Tag Archives: photography

Outstanding Software Every Photographer Should Use

If you haven’t heard about Topaz Labs’ PhotoAI and VideoAI, you need to go to their website and check them out! PhotoAI is truly outstanding for enhancing your photos, removing digital noise, enhancing details, sharpening your images and even upscaling them to higher resolution.

I truly cannot say enough good things about their software. It is truly groundbreaking technology.

It does an excellent job with digital noise reduction while retaining, and even enhancing, details. This opens the door to being able to shoot at higher ISO values, in more challenging lighting circumstances and still end up with low-noise, high-quality images! Wow!

It is an outstanding tool for photographers!

This is the most exciting development in software tools for photographers ever!

Here’s a photo that has quite a bit of motion blur, hand-held at 1/25th of a second at 400mm, with the moose moving:

Here’s that same image, cleaned up by PhotoAI:
(It’s not “perfect”, but it is MUCH better! Remember, the original was really in bad shape due to the extreme motion blur. The end result would just need a little more cleanup with some minor work in Photoshop. But still, the point is, PhotoAI did an amazing job in dealing with the motion blur!) PhotoAI is a great tool to use in conjunction with Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom Classic!

Here’s an example image at ISO 20,000:

Cleaned up with PhotoAI:

Here’s an example image at ISO 51,200:

Cleaned up with PhotoAI:

Original Image, Enlarged:

Cleaned up with PhotoAI:

Original Image, Enlarged More:

Cleaned up with PhotoAI:


Tips for Photographing Your Kids Going Back to School!

NOTE: “THANK YOU” Shoutout to KXAN:
Many thanks to Stephanie and Larissa for having me on The CW Austin and KXAN to talk about photographing kids as they go back to school!          See the Video

It’s that time of year again, when kids are heading back to school.  Remember these moments with photographs!  Here are some suggestions that might help!

The most important considerations are not really technical. 

  • You can do this with any camera! Actually a smartphone/iPhone can really help because it is convenient, and allows for more spontaneous capturing of a moment in the midst of getting your child ready for school.  The best camera is the one you have with you when you need it! 
  • Try to think about the future, years later, after the kids are grown:  What will you want to remember about this moment with your photographs? Or even beyond that, what will your kids wish you had photographed, years later, after YOU are gone?  Let that inform you as to what to photograph.  Include mom or dad in the photo.  Include the front of your house, or their bedroom, a beloved pet, or their favorite backpack. Maybe have them hold a small sign or chalk board saying what year it is (“Starting First Grade!”, etc.) Get photos of them getting ready, putting things in their backpack, walking down the street to the bus, etc.   Remember you are not just photographing your child.  You are photographing a special moment in time, a context in life that will be ever changing. 
  • Change your perspective. See the world from different fun angles, to make a photograph more interesting. Try photographing looking down, or up, or photograph from your child’s eye-level perspective.  If you think about it, if your child is still little, their view of the world and memories may be a different perspective from yours!
  • Composition – Think about placement of visual elements in your photos. You don’t have to always put the subject in the center.  There is a popular guideline called the Rule of Thirds, where you divide the scene into thirds and place the key subject at one of those thirds divisions.  (see examples below)
  • Get to know your camera’s features beyond just the basics. This allows you to have more creative control. Learn how to choose where your camera focuses, or to lighten or darken the image. Some iPhones have advanced features such as Portrait Mode or Portait Lighting options. Did you know on an iPhone, in the Camera App, the volume up button will cause it to take a photo without having to click on the round circle button on the screen?  That can be really convenient for more spontaneous shots!   The more you take the time to learn how to operate your camera or a smartphone, the better your pictures will be!

You’re telling a story about a time in your life and in your child’s life that you’ll want to remember years later.  Rather than just one photo of them heading out the door, let your photos tell the story.  That story will change as they grow older.

Here are some examples:

Time to Wake Up!

Getting Dressed

Brushing Teeth
Try interesting angles, get the camera down lower to their level.  Even try unusual angles!

Get Your Shoes On!

Time to Brush Hair
Include Mom or Dad in some of the shots!  Years later, your kids will really appreciate this.

Get Your Backpack Ready!
Maybe include some shots with a favorite book or toy.

