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Want to learn how to take better pics? Need help getting more clients? Here you will find photography tutorials, business advice, pro tips, and photoshop lessons for advanced business owners, beginner hobbyists and everyone in between. Stick around for informative photography posts on a wide range of topics. We pinky promise this is where it's at.


one for the bucket list: how to photograph the northern lights

one for the bucket list: how to photograph the northern lights

by Christal Houghtelling

On Christmas night I stood next to my car in -40 degree temperatures outside of Denali National Park trying to capture the perfect photo of the Northern Lights.

Why?

Because photographing the northern lights is addictive, magical, and so much fun. It was also on my bucket list, and it’s probably on yours as well. The dancing lights can be fleeting, so I want to give you some tips on how to get it right the first time.

Protecting your camera:

Taking(…)

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how to setup and use lightroom export presets

by Mickie DeVries
I think most people that use Lightroom are familiar with presets used for editing in the develop module, but did you know that there are also export presets?

Export presets allow you to save settings that you use frequently to size your photos.  I know that I upload my photos to various websites for display and for printing purposes, and all of these have different optimal settings.  It’s hard to remember how my image needs to be sized for(…)

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1 quick tip to improve your editing in Photoshop

by Megan Squires
Photoshop is not magic, we all know that.

And although we constantly strive to get things right in camera every time, there are many tricks and tweaks done simply with an editing software that can really take your image to the next level.

For me, that’s quite literally the “levels” tool in Photoshop. I cannot think of one single image that I’ve edited where I haven’t used it. It can mean the difference between slightly blah skin tones and just(…)

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editing by mood and vision

editing by mood and vision

by Sarah Vaughn
Editing photos is a funny process.

Each one of us could take an image into Lightroom or Photoshop and we would each come up with a different end result. That individual vision of an image – for shooting or for editing – is part of what makes us special as photographers.

When I first started out, editing was an exciting and creative process. Unfortunately, I got a little too excited and creative – as I discovered the heady thrill of(…)

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8 simple ways to balance family life with photography

by Celeste Pavlik

I am a full time hobbyist photographer.

But don’t stop reading just yet, even if you’re a working photographer actively taking clients. I wrote this for you too. :)

My job as a hobbyist may not be to go out and photograph other people’s families, but it is to photograph my own family and the things that speak to me. And I am guessing that those of you that earn an income as a photographer or work in another field(…)

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5 tips for taking photos at the fair

5 tips for taking photos at the fair

by Brittany Chandler
Cotton candy, funnel cakes, deep fried anything, scream inducing rides, fits of giggles, and prizes larger than your head… the fair is coming!

With carnival season approaching, I thought it would be fun to give some pointers for those of you who will be braving the trip with your camera. These tips will work whether you are photographing clients, your family, or loading up on stock images for your portfolio. All images were taken with my Canon 28mm 1.8.
1.(…)

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8 tips on finding the perfect wedding photographer

by Jennifer Dell
photos by Sally Molhoek
After my husband Bryan, proposed last December, the first (and really the only thing) I was concerned about planning was who the photographer would be.

Being a photographer myself, you could imagine how difficult this step was for myself and how crazy I may or may not have driven my fiance, at the time, over it. I knew in my mind what our wedding would look like, and yet, I wasn’t sold on any one particular(…)

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culling and editing to enhance your story

by Meredith Novario
When I see a story unfolding in front of me I shoot first and ask questions later.

I let the story do its thing and decide afterwards (in Lightroom) which image packs the biggest narrative punch.

Lastly, I edit to emphasize the story.

For example, I recently went out to lunch with two of my people, Joe and Josie. As we sat ordering, whistling, and waiting for our burgers, my husband and daughter were, fortunately for me, bored. I love how(…)

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5 tips for taking outdoor self portraits

5 tips for taking outdoor self portraits

by Alice Che

I am a huge fan of nature and I have a slight obsession with beautiful skies (it’s the dreamer in me!) so I absolutely love taking self portraits outside.

Outdoor self portraiture is one of my favorite things now, but that wasn’t always the case. I always wanted to get a photo of myself outside, because there’s no easier way to get a gorgeous setting than to turn to nature, but it took me a while to get comfortable(…)

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7 reasons to avoid eye contact in your photos

7 reasons to avoid eye contact in your photos

by Lacey Meyers

We have all heard it said that the eyes are the window to the soul.

