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  • Photography: How to pose to get the best photos

    Photography: How to pose to get the best photos

    Photography tip: How to pose to get your best shots

    How do models learn how to get the best out of their image?  Practice, practice, practice.  What else is new?  It's always the way to go: to practice.  

    First of all, where does one stand in front of the camera?  Slightly in diagonal.  Your whole body must be in diagonal, not just the chest.  If you don't move your feet, there will be tension - subtly - that shows throughout the body, including the shoulders, neck and head.  So the head is slightly to one side with the shoulders in diagonal.  The gaze is best when it's straight into the lens, with the chin low.  When you bring your chin down, your eyes get bigger.  Try it in the mirror.  Lift your chin and see how your eyes get smaller.  Lower your chin and see how your eyes get bigger.  That says it all.  

    Second of all, NO FAKE SMILES!  I just have to say that in the model will laugh, because it's kind of funny to hear, and bam! I take the shot.  That way, it's a natural smile.  

  • Photography: You Are Your Brand

    Photography: You Are Your Brand

    Let's talk about branding and how important it is for an individual such as an actor, or a model, or a writer, or a businessperson to actualize what their brand is. THEY are their BRAND.  And what's a brand? It's what makes you immediately recognize a person or thing and know exactly what it is without even seeing the name.  Let's take the example of the pretty woman I uploaded a headshot of.  Her name is Margaret Belton.  You can tell that she could be an actor, model, writer, or businesswoman.  Right?  This headshot has elements of who she might be: the black jacket might mean business, the head band might mean she is creative, her make-up (incuding the red lipstick) might mean she is getting ready to appear on television as a newscaster, and her eyes show she is committed to self-expression.   SHE is her BRAND.    So.  What is she?  She is an entertainer, a singer, an actor, model. http://www.margaretbelton.com/

    In my headshot sessions, I spend time going through the person's clothes that they bring to the studio, and together, we go through who they are and how they want to portray themselves. Colors, shapes, styles all work together to create this brand. They may need a prop or two, or they may not.  They may be able to convey what they're offering with facial expressions. A lot of thought has to go into this.  If not, something might be missed. Then my job is to catch the right moments so that the image is clear, with no ambiguity.  I call this process Personal Branding. It works!  Try it! You'll like it!

  • Branding Tips For You Or Your Business

    Branding Tips For You Or Your Business

    Branding is essential to be successful in this world.  If you're reading this blog, it means that you are still looking, and that your brand is in the early stages.  So here are my thoughts.

    Your brand is what your logo represents, but it's more than just your logo.  If you already got your logo done, then you must already be on your way.  That's great!  Your brand is what sells you. And when I say "you", I mean you or your business. Your brand makes you memorable. It's not copyable and don't be a copy cat and do what others are doing. That's the easy way out and in the end, it will not be met with success.  Branding has to be your unique thing.  Here are a few tips:

    1.     There is a story to your business.  Find it.  Elaborate on it.  Share it.  And share it in every piece of advertising you put out. 

    2.     Research who your clients are.  Find out what they like, and see if you or your product would be of interest to them.  Interview people who are doing what you're planning on doing (you'll surely have to give them a non-disclosure agreement, which you can find online; and then make sure you don't copy them!).  No kidding.  I have a friend whose business got copied, and believe me, it was hard for her to deal with the competition and the unfairness of it!  You wouldn't want anyone doing that to you!

    3.     Find out where to direct your ads. Where would your clients go to find you? On social media, on Google, on Amazon, direct sales, retail, wholesale?  

    4.     Who is your competition?  What are the successful ones doing?   What could you do that would be more successful than theirs?  What are they missing?  Be a Sherlock Holmes and discover stuff that most people don't see.

    5.    Be audacious! There's a saying, "Fortune smiles at the audacious."  Develop confidence in your brand and love it.  Spread it.  Talk about it with everyone you meet. It's exciting!  

  • Photography Tip: Compositing

    Photography Tip: Compositing

    I'm not going to walk you through how to use Photoshop to composite images, because there are many many tutorials for that (Lynda.com is a good one), but what I'd like to discuss here is what backgrounds to use for what subjects.  Above is an example.  I had taken the New York cityscape which I then used to composite my jumping dancer shot.  Flying hair is almost impossible to composite so it's best not to. Here in this image, I attempted to clean up each curl and it just happened to work, but I don't recommend it.  Best to make sure your model is wearing her hair in a bun or like a ballet dancer, with no hairs sticking out.  That's really the best.  But a very important point is where you position your model onto the background.  Does the background really enhance the image?  Will the lines of the model get lost in the background?  Dark backgrounds vs light backgrounds: what is best?  For a dark model, a light background will work well.  For a model wearing light colors, a dark background will work well.  It's an aesthetic thing.  Every photographer sees things differently, so it's not a slam-dunk.  Have fun experimenting!

