five (5) item that caught my attention in 2012

Happy New Year to all! So I decided to start a business type page on Facebook as an extension to my website/blog, as well as my Google + page. Here's the URL should you care to pop over there from time to time (link) .  I’m guessing sometimes I’ll have some cool stuff on photography. That’s just the way the cookie crumbles. I truly hope that some of you find the time to read the content from time to time and benefit from the information as well.

Here’s five (5) items I came across in 2012, in no particular order that I think really rocked when I saw them.

One (1)

Moo Cards





Business cards from Moo. These are really cool for photographers to displays images. Moo allows you to upload fifty (50) images and they will place one image on each card. So just image displaying a number of images to someone you’d like to give a card to and asking them to choose the image they like. Twenty bucks US will get you 50 cards.

Two (2)

Wacom Intuos5 touch Pen Tablet




The Intuos5 tablet is just amazing. I’ve been totally spoilt after using the Intuos4 and now the Intuos5 is even better. I can’t edit my images unless I’m using this device. Try it out you’ll love it.

Price: Small—$229; Medium—$349; Wireless Accessory Kit—$39.95

Three (3)

The Big Jambox



This is just so cool. Perfect for taking on that location shoot. It’s  a Bluetooth speaker, therefore it’ll work with a number of devices.


Four (4)

Samsung Galaxy S III



If I weren’t such an Apple Junkie this phone would definitely be an option for me. However for all of you out there not so committed to Apple products you might want to give this phone a try.

Five (5)

Photographing Women: 1000 Poses


I photograph quite a few females and one of my biggest challenges is finding the right pose for my subjects. I do have times when the subject is a professional model or knows how to strike a pose.

However when I came across this book on amazon I decided to read the reviews and wow did it get good reviews.



The brain child behind Fabulash.........

I recently did a photo shoot with the amazing Claire Dottin, the brain child behind 'FABULASH'. Most fashionable ladies of today go to Claire in order to acquire eyelash enhancements. So if you want to update your image for a fresh, new, fabulous look, she can help. You can feel better about yourself and impress others. Get a whole new, brighter attitude; visit Claire at Fabulash


how I did this portrait photography in barbados

This was a three (3) light setup shot, taken with one of my favorite light modifiers. The "BEAUTY DISH". I used a clam shell lighting setup for this image. One light over and one light under. The model stood infront of a seamless white background and I lit the background with one strobe. Equipment Used:

Paul C. Buff 22" Silver beauty dish with sock and B800 Alien Bee Strobe (directly infront and above model looking down at a 45 degree angle).

Paul C. Buff medium soft box and B800 Alien Bee Strobe (directly infront of model waist height and angled up at a 45 degree angle. Model was practically touching the soft box).

B800 Alien Bee Strobe with reflector on a mini stand behind model aimed up at seamless white back ground.

Triggers used were Pocket Wizards TT5s on the Alien Bees and TT1 on the Camera body.

Nikon D7000 fitted with 70-200mm f2.8 VRII lens @ 120mm

ISO - 100, Speed - 1/125s, F-Stop - f9

Post processing done in Lightroom 4 and Photoshop CS6.

Special mention to my buddy Mark Atkins for assisting me on this shoot and super makeup job by Celina Callender.


Tips to Stay Photographically Focused when Visiting a Large City

Have you ever found yourself in a large city  with the overwhelming feeling that you don’t know what to start shooting?  This is especially true if you only have two or three days to work with. It has happened to me, many times. You try to see and capture it all and you end up with mediocre shots of random things, most of them a bit cliché and without much interest. I believe there's a cure for that! Whether you shoot a specific genre or not, give yourself an assignment, a theme for the day. It doesn’t mean that you will ignore everything else around you but you will stay focused and end up with a lot more keepers and interesting images than if you tried to capture it all.


When doing street photography it helps to pick a theme or two for your photo walk. Such as people with umbrellas for example.You like street photography? Photograph people riding scooters in Paris or old buildings in Scotland! You won’t miss any other great action happening in the streets while you’re on your photo walk, but looking for something specific will sure make your day more fun and challenging!