And in a photograph, eye-contact holds great power in connecting the viewer to the subject.  Sharp, intentional focus on the eyes plus lovely catchlights is a timeless combination and one that most of us set out to embrace early on in our photography.

But as my children’s photographer, I know I’m not alone in recognizing the challenge that that is time and again.  As well(…)

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DIY: creating wall art with your kids artwork

DIY: creating wall art with your kids artwork

by Melissa Stottmann

We all have it.

The beautiful piles of artwork stashed, almost falling over, cascading all over the kitchen, leaning in the foyer, meandering around the laundry room.  Perhaps you have a bulletin board that they get tacked to occasionally or a refrigerator adorned with colorful renderings of unicorns. Each piece, well, let’s be honest, most pieces hold a special place in our hearts. I’m constantly gabbing with other moms about how we “bury” some of our precious darlings’ creations(…)

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Before and After: a photoshop edit by Marissa Gifford

by Marissa Gifford

When culling images from a session, I always encourage people to go through them with an open mind. I have found that sometimes an image that initially seems like a failure, destined to be deleted, can be transformed into something magical with a little creative thinking and processing.

This was the case for me recently during a self portrait session. I was using my Lensbaby Edge 80 (my lens soulmate ;) ) and had placed myself in the wrong(…)

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creativity exercise: 6 new ways to approach backlighting

by Sarah Wilkerson
When you begin your photography journey, a common and effective piece of advice is to keep the light at your back when shooting.By keeping your camera between your subject and the light source, you are shooting in the same direction the light is shining, and if your subject is facing you, the light illuminates the subject from the front. If, however, you turn around and shoot a subject that is between you and the light source, now you(…)

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how aperture and distance affect depth of field

how aperture and distance affect depth of field

by Celeste Pavlik
One of the main things I wanted to learn when I first started snapping photos was how to make everything but my subject look blurry.

I thought if ‘I’ could do that, then my pictures would be so professional looking!!

Once I switched to manual mode, I learned quickly that if I shot a subject ‘wide open’ I could get that look I was going for. However, I also realized that only shooting wide open isn’t appropriate for every shooting(…)

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why i switched to lifestyle photography

why i switched to lifestyle photography

by Brittany Chandler
Recently, I had a friend point out a quote from the Tao Te Ching, an ancient book that Taoists follow.
“Less and less do you need to force things, until finally you arrive at non-action. When nothing is done, nothing is left undone”.
Taoists believe in allowing life to take it’s natural course. They believed you never had to force anything, but to let things fall into place. I did not realize how much this way of thinking would ring(…)

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DIY: how to make a flower crown

DIY: how to make a flower crown

by Lissa Chandler
Flower Crowns!
They are kind of wonderful, right?

I love incorporating trends into my photographs and, right now, I am loving this trend. I often tell my husband that I think of flower crowns like I think of Marie Antoinette’s hair- they just get bigger and bigger and, eventually, they are going to die out. But! Right now! They are all over the place and I am loving every second of their time in the spotlight.

So! Let’s recap!
To make a(…)

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Vintage Lenses: why these 3 photographers love them

by Brandy Jaggers, Jodie Carson, and Megan Dill
Have you ever been curious about using non-native lenses on a modern day camera? Brandy Jaggers, Jodie Carson, and Megan Dill are here today to share their love of vintage glass!
Brandy Jaggers:
I have to admit…I have a bit of an obsession with vintage lenses. There’s just something magical about the images captured with old glass. I’ve been collecting vintage lenses for my Fuji X-E1 for the last year and actually prefer to shoot(…)

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18 tips for photographing your family vacation

18 tips for photographing your family vacation

by Juliette Fradin

Family vacation is one of the most important moments in the year that you want to remember with photographs.

It’s a great time to document your family story because you are all together, you have fun, you visit new places, and you have time. Preserving those memories is a great thing for the older and younger kids too, to know what they were a part of! And how fun is it to look at the photo album and retrieve(…)

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4 ways to smooth skin in Lightroom

by Caroline Jensen
The brush tool is one of the most powerful tools in Lightroom.

Today, I am going to show you four ways to smooth skin.

My son has agreed to let us use his image. I think it is really helpful to see the results on a teenage boy because natural results are so important to them.  I did not remove any blemishes prior to adding the skin smoothing. The results will be more effective with a little use of the(…)

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how to photograph fine art school portraits

by Elena Blair

I have done many things to grow my custom portraiture business in the past four years but I would have to say that the most beneficial venture has been the launch of my Fine Art School Portrait service.

