Posts By Brad Moore

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Transform Your Home into a Professional Photography Studio, Part 2
Join Rick Sammon for part 2 of his series on how to transform your home into a professional photography studio! Building on his previous class, Rick takes it to the next level by bringing in more advanced accessories, more advanced lighting techniques, and a professional model to show you a whole new set of tips and techniques that are easy to replicate. You’ll be surprised to see that without spending a lot of money or time, you can channel your energy and creativity into getting studio quality results in your own home. In each lesson Rick discusses the gear you’ll need, how to set it up, how to work with your subject, and then shows you how to get the shot.

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Build a Stunning Website in Minutes with Adobe Portfolio
Did you know you can have a beautiful, professionally-designed online portfolio up and running tonight for free, if you subscribe to any of Adobe’s Creative Cloud plans, including the Photographers Bundle plan? It’s called “Adobe Portfolio” and it’s included in your Creative Cloud subscription and this course, by Scott Kelby, is designed to take you, step-by-step through the simple process of getting your portfolio up and running right away. You’ll be amazed at how full featured Adobe Portfolio is, and how easy it is to pick your template, upload your images, customize your layout, and share it online. It’s way better than you’d think.

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Mentorship is Invaluable
I’ve known photographers who hold their cards very close to their chest for fear of showing their proverbial hand. I’m not sure why they’re fearful. After all, you can teach someone a technique and they will not produce the exact same picture implementing those techniques. You see the technique may be replicated, the art and vision cannot. That’s solely distinct from one individual photographer to another.

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On the other hand, I’ve met photographers who pass it on freely without any expectation of return. In fact, I’ve been the recipient of such mentorship. That’s why I’d say I fall into the latter group. In my mind, there’s no harm in it. Some may argue that I’m grooming competition that could take food from my table. That’s a valid point, but I’m unafraid. I’m secure enough in my abilities to share with others without fear they’ll overtake me. I am who I am. They are who they are. Besides, I’d be very proud if they became uber-successful. That’s just another form of accomplishment – to have impacted someone’s life so greatly would be an honor. There’s also the old adage that healthy competition brings out the best work in all of us!Pearsall_Image-004 Pearsall_Image-005

To that end, I don’t view it as creating competition. Rather, I’m giving back to my profession. That’s why mentoring others is so important to me, and I do it in many ways. I’m listed as a mentor with the National Press Photographers Association, and I’ve written books and blogs, and I do podcasts, webcasts and public speaking. I talk to middle school, high school and college level students and teach professional photography workshops. Any way I can help, I try.

Over the last 15 years, I’ve developed many fun, unique ways to mentor and teach. I’ve had middle and high school photography student internships, college internships, first assistant opportunities for newly graduated photographers and more. There’s something to be said about improving yourself by cultivating others.

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Most recently I’ve used my program, the Veterans Portrait Project, as a learning tool. With the support of Nikon Professional Services, we provided Nikon DSLR cameras to 66 Raritan High School digital photography students so they could learn how to take studio portraits. For two days, we taught the art of portrait photography, how to communicate with strangers, types of lighting techniques, posing and exposure fundamentals. On the third day, the class culminated with a Veterans Portrait Project event where the students stood shoulder-to-shoulder with me and took portraits of local-area veterans. It was amazing to see how much the young students flourished behind the camera, and in front of our eyes. It was a huge success. Check out some of students’ work. I think you’ll be equally impressed.


At this point, you may be asking what’s the purpose of this post. This is my attempt at inspiring you to take someone under your wing, and be a mentor too. It’s also my round-a-bout way of saying we’re all responsible for the future of photography and we should all be contributing to its success. Whether photography is old-hat to you or you’re new to the game, you’ve got something to offer someone. Let’s be open, ready to share and inspire each other. Let’s flourish in this art together. See you at Photoshop World 2016!

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You can see more of Stacy’s work at StacyPearsall.com, and follow her on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. You can also see her live at Photoshop World where she’ll be teaching her class Combat From Behind The Camera!

