Featured Vendor + Giveaway: Birdesign

Today, please welcome the amazing Birdesign to the Rock the Shot blog!  Not only can you learn more about their wonderful products, you can also enter to win a fabulous $150 shopping spree at Birdesign! Check the bottom of the post for the giveaway.

About Birdesign

Birdesign is a design studio looking to help grow your photography business, stand out your studio image and make your workflow easier.
We love to provide photographers with designs and products that help them book more, surprise their clients and constantly engage new customers online, such as marketing boards to promote seasonal sessions on Facebook or email campaigns.

We make our products thinking on all the photographer moms who don’t have extra time and need to be efficiently as possible. Our work is to make theirs easier, and that is the first goal of Birdesign, helping you sell more, work less on the computer and have more family time.
Our Digital magazines are created to save you time on the booking process, easy to use and with written content included, so you just have to add your pictures and pricing information , they are perfect to use for email marketing, publish on your blog or have them printed on the studio.

And forget about doing digital catalogs for your clients, as part of our commitment to help you save time we have created an unbranded website. Let your customers choose their favorite designs by visiting
www.mydesigncatalog.com, every design has a code which is also used to find the product on our main website www.birdesignshop.com

At Birdesign you will find a wide variety of products to offer your clients as birth announcements, save the dates, graduation announcements, album templates and all kind of holiday greeting cards.
We understand how important it is to keep your business image fresh and updated,  that’s why we also offer a lot of marketing products to help you boost your sales such as magazines, marketing sets, boards to promote sessions, blog boards and much more!

Take a look at all these products at Birdesign

 

Hi! I’m Roselyn, I’m the graphic designer behind Birdesign. I love what I do and have the blessing that being a former photographer allows me to understand the everyday needs of my clients.
Having a home-work based business has giving me the opportunity to enjoy every little thing of  the ordinary life, I adore my work. I’m not a static person, I love to create and learn new things all the time:)

Visit Birdesign at their WEBSITE | FACEBOOK pages

Enter the Giveaway for a chance to win a $150 Shopping Spree to Birdesign!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hurry! Giveaway ends on Tuesday, April 29th. Winner will be announced on Saturday, May 3rd.

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.

 

Photographer Spotlight: Megan Alisa Photography

We are so excited to welcome the amazing Megan Alisa Photography to the Rock the Shot Blog. Learn more about Megan’s creative custom portraiture and editorial fashion photography in our Photographer Spotlight, then visit her at her website.  Thank you so much Megan for sharing your work with us today!

Where did your inspiration for photography begin?
I have never really sat down and thought about it before. I have always loved art and beauty. I started with taking photos of my first child in 2006, on auto with bad white balance, blurry and loved them anyway because I didn’t know the difference. I look back at those photos now and cringe a bit but I have to look passed all the technical errors I see now and just see the love and beauty of my children instead.

I think photography really started fascinating me when I first saw photos from Florabella and Paint the Moon and discovered actions and how you could make photos much more fun and colorful in photoshop back when my oldest was a toddler. I never really thought much about that aspect of photography until then.

After that, I bought my first prime lens – 35 1.8g and put my mode on aperture priority mode and went for it. I loved the difference between a prime and the kit lens. Back then I had a Nikon D3000, which is a cropped sensor so the 35 different came in handy. I didn’t make myself learn manual mode until I decided I wanted to attempt to do this as a profession. So I forced myself to learn and practiced practiced practiced until it was in me and apart of me, to the point where I didn’t really have to think about what I was doing when I was changing settings. I suppose I am going beyond inspiration for photography at this point though.:)

How would you describe your photography style?
I often wonder how to describe my style. I feel like it is a mix of different kinds of photography. I think I would say it is a mix of fine art, editorial, lifestyle and portraiture. It is whimsical, colorful, and hopefully, mood provoking.

Did you study photography in school or are you self taught?
I never went to photography school. I am all self taught when it comes to the technical aspects of photography. I am still learning and a student of life.

What camera do you shoot with and what is your favorite lens?
I shoot with a Nikon D800 currently and I love to shoot with my Nikkor 24-70 2.8g, Nikkor 85 1.8g, Nikkor 70-200 2.8g and LensBaby Edge 80. I cannot stick to just one lens. I am a multi-lens lover kind of gal.

Do you have any tips for photographers on how to find the light?
I think I would tell other photographers do not be afraid of the light. Seek it out. Experiment with it. See what works and what doesn’t work for you. Move from side to side as you are taking your photos and see what is happening in camera with the light. Turn your subject until you feel the light works with them. Experiment with the mood the light brings. Just try and do not be afraid of failing.

What is your favorite subject to photograph and why?
I love photographing children. I feel like I have a special kinship with them. I am not sure why but I just love finding the magic of childhood. I also love capturing the love of children and their families together.

