Results for category "Education"

Nightly Missive: Mentor Much?

I am going to once again attempt to do some kind of daily (or nearly that) contribution to my blog experience.

A mentor of mine from years ago told me that being a photographer is a lot like being a doctor; both must constantly keep up with the latest information. I have lived by those words well into my adult life and career.

There are a lot of new folks coming into photography for one reason or another. When I see someone new, I like to watch their progress. As they continue to grow and innovate, I feel more and more like the industry just got a boost. And likewise when I see someone who has been at it for a couple of years, and who really has not grown past snapshots and a few fancy Photoshop gadgets, it’s much harder to take them seriously.

For that reason, I have created new photo classes that not only cater to amateurs, but also to those who know a little, but want to learn more. They are all available at the link below, and there are more on the way.

Tell your photographer friends about this… they will get a lot out of it, and you’ll get better pictures!

TLC’s Seminars & Photo Workshops

Remember when…

… I would blog 2-3 times a week?

It was pretty regular, too.  Sometimes 2-3 times a day!  Oh, yeah.

But I got behind, and busy, and didn’t have as much time to do it anymore.  And I still don’t.  But you will start seeing them again soon.  The best reason I can give you for why you will see them is because I have been asked to do so. So, here goes…

First, before I start in on blog entries for the sessions, weddings, and more, I have a couple of new projects we are getting ready to roll out.  Both take full advantage of the fact that we have a super, large studio with state-of-the-art facilities and lots of space.  Having a studio gives us a unique opportunity to create new stuff that we sometimes can’t do on-location.  Once we’re ready to reveal them, you’ll know what I mean.  One of the projects has been in the works for about twelve years, and the other going on three years.

Happy Birthday Shaftora

Some news items for you, too. Diana’s birthday is November 6.  Please feel free to wish her a happy birthday. We won’t be at the studio on her birthday (it’s a Sunday), but will be all this week thru Friday.  She likes purple, Scottie stuff, and sugar-free licorice. 🙂  We will also be closed on Saturday, November 5 so that we can celebrate her birthday in style.

Thanksgiving Turkey

There are really no holiday cutoffs this year.  However, if you want your print products for Christmas gift delivery, they need to be ordered by December 17.  A few items should be ordered earlier than that, such as books.  Please ask if you aren’t sure.

The studio will be closed for Thanksgiving and the remainder of that weekend.  We’ll reopen on Tuesday, November 29. The studio will be closed for Christmas and New Year’s from December 24 through January 2.  As always, we will be happy to try to accommodate your holiday portrait requests during those times, but we won’t be at the studio for you to pick up or place orders during those dates.

Model calls.  We have three model calls coming up.  One is for a model for one of the two projects I discussed above.  We have one model already, a young lady we have photographed before, but we’d like to have another to kind of round things out.  The next is for newborns… this is not specifically a model call, but we have changed a lot of things about our newborn photography, and we welcome anyone whose had a baby, and who is no more than ten days old, to contact us about getting a complementary session.  The last is for next year’s high school seniors (Class of 2013).  Senior models get two full sessions, free products, cash, and discounts on their future orders.  For any of these, email me or call 304-263-3100 and talk with us (or just leave a message).

I think I’ve said enough for one email.  Hope you’re looking forward to the new blog entries as much as I am.

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A new way to blog

When I first set up this blog, it was my hope to update it as often as there was something new to talk about. Well, in addition to several new posts coming this week, I will also be able to post from anywhere via my phone.


Here’s a picture of the screen for a post that you can see on Monday morning. Let’s see what else I can get into. 🙂


Help a friend; be a part of science

A friend of ours is working on a science fair project and we’re trying to lend her a hand to get more participants to complete a study she is doing.  Here’s what she provided as information for the project:

“Hannah Williams is conducting a science fair project in need of people willing to read an eye chart and have their picture taken. The test will only last less than five minutes, but you cannot have your contacts in to read the chart. The picture will be cropped to only show your left eye as shown in the picture.  Any and all participants are appreciated; thanks in advance!”

We are hosting Hannah at our studio on Saturday, October 30 at 4:00pm until she has photographed everyone participating.  At last count, she needs 35 more participants.  Wouldn’t it be great if we got ALL 35 of them for her?

If you can make it, please call (304-263-3100) or email ( to let us know you are coming.  You can also reach us on Facebook ( to respond that you will be at the studio.

PLEASE NOTE: Hannah wants to make it clear than anyone under the age of 18 is also welcome to participate, however their parents must sign the consent form.  Hannah will have forms available for everyone.

As Hannah points out, this takes less than five minutes, and is to help her with a school science fair project.  We are only helping her out, and offering space to gather everyone at once to make it go quicker.  There is no obligation to purchase anything, and nobody will try to sell you anything.  We’re just doing this because we like Hannah and think this is a worthwhile project (mostly because we are both fascinated by eyes).

Please call, email, contact us in some way so we can make sure to plan enough time for everyone.


On-location with Marla

I’ve done pictures with Marla before… she was about 5-6 years younger.  I’ve also photographed her daughter, Julia.  The objective with Marla’s shoot was to balance natural surroundings with a casual approach.  Again, we only used natural light via a reflector.

Heavy filtering here focuses the subject within her surroundings.

The light was in the perfect place… or rather, we positioned Marla to take perfect advantage of where the light was falling.

