Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Top 10 Reasons Photographers Live Longer Healthier Lives

June 19, 2012

http://fitnessphotocourse.com Shoot More Live Longer Each and every day we come in contact with hundreds if not thousands of photographs. We see them on billboards, magazines, newspapers, in our mailbox, and in the family photos that adorn our walls. We barely give a second thought to most. And the more familiar ones we tend to take for granted.

Imagine how that might change if you knew for a fact that taking those photos could actually help you live a longer, healthier life.

My research has shown that taking photos actually can produce enormous physical and mental benefits. Photography’s therapeutic benefits are a scientific reality and here’s why:

1. Activity: there is always some new photo we need to take and somewhere we need to go to take it. It’s really hard to just sit on the couch and take a prize winning photo. We keep moving.

2. Positive Mental Attitude: we just can’t wait to capture an image of the next amazing thing. We know for a fact that the world is full of wonder and it is our mission, our passion to show it off in our photographs.

3. Sharing: while some minute percentage may take photos strictly for their own personal pleasure, most of us take photos so we can share them with others. We are eager to share our sense of wonder with others. And the compliments they bring sure make us feel good.

4. Connection: through photography we gain a strong sense of connection to this world as a whole and especially to our local community.

5. Fun: we have fun! Each photo outing is a new adventure, a treasure hunt for visual splendor. One never knows what visual prize lies in wait around the next corner. We spend our leisure hours in an activity that we find enjoyable and has no end.

6. Mind Stimulating: each new photo opportunity presents a different challenge. We must always be evaluating the ambient light and surroundings and adjusting our camera settings accordingly. Our minds stay fresh and open because we are in a constant state of learning.

7. New Friends: through taking our photos and sharing them we are constantly surrounded by opportunities for human interaction. Mankind was never built for solitude.

8. Sense of Purpose: we always have a mission, a reason for being. It’s even fun to travel alone when your mission is to come back with great photos to share of the places you explored. In Earl Nightingale’s famous talk, “The Strangest Secret” he observed, “The people who live the longest are the people with something to do.” You’re never too old to take a great photo.

9. Exercise: walking has been heralded as one of the most universally beneficial exercises and we photographers sure do walk a lot. Add in some squats to get that unique angle, some uphill climbs, a little forest terrain and you’ve got some powerful ingredients for healthy living.

10. Freedom from Worry: we concentrate on the excitement of tomorrow, rather than the problems of yesterday. After all, with digital photography, we can always fix yesterday’s shot today with a little Photoshop! We keep our eyes focused on the future, the next shot. Hope for the future is the ultimate Fountain of Youth.

For more information on the therapeutic physical and mental benefits of photography, and some great photo tips, be sure to check out my new book, “Photo Fitness Phenomenon” now available at Amazon.com

Have a happy, safe and healthy summer season!

Robert Schwarztrauber

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Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” Sets Record

May 3, 2012

Robert’s Fruit Still

This week, Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” sold at auction for $119.9 million dollars! For one pastel-on-board artwork. One.

Granted, this was the only one of 4 versions still in private hands, but really, $119.9 million dollars?

Obviously this represents more than just a pretty picture. The buyer is not buying art merely because he or she enjoys it’s beauty. There is a bit of status involved. Ego. “I have the only one and you don’t.”

Previously, the highest price paid at auction for artwork was $106.5 million for Picasso’s “Nude, Green Leaves, and Bust,” which was sold by Christie’s in 2010.

As for me, I find greater pleasure not in hoarding art, but sharing it.

I enjoy art, and like to surround myself with pictures that inspire, intrigue or just leave me amazed at the talent of the creator. Or Creator.

Fortunately, photography gives me the opportunity to create work myself from the beauty found in nature. Or everyday things like this fruit still shown above. Or from man-made structures.

In fact, photography also lets me hang artwork from Monet, Picasso and many more famous artist, in my home, for FREE!

It’s one of the many “hidden” benefits of photography I share in my book titled, “Profit, Power and Privilege: The Photographer’s 7 Secrets

While millionaires around the globe  strut their stuff in an attempt to outdo the others and claim the prize, I’ll be content to furnish my entire home with the talents of masters for less than these uber-wealthy socialites might spend on a single bottle of wine.

I’m a fan of art, not ego.

$119.9 million…for just one piece of art. Seriously!

 

7 Things to Do When You Retire

February 28, 2012

1. Travel: Job and family responsibilities keep people rooted in one community. Familiar sights and habit often lead to stagnation and boredom. To really feel alive we must experience new sights and new traditions. There is a whole world out there of folks doing things differently and still being successful. We are often surprised and gain a whole new perspective on what’s possible. New avenues and possibilities suddenly appear before our eyes. Magical moments that send us off on an entirely new course of discovery. Travel is a great way to recharge your batteries after doing the same-old, same-old for so long. Pledge to travel. Pick out someplace you’d like to visit. You don’t have to go all exotic. A trip to a state park you’ve never seen is a very inexpensive way to get started. Or maybe to your state capitol if you’re not a big nature fan. Or, just hop in the car once a week and drive off to destinations unknown. Many of my best discoveries came from just such unplanned adventures. Drive until you come to something interesting, then, hop out and take a better look. Travel is a great way to begin your retirement years. Later, I’ll tell you about one simple new technology that makes travel exponentially more fun, even if you have to travel by yourself.

