How to photograph the moon

To photograph the moon you will need a long telephoto lens to magnify the moon and try to fill as much of the frame as possible. Even with a good telephoto lens setup though, you will most likely be cropping the final image, simply because only a telescope would be able to provide enough magnification to fill the entire frame. With your telephoto lens mounted on your camera, secure it on a tripod and point at the moon. Make sure that your tripod is good and stable enough to accommodate and hold your lens and your camera.

2018 Super Moon Pictures

When it comes to shutter speed, aperture and ISO, here is what I recommend for general use when I shot the 2018 Super Moon:

Camera Mode: Set your camera mode to full Manual Mode. The M on the Canon mode Dial.
ISO: Set your ISO to 100 if you have a Canon DSLR and to 200 if you have a Nikon DSLR (basically, whatever base ISO you have in your camera). For most other brands, the base ISO is also 100. If you have a point and shoot camera, see if you can find a menu setting to set your ISO to 100. Make sure “Auto ISO” is turned Off.
Aperture: Set your aperture to f/11.
Shutter Speed: Set your shutter speed to 1/125 on cameras with base ISO 100, and to 1/250 on Nikon DSLRs with base ISO 200.
Lens Focus: Set your lens to manual focus (either through a switch on the lens or on the camera) and set your focus to infinity. Be careful while setting the focus to infinity, as some lenses allow focusing beyond infinity. On more advanced DSLRs such as Nikon D300, there is a handy feature called “live-view with contrast detect”, which can accurately acquire focus on distant objects. I have used it many times for my moon photography and it works great! If you do not have such a feature in your camera, then try setting your lens to the center of the infinity sign, then take a picture and see if it came out sharp by zooming in the rear LCD of the camera.

Nikon D90 DSLR: ISO 200, Aperture f/11, Shutter Speed 1/250.
Canon EOS Rebel XSi: ISO 100, Aperture f/11, Shutter Speed 1/125.

2018 Blue Moon Pictures

The above aperture and shutter speeds are derived from a Sunny f/11 rule, which is not necessarily very accurate for moon photography. I recommend starting with the above settings and adjusting the shutter speed based on the brightness of the moon. If it is too bright, set your shutter speed to a higher value. If it is too dim, set your shutter speed to a lower value. You can also play with aperture, but be careful, as changing the aperture to a small number can actually soften the image, while increasing the aperture to a very high number would mean slower shutter speeds. Remember, the moon moves pretty fast, so you definitely do not want to be photographing it with a slow shutter speed (certainly not below 1/100 of a second), especially when using a long telephoto lens.

Another thing I recommend doing is bracketing your shots. When I was taking a picture of the full moon, I noticed that some parts of the moon came out overexposed, while other parts were underexposed. I couldn’t get a perfect shot to properly expose all areas of the moon, so I decided to try taking multiple shots of the moon, then merging them into HDR in Photoshop. To my surprise, the result turned out to be better than expected – the first image in this article was done that way. If you do not want to do an HDR of the moon, I still recommend to bracket the exposures – in worst case scenario, you will keep the best photo and delete the rest.

2018 Blood Moon Pictures

Lastly, for those who have long telephoto lenses longer than 400mm, you might be able to use “Aperture Priority” mode instead of “Manual“, as long as you set your metering to spot metering. At 400mm and above, the moon fills enough of the frame to be able to use modes other than manual. 


Best DSLR on the Market Today Canon EOS 5DS / 5DS R

Canon EOS 5dsr

Best DSLR on the Market Today Canon EOS 5DS / 5DS R

Why is it the Best DSLR Camera on the Market today! Because it’s a Canon! It’s a Canon! Did I mention it’s a Canon! You would have to buy a Hasselblad Medium Format Camera to achieve this resolution in a camera which is very expensive! Great Job Canon! I have owed Canon equipment for over 20 years and they just keep getting better and better.

