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ESSENTIALS For Photographers

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ESSENTIALS For Photographers

On-Assignment: Full-Sun Group Shot


If you have never done it before, lighting a group shot outdoors in full sun can be daunting. After all, sun is pretty bright. And your subject is pretty big and thus harder to light at a high level.

But with a leaf-shutter camera and a couple of battery powered monoblocs, you can easily own the sun and just about anything you can put under it.

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Using Sexy Light On The Beach


Behind The Scene Look: How I Got That Shot

The image you see below was created as part of an engagement session. It was towards the end of shoot when we were at a beach and sun had already gone down. The park visiting hours were already over and there was a cop driving everyone out. And it was cold, the chill factor in the wind was sending shivers down our spines. We quickly grabbed couple of shots and drove out of the park.

MPSingh Photography - Couple On The Beach

This shot was taken with the help of an off camera flash, Nikon SB900 inside a Lastolite 24″x24″ softbox, triggered with my trusted Pocket Wizards. The following is a lighting diagram showing the set up for this shoot.

MPSingh Photography - Couple On The Beach Lighting Diagram

The flash had a full cut CTO (color temperature orange) gel on it. I wanted to give the feel for the post dusk bluish night sky. So I turned my camera to tungsten white balance. This gives the blue tint to the whole image. To compensate the blue tone on the subjects and bring the skin color back to normal yellow/orange tones, the flash had the orange gel on it. The full cut CTO gel fully compensates for the tungsten white balance.

Another challenge was that we required the light to be very close to the couple and we wanted wide angle shot to include more of the background for context. So the assistant was in the picture.

MPSingh Photography - Couple On The Beach

The Photoshop Work

To fix that we took two shots, one with assistant lighting the couple and in the shot. Before the second shot, the assistant ran out of frame and switched off the light. So the second shot was taken with the couple without any light. Once we take these two shots it is very easy to do a composite in Photoshop:

1. Open both the images in Photoshop as layers, with the image with assistant as the top layer.

2. Auto align layers (Edit –> Auto-Align). When we don’t use a tripod there is always a slight movement of the camera and the frame changes. To compensate for that, we have to align the layers.

3. Once the layers are aligned, select the top layer and use layer mask to mask out the assistant. Now we are using everything else from this layer except area where assistant was. That area is picked up from the layer beneath.

4. Make other changes as required.

And, voilá, we have our final image. Do you have any questions? Feel free to ask below!

Author information

MP Singh

MP Singh

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Views, Reviews & Interviews For Photographers On Tiffinbox

Musea: Online Proofing, Lab & Gathering For Photographers


Michael Howard, a wedding photographer based in Nashville, Tennessee founded Musea, an online proofing solution for busy photographers.

Instead of establishing the same old basic business model that tonline proofing systems have followed, where a photographer pays the host a monthly sum and also surrenders a portion of the sales profits as commission, Michael chose to dedicate 2% of the 16% commission he receives towards Plus, he eliminated monthly fees!

Among the topics Michael and I covered when we recently spoke were his intentions to start Musea, the new offering called Musea Lab and lastly the intimate conference he calls Musea Gathering that will take place from February 22nd through February 25th in San Francisco.

Want to learn more about how Musea is serving serious photographers like you? Listen to the many podcast interviews Michael has conducted with industry leaders.

MUSEA Gatherings are for those photographers that want to bring more intimacy into their work. Weddings and portraiture photography trends currently put much of the focus on amazing locations and the people are often interchangeable. Gatherings take a different approach by encouraging photographers to find vulnerability, connection and humanity in those we document.

PLEASE NOTE: For the next 24 hours, you can apply to win a seat at the Musea Gathering. Enter the scholarship giveaway now!

Author information

Seshu | Editor, Curator & Publisher

Seshu | Editor, Curator & Publisher

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Views, Reviews & Interviews For Photographers On Tiffinbox

Worth a look: Kola Superdeep by Sergey Novikov


Please visit dvafoto for more.

Russian photographer Sergey Novikov wrote in a little while ago to share his project Kola Superdeep. The project offers a glimpse into a remote area in Russia’s Murmansk Oblast above the Arctic Circle that is home to one of the deepest holes ever drilled on Earth. Drilling and research in the area, which borders Norway and Finland, was abandoned in 2008, but a small population remains and Norilsk Nickel continues some mining operations which have a devastating effect on the landscape.

