Oooh, you’ve found our “Good Stuff” lair! Nice work! Enjoy the variety of good stuff you’ll find hidden in the posts below.

Mentorships with Susan Stripling


If you’ve been around in the wedding photography world at all, there’s a good chance you know who Susan Stripling is.

If you don’t, we’ll just say that we’ve been drooling over her images for years now. (You can check her work out on her site here.)

Susan’s been a leader in the wedding industry for some time as well, constantly pushing the boundaries of what wedding photography is.

And now, she’s offering a mentorship program where she’ll teach you what she knows.

Mentoring with Susan

Susan’s broken down her approach to wedding photography in 8 weeks of online course study.

Each week for 6 weeks you’ll get video lessons covering various parts of wedding photography – Details shots, Portraits, etc. – that you can use to learn at your own pace (though the lessons are designed to only take you about 20 minutes per day).

Here’s a more detailed breakdown of all of the topics covered:

  • Photographing Details (things like ring shots and other macro photography fine tuning)
  • Photographing the Bride Getting Ready
  • Family Formals
  • Bridal Portraits
  • Bride and Groom Portraits
  • Photographing the Reception

Then, at the end of the 6 weeks, you’ll get two weeks of image critiques where you submit your images for Susan’s review. The reviews will be recorded too, and available to other students to learn from.

So you not only get to learn from your own images, but from other photographers as well – sort of like sitting in on a print competition judging.

Registration is Limited

Registration is only open until October 11th, and right now during the launch the course is $100 off (so the next time it opens it’ll be more expensive!).

Susan has over a decade of experience in the wedding industry, and has taught on multiple platforms (including WPPI, PPA, and Creative Live, among others), so if you’d really like to learn from the best, this is the place to do it.

Click here to check out more details about the course.



Note: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which help support us and what we do so we can keep the site free for everyone.

Tips on Hindu Weddings


Today’s feature is from Haley Shandro of Shandro Photo.

Haley says:

“I’ve chosen images from a recent Hindu wedding which exemplify the diversity of images required from these chaotic, colourful, and charismatic weddings!”

Haley’s Photography Tip:

Hindu weddings have so many moving parts and so many different things that need to be photographed. Some are more traditional (formal family photos), some are more interesting (tiny details), some have emotion (candid moments during different ceremonies).

The challenge of photographing these weddings is to know what what to focus on. At the same time you may be required to take a photo of the bride with an aunt participating in a ceremony, but you also want to take a close up detail photo of her mehndi on her hands (like the image at the top of the page) clasped in front of her.

The balance is to know what is most important to your client at any given moment. Some of that purely comes from experience (foregoing an artistic shot in order to get a family portrait that they need) and also from keeping an incredibly high energy level to cover everything that is required.

Indian weddings more than any other can drain me…it’s often 5 days of different functions, sometimes not running on time, sometimes changing plans last minute.

I hate to admit that caffeine is essential but whatever you need to do to make it through these weddings…just do it! You need to stay on your toes and constantly be hunting for the photos you need to take.

Sometimes you may only have 20 minutes to do all of the portraits of your couple, so you need to be prepared to work extremely quickly during these weddings.

You also can’t be shy – often I’m positioned right up in the middle of the action! I may be in the way of some guests, but I know where I need to be, and that the couple is completely fine with it.

PRO TIP: if you haven’t photographed and Indian wedding before and you are about to, make sure to spend some quality time with your couple having them explain to you exactly what the ceremonies are, what the timeline looks like, and what is expected of you. It’s better to admit inexperience than to miss something important!


Haley used a Canon 5D Mark III (affiliate link) with a Canon 24-70mm II lens(affiliate link), a Canon 70-200mm IS II lens(affiliate link), a Canon 100mm IS II lens(affiliate link), and a Simga Art 50mm 1.4 lens (affiliate link) to capture these images.

Haley Shandro (and Shandro Photo) is a Edmonton, Alberta, and International Wedding, Portrait, and Commercial photographer.

Click here to see more tips on Multicultural Weddings.


If you’ve never done a Hindu or multicultural wedding before, they can be a bit daunting.

Haley definitely has the right approach with making sure you talk in length with your couple, but if you need help figuring out some of the technical aspects (like lighting) we suggest you check out this book specifically written on how to light multicultural weddings. You can find it here.


Cameras, Lenses, and 3 Easy Tips for Wedding Photography


Today’s feature is from .

Matt and Ann say:

“These are a few captures from Janelle and Erik’s beautiful wedding in downtown Ottawa. Erik is a mountie for the RCMP and wore his vibrant red uniform for first portion of the day.

They chose one of the most beautiful churches in the area, the Notre Dame Cathedral and a had their reception in the super bling Mezzanotte Italian Bistro where we had to consume copious amounts of delicious food!

Janelle is one of Matt’s cousin’s best friends and we were fortunate enough to have been connected through her.”

Matt and Ann’s Photography Tips:

What’s in their Bag:

Camera Bodies:

  • 3 Nikon D750’s
  • A D90 for backup


  • Nikon 35mm f/1.8G (FX)
  • Nikon 60mm f/2.8 Micro
  • Nikon 85mm f/1.8G
  • Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8
  • Nikon 105mm f/2.8 Micro
  • Nikon 50mm f/1.4G

About Cameras:

We both use Nikon D750’s and carry three bodies at all times between the two of us. Matt photographs with two bodies whereas Ann photographs with one.

We also have our trusty D90 as a back-up, which a few years ago we would have been absolutely terrified to photograph a wedding with, but today would feel totally confident that we would deliver outstanding images with little to no sacrifice in quality.

We now rarely go above ISO 1600 as we tend to bring in off-camera flash for anything above this so the D90 works perfectly as a nice little back-up weight in our kit.

About Lenses:

We’ve been alternating our lenses (all Nikon) back and forth for the past three years and are always choosing the opposite of one another. This year Ann is totally into our primes and shoots primarily with the Nikon 35mm f/1.8G (FX), Nikon 60mm f/2.8 Micro and the Nikon 85mm f/1.8G.

Matt on the other hand shoots with the 24-70mm f/2.8 on one body and alternates between the Nikon 105mm f/2.8 Micro and the Nikon 50mm f/1.4G depending on whether he wants more reach/tighter crop/portraits or wants to produce epic flare for effect (the Nikon 50mm f/1.4G produces gorgeous flare if done right and used in moderation).

Last year it was largely the opposite set of lenses per photographer. We still do share though!

3 Simple Tips to Keep In Mind:

These are three of the simplest, and yet biggest, tips that completely changed the way we see the world through our cameras on the big day:

  1. Create clean compositions with light on dark, or dark on light.
  2. See ambient light, where it is falling, and the direction it is traveling.
  3. Expose for highlights.



Matt and Ann of Green Tea Photography are Ottawa, Canada, and International Family, Engagement, and Wedding photographers.

Click here to see more tips on Gear.

For more tips on gear for weddings, we highly recommend Susan Stripling‘s Thinkbook: Gear + Equipment. In it, Susan discusses the gear she has in her bag, plus what each piece is used for and when. You can check it out here.



*Please note: many of the links in this post are affiliate links, which help us earn a commission. The price is no different to the consumer, but each percentage of a sale helps support us, what we do, and keeps the site free for everyone.

Snow White Inspired Styled Bridal Shoot


Today’s feature is from Ashley dePencier.

Ashley says:

“This is a styled model shoot inspired by Snow White. We chose to photograph in the almond orchards (or as I call it, the “Bakersfield Snow”).

We were inspired by the theme of Snow White while using colors that existed in the location we were shooting (white, brown, peach, red….and, of course, some golds and slivers).”

Ashley’s Photography Tip:

I could not have pulled this shoot off without the team of lovely vendors that I got involved! The cake was by Gimme Some Sugar, the flowers are by House of Flowers, the dress is from Enchanted Bridal Boutique, the dress is the 2011 Snow White dress from from Alfred Angelo’s Disney collection, and the mirrored piece is from Simply Shabby Chic.


Ashley used a Canon 6D (affiliate link) and a Mamiya 645 AFD (affiliate link) with a 50mm 1.4 lens, a 85mm 1.2 lens, a 100 macro lens, and a 70-200 2.8 lens to capture these images.

Ashley dePencier is a Bakersfield and Central California Wedding photographer.

Click here to see more Styled Shoots.

If you’re a hybrid shooter and struggle to get your film scans to match your digital images, we highly suggest these Lightroom presets. They were created directly from film scans, and are the closest presets for matching film that we’ve seen yet.

The Magic Hour Charity

Photography Charity

Being a photographer, you already know and understand the value of your work: you capture memories and moments for your clients to cherish for years to come.

And while this is an important thing for any family to have, there are some families that just can’t put it off – like families who have a member (or members) suffering from cancer. Their time together as a family may be limited, and with the excessive cost of medical bills, photography isn’t always something that the families can financially prioritize.

This is exactly the situation a couple photographers found themselves in around 2007, when a fellow church member was sick and his daughter was offering to sell her car to pay for family portraits. Knowing how much the family of the sick church member really needed to document the time they had left together, the photographers told the daughter to keep her car and that they’d do the session for free.

And thus, the idea for The Magic Hour was born.

What Is The Magic Hour?

The Magic Hour was named for the golden, yellow light that can be found at both the beginning and end of each and every day, and aims to match families in need with a photographer willing to donate their time and a free session.


Photo Credit: Sarah Sunstrom Photography

Each family also receives digital images along with professional prints in a handcrafted box that they can cherish for years to come.



To read more about The Magic Hour and see some of the sessions that have already taken place, head over to their recent shoots section and check them out.

If you’d like to donate your time and skills or want more information about how to become a photographer for The Magic Hour, you can read more on their website here.


Creating Unique Wedding Reception Lighting


Today’s feature is from .

Barbara says:

“Melissa and Tyler met at work and simply wanted a wedding that brought their two families together. The relationships between everyone was a high priority.”

Barbara’s Photography Tip:

Lighting is the key to well-composed reception shots. I set up 3 – 600ex Canon flashes that are remotely triggered with an ST-E3.

I put two of the speedlights on either sides of the head table and a third is across the dance floor opposite to the head table (creating a triangle).

Bonus tip: if you want to create some awesome layering, shoot through stuff like the decor (see my last shot for an example!).


Barbara used a Canon 5D Mark III with a Canon 70-200mm 2.8 LII lens, a Canon 35mm 2.8L lens, and a Canon 100mm macro 2.8 L lens to capture these images.

Barbara Cameron is a Ottawa, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Scotland, and Ireland Wedding photographer.

Click here to see more tips on Lighting

Have a wedding you’d like to submit?

Send it our way! We’d love to feature you!

Why Awesome Customer Service Matters


A few weeks ago I wanted to send flowers to my mom for Mother’s Day. She lives in a small town in Arizona so I Googled florists in that area. Two came up, the first one had a 4 star Google rating, and the second one had no ratings, so I gave the first one a call.

The woman who picked up the phone sounded almost irritated that I called and was pretty short with me, even a little sarcastic and condescending. I asked a few questions which seemed to irritate her even more so I let her off the hook.

Then I called the second one and it was a totally different experience. She was friendly, seemed happy to answer all my questions regarding types of bouquets offered, price points, etc.

Her prices were about the same, but her service was outstanding. My mom received her flowers a couple days before Mother’s Day and she was thrilled with them. I wrote the florist’s name in my day planner so that next year I won’t even have to search Google. I’ll know exactly who to call.

What’s my point?

Customer service makes all the difference. Potential consumers may be lured in by your 5 star rating or the high number of Facebook fans you have, but if their experience isn’t a pleasant one, that is what will determine if they will do business with you, how much they’ll spend with you and whether or not you will ever get their business again.

In fact, in a study performed by Oracle, as much as 89% of consumers began doing business with a company’s competitor following a poor customer service experience. And this is true for every industry, whether it’s service based, product based, lawyers, bakers, photographers, etc.

A few More Statistics:

Have you ever seen that commercial for Faberge shampoo? Made in the 80’s, it’s a marketing class staple. “They told two friends and they told two friends and so on…on and so on…”

And while the commercial itself may be a little outdated (no offense Heather Locklear), the idea behind it is not: word-of-mouth advertising (affiliate link) and ‘telling your friends’ is the absolute best form of advertising you can get.

In fact, according to a Nielson study, 84% of consumers believe Word of Mouth (WOM) above all forms of advertising.

Nowadays, social media has made it easier than ever for consumers to do just that. Now a post to a hundred of their closest friends about a great experience can spread to 100 of their closest friends, and so on, turning into thousands.

(But unfortunately, as many of you may have already found out the hard way – that number is even higher if the experience was poor.)

There are so many benefits to WOM clients. They are usually pre-qualified, they love your work (they’ve seen so and so’s album and loved it), they know what you cost, and they are excited to work with you.

Remember, they came to you! Gain their loyalty through great customer service and you have a client for life.

How important is Customer Service to brand loyalty?

In a Brand Loyalty Study by Clickfox, consumers were asked what makes them loyal to a brand:

  • 88% of respondents said Quality
  • 72% said Customer Service
  • 50% said Price

When asked how they show their loyalty to brands:

  • 78% said they spread the word and tell others
  • 69% buy more from the company
  • 54% won’t consider other competing products – yep, even if another company comes along offering a better deal, they will not consider changing.

Being in a saturated market makes it even more important to differentiate yourself by offering great customer service, at any price point.

Remember the florists? They were right around the same price, but which one got my business and will continue to get my business? Maybe the first florist was just having a really bad day. Perhaps, but that first impression was paramount in my decision making process.

Florist number 2 didn’t go above and beyond my expectations, she just met my expectations. She was friendly, helpful, understood my needs and met them within the time frame promised.

How Does Your Customer Service Rate?

