Monday, July 30, 2012

How to Make A Career As A Photographer

Do you have a passion for photography and are maybe thinking about developing it from a hobby into a career? If so, you may not have the first idea where to begin on the road to becoming a professional photographer but don’t worry as this article will guide you through the steps you need to take to be a full time snapper or at least generate a second income.

Know Your Equipment

The first thing that you should do is a bit of homework on the best equipment there is and what type of camera you will need for the type of photographs that you want to take. You should be prepared to invest well in your camera as after all it is the most important tool you will have in your job. It is a good idea to invest in a removable lens and that way you can attach it to a different camera when you need to upgrade.

Read All You Can

It is important that learn all you can about the subject of photography as it is not just about pointing a camera at something pretty and snapping it. You need to be aware of the use of light and shade and the different techniques required for each photo you take. There are many photography guides available and it is well worth your while to read through a few of them before you go any further.

Get Qualified

Although you don’t need formal qualifications especially if you are planning to work on a freelance basis it is always good to learn about your craft in a more detailed way. There are degree and college courses that you can enroll which will teach you valuable skills, give you some experience of taking high quality pictures and allow you to make valuable industry connections which always helps.

The World Is Your Studio

You should take every opportunity possible to hone your photography skills and that means getting out and about and taking as many photos as you can. It’s all about practising using your camera and training your creative eye. The world is full of inspiration, all you need to do is look around and you will find that there are hundreds of photography opportunities for you.

Show What You Can Do

When you are working in a creative industry like photography it is important that you are able to show potential clients your range of work and the standard of the photographs you have taken and that requires having a portfolio. Portfolios are important when you are a photographer as people want to see the kind of images you have captured before as they will be looking for something similar.
Are you thinking of starting a career in photography? If so then here are some things you need to know to get you off to a good start.

Darren Crozier is a freelance photographer. He started out by taking photographs of the countryside where he grew up and he developed these pictures into an A4 photo album portfolio which helped him get new clients.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sunday's Thought

If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.
-John 12:26 ESV

The journey began two years ago with two friends meeting two friends at their church on Sunday morning then it was off to lunch to catch up on recent events.

"Centreville Baptist Church"
The comments at the lunch table, at first, were generally about the Worship Service and the preaching.  We loved hearing the pastor preach.  He reminded us of the pastors we had growing up.  He spoke the truth, and wasn't afraid to tell you like it is.  Then, our discussions went to family and life's events.

After lunch we'd go our separate ways and on to life's plans.  My wife and I would sometimes discuss changing churches but, it didn't seem right.  We loved our church, our friends and we had obligations.  I was teaching, my wife was fulfilling too many obligations to list while loving it all.  So, why change?

Our visits with our friends and to their church went on for a few years.  Each time, we enjoyed the Worship Service, then we'd go to lunch or brunch as the case might be.

In January 2012, a vacation gave us time to relax and think.  The past year had been odd for me as I lost my mother.  Many of life's routines were different and I wasn't sure what it was all about.  After our trip, we were planning to visit our friends again, then get back to our home church.

We were not ready for what was about to happen, our lives were going to change again.  We met our friends at their church.   This Sunday the Congregational Care Pastor preached.  He was great.  Not to mention, he greeted us in the foyer before the service like we were old friends and we'd never seen him before.

Again, our lunch chat with our friends.  But, then, afterwards, my wife said, "I think we should change churches!" And, I was thinking the same thing though I wasn't too interested because my life had been full of way too many changes lately.  We decided to visit the next few Sundays and see what happened.

Each Sunday only got better and better and better.  The music was incredible.  The sermons, by all who preached, were fantastic! We finished the month of February by checking out the church.  It was obvious God was leading us to change churches.

We went to the church we were attending and resigned our positions, told friends the news and talked with our pastor.  We didn't want any hard feelings or anyone to think we left because we were mad or upset.  We didn't.  We weren't.  We believed that God was calling us to attend a new church.  Why?  We didn't know.  But, if we both were thinking the same thing and God was pressing this on our hearts, we needed to go.

We started attending Centreville Baptist Church, 15001 Lee Highway, Centreville, VA on Sunday, April 1, 2012.  Since that date, we've seen many times over why God wanted us to move.  It was His Will and we were to follow.

I can't help but think of the chorus of this song:

Where He Leads Me

Where he leads me I will follow, 
where he leads me I will follow, 
where he leads me I will follow; 
I'll go with him, with him all the way. 

