Monthly Archives: October 2009

Build Your Portfolio With Local Gigs

Love triangle
Creative Commons License photo credit: Pensiero

As a short extension to Christine Howell’s guest post, How to Become a Sports Photographer, I’d like to rehash a very important point she made. As she was talking about the importance of gaining experience, she stated “… you will be better off on the sidelines of your local high school baseball game than in the stands at the World Series.

But this concept of working local gigs to build a portfolio and work your way up is applicable to just about any type of assignment photography (and other types of paid photography). Here are just a few examples of using local and amateur events/jobs to get some experience.

SPORTS – As Christine mentioned, start shooting local games just for the experience. There are all sorts of local leagues just about everywhere you go.

CONCERTS – Similar to sporting events, there are a lot of local concerts and shows in most cities and urban areas. A show might cost you $10 or $15 to get into, but you’ll probably be able to get shots from any spot you choose (just make sure the venue is cool with cameras).

WEDDINGS – If you want to get into wedding photography, start off by hooking up with a wedding photographer and tagging along on a couple jobs as a backup photographer. As your comfort level rises, start taking on lower-budget weddings and working your way up as you become more sought after.

FINE ART – Start participating in local art shows, fairs, and contests. The most important thing is to get your work in front of people’s eyes, and you’ll be familiarizing yourself with the standards of the industry at the same time.

And as a comment in Christine’s article, Kevin Winzeler gave a great piece of advice for becoming a better sports photographer: “… getting experience in the sport you’re shooting; even at a small level.” Absolutely! This applies to other sides of photography too — shoot the things you enjoy doing yourself and it will show in your photos.

What are some other photography examples of working your way up from local/amateur to global/professional? (I suppose this applies to just about everything in photography, but let’s share some specific examples)

How to Become a Sports Photographer

The following guest post was contributed by Christine Howell who frequently writes about online photography schools and college related topics for Online College Guru, an online college directory and comparison website.


Ramon Nunez kicks
Creative Commons License photo credit: Jason Gulledge

If you are interested in photography, you may wish to specialize in a particular field, such as sports photography. Sports photography can be a very lucrative field, but just like professional sports, it’s not all fun and games. You will need to put in the work to become a professional sports photographer, and this article will help introduce you to the rewarding world of photographing professional sports.

1. Get the Right Equipment

Sports photography calls for different gear than other types of photography. The action can be explosively fast, and the shot can be over in fractions of a second, so you will need a camera with a continuous-focus servomotor to capture the athletes as they move closer and farther away from you without having to constantly refocus.

Also, it is necessary to have a continuous shutter function (burst), so you will have several photographs of the rapid-paced action from which to choose the best shot. 8 frames per second is the professional standard for continuous shutters.

Slam Dunk - college basketball
Creative Commons License photo credit: Abdullah AL-Naser

Try to also find a camera with the highest ISO settings that produce least amount of noise. Last but not least, a zoom lens or prime lens, preferably with the largest aperture you can find with IS.

2. Get Some Experience

Number 8
Creative Commons License photo credit: OskarN

Vantage point is more important than venue, so clearly you will be better off on the sidelines of your local high school baseball game than in the stands at the World Series. Start local and get a feel for your subject matter. Concentrate in a sport you understand, because then you can anticipate where the action will be. If you don’t quite “get” baseball strategy, you won’t be able to anticipate where the fielding team will choose to throw the ball or where the batter is likely to aim it. On the other hand, look for shots that are less obvious: an emotional reaction from the stands or from the bench might have more impact than a clean slam-dunk or a runner crossing home plate.

3. Plot Your Career

Arsenal v Liverpool
Creative Commons License photo credit: toksuede

Obviously Sports Illustrated isn’t going to be flying you to the Superbowl without a lot of experience under your belt. You will have to start small, local, and yes, probably free, to build up your portfolio. Volunteer to take some official photographs at a little league game or school match. Once you get some nice shots, you can pursue paying gigs, eventually working your way up to the big leagues. It is very worthwhile to subscribe to industry magazines for tips from established sports photographers, and registering on a website like will give you access to forums, contests, tips and a classified section to buy and sell equipment or advertise for jobs.

Motion Blur Frozen
Creative Commons License photo credit: Mariano Kamp

So there you have it. Each step will take an investment of time and a bit of money, but if you want to become a sports photographer, it will certainly be worth it to end up with an exciting career that pays well and is a lot of fun—what’s not to like?