Whether you follow a low cost-high volume model or a boutique model there is a minimum standard in customer service. Here are a few basics:

How fast do you respond to initial inquiries? In this day and age, being connected to our phones, emails and text, means clients expect much faster response times. In fact, a study conducted by Oracle found that 50% of consumers give a brand only one week to respond to a question before they stop doing business with them. Here’s a simple guideline:

  • Within 2 hours = Great
  • 12-24 Hours = Good
  • 24-48 = Acceptable
  • 48 or longer = Poor (If you are unavailable for any length of time, explain this in an auto responder email or voicemail recording so that customers will know when they can expect a response. Also make sure to have a FAQ’s page available on your website to answer your most common questions.)

What kind of first impression are you leaving? Are you personable? A good listener? Is it all about you? Do clients feel like you genuinely care about them and the outcome of their session?

Are you taking the time to find out your clients’ needs and wants? To quote Roy Hollister Williams, “The first step in exceeding your customer’s expectations is to know those expectations.”

How accessible are you to your clients after they’ve hired you? Do you return their calls or emails in a timely manner or do you wait days to reply?

Are you clearly and effectively educating and communicating with your client to manage expectations? And if so, are you meeting those expectations or promises? If you tell a client they can expect their image gallery or products in 2-3 weeks are you delivering within that timeframe? Are the images you give them consistent with the images in your portfolio?

Do you under promise and over deliver, or the other way around?

Low cost should not equal low quality service.

While cost will alter your client’s expectations of service a little bit, there is still a standard that is expected to be met.

For example – clients shopping at Walmart will have lower expectations of the quality of customer service than those who shop at Nordstrom’s; however, they still have expectations of decent or at least satisfactory customer service. If their experience is poor, they will stop shopping there.

Low cost clients expect basic standards to be met while boutique models are held to a higher standard; their customers expect service to exceed the basic standards, go above and beyond, and they are willing to pay a higher premium for the experience.

How Can You Improve Your Customer Service?

Three words: Customer Feedback Surveys. These are a great way to find out your strengths and weaknesses. I send an email to all my clients after I’ve delivered their products with a link to my Customer Feed Back Survey and have yet to have a client not return it.

The information gathered is invaluable. A couple favorites of mine are MachForms and 17 Hats (17 Hats is built into their platform). These are easy to create and easy for clients to fill out, so a win/win on both sides.

There are of course other options out there besides MachForms and 17 Hats, these are just the ones I’m familiar with (and you can even create your own easily for free with something like Google Forms).

Another great way is to stay organized. If you don’t have an organizational system in place, create one. Studio Management Platforms such as 17 Hats or Iris Works make it much easier to stay organized. The auto responders and follow up emails alone make them invaluable for quickly answering client inquiries.

When in Doubt, A Good Rule of Thumb:

Whenever I’m unsure about how to give a client a great experience I ask myself what I would want if I were that potential client. If you have never hired a professional photographer to photograph you or your family I highly recommend it.

I don’t mean ask a photographer friend to take your pictures. You will have lower expectations than a paying client would. I mean actually hire and pay for a professional photo session. Seeing it from the client’s perspective is such a great way to gain insight into their needs and expectations.

Ultimately, good customer service leads to increased positive WOM, brand loyalty, bigger sales, and less need for mass marketing strategies. Do not underestimate the importance of customer service. In the long run, especially in such a saturated industry, that is what is going to keep your business sustainable and profitable.


About the Author 
 Shellie Mooney is a portrait and lifestyle photographer specializing in children, tweens and teens. She also holds a BS in Business/HR Management. While she lives and works in the Las Vegas, NV area she is always up for a road trip.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Fine Art Photography Time Lapse

Brooke Shaden is an amazing Fine Art photographer. Recently, she created a time-lapse video of some of the shoots she did while traveling:

A scroll through the images I captured while traveling this last month. I did a total of 30 photo shoots, 28 of which are represented here. Many are self-portraits, and the others are modeled by my amazing friends: Jen Brook, Lieke Anna Photography, Bonnie Caton Photography, Zuke Photography, Mia Hutchinson, Kelly McGrady, KD Stapleton. 33 down, 27 to go! Lots of death in these new pictures, going back to my roots, and asking myself why, truly, I love to create.Music: “Glacial Skies” (how perfect!) by Robin Housman & Russell Kostulin.

–Brooke Shaden


We’ve featured Brooke’s work before, and you can check it out here.

Off Camera Flash Tutorial


Lens: Nikon 85mm f/1.8
Focal Length: 85mm
Shutter Speed: 1/50
Aperture: f/2.8
ISO: 160

For this tutorial, the photographer recommends the following equipment:
  • Camera and lens of your choice (this photographer used a Nikon D800 with varying lenses, including a Nikon 85mm 1.8 lens, a Nikon 50mm 1.4 lens, and a Nikon 24-70mm 2.8 lens)
  • A Nikon SB 800 (or Canon or other camera make equivalent)
  • A Photoflex Octodome
  • Either a light stand or a hand-held pole attachment and assistant

Sometimes the difference between a stunning portrait and one that falls a little short is just a small pop of light. Whether you are working outdoors or indoors, combining natural light with off camera flash to highlight your subject can take an image to the next level.

Sometimes, all you need is a reflector to pop more light onto your subject in order to make them stand out from the background. A lot of natural light photographers do this, and it can definitely do the trick.

But it doesn’t work in all cases, like on cloudy days where there is no real sun to reflect, or in cases where your composition doesn’t allow the sun to hit the reflector at the right angle, or where the reflection is too bright and hurts your subject’s eyes. And even though I always bring a reflector with me, I still like to have something else in my arsenal in case it’s not enough.

That’s where off-camera flash comes in.

Using off camera flash, or OCF, can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be once you understand the basic concepts and how to modify the light to get your desired effect. In this article, I’ll go over some of the tips and setups that will help you tackle OCF like a pro.

Off Camera Flash – Make It Natural

The main rule about off-camera flash is to make it look as natural as possible. The best portraits that pull it off effectively are those where you can’t tell that anything was used.

In order to make the flash as natural looking as possible, I like to use a diffuser on the flash. Diffusers, if you haven’t use one before, soften the harshness of the flash and the shadows created by the flash.

There are a plethora of flash diffusers on the market, but the one that I like the best for portraits is the Photoflex Octodome. They come in various sizes, but for portraits of one or two people the small one is great and very portable.

After placing the speedlight/flash (I use a Nikon SB 800) in the Octodome, attach it to either a light stand or, if you have an assistant, a hand-held pole attachment. The latter can be more ideal because it allows for more flexibility with the direction of the light, as an assistant is able to move and adjust it as needed.

Once it’s set up, I like to position it at a 45 degree angle anywhere from a foot to a few feet away from the subject depending on how much light is needed (see below) – the closer to the subject it is, the brighter your subject will be.



Now that everything is positioned correctly, I use a flash trigger to trigger the flash from my camera and use manual mode on both flash and camera.

As a general starting point for camera settings, I set the flash to ¼ power. I then set the correct exposure for my image without flash, and then I underexpose my image by about one stop by adjusting the shutter speed.

Underexposing like this will underexpose your subject so that the flash can provide the additional light needed on your subject without being overpowering.

Now that everything is set up and my settings are locked in, I take the photo and then analyze the image on the camera display. If I want more light then I set the power of the OCF to a higher setting, such as ½ power.

Conversely, if the image is too bright then I adjust it to a lower power, around maybe 1/8 power. If I find that I need just a minor tweak I adjust the shutter speed up or down 1/3 stop.

Taking a few shots to perfect the light will really benefit you in the long run because after you have found the best combination of ambient light and flash for your setup, you can lock it in for as many poses as you like a long as you stay in the same lighting situation and at approximately the same distance from the flash and your subject.

Restrictions to OCF

One thing to keep in mind is that the sync speed of your flash is generally about 1/250th of a second. What this means is that if you go higher than 1/250 of a second shutter speed, the flash will not sync with your shutter and not let the right amount of light in.

So, due to this restriction, the flash is best used indoors, on cloudy days, or in shady areas where it’s not so bright that the shutter speed needs to be set really high when using low apertures.

There are solutions for this as well (such as neutral density filters) but to keep things simple when first learning this technique, stay in environments that tend to be less bright.

It takes a little while to get the hang of balancing the ambient light with the flash but once you get to a point where you can get a great exposure within a few shots you will fall in love difference it makes in your portraits.

Most of us do not want to dwell in the super technical, but hopefully by practicing these few easy steps you will have another tool that you can use confidently to create the images that you envision.

The images below (along with the one at the top) are a few different examples of using off camera flash in different lighting situations. In all of these images I balanced the ambient light with a flash with an Octodome diffuser.


Lens: Nikon 85mm f/1.8
Focal Length: 85mm
Shutter Speed: 1/50
Aperture: f/3.2
ISO: 250


Lens: Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8
Focal Length: 35mm
Shutter Speed: 1/50
Aperture: f/3.2
ISO: 320


Lens: Nikon 85mm f/1.8
Focal Length: 85mm
Shutter Speed: 1/50
Aperture: f/2.8
ISO: 160

Click here to see more tips on Lighting and Flash.



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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.

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5 Easy SEO Tips for Photographers

5 Easy SEO Tips for Photographers

5 Easy SEO Tips for Photographers

Nowadays, more than likely a good majority of your clients find you on the internet. So how do you make sure that out of the hundreds of photography websites out there, your potential clients pick you as the proverbial needle from the haystack?

By making sure your site has solid SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

In this article, we’ll give you a few things you can do that will help your site’s SEO, along with point you in the direction of some tools you can use to help you out.

Let’s get started.

5 Easy SEO Tips for Photographers

1. Your site should be mobile-friendly. This is pretty new, but starting on April 21st, 2015, Google has started giving ranking preference to sites that are mobile-friendly. What does that mean for you? If your site is not mobile-friendly, you won’t show up as well in search results as  you did before April 21st. Google knows that more and more people are depending on mobile devices to browse the web, so they want to make sure their search results are returning relevant websites that will be easier to browse and will display properly on mobile devices. (Basically, they’re keeping up with the times.)

At this point I’m guessing you’re asking yourself, ‘Is my website mobile-friendly?’ And while we can’t tell you that directly, Google did create a mobile-friendly test you can run that will determine how mobile-friendly your website is. You can check that out here, and if your site isn’t mobile friendly, there’s some great tips there on how to start correcting that.

2. Get featured on other websites that link back to your website. Believe it or not, being featured on Belovely You is actually really good for SEO for your website. Here’s why.

The more sites you have linking back to your website, the more Google thinks your website is good and contains quality information. (After all, people generally don’t link to websites that contain bad information.)

It’s sort of like a referral: if someone is looking for a portrait photographer and a lot of people recommend your photography services to that person, the better chance they have of believing that your services will fit their needs (which makes it more likely that they’ll hire you). Google sort of works the same way: the more that Google sees that your website is linked to by other sites, the more Google will believe that your site contains good info and the more likely it is that Google will return your website in search results. These other sites that link to your website are basically acting as ‘referrals’ for your website.

That’s why when we publish a post on the site, we link the text of what area you serve and what kind of photography services you offer to your website:

Screen Shot 2015-05-07 at 6.39.46 PMNow when anyone searches for a portrait photographer in Southern Nevada, Belovely You acts as a referral to Suzy Mead’s website, making it more likely that Suzy’s website will show up in search results for “Souther Nevada Portrait Photographer.”

3. Don’t do keyword stuffing. You want to rank on Google for Chicago Newborn Photographer, so the best way to do that is to make sure you have the phrase “Chicago Newborn Photographer” as many times on every page of your website, right?


This is what’s known as keyword stuffing. Google wants to make sure that the search results it’s returning contain useful, relevant content that makes sense. But (following Google’s example) if you have something like “XYZ Photography is a Chicago Newborn Photographer that specializes in Chicago Newborn Photography. If you’re looking for a Chicago Newborn Photographer, look no further, XYZ Photography is the best Chicago Newborn Photographer there is.”

That phrase is really redundant. No one likes reading it, and it doesn’t really give the reader any relevant or good information. Yes, that blurb contains a lot of keyword phrases if you’re trying to rank for “Chicago Newborn Photographer”, but it contains so many keyword phrases that the content doesn’t even really make sense.

You’re much better off just writing naturally on your website and filling it with good, useful content (that other websites want to link to, right??).

4. Don’t use Flash! This one is pretty big for photographers, because so many photography websites contain Flash. Why is this bad? Let’s go over that.

Google works by ‘reading’ your website and looking for certain keywords in the text, image file names, alt text, image captions, video descriptions, and so on. However, because of how Flash websites are coded (which is different than YouTube videos or other video platforms), Google has a really hard time reading them. If Google can’t read them, Google can’t tell what it’s about. If Google doesn’t know what your website is about, it’s not going to be able to return your website in the list of search results.

Plus, not all devices or browsers (*cough*Apple*cough*) can even play Flash videos, so even if Flash wasn’t bad for your website, a good percentage of the people who visit your website can’t even see it.

Have Flash on your website? Do yourself a favor and get rid of it.

5. Alt text and file names. Google understands your website by essentially reading your website for certain words and phrases (like “Los Angeles Wedding Photographer”). Google can’t, however, look at an image to know what it’s about; instead, it has to depend on the text around and associated with the image to tell it what the picture is about.

What does that mean? File names like IMG_3968 have to go. Think of it this way.

When you read an image file name like “IMG_3968,” you have no idea what the image is about unless you can also see the image itself. But remember what we said above, Google can’t see images (it’s a program, not a person), so it has to depend on the text associated with an image to know what it’s about – and in this example, the file name tells Google absolutely nothing about what the image is a picture of. 

The file name ‘Los-Angeles-Wedding-Ceremony,’ however, does give you (and Google) a better idea of what the picture is actually about even if you can’t see the image itself. So make sure you rename your files appropriately before you upload them to your site.

Another great way to make sure Google knows what a picture is about is to use descriptive alt text, which is short for alternative text. Alt text is text that is associated with an image that describes what the image is about. Something like, “Bride throwing the bouquet at XYZ Reception Hall in San Diego” is a good example of alt text (as long as the image it’s being used for is indeed a picture of a bride throwing a bouquet at XYZ Reception Hall in San Diego).

