Tag Archives: travel

A Lovely Workshop 2012

27 Apr

If you love film, or beautiful, whimsical images, you’ve likely heard of Elizabeth Messina or her super sweet blog, Kiss the Groom. Her work is ethereal, adorned with lovely light and has a truly distinctive, feminine flair. I’ve had the pleasure of hearing her speak at WPPI, and her personality, kindness and down-to-earth nature match her work to a “t”.

Elizabeth just recently announced that registration for her “A Lovely Workshop” is open – and it’s coming to the East Coast, right in our backyard actually! The 800-acre farm is just outside of Philadelphia, where “we will explore the country side & the many acres of the beautiful farm, home to 100’s of horses.” The three-day event is being held on July 10-12th, with a welcome gathering on the 9th, and includes a long list of impressive collaborators, including Abby Larson of Style Me Pretty, Leah MacDonald of Waxworks (who you may remember from our meeting in 2011!), Shira Savada of Martha Stewart Weddings, Claire Pettibone of Twigs & Honey, Adrienne Page of Velvet Raptor and Wiley Valentine.

Shoots are scheduled each day where Elizabeth will educate and inspire attendees on light, branding, marketing and getting published, connecting with your clients, booking destination weddings, expanding your business and much more. There’s also tons of goodies, including a signed copy of her new book, The Luminous Portrait.

Check out the website for details, investment and specifics. And if you’re interested, don’t wait! Registration is limited to 20 students!


Conferences, Tradeshows, Conventions, Oh My!

3 Oct

Unless you’re shooting in some deliciously warm and perpetually sunny locale, chances are the late autumn and winter months are when you rest, recharge and revamp. It’s also a perfect time to invest in a conference to get inspired, learn some new tricks and techniques, see what kinds of cool products and gadgets are out there, and meet other wonderful photogs like yourself! Here’s our abbreviated list of conferences coming up; some are geared towards wedding and portrait photographers, but we also threw in a few others for those who want to explore outside their comfort zone.


PDN & WPPI PhotoPlus

October 27-29, 2011 | NY, NY
“Get ready for the hottest industry event for photographers and image-makers, PhotoPlus International Conference + Expo, brought to you by PDN. It’s the only place where you have infinite access to emerging technology, trends and talent while test driving new imaging tools, discovering creative solutions and expanding your network. And this year PDN and WPPI are joining forces in New York City to roll out WPPI NYC, an entire expo dedicated to wedding and portrait photography, making PhotoPlus Expo even better. Choose from over 115 educational seminars and hands-on labs to expand your expertise. Come be informed and entertained, leave inspired.” (c/o website)

Her Photography Conference

November 1-3, 2011 | Grand Rapids, MI

“Be a part of the ONLY boutique women’s photography conference! With a limited number of attendees, HER PHOTOGRAPHY CONFERENCE provides a boutique atmosphere that facilitates empowering relationships for female photographers as well as the opportunity to spend time with the photography industry’s elite professionals. If you are a woman, a photographer, and you have a strong desire to grow your business and build empowering relationships with other female business owners then this is the conference for you! Our hope is that you walk away from this conference inspired, motivated and ready to take your business to the next level!” (c/o website)

The Foundation Conference

November 7-8, 2011 | New Orleans, LA
“Foundation Conference 2009 was an incredible opportunity to connect with old friends, make new friends, and hear from some of the world’s best documentary style photographers in one place! Egos were left aside, as teaching and learning flowed from speaker to audience and back to the speaker. It was a wonderful environment to push the boundaries of creativity, to critique and be mentored, and to be introduced to new ways of seeing. It is safe to say that there is no other photography conference like FC, and I can’t wait to go to the next one!” – Kate (c/o website)


Digital Wedding Forum

January 15-18, 2012 | New Orleans, LA

“It’s Friday afternoon and I’m still sitting at the hotel bar reminiscing about the weeks events. I had the best week at DWF to date! Not only were the speakers fabulous… but everyone really opened up and shared a bit about themselves and their passions…. usually at the bar at 2:30am. Looking forward to seeing you all in New Orleans! – buttermedia” (c/o website)