PhotoDump 10-18-2009

More great stuff from the Epic Edits Flickr Pool! This selection of photos is from those entered in the pool between 9/26 and 10/18.

fan of the underground by sneuweger []Car in a CartTrillium Lake by dannottiwhite-gray-black by jk+too by the_wolf_brigadePaddle Faster, Gramps! by Rex Auerhot chocolate by the aliensTéléphone public / Public Phone by Gino Caronedu's double xpo by .f_}x{worked out by eclipse.chaserIn a city by rh89Engagement :: Cassie & Jimmy by Tasha {Redwall Photo}Rides at the FairDaniel by cabbitDay 322 by A RickmannDon't Look Down by the_wolf_brigadeSplashing Along On White by Mark Oehlerrevelados-202-5 by javiy2009-10-01_Canon EOS 5D Mark II_100-4717 by akhatertoo hip by {tribal} photography© Rex Lisman-ttw by Rex Lisman PhotographySarah by julia*wadeboy in souk by BadrSRiflessi di vita by fotomaniac.itKingston: Race for Hope by CharleneCollins.Jamaicasadness is filling me by ana.grTaj Burrow by envisionpublicidadSerie : "Mercados a cielo abierto" by portafolio fotográficotilting taxis by digitizedchaosDanbo Does His Homework by ((Kristin))Sunny by jk+toomoleman series: beaver street by digitizedchaosOcean Luminescence by peasapEndless Pain. by Simply Doc (away)Titletown Brewing Company by THEjdawgK by The Creative Controlbrutal lines by javiycounting fish by topfloorTea Time by robinn.

Link Roundup 10-24-2009

Shopping Carts on Film! (13 Photos)

I’m still a little burned out from our recent project, so here’s a fun little post. All shopping carts — all on film. Could there be a better combo? I think not.

And if you really want to see something cool, check out this short documentary titled “City of Lost Carts“. It’s about a guy who spent a lot of time photographing shopping carts on film.

And if you have some shopping cart photos of your own (film or digital), feel free to leave them in the comments below!

Means To An End, by Fanboy30
Means To An End, by Fanboy30

Car in a Cart, by Brian Auer
Car in a Cart, by Brian Auer

shopping cart, by caste_aka_adrem
shopping cart, by caste_aka_adrem

cart vs. ford f150, by Mick 0
cart vs. ford f150, by Mick 0

Trash scene taken by trash camera, by kevindooley
Trash scene taken by trash camera, by kevindooley

by moonpies for misfits
by moonpies for misfits

pas de deux, by suttonhoo
pas de deux, by suttonhoo

296 (waiting), by heather
296 (waiting), by heather

cartfrontation, by I, Timmy
cartfrontation, by I, Timmy

Recovered Shopping Cart, by kukkurovaca
Recovered Shopping Cart, by kukkurovaca

by nicoleramona
by nicoleramona

cvs cart, by nocklebeast
cvs cart, by nocklebeast

dino kart, by mugley
dino kart, by mugley

27 Ways to Edit John’s Photo

Here they are! 27 different artistic interpretations of the same photo. I’ll save my thoughts for the bottom of the page — for now, check out some of these project entries and enjoy! Click on the thumbnails below to see a larger version of the photo.


And here’s the original…

Photo by John Huson

For those not aware of the recent project, here’s a little background. A long while ago, we ran a similar project here on the blog titled “Edit My Photo“. I handed out an unprocessed photo to participants and they edited in any way they saw fit. Then I gathered up all the entries and posted them in one place.

This time around, I asked the readers of Epic Edits to submit a photo for the project. Then we all voted on our favorite, and we used that one as the starting point. John Huson was the photographer who submitted the winning image for the project. And after a month of handing out the photo and various other photographers working with it, here’s what we have.

I’m always shocked and amazed at how different each of the entries can be… and yet, I’m also amazed at how similar some things are. As you glance through the entries, you can see that the colors, crops, and compositions are widely varied. But you can also pick out some peculiar similarities such as the splitting of the subject at each end of the frame and the use of grungy colors to enhance the mood. And these similarities happened without the participants seeing the results from others. Really interesting stuff here.

All in all, another successful project here at Epic Edits. A big thanks to all the participants who put in the time and effort just for the sake of playing along with us. Be sure to check out the entries more closely — the thumbnails don’t do them justice.

