15 Photography Pros Share How They Prep For Shoots

15 Photography Pros Share How They Prep For Shoots

All of the best photographers in the world have one thing in common: preparation. Think about this scenario: you work your butt off, and then one day, out of the blue, your dream client comes knocking. Whether it’s shooting the cover for Newsweek (a la Gary Knight), or an editorial spread for major fashion magazine (a la Emily Soto), how do the world’s top working photographers get in the right mindset? While there’s no magic formula, there are plenty of things every photographer can start doing today to be ready for that call from Vogue when it comes.

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Some of CreativeLive’s top instructors share some words of wisdom below:

“I try to relate to the client as much as I can. For example, if shooting a commissioned portrait I ask for personal stories that make that person who they are, so that I can draw inspiration for their picture from that. If it’s a book cover, I try to find out as much as I can about the author and book, so that I know their taste and needs.”
— Brooke Shaden


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“Small job or big job is all the same — remember the gear, bring backup, dress accordingly to the job, have fun. The size of the job does not affect how I act or feel.”
— Mike Fulton

“Over-prepare, do the mental checklist, relax.”
— John Greengo


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“I try and stay calm the week and especially the day before. And make sure that I don’t stress out and don’t vary from my routine so I don’t let it ruin my entire week. I get prepared the day before a big wedding just like I would any other wedding and double and triple check to make sure that I have everything I need. Sticking to a routine is key for me staying mentally prepared for big jobs.”
— Vanessa Joy

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“I always find that I shoot my best and I feel the most creative when I’m relaxed and inspired. To stay relaxed on big jobs, I treat them just the same as I would any other job. That keeps me from putting too much pressure on myself and keeps me in a mindset of fun instead of work. To get inspired before a shoot, I always end up either digging through books, or watching movies that get my mind thing creatively. Other than that, sleep and a damn good breakfast.”
— Ben Sasso

“Mental rehearsal. Not only do I go over all the scenarios in my head for gear packing, but I also imagine myself shooting and coming up with ideas on the spot. I leave a lot to spontaneity, but I also plan to be able to be more spontaneous by using visualization to put myself on the spot before hand. I imagine myself in the scene, talking to my subjects, seeing the light, etc. I imagine myself being relaxed and ideas are flowing in to me. Sounds all metaphysical and stuff, but it works for me.”
— Kevin Kubota


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“Well, there is the usual pre-production and planning insanity that accompanies every big job that must be ironed out. Schedules, models, equipment, assistants, art directors, designers. Lots of emailing and phone calls to set times, dates, and comings-and-goings.  Along with that comes the usual preparing of all the gear and battery charging, which I suppose is pretty standard. But to get into the mindset, it may come as a shock that I don’t really do anything to get psyched up, if you will. I find that the more I think about something the more I freak out, so mentally, l approach very important job the way I’d approach a not-so-important job. That is, to say, that I will just shoot the hell out of it and create the best pictures possible without thinking too hard about the pressures of the job.”
— Mike Kelley

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“I make a lot of lists, get things ready days or weeks in advance if possible, then dance around to Dance/Club music on Pandora for 2 days before.”
— Erin Manning

“I personally have to have a very low key hour or two before the gig to relax and get into the right mindset. On the wedding day it really helps for me to get to the venue early to load film and to scope it out.”
— Josh Moates (right)

“The key to preparation is just that, preparation! I do as much as possible to prepare before the day of the shoot so that I am simply putting a plan of attack into action. I create mood boards to help determine the direction of the shoot, discuss my ideas with the creative team, and then make sure everyone is prepared to do their part. This way, on the day of the shoot everything is set to go much more smoothly!”
— Lindsay Adler


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“Freak out. Then breathe. Think big picture, bring passion. then break it down to bite size pieces.”
— Jonny Davenport

“Have a good meal and get a good night’s sleep.”
— Pei Ketron


In-demand fashion photographer Emily Soto shares lessons in lighting in her online class. Watch Now!


“The mindset has to come prior to the big job. Like the saying goes, dress for the job you want, not the job you have. You should always work on a job as though you’re working on the biggest client of your life. And then when any job comes around, you’ll always be in the mindset. Know that you are born for that job. It was meant for you.”

— Pratik Naik

“It’s never hard getting up for a big job — it’s much more important to relax and do the things that got you there.”
— Brian Smith

“I always triple check that my gear is properly packed so I will be prepared for anything.  I don’t like to be overly nervous (although some nerves are a good thing!), so if I feel my nerves are getting out of control I meditate.”
— Jen Rozenbaum

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Break Out From Small Talk Hell – 5 Strategies to Conquer the Art of Networking

Break Out From Small Talk Hell – 5 Strategies to Conquer the Art of Networking

Freeze up when your CEO greets you at the coffee machine? Or never know what to say at those already awkward networking events? 

