One of the most baffling features of choosing a new camera (or understanding your existing one) is sensor size and type. Are you baffled by the terms CMOS or APS-C? I was! And as usual, there’s a plain English explanation for this in the world of techie-jargon. First, let’s clear up some of the jargon. […]

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  • Jsonsteby - Thank you! This was easy to understand and something that I have wondered for awhile now!

  • Rivergull - It takes a woman to explain things in a simple yet technically comprehensive way. Thanks Elizabeth!

  • Joseph Jpoc Comeau - Ok this is all fine and dandy but my friends SONY A100 uses a 10MP CCD sensor, and my D90 uses a 12MP CMOS. BUT the Sony at ISO400 is nosier than the Nikon at ISO3200.

    My thoughts are that the Processor on the Nikon is better than the Sony.
    And the Sony is a 2005 Camera and the Nikon is a 2008 Camera.

  • Patrick Byrne - Very helpful!! “define the difference between plastic and a centimeter”…perfect!

  • Sammy - I’m new in digital photography and found this very helpful article that helped clarify my confusion. I wanted to read more and went to your first link from teledynedalso but I see that it was published in Jan 2001. Is that information still relevant? Thanks. =)

  • elizabethhalford - Hi Sammy! Any information with definitions will still be relevant but any information concerning the most up to date technology will obviously be outdated within only months of this post going live. Tech changes so quickly! But the principles remain the same 🙂

Call me Nancy Drew.  I’ve wanted to do some sleuthing for quite some time, but today finally presented the perfect opportunity. We took a small family outing this afternoon to run a few errands and we ended up at a very well known “Discount Department Store”.  Not my favorite place in the world, but as […]

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  • Delia - Thank you for posting about this. I am really interested in this topic. I have many friends who like to get their portraits at places similar to the one you described over hiring a custom photographer. I think there is something about how their parents always used an in-store portrait photography company and they cost more so therefore they must be better/more traditional/worth more/a status symbol?

  • kristin brown - ooooh, interesting! i’ve wanted to do some research on this for a while, so i’m glad to hear what you found out. that makes me feel a whole lot more confident in my prices.

  • Rhonda Steed - VERY interesting!!!!!!!!!

  • Mindy - What a fantastic post! I’m going to share it on FB for all my nonphotog friends to see.

  • Kylene - I love this post. So very true!

  • Brooke - Great post! I want to share with my friends

  • Vince James - I’ve seen this exact argument used to talk a spouse into allowing their significant other (photographer) to purchase a backdrop, umbrella and some speedlights. After all, a few sessions at the place you described pays for all of that equipment… assuming you can learn how to use it.

  • Gina Peterson - Gosh I love your perspective, Brooke! Such a great teacher and logical thinker. Thank you for posting this! I am inspired!

  • Leslie - Such a perfect post!! Thank you for sharing!

  • Charisse Rhodes - Wow Brooke…this was a great article. I am a new photographer startiing out and as I work on my pricing structure I am very concerned about not undercutting myself or the industry as well as respecting that my service is worth so much more. I love this article and will definitely be sharing it.

    Thanks for taking the time to write it!

  • Claire Reynolds - Oh my gosh Brooke. This is genius. Is it alright if I post a link to it on my blog? I’ve been wanting to write a pricing post but it always ends up sounding wrong and this is perfection!

  • Tisha Johnson - Oh this is fantastic!! Thanks soo much for sharing!
    I am going to share this!!!

“Advice from friends is like the weather. Some of it’s good, some of it’s bad.” -Anonymous I get emails from folks saying things like “my friends say I’m really good – what do you think?” and I’m really not sure what they’re asking or how much criticism they’re able to take. Seems to me that […]

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  • Exsondra - Very well put!

  • E Brown - I agree, ‘good’ and ‘bad’ are defiantly personal perception. However if you would like to display your art work, take a look at . 

  • Lori P - Well said!

  • Lea - I think you’re right on the money! I’ve been a part of a forum at I Heart Faces for about a year and this comes up often when people ask for critiques of their work. And frankly, it aggravates me to see a so called “pro” demeaning someone else’s creativity. First of all, we all start somewhere and it’s likely we all sucked at one point – I know I did. There’s a balance between offering someone constructive criticism as relates to the technical side and telling them their work is no good creatively. Some photographers blow highlights on purpose. Some are known for their soft images. These things don’t appeal to everyone, but that doesn’t mean they appeal to no one. I think sometimes people forget that photography is art. There are no absolutes.

