New book

Photo Nuts and Post is the third installation in the Photo Nuts series and it just launched!
Written by professional photographer, Neil Creek, it gives you the tools you need to make processing work for you. Even if you have experience in editing, you can always learn new tricks.
To celebrate, they are offering 33% off if you buy today -Click here to read more!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Featured Vendor: Ytwo.BIZ

Sorry that I've lagged on my posts this week. I have a difficult wedding to shoot this weekend and it's been taking all my time! Next week will be better-I promise! Also, I see more entries this week for our Photo Challenge-thank you!!

Today's featured vendor is Nicole Young
from Ytwo.BIZ. Find out how her business came about!

What type of product do you offer to photographers?

Ytwo.BIZ produces beautiful, durable and innovative backdrops and Floordrops for the creative photographer. We have a huge selection of images, from Vintage Wallpaper and Aged Wood Floors to gorgeous Location shots. We can also print custom backdrops, so that a photographer can have his or her own unique background. Our backdrops are 61" wide by 7 ' long, and floordrops are 5'x5'. They are printed on a strong, matte vinyl-coated canvas that does not wrinkle like fabric, or tear like paper. They can really add a distinctive look to portrait photography. Because they are so light-weight and portable, they are also very easy to bring along for location work, school shoots, etc.

What made you want to start this kind of business?

I began this business because I moved to Philadelphia two years ago and opened a new photography studio and gallery, after having a children's boutique with a photo studio inside for 10 years in New York. The first show in my gallery was "Two Generations", photography by Ira Yermish and Sculpture by his father Morris Yermish. I absolutely love the amazing images that Ira produces, and thought that some of them would make beautiful backdrops. He has location images from all over the world, and also some really interesting photos just about texture and color. I added the wood, brick, wallpaper and quilt categories, and a backdrop business was born. Ytwo- (Y squared)- the photography of Yermish and Young!

Are you a photographer as well, or at least a photo-taking junkie?

I am a photographer, have been for many years, and I use these backdrops in my own studio all the time.

Do you have a favorite photographer that you drool over their photos?

My favorite photographers are the photo journalists Tyler Hicks and Edward Keating, John and Cassie Marsh of Carolina Sun Photography, and Tarah Heitman of Heitman Photography.

What do you do like to do when you aren't running your business?

When I am not running my business I like to swim, bike and run and compete in Triathlons and 5k and 10k races. Helps to keep me young- no pun intended!

Any advice to someone wanting to start a business?

To start your own business, have lots of energy, persistence, don't be afraid to fail once or twice or ten times, and always remember a sign that I've had hanging in my various businesses- "Because Nice Matters!"

Nicole is offering a special for just my readers!
20% off any Backdrop or Floordrop, good through 05/15/11, coupon code to use is "pro-tography".

Thanks, Nicole!

Monday, April 25, 2011

I Heart Faces: Pet Faces

I heart faces challenge: Pets

My little "brat".

Photo Challenge Week 2-Color

I hope everyone had a great Easter!

Last week's challenge was to post a photo of your favorite food.

Our winner was:

Love the cookie shot-makes me want to bake!

This week's challenge is


Send your most vibrant photo with lots of color in it.

This photo always stands out to me. I love the pinks in it.

I'm changing the location of photo to over at our community.

Please post it on your blog as well with a link to this post-don't forget to leave a comment.

Good luck!

I've been informed that I need more entries to hand out prizes, so please join in!

Also, it's the last week for our Ultimate Photographers Tools contest!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Friday Photog Finds

I hope everyone has some awesome plans for Easter this weekend. Ours is going to be a quiet one. We don't do much-maybe eat out after passing out the Easter baskets. It's been cold out here for the last couple of weeks, so those pretty Easter dresses that are made for spring will have to wait. :(

I wanted to do something Easter related for my Friday Finds, so I searched far and wide (I like saying that) and found these neat Easter templates that are F-R-E-E:

Easter Photo Card Template

Bunny Ears Card Template

Have a great Easter-See you on Monday with this week's Photo Challenge winner-so be sure to enter!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Featured Vendor: {blissy grey}

As I mentioned awhile back, I wanted to reinvent my photography business. I wanted a whole new look and I decided to just specialize in newborns, seniors and weddings. I'm very excited to just focus and invest in these types of photography.

