Photography Tips

Caution…Wide Load!

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Tired of the same old photos? A wide angle lens will profoundly change the overall results of your photography.  They provide an angle of view that’s different from the “norm”, and therefore make a wonderful addition to your stock.  Wide angle lenses provide what is called as a perspective distortion. It’s this perspective distortion coupled with the wide angle of view that makes these lenses a wonderful tool.  They are more expensive to manufacture so they are expensive yes…but worth it!  To sum it up you can see more in the frame with a wide angle lens.  It provides a depth you can not obtain with any other lens.  There are some tips for newbies in the land of wide angle lenses.

Tips for Shooting with Wide Angle Lenses

  1. Compose your photo with a primary foreground object. This helps create a sense of depth and adds to the intensity of the wide angle.
  2. Try taking a photo by getting close to your subject.  The results are interesting!
  3. The distortion created by wide angle lenses can be used creatively for some shots.
  4. Typically, portraits are shot with medium telephoto lenses or standard angle lenses, try using a wide angle for portraiture!
  5. Wide angle lenses are great for panorama photography.
  6. Try taking photos of children with wide angle lenses; they’re one of the best subjects for wide angle lens portraiture.
  7. Homes/rooms/indoors in general can be captured more with a lens like this.  You see those grand looking rooms all the time in magazines or realtor  sites – this is the secret!

Check out these photos Jackie took around Texas with her Wide-Angle Lens.  Beautiful and unique!

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Jackie’s  new toy <3

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How to create beautiful photos with the camera in your pocket?

In case you don’t have a professional with you, here are some tips that anyone can practice with the regular ol’ point and shoot camera in your pocket!

Zoom with your feet.

Many smartphone camera offer a digital zoom function, but you’re almost always best served by pretending it doesn’t exist!  In the live view, you’ll be able to see how noticeably your images degrade the second you start to “zoom” the camera.  The camera is simply cropping in on  what’s already there and basically guessing what the image looks like. It gets ugly fast.

Edit, Don’t Filter

I suggest getting a full-on image editing app like the excellent SnapSeed, Photoshop Express, or iPhoto. They’ll let you make reasonable adjustments, like contrast, sharpness, and color temperature. Stuff you’d actually do with images from your big camera.  You can also  to dump your images into Lightroom or another piece of editing software if you don’t feel the need to share them right away.

Don’t Add Fake Blur

Depth of field will always be one of the biggest challenges for a smartphone camera.  But faking it almost always makes things worse.

First, blur added with an editing app is usually applied uniformly across most of the frame. That’s not the way a lens works, so it looks unnatural.

Second, most of the time you end up with harsh transitions from sharp to blurry. It’s distracting and a dead give away that you’ve been messing with the image.

If you want the viewer to focus on one specific thing, make it the central object in the frame with a small camera. Try to keep your backgrounds as simple.

Ditch The Flash

The problem with many smartphone flashes is that they are bright, but the color temperature can be gross and they miss one of the primary duties of a strobe: freezing the action in the frame. The actual “flash” duration is much too long, so you end up with an image that’s both blurry and terribly-lit. Not to mention how close it is to the lens, which makes those horrible demon eyes almost a given.

So, what do you do in the dark, then?  Often, your best bet is to seek out another light source.

If it comes right down to it, though, getting a bad flash picture can be better than getting no picture at all if you just want to remember a moment.

Keep Your Lens Clean

The result of  dirtiy lens are hazy, dark images that won’t look good no matter how many retro filters you slap on them. So giving them a quick wipe with a soft cloth can’t hurt (and your T-shirt will do OK in a pinch, but try not to make a habit of it). Once in a while, it’s worth the effort to break out the lens cleaning solution and really get the grime off of it. It may not look dirty and you might not even notice it in your photos, but often a deep clean will make a difference.

Make Prints

There’s a disconnect that exists between digital and analog photography at the moment. Many photo enthusiasts barely make prints anymore, if at all. Putting photos to paper makes them tangible and take away some of the assumptions people often make when looking at photos online.

Don’t Forget The Rules Of Photography

This is by far the most important suggestion of all. The rules for taking a good picture don’t change when you switch between cameras. Just because the camera can also make calls, doesn’t mean you should ignore everything you know about balanced composition and expressive lighting.