From Flat to Fabulous with Scott Kelby
Take your photos from flat to fabulous with Scott Kelby! If you’ve ever experienced being let down by how a photo can look right out of the camera then this class is for you. Join Scott as he takes you from start to finish through his entire post-processing workflow on a wide variety of photos, with an even wider range of problems. You’ll learn how to use Camera Raw to do the basics, how to use Photoshop’s suite of tools for magically removing unwanted objects from the scene, how to crop, how to convert to black and white, how to do whatever it takes to make your photos look fantastic. Pull up a seat and watch over Scott’s shoulder as he shares his thought process, his tips, and his techniques for dealing with landscapes, portraits, collages, cityscapes, panoramas, and more. By the end of the class you’re sure to be thinking differently about some of those photos you were ready to delete, and you may uncover areas of Photoshop that you’ve never seen before.

In Case You Missed It
Ideally, every photo we take would be perfect: perfect exposure, perfect white balance, no backlighting, no harsh shadows. Of course the reality is that some images need to be fixed, and in this course we will look at ways to deal with common problems. In each lesson Dave will fix a problem image, real-time, step-by-step. Check out Fixing Photographic Problems with Adobe Photoshop with Dave Cross at KelbyOne!

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I always advocate experimenting in Photoshop to see what happens. Sometimes the results are not at all what you might have expected – in either a good way or a bad way. If you don’t like the results you can always undo, delete or start over. But you may love the results – or at least see some potential that encourages you to keep going down that path of experimentation.

One example of experimentation is using a common technique in an “uncommon” way. Here’s a technique that I’ll be teaching in my Photoshop World class called Photoshop Textures, Borders, Edges and More. It involves using Refine Edge, but to make an unusual edge rather than a perfect selection.

First we need to find an image that will create a cool edge effect, so look for an image with lots of detail like stone texture, branches etc. – a photo with a plain blue sky would not work as well.

NOTE: You could use this technique to create a mask on the same photo, but I’m going to use it to create a mask for a different photo.

In this example I’ve chosen a photo and rotated it 90 degrees since I’ll be using it in landscape orientation.

STEP ONE: Use the Marquee selection tool to make a selection that leaves a small area not selected. (This is one of the factors that you can experiment with as you try this method).

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STEP TWO: Click the Refine Edge button, and in the dialog move the radius slider quite high, and experiment with turning on the Smart Radius option. Take advantage of the preview to see the results you’ll get from different settings.
Change the Output to Layer Mask.

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STEP THREE: Drag the layer and mask into the second document. Unlock the Background layer, and then drag the Layer Mask onto the unlocked layer. Finally, delete the copied layer.

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Here’s the final result with a white layer added below to simulate what the edge would look like when printed.

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VARIATION: After the mask has been created, you have one more opportunity to edit the effect: double-click on the mask and in the Properties panel click on Refine Mask. Then you can experiment further with different settings.

In this example, I used a small radius and increased the Contrast to change the look of the edge.

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Remember, once a mask has been created, it’s easy to copy it into another document and resize or tweak as you need.

Of course a key part of this ability to experiment is to work as non-destructively as possible. This means using layers, layer masks, smart filters etc. to give you as much opportunity as possible to try multiple operations, knowing that you’ll be able to go back if you’re not completely happy with the results.

Remember, by nature Photoshop works in a very linear way – you have to choose to work in a non-destructive manner to give yourself the greatest ability possible to experiment.

Dave Cross shares his favorite non-destructive Photoshop techniques – and much more – on his online training site: online.davecrossworkshops.com. He adds new content each week, often in direct response to member questions. You can also follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

At Photoshop World Dave will be teaching 3 classes: Photoshop Textures, Borders, Edges and More, The Power of Using Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign Together, and Smart Objects, Layer Comps and Libraries — Oh My!

