Using Lightroom to correct perspective for buildings

Chick-fil-A West Midtown Atlanta, Georgia at Sunrise. [Fuji X-E3, 10-24mm, ISO 125, ƒ/10, 1.6 sec]

After working on the RAW file in Adobe Lightroom, this is the processed photo.

Here is the photo with just perspective not corrected on the image.

Chick-fil-A West Midtown Atlanta, Georgia at Sunrise. [Fuji X-E3, 10-24mm, ISO 125, ƒ/10, 1.6 sec]

Now when I am shooting on my Fuji X-E3, there is a level built into the camera that can be turned on to show in the display.

When I shot the building photo, it was level from left to right.

You go to the develop module and the Transform tools in Adobe Lightroom.

You can click on Auto and see if it looks the way you want, and then you can undo the change if you like.

You can also select each of the individual controls and adjust it. A grid will show up so you can get the building’s edges straight. You will need to change the vertical where you correct the building falling away from you.

Be sure to check the Constrain Crop to have a full framed image.

Sunrise and Sunset Photos of Buildings

[Fuji X-E3, 10-24mm, ISO 125, ƒ/11, 8 sec] 6:37 am

My mornings sometimes start early for photo shoots. Today I woke up at 5:00 am for a photo shoot at sunrise. Sunrise was scheduled to happen at 6:50 am.

[Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm, ISO 100, ƒ/18, 30 sec] 6:12 am

I arrived at about 5:40 am at the location and set up two Alienbees B1600 strobes with 50º reflectors.

[Fuji X-E3, 10-24mm, ISO 125, ƒ/10, 3 sec] 6:35 am

You can see one of the two lights on the left and the other by the flag pole. I shot with the Nikon D5 as well as my Fuji X-E3.

[Fuji X-E3, 10-24mm, ISO 125, ƒ/10, 1.5 sec] 6:37 am

I put the cameras on Manual Mode. I was shooting up to 30-second exposures with an aperture of ƒ/10 to ƒ/22. ISO was 100 on D5 and 125 on the Fuji X-E3.

[Fuji X-E3, 10-24mm, ISO 125, ƒ/10, 1.6 sec] 6:34 am

This photo was taken with just available light.  It was shot at 6:34 am. The sun is slowly rising but isn’t up yet. It has 16 more minutes until Sunrise. The sky behind the building looks darker, but the longer shutter speeds make it a dark blue sky.

I find that approximately 20 minutes before sunrise and 20 minutes after sunset, you get the best ratio of the lights inside the buildings and signage versus the nighttime sky is the best. Looking at the photo above, shot at 6:12 am, 38 minutes before sunrise, the sky is too dark for me.

[Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm, ISO 100, ƒ/22, 13 sec] 6:30 am

At 6:30 am, it sounds like 20 minutes before sunrise, and the sky perfectly matches the lights in and on the restaurant.

[Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm, ISO 100, ƒ/18, 30 sec] 6:20 am

At 6:20 am, I can make the sky look great at a 30-second shutter speed, but the lights start to lose details. Ten minutes later, I get the sky and the lights just perfect.

Here are the tips for Sunrise or Sunset if you want to do this yourself.


  • Before the shoot, arrange to have lights turned on for the photoshoot.
  • Arrive 1 hour before Sunrise or Sunset
  • Use Tripod & Cable Release
  • If using flash, set it to match your Aperture or -1 stop.
  • Start taking photos at least 35 minutes before Sunrise and 5 minutes before Sunset.
  • Take photos for about 5 minutes after Sunrise and 30 minutes after Sunset.

How to practice portraits

Cowboy Test Shots [Fuji X-E3, 18-55mm, ISO 320, ƒ/4, 1/60]

I bought another figurine today to help teach my student’s photography. Today we took the cowboy figurine outside, looking for suitable locations for shooting portraits.

We found a bend with a tree in the background for the first one.

Cowboy Test Shots [Fuji X-E3, 18-55mm, ISO 200, ƒ/4, 1/80]

By moving the figurine, we looked for good light on the face and an excellent background to match.

This is much harder to do than you might think.

