Sunday, May 30, 2010

Vote Now: "Terri's Rose" entered for Professional Photographer magazine cover contest!

Finally, after only months of building up the courage to do this, I have entered a photo into the annual Professional Photographer Magazine cover contest! Leave it to me to wait until the last minute...all entries are due June 1!

But it's done. And "Terri's Rose," my top print seller, has been entered into the 2010 contest. Please click this link to vote for me! I appreciate your support. Wish me and Terri luck!

In addition to a magazine cover, winners will receive a host of amazing prizes including:

Canon EOS 5D Mark II Digital Camera Kit with Canon 24-105mm f/4L IS USM AF Lens
Canon's update to the wildly popular full frame EOS 5D is here, and it's better than ever. The EOS 5D Mark II has a stunning 21.1-megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor with DIGIC 4 Image Processor, a vast ISO Range of 100-6400, plus EOS technologies like Auto Lighting Optimizer and Peripheral Illumination Correction. It supports Live View shooting, Live View HD videos, and more. It can shoot up to 3.9 fps, has 9 AF points plus 6 AF assist points, a new 98% coverage viewfinder, a 3.0-inch Clear View LCD and a rugged build. Full-frame shooters rejoice!
Retail Value: $3,299.95

Canon Powershot G11
Image quality that's better than ever. New 10.0 Megapixel sensor coupled with Canon's DIGIC 4 Image Processor designed as the High Sensitivity System for improved low light image performance. The PowerShot G11 features RAW mode for unlimited editing options, a 28mm wide-angle lens, and a 2.8-inch Vari-Angle PureColor System LCD. Add to that Canon's new High Sensitivity System and high-speed ISO for incredible image quality, and Canon's top-range compact digital camera is a truly groundbreaking successor.
Retail Value: $499.00

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Saturday Morning Cartoons

Here is my favorite "What the Duck" comic from this week. Rock on Aaron! "What the Duck" is an online comic strip created by Aaron Johnson. I just love how Aaron's wry sense of humor reflects the current state of the photography industry. But what really freaks me out sometimes when I read his strip is how much they reflect whatever situation I'm currently experiencing too...whether it's working with clients or desperately trying to stay on top of technology like Facebook or Twitter or a host of other things that all add up to being a professional photographer.

The genius of his strip is the way viewers can interact with Aaron and his comic character. Folks are welcome to link, post, copy/paste, or save the strips to their own sites, blogs, forums, newsletters, etc. Aaron also allows viewers to suggest titles for his individual strips, and post photos of their own plushy and stuffed W.T. Duck working or hanging out.

Friday, May 14, 2010

On Assignment: Working with a Denver Post Photographer and Photo Stylist

I'm thrilled to be going on assignment this morning with Denver Post photographer Cyrus McCrimmon! He will be shooting a model at REI today for a fitness article I'm writing for the newspaper on plus size activewear clothing.

For the past month or so I've been sampling new extended sizes from 14W and up in technical performance clothing from various retailers including REI, Athleta and BornFit. As a size 16-18, I as well as other larger athletes, have a harder time finding activewear that conforms to our curves and provides the same features as other smaller size performance wear like sweat wicking, breathable mesh panels, or anti-chafing. I can't wait to have the article run on May 24 because it includes a list of places where curvy women can shop to find workout clothing that suits their frame and dresses them appropriately for activities like hiking, biking, yoga and pilates, running, and competitive volleyball (my personal athletic addiction!) Take a look at the Lolly 38 "Taffy" line, one of the lines I will be featuring in my article:

My editor has supported and encouraged my involvement in just about every aspect of this article, including choosing a plus size model with an athletic build and look to wear the clothing in a shoot. I'm pretty excited to be working with a photo stylist for the first time. I've been blessed to work with several outstanding makeup artists such as Jett Middleton, on numerous shoots, including last Friday's sunset shoot. It will add dimension to my own growth as a professional photographer to see a talented photo stylist at work. A photo stylist plans a shoot, setting up schedules and contacting suppliers to lend us their garments, shoes and accessories for the shoot. I have three outfits that I want the model to wear: one for biking, hiking and yoga. The stylist and I discussed a location that would allow us to shoot all three scenarios in a seemingly realistic environment and settled on the REI building in downtown Denver. I will be meeting her at 9:30 this morning so she can look over the clothing and make sure the accessories she has will work.

I can't miss out on an opportunity either to watch a master photographer at work. Cyrus is one of the best photogs at the Denver Post and it's an honor to be working with him. And of course I'm going to be bringing my camera and shooting a bit too!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Get the Job Done: First Animoto Video for a Client!

Check out my first Animoto video slideshow created for my client, National Brotherhood of Skiers. It took some time choosing the photos I wanted and placing them in a storytelling order, combining the text, and picking some appropriate music. But after about a half dozen recreations, I finally came up with a version that I think rocks. So far the NBS President Haymon Jahi has approved it; now I'm waiting for final approval from the NBS media division so I can burn a high resolution version onto a DVD and mail it to my client.

Please tell me what you think I can do to improve it. I hope the video will bring more visibility to the the NBS, a program that finds and develops Olympic caliber skiers.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Get the Goods: Meetup helps me get over my fear of using flash in manual


Last Friday's "sunset workshop meetup" with Bill Murphy was incredible! Not only did I get some amazing shots, but I learned some new techniques that I know I have the ability to duplicate when working on my own. If a photography class is overflowing with students, it's easy to just coast along and pretend to know that you understand what the instructor is saying. You just mimic what others are doing and you get the shots you need. But it takes some time and perseverance to actually digest and then be able to replicate what happened, and I'm excited because in this case, I really think I can. Now I can REALLY get my flash off camera (and not just on a flash bracket), by placing it on a stand, camera left or right

Up until now, I've only used my Canon flash on ETTL. Last month's Kelby Training with Joe McNally sorta had me revved up to try using flash in manual, but I wasn't quite there yet. Switching to manual on your flash is like taking your camera settings off automatic for the first time. The fear is real, but so is the excitement. When Bill said, "put your flash on manual," my heart stopped. Not only did I not know how to do that, but I was terrified of messing up. I mean, there's this great looking model freezing her butt off waiting for me shoot. I didn't want to look like a fool in front of her or take up her time.


