Wednesday
May
2015
27

It’s Guest Blog Wednesday featuring Kaylee Greer!

by Brad Moore  |  3 Comments


Photo by Sam Haddix

Hi! I’m Kaylee. And I’m going to tell you something that will knock your socks right off. Ready?

I love dogs.

And oh my gosh, I wish I could say this in a sort of casual, non-chalant, “Yeah I think dogs are pretty cool, no big deal,” sort of way. But you guys… I mean it. I mean like, in a totally and completely bonafide ‘crazy dog lady’ kind of way.

So, it’s kind of embarrassing when I walk down the street and audibly and uncontrollably squeal with delight over every little wiggling, passing pup I see. My friends actually try and deter me from the path of an oncoming dog as we walk down the sidewalk – for fear that we’ll get stuck in a 25 minute interaction that includes me excessively ogling, squishing and kissing a strange dog with a sometimes slightly terrified owner looking on.

The truth is, I find more beauty, purity and joy inside the iris of a happy dog than I do anywhere else in the world. When all else seems to fail me – I find solace in the smile of a dog. Dogs have this perfect ability to live simply – to live in the moment. And that just fascinates me.

Luckily for me, I was blessed enough to be able to turn my copious amounts of ‘dog crazy’ into passion – and that passion into a profession.

Yup, you heard it here folks – I am a professional dog photographer.

I know, I know. ‘A WHAT?’ (accompanied by a cocked head, big eyes and sometimes a giggle at my expense; this is the typical response I get when people first discover my job title.) A professional dog photographer. And booked almost one full year ahead with both private and commercial shoots, I’m wildly humbled and grateful to say that I’ve turned that passion into a very busy reality. Sometimes I have to pinch myself. I wake up every day and smile. I smile because life is so silly and full of wonder. I smile because I can feel magic all around me. I smile because I’m living my real live dream.

If you told my five-year-old self what my profession would one day turn out to be – I think her head would have actually popped off with joy. If you hang on just a sec, I think I can hear her squeals of delight from all the way back in 1990. Holy banana sandwiches.

So, after being invited to write this guest post on Scott’s blog (but not before I finished the elaborate robot dance of joy that I executed quite fabulously all alone in my studio with my dog looking on judging me harshly), I thought how wonderful it would be to share some of my best tips and tricks. The little golden nuggets of wisdom that I’ve felt blessed to have learned over the past 5 years of my dog photography adventures. While getting great photos of your client’s or your own pets sometimes feels impossible — I can assure you with the utmost conviction – it’s not.

I’ve got some stuff up my sleeve that you just might find helpful – especially when you’ve got Rufus set up for the most perfect shot, arranged meticulously in the gorgeous, golden afternoon light— and he suddenly runs off in the direction of that squirrel for the 45th time. (Let me tell you now, as much as you try to reason with them, dogs just don’t appreciate the nuances of really good light.)

So, let’s dive into some content that will help you get amazing shots of your pets, that will create the illusion that you’re working with a perfectly trained dog every time.

As we all know, your average dog is anything but stagnant. No, he moves. And when I say ‘he moves,’ I mean like, 65mph moves. Like with more quickness and speed than the fastest, angriest ostrich on the savannah.

And not only does he move – but he drools. He barks. He chases his tail in endless circles. He has the attention span of a gnat.

But most significantly, he speaks an entirely different language than you and I. I know what you’re thinking. Not the easiest subject for a photograph, right? Precisely.

Some of the first things that people ask me when they see my images are:

‘How do you get all these dogs to pose so perfectly for you like that?’ ‘Do these dogs just sit there, hold exactly still and smile for you?!’ ‘Are these magic dogs from a magical land?’

The answer to that last question is an enthusiastic ‘no.’ While I’ve had a few dreams about this (these elusive, magical, still dogs), I photograph regular dogs. Real dogs. The dogs you see walking down the street every day. The dogs that fly through the dog park at about a gazillion miles an hour. The naughty dogs that dig holes in their owner’s tulip gardens and bury bones in their backyards. Dogs that sniff other dogs’ butts. Dogs that lie on their family’s couches and fart.

You know, those kinds of dogs.

In addition to working with lots of regular family dogs— I also volunteer my time to busy, overburdened animal shelters – photographing homeless and abandoned animals who are waiting for a new family to adopt them. Some of these shelter dogs can be rife with a whole different set of behavioral and emotional issues due to the transitionary states of their lives – fearfulness, abandonment, aggression, loneliness, confusion. Even with these sweet, sweet lost souls who lack the stability of a home and family to call their own – with enough knowledge, kindness of heart and patience — you can get a winning image.

