Do you know about the Dehaze Effect in Lightroom & PhotoShop?

May 2015 Adobe added to PhotoShop and Lightroom the Dehaze slider. The Dehaze tool helps you easily reduce or remove haze, common in many outdoor photos like landscapes.

Here is the above photo with the Dehaze at 0

Same photo settings but now Dehaze at +73

Now if you were like me you had an editing workflow and when Adobe introduces a new tool you may not even be aware of it. Well I have been using it for about a year now. It works great.

Like all tools you need to try it and see if it works for a photo or not.

This tool in Lightroom is all the way at the bottom of the tools just about Camera Calibration in the Effects module.

Here is a photo without the Dehaze applied

Here it is at +36

I recommend trying out this tool on your photos. You will be glad you did.

PhotoShop CC Instructions

Here is how you access it in PhotoShop CC. Go to Filter>Camera Raw Filter in the menu.

Then when in the RAW Filter click on the ƒx tab. Then you will see the Dehaze slider on top.

Freelancer’s Anxiety–Using Faith to Cope

A little girl lost in her thoughts while in her families corn field in Togo, West Africa. [Nikon D5, Sigma 35mm ƒ/1.4, ISO 100, ƒ/1.4, 1/2000]
There are a few things that produce such anxiety in my life that physically affect me. Going to the dentist for more than a cleaning produces high anxiety in my life.

My blood pressure rises and my heart rate increases.

This anxiety response isn’t limited to my fear of a dental procedure. My friend Brad Moore posted this just the other day on FaceBook:

The responses Brad received let him know not only did we all suffer from this, some people gave them their solutions on how they have learned to deal with worrying.

This young teenager’s expression seems to convey some anxiety. I photographed him in Togo, West Africa. [Nikon D5, 85mm ƒ/1.8G, ISO 100, ƒ/1.8, 1/250]
When I was studying social work we had to be trained in how to help people with their worries and anxiety. We learned to unpack those thoughts creating an anxiety. Worrying about something can help motivate you to do something whereas anxiety can shut you down.

Let me talk a little more about Anxiety and then get back to worrying.

During this training I learned about two types of anxiety producing thoughts. There are first those things that we have control over and then there are those things we have no control over.

When you let those things you have no control over take control of your thoughts they can freeze you and send you into anxiety produced depression. If you find you have no desire to be motivated then you need to see a clinical counselor like a social worker, psychologist or psychiatrist.

You could be in this situation not due to how you are thinking but because your genetics and the way your body chemistry is setup. You can be very depressed just because your chemicals in your body are out of balance. There is medication that under medical supervision that can bring you out of that deep depression.

Learning that I need to categorize something as in my control or out of my control helped me more than anything else I learned in the lesson. Once I could determine something is out of my control I knew that no matter how long we ponder it we are not going to do anything but waste our time.

However, there are things we can do for some things that cause us to worry.

One of my lighting cases. This one is for my Alienbees B1600s with vagabond power packs to let me shoot anywhere with our without power.

One of the ways I addressed my worries was to create separate cases for my lighting gear needs. I have a case for video LED lights, another case with my Speedlights, stands and umbrellas and then this one pictured here for when I need a lot of power and might not have power available.

I still have two other cases which allow me to bring larger number of lights for those big jobs.

Interior of my Airport Security™ V 2.0 Rolling Camera Bag fully packed.

Worrying about my gear isn’t the only anxiety freelancers deal with on a regular basis.

Remember there are things out of your control and these are the things that often still keep me up at night.

When these thoughts start affecting our bodies like my time in the dentist chair this can be anxiety producing, which can be debilitating. Anxiety is more like a hamster wheel that spins us around but doesn’t lead us to productive solutions.

Worry and Anxiety come with living

My personal experience has taught me that I will never get rid of worrying and anxiety. Even these tips are not enough. Life can be just overwhelming at times.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
–– Matthew 6:34

I turn to my faith as my way of navigating these times of stress. While scripture tells us not to worry it also has the Lamentations.

A Lament in The Book of Lamentations or in the Psalms may be looked at as a cry of need in a context of crisis. Another way of looking at it is all the more basic: laments simply being “appeals for divine help in distress”.

These laments, too, often have a set format: an address to God, description of the suffering/anguish which one seeks relief, a petition for help and deliverance, a curse towards one’s enemies, an expression of the belief of ones innocence or a confession of the lack thereof, a vow corresponding to an expected divine response, and lastly, a song of thanksgiving.

