Practice Shoot with Sheena

Yesterday Himal Reece and I decided to go out and practice our ambient light shooting skills. We left all the lighting gear behind and took just our camera body and lens. I selected my trusty 70-200mm f2.8 lens. No reflectors, just find the light and use it to the best of our ability. The light was not the best or so we thought, however in the end it turned out pretty acceptable. The location also had it's challenges, but that was exactly what we needed. So here's a shot from our shoot and a bit of info on how I was able to capture the shot. ISO - 800, Shutter Speed - 1/250s , Aperture - 2.8, Focal Length - 105mm

Light coming in from camera right.

Post Processing done in Light Room 4.2

ISO - 800, Shutter Speed - 1/500s , Aperture - 2.8, Focal Length - 155mm

Light coming in from camera right.

Post Processing done in Light Room 4.2

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."




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.


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.

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

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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.

Portrait Photography Tips

Here are 15 random portrait photography tips. Try them before you decide they won’t work :) 1. To make someone look smaller, photograph them from a high angle. 2. To create a dramatic portrait, fill the frame with the subject’s face. 3. Use large objects such as walls as reflectors when you can’t use electronic flash. 4. When photographing men, give them something to do with their hands. 5. Have your subject bring their chin down to make the eyes look larger. 6. When you photograph dark skin, underexpose by one stop. 7. Reflectors are an easy way to balance light on two sides of a subject. 8. Have your subject lean toward your camera. This creates a strong connection. 9. Large light sources placed close to the subject will provide the softest light. 10. Make sure your portrait background is clear of distractions. 11. When shooting a full-length portrait, women usually look better when they are photographed with their ankles crossed. 12. Make sure to focus on the eyes. Everything else can be soft. 13. Keep your subject’s arms away from her body to enhance the waist. 14. When posing someone in a seated position have them sit on their thighs, not their rear end. 15. Make sure to have a minimum of six feet between your subject and background to avoid casting shadows on the background.


Fifteen (15) In-Camera Tips For Sharper Photos

Sharpness continues to be a problem for some beginners and even intermediate photographers. Here are 15 tips for those of you who want the absolutely sharpest photo you can get.

1. Use A Tripod If you want the sharpest picture possible, use a tripod. If the camera moves when you make the photo, the photo will not be as sharp as possible. Even the slight pressure of your finger on the shutter can make a difference. So use a tripod and make sure it’s properly set up. Make sure that it’s stable and locked down. And use a sturdy tripod. The $30 tripod they sell at Best Buy isn’t going to cut it.

2. Use A Sturdy Tripod Head What good is the tripod if you have a flimsy head? The tripod head is almost as critical as the tripod itself. Make sure you’re using a head that is rated for your gear. A ball head that holds two pounds isn’t going to support your (Nikon fully equipped  with battery grip and a 24-70mm) :) lens on it.

3. Use a Cable Release Cable releases reduce the amount of human interaction with the camera and accordingly, reduce the chance of introducing vibration that can occur when pressing the shutter button. A cable release, either attached to the camera or remote wireless, will reduce camera vibration.

4. Self-Timer If you just cannot use a tripod, or don’t have a cable release, use your self-timer. This will minimize camera shake and reduce the cause of blur.

5. Lock up The Camera Mirror If you’re using an DSLR, you have a mirror that causes the image to appear in your viewfinder. Most cameras will let you lock up the mirror. This will keep the mirror from bouncing during the exposure since it will be up and out of the way. That mirror bounce can introduce vibration that causes the picture to be unsharp.

6. Use Image Stabilization or Vibration Reduction If your camera supports stabilization – use it. Even on a tripod this can be valuable if you’re using big and fast 500 or 600mm lenses. But be sure that your camera/lens combination supports tripod use. Not all stabilization systems work when the camera is mounted to a tripod. It’s a must when you are NOT using a tripod.

7. Buy the Best Glass Sharp photos start with good glass. Just like a stereo system requires good speakers, camera systems require good glass. The best glass on a cheap body is better than the other way around. With very few exceptions, the sharpest lenses will be fast primes.

