Wednesday
Oct
2014
22

It’s Guest Blog Wednesday featuring Alan Hess!

by Brad Moore  |  4 Comments


Photo by Nadra Farina-Hess

My name is Alan Hess and I love being a photographer. I am really lucky that I get to photograph things for a living. As the house photographer for a large indoor arena in San Diego I get to capture some of the biggest names in music like Cher, The Who, Taylor Swift, Justin Beiber, as well as other events like the NBA, MMA, and the WWE. This year we will also have a Professional Bull Rider event. But even with the wide variety of events I get to shoot, once in a while I still find myself in a creative rut. That’s where personal projects come in.

For me, that is taking photos of my dogs.

I have two rescued boxers. They make for great subjects for a couple of reasons. They are always available since they live with me. They have distinct personalities that makes photographing them more fun (or challenging). And best of all they never want to see the photos, and never complain that they don’t look good. On the downside, they don’t have a great attention span and can easily wonder off in the middle of the shoot, and getting them to pose can be challenging.

I started off by just trying to get a portrait shot to use as a wallpaper on my iPhone, which led to experimenting with lighting and learning how to create the invisible black background portraits. This led to creating the Fuel Book, Pet Portraits that Stand Out. This Fuel Book led to my newest full book, Pet Portraits: From Snapshots to Great Shots. This was the most fun that I have ever had writing a book since it didn’t seem like work at all. I was able to take all that information I had accumulated while creating photos of my dogs and turn it into something that could help others get great photos of their pets.

First I want to tell you what this book isn’t. It isn’t a book on creating a pet photography business, or how to profit from taking photos of people’s pets. This book is not about having to go out and spend a lot of money on special gear. It is just about getting better photos of your pet, or any pet. I photographed dogs, cats, birds, horses, lizards, snakes, fish, hamsters, mice, rats, and bunny rabbits. I spent time at leash free areas getting to capture dogs in action as they ran, jumped and played with other dogs. I got nudged by horses and had a lizard climb all over my gear. I spent time with an exotic pet vet, and even though I did not cover spiders as pets in the book, I ended up with a tarantula crawling on my hands.

It was the most fun I have had writing a book.

I spent some time photographing big dogs at play. I find it fascinating what you can capture at 1/4000 second that you don’t see when watching the action in real time. These dogs are playing together on the beach, but if you just saw the fangs you might think that it wasn’t a friendly encounter.

Getting to lie in the grass and photograph a group of puppies the first time they got to roam around outside is a great way to spend a morning.

I wanted to make sure that the book dealt with all pets, and not just dogs and cats. So I tracked down a wide variety of different pet owners and rescue groups. The best part was that pet owners and rescue group volunteers are really passionate. The passion that they have for their pets is really contagious. Need a little pick-me-up? Ask a pet owner about what their pet did recently. I learned more about snakes, frogs, mice, birds and lizards in the past few months than I thought possible. Every photo shoot was a new adventure.

I spent quite a bit of time photographing cats as they are the second most popular pet in the US, right behind dogs. Cats turned out to be both easier in some respects and much more challenging in others. They love to stand in doorways and look out. Turns out that this makes for great portrait light.

It was tough to think of it as work as I lay outside watching a friend’s cat stalk his cat toy. A tough day at work.

Photographing cats became an exercise in patience. Cats can sit still for what seem like hours, then suddenly leap into action… or just stretch out and go right to sleep.

Getting up close and personal with a horse was really quite awesome. I was in constant awe of their power and size. Watching the muscles under their coat as the walk and run was fantastic, and getting to photograph them up close was really amazing.

On a final note, I used to think that personal projects were just a time suck. When was I supposed to go out and shoot stuff just for me and at the same time try to earn a living. There just didn’t seem like enough of a payoff to spend the time shooting for myself when I could be out trying to earn a living. It got to the point where I didn’t pick up my camera unless I was off to shoot something for a job…

I was wrong.

Turns out that taking the time to go out and photograph something just for me not only recharges the creative side but can lead to other work.

You can pick up your copy of the Pet Photography: From Snapshots to Great Shots from Peachpit (use the code PETSHOTS to save 35%), Amazon, or Barnes & Noble.

You can find out more about Alan and his work at AlanHessPhotography.com, and follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

Tuesday
Oct
2014
21

I’m Calling in Sick (cough, cough)

by Scott Kelby  |  13 Comments

I had hoped to have some meaningful, substantive post for this morning, but when I got home last light, I realized a cold was coming on, so instead of writing that awesome post I hit the sack early thinking a good night’s sleep would knock it out. Sadly, that was not the case so I’m kind of laying low today for the most part.

