Bob Barford Photography: Blog en-us (C) Bob Barford Photography (Bob Barford Photography) Sun, 21 Jan 2018 17:54:00 GMT Sun, 21 Jan 2018 17:54:00 GMT Bob Barford Photography: Blog 119 120 Model Releases- Confused?? PosingPosing Model releases can be confusing at times with questions like:

  • What exactly is a model release- does it help me?
  • I took the picture, I have the copyright, I can do anything I want with the image -right?
  • Do I always need a model release?
  • Are there different kinds of model releases?
  • How long do I need to keep them?

A model release is a document that you provide to your subject that gives the photographer to publish an image on a blog, website, social media, print magazines, or just about any medium in which the public can view that image. Generally the photographer will need a release whenever a recognizable image of a person is taken. There are exceptions such as newsworthy events or a public figure in a public location. If you took a picture of a crowd at a fire, you would not need a release from everyone in a crowd since the group is may be on public property and may be reported by a new agency. People in the group do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in these events.  If you managed to take a picture on a political figure at a rally, he/she does not have an expectation that pictures will not be taken (in fact, he/she expects them to be taken).  An example of a release can be downloaded here Model Release  from the SLR lounge. A release 'can' offer you protection in the event of a civil lawsuit.  

If you are an art lover or history buff and take pictures for your own use, then in 'many' cases you will not need a model release. You don't plan or printing them for public display, or selling them. The question you need to ask yourself though is, what if you take a picture that becomes valuable in the future? It definitely has happened  and will continue to happen!

It is true that if you took the image, you own the copyright and have limited protection against it being stolen. This does not give you unlimited rights to use the image however you want. There have been many lawsuits on record relating to defamatory images made public, and now more than some other points in history people believe that they have a right to privacy in most areas of their lives (there are exceptions, see above). Laws relating to model releases vary greatly from state to state with some states having no written law relating to releases (eg. Maryland, Vermont). Some states have vague laws that suggest that a model release is needed such as Arizona and California.  Other states such as New York and Pennsylvania specifically require a model release. A complete listing of state by state requirements may be found here  State lists for Model Releases.  

There are definitely different kinds of model releases. There are portfolio releases which simply state that images will be used for the purposes of self promotion such as shown here Self Promotion.  Some models may be reluctant to sign a general release because he/she feels that the photographer will sell the image and make $$. There are releases for children which require that a parent sign the release found here Release for a child.  There are of of course commercial releases that state that the photographer may sell the image if he/she chooses to do so such as in this release  General release . Take special note in THIS release, the photographer specifically states how the image will be used. Although this is not always required, in general images can not be used in a defamatory nature. If a person feels that an image depicts them in an unsavory manner that person may have grounds for a successful law suit if the release does not specifically state the purpose(s) of the image. 

If you are a photographer who makes sexually suggestive or explicit images, you will also need a 2257 release found here 2257

which clearly states that the subject of the image is an adult. Severe legal penalties can be imposed if the photographer fails to collect this information and RETAINS this information for inspection by law enforcement. Although the law is disputed by many, the intent is to limit child porn images. Elements of the 2257 release of course can easily be included in a general release. Some photographers will even take a picture of a model holding his/her drivers license for added protection.

How long do you need to keep releases? Once again, it will vary from state to state but some states actually may require proof of a release even after the death of a photographer! In general, once you get a release, keep it for as long as you are able, particularly important for images that may become famous or images of a sexual nature.  

As a side note, certain properties will also require a release, as well as permission if you include a trademark of a company within the image.

Remember, releases are a way to protect the photographer, so don't forget! As a disclaimer, this is not meant to provide legal advice so contact a lawyer proficient in the arts for additional information.


- Bob Barford is a published photogapher based in Southern PA.



]]> (Bob Barford Photography) 2257 model release photography state laws Mon, 22 Jan 2018 13:00:00 GMT
Meetups GirlsGirls Meetups- An event where photographers and models 'meet' for the purposes of networking and portfolio building. Some people love them, other hate them. But the question is can they actually be useful to almost any professional?

Meetups often bring in a mixed group of people from the photography world from novice models and photographers to more experienced professionals. The 'meetup' can be highly organized, depending upon the sponsor, or the sponsor may do little more than provide a space and collect an admission fee.  Some meetups feature educational sections that can be valuable for anyone who may attend as well as some may invite makeup artists and even provide lighting and special features at the venue not easily accessible otherwise at least for a reasonable price.

Is it really worth your time and expense?  My advice is start with a plan, even before you click the 'interested' button.

  • Has anyone you know been to one of the meetup sessions? You may be able to pick their brain
  • Are any models going that you may have met, read about, or are social media friends? This may be an important point in determining the actual value of the workshop. If the sponsor has a high fee for the event, perhaps it is because he/she has recruited some very well known models. On the other hand, a high fee with novice models may be a warning flag.
  • Does the event have a maximum number of photographers? If no, you may be shoulder to shoulder with novice and experienced photographers which may make the event a tricky to get images that you want.
  • Does the event provide any equipment? If you must provide everything, it can be problematic carrying 60 lbs of lighting gear up three flights of stairs! Or even dragging it in from your can in rain or snow.

Especially at a new venue, spend a few minutes walking around and exploring. Do you shoot in natural light? How many electrical outlets are there? Is a certain area of the venue noisy, hot, or cold? Is an area visable to the general public? Now is not the time to get too involved in networking for a reason to be discussed below. 

Once your recon is done, start setting up any equipment as efficiently as you can at the prime location that you have chosen. If you wait too long, others may have 'set up shop' and you may be facing a small dark corner without an electrical plug that is either too hot or too cold! I personally recommend initially setting up with essentials to carve out your space. Bringing equipment with your is always a good idea but it should be as portable as possible, and in most cases setting up an expansive studio may not be practical. Other people will almost certainly intrude in your area, and it may take an long time to set things up. In the mean time others may be already developing contacts or making images.

