Tag Archives: gear

Shoot the Shot Workshop

5 Dec

One of our fabulous Photo Betties, Isabel March, is hosting a workshop on January 26th at her studio in Perkasie, PA. She’ll be covering tons of great topics including business, getting started, client meetings, branding, marketing, social media, creating a signature style and more! Space is limited so act fast! Here’s the 411:

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2011 Photographer’s Holiday Gift Guide

25 Nov

Last year it was a huge hit, so we’re back with the 2nd Photo Betties Holiday Gift Guide – filled with camera-inspired gifts for the holidays! We’ve got gift ideas for the tech-lover, the design-obsessed, the old-school film devotee, the iPhone shooter, the smaller-sized “assistant”, the sports / outdoors / fearless photographer, the crafty, the well-accessorized and many more…

Post it to your Facebook wall! Tweet it! Leave it open on family members’ browsers! (They’ll get the hint…)

The iPhone Telephoto Lens: 8x the view!

The iPhone SLR Mount: For realsies.

The Instant Camera iPhone Decal: Too cool for school.

Steadicam Smoothee for iPhone 4/4S: Video-a-go-go!

iPhone Artistry: Tips, techniques and inspiration

Vintage Camera Coaster Set: A Must for the Photographer/Hostess

Snap Frames: Print, Personalize & Post!

Vintage Camera Bags: The perfect accessory!

Polaroid Camera Poster: For those who do…

The Old School Camera Belt Buckle: A subtle fashion statement

Seat Belt Camera Straps: Buckle Up!

Twin Lens Reflex Pint Glasses: You know you want ’em…

My First “Camera” Baby Bib: Start ’em young

Alphabet City: An über hip bedtime story

“Assistant” Onesie: Too cute for words!

Polaroid Plush Camera: Instant fun!

Kids Ringer Camera T-Shirt: For the coolest kid on the block

Felt Camera with Photo Screen Kit: For you crafty types

iPad CF and SD Card Readers: For lighting-fast uploads!

Camera Dial Laptop Decal: Badge of honor

F-Stop Watch: What aperture is it?

360 Degree Spinner Camera: Capture it all!

The Happy Helmet Bike Camera Mount: The name says it all!

The Monsterpod: The hoverboard of tripods

Etre Touchy Gloves: Cute, cozy and practical!

BlackRapid Camera Straps: Way above average

Photojojo’s Rare Film Gift Pack: A real hard-to-find find!

Cigar Box Pinhole Polaroid Camera: One-of-a-kind

Paint Can Pinhole: A more affordable Pinhole Camera

Vintage NYC Photo Pendant Necklaces: Modern yet nostalgic

Classy Camera Flash Tie: The camera Weegee made famous

Antique Bronze Camera Ring: Adjustable cuteness!

Camera Cufflinks: Wear with pride!

Classic Luggage Style Camera Straps: Upcycled & Vegan Friendly

Modern Camera Stamp: Make an impression

Retro Camera Pencil Sharpener: Coolest in its class

Vogue, The Covers: Over 300 stylish photos

Camera Scarf: An ICP exclusive

The Ray Flash Ringflash Adapter: An affordable ring-flash add-on

This is only a small sampling of fun stuff we came across – if you have more gift ideas, please share them in the comments section!

And don’t be shy… tell us which one’s your favorite!

Portraits and Making Your Subjects at Ease

15 Sep

Anyone who’s every shot a portrait – professional or novice – knows that a comfortable subject makes for much more natural photos. Putting people at ease takes practice and good people skills (a sense of humor doesn’t hurt either!). Add on top of that getting inspired, capturing the style or type of shots they have in mind, working with the light and environment around you… there’s a lot to juggle. Here are a few starters to help get them – and you – relaxed and ready to capture some magical moments:

1. Set it Up

Talk to your clients before the session. Get to know them. Make decisions together about locations they like and even the style of images that gets them excited. Offer ideas about what to wear. Emphasize choosing clothes and accessories that show off their individual personality – and make them feel like a million bucks.

2. Be Prepared

It’s a no brainer, but still the most important part of the session. Know your gear well, think about the session in advance, have a plan for poses and settings that will make for great shots. A good photographer is constantly learning and growing. Never let your skills get stale!

