Friday, June 29, 2007

06/29/07: Quote of the day...

Today I'd like to feature a series of quotes from National Geographic photographer, William Albert Allard. Enjoy...

"I think the 50mm lens is an extremely good discipline lens; it requires you to see in a more refined way, not just tighter."

"What's really important is to simplify. The work of most photographers would be improved immensely if they could do one thing: get rid of the extraneous. If you strive for simplicity, you are more likely to reach the viewer."

"I think the best pictures are often on the edges of any situation, I don't find photographing the situation nearly as interesting as photographing the edges."

"You've got to push yourself harder. You've got to start looking for pictures nobody else could take. You've got to take the tools you have and probe deeper."

-- William Albert Allard (National Geographic Photographer & author of "Portraits of America")


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

06/27/07: New Photo Forum from David Jay

Super talented wedding photographer David Jay has launched a new photography forum -- The Freedom Club. According to David, the new site is a better way to share knowledge and will feature tons of video based content on camera and software reviews, tips and techniques, etc. The Freedom Club isn't free though -- it's $15 per month, which should keep the quality of content and forum participation at a pretty high level. You can sign up for a monthly subscription (I did) or go ahead and pay the annual subscription fee of $150.

Thanks, DJ, for giving so much to the photo community -- I hope the new forum really takes off!


Sunday, June 24, 2007

06/24/07: Really, sometimes it is just luck...

...but, as they say, luck favors the prepared. I captured the above image yesterday evening during a wedding reception. Timing just worked out perfect as the bride and groom had finished their dinner but most of their guests hadn't finished eating yet -- so we had some time to play outside right after a rain shower passed thru.


Saturday, June 23, 2007

06/23/07: Relationship shots...

ALWAYS look for opportunities to show family relationships in your images. I love to position myself such that I can get shots of a bride with her mom in the background -- whether that be while she's getting ready, she's being given away by her father, or dancing with her father -- I'm constantly looking for ways to put mom in the shot too.


Friday, June 22, 2007

06/22/07: Quote of the day...

"Dodging and burning are steps to take care of mistakes God made in establishing tonal relationships."

-- Ansel Adams


06/21/07: "You're never too old to assist."

Recently I read an article on about assisting other photographers. The author, Jared Dort, documented his recent experience assisting USA Today staff photographer Robert Hanashiro on a two day assignment. Click here to read the article.

Here is a quote of Bert's (Robert Hanashiro) from a converstation he had with Jared.

"The person assisting me is there mainly as an extra pair of hands and more importantly, an extra pair of eyes. I am usually concentrating so much on one thing at a time - aiming a grid or working with the subject - having someone else there on my side (not some publicist) looking at the whole picture can be helpful."

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

06/20/07: A series of studio lighting tutorial videos...

UK photographer Ken Henderson did a series of tutorial videos at a workshop earlier this year. Check out all eight episodes on YouTube. I have embedded part 1 below, click the links to watch the rest of the episodes (each between 6 - 10 minutes).

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8


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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

06/19/07: Someday...I'll buy an Apple... ;)

For the time being, I'm a bit too heavily invested in my PCs and Windows software...but I did recently discover that Apple has an online outlet store. Click here to go check out some killer deals on refurbished Apple hardware.

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Monday, June 18, 2007

06/18/07: Sports Illustrated - "Favorite Shots" Galleries

Sports Illustrated has a cool gallery of "Favorite Shots" images. Click here to see a collection of photographer Simon Bruty's favorites. I think it's cool that Simon gives a bit of history behind each shot and that the camera / lens information is presented as well -- it certainly shows the diversity of lenses he employs!

More SI photographer "Favorite Shots" galleries can be accessed by clicking here.


Sunday, June 17, 2007

06/17/07: Helpful Post to Share With Clients...

If you ever run into a client or friend or family member (or whatever) who has trouble understanding how photo enlargements are cropped, share with them this post from Orange County wedding photographer [B]ecker's blog...

Crop This!

I've sent it to at least one of my wedding clients! ;)

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Saturday, June 16, 2007

06/16/07: Be Prepared - Join AAA!

