Fstoppers Original Articles

Critique the Community: Submit Your "Un-Posed" Wedding Photographs Now

Through September 13th, you have a chance to submit any un-posed wedding photos to be critiqued by the Fstoppers team in a new episode of "Critique the Community." What do I mean by un-posed? Your submissions need to be candid moments of people that you captured, detail shots, locations, or any other picture where you did not position or pose your subjects. This episode we promise to critique EVERY submission, even if it takes a few videos to do so. However, to qualify you must follow the submission rules below.

Is Anyone Else Getting Telemarketing Calls From This Super Smart Robot?
I get telemarketing calls multiple times a day, usually about credit card processing or getting to the top of Google. Sometimes I get a person, more often I get a recording that will then transfer me to a person, but over the past year I've been getting calls from "Samantha West," a sophisticated computer program that pretends to be human.

The New Apple iPad Pro May Change The Photo Retouching World

As I am writing this Apple is having a press conference about their new products. The Apple Watch is getting a software update, the Apple TV is getting a total overhaul, the iPhone is all new (and can finally shoot 4k video), but potentially the most exciting news for photographers is the Apple iPad Pro.

Follow Who You Are and Recognize Your Weaknesses as a Photographer

As photographers we are constantly learning. It's how we get better at our craft, to say we are always learning is an understatement. Everyone I know in the field is always looking up how to do something better or more efficiently. People tend to start to see these when they try to transition mediums, be it from photo to video, and they begin to realize they have to learn things from the ground up. As photographers we tend to stick with what we know we are good at, but how do we go about identifying our weaknesses and improve on them?

Head Back to School with a Free Course from the New York Institute of Photography (UPDATED)

Although the summer heat is still lingering, fall is swiftly approaching. It's that time again: time to hit the books and head back to school. Books are expensive, but we have some exciting news: The New York Institute of Photography is giving three lucky winners their choice of a free photography course! There are just three easy steps to enter for your chance to win.

Life on the Road: The Realities of Traveling While Working as a Filmmaker and Photographer

In the last few weeks I interviewed both the Wickstrom’s and the Hage’s, creative couples who make their living while traveling full time. In this article, I’ll be sharing what I’ve learned from spending two months on the road with my partner, while trying to stay on top of projects and work on new ones. Come to find out, it is not as fun and dreamy as it sounds.

The Monday Retouch - How to Retouch Landscapes - Submit Your Image to Be Retouched!

This week's winning image comes from Photographer Daniel Nordholm. It's a stunning landscape image that he captured in Lofoten, a beautiful archipelago in Norway. I was very excited to break from my norm of beauty and fashion retouching to tackle and share a landscape retouch. Many of the techniques and the workflow of a landscape can be very different from portrait retouching, while the philosophy can be quite the same. In this article, you will see the full retouch of the image in the short two-minute video. In all, the retouch took about an hour. I will also share some specific techniques for landscape editing that you can use in your images as well.

Markus Andersen’s New Book “Rage Against The Light” Beautifully Showcases His World Of Sydney Australia

Markus Andersen, certainly one of the leading street and fine art photographers in Sydney, Australia, and known globally, has just released pre-orders for his first book – and it looks stunning. “Rage Against The Light” published by TG Publishing showcases his wonderful work around his home town of Sydney (and for the first 100 pre-orders, 42 remaining pre-orders, comes with a free print).

5 Legal Tips to Consider Before Starting Your Photography Business

Starting your own photography business can be very rewarding. However, we often let our creative right-brain get ahead of the left-brain practicalities and fail to ensure we are adequately protected from a legal standpoint. Corporate Attorney Adriel Sanders sent us these important legal considerations that may seem obvious to some, but many overlook.

The Top 4 Factors That Determine Your Success in Photography or Any Creative Field

So, you want to be a successful photographer? Or retoucher? Or art director? Or just about any other creative field imaginable? It is a treacherous road, ranging from emotional bliss to hopeless depression. Be prepared to battle the fiercest of foes with nothing more than obsessive determination and your arsenal of skills.

Why I’m Not Going to Use the New Instagram Crop Feature

The day has finally come in which we are no longer bound to the square crop within Instagram. The ability to post horizontal and vertical images has been requested by users since the beginning of the app. In the past, you would have to open your image in another app, add borders, and then export the new image to Instagram. Since this is the process I follow, I know it’s a huge pain. But even with this new cropping ability, I’m sticking with my old ways.

Lighting on a Budget - 1 Speedlight
If there’s anything that you’ll quickly learn about me, it’s that I love simplicity, both professionally and personally. It’s the only way that I keep my sanity between trying to balance producing shoots, contacting clients, editing, teaching, writing and riding my motorcycle. Now, to be extremely clear, it wasn’t always that way. Like a lot of beginning photographers, I insisted on complicating things for myself.

