What questions to ask a photographer

TamaraMay I introduce you to the amazing portrait and lifestyle photographer Tamara Klein Bowman. It has been maybe year that we met, virtually. She blogs about every day life keeping her family life in balance with her professional photography business. Every Friday she swaps 10 questions with another blogger and answers them on her blog. These posts are always fun and I decided to do one of these swaps with her.
You will find my questions with her answers over on her blog called TamaraCameraBlog, where you will also find a link to her portrait site. While she lives up in Massachusetts with her family she grew up just around the corner in New Jersey. We somehow connected and keep visiting each other’s blogs regularly, but to the day we have not managed to meet in person. One day, Tamara, one day.

But now here are her questions and my answers:

  1. If you could study with any photographer, who would it be and why? How do you educate yourself to take better photos?

I honestly do not have any particular photographer that I could name. There are a lot of fantastic ones out there both contemporary and of course old masters. But I am also finding inspiration in traditional art e.g. painting. I am a big fan of modern early 20th century painters. However, more particular I am currently participating in an online art course and I am thinking of  taking another creative one in person, probably in the direction all composition, surreal kind of pictures. But I have not found THE one yet. I am constantly watching tutorials and am a subscriber of Kelby One which offers a wealth of photography and editing information.

This is the very first ever iPad edited photo. I did it just over two years ago in a cubist style.


  1. What is your favorite lens that’s on your camera the majority of the time? OR.. do you have an even split between two or three? Lastly, if you came into some money, what would be the first dream lens you would be?

I have really come to the lucky point where I do have all the lenses I can think of (at this point). Like most photographers in the beginning I used a standard zoom for its convenience and being inexpensive. Unfortunately that goes along with not producing the best quality of pictures, from a technical standpoint. These days a 50 mm 1.4 is my all-around lens, a 16-24 mm f4 for landscape and architecture, my trusted 70-200 mm 2.8 for sports action and anything further away. It actually also serves as a very good portrait lens on my full frame camera body. Speaking of portraits last year I acquired a beautiful 100 mm macro lens. Depending on what I want to shoot any given day I will take the lens(es) I need.

  1. What is one thing you wish you knew when you started taking photos?

That it is so addictive? That it takes a lot of time and commitment to learn all things I actually want to learn, as from  the very beginning I was not happy with the occasional nice snapshot. And the best tip: Always have your camera, any camera (hint, hint), with you and ready to shoot.

  1. How long have you been a photographer, and how would you describe your style?

Define photographer! I have been taking photos all my life since I was about 10. Sometimes more, sometimes less. So in that sense I have been a photographer all my life. For most of the time I have been taking travel and landscape photos. And since the beginning of the digital age, which started for me in 2001, I have been seriously addicted to editing. From the very start I was hooked on Photoshop. But I usually do either or, i.e. very edited or natural. ImagesByCW was started in 2011 when I moved to the US.

In my mind, unfortunately, I have not defined ‘my style’, yet. I guess it is because I am always drawn to new things and have those mixed in with my photography and images. And since there is always something new there’s no particular style. Maybe one day.

A DSLR shot with lens flare added in Photoshop

Bonaire, cave, panorama

  1. What draws you to photography? What THREE things are your favorite to shoot?
Only three?! Well then, if it is only three then I have to go for:
  • Landscapes, in particular if it includes the ocean
  • Architecture, any old or modern structures and details thereof
  • Product photos and still lifes
another iPhone/iPad only image


These are others I’d love to do more action/sports, travel, street and portrait, but for some reason or another they just don’t happen as often.

And in all of these it is the light and shadows, the sometimes abstract, but always interesting textures, patterns and lines they form. These are never getting old to me.

  1. What’s the most interesting thing you’ve ever photographed? What was the most memorable photo shoot you’ve ever had?

I don’t really do photo shoots so I don’t have any of those although a couple of weddings that I did shoot at were pretty amazing. Very memorable was my very first visit to New York City. How can I forget that?! ‘Most interesting’ I am not sure, but always interesting to me are certain things in nature that never get old  clouds and waves.

Cloud reflections and sun flare / Freedom Tower NYC

freedom, tower, clouds, reflections, monochrome

  1. I remember feeling very confused when I started out, so what’s your biggest piece of advice about LIGHTING that you’d give to a new photographer? Regarding natural light, what to buy, what to use, what to expect, etc…

As a spectator in a big arena, stadium never shoot with your flash. Totally useless and it annoys the heck out of everybody. And as far as shooting with a flash goes really make the effort and learn to take it off camera and bounce it (even a ceiling works great for that). I am a big fan of natural light. The two things that make a big difference are 1) knowing the light i.e. time of day and its effect on your location and 2) a reflector big enough for your purpose to lighten dark shadows.