Today was another wedding shoot -- one of many scheduled this summer. My wife helps me out at a lot of the weddings I shoot...she doesn't shoot all day with me, but typically she helps me cover the ceremony and formals after the ceremony.

On her way to the wedding she had a blowout - BAM! - flat tire on an interstate highway! Now, why didn't I join the American Automobile Association (AAA) again? DOH!!!! I wasn't in a position where I could leave the wedding to help her change a tire on a minivan (and I'm old-fashioned...I DON'T expect her to do it!). Fortunately she got ahold of our oh-so-helpful neighbor and he went to change the tire for her. What a super-nice guy...and we were very lucky to have been able to get ahold of him. Monday morning, first-thing, I'm buying him a gift certificate to a store that he likes as a token of our appreciation...then I'm going to sign us up for AAA coverage.

I realize this wasn't exactly a photo tip to improve your photography -- but it was an experience that I didn't have in my "emergency preparedness wedding photography" plan! So, perhaps you'll learn from our unfortunate experience.

Thankfully, my wife showed up about 15 minutes before the ceremony and she was able to get a few very nice shots within the bride's room. :)

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Friday, June 15, 2007

06/15/07: Quote of the day...

"I am neither an economist nor a phototgrapher of monuments, and I am not much of a journalist either. What I am trying to do more than anything else is to obseve life."

-- Henri Cartier-Bresson


Thursday, June 14, 2007

06/14/07: Trash the Dress, Anyone?

Lousiana photographer Marc Eric Motichek started a web-site called Trash The Dress. Marc has been getting a LOT of buzz and publicity lately for the site. It seems that there are plenty of brides out match up with all the eager photographers...for dress trashing sessions.

So check out and learn more about the latest fad in wedding photography!

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

06/12/07: Are Media Cards the New Film?

Last week I mentioned that I toured the studio of Orlando photographer Curt Littlecott. Curt said something that really struck me (well, he said a lot of things that struck me...but I'll save some of those for future posts! ;c) ). He uses new compact flash (CF) cards for each wedding or shoot he does and then he files them in with the customer file until the file is closed. Curt said that the cost of media has dropped so much that he is able to easily afford to do this. That reminds me of the the film days!

I tend to keep my cards full until I absolutely have to format them for the next job (meaning I will have had a number of opportunities to back-up the files and verify that I've got good copies of the images well on their way thru my post-processing workflow).

Are any of you doing something like Curt where you are using new CF cards for important shoots?

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Monday, June 11, 2007

06/11/07: Cool Looking Frames

Pittsburgh children's photographer Skye Hardwick recently turned me on to a cool framing company that specializes in distressed frames. The Georgia Street Framery is an Oklahoma based husband and wife team (yeah for husband and wife teams!) who also run a photography business. Dissatisfied with frame options, they started their own framery -- how cool is THAT? They have a number of different frame styles and cool colors. If you happen to order some frames from the Georgia Street Framery, be sure to tell them you heard about them on! :)


Sunday, June 10, 2007

06/10/07: What's on your wish list?

No, I'm not talking about your B&H wish list (though I'll have to confess one time I clicked on "purchase this list" for my B&H wish list and it came to the small grand total of twenty-eight thousand dollars...and some change!). Today I'm talking about your photo wish list!

What great photos do you want to take? Why not make a list? I've read that many travel / nature / landscape photographers make lists of shots they intend to take long before they embark on their journey to capture the images. They create these wish lists by doing their homework about the location / subject they intend to photograph. Even if you are a wedding photographer and you know you can fill out a list of typical wedding shots with your eyes can still create a list of the type of shots you would like to capture just by knowing a little about the wedding ceremony location, time of day (for lighting purposed) and some of the dynamics of the wedding party and guests. For example...if a bride mentions to you that she is getting married at the same church her grandparents were married in -- assuming they are both able to attend the ceremony you are going to photograph -- make sure you get a picture of the grandparents while you are at the church. Sure, you intend to take a picture of the entire family -- but make a note to get one of just the grandparents.

