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Tamara Lackey at Global Launch, Nikon Z7 Mirrorless

August 26, 2018

Tamara Lackey at Global Launch of Nikon Z7 Mirrorless System

Six months ago, I was asked a VERY SURREAL series of questions by a rather distinguished ad agency in Tokyo, (which would eventually be about the new Z7 camera):

  • Would I be interested in producing and shooting a global campaign for The Nikon Corporation, utilizing a beta camera and native lens that were to be the keystones of their completely new mirrorless system?
  • Would I be interested in mapping out multiple locations throughout Mexico to travel throughout while doing a series of shoots with an assembled crew?
  • Would I then travel to Tokyo to present my work at the global launch event in late August?

Also – and this part was considered critical:

Would I agree to never tell anyone anything about it for the entirety of the next six months?

Um, yes. Yes to all.

So, after signing all the necessary agreements where I committed to telling no one what I was working on, I promised to hide the gear while shooting with it, I adhered to sending all communications through encryption servers, and I committed to not share with anyone that I was even invited to the global launch event in Japan, (and certainly not that I would actually be part of the launch event), we started working on logistics.


The Global Launch Day for the Nikon Z7 Mirrorless System introduced this exquisite new camera system that really does break ahead from years and years of solid Nikon production.

At 1pm Tokyo Time on August 23rd, we launched this new series of products, legitimate game-changers for the imaging industry. There were two of us invited to join the Nikon executive team as speakers on stage – me and Rob Whitworth, a UK photographer who focuses on super cool time-lapse work (like his work on BBC’s Planet Earth). For my part, I spoke to my experiences of shooting with the Z7 in the Yucatan Peninsula and Central Mexico and my immediate impressions of working with the gear. I may or may not have taken QUITE a number of deep breaths backstage before stepping out in front of 300+ members of the press, as well as the executive team who had just spoken, and so many other individuals filling out the standing-room-only event space.

It was a nervewracking, fantastic experience.
Fantastic because – well, I’d never done anything like this before. Like, ever. And the fact that my daughters were watching this from the other side of the world meant a great deal to me.

And nervewracking because, for my part, there was more to consider than just showing the work. Certainly, there’s the need to keep pace with timing (the slides were being advanced for me from the back of the room) and there’s also where and where not to stand on stage. There’s pausing as subtly but as fully as possible throughout the talk at pre-planned times, in order for translations in multiple other languages to come through properly. And there’s keeping a similar feel and pacing to the rest of the event to help deliver a more cohesive viewing experience, as the whole event was being live-streamed around the world.

And since this event to introduce the Z7 was being produced by over 100 people on site, this wasn’t just about sharing my first impressions – it was also about respecting the time and effort of everyone else involved with this! And it’d been years of time leading to this. I really felt that and didn’t want to let anyone down.

Luckily, all went quite smoothly. And that felt like nothing short of good fortune, given how many moving parts I saw at play behind the scenes.

I want to make sure to thank my rather trusting, above & beyond production crew on the Z7 project, which included Miriam MJ Beckman (who I have worked with on my new reDefine Show: Animal Edition), Soichi, Rhesa Versola, Jun, and Beate Epp. And I have to say that I’ll be excited to share images from all my shoots soon, as I’m incredibly happy with them.

But mostly, for right now, I just kinda felt like I finally wanted to say it all out loud.

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reDefining ‘The reDefine Show: Animal Edition with Tamara Lackey’

July 23, 2018

reDefine Show: Animal Edition, with Tamara Lackey!

Almost seven years ago exactly, I launched a new series on AdoramaTV called The reDefine Show. I interviewed creatives who not only loved what they did but were at the top of their game. I met photographers, cinematographers, comedians, actors, sports anchors — really anyone who figured out how to make a living doing work they loved. I was lucky enough to speak with extraordinarily talented individuals who shared a great deal about what had made them successful, what they had done right early on, and what they’d learned from their failures. 