If you have a model that you would like to work with, or if you are a model that would like to work with a certain photographer, contact them in advance so that they can be sure to catch up with you at a certain time. Discuss what concept that you both would like to work with in advance so that everyone can be ready.

For the model, it can be a little hectic to say the least. A model should bring several outfits and make sure that she speaks with the organizer where she can change well away from the traffic area. Depending upon how 'organized' the sponsor may be, a model's activities during the event can be carefully coordinated. In other cases, it can be many people pulling at the model so she barely has time for a break during the event.  How is a model compensated or is the event purely a networking experience with hopes of making valuable contacts for future shoots? Most models should be prepared with her contact info readily available and in some cases, prepared to sign a model release. Certain states are strict, others not so much. A model should understand how many images that she may get from the event, and what she may (or may not) do with them.

In the end, what does the model or photographer hope to gain from the event? Networking contacts? Marketing material? Social media material? If one goes to a meeting without a plan in place, she/he may come out disappointed.

Bob Barford is a published photographer located in So. Pennsylvannia 



]]> (Bob Barford Photography) meetups Mon, 15 Jan 2018 13:00:00 GMT
Are Overlays worth it? PosingPosing There seems to be endless supplies of commercial editing products for photographers as well as just the average cell phone camera user. Overlays are often artistic images themselves that are placed over top of an image, much like a new Photoshop layer, rather than behind the image such as a background. In some cases they take the form of a cell phone filter and the quality is more for entertainment purposes rather than anything else.

In other cases, they take the form of PNG (Portable Network Graphics) file that often has a transparent background so that elements from the original image show through the final product. PNG files have many uses, such as an earlier post that I wrote relating to desktop publishing shown here JPegs and PNG files.  Overlay files can of be found free on sites such as PNGtree or of course many be purchased through almost an endless supply of commercial sites. You can of course create your own PNG files directly from Photoshop as shown in this quick tutorial  Transparent backgrounds.

But the real question here is for the photographer who may be into the artistic editing side with their images, are commercial overlays worth your time and in some cases, expense?

Well here are some positive points to these images:

  • They can serve as inspiration, simply by looking at the overlays themselves
  • They can accent an image that may been ok, into an image that really catches one eye
  • They can improve your editing abilities, since many of them can be warped, toned, or otherwise manipulated to fit the overall theme of the image
  • Depending upon the overlay, they can be a tremendous time saver. You may know what you want but it may take a long time to create it with uncertain results.

Of course, almost everything has it's negatives:

  • The quality of some overlays is not professional grade
  • When used to excess, overlays may actually detract or decrease the value of an image
  • Reliance on overlays may limit your ability to learn and develop your Photoshop skills.
  • Some commercial overlays are overpriced for what they offer. The effect could be quickly and easily accomplished with only moderate editing ability.

Using overlay files in Photoshop is relatively simple. Steps are as follows:

  • Load your original image into Photoshop and make any necessary edits to that image.
  • Choose FILE...PLACE from the Photoshop menu
  • Navigate to where your overlay may be found and choose that overlay
  • Resize and rotate the overlay as appropriate then hit the check mark at the top of the screen
  • You may also add change the color of the overlay by adding a Hue and Saturation layer. You will need to apply this just to the overlay, not all layers.
  • For those more visually attuned, here is a quick demo  Using an overlay file  


Overlay files can be productive and inspiring as long as they are not overused!


Bob Barford is a published photographer based in Southern PA.




]]> (Bob Barford Photography) creative education overlay photography photoshop Mon, 08 Jan 2018 13:00:00 GMT
Into the new year.. but what about the earlier images??? PhotoshopPhotoshop We are just about to enter a brand new year with lots of amazing opportunities. However, what about images from last year and even years past? Obviously we don't want to loose them, if no other reason they bring us great memories. Past images can often be recycled into different portfolios, sold, or if you are the creator edited into a different form. How do you keep your images safe? Do you back them up? Many things can happen to images that are stored in a single location from accidental erasure to total system failure. There are several options open to you.

The Cloud

There really is no shortage of options here. Essentially you are uploading your images to a service which stores your images on a server, ready for you to access.  Services such as offered through Goggle, IBM, Carbonite, Microsoft, Dropbox, and iCloud only a few that are available to you. Some services such as iCloud will let you upload directly from your phone which is handy. Smugmug does charge a small starter monthly fee but does allow for significant customization that some other sites lack.  Prices and storage vary considerably with almost all services offering several GB's free and then a low monthly charge for additional storage. One of the best deals is through Mega who offers 50 GB free to start. But.. what if you don't always have internet access?

Portable Hard drives

Hard drive storage is certainly an option and prices for external and portable drives are affordable to many people. Western Digital and Seagate hard drives are only two that have provided drives that are very reliable and affordable in a variety of capacities. Drives that are solid state (SSD) and or conventional drives than run at higher speeds (7200 rpm) are typically your best bet. This option may not be for everyone, since hard drives can be delicate and easy to damage, though some like the LaCie (B&H photo) have rugged protective covers as well as a recovery service for lost images.   Many drives will come with the optional backup software that may allow you to back up images automatically without having to remember. But, what about the backup software??

Backup Software

Acronis backup software has long been recommended as one of the easiest to operate and efficient software packages on the consumer market. It can clone an entire disk, or allow one to select one directory to backup on a regular basis once configured. The backups are in a compressed format to save storage space rather it be on the cloud or on a portable hard drive. It can backup social media material as well as other images.  Of course there are other well recognized services such as Carbonite and Veritas that work well for many people.  Backup software of course can backup to more than a portable hard drive or the cloud of course...

RAID Drives

Somewhat more expensive than some of the options above, but certainly a very viable option for high volume high worth images. Redundant Array of Independent disks (RAID) combine multiple disks into a system that allows for fast access to your data. It's primary benefit is that if one disk fails (as will eventually happen with many hard drives), the data will still be safe. Combined with appropriate backup software, since system has served business users well for many years. Western Digital, LaCie, and G-Technology are only some of the systems that provide this technology.


