Tesla Taylor - 2018 Monroe Graduate by Brian Suman

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We had an awesome time on the shoot with Tesla. From alleyway to courthouse, we managed to dodge the rain and the drone that flew overhead capturing behind the scenes footage. Tesla's love of taking pictures and infectious personality made this a day to remember and I wish her the best after high school.

Imagine. Capture. Create.

Behind the Scenes with Deric McIntyre by Brian Suman

Some of the behinds the scenes shots from our session yesterday with Deric McIntyre. Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park, a Chevrolet Camaro, and Edgewood football. #EDGEstrong

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Imagine. Capture. Create.

Pinterest: The best social media tool for photographers. by Brian Suman

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I have to be honest, Pinterest was not a social media platform that I took interest before I began my journey in photography but it has rapidly became one of my favorites. Why shouldn't it be? It's images right? The very thing we as photographers create and admire however, it can be more than that for you and your client.

So, why should you use Pinterest?

Collaboration

To share ideas back-and-forth prior to your initial consultation and even up to the day of the shoot. I create a board for my client and we begin to pin many ideas to it and it quickly gives me an idea of my clients style, accessories to consider, locations, and just the overall feel for the editing style to match.

Visual List

It can be your list that you can refer to on location right from your smart phone so you don't walk away and miss that 'one' shot you wanted to capture on the big day especially if it was a specific client request. 

Engagement

It provides you an opportunity to have additional dialogue and interaction with your client throughout the process as well as learning more about them personally. 

If you're a photographer and you haven't been on Pinterest, I strongly suggest you give it a try. I believe you will quickly take to the advantage it can provide and before you know it you will be asking your clients, "did you pin it?".

Imagine. Capture. Create.

Why Buy the Einstein E640? by Brian Suman

"If you can't stop thinking about it... buy it."

That is pretty much what it came down to. I have dreamed of owning this flash unit over the last couple of years but didn't believe my dream would become reality as soon as it did. I have always had my eye on the Paul C. Buff Einstein and as the quote stated, I couldn't stop thinking about it.  

But before I retired my Yongnuo flash units and spent the money, I did do a fair share of research and comparison. Sure, there is always an option that may 'appear' better or taut similar functionality to the Buff unit but I don't believe there is anything to compare to this sturdy unit. And to get this much action stopping power for the price hands down the Einstein is your choice.

So, why but the Einstein E640?

Functionality

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This light is super easy to use with the large display screen and the ease of advancing through the menu choices. The larger buttons add to the ease of use so you will never have to worry about trying to see when making changes manually in a dark studio environment or using them at night. 

Quality

Not only did research and testimonials speak of Buff quality, I can now say I agree with all that I have read or heard. These units are stout and will be very capable of handling the rigors of hauling gear to and from location. 

Reputation

Alone, Buff has the reputation of having the best customer service in this industry. In addition many leading professionals such as Joel Grimes, Tim Tadder, and Joe Edelman speak highly of Buff product and it's dependability on the road. So far, I have taken them on location for various shoots and the performance has been outstanding and dependable.

So, if you have been thinking about moving to a different flash unit I highly recommend the E640. With power from 2.5 Ws to 640 Ws, its action stopping capabilities, and price, you won't find a better product. Paul C. Buff product is top of the line and they definitely know what a photographer needs and they knock it out of the park with the Einstein.

Imagine. Capture. Create. 

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JoAnn Nguyen - A Day in the Park by Brian Suman

Last week, a friend contacted me about a photo shoot. Not just an outing to just take a few shots but one that would capture her personality and beauty as she was approaching her upcoming birthday. So, after a few conversations about ideas and some bloody hands and fingers to make the flower crown, we headed to Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park for the afternoon. 

Within a few spots, we were able to create the reflection of a whimsical day and capture what we set out for. Images that would freeze time, beauty, and a memories of the day. Thanks JoAnn for the opportunity and Happy Birthday!  

