Author: Scott Bideau

How to Put On a Local Help-Portrait Event

This year marks the 10th anniversary of Help-Portrait, a global movement of photographers, hairstylists, and makeup artists using their time, tools, and expertise to give back to those in need. I was fortunate enough to get involved with this event in 2009, the first year that it expanded from the inaugural Nashville location to cities throughout the world. Since then, I have founded two local chapters and learned a lot about how to put on a successful Help-Portrait event. In this post, I’ve shared some of my experience from coordinating these events in the hopes of inspiring others to do the same.

Self Portrait Project

portable photography studio equipment setup in garage

I try to update my headshot every 5 years so that people easily recognize me when meeting in person for the first time. After walking away unsatisfied from three different headshot booths at recent industry conferences, I decided to back the cars out of the garage, set up a portrait studio, and take one myself. This turned into a fun little selfie project despite the strange look my kids gave me when I asked if I could borrow their giant teddy bear for pictures (more on that later).

Summer Ski Jumping at a Balloon Rodeo

Summer Ski Jumping at a Balloon Rodeo
Canon EOS 7D
Canon EF 24-105 f/4L IS II USM

I’ll never forget my first time photographing action sports. I was attending the 30th Annual Steamboat Springs Hot Air Balloon Rodeo with my family. I had just purchased my first SLR camera about a year ago, so I brought it along. What I learned is that great images are created through a combination of proper camera equipment, technical skillset, and the ability to find unique perspectives to capture. 

An Evening with Jim Richardson from National Geographic

I had the great privilege of facilitating a Skype interview with National Geographic photographer Jim Richardson at this week’s Yampa Valley Photographers meeting. Jim offered some great advice on everything from ethics to gear to photography business management – all from his “Small World” studio in rural Kansas.

Under the Bridge

San Francisco Bay Bridge, California
Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Canon EF 24-105 f/4L IS II USM
Gitzo GT3541XLS carbon fiber tripod with Acratech GV2 ball head
10.0 seconds at f/16, ISO 400

This image of the San Francisco skyline underneath the Bay Bridge is fairly straightforward from a technical perspective. But getting to this location is not so easy, especially with recent construction and government property restrictions on Yerba Buena Island, a rolling carry-on suitcase in tow, my extreme allergy to poison oak, and of course a steep cliff dropping into the bay. This is one of those “getting there is half the fun” stories.

When Color Distracts

Statue of Liberty (B&W)
Lady Liberty, Framed (B&W)
Canon Rebel XSi
Canon EF 28-135 IS USM
1/250 second at f/11, ISO 200

Color can occasionally distract from the core theme of a photograph. I find that a simple black and white contrast is sometimes the best way to tell a story, and that’s exactly how I prefer to view the Statute of Liberty from the Ellis Island immigration building.

Umbrella Silhouette

Umbrella Silhouette
Canon EOS 7D
Canon EF 24-105 f/24L IS USM
Canon 580EX II Speedlite
1/250 second at f/4, ISO 100

Creative lighting is one of my favorite aspects of portrait photography. Here’s how careful control of ambient light combined with a single Speedlite and $25 wireless triggers created this unique silhouette image…

Myths About Lens Compression

One of the first concepts I learned about in portrait photography was “Lens Compression.” The common definition is that a telephoto lens will “compress” the foreground and background together. This produces a more pleasing portrait that doesn’t distort facial features while still drawing attention to your subject (and not the background). In this post, I’ll get into more detail as to what lens compression truly is (and isn’t) and discuss how it applies to other genres of photography, like landscapes.

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