Shooting food in restaurants, "yes" or "no"...

One of the conversations raging in some of the photography forums is whether or not it is okay to photograph food in a restaurant, specifically shooting your own food for sites like FoodSpotting and Instagram.

My thought on the subject is that I paid for the food, it's mine, why can't I take a picture of it?

On the other hand I have seen people making a spectacle of themselves shooting their food at dinner, I man really buddy, did you need to stand on your chair to gat a shot from above of that plate of pasta?

And I can also understand that some restaurants would rather have no images posted rather than some horribly composed, out of focus photograph of the food that is important to the livelihood of their establishment.

I will take pictures of my food, mostly to share with friends... not to impress them with my photo skills or because I think they are all that interested in what I had for lunch. It's more like "not sure if you've eaten here before but the food is great, take a look at this Chicken Pad Thai".

Here are a couple stories of  the "food controversy" along with a few of images of my lunch.  :)

Is it rude to photograph your food?

Upscale Restaurants Are Starting to Ban Food Photography

If you ever find yourself in Southern Maine you should consider Thai Me (Thai, but I bet their name gave that away) or Que Huong (Vietnamese) for lunch or dinner. They are both tiny places, probably no more than a half dozen tables, you'll get great food, and they don't mind if you photograph it.

Would love to hear what you think about this, if you have a minute please leave a comment.

A $19 photography education worth more...

One of my favorite new food blogs is Pinch of Yum, and I like it for a bunch of reasons, the photography is great, the writing is sincere, and they do good things with their success.

One of the good things is that Lindsay and her husband Bjork (the driving forces behind Pinch of Yum) share with the world their traffic information in great detail, how much money the made, their revenue sources, and much more. They do this not to "show off" but to inspire others that they too can experience success, because they don't just say "here are our results", they share with their readers what they did to get those results.

And what do they do with their money? That's another good thing, they're using the money they make from their blog to fund an entire year abroad to work at the Children's Shelter of Cebu, an orphanage that provides homes for orphaned, abandoned, and surrendered children in the Philippines.

So if you are getting the impression I am a big fan of Lindsay, Bjork and The Pinch of Yum you're right. So I was excited to have the opportunity to review their new eBook "Tasty Food Photography".

PLEASE don't leave because you're not a food photographer, Tasty Food Photography is for anybody who would like to improve their photographic skills, their workflow, and their editing.

Here are just some of the high points.

1. Almost everything Lindsay talks about has an accompanying picture, so the reader is sure to understand visually exactly what she is talking about

2. There are no wasted words, if she says it, it's because it has purpose, it has value. There are no "filler" words to gain extra space in an effort to make the eBook seem bigger

3. Lots and lots of "before and after" pictures

4. Lindsay will also tell you what makes the "after" picture different

5. Not only do you get the eBook, but you will get over a dozen online instructional videos

6. It's written in a manner that is conversational, easy to understand, and easy to follow

7. It's thorough, from gear selection, setting up the shot, props, composition, lighting, editing, and more

And I could go on, but the bottom line is Tasty Food Photography is $19 VERY well spent.

Please take a moment to check out a Pinch of Yum, it will be worth your while, but be warned that you will leave hungry.

My Daughter and I have been going through Pinch of Yum looking at all of the food and making a list of the recipes we want to try.

We are trying to decide which one will be first, it's between the Hoisin Pork with Rice Noodles or Parmesan Chicken Fingers with Garlic Cheese Sauce.

Here are some Monday iPhone and iPad deals...

Here are a few items for your iPhone and iPad I thought you might be interested in, as they are all on sale and come with free shipping as well.

Most of them are under $10, and all but one is under $20.

