ZenBlog: Blog http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog en-us (C) ZenBlog (ZenBlog) Fri, 18 Apr 2014 16:34:00 GMT Fri, 18 Apr 2014 16:34:00 GMT Product Spotlight: Perfectly Clear http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/4/product-spotlight-perfectly-clear

As a wedding and portrait photographer, I can benefit from using anything that helps with post-processing. So when I was asked to review Perfectly Clear software, I was excited to try it and see how it would fit into my workflow.

Installation & Activation

The version I tried is a plug-in that can be used in Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom. Installation was simple (I used the Lightroom version), and I activated the product by simply right clicking on an image in the filmstrip or library and choosing Edit In > Perfectly Clear.

Upon first activation, you will be required to start your trial, purchase a key, or enter your licence key. Activation is all done within the software, which is an added bonus, as I hate being reverted to other sites to register. You can then register the product if you wish – but this isn’t compulsory, which again is nice to see.

Initial Thoughts

I purposefully chose a flat, slightly underexposed and altogether not-so-great image to try the software with for the first time. When the plug-in loaded (which took a couple of seconds on my pretty powerful PC), I was actually quite staggered by what I saw.

Figure 1: Instant results

As you can see from the screen shot in Figure 1, Perfectly Clear did a remarkably good job of auto-enhancing my image – simply by loading the plug-in. At this point, I haven’t pressed any buttons or applied any presents. This is exactly how the photo looked the moment the plug-in was activated; I was impressed.

I think the Perfectly Clear website is right on the button with its product description:

“By applying over 15 patented corrections and 10 years of scientific research, Perfectly Clear saves time and produces accurately beautiful photos. Perfectly Clear should be the first step in your workflow, automatically correcting for camera limitations.”

I included Figure 1 to show you the Lightroom and Perfectly Clear tools side by side, and you can also see a before and after view in the Perfectly Clear application itself (Figure 2). Again, this is immediately after launch, with nothing else applied at this point.

Figure 2: Adobe Lightroom on the left and Perfectly Clear on the right

Digging Deeper

In addition to the impressive auto-enhancements of pretty much every image I put through Perfectly Clear, I found it also has sliders and presets that can be applied. There are sliders that allow you to control most of the standard elements of exposure, including White Balance, Tone, Colour and Clarity.

Colour options include Vibrancy and Fidelity. Noise reduction is also present, and Perfectly Clear gives correction options for portraits, night scenes and camera phones that come with adjustment sliders for strength and details. There is also a strongest option available, which I found was a little overkill on most images, but it did come in handy on some extremely high ISO images that I perhaps would otherwise have not used. I found it generally worked better than Lightroom 5’s built-in noise solution.

If you prefer a streamlined workflow like me, you will probably take a look at the built-in presets. You can choose from Landscape, Portrait, Noise Removal, Fix Dark, and Tint Removal. Much like in Lightroom itself, selecting one of the presets visibly affects the sliders so you can see exactly what is happening to the exposure. This is great, as one of the other features of Perfectly Clear is the ability to create your own presets. Once you’ve decided on a particular look, you can click New under the presets drop-down and simply enter a name and a description for your preset. Thereafter, you can also update the preset with the simple press of the Update button. And because the Lightroom and Photoshop tools use the same application interface, your presets will work across both applications.

The ability to edit and tweak is necessary for any post-processing program. Visual adjustments are, of course, subjective. For my portrait images, I tend to prefer the Landscape preset with a slight reduction of contrast and sharpening.

So far, everything is simple, smooth and, well — just works.

I’m primarily a wedding photographer, and in the UK, which means in the summertime especially I am dealing with dark venues, low light, rain, and white balance hell. So, I next tried the tool on a high ISO image that was shot in very difficult lighting (Figure 3).

Figure 3: Low light

Initially, the product did a great job, and when I selected the Tint Removal preset, it made a better job of adjusting the white balance and overall vibrancy of the image.

As a wedding photographer, I shoot and produce most of my work in black and white, so I was intrigued to see how the application dealt with black and white images. Of course, black and white images are either going to be JPEG files from the camera or already processed TIFFs, and unfortunately, I don’t have a Leica M9 Monochrome to test black and white raw files with.

Figure 4: Black and White

So, I put a fairly flat black and white photo to the test. It did OK. Perfectly Clear adjusted it a little too heavy on the default for me, but it was something I could adjust. It would be cool if the guys at Perfectly Clear could build in some Black and White presets in the future.

That being said, I’m pretty sure the power of this application is in its pre-processing. I will be running this over every one of my images at my next wedding as the initial processing step.

In all actuality, Perfectly Clear is a replacement for the Lightroom or Camera Raw “Auto” feature. This software is powerful for that first hit on the image; it cleans it up and actually makes every image much better and ready for additional processing (such as monochrome conversion). I can definitely see Perfectly Clear as part of my overall workflow in the future.

 

Kevin Mullins is a Zenfolio Pro Team member who shoots primarily black and white, documentary-styled wedding and portrait photography. Based in the UK, Mullins has won multiple awards and acts as an industry leader for his unique shooting style. Learn more about Mullins on his website, www.kevinmullinsphotography.co.uk.

 

 

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(ZenBlog) Kevin Mullins Perfectly Clear Product Spotlight Zenfolio adjustments digital retouching editing galleries marketing photographer photography portfolio professional photographer professional photography retouching selling http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/4/product-spotlight-perfectly-clear Mon, 21 Apr 2014 16:00:00 GMT
Free Shipping Sale – Three Days Only http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/4/free-shipping-sale-three-days-only
Now that spring is officially in full swing, it’s the perfect time to redecorate and breathe new life into your home or work space with beautiful prints and products with our free shipping sale. Stock up on your favorite Mpix and fotoflot products and get free shipping. But hurry, this three-day sale ends April 23 at 11:59 p.m. PDT.

As always, no coupon code is necessary when you order with your Zenfolio account. This sale ends April 23 at 11:59 p.m. PDT, so be sure to place your orders today. 