8. Shoot in the Sweet Spot Most lenses have a spot where they are sharpest. Using special tools you can find this spot, but as a rule of thumb, the sweet spot is typically 2.25 your maximum aperture. For example on an f/2.8 lens, the sweet spot is often between f/5.6 and f/8. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that stopping down to the smallest aperture will create the sharpest picture. It almost never will. What it will do is give you the greatest depth of field, but that doesn’t translate to the sharpest image. Most lenses perform poorly at their extreme apertures.

9. Use Enough Depth of Field If you do everything on this list but your subject isn’t within the camera’s depth of field, you’ll come up with a photo that appears to be unsharp. Use a depth of field preview button or depth of field calculator if you want to make sure that you have critical depth of field.

10. Know Your Target? Establish what you want to be sharp. In a portrait – it will be the eyes. In a landscape, it might be a prominent foreground object. Whatever it is, you can’t measure sharpness if you don’t know what your target is.

11. Use Fast Shutter Speeds While it’s not always possible to shoot a 1/2000th of a second, you do want to select the highest shutter speed you can while staying within the lens’ sweet spot while calculating your exposure. Fast shutter speeds reduce camera shake and therefore allow for greater sharpness.

12. Shoot in the Best Light Here’s a tip you don’t often see in lists relating to sharpness, but it is important none-the-less. If you have good light, your autofocus will perform better, your scene will be rendered with better contrast, and the brightness necessary to achieve APPARENT sharpness will be increased. This is NOT to say you can’t make a sharp photo in low light because you certainly can. This item just reminds you that it’s easier in good light.

13. Consider Manual Focus While I am old enough that I can no longer adequately rely on my eyes to make a sharp photo, I can read a tape measure. And in critical focus situations I do what the cinematographers do. I measure the physical distance from the film/sensor plane to the point of focus and manually focus using the lens distance guide. This is a fool proof method if you have a situation and circumstance that allows for it.

14. Use Live View Most modern cameras have Live View and some even offer a zoom feature. This zoom feature can be very helpful in checking your focus.

15. Use a Third-Party Optical Viewfinder If you use a DSLR with a rear LCD screen, you may benefit by using a product like the Zacuto Z-Finder. These devices give you a larger optical view of the viewfinder and make it much easier to obtain critical focus. While there are other things you can do to get the image right in the camera, this list will solve most of the major problems I run into.

I hope it helps.


Three (3) Stupidly Simple Reasons Why Most People’s Photography Don't Improve

I’m guessing that this article will not apply to most of us… but after three (3) different conversations which revealed the same photography problems in three (3) different people – I thought I’d make mention of this here. 1. You don’t Take Your Camera With You If you don’t practice using your camera you’re unlikely to ever grow in your understanding of and skill in photography and if you rarely have it with you – you’ll not get that practice. Does that mean you need to lug your DSLR and all your cumbersome gear around with you all the time? Maybe – I have friends who are never without their main camera – but if that’s just not practical, at least make sure you have a smaller point and shoot or even a decent camera phone with you at all times. While the quality of the images you take might not be as great with these cameras – at least you’ll be practicing your composition, thinking about light, color and other aspects of photography.

2. You’re Going too Fast Many of us lead life at such a fast pace that we rarely stop to see the opportunities right before us to take wonderful images. You can carry your camera around with you 24/7 for the rest of your life but unless you learn to slow down and to look at the world a little differently you may never actually use it. As a result – I guess one of the tips I find myself giving to some that I talk to is to find ways to slow down – or at least slow down temporarily to set aside time to be a bit more intentional about photography. It might start by taking a walk with the main objective of doing some photography but could also be something bigger like a weekend away with your camera or even taking a photography class or tour. For me its about building photography into your daily rhythm and in time it starts to become a more natural thing as you get in the habit of seeing life a little differently.

3. You are Worried what Others Will Think I’ve come across quite a few people lately who suffer from ‘framing paralysis’. They take their camera with them and they even slow down enough to see the photographic opportunities around them – but there’s just something that stops them lifting their camera up to frame the shot. When I dig a little I’ve found in most of these instances the person is simply worried about what others around the will think if they use their camera. Will they look stupid? Will people think that they’re photographing them? Its a feeling I’ll admit to having myself in the past and it’s quite common. I guess the key to moving through framing paralysis is to grow your confidence as a photographer. For me the more photos I took and the more I began to exercise the discipline of taking images the easier it got. Another friend of mine got over his paralysis by finding a photography buddy to go out with – two of them taking shots somehow seemed less confronting than him doing it alone.

