The Real Secret to Taking Spectacular Photos

I just got this a little while ago, in large part to having read Tom Ang’s enlightening “how to win photo competitions” post – and also because I just got an email More »

An Insight Into Light Graffiti

  What the Heck is Light Graffiti Light graffiti, also known as light painting, is a photographic technique which creates dramatic images using long exposures and various light sources as a drawing More »

Tilt Shift Photoshop Tutorial: How to Make Fake Miniature Scenes

I discovered the Tilt Shift technique perusing the photography of Drew Wilson, an uber talented young photographer here in Sarasota. I asked him about the process and he was kind enough to More »

How to Take HDR (High Dynamic Range) Photos

In the first part we covered what an HRD photo is, now we’ll go into a basic tutorial about how to create your own HDR (High Dynamic Range) photo. Please keep in More »


Exploring the World of Macro Photography

Macro photography is the process of taking extremely close up photographs, with the resulting photo often being larger than the original subject matter. This allows photographers to capture images of unusual and interesting subjects, exploring the world from whole a new perspective that is not possible with the naked eye.


Although the advanced settings of a DSLR camera allow you to get some spectacular macro images, it is possible to get started with a compact camera. Most compact cameras have a built in macro mode on them, often signified by a flower symbol on the mode dial. The same symbol is present on most DSLR cameras, and changing to the macro setting will allow you to focus in on extremely close objects, as well as create a blur effect in the background. Special macro lenses can be purchased for DSLR cameras, but don’t reach for the wallet just yet until you have mastered the skills with your standard lens.

Using a tripod is the key to getting a crystal clear image as the slightest movement will knock out the focus. When photographing subjects that are low to the ground use a minipod. This will allow you to stabilize your camera very close to the floor when capturing images such as flowers or bugs. For the perfect lighting conditions a reflector is advisable instead of using a flash.


One of the most interesting things about macro photography is the unusual choice of subjects and viewpoints. Texture and color are two aspects that help to make macro shots pop, so look for a subject that is visually interesting and stands out against its background. Two of the most popular macro subjects are flowers and insects. Macro photography can be used to create visually stimulating abstract images of everyday objects, and these can work well when blown up on a large scale. Capturing the world from a different perspective is what creative photography is all about. So get out there are snap some captivating images.

Composition and Focus

The success of a macro shot lies mainly in the composition of the frame and the focus of the subject. If you want to take a truly striking image that accentuates all the fine details, make sure you have a clear outer field. It may be necessary to manually focus the image in order to detail the exact focus points that you desire. Ensure that your main subject is sharply in focus, and that the focal point of the image does not end up being a leaf or blade of grass nearby. Getting a good background blur behind the subject may involve moving around a little to ensure that there is a clear color contrast between the foreground and background.

As with every aspect of photography, the best way to learn is to get out there and start shooting. Try taking pictures of a variety of subjects with interesting angles, backgrounds, and focal points, and behold the results!


Finding the Right Shot While Traveling the Globe

More and more photographers are discovering new opportunities in their travels around the world. We all know that when the right image or inspiration finds us, no vacation can hold us back from acting on it.

Italian photographer Eddy Galeotti has applied his affinity for shooting his homeland to capture the beauty that’s found in other countries as well. What lessons can Galeotti offer as you plan your professional travels?

1. Love the traveling first and foremost.

Even before Galeotti was a photographer, he loved to see the world. If your heart isn’t in the journey, you won’t uncover your passion for shooting.

2. Make due with the access you have.

It can be frustrating if you lack credentials to get inside some of the world’s most famous attractions. In a nutshell, this is a setback you’ll frequently have to deal with. Instead of sulking, turn your attention to the panorama around you. No two cities are exactly alike, and figure out how to highlight the individuality of these landscapes.

3. Get creative.

Since so many photographers have shot famous landmarks and locations before, it could be challenging to offer a new look on an old spot. Seek out the details or views that others may not have honed in on when they visited. Make your perspective an original one.