The following orders with destinations in the US can enjoy free USPS shipping on:

Mpix orders with a $15 base price minimum
Fotoflot free shipping on all products

 

Fine Print:

This sale is open to all customers with a destination address in the United States. Mpix product orders require a $15 order minimum. If you want to pass this sale along to your customers, refer to our Sales FAQ.
 

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(ZenBlog) Mpix Zenfolio discount fotoflot free shipping free shipping sale galleries marketing photo photographer photography portfolio printing prints professional professional photographer professional photography promotion sale selling shipping http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/4/free-shipping-sale-three-days-only Mon, 21 Apr 2014 07:00:00 GMT
Friday Foto Favorites 4.18 http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/4/friday-foto-favorites-4-18 Each week, we scour the web to find the most off-kilter photos, gear and articles so you don’t have to. Happy reading and have an even happier weekend.

  1. These memorable photos will make you smile, laugh and cry.
  2. What it means to be a professional wedding photographer.
  3. A few selected images from the Smithsonian Magazine’s Annual Photo Contest.
  4. This air pilot and photographer captures life from above.
  5. Watching a 13-year-old girl hunting is quite beautiful.
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(ZenBlog) Friday Foto Favorites Friday Photo Favorites Zenfolio favorites galleries marketing photo photographer photography portfolio professional professional photographer professional photography selling weekly round up http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/4/friday-foto-favorites-4-18 Fri, 18 Apr 2014 16:00:00 GMT
A Day in the Life of a Technical Evangelist http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/4/a-day-in-the-life-of-a-technical-evangelist

It’s another cold day here in the mitten state, far away from the fun and sun at the Zenfolio headquarters. But that’s okay with me. I telecommute, sending out my digital echo to be parsed by the masses. If you’ve ever attended a Zenfolio webinar or watched a Zenfolio training video then you’ve heard my voice and may have seen my face. My digital footprint can be found throughout the Zenfolio website.

As the technical evangelist for the company, my goal is to make sure you understand how to maximize all the features and functionality available to you. That drops me in the departmental buckets of design, marketing, and support. This means my tasks vary on a day-to-day basis, but it’s always new and challenging.

Training is my highest calling, and you’ll find me doing exactly that online once a week to whoever may want to listen. I provide online training, webinars, and group consultations that are about an hour long and free to anyone. Please join in and ask all the questions you want. I don’t like talking to myself. It’s an early warning sign for schizophrenia!

The training videos I create are generally shot on a 5D Mark III with a bleeding edge night build from Magic Lantern. We actually just got a Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera after checking them out at WPPI, so we can free up the 5D for photography rather than videography. Now I’m shooting raw at 24fps and love it. Maybe we’ll up our resolution to 4K after NAB. But I don’t want to move over to micro four-thirds lenses, so I think we’ll get an EF adapter and stick with Canon primes. Now what was I talking about...

Why yes, the word technical is in my job title, and I am all about the gear. But it goes beyond the gear to the creative aspects of making something aesthetically pleasing while at the same time being highly educational and easily consumable. I do avoid three-syllable words whenever possible in a training video. And it’s really hard to do that when you love three-syllable words so much that both your children’s names have three syllables.

In reference to the deep consternation brewing in the belly of Zenfolio (a years-long debate in the office on whether onions are manna from heaven or the most disgusting food on the planet), I must advocate eating onions. Because caramelized onions on a burger are great. And substituting onion rings for fries is even better. And ordering onion straws as an appetizer is a must in my book. So onions it is!

In addition to assisting Zenfolio users online, I also teach at trade shows and present at Zoom tours. I also edit our help documentation, code our emails, and discuss with the support department the steps you must take to survive an apocalypse. Soylent Green is people!  

 

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(ZenBlog) Day in the life Zen Life Zen culture ZenMaster Zenfolio Zenfolio office Zenfolio office life Zenmaster galleries marketing office life photographer photography portfolio professional photographer professional photography selling technical evangelist work life http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/4/a-day-in-the-life-of-a-technical-evangelist Mon, 14 Apr 2014 16:00:00 GMT
Save 30% on custom photo books http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/4/save-30-on-custom-photo-books

Spring is in full swing, and there are plenty of reasons to celebrate: graduations, weddings and Mother’s Day for starters. Capture your best memories and display them in a gorgeous photo book. Starting today, all Mpix and MpixPro photo books are 30% off through April 17 at 11:59 p.m. PDT.

With the images already in your account, the books are a breeze to create. Simply select the book design of your choice and drag and drop the images into the professionally designed templates.

As always, there is no coupon code necessary when you order with your Zenfolio account. This sale ends April 17 at 11:59 p.m. PDT, so be sure to place your orders today. 

This sale is open to all customers with a destination address in the United States or Canada (extra shipping charges may apply). The sale price applies to your base price; items added to your cart will reflect the already discounted price. Visit the Mpix and MpixPro partner pages to see the standard base price and the discounted price. If you want to pass this sale along to your customers, please refer to our Sales FAQ.

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(ZenBlog) Mpix MpixPro Zenfolio discount galleries marketing photo photographer photography portfolio printing professional professional photographer professional photography promotion sale selling shipping http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/4/save-30-on-custom-photo-books Mon, 14 Apr 2014 07:00:00 GMT
Friday Foto Favorites 4.11 http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/4/friday-foto-favorites-4-11

Each week, we scour the web to find the most off-kilter photos, gear and articles so you don’t have to. Happy reading and have an even happier weekend.

 

  1. Children playing underwater is much more fascinating than on land.
  2. No touch-ups here; see what poverty really looks like.  
  3. The art of photojournalism.
  4. Childhood is different for everyone. Here’s a peek at some across the world.
  5. Dropbox launches photo app to store a lifetime of memories.
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(ZenBlog) Friday Foto Favorites Friday Photo Favorites Zenfolio favorites galleries marketing photo photographer photography portfolio professional professional photographer professional photography selling weekly round up http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/4/friday-foto-favorites-4-11 Fri, 11 Apr 2014 16:00:00 GMT
A little love from our fellow Zennies http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/4/a-little-love-from-our-fellow-zennies As we’re nearing the tail end of trade show season, it’s been great meeting all of you in person. We loved getting to know you, hearing your feedback and having some fun in the process. Here’s a quick video of our amazing users talking about how Zenfolio has transformed their photography business or hobby. We love you!