Whether you have cherished family photo's or run a high volume business, backing up your images is important. Images can be lost taken from a $100 cell phone or a $10,000 professional camera. Although data recovery services are available, the are often very expensive are results are never guaranteed (regardless of what a vendor may promise). If you do not back up now, please start in the new year!


Bob Barford is a published artist in Southern PA



]]> (Bob Barford Photography) backup Mon, 01 Jan 2018 13:00:00 GMT
Do you have fun? Often photographers, models, and others involved in the production process get VERY wrapped up in the process of making the best image possible. Is the lighting perfect? Is the composition and focus correct? Is the pose appealing? Is the make-up done just right?  Certainly these things are important but also within a project its important to remember in striving for the GREAT image, we may be creating a great deal of stress for everyone and, just sometimes, the stress shows through in the images. It may take more time to get things set up, things may get rushed, a moment may be missed which could actually be the best shot of the series.

For a photographer sometimes getting things right means a little practice setup prior to meeting a subject. If hiring a model, it may mean building in a little extra time in the session. For a client it may mean keeping options open to slight variations on a theme. A model, while she needs a core concept, can certainly build from that concept in terms of poses and possibly props.

Keep things conversational during the session can help work out details as well as make everyone just a little more comfortable with the days conception execution. When possible try to keep things a little light during the session and be ready for spontaneous moments. Mixing things up a little during the session can even be a little fun. As in the image above, the model was posing for come typical cute elf pictures for a Christmas shot, yet a simple suggestion like 'Santa is leaving your coal this year' turned a cute elf into a grumpy elf.


Something to think about during your next photoshoot!


Bob Barford is based on Southern PA and Northern Maryland.

]]> (Bob Barford Photography) fun photography Mon, 25 Dec 2017 13:00:00 GMT
Clipping masks from custom shapes in PS  It's time to get a little creative within a few easy steps using almost any image. Custom shapes have many uses in Photoshop but here is a quick and easy method that you can customize in many ways.  Start by creating a new document at 400 x 600 pixels wide. You can leave the background white for now.

Lets add some color by adding an adjustment layer through the color picker. In this case, I choose grey.

Choose the custom shape tool, and will will see a dialog box open with a variety of shapes to choose from. In this chase, I am choosing the oval with the scalloped edges.

Position the shape somewhere in the middle of the image that you have already created. You can always enlarge it later if you wish.

Find an image that you wish to work with and load it into Photoshop. Paste it on top of your project (Select All,  Edit..Copy, Paste). 

Make sure that your image is on the TOP layer and RIGHT click on the layer (not the image). You will see a choice to create a clipping mask.

The image will conform to the custom shape that you have chosen. You should see a downward facing arrow from the top image indicating the the image has been clipped to the custom shape. If the custom shape is not large enough, simply click on the shape layer and enlarge it. From here you can add text or additional art work to your creation. You colors by clicking directly on the color picker layer.




]]> (Bob Barford Photography) clipping mask custom shapes Mon, 11 Dec 2017 13:00:00 GMT
How do you promote yourself? CuriousCurious The question that I am posing with some possible ideas is how do you promote yourself? This is a a common challenge for those in business, but also may well apply to those who are hobbyist who want to work with a variety of talented artists. A common starting point for many people is social media. How do you handle social media so that people know what your are doing and how to get in touch with you? Is there a daily routine that you follow? It is easy to get hold of you? How responsive to messages that people may send to you?

Choosing daily images to post to various groups and social media sites can be a chore and it's easy to forget or get so busy with other things that daily posting may not happen. There are a couple apps that may be able to help you, the first being  Planoly and a second site is Later. These are both calendar type sites that will let you plan your images out for a few days up to a month at a time. These site send you a reminder on your mobile device and you decide to post.  Although there are apps that may post automatically, sites like Instagram will penalize you for using them and reduce your following, so its probably best to go with an app that is a little better tolerated by the major social media sites.  If you need a little more help, there are mentors such as Jasmine Star's social curator program that allows you some additional guidance with your daily posts.

Do you have a blog, or a website, or a group that you frequent? If you understand what your target audience wants and how you can provide it, a website or social media group is a great way to get the message out. It's not really about you, its about what you can provide to the people that you wish to attract. Once you attract them, what are you doing to keep them? Are you providing content or something to keep their attention? One thing to be careful of is to avoid spamming people. If you want people to work with you, an invitation. If you are too pushy, it like going into a store and someone grabbing you by the arm and pulling you over to see a particular display. Or even a salesperson who simply will not give up despite your insisting that you are not interested.  If someone is interested in working with you, communication is the key to a great relationship. If you fail to make it easy for them, it is unlikely that they will want to work with you.  One site that can help you keep things straight is You can book me that allows for an online calendar. If you happen to be working with a team of people, everyone can look at the same calendar. 

Just a few ideas!




]]> (Bob Barford Photography) promotion self Mon, 04 Dec 2017 13:00:00 GMT
Net Neutrality??? MazeMaze As many people know, with the appointment of Ajit Pai, the current FCC commissioner, Net Neutrality is now at stake with a upcoming vote on December 14th.  Is this important to those within the photography field, well of course it is. It is almost a done deal that the FCC will kill net neutrality by at least a slim margin.  If the results shape us as expected, it will almost certainly increase the cost of doing business for everyone except for the largest businesses. 

In the world today, Monopolies such as Verizon or Comcast have little say what goes through the internet, and ISP's have limited ability to charge more to certain companies, or to slow down connections to the point of almost being unusable.  ISP's can not, as of today, limit access simply based on whether or not the ISP finds an individual or company desirable.

Those in favor of killing net neutrality provide reasons such as companies such as Google that send massive amount of data through the internet such as video or services such as Skype that allow people to make free phone calls using the internet. Proponents of killing net neutrality claim that ISP's should be receiving added income from those who are put strain in the internet.

