Archive for July, 2009

Ready to get back to a routine!

Hi Everyone!
Hope your summer is going great!  It is so H-O-T here in Arizona…I’m so ready for some cooler temperatures!

Believe it or not, my oldest is going back to school on Monday!  August 3rd seems too early to go back, but I’m glad and she’s excited to start 1st grade.  After a busy summer, I’m so ready to get back to a routine!

There is lots planned for Shuttermom in the coming months.  Fairy Portrait Magic will be out this fall, so stay tuned for a firm release date on that.  I’ve also got a few more things in the works!

I also just started a new 6 month “all at once” membership plan for Shuttermom University - be sure to check it out!

Thanks everyone!

Understanding Basic Lighting to Enhance Portrait Photography

by Bill Cotter

Making a 2 dimensional picture represent a 3 dimensional scene is done mostly using lighting effects. By using shadows and highlights a photographer is able to give a picture the proper depth. Studios are able to control the lighting to stage the picture to look it’s best. Whether you are a studio or out of studio photographer you can still benefit from the lighting techniques and tips below.

Fill Flash or Light

A fill flash will help eliminate lines in the face and will brighten the eyes. The fill flash should almost always be filtered through a diffuser or shot from a reflector such as an umbrella.

Key Light

A key light should be a higher intensity light and should be mounted similar to the fill light with an umbrella or through a diffuser. The key light is usually slightly to the side of the subject that you want the focus to be.

Hair Light

This is important to give detail to the subjects head but the light does not to be as high scale as your key lights and fill lights. The hair light shouldn’t be diffused and it is a good idea to have it be a directed light so it will only shine on the subjects hair.


Kickers are side lights that are optional. They will highlight the body of the subject or the sides of the face to emphasize depth. Often times the lights will be placed slightly to the side and behind the subject to produce a light that glances the skin.

Using Lighting To Slim The Subject

Most side lighting effects will slim the face and will emphasize more of the definition of your subject. Lighting that is straight on will cause the subject to look bigger than they are and should only be used if you are going for that effect. The only other time the pictures are taken straight on to subjects if it is a model who is working darker makeup to emphasize the contours of the cheek bones and side of the face. In most cases this will need to be done using shadows through lighting.

Understanding the Basic Positioning of Lighting

What is appealing to the eye is usually evident in nature. Natures source for light is the sun and so consider that when taking pictures. A lighting source should never be placed below a subject because the sun never lights from beneath. Some lighting effects actually raise lights above the subject to give a more natural look. Also diffused light comes through clouds and through windows. Use these light sources to your advantage as they can be your source instead of a an actual light for your key light. Look for natural reflections off of structures or shaded light from trees. Nature can be your studio and sometimes is your best studio. The shift in photography is towards more natural looking photographs. Make sure and understand the principles of photography and lighting and then let you creativity and insight do the rest.

Bill Cotter is an author for about phoenix wedding photographers. Beyond just information about phoenix wedding photography, Bill also writes about being a wedding photographer.

Fun Family Photography

By Adriana Bella

Family photography need not be a hassle to anyone, and least of all to you, the photographer. All it needs is a bit of planning. The first thing to do is to find a location. There should be enough space to pose for everyone and natural light can be used. The choice of an outdoor venue will be ideal as long as the weather holds up. The background for the photograph should be simple, uncluttered and complimentary to the pictures that you hope to take.

Lighting the family photographs
Family photographs are no different from others where lighting is concerned. Just ensure that they are not squinting with too much light or are covered in shadows. Family photographs are for recording purposes and as such needs to be very clear. Taking the photographs in natural light is best. Early morning or at sunset seems to give the best results and if it is indoors light from a window can illuminate the picture.

Have a relaxed atmosphere
Get the family to relax and then start taking the photographs. You can ask al the family members to make the funniest faces possible and then keep on taking after they have stopped. This way you will get natural smiles and a relaxed group of people.

Posing can be traditional in some of the shots while in others you can ask them to be just comfortable and not think of stuffy poses. Make it fun. Encourage interaction among family members. They can put their arms around each other or children can be seated on another’s lap. This way it is easier to get natural looking photographs which are definitely more interesting than the strictly posed ones.

As the photographer you should know how to make the shot interesting. This can be done with seating them at different levels for a more dynamic look.

Photo angles
The photographs can be taken from different angles like a step ladder where you are looking down on the group and as they look up you will get a good photograph with good facial features. Other angles can be tried along with the traditional eye level.

Fill the frame
The best family photographs should not have any outside distractions in them. An easy way to ensure this is to have the frame filled with the family. This will center the focus on the faces of the family members

Individual portraits
Take fun portraits of each individual member of the family. This way you will be able to make a digital collage and with a bit of creativity will end up with an exceptional photograph. Individual portraits can be posed with a favorite toy or a pet or near a car. This way it will be like a story about each person’s character and can be really exciting to look at.

So, you can see that there are endless possibilities for making lovely memories by taking family photographs. If you need any of these pictures to stand the test of time convert them into black and white images.

Once you’ve taken your photos, you may want to give them a professional touch and an artistic look. A great way to do it is to use Photography Templates from ArtcoDesign.
Also, an important resource to look for digital photo backdrops is

Guest Post: Starting A Photography Business

How to Start Your Own Photography Business

There are people who are inseparable from their cameras because they are passionate about photography; and then there are the ones who are tied down to their equipment because it’s how they earn their living. If you want to take a jump from the first category into the second, you need to know how to turn your passion into a profession. And to this end, here are a few tips to help you along:

· Invest in the right equipment: If you’re going to become a professional, you need the right equipment to help you in your endeavor. Talk to other people in the profession and find out what you’re going to need, how much it’s going to cost you, and how to work it the right way. Know your equipment intimately before you go out on professional shoots so that you don’t end up embarrassing yourself and being a setback to your ambition.

· Market yourself: If you want people to hire you, you need to tell them that you’re available to work for a fee. So market yourself using all the tools of the advertising trade. If you’re just starting out, you could do some work at a reduced fee or for free if you think you need to let your work do the talking. Once you gain fame as a good photographer, you can start making money. But initially, you need to concentrate on making a name for yourself.

· Set up a small office: You can run a photography business from home, but it’s best you set up a small space for yourself where you can receive and talk to clients and have someone answer your phones and correspondence. You achieve a professional feel when you have your own office

· Pick up some basic business skills: When you become a pro, you need to set up an administrative system so that all the mundane tasks are taken care of routinely. You also need to know how to manage your accounts, keep your assignments and calendar organized, and collect fees and provide acknowledgements without any mix-ups. If you think it will help, take a short course in business management, or if you don’t have the time, get someone who runs their own business to teach you the ropes.

· Work really hard: When you own your own photography business, you need to be willing to work really hard to make it a success, especially if you’re just starting out. If you tend to take it easy, your initiative will find it hard to get off the ground, let alone take wings and fly. So give it your all, and watch your efforts bear the fruits of success.

This guest article was written by Adrienne Carlson, who regularly writes on the topic of photography schools . Adrienne welcomes your comments and questions at her email address:

Portrait Fundraising Events

Hi Everyone! Take a look at the video below to find out how to access my special report on doing portrait fundraisers. These are a great way to increase your photography business and word of mouth advertising - while helping out the organization of your choice at the same time.

Sorry I’ve Been Away!

Hi Everyone! Sorry I’ve been bad about updating the blog these last couple of weeks. I’ll explain in the video below. Enjoy!

July 2009
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