Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Interview with photographer Adam Daniels...

I came across an image of a dog, a Doberman to be specific and followed it home to its owner, and ended up at the website of Adam Daniels.

One thing was quite clear, Adam Daniels knows how to take a picture.

Adam was kind enough to spend some time answering a few of my silly questions and then give the "behind the scenes" info on four of his pictures.

Q. When/how did you get into photography?
A. I picked up my first SLR camera in 2001 after switching from an animation major to a photography major at Savannah College of Art & Design. I loved animation, but the end product took days, sometimes weeks. Photography was a medium through which I could more quickly see results. But it wasn't until I switched to digital photography a couple years later when I began utilizing Photoshop to really get creative with my visions.

Q. Who (or what) had the most influence on your development as a photographer?
A. The person who most influenced me in the art world must have been my mom. She always has had a knack for decorating the house, and creatively lighting every corner of every room with appropriate soft-lighted lamps. I cannot have my eyes open without analyzing the lighting in front of me. Of the photography masters I studied, Clarence John Laughlin stands out as a favorite. His spooky images of ruined buildings and ghost-like figures hits home for me, as I love dark and stormy nights, and horror movies.

Q. What camera do you shoot (and why)?
A. My main camera is a Canon 1DS M3. I chose this mainly for the resolution. I wanted to be able to make large prints of my darker portraits for art shows, and also have a camera capable of producing commercial-quality work. I have a backup 5D.

Q. What is your favorite lens?
A. My favorite lens is hands down the Cannon 24-70 f2.8. I wish it telescoped a bit more, but you can't have everything... yet.

Q. What is your favorite shooting (off camera) accessory?
A. My favorite off-camera accessory as of late is my Q-Flash. This thing is great! I just used it at a wedding this past weekend as a 2nd flash, to light up the banquet hall. Not only did I have my hot-shoe flash, but I triggered the Q-Flash via radio slave, giving each picture so much more life. It eliminated my hatred of shooting weddings inside!

Q. RAW or jpg (and why)?
A. RAW as much as possible. Although hard drives become quite numerous, shooting RAW gives me so much control over color balance and exposure, while providing lossless image quality. With JPGS, each time you re-save them you lose image quality.

Q. If you could only have one, would it be Lightroom or Photoshop?
A. If I had to choose, it'd be Photoshop over Lightroom any day of the week. I retouch everything I shoot in Photoshop/Camera RAW. To me, there's no program more important.

Q. What was your "big break"?
A. My "big break" has yet to happen, I feel. This is good in that it keeps me looking forward to something that I know will happen! But as with everything, you have to work for it. You can't just sit around waiting. Get out there and shoot, constantly! You'll get better each time you go out, I promise.

Q. I see you have both “recognizable” people and products as clients, how did that come about?
A. I used to work as a graphic designer/animator at TV stations. Two of the recognizable people on my website are those whom I stole for a few minutes after their appearance on the morning shows. The products you see on my site are mostly lighting tests done in my apartment. I'll get inspiration from a movie or website sometimes at odd hours in the morning, and won't be able to sleep until I've taken some photos.

Q. If you had to pick a single marketing tool to focus on for your business, what would it be?
A. There is nothing more beneficial as far as a marketing tool than word-of-mouth. Almost every time I get out to a networking event - and they're more prevalent than ever nowadays - I make great business contacts that, more times than not, lead to a job. And the more times someone sees you networking, the better your chances that they'll remember you when someone they know needs a photographer. How good you are doesn't nearly matter as much as how many people you know. If you're apprehensive about networking with strangers, take a friend with you to an event who can talk you up, so you don't have to.

Q. Can you share one marketing mistake that you would advise others to avoid?
A. One marketing mistake I made while at a big networking event a few years back was to place my business card at each place setting at the table before our meeting began. A networking professional approached me and told me that simply throwing my cards around was no way to really meet people and establish a relationship. "It was a cheap salesperson thing to do", he said. I took offense at first. But after thinking about it, I realized that he had an interesting point. How much respect would you have for someone if they approached you and handed you their business card then walked off without getting to know you?

