Thursday, December 31, 2009

Just in time for New Year's Eve

You asked for more posing tips, so here you go. Thanks to the Elite Modeling Agency and Readers Digest for these 10 additional tips.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Got friends or clients who hate to pose?

Okay, so everyone hates to pose. Maybe you could send them to this site first to get them thinking about looking their best when you start shooting. Lots of good ideas and short but cute video that wraps it up.

Friday, December 18, 2009

One giant dropped call

This certainly gives new meaning to the term "dropped call".... I was doing a large photoshoot of 250 accountants in Tower City in Cleveland. They were postioned on the grand staircase at one end of the atrium while I was two floors above them on a mezzanine level. My assistant was down on their level and was directing them as we talked via our cellphones. I was using my 3G iPhone, which doesn't grip the best when wedged between a shoulder and your ear, while two cameras were dangling from my shoulders. In any event, everything was going well and we got six shots completed in a matter of a few minutes. Just as I was in the process of telling him that we were done, I dropped the call...literally as well as figuratively. The phone slipped from my shoulder and in a flash, it was taking a giant swan dive, over the railing, bouncing off the top of a directory kiosk and then smashing onto the marble mall floor, some 32 feet below.

Luckily no people were anywhere close underneath me. Looking over the railing, I was surprised to see the phone still in one piece. Even more surprising, the screen was still shining. How could that be??? I had the phone in a Griffin Clarifi case and it actually took the impact, cracking off one small corner of its plastic case, but completely protecting the iPhone itself. The screen displayed white only, so I couldn't see my icons, but the case wasn't scratched in the slightest.

That evening I took the phone to my local Apple Store and within 3 minutes, the tech replaced the screen and my phone was back working again. No lost data, just like nothing had happened. Thank you Griffin and thank you Apple. It makes all those dropped calls somehow more palatable now.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Photo Hacks

Lifehacker has published their list of favorite photo hacks for 2009 It's worth a look for some unique photo projects when you're looking for something to do on a rainy weekend.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Review: EzMats Designer

Want to save lots of money? Want to add that high-end look to your framed prints. Check out this piece of software. I haven't done a hands-on test yet myself, but I'm looking forward to trying it next month. Looks like a winner to me.

Review: EzMats Designer (Professional Photographer Magazine Web Exclusives)

Monday, November 23, 2009

PhotoPlus Nikon Disappointment

NEW YORK -- I was hoping Nikon would finally add a point and shoot camera with RAW image capabilities to its already overflowing line of Coolpix cameras. Didn't happen. Instead, Canon pulled another one out of the hat, introducing the Canon S90.

This looks to be a very interesting camera, with some tremendous specifications:
  • 10.0 Megapixels with large 1/1.7 inch CCD sensor
  • Optical image stabilization
  • Face and blink detection
  • Really fast F/2 lens
  • 28mm wide angle
  • ISO3200 speeds and higher
  • 3.8x Optical zoom
  • Shoots RAW and JPEG
  • Up to 1-1/2 hours of 640x480 30fps video on an 8GB SD/SDHC card

For those times you don't want to carry your big DSLR, this looks very promising.

Here's a short video on the S90.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

PhotoPlus action

NEW YORK – October 22 – Photo Plus 2009 is open now at the Javit’s Center in New York. As I mentioned, I’d be checking out the new Nikon D3s. It’s everything I hoped for and more. Imagine shooting very saleable pics at ISO 15,200!

Since its got HD video capabilities, now everyone is coming out with accessories to turn it into a serious video shooting machine. Take a look here at the rig I got to try – a prototype shoulder/chest support rig by Red Rock Micro and Rode microphone with a wind-control fuzzy. What a combination!

Under the “cute; but, probably-not-this-time” category was the Coolpix S1000PJ camera/projector combination. The idea is very cool as I reported earlier this month, but the projected image is not going to wow any serious photographers. I just don’t think many people will find dark enough environments to actually use the projection features. Yes it does work, I used it, but I wouldn’t rush out to order one.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Announcing the new D3S

In just one week, I'll be fondling the new Nikon D3S at PhotoPlus in NYC. Based on the press release received yesterday, I don't think I'm going to want to give it back.