What is a good lesson you have learned this year in photography or in your business?
Only take on what you actually have time for and put your family first.

If you could encourage a new photographer in one area, what would it be?
I would encourage a new photographer to experiment with finding their own style and with really going for it. Do not be swayed by what is popular right now if that isn’t what you are interested in doing. Find your own voice in photography and do not be afraid to tell people no if you are not interested in doing weddings, parties, etc. I knew from the beginning what I wanted to photograph and what I didn’t and felt fine telling people that I do not do x y z and I think it really helped me feel good about what I was doing.

What do you love most about being a photographer?
I love every aspect of photography, from thinking up the concept, to picking out all of the styling and props, to actually taking the photos and then the editing process. I love it all. I also love the relationships I have made with clients as well as other photographers.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I see myself teaching, pushing myself further and in new ways, and continuing the love I have right now for photography.

About the Artist: Megan lives in Orange County, Ca with her husband, two children and bunny. She has been published in several children’s fashion magazines and specializes in children’s commercial & editorial fashion photography, as well as creative custom portraiture for her wonderful clients. She is a lover of pink, turquoise, vintage, cute animals, singing loudly, and sushi. She spends her time with her family, annoying them endlessly by taking photos of them constantly.  She is a lover of the light, the clouds, and beauty around us.

Visit Megan at her WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | GOOGLE+ pages here

Managing Time for Creatives

by Guest Contributor Shannan Painter

You’re in the middle of FINALLY sitting down to work on some bookkeeping when a friendly little chime alerts you that someone commented on a post you wrote on your Facebook business page. You think “I’ll just take a quick peek. It IS marketing after all.”

Twenty minutes later, you’ve watched a viral video that made you cry, taken a quiz to see which pop star you are, and crept on that “other photographer’s” Facebook page that you are convinced is stealing all your business. And come on, she’s not even that good.

WTH happened?

If you’re like me and are right-brain dominated or live mostly in your creative side as opposed to your logical, rational side, you might be an easy victim of reactionary workflow: spending all your energy trying to keep up and responding to each incoming thing, as opposed to being proactive and structuring your day.

You might be right brained if…

You’ve ever been in the middle of one task, and suddenly gotten distracted by another pressing need, and as a result left the first task unfinished.

You’ve ever found yourself wondering where an hour went while sitting at your desk working, and nothing got accomplished.

You easily forget appointments or tasks.

You constantly feel “busy” even though your business revenue doesn’t really say you are.

Why most organizations systems simply don’t work for you

Guess who is making most of the organizational tools: the people to whom organization comes naturally! The people telling us how to organize our creative brains are the ones whose socks and underwear are all folded neatly into symmetrical little rows! We try to conform to their brain and thought patterns and end up more frustrated than before, because it just doesn’t work for us.

So what DOES work?

Well, that depends. We all have a unique combination of creativity and structure. There are photographers who are exceptional at organizing and planning. And then, there are the rest of us. I used to write a “to-do” list willy-nilly on random post-it notes, pieces of scratch paper, the notepad in my phone, dry erase boards, and anything in plain sight frankly. But then, I had no “plan of action” to accomplish those tasks. In the same way that you can’t simply say “I want to make six figures this year” and then sit back and wait for money to come rolling in, you can’t just write up to-do lists without figuring out when and how you will get things done.

I used to hate the idea of scheduling. I remember interviewing a very successful photographer who told me she scheduled everything and thinking “I could never do that!” The truth is, that I have found MORE freedom in putting a plan on paper. I am more focused, and less stressed, because everything has an allocated time. If something comes up in my day that I didn’t plan for, I am also able to make adjustments to the structure I already have as opposed to reacting and panicking! Want to know more about time blocking and planning? I found this wonderful FREE tool that I use each morning from Just a Girl and Her Blog: check it out here.

{For further reading on organizing your creative mind, check out Scott Belsky’s article HERE. Reference note: The term “reactionary workflow” taken from this article.}

About the Author: Shannan Painter is a newbie photographer who has spent the last 5 years working with the left side of her brain helping small businesses organize their accounting and taxes. She decided to take the big step and pursue her dream of becoming a professional photographer in 2013 after adding a third boy to her house that was already full of super heroes, trucks, and sports equipment. She and her husband, who is a local TV meteorologist, play pick-up games of basketball in their free time and like to take road trips to Lake Minnetonka with all 3 boys, and their dog Growler.  

Visit Shannan at her WEBSITE | FACEBOOK page today

Photographer Spotlight: Melissa J

We are so excited to welcome the fabulously talented Melissa J to the Rock the Shot Blog. Learn more about Melissa’s beautiful maternity and newborn photography in our Photographer Spotlight, then visit her at her website Melissa J Photography. Thank you so much Melissa for sharing your work with us today!

