Monthly Archives: March 2009

Photography Business Project Winner

In early March, Tasha Schalk wrote an informative article about the business of photography and we launched a project to go along with it — all you had to do was tell us your business plan for the upcoming year. Tasha and Tracy Tesmer also offered up a few prizes to go along with the project.

After reviewing the project entries, we’ve all decided that “the_wolf_brigade” deserves the prize package with this business plan:

My goals for 2009 are mixed are possibly not related, which has made it hard to work on both at the same time.

The first is to hold a solo exhibition based around my work at the Lithgow Blast Furnace. My intention is to highlight the beauty of this place and to document the changes as it undergoes restoration as part of the Lithgow council’s plan to make Lithgow more attractive to tourists. I’m struggling with this due to time, but also on how to find new angles and ways to highlight the way in which the structure changes over the seasons. Additionally, a solo exhibition from (at this point in time) an unknown and unestablished artist in the area is an ambitious task.

The second goal for 2009 is based around my concept of Professions. My aim is to identify what makes a strong portrait in terms of how it represents a persons character, and how best to portray emotion through my work. I’m trying to work mainly in large format as that requires forethought and planning, although I have been using some medium format for when more spontaneous sessions present themselves. The moo cards would be brilliant in this respect as I often see charismatic people on the street that I’d love to photograph, but as yet I haven’t had the confidence to approach them. Having a small card with my details and a smaple of my work on it would boost my confidence and hopefully facilitate more work with people who I consider interesting.

I suppose both are ambitious tasks, but it’s helped to have to explain it here in this comment, as it has made it even clearer in my mind and has solidified my intentions to pursue both goals more strongly this year.

Personally, I voted for the_wolf_brigade because he identifies a couple of specific goals with his intent and plan of action. These are important aspects of any business plan, photography or not. There were several other good business plans in the project, and I wish everybody the best of luck with fulfilling those goals!

Help Support a Great Photojournalist and Friend

I’m a big fan of independent journalism and I have a great respect for the folks making it happen. One such person is Zoriah. I’ve mentioned him in the past (and also interviewed him) and I hope that some of you have picked up an interest in his work. This man is very much living a life dedicated to everyone but himself.


Zoriah travels to some of the most extreme locations and situations on earth, with the sole intent of documenting the events taking place. He is often alone in his travels and he covers stories that are too severe and/or non-profitable for mainstream media. He puts himself in situations that most of us would never hope to see with our own eyes.

And because of his ways, Zoriah is forced to support his own work without the aid of corporate media. His blog is a major outlet for the work he does basically in real-time, and it is supported by the audience that follows him. Recently, his financial support has been dropping and Zoriah has been forced to cut back on his blogging. Again, this is his main outlet for uncensored media coverage, and it would be a major disappointment to let it go.

I’m asking that each of you consider donating what you can to Zoriah’s cause. Epic Edits has over 5000 subscribers — if even half of us donated just $10, that would result in over $25,000 to support a true visionary. This amount of money would help to finance several more important stories that the world might otherwise not see. Please do consider helping out a friend.

And to end this post, here are a few of my favorite photos from Zoriah…









Again, please do consider supporting Zoriah’s work.

Book Review: Mothers and Children

Mothers and Children

Mom… probably one of the most important and meaningful relationships in many of our lives. And the bond that they share with their children is universally unbreakable. A new book from National Geographic, Mothers and Children, explores the various roles that mothers take on for the sake of their children. It also shows the numerous emotions and moments encountered between mother and child.

Read on for a brief description of the book, its contributors, and my own take on this captivating and uplifting publication.

Also, read on for a chance to win a free copy of the book.

Mothers and Children (ISBN 978-1426204258) can be purchased directly from National Geographic or through

DISCLAIMER: This is NOT a paid review, nor has it been reviewed or edited by the book’s author or publisher. The book was sent to me by the publisher free of charge. I am in no way affiliated with the book or the publisher of the book.

Siberia, Russia -- Maria Stenzel


Mothers and Children is a hard cover 6″x8″ publication with 120 pages containing 100 photos in both color and black & white. There are 8 chapters divided into two main categories: the facets of moms and kids, and geographic location. The facets category consists of chapters covering mothers and children at home, at work, and at play. The geographic chapters cover the north (Inuit & Northern European), south (Mexico, South America, & Australia), east (India, Japan, & China), and west (United States & Western Europe).

The photos in the book take us on a trip around the world while showing the many expressions and emotions of mothers and their children. The photos are divided amongst the chapters in a logical manner, making the book easy to follow. Most pages contain only a photo, a location, and the photographer’s name — making the book very visual and quick to digest. A few famous quotes are scattered about, and a couple of short stories can also be found in the book.