Why Do Your Instagram Photos Suddenly Look Terrible on Facebook?

There has been a disturbance. Have you felt it? Some astute photophiles (not a word I just made up) have noticed a change in quality in their posts when Instagram pushed a photo to Facebook after the most recent update, 7.5. So I decided to run a few comparison tests of my own to see if the quality really was different, and why my photos suddenly started to look so gritty.

Platon's Photographs Remind Us of the Importance of Engaging with Your Portrait Subject

Platon has photographed many of the world's most powerful leaders and biggest celebrities and often shoots covers for magazines such as Wired, Esquire, Newsweek, Rolling Stone and New York Times Magazine. Most recently, he captured comedian and TV show personality Stephen Colbert for the cover of Time, which you can see in the video posted above. His style of shooting proves that you can take some of the most legendary portraits of our most powerful people with nothing but a light or two and a real connection between subject and photographer. In fact, I learned that from him directly when he came to teach a couple of classes to some of us lucky photo majors back at Rochester Institute of Technology over 10 years ago. It was those classes that changed my view on portrait photography forever.

How ‘Rocket Wars’ Is Breaking Ground For Filmmakers Everywhere - And What We Can ALL Learn From It (BTS / Interview)

In case you missed it, ‘Rocket Wars’ is a five minute film that has changed the game. It's breaking new ground and heralds in a beautiful new era in filmmaking. 150,000+ views and a Vimeo ‘Staff Pick’ are pretty amazing, but what’s ground breaking isn’t that the film is just a beautiful cacophony of visual and aural eye and ear candy. What’s fascinating is the fertile new ground it thrusts us headlong in to, and how it engages us. How did the filmmakers pull this off – and importantly – what can we learn from them to apply to our own projects?

How to Not Let Your Personal Photography Project Ideas Be Forgotten

If you ask any well-known and successful photographer what the most important thing you can do to grow your business is, they will almost all point towards shooting personal projects. Before the end of every day, I try to visualize at least one creative and interesting idea that might be worth photographing. Nine times out of ten, those ideas are complete garbage. Every now and then, I come up with a really great idea, but unfortunately, 90% of the time, I completely forget these great ideas and they never become a reality. Here is how I have solved this problem.

The Fashion Photographer's Guide to Mood Boards: Save Yourself a Headache

Many beginning photographers find it very difficult to translate their vision verbally. In order to save yourself time, effort, and frustration the day of your shoot, use a mood board. Mood boards are visual collages of inspiration designed to provide your team or client with a visual reference guide that everyone can agree on before your photo shoot.

The Monday Retouch Episode 3 - Submit Your Image To Be Retouched For Free

It's Monday so it's time for another speed retouch and episode of Retouching Mondays. This week image comes courtesy of last weeks winner, Ben Scott. If you would like me to retouch your image and send you back the full-high res final image, all you have to do is post your image in the comments and wait to hear back. I will email the winner on Thursday morning, so post your newest favorite image that you want retouched. It can be any genre, beauty, fashion, landscape, wedding! I'll record the retouching and send you the final image to use as you wish! Take a look at the speed retouch of Ben's image and let me know in the comments if you have any questions, I'm happy to answer them. Now lets take a look at the before and after and the challenges for this week's Monday Retouch.

It Is Not The Competition That Is Driving You Out Of Business

An influx of talent naturally creates more competition and offers your client more choice. That choice ultimately leads to lower odds of you landing any given job. It would be very easy to look at the current state of photography and blame it on a numbers game, but then, you wouldn’t be entirely correct.

How to Properly Critique a Photograph

Photographers love to critique. Or is it criticize? Or comment? Complain? Postulate? Pontificate? We seem to witness quite the gamut of behavior in response to one simple request: "CC, please."

SEO Tips for Photographers Using WordPress

In this article I will share with you some SEO tips for those of you who are using WordPress as their content management system. For visual learners I have created a quick video tutorial that will walk you through the steps in this article.

How To Enhance Freckles with Photoshop

In my recent Natural Light Tutorial with RGGEDU, I went through every aspect of natural light photography and retouching... Or so I thought. During a shoot this week, I realized I missed one thing: enhancing freckles with Photoshop. In this article I will show a simple method to making those freckles pop.

Why Skin Work Is The Most Important Aspect of Portrait Retouching

I'll preface this today by making it clear that I know very little to nothing about architectural retouching, landscape retouching, or product photography retouching. That said, I've dedicated the last two decades to Adobe Photoshop, and the last seven years specifically to portrait retouching. As such, I've come to realize one key thing: If your skin work is no good, everything else in your retouch just falls apart, if you will, as the basic foundation is already substandard.