Claire

I have been an animator for 15 years, I have animated for computer games, short films and television commercials, I love animation and never thought I would do anything else. Then in 2003 I got my first SLR, my Canon 10D. Digital SLRs had just become affordable for non-professionals and I decided to take the plunge. I’d never owned an SLR before, I didn’t know what any of the millions of buttons did, I was kind of embarrassed to take it out in public because I didn’t know what I was doing…so I put it in a drawer and left it there for nearly a year. At the beginning of 2004 I made the resolution that I was going to figure it out so I took a class for beginners and started to learn about what all those buttons do. Then I found out I was expecting my daughter and I knew I had to learn quickly so I could take all the millions of photos first-time parents have to take!

Still I was very unsure and not very good and I took thousands and thousands of rubbish photos. They were grainy or blurry or over-exposed but I was determined to master it. When Eve was about nine months old I started this blog, mainly as a way to keep in touch with friends and family in other countries, and I started to post my photos. Then I discovered photobloggers…people taking photographs I could only dream of and actually sharing how they did it. Finally I started to get better. In 2006 I was nominated for a best Photoblogger award in the Irish Blog Awards, some kind soul actually liked my photos! Since then I have continued to learn and hopefully get better thanks to the help of wonderful photographers all over the world who are kind enough to share their knowledge. In May of 2007 I got my first paying photography job and I launched Gingerpixel Photography and now shoot portraits, weddings and events all over the country. If you would like to know more about the services I offer you can email me at claireATgingerpixelDOTcom or check out my newborn photography website and my wedding photography website.

In the spirit of paying it forward, I am happy to answer the questions I get about my photography (or anything as long as it’s not too personal!)…I’m not an expert by any means but if I’ve learnt anything along the way I’ll gladly pass it along.

What camera do you use? Can you recommend a camera for me?

I still use my old faithful Canon 10D. I know that camera so well at this stage it’s like an extra limb. It’s not possible to buy anymore though (unless you get an old secondhand one) in fact Canon has now updated it many times. Canon (and Nikon) has great entry-level cameras and if you have the money then they probably don’t have the failing of the 10D which was that it was impossibly grainy if you had to set the ISO above 400 which is what you need to do for low-light photography. **Update April 08, I finally invested in the oh so wonderful Canon 5D. My 10D has been retired in comfort. **Update February 09, I took the plunge and upgraded to the fabulous 5D MkII, I didn’t think there could be much improvement on the original but I’ve been amazed at the clarity of this camera.

It’s very difficult to recommend a camera for someone else, it all depends on their budget and ambitions. One thing I have learned is that the camera isn’t half as important as the lens you have on it. Which leads me to the next question…

What lenses do you use?

I use three lenses and they cover most situations:

1. My very first lens was a Canon 17-40mm f4 L lens and it’s still one I will stick on my camera when I’m heading out exploring. It gives a lovely quirky feel when it’s at its widest and the colours and contrast are lovely. Its only downsides are that it’s not the sharpest lens and once the light goes down it’s not much good on my camera so I can rarely use it indoors.

2. To make up for some of these downsides I recently added a Canon 28mm f1.8 lens. Not as wide but still good for indoors and group shots and for when I want to get close and capture details.

3. My absolute favourite lens is the Canon 35mm 1.2L. I just love the 35mm format since it has a cinema look that I love and this is a peach of a 35mm. Smooth, crisp and the colours pop. Most of my recent photographs on the blog have been taken with this lens

4. I also have a Sigma 50mm 2.8 Macro, a Canon 85mm 1.8, a Canon 28mm 1.8, a Canon 50mm 1.2L and a Canon 70-200mm 2.8. I bought the 50mm for the Macro setting which lets me get super close to chubby baby cheeks and tiny toes but it started my love affair with the 50mm. The 85 is often neglected as I just prefer to get up close and use the 50 for portraits although it’s still a great lens. The 70-200 is my least favourite lens, I use it during wedding ceremonies when I need to be able to stand back out of the way but that’s the only time it comes out of my bag.

A good photographer isn’t about the gear, but great lenses make the job so much easier. If you have the money, invest in good lenses. www.fredmiranda.com is the place to go to read up on them all.

Do you use Photoshop?

Oh yes, I love using Photoshop. I don’t like to change the photographs though and I’m always trying to get things right in the camera so I don’t have to fix things so much as enhance what’s there. I use photoshop to boost the colours and the contrast and put a bit of extra sparkle into eyes, that kind of thing. I also use it for converting images into Black and White, I wrote about one of my favourite methods for doing that here. Photoshop allows you to save your most commonly-used processes as actions so you can do multiple steps with one click but it can still take awhile. I also use Adobe Lightroom which is great for tackling large numbers of photographs in a fraction of the time.

Do you shoot RAW or JPG?

I used to use RAW, but I found my cards got filled up really quickly and my computer was bulging at the seams so nowadays I shoot JPEG and really work on getting my images right in camera.

Do you still do animation?

Not so much, although Animation is still my first love and I have a number of clients and studios I regularly work for. In 2004, when my daughter was born I decided to leave the studio system and work freelance and that’s what I still do now. I don’t talk about my animation work on the blog so much because I’m not allowed to talk about the projects until they are released.

