Scarlett Lillian Answers MCP Reader Questions

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Thank you to Scarlett Lillian for your interview last week and for answer questions from photographers and readers of the MCP Blog.  The questions are in italics – the answers below each.

1. Michelle H wrote: Thanks for introducing us! Scarlett, my question for you is on lens flare… how do you make it happen? I’m always pleasantly surprised when it “happens” but I’d love to know how to create an image with PURPOSEFUL lens flare! icon smile Scarlett Lillian Answers MCP Reader Questions

Isn’t lens flare fun Michelle?  I’ve become addicted to lens flare lately!  The key is to put the setting sun behind the couple, then with a wide lens, I love the 28mm 1.8, shoot directly into the sun.  With the 28mm 1.8, I can usually see where the flare is in the camera, so I just move it around accordingly so the little dots aren’t in the way of something important in the shot like their faces. 

Here’s some recent fun lens flare I’ve shot:

2.  Sheila Carson Photography wrote: I love the way you overexpose and over saturate your photographs! I am in love with color that pops. Can you share some of you editing techniques with us? How do you achieve that colorful look?

Though I would love to say, Sheila, I achieve the colorful look from the MCP Actions, I don’t use actions for color correcting.  I only use Adobe Bridge for editing my RAW files.  It comes with CS2 or above, and I’ve created settings in there, that are essentially like actions, that with a simple click, it does all the exposure, contrast, blacks, saturation adjustments for me.  I also love Bridge because you can batch edit your color corrections which helps save time, especially for editing thousands of wedding images.  Also, as far as the saturation goes, in the CS3 version of Bridge (which I still use, I’m the last to upgrade to anything, ha!), you can go in and saturate only certain colors.  So usually I’ll saturate the whole picture, then go in and drag the Orange saturation down so that their skin won’t look like “oompa loompa” or a bad spray tan.  Here’s an example of how I oversaturated just the green in the grass.  I have a crush on neon green grass, and blew up this photo to a 24×36 in my office:

3.  Katrina Wheeler wrote: I LOVE Scarlett!! I subscribe to her blog! I have a question for her, I really admire you, and your open display of your faith. I am a Christian and love to see how much you honor god with your life, even in a world where people are so critical of that. My question is, what would you recommend doing that could get my name out there to people about my business? I just move to Georgia from California and so I have zero clients now. I have been looking for photographers to second or assist under to get me in the loop in this area but I haven’t found any. Or would you recommend a workshop? I would love to do a shoot with Scarlett day, but I can’t afford that unfortunately. My other question is what is your favorite detail shot lens? Looks like a 1.2?

LOL, a bunch of great questions Katrina! First, thanks for the sweet words about my faith, it means a lot that you embrace the words I share from my heart on my blog.  :-)  Second, getting your name out there is definitely always a tricky question, I wish there was a magic answer. 

For me, my blog has been my best marketing tool.  It seems like such a generic answer, but it’s so true.  The more you blog, the more real you are with people, the more you network with others, the more photos you share, eventually over time, people get addicted to it.  Blogs are totally the new reality TV.  Then through other things like Facebook and Twitter, those are other great tools to draw attention to it.  And I also have a subscription thing on my blog where each entry is emailed everytime to each person.  Then the next thing I would say is get out there and network!  With vendors, with other photographers (it’s fun to send referrals to photog friends when each other is booked for a date), with wedding planners, etc. 

A recent example of how it all goes together.  So I’ve been visiting Monterey a lot visiting my long distance boyfriend, and there was a wedding industry function we attended so I could meet some vendors in that area.  Next thing I knew, a wedding planner there in Monterey spots me from across the room and comes up to introduce herself because she already followed me on Twitter and read my blog.  The internet is a powerful tool!  Also, recently I’ve started uploading photos of each wedding and session on Facebook and tagging my clients, and that puts your photos right in front of their friend’s faces on their Newsfeed.  Also, don’t be afraid to do some free sessions if you are struggling.  Looking back over my career, it was the free sessions I did simply for a creative shoot for myself that eventually led to paid jobs.  I consider it a form of tithing and how giving first always leads to receiving. 

Also about second shooting, there are a ton of photography forums out there where people are always looking for second shooters. 

Workshops, I’ve attended the Love Affair Workshop and Mike Colon’s Hawaii workshop.  I highly recommend both.  And I’m in the brainstorming phases about my own group workshop later this year/early next year, so stay tuned!  Email me at scarlett@scarlettlillian.com if you want to be on the mailing list for the first to know about it!  icon smile Scarlett Lillian Answers MCP Reader Questions

And lastly, my favorite detail shot lens would probably be the 50mm 1.2 or the macro 100mm 2.8 is what I get the up close ring shots with.  Here’s a fun ring shot with the macro!

4.  Judie Zevack wrote: Hi Jodi!! Thanks for sharing this interview. My question to Scarlett is being that I am a novice at photography ( I just got a Canon Digital Rebel XSI) would you recommend I find a photography mentor or attend some classes?

Sure classes or workshops would help, Judie, and getting involved in online forums are a great resourceful place too.  But I definitely believe in having a personal mentor.  That’s one reason I started the “Spend A Day With Scarlett” opportunity because it was the one-on-one time I had with other photographer friends along the way answering all my own personal dumb questions that I benefitted from the most. 

5.  Jody wrote: Hi Scarlett (LOVE your name and it fits you so well!), I was wondering how you get your clients to relax and pose? Or do they pose? I’m just starting out, but find I get so nervous and flustered with just my friends! Did it take you a while to feel comfortable? Are there any books/videos/etc. you recommend for posing? I see that you get ideas from magazines which I think is great. What do you think of those posing cards you download? (Thanks Jodi for the great interview!) 

