Category Archives: Interview with a Pro

Interview with a Pro – Blake Verdoorn

Canadian Lake Small Canadian Lake – Blake Verdoorn

If you saw our recent LandscapePro 2 tutorial, you’ll already be aware of the work of up-and-coming landscape photographer, Blake Verdoorn.

At only 23 years old, his work has already been published by National Geographic Travel, Photographer’s Forum, and many more. We were thrilled to get an interview with Blake to learn more about his experiences and ambitions…

How old were you when you got into photography?

I picked up my first camera about 3 years ago when I traveled to Alaska with my Grandfather. My parents wanted me to bring a camera along so I could document the trip. At the time, I thought nothing of it. Nor did I have any experience or knowledge of photography. I remember coming home and really being taken back by the images I had captured. Again, I knew nothing about composition, DoF, etc., but something about those images resonated with me. They still do. Fast-forward a year, I decided to buy my first camera. I was 21. I’m 23 now and it has been one heck a ride since that decision.

What inspired you to start?

I have always had a deep passion for the outdoors. Living in Dallas, Texas, it’s always incredibly special to get the opportunity to venture out and experience this beautiful world. After come back from Alaska, looking through the images from the trip, something clicked. I remember sifting through landscape images from professional photographers after that trip thinking, “I want to be able to do that. I want to bring home stunning photographs like this”. So I began dedicating all of my time to learning. At the time, no one close to me was really understanding why or what I was doing. I don’t come from a necessarily artistic family, so to branch off and do something unique and different had friends and family questioning. They still are. I don’t think they’ll ever stop. I question myself too. It’s good. I reminds me that what I’m doing matters.

Big Bend SmallBig Bend River, Texas – Blake Verdoorn

You’ve traveled to some really amazing places and met people from different cultures, what has been your most inspiring experience so far?

I’ve got two really great experiences that I’ll never forget. In 2013, I had the opportunity to backpack Europe (I don’t have any photos from that trip because my camera was stolen). During that trip we met an Australian named Sam. She was staying at the same hostel in San Sebastian, Spain. Whenever we leave for these big trips, about to meet people from all over the world, you develop this idea that these people are somehow vastly different from you because they grew up on the other side of the world. I remember going to dinner with her and the group of friends I was with and talking, getting to know each other. It was there that I realized she was no different than us. We had the same stories of love, hurt, triumph, sadness, loneliness, fears etc. We grew up listening to the same music, playing the same sports and going through similar motions as kids and students. So here five guys were, from Dallas, Texas, laughing and sharing about the complexities of life with a girl from Sydney, Australia, in San Sebastian, Spain. It was an incredibly beautiful and humanizing experience.

Secondly, was about a year ago when I was photographing in New Zealand. My cousin and I had taken a gondola to the top of a mountain in Queenstown to photograph the sunset. Up top was another group of photographers doing the same thing. Max and Sam (different Sam) were both from Germany, touring the South Island on a photo expedition. Similar to Spain, we began talking and getting to know each other. This time, it was much more about the photography community. We were talking gear, styles, techniques, software; we talked about the frustrations and inspirations of photography, but mostly about the joy it brings us in our lives. Again, it made the world feel very small. The same idea in Spain, that people, with seemingly vast differences, can come together so quickly over shared passions and a love for beautiful images. The world of photography is massive, but instances like this make you feel like the community is much tighter knit than we think it is.

In meeting with people from all around the world and hearing their stories about upbringings,  their dreams, fears, and emotions, I’ve found that we are all much more similar than we thought we are—sometimes scarily similar. If you just take the time to get to know someone, you’ll find that everyone is the same.

Which image are you most proud of? Which means the most to you?

I’m most proud of a shot that I took when hiking through Glacier National Park in Montana. This particular shot has won a couple awards and has been published in a couple of photography books. We had decided to do a hike called Scenic Point. It was a high-elevation hike up the mountains that overlooks Two Medicine Lake. We knew we didn’t have a lot of time so we hurried to the peak. The sun began to set on our way down and we were met with a breathtaking orange and red sky that was reflecting off the lake way below us. It was an absolutely stunning view.

