Tips For Photographing Holiday Lights From A Photojournalist

Tips For Photographing Holiday Lights From A Photojournalist

Looking for holiday photography ideas? Photojournalist Rick Friedman suggests strategies and settings for shooting holidays lights in the city.

When I asked award-winning photographer Rick Friedman if he would be willing to shoot a few photos of Boston during the holidays to demonstrate photographing lights and long exposures his first response was, “Topher, it’s literally 2 degrees outside.” But in the end, he’s just too nice of a guy — and a photographer devoted to his craft — so he decided to help me out. Not only that, Rick provided a few tips on how you can best capture the holiday spirit from behind the lens, no matter the weather.

People often underestimate how difficult it can be to get the perfect shot in the wintertime. Like any shoot, you should plan shoots in advance, but it’s even more crucial in the winter months. “In a northern town like Boston, the golden hour lasts about 20 minutes and so does the blue hour or the time after the sun sets… so this time a year, it’s all about moving fast,” says Rick. It’s also crucial to have the right equipment, especially if you are attempting to shoot holiday lights during the blue hour or later, when a long exposure is essential. According to Rick, anyone who is looking to capture holiday lights needs a tripod, a camera release and also needs to use “mirror-up setting” to ensure a stable, quality shot. It’s also smart carry extra batteries as long exposures have a tendency to take a lot of out them.

‘Tis the season. Gift the creative in your life something special – check out our curated holiday gifts

The most important element of a great wintertime shot is also the most obvious — if you are freezing, you’ll focus more on your icy hands and the state of your gear instead of capturing a great shot. “Make sure to have your gear accessible and your settings where you want them so you don’t spend your time taking your gloves on and off and playing with your gear,” says Rick. Instead, organize your gear and bring extra layers. Without this extra step of preparation, you’ll end up an icicle without any good photos to show for your efforts.

Boston Christmas

Massachusetts State House

To set up for this particular shot, Rick stepped out of the warmth of the mayor’s holiday party, walked across the street, set up his Gitzo tripod and secured his Nikon D800 with a 17-35 mm lens on top. “I noticed the ambient light on the tree and the state house matched up well,” says Rick. Measuring the light is as simple as using your built-in meter to measure each spot. Rick also set his ISO to 800, used an F/18, and played around with this shutter speed until he felt it was right. This particular exposure wasn’t very long — around 3 seconds. If Rick were to have brought the ISO down, it would have narrowed his depth of field and made the flag entirely too blurry. To finalize the image, Rick did very little work in post production. “I brought up the clarity just a bit, opened the shadows with Lightroom and added a little saturation, maybe 10 points in total.”

Looking for holiday photography ideas? Photojournalist Rick Friedman suggests strategies and settings for shooting holidays lights in the city.

George Washington Statue

Incorporating street and car lights into your holiday lighting shot will make for a vibrant, energetic shot. In the image above shot in The Boston Public Garden, Rick considered several lighting variables including the tree lights, moon, street lights, car lights and of course, the remaining soft blue sky of the “blue hour.” He used a shorter exposure of around 10 seconds to freeze the car lights and still keep the tree lights sharp and bright. “In a shot like this, it’s all about timing,” Says Rick. “What I did here was wait for the light to change and the cars to pass which froze the man across the street (he’s waiting for the light) and gave me the steady line of light from the cars that you see in the photo.” The F/20 was crucial to capturing the blue sky, “If I would have stopped down 1 or 2, the moon may have been brighter, but I would have lost the blue which is what really brings this shot together.”

Looking for holiday photography ideas? Photojournalist Rick Friedman suggests strategies and settings for shooting holidays lights in the city.

‘Tis the season. Gift the creative in your life something special – check out our curated holiday gifts

The Boston Public Garden Lagoon

The same lagoon during summer

The same lagoon during summer

In the summertime, this pond is a beehive of activity as you can see in Rick’s photo above. In the winter, it becomes one solid sheet of ice and at night, a place to go to get some peace and quiet. “The key to this shot was a shorter exposure time given the lamps and other lighting sources,” says Rick. The exposure time was about 15 seconds and his ISO 200 with an f-stop of 14. Similar to the photo of State House above, Rick captured this image with the basic gear – a  tripod, the D800, 17-35mm lens and a cable release.

Below, you’ll find several other images taken by Rick in the last few weeks. 



Little Rock bridge lighting

Little Rock bridge lighting

More About Rick: 

Rick teaches dynamic, intensive, interactive “Location Lighting Workshops™” designed for portrait photographers, photojournalists, corporate and event photographers, wedding photographers, and serious amateurs who want to improve their knowledge of lighting. To see his schedule of events and participate in one visit his website.

‘Tis the season. Gift the creative in your life something special – check out our curated holiday gifts

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John Greengo’s Camera Buyer’s Guide (2018 Edition)

John Greengo’s Camera Buyer’s Guide (2018 Edition)

I’ve just complete preparations for my latest Camera Buyer’s Guide video, available for free through CreativeLive, and change is afoot. For the third time in my photographic life, I’m seeing the tipping point where a new type of camera overtakes the market.

The first change I saw with my own eyes was in autofocus, first introduced around 1985 it wasn’t until about 1990 that it became mainstream. There was both a lot of excitement and snickering during this change. The second revolution was the transition from film to digital. The early roots of digital go back to the 1970’s. Mainstream digital cameras with interchangeable lenses launched with the Canon EOS D30 in May of 2000. It was a mere four years later that the majority of my colleagues were shooting digital.

We are now at the mirrorless tipping point. In my Camera Buyers Guide I do a complete rundown of everything you should know about when purchasing an interchangeable lens camera. I, of course, go through the differences between DSLRs and mirrorless cameras very closely. To illustrate the change over I wanted to show a comparison of Mirrorless vs DSLR cameras available from all the major brands available today. The slide is a revolution of Mirrorless, nearly double the number of DSLRs available.

A Shift in Demand

Available models don’t indicate current usage, but it does show market direction. Anecdotal evidence from my in-person classes and tours suggest that about 25% of users have left DSLRs behind. With Nikon and Canon’s new full-frame mirrorless introductions, it’s game on for everyone.

This sea change is important. Just as it was for autofocus and digital because it forced users into a new set of lenses. Yes, I know, there are adaptors and you can use your older lenses, but there are always limitations. If you want the full experience you have to go all in, new camera and new lenses.