 

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(ZenBlog) Imaging USA SWPP The Photography Show WPPI Zenfolio galleries marketing photographer photography portfolio professional photographer professional photography selling trade shows", expo, "customer love", testimonials, "customer testimonials" http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/4/a-little-love-from-our-fellow-zennies Wed, 09 Apr 2014 16:00:00 GMT
Photographer's Corner: Top 7 Website Trends for Photographers in 2014 http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/4/photographers-corner-top-7-website-trends-for-photographers-in-2014

In today’s world, websites have a greater purpose than practical communication; they need to generate attention, traffic and/or sales. In order to do this, it is important for them to communicate effectively and efficiently while still being visually appealing. Fortunately for us, there have been many advances in web design over the years that have allowed us to accomplish this and more with our own websites, without even knowing how to code.

My mission: to determine the top website trends for 2014 and lay them out here. There are no research papers available on this topic, so I had to rely on Google and what trend-watching bloggers had to say. And yes, I created a spreadsheet and literally tallied up the votes. (See endnotes to find out whose pages were visited.)

After reviewing the results, I was delighted to find that the most talked about trends are perfectly suited for photographers. Hopefully this will feel like a pat on the back for the websites you have created and/or spark some new ideas you can try.   

The Top 7 Trends in Order of Popularity

In the early development of websites, elements were introduced to make pages look more interesting: shadows, texture and embossed letters. However, as coding progressed, more options for design were introduced, and people are finally hopping off the 3-D wagon. Flat design has emerged as a way to modernize the look of websites by eliminating all the extraneous elements that made objects appear to jump off the page. Flat design can create an inviting and simplified atmosphere for viewing content, especially when the spatial design of the page is used wisely. Most importantly, it reduces the amount of “stuff” happening and brings the focus back to the important content, our golden images. Flat design has the potential to enhance the look of images in a gallery, just as a simple mat and black frame can. Don’t get me wrong though—if you like ornate frames and it suits your work, go for it!

Photographers are now able to choose from a variety of different fonts without having to figure out how to code them into our websites or mess around with licensing agreements. In the past, we were limited to standard fonts for browser compatibility. However, Arial, Georgia and Times New Roman can only take you so far in terms of expression. Thanks to companies like Google, who came up with Google Fonts, you now have the option to pull from a wider variety of interesting and expressive typographical choices, which can communicate more about you and your work. If you are interested in reading more about how typography can communicate, check out this typographical blog mentioned on Host Gator.

The mobile-first design approach helps folks take into consideration what can be viewable on a mobile site effectively before bulking up the desktop version of a site with a lot of content or complicated design. It asks you to simplify things a bit. For example, you might shorten up the names used in your site menu and limit the amount of text added in content blocks to say what needs to be said as concisely as possible. The added benefit of this approach is that your site looks cleaner, communication is more efficient and, combined with flat design, it can help bring the focus back to those lovely images of yours.

This type of design appropriately follows mobile first design in this list because it goes hand in hand across all devices, with that content. It detects the device and size of the browser window and automatically resizes accordingly to show a version that is appropriate for that device. Having responsive design doesn’t necessarily mean that you are off the hook when it comes to being accountable for content (it’s still good to consider the size of device that your site will be viewed on and keep things concise). Responsive web design has the ability to bridge the consistency gap between the different viewing experiences without having to create entirely new sites for each viewing environment.

This doesn’t mean pulling out the old parchment and donning an eye patch. Rather, embracing the scroll refers to the experience of drifting through information on a single webpage. There are different types of scrolling pages: the infinite scroll with a bottomless well of information (e.g., Facebook); the parallax scroll, which appears to have different planes of information rolling over each other as you scroll; and then normal but long pages that require a lot of scrolling to get through. In a way, these all create an efficient, if not interesting, experience for folks who are not a big fan of clicking an infinite number of times to get through a section of information. There is something to be said for not realizing how long you have been scrolling versus getting tired of the endless clicking. Long pages also translate nicely between devices on websites that embrace responsive design (not parallax necessarily). On the other hand, they can be less great for SEO, as less clicks truly means less clicks across your site. But it doesn’t mean that it cannot be embraced in different or unique ways. This is where larger and more interesting fonts can be useful to help your viewer pick out those important headlines.

We are seeing more large images being showcased on homepages and to communicate significant ideas throughout the rest of the site. It is no surprise that wide-screen and full-screen slideshows and the ability to add large background content to a homepage have emerged to support this endeavor. Still-frame images are not the only ones taking center stage or providing backup support; videos are becoming increasingly popular alternatives for text. With the photography and art world progressively moving into virtual galleries and online stores, the ability to share your work on a more impressive scale means better presentation of those amazing details, which leads to greater appreciation—and ideally more sessions and sales.

One of my personal favorites, this category embraces new and interesting ways to display your images, for example, grids and photo strips. The grid layout is very versatile because it can be tailored to best showcase the type of work you are presenting. I have seen photographers use this to showcase specific types of portraits, and I appreciate the consistency in the quality of their work, all showcased in a beautiful presentation. The photo strip is equally awesome as it creates a scrolling navigational storyboard within a gallery. I love the fact that images can be presented right up against each other—reminiscent of our old friend, the negative—creating interesting juxtapositions of light, color, contrast and subject matter. The new gallery options help your images sing and keep visitors coming back for more.

 

In Mindful Conclusion

Just because there are certain design trends happening now doesn’t mean that you have to abide by them in order to stay “current.” These design tools simply allow greater room for expression, and what is most important is that the site functions and communicates as needed. In reality, you only need to use what is necessary for your site, and you have the power to change things around until it feels just right—as Goldilocks and the three bears would agree.

One of the reasons we have a Feature Ideas Forum is so we can learn more about your specific needs and interests. Many of our new features come about as a result of your input, so share your ideas in the forum and vote on fellow Zenny posts. Now put your arms around yourself, give a squeeze, and know this is a hug from us, thanking you for your feedback to make Zenfolio what it is today and will become tomorrow.  

