BPW Student Spotlight: Davood Dashti

Welcome to a new BPW blog feature! Every few months, we’re going to highlight a different member of our talented community to learn more about how our students turn their passion for photography into freelance work, fulfilling hobbies, or even full-time careers.

A native of Iran who has been in the US since 2015, Davood Dashti’s passion for photography is relatively recent. He became interested in pictures in 2012 when he bought an iPhone 4 and started using Instagram for the first time.

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Helpful Tips: Food Photo Starter Kit


Whether you’re a food blogger, personal chef, or just want to tighten up your Instagram feed, if you’re reading this, chances are you have some interest in food photography.

While you’ll learn essential techniques in the BPW’s Food Photography I and Food Photography II classes, here are some simple (and mostly cheap) tools that can help you take your at-home food photo skills from undercooked to perfectly done.

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BPW Student Spotlight: Caitlin Manning

Welcome to a new BPW blog feature! Every few months, we’re going to highlight a different member of our talented community to learn more about how our students turn their passion for photography into freelance work, fulfilling hobbies, or even full-time careers.

In addition to working full-time at architectural firm Arrowstreet, Boston-based Caitlin Manning is a successful freelance photographer and BPW student. Her expertise lies in keenly capturing the simple but important moments, allowing her to work on projects ranging from interior/exterior photography for fellow architectural and construction firms, to portraiture for fashion bloggers, high school seniors, and more.

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Gear We Love: Beginner Cameras 2017

One of the most popular questions we get from entry-level photographers here at the BPW is “What camera should I buy?” If you’re in the market for a good starter camera for yourself, or even a special holiday gift for the photographer-in-training in your life, here are three of our 2017 favorites to help point you in the right direction!

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Gear We Love: Tripods For Beginners

As you begin your journey into photography, one of the first recommended items is a good tripod. In this article, we will briefly describe why a tripod is helpful, as well as share with you our favorite tripods for beginners.


So, why do you need a tripod? For beginners, taking photos in dark situations can seem tricky, and sometimes just plain impossible. That's where tripods come in; they are fantastic tools that allow photographers to make photos in dark environments that require slow shutter-speeds. Slow shutter-speeds (a.k.a long exposures) allow the camera to collect light for longer periods of time, and tripods prevent the inevitable camera shake and blurry photos experienced in low-light situations.  

The goal for newcomers is to find a tripod that fits your needs without breaking the bank. You don't need to spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars to strike a good balance between affordability, durability, and ease-of-use. The following beginner level tripods are in no particular order, have been personally tested by our team, and are not sponsored products - simply gear we trust! 

Manfrotto Compact

One of our favorites, this tripod is perfect for beginner photographers on the go. Compact and lightweight, it's best suited for small DSLRs & mirrorless cameras with kit lenses, and for those who sometimes work in small places, or want to carry their tripod in a bag or backpack.  

Zomei Lightweight

For photographers with heavier zoom lenses or who aren't traveling as much, the Zomei tripod is a great choice. The classic Arca type mounting plate (a.k.a., Arca Swiss) is universal and adaptable to other tripods (helpful later on when you may have more gear), and the clip lock legs are better suited for beginners (as opposed to the twist lock variety). This tripod is great balance of strength and portability.  

Benro Pro Angel 1 Series

The Benro Pro series is a bit more advanced than these other two versions, and great for new photographers looking to upgrade. With a ball head design (which offers a 360-degree swivel), Arca type mount, and twist tightening legs, this tripod is impressivly compact yet strong. Suitable for all camera sizes, this tripod will be with you for years to come. 

It's worth noting that tripods, no matter how much they cost, can be a little cumbersome and require practice and patience. The more you use them, the better you will become at maximizing their potential to help you make great photos. A perfect way to practice is with the BPW during one of our Night Photography classes, out in the field around the Boston area. 

Happy shooting!

-- The BPW Team

Ball for a Cause

Basketballs are flying everywhere you look as multiple 3-on-3 games are taking place on the courts at Somerville’s Trum Field. The players pay no mind to the sun beating down on them on this particularly hot June day. Beyond the unofficial soundtrack of any basketball game– the sound of sneakers being squeaked across the asphalt and encouraging shouts from the crowd— is the rapid-fire sound of camera shutters opening and closing without hesitation.

For the second year in a row, the BPW’s instructors and students took photos for the charitable basketball tournament, Ball for a Cause, while practicing their sports photography skills. Each student’s enrollment fee for this special edition sports photography class was given to the Somerville Homeless Coalition– a nonprofit that provides an array of monetary and supportive services to homeless or near homeless individuals. Your donation helps SHC to put food on the table, relief of outstanding fees or bills, and maintain a network of affordable housing for those in a crises.  

After a brief discussion about the  technical aspects to accomplishing successful action shots, BPW students had full access to the basketball courts, giving them the chance to get creative with their composition and interact with the players. Many of our participants were beginners and wanted to practice their sports photography skills so they can improve the shots they get of their loved ones’ games, from a spouse’s pickup game in the park to a kid’s soccer tournament. Others simply wanted to get out of their comfort zone and try a little something new.

At the end of the day, everyone had smiles on their faces. Students captured photos they didn’t know were possible, and the BPW was proud to help the Somerville Homeless Coalition bring in hundreds of dollars in donations.  You might call it a slam dunk...