Nikon School: Mom’s Night Out in San Francisco on May 14th, 2015

Nikon’s famed Nikon School is bringing their very cool Mom’s Night Out program to the west coast for the very first time, ever. Specifically, it will be Thursday, May 14, 2015, taking place at The Westin, not that far from the San Francisco airport. This is a pretty cool place for me to teach because this is realllllly close to my old home. My husband and I used to live in San Francisco (Russian Hill and then The Marina) – after that, we moved to Burlingame, which is also right near the airport, and this is where we started our family. We moved to North Carolina about a year later with our at-the-time only baby in tow.  We’ve been back a number of times since we moved to Chapel Hill, and it never, ever gets old. We both just love the Bay Area, and I’m excited to head back there again.

This time, I get to go back to teach Nikon School’s Mom’s Night out. This unique program is intended for moms on the go who are interested in taking better photographs, as well as family historians, scrapbookers – really anyone who loves photography and could use a night out to soak up some very cool information on how to take better photographs. That being said, every single time we’ve done this, there have been a number of very interested fathers/male humans there, too – so, please note, all are invited!

I have been lucky enough to be the guest instructor for Nikon’s Mom’s Night Out programs in Virginia, North Carolina,  New York, and Florida already! It’s truly a lovely evening with warm beverages, lots of great questions, and some very friendly faces, all around. You can check out Nikon’s website for a full, detailed description of the Mom’s Night Out program – all the specific details are here, as is the all-important link to actually register for the event.

***NOTE, an update from Nikon School:  If you register before May 10th, you will receive $10 off registration as part of a Mother’s Day Promotion!***

 

Nikon School, mom's night out, Tamara Lackey

This upcoming Nikon School, Mom’s Night Out is a fun, instructional presentation about better understanding the camera’s capabilities and using more of one’s camera to shoot better. Specific topics will including handling lighting, composition, action shooting, and video – plus we’ll also do some walk-throughs on how to use cameras to post directly to social media without needing to download photographs first.

There’s also plenty of time for questions and answers related to how to simply take better pictures, and this is also a rare opportunity to speak with Nikon School Product Experts about everything camera and lens-related – truly a fantastic chance to get all those gear-related questions answered. One of my favorite parts of the event, other than the conversations, is that Nikon brings out so much of their gear and lenses to the program. I’ve been able to enjoy trying out a few pieces of gear I’d been hoping to play with for a while, on stage and off stage.

Also, please note, you don’t need to shoot with Nikon cameras to attend – in keeping with the tone of my post about moving from Canon to Nikon, there is no snubbing of any kind for various gear owners when it comes to this event. All are welcome : )

Hope to see you in the gorgeous Bay Area soon, whether you come on your own or with a friend – just register via this link to be a part of the festivities!

 

 

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Mylio’s “Your Life” Photo Contest Winners!

Major congratulations to all who entered the The “Your Life” Photo Contest, hosted by Mylio. It was truly an honor for me to judge the final photo contest winners. All in all, there were over 7,000 photographs entered and, given that the winner received an Advanced Plan to Mylio, normally valued at $250 – as well as an iPad Mini! – this was a pretty cool win. Runners up also received plans with Mylio, normally valued at $100 and $50 each. I have a feeling they are going to be super addicted to this amazing software. I know I am. (If you haven’t tried it yet, check it out.)

It certainly was not easy to narrow the photography contest finalists down, but I managed to select the Grand Jury Winner, as well as some top runner ups. There was also a People’s Choice Award, selected by an open vote on photographs entered.
The theme was to simply share something meaningful from your life. Given that there’s quite a range to what that can mean, I found it quite heartwarming that so many who entered chose to showcase people – and pets! – when they decided to share images that said something meaningful about their life. My friend Stuart Scott said it beautifully: “Our life’s journey is really about the people who touch us.”
So, without further ado – here’s a big CONGRATS to the following Mylio Your Life Photo Contest winners:

 

Grand Jury Winner, by Trace Elements Photography

Mylio, Photo Contest Winners, Tamara Lackey

 

Runner Up 1, by tomato1236

 

Mylio, Photo Contest Winners, Tamara Lackey

 

Runner Up 2, by Kevin Sawyer Photography

 

Mylio, Photo Contest Winners, Tamara Lackey

 

And the People’s Choice Award, by Jessica Lowthorp

 

Mylio, Photo Contest Winners, Tamara Lackey

 

Congratulations, again, to all the photo contest winners – you can see ALL the finalists here. Many beautiful images to check out!

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Photo Albums: Lush Albums Have Arrived!

I am thrilled to finally be able to announce that Lush Albums, the fine art photo albums line that we’ve been developing since December of 2013, is officially up and running – and we are ready to receive orders! Lush Albums have been in the making for quite some time because it took about a year and a half to – well, basically, make it. That included picking out all the custom fabrics, determining the paper type and printing options, building out the software, testing it, confirming shipping details, building a website, setting up a backend process and so so so much more – but it is finally live and ready to go.

Lush Albums is a partnership between Tamara Lackey Photography and Fundy Software, creator of some extraordinarily time-saving software products for the photography industry. We built this line from scratch and worked directly with Finao to craft these albums in the United States.The goal of Tamara Lackey’s Lush Albums was to develop a series of photo albums that are simple in concept but offer mix and match choices to suit every photographer. I am very, very proud of this album line for the following reasons.

