Best Free Website Builders
Guest Author: Jack Vale
With more people launching businesses or otherwise wanting to communicate a message to others, free website builders have seen growing popularity in recent years. They reduce the reliance on coders in website creation, helping to encourage those without technical skills to assemble attractive websites.
Not all free website builders are created equally. Some are gems that help you design beautiful websites with simple drag-and-drop interfaces, or other equally-simple solutions. Others can be less useful, either offering a more complex user experience or incessantly promoting a paid plan.
This quick guide is to help guide you towards some of the better free website builders on the market. We have taken a look at their benefits and drawbacks, creating a list of the ones we believe can help you design a functioning website with the least headache.
As one of the biggest global names in website builders, it is logical that it should feature on this list of the best free website builders. Wix does offer paid plans, but you can still get a lot done with its free version.
Unlike other free website building services, you can edit your Wix domain to better reflect your business. This, alongside other customization features like the ability to actually drag content to exact positions, makes Wix a clear favorite for building a free website.
Wix is very intuitive and flexible, offering simple functions like ‘Ctrl + Z’ to undo actions and organized templates.
This is a great option for beginners to learn how to create a website. There is a walkthrough feature with plenty of explanations to make the experience as painless as possible.
If you are looking to build a serious website for your business or otherwise, this might compare unfavorably to Wix because of the inability to edit your domain name. SITE123 provides you with a website address full of random numbers and letters.
However, it is really easy for beginners to use with live chat support and intuitive website building.
Strikingly is a great way to make a personal website for free. Perhaps best reserved for those wanting to design a simple website with limited call-to-action buttons, this is user-friendly and makes it very easy to change your design.
While not as detailed as some of its competitors, Strikingly is focused on helping you to set up a simple, personal website as quickly as possible.
Take this recommendation with a word of warning: WordPress is built with blogging in mind. If you want to set up your own blog, this could be the free website builder for you. WordPress offers a great way to categorize blog posts, add a comments section and publish new content.
If you are looking to build an eCommerce website or something more visual, this might not be the free website builder for you.
Weebly is another great option for building a free website. If you just want to get online as quickly as possible, they offer a quick Q+A to get to know your needs before they give you a brand new website.
Alternatively, you can get hands-on with the standard Editor. You can still pick between attractive templates and access live chat, so this option remains suitable for beginners.
Jack Vale is a writer from Happy Writers, Co. in partnership with Checkworks, a classic personal checks retailer.
Best Modeling Agencies in Portland, Oregon
As a prominent and well connected photographer in Portland Oregon, I have worked with many models over the years. Some signed and well established and some just starting out. For those just starting out I'm often asked for any advice on finding a local modeling agency and who I'd recommend. I'll go into detail on how to get into modeling and what to expect in a future article but for now this article will focus on the 5 talent agencies in Portland, Oregon that I recommend.
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My recommendations are strictly based off opinions from models, designers, and stylists I've worked with in the past that I trust, testimonials, and personal interaction with these agencies. I am not a photographer for any of these agencies nor am I affiliated with them in any way.
Questions to Ask Before Signing with a Modeling Agency
Before I get into my 5 recommendations let's identify what you should look for in an agency and red flags to avoid on your quest to becoming the next Kendall Jenner or Gigi Hadid.
Once you've selected an agency and schedule an interview be prepared to answer questions like, "Why are you interested in becoming a model?" What type of modeling are you interested in?" "What made you choose their agency?" and "What value do you bring to their agency?"
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Just as important as the questions they have for you are the questions you have for them. If you want to stand out among the countless other beautiful faces you need to show the agency you’re professional, engaged, dedicated, and take your modeling career seriously. Keeping in mind you can find the answer to some of these questions yourself online here are some important things to discuss during your interview with the modeling agency to make sure they are the right fit for you:
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On your quest to find a reputable modeling agency It’s imperative that you do your homework first. If you're looking for a reputable modeling agency in Portland this article is where your research will begin but not where it will end.
Red Flags I tell new models to lookout for include:
Truth is, most modeling agencies are legitimate and safe, but you can never be too careful. I suggest when you find a modeling agency that looks like a good fit go through their Instagram feed and contact some models they have featured and ask them about their experience with the agency. You'd be shocked at how open people can be to sharing. Now, let's get into my recommendations.
1. The Option Agency
The Option Agency is searching for a whole range of shapes, sizes, and colors to help fuel the narrative that being active is a lifestyle, not a look. Option is an elite collective of veteran agents that has honed its sights and skills on the freshest, most focused talent. Option seeks a balance between offering boutique, white-glove service and bold, gloves-off representation. I appreciate the variety in their portfolio.
The Option Agency represents influencers such as: Hailee Lautenbach, Angelina Yasmeen, Chad White, Nic Palladino, and Nick Kent.
Who they are Accepting :
What you will submit:
• 1 smile headshot
• 1 no-smile shoulder up
• 1 full-length body shot
• 2 two-piece swimwear full-length body shots, one with hair up, one with hair down (teen/adult females only)
• 1 shorts-only full-length body shot (teen/adult males only)
@theoptionagency on Instagram
2. Muse Model Management
MUSE Model Management is a fashion and athletic modeling agency based in Portland, Oregon that represents models to clients in Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco. Some of these clients include: Nordstrom, Hollister, Abercrombie, Macy’s, Nike, Adidas, Jordan, Fred Meyer, Columbia Sportswear, Reebok, Converse, Microsoft, Apple, Boeing, Starbucks, Hewlett Packard, Nintendo, Levi’s, Eddie Bauer, Norm Thompson, Pendleton, Sahalie, Hanna Andersson, Dakine, Portland Monthly, Oregon Bride, Seattle Metropolitan Magazine, Nautilus, Sony, Footlocker, New Balance, Brooks Running, Saucony, Precor and REI. Just to name a few.
In addition to regional bookings, MUSE places and manages international careers and has sent dozens of models around the world collaborating with top international agencies such as IMG, The Society, Next, DNA, Elite, Ford, VNY, Soul, NY Models. As a result, their models have worked for Vogue, Bazaar, W, GQ, Details, Elle, Glamour, Marie Claire, Prada, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Giorgio Armani, Marc Jacobs, Abercrombie, Hollister, American Eagle, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Bulgari, Chanel, Versace, and L’Uomo Vogue.
Some MUSE discoveries include: Kerry Degman, Julia Dunstall, Terron Wood, Nick Clark, Brandi Brechbiel, Kate Nauta, Amanda Jensen, Darla Baker, Aaron Bernards, Noa Thomas, Mariah Morrison, Samantha Bondurant, Alesha Cubitt, Wellington Grant, Mercedes Hurzeler, Cristal Chavez and Phil Blank.
If you want to model for MUSE they have 2 options
They will require two photos of yourself. (One head shot clearly showing your face and one body shot in a swimsuit or athletic wear) They will want something current that shows them what you look like right now. Quick snapshots are fine.
Come in and see them. Even if you send them a photo, they're going to need to see you in person anyways. They have an open call every Thursday @ 5pm, and the first Saturday of every month @ 12pm (Noon), at their office in downtown Portland. They request you do not come in at any other time without an appointment.
For their market, a specific height range is generally required. For girls, this is 5’7” to 6’. For guys it’s 5’11” to 6’3”. There are exceptions, but please keep this in mind.
@musemanagement on Instagram
3. Q6 Model and Artist Management
Q6 Model Management is more than just an agency, they're a home base. Helping talent develop their skills in an ever evolving industry. Q6 strives for people to feel welcome and seen for their unique identities. For over 3 decades, they've been a leader in the Model and Acting industry of the Pacific Northwest and beyond.
Jonny Shultz: Co-Owner
Jonny prides himself on building relationships with the Models of Q6. Starting his career as a junior booker almost 20 years ago, Jonny rose the ranks of the industry becoming a Scout for one of the world’s top agency networks, Ford Models. He’s an expert in model development and seeks out talent whose personality shines.
Dorianne Palmer: Co-Owner
With over 25 years’ experience at all levels of agency life, Dori helps keep the culture of Q6's history alive and thriving.
Crystal Walen: Agency Director of TV / Film
For 15 years Crystal has been embedded in the TV / Film community. With experience in casting as a Casting Associate (Portlandia, Green Room, Restless), and in production and contract management Crystal brings clear communication to each project she works on.
Adam Rosko: Junior Booking Agent
Began his career in 2009 as artistic director of Atomic Arts (which produced the wildly popular, Trek in the Park), before moving on becoming a Casting Associate and Background Casting Director for dozens of tv/film projects.
Q6 Talent is Not currently hosting open calls.
Thier Code of Conduct goes as follows:
"Q6 is committed to maintaining ethical and social values in the workplace. We have and will continue to uphold the highest standards of integrity and respect for others and expect that same from those with whom we work.
All Models and Actors must be treated with respect and professionalism and we will continue to communicate that requirement to all parties with whom our Talent interact with. We require that all Models and Actors should be provided with a safe, drug and alcohol free work environment, sufficient privacy while dressing, and be provided with all breaks and meals as required by State Law. Should we learn of any violation of these requirements or discover that any of our Talent have been subject to inappropriate conduct or conditions of any kind including, sexual advances or propositions, inappropriate physical contact, emotional or sexual coercion, offensive or derogatory comments or language, or invasion of privacy we will ensure that all necessary steps are taken to remove the Talent from harm’s way and to remedy the situation.
We will work with our clients to ensure that the physical and mental health, safety, wellbeing and dignity of our Talent are protected and maintained while they are on assignment. We will advise clients they may not insist or request that a model perform any activity that may be degrading, unprofessional or demeaning, or to request that a talent perform any activity that may be dangerous, without having first raised the risk with Q6 and with the model, and having obtained the talents' written consent. Any nudity, semi-nudity or sexualized content or situations must be pre-approved in writing by the talent.
We believe in transparency, Models and Actors are provided with rate, usages, and client expectations at the time of casting, and again during the booking process."
@q6models on Instagram
4. Sports & Lifestyle Unlimited
Slu agency represents a leading roster of professional fitting/fit models. Their fit models span the major size sets and are engaged by a wide range of major athletic and lifestyle apparel brands to independent designers and pattern makers. Today's consumers are increasingly making active healthy lifestyle choices towards products and services related to sports, fitness, health, and wellness. These consumers are more educated and savvier than ever. So, it's crucial that brands and their creative/production partners hiring talent as part of their efforts to reach this audience, select talent that are authentic and credible to these consumers.
Slu is proud to represent the strongest roster of professional models and talent that support the varied production and branding needs of these brands and their creative partners from across the advertising, marketing and entertainment industries. An industry leader for almost 30 years, Slu takes great pride in their commitment to the core company values of integrity, honesty, respect and professional service that drives their company culture. They place high value in their relationships with their industry partners and the models and talent that have trusted Slu to represent them.
What Slu Agency is Looking for:
Prior industry experience is not required but can be an advantage. For thier sports/fitness division, they represent talent with advanced level athletic skills and experience that would support the credibility and authenticity sought by advertisers. For their lifestyle division, they are primarily interested in representing women (5'7" to 5'11"), men (5'11" to 6'3"), and teens/kids who represent a healthy active lifestyle with strong potential marketability as commercial models. Slu is open to all sizes and ages but sign only a limited number of kids each year.
A recruitmint warning from Slu: We consider the safety and well-being of aspiring models to be a top priority. We pride ourselves on our professionalism and authenticity and want to advise models about unscrupulous people who prey on their ambitions.
Please be aware there are individuals on the internet falsely claiming to be representatives or scouts of SLU or other organizations. If you are contacted by anyone claiming to be a representative of SLU, do not respond without first verifying their identity by promptly calling us directly at (503) 227-3449 and we’ll be happy to assist you. Please note that SLU never requests photos in the nude or in lingerie and never requires monetary payment to review your materials or consider you for representation. If you are under 18 years of age and are contacted by someone claiming to represent an agency, always alert your parents or a responsible adult.
@sluagency on Instagram
5. Reaction Models and Talent
Reaction Model Management is a Pacific Northwest modeling agency focused on developing and helping talent in Portland, Oregon. They act both as a booking and mother agency, finding interesting people, and providing the tools for them to develop into dependable and compelling models. They are inclusive and represent a wide variety of talent.
As a husband and wife team, Jeff and Brittney McChristy Shanes are fully invested in the service they supply to their clients and models. They pride themselves on their availability, dependability, and ethical standards. Their personal goal is to help their models and actors achieve their goals, and to be a resource for projects to run smoothly and efficiently for their clients.
Some Clients of Reaction Model Management are - Columbia Sportswear / Nike / Adidas / Intel / Google / Microsoft / Unilever / Reebok / Starbucks / Kroger / Sony
Currently they are looking for people who meet the following requirements:
We are especially interested in beautiful ethnic women! We strive to be very inclusive. Pacific Northwest types with individual style/tattoos are welcome to apply.
@reactionmodels on Instagram
Do you have a personal experince with one of the agencies I mentioned? Or have one to add to the list? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below. If you're in need of a photographer in Portland to help build your portfolio contact me for a quote today!
How to grow your following with Facebook Groups
Facebook Groups has to be one of the most overlooked and under valued free ways to multiply your following and double your business among photographers and content creators. As soon as I started using Facebook groups to show off my work my following on Facebook & Instagram tripled and so did my business. In this article I will give you actionable steps on how to grow your Instagram following as well as your Facebook following using Facebook groups. Of course there are countless great ways to grow your following using YouTube, TikTok, and Pinterest but I will just be discussing Facebook groups in this article.
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Before I explain how to get more followers on Instagram and Facebook you first need to understand why you want followers in the first place. I know to myself and many of you reading this it may seem like a no brainer if your trying to build a brand. But you would be shocked if I told you how many photographers and creators don't even use Facebook or Instagram. Maybe you've tried the social media game and you never saw results so you deleted your account. Well I'm hear to tell you, if your work is good, and you're consistent you should be getting new clients via social media. No question. If you aren't using Facebook to grow your brand YOU ARE LEAVING MONEY ON THE TABLE.
Let's look beyond the superficial reason we all want a large following on social media shall we? and instead look at the practical reasons we want more followers and how they correlate with our business. With every new follower comes more opportunity and more potential. I'll explain.
1. Every follower is a possible client.
Maybe not today, maybe not a week from now but at some point they will convert. I've had new clients contact me on Instagram and say "I've been following your work for 8 months and I have to work with you! I've been waiting for the right time and I'm finally ready to hire you" Even though that client (like many of my clients) followed me for months they rarely engaged with my posts. This is important to note because it shows me that people are always watching. Don't be discouraged if you're not getting alot of engagement. As long as your consistently posting quality content and not posting drama I promise you someone is planning on booking you as we speak.
2. Followers = free advertising.
Think about it, a certain percentage of your followers will always share your content. That's FREE ADVERTISING! It's like having your own little sales team out there constantly promoting you and your work for free! It's really simple, the more followers you have the larger your "sales team" will be. So why wouldn't you want to grow your following? People buy from those they know, like, and trust. Word of mouth will always be the best form of advertising.
