Advanced Studio Lighting

Today we are going to take a look at an image that I (Zach) shot for new Squint recording artist Joel & Luke. These guys are really amazing and shooting them was a blast! Joel (who is in the shot below) and his brother Luke are incredibly talented and have an amazing sound.

The image below was a complicated shot done with 3 lights on-location inside Healthways company in Franklin. This is simply an office space that we turned into a studio for the shot.

Here is the set up.

HOW WE DID IT:

As you can see from the behind the scenes image, there were offices, signs, and tons of junk in the background that we did not want in the shot. Also, you could also see right through the chains, so just lighting it from the front would not have been sufficient. I knew that lighting the back of the gold …

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The New Math of Lightroom 3 (Process Versions)

Lightroom 3 has a few great new features in it, but the best feature is the math behind the curtain. This is what Adobe calls a Process Version. It is essentially a new set of algorithms and other mathematic equations that I would never understand, that make our images look better. And all throughout high school, I thought math would never be useful to me. It turns out that it is very useful, as long as someone smart employes it in my photo software.

Lightroom 3 can employ the older math from 2003 (used in LR 2) or it can employ the new math inherent in LR3. The new math is beautiful and worth updating images that you are taking a second look at, but it is not advisable to update everything all at once. Check out this podcast to find out why.

The New Math …

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Four Steps to Higher Wedding and Portrait Sales

If photography is your full-time gig – or for that matter, even if it’s just a part-time gig – then you’re probably interested in finding ways to grow your business and make more money. Even the most successful photographers are looking for ways to increase revenue – and increase profit. That’s the purpose of a business, otherwise it’s just a hobby.

At the same time, many photographers are intimidated by the process of “selling” their work. It’s not only scary to ask people for money – it often goes against our passion for creating art. Fortunately, there are some really simple things you can do to help increase your sales starting with your next wedding or portrait session.

1. Shoot with the end in mind.

When I’m shooting a wedding, I’m constantly thinking about the album that the couple is going to share with their family for generations. When …

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Preparing Yourself and Your Clients for a Styled Shoot

This is a topic I had wrestled with for years, how do I get my current shoots to attract the type of clients that I want in the future? How do I give my shoots the edge and style that I want to portray to future clients? I eventually learned that a photographer really needs to be a leader to make this happen. We do not necessarily have to do everything ourselves, but instead we can source help and lead them and our clients toward the common vision.

Here are four basic steps to help you style your shoots & clients:

Step 1. Know what you want. Pick out some samples of work from different photographers or from ads you’ve seen that inspire you, then you can put together some ideas to springboard from. Jose Villa is one photographer that really inspires me & I love his work. I have some recent …

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Your Votes Could Give a Deserving Charity $50K

(Vote NOW!)

The Pictage blog is focused on providing educational content for professional photographers. We do our best to keep it that way, but every once in a while we come across a charitable idea or project that we want to share with you. For that reason, we have decided to start giving worthy charitable mentions on the blog, in addition to our regularly scheduled educational articles and resources.

Our first charitable feature is The Delta Arts Alliance. The Delta Arts Alliance is dedicated to using art to improve the quality of life for children in the Cleveland, MS area. They do this by providing after school programs, field trips, and one-on-one mentoring to children interested in exploring the arts.

Pictage photographer and community advocate Will Jacks, is a proud part of this organization and recently informed us about an exciting opportunity that has come up for them. The Delta Arts Alliance is currently …

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Preparing for PartnerCon — Tips & Techniques

So you’re headed to PartnerCon this year and it’s coming up fast (seriously, I thought it was still September yesterday) – how can you prepare?

I know this time of year is crazy busy for a lot of us.  It’s either wedding high season or we’re buried in the mountain of post-processing from high season just ending.  For portrait peeps out there, Christmas is just around the corner – yikes.

Take a deep breath and five minutes for a coffee break.  Go pet your cat.  Watch the October rain outside.  And then remember to prepare for PartnerCon.

PartnerCon is meant to be a big influence in the life of your business, and if you let it, it can even be a game changer.  Here’s what Jeff and I do to prepare for another year of PartnerCon goodness.

Before You Leave:

1) Create a short list of specific goals. What do you most want to learn? …

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A Heart Check for You and Your Photography Business

About a month ago, my husband and I designated an afternoon (spent in our favorite Irish Pub of course) as “Heart Check Day.”

What is this Heart Check we speak about?  Simply put, it’s taking time to STOP and smell the roses.  It’s giving ourselves time and permission to dream out loud and envision our future.  Time to take a look at the direction our business and life is headed.  Deciding whether or not the path we are on is really the right one for us, if there is a new path to pave, or a new road to travel.

It’s easy to get stuck in the proverbial rat-race.  We dream of running our own business, and once it becomes reality, we quickly realize that we’ve simply created new jobs for ourselves.  A new, different kind of rat-race where the daily chores and tasks of running a small business take up most …

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The Business of Branding: WordPress and Google

When it comes to the business of branding, going hand in hand with having a cohesive brand, is findablity. It’s kind of a “if a tree falls in the forest” thing. No matter how awesome that tree is, if no one hears it, it’s just not good for business.

Photographers have always been on the forefront of the findability (or SEO) game. Blogging, Twittering, Facebooking. But are these social media efforts increasing your ranking as separate entities or are they all pointing to one domain? It is important to consolidate and maximize your online marketing.

A WordPress site can concentrate your web presence and according to Matt Cutts, Head of Webspam at Google (pretty much THE authority on SEO), “WordPress takes care of 80-90% of (the mechanics of) Search Engine Optimization (SEO)”

Matt gives a fantastically funny talk at last year’s WordCamp about why WordPress is ideal for Google:

The mechanics of Search Engine Optimization involve making …

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Using Publishing Services in Adobe Lightroom 3.2

As a photographer, I like shooting and don’t like trying to mess with Facebook, Twitter, Flicker, Blogs, Portfolios etc. I don’t have the patience for it. Accessing different accounts and uploading photos, etc. I want people to see my work, but I don’t like the wasted time. Enter Lightroom 3.2: now with Publish Services, I can upload photos to various online services without ever leaving Lightroom. Publish services are plug-ins made by the various sites to expedite the process of sharing your photos. Look for more to come in the future. They are super cool.

I am looking forward to seeing everyone at Pictage Partner Conference in New Orleans. This year will be even better than last year.

In addition to speaking at Partner Conference and teaching a shooting workshop there, my Lightroom Workflow Workshop at the Pictage Partner Conference in New Orleans on November …

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Top Ten Tips for Posing

When the Community Team asked me to start blogging about posing, my first thought was….”huh, I don’t know anything about posing.” And then I started my top ten list for posing tips and I realized that I had over 20. Oops. So maybe I do know a thing or two, but after 8 years some things start to become so second nature that you don’t realize you’re doing them. So don’t worry, if you find this to be challenging, it does get easier with practice.

So before I jump right in, I want to define what I consider posing to be. And it has very little to do with the chin being tilted just so or the fingers on the hand being spread a particular way or many of the other “rules” of traditional posing that can lead to those forced and awkward looking portraits of the past. Now I’m not …

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