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Have you ever listened to a This American Life podcasts from NPR? If you haven’t, then I congratulate you on your cool-ness.

If you have, then you are either an uber-nerd or a photographer that’s editing. I happen to fall into both categories. Welcome to my geeky world where an hour of listening to investigative reporting on the effects of toxic investments on the economic meltdown sounds like a pretty good time while achieving natural skin tones.

When it comes to processing images, podcasts have become my life-savers. I have found several sixty-minute, thirty-minute, and fifteen-minute podcasts that I basically use to time myself during afternoons of culling and editing. Cull an engagement shoot? That’s an hour-long This American Life. Edit the blog images from a wedding? A thirty minute interview from Fresh Air. Receive a wedding back from ShootDotEdit and finalize for proofing? I’ll cue up a fifteen minute 99% Invisible podcast with Roman Mars.

But this wasn’t always the case. Before we started using Photo Mechanic to cull our images, I needed an entire AUDIOBOOK to finish a job. Watch my quick screencast and see how we use Photo Mechanic to quickly and effectively cull, sort, tag, and prep our images before editing them in Lightroom 4. Our culling time was cut in HALF with this simple, easy, and inexpensive program!

We’ve finally “made it.”

Okay, not really. But we had an experience a few years ago that I debated about sharing, but in the end decided that it might be helpful and encouraging for my friends. This isn’t a look-at-us sort of post, but more of a what-we-wish-we-had-known-earlier sort of post.

When I (Jeff) was first starting out, I sat down to write some lofty business goals and came away with a pretty good list (I say “I” because when The Youngrens started it was actually Jeff Youngren Photography, and Erin’s only role was listening to my crazy stories and wiggling her way into being an assistant from time-to-time. I’m glad times have changed).

One of the goals – which at the time was completely serious – makes me laugh when I think about it now. Continue Reading

Not too long ago we posted a tutorial about how we get such beautiful, consistent skin tones in our images using Lightroom 3, and at about the same time Adobe released Lightroom 4 which works differently and has all kinds of different sliders, so we decided it was time to record another tutorial. (If you like, you can check out the Lightroom 3 tutorial here)

In this screencast, I demo how Jeff and I edit our wedding and engagement images in Adobe Lightroom 4. This isn’t a tutorial on how to use Lightroom, it’s simply an explanation of the editing process we use to achieve our natural style for our wedding and engagement shoots.

I even give away our ‘secret ingredient’… Continue Reading

Spoiler alert: Jeff and I love to throw parties. Which isn’t much of a shocker with how much we love food, wine, and general merriment. In fact, crafting the perfect party has become an art form for us with years of trial and error on party greats and party fouls under our belt. What we’ve discovered with this hobby-of-sorts is that the best parties are the ones where guests feel comfortable and connected. Physically, they need to feel as if their needs are met – that they’re comfortable. Emotionally, they need to feel important and known – connected to the people around them.

It’s the same with our shoots. Think about it – isn’t it when we’re able to fulfill our couples basic physical and emotional needs (whether we realize it or not) that we have the most fun in our shoots? That our couples really loosen up in front of our cameras? When we’re able to capture the best stuff?

In other words, it’s only when we’re a great host that the party really starts.

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So you’ve decided to take the plunge and hang out your shingle as a wedding photographer, huh?

First, congratulations. It takes a lot of courage to do that.

Second, be strong. Because as much courage as it took to hang out your shingle, it takes even more courage to keep it hangin’ out there when the going gets rough. As many of us have learned these past few years, there is no magic Easy Button in this business.

By the way – could someone please get on that? It would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

So here it is folks – a list of ten things Jeff and I believe that you should do in your first year of business as a wedding photographer, in no particular order. Continue Reading

I found this video a while ago, and if I’m being honest, I go back and watch it all the time. But only if I’m being honest…

It’s a promo video of sorts for the acclaimed surf photographer Mickey Smith, but honestly it’s more of an art piece than an actual promo video. If it WERE a straight photographer promo, though, this would be the best one I’ve ever seen. Ever. Big respect to Allan Wilson, the DP.

When I watch this, I can’t help but feel empowered, encouraged, and excited to pick up my camera and create something that is going to be meaningful and remarkable. I can completely identify with the part where he talks about how cameras help him interpret and understand the things he sees. I get that.

What about you? How does this video make you feel? What thoughts do you find going through your head as you watch this and listen to the words? 

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