Sites visited and mined for gold

Hongkiat.com

The Next Web

99designs

Econsultancy

Forbes

SitePoint

Web Ascender

the moo’s news

HostGator

Laura Hall not only helps Zenfolio users with their websites, she is also a product specialist and photographer with a strong color management and digital photography background. Before migrating to California to join the Zenfolio team, she helped to implement color management systems for digital photography programs, wrote educational and technical materials and provided consultation services on color management and printing. To see some of her current photography projects in the works, please visit: http://www.lauraswork.com

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(ZenBlog) 99designs Econsultancy Forbes Google fonts Hongkiat.com HostGator Photographer's Corner SitePoint The Next Web Web Ascender Zenfolio flat design galleries marketing mobile mobile friendly photographer photography portfolio professional photographer professional photography promotion selling the moo's news website website trends http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/4/photographers-corner-top-7-website-trends-for-photographers-in-2014 Mon, 07 Apr 2014 16:00:00 GMT
Friday Foto Favorites 4.4 http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/4/friday-foto-favorites-4-4

 

Each week, we scour the web to find the most off-kilter photos, gear and articles so you don’t have to. Happy reading and have an even happier weekend.

 

  1. A veil represents so much more than just a garment.
  2. This year’s best April Fools jokes.
  3. The offspring of Mother Nature unite.
  4. Dog: boy’s best friend.
  5. Coffee + photography make the perfect match.

 

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(ZenBlog) Friday Foto Favorites Friday Photo Favorites Zenfolio favorites galleries marketing photo photographer photography portfolio professional professional photographer professional photography selling weekly round up http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/4/friday-foto-favorites-4-4 Fri, 04 Apr 2014 16:00:00 GMT
Behind the Shot http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/4/behind-the-shot A picture is worth a thousand words, sure. But have you ever wondered what was reeling in the minds of the photographer as soon as they released the shutter? We asked several photographers to share their personal favorite shots and the stories behind them. From pulling all-nighters to capture the best lighting to traveling the corners of the globe to touching life tales of their subjects, here’s proof that there’s much more to a photo than simply pointing and shooting. Here, three seasoned photographers recount what it took to get that perfect shot.

Touched by the Light by Shelley Paulson

“Creating portraits of people with their beloved horses is my passion. As a horse owner and lover myself, I know what it is to have a special bond with one of these breathtaking animals.

Last summer, I had the delight of photographing a bubbly young woman named Lyndsay, and her handsome horse Teddy. I was initially working in an area of open shade, with rich shades of green for my background. A car drove by on a gravel road on the other side of those trees and what happened next was nothing short of magical.

As the dust slowly crept through the trees, ethereal rays of light appeared. By the time I noticed what was happening, I was too late to position Lyndsay and her horse where I wanted them in relation the light. I knew another car could go by, or that her mom could drive her car down that road, so I took a few moments to pick the spot where I wanted to place them the next time it happened.

I continued the session for a few minutes, and sure enough, another car drove by. I was prepared this time, so it took little effort to move Lyndsay and Teddy to the pre-determined location where I proceeded to create a series of images that made me literally jump with joy!  It was one of those moments where all that I have learned up to that point met just the conditions to create an image that will forever be a favorite!”

 

Gannet Change Over by Will Nicholls

“Home to around 150,000 gannets, Bass Rock in the UK is a popular attraction for wildlife fanatics. However, with rough seas surrounding the isolated rock it can be very difficult to successfully land. In fact, it took two years of attempting a trip there for me to actually make it onto the rock!

Upon landing, I was greeted by the snapping beaks of these large seabirds, and the constant calling from all the birds. This image shows two gannets reaffirming their bond; they bat their beaks together in courtship. The gannet on the right has been away from the nest, fishing at sea, and is subsequently completely clean. The gannet on the left is muddy from sitting on the nest all day, and will swap over duties with its partner.”

 

Heart Gallery Portrait by Laura Tillinghast

“While living in south Florida, I was lucky to be a volunteer photographer for the Heart Gallery, an organization who uses the power of photography to help children living in foster care. I can’t stress enough what a positive experience this was.

I had a great time getting to know the kids I photographed and talking to them about their plans for the future. About a year later I received a package in the mail. When I opened it I found a letter from one of the girls I had photographed. Who had since been adopted. She wanted to thank me for the photos I took of her. She was about 14 at the time of the shoot and wrote in her letter that the portraits I took made her feel beautiful and before that day she had never thought of herself that way. It brought tears to my eyes and I realized how much impact you can make as a photographer without ever knowing it.”

 

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(ZenBlog) Behind the Shot Heart Gallery Laura Tilinghast Shelley Paulson Will Nichols Zenfolio background story behind the scenes commercial photographer galleries marketing nature photographer photographer photography portfolio portrait photography professional photographer professional photography selling wildlife photographer http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/4/behind-the-shot Wed, 02 Apr 2014 16:00:00 GMT
Inside the Delivery Room; An in-depth look at birth photography http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/3/inside-the-delivery-room-an-in-depth-look-at-birth-photography

Megan Bowen of Snap Life Photography has her camera bag packed at all times. When she goes to functions, she and her husband take two separate cars so she can get away at a moment’s notice. She always has her phone close to her, especially within weeks of when one of her clients is scheduled to go into labor. Just like nurses are the unsung heroes of the delivery room, there is another group of people to tip a hat off to: birth photographers.

“When I was in high school, I had a major passion for two things: photography and the medical field,” says Bowen. “I would have never thought in a million years those two would wind up together.”

Bowen, who worked for two major photo studios throughout her career, quickly became overwhelmed in the day-to-day craze of the industry: shooting weddings, engagements, parties, families, head shots and glamour back-to-back. So she decided to ditch the studio for something she thought was more impactful.

“I was on Facebook and found a post from the International Association of Professional Birth Photographers. I immediately fell in love with the images and was completely baffled by why I never thought that someone was doing this. I took on my first birth of a client who had booked a maternity and newborn session with me to try it out. It was all downhill from there.”