Aviation Photography: Post-Processing Historical Planes with Moose Peterson
Join Moose Peterson as he takes you through his workflow for post-processing some of his favorite historical aircraft photos. Moose takes you through the basics of how he uses Bridge, Camera Raw, and Photoshop to finish his aviation photographs, and then each subsequent lesson builds on those basics and shows you how to tackle increasingly more complicated situations. In all cases Moose starts with the vision he had in his mind and his heart when he took the photo, and teaches you how to use the software to finish telling the story and evoke emotion in the final image. There’s no slider for romance, so it is all on you to bring your own passion and vision to each step of the process. From enhancing drama to making the subject come alive, Moose shares his tricks of the trade for creating the types of photographs that have been the key to his success.

In Case You Missed It
Make sure you also check out Moose’s class The Art of Air to Air!

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A while ago I posted the following online:
When you look at carpenters, you will not see them laughing at each other because of the brand of hammer they use. They know it’s all about the work they create, the end result.

Still in almost every workshop I teach, I will have attendees who think they can’t do something because of the camera (or even the brand) they use. In essence it’s all about the work you do, it’s just a tool.

Much to my surprise, some carpenters responded and told me that this was not true and that there are indeed (just like with photography) people that talk down to carpenters using a certain kind of hammer. To say my dream was destroyed goes a bit far but… Well I was actually a bit surprised.

Of course there are fields where gear is incredibly important like biking, racing, etc. that are highly depending on the gear. Fine tuning the car a bit more can be the difference between placing pole position and all the way at the back. The driver is also vital, but sometimes I wonder what the combination is; I think it’s mostly machine “helped” by the human driving it.

Now, with photography I won’t tell you that the gear isn’t important at all. I wish that were the case because that would make our passion a lot lot cheaper! But what I do want to tell you is that the human factor is incredibly important.

Our History
When my wife Annewiek and I were still living in our caves and I came home from the hunt with my dinosaur and could relax while Annewiek was preparing our meat on the BBQ, I couldn’t watch TV so I started drawing on the caves walls. I didn’t draw beautiful women in tiger skins (realize the women back then were also carrying weapons). What I drew were literally stories about my heroic adventures and how I discovered fire and later the wheel. Fast forward to our pyramids and we also used drawing/imaging for story telling.

For me photography is not only story telling, but I do like it if most of my images (if not all) have an element of story telling.

What Is Story Telling?
When you talk about story telling, for a lot of people this means letting the model/sitter do something. Add a REAL element of a story and this is 100% true. I would rather call this a concept shoot, meaning you really tell a story.

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For me story telling is more adding some elements in a shot that make the viewer go, “Mmmm I wonder what he/she is thinking?” or, “What is going on?” It can be done with a simple element like a camera, but it can also be done with something like an expression.

Sometimes people ask me why most of my models look away from the camera. I think this is actually part of that story telling element. If a model looks straight into the camera, this can be incredibly powerful (don’t get me wrong). However it can be even more powerful when the model isn’t. Then the immediate question becomes, “Where is she looking, what’s going on over there?” Hence your story telling element.

You don’t have to write a book with your one image (or more), but just try to give your model something to work with. You can give her a camera in her hand, but you can also make her work that camera like she is taking selfies etc.

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Backgrounds
The story telling can also be with your backgrounds. We all know seamless backgrounds right?

For me they were awesome when I started with my model photography. Then slowly (but surely) they lost a lot of their appeal for the simple reason… There was nothing going on. BUT…. You can use your backgrounds in a totally new way and combine some ideas, and you have a totally different image.

Whenever I teach a workshop where I “have” to use seamless I always ask them if the seamless can be destroyed after the shoot, and luckily they always say yes. I see it as my “trash the dress” shoot. You can actually start very easy.

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Combining different options really creates something cool in my opinion. For example combine this with the camera.

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Or let the model do something more….

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In the end it’s all about your creativity and your mind.

I don’t always work on concept shots because most of the work you see me posting online or find in my portfolio is shot during workshops or during trade shows where I often don’t have the options to do elaborate shoots with big sets. I literally have to work with what I get.

But even then just working with a little bit of styling and proper coaching of your models goes a LONG way.

