Patel Valentine's Day Party

I was recently hired through referral to shoot a Valentine's Day party. I was happy to get out and shoot! The Patel's went all out on this party. The party was catered, bartender, and photographer (obviously me). I was hired to shoot a "photo booth" style as well as just photos of the party. I set up a background to allow couples get a nice professional photo. Below are just some of the images I captured.


3 ways to earn extra income as a photographer

Stock photography

One way to earn extra income as a photographer (besides your normal photography gigs) is to upload your images to a stock photography website. I know this may sound non traditional or you may not want to sell your image but this can be a lucrative deal if your images are bought. Many websites charge 20-50% royalties depending on the stock photography website and how well your photo is selling. Check out this website to compare which stock website works best for you.

Smug Mug lets you keep 85% of your revenue.

Smug Mug lets you keep 85% of your revenue.

Photo editing jobs

If you think you have decent editing skills, another great way to earn extra income is photo editing jobs. You can google freelance photo editing jobs and find a numerous people looking to have their photos edited. There are also jobs for designing logos and other marketing materials if you have those kind of skills. 

Freelancer.com is a great tool to find photo editing jobs.

Freelancer.com is a great tool to find photo editing jobs.

Writing for photography blogs

This may not get you money directly but writing for photography blog could be a way to to earn extra income. By writing for photography blogs you are getting your name “out there”. I know some people may not want to hear, “Oh this will get your name out there and bring you potential clients”. However, by getting your content on photography blogs that already have an audience of hundreds to thousands that you can reach those without all the work. I suggest you sending your blogs to known photography blogs such as fstoppers.com or Petapixel who have a network of photographers who write for them. Hopefully, they like what you have written and post your article.

thephoblographer.com is another great place for photography articles and blogs.

thephoblographer.com is another great place for photography articles and blogs.

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5 last minute gifts for photographers


There is only a few days left until Christmas and you still haven't bought your photographer friend a gift. We’ve all done it. You’re probably reading this write now in hopes to come up with some ideas. Here is 5 last minute gifts for photographers.

  1. Print their photos

Photographers love prints. Pick out some of their favorite pictures and have them printed. You can even get upload them online and have the photos shipped directly to their house. I highly recommend adoramapix.com. They have tons of different sizes and reasonably priced.



2. Camera strap

It depends on the photographer but almost ever photographer doesn't use their supplied camera strap. A great place where you can get good quality camera straps are esty.com. They have a wide range of cloth and leather straps for decent prices.



3. Film

Every photographer has started with film or have shot with film before. Film is actually not that expensive (depends on what film your buying). Give them some film and let them reminisce the good ole days. 

4. Memory cards

Since photography has been shot digitally for years now. I know there is some that still shoot film. One of the concerns when shooting digital is running out of space. So, pick up your photographer a memory card, he/she will greatly appreciate it!

5. Portable printer

This is a more expensive gift but he/she will love it. These printers are fairly small and can fit in a pocket. All you really need to do connect it to your printer (usually WiFi) and in a matter of seconds. The best part is the film or printer paper is readily available.

Fuji Instax Printer

Fuji Instax Printer

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(Update) Switching from Photoshop to Lightroom

Image courtesy of Digital Photography School.

Image courtesy of Digital Photography School.

A couple weeks ago, I wrote an article on how I would be switching from Photoshop to Lightroom. I stated in this article that I hoped to achieved three things with switching from Photoshop to Lightroom. After using Lightroom for a couple of weeks, I can say my hopes have come true.

  1. A faster workflow, indeed.

    When I was using Photoshop, I would have to open each image, adjust the raw file, make other adjustments, save the PSD, and then save a JPEG. Obviously, this involved a lot of steps as well as time. I dreaded editing photos because I knew it would be long and tedious. 

    Since using Lightroom, the steps and time have been drastically cut down. When you import photos into Lightroom, you have quite a few options. Copying the files off the SD card while retaining the files on the card or moving files from one hard drive to another. What Lightroom has does best is that it enables the imported Lightroom files to save all adjustments even if you move the files to a new hard drive. However, the files transferred must be transferred through Lightroom (to save the adjustments).

    Once the files have been imported, I am able to browse through the photos and flag/rate the photos I like. From there, I am able to adjust a photo and move right on to the next. But the best part comes at exporting. Since Lightroom saves all the adjustments in the program itself, I don't have to save the “raw” file, instead I can just export to the file type and size I need. This has been a God send. 

2. Presets, Presets, Presets. 

    When dealing with presets, Lightroom is and has been quite a bit easier than Photoshop.  I knew when I first got Lightroom I wanted to use presets. Not because I am lazy, but because it provides a starting ground. Presets are actually used as a starting ground rather than slap it on and that’s it. In Lightroom, using presets are super easy. Even installing them is super easy.

    Before purchasing any presets, I researched quite a bit. I look at numerous companies such as Mastin Labs, Totally Rad, and VSCO. I decided on VSCO. I wanted presets that simulated legendary film stocks like Portra. VSCO was at a good price point and was widely used among other photographers. 

    After using the presets, I have noticed a bump in my photos. This is not due to the preset look but it provides me with a look that I want and I can build off it. Not only has this improved my workflow but also my editing skills.

3. Better editing skills?

    While writing this, my mind might have changed. How is a editing program going to improve my editing skills? After some thought I realized that it does not necessarily work like that. A photo editing program will not make someone a photographer overnight. But it allows you to become a better photographer/editor. 

