• add-as-friend-700x420

    Should You “Friend” Your Clients?

    Mar 28 • Photography • 65 Views

    Most photographers I know have a social presence somewhere online and they should. After all a good way for people to find you is to display your work and hope others take notice of your talents.

    But let’s focus on Facebook for a minute since a recent discussion came up on a particular group on whether or not it’s a good idea to “Friend” your clients.

    For me personally I am on the side that business and clients need not mix with my person life unless I was already friends with the client before hand. On the opposite end of the spectrum some photographers believe that becoming friends with their clients creates an “open book” type of attitude.

    Here’s my personal belief behind not accepting friend requests from clients I’ve just started with working with and it boils down to boundaries.

    A friend who becomes a client is someone you have already established a report with and will often understand where your boundaries are and if they cross the lines you can let them know to back off while still maintaining that friendship. Hopefully.

    Where as a client is someone who you are beginning to establish a report with and their rules of your boundaries may not be 100% clear to them.

    For example the few photographers that I know who do accept friend requests from clients usually do it so the client can tag their photos. But in some cases since the client is a paying customer and are now listed as your “friend” on Facebook they can also see how much time you are spending online during your personal hours.

    In many cases I have seen several examples where clients point blankly ask the photographer they became “friends” with why they are playing around online and not editing their photos.

    Now I’m a friendly easy going guy but if I had a client who I accepted a friend request from chide me for posting stuff on Facebook during my personal hours when they think I should be editing every time I sit behind a computer. Then I’ll kindly remind them that I have a life outside of photography and then quickly find the “delete this friend” option.

    So how I operate is I let all new clients know where they can find my Facebook photography page and tell them I’ll be posting “teaser shots” at my business page.

    By doing so I keep my clients centralized from my personal life.

    But let’s say you still are OK with having an open book policy and want to be able to have your clients as your Facebook friends but you don’t want them seeing your dirty laundry so to speak.

    That’s where the Facebook lists come into play.

    When a client sends you a friend requests you can click:

    • Add friend
    • The hover over the friend request sent box
    • The select the list you want to add them to

    Since Facebook already has an Acquaintances list by default that’s the one I use.

    Now to manage what your new listed friend can see scroll down the left side of the screen and find the little area marked Friends and click on the grey text that says “Friends.”

    Once there you’ll see at the very bottom of the menu you are presented with is a link marked “Restricted” and that’s where you want to put your new client-friend.

    The beauty of the restricted list is that your client will only see posts from you that are marked as “public” and nothing else.

    They won’t know they’re in a restricted list or that you’re surfing Facebook and sharing what you and your family are doing for the weekend unless you set your posts to “Public” share.

    Now you won’t have to worry about insulting a client by ignoring their friend requests or by posting your personal life and them wondering when you’re going to quit playing around and get back to editing their pictures.

    So how many of you accept friend requests from clients? Why or why not?



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  • new-year-15

    New Year Brings New Changes for iHeartPhotos!

    Mar 27 • Photography • 47 Views

    Spring is finally here!

    During the winter months I tend to go into hibernation mode and do very little when it comes to my photography business. I’m not just a fan of the cold in any form or manner.

    Our Facebook community over the last year has grown to over 3,000 people! While I love seeing these numbers I have to say because of Facebook’s recent page policies the reach to the community isn’t there anymore.

    I do not have the funding to boost every post on the page and as such the post reach to the members just isn’t there. To hopefully curb this effect and generate a more active community I’ve created a newly established Facebook group which is open to the public for right now located here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/iheartphotos/

    I am still experimenting with Instagram and Twitter to determine if having all 3 is necessary or not.

    We have a new look!

    As you may have noticed the website has a new look!

    While the last theme was working fine it always felt clunky to me and I felt it didn’t flow the way I wanted it to. Since updating the theme the load time on this site has become a lot faster. Also the flow and feel of the site feel more in alignment with what I was going for in a photography blog.

    I have noticed that my last post was made back in November of last year. I typically do not publish on a consistent basis but that kind of time lapse is quite extensive so I’ve put in plans to have a publishing schedule created so I’m at least putting out a new article every two weeks.

    Also you’ll notice in the sidebar there is now a signup form to join the mailing list I’ve put together. This will allow you to get all new articles delivered directly to your inbox which can be quite convenient for those of you are always on the go.

    The mailer is also where I’ll be announcing competitions and hosting contest signups and will only be exclusive to those who are on the mailing list.

    As the months press on and the weather warms my photography business begins to pick up but I have to very large goals I’d like to accomplish this year and that’s finishing my first photography eBook and creating a special video collection just for members only.

    During this time several behind the scenes actions will be taking place here but even so, my intent to deliver quality content will to you hasn’t changed. If I feel it’s worth writing about and will provide you value I’ll make it happen.

    Here’s to a prosperous new year and always keep on shooting!


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  • stop

    5 Things Photographers Wish Clients Would Quit Doing

    Nov 19 • Articles, Photography • 1993 Views

    Photography can be a funny business.

    It is the only business that I know of where you can invest lots of money into equipment, gear, and training, and people will still ask you to do free stuff for them because your camera takes better pictures.

    Now, while I don’t mind working for free on occasions and for a very select few people that I”m closely related to the last thing I want to do is trade my skills and time for no compensation.

    When was the last time you asked your doctor to do a checkup for free? How about asking a lawyer to take a case for free because it would give him good publicity?

