Review of BongoTies...

The first time I saw a picture of BongoTies my first thought was, "that looks like a cool idea" but it wasn't until I received mine last week that I truly fell in love!

They happened to arrive on the same day we had to pack up all kinds of gear for a remote shoot, so I broke open the box and started organizing our bazillion cables and cords. From 50 foot heavy duty extension cords to small 6 inch PC Sync cables.

That was the day I came upon our new cable management system, BongoTies.

In the past I have used things like Velcro wraps but they collect dust and dirt, catch at inopportune times, and tend to be a bit pricey.

You can get a ten pack of BongoTies for less than $5 (here and here).

And they can be used for a lot more than cable organization, search YouTube and you will be surprised at the number of different applications (I was).

They even come packaged in their own (ziplock) carrying case.

Are you picking up that I like them? They get two thumbs way up from me.

One of our lucky readers will love them as well as BongoTies will be included in a future prize package.

A photography show you can't miss!...

Tonight (on many PBS stations) you can watch "At Close Range with National Geographic" which follows the exploits of National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore.

This originally ran a couple years back but really is timeless and if you want to see some stunning imagery, a peak behind the scenes of National Geographic photography assignments, and meet a truly interesting man, you really really want to watch this.

He tells a FANTASTIC story about photographing wolves in Yellowstone that you won't want to miss. There is also an image at the very end of the show that he took of his feet while on assignment in Alaska that drives home the point that a picture truly is worth a thousand words.

Joel is as good a story teller as he is a photographer, I could sit around a campfire and listen to him talk all night.

At the very least this show will make you want to travel to (and photograph) Nebraska. Seeing "Nebraska's Big Rodeo" has been added to my list of things to do before I die.

After watching the show I visited Joel's website, the fact that he is an outstanding photographer was reinforced and but the best part was learning more about him as a person.

You can read his essay on his wife Kathy's battle with cancer and how it changed his life, Joel's insightful words will make you sit back and take pause.

Hopefully it is showing in your area, you can check your local listings here.

Scott Kelby giveaway ends tomorrow...

Just waned to remind everyone that tomorrow marks the end of the our contest that will award some lucky winner the Scott Kelby DVD (and workbook) "Photo Recipes Live: Behind the Scenes".

You can see the original post with all the details here.

We will be giving stuff away every month for the rest of this year (including Scott Kelby books) so if you don't win this month you may next.

A friends image(s)...

This is an image I really liked that was taken by Michael Palmer (a friend and photographer) at the at Kenilworth Aquatic Garden.

It was on his blog so I thought I would steal it and post it here.


Heck, since I'm stealing images here's another one I really liked. I wish he posted more of his work because he is a very good photographer.

If you click on either image they will open larger and in a new window.

Shooting HDR with Scott Kelby...

While Scott Kelby was here last week we had the opportunity to take him on a "photography tour" of the old factory complex where our studio is located as well as a few stops along the Maine coast.

It was great to see Scott again, we even had the time to break bread and share stories.

Scott shot a lot of HDR in the factories and was kind enough to tape a video tip for our readers on how to shoot HDR in a dark setting.

The image above is the HDR image Scott shot while making the video.

We hope you enjoy it.

As usual, subscribers will need to return to the blog or head over to our YouTube channel as videos aren't pushed through with your subscription.

Senior portraits...

Here are some senior portraits we shot of Andy outside the old factory complex where our studio is located. I swear we could shoot here for quite some time before we exhausted all of cool features, and that's just on the outside.

Lighting was simple, it was a single Nikon SB-800 in an 18 inch square softbox mounted on a painters pole using a Kasey Pole Adapter, held about three feet above and in front of our subject.

You can see the Kasey Pole Adapter in use here and purchase it over at Flash Zebra for $19.

(clicking on any image will open it larger and in a new window)

Thank you!...

Scott Kelby was here last week and was kind enough to show some of the images we shot and provide a link back to Weekly Photo Tips.

Because of that link we have seen a bazillion new visitors and many of them have left kind words and compliments about our humble offering.

I sit here in the early morning in my jammy pants writing posts and though I see the stats that show lots of good are people visiting, at times it all seems quite distant, even sterile.

But when folks take the time to leave generious words of praise it makes me realize that there are real people out there (maybe in their jammy pants) appreciating our efforts here at Weekly Photo Tips.

