The Sandwich Method

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Want to hear about one of my favorite recipes of light? It looks like a million bucks, yet doesn’t cost much. And it’s yummy.

It’s called “The Sandwich Method.”

When I stumble on this kind of glamour lighting setup, especially in an abandoned railroad car, you might hear white- fronted capuchin monkey sounds like, “Ooo ooo ooo!” I admit, my clients don’t quite understand my ecstatic enthusiasm…until I show them their photograph in said lighting conditions! See? A picture really is worth a thousand words!

I discovered this natural-lighting scenario when shooting my clients’ (Scott & Alyssa) portrait session. What an awesome discovery! I couldn’t have set my Alien Bees up to make this look any better; that’s the beauty of natural light.

What amazed me most was the sheer quality of light, which was on par with a studio lighting setup, in an unsuspecting location. This is a great reminder to keep your …

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How to Show Clients the Value of Professional Photographic Prints

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Are your clients getting their prints from the same place they get shampoo?

Enjoying photographs on your iPad, phone, or computer is nice. However, it’s the final print that matters most. Making an image look great on screen is art. Making the same image look great in print is another kind of art.

As a photographer, I often struggle with how to best showcase my work. After all, 90 percent of art lies in presentation. Fine-art printing, I’ve discovered, is a blend of art and science… not much different than photography itself.

Why work with a Pro Lab?

When it comes to printing, I tell myself: “Do what you do best, and delegate the rest.” I’m a photographer, not a master print technician. There are people who print better than I can, which is why I’m happy to outsource this important part of my business to experts.

The last thing I want is a disappointed …

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Photography for the Professionals {10 Truisms}

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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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What ONE THING would YOU change?

Well, whether we’re ready or not, 2012 is coming to a close. As the year winds down, it’s time for reflection and some R&R. When you think about your successes and mistakes over the past year, are there things you wish you’d done differently? Probably. But that’s the beauty of a new year – it’s a fresh start!

To get you started, we asked YOU to share ONE THING you’ll do differently in 2013. Every week, we’ll be spotlighting one photographer and the ONE THING that they’re doing differently this coming year.

What will you change? Here’s what photographer RJ Kern said:

 

About RJ Kern A destination wedding photographer based in Minneapolis and Denver, RJ Kern loves to create as much as share. He’s been enjoying the process of bringing back medium format into the wedding market, but this time using pixels. Tech humor, duct tape, creativity… garnished with light… remains an …

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Lighten Your Load: 4 Tips to Reduce Gear on a Shoot

How do I reduce gear on shoots?

I ask myself this question almost weekly. Since I shoot 100% out on location (most requiring travel), what’s in my bag can either cost extra baggage fees or save my keister on a shoot.

Just because I can lug a three-light setup, doesn’t mean I should.

My key: Be prepared not just as an artist, but as a Boy Scout.

Gear holds me back more often than I admit. This coming from a frugal Boy Scout who admires MacGyver. Give me a van full of photo-related gear to bring to Burning Man (see above photo) and I’m happy as a clam. Granted, I used about 55% of it, but glad I had it all.

It’s easy to say, “I’ll take quality over quantity.” But which tools get left behind? My answer:

1) Be creatively prepared. There’s a difference being prepared as an artist, versus Boy Scout prepared. You never want …

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Inspired by an Old Master: The Importance of Lighting

Sometimes you should stop looking at photographs. Look to other artists for inspiration, especially the old masters. Touring the Rembrandt exhibit at the Minneapolis Institute of Art recently reminded me of the importance of three things:

His lighting style stands the test of time. No fad, here. Most people have heard of it. There’s something to be said about a technique that has stood the test of time by a few hundreds years. It’s good to know that wedding photography today won’t be shunned in 50 years. He shared as much as he created in painting schools. Like, he had ‘followers.’ His creative school shaped his vision. This blog shapes mine. I’m a proponent of the philosophy “Create. Share. Sustain.” He created portraits of people flattered in their best light. This benefits both painters and photographers. The human face responds best to specific types of light. Rembrandt’s trademark triangle of light on the cheek …

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What’s in a good wedding contract?

A solid wedding photography contract, along with back-up equipment and insurance, is a true sign of a wedding photography professional. Not having a solid contract in place before taking on a paid assignment is a no-brainer business killer.

Photographers, if you aren’t as confident in your contract as you should be, creating one isn’t as difficult as it might sound. There are some great resources for photographers out there to assist in the process. You get what you pay for, keep in mind. I suggest the wedding contracts sold over at Photographer Toolkit, which contains separate versions of contracts in a Microsoft Word and Adobe Acrobat PDF formats specifically designed for wedding photography, associates & assistants, and portrait photography. They are worth the $125 investment.

We took a step further and invested in our own creative talent with a graphic designer to create a document we are proud to hand to wedding clients. …

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Joe Buissink – Behind the Podium

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The Joe Buissink PUG tour has been a huge success, thanks for all who have come out to see him speak!  For those of you who have missed it, RJ Kern shared his take on the presentation at the Denver PUG meeting.  Kern-Photo is a husband & wife wedding photography team based in Denver, Colorado.  R. J. & Nicole Kern have partnered with Pictage since 2006.

From RJ:

Celebrity Wedding Photographer, Joe Buissink, spoke at the Denver PUG meeting last night.  Events like these are among the reasons we use Pictage. Joe Buissink uses Pictage for his clients, which include Jennifer Lopez, Jessica Simpson & Nick Lachey, among many others.  Joe’s work is published regularly in publications like Grace Ormonde Wedding Style and Instyle Weddings. Joe is a legend in the wedding photographer world, to say the least.

During the presentation, I scribbled eight pages of notes and devoured heaps of golden-nugget …

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