Guide To Better Photography

We all want to be the best photographers, right? That’s why you’re reading this article right now because you want to become better and an effective photographer. I am very excited to share my thoughts and tips on how to become the best. Whether you’re an amateur or a hobbyist, you have the desire to improve your skills in producing mesmerizing images.

lens2Photography allows us to express ourselves in the most unique way. We use specific and random objects to tell a story. Basically, it is our way of communicating with the rest of the world. In addition, we learn a lot from photography. We learned how to value and respect our nature and environment. We see a lot of beautiful things even with the tiniest subject. Whether you do photography to make a living or for fun, you  need to grow to produce good images Allow me to share with you some of the important guide for better photography.

For you to produce high-quality images, you need to have these three significant things:

Professional Camera

Owning and having a DSLR professional camera is not enough. You need to learn its settings inside and out for you to be able to know how it works. You have to bear in mind that the camera is the only key for you to communicate with your subject.

Proper Lighting Tools

Although having the best camera in the market is one of the great way to produce a good image, it’s still not enough especially on darker environment. You need to have the most advanced lighting tools for you to get the important details of your subject. Lighting makes a good difference, so you also need to have great lighting techniques and ideas. Adjusting the amount of light needed for a subject is not easy, you need to train yourself every now and then to have a perfect lighting.

Reliable Post-Processing Application

Having a reliable image editing tool is a must since it is the only way for you to produce an outstanding and eye-catching image. One of the best post-processing programs in the market is Adobe Lightroom, it has a lot of positive feedback from satisfied users. Make sure to have one.

I believe these things will help you grow as a photographer since it worked for me. If you want more useful photography articles, see more user-friendly photography tuts at

Featuring Free Presets

A list of free presets are available online. Other presets are more specific, more attuned to creating special effects to a landscape picture or a portrait. But these presets only has one common goal, the enhancement of an image in a picture.

lr1So varied are these lists online that other photo-enhancing sites offer tutorials and tools for those ordinary users wishing to put improvements on their pictures.

It would be so trite to just post a picture on the web without even heightening certain sensibilities of your image, so to speak. That type of picture posting has seen better days.

Now, with the availability of these presets online, such as in the case of Fotopresso’s list of free presets, any user can now treat his or her picture like a true blue masterpiece.

These pictures are in for some serious overhaul, but a kind of overhaul that would raise the bar of developing a picture. With these free presets, picture enhancement is no longer a concern of a professional photographer, it is now a domain also for picture enthusiasts.

Your picture on Facebook or Twitter will have an edge, presenting your well-enhanced images much like a seasoned photographer does. With specific actions and brushes on its tools, you pictures will be an integral part of presenting yourself in a more cool and stylized way. Pictures that resemble those found in commercial ads and magazine covers.

Explore every preset online and discover its potentials. You now have the tools to put some extra flair on an ordinary picture, present it in an artsy manner, highlighting potential features that normally don’t have emphasis on a conventional picture.

These free presets are so unique because they function like a fingerprint, for every landscape, for every portrait, there is a preset that goes with it.

Gone are those days when posting a picture online leaves nothing to the imagination. Now you can imagine everything with this list of free presets online.


Wedding photography for beginners

Wedding photography is one of the most challenging type of photographer. This is because there are so many variables to be considered and so many things to keep in mind in order to produce the best wedding shots. That said, there are some constants that apply to almost any photographer and that beginner can observe in order for them to become better photographers even without using Lightroom Presets or get started with wedding photography the easiest way possible.

Know your equipment

man-camera-photographer-canonOne of the most important things for any photographer is their equipment. In order for you to become a better wedding photographer, you have to make sure that you know your equipment really well. This will not only help you work better and more efficiency, it will also eliminate the chance of any potential embarrassment that may arise due to to not fully understanding the equipment you have.

Understand shutter speed and exposure

A universal truth about weddings is that people and things are always moving around. You have to make sure that you are able to take photographer regardless of whether the subjects you would like to shoot are moving or not. One of the ways to make sure that your photographs are not blurred is to use the shortest shutter speed possible. This is so that you are able to capture those instances you need to capture faster and more clearly.