The mirrorless cameras have reduced the flange back distance (mount to sensor distance) in order to both save space and give lens engineers greater latitude when designing lenses. This gives us the potential of smaller systems or greater resolution, but likely not both at the same time. The early mirrorless cameras touted their small size, but that was mostly due to their small sensors. Now in the world of full-frame mirrorless, we’re seeing cameras that are bit smaller than their DSLR cousins, but the lenses are just as big, if not even bigger. What’s going on?

Choose the camera that is right for you. Learn more.

I’ve seen this coming for a few years. As the pixel race zoomed upward it was obvious that lens quality had to go up with as well. There’s no sense in wasting pixels if it’s only illustrating how soft the focus of the lens is. Both Canon and Nikon were releasing a torrent of new lenses that were replacing perfectly good lenses. But the new ones were sharper, paving the way for higher resolution sensors. Today we see sensors with 42MP, 46MP, and 50MP from Sony, Nikon, and Canon respectively. These sensors require top notch lenses, which generally means big heavy glass.

The full-frame mirrorless revolution isn’t about size, it’s about image quality and performance. The short flange back distance will allow sharper lenses and the introduction of lenses. The likes of which we’ve never seen before e.g. Canon RF 28-70mm f/2L USM. These high-quality lenses are going to fill your bag very quickly. One of these lenses poised to be matched to a high res sensor is the Sigma 105mm f/1.4 HSM Art lens. A portrait bokeh master if there was ever one, this lens weighs a whopping 3.6lb(1.6kg) and uses 105mm filters. Back when I was a young photographer I heard stories about a favorite portrait lens from Nikon, the 105mm f/2.5. The rumor was that it had a lot of National Geographic covers to its name. That little lens weighed only 15oz (435g) used 52mm filters. Our collective definition of a great portrait lens has changed dramatically.

Full Frame is the new Medium Format

With the increase in quality and the requisite increase in lens quality and size, full-frame cameras are now doing the job that the medium format cameras did back in the days of film. For the average photographic enthusiast, a full frame camera and a bag full of lenses is becoming too much. The increase in lens size is something I’ve talked about before. In the 80’s lenses had filter sizes of 52mm to 62mm for most average lenses, in the 90’s it was 67mm to 77mm and now it’s 77mm to 82mm. We are taking higher quality photos than ever before, but it comes at a heavy cost.

It’s hard to argue against quality, I know I’m always looking for the best when I can. But there is a cost to quality, especially if you are in this game because you love it and you’re not trying to make a buck. Heavy gear slows you down, limits your mobility and limits your creativity. The pull to full frame is strong, most of the pros shoot full frame, the YouTubers all talk as if full frame is the Holy Grail. Every mention of a lens has to mention the full frame equivalent. All the cool kids seem to be shooting full frame. Indeed the force is strong.

Full frame isn’t right for everyone, you need to assess what you want to do and what will meet your needs. There will always be a camera or system that can achieve higher results, but at what price are you going to pay for it? I’ve joked about it before, but I’m serious, if you want to find the perfect camera system for you it’s very easy. Go to a camera store and go to the bag section, find a bag that you can live with, day in and day out. Take that bag over to the camera counters and see what camera and lenses you can fit in it. It turns out, that’s what we end up carrying around more than our cameras, it’s our camera bag.

Fuji Fan

This is why I’m such a big fan of the Fujifilm system: they are the only manufacturer that is dedicated to the APS-C sensor. Yes, Nikon, Canon, Sony, and Leica all make APS-C cameras and lenses, but they are split in their dedication to the system. They have other competing products that share the lens mount. They don’t make a full range of dedicated lenses, instead suggesting that you use a lens designed for a different, larger system.

The new Fujifilm X-T3 has many people calling it the best APS-C camera ever, and they may be right depending on your needs, the Nikon D500 is still standing strong. While the full frame cameras pull the majority of the attention, this is where I think a lot of enthusiasts would be best to start. This is why I’m excited about what Fuji is offering, a compelling product with a lighter footprint.

Choose the camera that is right for you. Learn more.

The End of an Era

My prediction for the next several years is that Nikon and Canon will accelerate their pivot to mirrorless. This means more mirrorless cameras and fewer DSLRs and accompanying lenses.

The recent Photokina trade show was a hallmark example. The only new SLR introduced was a medium format Leica that will sell in the $20k+ range. When was the last time we went without a major manufacturer introducing a new SLR? My bet was the early 1960’s. The introduction of new DSLR’s are about to dry up, save for a number of low-end tweaks to the system.

There are many current DSLRs that are likely to be the last of their kind. A Canon 5D Mark V, I think is quite likely, but not necessarily a Mark VI. A Nikon D900 I wouldn’t be too sure about. As Nikon and Canon move to mirrorless, that’s less R&D time and money for the older systems. A lot of the lenses available today will be the last of their kind as the shift to mirrorless progresses.

We are seeing the end of a generation; I’m both a little sad and also very excited. The mirrorless systems are clearing hurdle after hurdle in catching up to SLRs. There are only a few categories that are still being won by DSLR’s. For all these reasons (plus more that I’ll talk about in my Camera Buyer’s Guide) you’ll see why I’m recommending that most people start the camera decision process with a mirrorless as the default choice.


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3 Effective Ways to Improve Client Communication

3 Effective Ways to Improve Client Communication

improve client communication

No need to ask a therapist: communication is key for a healthy relationship, whether it’s romantic, familial or professional.

As a creative entrepreneur, how should you approach client communication with current and potential clients? To help you figure it out, CreativeLive has teamed up with HoneyBook to bring you new classes on the ins and outs of being a creative entrepreneur. Meanwhile, here are some ideas for good client communication:

Choose the smart way to do it

Although you might like to be available for your clients at all times to help with questions or concerns, it might not be the most effective way to create a lasting client relationship. When you’re signing up a new client and getting their information, you could choose to include questions about their preferred methods of communication (email, a phone call, face-to-face, text message, Slack, video chat, etc), and what times or days are best to be in touch.

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However, to keep things under control and as a client relationship best practice, it’s a good idea to state your own communication preferences from the very beginning. If you want clients to call you only during your working hours, mention that in your website or your email signature. Get a phone number that is only for your business and let it go to voicemail outside of your set work hours. Or, don’t offer a phone number at all if you prefer to stick to emails and social media. Just because you are no longer in a 9 to 5 job, making yourself available to clients at any time could be stressful and make you a less happy entrepreneur. This can be especially difficult if you don’t always have internet access. HoneyBook‘s project management platform includes a client messaging system so you can keep all client communication organized and in one place.

