Alister Benn Interview : A Photographer With Intimate Knowledge Of Diverse Landscapes

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Alister Benn, a professional landscape photographer from Scotland, grew up with a profound interest and respect for the natural world.

His work has been awarded in some of the most prestigious photography competitions like Le Prix de la Photographie Paris, etc.

He also writes regular articles in Landscape Photography Magazine and onlandscape Magazine. He has a solid reputation as both a technician photographer and a deep thinker.

In 2000, Alister met his wife Juanli Sun and together they have been running their own workshops and started the Available Light Images website.

In this interview, we speak to Alister to seek out more insights into his work and his passion towards photography.

Alister spoke to us via email…

professional landscape photographer

You seem to have a very interesting childhood. Can you take us to the time you grew up and tell us more about it?

I was born in the city of Glasgow in the mid 60’s but was always a country kid at heart. My father was in the Navy and we were fortunate enough to travel with him, or get delayed satellite phone calls from exciting far off places. We moved into the country when I was 12 and I guess my formative years started then.

I am the youngest of three brothers and from them, I got a real love for the landscape and all the wildlife that inhabits it. Every weekend we’d be out hill-walking or bird-watching and my first choice of career would have been in either conservation or research.

I had a little SLR Olympus from when I was about 14 and was enthusiastic about recording what I found in the landscape. Shooting one 36 frame slide film every couple of months didn’t teach me much about exposure theory, but I recall a few images I was happy with even then.

I was a quiet kid, outside exploring, or in my room listening to music in a minor key!

How did you decide you wanted to pursue photography as your profession and what inspired you?

We need to fast forward a few decades. Life has a habit of getting in the way of what we want to do, and it wasn’t until 2002 when we moved to live in Malaysia that I had the time to start thinking creatively again. Birds were still a huge part of my life and I wanted to start getting some photographs of them.

I spent a long time getting a handle on the creative and technical aspects of bird photography but shot a few landscapes on vacations from about 2004.

By 2009 I had been in the corporate world for 20 years and the travel and stress were beginning to take their toll. I seriously started to think about a change of career, even though I had no income or means of an income from photography.

I had a huge interest in night photography, which dated back to my study of Astronomy and Astrophysics at University, but I struggled to find any good learning material that didn’t just talk about generalizations and rules of thumb. So, I began a three-year project to research everything I could and work out from first principles how to make landscape images at night.

In 2012 I published my first eBook, Seeing the Unseen, How to Photograph Landscapes at Night. It proved to be very popular and by default I found myself making a living from what I loved to do.

My inspiration has always been the landscape, the fine balance that nature sustains and a desire to have a holistic relationship with that system. Transcending image-making and aiming for a more expressive approach has always been my goal.

Did you have any formal education or mentors who helped to shape your profession as a photographer?

In short no. I’m self-taught, but I don’t live in a vacuum. I’ve been inspired by many photographers over the years, some famous, others unknown. The background in bird photography gave me a solid technical foundation, but for the last decade have worked on more expressive, creative output. I’m very disciplined and self-motivated and when I decide to learn something, it stays learned!

In the year of 2000, you and your wife lived in the Tibetan region and spent most of your time exploring the Himalayas. Can you tell us more about your experience and share a memory that you will never forget?

My wife Juanli and I met in Beijing in 2000, but we didn’t move down to the Tibetan Region until 2004, and finally moved to Lhasa the capital of Tibet in 2007.

But yes, for over a decade we lived and traveled extensively in that region, both north and south of the Himalaya. Living at between 9000 and 12000 feet is magical; clear air, intoxicating views and a calmness that lingers with me today as I look out over our Scottish Glen to the sea below.

Growing up in Scotland does not prepare you for the cultural differences in somewhere like Tibet. The people, landscape, and their faith are interwoven into an inseparable fabric. It’s a brutal environment, 50% of the oxygen than at sea level, frozen, or baked in equal measure. I miss it, and can’t wait to get back to the big mountains.

In 2015 we co-led a trek into the east side of Everest and on the second night camped at about 17000 feet. After a fitful sleep I was finally warm and snug in my down bag, but the whole inside of the tent was frozen from our breath.

As the first dim light of dawn woke me, I crawled out the tent and made my way up to a lake high above me for sunrise. I was alone, mildly hypoxic, and exhausted with every step. I found a spot by the lake and collapsed on the ground, gasping for breath. From my repose, I noticed a superb reflection of Makalu, Lhotse, and Everest and set up my camera where I lay.

As the first light hit the big peaks it was like an explosion in my mind, to be so high, in that place, alone was just incredible. The effort required to get into these places is huge. The mental effort to overcome the elements can be daunting, but the rewards of internal growth are immeasurable.

Can you tell us about your award-winning picture “ The Crystal Embrace” which you received from the Le Prix de la Photographie Paris?

professional landscape photographer

In December 2016 we were running a small workshop in the west of Scotland. There were only two participants, and the four of us were a really tight unit, leaving a small footprint on the vast landscape. Scotland was experiencing one of its rare calm times, a nice high-pressure system that brought cold, clear conditions.

We were in Torridon and the trees were plastered in frost. I’d found a great little viewpoint and had the guys set up for their images. There was no room for me, so I took this shot over their shoulders handheld, with a shallow depth of field to allow a fast enough shutter speed. I liked the blurring of the foreground trees and they created a window through to the river and the warm light of dawn.

I worked it quite a few months later (as is the norm for me) and it was actually Juanli who suggested I enter it to the Px3. I was very surprised when it won the gold medal.

When you were just starting out as a photographer, what was your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?

Things have changed hugely in that time; back in the early 2000’s there was a real lack of good learning material, so I guess my biggest challenge was just working out what I didn’t know. Digital photography was still quite new and there was a big difference in what would be a traditional film-based methodology, versus where digital has come in the last 20 years.

For myself and my peers, it was a case of working it out for ourselves. Not until about 2011 was their an explosion of real quality learning material which has made the question “How do I do that?” Easier to answer.

The best advice I can always give is to keep things simple. There is a human tendency to complicate things, and modern gear, software, and computers are complex tools, capable of a billion things. Deciding what type of photographer you want to be and learning the bare essentials to make this happen is the surest way I know to save yourself a lot of heartaches.

When I’m working I always default to the quickest, easiest way to achieve what I want – why complicate things just to be clever? Creativity can only flow when you’re engaged in the art side of things. If you’re locked into technical challenges your images will reflect that.

What is the key to making a great landscape photograph? Can you describe the process behind one of your favorite photographs? 

Engagement, flow, imagination, technical proficiency and confidence!

professional landscape photographer

This photograph is certainly one of my best known and it is a real favorite of mine. It was taken in early 2011 in Spain and was the start of a process of creativity that is still with me today, although in a more distilled format.

I had begun to really start thinking about isolationism and the process of stripping landscapes down to their very essence. In other words, what is it in this scene in front of me that can summarise the whole by showing as little as possible.

On this night the moon was giving a lot of light and the waves were really crashing in on the shore. The whole area was chaos and noisy. By zooming into the sea stacks and using a long exposure (something like 7 minutes I think) – I stripped the chaos down to this very simple and graphical representation of this beautiful beach.

The fact it was dark, led me to come up with the expression Seeing the Unseen, which typifies my approach to creativity; seeing something that doesn’t exist in a literal sense.