Canon has just added to its Pro EOS 5D range with the launch of two 50MP cameras, the 5DS and the 5DS R. Both cameras are high-resolution full frame models, primarily aimed at stills and Portrait photographers. The only difference between the models is that the ‘S’ has an optical low-pass filter, while the ‘S R’ has a self-cancelling filter.

The two cameras will exist in addition to the EOS 5D Mark III, acting as dedicated high-resolution cameras primarily intended for studio, landscape and beach portrait shoots, rather than the all-round capability offered by the existing model. The Mark III still trumps the S and S R in terms of maximum ISO and continuous shooting speed.

Both Canon models have been announced a long way ahead of their June 2015 availability date, so we wouldn’t be surprised if some of these details changed between now and then.

Canon EOS 5DS / SR key features

  • 50MP CMOS sensor
  • 5fps continuous shooting
  • ISO 100-6400 (Extends to 12,800)
  • 61-point AF module with input from 150k pixel metering sensor
  • Dual Digic 6 processors
  • 3.0″ 1.04m dot LCD
  • CF & SD slots (UHS-I compatible)
  • 1080/30p video
  • M-Raw and S-Raw down-sampled formats
  • 30MP APS-H crop and 19.6MP APS-C crop modes
  • USB 3.0 interface

Most of the big new features on the high-res 5Ds are about ensuring you’re able to get the best of the cameras’ extra resolution. To this end, Canon has reinforced the tripod socket and surrounding area to allow stable engagement with a tripod. It has also used a more controllable, motorized mirror mechanism, like the one in the EOS 7D II, that allows a deceleration step before the mirror hits its upper position – reducing mirror slap.

The third change a revised mirror lock-up mode that allows you to specify an automatic delay between the mirror being raised and the shutter opening to start the exposure. It allows the user to choose the shortest possible delay that has allowed mirror vibration to subside: maximizing sharpness while minimizing the loss of responsiveness.

Although the S and the SR can both shoot movies with the same choice of frame rates and compression as the 5D III, they don’t offer clean HDMI output or headphone sockets.

What are Megapixels?

So what are megapixels, and how do they relate to image quality? Color equals Data! The more data you can store per image the more color you can actually take home with you to see on your computer. To put it simply, a single megapixel amounts to exactly one million pixels in an image. If you know the width and height in pixels of an image created by your camera, it’s easy to calculate how many megapixels your camera gets. So to take the nerd speak out of the verbiage its the amount of color the camera can recognize and process per image and the maximum size you have the ability to enlarge an image up to before you start to get distortion. So if you want to capture all the available color from a sunset photo and enlarge it to a large size you will want a High megapixal camera with a Pro Grade Lense. The camera can only process what its given. So Pro Grade Glass is just as important as a high megapixal camera. That’s why the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 L lens is on my camera for beach portrait and wedding photography.

Seaside Florida beach portraits 2013

Seaside Florida beach portraits 2014


In today’s digital world, anyone with a camera can take a picture  on the beach and claim to be a professional Seaside Florida photographer. We believe it takes a creative experienced photographer and a sensitive eye to create portraits in which you look your very best and in which you will be thrilled each time you see them displayed on your wall at home. When taking Seaside Florida beach portraits Photography, we have expertise in Family Portraits, Children’s Portraits, Wedding Photography, Event Photography, Senior Portraits and Modeling Portfolios.



With more than two decades of Seaside Florida beach portraits photographic experience, Stacey Green use three main concepts in creating truly fine Seaside Florida portraiture which will be treasured by you and your generations to come. Our three main concepts are:

(1) The use of light and shadows to paint an image which brings out all of your best features in your Seaside Florida beach portrait, while also quietly subduing any of your less desirable features.



(2) The use of photographic, artistic, and digital techniques to create a striking portrait which you will be proud to own. Every image you select is custom cropped, digitally enhanced, and retouched to make that image the best it can be.


(3) A warm and compassionate Seaside Florida Beach Portraits photographer who loves his work and will only be happy when you have an outstanding portrait in which you are thrilled.