Before and After Photos

At JJ Photography we pride ourselves on great pictures right from the start.  We know our equipment and we know how to work it in every setting, even when the lighting is not ideal.  Of course, we are human so the shot doesn’t always come out perfect and our subjects are human so the shot doesn’t always come out perfect.  This is where photo editing software becomes essential and Jackie is brilliant at it.  We really spend time with our clients before a shoot to let them know what best suits the look they are going for.   Clothing choices, for example, can really turn a good picture to a great picture.  For our brides, the make up is an especially important topic.  While there are many great make up artists out there, sometimes they don’t know what might look good in person, doesn’t show up well in pictures.  A beautiful wedding can turn into hours of editing because of a simple make up mistake.  So for all you brides out there, please take to heart this one piece of advice…Do not let your make up artist put shimmer on your cheekbones.  You can still highlight with matte finishes but shimmer ends up making you look shiny and sweaty. The goal is to be a blushing bride and not one that looks like she is having hot flashes.  We can also edit any blemishes and yes even wrinkles.  What we do not want to do is take away from the way you were made though.  Natural beauty marks and such make you, well you, and that’s awesome!  We can do magic though at JJ Photography with editing software.  Rest assured you will love your photographs whether we have to use it or not!

Here’s a wedding photography tip!

JJ PhotographyW  Here’s a wedding photography tip: if it’s your wedding – hire a professional!

Wedding portraits are a very specific product that is very important for the consumers, and a professional knows in advance all the Tricks needed to avoid craziness so that you get a real product.

“(Mr. Jones)has a camera or my friend likes photography and has a camera – why pay someone…?” is usually followed with, “Damn, why didn’t we hire a pro?”

Even if that have taken many great pictures doesn’t mean he/she is up for this most challenging


of photographic assignments.

If you’ve are going to photograph wedding, here are some wedding photography tips that may save your butt.

Before We Start Shooting a wedding… photo that is.

1. Think ahead.

Most weddings will be planned down to the finest details. They even may know what shots are wanted. Find out from the bride and groom what they want photographed, and make a ‘shot list’ that you work through. I also have one on my website that you can print out and use if needed.

2. Beg , buy, hire, or borrow the following equipment:

wide angle /zoom lens. You do not need a wide angle smaller than 27mm and you won’t need a zoom greater than 135mm. Spare batteries for the camera

Several spare Memory cards.

A working external flash (one that stands separate to the camera)

JJ Photography (14 of 15)Spare batteries for the flash.

A reflector for out door shots.

Also you will be very glad if you get your self a fast lens.  One at about 2.0f or1.4f!

Get a Tripod A professional attitude.

3. Good to know!

Most churches will not allow flash during the ceremony! You will want to talk with the coordinator or the efficient. if you have a tripod you can use is if you could not get that fast lens. (Seriously – use a tripod for these shots!) and try not to zoom in that way you have more available light allowed into your lens.. You can get some very beautiful shots this way.

Go to the rehearsal! This way you can study the lighting, angles, key moments, etc. beforehand. Look at the lighting. If when you set someone were the group photos would be taken you have lights that are creating hot spots or weird shadows under the eyes have someone turn those lights off. This will look so much better and don’t worry about having less light, the lights that do that to you are not helping!

4. Getting ready and stuffMost of these will be candid shots of the bride. Sometimes the groom wants these too but you can only be in one place at once – stick with the bride.

These will most likely be indoor shots. If you want to cover these moments shoot a lot!! But Wait till she is looking good and don’t do the groom in his underwear those are not going to be big ‘sellers.’

Candid portraits that are indoor’ usually means using some kind of lighting even if it’s opening all the curtains. Direct Flash is never very flattering to anyone so avoid it if you can. That again is were that fast lens comes in very handy.

Wedding Checklist

Wedding-166p-LLast Minute Wedding Checklist. Use this checklist and will help you enjoy a stress-free wedding!

1. Have your things that you are going to take with you ready the day before. Make a list that you can check off so you don’t forget anything.

2. Call your coordinator and get a list of the order of things. So you have your own copy.

3. Call the wedding venue or chapel and find out if there is anything going on before or after the wedding. So you know what it’s going to be like when you arrive.

4. Call all of your venders the day before or two days before and confirm your wedding date. Call the band and or the Dj, the Minister, Photographer, Florets, transportation, and the place doing your wedding cake.

5. Have all of the contacted information for venders, bridal party, and the solon doing your hair and nails with you on your wedding day.

6. Have a designated person at your wedding that will handle any problems, such as tracking people down, and helping to work out the last minute cynics that may arrive.