3. Brands want creators with a large following.
If you're wanting to work with brands the hard truth is they wont even look at your work these days if you don't have a following. Big brands today look at following first and then quality of work. Sadly if it's between you and another content creator of equal skill the one with the larger following will always get the job. I mean it makes sense from a marketing stand point. As a brand I want to go with the photographer with the biggest following because that means my products will be seen by the most people. And that means more sales.
4. Free Stuff.
Who doesn't like free stuff? I'm what is considered a "micro influencer." Someone with 5,000 to 40,000 followers and over the years I've leveraged my following for free massages, studio rentals, discounts on hotels, free coffee, free sun glasses, free jewelry, free float tank therapy, free acupuncture, free liqueur, free laser treatment, and the list goes on. Even if you only have 4,000 followers you can leverage your following for free stuff as long as you have good engagement. Fact is influencer marketing is the future of advertising. Brands know they can pay you far less than they would on traditional adverting and still get more value. It's a win win for everyone.
How to use Facebook groups.
Now that you hopefully understand the value in building a following on social media and why it's important, let's talk about how you do it using Facebook groups. It's actually very simple. This works best for photographers and content creators. I will use myself as an example and tell you exactly what I do. Every time you post a new photo or photos on Facebook like you should be doing from your personal page (That's important) I want you to share that post in every Facebook group you can find that is related in any way to that post.
For example: If I posted a really stunning photo of a humming bird I would then search Facebook groups for any group that is not only related to photography, but also birds, hummingbirds, wildlife, or location specific. For example, when I shared my humming bird photos to the Facebook groups: Oregon City Chit Chat (a local group), Photoshop and Lightroom, Northwest Creative Collective, The Hummingbird Whisperer, Birds, PNW Photographers, Fstoppers, Hummingbirds Anonymous, and Birding Oregon. Example shown below.
As you can see just in the group alone my post got 343 likes, 49 comments, and 17 shares. and that's not counting the engagement from the group members who clicked the post and engaged with it directly from my page. I know those aren't crazy numbers but this is a small example of how a post can lead to many new followers on Facebook and Instagram. What you don't see in that screenshot is the link I posted to my Instagram on the original post. And that's how I convert Facebook followers to Instagram followers. Before I move on to another example there are a few important things to note:
1st. Make sure your account is public. You can't share your post in groups if your account is private. I'll save the details for a future post but I can assure you without question a post on your personal page will always get far more engagement than if you post on your business page. If you take anything from this article it's this: You will be far more successful putting all your effort into growing your personal page instead of a business page. Free engagement on a business page is absolutely awful and not worth your time. The goal after all is to get the most eyes on your work as possible so MAKE YOUR ACCOUNT PUBLIC.
2nd. Read and follow the rules of the group. Every group is different. Rules to lookout for are as follows:
Rule #1 Some groups don't allow you to share a post in the group from your page. They might require you to post straight into the group. No biggie, just make sure and check if they have a limit on how many photos you can post at one time. Some only allow 1-4 in one post.
Rule #2 Some groups don't allow links. So if you share a post from your personal page and you linked to your Instagram they may delete the post. For groups that don't allow links just say something like "@kickassdesigns on insta" in the caption. It is your job to read and follow the rules of each group!
3rd. Don't waste your time with groups that have little to no engagement. As shown below when searching for a relevant group to join only join groups that have 40K members and up. So out of the options below when I searched birding I would only join "Birds" and "Hummingbird Anonymous". After joining a group and being approved immediately check the engagement of the group. If there is alot of posts but no one is engaging with the posts leave the group and don't bother.
With all that in mind here's an example of how a post can go viral when a post is shared in the right facebook groups. The below post did good on my personal page but only hovered around 500 likes, 150 comments, and 300 shares until I shared it in the following groups: Oregon City Chit Chat (a local group), Photoshop and Lightroom, Northwest Creative Collective, PNW Photographers, Fstoppers, Art of Portrait Photography, Crisp nights & Halloween frights, I love Halloween, Extreme Halloween, Autumn fall and Halloween, This is Halloween, Cosplay, Spooky weird and cool, Amazing Cosplayers, Bette Midler Fans, Cosplayer Nation, and Mommy Needs a Vodka.
I really want you to think outside of the box. Notice how I didn't just share the below post in a cosplay group and a photography group and call it good. The key is joining and sharing in any group that's relevant. So What's relevant to my Hocus Pocus photos? Cosplay, Halloween, Autumn, Spooky, Photography, Portraits, Fall, Family, kids, Etc. So I searched all those key words in Facebook groups and joined all the ones I found that had good engagement. Needless to say that post alone got me countless new followers on Facebook and many converted to Instagram.
I have gone semi viral a few times thanks to this method and I promise you can too if your work is good and you follow the steps above. Another example: Let's say you're a landscape photographer and you shot a stunning photo of Mount Hood. Keywords I might search for in facebook groups are: Landscapes, PNW, Oregon, Photography, Hiking, Explore, Travel, Mountains, still life, nature, adventure, vagabond, Etc.
Another reason to share in Facebook groups, you never know who's in them looking for exactly what you have to offer. I shared a Photoshoot I did of a kid as Joker with batman in a group and the owner of Boredpanda saw it and wrote an article about the shoot and shared it to their massive audience which led to another article written by a Canadian news channel CTV and my local news.
My last tip: To keep your post showing up in the feed reply to every comment. But leave at least 45 minutes between each reply. and when you hit reply, type your comment and then click cancel, you'll then see a message that says "you're no longer replying to blank if you continue what you write will appear as a comment on your post." then click continue and post the comment. Facebook views this as a new comment each time and thus repopulates your post in the feed each time. ;)
I hope this article has helped. I'd love to hear from you in the comments below. More information on how to grow your Instagram Following HERE.
25 Common Photography Terms New Photographers Need to Know
If you're anything like me, the first thing you'll do as a new photographer is watch countless YouTube videos to learn how to take that perfect shot, and although that's great, you'll hear words like “shutter speed,” “aperture,” and “ISO” thrown around and it can get really confusing really fast.
If you have ever found yourself feeling confused among your fellow photographers you have come to the right place. Today I will be defining all the most common photography terms that you need to know before you can grab your camera and head out to capture some kickass photos. Now before you get overwhelmed just remember rules are meant to be broken and you can absolutely still be a great and successful photographer without knowing all of these terms. Hell, I didn't know half of these terms for the first 3 years of my photography journey.
1. Aperture or f-stop
Considered one of the three pillars of photography—shutter speed and ISO being the other two—aperture refers to the opening in a lens through which light enters the camera. Meaning, if you want to capture a brighter photo, you will have to increase the aperture. And if you are aiming for a picture with less amount of light, you can use a smaller aperture.
Aperture not only affects the amount of light in the photos, but it also controls the depth of field (we will discuss this in detail later). While a wide aperture gives you a blurred background and shallow focus, smaller apertures work well for sharper images.
Additionally, an aperture is measured in “f-stop” or “f-number”—the letter “f” appears before the number. The small numbers represent a wider aperture, and the large numbers represent smaller apertures. So, f/2.8 will give you brighter photos and a blurrier background than f/11. For example f/2.8 is shown below.
2. Aspect Ratio
Simply put, the aspect ratio is the relationship between your image’s width and height. This is how aspect ratios are written: x:y (‘x’ stands for the width and ‘y’ for the height). While the aspect ratio might not seem important, it can immensely impact your photographs. If you change the aspect ratio, it will affect your subject’s position in relation to the sides of the frame.
Most of the cameras can capture images in 1:1, 3:2, 4:3, and 16:9 aspect ratio. While 1:1 is perfect for capturing square photos that you can post on social media platforms like Instagram, 16:9 is commonly used to capture videos.
Pro Tip: Don't use a 1:1 crop on Instagram, instead crop your photos to 5:4 for Instagram. Perfect for vertical portraits. This will take up the most space on your Instagram viewers feed and thus will standout more. :) More on How to grow your Instagram following HERE
Bokeh refers to those out-of-focus orbs of light in the background of an image with a subject in the foreground. Like the image below. That is called the bokeh effect, which is also the most used in camera effect in portrait photography.
Bokeh comes from a Japanese word meaning “blur.” This blurred background shifts the focus of the viewers towards the subject—the background blur results from the shallow depth of field, which is created using a wide aperture.
4. Burst Mode or Machine gunning
You might be aware of this feature as it is present in iPhones too. Burst mode or "machine gunning" as it is known around my condo is a camera function where you can capture a series of photos in quick succession. All you need to do is hold the shutter button down, and the camera will shoot continuously until it can’t process images anymore. If you've ever used this feature you'll understand the name.
This function is useful when you are trying to capture a fast-moving subject or short-lived candid moments. Photographers who cover sports events or wildlife commonly use this setting to get the perfect shot. This is how I achieved the below image.
5. Depth of Field (DoF)
Depth of Field is the range of distance that appears sharp or the area in the image that is in focus. While the shallow depth of field is best for portrait photography, where we do not want the background to be in focus, landscapes look better with a larger depth of field as the entire scene is in focus. Like the image below. But remember that the transition from in-focus to out-of-focus is gradual.
6. Digital Vs. Optical Zoom
Digital and optical zooms are the two primary ways of zooming in photography. Optical zoom requires changing the camera’s lens to get a closer view of the far-away object. Digital zoom, on the other hand, leverages magnification technology that enlarges a specific area of the image.
In optical zoom, the focal length increases; thus, the apparent proximity of the image changes. In other words, the lens moves away from the image sensor, enlarging the desired section of the image. Whereas digital zoom enlarges the pixels and crops out the rest of the image, thereby magnifying the subject.
Exposure refers to the overall brightness and darkness in your photograph. The three elements that determine the exposure value are ISO, aperture, and shutter speed. An image can either be overexposed (usually due to harsh sun and natural light) or underexposed. (Usually due to low light situations.) A picture is overexposed when its highlighted area is unreadable or washed out, and it is underexposed when the information in the shadows is missing—the concept is pretty much the same.
8. Exposure Compensation
Every modern camera and cell phone can automatically control the exposure settings. When in a low-lighting area, the camera increases the brightness on its own, and vice versa, so you get a decent picture. However, cameras can be a little aggressive while doing this, which results in an overexposed or underexposed image.
This is where exposure compensation comes into play. This means the photographer takes control and overrides the camera’s automatic settings. It is for this reason why I always shoot in manual mode. I prefer to manually maneuver the brightness to achieve my desired result.
9. File Format
In digital photography, pictures are stored as digital files. The three main types of files are TIFF, JPEG, and RAW. The choice of file format can impact the quality of your image. Besides, the file format should be decided based on the kind of post-processing you require. I recommended always shooting in RAW as this will give you the most control over your photos when editing.
10. Focal Length
The focal length can be defined as the distance between the optical center of the camera’s lens and its sensor. The camera lens mentions the information about its focal length. As a photographer you need to know the focal length as it determines how much space in front of you can be captured.
Example: A 15-30mm lens is considered a wide angle lens and will be able to capture more of what's in front of you. Great for tight spaces like indoor photography. On the flip side a 85-100mm + lens will capture far less of whats in front of you and far better for outdoor shooting.
A prime lens has a fixed focal length, such as 30mm, 50mm, or 85mm. This is different from a zoom lens, which can move between different focal lengths such as a 50-200mm. A prime lens will always be more expensive but that's because in most cases a prime lens will produce a sharper image than a zoom lens.
12. Flash Sync
Flash sync is used to synchronize your flash and the shutter release to illuminate the subject at a specific time. Usually, the flash fires at the beginning of the photo but with flash sync, you can manipulate that and adjust it to whenever you want the flash to fire.
13. Hot Shoe
A hot-shoe, or an accessory shoe, is simply a metal bracket on the top of your DSLR where you can connect external devices, such as off-camera flash units, a mic, or a bigger screen . A hot shoe is only found on advanced compact digital cameras and Digital Single Lens Reflex cameras.
Using ISO, International Organization for Standardization, you can adjust the brightness and darkness of your images. The higher your ISO, the brighter your pictures will be. That said, if you increase the ISO, it will have some other consequences on your image—too high ISO can result in a grainy image. Therefore, I advise you only to use ISO to brighten your images when you cannot do so using shutter speed or aperture.
15. Long Exposure
Long exposure photography leverages the low shutter speeds to capture unique-looking images. When the shutter speed is decreased, the moving elements in the image are artistically blurred to create a fascinating picture. The path that the moving elements take becomes visible in long exposure photography— Anything producing light will leave a trail, and waterfalls appear magically smoother like the image below.
In the “auto” mode, your camera adjusts all the settings, and all you have to do is press the button to capture the image. But in manual mode, you get full control of all the settings on your camera— for example you can modify the ISO, shutter speed, and aperture. Don't be intimidated by this. Learning how to shoot in manual mode from the get go will set you up for success and give you a leg up on your competition.
17. Full-frame / crop sensor
There are two types of cameras: full-frame and crop sensor. The sensor of a full-frame camera is equivalent to a 35mm film camera. A simple way to determine whether a DSLR camera is full-frame is by using the same 50mm lens on both a film camera and on the DSLR. Look through the viewfinder: does the focal length appear the same through both cameras? If so, the DSLR is full-frame. Best camera for beginners on a budget.
A crop sensor is smaller than a full-frame, which means that the sensor is actually cropping the edges of the frame. The same 50mm lens on a crop sensor will show a more zoomed in version of the same scene. This means that wide-angle lenses will be slightly less wide when used on a crop sensor camera as opposed to a full-frame.
Because full-frame cameras have larger sensors, they often perform better in low-light conditions. On the other hand, crop sensor cameras are often less bulky and less expensive than their larger counterparts.
Contrary to what a commoner would think, noise refers to a veil of grains in the photograph that obscures the details in a picture. It is similar to the noise or a “hiss” sound in audio recordings even when there is no background noise in the empty room. Though there is some noise in every image, pictures with higher ISO speeds have a considerable amount of noise or grain. To much noise or grain can destroy a photo but try adding a little bit in post for a more grungy look.
RAW is a digital image file that you store either on your camera or memory card. It is the file type that is entirely unprocessed and uncompressed. RAW images have a higher quality which makes them ideal for editing. But RAW files are very large, require special software to open, and take up a lot of space on your hard drive. As I said above, I always shoot in RAW because it gives me far more control editing the shadows and highlights in post.
20. Shutter Speed
Shutter speed is the amount of time the camera’s shutter opens and exposes light onto its sensor. So, when your shutter speed is slow, your camera is spending more time taking the picture, which results in the motion blur effect as I pictured above. Alternatively, if you increase the shutter speed, you can freeze motion as pictured below. Shutter speed is measured in fractions of a second—¼ would mean a quarter of a second.
21. Shutter Release
The shutter release is simply the button of the camera that you press to take a picture. When the button is pressed, the camera’s shutter opens to capture the image and then closes.
A mirrorless camera is a type of camera that works without a reflex mirror. Unlike traditional cameras Light passes through the lens directly to the digital sensor, which then displays your image on the camera’s LCD screen, allowing you to adjust settings and preview your image before its shot. Benefits of going mirrorless include: More compact and lightweight, Electronic viewfinder (EVF), Image stabilization, Silent, and a Higher shooting speed.