Imaging USA

January 15-17, 2012 | New Orleans, LA
“At Imaging USA, you’ll find just what you need to breathe life into your photographic dreams—no matter where you are in your business! Art and business education, inspiration and great trade show deals await both established professionals and newcomers to the professional photo industry. It’s the convention and expo that was created with your needs in mind, so what are you waiting for? Register Today.” (c/o website)

Senior Photographers International

January 24-27, 2012 | Buena Vista, FL
“Senior Photographers International Inc., is an organization of professional photographers specializing in High School Senior Portraits. We are dedicated to bringing the best in photography and business practices to our members. The organization was founded on the principle of photographers sharing information with one another. We remain committed to that philosophy. All newsletter articles and convention programs pertain specifically to the subject of senior photography.” (c/o website)

PhotoPro Network

February 2-5, 2012 | Covington, KY
“4 Full Days! 10 World Class Speakers! 1 Fantastic Opportunity! PhotoPro Expo 2012 is shaping up to be one of the top 2012 photography conventions nationwide! The anticipated speaker line up will blow you away!” (c/o website)


February 16-23, 2012 | Las Vegas, NV

“Last year, WPPI attracted over 16,000 attendees. This year, we are expecting WPPI to be the biggest and best event in our history. With an all-star speaker lineup and a diverse and unparalleled menu of special events, WPPI 2012 is primed for another banner year. Winning programs like WPPI Plus, Photographers Ignite and the Awards Night extravaganza, as well as helpful features like Pre-Board, will make WPPI 2012 our best show ever. And don’t forget about the amazing WPPI Trade Show, where you’ll find the best deals anywhere. We’ll see you in February!” (c/o website)

Society for Photographic Education

March 22-25, 2012 | San Francisco, CA
Intimacy and Voyeurism: The Public / Private Divide in Photography
“Photography’s relationship with intimacy and voyeurism is as old as the medium itself. From its inception photographs have been used to sustain, affirm, or remember loved ones, expressing intimate and profound connections between people. At the same time photography has offered voyeuristic pleasure, allowing the viewer to see without being seen, to take visual pleasure without risk to oneself. Rarely can photographs themselves be clearly divided into one or the other of these categories. Images become voyeuristic or intimate based on context, societal expectations and interpretations.” (c/o website)

Photoshop World

March 24-26, 2012 | Washington DC

“Most photography conferences consist mainly of one huge photography Expo with some peripheral classes on the side that require pre-registration. Photoshop World is almost the opposite. Here’s you’ll find an enormous line-up of Photoshop and photography classes on subjects ranging from portrait to outdoor photography and more that require no pre-registration (you can come and go in between classes as you please) in addition to a huge expo floor with even more bonus classes. If there’s one thing Photoshop World can guarantee, it’s that you will come away reeling with knowledge and inspiration after three short days.” (c/o website)

Travel Writers & Photographers Conference

August 9-12, 2012 | Corte Madera, CA
“The Premier Conference in the World for Travel Writers and Photographers!

The Book Passage Travel Writers & Photographers Conference has an extraordinary, international reputation among publishers, editors, and writers. This four-day Conference offers an array of writing and photography workshops in the morning, a full afternoon of panels and discussions, and evening faculty presentations. There are optional, working field trips to explore the resources of the Bay Area. The faculty includes publishers, magazine editors, photographers, travel essayists, food writers, restauranteurs, guidebook writers, and more. There are hours of informal interaction between faculty and students during lunch and in discussions that often last late into the evening.” (c/o website)

Thursday Morning Pancake Sessions

7 Sep

Source: Pancake Sessions: Video Light and Getting Ready Details Post

Tomorrow after you roll out of bed and grab a warm beverage, head over to Justin & Mary’s website to check out their next Pancake Session post. There’s a fresh one every Thursday, which promises to be interesting and informative, plus they break everything down into bite-size, easy to understand pieces. Best of all, they’re up there on the interweb for posterity, so you can visit right now and learn about everything from Black and White Post Production Tips, Branding, Off Camera Lighting, Destination Wedding Tips and much, much more.

