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Why Can’t I Sell the Photo, I Took It!

Originally posted on Photofocus:

I received a call from a friend of mine about a month after we attended Photoshop World in Las Vegas. He was excited an agency want to use an image he took at the popular Westcott Shooting booth. He asked me to hunt down the model and get a release form from him. I paused, took a deep breath and searched for the right words to tell him he can’t use the image. He snapped, “But why can’t I use the image, I took the photo!”. It’s true, he pressed the shutter that snapped the shot that took the photo. So why can’t he in good faith use the image?  It’s simple, he didn’t create the image, Westcott did.

There is more to taking a photo than pressing a button.

To create this image, this is what Westcott did:

  • Designed, built and paid for the set.
  • Hired a model.
  • Hired…

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Pray For Clouds – Landscape Photography in Monument Valley

Originally posted on Photofocus:

NOTE: This post will also appear on my new site WESHOOTFUJI.COM

I am writing a series of posts about a recent trip to Monument Valley. A long-time client asked me to go out and do some one-on-one shooting with him. I hadn’t been there in 15 years so I jumped at the chance.

Monument Valley Sunrise  - Photo Copyright Scott Bourne - Shot With Fuji X100T Monument Valley Sunrise – Photo Copyright Scott Bourne – Shot With Fuji X100T

The winter in Monument Valley is often my favorite time to go. The crowds are smaller (sometimes you seem to have the place to yourself,) the hotels offer lower-cost (off-season) room-rates, and if you’re lucky, you’ll get clouds or even snow.

If you go in the summer (when everyone else does) you’ll have a better chance of capturing big, dramatic storm clouds. But you’ll compete with hundreds of photographers for space and it will cost more. It’s a trade-off.

Whatever it takes, if you…

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Portrait Photography |Placing the Main Light

Originally posted on Photofocus:

The main light is the source of illumination for a picture. It’s the one that’s measured for exposure with an incident meter. Using one is explained in the Photofocus post Exposure Tactics: Incident Metering. It sets the mood for the photograph. It’s the one that all the other lights serve. It also provides the main diffused highlight in a portrait. It’s important. The question I get asked most often about it is “How do you know where to put the main light?” That’s a good question. A really good question. The answer? It comes down to symmetry.

Facial Structure

Faces are not symmetrical in about ninety-eight percent of the world’s people. These faces’ sides are different. One eye will be larger than the other, same for the nostrils, cheeks and even the width of each side will be different. These traits add character and interest. They also tell…

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Create Better Travel Photographs by Waking Up Early


Great tip!

Originally posted on Photofocus:

I wouldn’t necessarily consider myself a “morning person”, but when I travel my alarm is almost always set to wake me up before the sun rises. Whether it’s to photograph landscapes and nature, or to walk through a less-crowded market, I always find that time is on my side when I get up early. Here are some of the reasons that I’m keen on early days for photographers:

1. You see a “different” side of the area you’re visiting

My trip to Vietnam was one of my first experiences with walking the streets of Southeast Asia. I quickly learned that the markets we (tourists and travelers) see midday are VERY different from the markets that the locals actually shop from. While in Hoi An, I decided to get up early and walk through the main streets to see what it looked like before the sun was high in the sky. I not…

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Sigma 150-600mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM S Field Test

Originally posted on Photofocus:

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a special guest post by Robert O’Toole

A new Sigma 150-600 S Nikon mount lens arrived on my doorstep in early December from Sigma USA, just in time for a couple of big trips. This would be my tenth annual trip to Bosque del Apache in New Mexico and the first time I did not bring a prime long lens. I first tested the lens at Bosque. Then I traveled to the north shore of Oahu and was lucky to be able to catch some perfect conditions to burn a few gigabytes with this new lens and here are my first impressions.

Weight of the Lens

The lens is about the same size weight as one of my old favorites, the Nikon 300mm f/2.8G ED VR II Lens. It is also close to the same size but lighter than another favorite, the Sigma 120-300 (it looks…

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How to Deliver Images to your Client using Lightroom

Originally posted on Photofocus:

You just finished a photo session and your clients are excited to see the final images.The next step is to decide which images you want to present and how to deliver them. Some photographers charge extra and give all images to the client. The client is responsible for printing. Other photographers, myself included, use a fulfillment service to host, view and print the images. Despite which method you use, we need to configure Lightroom to export a high quality image for viewing and printing.

The Export Module

To streamline our workflow, we are going to build an export preset that will be applied to all images in the set. Presets are Lightroom’s way of applying many changes to a photo in one click. To build our export preset right mouse click on one image and select EXPORT, then select EXPORT again.

The Export dialog box appears with many options. We…

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Use a Polarizer for Purer Portraits and Less Retouching

Originally posted on Photofocus:

We’ve frequently talked about using polarizing filters to make more striking landscape photographs, but they are at least as important for making more vibrant portraits, and cutting your retouching time in half. Let me show you how it works, as well as some general tips.

What Does a Polarizer Do?

Polarizers reduce the visible affect of reflections–that’s it. The sky is full of water vapor and other particles which reflect sunlight, and most things that reflect sunlight appear white, right? The polarizer removes those reflections leaving behind the true blue sky. Leaves on trees and grass also reflect the sun, so it reveals their truer colors, too. Most buildings also reflect light, and the polarizer allows their rich colors to show. Overall, a polarizer will yield a more richly colored photograph every time.

Guess what? People’s skin also reflects sunlight.

Polarizing Portraits

Polarizing a portrait not only makes the sky, foliage, and…

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