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Beginner Photography: Abstract and Geometric

This week’s topic is a fun one. I, like Tony, really love geometry in photos. I like abstract as well, the focus on shape and form is really compelling. I’m not entirely sure how you teach something like this though. It feels very subjective. I’ve done two abstract posts so far, the first one is here¬†and then another here¬†where I try Chelsea’s abstract impressionism project:

The way I approached this was just finding an object that I thought had an interesting shape, and then taking shots of it from as many angles as possible. I also zoomed or cropped in really close on the subject to focus on texture.

Here’s my attempt:

f/5, 1/80th, ISO 1000

 

f/5.4, 1/6th, ISO 1600

 

f/3.5, 1/80th, ISO 320

 

f/3.5, 1/320th, ISO 200

 

¬†I’m not thrilled with these shots. They don’t look as compelling to me on the page as they did in the camera which is disappointing. I would have loved to get some architecture, I think it lends itself to this topic the most, but I wasn’t in the city over the weekend. I’m really interested in seeing what every one else came up with this week!

What about these shots works for you? What doesn’t?

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Live Show Recap: Night/Astro Photography

What’s up you cool babies? This week we looked at your night and astro photography and you killed it. Next week’s topic is abstract & geometry, which is Tony’s new favorite thing. I’m excited for that one.

We start off with some photo news:

-Leica announced the new TL2 mirrorless camera

-we have the¬†Loupedeck¬†and¬†we’ll put out a review soon. Chelsea uses it during the live show for the first time!

Time to start reviewing photos:

-sky over building

-moving clouds

-Tony suggests the Rokinon 24mm f/1.4 for beginners in night photography

isolated

-Tony shakes the hornets nest of flat-earthers, again, forever

-Chelsea is only good at “restaurant math”

-moon over Golden Gate

boat

Over to me for some questions from you all:

-eclipse plans? Tony’s trying to learn it now and purchased some ND filters and those special glasses. Chelsea throws shade at the eclipse, she doesn’t think that 2 minute cover is worth it. “It’s not Hamilton, I’m not gonna travel cross country for it.”

Back to photos:

-“are you doing the flat earth thing again?”

-that cool truck again

-car forest

Over to me for some more questions:

-Sigma 120-400? No idea. Thanks for the money though!

-if you had to choose between a faster lens and a bigger sensor for night photography what would you pick? The lens is easier to upgrade for sure.

-what’s the most amount of times you’ve visited a site to get the shot you want? Over 100.¬†

Time for a portfolio review! Wood bow tie gets it, Denslow Photo. Maybe change your menu items so they are immediately obvious. Pare down your portraits, but your shots look great! Tony says add a pricing page.

 Time for chit-chat! The part of the show where we highlight ridiculous comments on our videos. 

-S-AF, sexy as f*%&?

-Mister Rogers, Mister Rogers

-Tony taking of sweaters, ends with twerking

-Chelsea, beauty or smarts? Neither: funny.

-shit is funky

-Tony whispering “diopter”

-a weirdly nice comment? “Let’s save her eggs”

Back to your photos:

milky way

-why do we talk about Roadhouse so much?

lighthouse

-moon river

Budapest

-bougie camping

-will we ever get over fireworks?

bridge

-insane fireworks

tree

Over to me for your questions:

-how to get your partner into photography? Candy. Ask them to model, ask them for their view on the subject.

-what songs do you sing in the shower? “All by Myself” for Chelsea. None of the rest of us do that.

-favorite day of the week? Tony is patronizing you. Chelsea’s is Sunday, Tony likes a Tuesday which is an abomination. Justin and I like a Saturday.

Back to photos:

-light trail

city

-empty station

-Chelsea is thiiiis close to being a cannibal

-green sky

One more question before we cut out:

-how do you get the foreground sharp in astro photography? Focus stacking.

A few more photos then we’re off:

-tiny person

-Charles bridge

aurora

That’s our show! Thanks so much, guys. Join us next week for abstract and geometric photos. Looking forward to it!

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Beginner Photography: Night

Oh man, I probably should have tried to do something more technically interesting, like astro photography. But I’m lazy! And I don’t like to go out at night! So I stayed in my regular wheelhouse (and literal house) and tried some spooky selfies in the back yard.