Here are a few random shots I took on a recent photowalk, nothing splendid but just an example of picking up your camera.

[gallery columns="6"]

Give it a try, you'll be surprised at the results.

Five Polarizer Tips

Sure a polarizer is basic equipment for most outdoor photographers, but that doesn’t mean everyone who owns a polarizer knows how to get the most out of it. In addition to using polarizers to blue up the sky or cut reflections, here are five tips for getting the most out of your polarizer. 1. Get the RIGHT polarizer. Almost every photographer reading this needs a CIRCULAR rather than a LINEAR polarizer. Your AF will stop working if you use a linear polarizer. Don’t worry – the circular polarizer is the most popular and if you already own a polarizer, chances are very good it’s a circular polarizer.

2. Polarizers work best when you are 90 degrees off sun angle. Think about what a watch looks like at 3:00 PM. That is a 90 degree angle.

3. Watch out for vignetting. Polarizers tend to be very thick. If you’re working on a wide-angle lens, you might end up losing the edges of your photo. Even when working at “normal” focal lengths, this can be a problem. Thin polarizers solve this problem but they cost more.

4. Don’t buy a cheap polarizer. Why put a cheap piece of plastic in front of your $1000 lens? (There are also great resin polarizers.) Try to find a polarizer made of glass rather than plastic. My favorite brand is B+W.

5. Consider specialty polarizers. Singh-Ray and Hoya make some interesting colored polarizers that create stunning effects in-camera, especially of interest to landscape photographers.

I only carry two types of filter these days, neutral density and polarizer. Play with a polarizer next time you go out shooting and see if it doesn’t help make your photos pop.

Composing Portraits

During my morning browse around the web. I came across this little video on Adorama. Every now and again I get people asking me what is the correct way to take good portraits. So take a peek at Mark Wallace's view.

Product Shots

Photography covers so many different topics it's unbelievable.Some photographers specialize in one area and some find it far more exciting to cover many different areas. I can't really say what area I'm mostly attracted to and therefore find myself being challenged to cover so many different topics in this field. Recently I've been asked to take some product shots of a teddy bear for my moms website (go figure). So here's the setup:-


I used a large softbox as the background.

Two (2) strobes left and right of camera with shoot-through umbrellas.

The product was placed on foam core with a piece of plexi-glass for reflection. These reflections can be done in post using Photoshop, however it's always best to get as much done in camera as possible.


How to take captivating Children Portraits

Children are such a delight and capturing the liveliness of their antics and innocent faces can be one of the most rewarding experiences for a portrait photographer. They are not afraid to run around, make a mess of things; and that’s what makes photographing children great – you never know what to expect! Here are five tips on how to get the most from these wonderful creatures: They are the boss Make no mistake, children are their own bosses. If you want something from them, you’ll have to work for it. Some kids are naturals in front of a camera and will pose effortlessly. If you are faced with difficult or camera-shy kids, leave them alone and photograph other kids or people around them. They just want attention and will come around when they see how much fun everyone else is having. If they never come around, take the photojournalistic route – observe and snap, snap, snap.

They don’t get out of bed even for $10,000 If you think supermodels are prima donnas, you’ve never encountered a sleepy or hungry kid. Children get grumpy or antsy when they are deprived of basic needs. Be respectful of the child’s schedule and arrange the photo session after they’ve had their nap or regular meal. Ask parents when their child is in the best mood or when they are most animated and engaged.

Kids will be kids Let kids play and be themselves. Let them run around and explore the space, instead of posing them deliberately. Treat them with respect and as human beings with thoughts and desires. Children are very perceptive to intention, and if you are kind and warm, they will sense that and open up. Ask them to pick a spot and let them do what they would like to do. Engage them, keep them interested and have a great time.

Where’s mommy? Parents are an important part of the equation – and they can provide you invaluable information about the child. However, it’s also important for you to have some time alone with the child to establish a rapport. Often, children are much better when parents are not involved directly with the shoot. This allows the photographer and child to build a rapport unaffected by familial dynamics.

Help’s around the corner It can be intimidating to work with a subject you cannot control. Remember you are the artist and if you have a vision, don’t be afraid to ask for help.