Framing Up the Shot
Consider using the ‘Rule of Thirds‘ when framing the shot.  Instead of placing your child in the center of the shot, imagine a ‘tic tac toe’ grid dividing the scene into thirds and use those lines as a guide to where you place them in the photo.

The Rule of Thirds says, don’t place them in the center.  So, the photo below is not obeying the Rule of Thirds.

The photo below is more in line with using the Rule of Thirds concept.  This is not an absolute rule!  It is just an alternative that sometimes helps.

All Ready to Go!

Note that most of these shots were all taken at the child’s level.


It’s tempting to just take the photo at the doorway. You might also want to include a shot where you see a bit more of the house. With time, memories fade. Many years later, your child might want to remember what the front of their house looked like.

Dad and Daughter, on their way to school!



  • I teach photography classes for all skill levels, ages 13 – adult!
  • ALSO photography is actually more than camera features and settings.  It is truly about how we see the world around us!  Something I started about 18 months ago is a group that meets at my studio on Monday nights just to do different book and video discussions and share from our life insights, and we intermittently have some pretty amazing guest speakers.  The topic is actually not specifically “photography.” The topic is life and how we can make our lives better and make the world better!  We’d love to have you join us.  It is ALWAYS TOTALLY FREE TO ATTEND.  The group is called LifeInsights.   Click Here to Learn More and see our current schedule!

P.S. A “THANK YOU” Shoutout to KXAN:
Many thanks to Stephanie and Larissa for having me on The CW Austin and KXAN to talk about photographing kids as they go back to school!  See the Video






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Check Out The Upcoming Photography Learning Opportunities

PHOTOGRAPHERS:  Take your photography to the next level. These classes will help!

Photographers Weekend Boot Camp 
Learn the important fundamentals of photography in one weekend!  All day Saturday + Sunday afternoon.   
Register by July 1 and SAVE $20.

Finding Your Way – Photography Workshop 
Whether you are just starting out in photography or you have years of experience, this class will meet you where you are and help you find new directions to head to improve your photography!
Register by July 1 and SAVE $50.

BONUS SAVINGS:  Take both of the classes (above) together and save an additional $20 if you register by July 1Total Savings: $90! 

Light & Photography Workshop
Highly recommended for anyone serious about wanting to improve their photography!   WE ARE CONSIDERING SHIFTING THIS TO A WEEKEND CLASS. LET US KNOW IF YOU ARE INTERESTED!
This course is a comprehensive look at light in its various forms, both natural and artificial and we look at the many ways we photographers can control and manipulate light to create great photographs! If you have taken Photography 101 or our Photographers Weekend Boot Camp, this is great next step! 
Register early and SAVE $70!

2019 Rocky Mountain Fall Photography Workshops 


LifeInsights Group – Join our free book discussion group.
This isn’t about photography, but we meet at our studio on Monday nights and you are welcome to join us!


Let’s See Your Wildflower Shots and Locations!

If you have been out photographing the Texas wildflowers, email  with your BEST shots from this year (no more than 3) and please let us know where you found the best wildflowers!

We’ll then post your photos along with the locations you listed so you can help others get their own great shots before wildflower season winds down.

Rebecca Marburger took these shots in the woods in her back yard in Weimar!

Sarah Lieser reports:  There are some pretty flowers around the back roads of Austin and Washington County this year. Also, there are some pretty spots on the back road, Meyersville road, in front of an old white church.

Brandi Pierce reports:  These were taken off of Sam Bass Road in Round Rock.

I spent a little time at Inks Lake State Park on Saturday (3/30/19)  Some of the wildflowers appear to have “peaked” a few days prior. Still was a nice trip. Here are a few random shots. – Kevin Gourley

This final image was looking down on a Bluebonnet and then the image was taken into Topaz Glow for a little post-processing enhancements.


Looking for Gift Ideas for Photographers?

Sure cameras, lenses, tripods, etc. are all great gift ideas for photographers, but all of that camera gear is wasted if you don’t know how to use it well!  If you know the important fundamentals of photography, how to best use your cameras and lenses, how to manage light, etc., you will be amazed at what you can create!

In fact, you might find that upgrading your camera is not nearly as important as knowing how to use what you already own!  So, if you have a photographer in your family, consider giving them a gift of a camera class or my book. Or maybe YOU are the photographer! Start dropping hints now that you want to take one of my classes in 2019!