Edit John’s Photo Project Entries

This is NOT the final results post for the project. These 5 photos are entries to the “Edit John’s Photo” project. These are only the folks who didn’t publish the photo to their own site or photostream, and I’m posting them here so I have something to link to in the final results article (to be posted soon).

Clara Harold

Clara Harold

Denis Seguin

Denis Seguin

Giles Atkinson

Giles Atkinson

Tasha Schalk

Tasha Schalk

John Huson

John Huson

Brainstorming On Our Next Project

I’d like to do projects here on the blog more often. I think they provide a good way to expand our creativity and knowledge. We’ve done a few over the years, and they’ve mostly been my own ideas. Here are all of the past projects (and mini-projects) we’ve done over the last 2.5 years.

This time, I want you guys to suggest projects. Anything goes at this point — let’s just do a little brainstorming to see what we come up with. If we get a few good ideas, we’ll refine them later.

Editing John’s Photo

Editing John's Photo
Copyright John Huson — Processed by Brian Auer — Used With Permission

The deadline for the “Edit John’s Photo” project is only a few days away, so if you’re planning on participating be sure to get your entry to me by the end of October 16th (that’s this Friday). I’ll be posting the final project results on the 19th as a thumbnail gallery linked out to the individual entries so everyone can explore the different takes on this photo. So far, we have 18 entries.

For my own entry, I didn’t do anything terribly difficult. I started off finding a crop that I liked. Then I processed the color image with ACR in a fairly mild manner with medium to low contrast, and pulled it into Photoshop. I opened the color image back up in ACR and converted to b/w, again with medium to low contrast, and again pulling it into Photoshop. I put the b/w layer on top of the color layer and set the blend mode to overlay at 100%. This got me close to what I wanted, but not quite. So I duplicated the b/w layer and set the blend mode to soft light.

What I was generally going for with the blends was a digital version of the bleach bypass process sometimes used in film photography/videography. A simple way to achieve bleach bypass with color negative film is to reduce the time in the bleach (hence the term bleach bypass) while carrying out the rest of the C41 process as normal. This leaves some of the silver in the emulsion along with the color dyes (the bleach strips the silver compounds that actually captured the latent image). So you end up with a color negative AND a black & white negative on the same emulsion. The result is a low saturation and high contrast image.

I have an exposed roll of medium format Ektar 100 I intend to do this with, but I haven’t had any luck getting it developed. Most C41 developers out there are push-button no-touchy, so they can’t just modify the bleaching step. If I ever find somebody with the right equipment (or just get my own C41 stuff), I’ll have to share the results from the roll and we can see how close the digital method comes to it.

(Flickr) Galleries of Iran

Last week, I reviewed David Burnett’s 44 Days: Iran and the Remaking of the World. At the end of the review, I mentioned that I had two copies to give away (courtesy National Geographic) and the books would be handed out as prizes in a mini-contest. The requirement was to curate a gallery of “Iran” using Flickr’s new feature. So here are the entries received, and the winners of the two books.

And for those who may have overlooked the contest, there’s always next time! Just remember that I usually try to give out a few free copies when I do book reviews.


These two galleries really caught my attention and the curators will be receiving a copy of 44 Days: Iran and the Remaking of the World. All of the galleries were outstanding, and I had a very tough time choosing only two winners. Ultimately, the two winners were chosen not only for the images, but because they conveyed a sense of enlightenment with respect to the subject.


John put together a brilliant display of images that showcase the amazing colors to be found in the various landscapes of Iran, and it was apparent that he was surprised to see the results of his own gallery.

Colors of Iran, by John Milleker


This gallery showed a great amount of thought and consideration from the_wolf_brigade, and it was quite clear that he was moved by the exercise.

Encased in my own ignorance, by the_wolf_brigade

So congrats to John and “the_wolf” for curating these two galleries — the books are in the mail, I hope you enjoy seeing David’s perspective of Iran!


These three galleries are by no means any less impressive than the others, and I’m quite impressed with the thought put into them. I’m sorry that I can’t give out more books to these folks, and I appreciate their participation.


Iran - Place, by Charles Conner


Architecture of Iran, by Jeremy Brooks


Iran in Black and White, by Sigmund

And again, my own gallery for the purpose of this project:


Faces of Iran