Category Archives: Photography





Keep your camera with you all the time.

Photo ops often come when you least expect it. If you can keep your equipment relatively simple – just a small camera bag and a tripod – you might be able to take advantage of some of those unexpected opportunities. Or, if your phone has a camera, use it to take “notes” on scenes you’d like to return to with your regular camera.

Make a list of shots you’d like to get.

For those times you can’t carry your camera around, keep a small notebook to jot down places you’d like to come back and photograph. Make sure to note any important details, like the lighting, so you can come back at the same time of day or when the weather’s right. 

Take photos regularly.

Try to photograph something every day. If you can’t do that, make sure you take time to practice regularly, so you don’t forget what you’ve learned. 

Don’t be afraid to experiment.

If you’re using a digital camera, the cost of errors is free. Go crazy – you might end up with something you like. You’ll certainly learn a lot in the process.

Don’t go crazy buying the most expensive equipment right away.

It’s possible to get very nice photos with an inexpensive point and shoot. If you take DEMYSTIFY ~ YOUR CAMERA PART I  I’ll show you the way.





What are the most important aspects of composing a Fine Art Photograph?

What are the most important aspects of composing
a Fine Art Photograph? 

The answer to this question certainly varies from photographer to photographer because each of us places more importance on some aspects than on others.  What follows is what I personally consider
to be some important aspects of Composition.

1 – Composition is the strongest way of seeing
. This is Edward Weston’s definition of composition. 
2 – Composition is not just the placement of objects in the frame
. Composition also involves using color, contrast and light. 
3 – The goal of composition is to express your vision and your emotional response to the scene
The goal is to create an image that is superior, both expressively and technically. 
4 – What the camera captures is objective.  What the artist’s sees and feels are subjective
5 – Think first about light. 
It’s ALWAYS about the light! 
A photograph is only as good as the light you use. 

Learn all about it this month!  Sign up here for DEMYSTIFY ~ Composition!  You’ll LOVE IT!


One of the most frustrating thing for parents when they get a new camera or better camera is – they are hoping they can capture better pictures of their children.  Well, the most expensive and elaborate camera is not going to do that, it’s you  learning how to use it.  SO here are some tis and getting at least some better images of those little tinker tots! 

1. Photograph at their level. Get down close. Show the world from their perspective.

2. Shoot a lot. If you’re using a digital camera, there’s no waste, so why not? Even the most mundane activities can be give you great memories.A great benefit of shooting a lot? They’ll get used to you and the camera and ignore you after awhile.

3. Talk to your subject, engage them in conversation. It will help them forget about the camera. Or don’t. With kids sometimes you have to play it by ear.

4. Don’t get in their faces the whole time. Not every picture has to show their faces. Try one that shows perhaps how little they are compared to dad’s leg or maybe dad’s hand. These can be closeups.


and most important of all:

5. Be flexible. Some of the best pictures of kids are not posed. Keep your camera handy all the time. Point-and-shoot cameras are great for that because they’re compact and easy to keep close by.

Another great idea is to learn composition better, this is the other half of learning how to photograph better.

Hope you’ll sign up for the composition class soon!  It will forever change the way you look and see – everything!



Adobe Switching Exclusively from Creative Suite to Creative Cloud


For those of you who may not have heard, Adobe announced a couple of weeks ago that “the company has no plans for future releases of Creative Suite or other CS products”, but instead will focus on the “Creative Cloud”, forcing users to pay a monthly fee. I would love to hear artists’ opinions on this.

Read the Adobe site’s announcement here.



How can I start learning how to take professional quality photographs?

You have just bought a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex Camera) or advanced point and shoot camera with DSLR capabilities, now what? You might be asking yourself, “How can I start learning how to take professional quality photographs?” Unfortunately, there is no secret magic sauce that will automatically create pro-quality photos, regardless of how much you spent on your camera. In fact, without learning photography and lighting, your expensive DSLR is going to end up creating slightly nicer point-and-shoot-quality images.



The fastest way to get better photos isn’t by buying a new, expensive camera.

 It’s by learning how to control the one you have!

So, I’ve created the DEMYSTIFY ~ Your Camera workshops to help you learn how to get the most out of your camera. The goal of these workshops is to teach you the techniques and insights that will make you a better photographer. What you must realize and accept is that this is not going to be a quick and easy 30 minute process. In fact, if there is a book, workshop, or course that claims anything remotely close to “become a pro-photographer in 24 hours,” then run the other way as fast as possible.

Becoming a great photographer does not happen overnight. In fact, it probably won’t even happen within 6 months or a year. Truly great photographers will tell you that they are still learning to this day, even though they may have been shooting for over 30 years! I m a constant student of the work and continue to learn every day! Start on the right foot now by accepting the fact that learning photography is a journey, a life-long journey that will be very rewarding regardless of whether it is your career or simply your hobby.

Now that you have just bought a DSLR, what’s next? Understanding photography and exposure in regards to aperture, shutter speed and ISO are crucial, so starting here with a DEMYSTIFY class is a great beginning.  Check out all the courses offered above.  Or, IF YOU’RE READY NOW – sign up here.

