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Either FOCUS on showing your BEST WORK or don’t show it at all

Jared Polin July 12, 2014 Comments Off

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You have heard me say this a million times but either focus showing your best work or no work at all. This is not meant to scare you or tell you to do anything you don’t want to do it’s more to help you see that putting your best foot and pictures is the best way.

The truth of the matter is if you have second thoughts about the quality of an image you should probably not share it. You control what people consume which means you are controlling the message. Keep in mind that this is subjective, if you LOVE something you should show it and stand behind it.

I rather see 10 SOLID keepers opposed to 20 eh shots. If you don’t put your best foot forward you are leaving your work to major interpretation by the people who are seeing it.

Now let’s take a look at the site I critiqued this time around. The first thing I noticed right off the bat that the main image on the page was a picture of the photographers business card. That is not the way I would introduce people to my work. I think the best thing to do is lead off with your best work or a short slide show.

As I progressed in through the site I noticed that when looking at a gallery I had no way of seeing all the images on the screen at once. I had to arrow through everything in order to see the images. This may be personal preference but I like having the option of seeing a thumb of all the images so I can decide what I would like to see.

Step to the Left or Right and make your images go BOOM, POW, POP

Jared Polin July 7, 2014 Comments Off

Sometimes taking one step to the left or right will take your picture from bla to BOOOM. As you will see in this set of concert photos there are times where the lights behind the musician are clearly popping out from the side of a person. What I have found works out very well is when you use the musicians body to block the light, which in turn causes a really cool halo lighting effect.

How do you do this when you are shooting, simple. You can’t ask the band to move but you can situate yourself in such a way that puts the musician in the perfect position for this type of photo. These photos really create impact where the light off to the site becomes a distraction.

I picked this set because it had a nice cross section of a photo story with potential to get better. That is what I am looking for in a set. Images that I can look at and help the photographer see the full potential of their photos.

16 Tips For How To Shoot Fireworks

Jared Polin July 2, 2014 Comments Off

How To Shoot Fireworks 2012 Edition

How To Shoot Fireworks 2011 Edition

It’s that time of year where the fireworks come out to play. But how in the world do you capture fantastic images of them? Do you raise your ISO up very high because it’s dark out? Where do I focus because my auto focus wont lock in? There are so many questions people have when it comes to photographing fireworks but I am here to give you what I think are the easiest tips to help you get successful photos this year.

These tips are in no particular order. Click Here to see the FULL RES Exported Photos.

Tripod: A tripod is integral to getting the best results. You will want one that is sturdy and wont shake terribly to much when people are walking around and fireworks are going off. If there is shake it will be seen in your images being that you will be using a longer shutter speed.

Now This Is ALL ACCESS: Photo By Sammy Davis Jr, From My Bookshelf

Jared Polin July 2, 2014 Comments Off

One of the very first photo books I ever purchased was this one by Sammy Davis Jr. One of the most interesting aspects of this book is the fact that Sammy David Jr had an interest in photography. Another interesting aspect is that Sammy Davis was able to go places that other african american people of the time could not go.

He was part of the Rat Pack and they stuck together regardless of the racism that existed at the time. These were the biggest celebrities of their time and Sammy was there to capture the moments. He didn’t just capture moments that anyone could capture. He captured images of what it was like to be inside the Rat Pack and what it was like to be the biggest entertainers in the world at that time.

What he captured helps shed light on what it was like to party, entertain and have fun in the 50′s and 60′s. This is a book I highly recommend adding to your collection. The stories that go along with the images are just as strong as the images themselves.

Below you will find the description that accompanies the book on Amazon.


“Sammy Davis, Jr. will forever be remembered as one of America’s finest entertainers. An all–around performer who could sing, dance, and act, Davis broke racial barriers in the entertainment world and became the only non–white member of the Rat Pack. Only now, however, is Davis’s talent as a photographer finally being recognized. In this previously unpublished collection of black and white photography, readers will be fascinated by Davis’s portrayals of A–list performers, iconic world leaders, and scenes from everyday life. Davis’s subjects include dozens of classic celebrities–such as Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe, Paul Newman, and James Dean–who are often photographed at their most casual and revealing moments.”