You wouldn’t travel to a foreign country and expect them to speak your language right? The same thing goes for dogs. Don’t enter a dog’s world and expect them to speak your language — you need to speak theirs.

Dogs talk through their eyes. Their ears. Their tails. Their body posture. Dogs talk with sounds – growls, whines, barks – you name it. If you want to understand the language of a dog – you need to immerse yourself in their world. Be quiet and listen. Once you spend enough time with a dog you’ll learn about what most motivates them. You’ll find that canines tend to go totally gaga over one or more of the following things:

  • TREATS (because, you know…yum!)
  • PEANUT BUTTER (this stuff is most dogs’ kryptonite, I’m serious! For dogs that can’t have peanut butter, cream cheese or canned pumpkin will also work just fine.)
  • TOYS (ask me how many Barbie dolls I had when I was 9…I totally get this one.)
  • SOUNDS (things that go squeak! The most successful way to evoke the elusive and highly coveted ‘head tilt.’ And a great way to get the mouth closed and ears pricked up at attention.)
  • PRAISE (dogs LOVE praise. ‘HEY DOG! YOU ARE AWESOME!!’)
  • THEIR OWNERS (oh HELLO my humans! I want to love you forever and ever and ever and ever ::slobbery kisses::)

Continue reading

Tuesday
May
2015
26

It’s “Reprocess Your Old Images” Tuesday

by Scott Kelby  |  29 Comments

Hope you had a really relaxing Memorial Day weekend. I had a lot of fun going back and doing something this weekend I’ve wanted to do for a while, and that is to go back to some of my original files, and reprocess them from scratch to make new versions that:

(a) Reflect what I like today, as my tastes on post-processing have changed
(b) Let me use the latest tools and plug-ins
(c) Let me experiment more than I had the time to do, probably because I was on a tight deadline

…and I’m delighted with the results.

Above: Here’s the one I did back in 2012 — note the HDR look, blue table clothes, overall glow, etc. 

Above: Here’s the reprocess I did this weekend, using Lightroom CC’s built-in HDR feature. No glows. No HDR look. It looks liked the place looked. 

You might like the old version (the top one) better…
…and that’s OK. I’m doing this for how my tastes have changed and how my tools have changed — you may still like the older one, and that’s fine (I just hope you at least like one of them. LOL!).

My Process
Most of what I’ve been doing is going back to images I bracketed in camera, and now I’m reprocessing them in Lightroom CC using the new built-in 16-bit HDR feature, which is awesome for making realistic HDR images. It really has been a lot of fun (especially since I’m in the middle of a major refresh to my portfolio layout and contents — more on that when it’s done), but in that vein I’m officially (?) pronouncing this day:

Reprocess Your Old Images Tuesday

Dig back into your archives and reprocess some of those older images — images you processed at a different time in your life, with less post-processing skills than you have today, and lesser tools to do it with, and I promise you — you’ll be tickled with the results.

Hope you have fun digging up some of your shots and rediscovering them with new processing, today!

All my best,

-Scott

P.S. I wrapped up my series on “What I’d love to see in Lightroom next” over at LightroomKillerTips.com if you get a sec. 

Monday
May
2015
25

A Day To Honor Our Nation’s Fallen Soldiers

by Scott Kelby  |  2 Comments

Today is Memorial Day in the United States, and our offices are closed as we honor and remember those who gave their lives in service to our country.

This post is dedicated each year to the memory of David Leimbach, (shown above; the brother of our friend and colleague Jeff Leimbach), who died seven years ago in combat in Afghanistan.

Just a humble word of thanks to the dedicated men and women of our armed services and to all those who came before them who laid down their lives to protect the freedoms we enjoy each day.

Here’s wishing you all a safe, happy and healthy Memorial Day.

All my best,

-Scott

Friday
May
2015
22

It’s “Five Trailer Friday!”

by Scott Kelby  |  2 Comments

Hi Gang: Today I thought I’d share five trailers for some new classes you might want to check out this Memorial Day weekend over on KelbyOne.com.