Bowen is not alone in her passion: birth photography has grown exponentially in the past several years. The International Association of Professional Birth Photographers now has 860 members worldwide and is growing on a daily basis. Bowen mentioned she saw a post on Facebook from Birth Without Fear that posed the question: ‘What is the one thing you would have done in pregnancy and birth?’ The leading responses surprised her: To hire a birth photographer and to take more pictures during labor and birth. Gradually, photographers from all walks of life have jumped on the bandwagon, adding birth photography to their services, and some even making it their full-time career. Take for instance, longtime friends and lifestyle photographers Kelly Smith of Daphne Photo Studio and Melanie Pace of Loft3pd, who joined forces to create Beautiful Beginnings Birth Photography. The self-proclaimed ‘birth junkies,’ who both have two children of their own, decided to combine their passion with their profession.

“We shot each other’s second births, and it was so cool to allow our husbands to be more present and supportive of us laboring,” says the duo, who aim to get both the mother and father involved in the process.

“Sometimes the dads don’t get it, but after the birth, they 100 percent love that they had us there. We tell them we can be as supportive as they want or a fly on the wall,” say Smith and Pace. “Since we are with couples for so long, there is a bond that is quickly developed in the delivery rooms. By the end they are our friends, not just a client.” Which makes sense, since labors are unpredictable and can last for hours and even days; Bowen once spent 74 hours on-location during a birth.

“Sometimes we do what I call graceful labors, and that’s ok. It’s my job to be there no matter what happens,” Bowen says. “You definitely need a good bit of patience to be a birth photographer. It can sometimes be a long haul.”

And this holds true before, during and after a shoot. Paige Driscoll of Santa Cruz Birth Photography has her clients check in with her in the weeks leading up to their due date.

“I am on-call for at least two weeks before a client’s due date until up to two weeks after,” she says. “Birth happens when it wants to, so there is no planning for it.”

Driscoll, who is currently pregnant with her fifth child, feels she can relate to her clients on a deeper level because she has been through it herself.

“I can empathize with how they are feeling and I understand the process of how everything unfolds during the labor and delivery,” she says. “There is nothing more special than watching a baby take their first breath.”

As for getting up close and personal, most birth photographers have their clients sign a contract stating what can and cannot be shot, ensuring the mother’s safety and comfort. Being a ‘fly on the wall’ is a common theme with this type of photography, so that there is no posing, just photographers capturing real life moments, naturally.

“I try to be like a fly on the wall, never intruding upon my client’s birth space,” says Driscoll. 

Bowen thinks it is important to get to know the soon-to-be parents ahead of time, and ask plenty of questions.

“I really try to be very respectful of the process and ask lots of questions prior to the birth with both parents,” she says. “Knowing their personalities and wishes for their birth experience is very important.” And just as with other sensitive content, advertising can be done, but tastefully. Pace and Smith blog everything they shoot, unless the mother specifically asks them not to.

“We are careful of angles and modesty while shooting so the mama never feels violated on the Internet.” Discussions of how in-depth the photographer gets is always discussed ahead of time, so there are no surprises. Bowen allows her clients to choose whether they want to keep their images private or not.

“If I do show images I keep them very PG,” she says. “Most of my clients find me through word of mouth, seeing my work of someone they knew, search engine and sometimes Facebook advertising. It also helps knowing midwives, obstetricians, doulas, and other care providers and being plugged into the local birth community.” Bowen even became a birth doula to help become a better birth photographer.

“I have a huge heart for women and what they are going through,” says Bowen, who witnessed her first birth at age 10 and has been enamored with it ever since.

Although this profession can be time-consuming and stressful, the payoff is worth it; especially when there are welcomed surprises.

 “I was prepared for Nora to be a stillborn,” says Pace of her most memorable shoot. “When she came out screaming, I witnessed more than the miracle of childbirth. It was incredible, and she is now going on two years old!”

“There is so much beauty in birth that is taken for granted, and being able to show that beauty is just amazing,” says Bowen. “I am in love with my job.”

Driscoll, whose photography hobby turned into a full-time career after taking pictures of her kids, loves reliving the miracle of birth through her shoots.

“I still feel that ‘birth high’ as if I was giving birth myself, which is such an amazing feeling—even behind the camera.”

Birth photography is an emerging field, and one that requires patience, education and focus. For more information on birth photography, visit the International Association of Professional Birth Photographers website.

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(ZenBlog) Association of Professional Birth Photographers Beautiful Beginnings Birth Photography Birth Without Fear Daphne Photo Studio Kelly Smith Loft3pd Megan Bowen Melanie Pace Paige Driscoll Santa Cruz Birth Photography Snap Life Photography birth photography http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/3/inside-the-delivery-room-an-in-depth-look-at-birth-photography Mon, 31 Mar 2014 16:00:00 GMT
Friday Foto Favorites 3.28 http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/3/friday-foto-favorites-3-28

Each week, we scour the web to find the most off-kilter photos, gear and articles so you don’t have to. Happy reading and have an even happier weekend.

 

  1. Spectacular views from above.
  2. The GoPro may have some fierce new competition.
  3. An artist celebrates analog film photography.
  4. How to create ghosts in photos.
  5. Love that stands the test of time.

 

 

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(ZenBlog) Friday Foto Favorites Friday Photo Favorites Zenfolio favorites galleries marketing photo photographer photography portfolio professional professional photographer professional photography selling weekly round up http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/3/friday-foto-favorites-3-28 Fri, 28 Mar 2014 16:00:00 GMT
Nine Ways to Keep your Photos Safe http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/3/nine-ways-to-keep-your-photos-safe

The Internet has been a game changer for many professions, especially photographers. Over the past two decades, photographers have willingly traded film for digital, darkrooms for workstations, and promo cards for social media posts. But with online content everywhere for the world to see, it’s that much easier for people to steal photos or try to hack into password-protected galleries. Here, we outline the ways to keep your photos, and your name, safe.

Control who sees your photos

It’s your website, your work, and your name. Keep it safe by controlling who sees your photos with the various access controls available through Zenfolio. You can apply this to an individual photograph or an entire gallery or group with the following access control options: public, private, locked with password, or allowing access to registered Zenfolio users only. To lean how to set this up, read our help article.