23. Time Lapse
Time-lapse photography refers to a sequence of photos captured over some time. The images are later compressed into a video and allow us to see the beautiful changing of the scene faster. For best results, the camera is mounted on a tripod so that it can remain undisturbed for a longer period.
24. Electronic Viewfinder (EVF)
When the light passes through the lens of a mirrorless camera, it appears directly onto the image sensor, offering a live view which then displays on the rear LCD screen. This image preview allows you to adjust settings like exposure, brightness, saturation, and contrast before snapping your photo.
25. White Balance
White balance is used to balance the color temperature in the image so that it does not appear unrealistic. In the process, an opposite color is added to the image to make it look natural. With the correct white balance, the white areas of your image will appear white rather than looking blue or orange. I however prefer a warm tone to my images so I adjust my white balance to be warmer in camera with that in mind. As shown in the image below. How you want your tones is totally up to you.
Once you have thoroughly learned these terms, you will not feel lost when someone uses them and as soon as you put them into practice you will be well on your way to becoming a professional photographer!
Preparing for a Photoshoot 101
As much as photo shoots can be exhilarating and fun, they also require preparations in advance for the perfect outcome. I don't suggest nonchalantly heading to a studio or location with your photographer you paid good money for, to have your pictures taken, and expect them to be perfect, as there is only so much that can be done in post-production. When you hire a personal branding photographer, having these tips on preparation in your back pocket will help assure you feel ready to go and fabulous on the day of your shoot. All these tips apply to the men also!
Have a healthy skincare routine
You’re beautiful. You’re perfect. You’re fabulous. Don’t feel pressured to stray too far (or at all) from your typical beauty/grooming routine. A gentle exfoliation for your face and lips the night before your shoot, followed by your favorite moisturizer will go a long way in helping your skin look it’s best.
Check that your hair, skin, brows, and nails are all clean, tidy, and groomed to your liking, and Voilá! You’re photo shoot ready!
Book ALL the Things (with a buffer)
Giving yourself that buffer allows your skin time to normalize and recuperate. It also provides a ‘woopsie’ window in case one of said services doesn’t quite turn out how you expected. More on this HERE
Don’t forget your teeth
If you have teeth staining do not worry, it's perfectly normal. Most people do. I suggest using white strips to
whiten teeth in a week. This will give them that little boost just before the shoot but if you can't afford them all is not lost. Any professional photographer can whiten your teeth in post per your request :)
Pay special attention to your hair
Don't neglect those beautiful locks. Preparing your hair for a photoshoot is just as important as your skin. Plan your next haircut for the week leading up to the shoot, even if just a trim to keep your hair looking fresh and on point. Opting for hair colouring is also a great idea if you have roots showing. Talk to your hairdresser about what hair style will best suit your face for your upcoming photoshoot.
I always recommend the week before your photo shoot use a nourishing, deep conditioning treatment on your hair. This will ensure it is healthy, strong and fabulous for your shoot.
If a hair stylist was booked with your photo shoot make sure to arrive with clean, dry hair. If a stylist is provided, simply ensure your hair is clean and dry when you arrive and they will style it for you upon arrival.
Take care of your hands and legs
Remember, photoshoots are not only about faces. Go for a manicure and a pedicure a day before your shoot, so that you can flaunt your legs and hands in your sleeveless/side slit dress. And if you wear a wedding ring, make sure to clean it to enhance the beauty of your hands.
Most of my clients like to show up with a fresh tan, if you want to get a spray tan rather than use a tanning bed before your photo shoot, I recommended you do this 2-3 days beforehand. This will allow time for the spray tan to settle and look natural on camera.
A spray tan or gradual self-tanner is certainly not necessary, but I find my clients love that warm and glowy skin tone in photos. But again you don’t need to do this – I totally advocate and encourage you to rock the skin you are in! If you do choose to tan, just be super careful that it is even – otherwise it can look underwhelming on camera.
Lastly, if you choose to, you can also go the waxing route for a cleaner smoother look but only if you've waxed before. If you haven't there is always a chance you could breakout and no one wants that right before a shoot.
Plan what to wear, bring options
Clothes are another essential element to pay heed to. Strategically putting complementary
pieces of clothes together will enhance your looks, resulting in a good looking photo. It's also a good idea to bring along 5-6 outfits that you love. You can even select those dresses which you might not wear because of their impracticality. More on what to wear HERE
Just relax and seize your day
Most importantly remember to stay hydrated and get a good night’s sleep to look fresh in your pictures. A photo shoot should be like a reward for yourself so go all out and pamper yourself the whole week leading up to the shoot. Not required but you deserve it. Finally, take on as little stress as you can the week leading up to the shoot. That means a week long news and media detox. Acknowledge everything in your life that brings you stress and negative feelings and avoid them at all cost. I always want my clients showing up to our shoot feeling fabulous, strong and sexy. Have fun!
As an average white male in his 20s I never really had any interest in fashion but as a photographer I have learned over the years not only how powerful and thought provoking fashion can be but how much impact it can have on a photo. As a photographer my model and I decide what look we want to convey before a shoot and choose wardrobe accordingly. Whether you're going for sexy, playful, vintage, gothic, fierce, professional, or regal, there's a fashion designer out there for everyone. We all know the big names in fashion design like Calvin Klein, Giorgio Armani, Coco Chanel, Ralph Lauren, Kate Spade, Marc Jacobs, Valentino Garavani, and of course Donatella Versace, but in this article I'd like to feature 15 fashion designers you may not know. I would categorize each of these designers as gothic Couture, dark, and regal.
Squirrel Vs Coyote & Squirrel Vs Coyote Jewelry are by an amazing designer out of Seattle Washington. Think Gorgeous Armor with a twist of Couture. It's unlike anything else you'll see on the market. I also love how high quality and durable her designs are. Most elaborate designs like theses are so delicate you're afraid to touch them but I've found from experience Squirrel Vs Coyotes designs are just as durable as they are beautiful. Check her website to see what's new.
Royal Black Couture & Corsetry is a brilliant Corset & Costume Designer out of Vienna / Austria. Barbara is known for her gorgeous tops and corset vests made in her signature style. If you love couture, costumes, corsetry and the craftsmanship behind it, chances are you already have seen some of her creations floating around Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram. Look for Royal Black on Patreon for more!
Lory Sun is a self taught artist out of Romania who is best known for her Avant Garde headpieces and corsets. Her luxury styled pieces have been featured on numerous A-list celebrities & in numerous magazines including Vogue and Elle. She has been interviewed by Cosmopolitan, Vice, and Cabinet Art Magazine, and also mentioned by Narcity in the article "30 Women With Badass Jobs In Boston". Her signature metal gloves are internationally adored and published by multiple magazines and fashion blogs such as Brilistyle, Actitud, Nuus, Doniso Punk, De Ulima, Biba and many more. Checkout her website to see what's available now.
Feral Decay is a Headdress Designer out of Seattle. Nicole specializes in horns, crowns, tiara's, fascinators, jewelry, and accessories. She's an amazing designer and even better friend. I'm honored to add her to this list. Don't miss her Etsy shop for more.
Alisa Perova is the Designer behind the Dark Couture Gothic Brand: Alice Corsets out of Kiev, Ukraine. She specializes in: Couture corsets, Alternative wedding gowns, Gothic, Wiccan, & Pagan wedding dresses, Dark Fairytale fashion, Haute Gothic, High Fashion Goth & Costumes for WGT, Masquerade Balls and Vampire Balls, etc. Her Gothic Victorian bustle dresses are epic. Don't miss her website for more.
Chris Serrano is the brilliant designer behind @christinaserranodesigns. She specializes in Handmade edgy designs and one of a kind accessories. Don't miss her Etsy Shop for more.
Memoria Obscura based out of Basel, Switzerland Specializes in Macabre & Fantasy Luxury Couture. This extremely talented designer has a big penchant for dark art. Memoria is not only a photographer, but a model, designer, metal head, & mother of cats. Don't miss her website and Etsy for more :)
Jolien Rosanne is the Uber Talented Designer behind Fairytas. Jolien takes international commissions for complete costumes, individual accessories and bridal. She does not replicate existing designs by other artists or costumes from shows/anime/etc. but she will create a unique Fairytas design inspired by a character or costume of your choice! Her work is some of the best you'll find.
Nigel Crow is a very gifted Crown, Headdress, & Wearable Art Designer out of Vegas. His work can be found in multiple large publications and on numerous A-list celebrities. Nigel is amazing and we've been talking about doing a Queen of the Damned concept with his designs but I still need to get him to Portland.
Linda Friesen is the legendary designer behind @lindafriesen.couture out of the Netherlands. She specializes in creating stunning custom designed gowns and dresses for private clients. If you'd like to have your fairytale gown brought to life contact her on her website.
Audrey Le Guyader is the remarkable Gothic Fashion Designer behind Wonderlandmc out of Paris France. I have used her designs on multiple shoots and will continue to use her crowns and jewelry in the future. Her work is dark yet elegant. I love it. If you're looking for afordable handmade goth Jewlery look no further than her very popular Etsy shop.
Hysteria Machine is an amazing Gothic Designer out of the UK.
Videnoir Couture just might be the hottest handmade Vampire Couture and Gothic Lingerie you will find in Italy, or perhaps the world. This Husband and Wife team of fashion designers creates the coolest Gothic Lingerie Iv'e ever seen. Check out their website for more.
IVY-Design is the brilliant work of design student Janina from Germany. In 2011 she founded the label, which is known worldwide for its special creations. As a professionally trained seamstress, she loves to design entire costumes, in particular she loves to make claws and headpieces from filigree metal parts.
IVY-Design tells fairytale stories through every creation and its creator Janina never ceases to dream of future pieces. Mostly inspired by nature and Chinese Hanfu crowns, the headpieces are reminiscent of spring-like walks in the forest, blooming meadows or enchanted castles. In addition to the creations that you can buy on her shop, Janina is always open to custom-made items. If you are looking for a very special piece, please do not hesitate to contact her on her website.
Miss G Designs is one of my favorite headdress companies based in California. Caley is the sole designer and maker of her one-of-a-kind creations. Miss G Designs came to life in San Francisco in 2010. Caley fell in love with the process of creating headdresses, excited by the idea that anyone could wear her designs no matter their age, sex, body type or style. She draws inspiration from nature, history, art, festival culture, fairytales and the creative humans in her life.
Her headdresses reflect the beauty and diversity of humanity, covering a huge range of styles to ensure there is something for everyone! Headdresses by Miss G Designs have been featured in numerous publications, music videos, short films, art galleries and museum exhibits.
Hope you enjoyed 15 of my favoite fashion designers on Instagram. If you like this article you might enoy my 8 Horror Photographers to Follow on Instagram or 10 of the Best Makeup Artists on Instagram. Have a Designer I need to add to this list? Let me know in the comments below.
As a photographer, makeup plays an absolutely crucial role in how a photo turns out. Makeup can make or break a good photo. Luckily for me I work with some of the best makeup artists in the world. I work with MUA's who specialize in glamour, beauty, lifestyle, fashion, theater, and film but the focus of today's article will be on special effects makeup. Below are 10 of the best special effects makeup artists on Instagram you need to follow for mind blowing inspiration.
@taelorfx is my go to SFX makeup artist here in Portland for all my horror and heavy prosthetic concepts. Taelor should be doing makeup for Hollywood movies but currently does makeup for me, the local Portland haunted houses, random gigs and her killer TikTok feed under @taelorfxx. Follow her to see behind the scenes and watch her journey to Hollywood because I guarantee that's where she will end up.
@artbybmazz does amazing work. Not only is she an amazing makeup artist but she does it all on herself and takes her own photos. She creates something new and exciting almost every day like and it's always creative, fun, and beautiful. She does a great job at recreating a lot of well known characters you will be sure to love. Don't miss her amazing before and after transitions.
@phonyghost is not only an amazing makeup artist but an amazing model. I've worked with her here in Portland numerous times and she always blows my mind with not only her makeup ability but the costumes she makes from scratch. She is as talented and creative as they come.
@kosmickatie does beautiful, vibrant, colorful work. I love her use of neon colors. Most of her work is more body paint and less prosthetic but stunning none the less. She's also a stunning model and does all of her looks on herself. Check her out.
@ry_fx is an extremely talented self taught SFX makeup artist and Body Painter. Not to mention one of the best makeup accounts on Instagram. Nothing but raw talent and creativity. If you're looking for badass makeup inspiration look no further.
@khaleesiisaa is a magician with a makeup brush. Her work is as beautiful as it is terrifying. Her SFX work is some of the best I've seen on Instagram and TikTok. I literally can't get enough.
At only 21 @fx_freak is already one of the best special effects makeup artists you'll find on Instagram. She's one badass Monster Creator, Face/Body Painter, and Halloween enthusiast. She has a perfect blend of scary and pretty concepts on her page.
@ellie35x out of Scotland has over 356K followers on Instagram and you can see why. I mean her talent is undeniable. Notice the difference just a crown and jewels make in addition to the makeup. I love how she uses backdrops and jewelry to match her looks. All these elements combined make a beautiful piece of art. You will not find better makeup inspiration than this.
@zorinblitzz does some of the coolest makeup you will find on Instagram out of the UK. It's Gothic, it's beautiful, it's dark, it's twisted, it's inspiring, and it's down right kickass! Don't skip over this page if you're looking for inspiration.
@shaulrivas is a legendary makeup artist outside of the US. This page is a MUST follow for all your makeup inspiration needs.
I hope you enjoyed these amazingly talented artists and find the inspiration you're looking for. Make sure to check them all out on Instagram and connect with me there as well. @kickassdesigns
And checkout 8 Horror Photographers you need to follow.
What exactly is Horror photography? I view it as a sub genre of fantasy photography and surreal photography. It's art you want to see, but at the same time, wish you didn't. We have all experienced nightmares that feel real enough to leave us in a cold sweat. That's what a good horror photo should do. Most horror photography I've seen looks amateur, cheesy, and over the top gory but these artists I've listed below are as talented and creative as they come. Besides film, these artists are my biggest inspiration when it comes to horror & cosplay photography. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. If you like these don't miss The 10 best SFX makeup artists on Instagram.
1. Rick Jones @horrifymeuk
Rick Jones is not only an award winning horror makeup and portrait photographer based in the UK but also my biggest inspiration in horror photography. This dude is a legend in this niche. If it's fear, shock, disgust, or simply sheer bloody delight you're after look no further. Also don't miss his amazing Horrify Me Art Book. It will take your breath away.
2. Lance Reis @kickassDesigns
Oh he it's me :) I couldn't not put myself on this list, I mean it is my blog after all. But seriously, if you love horror photography I would love to connect with you on Instagram. Only about half my work is horror, the rest is Fashion, lifestyle, boudoir, and cosplay. I am blessed to work with some of the best special effects makeup artists in the US. My work isn't quite as gory as Ricks work so if you're looking for something slightly more PG13 My work might be for you.