Automate to save time (and skip the stress)

Find a client communication system that works for you. There are plenty of methods and strategies out there, so step out of your comfort zone and experiment until you figure out which one feels most natural to you. HoneyBook allows you to set up automatic responses to new inquiries so your potential clients get a speedy reply and feel taken care of from the very first contact with you. Save even more time by setting up follow up emails, thank you emails and task reminders on HoneyBook.

You might find the formalities of doing business intimidating or complicated. HoneyBook is built specifically to do the work for you by streamlining and automating all the required paperwork and processes.

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Your contract and invoice templates are tailor-made for your business—all you’ve got to do is send in your business process details to HoneyBook. Less time spent on the admin stuff means more time to focus on doing great work for your client. Now that’s effective client communication.

Listen up—and ask questions

Of course, enjoying good communication is a two-way street. That being said, the client is paying you, so a lot of the responsibility falls on you. Whenever you connect with your client–whether it’s on the phone, via email or in person–you want to be clear and make it known that the client’s needs have been heard and understood. If you don’t completely understand their requests, it’s your job to ask for more details so there’s no confusion when the delivery date rolls around.

improve client communication

It’s critical to be a good listener to have stellar communication skills with your client or the company your working with. Let them talk through their ideas before you interrupt with your suggestion. If you find that your client loves to tell you about his kids or dog or wood carving hobby, listen and ask questions. Same goes for responding to email inquiries. As branding expert and HoneyBook educator Ashlyn Carter points out, your response is a chance to make a great first impression on your potential client. “State their problem back to them in their own words–people buy when they feel heard and understood,” Carter says. In all your communication with the client, being a good listener and showing you have high emotional intelligence is a surefire way to build trust and strengthen your business relationship. It will create the best experience for your client, too.

Talking business doesn’t have to be as serious as it might sound. Get a clear understanding of your client’s needs. Why does he or she need your product or service? Keep in mind that your client is just another person trying to get stuff done, and you’ll find it easier to connect and communicate if you add a personal touch to your client communication.

Business Fundamentals for Creative Entrepreneurs 
HoneyBook is dedicated to helping you grow your business. Our top educators will show you how.
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How to Make Mason Jar Lid Ring Christmas Ornaments

How to Make Mason Jar Lid Ring Christmas Ornaments

If you enjoy canning, don’t you have SOOOOO many Mason jar lid rings?

Those Mason jar lid rings, also called screw bands, can be re-used (unlike the lid tops, which you aren’t supposed to re-use at all), but only until they start to rust or get bent or dinged, something that seems to happen with my rings, at least, after very few uses.


Fortunately, there are loads of ways to repurpose these rings so that you’re not just adding them to the waste stream. And since it’s December, my favorite way to repurpose ANYTHING this month has to be Christmas ornaments!

These Mason jar lid ring Christmas ornaments look a lot harder to make than they are. If you’re artistic, you’ll love using these to show off your skills, but even if you’re not–hey, that’s why clip art, stickers, and patterned paper were invented!


To make these ornaments, you will need:

  • Mason jar lid rings. Repurpose ones that are no longer suitable for canning. Don’t can? You know someone who does, or check on Freecycle or Craigslist–there is someone out there who would LOVE to give you their dinged-up canning supplies.
  • Ribbon. Stash ribbon is fine, but twine, hemp cord, or even thin chain would work.
  • Mat board or thick cardboard. For these particular ornaments, I used mat board scraps (does it still count as hoarding if you really do use the stuff someday?), but thick cardboard–something thicker than card stock or food packaging–would also be fine.
  • Decorative paper. Use scrapbook paper, old book pages or sheet music, or even wrapping paper.
  • Image for the ornament’s front. My daughter traced the inside edge of a Mason jar lid ring, then created several pieces of original artwork for our ornament fronts, all of which I photocopied onto card stock so that we could make multiples. Anything fun and creative would make a beautiful ornament, however. If you’ve got scrapbook supplies, dig them out!
  • Spray paint (optional). It’s not eco-friendly, but if you want to change the color of your Mason jar lid ring from rusted metal, this is your best option. I’ve made these ornaments both ways, and while I do like the painted ornaments better, it’s not necessarily worth the time that it takes to paint them.
  • Glue. You need an archival glue suitable for paper and a separate, sturdier glue for the rings. I used spray mount for the former and hot glue for the latter.


1. Trace the inside edge of a Mason jar lid ring. This will be your template for cutting the decorative paper back, the mat board middle, and the featured image on the front.

2. Make a beautiful ornament front. The Mason jar lid ring makes the perfect frame for your original art. Whatever medium you prefer, whether it’s watercolors, acrylics, markers, or charcoal, it will look adorable in this simple round frame. But don’t forget that you can also use stickers, cut-outs, clip art, or anything else you’d like in order to embellish these ornament fronts.

3. Cut all pieces to size. The ornament front, mat board or card stock, and ornament backing paper should all be cut to your template. You can pop them into the Mason jar lid ring to check the fit–sometimes I’ve found that I haven’t cut a piece carefully and have to trim it a bit. Better to do that now than when you’re racing the hot glue gun!

4. Glue the ornament front, middle, and back together. Spray mount gives the most archival result, but an ordinary glue stick is also perfectly serviceable.

5. Do you want to paint the Mason jar lid ring? If so, do it now! Spray clear sealant, with or without painting the rings, is another option.

6. Tie ribbon onto the Mason jar lid ring. A lark’s head knot is just about the easiest and most attractive of knots, and that’s what you’re going to do here. Tie the ends of the ribbon into a bow, and there you have your ornament hanger!

7. Glue the ornament piece to the Mason jar lid ring. I’ve tried several types of glue with this ornament, and none are really ideal. The most full-proof glue is hot glue, but you’ll have to work quickly. Lay out the ornament, face-down, and the Mason jar lid ring, flat side down and with the ribbon at the top, and then quickly dispense hot glue around the inside edge of the lid ring. Immediately set the ornament into the lid ring and press it down so that it’s flush against the flat side of the lid ring.