Q. If you could have lunch with any photographer, who would it be?
A. You've stumped me on this question. If I were to choose a photographer with whom to have lunch, I'm afraid I couldn't. I am inspired every day by showcased photos that come through my inbox from PDN, NAPP, etc. However I couldn't give you a specific name of anyone. So if I had to choose, I would much more enjoy dining with students, and answering any photography/Photoshop questions they may have. I'm always willing to help fellow artists!

Q. What is your favorite photography magazine or book?
A. My favorite photography magazines are PDN and Photoshop User. PDN keeps me up-to-date on the industry news, new up-and-coming photographers, and helpful resource guides which I use to find strobe rentals when I'm shooting in other cities. Photoshop User keeps me up-to-date on cool new techniques.

Q. What is your favorite online photography resource?
A. My favorite online photography resource would probably be fredmiranda.com. It's a website that discusses and rates new cameras/lenses. Before purchasing any equipment, I check that site out first.

Q. Lastly, what is the one thing you would want people to know about Adam Daniels?
A. One thing I want people to know about me is that I'm always willing to help out a fellow photographer with any questions they may have. Back in college I used to keep too many secrets about my photography/Photoshop techniques. I would refuse to share them with anyone for fear that they would start using them in their work, and cause me to lose business. This was super-ridiculous thinking. Thankfully my instructor gave me his wisdom, and suggested I share with others. And to this day I love helping out and teaching other aspiring photographers.

You can view larger versions of these images (in a new window) by simply clicking on them.

Tennis - This was a test I did in my apartment a couple of years ago. Two shots, and some Photoshop smudging for the special effects. Profoto strobes, Canon 5D.

Old Man -This is one of my favorite, award-winning images. It was taken of a man in New England whom I passed on the street. I asked if I could take a picture of him, telling him that he had an interesting face. Then through a technique I discovered while messing around with Photoshop, created this image.

White Dog - An old girlfriend's dog shot on a white seamless bkgd. Most times, treats or toys are needed to get a dog's attention. This is why it's good to have an assistant or dog owner dangling a toy or food above camera. I believe a piece of cheese was used for this shot.

Doberman - Black dogs suck up light like a black hole. This one was no exception. I used a 30 degree gridded light on the right side, a soft box on the left/above without diffusion panel, and a 30 degree gridded light on a white background. The colored background was done in Photoshop. Finishing touches on the image included adding selective contrast via Curves masks, as well as hairs with a hair-shaped Photoshop brush, making the image look less like a composite and more believable as a straight shot.

If you like what you saw here (and I am sure you did), be sure to check out Adams website and his blog.

And a big thank you to Adam for being so willing to share.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Have your breath taken away...

This week PBS began a new series by filmmaker Ken Burns, "The National Parks: America's Best Idea".

I watched the first of the six episodes last night and the imagery was absolutely stunning, even my teenage girls who can't sit still for more than 3 seconds sat there hypnotized by what was unfolding on the screen.

It makes you want to grab your camera, throw some canned goods into a backpack, and head off to the closest national park.

If you would like to get a taste for what I'm talking about you can view online clips (full episodes and deleted scenes) here.

Check your local listings here.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Doing the right thing, more to "feel good" about...

This is a story that centers around a football game but really has nothing at all to do with football.

The real story is about a community trying to heal, a young man turning his life around, and what happens when they collide.

"Thamail Morgan took the kickoff and headed up the field.

He was at the 20 ... 30 ... 40

He had been avoiding, dodging or just simply running through tacklers along the way. By the time he hit midfield, only open space was ahead of him. The two-time Arkansas all-state player was headed for a touchdown.

40 ... 30 ... 20

He glanced at the clock and saw the final seconds ticking away. He realized his team, Cave City, was on the way to a victory over Yellville-Summit, comfortably ahead, 34-16. He also realized two other things: This wasn't an ordinary game. And he wasn't the same Thamail Morgan.

When he reached the 2 yard line he stopped, took a few steps back, and then took a knee at the 5-yard line."

And with that the game was over.

Sure, now you know how it ends, but you'll want to read how they got there, just follow this link.

Friday, September 25, 2009

The King of the ring!...


I hadn't planned it this way, it just happened, but I have saved the best for last in this two week series.

Posting this late in the day is extremely unusual for me, but I have spent most of the day perusing the wealth of resources from one of the top providers of search engine optimization information, Planet Ocean.