Let’s say you like to shoot architecture. Pick an architectural detail, a repetitive pattern, look for reflections in buildings or contrasting architecture styles. It doesn’t mean that you can’t photograph the Eiffel Tower in its entirety when you are visiting Paris, but your photo album will be a lot more interesting if it includes close ups of the bolts or rivets that hold it together and the repetitive patterns of the steel beams.

Eiffel Tower

The list could go on and on depending on what your interests are. Pick a color, photograph dogs only, people with cool shoes or hats, etc. Think outside the box, try something you would not normally feel comfortable shooting for a day. Your skills will improve and your passion for your craft will get a boost.

Biker on the streets of Paris

To add to the challenge, you can also pick one lens and shoot all day with it. You will save your back and it will force you to look at your environment from a different perspective. My go-to lens is my 24-70 mm but there are days when I don’t want to carry anything heavier than my nifty 50 mil!

Helpful Resources to Lightroom

Quite a few people have been asking me recently what do I use for my workflow in terms of software. Well I'm a Lightroom guy mostly and any heavy editing I need to do I use Photoshop. So i've posted a few links to get you guys started on using Lightroom effectively.

Lightroom is used by so many photographers out there and most of them are more than willing to help.

In the event you want to give LR4 a try – it’s free. Go to and download your free 30 day trial.

Below you’ll find a list of places that offer free or paid training in Lightroom…

1. Some of the best starting points if you want Adobe’s help with Lightroom:

a. b. c. d. e.

2. - This guy Matt K is awesome.

3. 4. is the real-time streaming site where you can learn LR. and so many other things on photography.

5. Photoshop Cafe is a DVD-based training site with plenty of LR4 info.

6. Lightroomers from Rob Sylvan is another great place to learn from a great guy.

7. Sean McCormack (Lightroom Blog)

8. The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 Book for Digital Photographers (Voices That Matter)

This is a good starting point. Enjoy.

 Here's one more.
“100 Ways Lightroom Kicks Bridge’s (and camera raw) Ass”. It’s at

Here are 20 tips from various pro photographers.


  1. “You can’t please everyone all the time!”
  2. “Learn your exposure triangle (Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO) first. Stay on Manual. Shoot Raw.”
  3. “Don’t Buy the Kit Lens!”
  4. “Don’t be afraid of taking bad pictures, because that's how you get good ones.”
  5. “Practice, practice, practice. You can never practice too much.Have fun while you're doing it!”
  6. “Don’t think you need the best camera or equipment. You only need inspiration and a dream”
  7. “Practice until using the various settings becomes an automatic skill and then relax into the ‘art’ of photography. Lighting is your friend and your enemy, stay on its good side at all times.”
  8. “Take a film class so you have to learn iso, shutter speed, and aperture really well! Practice, practice, practice! Change your perspective. When looking at other people’s work don’t just think “that’s a cool shot!” Ask yourself WHY you like it and then try to apply that to your own shots.”
  9. “That nifty fifty (50mm f/1.8 or f/1.4 lens) will change your life.”
  10. “Take your camera with you. Everywhere. “Almost” all the time.”
  11. “Just because a particular effect looks “nice,” doesn’t mean you have to use it on every. Single. Picture.”
  12. “Take a picture everday, challenge yourself. Read your manual. Learn your camera settings.”
  13. “They are not all keepers, and just as a hammer doesn’t build an amazing house a camera doesn’t take an amazing photo. They are tools. Think outside the box.”
  14. “You can’t fix everything in Photoshop. Pay attention to the background.”
  15. “Don’t show people the bad stuff. Shoot 300, show 1.”
  16. “Just because you love photography, doesn’t mean you have to make it your PROFESSION. If it’s your passion + you are ready to dedicate yourself to the art, never give up and go for it!”
  17. “When you see Action, Turn around. Meaning watch the people who are watching a event happen.”
  18. “Find the light, but don’t be afraid of shadows.”
  19. “Get inspiration from other photographers work but never copy. Make your photos a reflection of what’s in your heart.”
  20. “Anytime you feel that your equipment is inadequate, it just means you need to master the basics better. The master photographers from 50-100 years ago didn’t have anything as fancy as you are holding in your hot little paws, so claiming inadequate equipment isn’t a good excuse. Work on your skills."




