Thursday, August 21, 2014

BEHIND THE LENS: Nikki Gardner of Art & Lemons, Western Massachusetts

I am so excited to feature the beautiful work of Nikki Gardner of Art and Lemons on our Behind the Lens series this week.  Some of you may be familiar with Nikki's work as she is a contributor to the very popular photography blog Mortal Muses and she has an e-course Develop Your Photo Habit & Style:  10 Minutes a Day for 31 Days. 

As you can see from the images below, Nikki's images really make you feel like you are a part of the scene.  Her work is so inspiring. Thank you Nikki for sharing your lovely images and story with us today!

Your Name: Nikki Gardner
Your studio/business name: Art & Lemons
Location: Western Massachusetts

Your Style

In 50 words or less, how would your clients describe your photography? I think my style would be described as narrative, honest, engaging, and spontaneous with a bit of wit thrown in every once and while. When I’m working with people, I want them to trust my vision and to forget the camera is present.

Are you self-taught or classroom trained? Classroom trained, but I’m forever a student of the medium.

How many years have you been a professional photographer? I’ve been a fine art photographer since 2001. Over the past five years, I’ve expanded into editorial photography as well.

Where do you want to take your photography business in 5 years? I want to shoot more editorial and lifestyle features for books, magazines, and newspapers.

Is there a photographer who inspires your style?  Yes, there are so many. I feel like my list of influences is always evolving…

Who would that be? Currently, I’m into Saul Leiter’s color street photographs, Alex Prager’s cinematic narratives, Brian W. Ferry’s artist and designer profiles,  and Erin Kunkel’s food, lifestyle, and travel photographs.

Favorite location to take photos? Wherever there is light though I love to photograph New York City. It’s vibrant and in constant motion, even at night.

Favorite vacation spot? Cape Cod.

Your Business

What was the pivotal moment when you decided to become a photographer? In my early 20s I moved to Portland, Oregon to attend a graduate studies program in International Business. A few weeks into the program, I went out to dinner with some of my classmates. One of the guys, I can’t even remember his name anymore, asked me what I wanted to do after graduation. Truthfully, I said, I just want to take photographs. He replied, then why don’t you. After that, I left the program and started taking pictures. I wish I could remember his name to thank him.

What’s the best marketing tip that has worked for you? Be bold. Constantly put yourself out there. Make friends and genuine connections with people on social media and in person. Promote other people’s work. Share what you do and your process. Be interested and interesting with what you share online. Above all, keep pitching your ideas and projects.

What’s the most surprising thing a customer has asked you? During a solo gallery showing of my fine art work, someone asked if the photographs in the series were real or made up. Both, I replied.

Favorite print lab? For fine art photography, I use a local lab, Pivot Media. I can go in a proof the prints, and make adjustments to ensure the prints are spot on.

Your Gear

Are you Canon or Nikon (or –other): Nikon

If you could only have one lens on a photo shoot, what would it be? Nikon 50mm f/1.4 lens

What brand bag do you carry your camera in? My digital bag is a small practical Lowepro. For film cameras, I carry a large Tenba bag with a Polaroid Spectra, Nikon f100, and Hasselblad 500 cm.

What gear would we find in your camera bag? Nikon d7000 (although I hope to upgrade to a Nikon d800 soon), Nikon 50mm f/1.4 lens, Nikon 24 -70mm f/2.8 lens, Nikon Speedlight SB/600.

Are you a natural light fan or strobe fan? Natural light all the way.

Are you PC or Mac? Mac

Your Tips and Tricks

What post processing tools do you use? For digital images, I use Lightroom 5.6 and adjust my photos manually. When I do use LR Presets, I like Totally Rad’s Replichrome Film Presets, both I and II. For film images, I get the film developed at a local lab, and then scan them with an Epson v700. Minimal editing is done in Photoshop CS5.

Do you shoot in Raw or Jpeg? Raw

Best advice you would give your 20-year old self? Trust your heart. Work on your craft. Don’t worry about whether you have any talent or if you’re good enough or not. Think about whether or not you are capturing something true, in yourself and in the moment. Also, learn how to be a keen editor of your own work. This takes time and practice. Be patient with yourself. You’ll make mistakes along the way. It’s okay. Pick yourself up and start again.

