Monthly Archives January 2010


Last night my buddy Erik Kuna and I got to shoot the Orlando Magic vs. Indiana Pacers NBA basketball game, and we had media passes that put us right under the basket (well, 6 or 8 feet to the right of it, anyway). It was my first time shooting NBA Basketball (well, for that matter, it was my first time shooting basketball) and as you might expect we had a blast!!!! (plus the Magic won!).

I wanted to include the three-frame shot you see above of a slam dunk from Magic star Dwight Howard (who had a season-high 32 points in last night’s game) but to really see it, you have to click on it for the larger version (I made it a little larger than usual, too).


Although we had just an incredible time shooting the game, and I learned just a ton, I learned a very valuable lesson in the first period. I’m not used to sitting cross legged, and especially not for hours at a time. Beyond that, Erik and I were the only photographers there who didn’t bring a fold-up floor chair (kind of like the lightweight portable chairs you’d use on a canoe, with some back support) and I kid you not, at one point Erik looked at me and said “I’d pay $100 for one of those chairs.” I said, “Not if I get to him first.”


We couldn’t wait for a time out to stretch our legs, and we both hobbled out of there at the end of the night like we were 90-years-old. It made me miss running up and down the sidelines—but I’d do it all again in a minute (with a floor chair, though). Anyway, suffice it to say—everything hurts. ;-)


OK, besides the chair thing, I learned something even more valuable—I need a lot more practice shooting basketball. But hey, it’s a start, and it can only get better from here (I already have a mental checklist of what I’ll do different next time). That’s Pacer’s SF Danny Granger hitting the floor about two feet in front of me. After seeing him hit that hardwood, I felt like a total weenie for whining about my legs.


For gear I used a Nikon D3 with a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens, and Nikon D700 with a 24-70 lens, with a 1.4 tele-extender, and I popped a 10.5mm fisheye lens on for a few frames, too. Also, I did shoot a little with my 200mm f/2, which I loved, but it was a little too unwieldy without a monopod, so after the first period, I ditched it.


I shot at between 1600 ISO and 3200 ISO most of the night (shooting for around 1/800 of a second shutter speed). I didn’t use any strobes—-just the available arena lighting, which seemed bright, but of course to my cameras—it wasn’t (which is why I shot at such a high ISO). I also shot in Raw the whole time because even though I wouldn’t get as many frames per second, I knew I’d be dealing with some white balance issues, and they’d be easier to deal with in Raw.


These guys play a mean game of keep-away.


Here’s a Lightroom grid of some more (above—click on it for a larger view), but I’m whipped, and I’m going to bed.


The shot above was taken by Erik with my iPhone (Note: This was taken before my legs felt like someone was burning them with a cigarette lighter). ;-)

Anyway, I hope to shoot more basketball this season, so we’ll see how it goes, but in the end—-nothing beats practice, so that’s what I’m gonna do!

Myself, my daughter Isla, my wife Nichelle, and Oliver the Pomeranian in our 2011 Christmas family portrait

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone.

Four years ago, my friend Jessica asked me to take a picture of her and her boyfriend Brian to send out to friends for the holidays. This was not really the type of thing I typically do, but Jessica is a good friend and a really creative person, so I agreed. It would be fun. Jessica happens to be an amazing producer with a great sense of humor, so I knew it wouldn’t be your typical family portrait.

When the shoot day arrived, the studio was filled with bags of old sweaters, tights, tutu’s, suspenders and some pretty funny props. It looked like tacky Christmas threw up all over the studio. It was awesome.

It didn’t take long until I was laughing so hard I was crying during the shoot. It was a completely new experience for me. I have had some laughs at photo shoots before, but never to the point where I was crying. When it’s personal work, and you have total freedom, you can laugh so hard you cry. Who knew!? That shoot got me thinking about photography in a different way, and really opened up my eyes to something new. Humor, and laughter have always been a big part of my life, but learning how that can be integrated into my photography was an exciting thing. It was also a good reminder of why I like photography so much, and why it is so important to shoot what you enjoy.

I took so many pictures that day, it was hard to narrow them down. But eventually I landed on a few selects I liked the most. After thinking a little about the shoot and how much fun it had been, I really wanted to do something similar with my family. How fun would it be do do something like that every year. Especially when you think about 20 years from now, and how great it would be to have a collection of amazing family pictures. It would be a really great way to look back and not only see how people have grown and changed, but also how I have developed as a photographer. And also to see how my interests and style adapted over the years from picture to picture.

Over the next few years, I continued to take a Holiday picture of Brian and Jessica, but we also did a shoot with my family. The first year of our family photograph, we went the Christmas sweater route, but I wanted to add some additional subtle plot points. I decided to be in a wheel chair with a sling and a neck brace, which came about from a sledding accident with my pomeranian Oliver, who also had a bandage on his leg. And my sister Allison is holding him.

