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An Introduction to Light Painting


Camera: Canon EOS 40D
Lens: Canon 17-50mm
Focal Length: 17mm
Exposure: 67s
Aperture: f/4
ISO: 100

Today’s feature is from Michael Newcomer.

Michael says:

“Throughout my life, I have taken courses on painting, drawing, stained glass and jewelry making and have always been a visually creative person. It wasn’t until I picked up a digital camera that I found a medium where I was able to create the ideas I had in my head.

I have been studying light painting since 2010. I first discovered it when some friends presented images for a local meetup contest. I was amazed and instantly hooked! I’ve been exploring this craft ever since.”

Michael’s Photography Tip:

Photographers have been playing with this technique for quite a while (as early as the 1930’s even), and Man Ray holds the title for the first light painted image in 1935. Even Picasso did some light painting.

For those of you not familiar with light painting, it is the art of creating a hand-lit image in a single long exposure. It’s actually quite easy, and a lot of fun!

All you need to light paint is a tripod and a camera that can do a long exposure of at least 30 seconds (though most of image creations take several minutes to create). The camera specs and settings for a lot of the images in this post are also listed below the image if you’re curious to how I set up my gear.

Just open the exposure and wave some lights around in front of the camera and BOOM – you are light painting!

If you’re curious to see a little bit more about the world of light painting, check out either the Light Painting World Alliance (where the world’s best painters showcase their work), or 200 Orbs – a project that took place in the summer of 2014 where some light painting junkies got together in a field in VA to attempt a new world record of creating 200 orbs of light in a single long exposure image.


Camera: Canon EOS 50D
Lens: Canon 17-50mm
Focal Length: 37mm
Exposure: 27s
Aperture: f/5.6
ISO: 250

Camera: Canon EOS 50D
Lens: Canon 17-50mm
Focal Length: 23mm
Exposure: 39s
Aperture: f/7.1
ISO: 100

Camera: Canon EOS 7D
Lens: Canon 17-50mm
Focal Length: 21mm
Exposure: 80s
Aperture: f/8
ISO: 200

Michael Newcomer is a Charlotte, NC Fine Art and Portrait photographer.

Click here to see more tips on Lighting.

Newborns and Your Perspective


Today’s tutorial is from Brandie Coe.

Brandie says:

Do you ever feel like your on auto-pilot during your newborn sessions and every session ends up looking the same? Of course, this isn’t entirely a bad thing since our clients hire us for what they have seen online, and want us to be able to replicate it for them.

But wouldn’t it be nice to keep things the same but with a slight twist? Here’s my solution to that very problem.

Recently, I felt this exact feeling and decided that when my client came in, I would get up, walk around, and really look at the baby to see things from a new perspective. And I loved the way the shot ended up looking from the bird’s eye view as well as the front and close in images.

Not only do you get to give mom and dad a great variety of poses of their sweet new baby, but now these different shots from the same scene would look gorgeous in a canvas trio over the baby’s crib, or s a series of images in an album.

Another tip is to not only get up, but get down (insert music here “get low”) 😉

When your baby is on a prop, we tend to take a shot that feels like we are taking it straight on, but ends up actually looking slightly down on the baby.

Instead, try lying flat on the ground. You’ll see the shot in a whole new way, and I find it focuses even more on the baby.

So do yourself and your creative spirit a favour and slow down during your next newborn session. Do your usual shots and once you have those, get up or low and observe things differently!

Have fun!!!





Brandie used a Nikon D4 (affiliate link) with a Nikon 50mm 1.4 lens (affiliate link) to capture these images.

Brandie Coe is a Vancouver, BC Newborn, Maternity, Family, and Children’s photographer.

Click here to see more tips on Posing.

If you love newborns and newborn portrait photography but are just getting started, check out our articles written by a seasoned newborn photography pro about newborn safety.

Current Trends in Senior Portrait Photography

Current Trends in Senior Photography - Priscilla Davis Studio

If there’s one sect of the photography industry that’s constantly changing – it’s definitely the senior portrait market. One of our readers who specializes in Senior Portrait Photography, Priscilla Davis, shares some of the current trends in senior portrait photography industry – from makeup to unique shoot ideas – to help you stay on top of your senior portrait game.

Hair & Makeup

Professional Hair & Makeup - Priscilla Davis Studio

Getting all glammed up once or twice a year for homecoming or prom isn’t the only time to get pampered. Instead of just showing up for a photoshoot, girls these days LOVE getting some special treatment in the form of a great hair blowout, a styled hairstyle and/or some professional makeup to be photo-ready.

