Review – Mike Moats Macro Bootcamp

I recently attended Mike Moats Macro Bootcamp.

It was everything I hoped it would be. A tell-it-like-it-is description of how he takes his wonderful photographs, to the level of detail that you can do it yourself. He covered lenses, accessories, camera details, the keys to flower and critter photographs, what buyers want, taking photographs at a botanical garden, elements of design and composition, finding character in nature, his workflow, including demos of how he uses software to clean up his photos, fun ideas for photography, and many many more.

He has lots of opportunities for you to try out his tips, with plenty of things to take photos of. He walks around and gives you advice, suggestions, and lots of encouragement. Overall a very positive experience.

I can already tell the difference when I’m looking for that photo to take, such as at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens earlier this week:

Matthaei peonies pink between whites

You can follow his blog to learn more about this amazing and amazingly generous photographer.


Shutterstock submission page and guidelines

Shutterstock is the first stock photo website I got into, in 2009, and their critique forums were very helpful in teaching me about stock photography in a supportive environment. They currently result in about half of my stock photography income.

Read their guidelines carefully and follow them. Photos must be at least 4.0 Megapixels in size. They are known for being particularly picky about things being in focus. Also check out their 50 most popular photos this week.

When you are ready to submit your photos, I would appreciate you using this link. It doesn’t cost you anything and I get a referral bonus and the pleasure of watching your progress! Thanks.

Review – Ten Mistakes you are Making with your Photography

Lynford Morton is a photography coach who runs photography workshops in Washington, DC. You can download a very useful booklet from his website that reminds you of typical mistakes we can make when we are not thinking through our photographs.

I encourage you to download it and review it from time to time to check that you’re not making one or more of the 12 mistakes!

Review – National Geographic photography video courses

Many of us dream of becoming National Geographic photographers one day so what better resource than an actual National Geo photographer! I have considered attending a National Geographic photography workshop, but they are beyond my current budget and I was worried I wouldn’t be able to absorb that much information that quickly. So I was delighted when I found National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore’s video courses!

The set of “Fundamentals of Photography” and “The Art of Travel Photography: Six Expert Lessons” is currently on sale for $90, and well worth the investment. Fundamentals of Photography has twelve hours of video covering basics of equipment, camera setting, light, composition, plus specific advice for different kinds of photography. He takes you on the field and shows you how he thinks through and composes photographs. He also comes with a 150 page PDF guidebook that summarizes the lessons and his advice. I can already see an improvement in my thinking as a photographer from watching these videos. The Art of Travel Photography is composed of five hours of densely packed information that takes you along on some of his trips and gives you lots of information to improve your photography, plus an assignment with each lesson to get you started.

Mr. Sartore is very easy going, and makes his point with great examples of real photos he has taken both professionally and personally. He has many “in the field” examples where he shows you how he sets up a photograph, and how he improves on it. Remember that motto, “don’t take the shot, make the shot”. Mr. Sartore will show you how to do that.

Review – Digital Photography School

I signed up for Digital Photography School’s tips and tutorials‘s RSS feed and I love getting their tips every day. Sometimes they might not be about something I’m interested in, like HDR, but more often than not I learn something from each, and on days that I don’t have time to focus on photography I appreciate staying connected to photography through their posts.

I would suggest if you’re just getting started you take a look at their Digital Photography Tips for Beginners for quick introductions to exposure, shutter speed, ISO and apertures.

… then take it from there – you could spend hours (and I have…) reading their non-ending set of tutorials with many excellent suggestions, and if you sign up for their RSS feed the tips will just keep coming – or maybe Pinterest or another means is more to your liking…

Review – photography and Photoshop courses

I find courses tremendous resources to learn Photoshop and improve my photography. It costs $25/month, so I just subscribe for a couple months each summer, when I have more time to devote to it. Courses I’ve taken the past four summers include:

Shooting with the Nikon D7000 – Ben Long is just the best at patiently walking you through every single button in your camera to teach you how to get the most out of your camera. I started with a Nikon D40, a 6MP camera, and after I got more serious about stock photography moved up to the D7000 to have a 16MP pixel camera, so I could have more flexibility with my photos, knowing I could crop them and still have photos large enough to be accepted into stock photo sites.

Foundations of photography: Composition – Ben Long does a great job of teaching everything you need to know about composition – perspective, symmetry, rule of thirds, photographing people, landscapes, with terrific examples and assignments.

Foundations of photography: Exposure – Ben Long again, teaching you about the effect of shutter speed, f-stops, aperture, light balance, in an easy to understand style.

Photoshop Top 40 – Deke McClelland starts you off with a great set of essential tools within Photoshop. I go back to it as a refresher.

Photoshop CS4: Image Adjustments in Depth – After taking a Photoshop CS4 workshop, this more in-depth set of sessions from Jan Kabili takes you to the next level with easy to understand tutorials.

Photoshop CS6 Essential Training – A very detailed introduction to CS6 by Julieanne Kost, teaches you about layers, masks, retouching, filters – lots to learn here. I’ll probably refresh my memory with this class this summer.

I have not been disappointed in any of’s offerings. They have knowledgeable, easy to understand, patient instructors that are a pleasure to learn from.

Review – Shutterstock forums

One way I learned what made for a successful stock photo was to read many year’s worth of Shutterstock critique forums. I just read one after another after another and found a generous community of photographers who will give you suggestions about how to improve your photos to get accepted into photography sites. At first the photos the newbies posted looked all right to me, but after a few hundred posts I could look at the photo and predict what the respondents were going to say – that’s when I knew I was ready to submit my photos!

You can see a great example of a photographer who at first was not accepted, then sought advice from the forum, and after acting on their suggestions got in here.

Laurin Rinder and David Smith are particularly helpful, and I got my model and property release templates from Laurin.

Go take a look, you’ll learn a lot!