Denver Photo Betties


101 Goals in 1001 Days

Off Season, IdeasThe Betty BoardComment

For many people, setting goals can either be a challenge or an opportunity.  If your brain doesn't think in a streamlined way, you may get bogged down in the steps needed to accomplish a goal.  If you like checking things off a list, it might be a bit easier.  To help us all with our business goals-setting the Betties is holding their very own workshop on February 12!  Simply visit the 'Events' tab in our Facebook group for details!

But in addition that, I'd like to challenge you to turn setting goals into an opportunity by creating a 101 Goals in 1001 Days list for yourself.

The concept is not new, simply google 101 Goals in 1001 Days and you'll get post after post of people doing the very same thing.  I myself first came across the concept on two photography blogs I follow, Kern Photo, and Melissa Jill Photography.  Seeing two obviously successful photographers STILL setting goals for themselves was motivating to me just starting out.  It made me realize the power of thinking about what I want and finding ways to keep myself accountable as I worked to achieve them.  I started my very own list that same afternoon.


Now for a list of our own, here on the blog.

Reasons why a goals list and a goals challenge are good for photographers

1. A list of goals is a great way to hold yourself accountable (yes, I know I said that already). 
By identifying thing that you want to accomplish (and writing them down), you are one step closer to actually accomplishing them.  And they don't just have to be photography related.  Put some personal goals on the list too--a trip you've been dreaming of taking, a meal you're dying to make, a financial planning class you've been putting off for a year--anything!  The point is to think about it, write it down, then go back and reference your list periodically to remind yourself  of the awesome things you want to do. Then find ways to go about doing them!

2. Your list gives you something to blog about.
I think many photographers struggle with the blogging part of their business, especially when starting out.  You may not have a consistent stream of clients to create posts about, but that doesn't mean that you should let your blog lapse when you're slow.  Analytics say that blogs that frequently update (at least twice a week) rank stronger with SEO in search engines, AND you're more likely to maintain a continued readership.  Plus, in a market that is saturated with photographers, your blog is a great way to put your personality out there for perspective clients to get to 'know you'. 

Blogging about your list is a great way to kill two birds with one stone--you can increase your content stream as you accomplish and check off goals, and you let your readers know more about who you are and what kinds of things you like to do.  Win win!

3. It gives you an excuse to practice your photography.
Plan to not only blog about your goals, but provide photographic proof of them.  Maybe you don't think that 'Organize my 10 boxes of photos in a logical order' would be very fun to photograph, but challenge yourself to think creatively about how to best capture it.  Try new angles, pick a great backdrop, try a macro lens--find different ways to view a boring subject and you'll be sharpening your photographic skills for your actual paying clients.

4. You never know who you'll meet in the process.
Part of the fun of creating this list is to share it with others and to share your experiences as you check things off.  Do any of your friends have a list themselves?  Do any other Betties?  Make it a point to share your list with people and take a look at the lists of those you know.  See something on their list that you're good at?  Offer to help!  Maybe someone will do the same for you.  At the end of the day you may accomplish a goal a lot faster than you would have on your own and you might come away with a new friend.


So what do you say Betties?  Is anyone up for the challenge?  if you've already created a list, or if you're dying to give it try, post your blog link in the comments.  Lets see how we can help each other out.  I'll start!  You can see my list here.  Also, you can use this link to easily calculate your end date for your goals.

Expanding your skills with Off Camera Flash

Education, Ideas, Off Season, LightingThe Betty BoardComment

Looking to expand your Photography Skills?

This is the time of year when most of us photogs are busy spending all of our time thinking about the upcoming photography season.  Here in Denver, it's cold outside and many of our clients are just getting over the Holiday Sticker shock.  Many of us are also looking how we can further our photographic skills and expand our knowledge during our 'down season'.  