Glacier NP SmallTwo Medicine Lake – Blake Verdoorn

An image that I took of my friends outside of Monument Valley means the most to me, simply because it captures my friends so well. We wanted to remake the scene from Forrest Gump when he is running and finally decides to turn around. That scene was filmed at mile-marker 13 driving towards Monument Valley from Utah. So we got out of our cars, pitched our most bearded, Tom-Hanks-esque, friend to play Forrest and the rest of the friends were his herd of followers. It’s significance is a deeply personal one. It’s a great reminder of those guys, how much they mean to me, and the fun we have had together travelling the world.

What would you say is the hardest part of landscape photography?
What is the greatest reward?

Landscape photography, like any genre of photography really, is its own monster. There are so many things that are specific to landscape photography that don’t really have to do with any other genre. Lens selection, composition, light type and availability, etc. Sometimes it gets a bad reputation because anyone can travel to Alaska or Yosemite and take a pretty picture. There is no denying that one. However, you can always tell the difference between someone who takes a picture of Yosemite Valley and someone who photographs Yosemite Valley. The hardest part specifically is really just the getting there. More often than not, you have to totally beat yourself up to get a shot. Whether that is a sunrise you don’t want to wake up for, or a hike that is a little too difficult (especially with 10 extra pounds of photo equipment). What really great landscape photography takes is a whole bunch of extra time. A lot of these professional landscape photographers will wait for hours for the right light and the right conditions. Most of the time, I don’t have that kind of time. So it requires much more inventive ways to get great shots. The second hardest part is simply the money. Landscape photography (with exception) has little money to be made. Unfortunately, that is just the truth. If you want to make a living off of landscape (which I don’t), good luck and let me know how you did it because I’m still trying to find out.

The greatest reward is when you just beat yourself up to get to where you want to be, and you look at that tiny little screen on the back of your camera and you think, “yes”. There is always this feeling of certainty once you get the shot. With all the unknowns that lead up to getting the shot, it’s great to be able to look at your result and think, “wow, this is gorgeous”. I always make sure to get my shot in camera, then take a mental shot for the memory. I always hate when I return home and realize I was so busy shooting I forgot to look at my subject with my actual eyes…

It isn’t always a “yes, this is the shot” type moment though. I have plenty of shots where I went home thinking I didn’t have anything only to find a image that is breathtaking. Those are equally as rewarding. They are like little surprises just waiting to be unveiled.

You photograph landscapes but also portraits and wedding photography, what different approaches do you have to take to these different genres?

The biggest difference is lens selection. I would never shoot a landscape with a 35 or 50 mm f/1.4 lens. I suppose you could. And you would probably get great results. But it’s just not practical. My only overlap in lens selection is the 70-200. I love shooting landscapes at 200mm. When you compose it right, you get this dramatic compression that makes mountains tower over you foreground. To me, that is so much more majestic than shrimpy little mountains in the background of a wide-angle shot.

Mountain Tops - RMNP smallRocky Mountain National Park – Blake Verdoorn

The other difference is paying attention to light. The way I look at light is significantly different in weddings and portrait than in landscapes. When I’m photographing people my only thought is, “find soft light”. When shooting landscape, there isn’t much you can do to control your subject and the light that shines upon it. Obviously changing the time of day changes the light on a mountain. But if I’m hiking and shooting at the same time and limited by my time in a park, my only control is how I compose. So I try and find interesting foregrounds, natural frames, leading lines, etc. to dominate the image rather than beautiful light. If I have the chance to photography a landscape in beautiful light, then great! The perfect storm! But like I said, that isn’t always the case though. My three main landscape lenses are: 24-120 f/4, 70-200 f/2.8, and 15-30 f/2.8

If you could travel to anywhere in the world for a photo-shoot, where would you go?

As cliché as it sounds (and I hate that it’s even cliché), it’s Iceland. I have been trying to get there for four years now and have yet to have the opportunity. It’s driving me crazy. There is some much wild, untamed and forceful beauty there. It’s somewhat of a bummer that it is kinda photographed out. But that doesn’t deter me. I don’t care.

I would love to go back to Africa for a safari. I was there when I was a child and remember being blown away by a photographer’s images of the animals that we were getting to see. I’d love to go back with a monster lens and have a blast shooting those other-wordly animals.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?