Hi Jody!  Thanks about my name.  My parents chose a good one.  :-)  Getting your clients to relax.  You know what, I get most nervous in front of my own friends too.   I don’t know what it is.  Because the funny thing is, with my clients, I feel like I get them to relax best by first becoming friends with them.  So how that is different than shooting for my own friends, I don’t know.  But yeah, I would say that is key. I really invest a lot of time into getting to know the bride first through all our emails back and forth, or if just starting the session asking about their love story and mushy stuff like that to get them in a good mood remembering all the details of how they fell in love.  Then I tell them, ok, I just literally want you make out with each other and pretend I’m not here. 

Yes, they always need a little direction, so I’ll start them in a pose and then let their natural affections and expressions take over and keep clicking while it comes out.  I know there is a cool “look book” or something out there that is a nice pocket size one of my second shooters showed me, but honestly, I’m always flipping through fashion magazines and taking pictures of cool poses or lighting I like with my iPhone… then at at session or wedding, if I’m stuck for inspiration, I’ll bring out my iPhone and flip through the photo galleries. I found my clients really like it too so that they can visualize what similar thing I’m asking them to do.

6.  Lenara Funk wrote: I look at her blog everyday,.. and every time I can learn something with her. She is awesome! My questions is,..what kind of software do you use for the slideshows? Any tricks or tips you want to give? thanks.

Lenara, I use ShowItWeb at showitfast.com.  One trick for that… the software naturally compresses the images and they aren’t as sharp as I would like them to be, so in Bridge, through the Image Processor, I run a sharpening and resize action on my images in the slideshow.  Then I replace the sharpened images in the Images folder that ShowItWeb creates, and oila, it shows up as the better sharpened images. 

7.  Michelle of Jamie and Michelle Photography wrote: The images are fantastic! I, too, am a huge fan of bobbi+mike icon smile Scarlett Lillian Answers MCP Reader Questions and now a fan of Scarlett Lillian. As someone still pretty new to the wedding photography industry, I was wondering how do you find time to get all of the great portraits throughout the wedding day? We just had a wedding on Sunday, where we discussed ahead of time that we would do bride/bridesmaid pictures at 4, when the ceremony was at 5. The bridesmaids weren’t even ready at 5 and the ceremony of course started late. Then, after the ceremony, everyone was so antsy to go party (especially the groom), so we could only get a few shots. So, yeah, just wondering how you find time throughout the day to get all these awesome shots and how you encourage your bridal parties to move along when getting ready icon smile Scarlett Lillian Answers MCP Reader Questions

Don’t you hate that Michelle?  It’s all about educating the client during the schedule creation phase.  I always tell my brides first and foremost, no matter how good they try to plan things, things will ALWAYS go behind in the getting ready and it’s better to schedule all the getting ready earlier than later.  Also, I tell them, in order to get the good images, we need play time, and my priority is keeping her relaxed, not rushing through pictures.  I usually come up with a tentative schedule that I present to them of how I feel the day will flow best, then from there, I make adjustments with the bride, or she sees the reality of how much time is needed and moves her hair and make up earlier.  You just gotta take control if you want your shots, but in a nice way of course!  And it all starts with the trust you build with the bride from day 1 so that by the time the schedule making time arrives, she trusts you that you know what you are doing.

8.  meg manion silliker wrote: what a stunning talent you are!! i am so happy to have been introduced to you. thank you Jodi. here’s my question. you can only use one lens…..which one do you choose? 

It’s so hard to choose ONE lens Meg.  Can I cheat and give my favorites and why?  Getting ready, mostly 50mm 1.2 and macro 100mm 2.8.  Sometimes 28mm 1.8.  Portrait time on the wedding day, 50 again, 70-200mm 2.8 IS, 28 again.  Ceremony, mostly 70-200.  Reception, I mostly shoot with my 15mm 2.8 fisheye.  It’s so fun in capturing those crazy dance shots right up in people’s faces.  Or the 70-200 for up close First Close details and emotions.  I’m always switching and love my ShootSac that makes it easy to switch lenses real quick. 

9.  Sara wrote: Thank you for another great blog Jodi! I second Meg’s question. I am shooting my first wedding this fall and I have been struggling with which lens would be the best for the wider group shots. If you could only pick one, what would you recommend?

Congrats on shooting your first wedding Sara!  I use the 28mm 1.8 for really wide group shots, or the 15mm 2.8 fisheye if it’s a super huge shot.  But I use the 70-200mm 2.8 IS for the rest of the family portraits, and if possible try to back up as far as I can before switching to a wide, because it just looks better for groups than a wide angle in my opinion.

THANK YOU EVERYONE for your sweet comments!  You had some great questions!!  It was fun answering them!  God bless and keep shooting from your heart!

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 Scarlett Lillian Answers MCP Reader Questions

Jodi Friedman, MCP Actions

Jodi Friedman is the founder of MCP Actions. She designs popular Photoshop actions and Lightroom presets that make editing faster, easier and more fun.

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6 Comments and 0 Replies



  1. 1
    Kat Forsyth says:

    I didn’t submit a question, but some of them were ones I would have asked anyway, so thanks for taking the time to answer and post this! I got a lot of great stuff out of it. I really think it’s a great idea to have a photography “mentor”, but it’s hard to find one :P And I can’t attend your one-on-one clases because I don’t like in the USA. But I think you’re awesome for having them!

  2. 2
    jean smith says:

    love the interviews you have on here. thanks for this interview…it was fabulous and she is awesome!

  3. 3
    Jody says:

    Thanks! This was really interesting.

  4. 4
    Sherri says:

    This was a wonderful read – thanks so much for sharing – LOVE your work Scarlett

  5. 5
    rebekah says:

    fabulous interview!! :) thanks!

  6. 6
    Tamara says:

    Thank you Jodi for bringing this to us. Love this



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