Dance School Photography WOW Products!!

Hi Gang

It’s that time of year again in the studio and we are in the process of getting ready for another dance school photography season. One of the easiest ways I’ve found to separate yourself from the competition is by always having great products and new designs.

For example, in most areas the photographers are just offering standard prints and aren’t really catering to the specific needs of the dance schools. We have designed complete product lines just for dance schools. From the traditional Memory Mate to specialized products such as art series, dance composites, custom posters, pano’s, gallery wraps etc… we also offer custom dance mouse pads, coffee mugs, buttons, shirts and more… much like we have done for the youth sports photography market. These products and designs are updated every year… they always want and expect “something new”.

You can find many of these designs over at Photo Solutions Market.

Let me know what you think…






Join us at DDLab on Feb 9th  and 10th to learn from some of the best in the business how to double your sports business this year! Two full days of sales, marketing & how-to knowledge from industry leading experts.

Event: Double Your Youth Sports Business in 2015!
Sponsor: DD Lab
Venue: DD Lab
Location: 2916 University Blvd. West
Jacksonville, Fl 32217
Public: Public
Registration: Click here to register.
More Info: Click here for more information.

New Youth Sports Photography Video Series Released


I’m very excited to share this with you…

Yesterday,  Shaun & I launched a free three-part video training called How To Double your Youth Sports Photography Business in 2015.

You can get the first video instantly by clicking here and signing up.

Video #1

We’ve been in the youth sports photography business for over 25 years and in these videos we share something very close to our heart…

Growing Your Business..

I know, I know…

You don’t think it’s possible in today market?

In this video series we will reveal the tools and techniques we’ve been using to help photographers grow their youth sports business for years.

You can do this IF you know what to do and IF you have the right sales tools.

Have you tried to grow the sports side of you’re business in the past. You start with good intentions, but after a few weeks (or even days!), you give up because your not sure exactly what what steps to take?

The good news? Most of us fail not because our intentions are flawed. We fail because we just don’t have the correct processes in place to succeed.

How about a fresh approach to your sales and marketing? One that will help you get to the next level faster than you could have imagined?

Well, then, good news — you will get a TON of value from this video series.

In Video #1, we look at the trends in the photography industry overall and the opportunities available youth sports photography segment. We will go over the sales and marketing process and show you the steps needed to grow your business.

It’s free, but it will only be available for a limited time. Sign up here, and I’ll send you Video #1 right away.

Xtreme Teams – Digital Team Composites

Hi Gang,

We started shooting high school football again today and I wanted to share with you some of our Xtreme Team (digital team composites) we created last year – I will post an update of some of the cool stuff we are doing this year in a couple weeks. If you aren’t familiar with them, it is an excellent alternative to the traditional team or group shot. We photograph everyone individually on the green screen background and assemble the group digitally. Anyone that has done any large group photography understands the challenges of this type of photography. Here are some of my thoughts after doing over 75+ digital composites during last year.


1. It’s a real WOW product and will separate you from your competition, allowing you to book a lot more teams.

2. In the past when photographing 50 or 60 football players with 20+ cheerleaders it would become quite a production and would take some time to get everyone properly posed and photographed. Look at the college team below, with players, cheerleaders and coaches well over 125 people. Trying to orchestrate that as a traditionally photograph was a real pain in the backside – this whole shoot including each players individual pose was done in about 1 hour.

Also, the coaches love it because they are usually at the front of the line and after their 30 seconds in front of the camera they are done.

3. No risers. In the past when photographing groups this large, you typically working on the football field and have to get there 1 1/2 to 2 hours before the shoot just to set up the risers, lights etc.. No risers required (my back really appreciate this).

4. We now get to shoot in the gym where – where the AC is. Did I mention we now get to shoot in the AC

5. No more bad lighting situations. Since most of the coaches typically want to do the team shot taken immediately after school gets out and before practice starts, you find yourself doing most between 2pm to 3pm in the afternoon. Not the ideal time for best lighting conditions. We even did a couple in the gym with it pouring down rain outside… no more rescheduled shoots.