Consulting the rules of composition before taking a photograph is like consulting the laws of gravity before going for a walk. -Edward Weston

Tracy and Dave

Composition, good composition, make that great composition, is one of those things that, for successful portrait photographers, should become instinctive and automatic much the way getting the technical elements correct in the camera should also become. Automatically framing your shots with good composition should become as natural as standing and knowing how to move one foot in front of another, again and again, without feeling the need, as Weston remarked, to first brush up on the laws of gravity before going for a walk.

Although we don’t need to learn the laws of gravity in order to walk, it’s a pretty good idea to know something of the rules of composition – what generally works and what doesn’t – in order to becomephotographers who naturally, instinctively, and automatically apply said rules of composition (or break them) in effective ways.

While it’s true some people seem gifted with a natural eye for composition, the good news is that we are all gifted with a natural ability, aware of it or not, to recognize good composition when we see it. Because of that, whether our natural recognition of good composition is consciously realized or not, it represents a universal gift enabling all of us to develop a good compositional-eye for use in our photography. ~ Author: James DiGiorgio (aka JimmyD) Los Angeles Photographer from his book Zen and the Art of Portrait Photography

Ready to DEMYSTIFY ~ Composition and Learn the secret behind compositional elements that will forever change the way you see and shoot!???  Find more info here about the DEMYSTIFY ~ Composition workshop. Sign up for the next class here.

Three steps to instantly improve your photography – step three

3. Choose Your Subject

Tourists often take a photo of each other with a famous landmark next to or behind them. This can look amateur unless you really know what you’re doing. Imagine someone seeing a photo. They must first determine what the subject of the photo is, and then they can appreciate how well you’ve captured that subject. The problem with the tourist photo is that there are two subjects. The viewer’s eye is drawn between the person and the famous statue (or whatever it is) and it’s never clear which the photo is about.

So you can avoid this by simply getting clear in your mind what your subject is. (Hint: usually it’ll be the person!) So give your friend the starring role in the photo and reduce the statue to a bit part in the background to give it atmosphere. You can still have it in the picture, just make it seem incidental.

Living the country life

Living the country life

Three steps to instantly improve your photography – step two

2. Improving the Lighting

Cameras need a certain amount of light to be able to take a photo, and when there isn’t enough light, it takes longer to take a photo because the camera has to wait longer to let in more light. The longer it takes, the more the risk of the photo being slightly blurry, because your hand holding the camera makes small shaky movements that affect the photo. To compensate for this, most digital cameras come with flash, and in most ‘automatic’ modes, the camera will automatically detect if there’s insufficient light and pop up the flash if it needs to. So when you’re outdoors in bright sun, the flash never goes off because there’s plenty of natural light. When indoors, the camera flashes, because it detects there’s not much light and compensates with a flash.

However, the flash on a camera is horribly unflattering. This is because the light comes from the same direction as the camera. As a result, it ‘flattens’ whatever you’re shooting, eliminating shadows and taking away any sense of depth in the person’s face. When light comes from the side, or above, it tends to look much more flattering; you get a nice sense of 3D depth. Yes, we use flash in studio photography, but from flattering angles, not the same angle that the camera’s looking from.

So tip #2 is to turn off the flash on your camera. This is possible in most digital cameras. So look in the menu for your camera, read the manual if you have to, but figure out how to turn off the flash.


Instantly your pictures of people will look better than when you used flash. You will need to become more aware of what the natural light is like though, because you now need to make sure there’s sufficient light to avoid the photo being blurry. Position the person by a window or a light if you’re indoors. Reduce camera shake by placing the camera on a surface or a tripod to keep it steady.

It’s all about the LIGHT!


Three steps to instantly improve your photography – step one

Digital cameras are improving at a rapid speed and are more readily available to the average Joe nowadays. It is easier than ever before to take a correctly exposed, correctly focused photo. Yet most people’s photos just look like snapshots. They’re a long way from the beautiful photos you see in magazines. I’d like to share with you 3 simple and easy and ways to instantly improve your photography, even if you’re a complete beginner.

1. Improving your Composition

Most people’s instincts when taking a photo are to place the most important thing in the middle of the picture. When photographing a person, that person’s head is the main object of interest, so they place that right in the middle. This is the sure sign of an amateur. 

To learn more about Composition try my next class: DEMYSTIFY ~ Composition, where so much more will be explained.  Read more here


Some enviable people are born with photogenic genes and movie-star smiles, but for the rest of us, here are a few tips on how portrait subjects can smile naturally for those dreaded family photo sessions (or any other time!). Some photographers still direct their subjects to say “cheese” which could be producing undesirable results, definitely something to consider:


1) Don’t say “cheese.” It stretches your face and mouth into an unnatural position that looks strained rather than relaxed.

2) Instead, say a word that ends in an “uh” sound. Yoga. Mocha. Grandpa. Really, it works.

3) Laugh while the photo is being taken. It can be just a little chuckle that helps relax your face, or try thinking of something funny for some genuine laughter and your own version of that famous open-mouthed Julia Roberts smile.

4) Lift the tip of your tongue up behind your front teeth. This helps position your lips into a relaxed pose.

5) Relax your face. With a genuine smile, the face is completely relaxed except at the mouth and the corner of the eyes (i.e. smiling eyes). Try to replicate that and not stiffen your cheeks while smiling.


Or watch this video for the fun of it.