Cowboy Test Shots [Fuji X-E3, 18-55mm, ISO 400, ƒ/4, 1/160]

We started all the photos in full manual mode. We were learning to pick the proper ISO, Shutter-Speed, and Aperture and doing a custom white balance before each new location we chose.

Cowboy Test Shots [Fuji X-E3, 18-55mm, ISO 200, ƒ/4, 1/110]

The first hurdle was nothing more than remembering you are taking a photo. It would help if you looked around the edges of the frame. Can it be cropped out of the picture? Can I get closer?

Just walking closer to the subject, getting as close as you could, and still being focused was an excellent place to start with our figurine.

Cowboy Test Shots [Fuji X-E3, 18-55mm, ISO 100, ƒ/16, 1/125]

Taking a photo in the studio on a white background is simple compared to walking outside and looking for good light and a good background.

Go to the store and buy a figurine. It is a great way to explore the light looking for a good location for a portrait.

How to remain competitive as a freelancer

Photographing Island Breeze Dancer Victoria Taimane Kaopua, Stanley is teaching location off-camera flash lighting to Youth With A Mission Photo School 1 [Fuji X-E3, 10-24mm, ISO 500, ƒ/4, 1/100 photo by: Dorie Griggs]

“The gig economy is estimated to be about 34% of the workforce and expected to be 43% by 2020,” says Intuit (INTU) CEO Brad Smith. “We think self-employed [work] has a lot of opportunity for growth as we look ahead.”

To get jobs and get repeat business there are a few tips for you:

Marketing – You need to get your name in front of your target group as many people as possible. Your target audience will be those people most likely to need your style of work.

Be Prepared – While you are not an employee, you still need to be up on the organization as much as an employee. Do your research so that you are aware of as much as possible to know how to serve the client on a job best.

Show Up! – “80 percent of success is showing up,” says Woody Allen.

Wait on the client – You always want to be early, and if anyone is waiting on the other, be sure it is you waiting on the client and not the other way around.

Be Reachable – Respond promptly to all communication.

Say Yes! – Use the rule of Improv of saying YES. The first rule of improvisation is to AGREE. Always agree and SAY YES. When you’re improvising, this means you are required to agree with whatever your partner has created. So if we’re improvising and I say, “Freeze, I have a gun,” and you say, “That’s not a gun. It’s your finger. You’re pointing your finger at me,” our improvised scene has ground to a halt. But if I say, “Freeze, I have a gun!” and you say, “The gun I gave you for Christmas! You bastard!” we have started a scene because we have AGREED that my finger is, in fact, a Christmas gun. Do your best to say yes to requests. If they cross the line of your ethics, then say no.

Deliver – Be sure you are meeting the expectations of the client. Never under-deliver.

Stanley shows the students what he is capturing while teaching location off-camera flash lighting to Youth With A Mission Photo School 1 [Fuji X-E3, 10-24mm, ISO 200, ƒ/4, 1/420 photo by: Dorie Griggs]

Focus on Relationships – While doing excellent work is vitally important, how you get that work done with others is even more critical, how you treat people trumps all things.

Back to Marketing – If you do an excellent job on average, you will only have less than 10% of those you talk to who will be interested in working with you. Learn to treat those who don’t hire you for a job they know best. Sometimes they love you and already have someone booked or cannot easily switch freelancers due to hiring policies. If you remain professional in how you are rejected, this often helps open closed doors later on for you.

The #1 Way to Get Better as a Photographer

Alive After 5 in Roswell, GA. [Fuji X-E3, 10-24mm, ISO 25600, ƒ/10, 1/55]

Keeping yourself fresh is vital if you do this professionally. I do this by taking a small camera with me everywhere. I take a few photos here and there and, in the process, keep myself fresh for my professional jobs where I am getting paid by a client.

Alive After 5 in Roswell, GA. [Fuji X-E3, 10-24mm, ISO 25600, ƒ/13, 1/25]

I have been teaching one-on-one with a person wanting to pursue photography. We started by shooting in full manual mode. The camera is set where the student must pick for each shot the following:

  • ISO
  • Shutter Speed
  • Aperture

As we reviewed some of the photos shot since the last time we met, the images had significantly improved, but these photos of ducks didn’t work.