 

Dylan Richards - 2018 Edgewood Graduate by Brian Suman

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Since the time I met Dylan Richards, his infectious smile grabbed my attention and I quickly realized he is a class act. A young man that works hard, plays hard, and set a vision and goals for himself. I was blessed to have the opportunity to capture him in his senior year of high school and hopefully freeze a memory that will be looked back on for years.

It's Guest Blog Wednesday featuring Andrea Tappero! by Andrea Tappero

It’s never too late to be what you might have been. - George Eliot

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Growing up in Washington State, I had the fortune of viewing beauty every single day.  From epic mountain ranges, the deep sea of the Puget Sound inlet, Mt. Rainier, Mt. St. Helens (before and after it’s volcanic eruption), the coastal beaches of the Pacific Ocean, massive acreage thick with evergreen trees, the  dense rainforest of the Olympic Peninsula, lighthouses, ferry boats, ports, rivers, waterfalls & all kinds of wildlife.  (Except Sasquatch. I have yet to have a sighting of  that elusive creature.)  East of the Cascades are acres of orchards, agricultural farms, and a desert scape.   You name it, the Pacific Northwest has it.  For a visual person, I would call that being blessed with opportunity. 

1. Create a list of some of your favorite visual opportunities.  Inevitably, some days you will need to find inspiration.  Make a list of those places, spaces & things that you are blessed with. From majestic mountains to the finest detail of dew drops on a flower petal.  If it intrigues you, gives you joy and maybe a challenge, that is something worth writing down.  List your opportunities.

2. Feel stuck in a rut?  When the eyes of life feel blurred, adjust your focus and look at your list.   Some times we can feel like we are in a rut, or maybe we’ve lost a sense of our confidence.  When we begin to compare our work with someone else, we lose, albeit momentarily, trust in our creativity.  That person may have worked on their craft for 20 years and you’ve been at it just a few.  Remember, you have been given a gift, or talent, for a reason.   Accept that you have a gift, know your skill takes practice to hone and then share your gift with others.  There will always be someone better than you.  We don’t all start the journey at the same time or place. Remember, someone is looking at your work and wishing they could express their talent in the same way.  Adjust your focus.

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3. You were created with talent, gifting's and the ability to learn.   Be authentically you and celebrate your individuality through your talent.  The other day my mother mentioned how she loves looking at the photos her father captured many years ago.  She knows at the moment that image was taken, it was through her father’s eyes, it was his creativity, his moment in time captured forever, his individuality.  She connects to him and cherishes his beautiful photography.  Be authentically you.

4. Tell your story.  Your passion for photography is a gift placed inside you for a purpose.  Activate your gift by sharing your story through every piece of art you create.  You will inspire someone.  What you have to share matters.  Being vulnerable by displaying your work is giving a gift to someone else. 

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If you’re like me and you have a deep passion for photography, but you don’t have all the equipment you desire, start with what you do have.  Even if it’s your cell phone camera and free app filters.  Activate your creativity, look at your opportunities, and create your story.  It’s never too late.

Follow Andrea's story and journey on Instagram.

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Hamilton, Ohio Photowalk - October 21, 2017 by Brian Suman

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If you want to get together with other photographers and have fun with your camera, join me on October 21, 2017 at 9:00 am for our first photowalk touring the streets of downtown Hamilton, Ohio. The goal is to have fun, learn from each other, and see what we can capture along the way. 

Below are the details of the event and the form to sign up if you are interested.

October 21, 2017

9:00am - 12:00pm

Meet at True West Coffee on High Street

Imagine. Capture. Create.

Photoshop Tip - Color Your Layers by Brian Suman

If you are like me and after you have spent a considerable time in Photoshop, you begin to look for ways to make your workflow effective as well as organize your layers. The organization of layers often returns value in a visual way as you begin to name layers and group 'like' adjustments. It also is very beneficial to manage names and groupings if you are going to be handing off your files as templates for other photographers to use or even if you are working with other graphic designers. One more way that you can take it even further is to add a color to a layer. This, to me, is the best visual indicator when you want to see layers as groups especially on very large files that contains more layers than a standard edit, if there is such as thing.

In my example below, I have a layer I named 'brush' that I would like to apply a color to.