An iPhone shot

Clouds & Sunrays

  1. What kind of gear do you use? Maybe you can explain to readers what goes into your camera bag and why?

I partially answered this one in no. 2. So apart from my Nikon D800 and lenses for my intent I might also throw in a LensBaby for the dreamy look. What else: Cleaning cloth for the lens, iPhone, extra battery, pol filter, spare flash cards and not forgetting my purse with money etc..

  1. When you go on one of your trips, what all do you take with you and why?

It totally depends on where I’m going and why. For example I have been to Bonaire for the fifth time and I actually seriously considered not to take my DSLR this time. One reason being that the island is very small and I have explored it a lot already. I mean there is always something to ‘shoot’, but I also did not intend to take any action shots.  Another reason is that for travel photography or street photography the iPhone is very adequate. I am certain there are better suited cameras for those purposes, but I have become a big fan of iphoneography not too long ago. So apart from my camera gear I also bring my iPad for editing, sharing on the go and possibly also my laptop for backing up the flash cards. And if there is space in my bag or my suitcase I will also pack a tripod, reflector and my flashes, because you just never know what mood strikes you. Oh,, and on Bonaire  a waterproof case for camera or iPhone is a must.  You absoutely want to be in the water.

My iPhone took the plunge with me

In the water


  1. What kind of tools do you use for post-processing? Can you explain your workflow?

I am pretty much Adobe all the way. As I’m shooting raw I need a converter and with so many photos also a catalogueing system. So as soon as Lightroom became available I was hooked on it. Most normal processing I am doing in Lightroom. All photos you are seeing in this post are either edited on my iPhone/iPad or in LR. Only if I want to really edit or manipulate for example add textures or do a composition I export my photos into Photoshop. Once I’m done in Photoshop they are being imported directly back into Lightroom as a psd file and from there I will export them as JPEG’s including a watermark to upload onto the Internet. And that’s it for my DsLR photos.

As far as the iPhone is concerned, basically everything goes. I have gone through so many different apps and there are so many more photography apps that I have heard of, but not tried, it’s amazing. Big time fun. Only recently I have discovered that now Lightroom mobile is available for Adobe Creative Cloud users. I seriously love it. I have set it to sync my iPhone camera roll photos directly into a collection which I have set to then automatically sync with both my iPad and my windows desktop. Yep, I am a photographer and despite my slight addiction to my iPhone and iPad still not a Mac person.

  1. Bonus question! What kind of shoot would you most go on with me??

I am always intrigued by those things that you do not normally see. We all know you are a fantastic portrait, lifestyle photographer. But I just know that there is more, something else. So if I were to get you away from your awesome family for a few hours, how about something totally different and we would go to a motor or horse racing event to shoot the action and people? Of course, TamaraLikeCameraany sunsets session in a nice location or a stroll through NYC with frequent stops at coffee shops might be more feasible and a lot of fun, too.

So, that’s it for me and my very first participation in Ask Away Friday. Definitely check out Tamara’s photos and her answers to my questions. And if you like to join the fun, find the AAF group on facebook and join in.

Why don’t you join me along my journey and follow me on fbgo and tw if you prefer and see what I come up with next. You can, of course, also subscribe by email – (click) here or you may follow my blog with Bloglovin or my preferred reader Feedly.

Drop me a comment and you’ll make me smile!


7 thoughts on “What questions to ask a photographer”

  1. What amazing photographs and questions! I can’t believe that first one was edited on an iPad!

    I am still a newbie when it comes to my big girl camera but I have been shopping for a better lens…great swap ladies!

  2. Wow, your photographs are amazing and I seriously can’t believe those two iPhone photos! Simply stunning. I just bought my first DSLR and I am still getting to know it, so reading posts like this is a lot of fun for me! I am glad you did this swap with Tamara! Thank you for joining in on AskAwayFriday!

    • Thank you very much, Echo. After 2.5 years with the iPhone and later the iPad I am still amazed at their possibilities. Yes, I would not use them for serious portrait work or night shots but most anything else goes.

  3. so much fun seeing two of my fave photographers exchanging a Q & A.
    I realize I have a long way to go, and a lot more to learn; but that it absolutely will be fun along the way.
    Also, you do know if you do a moose hunt, I have to come too. 🙂

  4. One day, for sure.
    The 50mm 1.4 is one of my favorites too. And I’ve been borrowing a 100mm 2.8 macro right now. It’s fun!
    I love the water photo. And I can understand that sometimes you’ve explored a place a lot. We go to Cape Cod every year and sometimes I wonder if I’ll be able to find unique perspectives. Mainly, I do, but it’s a big place.

  5. Welcome to #AAF and it is great to meet you! What a wonderful swap! I absolutely love landscape shots and sunrise/sunset photos. Water themes are always beautiful, too! It was wonderful getting to know you. Wishing you a great weekend!


Leave me a comment and make me smile :)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.