6. No more missing kids or kids who ended up getting cut in the team picture. Since most of the football shots are taken in August to meet the program deadline… many of the schools have not made final cuts. Most coaches do not want kids in the team shot that end up getting cut from the team. Although everybody is photographed individually for the program, the composite isn’t assembled until the coach makes his final cuts.

7. It also makes it very easy to create the specialty groups. For example, a group shot of all seniors, or all linebackers etc.…


1. If you are doing any type of serious volume, you could potentially get backed up in production.

2. Most of these jobs are shot on green screen to make the production as easy as possible. If the green screen is not lit properly and it becomes a manual process to extract each one of the players in Photoshop you are going to see a lot of sleepless nights.

The graphics used to create these composites came from our friends over at Spotlight Photographics.

Here’s a couple sample team composites. What are your thoughts? Leave your feedback below, I love to hear what you think of these new digital team composites.


Xtreme Team -Digital Team Compsoite


Xtreme Team -Digital Team Compsoite

Butterfly Lighting Pattern

Hi guys,

Hope everyone is having a good day. I just finished editing this image for a new training video I am working on about Mastering Studio Lighting. This shot was taken during a set-up where I was demonstrating a butterfly lighting pattern.

Butterfly lighting is frequently used in creating fashion and glamour head shots. This style of lighting is very glamourous and has the effect of eliminating any shadows or wrinkles or lines in the face.

The light source comes from directly above the camera and is in front of the subject. Butterfly lighting is so named due to the butterfly shaped shadow under the nose.

Steps for achieving the perfect Butterfly Lighting pattern

1. Position light approx 5 ft. in from of the subject and directly above the face so the shadow is under the nose. The shadow should not touch the lip.

2. Adjust the light to proper height by moving it up or down watching the catchlights in the eyes. When the light is in the proper position, your catchlight should be at 12 o’clock.

3. Position reflector about waist level below the subject to help fill in the shadows under her chin caused from the overhead light..

Technical Stuff:

Main light: f9.0
Background light: f8
Edge lights: f5.6
Fill: Silver reflector
Canon 5D Mark II
Lens: Canon 85mm
1/100 sec @ f9
ISO 100

Tip: The main light metered at f11.3, by exposing at f9 she was technically slightly overexposed.

Let me know if you have any questions.

The Set-Up


Setting Goals for 2014

I love this time of year.  I will typically spend the week between Christmas and New Years every reflecting on last year and setting goals for the upcoming year. I find this really clears my mind and gets me ready for the new year.

Goals 2014
I was excited to find this video from the legendary Zig Ziglar on goal setting. Zig was a sales mans best motivator. I spent endless hours listening to his tapes while making sales calls in my territory right out of college. Right now I’m thinking about whats ahead for 2014 and what the possibilities are.
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Here’s a couple good Zig quotes on goal setting.

“If you want to reach a goal. You must see the reaching in your own mind before you actually arrive at your goal.”

“A goal properly set is halfway reached”

What do you want to accomplish in 2014? Do you have written down goals for 2014?

Body Evolution – Model Before and After

How much retouching is to much? Here’s what the guys  over at Global Democracy have to say about it. What are your thoughts?

We all now know that seeing thousands of “perfect” body types in the mass media is having negative affects on young girls and more. Airbrushing as a practice should be discouraged when it transforms otherwise permanent features on models. A “mandatory disclaimer” to state that a model has had her physical body manipulated on a computer is a very simple step in the right direction to addressing the harm that we’re causing.




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Have we gone to far? What are your thoughts?


Lighting Black On Black

This is a shot I took a couple months ago for a training video I was shooting. I thought shooting the black dress on the black background would have a lot of impact. The key when shooting a black object on a black background is to create separation from the background. The best way to create separation from the background is creating highlights on the black dress. This was accomplished by placing two edge lights behind the model at a 45 degree angle. See lighting diagram below.


Main light – 4′ x 6′ softbox
Fill – 4′ x 6′ silver reflector
Edge lights – 1′ x 4′ soft box