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I get lots of the same questions from other photographers, so I thought I would go ahead and combine them all in one place! Here we go…

1. What equipment do you use?
The cameras I work with are Canon 5D Mark III bodies, which is in my opinion the best camera in the world for weddings and portraits.  As far as lenses, I have TONS but my favorites are the 50 1.2, 100 2.8 macro, 35 f1.2, and 70-200 2.8, all from Canon.  I use Canon 580 EX flashes and a Canon ST-E2 to fire them.

2. How do you light your images?
I try to use natural light whenever possible. I find that it is much more attractive and produces gorgeous colors and contrast. However, when natural light isn’t enough or I just want to get a little more dramatic, I also use off-camera flash, usually mounted on lightstands and set at a 45 degree angle. It’s hard to explain, but basically I don’t want the flash pointing straight at the subject or at their side, but rather somewhere in between. Sometimes I will also mount a flash on a light stand behind the subject to add a little rimlight. I almost never put my flash on my camera. I just don’t like the look of bounced flash. I also don’t diffuse my flashes, they are all direct.

3. Do you shoot RAW or JPEG?
I photograph in RAW format but deliver images in JPG format.

4. What is your post-wedding workflow?
First I divide all the images into categories – Bride, Groom, Ceremony, Formals, Reception – and edit each category individually. I open all the RAW photos up in PhotoMechanic, use color tagging to select the best images, and then I convert those using Adobe Lightroom and VSCO.  I also select 150-200 of my favorite highlight images and run those through Photoshop to add a little additional artistic editing and retouching.  Finally I upload to Zenfolio and send them off to the client!

5. Do you use any actions or special programs?
Most of my actions are custom-made, but I do sometimes use Totally Rad Actions (mostly Oh Snap!, Pro Retouch, Get Faded, and Super Old Skool), Kevin Kubota (I own all his packs, but I mostly use Daily Multi Vitamin, Vignette, Magic Sharp, and Vibrant Glow), and KJImages’ Outdoor Pack (mostly the Boring Old B&W and Sepia). Most of the time I run these actions and then go back and tweak them or lower the opacity. I also use the Art History brush in Photoshop quite a bit.  I am also a big fan of Portraiture for skin retouching.

6. What albums and album design software do you use?
I use PhotoJunction for album design. There’s a bit of a learning curve and it’s a bit buggy but it works for me.  For albums, I mostly use Forbeyon, and I highly recommend them, and I also use ProDPI press print books for small albums needed within a week.

7. Do you need any assistants or second shooters?
Not right now. I have a handful of second shooters and assistants that I LOVE and work really well with. However, when I do need a little extra help, I usually go to Flickr or the DFW Photogs Group on Facebook, two resources I highly recommend for new photographers.

8. Have you had any formal training?
Most of what I know I learned on my own from reading books (I recommend Scott Kelby’s books), websites, and blogs, and working with photographers whose work I admire. I also shoot as much as I can, which I think is the number one way to learn. The more you shoot, the better you’ll get, that’s all there is to it! I also force myself to shoot in Manual mode as much as possible.

9. Where do you get your poses and lighting inspiration?
I draw my inspiration primarily from high-end fashion and bridal magazines. I have a huge box of magazine tearsheets of images that inspire me, and I look through those images before each wedding. I try to take images I really love, figure out what about them is so attractive to me – composition, posing, color, lighting, etc – and then incorporate that into my own style.  Pinterest is also a great source for poses and photography inspiration – follow me here!

10. Can I ask you something specific?
Due to the huge amount of e-mail I get on a daily basis, I can’t promise a response to specific questions. The best way to ask me a question is through my formspring page.  If you would like to discuss wedding photography in-depth, I do offer weekend and wedding weekend seminars, where we sit down one-on-one to discuss your business. If you’re interested in this, please contact me using the “CONTACT” link above.


  1. Jen said . . .

    Hi! I love that you included a technical section on your blog. I am a huge fan of saturated colors, vignetting, and generally a more “artsy” style of photography than I’ve been able to achieve. I’m going to look into some of the post-production programs you mentioned.

    Posted January 19, 2008 at 10:37 am | Permalink
  2. Rebecca said . . .

    Thanks for posting this. I can tell by your work that you know a lot, and its really generous of you to share. For those just starting out, this act of kindness does wonders! Thanks again!

    Posted February 7, 2008 at 9:49 pm | Permalink
  3. Ted said . . .

    Thanks Stacy for the wonderful insight into your work. This post was very helpful and just a rockn’ good read! Keep up the great work!

    Posted February 23, 2008 at 8:04 am | Permalink
  4. Ben Sussman said . . .

    Stacy- Your blog pages are really informative and very well crafted. I found this site from the flickr wedding group & am getting ideas for updating my own web page (feel free to dtop by & critique or to view my flickr photos at http://www.flickr.com/photos/shutter-yid/). You have an amazing amount of experience & stature in this business for your age. I’m a government accountant who moonlights solo at events & weddings in the Baltimore area. I only wish I had started out 25 years ago.
    Lots of luck with your photography future!

    Posted February 29, 2008 at 9:55 pm | Permalink
  5. Michelle Hamstra said . . .


    Thanks for sharing this. I was so grateful to learn a bit more of the *how* of your work! I’ve tried catching you on your tv thing but we must have opposite schedules. I am JUST starting out so I’m going to be taking your advice and checking out Scott Kelby’s books!

    Thanks, I’m sure I’ll be back to this page frequently!


    Posted March 24, 2008 at 9:08 am | Permalink
  6. Kim said . . .

    Hi Stacy,

    I have you as a Flickr contact and found your blog that way. I have to tell you how much I appreciate you posting such helpful information. To a photographer just starting off, your pointers are invaluable.

    Your amazing photography and technical skill are truly inspiring.

    Thanks so very much !


    Posted April 26, 2008 at 5:29 pm | Permalink
  7. trishia said . . .

    I think I’ve got a question that you don’t get asked every single day… what do you wear to wedding sessions?
    my friend needs me to be her photographer for her small, simple wedding. I don’t exactly want to wear jeans and a tee, but then I can’t exactly be getting down in the grass to do angled shots in a formal suit or skirt, either… so- what do you wear?

    Posted January 9, 2009 at 5:11 pm | Permalink
  8. Stacy said . . .

    I wear a three piece suit (slacks, vest, blazer, blouse) to my weddings.. I’m totally used to it so it’s comfy for me.. If you’re not used to that, just do some nice black slacks and a nice dark blouse or sweater.

    Posted January 9, 2009 at 5:59 pm | Permalink
  9. trishia said . . .

    thank you! I guess I’ll be shopping for a pant set with a lot of movement. :) have a great weekend!

    Posted January 10, 2009 at 11:48 am | Permalink
  10. Stefanie said . . .

    I just wanted to say I love your work! Thank you for all the information on your website. You are truley an inspiration. I am in Bryan/College Station and have seen your name before. If you ever need a second shooter give me a ring. :)

    Posted January 24, 2009 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

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