Our Seaside Florida Beach Portraits photo sessions only last about an hour, but the memories preserved in your portraits will last a lifetime. Take some time to browse through our galleries for samples of our work and give us a call at 850.398.7796  if you have any questions or if you would like to book an appointment.

Our Main Seaside Florida beach portraits Gallery is Here……

Destin Florida beach portraits 2013

I love Destin Florida beach portrait photography. I’m sure many of you do, too. However, doing a great portrait is one of the most challenging kinds of photography out there. So, here are some tips that will help you take better portraits and improve your workflow.

You need to be concerned with lighting, composition, and other technicalities, but also expressing the subject’s character and your own creative vision. With these tips, I hope you find a process that works for you.



A good Destin Florida beach portrait pose, be it a headshot, partial or full-body, starts with the feet. If your subject’s feet and legs are not set in the right manner, then the rest of the structure goes out-of-whack.

A good rule-of-thumb is to have your subject place their weight on the rear leg and turn 3/4 from the camera’s position. Also, have your subject flare their elbows away from the body a little to thin-out their silhouette.

Squaring up the hands to the camera presents a to much facial area to the camera, even if you adjust your lighting. If the Destin Florida beach portrait photo is about the hands, squaring them is less interesting. Not even photographs of boxers do it. Present more of the edge of the hand and use angles to make them pleasing. Your female clients will appreciate it. It is more slimming!


As Destin Beach Portrait photographers, we work in a flat digital space, so making something look as 3D digitally as possible is both important and a challenge. Help your image by having your client elongate their neck and tilt their head in such a way that they have a jaw line. This helps your light shape the face and create some separation between the head and neck.

I usually work with help on most Destin beach portrait jobs, but I have learned the value of having help on shoots that require more gear or logistics. Just having someone hold a reflector or light stand in place on a windy day, or keep track of the names of people you’re shooting is beneficial. You can concentrate on your expertise better if you don’t have to worry about so many other little things.


A Destin Florida beach portrait, even an environmental portrait, is about your subject. A distracting background element is a big “no no” in portraiture as it draws the eye away from your subject.

The human eye is attracted to bright colors, text, and human-like shapes. It is better to keep them out of the frame than it is to decrease your DoF or retouch them out. Also, don’t have poles, trees, and the like “growing” out of your subject’s head. It defeats that depth of feel.


Remember these tips on the next Destin Florida Beach portrait session you do. Some of them are big ones that will directly affect your images while others are more workflow that will improve your efficiency and care you demonstrate to your client. All in all these will help you become a better portrait photographer.

Our Main Destin Florida Beach Portrait Gallery is Here….

Watercolor Florida beach portraits 2013

Watercolor Florida beach portraits Clothing

Clothing is as important to the success of the shot as the Watercolor Florida beach portraits location, lighting and posing. We know that great images take time, patience and concentration. Our advice is to pick a style or a mood and focus on it. To many clothing and background changes leave little time to focus on what truly matters. Timeless clothing which is simple and classic will help your portrait stand the test of time. Keep your choices subtle and solid with everyone in the portrait wearing the same shade and “color family”. Work for balanced, harmony and color coordination. Most clients wear white shirts, this is not the most creative idea, but the most simple.


Classic Watercolor Florida beach portraits
For the look of the classic Watercolor Florida beach portraits everyone should dress in khaki pants, or blue jeans solid color shorts or Capri’s. Young girls look beautiful with white dresses, and young men look smart with tans, pressed collared white shirts and old worn blue jeans. If all the women dress similarly and all the men dress similarly then the photo has a more formal professional look. During cooler weather, hooded sweatshirts and sweaters can be fun as well.


Some Alternatives:
All white dresses for women and little girls and straw hats can add another dimension to this classic Watercolor Florida beach portraits look.

To make it different you can choose a pastel or light color instead of the white for shirts and tops like sky blue, light pink or pale creamy orange. The alternative to pastel for shirts is bright highly saturated colors like red, and pink.

Another alternative is red or navy shirts and tops and white pants and shorts. Red is perfect if you intend to use one of the photos for a Watercolor Florida beach portraits Christmas card.