I was hugely inspired by a photographer friend of mine who lives on the other end of the country.  Many of you may have heard of her, Michelle L Morris. I took that inspiration and ran with it.  Providing Fine Art(…)

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One Photog’s Comparison: Nikon D700 vs Canon 5d Mark III

by Marissa Gifford
I have been a happy Nikon shooter since I got my first DSLR in late 2008.

I started with a Nikon D60 and joined the full frame ranks with a D700 a few years ago. It’s a wonderful camera and has provided me with many treasured images. But I’ve always heard people raving about the famous “Canon colors” and there just seemed to be a dreaminess about Canon that I could never quite put my finger on. My curiosity(…)

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how to make location scouting fun by geocaching with your kids

how to make location scouting fun by geocaching with your kids

by Mickie DeVries
What is Geocaching you might ask?

Well, in the simplest of terms it’s a treasure hunt.  Yep, you heard me right, treasure!! Who doesn’t love treasure?!

Let me tell you my children love treasure, and they love the search for it almost as much.  I love that I can get outside with my children for a fun activity that involves exercise, and an awesome opportunity to location scout while still incorporating fun.  Now let me tell you more about geocaching(…)

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capture them where they are today

by Heidi Hicks

I started my photography journey when my niece and nephew were babies. I vowed to learn how to use a camera so that when I had children of my own, they wouldn’t go months (or years in some cases) without nice pictures like my own niece and nephew.

Fast-forward seven years; my own son is two and a half (and super awesome). And while I have thousands of client images on my computer, there’s only a small folder of(…)

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8 ways to balance photography on your family vacation

by Kristen Ryan
Are you going on a family vacation this summer and contemplating how to balance photography and family time?

Then I have some tips for you!

1. Choose your time wisely.

Spend your time shooting earlier in the morning or later in the day to take advantage of the best light.

2. Forget pictures for a while.

Put the camera away during the midday hours and give your family your undivided attention.

3. Find fun locations.

Seek out places that will be fun for the kids(…)

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how to use a lensbaby: your starter guide

by Nina Mingioni

You may be seeing photographers share photos with delicious blur – they very well may have been taken with one of the many Lensbaby lenses. Whether you’ve never heard of these before, just getting started with yours, or looking for more tips on using a Lensbaby, this post is for you!

I never leave my house without one of these. It’s true – my camera bag is my purse, and even if I leave my camera at home, I(…)

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9 ways to rock your brand experience video

by Alison Winterroth
Had you ever wished that there was a way your website could speak directly to your client?

Not just with images in a slideshow but with actual spoken words? A way to show your passion and your love for what you do, at the same time displaying how you work and building confidence in your brand?

Well, simply put, there is! Before you go any further, watch this brand experience video that we created for my business:
Alison Winterroth Photography |(…)

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10 easy tips for sibling photos

by Kristin Ingalls
Siblings have a relationship like no other. They can be super close one minute and fighting the next.

Still, there is something special about the fact that they have each other. It’s only natural to want to document that special relationship in images, whether photographing your own children, as a professional for other people’s kids, or hiring someone to photograph your siblings.
Tips for photographing your own kids:
1. If you want the traditional posed, smiling picture of all your kids,(…)

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5 simple ways to take a better selfie

by Beth Deschamp

It is no secret that I love selfies.

If you follow me on Instagram, you already know that I have a selfie or two in my gallery.  I think the reason why I love them so much is because they help to tell a story about a person and you can get a little glimpse into someone’s world, just through their selfie.  Selfies can help you tell others about you.  Who you are.  What you like to do.  Who(…)

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how to use the interval timer with your camera

by Megan Cieloha
We all know that we need to get in front of the camera more often.

Our children and other family members want to have evidence that we were at the parties, cookouts, reunions and simply present in everyday life, too. However, it can be unwieldy and limiting to hold (or quickly press and hide!) a remote while working on self portraits. Luckily, there is a simple and reliable alternative – Interval Timer Mode.

Interval timer mode is available on all(…)

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Trash To Treasure: finding beauty everywhere

by Lisa Benemelis
Inspiration comes in many forms, even garbage.

Have you exhausted all the shooting possibilities in and around your home?

Are you feeling uninspired? Are you looking to push yourself creatively?

I realize that many people will wince or roll their eyes when I recommend shooting garbage.  I know I probably would have prior to capturing “garbage” quite accidentally.  It forced me to think about art in a whole new way – and it also has been a very enjoyable experience!

Inspiration from(…)

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