My Joel Brooks Classes Video

My very good friend and fellow photographer (Joel Brooks) asked if I'd be interested in doing a video for his photography classes. Without a doubt I said absolutely YES! So here's the result from that request.

Ten (10) Tips To Better Yourself As A Photographer

[gallery] 1. Don't leave the area when the sun goes down. Some of your best light still remains and any subject you photograph 10 - 15 minutes after sunset will look great.

2. Taking your tripod on your photo walks a bit more is one of the single best things you can do to improve your images.

3. Using your flash more outside during the day – a flash can give your images that extra ingredient needed. Available light is fine – I consider a flash in my bag to be available light because it’s available to use!

4. Pay attention to your surroundings and conditions. For instance – Don’t shoot flowers on a windy day – they will be moving and impossible to isolate.

5. If you must shoot in JPG mode then don’t rely on auto white balance. You can always correct the white balance of a RAW image but when shooting JPG it’s baked in. So make sure it’s right from the start.

6. Don’t be afraid to shoot in the rain. Rain is nature’s cleansing agent. Shooting right after it rains can bring some of the most rewarding images.

7. Control what the viewer of your photos sees first. Decide what’s important by making your subject prominent in the scene and remember the eye is always drawn to the brightest, whitest thing in the photo first. If that’s not your subject. Start over.

8. On days when the sun is high and harsh, place your subject in the shade. Make sure it’s even shade. The open sky will act as a main light and the results will be better than if you leave them in the sun.

9. Don’t shoot in mixed or dappled light. Put the subject 100% in the shade or 100% in the sun. Don’t let them overlap because it’s distracting.

10. Remember the three basics to getting a good shot. SAS – concentrate on the SUBJECT then see how you can draw ATTENTION to that subject then SIMPLIFY by making sure nothing is in the shot that will distract – SAS.

Special thanks to Scott Bourne for his constant and informative teachings.


Seven Things I Wish I’d Have Known When I First Became A Photographer

Thanks to Scott Bourne whose blog I read quite often I came across these words of wisdom from him this morning. These words are entirely from Scott's Blog.

1. Do not spend any time making serious photographs if you are not seriously passionate about it. Every bad photo I ever made started going bad because I wasn’t really into it. I was just going through the motions. It’s like kissing your sister so to speak. You have to care about what you are photographing, how it comes out and what story the image tells or you’re going to be disappointed.

2. Understanding how your camera REALLY works, as in every button, every switch, every menu and sub menu and sub, sub menu, will save your bacon over and over and over. The camera needs to be an extension of your eye – not something that gets between you and your subject. Learn how to use your camera and stop changing systems so often in the great hope that the NEXT big thing will make you better. It won’t. Learning how to get 100% out of what you have right now WILL!

3. Speaking of gear, focus as little as you can on gear and as much as you can on your subject, their story and how you’re going to share it. The “hey you take good pictures – you must have a good camera” line gets old. I guarantee you that it’s not the camera that makes the shot – it’s the photographer. It took me a VERY long time to figure this out. As a geek and a tech head I kept jumping into the science side of photography and the gear and the gadgets thinking THAT would save me. It didn’t. It sent me backwards. I now realize the gear is nothing more than the hammer looking for a naill.

4. Find the light first, the background second and the subject third. This statement will be controversial to many of you – some of you will yell at me because I said it. That’s because you haven’t made the 10,000 mistakes I had to make to understand it so go ahead and yell, but once you stop yelling pay attention and you’ll save yourself some pain. EVERYTHING starts with light. I can have the prettiest subject in ugly light and get no shot. And if the background is distracting, nobody notices the subject. So start with great light. Seek it out. Know it. Search for and yearn for it. Love it. Bathe in it. Dream about it. Then go find it in front of a nice clean background and THEN put your subject right there. You’ll win every time you do that.