Some photographers include professional hair and makeup in their services while others only offer it if their client feels like it. I find that most teenage girls will opt in for the professional makeup because unlike simple hair curls and every-day makeup, most girls do not know how to do/wear the heavier makeup that works best for a photoshoot.

Plus, they want to play dress up a little bit! They love it.

Concept Shoots

Concept Shoots - Priscilla Davis Studio

Whether the idea comes from the photographer or the senior, I find that many photoshoots now have a concept or a “theme” to it. I love this idea of a concept shoot because it gives the photoshoot such a great sense of direction.

Many times the senior and the photographer will collaborate together to see what outfits photograph best, what type of makeup should be applied, and even what hairstyle fits best.

If a teen girl wants to look like Cinderella for an evening shoot, why not! It’s probably the one and only time she’ll have the chance and photographers will wind up with amazing images to add to their portfolio – so it’s a win win.

I also see photographers who can easily get burnt out from the day-to-day normal shooting, so a concept shoot is a great personal project to get them out of a rut and spark that creativity.

Candid Shots

Candid Shots - Priscilla Davis Studio

What is a candid shot? Well it’s certainly not a yearbook mugshot! Sometimes portrait photography can look so stiff and posed and even though models look amazing in certain poses in the pages of a magazine, teenage girls might have a hard time connecting with a certain pose or look.

A candid shot is capturing a natural expression or movement from the senior. A young girl laughing at something funny, strolling down the street and twirling in a fluffy dress are all examples of a candid shot.

These shots still require some direction from the photographer but I find that they are more relaxed and often result in genuine smiles and expressions from the senior.

Moms love these candid shots too because it reminds them of their little girl who is all grown up but still has the same smile since she was a toddler.

Unique Locations

Unique Locations - Priscilla Davis Studio

Teens are often thrown into a pool of uncertainty when they enter high school and they graduate with a newfound confidence. Photographs during their senior year should demonstrate that confidence, which why many seniors request a location that is either unique or their friends haven’t used.

Teens do not want to have their graduations announcements or pictures looking the same. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the phrase “everyone one else just goes to the park” for their senior shoot.

It’s important to work with teens on a great location that still has amazing light and opportunities for great images. Seniors and the photographers should work together to find a great location that matches the teens personality, wardrobe, and stands out.

Best Friends Shoot

Bes tFriends Photoshoot - Priscilla Davis Studio

Sometimes a photoshoot all by yourself can be scary and awkward, so what is the best way to remedy this? A Best Friends photoshoot!

Having two girls or a group of friends is a great way to get some of the most amazing candid shots and heartfelt photographs because teens tend to open up so much more when they are around their friends.

Documenting a friendship is especially important during Senior year because honestly, sometimes you don’t know if you really will be able to keep in touch with everyone.

Having images with your best friend is truly priceless and it makes a photoshoot so much fun. Everyone in the shoot has their own individual shots of course but when you get everyone together, it’s a full blown party.


For more killer tips on Senior Portrait Photography, Seniors Ignite (affiliate link) offers some of the most comprehensive, up-to-date info on the senior portrait photography market. Check them out here (affiliate link).


About the Author

Priscilla Davis a Las Vegas Senior Photographer who loves getting to know her wonderful teenage clients! Her clients become her friends and she captures their journey through their school achievements, their sports, their talents, their beliefs and their dreams. She’s a Canon girl all the way and is obsessed with all things Tiffany Blue and Apple.

Website | Twitter | Facebook

Sunset Minus 2 Hours For Romantic Pictures

Portrait in Forest

Today’s feature is from Sussie Mellstedt.

People are always looking for romantic pictures for inspiration.  This photographer has a great tips for creating portraits with that edge of romance. With some practice, you can make photos like these, too!

Sussie says:

“I was in a smaller city called Nettuno, 1 hour from Rome in Italy. I wanted to have variety of locations. So, I brought the beautiful couple to a forest, then later into the medieval city and ended the session by the ocean.”

Sussie’s Photography Tip for Romantic Pictures:

The gear that I use is Nikon d800 and the lens is Sigma FineArt 50mm. That’s it.

Less is more. I like to feel free as a photographer, to be able to be present as much as possible in the moment. So I prefer to work with natural light and that’s what I also did in this photo shoot.

