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Available for local and destination weddings and portrait sessions.  Each project is different, so contact me for an exact quote.  Portrait sessions start at $300 and wedding coverage begins at $3,000.  Typical wedding fees are about $5,000 - Send an email to me.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Step By Step Guide to Shooting a Wedding

I've had several emails from readers asking how I prepare for a wedding, how I shoot the wedding, how I do the post-production, etc. As most of you know, I am semi-retired. I really don't take new clients unless I know them, or have covered an event for one of their sisters, neighbors, etc.

Tomorrow, June 23rd, I am shooting a wedding, so I have been keeping a little journal -- just making notes on what I have been doing -- so I can write an article. The article will be posted in about 10 days. Once you read it, it will be obvious why I am waiting 10 days. Of course, I could post a little bit, each day, but since the newest posts are at the top of the blog, you would have to login almost every day, or you would be getting things in reverse order. For that reason, I am waiting until the job is done, and then publishing it as one post. --- so come back around the 4th of July.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Where I Host My Websites

Often, photographers will ask me where I have my websites hosted. I think there are many good web hosts, and some terrible ones. I build my first website in 1994, so I've experienced both the good and the bad. For the past several years, my answer has been simple: I use HostMonster. To be honest, if you click on my link to HostMonster, and sign up, I get a small referal fee. Well, that's nice, but it isn't the reason I recommend them. I recommend them because I use them and I am happy with them.

It's that simple!

There is a link to HostMonster in the right margin -- and there is one here.


Saturday, June 9, 2007

Home Run Baseball Photography

I didn't write this article. I found it while surfing the net and though some of you might find it interesting. Information on the author is included at the end of the post. After reading this article, if you'd like some tips on getting a good entry-level digital SLR that's perfect for photographing youth sports, please scroll down to the next post:

Home Run Baseball Photography Tips Strike one! Strike two! Strike three! Baseball! America's Pastime, and a sport growing in popularity throughout the world, where the Boys of Summer slug it out. A baseball game is the perfect way to spend a lazy summer afternoon, plus it provides opportunities to take photos that last a lifetime.

While many claim the sport of baseball is a slow-paced affair, when action does occur, it can happen very swiftly, almost too fast for an unskilled photographer to shoot the photos they desire. Baseballs fly quickly when hit or thrown, and timing the action for when to take a digital photograph requires split-second reflexes. Thus, before you plan on taking photos at a baseball game, you may wish to read the following advice:

1) First, make sure you are allowed to bring your digital camera to the baseball game. Some ballparks have no restrictions, others on the zoom length, some on using flash, and some may not allow you into the baseball game at all with your camera!

2) Change your camera settings to take the quickest photographs possible while still providing plenty of light for the photograph. You'll need to read your camera's manual on how to change these settings; for example, consider saving photos as JPG instead of RAW to take photos faster.

Just remember that the quicker the shutter speed, the less light enters the camera to take the picture. Thus, you'll need to compromise picture speed and the amount of light to take great photos. That is why baseball games work well with photography - many games are played on sunny days or in well-lit domes or stadiums that allow you to take crisp, high-action photos.

3) Before going to a big league ballpark, make sure you know the rules and nuances of the game. Practice taking photos at a minor-league, college, or high school baseball game. The stakes aren't quite as high if you miss a shot, and taking your camera to a game will give you more insight into when action occurs and when players just stand around.

4) Have extra batteries and digital camera memory handy and practice switching both out quickly before the game! A three and a half hour game can put a tremendous strain on even the most power-miserly camera, and more often than not you will have to switch out power or memory in the middle of an inning.

5) Don't worry if you miss a shot! Unless you have tons of digital camera memory, you may not be able to continuously shoot photograph after photograph. If you miss a key pitch, the swing of a bat, or a forced out, don't get angry! More often than not, new opportunities will arise for great photographs.

6) Study the lineup first. Know who are the key players and those who barely know how to swing a bat. Likewise, learn who has loose hands in the outfield and who is likely to win a Gold Glove. Focus your attention on the stars as they most likely will make the best photographs, but don't be so drawn to celebrity that you miss a role player making a crucial steal or diving catch that wins the game for their team!

7) When the opening lineup starts, look at the dugout. If you're rooting for the home team, the beginning of the game is a great time to get player photographs as they are running out onto the field. If not, take photographs during the middle of the inning. If you don't get the perfect photo, delete bad photographs during lull times and try later during the game.

8) To take a picture of a swinging batter that will last a lifetime, do the following: *) Preparation is the key. First, before the game, know how to operate your digital camera. Practice focusing the camera and quickly deleting unused photos - sometimes you can delete an unwanted photo before it is completely saved to the camera's memory.

*) Before the pitch, focus your viewfinder on the batter's box and try not to cut out any of the batter's body. Zoom in as appropriate, but remember the more you zoom in, the slower the potential shutter speed needed to take a clear photo.

*) Anticipate shutter lag. Lock your focus before the pitch; this usually is done by pressing the shutter button down half-way. *) Time it... time it... then as soon as the ball is about to hit the bat, press down fully on the shutter button.

*) If the pitch is a strike or the swing is not one to be remembered, cancel the save so your picture is not written to memory. This way, you can save room for other photos.