5. If you photograph people or make pictures professionally understand that being nice is better than being good. When I listen to the people who primarily buy photographs (women are responsible for most portrait session purchases) they constantly refer to their photographer as nice. I rarely hear them say that he/she is good. My point is not that you don’t have to be good – you do. But concentrate on being nice. It took me far too long to realize how important this is and I am STILL working on it – as many of you can attest.

6. The best photographs in the world happen when the photographer or the subject or the viewer or some combination of the three are in a place where there is solid, real emotion and/or love. I know this sounds corny but if you can learn to love the subjects you photograph, you’ll take more care and make fewer mistakes. If you find real emotion in your work, you’ll cause others to feel those emotions. Thinking this doesn’t matter is the biggest photo-related mistake you can make. It took me 10 years of photography to understand this. Hopefully (and likely) you are smarter than me and you’ll get this right sooner than I did.

7. I have to stop this list somewhere so I’ll stop here with this. Understand that serious photography is about protecting memories, telling stories, keeping moments in time that have passed alive for the future and sharing all of the above. If you can think about that every time you press the shutter, you’ll make fewer mistakes and become a great photographer.

Thank you Scott Bourne for your continued advice in this photography field.


Pauline's Photo Shoot

Pleasantly surprised today, my friend Lana Agard-Maxwell asked me in passing, "hey did you know you were mentioned in the local papers on Friday?" My reply to her was "NO!" I didn't know that. Just my luck I hardly ever read the local Advocate. Guess I should start now yes? Well as luck would have it for me, one of my contented models (Pauline Rouiller from France) enjoyed her photo shoot experience with me and she also had the resources needed to write a brief article in the local newspaper.

Here's what she had to say verbatim.

"Third one, by Shawn Fields. Oh waw professional make up, clothes changing, this is another level! OH WAW there is actually a studio downstairs! I suddenly hope I understood well the purpose of the afternoon. I know what you think right now, going to a dark basement with a man you don't know is not to do. But, his wife and kids are assistants! Reassured?

[gallery columns="2" orderby="post_date"]

They are very nice and make me feel more relaxed. He gives precise instructions so I don't have to use my expressions and moves talent too much. Whew. After hundreds of 'clicks', 4 or 5 pictures look.....not bad."

Many thanks Pauline and looking forward to shooting with you very soon again. You were awesome to work with.

Your makeup artist (Natasha Fields-Gittens) says she enjoyed working with you as well and look forward to the next time.

As always thanks to my faithful assistants (Lisa, Shana and Joaquim).

How Great Portraits are made!

As I photograph more and more people, the more I’ve come to realize something: a great portrait is the co-operation between the photographer and his/her subject. When both are working together the result is far more than what comes from direction alone. Now, the tricky part is that wedding and portrait photographers are usually shooting “normal” people, rather than trained models. Our subjects often aren’t experienced in having their photo taken, and don’t know a lot about the process.

However you can do a LOT to help your clients prepare for having their photos taken, and hopefully get to that magical state of collaboration. And bonus, it’s not even that hard. Simply create a resource. Here's how to do that.

Making Your Resource

You have to remember that you know a lot about photography, and your clients probably know very little. They’re hiring you because you’re the expert! So you have to take all that fantastic knowledge, and break it down into useable and practical advice. In essence you are going to teach them how to have their photo taken by you! Teaching is fun!!

The contents of your resource will reflect your unique approach to photography, so it’s important to not just copy someone else! The more your clients can understand what it’s like to work with you, the better the results will be! So to get rolling on this, sit yourself down and think through your entire client process, step by step.Write it all out if you haven’t done so already. And then, at each step, see things from your client’s perspective. Put yourself into their shoes.


The more you shoot the more you should start to develop a philosophy—the *why* you shoot and what you’re hoping to achieve with your work. This is important information to communicate to your clients! You’ll probably talk about this when they first inquire, so they should already have an idea of what you’re about, but we like to keep reiterating this so they keep it in their minds throughout the whole process. When we’re all on the same page with the reason for the shoot it’s a much more enjoyable and meaningful experience!


