5 Maternity Photography Ideas for Expecting Clients

Becoming a mother is a special, special time in the life of a woman who chooses to walk that path. As cliché as it might sound, women who want a child and manage to become pregnant with one are truly experiencing a touch of the miraculous in their lives, and expecting couples are often so touched by this experience that working with them as a photographer can be the source of great inspiration. It is very often that these couples – or women – want to immortalize the special time they are currently experience through a beautiful photo shoot, and this is where you come in. If you take these few maternity photography ideas into account when you get contacted by expecting clients, the results will surely make them happy, and make you a better photographer in the process.

1. Combine the maternity photography niche with the boudoir photography niche.

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Sometimes, the altered body appearance of a pregnant woman is the main thing which she wants to immortalize in the special photo session, and posing semi-naked for it almost comes naturally. Although for most photography outsiders, the ideas of maternity and of boudoir photography don’t mix very well, in professional practice they mix perfectly, and quite often (as we’ve shown you before in a post about boudoir photography). If you think about it, it actually makes perfect sense: a woman who wants to document her journey with professional photographs wants to beam with joy over her swollen belly, but wants to feel feminine and attractive too. Therefore, nude or semi-nude photos (perhaps just with a silhouette) are one of the best maternity photography ideas ever.

2. Make the belly important, but don’t make it your sole focus.

Styled maternity session at the Propel Workshop 2013

One of the most common novice mistakes when it comes to experimenting with maternity photography ideas is making the belly the main focus of each photo. Sure, the unborn baby is sort of the main point of the shoot, but if you center your photos on it, all of them will end up looking the same, and you will have missed other crucial aspects which should have been captured. Try alternating the focus and concentrate on other things like the people’s facial expressions, how your props are making the whole setting change and so on. Speaking of props, when shooting indoors in your studio (though it shouldn’t be a must, as we’ll develop further on later), some of the best maternity photography ideas include using unlikely pieces of furniture for comfortable poses. If the woman feels very comfy in an armchair, try creating the same pose with her in a kid’s wagon, for example, and so on.

3. When photographing couples, make the other partner feel important as well.

Butter Media Inc.

Another potential mistake you could make is to overlook the other partner or make them just a supporting character within the photos. Maternity photography ideas should be more than simply photographing the pregnant woman with her partner behind her and holding her or her belly. Ask them to play around until you find the potential for something funny, like the partner’s surprised facial expression being the focus of the photo, right next to the pregnancy itself. In real life as well as in photographs, the non-pregnant partner of expecting couples can sometimes feel like the third wheel, and it’s part of your job to counteract this effect in the photographs and make everyone feel like the united family they are.

4. Help your subjects relax and feel attractive.

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Keep in mind that your subjects are not only non-professionals who don’t know how to pose and how to not get tired by it, but they are also pregnant women who may have some trouble feeling attractive during this delicate time. The better they feel while posing, the better will the photos be, so do our best to help them feel relaxed, to prevent exhaustion and to keep their spirits up.

5. Don’t settle for classic poses and try something creative.

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Your first two or three couples who come to you for this kind of photos may challenge you enough just by requiring a classic maternity photo shoot, but after you become a bit more experienced in the field, you will soon notice how all studio photos will start looking more or less the same. After gaining a steady hand, try a more creative approach. Your artistry and your customers will both have to gain from the fresh view. For example, go outside the studio: try shooting the photos on the beach, if conditions will allow it, or simply somewhere outdoors. Some of the most creative maternity photography ideas we’ve seen around often involved being outdoors, so don’t be afraid to experiment. Have fun and good luck!

The Best Photography Quotes Tumblr Has to Offer

Most of us are familiar with Tumblr, even though the website is popular particularly in the under 25 age demographic. But the perks and duties of being a well-anchored photographer include staying up to speed with social media, therefore most photographers are also at least a bit familiar with Tumblr even if they’re in their 30s and above. Well, during your Tumblr browsing, you may have noticed a trend which is both hugely popular among its users as it is very friendly to us photographers: the making and remaking of photography quotes, which end up being posted on other social media hubs (like Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest) afterwards.