Rostock, Germany -- Gordon Gahan


Many of the photos in Mothers and Children are from National Geographic photographers in addition to other professional photographers. You’ll see images from the likes of Annie Griffiths Belt, Sam Abell, Jodi Cobb, Joel Sartore, and more.

The author of the book, Lynne Perri, is journalist-in-residence and a teacher on presidential election and visual strategies at American University. She brought the concept of the book together and she wrote the book’s introduction to set the mood. Writer Craig Wilson also shares a few stories and insights at the start of several chapters.

Valemount, British Columbia, Canada -- Chris Johns


Mothers and Children is a good little coffee table book. I like the fact that it’s hard bound — you know it will last and it sort of has that “photo album” feel in your hands. It’s fairly small compared to other books from National Geographic, but it can make for a short or a long read depending on how far you wish to immerse yourself in the photos. I found that a flip-through was enjoyable, and a deeper study of the photos was captivating and worthwhile.

This is a good one to have on the bookshelf or the coffee table, especially for those surrounded by a family. I think that mothers would appreciate the intent and gesture of the book, fathers will appreciate the mothers and wives, and kids always like to see photos of other kids. It might also make a good gift for an occassion such as Mother’s Day! At $15 or $16, the price is definitely right.

Mothers and Children (ISBN 978-1426204258) can be purchased directly from National Geographic or through


We’re going to run a little competition here in the comments, and 2 winners will receive a free copy of the book. To enter the contest, all you have to do is leave a comment with a link to a photo or leave the actual photo (or photos) using html — and please try to remember to keep them at around 240 pixels on the long edge.

The theme of the photo must be “Mothers and Children” — or just mothers… or just children… whatever you do, try to keep it somewhat on-topic. More than one is fine, but don’t flood the comments with a bajillion photos — pick a few good ones.

I’ll choose the winners in about one week from the publication of this review — so around April 2 or 3.

PhotoDump 03-01-2009

More great stuff from the Epic Edits Flickr Pool! This selection of photos is from those entered in the pool between 2/22 and 3/1.

Frozen FieldsThe smith's workshop and tools by Salvatore Falcone.nine. by Blessed Road Photographyyou and guitar by Victor BezrukovGraves' Awakening by Daniel Flanagan PhotographyFound on my walk: four shopping carts in a row by Blessed Road Photographyjust one black by dasarJust some soft shade and my oh so lovely model . . . by RussHeathjump by lifeography®Winter DocksOrgan by {Tasha}South Pier by gh patriotPer Thor, Swedish writer by Stefan TellAs You Sleep by toriclements365-054 by cyoungBilly The Kid by fromBrandonStingray by JonathanRobsonPhotography.comA Flower for My Mother by ((Kristin))

What’s Your Experience With Film Photography?

As many of you know, I’ve been addicted to film photography for about the last year. And maybe its just the crowd that I associate with, but it seems like more and more people are shooting film lately. Some are picking up their old film cameras for the first time in years. While others are brand new to film photography.

So where do you sit with film? I put a small set of answers in the poll below, so try to fit your own experience to one of the items listed. If your own situation is a bit unique, leave a comment and let us know!


Also, check out the results from the last poll titled “How Much of Your Work Do You Share?” The question was based around what percent of your photos actually end up online where other people can see them. I’m a bit surprised at how heavily the answers came out to one side of the spectrum.

Concert Photography Tips from a Newbie

Concert Photography

It’s always good to hear tips and techniques from seasoned photographers. But sometimes they forget about the “simple” things that beginners need to know, opting for more advanced topics. I had the opportunity to photograph a concert type of event for the first time in my photography career. Sure, I had read through the concert photography tips available on the web, but I still had to learn many things as I went.

On February 28, 2009 I ventured up to Hollywood for a little performance at the Whisky a Go Go. The main reason I went was because my pal Bryan was playing that night with his band, The Scarlet Paradigm. Playing right before them was Chico and the Sapphires, and they both totally rocked! Seriously, check out their pages and listen to their tunes. These guys are good. You can also see my Flickr sets for both The Scarlet Paradigm and Chico and the Sapphires.

Rather than offer up advice on the topic as if I actually knew it well, I offer up a few concert photography tips from a beginner’s perspective. Here’s what I learned in just a few minutes of shooting that night.


