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Angela Monson Answers 10 Reader Questions


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Last week I interviewed Angela Monson of Simplicity Photography. To read this interview click here. Readers were allowed to ask questions and Angie picked 10 to answer below. Here are the questions and answers:

Susan wrote: Beautiful! I like to post-process a great deal, as well. My question is: Do you post-process every image for your clients before they see them? Does this take absolutely HOURS? Or do you narrow down to just a few favorites? Thanks!

Susan, I do process my images print ready for my clients to view. I know many people just do slight edits and then fully photoshop when they order, but a lot of my clients order the CD after they have made their order so I like to have them 100% ready! Also, I don’t think I could show them an image that wasn’t fully photo-shopped because I think clients have a hard time seeing the end result unless you SHOW them. People are visual.

Agata wrote: Angie your work is fabulous! I have been your fan the minute I saw your piece of art which is a year ago. This is also when I decided to change my job and to start as a photographer. My only question is: When can we expect a workshop? I would love to attend one!Please, please, please!

I wanted to answer this one because I get a lot of emails about workshops! I think one day I will teach them, but it is a huge time commitment and honestly I am 100% scared to teach one! I have done one on one mentoring and that freaks me out enough! I am thinking in a year or two when I cut back on photo sessions I will offer them! I will keep you posted on my blog!

Wendi Chitwood wrote: Angela… I just love your work, it is so original. 1… Will you be my best friend? 2… Do you have any tips for keeping yourself on track with your workflow? I find it hard to keep myself motivated while working at home with the demands of being a Mom, etc.

Again, I am all over the place, but one thing I am good at is keeping my word with my clients. If I say your images will be ready in 2 weeks, I mean it. It takes me 2-3 hours to edit a session so I just set aside time to edit them when my kids are at preschool, sleeping, or playing with daddy. I really just sit down and say okay, edit this session and then I can play or have a big bowl of ice cream! I just feel better when the work is done. Believe me, it’s hard but people are counting on me so I try hard to follow through.

Stacy I wrote: Angie– I am a fellow blu client, which is how I discovered your work. Amazing, of course. Soooo not the first person to tell you that! But I would love if you’d answer all these questions about clothes. I try so hard to urge people to be creative with their wardrobe—encourage patterns, texture, and color—but I can’t get my clients to think outside the box! If I see one more child dressed in head-to-toe GAP, I will seriously barf all over my laptop.

I love this question. I just love clothes so it comes somewhat naturally to me. If it doesn’t come natural to you, check out fresh new ideas from Cookie magazine, Crew cuts online, American eagle 77 kids, mini boden, etc. Watch closely how they style their photo-shoots. I really try to dress kids bold, with lots of texture. I think the biggest thing I try to do is create contrast, for example Put a fancy dress with converse… or deck out your kid in funky crazy clothes and take a picture of them next to a cow on a farm… you know what I mean, the unexpected. That is what makes people take a second glance. If you have pictures on your website that aren’t the type of clothing you want to shoot, take them off! Only blog and put on your website the type of photo shoots you are willing to do. It really helps clients find cute clothing and understand your style.

Alexa wrote: I have a question… When you say you developed your style through life, workshops, visualizing ideas, etc, exactly what does this mean? I guess what I’m asking is, is developing a style something that just happens overtime, or do you need to work at it? Would you say how you process your images is a big part of it as well? What tips would you give someone looking to “find”/develop a style? I love your work and thank you for sharing with us! Can’t tell you how much I love seeing before and afters!

I think it does come over time. When I first started photographing children I took ALL my inspiration for other child photographers, now I trust my gut more and find my own inspiration in so many different ways. I have so many ideas lately and I find it hard to execute them because of little time.

jeana-copy-5 Angela Monson Answers 10 Reader Questions Guest Bloggers Interviews

Kyla Hornberger wrote: Ditto everything above. You’re amazing and I am just thrilled to read anything I can about you and your art. You make it sound SO easy. I would love to learn how you saturate your color and keep it so pristine. Also, why is the 85mm your favorite? I have a love/hate relationship with mine right now! And ONLINE workshop would be so wonderful for us hermits with no way out! Hope you win Photog of the year! Thanks!!!!

I just love shooting wide open at a 1.8 with the 85mm and it is the perfect range for me. I do love getting surroundings in the image but I mostly want to focus on the subject and the 85mm helps me do this. The only thing I don’t like about the 85 is that you can’t get super close to your subject and interact with them like a wide angle lens.

Robbie Gleason wrote: Beautiful work! I’ve been a fan for a long time! I’d love to know how you use the burn tool, or if you use it, on your images.

I do use the burn tool at about 20% on mid-tones or 10% on shadows. You have to be careful with the burn tool though so keep the diameter of your brush large to keep it looking consistent.

Lindsie wrote: Wow! Your work is amazing and inspiring. I actually have two questions. First is, do you use actions for your black and white processing? And my second question is about how long would you say you spend editing a typical photo shoot? Thanks!!!

I do use a few actions – for black and white I sometimes use BAMF 8bit from TRA.
I also use Noiseware Professional.

I usually spend 2-3 hours editing a session. I show 30-40 images for kids sessions and 50-60 for family sessions. Some family sessions can take 3-4 hours if I have a situation where the lighting wasn’t great.

Cindi wrote: I also am interested in how you use light on location, especially with kids who tend to run all over the place. How do you choose your locations, what do you look for, how do you light your subject? Any tips for interacting with children?

It’s always a struggle with little kids! I just try to sit them on something and distract them with toys or lots of noise! I have an assistant to help me get their attention so I can focus on composition, light, and settings on my camera. It helps a lot! Bring a treat or prize if you can, make sure it is okay with mom and dad first. I really just try to make sure they have catchlights in their eyes, that way I know it’s good light and I can shoot wide open (the camera has a hard time focusing on shadows, so make sure you have those catchlights!).

Maranda wrote: Thanks for sharing Angie, I always find your work a great source of inspiration. My questions is what type of studio lighting do you use and what is your studio lighting set up?

I have all alien bees lights. I shoot one light with a large softbox. I do also have a beauty dish from alien bees that I love as well. I am starting to shoot with two lights, but it is a work in progress. I just really like the shadows from one light but sometimes it’s hard to get your subject to stay still in that perfect position!

Thanks for the fun questions! Good luck to everyone!
Peace out,


No Comments

  1. Meghan Justice on September 24, 2009 at 10:09 am

    Thanks for this! It was a great read! I can’t seem to get her website to work for me. It is just a black screen. Anyone else having this problem?

  2. Michelle on September 24, 2009 at 10:45 am

    Great!! Of course, it just leaves me wanting more. 😉 Thanks for sharing!

  3. Stacey Rainer on September 24, 2009 at 11:28 am

    I am also just getting a black screen. Perhaps we blew out the server!

  4. Kayla Renckly on September 24, 2009 at 1:20 pm

    Great answers! I love hearing about how others work and works for them.

  5. Amy Hoogstad on September 24, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    Fabulous!! I’m a HUGE Angie fan. Thanks for the inspiration!For those who can’t view the website, try her blog:

  6. jody on September 25, 2009 at 7:25 am

    I love your interviews. This was very informative and inspiring. Thank so much!

  7. Dan Waters on September 19, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    I learned from Charles Lewis that you shouldn’t show more than 15 images to a client because much more than that will give them decision paralysis and they’ll want to go away and think about it (which kills the sale). The goal for a family portrait photography is to create a beautiful framed image at a decent size that becomes a family heirloom. It’s less about taking lots of images to burn on CD. One method is like creating a piece of art and the second is more of a commodity.

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