No matter if you’re a fan of Tumblr or of this trend – which we admit can get a bit annoying, especially if your whole news feed gets over-crowded with lame messages stamped on cliché photos – you should see it as an opportunity. As a hobbyist photographer aspiring to break it into the pro league, the photography quotes trend can be a wonderful opportunity for you to promote your artwork. Just make a catchy image using one of your own photos, and then distribute it widely and hope it catches on, never forgetting to mention yourself in the credits somewhere. Don’t worry, even if the picture will be copied with no mention of its original source, the Google Images search algorithm will identify the source as you in no time, as long as you post the altered image on your blog first, before distributing it on social networks.

But to cut a long story short, here is a short list of the best photography quotes we found on Tumblr. You can use it as inspiration and, why not, you can also make the messages be quotes about photography and not just photography quotes, if you’d like. Don’t be afraid to play around: make the base black and white, use famous quotes by consecrated artists or writers or write your own message in your own voice.  It may sound like a cliché, but it’s true: as long as the message is heartfelt or witty or both, you’ll create the best photography quotes the internet has seen in a while. This is our list of 10 inspiring examples to get your mind started on it.

The nostalgic moment.

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Nothing triggers an emotional response in people as fast as something which induces nostalgia. Whether it’s for one’s childhood, as in the example above, or for lost love or whatever, feeling nostalgic opens people up to the beauty of a photo-captured moment.

The powerful emotional message, set on an airy/dreamy or colorful background.

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If the love or life quote is short, it’s even better, since it drives the point home faster.

The black and white background.

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The same short and catchy emotional message can be written on a black-and-white background for a touch of class.

The poetic photo with a norm-defying message.

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Few things are prettier than a colored powder flying through the air, and it makes the perfect background for an inspirational quote about being yourself or being different.

A nature scene meant to induce calm (or something else).

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If the straight to the point quote is aimed at helping the viewer let go, no picture could be more appropriate for it than one of the sea.

The one with a pretty human presence.

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A beautiful woman, even if she’s photographed from behind, can be the perfect background to strong inspirational messages or relationship advice quotes. Facebook is the best and most complete proof of this.

The arts and crafts featured in a photo.

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Perhaps because everything tends to be so digitalized, internet users seem to be very moved when they see a picture of something which evokes hand work, if it’s framed and set in a beautiful way. Maybe it’s the yearning for real contact, maybe it’s the creative feel of it, it’s doesn’t matter. This kind of photo is yet again a very good background, especially for advice quotes. In this case, and the following images as well till the end of our list, it’s all not just photography quotes, but quotes about photography.

The simple background for a thought-stimulating message.

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This great photography quote doesn’t really need much more than its own wit to stand out.

The vintage-style image.

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Vintage inspired images are another crowd favorite it seems, and the photography quotes market caught up to it.

The handwriting.

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A cute and funny way to deliver a quite is by simply writing it down in a pretty way and photographing it.

All in all, we hope you enjoyed our list of photography quotes from Tumblr and that you’ll maybe take some time to play around with your own photos, eventually. It may not seem like a very serious thing to do, but art often requires a break from seriousness. Have fun and unwind, you never know how popular your photography quotes can get.

5 Sensible Ideas for Couples Boudoir Photography

During your career as a photographer working with people, if you manage to successfully transition from doing this as a hobby to becoming a pro, you will be approached by couples quite often. When two people feel happy together, when they are at the beginning or when they have simply reached a new relationship milestone, it is quite often that they want to celebrate that feeling by commissioning a series of couple photography. But on that note, you shouldn’t be surprised that sometimes they want to try couples boudoir photography, since it’s one of the most popular commercial trends of the present. It can’t be all wedding photography or classic portraits; but on the other hand you shouldn’t feel queasy about it: boudoir photography is by no means erotic photography, which is much more explicit or debatable. To prepare a bit for the time when you’ll receive a request like this, here are 5 sensible ideas for couples’ boudoir photography to achieve the ideal balance between enticing and tasteful.

1. Combine the niches of boudoir photography with maternity photography.

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Sometimes, pregnant mothers want to contract a photographer to help them immortalize their new bodies in a beautiful light. It is a way for them to feel beautiful at a time when their bodies are going through miraculous and tremendous change, and you need to be highly imaginative as a photographer to be able to capture the exact angle that will produce a suitable photo. The final result must be neither too revealing or overtly sexy, nor too abstract, as if you don’t want to show the body at all, nor focusing entirely on the belly. The good news is that if you get this right, your client will love it, and you will add a very desirable niche to your portfolio.