Photo Albums, Lush Albums, Fundy Software, Finao, Beautiful Together, Tamara Lackey, Fundy, Finao
What we cared about most when building this line from the ground up:

1. High-Quality, Fine Art: Our studio has been selling high-quality photo albums for years, and we decided to build Lush Albums to offer many unique advantages over our previous experiences, but we knew it had to start with a high-quality book, protected fine art paper that didn’t look protected, unique custom fabrics that were personally sourced, giclée printing, archival inks, attention-to-detail construction and completely handmade covers. When all is said and done, thirteen different people handle one Lush Album from start to finish. Here’s a lot more on the attention we paid to the quality of these books.

2. Eco-friendly: We wanted to use all eco-friendly products, as green as possible. This meant a lot of little shifts in terms of how we chose to put these albums together. For example, Lush Albums are assembled using pure-quality, all-natural, extraordinarily strong photo glue. Each page substrate is 100% plant-based cellulose. By using plant waste, such as corn stalks, cellulose becomes a re-purposed material that is lignum-free with a neutral pH level. Pretty cool stuff.

3. Animal-friendly: It mattered that the fabrics and materials that made up this book were beautiful, soft to the touch, durable and striking – and that they all be sourced and assembled without using animal products. Our Zen Silk line, for instance, looks and feels just like silk. It just happens to be more durable and leaves the teeny little worms out of the process. And not using animal products also adds to the eco-friendliness of Lush Albums.

4. Fast Design: You can literally (and I actually mean literally) design a beautiful, very well-designed layout for your album in a matter of minutes. Even if you choose to customize multiple layouts repeatedly! You really have to try this to believe this – it blows any other design software I’ve ever used completely out of the water, making photo album design not only fast but also quite fun. This perk was brought to you courtesy of some pretty brilliant software design from Fundy Software.

5. Fast To Receive: I’ve worked with a variety of vendors over the years, and it can be pretty trying to wait and wait for your photo albums to arrive – especially if there’s any issue with the book once you receive it, and then you have to wait and wait again for a replacement. You can receive your Lush Album within a week and half or so, depending on your shipping preference, after designing it. And that’s including the fact that each print is required to dry for a minimum of three days before a protective surface coating is applied – and then they dry again for 24 more hours. (This assures you of the finest quality, longest-lasting prints as this process requires special handling.)  In order to ensure that you still receive your book quickly, though, these books start being produced within the first hour your album design is received. That makes a huge difference when it comes to timely delivery.

6. Happy Pricing: Working with high-quality products is a great thing – you offer your clients heirloom pieces that will last a lifetime and know you are standing behind your promise of delivering value. But when you can mitigate a bit of your expenses while still offering a fantastic product? That’s a smart, great thing. We are launching Lush Albums with happy pricing to get your attention and to see just how wonderfully these are received – so that you can truly fall in love with these books.

… and … drum roll here …

THE MOST IMPORTANT PART:  The ability to give in ways that make a measurable difference in the world.
For every single Lush Albums product sold, we are donating 10% of our profits directly to Beautiful Together, our non-profit organization that’s completely focused on improving the lives of children without families (whether they are in foster care or living in group homes, care centers, or orphanages) through specific, tangible and measurable projects – while we work to improve the adoption process for all involved. I shared quite a bit about Beautiful Together in my last post and you can check out the website for more information. *
(Please note, if you are interested in supporting this work in any way, please subscribe to our newsletter.)Lush Albums, Tamara Lackey, photo albums, Fundy, Finao

We’ve created three distinct, and truly lovely, collections for Lush Albums. Each book is printed on fine art paper, employing striking print quality for both color images and black & whites photographs, and all album pages are coated with a very subtle but very effective protective treatment.
You can receive your photo albums in any of the following fabric covers:

The Velvety Suede Collection – The perfect combination of fabrics to compliment your home décor. They are durable, soft and eco-friendly – and they are available in five carefully-chosen colors.

The Soft Linen Collection – This collection is a warm take on natural linen fibers, with a similar feel but with an eco-friendly, softer fabric overall. You can choose this fabric in the five colors that we have noticed that our clients have selected the most frequently over the years.

The Zen Silk Collection – These lovely fabrics look, feel and present just like silk, but they are also animal-friendly and more durable. They are also available in five gorgeous colors.

We also have custom bags available for your Lush Albums, each of which are made by hand. They are meant to protect, store and better present your fine art photo albums.

 

Lush Albums Custom Bags, Photo Albums, Lush Albums, Fundy Software, Finao, Beautiful Together, Tamara Lackey, Fundy, Finao

If you want to get started and see just how easy it is to design and order the first of your Lush photo albums, check out these exact instructions, which walk you through every step (don’t worry, there aren’t that many!). Lush Albums are ordered exclusively through Fundy Direct, which also means there are no purchase or transaction fees to use their software so that you may quickly – and beautifully – design your album. This is because all costs are already bundled into our straightforward pricing!

Our photo albums line is brand new, but we’ve been fortunate enough to share it with a few photographers here and there, and we’ve already heard some lovely words about the look and feel of Lush Albums. We look forward to sharing a lot more feedback as we start rolling out books.

So, check it out, love the fast and seamless design & order process, enjoy the fine art books – and come back for more!!

 

 

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2015 WPPI / Rangefinder Humanitarian Award + $249 Animoto Giveaway

I was incredibly shocked to receive the WPPI / Rangefinder Humanitarian Award, along with my wonderful husband Steve Lackey, last week at the 2015 WPPI Awards Ceremony.

A huge thank you to Lauren Wendle, who introduced the award by saying something I believe in deeply, “When asked if one person can truly make a difference, Mother Teresa once said it is always one person who makes the difference.”

