Archives for Photo Education

One Day Photography Workshop

Big News! This summer I will be offering something I have never offered before:  a one day, hands-on photography workshop.  I’ve spoken at photography conventions across the U.S., but never actually done this type of class.  If you have been wanting to improve your photography skills – this is your chance! Who Should Attend? This workshop will be geared toward Intermediate to Advanced photographers.  I’m looking for people who are ready to take their photography to the next level by really learning lighting and posing. What is Planned? I will have a complete studio setup and discuss why I set my lights up the way I do.  We will have multiple photo shoots and everyone will get a chance to photograph the models with their own cameras.  Its a great chance to build up your skills and add a few nice images to your portfolio.  You will come away from this workshop with an understanding of how lighting affects photography and how to use it to create stunning images. When and Where? The workshop will be Tuesday, July 23rd at the Westwood School’s high school campus on Midway – just south of Beltine- in Addison, Tx.  We will start at
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How To Take Better Photographs

Do you want to get better at photography?  It doesn’t matter if you a seasoned pro or a brand-new-just-bought-a-camera newbie.  We ALL want to get better.  Here’s your chance. Viva Mexico! This fall, I’m taking a group of photographers to Riviera Maya, Mexico for four days of photography in a fun, relaxed environment.  It doesn’t matter if you have a $5000 DSLR or just your iPhone – the concepts we go over will apply to everyone.  We are also keeping the group really small, so I will have plenty of time to work one-on-one with each photographer.  It is going to be an incredible trip! The Hotel We will be staying at the El Dorado Royale in Riviera Maya.  I spent a few days there earlier this month, scouting locations for our trip.  This place is absolutely first class!  The rooms are beautiful, the food is incredible and the service is better than being at Disney.  Trust me- it is a phenomenal location, so be sure to bring a friend or spouse.  They can lounge on the beach while we create some dazzling images. Relax! Don’t worry, it won’t be all work and no play.  Far from it!  We are
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Fun In Mexico

Wanna Get Away? Everyone can use a good, relaxing vacation every so often.  Of course, we all need to learn things also.  How about combining BOTH into one fun-filled weekend?  If you are a photographer – from an enthusiast, all the way to a pro- you won’t want to miss this!  I’ve teamed up with the folks at Legacy Travel to offer an educational getaway for a few lucky shutterbugs.  If you know me, you know that two of my passions are travel and teaching photography.  If you want to get better at photography, this is going to be a no-brainer. The Plan We will spend a few days in Mexico at El Dorado Royale, a spa resort- voted one of the top 100 hotels in the world. THE WORLD!!! In addition to beautiful scenery and all inclusive dining, I will personally take the group on a few photo excursions and teach you how to take better vacation photos.  We will photograph in the jungle, on the beach- even in an underground cave!  Trust me, you will come back with images that will cause quite a stir on Facebook!!! Equipment It doesn’t matter if you have a high-end DSLR or
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Checking out the Iowa Photographers

Off To Iowa I just got back from a fantastic week in Iowa, hanging out with the Iowa Professional Photographers Association. I spent the first few days serving as a juror in the North Central District print competition.  The North Central District is made up of 10 states and part of Canada.  The best photographers from those areas sent their best images to be judged by yours truly and his PPA Juror buddies. It was a great chance to work with some top-notch judges and we had the pleasure of judging some incredible images. It was a mentally draining couple of days, but the fun didn’t stop there.  Instead of heading home after the judging ended on Saturday, I stayed around to put on a program Sunday evening.  Actually, there were TWO programs!  The first was on the do’s and don’ts of print competition and the second was on optimizing the home studio. Speaking We had a packed room for both programs and I got some very positive feedback from everyone afterwards.  How anyone can sit through 6 hours of me talking in one evening is beyond me, but they did it.  Its always fun to speak to a packed
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What Michelangelo Could Teach You About Photography

When you talk about the best of the best, people always have their own opinions.  However, when it comes to discussing the greatest artist of all time, you would be hard-pressed to overlook the great Michelangelo.  This pioneer of the Italian Renaissance created some of the most well-known pieces in the history of art.  What is often overlooked are his words. One particular quote that has always inspired me is this: “The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low and achieving our mark.” Take a second to let that soak in.  Think about how it relates to photography. As digital snapshots continue to flood the visual marketplace, our standards slowly start to dip.  What was once an unacceptable photograph is now a “fun, candid pic” or maybe even considered “photojournalistic”.   As a portrait artist, you have to aim higher.  The “nice” image cannot be acceptable anymore. COMPETITIONS One of the places that this really applies is in photographic competitions.  As a juror and competitor myself, I’m quite familiar with both sides of the print competition world.  I’ve seen what kinds of images
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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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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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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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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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How To End Fake Smiles

How To End Fake Smiles Every portrait is ultimately judged by the expression on the subject.  It doesn’t matter if you are a photographer or a client- everyone hates fake smiles. Nothing spoils a session like a long, dramatic “CHEEEEEEEZZZEEEE!”. So how do we avoid it? First Things First Like most projects, the planning is a critical part of the process. When you are scheduling a portrait session for your child, there is absolutely no need to prep your child in any way. A good photographer will know how to work with your kids to get the expressions that they need.  Any coaching you do ahead of time will only make the photographer’s job harder.  Kids are pretty good at just going with the flow, so they don’t need a whole lot of build-up for the portrait session. Clothing One common snag that will derail a portrait session is when a child is forced to wear an outfit they don’t want to wear.   I was lucky to not ever have this issue with my boys – they would generally just put on the outfit and be done with it.  If your child isn’t so tollerant, try this:  Bring two
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