Hoping to be better for tomorrow’s episode of “The Grid” because Dave Black is here, and we’re doing Blind Critiques, so my fingers are crossed but long story short, blah, blah, blah, I don’t have that good blog post for today like I had hoped.

Here’s hoping your Tuesday is a germ-free, non-congested, clear sinus kind of day! :)

Best,

-Scott
Cough, Cough, Inc.

 

Monday
Oct
2014
20

Yes…it’s come down to this…

by Scott Kelby  |  27 Comments

You know if the Monday after the game I post a Demotivational Poster, I probably didn’t have a great shoot. I know that generally as the season progresses you’re supposed to get better and better,right? And I was really feeling like I was “in the zone” two weeks ago at the Falcons/Giants game at the Meadlowlands, but dang I just do not know what happened yesterday but I just had a real clunker!

It seemed like I was always in the wrong position, and I missed some stuff I definitely should have caught, and I was just generally to the point that I wanted to chuck my gear in the trash bin on my way out of the stadium. I didn’t, mind you. But I wanted to.

Now, don’t get me wrong — I still had a blast
Any time I get to shoot with my buddies Mike Benford and Jimmy Cribb from the Falcons, I always have a great time, but at the same time I always want to do my very best when I’m shooting for a team or a news wire (or heck, even just for myself), so I was kicking myself all the way to the airport (by the way, I think one thing I did do was prove my undying love for Delta by leaving the game around 4pm and not arriving back home until after midnight. After flying USAir to Charlotte last week, I came running back to Delta screaming, “Please, please take me back! I’ll do a connection in Atlanta — anything — just don’t make me fly USAir again!”).

Above: In the fourth quarter I went up high to get some quick Fisheye and 16mm wide angle shots. 

Above: Raven’s QB Joe Flacco looking up at me and thinking “Hey, that photographer up there is using an 8mm fisheye.”

A Mini-Momentous Occasion

Two unusual things happened during this game:

(1) It was a Sunday during the football season and the Bucs did not lose (it was their ‘bye’ week).
(2) It was my first time shooting the Ravens, and until yesterday they were the only team in the NFL that I hadn’t shot yet, so I was psyched to now have shot all 32 teams (plus, it’s always a blast to shoot in a different stadium). Still about 12 NFL stadiums I haven’t shot in yet, My top most-wanted stadiums to shoot in are; Lambeau Field (Green Bay), Seattle, the 49ers new stadium and Foxborough.

I was back using my 1Dxs this week, since I had to send the 7D Mark IIs back, and I shot with the 200-400mm f/4 with the built-in 1.4 tele. On my 2nd body I used a 70-200mm, except when I went up top for those stadium shots.

Anyway, I’m on my flight back home right now (got to go with the family to Disney World on Saturday, so this was just an awesome weekend all the way around), but I’m back in the saddle and back in the office tomorrow.

Here’s what’s coming up this week:

Tomorrow: Something, I’m sure. Not quite sure what yet. I’m open to ideas. Maybe an Exposure Post on my Vols shoot if I can get it done in time (I’m about 75% done).
Wednesday: Dave Black is in town and we’re doing blind photo critiques on ‘The Grid.” Check my Facebook page later for a link. Of course, we’ll have a cool guest blogger on Wednesday as well.
Thursday: Brad will be giving any free stuff here on the blog. Probably stuff he’s not authorized to give away. We also release new classes every Thursday at KelbyOne.com, so they’ll be one or two for sure.
Friday: I’m keeping my fingers crossed about sharing some new technology on Friday, but it’s iPad related and believe it or not, I left my iPad in London (luckily, Dave Clayton found it in one of his bags — long story, changing trains, blah, blah), anyway Fed Ex has made me getting my own iPad require an act of Parliament, but hopefully I’ll have it in time for this cool new thing by Friday.

Hey, have you met Ajna?
She is our official “Dutchess of Social Media” and she’s awesome! If you’re not following her (she runs our KelbyOne twitter and Facebook page), ya know, you really oughta. She’s always posting behind the scenes photos, and running contests and giveaways and stuff, and she probably knows more about what’s actually happening tomorrow than I do (clearly), so give her a follow if you will.