I struggled with fear and worry for years. But through time, I began to find that the things that once would have sent me down an anxious spiral, no longer had the same effect. It didn’t happen quickly, but over days, months, years.

I read words – of life – of truth. Soaking them in, over and over, praying them out loud. Until they became so familiar, they replaced the other things in my mind that I’d battled against. There’s nothing magical about words and verses, but there is power through them.

Togo, West Africa [Nikon D5, 85mm ƒ/1.8G, ISO 100, ƒ/1.8, 1/200]

“My God, My God, Why?” –Psalms 22:1

I see the laments as a time where we complain to God about something that just isn’t right in our eyes. We then go on and make a request from God.

What I want to emphasize here is that the writers of all the laments then go to the next step in their lament where they give an expression of trust. This often is in the form of God in the past you did this. I know from my experience you do intervene. It is the remembrance of how God has taken care of them in the past and they are asking for his deliverance from what they are suffering from now.

A Biblical lament, then, is an honest cry to a God who is powerful, good, and just. It’s a cry that expects an answer from God, and therefore results in hope, trust, and joy rather than despair.

What happens when I pray a lament?

I have had many sinus infections through my life and this painful disgusting condition is how I feel before I pray. While not always immediate is the response, I do know that the answer to my prayer is like being able to breath again.

The anxiety that froze me and kept me paralyzed is gone. I now am in a state of worry with hope. I am then able to think about what can I do that I do have control over.

So on those nights I cannot sleep because I wonder where my next check will come from, I am able to get out of bed and start writing emails. These emails maybe pitching ideas to clients and potential customers or something else that I haven’t done before.

Once I have written those emails I am now able to go to bed and sleep.

I believe it is God who helped me get unstuck and even possibly some ideas.


Stanley’s Stages of Freelancer’s Anxiety

  1. Feeling of being overwhelmed which leads to anxiety that depresses me
  2. Making list of what I can do and what I have no control over
  3. Take action on what I can do

While these three things sometimes work, more than often this is really what is happening

  1. Anxious thoughts which paralyzes me
  2. Depression due to realizing how much of this is due to my past decisions putting me in this situation. [Beating myself up stage]
  3. Tears begin to flow that I have no way out of this situation.
  4. Brought to my knees in prayer where I am often yelling at God
  5. Slowly I am able to tell God what the problem is about
  6. Asking God to take action
  7. I remember how God has helped me before. This reminds me to trust that God will help me again
  8. While the problem doesn’t go away God has helped me become un-paralyzed.
  9. I am able to think of some things I can do to take action
  10. I realize I have done all that I can think of doing
  11. I am able to relax and have hope. Often because this happens in the night I am able to finally go to sleep.

A little girl jumping rope with her friends inTogo, West Africa. [Nikon D5, Sigma 35mm ƒ/1.4, ISO 100, ƒ/1.4, 1/2500]
I suggest reading the book of Lamentations in the Bible. Here are five ways it can help you.

  1. They help you express our feelings in honest and healthy ways.
  2. They help shape your feelings, helping us interpret them in light of God’s redemptive plan for the entire world.
  3. They teach us more about ourselves by revealing our greatest need and how our minds and hearts influence our lives.
  4. They teach us more about God, his character and activity in us and the world.
  5. They reorient us to the truth of the gospel and how it transforms us from the inside out.

Biggest mistake made by photographers

The hardest assignments for me are the most personal ones to cover for our family. While I want to just sit back and enjoy, I also want to be sure these milestones in our family life has been documented.

When I arrive to cover an event I am often setting up strobes to be sure I get good light on the people’s faces. For this event I setup two strobes off to the sides to be sure the speakers had good light on them.

This photo was taken without the flashes going off, so I have circled where they are in the room. The flash on the left is the Nikon SB-800 and the one on the right is my Nikon SB-900.

They are both on the Pocketwizard TT5. I am using Manfrotto 5001B Nano Black Light Stand – 6.2′ (1.9m) I chose this light stand because of how small it folds up [19.3″ (49cm)] for easy travel through airports. To connect the Pocketwizard TT5 to the lightstand I am using Interfit Metal Umbrella Bracket with Adjustable Flash Shoe.

