Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Awesome Giveaway By Photography Concentrate

My friends Lauren & Rob Lim of Photography Concentrate are Canadians. And, they celebrated Thanksgiving back on October 14.

But for the US Thanksgiving holiday and for Black Friday and Cyber Monday especially, they wanted to do something special. They have gone ahead and offered all of you a 40% discount on ALL their tutorials and ebooks. This is huge and it isn’t something they will likely repeat for another year.

Look, we all want to be better at photography than we were last year. At least, I would hope those of you who read Tiffinbox feel that way. From several of you who have privately emailed me and thanked me for introducing you to resource, a website or a tool that has elevated your craft or business, I know I am pretty good at curating the very best offers out there for you.

The tutorials and ebooks that Photography Concentrate has offered in the past have always been mentioned here because Lauren and Rob Lim consistently produce useful, actionable resources for photographers. Every ebook I receive from them is so full of incredible examples that are not only expressed succinctly but also illustrated beautifully.

These are books you will use over and over again. I promise. How do I know? Because I use them again and again all the time.

Photography Concentrate Black Friday 2013

The sale starts on Black Friday (that’s this Friday) and ends on December 2nd, Cyber Monday. Buy the e-book or tutorial you really need for yourself or your business.

And Lauren and Rob are sweetening the deal even more, giving you a chance at winning a $1000 shopping spree at B&H. Bookmark this post and come back here between Black Friday and Cyber Monday to buy your favorite Photography Concentrate e-book or tutorial. You won’t regret it!

Learn more about this special, time-sensitive offer here.

The One School Goa, Photography Education In Paradise

Mahesh Bhat, a photographer and author of Unsung and Bangalore: First Person Singular is also a teacher at The One School Goa.

Bangalore, India was home for Mahesh, so when I heard he had started teaching photography in Goa, I was curious to learn more about his new adventure.

The One School Goa

Mahesh heads the photography department of a relatively new educational establishment, for those interested in creative fields such as photography, mass communication and multimedia. It’s the first of its kind to be totally dedicated to nurturing creative minds in India and beyond. The school is located in North Goa, away from the hustle, bustle and stress of big cities (just check out the images of what the students are experiencing every day!). The school offers a 3-year graduate diploma program. It’s an intensive program, Mahesh tells me, modeled after the Santa Fe Workshops or the Maine Media Workshops + College.

I had a chance to speak with Mahesh about The One School Goa. So, listen in:

As we wrapped up our chat, I wondered if I could speak with a few of the school’s current students to get their views on the school and what it means to pursue a career in the creative arts.

A few days later, Mahesh connected with Shantanu Sheorey, the school’s founder and a few students. Shantanu is a highly acclaimed commercial photographer with a long history in the industry. I was pleasantly surprised to see his own son enrolled as a student at The One School Goa.

Take a moment to listen to that conversation here:

This is the approach to the school:

Approach To The One School Goa

Dinesh Khanna, acclaimed photographer and educator sits down to critique a student’s work:

Dinesh Khanna With A Photography Student

Paddy fields right outside the school’s gate!

View From The Gate - The One School Goa

I know I can’t wait to visit The One School Goa!

Elizabeth Krist, Senior Photo Editor, National Geographic Magazine

Last week, I had the pleasure of interviewing Elizabeth Krist, Senior Photo Editor at National Geographic magazine. We discussed photographers, photo editing and the workshop she will be teaching from July 31 to August 3, in Vermont.

She is joined at this wonderful retreat for photographers by other photo editors and decision makers:

June 19-22: Sam Barzilay, UPI and Photoville
June 26-28: Angelika Hala, Stern Magazine
July 10-13: James Estrin, New York Times
July 24-27: Denise Wolff, Aperture
August 7-10: Whitney Johnson, The New Yorker
August 21-23: Emily Keegin, Bloomberg Businessweek Magazine
August 28-30: William A. Ewing, Thames and Hudson

“This summer, FotoVisura is hosting a unique 3-day intensive workshop in Stowe, Vermont that features an impressive list of guest editors. The workshop includes editing, sequencing, design layout, and final presentation. Photographers will be paired with a guest editor in one-on-one and group sessions to help consult photographers on their goals – whether it’s a photo essay, portfolio, multimedia, book or exhibition.”

