There is no escaping the influence that celebrities and their tag-along paparazzi have on the photography industry. Celebrity pictures drive an entire industry of journalism, websites, and magazines. Although many people speak out about the potential “invasion of privacy” that celebrity photography can draw, in fact, it is these same photos which aid public figures in maintaining their fame and position in popular culture.
Celebrity photographers fall into different categories and may have origins in various types of photography. Some of the most publicly known photographers are independent contractors who work in celebrity-dense areas, seeking out the latest exclusive shots of the rich and famous. Working on tips from friends and acquaintances who work near and around celebrities, these photographers can often track down their subjects with great precision. Other times, they may wait for hours and only be rewarded with distant shots, or, in the worst case, no shot at all.
There are photographers who have become famous for their work as portrait photographers, commissioned by celebrities. Most often, these photographers are highly skilled and spent hundreds, or even thousands of uncompensated hours crafting their portfolio. The payoff for many is little, however, a small percentage are able to break into the industry and become highly sought by both established celebrities and those who are trying to break into the business. The right photographer and photos can add prestige to a rising star. And it works both ways – a burgeoning photographer can benefit significantly from the right celebrity session.

Ironically, the photos we crave are not the planned, carefully crafted portrait shoots – they are celebrities at Starbucks, in the park, or at a restaurant… doing the same things that we do. We can see these photos and say, “They are human, like the rest of us.”

I want to hear from you – what do you think about society’s drive to peer inside the lives of celebrities, with photography as the door that opens their lives? Are the photographers justified in capturing these candid moments? Are consumers justified in buying the magazines and checking out the websites? When is celebrity photography most beneficial? Leave me a comment or drop me a line at

I did 5 or 6 outfits in the studio today!!! It was a great shoot and I’ll be podcasting about it tonight at, so stay tuned. The photographer and I will talk about the shoot step by step, both from the technical perspective and how we planned and executed.

Update: Podcast is here

Technical side –

Nikon D2x, my favorite studio camera.

ISO 100 – base ISO for the D2x. Very clean.

f5 (some f5.6)

1/160 sec

ONE Alien Bees B800 strobe with shoot through umbrella at 25% power, positioned about 45 degrees to the left. A second one ready to go for fill on a handful of shots.

Two Nikon SB-800’s with home-made reflectors for background lighting. 1/4 power on each.

NO Photoshop for this gallery

One brown long-hair wig.

One shot of tequila.

One sample photo…

104 photos for the VIP’s… Remember, they’re all Hot Off the Camera – No Photoshop at all, so be nice!! 😉

The rest of this article is available to SnapChick VIP Members only.

After this post, many readers asked how “painting with light” is accomplished. I discuss two techniques that I use here…

Also, I was pretty excited to take home an iPad keyboard dock today. Video of the dock and how it works here…

Exclusive VIP photo shoot with setup description coming Sunday 6/27.

SnapChick on Facebook!

SnapChick Radio is a plain Jane WordPress site, so I need to dress it up a bit. What better way to do this than by starting with a “SnapChick Radio” photo shoot.

I grabbed my mic, headphones, and a few extras, like some old records and put together a decent shoot. I’ll be working with some of these images to dress up the Radio site a bit.

In the mean time, here are a few samples…

Alright, VIP’s, it’s your turn. 31 steamy radio-themed images for YOU!!!


The rest of this article is available to SnapChick VIP Members only.

OK, it was only 15 minutes, but the first SnapChick Podcast is in the can! Check it out at

I held some local auditions earlier in the week for a broadcasting sidekick and I made the right choice!

I expect the upcoming podcasts to be 30 minutes or more and cover a few main topics for each. It was fun to make, edit, and post. PLEASE LET ME KNOW YOUR COMMENTS. Email me at! Thanks!

The “SnapChick Radio” site is obviously quite bare. I’m doing a Radio-themed photo shoot today, so once those photos are done, I’ll be ready to “sex up” the Podcast site quite a bit.