2. Use lights and shadows to highlight only one area or shape of your subjects’ bodies.

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When photographing bodies in a delicate and non-overtly erotic manner, the play of lights and shadows can be your friend. In the example above, the shadows help make the photo not too explicit, while the lights make the contours stand out in an alluring way. Tasteful boudoir photography can be easily achieved through light and shadow play, so it’s a trick you should keep in mind for every such photo shoot.

3. In couples’ boudoir photography, your people skills must be extra sharp.

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Brushing up on your people skills to make sure your subjects are relaxed enough to pose and to also prevent their exhaustion is an important part of any kind of photography work, but in the case of boudoir photography, perhaps it is even more so. A person’s body is the thing they often are the most self-conscious about, and it is your job to make them feel as relaxed and comfortable as possible. They must feel so throughout the photo shoot, and the results have to make them feel beautiful. Perhaps a talk with your subjects about the body parts they feel most self-conscious about or the body parts which they are proud of and would like to bring into focus can prove itself useful, if you are as tactful about it a possible.

4. Try shooting the photos from partially concealing angles.

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If you manage to tactfully find out what areas of their bodies your clients are comfortable with and what areas they would like concealed, you can use this as a guide. If there isn’t anything to be concealed for this reason, then just try to follow this rule of revealing something and concealing something else, in order to make sure the final result is tasteful and just slightly erotic. In couple’s boudoir photography, you have to deliver a result which will make your clients happy with their decision of posing for you even after a long while has passed.

5. As much of a cliché as it sounds, focus on the feeling of the overall setting than on the bodies per se.

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The décor is very important in couple’s boudoir photography, as it will set the whole feeling for the entire series of photos. Not only will this feeling be visible to the viewer of the photos, but the subjects themselves must be successfully be immersed in it to relax properly and glow. This setting includes not only the objects in the room, but also the way you choose to frame the image you want to capture.

If you manage to apply these few ideas for couples’ boudoir photography, your clients should feel very happy with both the shooting experience and the results of your work, and your reputation as a reliable photographer will have nothing but to gain from it.

The Best Photographers We’ve Encountered Online in 2013-2014

Talking about something as definite as “best photographers “ can be more than a little bold, if truth be told, since the visual arts in general and photography in particular are so highly subjective that picking absolutes is impossible. But since we’re not claiming to choose the best photographers of all time, but only a few select ones which caught our eye since last year and the months that passed from this one, we dared to give it a go.

1. Davina Palik and Daniel Kudish

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This couple of photographers, based in Montreal and Ottawa, specialize in wedding photography, taking beautiful pictures of couples around the world on their big day. Although wedding photography seem to be a field where you can’t improvise all that much, at least not in a completely innovate or shocking way, these two are some of the best photographers out there precisely because they can demonstrate the contrary.

Take a look at their superb portfolio here and see for yourself how fresh wedding photography can actually be with Davina and Daniel behind the camera. We especially love the occasionally funny moments captured, because one rarely gets to see something funny and romantic at the same time.

2. Spencer Murphy

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For the portrait photography niche, our favorite is Spencer Murphy, one of the best photographers in Britain, in our humble opinion. We especially like the serious air of his portraits, because sometimes, there’s just more to the realm of photography themes than autumn foliage (not that there’s anything wrong with being into that). Pictured above, you can admire the portrait of a female jump jockey right after the jump (part of a wider series of specialized portrait, which won him impressive awards).

You can take a better look at this photo series of his here.

3. Rafael Marchante

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This brilliant photographer from Portugal has reached a famous professional status on numerous websites after this iconic photograph of his was widely distributed in the aftermath of Nelson Mandela’s death. He managed to capture the spirit of the African leader’s legacy in a unique photograph of a well-made graffiti that was serious and playful and full of great impact all at the same time. His niche is taking pictures of seemingly banal street situations and homeless people, as opposed to most of our visitors who are mostly taking pictures of clients, but his images are a great inspiration nonetheless.

Take a look at his Facebook page here to browse some of the most amazing portraits you’ll ever see.

4. Camilla de Mafei

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This brilliant Italian lady truly deserves a spot in the best photographers of recent years. Her work is hard to put into just one box, as she seems to move effortlessly through landscape photography, sad and eerie portrait photography or still life shots.

Her official website, where you can browse more of her photos, is here.

5. Michael Roud

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One of the best photographers of Los Angeles, Michael Roud isn’t exactly a recent entry in the field of famous photography, but his works remain so edgy and impeccable that we couldn’t finish this list without him. Mostly into headshots (but also into wedding photography), he also impresses with his work as a director and with collaborations with celebrities. The one certainty about the work of this incredibly talented guy is that getting photographed by him is certainly an honor and privilege.