Cyneria & Sadarius Lucas Wedding [Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm, ISO 3200, ƒ/7.1, 1/50]

What had happened was the excitement of getting photos had them shooting before they had thought through all the settings.

When shooting the ducks, the person hadn’t thought about what of those three settings took priority and why. I explained how birds like shooting sports. It would help if you froze them, or they would be blurred using the settings the camera was set on before seeing the birds.

Tufted titmouse [Fuji X-E3, 55-200mm, ISO 4000, ƒ/5.6, 1/1250]

This is when I stopped and talked to the student about how you must slow down your camera settings just before taking photos. If you don’t do this, none of the images will be usable. “I was trying to get the birds before they flew away.” was the excuse. So not one of the photos was functional, but this became a teachable moment.

My mentor, coach, and friend Don Rutledge – photo by Ken Touchton

There was a teachable moment with my mentor. A few of my friends would also tell me later how this helped them.

In the days of film, you shot 36 shots, and then you had to change your roll of film. So most photographers would reach into their bags and change their roll of the film pretty quickly.

The problem is when you change a roll of the film, you can make a mistake and not get the leader of the film to catch it. If this happened, you would close the back of the camera, and because you are in a hurry, you take more photos, but none of them are recorded on the film because every time you advanced the film, the film wasn’t moving.

I learned what to do from watching Don, not because he told me what he did. Don would turn his back to whatever he was photographing and change the roll of film. He would always turn the rewind lever to tighten the roll before advancing the film to be sure it caught.

Once the film was changed, Don then turned around towards the action.

Cyneria & Sadarius Lucas Wedding [Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm, ISO 800, ƒ/4, 1/500]

When shooting, I often evaluate the scene and realize I need a flash. Taking the time to set that up for the photo here takes time. The image is better because I slowed down long enough to get my moment, put it on a light stand, and then set the flash to work with the scene.

Alive After 5 [Fuji X-E3, 10-24mm, ISO 25600, ƒ/13, 1/150]

#1 Tip: Shoot More

Don Rutledge taught me a great deal. One tip was to shoot stories for yourself. Often these are stories you can return to work on in your hometown. Unfortunately, due to the schedule, you work slower than when traveling and must rush to get photos.

My tip that no one taught me is to ask yourself before taking photos, “Why do I want to take this photo?” What is it you are trying to say with the picture? I am also trying to get in touch with my feelings and not just feel what is happening, but what words describe this feeling?

Then I pause long enough to decide which Aperture captures the scene best. For example, do I need a shallow depth of field where you cannot tell where the person is, but I want you to see the expression, or do I need more context and a greater depth of field?

I am also evaluating what shutter speed will freeze the photo enough to be sharp, or do I need to add motion with a slower shutter speed?

Female Cardinal [Fuji X-E3, 55-200mm, ISO 8000, ƒ/10, 1/280]

A somewhat fast shutter speed with some subjects will still blur like this bird.

You must know your camera and subject to know the proper shutter speed. Over the years, I have learned that faster shutter speeds improve the photo’s sharpness due to camera shake.

The most significant difference in having lots of experience is that when I am in most situations, it is becoming rare that I haven’t shot something like this before.

Don taught me that I need to shoot as much as possible to grow and get the shot.

Spring Cleaning Time

While I think I have done an excellent job editing my photos, when I submit them to stock agencies, they sometimes catch things I miss.

When I first submitted this photo of the Island Breeze dancer with Poi ball in Hawaii. I had missed some dust that had gotten onto the sensor in the top right-hand corner.

This is a 100% enlargement of the right top corner of the photo. Are you frustrated with seeing small dark spots in your images that appear in every picture? If you see them consistently in the exact location (the size and darkness of the spots can vary depending on aperture), you are most likely dealing with dust particles on your camera’s sensor.

I have noticed they show up more at smaller apertures like ƒ/22 or ƒ/16, and there is a light area of the photo where the dust is located.

Berrie Smith – Camera Guru

The first thing I do when I notice dust on the sensor is to pick up the phone and call Berrie Smith, who lives near me and has worked for Nikon as a camera technician for many years.

