Using the Adjustment Brush in Lightroom 3 by Jared Platt

Using the Adjustment Brush in Lightroom 3 from Jared Platt on Vimeo.

I try to stay out of Photoshop as much as possible. Why? Because Photoshop is like an addictive habit and once I am in there, I will spend way too much time on a photograph. So, my general rule of thumb is to only go into Photoshop when someone is paying me to do so.

So, that means that when I have an image that needs just a little bit of help, some of the localized adjustments that I used to do in Photoshop, I must do somewhere else. I can do most of them in Lightroom, without having to open Photoshop, and as a bonus, they are all sync-able from one image to the next.

In this video tutorial, I go through the process of working on an image with the adjustment brush to fix and …

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FAQ: Natural Skin Tones by The Youngrens

Confession: I’ve been avoiding this question…

We’re totally digging on our Uservoice page and stoked on all the thoughtful questions people have been asking and voting on, and this is one that has slowly risen to the top, and now I simply can’t ignore it.

The truth is that the answer to this question is super simple for me to state with a quick do this, this, and this, but I don’t think that’s necessarily the most helpful way of explaining this. So, I’m going to do my best to give you some solid tips & tricks to get the skin tones in your images to look more natural and authentic.

All things being equal, your clients will 1) be the most happy with their images and 2) look their best if their skin looks as “naturally” perfect as possible. As much as a photographer cares about the artistry, backgrounds, light, and composition …

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PartnerCon NOLA 2010 Schedule Announced

If you can’t tell, we’re very excited to announce this year’s PartnerCon schedule. We’ve lined up some of the industry’s best to teach you about topics from business & marketing, organization & workflow, to selling more & working less, including 30 speaking sessions and 23 shooting workshops.

PartnerCon NOLA is not only about taking a closer look at “Where Y’at?”… the underlying value of this gathering is our community. With 500 seats available (that we’re sure will fill up fast) there is no doubt you’ll walk away not only inspired by our instructors, but by the new friends you’ve made.

Check out this film, created by Ron Dawson of Dare Dreamer Media ( http://daredreamer.net/ )

We hope to see you there!

To see the full schedule, click here. To reserve your spot, click here.

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How to Fail…Successfully by Scott Anderson

I think it’s safe to say that none of us strive to fail. But the bigger question is, when we do fail, how do we react?  Not every project or new business endeavor is going to be a runaway success — this is one (of the many) harsh realities of being an entrepreneur among the creative class (and if you read this blog, you fall within this demographic).  Failure has often proven to be the bitter pill that a business owner occasionally swallows in order to ensure increased productivity and future success.  Not meeting various stretch goals, or watching initiatives fall flat, are (ironically) attributes of a healthy growing business. And, as professional photographers and business owners, I encourage you to acknowledge failure as a positive force in the growth of your business, and your learning process.

Successfully failing involves learning from mistakes and trying new plans and strategies; it’s about …

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Using Target Collections in Adobe Lightroom 3 by Jared Platt

Collecting images for various uses is made even easier with the addition of the Target Collection feature in Lightroom 3. This is just a quick tip on how to use this new feature. I use it to collect images for clients and vendors alike as well as for workshops and examples, etc. It is a fantastic feature, small as it may be, it really is a great addition to the Lightroom.

Using Target Collections in Adobe Lightroom 3 from Jared Platt on Vimeo.

For more information about my workshops, go to jaredplattworkshops.com. My next workshop is in LA on August 19, 2010. Sign up on the web at www.jaredplattworkshops.com.

Written by Jared Platt Jared is a professional photographer and photographic educator. He studied photography at Arizona State University where he earned his undergraduate and masters degrees in Photography. He teaches college photography courses as well as workshops …

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How to Avoid a Social Media Disaster

Here is another article that, by glancing at the title, immediately caught our eye. For any business, small or large, social media is becoming a part of the greater marketing picture. Whether or not you use it is your choice. If you do, here are some tips on how to do it right. This article was written with language specifically tailored to a corporate company, but that doesn’t change the overall message.

Thank you to Mashable.com for the consistent interesting and educational content.

Clay McDaniel is the principal and co-founder of social media marketing agency Spring Creek Group. Find him via @springcreekgrp on Twitter.

