Click it Up a Notch http://clickitupanotch.com Photography Tips: Basic Photography Tips Wed, 17 Dec 2014 15:15:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Why I’m Starting a Photography Project I know I Won’t Finish http://clickitupanotch.com/2014/12/its-not-failing-if-you-try/ http://clickitupanotch.com/2014/12/its-not-failing-if-you-try/#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 15:11:32 +0000 http://clickitupanotch.com/?p=15486 Author information
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I combined my passion of teaching and photography to create this website. I invite you to take this 30 day challenge - The Unexpected Everyday
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I fell in love with photography in 2009. I learned all I could and found out about the Project 365. On January 1, 2010 I started what was to be one of the best things for my photography, a Project 365. You take a photo everyday for a year. That is it. Simple. No rules, just take a photo each day.

I loved it.

I started a photography blog to post my daily images and connect with others who were taking on the challenge. I met some of my favorite photography friends by doing this project. We encouraged each other and cheered each other on.

I captured moments I know I would have missed. I froze the most simple ordinary moments of life into images that I now treasure.

Each year after 2010, I have attempted to complete another 365. Yes, attempted. I have not completed another one. Yet, year after year I keep setting a goal to start and finish another one.

Why repeat this insanity when I clearly keep failing each year?

Because, I’m not failing. I still have images I would have never taken if not having challenged myself to pick up my camera everyday.

There is something magical about those ordinary images you capture because you “had” to take a photo for the day. Whether is it the toys left on the floor because you forgot to take the photo until after the kids went to bed or maybe the sleepy photo of your little one sleeping because you know the only time you have to capture a photo was during nap time.

It doesn’t matter how far you make it. Maybe you go to day 287 or day 8 either way you will be thankful for the images you take.

Instead of looking at the project and thinking, there is NO WAY I can take a photo everyday for a year so I’m not going to even try, think about how far you could make it. Think about the images you will capture because you “had” to.

Not every image is going to be portfolio worthy and that is okay. The important thing is you are picking up your camera each and everyday to challenge yourself.

These ordinary everyday moments you won’t get back. Tackle a project that challenges you.

Please remember just because you don’t complete a Project 365 doesn’t mean you failed. It means you captured (insert number of days you made it) images that you may not have taken other wise. I would call that a success.

Plus, I promise you, by picking up your camera everyday you will improve your photography skills.

So January 1, 2015 I will start my 5th Project 365. Will you be joining me?

Link up with others taking on the project. Comment and encourage each other. They will need your help!

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Read some 365 photography tips:

How to start a photography blog
11 tips for completely a Project 365
Tips to make your 365 photography project a success
#1 tip for completing a Project 365
Project 365 journaling cards
365 Photography Project Tips

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Limit Your Creativity to Push Your Creativity http://clickitupanotch.com/2014/12/limit-your-creativity-to-push-your-creativity/ http://clickitupanotch.com/2014/12/limit-your-creativity-to-push-your-creativity/#comments Mon, 15 Dec 2014 13:00:01 +0000 http://clickitupanotch.com/?p=15449 Author information
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I am a natural light photographe. I spend my days with my 3 “littles” searching for the mundane moments I can make extraordinary through my lenses. I enjoy editing my photos in Lightroom just as much as I love shooting them! On a personal note– I love coffee, reading non-fiction and Justin Timberlake on SNL.
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We are  all familiar with the common mantra that “creativity knows no boundaries” and while I whole-heartedly agree,  I have also found that I can pull myself out of creative ruts by imposing limits on my creativity. Sometimes boundless freedom to photograph whatever I want leaves me almost paralyzed; I don’t really know where to start. When I challenge myself to create something with a few constraints my brain takes it as a challenge and produces work I might not have otherwise been able to create.

I discovered how much I liked limits while on a road trip about a year ago. I am the typical Mom in the front passenger seat for the ride. My husband drives and I hand snacks back to the kids and occasionally try to referee a fight. It gets pretty boring after a while.

So on this particular trip, I pulled out my camera to look at photos I’d already taken to try to pass the time. I glanced out the window and saw a beautiful sunset and thought I’d try to capture it. But before I could get my camera settings ready to go-the scene had changed and there were trees in my way.  I was annoyed I had missed it, but realized  I wasn’t going anywhere (seeing as how I was strapped into the seat and all!) so I sat with my camera and waited for the scene to change again. And sure enough, as a few minutes later we were in a clearing and I was able to capture this:

 

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I was hooked!! Hooked on seeing what I could capture while I had all these constraints, or limits, placed on me:

1. I was in a box. A literal box with wheels. We “creatives” always want to do things out of the box-but this exercise really pushed me to create while in a box.

