Sunday, November 22, 2009

Be a better photographer #6 - vacation photo tips

Below is a sample from my Be a Better Photographer series. To get more photo tips, visit our posts over at

Short posts about taking better vacation photos. We all deserve vacations, and you all need better vacation photos to remind you to take more vacations. I also believe that how good your vacation photos are reflects on how good a photographer you are. Vacation photos also remind me of wedding photography in a couple of ways. Way 1 is that you don't have much time to think about it, you are busy trying to relax on vacation so you have to be ready and shoot fast, just like at a wedding. 2 is that they can be very documentary in nature.

Anyway, I'm doing this from my iPhone, so I'll try to keep it short. The only reason to have time to do this is that the baby is taking a nap:-)

Tip#1. Go on more vacations. Practice makes perfect. Being in a new place also helps rejuvinate your creative juices and can allow you to see a whole new light.

Tip#2. like the iPhone pic of a limes in a cup above, capture the small things. Food is a natural subject, try a few still lifes to remember the food. Details can often add spice to anyones vacation album. Which brings up tip #3.

Tip #3. make an album. Not some cheapo album, but one of the really cool new press printed books. My favorite company is Blurb .try out their premium paper, and wrap around photo covers. They are not only easy to make and affordable, they make really great looking books. They are also fast. I normally get a book in my mail slot less than a week after ordering.

Tip #4. I'm not able to show you an example from my phone, but use a flash for shooting people in brightly lit situations, even a built in flash can help. If you are vacationing in the sand or the snow, a flash can really fill in those shaddow areas. If you are using a point and shoot you may have to set it to force the flash to fire every time. Please figure out how to do this. I've been watching people on this trip, and no ones camera is flashing on the beach. They will be disapointed in their photos of people with dark shaddowy faces.

Now, I'm always writing tips about using a flash, and in truth most flash pictures you see look awfull right? I think I should explain it a bit more. Flashes can ruin photos, but I think it is solely because people (and cameras) choose the wrong times to flash. Use a flash when your are shooting people that are back lit ( like a sunset) or when it's so bright the sun makes harsh shadows on them. Also use a flash when it's too dark to really see, there are some dark shots that just require that. Other wise try to shoot without a flash and see how your high ISO settings can make good pics in mist darkish situations. The problem with this advice is that cameras in dummy modes, or point and shoots, always get this wrong, except the really really obvious people in a cave scenario.

#5 kids still asleep, I might have time for #5. Carry your nice point and shoot or dslr, but don't worry about mixing in some cell phone shots, sometimes it just makes sence to shoot a candid shot with the phone.

#6 Give the kids a simple camera to take shots they think are cool. Obviously don't give them something too nice. Set it up to force flash i'f it's really sunny, or reasly dark, and set it to higher ISO and no flash for medium and darkish light, P mode if you got it. You might find they take pictures of things that really help you remember a trip.

#7 still no crying baby, I'll keep writing. Here is a tip I've never tried, but always wanted to. Buy a water proof camera. Of you know of a good one let me know. I once stopes a point and shoot full of pics into the ocean. Erica and I had just spent the day kayaking and snorkeling in Mazatlan Mexico and were just coming back in to shore, when we realized the mainland surf was much rougher than when we left. The wave that snuck up behind us must have been a 6 footer, and we were in a 2 person tourist grade kayak. We surfed that wave right into a perfect front somersault, a complete endo. The most amazing thing is that the camera was around my neck on a strap, so we didn't lose it. The camera was busted, but as always those memory cards are almost industructable, so we had all the photos. I actually also sent the camera in, and the manufacturer fixed it for much less than a new camera would have cost.

I'll work on tips 8+ tomorrow during nap time. For now just remember to contact me personally for guidance or clarification of anything I've written. I also take requests, so bring on the topics you'd like me to cover next.

Cheers from

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, November 9, 2009

One of my favorite strips from last week.


Sunday, November 8, 2009



- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Photo Booth Sales

Hello, Big things are happening in our photobooth world. Not only are we renting our photo booths, but we are selling a photobooth kit as well. The kit is aimed at giving you everything you need to start your own photo booth business. See us at We are also selling flip book software and video testimonial software, so check it out!


Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Here is a note we recently got in te mail.

"Jess an Portland Photo Booth- Thank you so much for running the Photo Booth at our wedding. Everyone of our guests loved it! It was well worth it and so much fun. Thank you. Love- The Nelsons."