2. Get a Job: Of course I don’t mean go to work for someone else. This is your chance to finally do what you love to do. This is your chance to turn your hobby into a source of additional income. Making money doing what you love is the dream. Sharing your crafts or hobbies or interests with the world has never been easier thanks to the internet. In the not too distant past, retirement came awfully close to the end of our life expectancy. But not anymore. At age 65 most of us can look forward to another 10, 15, 20, 25 or more years of living. What will we do with all that time. Earl Nightingale, famous radio personality and co-founder of the Nightingale-Conant corporation that built their success on audio education programs once said, “The people who live the longest are the people with something to do.” We need something to do. We need some plan or structure in our life. Like it or not, a plan for the future, some expectation or excitement for what’s to come is a driving force in our life that pulls us forward.
When you tie your hobby or interests to a source of income generation, you insure that you’ll always have the financial freedom to enjoy what you love and you’ll get even more enjoyment from it knowing that others are interested in your work too. What joy is the most beautiful flower in the garden, or the best recipe, or the fine wooden craft if there’s no one else to share it with. Sharing has never been easier with the internet and a simple new digital tool.

3. Meet New People: One of the greatest joys in life are friends. People to share our interests and activities with. Meeting new friends was easy when we were in school. Classes would change, kids would come and go. We’d meet new people through sports or clubs or parties. Once we get into the workforce though, we find ourselves a bit more limited. Maybe we’d get to know a coworker. Or someone at church. Or someone from our kid’s school. By the time we retire we can often feel a bit lonely. Kid’s are grown. Sadly, some of our friends have gone off to their great reward or moved into retirement homes or places like Florida or Arizona. Meeting new people can sometimes be a real challenge. Luckily, there are hobbies that make it easy to meet new people.

4. Stay Active: The human body was not designed to be stationary. We we’re meant to move. Activity keeps our muscles in tone. It keeps our fluids moving. It lubricates our joints and aids our digestion. The trick is to find an activity that is low-stress but still addresses all of our physical necessities. Fortunately, walking is an activity that most of us can do. In fact, walking is the activity most often prescribed by doctors for people of all ages. It’s great for our posture, it stimulates our cardiovascular system and its low stress. The only problem is people often get bored with it. Fortunately, when you combine walking with another popular activity you can overcome that boredom and get even greater benefits. Benefits like triple calorie burn, instant gratification, and an excitement to get up and out the very next day. In fact, adding one simple activity can increase your interest in walking from 15 minute to one hour easily, thus quadrupling your benefit.

5. Leave a Legacy: Let’s face it, one day, we’ll be gone. Our time here on this planet will come to an end and we’ll take all of our memories and experience with us. How great if we could leave just a portion of that knowledge, talent and experience behind. What can you do to share? Rich folks leave large sums of money to benefit their favorite charities and institutions. Many other folks volunteer their time and talents. What organizations could use your help? What do you like to do? Could you volunteer your time? Could you write a book? Technology like computers and online retailers like Amazon.com make it very easy now to write and publish your knowledge. Perhaps you like to make things? Furniture and wood crafts. Decorative items for the home. How about art? Do you like to draw or paint? Perhaps you’re one of those frustrated artists who can never get their hand to do as the brain says? Fortunately there are digital arts now that leave your traitor hand out of the equation and let your wild imagination do all the work with a keyboard and mouse.

6. Teach: What better way to leave a part of you behind than to teach? When you share your knowledge you give the next generation all the benefit of your experience. You give them a head start, a leg up, a shortcut to success. There are many community education opportunities where you can even earn money sharing your knowledge. How about SCORE, the service corps of retired executives? Perhaps you could share your knowledge to help other businesses grow?
Starting your own class is easier than you think. It can provide great satisfaction, purpose, and is a great way to meet people with the same interests as you.

7. Buy a Camera: One of the best ways to get maximum enjoyment from your retirement years is to get a camera and learn a bit about photography. Photography is a great way to unify and magnify the benefits from all your activities.

A recent survey, conducted offers some interesting health benefits not normally associated with photography.
• 3 out of 4 people in the survey indicated that photography made them more active each week.
• All of the survey’s participants said that photography stimulates their mind. Half stated that it made them feel more focused, alive and creative.
• 82% found the ability to sustain high levels of concentrate while taking photos. (not an easy task in today’s hurry up era of infinite distractions)
• Fun – Most study participants were involved just for fun, deriving no income from their photos.
• 93 people out of 100 reported that photography made them feel good about themselves.
• 8 out of 10 said it lifts their mental state daily… it makes them feel good.
• More than half the people surveyed felt more connected to the local community and the world.
• 8 out of 10 reported that their involvement in photography had increased their contact with other people.

Surprise – The quality of the photos taken did not influence results. Even though half the people found others showed little or no interest in their photos, they still reported feeling all of photography’s positive benefits!