2. I was strapped in. I absolutely forbid you get out of your seatbelt to try to get a shot while riding in the car. I don’t care if you pass by a unicorn sliding down a rainbow-DO NOT take your seatbelt off.

3. The scene changes every second…so it’s a rush to try to capture what you want before you’ve passed it by.

4. You are shooting through your window.  That creates another layer of challenges because you have to determine whether you want the side mirrors in your shot or the darkened top of the windshield visible-it makes cropping and composing more difficult than normal.

5.  For me, I was shooting unfamiliar subjects. Until this point, I had only taken  portraits of my children. I had never shot a landscape and had no real desire to. So taking photos of the world passing my by was really a giant step outside of what would normally inspire me to pick up my camera.

 

So with all those limits, I found I was really forced to use my creativity in ways I typically didn’t. I started looking for things to photograph other than just the scene itself. I started using those trips in the car to focus on color, shapes, lines, textures and patterns. So many options opened up to me when I imposed limits on my creativity.

Here a few examples of when I focused solely on lines:

 

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These are from my study on color:

 

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In these photos, I was trying to see how many ways I could capture the clouds:

 

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And here I challenged myself to photograph the atmosphere:

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If you find yourself on a road trip over the holidays, do yourself a favor and keep your camera accessible for the ride! This may be my favorite article that I’ve written because I absolutely LOVE to take these types of photographs. You will learn so much by giving yourself creative limits.

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I am a natural light photographe. I spend my days with my 3 “littles” searching for the mundane moments I can make extraordinary through my lenses. I enjoy editing my photos in Lightroom just as much as I love shooting them! On a personal note– I love coffee, reading non-fiction and Justin Timberlake on SNL.
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365 Photography Project Tips http://clickitupanotch.com/2014/12/365-photography-project-tips/ http://clickitupanotch.com/2014/12/365-photography-project-tips/#comments Fri, 12 Dec 2014 13:00:47 +0000 http://clickitupanotch.com/?p=15431 Author information
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They say that if you really want to get good at something, you have to practice, practice, practice. Practicing helps you perfect a skill. It helps you grow. It helps you learn. So what is the best way to both polish up your photography skills and boost your photo taking inspiration all at once? Why not challenge yourself to complete a 365 photography project!? Yes, that’s right! Take one photo a day, every single day, for an entire year.

I know it sounds like a commitment. And to be honest, it is a big one. But don’t feel overwhelmed! I am going to share some great tips to help make completing your 365 photography project so much easier. I will share the ways that I stayed organized and disciplined throughout the year, how I stayed inspired to keep taking my daily photo even when I wanted to quit, and what app you simply have to have to complete your 365 photography project. I will also tell you why deciding to do my 365 photography project was the best decision that I have made as a photographer to date.

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365 Photography Project Tips via Click it Up a Notch

365 photography project tips

365 photography project 01

1. Build a routine.
First of all, it has to be said that starting a 365 photography project is like starting a diet. The first few days are great, then week two sets in and you just don’t want to take a photo that day, then on day 80 you want to quit all together. That’s the way it was for me, anyways! But, just like a diet, it gets easier once you build a routine. Taking my Project 365 photo quickly became a part of my daily routine, just like eating breakfast. So how do you do that?

Encourage yourself to post your 365 photography project photo at the same time every day, to build a routine. For me, I told myself I would post my photo to Instagram at 9:30 am or 4:00 pm every day. I know this may sound strict, but it created a habit. Because I was posting my photo around the same times every day, it simply started becoming just another part of my normal day. I became so used to doing it, that I didn’t even think about it. Every day, everywhere I went, I was looking for a photo as I was going about my life.

Making your 365 photography project a habit and a part of your daily routine will help you immensely! So write it down! Write it on your calendar every single day! You will be amazed at how you will suddenly just complete your daily photo without having to be reminded.

Read how to start a blog for your 365 photography project.

365 photography project
2. Download the Collect App.
Having this app by my side throughout the year was one of the reasons why I was so successful with my 365 photography project. The Collect App is all about organization, organization, organization! This app allows you to actually place a photo on the calendar day that you took the photo. By the end of the month, you will have a calendar full of photos and it is so neat to look at! Not to mention, it really gives you a sense of accomplishment. If you are a visual person like me, you will love this app. I loved actually seeing that my calendar was filling up, day by day. It helped me to stay accountable because I didn’t want to have a blank day on my calendar.

365 photography project 1

3. Post your daily photos to social media.
There are so many other people who are trying to complete a 365 photography project like you are, especially on Instagram. Instagram is simply a fun community. It is all about people taking photos and sharing their little piece of the world with others. I cannot even begin to tell you how many people I’ve met through Instagram. More importantly, this community can be so supportive and inspiring when it comes to your 365 photography project. Posting my 365 photography project photos to Instagram every day also really helped me to feel accountable. Since others knew I was doing a 365 photography project, I felt encouraged to keep clicking my camera and posting daily. It is also really fun to see what other people think of your photo. The positive comments and support of fellow Project 365’ers will keep you motivated to keep taking photos!

