April 15, 2015

Think Tank Photo Special Offer for April & May

Urban Disguise Shoulder Harness special offer


Our friends at Think Tank Photo, who are celebrating their 10 Year Anniversary, just announced a special offer.  Whenever you order one of their Urban Disguise Shoulder bags between now and May 15th you will receive a Shoulder Harness V2.0 backpack harness by mail for free.  This harness is pretty amazing for it easily converts your shoulder bag into a backpack.  It’s great for freeing up your hands to sprint through airports for flights, for example.  To partake of this special offer, simply order the Urban Disguise bag of your choice and download and submit the online form.  Think Tank will ship your new harness right out.  And, don’t forget that by using my special URL you will receive a free gift from Think Tank with your order as well as free shipping.

Here is the link you should use:


April 11, 2015

Step by Step Guide to Using Sony Wi-Fi with PlayMemories, PicTapGo & Instagram

How to Use Wi-FI on your Sony Mirrorless camera in conjunction with the Sony PlayMemories app,  PicTapGo and Instagram on the iPhone
Paul F. Gero |  paulfgero.com
Member, Sony Artisans of Imagery Program

One of the great things about Sony mirrorless cameras like the a7II, the a7, the a6000, and the a7s is that they are small, light and professional cameras.

And, one of the great bonus features to these cameras is that they are Wi-Fi enabled and thus I can use my little Sony mirrorless cameras to send photographs from my camera, to my iPhone 6+ and then up to the web, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using the sweet iPhone app called “PicTapGo” by gettotallyrad.com.

I’ve been on Instagram for a few years but it’s only been recently that I have made consistent contributions to this growing social media platform

In the accompanying tutorial, I want to share with you exactly how I do that.

This has become my preferred method to upload to social networks over the past six weeks since getting this dialed in.  I can count on one hand the number of images that I have worked on the big computer for upload in that time.

This technology would have been such a benefit to former news photographers like me who back in the day shot on film, often processed in a hotel and then made a print or later, scan negatives to get the images into print.

It was a time-consuming and labor-intensive process.  The technology we have now is such a tremendous time saver by contrast.

It makes me truly appreciate the gift that Wi-Fi on the Sony cameras is.

The apps used are:

Sony PlayMemories app for iPhone — you can find that here:


For post production of images, I absolutely love PicTapGo; you can find that here:


First things first:  Make Sure Your Camera is Set up for the Play Memories App by going here:

SonyWiFi_setup SonyWiFi_setup2

Once you are here, you will be good to go to use PlayMemories to send photographs to your iPhone. (The Smart Remote Embedded is another very cool app and I can cover that in a future tutorial).

Step by Step Tutorial:

1.  Make sure that Airplane Mode is OFF in your camera

Sony Wi-Fi Tutorial01

2. Select the play key to edit the photographs
Sony Wi-Fi Tutorial02

3. Press the Fn button to access the wireless transfer feature of the camera. The highlighted line allows you to transfer one image.

Sony Wi-Fi Tutorial03

4. Press the Fn button to access the wireless transfer feature of the camera.  Using the rear dial scroll to access Multiple Images if you would like to transfer more than one photograph.


Sony Wi-Fi Tutorial04

5. A window shows the password for your wireless connection (you will have to enter this in the settings when first using the app on your phone).

Sony Wi-Fi Tutorial05



6. Using the scroll wheel, move through the photographs, depressing the center button of the wheel to mark your selects (checkmark in box, at left).

Sony Wi-Fi Tutorial06


7. Press the Menu button, scroll the wheel to the enter command, then press the center of the button to begin the download process.

Sony Wi-Fi Tutorial07



8. Go to your Settings Menu on your iPhone

Sony Wi-Fi Tutorial08


9. Look for the Sony camera on your wi-fi network (circled).  Activate it by pressing the name.

Sony Wi-Fi Tutorial08


10.  Once the Camera network is checked you are connected to the camera.

Sony Wi-Fi Tutorial10

11. Select the Sony PlayMemories App on your iPhone and launch it:

Sony Wi-Fi Tutorial11

12. With the camera and phone properly linked, the PlayMemories will immediately  begin to copy the photographs you have tagged (if multiples) or any individual photographs you wanted to send to the phone.  If it does not connect, go back to Settings and switch the Wi-Fi settings off and on and repeat steps above to connect.

Sony Wi-Fi Tutorial12

13. Now the photograph is copied to your camera roll and you can send it from the phone, or, as I like to do, I will enhance the photograph before posting using the PicTapGo app.  I launch that from the main screen of my iPhone.