To trigger the flashes I am using the Pocketwizard TT1 with the AC3 to control the flash output on the TTL setting. This way the camera sensor is helping determine the flash output of the flashes.

I guess you can see this is a little involved over just pulling out the camera and shooting some available light photos or even using an on-camera flash. I want the photos to look great, not just usable. I am documenting the most important events in our family history. My family will cherish these photos much more than if I had great photos of the President of the United States.

Here are some of the photos from our event celebrating my wife getting the 2014 Pioneering Ministry Award from Columbia Theological Seminary for her work doing chaplaincy work with journalists, Citadel parents and now military families.

What is the biggest mistake made by photographers? Photographers often put more effort into covering events for clients and not enough into their own families. What is the most important?

While your clients will pay the bills, the photos you do of your friends and family events are the ones you will be most remembered for doing.

You know what happens when you do this consistently? Your clients start getting your best coverage as well—they are now treated as family. Every business should be doing the very same thing for their families, treating them with your best efforts.

How to fix the silhouetted subject when you want to see them

Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm, ISO 6400, ƒ/5.6, 1/15, Neewer TT850 flash with Neewer 433MHz Wireless 16 Channel Flash Remote Trigger @ 1/32 power 
This past weekend I was photographing Bottles and Cans performing at North Beach Bar & Grill on Tybee Island. There was no light on the band and therefore they were performing as a silhouette as the night went on.
I shot with an off-camera strobe that if you look at the table just in front of the band you will see a bright patch where the flash went off.
Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm, ISO 6400, ƒ/5, 1/15, Neewer TT850 flash with Neewer 433MHz Wireless 16 Channel Flash Remote Trigger @ 1/32 power 
As you can see by the flash being on the table it allowed me to have the light hit the singer under his hat as well as the other guys in the band wearing hats. This is what foot lights will also do at Broadway musicals.

This leads me to ask, Do your photos look like this sometimes? It is a good exposure and to correct the photo by opening up a stop or two for the faces will just wash out the color for the rest of the photograph.

Photography is writing with light. It is quite common that you will have to add light to a photograph to give emphasis to where you want the audience to look.

By just putting a flash off camera to the left I was able to not change the exposure, but put light on what was a silhouette of the subject. By using an off camera flash I was able to “reveal” the subject with the light.

To capture the clouds and all their glory in this photo makes those subjects close to the camera silhouetted.

By just adding a light to the subject in the foreground I am able to retain the clouds and the rich colors in the photograph, but now the subject is the person in the photograph and not the background.

I see photos like this all the time in recruiting guides for colleges. This is where the photographer is just capturing what anyone can do with even their smartphone.

Take the time and carry a light stand with a flash. Yes it is something more to carry, but look at the difference.

You are not going to balance a projected image and the speaker that often without using the off camera flash. Here I used the flash on the speaker to help me show they had a large enough crowd that they needed to project him.

If you don’t have a way to do off camera flash you need to invest into something or you will always have what everyone else can get with their smartphone or point and shoot camera. Remember photography is writing with light. Take control and be the author of your photos.

WiFi Solution for Nikon D4

Nikon has two WiFi solutions for the Nikon D4. One costs $1,000 and the other $877.  Also I have not had the best of luck with Nikon’s WiFi solutions in the past and especially with the Nikon D2Xs.  I bought the Nikon system for $600 and it dropped out so often and was almost impossible to sync.

Click here to buy CamRanger on Amazon

When I was at PhotoShop World in Atlanta this week I ran into my friend Gary S Chapman and he asked if I had seen the CamRanger booth?  I had not and then after he walked me over there I decided to buy one after their demonstration. Gary said he would wait on my review before buying one. Next gizmo we find he goes first.

The cost of the system was $299.98 and they had a special going for that price to toss in an extra battery and charger.

It comes with USB cable to connect to your camera [pick your camera when ordering for correct cord] and CAD5 cable for updates. Also comes with small bag that hangs on your camera strap.

The charger looks identical just minus the WiFi part.

CamRanger currently supports a large number of both Canon and Nikon cameras. To see the full list and see all the features for each camera go to this link and you will find your camera and what features will work with your particular model.

The CamRanger is supported by iOS devices, Android devices, Mac and Windows computers, and the Kindle. All of the following apps are free and will work universally with the CamRanger unit! The CamRanger can be registered with multiple devices and can be used with one device or computer at a time.

I have an Android phone, an iPad and a Macbook Pro that I would use with the CamRanger.  All work just fine.

