Tuesday, January 30, 2007

01/30/07: More "What the Duck?"

"What the Duck?" cartoons crack me up! Here is one relevant to photography lessons...

The "What the Duck?" cartoon strip is the brain child of Aaron Johnson -- thanks Aaron, for lettings us post your cartoons and link to your site. Keep up the great work!


Monday, January 29, 2007

01/29/07: Lightroom Now Available!

After a very long period in Beta testing with a huge sample size, :), Adobe Lightroom 1.0 has now been released! For a limited time you buy Lightroom direct from Adobe for just $199. Click here for more details. Be sure to check out the virtual tour and the video tutorials.

Race you to the check out line!

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Sunday, January 28, 2007

01/28/07: Photo / Digital Weekends

The 2007 calendar for Rocky Mountain School of Photography's Photo Weekends and Digital Weekends has been published and I'm happy to see that St. Louis is on the schedule for a Digital Weekend. I have helped out with RMSP Photo Weekends for the past two years (2006 in Kansas City and 2005 in St. Louis) and had a blast meeting so many photographers.

What I love about RMSP weekends is that they are very affordable, they offer numerous sessions for both beginner and advanced photo topics, as well as mini-trade shows with exhibitors like Canon and B&H Photo. RMSP sessions are always more focused on the photography and not on selling more stuff to you. :) Be sure to check the schedule to see if a RMSP photo or digital weekend will be coming to a town near you. Click here for more info and to see the 2007 schedule.


Saturday, January 27, 2007

01/27/07: New School of Photography

If you are a wedding photographer or you have an interest in becoming a wedding photographer, be sure to check out the New School of Photography. NPS is run by Indianapolis photographer Kevin Swan. Kevin is an amazing photographer with loads of talent and an impressive toolbox of technical / software skills. Be sure to check out all of the great tips and advice on Kevin's New School of Photography web-site.


Friday, January 26, 2007

01/26/07: Quote of the day...

"There is no such thing as a perfect image, only a perfect moment."

--Joe Buissink


Thursday, January 25, 2007

01/25/07: Check Out Free Photo Lessons on WebPhotoSchool.com!

Web Photo School is a very handy, subscription-based photo education site. They have different subscription plans -- $9.95 per month or discounted rates for annual subscription. If you just want to test drive Web Photo School, there are three free lessons you can take. Click here to check out the free lessons and / or get more information about additional lessons you can take.

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

01/24/07: Photo of the Day Contest

The Imaging Resource (www.imaging-resource.com) offers a daily photo contest with prizes given at the end of the month. Click here to review current and past winners as well as find out how to submit your own photos for consideration.

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

01/23/07: Digital Asset Management book

One of my photographer friends, Ray Meibaum, recently recommended this book -- The DAM Book: Digital Asset Management for Photographers (O'Reilly Digital Studio) by Peter Krogh (ISBN-10: 0596100183). Ray does a lot of natural and landscape photography and reports that this book is an excellent resource for implementing a system for managing digital files, meta-data and time spent archiving images. If you are struggling with your image archival and retrieval or managing meta-data for your files, be sure to pick-up a copy of the "DAM" book. ;)


Monday, January 22, 2007

01/22/07: Affordable Office Space

If you are currently moonlighting as a photographer but intend to someday enter the business full-time, consider looking into incubator office space. Incubator spaces are typically funded by local economic development councils and allow start-up businesses to have access to affordable commercial space and, in many cases, mentoring programs.

Contact your local office of the Small Business Administration (or SBA) to inquire if business incubator programs are available in your area. Sometimes incubator programs are limited to small to mid-size office buildings...but some have access to retail space should you desire to open a full photo studio. Be careful to scout your location though -- as often incubator spaces aren't very convenient to retail transiet (or walk-in) business.


Sunday, January 21, 2007

01/21/07: Looking for Reflections

The act of photographing is all about reflection. I love shooting reflections...sometimes you have to be creative where you find them. Here is a shot I took at a wedding recently where the church had the baptismal fount right at the back of the church at the end of the center aisle. I had to carefully reach out into the middle of the fount in order to get this shot.
For outdoor shots, you may need to use a polarizer to reduce some of the unwanted glare on your reflection -- try rotating the polarizer to see what kinds of different results you can get.