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Now, hold down the 'control' key on the keyboard and click on the 'brush' layer. Once the dropdown menu is displayed navigate to the color section and choose the color of your choice.

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Once the color is selected the layer will now display the selected color.

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Adding color to a layer is fairly simple and I hope find this tip useful. Sometimes we get caught up in learning all the big things in Photoshop that we miss the little things that can help us navigate through an image each and every time we edit.

Remember, never stop learning and keeping fueling the creative process.

Imagine. Capture. Create.

3 Steps to a Warm Winter in Photography by Brian Suman

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This post maybe a bit premature given that it is only mid-September but Winter and a new year will be upon us quickly and we all know that a new year begins with resolutions. Stop doing this, start doing that. Make a to-do list and check it twice. We all want to be better or grow in some aspects of our life and there is no better time for the Winter months to step back and develop our plan. If your fortunate to live in an area of the country where you can shoot outdoors almost year round that is great but where I live the long Winter months keeps us hibernating inside preventing the camera was leaving the camera bag more often than we would want unless your fortunate enough to have a studio. Clients seem to hibernate as well so it freezes your business activity level just like the ground outside.

In order to help warm up our inspiration and get us prepared for when our activity thaws out, consider the following three areas to focus on.

Review your business plan

If we don't have a plan, we risk the chance of not going anywhere. Our plan doesn't have to be perfect but if you take the time to sit down and simply write our your goals and where you would like to see yourself this year I guarantee that you will move in that direction. I know, we may not all have the same goals to grow a business or to even start one but I believe the passion of photography for all of us is very similar and we all want to be better. No matter at what level we are, a plan can help us get to where we want to go. Pick up a pen and a page and start moving forward.

Education

We have all heard "we can never stop learning" right? Well, as much as I got tired of hearing that from others throughout my life once I picked up a camera it taught me the truth to the statement. Today, there is countless resources for education from websites to trade shows and workshops and the following is only three areas of which I find as my go-to content for learning.

One of my personal favorites to be fed information on a daily basis from various blogs and websites is the NetNewsWire app. Today, most photographers blog and so do the informational sites such as fstoppers and CreativeLive. Using a news feed reader not only brings information to your device right off the press but it also reduces the amount of time to search the content of individual sites.

YouTube is probably already your friend as a resource and there you can find good educational information on just about any entity of the photographic process.  A quick tip is to use notifications from your favorite YouTube channels so that you can be alerted when they post their latest content. Another time saver. There are other sites, such as KelbyOne, that offer very informative tutorials for a membership fee but you may find that the price of investment is minimal for the return and advancement of your skills.

Living in the Cincinnati area, most of the top talent in the industry do not schedule work shops in our area but we are very fortunate to have the PhotoProExpo come to town in January each year. This is an incredible three days of education, demonstrations, and inspiration so if you haven't already investigate what could be available for you locally. You might even be surprised to find one day workshops being offered in your area that are affordable and fits your schedule.

Practice

We all have heard this one before, right? "Practice, practice, practice". "Practice make perfect". But, as quickly as we dismiss these phrases because we have heard them so many times the simple truth still rings true. Practice is important. None of us want to show up to a session with a client and engage in practicing a new technique or trying something for the first time. Practice for all of us will be different. I have found there is no certain block of time that is the end all prescription of hours needed. We are all unique and need to find our own rhythm and areas that we feel we need to improve on and go for it.

If it is camera settings, take your camera with you wherever you go and just take photos. Even if it is outside and the landscape is dull and grey from the Winter, there are things to shoot and there settings to practice. If it is flash or speed lights you are not comfortable with, there are many objects right in your home that will work for practice. Last year, I made sure I had a mannequin head so that I could improve on lighting the face and finding what I desired in regards to highlights and shadows on the face. Round objects such as apples and oranges make great objects to practice lighting techniques as well.

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This list could go on an on but we should all realize that there really is no excuse to not grow and position ourself to move forward when the cold months settle in. Sure, it creates quite the obstacle but with a little thought and perseverance any obstacle can be removed. Or at least we find away around it.