My Settings

From shooting with the Nikon WiFi and also using EyeFi SD card I learned a few things that made me want to get the best performance out of the CamRanger. By the way had EyeFi made a card that would work in the Nikon D4 I would have never looked at the CamRanger, but they don’t so here I am using the CamRanger system.

Shoot RAW+JPEG—You are sending files over from one device to another. The bigger the file the slower it will take. You could shoot just JPEGs, but I prefer speed and therefore would prefer the smallest JPEG I can use to preview on the iPad for example. But when I need the higher resolution image I now create that from the RAW file.

Small JPEG—Go to the menu and pick image size under the camera icon. Select Small and this will help give you the smallest file size.

I would also use basic rather than fine. I want creative directors and art directors to use my iPad and see the images as I shoot sometimes. This way they are not over my shoulder, but can see the results.

If I am just tweaking the settings I can turn off the WiFi and then when I am ready for them to start seeing images turn the system on.

It connects right away to the iPad once you set it up. The setup just has you go into the WiFi settings on your device and select the CamRanger. Then you put in your serial # as the password. Once you are connected you use the CamRanger App that you downloaded for free to connect.

Two Main Ways I Use It—In general when I just want someone to see the images I just shoot and the images pop up as thumbnails and as a big image.

You can set up the controls in the App to client mode, which is where they just see the image and can star rate it if they like. I changed the default setting to have Auto View on so the image displays big when it is shot. The thumbnails let you go back and see previous images.

If I were shooting a lot I might turn off the Auto View and let someone just click on those thumbnails they want to see big without my latest image popping up while they were trying to see another image.

The second way I like to use the system is in Live Mode. You select Live Mode from the app and not from the camera.

In both modes you can see the camera settings and change them, unless you have Client View turned on.

I think that the CamRanger from my tests performs as well if not better than anything I have used up to now for WiFi connection to my camera.

Why use WiFi?

I first need to tell you about how I shot tethered for years when doing portraits. The images popped up and then quickly they were all in the computer where the subject was able to pick their images. Once I had the camera on a table and my foot caught the cable. Well that was $600+ repair for a shattered lens.

So the primary reason I started using WiFi was for the same reason I prefer radios for triggering flashes—No Cords.

When I am doing portraits the lighting is controlled and making the step of processing a RAW image pretty much a waste of my time. So here I can just shoot the Large/Fine setting JPEG and be done with it. Yes it takes a few seconds longer, but all the images are loaded on the computer and I can give the client all the images at the end of the shoot.

Another great reason to use WiFi is when I teach. I like to show everyone as I am doing setups, with lights for example, what I am doing. With a large screen TV or projector I can shoot and immediately they see the results and the settings on my camera. Great way to learn studio lighting or location lighting.

Carry your camera–ALWAYS

Anacleto Rapping taking a photo at the Southwestern Photojournalism Conference in Fort Worth, TX. [Nikon Coolpix P7000, 28mm, ISO 1600, ƒ/2.8, 1/30]

This post has only photos from just me having my camera with me. Not my phone, but a camera with high ISO capabilities and flash if I needed it.

None of the photos are from a single assignment.

My point, is if you don’t have your camera is when you will see some cool moments.

Nikon Coolpix P7000, 28mm, ISO 949, ƒ/4, 1/280

“Always carry a camera, it’s tough to shoot a picture without one.” – Jay Maisel

Nikon D4, 14mm, ISO 5000, ƒ/5.6, 1/60, Off camera flash using SB900 and SB800 triggered with Pocketwizard FlexTT5 Transceiver with the MiniTT1 and AC3 to control the output power.

“The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.”— Dorothea Lange

Nikon D4, Sigma 120-300mm and 1.4 converter, ISO 9000, ƒ/5.6, 1/2000

“It’s one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it’s another thing to make a portrait of who they are.” — Paul Caponigro

Nikon D4, 14mm, ISO 10000, ƒ/5.6, 1/60, Off camera flash using SB900 and SB800 triggered with Pocketwizard FlexTT5 Transceiver with the MiniTT1 and AC3 to control the output power.

“If the photographer is interested in the people in front of his lens, and if he is compassionate, it’s already a lot. The instrument is not the camera but the photographer.” — Eve Arnold

Nikon D4, 28-300mm, ISO 100, ƒ/5, 1/13, Off camera flash using Alienbees B1600 and one with a blue gel.

