Best Places to Shoot Landscape Photography in Arizona

arizonaArizona has breath-taking scenery and draws thousands of photographers every year. Both professional and novice photographers set out in search of the perfect shot and spend weekends traipsing through backroad territories trying to find it.

Before you head off chasing the light, assemble the equipment you need.

  • Your camera. It seems self-explanatory, but double check your camera bag and make sure the camera is there. Check the memory card (and bring a back-up!). You will never regret having an extra, but will always regret having to stop shooting when your card is full.
  • Extra battery pack. Better safe than sorry. The day you don’t bring an extra will be the day your battery dies.
  • A tripod. Setting the camera up to catch the light as it moves through the desert, filters through the leaves or crests over the mountain range will be easier with a tripod.
  • A notebook. Make notes of when, where and other details of the day. Jot down your thoughts about the pictures you’re taking, so you can refer to them later as needed.

Be Cautious of These Locations

Not all Arizona landscapes are easy to capture. When planning your adventure, be cautious of these locations.

Bryce Canyon

Photographer Terry White cautions photographers about the drive to Bryce Canyon. Consult a map and carefully plan your route before venturing to this location.

Show Low

Monica Cardone warns visitors about potential fraud issues in Show Low, Arizona. While credit card fraud isn’t usually an issue for photographers, it is a danger readers should be aware of.

Best Places for Landscape Photography

Wondering where to start in your search of Arizona’s perfect scene? Try one of these.

Horseshoe Bend

Overlooking the Colorado River, Horseshoe Bend is breathtaking at both sunrise and sunset. A short 15-minute walk from the parking lot will put you in the perfect spot for a panoramic view of the Grand Canyon and the river. The terrain is filled with loose rocks and sand, so wear appropriate footwear. The weather can be vastly different, moving from extremes in both directions.

San Rafael Valley

Outside Patagonia is the remote area of San Rafael. Cattle ranches and farms abound, but the valley is filled with a quiet beauty that provides you views of the sweeping landscapes Arizona is known for. If you’re lucky, you can capture some shots of the raptors that winter in Arizona. Make sure you bring your telephoto lens for capturing every angle.

Cochise Lake

Juxtaposing the beauty of the desert with the expanse of Cochise Lake gives photographers the chance to take photos in vivid colors. As a watering spot for migrating birds travelling through Arizona, you can catch some wonderful scenes of nature’s highlights. Monsoon season offers stunning views of lightning storms, so use both a standard and a telephoto lens.

London Bridge

London Bridge, purchased by Robert McCulloch, was reassembled in the city in 1971 and has drawn the attention of thousands of visitors. The best time to capture images at the bridge is during the blue hour –starting 55 minutes before sunrise or 15 minutes after sunset.

Finding the perfect shot is easy when the landscape is as beautiful as the ones offered by Arizona. Perhaps the most difficult part of capturing the best scenes in Arizona is trying to decide which one is your favorite.

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Best Online Portfolio Sites for Photographers

photography_portfolioAs a photographer, one of the most important tools you have is your portfolio. The ability to showcase your work to potential clients, while building an online presence is essential to growing your business.

Fortunately, these tasks can be easily handled by today’s web technology. Building an online portfolio no longer requires specialized coding knowledge or extensive web training. The platforms available today make it easier than ever for even the novice photographer to create a stunning portfolio of work in very little time.

Not sure which portfolio platform to use? Check out this list of some of the leading applications available to find a platform that meets your needs.


This online portfolio building tool is perfect for photographers who wish to sell their work online. An easy to use interface means your site can be up and running quickly (no coding or CSS needed), and with a free 7-day trial, you can find out which plan will best meet your needs.

Each plan is Search Engine Optimization (SEO) ready, and has e-commerce and customization tools and is mobile responsive.


Similar to Foliolink, Zenfolio’s online platform is user-friendly, with point and click customizations.  Included in Zenfolio’s program are e-commerce options that allow artists and photographers to sell their work online effortlessly. Low annual subscription fees ($30 per year) and a free trial account make this a smart choice for photographers who want to grow their online business.

Folio Websites

WordPress based Folio Websites offer users clean, crisp sites to display their work portfolio. Mobile capability, SEO standards and customization options are all included in the low monthly account fee (accounts may be as low as $14.60 per month), which makes having a professional website easy and inexpensive.


With unlimited photo uploads, an advanced visitor tracking system and custom domain names, 500px is an excellent choice for photographers looking to build an online portfolio and photo store. Easy customizations, a virtual marketplace and gallery builders make this platform user friendly for both the photographers and customers.


