Words to Shoot by…

Today’s blog post is going to be very short. It’s going to be the fast food of blog posts.

1. Shoot what you know.

2. Shoot what you want to know.

Let me (briefly) explain. If you know birds, their eating habits, their mannerisms, their migratory patterns, their feeding preferences, you should think about shooting birds. You don’t have to shoot anything you don’t want to, but think for a minute of your awesome advantage over another photographer who is a novice around birds.

If you want to shoot birds, then learn everything you possibly can about them. I guarantee it will help you get that WOW shot. I would bet a lot of money, and my pet basil plant Leroy, that those pictures you see in National Geographic took A LOT of research and tons of studying. The photographer immersed him/herself fully in the culture and environment of the subject.

Happy Shooting!

(My pet Charly has his debut appearance in my blog!)

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New Photographers: Where can I go to get help?

We can all remember a time when photography was a new and very scary hobby. For some of us it was a long time ago and for others, it’s a much more recent memory. Whatever your goals are for the future, starting out as a photographer can be a very intimidating task. The digital cameras today have a billion different buttons and a ton of creative modes to pick from.

So, I probably haven’t told you anything you don’t already know. I have a point to this blog post, I promise! My suggestion, to any photographer, is to join a local photo club. I guarantee that the club will be filled with photographers that possess a range of knowledge. If you are new to photography, this will be a valuable resource to help you learn the basic features of your camera and the rules of composition.

If you have been around the block a few times with your camera, think of the photo club as a chance to help others. Use it as a resource to share your knowledge and help an aspiring photographer. I promise you will gain a a close group of friends in the process. Think about it; who else in this world will truly understand your desire to get up before dawn to wait for what seems like FOREVER just to capture the sunrise.

I’ve been a member of the Kcnet Camera Club for a few years and a new member of the Chester County Camera Club and I absolutely love it! We are filled with members who each have a different level of experience, but always find a way to teach each other value tips and tricks We shoot with different brands of cameras equipment and we each have our own aesthetic of beauty. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter because these are the people who will be up with you at dawn shooting the sunrise.

I can’t guarantee that every community will have a local camera club.  I can’t tell you the best way to find a local camera club, but I can give you a few suggestions.  Your local newspaper might run adverisements, or a community newspaper might run a headline of a new club.  You can always try an old-fashioned google search; or you can contact your local arts council for more information.  One tried and true way to locate a camera club is by word mouth.  Ask a local hobbyist or professional photographer for more information.  Usually people within business have connections or might be able to pass on some information.

Happy Superbowl Sunday!

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Cold Weather Shooting

It’s the end of January and winter it only half over. I don’t know about you, but around this time winter seems to drag a bit. I love the snow and I’ve made peace with the cold temperatures, but it’s nice to not have to scrape off your car windows in the morning. Aside from winter and it’s small annoyances (cabin fever anyone??), it’s a wonderful time to take your camera outside and shoot.

Photography and creating images is not a 3-season hobby. Luckily for photographers, our cameras don’t mind the cold as much as we do. Now, that’s not to say our cameras won’t freeze up at very low temperatures, but there are a ton of ways to protect yourself and your camera.

There are two very good articles I’ve found on the internet. The first one is from the New York Institute of Photography.  It takes you through the different scenarios to protect your equipment in the snow and low temperatures.   This second post is from Canon and it really simplifies shooting outside and how to adjust your camera settings to compensate for the white snow.

One additional tool that I have found helpful for winter shooting are Ziploc bags.  In the NYIP article, the author mentioned that when you go from a cold, dry environment (i.e. outside) to a warm, humid environment (i.e. inside), condensation will build up on your camera.  You can help protect your equipment by sealing your camera/len(s) inside a Ziploc bag before going inside.  Since some of my equipment is not pocket size, I like to use the Ziploc Big Bags, but you can use any size you have on hand.

I hope this helps and remember, bundle up and get outside and SHOOT, SHOOT, SHOOT!

Happy Sunday!

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Engagement Shoot: Amanda + Brandon

Saturday’s engagement shoot turned out to be a rather unique experience.  To all those  unlucky folks in Pennsylvania for the weekend, we were forced to deal with EXTREMELY cold temperatures.  I am talking about a high of 13 degrees.  I know this isn’t abnormally cold for parts of the US, but in PA, we don’t normally have temperatures that low.