Take a look at the project and be sure to look at the rest of Novikov’s work. I particularly like his series of street portraits in Moscow and Grassroots, a look at Russian soccer fields, which reminds me of Hans van der Meer’s European Fields.


Six weeks in business: Podcast 293


  • Creative Marketing Podcast - Supporting you to crack your combination code and share your story with the world. We are about digital marketing, social media and business ideas for creative professionals.
  • Time: 20:00
  • Podcast host: Rosh Sillars
  • Show notes:, Pinterest promoted pins, Facebook.
  • Twitter @roshsillars
  • iTunes Marketing Podcast -  subscription (free)
  • Comment line: 64-newrosh-1 (646 397 6741)
  • Email Rosh Sillars
  • Cool marketing company:
  • Rosh Sillars Speaking sample video 2:06 minutes

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Grow your business with these 11 uncomfortable ideas

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Building a business is not easy. Sometimes you need to grow your business by doing things that are not comfortable to you. It’s like eating your spinach. You may not like it, but it’s good for you.

I’ve compiled a list of actions that make many business people uncomfortable. Most followers of this blog are creative professionals, such as photographers, writers and designers. They love to create. Unfortunately, they don’t like the business side of things. Being told what to do or how to do things is something they avoid.  That is why they start their own creative business (often forgetting the business part).  Sadly, many people go into business for the wrong reasons and are unwilling to do what it takes to create success.

Let’s fix that.

Here are 11 things that tend to make business owners uncomfortable and a few solutions:

Ask for the sale: You have a great conversation with a prospect about his needs.  You tell him all about your solutions. When you reach the end of the conversation, your last words are thank you and have a great day. You believe he will follow up or call back, but he doesn’t.  You never hear from him again.  You didn’t ask for the sale or give permission to buy from you. You didn’t even indicate that you were interested in his business.

To prevent this from happening again, ask questions that will show commitment on the prospect’s part. Such questions will help you to know if a prospect is good for your business or not. Why waste time worrying about what someone else will do? Take control.

Ask: When would you like me to follow up? Thursday afternoon or Friday morning? What day are you available to take delivery? Who should I follow up with? (Ask for the number.) If you get vague answers, see no signs of interest, let it go. 

Sometimes business owners develop and manage a list of “maybe” people, mistaking these prospects as short-term income opportunities. Business owners and sales people alike often have trouble letting go of these people. Your business can’t afford to depend on and chase “maybes.” Replenish your pipeline with new prospects.

Yes, it is possible someone will say yes down the road.  It’s good to have a plan for people who are not ready to buy now. A good automatic drip email or remarketing campaign will help to keep your business top of mind for when they are ready.

Say no. You need to learn to say no to jobs that you or your company are not qualified to do. Don’t take jobs outside of your skill set, or accept unreasonable requests and deadlines you know you can’t meet. Don’t let the desire for helpfulness backfire and hurt your reputation. Develop relationships with freelancers or businesses to which you can confidently refer work. Sometimes you can trade business opportunities or charge a referral fee.

Charge for scope creep. Scope creep is when a project gradually becomes larger over time without additional compensation. For example, a client may ask for a few extra changes or adjustments. The adjustments to the project are small. Sadly, over time all the little things add up to the equivalent of a few big things that your company didn’t invoice.  This can become costly over time and multiple projects.

Creative companies lose a lot of money due to scope creep. Make sure you have back stops. Only allow so many revisions in your contract.  Each time you do a little extra work, send the client a bill. It’s OK to give them a credit or discount on the invoice the first few times. Sending an invoice, even as paid or 100% discount will help the client understand the value of the work you are doing. Let them know ahead of time when you will begin invoicing for real.  Eventually, when you really need to invoice them, they will not be surprised.

Charge late fees. You are not a bank. Cash flow is extremely important to a small business. State on your invoice that you will charge a late fee for invoices paid over 30 days.  Giving a discount for early payment is a good incentive. Many companies have a policy in place to pay invoices with discounts first. Large companies save a lot of money by paying invoices with 1 percent or 2 percent discount incentives. One of my favorite techniques is to add an administrative fee that may be waived if the invoice is paid within 30 days. Many companies just pay the admin fee anyway. Nice.

