Tuesday, February 28, 2012

So here it is, our 1,000th blog post celebration!...



We have been teasing at something "big" happening all month long, and though we are celebrating our 1,000th blog post this surprise is something for you our readers (and podcast listeners).

It comes to us courtesy of the Riley brothers of Riley Photographic and RPG Keys fame.

So what is the surprise? For the first 25 people who register at this link, you will get a free 60 day trial of RPG Keys, free shipping, free presets... it will cost you nothing to give this serious productivity tool a 2 month test drive, at no cost and no obligation to you.

First, what do RPG Keys work with? Windows and MAC, including Lightroom (3 & 4), Photoshop (CS3, CS4, CS5), Bridge (CS3, CS4, CS5), Aperture 3 (MAC), Photo Mechanic (MAC).



Second, how can you get your set? Follow this link and click the "TRY IT" button and you'll get to try the new USB version of the RPG mini for free for 60 days! ($10 shipping outside the US). At checkout simply enter the coupon codes listed below and your keys will land at your door step in just a few days.

Coupon Code for US Residents: WEEKLYPHOTOTIPS-USA

Coupon Code for non US Residents: WEEKLYPHOTOTIPS-INT



Third, how can you learn more about the RPG Keys? You can read my original review here, or even better, head over to SLR Lounge and read their in-depth review and analysis of how the RPG Keys significantly changed their workflow forever. It cut their image editing workflow in more than half.

Here's a little math for you: Average time per photo edit - without RPG Keys: 18.65 seconds per photo / with RPG Keys: 7.6 seconds per photo.

Fourth, how can you learn more about what they can do for you? You can head over to their YouTube channel and watch one of their over 100 videos on setting up and using the keys, and, you can watch the intro video below.

You can also head over to The Photography Podcast and listen to them being interviewed today (by me).

Just remember, it's for the first 25 who register at this link, so don't watch too many videos.


(if the video starts "green" simply pull the slider back to the left and start over)


Friday, February 24, 2012

The final February Friday winner is...


The final contest winner for our month long February extravaganza giveaway is....

Sandy Khau!



Congratulations Sandy, you have just won an autographed copy of "Photo Recipes Live: Behind the Scenes: Your Guide to Popular Lighting Techniques" from Scott Kelby.



Sandy, just send us an email with your snail mail information and we'll get your prize right out to you.

And speaking of Scott Kelby, for the second consecutive year Scott was named the top selling photography book author.

Congratulations Mr. Kelby!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Call for reviewers, contests rules, and more...


Today is a mishmash of different "house cleaning" announcements, so lets get started.

First, call for book and DVD reviewers:

We have received a phenomenal response to our request for readers (and viewers) who would be interested in doing reviews of photography books and DVD's (see the original post here and Q&A here) and we wanted to let you know that we will be finalizing (and announcing) the list of reviewers the second week of March. If you are interested in being considered please drop us an email with a little info about yourself and your contact information.

If you are not chosen in the first group of reviewers not to worry, we will be doing this again and will be keeping the info on all those who are interested "on file".

Second, Contests:

Believe it or not we have some unclaimed prizes from previous contests and as it has never happened before, we never had a "policy" on how to deal with it.

Often we will receive a contest entry email with a persons Flickr user name and it arrives via a "No Reply" Flickr email address, so I don't know who the person is or have any way to reach them, that's why you will see as part of the "winners announcement" a request for that person to get in touch me me (via an email link).

So moving forward, if a prize remains unclaimed 14 days after the contest is over and the winner is announced on the blog, the prize will be "rotated" back into the contest prize stable and given away in a future contest.

Third, speaking of contests:

You have until tomorrow to enter in the Scott Kelby giveaway (we aren't actually giving Scott away, just one of his DVD's).

And stop by the blog on February 29th for our 1,000th post extravaganza!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Welcome to another Wedding Wednesday...


