Posts Tagged ‘photography tips’

About the Reviews

I am doing these reviews to be of an added benefit to the many photographers that are following me on Google+ and as well as to the regular readers of this blog.

I am writing my posts not simply to the maker of the image but in a fully educational format with tips and concepts that will apply to all.

If there is sufficient response to this set of reviews I will open up another submission phase and do another set of reviews.

I assume there will be as this time I have 17 items submitted on Google+ and many of them seemed very interested, excited and sincere.

They did it by including the phrase Real Reviews Welcomed +Scott jarvie

My reviews are long and in depth looks into the pictures… I don’t simply say you should have done this or that… but I also say having taken the picture as you did you could make the following changes.

Yes I did two extra reviews that I promised… and I’m probably hurting on time because of that. Next time I might do less. But I do want more submitted… because it’s fun.
I didn’t look at any of the reviews that other people might have wrote on the pictures prior to me… except in the sunset picture.


I spent a long time writing these dang reviews… and life needs to continue now… so if you have a problem with grammar or spelling, don’t read my review. Seriously… don’t. You don’t deserve my insights if you’re just gonna get distracted by my faults. I really do need to move along. If someone privately wants to rewrite and send me the rendition, while 100% maintaining my personality in the writing… go ahead I’ll fix it up.

Image #1

By Janqi Oo – From kampar,malaysia


“Shot this during a cub prix in my hometown.”

My Review

Well first off it’s awesome that you have the red biker in the front; certainly the most photogenic of the bunch. Had it been switched up I think the red biker might have been a distraction in the background.

I also love the colors and textures found throughout the picture, specially the textures.

Wasted space on the left. While I can appreciate not cropping into the honda logo on the left it doesn’t help the image, so as long as you’re not shooting for Honda I’d come in. If you were reshooting I would have not given him so much space on the left but since it’s said and done what you can do now is crop… maybe move it over to right after that honda sign.

Also another cropping problem is that the bike did not receive a proper border underneath. You need at least a tad bit more space under that wheel.

A small item to consider that can be easily be cleared up is the white painting in the bottom right. Yes there’s lots of painting on the ground in the picture, but this one is the most in focus, furthest forward and the brightest meaning it will be the most likely to garner attention. It is very easy to clone/heal that out; even in lightroom.

And one last thing about the picture. As much as I like the image… it just isn’t terribly exciting sad to say. Catching them on a turn when they’re laying low to the ground or doing something awesome would have spiced it up.

But as it stands with the background and the moment you’ve been given it did well.

Image #2

By Ugo Cei from Pavia, Italy

This Picture

“On my way home from a business trip, I decide to take a detour along the coast. It’s the end of May and I know the sun will stay up till late in the evening.
After a few kilometers of twisting, narrow roads, I arrive in Vernazza, where I easily find a parking spot (had it been July or August, this would have been impossible).
I cross the small town and head up on the steep rocky trail that leads to Monterosso. When I reach the highest point on the trail from which the town below is still visible, I am completely covered in sweat. I find a space to place my tripod, secure my camera to it, with polarizing filter, and catch the last rays of the sun hitting the town as it sets behind the mountain at my back.
Later, I precariously climb down the slope until I come to another point I had previously spotted. There, I wait for the sky and the sea to turn a deep cobalt blue and the town to light up for the night. I take a few more shots, climb down the last steps in almost total darkness and head back to my car.

Nikon D90, Nikkor AF-S 18-105mm @18mm, f/5.6, 2.0s, 200 ISO.”

A quick word

I was excited to review this one because I am a self professed Italio-phile (meaning I love all things Italian) I really want to go back to Cinque Terra … I haven’t been there since 2004 when I wasn’t so awesome at photography.

The subject sits there, specially in travel photography, we see and we take… we don’t pose the buildings. What do we have the most control of in a picture? We can change our exposures, but even still the light is given from above. We do get to choose our framing.

When I look at images from photographers I gravitate first to what framing did they select, what borders around the main subject did they give. Did they seem to get it by mistake or get it from a solid eye for what they’re doing.

My Review

I love the colors, I love the time of night it was taken. He mentions it was twilight.

He must have had a tripod to shoot at 2seconds length or propped it up against something.

The dark blues and the streetlights are awesome.

I love the perspective he chose… from above.

If I were to take the picture as it is and work on it I’d say at least put those leading lines in the corners.

