Questions & Answers – Part 1


Questions & Answers – Part 1

In the past I’ve talked about the great quantity of email I receive and how I find it challenging, if not impossible, to keep up with and one thing that has stuck me over the past few years is that a lot of the same questions are asked over and over. With that in mind, I thought it would be a good feature of my website if every now and then I answer viewer emails.

Please sit back, relax and enjoy the first installment of this new feature of

Here are some actual emails I’ve received over the past few weeks – paraphrased and edited for length.


Q.) I hope to be a wedding photographer and I was wondering if I need a full frame camera to shoot weddings?

A.) The short answer is no, you don’t need a full frame camera to shoot weddings. The longer answer is that there are several other camera specifications that are more important to the wedding photographer than the size of the sensor.

First of all I would look for a camera body that has a large dynamic range. Simply put, the dynamic range is the space between the whitest white and blackest black that the sensor can detect. The larger the space between the detectable whitest white and the detectable blackest black means more detail can be recorded by the sensor. With most brides wearing white and many grooms wearing black, high dynamic range is important to capture detail.

Secondly I would look for a camera that focuses accurately and quickly particularly in low light situations– a lot of focus points is a bonus but not a necessity and how quickly and accurately a camera focuses is also a product of the lens so fast quality glass is a must as well.

If you think you’ll be selling large prints, 16×20 and bigger, then a full frame camera will help you create the best print possible but beyond that, the advantages of shooting full frame for weddings are diminished by the quality technology built into modern crop sensor cameras.


Q.) I was watching your Lightroom videos and in one, some of the clouds were yellow and in another, some of the clouds were a bit blue. I prefer to process my images so they look more natural. Do you have any videos where you processing the image so it looks natural.

A.) Ok, I apologize in advance because I’m going to sound harsh but have you ever looked at the sky? No, seriously, have you ever stopped and looked at a sunrise or a sunset? Clouds are not just cotton white and slate gray. Clouds can be quite colorful. Spend a few months looking at clouds and you’ll find that they can be tinted blue or purple or yellow and believe it or not, pink. One of my fondest memories is sitting in a college class, looking out the window as the sun set and the sky was brilliantly pink. The professor must have saw that my attention was elsewhere because she suddenly stopped lecturing and told everybody to look out at the pink sky.

The truth is, the sky and clouds can be any color of the rainbow but that is not the point I want to make here. Let me ask this simple question, do you think a person that doesn’t read can be a writer? Of course not and similarly, if you want to be a great photographer, you have to be in touch with your surroundings. Look around, observe and experience things. It will help your photography.


Q.) Is there anyway to replace a sky in Lightroom.

A.) No, you’ll need a program that has “Layers” capability such as Photoshop.


Q.) I finally have some images that I think are worthy to be printed so I found a lab that I heard does nice work but was surprised that they want JPG’s at 300ppi. It got me thinking what is the sense to shoot RAW if the lab only wants JPG’s?

A.) There are a myriad of technical reasons why RAW is a better choice. I won’t get into specifics here except to say that if you’re interested in why RAW is better than JPG, read this article I wrote a few years ago:

Now, of course that really isn’t answering your specific question so allow me to try to answer your question directly.

The RAW file is you digital negative. Your digital negative contains every exposed pixel and every bit of data for every one of those exposed pixels.

Technically speaking, a RAW file isn’t an image file at all; it’s actually a DATA file.

When you process your RAW file, you’re choosing to ignore some of the info in that DATA file whilst simultaneously enhancing other info and adding new info. When you’re done processing that DATA file, you now have to create an image file and JPG is a great image format. It can preserve high-resolution detail yet still be in a small package that doesn’t take up a lot of space. That’s why many labs prefer JPG’s over other image formats. Also, every photo printer has a maximum resolution that it can differentiate dot to dot. Anything higher than the maximum resolution is overkill and will not make a better print. It’s akin to putting premium gas in a lawn mower. Your lawn mower simply needs regular gas to run smoothly and efficiently, premium gas isn’t going to make it run any better.

To sum up, your RAW file is your digital negative, which contains the maximum data from the scene, and it should be preserved and archived. The lab should be sent the image file at the proper resolution they need to make a great print and you’ll use the RAW file to create that image file.


Q.) You mentioned that you’re coming out with landscape presets for Lightroom. Any word on when those will be ready.

A.) Well, I hate to say that I’ll have something done by a specific date because invariably, something comes up causing the date to change. I will say that the Landscape Presets are mostly done. I was looking though 500px recently and have seen some interesting pictures that are becoming popular with a very warm almost orange tone. I’m working on adding that look to the landscape preset bundle as well as a few other odds and ends. Once those are done, I’ll have the package ready to sell. Hopefully very soon and thank you for your interest!


Q.) I heard that there is an Iris Enhance Preset in Lightroom. Where is it?

A.) Open the brush tool and you’ll see that toward the top of the tool’s tab there is a dropdown. In that drop down is the brush preset, “Iris Enhance”. Once you pick that brush preset, simply zoom in on your subject and size the brush to fit their iris then brush in the enhancement.

I demo the iris enhance brush in this video:


That’s all the questions for now. I will be answering more questions in the future.