Berrie Smith, the professional camera repairman, is one of the guys Nikon sends out to significant sporting events to provide live repair and sensor cleaning service to the NPS pros covering the event.

Without proper camera cleaning and digital camera sensor cleaning, most photographers have experienced their photographs ruined by unsightly dust spots in their images. These dust spots are characteristically gray/black areas and are usually visible when photographing continuous tone scenes. Cleaning your camera equipment is a great way to ensure it continues working correctly and is also a necessity in today’s digital world. Digital sensors are electrically charged devices that attract dust particles because of their static electric charge. If not cleaned properly, the digital camera sensor will result in images with black spots scattered throughout your photographs.

You can buy off-the-shelf sensor cleaning kits and attempt to clean your image sensor, but if you are not careful, you can quickly do a lot of expensive damage. The cost to replace a scratched low pass filter/image sensor assembly ranges from $600 to $1,600 (parts and labor), depending on the camera.

Berrie does repairs for photographers all over the world.

When I travel, I don’t have the luxury of calling Berrie and sending him my cameras to clean. No one wants to touch up every single photo on a shoot in the same spots over and over.

Carson SensorMag 4.5x30mm Camera Sensor Magnifier Cleaning Loupe

What is crucial in the kit is the loupe to examine the sensor up close.

LED Lighted with 6 Bright White LED Lights | Loupe can be adjusted 45 degrees to allow users easier access to clean your sensor

You often need to point the sensor down and use the Air Blower to force air onto the sensor, which often dislodges the dust.

I recommend at least owning an Air Blower just safely to remove dust. If that doesn’t work, then give it to the expert Berrie.

This is Berrie at my kitchen table cleaning my cameras. So how do you reach Berrie? Here you go:

Berrie Smith | [email protected] | (770) 312-0719

Breakthrough in your communications

Octane Coffee Bar in West End Atlanta. [Fuji X-E3, 18-55mm, ISO 200, ƒ/8, 1/420]

This is how I start most days–a cup of coffee. Everyone has a time of day that we are most productive. Over time, we will try to be most effective during our sweet spot of the day.

Today more than any other time in my life, trying to get any message to an audience is more like trying to get people’s attention on the highway.

Chick-fil-A Cows Billboard in downtown Atlanta. [Fuji X-E3, 18-55mm, ISO 200, ƒ/4, 1/2400]

Do Billboards Work?

According to the Arbitron study, billboard advertising is effective. According to the survey, 71 percent of Americans “often look at the messages on roadside billboards,” Most Americans at one time or another learned about an event that interested them or a restaurant they later patronized.

However, consumers no longer look at billboards like they did twenty or thirty years ago. While they may still be considered a premium advertising space, consumers are engrossed in their smartphones, tablets, and gaming systems. Eyes are down, not up, for much of our lives.

Six Words or Six Seconds

Six seconds has been touted as the industry average for reading a billboard. So, around six words are all you should use to get the message across.

The Superhighway

In the 1990s, we started to call the internet the Superhighway. Our messaging has become more like a billboard on the highway.

If you can get your message to be short and sweet and it delivers all one needs to know to take action, then you are poised to make people’s daily commute in life worthwhile and more productive.

The More Billboards, The Better.

Making sure your audience gets your message on the highways often requires more billboards. Your statement must be concise. As billboard experts will tell you, if you use a headline that explains your visual, you’re wasting words.

When you are limited to 5 to 10 seconds for messaging, you need to be sure they see it. It would help if you had your billboard on the bypass and downtown to be sure you are reaching your audience.

Engage & Deliver

We all get ticked when someone takes more of our time because they are not well organized. I get even more frustrated when someone has done a great job hooking me and leading me through well-written or visual communication but, in the end, doesn’t deliver.

Before you can talk you must listen.

In most conversations, the person who speaks most minor benefits most, and the person who speaks most benefits least. This is why social media is often preferred over mainstream media; they get to talk and be heard on those platforms.

Instagram, Facebook, Google, Pinterest

Some Friends TV show set part of the tour at Warner Brothers Studios. [Nikon D4, 28-300mm, ISO 11400, ƒ/3.5, 1/125]

Today due to Starbucks, Seinfeld, and Friends in the late 80s and early 90s, we have the third space–The coffee shop. Today brands realize that people are looking for an experience. They are looking for a place beyond work for an encounter that leaves an impression. They want a place they can interact with others.

