Photographer Spotlight: Matilde Gattoni

We are so excited to welcome the amazingly talented Matilde Gattoni to the Rock the Shot Blog! Take a moment to learn more about her amazing photojournalist photography, and be sure to visit her website Tandem Reportages. Thank you so much Matilde for taking the time to share your work with us today!

Where did your inspiration for photography begin?
I’ve always been interested in visual arts but I discovered photography at the of 18 when I embarked on a trip to Morocco with my father’s SLR.

How would you describe your photography style?
I’m a photojournalist focusing on human rights around the world.

Did you study photography in school or are you self taught?
I graduated in History and History of the Art. I’m a self taught photographer.

Do you shoot Canon or Nikon, and what is your favorite lens?
Canon, but really the camera is just a tool.

Do you have any tips for photographers on how to find the light?
I personally only use natural light. I guess the perfect light is when it hits the subject of the photograph (be it a person or a landscape) which suddenly comes to life, it’s impossible to explain how to find it, I guess understanding the light is what makes you (or not) a good photographer, it’s quite instinctive.

What is the most challenging thing about being a photojournalist, and a female photojournalist at that?
Convincing the editors that you are as good as men. On the field: I’ve worked mostly in the Middle East and I find being a woman to be a great advantage, you have the privilege to enter the female’s world and people don’t often take you seriously and they feel more comfortable with you which is a great start considering that you need to be as invisible as possible.

What is a good lesson you have learned this year in photography or in your business?
Not to enter a rebel zone without knowing you’re entering a rebel zone.

If you could encourage a new photographer in one area, what would it be?
I guess I’d tell them to follow their heart and choose whatever they feel closer to their interest and passion. Photography is a beautiful and tough path to follow so you have to be fully committed to it, it’s not a simple job, it’s a way of envisioning life.

What do you love most about being a photographer?
Meeting people, traveling, receiving messages from readers telling me that thanks to my pictures they see the world in a different way.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I recently founded Tandem Reportages along with journalist Matteo Fagotto. At Tandem we produce independent, in-depth reportage, it’s an agency focused on social and human rights issues worldwide. Our works have been published in more than thirty countries and in over one hundred newspapers and magazines, including TIME, Newsweek, The Guardian, The Independent, GQ, Marie Claire, Wired and Die Zeit.

We have covered untold stories all over the world, from witch hunts in India to tin mining in Indonesia, from famine in Kenya to human trafficking in Nepal. We work together as a close-knit team, we’re able to produce a coherent body of work, where photographs, stories and interviews are strongly complete each other.My wish is to see my little agency growing and to be able to include more talented photographers and journalists in the near future.

About the Artist: Matilde studied History and History of the Art at the University of Strasbourg, France. She started her career as a photojournalist in Palestine in 2000 covering the second Intifada. She was then commissioned by the UN to cover the consequences of war and drought on the local population in Eritrea and Tajikistan. Since then Matilde has been focusing her work on human rights issues around the world and especially in war torn countries. Her stories are published on Time, Time Lightbox, The Financial Times, Der Spiegel, The Observer, Die Zeit, Foreign Policy, Neon Magazine, Geo, The New Yorker, The Guardian, Vanity Fair, Elle, GQ, The International New York Times.

In 2014 Matilde founded the agency Tandem Reportages along with journalist Matteo Fagotto, with the aim to produce independent in-depth reportage in a fast evolving editorial industry.

She has been awarded the IPA, Px3, Lens Culture Award, the Invisible Photographer of Asia, the International Color Award, the San Francisco International Award. Matilde’s work has been exhibited at The European Parliament in Brussels, The Backlight Festival in Finland, The Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles, La Feltrinelli in Milan and Rome, Gallery Photographica in San Francisco, Fondazione Pirelli, Milan, 305 Sauraran Toronto.

Visit Matilde at her WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM pages

Featured Vendor + Giveaway: Birdesign

We are thrilled to welcome our friends at Birdesign back to the Rock the Shot blog. Check out all of the fantastic templates they offer for photographers, and don’t forget to enter the GIVEAWAY for a chance to win a $150 gift certificate to their fabulous shop.