I am getting ready to go to graduate school to study Journalism and Advertising. I really hope to get more into videography and filmmaking and start shooting documentary.

The greatest think that I am lacking right now is a cause. I shoot because I enjoy shooting. There is nothing wrong with that, but I want my images to stand for something. I want people to see my work and think, “that is more than just a pretty picture that’s the voice of (insert cause here)”. So that’s what I hope. I feel like I have “found my calling” in photography, but I need to find my calling within my calling if you will.

I hope to be running a production company one day. I think it will happen. I just need to be patient. I have plenty of time. I hope to be married, probably have kids. Own a house. Make more money than what I do now. Have some resemblance of a stable life. I need to add that in-case my family reads this.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone looking to start photographing landscapes, what would it be?

Invest in good equipment. Good equipment and good lenses make a big difference. While I am a proponent of “it’s not the camera, it’s the camera-man”, there is also “it’s kinda also about the camera”. I will get better results with some primo glass on a full-frame camera than if I shoot on a entry-level kit lens and crop sensor (that being said, my favorite shots were shot on a kit lens, entry level camera, so I just debunked my own point).

Shoot all the time. Even it’s it’s not landscape. The reason I started shooting weddings and portraits was because I loved to shoot but couldn’t shoot landscape all the time. So I filled my time with other stuff I could shoot. The more you shoot the better you’ll get. Just like everything else in life.

Don’t expect to make any money off of landscape shots. I have yet to make a dime off of any of my landscapes. There are people all over the world making a living off of landscapes but it’s really hard and really competitive. So if you love traveling and love photographing, than make it a personal quest to get better. Who knows where it will lead you.

Lastly, have fun. If you’re beating yourself up because your images aren’t as good as professionals, than you take the fun out of it. Use professionals as inspiration and motivation to get better, but don’t get down because your images don’t look like theirs.

Thank you Blake for taking the time to talk to us. You can follow Blake’s adventures and see more of his work on his website and via Unsplash.

Photo by Chuck Gloman

Interview with a Pro – Chuck Gloman

With the beginning of the new school year, we were inspired to chat to someone who teaches college classes in photography and film.  Chuck Gloman has been a long time user of PortraitPro.  He is Chair of the TV/Film Department, and Associate Professor of Professional Practice, at DeSales University in Center Valley, Pennsylvania.  We were thrilled to talk to him about his film and photo editing work.  

PortraitPro: How did you get into the film and photography industry?

Chuck Gloman: I entered the film industry right out of graduate school. I have been fortunate to have shot over 950 TV commercials and 200 short films. My still images have appeared on seven magazine covers; I have seven published textbooks and over 400 published articles.

PortraitPro: Are there any films or commercials you’ve been involved with that PortraitPro blog readers might know?

Chuck Gloman: I just completed a short film called “Lester’s Collection” that spans over 500 years. All of the female characters through the five centuries owe their “period look” to ProtraitPro. Costumes were part of the process, but creating a 1600’s look, Jane Austin look, 1920’s, 1940’s Technicolor, 1950’s Vistavision, 1960’s graininess, and 21st Century 4K images were all done in the editing process through software.

PortraitPro: Does the equipment you take on a shoot vary depending on the job?

Chuck Gloman: I used to be a Nikon guy, but for the last five years I used the Canon EOS 5D Mark II and Mark III always shooting in Raw and JPEG.

PortraitPro: What’s in your typical bag / cases?

Chuck Gloman: Canon 5D Mark II body, Canon 24 – 70mm F2.8, 70 – 200mm F2.8, and 300mm F4 lens. Although I’m old school and grew up shooting film and using filters, now all of that is accomplished in Photoshop.

PortraitPro: What equipment do you have in your personal work kit?

Chuck Gloman: Video cameras – Canon EOS C100 and C300 and the Mark III. In post besides PortraitPro, I use Abobe Photoshop CC and Premiere Pro CC for video editing.

PortraitPro: Do you enjoy using any kind of camera, for instance a smartphone camera for more casual shots, or does it have to be the camera you mentioned above?

Chuck Gloman: Again, because I grew up with film, I never use my smartphone for images. I prefer to use the cameras I’ve mentioned above.

