Fstoppers Originals

Why You Should Ignore Most Criticism

We have all been there, that moment when your stomach slowly turns to drizzled mush as it discovers the harsh brutality of a critical comment. In a few short words your career, art, and passion is reduced to the strangling grip of failure. Receiving criticism is not for the faint of heart but with the right frame of mind you can get the most out of any critique, solicited or otherwise.

Revered Australian Photographer Peter Coulson Teaching in the United States for the First Time

If you're not familiar with Peter Coulson's fashion and editorial work, you have clearly been living under the proverbial rock or simply don't follow portraiture. Coulson has quickly become one of the most respected and successful fashion photographers from down under, and has been fielding an endless stream of requests to visit America. Namely, to teach his voodoo studio mastery to the masses. Thankfully, this June in Chicago and New York, Coulson is doing exactly that.

Why I Love My 20mm Lens to Shoot Weddings

When starting out in wedding photography, one of the most common questions that gets asked is, “What lens is a must have for my first wedding?” The most popular answers to this question are all over the map. They range from 50mm to 85mm to 70-200mm and so on. What you likely never see on the list is something like a 20mm lens, but for me, I will always have one of these lenses in my bag.

Dramatic Beauty Portrait Tutorial Part 1: Complete Lighting Setup and Gear List

This is Part 1 in what will be an 8 part series for a dramatic beauty portrait. In the series of tutorials, we will go through everything from the gear used, to the lighting setups, and all the way through the complete retouching process. In Part 1, I will breakdown my gear list used for the shoot and I will thoroughly go through my lighting setup. In this video tutorial not only will you see the gear and setup, but also a behind the scenes look as me and my team go through hair, makeup, and shooting. The complete series of videos will be available here on Fstoppers and on my YouTube Channel.

Stop Looking at Other Photographers' Work

We all get lost in the Internet from time to time, and some of us way too much. We see a great photo online, or perhaps read an interview with a successful photographer, and then Google them and spend time pouring through their portfolio and blog. “How did they do it?" "I wonder what type of lighting that is?" "Where did they take that?" Half an hour and a cup of coffee later we close our laptop relatively depressed and completely diverted from our own path as unique and creative individuals. We start to scroll through our Lightroom catalogs in search of an amazing image we may have forgotten about that competes with what we just saw, or look at our measly social media following and wonder what we did (or are doing) wrong.

Using the Tether Tools Look Lock to Create Point of View Behind-the-Scenes Videos

Last month, I taught a two-day workshop in the heart of Phoenix. While there, I was able to get some friends to come out and help create a behind-the-scenes video of the entire workshop. I was also able to meet with Tether Tools, whom are located in Phoenix, and they gave us access to some pretty cool tools, more specifically, my new favorite BTS tool, the Tether Tools Look Lock.

Plan a Night to Stay Awake and Shoot the Stars

If you have ever been in a remote enough place and looked up at the night sky, you know how magical the universe can be with countless stars dotting a black canvas overhead. Many photographers capture the night sky with their camera resulting in spectacular images. But it’s one thing to step out into your backyard and point your camera up, and a completely different adventure to hike out to a remote location and capture the cosmos with the wilderness as your backdrop.

5 Reasons You Should Never Meet Your Clients at Starbucks

Figuring out where to host consultations can be a challenge for most wedding and portrait photographers who operate out of a home office. It’s easy to find yourself relying on the convenience of America’s every-other-corner caffeine distribution center, Starbucks, or a similar chain coffeehouse. And while saying you should "never" meet there might be a little drastic, client courtship in cafes isn't the best idea and is actually pretty avoidable. Here are five reasons to ditch your Starbucks meet-up for something a little more creative.

InstaMeets and Why You Should Attend One

One of the great things that Instagram does is bring the social of social media to life. Known amongst the Instagram community as InstaMeets, these real life meetup groups promote a collaborative and inspiring atmosphere for attendees. InstaMeets are held worldwide and Instagram holds an annual World Wide InstaMeet every year, with this year's meet culminating in 124,141 photos as of this post. Users are encourage to hold their own InstaMeets, and Instagram has an entire page dedicated community page for them. So what's all the fuss about? Let's look at five reasons you should attend an InstaMeet.

Shame and Art: How to Stay Sane in Your Second Job While Trying to Make It as a Photographer

I am a bartender. After 15 years of slinging drinks it’s still hard to come out and admit that shooting isn't what I do full time. The path I've taken has been a twisted, gnarled, winding thing fraught with frustration and surprise. I've been shooting for 11 years and I never expected to still be behind a bar. But, such is life! I’m here to talk about dealing with that gut-wrenching feeling that comes along with any artist who hasn’t quite made it: shame.

Five Common Mistakes That Make Retouched Skin Look Unnatural

Retouching skin is about detail and patience. It can be a real time consuming and can require a high level of precision to keep the natural aspect of an image. Each of us has a different style of editing and our tastes differ. However when giving retouching lessons many photographers ask me about skin texture and how to keep it looking as natural as possible.

This is not a simple answer as it is mostly a combination of elements. In this article I have combined the five things I see most photographers do wrong or too much when looking for a believable skin texture and look.