Hints: Best Photo Tips Ever!

Hints: Best Ever

If you’ve my blog posts regarding photography, you’ve heard me almost if not full on RANT about the flood of marketing hype on technology vs art. I’m a firm believer that buying a new set of paints, brushes, canvas and an easel does not make one an artist. The same holds true for photography. You can purchased the biggest, best, camera; the latest apps, the latest software and it won’t make you a photographer. It’ll just make a big dent in your bank account.

You’ve heard me go on and on about exposure, composition, lighting and knowing camera limitations. I like other photographers would be more than willing to answer questions, offer how-to’s and hints, coach those interested in the medium as an art form.

It makes me think about time I was at an event talking with another photographer, when an acquaintance came up to me. The person was there to photograph the event. Their images we way over exposed. The photographer (well actually, picture taker) asked for my help to figure out the problem. My problem was I was handed a Nikon camera when I shoot Canon. I had to figure out the menu navigation in order to help solve the problem. The photographer (picture taker) couldn’t even navigate the menu.

After getting the “picture taker” situated, it dawned on me; This person is the Official Event Photographer? Are you kidding me? Hey why not, the person has a “big camera”, they must know what they’re doing.

Anyway back to the original idea behind this post. I have a “Google Alert” set for portrait + photography, so interesting articles come in to my inbox. The other day, there it was. The article that summarized every really cool photography hint to the non-photographer. Guess what, no special camera/phone, no wiz-bang app, no marketing hype, just good-ole photography basics. The best advice anyone could give a wanna-be and good reminders for the seasoned photographer – like me! So I decided to include the article for  your benefit.


Please look it over. In fact, book mark it as you may want to go back to it again. I have to hurry up and finish my post so I can go back and read it again. Afterwards, take a moment to give me your thoughts on the hints. Remember the goal is not to make you a National Geographic staff photographer, but to help you improve your photos on Facebook. Let me know what you think. You can even post your questions for more discussion. Happy shooting!

tom-szabo.com logo

tom-szabo.com; jewelry, photography & scuba instruction.

Commitment to Craft

Commitment To Craft

Those of you who know me are probably aware of my commitment to my craft – Photography. I’m willing to help people solve a problem. I use this medium to share tips and techniques. Yes, I’ll give you suggestions/critique on your work. It doesn’t matter to me if you use a DSLR or a cell phone camera. Although I have my opinion about cell phone shooters – chuckle!

It’s been my expressed opinion that people often fall into the trap of believing high-dollar corporate marketing about their technology vs individual skill. Meaning buy our product and you can create like the pros. If that were the case, our entire golfing population would be on the pro tour because they bought expensive golf clubs. Now we all know the truth behind that one.

To be a good – not necessarily award winning photographer, takes time, effort and knowledge. Time spent experimenting with your tools. Effort to work at your craft. Learning about your camera, exposure, composition and lighting. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t expect you to get a degree in photography. However you need to learn enough to achieve the results you desire. Buying the latest and greatest technology doesn’t do that.

You may have heard my comment: A poor image with an Instagram filter is still a poor image. Can filters and special effects enhance your results? Bet your media card it will. It all starts with a well done image and that happens using the skills I mentioned above.

A great way to begin understanding what makes good photography is to study those recognized for being a master of their craft. Why do art students spend so much time in class and places like art museums? They’re studying the masters. It doesn’t mean you copy them, but you need to recognize what makes them a master and try the studied technique.

On occasion I’ve offered a link to a photographer I feel has a “Good Eye”. This link just came across my inbox: https://www.theguardian.com/music/gallery/2016/nov/16/patrick-harbron-intimate-rock-photography

Take a look at Patrick Harbron’s work. Most of it seems was created during the age of film photography. You’ll see how He uses composition, lighting and equipment to get his results. If you’d like a discussion about what film teaches us, that’s another topic. Does Mr. Harbron get special access at events? Probably. But might you’ll be able to get special access at your child’s next performance or sports outing? Maybe – give it a try and let me know about your results. Oh yeah, be sure to check out Mr. Harbron’s work.

tom-szabo.com logo, commitment, craft

tom-szabo.com; jewelry, photography & scuba instruction.

Photographing Flowers – Easy?

Photographing Flowers!

In a recent article by Hana Tavener for I-News – The Essential Daily Briefing, she listed five suggestions to help you photograph flowers.

1 – Get Close

2 – Focus/Depth of Field

3 – The Whole Wide World (or field of view)

4 – Timed To Perfection (Time lapse)

5 – Vary Your Conditions

You can learn more by reading the entire article.

Let me suggest that you look over the 5 topics listed above. Do you see anything that says walk up to a flower and push the button? Of course not. To create good photography, you need to to use the gray matter between your ears – your BRAIN. Learning a little about photography also helps. That means reading to learn about your camera, exposure, composition and of course shoot and shoot and shoot some more. You can’t create art by buying the most expensive camera and simply point it at a subject.

First of all let’s get down to basics – your smart phone is NOT smart! You are a “Human” with the power to learn and think. That also means applying what you’re thinking and learning. So by all means, read. Then go out and apply what you read by shooting. That’s how you become a better photographer (vs. a “pitcher-taker”).