4. Join a group that provides photo prompts.
There are so many groups on Instagram that provide daily photo prompts that can be very helpful. I am going to be honest here, there are just going to be some days when you just need someone to tell you what to take a photo of. It is natural and okay to feel uninspired some days, so having a photo prompt can be really helpful. I am not saying that you have to follow the prompt every single day, but sometimes those prompts can be great back-up plans. For my 365 photography project, I started out by using the daily photo prompts and, about halfway through the year, I just started doing my own thing and taking photos of my everyday without relying on prompts. Either way is just fine. It is your 365 photography project, so you can make the rules!

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5. When in doubt, make a spreadsheet.
Yes, I am a little too organized for my own good! Remember those daily photo prompts I was telling you about? Well, during the very first month of my 365 photography project I decided to write all of the prompts down every week in my daybook so I would always know what my photo goals were. It was helpful to see what types of photos I was supposed to take throughout the week. And because I follow a lot of different photography forums that provide prompts, I made a little spreadsheet to organize what prompts belonged to what forums. It made it really easy for me to decide every morning what prompt I wanted to use to inspire my photo. Some forums provide all of their prompts at the beginning of the month, and some provide them weekly.

365 photography project 2

6. Pick a camera, any camera!
When I started my 365 photography project, I decided to use my iPhone to take my pictures. I thought that the daily challenge of taking a photo was going to be a challenge enough, without having to upload a photo from my DSLR and edit it. So for the first seven months of my Project 365, I was iPhone only. But in the middle of the summer, I was feeling as if the project wasn’t challenging me as much anymore. Taking a photo was simply my daily routine at that point. Dare I say, I was getting a little bored? So I changed it up a bit and picked up my DSLR. I decided to challenge myself to use my Nikon every single day.

I tell you this because some people decide to complete their 365 photography project with one camera or another, whether it is a cell phone or a DSLR. But do what is best for you and your photography journey. If you want to get better at iphoneography, pick up your phone! If you want to learn more about your DSLR, pick up your DSLR! Remember what I said earlier? It is your Project 365, so you get to make the rules! And it must be said that I am so glad that I made the switch from iPhone to DSLR. Just by picking up my camera every day to take photos has given me an even better understanding of how my Nikon functions. Plus, I have noticed a very big improvement in my photography, and that’s exactly what a Project 365 is all about!

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7. Reward yourself.
You deserve it! Yep, I bribed myself. To keep myself motivated throughout the year, I told myself that I would reward myself if I completed my Project 365. I told myself that, if I completed my Project 365, I would have a huge book of all of my 365 photos professionally made at the end of the year. And it really has kept me motivated. Honestly, it is not easy and throughout days 80 through 90 I kept telling my hubby that I wanted to quit. But then I thought, “I already have almost 100 photos completed. That is a lot of photos! I cannot quit now because that would be such a waste and I want those photos in my book!” And to be completely honest, it really got easier from that point on. Because every day is another photo closer to the finish line and the further you get into the year, the more likely you are going to complete it! Companies like Artifact Uprising and Blurb are great for photo books.

Even if your reward isn’t a book at the end, choose something to celebrate! Maybe it’s a new lens or a new camera bag! Choose something that will motivate you to get through days 80 to 90. And trust me when I say that it does get easier. In fact, I am going to do it again next year because I can’t imagine my day without it now.

8. Forgive yourself if you miss a day.
It is going to happen because life happens. There are going to be days when you cannot take a photo and that is okay. Just try not to let that one day turn into a week, that turns into a month. It is really hard to catch up once you miss that much! Just plan accordingly. There was a month where I knew I was going to be out of town for 15 days of it. And you know you are a photographer when the first thing you worry about is how you are going to fit your daily photo into your travel routine. But some days I took zero photos, and other days I took two. I don’t know about what other people think, but I personally think that it is just fine to take some photos ahead of time if you are worried about not being able to take a photo on a certain day. Just do the best you can and have fun doing it! Don’t let missing one day get you down, just catch up and keep going!

When I look back on this year and see my photos, I am astonished. As I look through the months of photos, I can see visual growth in my camera skill, my composition, my post-processing, and my personal style as a photographer. I can certainly say that I would not have grown this year like I did had I not challenged myself to do a Project 365. This project encouraged me to pick up my camera every single day. I learned things about my camera that I hadn’t known before and I have developed new skills that have helped me to be very successful during my professional photo sessions this fall season. Every day I am perfecting my skill by simply picking up my camera. I can’t wait to see what my photos look like a year from now!