Text: E.W. Blandy 
Music: John S. Norris 

Is God pressing on your heart to do something for Him?

Friday, July 27, 2012

Friday's Foto

It's been a busy summer!  Busier than normal.  While working in my gardens and yard this year, I decided to tackle those small tasks as I go through the yard rather than putting them off until the end.  Usually, they don't get done as I am off to other projects.  And, this year, I've taken on yard work at my church which keeps me busy on Saturday mornings.

Finally, I found some time to do some photography work.   Here's today's "Friday's Foto:"

"Purple Cone Flower"
A lesson learned, even when really busy, always take the time to photograph, even if it's just for a few minutes.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Why DSLR's?

DSLRs have beceome extremely popular in the world of video productions and film making for a variety of reasons. Firstly, the price is a big draw for a lot of people. The price of modern day DSLRs have fallen a lot, with a high-end DSLR camera typically costing around £2,000 ($3,100). For lower spec cameras, you'll probably looking around £1,000 ($1,550). There's also lots of websites offering cheaper deals than the retail stores sometimes, so it's worth checking out before heading to the stores.

DSLRs have a distinguishable and distinct look to the images. Often is the case that a director may choose a DSLR over a more expensive high-spec camera, because of this.The quality of DSLRs is second to none. Shooting in Full HD 1080p is possible and certain models also shoot in 50FPS/60FPS.

But, perhaps the icing on the cake is that DSLRs have two functions for the price of one camera, in that they can be used both for photography and shooting video as well. This is probably the biggest attraction for many.

Courtesy of Dragonfly Digital Video Services

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wednesday's Words

"Cloud Portraits"

Worship His Majesty.....
King of Creation..... 
Blessed above all names...
Love Him with all your heart.
Worship.  The Lord Jesus Christ.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sunday's Thought

"A Pin Oak Tree"
My thoughts today turn to the families and friends of the victims of the movie theatre shooting in Colorado.  A tragedy that has many people searching and in fear.  Searching can be a good thing.  Hopefully, they are searching for answers to peace for themselves.

In Fear?  Is a completely different subject.  I can understand having some fear after a tragedy like this- it does make you wonder. However, if people are starting to live their lives in fear because of this tragedy, that's not a good thing.  Fear of what might happen, or it happening again or something like it happening in your area, is no way to live.  A life in Christ, or as a Christian, soothes or clams, those fears.  It's not to say you won't be afraid at times or have some fear but you won't live your life "in fear" or "afraid" because you know you are heaven bound.

"The Cross"
The other issue that comes to mind is, if your life ended in the next few minutes, where would you spend eternity? If you were in a car accident and died, where would go?  You can settle these questions by accepting Christ as your personal Savior and living your life for Him.  

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life." -John 3:16 ESV

If you would like to receive Christ as your Savior, follow this link to a post I wrote a few months ago, Plan of Salvation.

A life lived for Christ, is a life worth living and celebrating.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Friday's Foto

"Dragonfly at Walney"
I enjoy sharing my work with you on Friday's.  Sort of a celebration for the day being Friday which means I will get to work in photography and gardening this weekend!  

Happy Friday and have a great weekend.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

8 Cool Tools to Create an Awesome Slideshow from Your Trip Photos

I am seriously photo-happy. I take pictures nearly every day, some of them interesting, most just to have more images of friends and family. I always bring my digital camera with me, and I love the convenience of having an SD card and memory I can clear out. It was much harder to be so quick to take shots in the days of film, and I still have canisters of undeveloped negatives sitting in a drawer in my office.
But when it comes to sharing those photos, I have usually been at a loss. Since the creation of social media, I tend to throw them into albums online and let people view them at will. But with how many I post it is getting a little difficult. I have hundreds of photos on Facebook alone, not to mention my albums on Photobucket and other sites.

It was, funny enough, an old Myspace page that made me realize the answer. I was looking through an old account I had years ago but had forgotten about. This led me to clicking on a friend's profile that was also abandoned. She had a small slideshow with photos of her family, and it hit me: a slideshow! Not the type that had been popular on Myspace, but one I could create and share in genres.
This set me out on a mission to find the best tools for making slideshows on the web. As we live in a world of mobile media, I was primarily interested in mobile apps. But I found a couple of computer-based software programs that worked better than I expected, as well.
Here are the eight best I found.