Here’s a page of great info on night photography: https://northrup.photo/tutorials/photography/night-photography-tutorials/

And you can see my first attempt at night photography here.

So I set up my camera on a tripod and used the app OI.Share for Olympus to remotely control my camera from my phone. I wanted to be holding a light source, so I took a wrought iron owl candle holder. Unfortunately I couldn’t get a candle to stay lit in it, so I borrowed my husband’s phone and used a flashlight app. It was brighter than I wanted, but seemingly still not bright enough to keep my shutter speed up! I shot in shutter priority and got the shutter as fast as I could to capture the image but not so slow that I was moving much. It was not easy.

One thing I didn’t anticipate was how odd the color would be. I had a light on in the yard which was yellow, and the light from the phone was more blue. It wound up doing some strange things to my skin color, but I think it may have added to the weirdness. Also, it’s almost impossible to focus the camera at night. I couldn’t see my face in the monitor, and therefore had to essentially guess where to focus the shot. Anyone have tips on how to work around that?¬†

 

f/3.5, 0.6 sec, ISO 1600

 

f/3.5, 0.6 sec, ISO 1600

 

f/3.5, 0.6 sec, ISO 1600

 

f/5, 4 sec, ISO 1600

 

So, the ISO is high, the shots are crazy noisy, and my face is for sure not in focus. The last one was intentionally that way, and it wound up being the one I like the most. I think I should have gone more surrealist with it. 

Are any of these successful despite their technical shortfalls? I don’t think I can objectively judge my shots anymore.¬†

 

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Live Show Recap: Travel

What’s up, jerks? We reviewed your travel photos last night, and you really came through! It’s a pretty ambiguous topic, but I think we got some really impressive submissions.¬†

We decided that travel photography was something that captured the unique spirit of a place, or portrayed motion and destination.

Support our Patreon! You can vote on the live show topic each week and even see videos before we post them publicly.

Here’s where we get into your photos, I’ll highlight our picks and ridiculous one-liners below:

-“what’s the Matterhorn with you?”

-this talk of travel dreads killed me

-Tony is confirmed robot

 -thatched roof

Alcatraz

Jacksonville

runway

-mixed facial expressions

-Cape Smokey

-Golden Gate

-so much talk of terraforming Mars, Chelsea is invested

-Ho Chi Minh City

-girl with donkey and lamb

Over to me for viewer questions:

-what gadgets have been game changing for travel? Smartphones, USB batteries for smartphones, drones, electric razor? Noise-cancelling headphones.

-what has been your favorite place to travel for photography, and your favorite place not for photography? Peru and Portugal for Chelsea. Japan. Lucerne, Switzerland was great for photography but not much else.

-Roderick! Our generous Irish gentleman friend. Thanks for loving us quietly. Thanks for dating us.

Time for a portfolio¬†review! Fabian Santiago. Gorgeous images, great full-screen layout. Fabian, we’ve seen your photos before and we are fans! Maybe just pare down your “on the line” category.

We very unceremoniously get into Chit-Chat, the part of the show where we respond do your dumb YouTube comments.

-nerd the Jeff out

-“kicking the greasy piglet”

-wait so… are we or aren’t we a paid shill? “You’re wrong, but I’m sure you’re used to it by now.”

-podcast? sdp.io/picturethis

Okay, back to photos:

 -leave your family and photograph one place for years

arches, now I see the Kuato

-waterfall celebration

-oh, it me

-lady in red

Erlend!

lighthouse

oasis

Vancouver

Key West

-Great Mosque

-Broad Museum

Banff is fun to say

Back to me:

-10 years ago would I have imagined I’d be on a YouTube live show? Nope, that wasn’t a thing. I was working retail. “You committed, die with it.”

-T&C love Puerto Rico

-two picks happened in the background, here and here

-we’ve been doing the live show for 3 years!

-thanks for $$$! Can the Nikon D7200 do sports? Sure.

-quick tips for travelling on a budget? Stay in hostels, trade apartments while you travel, volunteer tourism, work travel, fly standby or travel by land, travel locally. Travel on container ships? Don’t take a limo to the airport. “What are we, Hulk Hogan in 1989?”