So start thinking about the shots you want to take (or practice on)...make a list of when and where you intend to take these images. And then see how creative you can get with your lists from both a client perspective and even just an editorial (just shootin' for fun) perspective.

And then be sure to post back on Daily Photo Tips with your success stories!

Keep getting better -- every day!

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Saturday, June 09, 2007

06/09/07: Quote of the day... (okay, it's a day late!)

Due to the busy wedding season, I'm falling behind a bit on my Daily Photo Tips...I'm gonna try to catch up in the next few days. I had a wedding yesterday that kept me busy all day so here is your Friday "quote of the day" delivered on Saturday. It's worth the wait...

Earlier this week I was in Orlando attending photographer Garrett Nudd's "Elevate 2" seminar and I had the opportunity to meet the wonderfully talented Orlando photographer Curt Littlecott. Curt was speaking about cooperating with fellow photographers when he dropped this great quote...

"It's better to be inside the tent pissing out, than outside the tent pissing in."
-- Curt Littlecott

That's brilliant!


Thursday, June 07, 2007

06/07/07: Check out ShootQ -- Studio Management Software!

While in Orlando this week I had the opportunity to see a demo of ShootQ -- a new software product from the amazing team at LaCour Photo in Atlanta. ShootQ looks like an extremely powerful prospect and customer management system that will integrate smoothly with photographer web-sites. The application is web-based -- meaning remote access to all of your customer information for photography jobs can be accessed anywhere you have Internet access.

Andrew Neisen and the ShootQ team just kicked off their launch tour -- click here to learn more about the power of ShootQ and how it can help you better manage your photography business. Be sure to sign up to attend one of the launch parties where you will get first-hand access to the team of ShootQ developers who will help you configure the software to integrate with your studio and web-page.

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

06/05/07: Shoot For Yourself!

I'm in Orlando this week attending Garrett Nudd's Elevate 2 seminar. I had a chance to sit down to breakfast with Garrett this morning and something Garrett told me really hit home. Garrett mentioned that periodically he needs to take time to shoot pictures just for himself. He calls it taking time to "just graze."

Years ago (before my wife and I had our three kids) I used to wake up early almost every Saturday morning to go out and take nature pictures. Now that my wedding business occupies most of my Saturdays...and my family has grown, I don't get much time to "graze" anymore. But after hearing Garrett speak of shooting for himself I know that I need to keep fresh in my photographic creativity by taking time to shoot for myself.

You should do the same! :)


Monday, June 04, 2007

06/04/07: The Personal Battery Caddy...

If you are like most photographers -- you are surrounded by batteries and battery chargers. I'm one of those "rubber band" organizers -- charged batteries are rubber banded together while spent ones roll around lose in my bag, in my pocket, in my car -- fortunately I do use rechargeable batteries!

Here is a cool tool for those of us who have trouble keeping our batteries organized -- the battery caddy! For more information go to the battery caddy web-site:

How cool is that...they even make 'glow in the dark' versions!

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Sunday, June 03, 2007

06/03/07: What are you looking at??

One of my "signature" photos happens anytime I'm around a mirror or reflective surfact. Bonus points if the mirror is in any way parabolic (curved...I guess I just love the fun-house look!). I shot the above image in a hospital corridor -- at the intersection of what must be two very busy hallways -- using my EOS 10D and Canon 15 mm fisheye lens.

Try finding reflective surfaces and get creative with your images. Let me see what you can come up with!
I shot the following picture of a bride and groom at the City Museum in St. Louis -- when I was second-shooting a wedding for my friend Stephanie Raumschuh of Stevie Photography.


Saturday, June 02, 2007

06/02/07: Check out

One of my friends over on Opensource Photo recently tipped me off to a handy web-site for photographers to check out. It's called and it's run by attorney Carolyn E. Wright who specializes in photography law. Carolyn has posted some very helpful advice regarding copyright and other important issues facing photographers these days. Nice to know that Carolyn is also a photographer too! Be sure to check out some of her amazing nature photos.


Friday, June 01, 2007

06/01/07: Quote of the day...

Here is a quote I heard recently that I really liked -- and I think it certainly applies to photography!

"Legacies are born of achievement, not effort."