Posts by Larry

How To Take Awesome Photos With Your iPhone

Say Cheese! Don’t look now, but your phone is your new point-and-shoot. At least, that’s how it is for me. I still love my Canon S90, but I never seem to have it with me. What I always have with me is my iPhone and it has proven to be a worthy substitute. If your phone has become your “go to” camera, then here are a few tips to help you get the best images possible. Apps Galore! The supply of camera apps available for the iPhone almost seems unlimited. Best of all, many of them are free. The other day, I did some spring cleaning and removed a few of my camera apps, but I still have almost half a dozen- and that isn’t counting video cameras! Why do I have so many? I guess I’m just a camera hoarder – but why not? They all have little things they do better than each other, so I like to mix and match them. One of my favorites is TrueHDR. I reviewed it a few months back if you are interested -> TrueHDR review. It allows you to take some truly unique-looking images. Of course, Instagram is a favorite as
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The Essential Guide To Senior Portraits

SUMMER IS HERE The senior portrait is one of the great rites of passage for most high school students.  The summer before your senior year is the time to start thinking about senior portraits.  Its a time to document who you are and how far you have come.   But how do you know if you even need this type of portrait and- if so- how do you go about planning for the perfect session? WHY DO IT? High school graduation is a turning point for people.  You are right at the transition between childhood and being an adult.  It is a moment you want to document.  In fact, it ranks right up there with “First Birthday” and “Wedding” in the Important Photograph hierarchy.   You will also want to include an image in graduation announcements or thank you notes.  If there is going to be a graduation party, then the portrait will almost certainly be displayed there as well.  Let’s face it – its a pretty big deal, so you need to document it. WHAT YOU DON’T WANT I still remember my senior portraits very clearly.  I was in a stiff, uncomfortable pose with giant block numbers of my
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Why Enter Photography Competitions?

ARE YOU READY? Late next month, registration starts for PPA’s International Photographic Competition – a chance for photographers to enter their best images and see how they stack up against the best photographers in the world.  Will you be entering?   You might be surprised to find out why it is so critical to your success. THE CONCEPT Art competitions are nothing new.  The concept is actually very closely based on the Paris Salon.  During the 1700s, the Paris Salon was what every artist aspired to do.  If your work was accepted by the Salon, and displayed in the Louvre, you had truly made it!  Print competition works in much the same way.  A group of masters judge your work and if it meets a certain standard, it is accepted into the show. Why PPA? There are hundreds- probably thousands- of photographic competitions every year, but the one sponsored by Professional Photographers of America is the gold standard.  The judges are put through a rigorous training system that ensures a fair, consistent judging from year to year.  Trust me – I’ve gone through this process and it is no easy task.  Because of these high standards, the PPA competition attracts
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Smiles For Everyone!

Wow- what a weekend! On Saturday, we put together a charity photo session to benefit Operation Smile.  We set out to raise money to pay for kids to have corrective surgery and it was a great success.  If you are unfamiliar with the program, you can read about it in my last blog post.  It really is a great cause.   SMILE! Several people showed up to flash their wonderful smiles and help a child fix their smile. I was thrilled that we had so many generous people show up to help.  In all, we raised enough money for three surgeries!  How great to spend a few hours of your time and truly impact three lives like that?! NEXT YEAR Now that we’ve got the hang of this whole thing, we will really take it up a notch next year and raise even more money.  If you missed out this year, I hope you will join us next time!    
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Make Me Smile!

Smile!!! On April 21st, we will be participating in the 2012 Celebration of Smiles, a fundraiser to benefit Operation Smiles. Founded in 1982, Operation Smile treats children around the world who suffer with cleft lips, cleft palates and other facial deformities. Every year, more than 100,000 children are born with a facial deformity in Operation Smile’s 26 partner countries. I couldn’t believe that! On Saturday the 21st, I will be setting up at The Westwood School’s high school campus to photograph friends, clients or anyone else who wants to help. Here’s how it works… For a minimum donation of $24, I will create a fun headshot of you and your fabulous smile! I’ll give you a retouched file that you can share on Facebook, email or whatever you want. It costs Operation Smile $240 to perform one surgery, so for every ten people we photograph, we can fix one smile. How cool is that? If this sounds like fun, please put it on your calendar and stop by on Saturday. You can even RSVP at: FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE Spread The Word I would really appreciate it if you would spread the word to any of your friends in the DFW
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Are you pushing your photography far enough?