Over time, I’d also filmed a number of tutorials and behind-the-scenes walkthroughs for the show. I asked other photographers to share theirs, too. If you haven’t checked out the show, there’s a ton of valuable content there to explore

http://www.amivitale.com https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=16&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwiDvoTSvbbcAhUJMt8KHQSxCDQQtwIwD3oECAgQAQ&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DRd7LK4LdG7Y&usg=AOvVaw0FeTFmcFP3dLeHFjT306vz

Animals take reDefine Show in a new direction

Although I loved shooting that iteration of The reDefine Show, I am quite excited to take things in a new direction.

At the beginning of 2018, I dreamed of stepping into a variety of situations to photograph animals, insects and all kinds of furry and winged creatures. I wanted to see if I could get access to shooting scenarios that would allow me to learn more about the subjects I’d be photographing, while I shared what shooting decisions I was making and why. I also wanted to take some fantastic shots. We were fortunate enough to do just that.

We’ve spent nearly this whole year to date filming a new season of episodes for The reDefine Show: Animal Edition! And we just released our first episode. 

Animals, Animals, Animals

The photography show includes quite a variety of subjects — from photographing leaping lemurs to showering dart frogs to rescued pigs to smiling underwater axolotls to affectionate alpacas to flitting butterflies to the mighty boa and more more more. Each episode is focused on how to photograph these unique animals, given the situations we are in at the time.

Some experiences were just dream scenarios for animal lovers, like tracking wild horses on the beach or being fully surrounded by affectionate bobblehead alpacas. Other times, I was able to live vicariously, like the day-in-the-life shoot of pet pigs in their home with their family, which includes an entire floor custom made for them — something my husband is still not interested in doing in our home. 

I also discovered some pretty fascinating things about every animal, like how boa constrictors glisten as they flex and that crested geckos wash their eyes with their tongues. I found out that butterfly wings look like intricate paintings with dozens of colors when a small section of wing fills the entire frame. And I was shocked to see lemurs go into a trance-like state while soaking up the sun, arms outstretched, chests out and eyes rolled back in their heads.

I learned that spending time with that which you fear can change everything. 

Facing Your Fears

That is why our very first episode was all about photographing bees. I started with this one because it was the one show I was the most nervous (okay, terrified) to shoot. Some people are all “one with the bees.” I have always been, well, the exact opposite of that. I feel the hairs on the back of my neck rise up anytime I see a bee buzz nearby. So to put on a beekeeper’s suit and walk into the same space as 70,000 bees? Well, it was a full-on personal challenge.

And this is where photography comes into play. Every time I photograph something or someone, I am struck by how beautiful they are, in so many ways. It’s actually my job to look for that beauty, which is one of the coolest parts of the work I love to do. 


I was still surprised I felt the same way during this shoot. These fuzzy little creatures are intricately beautiful and hard-working and expressive, looking directly at you with head tilts, butts out, wings splayed out, and more! My job was to photograph them while speaking to what I was doing and using a variety of means to do so.

And I got lost in it almost immediately. This was not just a wonderful shoot but it was also personally transformative for me.

Now, I’d love to invite you to check out our first episode, now live on AdoramaTV:

The reDefine Show – Animal Edition! airs every two weeks, on AdoramaTV.



Adorama To Celebrate Creative Storytelling Community With INSPIRE Event Series

May 10, 2018

Adorama To Celebrate Creative Storytelling Community With INSPIRE Event Series


Are you a visual storyteller or content creative looking for inspiration to improve your craft? In celebration of creative storytelling and the growing community of visual communicators, Adorama is set to bring the Adorama INSPIRE event series rolling from June 25 to July 1 in New York City. The brand new, week-long event will bring together some key personalities, game changers and innovators of the creative community, including Tamara Lackey, Mark Wallace, Gavin Hoey, Tracie Maglosky and many others.The Adorama INSPIRE event also combines a conference and a festival to pay homage to various aspects of the creative storytelling community while also offering over 30 technique-focused, specially curated workshops for attendees to choose from.

Visit www.adorama.com/g/inspire-photography-conference for the complete list of Adorama INSPIRE workshops.