If there’s one thing that keeps social media marketers up at night, it’s the ever-present threat of a PR disaster. By now, every marketer is well-aware of how quickly dissatisfied consumers can turn to the social airwaves to vent about a brand. Nestle, BP, Domino’s, Southwest Airlines, and many …

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10 Overlooked Engagement Photography Tips by Christopher Lin

“Top 10″ tips on the net, for any subject, can be a big fat waste of time. They often present a high-level overview of existing content, stating obvious points without really teaching anyone anything. To avoid this pitfall when discussing tips for engagement photography, we decided to stay away from obvious tips, such as “choose the right lighting, choose the right location, be personable, etc,” as these are all things that almost every photographer is already doing and therefore not worth rehashing. Instead, we want to focus on the less-obvious, often-overlooked aspects of an engagement shoot that can help you improve your overall product and avoid some of the “what-could-go-wrongs” during your shoots.

10 Overlooked Engagement Photography Tips

1) Start with a Basic Portrait Session – What differentiates your photography style from others is probably not how well you take basic portraits, but it’s important to get your session started with some. First off, your couple gets warmed up, loose, and used to the camera in a quite, low-key location. Secondly, it gives you a chance to assess your subject and watch out for certain details. For example, are you going to have to look out for double chins? Is he a “blinker?” Having a slow, relaxed start can help you determine what you might have to watch for during the entire session. Thirdly, these are actually very important shots. As much as we all love stunning, artistic photography, we need a few basic portraits for mom, for their wedding website, or even for their invitations. Lastly, these can look pretty good if you choose the right background and the right lighting.

2) Let Clients Chimp – Chimping is a popular (and kinda ridiculous) term for looking at the pictures in the LCD of the camera. Although these images aren’t yet finished in post production, it’s important to have the clients see what you’re getting, not for every single shot, but at least for the images that focus on expressions and close-ups. In the end, it’s their opinion that matters. You could go the entire session thinking that you’re getting great stuff with great lighting but not noticing an awkward smile that he’s making, a wardrobe malfunction, or other small details. Most people are their own worst critics and it’s better take note of their insecurities and “flaws” during the shoot than to notice it after.

3) Bring the Right Gear – This tip is border-line too obvious to include in this article, but it’s worth noting that not everyone requires the same amount of equipment; and, moreover, not every shoot requires the same equipment. If your style is more “lifestyle,” where you’re finding locations with the ideal lighting and focusing on expressions, posing, and getting clean, crisp, natural images, you may not need all of your flash gear, your tripods, and multiple lenses. However, if your style involves playing around with creative, off-camera flash, HDRs, and other techniques, you’ll probably need a lot more gear. It’s important to determine what kind of style you are going for before the session and plan accordingly.

4) Bring an Assistant - A good assistant will not only relieve some of the strain of carrying your equipment but will also perform critical lighting tasks, like holding reflectors to bring out the shadows under eyes. A good assistant can also ensure that all equipment is accounted for; and a good assistant will help watch for the details, like stray hairs or random objects in the background.

Here’s an HDR shot that is difficult to execute without a tripod, which might be too heavy to lug around for one photographer for an entire shoot:

Here’s a portrait that required two flashes and a hot light, a very difficult shot to execute without an assistant:

5) Have a Backup Plan - Any photographer, heck any person, will tell you that things hardly ever go as planned. If you show up for your favorite location and it’s closed for whatever reason, what do you do? Having a backup plan is important for avoiding the panic of finding a new location on-the-spot. The possibility of getting kicked out, inclement weather, and traffic/road closures are also things to consider in your planning.

6) Visit Fewer Locations - Many clients are going to literally want the world for their engagement sessions. They might want beach shots, city shots, night shots, and nature shots all in one session. While client satisfaction should always be a top priority, it’s important to take your time with each location. There’s already so much to think about without the time pressure; and being rushed increases the risk of something going wrong. Taking your time and focusing on the right expressions, ideal backgrounds, and perfect settings in one or two locations creates a better product and a more enjoyable overall experience than cramming in multiple locations in a few hours.

7) Take Fewer Shots – In line with the cliche “less is more,” this point is a branch off of the previous point. Taking your time to create thought-out, creative, high-quality imagery produces a better overall product than spamming your subjects and coming away with hundreds of average shots. This also goes back to allowing your clients to chimp in order to make sure that both you and your clients are happy with the results.

