Six Simple Tips for Creating Dynamic Ring Shots


One of my favorite parts of shooting weddings is capturing details. Couples customize their wedding to reflect their personalities, so it’s important to capture these intricacies that say so much about them. Combining those personal details with the couples’ wedding rings is crucial to creating dynamic ring shots.

What you’ll need: a macro lens, rings, something from the wedding, off camera flash (with a modifier and light stand) or a video light. The number one mistake photographers make with ring shots is NOT using a macro lens. If you don’t have one, rent it!

Here are six simple tips for creating dynamic ring shots:

1.  Wait until all the “major stuff” is over – the first dance, cake cutting, bouquet toss, etc. It might take time to get the shot you’re looking for, and you don’t want to sprint across the venue to get back to something important (cake cutting, for example), only to …

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A Rebranding Story (Part 1)


There always seems to be plenty of information and advice available to those adventuresome entrepreneurs starting a small business: the steps to take, pitfalls to avoid and best practices to start off on the right foot.  What about an instance when you’ve already started your business and want to rebrand?  You hear about this process far less and yet there are many reasons why you may want to refresh your current brand, identity and logo.  As society grows, changes and evolves so do its people and their businesses.  Rebranding an operating business can seem like a daunting effort; however, the process can be a tremendous marketing opportunity that will strengthen your position among photography peers, professional partners and clients.

I started my first photography business, aptly titled Don Mamone Photography, in 2007.  Much like many photographers, I stared off slowly, worked diligently and was fortunate to witness my business …

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How to Get the Most out of Getting Ready pictures

Tips for Great Getting Ready Wedding Photography Images

When I started photographing weddings, I wondered how those famous photographers got gorgeous pictures of their clients getting ready on their wedding day. The shots seemed so “in the moment,” but also beautifully lit. When I walked into a hotel room, church basement or (gasp!) grandma’s living room, I wasn’t achieving the same results. Was it the location? Or the subjects? Sometimes.

However, there were often a few little steps I could take to get similar results.

Here’s How to Get the Most out of Getting Ready pictures:

1. Show up early. Standard start time for us is about one hour before the bride is in her dress/groom is in his suit. “Start time” is when we tell clients we’ll arrive. We actually show up 30 minutes prior to start time to park and do a bit of scouting before we walk into the room. Then with any extra minutes, we get …

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4 Best Practices for Blogging to Generate Leads for Your Business


In order to generate leads, you first need to generate traffic on your website. Good thing you have access to one of the most effective tools for generating website traffic — blogging.

Believe it or not, before blogging became a popular way for individuals to make money from advertising, it was invented as a way to create consistent content for search engine optimization.

Smart search engine optimization = inbound website traffic

Here are four blogging best practices for generating traffic and turning those visitors into leads:

1. Choose Topics Wisely

The topics you choose are key to generating inbound traffic through search engines. To be truly effective, they need to satisfy both search engines and searchers. Appeasing both of these groups will ensure that you’ll rank for the terms your buyers are searching.

When brainstorming topics, start by by focusing on:

The terms your buyers will be searching for using search engines. Your prospective buyer’s pain points.

Both of …

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Vacation Portraits – Tap into the Multi-Billion Dollar Travel Industry

When do you have money burning a hole in your pocket? When do you save money just so you can spend it in one short period of time?


I learned how to tap into tourism and capture some of the billions of dollars that flow through the travel industry by treating my photography as a vacation activity instead of a traditional portrait session. Tourism exists in all 50 states and all over the world. Whether you’re in a tropical locale or next to a natural wonder like the Grand Canyon, there is a market for vacation portraits.

When I first moved to Maui and decided to start a photography business, I did an online search to see what was out there, and I found pages upon pages of photographers, almost all of them focused on wedding photography. At first I felt a little discouraged, then I decided to …

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Photography for the Professionals {10 Truisms}


I’m a fan of age-old photography wisdom that’s still relevant today.

When I stumbled upon the book “Photography for the Professionals,” written by Robin Perry in 1976, I thumbed through the dusty pages. What I found surprised me, no different than this 1937 gem.

If age-old wisdom stands the test of time today, imagine future value? That’s something a new book won’t buy!

Despite being published over 37 years ago, the abundance of ‘golden nugget’ information relevant to today’s professional photographers inspired me to write this post for The Photo Life. Here are Ten Truisms from the book “Photography for the Professionals” that are applicable to today’s professional photographers.

Ten Truisms, 37 Years Later:

10. The key to success in photography (or anything else for that matter) is education.

As Mark Twain said, “Never let school interfere with your education.” Going into debt for photography school isn’t a sound investment. At all. However, self-improvement …

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How to Engage Your Audience and Kickstart Social Media Conversations

How to Engage Your Audience and Kickstart Social Media Conversations

If you’re tirelessly working on ways to capture the attention of your target audience on Facebook and Twitter, welcome to the club. You, along with millions of other businesses are in the same boat, trying to turn the social media microphone into a way to make more money. While many companies make the mistake of thinking that the number of fans and followers they have is what’s important, true social media ROI (the kind that translates into dollars and cents!) isn’t just about popularity. It’s about ENGAGEMENT. In other words, is anything meaningful happening with those fans and followers?

Audience “engagement” can mean anything from someone re-tweeting your content, replying to your posts, clicking on a link or getting more information from your website. This type of engagement is meaningful because it can help you see if you’re reaching your target audience. This engagement also is a starting point for tracking whether …

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How to Build a Studio Team


When I started my business, I was solo, working out of my apartment while working a 9-5 job too. Needless to say, it was hectic. So I knew that IF I went full-time as a professional photographer, I couldn’t do it alone.

I am a people person; I love working in collaboration with others. So I knew that building a studio team would be essential to both my success AND my happiness. Today, I have three associate photographers who work in my office, helping me manage my studio.

Do you want to build a studio team?

A team looks sexy, but it isn’t for everyone. If you’re considering adding photographers or staff to your growing studio, ask yourself a few key questions.

Do you want to be a boss? Managing a team means setting deadlines, dress codes, company policies and occasionally having to discipline them. Do you want to make more money? If that’s the …

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Why Options Stink.


Options. We think we like them. We actually hate them.

There’s a hamburger chain out in my neck of the woods called In-N-Out. Many of you have probably heard of them, if not had a hamburger from there at one point. They have a bit of a cult following, with consistent lines out the door at all of their locations. They’re focused on fresh (never frozen) burgers that taste delicious.

To appeal to so many people, you’d think they’d have lots of options on their menu. Lots of people = lots of different wants and needs = lots of options. Wrong. In-N-Out has three options: a hamburger, a cheeseburger, and a double cheeseburger. That’s it.

I have a rant I do when I present on this topic, and it generally addresses an area where I see photographers offer WAY to many options: ALBUMS. Think about all of the CHOICES you give your client when …

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Tips for Booking and Rocking Same-Sex Wedding Shoots

© 2012 Cindy M Brown

© 2012 Cindy M Brown

Documenting the story of a same-sex wedding is really not that different from documenting the story of any wedding, at least from the perspective of a wedding photojournalist. In both, a photojournalist’s job is to capture the personalities, the emotions, the moments, the context and the details that work together to give viewers a sense of the love shared by the couple, their family and friends on that one special day.

© 2012 Sharon McMahon

So, how do I go about booking same-sex weddings?

1)  Seek this business only if you are truly supportive. If you have any reservations about the right of gays and lesbians to make meaningful, legal and sacred commitments to each other, that uncertainty will likely show when you meet with couples.

2) Make it clear on your website that you’re open to photographing same-sex unions. Show photos of same-sex couples if …

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