Tutorial

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.

selfie pose modifying your selfie pose by Alise Kowalski

5 steps to loving yourself(ie)

See what I did there?

This blog post is mostly about how to create self-portraits that you will love and love the way you look in them but it is also, and this is no small component of loving images of yourself, about loving yourself. And it only requires five steps! So, lace up those sneakers, ladies, we’re hitting the path to loving yourself(ie). Oh yeah, that’s twice. Nailed it.(…)

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before and after edit in ACR and Photoshop by Marissa Gifford

Before and After: a backlit edit in ACR and Photoshop

I love doing before and after videos, but sometimes I get bored looking at my own work over and over. So for this video, I decided to chose an image from a fellow Clickin Mom to edit instead!

I love this adorable shot from Montreal portrait photographer Anda Panciuk. This sweet moment seems so girly and typical of childhood, and I love the way she’s lost in the moment playing with her skirt. In ACR, I increased exposure and contrast, straightened the image and warmed up the white balance. Then in Photoshop I cropped, blew out the windows completely, added contrast and added a few subtle tones to enhance an already beautiful image. Watch the video to see the steps I took to achieve this look!(…)

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baby wearing a fox mask by Lily Glass

How to have a successful in-home lifestyle photo session

Some of my favorite keepsakes are the small black and white photographs of my grandmother as a young girl. The posed studio portraits are lovely but there’s something so special about the candid photo playing on the living room floor or rolling around in dirt wearing her Easter dress. These faded images provide a look into her past, her home, and the environment which shaped her everyday life.

Many families are opting for less posed and more lifestyle imagery of their little’s youngest years but shooting inside someone’s home offers a variety of challenges. Here are a few tips to help make the most of an at-home family session to capture a day in the life… (…)

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close up portrait of boy in the falling snow by Celeste Pavlik

7 ways to photograph one child

I worry. I fret. Time. It is passing much too swiftly.

Disquieted. A quick, yet recognizable hard pound of a few heart beats as I allow my mind to linger and to dwell on the reality. That moment when I realize my little loves, my muses, my children, are not so little any more. I see them every day. Yet, when I finally lay my head down at night, too often my heart aches and I feel as though I have neglected to truly ‘see’ them. Individually. Free of their own inhibitions.(…)

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pullback of studio strobe lighting situation by Alix Martinez

One Light, One Wall: strobe guide for beginners

There is a lot you can do with one strobe light (key light) and a white wall, oh and… a toddler of course.

The short winter hours outside are a perfect time to practice and play with strobe light equipment. You really don’t need that much of equipment to get started.

A strobe is a device that has a large spark through a tube filled with gas in order to produce light. The light made by these units have a short duration. Strobes can be set over a 6 stop power range. A basic strobe setup includes monolights or a power pack with separate strobe heads that plug into it (this is what I use – very powerful and commercial grade with faster recycle times).(…)

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cupcake with a strawberry on top by Kristy Dooley

3 tips for photographing cake and other sweet treats

One of my favorite parts of holidays, parties, and celebrations are the cakes and sweet treats. While I do enjoy a nice slice of cake or pie, what I like even more is photographing the goodies. There is something surprisingly therapeutic about food photography. A still subject is great for experimentation and practice within your work. Whether you purchase or bake the treats for your next celebration, I’d love to encourage you all to take a few minutes to photograph them before taking that first bite. Here are a few tips to get you started…(…)

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newborn photo by Heather Mohr Photography

5 keys to juggling a part-time business while working full-time

Theodore Roosevelt once said,

Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty…

This has been true many times in my life. In fact, the areas of life where I have found the most success and happiness have required the most effort. However, the effective application of great efforts, dedication, and sacrifice yields great rewards.(…)

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boy coloring at the kitchen table by June and Bear Photography

6 things you can do to take better photos in your home

I am a hobbyist photographer shooting for posterity. I am documenting the lives of my children so that we all remember the big and little things. Much of our story takes place in our home so it was imperative that I become more comfortable shooting there. Here are a few tips that will hopefully help you improve the quality of photos taken inside your home using natural light.(…)

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bride and groom portrait in a field with purple trees by Chloe Ramirez

4 ways to add the environment in your photos

You arrive to a session and your surroundings are gorgeous! The environment is breathtaking and you feel so lucky to be photographing your subject in this beautiful place. Your client arrives and you get started into your session. Time flies by and before you know it you are waving goodbye and loading up your gear. Later that day, you go to upload your images. Although you had a good time with your client and you like your images you are frustrated that your photos do not reflect surroundings that you were so impressed by.

Using your environment in your portrait sessions can help to set the mood, tell the story and set the stage for your session. Here is 4 easy tips to incorporate your environment into your portrait sessions!(…)

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freelensing photo of girl in a field with beautiful light by Holly Donovan

The Art of Freelensing: a step by step guide

The creative process is a process of surrender, not control.
-Julia Cameron

Early on in my photography journey I spent a good amount of time trying to attain sharp images and nail focus in my work. I spent my days working on getting my lines straight, my compositions pre-visualized, and of course stalking every type of light. Focus and composition are all very important, but I found that I could easily start to over-think these devices. There is something about an out of focus image that evokes a feeling in its own way. It didn’t take me long to start experimenting with shallow depth of field, and using manual focus to achieve some blur. (…)

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child holding her winning contest photo