Back to your photos:

 -some castle

-New Zealand

-fall colors

Thailand

waterfall

-“I can’t level it because I’m not level, biologically”

-“we’re the people that don’t have a ding in our car”

-airplane aisles

sunset

Back to me for some more questions:

-if you could only have on mirrorless camera, which one would you choose? a9, or the XT-2, or the XT-10, or the GH5…

-how often do you carry a tripod and then don’t use it? Most of the time. That’s why they like the BeFree.

-are you beyond bringing a laptop for travel? Do you wait to come home before you edit and post? They love the new iPad.

-Twitter Q for Chelsea: where’d you get your shirt? She doesn’t know.

A few more reviews:

-tilt-shift train

vultures

infrared

-v v cute dogs

And that’s a show! Next week’s topic is Night or Astro photography, see you then.

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Beginner Photography: Travel

So, this post is a bit of a cheat. I haven’t traveled since I went to San Francisco in September, so I went through those photos again and chose some shots to edit that I didn’t use in my previous posts here and here.

I’m still not entirely sure what constitutes “travel photography”. While these were certainly shot while traveling, I’m not sure that looking at a shot will convey travel unless you include a mode of transportation, a selfie lugging bags around or in front of some site-specific monument. I just shot the things I liked about San Francisco. Most of my favorites were of surfers on the beach, but I want to include some other bits for a more well-rounded experience of the trip.

I was shooting with the Olympus EM-10 which I think I’d just started working with,¬†and I’m pretty sure I had my camera on auto, because my settings are complete nonsense.

I should have watched this video before I set out:

 

f/10, 1/400th, ISO 200

 

f/11, 1/400th, ISO 200

 

f/8, 1/160th, ISO 200

 

f/8, 1/400th, ISO 200

 

f/4, 1/400th, ISO 200

 

So that’s San Francisco through my eyes! I hardly spent any time downtown until my last few hours in the city and by that point my camera had died (I forgot my battery charger like a rookie) so I’m not sure how recognizable any of this would be. It was my first (and so far only!) trip to California and I hope I can go back and do it justice sometime.

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Live Show Recap: Black and White

Hey guys! We looked at your black and white photos this week and you came out in force. Lots of great shots.

We just got the LoupeDeck for Lightroom, but we haven’t tried it yet, I’m sure we’ll get a review out soon. Canon released some new cameras, but we don’t have them yet. They don’t like us.

Get our t-shirt! sdp.io/shirt.

Support us at Patreon to vote for the live show topic each week, plus get videos early.

“I like to just be silent so it seems like a really long time.”

Okay, we start reviewing photos here:

-a pick right off the bat for this cute baby

Krystal, always killin’ it

texture (nice one, James!)

-tiny boat, big sky

bird

tracks (good one, Rod!)

ship

-dramatic peanut, or the ship from Arrival?

-god rays

-time to wait

windows

Time for my “comments or feelings“:

-FOLLOW THE RULES ughhh why do you all hate me

-I was drinking a Yard Brawler which explains my mood

-tips to grade black and white (including video)? Crush the blacks, blown out whites, high contrast: sdp.io/toptip. Adjust by color so that you can make different parts pop.

-is the split between mirrorless and “proper” cameras generational? Not really, it’s either sticking with what you know or trying something new. Generationally, younger people are using smartphones for photography. Watch “Death of the Consumer Camera.”

Back to photos:

-fog plan

-“cute-iful to the max”

carts

Time for chit-chat! The part of the show where we highlight your weird/confusing/mean/dumb comments on our videos:

-WtF Shr has an strange voice

-“we need to see those pale legs more often”

-“you know what I’m pissed about? Everything!”

-Chelsea & Dog Live “Qbert, you m-fer”

-for sure a bit strange

-podcast? sdp.io/picturethis

Back over to me for some questions:

-Affinity Photo for iPad? Yes, we have a review coming out soon.

-advice on digitizing old prints? Just scan them at a high resolution and then go in and do some retouching.

Back to your photos:

trombonist

-bride on a bike

-“oh, Midsummer. The Swedes, they like to drink.”

-a pick for pandering

-long shadow

-bespectacled man

-happy belated birthday, Justin! Not you, Chelsea.