So, with that, I feel better about buying more newborn props!

This week's Featured Vendor is Meg York from {blissy grey}-

I sure could use some of her beautiful coccoons!

What type of product do you offer to photographers?

We’re most known for our flowered cocoons. These come in a few different colors and even some fun chunky stripes and then are completed with a large flower. The best part is that each flower comes attached to a lined alligator clip so that it can be easily removed. I love the idea of getting 2 looks out of 1 thing! We also carry our beloved ruffle blankets in a rich chocolate brown and the blissy grey cheesecloth that’s perfect for swaddling. Every now and then you’ll also find a few fun vintage pieces that I come across and know will be perfect in a photography session. It’s tough parting ways with these great finds! Also, all our items are ready to ship because I’m an impatient person and know waiting weeks is no fun.

What made you want to start this kind of business?

I think my combined love for newborn photography and knitting. I started knitting my first cocoon for fun and then thought it’s “missing something”. So then I added a flower and just kept playing with it as the ideas came until I really perfected something I was proud of and thought people might like. I get really excited to just dream up and experiment with what I really think what would compliment a photography session. Even the ruffle blankets and blissy grey cheese cloths came about one late night when I couldn’t sleep.

What is your favorite of your products?

Oh, it’s so hard to choose. Out of the cocoons I’d say the Finley is because it was the first cocoon design I had. I love the simplicity and richness of the silk flower. Then I have to say the ruffle blanket. It’s so cozy and looks great laid out or placed in a basket with a baby nestled on it.

Are you a photographer as well, or at least a photo-taking junkie?

Right now I’m just a wanna-be photographer! I love just picking up my Nikon and learning something new or improving on something else. I just can’t seem to satisfy my thirst for photography knowledge whether it be from blogs like this or books. Right now I’m reading Bryan Peterson’s “Understanding Exposure” and making it a goal to be shooting exclusively in manual by the end of summer!

Do you have a favorite photographer that you drool over their photos?

Oh, there are so many amazing photographers out there that leave me breathless. If I have to narrow it down, I’d say Mika Beth Edwards and Sheye Rosemeyer. Both can capture light like no body’s business.

What do you do like to do when you aren't running your business?

When I’m not knitting/sewing away you can find me laughing with my hubby, chasing after my lovable but very spoiled pug, embracing my Bravo tv addiction, attempting pilates, drooling over the latest pottery barn catalogue, or checking the stock market (my other job).

Any advice to someone wanting to start a business?

Find your balance. For any business I think it’s important to start off at the pace that’s right for you and get into a groove that works. For me, {blissy grey} has been a passion project. I invested almost next to nothing, took advantage of the great features has to offer, and decided that what we list in the shop is all ready to ship out. This is perfect for me because I can work at my own pace and my wonderful customers don’t have to wait weeks for their items so I’m not folding laundry knowing that such and such order has to get knitted asap. It can really be hard working out of the home and juggling business owner and wife/mom/friend so I really believe that finding your balance is important for managing your business.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Review- DIY Home Studio

When you are a photographer, you have the choice of renting a space, going to client's homes, or design a home studio.


Going to client's homes, or on-location would be the cheapest route, but can be a hassle lugging equipment, not knowing the lighting and many other surprises that may arise.

Renting Space.

Renting a space can be exciting, but very costly with added fees on top of rental fees.

Home Studio.

If you have the space, a home studio can be convenient, cost effective and stable. BUT, you still would have the cost of equipment. I have a home studio and spent almost $700 in equipment and still don't really have everything I need.

So, what if you want to have a studio, but don't want all the expenses?

Home Studio Photography may be your answer.

This ebook shows you how to put together inexpensive DIY studio equipment that works just as well (if not better) then expensive equipment.

Here are the DIY photography studio projects listed :

•The Easiest Softbox In The World
•DIY Strip Light
•The Best Softbox Ever
•Continuous Light Softbox
•Turkey Pan Beauty Dish
•Foamboard Reflector
•V Cards
•PVC Diffusion Screen
•The ‘Oh So Famous’ Cereal Snoot
•Coroplast Gridspot
•Black Straws Grid
•PVC Light Stand
•Pony Clamp Stand
•Stick In A Can
•Light Tent
•Underlight With A Cardboard Box

Will these look like crappy-did-it-yourself junk?