    That brings me to the first thing that annoys most photographers…

    1.) Quit Asking Us To Work For Free!

    As I mentioned only a very select few am I willing to work for free but when a friend of a friend comes calling and wants a deeply discounted rate or freebie because they think it’ll help my portfolio. No thanks!

    Most of us would rather wait for a paying customer to come along so we can spend our time and energy on delivering our best work and getting paid for it. Your freebie best friend doesn’t put food on my plate no matter how good they look sitting in my portfolio.

    2.) Quit Complementing Our Cameras Ability To Take Great Shots.

    Ever approached a well renowned chef and said “That food was delicious. You must have a really great stove!” If yes then kudos and also you may want to avoid eating there ever again.

    Just because a photographer has a nice camera doesn’t mean the camera is the only reason they are able to produce nice shots. It takes practice and training and trial and error over and over again to develop the skill to create and produce beautiful images.

    3.) Quit Asking For Our Raw Files.

    Unless you and your photographer worked out some special agreement please quit asking for the raw unfinished files.

    Photographers work at creating their “image” as a photographer by creating finished products which are the processed photos. You can read more on why I and many others won’t give out our raw images here: Raw Files

    4.) Not Giving Credit Where It’s Due

    Want to know a quick way to annoy a photographer? Upload a “teaser” image or other image directly to social media such as Facebook and remove any credit attributes.

    Also cropping the photo to remove any watermarks so you can print out a copy for your friends is a sure fire way to annoy the photographer who worked so hard on your images.

    Plus under U.S. Copyright law this can lead to legal consequences.

    5.) Bringing Extra People To The Session

    Never, never, bring extra people to a photo session without asking for permission first!

    On more than one occasion I have arrived at a photo shoot for two people and ended up having a group of 4 or more and the client asking me if it’s a problem when I arrive.

    The answer is yes.

    As photographers we like to plan out our sessions so before we arrive we have a good idea in our heads how we would like things to work and play out.

    On top of that it may also be a breach of contract. Often times prices vary but are usually done by headcount so if you invite way more people than were discussed one of two things will happen:

    1.) The photographer will take the photos and work through it but probably charge you for the extra people showing up.

    2.) They’ll cancel the session since you breached the agreed to terms.

    Just to be clear I’m referring to people wanting to be photographed. This point has nothing to do with family or friends off to the side for security or support reasons.

    Have you as a photographer ran into the above issues? Have you as a client been guilty of doing anything above? Let me know in the comments section below!

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  • photography

    9 Photography Tips For Beginners

    Nov 13 • Photo Basics, Photography • 915 Views

    When I first started doing photography I shot everything in film. Nowadays I shoot digital only.

    While I believe each medium holds a special place in the realm of photography there are some key aspects I’ve learned along the way and these are my photography tips for beginners just starting out or just wanting to up their skill set a little more.

    1.) Clipping and Cropping

    When you’re composing a picture especially one that has subjects such as people in it you need to be mindful of their body parts. Great pictures can easily be ruined by not paying attention to how you’ve framed your subjects.

    You want to ensure that when you have your subjects framed that you aren’t cutting off the tops of their heads or their arms, hands, and elbows. Just take a quick moment to look at all 4 corners in your view finder before firing off your first click.

    This will force you to slow down and allow you to see if any adjustments need to be made.

    2.) Learn To Use Ambient and Natural Light Sources

    You may have heard photographers talk about the “Golden” or “Magic” hour times of day. There’s a good reason for that and that’s because during the early sunrise and sunset the light of the sun is at its softest.

    Soft light removes harsh contrasting shadows and creates an appealing warm glow to the surrounding environment.

    You’ll want to avoid shooting at times when the sun is at its highest peak like high noon or when it is directly overhead.

    When you start realizing where shadows fall on people or the environment you’re photographing you’ll begin to see how they can be used to your advantage. You may find yourself suddenly looking around at different times of day and thinking “That light is perfect for a photo!”

    3.) Use Automatic Mode ( Just don’t stop there)

    For some reason automatic mode gets a bad rap by many photographers but when you’re just starting out there is nothing wrong with working in “Auto” mode. Many DSLR cameras can be quite overwhelming for new users with all the new available modes and options.

    The idea is to get to know your camera first and then start working in the other modes and learning what each and everyone of them do.

    If you stick to auto mode only you will probably never be able to truly appreciate the full functions your camera can offer you.

    Which brings me to…

    4.) Learn How To Shoot In Manual Mode

    When you take the time to learn how to shoot in manual mode you’ll start asking yourself why you didn’t start sooner!

    Manual mode affords you so many flexible controls and options and puts you in charge of how your camera should take the photograph instead of the camera telling you what it “thinks” is the best mode.

    5.) Share Your Passion for Photography

    Find someone who shares the same passion as you when it comes to photography and help each other grow as photographers.

    I met a now good friend of mine because I offered to do a free photo session and she said she was interested in photography and wanted to get a little more serious about it. I never met her or worked with her before but we clicked because of our passion and shared interest of photography.

    I handed her my Canon Rebel T4i (at the time) and said have at it.

    She’s now been published at least 3 times I believe and is currently working at a portrait studio as a full time photographer and loving her new job.

    Having someone who asks questions and likes to talk shop about something you love just as much only helps to motivate and push you forward.