In addition, search for well known photographers. read what they write and study their work. It really helps. Good luck and keep shooting.

purple cone flower

Purple Cone Flower shot in author’s back yard.

Light – Composition For Photography

Use Light and Composition

If you’ve been following me for a little while, you’ve heard me comment about understanding light in order to improve your photography. In the article attached to my post, I’d like you to examine the photographs of the artist – Vivienne Gucwa. First, notice how her images evoke a mood. Whether it’s the night scene or a snow storm. It sets the mood for the subject.

Secondly, when you look at her images do you notice your eye moving through the image. That’s her use of light combined with composition to accomplish that. Next time you pick up your camera think back to Vivienne’s images for inspiration. What are your thoughts?

Mount Rushmore Light Show

Electric lighting on Mount Rushmore at night.

3 point Photography Checklist

When I watch cell phone picture takers, I can tell the image will not be what they expected. Just by watching, I can see the result will not work. Why? Most cell phone camera picture takers haven’t a clue about photography. So if you fall into this category, here’s a great into article with 3 things to check.


Photography Assingment – Too Good To Be True?

This was an inquiry I received through marketingtool.com  After going through this inquiry, I made up my mind I would not participate in the assignment.  You know what they say about “too-good-to-be-true”.

Hello I will like to confirm if you can shoot a wedding event on the 23rd of November 2011? Please get back to me. at Regards

So I responded and below is the thread for the email listed above


Yes, I have Nov 23rd, 2011 open.  Will you and/or your fiance call me at XXX-XXX-XXXX to discuss your details and arrive at pricing and a contract.

Tom Szabo, Photographer

Mark’s reply:
Thanks for the mail,Here is a little about the wedding.The wedding is taking place in Denver, Colorado. It is an 7 hours event starting from 9am till 4 pm. It is an indoor event which consist of 100 guest at most, I will like you to cover the reception as well which will start from 2 Pm till 4 pm on that day. I will like the picture to be on a CD, and I don’t have a wedding planner, I plan it by myself. Please reply me by e-mail cos I am physically impaired (Hearing).  You may think about the flight and hotel accommodation, there is provision for that , my flight agent will make arrangement for that. I think with all the details have given to you now,Calculate your fee alone, you should be able to calculate and let me know how much it will cost. Please get back to me as soon as possible. I just contacted you via marketing tools and want to know if you can handle it.


Your email did not allow me to determine if one or two photographers will be required.  So, I’m going to assume that two photographers will be necessary for complete coverage.  Providing 7 hours of coverage will therefore require a 3/4 day (9 hour).  I’ve attached a wedding photography price sheet for your review.  You’ll see that the fee for a 3/4 day , two photographers is $X,XXX.00.  In addition you will need to select your final deliverable(s) and add that to the fee.  You indicated you desire a CD of images as your deliverable.  The fee for that $XXX.00.  Should you decide on additional products, you can add in those fees also.  You would be required to cover all travel, accommodations (2 rooms), meals and car rental expenses.  Since you indicated you have a travel planner,  I’m sure they can make the arrangements and work out direct billing to you for all expenses.

If this meets with your approval, Please let me know and I will email a contract to you.  It will detail the scope of services, deliverable, fees, expense coverage and deposit.  I await your reply.

Tom Szabo, Photographer

By Mark:
Thanks so much….I am very much okay for the price for 2 photographer. Please get back to me and let me know how much I need to pay as initial deposit to get the date reserved. Also get back to me with your name and address so that I can get the check for the deposit sent as soon as possible. I want everything to work out fast cos the date is drawing closer.

Thanks so much

I then email asking Mark why he had to fly two photographers in to Cleveland.  There must be photographers in Denver that can handle the assignment.  At this point I gotten no reply from Mark.  Strange inquiry – wouldn’t you agree?

Mark’s email address is:
You might want to watch for these types of inquiries.  So you see not only do consumers have to watch out for unscrupulous service providers, business owners need to watch for questionable customers.

Heather and Ashlee’s Portrait Session

If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a thousand times: “I hate having my picture taken!”  Trust me, the more you put up the fight in front of the camera, the harder it will be to create artistic results.  So when you get in front of the camera, relax, lighten up, and try to have some fun. 

Photography, Portrait, A Thomas Image, Tom Szabo, Photographer

We are Rockers!

Photography, Portrait, A Thomas Image, Photographer, Tom Szabo

Subjects look better happy and smiling!

Photography, Portrait, A Thomas Image, Photographer, Tom Szabo

Just relax!

Think of it this way, do your friends look better with a frown or a smile?  Of course they look better with a smile.  People look better when they’re happy.  That doesn’t mean smiling will turn you into a super model.  Let Photoshop attempt that feat.  But do yourself a favor,  next time you’re being photographed, ENJOY it.  If you want to increase your odds of looking great, call me.  Let’s schedule a sitting and capture the happy and beautiful YOU!

To see how happiness works in your favor, check out a couple images from a recent sitting for Ashlee and Heather.  Looks like they had fun!