Here are some of Galeotti’s best shots from his travels:


Eddy Galeotti /


Eddy Galeotti /


Eddy Galeotti /


Eddy Galeotti /


Eddy Galeotti /

Read more about Galeotti’s travels on Shutterstock’s blog.

Danny Groner is the manager of blogger partnerships and outreach for Shutterstock.

Beautiful Model

How to Find Beautiful Models (Without Paying Them)

Have you been hitting your head against the wall wondering how to find models to shoot?

Well, we’ve got some good news…

Beautiful models are only a click away, and no you don’t have to pay them!

Free Models, Huh?

Yes you heard us right, free models that are both beautiful and professional. Finding gorgeous models that are willing to work for free is not actually as hard as you may have imagined. You just need to look in the right places.

Photo by Thiru Murugun

Where to Look

So where do you look?

There are plenty of sites out there offering a place to create, share and connect with other photographers, models and all sorts of creatives such as hair stylists, make up artists and even designers. Check out some of these places below:


Testing, Testing 123

Once you find a site that you vibe with, (personally we love Model Mayhem) all you have to do is sign up for a free account, set up your portfolio and start searching for your dream model. Ever heard the phrase TFP or TFCD? Basically this translates as Time For Print or Time For CD where both you and the model exchange your services for free. You get a free and willing model and the model gets free photographs to enhance and grow their portfolio. Everyone wins!

Photo by davidyuweb

How to Find the Cream of the Crop

With so many models competing against each other, it can be hard to navigate these overly populated sites. Finding the cream of the crop so to speak, can be tricky, but once you know a few proven tricks and tips you’re inbox will be flooded with beautiful models begging to shoot with you.

  • Optimize your portfolio – It’s all about editing. You might have loads of great landscapes or journalistic shots, but they won’t be the ones to catch the eye of a beautiful model. Keep your portfolio clean and simple, and use only your very best images. Less really is more!
  • Get critiqued – One of the best elements of these creative platforms is the forums. Criticism can be hard to take, but it will only help you to improve.
  • Aim high – Don’t be afraid to approach models that are out of your league. The more experience they have the better. Complete newbies can be difficult to work with as they have no idea what they are doing.

Photo by Celebfashion LA

jill in action

Finding your wedding photographer – Making your choice

The time has come to make a choice, and if you’re anything like me, it wasn’t an easy one. In part 6 of our “Finding your wedding photographer” series, we will explore the process of making the final choice.

It took me longer to pick my photographer than it took me to pick my dress. I tried to take my budget, my must-haves, and all the other tips we’ve talked about in the series, but as always, it is easier said than done. My photographer, like my dress, was love at first sight, but I wanted to see what else was out there.

ThuVan - At The Park- (69)

So I followed the rules, and played the field. I met with other photographers but to be honest, I was comparing them back to that first one. Jillian Bolender of Focused Photography in Cambridge, Ontario, was excited about my wedding; she shared my vision and willing to work within my budget.


Jillian Bolender
Focused Photography

Meet Jill
Jill called me after a bridal show where I had spoken briefly with one of her associates. She pursued me. This got my attention. She offered to take me out for coffee to meet her. We had a great conversation and I peppered her with questions.

I asked Jill what she would recommend asking a photographer you are meeting for the first time and here is what she suggested. The most important points to ask about is the experience, equipment, and attitude of the photographer. She also suggested you ask about their training and what insurance they offer.

“This is a big one,” Jill told Visual Photo Guide. “Most people don’t even think about insurance… for your photos.  What if something horrible happened and all of your wedding photos were gone?” Focused Photography’s coverage guarantees your money back and also protects your photographs; ensuring that no matter what happens, you will have beautiful pictures. “Not that you would ever want to do this, but we would be able to re-stage your wedding day.”

My fiancé and I were looking for candid, unique, and personal pictures of us and close family. We didn’t want the cliché standard poses and no line ups. Jill got that and I felt like she was excited about it. I got the feeling that Jill shared my vision – I am sure I can trust her to capture our vision of what we want.