Planet Ocean has been in the SEO business for 12 years which tells me two things, they must know what they are doing, and they must be making their clients very happy.

At $97 it's certainly not the most expensive option we have discussed during this series, but it is the most "complete package" and offers by far the best guarantee.

Here's a snapshot of just some of the things you get:

1. You get "The UnFair Advantage Book" - a 104 page downloadable .pdf that contains six lessons

Lesson 1 - Search engines listed in order of their importance and what you need to do to be listed on each

Lesson 2 - All about Keywords, what they are, why they are important, finding the right ones for you, their proper placement and proper density

Lesson 3 - Link Building , the basics, inbound & outbound links, reciprocal links, choosing links wisely, and getting links that match your topic

Lesson 4 - Critical Competitive Analysis, how to analyze your competition so you can do it better

Lesson 5 - Choosing the Right Domain Name , getting domain names that please customers and the Search Engines

Lesson 6 - Site Architecture, making your web site easy for Search engines to read and index

2. The Search Engine Master Chart - this provides you submission information for Google, Yahoo, Bing, and Ask. Indexing guidelines for each, important ranking factors, and the things that could get you penalized.

3. The Ultimate Directory & Social Media List - a list of the best and most popular directories on the web, their submission guidelines, and links that take you directly to their submission page.

4. Advanced SEO Tutorials Study List - 22 of the most detailed and comprehensive tutorials on SEO out there.

5. Site Strength Indicator - you can plug in your web address and you will quickly learn the strengths, weaknesses, and what you need to do to address those weaknesses.

6. SIX Month subscription to SearchEngineNews.com - which gives you access to everything listed above and more. Each month all these resources are updated to include any changes that may have been implemented by search engines and directories the month before.

7. A six month, no questions asked guarantee if you don't think your money was wisely spent. Think about that for a minute, how many other companies offer you their product to try for half a year and then offer to give you back 100% of your money.

And they offer more resources than I have listed here.

I am not trying to bore you with a list but to impress upon you the number and quality of the tools and resources that is being offered for the money.

Of all the things I've read today the one thing that impressed me the most was their integrity, and I'm not just talking about how they stand behind their product, but how they go to great lengths to be sure the reader fully understands the difference between right and wrong by demonstrating the unethical tactics some folks take to fool and trick search engines in hopes of a better ranking.

They bring our attention to these tricks not just to make sure we don't accidently wander into the wrong areas as we promote our websites, but to make sure we understand we should steer clear of those areas because it is wrong.

There is guidance in the former, but there is entegrity in the latter. An important differance.

I can't recommend the "Unfair Advantage" from Planet Ocean enough, you have nothing to loose and only business to gain.

Thank You!...

We have just one more post (later today) on social media, social networking, and SEO (search engine optimization), but many of our readers are not professional photographers, don't derive their income from a camera, might not even have websites, and don't really have a need for this marketing series.

They come here because they love to take pictures, they love photography.

So these last two weeks have been at the very least boring, and at worst as painful as a stick in the eye.

So for all of you who have been patiently waiting for this series to end I promise you we will get back to the "clicking of the lens" on Monday.

And a big THANK YOU for your loyalty and your patience.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Review of the BIG Folio DVD "Rank Higher"...


I am willing to bet that the number of photographers who have flash websites is in the high 90 percent.

One of the bad things we often hear about flash sites is that search engine spiders and bots don't do a very good job of indexing them.

It's not because flash websites can't be optimized (they can), but it does take a bit more work and effort that too many folks just don't put into it.

Well the web experts at BIG Folio (yup, the same BIG Folio that designs websites for photographers like Joe Buissink and John Michael Cooper) has made our lives soooooo much easier with the release of their DVD "Rank Higher".

This package (DVD, workbook, documents, and additional free resources) was put together for photographers who can't spell "html", those who do their own web work, and everyone inbetween.

Don't know what a text editor is? They explain what it is, why you need it, how to use it, and where to get a really good (and really free) one. And the same goes for stats, rank checking tools, ftp, code validators, and more.

There are many things I love about this DVD, like the fact that they use a large number of screen captures that give you a visual representation of exactly what they are talking about, because it would be too easy to get lost or confused when someone is discussing a topic you've never heard of before, but is crystal clear when you can "see" what they are talking about.