These ornaments are a great way to show off a kid’s artwork–or your own! A matching set of complementary ornaments also makes a nice handmade gift.

But of course, I like them best on my own tree, displaying all of our homemade love for the season.


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Best Cameras for Photography in 2018 Based on Level of Expertise

Best Cameras for Photography in 2018 Based on Level of Expertise

Good cameras for photography 2018

The often addressed but seemingly difficult to answer question, ‘What is a good camera for photography in 2018?’ plagues entry-level and advanced photographers alike. This is a challenging question first and foremost because all cameras these days are of good quality. But what is the best camera for you? If you’ve outgrown the point-and-shoot camera, you may be looking for the best DSLR camera or possibly the best compact camera. Your specific use case is extremely important in the decision, so I’ll give you a little help on that as well.

When you’re considering a new camera, determining what it will be used for will give you a good starting place for finding the perfect model for you. Especially if you’re getting your first camera or you’re not invested in a particular system already, the number of choices can be overwhelming. By considering your needs and being honest with yourself, you can narrow those choices down quickly.

The Entry-Level Model

If you’re a hobbyist or simply picking up your first camera to start working with something more capable than your phone, it’s hard to recommend anything other than a mirrorless camera. A few years back, I’d have suggested you opt for an entry-level DSLR but for the same cost now, you can get a more capable and easier to use mirrorless camera system.

Choose the camera that is right for you. Learn more.

The Sony Alpha a6300 or Sony Alpha a6500 are great options, or even the older Sony RX10 Mark II (or Sony RX100 if you are willing to max out on your spending). They have a modern styling and superior autofocus. They have all the bells and whistles of good low-light performance, WiFi connectivity and battery life, not to mention good lenses for pairing.

Both cameras have good autofocus systems that help to create great image quality when you’re just starting out and give you enough room to grow into the system should you begin to take photography more seriously down the road. Sony doesn’t necessarily create the best mirrorless cameras (there are Nikon, Canon and Olympus counterparts) but these are great options based on my experience.

Best Camera for Photography

The Intermediate Model

Here’s where things get a little trickier. Once you’ve learned a little about photography, your needs start to become a little more specific. You’re starting to have a style you like to shoot in, a subject matter that interests you, or perhaps specific features that make your life easier. It’s at this point that you need to decide which camera or full-frame camera best suit your needs. Nevertheless, I’m going to go out on a limb here and recommend a single camera for the intermediate user, especially the one looking to take their photography craft as far as possible.

This time around, I’m actually going to offer up an older model that still holds strong in 2018: the Nikon D750. This is Nikon’s true all-rounder and can be purchased at a great price point. This robust and extremely well thought out DSLR camera is still a favorite among many photographers. It may not be the latest release but it still packs everything you need into a compact DSLR full-frame camera. Even in 2018, this is a good camera for photography at all levels.

The Advanced Model

At the high-end of things, there really are no bad choices. All manufacturers have poured their best technologies into their cameras and the results are spectacular.

There is one camera that truly stands out this year, however, and that is the Nikon D850. It draws on everything that makes Nikon the company they are and improves on it. The autofocus system is fast and accurate. The controls are at your fingertips so for most of your shooting you’ll never even have to look at the menu system. Nikon’s lens catalog is nothing short of stellar and this high resolution, full-frame sensor will get the best out of those lenses for you. Plus, it offers Nikon’s SnapBridge Bluetooth connectivity to make transferring images easier.

Choose the camera that is right for you. Learn more.

Use Case One

This photographer is somewhat of a “jack of all trades.” She has a lot of experience and needs a good camera of her own to get the job done. In the past, she has used her company cameras (Canon EoS Rebel) but is now doing more of her own freelance work and needs her own camera. She works a mixture of corporate events (fast autofocus, good low-light performance), some architectural work (a wide selection of lenses, including tilt-shift options), various editorial assignments from food to portraits, and some weddings.

She doesn’t mind carrying a little weight and just wants one camera system that will get all this work done and will be great for continuous shooting. The lack of tilt-shift lenses knocks Fujifilm or Sony out for her, so she’s looking at Canon or Nikon. As she is familiar with Canon, we’ll look at a Canon camera. She doesn’t need the resolution of the 5DS R or the burst rate of the 1D, so in this case, I would recommend the 5D Mark IV. This is the camera that will get all of her jobs done and offer an iso range, shooting speed and zoom range she is familiar and happy with.

Best DSLR cameras for photography

Use Case Two

Unlike our previous photographer, number two has little experience. However, he is eager to learn. He is looking for something easy to use in a small package that produces great quality. Although he’s not looking to become a professional photographer, he would like a camera that he can grow with. So, the demands of a professional do not need to be there, but the option to expand should be. He’s not fond of computers and if at all possible, would like to keep the need for post-production to a minimum. He’d also like to be able to share images directly to his phone as he will be traveling a lot over the coming years and wants to send pictures home.

In this case, I would recommend a Fujifilm X-T20. This is a small body that is lightweight and has some excellent lenses that our photographer can grow into. Because it is a mirrorless camera, he is able to preview his images in an electronic viewfinder before he shoots them and see the changes he makes in live view. Fujifilm is also famous for its in-camera colors and the in-built WiFi will allow him to share his images on the go. The 4k video feature will allow him to share images as well as video.

In Conclusion

Every camera in this article is capable of creating high image quality shots and some are more advanced than others but in 2018, nearly all cameras are fantastic machines. The recommendations on this list offers a dynamic range of options whether you’re shopping for an entry-level DSLR camera or simply looking for the best mirrorless camera out there. Once you’ve settled on a model or two, I recommend renting or borrowing to see how they feel. If you don’t like holding your camera, you won’t use it. Make sure it’s the right tool for you before you commit.

Choose the camera that is right for you. Learn more.

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Why Printing Family Photos and Photo Books is Important to Our Children

Why Printing Family Photos and Photo Books is Important to Our Children

Life is precious and fleeting. Memories that matter and bring us joy, need to be brought to life. So what happens when we grow up in a society of picture takers but not photo printers? We get a disconnect. Photo printing brings those moments back into our lives and they are tangible and easily accessible. They are shared when printed. They give children a sense of security and belonging when the photos are displayed throughout their own home.

So what happens when we don’t print? Well, we make it difficult for children to enjoy the memories that make up their small world. Here is a glimpse at children trying to get access to their favorite photos. It’s kind of a mess, with batteries not working, passwords needed and hundreds of photos to scroll through on the phone. Lots of time, a parent needs to step in to help out.


