Making the Shot {with Karen Russell}

When I started SnapShops nearly six years ago, I had no idea I would eventually get to know some incredible photographers who also teach various photography courses. Both of my SnapShop workshops (the phone and DSLR versions) are intro courses. I wrote both with the beginner in mind. Over the years, students have asked me about offering more advanced courses, but that just has not been on the horizon for me. As a result, it is important to me to find other workshops I can recommend to my students.

Karen Russell‘s photography workshop (and lessons) are among my favorites to recommend students. Several of my SnapShop students have taken her workshop and have raved to me about it. Well, Karen just released a PDF consisting of an in-depth discussion on Focus. She sent me a copy…and it is IN DEPTH. Several of the topics I touch on in my DSLR SnapShop course are included. I touch on the topic (like an airplane view), Karen dives crazy deep into the same topics (like a bug’s view).

So, for those that have a basic understanding of shooting in Manual, but want a better understanding of all that it takes to make a super sharp – in focus- shot, I highly recommend this course (139 page downloadable PDF). It is so good…and Karen is not paying me to say that:)
MTS3-Focus Cover RSMaking the Shot Three: An In-Depth Discussion on Focus is an advanced photography course devoted solely to the topic of focus. This issue defines the difference between tack-sharp, adequately sharp and soft focus and discusses in great detail how cameras and lenses, lighting and contrast, autofocus settings and a proper focusing technique each play a critical and combined role in creating the sharpest image possible, straight out of the camera. This issue includes three step-by-step testing guides, ten comprehensive case studies, an entire section that the topic of how and why you should be Back-Button Focusing, and every ounce of knowledge Karen has (and then some!) about focusing.”

Here are a few screen shots….



This is a downloadable course (a 139-page PDF and over six hours of audio) with the option of purchasing and participating in a two-week, online Q&A forum where Karen will be answering any and all questions related to the topic of focus from June 16th – 29th, 2014

In the past, issues of Making the Shot have only been available to students of The Photographers’ Workshop, so this is the first time Karen has released an issue of Making the Shot to the general public.

Cost details: $55 (PDF + audio) or $75 (PDF + audio + 2-week Q&A Forum). Past students of The Photographers’ Workshop will receive a $20 discount off the price of the PDF.

To purchase Making the Shot Three: An In-Depth Discussion on Focus, click here.


So….Karen is letting me give away three copies of her PDF (big week for amazing giveaways on my blog!). Below are the details.


3 copies of Making the Shot Three: An In-Depth Discussion on Focus

3 winners chosen at random

(If you purchase a copy and then win one, Karen will refund your purchase)

Giveaway ends Monday, April 14th 8:00pm US Central

To enter: leave a comment on this post



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  • Kate R - Looks like a fantastic page turner…would love to win one x

  • Katie M - Great giveaway!

  • Kimberly - I’d love to win this!

  • Karyn Ruohonen Rudak - Ooh, this is one thing I would love to win!!! This is something that frustrates me the most….I think I get it then I see the picture and I’m like, no…or oh why didn’t I try this or that…

  • Kathy Dwyer - I would love to learn about focus in depth! That is what I enjoy about your pictures, well, also the emotions that come through and the cute kids! Thanks!

  • Sharon - Would love to win this!! What a great giveaway!

  • Michele Vest - I would love to win “Making the Shot.” Thanks
    for another giveaway!

  • Susan - Thank you for the opportunity!

  • ASH - Would love to delve deeper into focus. Thank you for the recommendation and giveaway.

  • Tracie - I would love love to win this

  • ari - I’d love to win a copy! so cool

  • Ada - Karen Russell is my favorite- and she didn’t pay me to say that. Her course was INCREDIBLE. I never want to be a pro photog but truly wanted to “speak camera” and she taught me every step. I have so SO much more to learn but at least now I have a head start. I can’t wait to get my hands on this!!!!!!

  • Sarah Kaiser - I love Karen & could really benefit from this guide!!

  • Jill L - I would love to win! Thanks for the opportunity to learn more about photography!!

  • Lindsey - Yes please! Making the shot!

  • Yu - I would love to win “Making the Shot” !!! Pick me!!

  • Christine - What a great prize! Love Karen and her amazing teaching abilities! Thanks for the giveaway. :)

  • Crystal Killian - I took your SnapShots course last year and and it set me up for success using manual mode. I would love to follow it up with this! Thanks!


  • Lacey - Just what I NEED! Please! :)

  • Amy Coose - What an amazing giveaway, fingers crossed!!

where I once saw weeds

I could post pictures everyday of her spinning and dancing in the yard. Everything is beginning to turn green and there is one spot full of purple flowers. Completely delighting herself, she’ll run around in her ‘flowers’ and bring me bouquets each day.

Then her brother told her they aren’t flowers; he told her they were weeds.

And she kept dancing. She kept spinning. She kept delighting in her flowers.


I keep thinking about those weeds and her dancing in them. She could care less that her brother calls them weeds. She sees beauty worth delighting in; she sees a field of wildflowers. It makes me think about life in general. There are so many times I look at a circumstance and see weeds or I hear the words of others telling me what I see is weeds. I wonder how many times a day I face something that at first seems undesirable and I see weeds, when I am actually standing in the middle of a field of wildflowers. I wonder how many times I let others tell me to get rid of the weeds when really I should start spinning and dancing in the flowers.

Today I am going to look for flowers where I once saw weeds.

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Artifact Uprising Postcard pack {giveaway}

I take a lot of pictures. A lot.

Photography is a creative outlet for me and thankfully my family has grown accustomed to the constant snapping I do with my cameras. As much as I enjoy the process of creating a photo, I also want to make sure my photos do not simply stay on memory card or roll of film. My kids are willing subjects most days; I want them to enjoy the ‘product’ of that camera clicking in our house. Each year I print photobooks, I add 4×4 prints to our photowall, and I try to print any images my kids request for their own collections.

When my kids see their pictures printed it helps develop their interest in photography and usually makes them a little more willing to let me capture with my camera them throughout the day.

Recently, I had the chance to receive a postcard pack c/o Artifact Uprising.  I’ve ordered postcards before from other companies, but I’ve heard such great things about the Artifact Uprising quality, I was excited to try them for myself. They did not disappoint.

The postcards are printed on heavy recycled paper and of top quality. I printed a couple of ‘non-personal’ shots, but the majority of our postcards are more personal.4.14artifactuprising-34.14artifactuprising-44.14artifactuprising-54.14artifactuprising-6

There are several reasons postcards appeal to me. The biggest reason is it is such an easy way to share photos with our friends and family. I let the kids pick out most of the pictures for our postcard pack. They chose certain pictures with specific recipients in mind. Lots of goofy face shots were selected to mail to their friends. Seeing them excited about the pictures also means it is much easier for me to get them to practice their writing skills. Win/win for us….and their friends get surprise mail. My kids LOVE getting mail. Goodness, I love getting mail.4.14artifactuprising-74.14artifactuprising-8

How about a little postcard pack giveaway to start this week? You can use the widget below to enter the giveaway. I do want to note that your email address is required and you will get an email from Artifact Uprising (but it is a good email, hint. hint.) Enjoy!

Giveaway Details:

Prize: 1 postcard pack from Artifact Uprising

1 winner chosen at random

Giveaway ends Monday, April 14th 11:59pm MST

To enter – submit  your email in the widget below

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