I'm often asked... "How I got the shot?" I answered the phone. Nothing frustrates me more than when I ask someone "Why didn't you call back?", and the response is "My battery was dead" or "I left my phone in the car". My next comment is "If you were the captain of the plane, we'd all be dead!" My point is this, you might be a great photographer, but if you don't have professional phone skills, the odds are not in your favor. Good Etiquette When I get called to shoot on a TV show or movie and I can't answer the phone because I'm shooting, or … [Read more...] about How I Got the Shot
As a portrait photographer, I love getting a close, tight shot that really captures the personality of my subject. Understanding the limitations and effects your gear has on the final image is vital. Close up portraits are typically shot using a focal length of 85mm or longer, but when starting out, these lenses may not be an option. It is common for photographers to start out using a 50mm lens and grow their arsenal from there. I love my "Nifty 50." When shooting in a small space, the Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G is my go-to lens most of the time. I … [Read more...] about Lens Distortion in Portraits
In part 1 of this post, I discussed growing your weak areas and developing a dream client communication plan. Here in part 2, were going to take a look at additional ways you can set goals in order to foster growth for your photography and your business. Lets start with the scary subject first: numbers. Creating Measurable Goals: The Step-By-Step Process Continued Understanding Your Numbers As a photographer, have you thought about how much money you want to make in a given year? Have you thought about how much you need to make in order to … [Read more...] about How To Create Measurable Photography Goals: Part 2
Setting Measurable Goals To Foster Growth: Part 1 Have you ever felt your passion for photography grow stagnant? I certainly have, and let me tell you, its not a pleasant feeling. You wonder what the purpose is of snapping photos; youre not completely satisfied with your interactions with your clients ; you sense a lack of growth with the quality of your photos, and your income begins to suffer. I have had to pick myself up from face-planting into this wall more often than I would like to admit. So much, in fact, that writing about it will … [Read more...] about How To Create Measurable Photography Goals: Part 1
Today, the FAA formally announced plans for the registration of small unmanned aircraft (UAS), better known as "drones". The new laws apply to any UAS weighing more than 0.55 pounds (250 grams) and less than 55 pounds (approx. 25 kilograms) including payloads such as on-board cameras. Effective December 21st, all owners of qualifying drones are required to register them with the FAA. Failure to comply may result in civil and criminal penalties. Registration includes a $5 fee, which will be refunded for all registrations submitted before January … [Read more...] about Like It Or Not, All Drones Must Be Registered
In a recent Skype chat with photographer Joey Jones, we were casually discussing how he runs his successful portrait photography business. At one point, he casually stated, The camera is just a tool. Its what you do with it that counts. Needless to say, Joey was spot on. It was something I myself had only realized in recent years. Where were those wise words when I was going through my lengthy "equipment insecurity phase? For many of us trying to make money off of our photography talent, there can be constant pressure to collect expensive, … [Read more...] about Your Camera Is Just A Tool: YOU Are The Secret Sauce
There are six emotions (sadness, surprise, fear, happiness, disgust, anger). Everything else is a combination or a blend of these emotions. Asking a subject to show happiness will result with a smile on their face as their eyes open wide. Anger can be shown with a scowl and a low brow. I asked comedian friend Frankie Paul to pose for a few shots demonstrating each emotion. I should have used a tripod. He had me laughing so hard it caused camera shake resulting in lots of blurry photos. Pretty easy. Its when we ask the subject to show … [Read more...] about How to Get an Emotion from your Subject
Media professionals can all relate to the long production day. Whether youre a landscape photographer waking up at zero dark thirty to capture the first light or a wedding photographer shooting from bridal prep straight through to the reception, weve all had those days. In the video world, Ive had my share of long production days, especially when theyre back to back. While Im not one to jump out of bed ready to go, there are a few routine things I do to make dealing with long production days easier. Get Yourself Organized Have the location … [Read more...] about Preparing for a Long Production Day
Your vote matters! At Photofocus we like to know more about our audience so we can create content that helps you. This week we want to know what type of camera will be your next purchase (or at least which one you think or want to buy). … [Read more...] about Question of the Week: Your Next Camera
I browse lots of photography forums in search of ideas for articles to write. I came across a post from a photographer offering to give up a job because he wouldn't be in town to shoot it. He writes: Hey! I was just contacted by a client about shooting a Sweet 16th unfortunately I will not be in the area and had to turn her down. She isn't looking to spend too much, about $50 to be more precise (I know... It's quite low); but is there anyone that would possibly be interested in taking on this client? Another photographer replied: That's the … [Read more...] about Photographer Wanted $5 per hour – should you take the job?