Another way to make this classic look a little different is if all of the men and boys wear a darker color on top, like a Denim shirt, or Navy or Black Polo shirts.

Another alternative is for everyone to wear Blue Jeans instead of Khakis.



Even if you never use hair spray or other products to hold hair in place, it is a good idea to use it before coming to the beach for the beach portrait. Even a small breeze can blow hair in front of eyes and cause people to keep moving their arms and hands to remove it. My advice is to use some before you arrive or bring it along in case you need it. Hair bands and ponytails are another good alternative.


Due to glare and distortion, glasses should be removed during your session. Or, if you prefer to wear them, you may want to have the lenses removed.


Small Children sometimes have a favorite beach toy that they like in there Watercolor Florida beach portraits. It sometimes makes a great shot if they are allowed to hold it. Depending upon the child, it is sometimes the only way to get them to sit still for a shot.

Older children may want to bring a surfboard or skim board, or some other favorite beach toy. It all adds to the personality of the shot.

On request we can bring a large 10-foot Vintage surfboard that will hold a number of children for a sitting pose.

On request we can bring a white Adirondack chair or several small wicker chairs as a prop or to assist those who may have difficulty sitting on the beach.


Multiple Families

When shooting multiple families together – if you would like to differentiate each family, you can wear different color shirts.

Clothing and Accessories for Women

Women look best in v-neck and scoop neck tops. Short sleeve and sleeveless make this look very summery. Keep Jewelry simple.

Clothing and Accessories for Men

Men should wear shirts with either crew or polo open neck shirts. Avoid button down shirts unless they can be pressed crisply for a clean look and avoid pleated front pants as they are not flattering on most people. Short sleeve shirts look more summery than long sleeve shirts. Remove large dark colored watches.

For summer portraits, we suggest everyone to be barefoot. This uniformity works best and also creates a more summery image.

Cool Weather Cover Ups
Sometimes after a storm in the summer there may be a cool breeze on the beach. If the weather is cool please bring sweatshirts and sweaters in colors that work well with the outfits that you have chosen.

Watercolor-Florida-Infant-and Small-Children-Beach-Portrait-2013

Infants and Small Children Watercolor Florida beach portraits

It is helpful if they are rested and fed before they arrive for the photo shoot. Please resist the urge to tell your child to smile or insist they be on their best behavior as this often backfires. Simply say “we are having our portrait taken and it will be fun.” We have photographed hundreds of children and assure you this is the best way.

Watercolor-Florida-Family-Beach-Portraits-2015Watercolor Florida Family Beach Portraits

You’ll want to have Symmetry with both your surroundings and with everyone else in the photo during your Watercolor Florida Family Beach Portraits.  30-A Studios is honored to photograph hundreds of families each year on the beach, I’ll concentrate on what to wear in a seaside surrounding.

What follows are some examples of Symmetrical outfits we’ve seen during our Watercolor Florida family beach sessions along with some helpful advice in preparing for your session.

We’ll start with khaki-and-white or what we like to call…sand-and-stone.  I know, I know, you’re probably sick of seeing this matchy-matchy outfit on the beach.  But let’s dig deeper as to why this ensemble is so popular.  Khaki is a neutral tone that blends well with the beach.  White is a solid bright tone that reflects clean light back onto the face.  If you’re trying to organize a large number of family members, this choice is easy to coordinate.  However, if your family is anything like my family you’ll want to represent all the different personalities with a bit more color and interest!  I always joke that if everyone is dressed the same and you would be embarrassed to go out for pizza together…then you might want to mix up the outfits a bit for your Watercolor Florida Family Beach Portraits session.

Watercolor Florida Family Photography with PetWatercolor Florida Family Photography with Pet

Watercolor Florida beach portraits and Dogs
We can work with dogs, but would like the owners to have realistic expectations about how much time a real pet portrait takes. The activity of a lot of people moving about around the dog on the beach is usually to distracting to get the dog to sit still and look in the direction of the photographer for very long. Dogs do require a permit on the beach in Walton County.

