Thanks for stopping by. I will be posting periodically so make sure to check back often. Everything from my client shoots, to tips, to pictures of my every day. This newer site is the result of consolidating a traditional website and a blog. If you were following to the old one make sure you are now subscribed here, as this is a completely new page. I'd also love to hear from YOU, so please feel free to comment or contact me through the "CONTACT" tab up top.

Mee-ladie {National American Miss Florida 2012}

From the moment I spoke to Mee-ladie and her mother on the phone, I knew we were going to have a blast at this session. They were both so upbeat and enthusiastic. My favorite type of clients!

Mee-ladie Delgado is the reigning National American Miss Florida, and was in need of some clean and crisp pictures as she goes on to compete for a National title in California. Since she would be so perfectly put together, we decided an urban setting would make for an interesting contrast. She was such a pro, start to finish, on shoot day. From being gracious to onlookers, to knowing exactly what poses worked best for her. It was pretty entertaining watching people’s reactions as pranced around downtown wearing her crown and sash as well. I’m very much looking forward to our next session -which is in the works!- and  I hope you all join me in following her, as she proudly represents our state this November. Best of luck, Mee-ladie!

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Exposure 101 – Shooting in Manual Mode

All too often I hear clients mention how they purchased a fancy new DSLR, but are less than impressed with the results. When asked what mode they shoot in -9 times out of 10- the response is typically “auto.” In this mode, the camera will make every decision for you. I understand that sometimes you may just need to get the shot quickly, but so much of your cameras awesome potential is being wasted in full automatic. You’re probably also ending up with harsh shadows from on camera flash when shooting indoors.

The set of images below were taken at 6:00pm under overcast skies. Both are SOOC, straight out of camera, and have only been converted from RAW to JPG. I had Adrian sit on the sidewalk with his back to our community lake, made silly noises, and shot with my camera set manually. The second image was taken about 20 seconds after the first in full automatic. He did shift slightly, -just try keeping a three year old still!- however lighting conditions and facing direction remained the same. While the photographer in me would make very subtle tweaks to the left image, I’m still much more satisfied with the result achieved on the left versus the right. Although lets be honest, I love anything and everything with that little face on it ♥

The three main things you should familiarize yourself with are ISO, Shutter Speeds, and Aperture. I always start by setting my ISO based on the lighting conditions. Next comes the aperture, and lastly my shutter speed. In about 30 seconds I can achieve the first image on the left and cut down drastically in post processing. Since most of my readers live in a fast-paced world of business meetings and soccer games, I though you might appreciate a “cliffs notes” of sorts on the three:
If this is the first time you’ve heard of any of these, don’t panic! Just get out there and start messing around with one at a time. Most DSLR’s give you the option of shooting in semi automatic modes like Aperture Priority, or Shutter Speed Priority. Take the time to explore each setting and how it affects the other two. For example, the more open I have my aperture during a sunny session, the faster I will need to set my shutter speed. The great thing about digital photography is that there’s no need to worry about making mistakes or “wasting film.” Every shot, good or bad, can serve as a learning experience. I hope you’ve found this post useful, as I’d love to get more of my readers exploring their cameras, and capturing everyday moments in a way they can be proud of. Don’t get stuck in the convenience of auto, and let your pictures shine to their true potential!


If you have any questions you’d like answered on the blog, feel free to comment below or email me at thaymmie@acottophotography.com You might just see your question answered and explained in the next learning blog!


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December 16, 2012 - 9:47 pm

How to photograph your Christmas tree – South Florida Photographer » A. Cotto Photography - […] Shutter Speed   (Click HERE if you’re wondering what all that […]

January 16, 2013 - 9:36 pm

Aby - Thanks for simplifying this! Very helpful. I hope to move out of auto in 2013.