Best gifts of the season and the best discounts of the season!

SAVINGS OF $50, $100, even up to $400!

All of the options below can be given as gifts!

  • Three great options for learning the fundamentals of photography in 2019!
    • Daytime and Evening Weekday Classes, Once a week for 6 weeks
    • Weekend, All day Saturday + Sunday afternoon
      • Photographers Weekend Boot Camp 
        Learn the important fundamentals of photography in one weekend!
        January 26-27, 2019 All day Saturday + Sunday afternoon. 
        Register by December 31st and SAVE $50!!
  • Light & Photography Workshop
    Highly recommended for anyone serious about wanting to improve their photography! 
    This course is a comprehensive look at light in its various forms, both natural and artificial and we look at the many ways we photographers can control and manipulate light to create great photographs! If you have taken Photography 101 or our Photographers Weekend Boot Camp, this is great next step! 
    Daytime class begins February 4, 2019!
    Register by December 31st and SAVE $100!
  • Adobe Photoshop CC for Photographers Workshop
    Begins January 16! Learn this essential powerful tool for editing photographs.  Split into Basics and Advanced options! Total class time is a full 18 hours of very hands-on learning! 
    SOLD OUT! Let us know if you’d like us to add another session soon!
  • Private Instruction 
    Focused on your specific needs!

The Most Perfect Gift You Can Give:
Our 2019 Rocky Mountain Photography Workshop!

(And note spouses/partners can tag along for the entire workshop at no extra workshop charge! See web page for more details.)


30 Practical Tips for Better Photographs by Kevin Gourley










Be the Photographer You WANT to Be!

As many of you know, I am a pro photographer with a full service studio in NW Austin, Texas AND I have years of experience teaching photographers at all skill levels.

I wanted to propose an idea for you to consider.   Of course, you can review all of the various classes I offer throughout the year and benefit from the group class experience.  I always ensure my classes are limited in size so we can focus on your learning.

In this blog post, I wanted to highlight the fact that I also offer customized private instruction on virtually all aspects of photography.

That way, we can focus on a custom plan to help you improve your photographic skills and learn what you need to learn, to help you become the photographer you want to be, all on a time schedule that fits your busy life demands.

We can include use of my studio, equipment, lights, and I can line up models for you to photograph, and we can even design a special custom class around a group of your photographer friend’s if you’d like, to help you work on projects together in my studio or out at some location (anywhere really).

I can “meet you where you are” and take you to where you want to go with your photographic skills.  This includes virtually all aspects of using your camera, lighting, as well as photo editing with Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom Classic.

Want to explore possibilities?  Take that next step…
Let’s talk! Click here or email me,

You might just be amazed and what you can do with your photography!

P.S.  My 2019 Rocky Mountain Photography Workshops are almost halfway to being SOLD OUT for next year!  Now is the time to make your plans to join us.  Some options are already almost full.  Click here to learn more about the 2019 Rocky Mountain Photography Workshops.


The Rekindle Workshop: Find YOUR Unique Artistic Expression Through Photography

Hi Photographers!

I have added another Rekindle Photography Workshop!


EXPLORE YOUR CREATIVITY IN PHOTOGRAPHY! Sometimes the best thing you can do is step back and rethink how you are doing “photography” … and discover new ways to express your creativity!

Join us for the Rekindle Photography Creativity Workshop.  Here’s what previous students have said about it:

  • “I have been on a number of workshops with Kevin, which were all amazing, but this was exceptionally different.”
  • “a chance to consider new ideas and approaches, a chance to try new things”
  • “I would highly recommend this to anyone looking for new sparks or wanting to push yourself in new ways creatively and technically.”
  • really helped me to look at my photography in a more emotional way rather that being so concerned about technical aspects”
  • “I loved the projects and homework we were given to apply the information after leaving the workshop”
  • “The idea was to rekindle your creativity, try new things and just enjoy the world around us. It was a fantastic experience.”
  • “Kevin’s creative ideas for sparking photographic enthusiasm and the opportunity to think about project ideas, and go out and photograph with that new philosophy, made holding a camera in my hand new and exciting again.”



Photographers Weekend Boot Camp – Pick the date!

Are you ready to learn photography?
Join us for our Photographers Weekend Boot Camp!


