Archives for Photo Education

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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Why You Gotta Give

You Have To Start Somewhere About a year and half ago, I started a YouTube Channel.  It was actually just one video, explaining exposure.  I posted it so people in a photography class would have a reference to remind themselves what they had learned in my beginner photography class.  From there, it just kind of grew.   It now has almost 40 videos and has amassed over 133,000 views. But Why? I actually get asked that a bunch.  Why put all these video tutorials online for free?   Doesn’t it devalue them by just giving them away? To be honest, it hasn’t really been an issue for me.  When I was learning about photography, I asked a LOT of people a LOT of questions.  I couldn’t help it… I had a bunch of questions.  Giving back to the photography world just seems like the right thing to do. The Perks There are a few minor perks, I guess.  First off, the YouTube ads contribute a little bit of money – at least in theory.  Last time I checked, I hadn’t made the minimum commission for Google to even send me a check.  That is after a year and a half of making
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How To Age Gracefully

A New Twist On Old I hope your 2012 is off to a very creative start.  If one of your New Years Resolutions is to add some new looks to your image portfolio, then you are in luck! This week, I was working on a video tutorial on how to get a cool antique effect in Photoshop.  I’ve tried several different ways over the years, but I liked the look I got from this technique- so I thought I’d share it. BEFORE Here is the portrait I started out with.  I find the technique works best if you start with an image that has fairly dramatic lighting.     I basically added a texture layer on top of the image, then adjusted the blending mode.  If you’d like to see the step-by-step Photoshop tutorial, you can view it on my YouTube Channel.   AFTER Here is the final image: The image has taken on a rich, golden tone – along with some vignetting.  We’ve also applied some grit and texture to add to the effect. Want to give it a try yourself?  No problem! Just use the “SHARE TO GET” button below.  You basically give a shout-out on Facebook or
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Improve Your Digital Photography in 2012

Are Your Best Photography Days Ahead Of You? It doesn’t matter if you specialize in wedding photography or portrait photography, your goal should always be the same- to get better!  So often we hope that buying a new camera will make our photography get better.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t really work that way.  If you want to be a better photographer, you will have to work at it.   Here are a few goals you can set for yourself for 2012. 1.  Do a Google search for “photography tips” or “black white photography” and you will be amazed at the results that come back.  There are tons of great photographers and teachers out there.  The trick is to find them!  Dedicate an hour each week to looking for a new technique or style that can add a fresh look to your workflow.  Nothing major – just a small tweak here or there. 2.  Do you remember black and white photography?  If you shoot film, go out and buy yourself a roll of black and white film and shoot something just for fun.  If digital photography is your thing, switch your camera to black and white mode and experiment a bit.  Scenes
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How To Guarantee You NEVER Fail At Photography

Last week, I had the pleasure of interviewing Paul Steele for the NextGoal blog.  This guy is truly an inspiration and takes goal setting to the next level.  One of the questions I asked him was whether or not he had failed at some of his goals.  Paul’s response was “No, never- a goal will always be there.”   That had never really occurred to me.  As long as you are still trying to reach the goal, you haven’t failed.  It really made me step back and re-examine some goals I had let fall to the wayside. If you are like me, you’ve probably set plenty of photography-related goals for yourself over the years.  Maybe your goal is to do a certain amount of business or photograph a minimum number of seniors in a given year.  Maybe your goal is to score a perfect 100 in print competition.  Heck, your goal might be to just ENTER print competition for the first time.  Are you still pursuing the goals or have the gone to the back-burner? The great thing about goal setting is it gives you direction.  Most of the time, even if you don’t reach your goal, you still end
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Want To Be A Better Photographer?