Please come prepared to enjoy the beach portraits process and have fun with your families making wonderful Watercolor Florida beach portraits memories that will last for a lifetime!

Our Main Watercolor Florida beach portraits Gallery is Here……

Rosemary Beach Portraits 2012

Rosemary Beach Portraits 2012

Rosemary Beach Portraits 2012

What To Wear l Rosemary Beach Portraits 2012

One of the most commonly (and first!) asked questions is “What should we wear?”. Clothing choices can vary greatly depending on the look you’re going for. First and foremost, you need to be comfortable – if you aren’t comfortable in your clothes, it shows. Often I hear people reference certain things about themselves they don’t like, and while I think everyone looks great all dressed for their beach portraits, I understand we are all critical of ourselves. The best thing to do is consider those things and choose your clothing accordingly. Don’t like your arms, a shirt with sleeves (3/4 or long) might be a better option over a tank top or strapless dress. Remember that retouching after the fact is costly, so it’s better to dress the way you want to look from the beginning. Instead of paying to have your bathing suit tan lines retouched out, consider wearing a shirt that covers them instead.

When it comes to style, you want to express who you are without being over the top. The point of a Rosemary Beach  family portrait it to see you – the family. If you’re hidden behind clashing colors, busy pattern, and large logos only the clothing stands out – not the people. We all see that jeans or khaki’s and a white top seem to be the most popular. Generally speaking it’s because it’s easy and classic. Many family feel like that just isn’t “them” and in those cases I encourage you to think outside of the box. Pick a color pallet that works with your location and dress everyone in a *variation* of that, not just the same.

With Rosemary beach portraits, it’s important to remember that light and simple work the best. The beach is a light place filled with white sand, blue sky, and and lots of tans and earth greens. Colors in the pastel family – blue, pink, yellow, purple all work great on the beach.

Here is a sample guide on coordinating the family, sticking to a blue theme, without having everyone dressed the same…

I encourage all my families to think outside of the box. At the end of the day these photos hang on YOUR walls so if you prefer something else, go for it!

Santa Rosa Beach FL, Fine Art Photography Printer

Most Santa Rosa Beach FL photographers consider the printing of their work secondary to the art of shooting the image. Printing in a digital world may mean outsourcing the work one of the ubiquitous online printing services such as Shutterfly and Snapfish. Those services are cheap with prices starting at a few pennies per print.

When it comes to printing yourself, one of the best options for someone starting out is to buy an Epson printer. I bought an Epson 2200 years ago for about $600 and certainly has been well worth it. It’s dependable and makes really great prints filled with detail and color.
That particular printer was a big innovation in printing, and there hasn’t been as big an advance in printing technology since then; however, there are newer, faster models that are similar to the 2200—a series of printers, the 2880/3880/4880, each able to print at various selected sizes.

The biggest caveat to printing a professional Santa Rosa Beach FL art photo is the tedious workflow that comes with it. It begins with monitor calibration. In order to do that, I use HueyPRO, a monitor calibration tool that you attach to your monitor with a suction cup so that what you see after it’s calibrated is what you get in your print. After that you have to deal with Photoshop options (you could use printer options, but that will give you an inferior print) to match the monitor with the type of paper you are printing on. Also, you have to use Epson paper. I’ve tried Office Depot paper and ended up having unwelcome streaks in my printed image.

If you want to go the cheap route, you’ll have to be satisfied with Santa Rosa Beach prints that are only 13 inch wide, using the Epson 2880, which is a few generations newer than the 2200. The price has remained stable at about $600, which is good news for those photographers who are just beginning to make their own prints.

One factor that has improved over the years is the print quality. The “880” designation means that the printer is equipped with the latest in ink technology, a vivid magenta ink formulation that has a better color gamut than the earlier models. Also, improved is this model are the print heads, which are now more resistant to clogging. This is a good thing as I’ve spent hours revamping my heads after they’ve dried out when I had a long hiatus from printing.