1. Photo Slideshow Pro

For those of you working on a Mac, this is a handy little slideshow tool that has a good number of features. They have many templates for creating your project with the minimal amount of fuss. I found that to be the best service offered by the software. The audio trimming and fade out is a little easier than with some other tools, as well. I have met a lot of people who enjoyed this tool, especially since it only costs $19.99. Even if it is a touch outdated.


If you are looking for something simple that you can use to make a quick slideshow with your favorite pictures and media clips from around the web, this one is for you. It is a free editing tool, so you won't be able to create anything too professional looking or impressive. But they are still fun, so if your only motivation is to make something to share with friends, this is a good alternative to paid programs.

3. HipGeo

Going on a trip and want to show your vacation photos in a fun way? This app is compatible with both the iPhone and the Android. You take the photos and it puts it into a single album. You can then select the photos you want, and create a simple slideshow that can be shared over social networking accounts. It is great for bloggers who want something simple they can use while still on their trip.

4. Slidestaxx

Rather than make a slideshow, you can make a "slidestaxx" here. It is basically the same thing, to be honest. Except you stack the photos on top of one another. If you want an example, you can see others that have been made by different members on their front page. It is free to use, and the final result is better than most free photo editing tools. You can add other media, such as videos, from around the web. Because of this, I have noticed more teachers using it to create presentations for their classrooms.

5. TripWow

Another travel based tool, you probably already know this website for their itineraries and city information. I am speaking about TripAdvisor, which is one of the most popular travel sites on the web. They have a photo sharing tool, so you can upload your vacation shots and create a slideshow complete with maps and information to make it look professional. It is free, and really cool.

6. Slideshow+

Have an iPhone, iPod or iPad? Considered one of the best slideshow apps for Apple products around, this free app is the officially sanctioned product from the company itself. It works well, with a lot of features for both creationg the slideshow with effects and music, ediitng the photos themselves and sharing them with friends. All with photos you took with the iPhone.

7. PulpMotion

Drag and drop your pics into one of this apps premade themes, add some music or videos and you are done. You can try either the standard or advanced program for free, and then purchase it without a watermark for $49. A bit costly, but the end result is really nice, and their themes are well made with plenty to choose from. If you are needing to make a professional presentation, this is a nice software that is moderately priced and good features.

8. Vertigo

Taking advantage of the media capabilities with Microsoft's Siverlight application, this makes it easy for even the most technologically backward people to build their slideshow. Everything is entirely customizable through their interfacem and it works cross-browser, whether you are using Firefox, Chrome or Safari. Very cool and one of the programs I would recommend for webmasters and blog owners.


You can make awesome sideshows for either personal or professional use easily. These eight tools will help you do it, and within your budget...even if your budget is nothing at all! Be sure to check them out, and get started.

Jessy is the creative writer blogging for Dobovo, the free travel app allowing you to easily choose Kiev apartments whenever you visit Eastern Europe. Here are a few great slideshow-worthy sights in Kiev!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Sunday's Thought

"Yellow Crocus"

God Is

God is:
In darkness, light;
In war, peace;
In fear, calm;
In loneliness; love;
In death, life.

2012 Copyright, Kim Kirby

Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday's Foto

Aint' I Cute?

"A Dog's Love"
Since I am photographing tomorrow and next weekend for two animal rescue groups, I thought I would feature two of my favorite images that I created to assist dogs in getting their "Forever Home."

I love to capture a natural look of dogs for their owners.

Do you have a favorite subject to photograph?  If so, what is it- please share in the comments section below.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Garden Sitters- While You Travel

I was reading in copy of The Washington Times a few weeks ago, which was probably more than a few weeks old, about a new service for vacationers in the Florida area.  I searched Google and couldn't find the article, but found a similar article in the The Seattle Times, Home & Garden.

"Spring Blooms"
Credit: Allen Pearson
The service called "Garden Sitters" is designed for those of us who don't like to leave our gardens when we go on vacation because we know many things still need to be done, yet we want to travel too.  Also, at least this summer, the hot temperatures can quickly ruin your hard work if you don't plan.

You could hire a  friend's child to take care of your garden or you could hire a "Garden Sitter".  You would show the Garden Sitter where your tools, fertilizer, hoses and whatever else you think they will need during the week are stored.  Then, you take the time to orient the sitter to your garden- writing out what is expected or required while you are traveling.  Most likely, the Garden Sitter is one because they have been gardening awhile and understand where you are coming from when getting ready to travel.

The sitter would mimic what you do while your traveling and you come home to your beautiful gardens in the shape or better than when you left.   Also, this should eliminate the need for immediate maintenance from you.