To follow me on my photography journey with my Project 365, find me on Instagram! My name is @bethadilly and I would be happy to have you!

Read more 365 photography tips:

11 tips for completely a Project 365
Tips to make your 365 photography project a success
#1 tip for completing a Project 365
Project 365 journaling cards

blueline
365 photography project 5Beth Deschamp of {beth} a-dilly photography – Guest Post
This curly haired blonde and blue-eyed girl is most content when she is making memories with her little family. Starbucks iced soy chai, paperback books, Instagram, almond vanilla cupcakes, blogging, a glass of bold red wine and snuggling a puppy in her lap are just a few of her favorite things. Her favorite thing about being a photographer is being able to portray the beauty of ordinary things in everyday life. Becoming a photographer has helped her to see the beauty in the little things, and that is a life lesson she will always be grateful for.
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Depth of Field for Beginners http://clickitupanotch.com/2014/12/depth-of-field/ http://clickitupanotch.com/2014/12/depth-of-field/#comments Wed, 10 Dec 2014 13:00:07 +0000 http://clickitupanotch.com/?p=15319 Author information
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If you are anything like me, understanding depth of field (DOF) was one of the biggest hurdles you had to overcome when learning the technical aspects of photography and shooting in manual mode. I would read explanations online, see links to calculators, hear it described as “shallow” or “deep” and couldn’t make sense of it all.

One day it just clicked. I’m not sure where or when, but I have a much better grasp on it now. I love using that knowledge to positively impact my own personal art as well as the art I create for my clients. My goal with this article is to explain DOF in a way that will make it “click” for you, if it hasn’t already.
Explaining depth of field starts with defining certain terms and moves to describing some things that affect depth of field.

Depth of field definitions

Focal Plane: Distance from the camera at which the sharpest focus is attained

In the photo below, the exact location of the focal plane is obvious.

Depth of field by Cinnamon Wolfe via Click it Up a Notch

Depth of Field: Range of distances on either side of the focal plane that are “acceptably sharp.” (“Acceptably sharp” is where the confusion begins.) Another way to state this would be: the area behind and in front of your focus point that is in focus as well. Even though every photograph is two-dimensional, it portrays a three-dimensional world. The distance between the camera and the subject and the distance behind the subject to the “end” of the photo is the “depth” of the photo. The amount of depth that is in focus is the depth of field.

In the above photo, the whole “in focus” area is the depth of field.

What affects your DOF:
Aperture: In my opinion, this has by far has the greatest impact on DOF
Distance from subject: How far you are standing away from what you want to focus on. Although seemingly obvious, it is easy to underestimate the effect of distance on your DOF.

Depth of field by Cinnamon Wolfe via Click it Up a Notch

Depth of field by Cinnamon Wolfe via Click it Up a Notch

In each of the photos above, I stood increasingly farther back. You can easily see the corresponding increasing depth of focus.

All of the above photos were taken with my Sigma Art 35mm 1.4 at the following settings: f/1.4 | ISO 400 | ss 1/200

Focal length: Some research indicates that focal length does not affect DOF, and to an extent I agree. But for practicality sake focal length does appear to have an effect on DOF so I will briefly discuss that here as well.

Sensor Size: I believe this has the least impact on depth of field, primarily because most photographers don’t routinely switch (alternate) between crop sensor and full frame. Changes in DOF depend on whether you use a crop or full frame; but if you use only one sensor most of the time, it will not greatly affect your work.

Understanding how aperture affected my DOF was relatively easy for me to grasp. Standing in the same place, using the same lens, with my subject the same distance from me, it was easy to see how much of my image would be in focus if I switched between f/1.4 and f/5.6. However, changing my distance to subject or throwing a different focal length into the mix left my head spinning.

Here are some good examples of how changing your distance to subject can affect your depth of field.

In this first photo (of my handsome, always willing-to-model-for-me husband) I moved in really close and focused on his eye. As you can clearly “see” (pun definitely intended!), his eye is the only thing in focus in this image. That’s because I was shooting at f/1.4 while standing very close to him. (One of my favorite things to do!!) Since my DOF is wafer thin and his face has a lot of “depth,” only his eye is in focus. Everything else in the photo is either in front of or behind that focus point and thus blurred.

Depth of field by Cinnamon Wolfe via Click it Up a Notch

For this second image, I took two steps back and kept my camera settings essentially the same. I focused on his far eye in this image. Notice how more of the image appears in focus. However, since I had him at an angle and was shooting at such a wide aperture, my DOF is still pretty thin. Because of the angle, his front eye is not sharply focused. Other areas, like his hair and ear and neck/shoulder line, are in focus. Those are all on the same focal plane with his eye. When looking at the photo, however, his face should be the main focus. Because of the varying depths involved and my wide aperture, the image does not appear pleasantly sharp. If he had stood directly parallel to me, both eyes might have been in focus. If I had increased my DOF by closing my aperture to f/2.5, his whole face might have been in much sharper focus.