That’s it for this “I’m at 33,000 feet” edition of my Monday blog, featuring a demotivational poster and a dash of selective color. This is the kind of stuff that just starts your Monday off with a sigh. I mean, a bang! I meant bang.

Best,

-Scott
Faithful Delta Customer, Accidental Selective Color Guru, Mad at Fed Ex in the UK guy 

 

 

Friday
Oct
2014
17

Way Cool Little-Known Lightroom Mobile Feature (Plus Lots of Photo Walk Stuff)

by Scott Kelby  |  5 Comments

If you missed “The Grid” this week, we started right off with a short tutorial on a little-known feature in Lightroom Mobile that is just too cool (we start the show, posted above, with the demo), and then after the demo I talk about how at the Adobe Max conference last week they added one new thing that made it tremendously better. Really worth checking out.

We also cover lots of Worldwide Photo Walk stuff, and the fact that my buddy Bill Fortney just launched a new series of eBooks on a bunch of photography categories, and we take lots of questions and (wait for it…wait for it…) we even ended the show on time and that alone is somewhat of a miracle.

I’m here in Charlotte, North Carolina today for my “Shoot like a Pro” seminar, and I’m really looking forward to meeting a whole bunch of you  (thanks so much for the awesome turnout Charlotte!). Hope you all have a rockin’ weekend, and we’ll see you back here on Monday, or this weekend over on my Facebook and Twitter pages.

Best,

-Scott

 

 

 

 

Thursday
Oct
2014
16

It’s Free Stuff Thursday!

by Brad Moore  |  19 Comments

Trailblazers: Powerful Women of Photography with Erika Larsen
Erika Larsen is a contributor to National Geographic Magazine, and her work has been exhibited at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC, but it is her dedication to immersing herself in the cultures that she is seeking to understand that is so inspiring. Erika literally lives and breathes the cultures she photographs, and sets out not as an outsider seeking to tell the story of another culture to the world, but rather as an individual seeking to deeply understand the people and their way of life. She sees her role as a photographer to be 100% present in the experience she is having, and if she is 100% there, then the shots create themselves.

You can see her interview with Mia McCormick, and the rest of the Trailblazers series for free right here.

KelbyOne Live
Want to spend a day with Scott Kelby, Joe McNally, Matt Kloskowski, or Ben Willmore? Check out these seminar tours!

Shoot Like A Pro with Scott Kelby
Oct 17 – Charlotte, NC (Tomorrow!)
Dec 1 – Ft. Lauderdale, FL

The Power of One Flash with Joe McNally
Nov 6 – Washington, DC
Dec 9 – San Diego, CA

The Lightroom LIVE Tour with Matt Kloskowski
Oct 22 – Colorado Springs, CO
Nov 4 – Philadelphia, PA
Dec 5 – San Antonio, TX

Photoshop for Photographers with RC Concepcion
Oct 20 – Chicago, IL
Nov 7 – Los Angeles, CA

The Photoshop Creativity Tour with Ben Willmore
Nov 10 – Toronto, ON
Dec 12 – Phoenix, AZ

You can check out the full schedule for seminars through the end of the year. Leave a comment for your chance to win a ticket to one of these events!

Last Week’s Winner
KelbyOne Rental
- DGV

KelbyOne Live Ticket
- Jose G

If you’re one of the lucky winners, we’ll be in touch soon. Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday
Oct
2014
15

It’s Guest Blog Wednesday featuring Mykii Liu!

by Brad Moore  |  17 Comments


Photo by Melissa Niu

I am passionate about photography. By that I mean, photography bugs the living crap out of me and nags at me when I don’t end up having the time to satisfy the craving that I have for it. It drives me crazy. It keeps me up at night. Frustrated. Photography frustrates to the point that I become helpless and want to lash out at the world for the inability to properly express what I envision in my mind, my heart, or my eyes.

And I love it: this calming expression when you’re at peace with it. I love it so much that I strive to continually exercise the part of my lungs that pumps in the oxygen directly to the fire that burns within me—that fire that makes me want to keep trying to pursue and refine this ability to create, capture and envision. But occasionally, the pumping slows down; the fire dwindles and I lose sight, feeling, and the desire to put in the effort that my body innately knows that I need to exude. Depression kicks in; feeling discouragement from others and feeling doubtful that I’ll ever be able to possess the abilities that I so greatly desire, the fire dwindles even more. But yet it is one of my passions, and as such, I don’t–no, I can’t give up.