Lighting Diagram for the Late Nite Reading shoot.

I had my gear with me when I took my daughter to the concert. I just offered to get some cool shots if for nothing more than just for me and my daughter to have.

Nikon Coolpix P7000, ISO 1600, ƒ/2.8, 1/140

“The whole point of taking pictures is so that you don’t have to explain things with words.” — Elliott Erwitt

Nikon D4, 28-300mm, ISO 3200, ƒ/8, 1/160

“My life is shaped by the urgent need to wander and observe, and my camera is my passport.” — Steve McCurry

Nikon Coolpix P7000, ISO 1600, ƒ/2.8, 1/55 

“It is more important to click with people than to click the shutter.” — Alfred Eisenstaedt

Nikon Coolpix P7000, ISO 1600, ƒ/2.8, ƒ1/180

“It’s a process of getting to know people. That’s what photography is to me. It’s about paying attention, not screwing up and blowing a great opportunity.” – Eugene Richards

Nikon D4, Sigma 120-300mm and 1.4 converter, ISO 900, ƒ/5.6, 1/2000

Nikon D4, 28-300mm, ISO 280, ƒ/4, 1/100

Nikon D4, 28-300mm, ISO 450, ƒ/5.6, 1/100

Remember to take your camera with you where ever you go. 

Learning to monetize from free

Chick-fil-A gave away free cookies at Centennial Park on game day for the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic.

What I am learning from Chick-fil-A

Truett Cathy, the founder of Chick-fil-A, built his business on sampling and giving away food. At the Chick-fil-A Kickoff the company was giving out their newest dessert the chocolate chip cookie. Let me say from first hand experience that those are quite addicting.

Truett Cathy knew that once you tried his food the odds were pretty good that he could turn you into a customer.

Just to let you know how it is currently going for the Chickf-il-A chain, system-wide sales in 2012 reached $4.6 billion. These figures reflect an 14 percent increase over the chain’s 2011 performance and a same-store sales increase of 8 percent.

They have been debt free since 2012 and going forward plan to remain that way. What a position of strength they are in for growing the business today.

This giving away food is done all the time by using a simple Be Our Guest cards that Truett Cathy started. He realized he couldn’t have sandwiches with him all the time to give away, so he created a card that has no strings attached that gives the holder a free product like their signature Chick-fil-A Chicken Sandwich.

Too many companies put up barriers with their promotions where they will give you something if you spend money first.

If anyone did a promotion where you didn’t control them you would go bankrupt pretty quickly. These giveaways are strategic.

One of the best books on this concept of giving things away to build a business is by Chris Anderson. The book is Free: How today’s smartest businesses profit by giving something for nothing. Many as being the guy that “identified the next big thing” praise Anderson.

This is actually something very old and not new.

Mr. Cathy founded Chick-fil-A, Inc. in the early 1960s and pioneered the establishment of restaurants in shopping malls with the opening of the first Chick-fil-A Restaurant at a mall in suburban Atlanta in 1967. Since then, Chick-fil-A has steadily grown to become the second largest quick-service chicken restaurant chain in the United States, with over 1,700 locations in 39 states and Washington, D.C.

Some of the comments about Chris Anderson’s book summarize what I think is happening today with today’s marketplace and I feel it first hand happening to photography.

“Chris Anderson’s Free unpacks a paradox of the online marketplace—people making money charging nothing. What was once just a marketing gimmick has morphed into the basis of a trillion-dollar economy.”

