Monthly Archives January 2010


We’ve snagged the first killer “this weekend only” deal of the year—this time from Expo Imaging (the same people who bring you ExpoDisc) on their Ray Flash ring flash adapter (here’s the link to learn more about Ray Flash).

Here’s the deal: For this weekend only, they are offering you (the readers of my blog), 15% OFF a Ray Flash which turns your regular Nikon or Canon flash into a ring flash, so that takes the price down to $169.95 (from its normal street price of $199.95).

When you place your order, you have to use this Promo Code to get the special discount:


I’ve used the Ray Flash myself (in fact, I talked about it in Volume 3 of my Digital Photography Book), and it really does a pretty amazing job of giving you the ring flash look without the hassles, price, and weight of using a regular Ring Flash (Here’s the link to order yours).

Note: This special 15% off deal ends this Sunday at Midnight EST.


Extended Interview with Chase Jarvis
In this week’s episode of Photoshop User TV (link), we had a very special guest in the studio; famous photographer Chase Jarvis. We did an interview with Chase on the show, and there is so much to this guy, and he’s got so many cool things going on, that we went way beyond the allotted time on the show, so we put the full extended version of the interview online (where he even answers some questions from his Twitter followers and NAPP members), and you can catch that all right here.

The Top 10 Fonts of 2009! (where I buy most of my fonts) listed their Top 10 most popular fonts of 2009, and there are some great fonts in there (I loved Liza Display Pro and Champion Script Pro). Here’s the link to check out their top 10 picks.

New “Creative Lighting” Online Class from Joe McNally
Hey, we just released a new online class from Big Joe over at Kelby Training Online, and people are already raving about it. It’s his Creative Lighting class and you can check it out right here.

Want to Learn How To Edit Video From Your DSLR?
Then you’ve got to attend Rich Harrington’s Pre-Conference Workshop at the Photoshop World Conference & Expo (March 24-26 in Orlando, Florida), because he’s going to teach exactly how to shoot (including an on-location video shoot for the class), and edit the video images from your DSLR. Space is really limited, but you can snag your spot right here.

That’s it (I told you it was a news quickie). Have a great weekend everybody and we’ll see you back here on Monday. :)


Before we get to the news; it was such an honor to have Bill Frakes as my guest blogger yesterday, and I just wanted to give him a big thanks for kicking off 2010 with a bang!!!! Thanks Bill—that rocked!!! Now, onto the news:

The first great quote of 2010
It came from Seth Godin’s blog (which is a must-read daily blog from one of my favorite business authors), and here’s what Seth said that earned him my “First Great Quote of 2010” distinction:

“When was the last time a bad guy was foiled because he couldn’t use a good camera to take a picture of a tourist attraction?”

Come on, you gotta love anybody that so “gets it” like Seth. Here’s the link to Seth’s blog.

My Photo Recipes DVD/Book is Sold Out!
Be careful what you wish for, right? I just announced my new “Behind the Scenes” book/DVD combo on Tuesday (shown above), and by Wednesday it was already sold out at Barnes & Noble, Borders, and Amazon (where it became the #117 most popular book of ALL books on So, while the good news is that there seems to be lots of interest in this book, the bad news is that it’s already back-ordered for between one and two weeks at both Amazon and Borders, but right now Barnes & has them back in stock, ready to ship (well, at least they did when I wrote this). You can also get on the backorder list at either or

D-Town is D-Layed
Ugh! The set is taking longer to build than we had planned, and although we all thought that today would be the debut of the new season of D-Town TV—-we were wrong. Looks like we’re going to have to wait for next week (So sorry about that—-it’s totally our fault. Every time I estimate how long a new set is going to take to build—I’m way off. Apparently, estimating building times is not my strong suit). So, thanks for hanging in there and being patient with us, and we’ll be looking (keeping our fingers crossed) for our launch next week. Double-ugh!

The New Season of Layers TV
Apparently RC and Corey are better at estimating their launch date than I am, as their new season of Layers TV (the weekly show about everything Adobe) just kicked off. You can watch it online right here. Congratulations guys! (but you are making me look bad). ;-)

I am so digging “Best SLR”
A big shout-out and my thanks to “” who included two of my Digital Photography books in their “10 Best Photography How-To Books” list. Here’s the link.

That’s it for today folks
I had planned on putting some shots up today from my Lions/Bears NFL sideline shoot today, but I got tied up with some other stuff. Maybe tomorrow. In the meantime, I hope you guys have the kind of Thursday that feels like a Friday! :)

psforphbMy first live seminar of the year is coming up at the end of this month as we bring my “Photoshop CS4 for Digital Photographers” tour to the Arlington Convention Center (just outside Dallas) on Friday, January 29th. I’m teaching five classes during full-day seminar:

  1. My “Seven-Point System” for Camera Raw
  2. Portrait Retouching Techniques
  3. Killer Photoshop Tips for Photographers
  4. Printing Techniques and How to Show Your Work
  5. My Photoshop Editing Workflow, from Start to Finish

Here’s the full class schedule, more details, and how to sign up (it’s just $99 for the full day, including the printed workbook and goodies disc, or just $79 for NAPP members). I hope I’ll get to meet you in person in Dallas in just a few weeks!


There is no off position on my visual switch.  I am constantly watching, thinking, calculating, enjoying.

For me this is a marathon, not a sprint.  I want the images I make to have meaning now, and later.  I am as engaged and passionate about the work now as I was that first magical time I saw a print pop up in the developer.  And that was a few million images ago.