Tips on how to handle a missing vendor on the day of the wedding:

If you can’t get in touch with a vendor the day of the wedding, have your appointed party try to track them down. Hopefully, you will have all of their contact information with you at the wedding and reception site. Should your appointed person be unsuccessful in finding them, she should then start hunting down alternatives. Most wedding venders will be happy to suggest last minute fixes for such a problem, and in such emergencies you may be surprised how well people can come together and solve last minute wedding glitches.

If you can’t find a substitute, here are some other suggestions:

Missing Florist: Have your appointed person run to a grocery store or florist and buy as many flowers as you can afford. If flowers are not readily available, tell them to look for tall pillar candles. The members of your wedding party will look simple and elegant carrying a candle each. Candles can also make simple centerpieces. Another alternative would be to build centerpieces out of fresh fruit and votive candles. Your guests will never know that the florist didn’t come!

Missing Photographer: Call as many guests as you can and ask them to bring cameras. If you hadn’t already planned to have cameras on the table, get a wedding party member to run to the grocery store and purchase some. After the wedding, set up a place where people can exchange photos (such as flickr or Kodak. You may end up being surprised at how fun and creative your guests can be with just some point and shoot cameras.  (Special Note: I have never missed a wedding! :))

Missing Minister or Officiant: In a pinch, download a copy of a wedding service from the Internet, and then ask a well-spoken good friend to lead the wedding. While you won’t be legally married at the end of the day, you will still have had a memorable and spiritual wedding. Later, you can go to city hall and make things legal, or get married by a religious leader in a more intimate way.

Missing Printer with Wedding Programs: In the end, no one will notice that you didn’t have programs. If you have enough time, you can try to print out a new original, and run copies off on a Xerox machine, but it will be just as lovely without. In the end, the important thing is to breathe! While you may believe that your wedding day is ruined, remember the important thing is to celebrate your love together in front of your loved ones. As long as that happens, what could go wrong?

How To Find A Pro Portrait Photographer for your Wedding

  JJ Photography-7001This is not wedding tip just for Teaxs! A wedding is an occasion of a lifetime. This is a once-in-a-lifetime event that is not just “special” but something to remember for the rest of your days. For this reason, you want that day to stay crystal clear in your mind. Here are the reasons you want to hire a great portrait photographer:

A first-class portrait photographer will need to have the ability to capture every detail with a touch of creativity. Always remember that when you turn the pages of your wedding album, it must appear as though you reliving your special day.

Always hire a professional Wedding photographer a pro will be able to produce the work in a timely fashion.

A professional wedding photographer will have experience and this is crucial in determining, during the shoot, where to be, and when.

He or she will also know exactly in what order things are going to occur, and this is vital. Often brides will ask me for guidance on what to do next or how things normally get done. As an experienced professional, I know exactly which event should come next so there is a lot less confusion.

I also take care not to miss those unforgettable shots, which otherwise will be lost forever. This can very well happen to the inexperienced photographer.

You want a portrait photographer who will be available at the right place at the right time! Punctuality, personality and equipment are the key qualities of a professional photographer.

A professional is experienced in working with individuals, couples, and among groups and can make formal portrait photography run smoothly and fast.

For these reasons, it is a mistake to think of the professional’s fee as a burden, instead: Realize that this is an investment in preserving that special day for all time. With a true pro you will get your money’s worth and so much more.

Personal Contact Is Vital: Choose the photographer only after meeting him/her. When hiring a wedding photographer, it is imperative you make that connection with him/her.

You will want your wedding photographer to be an outgoing fun person. Don’t forget that you will be spending a good 6-8 hours with them!

Get recommendations or see if they have testimonials from past clients he/she has worked with.

Before meeting the photographer, take a good look at their portfolio, the candid shots and formal portraits.

Then you will be in a position to determine if this wedding photographer has the technique, style and spirit you want to trust in capturing your memories for generations to come.

WeddingB&W2What You Need To Watch Out For When You Are Looking For A Wedding portrait photographer:

1. Lighting quality

2. Composition

3. Finesse of outdoor and close-up photography

4. Watch out for flattened faces, harsh reflections off of cheeks and foreheads, and dark shadows directly behind or next to the subjects

5. Is the photographer using one or more photographers, and, will they charge more for that other photographer? (Most photographers use students or amateurs that want to gain experience of shooting weddings. This is fine but in most cases the student is helping for free. You should not be charged for their photography lessons. Just make sure if you are in fact paying that the second photographer is a pro!)

6. Discuss your own unique interests with the wedding photographer (he/she can usually come up with some really great ideas to incorporate your individual style into your Wedding portraits)

7. Have fun. It is one very short day, so enjoy it and make sure the Wedding photographer is someone you’ll enjoy! Tthey’ will be around you the most; which will make your day that much smoother!