Good luck on your photography journey and I would love to hear what you do to keep yourself and inspired during periods of downtime.

Imagine. Capture. Create.

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Behind the Scenes Shots - Why Do It? by Brian Suman

The definition of behind the scenes is 'out of sight of the public at a theater or organization'

As a photographer, we might not be at a theater or an organization during our sessions but we are out of sight of the final image. So, we appreciate the #bts shots just as much as the client likes taking them. They can be viewed as not only enjoyment but as a way to critique yourself and even gain insightful tips and inspiration when viewing what other photographers are posting. 

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Image captured by Micki Richards.

The following three points are why I think behind the scenes shots should be apart of every session.

1. Client Engagement

Based on experience, parents love to take BTS shots. They feel like they are more apart of the session and they will share the experience through social media while it is all happening. The parents have been integral in the process up to this point and what better way to keep that momentum going throughout the entire process. They have fun with it and make sure you ask them to share. 

2. Marketing

Followers and potential clients are watching and this is content that is candid and popular. People have a natural tendency to want to know how things are made and photography is no different. Use this as content to advertise yourself and show everyone how you work and who you work with.

3. Followers Engagement

I have initiated conversation with other photographers and been contacted on various BTS images because people want to know how it is done or I am inquisitive and want to know. It's the real stuff... the nuts and bolts. It's the mechanics behind the image. Reality shows are popular for a reason and what better way to star in your own then with BTS. 

To keep me inspired and always learning I have listed a couple of Instagram accounts I follow so I can see the reality behind the shot. Make sure you check them out and always remember...

Image. Capture. Create.

Famous BTS Magazine

ISO 1200 BTS

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Image captured by Micki Richards.

Lauren Marcum - 2018 Edgewood High School Graduate by Brian Suman

From downtown Hamilton, Ohio to Chrisolm Park, Sunday was a fun day with Lauren Marcum. Her infectious smile and naturalness in front of the camera made this session such a success and I wish her the best of luck in her future endeavors. 

Imagine. Capture. Create.

Julian Pletz - Edgewood High School Football & Soccer by Brian Suman

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It's always fun to return to Kumler Field for a photo session. In many ways it is where it all started for me. Just me, the athlete, and a camera. It's where the imagination begins and just as the athlete follows the playbook I do the same to try and create an image that draws out the personality and passion the player has for the game.

Saturday was no exception, and spending the afternoon with Julian was not only fun but a pleasure in meeting such a great young man. I had already given up sports by the time I got to high school but I have all the respect for the athlete and the amount of hard work and dedication it takes year round to be at the top of their game. 

I wish all the best for Julian as he pursues his dreams and college career and I feel blessed to be able to capture memories of him as a player. 

"Every champion was a contender that refused to give up." - Rocky Balboa

Imagine. Capture. Create.

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Selfie by Brian Suman

Who hasn't taken a selfie? Well, there are probably a few out there that hasn't but my guess is if you have a smartphone and engage in social media you have taken the shot.

For me, the occasional selfie on Instagram is cool but I like to use the selfie to practice portrait photography and try new things. 

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The selfie helps us with light and pose.

Light

The self portrait is where you can practice lighting. Whether you use Einstein flash unit or speed lights, you can take as many shots as you need to perfect the look you are after or even try something that is outside-the-box. This is where mistakes can be made and discovery happens.

Pose 

No better way to learn to pose or learn how to better direct your client in a pose then to take the selfie and feel it yourself. It's unlimited what you can do here. Who knows, maybe you discover that modeling maybe in your future. 

Practice, Practice, Practice

There is a saying that you need to at least put 10,000 hours into something to be really good at it it or in my case reach that professional level of expertise. So, when I don't have clients that are in front of the lens I do have a myself that can be available anytime for a shoot. 

Don't stop taking photos and never miss the opportunity to perfect your skills. Use what is available to you and don't let lack of gear and a model stop you from creating. Don't let it stop you from investing another hour towards your destiny as a photographer. 

So, the next time you are wondering when the next photo opportunity is going to come your way.