  • Cathy H - Thanks.. I kinda needed to hear that today.. 🙂

  • stephanie - Well said.  I have previously posted my images on a forum (IHF) for constructive criticism.  Most of the feedback has been kind, even if not terrible constructive, but I have balked at it after being told by one “pro” that I shouldn’t even take pictures for free.  I now take the approach of being extremely self-critical and honest, constantly appraising my progress and appreciating my art as exactly that…art.  I understand that this art has to be saleable (in order to make a living) but I also believe there is a market for a wide range of aesthetics. 

  • Stephanie - I completely agree.  Photography is art and art is inherently subjective.  Just because I don’t like a photo or it’s technically imperfect, that doesn’t make it “bad.”  For me personally, a “good” photo is one that speaks to me in some way.  One that makes me pause and look at it for just a little bit longer than the rest.   In the same vein, I’m always grateful when someone compliments my work but I try to take it with a grain of salt.  It’s tough, but I try to keep a critical eye even for my own work.

  • Sandy - Thank you for this!  I belong to a large photography forum and I’m really uncomfortable giving critique, even in the “just for critique” section.  Because it IS art expression.  And even if someone is new, and they haven’t developed their style or their craft very well yet, to shoot them down, right at the beginning because something isn’t technically correct, could stop them in their journey of self expression. 

    So I avoid the critique section at all costs, and I don’t put my own images out their for critique.  I’m not there yet — I know I’m not.  But I see in my head where I want to be and I’m going to continue to practice, practice, practice until I get it “right.”  And that’s MY “right” by the way!  🙂  Great article, as always!!

  • Shannon - I was in a photography class working on my degree in graphics and photography and for our projects we had to be critiqued in front of the whole class.  It was sometimes the worst experience ever.  I remember being in love with my project.  It was a portrait and I chose to photograph a friend’s daughter.  She loved the images, so much that they hang in her store.  So much that she has asked me to do her daughter’s photos twice since then.  My instructor tore them apart.  Technically they were all wrong.  I was crushed.  I had shot with a purpose, not even close to the spray and pray approach.  I nearly quit because of that critique.

    Critiques can be rough, especially if you don’t know the intent of the person.  How they saw and wanted to interpret the subject.

  • Kellie - just a comment on the comments…I won’t post for critique over at IHF either…. there is one “pro” (um, yeah, I can’t find this person’s web-site or any examples of their work) who is very harsh and tactless.  I’m not opposed to hearing what i need to change, but I think TACT  and kindness are necessary when giving critique.

  • Matthew Kunce - Fantastic post!

  • Caryn - Oh my goodness you’re reading my mind!  I’ve been wanting to post about how subjective photography is, and that some of what people rave about, I don’t like, and what some people don’t like, I love.  It also brings me to say, who’s to decide what’s good or not!? Aside from obvious technical failure like a badly underexposed photo or something similar, the only person to decide if a photo is great or not, is the person who wants to look at it. And then look at it again. And then perhaps put it in an album or hang it on a wall…

  • Anonymous - Yes, it is always hard to hear what others think… we all have opinions and some people (like my ex husband) think theirs are always right. I wish we could take the word criticism out of our vocabulary and come up with something a bit  more soft and loving. Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder!

  • Gry - I love this article!! You manage to put my feelings into words – I always get SO provoked reading forums with so-called pros and all their opinions about what is right and what is wrong! Thank you!

    And also thank you for writing about Brooke Snow’s wonderful Lifestyle Photography!

  • Elsingert - Very good article! I agree, too often people forget that photography is art; did Van Gogh’s paintings portray reality? Of course not! That doesn’t mean that they are “wrong”, or “bad”, though, they are just a different expression his personal creative vision.
    One personal pet peeve of mine is “experts” saying “Thou shalt not clip your highlights and shadows”, when in fact you sometimes must do just that to properly express the feelings you are trying to convey.

  • Peggie B. Hensley - Really punctuates the old adage, “It’s all relative!”  When I was a high school art teacher, I often witnessed that talent and ego are inversely proportional.  I try to remember that now that I support myself with my own art…

  • Npshields - Perfectly stated as the whole concept of critique is wide open.  We never know what the photographer’s objective was when the shutter was pressed.  Yes, some shots are technically not as good but can still be magical in their capture and presentation; guess it’s one of those “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” type thing.  I think what truly separates a good photographer is one who consistently has good results and has the knowledge and skill to handle a multitude of situations, particularly bad or challenging lighting, backgrounds over which you have no control, etc.  My approach, when critiquing, is to be honest if I see something blatantly wrong technically, something that they could learn from to benefit the next shoot, but I always make a point to find something that I really like, emphasizing that, too.  Guess it’s a “Golden Rule” approach; critique to teach but do so gently….

