So my little Q&A last week didn’t go exactly as planned, haha. I got a lot more requests for types of posts instead of actual questions. But that’s okay! I’m gonna run with it! Most of the open-ended inquiries dealt with sharing more about my gear, workflow, and tips for freelancing. Obviously this is a lot to cover in one entry, so I’ll gradually start incorporating these types posts into my monthly lineups. For now, I thought I would start with a highlight of my tools and few details about my work.
Tools of the trade
Macbook Pro, Wacom Intuos 3 tablet, Micron pens and black pigment liners, drafting pencil, sketchbook, tracing paper, Epson scanner, Canon iX6500 printer, Adobe Creative Suite CS5 (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign)
I’ve been designing professionally since age 16 when I created my first client commissioned logo and Myspace layout. Before then, I was playing around with graphic design as early as 12-years-old, customizing my Neopets shop, and later developing websites for my pixel-dolling and Livejournals (yeah, that long ago). Most of my early design work was centered on Myspace layouts, but I also created logos, t-shirt designs, album art, flyers, and other websites. I started successfully freelancing at a really early age, so I’ve never had a “real” job in my life. Currently, I’m studying for a BA in Graphic Design at San Diego State, and that has sparked my interest in packaging design and branding development.
I start most my projects by brainstorming ideas on sketchpaper and browsing for inspiration (particularly on sites like Dribbble and Designspiration). A lot of my work utilizes hand-drawn organic styles, so I often draw my elements on paper first, scan them in, and redraw them using my tablet in Illustrator. If I’m working on a design that is primarily vector-based, I’ll use Illustrator as my main program; for photo- and texture-heavy designs, I use Photoshop; and for text-dominant projects, I work from InDesign.
Tools of the trade
Canon 5D Mark III, 35mm f/1.4, 50mm f/1.4, 24-105mm f/4.0, Cybersyncs, AlienBees strobe flash units, large soft box and beauty dish from Paul C. Buff, Adobe Photoshop CS5, Bridge Camera Raw, VSCO film
I also became interested in photography at a really early age. I used my dad’s Nikon Coolpix 5700 to take pictures of our dogs, flowers in the yard, and interesting things I’d find on our family trips. I started posting my photos to deviantART in 2004 and that’s when I really became interested in pursuing the art and improving my skills. I started out as a self-portrait photographer, constantly coming up with creative ideas to practice with. Later, I worked primarily as a music photographer for about 4 years, taking promotional photos of bands. Now I’ve recently entered the world of wedding and engagement photography, and I love capturing people in love. :)
For both my personal and commissioned shoots, I start by brainstorming themes and locations. I try not to limit my creative flow with too many ideas, so I’ll usually form a general idea of what I’m trying to create then let the rest happen naturally during the shoot. I used to do a lot of strobe work, but now I’ve come to love natural lighting and don’t often shoot with studio lighting anymore. After the shoot, I load all my images into Bridge and start deleting the bad ones and marking the good ones. I do most of my post-processing in Camera Raw for exposure and color adjustments, then bring the image into Photoshop for a more detailed edit (removing blemishes, smoothing skin tones, and a few more color adjustments).
Hope this has been somewhat helpful and/or remotely interesting! I’ll start doing a few more informational posts like this where I talk more in depth about my processes, my inspirations, and tips I’ve learned along the way as a freelancer. Feel free to ask if you ever have anything specific you’d like me to cover!