I took the photos just a couple of hours before the sunset, in order to get softer and romantic light.

I usually use Pinterest or Belovelyyou to get some inspiration for the poses, but during the photo shoot I try to take it as it comes. Maybe I see something different or find a creative subject that I can play around with.

I also like to think in colours, so I always suggest the colours of the clothes that will suit the location. I’m a big fan of VSCO, it matches my photography style. It’s a filter that you can add either in LR or PS and it adds the film feeling over it.

I would say that the majority of my photos are romantic, dreamy and soft, so that is my goal during the editing process.

Hands in Forest
Legs in Forest
Portrait in the city
Kiss in the city
Jump of joy at beach
Portrait in forest, headshot.SussieMellstedt_7

Sussie used a Adorama Nikon D800 with a Sigma art 50mm lens to capture these romantic pictures.

Sussie Mellstedt is a Stockholm, New York, Rome Weddings, Portrait, Maternity, Fine Art photographer.

Click here for more tips about lighting, editing, and location.

Film images definitely invoke a certain feeling and emotion. But if you’re not comfortable shooting film, don’t worry!  There are tons of amazing film presets and actions out there to help you capture that film feel.

Senior Portrait Tips from Jessica Drossin


Today’s feature is from .

Jessica says:

“The young woman in this session really wanted her senior portraits to be an urban session to express how much she loved visiting downtown LA.”

Jessica’s Photography Tip:

I’ve actually got a few different tips related to this session, so here goes:

1. Senior Portrait Success. I think a huge key to making a senior session a success is showing the model the work as it progresses by sharing the back of camera images somewhat regularly. Essentially, you are teaching them about what looks good in terms of modeling while also building trust. If they don’t like something (i.e. “my hair looks too messy”), you will hear about it early on so there are no surprise emails later.

2. Lighting in an Urban Setting. The biggest issue for me is always finding flattering light. This can sometimes be a little tricky in an urban environment with tall buildings casting shadows. We really timed the session around how the light was going to change, so I finished with my open sky images last and shot the open shade images first.

3. Color and Cohesiveness. For the overall color and feel of the session, I took some liberty and enjoyed playing with color and details. I used a variety of the tints I create in order to push the color palette and make the overall image feel unified.

There you have it! Enjoy my session, and try out some of these ideas in your next senior session!


Jessica used a Canon 5D Mark III with a Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 lens to capture these images.

Jessica Drossin is a Los Angeles, CA Portrait, Fine Art, and Wedding photographer.

Click here to see more tips on Location and Lighting.

Jessica did a great job with the color palette in these images, but to do that she definitely had to have a solid knowledge and understanding of Photoshop and Lightroom.

If you’re looking to beef up your skills, check out a 7-day free trial at – there’s tons of tutorials on both programs that should get you started in the right direction.



*Please note: some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and don’t affect you as the buyer but do help support us and keep this site free for everyone.

Using Light and Shadows


Today’s feature is from .

Melissa says:

“This is baby Killian at one week new. I first met this family when big brother came for his newborn session less than 2 years ago. I always love when clients come back with more kiddos!”

Melissa’s Photography Tip:

I feel lighting is a main factor (if not THE main factor) in creating an interesting image. When lighting this session (and all my newborns), I like to use my soft box (though window light will work too) to feather the light at either a 45 or 90 degree angle, which gives a nice soft shadow when done correctly. This will cause the light to feather the front portion of the baby and not directly towards backdrop.

Alternatively, avoid aiming the light down on the baby or right in front of the baby, as it will give you harsh shadows.

And one last note – shadows are good! I think a lot of new photographers are scared of shadows but shadows are what really add dimension to an image. If there’s too little or no shadow, it’s flat lighting, which is very boring! I could do the cutest pose possible and have the most beautiful baby but if I have flat lighting, the image is just average to me.

Adding some depth with shadows opens up that dimension and that creativity. (Also, shooting from the shadow side is a favorite of mine – try it out!)


Melissa used a Canon 5D MKII with a Canon 35mm 1.4 lens, a Canon 50mm 1.4 lens, and a Canon 100mm 2.8 macro lens to capture these images.

Melissa Jaimes is a Colorado Springs, Colorado Maternity and Newborn photographer.

Click here to see more tips on Lighting.

Need more help with lighting? Melissa is right, in that you can use window light to achieve the same affect here. But being able to use a soft box or other off-camera light really adds a lot to the photographer’s repertoire.