We often look around at everything that is wrong in our society, everything that needs fixing, and just feel like it’s all too much. How can one person possibly change anything? I know that I have often stood up to try to make a real difference and have felt so overwhelmed that I just sat back down – and that I have done that more than once. I know I’m not the only one who has felt that way, either.

Over the past twelve years, though, Steve and I have been involved in a variety of projects and have happily donated time, energy and funds to a variety of incredible organizations – but our heart has always been with children who do not have families. The system of foster care and adoption is well-intended but often plays out in a way that discourages and frustrates instead of enabling those who wish to grow their family. There are so very many reasons this system should support and lift those who want to create or expand their families. There are so very many reasons children without families should have a home and a family and know that sense of belonging through and through. Having adopted twice before and actually quite in the mix once again (details on that coming soon), we wish to help change that. Obviously, it’s not something that we can take on and do all at once. But we’re determined to chip away as best we can until we can get in a position to effect real change, and to help enable others who wish to do so, as well.

We founded BeautifulTogether.org to do just that. We have been working on this organization since last summer but didn’t formalize it until recently – filing for non-profit status and in the process of building out a rather robust website. Our current, rather simple BeautifulTogether.org site gives you a hint of where we’re going with this. And we’re going to need help. If you are interested in following along or helping out with the variety of projects that we will be announcing soon, please sign up to be part of the change we hope to see.

Happily, my friends at Animoto want to share the love, too – they already make it extraordinarily simple to create high-quality, professional video slideshows, and they are now giving away a full year pro subscription, valued at $249, to one random individual who signs up to join the newsletter and comments here to let us know why they did. Thank you, Animoto. We’ll be drawing the name of the winner in one week, on March 17th.

A heartfelt thank you to Collin Pierson for sending me these beautiful images – I was pretty shocked to not only learn about the award but to see Steve show up, too. He knew in advance and had kept it a surprise for me, so I was pretty floored when he showed up after they announced the award (I thought he was home in North Carolina) – and Collin photographed it all quite wonderfully.

This first image. This first one is fantastic because, as a photographer, I am always trying to show much about who a person is, how they feel – I want to show them physically but also much of their spirit. Collin did that for me here – this is exactly how I felt walking up on that stage. I felt pretty overwhelmed, grateful and inspired. Still feel that way, actually. Will for quite some time to come, too.

 

WPPI, Rangefinder Magazine, Humanitarian Award, Tamara Lackey, Steve Lackey, Beautiful Together, Animoto, free giveaway

 

Here is Steve walking up to surprise me and lead me to the stage. Without my shoes, I might add. I had kicked off my heels to relax and enjoy the show, and since I kinda floated up on stage in shock, I hadn’t noticed I was barefoot in front of thousands of people until I walked up to the microphone. Ah, well ; )

 

WPPI, Rangefinder Magazine, Humanitarian Award, Tamara Lackey, Steve Lackey, Beautiful Together, Animoto, free giveaway

 

WPPI, Rangefinder Magazine, Humanitarian Award, Tamara Lackey, Steve Lackey, Beautiful Together, Animoto, free giveaway

 

WPPI, Rangefinder Magazine, Humanitarian Award, Tamara Lackey, Steve Lackey, Beautiful Together, Animoto, free giveaway

 

WPPI, Rangefinder Magazine, Humanitarian Award, Tamara Lackey, Steve Lackey, Beautiful Together, Animoto, free giveaway

 

WPPI, Rangefinder Magazine, Humanitarian Award, Tamara Lackey, Steve Lackey, Beautiful Together, Animoto, free giveaway

 

That last one – posing for a photograph with the wonderful and rather hard-working Lauren Wendle and Jason Groupp of WPPI and Rangefinder Magazine. Very grateful to them for this recognition and, more importantly, for their dedication to making a difference in this space. This Humanitarian Award is an extraordinary vote of confidence from an organization I have loved being a part of for quite some time. We look forward to partnering with them to do some incredible things with Beautiful Together for some time to come.

 

WPPI, Rangefinder Magazine, Humanitarian Award, Tamara Lackey, Steve Lackey, Beautiful Together, Animoto, free giveaway

 

Oh, and those bare feet? I was sitting next to my good friend Jeremy Cowart, who has been doing incredible things with Help Portrait for years, and he scrambled to grab my camera and take some photos, which I didn’t find until a few days later. These show off that bare look in all its disheveled glory:

 

WPPI, Rangefinder Magazine, Humanitarian Award, Tamara Lackey, Steve Lackey, Beautiful Together, Animoto, free giveaway, Jeremy Cowart

 

WPPI, Rangefinder Magazine, Humanitarian Award, Tamara Lackey, Steve Lackey, Beautiful Together, Animoto, free giveaway, Jeremy Cowart

 

WPPI, Rangefinder Magazine, Humanitarian Award, Tamara Lackey, Steve Lackey, Beautiful Together, Animoto, free giveaway, Jeremy Cowart

 

I sincerely hope many of you join our Beautiful Together community – and then come back here and comment as to why you cared to – and I look forward to giving at least one of you a thank you valued at $249 for your pro subscription to Animoto in exactly one week!

 

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WPPI 2015 Schedule

Tamara Lackey —  February 23, 2015

In a recent post, I laid out my WPPI 2015 Schedule with the caveat that things were still changing.
This is my confirmed WPPI 2015 Schedule, complete with opportunities to not only learn and watch shooting and lighting demos by me, as well as a number of other top photographers in the field – but also to win a whole lot of prizes.