Processing is very simple, maybe only a few minutes in Lightroom.

What gives you ideas to create such amazing work of art?

Well, thank you for the kind words, but of course I don’t see them like that; for me, it’s just about expressing myself and letting out what needs to come out.

One place I don’t get inspiration is from other photographs, I really don’t look at very much these days, preferring instead to let my own imagination and creative drive lead to new work.

I do listen to lots of music though, increasingly Minimalism, Ambient and making my own. For a couple of years now I’ve been writing in various magazines about the process of creativity, and the concept of harmonic resonance is a common theme.

I like the idea that nature is what it is. It has no inherent metaphor associated with it. What we see in it, feel in it and create with it are constructs of our own perspective and imagination.

In short, where I am now is to allow my subconscious a voice. I try not to guide my work with much if any conscious creative thought. I shoot innately, compose by feel rather than any pre-visualised rule or guideline, and certainly process images without thought.

A firm grasp of the theory of How to Do Stuff with the camera and in front of the computer have created this platform that allows me to explore my subconscious within a flow state.

Flow States are the Utopian dream, I only feel I am truly creative when I’m in one.

Can you tell us about your workshops and what can a photographer learn from the workshops?

My wife and I love running our workshops, we really do. Firstly we only have very small groups, mostly 2 or 3, but occasionally topping out at 5 or 6. This allows for a great little group dynamic and lots of one on one time with us both. Juanli is a great photographer in her own right and is very patient.

I was discussing this with our group last week here in Scotland. The most common goal of our participants is to get in touch with their creative side, and this doesn’t work if I just tell people what to do.

Each person sees the world through their own eyes, and I believe they have a vision that is truly unique to them. If I was to take three people to a beach and ask them to write a short story on a piece of paper describing where they are, what the light and weather is like and what is attracting their eye. Each essay would be different.

I do not wish to force everyone into a mould that looks the same. I want to teach people to make images that are theirs, not mine.

We also like to have fun; we enjoy chatting about vision, philosophy, creativity, technical routes to greater freedom in the field and in front of the computer. We also only run trips to places we really love; Scotland, Spain, Tibet and the Gobi Desert.

Here and Now

Besides photography, can you tell us your other hobbies or what you love to do?

Creativity is my life, everything I do revolves around creating new work, developing my skill sets, thinking about it, writing about it, or being out in the field with clients. I’m an experiential person, my life is a journey and everything I do has a purpose.

I play guitar and create music on my computer. I read and write with equal passion. I hike the hills around our home every day, looking at the place, it’s wildlife and the ever-changing seasons. But, to me, none of it is work, and all of it is work.

What is your greatest achievement so far?

I’m not really interested in the concept of achievement. I’m driven to become the very best version of me that I can be and suppress any ego associated with being good at what I do. Still being alive, fit, healthy and married to Juanli gives me great satisfaction!

professional landscape photographer

Would you like to share a few tips for all the aspiring photographers out there who are also looking to build a reputation as an artist?

Social media has changed the ballpark. Popularity, quality, and creative integrity do not always walk hand in hand. My advice would be to shoot for yourself, create for yourself and don’t think about building a reputation at all. If your work speaks to you; it’s authentic, individual and expressive, it will speak to others.

Everyone with a phone or camera is a photographer, we’re not alone out there.

There’s an old expression that says you’ll never catch a butterfly if you chase it, but if you sit quietly and patiently it will come and land on your finger.

I am not interested in the trappings of success in my field, I’m interested in my own growth and quality of life. My work totally reflects me, my vision, my engagement and ever-changing perspectives.

Any notoriety or reputation I have is external and has very little to do with my own awareness. I just do what I do and hope I can help others on their journeys.

Find out more information on Alister Benn’s workshops here!

Nino Batista Interview : A Photo Retouching Genius At His Best

high end beauty retouching

If you haven’t heard of Nino Batista before, I am sure that you would have seen some of his breathtaking images on lifestyles and men’s publications.

Nino is an editorial glamour and exotic automotive photographer in the United States. He is not only one of today’s best glamour photographers but he is also known for his retouching skills.

Having the ability to be a master at what he does best, he has also been able to share his own retouching secrets. From a photographer to one of the famous trainers in the industry, he has taught photography and retouching in many cities. He has worked with Fstoppers since 2014 and he is currently their Senior Writer.

If you would like to know more about him, you can always visit his website here.

In this interview, we had a chance to connect with Nino via email and to ask him a few questions.

high end beauty retouching

Tell us about yourself. How did you become a glamour and retouching educator?

A kind of interesting story, I think. As a veteran graphics designer and small business owner since the 90’s, I saw the way that industry and the economy were shifting in 2008, and I decided it was time to change industries! Luckily, my father was, and still is, a full-time photographer. This meant that while I was not hugely experienced in a shooting, I did grow up around it, so I wasn’t starting from a totally blank slate. So, basically, I went into photography for the sole purpose of trying to build a new business because my existing one was basically about to shut down.

After a couple of years of figuring stuff out, doing a lot of really crappy shoots because I had no idea what I was doing, I ended up in the automotive photography world, of all things. In 2012, I shot over 200 cars and assumed my career was now going to be in automotive. Once again, however, shifts in industry priorities ended up causing me to be dropped by the main automotive clients that had kept me so busy for most of 2012. Luckily, I was still shooting glamour pretty steadily (by this time it wasn’t totally crappy) and requests came in asking if I give workshops on the subject.

Needing to once again make up for the shift in business, I started workshops in August of 2012. It was this decision that ended up making the biggest difference in my career. Since then, I have hosted over 200 photography events in over 50 cities around the country, allowing me to make a living off of being an educator. This allows me to freely shoot what I want to shoot, what I am inspired by, whenever I set out to plan a project. So while the education circuit keeps me extremely busy, I have freedom as an artist to shoot almost exclusively what I am motivated to shoot, and not much else.

high end beauty retouching

Why is teaching photography so important to you?

I’ve always said that the most tempting thing to do after you’ve become a reasonably established photographer is to give workshops or classes. The allure of the extra income is the main driving force, of course, but what happens is, most photographers who try giving classes realize very quickly that it’s fairly difficult. Between planning, scheduling, curriculum preparation, marketing, personal interaction with students, and of course hustling to make it financially worthwhile, most photographers give up the idea after just a couple of attempts at workshops.

The short answer is, being a full-time educator isn’t for everyone. I found, thankfully, that I truly enjoy it. It’s like being a touring musician (something I can relate to), in that you go city to city and give a performance to an audience who came out to see you. Everything from the pre-show nerves to the euphoria of giving a really intense lecture or demonstration that goes over really well is all worth it to me. I revel in every second of being an educator! And it also lets me travel a lot and that is never a bad thing.

high end beauty retouching

What does retouching mean to you and how did you get into this genre of photography?

An interesting two-part question here! So, as I mentioned I was a full-time graphics designer from about the age of 16 until just a few years ago. In fact, I worked with Adobe Photoshop since version 1.0 and really started to produce client work with version 2.5. So I go way back, you could say. Upon entering photography, I immediately found that for all my Photoshop design experience, I didn’t know the proper way to do portrait retouching. I became literally obsessed with being the best retoucher I could be, simply because I wasn’t going to allow myself to fail at using a program like Photoshop that I already knew so well, for so long.