“Anderson’s timing couldn’t be better. Free arrives as whole swaths of the economy are having to contend with consumers finding ways—some illegal, many not—to go Free.”
Boston Sunday Globe
The best one that I agree the most with is:
“I’d put Anderson and his work on par with Malcolm Gladwell and Clayton M. Christensen as one of the more important pieces of business philosophy published in the emerging global, digital era.”
—Alan T. Saracevic, San Francisco Chronicle
Tips for the Photographer
First you need to give a taste of what your clients will get when they hire you. The mistake made by way too many photographers is that they forget that the client looks for examples of what they need. Most clients are not going to look at a photographer’s portfolio which may be studio portraits and assume they can also shoot environmental portraits.
My suggestion is to have an online portfolio and break the portfolio up into different categories and examples. Due to the way search engines like Google work you need to have different pages for those categories. When someone types in “photographer environmental portraits” this will direct them to a list of photographers whose page will give them what they are looking for. They will not see your general portfolio. They are looking for a specific topic and type of image. Again, they are looking a photographer to fulfill their need.
The key is not just to have a page with your specialty; the key is to give this to the client just like Truett Cathy gives out free sandwiches. They need to see your photos to get a taste of what you can do. But you have to get them in front of them, not wait for them to find you.
Second you need a marketing plan. Having images to show that a client needs gives you the samples to now market. Just as Truett Cathy you need to be strategic. Shooting examples that helps a client know you can shoot for their needs should be thought out. Who are you going to approach? What is your market?
Most of us do not have a bank roll that we can just blanket our communities in advertising through a newspaper, television add spots, direct mail and more. We have to target those who are most likely to need our services and have enough need that we can support our lifestyle.
Third you need to continuously market. Too many make a mistake and market until they start getting work and then one day the market changes and they are wondering where did all the business go.   
A good book on this topic is Spencer Johnson’s book Who Moved My Cheese? My friend Gary S. Chapman and his wife Vivian exposed me to his book a few years ago.
Fourth you need to change with the market. The key here is understanding your marketplace. If you want to shoot things your way and the way you want to do things, then keep this as a hobby. Professionals must satisfy a client to pay their bills. 
Throughout my career I can see how I have moved into different markets. I started shooting for my college. Even as an independent photographer I am changing jobs just like staff people might have to do when their company goes through layoffs. The market changed and that client no longer is in business or no longer needer your services.
Last should be first, which is know your vocation. Those who are the most successful are those who recognize a calling. This is what vocation means. It is responding to the gifts that you have been given. You may have to move to continue to follow that calling. 
There are two people in history that I think about that had major callings and changed the world.
In the bible Saul was the guy who was torturing and killing the early Christians. You can find Saul’s moment when he understood what his vocation would be for the rest of his life in Acts 9. Here is a link if you have never heard this story here
Saul changed his name to Paul and became the leader of the missionary movement for Christians. What I want to point out that from the time he knew what he was called to do until the time he went out as a missionary was three years. Think of this as his college time to hone his craft.
The other person I want to point to is Jesus Christ. From his birth until his ministry began was 30 years. 
Too many photographers buy a camera and announce they are photographers. It takes time to hone your craft to do this professionally.  
Your goal is to create Raving Fans. To learn more about what a Raving Fan is read Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles book Raving Fans: A Revolutionary Approach to Customer Service.
Once people have a taste of your work and they like it, then they will hire you to fulfill their needs for images.
After you get those clients do everything you can to keep them. It is far easier work to keep a client than the amount of work needed to find a client.

Check list for Sharp Photos

Nikon D4, 28-300mm [85mm], ISO 800, ƒ/8, 1/400

Squeeze the shutter  Don’t punch the shutter release

Keep the camera as still as possible. If you can shoot with a tripod, all the better. If you can shoot with a monopod. The point it one the biggest reason most people’s photos are not sharp is camera movement.

Shutter Speed and Focal Length work together

If you are not paying attention to which lens you have on your camera and how this affects your shutter speed, then your photos may not be as sharp as they can be. The rule of thumb is turn your lens into a fraction and use that to set your shutter speed. Put 1 over the focal length and then use the shutter speed closest to that as the slowest shutter speed for hand holding the camera.

A 200mm lens should give you 1/200 shutter speed. A 50mm should be held no slower than 1/50.  If you do not have 1/200 and the closest shutter speed is 1/250 use this, don’t go under to 1/125.

Nikon D4, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 with Sigma 1.4 converter, ISO 900, ƒ/5.6, 1/2000

Subject Speed

Photographing a building verses a race car is a big difference. You can have a shutter speed that lasts for hours and not affect the sharpness of a photo, but the stopping of a bullet in flight might require 1/10,000 to freeze the action.
I had always heard 1/500 to stop action. From my personal experience I have found that the razor sharp photos of sports tends to be about 1/2000 for me.
The depth-of-field you choose can make a photo appear out of focus even if it is in focus. For example when you shoot at ƒ/2 and the subject is 15 inches from the lens the area that is sharp in front and behind the point you are focusing is most likely less than an inch. However, move that subject to 15 feet and your depth of field may now be a foot or more.  
Find the balance between ƒ/16 keeping everything in focus and wide open ƒ/2.8 with great Bokeh throwing the background out of focus. Often I find myself shooting ƒ/4 on a Nikon 400mm ƒ/2.8 to get more usable images.
Focus Miss
On many cameras today you can have multiple focus points. My Nikon D4 has 51 different points for focusing.
Depending on the focus mode I pick it is either easier to focus or more difficult. The point is many times people don’t tell the camera where to focus. When doing portraits I try to use the eyes as my focus. If they are turned slightly to the camera one eye is closer than the other and I always try and get the closest eye in focus. This is when I may change my aperture to be sure they are both in focus.