One of the most common posts I see in photography forums and groups are those upset about the prices other photographers are charging. While this may be a bit of a controversial post, I'd like to offer another way to view this oft argued subject. It never fails, after a year or two of charging for your services, you start running into the novice shoot-and-burn photogs. They sprout up out of nowhere and seem to multiply like rabbits. You see post after post of sessions for $50-$100 with a CD full of images. Immediately, your hackles rise and … [Read more...] about Every Photographer Has a Place
Im in the market for a new camera and its been a struggle to decide which one I want. Being a techie, Ive analyzed every spec and feature from all the cameras, weighed cost and portability, and compared it to the gear I already have. And still no answer. But since Ive done the research, I figured Id share my thoughts with you and maybe it will help me make a decision. Before I decide, the best thing to do is rent each camera from LensRentals.com and test it out myself. While Ive considered it, I don't have any trips or shoots scheduled for the … [Read more...] about The Search for a Perfect Camera
I don't know if there's a term for the photographer's equivalent for writer's block, but l had it for the majority of last year. I remember that I couldn't feel the vibe, I couldn't find the energy to shoot and I couldn't find the motivation. I took a double dose of it all when I started feeling self conscious about my work. Now, if you were to pile on some of the issues that could exist in life-- relationship issues (or perhaps a lack thereof), financial burdens, moving, school and a slew of other things-- it can be more than enough for many … [Read more...] about Dealing with that Creative Rut
Great you finally have your website up and going. You have set up stat counter and google analytics. A few weeks later you check your stats and you don't have any visitors. You start internet searching and everything is overwhelming. A Quick Explanation on How Search Engines Work As you can imagine there are billions of websites and web pages out there. Search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo need to first locate and find all the websites. This is called "crawling". They are crawling the internet looking for new sites, old sites that no … [Read more...] about Stop Obsessing over Stats and SEO!
High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography is like Taylor Swifts music; a lot of people claim to hate it, but truth be told everyone likes it. Some people, like Trey Ratcliff, fully embrace the dreamy glow and punched-up shadows of HDR while others openly bash the technique but dabble in it secretly. Theres no question that the process of creating HDR images has been abused, weve all seen the Velvet Elvis images. Hyper-saturated colors, noisy shadows and smudgy haloes have festooned many shots, but beyond the horrors of over-cooked HDR lie masterful … [Read more...] about Aurora HDR Professional Review. Trey and Friends Bring the Fun.
What kind of story are you telling as a photographer? Please watch the above video and share your thoughts below in the comments. This experiment was recently posted and I wanted to create some dialogue and discuss how we can grow and learn. The pictures we create have the opportunity to share with the world amazing stories. This video had several photographers shoot one subject. Each photographer was given 10 minutes and a story about who their subject was. Their goal was to create a portrait of the man they were taking a picture of. What … [Read more...] about The Power You Have As A Photographer
Welcome to the third of six posts focused on topics found in my newest book, The Visual Palette. Each of these posts will include a free sample download from my book for you to download and enjoy. You can also check out Part 2 in case you missed it. You can learn more about my first published book by clicking on the button at the bottom of this post! The word "Distortion" is usually synonymous with being an aberrationsomething you correct for and go to great lengths to avoid. And sure, depending on the nature of your photography, that very … [Read more...] about The Visual Palette – A Friend in Distortion
Welcome to the second of six posts focused on topics found in my newest book, The Visual Palette. Each of these posts will include a free sample download from my book for you to download and enjoy. You can also check out Part 1 in case you missed it. You can learn more about my first published book by clicking on the button at the bottom of this post! Often times, the term, Depth of Field (DoF), is mentioned as it relates to the quality of fast lenses. We associate fast lenses are large apertures with creating a shallow DoF, and that is very … [Read more...] about The Visual Palette – Depth of Field
You know that neck strap that came with your camera? Yes, the one that has the big Nikon/Canon/Sony/Fuji/Panasonic/Olympus logo on it. That thing should stay tightly locked in the box your camera came in. Neck straps, especially the stock ones, are much more trouble than they are worth. Lose the strap and not only will your photography look better, you will look better doing it! Do You Even Need a Strap? If you spend most of your photo time shooting from a tripod, you definitely don't need a neck strap. In fact, during long exposures, that … [Read more...] about Save Your Neck and Lose That Strap
This article was inspired by the recent feud between Photographer Carly Fuller and DJ Ken Rochon of Absolute Entertainment and the outcry from Photographers. If you haven't heard about the controversy, you can read it on Forbes. In a nutshell, The DJ took photos at the wedding and created a gallery for the wedding party. The photographer argued she had an exclusive clause in her contract. Bottomline, in my opinion, legally she was right but could have handled it differently. Someone used my Photo without my Consent shares my viewpoint on how … [Read more...] about If I Had a Camera Like Yours I Could Take Great Photos Like You