Sometimes it is possible to get referrals while shooting a wedding and not always from the the most obvious place (guests, wedding party, etc.).

There are folks who are almost as happy to see some of the images you take as the bride, and they would be the vendors.

Nothing shows off a vendors services than a photograph their product or service "in action" and who better to provide them that photograph than us?

I have been at countless weddings and seen vendors trying to grab a shot of their contribution to the wedding or reception with a point and shoot camera and whenever I see them the first thing I ask is "would you like me to take some shots?" followed by "do you have a business card?".

There are two ways I look at this, first it's the right thing to do, I mean really, how hard is it for me to grab a couple shots and email them? Second, if my images are an important part of their portfolio, who do you think the vendor will recommend to the bride?

A couple comments about the images below, no you can't read the jewelers name but his logo is easily recognizable.

When photographing shiny/reflective objects (like the rings and the car) make sure you don't capture yourself in the object. Yes you might be able to take yourself out in Photoshop, but save yourself all that time and effort, get it right in camera.

So pay it forward, the florist, the caterer, jeweler, limo driver (et al) will appreciate it, and it might just come back to you in a good way.







Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Big sale on SanDisk Compact Flash memory...



And not only is this memory on sale, it all comes with free shipping.

The SanDisk Extreme Compact Flash cards are what I use when shooting weddings (actually, when shooting all the time) and there are times when I "machine-gun" it and never once have I had to wait while those large Nikon D3 RAW files are written to my memory card.

So let's get started:

SanDisk 4GB Extreme Compact Flash Memory Card - Up to 40MB/S Read/Write, UDMA Enabled - $26.95


SanDisk 8GB Extreme Compact Flash Memory Card - Up to 60MB/S Read/Write, UDMA Enabled - $39.95


SanDisk 16GB Extreme Compact Flash Memory Card - Up to 60MB/S Read/Write, UDMA Enabled - $69.95


SanDisk 32GB Extreme Compact Flash Memory Card - Up to 60MB/S Read/Write, UDMA Enabled - $119.95


SanDisk 16GB Extreme Pro CF90 Compact Flash Memory Card - Up to 90 MB/s (600x) write speeds and UDMA-6 enabled - $99.95


SanDisk 32GB Extreme Pro CF90 Compact Flash Memory Card - Up to 90 MB/s (600x) write speeds and UDMA-6 enabled - $179.95

Monday, February 20, 2012

Happy birthday Ansel Adams...




It was on this very day in 1902 that Ansel Easton Adams was born.

In 1916 his family took a trip to Yosemite National Park and it was during that trip that his dad gave him a Brownie camera and the rest, as they say, is history.



Some of my favorite Ansel Adams quotes:

"A good photograph is knowing where to stand."

"There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer."

"There is nothing worse than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept."

"A true photograph need not be explained, nor can it be contained in words."

"Dodging and burning are steps to take care of mistakes God made in establishing tonal relationships."

"Landscape photography is the supreme test of the photographer - and often their supreme disappointment."



Of the many books he wrote, The Camera (book 1), The Negative (book 2), and The Print (book 3) are considered his most important contribution to the artistic and technical aspects of black-and-white photography.



For more information about him, his work, or if you are interested in purchasing one of his prints, stop by The Ansel Adams Gallery.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Life (and money) going to the dogs...





As it's the weekend the blogging rules say I can go off (the photography) topic... so here I go.

:)

If you have been following the blog for very long you know I have (and love) my dogs. They consist if a small herd of miniature schnauzers.

Two dogs were intentional, the third (Cali) was a "rescue". She had been a breeder dog and at the time we brought her home was 10 years old and well past her usefulness for producing puppies.

Our goal was to make the rest of her years as pampered as possible.

The first year we had her she graced the cover of our Christmas card, and at the risk of being teased (deservedly so) for such a corny picture, here it is.



She is now 13 and like many "older women" she can't see or hear quite as well as when she was younger, she has a touch of arthritis, and has more gums than teeth, but oh is she loved.

