Today's big announcement!...

For each of the next 4 weeks we are going to give away some goodies!

Yup, how it will work is each and every Friday in February we will announce a new prize winner.

Not sure what we will be giving away each Friday, but I do know prizes will be chosen from photography books, software, or DVD's (I mean really, have our prizes ever sucked?).

One entry at the beginning of the month will make you eligible for the prize drawing on all 4 Fridays... as this will be one month long contest, not 4 separate ones.

And as allows it is pretty simple to enter:

1. Leave a comment on any blog post or any of our YouTube videos.

2. Upload any image that you shot to our Flickr group.

If you are new to Flickr (never joined) you can get the details on how to join our Flickr group here.

This contest starts on Wednesday (February 1st) and it's open to everyone, all winners will be chosen at random from among the qualifying entries.

Winners will be announced each Friday in February.

Good luck everyone, looking forward to seeing your images and reading your comments.

Here is the small print (literally):

All rights and ownership of submitted images remain with the photographer who took it.

1 image upload + 1 comment = 1 contest entry.

You can enter the contest as many times as you like, no limit.

Winners outside of the US will need to cover the cost of shipping their prize.

And the 5 winners are!...

Before I announce our lucky winners I have two things I want to say/share (actually 3 things).

First, you folks have put forth a phenomenal effort for this contest and I'm sorry that there can only be five winners.

Second, I have some big announcements next week, on Monday will be posting the details on how/why we will be giving prizes to lucky readers of Weekly Photo Tips every single Friday for the entire month of February and on Wednesday (February 1st) we will be announcing the biggest thing we have ever done on this blog.

Now, without further delay, our randomly chosen winners and the prizes they won:

1. terakinnane - You have won "Work Like a Pro Photographer in Aperture 3"

2. ZERO CEM - Your prize is "Photographically Speaking: A Deeper Look at Creating Stronger Images"

3. Daniel*1977 - You will be getting the great software "Organize"

4. Alexander Cordeiro - You will be getting a one year membership to

5. fatlab99 - You too are getting a one year premium membership to

Most of these are your Flickr names, so you will need to contact me with your snail mail address, or the email address you want your download link and license sent to.

A BIG THANK YOU and congrats to everyone.

Big sale on photo gear...

Adorama is having a sale right now that has something for (almost) everyone.

Not only are the prices outstanding, everything on sale here comes with free shipping too.

An iPad Bluetooth Keyboard with a Stand & Folio for the iPad & iPad2 at almost half of at just $29. Use the coupon code S0116120 at checkout.

They have all kinds of Kingston memory cards and readers on sale, compact flash, SDHC, memory sticks, and more.

Get a Fisheye, Macro, and Wide-angle Lens for the iPhone 4 / 4S.

Creative Light collapsible reflectors with your choice of gold, white, and silver surfaces and metal frames all are 25% off.

You will also see 20 different Smith Victor lighting setups, complete with softboxes and cases.

Nikon Coolpix S4100 D Digital Camera - Refurbished by Nikon U.S.A. only $59.

Tokina 11mm-16mm lens, all mounts, they are on sale with rebates which will save you $90.

And now for the big gun, a Nikon U.S.A. refurbished D3 (with warranty) for $3499.

Time for another wedding Wednesday...

Welcome back to wedding Wednesday (previous WW's can be found here and here).

Here are three images from the same wedding that were not on my "shot list" for the day and the first two I normally would not have had the opportunity to shoot.

Usually I'm positioned inside the church, waiting for the bride to make her entrance, but at this wedding I was outside because the church was tiny. There was barely room for one photographer, never mind two.

So I was hanging outside, thinking I would grab a shot of the bride and her dad (from behind) as they entered the church. I got more than I expected.

In this image they paused, brides father turned to her and told her how much he loved her and how beautiful she looked.

As they walked towards the church they paused again, dad was just a little emotional, so the bride put a comforting hand on his shoulder and just as she did a breeze kicked up and "wrapped" him in her wedding dress.

This final shot was after the wedding, we were actually hiding from the guests (so they would leave) and we could shoot the bride and groom. While we waited this image presented itself, another "happy accident".

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

So the take away from todays shots are be prepared. You never know what photographic opportunity will present itself and if you're not ready, if your camera is just dangling around your neck, you'll miss some great shots.

And the best camera you can shoot with is...

I told you yesterday that if you came back today I would tell you the best camera to shoot with... but I am not going to spout out a specific brand... nope.

What I am going to say is something many of you have heard before (and I believe to be true), that the best camera you can shoot with is the one you have with you at the time.

Let me submit my two humble photographs, taken with my phone, as proof.

Both were shot when I had no intention of taking a photograph.

The first image. It had snowed the night before and I was rushing out the door, looked up and thought the trees looked pretty cool, pulled out my phone and took the shot.

And the second. This image was taken while sitting at my computer, the sun came through the window and cast (what I thought to be) a cool shadow on the wall. Now if I went to dig out my camera body, a lens, a memory card and came back to take the picture the sun would have moved and the shot would be gone. So again I grabbed my phone and grabbed the shot.