Just look at some of what I think are dynamite new specs:
  • expanded ISO equivalent settings up to a staggering 102,400 are available, enabling photographers to create images previously thought impossible.
  • The Nikon D3S adds the extra benefit of an Image Sensor Cleaning function to reduce instances of image degradation resulting from dust accumulation on the optical low pass filter (OLPF) in front of the image sensor. [That's what I love about my present D300 - it really works.]
  • the amazing ISO range of the D3S can also be applied while recording HD video clips to give unprecedented low-light ability for movie clips. The refined D-Movie mode for the FX-format offers smooth 1280x720 video at a cinematic 24fps.
  • the D3S can capture up to 4200 shots per single charge of the camera’s Lithium-ion battery
  • the D3S also features a Quiet Shutter Mode which substantially reduces the sound of the camera’s mirror-down cycle, which is perfect for shooting in sensitive environments, such as movie sets, meetings, ceremonies, or while photographing wildlife.
So if you are in New York next Thursday, stop by booth 501. You'll recognize me as the one with the death grip on the new D3S.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A user's review of the Nikon S1000pj

Last month we told you about the Nikon Coolpix camera with the built in projector. Now read a review by the Wall Street Journal author who actually put it to the test and gave it good marks.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Photoshop Goes iApp

Now, the world's leading photo editor is available for your iPhone. Okay, so maybe you don't get layers and curves, but there's a whole lot more to love.
You can take photos right inside the app or you can load one of your previously taken photos. You can make basic adjustments to exposure, tone and contrast. Cropping is a snap, as is flip and rotate. Convert to black and white, add a soft focus or apply a number of color effects and add a border.
After you're done editing, you can save to your phone or upload to your free 2GB sharing site on if you've registered (it's free also.) You can even upload all your previous photos to the free sharing site and regain hard drive space on your phone. 2 GB of storage should handle 1,500 photos or so. That works both ways as well. Put your best shots on the sharing site (no matter what camera took them) and then review them for your friends on the iPhone.
It's a great app, it's free....what's not to love.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Photoshop Tutorials

Looking for a way to juice up your latest batch of photos? Want to take your shots from mild to wild?
Here's a collection of some really great techniques you can use to get a "Wow!" from some "hohum" pics.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Ultimate Gadget Cam?

Okay, the D300S is my new go-to camera of choice, but this may be the ultimate replacement for the Sony T-200 I carry in my pocket. This new camera, due out September 29th actually includes an internal Pico Projector capable of projecting your photos and video onto a wall - up to 40" across.
It also boasts 12.1 MP resolution with a 5x optical zoom and up to ISO6400 sensitivity. Can't wait to see it....the Nikon S1000pj.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Nikon does it again

Recently introduced, more camera goodness to die for. Nikon has released the D300S with hi-def video similar to the D5000. The D300 is my favorite camera of all time and at $1,799.00, the D300S packs a lot more into an already terrific package.
The new D3000 offers an incredible opportunity to get into DSLR cameras with a price tag of only $599.00 including the 18-55 VR lense. Unheard of!
Check them both out here.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Online free image convertor

Got some images in one format and want them in another? Check out Convert Hub, an online image convertor that converts your images to jpg, png, gif, eps, html, ico, text, targa or tiff.
It will also resize images, flip them, rotate them or invert them. And it's all free and quick. Give it a try.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Free analytics toolkit for your photo Web site

Use Google's tools to monitor traffic and make smarter business decisions about your photography website. Get PhotoShelter's latest guide on how Google Analytics can help you succeed online.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Free Fall Photography Webinar

Bogen Imaging, Ramsey, N.J., announces a free webinar titled "Capturing the Brilliance of Fall: Roundtable with Adam Barker." Part of the company's Bogen Café series of free instructional webinars, the seminar will be held from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. EDT, on October 5th.

Three lucky winners who attend this free webinar will win one of three Prize Giveaways of the National Geographic Earth Explorer Large Shoulder Bags (NG 2477), a value of $140.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Training for $1/hour

If you would love to attend professional training workshops, but you can't get away, now there's a solution. Photovision2009 is a series of "behind the scenes" training done by some of the biggest names in portrait and studio photography. This series of DVD's captures the actual shoot with explanations by the photographers themselves. You'll also get lessons on marketing your studio, hot new gear and techniques.

Now thru 12/31/09 you can sample this training by visiting Just enter the promo code subscriber and get the first four hours of training for only $4.00.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Bizarre cameras

Just in time for your Christmas wish list, Gizmodo has assembled a list of most unusual cameras for getting that impossible shot. While we probably couldn't afford most of them, they sure would make great conversation starters.