If you’re not too keen yet on off-camera lighting, that’s ok – there’s tons of guides and information out there from those that have mastered it.



*Please note: some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and don’t affect you as the buyer but do help support us and keep this site free for everyone.

How Location Can Inspire a Story


Today’s feature is from .

Suzy says:

“This photo session is all about the location. This is a favorite location of mine, but after hearing the news of a fire there I went out to see which areas were affected.

I was instantly amazed at how beautiful it looked! I couldn’t wait to shoot in the charred areas. A friend (Edi Valcheva) and I had been talking about doing a shoot together, and I knew this spot would be perfect.

I’ve always been a fan of all types of music, and I feel music heals all wounds. Seeing the charred forest, I envisioned a model playing an instrument in the rubble.

The story then started to form in my mind – everything around her is destroyed but she still has her music, and from the rubble comes new life, light and hope.

Together Edi and I brought all of the elements together for a wonderful creative shoot.”

Suzy’s Photography Tip:

My photography tip would be do scout out interesting locations. Find something unique, something that can tell a story whether it be something creative or a location special to your client.


New Beginning



Music is Life

Suzy used a Canon 6D with a Canon 70-200 II lens to capture these images.

Suzy Mead is a Southern Nevada Portrait photographer.

Click here to see more tips on Location.

Need a great way to show off your gorgeous sessions? This session from Suzy is just lovely – who wouldn’t want to show it off? One of the best ways to show off your sessions is by using StickyAlbums – the best digital photo album app made for mobile technology.

You can use it yourself, or set up an album for your clients to use and show their friends – which is absolutely perfect for the smart-phone loving senior crowd. Read more about StickyAlbums here!



*Please note: some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and don’t affect you as the buyer but do help support us and keep this site free for everyone.

Tips on Fine Art Photography

Dreamers of Flight

Today’s feature is from .

Tara says:

“All three of these images are of my daughter, and illustrate the different degrees you can take fine art (subtle, to extreme) using photoshop.

In the image with the child laying on the mattress with the butterflies all around her, I wanted the viewer to feel as if they were looking down into this ‘surreal’ moment of a child sleeping and getting a glimpse into her dream – which is to fly, as most children dream of doing.

I added the texture of the roots holding the mattress down as the symbolism that we must let go of things or people that hold us back, break free of negativity in any form, in order to be able to let our dreams take flight.

In the session with the girl sitting in the chair, I wanted to capture the innocence and childlike features that are starting to mix with the young woman attributes that my daughter is becoming.

Time is so fleeting, I look at her sometimes and I can literally see the woman that she is becoming. Other times I am easily reminded of her young age when she needs tucked in at night or the look in her eyes when someone hurts her feelings.

The last image I am showing is a simple black and white that I added textures and overlays to give a “Wet Plate” effect.

Wet plate photography dates back to the 1800’s when photographers had to insert a new glass plate each time to take an image, then as soon as it was taken they would have to place it immediately into their darkroom tent while still ‘wet’, which would oftentimes create this ‘condensation’ effect around the edges of the photograph.

I hope this gives a bit of an insight into what I do at my child fine art sessions. Each photo is very different, and unique to my vision or the clients. They are carefully crafted and thought-out before I ever pick up the camera; from the inspiration, clothes, and even the post-processing, I know what I want the end result to look like.”

Tara’s Photography Tip:

When I first started doing fine art photography with my daughter it was a struggle – she would get bored posing, and didn’t understand why we were doing these weird things, etc.

But once I started to explain the end results of the image and that if she sat ‘this certain way’ I can then turn her into a mermaid (for instance) with my ‘magical program’, everything changed.

Now she begs me to do photo shoots with her and often times she comes up with some brilliant ideas for shoot on her own.

It all comes down to the fact that when working with children for fine art shoots, you have to make it fun! If you can do that, more often than not, they’re more than happy to cooperate for the duration of the shoot.

So I make sure to tell my daughter or my client that is posing for me the story that I want to tell with the shoot and how fun and magical it will look when it’s done.

A tip on editing: In my post-production I use Photoshop CS6 and in almost every fine art image that I create I add some kind of textured overlay.

Where do I find these textures?

I find my textures everywhere. Everywhere I go I am constantly looking at sidewalks, sides of buildings, the wood on floors, everything around me, and then I will take a day and go out and shoot these textures that I have scouted.