One of the most common questions we get is “Where will we shoot? Do you pick or do we?”. And these resources you’re creating are intended to answer all these questions for your clients before they even have to ask!

So the location question should be addressed right away, and the answer is going to be up to you! Do you have a studio? Do you work on location? Do you prefer natural or urban areas? Why? Tell them how you pick locations, and why. Share some of your favourite images in different types of locations. The resource should be as visual as possible, and feature lots of your images. It’s a great way to show off more photos, and get them excited about having images of their own soon!


If you photograph kids you’ll want to provide parents with advice on getting their little ones ready for the session. We have tips like bringing multiple outfits, snacks, and a favourite toy in case the little one needs some comfort. We also discuss what we hope to capture when we photograph kids (their personality, not just a cheesy smile), and ways parents can encourage their kids to be themselves.


The biggest challenge in getting ready for a photo session has to be choosing what to wear. So it's a must to help in that area.

We give tips on how to dress as a family or couple (i.e. you can coordinate, but don’t need to be matchy matchy), reminders to consider all parts of the outfit (like thinking about shoes and sock combinations, and not wearing hats at the beginning of the shoot). We also give some advice on hair and makeup, and encourage clients to bring an extra outfit or two if they want some feedback.

This section will definitely take some thought and work on your part, so don’t rush it. Look through your portfolio, and see if any clients stood out as having great clothing choices, then showcase them and point out what was great about their outfits!


Then, of course, is the session. Give your clients tips on what to expect during the shoot, both in terms of what they’ll be doing, and what you’ll be doing. Again, you’re going to have to think about your own approach to shooting here. The more you can explain the *why* behind all this, the more your clients will appreciate your motivation, and trust you. Trust is massively important in getting to that state of collaboration we’ve talked about.


Give your clients a peek at what happens after their session. This is where you will be doing a LOT of work behind-the-scenes, and they will appreciate knowing just what they’re paying you all this money for! If you do a lot of editing and retouching you could even show them some samples of how much enhancing you’ll be doing to ensure their images are looking top notch.

Also give them an idea of the timeline for their images. These are the kind of details that are worth repeating a few times, just so they don’t have that dreadful moment thinking “Shouldn’t our photos be ready by now?”, and you end up looking bad, even if you’re actually on schedule! Make it clear when they can expect to see the photos, and how that will happen (online, in person, delivery, etc.).


While you have your clients thinking about their session, you can also get them thinking about the ways they’ll display the awesome photos that will come out of it. Let them know about all your products, and why they are fantastic. Get them thinking about where in their house they want to put the images!


Finally, we finish up by letting them know that we are here to help in any way, and they can contact us about anything! We genuinely want to make sure they are comfortable and prepared for the session. It will mean a better result for everyone!


The critical thing to keep in mind is that you, as a wedding photographer, have vastly more experience with weddings than your client, who is generally going through the process for the first time!! So, the more information you can give them the better. They’ll really appreciate a helping hand, and you become much more than just the photographer. You become an essential part of their big day.


The most important part of the wedding day was planning a smooth timeline. After shooting quite a few weddings we had a good idea of how the day generally ran, areas that always took longer than expected (hair and makeup!), places to add some padding, and the rough amount of time to set aside for photos. You should also have a final meeting before the wedding to go through it all again, and help them talk through their timeline, just to be sure everything was solid.


Give your clients lots of tips on how to make the process go nice and smoothly. Please insist on a written list to make sure everything is nice and clear. Always firmly suggest doing the portraits immediately after the ceremony to avoid anyone running off!


Photographers are often one of the first vendors booked for the wedding, after the venue. From there on out the couple has to choose a TON of people to help with their big day. If you know of great vendors in your area, create a resource for your clients! You’ll save them a ton of time, and help ensure that you work with a great team on the wedding day!

Big Idea

The easier you can make the process, the more fun they’ll have, and the more they’ll enjoy working with you! Which is pretty much the goal isn’t it?


Adobe released Lightroom 4 Beta to the public yesterday. It's available for download. However please resist the urge to do and serious stuff with this release until the FINAL release is available. I've downloaded it and installed and right of the back noticed a few thing I absolutely love already.

