5 Tips for Beginner Photographers

So you like taking pictures, ey? One of my most FREQUENTLY asked questions is, how does one get started?

1. Don’t overdue it: What is the use of having fancy equipment if you don’t know how to use it? Keep it simple, and advance slowly. I had a friend who wanted to start a photography business. She took out a loan and bought all sorts of fancy equipment,¬† including an expensive camera, yet she kept the setting on auto. What is the use of having all those awesome settings if you aren’t going to use them?

2. Be patient: Photography takes practice. It isn’t the camera taking the picture, it is the photographer. Good photography doesn’t happen overnight, it is a skill that many photographers spend a lot of money learning to do, in education, seminars, SDPPA, etc.

3. Always keep your camera on you and look at everything as a photographic opportunity.


4. Find a mentor, and be inspired. It is so important to find a mentor that you trust and look  up to. The important thing is find someone you like, but not to lean on them. You still will need to develop your own situation.


5. Subscribe to as many photography blogs and forums as you can.


7 Tips to take better pictures of your children from home….

I recently photographed by son, and I was in shock at how different the session went. I am so used to photographing other children, that I completely how to photograph my own! I found myself thinking back, “what do I do to make kids laugh?” “How do I get such great candid pictures” and you think it would be a complete no-brainer!

I have compiled a list of tips and tricks to get great photos from home!

*Note: It is SO super important to take your kids to a professional photographer for their milestones. I cannot stress this enough. However, I am also a strong believer that kids should have those “everyday” moments photographed too. Please do NOT deprive your family the opportunity to have high quality, professional images! Remember: Just because one has a nice camera does not mean the camera takes the pictures, the photographer does. I don’t know one person who regretted taking their children to a professional photographer who does this for a living!

Top Tips for Getting the Best Pictures out of your Children!

1.First of all, Be Patient. There is no reason to rush your child through pictures. You are living on “their time” any other time of the day, why not give them some time to warm up? Give them sometime to direct the photography!


2.Get involved! The more you interact with your child the better. Sometimes simply rolling the ball back and forth for a while relaxes them. Try playing peekaboo behind a tree.

3.Get them giggling! What usually makes them giggle? Is it playing peekaboo? Is it fake sneezes (Works for me everytime!) Put the camera down and get them giggling first, this relaxes them and makes giggling during pictures a lot easier.

4. Think about the background. Go to a park, a river, downtown. Find some cool scenery! Make sure its not too distracting though!


5.Don’t Practice. Yes, you read that right. I know of so many instances were parents will bring their kids to the studio and say, “we practiced in front of the mirror.” nine times out of ten, that is just teaching a child to smile on que, and you will get the most unnatural cheezy smiles. Instead of saying “say cheese!” say something super funny to get them to laugh, for real!

6. Don’t leave out funny faces! All kids will do a cheezy smile at least once! Catch it! This is a milestone, like any other. When they give you the pouty face, capture it! When they cry, which hopefully they wont do too much of that, capture it!

7. And most of all, have fun! If you show your child that you are having fun, and they are having fun, the chances of them having fun when a photographer takes their picture is a lot more likely!


10 Things You Can Do Today to Prepare your Mind for Creativity

1) Visit a store you wouldn’t normally shop at.

2) Listen to a music station you don’t normally listen to

3) Watch a channel or show you swear you never would

4) Read a book unlike any genre you normally would

5) Make a journal entry every day

6) Read several papers & magazines articles noting how stories and writing styles change.

7) Eat at a restaurant you have never eaten at, try something off the menu you normally wouldn’t.

8) Take a class on something you haven’t experienced before, such as ceramics or photography.

9) Meet someone new

10) Take 1/2 hour to just, meditate.


5 things to do this Winter to improve your Photography Skills!

1) Research!

I cannot tell you how important it is to research the industry. Look for photography that is “in” as if you were going to Macys or Maurices to learn the trends in clothing! What is popular? What is unique? What is OVERDONE?!?! I will tell you one thing. A lot of new photographers overdue “selective coloring” This is a VERY outdated process, and is often cheesy if not done just right. Our clients (or your friends) only know what the current trends or unique styles are (and the cheesy or unoriginal styles that shouldn’t be replicated) because we teach them that. So before you become a ‘teacher’ ‘photographer’ or anything for that matter, RESEARCH!