(click on either image to view larger & in a new window)

Are they the best images ever? Nope, but I like them and had it not been for my phone, I never would have had them.

So don't be afraid to take a photograph with your best camera, that one you have with you.

Would you like to play with Lightroom 4?...

If you answered yes then today is your lucky day.

Adobe has opened their beta testing of Lightroom 4 to the public.

You can play with the full version (along with any/all release candidates) from now until the end of March (2012).

Follow this link to read more about it and get the download link.

Here are just some of the new Features in Lightroom 4 Beta:

* Highlight and shadow recovery brings out all the detail that your camera captures in dark shadows and bright highlights.

* Photo book creation with easy-to-use elegant templates.

* Location-based organization lets you find and group images by location, assign locations to images, and display data from GPS-enabled cameras.

* White balance brush to refine and adjust white balance in specific areas of your images.

* Additional local editing controls let you adjust noise reduction and remove moiré in targeted areas of your images.

* Extended video support for organizing, viewing, and making adjustments and edits to video clips.

* Easy video publishing lets you edit and share video clips on Facebook and Flickr®.

* Soft proofing to preview how an image will look when printed with color-managed printers.

* Email directly from Lightroom using the email account of your choice.

Here's part two of our Flickr explosion...

This is a follow-up on our Friday post on how you crazy photographers are blowing up our Flickr page.


All in response to our latest contest.

Over the weekend a bunch more images were added and I continue to be amazed at both the quantity and quality of images being uploaded.

I hope you enjoy the latest offering of reader images.

Click on any image to view larger and in a new window.

And if you come back tomorrow I promise we will settle the age old argument about what camera is truly the best... once and for all.

Just when you think you're having a bad day...

First, I just want to let all of our new visitors and subscribers know that if we post on weekends, it will most likely be off (photography) topic, sometimes waaaaaaaay off topic.

So, having been duly informed, let's head off topic.

While getting my news fix yesterday I came across this story about children in Indonesia who make their way to school every day by going over a semi-collapsed bridge (and then cross it again on their way home).

My first thought was, "if this bridge has already partially collapsed, how safe can what's left really be?".

And then I would waffle between feeling such sadness for these children and embarrassment at just how much I have, and take for granted.

Fat, dumb, and happy.

So I wanted to share it (the story, not the fat, dumb, happiness), so that maybe for today we can take a moment and appreciate how lucky we are.

You can find the full story and more images here.

You are blowing up our Flickr page!...

And I could not be happier about it.

Every time we have a contest and you good people upload images I think "these are some of the best images we have had". It is certainly true of the latest batch of photographs you are blessing us with.

Not only are these some of the best images we have ever had, more than ever have been uploaded, and they are coming in from all over the world!

Great job everyone. Truly great job.

If you don't know what I am talking about you can get all the details about our latest contest & giveaway right here, and you have another week to get yourself entered, so come on in the water's great.

There are sooooo many great images but I can only display 8 of them today, but if you come back Monday I'll show you 8 more. If you can't wait, or want to see more you can head over to our Flickr page and drink them all in.

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

Time for another wedding Wednesdays...

Just in case you missed it you might want to check out our first "Wedding Wednesday".

Each week I will post a couple images from wedding I shot during the 2011 "season" and explain why I like them, how they were shot, and (on occasion) what I might have done differently.

Here are this weeks images.

This image is from the "first dance".

I know some people will look at it and think that I cut off too much of the groom, but let me explain why:

1. There was light hanging down behind the grooms head.

2. There was a guest standing very close over the grooms left shoulder.

Had I left those two things in the image they would have been huge distractions that took away from the bride and groom and have your eyes wandering all over the place.

Look at the brides face, if ever there was a "look of love" this is it and I didn't want your eyes to wander away from her because THAT was the photograph.

Image two runs contrary to what I usually do, I don't like "posing" photographs, I try to take a journalistic approach when shooting a wedding.

(clicking on either image will open them larger and in a new window)

But this shot is an exception, the bride had lost both her parents and her dog, so on her bouquet she had a locket that contained images of her mom & dad from their wedding day and at her table was a picture of her dog.

So while she was away from the table I opened the locket, set the bouquet near the framed picture her dog, then grabbed this shot.

I thought it made much better memory for the bride.

An important point with this image was that I knew about the locket because during the day I listen to everything going on around me, it allows you pick up on details and insight that you otherwise would never have known about, allowing to capture some important details, creating better memories of their special day.

Time to give some great photo stuff away...

We are launching another contest today, giving away 5 prizes.

Here what you have a chance to win:

1. The book "Photographically Speaking: A Deeper Look at Creating Stronger Images" By David DuChemin. David may be one of the best photographers you have never heard of, he is also a prolific writer, and teacher. Be sure to check out his website and blog (there is an image of tents at the top of his blog that will knock your socks off).

2. The learn by Video DVD and booklet "Work Like a Pro Photographer in Aperture 3" By Joseph Linaschke.

3. One of my favorite tools, a license for the pro version of Organize (for Windows or MAC). It is the best project management software that I have ever used, you can run it from your computer and sync it with your iPhone and/or iPad (or sync from your mobile device to computer) so that changes made one place will update everywhere and you have a backup copy on the cloud. So regardless of what device you are using, you will always be up to date.