Depth of field by Cinnamon Wolfe via Click it Up a Notch

For this final image I took a couple of steps back from my subject. You can readily see that my DOF is much greater at this distance. Almost all of his entire (studly) body is in really good shape (er…make that sharp) focus. The rest of the image blurs away beautifully to create a really pleasing separation of subject from background.

Depth of field by Cinnamon Wolfe via Click it Up a Notch

I shot all of these images with my Sigma Art 35mm 1.4 lens at these settings: f/1.4 | ISO 640 | ss 1/100

If I had taken the same shots, with the same settings, standing in the same places with a 50mm lens or an 85mm lens, the DOF would appear shallower (thinner) for each of the images.

Hopefully these examples have helped you unlock the mystery of depth of field and create more of the images you love!

blueline
IMG_2110Cinnamon Wolfe – Guest Post
I am a natural light photography junkie living in the middle of the high desert of California. Wife to an energetic Army husband, stepmom to an awesome teenager and pet mom to two silly pups, my days are never the same in the best way possible. When not behind a camera, I occupy my time by laughing, asking deep questions, drinking coffee and reading books. I will never turn down dark chocolate or stinky cheese.
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Critique Me – Portia Silver http://clickitupanotch.com/2014/12/critique-portia-silver/ http://clickitupanotch.com/2014/12/critique-portia-silver/#comments Mon, 08 Dec 2014 15:24:37 +0000 http://clickitupanotch.com/?p=15472 Author information
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Remember:
-Read How to Critique a Photo
-Make a critique sandwich – something positive, something you would have done differently, something positive
-My rule: no improvement tip = deleted comment
-This will benefit the person leaving the photo critique just as much if not more than the person receiving the critique.
-If you would like to have an image critiqued be sure to read How to submit an image for critique.

Thanks to Portia for submitting the following image.
Settings: ISO 200 | f/5.3 | SS 1/160
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Photography Pricing Tips http://clickitupanotch.com/2014/12/photography-pricing-tips/ http://clickitupanotch.com/2014/12/photography-pricing-tips/#comments Fri, 05 Dec 2014 13:00:28 +0000 http://clickitupanotch.com/?p=15419 Author information
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When it comes to starting a photography business one of the biggest struggles you may encounter is what to charge. Photography pricing can range from couple dollars to a couple of thousand. The key is figuring out what you need to charge so you can be profitable and not get burnt out.

If I could go back in time 15+ years and give my just-graduating-photography-school-self some advice, it would be this.

1. Don’t take on every client that is willing to pay you.
2. Find a specialty and get really good at it.
3. Low pricing implies low quality (i.e. don’t give everything away).
4. Most importantly, value your time.

Photography pricing tips by Jenni Maroney via Click it Up a Notch

When I first started in photography, I had the “just stay busy, and all will work out” mindset. If an inquiry came in for pet photography, I said yes. Babies? Sure! Weddings? Absolutely! Sports and school photography? Why not! All the while, charging a bare minimum, which (I didn’t realize at the time) didn’t even come close to covering my costs. If only I had realized that low pricing implies low quality, I could have saved myself a lot of time and money.

Although I had found my niche and was continuing to develop my style, I struggled for years trying to find the “perfect price” to charge for my photography services. Even after years of experience and many thousands of dollars spent on my photography education, I found it difficult to believe in the value of, not only my artwork, but also my time. I often let clients “negotiate” pricing with me, which always turned into a nightmare. I spent many, many sleepless nights wondering if I was charging enough to make a profit. I could never seem to figure out photography pricing.

Let’s be honest, we’ve all gone to our competitors websites and checked out their pricing and thought, “Should I change my pricing to be more like theirs?” After years of struggling with photography pricing, I finally realized that the problem with this scenario (well, there are many) is that we have absolutely no knowledge of how profitable the other photographer may (or may not) actually be.

Unfortunately, many photographers (including the old me) are not valuing their time and services appropriately. It is our responsibility, as professional photographers to determine the costs associated with delivering high-quality products and experience, and charge appropriately for them.

Photography pricing tips by Jenni Maroney via Click it Up a Notch

So, the big question is, how to set your photography pricing and be profitable? Well, the answer is quite simple.

Photography pricing steps

1. Write a business plan and check it often.
If we don’t know where we’re going, we are bound to get lost. Even if it’s just a couple scribbled pages in a notebook with goals and how you plan to achieve them, that’s a great start.