Yeah, that is the testament to how versatile Photoshop is, but I also knew that the learning curve was going to be steep. As a person who never spent one minute in college, never took a workshop and never took any private classes of any kind of any subject ever, I actually surprised myself when I chose to invest in an amazing mentor, Pratik Naik, to help me get going on portrait retouching several years ago. I was obsessed enough to get over my “I learn things on my own” attitude because I was determined to be good at it, and in two sessions my life was forever changed; I was now in love with retouching for life.

As for how I ended up in the glamour genre, I guess I’ve never really thought about it in detail before. That said, I did start off shooting what was simply “model photography”, with no predetermined idea of any specific genre. After only a short while, I decided I wasn’t a fashion photographer simply because I knew very, very little about fashion, and most of what I was shooting didn’t look like anything remotely seen in fashion ads or magazines.

Eventually, someone said I shoot “glamour” if I recall correctly, and I decided that was as good a label as anything, and just kept saying “I’m a glamour photographer.” Curiously, I’ve shifted a bit in recent months, and going into 2018 you may start seeing some different sort of aesthetics in my work, something I am tentatively referring to as “editorial glam”.

high end beauty retouching

There is a very fine difference between “good retouching” and “bad retouching”. Can you please let us know your perspective on that.

Good retouching is nearly invisible. You see an image, it looks extremely perfect (industry caliber, like in major advertising), but nothing stands out as “Photoshopped” or just looks weird. Bad retouching? Well, anything that isn’t that!

Can you tell us what is the first step to retouching an amateur photographer should know?

Practice. Practice. Practice. Stop assuming that simply watching a tutorial means you now know how to retouch. Retouching is an art and should be approached with respect, as you would any art. You will fail at it at first, and that’s ok. Do a lot of really terrible edits, and keep learning. Remember that information is not knowledge! There is tons of information on the web about retouching, but until you process it all in your brain and practice countless hours, it will not become knowledge. Did I mention practice?

high end beauty retouching

What is the most challenging part of retouching? Any trick you can share with our budding audience of a photographer to help them here?

In portrait work, your entire existence as a retoucher is going to be based on skin retouching. Master that, and every other aspect of your retouching will benefit. That said, perfect skin retouching is going to take time to learn and practice, as I mentioned above. You want skin texture, but you want everything to be perfect; remove the term “skin smoothing” from your vocabulary. You want perfection, not smooth.

Which method do you mostly use while skin retouching?

After some basic healing, dodge and burn is the only way to go. If you master dodging and burning for skin work, the world is yours.

How long would it usually take for you to edit a RAW image?

I get asked this a lot! For me, it varies wildly. I am not a beauty photographer so generally speaking my edits go fairly quick. If I had to say, I would estimate between 10 minutes and 1 hour per image. Keep in mind, 6-7 years ago, I was 2-3 hours per image!

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Can you give us a little insight into your personal editing workflow?

It breaks down like this for me, but honestly, it’s just based on industry standard workflow, and I do it in this order:

1. Raw processing in Capture One Pro, which includes color correction, skin tone balancing, white balance, highlight and shadows adjustments, and some of what I call “pre-grading” color work (which just means I do some light color grading to get the palette started that I will eventually finalize in Photoshop).

2. Export to Photoshop as 16 bit PSD, AdobeRGB from Capture One Pro.

3. Healing

4. Dodge & burn for skin

5. Frequency separation for skin work (as needed, if needed)

6. Major fixes/reconstructions (if needed)

7. Liquify (if needed)

8. Additional color correction (as needed, if needed)

9. Color grading (varies shot to shot)

10. Final “mastering” to account for exposure, contrast, special effects, etc. (varies shot to shot)

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Besides photography what do you usually love to do?

Apart from being a proud single father of 3, I am also a musician. Music is actually my main passion in life, to be perfectly honest. I play daily and listen to music non-stop. It’s been over a decade, but I may join a band soon and start gigging again. Why not?

What advice would you give to somebody who is just starting out as a photographer and who is trying to master retouching?

Don’t try to master it simply by trial and error. Invest in a class, a workshop, or a mentor. It’s fairly complex at first, and by attempting to learn it trial and error, you will take 20 times longer to get where you want to go, if not more.

Check out 30 Premium Retouching Video Tutorials By Nino Batista & master the skills of retouching!

Charlie Borland Interview : An Inspiration To All Aspiring Photographers

Charlie Borland has been a professional photographer for over 35 years. Based in Oregon, he has shot almost all over the world. He has worked with high-end clients including Xerox, NW Airlines, Fujitsu, Nike, Blue Cross, NationsBank, Texas Instruments, International Paper, Cellular One.

His work has also been published thousands of times worldwide and in publications like National Geographic Adventure and Traveler, Outside, Women’s Sport and Fitness, Newsweek, TV Guide, Sports Illustrated for Women, Time, Backpacker, American Photo, Outdoor Photographer, to name a few.

In this interview, we learn a little more about Charlie and find out how he got started and what makes him the photographer he is today.

famous professional photographers

How did you get your start as a photographer? Was there anything specific that made you want to become a photographer?

I got my first SLR when I was 18. My best friend had received a camera from his brother, who was stationed in Asia after the Vietnam war. He invited me to go out and take pictures with him and it was fun. So, I decided to get a camera for myself and then we teamed up to go out and shoot. I enjoyed it enough to start taking workshops and classes, where among many workshop instructors, I met Bryan Peterson and we have been friends ever since. I even co-wrote his book on Flash Photography. Eventually, I enrolled in Brooks Institute in the late 70’s and have been a working pro since.

From many of your interviews, I learned that you love to explore different types of photography. But can you tell us which one would have to be your favorite?

I love to photograph….whatever is in front of the camera. As far as favorite subjects, the more commercial subjects were often grueling assignments, but I still loved it. And then the things I do for fun are more relaxing like landscape photography. I love shooting the landscape because it’s just me and the wilds and the weather. No deadlines, clients, or distractions.

famous professional photographers

You have been a photographer for more than 30 years now. Having been a photographer for so long, what keeps you inspired?

I think to keep the excitement going after so many years in an often-ruthless business, you need personal goals or projects that you are passionate about. I am always working on something with a theme, while I also take off to hike and shoot because nature is the best escape for me.

What do you feel about photography 15 years back and now? And how do you feel about the transition from film to digital?

I love digital and Photoshop and what we can do now. But I never want to forget what it was like before all that. Probably 2/3 of my career was film based and much of how you worked was done differently. I was also much busier the first 15-20 years than the last 10 years so there has been a lot of change in the overall photography business. But change is part of every business for the most part and you adapt to survive. Today, I can still create images with a camera and that’s the main thing because the passion to do that has not changed.

famous professional photographers

How much do you research before you start on a new project?

It definitely depends on the project. Most assignments don’t require too much research in the traditional sense but instead require logistical planning. I had a client that sent me all over North America shooting industrial locations and we might do 10 locations in 10 states over a two-week period. That was a challenge planning the travel schedule, timing, and anything we needed to be shipped to the location. Most of my personal projects are more spontaneous in many ways. I often like to just show up and then get the creative thinking kicked into gear, adapting as needed. But that approach won’t work for everything. If I am using models as an example, pre-planning is essential.

What lies ahead for you now?