Use a faster memory card

The memory card that you use when shooting at a wedding should have a pretty high write speed. This is because you will be saving a lot f photographs pretty fast. If the memory cards you are using have low write speeds, you may ave to wait for up to a few seconds for your camera to save the images. This does not only interfere with your work flow, it also wastes a lot of time and in that time, an important moment may have passed.

Learn how to use Lightroom

LR16While it is true that you can get a camera that shots images in such high quality that you would not need to edit them, it is also true that a majority of photographer will want to add something extra to their photographs. The best way to do this is through the use of Adobe Lightroom. Lightroom will let you adjust the contrast, colors, clarity and lots of other aspects of your photos. This will ensure that whatever you put out is of a much better quality than what you shot.

Can You Use Several Lightroom Presets at Once?

It was a dark and stormy nightAdobe Lightroom allows us, users, to create, and save customized presets. However, we cannot save a certain preset that will modify the settings of an original image since the program is a non-destructive software. It preserves the raw settings from the camera. Lightroom only allows us to edit a certain value to replace whatever setting that has been set in the picture.

Can you use numerous Lightroom presets at once?

This is the most common concern among users since they want to know if they can utilize numerous lightroom presets in one process. The answer is, Yes! You can use several lightroom presets at once. However, when saving or updating new sets of presets, it is recommended that you uncheck all the unnecessary boxes in the interface to avoid additional unrelated image settings. For instance, if you are creating a black and white preset, the only image settings you need to adjust are those buttons related to black and white.

Here’s another helpful preset example, if you have created a custom vignette preset, you just have to save the post crop image vignette settings. Lightroom presets are very easy to use, but tricky, you really have to use your skills and knowledge in using and creating presets to avoid destruction of images. Applying presets to images is easier since there is no need to choose photos one by one. But be very extra careful in applying presets, check first the settings if it fits the images. For example, if the original file has a bad lighting and you’re preset contains a lot of dark shades, chances are the image will look terrible. If you are still in doubt, check for more lightroom tutorial online to help you understand the program.

Lightroom presets can be applied to hundreds and even thousands of images at once, but the trick there is to check if the presets look good on the image.

Photoshop Elements vs. Lightroom

What is the first thing that will pop up in your mind when you hear the terms “image editing”?

LR16There are a lot of competition for lightroom products out there that sometimes you might get confuse which software can really help you in editing images, and which program would suit you – Photoshop Elements or Photoshop Lightroom?  That is an understandable question, but a difficult one to answer.

Photoshop Elements and Photoshop Lightroom are both powered by “Adobe”, yet their features are different. In this article, I will discuss to you the differences of Photoshop Elements and Photoshop Lightroom.

Photoshop Elements (PSE) is the right choice for photographers who want to make ultimate changes to an image. Moreover, Photoshop Element is for doing surgery on your photo.

Photoshop Elements does indeed look much like a simplified version of Photoshop and is also suitable for a reasonably broad user base, but loses most of the advanced functionality in favor a user-friendly interface.  Also, you can do some light RAW processing and also draw a smiley face or write text on an illusion if so desired.  Furthermore, it is broad appeal for editing family picture through a user-friendly user interface. It is much less complicated than Photoshop and quicker to use with fewer tools and fast operation.

Photoshop Lightroom can be considered a subset of Photoshop with particular functionality that Photoshop does not. It was created for the main purpose of managing a large number of images and keeping them organized in one place. For the photographers, Lightroom is often all they need, with the ability to sort, manage, edit, retouch, print images as well as create online galleries and design albums.

Even there’s a competition for lightroom products I am still a big fun of Lightroom, I find it simple to use and very helpful in my editing process. Choose the right software where is suit for your needs.

Four Wedding Photography Tips for Beginners

ph6We all know that weddings are sacred and special. It is a ceremony where two people who love each other are united as one. Most wedding ceremonies involve a lot of traditions such as presentations of gifts to each other, exchanging vows, and more. This special life event needs a good photographer to capture the couple’s many first: (first kiss, dance, drink and more).