Sony Wi-Fi Tutorial12



14. Select your Photograph from the Pic screen of PicTapGo (circled in red) and bring into the app for processing.

Sony Wi-Fi Tutorial14


15. In the Tap section, you can determine the look and feel using filters that are pre-loaded AND ones that you can create and save, making it speedy to reproduce a look that you like.  The interface gives you a real time view of what the changes will look like. You can also access the crop tool  (in the Tap menu on the top menu bar)

Sony Wi-Fi Tutorial14



16.  I converted the image to B & W in the app.  The slider underneath the photograph allows you to determine how much of the action/filters’ effect you see in the image.

Sony Wi-Fi Tutorial16


17. Under the Go part of the app, I see an array of ways to share the photograph.  I will often use the Instagram – Full style setting which shows the image in full aspect ratio rather than square.

Sony Wi-Fi Tutorial17


18. Launch Instagram from the PicTapGo app.

Sony Wi-Fi Tutorial18


19, The image is now brought into Instagram, and you can edit further, if you wish, or prepare to post it by hitting the Next button in upper right corner.

Sony Wi-Fi Tutorial19


20. Caption & add hashtags to your photograph before posting.

Sony Wi-Fi Tutorial21

21. Ready to upload, I also send to FB and Twitter in addition to Instagram.  Press Share at the bottom to post at Instagram.

Sony Wi-Fi Tutorial22

22. Success!!  Your photograph is now online at Instagram for the world to see!!

Sony Wi-Fi Tutorial23

I hope you find this tutorial helpful to you!

If you like this, I think you will like being on my email list where you’ll receive emails about tools, tips, techniques and inspiration.

To sign up for that please go here:  http://forms.aweber.com/form/91/1095951691.htm

 Thanks again!



March 25, 2015

Pelican Hill Golf Course

While documenting a Dad and his son golfing at Pelican Hill recently, we happened upon this amazing scene.

#sonyalpha #a6000

Pelican Hill Golf Course view with ocean

March 18, 2015

Kids of OC 2014 Now Available!

Kids of Orange County 2014 Charity Book Project _Portrait Photography

It’s Here! Our 7th Kids of OC Book now available for order!

It’s “in the books” as they say!

Our 7th Kids of Orange County Charity Book Project is designed and now ready for purchase!

The photograph above represents the front and back covers of this years’s book and we’re incredibly excited to share it with you!

Order Before March 25, 2015 and save $25 on your book!

Call Nicki at the studio to place your order and you’ll save $25 off the regular price of $175 (plus tax). This “early bird” special is good from now until 5 pm on March 25, 2015 and the cost will be $150 (plus 8% sales tax).

This year’s book is 8 x 10 size with a gorgeous wrap-around photo cover and 132 thick, matted pages. It will be a fantastic addition to your personal library.

View the Book Now Online!

Want to see every photograph in this years’ book?

Head to this link to view a slideshow of the book!

Thank you!


We simply could not do this project without you! Thank you for helping us raise over $60,000 for CHOC through the 100% donation of the session fee of $100/family!

March 16, 2015

Spring Mini-Sessions | Orange County Portrait Photographer


Spring is Here and so are the beautiful spring flowers…

…and they won’t last long!

We’re scheduling mini-sessions to be photographed with the beautiful spring flowers (at two nearby locations — we will email you the spots once we schedule your session — one in SJC and the other in Ladera Ranch).

These sessions are great for a family portrait (up to six people in your immediate family may be in the session) and will include individual portraits of the kids too!

(They’re not meant for senior portrait sessions, fashion sessions, business headshots or extended family sessions)

These sessions are scheduled in 20 minute blocks and are first come first serve!

Your session includes:

• 20 minute location portrait session with either wild flowers or spring flowers.

• online ordering your photographs.

• includes 3 of your favorites in high resolution format emailed to you.

• additional digital files may be ordered.


Sessions start on: Thursday 3/19/2015 from 4:30 PM to 6:30 PM (Wildflowers)

Tuesday 3/24/2015 from 4:30 PM to 6:30 PM (Spring Flowers)

Wednesday 3/25/2015 from 4:30 PM to 6:30 PM (Wildflowers)

Contact Nicki at the studio 949.388.5588 to schedule your session.

Thank you for your business!!