BREAKTHROUGH with your audience!

Don’t think of your job as creating content. Think of your job being like a counselor, parent, or friend. If you care for someone, you want to know how they are doing. You want them to be happy.

As a counselor, you are trained not just to take what someone is telling you are being the real problem. Often what they are talking about is a symptom.

As a parent, you tend to know your child’s personality and how that can shape how they see the world and how this can affect their child’s view of circumstances.

As a friend, you often tolerate some traits because you know their heart.

Can you, as a communicator, say you know your audience well enough to know their hopes and fears?

Your breakthrough is probably pretty straightforward, but it will start with understanding others more than just knowing yourself and what you can do.

Sometimes your breakthrough isn’t about your skills or service at all. Often it will be in helping someone with something other than your product.

Look what guides on of the Gold Standard brands the Ritz Carlton:

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel is a place where the genuine care and comfort of our guests is our highest mission.

We pledge to provide the most exemplary personal service and facilities for our guests, who will always enjoy a warm, relaxed, yet refined ambiance.

The Ritz-Carlton experience enlivens the senses, instills well-being, and fulfills even our guests’ unexpressed wishes and needs.

I love the words “Genuine Care” in that first sentence.

Genuine – indeed what something is said to be; authentic.

Tips shared by Jeffery Salter to Atlanta ASMP meeting

Jeffery Salter speaks to ASMP Atlanta/SE. Jeffery an editorial and advertising photographer from Miami. Jeffery has created insightful portraits of celebrities, athletes, and CEOs for publications worldwide, and his work has been exhibited widely. [Fuji X-E3, 18-55mm, ISO 25600, Ä/4, 1/35]

How do some photographers get so successful? I think this is one of the reasons many came to see Jeffery Salter.

Capture Integration sponsored the event. Jeffery is one of their clients using their Phase One backs.

It didn’t take long, and someone in the audience asked, “How did you get hired to be on staff with Sports Illustrated?”

Jeffery said while working on newspaper staffs like The Miami Herald; he would look for opportunities to shoot medium format. While most staff photographers would continue to hit all assignments on 35mm SLR film cameras, he was shooting on a Hasselblad or Mamiya 6×7.

He shared how he was shooting for where he wanted to work, not for where he was shooting. He worked hard to have a style that stood out. His photos are surreal and often need much more space to be appreciated than in a newspaper.

He got an assignment to shoot some athletes in their homes from Sports Illustrated. They liked his style and work and, after so many tasks, brought him on staff not to shoot sports action but to shoot the behind-the-scenes of the lives of famous athletes.

Michael Schwarz helped Jeffery Salter with a computer problem before the event started. [Fuji X-E3, 18-55mm, ISO 12800, ƒ/3.6, 1/80]

A little while into the presentation, Jeffery showed his work in Haiti. He shot it all in medium format with Phase One back. “Why are you shooting with medium format? Who is your client?” was asked.

The person asking the question knew that the magazines cannot show a difference between today’s DSLR and Medium format. Jeffery then said he often doesn’t pick the camera for the client but himself. He wants to be able to have his photos later displayed in the Museum of Modern Art as large as they can be displayed.

He is shooting for the next venue and client.

A couple of tips which are not new but Jeffery also subscribes:

  • Do self assignments
  • Learn how light works in nature [he shoots a lot of nature]
  • Build a photo one morning at a time [use strobes to enhance natural light]
  • Shoot on the very best camera for the situation
  • Use the histogram to be sure you have it in the camera.

Now one last thing Jeffery shared that I do, but it was good to hear as he often shoots tethered and can open images in PhotoShop or Lightroom and put the curser on highlights and shadows to see the numbers that the computer sees.

Now on the grayscale, you go from 0% to 100% with the amount of light in a scene. The computer records this as 0 to 255.

Jeffery likes his blacks to be around 35 and his highlights around 235. He gets the photo in the camera as he always has from his film days shooting transparencies.