Over the years, I realized that my passion never actually burns out completely; it only gets smothered. I’m an ordinary guy with a pretty busy life. I’m single, working a job, going back to college, and trying to make photography an even bigger part of my life, perhaps back into full-time photo work. I have fears, time constraints, friends, family and church, and other obligations that often push photography into an afterthought. Although it’s an afterthought, it is substantial. It means that there is still enough bandwidth in my brain to pay attention to it and not have it written off—a sign of how I knew it was my passion.

Refueling the passion that I have has changed my lifestyle over the past couple months, especially since I’ve been focusing on this outlet.

I’ll admit that making changes has been hard, but I’ve found that there are a few things that have made it easier to integrate the camera into my life and kindle the passion.

1. Surround yourself with people that inspire you.
Don’t go and hastily ditch your current circle of friends… that’s entirely not what I mean, although in some cases, that may be necessary. Seeing that most people are willfully submissive to their phones, I’d suggest filling your news feed with inspiring artists, photographers and creative people that gel with you and your style. If you’re anything like me, not only will your appreciation of photography increase, but your desire to become as good as those who you follow. It’ll also give you a chance to network with friends that have similar interests.

2. Share why you do photography.
Find someone that you’re close to and share with them your “why.” If you haven’t figured out your “why,” then now is a good time to think on it.  Everyone’s will probably be different, but it really doesn’t matter. It’s the fact that you’re trying to express how you feel about what you want to do. As you think upon, define, and share your “why” you’ll subtly increase your motivation. Here’s a tip for defining your “why:” think past the whole idea of “I do it because I want to.” Think about how it makes you feel and why you find it important. It may be hard at first, especially when you’re trying to put it words.

3. Integrate the camera into your life.
I’m really into portraits. It’s my jam. Just because I love shooting people shouldn’t restrict from occasionally shoot what I’m experiencing in life. I sold my heavy, expensive and really great Canon 5D Mark III and replaced it with my Fujifilm X-T1, a smaller more portable and equally just as great camera. I’ve found that I’ve been able to have my camera available at the most random times that I end up feeling inspired. There are days that I don’t take it out of my bag, but on those days, I’m reminded that at least I had it on me just in case something caught my eye. My cousin, a street photographer in Taiwan, told me, “I think only when you are able to carry your camera around, will photography truly blend into your life, express who you are, and respond to how you perceive the world.”

4. Make the time to attend workshops.
Many of those really inspiring people that you’ve hopefully added to your Facebook and Instagram feeds hold gatherings where you can learn, apply and get inspired. I got excited recently from a workshop that I took from The Wild Ones, a non-profit organization that was put on by creative and inspiring photographers. My friend Enrique ended up sharing it with me—and for that, I’m grateful. At this specific workshop, I witnessed a technique I had known about but had never applied. It opened my eyes to different thought processes and got me amped to go out and shoot and try it out. There were many more personal experiences that occurred, which I’m sure you’d have the chance to have. Many workshops may also provide business tips that could help inspire that business side of photography that often burns people out as well. I realized how much of a value it was to be physically surrounded by like-minded people who are all interested and engaged in same interest.

5. Keep your eyes open.
Every time I came across a concept, an idea or something otherwise inspirational, I’d make note of it—mentally or digitally. At the end of the night, I make/add to a list of things that I wanted to shoot—even when I know it’ll be a while before I’m able to shoot it. I know that at some point I’ll have the gratification of checking something off that list. This goes hand in hand with creating personal projects.

Not sure of the difference between a passion and a hobby?
My mother always told me that photography is just a hobby. Heh. It’s not “just a hobby.”

It isn’t something that I do for just for leisure and it isn’t something that I do on the side of my normal occupation to help me relieve stress. It’s a passion. To put it in terms that she’d understand—I’d relate it to relationships.

A hobby is a hookup, a booty-call—something non-committal. They’re fun, they’re mostly relaxing, and they aren’t something that you’d keep around once hardship hits. You’ll ditch it once you’re dissatisfied with it.

Unlike hobbies, you won’t want to leave passions alone. You’ll want to incorporate it into your life as much as possible. It’ll demand much, and you won’t mind giving it all. You will make sacrifices and also work through the difficulties that arise so that this passion can continue and flourish. And you love it.

The intensity of the passion will fluctuate, but it will always be there—and like other passions, it is worth working for.

Get obsessed! Get incorporated, connected and become yet again passionate about what you do and want to do. Go out and shoot.

You can see more of Mykii’s work at MykiiLiu.com, and follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Photofocus, and Instagram.

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