Here you go:

Friday – Sunday: Judging the WPPI International Print Competition

Monday, March 2nd:

10am – Starting with a WPPI Expo Kick-Off Gathering at Nations Photo Lab. Join us for Mimosas (or just an OJ!) at their booth and feel free to spin their prize wheel. They are giving away a ton of stuff, including my Posing Playbook, copies of my Capturing Life Through (Better) Photography and my Inside Contemporary Children’s Photography.

 

Tamara Lackey, Nations Photo Lab, WPPI 2015 Schedule

 

11:30am – 1:30pm – We will be filming reDefine Show for AdoramaTV, meeting up with Jason Groupp, Brad Jefferson (co-founder of Animoto), Vanessa Joy and Sal Cincotta. If you have any questions for them, feel free to email them to us.

3pm – Joining Nikon Theater Presents:  Live. Work. Succeed.  A Women’s Forum for Entrepreneurial Photographers.
Once again, I  will be joining the fabulous Bambi Cantrell and Dixie Dixon for this forum specifically addressing the experiences/challenges of women in the photography industry – along with SOLUTIONS, as each of us have different career goals, family life concerns & are working across different genres – portraits, weddings, and commercial work. The forum will also be moderated by my friend, Photofocus’ Melissa Niu. We did this last year, and we had some incredibly engaged attendees, answered a bunch of excellent questions – and were sure we’d want to do it again before we’d even finished the program. Programs like these are just one of the reasons I’m proud to be a Nikon Ambassador.

 

Tamara Lackey, Nikon, work life balance, WPPI 2015 Schedule

 

6:30pm Co-hosting a Dinner with Mylio, rather aptly described by Shutterbug Magazine as an addictive organizer, although there’s a whole lot more to it than that. Check out what Joe McNally, Chase Jarvis, Matthew Jordan Smith, Scott Kelby and I all have to say about our experiences here.

WPPI 2015 Schedule, Mylio, Tamara Lackey

Tuesday, March 3rd:

10:30am Presenting at Kelby One/WPPI LIVE Theater

12pm Presenting and Giving a Lighting Demo at Profoto, along with these great other photographers:

Tamara Lackey, WPPI 2015 Schedule, Profoto

1pm: Speaking and doing a live shoot on Photographing Men at Nikon Theater, on the Expo Floor. Check out all the speakers, topics and the overall schedule – some amazing talks – here:

 

Tamara Lackey, Nikon, WPPI 2015 Schedule

 

4pm: Delivering my Platform Presentation in 319-320. This is a brand new, live world multi-media program that dives deep into Lighting/Posing/Expression and Creating Dynamic Portraits with some significant Behind The Scenes lighting work captured just for this presentation.

HUGE GRATITUDE
to my platform sponsors:
Nikon
Nations Photo Lab, who is offering a $50 credit to new customers, just use promo code “NEWJANTAM” when ordering through the ROES system
Adorama, with lots of new programs on Adorama TV
Animoto, now offering 20% off an annual pro subscription with promo code “Tamara15″
and Mylio, who is now giving a FULL ADVANCED trial for one month via this link.

I will be giving out tons of free giveaways during this program from these amazing companies!

free giveaways, WPPI 2015, Tamara Lackey

 

6pm – 7:30pm Mylio Cocktail Reception

Wednesday, March 4th:
10:45pm: Speaking and doing a live shoot on Photographing Men at Nikon Theater, on the Expo Floor

12:00pm – 1:30pm Will be filming reDefine Show for AdoramaTV, meeting up with Joe McNallyBrooke Shaden, and Mike Corrado. If you have any questions for them, feel free to email them to us.

7pm: The WPPI Awards Show

Thursday, March 4th:

Going Home.
In the shape of a torn up, crumpled piece of paper.

 

Oh!  And if you haven’t signed up for a full platform pass for WPPI yet, you can Upgrade using the promo code JPG50 before February 25th and save $150 or choose to become a PHOTO+ member and save over $180. Just go here to use the code.

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Around The World

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness. ~ Mark Twain

I love travel.
Travel has been, and always will be, an integral part of my life. And I think there are very few things that have shaped my view of the world more than seeing so much of it. And I know there are very few things that have shaped my view of how we are more alike than different more than getting to know so many people around the world.

I’m consistently struck by how we all love the same. How boundaries don’t change who people fundamentally are. I think Wayne Dyer puts it well: When you live on a round planet, there’s no choosing sides.

My father had felt the same way about travel when he was younger. He wanted to see the world, so he joined the U.S. Army as soon as he could. He then went on to spend the next twenty years in Europe, and I was born in Frankfurt, Germany. While I was growing up, we moved to several different cities within Germany and did a lot of traveling and camping throughout Europe. I remember camping out in tents set up by the side of the road and <I, now a passionate vegan, cringe here> cooking Spam over a fire. And, um, cooking Steak Ums in a campsite kitchen. It was low budget travel, but we got to see a whole lot that way. And I don’t remember ever seeing it like that anyway. I just look back and think that it was pretty cool my mom and dad made such an effort to do that much exploring with three young kids in tow, especially now that I really understand all the effort involved in it.

One of those campsite photos of my dad with at least two of us. I’m the one on the right ; )

traveling with kids, around the world, tamara lackey

 

I think it’s extra cool that that’s exactly what we do now.

We moved to the U.S. when I was almost eleven years old. We kept moving after that, every couple of years or so, even when my dad had retired after 22 years in the military. I joined a study abroad program while in college, in France – and I used a student class Eurail Pass to travel to various cities on the weekends. I loved sitting in the window of a train, listening to music, reading books, and planning what I’d do when I got to wherever there was.

