Featured Member Spotlight | What does that mean?

Congratulations!  You’ve been selected to be showcased on our blog, Facebook page and public Instagram account because of your beautiful pictures and multiple features on various Instagram hubs.

You’ve been sent a DM on Instagram including the photo(s) we’d like to feature.  You may choose to focus on just one photo, or answer questions on all of them.  (I’ll typically suggest 1-3 photos per Spotlight.)

For your spotlight, please answer the following questions below.  You may do this in one of several ways:

  1.  Email me your answers at amanda@photographerhack.com (Please DM me via Instagram to let me know that you’ve emailed me your answers.)
  2. Call me and we can chat if that’s easiest for you.  DM me and we can set up a time.  I will take notes and transcribe them.  I’ll provide you with a written (via email) proof of my understanding of our conversation and you can approve or edit my version before publishing.
  3. Record a video/or audio clip and share it via a dropbox file with me.  If you’d like, I can publish the video/audio if you’re comfortable with that.  Or, I can transcribe your answers and provide a proof for your approval and the video/audio clip will be discarded.
  4. Write down your answers and mail them to me. (Just kidding. Really, I’m kidding.)
  5. If you’d like, you can also provide any other supporting video, such as a shooting behind the scenes video and/or an editing video/screenshare.  (See below for instructions on how to record and share a an editing video.)

For each photo we’ll feature, please answer the following questions:

  1. Camera make and model (e.g.: Nikon d750 or Canon 5dmiii)
  2. Lens (e.g.: Sigma Art 35mm 1.4 or Nikon 24-70 2.8)
  3. ISO, Aperture, and Shutter Speed.  Focal length if the lens is a zoom.
  4. Please provide an SOOC.  (Email or dropbox is preferred, Instagram DM possible.)
  5. Please provide shooting details, such as light source, angle, distance from subject, etc.
  6. Please provide editing details; try to be as specific as possible.  (You can screen capture history in Lr or your layers panel in Ps if you’d like.) An editing video would be fantastic, if possible.  Let us know any presets, actions or overlays used.
  7. Any thoughts on why this photo spoke to you, how you chose it over others taken at the same time; why you like it.  Talk about compositional details, how the light looked to you, or why the moment was important.  Is there anything you don’t like about it?  Could that issue be improved with editing or what did you learn while working on this photo?
  8. *Why do you think this photo was featured on multiple hubs?*
  9. Your website URL (if you have one), Facebook business link or username.  (I have your Instagram one… If your picture was featured under a personal IG account and you also have a business account, feel free to send me that.)  This is to promote to our readers where they can find you on social.  Your spotlight and picture will also be posted to our Facebook page and linked to your Facebook page (if you have one.)
  10. Anchor Text to use to link to your website URL.  This is amazing for SEO (prospective clients finding you through a google search.) It’s considered a backlink, a very good thing.  Anchor text is the text that the URL is linked to and contains keywords.  Here’s a couple examples: Atlanta Family Photography; Children’s Photographers in Fulton County; Child Photographers in Duluth, GA.  When linked to from another relevant website, google will give you an SEO boost!


Now – if you’d like, you can contribute a video – it can be of you answering these questions for us, a screen share of you editing the picture, etc.  See below for instructions on how to do this.  I will edit the video before posting!  You do not have to edit it.

How to screen record an editing video

Recording an editing video on a Mac is pretty straight forward.  You already have all the software you’ll need built in with Quicktime.  (If you’re not on a Mac, or on an older model without Quicktime…well, then this won’t be much help to you.  You can google your heart out or just skip this part.)