Read the article, I'm interested in hearing your comments about the Service.  What you use it, why or why not?

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Sunday's Thought

Sunday's Thought was originally designed to be the place where I share my Christian faith either through my own writings or articles from friends.   Further, I intended to share family-oriented topics as well.

I have a guest blogger, Jonathan Rodriguez, who has written about a family topic.  

Fun Activities for the Entire Family

Families have busy schedules these days with children involved in numerous extracurricular activities along with homework from school and chores at home. Therefore, it’s essential for parents to plan fun family activities.

Beach Day
An affordable family activity includes a day spent at the beach. Parents can pack the sunscreen, blanket and a lunch for a day of beach fun. Sand toys will keep young children busy while older children will enjoy soaking in the sun and playing in the water. Even families without access to a typical beach may live near a lake or stream.

A day spent on the beach can irritate children’s sensitive skin. Fortunately, shea butter can moisturize skin and relieve itchy skin conditions such as eczema. Also, bulkshea butter can be purchased online and in warehouse stores, which will allow parents to stock up on the product.

Theme Park Day
Families can have an enjoyable activity at their city or state’s theme park. Amusement parks have rides for all ages including young children and hard-to-please teenagers. Most parks have picnic areas, which will let families eat affordably while ice cream, popcorn and snow cones can be purchased for a budget-friendly snack.

In some amusement parks, families have access to water rides and will delight in spending a hot day getting soaked while the evening hours can be filled with park rides and musical entertainment. 

Busy days such as these can exhaust young children. Therefore, the addition of food grade citric acid into their diet will surely help children remain happy and healthy. The supplement is organic and often found in citrus fruits such as oranges, pineapples and limes, which parents can buy at their local grocery store. Parents who offer foods containing citric acid to their children will find that the supplement will help remove toxins from the body, break down fatty foods and increase their appetites.

Museum Day
Parents should introduce their children to the city’s culture while devoting a day appreciating local exhibits. Children will learn how their city began and discover the pilgrims who founded it. Other compelling museum features include local wildlife, historical transportation and early industry.
Parents will enjoy watching their children’s imaginations light-up as they experience the city’s past. A museum experience may encourage children to participate more in school and understand past events.

Sports Event Day
 After considering their children’s interests, parents should purchase family tickets to a sporting event held in their city. Sport options include baseball, basketball and even hockey. Additionally, families will be thrilled to spend an evening watching monster trucks or BMX events.
Be sure to bring your camera to document the excitement that your children will surely experience during the competition. Furthermore, they may find a new sport that they’ll be interested in learning.

City Park Day
Parents should pack a picnic and take their children to a city park for the afternoon. Children will expend plenty of energy running over the grass and swinging on the playground equipment. Parents will enjoy watching their children make new friends while sliding down the park’s slippery slides.
A city park day will also give mom and dad an opportunity to reconnect as their children dash around the park enjoying the playground equipment. 
When families take the time to enjoy activities together, they are creating life-long memories that will be reminisced about even after the children grow up and begin their own families.  

About Today's Guest
Jonathan Rodriguez is an avid writer and blogger. He met his sweet heart, Savanna while studying at BYU. Together they have two beautiful boxers, Gia & Capone that they take on a long walk every day. He enjoys cooking meals for family and friends, riding his motorcycle and golfing.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Guest Blogger- Capturing that Perfect Pet Shot

I get down on all fours. And yes, sometimes I even lie flat on my back. But my best position? A straight out squat. No, this is not Ashtanga yoga. This strenuous workout is all in the name of photography. Pet photography to be exact. Well, since we’re all about detail, it’s for Casper, my attention-deficit Labrador. I absolutely love taking photos of Casper and will go to any length to get that all-important money shot. Here are some basic pet photography tips I’ve picked up from photographing this crazy Labrador.

The eyes have it - Try getting eye-level with your pet. If this means rolling around on the carpet, so be it. Pictures taken from this unique angle can capture your furry friend in a whole all new light. Subtle nuances in facial expressions are highlighted and accentuated (rather than missed altogether in the regular ‘shoot down’ approach).

Get your pet’s attention – Anyone who owns a Labrador will know the best way to get your dog’s attention is food. Short of drenching yourself in meat juices, don’t be afraid to use favorite treats to get your pet’s attention. Similarly, squeaky toys and other props can work a treat. I even play random monkey sounds from my computer to get Casper to tilt his head in curiosity (it always works!). Try downloading an app that plays animal sounds onto your iPhone, if you’re really dedicated. That way, you can take your noises with you if you’re photographing at the park or outdoors.