PortraitPro: What advice would you give students wanting to study film or photography at university level?

Chuck Gloman: As a professor, I tell my students that it’s not the equipment. Anyone can make an image look good. It’s the lighting, composition, framing, and story that make the film. Going to film school provides the experience and access to new technologies. The concepts are also stressed too. Our students at DeSales University start shooting their first week and have thirty to fifty films completed upon graduation. That means a great reel, resume, and a variety of crew experience.

PortraitPro: What sort of jobs and careers can students studying film and photography hope to get into?

Chuck Gloman: When I recruit students, I tell them that there isn’t a business or industry on the planet that does not do some type of filmmaking/photography. Whether it’s entertainment, public relations, communications, marketing, corporate, or anything else – someone needs to be trained/educated by watching a video on the process. Someone has to make this – a filmmaker.

PortraitPro: Can you tell us a bit about the classes you teach and the photography department at your University?

Chuck Gloman: I teach a variety of classes from Cinematography; Producing; Editing, Sound and Lighting; Basic Studio Productions; and Funding to Distribution (getting financing through Crowdfunding sources). Our photography classes are basic Digital Photography, Digital Storyboarding, Photoshop, and Advance Photography. In one session with our advanced class, we invited our dance department to do strobe images where their movement was frozen in time. The class members learned new skills and the dancers had images given to them shot at 1/250th of a second.

PortraitPro: Do you teach PortraitPro in your photography classes?

Chuck Gloman: In our basic classes, yes. Personally, I don’t believe I’ve shot a portrait in the last five years that I have not used PortraitPro.

PortraitPro: We can’t all come and study with you, can PortraitPro blog readers learn more from you? (Books, public talks, websites etc?)

Chuck Gloman: You never stop learning and learning something everyday from my students and just capturing images. Most of my books are somewhat dated and have been written before I became a full-time faculty member. The best way to see my work is through TV Technology, Digital Video, Government Video, and Shutterbug Magazine.

before after with PortraitPro by Chuck Gloman

Photo by Chuck Gloman

PortraitPro: Anything else you might want to add?

Chuck Gloman: Never let anyone tell you that you’re not doing it correctly. The more you shoot the better you become. If you stop growing and learning as an artist, you stagnate. I wake up everyday (hopefully) loving what I am about to do. If that ever stops becoming fun – I’ll stop. Hopefully that won’t happen for another 80 years.

Thanks for sharing your professional knowledge and for helping to inspire the next generation of photographers with your work. 

Check out the Film and TV department at De Sales University, Pennsylvania.

Try out PortraitPro and PortraitPro Body today.

Interview with a Pro – Manfred Baumann

We recently had a great chance to interview another one of our PortraitPro users.

Manfred Baumann has been using PortraitPro in his portraits for many years and recently got in touch with us.  We asked him what it’s like to work with some of the biggest stars in the world.

Angelina and Brat Pitt 2012 ManfredBaumann.com

photo by ManfredBaumann.com – Angelina and Brat Pitt 2012

PortraitPro: How did you get into photography, and what lead you to photograph Hollywood actors?

Manfred Baumann:  Sir Roger Moore discovered one of my pictures at an exhibition in Hamburg and bought it for his house in Switzerland. He is a big fan of photography, which is how we got into contact. He was my first Hollywood star, and that got the ball rolling.

PortraitPro: When was your big break in the industry?

I think that it is a bunch of little pieces of the puzzle that combine into the big picture. From the first photo shoot with Sir Roger Moore to the last official shoot with Tony Curtis shortly before he passed away. But also my collaboration with National Geographic and lots of other things

PortraitPro: What advice would you give aspiring photojournalists?

Manfred Baumann:  It is important to continue growing and make sure that viewers can recognize your signature in your photographs. 

PortraitPro: Can you tell us the story behind some of your favorite images?

Manfred Baumann: I think that my picture of Tony Curtis is one of my favorites because he passed away shortly after and because I could see in his eyes during the session that he was very grateful and that he had had a wonderful life.

PortraitPro: Do you do your own photo editing or do you have an assistant for retouching?

Manfred Baumann: I do everything myself all the way to the final image.