But by the end of class, I was operating my flash like....well, like a PRO who actually KNEW what she was doing! Imagine that!


I can manually dial the power up or down on the flash to get the results I want. I'm still a little shaky about the zoom feature, but I'm sure it will come. The absolute control you have when you take your flash to manual far outweighs that initial insecurity. Then the magic began. Bill took all of us through the steps of metering for the bright setting sun and balancing that natural ambient light with the flash. And what a balancing act it is! You've got to combine your ISO and aperture in just the right formula to keep enough light in the background while using your flash to light up your subject in the foreground. Meter for the sky exposure first, with your ISO at about 200 and a starting point of about f 5.6 or f 8. Once you get that exposure set, tinker with your flash starting with the lowest setting (about 1/32 of power) and working your way up (or opening up or closing your aperture depending on how much ambient you want in the photo) to balance out the light until you achieve the look you want.


Oh yeah, easier said than done. But it was so much fun, kinda like a wizard trying to find the right ingredients for a spell. And I definitely think the beauty of these photos is something akin to magic. Models Lexee and Meaghan, along with stylings of makeup artist Jett Middleton rocked this session. They were troopers because true to Colorado form, the weather changed and got cooler as the sun set, and the models tuffed it out to get these unforgettable shots. Join Bill's lighting basics Meetup Group and take a class with him! For only $25, you get about two hours of shoot time with his instruction with models. I've taken his model posing class, as well as a high key and low key lighting workshop.

Turns out the above photo of Lexee was Bill's favorite of the night. Here's why:

"Yes... so if I were to break it down... the blue saturation is almost HDR like in that it is so vivid. Your composition was perfect for this shot.. with the upper half of the image showing the skies ( epic like wouldn't you say) ? Then we have Lexee sitting there in a beautiful pose. The light from the setting sun is drawing our eyes to her, where our eyes follow up to her face, then our eyes follow down around her legs and through the rock and around and around again.. if you look at the image.. it will keep your eyes in the image.. you are drawn to it.. you just keep wanting to explore all the nooks and crannies of the image... Plus you just plain nailed the exposure by making her just a bit brighter than the skies so that again ... we keep coming back to her..."

So cool! Considering how many excellent photogs we had shooting with us that night, this is definitely an honor I will treasure. Bill, we've all said it before. You ROCK!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Instructor's Tip: Preserve White Detail

I hope you enjoy this week's "Instructor's Tip" by one of my favorite instructors, award winning nature photographer Russ Burden. I personally have a ton of trouble exposing to maintain white details especially when shooting things such as skiers on snowcapped mountains. To learn more about how Russ captured the above image, join him on one of his photo tours. Visit Russ Burden Photography to get more information.

Photo by Russ Burden

Preserve White Detail
Photographers need to be concerned when white is a key part of an image. If detail is blown out in white areas, it can’t be recovered. This makes getting the proper exposure critical. When white is prominent, bias the overall exposure on this tone. Check both the blinking highlights and the histogram. You’ll need to adjust your exposure based on how much white is influencing the exposure and also how much sun is playing upon the white subject. The more intense the white, the more you’ll need to compensate.

When properly exposed, images where the main subject contains a lot of white can be very dramatic as the subject becomes more pronounced due to its light value. In that the viewer will always be attracted to the brightest part of the image, there will be no doubt as to what the photographer intended the viewer to gaze upon. If the white subject can be offset against a dark background, it increases the contrast and emphasizes the subject that much more. Look for ways to work with the contrast or use color to your advantage. The fewer colors the better as there will be less secondary information to confuse the person looking at the image.

Check out Burden's "How To Tips" featured on Outdoor Photographer's website. The seven that are dated February 4th are his. Just underneath the articles, be sure to click on page 1 to see an additional 9.

Don't forget to check Take Great Pictures for Burden's most recent tips. On the home page, click on the "Photo Tips And Techniques" button in the left hand column. Additionally, check out his "Digital Tip of the Month" found by clicking on the Digital Photography button.

To learn more about this subject, join Burden on one of his photo tours.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Get the Job Done: Conference coverage wrap-up

The Council on Foundations released today it's 2010 COF Annual Conference Wrap-up. The interactive presentation features photos I took at the event as well as videos of speakers presentations. Check out the presentation on this link.
Here is a screen shot sneak peek. It's so much fun to see my photos in this format and be able to point potential clients to the link in the future.

I found all of the speakers to be inspiring, including Former Vice President Al Gore's push for protecting and repairing the planet and U.S. Navy Adm. Mike Mullen's (the 17th chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) plea to integrate returning veterans back into their communities. But the speaker who I thought gave me the most practical tools to bring about change in my own life was Chip Heath, author of “Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard.” Listen to his funny and heartfelt presentation here. If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you probably saw my tweets sharing some insights I gained from Heath's speech.

I want to wish good luck to the photographer who wins the contract to shoot the council during their conference in Philadelphia next year. It was a lot of hard work, but it was fun and fast-paced. One of my shots taken of Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor to President Obama, appeared in the Wall Street Journal. And the networking opportunities are endless. Thank you COF for hiring me to shoot your event.

Best Posts

Picture Your World Photography is a premiere photographer in the Denver, Colorado Photographer community on