First, the iPhone:

G Design iPhone Tripod Holder for the iPhone 3G/3GS and 4/4s - $7.99

Kungl iPhone 4 & 4S Pro Tripod Adapter with Case, Black - $19.99

Drop it MODERN Snap iPhone Case in white, black, or wood grain - $14.99

Steadicam Smoothee for iPhone 4/4S - $129

Second, the iPad:

Built Travel Pack for iPad 2, Graphite Grid Sleeve with Black Smart Back - $9.99

Built Travel Pack for iPad 2, Rain Drop with Clear Smart Back - $9.99

The Joy Factory SmartFit2 Smart Cover for iPad 2 & 3, Smoke - $4.99

MountMe Freedom Mount II for iPad 2 with Pan 360deg and Tilt 90deg, Black with Black - $19.99

And here they come (let spring begin)....

Despite the fact that it has been below freezing every day this week, my mailman has been kind enough to drop off seed catalog after seed catalog.

It's that one sign (for me) that winter is more behind us than in front of us.

In just a week or two I will be starting six or seven kinds of tomatoes, so that by the end of February I will have some good size seedlings that I'll be fawning over and will move from sunny window to sunny window throughout the day.

Then come the middle of July my neighbors will be lining up for the over abundance of tomatoes that will be coming out of my garden. Mmmm, mmmm, mmmm.

But for today I will have to settle for sitting near the pellet stove, thumbing through my catalogs, wondering if the centerfold will be a Beefsteak or a Cherry tomato, and hoping the thermometer pushes above freezing.

Wicked Good Free-Palooza Friday!...

We have just one more "freebies" post before moving on, and this may be the best one, because of the last one on today's list.

First, here are some more free things sent in by our readers.

1. Digital photo management application - digiKam

2. Is there many things more important to photographers than backing up their images? Just in case you were wondering, the answer is NO! Here are some free software applications that will help you automate the process - SyncBackFree, Ace Backup, and FBackup

3. Honey is a browser plugin that will search for (find) and apply discount codes, thus saving you money on that next purchase of photography gear

4. LibreOffice is another extensive and powerful (free) office suite

5. Let's be honest, spam sucks (as does those who spam us) and here are two Spam Filter/Killers - SpamBayes is for those of us using Microsoft Outlook (I use it and absolutely love it!) and Cactus Spam Filter is for everybody else

6. And the two best (free) Antivirus programs out there is AVG free and PCTools

7. And the last one is surely outstanding, it is from Halina who put together a great resource page on Pinterest "Freebies for Photographers" that is loaded with free Lightroom presets, Photoshop actions, templates, instructional eBooks, and sooooo much more. You can also learn more about Halina and see her work on her Pinterest page as well as at her website.

That pretty much wraps up our 3 part series on free stuff, thanks to everyone who emailed in their suggestions.

More free stuff...

We have already started getting emails from folks about some freebies and I did not want to waste any time getting them to you.

Here are some links to software that is very handy for photographers.

1. You will find a pretty significant list of software applications here that you can use to manage the metadata for your images, the vast majority are free.

2. One piece of software for managing the metadata of your images not on the above list, but I love (and use) is ProStockMaster.

If you are not familiar with metadata, how it works, or how it can improve your visibility on the web, you might want to follow this link to Wikipedia for a good explanation.

3. This is a great piece of software that has nothing to do with photography, but if you don't want to hand over your wallet for a word processing, spreadsheet, office suite then head directly to Apache Open Office, there you will find a free , phenomenally robust, and fully compatible with the Microsoft Office products.

So please, keep your free ideas coming.

Free, free, and more free stuff...

Over the years we have listed a whole bunch of free things that we thought you might be interested in, but before you start paroozing through the list below we would like to ask you a question.

Is there a service, some software, or other "free" thing that you use that has made life just a little bit better/easier for you?

If you have, would you share it with us? (I guess that's two questions, isn't it.)

And if you have come across a cool free "something or other" we would love to know about it so we can share it with the rest of our readers, so please, drop us an email and tell us all about it.

Now, here is a list of many of the free things we have come across, but please know some of these links go back awhile so we apoligize in advance should you come across a link that is no longer "live".