Of course, companies such as Google, with significant financial assets, would likely pay the additional fees if or when net neutrality would die. Would the ISP's apply the same fees to smaller companies, the answer is probably yes. Could this cause certain businesses to fail... probably.  In a sinister way of thinking, would companies such as NBC get priority bandwidth over other companies who may not have as deep of a financial pocket? Officially, no according to those who wish to kill the act.  Indeed would individuals pay more for a slower internet connection? 

Certainly there is a risk of antagonizing customers, but today many people and almost every business is heavily dependent on the internet for a variety of services. The dependence is certainly not slowing down, with megabytes or gigabytes of transferred data now becoming terabytes of data almost on a daily basis. Companies are now becoming very dependent upon the "Cloud" , with other options being less efficient for a competitive business.  Almost for certain, even for the individual, costs will increase if the vote kills net neutrality.

There certainly are scores of articles discussing the upcoming vote, so keep your eyes and ears open for the final vote on December 14th, 2017!


Bob Barford is a published photographer based in Southern PA.




]]> (Bob Barford Photography) business finance internet net neutrality Mon, 27 Nov 2017 13:00:00 GMT
Selfies HappyHappy Selfies (Self-portraits) are very common within the last several years, especially with the cameras in cell phones improving so much.  Obviously some who take selfies often do so quite well, others... not so much.  Here is some thoughts and some quick tips that you might think about during your next selfie.

As mentioned above, cell phone cameras have improved greatly within the last several years and some models even rival their more dedicated counterparts in the camera market. Some things to keep in mind when taking pictures indoors concerns light. Cell phones have a sensor in them, similar to any digital camera. The sensor is typically much smaller that even a point and shoot camera and therefore it 'probably' is not going to take great pictures in doors without a flash especially away from windows. As most photographers know, our eyes are much more sensitive to light than even the most expensive cameras on the market and we often think that we have more light than we actually have in a room. Combine this with a little movement, and you have a blurry noisy picture which may be ok to capture a memory but probably is not going to be your most flattering image.  If you use the flash at arms distance, you may look a little pale to say the least!  Try to get to the best lit location that you possibly can when shooting indoors.

Holding a camera too close can yield some really funny and distorted looks. Remember, the camera lens is slightly curved and you may end up with REALLY buggy eyes or a giant nose. Selfie sticks can help, and some cell phones most point and shoot cameras will come with a self timer. Resting the phone against a support and taking a step back may drastically improve your images. This will also keep the images in focus.

Some people such as Brooke Shaden, Brooke Shaden Photography often use themselves as models for a variety of concepts. Ms. Shaden certainly is an excellent fine art photographer and many of the images that she shoots features herself as the subject. An adjustable DSLR camera comes in handy for this type of photography along with a self timer and remote control. She is also a very adept educator and has multiple tutorials on her website as well as being featured in workshops around the world.

Mark Wallace has also produced a short Youtube video shown here Self portraits that goes through common steps that will make your planned selfies come out a little better. These tips are helpful for those who wish to place promotional shots on social media, websites, or in print.  Of course, your best bet if you want the most flattering shots that are in focus, have a friend or a professional make the images!

Bob Barford is a published photographer based outside of southern PA.

]]> (Bob Barford Photography) camera cell phone selfie Mon, 20 Nov 2017 13:00:00 GMT
Backstories I have noticed that many people, including myself, will often post an image to social media and may not include much more than maybe the subjects name or possibly "I'am available on...".  Well, that may work, but what if just a little more was added? What if an image including a captivating caption. In the image above, "Do you know what your future holds?" "Mistress of the unknown" or "Are fortune tellers real?".

Photographers and others who post images hope that the viewer will not scroll by quickly and at least spend a few seconds on an image.  If the image is stunning, that may be all that it takes but most of us understand that not everyone shares the same viewpoint on what is (or is not) stunning. 

In certain forums, images also get criticism for what some may feel are imperfections in the image. Too dark, too light, distracting tree branch etc..  Well, what if there was a brief (one or two lines) backstory or theme to the image.  Suppose you really wanted the branch to be where it was? Not everyone will immediately understand your creative concept behind an image; sometimes a few well chosen words may help. How did you light the image? Where was it taken? Was there something funny that happened during the shoot?   In the same respect, you may not want to write a book about each image that you place on social media.  The viewer can easily get lost in a sea or words and the overall impact of the image may be lost. 

Hashtags can certainly help, and sites such as All hashtags  can certainly help when you are at a loss to know what tags to use on sites such as Instagram.  Although some suggest ten or twelve hashtags, a sea of disjointed hashtags can actually distract from your image. Hashtags can certainly help when someone is searching for a particular type of image but can also confuse people.  Sites such as Instagram also have a banned list of hashtags. These banned hashtags may not always be obvious so every now and again it is probably a good idea to visit a site such as Banned hashtags just to double check. Repeated use of banned hashtags can get you Shadow Banned which will reduce your reach to your audience.

Captions that draw in a viewer to your image may be the difference between a quick scroll over or a quick like to someone actually spending time to really appreciate the image itself.  There are multiple sites such as Gramlike that can spark your imagination to creative captions.  Inspirational quotes may be another option depending upon the type of image that you may be posting. For those who are promoting a service, it is critically important to add your location within a caption. There are MANY times I personally see a promotional post and may initially assume it is local only to find out it is located hundreds of miles away. 

The next time that you post, consider adding an extra line to the image and you may be surprised at what happens!


- Bob Barford is a portrait and glamour photographer located in Southern PA.

]]> (Bob Barford Photography) backstores captions hashtags Mon, 13 Nov 2017 13:00:00 GMT
Shooting animals through glass More often these days zoos and animals preserves are placing their animals in glass enclosures. There are several reasons for this, not the least is spectator and animal safety. There have been notable cases of people throwing things through bars, or even jumping over bars into the animal enclosure. Some facilities have opted to place wire mesh along with bars around the animal enclosure, but this can make it more difficult to actually see the animal.

Glass, or heavy plastic materials, do make it more difficult if one wants to photograph the animal. Images make show light reflections, may look washed out (see left above) and may generally unappealing. There are ways around this using a few techniques on site and post production in Lightroom. 

