Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Featured Photographer: Alexis D.

I met Alexis through another online mom's group (our daughters are the same age).  She recently started her photography business in Florida, and it has been exciting to  watch her adventures unfold through the power of facebook.  She was nice enough to answer some questions for me!  If you have any questions, feel free to add them to comments.

 What's in your camera bag? What could you not live without?
Right now I’m still shooting with my trusty Pentax K-x. I would have upgraded by now but I want to upgrade to a full frame sensor if I’m going to spend the money. I am definitely living proof that the camera matters a lot less than the person operating it! 
As far as what I could not live without it is definitely my 50mm f/1.4. For anyone interested in portrait and detail photography it is priceless. It blows out the background and makes everything look so creamy. Love it! 

What editing program do you use? 
I use Adobe Lightroom 3.0. I plan to buy Photoshop at some point for times when people request a lot of retouching but I am definitely more of the school of getting it right in camera and saving yourself some time on the back end. I think that the most important thing you should know as a photographer is how to make a proper exposure. If you know that, everything else becomes a lot easier!

Are you self taught? Did you take classes? What are some websites that you have learned a lot from or where do you find inspiration?
I am self-taught. I basically read my manual, read some books, looked up some websites and just shot shot shot. I think personally I have learned the most from just going out with my camera and firing away. I did take a nightschool beginner’s class when I first started but I had already learned so much online and from my camera that it wasn’t as helpful as I’d hoped. I still would recommend doing it if the resources are in your area though because it is really inexpensive and the photo assignments keep you inspired! 
Some websites I recommend to new photographers are Jodie Coston’s morguefile classes (google it!), also joining the flickr photo contest groups is great because it always gives you new ideas of things to shoot, and if you get more serious then and are also a great resource to connect with other photographers and get insight and advice. 

What made you decide to go from hobby to opening up your own business?
It was the first thing in my life that I felt like I had a natural talent for and also held my interest. My philosophy is “do something you love and you will never work a day in your life”, so I decided I had to do this…I couldn’t picture not at least trying! 

When did you get bitten by the photography bug? 
I have always had some sort of interest in photography, but I got my first “real” camera in January of 2010. It almost never leaves my side now!

Does owning a business make your love of photography more fun or more stressful?
Yes! It definitely takes on a different form when it becomes a business. So much of your time is consumed by non-photography related tasks that sometimes you wonder if the purity of the art form is being lost in between your pile of papers, but at the same time you also get to make money doing something your passionate about, being creative, learning, and giving people beautiful art that they will cherish forever. I can’t think of anything better than that!

Thank you, Alexis, for taking the time to answer my questions.  Here are a few examples of her stellar work. . . 

Sigh. . . So beautiful!   
Alexis' photography website is  She has an upcoming photo project using her camera phone that includes some lessons in photography on her blog.   Be sure to check it out!


  1. Alexis, thank you so much for your insight. I am just starting out and recently bought a Canon SLR. It is unbelievable how I can take 100 shots and only 6 turn out great!! Your thoughts on the 50mm 1.4 sold me on that particular lens. I was on the fence and now I am going to go with it!! It is so helpful hearing what a photographer has to say about shooting.

    And Sarah, thank you so much for taking the time to ask the questions!!

  2. Kelly, 6 out of 100 when you first start out is great! I used to consider it a success if 1 out of every hundred is useable. Now I aim for about 30%. Just keep shooting away and you will see the number increase over time!

  3. Alexis, one other quick question ~ Is there a big difference between the 50mm f/1.4 and the f/1.8? There is a price jump when you go to the f/1.4. And Wow, 30%! I need LOTS of practice!!!

  4. There is a difference. Basically the wider the aperture the shallower the depth of field. At 1.4 you are shooting almost as wide as you possibly can and the background is completely blown out, 1.8 will be a little clearer...but I would say that at a dramatic price difference you would still get the effect you are going for with a 1.8 because it isn't that much faster and can be a lot more affordable.