How I Built a Boudoir Portfolio for Less than $100

Manhattan Beach Los Angeles Boudoir Photographer

Like most wedding photographers I’m always looking for new ways to keep a steady income during the off-season. I’ve been especially inspired lately by the boudoir photographers in our community and realized it’s a genre that I really want to pursue.

Unfortunately, building a boudoir portfolio is a daunting task. After delaying the process for a while, a few weeks ago I finally put my foot down and decided I was going to build my boudoir portfolio in one day for under $100.

I did. Here’s what I learned in the process.

Getting the Team – I found a group of three local photographers that were also interested in expanding or building their boudoir portfolio. Having a group of other photographers not only helped with finding resources, models, and props, but as a group we were also able to learn from each other and get ideas for posing.  I suggest 3-4 photographers total …

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The Photo Life Podcast: An Interview with Eileen Gittins (part 2)

Eileen Gittins

King Harvest Will Surely Come

In this week’s episode, we continue our discussion with Founder and CEO of Blurb, Eileen Gittins about keeping a company forward-facing and embracing the future. We also examine why the printed page is far from obsolete and how the things that we move from the virtual to the tangible world matter more to us as a culture. About Eileen Gittins Eileen Gittins is the founder and CEO of Blurb, the creative publishing and marketing platform that enables anyone to design, publish, market and sell bookstore-quality books. She has been at the intersection of the Internet, consumer and enterprise software, imaging systems, search, and digital photography throughout her career.

Eileen wanted to create a beautifully designed and produced photo essay book – something that looked like a book you’d buy at the bookstore – but she only needed 40 copies. This turned out to be remarkably painful, expensive, and time-consuming– and she thought …

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Trovare la Voce – Finding Your Voice

Finding Your Creative Voice as a Photographer

Finding your voice. It sounds easy doesn’t it?

The reality is that it’s one of the most complicated tasks we face as photographers. To learn our equipment, we read the manuals, mostly. To learn composition, we study art. But your voice? You must know it to differentiate yourself in an increasingly crowded market. Your unique voice is the secret to joy and growth in your business.

So how do you find it?

Trovare la Voce

The good news is it’s already there. And we all have a path to it.

For me, it came into sharp relief in the Tuscan hills outside Florence. I was hired to shoot a wedding by a couple who I had yet to meet and was able to have one of my dearest friends (and an incredible photographer) there to work with me. I ended up in a fantastic situation where I had no preconceived notions and was completed supported. …

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Sculpting with Light

Sculpting with Light

When I first started photographing weddings (and for many years after that) I was always looking for ways to add more light to whatever I was shooting. More light, more light, there never seemed to be enough light. But, as the years pass and I’ve learned to have more control over my gear and my creative vision, I’ve found that it’s not always about adding more light, sometimes it’s actually better to remove some light. The trick is knowing the difference and when to do what. I found a prime example of this just last weekend as I was photographing a bride getting ready at her parents’ house. We hung her dress in the window of the dining room, backlit and flanked by the curtains her mother had sewn herself. I photographed this photo of the dress.

(SOOC, ISO 500 2.8 at 1/100 sec)

I took a glimpse on the back of the camera (yes, I chimp) and it was okay, just missing that …

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What Donald Draper Tells Us About Happiness

Photo by The Youngrens

Photo by The Youngrens

“Advertising is based on one thing: happiness. And do you know what happiness is? Happiness is the smell of a new car. It’s freedom from fear. It’s a billboard on the side of a road that screams with reassurance that whatever you’re doing is OK. You are OK.”

Donald Draper (Mad Men, 2007)

Even the old school ad guys got this one right.

My good friend Don (yes, the fictional character Donald Draper) knew that he was never just selling products, he was selling happiness.

In order to do this he had to figure out how what he was selling resonated with his ideal client’s unique idea of happiness.

Your products and services aren’t just products and services. They represent memories, legacy and happiness. And, they hold extreme value for your clients whether that’s a couple, a family or a business.