If you’re not already a member, you can join for $19.99 and watch the full-length versions of ALL of these classes today, (and while you’re there, you can watch any of the about 500+ more online classes on Lighting, Photoshop, Lightroom, Video Editing, and Photography unlimited for the next 30-days!) Here’s the link (but check out these trailers first!):

1. Peter Hurley shows you how to edit down an entire shoot to get you to that “one” special image

2. Joe McNally takes you underwater for a…um…Mermaid shoot? ( You’ll love it!)

3. Cliff Mautner teaches you how to shoot a wedding, during a real wedding! (live and uncensored)

4. Learn to shoot a Safari, on an actual Safari in Africa with Moose Peterson

5. Jeremy Cowart shows you how to light and shoot awesome portraits just about anywhere!

Lots of fun stuff to learn this weekend – make the most of it, and for those of you who are joining KelbyOne for the first time, welcome aboard — we’re really glad to have you with us. :)

Here’s wishing you and yours a safe, happy, and fun Memorial Day Weekend.

Best,

-Scott

P.S. I posted #6 of my series on “What I’d love to see next in Lightroom” over at LightroomKillerTips.com

 

 

Thursday
May
2015
21

It’s Free Stuff Thursday!

by Brad Moore  |  89 Comments

Jaw Dropping Landscapes Photo Contest
Think you’ve got an award-worthy landscape photo? Want to win a free ticket to Photoshop World, a KelbyOne Live event, or a KelbyOne membership? TODAY IS THE LAST DAY to submit your best landscape photo to our latest Viewbug contest for your chance to win! For all the details and to submit your photo, just click right here.

The Art of the Edit with Peter Hurley
It’s all about the edit! You’ve just had an awesome photo session and now you need to narrow it down to just the best ones. How do you do it? Join Peter Hurley as he walks you through a series of live headshot sessions and then talks through his editing process with the subjects at the end. Peter is joined throughout the class by Scott Kelby, and together they edit through multiple different shoots that Scott has brought in. Editing is all about narrowing shots down to just the ones that will go into your portfolio to help you get more work. Learn how to develop this muscle and find your own shebangs!

Photography In-Depth: Mastering the Composition
What are you really trying to say in your images? Join Pete Collins and Steve Gustafson as they explore the role of composition in your photography as a means to have a dialog between the photographer and the audience. Through the use of examples and discussion Pete and Steve delve into the importance of having all of the elements contained within the frame working together in support of the larger message you are trying to convey, why it is critical that your intention for making a photograph informs the creation of that photograph, and how you can influence a variety of factors at the moment of capture and in post-processing to enhance the strength of your message. Stick around for the bonus lessons at the end where Pete dives a little deeper into a couple of topics to help drive those points home.

The Lightroom CC Book for Photographers – SPIRAL BOUND!
Scott’s latest book, The Lightroom CC Book for Photographers, is now available in the spiral-bound edition! BUT… This edition is only available for purchase by KelbyOne members. If you order by the end of the month, he’ll even sign your copy for you. Not a KelbyOne member but still want the spiral-bound book? We’re giving away THREE FREE COPIES to a few of you lucky people! Leave a comment for your chance to win!

KelbyOne Live
Want to learn from Scott Kelby, Joe McNally, or Ben Willmore live in person? Check out these seminar tour dates to see if they’re coming to a city near you!

Shoot Like A Pro: Reloaded with Scott Kelby
June 5 – Hartford, CT
July 14 – London, UK

The Moment It Clicks with Joe McNally
June 15 – Lansing, MI
June 17 – Nashville, TN
July 13 – Ottawa, ON
July 15 – Calgary, AB
July 17 – Toronto, ON

Lightroom & Photoshop Creative Integration Tour with Ben Willmore
May 29 – South San Francisco, CA
June 19 – Seattle, WA

These are just some of the upcoming dates for these seminar tours. You can find the full calendar of events right here, and leave a comment for your chance to win a free ticket to one of these events!

Last Week’s Winner
KelbyOne Live Ticket
- Sandy Hansen

If that’s you, we’ll be in touch soon. Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday
May
2015
20

It’s Guest Blog Wednesday featuring Vincent Versace!

by Brad Moore  |  8 Comments

When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my talent for absorbing positive knowledge.
-Albert Einstein

I have come to believe that my job, why I was put on this earth, is to tell the truth and see the pretty. My job is to walk all over the planet and allow myself to be taken by the moment and to record the truth, beauty and moments of abandon with a camera. Interesting work if you can get it. What I discovered is so long as I stay on this path I (mostly) stay out of trouble. What I have also discovered is that coincidence is the universe’s attempt at remaining anonymous. I live in a world where my fantasy as a child has come true, to make my living creating art. To make one’s living solely from being a visual artist is to experience life as if you are in a waking dream only to find yourself waking up into a deeper dream.