During the actual shoot:

  • Try to shoot without a lightsource directly behind you (this will limit reflections), particularly if you are indoors. If outdoors, try to shoot early in the morning or later in the afternoon without strong sunlight. Shooting on a cloudy day can also work well. Special note- The animal may also be more active during early morning and later in the afternoon.
  • Make sure that you have a protective filter on your lens and try to shoot as close to the glass as possible, even touching the glass with the lens if possible. This will reduce light flare and reflections from the glass.
  • Of course, do not use flash on or off of the camera.
  • Try to find a "clean" section of the glass to shoot through.

Post Production:

The following applies to lightroom, but of course similar adjustments can be made in Photoshop if you prefer.  

  • Shooting through glass will often cause you to loose blacks in your image.  In lightroom, Moving the black slider to the left will almost instantly show improvement in your image. In photoshop, the easiest and quickest way to achieve the same effect is using a levels adjustment layer. Move the slider on the left side of the histogram to the right and you will see an improvement.
  • In the case of the Lion, I moved down to the HSL panel in lightroom. I added saturation to the yellow and oranges. Once again in photoshop, the "Hue/saturation" adjustment level can be used to accomplish the same purpose.
  • I added some vibrance (+20), contrast (+15), and clarity (+15) to this image, I also reduced the brightness of the image slightly and opened up the shadows (+25), all within lightroom.  The degree with each of these adjustments will vary with the image itself.

Although it can be difficult to get a perfect image inside a glass enclosure, you can produce something close with a little through during the shoot and a little post production magic once you come home.

I had also posted in the past a similar technique for obtaining a cityscape from your hotel room in the blog post  From your hotel room which also contains a link to a short Youtube video.


Bob Barford is a published photographer based in Southern PA.





]]> (Bob Barford Photography) animals glass photography photoshop zoo Mon, 06 Nov 2017 13:00:00 GMT
You are being hired! HappyHappy As a professional, or semi pro in the modeling and photography business, a potential client may approach you and ask you to work on a project for them. It may be initially paid, or may lead to paid commissions in the future.  Clients may be anyone including fellow photographers and models.   Some things to think about include:

As the client explains what he or she wants, start thinking to yourself, have I ever done something like this before?  A simple request for a head shot within an office may be doable with little prior experience, however shooting a large wedding for the first time where you may only get one chance for a particular picture may be a little problematic. Hopefully the client has seen some of your work in the past and that is what drew them to you. It is certainly ok to review of couple of images that you shot and ask the client if this is the look that he or she is looking for in their images.  For a model, does he/she have experience or feel comfortable in that style of modeling?  A makeup artist may be great with beauty makeup, but can he/she do theatrical makeup? 

What time frame is the client looking for? Is this a time time frame generous and are you as the professional have tons of free time? Will there be travel time to and from the shooting site? If the shoot requires significant lighting equipment the photographer may have to take into time setup and tear down time. A model who is hired to be body painted, will probably have to wash the body paint off at some point which will take time after the shoot. A makeup artist will need to know when the subject of the shoot needs to be camera ready (ready to be on set).

What props, resources or other people may need to be involved to make the concept happen? Is the client providing anything or does it potentially have to be purchased? Again, depending upon the nature of the concept, resources may be limited or difficult to obtain. Do you need permits to shoot at a particular location.  Does a client want a model to dye her hair green? 

What are the clients final expectations for the end product? Is he she looking for social media images or looking for poster sized prints? For the photographer- can your camera shoot poster sized prints at good quality?  A model may want absolute rights to her images so that she can sell them. How may images are expected from the concept?  Is there special processing that needs to occur with each image prior to release to meet the clients expectations. Remember, image editing programs such as Photoshop are great, but there are limitations. Will the client want to see images and request re-edits? Remember that you may not always be the right person for a job, but potentially could recommend someone else.  If a client wants a model for an underwater shoot, hopefully the model knows how to swim. Does that client want sharks in the same underwater shoot?!

Sometimes, with the notable exception of a wedding, it may be possible to do a test shoot or "proof of concept" for a client particularly when one or more members of the team are inexperienced.  The model may want to 'try' an underwater shoot. These "tests" are often confidence boosters for everyone involved including the client.

In the end, its about managing the expectations of the client. If it is a paid shoot, what budget is available and terms of payment? Asking plenty of questions and getting the answers that you need will often make for a great experience.


-Bob Barford is a published photographer based out of southern Pennsylvania.



]]> (Bob Barford Photography) clients hired models mua photographers Mon, 30 Oct 2017 12:00:00 GMT
Gradients for Portraits? When it comes to portraits, most photographers try to get as much right in camera as possible. At times though there are limitations during the shoot such as time or equipment. Sometimes it takes a little creative thought in post production to make something just a little different. The image above is ok in its own right, but we can work to make it a little more dramatic. 

First, lets make the image a little darker by adding a brightness/contrast layer and reducing the brightness just a little. You will see in a little bit why this makes the image work just a little better. 

Now add a Gradient Fill adjustment layer (not a gradient map). Choose the second option where you see the dark corner fading into a checkerboard pattern and check OK.

Here you can see the the lower potion of her body fades into shadows, giving a little more dimension to the image. Could this have been with the proper lighting? Of course the answer is yes, but always remember that there are many ways to achieve a good image. This is one quick and easy way to give some pop to a portrait shot during post production.


- Bob Barford is an award winning photographer based in Southern PA.


]]> (Bob Barford Photography) gradients lighting photoshop post production Mon, 16 Oct 2017 12:00:00 GMT
Relationships CuriousCurious Typically I will post instructional or informative material within my blog, but this week I wanted to feature an editorial post concerning relationships within the photography industry. 

Most photographers and models are within this industry because they have a passion to create art. With the notable exception of a few, this is not a industry where professionals become rich and famous quickly and it may take several years, hard work, and near constant networking to get noticed within a highly competitive and largely unregulated marketplace.

