Announcing a guest, portrait photographer for the CCS summer seminar


I would like to announce our guest photographer, Meo Baaklini. Meo is (in her own words) an Intimate Wedding and Portrait photographer based in the San Francisco Bay area. She formally trained at the Academy of Art San Francisco and runs her own studio in Benicia, CA.

We know that many of our customers primarily shoot other kinds of work. But great pictures are great pictures! Meo does work both in her studio, on-location and outdoors in the challenging San Francisco weather. She will be sharing some of her favorite outdoor portrait tips during our Monday afternoon training time on July 22, 3:30-4:40pm*. For those of you that would like some tips for a portrait studio setting, we welcome you to join us in the Glamour Shots®** training session that will occur on Monday afternoon 1pm-3pm. During this indoor session, she will specifically cover shooting tips for Maternity and Boudoir photography. Please shoot us an email if you would like to attend the indoor, portrait studio training with Glamour Shots on Monday, July 22, 1-3pm PT so that we may guarantee we have enough seats! Email .

We hope that you are able to attend and that you find the session with our distinguished guest photographer inspiring and that the time will translate into better photography, happier customers, more sales and more referrals for your business!

Here are a few of Meo’s favorite pieces of equipment.

Canon 5dmkII

50mm 1.4 (“My favorite lens… it stays on my camera 90% of the time!”)



Calumet 750 Travelites (umbrellas, softboxes, grid, snoot etc..)

Reflectors and huge 8ft tall polystyrene boards to bounce light back

We hope that you are excited about this great opportunity to get insight from another professional!

You can learn more about her by visiting .Some samples of her work are below:




Do you know your tools of the trade?

cameras_mThe number of cameras available to photographers is staggering.  The lines are becoming blurred between what constitutes a pro camera and an amateur camera.  Entry level cameras today have more capabilities than pro cameras from 5 years ago.  Most pros only utilize, at best, about 25% of the available features.   So, this brings up questions.  Are there features in your camera (and flash) that would enable you to take better quality photos?  Are there features that would enable to you to take more creative photos?  Are there features that would make all of this easier to do?

To help familiarize yourself with your cameras and strobes, visit a camera tutorial website. These websites contain video and text tutorials for each model with details on the controls, menus and key features.  This website format is far more interesting than reading the owner’s manual.

Take some time to visit these sites.  You may find yourself saying “I didn’t know my camera could do that!”.

Below are links to helpful sites.

Nikon Learn More

Canon Learn More

Sony Learn More

Other resources:


Using a Camera Simulator to Supplement Training

Over the past 12 years with the proliferation of digital cameras, a new crop of photographers have surfaced that extensively use the “P” or “Auto” setting on their high tech, ultra cool cameras. It’s quick; it’s easy and, for the most part, will deliver acceptable images.

Today’s cameras—with their sophistication and technological advantages—do a great job at these automatic settings in most situations. But you still have to rely on your brain to execute the basics of photography; namely, lighting, ISO, shutter speed and aperture.

With Grads, Bid Days, Sports, Portraiture and other special event markets, Manual settings are the preferred shooting method.  The ability to understand and react to changing lighting conditions is critical to creating images that sell.  Your customers will not purchase underexposed or over-exposed images that appear on your website for viewing and ordering.

Training the “P/Auto” photographer to understand how each camera setting affects the others can be challenging and not altogether easy. Now, a website has surfaced that allows the newbie photographer to see how all of these critical settings interact with each other to produce properly exposed and saleable images.

CameraSim, the Online SLR Simulator available at  is a website that allows you to see in real time how today’s DSLR cameras react and change to all of the critical settings essential to a good exposure.

The hands-on DSLR simulator allows you to change and control lighting, distance, focal length, mode, ISO, aperture and shutter speed while, at the same time, being able to observe the readings in the camera viewfinder.  Once you’ve adjusted your settings, you simply click the, “Snap Photo” button to review your photo.

Keep in mind that the camera simulator is not a replacement for a training program; far from it!  But it is a great way to see in real time how camera controls can affect the appearance of an image.  Think of CameraSim as a supplement to whatever training program you use to teach your photographers.

Maximizing Candid Prom Photo Sales

Prom season is right around the corner so here’s a look at a way to maximize candid photo sales!  PhotoMatch, a CCS software solution, can be used in Proms where hundreds of students are being photographed multiple times.  This system allows students (and their parents) the ability to easily find their pictures online. This system also gives photographers the option of sending home printed proofs of each student’s candid photos!

Here is how it works! The PhotoMatch system revolves around a wireless scanner, barcodes, email addresses and the time clock inside all digital cameras. By synchronizing the time clocks with the scanners PhotoMatch is able to pinpoint the exact time customers are photographed, and then match their email address to the time they were photographed.

