BEHIND THE LENS By Leigh Caraccioli (1/4)

by R27 CREATIVELAB on Wednesday, 26 August 2009

The first of a four-part guest blog series

When Rajesh (from R27 CREATIVELAB) extended the invitation for me to guest blog a series on photography, I confess flattery and a fear that my readers would be privy to how much I still have to learn about this trade. There are photography masters, (many of whom I have had the privilege of interviewing for Pay It Forward Photography Resource Blog) and then there's me. Yet I parked the apprehension of sounding idiotic and I now provide you with the following disclaimer: I am student of photography, self-taught, no expert and this is simply the scrappy way I do what I do namely, take pictures, tell stories with images, and run my own photography business. That I CAN do.

The goods
Let's start with equipment. You'll want a good DSLR. Many reasonably priced options are out there. I have always fired a Nikon and used their lenses. Initially a quaint 35mm Nikon N65, then I bit the digital bullet and fell in love with the Nikon D50. Last year, I upgraded to the Nikon D300 which was like going from a crayon box of 24 colors to the gigantic 64 box with the little sharpener thing. Totally noticeable quality improvement. Ultimately, what you use needs to reflect your budget and your photography goals. (I see an upgrade in my future...:)

Next you'll need to make sure you have quality "glass." This is what we photogs call lenses. I use two primarily, although I want dearly to add a wide angle lens to my bag very soon. I like an image that draws you in to a focal point in an image like the eyes. AF NIKKOR 50mm 1.8 does that for me as well as the AF-SMicro NIKKOR 105mm 2.8 VR.

Images with the 50mm 1.8 lens:

Images with the 105mm VR 2.8:

Because my business requires some photo journalism, I now have a greater need for a wide angle, full screen type image which often is taken in a setting with spacial constraints. So I am seeking that lens...and that capital :) The key is learning what type of photography you enjoy and finding a lens that lends itself to your individual style.

What comes next is less tangible, so bear with me. Conjuring your creativity means letting it out of the cage. Free your mind, spread your wings, and leave the nest.

For the first 6 months into digital photography, I would consider myself a copycat. I perused photography forums, learned about super cool photographers and techniques, and then tried to emulate them. Most of the time, I was totally off. In fact, the feedback that I got from these forums served as de-contructive criticism. So, I shed the sameness and started to trust my gut and develop my own style. Ultimately, you'll hone into a style of your own that never needs faking. Your personal method will evolve along the way as photography and style are always in flux.

Practice, practice, fail, practice, succeed
If you gain one nugget of wisdom out of the piece, let it be this one. You will learn MORE from your failures than your successes so do not fear them hold them up to the light. Once while on a photo shoot I forgot to check my ISO in preparation had 1000 for a full sun shoot and my images simply sucked. While inconvenient and a pride bruise, I redid the shoot for the client gave them their money back and nailed it. Because of that failure, I have a loyal client who trusts that no matter what, I'll make it right for them. And I never shoot without taking 10 minutes prior checking ALL settings on my camera.

Many people sweep their failures under the rug, but without looking at why/how that they happen those failures are libel to reoccur. Successful people fail. But move forward with important knowledge to increase their odd of succeeding.

In fact, any feedback on the images in my current website or above are greatly appreciated. Honestly, I still struggle over proper exposure as well as management of light on my subjects and settings. Once a learner, always a learner!

School up
As I mentioned, I have had to create my own education in photography although I will be attending some fabulous workshops through WPPI. For the first time they are offering a 4 city, WPPI Road Trip in addition to the Las Vegas 2010 event. These are not to be missed.


Reading material that helped me:
Hugely fond of anything from one of my idols, Bambi Cantrell. (Her essential photography books are crisp, well written and gorgeous. Also, I own all of Scott Kelby's books and find him witty while simply informative. Here is his blog as well. Another newbie must read is Bryan Peterson's, Understanding Exposure. He made the photographic triangle stick for me.

I hope you found this introductory photography information helpful. Next in this four part guest blog series, I'll tackle (in my own blond silly way) photographing personalities. See you then!


Click here to go to
Blog : Fleur de Leigh
Follow me on twitter @fleurdeleigh

Leigh on the other side of the camera

All images in this article are provided and owned by Leigh Caraccioli | Fleur de Leigh © 2009


Great to get a little insight from you Leigh.

Looking forward to the rest of the series : )

by R27 CREATIVELAB on 26/08/2009, 11:11. #

"Yet I parked the apprehension of sounding idiotic and I now provide you with the following disclaimer: I am student of photography, self-taught, no expert and this is simply the scrappy way I do what I do namely, take pictures, tell stories with images, and run my own photography business. That I CAN do."

That disclaimer's a load of crap. Sorry. I've seen you with your camera. I've been its subject. I've also seen you sitting at Photoshop.

Leigh, you were born to do what you do. It's a work of art, in itself, just to watch.


by Miss Ive on 26/08/2009, 22:15. #

Leigh that told you didn't it : )

by R27 CREATIVELAB on 27/08/2009, 09:53. #


Miss Ive,
First off, thank you for the whole "load of crap" thing. Your brutal honestly is one of your most lovable qualities. That coupled with the fact that as a subject of mine, you are willing to climb trees after cocktails willingly.

And secondly, I am being honest that I am a student of photography always will be, although technically I am pro status :)

Thanks Jen and Raj for being so good to me!

by fleurdeleigh on 27/08/2009, 19:16. #

Leave your comment

Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. Best Regards Rajesh