50+ Twitter Length Photography Tips.

by Gavin Seim. Updated 05/2012:
I enjoy quick bursts of information and chat frequently as @gavinseim on twitter.  I’ve made this list of my favorite tips that I plan to update it going forward. You can add your favorite and tips in the comments with your twitter name. I might even RT them myself.

I give credit to the speaker when I can, using names in parenthesis. Many of these are my own musings from Twitter and I’ve indicated myself with an (S). If there’s no name then I probably don’t know the source. These are not always exact quotes, but ideas I’ve re-formed to fit in under 140 characters on Twitter

Random Things:

  • Every image needs a subject. Just one. If it has less or more, than that it’s probably time to reboot. (S)
  • Presentation is as much part of a photo as the image itself. An image on a disk means little to the world. A well presented wall piece does. (S)
  • Don’t wait for the photo establishment to show you how to stand out. Because if you do, you won’t (S)
  • The line between a snapshot and a quality photograph are lost when everyone is a “photographer” but have not actually learned to be one! (S)
  • I’m not afraid to change my opinion, but I am afraid of not having one. (S)
  • Competition. A powerful tool that makes you stronger. Complaints about it are often cop outs from photographers not motivated enough to excel (S)
  • In photography rules mean conformity, and to conform is the opposite of creativity. (Whitmire)
  • Be Positive. It’s not just a blood type. (S)
  • Each time I think I’m really good, I learn that I’m not as great as I thought. Then I actually start getting really good (S)
  • Always do the best you can with what you have, but always push yourself to the next level. (S)
  • As photographers we often overlook the power of just practicing. It’s like giving ourselves our own workshop for free. (S)
  • Photography is painting with light. So if light is paint, why do we spend more time pressing buttons than mixing our paint? (S)
  • It’s not the location you take your photos in. It’s the photos you take in your location. Anything can be a good background. (S)
  • Being edgy is cool until everyone is doing it. Then it’s not edgy. It’s just boring and usually annoying. (S)
  • Every really good photograph I manage to make is a class in making the next one. (S)

Posing n more:

  • Portraits. Guys tilt the head towards the low shoulder = macho. Girls tilt head towards high shoulder = pretty (Celentano)
  • Bridal Portraits, Hold that bouquet on the hip to look thinner. Hands (and bouquets) held in front from make the bride look bigger. (Celentano)
  • Group portrait. Just before the shot have everyone lift up their shoulders and lean towards the center. (Celentano)
  • Portrait Tip: Look for triangles in your group poses. Use bodies, sitting, head position etc to form triangles. (Celentano)
  • If posture pose and light is correct it does not matter where the camera sits. The pose is still set. (Gardener)
  • Posing tip: If it bends, bend it. Play around with joints, elbows, fingers, everything.
  • Posing tip: Leave some open space between those bent elbows and the waist. Helps make your subject slim n trim. (S)
  • Don’t over pose the subjects in your groups. Their not solders, their free people. (Whitmire)


Lighting Tips:

  • Boy Light. A more more direct frontal angle. Girl Light. A more across body agnle. (Gardener)
  • We should not use a flash just to eliminate shadows. We should also use it to make shadows. (Gardener)
  • From 0, move strobes the distance from your subject as the next f-stop & your light will cut 1/2 (1stop). (Gardener)
  • A light ratio is equal to the f-stop span on each metered side of subject x2+1. Ex, f5.6/f11 = 5:1 light ratio. (Gardener)
  • The larger the light source relative to the subject, the softer the shadows & specular highlights. (Ziser)
  • Zooming your flash manually is a great way to control a harsh light situation & put light where it belongs. (Ziser)
  • $300 LIGHT SETUP = Used Speedlight, wireless trigger http://bit.ly/4nNhx + http://bit.ly/eb2WW + http://bit.ly/XIBm0
  • If you look for the shadows rather than the light, you’ll find the light you’re looking for. (S)

Business & Marketing:

  • Add value. “If the value overwhelms you, you will buy it. If the price overwhelms you, you will not”. (L Colclough)
  • Why do we try to sell 5×7 & 8×10 Images. Are we selling paper scraps or art? Would Sargent or Monet hung a 5×7? (S)
  • If you screw up something for a client, just admit it and make it right. Pays off far more than a cop-out does. (S)
  • Get to know the people doing business with the people you want to do business with. (Ziser)
  • Good salesmanship Is finding out what the client wants and helping them get it (Ziser)
  • If you screw up something for a client just admit it and make it right. It pays off far more than a copout does. (S)
  • Don’t expect your client to love your work if you don’t put out the effort to love it yourself. (S)
  • You’re better off investing a little more than you expected, than finding out later you spent less than you should have (Monte)
  • Many photographers undervalue photography & thus undersell. Remember, centuries ago today’s master was just “a painting” (S)
  • Marketing: Is the price too high or the purchasing desire of your product not high enough?
  • We’re not selling paper, but what we put on it. Would a writer sell a book based on the cost of a notebook? (S)


  • Before working out details of your subject, stylize all other elements within the frame. (S)
  • There’s one difference between success and failure. Failure takes lot less tries.
  • As photographers we’ve worked so hard to eliminate shadows that it we’ve forgotten the value of adding them (S)
  • Spending 30min working your camera menus/buttons & getting acquainted before a shoot can make your life & images better. (S)
  • If you cant find anything wrong with the image you just made, the next one won’t be any better. (Whitmire)
  • Since photographers are always wanting to break the rules, maybe the way to really be different is to start following them. (S)
  • Sometimes it not taking a good photo that’s hard, but deciding which of all the good ones you should pick. Less can be more. (S)


  • LR Tip: When using the adjustment brush mouse over the pin and drag right/left to adjust the brush effect… http://tinyurl.com/cvvo9e
  • LR Tip: When using adjustment brush press the O key to toggle highlight of painted areas on/off… http://tinyurl.com/cvvo9e
  • LR Tip: Double click the text to the left of any settings slider to reset it to zero. (Kloskowski)
  • LR Tip: Hitting the \ key (backslash) in Develop mode will switch you between before and after views of your image. (Kloskowski)
  • SHIFT key works wonders. Track straight lines in PS, straight grads in LR. It keeps things straight in many programs. (S)
  • LR Tip. cmd/cntrl S saves the current XMP metadata of selected images making LR edits viewable in bridge. (S)

Technical Stuff:

  • sRGB is generally best for trad print. Adobe1998 gives a bit more guamet on inkjet. Paper won’t show full ProPhoto RGB