His official website and portfolio can be admired at will here.

These were, according to us, the best photographers of the recent years which you should check out every now and then for an inspiration bonus. All in all, there’s no improving your own skills without also getting familiarized with the work of as many photographers as possible, and they might as well be worthy of the attention.

7 Tips for Shooting Autumn Foliage

Summer’s gone and every photographer on Earth is looking forward to the amazing colors that autumn brings along with it. Summers are always busy; you’ve got weddings, holidays, trips and all sorts of events that involve subject and lots of light and heat. We’ve recently talked about how to take precaution to prevent your subject’s exhaustion, but what about the photographer’s exhaustion? At the beginning of this autumn, it’s time you took a little break and enjoyed nature; take your camera out and go on walks and photograph the lovely autumn foliage.

Autumn isn’t just about foliage and lovely colors, though, as it can prove to be quite a difficult season for a photographer: you’ve got less light, fog, shadows that will prove challenging, even to the more seasoned photographer. That’s why we decided to provide you with a few tips of shooting autumn foliage. Read on and take notes!

Do We Even Have to Mention that Location is Everything?

trees Tips for Shooting Autumn Foliage

If you want to get awesome photographs without much effort, then you need to go to where the magic happens in the falls. Places such as New England, Minnesota, Wisconsin, the Colorado Rockies and even New Hampshire are amazing in the fall. If you can’t afford to travel, or you simply do not have the time to do it, you can ask Google some question and it will deliver.

Exposure?

Our advice is to use Matrix metering for pretty much everything, but do make sure to check the histogram to see if highlights are being clipped. Another great tip regarding exposure is to push the ISO to keep the depth of field while maintaining a high shutter speed, in case there are too many clouds in the sky. The thing is that when you’re photographing landscapes you don’t want to open the aperture, because it’s going to take away from the depth of field.

Macro Works Great in the AutumnMilkweed Tips for Shooting Autumn Foliage

Autumn close-ups don’t necessarily need to be of foliage; think about how wonderful a close-up of a milkweed seed pod will look on film. It won’t look like an explosion of color, but it will still scream fall. Use the colors of the fall as an excuse to hit the woods and find great things that need photographing.

Water and Autumn Go Together Perfectly

Water simply becomes magical in the autumn, so focus on creeks, ponds, lakes, rivers or whatever puddle of water you’ve got around you and great results are to be expected. When choosing a fall location, take water in consideration, because it transforms any good location into a great one in the autumn. Try some long exposure when photographing and you’ll get texture that will make your photographs uniquely beautiful.

Long Lenses Capture Autumn’s Beauty

If you want to focus solely on autumn foliage photography, then our tip is to use a long-focus lens. Try an 85mm long lens and see if you are happy with the results. There would be no reason why you wouldn’t be.

Take Advantage of the Autumn Fog

fog Tips for Shooting Autumn Foliage

Fog and mist can be a photographer’s worst nightmare, but in the right circumstances (in the autumn, mostly), fog can make you achieve some spectacular results. Fog will soften colors and add mood and atmosphere, but it will take you a few shots until you get the hang of it.

Start Exploring

Fall is perfect for driving around and exploring the areas that have great potential. Grab a map and start searching for spots where you think the most color will be. Obviously, the more trees an area has, the more colors you will find there. You can even leave your camera behind the first time you do your exploring, so that you can simply scour the land for great spots and enjoy yourself. If you have the time, do your exploring in the afternoon, when the sun is softer.

Did you enjoy our tips for shooting autumn foliage? Would you like to share any more tips with us and our readers? Drop us a line in the comment section below. 

5 Ways to Experiment More with Your Photography

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Becoming a good photographer takes more than just hard work, mechanical knowledge of the basic know-hows and the investment of time and money. None of these things are easy to give, of course, especially if you’re striving to make the transition from an amateur to a pro while also maintaining an unrelated job and investing all your extra money in new gear and props to fuel your still not so lucrative hobby. But that little extra we’re talking about could be equated to the unquantifiable spark of talent, or confidence, or creativity which your work will eventually need to stand out from the crowd. Put in more technical and less romantic terms, in order to develop this sixth sense in photography and obtain better results, you need to experiment more with your work. Here are 5 ways to start.