About Birdesign

Birdesign provides digital resources for photographers such as templates, cards, albums, overlays and an assortment of elements that will help photographers improve their business through imagery embellishment, marketing tools to increase sales and time efficiency.

Our products have a fresh and unique style that offers a user-friendly experience with high quality designs. We want to provide our customers with easy to use and valuable digital tools that will allow them to offer a greater business experience.

SPECIAL OFFER EXCLUSIVELY FOR ROCK THE SHOT READERS: Save 40% with no code until April 30th, then save 25% using code RTS25 at checkout May 1st-5th.

About Rose: I am a graphic designer and former photographer. I’ve been blessed doing what I love which is sharing my passion with others through illustration. I’m a happy wife and excited new mom-to-be. I believe all things are possible through God and with lots of hard work.

Visit Birdesign at their WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | PINTEREST pages

Enter the Giveaway for a chance to win a $150 gift certificate to the Birdesign Shop!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hurry! Giveaway ends on Tuesday, May 5th.  Winners will be announced on Saturday, May 9th.

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. Giveaway is open to US/CA residents only.

Photographer Spotlight: Salome Photography

We are so excited to welcome the fabulously talented Salome Klopfenstein to the Rock the Shot Blog! Take a moment to learn more about her beautiful senior photography, and be sure to visit her website Salome Photography. Thank you so much Salome for taking the time to share your work with us today!

Where did your inspiration for photography begin?
My inspiration for photography began when I was a little girl actually!   My father loved film photography, and had even won an award for a landscape image he shot.    Even when I was little I had a 110 camera with me at all times, and took photos of everyone and everything.

How would you describe your photography style?
I would describe my style as classic with a twist.   I love beautiful bold bright images, but I also love soft airy matted images when the particular shot calls for it.

Did you study photography in school or are you self taught?
I did not take photography in school, but I grew up learning photography since I was a little kid, and since deciding to make a business of it, I’ve taken (and still continue to take) workshops and courses by industry professionals.  This has helped me tremendously in perfecting my craft.   Also, I’m a HUGE advocate of just getting out there and shooting!  Nothing will help you learn, and find something that fits your style like continuous practice and trial and error.

What brand/model camera do you shoot, and what is your favorite lens?
I shoot with a Nikon D800 and my favorite lens to shoot seniors with is my 85MM 1.8G.    It’s probably on my camera about 95% of the time.

Do you have any tips for photographers on how to find the light?
Finding the light is just about studying it ALL of the time.    Some of my best “ah-ha” moments have come to me when I didn’t even have my camera in hand, but I was just outside watching my kids play, and seeing how the light would fall on them in different ways..  Or being in the car and looking at the landscape, and light and shadows in fields, woods, around buildings etc.    When I’m on a shoot, sometimes I’ll have my client turn around or move while I study the light in her eyes or on her face, until I find the look that I want.

What is the most challenging thing about photographing seniors?
The most challenging thing about photographing seniors, is also the best part about photographing seniors..    It’s just learning about each one individually, and what they like and what makes them comfortable or uncomfortable…  As soon as you create a level of trust in you and their image on camera, the shoot is perfect, no matter the girl.   Everyone of us has insecurities about being photographed, but getting to a place where you can watch those fall away, and the relaxed fun senior come out, that’s when the magic happens!

What is a good lesson you have learned this year in photography or in your business?
A good lesson for this year, just has to do with making sure all of your ducks are in order business wise.  Shooting is the fun part, and as artists, we can all get a little overwhelmed with the business side.   Just making sure that you remember to be a business person, and protecting yourself AND your clients with contracts, and being very clear up front with expectations, saves a LOT of headache down the road.

If you could encourage a new photographer in one area, what would it be?
I would encourage new photographers to learn your craft, learn the technicalities of photography, and then have FUN!   Don’t be afraid to be yourself!  So what if your style is different than the other photographers in the area, or so what if you do things a little differently than other photographer’s that you know, or see online?   Just do what makes you happy, and then the people that love that, will find you and come to you for what only you provide.    Also, on the flip side, if you feel like maybe the style that sings to you is something that you see other people doing too.. Don’t worry about it.  As long as you stay true to what makes YOU happy, and as long as you are producing images that make you and your clients happy, that’s all that matters.   The best advice I can give,  is to just do your thing, and don’t let what other people are, or aren’t, doing influence the things that you want to do, and the art that you want to create.