With Nikon Capture software I can check later where I was focusing and see if I missed my focus. After using this to help me I was realizing I was missing focus more often due to me and not the camera’s capability.

Post Processing

I use either PhotoShop unsharp mask or Lightroom to sharpen the image for how it is being used. Most all images could use just a little sharpening. If you over do the sharpening it will not look good. A little will give it a bit of a sharpness “kick”. Use a small radius (perhaps a pixel or less) and a large amount.

Most all my photos are not process with sharpening until I export out of Lightroom.

If I am posting the photos to the web then I choose the setting here when I export of Screen and standard.

You have other choices you can choose when you export of paper quality as well influencing your choice.

Rechargeable Batteries and Organization for the Photographer

I travel with these two chargers and batteries. I have a good number of the Energizer rechargeable AA and AAA batteries as well as the Eneloop, which I prefer. Here are some tips to keep you energized.


I recommend using these Eneloop batteries. There maybe a better battery, but I am just recommending what I use all the time a prefer.

eneloop XX batteries are the perfect choice for powering photo strobe flash lights; providing more than twice the number of flashes per recharge in less than half the time compared to conventional alkaline batteries!


Always store batteries with the positive and negative terminals away from each other. If batteries are stored with positive and negative terminals touching, they may begin conducting electricity idly, which will discharge them. Storing batteries in their original package will help you prevent this. You can also buy battery storage boxes from specialty storage retailers that will eliminate this potential problem.

I use the PowerPax battery holders for keeping up with my batteries and keeping the terminals from touching one another or other items in my bag.

Here is a quick video for you about their product:

Here is one caddy that will carry a complete assortment for most photographers:

A9 Pack | Battery Case $6.95

Holds: 8 – AA’s, 4 – AAA’s and 1 – 9V battery.
Originally designed for pilots, but also great for camping, boating, travel or at home.
Dispenses batteries with one hand for safety and convenience.
Terminal protection at both ends regardless of how the battery is inserted.
Store your batteries in a compact, easy to find caddy.

Importance of Model Release for the photographer

Why do I need a model release?

Whoever publishes a photo is the one who needs the model release. Photographers get model releases as a general rule to help out their clients.

Having a model release increases the value of a photograph, because now it can be used in more ways than without one.

What release should I use?

Here are a few ways I recommend.

Easy Release App
For my iPad and Android phone I have an App for getting releases.  If you download an App the App store then will recommend more Apps for you based on what you have already downloaded.  I got a recommendation for the Easy Release.
You don’t need an iPad for this App.  You can put it on just about any Smart Phone or Tablet as long as they are Android or an iPhone/iPad.
The App generates a PDF and a JPEG of the model release.  I love this because then I can put many of these PDFs into one larger PDF and upload this to my PhotoShelter Image Database.  The client has a copy now of the model releases along side the photos.

Easy Release

Pocket Release

I personally have been using the pocket release, which I modified from the American Society of Media Photographers.  Their legal counsel came up with forms and so many photographers have been using them through the years. Click here for a link to their website which gives you all you need to know about the model and property release.
4 – up pocket release forms

I put 4 of the pocket release forms on a page and print them one 8.5″ x 11″ card stock and have them cut into smaller sheets.
Which language should I use?  Click here for examples.

ASMP Releases App

A “must have” for professional photographers working in all genres of the business, this free app allows you to take a photograph of the subject, customize the release for the specific licensed use of the images, sign the release and email a PDF version as necessary to photographer, agent, model and client.
In addition to the customizable ASMP forms, the app includes the stock photography industry standard releases produced by Getty Images, Inc.
Version 1.2 is now available for iOS (iPhone & iPad), with other platforms coming soon. To download it, go here.
As you use the app, ASMP would welcome any suggestions or bug reports you may have; let us know on this page.