I keep shooting my personal work while also looking for any and all opportunities. Sometimes things just pop up. I also create online training courses and have an eBook out there, with more of all that planned in the future. So I stay pretty busy.

famous professional photographers

What was the first digital camera you started using?

My first camera was an Olympus with Fixed lens and wide angle and telephoto attachments. I don’t even recall the model, but I only made it about a year with that before getting a Canon 10D and then moving up every 18 months to something bigger and more powerful.

Do you have an all-time favorite camera?

My fav would be the 4×5 view camera. I had three of them: a Cambo studio camera, a Calumet with bag bellows for architecture, and a Toyo 45AR field camera, my true favorite. I loved shooting in the field with the Toyo. It takes so long to set up and frame a picture, a film was expensive, and that means I spent much more time to compose the image. With DSLR’s and no film costs, even I rapid fire once in a while.

Your photographs can be seen almost everywhere on the internet, to name a few like the National Geographic Adventure and Traveler, the NY Times, Sports Illustrated, Outdoor Photographer, etc. Can you tell us more about your journey to fame?

LOL, one thing I was told by one of my agents at the beginning of my career was that there is often little correlation between fame and fortune. Something that may bring you fame might not always pay much while good paying assignment may not be noticed by anybody who cares who the photographer was. I am proud of the many publication credits I have, but they are just credits. While they may help in obtaining other business, most clients choose photographers they personally like. Being able to do the shoot is the most important but clients want somebody they are able to work with. That is how you develop relationships with editors and art directors. You need a wide range of abilities and if it is stock photography, then you need a lot of stock photos before clients continually call you back. Then you market and market until you are sick of it, and then market a little more.

famous professional photographers

Do you face challenges in photography even after all this time and how do you overcome them?

Absolutely! And as an example; industrial photography. I am not doing much location work in industrial settings anymore, but every single shot was a challenge because we often never knew what we were up against until we got there. It could be lighting, color, a missing piece of something, a broke down a machine, or things you do not expect. You have to be a problem solver. You cannot have a client fly you halfway around the world and not come away with a shot because details were overlooked or something went wrong. So, you need to be quick at coming up with alternative strategies if things down go right. This is less of a problem with my personal work. If it is raining, I wait another day.

Can you tell us a little about your post-processing workflow?

I am a big Photoshop fan. I also have Lightroom but do not use it as much because I was deep into PS before LR was introduced and there lies my comfort zone. They are great programs. For workflow, I often start with the basics in Bridge like the metadata, and sometimes basic adjustments in ACR. Usually, I only need one scene out of a batch for processing and I take that into PS. From there it is usually adjustment layers for everything from contrast, to color, and anything else that needs attention. I use layers and masks all the time, do exposure blending, and occasionally luminosity masks. My philosophy is that I want things to look real unless I am doing something conceptually. I liken that philosophy to being raised on transparency film which had a limited dynamic range, little ability to manipulate like today, and so you learned how to fit into those parameters. With digital, there is no limit and while that is a good thing, it can easily be misused resulting in images that just don’t look real.

famous professional photographers

What tips or advice do you have for other aspiring photographers?

Follow your heart and passion. If you want to go pro great, but if you want to do photography just for fun, then forge ahead. Make photography whatever you want it to be for yourself. Trying to make money at it as far as a living, is tough. It’s crowded out there and there is less business than there used to be. But it is so fun and can bring life experiences you just wouldn’t find without that camera opening the door. If a business is your goal, you need to be a very good photographer because you might very well be competing for an assignment against a long-established pro. If landscape and nature is your passion, learning to write and shoot video will only open more opportunities for you. I have often said, that pro photography is not a job, it’s a lifestyle! So, whatever you decide, dive in with all your passion and never give up. Things will happen!

Find out more information on Charlie Borland photography tutorials & insights here!

Amanda Diaz Interview – An Inspirational & Passionate Photographer

fine art fashion photography

Amanda Diaz is one of the best-known Fashion and Portrait photographers based in Western Canada. Her career as a photographer started in 2008 and in 2012 was nominated as one of the top ten fashion/editorial photographers on the Framed Network.

Amanda, like many successful artistic photographers, has made a brand for herself in the world of photography. Her work has been featured in multiple magazines and websites from around the world and has taken over all forms of social media.

Besides her sensational work of taking stunning photographs, Amanda is also teaching photography and workshops. Her style in photography has brought her the attention of many who are looking to learn from her.

If you are seeking for some inspiration in the fashion and portrait photography, then Amanda Diaz is the photographer for you.

In this interview, we speak to Amanda to seek out insights into her work and feel her passion towards photography.

Amanda spoke to us by email…

fine art fashion photography

Let’s start with a small introduction about yourself.

I am a Fashion and Portrait photographer, born in Toronto, Ontario and currently reside in Western Canada. My shooting style tends to lean more on the artistic and fine art side of photography. I like to add a surreal and ethereal mood to most of my images. I love watching movies and listening to music – I usually will have one or the other in the background as I’m working or editing. I’ve been shooting for almost a decade come May 2018.

Before you started with photography I see that you worked with children for a long time. Can you tell us more about that?

Yes, that is correct. I studied early childhood and started out in daycares. I then began working with children who had special needs. Autism, speech delays, behavioral issues, FASD etc. It was fulfilling but also extremely stressful and I was getting very burnt out. I then started studying graphic design and photography online part time as I continued working. It took me a total of 5 years to transition out of the first career and into this one now as a photographer.

fine art fashion photography

At what point did you realize that photography is what you wanted to do as a career?

It wasn’t really that obvious, to be honest as I was planning to be a graphic designer, I had to finish my courses in order to get my certificate of advanced design, and choose an additional subject and so I chose photography. I was following assignments and used friends to model for me. After getting so much positive feedback on my work, I just ended up going in that direction over time.

Were there any hurdles that you encountered at the beginning of your journey as a photographer?

Yes, many and I still do from time to time. Rejection for one, and also that I walked into quite a rude awakening. I found that the more attention I started to get online and off, the more negativity and hateful comments also came my way. It was quite a shock and many nights I would cry myself to sleep in total confusion as to why strangers would talk to me and about me the way they did, making accusations of my character and so on. But as time has passed, I just don’t really worry about it anymore and stick to myself for the most part. I would say that was the biggest challenge for me- other than learning the technical side of things which I am not fond of.

fine art fashion photography

Why did you decide to become a fashion/ Portrait photographer? 

I actually started out taking pictures of weddings, babies, family etc. As time went on, I found I was not really happy nor was I interested in doing images like that. I actually got to the point of nearly just quitting- I started to work with models here and there and really loved the energy and creativity I could have. The planning, styling, shooting and even editing was something I enjoyed a lot. Over time, I just started to only shoot portraits or fashion editorials and have been doing that ever since!

In 2012, you were nominated as one of the Top 10 Fashion/Editorial Photographers. How did that feel?

I was pretty excited and quite surprised actually. It was very encouraging for me as I was placed in a category with a couple other photographers whom I admired and looked up too- So even though I didn’t “win” -being nominated was more than enough!

How much time do you spend taking photos? Can you tell us a little bit about your workflow?