Take the selfie.

Imagine. Capture. Create.

Why Black and White? by Brian Suman

Over the last few months, I have been editing mostly in black and white.

Why?

I am not exactly sure but I have always been drawn to black and white images and as a young adult marveled at the work of Ansel Adams. There is just something about the shadows, the highlights, and the grays in between that can make an image draw your attention. 

Don't get me wrong, I love a great color image but color can be a distraction and the subject of the image if we take our editing too far. 

So, what makes a good photo to edit in black and white?

  1. Lack of color.
  2. Contrast between the lights and darks.
  3. Prominent shadows.
  4. Patterns
  5. Textures

There are real set rules but there are things that can be a good characteristic for you to make an eye-catching black and white image.

If you don't like black and white that's okay but I would challenge you to go down the path of no color in your editing workflow and I can almost guarantee that you have a photo in your catalog that will pop off the screen without the color. 

Imagine. Capture. Create.

 

 

Comparison Kills Gratitude by Brian Suman

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Repost from Brian Suman Photography Wordpress Blog November 21, 2016.

There are times when you need to fast or abstain from something.

Your working too much and you need to turn it all off so you can re-coop or spend more time with family. You work out everyday and your body just needs a break. Or there is social media and we all know we can’t always keep up that frantic pace it takes to take it all in and keep up with the Joneses.

For me, as a photographer I love Instagram and other social platforms not only to see images for influence but to share what I capture along my journey however as much as I love it there is a price to pay. First, the price is my confidence that what I am doing is not good enough as I begin to compare what others can do or to what I aspire to be like in experience. I know, we have all been told to not compare and just focus on being you but sometimes that’s hard. We are human. We will compare.

The second form of payment is that my creativity suffers. I try to emulate to learn and so that I can put that techniques in my ‘toolbox’ but I also may begin to emulate too much and I begin to steer away from my own creative process. I begin to move away from where my passion and intuition is leading me. The price is that I stall. I flounder. I stop creating.

Balance is key to anything we do and your creative process is not an exception. Take a break. Focus on your style, your passion and turn off all that is around you and I am confident that your reward of finding you and the passion to create will pay you back in joy and purpose.

Walk to Create by Brian Suman

When I started in photography, it all began with a walk with the camera. You know the feeling of excitement. Everything is worthy of snapping a shot and you have a hard time putting the camera down. Your not concentrating on a genre but merely enjoying the passionate feeling to create. 

You had just became an artist overnight. 

For me, my photographic journey has taken me to places that I would have never believed I would have been and my focus on what to shoot keeps refining almost from session to session. You eventually begin to find your groove and hone in on what your eyes see. What you want to your viewers to see. 

However, as you focus and refine there are times when you lose a little of that creativeness and inspiration that you once had. As artists, we often don't like to be tied down following the same rule set all the time but advancing in your genre(s) of choice will often keep you within boundaries and may limit our ability to explore.

This is where the walk comes in. Remember it? No rules, just go and shoot. My walks include going into the city but yours could be anything. Regardless, your using the talent you were given and there is no pressure to perform. It's about having fun.

So, why does a walk help you with creativity?

A Chance to Make Mistakes

That's right, mistakes. We all make them even though we hate them. If we simply embrace them we can learn and that helps us grow as an artist. This is the perfect time to work on composition, depth of field, or just try settings on your camera that you wanted to but chose not to try because it might not be the right choice when your on location with you client.

Editing Exploration

This maybe one of my favorites. Here is where you can take your editing in directions that are out of your comfort zone. Play with colors, filters, or simply black & white. Let this be where your palette is unlimited with choices. Even if you don't share your image, push the boundaries and you may be surprised of what you find. 

Gets You Out of Your Comfort Zone

Who wants to be uncomfortable but it there were we learn and grow? It is in that place that we find the unknown or discover things that we wouldn't have went looking for. When we are stuck in in our genres we get comfortable but we need the walk to take us somewhere else. 

So, the next time you find yourself it that rut or feeling a little uninspired go for a walk. And not just for the exercise.

Imagine. Capture. Create.