DSC_9464-2Jill said that the connection with your photographer is paramount. “Without this personal connection, the couple will in all likelihood be less than satisfied with the experience itself and the finished product. Having a photographer that takes the time to get to know each couple’s personalities and interests makes all the difference.”

It was this connection that sold me on hiring Jill to capture the memories of our wedding day.  My fiancé knew it the moment I told him about her, and each time I came home with another photographer suggestion he said, “Why don’t you go with Jill, you know you love her?”

DSC_7422 bw w flowers col-2What makes a photographer take pictures
Jill and I have been in contact throughout this process, I wondered what made her stick it out with me through changing wedding dates and indecisive moments. What makes a photographer take pictures?

“My motivation comes from many things; one is seeing and hearing how happy my clients are after they receive their photos, it is very rewarding!” Jill told Visual Photo Guide. “Another is the creative juices that flow when meeting with a new couple and hearing of their hobbies and interests and how I am going to incorporate that into their photos to make them unique.” Jill’s goal is not only to make her clients happy but to create lasting relationships.

I believe Jill when she says, “Photography is my true passion, and I feel absolutely blessed to be able to do what I love and have fun while doing it!” I am sure I’ve made the right choice.

Thank you to Focused Photography for the use of all these images.


wedding photographer article 5

Finding your wedding photographer – Does friendship and photography mix?

This is part 5 in our “Finding your wedding photographer” series

One of the ways many couples work a photographer into their wedding budget is to ask a friend to take the pictures. My fiancé and I are on a budget and we considered having a friend or family member take our pictures. However, Visual Photo Guide would advise against this for a number of reasons which we’ll look at in the fifth part of this seven part series.

Amateur isn’t professional
Unless your friend is a professional photographer with the training , skills and equipment to go with it, your pictures will not turn out the same as they would if they had been taken by a professional. Photographers don’t just point and click. They know the angles, composition, lighting, and how to you should hold your head so you don’t get a double chin.

imposter photographer

Professionals have high quality equipment and assistants who keep them on schedule. When you hire them, you aren’t just hiring someone to take pictures but also their camera and lenses. These make a huge difference in the quality of your pictures. And not just the camera, but also their processing equipment. The quality of the paper and the processing equipment professionals use make a huge difference in the quality of the print. The colors are truer, the details are crisper, and the prints will last longer.

You’re photographer isn’t a guest
If your friend is serving as your photographer, they won’t be able to enjoy your wedding. Instead of being able to celebrate your wedding with you your friend will be working that day. While your other guests are watching you take your vows, your friend-photographer will be trying to capture the moment on film. While your guests are enjoying your cocktail hour, your friend-photographer will be off on a photoshoot with you and your wedding party. Your friend-photographer will watch very special moment through the lens of the camera, keeping them from sharing in it with you.

Your friend-photographer can’t sit with his date if he’s taking pictures. If your friend-photographer has kids, then either he’ll need to find a babysitter or have someone at the wedding watch them while he’s taking your pictures, which means their enjoyment is limited as well.. If you ask a friend to be your photographer then they are no longer a guest at your wedding.

Friends don’t boss friends
While most of us would think of the possibility that a bridezilla moment could damage a friendship, most good friendships can survive stressful situations. However, your pictures may not survive a lack of bossing from your friend-photographer. A good photographer tells you where and how to stand, how to hold your head, and will not not let you move until they have a good picture. A friend-photographer may not be able to take control on your wedding day out of loyalty.

If you pick your friend-photographer
These are the reasons my fiancé and I have decided to invest in a professional photographer that isn’t related to us. If the choice of choosing a friend to take your photographer is based on budgetary issues, check our article on how to have the pictures you want on a budget. If you choose to go with a friend-photographer despite Visual Photo Guide’s warnings, treat the agreement as though it were a professional you were hiring. Make sure you share the same vision and that your friend-photographer is clear on what you want. To ensure you don’t miss out on anything, do your research the same way you would if you had hired a stranger.

Part Six: Finding your wedding photographer – Making your choice

[Image credit: Matt Ryallmogmismo]


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