Interview with Ann Young, FixThePhoto on Aerial Photography
Chief Retoucher & Author at FixThePhoto
It is the first time a woman photographer featured on our UAV Interview Series. And, what better candidate we could have found out than the young & beautiful lady Ann Young.
She is the chief retoucher & author at the FixThePhoto website. This company provides online photo editing services to professional photographers 24x7x365 at competitive prices. Ann is a multi-talented individual who transformed from a young girl who took shots of neighbors’ pets to still photography up to aerial wedding shooting that changed the face of her business.
In this interview, we talk in-depth with Ann about her photography journey, what camera/lens is in her kit, her switch into drone photography, admirers in the photography world, tips to aspiring photographers, prediction about way forward for the drone industry, and so on.
We guarantee there is a wealth of knowledge and experience shared here, so you do not want to miss out on an excellent chance. You are one step away from Ann’s insider about aerial photography.
So, without any further intro let’s get into the actual interview post.
Welcome Ann Young, Tell us a little about yourself. How did you become a photographer?
I recall when I was 10 or 12, I got interested in photography and took several shots of neighbors’ pets and surroundings. I liked what I got and decided to keep shooting. My first companion was Canon EOS 1.
It was hard to understand what photography genre appealed to me most of all. So, I tried real estate, wedding, portrait, fashion photography, and even photojournalism until I figured out that portraiture made me enthusiastic.
At first, I imitated famous photographers like Annie Leibovitz and Steve McCurry, but I have finally come up with my unique style.
What inspired you to start the FixThePhoto website, initially?
I’m a Chief Retoucher & Author of blog articles. If you are crazy about something, be it fashion, photography, modeling, or anything else, at some point, you feel an urge to share your passion and knowledge with other people.
When I began my career, there was nobody nearby to guide me through all the pitfalls of the photography industry. Now when I know all the steps of producing professional photos, I have something to share with my colleagues, both beginner, and more experienced shooters.
FixThePhoto website is like a treasure, where any person interested in photography can find helpful tips, reviews of different equipment, useful tools for image editing, recommendations from famous photographers, and more.
We see you’re a wedding and portrait photographer. How would you describe your style?
I like doing wedding and portrait shooting as this way I can interact with people and immortalize special moments of their lives. Typically, I mix several approaches when I work as a wedding photographer – a bit of traditional, documentary, and light and airy styles.
Not so long ago, I also start practicing aerial wedding shooting. Frankly speaking, it gives me so much flexibility and creativity that I lacked before.
When I have a portrait photo session, I always talk to a model in advance. I need to know what he/she is expecting to get, what the strong sides are, and how convenient he/she is with certain poses. Lifestyle and group portraits are my favorite genres.
What camera/lens set up do you use for weddings?
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV is my reliable partner when I do wedding shooting. 30 megapixels it offers are more than enough to take sharp and clear pictures.
The full-frame sensor makes my work more efficient and pleasant. Canon EOS-1D X is my backup body, but I can’t remember the time I last used it.
As for the lens, I have several favorite models – Canon EF 27-70mm f/2.8L II (also great for group portraits), Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II (makes shooting from a distance a breeze) and Canon EF 14mm f/2.8L II (I need it for reception photos).
How did you ever get involved in drones?
I was getting ready for the next wedding photoshoot and was thinking about an exciting way to incorporate location into the frame. It was a picturesque place that could add lots of drama to the photos.
I know that my cameras can’t show all the magnificence of the venue since I lacked top angles – that moment, I understood that I should resort to aerial shooting.
What do you currently fly? What is in your drone kit?
The first drone I got was DJI Phantom 4 Pro. It was a great model to start practicing aerial wedding photography. I was impressed with the quality of 24-MP photos I got.
The RAW shooting gave me so much freedom while editing shots. DJI Phantom 4 Pro can boast of many useful features that helped me realize my boldest ideas.
The next drone I bought was DJI Mavic Pro. Its biggest advantage is a compact size, which plays a big role if you do destination wedding photography. A 12 MP camera, 4K shooting, 27 minutes’ flight time, 4 memory cards – all this makes DJI Mavic Pro a good addition to my drone kit.
Nowadays, the requirements for aerials shooting are serious, so I need to upgrade my gear all the time. My recent purchase is DJI Mavic Air, and I believe it is the best drone you should own.
How have customers/fans responded to your drone work?
People always feel unsure about something new, and when I first offered my clients the drone wedding photography services, they were more than hesitant. Fortunately, I had some shots from my friends’ wedding that I took using my first drone several weeks before.
Once they see how amazing the bird’s eye view, wedding images look, they decided to try. Nowadays, many couples want to have photos of their ceremony and wedding party taken from above. Such pictures have unique depth and views, which you cannot capture with an ordinary camera.