PortraitPro: Can you share with us some images where PortraitPro has been used?

Manfred Baumann: Many of my portraits are developed with your software, and it’s a tool that I definitely would not want to do without.

David and Hayley Hasselhoff 2015 photo by ManfredBaumann.com

photo by ManfredBaumann.com – David and Hayley Hasselhoff 2015

PortraitPro: You’ve photographed so many huge Hollywood stars, how does it feel to capture images of such well known and often photographed people?

Manfred Baumann:   When you have worked with as many stars as I have, you get used to it and no longer put them on a pedestal. They are people just like you and I, some of them are complicated and others less so.

PortraitPro:  What equipment do you use when shooting in your studio?  Do you enjoy using any kind of camera, for instance a smartphone camera for more casual shots?

Manfred Baumann:  I work with Leica, Nikon, and Hensel light.  Sometimes I also like taking pictures with the Microsoft Lumia smartphone, it has a lens from Zeiss and 20 million pixels.

PortraitPro:  Your work includes a lot of candid, street photography. What advice can you offer on taking street photography?

Manfred Baumann:  The new Leica SL is my favorite for this; I really love street photography and capturing moments in time that way. The older such pictures become, the better they are.

John Malkovich and Jack Black photo by ManfredBaumann.com

photos by ManfredBaumann.com

PortraitPro: Many of your portraits are black and white. What influences your decision on whether an image should be black and white, or color?

Manfred Baumann: I love black and white photography because it is very reduced and reveals the essence of a picture.

PortraitPro: You’re offering classes on photography; are you speaking at any events, or can PortraitPro blog readers join one of your classes?

Manfred Baumann:  You can find the workshops that I hold on my web site. I also hold workshops at public events like the Photokina 2016, the Skoda Festival in Prague, and a meet and greet in the middle of the year where my latest photo book will be presented at the Leica gallery in Vienna

PortraitPro:  Do you have any exhibitions currently running or coming up?

Manfred Baumann:  “Special” is a project that is very important to me and in which I took portraits of intellectually disabled people. It will be shown for the first time in autumn. My latest best-of photo book will be released at the end of May, and there are of course my current exhibitions Alive, L.A. Stories, and many more.

PortraitPro: Anything else you’d like to tell our readers about your work and your career?

Manfred Baumann: A technically perfect photograph can be far from a good picture, that is one of my philosophies of photography that I would like to share with your readers.

We’ve had a wonderful insight into the world of a professional photographer, who spends his life photographing some of the world’s most famous celebrities.

Check out more of Manfred’s work on his own page. 

You too can use PortraitPro and create professional, magazine-quality images. Download the free trial today.

Dustin Meyer headshot

Interview with a Pro – Dustin Meyer

This week, PortraitPro was lucky enough to get an interview with internationally acclaimed wedding and portrait photographer, Dustin Meyer. Dustin is sponsored by Nikon and has been featured in a range of publications including USA Today and Rangefinder Magazine.  We asked him to share his story with us.

PortraitPro: Can you tell us a bit about your background?

Dustin Meyer: I actually started out in the music industry. I was a singer since age 8 and it was supposed to be my life endeavor. I was an opera singer at SMU for several years and was about to relocate to NYC to go into the music industry. However, I had a sort of creative awakening when I bought my first manual SLR. A Minolta SRT-202. A piece of crap honestly, but a workhorse of a camera. I had to teach myself every aspect of shooting because of that beast. After I entered in a few images to a photo contest at Southern Methodist University, I won 1st and 2nd place in two categories, so I figured it was something I was good at. That’s when I realized that singing was always a part of me, but was I doing it because I loved it, or because it was expected of me? There was no doubt in my mind that it was actually photography that I loved. Making a career from it was only secondary.

PortraitPro: How did you come to photography and how did you come to make it your career?

Dustin Meyer: I’ve always had an interest in photography, but it really didn’t come to light until I got my degree in photography in college. The program covered every area imaginable, from studio to lighting, business, history of photography, fine art, darkroom and printing, to digital and film. Ultimately, my passion is working with people to understand their background and personality. I’m mainly a people person I guess, and my photography just sort of evolved around that. My career took off right after I graduated. Mainly because we just started our family and I needed to bring in some income. Fortunately, I landed a job as a wedding photography assistant with a former professor of mine, catering to politicians and celebrity weddings. Needless to say, it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. Over time, I started offering senior portraits, headshots, and other commercial work to my clientele. It took a while to get here, but eventually it became my full-time job and passion.