  • Rhondaelderphotography - I think this article was “good”  and I that’s my opinion.  Lol

  • Ifong - Hi You are just so inspired ! I have always learned something from every blog post you posted! Thank you!

  • Melissa Jean Johnson - What a great post! I know personally I follow a lot of photographers who I revere as amazing artists, but if my photos were to look like theirs I’d trash it as a bad photo. It’s just not my style and what’s good to me – but who am I to set a standard for someone else?

  • Ann Cockerham - I am 3 years into this photo-art and I love it! I have many people ask me what do I feel about other photogs in the area and I can’t say anything but they have their style I have mine! Heck I am still trying to get mine set, I have it in my heart and mind… Just trying to grasp it!
    Sometimes I will take a picture that will have a blur to it, or the lighting is all wrong, but when I put it in photoshop just to play with tones and shading you can make a fabulous piece of art! I had one bride, picture was a bit washed, slight blur… but involved the Bride, Groom and some trees in the fall! I changed to black in white, played in lightroom with it and was doing this for fun! But in the end, this photo was the one she blew up and has framed above her bed. 
    I showed one photographer in the area I know and she was like “I cannot believe you even gave that to your client!” But what I saw as a piece of art… she saw crap! What matters is “my” client loved it. Your clients should feel the same passion for your style as you do or sometimes they may not get your view!

  • Lorna T Morgan - This is right on the money and I think everyone should re-read this post at least once a month because it is easy to forget that we are all learning at all times.  Thank you Elizabeth, again you made me think and smile as I continue to bounce around the grid.

  • Vicky Holmes - Well I am doing your September critique so I guess I will soon find out if I am good, or bad… 🙂

  • blufluff - i think i was one of those who recently sent you a pic to get your opinion on… :/  however, i now don’t care!!  i’ve since realised that it really doesn’t matter, as long as i like it, and/or the people who hire me like it, and of course they’re going to as it is of their loved ones!  also, i see some pics that people post of fb, the quality is quite poor (mobile phone) but it’s what it is OF that people like and comment on.  i saw this comment one day in a forum, and i’ve remembered it since… “when you see someone elses photos they always look better” – and i think this is because you don’t look at them so critically, meaning that you don’t know how exactly they were post processed, etc.  just love doing what you do and others will too!

  • Derek Heslop - Very well put and I agree with the comments from other contributors. However, although I like the compliments I get I still try to be ruthless and honest with myself and have deleted many a video clip or image that I might have otherwise kept. I’m new to all this digital stuff and bought (for me) an expensive camera (SONY nex vg20) so I could do both video and stills and I am improving but it takes time. None the less my own judgement is what counts as I know what I am striving for.

  • Aaron Witko - Great post!

  • Denise - SO true!!!!

  • Cheryl Sargent Flatt - I’m new to your site. Thank you for linking back to this article through FB. I needed to hear this today…to remember that it is my art and that I should passionately pursue it. It is a process that I love learning about. So…thank you.

  • Lisa - I often feel frustrated that I’m not where I want to be and wonder if I’m really on the right track or if I should scrap it all and consider it a waste of time since I do it because I’m just driven to. I’ll create a photo and post it in a Flickr group and wonder why I’m not getting as many comments as I would like. Then I’ll see people commenting on photos I think are not nearly as nice (to me). It is relative isn’t it. I guess it would be better to surround yourself with the type of people who LIKE the kind of photography you like as well so when you do post something, you are posting it to the “right crowd”. I guess it’s just encouraging when other people say, “I love your photo”, etc. And I don’t mean family and friends! Strangers because you know they are not partial and when you are really striving to create and make something – someone saying they like it – to me anyway – spurs me on and encourages me to think that I am making a difference. That what I’m doing matters. That the time I’m so dilligently putting in, is starting to pay off. Sounds shallow but I think it’s how a lot of people feel possibly. That they want to know that other people see value in their photos too and that they are on the right track – making something that others can enjoy too!

