May 28, 2010

Wedding Photographer's Checklist

Seven Must-Have's by Cindy Larkin
[photography by Jennie Slade]

1. Have a portfolio:
You will want to show your work from an entire wedding. This will show the bride and groom that you are capable of doing a great job throughout the whole wedding, not just taking a few lucky shots. It's preferable to have an album or a set of proofs from a recent wedding that you have done. This will assure them that this is not your first wedding and that your style fits theirs. They will be looking for examples that they would like to see in their own wedding images, such as black and white, photo-journalism, family groups and special post-processing actions.

Hint: If you are new to wedding photography, you'll need to start somewhere, right? Ask a friend or family member to let them use you at their wedding as a second photographer, or offer to do their wedding for free, so you can get the experience and portfolio you need. Free photo gigs are a great way to increase your porfolio in any area of photography you choose.

2. Be professional and Courteous:
Little things make a big difference. Always treat them well on the phone, and get back to them within a reasonable amount of time, if they have left you a message. Remember, they may chose you as their photographer not only because they like your work, but because they like you. Keep in mind that if they are happy with your service, they will most likely give your name as a referral to their friends and family members in the future.

3. Have Your Prices And Services Clear:
Let them know ahead of time what type of services you offer, such as how many hours of your time are included in the price, and what your overtime rate is. Let them know how many images they will get back, and if your price includes black and white, as well as color. Let them know if the price includes an engagement sitting and, if not, how much the engagement sitting costs. One of the things they will want to know is what the package price does and does not include. The more information they can get from you before hand, the better.

4. Be Punctual:
Make sure that you are on time for all appointments and well organized, especially the day of the wedding. Being a few minutes early will help ease your mind while you get everything in order. This will not only release some of your tension, but the family's as well. Imagine how you would feel on your wedding day if the photographer did not shown up on time.

5. Have Back Up Equipment:
Always have a back up camera and extra batteries. Accidents do happen and no photographer wants to be stuck on a special day, such as a wedding, without proper equipment.

6. Dress Appropriately:
You will want to choose an outfit that will blend in with the crowd, but keep in step with this formal occassion. I have found that choosing a classic black pantsuit or shirt and slacks, is appropriate in almost any setting. Also, wear comfortable shoes, as you will be moving around alot.

7. Be Prompt with the Proofs:
The Bride and Groom will want to get their wedding proofs or images back within a reasonable amount of time. Two to four weeks after the wedding is a good rule. I generally tell my clients four weeks which gives me enough time to edit them, but I also like to send a "Sneak Peek" via email within a few days, to let them see a couple of my favorite shots. This does 2 very important things. It helps appease them while they are waiting for the remaining pictures, and it also helps ease their mind about how the pictures turned out. I have also found that the sneak peek gets them very excited to see more!

Capture Their Dream Wedding

It's All In The Details by Cindy Larkin

[photo's by Jennie Slade]

Photography is one of the most important parts of the Bride and Grooms "Big Day". Your photographs are the treasure they will take with them, and cherish for many years to come. It's very important to ask sincere questions before you shoot to find out what makes them unique so you can capture their true personality through your lense. Find out if they are dramatic or laid back. Do they like bold statements or quiet moments? Do they want staged pictures, or photo-journalism style shots, or a combination of the two. Here is a mini checklist to add to your repertoire that can help you showcase the details of their big day:
[photo's by Jennie Slade]

1. Bride putting on her veil, earrings, or shoes.

2. Bride applying makeup or having her hair done

3. Close-ups of hair from the back and side

4. Close-ups and details of Bride's dress/ Groom's tux/ their shoes/ and rings

5. Close-ups of the Bride's bouquet and Groom's tie/boutineer

6. Special interactions between Bride and Groom and loved ones

7. Detail of cake and centerpieces

8. Close-up of bride and groom’s faces during first kiss/dance

9. Bride throwing bouquet

10. Couple leaving in limo/get-away car

[photo's by Jennie Slade]

May 13, 2010

Family Portraits

A Few Hints by Cindergirl Photography

1. Before picture day, help guide the family into coordinating their wardrobe by suggesting they pick two or three colors that coordinate, avoiding prints and logo's. It will be up to them to choose their attire but a casual reminder from you will help them stick to a color scheme and will enhance the over all set.
image by Amy Leavitt

2. Schedule the session when the children are at their happiest--usually after they've eaten and after nap time.

3. Schedule your shoot when the lighting is best. Lighting is very important for a great shoot, so let the family know that they may need to be flexible. In the middle of the day when the sun is high in the sky is not ideal, so generally we prefer to shoot outdoor photos either in the morning or just before dusk. The family may have to let go of routines/schedules just for the day to accommodate.

4. Family picture day can be stressful for everyone, but especially for Mom and Dad. Mom usually dreams of everyone and everything being perfect. But let's face it, no family is perfect, and so Mom can become frazzled even before the shoot begins. Dad on the other hand is usually less worried about the actual pictures but is so frustrated by all the fussing, that by the time he arrives at the shoot he's quite cranky and can't wait to just get it over with. Sound familiar??

I have found that addressing the stress at the beginning of the shoot, or making a light joke about it, can ease the tension quite a bit. If you make a point to lighten the mood, they will generally follow your lead. I usually start the shoot with a few candid or casual shots to loosen them up and get them into the mode of being photographed.

5. Even though they are family, sometimes you have to remind them to get close to each other. Having everyone in tight or touching one another can truly make a difference in the feel of the picture. When families are close to each other, touching an arm or tilting their head slightly toward each other, this projects a warmth and visually shows that they belong together. Try having them stand at an angle with shoulders overlapping. If Grandma and Grandpa are there, make sure you make space for them in a prominent spot.