    6.) Ask For Feedback

    Never let someone who criticizes your work discourage you from becoming the photographer you want to be. You are going to run into people who mean well and offer constructive criticism and you are going to run into people who are just rude.

    Some of my harshest critics have been friends and family members but I ask them to be honest with me because if they’re not I’ll never learn on where I need to grow. My grandma is an artist and has been for many years and can skillfully compose a scene through her talents. Through her skill set she offers constructive criticism that has only helped better my photos.

    7.) Be Confident and Own It!

    The very first paid photo session I ever booked ended up bringing me two more new clients. Why? Because I worked the camera like I belonged behind it.

    When you’re ready to book your first client you should be able to do the same thing. You may fumble initially or you may flow without an issue but with enough confidence I can almost guarantee you’ll eventually find your stride and you’ll know it.

    Confidence is the key and clients CAN tell if you aren’t fully confident in your abilities as a photographer. Sometimes the old mantra “Fake it till you make it” can have more power than you realize.

    If you find yourself fumbling around or getting a bit nervous just take a few deep breaths and slow down.

    Remember the people already standing in front of your camera believe you are confident and competent enough to get them the photos they are looking for so use their confidence in you to power your own confidence!

    8.) Enjoy It and Just Relax

    Seriously. Just. Enjoy it and relax.

    If you aren’t having fun or looking forward to every time you pick up your camera then a temporary break from photography or a change of subjects may be needed.

    You should enjoy creating photographs not dreading it.

    9.) Never. Stop. Learning!

    Artists from Composers to Photographers study masters of the past and current times.

    With the current advantages of technology we have today there is no reason to never stop learning on how to better yourself as a photographer.

    With literally thousands of tutorials available on Lynda, YouTube, Webinars, and other various sites you should be looking for ways to constantly improve your skill set.

    Not a fan of sitting in front of a computer to learn new stuff? Attend a photography workshop in your area or if you can afford it travel to conventions that specialize in bringing in well known photographers who offer workshops.

    Resources like Amazon.com also offer tons of eBooks and hardback books on the many, many, areas of photography.

    The key takeaway is to be who YOU want to be as a photographer.

    Do you have some beginner photography tips that you’d like to share with our audience? Feel free to leave your tips in the comment section below!

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  • lr_5

    Easily Create Your Own Lightroom Presets

    Oct 28 • Lightroom, Tutorials • 764 Views

    Lightroom is one of the tools I use almost 90% of the time when it comes to post processing work. I use Lightroom in combination with Photoshop because of its convenient features and ability to create workflow methods that just work really well.

    Lightroom will run you about $80-$100 dollars on average but the investment is seriously worth it if you are doing any kind of paid work or even a hobbyist who’s thinking of taking on paid gigs.

    I don’t recommend a lot of software but Adobe Photoshop Lightroom is one worth recommending. If you already have Photoshop or even Photoshop Elements then technically you have the tools you need in most cases. But your workflow may be suffering because of the sometimes clunky and cumbersome back and forth between edits.

    But one of the many great features in Lightroom is the ability to use presets. Presets are basically “one click” settings that allow you to instantly adjust one or all your photos all at the same time with a single click.

    Creating presets is a lot easier than it looks but finding the proper settings and a good balance that enhance your photos can be somewhat tricky starting out.

    How To Create Your Own Lightroom Preset

    Open a photo you want to edit and switch over to “Develop” mode and make your adjustments such as exposure, color, tone, and so on. Every adjustment you make can be selected or de-selected when it comes time to creating your preset.

    Now once you have made all your adjustments open up the left hand panel menu and go to the “Presets” section and click the “+” symbol


    Then you’ll be presented with this screen where you can select what all edits your soon to be custom preset will contain:


    Once you have everything you want to include selected just click “Create” and your new preset will automatically be added to the Presets menu.


    Now it’s time to try it out so using an image I took a couple of weeks ago I’ll show you the before and after using my newly created preset.

    Before Preset


    After Preset


    Now I can apply this effect to any image I choose with just a single click of a button now. However since not every image is exposed the same or processed the same you will often have to make minor tweaks and adjustments but you’ll find that having presets can greatly increase your workflow.

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  • Louis Daguerre

    The History Of Louis Daguerre, The Magician

    Oct 21 • Articles, Photography • 2773 Views

    On August 19, 1839 Louis Daguerre invited members of the French arts and science academies to his studio, where he showed them images from the photographic technique he had discovered.Louis_Daguerre

    These pictures, taken with a sliding wooden box camera made by two Parisian opticians, were described as being ‘almost miraculous’, earning him the title of officer in the Legion of Honor, and at the same time, irrevocably changing the way the visual arts were represented.

    From the first moment, photography had a dual character. The painter Paul Delaroche was prompted to declare, ‘From today painting is dead.’

    Daguerre was the first to find a practical means of capturing the transient image. His breakthrough was not only due to his own tenacity but also to the painstaking research and experiments of others, especially his partner of four years Joseph Nicephore Niépce.

    Illusioniste extrordinare

    Born in Cormeilles-en-Parisis in the north of France in 1787, Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre served an apprenticeship in architecture, panoramic painting and theater design. He excelled at theatrical illusion, using trompe l’oeil effects (optical illusions), and was highly acclaimed as a theater designer, achieving fame for the sunlit stage he painted in 1822 for the Paris Opera production of Aladdin. Later that year he produced his first diorama.

