Category Archives for "REVIEWS"

New PDF Guide on How to Manage Your Media Cards and an Additional Quick Tip

I’m very happy to announce a new PDF guide that I recently wrote for a fantastic photo tips website called

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Front cover of the PDF Guide, available free for download from Shown on the front of the guide is the Wedding Photographer Vest from It’s a product I use a lot, and I highly recommend their vests for safely and securely carrying cameras, media cards and a whole lot more.

In the free guide, I cover some of my favorite strategies for managing those amazing (but easy to lose) devices called media cards. If you’ve ever had to lug around large numbers of 35mm or 120mm film canisters (each holding a maximum of about 36 exposures), you will know why I think media cards are so special. However, managing those cards can be tricky, so I tackled the subject in detail.

In the guide, I also mention specific products that I use and recommend to help manage your cards at home and on the go.


After writing the article, I realized that I could clarify the meaning of the words “Full” and “Empty,” which I write on my card holders. So I added the following text to my media card holders (“Ready for Camera” and “Ready for Download”), as you can see in the photo below:

Two of my SD card cases with some extra type added. The text help clarify what "Empty" and "Full" mean. For much more on this, see the PDF guide linked below.

Two of my SD card cases with some extra type added. The “Ready 4 Camera” and “Ready 4 Download” text helps clarify the meaning of the words “Empty” and “Full.”. For much more on this, see the PDF guide linked below.

Now, it’s even more clear which case I open when I need a “new” card for my camera (the EMPTY Case), and it’s also more clear now which case I open when I am done with a card and still need to download it to my computer (the FULL case).

Another quick tip: Most photographers know this, but once you are ready to reformat your card, you should do that in the camera (every camera has a procedure for doing that), instead of formatting the card using a computer, and instead of deleting the files on the card.

To download and read the full guide, visit this page:

On, you’ll also find many other  free and fee-based photo tips guides.

Also, if you are located in the New Jersey/NYC-metro area, or if you’d like to travel there for workshops and other photo events, please visit this page and consider joining our free MEETUP GROUP: The Art of Photography, Photoshop and Lightroom.

A Review of AURA, An Adam Lambert Tribute Publication, and Behind-the-Scenes Publishing Info

There are few things that have had an influence on humans as much as music. For thousands of years, we have created sounds with voice and various instruments in ways that have had a profound effect on cultures around the globe. And like photography and moving pictures, music reaches us in many ways. One of those ways has been through TV-based competitions, which combine real-life experiences with a competition that ends with a “Champion,” “Idol,” or winner by another name.

I’ve been a fan of these shows from the days of “Star Search,” which, if you are not old enough to remember (or if you haven’t seen replays on TV or, was hosted by Ed McMahon of the “Tonight Show.” And no conversation on the topic of music competition TV shows would be complete without the inclusion of “American Idol.” It first aired in 2002, and was based on the British show “Pop Idol,” which was, according to the Wikipedia entry, inspired by an Australian TV show.

Season 8 of “Idol” in 2009 included an audition by Indiana born, California-raised Adam Lambert. Lambert ended the season as runner-up in the competition, and if you watch some of the thousands of his “Idol,” pre-“Idol” and post-“Idol” performance videos on YouTube, I think you’ll agree that Lambert is an exceptional singer and performer.

About a year ago, a friend and former colleague, Alice Miller (editor of Studio Photography magazine from 2000 to 2007), informed me about a tribute publication she was creating about Adam Lambert. Fast forward to a few weeks ago, when I held a copy of AURA: Celebrating the Life-Changing Connection Between Adam Lambert & His Fans in my hand.

Alice’s Editor’s Letter provides context as to how and why this project came to be: “In 2010, I had a vision: create a hold-in-your-hand keepsake, an enduring tribute that showcases and celebrates the impact that Adam is having on lives and music around the planet . . . and the extraordinary and powerful connection that has evolved between Adam and his passionate, diversified, rapidly expanding fandom. Today, that vision is realized. In AURA, you will find essays and poems by fans conveying profound gratitude for newfound freedoms, recently discovered talents, release of long-suppressed secrets, first-time feelings of joy, beautiful new friendships and the bliss of accepting and loving one’s self, at long last. Sharing space within AURA’s pages are drawings, paintings, photo compositions, photographs, and crafts that soothe, amaze or gratify us by their sheer beauty, mastery, levity, message or universality. . .

