Harry Lim Photography’s Top Blogs to Follow

Alltop Logo

So I first heard of Alltop on Scott Kelby’s blog last year.  I didn’t think much of it. Dismissed it somewhat. At the time I was subscribed via email to David Hobby’s Strobist.com and Joe McNally’s Blog. On my customized Google page, I already had widgets to take feeds from a few other blogs including David Ziser’s Digital Pro Talk, Photoshop User TV, and Planet Photoshop. Then that list started growing. It now includes Virtual Photography Studio, Scott Bourne’s Photofocus and Photo Attorney. That doesn’t even include the photography sites I’ve bookmarked. I realized I needed a better solution to keep track of all the blogs I follow. I tried Google reader, but then I remembered Alltop.

Let me take a moment here to talk about the education of a photographer. I suppose you could take the traditional route and go to school to learn photography. Me? I’ve learned from blogs and websites and personal experience. I have a lot of peers who are relatively new to photography and love to schedule so many photoshoots that they hardly have time to edit the images afterwards. I agree that the best education is practical experience. Every shoot, every press of the shutter should be a lesson. But you also need time to “hit the books”.  Some of the world’s best photographers are sharing their knowledge for free! Why not take advantage? Set aside some time each day or each week to read a little…and learn a lot!

Ok, I’m off my soapbox. Now, go to www.alltop.com and create an account. Now you can customize your page and select your favorite blogs. The topics are not limited to photography but search for that topic and you’ll get a ton of photography related blogs. Just add your favorites and voila! You can even set the order of how they appear.

Here’s my alltop page: http://my.alltop.com/harrylimphotography.

I hope you’ll find some useful resources!


Want to Save Your Files? Do the Back Up Two Step!

Maybe you’ve heard the horror stories. Maybe you have one yourself. A photographer friend of mine lost his entire portfolio when his hard drive crashed. More recently, another fellow photographer posted on Facebook that his computer had a virus and unless he could recover, all of his files would be lost.

I heard once that it’s not a matter of “if” your hard drive will fail, but “when”. So use protection! Now, I know a lot of photographers who are starting out are on a tight budget and they want to save every penny for that next lens or piece of equipment. But honestly, what good is taking pictures if you’re just going to lose all of them? And if you want to get paid to take pictures what are you going to tell a client when you lose theirs?

Step One: Physical Back Up

Memory is cheap. You can get an 8GB USB drive for about $15-$20. Now 8GB may not get you very far if you’re shooting RAW files. A 64GB USB drive will cost you anywhere from $120-$170.

Personally, I have both a USB drive (4GB) and an external hard drive (1TB). You can get a 320GB external drive for about $60. Or for double the price you can get 1 terabyte! Prices, brands and types vary. I’ll include helpful links at the end. I think I read that Scott Kelby likes the LaCie portable drives. The 250GB model will run you $99. The portable ones are handy ’cause you can bring them with you on a shoot and transfer your files periodically in case something happens to your memory card.

Step Two: Virtual Back Up

Google “online backup” and you’ll get a list of companies that offer online storage of your files. One of the most popular I’ve heard of is called Mozy. They offer 2GB of storage for free. Mozy claims you can store 300 photos with 2GB of space. It’s a good way to try before you buy. It’s $4.95 a month for unlimited back-up or $54.45 for a year (13 months actually).

Another service is called SOS. They offer a free trial, then you pay an annual fee according to storage space. $19.95 for 2GB, $29.95 for 5GB or $49.95 for 15GB. Think about it, less than 50 bucks a year for either service. That’s .93-cents a week!

There are others. This article from PC Magazine reviews some of the more popular ones and calls SOS the most user friendly.

Putting It All Together

Ideally, you want to have both a physical back-up and a virtual one. Your workflow could go something like this.

1.)You come back from a shoot and download the images to your computer. That’s 2 copies (one on your memory card, one on your hard drive).

2.)You finish editing and put the final images on a CD for your client. That’s 3 copies

3.) You delete the images from your memory card and back up the files from your computer to an external hard drive. That’s still 3 copies.

4.) You deliver the CD to the client leaving you with 2 copies.

5.) You need the space on your computer so you back up the files through an online service and delete them from your hard drive. But you still have the files saved on your external drive. That’s 2 copies.

Now if your drive ever crashes, or gets lost/stolen or destroyed. You have at least one more source to retrieve your files. Yes it costs a little money. But for $150 bucks you and your clients have piece of mind that the pictures you worked so hard on to take and edit are safe.


Amazon.com External Drives

Amazon.com USB Drives

Tiger Direct External Drives

Tiger Direct USB Drives

Two Days, Two Shoots

On assignment for Central Florida Lifestyle Magazine this week. First assignment was to photograph Heidi Ordaz, a Stetson University student studying Piano Performance. The Steinway Society of Central Florida recently donated a piano to her. Read more about it in the next issue of Lifestyle Magazine. 

(UPDATE: Article is posted online HERE.)


click for larger image

Although this is not the picture that the magazine will use, it’s my favorite of the set. (The editor wanted to use one of Heidi sitting at the piano with her head turned over her shoulder looking at the camera.) 

Lighting for this was pretty simple. There was a large window camera right diffused by sheer window curtains. I set up my flash in a softbox camera left and dialed down the power until I was happy with the mix. f/4.5, ISO 100, 1/60th, 38mm

The next assignment was a simple corporate type headshot for a financial advisor in Winter Park. Hera (cool name, no?) handled the shoot like a pro. Her office had a solid green wall which looked to me like a professional backdrop. Once again there was a window camera right with blinds. So I used the same set up as I did for Heidi. 

Hera's headshot

click for larger image

I was a little worried because the last time I did headshots, I got a big shadow to the lower right of the subject. If I had another flash, I could light the background. Or I could place the softbox higher so the shadow is cast out of frame. In the shot above you can see the shadow in the lower right corner, but I don’t think it’s distracting here and I really like the catchlight in her eyes. f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/60th, 48mm.

Lisa and Ryan

I had a chance to shoot Lisa and Ryan’s engagement photos this evening.  I was going to wait ’til I finished all the photos before posting a blog, but I was so excited by what I saw in my camera that I couldn’t wait to come home and start playing with the pictures.

The good news is, I hardly did any retouching. I pretty much nailed the exposure and lighting. I’m not bragging; in most shoots, I’m a nervous wreck inside, filled with self-doubt.  But I think I’m getting to the point where I’m confident and comfortable. That lets me relax and be more creative (like the last shot below).

Anyway, I had fun and the shoot only lasted about 45 minutes or so before we ran out of light. Lisa and Ryan were great to work with. Thanks to Mikkel for the assist! It’s so much easier when you have someone helping with the equipment.

Lisa & Ryan

f/5.6, 1/60th, ISO200

Lisa & Ryan 2

f/4.0, 1/45th, ISO400

Lisa & Ryan 3

f/3.5, 1/45th, ISO400