3 Reasons Every Photographer Should Take Self Portraits

Peter Hurley

Editor’s Note: This is a syndicated blog post from creativeLive. It, and the images in this post are being used with permission.

Every time renowned portrait photographer Peter Hurley takes a photo of himself, he learns more about how he looks. He sets his equipment up, using a self-timer, and is always surprised by what he sees. Whether it’s the tilt of his mouth or a feature he didn’t know was there, his self-portraits always reveal something about himself he wouldn’t ordinarily notice.

“That’s what a photographer’s job is,” Peter said. “You have to be the mirror.”

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Photographer Peter Hurley on the Importance of Self Portraits

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Photographer Peter Hurley is without a doubt the king of headshots, and his biggest skill that every photographer needs has nothing to do with what’s in his camera bag. It has to do with his personality skills and how he deals with people. So when he talked on creativeLive recently about the importance of self-portraiture, he was actually making a very big point that will probably go over the heads of so many photographers.

If you’re a budding portrait photographer, what you’re saying may not make sense immediately, but the experienced veterans will probably agree.

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How to Frame a Printed Canvas Photo

Screenshot taken from the video

Screenshot taken from the video

Those of us who are more experienced photographers know the benefits of printing images: but not many know just what goes into creating a canvas and how it’s personally the ultimate image viewing experience. But Julia Kelleher did a video with creativeLive to show just what goes into canvas making. To be honest, you can really do this at home.

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Using Light Reflectors in Food Photography

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 25mm f2 Batis review sample photos (27 of 29)ISO 4001-200 sec at f - 2.5

The image above was created for the Zeiss 25mm f2 Batis lens review by using a reflector and flash light output bounced off of said light reflector to mimic the look of window lighting. It’s a very nifty trick that is useful for food photographers when the most ideal light for food photography just isn’t available during the time of day.

And to be very honest, it’s very simple to do.

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Photographer Scott Robert Lim on Creating Better Group Photos

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Photographer Scott Robert Lim recently did a video tutorial with creativeLive on posing groups for a photo–and it’s probably one of the best tutorials I’ve seen. What Scott is really emphasizing is micro-managements and people skills; but he cites that he’s had lots of experience with arranging elements on paper and so he applies those skills to photography.

As far as technicalities go, he talks about finding even lighting–which is what we say for portraiture all the time when it comes to shooting outdoors. Even lighting will make it easier to get a better photo with more details clearly being visible. Scott adds a bit of fill flash and also uses the longest lens possible–which means that he’s probably backing up quite a distance away from the subjects.

But beyond that, he also talks about keeping everyone’s attention. It’s tough work but possible.

Check out creativeLive’s video after the jump.

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A Complete Guide to the Basics of Posing for Portrait Photos

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“Rules are made to be broken,” is what Julia Kelleher states in her creativeLive presentation. “Don’t sacrifice connection for posing. ”

She covers lots of the basics like how a 50mm doesn’t work as well an 85mm due to compression, but also talks about angles, focal plane and the rule of thirds. Julia emphasizes how posing has to elicit a connection and uses lots of examples visually such as the focal plane example–which is a huge one!

One of the biggest ones though that you’re bound to learn is the rule of off-set heads and how noses play a big role in posing a family or couples. If you’re looking to just get into portrait photography, the video after the jump is a great primer to the basics of posing for portrait photos that squeezes lots of into 16 minutes.

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creativeLive is Offering a Free Week of Photoshop Tutorials


Next week is Photoshop Week in celebration of the fact that the program that everyone tries to get for free has turned 25 years old.

Starting on February 23 and ending on the 28th, creativeLive is offering totally free Photoshop and Lightroom tutorials with the option of purchasing individual classes for $19 each or all 49 for $299 later on. Instructors like Julieanne Kost, Matt Kloskowski, Ben Willmore, and Julia Kuzmenko McKim are going to be demoing tutorials.