I loved that it comes with a workbook/checklist so as you are watching the DVD you can actually be performing the task being discussed and then check it off as "done" (though they recommend that you watch the DVD all the way though once, and then on the second "pass through" begin implementing changes).

"Rank Higher" does not have you working in a vacuum, it also comes with an online forum where additional updated videos, applications, and resources are posted and where you can ask questions and share information with other photographers and experts from BIG Folio.

There is also a good deal of information that has nothing to do with flash, like how to build a link network, or what a city search is and how you can use this to boost your websites visibility.

Writing this blog as provided me the opportunity to watch many good training/instruction DVD's, but this is the first one ever that has given me the opportunity to ask questions of peers and experts, receive additional guidance, and updated resources after the purchase.

I understand the value of a dollar and $79 is not an insignificant amount of money, but if you weigh the cost of the DVD (and all of the free resources that come with it) against your increased web presence (and the business that would represent), the returns will cover the cost of "Rank Higher" many, many times over.

"Rank Higher" is both a good educational opportunity and a very wise investment.

If you have questions about what comes on the DVD, how to access the forum, or even if you can sell the DVD after you are done with it be sure to read the "questions & answers" section here.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Using social media to promote your blog...

This seven minute instructional video is courtesy of one of the most successful bloggers out there, Darren Rowse, publisher of Pro Blogger and Digital Photography School..

If we are going to learn, then we should learn from the best.


Socialnomics... The book...


When you are looking for news or information do you turn on the TV or your computer?

Do you even have to search for it any more?

Socialnomics, by Erik Qualman, walks us through the rapid evolutionary growth of social media and how it has changed / impacted our lives.

Things have changed dramatically, we are no longer looking for things online (information, news, reviews), it is finding us on our mobile devices while we're sitting in the movies, driving in our cars, or waiting for us when we wakeup.

And this is not a one way push of information, it's a two way conversation, because companies will hear from us regarding their products and behavior, they don't dare ignore us because our thoughts and concerns will reach more people by twitter, Facebook, and YouTube faster and more thoroughly than their advertising budget ever could.

Companies are making the shift from "creating and pushing" to engaging, listening, and reacting to our needs.

Socialnomics is an easy and insightful read whether you want to understand how social media can help your business or if you simply want to understand how it shapes today's society.

A great example is the chapter on how Barack Obama's success was driven by social media, it has forever changed the face of political campaigns.

One of my favorite lines from the book is "live your life like your mother is watching, because she probably is".

On a recent trip away (without my family) I was surprised by how much we used Facebook to communicate, unlike the telephone, it allowed us to communicate at times when it was convenient for both sides.

The new social media world is here, we can either learn to live in it, or be left behind.

If you are part of the first group, Socialnomics will give you a better insight of the new world and help you better navigate in it.

It gets two thumbs way up.

You can learn more about (and from) Erik at his blog or Search Engine Watch where he is a contributing writer.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Socialnomics...

Seeing this video is what made me decide to do the series on social media and if this doesn't drive the "new media" point home, nothing will.

And again, I apologize to all of the subscribers, but to watch this powerful video you will need to return to the blog to view it.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Don't ya just love a "feel good" story?...

This was on our local news two days ago and thought I would share it.

For some reason the embedded link will not "embed" in some browsers, but here is the link to follow.

enjoy.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Wrapping up week one...

Week one of promoting your photography business is coming to an end.

We are going to close it out with some additional links on several things we have already discussed.

Several days ago we told you about the free report from PhotoShelter, Google Analytics for Photographers, well they also have two other reports you will want to check out:

1. SEO for Photography Websites - this guide walks you through everything you can do to improve your photography website's search rankings.

2. 2009 What Photo Buyers Want survey - A survey of over 550 of the largest photo buyers share what they love and (and just as important) hate about photographers' websites. This will help you setup your site to catch the attention of the decision makers.

Yesterday we discussed keywording and we have two more resources that will help you be more thorough and efficient performing that task.

Both of these programs were developed of microstock photographers (and both have free versions), but many folks use them just for their keywording capabilities:

1. ProStockMaster - here is the link to their free version, and this link will take you to the "Quick Start Guide"

2. Cushy Stock 2.0 - you will find the "Quick Start Guide" here and the video tutorials here.

Come back next week as it will be chock-full of resources and products that can help ensure your success as a photographer.