3. Sweat the Details

Get your gear in order. Lenses cleaned, batteries charged, cards formatted, reflectors and props packed (and whatever else you’ve got in mind for the shoot). You’ll be like a well-oiled machine with nothing incidental to distract you.

4. Relax and Have Fun

When you’re feeling good and exuding confidence, your clients will sense it and know they can trust you, your skills and your creativity. If you’re feeling a bit nervous in advance (which is totally normal!) set the mood on your way there with a song that gets you positive and pumped!

5. Start the conversation

Get to know them. Ask questions and learn about what makes them tick. Take any great trips lately? What’s your favorite restaurant? How about them Phillies? Most importantly, be yourself. Get to know them like you would at a party – not like it’s an interview. Great conversation can help their mind wander, get them to relax and even lead to some fun expressions!

6. Give them a Sneak Peek

Being in front of the lens when you’re camera shy can make you feel vulnerable. When I start a portrait session and notice any anxiety, hesitation or awkwardness, I’ll often show the couple (or kids or family) a frame or two on the back of my camera to get them excited and show them how great they look.

7. Master your Poker Face

If you’re not in love with a shot – the composition, lighting, expression, anything – don’t give it away. Keep smiling. Set the tone. Adjust, move, give direction; do whatever you need to in order improve the shot – but don’t let it stress you out. Stay fluid and keep shooting. That amazing shot could be your next one!

8. Be intuitive

– Don’t get so wrapped up in the aperture, light, composition or lens choice that you aren’t in tune to your subject and their expression, body language or comfort level.

– If they’re shy or hands-off, don’t get in their personal space. Instead provide clear direction and helpful tips. Show them with your own body, what you have in mind. If there’s a stray hair out of place, or a strap or tag showing, be polite and ask permission to adjust it, or ask them to fix it themselves.

– Gauge their comfort level and choose poses accordingly. Personally I like to start with something natural and move around my subjects, giving them little tips if needed, and only occasionally. Eventually they start to ignore me, relax and not think so much about what they’re doing, how they are smiling, etc.

9. Share your Enthusiasm

Every photographer I have ever met is absolutely head over heels in love with what they do. You are too, am I right? So while you’re shooting, share your enthusiasm and love for photography! Let your subjects know what amazing light you’re seeing or the fact that you love the bright green wall across the street. It’s contagious and they’ll get excited too!

Do you have great tips or advice on portraits and getting your subjects comfortable? Add a comment and share!

PDN & WPPI Team Up

10 Aug

Fall’s just around the corner, and that means the PhotoPlus International Conference + Expo will be here in no time! This year we’re in for something completely new: PDN and WPPI are joining forces with an entire expo dedicated to wedding and portrait photography, with over 100 educational seminars and hands-on labs to expand your expertise.

WPPI NYC will take place at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City, and registered WPPI NYC attendees will also have full access to attend the PhotoPlus Expo tradeshow (and vice versa). Pre-registration to attend all WPPI NYC classes, the WPPI NYC tradeshow and PhotoPlus Expo tradeshow is $99. On-site registration will be $150.

Check out the long list of exhibitors and the seminar schedule to see what’s in store. And if you’re interested in classes, sign up soon as they full quickly.

Tech Tuesday: A Day at the Beach

9 Aug

Summertime means beachy weddings, portraits and if you’re lucky, a sunny vacation too. Along with the cool ocean breeze, however, comes humidity, sand and other hazards that can wreak havoc on your gear. Here’s some tips to be smart, safe and prepared for your next seaside jaunt:

Be Minimalist

If you have to change lenses, batteries or memory cards on the beach, do so with extreme caution and as few times as possible to prevent dust, salt or debris from getting into your gear.

Shoot Smart

– Keep as far away as possible from water (to avoid splashing) and be mindful of people around you who could accidentally kick-up sand or water in your direction.

– Shorten your camera straps(s); if you shoot with two bodies and kneel down to take a shot, you don’t want your second body grazing, or dipping, into the sand.