4. A few days ago we raved about, a photographic community powered by creative people from all over the world. Well they have been kind enough to give us not one, but two annual (and awesome) memberships!

Some pretty cool prizes and winning them could not be easier, here's all you have to do:

1. Leave a comment on any blog post or any of our YouTube videos.

2. Upload any image that you shot to our Flickr group.

That's pretty much it (see, I told you it was simple).

You can find detailed information on how to join our Flickr group here.

This contest starts.... 1... 2... 3... right now, it's open to everyone, and the five winners will be chosen at random from all of the qualifying entries.

Those winners will be announced here on the blog next Friday (January 27th).

Good luck everyone, looking forward to seeing your images and reading your comments.

Here is the small print (literally):

All rights and ownership of submitted images remain with the photographer who took it.

You can enter the contest as many times as you like, 1 image upload + 1 comment = 1 contest entry.

Winners outside of the US will need to cover the cost of shipping.

Spring must be right around the corner...


Because I got my first seed catalog yesterday, spent the evening marking out my selections for the upcoming gardening season, and will most likely have my order in the mail later today.


Yes, I am a gardening nerd, with a major in tomatoes.

Not being a big fan of winter (actually, not even a small fan), I use all those seed catalogs that stuff my mailbox as a "happy distraction" from the cold and snow, like the 10 inches that just fell on us.

But sadly, much like the political primaries, the catalogs are coming earlier and earlier which is making it a bit harder to trick my (simple) mind.

Gotta go, the mailman just pulled up and he might have more seed catalogs.

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

Is this one photograph worth $6,612?...

According to photographer John Mueller it is, and I fully agree with him.

His argument is that if you had to purchase everything he used to re-create this photograph the cost would be $6,612.

And it would actually cost more, as I was going through his list of expenses I did not see the cost of his memory card, his time, the wear and tear on his car, and all the things that go with editing (electricity to run his computer, the value of the space where he did his editing, heat, lights, etc.).

But he makes a great point, that others (and sometimes photographers) undervalue the worth of a photograph. What we do has value, and John gets that.

Please take the time to read John's full article.

And while you're at it be sure to check out the photography at his website and his Flickr page.

Let me say right up front, I'm sorry...


Because I am sure there are some folks out there who cringe every time I post about this, but when I do (without fail) I get emails from people thanking me.

What is the deal of which I speak?

A 16" x 20" x 1.5" gallery-wrapped canvas from Canvas on Demand for the unbelievable price of just $45 (that includes free shipping too!).

Ironic that I received this email just a few days ago:

"I wanted to thank you for posting the deals on the gallery wraps during the past year. I took advantage of them and could not be happier with the results. Thanks."

I too take advantage of these deals as they come up because the quality of their work is outstanding and price is so ridiculously low (far cheaper than I can get them with my pro account).

The only two things that you should be aware of are:

1. The deal is over in 36 hours (though it will likely be back in a few months)

2. Because this is an extremely popular offer the turnaround time is slightly longer than usual

They're so confident that you'll love their work, every wrap comes with a full 1 year money back satisfaction guarantee!

Not only have I been singing their praises for three years, I put my money where my mouth is too, here are just a few of the (8) canvases I have purchased:

(click on any of these images to view larger in a new window)

So go check out the details of this offer, but do so before it's over.

Introducing Wedding Wednesdays...

I was going through the bazzillion images I shot last "wedding season" and realized I hadn't really posted any of them so for the next few weeks we are going to have "Wedding Wednesdays".

Each week I will post a few wedding shots from 2011 and explain why I like them, how they were shot, and (on occasion) what I might have done differently.

Here are two images from one of the very last weddings, shot along the northern coast of Maine.

Usually when we shoot the bride and groom it's from "afar" (this was shot with a 70-200 2.8 lens), we walk around the grounds (away from everybody else) so the bride and groom can have some private time, just the two of them, to talk, to catch their breath, to "drink each other in". It is likely the only quiet time they have had (or will have) for days. So the long lens gives them some privacy and allows us to capture some candid moments.

There's a bunch a like about this picture, but what I like the most is the look on their faces, something I never would have captured had I been right up on them "clicking away".

Two things to take from this shot:

1. Don't be afraid to shoot into the sun

2. If you want to capture an intimate candid moment, don't be part of it, be as far away as possible

This image is from the same wedding, captured just a few minutes later, we had just walked inside to join the reception and the bride paused for just a moment in front of a window and I knew the time to shoot was right then. No time for camera adjustments, no time for better composition, and just as the shutter closed the bride walked away from the window and into a crowd of people.

And from this image:

1. You can never go wrong with a photograph of the back of a wedding dress, it's the one thing the bride will not see on her wedding day and she'll likely appreciate it when she sees it later

2. Sometimes you don't have time to think, to properly frame, to make camera
adjustments.... JUST FIRE!

(clicking on either image will open them larger and in a new window)