Friday Happy Hour: The Secret to Taking Great Portraits, Whitney Houston & More

Friday Happy Hour: The Secret to Taking Great Portraits, Whitney Houston & More

Last weekend, we lost another singer with genuine talent and charisma. Photographer Matthew Jordan Smith shared a blog post about his first photo shoot with the late Whitney Houston, accompanied by a touching group portrait. Elsewhere, photographers posted best secrets to taking portraits, and almost everyone had something love-related to share on Valentine’s Day (okay, even us). Read on for our roundup of shout-outs and news stories.

Matthew Jordan Smith says goodbye to Whitney

When Whitney Houston first arrived on set with Matthew Jordan Smith, she said “My God, a Black photographer! I hear you’re good but I need to see your music taste.” She flipped through the CDs he had on set, and from that point on it was “an amazing day,” recalls Matthew in his dedicated blog post and image to the late singer.

Peter Hurley’s secret to taking great portraits

In a guest post on Scott Kelby’s blog, New York advertising and commercial photographer Peter Hurley shares his best secret to shooting great portraits: accentuate the jawline. “This simple technique instantly improves the images I’m taking of my clients,” says Peter. His video is cheeky and really informative – check it out if you’re looking for ways to improve your portrait photography.

2012 International Conservation Photography Awards

The International Conservation Photography (ICP) Awards is a worldwide photo event focused on conservation and the environment. Founded by esteemed nature photographer (and PhotoShelter member) Art Wolfe in 1997, the awards aims to raise conservation awareness through photography and recognize the world’s outstanding nature photographers. Deadline for submissions is February 29. For more information, visit

Success stories: wedding photographer Lisa Devlin

In 2011, PhotoShelter member and UK-based wedding photographer Lisa Devlin won the British Journal of Photography’s first ever Wedding Photographer of the Year Award for her edgy, rock-inspired, and Gothic-style wedding shoots. But she didn’t start out that way: Lisa began her career as a music photographer, ultimately shooting for some of the biggest acts of the 90’s. Today, she receives over 50 client requests per week. Find out how she went from rock n’ roll to shooting weddings in her PhotoShelter Profile.

And if you want more insight from the top wedding photographers in the business, download our latest free guide, How To Grow A Wedding Photography Business.

Photo by Lisa Devlin

Pleasures and Terrors of Kissing by James Friedman

Speaking of love, fine art, portrait, architectural and commercial photographer James Friedman was featured on the New York Times Lens blog this Valentine’s Day for his project, Pleasures and Terrors of Kissing. James rarely kissed his family members until his mother was hospitalized and unable to speak; then he started giving her a kiss goodbye every time he visited her. “I wanted them to not be Hallmark card-like or schmaltzy,” says James in his interview on the Lens blog. His images feature people of all types, and capture their unique expressions with just a kiss.

Photos by James Friedman

Barbie gets a camera implant

Looks like the latest and greatest in toy technology is sticking a camera into the chest of your daughter/niece/that girl across the street’s Barbie. “Photo Barbie”, as she’s creatively called, carries a 5-megapixel camera in her torso, complete with 15 built-in effects and a rechargeable battery. As engadget slyly advises, “When it’s time to charge up or unload your images, just jack into her tramp stamp mini USB port.” Sounds fun?

Photo by engagdget

Pinterest gaining momentum

If you’re paying attention to your website’s referral traffic, and you’re active on social media sites, you probably notice that a good share of your visitors come from Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc. But what about Pinterest? Monetate found that virtual bulletin board Pinterest is driving (on average) more traffic than Google+. That’s saying a lot, considering the site really just got going this past fall.

Are you already using Pinterest to drive traffic to your photography website? Have you even heard of Pinterest yet? Tell us what you think of this new social site, because we’re still trying to decide. In the meantime, we’re checking out Monetate’s infographic for more stats and info.

Infographic by Monetate

Photos of Afghan girls seized after misdeeds by adults

PhotoShelter member and photojournalist Andrea Bruce‘s image was featured on the cover of The New York Times  this morning for her work documenting abducted girls in Afghanistan. This traditional form of justice, called “baad”, is the practice of taking girls as payment for misdeeds committed by their elder family members. A riveting story alongside a very powerful image – read more here.

Photo by Andrea Bruce

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There are 3 comments for this article
  1. Colleen at 7:34 pm

    Awesome vid by Peter Hurley! I’ve been doing chin out and down, but the forehead out and down is a better approach. A must-see for every professional photographer.

  2. melissa at 8:03 pm

    recently read an interesting article on pinterest… I understand the benefits of exposure on Pinterest, but I didn’t give them permission to “steal” the images off of my “right-click” protected site? Is there anything I can do to prevent Pinterest (and similar sites) from taking images off my site? I don’t know how I feel about the whole thing… My photos are *mine* to share (if I choose to) not anyone else’s! Just my opinion right now…

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