2. Know and fully understand where each and every dollar is coming from and going to within your business.
If you have no idea what your expenses actually are, the number of hours invested in every photo session start to finish (from inquiry to delivery), it would be extremely difficult to actually be profitable. Guessing at photography prices (or basing them on someone else’s) is bound to get you in trouble. Each photographer has a different list of expenses and a different business plan. Continuing to charge “made up” numbers and hoping that someday these numbers just miraculously add up to a desired salary sounds a little far fetched (I speak from experience).

Photography pricing tips by Jenni Maroney via Click it Up a Notch

If the thought of running your numbers is overwhelming, take a deep breath; this will be well worth the work, I promise. You can (and must) do this for your business to be profitable. To figure out what you need to charge for your photography services and products to be profitable follow these steps.

The break down

1. You will need to make a list of all of your expenses (monthly business expenses, fixed yearly expenses, personal expenses, salary, etc.). Factor in the number of hours you plan to work each month.

2. Once you know your hourly rate, you can make a list of all of the products you wish to offer your clients.

3. Now, calculate all of the fixed expenses associated with ordering that product.

4. Then factor in the time associated with creating each product, charged at your hourly rate.

5. Once you have these numbers, you’ll know the minimum amount you can charge for that product.

6. Lastly, put together some packages based on your new product pricing.

7. At this point, you can define your desired yearly salary, divided by your package prices to determine how many sessions per month you’ll need to book to reach your goals.

Photography pricing tips by Jenni Maroney via Click it Up a Notch

Please remember that your time is very valuable. It is the most valuable part of your business. This is a lesson I have learned the hard way. Let’s face it, if you’re leaving your family on the weekends to photograph somebody else’s, be sure it’s worth your time and makes sense for you and your business.

Best wishes on your photography pricing journey!

blueline
Jenni MaroneyGuest Post – Jenni Maroney
I have been a professional photographer for 15+ years and own of a portrait boutique in Niwot, Colorado (just north of Boulder), specializing in newborn and children’s photography. I am also a small business consultant to photographers. You can visit my website to purchase a workbook that will do the math for you and tell you what you need to be charging for your photography.
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Sky Overlays: Photoshop Tutorial http://clickitupanotch.com/2014/12/sky-overlays-photoshop-tutorial/ http://clickitupanotch.com/2014/12/sky-overlays-photoshop-tutorial/#comments Wed, 03 Dec 2014 13:00:39 +0000 http://clickitupanotch.com/?p=15398 Author information
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This post was written by a guest poster for Click it Up a Notch. If you are interested in writing a guest post, please email me with your idea at clickitupanotch@gmail.com
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I will admit I am just a bit obsessed with gorgeous skies. I mean really, who doesn’t enjoy looking at a colorful, creamy sky complementing their subject in the foreground?

The problem is that when we, as photographers purchase sky overlays we risk our images looking like other photographers work because many other photographers have that exact same sky overlay.

I will admit I have seen many images with skies that have a familiarity about them because I have seen that very same sky before but in other images. This is a bit of a problem because as a photographer I want my work to be unique, I don’t want people to gloss over my images because there is an element that might remind them of someone else’s work and therefore makes mine a bit less significant.

A quick note: An overlay is simply an image captured by camera or otherwise constructed in an editing program. In this tutorial we are using our sky images as overlays to create skies where they do not exist or could be enhanced.

I came up with a solution, to make my own sky overlays. The best part is, it’s so easy, and everyone can do it.

Sky overlays | Photoshop tutorials by Amanda Glisson via Click it Up a Notch

Create your own sky overlays

Taking the sky overlay image:
1. Choosing your lens.
When capturing sky overlays the objective is to get as much cloudy, fluffy goodness as you can fit into your lens, for this reason I prefer to use a lens with a wider focal length. I personally used a 35mm prime lens when capturing images of the sky for this project. Don’t be afraid to experiment. You can try a zoom lens to try and capture your sky at different focal lengths and see what you come up with, the sky is the limit!

2. Choosing the correct exposure.
Exposing correctly is always important and always a hot topic among photographers. When photographing skies it is easy to get “hot spots” or overly white areas of an image because of all of the white and bright areas caused by the clouds and sun. To resolve this I use the spot metering method and I will measure the light off of the brightest area of my image. This way I am guaranteed to have soft white clouds (not overly bright) and it is easy to lighten the shadows and dark areas in post processing later.

3. Location, location, location.
You would think a sky is a sky and who cares if you take an image of it in your backyard right!? Wrong! Unless your home has a huge, empty field behind it this is probably not a good idea. Why you ask? Well because to fit as much sky into your image you will need to capture your sky right along the horizon. Find a park or other area close by you can go to with little to no obstacles blocking the horizon and your sky overlays will look amazing!