3. jannike @jannikeviveka
What I love about Jannike is she takes her own photos, styles her own photos, and edits her own photos. I love her dark Gothic style. Check her out on Instagram and don't miss her gorgeous prints on Etsy.
4. Joshua Hoffine @joshuahoffine
Joshua Hoffine is one of my favorite horror photographers just from a creative standpoint. He's also one of the most recognized photographers in the world. He is a pioneer in Horror photography niche. Joshua stages his photo-shoots like small movies, with sets, costumes, elaborate props, fog machines, and SPFX make-up. Everything is acted out live in front of the camera. Beyond his amazing skills behind the camera I appreciate the time and effort that goes into his elaborate sets and costumes. Don't miss his best work on his website.
5. Ashley Nicole @ashleyvonhelsing
Ashley Nicole is a Director, Photographer, & Designer out of Los Angeles. Most of her work is less horror and more dark & Gothic but deserves to be on this list all the same. Her Photoshop work is inspiring. Check her out on Instagram and find even more on her website. You wont be sorry.
6. Jeff @seventh.voyage
Jeff is more of a Digital artist than a photographer but does both. He's a Photoshop and Blender wizard. He just might be my favorite digital artist and not all of his work is horror. A lot of his work is beautiful with brilliant use of famous Hollywood characters we know and love. Don't miss his Prints & Photoshop Course on his website.
7. Stefan Koidl @stefankoidl
Okay so what if Stefan isn't a photographer and this is a list for photography. He's an amazing artist in the horror space out of AT, Salzburg and a lot of his work actually looks like photos. Most importantly though he's a huge inspiration to myself and other horror photographers. His work is terrifying without being creepy. Don't miss out on his beautiful Prints.
eyesoflamia is another one of my favorite digital artists that's both horrifying and beautiful.
Any photographer you might work with will have an Instagram account and there is a lot you can learn just from their page. Look at this like a background check for potential photographers or really anyone you'll be meeting in person for the first time. These 5 tips are even more important if you were contacted randomly by a local photographer on Instagram. This happens all the time and isn't necessarily a bad thing unless the photographer is unprofessional. It's crucial to identify their motive. Below I will address 5 questions you should ask yourself when using Instagram to identify a predator.
1. Is their page new?
If a local photographer slides into your DM it's a huge red flag if their account is new. Not a deal breaker but something to look into. It’s common for predators to use fake accounts just long enough to take advantage of someone and then delete that account and start a new one under a new name as to not get caught. So make sure to check the dates on their posts to see how long they've had an account.
2. Whats their engagement like?
If the account is new, poor engagement is to be expected but if the account has been around for a while and they have a larger following you can expect to see higher engagement. An account with a large following but very little engagement (likes & comments) is a huge red flag.
One of the most common tricks predators like to use to deceive an aspiring model is purchasing followers so they appear to be popular. It’s cheaper than you might think. Luckily it’s easy to spot. If the account has 20k, 30k, 60k, or even 100k with Little engagement that means their followers were purchased. Remember purchased followers do not engage. They are fake accounts. That being said likes and comments can also be purchased from fake accounts so it’s best to take a look at the accounts those comments are coming from and make your best judgment.
3. Do they tag their models?
Every professional photographer who uses Instagram knows it’s correct etiquette to tag your model. If you notice there aren’t any models tagged in the photos that’s a huge red flag. It’s common for predators to use other photographers photos so they appear like a real photographer obviously in this case they won’t be tagging the model as to not get caught.
4. What's their content like?
This one should be obvious but what is their content like? Is it classy? Does it look professional or amateur? Is it high-quality or subpar? Are they all nudes? If so are they artistic or grotesque? Are they in good taste or explicit? More often than not if an account is full of amateur low quality nudes you can assume it’s a GWC - Guy with a camera. The GWC has no interest in becoming a real photographer, all they are interested in is acquiring as many nudes as they can. They are easy to spot.
5. What do their models have to say about them?
As I said above, any professional photographer will tag their models which makes it really easy for you to DM the model and ask about their experience. Of all five tips this one is the best and most important way to vet a photographer as there are no reviews on Instagram. Just to be safe I suggest reaching out to multiple models they have worked with.
Along with these tips keep in mind that a Predator can still be a legit, popular, & talented photographer so use your best judgement and always trust your gut. I have more tips on model safety HERE. If you have any tips to add to this list please leave them in the comments below and connect with me on Instagram HERE
Whether you're a seasoned model or you're interested in your very first photo shoot I've put together these 6 tips that you need to know to keep you safe. It's no secret, photography is a saturated market. No matter where you live there are probably countless photographers in your area to choose from and although this diversity is great it makes it easy for a few bad apples to blend right in. In this article you will find all the red flags you should look out for when choosing a photographer.
1. Vet them with Instagram.
Any photographer you might work with will have an Instagram account and there is a lot you can learn just from their page. Look at this like a background check for potential photographers or really anyone you'll be meeting in person for the first time. This tip is the most important and lesser known of the group, so to keep this article short and sweet I address 5 questions you should ask yourself when using Instagram to identify a potential predator in another article - Vetting with Instagram.
2. Bring an escort.
Whether you’re a man, woman, boy, or girl, if you feel more comfortable bringing an escort to a shoot the answer should ALWAYS be yes. If the photographer gives you an excuse why you need to come alone that is a huge red flag. Other photographers will argue with me all day about this but there is no excuse. If you feel uneasy don’t hesitate to bring someone with you, just make sure it’s not someone who will distract you.
3. Google them.
Any professional photographer will not only have Instagram but a website. You won’t find reviews on Instagram but you will find reviews on Google or yelp if they are legit. If you can't find any reviews by googling them that's a huge red flag.
4. Ask for references.
As I mentioned above I suggest contacting models they have worked with on Instagram but if they don’t have an Instagram ask them for references, people they’ve worked with that you can contact. Preferably multiple.
5. Know what's to be expected.
What you both expect should always be discussed before the photo shoot that way there is no surprises in the moment. If shooting nudes or in your underwear was never discussed before the shoot it is extremely unprofessional for the photographer to try to persuade you to do so.
If your photographer is pushing you to do some thing you don’t want to do and you feel uncomfortable you have every right to leave immediately. And if you didn’t drive you can always pretend you’re texting your Dad but really hail a Lyft and then pretend you need to take an important call from your Dad and walk out. Say some thing loudly like “Dad hold on I have to get somewhere quiet what’s going on!?” and wait for your driver to show up.
6. Check the local black list.
Most big cities like Portland will have a list of photographers who’ve been blacklisted for being inappropriate with their models. The photographers on these lists have had multiple complaints and should be avoided. These can usually be found in your local modeling safety group on facebook.
7. Drive separately.
Many photo shoot’s will require a drive, sometimes over an hour each way so unless you know and trust the photographer drive separately and if they persistently insist that you drive together this is a huge red flag. A predator will always suggest you drive with them.
8. Tell someone where you're going.
Always tell someone where you’re going and who you're shooting with. Send the address and time frame to a friend or family member so they know where you’re going what you’re doing and when. In a future post I'll discuss how you can send your current GPS to anyone. It's not a bad idea to send them the year, make, and model of the photographers car either.
9. Notice their Demeanor
What's their demeanor like? Do they communicate in a professional manner? Notice how they communicate with you. Are they rude? Are they Pushy? How many times have they complimented your looks? Have they asked you to send them risqué photos for any reason? It's common for predators to ask for photos "so they know what they are working with".
10. Don't* fly to meet a photographer
I hesitate to say “don’t” because I am sure there are rare occasions where models are flown out to other cities legitimately for photo shoots but more often than not those are signed models and the flight is setup through their agency. If a photographer not working with an agency offers to fly you somewhere he is expecting more than photos. so if someone throws out this offer ask what company they work for and verify everything with that company and use the tips mentioned above to vet the company as well. And for the love of God don’t travel alone.
I hope this article helped, if you have anything to add to this list please comment below. I don't mean to scare you, as a whole I love the Portland photography community and we look out for each other but like with most things there is a dark side. Always use your best judgment and go with your gut.
Bring Protection: It's never a bad idea to bring some kind of protection. Taser, pepper spray, knife, etc.
Be aware of Fraudulent Modeling Agencies with these Tips
I get asked constantly what camera and lens I recommend for beginners so I thought now would be the perfect time to write an article answering that very question. My first camera was a NikonD90. I shot on that for about a year. It worked fine but I never liked that camera very much. Finally I bought a Sony Alpha A6000 and a 30MM lens from a friend and I've been a Sony fan ever sense. Whenever a new photographer asks me for a recommendation on a starter camera and lens for portrait photography under $700 I always recommend the Sony Alpha A6000 and here's why:
Best camera for Beginners on a Budget
1. The Size
One of my and so many other photographers favorite things about mirrorless cameras and Sony specifically is the size and more specifically how small and compact they are. These babies are so light you can go out and shoot for hours and barely notice its weight around your neck.
Sony offers plenty of smaller prime lenses that keep your kit small and compact without sacrificing image quality, my go to lens for portraits is the Sony 50mm f/1.8 - $348 or the Sony 85mm f/1.8 - $598
Pro tip: When looking for a lens, the lower F stop you can get the more narrow focus you can achieve and more importantly the more light you can bring in to your camera allowing you to shoot portraits in darker situations. The lower the Fstop the higher the price but totally worth it in my opinion.
2. View Finder
My favorite thing about my Sony mirrorless camera is the adjustable electronic viewfinder. Having the ability to preview your images on a larger screen before you take it will not only make your work more consistent but reviewing images with your clients on the spot has never been easier. Probably the biggest perk you get with an electronic viewfinder is getting a realtime preview of what your exposure will be. However there's a caveat, cameras with electric view finders (EVF) typically have significantly shorter battery life compared to cameras with optical viewfinders. So always have extra batteries on hand.
3. Image Quality
When it comes to image quality you will be pressed to find anything this good for this price. Coming from a NikonD90, I can say without a doubt that the Sony sensor trumps the Nikon sensor when it comes to dynamic range and shadow recovery without question.
The SonyA6000 offers unreal resolution at 24.3 mega pixels, dynamic range, and sharpness like you wouldn't believe, especially when coupled with the Sony 50mm f/1.8 - $348 or the Sony 85mm f/1.8 - $598
4. Eye Auto focus
Blurry portraits are a thing of the past thanks to Sony's continuous eye auto focus feature that allows you to get tack-sharp focus on your subjects eye at the push of a button. In good light the SonyA6000 is very accurate and consistent. In low light however it doesn’t work as well and has been known to revert back to facial recognition.
I love this feature because I don't have to focus and recompose my shot or keep adjusting my focus point. You know when it's working because It places a little box around your subjects eye and it will continuously track it as they pose and move around. As someone who likes to shoot at F1.8 this is a must-have feature.
5. Full Manual Control
As someone who shoots in full manual mode 100% of the time I've never understood cameras that only offer partial manual control. The SonyA6000 allows you to be in total control of your ISO, Shutter Speed, and Aperture so you can get the best results. Of course, if you feel more comfortable shooting in program modes, this camera has those too.
6. The Price
Right now you can get a Sony Alpha a6000 24.3MP Mirrorless Digital Camera with 16-50mm OSS Lens, 64GB SD Card, 40.5mm 3-Piece UV, CPL, FLD Filter Kit, 12-inch Spider Tripod, Two Batteries and a Dual Charger Pack, Digital SLR Camera Bag Bundle, and HDMI to Micro HDMI Cable all for just $698!! You wont find a better camera and lens for that price. It's the perfect starter kit and on top of that you could still purchase the Sony 85mm f/1.8 as an extra lens all for around $1,000!! Can't beat that!
1. Low Light Auto Focus
Now that I own a SonyA7iii, I have become accustomed to having great low-light autofocus. When I began using my Sony camera (the A6000) I couldn’t believe how inconsistent it was focusing in low light but I just figured that's what all Sony's were like. But that's not to say you cant still get a great photo in low light, you just have to be patient, take extra photos to be safe and be very still. More on shooting in low light HERE
2. Grain in Low Light with High ISO
Once again now that I own a SonyA7iii, I have become accustomed to having great low-light high ISO with little grain.
I noticed with my SonyA600 I was getting alot of noise in low light situations with my ISO above 500 that I no longer get with my SonyA7iii. I can crank that baby up past 1,200 and still have no grain :)
3. Battery Life
The one thing I will give Sony cameras a lot of shit for are their offensive battery life especially when compared to a DSLR.
Owning over 6 batteries has allowed me to never run out of juice while shooting a wedding or photoshoot, but having to always be aware of the battery life can be annoying. Charging the batteries every night can also become a nuisance, so make sure you own multiple battery chargers as well. For more Free Resources click HERE and make sure to connect with me on Instagram HERE
A majority of my female clients hire me for my outdoor boudoir photography so I thought I would give you guys some tips on shooting nude in nature without a flash or reflector. These tips will mainly be focused on photography but I plan on writing another article on how to prepare for an outdoor boudoir photo shoot for clients & models. In this article I'll discuss 6 outdoor boudoir photography tips on using natural light, choosing a location, evaluating the location, timing, making your clients comfortable, and what to bring.
6 Tips for Boudoir Photography, Outdoors.
Tip #1 Location
Okay so you know you're shooting outside but where? You will want a beautiful location to use as a backdrop. For outdoor boudoir I consider the location as the 2nd subject. It's just as important as the posing of your subject. I will admit I am spoiled living in the Pacific North West as we have the greenest most lush forests in America, waterfalls, rivers, beaches, and mountains but no mater where you're located I promise you have nature somewhere near by. Look for a location that will also be secluded. Find my tips on Location Scouting HERE
Tip #2 Evaluate the Location
Now that you've decided on a location do your best to evaluate and prepare. It's always a good idea to visit the area before meeting a client there. Be aware of any obstacles or poison Ivy. Be aware of the weather and temperature. A desert location, mountain location, or beach location will all have different weather and temps. Is your subject posing in water? How cold is the water? Could be a hot day but the water might be freezing. Prepare for that. What will the lighting be like at the time of day you're shooting? This will make a huge difference. Where will the sun be rising, where will the sun be setting. I use an app called PhotoPills to know ahead of time the direction of the sun at a specific location.
How popular is the location? Know the up and down times. Maybe you're shooting at or near a popular landmark or in a national park. For an intimate shoot like this you will want somewhere as secluded as possible. If it's a popular trail sometimes off trail is best. How long is the hike from the car to destination? You should always know this and prepare accordingly and make sure your client knows what to expect. Of course the closer to the car the better in most cases. Be aware of parking fees and road conditions. Will the parking require a parking pass?
Check out more Free Resources HERE
Is the location on private property? This is a big one I run into all the time. When it comes to trespassing I can't tell you it's a good idea. That being said I do it all the time. However my caveat is this: I would never trespass on property that is currently occupied. That's just dangerous and extremely rude. But if I come across somewhere that's clearly abandoned I'll usually take my chances. Just don't forget it is against the law and I've been caught trespassing more than once. It's never fun. Any chance you get to ask for permission you should.