On online photo-sharing gallery, SmugMug allows photographers to share their work with a community of thousands of members. Easy customizations allow photographers to build a custom portfolio to showcase their talent. Social media tools are embedded in the platform, giving photographers the ability to publicize their portfolio for maximum exposure.


Offering photographers hundreds of beautifully designed templates to create a customized site, Pixpa is an elegant portfolio builder. Customization tools include color, font, background and layout selections giving the photographer complete control over their site. Pixpa accounts also include an integrated platform for e-commerce, allowing photographers the ability to sell their work online easily.


Contently is a platform most commonly used by writers. It allows users to upload articles that have been published on various sites around the internet. This portfolio site would be perfect for photographs who want to showcase their art in use. Monica Cardone’s Contently account features published articles, like most users, but she shared a tip that would be appealing to photographers too: “It’s free! You can’t beat free!”

Selecting the right platform to create a portfolio doesn’t have to be complex. Using a quick and easy interface allows you to focus on your photography, while leaving the coding to someone else.  Establishing a web presence offers clients the opportunity to browse (and purchase) your work and helps you build your reputation for your services.

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From Fashion Photography to Professional Portraits

My friend Leah was always interested in photography, and she has a knack for bringing out the best in clothing through her photos. She is a part-time photographer for a local clothing boutique, though recently she got into doing professional portraits after another friend asked her to do headshots for her LinkedIn profile.

Recently we had lunch and I asked her how it feels to go from fashion photography to corporate portraits, which is my inspiration for the post today. Listed below are some tips she shared for photographing professional portraits.

1. Make sure the client dresses for success.

Clothing is important because it affects the confidence of the client as well as the eventual outcome in the photograph. Women should wear a minimal amount of jewelry (if at all) because shiny jewelry can reflect in the camera. Dark, classic fashions are best for men and women. Bold colors and patterns should be avoided as they distract from the focal point of the portrait: the client’s face and personality.

2. Photoshop is your friend.

People go to photographers with skill in handling a camera and Photoshop for a reason: to make themselves look their best. Give people what they want and remove blemishes, wrinkles, and shiny bits from the image. Help your clients help themselves by dissuading them from using too much make-up.

3. Have an appropriate background.

A solid, neutral background is absolutely necessary for corporate portraits. You can’t go wrong with gray or black, though a neutral shade of brown or blue can be acceptable. Depending on the situation the client may want a background with more texture, such as a brick or wooden wall. Discuss the effect that your client is looking for and be prepared to do off-site photography with the background of their choosing. Be sure you do sample shots before the actual photo shot so you can adjust for location-specific challenges.

4. Lighting is everything.

For a professional portrait, the lighting is key. You want your subject to be flattered by the light, not be in the shadows or washed out by too-bright light. Photographs can be taken indoors or outdoors, so you will have to adjust your lighting accordingly. If you are serious about taking corporate portraits, then you will have to invest in some lighting. Softboxes and umbrellas work great as lighting modifiers; which one you choose depends on your preference and the effect you hope to achieve.

Leah went from bringing out the best in clothes to bringing out the best in people. She still works with people as models, though her models are now professional in other ways. She enjoys working with corporate photography because she can make her clients feel relaxed and natural, which is key to creating strong professional portraits.

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The Beautiful City: Urban Landscape Photography

Pristine natural areas aren’t the only places to get beautiful shots with interesting shapes, contrast, and texture. Cities can also be inspiring places for photographers to practice their craft. Urban landscape photography can make us look at our cities differently, delighting us with fresh perspectives of streets and buildings we see every day.

If you are interested in trying out urban landscape photography in a city near you, keep the following tips in mind to produce shots above and beyond the average tourist.

1. Get out early.

Early morning shots have a few benefits. For one, the lighting is fantastic and the sky acts as a filter, lending a softer quality to your images. The content will vary as well because the streets are cleaner and have fewer people when the city is still waking up. City shots without people can make the city look incredibly desolate, but getting a shot like this later in the day can be nearly impossible. Plus, the people who are out in the morning are different characters from those who hit the streets in the afternoon and evening, so you have a different crowd to inspire you if you start early.

2. Utilize mirrors.

Cities are full of reflective surfaces. Skyscrapers, shopping windows, and passing cars all present a challenge and an opportunity. Using mirrors to manipulate reflections can have fantastic effects on your image, though it can take quite a bit of experimentation to get the effect to the way that you want it. A polarizing filter can help reduce unwanted glare in your images.

3. Bring the right gear.

Two lenses – one wide angle and one zoom – are enough for most beginning and intermediate urban photographers. Zoom lenses capture intricate details in buildings, though too much zoom can flatten the image. Wide angle lenses are great for street scenes as they can catch the whole image with a larger depth of field. Don’t forget spare batteries, a case for the camera, a monopod or tripod, and filters as desired.