This week I answered some of your questions…

And I took a dip in the pool…

More to come after the Radio shoot is complete!


I reached out on Facebook to my readers for some ideas for tonight’s shoot. I received some great ideas and decided to incorporate several of them into a single shoot.

Obligatory YouTube setup video…

Then… the shoot began. First, I messed around with the soccer ball for a few dozen shots. It was fun… and I tried a ton of different poses in my makeshift “soccer uniform.” I am happy with the results. I used a single strobe to the right side of the frame. Alien Bees B800 at about 1/3rd power. Camera set around f4 for all of the shots. Here are a couple of samples.

For my next trick, I set the camera on a tripod and had a friend “paint” me with the flashlight you can see in the video. The results were pretty cool, as we could illuminate me in ways that you cannot do with a static light source. It was a fun technique and I will try it again soon. There is plenty more to experiment with. Camera set at f2.8, ISO 400, shutter speeds ranging from 4 to 8 seconds. Pre-set focus with a light on. Then turned the light off, triggered the camera, and then selectively illuminated with the flashlight.

VIP’s GET IT ALL – 41 images from the Fitness Shoot and “Body Light Painting.”

If you’re not VIP, it’s never too late to join! You can unlock all of the VIP posts on the site!!!


The rest of this article is available to SnapChick VIP Members only.

I’ve been working on portraits again this weekend. What’s better than a pool table? Nothing!

To tie in with my new Depth of Field video on YouTube, I also did some shooting on and around my pool table. Why? Because a pool table is great for illustrating depth of field effects. It’s really a perfect platform for working with narrow depth of field. It is very easy on the table to see what is in focus and what isn’t.

I also went a little crazy with the optikVerve filters, using “60’s magazine” with some modification, also “Smoke” and a few others. Normally, I give you just the straight images on here. But, in the real world, everyone uses Photoshop… so why not?

Here’s a straight example of depth of field differences in two nearly identical shots (except for the focal point with a narrow depth of field). Left-hand image is focused on my eyes. Right-hand image on the billiard balls. Composition is identical… but the two images have a completely different theme. (Nikon D2x, 17-55mm DX)

OK, no Depth of Field change in this one, BUT left side is camera image. Right side is with “60’s Magazine” filter, adjusted for exposure… I’m loving the “vintage” look on the right.

Here’s another dramatic example of Depth of Field… BEER!

Not Satisfied?????

Here are some samples from the VIP Gallery!!!

Want More? Join SnapChick VIP and see the entire gallery!  Thanks to all of the VIP’s… your feedback has been great. VIP’s don’t get a little bit extra… they get A LOT! 37 more portraits!!!


The rest of this article is available to SnapChick VIP Members only.

Every once in awhile, I enjoy the simplicity of point and shoot cameras. It’s almost a guilty pleasure to set my Powershot G7 on “Auto” mode and fire away at anything that comes my way. It’s relaxing to let the camera figure out what to do… sure it’s wrong much of the time (compared to what I wanted) and it’s quirky – why does face recognition sometimes work? and not other times? Why is it focusing on that far off object? Why is it playing a jingle?
When I have a DSLR in my hand, I always feel pressure. I’m not talking about when I’m getting paid – just when I’m walking around with a DSLR, I’m constantly thinking… do I have the focus mode right? Did I leave the saturation too high? Shoot, I have the White Balance set wrong. The point and shoot is going to get these things wrong… but it wasn’t my fault! And sometimes the photos look alright!

How about you? Do you have a DSLR but love the guilty pleasure of running around with a point and shoot. Leave a comment – let me know what your guilty pleasure camera is? Film point and shoot? Digital camera from a decade ago? APS???

I picked up my Powershot G7 secondhand on Craigslist. The front grip area is all scratched up – I think the original owner held her car keys in her hand while she took pictures, but the images are great and it cost next to nothing!