You will see that the projects look very professional and nothing to be embarrassed over.

Heck, I wish I knew about this book before I purchased my lighting!

There are still DIY's that I plan on making to complete my studio equipment. The instructions are easy to follow, and supplies are easily accessible at your local hardware store.

I would even recommend investing in this affordable ebook ($19.85) if you are considering renting a studio. why not save some expenses?

If you are even just thinking about getting this book, you need to pop over to DIY Photography to check out more awesome products as well!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Pro-tography 101 -Challenge 1

I would like to start a weekly photo challenge to add some fun to this community. Hopefully, we can build a big list each week. To entice you to participate by picking a winner each week! This will run from Monday-Saturday and winner will be announced the following Monday. I'm going to use Flickr for entries.

Each week you will be required to do a post on your blog with your entry(leave a comment so others can visit!)and then post your photo challenge on Flickr. A winner will be picked on Sunday and announced on following Monday.

This week's challenge is going to be a fun one-

Your favorite food!

I love chocolate and cupcakes, so I had to do combine them:

This is a chocolate banana cupcake-yum!

Have fun!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Friday Photog Finds:Photo Nuts and Shots

Great photography CAN be learned.

Do you wish you could take beautiful photos like the photographers that you love do? There is a debate whether you have to have "the eye" to be able to be a talented photographer.

Great photography CAN be learned.

With the right tools, you can be taught to be a great photographer. There are a lot of great workshops you could go to. But, what if you can't afford the cost-most run around $1000-or, you can't travel to where they are held?

Don't give up! Photo Nuts and Shots is a how-to guide for some one wanting to achieve that dream of becoming a great photographer.

What does it cover? Pretty much everything! If you really need to start at the beginning, this ebook is a super source that starts by what you need to learn in basic language, like rules of third, quality of light and negative space.

By using the techniques that this book teaches you, you can still achieve gorgeous photos-even if you feel that you don't have an artistic bone in your body.

This 100+ page book (Wow! pretty big for an ebook) includes lots of photos to go along with their teaching. I am one of those people who need visual- are you?

Here is a screen shot of the table of contents:

As I said, great visuals to go with the techniques.

So, if you are always wondering, “Why don’t my photos look like that?” you can achieve the craft of photography with out spending a fortune in the process.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Ultimate Photography Giveaway!


You can find out who won here:

It's finally here! To celebrate the success so far of Pro-tography 1o1, I would like to give back to my readers by hosting an AWESOME giveaway!

One lucky winner will receive 12 photography related prizes!

Boy, do I wish I could enter!

These prizes are to help a photographer to grow their business, but even if you are just a photo-taking junkie-you need to enter!

Here are the 12 prizes:

1.)$40 gift certificate to Art-is. I love these products!

2.) Tour of Europe Collection (Includes both "Italy & Ireland" and "France".) ($60 value) from Chasing Dreams Photography. Turn your photos into Art!

3.) Odessa’s Chic BabyBand AND a $50.00 gift certificate from Chic Bebe. Oh yeah!

4.) Newborn posing guide ($65 value) from McCarthy Photography. I want a Newborn Posing guide so bad!

5.) Camera Love Necklace ($24 value) from Pamela Topping . Don't you love it?

6.) A flour sack hat (Labyrinth's color choice) from Little Labyrinth . You can never have enough baby hats!

7.) Bokeh Masters Kit from I've never seen this before!

8.) Home Studio Photography ebook from . A great book to have!

9.) $10 gift certificate from Jaybird Designs. She is a wonderful and talented lady!

10.) A 8.5 x 11 classic photo book from I have used them personally.

11.) A product of winner's choice from Totally Rad. Great actions!

12.) Consultation Giveaway- winner's choice of email/phone/post processing from Andrea Halsey Photography. You need to learn from this photographer!

A special treat for ALL readers: free shipping at Cricket Creations (mention Pro-tography 101 in the Message to Shop at checkout).

How To Enter:

The Ultimate Photographer Tools Giveaway starts today, April 13th and ends on April 30th at midnight Central time. The winner will be announced May 1st. The winner must claim their prize package within 24 hours, or a new winner will be selected. So, be sure to keep your eye on this giveaway!


