So, You Want to Be a Professional Photographer?

written by: Bobbi Lane

This is the first of two parts covering the nuts and bolts, rules and regs, suggestions and good common sense distilled from my 30 years in the commercial photography business. Part one will deal with the practical: location and types of work, overhead and self-worth, financials, and business practices. The second part will cover marketing and self-promotion, identity and Web sites, copyright and licensing, estimating and invoicing. This series is derived from the Successful Emerging Photographer program that I created, along with Richard Radstone, as a member of Advertising Photographers of America (APA). APA brings this program for free to Read more »

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Digital Portrait Lighting

Retaining the Right Detail While Capturing the Right Mood
written by: Bobbi Lane

Almost five years ago, I wrote an article with the same title as this one; it was about making the transition from film to digital. It’s a whole new world since then due to the great advances in the quality of both digital sensors and image-processing software. However, I maintain the same stance—that you can use any kind or style of lighting with digital images and still retain detail and information from highlights to shadows. To do this, it’s necessary to understand the parameters and limitations of your camera’s sensor, and to use good technique in your metering and exposure. Read more »

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Anthropics Portrait Professional, a Retoucher’s Dream

Simple but powerful software speeds portrait tweaking
written by: Bobbi Lane

If you’re anything like me, you probably dread the amount of time you have to spend at the computer processing and working with photo files to create the desired effect and feeling in each image. This is especially true when it come to skin retouching, which can suck up tedious hours of intense and ridiculously exacting work. I’ve had many clients with less than perfect skin that needs some work. In fact, outside of professional models with high-priced makeup stylists, few people do have perfect skin. And like most readers, I’ve learned lots of tricks in Photoshop that can heal Read more »

bobbi lane, umbrellas, soft boxes, photo studio

Umbrellas Vs. Boxes

PHOTO Techniques, May/June 2003
written by: Bobbi Lane

It’s common knowledge that when photographing a person, the shape of the reflected catch light in their eye identifies the light source. It’s easy to tell an umbrella by the shape and the spokes, and a box because it looks like a window. Some photographers base their decision on which soft-light modifier to use on this, falsely believing it is the only difference. The truth is there are vast differences in the behavior of light—not only between boxes and umbrellas, but between various styles in each type. Let’s face it—photographers are gadget freaks, equipment junkies and tinkerers. We are always Read more »

bobbi lane, 3 light setup, photo technique

The Classic Three-Light Set-up

PHOTO Techniques: Mastering Digital Techniques, 2003
written by: Bobbi Lane

We live in a world with one light source—the sun. It’s normal for us to see directional light that creates a specific set of highlights and shadows. But the surroundings—both natural and man-made—create additional highlights with light bouncing off buildings, or landscapes, sidewalks, etc. The sky acts as a fill light. However, when we’re in the studio, we need to create everything very carefully. It’s up to us to decide the effect or mood, as well as the direction, quality and depth of the light. We truly only need one light, but one light alone may not fit all the Read more »

bobbi lane, photo technique, business of photography

The Business of Photography- Part II: Copyright, Licensing and Business Plans

PHOTO Techniques, Sept/Oct 2007
written by: Bobbi Lane

Copyright, licensing, and business plans aren’t sexy, but understanding them is crucial for success. Welcome back! Are you ready for the next round of information? I promised that this would be more fun, and it will be, but first we need to tackle one of the most important items in a photographer’s career: copyright ©. Copyright The Copyright Law of 1976 states that photographers own the rights to their photographs for their lifetime plus 70 years. Copyright protection exists from the time the work is created in fixed form. Basically that means when you push the shutter, you own the Read more »

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The Business of Photography, Part I: So, You Want to Be A Professional Photographer?

PHOTO Techniques, May/June 2007
written by: Bobbi Lane

Going pro offers great reward, but requires great paperwork, too. This is the first of two parts covering the nuts and bolts, rules and regs, suggestions and good common sense distilled from my 30 years in the commercial photography business. Part one will deal with the practical: location and types of work, overhead and self-worth, financials, and business practices. The second part will cover marketing and self-promotion, identity and Web sites, copyright and licensing, estimating and invoicing. This series is derived from the Successful Emerging Photographer program that I created, along with Richard Radstone, as a member of Advertising Photographers of Read more »