What do you love most about being photographer?
I love everything about it..  I love having a business that is mine.  I love my sweet clients, and their joy at having images and an experience that they want to SING about.  And I love that I can create, and use my mind to be artistic and problem solving.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I see myself in 5 years, much as I see myself today..  Only more experienced, and more established.   I’m looking forward to someday hopefully teaching other photographers with small guides and workshops, and also having a stand alone studio that my clients can come to and feel uber pampered in!

About the Artist: Salome Klopfenstein is the owner of Salome Photography, a high-end boutique senior photography studio in Northern Indiana.  She is happily married, almost 7 years, to her husband, Michael, and they have two amazing little girls.   Photography has been her biggest life long hobby, and within the past few years, she’s been able to turn it into a a thriving business for her local senior girls.  Salome also is a devout Christian and loves summertime, reading, traveling, wine, and LOVES COFFEE at any time of the day!

Visit Salome at her WEBSITE | INSTAGRAM | FACEBOOK | TWITTER pages

New “Members Only” FREEBIE Packet {V47}

HURRAY!!!  The newest “Members Only” FREEBIE Packet {Volume #47} is now available for download in the forum!!  This month’s packet is filled with the most FABULOUS goodies from our amazing vendors!  We want to extend a HUGE thank you for their generosity and support. Special thanks to Click Chicks Design, Fotovella and Laurie Cosgrove Design for this month’s contributions to Rock the Shot Forum members!

You can find the download link in [the Forum] under “Freebie Packets”. New members, don’t forget to download the other available issues of our “Members Only” Subscriber Packets as well! You’ll get HUNDREDS of dollars in FREE photography products.  Hurry, these packets are only available for a limited time!

Not a member of our forum yet?? JOIN TODAYand get exclusive access to all our FANTASTIC FREEBIES!  Plus… for a limited time, save 30% off any level membership using code APR30 (new/inactive members only: expires on April 26, 2015).

And now….on to the goodies! You will receive the following freebies:

Set of Basic Photography Forms from Click Chicks Design {$15 Value}

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK

Click Chicks Designs offers an amazing variety of easy to use, fun, fresh and unique photoshop templates and marketing materials for your photography business. All of our templates are completely customizable giving you the freedom to change colors and text to fit your clients needs. come and see the new designs!

Summer Mini Session Marketing Set from Fotovella {$32 Value}

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK

FOTOVELLA offer professionally designed, easy-to-use templates and photography marketing materials that are created with a refined, custom look to place the focus on your beautiful images. New templates are added weekly, and all are delivered via instant download.  An experienced design and brand development team, Janet and Scott’s mission is to create high quality products that beautifully showcase your work, provide creative inspiration, and help you market your studio in the most effective way possible.

  •  Compatible with Photoshop CS2+ and Photoshop Elements 6+

Lovely Studio Marketing Set from Laurie Cosgrove Designs {$55 Value}

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK

Laurie Cosgrove Design is a template shop to help photographers have more balance and time for life. In the shop you’ll find simple, easy-to customize cards, albums, planning and branding products for your business. I love using color, eye-catching type, and fashion-inspired style to create designs that your clients will be excited to show off! Check out the website for more ways to get organized.

Not a member of Rock the Shot Photography Forum yet? Come on over and JOIN our fun and friendly community TODAY! Plus… for a limited time, save 30% off any level membership using code APR30 (new/inactive members only: expires on April 26, 2015).

And… don’t forget to stop by these wonderful vendors websites and Facebook pages and check out all the FANTASTIC products they have to offer. Remember to download all of our currently available packets in the forum. Here is a list of all the fantastic freebies available for download.  Hurry, these packets are only available for a limited time!!

