The Grethel Van Epps Photography FAQ for photographers…

I’ve been thinking about doing this for a LONG time.. I get a lot of emails with questions and while I LOVE to get emails and reply to them.. I don’t always have all the time in the world.. so I think this post is going to help me with that… I’ll be able to send some of those repeat emails/questions this way. I also hope it helps you a little bit!


* What camera do you use?

– I shoot with a Canon Mark ii 5d.


* What are your favorite lenses?

– For my clients pictures I shoot around 95% of the time with the 24-70mm f2.8L, I also use a 50mm f1.4 and a fisheye 15mm f2.8. To shoot my kiddos I use the 24mm f1.4L. As you can see I love wide angle lenses.. :)


* Did you take photography classes?

– Yes, I’ve been taking photography classes since college. I went through film, dark rooms and all that fun stuff. I taught myself to shoot digital and to post process the images, google, youtube and flickr were big teachers then. I also try to take at least one workshop a year to keep learning and to be up to date in the photography world. As far as the “style” that I like to do, that’s constantly moving and improving and I didn’t really learned it from anywhere. I focus on how I’d like my own to be photographed, I like to keep things real.


*How long have you been taking pictures?

– Around 10 years. Professionally a little bit over 4 years now.


* What’s the one thing that you wish you have done different when you started your photography business?

– To value more my work and my time.


* What was your biggest mistake when you started?

–  Besides the real value of my work and time, taking every single job that came my way. I ended up photographing a lot of things that I didn’t like (events and stuff like that). I can’t be a good photographer in all the areas, plus I don’t  like all the areas anyway. Now if somebody asks me to do product photography or landscape photography, etc. I politely say no and suggest other photographers that do it. I like to focus in shooting families because that’s what I enjoy doing.


* Do you shoot RAW or JPG?

– JPG.


* Lightroom or Photoshop

– I only use Photoshop CS5 now.


* Mac or PC

– I switched to MAC almost 2 years ago and never looked back.. I’m an apple girl now all the way and LOVE it!


* How do you organize your personal photos?

– I create monthly folders and put all the SOOC images there. Then I make the folder for the month with the pictures that will be posted. I have 2 computers, one for my personal pictures and one for my clients sessions so I don’t mix things up. I back up my personal computer around once a month ( I know I should do it more often!.. working on that).


* Can you tell us how you keep your kids from running away or giving you stink faces or fake smiles when you try to take their pictures? I’d love to know more about how you approach your 365 and keeping the kids from getting burned out on being in your pics.

– I’m going to be short here because a full post about the 365 project will come soon and I’ll touch deep on how I do it and all that fun stuff. But for now the answer to this question is that  I almost never ask them to stop what they are doing to take the picture, they don’t notice I take the picture so they don’t do silly faces and they don’t get tired of it.

* Would love to know more about your workflow if you’re willing to share.

– My workflow begins with getting the picture right from the camera. If I say in my brain while taking the picture: “I’ll fix that later” then I’m doing it wrong. For me there is no fixing that later. I only play with curves and “pop” the colors basically the same way in every picture I take. I’ve created my own actions and my kiddos pictures are batched more than half of the time.  My clients pictures get individual attention,  I like to make sure there are no dirty faces in kiddos, new bumps or things like that. I want to be constant in the way I post process the images while keeping them as close as I can to the real thing.



* What lighting do you use?

– All natural.


* Do you offer classes?

– Yes, I offer basic, intermediate and workshops for new photographers.


* Can I come follow you in your sessions?

– I wouldn’t mind but I don’t think it would be fair for my client who is paying for my services.


* What lab do you recommend?



* Can I ask something else?

– Sure! please email me.


And just because one of my recent favorite pics.. :)


I’ll work next into a blog post about The 365 Project. Please feel free to email with questions!.

rebecca - September 26, 2011 - 7:30 am

thanks, grethel! one thing i’ve always loved about your photos is how natural they look – i can tell you do minimal “photoshopping” and i think it’s what sets you apart.

Kate Sharer - April 8, 2014 - 5:54 pm

Do you plan on having any workshops in Georgia? Thanks! Kate

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