Vendors may not enter to win.

If you don't follow required entry rules, you will be deleted.

Us Residents only.


-Follow me-leave a comment letting me know and to be entered in random drawing.

Extra entry:

-Tweet about it and leave link in comment.

Two extra entries:

-Visit vendor’s Facebook Pages, like their page and leave a comment on their wall-only two comments total for likes:

Jaybird Designs

Pamela Topping


Little Labyirnth


Good luck!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

What's in store for you

First of all, I wanted to say thanks to all my readers for visiting my blog and I hope that you will continue to visit-I have big plans for the future! To help celebrate this launch, I am hosting a huge giveaway tomorrow!! I have some great sponsors with great products to give and a special for EVERYONE that enters! So, please stop by tomorrow and enter-you won't be sorry!

On another note: I have been in business for over three years now and the colors that I chose for my brand were red, black and white. I basically kept my logo the same as well.

Here is my logo:

I've been fine with it, but lately, I've been itching for a change. I know we've been told to keep your branding the way it is so people will identify with it but I REALLY want a change. So, I think I want to take the risk and redo my business look. I'm thinking about hot pink and black. I think it stands out and is bold. So, I'll be designing some logos and see what you think!

I also am starting a weekly photo assignment this weekend with a weekly prize.

So, please check back for all the fun!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Featured Photographer- Andrea Halsey

I love to hear about other photographers and today's photographer also does mentoring and workshops!

This week's interview was with Andrea Halsey of Andrea Halsey Photography.

What made you want to be a photographer?

Like many of us, I think there was a multitude of events in my life that sort of merged to bring me to photography. As a kid my parents both owned a business and I remember playing with their blank receipt books and writing fake invoices. I also remember drawing little scenes on post-it notes and coming up with the idea to sell them for 10 cents a piece. It felt good to create something, and organize something that felt like it was yours. And it especially felt good to share your creations and bring joy to others.

Of course, my family all made me *think* those post-it drawings were the best thing they've ever received. Since then I had always been drawn to art and computers. I've done a lot of programming and graphic design in my life and I let those artistic talents and urges to create something beautiful fall into more of a hobby. After I had my children I started dabbling in digital photography just for sweet snapshots of my babies. At the time, my only exposure to custom photography was the ole' portrait studio and I thought I had come up with the brilliant idea of taking candid and artful portraits of children. About a year later I found out that I was not alone at all, and many talented and entrepreneurial women have taken up the exact same idea and were wonderful success stories. I fell in love with the photography community and have built some great friendships along the way.

I love to find photographers that offer workshops and mentorships to help other photographers. I noticed that you offer a variety of services for budding photographers.

Can you tell us about them?

I am really passionate about sharing what we know. I understand that there are so many resources out there from books to courses to personal mentorships. But I also know what it feels like to have a wonderful idea but be completely daunted by running a business while fine-tuning your skill and branding. Last year I developed a personal one-on-one mentoring for those who have just started their journey in photography. The response has been a wonderful experience and to better reach out to photographers all over the world, I also developed online consultations where we can email and/or Skype back and forth. I have found most photographers use this to get a better grasp on their pricing and collections, or ask questions related to the products I offer. However, the number one thing I kept getting asked was how I did my post processing and where can they get a hold of my actions.

Well, I will be honest. I don't feel comfortable throwing up my actions for sale and advertising them as though 'your images will now look like mine' because they won't. I have a very simple but powerful workflow I follow that I do before I ever click the 'play' button for an action. So I came up with the idea to teach others how I prep my images and get that spot-on color first, then they also get the set of my actions included. I've had an incredible response from photographers who are wowed at how simple it can be to edit an image and get those gorgeous skin tones and I'm more than happy to give them my one-on-one attention. My latest project is an online workshop course with lots of goodies that is especially geared towards photographers who've been in business or portfolio building for about a year and are ready to step up to a professionally run business. There will be lots of resources and an online community once we go live, and I'm very excited about this new venture!

In a growing and very competitive industry, what made you decide to help other photographers?