After taking a photo, the photographer would simply scan a barcode for each person in the photo. The photographer can also take multiple photos of a couple or group and then scan as many barcodes as they would like.

Barcodes can be distributed in several ways. Each attendee could receive one half of a 2-part card containing a barcode before entering the event. The photographer would keep the other half of the card that also contained the barcode and the attendee’s contact information such as email and mailing address.  Alternatively, photographers can create wristbands for each student attending. The wristband would contain a barcode to be scanned and student contact information would be collected when wristbands are distributed.

The PhotoMatch system was created to make it easier for the end customer to find their images online, thereby creating a more timely purchasing opportunity by sending a link, via email, that will take them directly to their photographs. The ability to get images in the hands of parents is also a way to boost sales! The scanning and “competition” to get more photos also creates excitement at school events like a Prom.
The PhotoMatch System provides an easy and reliable method for roving photographers to match customers to their photographs. Photomatch works with almost any digital camera by using a non-tethered bar code scanner to tag the images. It is a simple and easy process.

If you are interested in speaking with someone at Candid Color Systems concerning the PhotoMatch system call Customer Development at 1-800-336-4550.

Shooting Outdoor Sports with a Direct Flash

When shooting outdoor sports it is important to use a direct flash to fill in the shadows caused by harsh sunlight.  Even on cloudy days it is necessary to use a fill flash to ensure consistent lighting.  CCS has developed several techniques for shooting outdoor sports, from a simple direct flash to using a scrim or cutter to shade the individual.

Select your location for shooting based on the sun.  Place the sun 45 degrees behind the individual or to the side.  Never place the individual looking directly into the sun.  Positioning the subject with the sun behind or to the side of them will prevent squinting.  Setup the camera 15 feet from the individual.  Be sure to measure from the lens to the individual, not from the photographer.  If shooting with a dedicated strobe it is possible to shoot on Program mode with the flash set to TTL.  However, for consistent lighting it is always best to shoot on Manual.  Take a meter reading and adjust the aperture one stop below.  For example, if the ambient light is metered at f11 then you would set your flash at f8.  You can then adjust your shutter speed as the light changes.

Shooting with a scrim or cutter is a very effective way to ensure consistent lighting.  Use the scrim as a shade between the sun and the individual.  Be sure to watch for any light sneaking into your frame.  Set your camera 10 feet away from the subject.  Again, you will meter for the ambient light and set your strobe to one f-stop below the reading.  This will even the exposure between the background and the individual.

To shoot a group outdoors with a direct flash is not much different than shooting an individual.  A group can be arranged in two rows or up to six rows.  Place tape or string in rows for the players to line up on.  Position the second row about a foot and a half behind the first.  Each row will be another half a foot behind the row in front of them.  The camera distance will be determined by the height of the camera and the size of the group.  Make sure to bump up your strobe a notch so the light reaches the back row.  The exposure will remain the same for the group shot and the individuals.

Candid has several shooting guides available on CandidNet, our online resource for customers.  These guides cover how to shoot large groups, indoor lighting, posing, and even videos of actual photo shoots!  Contact Customer Development to learn more 800-336-4550.

CCS Annual Winter Seminar in Puerto Rico!

Here at Candid we pride ourselves on being involved with our customer base, by watching for changes in the market place and finding solutions to assist our customers in growing their business.  Candid’s Seminars are just one way we reach out to teach our customers about best practices, innovative ideas, and new trends.  This is also a chance for us to hear from you!  This year, CCS’ annual winter seminar is in Puerto Rico.  Our staff will be covering a wealth of information on a variety of markets including; Schools, Sports, Proms and Events.  Topics include Software Training, Sales Calls, Green Screen Photography, Digital Photography, Marketing Your Images – Your Best Options, and what’s New at CCS.

Candid has also added a guest speaker to the agenda, Frank Harrison.  Frank has 21 years of experience in the photography industry, and has had great success shooting youth sports.  He has been featured on the SEPCOM tour and spoke at Imaging USA in Phoenix, AZ.  Frank will share his innovative ideas, and conduct an actual outdoor sports shoot. Discover how to shoot fewer action photos with less staff, while doubling your weekend’s income! Frank will explain what equipment is needed to do “posed action photography,” how to set up a posed action shoot area and how to create a smooth workflow.

We feel it is more important than ever before for our customers to attend the seminar, so we are offering an extended payment plan on hotel rooms to make it easier for everyone to attend!  When you book your room through Candid you will be able to pay for your room over a 3 month period beginning March 1st.  A third of the room will be charged to your lab bill on March 1st, April 1st, and May 1st.  Too make it even easier we will also find a roommate for you to cut the cost in half.  If we are unable to find a roommate for you we will pay for half of the room!  Attending our Winter Seminar will pay for itself with the knowledge that you bring back with you.  All of the information gained will be something you can incorporate into your business tomorrow!

