Photographer Spotlight: Diana Elizabeth

We are excited to welcome the fantastic Diana Elizabeth to the Rock the Shot Blog today! Take a moment to learn more about Diana, and visit her website. Thank you so much Diana for taking the time to share your work with us today!

Where did your inspiration for photography begin?
I had a personal blog and yearned to take better photos to show I saw the world to make my posts more personalized. I bought a Canon Rebel and quickly became addicted, took workshops to learn and a passion began. Making it an actual profession soon followed a year later, and a year after that I left my marketing job and went full-time with photography and online instructing.

How would you describe your photography style?
Finding my style was a challenge as I didn’t gravitate towards over processed images. I shoot fairly clean, editorial like, but it all depends on the client as I’ve been told my images can also be romantic and sweet. My goal is to evoke feelings of happiness through my images.

Did you study photography in school or are you self taught?
I received a B.A. in journalism but took a photo journalism class. I believe my background in graphic design helped with understanding light and the rule of thirds fairly quicker than if I hadn’t had an artistic eye already. My self-taught photography schooling consisted of attending several WPPI conventions, private mentorships, flying around the country to attend a handful of styled workshops to work along side some industry professionals.

Do you shoot Canon or Nikon, and what is your favorite lens?
I shoot with a Canon 5D Mark III. My favorite lens is the Sigma 85mm f/1.4 EX. It creates the loveliest portraits with a compressed background. I also like that I don’t have to stand so close to my clients which allows them to feel more relaxed.

Do you have any tips for photographers on how to find the light?
While backlighting is a quick go-to, I highly suggest not being afraid of having the light come from different directions, shadows on faces for artistic purposes can be so dramatic if done correctly or for a specific purpose like editorial. To achieve an airy look, backlighting still remains faithful to giving that sweet look.

What is the most challenging thing about photographing editorial/couples?
A challenge with shooting editorial is sometimes an art director has a specific vision of what he or she wants. Already knowing that can hinder my creativity, but it’s still my job to deliver what my client (the magazine) wants. It’s a fine balance of shooting for the client, but also shooting for myself and seeing what is selected for final publication.

What is a good lesson you have learned this year in photography or in your business?
This year I have learned that work is work, and a job that pays is a great job and not every shoot has to be portfolio building. This year I have done lots of corporate work which doesn’t sound exciting as some jobs, but I truly enjoy because of the clients I work with and how I structure my corporate jobs. I have come to acknowledge that a paycheck is more important than a bragging right or byline and to be a working photographer is a complete blessing in a competitive industry.

If you could encourage a new photographer in one area, what would it be?
Continue your education in photography, you will never know it all and you should continually learn your craft. If you have questions, seek a photographer you admire and pay for mentorship. As you scroll through other’s photography blogs and magazines guard your mind and heart as sometimes too much can also be discouraging and create a sense of inadequacy – perhaps even creating a burnout. Just remember – there can be a room full of artists with the same equipment – a blank canvas and a paintbrush with paint and look at the same model. At the end of class, everyone will have a different perspective. Embrace your unique perspective and forget about what everyone else is doing.

What do you love most about being a photographer?
I enjoy that every assignment is unlike the last, even if it’s shooting a model or a wedding – it involves a different crew and personalities and setting. The concept of being able to photograph a person or landscape is a unique way to share the world around us with others.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
It changes on a weekly basis to be honest. This week, I hope my photography takes me to amazing places to capture other parts of the world as I have become addicted to international traveling. I definitely hope to continue using my photography and writing experience on my blog to inspire and encourage others to pursue their dreams and stay true to who they are.

About the Artist: Diana Elizabeth is a photographer and instructor based in Phoenix, Ariz.  Formerly focused on weddings, she now primarily photographs editorial, portraits, models, and corporate headshots.  She shares her work, travels, and personal stories daily on her blog.

Visit Diana at her WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER PINTEREST pages today!

Photographer Spotlight: Lexi Vornberg

We are excited to welcome the fabulous Lexi Vornberg to the Rock the Shot Blog today! Take a moment to learn more about Lexi, and visit her website Lexi Vornberg. Thank you so much Lexi for taking the time to share your work with us today!