How to take HDR Photos

All the rage today in photography is the HDR shot. Everyone wants a piece of the HDR action. I say surreal because much of the time the effect is just that—a surreal looking image .

Most photographers will say that you need a tripod in order to take a shot, and you do if you don’t know how to set your camera to Auto Exposure Bracketing.

If you do, you can get an HDR photo in minutes—take the shots and quickly process the when you get back home in Photoshop CS 5’s HDR Pro.

AEB enables your camera to take 3 images at once: one normally exposed, one underexposed and one overexposed.

Canon models will only take three shots when in AEB mode. Other model cameras can take more, but all you need is three.

In order for you to get an idea about how to set your camera to AEB mode for a Canon camera, here are the directions for the 5D. Follow the directions in the manual if you’re using another model or make of camera

The first thing you do is press on “Menu.” Then you navigate to “AEB” using the dial at the top of the camera.

Next, press the set button. It’s in the middle of the large dial on the back of the camera.

The AEB will light up on the menu and you can set where you want the three shots by turning it and watching where the three indicators are. For an HDR set, +2, 0, -2 is a good choice.

Finally, shoot by holding down the shutter release until the shooting stops. It will after three shots.

The shots will be taken in the following order: normal exposure, underexposed and overexposed.

To go back to shooting normally, turn the settings dial to “B” and then go back to Av (or whatever setting you like to shoot at).

This process works find on a sunny and bright summer days. You risk camera shake blur in the shot you are overexposing because in order to overexpose the shutter has to stay open longer.

If you’re going to shoot with a tripod inside or in low light, it’s best to use a tripod. In this case I don’t recommend AEB (unless you’re using a remote) because there is a likelihood that the camera will shake when you are holding the shutter release down due to the extra time the shutter needs to remain open, especially when you overexpose.

Also, keep in mind that the AEB mode doesn’t work with the camera’s built-in timer.

The last step of the HDR process is to download the three photos to your computer and run them through Photoshop CS5’s HDR Pro.

Fort Walton Beach Florida Senior Portraits Photography Information

Tips for Great “On Location” Senior Portraits for Fort Walton Beach Florida Senior Portraits Photography

It is common practice for high school graduates to celebrate the milestone of graduation by way of senior photographs. These photographs eventually find their way into frames in the homes of parents and grandparents. In addition, wallet sized photos are traded with friends and are often also mailed out with graduation invitations. Follow along with my tips for creating a great looking senior portfolio for Fort Walton Beach Florida Senior Portraits Photography.

Senior Portrait Tips – Images 101







The Graduate

Senior Portrait Photography Tips – I think it is paramount that you know something about your senior before you attempt to photograph them. Does he play football? Or any sport? Is she a cheerleader? A band member? What activities are they involved in away from school? Hunting? Fishing? Rodeo? Is he/she quiet and shy, or really outgoing? Knowing these things will enable you to better capture the essence of your subject. I fully expect that when faced with photographing someone who I am meeting for the first time that the first ten or fifteen minutes of shooting will be a loss. It usually takes this much time for my subjects to relax and settle in with the camera. It is important to remember that most of us are uncomfortable being photographed. This is why it is important to try to integrate hobbies and activities that are important to your subject. If they are in their element, they will be more comfortable.

I have noticed that males and females have different expectations of their Fort Walton Beach Florida senior portraits. The guys are usually totally reliant on you, the photographer, to get the job done. Most would rather not have their portrait taken, but feel obligated to do so for their parents. They want it to be over, and soon. On the flip side, they are usually super compliant and open to suggestions for posing.

The young ladies, on the other hand, often arrive to the location with a complete portfolio already dreamt up in their heads. This can be helpful, but you should not let it over-ride your common sense and eye for what is acceptable in portraiture. Yes, rules can be broken, but the rules for portraiture will always provide a firm foundation for that type of work.