PortraitPro: Who are your inspirations?

Dustin Meyer: I get a lot of inspiration from other photographers. I’m always looking for new ideas and techniques when it comes to shooting. I think that’s true for a lot of professionals out there. One of my favorite wedding photographers is Jose Villa. I just love the look he gets from shooting film, the soft colors, the simple composition, everything about it. It’s not the exact kind of style I try to replicate, but it’s always refreshing to look at work that’s different from my own. Some of my favorite iconic commercial photographers are Patrick Demarchelier, Annie Leibovitz, Mark Seliger, David LaChapelle, and my all-time favorite is Dan Winters.

PortraitPro: You take only a few clients a year and specialize in creating entirely personal experiences for your wedding couples; working closely with them to come up with ideas. Why is this so important to you?

Dustin Meyer: I think collaborating with clients is key when it comes to creating unique images. I can’t be the only one to come up with all the ideas. Couples have a particular look in mind when they come to me, so I do my best to make that come to life. It allows me to look into their personalities and create something different from every other shoot I’ve done. I love new experiences and testing my knowledge every time I pick up my camera.

PortraitPro: Which of your photographs is your favorite and why?

Dustin Meyer: Oh boy, this is a tough one! I guess perhaps my favorite wedding photo of all time would be this one:

Houston Wedding - Hotel Zaza

(click to view bigger image)

Over the years, I realized that a lot of my music background had come to influence my photography. Lighting, posing, staging, environment… all of it. This image was taken at a wedding in Houston, TX next door to the Hotel Zaza. The couple was truly amazing, with so many ideas but open to suggestions. Their wedding day portraits were the most important part of their wedding day, carving out an entire hour and a half dedicated to just pictures of the two of them. They really gave me a lot of latitude for their photos, so I pushed my limits accordingly. I was really happy with the results, but not as much as they were.

PortraitPro: What is your most treasured memory from shooting weddings?

Dustin Meyer: My favorite part of the wedding day is the portrait session. Especially if they opt to do a First Look before the ceremony. Getting to witness their first glimpse of one another is truly unforgettable. It’s charged with so much emotion, that I can’t help but get caught up in the moment. It’s a good thing my face is hidden behind my camera, otherwise they would probably see me crying right along with them!

PortraitPro: What is the most challenging part of being a wedding photographer?

Dustin Meyer: Timing. So much is going on during the wedding day, and they’re depending on me to get the best images possible. All while meeting multiple deadlines in the same day. Sticking to a timeline is tough, but essential for shooting weddings. My advice is to go in with a solid outline of the day, and literally make every second count. Visualizing ahead of time the kind of images to take is extremely important. Scouting the location and knowing your camera settings before the big day is a huge help to staying in the zone while shooting. I always tell photographers to get their head out of their gear and into the moment happening right in front of them. Otherwise, you’ll miss some of the best shots.

PortraitPro: If you could give one piece of advice to aspiring wedding photographers, what would it be?

Dustin Meyer: Another tough one! My best piece of advice to aspiring wedding photographers would be to always remember what you’re passionate about when it comes to shooting weddings. Whatever it may be, whether it’s working with people, shooting beautiful details, creating dramatic shots, or playing around with gorgeous lighting. Keep your passion going. Protect it. Don’t let your business make you forget why you love taking pictures. Your business should support your passion, not the other way around.

PortraitPro: As well as being a busy professional photographer, you also create photography and photo-editing tutorials. How do you find the time and why do you think tutorials are important?

