Sunday, December 31, 2006

12/31/06: Silly Videos with your Point & Shoot

If you want to have some fun with your point & shoot and your photo subjects, switch the camera to video mode and tell the subjects to smile. This is especially fun with little kids saying "cheeeeeeese" for 20 or 30 seconds, or older subjects trying to maintain their composure while they think you are fumbling with shooting their pictures.

To see some fun videos of this very thing, surf on over to

Have some fun tonight as well say goodbye to 2006 and hello to 2007.

12/30/06: Recharge AA Batteries with your PC

Check out these neat little gizmo's from Moixa Energy.
You can recharge AA batteries with your PC using Moxia's USB-CELL rechargeable batteries -- all you need is an open USB port! Seems like a handy solution for when you forget your battery charge (but remembered your laptop!). Retail price is $19.95 (U.S.) for a two pack.

For more information on these batteries, click here to go to USB-CELL's home page.


Friday, December 29, 2006

12/29/06: Quote of the day...

Recently I came across a web-site called The Accidental Creative which is an awesome site for small business owners and creative individuals. Todd Henry runs the site and hosts a weekly podcast -- be sure to check it out.

Here are several quotes from Todd that I like...

"Fear is an enemy of the creative process. Creativity is all about taking risks."


"Cover bands don't change the world. You've got to find your own unique voice."

-- Todd Henry, The Accidental Creative

Thursday, December 28, 2006

12/28/06: Great New Book for PS Elements Users

Matt Kloskowski, one of the co-hosts of PhotoshopTV, has just introduced a new book for Photoshop Elements users. So if you got a new digital camera for Christmas and you want to learn some image editing but don't quite want to spend the big $$$ for Photoshop CS2 yet, check out "The Photoshop Elements 5 Restoration and Retouching Book" by Matt Kloskowski (ISBN # 0321481658). Click here to see more details on

I "cut my teeth" on PS Elements 2.0 so I can say from experience that learning Elements is a great way to take small steps toward learning the ubiquitous Photoshop CS or CS 2 (or CS3, currently in beta testing!) software package.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

12/27/06: Check Out This INSANE Panorama Camera

For really serious panoramas (and really expensive cameras!) check out the new 6x17 digital pano camera from Seitz that can shoot a 160 megapixel image in 1 second. The camera retails for "just" $36,000!
Click here for more information (and to order yours!).

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

12/26/06: Great New Resource Site For Photographers

My cyber-friend Matt Antonino who runs Picture Infinity studio in upstate NY recently launched a new web-site for photographers. Go to and register for his newsletter as well as check out some of his great video tutorials. Knowing what Matt has accomplished in a very short period of time is a good indication that great things will be shared by this amazing photographer.

Monday, December 25, 2006

12/25/06: Merry Christmas!

Takes lots of photos of your loved ones this year! And if you want to get great candid shots where your subjects are less "camera aware" -- shoot with natural light only (no flash). The lights at Christmas time add a nice warmness to holiday photos!


Sunday, December 24, 2006

12/24/06: Quick Basic Photo Tip

During the holidays when I spend my time around so many amateur photographers (read: "loved ones")...I often have to bite my tongue to keep from dispensing "Mr. Know-It-All" camera advice.

But the one tip that I find giving out over and over and over again deals with photographing small groups of 2-3 people or just one individual.

Shoot pictures of 1, 2 or 3 people vertically and shoot 4 or more horizontally.

The horizontal tip is quite obvious...but so often amateur photographers waste a LOT of space by shooting horizontal pictures of 1 or 2 people.

So put that point & shoot on it's end and fill the frame!

12/23/06: Look for those story-telling shots at Christmas...

This year I've been shooting a lot of what I call "slice of life" images when I shoot for fun. Here are some examples of some images I shot this evening at a Christmas gathering...

Amateur photographers and over-the-shoulder photographers (think "back seat drivers") tend to think of shots that are always set-up, always posed, and always where the subject is camera aware. You'll find yourself better able to tell a story with photos when you shoot candidly -- where the subjects are more natural in the shot.

Friday, December 22, 2006

12/22/06: Quote of the day...

We're fixin' to cross the great state of Missouri to spend Christmas with relatives so what a better way to introduce two photo-related quotes from one of the most famous Missourians -- Mark Twain.

The first is one of my personal favorites -- in fact, it's on the back of my business card.

"You can't depend on your eyes if your imagination is out of focus."

"A photograph is a most important document, and there is nothing more damning to go down to posterity than a silly, foolish smile caught and fixed forever."