8) Ensure Proper Client Preparation - It goes without saying that happy, relaxed, and up-beat clients will likely photograph better than clients in the opposite mindset. As obvious as this is, the steps to helping clients stay happy throughout the session aren’t as clear. Every photographer will have his or her own methods, but here are a few general tips. First off, if your session is going through dinner, suggest that they eat prior to the shoot and maybe even pack a snack. If there’s even the slightest chance of it being cold, make sure they bring a jacket and maybe even have a backup in your car. It’s amazing how many sessions end early because the clients get too cold. The list can go on and on, but it’s important to anticipate the possible dilemmas and plan accordingly.

9) Have The End Product in Mind - If your client is ordering a 20 page sign in book, you might need more photos than if they’re looking for one picture to blow up at their reception. Furthermore, if they’re looking to create a book, you might cater the shots to fit well in your style of books. For example, some photographers might take more sequenced shots to place in a row; or some might look for more variety in locations. In contrast, if you’re looking for that one, stunning shot to be enlarged for their reception, you might need to shoot with that in mind. Without changing your natural style too much, knowing the final product helps ensure that you’re delivering the right photos for the end product.

10) Stay Flexible - Photography ideas that stem from the client are sometimes cheesy and sometimes (actually, often times) just plain bad. On the other hand, they can be great and even inspirational. Regardless of the idea, it’s your ability to accommodate, modify, and improve their ideas to match their personalities and their style that will determine the overall client satisfaction.

We hope you learned, or were reminded of, a few things in this article, and as always, we would love a friendly discussion of engagement photography tips in the comments below.

Written by Christopher Lin of Lin & Jirsa Photography

Lin and Jirsa Photography is an Orange County, CA based wedding photography studio specializing in creative lighting, photojournalism, and unique post production.  The team consists of 3 brothers (two Lins and a Jirsa), who have combined their backgrounds in photography and graphic design with their passion for documenting love stories to create a unique product and service.  In addition to shooting, the team provides insights, tutorials, and tips on their photography education site SLR Lounge.

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Why Too Much Money is Worse than Too Little

Many entrepreneurs believe that the lack of capital is their primary problem. If only they had a fat bank balance, they could kick butt. As a venture capitalist, I’ve seen what happens when companies raise substantial capital. It’s not pretty—in fact, my theory is that too much money is worse than too little. Here’s why.

1. Expenses expand to the level of funding.

Funny how this works: companies create projections that use the money that they have. The availability of money makes them think of ways to spend it, so there’s less emphasis on doing the right things the right way. The logic becomes, “Our investors gave us this money to invest, not to collect interest in the bank. They want us to scale up and go for it, so we should spend it. We know we’ll meet our milestones, and our competition is a joke, so we’ll always be …

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Why You Need to Monitor and Measure Your Brand on Social Media

Whether you are actively developing a social media presence for your brand or just dipping your toe in the deep and ever-changing ocean of social media chatter, you probably realize that monitoring and measurement are quite important. Although there is no shortage of social media monitoring tools, each one is a bit different in its approach, methodology, metrics, depth of analysis, channels measured, reports and UI. The existence of this many tools and the fragmentation of the tools market is evidence of the fact that the space is not quite mature, and doesn’t yet have a set of agreed-upon metrics and best practices.

In your search for the right tool(s), you should be looking to both monitor and measure your brand on social media. The two terms are used somewhat interchangeably, and although there is some overlap and similarity in business goals, monitoring and measurement are distinct processes. Let’s take a …

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Keywording in Adobe Lightroom 3 by Jared Platt

Adding keywords to your images makes finding them later on extremely simple, but most people don’t do it because it takes too much time. Well, Lightroom has made it simple. With the right tools and method of keywording, you can get it done quickly. And a 15 minutes now can save you hours later. So start keywording!

For more information about my workshops, go to www.jaredplattworkshops.com.

Keywording in Adobe Lightroom 3 from Jared Platt on Vimeo.

THE LIGHTROOM WORKFLOW WORKSHOP and PUG TOUR:

The Lightroom Workflow Workshop Tour is coming to your city. I will be speaking at the local PUG groups and then holding a workshop in each city the following day. I am looking forward to meeting you all and teaching you everything I know about speeding up your workflow. First stops are: Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Boston, New York, Los Angeles and Vegas. Go to www.jaredplattworkshops.com to learn more and …

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