If you feel like you’re in small talk hell, let the good folks from the The Art of Charm help you solve it. It is their specialty, after all. 

Former Wall Street lawyer Jordan Harbinger is now an entrepreneur and social dynamics expert–and now a networking Maestro. But Harbinger doesn’t really like using the term “networking,” which is often associated with superficial connections for quick, personal gain. What he teaches is “relationship building” and forming authentic, long term connections with people.

His consulting and coaching company Art of Charm offers boot camps and training sessions to individuals and companies who want to understand the elements of emotional intelligence and become more persuasive, confident and charismatic. Harbinger’s been at this for awhile—for the past ten years, he’s hosted a top 50 podcast on iTunes, also called the Art of Charm.

So are you ready to work to charm your boss or make better personal connections? Try these tried and tested strategies from Harbinger, then get out there and work that room!

Figure out what people want you to see about them
Correctly reading a person will help you build that true connection much more quickly. If you can pick up on how people see themselves and how they want you to see them, then you will go far. Why is the guy you just met telling you that he often works weekends? He probably wants you to know that he is a dedicated individual and is passionate about his work. You’ve also got to observe how he says what he says, how his or her expression might change when they start to talk about traveling or photography. Likewise, pay attention to your own reactions when someone is talking to you—it might shed light on the intention of this person’s words.

Move on from forced connections
If you want to connect with someone to help expand your business, but quickly realize that you don’t mesh well with this person, that’s reason enough to move on. Don’t invest your time in building up a relationship with someone who doesn’t hold the same values and beliefs in terms of how they do business and their long-term goals. You don’t have to network with everyone at the networking event—more connections does not mean more resources.



Gauge your own self-promotion and adjust accordingly
Networking is not just about listening well. You can share your best stories, but do it in a way that will connect with your audience. If you think you sound too obnoxious, you probably do, so rein it in a little. Take a peek at your audience to gauge the interest level and adjust yourself accordingly. Even if you think you have nothing in common with your audience, remember that as humans we all share and relate to the same basic themes in life. fIf you are coming from an authentic place, your story will be well received.

Be patient
You are building human relationships, and that takes time—as in weeks or even years. There is no “hack” for creating an authentic connection with someone. Be persistent but not annoying. You can avoid that by following up in a different way each time. Share something of value, a link to an article, an offer of an introduction to someone in their field, or even a funny video.

Don’t keep score
Help everyone you can without actually expecting anything in return. Of course, you can curate and filter the people you meet by attending only high-end events, instead of free networking events or conferences that might attract anyone and everyone. But, as Harbinger points out, you can’t predict what person is going to give you an opportunity. What you can do instead, very easily, is connect people within your own current network of contacts.

Forget what you’ve heard about networking—just focus on building authentic relationships. If you are genuine in your approach, you will eventually connect with those who are also genuine in their networking pursuits.

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Lindsay Adler’s 3-Step Process for Retouching Fashion Portraits

Lindsay Adler’s 3-Step Process for Retouching Fashion Portraits

This is a special guest post by CreativeLive instructor Lindsay Adler.

Photoshop is an all-consuming world full of plug-ins and hundreds of retouching options, and the simpler you make it for yourself, the better. I use a three-step process when retouching fashion portraits –– eliminating unwanted blemishes, filling in shadows, and running multiple layers of Portraiture to smooth uneven textures. Touching up your portrait without making the image look fake and over-polished takes a certain amount of finesse, but you’ll end up with a naturally beautiful image with a few simple tips and tricks!


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Note: these techniques are applicable when using Adjustment Layers and Layer Masks. Adjustment Layers are like a gel — you place them on top of your photo, and everything underneath will take on the gel’s effect. You’ll then be able to paint the effect on and off with your Layer Mask.

Use the Spot Healing Brush to get rid of blemishes. The Spot Healing Brush is a little circle that you make slightly larger than your blemish. You place it over the blemish and Photoshop will erase it and fill it in based on the textures and colors of the skin around it. It works well for larger pimples or moles.

Spot Blem

Use a Patch Tool to get rid of wrinkles. You can use a Patch Tool to select an unwanted blemish or wrinkle, and then click and drag that wrinkle to an area of skin that has textures and colors you want it to be replaced with. The Patch Tool will both replace and blend the area where the wrinkle was. I use this tool for large lines on the forehead, as well as wrinkles on clothing –– but keep in mind that it doesn’t work well for areas with high contrast (like edges) or areas with lots of texture.