Thank you fellow Photo Betty Susannah Gill for sharing another helpful tip with us!

Photos for Good: Part 1

2 Sep

The first time I watched Born Into Brothels, I had the immediate urge to pack my bags, jump on a plane, and help out in some faraway place. (I’m pretty sure many other photographers out there did too.) The reality, though, is you don’t have to fly around the world to make a difference.

There’s been a lot of buzz and recent Photo Betties posts about photography-marrying-philanthrophy, so we decided to dedicate this one to getting involved with current charity organizations. We’ll be following up with Part 2 which will cover locating existing opportunities, as well as tips on finding and creating your own projects.

Volunteer Photography Organizations

Started by Kristin Weaver, an internationally published fashion and wedding photographer, Images for a Cure is an annual event held each fall (usually October, in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month) promoting The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, their beneficiary charity. Photographer registration is from August to September – and each participating photographer is encouraged to set their own session dates, plans and pricing – and donate 100% of their session fees to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, via their FirstGiving page.

Wish Upon a Wedding, which we posted about in April, is the world’s first non-profit wish granting organization that provides weddings and vow renewals for couples facing terminal illness and serious life-altering circumstances, regardless of sexual orientation. They work with all types of wedding vendors in addition to photographers, including planners, venues, caterers, rental companies, videographers, bakers, officiants, florists, stationary designers, DJs/bands/musicians, salons, transportation companies, and more. With 18 chapters around the country (and 10 more coming soon), you can help out in many ways – volunteering your skills, financial donations, hosting a fundraiser and more!

Operation Love Reunited, or as many call them “OpLove”, is a non-profit organization that assigns photographers to families with loved ones getting ready to deploy, are currently deployed, or are coming home. The participating family chooses a photographer and up to two sessions per year. The photographer volunteers their services for the session(s), a 4×6 album for the service member, and a CD of images from the homecoming. If you’d like to volunteer check out the blog which is filled with information and inspiring photography from OpLove sessions.

Flashes of Hope is a national, nonprofit organization that “changes the way children with cancer see themselves through the gift of photography.” They transform hospital playrooms, waiting areas and even hallways into studios, and photograph children solo, then with their family and loved ones. Photos are delivered as enlargements, prints and on disc, all free of charge. “It’s an indescribable treasure that forever preserves the grace, dignity and beauty of each child.” To maintain the highest ethical and professional standards in the industry, they work primarily with published and commercial photographers, as well as members of The American Society of Media Photographers. If you fit the bill, you can apply as a photographer or, if you want to help in other ways, you can still be part of this amazing organization as a general volunteer, or with a donation.

PhotoPhilanthropy helps to connect, shed light on and reward connections between photographers and non-profit organizations around the world to tell stories that drive action for social change.” Great photography helps inform, educate and inspire volunteers to act, donors and grant-makers to give, people to push for new policies, and to give those who are not heard, or seen, a voice. In addition to helping facilitate Volunteer Connections, they also give annual Activist Awards for winning photo essays, Student Production Grants (which include financial, promotional and supportive assistance), promote Artist Residencies and Workshops, and have a great blog which they update often with inspiring imagery and stories from around the world. It’s no wonder their goal is to “Change the world, one photo at a time!”

Credit: PhotoPhilanthropy 2010 Grand Prize Winner - Josh Meltzer

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep (NILMDTS) volunteers offer “gentle and beautiful photography services in a compassionate and sensitive manner” to families who have suffered the loss of an infant. “The soft, gentle heirloom photographs of these beautiful babies are an important part of the healing process. They allow families to honor and cherish their babies, and share the spirits of their lives.” They are always looking to recruit volunteers for their database to be on call to offer Remembrance Photography Services to be on call when needed, as these sessions are sudden and require quick response. If you’re interested you can sign up to volunteer as a photographer, assistant photographer or digital retouch artist – as well as read volunteer articles for background and advice.

Founded by Celebrity Photographer, Jeremy Cowart, Help Portrait is a grassroots movement of photographers giving their time, gear and expertise to offer portraits to those in need. The idea is simple, powerful and global.