I wanted you to know it meant something to me... and to say thank you.

We have some cool videos, tips, and product reviews in the works (including more on the visit of Scott Kelby) so be sure to come back.

Feathering the light from your softbox...

Feathering the light that comes from your softbox is a very important tool/technique and as photographers we need to know how to do it.

So here are a few articles that will show you how:

From Strobist - Feathering a softbox

A PDF - Feathering is ticklish business

Amherst Media - Feathering

Digital Artform - Feathered light from a grid (be warned this article has some mannequin nudity)


Scott Kelby contest reminder....

Just a reminder that anyone who writes a comment on any blog post by August 31st is in the running to win the Scott Kelby DVD (and workbook) "Photo Recipes Live: Behind the Scenes".

More details can be found on the original post.

Good luck to all.

Slideshow Pro for Lightroom...

Back in 2008 we reviewed Slideshow Pro for Lightroom, we liked it then and like it even more now.

It's inexpensive ($35), easy to use, extremely customizable, and will give you professional looking presentations that will show off your images in their best possible light.

So go check out how you can achieve total image control with Slideshow Pro.

Use this link to see the incredible ways folks have used Slideshow Pro, you will find Loren Hayes and fellow Mainer Charles Adams among these outstanding sites.

I am not including any samples of the things I've done with Slideshow Pro as they'd look like a booger compared to this fine work.


One of my favorites is model Cristina, her gallery is unique and could not be easier to for visitors to use.

One more on free image editing software...

It's called FastStone Image Viewer. Two of the (many) cool features is the ability to batch convert images into PDF files and dual monitor support.

Here are a few more features:

  • True Full Screen viewer with image zoom support and unique fly-out menu panels
  • Crystal-clear and customizable one-click image magnifier
  • Superior Red-Eye effect removal/reduction with completely natural looking end result
  • Image modification tools: Resize/resample, rotate/flip, crop, sharpen/blur, brightness/contrast, etc.
  • Eleven resampling algorithms to choose from when resizing images
  • Image special effects: watermark, annotation, drop shadow, framing, bump map, lens, morph, waves
  • Draw texts, lines, highlights, rectangles, ovals and callout objects on images
  • Multi-level Undo/Redo capability
  • One-touch best fit/actual size image display support
  • Image management, including tagging capability, with drag-and-drop and Copy To/Move To Folder support
  • Histogram display with color counter feature
  • Compare images side-by-side (up to 4 at a time) to easily cull those forgettable shots
  • Configurable batch processing to convert/rename large or small collections of images
  • Slideshow creation with 150+ transition effects and music support (MP3, WMA, WAV...)
  • Print images with full page-layout control
  • Create fully configurable Contact Sheets
  • Powerful Save As interface to compare image quality and control generated file size
  • Run favorite programs with one keystroke from within Image Viewer

    Click on the image below and it will open larger (and in a new window) allowing you to view more of the menu options in greater detail.

  • Remember back in March?...

    When I was so happy with the approach of spring, and how pleased I was with my tomato seedlings?

    Well, those bad boys are doing some serious producing, I picked a couple dozen fruit this weekend alone.

    Is there anything better than a fresh home grown tomato?

    Well, maybe winning the lottery, dating Jennifer Aniston, or being Tom Brady would be better than a home grown tomato... but really, it was meant to be a rhetorical question.

    (clicking on this image will open it larger in a new window)

    It's Saturday, I must be shooting...

    I am about to walk out the door to shoot a wedding with my friend Stacey Kane.

    This past May we traveled (again) to Long Beach Island (NJ) to photograph a wedding at Bonnet Island Estate.

    What a nice place, wonderful couple, and a fun wedding to shoot.

    That wedding was recently featured over at Cake & Pictures and you can check it out here.

    More free photo editing software...

    Sorry for the long delay between posts (I think the longest in the 4 year history of this blog), but sometimes life happens.

    Here is installment 2 of free image editing software.

    Today we bring you Photobie, an all free, no nags, no "pro" upgrade options, 100% free image/photo editing software.

    I could bore you by rambling on and on about the features and the things I like about Photobie but your time would be waaaaaay better spent checking out the software for yourself.

    Be sure to read their 43 page feature list (a downlaodable pdf) and you'll see that it's powerful, it's versatile, and it's worth your consideration.