Learn how to control how your image looks, down to the pixel! If you haven’t heard of blend modes before, your workflow is in for a treat.


Use Blend Modes to clone. Cloning smooths and blends by rapidly cutting and pasting pixels, but many people use the Clone Stamp Tool and end up losing skin texture. Over-cloned images can look fake, but an easy solution? Blend Modes. They affect how the brush interacts with the pixels you’re clicking on, and you can use them to add texture to images. For example, using the “lighten” Clone Stamp under the eyes will keep the skin’s natural texture, but fill in shadow. It works well for larger smile lines and wrinkles on the neck and armpits. You don’t want to erase them completely, you just want to fill them in.Cloning

Use Imagenomic Portraiture plug-in for targeted skin smoothing. I don’t recommend spending your money on tons of trendy software, but Imagenomic Portraiture is great for extremely targeted retouching. It allows you to select specific skin tones and adjust how smooth you want them, breaking the categories down into fine, medium or large details. I don’t typically smooth out the fine details because I want my portraits to look as natural as possible. One of the great things about this plug-in is that you can pick what part of the image you want to target, smooth it out, and then create a transparency mask, which will show you the pixels you’ve just affected. If you accidentally smoothed out something you didn’t want to (like lips or eyes), you can go back in and erase it!

ImagenomicPortraiture


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Sue Bryce and Felix Kunze Tips for Better Fashion Posing

Sue Bryce and Felix Kunze Tips for Better Fashion Posing

fashion posing

Photos by Sue Bryce

There’s a wide range of portrait photography, and every client is different. But as a photographer, sometimes you’re not necessarily shooting for the model, you’re shooting for someone else, like a clothing company or another commercial client. Or, maybe, the model has contracted you to take photos for their folio. Either way, fashion photography is a different kind of beautiful beast — and the posing can be tricky. In their class, Fashion Photography Posing and Lighting, Sue Bryce and Felix Kunze gave some great advice for portrait photographers who might be branching into fashion.

Know the code words. “Ballet hands!” Sue emphasizes. If your model has stiff fingers or an otherwise problematic hand positioning, this is one of the quickest ways to direct her to correct it.

“Even guy photographers can say ‘ballet hands’ and models will know what that means.”


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Try anything. Different body types often merit different kinds of posing, but there really are no hard-and-fast rules when it comes to which shapes should or should not pose in which ways. The best way to find out what works? Try it, says Felix.

“Even if it’s not a pose you think will work, you can always try. You never know what might work.”

Avoid phantom limbs. Cropping out limbs is a subject that photographers like to debate, but one thing that’s non-negotiable, says Sue, is posing that makes arms or legs look cut or shortened. One huge example: Arms between the legs in seated fashion poses.

“When everyone starts out, they want to put their hands between their legs,” says Sue, “but then the arm…it just disappears. That’s a big example of what not to do.” Instead, move the arm around the knee or to the thigh — if the hand is visible, you’re in good shape.

Have your own modeling material. “Don’t show another photo for [your model] to base poses off of. That’s just advertising someone else’s work,” says Felix. Instead, says Sue, you can either mirror your ideal poses yourself, or, as she’s done, draw out the poses you’d like them to do. Not a great artist? Sue put together a book of illustrated poses that will be available with the purchase of the class.

If you’re going to touch, make it swift. “I never touch my clients,” Sue explains, “but if you do need to touch your clients, just go up and do it. Make it quick, make it confident. Don’t ask them if you can touch them, that’s creepier.” Sue recommends telling the model directly what she’s about to do, and then doing it swiftly.

Take a breathe and do a lap. If you and your subject just aren’t in sync, or you’re having a hard time finding a pose that works, Sue says it might be time to stop directing and starting moving.

“When you’re stuck, stop moving them — stop moving their hands, stop moving their arms — and rotate.” Take a few steps around your model and see how they react to your movement; often, they’ll shift and rotate to follow you, which can correct an awkward pose.

“Just take your time. Stop moving her. Just start shooting. You’ll find it,” says Sue.

Be specific. One huge way to help pose a model? Ditch that cliched photographer talk and really talk to your client.
“Positive affirmation is better than just ‘gorgeous!’” says Sue. “That doesn’t mean anything!” Instead, she says, “hypnotize your clients.” Felix agrees.

“When you’re really talking to her, it takes her mind off everything else,” he says.


Bring more flair to all of your photographs with fashion-inspired posing and lighting ideas from Sue Bryce and Felix Kunze. Watch Now!