Each December, this year on 12/10/11, photographers will sign-up online, create or join teams, and offer portraits to those who wouldn’t normally have access to, or be able to afford, professional photography. People like the homeless, orphans, single-parent families, people of ill health, the elderly, veterans and more. It’s the chance to not just take a photo, but give a photo.

Tiny Sparrow is a non-profit organization who helps provide photography to families with children who are facing life threatening illnesses. Their volunteer photographers provide a session as well as a beautiful album to “carry the love, joy and everlasting memory of each individual family.” Currently located in Texas, but with a goal of expanding in 2011, Tiny Sparrow also accepts donations through PayPal.

Images of Hope is a non-profit organization that brings awareness to childhood cancers and illnesses by offering free portrait sessions to children and families dealing with cancer. Their purpose it two fold. First, to capture timeless moments that will last a lifetime for the families, and second, to spread awareness. Founder, Jessica Oatman, whose son, Montana, was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia at age two, looks at photography as “a great outlet and a wonderful way to document his journey.” Looking back through the photographs has helped them “realize what we have really been through.”

With an artist list of that spans continents, Heart Speaks photographers worldwide are committed to stopping the unnecessary euthanization of adoptable animals. Their goal is to increase the numbers of adopted animals in shelters by just 3%, and give rescue animals safe, loving homes. The power of a image can speak volumes, so Heart Speaks connects artists with shelters and animal relief organizations to effect social change and better the lives of humans and people alike.

Pictures of Hope is a charitable organization of professional photographers who provide complimentary, documentary-style, photography sessions to babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and their families.  Members are professional, established photographers (many of whom are “NICU mothers” themselves) who hail from across the United States and Canada and are dedicated to donating their time to a cause they believe in, and sharing the gift of photography with families in need.

It’s also important to note that bereavement photography is not their focus. While photographers may be asked to photograph a bereavement session, services are generally geared to babies in the NICU at any point during their stay (not just those terminally ill) which could mean a 27 week preemie or a NICU graduate about to go home. There are specific requirements for membership which are listed here.

Started in 2008 by Felicia Reinhard, Inspiration Through Art (formerly called The Littlest Heroes Project) is made up of professional photographers, artists, children and other volunteers across the world who provide a variety of programs and services to children who are fighting serious illnesses and/or life-altering disabilities. Sessions can be home-based, at benefits and fundraisers, or hospitals or clinic visits, and are specially catered to each little hero. Services include photography, but they also also offer special programs and fun art-related sessions as well. They also have a comprehensive list of partners, other organizations who need volunteers and worthwhile vendors.

The Tiny Light is a Canadian-based, female-run organization that connects member photographers with children and families that have been faced with a life altering diagnoses. Applicants must be professional photographers with a client base as well as a online portfolio, willing to donate their time and talent as well as a disk of ALL high resolution images from the session. Families who are accepted receive these portrait sessions free of charge. Their current list of photographers includes only Canadian-based photographers – but the application does not say whether or not that is a prerequisite for membership. If you’re passionate about joining the cause – get in touch!

Dog Meets World, at first mention, sounds like an animal-based charity, right? In fact, the “Dog” is a sweet stuffed puppy who helps their photographers to spread joy and smiles. Their mission is to give children and families in developing countries personal photographs, often for the first time. DMW seeks to change the way people travel by creating positive cross-cultural interactions and rather than simply taking pictures, to give them as well. Travelers bring along a digital camera, a portable printer and the stuffed Foto mascot dog to photograph children and practice Take & Give Photography! DMW believes with simply sharing a photo, photographers can practice ground-level diplomacy and voluntourism for all travelers.

Celebrating Adoption was officially started by Jenifer Samaha in 2007, and is a national organization of photographers who donate their time to document and celebrate the love and bond of adoption. Volunteers give these sessions at no cost, and families who participate must have gone through the adoption in the past twelve months. Their member list is quite extensive… although we did learn that unfortunately, due to personal issues, they are not able to accept any additional photographers at this time. We still chose to include Celebrating Adoption in our list, however, in case you may know of families who can benefit from their services, or if it inspires you to start a similar endeavor yourself!