  • Improved Video Support if you're into that.
  • The ability to do PHOTO BOOKS from within light room.
  • Absolutely wonderful Shadow and Highlight Controls. Stunning!
  • The ability to email directly from within Lightroom. So Cool!
  • You can now also publish videos directly to Facebook or Flickr.
  • Burn to disk archiving.
  • Much better White Balance tool.
  • Big improvement on the search filters, as if it wasn't good enough already.

Download the Public Beta of Lightroom 4 here.

Why hire a professional photographer?

This kind of applies to pretty much most industries today, everyone needs to save a few dollars with the current economic state. As people scout for your services these days to shoot a wedding or whatever it may be, you can talk until the cows come home about how wonderful your work is and how much experience you have but the burning and main question is 'THE COST'. They may ask you, "what makes you different from my friend Joe who just bought the lasest and greatest DSLR"?

Let me begin by saying that there are situations where all of us can get away without hiring professional help: photo-specifically, everyday shots of the kids, photos of the daily special in a restaurant posted to social media sites, grip-and-grin shots to be submitted to the local newspaper. But when do you need a professional photographer?

Generally: anytime you actually want something to look good; anytime you want to be able to hang it on a wall; anytime you want to sell your house; anytime you want photos of your kids that don’t end up with you getting too emotionally involved/frustrated. These are all perfectly valid reasons.

Aside from the more obvious aesthetics of professional vs. amateur, there is still a multitude of practical, concrete reasons you want to have a pro on board for things like portrait, commercial or wedding shoots.

Pros have the gear. They spend thousands – if not tens of thousands – of dollars on good, carefully-researched equipment rather than running to the local store and buying their fanciest prosumer camera because the sales person says it's good. They tend to have the really fancy stuff and spend lots of time learning how to use it.

Pros tend to also carry backup equipment in the event of failures. Can you imagine not having photos of your wedding day because your friend/family member says the camera's memory card seems not to be working?

Pros have experience. Like the trusty postman, we work in rain, sleet and snow, not to mention with awful lighting conditions, nervous brides and family drama. We know how to calm people down—because we do this all the time—and if we’re technically good we can handle everything with grace and sometimes profit from conditions others might consider problematic.

Pros pay for continuing education and perfect the craft full-time, rather than on the side. Pros spend a good deal of non-shooting, non-editing time learning and watching webinars, reading blogs and professional forums, searching for inspiration. Pros join organizations where they can network with colleagues and learn from each other; they attend workshops and seminars, sometimes traveling halfway around the world. As trite as it sounds, pros are constantly thinking about photography.

Pros have a workflow and will get it done on time. Let’s face it, best case scenario—even if your friend or cousin is a full-time photographer and offers his/her services on the big day, you could still run into problems. Professionals are bound to contracts and if they are indeed working as a true Pro, they’re not going to prioritize non-paying or informal jobs. I’ve heard from brides who went this route and didn’t receive their images for 6, 8, 10 months after the wedding.

Lastly, pros control quality from start to finish. Pros spend days sorting through thousands of photos, editing the images to perfection and creating albums. They use software that is the real deal. Every single image, down to the quality of the paper on which the album is printed, is controlled for the best possible outcome. You’ll never have nasty surprises, only tasteful, archival-quality images you can admire for decades to come.

If for no other reason, consider the money you spend an investment in the only tangible remains of the wedding, apart from the dress. You’ll be cherishing those photos for decades.

Photoshop World Orlando 2011

During Photoshop World Orlando 2011, I was able to capture a photo that was later used in Photoshop World Ads as well as being published in the Premier Issue of 'LIGHT IT!' iPad magazine.My photo is also listed in the Photoshop World Photo Gallery. How cool is that!?

[caption id="attachment_967" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="My 'Published' Photoshop World Photo"][/caption]









[caption id="attachment_970" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Photoshop World Gallery"][/caption]









Here's a quick video recap from Photoshop World Orlando 2011.