If you cannot find any textures or do not have a way to go out and shoot, you can find some amazing free ones online to play around with and get a feel for what they can do.

Also, remember when adding textures that there are many different types of layers you can make it.

I commonly use “Multiply, Soft Light, or Overlay” and then I play with the opacities and add sometimes up to 8 or so different textures! It all depends on the look you are going for in the image.

If you want to take your fine art image to the next level, I highly suggest you just start playing around with different textures at different opacities and layer modes.

And don’t be afraid to add more than one either – layer them up and get creative! On the image with the butterflies for example I believe I used somewhere around 15 textures!

I challenge you to add just one to your next image and see how different it can make the whole composition and feel of your photograph.

In This Age

Tara used a Canon T4i with a Canon 50mm 1.8 lens to capture these images.

Tara Eveland is an Olney, IL Fine Art for Women & Children’s photographer.

Need a little help navigating the world of Photoshop? Check out a free trial from and learn Photoshop from top experts and industry leaders!

Click here to see more tips on Client Direction and Editing.



*Please note: some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and don’t affect you as the buyer but do help support us and keep this site free for everyone.

How to use a Friend to Put Your Client at Ease

Lucy looks wistfully towards her mother

Today’s feature is from Natalie Thornton.

Natalie says:

“Lucy was looking for a photographer to capture her in the fine art approach. We shot this session in the hilly and quiet Idyllwild Park, a mere 30 minutes up a winding and scenic Hwy 74 and were transported from a dry, desert landscape to a view of unending pine trees.

Lucy brought her mother and best friend to accompany her for her portrait session. These two very special people brought her to life, as she wandered and smiled among the trees.

In a long pink dress, borrowed from her sister’s closet, Lucy hummed and daydreamed about filming her next music video, and giggled at the thought of performing it with her boyfriend.

With love around her and cool wind blowing through her hair, Lucy’s spirit is perfectly captured in these peaceful and soft photographs that mark her graduation and the life she has ahead of her.”

Natalie’s Photography Tip:

Let’s face it: most photography clients who come our way have no modeling experience. Many clients that hire me open with, “Just so you know, I’m really awkward in front of the camera.”

While a few clients get visibly uncomfortable when I turn my camera on, the vast majority are comfortable, but need direction. As photographers, it’s our job to make the process of a portrait session a painless experience.

Here are a few things that I do to make sure my client stays relaxed and comfortable:

1. Ask your client to bring a loved one along: Individual portraits can become uncomfortable for the client and the end product can be visually boring if there isn’t any interaction.

To counter the intimidating nature of my camera, ask that the client bring a loved one or close friend to the session. The company of someone they know and love always eases tensions and puts the client in their element immediately.

2. Distract your client: Once we get started, have the loved one stand at your side and talk to your subject. As the subject reacts and talks back, use continuous shooting to capture the subject in a variety of expressions and angles.

Once the subject is in conversation, interject when you want to add a comment or an observation, and suddenly, you are just enjoying each other’s company (while getting some awesome natural shots!).

3. Direct them: Once the subject has loosened up and you’ve captured some candid shots, direct the client to look at you, look to the side, take a walk, or move around a bit.

I have found that directing the client a little in the beginning (by instructing them to talk to their loved one) and towards the end of the session (looks and movement), you can make the client comfortable and snap some wonderfully candid photographs without them even knowing it.

By following the tip above, you will be able to capture natural, engaging, and beautifully candid photos with very little discomfort or stress on you or the client.

Lucy in conversation with her best friend
A genuine and hopeful smile

Natalie used a Canon 5D Mark II with a Canon 35mm f/1.4 lens to capture these images.

Natalie Thornton is a Southern California Fine Art Wedding, Portrait, and Lifestyle photographer.



*Please note: some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and don’t affect you as the buyer but do help support us and keep this site free for everyone.

Using Wardrobe To Tie It All Together

Ottawa, Major's Hill Park

Today’s feature is from .

Stacey says:

“Even though it was supposed to be spring when these photos were taken, we still had snow here in Ottowa but that didn’t stop this energetic couple from doing their spring engagement shoot.

The groom is of Irish descent, so we decided to take some photos in and around The Heart and Crown Pub (an Irish pub of course), and then headed over to Major’s Hill park and made use of the Ottawa downtown core to come up with these fun, urban-chic shots.”

Stacey’s Photography Tip:

Sometimes we overlook the fact that not everyone knows what “camera ready” should look like. Just because it’s obvious to us, does not mean the client knows what works in front of the camera.