Jeffery also answered some business questions as well. To have experiences like this, I recommend joining ASMP and coming to our meetings. You will be inspired and hopefully become a more successful photographer from what you learn.

Creative Backgrounds for Tabletop Photography

[Nikon D750, Sigma 70-200mm ƒ/2.8, ISO 50, ƒ/10, 1/160]

You can have a lot of fun shooting small items on a table. This type of photography is called Tabletop Photography.

This is a lighting diagram if you are trying to do a product on a white background.

My friend Susan Hawkins came to me to photograph some of her products and wanted to change the backgrounds. She had a great idea I want to pass along to you.

She went to the store and bought different wrapping paper we used as a background.

[Nikon D750, Sigma 70-200mm ƒ/2.8, ISO 50, ƒ/4, 1/30]

If you want to have fun shooting today and it is raining, find a table and create something with what you have around the house. Look for the leftover Christmas or birthday wrapping paper for possible backgrounds.

[Nikon D750, Sigma 70-200mm ƒ/2.8, ISO 50, ƒ/7.1, 1/160]

The wrapping paper helps to create a mood for your product.

Monday Devotional: Anxiety-free Life is a choice

Anxiety raises its ugly head in my life every so often. It is produced by things that I usually have no control over in my life. It is a war that takes its toll on your life.

During World War II in 1939, the British government coined the phrase “Keep Calm and Carry On.” It was made into posters. If you have seen the latest movies, Dunkirk and Darkest Hour, you learn how close Britain was to total defeat by the Germans.

Amicalola Falls State Park [Fuji X-E3, 10-24mm, ISO 100, ƒ/20, 1/10]

In scripture, my Christian faith has taught me that “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” [John 10:10]

I have learned through my faith that there is much in the world that happens that I cannot power through using my willpower.

I have found that one of the best things to do is turn to my creativity using photography. I go and find those subjects that are interesting to me and photograph them.

Azaleas in our backyard. Shot with a LensBall. The final round of the Master’s Golf Tournament was when I went into my backyard and captured the Azaleas in full bloom. [Fuji X-E3, 18-55mm, ISO 200, ƒ/4, 1/250]

The British lost a lot of people during WWII, and one of the things that helped many of them to survive was prayer.

6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7

When you have anxiety, you cause many issues that lead to muscle tension: As adrenaline pumps through your body, your blood vessels constrict. That causes your muscles not to receive the blood flow they need, which causes stress that leads to tension and aches.

Life is just too short of having anxiety rob you of your living life.

Dogwood in our yard. Photographed using the LensBall. [Fuji X-E3, 18-55mm, ISO 200, ƒ/4, 1/100]

“The beginning of anxiety is the end of faith, and the beginning of true faith is the end of anxiety.” 

― George Mueller

Anxiety-free life is a choice for us. It requires a Leap of Faith. This requires us to act by believing in or attempting something whose existence or outcome cannot be proved.

The Corner Stone of Photography

This is when little girls and boys learn to play America’s favorite pastime, baseball.

I took some of our family’s favorite pictures while our kids were playing baseball.

I shot this photo of our son Taylor 22 years ago on film. The camera I used at the time was a Nikon F4. As compared to today’s cameras, it had very few controls.

In 1996 I was shooting Fujifilm Provia transparency film, which had an ISO of 100. When you put this into the camera, it sets the ISO. Then I had only two other controls for exposure. I could control the Aperture, an iris-like eye that can open and close to let in more or less light. The further control for exposure was shutter speed. Shutter speed would control how long the camera opened the door covering the film.

To master photography so that you can take great pictures any time of your family and get consistent results, you have to master the Exposure Triangle.

I hope this picture helps you see what you need to understand. ISO, SHUTTER, & APERTURE individually control exposure. You must know instinctively when you turn the dial which way will make it darker and which way will make it lighter.

When you look through your camera’s viewfinder and are on “M” mode, which is manual, your camera will display a meter on the edges of the screen.

You will change one or all three controls until you get the meter to read on the middle, saying it is properly exposed.

Some meters have numbers like the Canon, and others like the Nikon have hash. As you can see when you look at the two side by side as I have here, the number and hash are exactly 1-Stop from the following number to the left or right.