Here's Five Tips To Give You a Push in 2012

[caption id="attachment_958" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Janesia Pitt"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_959" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Water Droplets"][/caption]

Let's move on from the errors we made last year and learn from them.

1. Have A Good Attitude

If you’re surrounded by bad news, people who don’t support your interest in photography, online groups full of haters and trolls, do something about it. Make a change. Surround yourself with positive people. Develop a can-do attitude. If you want to be a better photographer, be a better person. This starts with having a better attitude. The camera looks both ways. Make sure that the person on the other side of the lens is feeling your 'POSITIVE' energy.

2. Learn To See

Photography is about vision. Vision is about learning to see what others do not. There's always something around you to shoot, you just need to learn to look for it. Open your mind to countless photo opportunities. Having a camera doesn’t mean you have vision. You develop vision by looking at lots of great photographs. Don’t stop there. Look at all kinds of art. Spend a day or a month visiting art museums. Look at the shapes, forms and compositions that other artists use. Learn to see and then translate that to your camera.

3. Learn How To Properly Post-process Your Images

There are more choices than ever for those who want to take their photos to the next level in post. You can use the multitude of post processing tools available out there. Whatever you use, dedicate yourself to learning more about your software and how it works. There’s no excuse for not learning. There are dozens of great, free, online resources, not to mention books, videos and training DVDs. Kelby Training is one of my favorite sources for learning photography. Get better at post-processing. This is just a start. You can add to this list. Now’s a perfect time to refresh, reset and get started on a path toward making 2012 a great year for photography.

4. Dedicate Yourself To At Least One Photo A Day/week

There’s nothing that can replace experience. Picking up and using your camera every day will absolutely, positively, without a doubt make you a better photographer. This is a great way to start the year. Make a calendar – shooting a photo should be the first thing on each day’s list. You can turn this into a theme-based project or simply shoot what you find, but shoot you must. Every day. No excuses.

5. Learn Your Gear

Whether or not you got new gear as holiday gifts, it’s time to commit to learning the gear you have now. If you learned everything that your current camera could do for you, you’d probably be in a better position to make great images than you would with a 10 times better new camera that you don’t know much about. Work on reading your manual more often. Learn the ins and outs of ALL the camera’s features, including those you think you will or may never use. They will probably come in handy some day. Stop using lack of gear as an excuse. Learn to use what you have and move forward.

Three (3) Tips To Establish A Better Connection For Portrait Photography

[caption id="attachment_944" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Studio Shoot with my Crazy Model "Jazz Apple"."][/caption]  









Maybe you can try one of these tips next time you're doing a portrait photo.

1) Shooting straight on with your subject at or near eye-level establishes eye contact and a close relationship between the subject and the viewer. There is an intimacy to a straight on camera position that evokes an emotional response.

The straight on shot can work from any height, but it is most effective at eye level. If you want to establish an immediate connection between the viewer and the subject, shoot straight on.

2) Try to get an honest, genuine expression. Expression sells portraits. So get a real one. If you just tell someone to smile it rarely works as well as getting them to smile in a genuine manner. I am not above telling bad jokes to my subjects to get them to laugh or smile naturally. It makes the portrait more real and intimate in my opinion.

3) Take care of the technical stuff BEFORE the subject arrives for their portrait. Know those camera settings and lighting setups you want to use before they show up. The photographers who spend time fiddling with their cameras and gear won’t have as good a chance at establishing a real connection with their subjects.

What to Wear for Portrait Sessions

I say it all the time, however I still think that communication is the most important aspect of portrait photography, especially for posing. You may start to discuss this during your first contact with the client. To make the best possible portrait, you need to start before a subject arrives at your studio or location. A few simple tips suggested to subjects can make their session go better, and help them enjoy the portraits produced during the session, which hopefully translates into more clients and repeat business. Let's face it, as I always say "most of us do this because we love it" however the equipment is not free. Nothing detracts from a subject’s face more than clothes covered in busy patterns and prints. Your attire depends on the type of portraits we're looking to create.