See the press release below.


New Adorama INSPIRE Event Series Celebrates Creative Storytelling Community

Star content creators headline a week of designed-to-share experiences in Manhattan, exploring new techniques, ideas and hot topics in the industry, providing a launchpad for photo and video creatives to learn, share and network

New York, NY – May 1, 2018 – Adorama, the trusted source for market-leading photo, video, audio, imaging and electronics products and information, announced Adorama INSPIRE, a brand new, weeklong event filled with designed-to-share experiences for visual storytellers. A confluence of education, artistic expression and discussion, Adorama INSPIRE will take place June 25th through July 1st in and around New York City and features some of the creative community’s most heralded innovators, influencers and game-changers including Tamara Lackey, Mark Wallace, Gavin Hoey, Tracie Maglosky and many more.

Blending the educational benefits of a conference with the community engagement of a festival, Adorama INSPIRE offers the best of both worlds, giving artists a platform in which they can learn new techniques, share their experiences, and connect with the community,” states Lev Peker, Chief Marketing Officer, Adorama. “The incredible program lineup features extraordinary talent, comprehensive workshops and exciting events, culminating in an expo where attendees can interact with industry-leading brands like Canon, DJI, Intel, Nikon and Sony. The event will explore all genres of still and motion storytelling, engaging all skill levels and styles.

The weeklong conference-festival hybrid event, which pays homage to cinematography, photography, music making, and social influence, offers specially curated workshops focused on improving technical expertise, important industry discussions and artist-infused experiences such photo walks, flying drones, and community art galleries, many of which will be free to attend.

Fine Tune Your Craft
Spearheaded by some of the industry’s most influential artists and storytellers, Adorama INSPIRE attendees will have more than 30 technique-focused workshops to choose from. Designed for all skill levels, topics include aerial photo and video, studio lighting, astrophotography, portrait photography, travel and wedding photography, video production, livestreaming, social video, and much more. “No matter your niche, from fashion photography to vlogging, audio mixing to pro lighting, there is a place for you at INSPIRE. Everyday we will have a variety of workshops and panels led by engaging and knowledgeable speakers and moderators available to all attendees,” comments Danielle Lawler, senior manager, partnerships & events at Adorama.

A complete list of Adorama INSPIRE workshops can be found here: https://www.adorama.com/g/inspire-photography-conference.

Registration Officially Open for Select Adorama INSPIRE Events
Throughout the week, Adorama will offer a variety of experiential events, workshops and panel discussions for attendees looking to improve their photography and video skills, whether they’re aspiring professionals or hobbyists simply looking to improve their picture-taking abilities. Registration has officially opened for select events; stay tuned as more are announced. Events are RSVP-only and most are free to attend.

Creating A Library for At Risk Kids in Rwanda

April 26, 2018

I love to read. I always have. For me, reading has been an adventure and an education, a bridge to what matters, and a steadily reliable escape from what doesn’t. I spent a lot of time in libraries growing up. As a military family, we moved again and again and again. So my first best friend in every new city was actually my library card. Eventually, I’d find a human friend, but I was never able to get one of those just by filling out an application and showing proof of residence. (I tried. It was weird.)

Books got me through my childhood, my teen years, college, and my first real job. They mapped out how to plan a wedding, how to create a business, how to navigate a pregnancy, how to adopt, how to travel. Even how to become a photographer and start a non-profit. I sort of can’t imagine a life without books.

That is why our newest Beautiful Together project really strikes a chord with me. Because we are creating a library and a computer lab for kids in Rwanda who can significantly change their lives through access to books and technology. And hopefully, many of you will help to make this happen. We want to give this library to children who have a whole, big, shiny new life ahead of them. At least they certainly deserve to have that, given how roughly life started out for each and every one of them.



To this end, we are partnering with The Kefa Project. They work with children in Rwanda who have been orphaned, have parents in prison – or are, for a variety of circumstances, living completely on their own. The children they connect with have been living on the streets and not attending school. They are struggling with what it means to live day to day in the circumstances of extreme poverty. The Kefa Project has already worked tirelessly with hundreds of at-risk kids, introducing them to soccer and “whole life” skills and education. And for those boys that are most at risk, they have created The Kefa Academy, a safe place for them to live, play, study, and grow together.