Friendships often develop as a result of working closely together in a variety of genres, and if lucky, those friendships can last for many years.  For most, these friendships are just that, friendships. There is no romantic or sexual overtones but rather those involved really enjoy working with each other, much like any other typical job.  Of course, a photographer or model may maintain a strict working relationship with those within the profession having friends only within their personal life. Many photographers and models are either married or have serious relationships outside of the profession that they cherish.  Clearly some single photographer's or models date, but I wanted to focus in on professionals who have a romantic relationship outside of the industry.

Romantic partners of photographers or models sometimes misunderstand the profession. This may happen when a model or photographer travels and works with the glamour or artistic nude genres. For various reasons that I have heard recently, a partner may ask, or even demand, that their partner leave the profession. Trust, lack or understanding, control,  fear of 'what if someone sees.., or even some moral issues with a style of photography can be some reasons why a partner may exert pressure for the professional to stop what he is she is often passionate about.

Obviously, this can create friction in the relationship regardless of which direction the model or photographer choose to take it. If lets say, the model, continues to model, there may be continued stress from her partner urging her to stop. This may affect what assignments she accepts and how well she performs in front of the camera.  If she decides to give up modeling, she will likely be unhappy and potentially even resentful toward her partner openly or passively.  A otherwise healthy relationship with almost always suffer at least in the short term.  Some people will leave the romantic relationship entirely which of course causes stress on both parties and probably everyone around them.  Friends often give well meaning advice, but often increase stress the the situation.

Is there any answer?  Well, a frank and open discussion of how important modeling or photography is to an individual is an important step early in the relationship. The romantic partner could even be invited to a photo shoot to see what actually happens during the job. Belief and trust within the photographer or model as a professional and caring for them as a person can make this work. Will it work for every romantic relationship, probably not, but placing the effort to accept a person as they are can often built a strong relationship that can last for a lifetime. 


Bob Barford is a published photographer based on Southern PA.

]]> (Bob Barford Photography) model partners photographer relationships romantic Mon, 09 Oct 2017 12:00:00 GMT
The Witch! With Halloween approaching, the possibilities are endless for costumes, photo's, and events that many people attend. The image above is a behind the scenes prep for a witchcraft style shoot.  There are of course several ways that you can set up similar scenes, but here is one approach.

The scene was shot outdoors with the thought of having trees as supports for the books. Books were purchased at a local thrift shop for less than $1 per book. Very thin monofilament line was hot glued to various points on the books. In some cases, along the spines, in some cases midway through the book. The books were fairly lightweight, so the translucent filament was perfect for them. 

Trees were important for this concept since the books could be hung from various limbs at different heights to give the illusion that they were actually floating in the air. It was important that the books appeared in different positions with pages open, upside down, and backwards to further give the illusion of levitation.

Camera angle was important here as the 'magic' is coming from the character in the cloak.  Several books were positioned around her, but the image was also framed so that some of the books appear as though the character is throwing books toward the viewer with her magical spell. Above you see several books very near the edge of the frame. along with the other books that are still floating around her.

Of course next steps would be to darken down the scene, but not too much, because in order to be believable, there still needs to be some light to showcase the floating books. The 'witch' of course would then assuming a magical menacing pose as through she were actually casting the spell to cause the books to fly. Other objects such as cards, light weight appliances, or many other common objects could have been used to accomplish a similar scene. Depending upon lighting, you may need to erase the lines that are supporting your objects to increase the illusion. The healing tool is great in Photoshop for this work.

Of course, this is just a starting point for a series of other images that could be make for magical scenes. Levitation photo's are popular, so I have also include a reference for those who would like to add this to their holiday shoots or simply experiment with levitation photography is general. The Photo Extremist show us a common technique here Levitation to get thing moving up in the air!


Bob Barford is an award winning photogapher based on Southern Pennsylvania.

]]> (Bob Barford Photography) halloween magic photography witch Mon, 02 Oct 2017 12:00:00 GMT
Creative supplies and resources SecretSecret Whether you are a model, photographer, or any other professional, you are probably always looking for inspiration and supplies to make a certain concept work. Places like Goodwill, thrift stores, are often a treasure trove to many creatives, but they do take time to look through and you may have to visit a couple of these gems before you find just the right prize. 

Create it yourself... well, for those skilled artisans this is a great idea and very rewarding. Unfortunately not all of us are blessed with the talent needed to sew a costume or built that perfect prop (I don't even own a sewing machine).

There are are many resources on the internet, many of which can deliver just what you need to your doorstep and in many cases under a week. Most of use are familiar with resources such as Amazon, or Etsy but there are a few others that I would like to share with you:

If you happen to be looking for some really cool contact lenses Cameo eyes has a wide selection on contact lenses from the theatrical to simply changing your eye color. These lenses are reasonably priced, but are designed to someone who does not need vision correction. Wicked eyes will accept prescriptions for those who wear glasses.

A wide variety of makeup and body paint can be found at Silly Farm . Fake blood, latex and foam appliances, hair products, makeup pallates, glitter,  as well as variety of books can help with makeup needs.

Dresses can be bought and rented from a variety of places on the internet, such as Dress Lilly . This site sells dresses, shorts, sweat clothes, jewelry, shoes, bags, and accessories all at reasonable prices. Outfits on this site range from daily wear to some pretty extreme styles. The interesting thing about this site is that it also provides clothing for men in a variety of styles. On the high end side the site Enception Rentals will provide a some unique dresses for that special concept.

Cosplay is very popular, and who does not want a realistic sword?  Well the site True Swords can do just that for you. From the ancient Japanese swords, to Medieval swords, and even Fantasy swords can be found through this vendor.

Setting off smoke bombs can be very effective at creating special scenes. In past posts I have detailed quite a variety of methods of creating smoke ranging from the DIY bombs through creating smoke in Photoshop. One vendor Inspect USA creates a quality product that is not as irritating to the eyes and respiratory passages as gun powder style smoke bombs. These smoke emitters generate a controlled flow of smoke which can be perfect if you are not working with a large production team. 