Well, during the course of this week she became ill, had surgery, and is now home recovering quite nicely thank you very much.

It made me think about a previous post, "A Dogs Ten Commandments"... in particular number nine.

Here is that post:

Someone sent me a "Dogs Ten Commandments" and it made me think about my dogs and how essentially it's their world and they let me live in it.

It was not that long ago that I thought "dogs are stupid", you can't go away without either taking them with you or finding a sitter, you have to get up in the middle of the night to let them out, take them on endless walks, and don't get me started in picking up their "little gifts".

So needless to say, I was NEVER going to be a dog owner.

But seven years ago our daughters REALLY wanted a dog, mind you we had gotten them every pet you can imagine in an effort to avoid that very thing, but gerbils won't fetch, cats are too cool for people and goats, well they just smell way too bad and they hate it when you put ribbons in their hair.

I finally caved and got a miniature schnauzer as it's small and doesn't shed.

Well 30 seconds into dog ownership I realized the error of my ways. I loved my dog.

Two years later we got another schnauzer and just last year we rescued a third.

We put in a pellet stove and our first dog, Bonnie, can be found daily warmer her buns in front of the fire and has no problem letting me know when the pellets are getting low.

I got my wife this canvas (of Bonnie ~ Cali ~ Gracie) for Christmas because the last thing she sees every time she leaves the house are these three little faces peering out from between the fence posts begging her to stay.


People who don't have dogs will think the following is goofy (no pun intended, well, maybe a little), dog owners will appreciate it though (unless of course you are Michael Vick):

A Dogs Ten Commandments.........

1. Before you take me home know that my life is likely to last 10-15 years, so please be sure you are in it for the long haul.

2. Give me time to understand what you want from me

3. Place your trust in me. I will always trust you.

4. Don't be angry with me for long and don't lock me up as punishment.

5. You have your work, your entertainment, and your friends. I only have you and any separation from you is painful.

6. Talk to me. Even if I don't understand your words, I do understand your voice when speaking to me.

7. Be aware that however you treat me, I will never forget it.

8. Before you scold me for being lazy or uncooperative, ask yourself if something might be wrong. Perhaps I'm not getting the right food, I’ve been in the sun too long, or my heart might be getting old or weak.

9. Please take care of me when I grow old.

10. When it is time for me to “go on ahead”, please stay with me. Don’t say “I can't bear to watch” because I won’t want to face it alone. Everything is easier for ME if you are there, because I love you so.

Friday, February 17, 2012

This Fridays contest winner is...


Today's winner (drawn at random from all entries), and the winner of the (downloadable) copy of "55 Smart Web Ideas for Photographers" is... Carl Aylman!



Carl, drop us an email and we will get you the link so you to download your prize.

Don't forget next Friday (February 24th) we will be giving away an autographed copy of Scott Kelby's "Photo Recipes Live: Behind the Scenes: Your Guide to Popular Lighting Techniques" DVD and book.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Contests and giveaways left for February...




Here's what we have left for prizes and surprises for the last two weeks of February.

On February 17th we are giving away a (downloadable eBook) copy of "55 Smart Web Ideas for Photographers" from Zach Prez and Wendy Roe.

If you are looking to use social media (and the web) to generate qualified leads (and sales), this is the book for you.



February 24th we will be giving away and autographed (yes, I said autographed) copy of "Photo Recipes Live: Behind the Scenes: Your Guide to Popular Lighting Techniques" from Scott Kelby.



If you are interested in winning either of these fabulous prizes you can get all of the details on how to enter here at this link: "February Giveaway Extravaganza!".

And lastly, on February 29th you will want to stop by the blog because we are going to be doing something that will be happening on that day only, it will NOT be extended, and you will be unhappy if you are a Lightroom or Photoshop user and miss out on this announcement.

We will be posting on this as close to midnight on February 28th as possible so you may want to get the neighbors and wake the kids!