  • Rachelle Hinkley - I am having so much anxiety over my images recently because I was told that my pictures look grainy, now it’s all I can think about, I’m wondering what I’m doing wrong, if it’s my ISO being set to the wrong number, if my shutter is open too long, I’d kill for some kind of advice right now, because I’m not sure if its me or my camera finally pooping out on me!

Lets talk habits! Our lives are full of thousands of little habits: Wake up: Push snooze twice, roll out of bed, take a shower, brush teeth… Exercise: Go to the gym, take the same class, use the same machines… Work: Drive the same way to get there, park in the same spot, work on the […]

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  • Marvett Smith - I love this! This is exactly what I needed to think about today since I’ve been feeling like I’m in a rut lately. Thank you for the motivation.

  • Harmony - Brooke, thanks for letting Lindsey have a say on your blog. She writes beautifully, and she makes me think!

  • Alesa Larsen - How funny that I just started a class called moving into manual today. Thanks for inspiring me to take the leap.

  • Kirby - Awesome article! It is very inspiring!

  • heather - love the way she writes! actually both of you have very good writing talents, something I lack. i guess that’s why i take pics… I just let the pics to the talking! 🙂

  • Kylene - Perfect analogy. I think it’s also important to try new things in that manual mode. I have a friend who is a photographer who said the other day that her knowledge of manual mode and the way she shoots has become, “so ‘automatic’ it’s second nature”. This article made me think that yes, shoot in manual! Yes, take control! BUT, if we find ourselves becoming so automatic in manual mode, we may lose some creative opportunities. If we fail to try different settings or different combination’s of settings we may miss out on that “perfect shot”. Thanks for another great mid-week motivator.

    (and I think Brooke looks like you!) 😉

  • Danielle - hey Lindsay, I happened upon this blog thru sarah madsen…she’s my facebook friend 🙂 anyway, I loved reading what you had to say. So fun! congrats on a new baby in april! Hope all is well…I see your mom once in a while, she’s so fun to hang out with 🙂

  • ajira - here’s to living life in manual!

  • Bethany - haha I’m sitting here trying to figure out where I know lindsay from..did i dance with her? did i go to school with her? and after a couple days i finally figured it out…..we were in the same ward in iowa! i moved away right before she had noel. this is such a fun post. love seeing her update!!

  • Morgan - Hi. Do you remember me? We used to be friends. 😉 Glad I ran into this little “catch up” – you’re still my precious swan. Love ya!

  • Lindsey - Wahoo! I love finding old friends. Thanks everyone for leaving me a comment. I am visiting all your websites and will leave you a note when the toddler isn’t trying to break into the food storage.

I get email after email asking what I’m talking about when I say things like “I don’t post a preview until the client buys”. Here is why the death of the online gallery has arrived. Why I Don’t Post a Sneak Peek Ariana Falerni said it perfectly: “The sneak peek…is kind of like seeing a bad […]

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  • Scottie - Wow!!!! I can’t believe people spend £100 and then not buy any photos.

  • Meghan Davis - Wow – I never thought about it that way before, but it makes sense. Can’t wait for the solution tomorrow.

  • Jo Spencer - Never thought about it like this – but incredibly poignant comments. Will definitely be checking back to see what you suggest….showing them the proofs as prints in person?? hmmm….

  • Texan Mama - I’m waiting on the edge of my seat!!!

  • Chris - Still here….waiting for the follow-up!

  • celeste - I enjoy the article, but I have to disagree on your reasoning behind it. Yes, I know you already have an established business. I’m just starting out, but I like the sneak peek and it can be beneficial. I usually post a few on my fb and tag the clients. That way, their friends and family can see it and they get excited about the rest. Now, I don’t just through anything in their gallery just to fill it up w/pictures. I put everything I have into my session. For me I tend to have about 2 or 3 that I just love, meaning I would put up in my home. But my experience with the client is that they see their whole gallery and they end up getting most of the images. So, when I post images up I am paid already. I say require a minimum order requirement. That way you sell some prints and anything extra is a bonus:-)

  • Jan - Makes sooo much sense.

  • Chelsy Hulet - Wow. These are good things to know — I am just getting started with my photography business so why not get started on the right foot, huh?!? Thanks so much!

  • Andy Mills - I’m starting to agree with the online gallery theory – I would give a 2 week or 4 week time limit on the gallery, say that it takes up too much web space to keep there any longer (you are, after all, a very popular and busy photographer).