Who does not occasionally need realistic fake flowers for a photo event?  Silk Flowers offers a variety of flowers at reasonable prices from single stem flowers to entire bouquets. 

I hope everyone found this helpful!


Bob Barford is a published photographer based out of New Freedom PA.



]]> (Bob Barford Photography) creative supplies Mon, 25 Sep 2017 12:00:00 GMT
Do you experiment? Recently, I was at a shoot where I was only able to bring a very limited amount of equipment. Professional strobes were not available nor there were any modifiers such as grids or anything elaborate at all. I also had a very limited amount of time with this model since she was in relatively high demand during the event that I attended.

I started out with a concept of a strip light, but ended up with something very different. The above image is straight out of the camera without the aid of Filters, layers, or adjustments of any kind.

I asked to the model to pose next to two full size V-flats. I took my speedlight and placed strips down the lens so that only a narrow slit of light emitted. I next zoomed the speedlight to its max setting. I then adjusted the position relative to the model both in height and relative to her sides.

As you can see, it almost looks like I used a beauty disk with a very narrow grid. Shots from this technique ranged from glamorous to almost creepy looking.

I really did not know how what exactly the effect of my little 'experiment' was going to be on my subject, but the combination of her white dress and golden blond hair certainly worked in my favor. You may or may not like the effect, but the point of this post is to try to experiment now and again with lighting. Use a piece of equipment in a manner unlike what you have ever done before. 

This certainly does not only apply to professionals in a studio, but to anyone with any sort of camera. Experiment with getting down lower to take images, stand on a ladder, place a colored piece of plastic in front of a cellphone lens. By trying new things you may never that you may be creating a masterpiece of art!

Bob Barford is an award winning photographer based in Southern PA.

]]> (Bob Barford Photography) creative experiment light photography speedlight Mon, 18 Sep 2017 12:00:00 GMT
Just for Fun.. Food images Although I am primarily a portrait and glamour photographer, I do occasionally photograph other subjects sometimes to sharpen my skills and yet other times just for fun. Food photography is a genre of itself with the need to make the food look as appetizing as possible. Photographers who specialize in this field may work for restaurants for advertising agencies and many of us a bombarded each day looking at images that entice us to stop what we are doing and grab some food. There are some tricks that some use to make the food look especially mouth watering.

Steaming foods: 

Steam coming up from a dinner roll or baked potato can look very tasty. How do photographers get just the right shot? Instead of constantly cooking food for hours, some photographers place wet cotton balls in a microwave and then place the cotton behind the food. Back light the steam (just the same as you would do for smoke) and you have a nice out of the oven hot dinner roll

Ice cream:

Any one who has ever eaten ice cream, especially outdoors know that it can melt pretty quickly. This can be very messy especially in a warm studio. Guess what some people substitute... Mashed potatoes! Get the Mashed potatoes just at the right consistency add a little coloring and it can be difficult in a photo to tell the difference.

Do you ever put whipped cream on some of your ice cream? Whipped cream, especially under hot constant lights can become very runny and loose its shape and hard to shoot correctly. The answer... Shaving cream!

Does anyone pour chocolate on their ice cream? Well, sometimes the photographer can not get just the right consistency for a pouring or dripping shot of liquid chocolate (or even some other liquids). The solution, colored wax added to the chocolate in just the right amount can make it pour just right!

Milk and Cereal:

Any one who has ever done a milk shoot knows that Milk can look a little pale in photo's. Commercial photographers have a trick not only to keep the 'milk' pure white but also to keep things like cereal from looking soggy and sinking into the liquid. They often use  Glue! They place the cereal in a shallow dish on top of a few inches of white glue and shoot for as long as they need to shoot.

Tasty Steaks?

Grilling perfect steaks is almost a science unto itself, but photographers who shoot for advertisers want the meat to look just perfect. Do they hire a master chef? Not always.. The steaks are often cooked in an oven and then the perfect grill marks are painted on with shoe polish!

Fresh Fruit

Some people see that fruit such as applies may have a very thin coating of waxy like substance to maintain its freshness. This may not quite be enough in a photo to get just the right shine to make the apples or pears look tasty. Some photographers use Spray deodorant to pump up the shine!

Thanksgiving Turkey

Cooking that perfect turkey for the holiday season can be difficult. To save a little money, the birds are often just barely cooked and the stuffed with things like newspapers or even mashed potatoes and then sewn shut. A air brush artist comes in to finish up the job with a perfectly painted roast turkey!


Surprised? Yes, but we know photographers can be very creative!


Bob Barford is a published photographer based out of Southern Pennsylvania



]]> (Bob Barford Photography) creative food photography tricks Mon, 11 Sep 2017 12:00:00 GMT
Car & Boat show modeling and photography Some people are car, boat, or even motorcycle enthusiast and enjoy going to outdoor shows. You may even want pictures of yourself (or your model) by some of the more exotic vehicles. Here are a couple tips that may make the event a little easier for everyone whether you are a pro or just there to take a few images.

These shows often draw big crowds, and you may run into people around popular vehicles almost constantly which may make it more difficult to get the shot that you want. Even if you have specifically been hired to photograph the show you will be limited as to what equipment you may be able to use in large crowds. Tripods, lightstands, large modifiers will often get kicked or tripped over by visitors.  Consider bringing a zoom lens that you can shoot with a shallow depth of field if necessary. A speedlight will often provide enough fill to bring out details, but obviously pointing it directly at bare metal will result in a nasty flare.

 Consider, what makes that car, motorcycle, or even boat especially attractive. For a car, it may be the engine particularly if it is chrome. Take some close-ups of the engine parts, dash panel, or even the grill work. Just at the right minute as you are already close to the car, you may have a few seconds to snap that one image of the entire body. Which brings out a great point that although you may love the fixed lens on your camera 90% or the time, now is the time to bring out your zoom lens to get the shots that you may want in a very small amount of space with limited time.

