Fstoppers Original Articles

Is The Future Of Mobile Filmmaking Closer Than We Think?

While there’s never been a sure fire way to win work and sustain a living as a photographer or film maker, and particularly not today given how much change we are seeing, having your own unique vision can help set you apart from the crowd. Young film maker Paul Trillo has shown time and again how an interesting perspective can separate him and his work from the pack. After watching his recent innovative short, you'll likely never be able to look at your phone in the same way again.

Here's What It Takes to Become a Professional Travel Photographer

When I was just eight years old I would flip through the pages of National Geographic and imagine being a photographer in Africa. I was captivated by the faces and places that seemed worlds apart from my typical Middle American hometown. Fast forward years later, and I'm living the dream as a travel photographer working throughout Africa and Europe. If you've ever wanted to travel the world with your camera, here's my advice to help you get started and thrive in professional travel photography.

First Test of the New High Tech Phase One XF

The other week, I wrote that I was excited about Phase One's newest gear announcements for a multitude of reasons. Well, thanks to my friends at Digital Transitions and Phase One, I was lucky enough to do a photoshoot with the BRAND NEW Phase One XF body, the updated IQ350 50 megapixel CMOS medium format back, and their newest 35mm leaf shutter lens. As an owner of their previous generation 645DF+ body and IQ140 back, I was incredibly impressed by the notable technology advancements in their newest gear. Read below to see why.

Set Etiquette for Photography Assistants

Assisting for a photographer or videographer can be a rewarding experience filled with knowledge and new perspectives. An assistant often receives an insider's view into how a photographer runs a production, and gains networking opportunities that may not have been accessible before. However, being an effective assistant requires more than holding light stands or reflectors. Great attention to detail and a humble can-do attitude can ensure your return to set, and solidify your reputation as a reliable assistant. While every photographer varies, we will review some of my tips for proper etiquette for assistants, from a photographer's perspective.

Why Cell Phones Won't Ever Replace Professional Cameras

I have an iPhone 6 Plus. It’s amazing. It has a backside illuminated sensor, an f/2.2 lens, and optical image stabilization. Yes, I have optical image stabilization in my phone. Would I ever use it for work? Not a chance.

How to Make Photography Music to Your Ears

Where do you get your inspiration from? The outdoors? The city? Or maybe human beauty? Wherever it comes from, it drives us as creatives. As visual artists, we translate this inspiration into images or videos but the process of getting there isn't always easy. Long hours, little sleep, and the added stress of paying the bills can leave us losing focus. Maybe your original passion isn’t as strong as it use to be or all the family photo sessions you have taken on leave you feeling like all the fun is gone? So what do you do when you feeling like you're loosing your creative edge? Crank up the tunes and start jammin' out because here are three ways music can transform your photography.

How to Use a Negative of an Image to Improve Your Retouching

Great retouching is all about small details. They often make the difference between a well-retouched image and a world-class retouched image. However, seeing some of the details can be tricky. Especially when you are on the go and retouching on a laptop screen that doesn't offer the precision of a well-calibrated screen with a large color gamut. A couple of months ago I showed you a trick to see more details than what your eyes might see on an image by using a solar curve. In today's article, I am going to show you another technique that I often use to clean up small details. It is so easy you might end up wondering why you did not think of it before.

The Top 5 Reasons Why You Shouldn't Be a Wedding Photographer

You read that right: shouldn't. Wedding photography is a field that many photographers work within at least once or twice in their budding careers. Is it for you, though? Do you have what it takes? Even some of the most seasoned professional wedding photographers have thrown in the towel and moved on to other forms of work. Why is this, you inquire? I asked several of my colleagues – wedding photographers and other professional shutterbugs alike – their thoughts on why they think shooting weddings for a living sucks. These are the top five responses I received.

5 Ways to Market Your Photography for Under $50

Like many of you, I have a very small marketing budget. I personally cannot justify spending a ton of money to run long campaigns on Facebook or Google Ad Sense in order to promote my work. Facebook also regularly changes their algorithm for organic posts, so it’s just not always wise to throw money at them and hope for qualified leads. In this video, I’m going to share five ways that I’m marketing my photography business for under $50.

