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All images by XuLiu Photography. Used with permission

Trends in the wedding and engagement world have skewed more towards creative and DIY approaches vs the hyper traditional offerings that dominated for years. Alex and Betty are the photography duo behind XuLiu photography based in Boston, and focus on capturing wedding stories through a unique blend of creative documentary storytelling and artistic portraiture.

We talked to them about creating better engagement photos, the psychology of portraiture and the business side of it all.

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All images by Angie Candella. Used with permission

Angie Candella is a wedding photographer based in Pittsburgh and who has gained lots of recognition for her work. She’s been shooting professionally since 2008 and bring a unique and modern touch to her weddings. The trend in wedding photography for the past couple of years has moved away from the super traditional and more towards the alternative and nouveau. What Angie has that helps her so much with this is her background in fashion photography. “I go through every photo and make sure that the bride looks flawless, and that the photos look like it came out of a magazine.” says Angie.

We talked to Angie about the specifics of posing a bride–and given her fashion background, Angie has quite a different approach to it.

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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Panasonic 42.5mm f1.2 review product images (4 of 7)ISO 2001-400 sec at f - 1.7

It’s very easy to become obsessed with bokeh–look at the cinema and television industry. Watch famous movies of Tarantino, Nolan, or television shows like Arrow or American Horror Story and you’ll see that the world’s best cinematographers use lots and lots of bokeh. In the same way that cinematographers use bokeh to tell a story, photographers should use bokeh to tell a story and transmit a presence and feeling into the viewer that grabs them and forces them to pay attention.

We’re not at all saying that photographers need to be more cinematic–but instead we’re saying that many photographers need to start thinking about bokeh in a different way.

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Want more Useful Photography Tips? Click here.

The question of whether one should use TTL vs manual flash output is one that many photographers will experience at one point or another in their careers. Both methods have their advantages and disadvantages. The majority of flashes can shoot in manual mode (thought there are some that indeed can’t and there are also flashes that can do both). But not every flash can fire in TTL mode.

TTL communication requires specific pins on the camera hot shoe and flash to communicate and relay information about the exposure to make the two work together.

In general, TTL has been the king when it comes to photojournalism, weddings, events, and sports. But in situations where you are trying to mix ambient lighting with natural lighting, TTL can be a godsend and eliminate the need for specific metering that will need to be done. In my apartment, I sometimes like shooting a subject in front of a window. Evenly illuminating the subject while properly exposing the outside can be tough, but it is a challenge very easily done by using TTL metering.

Manual light output is typically used on editorial, portrait, headshot, commercial, and fine art photo situations where someone can take their time and set a scene up. It gives the photographer specific control over the light to make it look brighter or darker or exactly the way that they want it. In contrast, a TTL system will read your camera meter and adapt itself to deliver a result that you may not necessarily want.

Manual lighting also works best when working with large light modifiers as a TTL light can sometimes not work so effectively based on various parameters like how large a light modifier is and how far it is positioned from a subject.

Keep this in mind when you’re shooting, and be sure to also check out our massive lighting tutorial roundup.

trash talk

Funding a photography hobby or a gear obsession can become challenging for the amateur or hobbyist photographer. The question has been asked on numerous message boards, “How can I make money to fund my hobby?” The answer is not a simple one but it is very possible to make money as a hobbyist with the right direction. My background as a photographer is far from professional. I am 25 and work full time in Physical Therapy. I have a wife and kids who are my life and often the focus of my images. I have no desire to be a professional photographer and I also suffer from a small case of G.A.S (as I’m sure we all do). Being a parent, I do not have the money to be spending on the newest telephoto lens or fastest mirrorless camera on the market so I decided to start doing a few small paid photography jobs to help supplement my hobby and provide small additional income. After I felt my skills were up to the standard of paid work I began contacting friends and family through facebook for senior, family or engagement portraits and branched from there.

This is a guest blog post by photographer Corey Boland. Corey recently was selected as a runner up in our Phottix contest and also features in our Creating the Photograph. Here is his post on how to make money from your photography.

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All images by Luis Ruiz. Used with permission

Photographer Luis Ruiz is a New York based creative that I met years ago when I first started the Phoblographer. As time goes on, we tend to evolve as photographers. But Luis and I used to inspire one another by heading out in the streets of Manhattan together and shooting street images. We learned from one another. We were also both concert photographers. But while I couldn’t find a way to make it profitable, Luis never gave up and through tenacity and perseverance Luis became a well known name amongst many magazines and music blogs in the New York area.

His story is one of humble beginnings that carry with him even to today.

Be sure to follow Luis on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

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