Well, these days actually not very much! I’ve been so busy with working on a new project that will be coming this spring its left little to no time for shoots! I’m trying to get back into some more creatives coming up though! But as for my workflow, I usually begin with some kind of inspiration like a makeup or hair look, some style of clothing, lighting etc, then from there, I build on the idea adding more elements and trying to create something unique. Once I have my idea I start gathering my team, set a date, shoot and the spend forever trying to narrow down the images. Sometimes I get so critical of my work I don’t even want to look at the images again…It’s the artist in me I suppose. It’s a very bad habit but I’m working on it.

fine art fashion photography

How do you market yourself to your clients?

Well, luckily, I have my social media that helps me a lot when it comes to being hired for work. People tend to see my work a lot on platforms like Instagram or Facebook so that part makes it easy, as well as word of mouth from past clients.

You’re also in the photography education industry. How long have you been teaching photography workshops?

Yes, I’ve only been teaching workshops only for the last 4 years. My last one was this past October and I most likely will no longer be doing physical workshops (unless they are retreats) as I am now moving my curriculum online. It makes it a lot easier for students too as they can learn in the comfort of their own home and at their own pace.

fine art fashion photography

What projects are you working on now?

I have two brand new projects coming up that has been keeping me really busy. One is in partnership with a couple friends and it will be a resource site for females in business and the other is my online courses that I will soon be releasing

You have around 53.3k followers on Instagram, what tips can you give to photographers who want to get their work seen like that?

I think the most important thing when it comes to social media, to remember to be true to yourself, style and brand. Don’t worry too much about what others are doing unless it’s to motivate you, otherwise it can get really discouraging watching what everyone else is doing. Also, be patient and consistent with your posts. Even I sometimes fall off and it actually does affect my visibility if I don’t stay on schedule after a few days. Social media honestly for me can be very draining and time-consuming… especially that I am such a private person, I have difficulty sometimes thinking about what to post other than an image! But I’m trying to be better at it though!

fine art fashion photography

Any final words of wisdom you would like to share with all the aspiring photographers out there?

I would say just to keep focused if this is truly your passion. It can be a harsh and competitive industry and there will always be ups and downs, but if its something you love – just don’t give up! 🙂

Find out more information on Amanda Diaz photography tutorials & insights here!

Oded Wagenstein Interview – Images That Tell A Story

visual storytelling photography

Oded Wagenstein is a unique and professional photographer whose photographs capture emotions and tells stories.

At a very young age, Oded taught himself how to use the camera as a platform to explore his fears.

Through hard work and determination, he has now built a career as a professional photographer. He loves to travel around the world and capture intimate portraits.

His images and articles are regularly published on numerous international platforms, such as the BBC and the National Geographic.

Oded believes in sharing knowledge. He is the author of three amazing books

  • Stories and Faces – Composition for stronger stories and better portraits.
  • Snapn Travel – A lifetime of travel memories in a snap.
  • The Visual Storyteller – Creating stronger stories and better photographs.

He is a photography instructor at the largest photography school in the Middle East (Galitz School of Photography). He teaches both Jews and Muslims to use their cameras as a bridge between them. Through photography, he helps them share their stories, hopes, and fears.

In this interview, we had a chance to connect via email to ask him a few questions.

visual storytelling photography

Can you tell us how important is it for a photographer to “connect” with his subjects?

Not every photographer needs to connect with his or her subjects. I have colleagues who are wonderful street photographers and in their mind, even talking with the subject is a great sin. For me, the camera is just a vehicle for fascinating encounters. I love the way the camera allows me to meet new people from different cultures and gain new knowledge. Therefore, I find that connecting with people through the camera is not only the most important aspect of my work but the most rewarding.

How would you describe your style in photography?

The question is – what is style? Is this a form of visual repetition?In that light, I am not sure I have a style. I prefer that we would change the word “style” with the word “voice“. I find that focusing on “style” is putting the emphasis on the shape of the work while focusing on the “voice”, is putting the emphasis on the meaning. So, I wish that my work could bring my voice, tell my stories and share my fears.

visual storytelling photography

How much preparation do you put into before working on any project?

It depends on the project, but usually, my preparation includes several basic steps:

First, visual preparation. I would like to collect visual materials (pictures, paintings, films) dealing with the subject/place/culture I wish to explore. At this stage, I would like to be visually inspired and understand what has been done in the past on that subject. The second stage is reading. I would read any material relevant. For example, when it comes to culture; I would like to read about the traditions, history, economy, and demographics of the place and anything that can help me understand the meaning of living in that culture.

I remember a few years ago, a magazine sent me to photograph in a kibbutz of organic agriculture in Israel. Since I have a family living on a kibbutz, I knew the meaning of life in a Kibbutz, but I knew nothing about organic agriculture. So I read information online and talked to experts and learned so much. Of course, you could say that I could photograph those farmers without that preliminary knowledge, but I think that understanding what they do, helped me in creating a better visual story.

visual storytelling photography

What advice do you have for somebody who wants to pursue photography?

My advice is to put less emphasis on purchasing new and advanced equipment and more emphasis on learning and inspiration. Buy books, take courses, and surround yourself with creative people.

See more of Oded’s work here.

Dani Diamond Interview: NYC Fashion, Food & Commercial Photographer

I recently came across the work of Dani Diamond online by chance while browsing through some well-known portrait photographers. What I loved the most about him was the impeccable results of his portraits.

Known for his breathtaking portraits and signature style, Dani Diamond has now taken over all forms of social media.

As a boy, he grew up in Cleveland, Ohio and now lives in Connecticut with his wife Etty. His journey into photography was merely just a hobby after he graduated with a degree in business administration.

In this interview, we learn a little more about Dani and find out how he got started and what makes him the photographer he is today.

famous portrait photographers

I see that five years ago, photography was really never an interest to you. From graduating with a degree in business administration and now known for your signature style photographs. How did this happen?

I never really had any direction when applying to businesses school, it was just something I chose to do since I knew it could lead to many different paths. I was fascinated by the technical side of cameras which sparked an interest. One thing leads to the next and I now do photography for a living.

I believe that you take your critics and fans very seriously. They have played a vital role in shaping you as a photographer. Can you please throw some more light on this?

I’m a big believer that I was not born talented in taking portraits. I owe a lot of my style to those that commented on my work when I was starting out. If I saw people responded well to specific details of my work, I made sure to implement them in future work. This helped mold the signature style I have today.

famous portrait photographers

After having moved to photography, have you ever have had second thoughts?

Yes, all the time. Photography is a very saturated field since anyone can buy a camera and become a photographer easily. With the right connections, anyone can land any job. We see celebrities deciding they are photographers all the time and shooting big brands. This scares me, unlike being a doctor I have no guarantee that I will have a job in 10 years from now. However, I’m stuck right now in a place where I love my job and making a comfortable living to provide for my family so going out and finding a different job is not too appealing for me. None the less I do have second thoughts.

What was the first camera that you used and do you still use it?

A Nikon D90 and no I shoot with a D800 now and couldn’t be happier with the dynamic range and resolution it has.

Known for your breathtaking portraits and signature style, can you tell us how important is it for a photographer to “connect” with his subjects?

Believe it or not the connection I make sure the subject has with me(the camera) IS the signature look in my portraits. The colours, blurred background, clothing and retouching is all just smoke around the essence of a portrait. Without that connection, the portrait will not speak to the audience.

famous portrait photographers

What have you learned about yourself from shooting portraits?

That anyone can make themselves a peoples person and outgoing with effort. I had a very hard time growing up making conversation with strangers. It is now a pleasure for me to meet new people and instantly become friends.

