Cheryl Spelts | FAQ

Frequently asked questions…

What camera do you use? I always say it’s not the camera, it’s the artist! You can do beautiful work with the most basic of cameras – truly! But if you really are curious about what my favorite camera is, or what lenses I use, or what camera bags I favor, or what books I read, click here to view a collection of affiliate links, and I’ll receive a small commission on anything you purchase.

How far are you willing to travel for a session? In the past I’ve gone as far as Copenhagen, Denmark on an assignment, but currently I’m only accepting sessions in Humboldt County, California.

How much is a session? I call my sessions, “One Iconic Image” and the deposit to book is $300, which includes exactly 1 matted 7×10 print and the same 1 image in digital format. After the session, you can upgrade if you like, and get a package with more prints and the corresponding digital files–but you don’t have to decide until after you’ve seen the images. For more information, please see my pricing page.

How did you get started as a photographer? I took my first job in a studio in 1994. I knew nothing when I started, but it was a simple setup, so it didn’t take long to learn their system and start getting good results. But I got bored with set-it-and-forget-it studio photography really quickly! I wanted to play and experiment and do new things. So in 1995 I took my first photography class, and by 1996 I was shooting professionally on my own. I continued to take photography classes for close to ten years at one college and two universities. I loved school, and there’s no better way to get a well-rounded education as a photographer. Talent is important, of course, but education helps you make the most of that talent. I don’t regret one moment I spent learning.

How do you make people look so good? It’s a combination of skill, talent, and magic! Seriously, everyone is beautiful in their own way, and it’s just a matter of finding the right angle, and the right light to highlight their best features. There’s no secret formula, it just takes being persistent enough to find that perfect moment when the light, the angle, and the expression all come together for the best image possible.

How did you get started shooting rock stars? I started out shooting baby indie bands in my hometown, San Diego. Shooting live concerts in tiny dive bars is the best way possible to learn how to deal creatively when there’s very little light. Gradually I worked my way up to rock stars! But I still love shooting indie bands at the start of their careers…

How did you get to shoot backstage at MTV? The quick version of the story is that in 2005 I fell in love with a show called Rock Star: INXS on CBS, and started to write about it on my site, ROCKBAND.COM, which became the top spot on the Internet for fans to discuss the show. So in 2006 when Rock Star: Supernova was launched I approached the producers and asked for access, and got it. And in 2008 that led to access at MTV’s new show, Rock The Cradle. I hope to do more in the future!

I heard you owned ROCKBAND.COM? I sold it in 2007 to the makers of the game. You can read more about the deal on my blog.

Are you MAC or PC? I used to say I was both… I started out with a MAC, then in 1996 got a job as a web designer at a software company that was a Microsoft Solutions Provider, so I got familiar with the PC quickly. Then in 2007, I switched back to MAC in my studio. Today I am exclusively MAC.

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