Fort Walton Beach Florida Senior Portraits Clothing Tips

I prefer my senior clients to wear casual clothing. I recommend a classic look rather than trendy. Avoid loud colors and busy prints or stripes. Bold text or logos are also distractions in portraits. Neutral tones work best. Most guys will bring a couple changes of clothes. The girls will usually bring at least three. If you plan on covering a lot of ground during the shoot, and I do, be sure to tell the girls to bring a pair of flat shoes to walk in from location to location. For the guys, I tell them that I am sure that their mother will choose what she wants them to wear for the photographs, but to also bring something they would wear if just hanging out with friends. Casual. The girls usually bring one dress, and a couple other changes that are casual in nature. Denim or khaki work well. Try to stay casual.

Great Fort Walton Beach Florida Senior Portraits Location
The location chosen to shoot your senior photographs can make them or break them. I have a few simple rules that I follow for this.

* Avoid having anything man-made in the background, or
* Fill the background with interesting architecture, or
* Use a shallow depth of field to blur the background
* If there is a location that actually holds some importance to your subject, then by all means use it, and make it work. A family farm, a grandparent’s home, a park where they played as a child. Be open and flexible on this.

I like shooting against brick walls that are full of texture. Granite structures also work well and can give you a nice softbox effect with all the reflected light. Rows of columns are nice as well, and look great with all their receding lines. All this is great, if the light is right.


Avoid direct sunlight! Be sure that the time of day that you choose to shoot will provide open shade at your chosen location. Overcast skies also provide sweet light for portraiture. There is no dSLR available to my knowledge that can handle the dynamic range of a portrait lit in full harsh sunlight. The shadows will be too hard, and the highlights too harsh. Make it easy on yourself and avoid direct sunlight. Also, dappled light filtering through trees can be tempting, but rarely works well.

Fill Flash

Senior Portrait Tips – I use fill flash in my outdoor portraits. I do not use modifiers other than what is needed to balance the color temperature of the flash with the ambient light. For this, since I am in shade, I use a CTB (color temperature blue) gel to add blue to my flash. When doing this, I set my custom white balance on the “cloudy” setting. I shoot RAW and adjust white balance in post production, but using the “cloudy” white balance provides a close approximation to what I will be looking at as a finished product. There is an added bonus that can be gained by adding blue to the flash. I sometimes use a LEE ½ CTB gel to “over blue” the flash unit. By adding extra blue to the fill flash, then correcting white balance for my subject in post, I get the backgrounds to go super warm. A nice touch for late afternoon portraits.

Senior Portrait Tips – You must have control over your flash. I typically use high speed synch on my Canon flash. This allows me to use the wide apertures I like to use (and the high shutter speeds that go along with those apertures) along with fill flash. Aside from that, knowing how to use flash exposure compensation to dial back the amount of light from the flash will lead to better portraits. Remember that the natural light already provides excellent shaping shadows. Fill is used only to slightly lift the shadows, brighten the eyes, and to slightly lift your subject from the background. If the light from the flash is creating new shadows, then it is too much power. Too much power will always look worse than too little. Minus 1 ½ stops is a good place to start with the flash exposure compensation.

Reflectors work well for fill also, but are cumbersome ,  if you are working without an assistant.

Fort Walton Beach Florida Senior Portraits Framing
The package that I offer, and I only offer one, includes 4×6, wallet, 5×7, and 8×10 sizes. It is always important when framing portraits to leave room for different crop ratios. My approach for seniors is to maximize my framing for a 5×7 crop. The majority of the prints in the package are wallet sized, and a wallet sized photo shares a ratio identical to a 5×7 print. For great looking wallet photos I tend to shoot mostly ¾ length poses or tighter. A wallet sized photo is too small in my opinion on which to view a full length portrait. Be sure to avoid cropping fingers and toes. Avoid centering your subject. Try to place your subject, or his or her eyes, or head according to the rule of thirds. Vary your shooting angles. Shooting from above will be flattering to most anyone. My rules of thumb for portrait composition are:

* Frame filling headshots
* Head and shoulders
* ½ length
* ¾ length(crop at mid-thigh)
* full length