Speaking of updates, Adobe has another....


Adobe has released Camera RAW 5.5.

This new version of Camera Raw replaces the original that was installed with Adobe Photoshop CS4, Photoshop Elements 7, and Premiere Elements 7.

Support for new cameras from Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic has also been added.

You can download the Windows flavor here and the Mac flavor here.

And I have a special prize for anyone who reads completely the 146 page Read Me file.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Adobe releases Lightroom 2.5....


Today Adobe released Lightroom version 2.5.

This update includes support for several new camera models like the Nikon D3000 and Olympus E-P1 as well as corrections for issues that were introduced in previous Lightroom 2 releases.

You can get the Windows version here, and the Mac version here.

If you are truly board (or an insomniac) you can peruse the Read Me file here.

The importance of photo keywording...

We have discussed photo keywording here in the past, but want to discuss it again during this series to drive home its importance and offer you more resources on the subject.

First, let's debunk the myth the you only have to worry about keywording if you are a stock photographer - NOT TRUE!

If you have a blog and/or website search engines will "spider" them on almost a daily basis and if your images don't have titles, descriptions, and keywords you have just missed a golden opportunity to be listed in the millions of searches that are going to be conducted on any given day.

And to be clear, I am not talking about just the photographs you post, you should tag every image (borders, headers, backgrounds, etc.) that make up your website as well.

Here are some articles that you should (seriously) consider reading:

1. Effective Photo Keywording Step by Step (Photopreneur)

2. Photo Keywording 3.0 (Photopreneur)

3. Keywording for Stock Photography (Story Hour Photography)

4. Keywording and Broccoli, Parts 1 & 2 (Keyword Compiler)

If you want to get an idea of what other folks are doing with regards to image tagging there is a waaaay cool tool from Yuri Arcurs (the undisputed king of microstock photography) that allows you to search shutterstock for images similar to yours and then see how that image was tagged by its owner.

I am not suggesting you "steal" from others, but if you are new to the task of tagging and keywording images this could help you better understand how the process works.

And finally there is a free tool called iTag that will help you automate the process of embeding titles, descriptions and keywords into your images.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Facebook...

What is the number one visited website?

Facebook!

What is the number one photo sharing website?

Facebook!

That should be enough to drive home the point that a (your) Facebook presence is important.

This leaves you with two options, getting on Facebook and fumbling around, hoping you get it right, or letting someone guide you step by step though the important features making sure you nail it from the very beginning.

I went for the step by step guided tour with Rod Evans "Facebook Marketing Tutorial".

Rod shows you how he uses Facebook to book senior sessions for around one dollar each in advertising cost.

He not only explains the three areas of Facebook that we need to concentrate on (our personal profiles, photo pages, and advertising), he walks you through each settings page, explaining what settings are important and which ones are not.

The Facebook Marketing Tutorial is a series of three videos (about 70 minutes total) and one of the things I really liked about them is when Rod was discussing page settings you saw the actual page (and settings) he was working on, so it could not have been easier to follow (and understand). And he didn't just share "this is what the setting should be", Rod also explains clearly why it should be what it is.

Another extremely important piece of information that is discussed is Facebook etiquette, without knowing it is extremely easy to find yourself outside the acceptable "rules of engagement" which will get you more than a slap on the wrist, it could end up getting you booted!

I think the coolest thing I learned from this DVD is what I need to do to an image before giving it to a client for their Facebook page that will drive potential clients my way (you'll have to watch the video for the details).

It's likely that you could learn everything that is taught on this DVD on your own, but how long would it take, how many mistakes would you make, and how much business would you miss out on before finally getting it right?

You could walk for free and would eventually get to Washington DC, or your can spend the money on a plane ticket and get there MUCH quicker.

Choice is yours, but I picked the plane ticket and could not be happier that I did.

The good folks at Evans Creative Training are making it easier for you to get there faster too by offering $30 off Facebook Marketing Tutorial, simply enter the coupon code "weekly" when ordering to receive your $30 discount.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

It's time to talk social media & online marketing...