Daylight is best - Natural lighting is key. Natural light not only looks better, but it also removes the need for using your camera’s flash (which could also terrify your pet). Not using flash also avoids that creepy yellow eye glow that tends to occur with flash bursts (which makes your pet look like a bit of a vampire). Scout for outdoor places to shoot, such as your backyard, local park or even the beach.
Ultimately, don’t forget to have fun! Having a digital camera means you can take hundreds, if not thousands of shots (and you can delete the bad ones later). So why not experiment with different angles and settings and above all, have fun with your pet! Your pet may be less camera shy than my dog, so go for it. If you want to start off easy, try photographing your goldfish or pet lizard – they’re less likely to run off at the sight of the camera.

Curtis Jones is a design and photography student who loves traveling, eating and scuba diving with the one hand, and taking photos with his digital camera in the other.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Guest Blogger- Immortalize Your Best Family Moments With Custom Photo Books

Digital photography has changed the way we think about pictures, but there is no substitute for a photo album. Even when the power goes out, people with a physical book can reminisce and share fond memories. Technology today has made customized photo books within reach of anyone who wants to keep a permanent record of life’s important moments.
Unlike snapshots in traditional photo albums, the images in a customized photo book are printed directly on the page. This allows for customization after the printing has been done. People who cherish their photo books can write directly on the images and in the margins, providing more detailed information and recollections of the scene at hand. This adds value to the photographic record. The picture will always be associated with its fresh notations. Future generations will be able to read what was happening, why it happened, and why it is important to them. A photo book is a permanent record!

An Archive for the Next Generation

Because photo books keep information and memories in one place, they can be referred to again and again. Pixels on a screen are one way to relive memories, but there is nothing like leafing through a physical book with a child or grandchild. When friends get together to remember a vacation or an important event, what is more comfortable and homey than passing a book back and forth, rather than staring at a slideshow on a screen? The old ways are best, and the best way to keep memories alive is to do it in a book.

Real Versus Virtual

A book on the shelf can be taken down anytime to recollect and share good times. Rather than waiting to boot up the computer, beautiful pictures are within reach with a photo book. Arrange the photos as you please, in order to tell the story your way, and have the flexibility to skip ahead to illustrate a point in your tale, and refer back with a flip of the page. With a customized photo book, the author is in charge. With personalized templates, a photo book is more like a scrap book, with room to include more than just a picture and a date. A wedding album, or a record of babies’ birthdays is more real when it is held in the hand and passed around. Memory is not passive, it is tangible. It comes to life again in a book.

The perfect keepsake for the person who has everything, but wants something more, a custom photo book personalizes the past and brings it into the present. Quality paper and printing means that the record will last for years to come, one page at a time.

Jennifer Stafford is a mom of 3 children and full time blogger that enjoys writing about useful photography tips and creative ideas. She currently blogs for Elephoto, a Canadian company that provides online photo gifts.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Sunday's Thought

"Lord, Keep Me Safe"
A song goes through my mind today as I write this Thought, "Count Your Many Blessings Name Them One By One.  As a church organist, I've played the song numerous times and sung it as a member of the congregation.  I'd never really given it much thought until I grew older and realized how many blessings God has given me.  

"When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.


Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God hath done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.


Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,
And you will keep singing as the days go by.


When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;
Count your many blessings. Wealth can never buy
Your reward in heaven, nor your home on high.


So, amid the conflict whether great or small,
Do not be disheartened, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.

Words: John­son Oat­man, Jr., in Songs for Young Peo­ple, 
by Ed­win Ex­cell (Chi­ca­go, Il­li­nois: 1897). 
Music: Edwin O. Excell

As the storm went through the Virginia area last Friday night, I'd fallen asleep early, but was awakened it.  I fell back to sleep only to be awoken again several times throughout the night.

The next day, I learned the storms were the worst non-hurricane events to hit Virginia in it's history.  I went out and discovered the damage throughout the area where I live.  No property damage to my home or much to my yard- but no power or A/C and it was going to be a hot day.   As I thought about my circumstances, I made some preparations, just in case the A/C didn't come back on. I have a big dog that needs a place to stay cool in the heat.

The more I thought about the day and my circumstances, the more I felt God's Love and Blessings on my life- things could have been much worse than just being without phone and electricity for 12 hours and a few tree branches