Volume 46:

  • Set of FOUR Birth Announcement Cards from Lovely Days Creative {$20 Value}
  • Photography Marketing Brochure from Posy Prints Design {$74.99 Value}
  • Six Blog Board Templates from Tiramisu Design {$15.99 Value}

Volume 45:

  • Love Notes Marketing Templates from Galler.ee {$35 Value}
  • Modern Baby Birth Announcement Collection (4 Templates) from Hazy Skies Designs {$30 Value}
  • Senior Facebook Timeline Bundle (5 Templates) from Paper Lark Designs {$19.95 Value}

Volume 44: (expires on April 26, 2015)

  • Mini session marketing boards (4 templates) from Little Sweet Designs {$24 Value}
  • Mini Session Welcome Guide from Magazine Mama {$99 Value}
  • Save the Date Overlay Collection (7 Overlays) from Sweet Little Muse {$18 Value}

The Magic of Photographing the Texan Bluebonnet

by Guest Contributor Whitney Jeleniewski

Welcome Home Bluebonnets!

I am not a Texan.

This became abundantly clear after my first spring in Texas.  My husband and I moved to west central Texas in April of 2010.  As we drove through Dallas on I-20 we were thoroughly confused and amazed at the amount of cars and people pulled over on the side of the highway!   We thought surely there must have been some big accident, or a fire, or an air show.  But we looked and looked and all we saw were the cars, cameras, the people, and the flowers.  Surely, we must’ve missed “the show.”  We have wildflowers on the sides of the road where I’m from in Massachusetts, but you pull over only for ONE reason and it’s not to take pictures…of Little. Blue. Flowers.

It wasn’t until the following spring that I discovered, as a photographer, what all the hoopla was about.  I received floods of emails asking, “Are you taking pictures in the bluebonnets?” and “Where are the bluebonnet fields?”  I had to google what a bluebonnet was. These were not just weeds, these were not just flowers, these were bluebonnets!  And this was Texas.

I’ve found the bluebonnet to be a welcome burst of springtime color and a justifiable source of Texas pride, and like any treasure, you might need a map with an “X” marking the spot of where to find the perfect bluebonnet field.   Photographers would lie, cheat, and sell their youngest to Rumpelstiltskin to protect the location of “their” bluebonnet patch if they were lucky enough to find one.

So, if you find that elusive patch or strike it lucky and find a field, how do you get the most out of your photos?!

  1. Follow the “golden rule.”  Shoot 2 hours after sunrise or 2 hours prior to sunset.  I actually tighten this requirement up to 1 hour, especially when the bluebonnets tend to be in wide open fields with little to no sun. Also I tend to be shooting small children who do not respond well to “don’t squint.”
  2. Use props.   Let me elaborate.  Use simple props.  All sorts of God’s creations tend to be hiding in the bluebonnets.  Snakes, thorns, and fire ants.   I use props to safeguard children against these sneaky little hazards.   Keep the props simple (an apple crate, a simple wooden chair) as you don’t want to distract from the beauty of the bluebonnets or your subject.  Some prefer to use blankets, but use them sparingly, as you don’t want to flatten the flowers for those after you!
  3. Dress for success.  Organic, muted tones in the flowers are best.  If it were up to me, I would pick earth tones, denim and boots.  If you prefer a little more color, wear colors complimentary to the bluebonnets (yellows/oranges/peach). Avoid neon colors and patterns.

About Whitney: Hello! I’m Whitney, a portrait photographer, specializing in newborns, babies and children. My studio for newborn work is in Abilene, Texas, but I also serve Sweetwater, Ft. Worth, Dallas  and surrounding areas . As a mother of two children myself, I’m very familiar with the cliché “they grow up too fast”. But it’s true; they really do! And those precious newborn moments are over in a flash.

I’ve always loved children and I’m a real people person. There is something really quite special about making a connection with my clients who have brought me their most precious bundle. Whether it’s catching a tender moment between mother and baby, capturing a quick windy smile or just admiring the sweetness of a sleepy newborn pose, I love this job! I get such a great sense of pleasure and satisfaction from giving parents memories to cherish through the images I’ve created.

Visit Whitney at her WEBSITE | FACEBOOK pages

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