You already have one coming from a corner in the bottom left but how about cropping it in a bit on the bottom right and heck you’re already soooo close in the top left might as well just move it down a little bit.

For me the weak part of this image is the sky… compared to the dark blues below the sky just can’t compete… it seems to detract from the main scene ever so slightly.

I hesitate to just say crop it all out because then we’ll loose that leading line that of the hill coming right from that corner. I hesitate… but I’d do it.

Show this city with it’s only backdrop being the water. However there is another problem The top of that building in the distance is just a bit too close to the horizon line… if only it were to have just a tad more space.

A Solution for everything: If we revisited the past… we would have shot from a higher angle. It solves so many things. You don’t get the sky in there and there’s also more room above the top building and you can still get all 3 of those things in the corners as effect leading lines from the corners. AND you avoid those bushes from interfering as much.

Yes the bushes are in the way, I don’t mind them being in the picture … but they are covering boats and part of the most dynamic portion of of the scene.

Other things to have tried were longer shutter speeds for a smoother water… but the problem is the boats would move and not be as sharp. Also it would have been interesting to see what would have happened if a circular polorizer was used… to get a glimpse a bit further into the water. Not saying I’m for sure it would have been better… just saying I would like to see what would have happened.

In the end obviously an awesome picture… and I can’t wait to make my way back there. We’ll hang out there right Ugo?

Image #3


I love photography.
I’m addicted to photography.
I don’t just take pictures because people pay me… I just like it.
I take picture “Even when I don’t need to”


  • I enjoy people smiling when I do a good job.
  • I like smashing expectations.
  • I like having a camera in my hand.
  • I see the world wonderfully seeking the ways to make the world and the people look at their best.



When many people think of light diffusion for photography it’s mainly about the foreground.

For people photography that means the people are in nice diffused lighting. Diffused light we equate to soft light. Next to a window, a flash through a big softbox, a cloudy day and in shade. (BTW I think people there is a time for harsh light)

I shot middle of the day on Saturday and needed to diffuse the light on the subject because there was no shade around so I had someone standing practically right above these two with a diffuser even when for a minute or two the brunt of the sun went behind a small cloud.

What I noticed after is how different the background looked when the clouds were diffusing the light onto the water from when it was straight sun onto the water feature in the back.

Days where the lighting is Chaotic is my favorite because then you get so many different looks without having to try to hard or wait to long. (As long as you’re prepared for it all)


The way the light is reflecting off of the water in this one has a certain appeal and I can’t really decide which one I like more and I bet the results amongst a large audience would be pretty split.

It obviously means the background is much brighter than in the previous picture.

Because the sun was so much brighter at this moment the faces do seem to be lit up better, but in the previous one it would have been easy to add a little bit of additional light to the scene (via flash or reflector)

 001_7S29934 002_7S29902

A different look: Meaning a bunch of different looks in the same spot.

A different look: As in a different kind of spot to begin with.

Try both of these things.
You don’t need an amazing background for good pictures… sometimes they’ll even detract from the main part of the picture which in this case was the bride.

We got the flowers, the full dress, the face and emotion and eyes and all that stuff.

 013_7S29937 003_7S29900

These pictures were taken late last year but I fear I might have glanced over them and never really shown them on the blog… so here they are.


OK so i’ve photographed in rain plenty before… but something I haven’t done was shoot with the rain ONLY behind the subject but not at all in front.

See the problem is the rain can sometimes be in their face and you have too shoot a bunch of shots to make sure you have one where the rain isn’t ruining the picture . Granted these were small drops.

So we are on a sidewalk downtown logan utah under a large awning, the rain is falling just inches behind her. So it works. I can actually back up a pretty good distance and well her hair isn’t even wet. Oh but I suppose my backlight is a bit wet on the ground behind her, but like I said it wasn’t raining hard, I guess I could have used a plastic bag.

So next time I want some shots and it’s raining I’ll probably think of overhangs.


Get a small patch of cool stuff and don’t look at it and say “Darn, I wish there were more so I can get this cool shot I have in my mind”

Realize for a moment it’s not going to happen you can’t make another acre grow real fast… deal with it.
Make what you have work to your advantage. Don’t live in what could have been. Start dealing with what you have.

In actuality this section of cool plants was plenty large enough to get the pictures I wanted.
The angle I chose was to make the plants look more plentiful, but not just that but because I didn’t have a never ending supply in the back.