Chico and the Sapphires

Before you go photograph your first concert, read up on the tips and tricks articles out there on the web (I’ve got a list at the end of this article). Also be sure to scope the venue beforehand or at least talk to somebody that’s been there before. Find out if they’re photographer-friendly, if you need a special pass, if they allow flash, what kind of space you’ll have to work with, and what the lighting might be like. Showing up completely unprepared will only cause a lot of stress and ruin the evening.


The Scarlet Paradigm

I’ve seen this tip in just about every concert photography article out there — but for good reason! Concerts are generally dimly-lit and you need all the speed you can get your hands on. I brought my 50mm f/1.4 and my 105mm f/2.8 lenses. The f/2.8 wasn’t too bad, but the f/1.4 was noticeably faster. If you don’t have really fast glass, you can either borrow some from a friend or even rent one for the weekend. And if all else fails, just bring what you have and make do.


Chico and the Sapphires

Even if you use fast lenses, you’ll still have to crank the ISO to anywhere from ISO800 to ISO6400 (or higher). Using large apertures and high ISO values will allow you to shoot at faster shutter speeds. Depending on the performers, you might need something as fast as 1/250 seconds or faster to avoid motion blur. I ended up shooting 99% of my photos at ISO6400 and I got speeds anywhere from 1/6 seconds to 1/1500 seconds with a majority being in the neighborhood of 1/90 seconds to 1/500 seconds. And yet, probably half of my photos showed signs of motion blur (the bands were very lively).


Chico and the Sapphires

Lots of people go to see bands perform and local venues usually have limited floorspace. Everybody else is there to enjoy the performance, so don’t be that person with the giant backpack shoving your way through the crowd. You’ll have a hard time moving around and finding spots to shoot, plus you’ll be bumping up against everyone with your bag. Bring one or two camera bodies and one or two lenses total. You’re going to find good shots with whatever lens you bring and you don’t want to be changing gear every couple of minutes. So pack smart.


The Scarlet Paradigm

If you decide to shoot some film, just remember that you can push ASA400 film as far as ASA3200 without losing a ton of quality. Just do your research on which film/developer combos will allow you to do this. I shot a roll of Ilford HP5+ (ASA400) at ASA3200 and a roll of Ilford Delta3200 at ASA6400 by push developing with Rodinal.


The Scarlet Paradigm

It can feel a bit awkward to push your way in front of people then stand there with a camera in front of your face. But nobody is going to invite you right up to the stage so you can get a shot. Get in there, take a few shots, and move somewhere else. If you keep moving, you won’t tick many people off plus you’ll get a lot of different angles.


Chico and the Sapphires

When it comes time to process your photos, just don’t over-do it. The lighting will probably provide enough color and contrast to be interesting. Just do a couple things to recover highlights and shadows, reduce noise, and try to show what you actually saw. Converting to black and white is also a good option (due to the noise) and you’ll probably have more freedom with your tweaks. Plus you can sometimes get the noise to look like grain if you convert your colors correctly. And if you want to get into Photoshop for a little more creative control, check out these Concert Photography Photoshop Actions.


The Scarlet Paradigm

No matter what, be sure to enjoy yourself. The band you’re photographing is made up of artists like yourself. Artists like to have people enjoy their work — it makes them feel good inside. So pull the camera away from your face every once in a while and just enjoy it.


I know I didn’t cover every single tip and technique for concert photography, so here are a few other articles that dive into other aspects of it.

And if you have concert photography tips and/or example photos, drop a comment below! You’re a smart crowd and I always enjoy learning new things from the community.

PhotoDump 02-22-2009

More great stuff from the Epic Edits Flickr Pool! This selection of photos is from those entered in the pool between 2/15 and 2/22.

Snowsera @ The Metro by Tasha {Redwall Photo}At work by icemanukBloody by bassqeeSad and angry by NATEPERROFloating through time and space by reggiemateoL'ombrello by fotomaniac.itHands Behind My Head by JeezoPeezoSad Little Carousel by Brian Auer by ★ Mathias Pastwa ★Into The Berm by Steve CraneFerris Wheel on Navy Pier by puffclintyRetro Portrait of Retro Gifts by Brian AuerBlack and blond going to have a bath by LimonVerdekillyourtv by cmart84Big wheels keep on turning by AIA GUY..RwoodDam... That's a Lot of Water by Brian AuerShadowed [ 2009, Day 49] by Scott CoulterLast Light by Cayusagirl's got flare by lifeography™Bee Happy! by TyCWork Shoes by kerry okrabalance_#6 by ebreidyThe Visitor by bassqeeQuack Quack Quack by Brian AuerWatcha lookin' at by xqwzts...The Yellow Brick Road by Justin Kornyour love is the wind that blows my heart away by vandyll.netZebra Legs by udijwMunkmarsch harbour HDR by topfloorUn nouveau jour commence / A new day begins by Gino CaronRide Till It Sizzles by Steve CranePassenger Waiting by Maureen BondLost For A Little While by Colour Voidstop!  hamper time! by Shutter Daddygetting ready by poopooramaLast Fast Action Promos by Tasha {Redwall Photo}