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Saturday, January 20, 2007

01/20/07: Tilting the Camera

One creative way to change the composition of your shots (and sometimes break the monotony of what seems to be too many straight horizontal shots) is to use a slight camera tilt in capturing your images. Some would argue that this is a bit of an over-used compositional trick -- and that may be -- but if the tilt adds a new dimension to the look of the shot (such as the one above showing a bunch of right angles), go ahead and give it a bit of a tilt. Just make sure that you continue to seek a bit of variety in your images -- if you tilt too much, you could ruin the composition. Be careful when tilting for shots that don't seem right when tilted -- such as lake water or an ocean view.

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Friday, January 19, 2007

01/19/07: Quotes of the Day...

I have two quotes for the day -- both from the same photographer. :)

"Digital photography is like having an affair with a barnyard animal. It may be a wild time, but you don't necessarily want your friends to know you're doing it."

"Ultimately, the best price protection someone can have is being unique...when people follow trends and their sytle becomes less definable, it feusl their doom.
-- Gregory Heisler

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01/18/07: Drive By Shooting Tip!

My wife and I like to hike and love to spend time outdoors as much as possible. With the introduction of three small kids to our lives, we don't get to hit the trails as much as we used to. But there are a number of parks near our house that we love to take the kids to. Often we stay until dusk and have the opportunity to see deer and other critters active when the sun sets. One trick for photographing animals (or any nature scenes) when it gets dark and you're in your car...remember to turn off the engine -- you'll get less camera shake!

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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

01/17/07: Affordable RAW File Conversion Software

If you are on a tight budget and can not afford expensive image editing software but you want to shoot RAW files, consider Bibble 4.9 Lite. Estimated retail price is just $69 and this latest version contains a number of effective tools for noise reduction, clone/spot manipulation as well as a neat feature called "Perfectly Clear." The Perfectly Clear option is a quick-fix that tweaks a number of image quality parameters at the same time. Click here to find out more information.

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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

01/16/07: Squeeze a Few More Shots Out of a Dead Battery!

Got a great shot lined up but your alkaline batteries are dead? I read recently that you can get a few more shots out of dead batteries by taking the tip of a pencil eraser and erasing the metal contacts. Supposedly you can get a few more shots. I'm gonna go look for dead batteries now. Be sure to comment if this works for you...or if you have any other creative "home remedy" tricks.


Monday, January 15, 2007

01/15/07: Great Lab for Start-Up Gallery Hosting

I'll preface this post with a disclaimer that I am not being compensated whatsoever for my recommendation here -- not even a free t-shirt! :) But if anyone wants to send me a t-shirt... (j/k)

If you are just getting into a photography business -- perhaps it's a home-based, start-up business -- you might consider Printroom.com for your online gallery hosting and print provider solution. I've used Printroom for five years and I'm very happy with them. They are very affordable (under $100 to sign on to use them to host your picture galleries), their customer service is outstanding, the web-galleries are very simple to manage, and their proprietary upload / file management software (included in the yearly plan) makes fulfillment of your client orders as easy as a few clicks of the mouse.


Sunday, January 14, 2007

01/14/07: Editing Files on a Laptop

Be careful when editing image files on a laptop using battery power. The decreased brightness on your laptop screen on battery power may cause you to over-brighten images. When using a laptop to edit your pictures, always try to do so using AC (electric) power instead of battery power. (You should also use the file histrogram to judge brightness!)


Saturday, January 13, 2007

01/13/07: "The Myth of Talent" by Craig M. Tanner

Craig Tanner is an amazing photographer based out of Atlanta, Georgia. I had the pleasure of meeting and working with Craig when I volunteered at a Rocky Mountain School of Photography workshop several years ago.