However, some photographers do not have enough traits and skills to become a good photographer. In this article, we will give provide the best wedding photography tips that will help beginners to grow as a photographer. This will also include a small tip about lightroom presets wedding.

Survey the Scene

Today, couples will prefer having a prenuptial shoot prior to their big day. They wanted to have a photo shoot that will serve as their memoir as being “boyfriends-girlfriends”. To avoid delays, photographers should survey the scene first to know if it suits the theme, outfits of the soon to be husband and wife. Moreover, checking the location will help photographers plan ahead on what to do during the shoot.

Bring Extra Cameras

It is recommended to bring extra cameras on this special event, again, to avoid delays. Bringing extra cameras will also allow photographers to never miss any special scenes during the event.

Capture the Smallest Details

During the one-hour wedding ceremony, a lot of things can happen. Photographers need to be alert in all scenarios as to not miss every single bit of it. They need to capture even the smallest details such as exchanging of rings, chains, bibles and vows and more.

Share Thoughts and Ideas with the Couple

Prior to the event, photographers need to meet with the couple to discuss his/her expectations, thoughts and ideas as well as to listen to what they want in the photographs. Also, it is the right time to talk about the payment and the packages.



Why I Love Lightroom Presets

pre6Adobe Lightroom is known for its very powerful photo editing management. It was created to help photographers in all genres to organize and modify their captured images and to make it even better. Like other programs, lightroom can be confusing since it has a lot of controls and options to consider and learn. However, with lightroom’s preset or commonly known as filtered images that can be applied to one or more images at once, everything became easier.

Adobe lightroom presets can be used easily since it can be used in one or more images. It can help us transform raw images into something beautiful. In my opinion, if you are going to try the features of lightroom, you should prepare yourself and your skills in creating presets since it is the best starting point in the program. By simply adding your desired effect and styles, you can make your own presets and you can use it to all of your collections.

I have been using and creating various styles of presets to add in my lightroom collections over the years and I also learned that creating one is not that easy; yes it is easy to create simple presets, but creating presets for professional and work related purposes is not simple.

Undeniably, not all free lightroom presets that you see online have good quality; some of those are not worth it since it is badly created. When buying lightroom presets online, make sure to check the quality first. Then, check the compatibility option to know if it can work well to older and higher version of lightroom.

Installing presets for lightroom is very simple. You just have to open lightroom, choose preferred image and select on the “develop module tab” on the right side of the interface. Right click the presets tab and choose your desired preset and you’re ready to use it on your images.

All You Need To Know About Adobe Lightroom

Have you ever wondered where those high quality images come from does? Most amazing and stunning images that we see everywhere (billboards, museums, exhibits and more) were captured and edited by professional photographers. Do you want to their secret? They have those lively images because they use the latest release of Adobe systems; Lightroom, a very well-known photo editing program that is capable in editing tons of images at once. Learn more about lightroom by watching this video below:

Today, we are in an era where taking pictures is a must especially on special occasions. In addition, we take pictures everywhere we go and anything we do such as partying, swimming at the beach, special events and more. However, in order to make meaningful images, we need to use a program like lightroom to modify and organize our captured images.

LR7Lightroom also contains a lot of built in default presets, or filtered images that will turn every raw image into a more stunning photograph.

Basically, lightroom’s major feature is the presets, or a group of filtered images with special adjustments to help photographers in all levels with their workflow. Moreover, they can also create their customized presets. It’s either a black&white, lomo or vintage setting.

If you don’t have the skills to create your own presets, there are several free lightroom presets dispersed online. It depends on what version of lightroom you are utilizing. If you are using the latest version, all you have to do is download free presets that is compatible with the version and you’re ready to go.

Advantages of adobe lighroom presets

One of the best advantages of lightroom is that you can save a lot of time and effort in editing images since everything is easy to manipulate, from applying the presets to printing.