Aligning a subject with the existing lines is more flattering than crossing them.

There was no way we could ignore Marla’s daughter… so a tender moment was well worth photographing.  It ended up being a favorite, of course.

Diana called this one “End of Day”.  Aptly named.

All little girl.  What fun in those little eyes. 🙂

On-location with Taylor

You may remember Taylor from the shoot with did with her in Charles Town.  The objective with her was to combine architecture with her beauty, and once again use only reflected light to illuminate her face.  This is in two parts… the first part takes place in some areas of Shepherdstown.  The second part takes place along the Tow Path across the river from Shepherdstown.

Just a reflector and a lot of playing with the balance of light.

There are two people laying on the ground to get this shot.  It was worth it.

Love the lines of the stairway with this one.

The patterns of light were great to work within.

She wasn’t a fan of the hat, but we knew what would happen to the light on her face with a white hat in direct sunlight.  We did a little dodging and contrast adjustments to get the balance just right.

On-location with Hannah

As part of an ongoing commitment to education, both for myself and for others I intend to teach, I take on a variety of assignments that are just for my benefit.  This was one of them (as well as two others you will see with Taylor & Marla).

I had specific ideas for lighting and posing with each model, which was augmented by ideas from Diana as we worked our way through each venue.  This particular venue was downtown Shepherdstown, in about a one block area.  Most of you who know Shepherdstown may recognize certain places.

In front of the Shepherdstown Bakery… love big glass windows.  I should note that all of these shots were lit using only a reflector.  Properly positioned, a reflector is a very powerful tool for lighting.

There’s a doorway next to China Kitchen (and I’m glad nobody decided to come out right then) that is old and weathered… a perfect contrast for a beautiful portrait.

Often just something as simple as leaning on a rail is a very nice portrait.  If you look closely at the railing, you will see faces. 🙂

White or light colored hats on very bright days can create a kind of softening effect of the light on the face.   Filled reflector lighting helped bring out the lovely smile and eyes.

With only a little post-shoot work, Diana added considerably to the overall image.  It’s not how much effort is put into an image that makes it work… it’s knowing how little you need to do to keep that natural beauty of a well-captured image.

Calling All Photographers

Adapted from Wikipedia's WV county maps by Set...

Have you heard that there is a new photographers group in our area?

Oh yes, and it meets monthly.  For the time being, the meeting is held at TLC Photography’s studio in Martinsburg.  The next meeting is November 2 at 6:30pm.  Refreshments are provided and it’s open to all.

We have been going back and forth on creation of a photography group for awhile.  This is the first serious effort at getting things moving again, and we have already had one full meeting – which went great.  The objective of this group is to give other photographers the support and training they need to be productive, and to improve and encourage their skill sets.  I have long been a proponent of education and re-education in an effort to maintain a high degree of end product for clients, and as long as the group continues in that direction, I will always promote it to other photographers.

We are looking for anyone who already makes a living at photography, wants to make a living at photography, or shoots professionally at any other level.  At this upcoming meeting, we will be considering the formalization of the group, exploring the future of educational opportunities and sharing a few more war stories.  And you are ALWAYS welcome to bring your latest works for review by other photographers.

Please mark your calendars now.  November 2 (yes, that’s Election Day) at 6:30pm.  TLC Photography’s address is 3628 Winchester Ave, Martinsburg WV.  The phone number is 304-263-3100.  Please call if you need directions.

You can visit the SVPP group on Facebook here.

See you there!

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Pop goes the Weasel

This happens once in awhile.  The inevitable parent, grandparent, uncle, aunt or “well-meaning parental figure” jumps in front of my camera in order to get their shot.  I took several more shots after this one, but I’m using it as a reminder to all you wedding-goers out there… stay IN you assigned seating area while the bride is coming down the aisle. :\

In all fairness, he did turn around later and mouth an apology.  C’est la vie!

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An Italian Workshop

In this post, I told you about working with The Alpine Adventure Agency to come up with a photography workshop that combines an amazing vacation, an incredible package chock full of lots of adventure, and an educational workshop that could only take place in the Italian Alps.

Well, everything has been organized and laid out by Daniela Anderson, owner of The Alpine Adventure Agency, and we’re ready to reveal all the details.  But before that, let me tell you how I came up with our exclusive workshop program.

  • It was important for me to first educate you about determining composition and posing.  For many who attend this workshop, these segments will be very interactive.  I encourage ideas on posing from anyone and everyone, because having interaction means you are getting involved.
  • There is so much packed into the lighting element, that it will just spin by.  But I’m so excited about this part because there is so much to work with in this beautiful environment.
  • Finally, we’ll start to pull it all together by using new angles, exploring the camera settings and giving you a chance to apply everything you’ve learned in an unprecedented portrait session with a beautiful Italian model… who, by the way, will be accompanying us EVERY day of the workshop. 🙂

Now, on to the details.  Daniela Anderson is a wizard at planning exotic vacations, many of which have also included workshops in the arts and crafts arena.  And so rather than me duplicating all her efforts, I’m just going to refer you to the page she designed which outlines not only the workshop elements, but all the other details about this fabulous Italian vacation.

Here’s the link: Italian Vacation & Photography Workshop

It’s a great vacation, with plenty of value, fun, and food.  AND you get a great workshop, an awesome location, and did I mention the food? 🙂

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