Jul 2012 02

What’s loud and spectacular and occurs every year at the same time in the United States? That’s right Fireworks!  Ever since I was a child, I could not wait to get everything ready to view the fireworks. I still have not lost that child-like fascination with fireworks. I have photographed them ever since I was a kid, sometimes it worked other times it did not. I’m a little bit wiser and a little bit more prepared, but I thought it was a great idea to have someone share their quick tips with us on shooting fireworks.

Meet Jay Caruso of Caruso Photography. Jay has been making pictures since the days of film in the early 90′s starting with his first SLR camera, a Canon T-60. Now armed with Nikon digital equipment, Jay still enjoys shooting what he did in 1993 – portraits, events and landscapes. When he’s not shooting, he’s doing business consulting and spending time with his wife and his teenage son and daughter.

Here are Jay’s five quick tips.

1. Get a tripod or some other kind of stabilization. This is a must as these will be long exposures. The tripod is the easiest solution as it is portable and allows you to set up where you want. If you do not have access to a tripod, you can steady the camera on the roof of your car or on a railing.
2. Switch to manual focus. Your autofocus mechanism won’t work here.  Switch to manual, focus to infinity and use a high aperture (f16-f22) as the increased depth will give you sharper images.
3. Use the self timer.  Just because you have your camera on a tripod or stabilized in some other way, doesn’t mean it won’t move when you press the shutter button.
4. Use low ISO and long exposures.  Get the ISO down to 200 (or 100 if you can). Choose exposure times between 10-30 seconds. A lot will depend upon the size of the show you are capturing. If you’re shooting the Macy’s fireworks display in NYC, then a 30 second exposure could fill the frame with way too much light. However, at a smaller show, a 10 second exposure may leave you with little in the way of bursts. You’ll have to get a few shots to find that sweet spot.
Thank you Jay for sharing your tips with us. If you would like to see more Jay’s work , please feel free to check out his work HERE.
Aug 2012 06

Now that summer is in full swing, I’m sure many of you have been tending to your gardens.  As an avid gardener, I’ll often take time out to photograph the flowers I work so hard on helping grow. However, I am the first to admit, my flower photography is lacking.  This is where I met Justin Jayubo  to help me and others who might be challenged in this area of photography. I met Justin on Twitter and soon started to follow his photography. He is a student of the arts and freelance photojournalist based in Northern California. While keeping a diverse style in shooting,  his main subjects include landscapes, nature, sports, and street photography. Aside from photography and school, he enjoys collecting art, traveling, comic conventions, video games, and spending time with family.

Justin breaks it down for us into five easy tips on how to photograph flowers.

1. Familiarize Yourself with the Environment – I usually find myself doing macro shots in the morning or late afternoon. The direct light on flowers can really throw off the colors I look for. Shadows and highlights can be hard to avoid during the day when the sun is shining on almost everything. If wind is a problem, then I avoid using a tripod, and use the lens image stabilization.

2.Water the Plants/Flowers – Water can give the petals a more rich and healthy color. The droplets add a new dimension with their reflection, which I always find interesting. Don’t hose the flowers soaking wet, but enough to make it look natural.

3. Know Your Bloom – Find out what exactly you’re shooting, what time of year they bloom, and what they look like at all stages of life. If you’re shooting something that blooms once a year, then make sure you get what you want before the flowers wilt. I always make sure to get pictures of cherry blossoms once spring arrives.

-4.Smaller Aperture – Having a smaller aperture will bring more of the image in focus. If you want more of the flowers in focus, then more depth of field can give you what you want.

5. Experiment – Try composing shots at various angles and distances. Explore the possibilities and creative process before moving on. I try to find new ways to compose shots each time I go out and take pictures of flowers.


If you would like to see more of Justin’s work you can find his website HERE. You can also find him on these social media channels, Twitter, Flickr, Facebook,  and Tumblr.


Dec 2012 03

Fresh mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, pesto. Mmm… I love a good mouthwatering photo, don’t you?

food photography tips,

Grab your camera and fork – get ready to dig in and kick your food photography up a notch with a few of these mouth watering tips.


Food Photography Tips

Find the light.

Light is the single most important element in photography. Take advantage of available light by placing your dish near a window or under an overhead light in dimly lit restaurants or rooms.

food photography tips,

Think before you click.

Think about the placement of your subject within the frame before clicking. Create interest, depth and draw the viewer’s eye (and taste buds) in by placing your food to the left or right of the frame, shooting from above or from the side. Experiment. Get creative.

food photography tips,

Photograph the work-in-progress.

There’s so much beauty in the creativity process. Photograph the process of creating your family’s favorite meal. Eating out? No problem. Photograph the process of eating your meal. Take photos of your half eaten dessert, fallen crumbs on the side of the plate, etc.

food photography tips,

Details, details, details.

Show me the yummy! Get up close and personal by focusing on the details – parsley flakes, grill markings, sprinkles on a cupcake. Are you drooling yet?

food photography tips,

Keep it simple, stupid.

Eliminate unnecessary distractions and make a bigger impact. Forget the props, forget the fancy setup. Don’t be afraid to keep it simple.

food photography tips,

Food photography can be a bit intimidating at first, but you’ll be well on your way to taking mouthwatering photos with the help of these easy-to-follow tips.

What are some of your favorite foods to photograph?

AdoramaPix Contributor: Kristi Bonney is a writer, photographer and speaker with a deep-seated love for all things social media. Her blog, Live and Love Out Loud, is a beautiful and inspiring hub for photographers of all skill levels – featuring photography tips and tutorials, freebies and inspiring photo challenges. Kristi’s passion for photography is matched by her love of parenting and empowering women.

