Taking Extraordinary Photographs

What is the difference between a good photograph and a bad photograph? Usually just two things! First, proper lighting is the biggest culprit for a bad photograph. Once you learn how to properly light a room the rest is easy. Second, is the ability to edit/correct a photograph with a photo editing software. Even professional photographers edit their best shots to make them even better.

About Your Camera:

Of course, you need a good camera! Those of you that have been reading my E-Zines for the past several years know I highly recommend a SLR (Single Lens Reflex) camera. A digital SLR camera is very similar to a 35mm camera. SLR cameras offer the advantage of a detachable lens and faster shutter speeds. When purchasing a SLR camera, you can purchase the camera body and the lens separately. The advantage for our industry is the option of purchasing a good wide-angle lens when room shots are desired. I don't necessarily have a favorite brand; what matters to me most is how it feels in my hand and the number of MegaPixels. I recommend you purchase a camera with at least 8 MegaPixels. I currently have a Nikon D80 with an external Speedlight flash that can tilt and swivel. In all of my seminars, I recommend that people purchase a camera from Ritz Camera or Wolf Camera. My reason is these companies include free photography classes and the cost of the camera is about the same. I also think the extended warranty is a wise investment since cameras are expensive to repair or replace.

External Flash:

An external flash is a must when taking interior room shots! Regular digital point & shoot cameras with built-in flashes cannot produce enough light to fill a room. All SLR cameras include a hot shoe which allows the addition of an external flash. There are many times I can use my Speedlight flash and tilt it straight up toward the ceiling and the lighting is perfect. External lights with umbrellas also produce ample lighting without the harshness of a direct flash.

camera flash
Editing Photographs:
Learning how to edit/correct photographs is easier than you think. For the cost, Adobe Photoshop Elements 7 is one of the most powerful photo editing software I have seen. You can straighten, lighten, crop, color correct, erase unwanted objects and so much more. Once you know the simple techniques you can produce professional results in minutes.

Photoshop Elements 7 460x60

Learn More:
If you would like to learn more about how to use Photoshop Elements, purchase our Learning CD "Working with Photoshop Elements." We also offer a course, "Create a Fabulous Portfolio," that goes into detail about taking photographs. Don't forget that we have a forum dedicated to questions and answers for Photoshop Elements on The Lounge - Studio's online forum.

Learning CD

Promote Yourself:
Once you have great looking photographs, it is easy to create marketing materials such as websites, portfolio books, etc. Here is the portfolio of Anna Davis. Her website was created by Simplified Websites and comes highly recommended by us!


  1. Great article. I would like to know what I could expect to pay for a camera & flash like this???

  2. These cameras are approx. $799- $899 and that price includes one lens. You will also need an external flash. I like the swivel/tilt ones and they are approx. $250.