Photo Printing for Children

It’s almost as if we are denying access to our memories from the little ones, they do not have access to their own fond moments. So how do we remedy this trend? We decided to take these families, photograph them and then print out their photos from AdoramaPix. Instead of giving the printed photos to the parents,  we gave them directly to the children. Their reactions are priceless.


The reactions were immediate and joyful. The children were able to talk about the people in the photos, share them with siblings and parents and keep them close to heart.

familly looking at photos by adoramapix

There is a well-known study called  Phototherapy in Mental Healthauthored by David A. Krauss and Jerry L. Fryrear.  Within the pages of it, David Krauss, a licensed psychologist, says “I think it is really important to show a family as a family unit. It is so helpful for children to see themselves as a valued and important part of that family unit. A photographer’s job is to create and make the image look like a safe holding space for kids where they are safe and protected. Kids get it on a really simple level.”   Reread that quote. It’s such a powerful statement.

young family looking at pictures from AdoramaPix

When children see photos of themselves and their family it gives them security and a sense of belonging. The power of print is especially important for children.  We have a responsibility to print our photos not only for our children but for our grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

It doesn’t just have to be photos either, think of creating a photo bookof the session or even a collage from AdoramaPix.

Just keep in mind, there is no better time to start than right now. Spoil your children with prints of themselves, you’ll never regret it.

Article written by MICHELLE LIBBY

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3 Newborn Photography Tips For Better Holiday Baby Photos

3 Newborn Photography Tips For Better Holiday Baby Photos

Looking for newborn photography tips and tricks? Check out this post on CreativeLive.

Everyone with a decent DSLR knows: If you’ve got a camera, you’re going to be the designated photographer this holiday season. This is especially true if there’s a newborn in the family, because no one wants to miss baby’s first holiday. But between the colorful decorations and the extra bodies in the house, a family gathering isn’t exactly the location for a newborn or family photography shoot. Still, with a few tips from a master baby photographer, it can be done.

In her CreativeLive class, The Creative Newborn Photography Studio, newborn and family photographer Julia Kelleher explained how to set up and shoot a creative, beautiful portraits of newborns and their parents which include emotion and elegance, while still adhering to the best practices of newborn and family photography. Even if you’re not a professional photographer — or if you are, but you’re struggling to capture the whole gang plus baby — consider these newborn photography basics, which also serve as great holiday photography tips.

Design your image first. If you’re going to ask a family to pose, make sure you’ve got the image designed and ready to go, including clearing a space and setting the right lighting.

“Color, texture, composition, and style,” are the key elements of your image. Before you begin taking photos, take into account the colors and textures your subjects are wearing, and the shades and values of the location where you are. “Even just by focusing on color alone, your work will exponentially improve,” says Julia, “because no one knows why they like it, but their brains know.”

Grandma’s loudly-patterned couch? Maybe not the best place to capture baby. That soft, neutrally comforter in the bedroom? Now that’s a good place to take a photo of the cousins holding the baby. And, if you have the chance to advise the family before they show up? Encourage them to wear harmonious colors.

‘Tis the season. Gift the creative in your life something special – check out our curated holiday gifts


Light right. The way you light your shot comes down to your style as a photographer and to the desires of the family, but generally, says Julia, if you’re shooting a family with a very little one, you’re going to aim to keep it soft.

“Harsh, high-contrast ratio lighting is not going to evoke feelings of softness,” says Julia. If you’re bringing your own lighting set-up, pack your softbox and a diffuser. If you’re using the lighting that’s on-hand, see if you can shoot either outside in the shade, or against a nice, neutrally-colored (read: Not stark white or black) wall. Try for continuous light, rather than a strobe or a flash. Another big bonus of avoiding bright, high-contrast light: “Soft lights make for a calm environment,” which, during the stressful holiday season, can be a huge benefit, especially if there’s a newborn in the family.

Include the whole family. Julia points out that, in newborn photography, “images with parents are 80% more likely to sell than photos of baby alone.” Why? Because people want to remember not just their kids, but also how they looked as a family. Regardless of how old the kids are or how much space you have, if you’re taking photographs of a family, ensure that at least some of them have the parents — and maybe even the grandparents — present. And if you’re part of the family? Set that timer and jump in, too! It’s not just about how much the little ones have grown, but the emotions of the time you were all together.

For more insight into the art and business of newborn and family photography, join Julia for her class, Family Photography: Capturing Connection.

‘Tis the season. Gift the creative in your life something special – check out our curated holiday gifts

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Capture One Vs. Lightroom: The Pros and Cons of the Most Popular RAW Photo Editors

Capture One Vs. Lightroom: The Pros and Cons of the Most Popular RAW Photo Editors

Lightroom vs. capture one

A RAW photo is only a starting point — to get those pixels to a final image, you need a RAW file editor, the modern equivalent to a dark room. Adobe Lightroom is arguably the most popular choice, bundled with Photoshop as part of the Adobe Creative Cloud family. But Lightroom isn’t the only tool in the box — Capture One Pro is a similar RAW editor and file management system, made by the medium format camera company, Phase One. So what’s the difference comparing Lightroom vs. Capture One?

While Lightroom and Phase One offer many of the same tools, the two programs differ in their most advanced features, as well as their organization system and user experience. How do the two programs fare in the Lightroom versus Capture One debate? Here’s what photographers have to say about both programs.

Automate your editing. Streamline your workflow. Save more time. Join Ben Willmore for the Complete Guide to Adobe Lightroom Classic. 

Custom Color Profiles

Some Capture One Pro photographers go as far to claim that their photos look better in Capture One, before even touching any of the edits. Is there any truth to that? What happens is that Capture One has individual color profiles for every camera, so that when the files are imported, you get something that’s pretty close to the preview on the back of the LCD screen.

Lightroom files, however, have a more neutral starting point. While the files look brighter and more vibrant without adjustments in Capture One, Lightroom is more neutral — after all, some photographers favor softer, more muted color palettes. Adjustment options will get similar results from both programs, but the starting point is a bit different.

Color Adjustments

Many Capture One Pro users have great things to say about the program’s color management. While Lightroom has the HSL (Hue Saturation Luminance) panel with sliders and RGB curves adjustments, Capture One has a few more ways to manipulate that color. In Capture One Pro, the color options include shadow, mid-tone and highlight adjustments for color balance and a channel dedicated just to adjusting skin tones, making it easy to remove skin redness. Capture One also has a luminance curves adjustment option.