A few times I have had clients show up in much less than their “Sunday best” and the photos did just not look polished.

So my piece of advice is to make sure to discuss location with your clients and what look they are trying to achieve, then plan your wardrobe around it.

If you want your sessions to stand out and your couples to look fabulous and feel fabulous, discuss wardrobe options, give them ideas from something like a Pinterest page or favorite website and make sure they choose something they are comfortable in.

For example:  it makes sense that if you are shooting on a farm to wear casual, but smart, clothes. In the city, you might go for a more urban, polished look.

When I spoke with this bride-to-be, I was  clear that wardrobe is very important to achieve a clean, cohesive look, and that it can really make or break a photo shoot.

We discussed what to wear and definitely what not to wear, such as shirts with words across them, everybody in monochrome colors with matching outfits, etc.

She also told me if the weather was blah she had a great pair of red wellingtons – awesome!

Then, since I knew red boots were going to be part of the shoot, I looked around for other bits of red near our location so I could make those red boots pop and tie everything together.

Overall, this couple didn’t really need too much wardrobe coaching as they came prepared with multiple outfits, hats and accessories.

Discussing your clients needs, brainstorming with them and guiding them about what to wear to a photo shoot, will help the finished product appear polished. Your clients will be comfortable and everyone will be happy with the final outcome.

Snowy spring in the park
On the steps of the Snug pub (heart and crown) Ottawa
Laughter in front of York Street Spa
Making eyes, Ottawa's York Street

Stacey used a Nikon D800 with a Nikon 50mm 1.4 lens and Nikon 24-70mm 2.8 lens to capture these images.

Stacey Stewart is a Ottawa, Ontario, Canada Wedding, Engagement, and Boudoir photographer.

See more tips on Wardrobe and Client Direction.



*Please note: some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and don’t affect you as the buyer but do help support us and keep this site free for everyone.

Tips on The Canon 85mm 1.2 and Shallow Depth of Field from Jake Olson


Today’s feature is from .

Jake says:

“These images were taken as part of Senior Sessions from the class of 2014.”

Jake’s Photography Tip:

Using the Canon 85mm L II 1.2 is very tricky. On all of these sessions I had to take at least 2000 shots and then sort through them all in post to find which ones obtained subject focus.

It’s a lot of work but the shallow depth of field is well worth it. I use only natural light and I don’t own a flash or reflectors. All my subject are lit in post using CS6.

Don’t be afraid to take multiple shots of one pose, especially when working with shallow depth of field, as you’ll be rewarded with sharp subjects and an almost dreamlike depth of field and natural-looking light.


Jake used a Canon 5D Mark III with a Canon 85mm 1.2 L II lens to capture these images.

Jake Olson is a World Wide Portrait and Stock Photos photographer. Jake has also been featured by National Geographic in China and by The Weather Channel. You can also find his iPhone app here for beauty and inspiration on-the-go.

See more tips on Lighting.

Still need a little help with the ins and outs of your camera? The geniuses at Photography Concentrate have put together an awesome, easy-to-follow guide all about learning your camera.

It’s full of videos, exercises, and will have you on your way to using your camera in manual within hours. Check it out here!



*Please note: some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and don’t affect you as the buyer but do help support us and keep this site free for everyone.

How to Properly Use a Reflector in the Shade


Today’s feature is from .

Amanda says:

“This family made me fall in love with photographing families with adult children. There is a special quality of love and laughter that is unique to adult families and it was especially true of the Gordons.

They truly enjoy one other, laughing and sharing life together. And this shines through in their images.”

Amanda’s Photography Tip:

You always hear you should choose your location based on the quality of light not the background. Thankfully, this rustic barn location was the perfect marriage of both ideal lighting and a beautiful backdrop.

This barn’s second story as well as the tall trees surrounding the location provided the perfect amount of open shade to photograph in.

However, because we started the session a little late in the evening, the shadow of the barn was longer than preferred, making the directional sunlight a bit far from where I wanted the subjects to stand.

And because we were facing green grass as opposed to cement street, sidewalks, or a large reflective building, the light fell a bit dull on their faces.

I was so thankful for my recently-purchased (AWESOME!) Larson Enterprises 3×4 ft rigid reflector (with a kickstand!) because BOY! That thing is magic.

I set it up very far away so it would spread the light fully across the barn. This setup also weakened the light enough that it didn’t blind my clients.