  • Photography Tip: Long Legs vs. Short Legs

    Photography Tip: Long Legs vs. Short Legs

    Here is another important photo tip: this image is an exagerated example of a shot of a dancer taken from a low angle.  If you look at dance shots done by professional dance photographers, they are always taken from a low angle in order to ensure that their legs appear as they are.  If you take an image from a higher angle, the legs will appear short.  You don't want that.  I even bend down, in spite of the fact that I'm short.  My dancers look like their legs fit them. Some photographers don't know this, and that's where you will be able to spot the shooters who don't have experience photographing dancers.

    Check out more of my Dance Photography to see what I mean.

  • Tip For Dance Photos: Keep the Focus!

    Tip For Dance Photos: Keep the Focus!

    This is a very important tip for doing beautiful dance photos.  It's the focus issue, when doing movement. It's a big challenge to keep the focus when you're doing movement. The way I deal with it is that I take the focus ahead of time (where the dancer is going to end up) and hold it until the instant I click the shutter, when the dancer is at their ultimate extension of the movement.   And I keep the focus in the center of the body.  I don't follow the dancer.  I keep the camera still.  

    Another very important thing is to position one self on the same level as the dancer, otherwise their legs will appear short.  I sometimes even sit on a chair for that to happen, depending on the size of the model.

    And then of course the most important part of this process is to be willing to do the movement over and over again until all the elements are in place.  The photo I'm posting was the fourth jump. Have fun!

  • My Favorite Photographers

    I have a list of my favorite photographers whose sites I go to when I need inspiration.  I share it with you all and  I highly recommend these pros to any photographer wanting to expand his or her horizons and get inspired to create and come up with new ideas.   I have included their sites so you can go and check out their work.

    Colin Anderson is a long time favorite of mine.  He does conceptual composite photography.  Fabulous work.  His Facebook page is unbelievable: https://www.facebook.com/colin.anderson.productions?fref=ts and his site is: https://colinanderson1.exposure.co/

    Erik Almas is another one I am inspired by.  His images are highly composited.  Brilliant. His site is: http://www.erikalmas.com

    Jim Erickson is one I just adore. His lighting is superb (he Photoshops heavily; I know because I am in touch with a retoucher who has worked for him). He has a site called "Jim Erickson - A Man Inspired", and his site is: http://www.jimerickson.com

    Braden Summers is one who uses color intensively.  He uses deep, saturated colors, which I love.  His site is: http://www.bradensummers.com

    Trinette Reed is a friend of mine and I really love her work.  I emulated her years ago until I found my own way, and I love her look. She often uses desaturated colors and beauty is her thing. She specializes in high end spas.  Check out her site at: http://www.trinettereed.com

  • Tip For Dance Photos: It's All In The Timing!

    Tip For Dance Photos: It's All In The Timing!

    Photographing dancers is a timing thing.  I was a ballet dancer in my youth, so I have an understanding of how movement works, and when to click to catch the best image possible.  The trickiest thing is to click at the right time, which is at the end of the extension of the movement. So if it's a step into an arabesque, you want to catch the shot right at the end of the step, when the arms are totally extended and the leg is as high as it goes.  It may take a few times before you time it correctly, but it works marvels.  If you have a model who is performing for the photos, you can use counting to sync your shot.  So 1, 2, 3 go! And you click on go! You got to be fast.  It takes practice. You won't get it immediately, but keep trying. And don't get impatient.  Keep shooting!  And if you want a pro to do your dance photos, call me at 877-263-4488 to schedule a photo shoot.  

  • Wedding Photography: My Surprise Trip To Paris!

    Wedding Photography: My Surprise Trip To Paris!

    Here is a shot I took from the window overlooking the street where I was staying.  I had been invited to Paris by my friend Paul to come for my brother's wedding - a December wedding.  I was raised in France so I speak fluent French, and I still have a lot of my family still living there... No one (other than my friend Paul) knew I was coming, so it was a surprise.  I brought my camera with me to photograph the wedding and I was waiting at the top of the stairs at the City Hall of the 11th Arrondissement, to greet my brother as he was walking up.  It was like a Hollywood scene and we pulled off the surprise big time.  It was so much fun!  Weddings aren't easy to shoot when there is no light in the room and I didn't have my flash with me.  What I did is put the ISO at 2500 or even 3000. But when people move (or if I move unintentionally) the focus goes out... sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn't.  But for weddings, it can be okay that everything is not totally in focus, because that way, it's more of an action shoot. The next time I do a traditional wedding, I'll post some so you all can see the difference. 

  • Party Idea: A Silly Photo Session

    I had a wonderful time the other day at a friend's party and I thought of sharing the idea with everyone. I don't know about you, but I always like to have a happening during my parties.  It seems to bring everyone together and it makes the party more fun.  So here is the idea.  It's a little like a photo booth, but without the booth.  You dedicate a space in the room for a photographer to shoot your friends being silly in front of the camera.  You can be one person, two people, three people, or a whole group of people being silly, and the photographer (who has to be a cool person!) snaps shots that are so funny that everyone laughs and ends up topping everyone else.  It really works well when there's a bottle of wine or whatever people like to drink, because people get loose and make the silliest faces.  I had such a good time that evening, that I want to try it myself!  I am actually a photographer and I'd love to do this with you.  My site is: http://www.tanyaconstantine.com or call me at (877) 263-4488 to schedule one of these!