So, needless to say, we decided to go ahead with the shoot.  I met up with Amanda and Brandon in downtown West Chester, PA.  I have to say that this couple were troopers.  They braved the cold, but still managed to look super cute together.  I had a blast creating this slightly urban inspired engagement shoot.

To see more of Amanda and Brandon’s West Chester engagement session, feel free to CLICK HERE for a slide show!

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Small Business Development Center: An Essential Resource

After running around all day and doing about 50 different things at once, it’s nice to sit down and type a blog post. When I first started my business in 2008, I was really overwhelmed. Never in a million years did I ever, ever imagine that I would be an entrepreneur. But, after taking a leap of faith I decided to give it a go. I knew there was a million things to do and I didn’t have a clue where to start. My family suggested that I work with the Small Business Development Center at Lock Haven University. The SBDC is a group that works out of colleges and universities all across Pennsylvania. They provide consulting services, educational programs, and one-on-one guidance to help entrepreneurs looking to start or grow their small business.

I cannot say enough of good things about the service!  Each center offers a set of core classes (how to start a small business, how to write a business plan, etc.) and a variety of specialized classes.  The classes are usually very affordable and other times free.  The SBDC  helped me understand and complete all of the legal steps required to officially start a business.  I could probably write 10 more pages praising the center, but I’ll spare everyone the excessive rambling.  So, please check out the site.  Unfortunately this service is only available for residents of Pennsylvania, but other states might offer a similar type of service.  I’ve had success finding classes by searching Google, looking for press articles and write-ups in my local newspaper and advertisements and/or write-ups in my community newsletter.

I hope this post helps at least one aspiring future business owner.  Check back on the week.  I will be posting pictures from an engagement shoot this past weekend.

Happy Sunday!

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About Me

Today I decided not to write a post relating to business resources (I’ll save the extreme excitement for next week). This week I want to share with my readers how I came to call myself a photographer.

When I was young, I took an intro photography class at a local summer camp. After the short class, I wanted to learn more. Luckily for me, my dad taught me the basic fundamentals with an old manual Olympus SLR. I was hooked and was soon looking for more resources. All through high school, I was heavily involved with the yearbook staff. At the time, digital was very expense and still a new technology. At school, all we had was film and a darkroom. As much as I loved developing my own film and printing the pictures, I’m very, very thankful that for digital technology.  After high school, I moved away from photography to concentrate fully on my academic career.  I attended Juniata College and earned a B.S. degree in Biology.

After college, I worked for 3 1/2 years as a Manufacturing Engineer.   Yes, I know that has nothing to do with Biology, but it was one of those unexpected life events that takes you totally in an opposite direction.  It was during that time when a friend and shooting partner, Michelle Peters, introduced me to a local photojournalist, Mary Steinbacher.  Mary became a wonderful friend and my photography mentor.  She taught me everything I know about wedding photojournalism and a lot about life in general.  When her business took away from Pennsylvania, she encouraged me to start my own business.  I was ready for a new adventure and starting a business seemed like it fit the bill.

Somewhere along the line, I decided to venture back to by original college degree.  I am a full time graduate student at West Chester University.  I am pursuing a Master’s in Public Health.  During the day, I work at the university campus as the Fitness Center Manager.  My second semester of graduate school will begins on Tuesday.  Wish me luck!.

So, that’s a bit of my life in a nutshell.  Remember, treat each day as a new adventure and be open for unexpected twists and turns along the way. 

Happy Sunday!

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My First Attempt

Hello and welcome to my blog!  I am very excited to add a fun and personal extension to my website.  On here, I want to share with you my passion for photography.  But, more importantly, I want blogging to add more flavor to who I am as a person, not just as a photographer.

So, what will I write?  I will share photographs, helpful tips and resources that have worked for me, and things that I love.  Some posts will be informational and some posts will be personal.

To my faithful readers, I promise to post new material once a week on Sunday.  As my journey continues, I will keep you updated on any changes.  So, here begins an online journal of where I’m headed.

Buckle your seat belts and enjoy the ride…

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