For the next two weeks we are going to spend a good deal of time on social media, social networking, SEO (search engine optimization), and we hope to cover the important aspects of what we as photographers need to do to maximize and capitalize our online presence.

As I mentioned a few posts back, if you don't know where you are now it makes it extremely difficult to get directions to where you want to go.

Seriously, if someone called to ask directions to your house the first thing you are going to ask is "where are you coming from?" and if they respond with "I don't know" it would be impossible to guide them to your home.

So before you start mapping out your "directions for success" find out where you (and your website) are now with the free SEO tool "Website Grader".

Some of the resources we will will talk about are products and resources you can get for free, and some you will need to pay for, but today we will kick it off with some (really good) free resources.

1. New Media Photographer - It is both a blog and podcast produced by Rosh Sillars (a photographer and teacher). Rosh talks about the business of photography and social media (Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn).

2. Google Analytics for Photographers - Is a free 50 page pdf from PhotoShelter that walks you through everything you need to know about using Google Analytics to sell more photography and book more work using your website.

3. Social Marketing Playbook - This is another free 56 page pdf download dedicated to getting you started down the road to social marketing.

4. Seo Photo - I think the title pretty much covers it, I do like the fact that they provide a good deal of information on how to optimize for the new Microsoft and Yahoo search tool Bing.

I know, I know, this kind of stuff is not "sexy" and some of you may find it mind numbingly boring, but if you ignore this (very important) aspect of marketing you will have yourself to blame when the only person checking out your website is your mom.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

And the flooding continues...



The rain, wind, and flooding continues.

We even ventured down to the beach to see what was happening there, nothing like running the risk of being washed away!

Despite the weather the rehearsal was a fun and loved fill event.

Time to get on the "wedding day game face".

Can't you just see me with black smudges under my eyes and bouncing up and down just before "the game"?

;)




Friday, September 11, 2009

This is crazy!...

I am on Long Beach Island on the Jersey Shore getting ready to shoot a rehearsal dinner tonight and a wedding tomorrow.

We arrived yesterday to a horrible storm, wind was strong and steady and the streets are flooded.

While checking into the hotel we found out that the beach the wedding was to be held on was washed away by the storm, so folks are scurrying around for a new location.

And things have only gotten worse, the storm continues today, raining just as hard, wind blowing like crazy, and we now have a tornado watch until noon!

The weather is supposed to break by tomorrow morning, let's hope so.

These images were taken with an iPhone as we drove in yesterday, the water in the street outside our hotel is over our ankles.




Thursday, September 10, 2009

Here's another online educational resource...

Web Photo School has some really good free and paid photography courses.

If you are new to photography you can start with their very thorough free course like "Understanding Exposure", "How to Use Umbrellas", and "Simple Head Shot".

You can take a look at all their lessons here.

They have also put together a great offer for the readers of Weekly Photo Tips, you can get up to 35% off their more than 300 photography lessons, including the upcoming lessons include Hot Rod Pin-ups, Dog Portraits, Commercial Portraits.

35% off One-year subscription (regularly $79.99) Only $49.99 Coupon code: WPT12M (that’s a numeral “1” not an “L”)

20% off three-month subscription (regularly $24.99) Only $19.99 Coupon code: WPT3M

Both coupons can be redeemed at this link.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Get Free Photography Education Online...

This is a guest post from education writer Karen Schweitzer. Karen is the About.com Guide to Business School. She also writes about accredited online colleges for OnlineColleges.net.

Whether you are professional photographer or just a photography enthusiast, there are plenty of courses, lessons, and tutorials online that can help you improve you photography skills.

Here are 15 places to get a free photography education online:

Photography Basics - Individuals who are just beginning to dabble in the art of photography will find this free Suite 101 course useful. The course consists of four text-based lessons covering the history of photography, camera types, camera basics, and lighting.

Digital Photography Course - This free online course from CreativeTechs focuses on digital photography. The course lasts for ten weeks and is taught by John Greengo from the PBS series Art Wolfe's Travels to the Edge. Online classes start on September 2.

Online Library of Digital Photography - This digital photography resource offers dozens of free lessons for digital photographers. Lessons are aimed at beginners but include information that may be helpful to more advanced photographers as well.