Tip #3 Timing is everything
In most cases sunset wont be an option as most trails will be too busy at that time so know when sunrise is and try to be at the location and ready to shoot around an hour after sunrise if in the forest. If out in the open be there at sunrise. GPS the location from you and your client to location so everyone knows when to get up with enough time to get ready and drive to location. Sometimes a location will be an hour and 30 out so you will both have to get up by 3 or 4 AM to make it in time. Sure it sucks but it's worth it. Offer to buy your client coffee if you carpool. If shooting in the forest know how thick the canopy is. This will make a massive difference in how much lighting you'll have. If the canopy is too thick it may be too dark without a flash. More tips on shooting in low light without a flash HERE
Tip #4 Make your client comfortable
This one is the most important, you need to not only make sure your subject is comfortable temperature wise but also being completely naked or semi naked in front of the camera. If you act inappropriate or creepy your subject won’t be comfortable and it will show in your photos and more importantly it makes you an awful photographer and even worse human being. Always be professional and accommodating. Your client is putting all their trust in you, don't let them down. If a client expresses to you that bringing someone with them would make them more comfortable your answer should ALWAYS BE YES.
Tip #5 What to Bring:
Make sure you bring all your standard gear. Make sure your client brings sandals or shoes they can slip on and off with ease. Offer to bring a warm robe or blanket for your client if they don't have one. A warm robe or blanket is a must because you'll want something they can slip on and off really fast in case anyone walks by. Just because your client is okay being nude or semi nude in front of people doesn't mean passerby's want to see that. It's just best to respect everyone. Bring bug spray, if you're in nature there will be bugs without a doubt. I even carry a lighter incase my client or I get a tick.
Water and snacks are also good to have on hand. Find out if your client is wanting to shoot nude or in lingerie before the shoot. This way you can make sure they know if wearing lingerie (in the forest) it should be a bright color like white, pink, or red. This way they will stand out and you'll get alot more contrast between them and the greenery. The forest tends to be dark so dark colors can get lost in the background.
Tip #6 Know your lighting
Odds are whether you are out in the open or shooting in the forest your lighting will be all overhead lighting unless you have a flash. I don't use a flash or reflector for my outdoor photography. You'll need to direct your subject so that the light is hitting all the right places. With overhead lighting it’s easy to get unflattering harsh shadows. Use the shadows to your advantage. If the light is coming from above and you're getting harsh shadows make sure you position your subjects face and body up towards the light. I'll show you some examples of how I pose my subjects for this very occasion below. For more tips on using natural light click HERE
In closing: Just make sure your client knows what to expect beforehand so there's no surprises. Make sure your client knows anytime you're shooting in nature with little to no clothes bug bites and rashes are always a risk but you will do everything in your power to avoid them. Check out the Free Resources tab for more free photography tips and connect with me on Instagram HERE
You think you know LSD? You have no idea.
LSD (Lysergic acid diethylamide)
Never in my 33 years of life did I think I would try LSD let alone write an article about it’s many possible benefits. Yet here I sit, a well educated, active, successful business owner, sipping my coffee, editing photos, listening to Beethoven Sonata No.14 and reflecting on my many experiences with LSD and the massive amounts of research I have done on the topic over the years that led me here. Let me preface this article by saying I in no way condone the use of legal or illegal drugs.
I am not suggesting anyone go out and try LSD but rather reporting on the information I find intriguing. To be honest I have never been into drugs nor am I interested in taking LSD just for fun. No, what interests me is the possible health, wellness, and spiritual benefits of microdosing and creative problem solving at higher dosages. Viewing the world from a different perspective without the ego. The fact is 200,000+ people will use LSD for the first time this year and many more are thinking about it. Not all but hopefully most of these people will do their research before diving into the world of psychedelics as everyone should and when they do I hope they come across this article and it sheds some light on the topic.
If you think LSD is just for hippies, trippers, and burnouts, think again. Fact is billionaires, celebrities and countless other game changers have openly discussed their LSD use and it’s positive effects on their lives. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Tim Ferriss, The Beatles, Joe Rogan, George Carlin, and Jack Nicholson just to name a few. And more recently a growing number of young professionals in Silicon Valley claim that taking small doses of LSD known as “microdosing”, which involves taking minute quantities of the drug (8-15 micrograms every 4 days) simply makes them perform better at work – becoming more creative and focused, (as a designer and photographer this in particular intrigues me) with enhanced overall well-being, reduced stress and anxiety while improving sleep and leading to healthier habits. Just to name a few.
Ayelet Waldman (mom of 4) and Author of “A Really Good Day: How Microdosing Made a Mega Difference in My Mood, My Marriage, and My Life” resorted to microdosing after years of physical and mental suffering. Severe depression with years of drugs given to her by her doctor came with countless side effects but no relief. It wasn't till she tried microdosing for 30 days that her mood, marriage and life changed for the better.
Business professionals, software engineers, biologists and mathematicians - say that microdosing aids lateral thinking and encourages more empathetic interpersonal relations and women have reported less cramps when it’s that time of the month.
So what's my experience been like? Well, on average when I have about 200-300 mcg "1-3 tabs" I have no hallucinations, loss of ego, or dark feelings. I do however feel a sense of overwhelming peace, loss of anxiety, boost of creativity, and experience a dream like state yet my mind is clear. All noise from everyday problems vanish for 8-12 hours and meditation is never better. I feel a new appreciation for nature and others. A Oregon Coast sunset never looked so good. All that being said, there's a caveat. and that is, everyone has a different experience. Just because mine was great doesn't mean yours will be. If trying LSD for the first time don't do more than 1 tab as it may be too much to handle. Look at it like a hair cut. You can always try more in the future but once ingested there is no going back. Also make sure you don't have a family history of mental illness before taking LSD. If you do LSD should be avoided.
Bad Trips. If you experiment with psychedelics long enough you will at some point have a bad trip. This could be your first time or your 6th time. In my many experiences with psychedelics I've had 2 bad trips. Both times were because I broke the rules I mention in this article. My very first experience with psychedelics was mushrooms and I had what I thought at the time was a very bad trip (fear, unease, helplessness, loss of time, loneliness, paranoia) Here's why: 1st. I had way too much, 2nd. I was camping at a location we backpacked 2 miles into. No way out. 3rd took them way too late, it got dark an hour after the shrooms set in and we didnt have wood to make a fire. Also it was very cold and uncomfortable where we were. As you can see I broke many rules and when you do you can have a bad trip. That being said looking back I only remember the good conversations and laughs we had. It was'nt all bad.
My 2nd bad trip was much worse. I made the big mistake of breaking rule number one: Dont mix drugs. About an hour into my trip on LSD my roomate at the time thought it would be a good idea to give me THC butter. ( I don't smoke weed, he smokes a ton of weed) Well mixing had no effect on him but oh boy it did for me. When the THC kicked in I had an awful panic attack that lasted for hours and extreme paranoia. I just sat alone in my room and rode it out but there was nothing good about that experience. I learned not to have anything else in my system while on LSD and have never had a bad trip since. :)
Dr James Fadiman, Author of The Psychedelic Explorer's Guide says "What you get with microdosing is the best parts of Adderall with none of the side effects. You function better physically and mentally. You find the office prick bearable and you're more compassionate about the flaws of others"
"It helps me think more creatively and stay focused. I manage my stress with ease and am able to keep my perspective healthy in a way that I was unable to before"
Lily, startup publicist
On his website Fadiman offers guidance to participants on how often to dose and, in return, asks them to keep a journal of observations. Fadiman has reports from 125 participants, with 80 more on the way. In addition to this, he receives many requests for advice each month from people looking to try it safely.
"It is no longer a fad. It is being accepted as a very different way to more safely benefit from psychedelics without any 'psychedelic effects'," he says. In such low doses, psychedelics should be viewed more like anti-depressants and cognitive enhancers. Alex, a biologist at Edinburgh University says "With a microdose you don't get the overwhelming rush of emotions and feelings. You don't get hallucinations nor do you feel sleepy." However, Alex will also take up to a third of a full dose when he is seeking to solve complex problems.
As Portland rapidly grows I foresee the experimentation with microdosing blowing up among the huge number of young entrepreneurs here trying to get an edge on the competition. And I am among them.
Recently, universities around the world have begun testing LSD for addressing PTSD, mental health problems, treatment-resistant depression, removing end-of-life anxiety in terminal cancer patients, ending nicotine addiction, and more. Roland Griffiths, phD, a professor at Johns Hopkins medical school, shares a typical upshot from one early study: “Most of the 36 volunteers looked back on their experience with higher doses of LSD up to 14 months later and rated it as the most, or one of the 5 most, personally meaningful and spiritually significant of their lives. “For volunteers with children, the experience was often put above, or on par with the birth of their first child.
It should be noted that a normal trip today would range anywhere from 100 mcg to 200 mcg of LSD and 400 mcg and up for a mystical experience or “the feeling or the awareness that you are connected not only to other people but to other things and to living systems.” At this dose or higher it is critical to have qualified supervision in the form of a guide.
Remember “If you are going to take a mood-altering drug there will always be an element of risk, particularly if you have an underlying mental health condition. But compared to the risks attached to other drugs, this is at the lower end of the scale," says Harry Shapiro, director of UK charity DrugWise.
Warnings: If taking LSD it is crucial that you get it from a trusted source, test it before use and make sure to be in a safe clean setting with people you love and trust. Make sure your mindset is positive and open. Make sure you are in a good place in life and generally positive. If you have a history of mental illness DO NOT TAKE LSD. A dose can last 12 hours, make sure you stay in one place whether that’s at home or in nature (Camping is great). Make a list of questions you want to answer before you trip. Have a plan and purpose. Always have a trip sitter. ( more on this in The Psychedelic Explorer's Guide ) And finally, although there has never been a recorded incident of a fatal overdose of LSD, nor is it addictive, nor is there a link between psychedelics and psychosis, bad trips are very real and can happen. It can be terrifying but it will pass and you will be fine. Flashbacks from bad trips have been reported with excessive use but they are very rare.
Look, Life is short, why not expand your mind? Lose the ego. See life from another perspective you can’t even imagine. To achieve this with a safer legal alternative to LSD you can try meditation or a float tank. I suggest THE FLOAT SHOPPE http://www.floatshoppe.com/ in Portland. Or Float Om Healing Center http://float-om-isolation-tanks.com/ in Eugene. Thanks for reading now join the discussion. Have you tried LSD? How was your experience? Was it good or bad? Would you do it again? Should it be legal? Did this article in anyway shift your view on the drug itself? Let us know in the comments below.
Microdosing: People who take LSD with breakfast - BBC News
How Do Psychedelics Effect The Brain?
Can LSD make you a billionaire?
Have A Good Trip | Official Trailer | Netflix
The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) reports LSD statistics and facts saying more than 200,000 people use LSD for the first time each year.
Books: A Really Good Day: How Microdosing Made a Mega Difference in My Mood, My Marriage, and My Life
by Ayelet Waldman
The Psychedelic Explorer's Guide: Safe, Therapeutic, and Sacred Journeys
by James Fadiman
Tools of Titans by Timothy Ferriss
As a bride to be there are many things to consider before your big day. One of which is makeup. Your wedding day is stressful enough, the last thing you and your bridesmaids want to worry about is makeup. That's where hiring a professional comes in.
Some of the most common questions I get from my engaged couples before wedding day are what do makeup artists charge for wedding makeup? How do I find a make up artist for my wedding? Should I get a makeup artist for my wedding? Why is wedding make up so expensive? How do I choose makeup? What make up looks best on camera? Do I choose a makeup artist I like or that I can afford? Does it matter if my MUA has a license? What questions should I be asking myself before hiring a makeup artist for my wedding day?
So I thought there would be no better person to answer these questions and more than my super talented friend and makeup artist Megan Blake. She was kind enough to give me some of her time and insight. Megan and I have worked together on multiple projects and she is one of the most popular Wedding makeup artists in Portland. I'm honored she took the time to be my guest author for today's blog. We hope these tips help. Make sure to connect with Megan on Instagram HERE
In this article my guest will explain the Wedding industry from the point of view of a Professional Makeup Artist. The wedding industry is extensive and has many levels of services to navigate through. Below we hope you will find a few ways to help you ask the right questions to help find your perfect fit for your special day. Make sure to connect with me on Instagram HERE
1: What's your Vision?
When you think about your wedding day you think about all the people that have come together to help make your day so special. As you start planning out how this will look. Who will be there? Where will you be getting ready? You start to get a beautiful vision in your head of all the special details. Most brides even envision the way they will look from the dress to the makeup to the hair. Then they have the task of finding all the right vendors to help make that vision happen.
At the top of every brides list is securing that one Makeup Artist in a list of thousands that will be able to see their vision through to the end. This is where finding your right fit from the beginning will help. So often when planning a wedding it becomes more about checking things off a to do list then actually experiencing the special time you are in.
Weddings are about more then the wedding, it's about the journey you will have putting all the pieces of the puzzle together. So lets think about this process as more of a puzzle then a to do list. Finding that perfect puzzle piece is more about figuring out how you see yourself. Give yourself a moment to think about how you will communicate your vision. Having a clear idea of this will help you narrow down your search
2: What's your style?
Do some research, make a dream board, use Pinterest since it can organize everything with links included to specific artists and vendors. Then take a minute to find and compare different styles of Makeup and hair artists. No two beauty professionals are alike, in fact every artist has different styles as well as different skill sets to offer clients. This can range from organic product lines to luxury brands and services. Some artist offer day of services while others offer pre wedding spa services to help you enjoy your planning experience the whole way through.
3: Do you want someone cheap or someone you connect with?
As many brides begin the process of finding their ideal choice for a makeup artist they should keep in mind that, “what you get is what you pay for in life”, so this is not the time to “select” based solely on pricing. While a budget is expected, this shouldn’t be your deciding factor when choosing your artist. You should also consider your connection with your artist over shopping based off price ranges.
The person you choose will be the one who is with you on the most anticipated day of your life. They will be the one who will transform you into your dream vision. Having trust in who you pick should matter more than a predetermined budget. You should consider your selections based on the levels of service that they are providing you. Whoever you choose will be with you throughout your planning process. This job is about applying makeup and doing hair but its also about making you and your guests feel special on your wedding day. Every wedding has timelines to keep, people to make beautiful and a handful of emotions to navigate.
Choosing someone who truly understands the process and handles these moments without disrupting the flow of the day is crucial especially since there is always room to negotiate price. When narrowing down between two of your favorite choices instead of emailing about their prices try scheduling a phone consult. The interaction you will have can make all the difference in your final decision. Any one can make a pretty website that includes prices and pictures. The artist you should choose is someone who can make you truly shine and who will not just replicate trends or past client expectations.
4: Do you want a MUA with a license?
This is so important! In a world where social media sites are used to find wedding inspirations, as well as finding potential vendors, one must decipher the difference between popularity and professionalism! In fact, having high levels of followers does not guarantee that they are properly trained in all the same areas that licensed artists must know. Sanitation, cleanliness, knowledge of skin anatomy, and the use of disposable tools is not based on personal preference it’s pertinent to the law. You will find that many Artists that are unlicensed can be seen taking shortcuts, dipping into products, and using the same mascara from one person to the next as just a few examples.