;)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Another Wedding Wednesdays...


Today I want to talk about there being more than one way to shoot the same shot.

I am sure you have heard it said "when you think you have the shot perfect, take two steps closer".

Might I change that just a bit to say "once you have the shot, re-frame, re-frame, re-frame".

This is a shot I took of the bride and groom.



After grabbing that shot I asked myself "how can I shoot this differently?", and asked myself that a few times, and below you see the results.





Of course you can ask that throughout your entire workflow, "how can I process this differently?".

So the takeaway from today is, don't stop with the obvious, when you think you have the shot take it again... and again.



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



Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Adobe Lightroom 3 for just $79 - 24 hour sale...


Update: Adorama still has Lightroom on sale ($134) , but the 24 hour $79 special has ended



This sale was too good not to let you know about, and it's only on for the next 24 hours so it was tell you now or never.

So... for the next 24 hours you can get Adobe Lightroom 3 for just $79 (Windows or MAC) with free shipping to boot!

This is the FULL version, not an upgrade.

Q & A on book and DVD reviews...




I was blown away with the response we received in just a few hours after posting our "request for reviewers" yesterday.

And instead of responding to each email that had a question I thought I'd answer your questions here, because if one person wrote asking it, surely others were wondering about it as well.

Q: Are you looking for pro photographers to do reviews?
A: No, it doesn't matter if you are a stay at home mom taking pictures of your family or a professional photographer with a huge studio, we are looking for photography enthusiasts at any/all levels.

Q: Are all the books/DVD's to be reviewed photography related?
A: Yes. Though some may be "indirectly" related, such as marketing, blogging, or website design for photographers.

Q: Will reviews be posted with name and/or link credit?
A: Absolutely yes, all reviews will be posted as a "guest" writer, with a head-shot (not required), links will be given back to the writers website, blog, or photo stream, AND the writer is allowed to post the review on their own site as well. We will require that it be posted on Weekly Photo Tips first and on your site as soon as the following day.

Q: If I live outside the United States can I be considered?
A: Yes, but to help reduce costs participation may be limited to eBooks and downloadable materials.

Q: When will you be selecting reviewers?
A: We'll be announcing those selected to do reviews the beginning of March. But all requests will be kept and others may be selected for future review opportunities.

Q: So if I think the book wasn't very good my review won't be posted?
A: No, but we would like you to tell us you gave it a thumbs down, so we'll know not to expect a review for that product. Their are a bunch of reasons why, for (almost) 5 years and 1,000 posts we have kept things positive here at Weekly Photo Tips and that's the way we want to keep it. We have received products in the past that just didn't "work" for us, but that doesn't mean it won't be beneficial for others. People work hard to develop and promote their products and we are not interested in having a negative impact on their ability to support their company, themselves, or their families.

If you are interested in writing a guest review or have a question about it, please drop us an email.


Monday, February 13, 2012

Would you like to review a book or DVD for us?




The problem is we get sooooo many books and DVD's for review that it just isn't possible for me to read or watch them all.

But before you raise your hand you need to realize that there will be a bit of a time commitment on your part, both in reading the book, writing (and delivering) the review.

We are not asking for a long term commitment, just a couple people who might like to read one book or watch one DVD a month and share their thoughts about it.

In return for taking the time to do a review you will get to keep the book or DVD that we send you.

You will also need to follow our review policy (which essentially says "if you don't have something nice to say...").

If you think this might be for you then drop us an email and let us know.

The cost of your photography education...



At some point many of us have spent money on our photography education that we wish we could get back, and the next time we go to buy a book, a DVD, or seminar ticket we are just a bit reluctant.

And why not, we work hard for our money and HATE to waste it.

Well, I have something for you today that is worth your time AND every penny you'll spend to get it, it's the Photovision 2012 series of educational DVD's.

What will you get? Every other month you'll get a DVD with almost three and a half hours of instruction that just can't be beat.