When asked to reveal, in their own words, the benefits they enjoyed from photography here’s a snapshot of the replies:

Connecting with nice people, relaxation, reduced stress, creativity, extra income, greater appreciation of the world, help people preserve memories, make people happy, get out of the house, meet new people, nostalgia, makes me feel better, relieves pain.

Photography can make your current hobbies more fun by allowing you greater opportunities to share. It can be a great motivational force to keep you active each day. Digital Photography has become much more a communication medium than an art. Technology has made it easier for anyone to take a great photo with just a bit of training.

A recent report indicates that now 10,000 people will retire each day in the country. That’s a lot of people who need something to do. They’d better get busy. Life moves pretty fast and they just might miss it.

Learning a bit of photography can open a great many doors to making retirement one of the best times of your life.

by Robert Schwarztrauber

“Change Your Life in a Flash” is a great introduction to all the benefits of photography. Improve your picture taking skills and find out exactly how to apply these skills to improve your health, wealth and happiness. This 90 minute audio CD program will open your eyes to a whole new world of opportunities. Opportunities available only to the digital camera user. You can get more details on this program at http://FitnessPhotoCourse.com

Perspective Power of Photography

February 3, 2012

Riddle me this: If you imagine that your subject, what you want to see or photograph, is in the center of a sphere, how many different views can you find?

Answer: If you consider that there are 360 degrees in each plane of the sphere, and each point on the sphere can be located by using a latitude and longitude coordinate, you could easily come up with 129,600 individual coordinates or points of view. (360 x 360)

So, 129,000 of us (really tiny people) could gather around one free floating 3 dimensional object, take a photograph, and none of those photos would be exactly the same.

Now imaging that your sphere could change in size. Imagine really that you could look from closer or farther away. You’d still have 129,000 points to look from, but there’s no telling how close or far away you could be. Your number of different views will then becomes infinite.

But wait!

Imagine now that we’re outside taking photos of this object. Since the sun, our light source is constantly moving, every single second, even if we never move our view changes with the changing light and shadow. And no two pictures, no two views would ever be  completely alike.

Knowing this, it’s easy to understand that the world WE  see is different from the world everyone else sees. Our perspective at any point in time is unique.

And we may not have the best view.

Fortunately, while most folks are walking around just looking at things in a surface way, we photographers have the ability to look and really SEE.

Our world is greatly enhanced because we understand that there ARE so many points of view and we look for the one that best expresses our subject at this point in time.

While the amateur takes a picture that records a moment in time as he sees it, photographers create a photograph composed of all the most expressive artistic values he or she can pull together from all the resources of subject, light, lens, camera, background and experience.

The amateur records. The photographer creates.

Because of that, the photographer  gets to experience a fuller, richer life than anyone else on the planet. We see so much more than those who sit on the sidelines, content with viewing only a fraction of the beauty and wonder in this amazing universe.

This year, resolve to shake it up, be creative and enhance your photography with all the tips and tools you can find.

See it, show the world YOUR world, as it’s never been seen before!

Robert Schwarztrauber

“Change Your Life in a Flash”  is a great way to get off the sidelines. Discover how to see and experience all the wonders of the world through new eyes. “Photographer’s” eyes.  This 90 minute audio CD program, narrated by yours truly, guides you to use photography to improve your life physically and mentally while showing you how to improve your technical photo taking abilities.

New Years Resolution Gone Bad? Try this…

January 30, 2012

 

New Years Resolution…Divorce!

January 4, 2012

Bitter cold winds whip across the lawn as I drag out the remnants of Christmas past. This magnificent, beautiful tree that once caught my fancy over all the others looks dry and limp now.

Every year I wrestle over when to get rid of it. Too soon and you risk incurring the wrath of those still reeling over the brevity of the Kardashian “marriage”. Wait too long and you become rather attached to the memory of the holiday magic and it’s harder to let go.

The New Year, for most of us, ushers in little change, despite our ritual resolutions. But for some, the stress of the holidays proves to be the breaking point. The tree becomes a metaphor for their spouse. They resolve to radically change their life this year by breaking from the family.

Save for a few celebrities, divorce is a process surrounded by challenges. Challenges that are new to us.
One is wise to look for assistance, as early as possible, from competent folks who are trained in such matters.

Lawyers, accountants, therapists and clergy can all help guide you through this difficult process.

“How does THIS relate to photography?” you might ask.

Good question!

And I have an equally good answer.

Late last year I was contacted by several photographers who shared stories of how photography had helped them to heal and get their life back on track after divorce. It helped them get past feelings of loneliness and restore their confidence. It gave them a sense of purpose and opportunities to meet and interact with fun new people. Exactly the results you would expect if you’d read my survey results.

Not willing to settle for hearsay evidence, I went to an expert on matters of divorce and had a wonderful conversation with Dr. Lisa Rene Reynolds, therapist and author of the new book, “Parenting Through Divorce – Helping Your Children Thrive During and After the Split”.

You can listen to the full interview at the bottom of the article here:

http://robertsphotonews.com/archives/158

Listen to this enlightening interview with Dr. Reynolds on Photography and Divorce now.

Even if you’re happily married, or long past your divorce, you’ll find great tips on using photography to keep your life happy and healthy…or maybe help someone you know get through this difficult time.