How did you come up with the idea of “The Project”? I personally find it to be a super duper idea.

As mentioned above I had a hard time meeting new people and making them feel comfortable in front of the camera. To push myself to master this I looked for the hardest subjects to photograph, if I can make them feel comfortable in front of the camera, surely I can make anyone. Who is the hardest? Photographers by far. They hate being photographed. Thus the idea of The Project was born.

What are your favourite shooting locations?

Any city, I love the neutral colours.

famous portrait photographers

How do you work your magic when it comes to natural light portraiture & retouching?

Starting with a good image is key. Contrast, lighting and focus on the eyes. I walk a lot more than I shoot. I will not turn on my camera until I find the perfect light and background.

famous portrait photographers

I find the above picture absolutely stunning! Can you tell us a little about how you had set up for this portrait?

At the end of this shoot with @modelninajade as she was walking next to me I noticed perfect light and opportunity to snap a shot, it was candid. A year after I took the image I came back to it and kind of liked it so I went ahead and retouched it. I took this with a D800 and 85mm 1.4G

Would you like to say something to all the aspiring photographer who has just started photography?

Find yourself a job that will pay you well and do photography as a hobby. You will enjoy producing art more this way and live a much more stress-free life. The second money is involved you will find yourself taking jobs since it pays well rather than something you’re enjoying. Becoming a photographer is appealing until you have a mortgage, tuition, insurance and bills that force you to take jobs you have no interest in doing.

Find out more information on Dani Diamond photography tutorials & insights here!

9 Lesser-Known Ways To Market Your Photography Business

marketing photography business

Image credit https://unsplash.com/@freestocks

More than technique, photography is an art. If you are starting a photography business, well, it could be bread and butter too. From how to start a photography business to how to market it to excel in the field, there’s a lot of homework to do. In order to attract potential clients, homework is crucial for professional photographers. But if you have one your research and are geared up for starting your own photography business, you’ve already come half way. Feel free to rely on us for the second half, the marketing part! Here are 9 lesser-known but highly effective ways to help your marketing photography business like a pro.

1. Photo Blogs

It’s great if you have a portfolio website but blogging never goes in vain. Build a feed of the best of your shots. The ones you want people to see.  You can also follow some prominent photographers and see how they do it. Be regular by posting new photographs of the projects you’re working on. It is quite similar to how you maintain your social media. The difference is that here you can even gain followers. And you never know your followers may turn up to be your clients.  Writing blogs on your portfolio website is another good way to build your reach.

2. Get  photographs published in Magazines

It’s no rocket science to figure out that a photograph published in an industry leading magazine builds credibility and gives a huge exposure to a photographer. But it’s not easy!  For some it could be sheer luck but for some it’s a lot of work. The first step towards getting a photograph published in a magazine is to find out some of the leading magazines in

For instance, if you’re a wedding photographer, the following magazines would offer a huge exposure-

  • Premier Bride
  • Wedding Style
  • The Knot Magazine
  • Wedding Affair
  • Asiana

However, for a travel or wildlife photographer magazines such as National Geographic Traveler, Outlook Traveller, Travel+Leisure, Lonely Planet among others would make suitable options. If you’re not a commissioned photographer for these magazines there’s a little chance that your photographs would be published, but keep at it.  So get your best photographs out and send them to the respective editors of these magazines.

If fashion and lifestyle are your things, keep reading Vogue, Elle, Verve, Instyle, and Cosmopolitan and you may find opportunities to get published in these magazines.   Also, don’t forget to take part in photography contests and competitions conducted by photography associations and even magazines.

marketing photography business

3. Exhibitions

Flaunt what you’ve got. Why not? Begin from group exhibitions at local art galleries or any other venue that suits you. Once you experience it and feel like doing bigger, go for solo exhibitions. You can meet numerous people at exhibitions, which, surely, would help you grow your business and your marketing photography business network this way. You can also get your favorite photographs framed and hang them in your studio. A picture speaks better than words, after all!

4. Networking

Success won’t come overnight. Wait for it! Rather, work for it! Networking is important for all kinds of businesses.  If you know just a handful of people how would you work with others? In order to expand the business, a good network is needed. You often have to walk up to the strangers and talk. An interpersonal communication, after all, is way better than mass communication. It would get you instant feedback and response without long wait. Get to know them and build good relationships with people. Have patience and give them some time. Don’t be clingy, too. Look, approach and act like a professional.

Where to network?

Attend photo walks: Always join your friends, colleagues and mentors for local photo walks. It helps you meet new people, discover new places and again, build network. You may also learn something new during the process. Nobody, never is too old to learn.Participant in events: Events like fests, fashion show, fairs are not meant to be missed. Move out with your cam-buddy (camera) and look for the opportunities. Yes, you have to make efforts. Take lead if any bride-to-be seems interested or anyone is planning a family-shoot.

Participant in events: Events like fests, fashion show, fairs are not meant to be missed. Move out with your cam-buddy (camera) and look for the opportunities. Yes, you have to make efforts. Take lead if any bride-to-be seems interested or anyone is planning a family shoot.
Get out of your comfort zone: In this business, you can’t afford being shy or uncomfortable in walking up to people and starting a warm conversation. Confidence is the key.

Exchange business card: Always keep your business card handy. Have this habit of offering your card after a healthy conversation. And they seem interested, ask for theirs, too. Do not forget to add portfolio website address on your card, if you got one!

How to network at a photography event

Plan: Always plan how and what are you going to do say/ show to the concerned person. Look on how to be presentable and organised.

Prepare: Prepare a day in advance. Keep your camera charged. Keeping an extra battery for back-up is always a good idea. You never know when you need to look through that lens. Make sure you don’t run out of business cards.

Execute: Dress well and look neat. These things impact the communication before it even starts. Be friendly and nice while talking. And by the end of conversation you ought to analyse if the person is your target customer.

Follow-up: Text or mail them already saying you look forward to working with them.

Stay in touch: Even if your project is over, keep in touch and let them know you would love to work with them again.

5. Personalized  messages

Every time you deliver customer’s photographs, leave a handwritten card along with something as simple as ‘you look beautiful’ or ‘you look good together’ or ‘I am unable to get my eyes off’ written on it. In between shoot and delivery too, you can mail them saying you’re already working for their beautiful pictures and would be handing them over soon. Make a note of their birthdays/ anniversaries and send personalized cards or just their photograph which you must store on your hard disk. One small print doesn’t cost a bomb and congratulations already; they are going to appreciate you for this effort.

marketing photography business

6. Festive/ holiday offers

Now this one is kind of obvious when it comes to marketing. Give special offers on festivals and holidays. This is the time people spend with their friends and families so they would want to get clicked. But remember, if there’s rise in demand of photographers, there also is chance they would want the best professional. Best in both, the business and fees! So give some offers or coupons and grab more clients.
Pre-marketing: Make a list of days you are occupied and for the remaining days, advertise in advance and declare your availability. Post on social media and try to gain customers.
Post-marketing: Flaunt your social media with best festival shots. This may help you next year, too.