We’d like to give a big shout out to Shutter Mission, who we found midway through our research for this post, and helped add a few additional resources to the list. Bookmark their site – it’s filled with photo-related charity organizations as well as stories and spotlights on photographers who serve them. You can also nominate a photographer who gives back that you’d like to see featured, and there’s an extensive list of complimentary resources for photographers who donate their time and services to charity. Simple, straight-forward, informative and inspiring!

If you’ve found this post useful, have something to add or want to share it with your friends, family or fellow photos – please post, tweet, comment, share – and help us motivate others to make a difference, one shutter click at a time!

Review: The WPPI Road Trip

29 Aug

WPPI Road Trip

Who:  WPPI
What:  Road Trip
Where:  Philadelphia
When:  August 22, 2011

Why?  Couldn’t get to Vegas for the largest Portrait and Wedding Photography Convention? Well, WPPI decided to make a Road Trip to select cities bringing speakers and vendors right to your hometown.


– Avoided Philadelphia International Airport – just had to take a train.

– One day commitment only, which meant no need for an overnight stay.

– The same impressive speaker lineup – right in your own backyard

Cons: A Fellow Photo Betty, Amanda Young, and I did not win any of the awesome prizes that were drawn. We think there was a serious conspiracy…


Susan Stripling

I am a big fan of her work. What I appreciated about her opening was the challenge she posed to the audience on never being satisfied. The challenge was to always challenge yourself. This is the competitive edge that will set you apart. She discussed composition techniques and working to search the room, to go beyond the obvious. Her work can be found at www.susanstriplingblog.com

Dawn Shields

Dawn was able to speak about the power of a personal project. She shared her “Legacy” Album, which won the Grand Album award at WPPI in 2010. As photographers, it is important to always be growing creatively. When you can find something that is truly your own project, from beginning to end, the creation in itself is both rewarding and fulfilling. Learn more about Dawn’s work at www.dawnshields.com

Damon Tucci

Very fun and engaging speaker. I loved the image examples shown and discussion of how he used lighting. He focused on the usage of speed lights, video lights and available light to enhance your photos while shooting in the field. Beyond just usage, we discussed how to use these tools to make images more dramatic. He had great examples for posing brides and grooms to relax them, giving them a completely natural appearance. To find out more about Damon, visit his site at www.damontucci.com.

Jared Platt

In just 90 minutes, we were given great solutions to reduce editing workflow by almost 50%. His discussion identified time wasters, and how to effectively eliminate them while focusing on true post-production efficiently. I loved his teaching style and was glad that he can be found on Vimeo with quick sessions, under Jared Platt. A sample is here http://vimeo.com/24735627 and his site is  www.jaredplatt.com.

Lindsay Adler

Lindsay covered the essential concepts of fashion photography and how these can apply to portrait and wedding photography for stunning imagery. She discussed key concepts such as simple location, utilizing unique props, posing, lighting and styling. Quite frankly, I am not sure what my opinion is on the usage of props for shoots, but Lindsey was able to show and demonstrate creative ways to set a scene to make the images vivid and inviting. There were truly some great learnings from this presentation. She will also be speaking at PDN in October on Social Media Marketing, which I think will be something worth attending. You can find out more about Lindsay’s work at www.lindsayadlerphotography.com.

Tips on Tuesday: Preparing for your destination wedding!

23 Aug

So you’ve booked a destination wedding – and you’re totally pumped. You’re thinking about all the amazing and inspirational new spots you’re going to see once you arrive at the wedding resort and your mind is racing with ideas! The one thing you’re probably not thinking about? The boring logistics on how to prepare yourself AND your business for a smooth and successful trip worth every single awesome photo you’re bound to take home with you. I know, because when I booked mine, I certainly wasn’t.  So here are some helpful hints that I learned firsthand (some of them, the hard way) that will hopefully arm you with all the wisdom necessary to make your next destination wedding a smooth sail.

