Toolkit for the Digital Photographer - Part 2

By []Peter Phun

So, for the professional photographer who works on location, here are hardware suggestions that can help avert a "photo disaster."

1) Plentiful supply of an assortment of batteries whether rechargeables or disposables. Radio slaves might use 9-volt batteries, triple or double As. Proprietary batteries for digital slrs are problematic and pricey but they tend to hold the longest charge. Some manufacturers have battery holders that allow you to pop in double A's. The battery grip for the Canon 40D for instance accepts 2 proprietary Canon batteries or 8 double A's.

It is obvious that without power, you are "up the creek." Everything you do depends on you having power whether it is ac or dc.

2) A power inverter which plugs into your car's cigarette lighter. Since the cigarette lighter is fast becoming an artifact in today's car, you should put that "jack" to good use. Besides giving the ability to charge your batteries when driving, the inverter will also allow you to run small appliances like a laptop for on-location editing or power small appliances.
Don't forget a ample supply of fuses for your car.
When there are blackouts, this inverter may be your only source of power to charge your various batteries.

3) A portable battery powered dvd burner like the Delkin Burnaway which allows you to download images and clear your memory cards so you can continue shooting on location.

A similar portable device like the JOBO Giga is a battery operated hard drive of varying capacity ranging from 200 GB to 80 GB. The Gig has slots for inserting your memory cards to allow you to download your images from your memory cards without the hassle of pulling out your laptop.

4) Gaffer tape. Don't mistaken this for duct tape. Gaffer is the same color but is matte and not shiny like duct tape. More importantly Gaffer tape leaves little or no residue and costs more.

5) Large black fabric of at least 9' x 6'. This "portable background" can be make any distracting background disappear when strategically draped.

6) A gray card/white on the other side for setting a custom white balance when you're caught in a room with mixed lighting.

7) A light stand and at least a heavy duty clamp. The light stand in a jam can stand in as a tripod or when used with the clamp can hold in place a makeshift reflector or hold a portable flash unit off camera.

8) Extension cords of varying lengths.

Peter Phun is an adjunct photography instructor at Riverside City College. He is a freelance photographer, web designer and stay at home dad. He previously worked as a staff photographer for 18 years at The Press-Enterprise, Southern California's 4th largest daily newspaper. Peter is the webmaster for the Mac user group in the Inland Empire. For more information about this Riverside based photographer, visit

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Toolkit For The Digital Photographer Part One - Software

By []Peter Phun

Just as a wood-working artisan has special chisels for his trade, every working professional digital photographer has over time put together his own "toolkit."

On the software or post production end, these are necessities:

1) "Rescue Pro" software is something no one wants to think about, but in the real world, is a necessity.The digital photographer who foolishly thinks it will never happen to him, just needs to be burned once and he'll become a believer.

If you buy a SanDisk high-end memory card like those "Extreme III or IV" variety, not only is there a lifetime warranty, but they also ship with this file recovery utility.

Never wait till you have an actual corrupted file to test the software. The best thing you can do is after you're done downloading and archiving your images, erase and format the memory card. Then launch this file recovery utility to see how many of those images can be recovered.

Remember, Dirty Harry said, "Man's got to know his limitations."

2) Genuine Fractals or Extensis' Smart Pixel. Either one of these photoshop plug-ins allow you to scale up a image which you might have shot with perhaps an old camera which didn't have the megapixels you need for a huge print.

3) Picture Code's Noise Ninja.($80) This plug-in with Photoshop reduces the inherent noise in digital images shot in high ISO.

4) Finally, a disk utility application like Disk Warrior or Micromat's Tech Tool Pro and that install disk that came with your computer should be included in that toolkit. These applications are for the Macintosh platform but I'm certain there are similar counterparts in the Windows world.

If your internal hard drive crashes and you can't boot up, these dvds or cds can be your only salvation. What these discs allow you to do is boot up your computer, attempt to repair or "band-aid" the hard drive allowing you to safely download your data from your suspect internal hard drive.

Peter Phun is an adjunct photography instructor at Riverside City College. He is a freelance photographer, web designer and stay-at-home dad. He previously worked as a staff photographer for 18 years at The Press-Enterprise, Southern California's 4th largest daily newspaper. Peter was among the first on the staff at the newspaper who embraced the change from film to digital, but like most photojournalist his age, has shot miles and miles of black and white and color film.

Peter is the webmaster for the Mac user group in the Inland Empire. For more information about this Riverside based photographer, visit

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Travel Photography - Covering Your Subject

By []Mark Eden

Many different elements go into making up the character of a particular destination or location, whether it be a far flung exotic city or your home town. It is the travel photographer's job to cover these elements in order to present that character to the viewer. This article looks into what goes into bringing the character of a subject to the audience.

Essential Elements

There are many separate "parts" that make a location what it is, but these generally boil down to landscape, people and culture. Let's look at these in a little more depth.


Every city, mountain range or coastal area has its own unique look and feel. This might be created by architecture exclusive to that part of the world, such as Gaudi's designs that are so prominent in Barcelona. Or well known landmarks (Eiffel Tower anyone?) or rough seas and steep cliffs like those so characteristic of the northern coasts of Scotland and Ireland. What does it look like in the morning? At night? The location might take on several personalities through the day so it is essential to try to capture as many of these as you can to give a broader picture.