I won’t go into the particulars of posing here, but in general there are some things to avoid. Crossed arms are considered defensive in nature and should be avoided. Hands stuffed into pockets look terrible, while on the other hand hooking thumbs into pockets or belt loops is acceptable. The bottom of feet or shoes is also a no-no. It is okay for the posing to be edgy and contemporary, but that also needs to be balanced with age appropriateness. In a pose where a guys shoulders fall at differing heights, avoid tilting the head toward the higher shoulder. This is considered to be a feminine tilt. The gals can get away with tilting their head to either shoulder. Be ready for fake looking pasted on smiles. This can be combated by encouraging some serious looks, and closed mouth grins to mix things up. Polite teasing and joking will get you the real smiles.


I use a variety of lenses along with my dSLR. These include 50mm and 85mm prime lenses, and 28-75mm and 17-55mm zooms. They are all constant aperture zooms with a maximum aperture in the F1.8 to F2.8 range. I often shoot at wide open apertures, and almost never smaller than F4. I carry the speed light and color correcting gels already mentioned, a monopod, a reflector, and a small 3 step ladder. I typically shoot an average of 300 frames for a senior portrait session, and since I shoot RAW I have plenty of memory cards on hand. I also carry a small towel, and a piece of cardboard that is large enough for someone to sit on, but not so large it will show in my photographs. This makes people who are worried about getting dirty a bit more comfortable about being seated in grass.


This, of course, is subjective and can vary by tastes. I tend to be fairly conservative with post processing. I avoid gimmicky actions and plug-ins like the plague. I also avoid selective coloring and fancy edges. My opinion is that these treatments cheapen the photograph and distract from the subject. A portrait should always be about the subject and never about the processing. Aside from my straight color photos, I do some monotone conversions, and now and then mix in some cross processed or lomographic type treatments. I typically use multiple subtle vignettes to draw the eyes of the viewer to the eyes of the subject. My goal here is to create a photograph that will be as much in style 20 years from now as it is today.

My Final Tip

Last year I allowed one of the senior girls I photographed to download some of the photos from my website. These were watermarked photographs approximately 300×450 pixels in size. She asked for them to post on her Myspace and Facebook pages. I allowed her to do this at no extra charge. The result was akin to handing out 100 business cards, and my phone did not stop ringing with prospective clients until the week before graduation. This is an excellent way to market yourself to everyone that each of your clients knows. Web sized watermarked downloads are now included as part of my senior portrait package.

30A Studios Watersound Beach Portraits

If you are planning a Watersound beach vacation with family or friends, you will surely want some great portraits at the beach. During your Watersound Beach Portraits don’t just line people up with the beach behind them. Think creatively and use the sky and the ocean to create your portrait.

Positioning for great beach portraits on Watersound Florida Beaches

Place your subject or subjects to one side, with the Watersound beach shoreline filling the rest of the frame. This will allow the person to pop out from the picture, while still providing a lovely setting for a portrait.
Get up close

You are shooting something big: the Watersound beach. But remember who your subject is: the person or people. They should dominate the photo, not be a blurry, tiny image lost in the frame.

Get up close to the person you are shooting so that they fill about a third of the frame during your beach portrait session.

Catch the action during your Beach Portrait Session

Not all Watersound portraits need to be posed. Look for candid picture possibilities. Instead of people squinting or scowling in the picture, catch them splashing or chatting or playing with sand and a bucket.

This is a wonderful way to catch memories and moments, not just cheesy poses during your beach photography.

Watersound Beach Portrait

Watersound beach portrait doesn’t have to show miles and miles of water and sand. Choose your scenery carefully. Will you concentrate on a family enjoying a sandcastle? Or maybe a close-up overlooking the water? There are dozens of ways of showcasing your subjects, and making them connect while at the beach. Even if you’ll be using a reservoir or lake, like we do here in Colorado, its all about the experience. People love where they are from, and will love the results if you spend the time to make it an experience.


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