Category Archives: Photography Tips & Techniques

Repost: Improving Your Photography by Having Go-To Places

Hi Friends,

It’s been so long since I have posted any tips here, been way to busy with work, play, fun–life in general. Having said that, I found a great article that I thought was worth sharing. What this article is essentially saying, is that by having a specific location that you love, you can improve your photography by visiting it over-and-over again in various conditions (lighting, weather, season) without having to go out and look for somewhere to shoot. When you have a particular place to go, you are not wasting precious time looking for that particular place.

While not an actual spot (there are way too many), my go to place is Mt. Rainier in Washington State. I live about an hour or so from 2 different entrances, so it is very convenient for me to get in the car and go at just about any time.

The link below will take you to the article. Hope you enjoy.



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Returning from New York

Hi gang.

Chris here. Just got back from New York (my favorite city) with the family. Got some amazing photographs–not nearly enough in terms of quantity for a photographer like me–but great nonetheless. I will get a post together and get them out in the next few weeks (or month).

Happy June to you!!!



Also posted in Architectural, Shot of the Day Tagged |

Best of 2014 (non-portrait)

Hi Friends,

Every year about this time, I put together an album of my best non-commercial (not paid) work. The hard part is I have way too many photographs to choose from, but somehow I always find a way to pare down the hundreds of photographs that are worthy of the title “Best of…”.

Anyway, here is my 2014 offering. And while I say there are usually non-portrait work I have a few of my family portraits sprinkled in (and a couple of self-shots too).

Enjoy and Merry Christmas.





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SLR Lounge Lightroom Preset Review

Over the years, many people have asked me about my workflow for my images. I generally tell them about Lightroom and Photoshop, leveraging those tools to get the best images possible. I also tell them that with Lightroom, finding a “recipe” or a preset that work for their style will greatly improve their overall workflow and speed up their finishing process.

I own a few presets packages for Lightroom, with one of them standing out above all the rest: the SLR Lounge Lightroom Presets. Without question, these presets are the best that I have found and always provide me with the results that I envisioned when I originally pressed the shutter button on my camera. Their presets have saved me countless hours of finishing work (moving from hours to minutes) and saved me from having to spend a lot of time in Photoshop (something I don’t like to do). The lessons that come with the system not only taught me how to use their presets but gave me confidence to use Lightroom as my primary edit tool.

I have been using SLR Lounge presets for about 2 years now, and will continue to use them as long as I take photographs.

Below is a before/after example of a photograph I recently took using the HDR SLR Lounge Presets for Lightroom.

Good job guys!

If you are interesting in purchasing them for your own use, you can purchase them at this link:



Before-After SLR Lounge






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Shooting Locally

As you are aware, I love landscape photography. The lure of a faraway place-someplace of beauty, splendor, or mystique-often calls me. But like most people, I have a very limited budget for travel, and thus never get quite the opportunities, not to mention the time away from work and other obligations. So, when the itch to take a photograph strikes I have to scratch it. But I get bored, bored, bored of the city I live in–there is really nothing here and what is here are all quite familiar. I have to find another way to satisfy the craving.

One way to satisfy the craving is to find a new way to photography the same subject.

Because local locations are, well, local, our perception is that they are not the “once-in-a-lifetime” experience. And because of that, it should remove the pressure to get that shot we all seek. This should give us the freedom to explore without the fear of coming away with nothing. If we do come away with nothing, that’s OK since we can always go back. This will give you the opportunity to learn from the mistakes you made. And as an added benefit, exploring the same area during different times of day or season of the year presents you the opportunity to see how things might change and give you the opportunity for a different look and/or feel to the subject.

Anyway, I hope that you can see that shooting locally is a good alternative to shooting nothing when shooting at the “exotic locale” is not an option and a great way to hone your skills without breaking the bank. I am trying to live by my own advice and get out in my town a little bit more, I hope you do too.

Happy shooting and as always, blessings.



Also posted in Architectural, Landscape and Nature Photography Tagged , , |

How to Catch A “Fraud” Wedding Photographer

As someone who knows a slew of professional photographers that have had their work stolen (including myself), and as someone who has seen numerous people pass themselves off as professionals, I thought that this article was relevant to you as you search for your wedding photographer.

The gist of it, if you don’t want to read it, that in order to protect yourself from a poser is this:

  • Meet the photographer is person and ask questions;
  • Ask for references;
  • Ask to see an entire event;
  • Pay attention to photographic clues (including geography);
  • Google the photographers name;
  • Stay away from Craigslist.

Of course, blessings to you as you search for the right photographer for your wedding.




Also posted in Wedding Photography Tagged , , , , |

Best of 2013 Photobook

Good evening, friends.

Ok, ok, I know that there are over 3 weeks left in 2013, but I am just so excited about this book I had to share now.

So I am testing out a new book printer, and I thought it would be fun to use some of my favorite images of this past year to have them print. So I designed a book and uploaded and it is now in their print and bind process. I am so excited to see what it looks like, but in the mean time I thought that I would upload this preview. When I get the book (scheduled for December 23), I will post a review and let you know if it was worth it.

Keep in mind that these images are not intended to showcase our work with clients, just our own personal non-portrait pictures (even though I have a few of my family sprinkled in) taken in the last year. Most of them I have printed out and are hanging on the walls in my house. And some of these are even for sale on Fine Art America (click the link on the right to be taken to my page).