Living in New York must be a trip. What is it like to film there (using the drone)?
Living and working in New York, I feel like a fish in the water. So many exciting locations, possibilities to promote your services and provide more couples with amazing aerial photos.
I had to handle some legal issues and register all my drones with Federal Aviation Administration before I got the permission to fly them. I also decided to get insurance to get protected in case something goes wrong while shooting. It is the right thing to do, either you live in NY or another city/country.
Have you been certified (Part 107)?
Of course! I attended courses at the local FAA’s department and passed the initial aeronautical knowledge test. Now I have the Remote Pilot Certificate and can show it to my clients if they ask.
What is your favorite aerial shot you have ever captured?
Oh, it is tough to name the one, since each drone shot has a beautiful story behind it and makes me remember that couple and their wedding.
I am grateful that people address me when they are looking for a wedding aerial photographer. Still, one of the first wedding drone photos I will remember all my life was taken at Lake Mohonk Mountain House, New Paltz.
A 149-year-old Victorian Castle surrounded by lush greenery and deep river perfectly complemented the idea of a vintage wedding ceremony.
How much of your still photography knowledge carries to your drone?
I can hardly imagine myself doing drone photography without having still photography background. Though flying a drone and taking photos using it differs a lot from pressing the shutter release button, but if you know basic composition rules and methods to choose a flattering angle – you will feel more confident while operating an aerial vehicle. For me, it makes sense to start with still photography and then shift to drone shooting.
You mentioned that you picked up a Canon EOS 1 when you were about 10 or 12. How has camera technology changed since then?
Greatly. I started with a film camera and from time to time, feel nostalgic about such devices. But, I like the variety of cameras, manufacturers supply the market. Nowadays, you can easily find a decent rig that fully meets your demands, even if your budget is tight.
Lots of lenses and additional equipment make the shooting process enjoyable. It is something photographers struggle with dozens of years ago.
Have you ever crashed a drone? Tell us about it!
Yes, a couple of times. The first one when I was learning to fly it and crashed into a tree. The situation appeared to be a wonderful experience. The second time was a coincidence, but it proved that having a drone insured gets rids of many problems.
You mentioned you were photographer, photo retoucher, and journalist. Awesome! How did you manage that?
If you like the things you do, you always find time for them. I started as a photographer and very quickly realized that I need to master image editing not to delegate photo processing to outsource companies all the time. Besides, it gives me a better understanding of what parameters affect the quality of a photo.
Once I felt confident about photography and picture editing, I decided to attend journalism courses to understand how to share my knowledge with people in an informative and understandable way. That’s it!
You mentioned much of your work takes place outside on location. Where do you hope to travel next to capture drone images?
Yes, I like working outdoors on location. It makes my perception more sensitive, and I always feel inspired. There are many locations on my travel-list, but the next one is Letchworth State Parks. It is one of the best parks in NY, but I haven’t visited it yet. Plan to make this dream come true soon.
Who are some people you admire in the photography and drone space?
I have already mentioned some world-renowned photographers, whose style I tried to imitate at the beginning of my career. I still admire their works and their techniques. Other photographers whom I look up to are Elizabeth Messina with her passion for wedding photography and Calin Stan known for his drone images.
Where do you find drones in another 5-10 years?
Not concentrating solely on photography and videography, but talking about drones in general, I think that they will penetrate most spheres of our life – defense, emergency response, disease monitoring, healthcare, agriculture, construction, and urban planning, tourism, and more.
As for aerial photography, I believe the quality and reliability of camera drones will be boosted. These will appear smaller, but more powerful models. Flight time and distance will also increase. Probably, some of the drones will come with the AI technology embedded.
Any tips for aspiring photographers?
There are several things I wish I knew when I was an aspiring photographer, but the most important ones, I believe, are to value the time and invest in studying. You can’t just buy a camera and claim to be a professional photographer.
Studying and practicing is something that helps you understand your weak points, define mistakes, learn new techniques, and get better every day. There will be a time when you feel that your knowledge and skills bring you not only moral but also financial satisfaction.
If you manage to reach this point, you can rightfully call yourself a professional photographer.
When you’re not on behind the drones, where would we find you?
Difficult to say. I am an active person and sometimes feel the need to grab my bike and ride somewhere. Oh, I also take my camera with me.
If I’m not taking pictures, I am probably writing a blog post for the FixThePhoto website or taking part in any photography competition. I also like doing yoga, which helps me keep my body and spirit in balance.
Is there anything else that we haven’t touched on that you would like to share?
Check out FixThePhoto on the web!
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