Ask for a referral.  Even after the job is done, many business people are uncomfortable asking for a referral. Let people know that your business depends on referrals. You don’t have to push too hard, but if you don’t ask chances are clients will not go out of their way. The best thing you can do is ask: Who do you know that could use our services? Would you be willing to refer us? May I use your name when I call?

Ask for a testimonial.  Asking for a testimonial can be just as uncomfortable. Testimonials are an important element in your marketing. They give your business credibility.  Written testimonials work well; you can easily ask for one via email.  I like to use my smart phone.  At the end of a successful assignment, I might ask a client if I can record a short video saying a few positive words about her experience.  Have a few starter questions ready, such as: What do you think of the results? How was it working with our company? What did you like best about working with our team?

Give it away. I don’t mean be cheap. I’m suggesting that you don’t be afraid to give some of your services away to people who have a track record of sending business your way. Sometimes you can say thank you or create tools that will help people refer you. Networking by offering your services to charity will allow other people to see your work in action. This is a tricky area and some business owners are uncomfortable doing it. Other business owners are too comfortable and are taken advantage by people who just want something for free. Stay in control. Use your gut and only give it away on your terms.

Buy insurance. We all hate paying for it, but when it is needed we are glad the backing is there. Make sure you talk with an insurance agent about the insurance needs of your business.

Balance your check book. To make a business work you need to understand what is coming in and what is going out. Sometimes the financial reality is uncomfortable because the going out part is larger than the coming in part. This can be frustrating and hiding your head in the sand is very tempting.  If you regularly update your accounts, it is much easier.  Review them every day or two. Chances are it will only take you a few minutes.  This also will make reconciling your bank accounts at the end of the month much easier. When your accounts are in line, even if they are negative, you can make better decisions moving forward.

Sit and think. This can be rather uncomfortable for business owners who believe they need to be working hard in their business all the time.  Working hard in your business can be the least profitable thing you do. Develop a schedule that allows you to be done with your day.  If you don’t establish an end time, you will work continuously and not give yourself time to relax, have fun, visit with friends or family.

Take part of your free time to sit and think. Many of my most profitable ideas come to me sitting in a silent room with no agenda. I have solved major problems by relaxing and writing in a journal or note pad. I like to do this early in the day or late in the evening. It only takes 10-30 minutes and this fixes more things than keeping busy by working harder.

What you would add?

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What The Sharing Economy Means To The Wedding Industry


The sharing economy is disrupting industries throughout around the world! Companies like Airbnb, Relay Rides, Task Rabbit, Uber, Lyft and dozens more companies are changing the way people think and consume.

What is sharing economy?

The sharing economy is a consumer paradigm in which a person is willing to share his or her time or asset with another person. The paradigm enables people to maximally utilize the assets that they own or decide to use someone else’s assets. Airbnb helps people share apartments, Relay Rides helps people share cars, Task Rabbit helps people share their services.

Why does this matter to the wedding industry?

As a professional wedding photographer, you’re accumulating a trove of wedding images. Traditionally, the value of your wedding images has ended when you deliver them to a newlywed couple. Today, if this is all you’re doing with your wedding images, you’re leaving value on the table!

Other vendors need access to professional images of their work now more than ever. In the past other vendors could get by with a handful of nice images on a website. Today, in the age of Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, engaged couples have a heftier appetite for images. Today, vendors need to share a regular stream of fresh professional images on social media to stay relevant among engaged couples. You’re sitting on these images, and you can get something for them.

The current image share paths from photographers to other vendors are fragmented, cumbersome and, most unfortunately, do not enable the photographer to capture the full value of his or her images. I’m fixing this problem with Our new wedding directory helps photographers easily share wedding images with other vendors and capture real value from sharing.

How LulaWed helps photographers.

LulaWed allows photographers to upload albums of real wedding images and tag the venue and other vendors who participated. We find the contact info for vendors you tag in albums, email them a link to your album and encourage them to share your branded images of their work on social media.

