Beautiful blonde - photography by Vlad Grubman / ZealusMedia.comThere are two types of tips you can get – something technical (how to approach certain situation) and something business (how to run your photography business).

Since I have already mentioned that I am not making my living as photographer, I’ll focus on technical side of things.

#1 – Always Be Shooting – if you know A.B.C. from the business side of things you already know what this means. Don’t stop. The more you shoot, the more variety you do – the better your game is. I am going through a rough patch of my personal life right now. I don’t have ability to set up elaborate photo shoots or travel to places to do photography full scale. I practice on things, use random subjects, get an odd opportunity, visit a conference or show.

#2 – Revisit old works. See what can be improved. I’ve redone some concepts a few times and each time gotten better results because of the experience I have acquired since then.

#3 – Simplify. Anything that can be simplified – should be simplified. I used to lug around whole studio – softboxes, flashes, cables – you name it. Right now I am down to 3 or 4 speedlights, some portable modifiers and a lot of rechargeable AA batteries.

#4 – Always do more. Always shoot more pictures than you need. Buy extra memory cards. Give your client one extra image for free. It’s better to have more material and pick the best of the best than scrape at the bottom of an almost empty barrel.

#5 – When in doubt – start at f/8 aperture and 1/125 shutter speed. It should be right in the middle of everything and will bring you closer to the actual settings faster.

#6 – In low light situation always remember, that unless you are physically trained for holding heavy objects in your hands for extended periods of time (like in military) you will get motion blur in images starting from around 1/60 shutter speed. It’s better to up the ISO and deal with noise than to get unusable image because of motion blur. Also, check out this blog post on Night Photography.

#7 – Don’t trust the LCD screen. If you have a chance – bracket, or learn to read a histogram. If your eyes aren’t as good as they used to be – bracket always.

#8 – Follow the rules. I always enable 9 squares in my viewfinder. It helps with composition.

#9 – Break the rules. Even though I always have 9 squares enabled I shoot subjects in the middle, break images in half or shoot something at the edge of the frame.

#10 – Save/Backup/Share – make sure you got the sequence right. Save your images to a computer as soon as you can. Back them up to another drive or the cloud. Then share edits if you want.

#11 – Don’t listen to anyone. If you think you have to do something – just do it. I get a lot of flak from “professional boudoir photographers” for over-editing only to see two weeks later same photographers are asking advice on how to use Liquify tool. Seriously – don’t listen to anyone. If you want to make 4pm daylight look like 2am moonlight – go for it.
Pirates blowing up a door to warehouse - photography and editing by Vlad Grubman /

#12 – Listen to everyone to keep learning. I am subscribed to a dozen of communities on stuff I am years behind on. Keep learning and keep doing new stuff – not only it’s very exciting, but it also helps you figure out how to do old stuff you were doing in a new way.