You can find and add/edit alt text for your images in WordPress in the right-hand column when you go to “Add Media” and choose an image to insert into a blog post or page:

Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 4.12.52 PM

(And you can find a more detailed tutorial of how to add alt text to your images with a quick Google search.)

Tools To Help

This is just the tip of the ice burg when it comes to SEO, and if you’re already a little overwhelmed the idea of doing SEO for your entire website could seem a bit intimidating.

Here are some of our favorite tools and guides you can use to help you out:

WordPress SEO by YoastThis is a free plugin you can use for your website that helps you navigate SEO for any blog post and page on your site. You choose a keyword or phrase, and then Yoast helps you make sure that that page or post is optimized for that keyword or phrase. It is very slick, very easy to use, and intuitive. I use it on every site I work with too, and it’s a very commonly used plugin for WordPress as well.

Free Info From Google. Google Support has a plethora of free information about SEO. Guides, definitions, tutorials – anything from basic beginner’s info to more advanced, technical info.

seo for photographers

The SEO Cookbook for Photographers. This guide is created specifically for photographers, and is pretty comprehensive. How to rank locally, optimize images, optimize a blog, SEO practices that you need to avoid, etc. Basically everything we covered in this blog post, and tons more. Plus for the month of May, it’s $20 off. You can check it out here.


How can you tell if your site’s SEO is working?

SEO is something that takes time to work, and isn’t really an overnight success story. So how do you know if it’s working?

First off, Google is really smart. It knows a lot of the websites you use and work with regularly. So if you do a Google search for “Austin Texas Newborn Photographer” and your website is the first to pop up on the first page of the Google search results, don’t get too excited. At least not yet. Because chances are Google knows that this is your website because you’ve gone to it yourself many times and it’s stored in your browser’s cache.

So how do you search for “Austin Texas Newborn Photographer” on Google to see where you rank without Google knowing it’s you?

It’s super simple: go Incognito.

How you do this will depend on which browser you’re using (and a quick Google search will tell you how it’s done), but usually it’s just one or two clicks. Once you’re in Incognito mode, your browser is no longer storing your search history ad the browser cache has been disabled. Aka, you’ve turned off Google’s ability to know which website is yours.

Now search for “Austin Texas Newborn Photographer” and see where your site is on the list. Watch it over time – if you’ve gotten serious about instilling good SEO practices, you should notice your site slowly climbing up the search results list.



Note: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links, and help support us and what we do and keep the site free for everyone. However, some of the links are not affiliate links, because we feel that many of the products here are solid, amazing products that we love to use and love promoting and recommending too.

How to Become a Better Photographer


Being a better photographer can mean a lot of things to a lot of people – how to take better pictures, how to get more sales, etc. But regardless of what it means to you, learning how to become a better photographer has as much to do with the skills you have as the tools and resources at your disposal.

If you’ve been following along on this blog for a while, you’ve probably noticed that we like to recommend various products and services that we think would be helpful for any portrait photographer – products we feel help you learn how to become a better photographer.

So we figured, why not make a list?? So that’s just what we did.

All of these products are either portrait-photography specific, or applicable to any type of photography whether you shoot just portraits or portraits and weddings, etc.

How to Become a Better Photographer

photocrati_jpegPhotocrati Websites. Everything is so digital nowadays that if you don’t have a strong website, you’ll quickly fall behind. Photocrati websites were created with this exact idea in mind.

Not only were they created specifically for photographers and creative professionals to show off their work, but they were also created with super strong SEO options to help you get found on the web.

Each design is completely customizable, mobile-ready, and even comes with a shopping cart built in. If you’re at all unhappy with your current website theme or are just “making due,” it’s probably time you give Photocrati a look.

Matt-Katie-IPS-thumbnailIn-Person Sales. Ah yes, the dreaded in-person sales. If you’re not doing it already, I’m sure you have your reasons. You don’t have time, you don’t want to feel like a pushy sales person, you don’t know what to say, etc.

These can all be really daunting things that would make it hard to start. But trust me, the payoff for doing them is huge – most photographers double and triple the amount of money they make per client when they do in-person sales as opposed to just delivering an online gallery.

That’s why our favorite Australian Duo, Matt and Katie, put together a guide on how to do in-person sales without sounding pushy. It comes with a script for you to use to show you exactly what to say, along with other great information about the do’s and don’t’s of in-person sales.

lindsayadlerDream Shoot Rentals. Ever see those gorgeous, epic dress shots and wish that you had a super fun dress like that to use with clients, but don’t have the time or funds to make one yourself? Well, Lindsay Adler had that same exact thought. And thus, Dream Shoot Rentals was born.

Dream Shoot Rentals allows you to rent stunning, couture gowns and clothing pieces to take your next fashion, senior, glamour, and personal project shoot to the next level.

Each piece was created and designed by Lindsay and a seamstress/designer to ensure that they would both fit and be constructed well, as well as look stunning in your photos.

With such amazing quality and talent, you’d expect something like this to cost hundreds of dollars (even though you’re just renting it) – but the dresses were also designed with the photographer’s budget in mind. In fact, you can rent most of the dresses for less than $200 (and many for less than $150).

If you’re looking to try something different or just to get your muse going again, we highly suggest renting one of these dresses.

Outsourcing Hybrid Sessions. Film is definitely making a comeback lately, and why not? It’s classic, and has a certain feel and invokes a certain emotion that digital can’t always capture.

But there are also advantages to shooting digital as well – you don’t have to carry film around or worry about ruining it, there’s more versatility, more post-production freedom, etc. So – why not shoot both? This is an option a lot of photographers have chosen too, to shoot hybrid.

But how do you go about editing hybrid shoots? You can do it yourself and match your digital images to your film images, or you can outsource it. There are some great companies out there that actually specialize in editing hybrid sessions and weddings, such as the Raw Digital Film Lab and The Find Lab.

And not only do these places do film to digital matching, but they can also develop and scan your film images for you too. The Find Lab even uses the Mastin Lab film presets, which were created just for the purpose of hybrid shooting.

fb-ads-that-work-for-photographersFree Guide to Facebook Advertising. Facebook advertising has gotten pretty high end over the last year or so. If you’ve tried to do targeted advertising, there’s a lot of things you have to figure out to get it work right – and don’t even get me started on whatever-the-crap a conversion pixel is.

However, you may have also heard of a lot of photographers who use it with overwhelming success, which leaves you wondering: how did they do that!?

Yeah, us too. Lucky for us, one of our favorite photography marketing gurus has demystified it for us all, and created a step-by-step guide on how to put together a successful (and functioning) Facebook ad that will actually bring you results, instead of just letting you throw money at Facebook without getting anything in return.

And best of all – it’s free. (No really, it’s free.) It’s a 60-some page guide with detailed instructions (including pictures!) to help walk you through the process from start to finish.

We’ve even used it before for our own personal websites with great success. Ready to get started? Check it out here.

Screen Shot 2015-04-17 at 9.58.46 AMProfitable Portfolio Builder. Starting out, a lot of photographers struggle with how to build their portfolio – do they just do friends and family, try to get regular clients to model for them, etc. Or sometimes you’re already an established photographer, but want to start doing more of another type of photography and need to build that portfolio.

Whatever the reason being, one thing about portfolio building that sucks across the board is that a lot of times photographers end up doing it for free. They do a TFP, or give the images to friends/family for free, etc. So the question remains – how do to portfolio-build without working for free?

The answer: the Profitable Portfolio Builder. The method discussed here was developed by a portrait photographer as a way of making sure that any portfolio-building sessions that she did, she both got a model release from the client and had an opportunity to make some sales from each session.

Now she has a solid portfolio – but she still uses this method to help fill the calendar during slow periods. So this isn’t just for photographers looking to build their portfolio, but also for photographers who want to keep a steady influx of shoots year round (and who doesn’t?).

MotibodoBoard-for-Adobe-Lightroom-600px-3The Motibodo Keyboard. I cannot recommend this piece of equipment enough. I absolutely love it, and it was a total game-changer for me. The Motibodo keyboard works with Lightroom, and allows you to use a keyboard to edit your images instead of mouse and the Lightroom sliders.

So you can ‘type’ your edits instead of having to look back and forth between the develop panel and the image you’re editing. The entire keyboard is laid out like a normal keyboard (and when you’re not using it in Lightroom, it functions like a normal keyboard), but each key is assigned an editing task that when pressed, executes that task.

For example: the exposure slider is hooked up to the ‘J’ key (darker) and the ‘K’ key (brighter). When I hit the ‘J’ Or ‘K’ key once, it makes the image either brighter or darker, depending on which key I hit, by 0.1.

And most of the development panel sliders are associated with a key this way – the contrast slider, blacks slider, shadows slider, temp and tint sliders, and so on.
It’s easily shaved hours off of the time I spend editing, and I recommend it to anyone – portrait photographers and wedding photographers alike. Check it out here.

StickyAlbums-ThumbnailStickyAlbums. Clients love showing off their pictures from their sessions to their friends and family. And as a photographer, we love it when they do (free marketing, woohoo!).

There’s a ton of ways they can do this, by emailing links to their blog post on your site, putting their images on Facebook for all their friends to see, showing off their prints or album.

But what if you could make it even easier for your clients to show their images off?

With StickyAlbums, you can do just that. StickyAlbums is a mobile app that you can give to your client with their digital images in them. Then, any time they have their phone on them (which let’s face it is pretty much always) they can pull it out and start flipping through their images.

And not only is whoever they’re showing their pictures to going to see your awesome work, but more than likely your client will be telling them how awesome and fun it was to work with you, how great of a job you did, and how much they love their final images.

As mots of us know, this type of word-of-mouth advertising is absolutely priceless, and is one of the best ways to get referrals from clients – so let StickyAlbums help you do even more of it.

contractsPhotography Contracts. Having the appropriate contracts in place for all of your client interactions and sessions is so important. Not only does it outline the entire session with your client (from the date it’s happening to the types of products they’ll get and how much they’ll pay), but it also gives you a lot of protection in case something goes wrong.

But how do you know if the contract you have covers everything you need it to cover? Unless you’re a lawyer, it’s pretty hard. One of the best resources out there for legal contracts for photographers is The Law Tog.

The creator behind The Law Tog is a barred lawyer – and a photographer. So not only does she understand everything that needs to go into a contract, she knows everything that has to be in there specifically for photographers as well. She sells dozens of lawyer-written contracts (that she’s written herself) for almost any kind of photography you would want – portrait, wedding, pet, boudoir, newborn, birth, and on and on.

She also has a bunch of other really important things like print releases and model releases, which are of course, also lawyer-drafted. Need to beef up your contracts or worried yours may not hold up in court? Check hers out now.

Fundy Software’s Album Builder. Who here hates sitting down and designing albums? If you have a background in design it may not be a big deal, but a lot of photographers hate it.

You’ve got a certain amount of portrait-oriented images to work with and a certain amount of landscape-oriented images to work with, and you basically have to Tetris them together into one album that looks good, is cohesive, and tells the story.

Fundy Software’s Album Builder allows you to do all of that, but creates all the design and layout for you – just drag and drop the images you want and let Fundy do the rest. No more creating and saving templates, just let Fundy do it all for you.

This list is by no means all-inclusive, so we’d love to hear:

What are some of the resources that you’ve used that have helped you learn how to become a better photographer?

Leave your favorite tools and resources in the comments below!



Note: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links, and help support us and what we do and keep the site free for everyone. However, some of the links are not affiliate links, because we feel that many of the products here are solid, amazing products that we love to use and love promoting and recommending too

Rock What Ya Got!


Beginner and professional photographer alike are always looking for ways to reduce their budgets. Here are some clever photography ideas from one of our readers that can help you not only learn, but also minimize your expenses while doing it.

I often have people asking me questions about photography. What camera should I get? Should I take classes? Can you teach me? I wish I could teach everyone everything I know, but the truth is this: I don’t know even half of what others know, and I basically taught myself.

Success comes from hard work, determination and consistency. Step outside your comfort zone and do the hard stuff to make it happen. It takes a willingness to keep learning even after you think you “got it”.

I love taking courses and workshops and continue to do so. Not only do I learn new techniques, I also make new lifelong friends while finding inspiration from new artists.

When you are new to photography (or even just new to digital photography), there is a lot to learn. And, it can be super overwhelming. There is a great tendency to spend more money than we really need to as often we believe that more money means better equipment which in turn means we take better pictures.

Not true.

An amazing artist can take just as great photographs on a lower end camera, and I personally know many talented photographers who use crop sensor “starter” DSLR cameras and you would never know it! So, how can we rock what we got?

I am going to list some of the budget friendly ways I grew as a photographer and maybe some of these will help you grow as well!

1. Learn your camera. Cost: FREE!

Read your manual. Study the little CD guide that often comes with some cameras. If you bought second hand and do not have a manual, guess what? I guarantee you can find a copy of your camera’s manual online as a free download!

Just search the make and model, and save the manual to your computer. I promise that just knowing the ins and outs of the camera you have will improve your knowledge enough and you can start taking photos outside of “auto” mode.

I shot with my Canon Rebel T3 for years, and I actually still pull it out as a back up now and then. The more I got to know it, the better my images became with it even though it’s not considered a high-end professional camera.

Taken with my Canon Rebel T3

Taken with my Canon Rebel T3.

2. Google Search. Cost: FREE!

Mr. Google knows everything, doesn’t he? Well, maybe not everything, but he can usually help us find out what we need to know. For me, Google was one of my greatest tools when I was just beginning.

Not only did it lead me to some of my favourite sources of inspiration and how-to tutorials, it’s even helped me decide when not to purchase items I didn’t really need.

When researching: a) our cameras, b) how to use software, c) a particular editing technique, or d) maybe, you just want to view images that others have created with the same camera or lens as you, Google will lead the way.

Search different keywords, then follow links found on other pages. Just spend a few moments looking around. I will say that Google has been a great tool for me especially when I was just beginning.

A second helpful and free internet source is YouTube. There are videos on everything as simple as how to turn on your camera, to advanced editing techniques.

3. 50mm Prime Lens. Cost: $100-150

This “nifty fifty” was the first lens I purchased when I first bought my DSLR, and you can usually get one for under $150.