-ghost reflection¬†“I’m too scared of metaphors”

-“it’s like some people are wearing glasses, and some people are bespectacled”

-another horn player

sideways

-this one didn’t get a pick, but deserved it

drummer

hiker

-Selma boys

-girl being held

-dramatic smoker

 Back to me for some questions/comments:

 

-please don’t send us pics of your junk, I’ll send them to your family

We really didn’t do any questions when they went over to me, we just kept going through pictures:

-lady in a barrel

-terrifying doll

curves

-two men on a bus

-a beer brand should sponsor us (please!)

-intense face

dunes

umbrella

camels

Over to me for some $:

-I dunno, some stuff about a camera

-Sigma 18-35 for low light with a Sony a6XXX series? Maybe with the a6500 but you’ll need to manually focus. Probably better with Canon or Nikon though.

Back to photos:

-lovely portrait

-lonely white dog

Last questions from you, the audience:

-how did Tony decide to go from IT to photography and was it a financial risk? For sure, yes. He was doing both concurrently, but he saw the death of his IT career coming since no one was reading manuals for later Microsoft versions. You have to keep up with trends and change your focus to fit them. Google images then killed the stock photo business, so they shifted to writing photography books and making videos.

-how to reproduce the black and white auto effect in Lightroom? Just do it manually, adjust your contrast, follow our top tip.

A few last photos:

-pick for this dog that looks like my dog

-obscured face

And that’s our show! Next week’s subject is travel photography. See you then.

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Beginner Photography: Black and White

Hey Stunners! This weeks’ live show topic is black and white. I just so happened to shoot a few weeks ago when I was at my parent’s house in Connecticut over father’s day weekend. My parents live in the neighborhood my dad grew up in and where much of his family lived. His grandparents used to live on the Niantic river on an acre of land with grape arbors. My mom suggested going down to their old house to ask the current owner if we could photograph the area so that I could give my dad framed photos of it for father’s day. The man who lived there has owned it for 25 years and was happy to show us around and let me take pictures of the property.

These shots wouldn’t really stand alone as great work, many of the shots could use a focal point, but for the project they do what was intended. I chose to make most of them black and white so that they would look timeless and reflect the area as my father remembered it.

There are a number of reasons you’d choose to shoot black and white:

-to bring the focus to shape and texture

-to create a mood

-to eliminate distractions

-if the colors in the photo add nothing to it

This video is applicable to almost all types of photography, but especially b&w:

Here are my shots:

f/7.1, 1/100th, ISO 200

Panorama

 

f/7.1, 1/320th, ISO 200

 

f/7.1, 1/80th, ISO 200

Panorama

 

f/7.1, 1/500th, ISO 200

Panorama

 

f/6.3, 1/60th, ISO 400

 

So you can see I didn’t have the best light, it would have been nice to go during the golden hour but time was limited. It also would have been better to go later in the season when the grapes were on the vines, but I’m sure I can try again. I liked the wide panoramas of the river the best. I used Photoshop to remove a few distractions like a lawn chair and some wood planks that took away from the timelessness of the scene.¬†

This project was as much about the action of shooting as the resulting images. It was really powerful to walk on the land that my great grandparents owned and learn more of the history of it (The house used to be a speakeasy! There were underground tunnels for runaway slaves!) I hope I was able to capture any of that for my father.

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Live Show Recap: Portraits with Chris Gampat

We had special guest Chris Gampat, The Phoblographer, on our live show this week reviewing your portraits! It was a lot of fun, he was a great addition to the team.

First we find out that he’s an expert in all things film photography, eateries in New York, and camera bags. Also that Chris’ parents were camera bags and he has possibly never met them.

 

Get our shirts on sale from sdp.io/shirt! (Does not come with Justin)

We also have Stop It coming up this show! A handful of your sent in your worst photos and we get to tear into them.

Okay, let’s get into your photo submissions:

-invisible corn on the cob? Or Italian gesturing?

-Chris like creatures that eat children

James Birtwhistle, first pick!

-the dangers of shooting white clothes

bride

-cool wig

Over to me for your questions:

-your favorite gear for doing on-location portraiture? Chris loves the Zeiss Milvus 35mm f/1.4 with the 6D. For film he uses a Fujifilm JW693 film camera with a rangefinder 90mm f/5 lens and the Mamiya RB67 Pro S. Chelsea likes a 70-200 but also the Sigma 24-105. Tony likes the new a9 and the 70-200.