Craig recently wrote an amazing article called "The Myth of Talent." I highly recommend reading this to all photographers who ever found themselves inspired by the work of others, and / or frustrated confused at their own work. In "The Myth of Talent," Craig shares his "big break" experience that set him on the path to becoming the great photographer and lecturer that he is today. Click here to download (pdf file) "The Myth of Talent." In the article Craig shares "Seven Ways to Create Your Own Artistic Growth"... (more detail on each is in the article)
  1. Breathe
  2. Set Goals
  3. Model on Others
  4. Reflect
  5. Recharge
  6. Create an Artistic Support Group
  7. Be Your Own Biggest Supporter
Be sure to read the entire article for great inspiration and advice! For more information about Craig and the projects / lectures he is involved in, click here to go to his website.

Thanks Craig for allowing me to share your inspiration with Daily Photo Tips readers -- you rock!!

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Friday, January 12, 2007

01/12/07: Quote of the day... with a BONUS!

It's Friday...time for another inspiring photography quote! This one is for all of the wedding photographers out there. :)

"I love the spontaneous nature of weddings - that things aren't always perfect. I also get to see the tender side of poeple, which is rare. It's all about capturing the human spirit that is unique to each individual."

--Bambi Cantrell

Click here for awesome "Macworld show" sale prices at B&H! You should be able to combine some of these great prices with current rebates on certain pieces of Canon equipment (though B&H removed the rebate links on these sale prices...you might try retrieving the rebate forms directly from Canon...it worked for me last year!).

And, given the frequency that I've been consulted and have advised upon photography pricing issues on various forums, I have to share the latest "What The Duck?" cartoon...

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Thursday, January 11, 2007

01/11/07: Two Days Left!

There are only two days left in the latest edition of Canon rebates - "Cash In With Canon." So if you are on the fence about buying new or upgrading old Canon lenses or camera bodies, you have until 1/13/07 to be eligible for the current rebates.

And if you bought any of the eligible gear between Oct. 15, 2006 and now...REMEMBER TO SEND IN YOUR CLAIMS! (That's a "note to self" as much as it is to everyone else!)

UPDATE (1/12/07):
Thanks to a tip from photographer Phil Pool of Omni Photo by Phil -- Canon just announced that the current "Cash In With Canon" rebate promotion has been extended until February 19th! Click here for more details.


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

01/10/07: Shoot Outside Your Comfort Zone

One way to fast-track your photo skills is to try shooting in situations that force you out of your comfort zone. My comfort zone is, or seems to be, shooting in raw format, using white balance presets, auto-focus, and aperature priority. Quite often I use natural light or diffused on-camera flash. Recently I wanted to challenge myself to sharpen my skills in shooting situations.

One way to do this is to shoot manually. I took it a bit further and decided to shoot manual focus, jpeg format, off-camera undiffused flash. I was shooting an engagement session and was able to convince the subjects (a really fun bride named Kathleen and her fiance Michael) to let me play a bit. (A friend of mine pointed out that most people would be better off to experiment with practice clients instead of real ones...what can I say?...I live on the edge!)

Here are some of the results...I was happy with them and the bride was extremely happy with them. :)


Tuesday, January 09, 2007

01/09/07: Check Out This Site for Inspiration!

If you are a wedding photographer -- or an aspiring one -- be sure to check out Admired By Beckstead. David Beckstead is a fantastic wedding photographer and former WPJA photographer of the year award winner. He created the site (click here to see it) as place for people to submit their favorite wedding images and for him to pick the best of what he reviews for display on the site.

David even takes time to publish comments on some of the images -- be sure to look for the comments as a means to learn more from David on what works well for various images. You can use the site for inspiration too -- just peruse the galleries right before your next wedding shoot!

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Monday, January 08, 2007

01/08/07: Camera History

Today's post isn't really a tip as much as it is a reflection -- a personal one for me. The first SLR camera I ever owned was a Canon AE-1 Program that cost me $227 at the local Dolgin's department store in the fall of 1983. I was 17 years old and it took me about a month and a half to save up enough money to buy that camera (now, I drop $200+ on prints and think nothing of it!).