    This visual enchantment opened in a purpose-built theater in Paris, and created the ultimate sensation for audiences. It involved illuminating a romantic, painted scene, such as a mountain view or city street, which would change, either subtly or dramatically, by the manipulation of sunlight through skylights, shutters, screens and colored blinds.

    His ‘Midnight Mass’ of 1833, for example, opened on the scene of an empty cathedral, where the daylight slowly faded and the sun set, candles were lit, and worshipers filled the place. The organ played a Haydn Mass, then the congregation left, the candles were extinguished and the cathedral appeared empty again. One reviewer remarked, ‘This was magic.’

    It was an age when art and science were often to meet, sometimes clashing. Art was becoming commercialized, and increasingly embracing artificial and mechanical means.

    Daguerre, in his diorama, which he named ‘The Hall of Miracles’, used the camera obscura as a tool to display scenes that created the illusion of three dimensions, and simulated day passing into night, changes of weather, and even a sense of movement. The diorama was a giant machine that created illusions designed to enthrall the audience and fill them with wonderment.

    Both the highly sophisticated mobile lighting system that drew on the latest advances in the science of optics, and the platform for the audience that swung around to give them two, or sometimes three separate views, were very cleverly contrived mechanical devices.

    In his book The Romantic Machine, John Tresch relates how one member of the audience reacted, “Even in the front row ‘using the best opera-glasses’ it was impossible to distinguish between real objects and simulations.” Tresch goes on to mention the response to Daguerre’s Mont blanc diorama in the journal L’artiste where one of the aesthetic idealists of the day reasoned that:

    true art must avoid the artificial and mechanical: “Should one blame or should one praise M. Daguerre for…adding to the means which painting gave him, artificial and mechanical means, properly speaking?”

    but Tresch adds, “Yet others rushed to praise Daguerre as simultaneously an artist, a scientist, and a magician.”

    Clearly, Daguerre’s interest in photography was an extension of his theatrical work as a commercial artist in the Hall of Miracles, and Tresch points out the similarity between them:

    The diorama and the daguerreotype were seen simultaneously as magical spectacles and as realistic inscriptions of the external world. Their ‘mechanical’ aspect was a source of both trepidation and wonder.[*]

    Daguerreotype-CameraEra of the daguerreotype

    When Daguerre heard about the work of his fellow Frenchman Nicephore Niépce from the Chevalier opticians, his curiosity was naturally aroused. Loathe to share his hard-won knowledge, however, Niépce was slow to respond to Daguerre’s requests for a meeting.

    Only when Niépce realized that he could no longer financially support his research, did he finally agree to meet Daguerre.

    The two inventors formed a partnership in 1929, working to improve the techniques Niépce had already acquired over several years.

    At this point, Niépce could produce a positive image from a box camera that was permanent, but needed exposure times of eight hours or longer.

    When he died prematurely in 1833, the partners had still not overcome this obstacle but Daguerre had gleaned sufficient knowledge to eventually succeed in this aim. Like Niépce, he treated silver-plated copper sheets with iodide.

    The breakthrough came when Daguerre introduced mercury vapor to “develop” the image, reducing the exposure time to a few minutes. A salt solution then served to stabilize the image by removing the remaining iodide. On seeing the image, the subject of which is unknown, Daguerre exclaimed, “I have seized the light; I have arrested its flight!”

    The era of the daguerreotype had begun.

    The French Government purchased the rights to Daguerre’s invention and published an instruction manual as a “gift to the world”; granting both Daguerre and Isadore, Niépce’s son, a life pension.

    In the same year as the daguerreotype appeared, Sir John Herschel introduced into the English language the word “photography”, based on the Greek “photos” (light) and “graphe” (drawing). By 1840, further refinements to the daguerreotype quickly led to a raging fashion in portrait photography.

    Painted portraits had always been the preserve of the wealthy, but the daguerreotype was available to almost anyone wishing to have their “likeness” taken at the professional studios that sprang up in nearly every town across Europe and America.

    The daguerreotypist presented the sitter with a finished daguerreotype portrait covered by a sheet of protective glass, mounted in a decorative frame and placed inside a leather-bound case. Millions of these were sold over the next 20 years.

    Competition across the Channel

    When, on the other side of the English Channel, William Fox Talbot heard of the daguerreotype, he rushed to complete his calotype process, beginning to patent it in 1841. The calotype was quite different from the daguerreotype, as it used positive and negative images that contrasted with the sharp and finally detailed daguerreotype on a metal plate, giving a softer image on paper.

    But Fox Talbot was at a disadvantage because the French Government had made Daguerre’s method freely available and that made calotype licenses difficult to sell. However, Fox Talbot’s system was eventually to supersede the daguerreotype and directly lead to film photography.

    Nonetheless, with their own unique quality and sometimes beauty, surviving daguerreotypes are highly prized today. In fact, a few enthusiasts still use the process, and The Daguerreian Society, which is “dedicated to the history, science, and art of the daguerreotype” unites a strong band of followers in their appreciation of the distinctive daguerreotype.


    [*] John Tersch (2012) The Romantic Machine: Utopian Science and Technology After Napoleon, University of Chicago Press, p.140.

    (This article is part two of a two part series to read the first article click here to read about: The History Of Joseph Niepce And The Camera Obscura)

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  • shy-woman

    3 Ways To Deal With Camera Shy Clients

    Oct 17 • Articles, Photography • 657 Views

    Do you ever have those days when you’re doing a photo shoot and no matter what you do things just don’t seem to be going the way they should?