This is the big reason why she’s down on the ground.
If the field were bigger or I could get up on a ladder I would have shot from on high but with her standing as well.

 001_J7S7195 002_J7S7208

Then of course I got down because we all know I love shooting in through stuff.
I also felt a nice up close portrait was in order.

Brooke asked her mother what she wanted for Mother’s Day and I’m told this is it.
Sounds perfectly understandable… I think everyone should do it.
I expect to be booked up for… forever! haha

But really I can totally understand not only does the mother benefit from getting the actual pictures but she also gives her daughter a chance to feel beautiful in front of the camera and beautiful for years to come each time she looks at the pictures.
What a good mother!

 004_J7S7673 025_J7S7087

Again not a huge section of awesomeness to play with but when you’re shooting straight down you don’t need much.

Which makes me remember to say get them in all sorts of positions (sitting, leaning, lean-sitting, you know… everything) why?
Because they’ll feel more comfortable in some than others…
(unless your style is a total posed style. Well then don’t listen to me if that’s not your style and your not intersted in bringing out their personality… move along nothing to see here)

 003_J7S7521 007_J7S7308

Backlight… Create your own, or put them in positions where it already exists.

See more pictures here


The recap

Let me write a recap… at the beginning…
In the post I’ll tell you that stretching yourself to handle any situation, and to even embrace them will make you a better photographer.
And not just stretching yourself in photography (more specifically locations) but stretch and expand your horizons in all you do.

Finding the good, finding the beauty is an ability that goes way beyond photography and as an aspiring photographer can even be developed outside of your actual photography

Get ready for a LONG post.



Good things happen when the sun goes down… twilight is often more exciting… and then there’s a clear evening with the stars coming out and some nice palm trees.

In this post I’d love to drive home the point:

Make wherever you happen to be work for you.
And get good at seeking out spots and SEEing the spots you’re at.

Don’t wait for the perfect opportunity… make it the perfect opportunity.


(Above) As you see these pictures you might wonder why they call it Sunset Beach… haha

This day was proof-example, after example, of why going out with a set purpose (set picture) in mind is in many (not all) ways is retarded.
But having a “way point” can be smart.

Yes have plans… but be open to all the amazing things that surround you.

In this case we penciled in Sunset beach for sunset.
When you’re on a road trip with me you realize I’m using a pencil and that pencil has an eraser.

But beyond that when you are wherever you are… be ready to shoot them when they happen. (know how)
And be ready to SEE them.

It makes me wonder how/why those photographers who set out with one specific shot in mind do it.
That would drive me batty… and doesn’t seem like a good idea. (Open for discussion, as long as we’re trying to understand eachother)
(Though perhaps having fewer pictures would sure cut down on processing and make picking easier)

 005_3S01821 019_3S01810

Going back to the car to grab the tripod… low and behold, I saw the light.
I was saying to myself… how do these things like this keep happening to me?
I really couldn’t have planned the mist, the sunlight angle because of clouds, the color of the sunlight is beyond our control as we know.


Yes I put myself in a situation where i could get back lit pictures of surfers when they came out… but I certainly wasn’t expecting this.
I can’t move this dude I’m not in charge of the posing.
I just frame it up to tell the story and wait for the elements to be in a good spot.

 002_DSC2586 008_3S01868

This is a big example of just wandering around searching and being in the right place at the right time.
We didn’t write Hawaii 2009 in the sand but we came by literally seconds before the wave washed it away forever.
I barely had time to aim and spray fire shoot it as it got washed away.
The lighting was hardly what people aim for, but I knew that it would make it unique and that I could add back some of the contrast from shooting towards a setting sun.


This was not planned it was a result of waiting around for other people to be ready to go and getting bored and saying… hey why not take pictures of the palm trees.
If only I had my cable release to take longer than 30 second exposures. But that’s what I could do…
and I set the White balance to 2500 kelvin to bring out the blue because the street lights were throwing off the colors.


On this trip I discovered the joy of setting my white balance to Shady A2 to really bring out warm colors
I think any white balance could have worked for this evening and the camera itself would have been stumped with the colors of the sunset at sunset beach.
Don’t just take good pictures and call it good… add spice.