Why do they need a new library and computer center? The majority of kids who are now living safely in the academy have already been out of school for years, which makes it hard for them to catch up with other kids. Every one of them is currently struggling with reading and writing. They have brought on a tutor to help with their education, but there is currently a lack of educational materials available to them.

The entire budget required to create a new library and computer center is $4,300.00. That total amount includes funds for a full library buildout, books, computers, shelving, tables, and seating. Even a couple coats of fresh paint, with inspiring quotes and photographs on the walls. The goal is to create a warm and inviting space for children to gather, explore, and learn.

Space has already been acquired for the new library and computer center:

Now we just need to fill it up!

Last, but certainly not least, the founders of Beautiful Together and The Kefa Project were brought together by Sue Brown, mother to Howell Brown III. Little Howell, affectionately nicknamed HB3, had a major impact on a significant number of people in his far too short of a life. That very much included the founders of these two non-profits. He was smart, funny, adorable, and deeply loved. Sue cared for him his entire life, but most especially his last five years, as difficult as it was on so many levels, as he fought cancer – and she helped him to live his big life.

Sue felt strongly that something good could come from these organizations partnering, and we are grateful for her introduction. We will be naming this new library and computer lab in Rwanda “The HB3 Library”, in honor of Little Howell – and Sue.

Please help to support, or share, this project!

Motivation: Getting That Shot

March 28, 2018


We all need some extra motivation at times.

I landed at Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU) late Saturday night just as a ton of giant snowflakes started falling. It was cold, I was tired, and I was juggling several heavy bags. I was already covered in wet snow that was starting to drip down the back of my neck. By the time I found my car, I immediately shoved all my bags in the back, jumped in to start the engine and waited for the heat to slowly kick in. Then I looked out of my window and saw this beautiful scene, so rare for spring in North Carolina. But the best vantage point was on the other side of the parking deck. And I was already in my car. And my ankles were cold and wet. There was an unfortunate gap between my boots and my jeans, and I wasn’t wearing socks. I hate that feeling. Almost as bad as fully stepping into a puddle at the beginning of a run.
I looked out the window and wrestled for another minute about whether I really wanted to go back out there, pull my camera and lens from the bag, guard my gear against the very wet snow, put in a memory card, confirm that it was clear, and then trek back out in the cold to get to the right spot to take this photo. It was also very dark, and I didn’t have a tripod. I wouldn’t have even bothered with it anyway. I had just finished a roughly 36-hour out and back to Baltimore, delivering a long presentation and live shoot, and that was on the heels of an incredibly full couple of weeks of shooting and prep work. It was all work I loved. But I was worn out.

I decided not to, started the engine, put the car in reverse, started backing up, barely glancing back at the lights that had initially caught my eye – and then stopped. I growled at that inner, pestering voice that I already knew would be haunting me the whole way home for missing out on such an unexpected moment of quiet beauty, and I pulled back into the spot. I got my gear together, crossed the parking deck, shot this photo, said out loud “There. Happy?” and then trudged back to the car, just as the snow turned into heavy rain. Not even a minute after I clicked the shutter. It was like the whole scene started collapsing as I walked away from it.

This was that shot, photographed with the Nikon D850 and 105mm 1.4 lens, handheld at >>ISO 10,000, wow, Nikon<<, 1/100 sec, f5.6.

(I’m so glad I made the effort.)

— with Delta.

WPPI 2018 and Adorama $500 Giveaway!

February 15, 2018

Join me (and about 12,000 photographers) at the Mandalay Bay Casino in Las Vegas for the upcoming WPPI Conference + Expo Feb 24-28, 2018. This link will get you a FREE WPPI Expo pass, w/live talks & demos & 15% off classes + photo walks.