Steep Canyon Rangers

Steep Canyon Rangers played the Abbey Bar inside of Appalachian Brewing Company in Harrisburg, PA on 12-10-2010.  Harrisburg natives, Colebrook Road, opened the show.  Thanks to Greenbelt Events, this show was packed full of bluegrass fans.  There was just enough space in the room for everyone to enjoy the show.

The Steep Canyon Rangers gained a lot of attention when (actor, comedian, and banjoist) Steve Martin selected them to be his backing band for an album and a tour.  As result, they got to play some of the largest stages in the music scene including: Austin City Limits, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, and the 2010 Bonnaroo Music Festival.  Sometimes, it takes luck or just being at the right place at the right time in order to get the notoriety that you deserve.  This relationship proved to be both.

The Steep Canyon Rangers are made up of:
Woody Platt – guitar, lead vocals
Graham Sharp – banjo, harmony vocals
Mike Guggino – mandolin, harmony vocals
Charles R. Humphrey III – bass, harmony vocals
Nicky Sanders – fiddle, harmony vocals

Each one of the Steep Canyon Rangers are excellent musicians, all of them could hold their own against the industry’s best.  And not only are they great musicians but they are also impressive songwriters.   Most bands within the bluegrass genre rely on traditional songs or cover songs but the Steep Canyon Rangers play mostly original pieces.

One of the cover songs that they did  play however was a cover of the Grateful Dead’s “Don’t Ease Me In”.  This song is on one of their CDs as well and they emulate the instrumentation bond that Jerry Garcia had with Phil Lesh and Bob Wier effectively.  This was one of the clear favorites of the crowd judging by the applause it received.

One of the most intimate parts of the night and my favorite part of the night was when they sung a spiritual hymnal-style song named “I Can’t Sit Down” a capella.   It has a great call and response  section which goes:

Won’t you sit down
Lord I can’t sit down
Won’t you sit down
Lord I can’t sit down
Won’t you sit down
Lord I Can’t sit down
‘Cos I just got to Heaven
Got to look around

Who’s that yonder dressed in red
Well it mus be the children that Moses led

If you have not seen the Steep Canyon Rangers, do yourself a favor and go see them.  You will see top notch musicianship as well as well-written original bluegrass music.  If you need a taste of twhat they are like stream the Austin City Limits show with Steve Martin off the ACL website, you’ll be gald you did.

The setlist more or less followed this, I did not recognize a few abbreviations from the selitst and are noted by (??):

Nowhere to Lay Low
Kicked Out Of Town
Oklahoma Stomp
Don’t Ease Me In (Grateful Dead cover)
Call The Captain
Tennessee Blues
Be Still Moses
Hollerin’ House / Cumberland Moon
A Ramblin’ Man is a Ramblin’ Man
I Can’t Sit Down
Turn Up The Bottle
Knob Creek

Lovin’ Pretty Women

Hoots And Hellmouth

Hoots And Hellmouth played the Abbey Bar inside of the Appalachian Brewing Company on 12-29-2010 in Harrisburg, PA.  This show was video recorded for an official Hoots And Hellmouth recording. I am not aware if it will be used for a music video, promotional footage for the new album titled “The Holy Open Secret” but look out for the recording when it does surface.  Hoots and Hellmouth have become one of the my most frequently seen bands.

Hoots And Hellmouth are an organic Americana/roots based band that enthusiastically stomps (literally) their way through their sets and play infectious harmonies and irresistible melodies.  Songs like: Good I Know You Know, This Hand Is A Mighty Hand, Home In A Boxcar, Want On Nothing, and What Good Are Plowshares If We Use Them Like Swords are quintessential live staples that every HnHM fan craves.  The energy during these songs is enough to shut down Three mile Island and run the city off the stage.

This was the third time seeing the band with a drummer and without the second guitarist so I can officially say that the band sounds full and they never lost an ounce of energy.  The times that I really miss Andrew Gray is during the perfectly composed three part harmonies on some of their songs off their self-titled debut album.