How I connected with my daughter through photography

My children have grown up in front of my camera. They have said “cheese,” they have held ridiculous props to humor me, they have endured the dreaded, “I didn’t quite get it, can we do that again?” pleas from me, all in the name of their dear mother’s hobbyist-ism. They have done their part to help their mama grow in her own photography, and then some. They have been patient. They have been my muses.(…)

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young girl sitting on the floor by Allison McSorley

6 secrets to more compelling photos

Someone once said that the best camera is the one you have with you. Whether you’re shooting with an old school point-and-shoot camera or a fancy new dSLR though, there are some universal techniques to keep in mind that will help you create more interesting and visually pleasing photographs.(…)

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good crops in camera by Megan Squires

5 mistakes I made as a new photographer

We learn from our mistakes. We grow in asking questions. And we can encourage others forward by being open about our journeys and aha! moments in photography. While the basics come easy now, there will always be more for me to learn and always new ways to grow. That’s something that gets me excited each and every time I pick up my camera.(…)

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Image 9

5 ways to stay creative with your photography

Anyone that is familiar with my work at all knows one thing…I love to shoot ONE subject. That’s it. One. One subject. One child. One Boy.

I have shot my fair share of landscapes…of flowers…of buildings…of babies…of sunsets…of friends and relatives…and I love all of those images. Honestly, I really, really love them. I am delighted to give gifts and to make others happy through images. It continually challenges me and pushes me in different ways, and I am sincerely grateful for that push. Those images, however, are not where my Creative Heart truly lies; where my Mommy Heart lies. I really and truly love to shoot one subject.(…)

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girl-skateboarding-in-pastel-tones-by-kelly-bullington

5 ways to shoot more like a film photographer

Have you ever been tempted to shoot film? Why, in this age of rapidly advancing technology, increasingly “smart” cameras, and the cost and convenience of digital are we still so drawn to film photography?

There really is something extraordinary about the tonality and color rendition of various film stocks — qualities some might suggest simply can’t be replicated digitally. But is there also something about the process of shooting with film itself that positively influences the creative approach? Could it be that the cost, logistics, and timeline of film photography encourage a different mindset, even a different level of commitment, from the photographer behind the camera? Does the perception that every shot “counts” help us to produce better photos? Would we shoot more deliberately if the flexibility and instant gratification of digital photography were stripped away? (…)

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two brothers hugging picture by Celeste Pavlik

5 easy ways to photograph kids together

Often, I am asked…. How do you get all your boys to sit for you at the same time for a picture? Or how do you get them all to cooperate and look so natural? Or, I’m told, it’s so great how your boys like to be in front of the camera AND with each other!! Well, the truth is, it’s not so much that my boys like to be in front of my lens, it’s more about what ‘I do’ and ‘don’t do’ before I ever click that shutter. Seizing the opportunity to document those moments when they are being themselves; playing together, sharing a silly joke, tickling one another, and even just sharing a quiet moment is a huge part of who I am as a photographer. I want to remember and I want them to remember what it was like growing up together as brothers and friends.(…)

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kids playing at a splashpad by Megan DeShazo

Why I pick my camera up…and why I put it down

As we were preparing to pack up for the long 8-hour car ride we had ahead to visit family, I looked at my camera bag and groaned. “It’s so heavy,” I thought. “I’m already packing half of our house. It’s just another bag to load.” If I’m being honest, as “The Photographer” of the family, I sometimes get tired of hearing, “make sure you bring your camera!” But I knew my husband’s grandparents weren’t getting any younger and since we only get to see them once a year, I would be grateful to have the pictures from our trip. And they would love to have pictures with the boys.

I packed the camera. I’m so thankful I did.(…)

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picture of woman by Alice Che

9 secrets to working with dappled light

As a photographer, you hear a lot about how important it is to know how to see the light. This is absolutely, 100% true!

Much of my photography journey can be marked by how I use the light. I went through a phase of flat, even window lighting with beautiful big catchlights followed by portraits with 45 degree window lighting, then backlighting, and finally, dramatic lighting. One of the very first things I learned was to avoid dappled lighting. For a good two or three years, I avoided uneven lighting and direct sunlight at any cost. I would drape sheer curtains over my windows to diffuse the sun, I’d shoot in open shade, I’d backlight. Back in August, however, I moved to a new place and my move also coincided with the opportunity to do a photoshoot with the amazing Sarah Vaughn. And the way she used light… it was incredible and like nothing I had ever tried before! Instead of shying away from the direct sun or uneven lighting, she’d find the patches of even light and use the uneven light around it to add interest in the shadow patterns. Ever since then, I have been keeping my eye out for the interplay of light and shadows.(…)

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examples-of-different-metering-modes-in-a-backlight-situation-by-Amy-Kolodziej

Metering modes explained and how to know which one to use

Choosing a metering mode can be as important as choosing an ISO or aperture when you need to nail your exposure. Metering affects how your camera processes the scene, thus giving you a reading on your exposure in camera. I know that with the ability to “chimp”, or stop and look at the back of your dSLR after each image, we can take our meters for granted. As a wedding photographer (and as a mother to two young children that don’t allow “do-overs”), however, I simply do not have the time to second guess myself after each frame.

Most of today’s modern cameras have at least three different metering modes to choose from; matrix (evaluative), center-weighted, and spot. Some cameras are also equipped with a fourth metering type called highlight-weighted metering mode. Both of my Nikon bodies have this newer mode and so I’ve included it here.(…)

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