Link Roundup 03-14-2009

I hope we all made it through the 2nd consecutive “Friday the 13th” this year! Here are your links — I skipped last week because I didn’t see a whole lot of noteworthy items. So this is from the last two weeks.

  • Photography 101.6 – Shutter
    digital Photography School
    Here’s a great overview of the shutter mechanism found in most cameras, including the mechanical operation and the effect it has on your photos.
  • New Camera and Lens
    Picture Blog by Richard Wong
    Check out this photo from Richard Wong. His batteries ran out while we were shooting Salton Sea so he hopped on my digital camera and fired off this masterpiece. Great photo!
  • Develop film with Coffee and Vitamin C
    Found Photography
    It doesn’t get much more DIY than this! I’m definitely going to give this a try!
  • Kinglake: One Month After Black Saturday
    Neil Creek
    Neil Creek had the opportunity to photography the Kinglake area in Southeastern Australia after the devastating wildfires. Check out his results!
  • Self Portrait Photography Tips
    digital Photography School
    Self portraits are probably more difficult than portraits of other people — here are some great tips and examples on the subject.
  • 12 Awesome Photography Business Card Ideas
    If you’re trying to make your way into the photography business, cards are a valuable tool. Here are some good ideas for getting creative with your business cards.
  • Amazing Roads Photos
    Genius Beauty
    Here’s a nice little inspiration piece for ya — roads!

Digital WakeUp Call Contest Winner

Last week I posted an announcement about David Ziser’s Digital WakeUp Call and a contest to go along with it. To enter the contest, all you had to do was post a photo (or link to a photo) in the comments that was taken using a portable flash. Well, the contest is over and our winner is getting a free pass to David’s instructional seminar.

This winning photo was submitted by Wellington Guzman and he used an SB800 to light the scene. It’s a cool photo and I really dig the elements contained within – colors, composition, subjects, etc. So Wellington will be attending the Digital WakeUp Call seminar nearest to him absolutely free.

For the rest of you, we still have a $20 discount available by using the promo code ZEEDWC09 when you register at the website. Be sure to sign up for the event near you before it’s too late!

Opposites Attract

Opposites Attract

Phill Price | 02/07/2009 | London | 135mm * f/2 * 1/3200s * ISO100
[See the Project Details] [See it at Flickr]

This photo is a joint effort between myself and Phill Price. He’s running an “Edit My Photo” project (see details here) and I decided to jump in. Over the last year or two, several of these projects have been hosted by various photography bloggers, including myself. If you want to view the results of these projects (all three of which I also participated in) you can visit: Brian Auer, Rich Legg, and Ryan Goodman. I think it would be cool if another blogger picked up the project in a few months!

OK, so on with the photo… I really struggled with this one. The original image is a bit on the minimalist side of things, so it was hard to get creative at first. Not a ton of colors to tweak, strong simple shapes and lines — I ended up getting quite frustrated that I couldn’t come up with something more unique. So I dug a little deeper and for some reason I had the notion to do a faked-in double-exposure type of thing. Now, this isn’t something I typically do (actually, I don’t know that I’ve ever done it with my photos), so I fumbled around with it for a while until I got something that looked interesting to me. Read below for more on my post processing.

Opposites Attract

    So here’s what I started with.
    I tried all sorts of things in Adobe Camera Raw, but I ended up settling on a toned black and white version of the image. I was fairly happy with the photo at this point, but I wanted to experiment a bit more.
    After getting the idea to create a double exposure I had to choose a photo… what a painful experience that was. I landed on one of my cross processed film photos from Venice Beach shot with my Diana+. From there, I just transformed the layer to fit the layout I wanted, set the opacity to about 40% and the blend mode to Overlay.

And the title? It seemed suiting considering that the two images used were about as opposite as humanly possible. Phill’s was simple, clean, geometric, shot in London, and with a digital camera equipped with nice glass. Mine was busy, messy, organic (that’s a hemp bikini for crying out loud!), shot in California’s Venice Beach, and with a film camera equipped with a crappy plastic lens. But hey, they look good together!