ALSO! Win the opportunity to receive a $500 Gift Card to my favorite photography superstore, Adorama! All you have to do to enter to win is simply leave a comment here. With all the stress and anxiety out in the world today, share how photography, filmmaking, or your artful pursuits make a positive difference in your life.

Your comment could be as short as a few words or as long as you’d like. At the end of this week, we will choose one lucky winner to receive a $500 gift card to Adorama to spend as you like to help expand on that creative joy of yours!

Adorama will also be at the WPPI Convention & Expo, too, since it’s a major industry event for photographers and filmmakers specializing in the creative and business aspects of wedding and portrait photography and filmmaking. Check in with them for some serious show specials. 

Child Portrait by Tamara Lackey

Start To Finish: How To Master An Entire Portrait Session! Preparing for, Shooting, and Delivering a Photography Session That Sells

My platform class at the WPPI Conference is on Wednesday morning, February 28th, from 8:30-10am. In this brand new program, I’ll boil down a good deal of what I’ve compiled from 15 years of shooting (and consistently selling) portrait sessions. I’ll take you through every stage of a typical photography session, from start to finish, using behind-the-scenes videos and on-the-job illustrations. I’ll also share what to definitely know—and what to completely ignore— when it comes to maximizing the experience for you and your client!

Thank you to Adorama, Nations Photo Lab, Imagely and Nikon for sponsoring this program!

(You can also check out The Portrait Shoot Playbook, my completely downloadable start-t0-finish, 250+ page book that steps through everything you need to know to prepare for, shooting and deliver a portrait session! AND if you want more hands-on instruction, my next 3-day Portrait Photographer’s workshop is May 19th-21th. You can see more about it here.)


 WPPI Fun Run benefiting Beautiful TogetherI will be at multiple places through the WPPI Conference this year! On Monday, February 26th, from 1pm – 3pm, I will be at the Nations Photo Lab booth, helping to spread the love with fun giveaways and conducting some pretty fun on-the-spot interviews with those at the expo. Come on by to check it all out!

On Tuesday the 27th, at 7am, I will be hosting – and running! – the WPPI Conference Fun Run to benefit Beautiful Together (You can register here). All proceeds will go towards Beautiful Together’s orphan care work, supporting children waiting for families.





Also on Wednesday, from 12:30 PST/3:30pm EST, I will be speaking at the beautiful Nikon Theater booth, giving a presentation on How to Photograph (and Sell) the Work You Love. A subject – and life experience – very near and dear to my heart!

You can also watch this talk anywhere in the world, via their LiveStream! Just tune in here.

WPPI 2018 Nikon Stage Speakers

And, finally, be sure to check out the always-entertaining WPPI Awards Show on Wednesday evening from 6-9pm, as I co-host the program along with my good friend and fellow Nikon Ambassador Jerry Ghionis for the third year in a row!










And after the show, the WPPI Conference is done!

BUT you can win your Adorama $500 gift card before it even begins – just leave a comment below. We will pick a winner before the end of the week : )


Erik Valind, Part 2: Creating a Library for Etsy Studio

January 30, 2018

Building an Etsy Studio library

Need ideas about product photography? Check out this video. Erik Valind gives examples of how he created a full-service commercial photography project for Etsy Studio. He created a full digital image library to inspire creatives to be, well, creative. Erik said he used stylized still photography, stop-motion videos, web tutorials, and more.  Watch this interview with Erik Valind and Tamara Lackey for the reDefine Show on AdoramaTV and then check out Erik’s work on Etsy Studio via https://www.etsystudio.com/.

reDefine Show with Erik Valind: How to Succeed in Commercial Photography

January 30, 2018

Join Tamara on the reDefine Show as she speaks with commercial photographer Erik Valind about how he achieved success in commercial photography.

Erik started out pursuing a business degree and doing photography on the side to get a good basis for business. He photographed all different types of things including his friends surfing and subjects he was very familiar with, which gave him an edge to know when the best shots were about to happen. After photographing a wide variety of subjects and events, he began to narrow down his favorite type of photography, which was commercial photography with an active fitness component.