Each day there are up to eight tutorials at 9AM, 10:45 AM, 1PM, and 2:45PM. If you want to check them out live, then the best thing to do is head over to the schedule and RSVP for the events.

Education like this usually costs hundreds of dollars with private instructors, but these are some of the best in the business and it’s going to be available for you for free.

Shamelessly Feminine: The Business of Boudoir Photography


All images by Jennifer Rozenbaum. Used with permission. PS: we’re working on a few boudoir pieces in time for WPPI. But we’re keeping them to a minimum.

Jen Rozenbaum was recently featured on creativeLive and makes her living as a boudoir photographer. She states that she embraces her femininity while allowing women to embrace their own. “By daring her clients to shed their clothes, they begin to shed their inhibitions.” is what her bio states. She’s also presenting this year at WPPI.

Jen is a woman that is seemingly very to the point; and that ethic is reflected in the specific ways that she works with clients.

The WPPI Wedding & Portrait Photography Conference+Expo is the premier industry event for photographers and filmmakers specializing in the creative and business aspects of wedding and portrait photography and filmmaking. Each year, nearly 13,000 professional and aspiring photographers and filmmakers attend WPPI to learn new techniques from industry leaders, build new relationships to grow their business, experience new products and solutions from major manufacturers to improve their productivity, and enjoy the many attractions in Las Vegas. February 26-March 5, MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

By using the promo code “WPPI50” you can get $50 off the “Full Platform Pass” which is regularly $299 ($249 with promo code).

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Essential Portrait Photography Photoshop Techniques

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Profoto B1 First Impressions sample photos (6 of 10)ISO 1001-160 sec at f - 5.6

Over time, many budding portrait photographers often hit a plateau in terms of their shooting style and technique. Their gear bags have the lenses and lighting kit that have brought them success in the capturing aspect of the whole thing. Yet when it comes time to load the images onto the computer and process them, the myriad menus and features can be overwhelming.

Enter Lindsay Adler, a portrait and fashion photographer who learned her way around Photoshop with a very hands-on and experimental approach. Instead of going through the ABCs of each tool as if you would in a college course, she goes over what works for her in the most efficient way possible. With these tips, you can begin to hone your skills by familiarizing yourself with what the basic tools do and know when they will or won’t work for any given image. Instead of being vaguely aware of what every single menu item does, you’ll become more adept at the essential techniques that will take your portraits to the next level.

Editor’s Note: This is a guest blog post by Glenn O. After three years of editorial work overseas as an editor of a photography publication, Glenn Orion now calls Baltimore, Maryland home where he focuses on wedding photography. This post is also brought to you by creativeLive.

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Ryan Brenizer On Wedding Photography Being About Moments

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If you haven’t heard of Ryan Brenizer, then you’re missing out on the work of one of the greatest wedding photographers of our time. Ryan is a former photojournalist that has been award winning wedding photographer for a number of years here in NYC. He also is known for what’s called the Brenizer Effect–which is the process of taking lots of photos in a panoramic fashion to mimic the look of a large format image.

And his words and images are more than enough to speak for themselves and inspire many others.

Having shot over 300 weddings and publishing his work in the industry’s top magazines including Rangefinder and American Photo, Ryan is one of the young stars in the industry. Before his speech at creativeLIVE Photo Week, we sat down with Ryan to find out how he captures those special moments that define his style.

Check it out after the jump.

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5 Pieces of Gear to Conquer Any Crappy Lighting Situation


As a professional photographer, from a high-end fashion photographer to a high-volume portrait and wedding photographer, we share the same major hurdle: capturing the perfect light with minimal gear. Light is the most important element in photography, but it’s also the most variant. As professionals, we are often thrown into less-than-ideal lighting conditions and expected to find perfect light in a matter of minutes. Through my experience, here are the top 5 essentials — my lighting survival kit — that help me handle even the crappiest of lighting situations.