One thing that I've noticed lately is the increasing trend of "Natural Light Photographers" in our industry.  It is a wondrous thing to have that amazing, perfect light beaming down from the Heavens at just the right moment during your session.  However, more often than not there will not be perfect light.  We are all faced with lighting challenges, Photography is after all the art of capturing light!  One way to expand your photographic vault of knowledge is to learn how to control your lighting environment by adding off camera lighting.  


What is Off Camera Flash?

Off Camera Flash, or OCF, is the practice of using lights that are strategically placed to enhance the outcome of an image.  It is a common misconception to think that using any light source that is not "natural" will make your images look a certain way that is undesirable.  In fact, learning how to harness light will allow you to create some amazing images and can enhance your ability to differentiate your brand from others.  


There are many different tools available to us photographers in terms of off camera flash, from utilizing your speedlights to standing strobes and constant lights.  Each photographer will find some tools more useful than others, but try out all your different options!  


In Studio Off Camera Flash



For those photogs who shoot regularly in a studio setting, you are probably used to the idea of off camera lighting.  Many times, the light coming into the space we've selected for our sessions isn't optimal (or there may be no natural light coming in).  To enhance your images indoors, try playing around with standing strobe lights with a modifier to help get images with soft, even lighting.  

For example, Brooke Summer of Brooke Summer Photography chose to use an Ailen Bee Strobe for these beautiful boudoir images.  The look she achieved is not over "flashed" or unnatural looking but instead very natural and flattering.  By pointing her strobe against a white wall and indirectly bouncing the light, she has created a nice, even light in her first image.  The same strobe was then used in a different manor with an Octabox modifier (a large softbox in an octagon shape) to achieve a the lighting similar to that of an exterior window.  

In a studio setting, understanding modifiers is just as important as the light source being used.  A modifier will allow the light to be evenly distributed (such as a soft box) or to be directed in a very specific manor (honeycomb grid).  Without modifiers, your light will "spew" out into your work space and is not easily controlled.  

                                                                         Lisa with Lisa O'Dwyer Photography takes a different indoor approach with very  directional off camera lighting.  For this specific look, she places constant lights (such as a video light) on a stand with no modifier. 


Lisa with Lisa O'Dwyer Photography takes a different indoor approach with very directional off camera lighting.  For this specific look, she places constant lights (such as a video light) on a stand with no modifier. 

Utilizing Off Camera Flash Outdoors



The thought of using additional lighting outdoors is quite foreign to many photographers, a common thought being that your images won't look natural.  This outdated theory will only diminish your ability to get the images that you're after!  Adding off camera flash outdoors allows us to achieve a multitude of looks and feels.  If the lighting situation that you find yourself in is one where the exposure bracket between your subject and background is incomprehensible, add some light!

Shannon of Adore Photography was able to capture a beautiful image that looks very natural with both her subject and background properly exposed.  This would not have been possible without the addition of off camera flash.  She simply used a small pop of flash from her speedlight off camera to lighten her subjects with some fill light.  

Using off camera flash outdoors can be very tricky and time consuming.  Shooting by yourself with off camera lighting can prove to be most difficult, but is definitely achievable!  Investing in some heavy duty light stands and a form of transmitter/reciever (such as a pocket wizard or popper) will be necessary.  In situations where you don't have much set up time, such as a wedding, speedlights are usually the preferred form of off camera flash.  There are modifiers available for speedlights as well, so you can manipulate your lights just as with studio strobes.  

                                                        Savannah with Savannah Chandler Photography utilized a speedlight with a modifier, a shoot through white umbrella in downtown Denver.  


Savannah with Savannah Chandler Photography utilized a speedlight with a modifier, a shoot through white umbrella in downtown Denver.  

Night Photography with Off Camera Flash



We've all been stuck in that situation, photographing in the dark!  This is an obvious place to use lighting, but many of us have resorted to utilizing just our speedlight attached to our cameras.  Venture out into the world of off camera flash for your night/reception photography and you'll be amazed at the results.  