Best advice you would give a new photographer? Shoot constantly. Make photography your obsession. Decide what you’re passionate about photographing and practice. Give yourself assignments. Practice under varying conditions so that when you’re in the field, you’ll have experience to fall back on. Do it until you tire of it, then keep going. Push through until you make the kind of photographs you admire.

What site do you use for your photography and why? (although my portfolio site is currently under construction.)

And just because we want to know you better, fill in the blanks

Three things I can’t live without…. Coffee, books, my yoga mat.
I wish I had more…..time to travel and make photographs. I have a long list of places I want to photograph. Now I need to make it happen.
The best thing about being a photographer is… finding truth in everyday moments.
The most important lesson I ever learned was….Say yes, even when you have no idea what you’re doing, just say yes, then figure out how to accomplish what needs to be done.

My favorite time of day is…early morning.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Chocolate Puppy Yawning GIF

Tina Case Photography

We love GIFs at Moms Who Click.  We've published a few tutorials based on websites we love.

Here are two posts we've published with directions:

Another Animated GIF


How to Make an Animated GIF

Here's our latest GIF from a few pics I took over the weekend of a Chocolate Puppy who was ready for a nap!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

MyPublisher Photo Book Review

I finally put together a photo book from our trip to the beach during this year's spring break and this time I tried out MyPublisher.  I've used a variety of different photo book making services and I think I just found my new favorite.  

MyPublisher offers 4 different landscape sizes from soft cover mini books (starting at $2.99) to deluxe hardcover books (like what I made pictured above, with price starting at $59.99). You can also choose from a variety of different cover options including photo finish where the image is printed directly on the cover (like my example), removable book jackets, and linen or leather covers which feature a customizable front window frame for a photo or text.

Although it is not web-based, making a book is simple to do.  Just download the software, create your book using their fully customizable layouts/templates and upload and order when you're done.  What I really like about MyPublisher is that the focus is on the images themselves and clean design and less on scrapbooking elements.  

Below you'll see the user interface which is very intuitive.  I also like the Quick Start Guide on the sidebar which serves as a handy reminder of the steps involved in creating your book.  

When you are finished creating your book, you can choose to upgrade the paper (which I did and fully recommend for the additional $3.99) as well as upgrade to lay flat (where the binding technology keeps pages laying flat when the book is open for an additional $45).  There are also additional accessories you can choose to really make your book unique like a memorabilia pocket, presentation box or photo window box.  

For those of you who might consider using MyPublisher for a client, you can remove the MyPublisher logo for a $10 fee however you can not upload your own logo.

Overall, I am very impressed with the quality of my book.  The images are sharp and the colors look great as you can see from some of my page examples below.  And again, the upgraded paper really feels like an upgrade unlike some other companies I've used.  

If you have not tried MyPublisher, I encourage you to give them a go.  And be sure to check out their special offer to new customers where you can receive a free additional book (buy one get one) by providing your email address on their site.

Disclaimer:  I was provided with a free book in exchange for this review.  The opinions in this post are entirely my own.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Need Some Inspiration? Check out Gatherings Through The Lens with Holly Clark

If you are looking to improve your event photography, whether personal or professional, then you should definitely check out a new ecourse offered by Big Picture Classes called Gatherings Through the Lens with Holly Clark.

I adore Holly and her work.  I met Holly 3 years ago at Camp Shutter Sisters and have been following her work ever since.

Holly is an amazing photographer who truly knows how to capture captivating images of events and celebrations both big and small.  In this class she will share everything she has learned over the past 3 years shooting professional events.  After taking this course, you will will have better understanding of how to capture magical moments.

She is a Mortal Muse contributor,  Stocksy United artist and instructor for several other Big Picture Classes including this summer's Phone Photography Project 2.  Holly has a passion for sharing her knowledge and is one of the most helpful photographers I know.

Watch the video below....become inspired and hope to see you in class ...