This is completely unacceptable and puts you as a customer and your whole wedding party at risk for your health. For weddings happening Post-COVID, this should be a huge factor to consider when choosing an Artist. The levels of safety have been increased even more for this industry. Professionals everywhere are getting new safety and sanitation certificates to properly prepare for their clients. This should be made clear in your contract.
5: Does your dream MUA only care about the big day or the whole process?
Hiring a professional makeup artist is an investment in the Artist as a whole service, you are not investing in the cost of the makeup application itself. So many Brides start the process with asking…what is your price? To be transparent this question cannot be summed up with a generic list of prices. Actually there are many factors that go into an Artists pricing: schooling, continued professional trainings, new certifications, state licenses (there are separate licenses required to service clients on location too) personal and business insurances, kit cost, skin care products, makeup products for all skin types and skin tones, separate kits of makeup for different needs such as cruelty free, gluten free and vegan, then there is the business costs like rent, driving expenses and wardrobe so with new sanitary/safety products this will increase…
There is also the time spent on each individual clients needs that all come into factor when providing a services. Since no two people are the exact same you will have different needs then the bride before you and the bride after you. As a professional artist our job is to treat you for what your unique needs are. To say all makeup is one price would be misleading as some people require different product needs and techniques. It is our job as the professionals to give you the best level of service for your investment. Instead of leading with a request for prices try a new approach.
Ask them what it is that might set them apart from the rest of the artists whose work you have also selected. Then you will have a better understanding of what you are getting when choosing them. When they explain their personal rates… please keep in mind all that they will also do for you as a client behind the scenes… the constant emails, texts, calls, contracts, waivers, timelines, last minute changes, scheduling appointments, sending reminders, then there is the actual cost to apply your makeup, travel costs and of course the actual application that also goes into this price. After learning these details, you will have a better feel for who will be your missing puzzle piece.
6: Does a contract to protect you and your investment on wedding day matter to you?
Having a contract will help to protect yourself and your investments when hiring any service provider. Contracts are helpful tools for laying out the exact terms that have been agreed upon between both parties. It is important to fully read and understand any contract you are signing so that you understand your rights as a client.
Be cautious of vendors who do not offer a formal contract between both parties. The need for a contract is crucial now more than ever being that times are as chaotic as they are today. Industry professionals have worked to include these added precautions to protect our clients as well as our industry from future risks. Make sure to ask these questions when in the process of choosing your MUA for your wedding day.
7: How can you prepare your skin for the big day?
Water is the biggest trick I can tell you. As a professional who works in the fashion industry it is my Job as Makeup artist to give you that flawless skin can look. The same gorgeous looks that many of you have pinned to your inspiration boards are created by the exact same professionals that you are hiring for your wedding day. The only differences between you and the models in the pictures that you like, is your pre-gaming! A model’s job is literally to take care of their body from the inside out… This includes mental health, body maintenance, skin care routine, fueling their bodies while maintaining their ideal physique, all while preparing their skin as best they can prior to each job.
So the only difference is that they are choosing to make their health and beauty their first priority whereas when one is preoccupied with things such as wedding planning, life stressors, jobs, combining families and having that giant “wedding puzzle” to figure out along the way these things can and often take a back seat. Have no worries though there are little things you can start today that will make a major difference by the time you tie the knot. First start with an increase of water intake, as you achieve this each day you should aim to increase your goals. (an increase of water will add to your skins over all look, texture and vibrance…as an added bonus…often an increase of water can also help to the waistline!)
Next, start to make “you time” a daily priority. It can be a small change based on your life’s needs but make small personal goals! Whether it is to start washing your face regularly with “real face wash” (not body soap) I promise this will make a world of a difference when it comes to your wedding day application as well as how you feel you look daily. You must also consider that every product, makeup, lotion you choose to put on your skin is actually absorbed by your skin within 20 seconds of application… so make sure you are protecting yourself by using healthy products daily.
Limelife by Alcone and Arbonne international are two amazing companies that offer professional grade products that are also healthy options for your health, skin, body, and makeup routines. Another important thing to remember about achieving a natural healthy look to your skin is to learn how to exfoliate based on your skins particular needs (if you don’t have a skin care regimen you should ask your artist if they teach personal classes or if they provide you a custom spa service). The best thing you can do for your skin is to take the time to learn how to properly care for your skin. This means not buying based on convenience or based off of what your best friend swears by… but by doing the research into what goes into the products your choosing and learning to pick healthy options that will make your skin glow from the inside out. Small changes every day make all the difference for your future self-happiness!
8: Why are you getting married?
The best advice one can give any couple entering the planning stages of their wedding is that when things get frustrating remember “Why” you are having a wedding. When you said yes to your partner you said yes to that person for your whole future not for just the wedding day. Couples plan these elaborate celebrations as a symbol of their love for all to see, yet all too often many will lose sight of why they are celebrating in the first place. Weddings have become all about the “Show” and less about the “love” that they begin with!
The goal for any wedding community is to facilitate love stories and to help our clients tell their own. To any future couples who start to lose their purpose by focusing too long on the “show” you must remember to take a step back when you’re feeling caught up in the process. Take a day to just refocus your energy into what brought your lives together in the first place. Surrounding yourself with the right group of people to help guide you and to encourage your love is key. Having true friends along the way can be the best life-savor you can have…
The kind of friends that step up without asking, who show up before you know you even needed them, the ones who keep you from getting so caught up in the costs, schedules, decor that your not enjoying the special time you are in. These people in your life are here to support you when the planning gets tough, be thankful for each of them. Finally, remember to set some one on one time aside on your wedding day too… Find a place that can oversee everything and everyone your love brought together. The biggest gift that any couple can feel together is that feeling when everyone comes together to celebrate their new adventure!
9: Do you want trendy or timeless?
Trends are cool and all but they are short lived and often embarrassing to look back on. The fact is that when planning your wedding you should think about what your pictures will say about you in 10, 20…50 years from now. There is something to be said for “timeless Beauty” looks in pictures. Furthermore when choosing a classic look or a look that is true to your unique style, you can never go wrong staying true to you, no matter how many years pass the memory and feel will always remain the same. Choose the people who will align with your shared vision.
10: What do you truly want on your wedding day?
So many brides make the mistake of underplaying their actual needs, wants and hopes when deciding where to spend their wedding budgets. There are those who will spend their whole budget in the chase of the perfect dress or in the hopes of securing that highly sought-after venue that they have waited for a date to open up for so long now. All too often couples will spend thousands of dollars on items like flowers, décor, and food without a second thought, yet they choose to barter over things such as professional trade services like a MUA or the perfect photographer.
When you look back at your wedding you might not remember all the costs of everything that went into making your day special, but you should remember how special you felt. When you think of how special you felt I hope a smile graces your face in memory of just how beautiful the Beauty professional you chose helped you feel. The true payment for an artists work is the transformation that we can give someone. We already see your beauty within it is a privilege and an honor to get to help you see it too! When you hire a makeup artist you are giving yourself the gift of self love...
You are worth every penny.
If you're a portrait photographer like myself you know the importance of captivating eyes. We really want to make our clients eyes pop. Bring out the colors and details. There are many ways to do it but this is the process I use in Adobe Photoshop and it takes less than a minute. I hope this help. Just remember, Dodge, burn, sponge, sharpen.
Find more Photography Tips HERE and connect with me on Instagram HERE.
Step 1: Dodge Tool
Select the Dodge Tool. Set the Range to highlights & the exposure to 20% Dodge the entire iris.
Step 2: Burn Tool
Select the Burn tool. Set the range to shadows & the exposure to 15%. Burn the entire Iris.
Step 3: Sponge Tool
Select the sponge Tool. Set the mode to saturate & the flow to 10% Saturate the entire iris.
Step 4: Sharpen Tool
Select the sharpen Tool. Set the mode to normal & the strength to 25% Sharpen the entire iris.
You clicked on this article because you want more traffic to your website and I am here to tell you there is no better way to do that then Pinterest.
Besides TikTok I think Pinterest Has to be the most undervalued and misunderstood platform in 2020. Pinterest is one of those apps that we all use for inspiration but forget we can also use the platform to leverage our own business. Whether you’re an artist, photographer, hairstylist, MUA, designer, or brand you can without a doubt triple the traffic to your website using Pinterest for free. Think about that, how much do you think you would have to pay in ads on google, Facebook, or Instagram to triple the traffic to your website?
As you can see from the screenshot below Last month alone I had 1.1 million impressions on my Pinterest account with over 25,000 engagements and over the last three months I’ve had an average of 656,000 monthly viewers. Although these numbers are far greater than anything you will get organically with Instagram or Facebook they are not hard to achieve. According to my Google analytics 65% of my organic website traffic comes from Pinterest. That’s huge.
It’s very simple, If you are an artist, designer, brand, or business your end goal is sales and in order to make more sales you need more traffic to your website and to get more traffic to your website people need to find you and right now there is no better way to find you then on Pinterest. You need to understand, Pinterest is a search engine NOT a social media platform.
No one uses Pinterest to catch up or follow their friends, they use it for inspiration. Maybe it’s inspiration for a photo shoot, a recipe, a wedding, make up, hairstyle, or outfit. Whatever it is use your product, service, or skill to be that inspiration. Inspiration leads to curiosity and curiosity leads to sales. Just ask Sharee Davenport a wedding photographer who booked over $200,000 worth of weddings using Pinterest.
So now that I’ve shown you the value of using Pinterest for your business here are some tips on how to actually use Pinterest correctly.
Tip 1. Every pin on your page should link to your website.
Tip number one and probably the most important tip I will give you is this: If and only if you are using Pinterest for your business “in other words to drive traffic to your website”, delete every board and pin that is not linked to your website. This one change made the biggest impact on my account almost immediately. I repeat, delete every pin or board that is not linked to your website. No one visiting your Pinterest page gives a shit about what vegan recipes you’ve saved or at home workout plans you’ve pinned. Those things have nothing to do with your business. When using Pinterest for business every board and pin should be specifically related to what you have to offer. If it’s easier to start a separate account I would suggest doing that. This way you wont lose all the pins you've saved.
Tip 2. Use Board Titles and Descriptions
Board Titles and descriptions are important. Use them wisely. Whatever it is that you have to offer do some research and find out the most popular keywords people are using to search for your product or service. Take some time and think about what your perfect client would be searching for to find you. If you’re a wedding photographer in Portland Oregon you might want to title your board “Oregon wedding photographer” or “Portland wedding photographer.” or get more specific and have a different board for each Wedding Venue you've shot at like “Portland hotel wedding” or “The Nines hotel wedding” or “Gray Gables Estate Wedding”
Remember newly engaged couples are looking for wedding venues, wedding destinations, wedding photographers, or floral inspiration. No one gives a shit about Jack and Jill‘s wedding so lose the titles like “Jacob & Sarah’s Beach front wedding” and go with something like “Pacific City Beach front wedding” It’s okay to use names on your blog but no one’s searching Pinterest for Tom and Karen’s lake view wedding I promise you.
Use keywords in your description like Oregon wedding photographer, Oregon wedding venue, dream wedding, Oregon wedding ideas, Oregon wedding photography etc. If you’re a wedding photographer for example using keywords like the venue you shot a beautiful wedding at is crucial because the first thing soon to be brides look for when planning a wedding even before photographers are venues. So when a bride to be is searching Pinterest for local wedding venues you want your work to show up.
Tip 3. Use Pin Titles and Descriptions
Just like board titles and descriptions each pin will have a title and description as well. For example if I am adding a pin to my cosplay photography board I will keep the title and a lot of the keywords in the description the same as what are used for the board itself because they are related, the only difference I will make are some of the keywords in the description of that pin more specific to the photo itself. As you can see in the photo below I used keywords related to the photo like marvel cosplay and marvel universe and avengers endgame and female cosplay and female superhero. The keywords in your board description won’t be so specific they should be more broad.
Remember Pinterests algorithm crawls the app for keywords not photos. Pinterest can’t tell a photo is of a bride and groom reading vows, you have to tell Pinterest what the photo is via keywords and that’s how Pinterest matches your photo with someone’s search. This is where so many people go wrong.
Tip 4. Use Key Words on your Profile Page
Not only is your profile the first thing people see when they come to your page but the web crawls Pinterest for keywords you want to use not only in your board titles and descriptions and pin titles and descriptions but also your profile page. For example If you’re an Atlanta hairstylist or make up artist you should use the phrase Atlanta hairstylist on your profile page in your pins and on your boards. That makes it very clear to Pinterest that you are a hairstylist in Atlanta.
Tip 5. Keep it simple
Keep it simple, this isn’t as hard or as time consuming as it sounds. If you’re a photographer you have an extreme advantage because you already have a ton of content you can post. Try to stick with as few boards as you can so you don’t overwhelm anyone coming to your page. 20, 40, 80 boards is too much. Remember Pinterest is a search engine not social media so unlike Instagram you don’t need to come up with a witty description for every photo, I literally copy and paste most of my descriptions from previous posts. If you are a fashion designer and you make a board for a new fall line, most if not all of the keywords you use in each photo from that line will be the same.
Tip 6. Use Pinterest search to find popular Keywords
For instance the photo below is a photo I took for a local athletic apparel brand. So to find corresponding popular keywords I use Pinterest search for suggestions by typing in a word related to the photo like "athletic" and as you can see a list will pop down of other popular search terms related to athletic. Such as athletic women, athletic outfits, athletic wear, athletic hairstyles. And because all of those are related to the image I’m posting I use those keywords in my description as well as the more specific keywords for local search like Oregon portrait photographer or Portland fashion photographer.
Tip 7. Hire a Photographer to make you content
Now you may be sitting there thinking to yourself OK Lance this is all great but I am not a photographer, I’m not an artist, I’m not a designer, I’m not a model, how am I supposed to create all this content to post on Pinterest?
That’s where hiring a professional photographer comes in. As professional photographers we are content creators, our job is to create engaging and interesting content based around your product or service that you can use to promote yourself via Pinterest and other social media platforms.
Let’s say you’re a business owner and your business is dental work. First thing you want to do is create a website/blog, and then write interesting and engaging articles like how marijuana affects oral health or how the keto diet affects oral health or how often you should replace your toothbrush or what’s the connection between stroke and oral health.
Once you’ve done that take some photos yourself or hire a professional or hell you can even use free stock photography and use those photos to promote your articles on Pinterest. But the better those photos are the better your post will perform on the App.
Tip 8. Switch to a Business Account
Now that I’ve given you the knowledge how to utilize Pinterest for your advantage the only thing you can do now is take what you’ve learned and practice but the only way to practice and get better results is to track what’s working and what’s not so you can make the necessary changes moving forward and to do that you will need to track your analytics. In order to track your analytics you will need to go to your account settings and scroll down to account changes and switch to a business account instead of personal. Don’t worry this doesn’t cost anything.