How and Why I Shoot With Two Cameras

Shooting with two cameras seems to be a growing trend in the wedding industry. When I first started shooting, I saw people doing this and I just didn’t see the point. I figured I could always change lenses, and then I would be good to go. Once I gave it try I completely fell in love. Here is my “how and why” I shoot with two cameras.

Why Self-Imposed Restrictions Might Be Undermining the Quality of Your Photos

Recently I was sent a YouTube video of an artist who spent a huge amount of time creating drawings using MS Paint. The end product was decent enough, even impressive if you consider the tool he was using, but if you were to eliminate knowledge of his method it would merely be a mediocre, unimpressive digital painting. How amazing could this guy’s work be if he didn’t arbitrarily limit himself? This is clearly an extremely talented artist that is limiting the quality of his work by stubbornly insisting on using an inefficient tool. Which, of course, got me to thinking about how as photographers, we have a tendency to do the exact same thing.

Dramatic Beauty Tutorial Part 5: High Contrast Black & White Conversion

In the final part of the Dramatic Beauty Portrait Tutorial, we will look at how I do my Black and White conversion. This image is a dramatic image so it calls for a punchy and high-contrast black and white conversion. In this tutorial, I will show you how I stack blending modes and adjustment layers to get my image exactly where I want it. You can follow these steps in your own images or use the techniques and customize them for your own use. In the video you will also see how to use layer masks to create targeted adjustments for your high-contrast black and white portraits.

7 Tips for Casting the Right Model for Your Next Shoot

Working with models can be an exciting part of photography, as each model can lend a different look and unique perspective to your vision. Casting a model appropriately for each project is an important part of a photographer’s job, as it speaks to their ability to manage their ideas and make them a reality. Just as a casting director will carefully select the best actors for appropriate roles, the same is true for casting the right model for the right photoshoot. Below we will review some guidelines for making the most out of working with models, in order to produce the best photographs...

Are You Ready To Upgrade Your Camera Body?
There comes a time in every growing photographer's career when he or she decides that it is time to upgrade their equipment. If you are like me, then you put it off for as long as possible. In recent posts, I’ve mentioned that I firmly believe that you can create some great images using a very basic DSLR. While this is true under most circumstances, there are often times as a working photographer that you will need the options of a professional grade DSLR.

See How Much Improvement You Have Made in a Year

Recently I felt a bit let down when looking at my work. It seemed to me like I had not improved much during the last year and that I had hit a plateau. Then when asking friends, fellow photographers, and other people from the industry, everyone told me it was just in my head. Creating new things day in and day out is quite difficult, but creating new things that are better each time you shoot is even harder! Sounds familiar? I know for a fact that most photographers have felt like that at some point in their career. We all have periods in our lives where we feel disappointed with our work. That same time when we also start looking at others work and wonder why we are not better. But all we really should be doing is looking at our work to see how far we have come and how we could get even better.

How to Give Your Dance Photos a Sense of Motion

My favorite part of the wedding day is the reception. After the traditional first dances, and speeches are done, and the wedding party starts to let loose. The party is in full swing and the best man is giving “The Dougie” his best attempt in an effort to win a dance battle against the bride. While capturing these images I want the viewer to feel like they were in there, in the moment. My goal is to not light up the entire room like a Christmas tree. I want to see the light from the DJ and the motion on the dance floor. This is how I do just that.

6 Things Beauty Photographers Can Do To Avoid The 'Creep' Label

As beauty/fashion/glamour photographers the quality of our work is often largely driven by how well we can tell the story of an intimate moment within the frame. A big part of being able to do this is by building trust with the model to ensure that she feels safe throughout the entire shoot.