5 Min Portrait How To Become A Better Photographer: Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone

Jared Polin June 28, 2014 Comments Off

One of the most important ways to become a better photographer is to step outside of your comfort zone. Now this is much easier said then done but it is something I am personally working on.

The type of photos I capture generally revolve around candid images. In this case I set up a continuos light studio inside my loft to take portraits of my model. This is the furthest thing away from candid and totally out of my every day comfort zone.

CLICK HERE to see all of the full res images from this photo shoot.

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Click Here to view all of the FULL RES Images from this photo shoot.

As scary as it may seem to veer out of your normal zone it’s something every photographer should be doing. Sure you may be good at one thing or another but the only way to get better is to experiment. You are shooting digital, you have no film to waste, processing to have done or prints to make. You can simply get out there, shoot, review and shoot some more. That is the leg up you have today over 20 years ago.

14340045200 1e5319df45 5 Min Portrait How To Become A Better Photographer: Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone

Click Here to view all of the FULL RES Images from this photo shoot.

When I set up this 5 Min Portrait is Jenna I knew I wanted to do something different than I normally did. I decided I wanted to shoot continuous light portraits using my keno flows. I set them up in a simple pattern which is very similar to what Peter Hurley does for his head-shots.

One thing you have to keep in mind is you can have the exact same lighting set up as Peter or I, the same camera and settings and not get the same results. I wont get the same results as Peter because I don’t talk to the subject the same way he does as well as seeing the world different. This doesn’t mean I wont capture something that is still amazing. You have to remember that we all see the world different, we interact different and pull out different emotions from our subjects. There is no right or wrong way to do this, just some people do it better than others.

My goal with this shoot was to capture a nice little cross section of images of Jenna. Jenna is not a professional model but has posed for a few photographers in the past. I think she is great in front of the camera and takes direction very well.

With any photo shoot I like to come out with three to five solid keepers regardless of how many images I take or don’t take. Generally speaking you wont get to see the non keepers from most photographers but I chose to share every shot from this 5 Min Portrait. I do that so you can see not just the best shots but the ones that just missed or were so far off base that I never should have let them see the light of day.

14340109778 268dbb437d 5 Min Portrait How To Become A Better Photographer: Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone

Click Here to view all of the FULL RES Images from this photo shoot.

This is all about learning and becoming a better photographer, the only way you get better is to step outside of your comfort zone and practice. There is not shame in not getting the best results when you are trying something new. The only shame is if you don’t try.

With this 5 Min Portrait I only filmed the first part of the shoot. After the initial head-shots were captured I changed up the lights and the scene to allow me to try some other scenarios before finally doing some natural light portraits around the loft. You can see those images in the editing video below.

Editing the 5 Min Portrait

As I have been doing more often after photo shoots like this, I am going to share with you the editing process I went through to get the final images. It is important to remember that this is my style for editing and not everyone will like what I come up with. It’s very important to formulate your style not only in the images you capture but in the way you process them. With that said, there is a lot of information you can take out of this section so please enjoy.

14340109268 c0f7d8421d 5 Min Portrait How To Become A Better Photographer: Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone

Click Here to view all of the FULL RES Images from this photo shoot.

I also share with you images that I captured after the camera stopped rolling. We kept shooting for another hour or two, trying different lighting setups and poses. One thing I learned from this shoot is that I am not very good with directing the model when it comes to posing. This is something I am not terribly to used to doing. When I am shooting candids I let the model to what they do and capture it. In this setting, I have to tell the model what I am looking for in order to bring that out of them.

On the other hand when you work with a professional model they tend to know how to flow andmove which makes for less work giving direction. That is in no way a knock at Jenna as she did a fantastic job in front of the camera.

14525644382 869f948643 5 Min Portrait How To Become A Better Photographer: Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone

Click Here to view all of the FULL RES Images from this photo shoot.

If you would like to view all the full res exports please CLICK HERE.