Automate your editing. Streamline your workflow. Save more time. Join Ben Willmore for the Complete Guide to Adobe Lightroom Classic. 

Camera Compatibility

Those individual color profiles may make files look better when first imported, but Lightroom tends to be the first to release support for the RAW format of the latest cameras. Capture One is compatible with over 400 cameras, but they aren’t quite as quick with those new cameras if you’re not shooting with a Phase One camera.

Local Adjustments

Both Lightroom and Capture One provide general adjustments that alter the entire image as well as a set of tools for local adjustments to smaller portions of the image. Capture One, however, includes the option to create local adjustments on multiple layers. Adobe users have to switch from Lightroom to Photoshop to access multiple layer adjustments. Photographer Marlon Richardson says that Capture One’s layers options are less powerful than Photoshop but more powerful than Lightroom’s single layer options.

Automate your editing. Streamline your workflow. Save more time. Join Ben Willmore for the Complete Guide to Adobe Lightroom Classic. 


There are more than a few perks to being the most popular kid in town — when it comes to presets, there are no shortage of options for Lightroom. Capture One Pro has a similar feature called recipes, but as a less popular editor, there are fewer recipes out there. The same idea applies to how-to tutorials.

Multiple Catalogs

Both Lightroom and Capture One Pro double as RAW photo editors and organization software for all those files — but that doesn’t mean their organization scheme is exactly the same. Lightroom can open one catalog at a time, and that catalog is divided into multiple collections and collection sets. In Capture One Pro, photos are organized in sessions, which are ideal for separating single client sessions, and collections, which is better for larger sets of images. Capture One Pro also has a keyword tool that makes it easier to add keywords to an image’s metadata, including the ability to create keyword lists that will add several keywords at once. For example, creating a keyword list for wedding photography and a separate list for engagement photography.


Both Lightroom and Capture One Pro have tools for sharpening an image as well as removing distortion created by the lens. Capture One’s lens adjustments are a bit more extensive, with the option to correct even the sharpness fall off that occurs on the edges of a photo, along with the chromatic aberration and vignetting options that Adobe also offers.


Shooting tethered allows many studio photographers to work quickly and show clients instant previews. Many Capture One photographers say that the program offers a better experience when linked to a camera, with more reliability compared to Lightroom’s connectivity. Commercial photographer Tihomir Lazarov writes that Capture One Pro offered a faster, more reliable connection.


Adobe’s move to a subscription-based pricing model upset some photographers, while others liked that they could get the latest version for about the cost of a Netflix subscription. The photographer-focused Creative Cloud option, which includes Lightroom and Photoshop, is $10 a month. So how does Capture One compare? Capture One Pro is a bit steeper if you choose the subscription option at $20 a month, or $180 if you pay for an entire year at once. Unlike Adobe, however, Capture One also offers the option to buy the latest version of the software outright for $299.

Adobe Lightroom and Capture One Pro are both excellent RAW photo editors —like choosing a camera brand, each program has advantages and disadvantages. Lightroom, as the more popular option, has more available as far as presets, plug-ins and how-tos, plus it’s also bundled with Photoshop for more specific, detailed photo edits and the subscription is half the cost. Adobe also tends to be the first to launch compatibility with the RAW files from the latest cameras. Capture One Pro, on the other hand, offers custom color profiles to get an image closer to what that JPEG preview looked like without doing a thing to the image. Capture One Pro also integrates more color adjustment options, multiple catalogs and a reliable tethering experience.

Automate your editing. Streamline your workflow. Save more time. Join Ben Willmore for the Complete Guide to Adobe Lightroom Classic. 

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What’s In Tom Mangelsen’s Bag? A Wildlife Photography Gear Guide

What’s In Tom Mangelsen’s Bag? A Wildlife Photography Gear Guide

wildlife photography gear guide

“I’m not a gear fanatic,” confesses All of the newest gadgets and constant technological changes might drive Tom crazy, but there is no denying that he knows a thing or two about choosing the best gear for his amazing “I like heavy cameras because they are steady,” he explains.

He’s also partial to 

And how does Tom know what to buy?

“I talk to a few buddies and they say this is what I use and these guys are real gear freaks.” And that’s enough for him. It’s a decidedly low-tech approach, but given his many accolades – “You don’t have to have a lot of equipment,” urges Tom, “you don’t have to have a certain brand. But this is what I use:”

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Tara Gentile, Sophia Amoruso and More Women Entrepreneurs Share How They Got Started

Tara Gentile, Sophia Amoruso and More Women Entrepreneurs Share How They Got Started

Top Women Entrepreneurs Share How They Got Started in Business on CreativeLive

Every successful entrepreneur started somewhere.

There’s no “magic pill” that effortlessly launches you out of your cubicle confinement and into the free world of entrepreneurship. For some, the dream to be your own boss grows for a long time, even years, before it finally comes to fruition.

The truth is, great success in business grows from just one, tiny seed.

We asked some of our favorite women entrepreneurs to share how they got their start in business. Their answers revealed the deep motivators and personal qualities that drove them to make their big idea a reality.

By reading about how they grew their businesses over the years, our goal is that you’ll identify a similar entrepreneurial seed, within yourself.

Here’s what these women had to share about getting their start as entrepreneurs.

1. Sue Bryce

Sue Bryce Top Women Entrepreneur Photographer

“My path to self employment seemed to me, a natural evolution.”

“But, it wasn’t based on a great desire to build a business. Rather, it was borne out of necessity. After 13 years mastering my craft, I was still an employee and I simply had reached a ceiling of how much money I could earn in my career.”

“After the initial fear and hurdles, the learning curve is so great I came very close to failure. Instead of giving up, I started to develop a deep sense of passion for motivating and educating myself to reach greater heights in business and income. It became a challenge for me, and I don’t know any other way now. After 13 years of self-employment, I still challenge myself to create on a larger and larger scale every year.”

“My desire to build, create, and learn, surpasses my fear. Every challenge I’m faced with now, becomes a greater experience of learning my true power.”

Now, Sue’s teamed up with Tiffany Angeles to break down their biggest business lessons, and teach a class on how to Make More Money and Discover Your Worth.