Using just your speedlight can be a fine solution when we have a white ceiling to bounce off of, but that is not usually a realistic situation.  For example, Rhema with Rhema Faith Photography was in a beautiful setting outdoors for this couple's first dance, but there is no wall to bounce off of and directional light from a flash attached to your camera can make your images look very flat.  Rhema used two 600RT speedlights (which are very nice, because you don't need a remote trigger with this specific speedlight model).  She had one speedlight on her camera and had an assistant hold the other light on a stand as if it were a boom mic.  Using this combination of on and off camera flash, Rhema was able to capture the star-like essence of the lights set up by her bride and groom.  

                                                              Ashley with Urban Safari Photography utilized a similar technique with a combination of on and off camera flash for this image.  She placed the off camera speedlight behind her couple to illuminate the background and create rim lighting around her subjects.


Ashley with Urban Safari Photography utilized a similar technique with a combination of on and off camera flash for this image.  She placed the off camera speedlight behind her couple to illuminate the background and create rim lighting around her subjects.

                                                            Night photography isn't just reserved for those of us photographing weddings... Take your clients out and get creative, beautiful night shots!  Two speedlights were utilized in these images.


Night photography isn't just reserved for those of us photographing weddings... Take your clients out and get creative, beautiful night shots!  Two speedlights were utilized in these images.

Get out and Practice!!

This is the perfect time of year to perfect your skills!  Grab a friend and go out of your comfort zone and experiment with some off camera flash!  Keep perfecting your natural light skills, but remember that all photographers can benefit from learning how to harness and control added light.  

Are you already a Denver Betty?  Then keep on the lookout for an upcoming workshop that involves off camera flash!  I can't give away all the details just yet... but there's lots of great stuff on the horizon!



Savannah Chandler Photography


Keeping Inspiration Alive During the Slow Winter Season

IdeasThe Betty Board1 Comment

I don't know if you've noticed, but it's cold outside. And frankly, it's only getting colder. For the next few months, it's going to be getting pretty difficult to find clients interested in freezing for a photo shoot.

But after those next few months, the clients will start rolling in again, and if we haven't done a thing to battle that boredom and stress of the slow season, we're all going to feel pretty rusty! So this year, let's combat that! I've got a few ideas to share with you.


Carry a camera around

If you're like me, unless it just so happens your iPhone has enough charge to snap a shot, you really don't carry a camera around a lot. But it's a great way to kick yourself out of a rut! If you don't feel like lugging your dslr along with the fourteen other things we moms and busy ladies carry with us everywhere, a point and shoot works, too. Just try to find new ways to capture everyday occurrences. And if that gets boring, then maybe it's time for an adventure!

Work on business goals

I know 'business stuff' isn't always the most interesting part of what we do. But it's SO important! And nothing feels better than knowing you're making some positive steps forward toward being a mega successful photographer. So now is a great time to spend some time thinking about your branding, your website, and your business goals. And then to really sit down with that list of goals and break them into actionable steps. And if you only spend thirty minutes each day during the slow season making baby steps in the right direction, you'll find yourself in a much better place when Spring rolls around.


Take part in critiques

Critiques could be as big as a whole critique group or as small as taking part of Denver Photo Bettie's Critique Monday. (If you're in the Facebook group, simply post a photo on Monday- or any time really- with the hashtag #CCMonday)

Don't know of any critique groups around? Start one! You'll find you're not the only photographer with some time on her hands.

If you're feeling pretty good about your work and aren't interested in a photo critique, a website critique might suit your business needs a little better. The Denver Photo Betties are hosting a series of website critiques for members, and most still have spots available! If you're a member, simply visit the events tab of the Facebook group for more information.  


Try entering your art in gallery shows

A lot of photographers I've talked to think there are two different types of photographers- fine artists and commercial photographers. And I'm here to tell you, that's just not true! What you do is an art, and there's no reason you can't create something gallery-worthy! Perhaps you feel none of your commercial portrait and wedding work fits the bill, but if nothing else is going on, then why not create something that does?

Try Denver Arts' Call For Entries page or the Denver Call For Artists Facebook page for galleries looking for art for upcoming shows.