The last time I saw them was a show they did to support Community Supported Agriculture, it was in a nice wooden barn on a 200+ acre farm, beautiful setting and a spectacular event.  They are a band that stand up for what they believe in: simple ideals including supporting local businessesand and they do not support urban sprawl and all the evils that come with it.

If you want to see a great show and have a great time go see Hoots And Hellmouth.  And make sure you say hi to them at the merchandise table afterwards, they are very down to earth guys and they appreciate their fans.

B.B. King

B.B. King played the Hershey Theatre in Hershey, PA on 01-08-2011.  At 85 years old, B.B. King still tours more than many bands that are 1/3 of his age.  Over a period of 52 years, he has played over 15,000 performances.  That is almost 300 performances per year!

What a great experience it was to be able to photograph another one of my living legends, Mr. B.B. King!  Unfortunately, the shoot was from the soundboard due to venue rules so I do not have any closeups of B.B., but the opportunity alone was all worth it!

It has been 10 years, almost to the day (01-23-2000), since I had last seen B.B. King perform.  That was one of my favorite nights of my life as I got to meet the B.B. King after the show, get his autograph, as well as receive several guitar picks and memento pins from him.  I was (and still am) in awe of how genuinely nice he is after getting to meet him in person.

If you are not familiar with any of BB King’s work, do yourself a favor and listen to  ”The Thrill Is Gone”.  You will experience his legendary guitar mastery (he is a vibrato virtuoso and the abie to get more out of a single note than most guitarists can with a whole fretboard) and his soulful and painfully bluesy voice that he is known for.  BB King will some day be in the history books with other legends such as Howlin’ Wolf, Albert King, Robert Johnson, etc it is not too late to see a living legend on tour.

As usual, B.B. King’s impressive back up band played the intro to the show without B.B. on stage to warm everyone up and show everyone what they are capable of.  They all take turns soloing and belting out their version of the blues.  After ten minutes or so, B.B. King walked out onto the stage to an appreciative standing crowd.  He greats the band as if it were a ritual each night, takes a seat and then threw out handfuls of guitar picks and other B.B. King mementos.  After his beloved guitar named Lucille was handed to him, he traded a few licks with the band and then began to tell a story.  If you have ever seen B.B. before, you know that he likes to tell a lot of stories.  They are always funny and have a great message.

After that, the night flew by playing many fan favorites from his catalog including: “Every Day I Have The Blues”, “Key To The Highway”, “Nobody Loves Me but My Mother”, “Rock Me Baby”, and of course “The Thrill Is Gone”.

At 85 years old, there are signs of B.B. King finally slowing down but that does not take anything away about this legend.  He has paved the way for thousands of bluesmen that followed him throughout the years.  At this day in age, you owe it to yourself to see the “Blues Boy King” while he is still touring.

While in no particular order, this was basically the setlist for the night:
I Need You So
Every Day I Have The Blues
Darling You Know I Love You
Key To The Highway
Nobody Loves Me but My Mother
How Blue Can You Get
I Believe I’d Give Up Living
You Are My Sunshine
Rock Me Baby
The Thrill Is Gone

Gregg Allman And Friends

Gregg Allman And Friends played the American Music Theater in Lancaster, PA on 01-09-2011 as part of the tour to support Gregg’s new solo album “Low Country Blues” which was later released on 01-18-2011.   Gregg Allman is the singer and plays keys for the legendary Allman Brothers Band.  He has several solo albums since his first in 1973 (“Laid Back” Blues”) including the brand new “Low Country Blues” which was recorded with the current band he tours with.

Gregg Allman has had a rough couple of years having undergone liver transplant surgery in 2010 and been diagnosed with Hepatitis C in late 2007.  But Gregg looks and sounds refreshed, his legendary bluesy vocals are really strong right now.  This show was one of the best solo Gregg Allman shows I have ever been to.  Not only that but the whole band is firing on all cylinders right now and are performing really tight.