Welcome to the first of six posts focused on topics found in my newest book, The Visual Palette. Each of these posts will include a free sample download from my book for you to download and enjoy. You can learn more about my first published book by clicking on the button at the bottom of this post! When I first set out to write The Visual Palette, my hope was that it would serve as a guide for all of the photographers out there who strive to identify what their unique visual style looks like. One of the most important steps in this journey is … [Read more...] about The Visual Palette – Allies in Perspective and Distortion
Thinking back to when I started my wedding photography business in 2006, I had no idea what I was getting myself in to. I thought there would be some communication before the day, show up for a long day of photographing, then kick back on the couch for a bit while I edit, and voila! All done! I couldn't have been more wrong on the depth of what my workflow would entail. Today, I want to share my workflow (it has gone through many evolutions over the years) with you and shed a little light on what you may be getting in to as you start your … [Read more...] about My Wedding Workflow: Start to Finish
Newborn photography has become very popular in recent years, and in that genre, there have been many trends. Styles range from simple and minimalistic, to highly stylized with props and backdrops. Most recently, I have noticed a trend with flags being used to wrap up or hold newborns. This is very popular with families in the Armed Forces and those wanting to show pride in their country. As photographers, it is our responsibility to provide our clients with the images they desire while being responsible in the process. This not only means … [Read more...] about Using Flag Scarves for Newborn Portraits
In the beginning of the year I wrote, "Have You Created Your 2015 Metadata Copyright Preset?" reminding us to update our copyright information for the New Year. This quick tip made sure we added our copyright information to every photo we imported into Lightroom. Our next step to protect our images is to register them with the Library of Congress. Lightroom makes this final process just as fast and easy. I thought my images were already protected? The moment you capture an image, you automatically own the copyright of the image. If someone … [Read more...] about Third Quarter is Over: Have You Registered your Photos?
NOTE: Recently at Adobe MAX, all attendees (including me) were given a Fuji X T10 mirrorless camera with an 18-55mm lens. At retail this set up goes for about $1,100 when not on sale. Right now Im in the market for a new camera. Im borrowing a Lumix GX7 from a friend and Ive played with various Sony cameras. To finally have my own mirrorless to play with is pretty awesome. Im carrying this camera with me everywhere. The Key Specs: Lets get the specs out of the way. Shoots 16.3 megapixels Uses SD cards Shoots both JPEG and RAW ISO: 6400 and … [Read more...] about A Look at the Fuji X T10: It’s Making Photography Fun Again
My friends at Mindshift Gear sent over one of their newest bag: the Backlight 26L for me to review. This bag is perfect for anyone looking to fit a bunch of gear for a basic day shoot or even a 2-3 day shoot. Lots of space and superb build quality. Check out the video review for more details! You can order your own Backlight 26L from Amazon using the links below: Backlight 26L (Greenfield) Backlight 26L (Charcoal) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cr0PQHFWK98&feature=youtu.be Questions about this column? Just leave them in the Comments … [Read more...] about A Closer Look: Mindshift Gear Backlight 26L Camera Bag
Once we imported our photos to our catalog, we need to quickly review each image and select our favorites. The trick is NOT to make this a time consuming task. One option is to use the Flagging system to temporarily select your favorite images. Its important not to get hung up on an image. If you have to ask, should I flag this?, you took too long. Flag the image and move on to the next. This doesn't mean you are going to process every selected image or delete the non selected images. It simply allows you to quickly scan your photos and select … [Read more...] about Making Selects by using Flags in Lightroom
Through the years Ive taught a lot of photographers. Ive witnessed their struggles to stay relevant and competitive. Ive also seen a lot of bad things happen to creative professionals. Making a living has never been harder. But getting angry isn't the answer. Photography is about capturing the moments of life. We have a great responsibility to those we love and those we serve. It is our job to preserve memories and to be impassioned observers of life. If all you see is anger, you'll miss out on the emotion and creativity needed to create … [Read more...] about Don’t Let Anger Ruin Your Photography
If you're one of the more wide-eyed people who updated to Adobe Lightroom 6.2 right after it was launched a few days ago, you have likely come to rue that decision. Between the "Fisher Price"-ification of the Import flow to the ridiculous crashes caused due to bugs in the software, this update left much to be desired. Fortunately, Adobe has made good and released a critical maintenance update that supposedly fixes some of the issues. I still take umbrage with their decision to regress the Import workflow functionality by removing key features … [Read more...] about Adobe releases Lightroom 6.2.1 Maintenance Patch + An Author’s Rant
As a professional photographer in the digital age, protecting your data is one of the most important things you can do for your business (or hobby). Having come from a very heavy Computer and programming background, when I started shooting professionally, my backup routine was top priority! The first thing we'll cover is how to store and organize your files which covers the first of the Three C's. Copy First and foremost you have to copy your files from your camera to your computer. There are dozens of ways to do this i'm sure you're all … [Read more...] about The Three C’s of File Management – Copy, Clone, and Cloud!