We just added another Boot Camp on June 9th and 10th CLICK HERE

This class is similar to our Photography 101 Workshop which meets once a week for 6 weeks, but in the Boot Camp, we cover the material over a weekend:  all day Saturday, plus Sunday afternoon at our studio in NW Austin.  We also can do this on two consecutive weekdays if there is interest.

  • Become the photographer you want to be!
  • Learn how to most effectively use your camera
  • Take the mystery out of taking great photographs
  • Ages 13 Through Adult
  • Class is held at our Studio in Austin, Texas
  • The price is only $329 with early registration!


Student Comments:

  • “Kevin is a true professional with a passion for photography. Learning from someone with an expansive knowledge base coupled with the ability to translate the technical details in a way that is easy to understand makes this class fantastic. Don’t spend money on new equipment to get better pictures… put it toward a class with Kevin; you’ll be glad you did.”
  • “Kevin is a fantastic instructor”
  • “LOVED the tips and videos you shared … Your passion for photography is contagious and really helps cement in the important things to remember while shooting. Also, having the class over a 2-day boot camp was most helpful for the way I like to learn. Thank you so much.”
  • “I had the most wonderful experience in Kevin’s Photographers Boot Camp weekend class. His passion for photography is contagious. His broad and in-depth knowledge of not only equipment but also technique to get that great shot made me feel like I got every penny’s worth out of the class, and then some. I couldn’t be happier with the weekend boot camp and can’t wait to learn more in the other classes Kevin offers.”

Test Drive the New Sony a7R III

I am giving the new Sony a7RIII a test drive for the next couple of weeks.  This is one serious full-frame 42.4 megapixel mirrorless camera.

You can read the full specs on this amazing camera on the Sony website. It is hard to even summarize some of the biggest highlights because there are so many, and frankly what will matter most to you will depend on the type of photography you are doing. It has features that will serve any photographer.

I have used DSLR’s for years. One thing’s for sure, it would be a mistake to overlook some of the new mirrorless cameras coming on the market and the Sony a7RIII is particularly noteworthy as a top contender for the serious hobbyist or pro photographer.

Anyway, on my first day with this amazing camera, I was in my studio shooting some sample images for my Water Droplet Photography Workshop.

I was using this camera with the Sony 24-105 f/4 OSS lens for this project.  It was particularly useful for my water droplet photography since is offers a minimum focusing distance of only 14.9″!

This Sony a7RIII did an excellent job with this test project.  I used a couple of off-camera flashes using Sony’s Radio Control Wireless Commander and two  Wireless Receivers to capture water droplets.

Here are the results! Stay tuned for other results from my “test drive” of the Sony a7RIII.


Happy Picture Taking!

P.S. Don’t forget to get a copy of my new book on Amazon!


How Photographers Can Support the Foster Care Community of Austin, TX


If you’d like to know more about supporting the foster care community of Central Texas, check out:

If you would like to be a volunteer photographer for Heart Gallery, CLICK HERE

And click here for more info about Eyes of Faith

We have a free event happening at our studio in NW Austin!  It is an opportunity for you to learn about ways photographers (and others) can support the wonderful foster care community of Austin, TX!   This event is hosted by a new photography group called Eyes of Faith that meets once a month at my studio.   Anyone and everyone is invited to attend.

Meeting Date/Time:
Monday October 2, 2017 7pm 

RSVP (please) to:   info@eyesoffaith.org so we can have an idea of how many people are coming!

Supporting the Foster Care
Community of Austin

We’ll be looking at ways everyone can support the foster care community in Austin.  People who step up to the calling of becoming a foster parent are amazing. What an incredible gift of love!   Even if you do not see yourself as ever becoming a foster parent, there are many other ways you can support the foster care community. Come and learn more from Dan Zieschang with Upbring.org.  Also Megan Ransom with Heart Gallery of Central Texas  will speak to us! Heart Gallery is a photography exhibit and community education/outreach initiative featuring children who are waiting for adoption.

Meeting Location:  Kevin Gourley Photography Studio, 11740 Jollyville Road Suite #400, Austin, TX  click here for directions

If you cant make it to the meeting, but would like to be a volunteer photographer for Heart Gallery, CLICK HERE

Click here for more info about Eyes of Faith and this meeting

RSVP (please) to:   info@eyesoffaith.org so we can have an idea of how many people are coming!