*** Listen all the way through to discover how even smart phone cameras are getting in on the action!

(This article was reprinted courtesy of RobertsPhotoNews.com)

Camera Best Gift for Single Folks

December 16, 2011

Ten days until Christmas and the panic of not knowing what to buy my single friend consumes me. Waves of adrenaline shoot through my heart. I want to buy a gift that matters, but what?

Page after page the catalogs and store flyers leave me uninspired. Surely there is one gift that will bring my friend happiness, let her be more active, more social. But what is it?

Here it is. A digital camera!

In a recent survey, three out of four photographers report photography makes them more active each week. In fact, all of the surveys participants state that photography stimulates their mind and half say it makes them feel more focused, alive and creative.

That report also says taking photos helps boost self esteem. Ninety three percent say taking photos makes them feel good about themselves.

Eight out of ten say it lifts their mental state daily and increases their contact with other people. Most in the survey say taking photos makes them feel more connected to the local community and the world.

Best of all, the survey says you don’t have to be a good photographer. The folks in the survey are amateur picture takers and even if no one else likes their photos, they still report feeling all the positive benefits of taking photos.

The people in the survey say taking pictures helps them connect with nice people, it relaxes them, and gives them a greater appreciation of the world. It says their interest in taking photos gets them out of the house more and makes them feel better.

Photography is even considered a therapy for depression and loneliness by some psychologists and counselors. One woman used photography to beat her addiction to alcohol. Another man who suffers chronic pain from an accidental fall used it to mask the pain; it’s effective, if only temporarily.

Yes, a camera will be the perfect gift for my friend.

Digital SLR’s offer the greatest opportunity for creative photographers. Automatic features insure that even the novice can take great photos the same day. Manual features allow the budding or expert photographer complete control for artistic expression.

Technology now lets the new iPhones and androids compete in this arena too. The quality of their onboard cameras and their portability make them the go-anywhere alternative to the bigger digital cameras. Add some editing in a program like Photoshop and you’ll never know that cell phone photo didn’t come from a pro camera.

With all these great benefits, a digital camera really stands alone as the best gift choice for single folks, divorced folks, and widowed folks. Everyone young and old. It might just be the most overlooked total mind-body fitness machine ever invented!

For more information on the many ways  photography can improve your life, visit http://RobertsPhotoNews.com

Angelina Jolie Knows the Power

September 1, 2011

Not a big screen star...but I'm happy!

Depression can strike anyone, anytime, anywhere. It doesn’t care how famous you are, how rich you are, or whether the timing is convenient.

A recent Huffington Post article detailed how screen star Angelina Jolie found herself in the grip of depression after her mother passed away in 2007. When she found herself constantly dwelling on negative thoughts and slipping into a “dark place”, incapable of getting up in the morning, she knew she needed a fix. So she took the starring role in the stunt-packed movie “Wanted”.

Signing up for something that forced her to be active was just what the doctor would have ordered.

The article goes on to quote Carol Landau, Ph.D., iVillage wellness expert and clinical professor of psychiatry and medicine at Brown University’s Alpert Medical School in Providence, R.I. as saying, ” Distracting activities, especially physical activity, can be helpful (in breaking the pattern of ruminating about the loss).

While most of us can’t go make a multi-million dollar movie deal to get active, we can grab our camera and head out for a photo walk!

A nice relaxing photo walk combines the distraction of photography with the physical benefits of stress-free walking. When you add in the expectation and hope of finding something really cool, you have a prescription for effective, drug-free relief from your depression.

If you’d like the  full report on the how Photography can be more beneficial in fighting depression than drugs, visit: http://robertsphotonews.com for the free report, “Photography vs. Big Pharmacy”

No Focus? Put Your Goggles On

August 15, 2011

My daughter said, “Watch me swim across the pool underwater dad!”

At 20 ft it’s a good challenge for an 11 year old. Twice she tried, but came up short each time.

“Why don’t you put your goggles on?” I said, “So you can see when you’re getting close.”

Sure enough, in her first attempt with goggles, she made it easily to the other side. That one simple tip made all the difference.

She would have thought nothing more of it, except her dad is always on the lookout for an opportunity to teach a life lesson.

“You see,” I told her, “when you can clearly see your goal, it’s much easier to give it that extra effort at the end. That’s what you need to succeed.”

So how are YOU doing on your goals? Can you see them clearly? Have you written them down?

Writing your goals is like putting your goggles on.

You wouldn’t think of taking a photo without seeing it clearly, without having it in focus, would you?

Please, don’t shortchange your goals. Start writing!

Robert Schwarztrauber

Photo Fitness Secret Revealed

March 1, 2011

It’s March now, we’re two months into the year.

If you made a resolution in January to shape up, get fit, or lose weight, how’s that going?

Maybe you decided you’d need help and bought one of the classic fitness machines or workout routines from a late night infomercial. How’s that going?

When you think fitness machine, it’s likely that CAMERA never comes to mind.

But upon closer examination, what do we expect from a “fitness machine”?

…A man-made object that helps us get moving

…Creates physical changes in our body

…It Makes us feel better after use

…Makes exercise more interesting

But most fitness machines fall short when it comes to the one thing that we really want…

INSTANT GRATIFICATION!!!