OK obviously the above picture was taken a while before sunset colors hit… but I wanted to show the kind of waves they were looking at.
You’ll see some better pictures of waves coming up… but I take pictures to document what was going around a whole lot.


Now planning your shots ahead of time is not a bad thing… don’t misunderstand.
I planned on being at sunset beach at sunset.
And when I got there an hour before sunset I said I wanted to  be on such and such side of the water/beach.

But the point is: Up until that time (your way-point time) and after and maybe even instead be willing to let your hunches, ideas and the light take you where they will…
Kinda like the waves of see, they go here and there and wherever the wind and tide takes them.
Yes there could have been other paths… but make the path you decided on, or were thrust into work for you

You’ll find some amazing things start to happen.
And you’ll learn to deal with (photographically) what you’re given… and not just search for what you want and always see the green green grass just beyond reach.

I’m saying both things can be good when done correctly.
But don’t wait for the perfect opportunity… make it the perfect opportunity.


A lot of my pictures are a testament to my laziness… i was shooting sunset here and just didn’t feel like moving.
I was hoping more surfers would just walk past me. (They’ve done it in the past)
So i just sat around, not being pulled in any other way.

So I made where I was Work.
Instead of perhaps finding another better location. (Which might have been good too)


People almost seem to refuse to take pictures when the light is not perfect for them.
I say learn how to deal with the light no matter what it’s giving you.
Use it to your advantage… take the pictures the present light situation is giving you.


Don’t wait for the perfect opportunity… make it the perfect opportunity.
Even better if what’s been given is pretty darn nice!

Posted by scott at July 17, 2009

Category: Uncategorized

Tags: , ,

Thought I’d write a short little ditty about my new baby.

Sorry I’m not all detailed and didn’t include fancy screen shots and what not.
But what I lack because of my lazieness I’ll make up for with awesome detailed info.

The beginning

I bought the new 2nd gen 30″ Dell monitor. I can’t compare it to the 1st gen that is 500$ cheaper.
But I’ll compare it to all my previous monitors. old crts for ages and ages past… dozens. More recently sony 17″, samsung 22″s
And a few laptops with the biggest being the 17″ macbookpro functioning at 1920 resolution.

This thing kicks butt!

Speed & Quality – Lightroom





I got to my location at the SW corner of the BYU stadium for the stadium of fire at 8pm and waited 1hr until people started lighting of personal fireworks

The first actual firework went off at 10:18

I’ll be there again this year barring any unforeseen circumstances.


Use bulb mode and usually shoot 2-5 seconds. Shoot manual and have aperture usually f/9-13

Shoot low ISO

And the obvious… have a tripod.

A remote trigger is awesome, one that does bulb mode is superb.
But if not then use a timer and set it to like 2 seconds… a little more annoying :)

almost forgot: a lens that does internal focusing or at least locks or doesn’t creep when shooting a long shot.
Because you will be pointing up.

I usually shoot with a telephoto and focus on shapes.
Mainly because of the location I’m at.
But others tend to do cool foregrounds or backdrops.

The smoke from the fireworks can be your friend but in some cases it might be bad

Oh have a good tripod that won’t creep on you during the 2-5 second shot.

Have lots of battery because long exposure drains batteries.

This is a recap from the pictures I shot last year.

One of the cool things about fireworks is that there is no editing needing to be done on them.
Well except darkening blacks can help in some cases specially with smokey pics







I’m not the final decision or the most qualified expert on the subject but I’ll just say it as I see it.

Original Post

It wasn’t too long ago I wrote a post looking for the “Best photographer Laptop?

Time to say what I came up with.

The Winners are:

HP 18t fully loaded


Both will be about the same cost.
The HP will have more horsepower and more bells and whistles when it’s loaded up.

But I must admit the MacBookPro is pretty snazzy and has some crazy good battery life and the size and weight are nice.

I don’t think the other options (dell, gateway, Toshiba etc) are that much better. To give them the nod over these two.
I could be swayed otherwise given that I haven’t had real life experience with all of them.
But for now I’d say the HP 18″ or the new macbookpro

You really need to have a large screen if you’re going to edit on the road.

And a word on that:

Laptops and Editing

Try not to Edit on the road!

in fact

Don’t edit with a Laptop!!
Particularly the SCREEN or the TRACKPAD!

Both are terrible choices!!