-how much of the portrait subject’s body do you keep in the shot? Depends on the use and your artistic preference! There’s goo discussion of Chris’ Tindr profile.

-(I don’t listen well) can white clothes for a portrait cause a problem? Yes! You get reflection from the surroundings color casting on the face.

Time for Stop It! Where we get to make fun of your pictures which you volunteered to us for this purpose.

-cool knife

-blurry rabbit

-no focal point church “clutterers”

-sweet hat

-cake

-dead body?

-HDR

-lady and a grow

-“doing a doody in a bud?”¬†

-don’t go in

-Canadian Napoleon?

-birds are not dinosaurs

-spot color death

-sweet Segways, dude

-humping cows

-panorama mistake

-jumping girl

-over-softened

-be careful getting your heel stuck in your underwear

-don’t look up Prickasso

Okay, back to real submissions:

-gorgeous mood, Jim!

reflection

-textured face

glasses

-smoking lady, Tony misses smoking

flowers

Back to me for some questions:

-$$$ thanks James, Kevin, and Rob of course

-Rob, we’re glad you’re alive. Don’t let your battery expand.

-what’s a portrait vs a head shot? A head shot is a type of portrait that is generally meant to market a person professionally or otherwise.

-Chris insults nerds

Back to photos:

-more smoking that Tony loves

-drinking on a mountain

-Andy Shields always kills it

-more smoking!

-weird disembodied head

-fancy hat

backlit beauty

-double exposure

-“I reached for the P but you beat me to it” “You sound like Donald Trump”

-hold on a tick

-album cover

Krystal Weir!

-great color

-and more!

-a puppy always gets a pick

Final comment:

-we didn’t save Rob’s life, but he is okay

And that’s our show! Chris was great, get his course at gum.co/CTPTPB.

Dogs can see some color, fine. But birds aren’t dinosaurs.

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Beginner Photography: Portraits

More portraits! I made my husband, Eric, model for me almost a year ago here¬†and then again in some family portraits here. There are certainly some things I’ve improved on in the past year, but some things I can’t seem to get past. I wanted to shoot Eric somewhere other than our backyard, which seems to be the setting for many of my projects. He’s a big, tattooed gentleman, so I wanted a setting that fit his look. There’s a great graffitied underpass on our hiking trail that I’ve shot in before that I thought would work well. It was a bright and humid day, so I thought being in the more muted light under the underpass would be flattering, but what it wound up being was too dark for my camera. My biggest complaint of the Olympus E-M10 is how terrible it is in low light. It made the focusing near-impossible and the images came out pretty noisy.¬†

Here’s a great video from T&C on shooting portraits outdoors:

Now I just need to work on how to teach my model to pose, or not feel horribly uncomfortable in front of the camera. He did great though!

My first handful of shots were in front of the most vibrant area of graffiti, but they all came out unusable because I missed focus on every single one. Then I did a series in front of the lines of the underpass, these were also so noisy, but I got a few that worked well. The last handful I took outside of the underpass but still in the shadow of it that worked better. Here’s what I came up with:

 

f/5, 1/30th, ISO 1600

 

f/5, 1/40th, ISO 1600

 

f/5.3, 1/80th, ISO 320

 

f/5, 1/200th, ISO 200

 

The last shot is for sure the best and the most representative of Eric. He looks comfortable, he’s got a natural smile, and the lighting is nice. I did some post processing on all these shots in Lightroom for the crop and exposure. I also messed with the noise and sharpening to try and reduce the noise on his face without losing the detail in his eyes especially.

This week’s live show is on portraits (obviously) and we’ll have special guest Chris Gampat! It’ll be a great show and I look forward to seeing everyone’s submissions.

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Live Show Recap: Animal Interactions

You guys, we had a real live animal interaction during the show! Chelsea and Tony took their dogs for a walk and wound up bringing home a lost pup who hung out with us for a few hours. Luckily they left his owner a note and he was retrieved once they got home. But it made for a very cute start to the show. Also, I was in the studio this week!

So some of you just tried to send in photos of animals, which is cute, but we needed interactions, folks. Next week we’ll have Chris Gampat, The Phoblographer, in studio looking at your portraits.