A stop is a measure of exposure relating to doubling or halving the amount of light.

No matter if you turn the ISO, Aperture, or Shutter-Speed dial to the left or right [if analog], when you move the distance between the number or hash, as shown below, you increase or decrease the value by 1/2 the amount of light. We call that moving it 1-Stop.

You can buy a Black, Gray, & White target to use when trying to set your exposure. If you took a picture where you had an equal amount of the three in the photo, then you can look at your histogram, which should look like this below.

Most photographers will use an 18% Gray target which looks like the Gray in the middle. As long as the meter shows 0 and not + or -, the photo will give you a histogram with the spike in the middle.

So if you want to take photos of your kids playing ball and you want them to be well exposed, then you have to master this concept of the exposure triangle.

Then you will know how to stop the ball as I have done in these photos and have just what I want in focus: the ball and the faces.

You must know the Exposure Triangle like your Multiplication Tables–by memory.

This is the foundation piece for all of the photography. Once you master this concept, your ability to get consistent results and make creative decisions about Depth-of-field and stopping or blurring action is possible.

Are You Serving Yourself or Serving Your Client?

2021 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Alabama vs Miami [NIKON D5, Sigma 120.0-300.0 mm f/2.8 Sport + TC-2001 2X Converter, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 6400, 1/4000, ƒ/5.6, (35mm = 250)]

Sure we love to take photos, and even traveling to exotic locations is incredible. Why would someone pay you to do that for them, rather than just traveling and taking those photos?

The difference is one of those scenarios is all about YOU, and the other is about your CLIENT.

The Citadel vs North Georgia College in Rugby [Nikon D4, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8, TC-2001, ISO 900, ƒ/5.6, 1/2000]

Editor’s note: I am sorry that this is so long. I was struggling with how to make this shorter. Hopefully, when you read this, it will spark you to have some great ideas for your clients. That was my goal.

My clients are hitting the same wall I was hitting back when digital photography finally became affordable for everyone.

I had cut my teeth in professional photography, shooting sports for newspapers, magazines, colleges, and professional sports teams.

Tennessee’s tight end (82) Ethan Wolf is pursued by Georgia Tech’s linebacker (51) Brant Mitchell, which drops the pass during the Chick-fil-A Kickoff at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA. [Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8, TC-2001, ISO 18000, ƒ/5.6, 1/4000]

The cameras had gotten so good that it was feasible to go to a camera store, buy your gear, and show up on Friday night or Saturday to a football game and get reasonably good photos. The exposures would be OK, and the focus would be OK. If it were not suitable, you could look at the LCD and change the camera settings. In the past, you wouldn’t know if you were exposing correctly or in focus until you looked at the film.

Working at Georgia Tech, I saw this happening faster than in other places because the alumni of the school were more prone to enjoy the technology of photography. Soon we had the sidelines filled with photographers shooting for free to access the games.

While I still get called to shoot sports and am paid, the field is so over-saturated that few people can do living shooting sports compared to before the digital revolution that took place from 2002 to 2007.

Brenau University Dance [Nikon D3s, 28-300mm, ISO 200, ƒ/16, 1/160]

One of the ways I stayed competitive was through my skills with lighting.

However, the year that was the most pivotal in our society, impacting my profession the most, was 2007.

Three things happened that year that would impact photography as nothing had for many years before that moment.

  1. FIRST ~ Nikon introduced the D3 camera.

This camera almost retired my lighting kit altogether. This was the most revolutionary camera that Nikon had made in my career compared to those before it.

  1. SECOND ~ Steve Jobs announces the iPhone
  2. While it wasn’t the first smartphone, it leapfrogged far beyond the competition and launched the mobile revolution. Few industries or societies have been left unchanged. The iPhone transformed photography from a hobby to a part of everyday life.
  3. THIRD ~ Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook

Zuckerberg opened it to everyone, not just college students, at the end of 2006. By 2007 the iPhone was exploding. I joined in 2007.

Hamilton Railroad Pocket Watch

Facebook Changed the Way We Consume Content

While Facebook isn’t the only place we consume content, it is 3rd only to Google and Youtube. Roughly 71% of 18- to 24-year-olds credit the Internet as their primary news source.