    You just can’t figure out what’s going on or why? Maybe you yourself are having a rough day or the model your working with who says she knows how to “model” can’t pose without being spoon-fed directions.

    A friend of mine recently contacted me to vent about one of her photos shoots that upset her because of how it played out. She was offering a TFP (Trade for portfolio) session to someone who wanted to do vintage type shots. The model said she was familiar with posing but when she came on set she had no idea how to pose properly for the shots that she wanted.

    More than once the model had to be told to smile and the one smile she was able to capture wasn’t a very endearing one. The remaining photos also had no smiles which made the model look like angry.

    Of course the model wasn’t happy with my friend because all of her pictures looked “angry” despite repeated attempts to coax her to smile.

    One thing my friend couldn’t figure out was why this person refused to cooperate with her when the model was the one that reached out to her in the first place.

    Dealing With Camera Shy Clients

    This made me think about what I call the Photographer-Camera-Model Barrier or (PCM Barrier) and the basis of it is when the person your working with sees you bring a camera up to eye level they no longer see as a person but just a floating camera giving them directions.

    This barrier can feel like a continental divide to some of your subjects making them uneasy when they were fine moments before. Anyone that has worked behind a camera long enough eventually sees it in the fake smiles and the uncomfortable grimace on faces of those who just can’t seem to relax.

    But there are techniques that you can use to help break down this barrier and become less of a floating camera figure head and take control of your set such as:

    1.) Get To Know The Person

    One of the best techniques I like to use is just to put the camera down and find out more about the person I’m working with. When I meet people for the first time I like to get to know them by finding out what their hobbies and interests are.

    This helps break the ice between you and the client.

    Finding The Inner Happy Place

    I’ve found that when a person is refusing to smile or struggling to smile for whatever reason I ask them to close their eyes and pick a special moment in their life that meant the most to them. I ask them to think about how happy they were that day and the joy it made them feel.

    Usually they’ll start to smile on their own and that’s when I would have them open their eyes and snap a few shots.

    Boom! The ice just got broke!

    2.) Get Ridiculous On Set (Within Reason)

    Another fun technique is just to get ridiculous with your session. You need to have fun on set if you need your clients to be smiling and happy. Children and older people can sometimes be the hardest people to make smile.

    Children usually don’t want to sit still or listen to some stranger give them directions while older adults are sometimes more reluctant to smile as well for the same reasons.

    Puppets To The Rescue

    Puppet’s can be the best friend of a photographer who has to capture children smiling all day.Those same puppets though work just as well on a 90 year old man!

    Why does it work?

    Because it’s ridiculous and silly. But laughter and smiling is contagious and when you’re having fun so are they.

    3.) Ask The Client To Do Silly Stuff

    This last method is a little tricky because it depends on how well you’re able to get the client to relax. A client who refuses to cooperate with any instructions will certainly refuse trying a few of these methods.

    Intently Stare At The Camera

    This method is a fun one to do if pulled off correctly. Have your client stare at your camera with serious intent and tell them they can’t smile at all. Not a single crack of smile. Then tell them they need to more intense but no smiling! Keep telling them it needs to be even more intense until you find a good point to throw in a joke that’ll make them smile and laugh naturally.

    Overdo It All

    Ask your client to make the biggest fake smile they can muster. Then have them make an angry face, then a sad face, then a happy face again. Eventually you’ll find them laughing at the silliness of your requests and their willingness to do it that their natural smile breaks through.

    What Works For You?

    Now I know these techniques won’t work for everyone nor every client. They are just small little stepping stones in the hopes that you find some tidbit of information useful to make your next tough session a little less tough.

    What have you found to work the best for you when dealing with camera shy clients?

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  • joseph_nicephore_niepce

    The History Of Joseph Niepce And The Camera Obscura

    Oct 15 • Articles, Photography • 938 Views

    Today’s article is a special one as it delves into the history of Joseph Niepce the inventor of the Camera Obscura. Joseph was a pioneer in his time and his inventions helped push the art of photography to the forefront.

    A Look At The Camera obscura – the first camera

    Photography, although introduced in the 19th century, has its origins much further back. Cameras evolved from the camera obscura (a Latin term meaning ‘dark chamber’), which is a darkened room or box used as an optical device, with a pinhole or lens, that projects an image of the scene outside onto a flat surface.

    The oldest surviving records of the principles behind the camera obscura, sometimes also known as the pinhole camera, are from the Chinese philosopher Mozi in the 5th century BCE and the Greek philosopher Aristotle, a century later.

    Various other scholars and scientists, mainly Greek, pursued this fascinating study over the following centuries, noting their observations on the science of optics, which relates to the eye and seeing.

    Then came the medieval physicist, astronomer and mathematician Ibn al-Haytham, also known as Alhazen, who conducted his research first in Basra, then Cairo. He understood the linear nature of light, and was the first to describe how to view a solar eclipse using a camera obscura.

    He also explained that the projected image made by the camera obscura is always upside down because the rays of light cross at the aperture.

    When the work of Alhazen, who became known as the ‘father of optics’, was translated into Latin, it became accessible to Europeans, including Leonardo da Vinci, who published a clear description of the camera obscura in the early 16th century, The optical device subsequently gained sophistication with fine lenses and angled mirrors, casting a crisp clear image that could easily be traced.