2. Sophia Amoruso

Best Business Tips from Sophia Amoruso of Nasty Gal and Girl Boss

“Don’t give up, don’t take anything personally, and don’t take no for an answer,” Sophia advises.

Since founding Nasty Gal as an eBay store in 2006, selling vintage clothing, Sophia has transformed the business into a multi-million dollar empire with their own clothing line that was named the “Fastest Growing Retailer” in 2012. Recently, the New York Times Bestseller of #GIRLBOSS has stepped out of her role as the CEO of Nasty Gal, to become the Executive Chairman and shift her focus to overseeing just the creative and brand marketing functions of the business.

Without any fashion or business experience before starting Nasty Gal, Sophia credits much of her hard-earned success to her inability to accept failure as an option. “The people who told me no, were the people who eventually told me yes,” she adds.

3. Pamela Slim

Top Women Entrepreneurs Share Their Start in Business - Pamela Slim

“In addition to working full-time as an employee for 10 years, I had also been the volunteer executive director for a non-profit martial arts school in San Francisco.”

“My typical day was about 15 hours straight. Work, jump on the metro over to the studio, train capoeira for 3-4 hours, then do administrative work before bed. Weekends were filled with classes, performances, and putting up fliers around the city to attract new students to the school.”

“The tipping point came right before my 30th birthday. I got pneumonia from the non-stop grueling pace, and realized I needed to make a career move. So, contrary to how I advise my clients, I leapt with no plan, just the desire to get off the merry-go-round and find a more sustainable path.”

“After a few months of recovery and half-hearted job search, I contacted my old manager who had moved to Hewlett-Packard and asked her if she needed a little help. I started working as a consultant, and I felt like a huge fire was lit inside of me. I loved being a consultant. My problem had never been about the work, it was more about the right work mode.”

“I realized that the 10 years I had volunteered as an executive director had prepared me for entrepreneurial life. I knew how to create and fund big programs. I knew how to build a network and mobilize people to a cause. I knew how to sell and market. So, now that I had my own shingle out, I took off and built a thriving and fulfilling practice.”

“This year, I celebrate 20 years in business for myself. It hasn’t always been easy, but it continues to bring me great joy and satisfaction.”

4. Tara Gentile

Tara Gentile Top Woman Entrepreneur CreativeLive

“I decided to become a business owner after I was looked over for a promotion while nine months pregnant.”

“Six months after my daughter was born, I started a little niche website and community. I then purchased an existing blog business, and almost overnight, started making more money than I had in my previous job.”

“My business has evolved significantly since then, but I’m so grateful for the way I started!”

Tara, one of our most successful business instructors here at CreativeLive, has successfully gone from selling her services, to packaging them into digital products for her clients. It’s helped here significantly scale her business, and now she teaches a class about how to turn your services into a product.

Inspired by these women? Want to build your own business? Join Tara Gentile to learn more from one of our resident experts.

5. Melissa Galt

Top Women Entrepreneurs Share Their Start in Business.Melissa Galt

“The year following my graduation from Cornell, my mom died suddenly of a brain aneurysm. It took me the ensuing 5 years to understand the lesson in her passing. Life is too short to do something you don’t love. She had been a maverick in her field, an Oscar winning actress who knew at age 7 what she wanted. It took me a bit longer.”

“I decided to pursue my dream of interior design, and went back to school full-time, while picking up full-time work in the field. However, I was still frustrated that I was not in charge of my day and my decisions.”

“Ultimately, my headstrong nature was both my undoing and my new beginning…”

“I’d planned to launch my startup in September 1994. When I asked my manager for time off, she said I didn’t have it. I said I did, and dug my heels in. Arguing with your manager when you need your job is never wise. I walked out.”

“I was unemployed, in debt, and 6 months premature to my planned launch. I launched immediately while taking up side jobs supervising a catering kitchen and teaching busy professionals (aka potential clients for my interior design practice) during evening education programs.”

“It was that magical place you hear about where fear meets breath and becomes unstoppable exhilaration. I worked 15 hour days, 6 days a week, because I wanted to. I couldn’t wait to get up, and hated to go to bed at night. I was totally on fire. I went from $70K in debt to rocking six figures and debt free in 18 months and that doubled every year for 5 years. Today, I design both home and business environments, while also advising the business and lifestyles that go on inside of them.”

“My advice is to find what lights you up, and do whatever it takes to make it happen. You will meet with unexpected success.”

6. Beate Chelette

Top Female Entrepreneur Beate Chelette

“Remember those huge posters of beautiful places that decorated kid’s rooms in the 80s? When I was young, I wanted them but couldn’t afford them. Then I realized, if I ordered them for my friends and became a distributor, I could get mine for free. So at the age of 12, I started a poster distribution business out of my bedroom.”

“Later in life, I worked at Elle Magazine as a photo editor. I had a lot of freedom to express my ideas (after all, ideas are what a magazine thrives on). But still… something was always missing. Upon further examination, I arrived at three facts:

1. I wanted to be the boss.

2. I had a lot of ideas, and my bosses didn’t necessarily agree.

3. I wanted to change the world.

And here I am today! I’ve been an entrepreneur pretty much my entire professional career. You have to overcome the fear, and it’s a lot of work, but the rewards are fantastic.”

7. Sue Zimmerman

Sue Zimmerman Top Woman Entrepreneur

“My first entrepreneurial venture was selling my hand-painted barrettes at recess in grade school, even though I was not supposed to be.”

“My dad owned an automobile part store and often brought home model paint that I would use to paint fun, colorful, preppy themes on hair clips.”

“The passion I had for art and painting turned into a nice side hustle, and eventually gave me the confidence and validation to do what I loved at a very young age.”

8. Tiffany Angeles

Top Female Entrepreneurs Tiffany Angeles

“I felt dead inside working at my corporate job but was too scared to leave.”

“I was looking for a business I could start on nights and weekends. After checking into different businesses, I actually won a camera, so that sealed the deal for a photography business. I built that business by moonlighting for a few years until the income surpassed my corporate job and then went full-time.”

“That business gave me the freedom and flexibility to pursue my dream of speaking and teaching people how to be successful with money. Even though it was painful to leave my corporate security, I am forever grateful that I did, because it led to a life and business I love!”

Now, Tiffany has joined forces with Sue Bryce to teach an incredible class on how to Make More Money and Discover Your Worth.