Initially I had just one lens -- a 50mm f1.8 -- and I remember how much fun it was to shoot shallow depth of field shots with my new toy. That camera lasted (digital camera users are going to laugh at this) until Feb. 27th, 1999 when it jammed on me as I was shooting a building implosion. Hard to believe in today's rapidly changing world of digital imaging that a camera lasted 16 years (12 years shooting as a part-time pro)...these days it's amazing if we don't replace a dSLR in 16 months! Would it be that they were $227 again!!


Sunday, January 07, 2007

01/07/07: Basic Tutorial on Adobe Bridge for File Browsing

Our friends at Adobe -- makers of wonderful image editing software products -- have a number of helpful short tutorials. Click here to watch a tutorials on using Adobe Bridge for efficient file browsing.

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Saturday, January 06, 2007

01/06/07: FREE 21-Day Trial on iView MediaPro!

iView MediaPro - FREE 21-Day Trial!

Pro photographers as well as advanced amateurs are learning the importance of digital asset management for file access and organization. One of the leading asset management software programs is iView MediaPro, a Microsoft product. I have yet to jump on the DAM (digital asset management, that is!) bandwagon...but I plan to in the very near future. :)

For your free 21-Day trial, click here to go to the iView web-site. Be sure to sign up for the free MediaPro podcast!

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Friday, January 05, 2007

01/05/07: Quote of the day...

"I don't try to overintellectualize my concepts of people. In fact, the ideas I have, if you talk about them, they seem extremely corny and it's only in their execution that people can enjoy them...It's something I've learned to trust: The stupider it is, the better it looks. "

-- Annie Liebovitz


Thursday, January 04, 2007

01/04/07: Tips for Portrait Photography

Portrait Photo Tips

Michael Taylor, current President of the Professional Photographers of America (PPA) association recently published some great tips on portrait photography. These tips were published in the President's Message section of the January 2007 edition of Professional Photographer.

When shooting portraits, Taylor advises...

-- "Make a portrait that contains truth." The subject's personality should be revealed in a sincere way.
-- "Be confident in making a portrait." The photographer should be positive and feel great about the images.
-- Subject involvement...ask for their opinions about colors, locations, etc.
-- And HAVE FUN! The sitting sould be fun and enjoyable.

For more information about joining the PPA, click here.

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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

01/03/07: Tip for Emergency Lens Cleaning

On more than a few occasions I've found myself shooting pictures at a wedding reception or other event and I have become separated from my lens cleaning supplies. I found a handy tip recently for emergency lens cleaning.

Find the nearest bar (should be easy if you are at a wedding reception!) and have the bartender moisten a soft, clean napkin with vodka. Then clean your lens with the napkin just as you would with a lens cleaning tissue and cleaning fluid.

(Just try not to drink too much vodka!)

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Tuesday, January 02, 2007

01/02/07: AMAZING Product for Raw Shooters!!

Internationally recognized Santa Barbara photographer David Jay has released a set of Adobe Bridge presets that he calls "Brilliant." For a limited time you can purchase David's Brilliant Adobe Bridge presets for just $39!!! Click here for more information and to order!

I've used them. I love them!! :)

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Monday, January 01, 2007

01/01/07: Tip for the New Year!

Happy New Year!

Today's tip is -- send us your feedback! :) Questions, comments, suggestions for topics, what have you. I'd love to hear from you. Write to me at: dan@dailyphototips.com

2007 marks the second year for Daily Photo Tips. It began on a whim back in May of 2006. I was looking for ways to challenge myself to learn more about photography EVERY day and to share some of the knowledge I've picked up over the years or...just came across today!

We'll be introducing some new features for 2007 including tags (so you can easily search for tips by topic or label such as "basic," "pro," "software," "gear" etc.), guests contributors (I especially would like to see some contributions from Mac and / or Nikon users...just to keep things fair!), more photos and slideshows...and who knows what else...maybe we'll have a "best of Daily Photo Tips podcast" in the very near future.

Thank you all for your support and I hope you all continue to learn more and more photography tips and tricks wherever your eyes, your camera or your browser take you!