Tag Archives: mentor
the word project: freelensing

the word project: freelensing

Each month, the CMteam is asked to interpret a different word through their own personal images.  It’s been so fun watching the different variations of each word and this month was probably the most challenging to date.  The word chosen this month was ‘freelensing’, something that many of the team hadn’t attempted before.  Considering the extra challenge, we think they’ve come up with some really lovely and unique images, and we hope you enjoy them.

If you’d like to have a(…)

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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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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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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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a peek inside | jenni jones

It’s time for another installment of one of our favorite blog series, a peek inside. Today, we have one of our newest team members to feature, Jenni Jones.
a peek inside | jenni jones

So…this is my office. I love having a space dedicated to getting work done (also – that means I can claim it as a tax deduction…which I am all for). I tend to browse and do non-work related stuff on my iPad while I sit at my dining(…)

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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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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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the word project: mysterious

Each month, the CMteam is given a single word and asked to interpret it through individual images.  This month we were given the word Mysterious, a word that can be interpreted in so many different ways.  The dictionary itself has three different definitions for it but when we think of it photographically, the definitions are much more varied.  We always look forward to showing creativity and diversity through our own unique styles and perspectives and we hope you enjoy these(…)

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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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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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kelly rodriguez’s favorite things

Lock up your wallets because we’ve got a fun, and tempting, series for you to get to know the CMpros a little better! What better way to learn about them than to ask them what their favorite things are, photography related or not? Next up is Kelly Rodriguez sharing what she loves!
kelly rodriguez’s favorite things

1. Fresh’s Sugar Lemon Parfum: I have LOVED this scent for years. It is perfectly fresh, clean and crisp… light and airy. I just love it.(…)

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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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5 ideas for creative fireworks photos

by April Nienhuis

Warm sun on my shoulders, the smell of the grill, cold green grass between my toes, and the laughter of excited children all scream 4th of July to me.  Oh yeah, and fireworks too!  Fireworks are beautiful to watch and fun to photograph (am I the only one that loves the smell of them too?).  In the past, we’ve shared the basic techniques for photographing fireworks and today I want to encourage you to have some creative fun(…)

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the word project: natural

The Word Project, where members of the CMteam are given a single word and asked to interpret it through individual images.  We look forward to showing creativity and diversity through our own unique styles and perspectives.

This month’s word is natural and the images posted below reflect and portray what that means to each of us. We’ve interpreted the word quite differently, some of us viewing it through the natural world surrounding us and some of us viewing it through the(…)

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5 tips to achieve natural looking poses from seniors

by Jodi Arego

Oh how I love working with senior girls!  The clothes, the make-up, the fact that they actually WANT to have their photos taken… in my book, spending time with a senior and her mom for her portrait session is like a fun filled 2 hour playdate.

Of course these teens want to have amazing photos, so they’ll do pretty much anything you ask of them.  But even though they’re excited and will totally cooperate for you, sometimes they cooperate(…)

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5 ways to save your photos from disappearing forever

by Lisa Tichané
A few months ago I was attending a dinner and the conversation came to a sad story about one of the guest’s relatives whose house had recently burnt. We all agreed about the fact that even if the most important thing was that nobody was hurt, it would be pretty traumatic to lose some of our most precious belongings. Suddenly, one of the guests asked us: “If you had two minutes to save something in your house before(…)

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how to install lightroom presets

by Caroline Jensen
Lightroom is the perfect program to use when you want to experiment and try new things. I like to save new presets all the time, but I don’t always want them all in my Lightroom Develop module at once. I like to keep a Dropbox (or similar, synced storage program) folder of my presets and then I can install what I want, when I want, and still know that I have everything tucked away for safe keeping.

It is(…)

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the word project: brave

This is our fourth blog post, where members of the CMteam are given a single word and asked to interpret it through individual images.  We look forward to showing creativity and diversity through our own unique styles and perspectives.

What does the word brave mean to you?  This month we’ve put together a collection of images that represents what the word brave means to us. We see bravery through our everyday lives, through our children, and through the world around us.(…)

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inspiration from urban exploration

by Allison Zercher

Over the years, I’ve certainly been a victim of the dreaded photography rut, a feeling that comes from some mixture of:

“I have nothing to photograph.”
“I have no one to photograph.”
“Every photo I take lacks creativity.”
“I need better equipment.”
All of the above, or some combination of countless others reasons why we doubt our work…

My personal cure for such a rut is to occasionally get into my car and take a drive with my camera in tow.  I’ll even gather(…)

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3 photography pullbacks you need to see

by Lissa Chandler
I don’t know about y’all, but I love a good pullback.

I mean, let’s be honest, they are pretty magical. There is something so awe inspiring, breathtaking even, about a wide angle shot of a location and, immediately after, seeing several photographs nestled underneath it taken in the exact same spot at nearly the exact same time. I find pullbacks to be incredibly inspiring and, today, when I sat down to write this post, I had every intention of(…)

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getting through photographic ruts with introspection

by Sarah Lalone
Something drew us all to photography, and that something is rooted really deep.

We can accept that as true and not linger on it: inside everyone who has bothered to learn photography is a strong motivation… even if we can’t give that motivation a name or even understand what it is yet.  I’m going to come back to this again because this initial motivation is going to save us from feeling adrift later on.

It seems like we all go(…)

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5 tips for taking amazing photos from the passenger seat

by Nina Mingioni

As a family, we frequently find ourselves on the road. Our boys are very rambunctious, and every weekend involves at least one prolonged car trip to a fun destination.

During those, I am usually a passenger, free to gape outside the window, absorbing my surroundings. When I first read Elle Walker’s drive-by photography tutorial here on CM blog, I was amazed at how much she’s been able to capture without leaving her car. This was the push that I(…)

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newborns, learn how to photograph them

by Alicia Gould
Newborns are pure…




There is something that twinkles in a newborn photographer’s eye when you ask them what they love about capturing newborns.  If you can’t see their eyes, you can feel it through their words and images.  Newborns are not easy!  The sessions are longer and require more physical work from the photographer.  You need to train your eye to find pockets of light and recognize flattering compositions. It requires a great deal of patience you didn’t know was(…)

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