Yn-560 Review

In Portrait by Jim Harmer

The Yong Nuo YN-560 speedlight is somewhat of a legend among flash photographers.  Traditionally, any external flash for a DSLR cost at least $300.  You may have also seen this price tag the last time you went to the camera store.  The YN-560 flash is a knock-off speedlight that mirrors many of the design and …

How to Take Successful Family Portraits

In Portrait by Jim Harmer

I shot another family portrait tonight.  It took me half way through the shoot before I remembered to change my shooting style.  While I am generally focused on the photography and getting the shot, when I shoot family portraits I have to remind myself that the Mom  of the family (the one I am trying …

A Guide to Buying Cheap Wireless Flash Triggers

In Portrait by Jim Harmer

Want to try off-camera flash, but don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on a set of PocketWizards?  Welcome to the world of cheap eBay and Amazon wireless flash triggers, which will allow you to wirelessly fire your flash even when it is not connected to your DSLR camera. If you’re ready to venture off …

The Simplest Way to Pose Your Subjects

In Portrait by Jim Harmer

Posing your models or other subjects in portrait photography can actually be quite difficult.  Difficult, and important.  I find that the clients often choose the shots they like the most according to the pose and how the pose makes them look rather than how good the photography is. This post is in response to a …

8 Ways to Make Photography Subjects Feel Comfortable

In Portrait by Jim Harmer

A few weeks ago, I took pictures of my wife during her 5k race.  As she ran toward the finish line, I was set up with my 70-200mm f/2.8 lens and empty memory cards.  I caught 3 or 4 frames in a burst and then, my shot was ruined. What ruined my shot?  My wife …

What Gear Does a Wedding Photographer Need?

In Portrait by Jim Harmer

Gear isn’t everything.  We all need to recognize that a truly great photographer could do 95% of his work with a point-and-shoot.  However, shooting a wedding is mission critical work.  If a photographer has any respect for her client, she will show the courtesy of using the proper gear for the job.  I wrote this …

An Introduction to Fill-Flash for Photography

In Portrait by Jim Harmer

As soon as a new photographer gets her hands on a Canon 580EXII or a Nikon SB-700, they inevitably want to use it ALL THE TIME… including when shooting on the beach in the middle of the day.  Most photographers get frustrated when using fill-flash for the first time, but you really only need to …

Shoot Report: Night Portrait of a Taxi Driver

In Portrait by Jim Harmer

If you follow @ImprovePhoto on Twitter, you may have seen the photo featured on this page two weeks ago when I tweeted my shoot.  A few of you asked questions about the shoot, so I thought it would be an interesting article for today. First of all, I was a bit disappointed with the shoot. …

When Do I Use the Different Reflector Colors?

In Portrait by Jim Harmer

If anyone in my classes is interested in portraiture, I usually tell them that the best piece of gear they can buy to improve their photography is a simple reflector.  When they hear that a good one only cost about $25, they run out and buy one…. then, I know it’s coming. They come into …

What’s the difference between an umbrella, a softbox, and a beauty dish?

In Portrait by Jim Harmer

UPDATE! This post is quite old.  For an updated version of this post with example pictures click here.   Umbrella Umbrellas throw light EVERYWHERE!  Because they are large light sources, they produce very soft light.  The biggest draw to umbrellas is frankly the cost, portability, and simplicity.  A 43″ umbrella can be purchased for around …

How to Photograph Gorgeous Night Portraits

In Portrait by Jim Harmer

I spend a significant amount of time just enjoying beautiful photography.  I look at great photos on flickr, on the websites of other photographers, and I always look at the websites of people who comment on the blog and include a link to their site.  In seeing all these photos, I am frequently surprised at …

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5 Tips for Better Photography of Your Kids

In Portrait by Jim Harmer

Every photographer takes family photos.  For hobbyist photographers, that’s probably what you photograph more than anything else.  Unfortunately, I rarely see articles on photography sites about how to take better portraits of one’s own family.  To that end, I wrote this post on how to improve your photos of the kids. Kid Photography Tip #1: …