Instead, it created a beautiful golden color on their faces as well as catch-lights in their eyes.

The kickstand feature also came in super handy because we were able to anchor it with a chain I found lying nearby to keep it from blowing over in the wind. Otherwise, I would have needed an assistant to hold the reflector for me.

When shooting in open shade, I highly suggest using a reflector to bounce back the right amount of light onto the subjects so you end up with a nice, even light in their eyes and faces.

Assuming your camera settings are correct, there will be almost no need to edit the resulting images prior to the ordering session (assuming your camera settings are correct), which saves time and as we all know, “time is money”.






Amanda used a Canon 5D with a Canon 85mm f/1.8 lens to capture these images.

Amanda Coleman is a Fort Worth, TX Family and Children’s photographer.

See more tips on Lighting.



*Please note: some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and don’t affect you as the buyer but do help support us and keep this site free for everyone.

The Perfect Time of Day for Natural Lighting


Today’s feature is from .

Corinne says:

“I shot this session in Queens NY for a well-known Author C. Joybell C. She contacted me after she seen my work on Facebook and asked if I’d be interested in shooting her book cover for her upcoming book Wolves of the Sapphire Sun.

For the shoot, I photographed 3 models and a dog who resembled a wolf. It was a lot of fun, even though it was cold as we shot in January.”

Corinne’s Photography Tip:

I made sure to shoot at golden hour – in other words, the time of day just after sunrise or just before sunset, when the sun is near the horizon.

In NYC, golden hour would be around 3pm during the winter months. There is no action or photoshop trick to mimic the real thing.

If you’re mindful of the time of day you’re shooting, and make sure to schedule your shoot during the golden hour, you’ll get beautiful, creamy dream lighting.









Corinne used a Nikon D700 with a Nikon 50mm f/1.8 lens and a Tamron 70-200MM f/2.8 lens to capture these images.

Corinne Rogers is a Long Island NY and NYC Portrait photographer.

See more tips on Lighting.



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Fun Family Portraits by Ana Pascos

Relaxed Family

Today’s feature is from .

Ana says:

“This was a truly incredible session! Originally intended to be a maternity-slash-family session, it turned out to be a super fun, tickle fest of curiosity.

Like all young children, these munchkins were much more interested in playing with their newly-discovered toys than paying attention to the camera.

But by embracing their curiosity and allowing them the freedom to be themselves, I was not only able to capture the authentic versions of their young personalities, but allowed them to have a great time doing it!”

Ana’s Photography Tip:

The best tip I can give to a photographer shooting young children is to just go with it!

Kids can be a bit of a challenge to pose, calm down, or made to look at the camera. But sometimes it is just as important to let them be themselves and have fun with you.

Once you interact with them and they start having a good time, the photos speak for themselves!

If you remember this tip when working with children, you’ll be able to capture authentic smiles and interactions that are precious at this age and dear to a parent’s heart.

Silly Face
Who's there?
Family time
Tickle time

Ana used a Nikon d300 with a Nikon AF-S 24-70 F2.8 lens to capture these images.

Ana Pascos is a Toronto, Canada Newborn and Family photographer.

See more tips on Working with Children.



*Please note: some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and don’t affect you as the buyer but do help support us and keep this site free for everyone.

Rainy Couples Portraits by Fer Juaristi

Fer Juaristi Wedding Photographer

Today’s feature is from .

Fer says:

“Shooting a session in San Francisco with crazy weather was awesome!

The couple was up for anything. I had a hard time watching trough the viewfinder because of the fog, rain & crazy wind.

I read somewhere that bad weather equals great images so we decided to go for it!”

Fer’s Photography Tip:

The best tip I can give is to never stop shooting & let the couple feel your love for photography!

Ross, the client in these photos, blogged about the experience of being on the other side of the camera.

Here’s what Ross had to say:

“Within minutes of meeting Fer you are already heavily engaged in conversation, laughing and feeling his positive energy radiant from his excitement and passion for his craft. This was our first touch point with his brand without getting to his craft. By the time we got to our first location the weather had taken a turn from bad to worse, though we went for it. Not only did I learn that Fer hadn’t done a session in the rain before, though he gave us the confidence to focus on what the session was about, that being “us” and not the surroundings.

The key points are that as a photographer, social interaction, support and motivation are just as key as your craft which lend itself to the final product. These are also add ons to the brand that you can only experience within the internal process, which add to your hidden brand culture and client excitement.”