Experiment more with the camera settings

As we mentioned earlier, it’s always a good idea to keep playing with your camera’s settings and discover new ways to make them work for the situation at hand. Nothing will give your imagination stronger wings than knowing every last effect obtainable from every last setting on your camera. Once you get to know them all and to know how your camera reacts to every possible combination of settings, you can experiment more in creative ways for pleasantly surprising effects.

Try new angles of viewing things

When approaching your usual subjects, establish your normal, go-to viewing angle and then try 2 or three completely different ones. You may be surprised of what you discover if you allow yourself to experiment more with the angles. The results may be better than what your usual approach would have produced, or, even if not, can prove to be valuable lessons in how you’ll perceive space through your lens.

Take photos of things out of your comfort zone

After you experiment more with the angles, it’s time to temporarily change your usual subjects as well. Try photographing things you wouldn’t normally think of photographing and see how your usual techniques are suitable or not for the new themes. We’re not suggesting you to go very far out of your comfort zone if you don’t want to (like to switch from wedding portraits to the morbid and grotesque), but trying something even a bit new as a subject can make you a better photographer once you return to your usual line of work.

Go wild with post-photo editing

Even if less is more when it comes to photo editing, you can play a bit with all the editor’s features just as you did with the camera settings. Even if the results are way over the top to count as decent pictures, if you experiment more with digital tools such as Photoshop or Picasa or whatever photo processing program you prefer, you will learn a great deal about what you can do with your photos in the future.

Try to work through the lens of another photographer for a short while

Every photographer, and especially the established ones, has their unique style, and trying to emulate it for a while can do you some good, even if it’s not a style you would like for yourself. Get familiar with two or three photographers who employ a very personal view, as different from each other as possible, and study their works. Then, for a week or so at a time, try to experiment more with your photos by channeling the style of each of them. Even if you won’t borrow anything from your muses on the long term, you will know yourself better as photographer by the end of this experiment and your enhanced knowledge will soon reflect positively in the quality of your photos.

Take Precautions to Prevent Your Subject’s Exhaustion

As most of our readers are amateur photographer trying to make the transition to professional ones, we address this post to them as part of the things one must learn at the beginning of the journey. There are many things to learn, it seems, so many that at times all the effort you’re making can feel a little overwhelming. While no one can guarantee that you’re going to make it as a pro in the business, what we can promise is that if you do, things will get easier, and they only seem overwhelming for now, when paid gigs come in very rarely if they do at all. To most of us in the beginner days, putting that much effort and money into something that is still only a hobby can seem hopeless at times (especially if you also need to maintain an unrelated job for the time being). Since this post is about exhaustion, this is a point when you can feel a sort of exhaustion yourself, but if you persevere, better things will come, eventually.

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The point we are trying to make is that amidst all this info which you’re supposed to acquire, it’s easy to get lost in the technical details of ISO and lighting and forget the people skills which a good photographer needs. Helping your clients relax while you photograph them is very important, both for preventing exhaustion and for making sure the photos are actually good and don’t feel artificial or forced. The so-called bedside manner is indeed a requirement in many professions and photography is definitely one of them. Moreover, if you lack this quality or skill as a photographer, this can modify your whole work for the worse, unlike the other professions who only require it to make the people you work with be comfortable. Not that we’re implying that’s optional or anything.

The one thing to keep in mind is that most of the people you will photograph will not be professional models, familiar with the whole drill. They will be people hiring you to help immortalize a precious moment of their lives, like, for example, if you will become a wedding photographer. Since they are not used to the routine of posing, exhaustion will catch up with them rather quickly, leading to the portraits being less good than they could be, leading in turn to a lessened satisfaction with your services. But the good news is that you can keep this in mind throughout the photo shoot and take little precautions at all times to prevent your subjects from getting too tired too fast.

These precautions you can take would depend a bit on your personal style too, but an example of a good strategy you could develop is this: spend the first 10 minutes or so helping them relax and feel comfortable enough to pose, then ask for the poses you want in a series of more intense minutes, then tone down the rhythm and suggest breaks.

During the breaks, you could suggest refreshments like water or juice, then, after removing the drinks from the scene, you could allow a semi-break by telling them to act more natural or pose whichever way they feel like it. This may lead to very good photos (which is a win-win situation), or to not that good photos, which are still useful for the respite and for allowing you subjects to become more and more comfortable with posing. Few things beat exhaustion better than being allowed to pose however you want to every now and then, so if you only take one tip out of this post, take this one.