7. Build Social media

Need we tell this is the easiest and pocket-friendly marketing tool? Even if you are not much into social media buzz, bring it in practice for the sake your business. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, don’t leave anything. Don’t use it just to showcase your pictures, be a watchdog instead. Keep updating and stay updated. Know what sells and work accordingly. If needed, don’t hesitate in re-designing your price chart, props and locations. Always have eyes on what’s in because no one wants to spend bucks on an old-school photographer. Post pictures or content at least thrice a week. We repeat, at least! Try to engage the audience by asking for their feedback in the comment section. Be humble and learn to accept criticism as well. Also, be careful not to bug people off by being too pushy.

Also, take note of what and where you are posting. Like, avoid posting landscapes on Instagram or making it Display Picture as you may get to crop it. You could use them well for Facebook, especially on cover. Before proceeding, do some homework for captions also.

8. Offer occasional photography workshops

On free days, when you don’t have any photo sessions to rush for, you can offer photography workshops to aspiring photographers. A lot of professional photographers turn to offer workshops after working for significant years. Even though you’re just starting out, you can contribute to these in many ways volunteering for them. This will open up networking opportunities that might lend clients.

9. Giveaways

Gifting would always boost your marketing photography business. Seek occasions to gift photographs to friends/ ex-colleagues/ relatives with your contact details on it. They surely would be impressed and might refer you to their known ones. The contact details you mention could be used further by them and get you prospective customers.

If you are looking to learn more such helpful tips on marketing photography business, head over to Pixpa.

Rohan is a Digital Marketer @Pixpa, where he helps professional photographers to build stunning portfolio websites.

Ten Photo Editing Plugins for Lightroom and Photoshop

Lightroom and Photoshop have revolutionized the photo editing world. With the ease of workflow and ability to transform images into works of art at the click of a button, many have grasped the capabilities of the Adobe editing software programs and taken full advantage. Despite the capabilities that Photoshop and Lightroom possess, there is an easier way to edit photographs for newcomers and those that just want to streamline the editing process: photo editing plugins and

Despite the capabilities that Photoshop and Lightroom possess, there is an easier way to edit photographs for newcomers and those that just want to streamline the editing process: photo editing plugins and auto photo correction software.

This article aims to review ten different auto photo correction and photo editing plugins that can be used in either Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom.

1. VSCO

VSCO Film revolutionized the ability to turn your iPhone photos into gorgeous film like pictures at a push of a button. Along with the world famous app that was developed by VSCO they have published photo editing plugins that can be used in Lightroom along with Adobe Camera Raw. With eight different packages and film types priced at $59 each, one will be spending their entire paycheck to hope to edit their photos to look like they came out of their parent’s camera.

Image: Vasco Photo editing plugins

Pros:

  • Most realistic film plugins on the market
  • Easy to use on Lightroom, Adobe Camera Raw and iPhone
  • $15 off new Camera Profiles for VSCO Film with coupon VS0816

Cons:

  • $472 for all of the plugins (eight packages)
  • Can achieve the same look as a VSCO filter for free

2. Athentech’s Perfectly Clear Plugins

Perfectly Clear Plugins 2.0 offer a revolutionary way to edit photographs in both Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom. Athentech’s new product boasts to “dramatically speed up your workflow with these powerful one-click plugins.”

The plugin looks at your photo and uses a system to calculate how to enhance the photo fully. This powerful algorithm that has been carefully developed makes editing photo super easy, and the same edits can be applied to a batch of photos which saves hours.

The workflow with Perfectly Clear Plugins is simple. After opening the photo in Lightroom or Photoshop, one will adjust any corrections manually. After the photo is adjusted manually, Athentech’s platform begins to enhance the photographs to a level many photographers have not achieved. With this plugin, you get 20 algorithm based one-click enhancements – 10 for corrections and 10 for beautification.

Perfectly Clear one-click exposure corrections

The ten one-click corrections that enhance your photos are:

1. Perfect exposure
2. Color vibrancy
3. Noise removal
4. Tint removal
5. Image sharpening
6. Increase depth
7. Light diffuser
8. Red eye remover
9. Real color technology
10. Dynamic range

The ten one-click corrections that beautify your photos are:

1. Perfect smooth
2. Blemish removal
3. Dark circle removal
4. Shine removal
5. Face slimming
6. Catch light
7. Eye enhance
8. Eye booster
9. Teeth whitening
10. Skin toner

Pros:

  • 20 different one-click editing commands
  • Not only correct the photo aesthetics but also corrects person in photograph
  • All of these auto photo editing plugins are only $99!
  • Available in both Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom
  • Allows for you to adjust photograph manually before using the 20 one-click corrections

3. Sleeklens Complete Lightroom Collection

Sleeklens is another option for editing images in Lightroom. Sleeklens boasts “that whether you are editing Portraits, Landscapes, HDR or anything else – This Lightroom Collection has it all.”

The complete Lightroom photo editing plugins have 1,095 presets and 357 brushes for Lightroom. Along with this, Sleeklens offers numerous guides on how to edit the photos using their brushes and presets.

Pros:

  • Numerous plugins (over 1,000)
  • Brushes for different needs

Cons:

  • Hard to use (tutorials seem to be necessary to understand plugins and brushes)
  • Photographs do not seem to look any better
  • $610 for the entire package (most expensive photo-editing plugin package I could find)
  • Only able to use in Lightroom

Sleeklens photo editing plugin “Before and After”

4. Strike a Pose Workflow

Sleeklens also offers a smaller package called “Strike a Pose” that is aimed to develop the best portrait photographs through a Lightroom auto photo correction plugin. This package includes:

  • 69 portrait presets and 62 portrait brushes
  • Only compatible with Lightroom
  • Easy-to-follow guides
  • Recipe list and sample images for “inspiration”

Pros:

  • Easy to use portrait presets
  • Recipe list that helps to develop photos to full potential
  • It costs $39

Cons:

  • Only for portrait photographs
  • Can only be used in Lightroom

5. 100 Landscape Lightroom Preset

100 Premium Landscape Lightroom Presets advertises an ideal way to develop landscape photographs. With this auto photo correction platform, the company states that it will “help the professional and amateur photographer.”

Pros:

  • 100 different presets for landscapes
  • Only $26

Cons:

  • Only can really be used for landscapes
  • Published on creative live and not be a reputable company (lack of customer support)
  • Only compatible with Lightroom 4,5 and 6.

6. MCP Actions

MCP actions offers, editing tools for both Lightroom and Photoshop that are separated into different photography styles. The four editing tools that MCP actions offers are:

  • Inspiration Lightroom Presets
  • Baby Steps New Born Lightroom Presets
  • Enlighten Lightroom Presets
  • Inspire Photoshop Actions

All of these packages are priced individually although all except the Inspiration package are priced at $149.99.

The product describes states that it uses to auto photo correction in each of their plugins to develop photos through 99 set actions that include: lighting fixes, quick looks, mood rings, and custom looks that will polish the photographs.

Pros:

  • Up to 100 different auto-photo correction actions in each package
  • Develops portrait photographs in both Lightroom and Photoshop

Cons:

  • $149.99 for each of the four presets ($600 for all presets)
  • Aimed at portrait photographs and do not seem useful for landscape, cityscape, HDR or any other types of photography.

7. Totally Rad

Totally Rad offers auto-photo corrections for both Lightroom and Photoshop. The website describes the company as “a team of artists and engineers who make simple, fast and beautiful editing tools for creative photographers.”