It went over really well, and it was fun to see the picture up on walls and refrigerators when I visited friends and clients. The next year, I put a lot more thought into our picture, and came up with the idea to do a snow scene with yeti.

Having mostly been a portrait photographer at that point, I had been developing a new interest in environmental images, and that interest ended up working its way into our family picture. Our annual Christmas pictures are not only becoming a fun family tradition, but they are a great way to show potential clients my style, as well as who I am as an artist. Photography is not just something I do for work, but it is literally an extension of who I am and how I think. I am already looking forward to next year’s shoot.

The pictures of Brian and Jess from our very first shoot have gone on to heights I never imagined. TV shows, magazines, billboards, posters, Holiday party invites. I wish most of these uses were legal and approved by me, but that’s the power of the Internet I suppose, and a story for another time. As I look back on 2011, I am happy to say I am enjoying photography more than ever thanks to fun personal projects like this. Each year is more fun than the last, and I look forward to taking on new challenges and ideas in the new year.

So what new things are you interested in? Who are you as an artist, and how does your personality influence your work? In the coming year, I encourage you to look for new ways to challenge yourself and try something new. I never would have thought family pictures would be something I could tie into my commercial work, but as they say. You never know until you try. Thanks for reading, and I hope you are able to finish out 2011 laughing in a cheesy Christmas sweater. It’s the best way to end the year.

You can see more of John’s work at, follow him on Twitter, and “Like” him on Facebook

John Keatleysm

My story has very little to do with me, and much more to do with those with whom I have crossed paths.
My life would be very different if it were not for the kindness of others. Through reflecting on events in my life, I realized I need to write down my story, as a way of honoring those who have had a hand in shaping my career path. Hopefully you will be inspired by something you read here, and in turn encourage someone you cross paths with. It doesn’t take much.


Before I began my career in photography, a total stranger stepped into my life and encouraged me.  We spoke for only a few minutes, but what she had to say was so impactful, my life completely changed.  The woman’s name was Kolene.  Years after we had our brief exchange, I called the number for the store she worked at when we met on the off chance she was still working there.  I explained who I was, but before I could get very far, she exclaimed she remembered me.  I told her I was calling to thank her for encouraging me.  Because she took the time to talk to me for a few minutes, I was now working full time as a photographer.  At this point she started to cry, but I suspect they were tears of happiness.



I never thought much about photography until half way through college.  I realized, not only did I not own a camera, but I didn’t have any pictures of my friends, my adventures, or even myself.  I thought maybe someday if I had kids they would want to see me in my college years. (more…)

Seattle-based photographer, John Keatley. A while back, I (Brad) put out a tweet asking who people’s favorite photographers were. Among the responses I got was Mr. Keatley. I took a look at his site and immediately contacted him about doing a guest post.

For those who know me, you know that I have a fairly sarcastic/dry/twisted sense of humor, and John’s work is right up my alley.  He does a number of commercial and editorial assignments that are fairly straightforward.  But his personal work tends to be a bit off-kilter, in a good way.  His clean and simple style is also very appealing.

For tomorrow, he has a great story about one of the first people who helped him decide to pursue a career in photography.  It’s a great reminder that we influence the people we come in contact with every day, whether we realize it or not.  So be sure to come by tomorrow (or late tonight if you’re a night owl) and check it out!

A great photogrPreviewaphy project to raise funds to help Haiti
I got an email from photographer Jim Goldstein about a friend of his, Lane Hartwell, who in just 24 hours has pooled together the amazing work of several photojournalists who have photographed Haiti creating an online magazine on the site “MagCloud”. The magazine is on sale now with all proceeds (less cost) going to the Red Cross to help their efforts in Haiti. Here’s the link. It’s only $16. I hope you’ll consider it.

A week from this Friday in Dallas. You. Me. And 500 or so of your friends.
There are less than 50 seats left for my Dallas “Photoshop For Digital Photographers” one-day workshop, so if you’re planning on going, I’d snag a seat now before it’s too late. Here’s the link. announces their 2009 “Reader’s Choice Awards” for the top 50 iPhone Apps
There are some juicy ones in there (and check out what’s at #2). Here’s the link.

Wanna see some cool photography?
NAPP member Bill Reichardt has some really wild stuff in his NAPP online portfolio (wild in a good way), and if you’ve got a second—it’s totally worth checking him out. Here’s the link. Way to go, Bill!

That’s it for this one folks
Hope you all have a kick-butt Tuesday!


You gotta check this out, because this isn’t just one of those things you don’t see very often—-this is something you just never see—an interview with John Knoll—the co-creator of Adobe Photoshop, and he’s talking to Robert Scoble about the origin of Photoshop well….ya just gotta watch it.

It’s one of those must-watch clips for anyone with even a passing interest in Photoshop, and because it’s John Knoll, you get insights and stories you won’t hear anywhere else. Really great stuff!

Here’s the link—don’t miss it.