Things don’t always work out as we'd like and we often have to work with what we have. Although you might prefer that a portrait subject bring solid colors to a shoot (not WHITE if possible), that doesn’t always happen out here in the real world. So when the clothes aren't working you can try shooting tight. This will avoid the possibly distracting clothes.

Cropping tightly helps the portrait somewhat but it won’t always work to minimize the busy pattern of a subject's clothing. When this happens you can try changing to Black and White.

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50 Reasons why not to Date or Marry a Photographer

1. They rather hold their bulky camera, than hold hands with you. 2. On a romantic date, you’ll watch the sun go down and think “Wow this is gorgeous” and they’ll go “mirror lock, tripod, and stop down f/8 at 1/125.”

3. You’ll never be able to enjoy tv, movies, or magazines because they’ll point out all the visual flaws.

4. They like to sit in obscure coffee shop and watch people for great lengths of time.

5. If you’re taking a walk outside and you come across some “interesting light” they will make you sit/stand/pose in public so that they can take a photo.

6. You’ll never get to enjoy freshly cooked meals when you're out for dinner because they’ll spend 15 minutes taking 20 variations of the same dish before you eat.

7. They get angry when your friends go up to them and say “I am interested in photography, can you recommend a good camera for me? Nothing professional I just want to take pretty pictures.”

8. You’ll wait longer for them to finish analyzing art in a museum.

9. Same goes with old used bookstores.

10. When you think they’re giving you their undivided attention, they’re really wondering how they could fix you with a little Clone Tool and Patch Tool or they are actually using you to not look so creepy as they people watch everything going on around you.

11. They rather drop $1,000+ on new glass than that special gift you always wanted..

12. You can’t take a photo with them without taking at least five more.

13. They get a natural high every time they learn a new lighting technique.

14. If you ask them if you look fat, they’ll say “don’t worry I can photoshop you later.”

15. They’ll never photoshop something simple for you if the content is not up to their “standards.”

16. That photo they randomly took of you yesterday? Good luck getting them to send it to you.

17. They spend all their time on the computer when not using the camera.

18. They can’t have a normal conversation without throwing acronyms and random numbers.

19. They still use film cameras (at least some do).

20. They spend a lot of time with cool people i.e. models, actors, musicians, successful rich people.

21. They’ll be fussy over the position of a common household object, like a coffee cup.

22. They won’t return your calls or text messages, but you can bet they’re still posting pics on flickr and such like.

23. They like watching old films that you’ve never heard or will ever understand.

24. They like looking at weird things in general.

25. Instead of having people-envy, they have camera-gear-envy.

26. If there’s a natural disaster in a far away land, they’re already on a plane going over there when ever possible.

27. Everything is watermarked.

28. They think everyone else’s photos suck.

29. They want to color correct a lot of scenes from Daybreak and Nightfall.

30. They hate rainbows, especially ones spinning in a circle. (MAC Users)

31. Whenever you’re in a group talking and the conversation goes deep, they’re taking notes in some form of Moleskine (Legendary Notebook). 32. They use over priced Moleskine notebooks or iPads.

33.They like trespassing into old abandoned buildings filled with health hazards.

34. They always want to show a new photo they took, but don’t really care if you like it or not.

35. They hate your n00bie friend’s new artsy profile picture.

36. Bright, sunny days make them sad, but cloudy, overcast days are apparently great!

37. They’ll take you into places that have “culture” as well a high chance of getting mugged.

38. Your birthday present will be a portrait that they’ve taken of you.

39. You can’t go anywhere new without them stopping to take a photo of everything and anything.

40. They will always bug you to be a test subject.

41. Nothing can ever be naturally pretty, everything must be fixed in Photoshop.

42. Bringing their camera means, bringing 50lbs of equipment.

43. If you break any of their things on accident, you’ll owe them thousands of dollars.

44. You can’t get them a birthday/Christmas present without spending at least $500

46. They are natural hoarders, collecting and keeping piles of old newspapers, packaging, magazines, and other things that “inspire” them.

47. They are weird and geeky.

48. They have hard drives of photos, but probably have printed 10 images.

49. They are always secretly judging your creativity.

50. If you’re ever in auto mode on your camera, they laugh at you.