We set up this FAQ to answer a number of questions that we often get from other photographers. We update this page occasionally, so feel free to check back. We’ve also done a few occasional Q&A posts on our blog. If you’d like to ask us a question, drop it on our Facebook page and we can try to add it in the future.
Q: Do you do workshops/lessons?
A: Yes! Although very rarely. Right now we are offering the HoffShop, a personalized workshop for professional photographers. You can find more details on the For Photogs>Workshops link on the left.
Q: Where did you get your website/blog?
A: Our site is a custom design from the amazing RAWfolio crew. For a long time we messed around with a variety of homemade sites, since I have a background in design. When I discovered RAWfolio, we were finally able to get what was in our heads online. Check out RAWfolio and feel free to use our discount code: HOFFER12 to save yourself 10%.
Q: How did you get started in photography / How should I start?
A: Photography started as a hobby for me (Tony), like it does for many. As I started taking paid jobs, I found myself spending immense amounts of time entrenched in books, manuals and more. I’d imagine that many of you are in that place. As work picked up, I spent a long time basically doing two full time jobs.
I always offer one piece of advice to any photographer wanted to start a photography business: Running a photography business is much more ‘Running a business’ and much less ‘Photography’ than you probably planned for. Many jump in head over heels because of the easy entry into the field. For the same reason, most fail shortly after. I’d encourage any new photographers to treat this business like you would any other. Sit down and make a business plan, think through expenditures, future earnings, future employees, up front costs, time commitments, delegating work, ect. I’d also encourage any new business to meet with an accountant/lawyer as soon as possible and to get all of those affairs in order up front. Trust me when I say that I understand this isn’t a fun thing to do, but it is exactly why most businesses fail. Having these things in order allows you to earn income doing what you love. Without them, you’ll be the best free photographer around :)
Q: Can I assist/2nd shoot/intern for you?
A: We don’t currently offer any 2nd shooting positions or interships available. If we ever have openings Tony will usually post on his personal FB page or on his Twitter feed.
Q: What makes your photos so crisp / What is your editing style?
A: Having great equipment helps, but careful study of depth of field, light, space and aperture choices is more important than anything in producing the final product. The sharpness of a photo often has a lot more to do with these choices than with anything else.
Q: How do you do your editing?
A: We edit almost all of our work using Adobe Lightroom 4 & Adobe Photoshop. About 98% of what you see is all done in Lightroom, and we’ll sometimes throw a file into Photoshop to finish it off or do some cosmetic changes. If you’re interested in more information on how we deal with our images post-shoot, feel free to check out our Workflow DVD, which touches on that and much more.
Q: What equipment do you use and why?
A: We use Canon gear. We’ve tried all the lenses they offer for the most part, and here are our favorites. Keep in mind that these are based entirely on our style of shooting as well as the things that we shoot. I’d recommend these and a few things that aren’t on here. If it’s not on this list, there’s probably a reason we don’t use it…
3 – Canon 5D Mark III – The best wedding camera we’ve ever used
Canon 5D Mark II – A slower, cheaper older brother of the Mark III, with nearly the same image quality
Canon 16-35 2.8 – The best wide angle zoom lens for Canon
Canon 17 TS/E – Great for architecture and interiors
Canon 24 1.4 v1 and v2 – Great in low light and still pretty wide
Canon 35 1.4 – Excellent color and contrast, very fast. Tony’s favorite lens
Canon 45 TS/E – For interesting focus effects
Canon 50 1.2 – A great all around length for a normal focal length
Canon 70-200 2.8 IS II – Great lens for low light versatility
Canon 85 1.2 – A beast of a lens that’s slow but excellent
Canon 100 2.8 Macro – A super-sharpest lens
Canon 135 2.0 – Great color and contrast straight out of camera
Canon 600 EX-RT
Paul C. Buff Einsteins
Q: What should I do to set up my business?
A: Consult an accountant and a lawyer for advice and help setting up a business… I don’t feel at all qualified to give advice on either of these and my butt has been saved by my accountant. I’ve paid lots of unnecessary money as a result of not being willing to spend money up front on skilled professionals… I won’t make that mistake again. Neither should you :)
Q: What are the best ways to attain/build business?
A: The easiest way is to be really good at one of the following: Taking Photos, Marketing your Photos. That’s the best answer I can give you. If you want help with those, see question #2!