What To Wear

Of all the planning that goes into your Portrait, your clothing will be one of the most important choices you make. Here are a few suggestions that should make it easy!Nickie -364-L

Eliminate Distractions In general, darker colors and long sleeves will look best. This helps in a number of ways. First, the attention should be on your face, and long sleeves help eliminate distractions created by bare arms. Your eye goes to the darkest part of a “light” image and the lightest part of a “dark” image. If we are taking pictures outdoors and you are wearing light colored clothing, the eye will generally go to the clothing before it goes to the face. The light clothing then competes for attention! If you wear darker clothes but short sleeve or sleeveless garments, the bare arms call for attention.

Color Counts

Whether you are planning on color portraits or black and white, denim is almost always a great choice. Other good colors would be navy, greens, browns, reds, black, and darker blues. Avoid pastels, pinks, yellows, and other pale colors for color portraits.

Solid Suggestions

For most portraits solid colors are appropriate. This is not to say that you can never wear anything with a pattern or multi-color. The clothes should say something about who you are without being a distraction. Generally, solid colors will make your portrait more “timeless.” Clothes that are a fashion statement today may look dated in just two or three years. Solid colors within the same color family are most appropriate for photographs with two or more people.

Not Photogenic?

Do you dread having your picture taken? Do you run for cover whenever the camera comes out? What’s the deal with this picture thing? Being photogenic just comes naturally to some and not so natural for others. That is okay – you are not alone! Our job is to make people feel comfortable. We are “people” photographers. It’s what we do! But a few extra tips wouldn’t hurt. Being photogenic is about awareness of how to put your best face forward, and knowing how to express yourself in the camera. Here are some techniques, including applying your knowledge of the best backgrounds, lighting, and positioning for a good photo.JJ Photography-11

Your Clothes.

Even if you’re not being photographed, knowing how to present yourself in a way that complements your look is important.

Clothing style and color will impact the photogenic appeal and your overall confidence.

Select the right clothes. Color matters! Patterns can overwhelm you in a photo, horizontal stripes can make you appear wide.  Solids and neutrals work best. Wear clothes with colors that suit you. Certain colors complement certain skin tones, while others tend to bring out the worst. I look very bad in cream colors so I do not put them on even if I like the outfit! You may have a feel for which colors you look best in, but if not, check out Jean Lefebvre she can help! Or do some research on colors that suit your complexion and work it out through trial-and-error.

Your complexion. T

There is a lot you can buy in the way of appearance when fixing up common complexion problems that will make a difference in photos.

Hide your blemishes: The good thing is that you can easily hide certain features you don’t like. Be careful with makeup tones: makeup colors appear more intense in photos.

Keep the shine down: It is so important to keep the shine down.

Use makeup to cover redness in the face, the red will be one of the first things to show in a photo.

Brush your hair into place. But do not let it look slicked-down.

Work the Angles.

Camerawork isn’t all a mystery: people who are photographed for a living are aware of which angles and poses work best for them, and they ensure that this is what they present to the camera most times. In addition, there are a few “model’s tricks” you can use to your advantage:

Determine your best angle.

When you ge t a good photograph of you look at it and see what you did and the angle for your face so you can do it again. Finding the right one can be challenging. Experiment using a digital camera so you see the results of each pose immediately. It will very quickly become obvious which angles are most flattering for you.

A classic pose is: arrange your body three quarters toward the camera with one foot in front of the other and one shoulder closer to the camera than the other. People tend to present a square angle front-on to the camera. If you turn your head slightly to the side and look straight ahead, it will look batter in most cases

If sitting, slightly angle yourself.

Lean the shoulder that is closer to the camera slightly toward the camera; it adds interest, improves facial definition and helps to minimize the appearance of wrinkles, flabby skin and helps hide a double chin.


Your posture.

Not only does this matter for photos but also daily good posture makes everything easier in life, including your confidence! Good posture can dramatically improve your appearance in pictures. Breath… relax your shoulders. If you usually have bad posture, it may be difficult to stand up straight and not look stiff, so practice this in the mirror, and work toward improving your posture for the long term.


The more comfortable and relaxed you are, the better the photo will turn out. Have fun with pictures.

Don’t hold your breath or you will appear as though you’re tense.

Think of something that genuinely makes you smile. This is called your “smile thought”. Use it right before the picture is snapped.

If you are at a social event just ignore the camera