 


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Bokeh Effect Tutorial: How To Capture Photographs With “That Blurry Effect”

Bokeh Effect Tutorial: How To Capture Photographs With “That Blurry Effect”

That background blur effect you see in photographs? You know, the one where the background is smooth blobs and the subject is in sharp focus?

That’s aesthetic quality is called bokeh effect. More specifically, bokeh is the photography term used to define out of focus light sources that simply look like neat circles in the background of the photograph, like this:

blurry effect tutorial

Bokeh originates from the Japanese word boke which means ‘blur.’ While bokeh looks (and sounds) like a complex task, creating the bokeh effect is actually pretty simple to do. Here’s a quick three-step bokeh effect tutorial that will help you create beautiful bokeh effects (and hopefully help you stop calling it “that one blurry effect”. Also, if you need a more complete guide to create the bokeh effect, check out our Ultimate Resource Guide here).

Although you can create the bokeh effect in post-processing with software like Photoshop or apps like Bokeh Lens, here are a few tips to achieve those out-of-focus highlights (or pleasing bokeh affects) with your camera.

Step 1: Find a light source.

The true definition of bokeh isn’t just a blurred background, but blurred lights.


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Naturally, that means you have to find a light source. Christmas lights are an easy way to achieve that out-of-focus blur and add good bokeh to an image any time of the year, but they certainly aren’t the only option. A cityscape at night or evening sun filtering through some trees works too. You can even crinkle up some tinfoil and put a light in front of it for some great bokeh.

The best light sources to create bokeh are small, and it’s usually best to have a few of them. The sun won’t create a bokeh effect itself, but small patches of sunlight coming through leaves will. Outside of finding small light sources, keep in mind the color of the light source will show up in your photos too.

bokeh effect tutorial

Step 2: Position your subject…far from the light source.

Novice photographers often put their subject directly in front of the background, or even leaning up against it. But, the farther your subject is from the background, the blurrier the background will be. To create good bokeh, the background needs to be blurry, so make sure to position your subject at least a few feet in front ahead of the light source. If you don’t have a camera with manual modes (which we’re talking about next), you’ll want to get even further away.


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Outside of using distance to blur the background, the distance will affect how big those light orbs appear. So, if you want larger orbs of light, you’ll need to place the subject a little bit closer to the light source. For smaller circles, put even more distance between the subject and the background. The more shallow depth-of-field, or further away your background is, the more blurred it will be. (Remember, too, whether you have a Canon, Nikon or Sony, a camera lens with longer focal lengths will increase the depth of field even when the distance between the camera and the subject doesn’t change.).

Tip: If you don’t want to photograph a subject but just want a photo of only bokeh (they make great desktop wallpapers), switch to manual focus. Adjust the focus until the lights are completely out of focus and bam! Great bokeh!

bokeh effect tutorial

Step 3: Adjust your aperture, then take the shot.

Distance will help blur out the background (so don’t get too close-up), but so will aperture. (If you haven’t brushed up on photography fundamentals yet, aperture is how wide the opening in the lens is). A wide aperture, or smaller f-number, will blur out that background even more. If you set your camera to one of the widest apertures like f/1.8 will really blur out that background for a great bokeh effect. Set your camera to Aperture Priority mode and choose a low f-number, then you are ready to take the shot.

Tip: If you don’t have Aperture Priority Mode on your camera, try the portrait scene mode.


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You can use both aperture and distance to control the bokeh in the background. If you don’t want to use a super wide aperture because you need more of the subject in focus, or don’t have a lens capable of a super wide aperture, simply use compensate for the narrower aperture by adding more distance between the subject and the light source. With a bit of experimenting, you should be able to capture a bokeh effect by using both distance and aperture to blur the background.

Troubleshooting

While the bokeh effect is simply to achieve, a number of issues can pop up, depending on where and what you are shooting.

Why is my subject is too dark?

With the light source behind the subject, chances are, your subject may appear a bit dark. Toss a little light back on the subject by using a low powered flash or reflector as a fill light. Or, you can adjust the metering mode to spot metering, though this switch will make your background appear a bit lighter.

Why are the artificial lights “blinking” in my pictures?

When I photographed my kids in front of the Christmas tree last year, I was frustrated when I looked at the pictures because in several of them the lights didn’t appear at all. I didn’t change my settings or the lights between shots, so, what gives? Artificial lights are actually sent out in surges—they aren’t always on, though they appear that way to our eyes. The photos with the lights “off” simply caught one of those surge moments. That’s simply a timing error. While you can’t see the surges to adjust your timing, if you use a shutter speed slower than 1/60 you shouldn’t have the same issues. Since I was photographing active kids, I chose to keep my shutter speed high and just took more photos for a better probability of missing that surge.