4. Time of day.
OK so you can capture gorgeous images of the sky any time of day. But you will find after starting this project that you are at the whim of mother-nature and time (as photographers, when are we not)? Keep in mind the type of sky you are wanting to capture and make sure to go out on location during the right time of day. For example, if you are wanting a colorful, saturated orange sky, you are going to have to capture images of the sky during sunset or sunrise AND make sure there are actually clouds present otherwise you will just have images of the color orange.

Sky overlays | Photoshop tutorial by Amanda Glisson via Click it Up a Notch

Sky overlays | Photoshop tutorial by Amanda Glisson via Click it Up a Notch

Applying Your Sky Overlays in Photoshop

1. Placing your Overlay on the Image.
This step is very simple, first you should of course already have opened the image you wish to apply your sky overlay to. After you have uploaded and saved your sky images to your computer or hard drive, just go to file>place and navigate to your desired sky image and select ‘place’. You will now see your sky overlay appear directly on top of the original image.

Sky overlays | Photoshop tutorial by Amanda Glisson via Click it Up a Notch

2. Lower the opacity.
Now it is time to re-size the sky overlay to match your individual image. To do this you must lower the opacity of your overlay to see what your sky looks like in relation to the image, I usually readjust the opacity to 40% or so. Now that the opacity is lowered, I can better see what my sky will look like when applied to my image. At this stage I may choose to resize my overlay to fit the sky better using the move tool in Photoshop.

Sky overlays | Photoshop tutorial by Amanda Glisson via Click it Up a Notch

3. Add a Layer Mask.
Let’s face it, we all make mistakes and nobody is perfect (especially me when I haven’t had my coffee yet haha!) and for this reason I like to use a layer mask with all of my edits. Make sure to bring your layer opacity back up to 100% now. At this point I could easily choose my eraser tool and erase the parts of the sky overlay that do not line up with where the sky is on the original image, BUT if I make a mistake when erasing the edges of the sky overlay it’s going to be very hard and time consuming to fix, this to me is no good, time is money! So instead I am going to add a layer mask because it is very forgiving if I make a mistake or need to make a readjustment to my overlay anywhere in my edit. To add a layer mask go to Layer>Layer Mask>Hide all. You will notice that your sky overlay has disappeared, don’t worry, this is supposed to happen, I promise!

Sky overlays | Photoshop tutorial by Amanda Glisson via Click it Up a Notch

4. Paint on Your Sky, Easy as Pie.
Keep in mind when using layer masks, black conceals and white reveals. You will want to make sure you have selected your layer mask in your adjustments panel for this step (the black box next to your sky overlay). The box is black because your sky overlay is being concealed. To reveal or “paint on” your sky overlay where desired simply select a soft edged brush and select white for your brush color. Again it is very important you have your layer mask selected when painting otherwise you will literally paint white onto your image, yuck! Ready!?!? Start painting where you wish to apply your sky and voila! You may need to switch to a hard edged brush when painting near your subject or another area of your image where your sky and foreground intersect for a more clean line, just play around here, the most important thing is to have fun and enjoy your new overlays!

Sky overlays | Photoshop tutorial by Amanda Glisson via Click it Up a Notch

Before:
Sky overlays | Photoshop tutorial by Amanda Glisson via Click it Up a Notch

After:
Sky overlays | Photoshop tutorial by Amanda Glisson via Click it Up a Notch

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Amanda Glisson_ Guest post – Amanda Glisson
I am a momma of four rambunctious kiddos, wife to one ah-mazing and supportive hubby, workaholic (eep I need to work on this!) lover of the written word and self proclaimed Photoshop junkie.
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Critique Me – Felicia at Fel’s Photos http://clickitupanotch.com/2014/12/critique-felicia-fels-photos/ http://clickitupanotch.com/2014/12/critique-felicia-fels-photos/#comments Mon, 01 Dec 2014 15:03:18 +0000 http://clickitupanotch.com/?p=15391 Author information
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I combined my passion of teaching and photography to create this website. I invite you to take this 30 day challenge - The Unexpected Everyday
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Remember:
-Read How to Critique a Photo
-Make a critique sandwich – something positive, something you would have done differently, something positive
-My rule: no improvement tip = deleted comment
-This will benefit the person leaving the photo critique just as much if not more than the person receiving the critique.
-If you would like to have an image critiqued be sure to read How to submit an image for critique.

Thank you Felicia at Fel’s Photos for submitting the following image.
Settings: ISO 2000 | SS 1/50 | f/5.0
Felicia Moore

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I combined my passion of teaching and photography to create this website. I invite you to take this 30 day challenge - The Unexpected Everyday
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Photography Black Friday Deals http://clickitupanotch.com/2014/11/photography-black-friday-deals/ http://clickitupanotch.com/2014/11/photography-black-friday-deals/#comments Fri, 28 Nov 2014 13:49:43 +0000 http://clickitupanotch.com/?p=15365 Author information
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I combined my passion of teaching and photography to create this website. I invite you to take this 30 day challenge - The Unexpected Everyday
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Who doesn’t love a great deal? I thought it would make it a little easier for you and find some of my favorite companies and their photography black friday deals. They are all in one place for you. Some of these links are affiliate links so thanks in advance if you make a purchase and support Click it Up a Notch.