It takes some getting used to as most of us have only used zoom lenses, but you will quickly learn to use your feet to zoom by moving closer or farther from your subject.

Compared to the lens that comes with your camera, which is usually a 18-55mm lens that changes aperture as you zoom in or out, the nifty fifty will stay put at the aperture you set it at.

This will help you learn what settings you prefer and give you more control over the pictures you are taking. The glass in this lens is also much better than the kit lens which gives you clearer images.

Not to mention you can shoot with an aperture as wide at 1.8 which will give you that “blurry background” most of us strive for (called bokeh).

Another one taken with my starter camera, my Canon Rebel T3.

Another one taken with my starter camera, my Canon Rebel T3.

4. Join a Forum. Cost: Varies

Forums are awesome. You can learn so much from photographers from all levels, from brand spanking new (as in, they haven’t even taken the camera out of the box!), to seasoned vets.

The only problem may be choosing the right forum for you as there are so many. Personally, the first one I joined was Clickinmoms.

I think it may have the largest membership and is chalked full of information. I am also a member of The Bloom Forum. It’s smaller than Clickinmoms, but I love it for totally different reasons such as the inspiring photographers and all the film talk.

Most of the forums offer a free trial too so I would suggest trying them out first to see which one speaks to you. Most of them offer workshops which can be pivotal in your learning as well.

There’s definitely more out there than this too, like In Beauty and Chaos, Light Inspired, and Rock the Shot to name a few. Take a look around and see what each one offers. Do a free trial, if that’s an option. Pick the one that you’re going to get the most out of based on your business.

5. Photography Blogs. Cost: Free!

I love blogs like Belovely You because they are full of not only gorgeous images, but tips and tutorials related to the photographs.

You can learn a lot by looking through a post of images you love while at the same time, reading about how the photographer achieved that look, style, or technique.

Warning though…you may spend many hours of your time getting lost in the beautiful world of photography!

Clever Photography Ideas Are About The Art Not the Equipment

In conclusion, you should not rely on expensive equipment for incredible pictures, you should rely on your ability to use what you have wisely instead. It is better for you to learn your equipment that you have in depth before rushing out to purchase the newest, ‘best’ thing. Experiment with different techniques to find an incredible edge to your art. And most important, connect with others who love the art of photography to help keep your creative juices flowing.

Another great, free resource to help get your ideas flowing are these free actions from MCP (affiliate link). Actions are great for helping to kickstart your editing, and may even breathe some fresh life into your editing style.

Also, here is a free app to get access to FREE photography books via Amazon Kindle (affiliate)!

Feel free to check out more DIY tips here


Every Day One Month A Year


Parents wish they had more pictures of their kids other than school pictures and the holidays.  This photographer has come up with a clever plan of action to get those photos taken. Designate a photography month, then every day (for that month) snap photos of your kids!

The Importance of Documenting the Most Important People in our Lives

I think most photographers are guilty of not taking enough photos of their own kids. I know I am. But, I do participate each year in a January – ‘photo a day’ project. It’s my way of making sure that a big chunk of their lives have been captured and preserved.

It can be a hard task to remember every day, and sometimes it’s tricky to get the kids to comply (especially the older they get)! But, it is so worth it. And I know we will all enjoy looking back on the memories that we made in their childhood.

Their are several different projects similar to the January project that I have heard of…the 365 project, 10 on 10 (where you take 10 images on the 10th day of every month) and 5-minute project. (This particular project was started by one of my favourite Canadian photographers – Dana Pugh).

I chose the January project for a few reasons, though. Living in Australia, our summer school holidays fall over the month of January, so we are more likely to do things like: days at the beach, camping holidays, relaxing at home and all of the other fun holiday type activities.

I also love that it is the beginning of a new year and a fitting way to bring the new year in. Also, the first day back to school always falls at the end of January. Typically, January is also a quiet month for my business so I have that extra time to dedicate to my favourite little clients – my kids.

These are a few of my favourite images from this years project.



Mostly these images are capturing candid moments – whatever is happening at that particular moment when I pick up my camera. I try to get two images each year where I have posed my two children together for a more formal photo – usually one outdoors and one in my natural light studio. That way I have a lovely portrait of them together that I can directly compare to the previous years and see how much they are growing and changing.



I always try to capture real emotion. January isn’t magically filled with rainbows and unicorns and always happy kids; it has its own fair share of tantrums, fights and attitude (refer to image below).

On this particular day, I had decided it would be a good day to get my in studio posed sibling shot. But, when we got upstairs, Miss 4-year-old had this foul attitude, and I couldn’t help but have a little chuckle. So, I documented her just like this and told her brother we would do the posed shot another day, because I had exactly what I wanted for today.

Remember to always go with the flow. My daughter now loves looking back on this image and remembering her day of the grumps!


Some more of my fond January moments…



Choose A Month and Take Photos Every Day of Your Children

I hope this has inspired you to start your own photo project with your own family – whatever that project looks like or what time of year you choose to do it, it is so very worth the effort.

Josette used a Canon 5D Mark II with a Canon 50mm 1.2L lens and a Canon 100mm Macro lens to capture these images.

Josette Van Zutphen is a Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia Family, Newborn, and Maternity photographer.

More Tips on Working With Children.

Black and white images can really invoke an emotion and feeling that color images can’t. Josette’s are amazing, but creating great black and white images isn’t always as simple as just desaturating an image.

The creators behind Photography Concentrate know this, and created an entire guide dedicated to going over and teaching the finer points of editing black and white images to make sure you get the feeling  you’re going for. Check it out here.


What Would you Like to See on Belovely You?


We really do want to know what would you like to see from BeLovely You going forward. As most of you know, the site has recently changed ownership. And we love what BeLovely You is and does, and want to continue to make it an amazing resource for portrait photographers everywhere. 

What Would you Like to See From Us?

We are in the process of working on ways to help our readers get even more business.  Do you think we could use an online directory of photographers in each area? Would you like a method for advertising on the site? How can we best serve you?

In the interest of making this a win-win for everyone, we really do want to make this site a hub for photographers to come and share ideas.  That means, we want to hear from you.  To do this, we are willing to even change the format of the site to accommodate our readers.

If you haven’t submitted an article (and you have camera tips to share), why not? Not only do you get to have a credible web magazine showcasing your work, you will also get Pinterest recognition as people find your pictures fascinating.  Your tips are invaluable to the community, and those photographers that are involved with BeLovely You get free education on awesome tips for different style of photography.  This helps everyone expand their capabilities and helps to make photographers more well-rounded.

What Do you Want to Read More about on BeLovely You?

Would you like to read more tutorials? More product reviews? Maybe more stuff on lighting or editing, or something new altogether (like pet photography)?

Share your ideas below and tell us what you want to see and why! We can’t wait to hear your suggestions!

6 Tips For Better Travel Photography


Travel Photography is something I truly love. From Nepal to Cambodia, Nashville to Canada, my camera has allowed me to travel and make not only an income doing it, but also do quite a bit of humanitarian work too.

But traveling and snapping can be tricky if you don’t know what you are doing. Over the years, I’ve learned a few tricks that can make traveling with camera gear a little more enjoyable, and want to pass some of those off to you.

Here’s 5 fast tips that will make traveling with your camera a joy and not a burden.


1. Pick your gear carefully.

Traveling light is key. I learned this quickly on my first trip to Nepal. I took pretty much everything! It soon became clear I didn’t need half of it – especially my 70-200 f2.8!

Even though I didn’t end up using it at all, I still had to carry it – and everything else – the whole time. It may only be 3.2 extra pounds, but let me tell you it adds up when you’re trekking in 96.8 degree heat day after day.

Now when I go to pack gear for traveling, I ask myself these questions for each piece of gear:

  1. What are the conditions where I am going?
  2. How long do I expect to be away for?
  3. Can I leave behind anything while I am out shooting/is my hotel room or lodging safe and secure?
  4. What do I expect to see and be shooting?

The gear you choose to bring with you (and what you leave behind) will very much depend on how you answer these questions.


Over the years, I’ve narrowed down my gear quite a bit by asking these questions and generally I take one body, cards, batteries, and two lenses: my 24-70mm and 50mm.

Here’s a packing list of gear I generally take with me when I travel, and should cover everything you will need – from the camera itself to what you carry it in:

  • Camera body
  • Camera bag
  • Memory cards + pouches
  • Camera batteries
  • Battery charger
  • Laptop and charger (will come in really handy for our photo editing sessions)
  • Any hard drives, leads etc. that you need to store your images. Don’t forget about backups!
  • Card readers
  • Favourite Lenses (I always bring my 24-70mm and 50mm)
  • Flash + batteries (optional)
  • Light-weight tripod (optional)

Another important tip: Always have travel insurance and never leave your camera gear unattended while out shooting – it might get pinched even if you are sitting right beside it!


2. Travel Photography Going To and From

When flying, never ever check your camera gear. Ever. Always take it as part of your carry-on, but be sure you first check and see if your airline has weight restrictions for carry-ons (especially in Australia).

If you are traveling with a friend, you might be able to spread out the weight between you both.

As far as bags for packing your gear for travel, there’s tons of options out there. Make sure you find one that is suitable for you and your gear, but also make sure that the bag itself is comfortable to carry once you have all your gear in it.

This is important if your conditions require you to hike out to where you will be shooting.


3. Use Light to Your Advantage!

Light is so important when it comes to capturing a good photo, and when you’re traveling light you obviously can’t stow away a softbox in your carry-on baggage.

So picking the time of day you head out can make a world of difference to the photos you capture since you are completely dependent on the available light at your shooting destination.

Early mornings and late afternoons are the best times to shoot if you want soft, magical light. Get up early and capture a sunrise! You will thank yourself later for getting out of bed.

If you’re not a morning person, find out what time sunset is and plan to head out a few hours before. Shoot until the sun goes down and keep shooting into dusk.


4. Be rewarded: Get Lost!

When traveling, make sure you take time to get lost. Explore, lose yourself in the magic of the culture where you are.

Getting off the “tourist” circuit can bring you plenty of opportunities to meet locals in their element and find some real characters, scenes, and settings that will bring a new element to your photos.

Even ducking down a lane and heading back from main streets a block or two can bring some rewarding opportunities, and some of my best travel photos have been taken in situations like these.

(Though of course, always remember when exploring that safety comes first.)


5. Be respectful.

People, no matter where they are from or their economic situation, always deserve respect. Don’t just take their photo. Learn some language basics before you go.

“Hello”, “Can I please take your photo?”, “Smile!” and “Thank you”. By learning these basics, you will find the locals will appreciate you giving it a go and they will be more willing for you to take their photo!

If you are struggling to remember how to say something, remember that a smile and holding up your camera pretending to take a shot and asking “Okay?” will probably get you by.

Photographers, especially when traveling to third world countries, love photographing children. This is fine, but make sure you get permission from the parents first.

How would you feel if someone walked into your backyard and started photographing your children? Yeah, probably not too happy.


Be careful too around soldiers and police. Again, make sure you ask – most times they will be okay with you taking their photo. But if they say no, go with it. Be respectful of them and their space and privacy.

And please note – in some places, you might not get the photo of the person you want; a soldier might be swapped out with a higher ranking officer for example because they would rather you have a picture of an officer than a soldier.

If you’re always thinking about “respect,” you will be okay.


6. Give, don’t just take.

It’s so easy to just ‘take’ a photo and walk away. But keep in mind that in some countries, a photo you take of someone may literally be the only photo that person has ever had taken of themselves.

If you can, print out a copy of the photo and give it to them. This will mean the world to them. At the very least, allowing them to see the photos digital image on your camera will suffice.


Have fun and remember, you are seeing the world. Make sure you take the time to see it through your own eyes, not just through the camera!

Belovely You 2014 Best Tips on Lighting Pt. II


Like I said last week, we had a ton of really awesome lighting tips in 2014, and had to break down all our best tips into two posts instead of one.

Part I covered a lot of miscellany in regards to lighting, but Part II will focus primarily on off-camera flash (OCF) and the use of reflectors. And without further ado…

Best Tips on Lighitng Using OCF

Using OCF is great, but not always the easiest to pick up on. The best tips on lighting takes learning and practice to create beautiful portraits. Using these tips, your results will be amazing!

To start learning, you need a flash and something to tell it to fire, like a trigger and receiver set. Once you have your hardware, use a doll or something to practice.

Set it up on the kitchen table, and systematically try different flash power settings. Once you find settings that work, try the same thing in a different room that has a different amount of ambient light.

This will help you know approximately what to set your flash power settings to given the ambient light levels at a shoot.

Photograph by Infiniti Photography!

Image taken at night using OCF

Even if you’re an experienced OCF user, many times when you expose for your subjects you totally blow out the background in the process.

OCF is a great way to light your subjects while still maintaining the integrity of the background.

One way to do this is to use an off-camera flash with an SB800 speed light and a white umbrella. Have an assistant hold the flash with umbrella at about 45 degrees to the side of the clients and just above eye level.

Well-exposed subject and background

Well-exposed subject and background

This way your clients are lit but you don’t have to blow out the background to do it.

More Advanced Use of OCF.

Once you get good at it, you can try some really cool effects like this editorial shot:


To pull off this shot, the photographer placed the subject so that the setting sun was off camera left and placed a beauty dish off camera right to serve as their main source of light.

Keep your aperture relatively closed to make sure you capture the background as well. From there, you can put the finishing touches on it in post-production.

Another really dramatic way to use OCF is to use it to capture the motion of dance.


This amazing, dramatic image was created using two speed lights and a barn. The barn provided a darkened area, which you need to shoot into for this to work.

The speed lights were placed behind the dancer at 45 degrees, pointing towards the camera, with a reflector in front of the dancer for fill.

Make sure to put your focus on manual for this too since as the dancer jumps and moves, your camera will try to re-focus if it’s on auto-focus and will create a blurry image.

Speed lights can also be used to create a golden sunlight look, even when it’s not the olden hour.


This image was taken in a forest in the morning, with low ambient light and using speed lights to create the warm color.