Bokeh can create some amazing backgrounds, without detracting too much from the subject. The key to capturing good blur quality and a great bokeh effect is to find a light source, position your subject several feet away from the light source, and use a wide aperture.

Want more photography tips for creating great bokeh? Our Ultimate Resource Guide on Bokeh will help you take your images to the next level. Read it here.


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4 Photography Posing Tips Every Photographer Needs to Know

4 Photography Posing Tips Every Photographer Needs to Know

Photo courtesy Lindsay Adler.

Photo courtesy Lindsay Adler.

It’s simple – to be a glamour, portrait, boudoir or wedding photographer who has a living, breathing subject, you need to pay attention to the posing tips you’re giving your clients. It’s more than just telling people how and where to stand. The recipe for success in the realm of portrait photography is one part communication, one part planning, and one part skill — all topped with a friendly, comforting presence. Having a strong knowledge of posing techniques is a large part of that.

Here are a few photography posing tips from today’s top working photographers:

A Natural Posing Guide

Think about your client and how they want to be represented in your image. Most male clients want to appear masculine, but females don’t necessarily want the opposite — they want to be strong. Do your research and interview your subject so you know what the perfect pose will be for them. You need to know not only what kind of person they are, but how they want to be portrayed. Then, it is your professional responsibility to know how to achieve the desired result using poses that look natural and authentic. This relies heavily on communication with your client to understand their demeanor and personality.


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To learn more about effective communication and posing tips, check out this clip from legendary glamour photographer Lou Freeman:

Know How to Find and Get the Most of Rembrandt Light

Rembrandt lighting is your best friend — but only if you know how to position your subject at the right angles. You can bring in all the flashes and lighting equipment you want, but if you can’t use natural Rembrandt lighting, you’ll never be able to move outside your studio! Shadows are great, but you need to discover the right balance to get a fabulous shot. Learn from Clay Blackmore here:

Be Aware of the Whole Body

Here’s the truth – the human body is both beautiful and awkward. Making each part of the body look good in a portrait is a challenge. The hair can look great but the eyebrows are off. The legs can look great but the chin is sticking too far out. Body shots can be complicated in this way but there are small changes or adjustments you can make to help capture a more natural look.

Lindsay Adler demonstrates successful posing.

Lindsay Adler demonstrates successful posing in the above photography tutorial example.

One of the most common errors amateurs make is to forget about the hands. The model’s hands are quite possibly the most difficult to master, but also one of the most important. Sue Bryce and Bambi Cantrell elaborate:

Another tricky body part is the neck. No matter the body type, if you pose your client incorrectly, their neck will look thicker than it does in real life. What’s the goal? Don’t make the camera add 10 pounds. Watch this clip from Zach Arias to find out how to avoid it:

Posing Groups

It’s easy to think that once you know how to pose one subject that you can easily adapt to groups. The problem is that every person is unique — a good pose for one person might not be that great for another. That’s a crucial piece of the photography posing puzzle. Each individual comes with their own personality and pairing those personalities together can be a real challenge. In this clip, Michelle Celentano teaches you a few basics for posing family portraits:


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Free SEO Marketing for Wedding Photographers: How To Easily Improve Google Ranking

Free SEO Marketing for Wedding Photographers: How To Easily Improve Google Ranking

SEO for wedding photographers is the new way to reach clients.

Back in the day, the best hack for a wedding photographer to end up in front of potential new clients was to make sure you were in the front of the phone book (nice try, AAA Photography Services). Even though people have mostly stopped flipping pages and started turning to Google to find the services they need, the tactics remain similar: You want to be first in line.

But how do you improve your Google ranking when everyone and their grandmother claims to have the secrets to great SEO (and great SEO for wedding photographers)?

The truth is, search engine optimization isn’t really about smoke and mirrors — it’s about algorithms and best practices. As a business person, all you really need to know is how to play along.


Looking to create a successful photography business? Develop solid online marketing skills and get discovered by your target audience.


Here are a few of the best tips from ShootDotEdit guide to help professionals understand SEO for wedding photographers, with actionable tips that can help ensure the right clients are finding you:

Switch to WordPress

One of the easiest ways to improve your Google ranking and make sure potential clients can find you is to be 100% sure that your website is doing most of the work for you. WordPress is an SEO “powerhouse,” writes SDE, and is, by default, mostly optimized for great search results. It also comes with a ton of options for plug-ins that can make SEO even less of a guessing game.