If you are traveling to a destination by air, this ups the ante significantly. When you are hitting a destination wedding by car, you have that wonderful, roomy trunk to fill with back-ups and emergency kits and step ladders and props and, well, just about anything else that you fancy to aid you in pulling off the perfect wedding. You also get to avoid pesky airline regulations that are bound to pose a problem no matter what you do. With luggage restrictions and the need to simplify your packing list, your planning needs to start well ahead of take-off. The following is a checklist you should review in advance of your trip – and is tailored to the international traveler – but still most tactics apply no matter where your fabulous destination happens to be!

  • Call your airline in advance to make sure there are no weight restrictions on your carry-on luggage – well-packed camera bags are heavier than you think – and you don’t ever want to be separated from your gear.
  • Make sure you have a sturdy, international airline approved rolling bag to transport your gear that will keep everything well protected in the overhead compartment and in the event of severe of shifting or turbulence (I used my ThinkTank Airport Airstream – FABULOUS).
  • If you are traveling for an international gig, you must document your gear (anything that has a serial number i.e. camera bodies, lenses etc.) with the customs department nearest to you (Note: you can do this at the airport customs office on your day of departure, but make sure you allow for extra time before your flight to accomplish this) otherwise, you risk paying a hefty tariff when it comes time to re-enter the states.
  • Bring additional folded bags incase you have to redistribute weigh or bulk for your carry on bags at check-in- this happened to me – now I know why all collapsible vendor bags at WPPI are so valuable!
  • If you can, travel with a partner – it lowers the stress level by leaps and bounds!
  • Triple check that you have as many back-up batteries, CF cards, and rechargeables that you can fit in your bag – depending on where you are going it may be impossible to find replacements.
  • Do the proper research and find out what voltage you’ll be dealing with at your destination – and make sure you have converters for your battery chargers, laptop etc. if necessary.
  • Back it up, Back it up. back it up, back it up. Don’t leave that wedding on your CF cards and then travel with them. If possible, upload your files to an FTP for back up, use your laptop for temporary storage and if possible, travel with a portable external hard drive.
  • If you are shooting in a tropical location – where the temperature and humidity will differ significantly between inside and out – bring gallon sized ziplock bags to keep humidity out of your lenses and bodies as you travel between the two environments – allow for 15-20 minutes when you first embark outdoors into the heat and humidity to give time for your lenses to defog.
  • Pack one change of clothes (in addition to the outfit you plan to shoot in) in your carry on luggage.
  • Check to make sure that you insurance policy covers you outside of your domestic domain – and purchase travel insurance as an additional safety measure.
  • Finally – remember that you are going to be shooting in a totally different environment – one that may present unusual challenges – whether it be uncommon weather patterns, different sunrise/sunset times, language and/or cultural barriers or a infinite number of things. Expect the unexpected and do as much research ahead of time as possible!

Finally – enjoy the amazing experience of being able to travel as a photographer! It’s exhilarating and an incredible way to infuse new inspiration into your work and portfolio!

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!

Insider Info: 2nd Shoot

19 May

Hooking-up with second shooters for many is based on who you know and referrals from fellow photogs. After all, you aren’t just looking for a talented artist, but the whole package; someone who works well with you, is dependable and friendly, accommodating to your clients, and at the end of the day, makes you look good.

Now there’s a whole new way to find photographers, not just around the corner, but across the country: 2ndshoot.com!

Currently in BETA, 2ndshoot.com is planning to go live at the end of May, connecting with 10,000 professional photographers and studios nationwide.

The time is now

If you’re looking to find gigs, this is THE place to be. And NOW is the time to do it. Why?

• TEN THOUSAND photographers being driven to 2ndshoot.com to check out the current list of talent

• Big industry sponsors – including Collages.net, Gary Fong, Vision Art, Emotion, Simply Canvas, Fundy Software, and ThinkTank, and many more – promoting 2ndshoot.com and driving traffic (and offering exclusive members-only deals!)

• A fabulous deal: The first 100 photographers to sign-up receive 3 months FREE!