Typical exercise machines require weeks or months of regular use before we see any benefits.

A digital camera on the other hand has something for us as soon as we’re done… Pictures.

Let’s recap why the digital camera is such a great fitness machine:

…it gets us moving. There’s a whole world to see and a camera gives us a great reason to get up off our butts and go see it.

…since we’re moving, we are improving our health. In every publication you read, walking is ALWAYS listed as a great source of exercise. Both for the body AND the mind.

…since we’re moving, we naturally feel better. The human body wasn’t designed for prolonged periods of inactivity.

…it keeps us interested, motivated to capture the next great photograph to share with our friends. Boredom, as in walking nowhere on a treadmill, is the biggest reason folks lose interest in an exercise routine. In fact, the word ROUTINE just screams BORING!

…the camera gives us instant gratification. When we’re done for the day… an easy hour of walking that passed quickly, with occasional squats to take the low photo, and hill climbs thrown in to reach some interesting object in our path…we have photographs! Something tangible. A reason to do it all again tomorrow or the next day. And just like all the other fitness machines, over time we will get the results we ultimately desire…the better, fitter body.

But we will have had fun along the way!

And maybe faster results because we never quit.

The digital camera…it just might be the finest piece of fitness equipment ever designed.

If you’d like details on a Photo Fitness plan, just send an email to me at:

robert@totalfitnessphotography.com

Robert Schwarztrauber

What Are You Looking At?

May 17, 2010

DandelionWhen you look at this flower, what do you see?

An unsightly weed from your lawn? Or a beautiful flower from nature’s bountiful bouquet?

My guess is, if you’re like the media or the majority of the population they cater to, you will see a weed. You will complain to everyone about how awful it is. You will curse it and worry about what your neighbors will think if they see you with one.You will see the negative side and you will be unhappy.

Just this morning, the day after the Miss USA Pageant, all the news from the media is focused on the negative. It’s all about how Miss Michigan, Rima Fakih, stumbled as she walked in her evening gown. They’re focused (AGAIN!) on the negative. They look for what’s bad in a situation.

When you’re focused on the bad, you cannot see all that’s good.

If you want to be happier, stop looking at the negative in life. See the whole picture. Look for what’s good and you will see plenty of it. Everyday!

Instead of a girl falling over here dress, you’ll get to see a beautiful beauty queen. You’ll can smile with her and feel her joy. You can rejoice that in America anyone CAN succeed. It doesn’t matter where you come from. You can be reminded once again that with dedication and hard work you CAN fulfill your dreams, just as this lovely young lady did.  Even if you stumble along the way (as everyone must do at some point).

One of the best things about photography is it almost forces you to look for what’s good. It changes your focus. Not just for the hour or the day, but for life!

How much better to tune out the negative in your life and look for what’s positive. What’s beautiful. What’s yours for the taking with just a snap of your shutter. There IS a whole world of nature’s beauty waiting for you to see it.

Don’t let the news media get you down. You control what you’re looking at.

What ARE you looking at?

Be honest. Be careful.

Answering that question just might change your life.

Robert Schwarztrauber

“The Secret” of Photography

April 7, 2010
The Secret

The Secret Revealed

One of the most popular videos of late has been, “The Secret”. In this film, much is made of the Law of Attraction. Particular attention is placed on the premise that as you think, so shall you become. While I found the film to be motivational and informative in many ways, I found it came up short on something equally important to success.

Action.

You can think of great inspiring plans, and dream of the opulent treasures that await you, but until you actually DO SOMETHING, things may be attracted to you, but it is by doing that we prepare ourselves to receive what we have coming. Until you do, until you give, you can never begin to get. It is the results of your actions, that began with your thoughts, that ultimately brings you the things you desire.

And the things you fix your mind to getting.

One of the most prominent figures in the movie “The Secret,” Bob Proctor,  made an analogy to the Polariod camera in his famous book, “You Were Born Rich”.
He said that our conscious mind is like the shutter on the camera. It is responsible for snapping the picture. The conscious mind chooses what we see and what we focus on we permit through to the subconscious mind. He goes on to say the subconscious mind is like the rest of the camera. It is responsible for bringing forth the image captured by the conscious mind and producing it exactly the way it was seen. The final Polariod  photograph is our result.

Our conscious mind, our thoughts, envision the thing we want, our subconscious mind then gets to work to create that vision in a physical form which is then available for all the world to see – we call it our results. If our image of what we want is not clear, our results will not be clear either. if we can’t hold a steady thought in our head, if we’re flipping all around from one thing to another, our results will reflect that lack of focus.

To extract the maximum benefit from “The Secret” and the Law of Attraction we must first have a clear vision of what we want to attract. We must then hold steady and focus on that vision even while we go about our regular duties in life. We must let that vision work through our powerful subconscious mind to process it into the physical result (the doing) and only then can we expect our vision to be drawn to us in the form we intended.

The process for getting good results in photography holds true for life as well. Have a good vision to share. Hold steady while you compose your vision. Have a proper tool to process your image. Then share the vision that is produced to benefit those who see it too.