--Mark Twain

Thursday, December 21, 2006

12/21/06: To Filter or Not?

A lens is the most senstive (external) part of a camera and many photographers debate whether or not you should protect your lens with a filter. On the "use one" side of the argument, the theory is that a $20 UV filter is much easier to replace than a $600 lens. On the "don't use one" side, many photographers feel that images look better with fewer pieces of glass to travel through.

In most cases I prefer to NOT use filters. In 20 years of shooting professionally I've never broken a filter or a lens (including putting a filter in a filter case, putting it in my back pocket -- forgetting about -- and then sitting down!). Quite often I let a lens hood protect the front of the lens for me. But the real decision should come down to how accident-prone you are! If you tend to break a lot of things...slap a filter on that expensive lens. If you walk under ladders and in the path of a black cat on Friday the 13th and still have never had to replace any broken piece of camera gear (some might argue that you are "due"...he-he-he) then don't worry about a filter until you need one for creative effect. (And, of course, the PS gurus will argue that almost any filter effect can be accomplished in post-processing!)

Hmmm...have I settled anything today? ;)

12/20/06: Tip for Making Flash Look More Natural

Professional photographers go to great lengths to make supplemental light look natural. One "quick and easy" way to do this when using flash photography is to gel the flash to the color that matches the ambient or room light. For incandescent or warm lighting, an orange gel will remove some of the blue that a direct or near-to-the subject flash produces. Blue gels, red or pink gels, and various shades of "all of the above" are available to help you match the color temperature of the room light. You can get gel sheets fairly inexpensively from local art supply stores or from discount camera stores online. All you need to affix the gel is a rubber band!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

12/19/06: PC World "Hot Pic of the Week" Contest

PC World sponsors a "Hot Pic of the Week" photo contest. The prize is having your picture distributed to thousands of PC World online digital photography newsletter subscribers. :)

Click here to find out more.

My image below was selected as hot pic of the week a few years ago.

Monday, December 18, 2006

12/18/06: Winter Shots -- Look for Scenes Within a Scene

Winter brings a whole fresh new perspective on outdoor photography. One thing I like to do is look for a scene within a scene such as this image of the clear blue sky reflected within an ice-covered tree branch. You can do the same thing other times of the year with scenes reflected on water or within a raindrop or bead of dew.

Shot with a Canon EOS 10D, ISO-100, f/4 at 40mm, 1/1600th second.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

12/17/06: EVEN MORE cool (free) podcasts!

Tamron, manufacturer of 35mm lenses for SLR and DSLR cameras, has introduced new four-minute podcasts on their pro learning center site. Click here to check them out. Save some big bucks on pricey seminars and check out all of the free photography podcasts that you can!


Saturday, December 16, 2006

12/16/06: Great Photoshop Actions & Tutorials

Photoshop expert and trainer Gavin Phillips has a 35% off special on some of his killer Photoshop actions. Check them out by clicking here. Hurry, though, the offer expires 12/18/2006! Be sure to check out his free tutorials and download free actions from his site. I've found Gavin's video tutorials to be outstanding!

If you are member of the PPA, you can also check out his infrared action and tutorial by logging to the November 2006 bonus magazine supplement on their web-site. The above image was created with Gavin's free (to PPA members) infrared action.

Friday, December 15, 2006

12/15/06: Quote of the day...

"The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera."

-- Dorothea Lange

Thursday, December 14, 2006

12/14/06: Open Raw Files Directly into Photoshop

Uber-amazing photographer David Jay (of ShowIt slideshow software fame), recently posted a neat little time-saving trick. To open a camera raw file from Bridge directly into Photoshop (bypassing the camera raw dialog box), you simply hold down the shift key and then double-click the image. Click here for DJ's video example.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

12/13/06: Win a Rebel XTi from

Dell Computers is giving away a Rebel XTi every day between now and December 31st. Go to to check out the contest, the prizes and the official rules.

I hope I win one today and you win one tomorrow! Good luck. :) usual...I'm not affiliated, employed or sponsored by Dell in any way. I'm just a satisfied Dell customer...I highly recommend Dell computers if you are a PC user.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

12/12/06: GREAT photography book!

Photographer Michael Grecco recently published his latest book, Lighting and the Dramatic Portrait. This book is tops on my Christmas wish list this year. You can check out some of Michael's work by clicking here. You can order signed copies of the book on his web-site by clicking here.

You can also download an awesome podcast featuring Michael on the web-site. Click here to access the page to download the podcast.

