The Art of the Smile An Interview with Lora Reehling
As a photographer. making people smile is part of the job. For Philadelphia based photographer, Lora Reehling, keeping her clients happy is getting easier and easier. Lora has been able to take her wedding and portrait photography business to the next level by improving the quality of lenses she has been shooting with. And her clients are taking notice! “They may not be able to put their finger on exactly what the technical difference is,” said Lora, “but they love the look.” Pairing Lora’s years of portrait and wedding experience and the use of top-quality equipment, her clients have more reason to smile than ever.
We recently sat down with Lora and asked her what lenses she trusts for capturing her client’s special days, and how adding additional lens rentals to her gear has improved her photography business.
What equipment do you normally rent for a job?
I shoot manual on a Canon 5D Mark III and tend to rent the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 and 85mm f/1.2 lenses. The 70-200mm is great for capturing candid moments and the compression at 200 is amazing for portraits. This lens captures the subjects such a lovely natural way, and I’m able to give them some space while shooting. The 85mm is great for low-light shooting and creates that dreamy background painting effect that is so attractive in portraits and wedding photographs. I also like using the 85mm to focus on people’s expressions and it’s a nice change from the 70-200mm for long days of shooting because it’s a bit lighter!
How did adding a rental piece enhance your own equipment and improve your photo shoot?
Both the 85mm and 70-200mm are great lenses but quite expensive, so I don’t own them (yet!). When I’m not renting these lenses I shoot on my versatile and hard working 24-70mm, and 50mm lenses which also produce great results for different reasons. Though, now that I’ve seen the improved results in my photographs from renting these prime lenses I feel compelled to use them all the time and plan on purchasing the 70-200mm this month! (I still love Calumet rentals though and will be back for the 85mm until it’s mine).
How has renting equipment changed the way you plan your shoots and your photography business?
Since I am still building my equipment list, I feel like I have more flexibility to shoot whatever I need to shoot on my. I also really like interacting with the staff at the Calumet store in Philadelphia. It’s nice to be able to go in and talk to them about my shoot, and get their feedback and recommendations.
What advice or gear recommendations would you give to photographers?
I like to shoot late afternoon or early evening to take advantage of the soft natural outdoor light. I shoot RAW and all of my images are processed in Lightroom. I edit each individual photo separately and would not recommend batch processing. I think a lot about what individual photos my client will like the best, and that’s what I present to them. The newest version of Lightroom 5 has made editing wedding photos much easier and almost eliminates my need for photoshop. When shooting a wedding, I often carry two camera bodies, each with a different lens so I have the range and versatility to be prepared for anything. Above all, I think the most important piece of advice I would give to other photographers is to make sure that you are making a genuine connection with your clients. Listen to them, and stay tuned in to all the delicate details that make up who they are. This builds trust and allows them to feel comfortable around you and as a result you’ll be able to capture those natural, beautiful expressions and moments that they love!
Lora Reehling graduated with a BA in Interdisciplinary Fine Arts from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She has been a photographer for over 10 years and in 2010 her business took off when she started shooting weddings.
Lora’s first experience as a photographer started in Ocean City, Maryland in 2003 when she began photographing families and children on the beach. Through this connection with people, she learned that her best qualities came out and she felt the most fulfilled. She wanted to share this passion and joy with others, and a couple years later decided to take an opportunity teaching photography to teenagers in Peru for a fair trade organization called Fairmail. This program helped changed the path that Lora would take upon her return to the US as she embraced the role photography would take in her life. The personal connection that she makes through photographing people has been a driving factor in her success and is one of the main reason’s why she loves her job so much.
Her tagline, “loving your story,” is very true, because she loves the opportunity to be a visual storyteller for each couple, individual or family that invites her to capture their life. Being part of exciting milestones for her clients is a role she takes with pride. The energy that she pours into her work is evident and helps describes much of her style, which is that of warm, bright, and happy images.