Dustin Meyer: I wish I had an easy answer for that one. I’ve always had a passion for teaching. Everything I’ve learned along with way was either taught to me, or I had to figure it out on my own. Either way, it takes a lot of time to learn and keep up to date with the photography industry. I guess my goal is to teach others from the mistakes I’ve made over the years as well as pass on what others have share with me. When it comes to the videos, my ideas come from issues or problems I face in my own career. Having time for my personal life is my ultimate goal, so I think solutions that help me save time are my biggest lessons to pass along. As far as finding the time to record and edit the videos, part of it comes from my filming training in college. It’s a fun alternative to just doing the same thing day in and day out. It’s a chance for me to show what I’ve learned, as well as get some feedback from others about their experiences and solutions. Honestly, I have no idea where I find the time to actually record and put together my instructional videos. But when I’m done publishing a new one, it’s just as gratifying as shooting pictures, but in a very different way.

PortraitPro: What’s in your camera bag right now?

Dustin Meyer: My must-have gear is a consists of my Nikon D810, three Nikon SB-910 flashes, and radio transmitter/receivers. My lenses consist of a Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8, a 14-24mm f/2.8, a Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 VR, and a Nikkor 50mm f/1.8. Plus a ton of memory cards.

Professional wedding photographer Dustin Meyer is based in Austin, TX. To get more tips for improving your own photography, be sure to subscribe to his Youtube channel.  

National Blog Posting Month

It’s National Blog Posting Month, or NaBloPoMo, and we wanted to take the opportunity to share our blogging with you.

We have been writing here at the PortraitPro blog for over 2 years, and we’re very glad you’re still with us. Recently we started a blog about our other software, Smart Photo Editor. We’d like to also take this opportunity to introduce Andrew Buchanan, and his own Smart Photo Editor blog.

We’re constantly thinking of you, our PortraitPro users, and how we can bring you more tips and tricks on getting the best out of your photo editing software every day.

This year we’ve been fortunate to be able to meet, and chat with some really great, professional photographers who use PortraitPro in their professional work flow, and to share those insights with you.

They all have their own blogs and websites, and they’ve often been kind enough to feature us on them too, so check out our new friends and their blogs.

Our PortraitPro friends:

  • There’s Pedro Aguilar, based in West London and working around the world, including with the soccer team at Camp Nou, FC Barcelona. See his variety of projects here.
Photo by Pedro Aguilar

Photo by Pedro Aguilar

  • Over on the other side of town, in cool East London, we met Sebastian and Rebecca at theprintspace. They’re helping photographers all over the world from theprintspace.
  • Also in the UK, based in Manchester is Neil Shearer, shooting sports portraits and Capoeira, new to photography and turning professional this year; alongside earning his Licentiate level qualification from SWPP earlier this year.  Read his blog and follow his success.
  • Living and working in Philadelphia, and often travelling around the world is former pro tennis photographer Jared Gruenwald. Read his blog to keep up with his travels.
Kelly Drive Flood, Philadelphia

Photo by Jared Gruenwald

  • On the West Coast of America, in Seattle, is young fashion photographer Kendra. See what she’s been up to recently on her blog.
  • In Texas, and from a Hollywood family, our first interviewee, Megan Parks shoots children’s portraits for terminally ill children, creating a lasting memory for their families.  See her images on her website.
  • Russian born Veronica Lounge is also a fashion photographer, living and working in Finland. Check out her work here. 
  • Also helping professionals take better baby portraits with training and accessories, we met Charlie Kaufman, CEO of Click Connection Corporation, who has an honorary Fellowship of SWPP.
Charlie Kaufman FSWPP Hon

Photo by Charlie Kaufman FSWPP Hon

  • Also creating an experience her clients will never forget is Nikki Harrison, who creates fantasy portraits, turning her visions into art. Follow her adventures and her blog.

We’re aware that many of our users are professional photographers and using professional quality portrait editing software is a key element in your business success. A professional photographer should keep their own blog for their own marketing purposes.

The internet is the first place people look for services that they require. If you need a local photographer, for family photography, or any kind of photography, you will probably want to carry out an internet search for professional photographers in your area, and then you will want to see examples of their work, and the easiest way to view it is through your own online gallery, or a blog post.

That’s what all our new friends have done, and it’s enabled us to share their work with you, our PortraitPro users. Check out our blog post on ideas to help you keep a blog as a professional photographer. It might even help you keep up to date with National Blog Posting Month.

Download the free trial of PortraitPro today, and see what they’re all talking about.

You can see all of our blog posts here too. Happy Blogging!