    Since the Renaissance, painters had sought to accurately capture in the finest detail the pageant of subjects and scenes that the light revealed, and so began to seek a mechanical means of doing so, some using the projected image from the camera obscura to trace a scene, and thereby reproduce the fleeting ‘light painting’ more accurately, even though this was considered as cheating. The camera, however, was finally to fix the image.

    Niépce – an inventor in the making

    Joseph Nicephore Niepce

    Joseph Niepce 1765-1833

    It was the destiny of Joseph Nicephore Niépce to produce the first permanent image. Before turning his hand to photography, however, Niépce, born in 1765, had led a life of varied pursuits that were not without drama: first, as an escapee from the ravages of the French Revolution, then as a science professor, a staff officer under Napoleon, as district Administrator for Nice, and finally as a gentleman farmer at his family estates in the Loire Valley.

    No doubt, all these experiences contributed in shaping Niépce the inventor.

    In 1807, Joseph Niépce and his brother Claude invented an internal combustion engine that ran on powdered fuel, naming it the pyréolophore, Claude headed for Paris to try and generate interest in the invention, and Joseph stayed behind. Soon after, Joseph Niépce developed a keen interest in lithography, a method of printing using stone that was popular among artists at the time, and which involved etching an image on a smooth limestone plate.

    Lacking the ability to draw, however, Niépce had to rely on his son, Isadore, to provide the designs for the lithographs; and when, in 1814, Isadore left to join Napoleon’s army and fight at Waterloo, Niépce’s ingenuity came into play.

    Painting with light

    Seeking a mechanical means to reproduce images, Niépce turned to the camera obscura, which was already being used to project pictures onto paper, and struggled to perfect a primitive form of photo-lithography.

    Aware of the advances already made with photo chemical drawing, Niépce aimed to create plates that could be inked and printed to produce accurate reproductions of original engravings or drawings. Knowing, at the same time, that silver salts darkened when exposed to light, as the German inventor J. H. Schulze had observed in the previous century, Niépce began to research the use of light sensitive substances.

    In 1816 he partially succeeded in capturing the view from his window through the camera obscura on paper that was sensitized with silver chloride, naming this process ‘heliography’, which means ‘sun painting’.

    Heliograph equipment.

    Heliograph equipment.

    Using heliography, Niépce then worked on reproducing drawings and engravings on to glass or metal plates, using negative and positive images, and finding copper and pewter best suited to this.

    When he later abandoned pewter plates in favor of silver-plated sheets of copper, and used the vapor from heated iodine crystals to darken the silver and heighten contrast, he discovered that the vapor reacted with the silver coating to produce silver iodide, a light sensitive compound.

    This method was to influence Louis Daguerre’s highly successful mercury vapor development process.

    In 1822, after introducing bitumen of Judea – a naturally occuring asphalt used in lithography that hardens on exposure to light – Niépce succeeded in obtaining a permanent photographic copy of an engraving superimposed on glass. By using this process, Niépce realized how he could produce a positive image inside a camera to capture the image.

    This he did, after further experimentation, on a summer’s day in 1827, using a camera obscura, professionally made by the famed Parisian opticians Charles and Vincent Chevalier.

    Niépce reproduced the view from his window after an exposure time in the camera of eight hours, or possibly longer, and not only succeeded in capturing the image, but unlike in his previous attempts, the image of this view from nature did not fade.

    He had again used bitumen of Judea as the light-sensitive substance, replacing the silver chloride used in his 1816 experiment, dissolving it in lavender oil, and applying it to a polished sheet of pewter. The exposure time was too long for this method to be very practical, however, so Niépce set himself to task once again.


    Louis Daguerre 1787-1851

    Two Frenchmen with a mission

    Meanwhile, Louis Daguerre, who later sprung to fame with his daguerreotype, and had made his own attempts himself to fix images on silver chloride paper, learned of Niépce’s success from the Chevaliers. Daguerre requested a meeting with Niépce several times before the latter would consent, and they finally met in Paris in 1827.

    At around the same time, Niépce discovered that his brother Claude, who was in London trying to attract support for the pyréolophore invention, had become mentally ill, squandering much of his family’s wealth.

    Niépce therefore had to overcome his reluctance to reveal the details of his invention, being in dire need of funds to continue his work. Niépce signed an agreement with Daguerre in December 1829 for a ten-year partnership between the two inventors.

    They planned to perfect Niépce’s invention and share the profits equally. Unfortunately, Niépce died in 1833, before they had seen results. Daguerre’s persistence, however, was to ensure that he achieved their shared ambition shortly after.


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  • godaddy-smugmug

    How To Connect Your GoDaddy Domain Name To SmugMug

    Sep 25 • Tutorials • 924 Views

    This tutorial is designed to help you connect / point your GoDaddy domain name or CNAME to SmugMug which will allow you to use your own personal domain name instead of the default SmugMug domain name which looks like this: username.smugmug.com

    I decided to write this tutorial because honestly I feel SmugMug fell a little flat on their help page which offers very little useful information so I’m hoping this tutorial will fill the gap.

    I have done my very best to make this as simple as possible while detailing as much as possible. I know it may look overwhelming to some but trust me once you do it once you’ll be able to repeat over and over and again without the need for a tutorial.

    Two items you’ll need for this tutorial are:

    A SmugMug Account: Sign Up Here

    A Domain Name from GoDaddy: Find A Domain Name

    Step 1: Verify Nameservers

    After you have purchased your domain name it can take a few hours to a few days for everything to become fully operational but with GoDaddy things do seem to work pretty quickly.