 

Around The World, Sunflowers, Bordeaux, France, Tamara Lackey

 

 

Around The World, The Fjordlands, New Zealand, travel photography, Tamara Lackey

 

Around The World, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia, travel photography, Tamara Lackey

After graduation, I kinda just kept going. I accepted a 100% travel position as a management consultant, then finally ended up in San Francisco five years later. About a year after my husband and I got married, we both took a leave of absence and took a 4-month backpacking trip. This wasn’t an easy sell at first. My husband and I’d had pretty different upbringings – he actually hadn’t even been on a plane for the first 18 years of his life and had hardly left New Jersey. That changed as he got older, but this was a bit different. He came around, though, and we bought Around The World tickets. We cashed in on all the consultant miles we’d racked up and traveled across Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Central and South America. The deal with the Around The World tickets was you could go wherever on earth you wanted, as long as you traveled East to West without backtracking. We loved it; we had a few rough scrapes; I got dangerously ill, for weeks, from taking a chance on a mango when I shouldn’t have; and we fell into a bit of an an extreme pattern with our accommodations. We’d spent 3 weeks staying in hostels, in tents, huts, we even slept above pigs – and then we’d use our hotel points to check into a 4-star hotel for one night. We got to do that about five times over the course of our four months. And every time, we maxed out every hour we could spend there – long, hot showers, breakfast buffets, fluffy robes. They were the same kind of places I’d stayed in as a consultant – but I saw it very differently when we traveled. I guess any form of luxury is far better appreciated when it feels earned.

A few years later, with our 9-month old daughter, we moved to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where we live now. We kept our travel mostly domestic after that – not hard with so much to see in this country – and we focused on building our separate businesses. And we were pretty heads down with a new baby (!) and then the rather exhausting work of startups (!), and then a new son (!) – until it came time to spend two months in Ecuador to adopt our daughter (!) in 2008. The year after that was quite a year – and, well, a whole separate post.

But, after that, we kinda just fell back into it, making the decision to travel for a couple months as a family every single year.

 

Around The World, deer, Yosemite National Park, California, travel photography, Tamara Lackey
I get asked if it’s tough to travel with kids. At this point, we’ve taken them around the world, but in chunks at a time – they’ve already spent time in much of the U.S., Europe, Africa, Asia, South America, Australia and more and yet there’s still so very, very many places to go.

Is it tough? When all three of our kids are loaded up with their backpacks, and we’re hustling them on to trains or off of planes or imploring them to pack up so we can get going, I sometimes start to wonder if this is more work than its worth. When we’re sorting out travel itineraries and lodging and booking tickets, I often feel like it’s extraordinarily time-consuming just to prepare, before anything even starts. And the cost. Even with as much experience as we have finding good travel deals, and I have a passion for that – yeah, it’s an investment in experience, no doubt.

But there’s no question how much we get out of traveling as a family. There’s no doubt it brings us closer. And I love to look at them when they see something totally brand new. I love when they show me something later in one of their school books that they’ve seen with their own eyes on one of our trips. I love watching them with their little packs and their individual roller bags and the little stuffed animals they bring along the way. I love how every new spot is home simply because we are there, all together.

If the question is, is it tough – the answer is yes. If the question is, is it worth it – probably no surprise here: oh, most definitely.
Most very definitely, definitely.

 

Around The World, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, dogs, travel photography, Tamara Lackey

I tend to travel pretty light when it comes to photography gear on extended trips, bringing along exactly what I need and using it as creatively as possible. Because, on the one hand, I don’t want to get bogged down in gear – on the other hand, there’s no way I want to miss capturing these instant memories. Since traveling around the world has been, and will always continue to be, such a significant part of my life – and now our lives – I decided to finally create a gallery to show some of the photographs I’ve taken along the way. It will take me a while to get it fully “stocked”, but I at least have a fairly good start. Feel free to check out my new Around The World gallery.

Around The World, beach at sunset, Bahamas, travel photography, Tamara Lackey

 

Around The World, Wollongdong, Australia, kangaroos, travel photography, Tamara Lackey

More coming soon.

 

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Free giveaways: Full WPPI 2015 Passes

I have been a professional photographer for the past twelve years now. In that time, my career has covered a lot of ground. I’ve met some incredible people who have changed my life, I’ve done work that is beyond what I would have ever guessed I’d do, and my family has grown substantially not just in people count but in collective experience.

In those twelve years, I’ve attended the WPPI Convention in Las Vegas eleven times. I’d missed my very first opportunity – I didn’t quite know what was going on that first year. In that time, I’ve watched this convention change in size, scope, venue and leadership. I’ve met literally thousands of people along the way, and I’ve been fortunate enough to make some truly great friends from all those initial conversations.

I’ve also shared a few highlights of my experience here, from the first time I presented a platform talk in 2009 to the first time I spoke for Nikon in 2013 (and my gorgeous family “partied” with me in Vegas) to last year, when I won the WPPI Adorama Inspire Award. And, um, then proceeded to race off the stage immediately. My full-on, emotional Do Over regarding that stage flight is here.
*Warning: it gets sappy.

Nikon Tamara Lackey WPPI Las Vegas, free giveaways

Thanks, again, to Mike Corrado for this photo.

 

This year I will be returning to WPPI in Last Vegas again.
And I hope you do, too.
Well, return or come for the first time.

It’s truly such a very cool experience – educational, empowering, informative, and beautifully community-building.