February 26, 2015

Sony Artisans of Imagery at WPPI 2015 – Booth 701 Schedule

Here is the busy schedule for the Sony Artisans of Imagery who will be speaking on March 2 – 4, 2015 at the Sony Booth at WPPI’s Trade Show in Las Vegas, NV.

Sony Artisans of Imagery Program Speakers  |  WPPI 2015 Trade Show

Booth 701


Monday March 2, 2015 (10am – 4pm):


10-10:25    Robert Evans        “Better Wedding Photography with Sony Alpha”


10:30-10:55    Zabrina & Jeremy    “10 Simple Tricks to Make Your Photos Amazing”


11-11:25    Scott Robert Lim    “How Sony’s Innovation Has Changed My Photography


11:30-11:55    Paul Gero        “Portraits, Weddings & Mirrorless?  YES!!!”


12-12:25    David Grover &    Featuring Capture One

Robert Evans        Tethered Shooting with Sony Cameras – LIVE DEMO


12:30-12:55    Joe Brady        “A Guide to Portrait Photography with Mirrorless



1-1:25        Brian Smith &

Paul Gero        A Pro’s POV – How Sony Can Take You to the Next Level


1:30-1:55    Jason Lanier        “Making the Switch – DSLR to Mirrorless for Wedding



2-2:25        Brian Smith        “Location Portraiture – Key to Great Results”


2:30-2:55    Paul Gero        “Stay Inspired Through the Off-Season – Photography

                    Projects for a Cause”


3-3:25        Zabrina Deng        “10 Steps to Becoming An International Photographer”


3:35-3:55    Brian Smith &

        Robert Evans    A Pro’s POV – How Sony Can Take You to the Next    



4PM        Show closes


Daily Raffles in the booth

1PM        Sony ActionCam Raffle

End of Show    Sony Camera Raffle


You may collect a raffle ticket at the end of every talk in the Sony booth.  You must be present to win a prize.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015 (10 am – 4 pm):


10-10:25    Paul Gero        “Portraits, Weddings & Mirrorless?  Yes!!!”


10:30-10:55    Brian Smith &

        Paul Gero        A Pro’s POV – How Sony Can Take You to the Next



11-11:25    Zabrina Deng        “10 Steps to Becoming An International Photographer”


11:30-11:55    Robert Evans    “Better Wedding Photography with Sony Alpha


12-12:25    Gary Fong        “Choosing The Right Sony Camera to Fit Your Needs”


12:30-12:55    Mike Colon        “Low-Light Wedding Photography with the Sony    



1-1:25        Paul Gero        “Stay Inspired Through the Off-Season – Photography

Projects for a Cause”


1:30-1:55    Mike Colon &

Gary Fong        The Evolution of Mirrorless in Wedding Photography


2-2:25        Scott Robert Lim       “Creating Quality Light on a Tiny Budget”


2:30-2:55    Robert Evans    “Sony Cameras Make Me a better Wedding



3-3:25        Joe Brady        “A Guide to Portrait Photog. with Mirrorless Cameras”


3:35-3:55    Brian Smith        “Location Portraiture – Key to Great Results”


4PM        Show closes


Daily Raffles in the booth

1PM        Sony ActionCam Raffle

End of Show    Sony Camera Raffle


You may collect a raffle ticket at the end of every talk in the Sony booth.  You must be present to win a prize.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015: (note Trade Show closes today at 3 PM)


10-10:25    Brian Smith        Location Portraiture –  Keys to Great Results


10:30-10:55    Paul Gero        “Portraits, Weddings & Mirrorless? YES!!!”


11-11:25    Mike Colon        “Low-Light Wedding Photography with the Sony A7S


11:30-11:55    Brian Smith &

        Robert Evans    A Pro’s POV – How Sony Can Take You to the Next Level


12-12:25    Joe Brady        “A Guide to Portrait Photog. with Mirrorless Cameras”


12:30-12:55    David Grover &    Featuring Capture One

        Robert Evans    Tethered Shooting with Sony Cameras – LIVE DEMO


1-1:25        Zabrina & Jeremy    “10 Simple Tricks to Make Your Photos Amazing”


1:30-1:55    David Grover &

        Robert Evans    Tethered Shooting with Sony Cameras – LIVE DEMO


2-2:25        Brian Smith &

Robert Evans        A Pro’s POV – How Sony Can Take You to the Next Level


2:30-2:55    Robert Evans    “Sony Cameras Make Me a Better Wedding



3PM        Show closes


Daily Raffles in the booth

1PM        Sony ActionCam Raffle

End of Show    Sony Camera Raffle


You may collect a raffle ticket at the end of every talk in the Sony booth.  You must be present to win a prize.