Create a not-so-obvious password

All Zenfolio password-protected galleries are secure and cannot be accessed without a password. However, you have to be smart when creating passwords. Combining a mixture of capital letters, numbers, and characters will make your password unique and less obvious for hackers to figure out. With a hint below each password field, you need to make sure it isn’t too obvious for the general public to easily figure out so you can ensure that only the people you intended to view your photos can do so.

Password lockout

Zenfolio just added a brand new feature that takes password-protected galleries one step further: if it detects too many failed login attempts, it will lock out that person for a certain period of time. When this happens, the photographer will get a notification, so that if it is a client who forgot the password, you can easily grant them access right away. This is also a great way to see who is visiting your galleries and if additional security measures need to be put in place.   

Right-click protection

Think it’s impossible to keep people from illegally snagging your work? Think again. With the right-click protection feature enabled, visitors are unable to save your images and instead are prompted with other options: Buy, Show Link to Photo, Dim the Lights, and Download Original (if that’s a feature you’ve enabled – there’s no ‘Save’ option in sight. To learn how to set this up, read our help article.

Download access control:

Once photos are uploaded, you as the photographer have the power to control whether the option to download originals is available. You can also decide who can and cannot download the photos with a simple password. Read how to set this up in our help article.

Restricted image size:

Unfortunately, no technology can prevent your visitors from taking a screen shot. But you can limit the image size displayed, so that if the perpetrator goes to print the image, it is too small to be legible. To learn more about restricted image sizes, read this help article.

Watermark creation

Watermarks act as both marketing and security for your photos: they let people know it’s yours. A watermark is a semi-transparent symbol, text or pattern added to a photograph for easy identification. With a watermark in place, you can rest assured knowing that if someone does take a screenshot of your photo, it will have your name written all over it. Read more on how to create a watermark in our help article.

Hidden galleries

Aside from password-protected galleries, there’s another option to enable only certain people to view specific galleries via direct link or email invite. This is great for when you want to keep a gallery public but not make it visible through regular browsing from the homepage. For example, if a prospective client wants to see one type of work, you can quickly send them a link to view the gallery. Learn more on how to set this up by reading this help article.

Hiding content from search engines

Zenfolio wants your photos to be noticed and easy to find on search engines, so each gallery is automatically included in public search and browse unless they are specified to be private or password-protected. But you can always turn this function off using the simple steps outlined in the help guide.

Whether enabling a watermark, using password-protected galleries, or hiding certain images, you can rest assured that you are taking the appropriate measures to keep your images and your brand safe. Implementing some of the security measures outlined above will give you peace of mind that you and your photos will not be taken advantage of, so you can focus more on shooting and interacting with your clients. 

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(ZenBlog) Zenfolio galleries image security marketing online image security password protection password-protection photographer photography portfolio professional photographer professional photography promotion security selling watermarks http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/3/nine-ways-to-keep-your-photos-safe Wed, 26 Mar 2014 16:00:00 GMT
Product Spotloght: Wacom Cintiq Companion Hybrid Tablet http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/3/product-spotloght-wacom-cinitiq-companion-hybrid

For my creative process, I live by Apple, Adobe, and Wacom -- with absolutely no use of a mouse. To begin with, I am a commercial advertising food and liquor photographer with two iMac stations: one where I shoot my jobs tethered in my loft studio, the other I use for my retouching station (home base archive/storage/catalog). During the span of my 30-year career, I have never used a mouse. From the infancy of Photoshop, I have always had a Wacom tablet attached to my computer.

I recently had the opportunity to try out the new Wacom Cintiq Companion Hybrid tablet to see how it fits into my workflow. This tablet has now become the most efficient “hammer" in my toolbox. Now, even my assistants favor the Wacom tablets in my studio because I just don’t “mouse” around.

I do a lot of commercial advertising photography, and I insist upon retouching 95 percent of my work prior to delivery. Photoshop CS6 and Lightroom 5 are my most commonly used applications. This Cintiq Companion Hybrid tablet assisted these apps to maximize efficiency. Additionally, there is no longer a need for track pads in my studio as it is incorporated right into the tablet. Now I rely solely on the tethered (or wireless) Cintiq.

Once you get past the learning curve and watch a few tutorials, the Cintiq Companion Hybrid will reshape the way you use Photoshop and the develop module of Lightroom 5. There is no comparison to using a mouse for pressure-sensitive brushstrokes once you have gotten used to the hand-eye coordination on the tablet. There are a lot of preferences that you have to set up beforehand in order for it to work smoothly. I personally split my keyboard commands up on the ExpressKeys and also onto the Rocker Ring. Then I further split up my keystroke commands into the Radial Menu. This is just a matter of preference. Whatever lets you work the fastest while still using the pen on the screen is best. It's all about increasing the speed of your retouching skills. Time is money my friends.

When using Photoshop, I find the touchpad functionality of the Cintiq Companion Hybrid to be the most timesaving combination. Using the standard finger gestures, one can zoom in and out and rotate while using my favorite tools: healing brush, clone, erase, magic wand, and pen (for creating extremely precise paths). This sharpens my masking technique. I'm not just using my learned hand-eye coordination from my previous tablet experience, but now I can see it on the screen underneath my pen while zooming and rotating to create faster accurate paths. This combination of activity really saves on wrist movement, and my hand is less fatigued. I have increased delicacy and accuracy by combining finger gestures with pen use.  

 

When using the healing brush and cloning tool, there is no greater sensitivity when applying a pressure-sensitive pen with the brush size set at the correct hardness for smooth feathering and blending. This smoothness in the final image can never be attained using a track pad or a mouse, period! Using finger gestures, I can zoom in and out of the retouching area and check on ultra- fine details down to the pixel level. This feature is insanely accurate and awesome. Seamless results are the mark of my technique, and now I get there faster. Also, because of the huge storage on the Cintiq Companion Hybrid, even my largest Photoshop files are instantly rendered, which was a concern of mine in the past. Video files (doing a lot of HD time-lapse) that I tested ran fast and viewing was smooth. 