The internet is fabulous and all, but there’s nothing like spending time with tens of thousands of human beings who love what you love and love it how you love it and are excited to talk, share, show and teach it with their human voices and you can look at their human faces and hug their human bodies. (That last part might have started to sound weird, but hopefully you know what I mean.)

Basically?
Real, Human Connection = Awesome.

To that end, I will be giving away THREE free giveaways, that is THREE Full WPPI 2015 Platform Passes. Each of these passes will give you access to the entire show, from every single presentation delivered there to the giant expo at The MGM Grand. Note that on site, in Vegas, these full passes will cost you up to $399 each.
Yes, that’s just one dollar short of four hundred dollars.

And there’s so, so much to do when you get there. I am currently planning on doing at least the following things – with quite a few things to add that I’m still sorting out:

Friday – Sunday: Judging the WPPI International Print Competition

Monday:

Morning: Filming new reDefine Shows for AdoramaTV

3pm – 4pm Joining Nikon Theater Presents:  Live.  Work.  Succeed.  A Women’s Forum for Entrepreneurial Photographers.
Once again, I  will be joining the fabulous Bambi Cantrell and Dixie Dixon for this forum specifically addressing the experiences/challenges of women in the photography industry – along with SOLUTIONS, as each of us have different career goals, family life concerns & are working across different genres – portraits, weddings, and fashion.  The forum will also be moderated by my friend, Photofocus’ Melissa Niu.
We did this last year, and we had some incredibly engaged attendees, answered a bunch of excellent questions – and were sure we’d want to do it again before we’d even finished the program.
Programs like these are just one of the reasons I’m proud to be a Nikon Ambassador.

7pm Co-hosting a Dinner with Mylio, rather aptly described by Shutterbug Magazine as an addictive organizer, although there’s a whole lot more to it than that. Check out what I, Joe McNally, Chase Jarvis, Matthew Jordan Smith and Scott Kelby all have to say about our experiences here.


Tuesday:
12pm Giving a presentation and new lighting demo for ProFoto

1pm: Speaking and doing a live shoot at Nikon Theater, on the Expo Floor

4pm: Delivering my Platform Presentation across gigormous room(s) 319-320, a brand new, live world multi-media program that dives deep into Lighting/Posing/Expression and Creating Dynamic Portraits.
I LOVE this program, very excited to deliver it!
HUGE GRATITUDE
to my platform sponsors:
Nikon
Nations Photo Lab, who is offering a $50 credit to new customers, just use promo code “NEWJANTAM” when ordering through the ROES system
Adorama, with lots of new programs on Adorama TV
Animoto, now offering 20% off an annual pro subscription with promo code “Tamara15″
and Mylio, who is now giving a FULL ADVANCED trial for one month via this link.

I will be giving out tons of free giveaways during this program from these amazing companies!

free giveaways, WPPI 2015, Tamara Lackey

Wednesday:
10:15pm: Speaking and doing a live shoot at Nikon Theater, on the Expo Floor
Afternoon: Filming new reDefine Shows for AdoramaTV
7pm: The WPPI Awards Show

*Still quite a lot MORE coming together on these dates. check back on this list if you’d like to connect while in Vegas.

 

SO, how do you win one of these?

Well, the other day I was speaking on stage and offered a free giveaway to one person in the audience who could most quickly and most passionately tell me why they love to be alive. One woman jumped up with some rather incredible enthusiasm, won the prize, and then sent in this note afterwards:

Hi, Tamara, I really enjoyed your presentation. Your style of photography captures the fun and movement of life. I won the 10 songs from Triple Scoop with lifetime rights for being the person happiest to be alive in the room.  I am a children’s kidney doctor turned photographer because of ongoing cancer treatment (5 years strong!)  You can bet I am happy! Jumping up and down like a maniac at 8 AM in the morning is nothing… I am just super thrilled that my body is able to execute such moves :)

Best,
Jenn
I love this note.
I love this passion for life.
I respect this passion for life – and I greatly feel it, too.
Tell me what it is about your life that you love so much, or you can leave a brief comment below and email us more at the studio, if you feel too shy to elaborate here. I’ll pick three winners by the end of this week – so you can start planning this fantastic trip as soon as possible.
Just leave your words in the comments below. I can’t wait to hear what you have to say.
See you at WPPI 2015!
I mean, you DO want to go to Vegas, right? You don’t want to miss out on sightings like these, right?!
Free giveaways, Tamara Lackey, WPPI 2015
— 91 Comments

Stuart Scott

Tamara Lackey —  January 5, 2015

Stuart Scott. Wow, just typing that name.

I miss him.

In his not-nearly-long-enough life, he’s been a larger-than-life individual and father and brother and son and companion – and he’s been an exceptionally dear friend to me and to many others. The fact that he’s actually gone? That’s really, really difficult to try to process.

Much of the world knows who Stuart was: genuinely so inspirational, incredibly smart, talented, charismatic and, well, super cool. He worked hard, and his hard work paid off on such a giant world stage. So the world knew he was these things.

Stuart Scott, Tamara Lackey

We had been talking for some time over a drink before heading out to dinner to meet up with friends.  As we walked out to get a cab, I stopped him in front of this cool-looking background to get his portrait. I remember how comfortable he was with himself. How at ease he was just being himself, and how much that came through in this portrait. I love that he loved this photograph.

But there are also many things Stuart wasn’t.

