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Pro Photography Roundtable Podcast #10 ~ Pet’s, Pew’s & Nature

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Todays Panel:
Gavin Seim ~ Seim Studios

Dennis Zerwas ~ DZ Photography

Paul Walker ~ Paws Pet Photography
Erik Guggenheim ~ CopperBreaks.com

Scott & Adina Hayne ~ Hayne Photography

Notable Time Indexes:
3:55 News & General Talk
52:33 Scott & Adina on selling Weddings & Portraits
1:04:06 Paul on Pet Photography
1:14:25 Erik on the Nature business

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Roundtable 10 Forum Discussion:

Kodak Launches Ektar 100. Yep real film

5D MK2 is here

Pet Photography NOW: by Paul Walker

On This Earth: Photographs from East Africa: Nick Brandt

Orphan Works act may be dead

Freebies on the Seim Effects Facebook fan page.

Some articles of note…
90 seconds to better photography
Managing LR catalogs and images for Pro’s


Picks of the week:
Shoot Cue Studio Software

Scott: Brinkmann Maxfire Dual Xenon Spotlight

Paul: Our Peaceable Kingdom: The Photographs of John Drysdale

Eric: Molar Bean Bags

Dennis: Moon Phase for iPhoneLed Headbeam Lamp

Gavin: Good Printable Disks: Taiyo Yuden Water Shield Printable CD & DVD –  Overnight Prints for postcards and bussiness cards.

Become a Better Photographer in 90 Seconds – 24 One Line Tips

Ghosts of Clepsydra Geyser - f164By Gavin Seim: (updated 09/11): I often hear from photographers asking me to look at their work and tell them how to be better photographers. In ten seconds I can usually tell them how to improve because we often overlook simple things. There’s nearly always something we can improve, no matter how much experience we have.

Most rules are universal to photography of any style or any experience level. Of course these rules are meant to be broken, but general concepts help us stay on track and we should only break rules for good reason. These are some tips I keep in mind with my own work. Hope they give you a few reminders. When your done here some join us in the forums to get some personal feedback. OK let’s roll.

  1. One primary subject. If you have more, you’ll have distraction.
  2. Omit needless objects. Getting them out will clean up your scene.
  3. Slow down. Many images are ruined because of RTC (Rush To Click).
  4. Tonal control is essential. Use the Zone Scale, Burn & Dodge.
  5. If a background detracts from your scene, change or carefully blur it.
  6. See Light. Where’s it coming from, how can you use it.
  7. Learn the rules photography. Then you’ll break them for good reason.
  8. Don’t just center things. Use the rule of thirds & others. They work.
  9. Eyes. Watch close, keep them sharp. They hold emotion.
  10. Use the Magic Hour. Around sunrise/sunset, light happens.
  11. Keep it sharp. Watch your shutter speed & subject movement.
  12. Space is valuable in a frame, keep clutter away with comp & tonal control.
  13. Harsh sun can be bad. Learn to manipulate it and find good light.
  14. Shadows are critical. Without them the light gets ignored.
  15. Great images start in camera. But don’t underestimate careful editing.
  16. Use fresh ideas, but also go for those old reliable images.
  17. If the weather is foul, it doesn’t mean the photos will be.
  18. Lines lead the eye. Pay attention to where they go and intersect.
  19. Change hours. Different times of day will transform a scene.
  20. Think about shadows and dimension. Flat light is usually boring.
  21. Motion Blur can be very powerful, but use it carefully.
  22. Take time to really LOOK at your subject before releasing the shutter.
  23. Study. Photography has 150+ years of history. Go learn about it.
  24. Remember… Slow down, refine, simplify. Analyze your scene.



This award winning image has a lot going for it. Notice the balanced intersecting lines, bold colors, and simplicity of the scene. It leads the eyes and tells a story.

Focus Blurring was an effective tool here. The light at the ceremony was great but I wanted the focus on the couple. I used a Lensbaby to give me the soft edges and then some work in post production to make the viewers eye go right where I wanted. The blue could have also been done in post, but I enjoy the Lensbaby.