    Most new domain names will already have default namerserver addresses setup but you can verify which address it is pointing to by clicking the domain name which will launch you into “Domain Details” and on the third line down your name servers should be set to:


    If your Namservers show something different just click the “Manage” link and update the address with the address shown above. Nameservers usually take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 days to become fully operational.

    Step 2: Change your GoDaddy CNAME

    To change your Godaddy CNAME you’ll need to go into your “DNS Zone File” section. You’ll find this tab just above the words that read “Domain Settings.”

    In the DNS Zone File tab your screen should look something like:


    Scroll down the page until you get to area marked CName (Alias) that will look like this:


    Click the pen and pad looking icon on the far right of the “www” line that will allow you to edit the CName record and a new window should popup asking you where to point the new record:


    Your Zone Record settings should like the ones listed in the image above and then click Finish to save the record details.

    Step 3: Forward Your Domain Name

    Once your new Zone Record is setup you have successfully updated your CName and now you need to forward your domain name so that it will connect with SmugMug.

    To do this go back to your settings tab from before where you verified your Nameservers and scroll down to the “Forwarding” section and click “Manage” under the “Domain:” section:


    Click “Add Forwarding”


    Then enter your domain name into the field as shown and click Add:


    Step 5: Update SmugMug Account

    You now need to log into your SmugMug account and update your records to reflect the changes you’ve made so everything will connect nicely.

    To do this you just need to go to: Me>Account> and scroll down to Custom Domain and change it to reflect your domain name:


    Click Save & Exit on the upper right hand corner and your domain name and SmugMug account are now linked.

    Note From Adam:

    You probably won’t see an immediate connection as records will be updating and propagating so be patient. If your domain name still isn’t pointing to your account within 2 days go back through this tutorial and see if any steps may have been missed.

    If you found this tutorial to be helpful it would mean a lot if you were able to share it with others who might find it useful as well. Feel free to leave any comments or suggestions in the comments section below.

    P.S. If you still find yourself having trouble getting your accounts to connect I will troubleshoot and connect the accounts for you remotely at a nominal fee of $20 dollars via PayPal. Feel free to Contact Me directly.

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  • tamron-24-70

    Tamron 24-70mm 2.8 Lens Review

    Sep 18 • Reviews • 550 Views

    About 6 months ago I purchased the Tamron SP 24-70mm 2.8 Di VC USD lens because I needed a good “all around lens” as well as a good video lens that worked well in low light. I paired my this lens with my Canon 5D Mark II to which I refer to as “Mark & Tammy.”

    Yes, I name some of my camera gear because for the cost of some of the items I want to have a “personal” connection besides just a financial one. I’m weird I know but let’s move past that shall we?

    The Tamron has been an interesting lens to to use and work with as it is currently the only lens on the market that has VC (Vibration Control) similar to Canon’s IS (Image Stabilization) within the 24-70 focal range. This fact alone makes the lens quite unique for a third party lens but there are some other great factors that come into play here.

    The build of the lens is I believe an ABS composite plastic and while it does feel “plasticky” it doesn’t feel cheaply built. Because the body of the lens is made mostly of this composite the lens is manageable weight without causing severe strain on your wrist. I actually use this lens on my Glidecam HD-2000 when shooting video. Originally I used a Canon L-Lens 24-70 Mark I and if you are familiar with Canon L-Lenses you know how heavy they can be due to their tank like construction.

    Originally bought brand new the Tamron focus ring and zoom ring are stiff and will need to be put through their paces to get them to loosen up a little bit. Being that this lens is my primary lens for a lot of my projects there have yet to be any signs of barrel sliding.

    Tamron 24-70mm 2.8 Technical Specs

    • Focal Range 24-70mm
    • Fast 2.8 Aperture through the entire focal range
    • Vibration Control “Anti-Shake”
    • Moisture Resistant Construction
    • USD – Ultrasonic Silent Drive

    As mentioned the focal range is 24-70mm which is I consider to be a great range for a “walk around” lens because you can shoot wide shots at 24mm, landscape shots at 24-35mm, and portrait shots at 50-70mm. This allows me to carry one lens instead of 3.

    The fast 2.8 aperture is another feature that caught my attention when purchasing this lens. Since I do photo and video work in often dark lit venues I needed a lens that was fast enough to be used in low light environments. Churches, Halls, and other areas that have little to no natural light are no longer as much as problem as they once wore. With a few bumps of the ISO I can still pull off great shots without creating noisy images.

    The VC (Vibration Control) was a huge selling point for me and many other photographers who are considered “Hybrid Shooters” because we can switch to hand held video in the middle of photographing to capture a scene and not worry about natural human hand shake. When it comes to video I’ve had great success getting video at 1/50 and 24FPS with minimal shake.

    The moisture resistant construction is something that this lens seems to do pretty well. On one occasion I was star gazing and fog and moisture covered my lens but it I simply wiped it off and it continued without any issues. Another instance is when I was shooting video in a light rain for 30 minutes.

    I know my 5D Mark II is weather proof when properly paired with another weather proof lens and while I’m still not 100% sure about Tamron’s ability to survive a downpour it did survive 30 minutes in the rain without issue.