Digital Photography School - Created by a digital photography enthusiast, this site offers an impressive collection of articles, tips, and tutorials for digital photographers. Education is available for beginner, intermediate, and advanced students.

Cambridge in Colour - Cambridge in Colour features a wonderful collection of digital photography tutorials and images. The site also offers an educational forum for photographers. All of the images that appear on this site are from, in, and around the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom.

Tips from the Top Floor - This award winning photography podcast teaches listeners about digital photography. Tips from the Top Floor also offers daily photo tips and a forum where photography enthusiasts can connect and ask questions online.

MyShutterspace - Created specifically for digital photography enthusiasts, this online social network is a great place to discuss and learn about digital photography techniques.

About Photography - The About.com Guide to Photography provides hundreds of informative articles and tutorials for beginner to advanced photographers. Other site features include a regularly updated blog and community forums.

Photography and Related Media - The Massachusetts Institute of Technology offers this free online visual arts course to self-learners around the world. The course covers digital imaging, camera operation, lighting, film exposure, development, and photography techniques.

Documentary Photography and Photojournalism - This free self-paced course from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology encourages students to create a photo documentary project. The emphasis of the course is on writing, but there is a lot of class material that would be interesting and useful to photographers.

Family Photo Course - This free online photography course from the UK's Open University teaches students how to handle, examine, analyze, and record family photographs. The course also delves into the history of family photography and portrait settings.

Travel Photography Course - Beren Patterson of TribalCog offers this free online course with a focus on travel photography. The course includes lessons on portraits, landscapes, light, exposure, camera care, and more.

PhotoWalkthrough - PhotoWalkthrough offers advanced-level video tutorials for photographers. The tutorials provide information about how different shots are achieved as well as tips on using processing tools like Adobe Photoshop.

Picture Social - PictureSocial is a social network for photographers. Members can share and critique photos, ask and answer questions, and blog about photography experiences.

Photo.net - Photo.net is a very large online community of photographers. The community has a special section just for learning, forums, an online workspace, and other tools to help photographers improve their skills.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Check out this self portrait...

Some of the best things I see come from the good people who read this blog, this self portrait is no exception.

It is of (and done by) Monica Martin.

There are two things I like about it, it has a "minimalist" look, an image with the least amount of pixels as possible (much like telling a really good story with the fewest words possible), and I think this image is a great example of just how important the eyes are when taking a picture.

"The eyes are the window to the soul" comes to mind.

So I emailed Monica for permission to show her image and ask her a few questions, she kindly agreed.

Monica, how did this image come about?

"It was actually taken without fixing white balance and came out pretty orange. I have a huge window and was playing around with the natural light coming in with a reflector on a very purple wall as the background."

How was the camera setup?

"I used a tripod and timer"

What do you have around your head, is it a hood?

"I have a fuzzy hat and scarf around my head and face. Love hats!"

What kind of camera did you shoot it with?

"I shot this with a Canon 5D and 28-135mm canon lens, 1/100s at /5.6, ISO 500"

And post processing?

"It was edited in Camera Raw and CS3 to convert it to black and white and I used Ron Nichols palette to brighten, to add contrast in the eyes, and to soften skin."

Thank you Monica for letting me use your image and taking the time to answer my silly questions.

Be sure to learn more about Monica at her website and her blog.

(click on the image to view larger and in a new window)

Monday, September 7, 2009

Okay, I lied to you...

and I'm so ashamed! (all said tongue in cheek)

;)

Last week I said that beginning today we would start a two week series on social media, image keywording, SEO (search engine optimization), and how these things impact the business of photography.

But I had forgotten that today was a holiday, I don't usually post on holidays (or if I do it's not "on topic") and I am heading south at the crack of dawn on Thursday for a wedding that will keep me out of state until next Sunday night.

So not only will I be gone for 4 days, I will be spending the next couple days prepping for the trip.

So we will start the 2 week series NEXT Monday instead of today, I promise.

I have a camera for sale...

I am selling a Fujifilm FinePix S2 Pro 6.2 mp / 12.1 mp with a Nikon mount, it was the backup to my D300, but now that camera is the backup to my D3, making the Fuji "expendable".

You can read why dpReview.com made it a "Highly Recommended" buy here.

Feel free to drop me an email if you are interested.