(Now That I’ve said my inflammatory statements I’ll continue on and say why)

For the insistent

If you insist on it being your only computer for some interesting personal reasons, OK, Fine… but understand. It’s never as good as a desktop when it comes to EVERYTHING besides portability.

Use a Desktop

I will still be using my custom built PC for editing because it’s Much much faster 
It’s consistent… I’m not moving it around into different lighting situations.
I get to use two identical monitors or 3 monitors or even 4… maximising my efficiency.
A keyboard and a mouse are a must and I’m not tempted to try to edit without them.
I use my desk and am not tempted to edit on a couch.
(For busy moms out there maybe that’s why you go with a laptop so you can edit in different rooms throughout the day. Or computers on the bus or subway)

Not As Good


UPDATE: Tuesday’s class was a success… in my humble opinion. Great write up found here

I’m busy and stuff… so I’ve just decided if you haven’t signed up for thursday yet… JUST COME.
Leave the nice tables for those who’ve already signed up. But there will be chairs and stuff.

Also please send an email to to list things you want me to cover in intermediate class.
I’ll try to cover them all. 


Intro/Beginning Class

(Those wanting the intro and the basic rundown of Lightroom)

Tuesday 14th April

Intermediate Class

(Those who have used it for projects &/or gone to a previous long workshops.
We’ll be learning some tips and tricks, guest presentations and a more extensive Q&A for me and other Advanced Lightroom users) 

Thursday 16th April

Advanced Class

There is no workshop or class
But we will be a monthly meetup.
Lightroom Advanced User Group Meetups – “Jarvie’s fellow Lightroom Geeks”

You must have a good deal of lightroom experience
If you want to be involved or help organize these meetups email and specify your interest 

There is a cool special format for these meetups.

East Bay Studios
85 Eastbay Blvd
Provo, UT 84606 

How to registerFollow directions exactly

Send email to – Or leave a comment on this blog post
Write out the following items 1,2,3,4

Email Title: “April Workshop” 

  1. Name
  2. Which class you’ll be attending (1 class only, you pick)
  3. If you want to be on the waiting list for the other class. (The one you didn’t pick.)
  4. Whether you expect to want to go in for Pizza &/or Rootbeer Floats
    5. Notes/Comments – Anything you want me to cover, thoughts, inspirations, resources, ideas! Everything else I can skim through for kicks. Or questions.

Extra: If you’ll be bringing anyone else please supply their information as well – including email 

Title: “April Workshop”
1. Scott Jarvie
2. Tuesday Class (beginning)
3. Yes (for waiting list on thursday/intermediate class)
4. Yes, Pizza (Yum Yum)
5. My question and ideas: Are you going to give away all your presets?  Have people there to talk about their experiences, share their workflow.


80 person Limit

… so RSVP soon. (Specially since it’s only 1 week away)


If there are further questions please try to use – or twitter @jarvie
I will try to refrain from doing much chatting on facebook or gmail chat about the subject to help save me some time to get pictures edited to free up time to do these workshops. 



WARNING: LONGGGG yet Informative Post

Part 1 : Keeping the camera Clean & About Festival

Part 2 : A run down of the events & how to approach as a photographer


I’m including on this informative post new pictures or new edits on old pictures.
So I guess we can say we get to see some never before seen footage from last year.


Lots of interest

Well it appears there is enough interest when i posted my last blog
I think Holi: Festival of Colors will be well documented this year.
Please respond to let me know what you think of the information I provide in this Book-Post


Since the post was too long I had to divide it up into Two parts

Part 1 : Keeping the camera Clean & About Festival

Part 2 : A run down of the events & how to approach as a photographer

What to expect and Do – A picture story

  • I got there 1hr early last year.
  • Lines for the colors prior to the event are very long… but those aren’t the lines to get into the event… just to buy bags of colored flour.
  • I got a feel for the surroundings
    I took pictures of the animals.

Lines for colors can be very long but that doesn't mean you need to wait in them... that's just for buying color


I recently did a workshop at PhotoCamp Utah
We discussed in a short 45 minutes how to increase the effeciency at which we edit.

In preperation for the class I asked 4 other photographers at all ranges of ability to submit their WORKFLOW

Each Day – See and compare

I the next few days I will post each of these workflows.
You will be able to see the differences and similarities.

Submit your own

If you’d like to contribute please write up your workflow and we’ll add it.

We will start with my present workflow.

Scott Jarvie