Prize Winning Photos Made Easy

March 25, 2010

Yellow DaffodilHow does one create a prize winning Spring photograph on a budget when a  Buffalo Winter hasn’t moved on yet?

It’s too early for daffodils in Buffalo. So I went to the florist and bought one for 2 bucks and some change.

I had hoped for a clear blue sky outdoors to shoot it in it’s natural element, but it rained and rained until I could wait no more.

Finally, I chose to shoot indoors. I have a room painted with blue walls.

I put a spring clamp at the base of the flower to hold it, set it on a chair in front of the blue walls. I knew I needed a big light source, close, to create softness so I hung a big white bed sheet from the ceiling behind me to bounce my speedlight off of.

This was a one flash, on camera, deal.

I got down on the floor to shoot up at the flower to make it unusual. (most folks shoot down on the flower because that’s where they are). Most times when we use a flash we flash up, because that’s where it is too – on top of our camera. But to do that meant the top of the photo would be lighter than the bottom, not what we see when we look at the sky. When we look at the sky, the top is darker.

So I turned my camera sideways and angled the flash 45 degrees to the floor and rear white sheet to lighten the lower part of the photo. The big sheet gave lots of softness to bring out the petal details with gentle shadows, and the lighter bottom gave a real-to-outdoors look. A touch of gradient boost in PS added additional darkness to the “sky”.

Think about the light when you shoot. Think about the “3C’s + 1”

…Composition, Color, Clarity + that certain something different. A new perspective or digital prop. Don’t let circumstances dictate your results. “Find a way,” I always say.

“When you can master the light your photography can delight.”

Scott Voelker’s digital props offer a great shortcut for folks looking to create prize winning, big money earning  portraits, easily. It’s one of our most popular requests.

Busting Through Your Fears

February 15, 2010

STained Glass

This past week one of my best and oldest friends came face to face with mankind’s ultimate fear…the fear of dying.

He had been very ill for several months. The doctors had a long talk with him about quality of life and encouraged him to disconnect the life sustaining equipment which had been his support for these many months. Encouraged by an optimistic and energetic therapist he committed to a removal date and followed through with great resolve.

On the morning of that critical day, surrounded by friends, the machine was removed and we waited. No one could be sure what would happen. Hour after hour past and all the fears that one could conger in one’s head failed to become reality. He breathed. He lived. In fact, with the passing of the fear, he grew ever stronger. His outlook brighter.

Sometimes in life, all we need is a little encouragement. Sometimes we must accept that no one is there to encourage us and we must dig deep with ourselves to summon the courage. Hope is a powerful weapon against the fears that often consume us.

Big fears and little fears can paralyze us. Thinking about them can waste years of our preciously short life. Worst of all, most often our fears are based on unfounded ideas. We create all sorts of scenarios based on speculation. Absent of any real facts, why do we waste time and drain ourselves emotionally on the negative  “what ifs” without giving equal time to the positive “what ifs”?

“Face the fear and the fear will disappear.” “Do it anyway.” “I’ve had a great many fears in my life, and most of them never happened.”

There are a zillion quotes that preach the value of facing up to your fears. Running from them is a bad addiction that only leaves you trapped – as if in a bubble you’ll bounce from fear to fear. Only when you bust through your fear will you be rid of it and free to move in a larger world.

What’s your greatest fear right now?

What would you have to believe – choose to believe – in order to bust through your fear today?

What could you do, right now, that would take you beyond your fear?

Many folks have long dreamed of turning there favorite hobby into a source of income, but were afraid to get started.

If that speaks to you, perhaps today is the day you should vow to put at least that one fear behind you. On the right margin of this page are many simple, proven options that you can take you from your fear into a profitable photography business. They have been proven to work by others who set aside their fears. And they’re all risk free to try. So ask yourself, “why won’t you try?”

Often times staying where we are – is the scariest thing of all.

Robert Schwarztrauber

Photography Fights Cabin Fever

February 8, 2010

Amaryllis in Winter

The weather this time of year doesn’t always favor photographers. I know I’m loathe to get outside for walks and photos when the temperature dips below freezing and the wind numbs you clear to the bone.

Luckily, with  a little creativity and a Google search, one can still find plenty of opportunities to get up and out – even during the coldest winter months.

This weekend, before settling in to watch Super Bowl 44, (where I’m proud to say my pick, the New Orleans Saints, won!) I  had a little bit of time to stop by one of my favorite winter retreats.

The Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens was featuring a beautiful Amaryllis display under it’s rare Victorian glass dome. Fortunately I was able to take advantage of the rare glimpse of sun that helped to show off this delicate flower’s beauty.

Most cities have at least a few indoor facilities where you can find something interesting to photograph. With a little creativity you don’t have to be trapped indoors during the harsh winter months. You can still get out to exercise your body and your mind while improving your photographic skills.

Most museums allow photography, although one should always ask about the restrictions on flash photography. Or how about the beautiful churches in your town? The architecture and stained glass windows there make for many opportunities. Check the events calendar in your town also for listings of ongoing or upcoming events that might make for some interesting photo outings.