Tip 9. Track your Analytics
Let’s take audience insights for example. Here you can see in the last 30 days how many people have engaged with your pins and what they are interested in as well as their age, gender, and location. You can choose between looking at your total audience or engaged audience but we want to specifically look at our engaged audience because these are the people who are actually clicking our pins and sharing our pins and viewing our website. We want to learn everything we can about the people who are the most interested in our pins because these are the type of people we want to target because they are more likely to click or share our image and view our website. As you can see which is as no surprise to me my engaged audience is most interested in art, women’s fashion, education, entertainment, and beauty.
Tip 10. Get Specific
Now that we have that information we can dig even deeper and get more specific. For example as shown in the image above 69% of my engaged audience is interested in women’s fashion and when I click that it then tells me of those interested in women’s fashion 61% is specifically interested in women’s fashion dress. So that tells me I should see higher engagement and thus better results when I share photos of a model in a dress and use the corresponding keywords like women’s fashion dress. I hope that makes sense. Now I can go even further by clicking dress and it will bring up a page of the most popular pins for women’s fashion dress and this tells me what kind of photos are doing well in that category. Great for inspiration :)
Furthermore you can view your impressions and engagements per pin through analytics. This will tell you what photos are doing well and what photos aren’t. As you can see in the photo below my most popular pins are all Cosplay. This tells me I should post more photos in that category. When I compare my pins in that category the analytics will tell me the difference between what performed well and what didn’t so I can improve moving forward. Might be the keywords used might be the photos itself.
I have tried the route of pinning straight from my Instagram to send people there hoping to gain more followers that way but I have found that the algorithm doesn’t like that very much so you’re going to get far better results linking to your website and not another social media.
In conclusion, to make this as simple and straightforward as possible this is my method: I’ll create a board such as Portland portrait photographer because I’m a photographer in Portland and I shoot a lot of portraits. Because of this I obviously already have a ton of content I can use on my phone. Once my board is created and I’ve chosen the right keywords for my title and description I will then add one or two sets per day. A set being all the photos I shared previously on social media from a shoot which usually ends up being around 10 photos.
Obviously if this board is for portraits all the photos from the set I’m sharing are going to be portraits. Each photo you add back to back will need a title and description and I literally just copy and paste because all the same keywords will be relevant for the most part. The only time this wouldn’t be the case is if let’s say you were adding a set of photos to a Lakeview wedding board and one photo was of a couple and another photo was of just the cake. Obviously you wouldn’t use the same keywords for the couple as you would the cake however you would still use some of the same keywords but some would need to change.
This is why when I’m adding sets of photos back to back I’ll choose one board so I can easily copy and paste and that saves me time. So how do you copy and paste? I always have my Pinterest app open as well as a web browser open with my Pinterest account that way I can copy the title and description from the web browser and paste into the Pinterest app.
Bonus Tip. Use Regrammer
Pro tip for photographers, for a fast and easy way to find sets you’ve done, on your phone go to your Instagram profile and scroll until you find a set you’ve shared that you would like to share on Pinterest. Click the three dots on the upper right corner and then click copy link. Then with the Regrammer app “if you don’t have it get it, it’s free” paste the link in the app and you can quickly save the photos from that post, and there you have it you can immediately share those photos to Pinterest one by one via the Pinterest app.
If you have any questions please ask them in the comments below and I will try my best to answer them. Also make sure to connect with me on Instagram HERE. Just remember, it’s very unlikely that someone sends you a message on Pinterest wanting to hire you or buy your product. Most likely they will click through to your website, check you out and probably follow you on social media. There they will see your work and personality. If they like what they see they might reach out to you and that is when your job begins, your job is to build a relationship with that person so they ultimately end up hire you.
As a photographer you know that smoke and fog can add a dramatic or even cinematic element to any photo but did you know there are numerous ways to add smoke or fog to your photos? In this article I will break down the various ways you can add smoke to your photography to get a more cinematic vibe. Most importantly keep in mind you should always have water and a mini fire extinguisher close by when using smoke. Safety is number one and never leave a trace. If you use a smoke grenade outside make sure to let it cool off and take it with you to throw away. Also keep in mind smoke pointed directly at the ground can stain the ground.
All the photos in this article were taken by me. If this article was useful make sure to connect with me on Instagram HERE and find more free resources for photography HERE
1. Smoke Grenades
What you need: Smoke Grenades from Enola Gaye®
Advantages: User friendly, thick smoke, multiple colors to choose from, no power required.
Disadvantages: Strong odor, can stain the ground and clothing, gets expensive, outdoors only.
Why save the best for last when I can start with the best? Smoke grenades are my favorite on the list because they don’t require power, have multiple color options and outputs of smoke to choose from. You can get a short small burst of smoke or a long thick steady stream of smoke. They do however spark at first so you do have to be careful where you use these and always have some water around just in case. I wouldn’t use one in a dry field. Also if you’re buying a lot of them it can get expensive but as far as smoke grenades go there is no better brand, infact Enola Gaye® is offering a 15% discount if you use my coupon at checkout! How cool is that!? Just use the coupon KICKASS15 at checkout.
2. Fog Machine
What you need: Fog Machine, Fog Fluid, Generator for outdoor use.
Advantages: User friendly, safe, thick smoke, no strong unpleasant odor, doesn't stain, inexpensive.
Disadvantages: Needs power, only comes in one color.
I love using a fog machine because it produces lots of thick smoke for an extended period of time however the biggest drawback is when using it outside where you don’t have a power source to plug it into you will need a mobile generator, something light weight enough to carry and yet powerful enough to power the fog machine. The fog machine itself and fog fluid aren’t that expensive but if you need a generator that will run you a couple hundred bucks.
3. Dry Ice
What you need: Dry Ice & Water
Advantages: User friendly, no power required, can be used indoors and outdoors with water.
Disadvantages: Won't work without water, stays low to the ground, hard to store.
Dry ice is really fun to shoot with for a really cool creepy effect as it stays low to the ground unlike a fog machine or smoke grenade as you can see below. However most people can’t just store dry ice so you need to buy it not only the day of the shoot but right before because a block of dry ice will dissipate within a few hours unless stored in the right container. Nobody is going to carry around a massive container of water so in order to use it outdoors you will need a puddle of water or low creek. Dry ice can burn your hands so always wear gloves when handling it. The only places I have found who sell dry ice are Fred Meyer and a few Baskin Robbins but not all of them.
4. Atmosphere Aerosol
What you need: A can of Atmosphere Aerosol
Advantages: Safe, user friendly, no power required, can be used indoors and outdoors, no odor, mobile.
Disadvantages: Gets expensive, low volume of smoke
Atmosphere Aerosol is my got to for toy photography and will linger in the air for minutes and creates a dreamy effect if you have some nice sunlight coming in from a window. Back lighting is required though to see haze or fog. Position and amount of light will determine the look of the fog or haze. I dig this stuff, it's easy to carry with you, non toxic, and a bottle of spray will last you a while.
Pro tip: Use a light wand to add a pop of color to the smoke.
5. Smoke Cakes
What you need: Smoke Cakes and Lighter.
Advantages: No power required, easy to take on the go, small, cheap.
Disadvantages: Low volume of smoke, fire hazard, not the best quality.
Smoke cakes will be your cheapest option but also the most unreliable. They don’t put out the most smoke and don’t last long but if you’re on a budget these can work. They aren’t super easy to control so a little practice goes along way. I do like the multiple color options though.
6. Propane Insect Fogger
What you need: a Propane Insect Fogger
Advantages: No power required, cheap, mobile, decent volume of smoke.
Disadvantages: Gas powered, depending on brand can be noisy.
Insect foggers are a great mobile alternative to fog machines. They are powered by butane gas cans which you can easily find at any supermarket. I shouldn’t have to say this but I will, make sure you use fog liquid not pesticide. Also where the smoke comes out of gets very hot so be careful when handling the fogger.
What you need: Adobe Photoshop or another photo editing app
Advantages: Complete control of how the smoke will look, nothing to cary or burn.
Disadvantages: Takes skill and alot of time to add in post.
Can’t get your hands on anything mentioned above? Well you’re still in luck because there’s always Photoshop. Photoshop is a great alternative if you can’t get real smoke, it just takes some time and skill. My favorite thing to do is combine the two, so I use the smoke during the shoot and add a little bit in Photoshop if I need to in Post. It’s not as hard as you think, all you really need is a good photo of smoke on a black background to overlay your image with. Freepik has many. If you need help I will show you how in the video below.
With all of us stuck at home practicing social distancing there is no better time than now to improve our skills as photographers and get inspired. In this article I will share some of my favorite free resources I use to improve my skills not only as a photographer but as a business owner. In this article I recommend videos, podcasts, books, websites and more. All free resources to help you improve your photography and business and maybe even get inspired.
Let's start with the best. My favorite photographer/videographer has to be Peter McKinnon and considering he has 4.5 million subscribers on youtube it's safe to say I'm not the only one. His videos are not only informative but funny and entertaining, plus his videos are full of movie quality cinematography. He's just that good. I follow him for inspiration and general knowledge on portraits, landscape, product photography, and video.
Evan Ranft is another great photographer with great video tutorials. I follow him for inspiration and general knowledge on Portraits and Street Photography. He's one of my favorite street photographers out of Atlanta, GA. His color grading is top notch and has a cinematic Neo-noir feeling to his work
Sorelle Amore is the Queen of self portraits. Her outgoing bubbly personality, amazing accent, beautiful locations, and skills in front and behind the camera always make for a great video. Sorelle is a must follow for photographers and models alike. Because she only takes photos of her self she has great insight on posing as well as photography. She's also constantly traveling to beautiful places so add her channel to your list of location scouting tools.
These next 2 guys I follow for 3 reasons. Portraits, Travel, and Cars. Chris Hau and Alen Palander have some of the best portrait photography, car photography, and travel photography you will find. These 2 guys are extremely talented and offer free advice on their channels as well as stunning video. Get inspired by these 2.
Sean Tucker is a legendary street photographer. Sean offers great information on his youtube channel on street photography, editing, and portraits. You wont want to miss his content.
Now this one is more of a marketing expert not so much photography. That being said everything I've learned about social media marketing I've learned from Gary Vaynerchuk. If you haven't heard of him you must be living under a rock because everyone I know follows him for marketing advice and day to day inspiration. I love his "I don't give a fuck what you think" attitude.
The Beginner Photography Podcast is a free weekly podcast hosted by wedding photographer Raymond Hatfield who interviews professional photographers of all genres who share what they wish they knew when they got started so you can grow your photography skills faster! I don't shoot weddings often but still take something away from every episode. Don't let the name fool you, this is no podcast just for beginners. Even seasoned photographers can gain insight from this podcast.
Level-up your photography with the Master Photography Podcast. No matter your needs or experience level, one of their shows on their network is going to feed your passion for photography and help you to master your craft. So much great information on their multiple shows.
Six Figure Photography is hosted by the award winning international wedding photographer Ben Hartley. Abundance comes from understanding your own self-worth and providing value to everyone you encounter. Six Figure Photography exists to inspire, empower & challenge photographers towards creating a life of abundance not just in profits, but in creativity and relationships. Ben does this through his weekly podcast, online training, and hands-on workshops. I've listened to almost everyone of his podcasts and learned something new with every episode.
Jenna Martin, from Billings, Montana hosts the podcast Creative Chaos. This podcast is perfect for the oddballs and misfits of the world trying to turn their creative passions into legitimate careers. They discuss everything about creative professions; both the artistic side AND the business side. You'll learn how to produce your very best work on a consistent basis, how to grow your social media following, how to create passive income streams, and how to streamline you're dream business. Also checkout their DD ("Deep Dive") episodes where their guests go far more in-depth into various artistic careers.
I listen to this one for marketing and daily inspiration not photography although the tips and tactics I learned from this podcast has improved my photography business. On his global top 100 iTunes podcast The GaryVee Audio Experience, you’ll hear episodes of Garys favorite series called the #AskGaryVee Show, a mix of his best highlights from his DAILYVEE documentary video series, keynote speeches on marketing and business, interviews, fireside chats, and any of his new and current thoughts that he records specifically for this audio experience!
Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss $14.88 - Tactics, Routines, & Habits from Billionaires
This book contains the tools, tactics, routines, and habits of billionaires, icons, and world-class performers you won’t find anywhere else.
What makes the book different from most is a relentless focus on actionable details. This is reflected in the questions. For example: What do these people do in the first sixty minutes of each morning? What do their workout routines look like, and why? What books have they gifted most to other people? What are the biggest wastes of time for novices in their field? What supplements do they take on a daily basis? You get the idea. What most photographers don't understand is that you can learn life and business altering tactics from world-class performers in a range of industries outside our own.
#AskGaryVee by Gary Vaynerchuk $14.95 - Social Media Tactics
Look, if you're a photographer trying to make money with photography you need this book. End of story. I own all of Gary Vees books and they are all great but this one has the most applicable information for you to consume and use right away. 95% of my clients come from Facebook and Instagram (without adds) and that's because I use the information I learned in this book to slay the social media game.
#AskGaryVee features the most useful and interesting questions Gary has addressed on his popular Youtube channel. Gary presents practical, timely, and timeless advice on marketing, social media, entrepreneurship, and everything else you've been afraid to ask but are dying to know. Gary gives you the insights and information you need on everything from effectively using Twitter to launching a small business, hiring superstars to creating a personal brand, launching products effectively to staying healthy-and even buying wine. Buy this book, then buy his others.
For more book recommendations checkout my article 9 Books Every photographer needs to be more successful. Of course books aren't free but you can find these at the library to rent for free :)
15 Free Lightroom Presets
Are you struggling to find a way to edit your photographs with a professional touch? Are you having a difficult time choosing between Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom to edit your photographs?
In order to make it easier, PhotoWhoa is giving you various options to enhance your photographs. There is no need to choose between the two as they offer creative and professional presets for Lightroom and various actions for Photoshop.
These presets are compatible with both Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop and are used by many photographers across the globe as they help to make the workflow easy while ensuring that the editing process is enjoyable as well.
They are an excellent tool used by not only professional photographers but also amateur ones.
In these, Lightroom presets offered by BeArt-Presets, various photo editing tools have been combined to create high-quality pictures. When it comes to adjusting the tone of photographs along with setting the appropriate exposure of a picture. These offer various combinations of editing features to create high-quality photographs that have a professional touch.
Free (Royalty free) Images on Unsplash
Unsplash is a platform powered by an amazing community that has gifted hundreds of thousands of their own photos to fuel creativity around the world. So sign up for free, or don’t. Either way, you’ve got access to over a million photos under the Unsplash license—which makes them free to do-whatever-you-want with. This site is great because the photos are so much better quality than boring standard stock photos. And they are all free to use however you like! :)
Build a Free Website with Weebly
When I built my first website I had no money so I did it for free with Weebly. With Weebly you get access to customizable webpage designs and useful tools to build your website and grow your photography business. Easily build a free website to help you get discovered and grow your customer base in style. It's never been easier to start your own website with no knowledge of webdesign. This is a great way to start that blog you've been talking about.
Free Photoshop Alternative
Gimp is a free, open-source alternative to Photoshop that's been around for many years, GIMP stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program. Today it's available in versions for Linux, Windows and Mac.
