Jana Gaston - Photographer Spotlight
Jana Gaston is a professional photographer who has inspired us for years with her newborn, senior, wedding, and family photography in the Pretty Presets Facebook Group.
She always gets asked so many great questions about her beautiful work so today, we thought we would share some of these frequently asked questions and her answers to them.
1. What Inspired You to Become a Photographer?
When I was home with my second baby, my husband bought me a camera so I could take better quality pictures of our boys. I realized I didn’t even know how to turn the camera on. So I took a basic photography class in my hometown and I was hooked.
I’m a competitive person, mostly with myself, so I immediately wanted to improve my photography skills.
2. How Would You Describe Your Photography Style?
I would describe my photography style as colorful, vibrant, and timeless. I like to create images that can be printed and displayed in clients’ homes all year round. I think my style is very fun and upbeat. I am definitely a goofball behind the camera and get a lot of natural laughs that way!
3. Did You Study Photography in School or Are You Self Taught?
I am half self-taught and half mentored through various private workshops that I’ve taken. I seek out photographers that I admire and take workshops from them. I’ve also watched hundreds of hours of online tutorials and YouTube videos.
4. Do You Shoot Canon or Nikon, and What is Your Favorite Lens?
I shoot Canon and my go-to lens is my 50mm 1.2 for families and portraits, Sigma Art 35mm 1.4 for newborns and babies, and my 70-200mm for weddings.
5. What Advice Would You Give New Photographers?
Practice, practice, practice! In the first few months of my photography experience, I would go outside and shoot flowers, plants, and candid shots of my two sons.
I learned the best time of day to shoot is during golden hour; which is about an hour before sunset. The light is bright and creamy during that time as opposed to harsh light during the middle of the day.
If you are passionate about photography, you won’t mind putting the time in and you will never stop learning!
6. Do You Have Any Tips for Photographers on How to Find More Clients?
Word of mouth is what drives my business. I think it’s a great way to acquire loyal clients.
Using social media outlets like Facebook and Instagram has definitely helped me reach new clients as well.
I also like to keep clients coming back for all of their future events and photography needs. One way that I do that is by being myself during photoshoots, making the clients feel comfortable, making the kids laugh by being silly, and shooting the Dad first!
Whenever I tell the dad, “That’s it! Your part is done!” They look surprised and very pleased and usually say, “I like you!”
I also try to maintain a quick turn around time for clients which keeps them coming back as well.
7. What are Your Go-To Pretty Presets and Actions?
I find myself using Clean Color from the Clean Edit Portrait Workflow Collection and Golden Hour presets from the Luminous Collection a lot. All in One Clean Edit is a timeless preset and the Golden Hour preset gives it extra light and warmth.
I also tend to use Black Thorn and Angel Heart presets from the Film Noir Collection for black and white images.
As far as actions, I LOVE using Painted Skies Overlays on so many of my images that have blown out skies. My images using these sky overlays tend to get the most attention too!
8. What is the Most Challenging Thing about Photographing Seniors?
I thoroughly communicate and plan their session several weeks prior to the shoot. I find out what their style is, we plan what they will wear, discuss location, and their expectations.
9. What is a Good Lesson You Learned this Year in Photography or in Your Business?
Don’t overdo it! I have made this mistake a few times and I’m working hard not to continue doing it.
I have learned to make time for my family and not over-commit myself. I'm miserable when backed up on editing or gone all the time on various photoshoots.
10. If You Could Encourage a New Photographer in One Area, What Would it Be?
I would encourage every new photography to join a Facebook photography group like Pretty Presets & Actions. I’ve learned SO much from the Pretty community. Share your photos in the group and be open to constructive criticism or helpful tips!
If you are just getting started in photography, I definitely encourage you to offer free sessions for a little while in order to get good feedback and gain experience working with people.
11. What Do You Love Most About Being a Photographer?
I love the creative aspect of photography! It’s definitely an art and as a former elementary school teacher, I need a creative outlet. I also love how every session is completely different and new. I'm always learning!
12. Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years?
This is a difficult question because I tend to want a drastic change in my life every few years.
For example, I have a degree in teaching but only taught for four years. Then I was a stay-at-home mom for a couple of years and now I'm a photographer.
I'd like to teach photography workshops in the future or maybe I’ll be a hairdresser in 5 years!
Thank you to Jana for continuing to inspire us with your beautiful work and sharing your photography, Lightroom, and Photoshop tips with us, too.
Do you have any questions or comments for Jana? Leave her a comment below - she would LOVE to hear from you! And PLEASE SHARE this post using the social sharing buttons (we really appreciate it)!