Silver Waves of Grain: Motion blur was used heavily in this 5 min+ exposure. This gave a ghostly feel to the fields and clouds, completely changing the feel of this scene. Then detailed tone work was done to add depth and dimension. You can click the image to read a detailed article on f164.com about how it was made.

Watch the details. Look To the Wind, is one of my early (and more recognized) HDR portraits. The space gives it a bold cinematic feel and the simplicity of the deserted beach adds strength to the scene. Looking back however I could have watched my lines more. The way the horizon cuts at the shoulder is not ideal. It's still a great image, but if I was doing it over I would try being higher with the camera for an even more powerful composition.

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6 Tips to Becoming a Professional Wedding Photographer

how to be a wedidng photographerSo, you’re going shoot your first wedding. Maybe you’ve been hired, or maybe your doing it for a friend on a budget. Either way you want to get great results, have good referrals for the future, and make the clients super happy!

So what do you look for? What about wedding photography is so intimidating, and how should you take on this challenging but rewarding type of photography?

1. Don’t Oversell Yourself.
If your just getting started with weddings don’t pretend to be something your not. Chances are the reason your shooting their day, is because it’s not in the budget to hire someone who’s experienced with weddings! That’s OK, and an opportunity for you. If you feel it’s too much, then let them know and maybe get someone else to help. Chances are however that your thinking “I can handle it fine” That’s cool, but be realistic, and remember you can’t do a retake of a wedding.

2. Do your Homework
If you lack experience with weddings do some research. Take the time to read a few books and get a feel for what is expected of you at the wedding. A couple books you might check out are Digital Wedding Photography, The Complete Guide to Professional Wedding Photography, and The Wedding Photographers Handbook. There’s many more, just search around on Amazon.

If it makes you more comfortable, have the bride give you a list of shots she really wants, but don’t expect the couple to know everything you need to shoot. Once you know your way around you’ll probably outgrow lists for the most part, since you’ll already know what to shoot and when. Also take the time to look at great wedding pictures from other photographers and note what you like and dislike about their images. Continue reading ‘6 Tips to Becoming a Professional Wedding Photographer’

How To Make An HDR Portrait. Behind The Scenes:

~ Check out Gavin’s 3 day HDR workshop coming Fall 2009. More details here.

So you’ve probably heard about HDR photography, and you may be wondering what you can do with it and why it’s so cool.
By Gavin Seim
: This is not a short article but it will explain a lot about HDR photography and why its so amazing. Today we’re going to talk about the editing techniques I used to create “Look To The Wind” the bride on the beach image that you probably have heard mentioned on Pro Photo Show, and maybe seen on the net. Also below are some additional links for things relevant to HDR.

Link Resources>>

HDR is a method of taking multiple images and combining them in a high dynamic range file. Lets say you take three images of the exact same scene, at various exposure levels. Standard images are only around 8 bits each, basically meaning that their ability to correctly expose dark scenes while keeping bright scenes from getting overexposed is limited.

So to make an HDR you might take one image that’s underexposed, one image over, and one with correct exposure. Then using software you can combine the shadow and highlight details from all the images into a single image is called an HDR, It’s the combined bits of these images, and is usually a 32 bit image when converted. What does 32bit mean to you? It means it can contain far more light. Even though the actual resolution of the image is not increased the details inside it are much higher. The HDR Photography technique is most often done with nature or still life images, but I have been doing extensive experimenting with this technique in portraits as well with good results, as we’ll see today.

hdr example

So lets look at an example. In this image I took three shots of the bride on the beach using continuous shooting mode with auto exposure bracketing. This along with a model holding as still as possible, and a fairly wide angle scene made “Look To The Wind” Possible possible (click for a larger version) You can read more about HDR portrait techniques in my HDR portrait article.

There a a few ways to take the three images and make an HDR from them. First take your images in unedited raw form. You could do it with jpegs, but raw will give you the best results. Don’t correct the raw files before converting to HDR. There is a very basic tool in Photoshop for converting the images called Merge To HDR (File/Automate/Merge To HDR) This allows you to select you images, and it will combine them into and 32 bit image. You then can use tools to adjust the levels, and curves of the image mix to try and get a good result.

Continue reading ‘How To Make An HDR Portrait. Behind The Scenes:’