Editor’s Note: This is a guest blog post by Lindsay AdlerIf you want to learn more about her lighting hacks and lighting techniques in general, check out her and Erik Valind’s free creativeLIVE workshop August 12-14. Also be sure to follow Erik on both Twitter and Facebook.

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JD, Husband of Jasmine Star, Talks About What’s in His Gear Bag


Wedding photographers sometimes have the most interesting camera bag contents. JD is famed Wedding Photographer Jasmine Star’s other half, and he often second shoots her weddings. Not familiar with the couple? They hail from Southern California. Jasmine was voted Top 10 Wedding Photographer in the World, Top 5 Most Influential Photographers, and her work has graced the pages of the world’s leading wedding publications. Today, they are teaching a free course on The Art of Being a Second Shooter today on creativeLIVE.

But as a quick teaser, check out what JD has in his camera bag after the jump.

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Clay Blackmore on a Lifetime of Photography and Staying Inspired

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All images by Clay Blackmore

Clay Blackmore has been shooting for longer than some of us have been alive and breathing. The photographer was trained by the legendary Monte Zucker and has been teaching workshops as well as professionally shooting for years. His images, no matter what he is shooting, elicit the feel of a fine art painting. His compositional and overall photographic skills are unparalleled due to his methods of developing new ideas and adapting to the industry.

We had a chance to chat with Clay recently and pick his brain on some insights into the industry.

Also: Clay Blackmore is doing a workshop on creativeLive later on this month on July 29th – 31st called, “Pose it, Light it, Love it.

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The Pros and Cons of TTL Flash: Talking with Award Winning Photographer Mike Fulton

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All images by Mike Fulton. Used with permission

Mike Fulton and Cody Clinton have a unique approach to wedding, fashion, and high-volume photography. They are the driving force behind TriCoast Photography – a Southeast Texas-based studio business. Previously selected as Kodak’s Photographers to Watch, Mike and Cody have landed prestigious assignments around the globe from germany to Mexico to Uganda. Mike also serves on the Professional Photographers of America Board of Directors.

We had a moment to pick Mike’s brain about effective TTL flash techniques and his former life as a crime scene photographers.

PS: Mike is actually teaching two courses on creativeLIVE on July 15-19. One is on TTL flash (July 15-16) while the other is on volume photography (July 17-18). Both are free to watch live.

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Editing Eyes for Portraits that Pop in Adobe Lightroom


While many will tell you that you should do all your eye-retouching and editing in Adobe Photoshop, there is an amazing amount of editing that you can do in Lightroom. Want to brighten the whites? No problem. Want to change the colors of the eyes completely? That is also possible now.

If you’re still new to the whole portrait game, then creativeLive has this awesome tutorial for you after the jump on making the eyes in your portraits pop. And if you like what you see, you should check out their calendar for other online classes.

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Rick Friedman: A Lifetime of Photography


Image by Rick Friedman. Be sure to check out the rest of creativeLive’s lineup this week.

Rick Friedman is an extremely accomplished photographer that has been shooting for over three decades. His published work has appeared in Time, Newsweek, The New York Times, USA Today, The Guardian, Der Spiegel, Stern, Discover and many other publications. He has produced over 75 book and magazine covers. Rick has been teaching the Location Lighting Workshop for a while as well and is spending time on creativeLive this week teaching about lighting.

Creative Live did a recent interview with Rick talking about his work. But we also asked a couple of other questions about finding inspiration and getting over a photographic slump.

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So You Want to Learn More About Lighting…


This week, creativeLive is doing their Lighting Toolkit workshop series. During the workshops, we’ll be sponsoring the giveaway of a pair of PocketWizard Plus X triggers and we’ll also be sharing a couple of resources with you later on this week that are exclusive to Phoblographer readers. We’ll be showing you an interview with photographer Rick Friedman and course clips from Lindsay Adler’s sessions.

Hit the jump for even more info from creativeLive themselves.

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