• A professional, trusted organization that caters to second shooters and hiring photographers alike

• The chance to connect with (and find) photographers with portfolio samples, in-depth profiles and user ratings

Getting Started

Signing up for a listing is quick and easy, and includes:

• A standard state listing

• Customized bio with profile and portfolio photos

There’s no contract, and you can also opt for a Featured Profile, which for a few dollars more gives you a:

• Featured slider on home page

• Featured placement on your state page

If you’re interested in working with new photographers – and expanding your portfolio – 2ndshoot.com is a great place to be.

The Backstory

Charles Bordner

2ndshoot.com was created by internationally acclaimed, award-winning photographer and storyteller, Charles Bordner, to help him source talented second shooters for weddings all over the country. When traveling for weddings, he recognized the benefit of having a photographer who’s local, and able to offer know-how and expertise in the area – in addition to saving on travel expenses and logistics. His search became the inspiration for 2ndshoot.com, which has already taken root in South Carolina, where he’s is based, and is starting to take root in cities across the country.

PS: Charles is still searching for second shooters for weddings coming up at the breathtaking Ocean Edge Resort in Cape Cod this June, and another in Orlando, both of which he plans to find through 2ndshoot.com!

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: Get Your Film On

19 Apr

There’s the purists who still shoot portraiture and weddings on film; they’re dedicated to the artform, the beautiful detail and grain, the mystique which film provides.

Then there are the adapters who traded-in their darkroom for a Lightroom years ago (some reluctantly – myself included), and embraced the new, the faster, the digital.

And finally, there’s the newest wave of photographers who rock the digital, and have had a very different upbringing from the old school crowd.

It would seem in this world of hyper-newness; of fancy software, plug-ins, gadgets and gear coming out at warp-speed, that the end of films existence would be in sight. But no! There are some photographers out there who are dedicated and passionate about keeping it alive and well – and Jonathan Canlas is taking it a step further, by sharing his love for film with the masses in The FIND Guide.

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Rather than paraphrase, I’ll just let Jonathan tell you in his own words:

You’re ready to start shooting film but don’t know where to start. Or you used to shoot film and would like to take up the habit again, but don’t know what’s available in today’s market.

You’re a little intimidated by the hows and whats and thingamabobs involved in making film a part of your life — whether in a professional or personal sense.

You’ve heard about film’s magic: the ease of use, the toning, the ways it can nearly eliminate post-processing and make your workflow simpler.

You’re not looking for a magic bullet. You’re willing to learn, experiment and grow as a photographer.

I’m Jonathan Canlas, and I created the FIND guide to help you enter the world of film shooting with just a teeny budget and a desire to learn more about my favorite topic of all time. FILM.”

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So what’s the deal? For $149 The FIND Guide gets you a look inside Jonathan’s bag, beautiful image samples for inspiration, and detailed descriptions and tips to get started shooting film yourself. Once you hit submit it’s a digital download, so you could read and put the tips to practice the same day. And photogs who’ve used it, rave about it, like this one from Kim Orlandini:

“The Film is Not Dead guide is a staple every photographer should not be without. I don’t care if you shoot digital or film, it will make you a better photographer by inspiring you to find your voice, to shoot what you love, and to add a little film back into who you and what you are trying to say to the world. Sometimes seeing who you are can be difficult when you are staring at the back of an LCD screen.”

The FIND Guide doesn’t include specifics on shooting weddings or any business tips, so keep that in mind. If you’re curious you can download a free sample and explore the site to see for yourself.

If you’re looking for something more submersive, Jonathan also offers workshops dedicated to the craft, which you can check out on his Film is Not Dead blog. The next one coming up is this November in Hawaii, and covers a much more detailed list cirriculum including: Film – who/what/when/where/why/how, Getting Published, Story-telling through Details, Loving Family Formals, Instaproofs – How it will change your life!, Making Every Event Publishable, Hands-on Flash Demo, Posing, The Power of a Blog, How to Define Your Vision and more… All that and a trip to paradise for $1500 (plus your transportation).

Do you love film too? Or are you a die-hard digital guru? Would like to write a post to share your thoughts or ideas with the Photo Betties? Give us a shout! Email heather@ or jenna@phillyphotobetties.com and send us details. We’d love to hear from you!