According to Alice Miller, “The title AURA reflects the joyful positive glow that emanates from Adam in person and on stage.”

Review of AURA

Here’s my brief review of the book after spending quite a bit of time looking through and reading some of the 100+ feature articles, poetry and other content:

I’ve seen hundreds of magazines and fine art books over the years, and to start, this one looks and feels incredible. At 140 pages, this 9” x 12” publication weighs more than a pound and has the feel of a soft-cover art book. Although conceived as a magazine to give it a more flexible, creative layout, “magazine” really doesn’t do it justice. The design is fantastic. It’s tastefully done with outstanding photographs and other artwork—some by professionals but mostly by amateur photographers and artists—from 27 different countries. The text choices are elegant and easy to read. The colored pens drawing on the back cover by Russian artist Svetlana Egorova (@ListoffSay) is truly spectacular. The striking cover photo was captured by Singapore fan Claire Low (@GlambertPianist), during a local performance.

This book is not filled with “Why I Love Adam Lambert” quotes from adoring fans, though you will find some. Rather, it explores the impact Adam Lambert is having on people worldwide.

Some of Adam Lambert’s recent accomplishments include performing with Queen in the televised iHeartRadio music concert, and performing as a guest star on GLEE. Search YouTube for a number of videos from these performances.

I highly recommend AURA and believe that the world needs more positive things like this. I also think it will make a beautiful holiday gift. For reader feedback and to order a copy, visit this page. NOTE: For holiday discounts, visit this page.  To preview AURA in full (with watermarks), visit this page.

Some Self-Publishing Information

I asked Alice Miller if she would tell us about her self-publishing experience. Here’s some of what she shared. If you are considering printing a soft-cover book or magazine, you may find this information valuable:

“Conceptualizing, researching and marketing AURA were relatively routine. I sought material and promoted the project through Facebook, Twitter, on relevant fan sites, at concerts, and by word of mouth. Identifying a printer capable of producing and shipping a high-quality product within my budget was challenging. Originally I wanted a local/regional printer, preferring easy communications and minimal logistics hurdles. I wound up going with a South Korea-based printer, Heidelprint, which had been recommended by a business partner. Their sample publications, reasonable prices and New York customer rep seemed to be the best solution.

“Most transactions were via their website,, e.g., selecting specs, delivery options, uploading and proofing PDF files, status updates. For my 9×12-inch perfect-bound book, I chose gloss #92 stock with gloss lamination for the cover and matte 70# text stock. Payment was via wire transfer, which featured a 3% discount.

“The first print run of 500 books (minimum order) went to press 4 days after I uploaded my 132MB PDF (inside pages) and 8MB PDF file for outside/inside covers & spine. After the standard 4-day printing and binding processes, the books were shipped in 18 separate boxes, weighing 615 pounds, via 5-day UPS Air Expedited. The shipment arrived as scheduled. When the books sold out, I ordered 500 more copies a month later. I sent an updated interior PDF and identical cover/spine PDF. Out of the 1,000 total copies, eight arrived with dented corners or imperfect lamination. The others were perfect. Although the printer was half way around the world and 13 hours ahead, the advantages of using them far outweighed any inconvenience.”

Questions? Email


Special Offer for Readers

When you purchase 1 copy of AURA (US$24), a second copy is half price. Visit this page for instructions on how to order (just adjust your PayPal total for the half price second copy when sending payment). For the holidays, postage is free on 1 copy mailed within the U.S. For more information about the holiday offer, visit this page.

Please note: I receive no compensation for these special offers.

Full disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of AURA to write this review. I plan to keep it in my library for many years to come.


Hands-on Review: Benro MeFoto AO350Q Travel Tripod Kit

After quite a lot of testing, I’m happy to be able to present this hands-on video review of the Benro MeFoto A0350Q Travel Tripod Kit. To summarize, I’m impressed with the product (it’s well made, relatively light and compact). I’ll let the video do the rest of the talking:

I forgot to mention in the video that even though the tripod kit comes with a ballhead, you can put any 3/8″ compatible ballhead or other head on the tripod part of the product.

If you’d like to check pricing, below is a link to many Benro MeFoto A0350Q tripod kits, as well as the larger Benro MeFoto A1350Q in various colors on (please note: the link below is an affiliate link, which helps to support my publishing efforts when a purchase is made. Your price will be exactly the same as if you had visited and entered the name of the tripod):

Benro MeFoto Tripods on

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