I fully enjoy technology.  Okay, I LOVE technology.  It’s fun to have, hold and appreciate just for itself.  But what’s important about it is that it allows me to constantly upgrade the way I work.

For me using new stuff to make my work easier is just being lazy.  I need to use it to make the storytelling better.  I carry Nikon cameras that can see in the dark.  I’m amazed at how wonderful they are.

When I started making images the cameras had exactly two controls on the body that I used.  Shutter speed dial.  Shutter release.  They allowed me to freeze split seconds in time.

My new cameras have thousands of combinations of controls—so many possibilities. So many different ways to capture decisive moments of motion and emotion which is the integral part of what I hope to accomplish.  These cameras let me do more than communicate with frozen moments.  Now I can record ambient audio, and motion.

My computers are fast—they’re Macs with as much RAM as I can buy.  I have fiber optic cabled raids.  I have portable rugged raids.  I use Apple software to keep my images right where I want them.

Part of the challenge of the marathon is having a way for the images I’ve made over the past 30 years or so to have relevance.

When I was shooting film, I realized that I would need organization for my images.  So I developed a scheme for that.  Big shiny black cabinets, with lots and lots of slide pages stuffed with processed transparencies, and even more envelopes full of black and white negatives.  Neatly arranged in a way that made sense to me, and hopefully to the others working with the material.

Then digital came along and the challenges became different.  I had to figure out how to handle all of the images I was capturing digitally, and integrate that with my analog files.

Software offered the tools I needed to archive my photographs–with metadata–that allowed the images to have relevance to this day.  Without the metadata, it would be like having a giant stack of unorganized slide sheets.  Yeah, the images are in there somewhere, but it would be so hard to find them, it’s almost as though they were dead.

I use Aperture to make sense of it all.  It allows me to make my digital archive mimic my analog one—which is slowly but surely and securely being converted to digital.

A lot of folks have made sacrifices to allow me to work freely.  I owe it to them to work every day as hard as I can to contribute what I can.  Now more than ever the world needs photojournalists working openly and honestly to bring information to every possible viewing platform.  Sharing their thoughts, experiences, feelings and vision.

My creative partner is Laura Heald.  She’s aggravatingly young and talented.  At 23 she produces work that leaves me shaking my head in admiration.

We have our own production company, Straw Hat Visuals. Terry McDonell, the managing editor of Sports Illustrated asked us to produce some visual web content and with help from a bunch of our friends—Jimmy Colton, Steve Fine, Don Henderson and Bill Pekala chief among them –we jumped into making multis on tight deadline.

Multimedia production is now my favorite form of storytelling, combining the best of HD video, still imaging, ambient audio, a well crafted script and music.  The new cameras—I use the Nikon D3s and Nikon D300s– are capable of producing technically sensational images, both still and video.

You have to use them intelligently especially when shooting video by using proper supports to eliminate shake and help with consistent composition.

You also have to add light to accent and explain what you’re shooting.

It has allowed us to expand our visual capabilities.  We can now create three different kinds of media with one tool.  Working in this new realm of media has been creatively liberating, allowing us to create content that before would have required extra equipment and people.

Backpack journalism.  That’s where it’s at for us.  We can go anywhere, cover most anything for a wide variety of viewing mediums using the tools we can carry on our backs.  And a few shipping cases.  (We have a list of the gear we take on assignments on our website.)

Which leads me to this:

25 years ago I spent many, many hours with a remarkable woman documenting what was happening to her.  Missy was an athletic university student who lost her right leg to a terrible cancer.  The Miami Herald published the story on Christmas, 1984.

This past summer Laura and I covered the World Athletics Championships in Berlin for Sports Illustrated.

When we finished with the track, we rented a car and drove to Rome.  I had a story to which I needed to add.  And Laura, as she always does, offered to help.

Missy Koch Billingsley is my dear friend. I knew Missy before she found out she had cancer. Like all of her friends I was stunned, paralyzed, when I found out. For the next year I was with Missy documenting what she was feeling, how she was coping, just being there. She promised me from the start that she would beat the cancer, that even after she lost her leg that she would walk again, and she did.

We’ve stayed in touch through the years and I’ve watched her work through the challenges surrounding being a cancer survivor.  She is right where she always said she’d be, exploring the world with her family –happy and healthy.  She lives in Rome with her composer husband Todd Billingsley and their three children—Joey, Lukas and Abbey—and is dedicated to making life better for everyone she comes in contact with.

When things get tough I only have to look to Missy for inspiration.

If you want to learn more about Missy, her husband Todd has written a book that you can find on his website

Thanks Scott and Brad for inviting to me to blog.   You’ve built a really nice place for all of the rest of us to visit and learn and I’m incredibly flattered that you asked me to contribute.

Legendary sports photographer and photojournalist Bill Frakes. I (Brad) have been a fan of Bill’s work since before I knew his name.  His images and stories have always left an impression on me as a growing photographer.  He’s a staff photographer for Sports Illustrated, and has photographed everyone from President Obama to Michael Jordan to Tim Tebow.

In his blog for tomorrow, he discusses the transition from film to digital, his love of technology, and his passion for storytelling.  He also includes a heart wrenching, yet inspiring multimedia piece on the story of his friend who lost her leg to cancer early in life, but has gone on to live her dream.

Bill was also one of the first people to get his hands on a D3s and created the video below for Nikon.

So come back tomorrow and enjoy what Bill has in store for us.  In the meantime, feel free to check out his website, as well as his media website, Straw Hat Visuals.  (And while you’re there, go ahead and familiarize yourself with Laura, who is next week’s guest blogger!)