Talking Cameras with the Photographers Behind Some of Your Favorite Blogger’s Content: Part 3 featuring Debbie Lemonte
There is a quality standard that goes into creating consistent visual content for bloggers. These days, there are so many different cameras to choose from, so many apps to make use of, and so many editing techniques.
To help give an idea on what product you should be looking at if you’re interested in achieving quality content like your favorite bloggers, we have talked to some notable photographers in the New York scene who work with some of the most popular, and influential bloggers today. They’ve teamed up with us to give you some of their best tips and tricks when it comes to professional photography. Today’s edition is featuring NYC photographer, Debbie Lemonte.
Name: Debbie Lemonte
Location: NY, NY
Instagram: Photography – @Dag_Images // Personal – @TheLocdBella
Previously Shot For:
A Dapper Chick, Danielle of She's A Gent, Diego of Dandy In The Bronx, Natalie Suarez of Natalie Off Duty, Remi of RRayMe, Justin Livingston of JustinLiv, and a few more. Occasionally shoots events for GQ.
What camera do you use?
It's between a 5D Mark 3 or 6D paired with a 50mm + 24-70mm lens. The Mark 3 I rented occasionally as I was camera-less for a while. Recently, I purchased the 6D for $1499. It is worth every penny.
What is your main aesthetic?
It depends. In the studio, I love colorful backgrounds. Outdoors, I tend to stick with lighting 8am-10am or 5pm-7pm. I don't like harsh light so I veer away from shooting between 11am-4pm. I also love detailed shots. They're so cool because you get to see the tiniest thread on the item.
What’s your go-to editing technique?
My process of editing is pretty simple. I shoot in a way where post-editing is not necessary. Everything is done in camera. So the shutter speed, aperture, etc is all set how I'd like the image. Now if something needs editing, I'll retouch in LR. First I'll fix the exposure/contrast/highlights/clarity then finish with the temperature of the overall image. I created a preset specifically for that purpose. I use Lightroom for overall editing and if I'd like to add a cool filter before posting on social media, I use VSCO. It is amazing!
Best photography tip you’ve ever learned?
The best tip I've ever received was from an old mentor, Jimi Sweet of West St. Studios. He said, “shoot as close as you can to your vision in camera (lighting, mood, subject, theme, etc) so when it's time to retouch, it saves you a lot of time”. -> Something of the sort.
What is your secret to getting the best light for a photo?
I play around with shutter speed, ISO, and aperture. I don't like my shots to be too dark/bright. Therefore, I play around with each aspect until I get the right look.
Best tips to make sure beginner shots look as professional as possible?
A) Get yourself a prime lens and shoot at the lowest possible aperture (depending on if you're shooting flat-lays or portraits). It would make your images look so top notch.
B) Not everyone can afford a thousand dollar camera but invest in a good DSLR that can work with your prime lens. Together, They are magic!
C) Understand your camera + the photography basics. You should take the time to learn the shutter speed, ISO, White Balance & aperture aspects of a camera. Knowing these basics will give you the edge you need.
Any great tricks or tips for “on-the-go” shots on an iPhone?
Composition! Framing the right image on your smartphone can make all the difference. Also, when shooting with a phone, try not to zoom in. It makes the image super grainy/messy. Just get as close to the object as possible. You can also you editing apps such as ColorStory + VSCO. They add drama to images. So if you feel your image looks boring, plug it into VSCO and BAM! Your picture now looks like an editorial.
What makes the perfect shot for you?
The perfect shot for me? An image that's not only sharp, but fashion-forward with an eloquent mood paired with depth. So when you look at it, your first thought is “DAMN!”. Haha!
Debbie-jean Lemonte is the Owner & Photographer of DAG IMAGES and Content Creator of a Lifestyle & Fashion blog, The Loc’d Bella. Prior to taking the step into full entrepreneurship, she worked as a Reservationist at renown restaurants around the beautiful city of NYC. Educated at Queens College – CUNY, Debbie’s academic career focused on dance, psychology, the fusion of the two studies and how it can help as a therapy for individuals who’ve suffered from trauma.
She has over four years of experience as a photographer and is passionate about social media management, dance therapy and content creation for brands. Her photography series, We Are Queens, has been recently featured on renown site, ForHarriet, receiving various praises for its inspiration to women of color. Her latest collaboration emerged early 2016 as an event photographer for GQ magazine. She has also been named amongst Autostraddle’s “50 LGBTQ Black Women You Need To Know Because We Are Awesome”.