He wasn’t afraid to be himself. He was so very much himself that you couldn’t help but be drawn to him. I couldn’t help but be drawn to him. He spoke directly to you – no artifice, no 86 layers of protection. You asked him a direct question, and he gave you a direct answer. If something bugged him, it wasn’t a secret. If he was crazy about something – well, it wasn’t a secret. I have always found that extraordinarily refreshing in a person, and it’s more rare than I would have ever imagined, to meet people who consciously live, openly, in such a very alive way.

In my experience, sometimes all the edges, boundaries and strategy of human interaction can be downright exhausting. Becoming friends with Stuart was the opposite of that: it was invigorating. And fun. And when it wasn’t fun, it was real. It made you feel like you’d gotten to truly connect with one more soul in the world who would matter to you for a lifetime.

He wasn’t daunted by criticism. Actually, over time, he was not only unphased by it, he would even get a kick out of it. He knew who he cared to listen to – and all the rest? Just noise. No other person I’ve ever met has taught me more about how to deal with random hate. I didn’t just take his advice, I studied it. I would joke with him that I channeled him when needed.

He owned random ugly feedback by treating it for what it was: useless noise, or sometimes entertainment for him. I was in awe of how flawlessly he managed it, and how that allowed him to simply create, to not worry about how what he created might be perceived – which, of course, was why he was able to showcase his talent so exceedingly well.

He wasn’t afraid to love. (And to love big.)
There wasn’t a person who knew him who didn’t also know what his daughters meant to him. Heck, millions of people who didn’t know him know what his daughters meant to him. In a word? They were everything. His heartbeat, he’d said.

I hate that these two lost their father.
I love that they knew how much he loved them. That we all did.
It was actually hard to ask him a question about anything important without the answer somehow incorporating his love for his daughters. He was very clear on his main priority: these two girls.

Stuart Scott, Tamara Lackey

This was just a casual shot taken at our house. Stuart and his family were all over, and the girls were playing Wii with our kids, much silliness – and I casually scootched these three closer together. Later, his girlfriend Kristin surprised him with a large canvas of this for Christmas.

But he was also so open and enormously loving with his friends. It wasn’t difficult for him to say I love you, and when he said it to you, you knew he meant it.

He once told me I was in his boat. He explained, when you’re in his boat, you’re in it forever. What that meant was that if there was catastrophe, if the floodwaters rise, you have room in his boat. That you can know he’s got you. But here’s what I also learned about Stuart after meeting his family, every one of his siblings – Susan, Stephen and Synthia – his gorgeous daughters Taelor and Sydni, many of his friends and co-workers, too; after meaningful conversations with his girlfriend, Kristin, who was incredibly there for him through the latter part of this illness, and for whom he felt so much love and gratitude. I learned this: Stuart Scott had built a pretty large boat. I never questioned how much Stuart cared. He really cared about a lot of people very, very much.

He wasn’t shy about expression. The man was a writer. He researched and wrote and wrote and wrote for so many things at ESPN. For Sportscenter, of course, but also for so many programs and spots and magazines and yes, even twitter. He loved the medium and all the mini conversations. He wrote spoken word slow jams that he’d perform with such polish. I remember this one he did for Michael Jordan, my husband and I nervously watching, hoping he’d get through it all because the delivery mattered. And he did. Of course he did. Flawlessly.

In this day and age, when you are friends with someone who lives far away, between visits and phone calls, much of your casual conversation is through text. I loved Stuart’s texts because they reflected his voice perfectly – so much life and enthusiasm and attitude in his words with liberal use of exclamation points!!! and ALL CAPS and PASSION, PASSION, PASSION.

I was asked to re-share this conversation I had with Stuart, my second time interviewing him but my first time sitting down with him for Adorama TV. You can see that passion here, you can see his heart, you can hear how his mind works and why he inspired so many – and why is loss is so greatly felt:

One of my favorite parts of that talk? “It sounds like you need a hug.” Say the nastiest thing you can think of to say to him, and he’s going to respond, “It sounds like you need a hug.”

When his sister, Susan, who I’m fortunate to say has also become a dear friend over time (don’t know what’s in that Scott water) called me Sunday morning to say that Stuart had died, I felt complete and utter shock.That may seem a bit odd given the state of his health, given our conversations and how plainly rough it’d all become. More, I think, than most would guess (another testament to how extraordinary his will and energy were).

Of course he was very ill. Of course this was always a possibility, increasingly so over the last few months.
But when every fiber of your being doesn’t want a piece of news to be true, it doesn’t make sense when you hear it.

It is a shock. And it feels incredibly wrong. Terribly unfair. Or, as my 9 year-old daughter said, after I told her about Stuart, “Oh, mom, but that’s not fair one bit.”
No. No, it’s not.

Of all the conversations I had with Stuart Scott, probably my all time favorite was this past summer. I was returning home from New York and had gotten my first taste of what real online troll hate felt like. All anonymous, of course. I sat down in a plastic airport chair and opened up twitter and saw one of his posts. He often wrote lovely things about people he cared about, and I was fortunate enough to hear some very kind things directed at me that way. So I texted him, and here’s that exchange, already stored away to be saved forever:

Me:  Hey there – leaving NYC & just saw your tweet.
Had my first, full-on tear-apart, major hatefest towards me on social media.
What a weird thing.
If you feel like you’re being channeled, you are.

Stuart: Awww .. you’re incredibly amazing … I miss you … as for twitter hate, it’s funny, let it be funny, let it remain funny. It speaks everything about the people spewing it and NOTHING about you.

This was lovely, and very Stuart, so I did appreciate it. But I also still felt pretty sad and not really as above it all as I was trying to be. I knew I’d get there but I just didn’t feel it at the moment, so I simply wrote back:

Me: I hear you : )

And then I put my phone away and slumped down a bit farther in my seat.