– Be aware of your terrain (dunes, dips, etc.) and be careful of flip-flops which can kick sand up, and possibly into, your gear.

– When not in use, keep your camera out of direct sunlight.

– Avoid placing your bag on the ground and don’t leave it open. In the past when I couldn’t hold my bag (for example while lying in the sand or shooting in the water) I asked someone out of frame to hold it, or placed the bag, in its rain cover, on the center of a large reflecting panel to keep the sand as far away as possible.

Keep It Clean

– If you get your hands wet in the ocean, rinse them with fresh water and dry well to prevent salt from getting onto, or into your camera.

– Applying sunscreen and insect repellent will likely be a necessity. Afterwards be sure to clean your hands well to protect your camera from oil and chemicals. Keep a travel-size pack of baby wipes in your bag as back-up.

Helpful Gear & Accessories

– Carry a camera bag that keeps your gear easily accessible and comes with a rain cover for extra protection when the wind kicks up.

– UV filters are a no-brainer for some, although I’ve actually had a camera store rep (who will remain nameless) tell me that they’re a waste. From an image quality standpoint, they absorb ultraviolet rays from the sun to help your photos come out looking clearer and more natural. True, you don’t need them, but when you’re battling sand, grit and air-borne salt, $40 for a filter beats hundreds for a new lens.

– Rain covers, like Kata’s Elements Cover, are ideal for a windy beach, steady downpour or heavy snow.

– Cases or skins, like those made by Camera Armor, are “rugged, lightweight skins, molded from specially-engineered silicone that fit your camera like a glove [and] help protect…from everyday bumps, abrasion, dust and fingerprints. [They] allow full access to all controls, compartments and ports.” Covers are available for Canon, Fuji, Nikon, Olympus, Pentax and Sony dSLRs (as well as lenses, battery grips and more).

Underwater dSLR Camera Housings are quite obviously, for submersion, and require an investment of a few thousand dollars. If you’re planning an underwater session (or want some cool partially-submerged shots) this is great addition to your kit.

Other Things to Bring

– A cleaning kit for post-beach shooting, which includes microfiber cloth, dust blower and soft brushes to help get rid of all the exterior sand and debris – and prevent it from getting inside. Take the time to clean your gear thoroughly before opening compartments or removing the lens. And beware the spray can of air, which accoring the Gadgetwise is “a little too forceful” and “could cause sand and dirt to scratch the camera’s lens… [as well as] blow sand particles further inside the camera through seams, dials, buttons, [the] LCD screen or other places where parts are joined together.”

– Toss a few Silica Gel Packs (you know – like the ones in shoes boxes) into your bag to prevent moisture from building up.

– Quart- and gallon-size freezer grade plastic bags are great to store lenses and bodies, protecting from dust/sand/water. They can be used to avoid condensation build-up in your camera (more on that a bit later). I’m a big fan of this style of Hefty bags which have a zip-lock top that’s quick and secure, for me extra peace of mind and less fiddling. I always keep a few of each size in my bag just in case. And this leads me to the very last tip…

Beware Condensation

Condensation is when water forms “on surfaces that are significantly colder or warmer than the air surrounding it.” So, if you change between a very cold, air conditioned environment, to a hot and humid one (or vide versa), there’s a danger that moisture will cause condensation to form inside of your camera. It’s apparent through your viewfinder since your lens fogs, and your images likewise are foggy and unclear. But more importantly, this can affect or damage your camera’s sensor and electronic functions. It’s scary – and can be avoided.

In a perfect world, you’ll want to take the time to warm your camera up naturally and slowly. Here’s how:

1. Place the camera and attached lens inside a gallon-size freezer bag, removing as much air as possible, and seal tightly.
2. Transition from cold to warm (or warm to cold) in as many stages as possible.
3. Condensation will form on the bag’s exterior (instead of the camera) as the air and camera gradually equalize to the new environment. Wait until the camera feels temperate, and be sure to wipe-off moisture on the bag’s exterior, before removing.

There you have it. Tips, gear and random extras to arm you against whatever the beach throws your way. If you have additional ideas please leave a comment. Happy Summer Shooting!