Monday, December 11, 2006

12/11/06: Camera Cleaning Tip

If you suspect that your camera to lens leads might be dirty (and thus causing communication problems between your camera and lens), a quick, easy way to clean them is with the head of a pencil eraser. Be sure to do this gently and not to introduce dirt or dust into your camera. As usual...if you aren't comfortable cleaning any part of your camera, hire a professional to do it!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

12/10/06: Inspired? Or frustrated?

I've been a photographer for almost 20 years. I've seen a lot of amazing work from all kinds of different photographers. Quite often I'm inspired by the work of others. I'll admit that sometimes I see someone else's work and it humbles me to the point of feeling like I can't produce the same level of work. I've read comments on several photo forums where people see amazing work and they joke that they are going to sell all of their gear and turn in their "photographer card."

I've also shown people my work and had them respond something along the lines about how crappy they think their pictures are compared to mine. That concerns me...I don't want anyone to see my images and be less than inspired by them!

Here's the thing to keep in mind...when you look through a magazine like National Geographic, or you peruse web-sites of amazing photographers...realize that they are showing the best of the best of the best work. You don't see all the thousands of shots that they took that didn't make it to the level of publication. I've heard some great photographers say that when they shot film they used to get one good image for every 100 they shot and that now with digital the numbers are more like 1 out of 500!! Wow! And these are the top pros who shoot tens of thousands of images each month.

So don't let the amazing work of other photographers frustrate you...get out there and keep shooting. And then look at your very best'll find that if you accept that there are going to be lots of misses and near misses...and you learn from those...your photography will get much better much faster than you can imagine!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

12/09/06: Who is Russell Brown?

Who is Russell Brown? And why should I check out his web-site?

Russell Brown is a Senior Creative Director with Adobe Systems, Inc. (yes, you've heard of them...they make all the great digital imaging software applications!). Brown is known for showing photographers, graphic designers, art directors and publishers how to work -- and play -- with all of the great applications created by Adobe.

You can check out Russell Brown's site by clicking here. There are all kinds of cool tutorials on the site. You can even download his podcasts for your iPod listening pleasure. Enjoy!

Friday, December 08, 2006

12/08/06: Quote of the day...

Today's quote comes from one of my favorite photographers, Jay Maisel.

"If you are out there shooting, things will happen for you. If you're not out there, you'll only hear about it."
-- Jay Maisel
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

12/07/06: Yet Another Great Lighting Resource

This one is more for the pros and / or advanced amateurs. Check out -- another great web-site where you can get good information about lighting for digital photography. Like Tips From The Top Floor, offers dozens of great podcasts for your listening pleasure and photographic lighting skill building endeavors. Enjoy...and be sure to tell them Daily Photo Tips! sent you. :)

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

12/06/06: My wife's new camera phone...

My wife got her new camera phone a few days ago...she's having a lot of fun with it. Kinda made this recent "What the Duck?" cartoon appropriate! ;)

12/05/06: Check out "Tips From The Top Floor"

Another great web-site dedicated to photo education is "Tips From The Tops Floor" run by Chris Marquardt from his home in Germany. Chris has lots of great stuff to explore on his web-site including dozens of great podcasts dedicated to digital photography. Be sure to tell Chris you heard about him from Daily Photo Tips!

Monday, December 04, 2006

12/04/06: A Tip on Sharpening Your Images...

If you do any sort of image manipulation using photo editing software (such as Photoshop / Photoshop Elements, Paint Shop Pro, etc.), and you desire to sharpen your images...ALWAYS perform the sharpening action LAST. That way you won't ruin the effects of the sharpening via other actions performed on the image.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

12/02/06: Windows Movie Maker...

If you use Windows Movie Maker for photo slideshow's not a matter of "if" WMM will give you's "when." (end rant) LOL

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12/02/06: Quote of the day (encore)

Busy weekend with a wedding and most of my town without today we're offering a bonus photography quote of the day! :)

"Above all, it's hard learning to live with vivid mental images of scenes I cared for and failed to photograph. It is the edgy existence within me of these unmade images that is the only assurance that the best photographs are yet to be made."

-- Sam Abell


Friday, December 01, 2006

12/01/06: Quote of the day...

While not exactly photo related, today's quote reminds me of my love for nature photography. You may recognize this poem from a television ad for a Chevy Tahoe several years ago...

"Nobody Knows It But Me"
by Patrick O'Leary

"There is a place I travel when I want to roam, and nobody knows it but me.
The roads don't go there and the signs stay home, and nobody knows it but me.
It's far, far away and way, way afar, it's over the moon and the sea
and wherever you're going that's wherever you are.
And nobody knows it but me."