FINDING INSPIRATION If you are only drawing inspiration from other photographers, you are really missing the boat.  Creativity is all around us – everything from movies to music.  If you keep an open eye and an open mind, there is a lot to be taken in. THINK YOU ARE CREATIVE? One group of artists who take things to a whole new level is the band OK GO.  You probably saw the viral video of them doing a choreographed dance routine on a bunch of treadmills.  (If you missed it, here is the LINK.)  I recently came across the video for their song Needing/Getting.  If you think you are pretty creative, this will really put you in your place. First off, how did someone come up with that idea?  Second, if you COULD come up with an idea like that – how on Earth do you figure out the logistics necessary to pull it off?  Calling these guys creative geniuses really feels like I am under-selling them. PUSH YOURSELF Maybe it is time that we all start thinking a little more like OKGO.  Figure out where the limits to your creativity are – then figure out a way to exceed them.
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Back From Georgia

I just got back from a great weekend in Athens, Georgia at the GPPA Convention. The first few days were spent judging the SEPPA district print competition, so I got to see a bunch of great images.  We had a great panel of judges and I had a blast. Sunday morning was my Home Studio program.  Either I’m a great teacher or they are really smart in Georgia- because we flew through a lot of info fast!  I even got to meet an authentic 60s girl – or at least someone in a 60s costume.  So hard to tell… Now that my big month of travel is over, I can finally settle back into the studio and get some work done.  I’ve been out of town so much that the blog has suffered a bit.  But fear not, there are more blog posts on the way.  I might even mix in another YouTube video or two.  
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Easy HDR On Your iPhone

Another Awesome Photo App! We all carry our cell phones everywhere and they are slowly replacing the point and shoot for day to day photographs.  Luckily, there are tons of great apps that can really take your iphotography to the next level.  I’ll even give you a chance to get it for FREE!   True HDR I came across True HDR sometime last year and love it.  It was created by the folks at Pictional and it really rocks!  They were even kind enough to give me a free copy of the app to give away -more on that in a sec. What Is HDR HDR stands for high dynamic range.  You basically combine several images- each with a different exposure- to create stunning and unusual photographs.  For a more in-depth explanation of HDR, you should check out Trey Ratcliff’s site and his HDR primer. What does TrueHDR Do? Ok, here’s how it works.  The app will basically take a series of pictures at different exposure levels, then merge them together.  All you have to do is compose the shot and hold the camera still while it is taking the pictures. As an example, I’m going to photograph this tank,
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Awesome Vacation Photography

Guest Post By Daniel Padavona A travel photograph is a vacation keepsake. It tells a story, and it preserves dear memories of time spent with family. For commercial photographers, a few good images from a vacation can offset a portion of the trip costs. Unfortunately most novice photographers return home from vacation with a memory card full of images which don’t look as interesting as they had expected. It doesn’t have to be that way. By making a few changes to the way you compose your photographs, and how you see the world around you, you can capture travel images on your vacation which mesmerize and captivate. Have a Good Walking Lens If I am traveling to a destination on my own for the sole purpose of photographing the area, I am willing to bring a camera bag full of lens and filter choices. But when I am with my family, my main purpose is to enjoy my time with them. Capturing images still takes a high priority, but I don’t want to be encumbered by my photography. Having one versatile zoom lens is important, and allows me a multitude of crop and composition possibilities I would not have with
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Are You A Guru?

This weekend, I was reading a post from a self-proclaimed “blogging guru” and it got me thinking…. what does it take to be a guru? Authority or Guru The first thing to clarify is the difference between an “authority” and a “guru.”  Basically, if you can tell someone more than they care to hear about a topic, you are probably an Authority on that topic.  It’s also possible that you are just boring – but lets try to keep things positive.  Being an authority implies a great deal of knowledge in that specific area.  It is pretty cut-and-dried. A guru, on the other hand, is a little more complicated.  In addition to a great deal of knowledge, it also implies a willingness to help others.  In other words, a guru is a teacher.  In today’s society, it usually means someone who will teach you – for a price. Guru Requirements So how can you tell if YOU are a guru?  Well, it can be a little confusing – but there are a few unwritten rules. 1.  Know It All To call yourself a guru, you need to either have a vast knowledge of a subject or at least claim to
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