To pull this off, you need two speedlights, a reflective umbrella, a triflash holder, and  an orange gel filter (which usually comes with Nikon speedlights).

Gel one of the speed lights with the orange gel, but leave the second one open. Ask an assistant to hold the speed lights and umbrella (which were mounted onto the Triflash holder).

Using Reflectors

One of the most common uses of reflectors is to use it to bounce light back onto your subject. If you’re shooting at the end of the day and the shadows are getting longer and engulfing your subjects, this would be one of those times.

This is exactly what happened to one of our featured photographers, and she was able to use a reflector to maintain a decent amount of light on her subjects as the sun sunk and shadows got longer.


She had her subjects in the shade of a barn and used a Larson Enterprises 3×4 ft rigid reflector (with a kickstand) to bounce light back into the shadow.

She placed it somewhat far away from her subjects to make sure the light was spread wide over her subjects, and wasn’t too bright so as to blind her clients.

Keep in mind though in this type of situation that you’ll probably want to make sure to adjust your camera settings/ISO to account for the lower light conditions.


Reflectors don’t just work great shadowy settings, they work great in sunny situations too.

If you want to try a more ethereal, glowing look to your images, have your client stand with their back to the sun and shoot into the the sun.


Place the reflector in front of your client and use the silver side to get more contrast and help keep the details in their face.

Using Your Surroundings.

Fancy gear is all super nice and great, but a lot of times, you don’t need all that.

One of our featured photographers even just used a set of sheer curtains to diffuse the natural light coming through a client’s windows in their home.

For a reflector, she set up white foam core boards on each side of her at 45 degree angles.


Snow also makes an amazing reflector if you live in an area that gets snow in the winter.


Uniform snow cover is amazing, because it produces even, beautiful light (and no need to have an assistant hold a reflector!).

And if you’re shooting at the right time of day during the golden hour, you can only give yourself a step up in terms of lighting:



Here are a few of our favorite lighting resources:

Screen Shot 2014-12-22 at 4.34.45 PMOCF and speed lights are crucial to pull of a lot of these tips, so getting a firm handle on how to use them is also important. Andy from Simple SLR has put together a great guide all about mastering OCF (and it’s less than $30!), plus it comes with portrait recipes too and great ideas for putting together portrait images. Check it out here.

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 3.26.42 PMAnother key element to mastering off-camera flash is knowing your camera settings and what they need to be to optimize the use of OCF. Photography Concentrate makes a really easy-to-follow guide that is written to quickly and thoroughly introduce you to using your camera in manual mode (in fact it’s designed to do all that in just a few hours). Check it out here.

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 3.42.01 PMOne of the most important parts of the OCF setup is, well, the OCF. (You can get great on-camera flashes too, and some really great accessories and flash holders and firing devices). There’s tons of options out there to suit your needs, and Adorama has a plethora of them. Check them all out here.

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 3.42.09 PM

If you need a more continuous light source as opposed to a flash, there’s lots of options there too. Fluorescent lighting, HMI (hydrargyrum medium-arc iodide) lighting, LED, Tungsten, etc., and any and all accessories you need to make it work and fit your needs. Check them all out here.

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 3.42.26 PMLight Modifyers and Reflectors are another common option for lighting for photographers. These include things like soft boxes, umbrellas, gel diffusers, and of course, a wide variety of reflectors that are necessary to pull off some of the tips in this article. Check out your options here.


What are some of your favorite lighting tips and gear?

Leave them in the comments section below!



Thank you for using the links above, as they help us earn a commission and support the site, keeping it free for everyone.

Belovely You 2014 Best Tips on Lighting Pt. I


We had some great portrait tips come in this year. So many, in fact, that we decided to split them into two separate articles. The best tips on lighting are going to be shared with you to make your portraits even better!

Today’s article will focus on different lighting situations and some nifty lighting miscellany, and next week’s will focus entirely on OCF and the use of reflectors.

Before we get too deep into it, let’s first start with….

Basic Tips on Lighting for Portrait Lighting

For the most ideal natural light photos (which some photographers argue is the best kind of light), you’ll want to try and avoid a couple things: shooting at night and using flash (which obviously isn’t natural light right from the start), and shooting in direct sunlight.

Alternatively, you’ll want to try shooting in open shade – which means conditions in which it’s light outside but the sun is not directly shining on the subject. Some of the best locations for this is either in the shadow of a tree or building, or the light created during a cloudy day.


Photo taken on a cloudy day out of direct sunlight.

This sort of lighting situation will give you smoother, more even skin tones, and prevent large lighting contrasts between bright spots and shaded regions on the subject.

When you don’t have Ideal Lighting Conditions

It’s great when you have 100% control of your lighting situation, but as most of us have experienced before – it doesn’t always work that way.

Here’s a few non-ideal lighting scenarios that you may (or already have) encounter, and a couple ways to make the best of it.

Shooting in Direct Sun.

When no open shade is available make sure to keep the sun to the backs of your subjects, but make sure to also maintain enough ambient light on their face.


Audrey Woulard often shoots in open sun, and demonstrates that it can be done very well and yield beautiful results.

Another good tip for working in direct sunlight is that if you must do it, try and do it later in the day during the golden hour so you can leverage the beautiful lighting that shooting during that time of day will give you.

Make sure, however, to not have your subjects look directly at you, because then they tend to squint. Instead, go for a more candid or lifestyle approach and capture your subject as-is, or interacting with other subjects.


Image of subjects interacting with one another and not looking directly into the sun, giving the image a more candid feel.

Lighting in an Urban Setting.

Finding flattering light in an urban setting is difficult with tall buildings casting really dark shadows with no available ambient light (or with colored buildings giving strange color casts).

Areas that work well for letting natural light in in an urban setting are areas like parking lots or wider alleyways that open up enough to let natural light in.


However, you can still get some good lighting to filter in to more narrow areas depending on the time of day and position of the sun.


This image was taken in a wider alleyway that allowed in enough natural light.

But always remember when shooting in an urban setting – safety first. Never shoot in the middle of a roadway or in areas with busy traffic. And never trespass onto private property.

And a lot of times, government and federal buildings (even though they look awesome) are off-limits for shooting, or may require a permit so make sure you look into that if you have a building like that in mind for your next urban shoot.

Lighting in a Client’s Home.

If you’re doing your session in the client’s home, remember what what they consider to be ‘good natural light’ is probably something completely different than what a photographer considers to be good natural light.

When you arrive at the home do a quick walkthrough of the house and take note of not only the available light in each room, but also the position of the sun and time of day since the amount of available light in each room will change as the day goes on (and can help you plan the session accordingly).


Wonderful natural lighting from large window in client’s home.

Also be mindful of the paint on the walls, since strong, bold colors will give off strong color casts.

Studio Lighting

If you have a studio with a large window that lets in lots of natural light, set up a couple reflectors in a V-shape and place your client in the corner between them.


Reflectors set up to reflect natural light back onto subject.

This will bounce the light from the window back on to your subject. Use reflectors with a neutral, skin-toned color as well (or white ones) to make sure the client’s skin tones photograph well.


Image taken with above reflector setup.

If you’re doing newborn portraits in your studio, a great method for lighting them is what’s called “feathering the light.”

This type of lighting technique creates soft, even skin tones on the newborn, and overall is pretty easy to set up. The only equipment you really need is a softbox (affiliate link) and light, and more than likely a backdrop and/or prop for the baby.


The results this type of lighting produce are gorgeous, and very popular for lighting newborns:


You can read a tutorial on exactly how to do it here.

Using OCF to Light Up The Rain

When you’re not shooting in a studio you’re pretty dependent on the weather’s cooperation because rainy days can sometimes ruin your portrait session – but it can also make it pretty spectacular.

This is exactly what happened to Two Mann Studios when they were doing an engagement session.

It started just pouring rain during their session, but they were still able to make the best of it by setting up speedlights to backlight the rain.


They managed to turn what could have been a gloomy day into an amazing work of art.

If this is something you want to try and pull off but the weather isn’t raining for you, you can create a similar affect with just sprinklers.


Have your subject stand with their back to the source of light (whether it’s the sun or a speed light) and aim the sprinkler towards them coming in from either camera left or right.

Lighting On-The-Go

Love the look of a softbox but hate that you can’t use it when you’re shooting on location?

Scott from Photocrati (affiliate link) has come up with a solution for that by creating his own to be used with a camera flash.

All you need is a backlight, a flash, a pocketwizard, reflector, and a spring clamp to make your own too (click here to see more details on how to do it)!


Always remember…

Trying new lighting techniques can be kind of nerve-wracking – you’ve never tried it before, you don’t know how it will work or if it will turn out, and what if it doesn’t?

But that’s ok – you’re never going to advance as a photographer unless you really push yourself and try new things.

And if you’re really worried you won’t get any good shots, try some with a lighting technique you already know and are good at.

That way if the new technique doesn’t work out you’ve still got plenty of images to give to your client.

What are your best tips for portrait lighting?

Leave them in the comments below!




2014 Best Tips on Working With Children

Children’s photography can be a really fun time – they’re adorable, and energetic. But getting them to cooperate for you can present a challenge that you don’t get when photographing other age groups. Working with children can be a good experience for everyone involved with these tips.

In this article we’ve compiled our best tips on Children’s Portrait Photography that we’ve received in 2014.

Making Kids Feel Comfortable

Remember, kids don’t always really understand what’s going on when you shove a giant lens in their face, and it can make them really nervous and clam up a bit.

A good idea to get them warmed up to you is to put the camera down and just play with the kid(s) at the beginning of the session. That will help you earn their trust and make them less likely to get nervous once you do get out your camera.


This can also make it easier on the parents – once they see their kids having fun, they’ll be less anxious and worried about the session as well.

It’s also important too to remember that kids are kids (sounds obvious right?), so they’re not serious all the time. Sometimes a great way to get them to loosen up is to loosen up yourself!

Let go a little bit, and don’t hesitate to be a little silly to get them to smile and relax.


Directing Children

Once you get them to relax, the next challenge is getting them to (at least sort of) do what you want.

A great way to do that is to think like a child – if you were a kid, what would you want to do? What are fun things you like to do?

One of our featured photographers, Sarah Parker, used this idea to get the kids she was photographing to behave the way she wanted.


For this session (above), she had the older girl pretend she was reading the book to the younger girls, which gave them a task (that they enjoyed) that the photographer used to distract them and capture their natural facial expressions.

Working with Children to Keep Their Attention

Once the session has started, you’re not necessarily racing the clock so much as the kids’ attention spans. But there are a lot of tricks and ideas that our featured photographers use to help combat this that you might find useful as well.

If you’re using props in your session (like Sarah above), you can use those to distract the kids and help keep them still long enough to take a good picture.

seekjoyphotography-13-of-15 If the session is taking place somewhere where toys aren’t readily available, bring some of your own!

Baskets, dolls, games, etc. – all of these are great things you can bring that will entertain a child.

And a lot of times once they’ve started to play with the toys and relax a bit (instead of thinking they have to ‘sit still and behave for the photographer’ you can remove the toy and get some shots of them without it.


Sheets of fabric are even a cheap, fun item that can inspire play.

If you have older siblings present, sometimes they can help you out with the younger ones too. One of our featured photographers suggests ‘telling the oldest kid a secret,’ which is telling them to tickle their younger sibling(s) when you say ‘three’.

If you’ve got little girls in the crowd, you can get them to play by telling them to pretend they’re their favorite movie character, like Elsa from Frozen.


Little girl pretending she’s Elsa during a family session.

But at the end of the day – let them be kids.

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, you can’t get the kids to do what you want.

And that’s ok.

You can use their energy to your advantage and capture natural interactions with the kids playing with their families and siblings.

If they’re wanting to run around and be active, have them run to their parents and be caught to capture those moments of fun between parent and child.


Mommy catching her active, energetic little boy.

If you’re able, sometimes it’s best to just step back and watch the kids as they are. Camera settings can help with this too, and one of our photographers, Jennifer N., uses a Canon 5D MKIII and 135mm lens (for example) and sets the aperture at its widest possible setting.

The MKII can handle the high ISO, but will give clearer images of busy-body kids with ants in their pants.


Jennifer stepping back and watching her kids do what they do best.

Watch Their Moods

Kids can be a bit unpredictable, but they generally wear their mood on their sleeves. So pay attention to this.

Kids have short attention spans (as we’ve mentioned), so try to keep the session moving at a good pace and try switching up your location regularly.


If you see them getting bored or antsy, take the session somewhere else – outside, nearby park, upstairs instead of downstairs, etc.

If you’re trying to get pictures of each kid separately, do the younger children first. They get sleepy, hungry, distracted, etc., faster, so work with them first in the session so they can be let go sooner.


Another idea is to try and schedule the session in the morning. Kids will have woken up not too long ago, so will be less prone to be tired or cranky.


Or talk to the family and see if there’s a better time of day for their little one(s).

Sometimes though, it doesn’t matter how many of these tips you try – the kids just won’t want to cooperate.

If that happens, just take a break. It doesn’t have to be a long one, but take a few minutes and let the kids do some running and get a little energy out of their system.




What Are Your Best Tip for Working With Kids?

Leave them in the comments below!

Marketog: The Photography Marketing Course


The New Year is a great time to go over what you need to do to improve your business.

For a lot of people, it’s skill-related, like maybe they want to improve on their use of OCF.

Or maybe their goal is to go out and practice shooting every day and do something like a 365 project.

But we know that for a lot of you, it’s to increase your client base and kick some major butt in marketing.

And marketing isn’t necessarily an easy thing, nor does it come easy to a lot of people. And photography marketing is it’s own ball of wax too.

That’s why Jamie from The Modern Tog put together a marketing course – just for photographers.

Marketog: The Photography Marketing Course


Marketog is an online-based photography marketing course created by a photographer, for photographers.

It’s structured into six weeks of lessons, and each lesson includes a video, an audio file for download that you can listen to whenever you want, a written transcript, and a worksheet to help you really work through each of the lessons and make sure you get it.