At the very least, if you can’t find a suitable indoor venue, consider just shooting from your car. Many scenes look beautifully unique when covered in snow or ice. You’ll not get too cold when you stop (please do stop…no shooting while driving!) and roll down your window to capture the scene. You may not get the physical exercise you otherwise would, but it still does a body good to get out and stimulate the mind in search of beauty.

So next time you’re getting that cabin fever, those winter blues, decide to get out your camera and find a destination. Next thing you know you’ll be happy as clam sorting through all those pics to find the pearl.  (is that a mixed metaphor, clams and pearls?)

Robert Schwarztrauber

Photography is Like Making Spaghetti

June 8, 2009
Making Spaghetti

Making Spaghetti

Your hand squeezes each plump, red tomato attempting to find just the perfect texture.

The bold, green color of bell pepper catches your eye next as you begin selecting the ingredients for a meal that’s sure to please. Each item must be chosen with most careful scrutiny in order for your creation to become a masterpiece of culinary delight.

But this is just the start.

Anticipation grows on the drive home with your precious cargo. You eagerly await the preparation which comes next. You imagine yourself carefully peeling away the parts that aren’t needed until just the very best remains. Each part must hold it’s own for the final feast to please. The kitchen is filled with excitement as the aromas begin to tease.

From all of your gathering of ingredients, preparation, and artful assembly a spaghetti dinner has been created! Friends and family can now enjoy.

So how in the world is photography like that?

Rather than just tell you outright, permit me to share a little story and see if you can find a similarity.

The park is filled with magnificent colors. The sweet scent of fragrant flowers is in the air. You can hear the shrill sound of the blue jay, off just a bit in the distance, near I expect to where the small but sparkling waterfall meets the pooling waters below.

You know you have found the perfect spot to gather photos. The beautiful flower colors beg to be taken home. The unique textures on the rock wall and the shadows they form would be great to show your friends. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch a shot of the beautiful blue jay as he sweeps by in pursuit of his next meal. It’s like being in paradise, again.

I say again because at least once a week, I head out, camera in hand to gather the wonders of nature on film. It’s a great chance to look for, enjoy, and appreciate all the magical things that surround us every day, but often go unnotice in our hustle and bustle lives.

Each week I  gather the visual ingredients that will make for great photographs to share with friends and family…and everyone here at this blog. But the process of creating great photographs just begins in the camera. There are so many ways to prepare them later, just as there are hundreds of ways to prepare tomatoes. One outcome may be quite different from another.

On my journey home from the park, I begin to imagine just how I will use my digital photo editing software, in my case Photoshop, to careful craft the final images. Digital editing is the equivalent of cutting the veggies to make a fine spaghetti sauce. Only in photography we’re preparing pixels.

Once “cut and washed” until sparkling clean and clear, the final image you will see nears completion. Perhaps I’ll pick a nice frame just as you would settle your fine spaghetti into one of your best dishes for presentation.

You gather and you prepare, savoring each step as you go.

That is exactly how photography is like making spaghetti. A few hours spent immersed in the enjoyable adventure of creating something grand to share.

However there is one critical difference I should make you aware of. Photography will never put one pound on your body, no matter how often you partake.

In fact, when you follow the  program I suggest on this blog, you can actually find yourself losing weight! And having a great time doing it!

Spaghetti on the other hand?

…Hmmm?

I Have a Dream…Like Susan Boyle

May 1, 2009
tA Brighter Dawn

A Brighter Dawn

Today I want to share an inspirational video with you.

It’s a very moving story of someone who pressed on despite her obvious “handicaps”.

Someone who pressed on, determined to follow her dream, though from all outward appearances she was ill suited for the lofty dream she held in her heart.

But she had two things going for her that would not allow her to fail. Her persistance and her talent.

Most of us have talent, at one thing or another. Most of us lack persistence.

One of my talents and passions happens to be photography. But I let that talent lie dormant for a great many years. Only recently did I decide that I must share my skills and abilities so that others might discover the many great benefits of photography – better health, greater wealth, and wisdom.

Take a look at this inspirational video of Susan Boyle (below) . If after watching it you DECIDE that your dream involves taking up a camera to create wonderfully stunning images of the magnificent world in which we live, or if you want to capture the innocent smiles of children as they play, or pets as they always amuse us, come on back here and read through the posts.

Check out the helpful resources in the sidebar. Everything here is built and tested for helping you to pursue your dream. Photography can inspire your life in ways you could never imagine.

Let the sun rise on your dreams today, just as it did for Susan.

To borrow the words of a great American, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,

” I have a dream!”

And I’m living it, and sharing it with you. Let’s all be inspired by Susan. Let’s dust of our dreams, pick up our cameras (if that’s your passion too) and share our gifts with the world. If you won’t do it for yourself, please do it for us! Please, please  surprise us (or someone!) today with your special, secret talent.

Watch Susan share her gift here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9lp0IWv8QZY

Robert Schwarztrauber

2nd Chance For Camera Cash

March 29, 2009

spring-card4Short Note:

Many folks were interested in getting the NewPhotoBiz 1.0 offer I wrote about previously, (Recession Beating Income)but were closed out

Well I’ve just been informed that it will be opening up again, slightly better, next week. Scott has also prepared a FREE online-video introduction that really offers some great Photoshop and business tips as well.