2011 WPPI Road Trip

16 Jun

If you weren’t able to attend WPPI in Las Vegas this year – fear not! The WPPI Road Trip is almost here – and tickets went on sale yesterday! Registration is $159 for the all-day event, and you can bring a guest for just $89. You’ll also receive FREE 2012 WPPI registration (which is a pretty amazing bonus!), lunch and access to the mini tradeshow.

They’ll be hitting 8 cities across the USA including our home base – Philly! Here’s the full list:

• Long Beach, CA – August 8
• San Jose, CA – August 10
• Columbus, OH – August 15
• Chicago, IL – August 17
• Philadelphia, PA – August 22
• Boston, MA – August 25
• Austin, TX – September 19
• New Orleans, LA – September 22

Right now the full list of events and classes hasn’t been posted, but we do know that it will be “jam-packed with informative and inspiring topics covering the ins and outs of photography, especially tailored for professional wedding and portrait photographers.”

Attendees will have access to a full day of educational classes featuring marketing, lighting, posing, shooting and postproduction. It’ll also be a great place for networking… Sponsors include Adobe, WHCC, Zenfolio, Adorama, Pictage, Black River Imaging, GraphiStudio, Simply Canvas, Animoto and more!

Take a break this summer and get inspired!

Tech Tuesday: iPhone App Love

26 Apr

Aside from my gear – the most helpful tool I have with me is my iPhone. And I’m constantly searching for helpful apps that will make me do my job better, smarter and more efficiently.

The problem is when you google “photography app” you get all kinds of fun, iPhone camera specific stuff like Hipstamatic or Instagram, and tools to tweak or edit your iPhone photos, but there’s very little out there that’s geared towards professional photographers. So… I thought I’d share my list of favorites to start a conversation. And if anyone out there has more – please comment and share the love!

Sunrise Sunset Lite: FREE!*

Great for when a client has me on the phone and wants to schedule a portrait 7 months from now. I can quickly search the location and date and viola! I know when sunrise and sunset will be – in less than a minute. Then I can pick the perfect time so I know I have lovely light.

Pocket Scout Lite: FREE!*

No more emailing iPhone pics with addresses to remember a great spot. Pocket Scout to the rescue! This wünderkind lets you snap a photo and automatically grabs a GPS location and street address, lets you enter a name/title, add notes, share with ease, and even gives you directions back when you’re ready to visit.

The only thing I wish it had was a map view of locations closest to where I am (rather than a line list of each). Still, a great resource and tool!

Dragon Dictation: FREE!

Press. Speak. Send.

That’s the simple tagline for Dragon Dictation and it’s spot on! I find this voice-to-text tool incredibly helpful for car rides when inspiration hits, or at a wedding when I want to remember specific details like the story behind the bride’s dress or the best man’s witty joke.

There sometimes are slight errors – punctuation drops out for me at times – so make sure to proof before copy/pasting. You can also push to Twitter, Facebook, email and SMS.

TeuxDeux: $2.99

If you haven’t read it, The Design of Everyday Things is an amazing book, about how you experience and interact with, well, everyday things – and why we naturally like those that are better designed; they feel right and make sense.

This is why I love TeuxDeux.

Smart design, intuitive interface and simple function. It actually makes me excited to view my lists and start knockin’ things out. I tried other apps that were OK, but this one is just so lovely!

TripAdvisor: FREE!

OK, so it’s a travel app, not really a photography-focused app, but it’s fantastic. User-generated reviews about restaurants, hotels, sights, anywhere you want to go.

Booking a hotel for a gig that’s overnight, but aren’t sure which mid-range hotel kayak.com served up is best? Want to stop for a bite or coffee before a session but don’t know the area well? Trip advisor’s got your back.

Worldwide reach. 28 languages. Real reviews, photos and ratings. Need I say more?


*Upgraded paid and/or pro versions available with more fancy features

What are your favorite apps? iPhone, Blackberry, Droid… don’t be shy! And if you have some cool ideas to share that are Tech Tuesday worthy, give us a shout! Email info@phillyphotobetties.com and send us details. We’d love to hear from you!

