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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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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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Phoblographer (5)

All images by Jacob Loafman. Used with permission.

The first year is always the toughest both as a business owner and as a photographer. It’s all about understanding yourself as a shooter, making sure that your business is profitable, and adjusting to the landscape. We found photographer Jacob Loafman and upon hearing that he has been shooting for just under a year, we were quite shocked to see the incredible quality of his work and his success–which is seemingly rare amongst many budding professionals.

Jacob attributes his success partially to his tagline: “Let’s create together.” He admits that the business side was incredibly tough, and that his beginnings were still very humble.

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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer MyMiggo camera strap large review images (7 of 9)ISO 4001-1000 sec at f - 2.8

If you had to ask yourself who you are as a photographer, could you answer that question? What would you say about yourself if all you had to do was talk about your creative progression?

Many artists and people go through this world trying to find who they are. As we travel down the road of life, we discover more about ourselves and develop our identity. Every photographer has a photographic identity. It defines who we are as shooters and the type of work that we try to put out. Our photographic identities can only come about by continuing to shoot and internalizing the work of other photographers. My mentor in college taught me that if you’re a photojournalist then you’ll have the skills to be able to shoot whatever you want afterwards. The reason for that is because of the fact that photojournalism has skills that apply to any genre of photography: landscapes, portraits, events, weddings, long exposures–you name it and it’s there. Years later, I’ve realized more than ever that he was completely right.

But every single photographer that continues to self-identify and work to develop their craft won’t necessarily work in photojournalism. Many will shoot food and stick to it while others will shoot portraits and continue to get better or give up altogether.

No photographer in the world should ever say, “I can shoot anything.” Sure, you probably can–but how much of it is really worth displaying on your portfolio? If you showed images from your most recent session, would you put the entire thing up? You probably won’t–and so photographers need to specialize to begin with. It’s important that you market yourself as a portrait photographer or a sports and outdoor shooter, or that you have a label of some sort. It helps you sell yourself to clients later on.

The argument that everyone is a photographer these days is true. But are they really a creative? How many of you have a creative vision to sell? Do you have an entire body of work showing off what your creative vision is capable of doing? If you do, you should be pushing that more than anything.

Inspiring and fostering creativity is the only way that we will survive and keep creating–but we need to know who we are ad specialize to succeed.