You’ll cover everything to what you’re actually looking for in an ideal client, to methods for actually getting them in the door.

And again, since this course was created by a photographer, it’s better than the average marketing advice out there because it’s geared just for your industry.

Plus it comes with tons of bonus materials and interviews with other industry-leading experts.

And guess what?

Registration is open now!

Jamie only opens up the course a few times a year. And once registration is closed, it won’t open again for months.

Since she knows that a lot of people will be completely revamping their marketing strategy for the new year she wanted to make sure she gave photographers the tools they needed right off the bat.

And registration is only open for a week – only til January 18th!

Click here to check it out and sign up today!

2014 Best Tips On Newborn Portrait Photography


Newborn portrait photography can be very rewarding – but since your subject can’t really talk to you or move on their own, it’s also a little bit different than your average portrait session.

We’ve compiled our best newborn photography tips that we received in 2014 to give you an idea of some of the things you need to consider before starting in on newborn portrait photography (or if you’re a seasoned pro, give you some new inspiration for future sessions!).


Safety is #1 when it comes to working with newborns. Their immune systems are underdeveloped, they can’t move on their own or tell you if they’re uncomfortable, and are completely dependent on you (and the parents) during the session.


Some of the most important things to consider before even starting the session include:

  • Immunizations – because of the delicate state of the newborn’s immune system, make sure you are up to date on your immunizations for at least two critical diseases: DTap (Diptheria, Tetanus, and pertussis), and MMR (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella).
  • Personal Hygiene – keep your nails clean and well-trimmed with no chips in your nail polish, as this will help reduce the spread of germs that live underneath and around your nails.
  • Snacks – if you’re headed for a long day at a client’s home, you might want to bring your own snacks with you. But make sure you ask the parents first if anyone at the household has any food allergies, and/or just bring snacks without nuts.
  • Preparing clients – have your clients turn up their house temperature before you arrive (or turn up your studio temperature) to about 85 degrees, as newborns lose heat rapidly. This will help keep them comfy during the session and more likely to be pleasant babies.
  • Props – make sure all blankets and/or wraps that you bring with you are clean and that you wash and sanitize them between each and every session. Make sure to use unscented detergent that is free of perfumes and dyes

Also make sure that any props you are using are safe. Some props that are considered unsafe would be:

  • Props made of glass or anything that can break and/or shatter
  • Anything that requires placing the baby up high (like on a book shelf)
  • Placing the baby inside something that is prone to tipping (such as an unstable basket)
  • Putting the baby inside some type of appliance, like a mailbox, refrigerator, etc.
Example of a safe, sturdy prop

Example of a safe, sturdy prop

Relaxing The Baby

Having an upset baby during the session can make the session incredibly difficult, so keeping them happy and content is very important.

One of the best things you can do is make sure the parents prep the newborn for the session by feeding them beforehand so they’re more likely to sleep.

To prep you and your studio, make sure the studio is warm, or if you’re doing the session at your clients’ house, tell them to turn up the temperature in their house to about 85 before the session starts.

Also tell the parents to make sure the baby is fed right before the session so they’re more likely to sleep.

A couple other great things that come in handy is both a sound machine and warm hands – you can even take it one step further and use gloves when handing the newborn as many times adult hands can be cold and may startle a sleeping baby.


Don’t forget about parents either; often times, if the baby’s parents are anxious or nervous, it will rub off on the baby and they’ll be more likely to be fussy.

Another good idea is to have the parents sitting close to the baby during the session (but just out of frame, or in such a way that they can easily be cropped out) so they can reach out and comfort the baby or rock them between shots.

The infant's mother's hand is located just out of frame in this shot.

The infant’s mother’s hand is located just out of frame in this shot.

If you’re still having issues comforting the little one, one of our featured photographers, Renee Barber, also recommends reading through “The Happiest Baby on the Block” by Dr. Harvey Karp.

The book has a lot of tips on soothing and comforting babies, and Renee swears it’s one of the best things she’s done for her newborn photography business, as it gave her some great ideas on how to soothe and comfort a cranky newborn.



When it comes to posing, always consider safety first – if the infant is put in a situation where there is a risk of falling or being unstable, either don’t do the pose at all or do it as a composite image. Even then, you still may not wish to do the pose – and that’s ok.

A couple popular infant poses are the head-on-hand pose and the head-on-wrist pose (which is also known as the Froggie Pose).

When doing the head-on-hands pose, use a large bean bag and center the infant on the bean bag – that way if for some reason they squirm and start to tip, they won’t fall off the prop.

Secondly, use a lens you can shoot close to the baby with – like a 35mm. This will allow you to reach out a helping hand quickly and easily if the baby does start to tip.


Before doing the head-on-hands pose, it is absolutely crucial that you check with the baby’s parents and make sure that the newborn has not been diagnosed with Congenital Hip Dysplasia (CHD), because the positioning of the legs for this pose would cause the infant’s hips to be dislocated.

When doing the head-on-wrist pose, it’s best to do it as a composite as newborns have no control over their balance and could easily tip over when put in this position.

It’s best to do this pose in two shots – one shot with a helper holding the baby’s wrists, and a second shot with the helper stabilizing the baby’s head (see examples here).

When combined in Photoshop the extra pair of helping hands can be edited out, giving you the desired pose but without sacrificing the baby’s safety.


Composite image created from two separate images, both with different stabilization points.

And finally, when posing the baby in any pose, always keep an eye on their skin tones and color – if you see their skin turning purple or blue, their circulation is being cut off and they need readjusting.


One of the most common styles of lighting for newborns is soft, even lighting, which is often achieved when you correctly utilize the play between light and shadows and feather the light.


Even, feathered light on the baby’s front with depth created by shadows.

The lighting setup for creating this type of lighting is relatively simple, and includes a safe resting place for the baby (and most likely a backdrop of your choice), and a softbox (preferably one that is relatively large in size; a 50×50″ softbox would work perfectly).

Place the softbox at 180 angle and about 6 inches in front of the baby and backdrop setup. This placement will ‘feather’ the light onto the subject, which will create softer shadows and even lighting across their face.


Example of lighting setup used for feathering the light.


Final product of light feathering setup.


Baby skin can often be red and blotchy, which isn’t as appealing as smoother, creamy skin tones. To help with that, reduce the reds in post production to help even their skin tones out a bit.

You could even use a preset or action to do this for you, and may even be able to find one made specifically for newborn skin.


And Remember…

Babies are super cute, and we really hope this post gave you some inspiration for where to start if you’re just looking into newborn portrait photography, or just some new tips you maybe didn’t know if you’re already a seasoned pro.

But remember – at the end of the day, if a pose or prop or lighting setup or anything whatsoever seems unsafe for the baby, or you’re not completely comfortable with it – don’t try it! It’s not worth the risk to the little one.


Here are some other products we recommend for Newborn Portrait Photography:

Screen Shot 2014-12-22 at 4.31.02 PMTo really maximize your portrait sales, nothing beats in-person sales sessions. But just getting into them can be intimidating – which is why Matt and Katie have created a guide to teach you exactly how to conduct one. Complete with scripts for you to follow, it’ll help take the edge off of figuring it out on your own.

Screen Shot 2014-12-22 at 4.34.45 PMA lot of the lighting techniques above discuss off-camera lighting, but if you’re not familiar with off-camera lighting that immediately puts a damper on trying out some of the lighting ideas above. Andy from Simple SLR has put together a great guide on off-camera lighting, and even if you’re a seasoned pro it can serve as a great reference piece for future sessions.

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None of the information in this post is valid if you don’t have a solid contract in place. The Newborn Photography Contract is written by photographer-lawyer Rachel Brenke at The Law Tog, so you know it’ll cover all the legal basics and necessities (including the contract itself, model releases for adults and minors, print releases, and more).


Baby skin can sometimes be mottled and blotchy, so doing skin smoothing on newborn portraits can help give the image a cleaner, finished look. Doing it by hand can really eat up your time though. We love and recommend the Portraiture plugin from Imagenomics, which automatically does a lot of the skin smoothing for you in just a click of the button.

before-after-72111-1024x337Black and white images are a great way to evoke emotion, but oftentimes just cutting the saturation doesn’t quite have the same affect because it’s important to remember that you must edit a black and white image differently than a color image, and Photography Concentrate has created a guide to show you how to do just that.

Screen Shot 2014-12-22 at 4.46.27 PMIf there’s one thing new parents like to do, it’s show people pictures of their family’s newest addition. StickyAlbums is the mobile app made for just that, and allows clients to easy share pictures of their session with friends and family (which in turn is amazing free marketing for you!).


Screen Shot 2014-12-22 at 4.52.35 PMA great way to get your client their images is with a personalized flash drive – no more burning files to a disc, just drag and drop onto a flash drive and send it along. Plus the personalization gives it that extra professional touch, and since CD drives are sort of on their way out, a flash drive will probably have greater longevity.


Thank you for using the links in this post, as they help us earn a commission and support the site, keeping it free for everyone.

2014 Tips for In-Home Sessions


Lifestyle sessions are a lot of fun, but can seem a bit daunting if you’re just starting to get into them – especially if the client has asked you to do them in their home.

We’ve had some very experienced lifestyle photographers contribute some of their best tips on how to handle that situation, as well as ideas for what to photograph once you’re in the home.

But first —

Preparing for the Session: You and Your Client

First off, keep in mind that you’ll be doing the session in your client’s home – ok, it sounds obvious. But my point is that you won’t have access to everything you have at your studio.

Props, lighting, etc. – you can probably bring some reflectors with you, but ideally you won’t want to bring much more than that, your camera bodies, and your lenses.

You can try to bring all of your props and backdrops with you – but that can be a bit cumbersome and time-consuming.

Instead, plan your session ahead of time and think forward on what sort of props or backdrops you’d like to bring (if any). This will drastically cut down on packing/unpacking and time spent setting up gear.


Even simple newborn wraps are a great, simple, easily-transportable prop you can use.

Not only do you want to prepare for an in-home session, but you also want to make sure your clients are prepared as well.

Doing a pre-session consultation is a great way to go over information the family will need to know about the session before it happens (and is great for establishing a client relationship).

This will help clients to trust you and get to know you, which will help them be more relaxed in front of the camera on the day of the session. It’ll also give you a chance to go over how the session will run from the time you arrive at their home until you leave.


One of our featured family portrait photographers, Emily Lapish, puts it this way:

Since every family has their own unique dynamics and quirks, there is no way that pulling out the same tricks and trying the same poses and shots on each session can capture a family authentically – so this pre-session consult is vital.

Another one of our family portrait photographers, Maegan Hall, suggests telling the family to prep any activities at the home that they like doing together before you arrive.

This will insure that you capture some of the family’s favorite memories together instead of leaving it up to chance.


Once You Arrive

When you get to your client’s home, you’ll want to take note of a few things. First, make note of what time of day it is and what direction the light is coming into the house from in the various rooms. This can help you plan what rooms to shoot in at what time of day.

Secondly, take note of the paint on the walls. Dark walls will make your images look darker, walls with solid, vibrant colors will give your client’s skin a color cast, and of course, white walls will give the cleanest light and skin tones.

And of course, as you do your walkthrough, take note of the light quality and intensity in each room – ‘great natural light’ usually means something completely different to your clients as it does to you.

Perfect example of a well-lit in-home portrait.

Perfect example of a well-lit in-home portrait.

Ideas for In-Home Sessions

There are multiple ways you can approach an in-home session too. You can do a Lifestyle-type session, a session that’s more posed, newborn sessions, whole family sessions, etc. etc. – the list goes on.

For newborn and toddler sessions, a great way to approach it is to use your client’s home and things in the home to document the growth of the baby.

If you’ve done a newborn session of your client’s child in their home before, photograph them as a toddler next to or near places or items that you used in the newborn session to document how they’ve grown in their family home.

Or, if you’re planning a newborn session and hope to photograph their child again as a toddler, try to plan for areas like that in the home that you can use for future.


A picture of a toddler in their newborn crib is a great way to document the child’s growth.

If you’re doing a family + newborn session, doing the session in the home is a great idea because the parents will be more comfortable in their own space – which will rub off and affect the mood of the newborn.

Since parents will be holding their newborn for the majority of the session, you want to minimize the amount of moving around you do so as to keep the baby calm and relaxed.

Don’t worry though – this doesn’t necessarily mean that this limits your variety of photos, especially if you remember to work your angles and distances from your subject.

Michael Kormos, an experienced in-home newborn photographer, uses principles of cinematography to accomplish the same goal.

Many times, he will start out with a wide shot (like peeking around a doorway) that sets the tone for the rest of the session, and gives the sense of “peaking” in on the clients’ lives and tender moments with their newborn.

Once that’s established, he’ll start closing the distance between himself and his clients for the closeup shots, which are a great way to capture the emotion and attachment the parents feel with their newborn.

Both of these shots can be done while the client is seated in the same position, but it still provides a variety of images that can be included in a final collection.

If you’d like to forego posing altogether, Kirsten Lewis, suggests capturing the day naturally as it unfolds and taking a documentary-style approach.

She suggests making yourself (more or less) a member of the family for the day – whether the family is going grocery shopping, cleaning, swimming, playing outside, reading books, etc.

She even goes so far as not even bringing any additional lighting equipment, since her goal is to capture a family’s life and interactions exactly how they are – down to every detail.


Working With Multiple Ages

When you’re doing an in-home session (and even when you’re not), working with multiple age groups can be challenging. The older kids want to run around, but if there’s an infant or toddler in the picture, that’s not always an option if you want to get pictures of everyone.

That can be ok though – if your active children want to be active, let them burn off some energy! Capture some shots with mom or dad and baby in the meantime while one of the other parents supervises.

Or direct their energy a different way and have mom or dad play games with them while you capture their interactions – it will help hold their attention but still allow you to get in some good shots.




What are some of your best in-home session tips?

We’ve told you ours, now it’s your turn! Post some of your best tips for in-home sessions below!

2014 Best Photography Editing Tips

Editing is where a lot of us put the finishing touches on any portrait session, and each of us has our own style.