Be Sociable, Share!

show hide 22 comments

Erin I have been following your blog for several months now and I must tell you that it is a real treat for me to visit. I visit nearly every day. It has been so fun to watch you grow with your photography and to read your blog entires. I have been inspired to start my own blog, nothing fancy really and not hosted anywhere that great but it is a start! I like the new look for your site. :)

gingerpixel Wow, thanks Erin, you’ve made my day. You have some beautiful photography on your site, and you live in one of my favourite places in the world.

joanne Cassells Hi Claire,

I am currently working on a project in Greystones and we are publishing a business plan for them. One of your harbor photos of Greystones would be perfect to use. Would it be possible to buy the image from you? We would need it to be 300 dpi. Would you have it this high res?

I can’t seem to get a phone number for you but you can contact me on 01 2020535 if you wouldn’t mind giving me a buzz on it.

regards

Joanne Cassells ( design manager)

Milkmoon Hi Claire,

I’m a mum and recovering artist (as in four children later remembering that I used to MAKE stuff too) and fairly new blogger.
I just discovered your blog. I love your photos and am quite envious. I’m only at the point and press the button and hope for the best stage! It so lovely to see another persons view of somewhere so familiar (I live in Kilcoole).
I look forward to browsing your previous posts and maybe picking up a few tips!

Regards,

Ciara Brehony

gingerpixel Hi Ciara! I love your blog, it looks like you have an eye for photography, the post on Living More Fully is beautiful. If you live in Kilcoole you’re just down the road from me :)

Paul love the website – love the photos. Best of luck with the awards. I am a British video journalist soon to launch my own site, will send you the link once up. Wish I was as skilled as you in using a stills camera. Best wishes Paul.

gingerpixel Good luck with your site Paul, please do send on a link for me to check it out when you’re done :)

Christina Irwin Hi Claire, i’m a long time lurker of your blog and my only complaint is the infrequent posts! :) your work is a real inspiration.

just fyi, you seem to have quite a bit of spam on your website, in case you missed it!
http://gingerpixel.ie/2007/05/09/23/#comments

take care!

gingerpixel Thank you so much Christina for the heads up on the spam on my site. I’ve been battling with spam for the last little while and they keep finding ways of sneaking back in! I promise I will try to do better on my posting 😀

Julie Hi Claire,
I stumbled across your blog and LOVE your work! As a budding photographer, I have so much to learn and love seeing new, fresh styles. Can’t wait to scroll through more of your work! :)

Tadhg Hi Claire

10D/5D? We at the workers’ cooperative of photographers use them both and a few others besides, but as you have already stated it’s not the gear that determines the best images, but the person behind the lens. I love to pop back to your site every now and again and see your creative and inspiring work. Some people train for years to achieve images that are not even half as good as the ones I’ve seen from you. Talent is something that can’t be trained. Keep it coming my friend. I shot some lovely images of Carrie with Toby after finally meeting him late this year. He’s the most contented child I think I’ve ever met and entirely happy for me to shoot image after image of him. When I get my finger out, I’ll let you know about the London exhibition. The offer of a space for your work was a sincere one. I’ve just got to get organised.

Kevin Love you and miss you, all 3 of you. Give our best to the family!

Norma Hi Claire, could you possibly email me as I need to touch base with you prior to starting Sarahs project, I can’t seem to find your email address (I had email difficulties about 1 month ago, apologies)

Ivan | SEO Consultant ‘Tweet This!’ icon at the end of the post is not displaying?

Just my 2 cents since it is ruining the fantastic looking blog!!!!

Claire Thanks Ivan! Should be fixed now I hope.

chewie Hi. love all your pictures. Is Eve your girl ? She is so adorable. You must be the one who took them as well. Very well taken I must say.

Lesleyoc Claire – absolutely gorgeous GORGEOUS photos! I found your site while trying to get a better idea of Rathsallagh House as a possible wedding venue…. and then noticed that you have ‘done’ many on my list. Maybe you could recommend a favourite?!

Do you still do weddings? I’m a huge photography fan myself (a Nikon girl though, proud D80 owner which has traveled around the world and now lives in Spain with me where it mainly takes pics of my classmates, and some great Madrilleno architecture….) so having amazing wedding photos is absolutely key. I love your style – keep it up!

I’m going to keep browsing through you’re albums now…
Lesley :)

Claire Hi Lesley, thanks so much for your comment, yes, I still do weddings, and I have one in Rathsallagh later on this year, it’s definitely one of my favourite venues. Off the top of my head, I also love the Millhouse in Slane, Darver Castle in Louth, Ballybeg House in Wicklow, Ard na Sidhe in Kerry…I’m sure there are others but those are the ones that jump to mind as favourites both because they’re beautiful locations and because the staff are really lovely too. Good luck with your search for a venue!

Fiona Coad Hi Claire,

Can you contact me about some images we need done for our company website in the next few weeks – you have worked with Finola Howard before and produced really great pictures.

Regards
Fiona.

Goddy Love your work Claire. Really inspiring story too. Keep up the good work. Will keep following your work.

Reagards,
Goddy

Joanna Baker Hi Claire,

AMAZING photography!!

Our stories are so similar, you are an admiration, keep up the fantastic work!

Joanna
Joanna Baker Photography

Paula Hughes Hi Claire

Are you free on the 31 12 2014 for a wedding the venue is The Village at Lyon.

Regards Paula Hughes

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

*

*

There was an error submitting your comment. Please try again.