January 24, 2013 - 11:48 pm

A. Cotto Photography - Aby- I hope you do, because you’ll never go back!

February 19, 2013 - 12:11 am

Christina Droira - This is great! super helpful:)

February 19, 2013 - 12:34 am


March 28, 2013 - 4:24 pm

Susannah Boos - Love this! I’m wanting to get out of the bad habit of shooting in auto so much, this will be great to keep with me as a quick reference to make manual less “intimidating”!

Sofia’s Tea Party Princess Session

Sofia’s mom and I go back 13 years, and I’m honored to be able to call her my goddaughter. As I sit here thinking how best to describe this spunky little girl, I’m flashing back to the day we welcomed her into the world. The excitement, the tears, laughter, and the amazement that my best friend was now a mother. The realization we were officially adults.

Throughout the years, Sofia has brought me joy I never knew I could feel for a child that was not my own.  She is incredibly smart, sassy, and cheerfully mischievous. She obviously takes after her godmother.

With next month being her 5th birthday -how is she so old already?!- her mom and I wanted a session to show just the kind of girly girl she is. So tea party and princess jasmine costume it was! Click on the images below to see them full sized.

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A. Cotto Photography is two!

As I sit down to write this blog, I’m reminiscing on all of the moments that have lead me to today. I feel blessed to be able to do something that feels so whole-heartedly right. I’m going to share a bit about how I got started and what I see for the future of A.C.P. There is also a little something for you at the end. 😉

The catalyst to my career –as cliche as it may sound– was the birth of my precious son, Adrian. I’ve always considered myself a bit of a closet artist, however becoming a mom gave me a true appreciation for documenting those fleeting moments through the lens of a camera. We had a fabulous photographer for our maternity and newborn pictures, however I wanted to be able to capture the everyday moments as well. Since infants don’t allow for many “do-overs,” my fiance purchased me my first DSLR as a gift soon after. I immediately began reading books, watching endless tutorials, taking classes, and shooting everything I could. My intention back then was solely to capture the memories of my handsome boy. About a year later, I started getting requests from friends to photograph their children. Those then turned into inquiries from their friends, and I soon after realized that this pastime was turning into a business.

The first two years haven’t all been an easy street. There have been learning curves and a few bumps, however my excitement has only increased. With photography continuing to evolve, I look forward to experimenting with new techniques and experiencing continued growth.

Being that I’m highly critical of myself professionally, your kind words have been like fuel to my fire. I am BEYOND grateful for the outpouring of support and encouragement A.C.P. has received over these last two years. Considering myself to still be in very the early stages, I’m doing my very best –successfully thus far!– to enjoy the ride. As a special “thank you” to all of my wonderful clients, both new and old, I’m extending a 20% discount off of any traditional session booked this week! Here’s a little of the fine print:

  • Session must be reserved with a 50% deposit before 11:59pm on August 12th.
  • Session must be redeemed prior to December 31, 2012.
  • Prints are not included in the session fee.



Don’t miss out on celebrating with A.C.P. by taking advantage of this special anniversary promotion! The fall tends to be my busiest season, and is already about 1/3 booked up. For those of you wanting holiday cards (yes, we’re already talking holidays!) the third weekend of November are the latest sessions with photos guaranteed in time for ordering.

Once again, THANK YOU. This endeavor would not be possible without my wonderful clients, and I look forward to continuing to document your special moments!


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We’re rooting for you!

On a personal note, I want to share a recent family snapshot I took of my brother in law, Hector Cotto (right), when he visited us last month. Hector is currently at the Olympics in London, and will be competing in a qualifying round tomorrow morning, August 7th, at 5:00am Eastern Standard Time. Hopefully, he’ll then be on to the semi-finals on the 8th, which happens to be his birthday! I hope you all tune in – or set your DVR’s!:)

This will be his second Olympics representing our home country of Puerto Rico, where he is the national record holder in the mens 110m hurdles. The whole family couldn’t be any prouder and we will be cheering on “Tio Papi” -as Adrian says- from all over the country!

If you would like to keep up with Hector and see some fun “behind the scenes” Olympic photos, click HERE.

                                           Good Luck!!

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