Intro by Chamira Young
Shooting portraits and events is as much an art as it is a skill. Interacting with your subjects, helping them to feel at ease, and capturing their personalities all while expertly operating your gear like a pro takes practice! That's why we wanted to share a bit of inspiration so you could see how a fellow photographer handles the challenge and produces beautiful images.
Meet photographer Jessica Sterling. While Jessica is currently a photographer, her previous modeling experience helps her understand how it feels to be in her clients' shoes, and what she needs to do in order to make them feel more comfortable during a session. Combine this knowledge with her Tamron SP 85mm F/1.8 VC USD lens, and the end result is sharp, authentic images that convey the personality of every client she works with. Read the post excerpt below and get ready to be inspired!
By Jenn Gidman
Images by Jessica Sterling
When Jessica Sterling was growing up, her world was replete with images. “My mother is a graphic designer, so I was exposed to the visual arts from an early age,” she says. “She would constantly ask me what I thought about various designs and layouts, which built up my confidence in my own artistic sensibilities.”
After leaving school, Jessica worked for a headshot photographer in Los Angeles, where she received an education in not only the technical aspects of photography, but in running a business and working with clients. “I was lucky to work with someone who embraced digital early, so I had a leg up on it as other people were still trying to figure everything out,” she says. “I learned best practices for image processing for digital specifically.”
Today, Jessica has 14 years under her belt in corporate events, branding, and corporate portrait photography, with a client roster that has included AT&T and the LA Dodgers, and has photographed such A-listers as Steven Spielberg, Justin Timberlake, Serena Williams, and Ashton Kutcher, among others. She recently started using the Tamron SP 85mm F/1.8 VC USD prime lens for her portrait and event photography, and she’s been thrilled with the results.
“Image quality is super-important for the work I do, so I love working with primes,” she says. “The Tamron 85mm features such excellent color rendition and sharpness, especially for portraits, where you want the eyes to really ‘pop.’ As for using it for events, I usually use wide-angle lenses for that kind of photography, but the 85mm is my new favorite tool to add variety in my coverage. It’s so sharp, and I appreciate the F/1.8 maximum aperture that gives me that gorgeous bokeh in detail shots—the focus stays on whatever I’m concentrating on in the image, while the rest of the photo falls softly off to the edges.”
When Jessica is shooting portraits with her 85mm, one of her first priorities is to help her subjects relax. “I genuinely like people, and so I talk to them while I'm photographing them,” she says. “Maybe that sounds kind of fundamental, but it’s important to let them know I’m there to help them look their best. I usually play music for portraits, and I always gently and continuously direct my clients. I let them know when they’re doing a good job, so they know when they’re nailing it. It’s super-awkward getting your picture taken, so I try to make it as easy and positive as possible. I modeled a little back in the day, and one time a photographer told me, ‘Oh no, don’t do that.’ The rest of the shoot I felt like such an idiot. So in my shoots, I try to keep things encouraging. I also smile and laugh a lot, because I want the client to know we’re a team. We’re working together to make great images.”
Read the rest of the info-packed post here!
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.