Are you trying to get your photography skills to the next level?  If not, you should be!  The advances in photographic technology have been incredible over the past decade, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be improving your skills along with them.  A combination of working Photoshop skills and a willingness to stretch your creativity are required components if you want to compete in today’s photography field.  The good news is – there is help out there! Last year, I put together a YouTube channel that focuses on photography education- the aptly-titled, Lourcey Photography Channel . It has proven to be quite an adventure.  Up until that point, I had not done a whole lot of video – so the learning curve was rough.  However, the feedback I got from fellow photographers was overwhelming and I pressed on.  Over the past year, I’ve touched on everything from creativity to new Photoshop plugins . If you haven’t checked it out yet, I hope you will.  It really is a labor of love. Got something you have always wanted to know about photography?  Let me know and I just might use it for a future episode.  I’m always on the lookout for
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The Fatal Flaw Of Photography Websites

Is your website helping your business or hurting you?  Could it be bringing in even more clients than it is now? One of the things I like most about speaking at photography conventions is getting to meet photographers all across the U.S.   The crowd usually has everything from seasoned veterans to brand-new beginners.  By the end of the convention, I’ve usually gathered up a big stack of business cards from people and end up browsing their websites.  What amazes me is how people will put up a website with images that are not their best.  Your website is often your first impression with potential clients – and you know what they say about first impressions. OLD TIMERS Long-time photographers are not exempt from this- in fact, they can be some of the worst offenders.  They will have an image that won an award for them 25 years ago – so they keep using it as a representation of their style.  Unfortunately, it gives their work a very dated look.  Sometimes painfully dated.  The problem we have as artists is that we grow attached to our work and sometimes can’t be objective.  The right images can make the difference between you
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Broaden Your Photography Horizons

As artists, we are always looking to grow.  It is a constant struggle to find new sources of inspiration and flashed of creative genius.  I’m a big believer that you have to feed your creativity by soaking up as much art as you can – everything from photographs and paintings to a a great movie or interesting book.  By training your brain to recognize art, it somehow gets better at creating it. Don’t ask me why – but it works! Unfortunately, we all have limited time in the day.  We can’t always drive down to the museum and spend the afternoon browsing Impressionist paintings.  Luckily, there are plenty of online alternatives.  Need some suggestions? EARTH SHOTS I stumbled across Earth Shots recently and was blown away.  The photography is amazing.   People from across the world submit images of our great planet and the site posts one a day.  As a photographer, it is a great way of getting your name out there – if you’ve got the skills to make the cut.  The work is pretty top-notch, so getting an image accepted isn’t easy. I bookmarked this site and make a point to stop by once a week and browse
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Finding Inspiration for Photography

Photography has always been both a science and an art.  You have to have at least a little bit of both the technical skills and the artistic skills. It is easy to improve your technical skills.  You can research new techniques online, buy a few books on exposure – heck, you could even spend an afternoon reading over that 300 page manual that came with your new DSLR.  If you are willing to put in the time and effort, you can definitely improve your technical skills.  And you should! However, it is the art side that we are all interested in.  It is the part that gets us excited and makes us want to get better. To that extent, I decided to put together a few quotes on creativity to help get your brain in creative mode this week.  Let them sink in and see where it takes you.   “Every artist dips his brush into his own soul and paints his own nature into his pictures.”   Henry Ward Beecher   “A hunch is creativity trying to tell you something.” Frank Capra   “Creativity is allowing oneself to make mistakes, Art is knowing which ones to keep.”  Scott Adams  
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The Oasis

Over the next few weeks, I wanted to share a few of the images that I entered at this summer’s International Photographic Competition.  I will try and provide a little background on the images, as well as talk about how they were created. First up is an image called The Oasis. I created this shot of Central Park while vacationing in New York.  I’ve always enjoyed infrared (IR) photography and thought this would be an ideal setting for that type of photography.  I also shot this scene in color, but didn’t feel that it had the same impact as the IR image. Rather than using Infrared film (ahh.. those where the days), I photographed the scene with my IR-converted Nikon D70.   The IR look gave the image a very timeless, yet surreal, look.  I loved the contrast of how the giant man-made buildings towered over the idyllic, natural scene below.   I guess that is what makes Central Park so cool in the first place.  It is a quiet oasis in the middle of one of the busiest cities in the world. Although I’ve tried using IR filters or even Photoshop filters, actually converting your camera to record infrared is really
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