As you can see in this example, it’s a shot that isn’t hard to create, it’s just in our studio. But I’ve added some smoke to blend everything together and I mixed light sources to create a more surreal look. The whole idea of them looking somewhere and the male model holding a “device” makes it a bit more mysterious (story telling). Your mind will fill in the blanks, and the fun thing is… Everyone will do it differently. That’s also why I hardly ever name my images or add stories to them. I think it’s more powerful when the viewer does that. Because your imagination is much stronger than what I can write down.

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As you see in the example above, although it was just shot during a workshop with the concept of mixing light sources, a BIG part of the image is that you as the photographer determine the outcome. I could have just mixed light sources and explained the effect and technique. But by also pushing myself for a cool shot I also inspire the group to start doing this at home, because they see how “easily” it can be done. Don’t get me wrong… creativity is NOT easy, but it CAN be done.

And sometimes you are just incredibly lucky and everything falls together.

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As you can see in the shot above I was very lucky. I shot this just before Photoshop World in Vegas during a trip to Nelson. We brought a model to film a scene for an instructional video. I asked her to bring a red dress, however by happenstance she also brought these angle wings. Lucky me there was a plane, so my mind immediately created… well fill in your own story there (see how easy it is? :D)

Do You Plan?
This is probably the most asked question… And my answer is… Well, yes and no.

Sometimes we plan a shoot and we will plan it from A-Z (and during the shoot it will be different). But we will have an idea for the clothing, location etc. and sometimes… It just happens. Remember that shot we opened with, Nadine sitting on a pumpkin with the sign pointing down? Believe it or not, NOTHING in that shot was planned. It was shot during a workshop I taught in the UK last year and we happened to stumble on this cute little shop creating props for kids attractions. We asked if we could use it for a shot and they said, “Sure but what do you see in this junk?” We just said, “Trust us.” Nadine combined the clothing and literally built the set herself in mere minutes. The only thing I had to do was to “blend” everything together, pose and lighting wise. You don’t want to know how many people ask us how much preparation that shoot took and I think half of them don’t believe the story I just told you, but it’s 100% true.

At one point you develop a sense for story telling.

During the workshops at Photoshop World you will see the same thing, I ALWAYS go in blank, I have a theme and things I want to teach, but everything else is 100% blank. This is also why my workshops and demos are always different, even if I teach two or three in a row.

During the workshop/demo, I guide my group exactly through my thought process and show them what I see/think/feel about a setup and what would work or wouldn’t. The fun/interesting thing to see is how everything is build up and how often we do change things during the shoot.

Now this is during workshops/free work where it’s all about the learning process. If we work for clients this is often too “risky” and I will actually create a moodboard for the team and client and try to stick to that moodboard. What I do always build in is options to change things. If you promise smoke to a client and the smoke machines don’t work or are not allowed you’re…. well…. you know what I mean :D If you however promise the idea/suggestion of smoke you can always solve this by for example using lensflare, breathing on the lens etc. So never pin yourself down too much.

Conclusion
The human mind is a crazy thing. It’s incredibly flexible and creative if triggered, so learn to play with that. But don’t go in like a blind horse, make 100% sure you also have the knowledge to pull things off. Although I’m a very creative shooter I know all my techniques, I know how to meter, how to make sure my color and exposures are correct, I know how to create the effects I need. I hate to rely on the “pffff we pulled that off but I don’t know how.”

During workshops I always tell people to bring everything when they ask me what to bring. It often happens I’m only shooting with a 24-70 the whole workshop and one light source. But it also often happens I’m using a 12-24 and several lights. With creative people you never know. Look at the set and let your imagination go wild, but most of all… If you know something works, use that as a backup and start with something new, something exciting. You can also go back to safe, but if you only shoot what you know will work, you will always end up with the same images.

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You can see more of Frank’s work at FrankDoorhof.com, and follow him on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. You can also see Frank live July 19-21 at Photoshop World in Las Vegas, and July 15 in Santa Cruz for his Mastering The Model Shoot Workshop!

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