Friday, August 21, 2009

National Geographic photo app

National Geographic has rolled out a facinating application for photographers and photo lovers. You can upload your own photos and create your own National Geographic photo gallery page. From there, you can create assorted puzzles to play online and much, much more.

Also check out where your photos and those of others make up what's known as an infinite photo - really a mosaic image made up of thousands of smaller images. Submit your photo and it could be featured as part of their next photo.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

More inspiration

SmashingApps is a website dedicated to providing free and useful resources to creative professionals. They recently posted a great collection of photos called 23 Breathtaking Moments And Ideas Captured By Photographers. Some of the photos are truly outstanding, and hopefully many will give you ideas for projects you might like to try on your own. (Be forewarned, as of this posting, some of the photos are not oriented correctly, so be prepared to tilt your head to view them.)

Friday, July 17, 2009

Ready for some hiking and shooting

Just finished packing for tomorrow's Second Annual PhotoWalk, where I and 30,000+ of my closest photographer friends will be out and about shooting millions of pictures across the world. It's not too late to join us.

You notice I packed the night before....and there's a good reason. Try as I will to take everything I think I might need, and leave everything behind that I probably wouldn't use, I'll still think of something else before I go. That way I've still got time to pack it before I walk out the door in the morning.

In the old days I packed right before leaving and invariably a couple hours later I would think of something I should have added. Back then though, I was already on the road. This works so much better.  Try it.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Hot new iPhone app

Just released, from onOne Software, an app to allow remote triggering of your Canon SLR. (Nikon shooters, hold on a little longer, that app is coming.)

From the onOne site: "DSLR Camera Remote is the next-generation cable release for your Canon EOS DSLR camera. Just connect your camera to a WiFi enabled computer and the DSLR Camera Remote software enables you to use your Apple iPhone or iPod touch to wirelessly adjust cameras settings, fire the shutter, review images, even get a live viewfinder preview. DSLR Camera Remote is a must-have for remote shooting applications like high or low angles, self portraits and children. With its advanced timers it makes remote monitoring a snap. No internet connection required!"

The app even lets you review the shot you just took, to confirm you got what you wanted.

Two versions are available - lite for $1.99 and professional for $19.99. Both are available through the iTunes Store.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Goodbye Kodachrome

All good things must come to an end. This one just took 74 years. Later this year, Kodak is discontinuing production of its original color film - Kodachrome. At EI 25, it was the slowest and best slide film I ever shot. Unfortunately, there were few places to get it processed. Right now it's down to just one.

I can still see work shot by my dad in the forties and fifties that looks great and still has great color. It's hard to say that about most other films.

Nice to know that our digital files will still look just as good 75 years from now. I just wonder what they will be stored on by then - probably something the size of a pin head.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

New Nikons coming???

According to the Nikon Rumors blog, there's a new version of my favorite, the Nikon D300 due out sometime soon. It will be the D300S. A screen shot of the new LCD screen seems to suggest it will have dual card support, for SD cards as well as the present Compact Flash. In another article on the site, it also suggests that there will be selectable histograms, for user selected parts of the image. That would certainly be most helpful. Can't wait to see it.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Parade the Circle 2009

CLEVELAND, OH -- Each year the Cleveland Art Museum sponsors a celebration of performing art called Parade the Circle. Performers start at the museum and parade around University Circle. This years event was a feast for the photographic eye and I have added some of my favorite performers here for your viewing pleasure. (Click on SLIDESHOW in the upper right of the page for easiest viewing.)

When shooting parades, I like to get down low and shoot up at the performers, or get a high vantage point and shoot down. I noticed the official Cleveland Art Museum photographer brought out a 10' foot step ladder and got all his shots from this comfortable "above-the-crowd" perch.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Free three-part webinar

liveBooks Inc. announced a free, three-part webinar series about composition with nature photographer Art Wolfe. In the "Art on Art" series, Wolfe will share insights from his 30-year career as a photographer and discuss points of view, focal lengths and lighting on June 10 at 11 a.m. PT, July 6 at 3 p.m. PT and Aug. 4 at 11 a.m. PT, respectively. There is no fee associated with the webinars; participants are asked to register by visiting liveBooks' webinar calendar and selecting the session they would like to attend.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Add a point of interest

CLEVELAND, OH -- I was recently in the Arcade with my point and shoot camera in my pocket. Realizing I didn't have any current pictures of this historic building, I decided to spend a couple minutes taking some shots. On looking at the shoot later on, I realized that my first shot was so typical of what many beginners would likely do....walk in the front door, pull out a camera and try to take as much in as possible with one shot.