Start a Personal Project

Maybe there's an amazing photograph you saw a year ago, or maybe there's an idea that has been in the back of your mind for a while. Now is the time to act on it! Make a plan and get things rolling!  



Shoot other photographers or models

Think about who you COULD get to brave the cold for an amazing shoot... your friends, right? Other photographers who totally get that if they ever want to be on the other side of the lens, now is the time! And some of my favorite work with models has been in the snow! Sites like ModelMayhem are a great source for finding models interested in work. But please, please be extra careful when meeting with people you don't know, especially in remote shoot locations!

These are just a few ideas, and there are many, many ways to challenge yourself to keep things moving during slow season. What are your plans? We would love to hear about them in the comments!

Some DIFFERENT Ideas For Photographers On Your Holiday Gift List

Ideas, HolidaysThe Betty Board2 Comments

We all have the vintage camera charms and ornaments and, well, vintage cameras themselves.  We're good to go with the lens mugs, the camera strap covers, and the 'I Shoot People' t-shirts.  So I thought maybe it was time to create a new list with some fun and practical things you might want to hint for your loved one to slip into your stocking this year- all under $100!


Holga Lens for Canon or Nikon DSLRs

Okay, this is cheating just a bit.  After all, you could just get a Holga and play with some film.  But if what you're wanting is a fun novelty item to kickstart your inspiration over the slower months, this is certainly a fun toy!

Camera Lens Pendant

I've seen millions of photography-related pendants, but this one is cool! It's only about 1", so totally wearable (or stackable if you're like me), but I guarantee other photographers will notice it!  And for that price, you could treat yourself!


BlackRapid Elle Camera Strap

I know you already have a camera strap, but do you have this camera strap?  If not, find someone who does and try it on!  Designed by women specifically for women, it's incredibly comfortable and well-designed.  It will streamline the way you shoot.

Lensbaby Spark
$90 -

This is technically another novelty lens, but a lot of photographers do pull out their lensbabies for a few special shots during regular portrait sessions, too.  And if you want something just a little more technical and true to the tilt-shift concept, there's a whole line of lensbaby lenses at different price points.   


Phoneography Starter Kit

This fun little kit comes with a macro and wide-angle lens, a pocket-sized flash, a giftcard to a phoneography class at Photojojo University, and a cute pouch to keep it all in.  Now, tell me this doesn't look FUN! 


I think we all can understand how important it is to keep your lens clean.  And this thing is awesome at doing just that! It has a carbon tip that won't scratch your lens- or even your eyeglasses- and a screw-on lid to keep the tip safe.  And it's so inexpensive, it's actually an 'add-on item' on Amazon!



Photography Books for Inspiration
Around $35

There are LOTS of choices here- a quick search on Amazon brings up hundreds.  These are just two on my own list this year.  If you're like me, you probably already have tons, all dog-earred with a scattering of sticky note markers.  But who can get enough of flipping through a book and seeing awesome photographs in print?
Vogue- The Covers
Vanity Fair 100 Years


Hoodman Hoodloupe

You know those bright days when just glancing at the back of your camera gives you a headache? And those times when you NEED to know that your image was tack sharp before you can move on? That's what a Hoodloupe is for.  Just make sure you choose the model that is right for the size of your camera's lcd screen. (The one linked is for a 3" screen) 


Camera Scarves

Do you love scarves? And if you're here, I know you love cameras! Etsy seller RainbowSwirlz has put them together in these adorable (but not over-the-top) designs, and she has lots of other cute things to choose from, too! 


Telephoto Lens Kitchen Timer

Once you own this handy dandy little timer, every single person who walks into your kitchen is going to ask you why you keep your lens in your kitchen.  Which is amusing in and of itself, but basically, this thing is just fun to use.  And it will go smashingly on the shelf with your lens coffee mugs. 


What fun/different photo things do YOU have on your list this year? Tell us about them in the comments! 

- Katie