    The USD (Ultrasonic Drive) is just that – silent! The lens focus extremely fast and is as quiet as can be. This is extremely important when working in areas where being quiet is necessary such as churches or other venues. The last thing you need is everyone looking in your direction because your focus is noisily grinding away.

    Price Point and Quality

    Now let’s talk about the elephant in the room for some people and that being this is a third party lens. Many, many, people are wary of third party lenses because they don’t have the same history of some of the more well known lenses like the Canon L-Series or the Nikon Nikkor lenses.

    Where does the Tamron stack up among others in its focal range?

    Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G ED AF-S Nikkor Wide Angle Zoom Lens: $1186.95

    Tamron SP 24-70mm Di VC USD: $1299

    Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Standard Zoom Lens: $2099

    As you can see the price point is right in the middle of two major contenders but both the Canon lens and the Nikon lens lack is the image stabilizing.

    Now I’m not to familiar with Nikon as I own Canon and Canon L-Series lenses are often regarded as “pro” lenses because they are fast and sharp and well built. But at the price point they are asking for their latest 24-70mm 2.8 lens you are saving around $800 dollars. Since I don’t do photography full time and work for a living that $800 dollar difference is rather significant to me.

    Sharpness and Image Quality

    I have seen many reviews calling this particular lens the “Canon Killer” meaning that its giving the Canon L-Series a run for their money and while I agree its certainly making a name for itself I’m still on the fence if this lens has that true potential.

    I recently returned from vacationing last week in Georgia and Florida and took “Mark and Tammy” with me to put the lens through several different environments and climates in a short amount of time and I’m glad I did. Between the Georgia mountains weather and the humid Florida coast I was able to capture some photos that I believe show this lens strong point like the images below.

    First I’m going to preface this and just say I FREAKING HATE SPIDERS and yes I have arachnophobia. Just because I’m 2000x bigger than them still doesn’t mean they don’t freak me out.

    ….anyway I got lucky as this spiders web appeared right above my head when I decided to look up in a swing we were sitting in and decided to snap a shot of it at a rather close range.


    Shot @ 1/125 Sec F/2.8 70mm ISO 100

    This image is straight out of the camera with only a profile correction done in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 to adjust for some vignetting.

    This waterfall was located in a park down the road from our Bed and Breakfast. A profile correction and some cropping was done to remove a commercial sign.

    The upper corners continue to contain sharp detail even at 24mm and the center still remains pretty sharp. In the lower corners you can see some detail is lost but not enough to detract from the overall picture.


    Shot @ 1/160 Sec F/3.5 24mm ISO 100

    This windmill was a considerable distance from where I took this photo but I wanted to get a feel for just how much chromatic aberration would occur from this distance and the contrasting background. CA is that blue/green/purplish hazing that sometimes occurs at edge lines creating a “fuzzy” like distortion. Lower end kit lenses often suffer with this problem.

    Again only a profile correction was performed. You can see because of the distance detail was lost in background but in spite of that fact there is very little CA.


    Shot @ 1/250 Sec F/5.6 70mm ISO 100

    This photo was taken in Fort Walton Beach, Florida off the Emerald coast. The subject is the boardwalk but I wanted to showcase here is the amount of detail that’s still maintained at an exceptionally far distance. The details in the photo are only really noticeable once you zoom in to view the full size image.


    Shot @ 1/640 Sec F/6.3 24mm ISO 100

    Dolphins are amazingly fast and also just plain fun to photograph and while my goal was to capture this little guy / girl at play I also wanted to “freeze” the splashes it was creating in its wake.

    I was curious to just how sharp the Tamron would perform with liquid in motion and being brightly lit by the Florida sun.

    Not only does the dolphin remain extremely sharp but the water droplets I was trying to capture also maintained great detail.


    Shot @ 1/1600 Sec F/4.0 ISO 100

    Final Thoughts and Conclusion

    I’m not an expert. I’m not a professional photographer and like many of you I’m working hard to make a name for myself in a very saturated market so everything you have read has been from my experience using this lens and is just one mans opinions.

    I think Tamron gets a bad rep for being a third party dealer which is sad considering that I find this lens to be quite phenomenal for what you get within this price range.

    For anyone looking for a fast lens the 2.8 through out the entire focal range is just hard to beat and the vibration control is just icing on the cake. The Tamron is my workhorse and continues to be so until I find a reason that would make me reconsider. Oh as for warranty Tamron also offers a 6 year warranty from the date of purchase for no extra charge.

    Can you name another lens manufacturer that offers that kind of warranty?

    But I don’t believe this lens is for everyone and that has more to do with the price point.

    For beginners or individuals starting out with DSLRS kit lenses can go a long way but if you are wanting to upgrade your kit lens to something better the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM Lens is a serious contender at a price range of about $650 dollars brand new and it’s fully weather resistant and comes with IS (Image Stabilization).

    Nikon users help me out here and offer an alternative please that can be had for a similar price range as the Canon.

    So can I honestly recommend this lens for photographers looking to upgrade from their kit lenses or to faster aperture lenses? The answer is yes.

    I like this lens. I like the images it produces and I like knowing that if I run into problems within the first six years of owning it Tamron will take care of it.

    To find out more about this lens you can read the thousand plus positive reviews on Amazon.

    Your Turn To Sound Off!

    I’d love to know what you think of this lens or this review in the comments section below. Have you had positive or negative experiences with third party lenses?

    4 Comments on Tamron 24-70mm 2.8 Lens Review

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