How are you painting a picture of happiness for prospective …

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The Photo Life Podcast: An Interview with Eileen Gittins

Eileen Gittins

Sowing Seeds

In this week’s episode, we speak with Founder and CEO of Blurb, Eileen Gittins about endeavoring to make a book of one and how this led her to create the company that is a true culmination of all her life’s experiences. In the first of our two part conversation, we discuss the strategy and planning that led to the rise of Blurb and the importance for any fledgling company to find and answer that one question that will see you through to success. About Eileen Gittins

Eileen Gittins is the founder and CEO of Blurb, the creative publishing and marketing platform that enables anyone to design, publish, market and sell bookstore-quality books. She has been at the intersection of the Internet, consumer and enterprise software, imaging systems, search, and digital photography throughout her career.

Eileen wanted to create a beautifully designed and produced photo essay book – something that looked like a book you’d …

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The Difference Between Good and Great Photographers

Photography by Jared Platt

I have always said that the difference between a good photographer and a great photographer is in what they choose to show to the world.  Cartier-Bresson said that “showing your contact sheet is like taking your pants off in public.”  The photographer who is willing to show everything to the public, puts their weaknesses on display and waters down the potency of their vision.  When photographers flood their portfolio with inferior images for the sake of volume, the images become an albatross hung around the neck of the collection and they drag the work down.

On the other hand, when a photographer is a harsh editor and honest with himself when selecting his portfolio, he will reject the simply adequate in favor of the great, resulting in the elevation of the entire portfolio.  The public then sees each photo in the collection as brilliant, and they then assume that everything the …

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Creating a Schedule to Maximize Productivity

Maximizing Photographer Productivity by Creating a Schedule

When we work for other people, having work hours, weekly meetings, and daily tasks is practically expected.  However, when working for ourselves, it’s very easy to let time slip by if we don’t create a schedule for our productivity.  The great thing about working for ourselves is that we can create a schedule that works with our own peak productivity and distraction times.  If we know that we are most productive with post-production late at night, and we have the freedom to wake up later in the day, than we can create a schedule that allows us to focus in this way.  If we know that we’re most alert to responding to emails first thing in the morning, than we can create a schedule that works with our peak alertness.  By simply planning out when we will deal with our regular tasks for a typical week, we can quickly increase …

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Intimate Invitations: The Photo that Changed the Course of My Career

midwife by photographer rachel lacour

The camera is an invitation to experience intimacy.

I didn’t understand that powerful principle until I was given an unforgettable assignment for my college newspaper, The Columbia Missourian.

A writer and I were working on a story about midwives. It seemed simple on the surface: visit a few homes where mothers-to-be were meeting midwives.

With my camera over my shoulder, I tentatively stepped inside a family’s quiet house. What happened then simply changed the course of my career.

The mother and midwife graciously invited me to photograph a pregnancy progress exam in the home’s small sunroom. I crouched in a corner, hoping to minimize my footprint within an incredibly intimate scene.

As the midwife began the exam, the mother’s toddler tiptoed into the room, climbed onto the window seat, and tenderly placed his ear on his mother’s belly. His blue eyes closed, his tiny mouth opened, in a moment of pure wonder. I felt surprising …

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The Photo Life Podcast: An Interview with Kevin Meyers

Learned the Hard Way

In this week’s episode, we speak with Portland photographer Kevin Meyers about learning photography from a self-taught perspective and the difficult lessons that have helped to shape his business. He also shares insights into the future of the industry and his hope that photography doesn’t ever lose the precision of craft it built itself upon. About Kevin Meyers

Based in Portland, OR, Kevin has been photographing weddings locally and abroad since 2005. Like many others, his accomplishments include featured work in national publications, speaking engagements, and work used in marketing materials for companies in the wedding industry.

Kevinʼs main focus is drawing on his background in business and finance to perfect his own systems while helping others along the way.

To maintain a foundation in the technical and creative aspects of photography, he enjoys learning from the work of legendary photographers from the early 1900s as well as the work of …

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