Interview with a Pro – Charlie Kaufman

Charlie Kaufman FSWPP Hon

Charlie Kaufman FSWPP Hon

Earlier this year, we were lucky enough to meet Charlie Kaufman who has an honorary Fellowship of the Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers (SWPP). Charlie is the CEO of the Click Connection Corporation, a far-reaching organization that encompasses The Click Group which is the world’s largest group of marketed portrait studios,  Click Ed School of Photography  and Click Props, amongst a wide range of other services. He’s also an accomplished photographer with a very successful business portfolio, so we were amazed that he had time to stop and chat to us, but we’re very glad he did. Here’s our very brief chat where he gave us some great tips on how to move into the world of new-born photography.

PortraitPro: Could you tell us what photographers need to consider when deciding to take up new-born photography?

Charlie Kaufman: Very easy, the first thing they need is training. At the Click Ed School of Photography, we have some of the UK’s top new-born baby photographers, such as Tracy Willis, Sarah Wilkes and Elli Cassidy who come in and give lovely training days to aspiring photographers.

Even very skilled photographers, perhaps from other genres of photography, who are new into new-born, need to know how to safely pose new-born babies. That’s something we’re very strong on. That’s one of the main reasons that we don’t sell any of our photographic props online.

Backgrounds we do, [sell on line] props we don’t, because from a moral point of view we like to show people how to use a hammock, rather than just sell it to anybody over the internet. We like them to see the colors, feel the fur, see the textures, which I feel you lose over the internet. Maybe that’s a downfall for our sales, but it makes us feel good that we’re training people on everything that they buy from us.

Charlie Kaufman FSWPP Hon

Charlie Kaufman FSWPP Hon

PortraitPro: Say someone has come to one of your courses and they’ve had their training and they’ve decided that they’re ready to begin shooting, what would be the kinds of props they’d be starting off with?

Charlie Kaufman: The trench bowls, which we always stock seven varieties of, are technically the easiest props to use. Hammocks, and slings are usually a lot more complex and you don’t always succeed every session in getting the shot you want. With the trench bowls, all you need is a sleeping baby, which mum can obviously assist with, and a bit of patience. Trench bowls and a 5ft square vinyl floor, can change an environment in seconds. In fact, we started a year ago, to do a little collection called the ‘Click Collection’ which gives photographers the opportunity of buying a 5ft square floor, one of our trench bowls, a mini fur to line the bowl, plus three cheesecloths and the whole package is only £160. Its easy to make that back on the first sale.

PortraitPro: That’s a great idea! A photographer could also add Smart Photo Editor or PortraitPro photo editing software to that price, and it still wouldn’t break the bank.

PortraitPro: What should new-born photographers be thinking about, to set themselves apart from the growing market of new-born photography?

Charlie Kaufman: I think what they need to do is keep their work varied. Never just to repeat the same things time and time again. I also think that, however exciting new-born art photography is, they mustn’t just rely on our props. Sometimes minimalistic, basic shots; fathers’ bare hands, arms, just gives something that is timeless. They also need to keep their props varied, not just because we want to sell more, but to stop things from wearing out. Keep buying new things, new garnishes, new little headbands and hats, just to keep each shoot different.

Charlie Kaufman FSWPP Hon

Charlie Kaufman FSWPP Hon

PortraitPro: Could you also tell us a bit about the backdrops and things you do that aren’t specific to new-born photography?

Charlie Kaufman:  The background range here is huge. We have people who make cakes buying them, we have jewelers buying them to put in their windows, the British Army have used some of our flag backgrounds for officers’ mess shots; glamour photographers, fashion, every type of photography genre, dancers, ballet. In fact as you’re interviewing me, I’m watching people walking past our stand here, holding our backgrounds. They come in 3 sizes, 5ft X 5ft, perfect for babies and children, 5ft X 8ft three quarter length and the maxi size which is 7ft X 9.5ft easily big enough for family portraiture. We have over 200 varieties and we’re adding to that every quarter with another 20+ styles.

We had a great time chatting to Charlie Kaufman, and we hope you also enjoyed his tips. We’re hoping to catch up with him again soon. Try out PortraitPro and Smart Photo Editor today.