WPPI Tradeshow 2015 Sonymap

February 25, 2015

Sony Daily Raffle Prizes and Details for this coming WPPI 2015 (Booth 701)

Sony is having several raffle drawings with great prizes over the three days of this year’s WPPI Trade Show on March 2-4, 2015.

You will be able to get a raffle ticket at the end of every speaker in the Sony Booth (#701 — see map below).  So the more talks you attend, the more chances you’ll have to win and you must be present to win your prize.


One Sony ActionCam AS100 EACH DAY raffled at 1pm

End of Monday – One Sony RX100III

End of Tuesday – One Sony A6000 with the 16-50mm lens

End of Wednesday – One Sony A7 kit with the 16-50mm lens

#SonyAlpha  #WPPI

WPPI Tradeshow 2015 Sonymap

February 24, 2015

Marlen + Nathan’s Orange County Engagement Portrait

Marlen & Nathan are a sweet young couple that are planning a fall wedding in Temucula.

This past weekend they came to Orange County for an engagement portrait session at Salt Creek Beach and even though it wasn’t a “classic” day at the beach, it was actually better.

It was a bit cloudy at sunset, but a little sliver of color emerged just before the sun dropped and then with the aid of some strategic off camera lighting, we created this portrait.

Very happy with how the portrait turned out and this was one of the images that they selected.

Wishing them both best wishes on their engagement and planning for their wedding!

Marlen and Nathan pose for a portrait at the beach this past Saturday. They are planning a wedding for this coming fall in Temecula.

Sony A7, 55 1.8 FE Zeiss, Light from a Dyna-lite Baja 400 with a small Chimera softbox.  #SonyAlpha

February 5, 2015

Why I Switched to Sony Mirrorless and the project that shows the power of mirrorless

  • I posted this on a Facebook forum that I frequent and wanted to share it with my blog readers: 

I hope you don’t mind a follow up on Judy’s post about leaving Canon. Sorry it’s kind of long.

I was a Canon shooter for a long time (since 1986) and loved the gear too.

I just got to the point though where I was needing to retool and that meant new bodies and new v2 lenses. I didn’t want to do it from the expense side of things as well as I dreaded having to carry them — especially for an 8-10 hours wedding.

Nearly 3 years ago I started hearing about mirrorless and I was surprised — I had totally pooh-poohed them thinking they weren’t serious.

Then they were rather new but since starting that journey I’ve been blown away by how quickly and how responsive the development has been with them.

I tried Samsung, Lumix, Olympus, Sony and Fuji and it wasn’t til a friend said: “Just try the a6000”, that I was a convert.

Within minutes of picking up that camera along with the 70-200 f4 lens (both rented from Lensrentals.com) I knew this was a special little camera.

Testing it, I knew that it could track focus — and track it a lot better than me and even better than the DSLRs I was using at the time (5d and 5d2s). Plus it was 11 fps and I had forgotten how much of a difference that can make especially.

I decided to switch to the Sony system and have expanded it to using the A7 and A7II (a BIG improvement from the first A7).

Last summer I wanted to take on a project that would put me and them to the test.

Also, I had wanted to document a season with a high school football since first reading the book “Friday Night Lights” in 1990. Seeing the movie and the show that followed with the same name kept reminding me to do it.

The coach of the local Tesoro HS football team is also the Dad of one of my daughter’s soccer friends and we talked about the project.

The goal was to: produce a coffee table quality book covering the entire season, and create a video to go with it. Not a lot to ask from these little cameras but I figured I might as well try.

If nothing, I would get better at working the cameras and learning the secrets you only get from hours of use. It was well worth it.

TBH I was totally scared s-less about doing the video. I had done a little but this was going to be a lot more than I had been doing before (which were mostly controlled interviews and snippets of our life — nothing this involved). Plus with audio, lighting and, oh yeah, shooting stills, it was a bit disconcerting.

But boy am I glad I did do this project. For one, I found out that these little cameras can and do keep up with the big boys — even shooting sports and the proof is in the pudding. Sure I didn’t have a 300 f2.8 or a 400 2.8 but adapted to the situation and the 70-200 f4 worked well and was used for action primarily on the a6000. The A7 was my “Hail Mary” camera — the camera dangling on the side for that “in your lap” play along the sideline.

I’ve always loved shooting sports, ever since I was in high school, but this was probably the most fun and in the end I totally fell in love with video.