We start the show off with some photo news:

-North Korea has the weirdest, oldest drones which use a Sony SLT to take photos

-we got the new iPad, I assume we’ll put out a review?

-Affinity Pro is pretty complex, but might be worth it to work on mobile

Okay, time to review some photos:

-omg baby bears

-pancake thief

-dog dive

-ostrich crossing¬†“they steal all your food, they steal your wallet, they steal your womans”

-eagle fight¬†“do you think they’re fighting or like, intense lovers?”

-chick in hand

-fight or flight

Sorry for all the sex-bots, those of you who were watching live. “The future is here!”¬†

-RIP Tyson

-selfie with a bee

heron v crawfish

-pink lady

geese and goslings

-dog kiss

-those are sea lions

Over to me for some of your questions:

-how did Cowboy and Sandi become part of the family? Cowboy was from the humane society, Sandi was from a breeder

-what would you do your first time shooting portraits of someone not in your family? Depends on who they are and what they’re going for!

-what percentage of your pictures will be sharp? Depends on what you shoot. Don’t worry about it either way!

Time to review a portfolio. Van Den Berg photography, lovely port. The full size layout is really nice. “Quaint af.” Maybe pare down a few of your shots, you have plenty of good work. Get rid of all the spot color. Maybe combine your about and contact page.

Chit-chat! You say dumb things we try and figure them out. 

-more flat earthers

-attribute vs attribute

-no bro hugs

-Billy Bob

-Tony used to be cute

-this chick IS kinda weird

Back to your photos:

-dog licks

lounging

-“I’m never that turned off by dead stuff”

Over to me for questions while Tony reimports:

-where did I get Hungry? Eric’s coworker had him and couldn’t take care of him

Back to photos:

-the most Texas picture

-why you do dis, birb? 

-“they live forever and they tell all your secrets”

handshake¬†“it’s a very cordial drug deal”

-tiny frogs

Question:

-what do you look for in a good composition? A clear subject, leading lines, negative space, separation, balance, contrast.

Chris Gampat is here next week to review portraits, so instead of voting for the topic this week, you can vote on a live show segment if you’re a Patreon supporter.

Back to your photos:

-“oh yeah, Dave with the long arms they call him”

-deer park

aquarium kid

-let’s make a deal, cat

-pup play

-fishing boat

-David and Goliath

-puppy love

goats are weird lookin’

Baaaack to me for questions:

-Tony’s delts are looking good

-have you had to improvise something for a shoot? All the time. Chelsea as a tripod, bubble wrap as an outfit, gaffer tape for everything

-Tony & Chelea live

-left or right sock first? Right.

-Kendrick Lavar Burton

More photos:

-beach life

heron

-pheasant and fox

-“why you gonna watch this guy eat his lunch?”

-horse hair

-cat attack

-dog model¬†“forbidden love”

Money question:

-what’s your favorite photography book? Check out Gordon Lang’s new book, In Camera. Brian Peterson’s Understanding Exposure.

-how to start in commercial photography? Build your portfolio with what you want to sell, then contact local businesses to offer free or cheap work. Try shooting for and selling to stock.

Back to photos:

sneks

-we talked about sea monkeys for so long

-playing with a cat

-dog on a pier

More questions:

-can you math this, Tony? Sure

-Rob Tillitz, killin it

Photos:

-heckin’ cute doggo

-tennis doggo

-wolf pack

-gangster as heck

Moooore questions:

-have you used a lens skirt to block wind noise? Nope!

-how to work best with a kit lens on the D3300? Shooting panoramas and image stacking would help with landscapes

Back to your pictures:

-cutie cat

-baby and dog

-bird v snake

-super dramatic man and gorilla

More questions and money comments!

-how to get into shooting senior portraits? Practice a lot, work on your organizational skills, offer a deal to schools.

-Rob Tillitz!

And back to photos:

-“I don’t think that’s a race car, Tony, I think that’s your first mistake”

camel

goats

-sheep landscape

puppies!

-fancy pigeon

gorilla and baby

-fox and hedgehog?

-so many good photos that we just flip through at the end 

Another money comment:

-“cats are walking murder machines”

-geese photo was real

Phew, that’s our show! Thanks for watching, and join us next week for portraits with Chris Gampat.