blog, follow us on Twitter, become a fan of our Facebook page, and you’ll automatically receive an update!
I hope all you readers found it as interesting and inspirational as I did. On a personal note it’s a real privilege to be able to feature Jamie on our blog having long been an admirer of her work, and her blog is one I always love to return to. Thanks once again, Jamie, and I’m looking forward to featuring Part Two!