Totally Rad offers two different photo editing plugins, five different presets and two different actions. Each are priced separately but the range of the software is between $39 for the cheapest presets to $149 for their most popular plugin called “Red Lab”

Pros:

  • Different presets, plugins and actions
  • Can use in all versions of Lightroom and Photoshop
  • Interactive website with support and learning tools

Cons:

  • Expensive if you want the whole package

8. Yellow Sky Actions

Yellow Sky Actions are auto photo correction actions that can be used on either Photoshop CS3-6 or as Lightroom presets.

The Yellow Sky states that it will “help anyone take pictures” and offers over 100 actions that help the photographer save time while making the photographs look much more beautiful.

Yellow Sky’s example photographs on their website pages tend to lean towards more of the portrait and wedding photography presets but could be used for landscape or cityscape photographs to create a moody photograph.

Pros:

  • Actions that can be used in either Lightroom or Photoshop

Cons:

  • Website seems not to be functional
  • Customer reviews stated that the customer service was unresponsive at times

9. Greater Than Gatsby

Greater Than Gatsby offers numerous photo editing plugins for Lightroom along with Photoshop auto photo correction actions. The aim of Greater Than Gatsby photo plugins and presets are more towards portrait, newborn and wedding photography.

Pros:

  • 11 Photoshop actions and 6 different Lightroom presets packages to choose from.
  • State of the art actions and presets for portrait, newborn or wedding photography.
  • Online tutorials available
  • Can save 50% if you create your own bundle
  • Can try the actions or photo editing plugins free before purchasing the packages

Cons:

  • Packages are $400 or more
  • Individual presets or actions range anywhere between $79-125
  • Actions and Plugins are only aimed at portrait, newborn or wedding photography

10. Delicious Presets

Delicious Presets are aimed to enhance the “storytellers” photographs and can be used in Lightroom and ACR.

The presets are broken down into three different packages but can be bought in a bundle for $120.

Delicious also offers auto photo correction to quicken the editing flow in Lightroom or Adobe Camera Raw with five different presets that focus on correcting colors, enhancing black and white, add subtle and analog tones, and vivid colors for those that want their photographs to pop.

Finally, Delicious offers a package that is aimed only at the workflow and can be used in Lightroom or Adobe Camera Raw. This package called “Delicious Recipes” goal is to provide step by step guidance along with information and tips that will help the editing process for those photographs that edit photographs in bulk.

Pros:

  • Numerous different presets and correction along with a package that are aimed solely at creating an effective workflow for editing in Adobe Camera Raw and Lightroom
  • Bundles are highly discounted

Cons:

  • Minimal reviews online about the packages
  • Aimed only at portrait and wedding photographers

There are hundreds of different auto photo correction software, and photo editing plugins in are the market. So how do you know which one is best for you?

This chart is aimed at comparing all of the different aspects of photo editing software’s that can be used with Lightroom or Photoshop.

Photo Editing Plugins Comparison Chart

Plugin

LR or PS or Both?

Price***

Style of Photography

Athentech’s Perfectly Clear Plugins 2.0

Both

$149

Portrait, wedding, landscape, HDR, etc., (all photo mediums)

Delicious Presets

Both

$210

Portrait, wedding, landscape, etc. (all photo mediums)

Greater Than Gatsby

Both

$690

Portrait, wedding

MCP Actions

Both

$596

Portraits, newborns

Sleekens Complete Lightroom Collection

Lightroom

$255

Portrait, wedding, landscape, etc. (all photo mediums)

Strike a Pose Workflow

Lightroom

$39

Portrait, wedding,

newborn

Totally Rad

Both

$150+

Portrait, wedding, landscape, etc. (all photo mediums)

VSCO

Lightroom

$472

Portrait, wedding, landscape, etc. (all photo mediums)

Yellow Sky Actions

Both

Unknown

Portrait, wedding, newborn

100 Landscape Lightroom Presets

Lightroom

$26

Landscape

**Price is for all of the services offered combined

Conclusion:

With so many different types of photo editing plugins, it is difficult to choose which one is the most cost effective for the style of photography you use.

From the chart above one can narrow down the different price levels, photography styles and software (Lightroom, Photoshop or Both) that are available.

Despite the many different options the one true editing plugin and auto photo correction software that stand out is the Perfectly Clear Plugin. Looking at the different aspects of photography that this plugin can be used to edit from landscape to newborn and from fashion to fine art.

Athentech’s package develops photographs regardless of the type of pictures that the photographer takes. This package should appeal to the diverse photographer that shoots different types of photos or wants to experiment with different forms.

Along with the diversification that the perfectly clear plugins allow, it boasts state of the art algorithms. These algorithms aim to help the photographer edit the photo to its highest potential and also decrease the overall editing time. This streamlines the editing process.

With the low price and ability to edit all different styles of photographs, Athentech’s Perfectly Clear Plugins 2.0 is the clear choice for Lightroom and Photoshop photo editing plugins.

 

Boudoir Photography NYC

Top Ten Boudoir Photographers In New York

Boudoir photography has been around since the 1920s and though the times (and technology) have significantly changed, the cultural appreciation of a woman’s beauty has not. Originally referring to a room for sulking in, boudoir is now known as a modern day style of glamour photography that focuses on the aesthetic appeal of women.

While boudoir photography sessions are more popular than ever, a majority of women are nervous to share intimate moments with a complete stranger. So it becomes imperative to get a professional boudoir photographer if you’re planning a boudoir photo shoot. A good photographer will not only be able to help you understand how to pose for boudoir photos, he or she will also make it a point that you’re confident with the poses. You can go over the boudoir photo shoot ideas with your photographer as well as discuss what is it that you are comfortable with.

To lend a helping hand, we have compiled a list of the top 10 destinations for Boudoir Photography NYC

Along with contact information, we will also add reviews or tips from the photographers themselves. This compilation is the best of Boudoir Photography NYC and all of the following studios and photographers are highly rated and are very successful.

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Boudoir Photography Tips – How To Make Her Feel Comfortable

Boudoir photography is huge right now. There are so many women out there, who aren’t necessarily models, looking for classy, sexy photos. Boudoir photographs make a woman feel beautiful. They make her feel sensual, and they can, if taken properly give her some newfound confidence. They also make the perfect gift for her partner, so, of course, she’s going to look and feel her best!

‘Boudoir’ is of French origin, meaning a woman’s bedroom or sitting room. So it won’t come as any surprise that most boudoir photography takes place in an intimate setting like a bedroom or hotel. Or if you don’t have access to this, your own boudoir setting within your photography studio.

Boudoir photography tips - for newbie

Romantic, sexy, soft, sensual, and sometimes even naughty…these are all characteristics of what makes a good boudoir picture. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been in the game for years or you’re just starting out as a boudoir photographer, you’re probably still on the look out for some hot boudoir photography tips.

When it comes to boudoir photography tips for the budding boudoir photographer, you’ve got to remember your primary goal – make your subject feel totally at ease while capturing them in the most flattering way possible. No woman wants to be left feeling vulnerable and unattractive.

We’ve compiled some of the best boudoir photography tips there are to help you get it right from the outset. You need to know your subject well (not too well obviously) and you need to find the right poses that compliment your client’s body type.

Regardless of what people might think, boudoir photographs aren’t sleazy. They’ve been around since the early 1900s and were a favorite amongst the aristocratic women of that time. So keep it classy and shoot your subjects well.

Here are some of the best boudoir photography tips for every boudoir photographer.

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