I wouldn't think of our industry as competitive. There are competitive photographers, but our industry is a community. I believe strongly in the idea that we support one another and share share share. There is a false idea floating around that someone owns an idea, a prop, an action, or a location. Its silly! The more we share the stronger we are as a community and the stronger our businesses will be. Sometimes it takes a few years in the biz to see it clearly but those who catch on faster, grow faster. For someone like me, who loves to share and loves to teach and help others, I find my mentoring as an outlet of ideas. It gives me the time away from busy life and business to share what I know on a personal level.

What's in your camera bag?

I have a few bags actually! I have a Canon 5D original and 5D Mark II and I nearly exclusively work with my 50mm 1.2 and my 85mm 1.2 though I also own a 24-70 that might be collecting some dust. I have owned lots of other lenses in the past but departed with them, including the 70-200mm and other non-L primes. On a shoot you will also see me wondering around with a diffuser. I love them and use it on every outdoor shoot. I dare the sun to shine some noon-time sunshine on me! Wow, say that 5 times fast!

What lens do you absolutely adore?

The 50mm is my other baby but the 85mm is that sweet puppy you get out and play with sometimes.

I noticed that you have a design section also, where you sell a variety of products for photographers. Can you tell us what you offer?

The Designer Concept started out as a venue for me to share the designs coming straight out of my studio. I have used those graphic design talents of the past to create some really pretty pieces that are also a pretty smart way to do business. My favorite thing to do is create something that has a dual purpose, and you will definitely see me knocking some birds out with stones on my design site. The biggest hit has been my Finding the Art in Life booklet which doubles as a wonderful consultation guide for clients but also is the perfect marketing tool to leave in local businesses. The next favorite is my Boutique Product Catalog, which is a super fun and cute way to create little catalogs of the products you offer. Once you're ready to move out of only selling prints or digital files it is a show-stopping way to promote your items. The second bird for this template is that you can create the catalogs for just about $1/piece AND you can update them over time. Pretty sweet, huh?

Any networking/marketing advice?

I believe there are different steps you should take depending on where you are in your business but we can start in then beginning. Like many of you, I started out in my mommies group but for many custom photographers you can find that it may not sustain your business. With so many new photographers popping up every day, you will find that the market is saturated in a mommies group and everyone begins the race to the bottom. When I first started in my mommies group, even with the several photographers there, there was not one of us that charged under $100 for a session fee which came with no products or digital files. Now, I see some charging $35 with all the digital files. If you find yourself battling it out in this environment, get out fast! There is no way you can grow a business here. My best advice is to run your business like a real business and find out what local boutiques, spas, and designers are doing. Network with them and market like they do when you see them doing something right.

Do you have any advice for photographers just starting out?

The thing for me right now is to remind new photographers that you are selling a product, not a service. The service is free and a part of the experience, but the product is what the clients will take home with them. Learn how to perfect your products and become an expert on not only taking pictures, but creating lifelong heirloom pieces. Once you have perfected that, start working on the client experience, because that is the second thing they take home, their memories.

Andrea is offering a 20% discount code until April 16th!

(Discount code is: pro101 )

Andrea will be donating a prize for our contest set to go live this week!

Check back, it's a good one!

Thanks, Andrea!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Mixbook Review

I had the opportunity to review a custom photo book from Mixbook and I jumped on it because I wanted to get a book made of my youngest, Emily. I was given the 11x 8.5 Classic Landscape book.

Instead of doing my own design layout, I decided to try out one of their premade templates.

This one is called The Rad Plaid.

Very cute!

I have to say, I was nervous using a template, since I'm very anal about doing my own designs. But I liked the way it turned out. The designs were very girlie and cute. They have lots of other templates as well to suit any taste.

I think it's something that photographers could use for their portrait sessions, or weddings. If you don't want to use a template, you can just use a blank custom photo book and insert your own designs.

I also liked that it didnt take very long to print and ship. Sometimes I'm waiting many weeks for my books-I hate that!!

I have used many printing companies, so I had quality to compare to. There are some I would never use again-I won't say who-but, Mixbook is not one of them! quality is great. The binding is solid. A thumbs up for Mixbook!

Mixbook is one of our sponsors in our upcoming HUGE giveaway this coming week-so, check back to enter our grand opening giveaway to win your own photo book!