Blog about it

WordPress is also a great place for hosting a blog — which is another hot SEO tip. But regardless of where your website is hosted, you need to be blogging, and including the kinds of keywords that people are looking for to find you.

“Create a blog calendar. Schedule out blogs on a regular and consistent basis and use one keyword from your list per post,” recommends ShootDotEdit. Regularly updating a blog with strong images and keywords helps keep your site fresh, which gives Google something to crawl and, as a result, improves your ranking. If you’re not sure which keywords to use, or where to find them, SDE’s guide can help with that.

Link in, link out

“Search engines see links from popular websites like Facebook and recognize them as adding credibility to your site. You can equate it to having a good set of references,” according to ShootDotEdit. So make sure that your social media profiles all link to your site, and that your site has clear, easy-to-find links back to them. It’s also a good idea to have them linking to each other.

“Not only do you want to link these back to your site, but they also should interlink to one another. For example, your Twitter should link back to your website, as well as to your Facebook. Interlinking your social media allows the different platforms to talk to one another.”

Want more? Get ShootDotEdit‘s free SEO guide here.


Looking to create a successful photography business? Develop solid online marketing skills and get discovered by your target audience.

 


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7 Easy Photography Tips to Enhance Your Lighting

7 Easy Photography Tips to Enhance Your Lighting

Even though I’ve been a full-time photographer for nearly eight years, it took me a good two or three to fully realize how important lighting was to the craft. It’s not about how many photography tips you know or what camera you use. What’s important to photography is one thing: light. Lighting is just as complex as it is important, but there are some simple tricks you can use to get started with seeing and shaping light to take your images to the next level. Here are a few lighting photography tips to get you started.

Use a kicker

Simply putting a single speed light on a stand and aiming it from directly behind (or 45 degrees behind) can add a ‘pop’ to the subject that you can’t achieve otherwise. This light will separate them from the background in a way that’s difficult to replicate in Photoshop, and is one of the easiest photography tips to make your images appear more professional.

The portraits I shoot on location are done using two light setups; one main light on the subject, and one background or kicker light. Two lights are easy to carry, versatile and quick to setup.

The 5-in-1 reflector is your friend

Most people have a 5-in-1 reflector sitting with their camera gear, and if not, it’s an easy and inexpensive piece of equipment to get your hands on. These reflectors are great because they have so many uses and can fold down to be much smaller. Besides the reflecting and light blocking capabilities of this tool, there’s one that people often overlook.

If you take off the reflector sleeve entirely, most of these reflectors have a semi-translucent disk you can use as a scrim. This is especially useful on bright, sunny days. When the scrim is held up overhead it softens the sunlight and creates usable diffused light source. This can also be used if you want to have another light source to light the subject, but don’t want to block out the sun entirely.  This tactic is perfect for taking portraits outdoors when you don’t want the sun to shine too brightly on your subject.

Glasses

A lot of people wear glasses. A lot of these people also don’t have non-glare coating on their glasses. This can makes things more difficult for photographers.

Oftentimes, when I tell my subjects I’m getting glare from their glasses, they’ll begin to remove their glasses. Although this would be easier, it takes away from the authentic look of that person.

The easiest way to remove glare from glasses is simple: raise your light. By raising the light source, it reduces the angle of light hitting the glasses, and removes the glare. This will affect the original mood of the lighting, so you will have to make some readjustments. A reflector will be helpful to fill in the light from the bottom so the shadows aren’t as pronounced. This effect can also be achieved by moving the light more to the side, if you don’t mind a side-lighting effect. If shooting outdoors, the same effect can be achieved by tilting the subject’s face down.

Another trick is to keep a small eyeglass screwdriver handy to remove the lenses all together.


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 Match the mood

Oftentimes on location, you might find yourself in an area where the color temperature of the lighting inside a building is very different from your main light source. There are two photography tips to deal with this.

The first is to use correction gels on lights to adjust for the temperature difference. Under warm/orange/tungsten lighting, use “correct to orange” (CTO) gels on your lights to balance out the difference. The gels correct for fluorescent and cooler lighting, and are worth playing around with.

The other is to overpower the existing ambient light. If you forget to bring gels and you’re shooting in a small enough room, try firing a second light in the background, up towards the ceiling, to add light that matches the main light source. Nine times out of ten, it will work.

Use gels to help tell the story

You can also use colored gels to help tell the story of the image. Oftentimes, gels are used for special effect, or just because they give a unique look. But gels can also be used to mimic real-world scenarios. In the image below, I shot portraits of firefighters. I used a red gel on my kicker speed light to mimic a light from a fire truck. It was a great way to add to the story of the image and gave the image a little more depth. 