    Photoshop and Lightroom are just tools to a photographer/editor just like a camera is a tool. Everyone has access to these tools but it does not make a everyone a photographer. It all depends on how one uses these tools. These tools allow me to adjust and improve my photos. I am able to cut down time, apply a look, and adjust the look to fit my style. 

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3 reasons why mirrorless is the wave of the future

First off, I know it has been a while since the last blog. However, I am back and plan to create blogs on a bi-weekly basis now. Also, blogs will be posted Thursday instead of Friday. So, this blow will be released Thursday March 3rd. The next blog will be March 17.

If you did not know, I have actually switched to mirrorless. In fact, I have switched to Sony. I currently own a Sony a6000. Previously, I owned a Canon 7D. I have picked three reasons why mirrorless is the wave of the future.

1.      Focus Peaking

If you have a DSLR, you probably might not have heard of focus peaking before. Focus peaking is a tool that highlights (either yellow or red) areas in the frame that are in focus. This allows the photographer to quickly and accurately focus manually. If you look through the viewfinder you will see certain parts of the frame have red lines. By rotating the focus ring on the lens you will see the highlighted areas move closer or further depending on which way you rotate the focus ring.

Why can’t I just use autofocus? You can, however this piece of technology allows the photographer to save some money and just buy some manual focus lenses. You may be thinking, old manual focus lenses are not that sharp or good? Actually, some manual focus lenses are sharper than your autofocus lenses. There is no focusing mechanism or motors in the lenses which the makes the lenses smaller and lighter as well.

2.      Lenses, lenses, lenses

As I just stated with focus peaking, this opens up mirrorless cameras to a huge selection of lenses. With focus peaking you’re not just limited to autofocus lenses. When mirrorless cameras (specifically Sony) came out there was only a couple lenses made specifically for mirrorless. What helped that were the numerous lens adapters that allow virtually any lens to be mounted to a mirrorless camera. My father had owned an Olympus OM-10 film camera. So, I bought an OM-NEX lens adapter. Now, I am able to use any OM lenses with my Sony a6000.

Since I have talked about manual focus lenses, it is time to talk about using autofocus lenses on your mirrorless camera. Up until recently, the focusing of non-propriety lenses on mirrorless cameras was unusable. However, after tests done by Jason Lanier, you are now able to use non-propriety lenses on mirrorless cameras. Jason used the Sony a6300 (due sometime in March) and the Metabones Mark IV. In his video, he shows how quickly and accurately the Sony a6300 is able to focus Canon L lenses.

3.      EVF

If you are familiar with DSLRs, you probably know that it uses mirrors and an optical viewfinder. What you see in frame is sent to your eye through a mirror and a prism. When you take a picture, the mirror lifts up exposing the camera sensor behind it, thus taking a picture. However, in mirrorless cameras, there is no mirror or prism. There is actually nothing in front of the sensor. The sensor is reading the image and then sending that image to the back screen or the viewfinder.

Sony mirrorless cameras feature an OLED viewfinder. An OLED viewfinder is a very high quality LED screen. As I just mentioned, DSLRs use an optical viewfinder. In mirrorless cameras, they use an electronic viewfinder (EVF). An OLED viewfinder is an EVF just a higher quality and newer technology. An EVF allows for a big advantage compared to the standard optical viewfinder. What you see is what you get. Since the image is not going through mirrors, you are getting exactly what the image sees. You can make an exposure adjustment and see that right through the viewfinder. This allows the photographer not to have to take a picture and see if he/she needs to adjust the exposure. Ultimately, making mirrorless cameras quicker and easier than DSLRs to use.

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Shot Breakdown : Gemma

Last Sunday, my girlfriend, Maegyn, asked me to take some pictures of her family. They planned to have every all the relatives over for a get together. Half way through the party, they said let’s do the pictures now. I grabbed my camera and started to take some test shots. I changed the shutter speed and ISO to account for the late afternoon sunlight. I chose to put the sun to the back of my subjects since the sun was coming down and provided a soft light. I found the right exposure and proceeded to get everyone together. First, are my girlfriend’s grandmother and her five sisters (one couldn’t make it). This was a challenge since all the sisters like to mess with each other. I finally settled them down and clicked the shutter. Next, I got all the cousins together. After some giggling and playing around, I moved onto the second cousins (my girlfriend and her cousins). That took only a couple of seconds since they know to smile and be down with it. I then noticed Maegyn’s cousin Noelle holding her daughter Gemma. Noelle’s right side was facing and she held Gemma. Gemma was faced towards me but wasn’t look at me at first. I lifted my camera to my eye in the hopes she would look directly at me. I twisted the focus ring until her face became clear. I fired off a couple frames and I didn’t get the shot I wanted. I waited and finally Gemma looked at me and I clicked off two quick shots. I hit the replay button on my camera to review the image. I scanned the image making sure she was looking at me and she was in focus. I smiled and realized, I got it! I got the shot I wanted.

            This brings up a style I guess you would say of my photography. I like to shoot real shots and real emotion. When people get their pictures taken, they pose and force a smile or a face. Everything’s manipulated to look like that’s the way the person looks all the time and I don’t think that’s true. I think what makes an amazing photograph is the real emotion. Photography is capturing the moment but it’s about capturing the right moment. That right moment is real and might not be part of the photo session. That brings up another part of photography that photographers need to focus on, keep clicking. You must always be ready for that moment. A photographer needs to keep their fingering on the shutter. If they are not, they miss the shot. That shot maybe the one. That one shot that you look at and just go, wow. I try to capture that wow shot every time I lift the camera up to my eye. That’s why I take photographs. #storyportrait #shotbreakdown.