Tech Tuesday: Memory Card TLC

5 Apr

Fancy lenses, flash accessories and the latest dSLR aside, the most important thing in your bag is your memory cards. You probably realize this – but are you treating those little guys the way they deserve to be treated? Here’s some tips and information you may not have known… to help you keep ’em safe and cared for:

Don’t skimp.

Go with a reliable manufacturer (SanDisk, Lexar, etc.) and choose the best card you can afford. When I say “best” I’m purposely being vague; the right card will vary based on your personal needs. Research, figure out your budget and ask a professional at your camera shop which is best for you.

(This can be an entire post in itself – so if you’re interested in learning more about specifics a few good places to start are here and here.)

Find the perfect fit:

A few big cards? Or several smaller ones? You’ll find photographers split on this one – but personally I feel I’d rather have several back-up cards and switch more often – and not put all my eggs in one basket. Using smaller cards lets you spread out your photos and reduce the probability that you’ll lose them all at once. Heaven. Forbid.

Label ’em:

Number and date your cards – for several good reasons. To help keep track of them, to know which cards have been used and which cards are empty while shooting, and to know how old they are. If you already have a bunch in your bag, find a taxonomy that works for you. It could be largest to smallest, fastest to slowest, ROYGBIV… whatever make sense for you.

I shoot primarily weddings, so I began numbering with the smaller, slower cards that are “safe” for getting ready, then followed with the larger, faster cards. I know I’ll want those later in the day for quick bursts and lots of action – and when I won’t want to worry about how many shots I have left, or switching cards.

Protect ’em:

Lightware's Compact Flash Media Wallet (in Raspberry Pink)

We’ve all thrown our memory cards in a pocket or bag once or twice when rushing, but they are super sensitive and easy to lose… so be careful!

Keep them dry and clean, away from extreme temperatures or electro/magnetic currents (this includes magnetic enclosures for purses/bags) and don’t ever drop, crush or bend them. Although those plastic holders that come with the cards offer an extra layer of protection – when you’re going through a dozen or so cards – they aren’t realistic. Pick up a protective wallet (or two) to keep track of and protect them.

Many manufacturers now have fine-tuned cards which now work in extreme temperatures and survive dirt, dust, and even submersion in water. SanDisk even has a video on their site showing how their cards pass the “Stomp Test”, where a dozen eager, energetic middle school kids go to TOWN on a half dozen cards. If you invest the money and trust in those – awesome. But being careful couldn’t hurt, right?

Stick to a plan:

Have a method when you gear-up, during your shoot and once you get back to your studio. Have a simple set of steps – and stick to it.

Format beforehand:

Always format your cards before you begin shooting to save time. This will wipe any data, images and file names – and prevent accidentally shooting with old photos on the card – and therefore less room for you to shoot. Also, it will just make life easier and leave one less thing to remember, so you can focus on capturing amazing images.

Don’t fill up:

Don’t shoot every last frame available on the card. Leave room for a few shots as some cards can run into issues when they are completely full. Some photographers only fill them halfway, I’ve heard of others who split portions of the wedding day or session over multiple cards to serve as a safety net, this way they have some images if a card goes bad.

Turn off your camera:

Don’t forget to shut off your camera before removing the card, and wait a second or two as a precaution. This avoids ‘voltage shock’ when removing it – which is less common but still a possibility. (Lexar recommends you “count to 5 before turning the power off. This will ensure the camera has finished writing to the card – especially large files – and helps avoid possible corruption.”)

Also – be sure to keep charged batteries in your body; don’t let it run all the way down, which could result in the camera turning off while buffering.

Heed the warning signs:

If an image preview is damaged, your camera gives you an error message related to your card, or things just don’t seem right, stop using the card and switch to a new one. Everything might be fine, but there’s a chance the card is corrupt and not recording your shots, or that you are overwriting existing files.

Have a Back-up Plan:

Lexar® Image Rescue® 4 Software


Obviously, as safe as we are, stuff happens. And when it does, you can be prepared with recovery software. Each manufacturer has their own, and includes information in your memory card packaging.

Just remember that if you have an issue – be it an error, accidentally formatting the card, whatever – stop shooting and stay calm. Your photos might be fine. If you continue shooting, the images that you capture will override the files already on the card. Remove it from the camera and run your recovery software on it to retrieve the images.