  1. Prepare your thoughts and open up your editing software to the picture you’ll walk us through, probably to the SOOC version.  In Lr, you can go back in History to the SOOC easily and also see all of the adjustments made.  You’ll probably want to close out other applications, like email, browsers, etc, that might pop notifications on during your video (or suck up your computer’s energy while recording and running Lr and Ps.)
  2. Open up Quicktime.  If you don’t use it often, you might need to click on the magnifying glass icon in the upper right hand corner of your screen to bring up Spotlight Search.  Type in Quicktime and you should be able to click to open up the application.
  3. You can right-click the Quicktime icon or go under the File menu and select New Screen Recording.
  4. The black Recording pop up box will appear.  Click the small down arrow to the right of the middle red record button to select the audio – be sure to select Built-in Microphone: Internal Microphone.  Even without the recording, you should be able to audio test – when you speak, you should be able to see the volume bars moving.  You could also try a quick audio test and discard that test.
  5. When you’re ready to record, click the red middle button.  Then, a dialog box will appear, indicating you can click it to record your full screen (what I typically do) or drag to record a part of the screen.  Once you click the dialog box, the recording will begin.
  6. If you mess up – don’t worry.  Just do a mental rewind, pause and start over.  Video editing is easy.  Just be sure to pause and restart from before the mistake.  (I mean mental pausing!  Don’t push any buttons, keep recording!  If you mess up a step, back up, pause and re-do it.  The mistake can be easily edited out.  It’s harder to stop the recording and record several videos to string together or to scrap and re-record until it’s perfect.  Editing is no problem, super easy.
  7. When you’re all done, you can right-click the Q icon in the lower dock and select Stop Screen Recording.  That weird ending can also be edited out easily, no worries.
  8. Your video will pop up from the beginning.  In order to save it, you’ll have to click the red button to close out the video – which is scary if you aren’t certain that the Save option will pop up!  But it will.  You can choose to save the video file to a place that makes sense for you, such as your hard drive, an external hard drive, etc.  But, you can also select Dropbox directly here – which would be perfect.  You’re saving a step by saving directly to dropbox.
  9. Be sure to name your file with your name and date, such as “Mary Smith Oct 2016.”
  10. If you’ve saved the file directly to Dropbox, go ahead and open up Dropbox in your browser.  I do this by clicking the DropBox icon that resides in my upper tool bar, then clicking the globe to pop it up in a web browser. Or you could go to Dropbox.com and login.
  11. Find the file and hover over it to highlight it in blue, then click Share on the right side.  The Share button only pops up when the file is hovered over.  Then, input my email address amanda@photographerhack.com.  (Please do send me a DM on Insta to let me know you’ve done that.)
  12. Once I have the file, I’ll edit it, don’t worry.  Please don’t think you have to.  I’ll make sure the mistakes are edited out.

You can also record an audio clip using Quicktime.  Simply select New Audio Recording and record your answers.  Then, save to Dropbox and share.  Easy!

Want to record a camera-facing video answering the questions above?

Doing a camera-facing video, while intimidating if you’re not used to it, is actually an amazing way for others to get to know you.  I have slowly, this year, been getting over my fear of this, and I’ve been really happy with the results.  You don’t need to be perfect, but you just need to be you.

This is also easily achieved with Mac’s Quicktime Player.  You can follow many of the same steps above, but instead of New Screen Recording, you’ll select New Movie Recording.  Your webcam should automatically pop up and you’ll see yourself on screen!

A few tips for this:

  1. As always, GOOD LIGHT!  As a photographer, you probably have already got this down pat.  But just in case, here’s what I’ve found to be helpful.  Position yourself either directly in front of a window or with the window light coming in from the front/side.  Think rembrandt lighting.  This is very flattering, especially if you feel self-conscious about looking heavy.  The shadow on the side of the face gives a thinning effect.
  2. Position the camera (in my case, it’s the webcam on my laptop) at or above eye level.  This is another photographer’s posing trick, but the angle is much more flattering when the camera is positioned down slightly than to shoot up.  Normally when I work on the laptop, it’s on a table or desk below me.  The camera would be angled upwards.  This is NOT a flattering look.  So, I actually take a huge stack of cookbooks and place the laptop on top of those so that the camera is slightly above my eye-level.  Be careful though, you wouldn’t want your computer to take a tumble!
  3. Look directly at the webcam/lens.  It’s tempting to look at yourself in the “reflection” of the screen, but then it looks like you’re looking downward.  Looking directly at the lens, although it feels weird, gives the viewer the sense that you’re looking directly at them.
  4. If you make a mistake or stumble over your words, don’t fret.  Just pause, gather your thoughts, and restart.  The mistake can be easily edited out.
  5. Follow the same steps as above to save the video clip to DropBox and share.

Questions?  Let me know!

I look forward to sharing your feature with our community!  Thank you so much for doing this- I don’t want it to be a lot of work on your end, so don’t stress.  If you just want to email me some answers and your SOOC, that’s fine.  If you have some more time, you can do the video parts – up to you.