    Here is the Photobie tutorial page, their YouTube channel, and their download page.

    Below is an "intro" video, it's 10 minutes long and nicely demonstrates the abilities of this powerful program.

    (Subscribers know the routine, you'll need to return to the blog because videos don't push through with your subscription).

    Free image editing software...

    This week we are going to present you several options when it comes to (truly) free image editing software.

    We are starting with Photoscape.

    Other free image editing programs have similar features but Photoscape is the first one I have found has a clone stamp tool (see the video at the end of this post).

    It also has a bunch of tools that I like - batch tools (edit, resize, rename), Face Search (it will search for similar faces on your computer and online), and a RAW converter.

    Here are a few more key features:

    ♦ Viewer: View photos in your folder, create a slideshow

    ♦ Editor: resizing, brightness and color adjustment, white balance, backlight correction, frames, balloons, mosaic mode, adding text, drawing pictures, cropping, filters, red eye removal, blooming, clone stamp

    ♦ Page: Merge multiple photos on the page frame to create one final photo

    ♦ Combine: Attach multiple photos vertically or horizontally to create one final photo

    ♦ Animated GIF: Use multiple photos to create a final animated photo

    ♦ Splitter: Slice a photo into several pieces

    ♦ Color Picker: Zoom in on images, search and pick a color

    ♦ Paper Print: Print lined, graph, music and calendar paper

    You can learn more about Photoscape on their website, check out sscreen shots, and download it here.

    This video is a very good demonstration of how well their clone stamp tool works. As usual, subscribers will need to return to the blog to watch it (as it doesn't push through with your subscription).

    One thousand DIY photo projects....

    Okay, maybe it's not a thousand (it's more like 65), but listed here are plenty of low cost/no cost DIY projects that will keep you busy for quite some time.

    If you have a DIY project not listed here please let us know so we can add it to this group as we are going to maintain a "DIY Project" list that our readers can refer to.

    If you have (or when you do) complete a DIY project, share that with us too.

    New, let the fun begin.

    Adjustable Snoot

    Backdrop Stand

    Backdrop Stands & Green Screens

    Beauty Dish

    Beauty Dish for SB-800

    Beauty Dish flash modifier

    Beauty Dish (stainless steel)

    Boom Arm Reflector Holder

    Budget DIY Lighting System

    Canvas Photography Backdrop


    Cheapshott Collapsible Umbrella DIY

    David Hobby Grid Hack

    Digital White Balance Filter (like ExpoDisc)

    Film Can Diffuser & Color Gel holder

    Flash Diffuser (cigarette packet)

    Flash Mini-Bouncer

    Floor Light

    Foldable Softbox

    Free Printable Lens Hoods

    Gary Fong Lightsphere

    Gary Fong LightSphere II

    Grids (and snoots)

    Grid (gutter adapter & black straw)

    Grid (Speedlite)


    Large Softbox for Small Strobe

    Light & Backdrop stand

    Lighting Diagrams, Planning and Explaining

    Light Tent

    Light Tent

    Macro Lighting

    Macro Photo Studio (for $10)

    Monopod (for $11)

    Monopod (with ballhead)

    Monopod (mini)

    Monopod (telescoping)

    Muslin backgrounds

    Panoramic Tripod Head for $10

    Pop-up flash diffuser

    Pop-up flash diffuser (soft screen)

    Ring Flash

    Ring Flash

    Ring Flash (disposable)

    Ring Flash (square)

    Shutter Release (Canon)


    Softbox (under $10)

    Softbox - Flash Mounted

    Softbox Grid (under $10.00)

    Softbox (for perfect portraits)

    Softbox (using umbrella)

    Softbox from an umbrella

    Spiderlight Strobe

    Spiderlight Softbox

    Strip Light

    Strip Light (cheap)

    Studio Backdrop Mount

    Studio Lights (under $20)

    Tinker Tubes

    Umbrella Softbox (aka Brollybox)

    Vagabond power pack

    Wired Remote (Canon)

    Casey proposes to Amy...

    Back from vacation and (sadly) back to work, posting will be picking up from here. I have a a bunch of photography products to review as well as images to share.

    Below is a video of Casey proposing to Amy.

    The event took place in a local coffee shop, Casey had the waitress bring Amy box after box until.... well, you'll see.

    (You subscribers will need to return to the blog to watch this little gem)