5 Small Tips that Can Truly Make a Difference

Taking good photos is hard, though it may not seem like that from afar. When they actually agree that a photographer’s work is good, people are either saying “Oh gosh, look at that photographer, they have are so talented”, as if that elusive quality of talent has been magically bestowed upon the photographer by a well-meaning fairy godmother, or they are simply explaining it through the semi-professional equipment. I’m sure you’ve seen both these kinds of reactions, the latter kind also including the enthusiasm of a clueless person about investing in a camera way above their skills, expecting to somehow take pro-level pictures immediately after the said acquisition.

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But all of us here probably know that becoming a photographer does not happen overnight and it takes work and learning. To that effect, here are 5 small tips you may not already know about how to improve your skills even if you’re still at the beginning of that journey from amateur to pro. As a disclaimer, we should probably mention that this post is for the beginners among us, so bear with it if you feel yourself too advanced for such meager small tips.

1. Look at other photographer’s works and even ask questions.

Don’t underestimate the value of being humble enough to ask for advice even if you’re not very sure what to ask. Also, even without asking anything, browsing as many photographic works as possible is the sole thing which can train your eye to detect what makes a picture good or bad, better or worse, or to notice when a professional is using a technique you might be interested in yourself. When you see something like this, ask away: you’d be surprised of how friendly people can be, and getting a few small tips from an established photographer can really make a difference.

2. Ask an untrained eye which version they prefer out of 2 or 3.

But don’t neglect the feedback you could get from a pair of well-meaning untrained eyes. Oftentimes, they see the same kind of things which your potential clients may see and you should take it into account if you want to seem like a good idea. So whenever you’re editing photos and would like some feedback, save some intermediary versions and ask a good non-photographer friend or one of your parents what they think about them.

3. Try Picasa or a basic contrast editor to train your hand at photo editing.

Speaking of photo editing, you should be careful not to overdo it. It’s true that most raw photos need a little fixing, but one of the best small tips you will ever hear is that less is more. To make sure you learn to do it moderately, start with an editing tool for beginners, like Picasa.

4. Avoid putting the focus/subject in the center of the photo.

Pictures which put the focus or the subject of their portrait right in the center have a decisively amateur air about them. Whatever you do and no matter how much of a beginner you really are or not, try to avoid this mistake. Of course, there’s no need to do the opposite and put the subject of the photo in a corner of it as that would be pretty annoying (unless it’s occasional and for artistic reasons). To get it right, look for an online tutorial about proper photo framing and focusing, you can find a lot of small tips on how to avoid the center in a non-obvious way.

5. Play with the settings as much as possible.

This is another piece of advice which may seem like a cliché to our more advanced users, but keep going out of your comfort zones and play with the settings on your camera as much as possible. There’s a common tendency among many beginner photographers, to finally find a configuration that works for them, save it and use it on every occasion thereafter. Remember what works, of course, but keep searching and trying, and you will soon understand your camera and your settings much better than you thought you did. This way, you will eventually come to a point where you can easily adjust them to the present situation and take the most mind-blowing photos possible. You’ll soon be in the position to offer some small tips to others on how to improve themselves, you’ll see.

5 Cute Photo Album Ideas

When trying to set up a photography business, one of the key aspects which gain most of your attention is, of course, your technique and equipment. There’s almost no end to the constant strive to improve your skills, learn more about how to use various tricks to obtain stunning effects, and to the desire to invest in the next best thing as far as equipment is concerned. This is all very well, but maybe you should spend a little more time considering the experience your clients have after working with you. This isn’t just about the so-called bedside manner, or making your subjects feel comfortable during the shoot, but it should also be about the mementos they’re left with. Of course, they’ll all order digital photos and a few large portraits, but not all of them will think about photo albums. Maybe it’s time to consider surprising your large-order customers with a custom made photo album featuring their best shots. Since there will be some clients who’ll think about it themselves and order one, having the skill to create beautiful photo albums will help you even more. Here are our top 5 suggestions.

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1. Center the photo album pages around themes and sub-themes

Even if the album is basically one big splurge of photos from a certain event or photo shoot, you can still organize them by the feeling they give you. Pair 2 or 3 photos per page either by what people are doing in them, either by seeking to create a funny effect by matching them together. Such a funny effect could be, for example, someone making a sad face, then a photo of another person appearing, and then another of the first person looking all bright and cheerful. You get the idea – just play around with the photos in order to create a funny and delightful walk down memory lane for the people who will receive it.