Check Out Skip’s Summer School

31 Mar

By Heather O’Mara

Last March I woefully knew I had missed the bus on WPPI. Come May, I needed something that offered great speakers and resources at my fingertips. Something where I could get a jumpstart and find out what I was really doing right, or really doing wrong.

Then it happened – I got an email about “summer school” – Skips’ Summer School – being held in August in Las Vegas. The description, covering a wide range of photography topics such as weddings, portraiture, portfolio creation, lighting, business tips and more, was completely appealing. It was exactly was I was looking for and so much more. At the time, I did not realize the positive impact it would have on my creativity, my business and future planning.

When I returned, my head was spinning. It was very intense; back-to-back presentations beginning at 8am and concluding at 5pm. In fact, Tuesday, we came back from 6am to 8pm. Yes, intense.

So what was it that I found so uplifting, so life changing, that made me a better Heather O’Mara? Okay, maybe that’s laying it on a little thick. But here are a few highlights from some names you may recognize…

Dane Sanders

He opened it up at 8:00am – easy for east coasters. Touching on so many things, giving us a glimpse of himself and how he launched his business. He identified with so many of us in the audience, reviewing blogs for inspiration and reading additional education pieces to hone our skills. He also mentioned those late nights, when we are reading other photographers blogs with our glass off wine thinking “These people are so darn good, my images stink.” His advice? Stop, stop, stop!

Kevin Kubota

Loved him. He had such a warm, approachable energy. What struck me was how he shared his personal self-doubt (what?!) about the quality of his work. One day he said to himself, if these people can be published in a magazine with their work, “Why not me?” This is a question we need to ask ourselves. He also delivered us homework, projects that I still continue to work on, because they are not easy.

Joe Buissink

I do not know where to start with how wonderful I thought his presentation was. He spoke from to heart. For a man that has photographed the weddings of Jessica Simpson, Jennifer Lopez and Jennie Garth – and so beautifully – he is modest. What struck me most was how he described his thought process during a wedding, which paralleled mine. Now granted, I am NO Buissink, but hey, it did make we want to buy his book. Additionally, he also added approaches to fine-tune ways to get your couples to emote.

Cliff Mautner

I loved hearing his discussion on light. Not just on shooting, but his differing observations on television as well. After bringing up the topic of Lighting used in “Mad Men,” I was hooked. As he spoke about lighting for weddings, he discussed embracing lighting and not shying away, and I have done this ever since.

Jasmine Star

I will admit it, I was a little skeptical of listening to her speak, but honestly, I am glad I had the opportunity. She had so much to share and I was able to take a great bit away.

There were other great speakers regarding business management, marketing and shooting portraits, a limited collection of outstanding vendors, and a lighting lab – an opportunity between breaks to work with Tony Corbell in hands-on demonstrations with lighting setups. I was also able to meet photographers from all over the country, which was a nice way to make contacts. This experience for me was priceless and I highly recommend it.

Interested in attending? Skip’s Summer School 2011 is set for July 31- August 3, 2011 at the MGM in Las Vegas. There is a great line up of speakers with even more hands-on training this year. So, take the time off this summer and head to the desert. You are worth the investment and your business will thank you!

Here’s a promo to give you a taste:

Skip’s Summer School from Clay Blackmore on Vimeo.

Tech Tuesday: Pinhole Photography

22 Mar

I created my first pinhole camera back in college; taping-up an old shoebox to make it light-proof, positioning the precious piece of Ilford paper in the dark, going back and forth from the lab to the street outside countless times, and developing until I got just the right exposure. Lots of trial and error – and so much work for one photo. I guess that’s what made the final, perfect print so rewarding. And what made me fall in love with vignetting… ahhh, vignetting.

And so, it’s that mystique, that nostalgia, that carefree feeling that pinhole evokes, which has inspired today’s Tech Tuesday post.