Traditional media was losing their audience through the internet and things like Facebook News Feed, a never-ending stream of content from the people and companies you’ve connected with on the platform. News Feed never ends; in theory, users could scroll on forever, an unheard-of feature when News Feed debuted in 2006.

Now that anyone can create content and reach the world using the internet and most likely do this all from their iPhone, the audience is now oversaturated.

Some forms of media have seen a resurgence. I have enjoyed my daughter’s theater performances. Just two years ago, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hip-hop musical broke new ground. It was different. When the musical came out, they were thinking of retiring Hamilton off the ten-dollar bill, but that musical gave life to Hamilton.

Togo, West Africa [Nikon D5, Sigma 35mm ƒ/1.4, ISO 100, ƒ/1.4, 1/2500]

Today it isn’t easy to get someone’s attention for more than a brief second. Many covering stories around the world for NGOs have to rely on one photo and just a small caption to “entertain” the audience with an “experience” rather than having their attention enough to inform honestly.

This is why FAKE NEWS has taken place. If the audience wants something for an “experience” because they are spending more time they do not have, then it is easier for those who want to create propaganda to succeed today.

How do communications offices, public relations, and marketing get their audience’s attention?

Chrysler at the Old Car City in White, Georgia. [Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm Ï/4, ISO 360, ƒ/4, 1/200]


Today I am seeing a lot of mediocre communications. It is working more to do with it being “different” than better.

A few years ago, one of the most powerful things I heard that changed my approach to working was professional photographer Dave Black saying that to be successful; your photos don’t always have to be better–they have to be DIFFERENT.

Just look how we do this with text. We can bold, italicize or even change the color of the type to highlight something. This draws attention because it is different from the rest of the text.

Professional communicators are not sure what works a great deal of time today. They go to Instagram and look for those people with the most significant number of followers and assume that hiring them will translate into more followers.

Little do they know that many people with a lot of followers bought them through service, and even when they post, only a tiny percentage see a post.

Wake up

Your client is struggling to sleep as much as you are working these days. The difference is in understanding who you are serving.

When your bills are mounting up and you are in a panic, as I often find myself, you need to take deep breaths and calm yourself down. [I am not good at this either, so know I might not be the best person offering this advice, but I think I need to hear it myself]

You will soon discover that when you concentrate on meeting your needs, you will go without work. It is when you focus on how to meet the needs of others that your bills get paid. You are helping someone who needs your help and will compensate you for it.

Pam Goldsmith, a world-renowned violist, played for us while visiting her. She is my sister-in-law. [Nikon D4, 28-300mm, ISO 5600, ƒ/4.5, 1/125]

For most of her career, my sister-in-law, Pam Goldsmith, has played as part of the orchestra for many movies, cartoons, and significant records. That group is so good that almost all the music for the film has only been played once when it was recorded. They don’t practice. The music was never played before they did so the first time, but they are those excellent studio musicians.

I mention this because we should be perfecting our craft so that when we are aware of a way to help our clients with their problems using our skills, our skills are so good that it lifts the content we produce for the client.

Be transparent

If you are thinking of ways to help your client, you need to understand their problems.

I have a client whose audience is saying stop sending me more stuff already. Just stop it with all your communications. Send us just those things that are going to help them do a better job running their business.

Too often, I have proposed interesting feature ideas to my clients. While they may be interested in maybe 1 of every 1000 ideas I pitch to them. They are more likely to be interested in 1 of every 100 or even ten views I have that will help their audience run their business better tomorrow.

Now take a moment and think about your client. If they are Amazon, Apple, or Google, do they need to be more successful? Sometimes the companies we are trying to help are having capacity issues. They are so successful that their new problems are not how to make more money but how to handle their work and still enjoy doing it every day.

Oklahoma Banner

Our job is to help our customers to see a brighter future. We are to be serving their best interests. If you look at some big companies, they may look like they have it all together, but you talk to them internally and see that they don’t.

If you are a photographer, videographer, writer, or producer, don’t think of what you do as producing content only. It would help if you came up with suitable content ideas that your clients need to reach their audience.