Erik talks about how photographing what you love will shine through with the work you do. And being familiar with and having an understanding of your subject will help the flow of the shoot and produce better photographs.

In the interview, Erik also goes over how his sales training helped him understand the value of persistence in reaching out to potential clients. Posting your work everywhere and being persistent with reaching out to companies and clients is the key to getting your work seen and being remembered by clients for future projects.

Check out Part 1 of the interview for more details on how Erik Valind found his photography niche and started building his business-

In Part 2 of Tamara Lackey’s interview with Erik Valind, he gives a detailed example of a full-service commercial photography project. He describes how he created a full digital image library for Etsy Studio, including stop motion video.

Check out more about his Etsy Studio commercial photography project and more ways to learn from Erik Valind in Part 2 below!


reDefine Show Interview with Photographer Brian Matiash

January 26, 2018

On this episode of reDefine Show, I interview my friend, photographer Brian Matiash – educator, image maker and industry influencer – and he shares how he saved his creative soul by leaving corporate marketing.

Gaining experience from his time at Google, Sony, and Wacom, where part of his role was to study creatives and social media, Brian shares some intriguing observations in the interview. After working for other companies for years, and being nervous to leave as they provided a sort of safety net, he decided to go off on his own to reach his full creative potential. In order to do so, he and his wife had to make some tough decisions around finances, including what moving from the lovely Portland, Oregon to a place with a lower cost of living – like Nebraska – might mean for them while growing their businesses. 







Brian also has some amazing advice for all images makers on how to separate yourself from the creative pack. He believes that telling your story about an image – what it took to get the image, what were the challenges and what were the exciting parts – will set you apart from the pack. In his words, “differentiation is success”. Interestingly, he would much rather be remembered by his stories about his images than by the images alone.

For more detail and to learn the things Brian Matiash suggests new photographers skip over – namely refining your focus on photography subjects and style, and focusing on intent – check out the full interview now, live on Adorama TV!



The 2018 Photo Summit

January 15, 2018

The 2018 Photo Summit is a completely free digital event that you can watch from your computer or phone, with 35+ successful photographers showing exactly how they built their businesses.

Whether you’re just starting out or already have a thriving business, there’s a ton to watch and learn. Each day, you can watch 5-6 talks – 100% Free – that will equip you with a variety of specific and proven ways to improve your photography and attract more clients (regardless of whether you do wedding, portrait, wildlife, or even underwater photography).

I will go over the 6 types of personalities and how to deal with each as well as my go-to lighting setups. Other photographers include Jerry Ghionis, Zach & Jody Gray, Vanessa Joy, Matthew Jordan-Smith, Pye Jirsa, and so many others. The lineup is amazing! 

The event will run January 20th-26th. Make sure you register for free today, as the event starts soon!

Here are just a few things you’ll learn during this event…


  • Why Your Current Pricing is Sabotaging Your Business
  • Instagram – Best 2018 Strategies for Photographers
  • Lightroom Tips That Will Make Any Photograph 300% Better
  • Social Media – Get Great Results Without Wasting Your Time
  • Capturing the Authentic Moment for People and Places
  • Making Money from Stock Photography – at Home or While Traveling
  • Awards – How to Quickly Win Awards for Prestige and Social Proof
  • SEO – What You MUST Be Doing in 2018 and Beyond (it’s not blogging)
  • Lighting Essentials for Every Situation – From Wildlife to Headshots
  • Building a Successful Brand that Attracts Clients You’ve Never Met
  • Ranking #1 in Google for Terms that Actually Make You Money
Brilliant Posing Tips – From Babies to Brides
  • Words and Phrases to Quickly Turn Potential Clients into Real Clients
How to Get Clients to Pay More Without Selling
When to Buy Used Equipment – Better & Cheaper
  • Networking – Spend Less Time and Connect With Better Leads
  • Turning Clients Into Raving Fans Who Refer Other Clients
Finding Your “Voice” and Getting Featured in International Magazines

Make sure you register today, as the event starts very soon, on January 20th, and lasts for just 7 days.