To learn more about The CCS Winter Seminar you can contact Evie at ext. 377.  Become a customer

Strategies for Posing Teams

There are several strategies that can be used when posing teams. We have provided simple diagrams that are a good guide for posing teams up to 20 people. It is important to state at the beginning that there are always exceptions to these arrangements; smaller venues, subjects of extremely varying sizes, and the position of the photographer can all change the situation.

These arrangements are all designed to allow the subjects to fill the frame as completely as possible while still allowing for an 8×10 crop.

Two basic strategies can be employed in most situations to achieve multiple rows of varying heights: the use of risers and posing subjects. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages. Risers allow you to pose each subject the same. Whether or not you prefer this depends on the mood you are trying to achieve. Conversely, not using risers requires you to pose each person slightly differently which lends a more dynamic and active photo. This is a decision best made before a shoot and not on the spot.

Instead of risers you can also use a wide stairway, a set of chairs or step stools, or any other sturdy object at hand. I often use chairs when shooting basketball team photos so that the goal may be placed in the background. A set of small painting benches found at a hardware store have been very helpful with small children as well.

If you are posing a team without risers, chairs, or stairs, you must get a little creative. Depending on the subjects you can sometimes just have tall subjects in the back, shorter subjects in the front, and another row of subjects kneeling. If you need more rows, a row of subjects sitting down and a row of subjects with their hand on their knees will look pleasing as well; this generally only works for girls’ sports teams. The possibilities change in each situation.

Outside the arrangement of your subjects, your most powerful tool when working with and posing a group is your rapport. Take a few minutes to talk to your subjects, explain to them what’s going on, show them some photos, and relax.

Sports Photography Part Three

View video from the CCS Summer Workshops last July. Brian Allan is presenting Outdoor Sports Photography. From posed shots to simulated action, camera and lighting setups, and tips and tricks for marketing to customers. There is a lot of information in his presentation so we have broken it up into three parts.

Topics covered in part three: Demonstration photo shoots, understanding motion, optimizing team photography, crowd control and recap.
[podcast format=”video”][/podcast]

Sports Photography Part Two

View video from the CCS Summer Workshops last July. Brian Allan is presenting Outdoor Sports Photography. From posed shots to simulated action, camera and lighting setups, and tips and tricks for marketing to customers. There is a lot of information in his presentation so we have broken it up into three parts.

Topics covered in part two: basic and action posing, camera capture settings, camera positioning and lenses.
[podcast format=”video”][/podcast]

Head to Puerto Rico this February for CCS’ Annual Winter Seminar for Customers

Tough economic times are a staunch reminder that we should all be taking a hard look at our businesses. Continually focusing on innovation and learning best practices to implement are keys to success at all times, but are especially important in today’s economy.

CCS is committed to bringing customers the latest information to help maintain and GROW their photo businesses! This year, we are heading to Puerto Rico for 4 days of presentations and networking among photographers. This seminar is FREE to CCS customers!

There are some details of our agenda that are especially noteworthy! CCS has a heavy focus on green screen during this seminar! Learn about the services CCS can offer in each of our markets! We will also discuss the improved software options for do-it-yourself green screen. Come learn about our green screen tests going on RIGHT NOW with the winter graduations.

CCS will also conduct hands-on, sample sports shoots! Learn about posing, marketing options, package set-up, pricing and more! There are also an abundance of new products and software enhancements to hear about!

Here are a few more reasons why you should make your way south to the Caribe Hilton Hotel in Puerto Rico for our Annual Winter Seminar.

The average high temperature in February is 84, and the average low is only 70 degrees.
Airline ticket prices are at their lowest in months!  The average cost for a round trip flight is $319 through Priceline.
Get out of the states without the hassle of needing a passport!
CCS has extended the seminar to last 4 days – giving you more time free to venture out and experience the best Puerto Rico has to offer!
Presentations will cover a variety of topics, Sports, Schools, Software Training, Marketing, and more!
Meet the CCS staff!  We always look forward to any opportunity to meet customers in person!
Networking!  This is a great opportunity to meet other photographers across the country.  Share tips, success stories, and laughter.

To open a CCS account and have access to all of this FREE information, click here!
To register for the CCS seminar online, click here. Remember, you must have a CCS account to attend.
For more information about our seminar or opening an account, email us or call Customer Development at1-800-336-4550.

We look forward to seeing you in Puerto Rico!


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