Unfortunately, from my point of view, while it's a good shot from the point of symmetry, it doesn't tell much about the building's abundant use of brass everywhere. For that, you need a closeup.

By moving off to the side, and recomposing the shot, I was able to feature one of the beautiful brass light posts. You'll also notice that I'm up close enough where you can actually see much of the detail in the post.

From my perspective, I think this tells a much more compelling story of what this historic building is all about.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Camera Phones

While most serious photographers would never leave for work with just their camera-phone, it is nevertheless, a great insurance device to have along at all times. A "just so-so" image trumps no image at all, all the time.

With that in mind, and due to the overwhelming popularity of camera-phone combinations, PMA has released a guide to getting more use out of your phone's images.

Click here to download this free guide. (2MB PDF file)

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Dark Images

In our most recent poll, the most mentioned problem was dark images. This is often caused by one of three issues:
  1. The most common cause of this I believe is people using flash from too great a distance from their subject. I see this time and time again at high school sports such as basketball games. People are 100 to 200 feet away from the action and they are trying to take pictures with their small digital cameras or camera phones. Just about all digital point and shoot cameras have flashes that extend maybe 20 feet at best. The only cure for this situation is being able to change your ISO ( film speed) rating to 1600 or 3200 if your camera has that option. (Be prepared however, for some very grainy looking photos.)
  2. Shooting in one of the program modes (Program, Aperture Priority or Shutter Priority) your camera may not have a slow enough aperture/shutter combination to adequately capture the image. (i.e. the light level may call for a lense opening of f1.2 at 1/5 of a second, and if your lenses maximum opening is f5.6 and your maximum shutter speed is 1/30 of a second, you will get a dark image.) Suggested cures for this situation would include: use a flash if you are close enough to your subject or turn on more lights in the room if possible. If you are shooting with a SLR or DSLR, get a faster lense for these situations.
  3. Another situation that will always cause darker images than you expected can happen no matter what type camera you are using, and that is when you take pictures of very light colored subjects. Taking a picture of a white piece of paper (i.e. your company's letterhead) would fool the light meter in your camera. So would a beach scene with lots of white sand on a sunny day. Similarly, taking a picture of a white kitten on a white blanket will probably look very grey in your original photo. In all these cases, your light meter is expecting a subject with 50% grey tonality and it will adjust your exposure to try to deliver that image. When shooting very light scenes (without a balance of light and dark tones) anticipate the wrong reading from your camera's light meter and add exposure with your +/- exposure compensation dial if you have one. By adding one or more stops of exposure, you will overcome this problem and be much happier with your results. For those who want more precise results, use a light meter or a grey card and set your exposure manually.

Hopefully these suggestions will help solve a great majority of the "dark image" problems so many of your were experiencing.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Hot off the press

More opportunities for inspiration. This time from the pros at the New York Times. Just released, a new blog of the New York Times photographers and videographers. Check it out here:

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

It's National Photography Month

Every year, the Photo Marketing Association celebrates May as National Photo Month. It's a time to start taking photos and to start doing something with all those digital files you've got sitting around.

To help the effort, PMA has put together some guides that cover a variety of topics. Today's guide covers camera selections, how to improve your shooting angle, how many pixels does it take to print an 8x10, and much more.

Click here to download your free guide. It's a 5.7 MB download. Enjoy.

Come back later this month for a guide to cell phone photgraphy.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Nikon sweeps European awards

Nikon announced that the Technical Image Press Association has bestowed their 2009 honors for Best Professional DSLR and best Advanced DSLR to the D3X and D90.

The D3X is phenomenal in low light with its large, full-frame sensor. Low noise at low light levels is its claim to fame.

The D90 has the same great response from its CMOS sensor as the D300, but at a much lower price. The D90 also has the advantage of offering high resolution video capabilities - the first in Nikon's line of SLR's.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Getting a grip on telephoto shots

Let's say you are going "big game" hunting and you need your longest telephoto. Camera shake is the bane of telephoto photography, so anything that can steady your "shot" would be most welcome.

Enter the Tactical Camera Assault Long Range Stock. Slap this accessory on your SLR and benefit from it's ergonomic bracing capability.

