Create Your Own Holiday Card Using Photoshop and Lightroom

The air is getting cold, the days are getting short, and Andy Williams is telling us that it’s the most wonderful time of the year!  For many families, the holiday card is an annual tradition, and ’tis the season to get our cards finished and ready to send off to friends and family.

With just a little bit of work, you can make your own custom holiday card, print it, and send it off to your friends and family.  And in this post, I’ll show you exactly how to do it, from how to take the picture to how to create and style your card.

Ready?  Let’s dive in! Continue reading Create Your Own Holiday Card Using Photoshop and Lightroom

First Time Shooting Football – Good, Bad, and Ugly

Today was my very first time photographing a football game!  Usually, I’m so involved in marching band stuff that I don’t really have the opportunity to shoot during the actual high school football games in my hometown, but the college close by,  and my wife’s alma mater, Shepherd University, had a playoff game this afternoon, and we were able to go.  I had no credential, so I shot from the stands.  I’ll share some images with you, and tell you what I think went well, and what I’ll be working on for next time, and we can have sort of a mutual learning experience together.  Let’s dive in! Continue reading First Time Shooting Football – Good, Bad, and Ugly

Video- Getting Started

Most digital cameras today come with some sort of video capabilities.   Knowing and understanding the way video works on your camera can open up some incredible opportunities for you to express yourself, capture memories, and be more marketable as a producer of media.  But for those of us who work primarily in still photography, getting things set up for video can be a little counterintuitive.

Without a doubt, the world of video is huge, and it’s impossible to discuss everything that goes into the process of creating video in one blog post.  So, today, we’ll discuss getting your camera set up to capture video, camera settings, and the equipment that you’ll need.

Continue reading Video- Getting Started

Lightroom Mobile- Your Gateway to Photography

For professional photographers, serious amateurs, and anybody wanting serious control over their photos, Adobe’s products are the industry standard.  Adobe Photoshop is the go-to program when it comes to photo editing and manipulation, and Adobe Lightroom is the preferred program for many for cataloguing and storing photos, as well as being a powerful photo editor in it’s own right.

But what about the everyday photographer, the mobile photographer, or the photographer just getting started?  What does Adobe offer for them?  In it’s latest iteration of updates, Adobe has, in my opinion, created a comprehensive solution that can follow any photographer on their journey from complete beginner to seasoned pro.  Let me show you what I mean.

Continue reading Lightroom Mobile- Your Gateway to Photography

Peak Design: My new favorite camera carrying solution.

Sometimes, as an action photographer, I feel more like a pack mule and less like an artist.  The kind of gear that I’m frequently carrying around is heavy and big.  At my full load out, I’m carrying two camera bodies, one heavy telephoto lens, a moderate length or wide-angle lens, a cleaning cloth, some extra cards, and maybe a speedlight.  That’s not in the bag, that’s on my body.  So, naturally, anything I can do to make carrying this amalgam of gear easier is worth it to me.

Recently, I’ve come across a company called Peak Design, based in San Fransisco, CA, that are doing some really amazing stuff with to help make the simple task of carrying your camera easier and more convenient.  I’ve recently picked up two of their products, Slide, and Capture Pro, and I can already tell that they’re going to change the way that I carry my gear from here on out.  Let me tell you how:

(Note:  I have no relationship whatsoever with the folks at Peak Design, other than the fact that I bought their products.  This review is completely unbiased by any sort of professional relationship, and is my own 100% honest opinion.  I just really like their stuff, and want to let you know about it so you can give them a try, too!)

Continue reading Peak Design: My new favorite camera carrying solution.

Marching Band Photography- Six Quick Tips

For many people, fall means football, bonfires, and haunted houses, but for me, the most exciting part about the fall months is marching band.  The season is reaching it’s peak, and I’m sure you have a couple opportunities left to make some stunning images of the band kids in your life.  Use this list to help you make the most of your remaining performances, and to create memories and keepsakes that will last a lifetime! Continue reading Marching Band Photography- Six Quick Tips

Performing Arts Processing- High School Marching Band

Last Friday, I pulled out the camera to photograph the band that I work for during their performance at home football game.  But, in order to bring the full potential of those images out, the work isn’t over when the camera goes click.  It’s the work that happens afterward, in the computer, that really helps make an image shine.  I’ll take you through all 17 of my final images from the performance, and show you my strategies and workflow from point of capture all the way through getting them ready to go on the web. Continue reading Performing Arts Processing- High School Marching Band

Fall Landscape Shooting on Skyline Drive

I celebrated my 25th birthday this past weekend, and my lovely wife made the rookie mistake of asking “What do you want to do for your birthday?”  When I told her I wanted to go shoot the fall landscapes on Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park, she was a little hesitant, but I managed to talk her into it.  So, on Saturday, off we went to go chase the leaves and experience the beauty of nature all around us! Continue reading Fall Landscape Shooting on Skyline Drive

Star Trails- Tips, Tricks, and Settings for Shooting and Processing

Last night was a perfect night for some astrophotography, and I took advantage by going out to capture star trails.  Even though I’ve done these before to varying levels of success, there were a few new wrinkles thrown in last night that made things much easier than before!

What are Star Trails?

Basically, star trails capture the movement of the earth over time.  Although it can be tough to see in real time with the naked eye, the rotation of the earth causes the stars to appear to move in the night sky.  In an ordinary exposure, this movement is barely present at all, and we can take exposures up to 30 seconds and still get sharp stars.  But by using an ultra-long exposure, or combining lots of shorter exposures on the computer to give the effect of an ultra-long exposure, we can accentuate this movement in a cool way.  The stars will begin to streak across the night sky like comets, and these streaks are what are commonly called “star trails.” Continue reading Star Trails- Tips, Tricks, and Settings for Shooting and Processing

Photography Composition- Seeing with an Open Mind

By the time you’ve finished reading this sentence, over 100,000 photos will have been shared online.  For us as photographers, this is an extremely exciting and a little bit scary statistic.  Never before in history has it been so easy to get our images out to the public.  But, never before in history have our images needed to fight their way through such an amazing volume of visual noise to be noticed.  Because of this fact, we have to be very aware of our craft, and especially the essential way we tell our story- composition.  Photography composition is the way in which we frame our content in the picture, and the choices we make can and will affect the way our audience sees our photos. Continue reading Photography Composition- Seeing with an Open Mind