We’ve collected some of the best photography editing tips we’ve received throughout the year and compiled them into one article, as well as listed out some of our favorite editing tools and resources. 

Shooting Hybrid

Some photographers even like shooting a hybrid of both digital and film, and using presets to match the digital images to the film images.

This is accomplished by using what’s called an anchor image, and specially-created presets that mimic the look and feel of film (see the examples below).

*Click on each image above to embiggen.

These images above were edited by Kirk Mastin using the aforementioned specialty presets, and he gives a detailed explanation on how to use them along with a detailed explanation of how to edit film + digital images in this article here.

Skin Tones

But regardless of whether or not you’re shooting all film, all digital, or a mix, nailing the skin tones is still one of the most important parts.

One of our featured senior portraits artists discusses her method for making sure her skin tones are on point every time, using a combination of an ExpoDisc while shooting and information from the histogram during editing.


Of course, sometimes even when you’re following the tips above, the skin tones still aren’t quite what you’re looking for.

This is especially common when working with infants and newborns, who can tend to have red, blotchy skin. To remedy this, one of our featured newborn photographers suggests reducing the reds (with a preset, action, or on your own), which will create a beautiful, creamy looking skin tone.


Image Detail and Background

Once you’ve gotten the skin tones exactly where you want them, it’s time to turn your attention to the rest of the image.

Many times while editing, you’ll expose for the subject’s skin and face, but it will leave the background/foreground completely washed out and lacking detail.

Which sometimes can be ok, if you’re going for that bright, hazy afternoon look like this example from one of our senior portrait photographers:


Even so, it’s still recommended to bump the contrast just a bit to make sure you keep in some of the image’s details.

If that still isn’t doing the trick, there’s more you can do in Photoshop like using the multiply adjustment layer with an inverted mask to help bring the detail and richness back into the images.

Here’s a lovely example of one of our glamour photographers that’s done just that with these gorgeous backlit images:


Using Levels in Photoshop

To put the finishing touches on an image, using Levels in Photoshop can help in a couple ways.

First, if you’re still not happy with the amount of detail in the background, you can create a duplicate layer of the image in Photoshop and then open up Levels and increase the blacks (which will make it look less washed out).

That’s what this family portrait photographer did to keep all of the background bright and fresh in this winter session:


Levels is also another great way to bump up the color of an image and really make them pop.


The photographer above used levels to adjust the colors just how she wanted, using a combination of the highlights/shadows/etc. sliders available in Levels.

Then, since sometimes that can create odd colors and affects in areas it’s not wanted, she added a photo mask over the levels layer and used the black paint brush to remove the effect from areas of the images it was unflattering.

And finally…

Editing can be a lot of fun to really play with new styles and looks. Some photographers think it’s important to pick one and stick with it, but there are others that argue that it’s not necessary and even believe it can help them stand out in a market that’s become somewhat saturated.


So don’t hesitate to play around, whether you find a new style and stick with it or are always pushing your own boundaries – hopefully these tips will get you started!

Here are some products that we recommend for editing post-production:

10723218_10152742030955926_649590239_nFor editing digital images to look like film, Mastin Labs film presets are really a great place to start. Crafted by someone who regularly shoots hybrid (digital and film simultaneously), it’s a tried and tested product with highly accurate results.

Screen Shot 2014-11-14 at 2.46.15 PMPhotography Concentrate creates some of the best guides and how-to tutorials that we’ve come across. And their Super Editing Photo Skills tutorial is no different. If you’re not familiar with Lightroom but would like to step up your editing game with one of the industry standard post-production programs, then we absolutely recommend this guide.

Screen Shot 2014-11-14 at 2.50.18 PM

If you’re looking for a way to switch up your editing, Colorvale’s actions (and presets) are a great place to start.  They have a variety of styles and color palettes, and all are easy to use and come at very reasonable prices.


Skin smoothing and blemish removal can really give an image a clean, finished look. Doing it by hand can really eat up your time though. We love and recommend the Portraiture plugin from Imagenomics, which automatically does a lot of the skin smoothing for you in just a click of the button.

before-after-72111-1024x337Black and white images are a great way to evoke emotion, but oftentimes just cutting the saturation doesn’t quite have the same affect because it’s important to remember that you must edit a black and white image differently than a color image, and Photography Concentrate has created a guide to show you how to do just that.

Screen Shot 2014-11-15 at 9.09.00 AMIf you’re not 100% comfortable yet with Lightroom or Photoshop, has dozens of videos on all things digital taught by industry-leading professionals.  Plus it allows you to have a 7-day free trial, so even if you don’t stick with it you can still learn a ton in one week!

Why Your Senior Model Program Isn’t Working


Everyone in your area is trying to get models to promote their studios. Except it’s not working for them because traditional rep programs don’t work.

Not only that, but the few models that those studios are getting aren’t ideal clients. Models who don’t place orders, expect everything for free and never refer anybody.

They are giving away more than they are bringing in!

And you know why?

You’re doing it wrong.

It’s time you started making more money in your senior business and attracted the right type of senior clients!

The Seniors Ignite Model Marketing System

Seniors Ignite is an industry-leading standard when it comes to Senior Portrait Photography, and are always on the ball when it comes to the changing marketing patterns of Senior Portraits Marketing.

Their Model Marketing System is a complete, proven system created by Jen Basford (one of the Seniors Ignite Masterminds), and is the exact blueprint she uses to bring in $30,000+ just from her model program each year.

In other words – let your competitors chase the ‘headache’ models and their high maintenance parents and let Seniors Ignite give you the tools you need to find the right models and learn exactly how to approach them. You’ll get them excited to work for you – for free!

The Model Marketing System is delivered in a simple-to-follow, go-at-your-own-pace package created for helping photographers market and grow their senior business with a senior model program.

It includes:

4 Teaching Calls
Jen Basford details the exact system she uses to bring in $30,000+ from her own, highly-successful Model Program

Beautifully Designed Marketing Templates (shown below)
Use the marketing pieces as is, or easily customize them to fit your own look. With Jen’s Senior Model Program templates all the work has been done for you. You simply drop in your own images, colors, and branding and you’re ready to go.


Copy + Paste Scripts
Jen has included her exact scripts, wording and forms that she uses in her own model program. No more guessing how to approach them, what to say, and how to word it – everything is already laid out and ready to go. No more struggling with when to contact them, what to say, or how to say it – it’s all right here, including her exact model contract that keeps her models in check all year long.

If you photograph seniors at all, you owe it to yourself to check out this program on how to run a successful senior model program.

Get $100 off!

The Model Marketing System usually runs for $499, but with the special Belovely You code belovelymms you can get the whole system for just $399 (a 20% savings).

But don’t wait!

I knew that Jen had already run the course LIVE this year, but she agreed to bundle the recorded teaching calls together and offer it again to you guys for just a few days – only through December 8th!

Check it out here and turn your Senior Portraits business around!



*Thank you for using the links above, as they help us earn a commission and support the site, keeping it free for everyone.

ShootProof Black Friday Deals

ShootProof is an easy to upload proofing software that allows you to view and share your client galleries.

And it’s on sale from Black Friday through Cyber Monday (11/28 – 12/1) for 50% off of any 1-year plan (including their new Unlimited Plan).

Yes, you read that right –

It’s only on sale through tomorrow, Monday, Dec 1st!

Ad - White Brick Window - Large

And it’s more than just a proofing system.

Define your products – ShootProof  allows you to define your own products and custom prices for each gallery you upload. It even allows you to create custom discounts, shipping rates, and tax settings based on you and your clients’ needs.

Client Purchases – Yes, it even allows your clients to purchase products and prints directly – whether it’s from a computer or from a mobile device. And credit card information is taken securely, but your client also has the option of paying with or with PayPal.

Order Fulfillment – With order fulfillment, once your client orders you can receive an email with the order details and submit them directly to ShootProof’s lab partners for printing. The lab can either then deliver the product to you or your client – whichever your order details specify.

So you have your proofing, ordering, and print ordering features and capabilities all in one product.

Um, yeah. Pretty awesome stuff, huh?

And a 1-year subscription is on sale for Black Friday through Cyber Monday for 50% off.

Head over and check it out and sign up today!



*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.


YouProof App Black Friday Sales

For 12 hours only, the YouProof proofing app will be on sale for just $14.99! That’s right, you can get YouProof for over 50% off – but only on Black Friday.

After Black Friday, it’ll still be on sale through Cyber Monday (December 1st), but at $24.99 (regular price is $34.99).

If you’ve been trying to figure out the best way to do a proofing session with your clients, look no further.

YouProof was created by photographers to fill that exact need.

And now is the time to buy!

YouProof will be releasing a major update in January. With the update, the retail price will increase but the update will be FREE for anyone who already owns YouProof.

Yes, everyone who purchases YouProof before the update comes out (including people who purchase it during the Black Friday sale) will get the update absolutely FREE.”

Built for the iPad, it was designed to be easy to use and present, and mobile – so you can do the proofing session anywhere you and your client are most comfortable.

A coffee shop, their home, on comfy chairs in your studio – anywhere.

It even allows you to take notes during the ordering session, and then review and email yourself and the client a PDF review of the order once the proofing session is done.

 Head over to their website and start using it today!



Please note: many of the links in this post are affiliate links, and help support us and keep this site free for everyone.

SimpleSLR Black Friday Deals – 40% off Everything!

Andy Lim of SimpleSLR is a great resource for lighting, and we love his stuff. With most of his stuff being exceptionally reasonably priced anyway, 40% off (with discount code BLACKFRIDAY40) is a total steal.

Screen Shot 2014-11-15 at 3.16.39 PMPortrait Lighting + Portrait Recipes (Normally $28.88, now $17.33!)

If you need a little help with off-camera lighting, look no further. Andy breaks it all down in this portrait Lighting Guide so you no longer have to be afraid of using flash. Plus it comes with 3 Volumes of his Portrait Recipes that contain 24 detailed lighting setups for you to try. Check it out here!

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The Hands-On Photography Guide (Normally $29.99, now $17.99!)

This guide is designed to get you up and running with your DSLR in 4 hours. Adapted from an actual photography workshop, it takes you by the hand and leads you through hands-on exercises to help you not only know your camera, but understand the various settings and when and how to change them. Even if you’re a more advanced shooter, for the Black Friday price it can serve as a great resource to look back on. Check it out here!

Screen Shot 2014-11-15 at 3.35.33 PMMulticultural Wedding Photography Lighting + Portrait Lighting + Recipes (Normally $55.00, now $22.00!

This bundle contains the Portrait Lighting guide and the Portrait Recipes, as well as the Multicultural Wedding Photography Lighting Guide. Each technique is documented with detailed lighting setups and illustrated with images from Andy’s own collection of images from multicultural weddings he’s photographed in the past. Check it out here!

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The Complete Bundle: Lighting Mastery (Wedding + Portrait) + Beginners Guide (Normally $65.00, now $26.00!

This one is the Big Kahuna, and includes all of the guides mentioned above. And since it’s Black Friday, you can get all 6 for just $26.00. That’s less than $5 per guide! Check it out here!


Don’t wait too long though, the sale only lasts from now until December 2nd!


Please note: many of the links in this post are affiliate links, and help support us and keep this site free for everyone.

Complete Black Friday Deals List For Photographers

Happy Holidays!

We’ve done all the work for you and compiled the best photography Black Friday deals in one spot!

And yes, just like the subject line says – you can enter for a chance to win a $100 Amazon Gift Card – Scroll to the bottom to see how to enter!

And without further ado, here’s the best deals of the season:

(Please note: many of the links, but not all, in this post are affiliate links, and help support us and keep this site free for everyone.)

Ad - White Brick Window - Large ShootProof

We love ShootProof. It allows you to proof your images with your client, allows your client to take orders directly in ShootProof, and even allows you to send orders directly to the lab to one of ShootProof’s lab partners.

Black Friday Deal: Get 50% off a 1-year subscription from now through 12/1. Click to learn more and start your subscription today.


FOTOVELLA creates professionally designed custom Photoshop templates for photographers – anything from calendar templates to marketing pieces and social media templates.

Black Friday Deal: Get 50% off storewide 11/28-12/1. No code needed. Plus, for any orders over $20 (before discounts), you’ll get a free bonus gift of their 2015 Mini Accordion Calendar Template delivered right to your inbox within 24 hours of checkout. Click here to learn more and pick up some templates today!


Preveal is one of the leading wall art sales tools for the iPad, allowing you to display your products to your client as they would appear on the walls in their home. It’s one of the best ways to show your clients the value of your product and boost product sales at the same time.

Black Friday Deal: Get Preveal for $24.99 (regular price $75) for 12 hours only (midnight to noon on Black Friday), no code needed, or for $50 after that through 12/1. Preveal is also doing amazing sales on both their Salesographer system and Swift Galleries – click here to check out all of their deals!


YouProof was built for in-person sales and proofing. And now is the time to buy because they’re coming out with a major update in January, meaning the retail price will increase. But the update will be FREE to anyone who already owns the app (including people who purchased it on Black Friday!).

Black Friday Deal: Get 50% off the YouProof app for 12 hours only on Black Friday. After Black Friday, get the app for $24.99 (normal price $34.99) through 12/1. No code necessary. Click here to learn more.

Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 12.27.12 PMMatt and Katie | Photographers Guide to In-Person Sales

Matt and Katie are great at explaining the in’s and out’s of in-person sales. Their guide comes with a how-to portion as well as a script for you to use just starting out so you can learn how to turn an average few-hundred-dollar-sale into an average sale of $1,500!

Black Friday Deal: Get 30% off the guide at Matt and Katie | Photographers using discount code maytheforceofsavingsbewithyou valid 11/28-12/1. Click to learn more.

marketogMarketog Self-Study Course

Marketog is a marketing course designed especially for photographers to give you the tools and resources you need to start getting the clients you really want. Created by Jamie from The Modern Tog, this six week course intensive is available as a self-study course just for Black Friday for half the cost as the usual course price.

This will also be your last opportunity to sign up for Marketog, once the sale is over it won’t be available again until 2015!