Where did your inspiration for photography begin?
Totally cliche, but it’s my boys. i wanted to capture everything about them so i could remember all the little things since they’re growing up so fast. i bought a canon 10d off a friend.  it didn’t even have a lens and i had no idea i had to buy something separate to use it – yea i was *that* dslr illiterate.  that little camera intrigued me so much that i spent hours learning everything i could with it. i have lots and lots of blurry photos of my kids from that camera but by golly, it was fun and helped get me where i am today!

How would you describe your photography style?
Dreamy and pure. i like my props and set ups to give an organic feel and my lighting to be simple and dreamy. i want parents to have photos of their newborn and see who their baby was at that 2 week age… the tiny flakes, wrinkly skin, and even the umbilical stump!

Did you study photography in school or are you self taught?
Self taught. Wayyyyy too much time on google and youtube.

What camera do you shoot with and what is your favorite lens?
Canon 5d mark ii. My favorite lens is my macro (100mm 2.8) but my 35mm 1.4 is my workhorse. i’m also in love with my 135 2.0L and wish I had space to use it more.

Do you have any tips for photographers on how to find the light?
I’m a lover of shadows! I like to look at the shadows and adjust my subject based on where the shadow is falling. for babies in studio, this is usually a 45 or 90 degree angle from where the soft light is coming in. For maternity clients, this is usually right at sunrise or right before sunset and I typically have the sun behind them. I try to stay away from harsh light (mid day outdoors or use light and airy curtains if using natural light in studio). Lighting is so important and I feel like there was a time in my learning curve when I had that ah-ha moment and everything just clicked with finding the light. It takes time and it takes practice. The great thing with learning lighting, you can practice on anything! Put a chair out in the field and see how the light falls on it, put your hand out in front of the light and see if it falls nice and soft on your hand.

Also – don’t be scared of studio lighting! I used to be a natural light snob but recently tried out studio lighting so that I could fit in more sessions and it was the best decision ever. I am in love with studio light and it was so easy to get started!

What is your favorite subject to photograph and why?
Laundry

What is a good lesson you have learned this year in photography or in your business?
To be myself. I used to follow tons of photographers on Facebook and spent way too much valuable time seeing what they were doing. Once I stepped away from that and analyzed my own photos more deeply, I pulled out the passion inside me and what type of images make my heart flutter. I realized that these other photographers aren’t paying my bills, my clients are. My clients are paying for my artistic eye and to be true to them, I have to be true to myself.

If you could encourage a new photographer in one area, what would it be?
Take the dirt road. Don’t take the paved road that other photographers are paving for you. Find what makes you happy and work towards making that the best you can.

What do you love most about being a photographer?
I am the most un-artsy person ever, except when it comes to photography so I love using it as my creative outlet. A place to share my artistic vision with the world. I also love being able to capture my own 3 boys and will be able to give them albums to cherish long past their wedding days.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Still photographing newborns but also doing more birth photography. I’m a big birth photography junkie but because of my newborn work, i only take one birth a month so hoping I can find a way to fit in more over the years. I’m also working on an international adventure and hoping to use my photography skills to be able to share with others what it’s like in a poverty filled area of Mexico.

About the Artist: I love spending my days photographing the tiniest residents of Colorado and everything that surrounds their adventure into this world. I never called myself artistic until I stumbled onto newborn photography and found there is actually an artistic side of me. I’m a lover of family time, my 3 little monsters, a cold glass of Riesling, and the evening sunset.

Visit Melissa at her WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | GOOGLE+ pages here

The Natural Light Workshop: Registration NOW OPEN for Members!

How we use natural light, has the ability to make or break any photograph. Though shooting at the golden hour of sunset is a gorgeous time of day, it’s not always the most convenient! Learning how to shoot at all times of day in every type of lighting condition brings so much freedom! Not only can you schedule sessions at any time of day, you can make every location and lighting situation work in your favor.  Natural Light with Brooke Snow is an in-depth exploration of learning to see and use the best light in all types of conditions.

You’ll watch Brooke on several different filmed shoots, each depicting a new time of day or lighting challenge!  These lessons will arm you with powerful problem solving skills for natural light, so you can get the best results despite the challenges!

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway below where ONE LUCKY Rock the Shot reader will have a chance to win a FREE Full-Participation Seat for the Natural Light Workshop – how SWEET is that?!

