Ben Chen has experienced his share of success in his nearly 30-year photography career?his work has been published in such publications as Cosmopolitan, The Los Angeles Times, and ESPN Magazine, and he has lent his expertise to some of the nation's largest corporations, including Procter & Gamble and The American Red Cross. In 2006, the photographer began to notice that more and more novices were purchasing complex DSLR cameras, and that gave him an idea. Chen decided to share his wealth of knowledge with aspiring photographers by creating the 4-Hour Newbie Photography Boot Camp, which teaches students how to shoot manually with their DSLRs and create artistic, professional-quality photos. Since then, more than 5,000 students in 20 cities throughout the country have benefited from these classes. In 2013, he acquiesced to student demand and created Part II of the class, which goes beyond photography basics by diving into post-production techniques. Nowadays, students can take both Part I and Part II in the same day, helping them go from student to master in less time than most action-movie montages.
In the more than 25 years Jim Earls has spent behind the lens, he has photographed over 1,500 weddings and countless families, high-school graduates, and children. A former president of the Arizona Professional Photographers Association, Earl also uses his portrait-snapping prowess to teach digital-photography classes. Beginners’ sessions instruct students on how to create quality images by manipulating camera settings, exposure, natural light, and flash. Alternatively, classes on computer and camera functions give step-by-step instruction on how to navigate cameras and upload images that can be edited, printed out, and used to wallpaper a bathroom. Earls leads both indoor and outdoor photography shoots, which help students become more versatile photographers by working among studio settings as well as natural backdrops.
Justine Miller has always done her best to preserve memories. As a young girl, she would watch the Christmas lights on neighbors' houses, blinking hard to hold onto the festive images and etch them into her mind. Today, she still does her best to capture the magic that happens in everyday life. Instead of using expensive lighting equipment or posing her subjects in elaborate scenes, she shoots outside in the natural light and encourages her clients to act naturally so she can capture their real emotions. That may explain why some of her favorite photo subjects are people at their happiest: brides on their wedding day, children at play, newborn babies, and adults lounging in extra-large diapers. Though she prefers to hold sessions outside, she does schedule studio sessions for clients upon request. After a session, she performs light editing on frames before posting them in an online gallery, which clients can peruse to select the images they’d like to print.
Marvelously Made Photography's expert image-crafter creates angelic photos of expectant mothers and newborn babes in comfortable, relaxed photo shoots. Perfect for new or soon-to-be parents or as an alternative to staid shower gifts such as baby polish, the sessions take place at the home of head photographer Kathy Smith, whose living room transforms into a memory-capturing photo studio with the help of equipment such as a black background and photographic lighting. Smith is sure to set aside enough time to ensure enough time for babies to forget their work-related stress and relax into placid, picture-taking moods.
A ponytailed toddler grips her sunglasses determinedly as her parents crouch, smiling, in the background. Walking atop either side of a railroad track, a young couple bridges the distance with their hands. In the midst of wedding preparations, a bride pauses to read a love letter from her soon-to-be spouse. These are a few of the fleeting moments placed in a beautiful image-jail by This Is Life Photography’s founder Marisa. Fascinated by the power of freezing time since she was a child, she composes portraits and wedding scenes with an eye toward creating mementos that can be handed down for generations.
At first, Connie and Steve's courtship involved talking on the phone into the wee hours of the morning. But unlike most lovebirds, they'd talk about photography and photo-editing programs. This shared passion eventually led them to open CWLIFE Photography, allowing them to team up to photograph everything from weddings to business headshots to pet portraits. During photo sessions, Connie and Steve blend their own unique styles to produce images from multiple angles and a variety of perspectives. The pair snaps images on location or in their 800-square-foot private studio with artistic open beams. Though they still stay up into the wee hours of the morning talking about photography, the Nikon-toting duo continues to evolve their photo-taking abilities by attending educational workshops at least once a year.