Where did your inspiration for photography begin?
I would have to say my inspiration came from wanting to capture my husband and my first dog, JD.  At that point in my life I was not really into photography, but I asked my mom to teach me to shoot manual so I could capture our new puppy growing up.  That is where it all began.  I originally started a pet photography business, but that only lasted a year and didn’t do so well.  Everyone has to start somewhere!
How would you describe your photography style?
It’s always hard to describe your style. I would say my style is very light filled, romantic, with hint of fine artiness.  I love capturing emotion, but also textures and light.  My favorite images are the ones where no eye contact is made.  I always felt like if you can see someone’s eyes in a picture you can see into the photos soul.  If you can’t see the eyes the image is more mysterious and therefore pulls your attention in more.
Did you study photography in school or are you self taught?
I am 100% self taught.  This doesn’t mean I didn’t ask questions or have photographers I looked up to and learned from.  I was lucky enough to have a mom who is also a professional photographer to look to when I had questions.  Anytime I got stuck trying to figure something out myself, I looked to her.
What brand/model camera do you shoot and what is your favorite lens?
I shoot primarily with a Canon 5D Mark III and a Canon EOS – 1V, but enjoy renting and borrowing other film cameras that make up a lot of my portfolio, including the Contax 645 and Mamiya 645.
Do you have any tips for photographers on how to find the light?
A good rule of thumb I go by for amazing, dreamy back light is if it’s soft enough for you to stare straight at, then it’s just right.  Two hours before sunset is my favorite time to shoot, but since we are surrounded by hills here in the Ohio Valley, our sun sets a little earlier than the surrounding area.
What is your favorite subject to photograph and why?
I love photographing senior girls.  It has always been my passion to connect with young girls and hear about their dreams.  I also love capturing couples in love.  There isn’t anything more raw and real than two people getting ready to make a commitment to each other.
What is a good lesson you have learned this year in photography or in your business?
Running a photography business is 50% photography and 50% business. You can’t just be a great photographer.  You need to be a great business person as well to succeed.  It’s so nice to be able to do what you love for a living, but if you don’t know how to manage that and run a business, it will fall apart.
If you could encourage a new photographer in one area,  what would it be?
You need to stay strong when it comes to your self confidence.  Don’t compare your images to others, because it’s not your work.  Only compare your images to past images you have taken.  It’s the only way you can grow.
What do you love most about being a photographer?
Creating my own hours.  I love sleep more than anything else in the world.  Being able to sleep in til 10am every morning is truly living the dream. :)
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I see myself with a family.  I am so happy where my business is currently I feel like I am done trying to make it “better.”  Of course, I will continue to grow as a photographer and see my business evolve, but I love my current clientele.  In the next few years I am ready to put my energy towards a family.

About the Artist: Lexi Vornberg is an on-location natural light photographer located in the Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky area. Her work has been internationally featured in blogs and magazines and she has also recently become a mentor for other photographers.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK

Balance Colors With Levels

by guest contributor Amanda Padgett

Color balance is an adjustment layer in Photoshop that allows you to easily alter the color channels of an image. The changes made can be made via a curves or levels adjustment also, it’s just that the layout and labeling in the color balance adjustment layer is very easy to understand and use.

If you want to reduce a color, say blue, in an image, you simply click on the slider for that color and move it towards the opposing color. You can use the layer mask and conceal areas you don’t want the change or invert the mask and use a brush to reveal the change is small, local areas.

To make similar changes to an image via levels (and/or curves) you need to understand how the colors work. (This is illustrated more thoroughly in the video tutorial at bottom of post).

  • Red channel controls both red and cyan – as red go up, cyan goes down and vice versa.
  • Green channel controls both green and magenta – as green go up, magenta goes down and vice versa.
  • Blue channel controls both blue and yellow – as blue goes up, yellow goes down and vice versa.

Below is a short video showing quickly how to use the color balance adjustment, then how to produce the same effect with levels, in both Photoshop and Photoshop Elements.

If you would like to learn more about layers in general, check out my All About Layers workshop recording and notes. Also, there is a Levels workshop/webinar available in the webinar bundle, if you would like to delve deeper into the levels adjustment.


Hello!  I’m Amanda, a quirky, introverted Mom of four, who is passionate about helping others learn their cameras and editing software. I also currently homeschool my four kids, ages 13 to 6, all whom run away when they see me carrying my camera.

Visit me at my WEBSITE and FACEBOOK page!

Featured Vendor + Giveaway: The Album Cafe

We are so thrilled to welcome our friends from The Album Cafe to the Rock the Shot blog today! Take a moment to learn more about all of the FABULOUS templates they offer for photographers.  Also… be sure to enter the GIVEAWAY for a package worth more than $175 – how COOL is that?!

About The Album Cafe

Have you ever wished it was faster and easier to use Photoshop templates?  The Album Cafe has pioneered the user-friendly Photoshop template. From our AMAZING, FREE Image Loader® plug-in that sizes and adds your images to the templates for you, to our super handy “preview layer” feature that shows you how the final piece will look after printer trimming (which is ultra helpful when placing images so that nothing unintended gets cut off on your final printed piece) – our templates are set up to be quick, easy and fun to use.

The Album Cafe is merrily approaching 7 years in business, and we’re still having a blast creating gorgeous, timeless, easy-to-use designs for photographers. Feel free to drop by and download some FREE TEMPLATES and give ‘em a try!

Hey! Be sure to enter the awesome giveaway below!!