2) Practice

When I first started, the only thing I charged for was gas to get to the location! Practice, Practice Practice, and don’t charge until you comfortably feel as though you can produce the same high quality images at each session!

3) Educate yourself!

This is another important thing! Lighting, Camera Settings, whatever it may be that you need to learn more about, do it this winter! Figure out exactly what makes your camera “click.” Find out different lighting strategies. Learn about color, and white balance! These are SO important, and can make a huge impact in your photography!

4) Read your Manual

You have to know how to run your camera. Although it seems very very “UN FUN!” you must do this. Make it a challenge. Learn 5 pages a day until your manual is done. Don’t forget to practice each setting you learn!


Find a Photo a Day, or a Photo a Week challenge to participate in. This helps with your mind, and thinking outside the box!



20 Things to put on your Photography Bucket List

Pinterest and other social media sites really get us drooling, don’t they? With all of the eye candy we are exposed to, its not suprising that many of us form “Bucket Lists.” I wanted to share my Photography Bucket List, About two years ago, I sat down and formed a bucket list, and have tweaked it here and there. After reading some bucket lists from other photographers, I revised mine a bit.What is on your Photography Bucket List?

1. Engagement Photo Shoot in a Laundromat

2. Snowball Fight

3. Frosty Tree

4. Horses Running

5. Pillow Fight

6. Girls Sharing a Secret

7. Family’s feet in a row

8. Storm Clouds Rolling In

9. Car Tail Lights in Slow-mo (slow shutter speed)

10. Completed Rainbow (how rare is this?)

11. Street Photography, including Grafiti

12. Elderly couple on a park bench.

13. Dramatic light self portrait

14. Sunrise/Sunset

15. Reflection of something in water/ice

16. A Ferris Wheel all lit up at dusk

17. Children Splashing Water

18. Dancing

19. The President or any Celebrity

20. Couple Kissing in the Rain

Share what’s on your bucket list below!


Aspiring Photographers 101: Making the Most out of your Summer Outdoor Photos

One nice thing about photography outdoors is the endless opportunities that present themselves. With a wide array of backdrops, natural lighting, and the possibility to get a nice, clean, sharp exposure, in which are just icing on the cake!

There are several things to be cautious of, however. When shooting outside, first be aware of your surroundings. What does your background look like? Is it free of useless, unnecessary clutter? Is there unpleasing items in the background such as garbage cans, random people, piles of garbage, or anything else that could distract the viewer? Is it possible to change up your angle or moves a few steps as to ensure that you don’t get these items in the photo?

Another important thing to be cautious of is LIGHT! Light can make or break a photo. Is your subject facing the harsh sun? Is it creating dark sun shadows around their eyes, messing up the exposure or causing them to squint? Are you photographing in a really dark place, such as a tunnel to where its too dark for your camera to adjust exposure? Of course there are solutions to photographing in weird light situations, however for beginners here are a couple of tips:

1. Photograph with the sun behind your subject. Instead, make sure that the sun is behind your subject. Of course, if you are shooting around noon-3 it is best to shoot down on your subject as to avoid “sun glares.”

2. Photograph in areas of a nice, cool shade. Instead of shooting in the bright sun, try finding a tree, or a building that creates shade. This allows you to photograph your subject in a nice, even light, without creating “Sun Shadows”, squinting, or harsh light situations.

3. Choose the time of day that you photograph wisely. If you are able to choose when you take your photos, try doing it early in the morning (8-10ish) or later at night (5-7ish). This is when the sun has just began to come up or just going down, where it is less harsh. Also, areas of shade are often more extensive since the sun isn’t directly above your subject.

Candid! Shoot Candid! This summer you may find yourself enjoying parades, at the lake, shooting fireworks, or even around a campfire. Capture your child at their best, when they are smiling, giggling, contemplating, etc. Your child does not have to be staring at the camera saying cheese all the time, get those looks that are priceless!

Thanks for coming to Aspiring Photogrpaher 101! See you next time!

Aspiring Photographer 101: Photographing People and Faces

What is typically the most eye grabbing thing about a portrait? Usually, its the face! Yes, and usually the eyes at that.