As a side note, I set up an ExpressKey for the launch pad (MAC) so that I can open other apps with the click of the pen while retouching hovers in another window. Absolutely no more time is spent grabbing another mouse or track pad. 

For comfort, I tend to rotate between having the tablet in the stand at its maximum angle when using the pen and once in a while placing the tablet on my lap for a change in my body posture. The color quality and HD look of the screen are fantastic. The anti-flair surface is superb when reducing flares from different light sources when it's in my lap.

I loaded the Cintiq Companion Hybrid with Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom 5, so when I travel back and forth to New York (as I often do) I can be doing some postproduction and editing on the go. The USB port allows me to have an auxiliary storage device just for that. It’s great to now use travel time for editing.

When you purchase a Cintiq Companion Hybrid tablet, you'll enjoy the fact that your production time will decrease while the accuracy of your work increases. I value the decreased production time. I must note that I still quote my retouching fees per hour (so I need to be careful not to make my retouching fees too inexpensive). Having a great tool in your toolbox can only make you more money and save time. My overall consensus -- go for it!

 

Sid Hoeltzell is an award-winning commercial photographer who has been an industry professional for more than 30 years. Focusing primarily on food and still life photography, Sid works with clients such as Burger King Corp., Carnival Cruise Lines, Bacardi, Dewar’s, Corona Extra and more. With his extensive experience and innovative lighting techniques, Sid makes every job he gets a masterpiece. Check out his online portfolio here: http://www.sidphoto.com/.

 

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(ZenBlog) Cintiq Companion Hybrid Product Spotlight Sid Hoeltzell Wacom Wacom tablet Zenfolio digital manipulayion editing galleries marketing photographer photography portfolio professional photographer professional photography retouching selling tablet http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/3/product-spotloght-wacom-cinitiq-companion-hybrid Mon, 24 Mar 2014 16:00:00 GMT
Three Days Only -- Save 25% on All Mpix Products http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/3/three-days-only----save-25-on-all-mpix-products

 

Starting today, save 25% on all Mpix orders. It’s the perfect time to order photo greeting cards for Easter, a photo book for Mother’s Day, or to update your living room décor with beautiful framed prints.

Get 25% off all Mpix products March 24-26, including high quality prints, frames, photo books, greeting cards, and more.

Not a Zenfolio user yet? You can still take advantage of this sale.

As always, no coupon code is necessary when you order with your Zenfolio account. But hurry, this sale ends March 26 at 11:59 p.m. PST so be sure to place your orders today.

Fine print: This sale is open to all customers with a destination address in the United States or Canada (extra shipping charges may apply). The sale price applies to your base price; items added to your cart will reflect the already discounted price. Visit the Mpix page to see the standard base price and the discounted price. If you want to pass this sale along to your customers, refer to our Sales FAQ.

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(ZenBlog) 25% off Mpix Zenfolio discount everything on sale galleries marketing photographer photography portfolio printing prints professional photographer professional photography promotion sale selling http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/3/three-days-only----save-25-on-all-mpix-products Mon, 24 Mar 2014 07:00:00 GMT
Friday Foto Favorites 3.21 http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/3/friday-foto-favorites-3-21

Each week, we scour the web to find the most off-kilter photos, gear and articles so you don’t have to. Happy reading and have an even happier weekend.

 

  1. Alexia Sinclair captures stunning portraits in an untouched 17th century castle.
  2. Nine tips to making every day photo-worthy.
  3. Take a look at these vanishing tribes before they’re gone.
  4. Bill Cunningham’s latest exhibit took 37 years to finish.
  5. Move over, toddlers. The latest trend in pageantry is chickens
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(ZenBlog) Friday Foto Favorites Friday Photo Favorites Mpix Zenfolio favorites galleries marketing photo photographer photography portfolio professional professional photographer professional photography selling weekly round up http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/3/friday-foto-favorites-3-21 Fri, 21 Mar 2014 16:00:00 GMT
Climb the Ladder To Sell Bigger Prints http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/3/climb-the-ladder-to-sell-bigger-prints There are lots of ways to improve your photography business to be more profitable. You can become better at lighting, posing and composition. You can work harder at marketing, selling and social media. You can design a better website, improve at blogging and increase your search engine optimization. The list is endless.

These are all great things that you can and should be working on, but they're not easy and they take time. There is one area, however, that you can improve immediately, at zero cost, with just a few keystrokes on your computer - your pricing.

Most photographers don't realize it, but they are sabotaging their profits with poor pricing structure. In particular, I often hear from photographers who complain that they can only sell lots of small prints (e.g. 5x7, 4x6, etc.). Actually, I consider 11x14 to be "small", but that's a story for another day.

When I take a look at their price list, this is no surprise. Most photographers have price lists that are designed to sell small prints. For example, one photographer I worked with charged $50 for 8×10, $25 for 5×7 and $15 for 4×6. Why would the customer spend $50 for an 8×10 when they can spend the same amount and get two 5x7s?

In marketing there’s a term we call “climbing the ladder”. To sell bigger, you’ve got to make your clients climb the ladder. If the ladder is too steep, they won’t climb. This means that the larger print should be just a little bit more expensive than the smaller print, making the smaller print seem like not such a good deal (the corollary being that the larger print seems like a great deal).

Think about the last time you ordered a soda at a fast food restaurant. You'll often see prices like this: $2.35 for a large, $2.15 for a medium, and $2.05 for a small. Why would you not spend just 20 cents more to get the large? Restaurants figured this out long ago.

So let's say you charge $50 for an 8×10, try charging something like $40 for a 5×7 and $30 for a 4×6. Why would your clients buy a 4×6 if a 5×7 were just a bit more? And while they're at it, why not just spend $10 more and get the 8×10? That’s what “climbing the ladder” is all about. You have to flatten the ladder so your clients will climb it.

I take this concept a step further with my own pricing. I make the price differential between my 5×7 and 8×10 really small. How small? Try zero! I simply charge one flat price for any size print 8×10 or smaller. My clients choose the size based on their needs, not based on price. In other words, I never make anything less than my full 8×10 price. Problem solved.