2. Handwrite labels for each photo, page, and cover

Handwritten labels look way better than printed ones, and an album without labels on its cover and pages looks like it’s missing something. Fill in the labels on the cover or inner covers yourself, and let the recipients fill out the rest of the labels from underneath the photos. They’ll surely appreciate the opportunity to caption it with funny or witty or simply emotionally significant things, and grow fonder of the album you compiled with each passing year.

3. Personalize the photo album with fabric and little insertions

You can get most of the props you can apply over a photo album in any large general store. You can start experimenting with decorations by gluing a large piece of fabric over the main cover, and cutting out a piece of its center so you can still feature a photo on it. Careful at how neatly you tuck in the pages so that the fabric can’t easily be torn off afterwards. Feel free to add all sorts of creative insertions on it afterwards, according to the theme you want to highlight.

4. Take it even further with metallic monograms

If you think you’d be willing to take the personalization even further for a couple of special customers, you could consider decorating the photo album with metallic monograms on the cover, or even on each page. The technique is pretty much a classic and won’t actually require that much skill, but it will look impressive to your more sober clients.

5. Try making a photo card as well, scrapbook-style

If most of your clients don’t really place such large orders as to justify the business decision of gifting them a scrapbook, maybe just apply the same idea to a stand-up photo card. Decorate its frame as nicely as you can, maybe even include two photos on it, and send it with your compliments. Your photographer renown will benefit from these small moves as well.

To maintain inspiration, it never hurts to keep an eye out for new photo album ideas which pop up around the web, gathered together in a growing collection like this one on Pinterest.

5 Ways to Deal with Bad Wedding Photos

It’s another one of those photographers’ nightmares that everyone has to deal with, sooner or later in their career. It usually tends to happen to beginner wedding photographers: you shoot the wedding, spend tons of time editing the pictures, then, one day, you get the dreaded call. The client hates your work. They are disappointed with it. They may even ask for their money back. What do you do? How do you deal with bad wedding photos? Here are 5 tips from actual wedding photographers, with enough experience in their portfolios to be speaking with the best of intentions.

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1. Don’t dwell

This is the most important step in learning how to deal with bad wedding photos, unless you want to end up too scared to ever pick up a camera again. The past is in the past and you can’t reshoot a wedding. You can analyze what went wrong, enlist the aid of a very skilled photo editor and try to do as much damage control as possible. However, at the end of the day, all you can do is learn from your mistakes (as everyone does) and move forward.

2. Analyze & acknowledge

Perhaps the conditions in which you shot the wedding were harsh. Perhaps you lack the experience to handle the weather, the light, the temper tantrums thrown by the wedding party, or anything else. Maybe your compositions are bad. Try to pinpoint the causes, in order to deal with bad wedding photos. Understand what went wrong, but make sure to be as objective and detached as possible. It’s actually a good idea to sit down with said ruined set and a trusted fellow photographer and ask for their opinion. A second call could be what you need, in order to prevent you from doubting your professional abilities altogether.

3. Pay up… or not

Sometimes, when you are forced to deal with bad wedding photos, you must simply understand that some clients are out to get their money back. Nothing you say or do will feel like compensation enough for them, before you pay up. You can comply to any other request they make, edit and re-edit the photos until you turn blue in the face – they want their money back and that’s final. At this point, your options are those listed in the contract you signed with them. If the client has just cause to ask for their money back, both legally and ethically, there is little you can do but pay up. Whatever you do, don’t let yourself be bullied away from your money.

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4. Get a second shooter, be a second shooter

The best way to learn wedding photography is by being a second shooter. Wedding photography pros recommend second shooting weddings for at least a year, before you attempt to go it on your own, as the main wedding photographer. Similarly, if you’re starting out as a main wedding photographer, it’s almost mandatory to enlist the aid of a second shooter you can trust. At the end of the day, they can make a world of difference, in terms of client satisfaction.

5. Trust your instinct

Lastly, the main takeaway, when you have to deal with bad wedding photos, is that you should always trust your gut when it comes to taking on a gig. If you feel you lack the experience and/or are worried the responsibility is too much for you to handle, find a gracious way to say no. You should never let a client pressure you into a booking, because chances are at the end of the day no one’s going to walk away happy – not you, nor the client.