    Some photographers also have a 6 (ish) month limit for reprints, saying that images on their hard drive are archived after this time and taken off their drive (again, you are busy, etc., and have loads of images taking up loads of space.) Any orders after this time means you need to drag images off your drive, and as a result, will incur an additional fee.

    I know of one photographer who refuses to use online galleries and goes the personal route – he finds it cheap enough to have a number of 6×4 “proofs” done, and takes them in person to the client. He finds the client responds better to having something physical there, and having *you* there in person has an “inbuilt” pressure for them to buy something, even if you do absolutely no pressurizing yourself.

    You can also take a number of sample prints of varying sizes so the client can get an idea of how an image will fill a space on their wall and elsewhere in their home, etc. It’s amazing how many people will not have a clue, and will make do with an 8×10 where a 24×30 would look many times better.

  • Suzy E - I totally agree with you about the online proofing issue. When I first started, that is what I did – leaving galleries up UNTIL they FINALLY ordered. It didn’t work. I have recently opened a new small studio and had an HD flat screen TV installed. I’ve started doing in person proofing using LR 3 starting with a slideshow, then moving to the Develop module and flagging each photo either “YES, NO or MAYBE”. This has been awesome! My sales have gone up tremendously. Also, the client gets to see the canvas gallery wraps or float wraps or standouts on the wall and many decide they want one also. However, I am not sure that I am ready to stop doing Facebook sneak peeks. These have been so helpful for me and I have gotten several new sessions booked from people who saw their friend’s sneak peek. And I’ve also discovered that a lot of times what I think are the best photos are NOT the ones the client thinks are best. So I’ve not had ANY issues with clients feeling “letdown” in their sessions because they’ve only seen the sneak peeks. Quite the opposite, actually.

  • elizabethhalford - @Suzy: Oh by all means! Yes do the sneak peek but after they order! I def still post peeks into a session, but not until they’ve bought.

  • Rob K - I like to think I bring a unique perspective in that I’m the consumer AND the photographer (albeit far less professional than you, I assure you). I agree with your conclusion but not your reasoning. I’ve paid a photographer for a session and then have the photographer demand $8 for a 4×6. A consumer cannot justify spending 50 times the standard price for a photo when they already paid the photographer >$500/hr to take the pictures in the first place!

    I’d love to see a photographer that freed the consumer to enjoy the pictures rather than hold them hostage until they pay up.

    Want to see your business increase? Increase the session cost and provide free digitals or photo prices competitive with online print shops.

  • elizabethhalford - @Rob: I understand what you’re saying, but to meet my sales average, I would have to charge you £1200 according to that method. I don’t hold products hostage any more than the grocery store does. It’s a product. It costs money. You have to pay if you want it! The session fee is payment for the session product. The print product is another product all together.

  • Karina Bravo - I linked to your blog through DPS, and I have become a follower! This is an interesting point of view that as a new photographer, I didn’t even realize. Thank you for the insight. What I took from your post is that a gallery doesn’t add anything to the “experience” part of it all and it can become anticlimactic. I totally get it!

    I will keep in mind when I get my first sale!
    I look forward to more of your knowledge pilfering my brain!

  • Jennifer W - I started out with an online gallery and noticed that I was not selling what I had hoped for as well as my other boutique product and large canvas where not selling. So I have gone to in-person and it has made a HUGE difference.

    Now I have never thought about the sneak peak in the way you explained it and it truly makes sense. I really think I may start do them once there has been an order place and then do the sneak peak for the rest of the world to see.

    @Rob, I understand you do photography as well so you should know the time that goes into preparing for a session (ie., a consult (taking anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 or more hours of time with phone calls and emails) and getting your gear ready as well as collecting and even purchasing props. You also know how much time you spend doing the session not including drive time. That is what the session fee goes towards. Your time. If your session fee is $50 and you just put in 10 hours of work you just paid yourself $5/hour. Is it work it? I know I don’t like working for free. After you finish with a session most pro photographers sit at their computer for hours spilling out their creative which my by self-taught or workshops/school and it’s taken years to master some of those skills. By charging the boutique pricing for your price they are paying for art not a $5 8×10 taken with a point-in-shoot and no thought behind it.

    Hope this makes a little sense.


  • Rachel May - This is so fantastic!! Thank you for sharing your thoughts! 🙂

  • Different_view - I don’t remember the last time I read something on the internet and thought “What!  You can’t stop now!  How does it end!?”  Very good blog post.  And now, if you don’t mind I’m going to see how it ends in Part 2. =-)