Over the course of the year it will ad up to 20 hours of "how to" from some of the top photographers out there, like Hanson Fong, Parker Pfister, Rod Evans, Julia Woods, Amy Parrish, and more.

You'll see complete newborn, maternity, wedding, seniors, pet, wedding, and commercial shoots, that include posing, retouching, business practices and management... you name it... setup, shooting, post production, and client presentation, it's all covered.

And you can have it all, for just $49!

Yup $49... this usually sells for $199 but the good folks at Westcott have given us a promo code (that we are about to share with you), and when used will drop the price from the usual $199 to just $49. We are talking $8 a DVD (or $2/hr) to be taught by the top dogs in photography.

Just use the promo code "Westcott" during checkout.

I've been getting the Photovision series for a number of years and have NEVER be disappointed, quite the opposite, it gets two thumbs way up from me.

Here is a video snippet from the Photovision 2012 series. You can preview more of the videos at this link.



Sunday, February 12, 2012

I love Sunday mornings...




Sunday morning is unique, different from any other morning... made up of several key and important ingredients, like having the fire going, the TV is on with Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood in the background, I have dogs around (and sometimes on) me, a BIG cup of coffee within easy reach, and it's the only day when it's sociably acceptable to wear your jammy pants all morning long. But even with all these things, Sunday morning would be incomplete without "the paper".

Not just "a" newspaper, it has to be the "Sunday" paper, stuffed with all those sections that only make their appearance one day a week, and slid in between all those sections are the sales fliers.

And as you read it the paper is somehow spread far and wide, covering the better part of the couch, the ottoman, the floor, and sometimes a dog... by the time you're done reading it looks like you are about to start painting the room.

All of which has nothing to do with why I am posting today, I just kinda got lost in the "Sunday morning moment".

:)



The real reason for me being here is to let you know that Staples has a great deal on blank CD's and DVD's, either of which can be handy for getting images out to others or for archiving them for yourself.

You can get a 100 spindle of blank Memorex CD's for just $19.95 and/or a 100 spindle of blank Memorex DVD's for just $26.95.

Okay, my job here is done, now back to my Sunday paper.



Friday, February 10, 2012

Two light softbox kit, one great price!...




This two light complete kit is on sale for just $114 and if you are in the market for lights you might to give this special a closer look.

Here's what you get:

Two 20" X 27" Silver Soft Boxes - No rods to struggle with, no speed rings to align. These softboxes are easy to assemble, just snapping into place. When you're done just remove the bulb and the softbox folds together like an umbrella.

Two Flicker Free 70 watt Spiral Fluorescent Bulbs 5500K - These bulbs are daylight balanced and are equal to a 350 watt output of a "standard" bulb. They are long lasting "cool" lights, emitting very little heat, they can stay on all day without overheating you, your softboxes, or your subject.

Two 7 Foot Light Stands

One 33" Padded Carrying Case

Follow this link for more details and to read the reviews from photographers who already own this two light kit.

Congratulations to Maryann Flick...




Why?

Because Maryann is this weeks winner!

And she won the Learn by Video Workshop "Mastering Landscape Photography" by one of America’s top landscape photographers Phil Hawkins.

There are two more Fridays left in our contest "February Friday Extravaganza" and if you would like to enter (and why wouldn't you because it is pretty darn easy) you can get all the details right here.

So Maryann, email me with your snail mail address and we'll get your prize right out to you.

If you want to see some amazing landscape photography you really should stop by Phil Hawkins website.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

5 Pinterest Ideas from Zach Prez...



We have the honor of a very special guest blogger today on Weekly Photo Tips... ladies and gentlemen Mr. Zach Prez (the sound of thundering applause)...



5 Pinterest Ideas for Photography Businesses

Pinterest is the latest social network taking the photography and consumer community by storm. It turned the vision board concept (poster board with goals, ideas, and styles) into an online gallery where visions can be shared, rated, and commented.

