Some favorite sites and tips…..

So during my recovery from surgery I decided to compile a list of some of my favorite places on the interwebs for photography and photography related information. I spend a lot of time reading and learning. I consider a job requirement for me. If I am going to stay on top of what is going on in the photography world then I need to research and learn. I wish standing behind the camera was all I had to do, but that is just a small portion of being a photographer.

I get contacted by new photographers quite a bit. My first suggestion to them is to read some of the things that I have posted here. And to get a notebook. Take notes. Learn. Practice. Not all the things you try with your camera will be successful, but that is all a part of the learning process.
When you come across sites you like, set up bookmarks. My suggestions for bookmarks are to set them up as Photography Design (for templates and digital papers), Photoshop Tutorials, Workshops, etc. The more detailed you are in your bookmarks, the less time you will spend saying “Where did I bookmark that one site?”
So, here you go…and happy reading.

Kevin and Amanda – lots of information and tutorials. There is even a Guide for Understanding Your DSLR that should almost be required reading for anyone with a camera.
Wish Photography -has actions, tutorials, and all kinds of photog goodies. She also does online mentorships and hosts a retreat once a year where she teaches all her shooting secrets. Fab! One of the hardest working photographers/mentors out there. (Seriously, I wonder if she ever sleeps?)
My 3 Boybarians -home of the 30 (or 31, depending on the month) Days to Better Photos along with info and tutorials. Lots of great tips here. For real.
Better in Bulk -offers tutorials and hints for understanding your camera and maximizing your shooting skills! There is a lot of great info here….you will be bookmarking and taking notes. (Or was that just me? lol)
The CoffeeShop Blog – any photographer whether beginning or pro should know about this site.All kinds of info to be found here.  All her actions, templates, storyboards, etc are free. She works very hard to keep it free for her readers. (I even have a few contributions that Rita and I collaborated on that are on there….yay!). Bookmark it. 
Shadowhouse Creations -if you want to learn how to use textures or brushes this is a wonderful site. Lots of textures and brushes. Oh…and they are free. Yes, free textures, brushes, and he even has some tutorials too. Pretty great!
My Four Hens-actions, tutorials, and other photog goodies. And Sarah is one of the sweetest photogs out there too!
Alex Beadon Photography – has actions that are free and ones for sale. And then there are tutorials that show you how to edit too. Fabulous. Love photographers willing to share how they edit.
The Natural Light Project -Ok. So this one is $19.95, but totally worth it. Learn how to find and use available light. Lots of great info. There is even a member’s only forum…..
Wild Hearts Photography -Templates, actions, digital papers and other photog goodies. She also does design so if you are looking for a logo and branding….definitely go here.
Paint the Moon – freebies, templates, actions, textures, giveaways….great site!
Flora Bella -Textures, actions, frames….some of the best out there.
Sassy Designs – Digital papers, frames, marketing sets, card templates, storyboards, senior rep cards….and more. Lots more. Lots and lots more. And she will throw out $1 sale here and there which means it is time to stock up. Great quality and service!
Fro Knows Photo -photography tips for beginners, hobbyists, and pros. Reviews of gear. And there;s the occasional dance video too. Love Fro.
Pioneer Woman – must include Pioneer Woman. Not only does she cook (and beat out Bobby Flay for a throw down) but she is a great photographer and is willing to share all kinds of info. Is there anything this woman can’t do?
The House of Smiths -photog tips and information. Get sharper photos after you read this!
DigiShopTalk –A cool little exposure cheat sheet.
Click it up a Notch – great blog that show you the ins-and-outs of composition, editing, using manual mode and other stuff to spark your creativity. It’s like a mini-photography course you can take in your jammies!
Manual Photography Cheat Sheet– the name says it all.
Everyday Elements -a site dedicated to teaching photography and photo editing via blog tutorials and online workshops.
Digital Photography School -no matter what level you are in photography, I guarantee you will find something new here. 
Photo Tuts Plus – a great place to learn about lighting, exposure, workflow, post-processing and more.
Sandy Puc’ -a master photographer. She teaches workshops (affordable!) and is just amazing. She shares her tips and secrets and does live photo sessions during her workshops! Her workshops are fabulous. She also sells templates and marketing sets. She has a whole team of people working to provide photographers with everything they need from the get-go.
Rock the Shot – photography and business training, workshops, actions and templates.
CreativeLive– online workshops.
Crave Photography – Photoshop mentoring and design goodies.
Topaz Labs -Plug ins for Photoshop that can help enhance your images. Their DeNoise Program is one I use when I have to use a high ISO. It is an amazing program. I can highly recommend it!!!
These aren’t websites…these are magazine subscriptions.
Rangefinder – One of the BEST photography magazines (I look forward to mine every single month) and guess what…it’s free. FREE….go sign up now.
AfterCapture Magazine -another fabulous photography magazine. Love. And it’s free too. Yep. I said free again
Although this last one is not a photography website or magazine, or even a site that teaches you about editing or one that sells actions or presets, I have to mention Pinterest. Pinterest is a “social catalog”, but for me, it is a place where I can go to and look at “eye candy”. There are so many photos and crafty tutorials that just spark my creativity and get me in the mood to create stuff. I have even put photos on canvas myself from tutorials I found on Pinterest!
This list is by no means complete. I have lots of places I visit, read and have bookmarked on my computer. But I wanted to give a sampling of what is out there. I hope you find something you like and that inspires you.
A few more tips: If you are a beginner photographer, I can not stress enough that you educate yourself, whether online or in workshops. And while Picnik might be great for your starting point, it is not considered a professional editing software. You should look to upgrade to Photoshop, Elements, or Lightroom. You will have way more control over your images and your final product.(And it will move you away from using spot color and selective color. No professional that I can think of has those in their portfolio.
As you build up your portfolio, invest in a professional website and then find a professional lab. It is totally worth the time, effort and money. Don’t post every image you take on Facebook (People are not going to buy what they can just download, FYI.) and be sure that you have invested in a logo and put that watermark on your images. If you shoot in RAW you can insert your info into the file, but still, make sure you watermark your images with your logo. Typing your name on your photos doesn’t look professional. Putting the word Proof on them doesn’t protect you at all…anyone can say it’s theirs with the word Proof on it.
Being a photographer isn’t just about taking photos. There are lots of business aspects to it. Like registering your business, paying sales taxes, and all that not-so-fun stuff that goes along with it. Editing takes time. Education takes time. Your biggest investment isn’t in your gear, it’s in YOU. And once you start really looking at yourself as your business, you will work harder and smarter.
If you have any questions or suggestions, or have a site suggestion for me, please email me at

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