9) Look around for photo opportunities not directly related to the action. Take a photograph of the grounds crew cleaning the bases and raking the dirt between innings. Get a few shots of the crowd. Take a picture of the scoreboard. Look at the surrounding area. If you want to remember the full experience of a baseball game years from now, you should take advantage of one of the best features of a digital camera - the ability to take lots and lots of photographs - and shoot photographs showcasing the FULL baseball experience.

10) Take a break during the game! You came to the baseball game to enjoy the spectacle, not just to take pictures, right? Designate a few innings as photo-free time where you just sit back, munch on a hot dog, drink a soda, and soak in the environment.

Remember to study your digital camera manual first and practice, practice, practice! Follow these ten tips and you'll be on your way to taking "home run" baseball photographs in no time.

--- Copyright 2005 Andrew Malek. Andrew Malek is the owner of the MalekTips computer and technology help site at . Want more great tips on buying and using digital cameras? Visit for more free digital photography advice.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

A Good Entry-Level Digital SLR Camera

A few weeks ago, a fried of mine (Ron) asked for some camera advice. He isn't a professional photographer -- he's a professional dad. He has a son who is an excellent baseball player and they travel around Southern California to tournaments. I was taking photos at one of these tournaments and got a few of Ron and his son.

Well, since Ron doesn't want to pay a hight priced pro, like me :-) to travel around with him, he decided to get a suitable camera for himself. Here is the list of things that Ron is looking for:

Interchangable lenses
basic editing
simple operating features
nice & sharp photos for action shots
6 to 12 mega pixels
3 to 5 shots per second
light weight
not too bulky
reliable & lasts a while if taken care of

There is a wide range of cameras that will do the trick, but I am recommending the Nikon D-40. Actually, the Nikon D-40 comes in two models: The D40 and D40X.

The D40 is a 6-megapixel camera, while the D40X has a 10-megapixel sensor. BOth are sold with an 18-55mm zoom lens. They both have a built-in, pop-up flash. You might want to augment that with Nikon's SB-400 Speedlight -- a flash that mounts in the hot-shoe on top of the camera.

Both versions have a good sensitivity range : ISO 200 - 1600 (3200 on the X model). They have a good 2.5" LCD monitor on the back and with autofocus any of Nikon's AF-S lenses using a fast and accurate three-zone system.

The D40 will shoot 2.5 frames per second and the D40X will fire at 3-fps. In-camera editing allows for cropping, image resizing, color adjusting , filter effects, redeye removal, and conversion to black 7 white or sepia tones. Edited images are saved as new files, preserving the original files, incase you want to go back to them.

Either the D40 or the D40X will work for Ron. He might want to add the Nikon 55-200mm f4-5.6G ED AF-S DX Nikkor Zoom (Black), as an inexpensive lens with a long reach, acceptable for outdoor sports photography.

Meet Someone Who IS Doing It Right

We have a blog reader on the East Coast who has done a great job on his first wedding. His name is Chris James, and I encourage you to see how he is developing his new blog and displaying his first wedding album.

Visit Chris James, here.

If you need a portrait, wedding, or events photographer in the Virginia, Maryland, DC area, Chris would be a great choice -- he really puts his heart and soul into it.

Also, if you are a photographer and need someone to help with image correction or album design, get in touch with Chris.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Getting Your Photography Business Online - Part Four

This is the fourth post in a series about getting your photography business online. If you haven’t read Part 1, 2 and 3, scroll down and read them, then come back here.

OK, now you have a blog, a place to host your album showcases, and an e-commerce site. They only thing left, to get your photography business online, is to develop a website (this is the last step, but it is an important one). While the blog is an excellent ‘first-step’, it is most effective when it works, hand-in-hand, with your website.

Why do you need both a blog and a website? The answer is within the nature of each.

A blog is a very dynamic thing. You can add to it everyday (we suggest adding to your blog as often as possible, but at least, weekly) The last post goes on top and readers have to scroll down to see earlier posts. Of course, you can have a table of contents and archives.

A web site is more static. While you want to keep it up-to-date, it is a more permanent source of information about your services, prices, photo galleries, etc.

The two go hand-in-hand and you link from one to the other.

There are several ways to get a web site. First, you can hire a web designer to create a custom web site. These custom sites can be wonderful, but they can be very expensive to create, expensive to maintain, and very difficult for the owner to modify or add to, without paying a fee to the designer, each time you want to add something. If high quality is your goal, and money is not an object, this might be the way to go.

After the custom sites, you might want to consider buying a template site. These can be a good value and give professional results. Often, you can customize them to some degree, but they don't give the design flexibility of a custom site.

The third option is to design the site, yourself. This can give you the maximum flexibility, and lowest cost -- if you have the time to learn the skills. However, once you learn how to build a site, if is easy to make additions and changes.

Years ago, web builders had to learn a complicated series of "tags" to control what a site looked like and how it functioned. Over the years, a number of web design programs have been developed. Today, most of them are WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get). You can place graphics elements and text anywhere yo want, and the program will generate the HTML code (or tags).

The web design program that I recommend -- and have been using since the mid-1990s --is Net Object Fusion. NOF comes with templates, which you can easily modify, or you can begin with a blank screen and add your own elements.

Finally, there is another solution. I will build a basic web site for you. This offer is for photographers only. It is not the fanciest site, but it is a clean design and has the functionality that a photographer needs -- at an affordable price. Go here for details.