Sandbags, sandbags, sandbags

This one isn’t as much about lighting as it is about protecting your lighting equipment. A bag of play sand costs about four dollars. An empty sandbag costs just a few dollars more. Together, they can save you from replacing costly lighting equipment after windy days. If you’re using heavy modifiers or lightweight stands and don’t have an assistant to hold the light in place, do yourself a favor and get some sandbags. And in a pinch, wrangle your camera bag to hang from the light stand to act as a weight.

Look for light

This is perhaps the most  important and the most difficult. You can know all the lighting photography tricks in the book, but if you don’t learn how to look for light, you’ll always be limited in what you can do. But once you figure out that all you need to do is look at where the light is coming from, and what it leaves behind (shadows), you can start to really step into the light/dark dance that is photography. This is one you’ll have to learn on your own.


Want more lighting photography tips? Tune into Dan Brouillette to learn more.


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5 Steps to Setting and Achieving Meaningful Goals in Life

5 Steps to Setting and Achieving Meaningful Goals in Life

5 Steps to Setting and Achieving Meaningful Goals in Life

As enthusiastic and consistent as we are in setting goals, we are often just as consistent in not following through on actually achieving those goals.

I’ve always heard the advice that you’d better hurry up and make it happen because, “it’s now or never.”

This may be true in some cases, but it’s not easy, because “now” always feels like a very slippery point in time. “Now” is a single moment that must somehow accommodate an entire ocean of tasks simultaneously.


Reach the goals your holding yourself back from with Mel Robbins 5 second rule.  


Your brain may think that you want to achieve a very specific goal that you’ve had in mind for years. Your heart may feel and believe that you want to make it happen.

But, if you aren’t actually doing something to make progress (every single day), or if you aren’t taking action, all your thoughts and beliefs about your goals are nothing but that. Dust in the wind.


“If you’re not taking action to make progress on your goals, those goals are just dust in the wind.”
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1. Think About the Why.

Why are you doing this?

Why do you want to achieve this goal? Especially when it’s something you’ve desired for years, and you still haven’t done it–well, it might be time to reevaluate that goal and decide if you still really want it, or even need it for the path your work and your life has taken you down. You don’t necessarily need to delete that goal from your life, but you can modify it to fit better with your current situation.


“You don’t need to give up on unattainable goals, you just need to modify them.”
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Also consider if you are pursuing this goal for yourself, or because your peers or competitors have done this same thing.

Do you just need to get this over with or do you truly want it to happen? When you envision yourself in the future where you’ve completed this goal, do you feel excited and happy, or do you just feel neutral? Follow this guiding feeling and reassess the why behind the work you’re doing.

2. Ask Where the Love Is.

Related to the reasoning behind your goals, is the fact that you won’t be motivated to do anything unless you feel genuine passion for not only the end result, but for the process as well.

You can get a motivational coach to yell at you, or an accountability buddy to support you—but if your heart’s not in it to begin with, the best coach in the world won’t be able to help you reach your goals.

Now that you’ve zeroed in on the real reasons and passion behind your goals, you can move on to the herculean task of actually achieving them.

Anyone can create a goal, but you need a realistic plan to carry it out to a successful end.


“Anyone can create a goal, but you need a realistic plan in order to achieve it.”
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And that’s where most people fail. If you’ve never run a marathon before, how do you expect to run it without weeks of training and building up your stamina? There’s nothing different about your business-oriented goals.

3. Break It Down.

Break it down into baby steps.

“All I have to do is take one step at a time, and I can do anything!” realizes Bill Murray’s character in the classic comedy hit, ‘What About Bob.’ Simple, right? Part of breaking down your project is getting specific.

5 Steps to Setting and Achieving Meaningful Goals in Life Two

Vague goals like “earn more money with my business” will get you nowhere.


“Want to actually achieve your goals? Vague goals like earn more money will get you nowhere.”
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You’re going to need details. How much can you increase revenue per month, how much increase do you want for the year, with which income streams, how many more hours of work does this involve, and more. The deeper you can get into the minutiae of the goals you want to achieve, the easier you’ll be able to draw linear connections to them – and devise a plan to actually get there.

If you are working on a large creative project, you need to set small deadlines for different stages, figure out the time and even the actual place where you will work on the project, and what tools you’ll need to obtain. All of this can help you transform the vagueness of your goals into something more concrete and feasible.


“Transform vague goals into something concrete and feasible.”
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You might find that the process of breaking down your project into more manageable pieces can also be hard work. Take your time on this—it will largely determine how you feel about following through with this goal.

4. Persist.

This is entwined with how much passion you feel for your project.