You can read more about Ross’s thoughts as a client behind the camera in his blog post here.

Rainy Engagement Shoot in San Francisco
Rainy Engagement Shoot in San Francisco by Fer Juaristi
Rainy Engagement Shoot in San Francisco
Rainy Engagement Shoot in San Francisco by Fer Juaristi
Rainy Engagement Shoot in San Francisco by Fer Juaristi
Rainy Engagement Shoot in San Francisco by Fer Juaristi

Fer used a Nikon DF with a Sigma 35mm f/1.4 lens to capture these images.

Fer Juaristi is an International Destination wedding photographer.

See more tips on Client Relations.



*Please note: some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and don’t affect you as the buyer but do help support us and keep this site free for everyone.

Emotive Children’s Portraits by Lisa Holloway


Today’s feature is from .

Lisa says:

“This was a portrait session set up to document the relationship between two identical twin girls – Zoe & Zelda. The session was shot in the beautiful old town of Jerome, Arizona as well as Red Rock Crossing in Sedona.”

Lisa’s Photography Tip:

These little girls were absolutely amazing to work with! It was such a joy to document their relationship with each other. Two things that are absolutely imperative to me in any photo session is lighting, and connecting with my subjects. Nothing can kill the feel of a portrait session faster than not taking the time to connect with or get to know your subjects, and bad, poorly thought out lighting.

In this session, I utilized a lot of back lighting to highlight the twins’ gorgeous, long red hair. You really need to wait until the last hour or so before sunset (or the first hour after sunrise) for this type of lighting to be the most effective. If you do it too early in the afternoon, you will end up with a large blown spot on top of your subject’s head as well as the dreaded raccoon eyes – shadows in the eye sockets caused by the high position of the sun. Once the sun is low enough on the horizon, back lighting can really illuminate your subject and help separate them from the background.

One problem that photographers often encounter when using back lighting is haze, or sun flare. To avoid haze, I will make sure that I am not shooting directly into the sun with my lens, and I will try to filter the light through something. In this session, I filtered it through the trees that were in the background. Sometimes, haze can add a beautiful warm glow – don’t be scared to experiment! Move around and try different vantage points and locations and see what you get!

The second thing that I think is absolutely essential in any portrait session is taking the time to develop a good rapport with your subjects. This is especially important when working with children. I cannot stress taking your time, going slow, and talking to and getting to know your littlest subjects enough – it is crucial! Don’t be afraid to leave your dignity at the door – I will do anything to get a silly smile, as well as a good serious look from the children I work with. I provide light guidance and let them do the rest. If you are patient, you are bound to get a few magical moments.

Since these were identical twin sisters, I suggested that they ‘hold hands’, ‘tell your sister a secret’ and ‘give each other a hug’….the rest was all them. I just sat back and documented their beautiful relationship with one another.

You are bound to get some well lit photos with genuine, well connected expressions.



Lisa used a Canon 5D Mark III with a Canon 200mm 2.0L and Canon 85mm 1.2L lens to capture these images.

Lisa Holloway is a Las Vegas, NV custom portraiture photographer.

See more tips on Client Relations, Lighting, and Working with Children.



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Moody Couples Portraits by Stefan Hellberg


Today’s feature is from .

Stefan says:

“Priscilla and Paul are from Hong Kong. They contacted me to document their time in Lucerne, Switzerland. We spent the day visiting some local secret spots and just roaming the streets of Old Town, Lucerne.

When I have couples visiting from far away I try to show them a good time and include some of the hidden spots only the locals know about.”

Stefan’s Photography Tip:

Make friends with your clients. If I haven’t met my clients in person before the session I always leave my cameras on my shoulders for a while. Make conversation and get to know your subjects. I don’t want to be the intimidating guy with a camera. I want them to feel comfortable with me.

Scout your locations in advance. It will make a huge difference, at lease it did for me.

A relaxed relation with your clients is important, as it will show in your imagery if they feel comfortable with you as a person.

Street lovers
Up we go.

On the edge.

Forest lovers.

Stefan used a Nikon D700 and Nikon D800 with a Nikon 35mm f/1.4 lens and Nikon 85mm f/1.4 lens to capture these images.

Stefan Hellberg is a Worldwide Wedding and Editorial photographer.

See more tips on Client Relations.


*Please note: some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and don’t affect you as the buyer but do help support us and keep this site free for everyone.