Enjoy and blessings,



Also posted in Landscape and Nature Photography Tagged , , , , |

How to Save Big Money by Not Hiring a Professional Wedding Photographer

Good morning, Friends.

Talk to any professional wedding photographer and they will tell you that one of the biggest challenges they face two fold: first, the notion from potential clients that I can save big money if they do it themselves (that is taking your own photographs) and a very closely related second, the cost of a professional photographer is just too much money. Well, I’m not going to get into the why a professional wedding photographer costs money (there are plenty of blog postings that break down everything from the cost of professional knowledge and expertise, marketing, equipment, time, etc., etc.) but I would like to share something that came across my desk yesterday.

As you know, I am not one who regularly reposts other’s blog, but every once in a while something comes along that is worth sharing.This post will explain the monetary benefits you will reap by doing your own wedding photographs. I hope that you enjoy it as much as I did. Click on the link below to view the post.

Keep in mind my post is not intended to offend anyone, just provide a good humored look at things to take into account when considering taking your own wedding photographs. I can’t speak for the intent of the original author, however. 🙂



Also posted in Event Photography, Wedding Photography Tagged , , |

15 Must See Cheatsheets and Infographics For Photographers

Good day friends.

I hope that you have had as enjoyable a Monday as you could possibly have. It’s hard to ease back into a week after a gorgeous weekend-isn’t it? But we do what we can to make it better. For me, it is sometimes looking at pictures I took over the weekend or perhaps even reading through blogs and posts. When looking around, I usually find something that makes me chuckle, makes me mad, makes me sad, and sometimes ponder a question or think about a subject and contemplate on it.

Every once in a while, I stumble across information that is just incredible and must share (most of it not on this blog but through facebook or twitter). However, as you are keenly aware, I am very hesitant to plug anyone else’s products or services, or even their information for that matter on my own blog. I don’t want my blog to become a message board for others to peddle their wares or a cornerplace for spam and junk. But when I do find something that is worth sharing to my audience, I first wish that I had come up with it myself 🙂 but then I want to give credit where credit is due and share that information.

Such is the case with this tidbit of information: 15 Must See Cheatsheets and Infographics for Photographers. Click on the link below to go to it.

15 Must See Cheatsheets and Infographics For Photographers

There is a lot to know when it comes to photography, everything from color temperature to depth-of-field, from tonal range to the 3 elements to exposure, and everything in between. This post does a wonderful job of graphically illustrating some of those various topics.

I strongly encourage you to take a look and glean whatever information you can.

Blessings to you (and enjoy the remainder of your day),



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Macro Photography Close-Up Lens Filter Review

Back in April, I posted a tip about cheap macro photography. And last week, I posted my review of some Vello extension tubes to turn your “regular” lens into a “faux macro” lens. The other suggestion in the first posting was to use a set of screw-on close-up filters. This is that review.

In a word, disappointing. I purchased a set of 3 Tiffen filters for my 24-105mm Nikkor lens ( thinking that it might be easier to get the results I was looking for by just adding these filters to the end of my lens, rather than having to take the lens off the body, attach the extension tube, and then add the set back to the camera like I would with the extension tube set-up.

One of the other benefits I was looking for was still being able to use the camera’s light metering and auto-focus system. Since these filters screw onto the end of the lens, there is nothing between the glass and the camera and therefore nothing confusing the camera’s settings, like what was going on with the extension tubes (despite what Vello claims).

The first couple of pictures I took were just a couple of items sitting on our counter: a book of stamps and a banana. While the photograph of the stamps looked like I expected (shallow depth-of-field), the first thing I noticed with the banana was extreme distortion coming in from around the edges. While I expected a little distortion (I can always crop a photograph to remove that), there was quite a bit of distortion. As I previously mentioned, with the filters and tubes there is a much shallower depth-of-field, but that is different from flat out distortion as you can see if you look at that photograph closely.

Moving on to the flowers, the second problem I noticed was some color fringing around the edge of the flower. In some of these pictures, if you look closely you will see a blue edge to the flower. A blue edge? Yes, a blue edge! This is called Chromatic Aberration and although I am not sure of the exact reasons why this occurs (I’m not a scientist), except that these particular filters are relatively cheap (less than $60) compared to others, and that cheapness means light from behind the object gets bent in an unusual manner around the object being photographed thus resulting in the problem. Would this happen with a higher priced close-up filter? I do not know, but I will tell you this: cheap never, ever translates into good quality. Some of this can be corrected in the editing process, but if you can prevent it from occurring to begin with then all the better.

Now keep in mind that because these are filter type accessories, this particular set would only work with a lens with a 77mm diameter, such as the lens I mentioned earlier, so that was the only lens I used for this test. Although I may have better results with a different lens, this is a good lens and I normally love the resulting pictures. However, I was disappointed with the result overall and will be returning the filters to the vendor for a refund.

The only adjustments I made to these photo’s are exposure, contrast, a bit of sharpening and noise reduction. I did not crop any of these so you can get a sense of the magnification.

I hope that you enjoyed this series of posts and it will aid you in making a decision about pursuing your own macro photography.



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