Tips for shooting subjects faces:

  • My number one trick for shooting subjects faces is to UNTRAIN your child from smiling. Yes, you read correctly; it is ok, and usually rather beneficial if you take photos of your child’s natural faces and expressions. They create stronger emotions that the worlds cheesiest smiles! Of course, those are fun too!
  • Chin up and down. Yes, when you are photographing somebody, have them tip their chin up and then down. When you tell your subject to chin up, out, and down, it could make them look a lot thinner, and also extenuates the neck!
  • Make each arm, leg, hand, foot, etc a little different. I read in an article recently; if they are the same, make them different!
  • Turn womens head towards their highest shoulders, mens heads away from their highest shoulder.
  • If it bends, bend it! Keeping arms and legs totally straight makes a person look stiff!
  • Focus on the eyes; Eyes are the Entrance to Ones Soul, I always say!
  • Along with catching natural expressions comes CANDID! It is ok to shoot candid shots, it is TOTALLY ok if the child is not staring at the camera!
  • Stand back and zoom- this will cause a higher depth of field and photos with higher dept of field tend to be more appealing!
  • DON’T SHOOT SUBJECTS STRAIGHT ON! When you are photographing a subject, it is your job to make them look great! Shoulder to Shoulder tends to be your widest part, so don’t shoot straight on! Angle your subjects body!
  • Tilt your subjects neck: People look stiff when their necks are straight on. Tilt your subjects head, but the trick is to tilt it in several different agles! Your subject will look different if they tilt their neck left vs. right! See what works best for their pose!
  • Shoot straight on or above, when it comes to angle. If you shoot your subject from below, THEY WILL LOOK AWKWARD, almost every time. shoot at their focal point or above!
  • Weight on BACK LEGS. always. Tell your client to put most of their weight on their back leg, it will make them relax!

I will be adding to this list often, so make sure you come back to learn more!

Aspiring Photography 101: Indoor Lighting & Tips

When I first starting doing photography, the biggest thing that I was intimidated by surprisingly wasn’t all the gizmos and gadgets on my camera, but it was the lighting! Because I knew, that no matter what, before knowing a thing about my camera, I had to know about light. Everything about light. Photography IS light. Where it comes from, its temperature, its force, its direction. Light is the power in photography, and using it to your advantage is super important! However, being creative with light only comes after understanding it and practicing with it. To get started, here are some fabulous tips to help you step into the world of LIGHTING!

When photographing inside…

  • Use windows and doors to create a soft, natural light.
  • Try shooting in the bathroom; yes, I said your bathroom. Most tubs are white, which creates a nice natural reflector of light!
  • USE A TRIPOD! Often in lower light situations, we need to bump our shutter speed down; which can create motion blur. Using a tripod can decrease the blur!
  • Use higher ISO and lower Shutter Speeds; be cautious, however, the higher your ISO is, the more “grainy” your photographs get.
  • Learn how to set the custom white balance. For an aspiring photographer, try using a piece of white paper to set your custom white balance.
  • Use Flash Wisely! It can either make or break your photos!
  • Set your aperture to something like 4.0 or 2.0- the lower the number, the more light that gets let in; be cautious though because the lower the number, the less focal range you have.


Aspiring Photographer 101: Public Photography

One of the most exciting parts of my job is that I get to photograph TONS of local events for The Hood Magazine. One of the first questions I had for the magazine was what type of release do I need to get from those that I photograph? Being a portrait photographer, I am not shy of model releases and model contracts! I was happy to find out that for public events, no release is required.

If you are photographing for the intent of Editorial Content, there is no reason to obtain a model release.

However, it is very important to be caution of where you are photographing. Public places such as public parks, main st, etc are fair game. However, places such as government buildings, military buildings, etc are off limits. Other places that are off limits are those in which people would expect privacy, such as motels, dressing rooms, etc.

When photographing in public, it is important to be caution of areas which are not public, or areas where you should not be trespassing, which are usually but not always marked as “No Tresspassing” or “Posted” zones. It is important to be caution that you have express permission from the owner of the property. Many property owners will require that you carry some type of insurance or liability, as the liability will not fall on them if accidents were to occur.