About a minute later, my phone buzzed again.

Stuart: At the end of all that stuff I said in the previous text … all that “real good mature advice” stuff … at the end of the day, bottom line, F*&# dem punk a$$ bi&*#^ wipes!!!!!
(Except, of course, he censored nothing.)

And THAT was Stuart. Right there.
His follow up message back to me, that was him. HE was REAL. HE was GOOD. HE was MATURE – and he had your back with some seriously silly swagger. And I LOVED that about him. I loved his grit and his laugh and his caring and his attitude and his energy and his heart. These random candids from nights out show a lot of that. His laughter, his movement, his energy, his fight, his right-thereness. If there seem to be so many words for Stuart Scott, it’s because there was so much to Stuart Scott:

Stuart Scott, Tamara Lackey

Stuart Scott, Tamara Lackey
Stuart Scott, Charles Barkley, Jay Harris, ESPN karaoke

I haven’t really stopped actively hurting since Susan called me. I wince thinking of her even having to make those calls. I am glad that he is out of pain, of course. And yet here we all are, still loving him.

There are tears everywhere around the world for this man. Worldwide grief for the loss of him. Makes sense, though.
Turns out that a man who, in his words, beat cancer by how he lived, why he lived, and the manner in which he lived will do that.

I have my friend Sally Sargood to thank for taking this photo one night when we were all out in New York. Just a shot during a fun dinner with friends and lots of laughter, but a shot of us together. I had brought out my friends, he had brought his, and we all met everyone and just … were together.
There wasn’t enough of that.

I will truly miss you for the rest of my life, Stuart.
Thank you for you.

Stuart Scott, Tamara Lackey

— 21 Comments

The Gratitude Photo Contest Winners!

A huge congratulations to all who entered the The Gratitude Photo Contest, hosted by Nations Photo Lab and myself.  We have named our photography contest winners!!  We were pretty blown away by the scope and QUALITY of the entries. Within the short open dates of the contest, there were about 6,300 photographs entered and, maybe even more remarkable, 289,000 people voted on them.

It certainly was not easy to narrow the photography contest finalists down, but we managed to get our top four winners. The theme, again, was to enter a photograph that shows something you are grateful for, without using any description or words to convey what you meant.

So, without adieu, a big CONGRATS to the following Gratitude Photo Contest winners:

1st Place, “Arlington in the Fall” by LindbloomPhoto

arlington cemetary, photo contest winners, the gratitude contest, tamara lackey, nations photo lab

 

Runner Up 1:  “Shasta Camping” by justinritucci

 

photo contest winners, the gratitude contest, tamara lackey, nations photo lab

 

Runner Up 2: “Remember to Breathe” by Crayok

 

photo contest winners, the gratitude contest, tamara lackey, nations photo lab

 

Runner Up 3:  “Sunset in Valensole” by paolobubu

 

photo contest winners, the gratitude contest, tamara lackey, nations photo lab

 

And the People’s Choice Award: “Dedicated” by adamsb5

 

Photo Contest Winners 5

 

Winners, please email Allie at Nations Photo Lab to redeem your lovely prizes, which include generous gift cards from Nations Photo Lab, my Posing Playbook…for Kids Who Don’t Do Posing, a feature on the NPL Newsletter, and all kinds of winning image love.

As I’d mentioned, we so enjoyed seeing all the remarkable photographs that were entered into this contest – there will be another photography contest coming up again soon. Check out both Nations Photo Lab and Tamara Lackey on Facebook for announcements for the next one.

And don’t forget – if you are printing your work (and I sincerely hope you ARE printing your work), you can use the following promo codes for some amazing savings:  For those who have never used Nations Photo Lab to print their work before, you can use the code HOLIDAYCARDTL to get $50 off your first order with them (just remember to use the ROES software you can download on their site to be able to use the promo code!). For those who already are customers of Nations Photo Lab, don’t worry – you are not being left out.  You can use THANKFUL4TL to get 20% off your entire order – and that is even on top of their frequent sales, so that can really add up to a lot of savings on beautifully-printed work.  Both of these codes expire on December 31st, 2014!

Congratulations, again, to all the photo contest winners, and to the thousands who entered your images – your work inspires us.

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How To Wirelessly Transfer Photos from DSLR

Every once in a while, a new technology breakthrough comes along that is just downright fun. For me, being able to wirelessly transfer photos from DSLR cameras, or even from my point & shoot camera, to my iphone has been exactly that. I take a lot of photographs – no surprise there. But I also love to share them, too. And, to be honest, I kinda like to share them right away. Whether it’s to facebook, twitter, instagram, or just emailing something to a friend – whatever the case may be, sharing our experiences is something we are becoming more and more accustomed to nowadays.

I used to just do all this with my phone, but I get such better photographs with my Nikon 1 V3 or my Nikon D750, both wifi-enabled, that being able to just send it right to my phone on the fly has really changed the game for me.

Since I’ve been posting more and more images from my main cameras, I’ve gotten several questions about how this works. I filmed a simple walkthrough of exactly how you can QUICKLY wirelessly transfer photos from DSLR cameras (or your point & shoot) to your phone in this brand new reDefine Show for Adorama TV:

As always, huge thanks to Adorama.com! You check out all tons of other content by very talented Adorama TV hosts, Joe McNally, Mark Wallace, Richard Harrington, Bryan Peterson and Gavin Hoey by heading over to AdoramaTV.com.

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