It’s daunting but not like it once was. And, after spending a lot of hours in Premiere editing the piece I’m about to show, I began to get a real confidence about it. Just like it was when we learned Photoshop for our stills and Lightroom for the RAWS, it took a bit of time to get comfortable. But having that familiarity with the Adobe family seemed to help and I was finding myself actually looking forward to the process. Go figure.

I also think, to tie this back in with weddings, is that if these cameras can shoot action on dimly lit Friday Night Lights football fields, it can handle just about anything. Even a wedding.

It renewed my eagerness to get back into weddings because now I can do it for less, with gear that weighs a TON less and also allows me some advantages in terms of wi-fi from the event and even video if I so choose.

Thanks for reading this far and please enjoy the book and the video:

To view a copy of the video please click on the link below:

To view a copy of the Book, please click on the link below:


December 25, 2014

My Top Five Favorite Business-Related Podcasts

On this Christmas morning here in the states I wanted to take a moment to wish you and your family the very best to you and your family.

I hope you will be able to have some “down time” to rest, recharge, and maybe even plan the future of your photography and your business.  I intend to do all of the above during the next couple of weeks.

One of the things that I have found has made a huge difference in my business over the past few years is gleaning information from unconventional sources.  I do of course listen to great entrepreneurs in the photo space — such as Sal Cincotta and Sue Bryce.

Over the past several months, I have become ADDICTED to Podcasts — especially ones in the small business, marketing and internet marketing space.  I have learned so much from them and I feel I have received a different view of my business because of them.
I wanted to quickly share a few of my favorite Podcasts and hope you might have some time over the holiday season to perhaps take a listen.  I primarily listen to business and entrepreneurial podcasts but you can find podcasts on virtually any topic.
iTunes is the place to start when looking for podcasts.  2014 has been a big year in that area of social interaction and I think 2015 will only get bigger.
I hope you might have some time to check out these podcasts and see if there are any that resonate with you.  If you have some other resources, or find another one that you love, please let me know…I’d love to share it with others that subscribe to the list.
Have a wonderful holiday and….happy listening!!!!
1. Flipped Lifestyle  http://flippedlifestyle.com
Shane and Jocelyn Sams are a former teacher/coach and elementary school librarian who have created a wonderful life for themselves by creating digital products aimed at their former careers.  They’re from the south and they have a real easy-going approach and are also the parents of two little ones (a bit younger than my own).
When I first heard them being interviewed on a couple of podcasts I immediately LIKED them and they seem like the kind of folk that we be great to have over at a BBQ and they seem to be loving and wonderful parents.
Through this podcast they talk about how they do what they do and offer very useful tips for folks that want to create similar types of digital products to sell.  What appealed to me was that they were taking what they knew and creating products for folks out there in the world that wanted that knowledge.
2.  Smart Passive Income  http://smartpassiveincome.com
I was led to Pat Flynn, the person behind the SPI podcast through another podcast.  I found Pat interesting because he wasn’t selling the internet dream as such — he had gotten into online marketing because he created an educational product to help architect’s train for a certification exam.  He’s a husband and Dad of two little ones and shares stories about his life with them as well.
You just get a sense from listening to Pat that he’s a smart, regular guy who has a lot of good stuff to share with his listeners.
3.  Entrepreneur On Fire   http://entrepreneuronfire.com
John Lee Dumas, retired Army officer and the host of a 7 Day a Week Podcast is the third podcast that I really enjoy.  John has a specific format that he works through with each guest which is actually quiet comforting because you have an idea of what will be coming next.  I also love hearing how different guests answer the same questions — their unique perspectives and experiences really color the way that they attack the problems that John poses to them.
Most of the podcasts are in the 30-40 minute range and some go a bit longer.
4.  Sprouting Photographer  http://sproutingphotographer.com
Canadian photographer/entrepreneur Bryan Caporicci has created a wonderful business and marketing podcast for photographers.  He interviews movers and shakers in the industry and also shares his own insights into what is working for his business.
Bryan is a rising star in the ranks of the photographer/educator and his podcast is a valuable resource for those specifically in the field.

James is a hoot.  He’s been around the block a few times  — made millions, lost them and made them again — and he shares his successes and his failures with his listeners.  I really like his wit and they way he asks questions when he has guests.  He’s fearless in that area and also about sharing his own story.  He’s also written several books one of which is called Chose Yourself and I highly recommend it as well.
Have a wonderful holiday and an even better 2015!!
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