Have a great Labor Day.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Paint Shop Pro X2 Ultimate for $39.95...


This week (ending 9/12) BestBuy has the latest version of Paint Shop Pro on sale for only $39.95.

I know some of you may be looking down your nose at this, even though I have CS4 and Lightroom there are times I want to do some quick and simple editing and Paint Shop Pro fits the bill nicely.

And you may be new to photography and don't want to take out that second mortgage to get Photoshop CS4, well Paint Shop Pro is a more than adequate alternative.

If you are wondering what others have to say be sure to check out the review from CNET and/or Top 10 Reviews.

You will have the option of either downloading, or getting the boxed version at the store.

Follow this link to find a BestBuy near you.


Saturday, September 5, 2009

You just can't make this stuff up...

It's the weekend so I am legally allowed to go "off topic", it says so on the "Blogging Rules and Regulations" handbook.

;)

When I first saw the Snuggie commercial I thought it was a "spoof", a Saturday Night Live skit, especially when the family wore them to the football game.

I mean, really?

Then they had to take it too far by making Snuggies for dogs!

And taking me just to the edge of sanity simply wasn't enough, they had to come out with the "wearable towel" and push me waaay over!

I would pluck out my own eyes so I wouldn't have to see these commercials, but then again I would still be able to hear them.

So when you see me at a football game wearing a Snuggie, know that I have a wearable towel on underneath.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Your online presence...

During the next two weeks we are going to focus a good number of our posts on what photographers can (and need to) do to improve their online presence.

The things we will be covering are social media, image keywording, SEO (search engine optimization), and more.

We will review resources like Rod Evans "Facebook Marketing Tutorial", "Socialnomics" by Erik Qualman, and many more social media and online resources.

But before we can map out a where we want to go we need to determine where we are.

A very good starting point is the "Website Grader" a free SEO tool that will that will help measure the current marketing effectiveness of your website.

Your score is based on traffic, SEO preparedness, social networking popularity, as well as other factors.

To see what they look at when grading your site and the kind of recommendations they make for improvement you 're welcome to view the report for Weekly Photo Tips.

I know this is not a glamorous, sexy, or even slightly exciting subject (then again, the same can be said about me), but I would argue that your online presence will play a larger role in your (financial) success as a photographer than will your camera.

So run your website report before Monday and then follow along as we start putting together the building blocks for online success.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Q & A with Joe McNally...


Peachpit has started a new feature called "Q & A with Joe McNally", where you can submit your question (and up to 2 images) and each week Joe will pick one of the entries to answer and critique.

You can find the submission form here, submit your photos to the Photography Q&A with Joe McNally Flickr Group, and can read Joe's answers to the selected questions here.

If you do submit an image you will need to agree to the photographic release form, but unlike too many other online resources that require a photo release form, Peachpit does it correctly (and fairly), leaving all ownership and rights with the photographer:

"By submitting any Photograph to the Blog, Peachpit does not claim or assert any ownership of any Photograph and shall not use the Photograph other than for the purposes of the Blog. All Photographs shall remain the property of their rightful owner."

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Assignment #1 for our flickr group...




Here is assignment number one for the Weekly Photo Tips flickr group:

Shoot anything in your yard and/or garden. If you live in an apartment or condo shoot something on your balcony.

The only stipulation/rule is whatever you shoot, it has to be outside and at your home.

Your images can all be of the same subject, or each image can be of a different subject.

Here are my six images, all shot in my yard, sunflowers, a sunflower bud, and a sunflower leaf.

My choice was flowers, not sure if there is anything more simple and more beautiful than a flower.

All these were shot with a Nikon 60mm lens.

I shot the leaf by holding it up to the sun and holding the lens behind (and right up against) it.

Larger versions of these images will be up on the flickr group shortly.

I am looking forward to what you folks are going to shoot and post.

View any of these images larger and in a new window by clicking on them.



Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Finally... Weekly Photo Tips flickr group...

We finally have a flickr group for the our Weekly Photo Tips assignments, which will be starting tomorrow.

Anyone can join the group and post images, but we won't be allowing anonymous posting, so technically it is by "invitation only"

It really will be simple, follow this link to our group and request to join, I promise that your "application" will be approved.

Stop by tomorrow for the first assignment!