Download the 14 Secrets of Great Photography Today

After several months of working on my very first eBook, it's now available for download! Get it now for the special introductory price of $3.99! It's delivered in PDF format for maximum compatibility with all of your devices.

'd like to take a moment to share how the idea came to be. I was hired to teach on a cruise and mistakenly thought everyone would be super experienced. As such, I prepared all kinds of uber-technical presentations complete with instruction on histograms, grad ND filters, etc. After boarding the ship and meeting most of the passengers, I quickly realized most were passionate beginners. I retreated back to my cabin and came up with the concepts in this eBook. Sometimes it seems we operate best with our backs to the wall. 

Whether you’re a true beginner with a pocket sized camera, or a seasoned professional with years of experience, the 14 Secrets of Great Photography were designed to power you to the next level. Despite what the manufacturers want you to believe, creativity can't be withdrawn from an ATM machine. Strip away all of the marketing hype, instant rebates, and sales pitch propaganda, and you are left with a light gathering box. To create compelling art, we must train our mind, not the machine.

  • This book contains over 6,000 words and is fully illustrated with color images and assignments to expedite your progress. 
  • Available now for the special introductory price of $3.99!  
  • Delivered in PDF format for maximum compatibility with all your devices.

Why Did the Photo Lab Crop My Image?

If your printed photos look different from the version on your computer, the culprit may not be the lab.

On most DSLRs, an image straight out of the camera appears as a rectangle due to the 2:3 aspect ratio. When enlarged, this translates to an 8x12 print. This creates an issue for those who wish to make a standard 8x10 print. Your image is essentially too large to fit on the paper. As such, the lab has no choice but to cut two inches off of the photo. Those two inches may very well be part of your subject's head, making for undesirable results. 

The solution: If you are interested in making 8x10 or 16x20 prints, shoot a bit loose, leaving several inches of empty space around your subject. When the lab crops to your desired print size, they won't have to cut into your subject.

Extra room for cropping

Extra room for cropping

After the crop to print at 8x10 or 16x20

After the crop to print at 8x10 or 16x20

Let Your Heart Be Light

The glow from a building mounted thermometer appeared to read 25 degrees. I pulled the hat down a bit lower, lowered my head further into the scarf and began to walk with purpose. Destination: 30 Rock

As I progressed further uptown, the crowds grew thicker. With that, cops, barricades, confused tourists; and the realization that it's Christmas in New York. It is at once pure madness and yet holiday bliss. It's a spectacle most rationale minds would avoid at all costs, but I make an exception to see it each year anyway.  In fact, I've reduced myself to a human sardine several times just to see the moment it was lit. Standing shoulder to shoulder with people from all over the world, it's apparent the tree has become a global symbol of Christmas. 

Due to the sheer volume of people, you have no choice but to keep moving. From above, this probably looks more like penguins shuffling along. With my camera to guide the way, I made one giant loop around the tree and found myself surprisingly close to it. I could actually smell the pine needles. 

To get a reasonably unobstructed view, I held the Olympus up over my head and used the tilt screen to compose. Tripods are not allowed here so I adjusted my settings to around 1/125, f5, ISO 3200. 

While I realize this all sounds like somewhat of a hassle, it's still one of my favorite holiday traditions along with watching National Lampoons Christmas Vacation, listening to Bing Crosby, and sipping some nog by the fire. Here's hoping you and your family also enjoy all the season has to offer, even the crazy parts. As Judy Garland sang so beautifully in Meet Me in St. Louis, "Let your heart be light". 

New Video: Behind the Forbes Cover Shoot

Last week I shared an article detailing what I learned as a Photo Assistant for Forbes. In this new video, you can hear about the event from the perspective of Editor Randall Lane. He talks about the momentous occasion of bringing together the worlds’ philanthropic titans for the cover shoot of Forbes' annual philanthropy issue. 

The Good, Bad, and the Gritty

Recent studies show how one's level of grit and determination can predict success more accurately than an IQ score. While this theme may have been played out in countless Hollywood movies (Rocky 1-6 anyone?), it's worth exploring from a photographer's perspective as well.  

Like all worthwhile pursuits, photography has its fair share of pitfalls. They come at you fast with technical challenges such as aperture, hyperfocal distance scales, histograms, aspect ratios, etc. For some, this is daunting enough to bubble along blissfully on automatic mode. Of course this creates its own set of issues including unpredictable results, and an inability to properly speak the language of photography. It's those who can find the courage to keep going despite the continuous challenges that ultimately succeed as professionals. 

Want to see where you stand? Take the free grit test here

The Most Underrated Mirrorless Camera on the Market

After a few months of using the Olympus OMD EM-10, I've had ample time to evaluate my first experience with a Mirrorless camera. Since picking it up in August, I've rarely left the house without it. To keep things ultra small and stealthy, I started with just one lens, the Olympus 17mm f2.8.  The funny thing is, according to many forums and posts, the camera is repeatedly referred to as "entry level" and the lens also takes a bad rap. Rather than countering this with my opinion, I thought I'd let the images speak for themselves. 

The Last Leaf of Autumn

I'm always intrigued at the similarities between big cats and their domestic counterparts. The way they move, play, and even sleep is nearly identical. Still, I must admit to being rather surprised to find this powerful Tiger carefully holding a lone leaf beneath its paw.  Photographed at the Bronx Zoo with a Canon 6D and 70-200mm f2.8.

Looking Back

I believe it's possible to look back on occasion and still live in the present moment. I'm not talking about an all-out trip down memory lane, but rather a quick glance. It only needs to be long enough to see how far you've come.  

Elevate Your Photography by Shooting from Above

From above, the distractions that plague typical compositions are no longer an issue. Instead of people walking in front of your camera, they become an interesting part of the landscape. Unsightly power wires that often interrupt a beautiful sky, now blend into the foliage below. Best of all, the expansive beauty of your scene opens up before your lens. This enables one to explore a nearly endless variety of compositions. Read the full tutorial over on the PicsArt blog

Erice, Sicily

Erice, Sicily