Faster And Better – The Best Photoshop Keyboard Shortcuts

Photoshop-Keyboard-Shortcuts-Header-DIYPhotography

Not to be overly dramatic, but keyboard shortcuts can– and will– change your life. Okay, maybe it’s a little overly dramatic after all, but I’m not kidding. Considering how much time some of us spend in front of the hypnotic glow of a computer screen, it makes sense to incorporate something into our workflow that’s specifically designed to reduce some of that time– at least the part spent in editing and post-production. I can’t help you with the hours you wile away on Facebook, Pinterest, solitaire, or cat videos, but I can help you draw a line in the sand when it comes to Photoshop.

[Read more...]

Avoiding the Non-Disparagement Clause in Photography Contracts

non-disparagement-clause-diyphotography

I’m often intrigued when my worlds collide. When I left my career as a lawyer behind, I never realized just how often it would encroach on– if not occasionally take over– my photography career. And yet, when it comes to model releases, client contracts, licensing agreements, protecting my copyright, and a host of other issues, I shouldn’t be at all surprised that my arsenal of legal knowledge and expertise still continues to pay dividends– even now, ten years since I’ve seen the inside of a courtroom. I usually see the legal issues coming a mile away, but a recent meeting with a new wedding client caught me completely off guard. She’d been referred to me by a mutual friend, but I was not the first photographer she’d interviewed. For the most part, it had been a very typical meeting. We talked about her venue, where she’d met her fiance, what she was looking for in a photographer– the standard stuff. She was flipping through a portfolio, though, when she looked up and asked a question that was anything but standard.

[Read more...]

A Review of the Anker Astro3 External Battery Charger

anker-astro3-review-diyphotography-000a

I’ve mentioned the importance of mobile battery backup and charging in a few articles recently (see 10 Travel Photography Essentials and 10 Tips for Better Photography Conventions & Trade Shows), so I decided it was finally time to start taking my own advice. Let’s face it– “getting away from it all” sounds great in theory, but the reality is that most of the time we have to stay connected. And while location shooting, travel, trade shows, chasing down new business, and shuttling my kid from one activity to the next can all be fun and rewarding, they do tend to drain the life force out of phones, tablets, and laptops pretty quickly. While a car charger obviously helps, it doesn’t come anywhere close to solving the problem. That’s why I decided to try the Anker 2nd Generation Astro3 12000 mAh External Battery Charger. In a sleek- lightweight package only slightly bigger than my iPhone, this thing really packs a punch. [Read more...]

Morning Coffee with an Instagram Wedding Photographer

instagram-wedding-photographer-diyphotography

I’m not entirely sure, but it is quite possible that I witnessed a sign of the rapidly approaching Apocalypse this morning. There was no plague of locusts descending from the heavens. No fire. No brimstone. The earth continued rotating on its axis just fine. I’m sure nobody else even noticed. Regardless of its subtlety, it still came at me out of nowhere like a brick to the side of the head.

[Read more...]

5 Free (and 1 Almost Free) Photoshop Alternatives

I don’t think there’s a whole lot of debate over the premise that Photoshop has become the gold standard in photo editing software. I’m pretty sure that my earliest use of Photoshop goes back to Version 3 or 4. Now deeply entrenched in CS6, I’ve decided to sit tight for a while. If I actually stopped to think about the relatively small percentage of PS’s full functionality that I actually use on a daily basis, I might also have to stop and ponder why I’m not still using an earlier version. Features have obviously evolved over Photoshop’s lifetime, but much of my workflow remains the same. So, in the absence of some huge development that I just can’t ignore, PSCS6 and I are doing just fine together for the time being. Also, while I see the potential benefits of The Cloud– immediate updates, etc.– there’s still a part of me that remains more than just a little pissed off about the new subscription format. There seems to be a new deal every time I turn around, and nobody seems capable of giving me a straight answer to the question of how much it costs when the discount period comes to an end.

It would seem that I’m not alone.

ps-alternatives-006-title-diyphotography [Read more...]

10 Travel Photography Essentials

There’s nothing quite like a vacation, road trip, adventure, or combination of the three to get your creative juices flowing. Sometimes hitting the road is exactly what you need to get yourself out a creative rut. New surroundings– especially if they are outside your comfort zone– have a way of injecting your photography with the shot of adrenalin it’s been missing. When you’re planning these excursions, though, there are certain essentials you need to pack– items designed to protect your gear and images, while making sure that your shot of adrenalin isn’t wasted.

photography-travel-essentials-diyphotography

[Read more...]

How Good Tax Prep This Year Can Save You Time, Money, and Heartache Next Year — Part 2

If you were here on Monday and I bored you half to death with my tips for improving your tax situation for the coming year, get ready for the other half. I know that nobody actually likes to think about this stuff. We’d all much rather learn how to make a kickass softbox with a box of matches, a flashlight, and a roll of toilet paper. Eventually, though, taking charge of your photography’s financial well-being becomes one of those cross-roads moments. Might as well rip that bandage off and grab the bull by the horns.

For those of you keeping score, that was three metaphors in a single paragraph. The bottom line? Just do it.

tax-time-for-photographers-part2

[Read more...]

How Good Tax Prep This Year Can Save You Time, Money, And Heartache Next Year

It’s that time of year again. The annual humiliation. Taking financial stock of the past 52 weeks in a feeble attempt to hold onto as much of my hard-earned cash as humanly possible. The accountant might as well be dressed as the Grim Reaper. The list of things I wish I was doing, rather than getting ready for the tax man, is long enough to make Santa’s look like a grocery list.

Hopefully, you had a successful year. Business is not only steady, but growing. You’re organized and keep good records. Unfortunately, the artist in many of us often takes the lead. That can be a good thing for your photography, but not so much when it comes to paying the piper. While it may be too late to improve your tax position for 2013, there are things you can do to help make sure that you’re much better off a year from now.

tax-time-for-photographers

[Read more...]

Valentine’s Day Gift Guide for Photographers

It’s that time of year again– when the ghost of a martyred, 3rd-century Catholic priest looks down upon us, whispering the 11th Commandment into our collective romantic consciousness.

“Thou shalt mark this day with greeting cards, heart-shaped boxes of candy, and the perfect gift for that special someone. Or else!”

valentines-gift-guide-for-photographers [Read more...]

Why Your Kit Lens Isn’t as Bad as You Think It Is

One of the things that I try getting across to my students is that despite all of its amazing capabilities, the camera is just a box. Yes, it is programmed with a seemingly limitless number of exposure combinations, but when all is said and done it’s just a box. It has no artistic intent. We have to speak its language, telling it what we see, in hopes that the image in our head matches the image in the box. It is a box with a cylindrical window on the world. It’s the quality of that window that is often the subject of raging debate. Nikon or Canon? OEM or third party? Everyone has an opinion. Interestingly enough, the one thing that many– if not most– agree upon is that kit lenses should be avoided like the plague.

I completely disagree. I say go dig that kit lens out of wherever you’ve hidden it and put it to work. For those of you who’ve somehow been convinced that your photography can’t possibly be of adequate quality until you drop money you don’t have on a lens you can’t afford, I say that nothing could be farther from the truth.

kit-lenses-diyphotography-000

[Read more...]