Photography Black Friday Deals

shutter bag
SHUTTER|bag$50 off no code needed
When it comes to camera bags these are the only ones I recommend. A high quality leather camera bag that is not only functional but super cute. I get stopped all the time asking where I get my bags. I know my gear is safe and I love that it doubles as an everyday bag. Feel free to email if you have any questions – info@shutterbagusa.com Valid through 12/1/14.

Start Capturing Life Now (300x250)

Clickin’ Moms ALL Membership – 30% off with coupon code: CYBERMONDAY14
I can honestly say I wouldn’t be where I am today in my photography had I not joined Clickin’ Moms and gotten a Lifetime membership. I was able to sign up first for the workshops I needed to keep growing in my photography journey. No matter what level photographer you are their forum of thousands of photographers are eager to help you. Valid through 12/1/14.


Fotostrap15% off with coupon code – BlackFriday15
One of my favorite camera straps. I love the timeless look of these straps and the leather neck piece has extra padding to make it even more comfortable. Another cool thing is how easy it is to attach to your camera since it uses buckles. Plus a portion goes to charity. Valid 11/28/14 only.

Screen shot 2014-11-28 at 10.49.48 AM
Abie Camera Strap$35 off with coupon code: GIVEVISION
Another one of my favorite camera strap companies. The colorful designs make these straps so unique. Plus 100% off the proceeds go to charity. That means when you purchase one of these straps you are giving back. If you like to buy gifts that give back than this is definitely one to look into. Valid through 12/15/14


Design Aglow15% off Frame and Paper shop with coupon code: THANKFUL
Time to print those photos and get them hanging on the walls. Check out the frame shop and take advantage of this sale. If you are in business impress your clients with their professional packaging and take the extra step to make sure your clients book you again.


Artifact Uprising10% off with coupon code: MERRY
These are so many cool and unique products at this store. I have already ordered the post card set to give to my little one so she can practice writing and stay in touch with family and friends. Plus they make amazing photo books and so much more. If you are looking for unique photo gift ideas you definitely need to check out Artifact Uprising.


Blurb20% off with coupon code CYBER20 or 25% off a purchase of $100+ with coupon code CYBER25
It’s time to get those pictures off your computer and into the hands of your loved ones. Image how much joy your kids will have flipping through the photos of their past year, vacation, or special event. My children love paging through our Blurb books and hearing the stories of their childhood. What a special gift to give them. Valid through 12/1/14.




Bluehost50% off Domains and Privacy
If you are wanting to start a photography blog than Bluehost is the place to start. They have the best customer service and make it so easy to purchase your own domain and start your website. So if starting a photography project in 2015 is on the agenda create your own space on the web to show off your work.

The Unexpected Everyday 650
The Unexpected Everyday50% off with coupon code: THANKFUL
If you are looking for a 30 day challenge that not only helps you capture the everyday moments of your kids but breaks down the different aspects of photography in an easy to understand manner, than you need to grab this while it’s on sale. This is the first time it has ever been this discounted. Valid 11/28/14 only.

blog planner-3
The Ultimate Blog Planner50% off with coupon code: THANKFUL
Get your blog and business organized for 2015. With areas to write down goals, social stats, editorial calendar and more this is more than just a calendar. Download your copy today. Valid 11/28/14 only.

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Critique Me – Whitney at Lulupop Photography http://clickitupanotch.com/2014/11/critique-whitney-lulupop-photography/ http://clickitupanotch.com/2014/11/critique-whitney-lulupop-photography/#comments Mon, 24 Nov 2014 15:26:23 +0000 http://clickitupanotch.com/?p=15348 Author information
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I combined my passion of teaching and photography to create this website. I invite you to take this 30 day challenge - The Unexpected Everyday
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Remember:
-Read How to Critique a Photo
-Make a critique sandwich – something positive, something you would have done differently, something positive
-My rule: no improvement tip = deleted comment
-This will benefit the person leaving the photo critique just as much if not more than the person receiving the critique.
-If you would like to have an image critiqued be sure to read How to submit an image for critique.

Thanks to Whitney at Lulupop Photography for submitting the following image.
Settings: ISO 4000 | SS 1/125 | f/ 2.8
Whitney at Lulupop Photography

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I combined my passion of teaching and photography to create this website. I invite you to take this 30 day challenge - The Unexpected Everyday
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