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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.


How to build your skills and portfolio as a hobbyist

How to build your skills and portfolio as a hobbyist

**This photography tutorial was posted on the ever-growing CM forum; however, we think it’s so rad that we just had to share with you, too**
by Sarah Vaughn
Skill building and portfolio building – it’s something we all do as photographers, continually. We often think of portfolio building as the sole domain of professional photographers, but the reality is that many photographers also build their skills and a body of work, shooting friends, family or acquaintances, while they still remain hobbyists.

That(…)

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5 tips for balancing photography

5 tips for balancing photography

by Melissa Stottmann
Finding balance between my everyday life and business life can be difficult at times.

I even notice that some days I’m super efficient and others, the day slips by and I haven’t tackled any of my to-do list while “working”.  By following these tips, I’m far more productive!
1. LISTS.
I have a three part on-going list that I keep in “Notepad” on my phone.  MUST DO, SHOULD DO, EVENTUALLY DO are my sections.  Most everything starts in my “Eventually do”(…)

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3 must-have lenses for Tamara Lackey

3 must-have lenses for Tamara Lackey

Sponsored by Nikon
When Nikon photographer Tamara Lackey heads out on location for a family session, two lenses are almost guaranteed to be in her bag: the AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED and AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4G, with the AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II also a frequent flier. For this shoot, Tamara knew she’d be shooting both indoors and out, and these three lenses gave her the flexibility she needed.

1. If she could use only one lens…
It would be(…)

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Photographing Your Kids: the good, the bad, and the everyday

Photographing Your Kids: the good, the bad, and the everyday

by Felicia Chang
It wasn’t that long ago that I started my photography journey in earnest by joining Clickin Moms. I read any tutorial I could get my hands on and poured over blogs for inspiration. That’s when I first found out about the 365 project. One picture a day, for the year. No easier way to practice and improve your photography.

So I shot my family every single day. I anticipated and sometimes scheduled for at least one interesting thing to(…)

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The golden customer and 5 ways to keep them

The golden customer and 5 ways to keep them

by Buddie Albritton
We all so often hear about the bad stories, the negative things that have happened with clients, and how to avoid those same mistakes, but I want to focus on those amazing clients (inner teacher in me, screaming lets focus on the positive!!).

Everyone knows the client I am talking about… the amazing client, who from the beginning are totally complimenting you, so appreciative of your time and the craft of photography. Your session is perfect, you sell a(…)

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how lisa tichané defines lifestyle photography

by Lisa Tichané
During every run of my Capturing Joy workshop, a topic seems to come up repeatedly, “How much should the photographer interfere with what is going on in a lifestyle session? If we are asking our subjects to do something for us, is that cheating? Should we catch joy when it happens organically, or is it okay to make it happen?”

To me, these questions all come down to how we define “lifestyle photography”.

I’m not pretentious enough to declare that(…)

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Diaries of a Daily Photo Project: 3 years later

Diaries of a Daily Photo Project: 3 years later

by Marie Masse
I’ve lost count at the number of times I’ve said to myself,

“I should have stood over there.”
“Why didn’t I bring my ISO down?! That could have been a canvas worthy shot!”
“Hello, crooked! Now if I crop it, I will cut off her head. What, was this my first day on the job?”
“I wish my photos looked like…”

When I started my photo project of my daughter in 2011, my goal was to take a “good” photo of her once(…)

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Creativity Exercise: 5 ways to lower your artistic inhibition

by Sarah Wilkerson
This month, we’re turning our backs on critical thinking and technical precision. Please don’t think I am rejecting the merits of deliberate shooting generally; this month’s exercise is ultimately less about what you produce and more about opening yourself up to possibilities, actively experiencing the world differently, and letting intuition overtake intellect.

[caption id="attachment_38673" align="aligncenter" width="840"] Meredith Abenaim[/caption]

As the average person matures, her mind learns to ignore the irrelevant information in her environment. Being able to tune out the irrelevant(…)

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before and after: a black and white lightroom edit

by Mickie DeVries

Often, before I ever pick up my camera, I know how I will process the resulting image, and this image here is an example of that.

My daughter was playing outside this summer and came to the door covered head to toe in dirt and grime.  Before I let her come in for a shower, I grabbed my camera and had her sit in front of my open garage just inside the shade so that the sunlight would light(…)

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Cracking the Mr. Boring Test: getting real emotions from clients

by Olivia Gatti
When I was in graduate school for photojournalism, I had a professor who taught us one of the most valuable lessons I came away with from all my schooling. He gave each of us five minutes to take his portrait, only he wasn’t going to be himself, he was going to be Mr. I. M. Boring. It was up to us to loosen him up, light him and pose him with a clock ticking. He was the worst;(…)

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acr and photoshop video tutorial: a before & after clean edit

by Celeste Pavlik
If you are an ACR and Photoshop user, then this video is for you! And if you’re a Lightroom user feel free to watch, because many things in ACR are also things you can do in Lightroom such as split toning, hsl panel, and the tone curve.

This is an example of a clean, color edit on a picture taken outdoors.  I used a Canon 5D Mark III and a Lensbaby Composer Pro with the Double Glass Optic.  I(…)

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macro photography without a macro lens

macro photography without a macro lens

by Nina Mingioni

Macro photography is one of my most favorite genres of photography!

It forces me to slow down and appreciate all the tiny little details of ordinary, every day objects, their gorgeous shape and divine texture. Undoubtedly, a macro lens is the best way to shoot macro. However, if you are not sure if macro is for you and want to try it out, or if a dedicated macro lens is not in your budget, other options are available.

Let’s weigh(…)

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10 ways to encourage your children’s cooperation for photos

**This photography tutorial was posted on the ever-growing CM forum; however, we think it’s so rad that we just had to share with you, too**
by Lacey Meyers
I take a lot {A LOT} of photos of my boys. You can see just how many HERE, on my blog! I think it is as much a part of their day as eating! So, one question I receive more often than any other is “How do you get your children to cooperate??”(…)

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8 safety tips for taking photos in fields

8 safety tips for taking photos in fields

by Elizabeth Alexander

If you’re like me, and love to shoot outdoors in pretty nature spots, there are a few tips to bear in mind to keep you and your clients (especially all the sweet little children you’ll be photographing) safe

1. Find a good safe location.

When looking for a good spot to shoot, I always try to find a nearby community park, nature park, or public preserve.  Do a Google Earth search of your town and see what public parks pop(…)

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3 tips to bring emotion into your pictures

by Kristy Dooley
I recently spent some time flipping through photo albums with my girls.
It’s always fun to hear the excitement in their voices when they come across an image they love and together we decided on some favorites.  For me I noticed my favorites are the ones that not only bring me back to a specific moment, but that evoke a certain feeling.  Images that not only remind me of how something was but how it felt.
Would you like to(…)

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how to use the clone tool in lightroom and photoshop

how to use the clone tool in lightroom and photoshop

by Elicia Graves

One of my very favorite and often used tools in Adobe’s Lightroom editing program is the clone tool.

I love how it can very quickly clean up my images and add a bit of polish.  The clone tool is found in the develop module in LR, just under the histogram and above the basic panel.  It looks like a circle with a small arrow extending to the right of it.

It takes a little bit of practice and use to(…)

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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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