I first heard of the Foto Visura photo editing and post production workshops through Photoshelter and so I want to thank them (and Lauren Margolis, in particular) for introducing me to Elizabeth.

Foto Visura was founded by Adriana Teresa and Graham Letorney. Learn more about Foto Visura here. As I express to Elizabeth, if I were in town, I would definitely sign up to be a part of her program as she appears to be open to making it about either photography or photo editing.

Check out the video below and if you have any questions or comments, please pen them below.

Learn more from Elizabeth through this wonderful webinar coordinated by Photoshelter’s Allen Murabayashi. If you do decide to go to Vermont, please let me know what your thoughts are about these workshops. It’s important that we share, in equal measure, the successes and challenges of photography and photo editing workshops everywhere.

And here is the image, Elizabeth and I discussed in the video:

Memorial Day 2013, Avon, Connecticut  | Seshu Photography

Dynamic Wedding Photography By David Beckstead

David Beckstead is clear about one thing and that is he serves a very particular kind of client who gets what he does and loves what he does for them. I met David at Mystic Seminars some two years ago and he is slated to be back this year to present again. Like his work, he is a dynamic personality – always smiling and ready to answer questions from the audience. If you get a chance to view his images and his presentation, don’t miss it.

Dynamic Wedding Photography by David BecksteadFor those who are intrigued by David’s work, you are in luck. Photodough.com has on his sale his new e-book called Dynamic Wedding Photography. At $27 it is a steal. And as a bonus, you get to listen to David’s presentation in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Are you looking to kick your wedding photography up a notch this year? No, not through Photoshop actions or Lightroom presets. Those will only get you so far. If you don’t have an exciting or dynamic image to work with in the first place, you are just adding to the problem using those tools. I was always taught to get the image right in the camera first. Perhaps that’s “old-school” thinking, I don’t know. But it has worked really well for me.

Anyway, David’s e-book promises to show us,”how you can become a stylistic and creative photographer attracting clients that love what you do.” Given his style, I suspect that even as a portrait photographer you are going to learn a ton from David Beckstead.

The sale runs through the end of day on Monday, January 7th, so, don’t wait. The price goes back up to $65 and I doubt the video will be a part of that option.

As always, if you buy it, read it, use it, come back here and tell me about it. I want to know what you got out of it. Perhaps we can compare notes? Feel free to comments below.

P.S. Full disclosure, you betcha those are affiliate links! I promote only the best resources for photographers.

Photography Education Sucks!

Today’s guest post is by Michael Howard, a photographer in Nashville, Tennessee. In addition to being a photographer, he is a visionary. He founded Musea, for photographers. He has also created the Musea Gatherings and produces a podcast where he interviews inspirational photographers.

Ok not ALL photography education sucks, but most of it does and that’s why I created the Musea Gatherings, to give photographic artists better education opportunities.

I’ve been a working photographer in the wedding/portrait industry for the last 10 years and I have lived through the digital boom, the textured images, the obsession with off-camera lighting at sunset, the Fong Dong, Trash The Dress sessions, Photoshop actions, Spray and Pray, pee yellow skies, WPPI, Rock Stars and the rise of wedding blogs.

Through it all, I sat back rather quietly, but I kept saying to myself, ‘Is this the best we can do as an industry?’ My answer is ‘Hell No!’ We can do much better, and I believe there is a ground swell of photographers craving something with more honesty and respect for the craft.

When I look back over the previous decade of education for wedding and portrait photographers, I see a lot of sizzle, but no substance. I see an obsession with the surface of things rather than deep, nourishing content. Sometimes you hear people say things like, ‘Running a photography business is 80% about business and 20% about making quality images.’ Sadly, there is some truth to that, but I blame ourselves more than our clients. Many photographers were taught that you just need to buy this awesome, radtacular action set to make your crappy photo look like a piece of ‘art’. Camera makers keep making it easier and easier to shoot in low light, so you don’t even have to think about that anymore. Just ‘Spray and Pray’ and throw some sexy film presets on there, and your clients will never know the difference. To all of this I say, ‘BULLSHIT!’