The bottom line:  encourage your clients to climb the ladder and you’ll sell bigger prints!

 

Laurence Kim is a Boston-based portrait and wedding photographer.  He also blogs about the art and business of photography, and coaches professional and amateur photographers worldwide. 

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(ZenBlog) Laurence Kim Pricing yourself competitively Seattle Zenfolio galleries marketing photographer photography portfolio pricing prints professional photographer professional photography selling http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/3/climb-the-ladder-to-sell-bigger-prints Mon, 17 Mar 2014 16:00:00 GMT
Surprise your mum with a canvas wrap or box framed print – 25% off http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/3/surprise-your-mum-with-a-canvas-wrap-or-box-framed-print-25-off

 

Mother’s Day is just around the corner. Make it special and surprise your mum with a beautiful One Vision Imaging boxed frame print or Photobox canvas wrap starting today through 20 March at 11:59 p.m. GMT

Mounted on durable frames to give a 3-D effect, these prints make the perfect gift to capture mum’s best memories. As always, there is no coupon code necessary when you order with your Zenfolio account. This sale ends 20 March, so be sure to place your orders today.

This sale is open to all customers with GBP or EUR denominated accounts. Sale prices apply to your base price; items added to your cart will reflect the already discounted price. Visit the One Vision Imaging and Photobox partner pages to see the standard base price and the discounted price. If you want to pass this sale along to your customers please refer to our Sales FAQ.

 

 

 

 

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(ZenBlog) 25% off OVI One Vision Imaging Photobox Zenfolio box frames canvas wrap discount galleries marketing photographer photography portfolio printing prints professional photographer professional photography promotion sale selling http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/3/surprise-your-mum-with-a-canvas-wrap-or-box-framed-print-25-off Mon, 17 Mar 2014 07:05:00 GMT
Friday Foto Favorites 3.14 http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/3/friday-foto-favorites-3-14 Each week, we scour the web to find the most off-kilter photos, gear and articles so you don’t have to. Happy reading and have an even happier weekend.

 

  1. Life is scary. This documents humanity’s bravest moments.
  2. Times Square looked quite different back in the ’80s.
  3. Life, and all its splendor.
  4. New camera, retro look.
  5. When you wish upon a star…
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(ZenBlog) Friday Foto Favorites Friday Photo Favorites Zenfolio favorites galleries marketing photo photographer photography portfolio professional professional photographer professional photography selling weekly round up http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/3/friday-foto-favorites-3-14 Fri, 14 Mar 2014 16:00:00 GMT
Behind the Shot http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/3/behind-the-shot A picture is worth a thousand words, sure. But have you ever wondered what was reeling in the minds of the photographer as soon as they released the shutter? We asked several photographers to share their personal favorite shots and the stories behind them. From pulling all-nighters to capture the best lighting to traveling the corners of the globe to touching life tales of their subjects, here’s proof that there’s much more to a photo than simply pointing and shooting. Here, three seasoned photographers recount what it took to get that perfect shot.

Steamed by David Liam Kyle

“I have photographed numerous sports assignments over my thirty plus years as a photojournalist and have been slowly going through some of my old images. This photo still seems to get the most attention for one of my most unusual feature sports photographs.

I was on assignment for Sports Illustrated shooting the NFL Philadelphia Eagles at Cleveland Browns Stadium in the early nineties. It was a cold but sunny day when I noticed steam coming off the head of Philadelphia Eagles football player Antone Davis after he removed his helmet as he left the playing field.  The light and positioning at that moment was not conducive to a good photograph so I waited until the next time Davis came off the field and positioned myself so that he would be backlit with the dark shadows of Cleveland Stadium as a clean backdrop. As luck would have it Antone Davis actually walked toward me and looked up at the scoreboard.

I photographed this image with my Nikon F3 film camera and manual focus Nikkor 400mm f/2.8 lens wide open at 1/500th shutter speed on Fujichrome Provia 100 pushed one stop. During the nineties my NFL game equipment usually consisted of four Nikon F3 camera bodies with 50mm, 300mm f/2.8, 400mm f/2.8 and 600mm f/4 Nikkor lenses.  Technology has obviously changed over the years.  Zoom lenses have replaced the need for numerous lenses and camera bodies and my Lexar compact flash cards have replaced the need for numerous bags of film...but at the end of the assignment you still have to see pictures and capture moments.”

Distractions by Gene X Hwang

“Pinball has become somewhat of a passion of mine, and since it's a scene that's seeing a bit of a revival I've been bringing my camera out with me quite a bit.  One night my friends and I were out in Oakland and heard there were some pinball machines at a nightclub so we ventured inside to find them.

The machines were upstairs in a little area so we decided to play a few games. Apparently it was Brazilian night at the club so a few games in we noticed a few women come upstairs and disappear into a side door. A few minutes later, the same women came out in some sort of Brazilian samba Carnival dance costumes. Kenny, the guy in the red shirt, was playing Fish Tales, but noticed me snapping away behind him so he turned around and at that moment I captured this frame, which I think is hilarious. We may be pinball nerds, but we can get distracted just like any one else!

Beautiful Predator Up-Close by Eleanor Bennett

“As an infant I was told by my Mum that my first word spoken was "owl". My first and most favourite toy was a tawny owl and I always found comfort in the dark chilly nights where I live (a very rural and lonely place) the hoot of an owl hunting its prey. Only in 2013 did I manage to get my first good animal portraits of a selection of owl species both local to the UK and internationally important. I was allowed to take pictures by a local trust who were in the process of raising money to conserve and educate the public. At another event people were allowed to hold and stroke the owls anyone from the smallest of children to their parents. The animals displayed no apparent stress and it was the highlight to my year to finally capture the beauty of such an efficiently evolved and elegant avian.”

 

 

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(ZenBlog) Behind the Shot David Liam Kyle Eleanor Bennett Gene X Hwang Orange Photography Zenfolio background story behind the scenes documentary photographer galleries marketing nature photographer photographer photography portfolio professional photographer professional photography selling sports photography wildlife photographer http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/3/behind-the-shot Wed, 12 Mar 2014 16:00:00 GMT