9. Yasmine Khater

Top Women Entrepreneurs Yasmine Khater

“After a successful corporate career in a Fortune 500 company, losing my dad to cancer led me to redefine life and the impact I want to create. I knew that I didn’t want my boss’s job, any of the other senior management roles, or to work more 12 -14 hour days. I also knew I didn’t want to sacrifice my quality of life, and regret not living.”

“That’s when I decided to start my business. I brainstormed which skills I could build upon, and what people needed. At the time, my friends were searching for more career direction, so I offered 30-minute career clarity sessions. I booked 4 sessions and got my first three clients.”

“I realized shortly thereafter, that I didn’t really want to help people with their careers. Instead, I wanted to leverage my corporate experience to help small business owners build their sales processes, and develop winning sales systems that could stand the test of time.”

10. Mayi Carles

Mayi Carles Top Female Entrepreneur CreativeLive
“I was 7. I had just discovered the lemonade stand.”

“Wait a second! Kids can just sell lemonade on the front porch and people give them money? WOW!!! I was blown away.”

“Soon enough, I had set up my own front lawn kiosk, except that instead of selling lemonade, I crafted little masterpieces made with a little paint spinner toy thingy. The line of kids reached the end of the block. Not to brag, but I was a ROCKSTAR.”

“Right then and there, I knew I was born to do this.”

“As it turns out, the reason why my art pieces were selling like hot tamales for 50 cents a pop was because they came with a bag of Hershey’s kisses. Mayita, my mom smiled as she made the infamous confession, the chocolates were a dollar at the store.”


“Alright, maybe my first business idea wasn’t profitable, but I learned the art of putting myself out there with a sense of self-worth at a very young age. That pillar has been instrumental in building my current creative empire.”

11. Mei Pak

Mei Pak Top Woman Entrepreneur
“I got my first taste of entrepreneurship when I was 10 years old.”

“One day in school, we were allowed to set up a small table to sell whatever we wanted during recess. I brought a zip lock bag of hundreds of tiny semi precious stone chips that I had gotten from my mom’s favorite jewelry store for less than $10. I knew the other kids would love them and sold five little stones for $2.00.”

“In retrospect, I’m not surprised the concept of buy low, sell high came so naturally to me. This kind of stuff is what I was meant to do!”

12. Courtney Johnston

Courtney Johnston Top Woman Entrepreneur

“I was never an entrepreneurial kid, but I was always a dreamer and a rule breaker.”

“After graduating college with a French degree in 2009 during the middle of the recession, I quickly realized that I was ‘unemployable’ and decided to start finding ways to make money for myself. A few business ideas later, I started my copywriting business, and have never looked back.”

13. Kimra Luna

Kimra Luna Top Woman Entrepreneur CreativeLive

“I got my first taste of entrepreneurship when I started my own booking agency when I was 18 years. I started booking concerts for fun, and it turned into a full-time gig.”

14. Jenn Scalia

Top Female Entrepreneurs - Jenn Scalia

“Entrepreneurship was something I was always destined for. But until a few years ago, I had always adhered to the status quo of having a ‘real’ job.”

“After two layoffs in two years, I got a gentle nudge from the Universe that I needed to create my own destiny and my own financial security. While staying home as a full-time mom, I started looking for opportunities where I could use my skills to make money. That’s when I discovered that I could be an online coach, and decided to dive in head first.”

15. Barbara Findlay Schenck


“Like many others, my dive into entrepreneurship was prompted by opportunity and necessity.”

“My husband and I had just returned from a stint in the Peace Corps, and–although former employers in Honolulu invited us back to the positions we’d left two years earlier–we wanted to settle down in Oregon. So, we took a raincheck on the generous job offers, and began searching for positions in Bend, Oregon that matched our journalism, public relations, and marketing backgrounds.”

“With few such openings and no advertising or marketing agency to reach out to, entrepreneurial instinct took over and we seized the moment. We laid out plans for starting our own agency, registered a business name, drew up a list of potential clients, furnished an office (barely), put a sign on the door, and started a six-month sprint to profitability.”

“Why six months? That’s exactly how long we figured our cash reserves would last. When I tell business planners to know their funding runway, I speak from experience.”

“With the clock ticking, we beat the six-month deadline, grew the agency to one of the top 15 in the Northwest, accumulated more clients, friends, and stories than we could count, and 15 years later sold it to new owners who made it the platform for launching their own entrepreneurial journey.”

16. Phoebe Mroczek

Phoebe Mroczek Female Entrepreneur on CreativeLive

“To be honest, I’ve been an entrepreneur for as long as I can remember. From the stationery stand in my driveway and my fifth-grade scrunchie business, to the dual-level marketing company I joined in college, it’s really not just a passion. It’s a way of life.”

“While I dipped my toe into the corporate world in Asia, behind the scenes I’d started an events company and shortly afterwards, a travel blog to document a 15-country motorcycle trip.”

“As I built my online network, I bumped into some internet marketing resources that changed the course of my path up until that point. The most influential person I discovered was James Wedmore, whose mentorship gave me the confidence and clarity to develop my business. This was the kick in the pants I needed to define and flex my entrepreneurial muscles.”

“Within twelve months, I’d made six figures and more importantly, built a business that helped female entrepreneurs all around the world. So, I guess you could say I got my start as an entrepreneur a couple years ago once I made the decision to go for it. With a little coaching and a LOT of fear, I went for it and the rest is history!”

17. Amy Schmittauer

Top Woman Entrepreneur Amy Schmittauer

“How did I get my start as an entrepreneur? Hard freakin’ work.”

“When I realized at my 9-5 that I wanted to work for myself, it was a year and a half before I actually left to make it happen. During that time, I was getting any and all experience I could in my field, on the side of my full-time job. I spent vacation time and extra money on conferences, networking, and working for anyone who would let me help. First for free and then for cheap, until I had confidence in my portfolio and made the leap to focus on my business alone.”

“Everyone wants the decision to be easy or great timing, but it never will be. Do the work. Prove you’re going to keep doing the work when you’re the only one in your corner. And then make it happen.”

If you’re ready to start (or grow) your own business, you need to learn how to value yourself. Check out Make More Money and Discover Your Worth with Sue Bruce, right here on CreativeLive.


Interested in building a community and helping to grow your business? Join Tara Gentile to learn more from one of our resident experts.



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