1. Free Photoshop alternatives

2. More free image editing software here, here, and here

3. Free iPhone and iPad Apps

4. Free Photoshop education... actions and more

5. Our free Dave Hill and Tilt Shift actions

6. A Bazillion free fonts

7. Tons of free Hi Res Textures

8. One of the best DIY things ever, Tinker Tubes from the late Dean Collins

9. Free templates for creating your own Facebook Timeline Covers

A (really) must watch photography video...

Seriously, this really is a must watch, it is David Hobby (my self admitted photography crush) accepting the "Cheap Camera Challenge" in which he has to shoot with a Buzz Lightyear (toy) camera and a flash that describing it as a "turd" would be a significant upgrade.

Below is a two minute intro/preview, but you really want to head over the DigitalRev TV and watch the full 23 minute version of the challenge, watch as Mr. Hobby works through each of the 5 shooting challenges, see how he overcomes HUGE obstacles, and of course the final images.

Just a great example of problem solving.

Flickr images from one of our readers...

I visit our Flickr page at least once a day, and when I saw these two images that had been added to the group by one of our members I knew right then that I wanted to share them on the blog.

There were two reason I wanted folks to see them:

First, I thought they were great shots.

Second, I also thought it was a excellent demonstration of how two images that are almost identical can look dramatically different by simply presenting one in color, and the other black and white.

These images are from Laurens Kaldeway and be sure to check out his Flickr stream because there is a lot of nice stuff posted there.

Check out what happened on YouTube!...

Last week you good people brought us to yet another milestone here at Weekly Photo Tips. Well, the milestone was actually over at the Weekly Photo Tips YouTube channel.

We passed the 10,000 subscriber mark last week. Unbelievable! I still look at our very first video (and cringe), wondering how we got even 1 subscriber!

And that 10,000th subscriber was Maxim Shatrov of the United Arab Emirates, and for being "Mr. 10,000" we are going to give Maxim a one year "plus" membership to

So Maxim, drop us an email and we'll get your registration code out to you.

Thank you to everyone for bringing us to heights that I never would have imaged reaching, for making us more than I ever dreamed we would be.

Now I am going to punish you by posting (again) our very first video, the one that started it all for us on YouTube... Sorry.   :)

The Weekly Photo Tips product of the year...

We went through ALL of the products we had the good fortune to get our hands on in 2012 and the one we thought gave you our readers the most value for both the cost paid for it and what it would bring to your photography practice was... drum roll please...

 The 3 day seminar "Lightweight Location Lighting" with Kevin Kubota was our hands down winner.

"Lightweight Location Lighting" is over 13 hours of photographic education that will give you the best possible lighting with the simplest of (low cost) setups.

If you want to see some incredible images shot with nothing but a couple of flashlights, you need to check out "Lightweight Location Lighting".

If you are looking for an outstanding educational opportunity without having to empty your wallet in the process be sure to check out our original review of Location Lighting with Kevin Kubota at this link

So, I'm really not that out of step...

(editors note: for those new to the blog, weekend posts are usually off topic, meant to share fun, cool, humorous, off-topic things.)

I almost fell for it, my daughters had come very close to convincing us that we were soooo out of step with "the norm" when it came to cell phones, that the rules in our house were not even close to what was going on in the real world.

Then a friend sent me these "Cell Phone Rules" and the more I read them and the more I shared them with others I learned that in fact many other parents use the same/similar guidelines.

So I am sharing them here today to let you know you are not alone, nor are you out of step with reality no matter what your kids might say!


Phone Rules:

1. It is my phone. I bought it. I paid for it. I am loaning it to you.

2. I will always have access to it.

3. It’s a phone, if it rings, answer it. Say hello and goodbye, use your manners. Don't ever ignore a phone call if the screen reads "Mom" or "Dad". Not ever.

4. Hand your phone to one of your parents at 8:30pm on school nights and at 10:00pm on weekends. It will be shut off for the night and returned to you at 7:30am. If you would not make a call to someone's land line because of the time, then don't call or text their cell phone. Listen to those instincts and respect other families like we would like to be respected.

5. It does not go to school with you. Have a conversation with the person you are next to. It's a really important life skill.