If you missed out last time, you won’t want to miss this. Since I’ve gotten so many questions specifically on Photoshop, I created a new site more dedicated to the details. http://www.photoshophouseofcards.blogspot.com/

You can sign up for Scott’s NewPhotoBiz Lite, free videos when you fill out the name and email form on the top right of my new photoshop dedicated blog, Photoshop House of Cards. Click here to go there now.

Remember, if you’re looking for a great way to create waves of cash using your camera, Scott’s, NewPhotBiz Lite, is the Tsunami you’ve been looking for!

Photoshop House of Cards

March 18, 2009
Welcome Garden

Welcome Garden

I’ve been on quite a run of articles lately that focus on making money from doing something fun… Photography.

Today, I’m just going to write a short note on another topic which might not have direct money- making applications, but will certainly make you wiser.

As a regular reader you know that I try to keep this blog touching on the many ways photography can improve your life…make you healthier, weathier and wiser.  Rather than try to get real specific and deep into topics, I plant the seeds of opportunity and offer links to the appropriate resources (at the right side of this page) where you can go to get all the details , right from the experts on that topic.

One of the things I love about digital photography over film is that you can have so much more creative control over the finished print. While trying to get the photo correct right out of the camera is my ultimate goal, I must admit I haven’t yet achieved that level of nirvana yet. And so I am thrilled that programs like Photoshop exist to let me hide some of the flaws.

Beyond that, I love the fact that I can add so much more creativity to scenes that might otherwise be called so-so.

An area that was particularly bothersome to me was seeing a beautiful subject to photograph but not being able to do it justice because the background looked like crap. People, lightpoles, street signs, garbage cans, cars, buildings, and generally too much clutter!

In my quest to eliminate all the junk (and technical errors) from my photos, I found I was getting quite an education on Photoshop. Lots of cool stuff from folks across the net. I started jotting down notes on all the cool techniques I was learning (because I have a devil of a time remembering!).

Next thing I knew I had a whole box of index cards documenting wonderful ways to make your photos look really amazing. Like the 3-D photo shown here of the Welcome Garden. You see a great picture here, but before it became this, it was a clutter.

I wanted to share these tips with my readers (you!) but didn’t feel this was the appropriate spot. So, if you like what you see here and would like to learn more, click over to my new site, dedicated to Photoshop Tips at:

http://www.photoshophouseofcards.blogspot.com

Sign up to get your own set of  FREE Photoshop Tip Cards there too!

Thanks!

Robert Schwarztrauber

Copy This Orchestra for BIG Photography Profits

December 20, 2008
Doggy Basket

Doggy Basket

Last night I attended an amazing holiday production by the
Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

Now most people think nice classical music (or boring!) when you mention going to the symphony. Being a holiday presentation tends to worsen their regard since they already know all the songs.

Not too exciting they imagine.

But nothing could be further from the truth when it comes to the spectacular show put on by this talented group of musicians. And that’s where the lesson begins that can teach (or remind) photographers an awful lot about achievingtheir maximum potential.

Most “normal” orchestral events differ very little from listening to music on a CD except for the ticket price and the polite applause heard between songs. You watch a sedate group of musicians sit and play for hours on a rather stark stage. In my estimation, a 90% auditory experience coupled with a 10% visual experience. If that style of performance has changed in 300 years, it’s not by much.

Therein lies the problem. We live in a society raised on television. We’re a visual society now more than ever. More than any other time in history we want, ney expect, excitement to come blasting in through our eyeballs MTV knew that. And now it seems there can be no stopping the proliferation of YouTube style videos that are popping up at a phenomenal rate. (see the trend?)

Million dollar opportunities spring from nowhere when you include visual stimulus in either your product or its presentation.

We demand visual excitement in our lives.

Trans-Siberian Orchestra has rocked up the old Christmas standards. Athletic performers of boundless energy playing electric guitars and violins to songs like “O Holy Night” rock the house. You get keyboards and rockin’ drum solos set to a laser and pyrotechnic light show that rivals the biggest
names in rock-n-roll history. They get it.

They saw the trend to visual 10 years ago and took action – building a touring group that plays to sold out venues everywhere. Their great show is easily 50-50 in terms of visual to auditory. Half great sound, half great visual show. They added excitement to their music in a very visual way and now reap mega-millions annually for their intelligence

And that’s what we need to do as photographers. Add excitement!

While there is still a place for the standard portrait, there is an even greater opportunity for photos that excite. Photos that people get all hyped up.Photos that people can’t wait to show and tell their friends about.

Photos with that “WOW!” factor.

And now, thanks to SV, a master of photography techniques and marketing, ANY photographer, amateur or pro, can add the equivalent of a rock band’s light show to their photographs.

SV has created a unique way to add extreme visual excitement to your photographs.Best of all, it’s simple and easy. He has a great way of showing you how, and, no surprise, he uses FREE videos to let you in on his secrets.

Discover more about how to add extreme visual excitement to your photos and boost your income substantially at :
*

http://photobob.newphobiz.hop.clickbank.net/