Start Your Own Photograph Group on the Fstoppers Community

Since Lee and I first started Fstoppers 5 years ago, we have always wanted it to be a place for inspiration, news, reviews, and of course educational behind the scenes material. One thing has always been missing though, and that is the voice of you our readers. Today we are expanding the Fstoppers Community by opening Groups to the public. Anyone with an Fstoppers account can now create and moderate their own photography community directly on Fstoppers.com

Wet Plate Collodion and the Joys of Being a Beginner

In my research to come up with ideas for blog posts, I watch a lot of videos. A few months ago I came across a few videos about the wet plate collodion process and I was hooked! The results are so unique that I just had to participate in it myself.

Motion & Still Photographer Ivan Agerton’s Beautiful Portraits - And What We Can All Learn From Them

What inspires you to pick up your camera? For Ivan Agerton, it’s people – and for all the talk about convergence between the worlds of stills and motion, Ivan is doing it. His ‘stills from motion’ portraits are both a visually gorgeous treat with their sublime use of slow motion, and thought provoking in the connection with the subject Ivan has captured. Not just creating eye candy, Agerton is a fascinating character and provides a great example of the life we can all construct for ourselves – if you decide to take the plunge and go for it.

Advice for Recent Undergraduates

It's been a month since most undergraduates walked across the stage and received their diplomas. The glow is still there as summer ramps up, but will soon wear off as August approaches and they realize they will not be moving back to the alma mater. With summer in high gear let's take a look at what recent undergraduates can do to make sure they are successful moving forward.

Don’t be a Villain: 7 Things NOT To Do as a Wedding Photographer
When wedding photographers get together, we’re known to discuss (or debate) the things that can be a challenge in our line of work. Whether it’s videographers who’ve never met a telephoto lens or an Uncle Bob getting in the way of a shot, rest assured that we’ll be talking about it. But what about us? Do we ever stop to think what we might be doing to draw the ire of others in the event industry? I wanted to know when we were playing the role of the villain, so I asked a few prominent wedding planners - two in the U.S. and one from the U.K. - to give me the dirt.

CrossFit Head Staff Photographer Dave Re Helps Lead Media Team into the Future

Dave Re has a demanding job. He heads the photography team within the media department of one of the fastest growing sports in the history of sports. CrossFit (CF), a topic that I wrote about last month, is a fitness regimen that has gained extreme popularity in just a short time. Although Re never planned going to work every day as head staff photographer for CF Media, he has embraced it with open arms.

Working with What You’ve Got to Better Your Photography

There is no substitute for hard work when it come to being a photographer. In my opinion, the best way to improve your work is to shoot as much as possible. If you want to be a surf photographer, shoot surfers, if you want to be a portrait photographer, shoot portraits, and so on. However, for photographers just starting out, chances are it's going to take some time and experience to build your skills to the point where you are able to specialize in one thing. While this is not always the case, here are some tips to help you make the most of the simple things and improve your photography.

8 Common Client Objections and How to Overcome Them

As you build up your clientele, you will undoubtedly encounter a host of requests that can blindside you. Many photographers will learn quickly how being a good salesmen is just as vital to their business as the quality of their photographs. Below I have compiled a list of the most common customer concerns, and how to best overcome them while building value in yourself and in your brand.

Five Makeup Products Your Camera Bag Is Missing

Since I started doing makeup on most of my projects, I discovered that some very basic makeup tools could have helped me in a big way on previous shoots. Before learning about makeup I had absolutely no clue whatsoever on where or even how to apply some very simple cosmetic products. Looking back now, I see how much time I have lost in Photoshop not knowing these simple things. My goal with this article is not to teach you makeup from A-to-Z but rather to give you a few easy tips you or your models can use to diminish your postproduction time. Less time in front of the computer means more time behind your camera, and who does not want that?

Help Your Photography Business Succeed by Collaborating With Other Professionals
If you’re just an average photographer like me, you’re going to have to do a lot more to succeed in the photography world than taking more workshops and attending more conferences. The true artists and creative geniuses of the photography world already have one up on you – raw talent. So what can the average Joes like you and I do to even begin to compete? Collaborate.