4. People draw focus, so you can use or lose them in your shot.

Cities are full of people, so it is no surprise that they tend to be included in urban photography. People naturally become a focal point in shots whether you like it or not, so if you would prefer not to have people in your shot then remember tip number one and shoot in the morning. Some of the best people shots are spontaneous, so be on the lookout for opportunities if you prefer to focus on people.

5. Play with angles.

Cities are full of geometric shapes, so there is plenty of fun to be had when playing with angles. Try framing buildings differently and play with different angles to find out which angle captures the effect that you want. For example, most square building look best when shoot from 45 to 60 degrees.

These are just a few tips to help the fledgling urban landscape photographer get started. Cities offer a unique opportunity to blend human life with landscapes, and nowhere do people have a greater impact on their landscapes than in cities.

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Best Countries for International Landscape Photography Shoots

For those who think they have captured all their motherland has to offer, there are various international destinations that offer breathtaking landscape photography opportunities.

Let’s take a look at some of the hidden gems of the natural world.


Iceland is a great destination for landscape photography. The local has many perks. First, the temperatures are surprisingly mild—meaning you won’t freeze trying to capture the perfect shot.

Next, nearly all the landscape is untouched. Thanks to the relatively small population living in the country, there won’t be anyone to interfere with your beautiful scenery.

Lastly, this one location has everything a nature lover could want—waterfalls, mountains, rivers, and more.


If you are going to make a trip to Argentina, visit the Patagonia region (shared with neighboring Chili). This one region has mountains, valleys, coastlines, rugged terrain, and lakes.

Just be sure to check the local weather carefully; since it is in the southern hemisphere, the Argentinian seasons are opposite of what US visitors would expect.

New Zealand

Those who visit New Zealand usually head for the smaller, more touristy island. That makes the larger island the perfect spot for landscape photography.

There, you’ll find nearly 20 mountain peaks, a handful of protected forest areas and several national parks—a photographer’s dream!


Because of the excess of mountain ranges, Norway is one of the least populated European countries. That means there are vast, untouched landscapes to explore.

This country boasts some of the most beautiful mountains, coastlines, and fjords on the continent.


Heading north is always an option too. Canada is a vast, unexplored country—perfect for a landscape photographer.

In the natural territory, you can expect to see glaciers, canyons, wildlife and the famed Northern Lights. What more could you ask for?!


We can’t limit ourselves to a single country, rather an entire continent! The Sahara is one of the most captivating natural wonders of the world. A trip to Chad, Egypt, Libya, Niger, or Sudan will provide breathtaking desert landscapes. Check out the sand dunes—they can reach nearly 600 feet!

If you are looking to travel and capture some of the world’s most beautiful spots, consider one of these destinations. If you’ve found another hidden gem we left off the list, let us know!

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5 Fashion Photography Tips

While many photographers enjoy the creativity of their art, they are often stumped by the more formal, demanding niches. For example, fashion photography isn’t for everyone.

But those who enjoy the high end world of fashion, the craft can be quite enjoyable and rewarding. Here are four tips to make the process more successful.

1. Command Authority

A fashion photographer must be able to direct and guide the models. That requires a fair amount of self-confidence. Even if you don’t genuinely feel assured of what you are doing, you must portray the image of confidence.

Any sign of anxiety or stress will translate into a lack of authority. The uncertainty will be reflected in the model’s performance.

2. Attend to All the Details

Fashion photography is undoubtedly about the clothes. However, it is also about the accessories, hairstyles and makeup. Everything combines to create an overall image of beauty.

Be sure to attend to the details—they can make or break a shoot. It would be difficult to portray a girl-next-door image if the model has voluminous, sexy hair and come-hither makeup.

3. Choose the Environment

Generally speaking, a studio shoot is preferred. That way, the photographer has total control of the lighting and overall environment. Conditions aren’t as easily manipulated outside or onsite.

4. Consider the Angles

Few garments look good from a straight-on view. The details and fluidity is lost if a model isn’t captured on the move.

Consider different angels. What is the best viewpoint for the clothing? What is the most natural movement for the overall theme of the shoot?

Maybe the model needs to walk up a flight of stairs. Perhaps she hunches over a table. Don’t be afraid to take risks and try different things.

5. Study the Pros

Fortunately, there is an abundance of fashion photographers in the world. Each has his or her own, unique style. Carefully study the masters. What can you learn from them? Check was does and doesn’t work. Make note of ways the industry has evolved.

Fashion photography is an acquired taste, but with the right guidance, anyone can master it!

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