6. As a general rule it's best to shoot the large family group first, especially if there are small children, due to attention spans. Next photograph the children as a group, and then individually (if individual shots are desired). Then photograph the teenageres, and last, the adults.

7. Check your shots for blinking, making sure that everyone looks awake and alert. You don't want anyone in a shot to look asleep or like they're on pain meds. One thing that can help is to have them all close their eyes, then count to three, then have them open their eyes at the same time. If everyone's eyes are refreshed, you should have a few seconds before anyone will have the need to blink again.

8. When counting up to a shot, I sometimes like to take the picture on "2" instead of "3". This helps eliminate forced smiles and helps the posing look a little more natural. Sometimes I count up to three and pretend like I've gotten stuck. {Example: "1-2-3...3...3..."} This usually makes them smile genuinely, avoiding a false look.

9. When I am done taking all the shots I want, I like to ask the parents or kids if they have any ideas in mind. I have gotten some really fun shots when they were being silly coming up with their very own poses.


10. Never underestimate the picture after the picture. I have found that once the last picture has been taken in a set, they loosen up and give you their "real" smile and you can capture a genuinely candid photo that is sure to please, if you're not in too big of a hurry to get to your next pose.

**Please feel free to share ideas that have worked for you!

May 5, 2010

Making Your Own Watermark

As some of you know I use a different program other than Photo Shop as my editing software of choice.  However, I am slowly converting to Photo Shop because it has alot of great features to offer, and is universally used throughout the photography industry as the professional standard.  If you find yourself wanting to switch to Photo Shop, or you are just now making your watermark as a new photographer, I recommend this tutorial.  It's very easy to follow, and mine turned out fabulous!  Thanks Amy!  Watermark Brush Tutorial by Amy Leavitt

For a free 30 day trial of Adobe Photoshop CS5 Extended go here.

May 4, 2010

Video Feature: Amy Leavitt

You've Gotta See This Woman in Action!!

Amy Leavitt Photography from Brandon Christensen on Vimeo.

"Eyes Tutorial" by Amy Leavitt

I’ve had a few questions regarding how exactly I use curves to bring light to the eyes. By the way, I’m using Photoshop CS4 on a Mac.

1. Click on the lasso tool. At the top, you’ll see the settings for this tool. In “Feather”, type in 50 px. Select the eyes using a figure eight shape. This doesn’t have to be perfect, and sometimes you have to try a couple of times.

2. Once selected, it should look something like this:

3. If you’re on a Mac, press CTRL M to bring up curves. Otherwise, select Layer->New Adjustment Layer -> Curves. A box that looks like a graph will pop up.

4. Grab the point in the middle, and pull it up, making an arch. Play around with this to learn what curves does. It’s easy to go too far though! This is how far I went:

5. Press “OK” and you’re good to go!


How To Apply Textures

A Quick and Easy Guide for Beginners by Rachel Krech and Cindy Larkin

Photo's by Cindergirl Photography; texture by Dog Ma

Before you start: Choose a photo and a texture to work with in Photoshop. I chose to work with a portrait as the photo I am applying the texture to. It is best if the texture is the same or larger than the photo. The photo should not be too much larger than the texture.

What is a texture? A texture is a photo that has structures of interwoven elements is in it, especially with respect to the size, shape, and arrangement of its parts.

Step 1) Open up the canvas with the texture on it. Select the entire picture by right clicking on the picture with the lasso tool or the rectangular marquee tool (both located on the main vertical menu). The "moving ants" all the way around the picture indicate the picture is selected.

Step 2) On the top horizontal menu, click Edit and then Copy on the drop-down menu.

Step 3) Now open up the canvas with the photo you’re going to applying the texture to. Again, go to Edit on the top menu, but this time select Paste. This should put the texture on top of the photo you’re applying the texture to. At this time you should not be able to see the photo, only the texture on top.

Step 4) Open up the layers menu on the right side. If you can’t find it, go to Windows and then down at the bottom select Layers. If the box is already checked, uncheck it, and then go back to recheck it again (this will open the windows box automatically to Layers).

Step 5) In the layers box you need to right click on the layer with the texture. (There should be only 2 or 3 layers here). Next, select Blending Options.

Step 6) You will now be at a large menu. Highlighted in blue on the left side should be Blending Options: Default. We are going to use both the Opacity and Blend Mode under General Blending at the top. Click the drop-down menu under Blend Mode and select Overlay (towards the middle of the menu). This will now make the texture over the photo more transparent. The default Opacity should be 100%.

Step 7) If you feel the texture is too strong over the image, scroll the Opacity level down as far down as you like until you get the affect you want.

Hints: Use the erase tool to get rid of an area of the texture that you don't need (such as areas over skin etc.) Also, using the "color burn" tool in the drop down menu on "Filters" under "Effects", will give your photo a more vivid color.  Adjust the opacity as needed.

Magazine Cover Archive


Photographer: Frank Selmo
Cover Layout Designer: Cindy Larkin
Location:  Australia


Photographer: Stacie Hawley
Cover Layout Designer: Cindy Larkin


Photographer: Ali Hohn
Cover Layout Designer: Cindy Larkin


  Jennie Slade
Cover Layout Designer:  Cindy Larkin


Photographer: Amy Leavitt
Cover Layout Designer: Cindy Larkin
Location: Calico Basin
Model: Julia Bananto


Photographer: Cindy Larkin
Cover Layout Designer: Cindy Larkin
Location: Eldorado Canyon
Model: Michaela Reber