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Electrify a Blog with Your Great Photography

Josh Leo is one of my blogging heroes. He's taken his video camera around the world, and produced some of the most well-paced body of videos I've ever seen in a travel blog. Josh captures a sense of story with his shots, and you get to experience his personal reactions to what he encounters, whether it's explaining the rationale for visiting a specific location or confessing his weakness for local pastries.
I selected one of his videos on the beautiful mountain-lakeside town of Halstatt, Austria to illustrate his strong sense of story and his superb visual rhythm, synchronizing his cuts and pacing with well-chosen pieces of music. If you like to take photographs and/or videos, jump into the blogging waters and splash around. Blogs are wonderful venues for showing off your work, allowing you to explain what went on in the real world outside of the photograph, and giving you an opportunity to fully express yourself through your passion.

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Jesse Kalisher: Pro Photographer Secrets

I found that the "secrets" in the following Jesse Kalisher video were really essential tips for taking better photographs and growing as a professional. The North Carolina pro-photographer-and-globetrotter's secrets include:
  1. Take a lot of pictures. Some of your photos will be keepers and capture the scene in a way you could never have imagined possible. You'll see one of Jesse's photos of the Taj Majal showing a flock of birds in flight that didn't attract his attention at first; he was too busy looking at the seven workers in the foreground.
  2. Have your camera always ready. Hang it on a strap around your neck, have your film or digital card loaded and primed, and know that you just might walk into something amazing. Develop the reflex to lift the camera up and start taking pictures right away.
  3. Look behind you - sometimes that's where the best picture might be. I love the example Jesse gives of taking a picture of a man approaching him with a water buffalo - but then he turned around and took another amazing picture of the pair walking off into the sunset. In other words, be prepared to explore all angles of your subject.
  4. Keep learning. Jesse talks about the need to avoid the phobia of reading and understanding every setting, button, and trick in your camera manual so you'll know what your equipment is capable of producing. The latest generation of digital cameras are sophisticated, computer-driven instruments, and mastering the owner's manual is important. I might add that once you have the technical aspects down cold, it's vital to let your creativity kick in so you direct the camera to do your bidding.
  5. Have fun. Photography should be about capturing the joy inside of you as you witness an amazing subject. Your photographs should transport the viewer to where you are emotionally as well as physically. Becoming a professional photographer is all about cultivating passion and enjoyment, and doing your best work in that exalted inner space.

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Making Bridal Memories in Monaco, the Hamptons and Washington DC

Alex and Matthew truly had a dream wedding.
The Casino in Monaco provided the dream setting for their July 3, 2010 wedding.
This is one of my favorite photographs of the day.

Clay Blackmore
- Almost a year ago, I was at the third wedding celebration for my clients Matthew and Alexa. The first was in Monaco (see three photo highlights of the actual wedding above), the second was in the Hamptons, and that September weekend, they celebrated in DC. Here are some photographs from that special DC gathering.

We found ourselves in the mix early for decoration pictures, and we had the privilege of working with the renowned chef, Wolfgang Puck. You know me - I never miss a chance to make a portrait of a celebrity. I simply stood him behind a large decorated table and used flash on camera, bounced in my new Rogue light modifier. A tripod and long exposure was the key. The portrait worked out great. My buddy Calvin Hayes made a picture of me taking the photograph, and he caught Wolfgang’s expression as he viewed the images on the back of the camera. He was anxious to see the image. I must say, he was a great sport and he loved the picture!

The Rat Pack strolled by as part of the event's entertainment, and I couldn’t miss the opportunity of having a picture made with "Sammy Davis" and "Frank Sinatra." Amaryllis, the florists, created an outstanding backdrop for the party - and even the couple's florists from France joined the florists from DC for a fun evening. The client tented the Newseum at 555 Pennsylvania Avenue for the event - it was like a living room with the best view in Washington. The guests were treated to an amazing evening, the sunset was sent from Heaven above, and the party started rocking when Lady Bunny took the helm as the DJ and dance queen. Fireworks surprised us all! One of the fun attractions was seeing the couple watch our video of their wedding; plasmas were placed strategically around the tent for great viewing - and you'll see what they saw below.


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Taking Creative Control of Your Imaging Equipment

Photo: Chuck DeLaney, NYIP DirectorWhat does it mean to be a photographer or a videographer? It's partly knowing how to use your equipment, but it's primarily having confidence in yourself and calling the creative shots. As we teach at the New York Institute of Photography, equipment can't make important decisions about shutter speed, aperture, panning, framing, zooming, focusing, filters, or cropping. It's all in your hands; you've only to get your brain and creativity in gear to capture memorable shots or shoot wow-inducing, well paced footage.
We have some tips for photographers as autumn rolls around. Before you know it, leaves will begin to turn color, and there will be some creative and technical decisions to make as you venture out to shoot Nature's blaze of glory. Be sure to look at our popular Fall Photo Tips article for practical how-to suggestions, and here's some inspirational video footage by Finland's Joona Vainio, taken with a Canon HV30 ... but creatively controlled by Joona. 

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Hurricane Irene, Meet Big Storm Photographer Jim Edds!

Photo: Jim Edds Do you have a favorite Hurricane Irene story to relate? If you're an East Coaster, you're likely to be talking about this big storm for years to come. And if you're photographer Jim Edds, you probably got out into the thick of it and shot photographs.

Jim falls into several categories: adrenaline junkie, happy professional photographer, and proud graduate of the New York Institute of Photography. His road to photo fulfillment was a rocky one, however. When his research chemist position in the paint industry moved from the perfect beach location in Pensacola, FL, Jim decided not to follow. His eight months of unemployment “convinced me that life is too short not to do what you loved for a living.”

Edds had always enjoyed underwater photography, and he found an Environmental Specialist position with the Department of Environmental Regulation in the Florida Keys. He began to photograph
underwater subjects in earnest while enrolling in his NYIP course. 

“That course was key to my future success as a working Pro. At NYIP they teach you all forms of photography—not just outside.”

Jim now embraces photography for a living, and he chases hurricanes, waterspouts, freediving teams, and extreme weather subjects. His still and video work has been published in a wide range of outlets, including National Geographic, The Weather Channel, ESPN, Outside, Maxim, Discovery Channel, ABC News, Fox News, and The Travel Channel.

Here's a dramatic photo Jim just took of the eye of Hurricane Irene from Hope Town, Bermuda.

The following video includes some of Jim's footage, provided to the National Hurricane Center for this piece on Hurricane Storm Surge.


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