In today’s world of dSLR, you don’t necessarily need to resort to such primordial tactics to achieve the effect. There’s actions and presets, as well as special lenses and attachments like this one from Lensbaby, that create the look and feel. You can save time and buy all kinds of premade (and super cool) pinhole cameras that are ready to use, and you can convert your dSLR body cap into a pinhole lens with the help of a do-it-youself video tutorial. But, rather than go into specifics, or share tips on creating your own pinhole, we’re going to go in another direction…

While many of us talk about the next new lens or flash we would love to get, other photographers are keeping it simple and making their name with good-old pinhole. Some are also using inventive methods and techniques to create their own personal style:

Sheila Bocchine

An artistic direction that began with a dare from a friend, Sheila has worked for years to fine-tune her technique as well as to market her unique style to clients. Often hailed as “the only known pinhole portrait photographer in the world” – she encourages her subjects to move, which may seem counter to this slow process.

In a recent interview Sheila shared her personal attraction to motion and pinhole: “For me, the best portraits are a combination of stillness and movement – that way you get to see what’s happening in the real world. The world doesn’t sit still so why should my images?”

I love her advice for photographers exploring and experimenting with their craft: “Don’t listen to anybody. If you want to do it, then do it. As soon as you start listening to people telling you that you can’t do something, you start to believe it. I can do whatever I want. If it doesn’t work then it doesn’t work, but I have every right to give it a go.”

Amen, sister.

Chris Keeney

Chris is so dedicated to pinhole that he’s created an entire section of his website devoted to sharing inspiration and resources; it’s “a complete all-in-one internet resource that offers information for the beginner, amateur and professional pinhole photographer.”

There you’ll find an impressive list of places to learn about and create pinhole images, as well as a monthly feature on a photographer (they hail from all over the world) who has done amazing things with the technique.

His take on pinhole is inspiring and beautiful: “It’s similar to growing orchids, once you start doing it and realize how rewarding it is, the more you want to do it. The joy of making your own camera, then creating an image with just a tiny pinhole and some light sensitive material, seems like magic every time you do it.”

Abelardo Morell

This final pinhole photographer does things a bit differently – he’s famous for essentially turning entire rooms into pinhole cameras through a technique called “Camera Obscura.” This is done by covering all the windows in the room with black plastic to achieve total darkness. Next he creates a small hole in the material which allows the light from outside (and the view) to project onto the parallel wall of the room. The image is then captured by a digital camera.

Morell started with this method at home in 1991. In a blog post last year he spoke about how the project has evolved; “Over time, this project has taken me from my living room to all sorts of interiors around the world. One of the satisfactions I get from making this imagery comes from my seeing the weird and yet natural marriage of the inside and outside.”

His first exposures taken a decade ago were 5-10 hours long. But now he says, “I have also been able to shorten my exposures considerably thanks to digital technology, which in turn makes it possible to capture more momentary light. I love the increased sense of reality that the outdoor has in these new works. The marriage of the outside and the inside is now made up of more equal partners.”

Back to Basics

I’ll leave you with a few words from Adrian at foundphotography.com, from a post he wrote regarding pinhole photography (and Abelardo Morell):

Whether or not we embrace technology, I think all of us have experienced some degree of techno burnout… It wears us out, and sometimes interferes with our creativity. My camera doesn’t need to be a computer. It doesn’t need a phone attached to it. It doesn’t need megapixels. It doesn’t need optical zoom, unlimited settings, and a 209 page operating manual. In fact, it doesn’t even need a battery, a lens, or film. I am tired of fighting with a machine that thinks it knows what I am trying to do better than I do. The camera isn’t taking the photo, I am, and I want the control back.

"One of the first photos taken with my newly modified Pentax" -Adrian

I need to get back to basics. I miss the sound of the shutter release. I miss turning the crank to advance the film. I miss turning the lens to bring the subject in and out of focus. I miss the darkroom. So, this weekend I stripped it all away and built myself a pinhole camera. All it took was black electrical tape, some black matte board, a needle, and a Pepsi can. Maybe it isn’t the most practical thing, but it sure feels good to free myself from technology, if just for a little while.”

Did I mention Adrian created a pinhole camera from Legos? Awesome.

(An extra special thank you to my friend Matt for rekindling my passion for pinhole and inspiring this Tech Tuesday post!)