It's not something you'll find in your local Ritz Camera store. Want to see it in action? Visit the official website at

Friday, May 8, 2009

Landscape inspiration

Columbia Station, OH -- Sometimes you run across a collection of photos that just bowls you over. Such is this collection at Landscapes 2.0. Incredible work from around the world by a large group of phototographers. Most of these are great examples of HDR photography, which we'll discuss in the future.

Being at the right place at the right time, when the light is right and the planets align....that's when you can get photos like these. Oh yeah, one other thing, make sure you have your camera and tripod with you!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Forget mega pixels - how about giga pixels?

Columbia Station, OH -- I was talking to someone today about the giga-pixel image taken at Barack Obama's inauguration. The picture was taken by David Bergman from the official press core stand along side the capital. If you haven't seen it, it's worth a click here to take a look. From an extremely wide angle, you are able to zoom in to amazing closeup detail.

In the fourth row, directly behind the president, you can see Hilary taking a short cat nap. Further back, look at the number of congressman taking digital pictures of the event. You can see others checking their Blackberries.

The news now is that the manufacturer, GigaPan Systems, is now out with their second model, the GigaPan Epic 100. With this new model, larger cameras can be used, not just point and shoots.

The Epic 100 can accomodate Nikon D40, D60, D80 and the D90, as well as Canon Rebel 400D plus many others of similar size. The astounding part to me, is that it sells for only $449.00, including the stitching software. You can spend that amount for stitching software elsewhere and not get any hardware included, so I think that price is a steal.

Now I'm looking for that "just right" project to pick one up. (Send in your suggestions.)

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Get down

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO. -- I'm here in Colorado Springs on a commercial assignment. Yesterday I had the chance to visit the US Air Force Cadet Chapel again. I was looking for a different way to shoot a subject I've shot many times before. Remembering a time-tested formula, I just dropped to the floor and shot from an ant's perspective.

All my other past images were from standard eye height. Literally putting my camera on the floor gave me a couple advantages.

First, having it rest right on the floor eliminated the need for a tripod. I was able to brace the body on the floor. I clenched a fist and held the lense tight against it to elevate the front of the camera just slightly.

Having a steady platform is essential for getting sharp images in low light situations and believe me, this was low light.

Secondly, I gained a great reflective image in the foreground by being so close to the floor. I obviously lost some height by aiming lower, but I consider this a worthwhile tradeoff.

In most any situation, you'll be surprised by the interesting new perspective of shooting from ground level. Give it a try.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Got photos? Got lenses? Got the photography or video bug? Got milk? If you've got at least three of the four, you've come to the right place.

If you can't stop shooting... if you want your images to do more than fill your harddrive... if you want to have more fun while reading fewer manuals - you've come to the right place.

In the weeks to come, I'll be sharing the wealth of information available for photographers and videographers who want to do more than take an occassional birthday shot. I'll be covering industry news, gear and accessories, new product introductions and even events where you can improve your skill or get inspired. In short, if I think it might be helpful, I'll be including it here.

This isn't a beginning photographer's blog, but we aren't aiming for the professionals either. You know who you are - the non-professionals who strive to make your shots every bit as good as the professionals do. That's not too much to expect, and you've arrived at the right place. I'll try to help you meet that goal. So let's dive in....

If you take hundreds of photos per shoot, invariably you'll have lots of reviewing to do selecting the keepers. Keeping every shot you take can fill your hard drive in no time. While disk space is getting cheaper all the time, it still makes sense to keep your archive down to a manageable size. I've tried numerous software tools to review my days shoot, grading them as keepers or not. My hands-down favorite tool for the job is Adobe Lightroom version 2.

Lightroom version 1 was good, but it really came alive with version 2. If you haven't upgraded, you'll be glad you did. If you've never even tried Lightroom, download the free 30 day trial version from Adobe. If you have version 2 already, be aware they have released version 2.3, available now as a free upgrade for version 2 users.

Speaking of hard drive space, you can't have too much storage. No matter what you have now, it tends to grow exponentially. I've tried many hard drive brands over the years (they all will fail eventually) but my choice now for best value and dependability is Iomega brand drives. They offer a great small form, metal cased unit that's great for backups while traveling.
I'd also suggest signing up for their newsletter. You'll get probably one email a week but that's the only way you'll see some really incredible sale items. I recently just bought three 1.25 Terrabyte drives from them for a mere $159.00 each. They work great, look good and bring storage prices down to an amazing 7.8 gigabytes for only $1.00.
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