“The 24mm I use more for reception or getting ready,” she says, “dancing shots, or if I’m in a tight room. And the 85mm is pretty much only for ceremony and a bit of reception. I’m getting wider and wider as I shoot over the years. Three years ago, I would have said 85 and 50 were my main lenses, but now I just love images that have lots of space in them. I think photographers just try to fill the frame too much when they’re starting out. I always love images that have room to breathe.”
In post, Blake employs a light touch, although her editing is fairly involved, with images getting color-corrected in Lightroom before each is refined in Photoshop. She uses postprocessing to create images that feel natural, even traditional, in the sense that they harken back to a bygone era. Her best advice to photographers trying to refine their visual style in a world where anything is possible is to keep it simple and consistent.
“Have one color look,” Blake says, “and have one black-and-white look. Earlier this year, I taught a photography class and I did portfolio reviews. I reviewed 85 people one day, and my biggest critique was inconsistent editing. If I was a client hiring a photographer, I want a pretty clear idea of how the images are going to look. I don’t want to hire a photographer and then in editing that week they’re in a yellow phase, so everything is looking yellow. I think this is also because I shot my first five years as a wedding photographer on film. I’m always in my head trying to create a very clean color image, just very classic, something that’s not going to date. I just try to make my images look like film. I want the feeling a photograph gives to be the most obvious thing and then the post production to be secondary.”
Blake’s portfolio intermingles color images with beautiful black-and-white. She says black-and-white has become her signature look, something for which she’s specifically hired.