LulaWed provides easy one click access for other vendors to share your wedding images to their Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook accounts. The images shared are branded with your logo or watermark and lead back to your listing on LulaWed. The end value to photographers is more exposure among unique social media networks and more referrals from other vendors. The end value to the other vendors is they get to share professional images of their work online.

Your marketing dream team.

Imagine if you had a marketing team of 10, 20 or even 100 people working to promote your business to engaged couples. This would be amazing and really expensive! You don’t need a marketing team promoting your business, you need other wedding vendors promoting your business.

Today’s social channels allow savvy wedding businesses to build successful online followings across multiple platforms. Sharing your images on LulaWed allows other wedding vendors to market their business and yours simultaneously to unique social media networks. For example, when a couple sees your image shared on Pinterest by another vendor, the couple can click on the image back to your LulaWed listing. You keep all the credit, and you get the referral.

You never know which vendor your tagging will have a huge following on Pinterest.

LulaWed Marketing Reach

By a photographer, for photographers

I worked as a professional wedding photographer for the past 12 years in California and Maine. I’ve shot over a hundred weddings and my wife’s current photography company shoots 60+ a year. I understand that brides come and go, but the industry will always be there. Take care of the individuals who can refer you and you will build a business that thrives!

Our platform is designed to require minimal effort by you to get your images shared by other vendors! We’re constantly adding new features and partnerships that make it easier for you to share images with other vendors. Recently we launched a new feature that allows you to skip the image upload process completely when you integrate your blog RSS feed. LulaWed can pull real wedding images right from your blog.

Free listing offer for Tiffinbox readers!

Tiffinbox has been a valued resource to me as a professional photographer, so I want to share the love with other readers. Right now, when you create an Enhanced listing on LulaWed, use promo TIFFINBOX to get 6 months free!

I hope LulaWed helps you get more value from your wedding images. Signup, upload weddings, tag vendors, and let me know how it goes!

Sign Up Today

Author information

J Sandifer

J Sandifer
CEO & Founder at LulaWed

J Sandifer is the Founder and CEO of Tweet him jsandifer or email him at

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Views, Reviews & Interviews For Photographers On Tiffinbox

Canals of Birmingham - worth capturing on film or an eyesore?

It is said that Birmingham has more canals than Venice. However, think of Venice and you think of romance, gondolas and Venetian balls. Think of Birmingham and you think of… well, very little. So is this because the canals are an absolute eyesore, or are they actually worth photographing? Should Birmingham do more to become a little Venice, or should they just give up?

Whether or not Birmingham actually has more canals than Venice is something of a discussion point. What we do know is that there were 174 miles of canals in Birmingham by the middle of the 18th century. This would have been more than Venice at the time. Now, however, a large proportion has actually disappeared, leaving only 114 miles of navigable water. That’s still a lot, but perhaps not as much as Venice.

Those who walk the towpath have the opportunity to see not just Birmingham, but also all the surrounding towns. That is certainly a perfect opportunity for some beautiful photography as it doesn’t just show 15 entire miles of improved canals (for safety and nicer walks), but it also means you don’t have to take a boat.

We know that the canals have been partially responsible for the development of Birmingham as a city, and for the Black Country as a whole. It helped to develop a range of different industries in the area and had it not been for these, Birmingham would probably have been nothing but a small village, if that.

Birmingham will never be Venice. It was never, nor will it ever be, a city of art and culture. It is not romantic, but rather industrial. You don’t want to go through a canal in Birmingham on the front of a gondola with your loved one. For one, the weather in Birmingham doesn’t really allow for that sort of behaviour.

However, perhaps we should also stop romanticising Venice. It is, all things put together, a very dirty city with a sordid history. The Venetian balls, now so popular and emulated across the world (think of the Rio carnival and Mardi Gras in New Orleans), was actually a punishment for those people who were masked every day of the week, getting involved in orgies and criminal activity. Birmingham isn’t like that, so perhaps it is actually better than Venice. It certainly is worth going over and taking a few good shots, even if it is just for fun. If you are interested in architectural photography, talk to Paul Arthur, an architectural photographer in Birmingham. Paul is located at Paul Arthur Photography, The Fireworks, The Old Fire Station, 68 Albion Street, Birmingham, B1 3EA. Call: 0121 4 050505. Or maybe you're looking for an established corporate photographer like Seven Star Photography?