Monday, November 27, 2006

You can do it!

Here is a challenge. Take your kids and or family out for a Christmas pic for your Christmas cards! If you have kids you have a dream come true for photographers. Models that can't say no! Yes, they can be unruly at times but that's okay it will get you primed for your first shoot with someone else's kids which take it from me IS HARDER.

I have done some of my favorite experimenting for our holiday pics in the last three years (which is how long I've had my digital).

This is 2002

This was actually before digital for me. It was taken with my Nikon N50. And then scanned into the computer. This was the beginning of photo manipulation girls.
While it is an okay photo there is no life in their eyes and the shadows are way too heavy. But it was fun!

I must have had a bad year in 2003 - but this is 2004
This was me practicing with a sheet that was backlit by the sun.
I wanted the background completely blown out but what I had trouble with is that the background was so bright that I had to adjust for it to get the kids correctly exposed which led to a slower shutter speed and a blurry result. But hey - once again I had fun!!

In 2005 I got serious and took some shots that I had and did a little designing using Photoshop. This year I think turned out a lot better but I think Grace's picture is still blown out a bit. I was starting to learn more about photography and take it more seriously this year.

And this year 2006. I tried something a little different. I took it one step further and created my own card. I also offered this card as a template to my customers complete with a portion of the card set aside for a greeting.

So there you have it! Try your own. And Above all...Have fun with your kids and have a Merry Christmas.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Posting your pictures for sale online!

Here is some encouragement for you! I just received my first payment from I have about 141 pictures or so online. They sit there everyday and I can upload more at anytime for free. It is a micropayment site like but the payouts are better. The photographer gets 50% of the cost of the download. It is called micropayment because each download for the buyer is very inexpensive. Average payout for one download is .50. But it adds up. Especially if you can get a lot of pictures up. Designers use these sites to create websites, brochures for companies, ads, posters to hang in name it.

The way I look at it...I get money for doing nothing. The pictures are there, people download them and when I get a balance that is high enough. I receive a check in the mail.
YIPEE. Today's check was $104. You can do this too! It is a great way to make a little extra money.

This is my top money making picture: it is my friends dog Belle when she was a puppy.

I took the picture in a family room with my external flash pointed at the ceiling. The dog was sitting on someone's lap who was wearing a solid dark grey shirt that I blurred out using photoshop... :) Neat little trick.

more later! Keep taking pictures!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Welcome and introductions!


Here we go! Want to learn more about becoming a professional photographer but don't know now to get started? Just want to become a BETTER photographer in the digital age? This blog is for you!

First let me say that I'm no expert but... I've been at it pretty seriously now for about three years and I've learned a great deal.

I think there are probably a lot of other mom's out there like me who just can't stop taking pictures of their kids. And they want to get a better camera (which is a lot easier nowadays) and once they do, and its digital, they realize that being good at camera stuff is only half of it. Well, maybe its more than half...but a significant portion of being a good "digital" photographer is knowing how to deal with that computer that perhaps you only used for email before!!

So my blog will be full of Photoshop tips as well as things I've learned as I began my journey as a professional photographer. Hopefully it will be informative, and entertaining to read. Dawn Malone inspired me to start this blog. As did Marianne and Brandi...they are my friends and budding photographers who also happen to be moms. We all happen to be Christian's too and that bond is something I cherish with them all.

So here's to raw talent!

TIP #1:

If you have Photoshop Elements or better - LEARN TO USE IT. There is a website called this site has a number of great tutorials some on all the various Adobe products. There is a small fee to watch all of the tutorials but some you can watch for free. There are other sites too out there that help you learn the basics. If you have the disk that came with your program go through the tutorial they have. Also on there is a section on the site that helps users with questions they have. Photoshop is to photography like Grey's Anatomy is to medicine. Its the authority. Adobe is coming out with a new program call Lightroom (instead of darkroom, get it?) very soon and currently you can sign up to download the BETA (testing) version for FREE! It will be a pricey program when it is complete but for now you can use it for free! And it is powerful. Some are saying that it might replace photoshop for some photographers. I don't think it will for me...but I will never say never!

TIP #2:

If you have a new camera that you don't know how to use. READ THE MANUAL. I know it probably has crossed your mind but you just want to play! It will help if you have your camera in hand while you read it and mess around with all the settings, take pictures (its digital...GO AHEAD! it won't cost anything). After you get familiar with the features play around with some of them casually. Don't put a lot of pressure on yourself. Give yourself a little due date and then go for it and take a bunch of pictures, take notes if you are really into it and then spend some time looking at them on a computer monitor. You will learn a lot and you won't want to pay anybody for them. If you know a photographer show them your pics and ask for a critique. It is the BEST way to learn! HANDS DOWN.

TIP #3:

Start publishing your photos. You say what??? Is she serious?? YES! I know you have the "Favorite pic". There is a website called it is a free site to join and a free site to use to upload photos. It is a real stock photo site and thousands and thousand of people come to this site in need of photos everyday. Designers that have jobs that don't have big budgets...a lot of churches, small time stuff mostly. But at this site you will gain a wealth of experience and knowledge. You will learn how to take rejections. They will reject your photo if it isn't clear and crisp and if the subject is not "stock worthy" I promise more on that later...I will do a whole blog on what "stock worthy means". Also you will learn what it feels like for someone to WANT your picture to use. I'm telling you, my photos have been used around the world. Did I mention it is free to use...well that is for both the uploader and the downloader. So the designers do not pay for your photos. But to me that is the beauty of it. I will talk a lot more about sxc in later blogs. But for now...check it out and set up an account and upload a pic and see if it gets accepted!!!

OKAY enough tips for one night. My fingers are tired. GIRLS - here's to you! More blogs to come I promise. Bookmark the site and check back for more postings. God Bless You!

C. Watkins