This is photography gold, especially for wedding photographers, because brides are an ideal audience to pin wedding images to remember. As photographers, we supply the image that they pin (you can pin ANY web image and brides are scouring wedding websites and blogs), their followers see our work, and boom – a word of mouth lead is generated.

On my blog, I talked about the marketing opportunities available for photographers on Pinterest.

Here are 5 quick ideas to use Pinterest to grow your business.

1. Every webpage needs an image

If you’re using Pinterest you know the frustration of trying to save a page that doesn’t have a good image with it. I recently changed my photo strategy on my blog to include a “pinnable” image for each post. Flash sites don’t have images to be pinned, something to think about!

2. Make it easy for others to pin and follow you

Every page should have a Pin It button, preferably next to the image. Include a Follow Me on Pinterest button as well so your pins can stream through your follower’s Pinterest homepage. Visit the Pinterest Goodies page to grab these buttons. My favorite thing about the Pin It button is the ability to set the image and description that your readers will pin.

Don’t forget to add your Pinterest URL everywhere you currently promote your Facebook URL: email signature, business cards, forums, etc.

3. Write quality descriptions for your pins

Text descriptions support the image and tell people what to expect on the full page where the image lives. Use this as a call to action to tell users to click the image and visit your site. For example a pinned image of a newborn can have a description that says “Click this image to view 10 great newborn baby poses from @zachprez.” Now people want to click, and I’ve branded my name to be visible when anyone repins the post.

4. Watermark photos

You can’t control what people will pin, or the descriptions they write. Insure you get brand recognition and credit for the photo by watermarking everything. I started adding my Pinterest handle @zachprez as a way to brand myself in photos without a big logo or long domain name. People can instantly recognize me as the creator of the photo and find me on Pinterest.

5. Create boards clients will value

Do clients really want to follow a board with every photo you’ve ever taken? Probably not. But they do want ideas for their next photo shoot with you. What to wear, how to style hair, potential props, how to pose, etc. Then after the session they may want ideas about photo products (mugs, calendars, canvases, etc), wall hanging guides… you get the idea.

A great use of inspiration boards comes from Sacramento photographer Jill Carmel.

“I’ve created inspiration boards for every different kind of shoot I do: pregnancy, newborn, kids, teens and families. My customers can visit my Pinterest page and get inspired and involved when it comes to clothing, locations, and poses. Additionally, to back up my sales, I’ve included a board on wall display ideas, providing lots of options for putting portraits around the home. The more inspired my customers are about their session, the more emotionally invested they become in the resulting images. Pinterest helps me to get my customers more involved in their own sessions, resulting in happier people and larger sales.”

You can see Jill’s boards at this link.

Pin It


Pinterest is one of 55 ideas offered in a new eBook from Zach Prez and Wendy Roe called 55 Smart Web Ideas for Photographers.

Zach has 10 years of internet marketing experience and has been helping photographers succeed online for over 3 years. He is the author of 7 eBooks. Follow his Pinterest boards for photographers for more ideas on marketing.




We will be giving away a copy of 55 Smart Web Ideas for Photographers on Friday February 17th as part of our " February Giveaway Extravaganza"!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Another Wedding Wednesday...




Last week we talked about shooting the details, specifically shooting tables at the receptions because by the time the bride finally does see them they're covered with purses, cameras, food, and spilled drinks, so wouldn't it be nice for her to see them as she had planned for them to be.

Sometimes the details can be big, real big.

It's obvious by the size and style of the venue that it has been selected the bride with grandeur in mind, and it would be a shame if she didn't see it.

Much like the conversation last week, the bride will never see herself walking down the isle in a beautiful church, or standing with the guests on one side and the ocean on the other, or the entire ballroom during her first dance. Our job as photographers is to make sure she does see it.

As big as it was meant to be.




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

One thing I can say about all of the inside shots above, "thank goodness for the high ISO capability of the Nikon D3!", because some of these locations were like caves.