6. If it falls into the toilet, smashes on the ground, or vanishes into thin air, you are responsible for the replacement costs or the repairs.

7. Do not use this technology to lie, fool, or deceive another human being. Do not involve yourself in conversations that are hurtful to others. Before all else be a good friend first.

8. Do not text, email, or say anything through this device that you would not say in person, or in front of your grandmother.

9. No porn.

10. Turn it off, silence it, and put it away in a restaurant, at the movies, or while speaking with another human being. You are not a rude person; do not allow the cell phone to change that.

11. Do not send or receive pictures of your private parts or those of anyone else. Don't laugh, because it’s not funny. Someday you will be tempted to do this despite your high intelligence. It is risky and could ruin your teenage/college/adult life. It will always be a bad idea. Cyberspace is vast and more powerful than you. Once out there you’ll never be able to make that picture (or your bad reputation) disappear.

12. Don't take a zillion pictures and videos. There is no need to document every single thing you do online. Actually live your life experiences. Store those moments in your head, NOT on your phone.

13. Be brave… leave your phone home on occasion and feel safe and secure in that decision. It is not alive nor should it be an extension of you. Learn to live without it. Be bigger and more powerful than FOMO -- fear of missing out.

14. Download music that is new or classic or something different than what the millions of your peers are listening to. Your generation has access to music like never before in history. Take advantage of that gift. Expand your horizons.

15. Play a game with words or puzzles or brain teasers every now and then.

16. Keep your eyes up when you walk, take in the world around you. Stare out a window. Listen to the birds. Day dream. Take a walk. Actually talk to people. Wonder without googling.

17. Once in awhile you’ll mess up and I will take your phone away. We’ll sit down and talk about it, and then we’ll start over again. You and I, we are always learning. I am on your team. I am your biggest champion. We are in this together.

I hope you enjoyed reading these as much as I did and remember, we'll change the world because we made the difference in the life of our children.

Happy Birthday.... Happy, happy birthday...

Yup, today I celebrate (or morn) yet another birthday, and though I won't write out my age, it wont take a rocket scientist to do the math from this picture of my first birthday.

And how mean were my parents, they gave me a cake but wouldn't let me touch it!


Tonight I am having dinner at my favorite restaurant, Fore Street. If you ever find yourself in Portland Maine please have dinner here, and have the roast pork loin, if it's not the best meal you've ever had I will be more than just a little surprised.

But the best part will not be where we are, but who I will be with.

The older I get the more I recognize my true gifts.

I give thanks every morning just for being alive, I am warm, dry, and well fed (maybe a little too well fed). I have family and friends that are far more valuable than any material thing I own (or could ever hope to own).

All these things make me feel like a very wealthy man.

Later tonight my mom will call exactly at my birth minute and sing "happy birthday" to me and only then will the day be complete.

After I apologize to her (yet again) for my teenage years I will give her a hard time though, when I scanned in this picture I realized (looking at the date) that it took her six months to develop the pictures from my first birthday!

The "Best of Weekly Photo Tips" from 2012...

Today we are going to share with you the most popular posts and videos from 2012 as decided by you, our readers.

Starting with the blog, here are the top 5 posts:

1. Two Bazillion Free Fonts

2. Long Exposure Tutorial with Scott Kelby

3. How to Photograph Reflective Surfaces

4a. That Gritty Dave Hill Look

4b. Our Free "Dave Hill" Photoshop Action

5. When Photography Goes to The Dogs

Here are the top viewed viewed videos from our YouTube channel:

1. Long Exposure Tutorial with Scott Kelby

2. Weekly Photo Tips DSLR Matte Box Pro Review

3. Wedding photographer Michelle Turner reviews camera straps

4. DIY Paint Can Light Stand
5. Photographing shiny, reflective objects

Some interesting stats from the blog for 2012:

Visitors: 150,000

Page Views: 206,000

It blows me away that we attracted visitors from 180 different countries.