Did you know that Rock the Shot readers can take 25% Off all purchases ALL MONTH with the promo code RTS25 at checkout?!?  Go get some fun new templates and create something  beautiful! :)

Hello there!  My name is Brandi Cameron and I am the owner & principal designer over at The Album Cafe. Despite above appearances, I do not always live life in a straw hat.:o  I am wife to the crazy guy pictured above, mother to two teenage girls (help me!!) and pro ball thrower for two wiggle-tail boxers.

Visit The Album Cafe at their WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER pages today!

Enter the Giveaway for a chance to win a Multiplicity Wedding Album, Facebook Cover Collage Set and a $100 gift card to The Album Cafe! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hurry! Giveaway ends on Tuesday, July 15th.  Winner will be announced on Saturday, July 19th, 2014 .

LEGAL STUFF: This promotion is in NO WAY sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. You will NOT be notified publicly via Facebook if you are a winner. You MUST be 18 to participate. By entering this giveaway, you are providing information to Rock the Shot and NOT to Facebook. Prizes do not have cash value. There will be no returns/exchanges on any of the items.

Congratulations to Meredith Hogarth on winning the Multiplicity Wedding Album, Facebook Cover Collage Set and a $100 gift card to The Album Cafe! Meredith, please email me at karlen@rocktheshotforum.com in the next 48 hours to claim your prize. Thank you all for participating and have a wonderful weekend!

Photographer Spotlight + Celebrity Mentor: Taryn Boyd of Blu Hippo Photography

We are thrilled to welcome the amazingly talented Taryn Boyd of Blu Hippo Photography to the Rock the Shot Blog.  Her beautiful work radiates happiness and joy and we are so excited to share her with you today!  Take a moment to learn more about Taryn in our Photographer Spotlight.  The best news… Taryn will be featured as our “Celebrity Mentor” in the Rock the Shot Forum for the entire month of July so come on over and ask her anything you like.

Where did your inspiration for photography begin?
I’m not sure I could pinpoint an exact time I fell in love with it. My grandpa was a hobbist photographer so that could’ve been what sparked it. But for as long as I can remember, I always loved the way a photograph made me feel.

How would you describe your photography style?
This is a hard one for me. I guess i strive to be timeless. But others words that might describe my work are slightly moody, emotive, dreamy, and romantic.

Did you study photography in school or are you self taught?
I am self taught.I took some black and white film courses in college but it was more about learning manual (which I later had to re learn) and developing film.

What camera do you shoot with and what is your favorite lens?
I have a Nikon D700. I want to upgrade but Nikon (IMO) hasn’t come up with new camera that really meets my needs. I am waiting patiently (sort of). My favorite lens is my Tamron 70-200. I took a chance on Tamron a few years ago. I tested this lens and the Nikon version and for the money it was a no brainer. I did just get a Nikkor 50mm 1.4 that I am currently falling in love with.

Do you have any tips for photographers on how to find the light?
It’s everywhere. Study it. Practice shooting in all kinds of it. I am currently doing a blog circle this year and every month we pick a different kind of light. It is amazing practice and a great way to think outside the box from what I normally do.

What is your favorite subject to photograph and why?
GAH…hard one. I guess maternity. I hated the way I felt I looked when I was pregnant but now I regret not getting in front of the camera. What a magical time in a person’s life!

What is a good lesson you have learned this year in photography or in your business?
Since this year had only just begun I am going to say what I am currently working on and I hope I can say I learned by 2015. I am trying to back away from the “noise” on social media. I get so hung up on the numbers. “why didn’t I get more likes on this photo? what did I do wrong? Is it not good or something?”. you get the idea. I need to concentrate more on the people who have taken the time to “like” my photo, comment on it an continue to be my cheerleaders. I know in my heart that as an artist there are going to be people who love your work and those that don’t and I need to to be okay with that.

If you could encourage a new photographer in one area, what would it be?
Take you time getting in to the business. I see so many photographers popping up everywhere and that’s great. But to go into business is a completely different thing. It isn’t all sunshine and lollipops. Make sure you’ve done your research and know that it is okay to be a hobbyist.

What do you love most about being a photographer?
I love to be able to have a creative outlet and to express myself through photos. It is also pretty great to make my own schedule.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Every year my business grows. In 5 years my kids will both be in school fun time so I will have a little more time on my hands to devote to the business. I do hope in 5 years that I have expanded the business to either mentoring, teaching, commercial work etc. Every year has presented it’s self with more opportunities and I welcome them with open arms!

About the Artist: Taryn Boyd, owner of Blu Hippo Photography, lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with her husband and their two boys. Blu Hippo Photography has been in business since 2011. Her style focuses on the emotions of childhood using only natural light.

Visit Taryn at her WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | TWITTER pages here

And don’t forget, you can ask Taryn anything you like in the Rock the Shot Celebrity Mentor Forum for the entire month of July!!

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