GIMP offers a wide toolset, similar to Photoshop in many ways, and is a great option if you're looking for a no-cost image editor. The interface differs somewhat from Photoshop, but a version of GIMP is available that mimics Adobe's look and feel, making it easier to migrate over if you're ditching Photoshop.
The full suite of tools is everything you're accustomed to, including painting tools, colour correction, cloning, selection, and enhancement. The team that oversees development has worked hard to ensure compatibility too, so you'll be able to work with all the popular file formats without any trouble at all. You'll also find a very capable file manager built in, along similar lines to Adobe's Bridge.
Overall, this is a great option whether you've either got a limited budget, or want to move away from Photoshop for other reasons.
Free Overlays & PNGS with DeviantArt
DeviantArt is the world's largest online social community for artists and art enthusiasts, allowing people to connect through the creation and sharing of art. This site is great for any digital artists who use Photoshop alot. Need an object with a transparent background or an overlay of smoke, fire, magic, rain, snow, etc? You can find it all on DeviantArt for free.
The point is, we’ve never lived in a time where we have so many free resources at our fingertips to help us elevate our skills and business. I hope these resources helped and if you have anything to add please do so in the comments below.
In this article I cover shooting portraits in low light situations. I love shooting in the dark because it forces me to be creative and use the light I have available to me but also creates a lot of obstacles to overcome. Getting a sharp image completely in focus with little to no noise is difficult when shooting in low light with no flash but I hope with these tips it will be a little easier next time you go and shoot in the dark. Photographing in low light situations presents many obstacles but if you use the tips in this article you can easily overcome them with confidence on your next shoot. All the photos below were taken by me. Make sure to connect with me on Instagram HERE Let me know if this article helped in the comments below.
Find a light source
Let's start with your light source. Low light photography doesn’t mean no light photography, you will always need some source of light. The biggest mistake I see photographers make in low light situations is having their subject turn their back to the light source with nothing to light their face which is great if you want a fun silhouette but otherwise you will want your light source as close to your subject as possible. whether your light source is a street lamp, Hotel lamp, arcade, neon sign, or flame from a lighter position the light source either to one side of your subjects face or directly in front of them behind the camera so it lights their face.
whether you're using neon bar lights or an arcade try placing your model to the side of the light and have them look towards the light or straight at the camera. Play around and notice how the light effects their face. Keep an eye on those harsh shadows. Make sure your subject is as close as possible to the light source. Adjust colors as needed in post.
The key to shooting with neon is having your model as close to the neon as you can get. If you have the Neon behind them and nothing to light their face it will be too dark. For the example below I had my model stand as close as she could to the arcade screen because it was producing a good amount of light. Settings used were: 1/200Sec /// ISO 640 /// F3.2
Mix it up. Sunglasses can make for some fun reflections with neon lights.
If you're shooting in the city at night there are a few options you can use to light your subject. You can use a lighter or street lamp for dramatic lighting or a neon bar sign in a window as we did below.
If there's a lamp, use it.
The example below was shot in a hotel room at night using the standing lamp next to the sofa. If a lamp is all you have just point it towards the model and make sure it's as close as possible. Have your model look towards the light to reduce harsh shadows.
Try having the light source behind your subject with no light in the front to create a fun silhouette like we did below.
Fun effects with a Prism
On Amazon you can find a variety of glass and prisms to hold up to your lens when shooting with neon lights around. The reflections make for some fun effects as shown below but definitely takes practice.
Shoot in RAW
Why you should be shooting in RAW VS JPEG: I am blown away by the amount of photographers that don’t shoot in RAW or even know what it means. If you’re a professional photographer you are doing your self and your clients a massive disservice by shooting in JPEG.
When shooting in a format like JPEG image information is compressed and lost. Because no information is compressed with RAW you’re able to produce higher quality images, as well as correct your shadows and highlights that would be unrecoverable if shot in the JPEG format. Recovering shadows is absolutely vital when shooting in low light. Cameras will vary but a trick you can use to pump up shadows dramatically without getting grain is keeping your ISO below 1,000. More on that below.
On the flip side you have your brightness. Levels of brightness are the number of steps from black to white in an image. It’s very simple, the more you have, the smoother the transitions of tones in your photos will be. You want smooth transitions. For example JPEG records 256 levels of brightness, and RAW records between 4,096 to 16,384 levels! 😳 The effect this will have on your images is MASSIVE.
Just remember shooting in RAW format lets you make more adjustments like exposure, blacks, fill light, recovery, detail, contrast, & brightness to your image in post (with a program like Adobe Lightroom) without a significant reduction of quality, because there’s more levels to work with that you don’t get when shooting in JPEG. Most importantly as Professionals we should be providing our clients with the highest quality possible. That means shooting in RAW.
All you need to know about ISO is the Higher the number the more light your camera will bring in. But there's a caveat to ISO you need to know. The higher you go the more grain you will get. However grain isn't necessarily bad. Some photographers want that grainy look. That's their style. But if that's not the look you want it's best to keep your ISO lower than 1,000.
That being said every camera is different and new cameras can go much higher with less grain than the older ones. For instance my SonyA7iii can shoot with ISO at 1,000 with no noise but my older SonyA6000 could only shoot at ISO 500 with no noise. It's best to play around with your camera in a dark location and find the sweet spot for your specific camera. Open the photos in light room and check the histogram to see what settings you used for each photo. Find the photo with the highest ISO but still has little to no grain. Remember that number and try your best to avoid going over it Last thing you want is to find out you just did a shoot for a client and all your photos are too grainy.
Keep your shutter speed low
Without getting technical all you need to know is the lower your shutter speed the more light is let into the sensor and thus the brighter your image will be. The caveat for shutter speed is this: The lower you go the more sensitive your camera gets to movement and thus the blurrier your photo will be if any movement is involved. This means movement of the camera itself and the subject you're photographing.
I highly suggest if you go under 1/100th of a second you use a tripod because anything below that and your camera will detect movement and the photo wont be sharp. Just remember your shutter speed effects brightness, darkness, and blur. A tripod is a MUST for slower shutter speeds. So is keeping your model perfectly still. Any movement from your camera or model under 1/100th of a second and your picture wont be sharp.
Use a Tripod
As I mentioned above, when shooting in low light one option to bring in more light is slowing down your shutter speed. The lower you go the brighter your image will be but you'll need a tripod or flat surface to rest your camera on for a nice sharp image at lower shutter speeds. This is my go to Tripod.
Also keep in mind any micro movements from your finger on the clicker as you take the shot may impact the sharpness. To avoid any micro movements when using a tripod I will set the camera to a 2 second delay or use a wireless remote.
Keep your Aperture Low
Aperture is a set of small blades that create a hole that determines how much light is let into the camera. The wider the hole the more light that comes in. The size of this hole is measured by F-stops. A large F-stop like F-22 means the hole is very small, and a low F-stop like F/2.8 means the hole is wide open. So the higher your F-stop the darker it will be and the lower your F-stop the brighter it will be but keep in mind brightness and darkness aren't the only thing that changes when you adjust your aperture.
Aperture also controls depth of field. Depth of field determines how much of your photo is sharp and in focus and how much is blurry. A low F-stop like 2.8 is very narrow and will only focus on a specific part of the image while leaving everything else blurry. The closer you get to your subject with a small F-stop the more narrow the focus will be and thus the more blurry the background will be. A low F-stop is how you get that creamy background and beautiful bokeh effect with the lights in the background.
Just keep in mind if you're shooting portraits it's extremely hard to get the eyes both in focus and everything sharp at a low F-stop like F/1.4 or 2.8. I find F/4.5 is best to get everything on your subject sharp and in focus if you're close to your subject. If you're about 6 feet away or more from the subject F/2.8 will work and bring in more light. If your photographing a beautiful landscape or group of people however you will want a large F-stop like F-11 or F-22 to make sure everything and everyone is in focus.
Every lens is different and will determine how low you can go and how sharp an image looks at low aperture. My favorite lens in the Sony 85 MM 1.8 Prime
Get a Light Wand
I know, I said no flash. But I don't count a small portable light wand as flash. I prefer not to carry around a bulky flash. You can bring in a wand to a bar with no problem. Now that we discussed using available light sources every now and then you'll be in a situation where you just don't have any light available. For emergency situations like these I like to have a light wand in my car just in case. It's about $80 on amazon, it's light, compact, easy to carry and use. The photos below were taken in a bar with zero light to use so I used the Portable Wand Handheld LED photography Light wand to light the models.
What I love about this wand is that it has multiple color options to choose from so you can match the color to the lighting behind the model when shooting with neon as seen below. My settings: 1/160 sec /// ISO 320 /// F2.2
Photo Editing Software
Purchase a photo editing software such as Adobe Lightroom. Photo editing software will allow you to edit your photos in post and really make those crucial adjustments to your highlights, shadows, exposure, saturation, and contrast.
In the end you just have to practice practice practice. Let me know any issues you're running into. I'm happy to help.
In this article I will be breaking down ways you can survive this downtime that we have all suddenly been hit with as entrepreneurs. Although I will be focusing on photography many of these tips on leveraging downtime can be applied to any industry.
I don’t know about my fellow photographers and business owners but I for one have had all my clients over the next two months cancel thanks to this virus going around. So now what? No money coming in, what do we do? How in the world do we turn this nightmare into a positive? How can we come out of this off time more valuable than we were before.
Times are tough and they are likely to get tougher. Let’s be honest with ourselves, the reason we have found ourselves without work currently is out of our control so let’s focus on what is in our control. Make sure to connect with me on Instagram HERE
Learn something new
What better time than now to learn something new. Maybe something you’ve wanted to learn but never had the time to, like landscape photography, street photography, or wildlife photography. Maybe learn a new language, or how to meditate, or how to cook, or how to play an instrument.
Learning a new skill can make a dramatic impact on your business. By learning how to be a better writer I’ve been able to write these articles that has not only helped my audience but made a dramatic increase in traffic to my website.
I’ve always wanted to learn street photography so now that I have all this free time I can go learn and still keep a good distance from people.
These days you can learn almost anything at the tip of a finger via YouTube for free without ever leaving your house. We all have things that we would love to learn but never make a priority due to lack of time so why not now?
Work on Improvement
Much like learning a new skill, improving on the skills we already have tends to get pushed aside because we are so busy. Work on improving your posing skills, or your lighting skills, or hell just the basics of photography. Maybe brush up on your cosplay photography skills or editing.
For example, I am a portrait photographer but I also love wildlife photography, I just never get to do it. Unfortunately because taking photos of birds doesn’t bring in the bacon I never take the time to improve my wildlife photography. Now with all this talk of social distancing, now is the perfect time to shoot the birds.
Fine Tune Your Website
It’s not sexy, it’s not fun, but making sure your website is up-to-date, user-friendly, and eye-catching makes a world of difference. If you don’t already have a website it’s never been easier to make one with sites like square space or Weebly.
If you already have a website, when is the last time you updated your portfolio or your homepage or your Seo? I recently took a hard look at my website that I hadn’t touched in many months and found it was in need of a huge facelift.
As photographers it is so easy for us to just upload all of our work on social media and forget about a website but having a website is crucial if you want to look professional and reach those higher paying clients.
Update Your Logo
I can’t tell you how many photographers I know who don’t even have a logo. Without a logo you have no brand identity. Think of your favorite brand right now and I guarantee you their logo is the first thing you think of. Brand identity starts with a logo and you might already have one but when is the last time it was updated? could it use a facelift? Is it in line with your current brand? If not now is the perfect time. If you want to save money you can always use Adobe illustrator to create one yourself for free or ask your cousin who's in college for graphic design otherwise I suggest using a professional service like Kickass Designs but hey I could be biased ;)
Work on Marketing
What’s the point of having a website if no one can find it? How are you driving traffic to your website? That’s where marketing comes in, this can be done via social media or SEO or paid ads.
My favorite method of marketing my brand is with social media. Of course I like it because it’s free but also because it gives me the opportunity to really get to know my audience.
If you aren’t leveraging platforms like Instagram or Facebook or YouTube you are missing out on massive amounts of opportunity. Unless you’re selling tombstones this is where all your potential clients are so why not take advantage of these free platforms and get in front of those people.
In an age where we day trade attention you should be posting fresh content every day to drive traffic to your site or social media platforms. If you have been slacking on the content creation now is the perfect time to make enough content to last you the rest of the year.
Go Location Scouting
As I’ve mentioned in past articles, location scouting is imperative if you want to stand out among the sea of photographers in your town. Offer your clients epic locations that other photographers don’t know about. Location scouting is the best way to do this but it is time consuming and often last on the list of things to do. So now is the perfect time to walk around your neighborhood and find some great spots or drive around town or out in the country with no destination in mind. Just pin the spots you want to come back to you on Google maps and you're all set.
In this day and age if you’re not offering video you will start losing clients to those that do. Plain and simple. Everyone wants video these days. This might just be one of the most beneficial skills you can learn while on this time off to make yourself more valuable when all of this blows over.
I learned this the hard way. I had a photo shoot go viral and articles about it were shared on numerous news outlets. However I was contacted by numerous brands that had the potential to take that shoot to a whole other level but were uninterested when they found out I had no video of the photo shoot. The accounts that wanted to share my work until they found out I didn’t have video had massive audiences. I missed a huge opportunity on that one.
I know a lot of photographers outsource their retouching because many photographers hate the editing process. However, taking this time to really master the skill of retouching Will make you a far more valuable photographer when all of this blows over and it will save you money in the long term if you’re not paying to outsource the work.
As photographers we all have a list of personal projects that we’ve been meaning to shoot. Maybe it’s collaborating with a local designer or makeup artist or model. Our personal projects are so important for us to really show our creativity and passion. So contact that friend you’ve been meaning to collaborate with and set a date. It will be a great opportunity for both of you to take your mind off this nightmare. With no paid clients coming in now is the time for all those free projects with friends.
Accounting and Bookkeeping
Oh hey my least favorite thing to do. Blech.. Taxes and bookkeeping are always the last thing on my list but making sure you stay on top of your taxes is absolutely crucial. Have you been putting it off this year? If so, now is the perfect time to sit down and get organized with either Quick books or with an accountant. I am awful at taxes so I leave that up to my accountant at Serenity Tax & Accounting.
Define your perfect Client
If you haven’t done this by now you really should take the time to define your perfect client, what is their age range, are they male or female, are they married or single, what does their income look like, where are they located, what are they interested in, do they have children, what social media platforms are they using etc.
Once you have defined your perfect client see if that’s in line with your current clientele, if not make the necessary adjustments. You can use your Google analytics from your website or Instagram analytics to find your current client demographic.
Look, if you’re an entrepreneur then I know you work your ass off. So take this time to rest and get inspired. Re-ignite that flame. Take it easy and watch some movies, search Instagram and Pinterest for inspiration. As business owners we never take the time to rest so take this opportunity to relax and reflect on why you chose to do what you do in the first place. If you have anything to add to this list I'd love to hear it in the comments below. We can all use more ideas right now.
Author Lance A Reis
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