Top 5:

1. United States
2. United Kingdom
3. Canada
4. Australia
5. Spain

Bottom 5:

176. Malawi
177. Sierra Leone
178. Senegal
179. Turks and Caicos Islands
180. British Virgin Islands

Some more interesting stats from our YouTube channel for 2012:

Total views: 387,813

Total minutes watched: 334,079 (the equivalent of 231 days and 23 hours)

Top 5:

1. United States
2. United Kingdom
3. Canada
4. Australia
5. Germany

And though all these numbers and stats may be impressive (to some), they are not the most important or most impressive thing to me.

If I had to pick the two biggest accomplishments of Weekly Photo Tips for 2012 it would be these:

1. That so many of you took the time come here, that was HUGE to me. Time is the most precious commodity we have and the fact that you chose to spend some of yours here with me is truly humbling. For that I thank you, I hope you found your time here well spent.

2. Because that we have such a large audience it allowed us for the first time in 2012 to have sponsor, and that has allowed us to do some great work. We take 50% of every affiliate sale and use it support those most in need, we pick up a van load of bread (and sometimes hot dogs) every Sunday and then spend the first half of Monday delivering it to two food pantries and one soup kitchen. It is by far the most rewarding thing I do, and it's because you support this blog. And please, don't think it's only the people who purchase something, it happens because ALL of you take the time to come here.

And just in case you were wondering, if I had to pick my favorite post of the year it would be "Closing the Books on 2011".

Funny thing, that of all of my favorite blog posts from 2012, none had to do with photography, they had to do with my conversations with you, and sharing some of myself.

Of the thousands of images I shot my favorite picture(s) for 2012 were the ones I took of my Daughter for her senior portraits.

Thank you for another un-freaking-believable year, and please know that my life is enriched because of you.

The new year brings some new cameras...

This week both Canon and  Nikon have announced they are releasing some new cameras.

Canon first:

Canon has announced the release of almost a dozen new point and shoot cameras, from $109 - $299.

You can check out all of the those point and shoots at this link.

Nikon Second:

Nikon has announced their new D5200, a 24.1 Megapixel DX-Format DSLR with full HD video.

You can get just the body for $799, or the body with an 18-55 lens for $899.

Here is a 4 minute "first look" preview/demonstration of the new D5200.

Best of 2012 from National Geographic...

WARNING: don't read this post unless you have a good chunk of time to invest, because once you start looking at these images it will be very hard to stop.

You will find them both inspirational and motivational.

National Geographic has published their "Best of" list in several different categories, and here are the links to all of them:

The best of pictures of the day.

Best of 2012 - National Geographic Magazine Photos.

National Geographic Traveler 2012 photo contest.

Enjoy them all, I sure did.

More "Best of 2012"...

Todays "Best of 2012" is from Scott Kelby.

First check out his "The Best of 2012 Here on the Blog", in it Scott shares 30 posts, the most commented on, the best of his guest bloggers, and 10 of his shoots that garnered the most comments.

Scott also posted his "Favorite Football Shots of The 2012 Season", here is just one of the shots, you will want to head over and check out the rest.

More of the best of 2012...

That period of time from Christmas eve until January 2nd is a bit... well... disorienting (for me at least).

Actually, its more like being blinded folded, shoved into a washing machine on the spin cycle, and then told to get out and stand up straight.

Time and space is just not what it usually is, and though it was a great time, I am glad it's over and things will be returning to "normal".

So for the rest of this week we are going to look back over the past year and share the "best of" the year from around the net.

Today we are going to share the best of the Digital Photography School.

Here are the top 4 from their list "Our Best Photography Tutorials from 2012".

  • A 15 Minute Exercise To Help You Improve Your Photography in 2012

  • Fun with Macro Photography

  • 5 Tips To Transform Your Photography With Long Exposures

  • Silhouette Photography Technique

    You can check out the rest of the DPS list at this link.

    Another DPS post you will want to check out is their "Most Popular Photography ‘Gear’ Related Posts of 2012".

    We will finish this series with the "Weekly Photo Tips Best of 2012".