It doesn’t have to be like this, but this is why being a wedding and portrait photographer is often seen as the low rung on the ladder. A lot of it is very amateur and there is no respect for the history of photography, nor the craft of imaging making. The generation of photographers who has risen since the advent of digital imaging has been bombarded by vultures looking to make a quick buck off their naivete´. They have been pressured by camera companies to jump on the hamster wheel of gear acquisition. They have created this feeling that photographers need to upgrade camera bodies every 6-12 months. On top of that, we have been slapped around by new software and the idea of ‘Oh, I’ll fix that in post.’ All of these marketing tactics by camera and software creators have hindered great image making, not improved it. Today, there are more images than ever, but I don’t believe the ratio of masterful images has increased. I merely think the bar has been lowered for what’s ‘Awesome!’ and what’s not. The idea of ‘that’ll do’ rules the day and it’s hurting all of us.

Most education events are centered around the idea of more. You need more lenses, more off-camera lighting, more film-like presets, a sexier camera bag, more product offerings and more light modifiers. The big photo conventions need more attendees that don’t know anything, so they can sell more gear, gimmicks and magic bullets to them. Otherwise, they wouldn’t stay in business. The unfortunate thing is many of us have believed this lie at one point or another. We thought we could buy our way into being better photographers. We’ve said things like, ‘Oh if I just had that L lens, then I’d really be kicking some ass!’ So we go and buy that lens and realize our pictures didn’t improve at all, they are merely clearer pictures of our unchanged vision. When we buy that item that promises to be a shortcut to better images, we’ve actually hindered our growth by relying on another crutch the industry threw our way. Photographic vision isn’t found in the gear you buy, it’s found in your beliefs about the world and in hours of shooting.

All of this lead me to create the Musea Gatherings, which are centered around the idea of rethinking photography education. It’s time that we raise the bar instead of lower it. We should be taught by people that hold themselves to a higher standard and don’t have some fancy new toy to sell us, especially ones that look like Tupperware.

Musea Gathering

The Gatherings are about embracing the concept of ‘less is more.’ It calls out the lie that you need more stuff, when what you really need is less stuff. You need to edit your life, your career, your business and your portfolio much tighter. You need to cut all the dead weight, and the teachers at the Gatherings will help you do that.

We live in a world where we can do whatever we want. There are no rules, but the reality is that creativity isn’t fostered by freedom. Creativity is born out of limitations. It’s staying within a box, a set of parameters and coming up with as many solutions as possible. The content that will be taught at the Gatherings are designed to give you a set of mental parameters that you need to improve your work and business. You won’t be sold any magic bullets or snake oil, but you will be given some proven guidelines that will point you in the right direction and you’re assumptions will be challenged. We will shake you up, but also give you a tool box to improve your work and business.

Hopefully, you can come to one of the Gatherings this year to help create a better industry that is rooted in the history of the medium and holds all photographers to a higher standard of working. Even if you can’t make it to a Gathering this year, I urge you to improve your photography by educating yourself on the deep things of art and stay away from the empty promises of more gear and software. The next decade of wedding and portrait photography can be the best the world has ever seen, and I want Musea to play an important role in helping us get there!

A Sales Tip For Photographers

Photo consultant Selina Maitreya discusses a rarely used approach in client sales meetings. Check it out in the video below.

Did you like Selina’s business tip for photographers? Want to get more of these tips and for FREE? Selina offers a free 5 day video course, “Building the Ideal Professional Photography Business.”

In addition to that, Selina and 13 other experts will be presenting a FREE two-day online event on February 11 and 12, called Clarion Call. [aff] You do need to register to get access to these awesome speakers. Remember, it is FREE, so why wouldn’t you sign up?

If you miss the live event, you can still order the recordings, which garner you a bunch of very cool bonuses.

What sales tip could you/would you share here with your peers? Please comment!

Photography Concentrate: Why We Teach?

Rob & Lauren AvatarThis is a guest post by Canadian photographers, Lauren & Rob Lim, whose spirited wedding, portrait and travel photography is the talk of the town.

At the moment in the wedding photography industry there is a bit of a backlash against educators. Whether deserved or not is up for debate, but it certainly has resulted in a lot of discussion about those who make money from teaching.