This story starts with being asked in 2012 by the director of the Palm Beach Photographic Centre. “Hey, would you like to teach a five day travel workshop in Cuba?” As you can imagine it was a difficult decision to make, requiring much time and consideration… Roughly about the length of time it takes to say “HELL YES.”

For those of us who grew up in the 1960’s, Cuba has always been a great fascination. A forbidden place trapped in a time warp. Cigars, Rum, The Kennedys, the Bay of Pigs, the Cuban Missile Crisis, Black September airplane hijackings landing at the Havana Airport – all the way to today and Guantanamo Bay. So to be afforded an opportunity to enter Cuba legally in 2012 something not to say no to.

The issue that I did not know then, but discovered later, was that on my first trip to Cuba I was about to break one of the few dogmas I have: Do not walk into a shoot with any preconceptions. That the only thing you should visualize preconceiving is to prepare to be amazed by every little thing around you.

Ansel Adams said, “Without pre-visualization photography is a five finger exercise.” Paul Caponigro said, “If you believe in pre-visualization you deserve what you get.” Who’s right? They both are. What is at issue is not whether to pre-visualize or to not pre-visualize. The issue is the misconception between pre-conception and pre-visualization and the very, very, very fine line as to when to start the visualization process.

From the moment I was asked to the time I left I allowed myself to become a victim of entropy. I allowed my pre-conception of what I thought Cuba should be to color and affect what Cuba is. During the first time I was there I kept finding myself having a running dialog about, “How this isn’t right… This is supposed to be like this.” Don’t get me wrong, I had a great time; I just didn’t realize it until I got home. Somehow I had allowed myself to be looking for the moment rather than letting myself be taken by the moment.

Simply put Ansel Adams broke the creation of an image process down this way:

1)  The need/desire to photograph
2)  Discovery
3)  Visualization
4)  Execution

The first is fairly obvious, “The need/desire to photograph,” either you are on assignment (the gig) or you are where you are because you want to be there with a camera. The second, “Discovery,” for me is the moment when the picture takes you (not the other way around) and you are pulled through the lens and the impulse to click the shutter is driven by being grabbed by the moment.  The third, “Visualization,” is the one step in the process that tends to do us in, and if you do not take care, you do indeed get what you deserve. The time you should pre-visualize is after the moment has taken you. Not before and not during. At that moment, after being taken by the picture, is when you should be thinking about what else you need to make the image successful. It is this, that is the catalyst for “execution.” Why this is is because the speed of life moves much faster today behind the digital camera then it did back in Ansel’s day behind the film camera with all of the considerations you need to make at point of capture. As to the speed of the thrill of photographing life? That speed remains the same, both faster than, as well as slower than, we as photographers are often capable of moving.

I spent a lot of time thinking about what I wasn’t exactly happy with of my images from my first trip to Cuba, my image capture take for me was very low, I was frustrated with the experience and I did not know why. I mean it was Havana for goodness sake! It wasn’t until I was sitting with Jay Maisel showing him my images that he pointed out something to me, which was this: I was in my images. That I took them and not the other way around. That I had pre-conceived a vision and imposed that on the place and made my images fit the pre-conception.

Did I mention that coincidence is the universe’s attempt at remaining anonymous? I walked away from that conversation with the dream of going back to Cuba. So in July of 2014 the director of PBPC asked me if I wanted to go back to Cuba in December and would I be interested in going again in 2015. Lightning does not often strike twice in the same place. Next thing I knew I found myself going to Cuba three times over 15 weeks.

This time I let the place take me. I did not focus on politics or what I thought I should be shooting. I just walked the streets with my students and allowed the spirit of the place and the people to take charge. I gave in and gave up to simply being. The outcome of this is a 103-image gallery exhibition and an additional 200 plus “keeper” images I have yet to post process.

Soooo… My point is this: Don’t think about the image before the image happens. Don’t go into the moment with a belief of what you expect to see, just go in and see what there is to see. Don’t worry about not taking any images, if they are there for you to take they will find you if you slow down enough to let them land on you. The baggage that you carry with you should be left in the hotel room with your luggage when go out to shoot.

If you still feel the need to pre-visualize before you pick up the camera, just fantasize this: I am about to be amazed by every little thing around me.

Vincent Versace
Nikon Ambassador: United States

Cuba Slide Show

Walk Through of Show

Cuba Exhibition at Palm Beach Photographic Centre

You can see more of Vincent’s work at VersacePhotography.com, and follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and Instagram.

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