Black Friday Deal: Get 50% off the Marketog self-study course now through 12/1. No code Needed.  Click to learn more.

imacgiveawayThe Modern Tog iMac Giveaway

Jamie from The Modern Tog is also giving away an iMac, plus a bunch of other really awesome products.

You can check out her giveaway here and enter for your chance to win!


The Modern Tog Business Bundle

This is a photography business superpack, with tools and resources to help you with everything from pricing and bookkeeping to workflow, client management, and tricky email responses.

These are on sale for a combined price of $399 – that’s a savings of over $250!

Check it out and pick up the bundle today. No code needed. Valid 11/27-12/1.

get-notice-2015-facebook-adFlaunt Your Site

Start the New Year off right, by learning how to boost your traffic and get that traffic to actually hire you. William Bay of Flaunt Your Site will be leading a 4 week webinar that shows you how to set up your site to maximize search traffic, and what potential buyers need. (WordPress site or blog is required.)

Black Friday Deal: Get 40% off the webinar price with code FlauntFriday 11/28-12/1. Click to learn more.

Other Great Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals & Sales for Photographers


Get $70 off Annual Membership at StickyAlbums using discount code bestdealofyear valid 11/28-12/1. Click to learn more.

StickyAlbums is also sponsoring a killer 27″ iMac Giveaway – click here for more details and to see how to enter for your chance to win!

lawtog photography contracts black friday sale The LawTog

Get 40% off all products from The LawTog, including Photography Contracts & Agreements, business tools, and more! at The LawTog using discount code BlackFriday40 valid 11/26-12/1. Click to learn more.

Psychology-For-Photographers-Irresistible-Website-Black-Friday-Sale Psychology For Photographers

Get $50 off Irresistible Words or Irresistible Website, or $109 off the Business Library Bundle at Psychology For Photographers valid 11/28-12/1. No codes needed. Click to learn more.

joyvertzbfJoy Vertz

Get 50% off Joy’s 3 Weeks to Pricing Perfection course with code blackfriday50 through 12/2. The course normally runs at $575 so 50% off will save you a couple hundred bucks! Click to learn more.

Screen Shot 2014-11-25 at 12.00.04 PMSeniors Ignite

For a limited time Seniors Ignite is bringing back their five most popular senior portrait photography products, including special bundles that are only available for Black Friday. No code needed. Available now through 12/1. Click here to learn more.

photography concentrate black friday salePhotography Concentrate

Get anywhere from 40%-60% off all photography tutorials. You can also enter for a chance to win brand new cameras or a personal photography coaching session from Rob and Lim, the leaders of Photography Concentrate. Offers valid through 12/5. No code needed. Click here to learn more.

Simple SLR Black Friday DealsSimpleSLR

Get 40% off all products at Simple SLR using discount code BlackFriday40 through 12/2. Click here to learn more.


Boudie Shorts

Get $50 off Model call and 40% off the boudoir business camp at Boudie Shorts valid through 12/3. No code needed. The Camp normally runs at $498 so 50% off will save you at least a ocuple hundred bucks! Click to learn more about the camp and here to learn more about the Model Call.

joshblackfridayJosh Dunlop | Expert Photography

Get $50 off landscape photography video courses and Website Building Service for Photographers, and beginner and landscape photography eBooks for $5. No code needed. Valid 11/27-12/2. Click here to learn more.

Colorvale-Black-Friday-SaleColorvale Actions

Get 20% off all digital items with code November201 through 11/30 and 40% off all digital items with code ThanksWeekends2014 from 11/28-11/30. You can also enter their giveaway from now until 11/28. Click here to learn more.


Get 50% off the Photocrati WordPress theme. No code needed. Offer valid 11/28-12/1.  Click here to learn more.

rank-higher-boxPhotography Spark

Get the SEO Cookbook for $39 and the Business Planning Cookbook for $39  (reg. price $99 each) now through 12/2. No code needed. Click here to learn more. Actions

Get 25% off all actions, presets, guides and texture at MCP Actions with code mcpthanks. Code valid 11/26-12/1. Click here to learn more.

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Adorama is sponsoring a special sale JUST for Belovely You on select lighting gear items. Anything from $5 off to $20 off, and more! Valid through 12/1. Read more about it here.

copy-The-Dynamic-Range-Logo-longThe Dynamic Range

Get 30% off all of Susan Stripling’s books in the store 11/27-12/2. No code needed. Click here to learn more. *Note: Site will be live soon if not available yet, keep checking back!

prophoto-black-friday-deal-coupon-saleProPhoto Blogs
Get $10 off at ProPhoto Blogs using discount code JAMSWA556Click here to learn more.

Custom Flash Drives with no minimum ordersPhotoFlashDrive

Get 25% off entire order 11/28-12/5 with code BLACK2014, and free shipping for USA, Canada and Europe for Black Friday only.  Click here to learn more.

mastinMastin Labs

Get 40% off all film preset packs 11/28-12/1. No code needed.  Click here to learn more.

SLR Lounge
Get 25% to 33% off the entire store at SLR Lounge now thorugh 12/1 with code blkfriday25 or blkfriday33 (see site for details on when to use which code). Click here to learn more.

Rock the Shot
Get 40% off Rock the Shot Forum Membership at Rock the Shot using discount code BFCM40 through 12/1. Click here to learn more.

Totally Rad Actions
Get 33% off everything at Totally Rad actions and presets with code BLACKFRIDAY2014 11/28-12/2.Click here to learn more.

Borrow Lenses
Get 15% off gear rentals at Borrow Lenses through 11/30. Place an order that ships before 12/3 using coupon code BLFRIDAY14 to get a jump on the deals. Click here to learn more.

Design Aglow
Get 15% off both Frame Shop and Paper Shop (no exclusions or limits) at Design Aglow using discount code THANKFUL from26-11/28. Click here to learn more.

Bellevue Avenue
Get 50% off with coupon code BF50 (only 25 codes available) Get 50% off with coupon code BF50 (only 25 codes available),Get 40% off with coupon code BF40 (only 50 codes available),Get 30% off with coupon code BF30 (only 100 codes available), get 25% off with coupon code CW25 (no limit). Sales valid 11/27-12/2. Click here to learn more.

The Milky Way
Free 2015 Weekly Planner for everyone! Use this yearly planner to help define your 2015 goals and create some action-steps to get you there! Click here to learn more and download for free!

$40 off Master Workflow Lightroom Presets. No code needed. Click to learn more.

Christopher O’Donnell
Get the Complete Collection: Landscape Photography eBooks for $19 (retail $57) with discount code HOLIDAY 11/28-1/1. Click here to learn more.

Christopher O’Donnell
Get the Complete Collection: Landscape Photography eBooks for $19 (retail $57) with discount code HOLIDAY 11/28-1/1. Click here to learn more.

Digital Dark Room
Save 70% + get a $100 gift certificate when you spent $149 or more with code BlackFriday70 thru midnight 11/30 or save 90% off the Whole Store with coupon code Whole90 (discount code already includes $100 gift card.) Click to learn more.

Cheeta Stand
Save 50%  on all in-stock items on their website with code BF2014. No raincheck or backorders. Offer valid only on 11/28. Click to learn more.
Get 35% off any editing set with coupon code BLACKFRIDAY14 now thorugh 12/2.  Click to learn more.

B&H Photo
Sales storewide on cameras, lenses, memory cards, computers, camera accessories, lighting gear, you name it. Click to learn more.

All VSCO film packs on sale for %15 off, and an additional 25% off for owners of VSCO Film or VSCO Keys. No code needed. On sale now through 12/1. Click to learn more.

Topaz Labs
Get all products for $249.99 (regular value $429.99) with coupon code BLACKFRIDAY2014 11/28-12/1. Click to learn more.

Master Workflow Lightroom Presets
Get $40 off with code BLACKFRIDAY 11/28-12/1 professional Photoshop Actions and Lightroom Presets (sale price reflected in cart).  Click to learn more.

The Album Cafe
Get $50 off premium Photoshop templates with code BLACKFRIDAY from 11/28-12/1. Click to learn more.

Greater Than Gatsby Photoshop Actions, Presets, and Overlays
Get 50% off storewide now through 12/1 with code BLACK50. Get an extra 10% off when you purchase 2 or more items. Click to learn more.

Get 50% off popular classes and videos now through 12/1. No code needed. Click to learn more.

Charlotte Reeves Photography
Get $25 off any e-book or $35 off the combo for Charlotte’s dog photography e-books with code BLACK from 11/27 thru midnight 12/1 (Australian Eastern Standard Time).  Click to learn more.

Get 73% off Pro annual membership at Snapknot (regular membership cost $735, sale price $199). No code needed. Sale active 11/26-11/29.  Click here to learn more.


Once you’ve entered the giveaway, a blue box will appear on the widget that will give you a unique URL you can share on social media.

For each friend that enters the giveaway through that link, you’ll get +1 entry into the giveaway (for up to 10 referrals).

So enter for your change to win, and share away!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Adorama Lighting Sale JUST for Belovely You!

Black Friday has come early and Adorama is doing a sale on some lighting gear just for the Belovely You audience through Cyber Monday (12/1) at 11:59pm Eastern Time.

Yup, that’s right. You guys are the only ones that know about it. It’s a special deal that they worked out just for us with code BYNOVEMBER

Here’s what they got for us:


Flashpoint Softbox

Normally $59.95,  On sale for Belovely You with code BYNOVEMBER for $49.95!

Comes with 70 watt Fluorescent Light Unit, Built-in 19.5×27.5″ Silver Soft Box, AC Plug, Spiral Fluorescent 5500K Bulb and Light Stand

octa II

Flashpoint Octa II Softbox

Normally $59.95, On sale for Belovely You with code BYNOVEMBER for $39.95!

24″ softbox used for continuous lighting and comes with 70W Fluorescent Lamp


beauty dish gridFlashpoint Beauty Dish

Normally $34.95, On sale for Belovely You with code BYNOVEMBER for $29.95!

20 degree Grid for 16″ Beauty Dish – an essential accessory for any lighting system and setup.


10x10' background stand

Flashpoint 10×10′ Background Support

Normally $89.95,  On sale for Belovely You with code BYNOVEMBER for $69.95!

Heavy Duty Steel Support Set comes with 2 upright stands, cross bar, and carrying bag.

 Mini SoftBox 12x8" (30x20cm) Diffuser, Large, for Shoe Mount FlashesFlashpoint Mini Softbox

Normally $15.95,  On sale for Belovely You with code BYNOVEMBER for $9.95!

Mini 12×8″ softbox diffuser for Shoe Mount Flash. Great for softbox-style lighting on-the-go.


36" PZ Octabox White interiorFlashpoint 36″ Octabox

Normally $149.95,  On sale for Belovely You with code BYNOVEMBER for $129.95! (current special ends on 11/20, but they’re extending it for us!)

36″ Octabox with white interior. Comes with carrying case, baffle, and front diffuser.


two light softbox kit

Flashpoint Two-Light Kit

Normally $109.95,  On sale for Belovely You with code BYNOVEMBER for $99.95!

Two-light softbox kit with two softboxes, two 70W fluorescent bulbs, two stand, and carrying case.



320 monolight kit 150 watt second

Flashpoint 320 Monolight Kit – 150 W Second

Normally $179.95,  On sale for Belovely You with code BYNOVEMBER for $169.95!

Comes with 8″ reflector, flashtube and protector, modeling lamp, power cord, sync cord, 24×24″ softbox, mounting ring, and stand.

620M Monolight Kit, One 300 Watt Second

Flashpoint 620M Monolight Kit – 300W Second

Normally $219.95,  On sale for Belovely You with code BYNOVEMBER for $189.95!

Comes with 1x 300W second monolight with 9.5′ stand and 40″ white umbrella, flashtube and protector, bulb,  and reflector.

Flashpoint 320M Monolight Kit

Flashpoint 320M Monolight Kit – 150W Second

Normally $179.95,  On sale for Belovely You with code BYNOVEMBER for $174.95!

Comes with 8″ reflector, flashtube and protector, modeling lamp, power cord and sync cord, 24×36″ softbox, mounting ring, and 9.5′ stand.

Don’t wait too long – sale ends 12/1 at 11:59pm!

Check them all out here!

And don’t forget to use the code BYNOVEMBER!



*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.

Creating Targeted Facebook Ads


Ok I know some of you are cringing already at the blog post title, because you’ve tried it and it didn’t work.

Or you tried to try it and it was all confusing and over your head and might as well have been written in Greek.

Or you even tried using The Googles to figure out how to do it, but the search results were for some other kind of product not related to photography or too general that you still didn’t know where to start.

Well as it turns out, Jamie from The Modern Tog has experienced all of these things, and after quite a bit of trial and error is willing to share with you what works, what doesn’t, and how to get it to work for your photography business.

For free.

No really, it’s a whole new freebie book created just for photographers about creating effective Facebook ads.

Plus information about why what you’ve been doing in the past (if you’ve tried it out) wasn’t working.

Ever tried boosting a post but to no avail?

Well, more people might be seeing your boosted post, that’s true, but it’s sort of like casting a really wide net and hoping you catch a tuna instead of a bunch of minnows.

(…did I just compare potential clients to fish? huh….well I like that analogy so we’re gonna roll with it.)

In other words, the people who are seeing the post could be literally anyone – people halfway around the world that aren’t interested in hiring you in the first place, people who have no need of your service even if they are close by (like people who’s children are all grown seeing an ad for newborn photography – chances are, they’re probably not going to hire you even if they live next door).

Or even more annoyingly, the profiles that are seeing your boosted post are fake profiles.

Super frustrating.

So how do you get Facebook advertising to work for you?

Because Facebook ad targeting can actually be a very beneficial marketing tool that does work (and I know a few photographers besides just Jamie from Modern Tog who have gotten it to work, and gotten bookings from using Facebook advertising).

You just have to know what sort of tactics work – and which don’t.

But enough already – head on over and read Jamie’s post and learn a little bit more about it, and to sign up and get your free eBook.

You’re welcome, and happy advertising!



*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.