COURSE OUTLINE

Week One: Find the Light First, the Location Second:

  • Learning to See the Light
  • Directions of Light
  • Looking for Clues in Your Environment
  • Simple Tools for Enhancing the Light
  • Live Demo Video: Finding the Light First
  • Live Demo Video: Shooting Indoors

Week Two: Troubleshooting

Problems/Solutions for:

  • Midday Sun
  • Backlighting
  • Intensity of Direct Light
  • Dappled Light
  • High Contrast Light
  • Finding Catch Lights
  • Finding Even Light
  • Overcast Light
  • Color Casting
  • Not Enough Light
  • Live Demo Video: Shooting in Open Sun
  • Live Demo Video: Shooting in Dappled Light
  • Live Demo Video: Shooting in Overcast Light
  • Live Demo Video: Shooting in Partly Cloudy/Midday Sun

Week Three: Light and Composition:

  • How to Use Light to Tell a Story
  • Light and Shadow
  • Side Lighting in Composition
  • Front Light vs. Backlight in Conveying Emotion
  • Live Demo Video: Shooting in Contrasting Light
  • Live Demo Video: Shooting at Sunset

Week Four: Lighting Tricks:

  • Silhouettes
  • Starbursts
  • Creative White Balance
  • Hazy Light vs. Sharp Light
  • Live Demo Video: Shooting Silhouettes & Starbursts

BONUS:  for this workshop only, Brooke Snow will be gifting lifetime access to her Natural Light Membership Site to each person who registers for the course on Rock The Shot (Regularly a $250 value sold separately). The Lifetime Membership provides you with all the same content of the course, plus several bonus recordings, access to all future content added, and a beautiful place on the web to reference the course content at any time or place.

Camera Requirements: DSLR (your camera is capable of changing lenses)
Level: Beginner to Intermediate
Location: The workshop is held entirely online within the forum.
Time: The workshop will begin on Tuesday, May 6 2014. Materials are presented on Tuesday each week for 4 weeks, and may be accessed at your convenience during the workshop.
Materials: All course lessons and demonstrations are taught via video. Included with the course is a 29-page PDF course manual detailing all the course content for quick reference. In addition, this course includes exciting corresponding homework assignments and personalized critique (full-participants).
Instructor: Brooke Snow

TESTIMONIALS:

“This class has been a turning point in my photography journey.” – Megan Hoffman

“I LOVED the live shoots! It’s so helpful to watch you in action, and have you explain what you are doing and why! I will never look at light the same! This class is a MUST! My confidence level is so much better after what I have learned in Natural Light!” -Ann White

“I learned heaps about how to manage and not be afraid of shooting in different light circumstances. Especially shooting in dappled light, loved that. I’m more confident in knowing how I can shoot no matter what the weather conditions are.” -Michele Bird

“I am a visual learner and it was so great to see Brooke in action, seeing her deal with everyday circumstances and how she problem solves. I really appreciate everything that she has taught and the genuine person that she is.” – Raini Castro

“One thing I’ve improved on is to cut back on my editing time considerably because now I make better use of the available light.” -Sandra Armenteros

“After taking this course I am so much more confident of a photographer. I am able to look at and for the light and know what I need to do in order to get the picture I want.” -Cindy Berning

“I thought I was pretty aware of the light around me, and was pleasantly surprised to be introduced to light at a whole other level! I am now always looking at the quality of the light around me.” -Thelma Achamire

“I learned heaps about how to manage and not be afraid of shooting in different light circumstances. Especially how to shoot in dappled light, loved that. I’m more confident in knowing how I can shoot no matter what the weather conditions are.” – Michele Bird

About Brooke:  Brooke Snow has been a professional photography educator since 2009, and has become known for her interactive online teaching style through the use of video and live demonstration. Her favorite things to photograph include laughter and adventure.  She loves life in the rural countryside and lives with her husband and rambunctious 3 year old son in Northern Utah.

Visit Brooke at her WEBSITE | FACEBOOK pages today!

Registration is OPEN to ALL!

This workshop is offered for the Rock the Shot Forum Members price of $185 for Full Participation Registration and $150 for *Study-Along Registration

If you are a current member of Rock the Shot Forum, please register HERE. Under the “Add/Renew Subscription” tab, you may add the workshop.

This workshop is offered for the Non-Members price of $210 for Full Participation Registrationand $175 for *Study-Along Registration

Non-members may register HERE, and receive FREE access to the forum for the duration of the workshop

(total class size will be limited to 35 Full-Participants and 45 Study-Along Participants)

Please note: Workshop seats are non-refundable, and non-transferrable

*Study-Along registrants will have full access to the materials, and may study along; however, will not be able to post questions or photos for critique.

The workshop will begin on Tuesday, May 6th, 2014. See you then!

NOTE:  After you complete registration you will receive an automatic email with further details for the workshop (please check your spam box if you do not receive this email).  We will also send out an email welcome packet one week prior to the start of the workshop.  If you have any additional questions, please feel free to email support@rocktheshotforum.com

Enter below for a chance to win a FREE Full-Participation Seat for the Natural Light Workshop:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hurry! Giveaway ends on Monday, May 5th. Winner will be announced on Tuesday, May 6th.

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.

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