As we can be considered educators ourselves (have been quite happily teaching other photographers for over 2 years), and are now moving towards doing it more, we thought we’d give a bit of insight into why we teach.

To understand where we’re coming from, I’ll give you a bit of background on us. We weren’t the photographers who grew up with a camera in hand. Our interest in photography didn’t come until we were 19 and 21, during a requisite backpacking trip through Europe. As I’m sure has happened with all photographers out there, we instantly developed a very strong passion for creating photos. But, we knew absolutely nothing about the art. Nothing at all. Being rather young, we didn’t see that as any sort of hindrance, and began the process of teaching ourselves this craft so that we could become professional photographers.

Romantic Kiss On A Boat, by Rob & Lauren Lim
That naivety allowed us to pursue our goals without any thought to whether it was even possible. And, thankfully, we simply made it possible. But it didn’t happen without an immense amount of time spent learning, reading, sifting through dozens of articles, and making a ton of mistakes along the way.

What we found, after years of self-teaching, was that the number of high quality and affordable resources out there for photographers was a lot smaller than we would have imagined. Sure, there are countless forums, blogs, and articles that you can find for free. But many of them offer differing opinions and ideas (though all too often they don’t see them as opinions, but rather as fact! That makes it even more difficult for a new photographer to understand what to do!). They also take a lot of time to go through, compile information, and try to process it in a way that works for the individual. It’s not easy or fun, and often it’s just downright overwhelming! I fear that a lot of people likely give up, simply because the task of finding and digesting high quality information is just too difficult.

Man On A Bicycle, Ho Chi Minh City by Rob & Lauren Lim
Furthermore, many resources are currently being offered for very high price tags. Often upwards of hundreds of dollars (thousands if we’re talking about workshops). While there’s no way for us to decide whether those are worth it, we do know that they are far outside the reach of many photographers. Photographers on average aren’t rich people. They often have budgets just like anyone else, and many are left unable to purchase the tutorial they’d like, or going into credit card debt to attend the workshop they think will solve their problems. We were deeply unhappy with that approach. We strongly believe that teaching should be to help others, not yourself. With that in mind, we made a commitment to offer our education at prices that anyone could afford, including students.

Back to how we became educators! The more we learned, the more we found ourselves trying to help other photographers. We’d have colleagues over to our home to spend some time teaching them a new program or technique. And, time and time again, we’d find ourselves teaching the same material to each person. We were happy to be helping out that individual, but knew that there had to be a more efficient method.

The next logical step was, of course, to figure out how to get that information into the hands of the most people possible! So we created Photography Concentrate, a website dedicated to high quality, affordable information. We initially thought about writing e-books, but as soon as we began to plan for our first tutorial, all about RAW processing, we realized that books aren’t always the best way to learn for most photographers. We’re visual people by nature, so learning likely happens best in a visual manner! Thus began our foray into video tutorials. We’ve just completed our first one, and are hard at work at the next. We’re so excited about the possibility of helping photographers all around the world to learn to take control over the programs we rely so heavily on.

Which brings me to the final thought: Why We Teach

It’s pretty simple, and we can boil it down to one idea: we teach to help photographers acquire the skills needed to fully realize their artistic potential.

All the people we teach have their own incredible creative talent. We don’t need to teach them that. We simply want to help them unlock it. We believe that having a strong foundation of technical knowledge is the first step on that path, so that’s what we intend to share!

Kristin & Michael by Rob and Lauren Lim

With RAW Processing Concentrate, our tutorial on editing in Lightroom, we’re hoping to help photographers improve the final look of their images. Very often we see an incredible shot, with great composition and vision behind it, but the processing falls short, and the image fails to reach it’s full potential. Processing is just one step in the creation of a great photograph, but it’s a hugely important one. Many photographers currently rely on pre-made actions and presets to process their images. These will certainly make you faster, but we don’t believe they will make you better.

Life as an artist is about growth and exploration, and one needs knowledge to achieve that.

If you’d like more information about our tutorial and teaching adventures check out Photography Concentrate.

Photography Concentrate By Rob & Lauren Lim