Photo Tips O’ the Day

20 11 2009

It’s been some time since I added to my blog. Life has a way of getting in the way of life. I thought I’d re-kick my blog with some of the “photo tips o’ the day” I’ve written, for those who haven’t seen them. They’re meant to be short reminders, sometimes motivational and sometimes mini-rants; they’re by no means a complete essay.

So please enjoy them, apply what applies to you, and share as you see fit (with proper credit, of course. Y’all know how I feel about that.)

– CJ



Disregard those who say you “must” do this or “can’t” do that. Art is not about limitations and restrictions.

If you are frustrated with your work, focus on one area at a time. You can’t climb three mountains at once.

Ruts are things we fall into when we work habitually rather than consistently. Switch off your auto-pilot.

Perfectionists: consider printing and signing your work. It forces you to take ownership and eliminates excuses.

Allow your sessions to breathe. Pauses help you to steer the session organically, and to keep your head clear.

Walk all the way around your subject and watch how the light changes the scene and mood. Light is a creative tool.

The common denominator in all your sessions is you. Shoot for you first and your clients will always know what to expect.

Don’t be so quick to delete and discard failed photos. Study them to learn what to do differently next time.

Personal space is mental, emotional, and physical. The key to a great portrait is to know how to be invited in.

Know your technique so that you can forget it. Focusing on the technical robs your subjects of your full attention.

Overshooting out of fear of missing “the shot” often means “the shot” never happens. Shoot less, engage more.

Portraits are like short stories; the elements that don’t add to your story will detract. Choose details carefully.

In portraits, mood/expression is key. Light, comp, backgrounds, post-processing, and contrast must work together to support it.

Each time you pick up the camera, you hold the raw materials to create a masterpiece. Shoot like you mean it.

Improving your work requires practice. Musicians don’t play only when they’re on stage.

Don’t allow yourself to fixate solely on your perceived weaknesses. Own your strengths and be proud of them.

If the most eye-catching part of your image is the action you ran, it may be time to reassess your work.

four generation portrait

four generation portrait



16 responses

20 11 2009

I think i’ve got some new wallpaper quotes to put on my computer… 100% pure inspiration to keep yourself motivated. Thanks for sharing !

20 11 2009
Mel :)

Awesome! Thanks so very much & I ♥ the “four generations” photo! 🙂

20 11 2009
Gary Hewlett

Great words Cheryl – some real gems in there that have already put things in perspective for me. Thanks for posting – really appreciate it!


20 11 2009

Your posts are so inspiring, and I love having these beautiful images and ideas roll around in the back of my head as I try to find my voice and my way into a career in photography. Thank you!

21 11 2009

This is great, simple words bring so much inspiration.Love your 4 generations portrait, thanks so much for sharing your thoughts

21 11 2009

good stuff! —

21 11 2009

I’m always trying to climb too many mountains at once. Thanks for the perspective.

21 11 2009
uberVU - social comments

Social comments and analytics for this post…

This post was mentioned on Twitter by jasonstockdale: i love this.”If the most eye-catching part of your image is the action you ran, it may be time to reassess your work

21 11 2009

Nice advice. Thanks.

22 11 2009

Thanks for inspiration again!

22 11 2009

These tips really quench the thirst! Thank you for sharing thoughts that are meaningful to you. I loved your first post to the blog as well, and included it in “My Favorite Tips”: Looks like now I’ll have more to add.

28 11 2009
Jessica Cudzilo

I vote this the #1 best blog post I’ve read in the year 2009. Unbelievable. My head is swimming with all that you’ve challenged me to process and I am a better artist because of it. With just one blog post … bravo!

29 11 2009
everyday things. » Blog Archive » “out of office” | will return: indefinitely.

[…] p.p.s. the quote above was found on the best blog post I’ve read in the year 2009. No lie. I think it needs an award. (Click here) […]

8 12 2009

i’m loving all of these cheryl. i need to write down the key ones that resonate with me and read them frequently. thanks for taking the time to write them all down.

18 01 2010
common denominator » Rashmi Pappu Photography | Alexandria, VA | BlogFolio

[…] “The common denominator in all your sessions is you. Shoot for you first and your clients will always know what to expect.” – Cheryl Jacobs […]

24 09 2014
Photo tips from Cheryl Jacobs - a photography link from simple_iso_v4

[…] Photo tips from Cheryl Jacobs […]

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