Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Tuesday Tips: Photography

 We're so excited to bring you Tuesday Tips where Midwest bloggers share tips & tricks for starting bloggers to become full-time pros! First up is Morgan of Eeny Meeny Miny Morgan!

Calling all La Brisa fans, photographers, future photographers, enjoyers of photos, bloggers, and blogger photographers, this post is your type of read!

Chris Hsieh is the owner of La Brisa Photography, and I met him through a workshop he was holding several years ago, where I got to be in-front of the camera.  He takes the most stunning photos and has photographed all over the country and parts of the world.

I became a fan of photography the minute I got into my car and drove away after my first workshop with Chris.  That appreciation for photos has grown over the years, and with my new venture of blogging, I don't see it diminishing.  

I was lucky enough to get a chance to interview Chris, with topics involving La Brisa Photography, his fundraiser, and blogger photography. Please enjoy my interview with the amazingly talented Chris Hsieh of La Brisa Photography.


Blogging Related

Several bloggers have their husbands or boyfriends photograph their website images. Do you have any tips for bloggers to give their photographer, who maybe hasn't taken photography classes?

Shoot outdoors in the shade or wherever there is consistent light. If you can look towards the sun without squinty and/or there aren't any harsh shadows across your body, you should have decent light for an image. Avoid using your on camera/phone flash for more natural looking images.

What makes a good picture stand out to you?

A stand out image is a combination of light and an emotive subject. I want to FEEL something when looking at the image.

If a blogger were to invest in a camera and one photo editing program, what would you be most likely to suggest?

Yes, creating the image is only part of the process to photography. It is like having a beautiful car, but no gas. In order for you to really enjoy that beautiful car to its maximum capabilities, you need the gas. And that is what editing does for your photographs. I use Adobe Lightroom for all of my editing. The software is relatively inexpensive for around $170.

Do you have a go to lense?

Yes, I use a Canon 85mm f/1.2 II as my most used lens.

What form of social media do you see as most effective?

I think they all have their effectiveness as long as you target their audiences correctly, but Facebook has by far been the most effective platform for the building and sustain success of my business.

Poses can be tricky. How do you decide which pose to put your clients in?

I have a set of go-to standard poses that I have figured out over the years and I use that time to figure out where the light is coming from, how comfortable my clients are with me and with each other, andthen I start making adjustments to those standard poses to create different looks.

Do you have any suggestions for bloggers who want to change up their go to location for taking photos?

Yes, just explore. I have photographed clients in front of port-a-potties, garbage dumpsters, etc with positive results. In photography, you need to try unexpected locations to create contrast and dynamic images.

Photography Related

What's your story? What made you want to start a photography business?

I never thought I would be a full time professional photographer.  While my wife was attending veterinary school at K-State, I started taking photos for fun. And essentially, I backed into becoming a photographer. While working full time at K-State and earning a master's degree in education, I started La Brisa Photography in January 2008. Honestly, I loved how I felt when I photographed people and that's what made me want to start La Brisa.

How did you come up with La Brisa?

Brisa is the name of my wife. I wanted a name that had a soft a sound to appeal to potential brides. Most importantly, I assumed that people would never be able to google my name when meeting them in person.

For those wanting to get started in photography, what do you suggest they consider?

Photography is awesome. Everyone should try their hand at it.  Seriously. Especially with the image quality of smartphones these days, there is really no excuse to document your life with photographs. Starting a photography business is a whole other issue.  Just because you love photography doesn't mean you should start a photography business. Once you do, you will spend less and less time actually focused on your photography.

Tell me about the Photography For a Cause Fundraiser you do!

Photography For a Cause is my baby. Every April, for the entire month, we offer our fine art photographs for sale and 100% of the profits are donated to local and national non profit organizations. Last year, wewere able to raise over $3,000 through the campaign and I have bigger things planned for 2014.

What method of continuing education do you utilize? Do you attend workshops, take classes, meet with other photographers, etc.?

Online seminars via creativelive, reading about classic photographers like Cartier-Bresson and Capa, and being challenged by the La Brisa team help me stay humbled and yearn to improve.

You have been to a number of locations for weddings and shoots, what has been your favorite?

Weddings in Kauai, St. Lucia and at a private ranch in North Dakota have been a few of my absolute favorites. I love traveling to new areas and seeing places with a different perspective.

If you have a question about your camera or editing program, what is your method of finding the answer?

Google. Google is my go-to resource for things I don't know.

How do you purchase your camera gear?

Online via amazon.com, bhphotovideo.com and adorama.com. Used equipment via craigslist, ebay and fredmiranda.com

Do you have any advice for the Chris 3 years ago?

Hire an accountant. Outsource things that I despise doing. Stop worrying about # of fans and hits to the website. Focus on building better and longer lasting connections with my clients.

Is there anything on your photographer bucket list?

Currently, I am working on a goal of photographing a wedding in all 50 states by 2015. -http://www.labrisaphotography.com/2014/01/my-goal-50-states-by-2015-update/I am halfway through and am hopeful that I will reach my goal! After that, I am planning on photographing a wedding in all 7 continents.

Do you have any tips or tricks when dealing with someone who is nervous in front of the camera?

I think the key to being a successful photographer is your ability to connect, engage and utilize your personality to disarm your clients' anxiety. If time allows, start by talking to your clients without the camera in their faces. Give them a gameplan of what you are trying to accomplish and allow them to connect with you on a more personal level outside of the photographer-client relationship.

Do you have a favorite picture you've taken?

This was my favorite image of 2013 because of the movement. Portrait photography is often very static and I just love the movement in the dress and I especially love the way that she is looking at her husband.

La Brisa has been around since 2008, and in that short amount of time, he and his team have given their clients memories that will last a lifetime.  His pictures capture the real personality of those in front of the camera.  His seemingly effortless, but very tactically planned, pictures capture what is most important, inner beauty.  Everyone's inner beauty naturally glows through each and every one of Chris's pictures.  Take some time and enjoy his work through the links below.

To visit his website click here.

To visit his Facebook page click here.
To visit his blog click here.




  1. I'm actually really surprised that she said Facebook has helped her grow the most. I find Facebook really un-user friendly when it comes to building my audience.

    However I loved the rest of the tips and advice!

  2. I'm in love with that wedding photo!