Gregg Allman’s current band consists of:
Gregg Allman – Vocals, guitar, Hammond B-3
Floyd Miles – Percussion, vocals
Bruce Katz – Keyboards
Scott Sharrard – Guitar
Jerry Jemmott – Bass
Steve Potts – Drums
Jay Collins – Horns

Scott Sherrard stuck out to me as a very impressive guitarist, even more so than in the past.  His guitar parts were on point and very tasteful.  He mastered the volume swells a la Duane Allman or Dickey Betts and he was able to get awesome tones out of his setup.  Handling the guitar parts by himself, particularly on the Allman Brothers songs has to be a seemingly impossible task.  Somehow, he pulls it off and makes it look easy.  I hope to see his own band perform live in the future.

There is not much to say about Bruce Katz or Jay Collins that has not been said in the past.  They are masters of their instruments and are an inspiration to all musicians.  Their ability to hide in the shadows when playing the backing parts and then be able to step forward and put down some jaw-dropping solos at the flip of a switch is extremely impressive.

On this tour, they played several songs from the new album (including the infectious “Floating Bridge”) as well as the classic Gregg Allman hits such as “I’m No Angel”, “Please Call Home”, “Before The Bullets Fly”, etc.  Gregg Allman and Friends also play several AllmanBrothers Band staples but they perform them in different arrangements that turn them into entirely different songs such as “Dreams”, “Statesboro Blues”, “Don’t Keep Me Wonderin’”, “Melissa”, and “Whipping Post”.

A few tasteful covers were also included on the setlist, my favorite cover of the night was the blues staple, “Born Under A Bad Sign”.   This blues classic sounded refreshed in their arrangement of the song.  After hearing so many bands cover it so closely to the original, it is nice to hear it composed slightly different.

Gregg Allman is a legend and has been making great music for 40 years now.  His new album shows us the laid back and bluesy side of Gregg that the Allman Brothers Band have built their foundation on instead.  It is a great album and hope that you get to pick up this album and see his band on the road on this tour.

The setlist was as follows:
Don’t Keep Me Wonderin’
I’m No Angel
I Can’t Be Satisfied
Please Call Home
Ridin’ Thumb
Born Under A Bad Sign
You Must Be Crazy
Rolling Stone
Just Another Rider
Turn on Your Lovelight
Little By Little
Back To Daytona
Before The Bullets Fly
Whipping Post
Floating Bridge

Sweet Feeling
Statesboro Blues

My Morning Jacket

With the best weather in festival history, the seventh annual Mountain Jam at Hunter Mountain featured four days of music by some of the best – including headliners Warren Haynes Band, Gov’t Mule and My Morning Jacket.

Mountain Jam has grown tremendously in the last few years. This year included the addition of the fourth day – a “Pre-Festival Party” on Thursday night – featuring six bands, shorter entry lines, and easy camping setup.

Many of the featured artists to Mountain Jam have also grown with the festival. Grace Potter was featured on a tiny stage just a few years ago, and this year rocked in the second-to-last closing spot to one of the larger crowds of the weekend. My Morning Jacket is also a festival regular, in the past having an afternoon show, and this year closing out the entire festival.

Out of 55 total bands for the weekend, 46 were new to Mountain Jam, making the festival one of the most diverse in years, and providing a new and exciting weekend for concert-goers. With four stages, it was impossible to see every act, and with as strong of a lineup as the festival had this year, attendees were bound to miss at least of few favorites.

My Morning Jacket’s setlist for the night was as follows:
1. Victory Dance
2. Circuital
3. The Day Is Coming
4. Off The Record
5. Gideon
6. It Beats 4 U
7. I’m Amazed
8. First Light
9. Phone Went West
10. Golden
11. Heartbreakin Man
12. Outta My System
13. Holding On To Black Metal
14. You Wanna Freak Out
15. Slow Slow Tune
16. Steam Engine
17. Smokin’ From Shootin’ ->
18. Run Thru (closing section only) ->
19. Touch Me I’m Going To Scream Pt. 2
20. One Big Holiday
21. Wordless Chorus
22. Highly Suspicious *
23. Carnival Time *
24. Dancefloors *
25. Mahgeetah
* = with Preservation Hall Jazz Band