The stronger your desire to see this project completed, the more you will persist regardless of the obstacles that get in the way. And there will be obstacles.


“The stronger your interest in a project, the more you’ll be able to persist beyond challenges and obstacles.
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You’ll feel lazy, you’ll get tied up with other work or family situations, you’ll start wondering if this is all worth it, you’ll run out of inspiration.

But this is also where technology and your support network can come in handy. Try productivity apps like Coach.me or LifeTick, or consider partnering up with a friend or fellow artist to keep each other motivated and accountable with your deadlines.

5. Adjust.

Just remember that you can always correct your course along the way—no matter what.

Priorities change, and maybe this is no longer the right project for you at this time. Or if something isn’t turning out the way you expected, stop and search for an alternative way forward. Take a break, do some research, seek out advice.

Every day is the day when you can take action and follow your true passions, and today could very well change your life.


“Every day is the day when you can take action that could change your life.”
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30 Motivational Quotes That Will Inspire You to Keep Hustling

30 Motivational Quotes That Will Inspire You to Keep Hustling

quotes about hustling

It can be hard to keep up your own pace when you work in a creative field.

A drought of motivation can feel like the end of the world, so it’s important to keep inspiration on hand.

I keep a folder of quotes on my phone at all times to remind me to maintain my hustle no matter what.

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These pearls of wisdom have saved me on many a lackluster day, and today I’m sharing them with you.

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”
-Arthur Ashe


“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” – Arthur Ashe
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“I never dreamed about success. I worked for it.”
-Estee Lauder

“Don’t think about making art. Just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.”
-Andy Warhol

“I am deliberate and afraid of nothing.”
-Audre Lorde


“I am deliberate and afraid of nothing.” – Audre Lorde
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“I began to realize how important it was to be an enthusiast in life. He taught me that if you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it full speed ahead. Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it, and above all become passionate about it. Lukewarm is no good. Hot is no good either. White hot and passionate is the only thing to be.”
– Roald Dahl, “My Uncle Oswald”

“We have a strategic plan. It’s called doing things.”
-Herb Kelleher, Co-founder of Southwest Airlines

“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”
– Maya Angelou


“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” @DrMayaAngelou
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quotes about hustling

“Sometimes, you’ve got to work a little, so you can ball a lot.”
-Tom Haverford

“Go to your desire and don’t hang around here.”
-Jack Kerouac, “Big Sur”

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined!”
-Thoreau


“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined!” – Thoreau
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“Now tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
-Mary Oliver

“Find out who you are and do it on purpose.”
-Dolly Parton

“Some people want it to happen, some people wish it would happen, others make it happen.”
-Michael Jordan


“Some people want it to happen, some people wish it would happen, others make it happen.” – Michael Jordan
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“To be contented—that’s for the cows.”
-Diana Vreeland

“The man on top of the mountain didn’t fall there.”
-Vince Lombardi

“Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”
-Steve Jobs


“Remembering that you are going to die is the best way to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.” – Steve Jobs
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“I always did something I was a little not ready to do. I think that’s how you grow. When there’s that moment of, ‘Wow, I’m not really sure I can do this,’ and you push through those moments, that’s when you have a breakthrough.”
-Marissa Mayer

“Make it work.”
-Tim Gunn

“Never let go of that fiery sadness called desire.”
-Patti Smith


“Never let go of that fiery sadness called desire.” – Patti Smith
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“In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing. The next best thing is the wrong thing. The worst thing you can do is nothing.”
– Theodore Roosevelt

“Live every week like it’s Shark Week.”
– Tracy Jordan

“Challenges are gifts that force us to search for a new center of gravity. Don’t fight them. Just find a new way to stand.”
-Oprah Winfrey


“Challenges are gifts that force us to search for a new center of gravity. Don’t fight them. Just find a new way to stand.” @Oprah
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“What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”
-Sheryl Sandberg

quotes about hustling

“Don’t think about your errors or failures; otherwise, you’ll never do a thing.”
-Bill Murray

“Life is short. Don’t be lazy.”
-Sophia Amoruso


“Life is short. Don’t be lazy.” @sophiaamoruso
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“It is not true that people stop pursuing dreams because they grow old. They grow old because they stop pursuing dreams.”
– Gabriel García Márquez

“One, remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Two, never give up work. Work gives you meaning and purpose and life is empty without it. Three, if you are lucky enough to find love, remember it is there and don’t throw it away.”
-Stephen Hawking

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
-Aristotle


“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle
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“Blame it or praise it, there is no denying the wild horse in us.”
-Virginia Woolf

“F*ck you. Pay me.”
Mike Monteiro.

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