Possibly the most influential factor in the character of a location is the people who live there. The way they look and dress, the way they carry themselves, the lifestyle they live and the customs they observe. Is there a particular piece of clothing that defines them? Or maybe a certain characteristic. For example, if they are known to be happy and smiling people, show them as such. If they are known to be hardworking, try to include some shots of workers.


This can encompass subjects such as food and drink. Local dishes give an immediate insight into the way of life lived by people of that area. Freshly caught seafood may be a specialty of the area, or it may be famous for a particular dessert or drink. Culture can also be shown in the festivals and events held in the particular region. This might be an annual parade where locals dress in the traditional costumes of their ancestors, or a huge street party that captures the energy and vibrancy of a population.

Putting It Together

To put these elements in photographic terms, I like to think of the process as zooming in on a subject. Starting with the landscape element described above, you essentially form an overview, or wide angle view of the subject, capturing surroundings. Distinctive buildings and landmarks give a feel and sometimes instant recognition to the location. Zoom in to form a collective portrait of the people, their way of life and daily activities. It is a good idea to use both posed portraits and candid shots to show personalities as well as customs and way of life. Finally zooming in further to capture details such as local food and dishes and detailed studies of buildings. Text such as in shop signs shows languages spoken. Also any products that are traditional or well known in the area. For example, leather goods from Morocco, or electronics from Japan.

Travel photography is in a sense a very broad specialization. Possibly not a specialization at all. A travel photographer needs to be a landscape photographer, portrait photographer, still life photographer and nature photographer often all in the space of a single shooting session. Learn to cover all these elements within the broader subject and you are well on your way to becoming a more accomplished photographer.

Mark Eden is a freelance [ ]travel photographer and writer, and the founder and director of Expanse Photography, a photographic services company offering fine art, [ ]limited edition prints as well as stock and assignment photography and publishing services. Mark can be contacted through the Expanse Photography website

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The 3 Most Vital Steps To Becoming A Paid Photographer

By []Danny Eitreim

For many of us, photography has been a passion for most of our lives. We've studied photo techniques, lighting, posing and so on. We've dreamed of becoming a paid photographer and working at our dream job - but, we don't know where to start.

We know we're talented - all our friends and relatives are constantly hounding us to do their portraits or "take a few shots" at their weddings. And frankly, we're getting a little tired of doing free work - especially when the "pros" make thousands of dollars for doing the exact same thing.

Working at a mall photo studio doesn't seem too exciting - we look downright weird in a beanie with a propeller on top, plus there doesn't seem to be any emphasis on creativity. The poses are all the same, the lighting is all the same, not to mention the fact that the mall photographers don't make much more than minimum wage.

What to do? We COULD take a mall photo job - and let our dreams and abilities atrophy and die a slow agonizing death. Or, we could try to get a job as an intern or an assistant to another photographer - and lug around equipment all day, for no pay. In a couple years we might even be allowed to touch the camera!

Or, we could start our OWN photo business!

It's not hard. The mall photographers taught us that we can get started by learning a few basic poses and lighting patterns. If our friends really ARE after us to do their photos, these are poses that we are already comfortable using. Particularly if we've been studying photography for any length of time at all.

Then once we know we've covered the basics, (the poses that our customers will undoubtedly want) we can get creative and put our own vision and style into the session. Finally, we're living the life of our dreams AND by cutting out all the corporate middlemen, we are making a decent living! So, the first thing we need to make money in the life of our dreams is the courage to get started! This is by far the hardest step.

The second thing we have to do is set up the mechanical side of our business. Get a business license, business checking account, business cards, look into getting the ability to accept credit/debit cards and so on. (This step CAN and probably should be done after we have step number three functioning.) True it's a hassle, but this is all fast and easy to do. Plus, if you do everything right and legal from the start, it avoids a lot of problems further down the road. Any accountant can help you get set up with your bookkeeping and show you what records you will need to keep, etc.

The third thing we need is customers.

This step is easier than you may think. Let's face it, almost everyone uses professional photography at some point in their lives. And most of us use it a LOT! We get our weddings photographed, we get our Bar and Bat Mitzvahs photographed, we get baby pictures, school photos, family portraits, dance recitals, Christenings and on and on...

Finding potential customers is no problem. Even better, as more and more people become aware of the importance of portraiture, the industry - at least from my experience - is growing.

To find unending streams of potential clients all clamoring for your services is a simple matter of knowing how to inexpensively reach them with your marketing materials - when they are in the market for photography. Teaching YOU how to do that is my specialty. Click the link in the bio box and it will take you to a free photo marketing newsletter. (Plus you get a free ebook.) Learning to make money with your photography is easier than you think. I can take you from a dead start and you could be cashing checks within two weeks. Check it out, there's nothing to lose.

You may feel free to reprint and publish this article at will as long as it remains intact and unchanged, including the author bio box.

Dan Eitreim has been a professional photographer in southern California for over 16 years. His data base exceeds 6000 past clients, and he says that selling YOUR photography is easy - if you know a couple tried and true marketing strategies. He's created a multimedia presentation that can teach ANYONE how to sell their own photography and generate freelance income in as little as two weeks. To learn more and enroll in a FREE photo marketing course, go to:

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