Motorcycles in particular are often parked side by side is almost a straight line. Patterns and leading lines can really set off an image and even if you capture a stray visitor, you may be able to crop or even remove that person in post production. Try changing your body position from a higher perspective to a very low near ground perspective as you continue to shoot. Look for lines and curves within the vehicle. 

If you happen to have someone with you (or even a model) with whom you would like to make a few images, be sure to ask the owner (if available) before someone leans or gets into a vehicle. Particularly if it is a vintage show, the vehicles have certainly received loving care and no one wants an unpleasant scene or worse yet a broken accessory. Offer to take a few shots of the vehicle with the owner and promise him/her that you will email back some nice shots. When including people in the image, you may want to use a on camera flash properly expose your subjects face.

Especially when shooting outdoors, reflections from the sun can be very dramatic, and even a bit of lens flare can set an ok image into an image that you may be very proud to show. In the same respect, remember, particularly for darker parts of a vehicle you may need to bracket your exposures (one stop above/below what you believe to be the correct exposure). This step may bring out details that would have been otherwise missed in the shot.

Even if you are not very much into car or motorcycle shows, try visiting one with your camera. These events can often sharpen your photography skills in ways that you may not have imagined.


Bob Barford is a published photographer based in Southern Pennsylvania


]]> (Bob Barford Photography) boats cars models motorcycles photography Mon, 04 Sep 2017 12:00:00 GMT
Underwater? DCIM\100MEDIA Underwater photography is a style of photography that can be fun and rewarding as well as unworldly. There are certainly things one can do underwater that are nearly impossible to photograph well on land without some very sophisticated and expensive equipment. Like another other photography though, it does take a little preparation but the results can be very worth it.

Your camera:

Some things to consider when choosing a camera may be how often do you plan on using it, where (pool, lakes, ocean), how much time you wish to take in preparation of the camera, as well as ease of use underwater.

Probably the least expensive option is a disposable camera such as the Fujifilm model. These are typically single use cameras in a plastic housing. These may be ideal for snorkel trips or pool shoots. These a point and shoot cameras that produce an ok image, but certainly not the quality one may expect from some other models. Often very little preparation is needed with these cameras and are often ready to go right out the packaging. Control are often minimal if any at all and you are at the mercy of the cameras presets. Video is often not an option here.

There are other point and shoot cameras that produce a little better image such as the Fujifilm Finepix or of course the Go Pro water proof housing model cameras. These cameras are often moderately priced and are well suited for those who want a little more control of the final image. These cameras are often require little preparation (GoPro requires the housing), but controls are often small on the camera. Video is often possible which again leaves you with more options.

If you shoot with a DSLR, one choice for the camera that you already own is something like the  DiCAP underwater housing which is essentially a rugged plastic bag enclosure with a specially fitted lens attachment on the outside of the bag. This can be useful for the occasional underwater photographer although can be someone difficult at times to control the camera settings. One must make sure the bag is carefully sealed according to directions or you could end up with a ruined camera. This units are best suited for pool use, and not recommended for dives more than about 10 feet.

Another choice for someone who may decide to shoot a little bit more often or go a little deeper with a camera the SeaLife camera can be a good choice. It is a dedicated sealed camera which requires very little preparation prior to use. It features a wide angle lens, color correction filters, large easy controls, video, as well as a myriad of other features. The results are typically very good, although some may consider the price a little high if you only use it once or twice per year.

Last but certainly not least are the professional camera housings such as Ikelite which may be used for deep dives for very serious underwater photographers. Once these housings enclose your camera properly (important), one can dive as much as 200 feet under the water!

Photographer Preparation:

It is probably best to practice in a pool first. Depending upon which camera you choose be certain to follow directions, if any on the camera prep. If you short cut, particularly with '0' rings, you may end up with a VERY expensive soggy paper weight! Shooting in a pool, you probably with have sufficient ambient light so strobes are not necessary. If you progress to deeper dives in open water, strobes are continuous lighting is almost a must. 

Once in the pool, exhale and descend slowly. If you jump into the water it may take 10 or 15 seconds for the bubbles to clear before you can get a clear shot. You will need to be fairly close to your subject even in a pool to obtain clear images. Most dedicated underwater cameras have wide angle lenses, but if you are using your own DSLR, be sure that you have a wide angle lens mounted. Camera settings will of course vary depending on whether you have a sunny day or cloudy day, but an ISO of 400 and a shutter speed of 1/200 sec will often be enough to limit fuzzy pictures due to natural camera movement under the water. If you happen to be in open water, sand and other debris in the water is your enemy so you will need to be very quiet and once again close to your subject.  A snorkel can help if you have one available. One other tip, when working in a pool it can be helpful to bring a backdrop (at least 10 ft wide). This can keep your images clean from unwanted pool reflections or tile designs.


Model photography can be very cool, but also difficult for both parties. Some of the same principles such as a slow descent, not disturbing sand or silt, and exhaling upon descent apply for the model. Free flowing clothing or fabrics are often popular to photograph. It can be VERY difficult for a model to open her eyes underwater especially if you are working in a chlorinated pool. Safety for you model should be the most important element here, so shallow dives (<10 feet) are best and even a safety diver may be helpful in you happen to be in open water (Open water -Do not recommend this for first time photographers or models).  Specific poses are probably not going to happen, so be prepared to capture the best image that you can with a window after 15 seconds to about 45 seconds for most models. Again you will want to be relatively close to the model to capture clear images, but be careful about floating into each other!

Post Processing

Regardless of your camera, some post processing will be necessary.  Color shifts are common with the skin appearing very blue or green. Some cameras such as the Sealife has built in filters, but many do not.  There are MANY videos on Youtube on how to color correct such as this one from You will often have to clean up which back scatter particles even in pools. One way to do this is to adjust the 'blacks' slider in Lightroom, or use the curves adjustment in Photoshop. Of course, in some cases the healing brush may also be helpful. 

Be safe and I hope you found this helpful!


Bob Barford is a published photograher based in Sourthern Pennsylvania


]]> (Bob Barford Photography) camera color model photo photography underwater Mon, 28 Aug 2017 12:00:00 GMT