Jan 2013 09
Just because there is snow on the ground and the temperature is dipping  there is no reason why you still can’t  be creative outside with your photo shoot.  I recently ran across members Paul and Sylvia Nelson who made a photo book and literally blew me out of the water with their Snow Queen shoot. They were lovely enough to share with us some tips on how to make the best of a stylized shoot in the snow.
Paul and Sylvia Nelson of Paul & Sylvia | Photography & Design are Toronto and destination wedding photographers, world travelers, a team in love who love to photograph other people. Great people, great relationships, and positive outlook fuel their lives and their business.  It’s about making a connection with every client and every person they encounter.
You can follow them on their Facebook page,Twitter, and our website.
Here are some tips from Paul and Sylvia on their Snow Queen photo shoot.
It’s no secret that creative wedding inspired photo shoots have their challenges, but when Sylvia started planning one for a winter’s day in central Ontario I knew those challenges would be unique.  Inspired by one of her favourite books as a child, Sylvia’s vision for “The Snow Queen” took off.  Shooting in mid February we hadn’t really thought of the lack of snow as being an issue, but as one of the warmest winters on record continued, it quickly became one.  Some last minute location changes had to be made to find the most snow we could.  Living in Canada, one rarely hopes for more snow in winter!  After some creative shovelling and re-shovelling of snow, we were ready to shoot.

With some light snow on and off and occasional 10 minute snow storms throughout the day, we learned quickly that we couldn’t move anything on the table set up. If we did, you could easily see were we had disturbed the snow, which would have to involve more postproduction work in photoshop.  A lesson in making sure its right the first time!  With several set ups in various spots and with cold temperatures I wanted to keep the lighting portable and simple.  Speedlights with some simple modifiers were the way to go.  As we know,  proper exposure can be tricky on the snow.  A little over exposure kept the snow a crisp white, I found about +2/3 of a stop seemed to do the trick.  You also have to consider your white balance, especially if you want to consider submitting your images to a magazine as they always look for color consistency.  We had to consider how our images are going to look when we shot in natural light, with flash, in sunlight, in the shadows of evergreens, in a snowstorm, etc.  The white balance was changing constantly.  Looking back we wish we would have had the expo disk to make the job easier for post production.  Facing all these challenges of shooting in the snow you have to also make sure you’re shooting in RAW format.

Sun up till sun down, it was a long day.  We had two awesome table set-ups,  an amazing ice bar, a gorgeous cake and the models.  All this had to be shot between warming up!  Being a wedding photographer, I find myself at complete ease during creative shoots.  You just don’t get this kind of time and control at a wedding.

Winter shoots seldom seem to have a game plan set in stone.  You find yourself shooting between set ups quickly, all according to the weather.  If this is something your willing to take on, the biggest words of advice we have for you is to surround yourself with good vendors.  Good, experienced people make a world of difference.  Happy shooting my friends.


For more photos from the shoot please click  HERE. 
If you would like to see the finished photo book click on the image below or you can click HERE.
Thank you so much Paul and Sylvia for sharing your experience with us, your work is simply stunning.
Jan 2013 17

It’s mid January and by now you might be a little New Year’s resolution-ed out. I’m not. I love fresh starts and new beginnings, especially when it comes to photography. The start of a new year is the perfect excuse to assess your progress and set attainable goals. Here are some of my personal photography goals for 2013. Hopefully they get you thinking about what you hope to accomplish as a photographer in 2013.


Don’t follow photography rock stars.

I could spend hours staring at the work of my favorite photographers. It’s inspiring and fun. However I notice a lot of photographers emulating the popular internet photographer du jour’s style and suddenly the blogosphere is saturated with a ton of clones. I understand that trends come and go. I don’t want to be one of them. Through trial and error I’ve learned that emulation (as it relates to the artistic qualities of photography not technique) doesn’t get a photographer far.

I don’t want to be a clone of Miss Three Million Facebook Fans photographer. I’m happy for her success and enjoy her work but I am not her. That’s okay. The less time I spend comparing myself to someone else the more time I have for personal growth. It’s impossible for me to discover who I am as a photographer while I’m constantly forcing myself under the shadow of someone else. Not in 2013.


Master off camera flash.

I adore good flash work. My Speedlite will not conquer me. I recently upgraded to a full frame camera and adore the flexibility the high ISO gives me but I refuse to let my flash get dusty. Natural light is beautiful but with proper technique so are other light sources. I want to explore them all.

In 2013 I will learn how to use off camera flash properly.


Stop conforming.

I’ve mastered the technical basics of photography. I know where my work is strong and where my work is weak thanks to a critical eye and a few helpful portfolio reviews. It’s time for me to take risks and stop worrying about how my work will be received by my peers. It feels great to hear positive feedback from friends and family but if the work doesn’t speak to my soul then it isn’t worth doing.

Photography is my passion. This year I will shoot what I want how I want. If clients book me that’s fantastic. If they don’t that is okay too. Eventually I will find a clientele that is a good fit for my photography style. If I don’t then at least the walls of my home will be adorned with pretty art.


What are your photography goals for 2013?



Veronica Armstrong is a guest blogger for Adoramapix. She is a freelance photographer and writer.. a double threat. Her young ones keep her busy but she never loses her passion for family, photography and education. Thank you Veronica for your inspirational words and motivation. If you would like to see more of her work you can go HERE.

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