Posts By Brad Moore

scottlrslimsystem

Simplified Lightroom Image Management System with Scott Kelby
Have you ever wished you could start your Lightroom catalog over from scratch and do it right? If you have, or if you are just starting to use Lightroom for this first time, then this class is for you. Join Scott Kelby as he walks you through his simplified Lightroom image management system (SLIM) that keeps his drive organized, his workflow simple, and his piece of mind intact. This is a class you’re going to want to watch in its entirety before you take action, but it may be just the thing you need to rethink how to use Lightroom from the ground up and see things in a new light. There’s a Q&A session with the live studio audience at the end to expand your understanding even further.

In Case You Missed It
Streamline your mobile photography workflow with Lightroom Mobile! Join Josh Haftel, senior product manager at Adobe, as he teaches you how to use Lightroom Mobile to import, organize, edit, and share your mobile photography, as well as how you can synchronize it all with Lightroom on your desktop and Lightroom Web.

mikemez
Photo by Conrad Meyer

Capturing the Shot of a Lifetime

On July 26, 2016, after several weeks of slowly progressing miles down from the Puʻu ʻŌʻō vent on the Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii, lava entered the Pacific Ocean creating the world’s newest land. This was the first time in nearly three years that lava had returned to the ocean. It was a moment that I had waited oh so patiently for years on, and when it happened, the frantic search for flights began. Photographing an active volcano was the number two item on my bucket list, right under photographing the aurora borealis.

Unfortunately, money was a bit tighter than I had hoped for at the time, and with a few previously planned trips to teach, it looked like my excursion wouldn’t be able to happen for at least a month. It was an extremely hard pill to swallow. Would the lava still be flowing in a month? Would I miss capturing the shot I waited years for? Who knew, but I have always believed that everything happens for a reason and patience pays off.

In early September, I was finally able to catch a flight out to the Big Island in hopes of seeing the lava ocean entry up close and personal. During that painstaking month of waiting, I did an ample amount of research on how to safely approach the ocean entry from both land and sea. Needless to say, both were dangerous, and to be honest, I was never very good at the game “the floor is lava,” when I was a kid. There was definitely a bit of anxiety and fear on my behalf when the time came to actually head out to the lava flow.

With only three days to be able to visit the 61G lava flow, I put together a shot list of what I hoped on capturing. It was quite simple, nothing out of the ordinary, nothing like what I captured on one of my last frames out in the field. I honestly just wanted a nice long exposure of the ocean entry, a close up shot from the boat, and some sort of surface flow with a nice sunset. I wasn’t asking for much in my opinion.

On the first two days, I was able to document the lava entering the ocean from the cliffs near Kalapana, as well as from the ocean thanks to a ride from Ocean Lava Tours and Captain Shane. During those days out though, surface flows were non-existent except for a distant flow just coming down the Pulama Pali, a good couple of miles away from the ocean entry. That area was my only chance of being able to get close on foot to the lava, as any chance to get close to the surface flows going over the cliffs was impossible due to the area being closed off for safety reasons. The hike was going to be long and included crossing some areas that may still be hot from recent flows, vents with volcanic gases, and collapsed lava tubes. Needless to say, it had its risks. After consulting with some local photographers and national park rangers about the trip out there, I felt I had enough of an understanding on how to safely make the trip.

On the evening of the last day of the trip, it was go time. The trek began with a four-mile bike ride down the emergency access road from Kalapana to the ocean entry point. After that, it was another two-and-a-half mile hike across the old lava flows where with every few steps, you risked twisting an ankle or falling and getting cut (which happened several times). Once the bottom of the Pali was reached, almost all hope was lost as the lava that was seen coming down that morning, was nowhere to be found. I used a pair of binoculars to scope out the area in hopes of seeing even the smallest of red glow coming from somewhere accessible.

About fifteen minutes into searching, it happened, a small breakout about 300 yards away grabbed my eye. It wasn’t the river of lava that I was hoping for but dang it, it was lava. I quickly made my way across the terrain and when I turned the corner around an area of uplifted lava rock, I was greeted with the crackling sound and scorching heat of a slow moving surface flow. The lava, at nearly 2300ºF, was so hot that I could only stand within a few feet of it for about five seconds before the hairs on my legs would begin to singe. It was an amazing moment to see something so beautiful and powerful, right there in front of me. I began to shoot away and as daylight faded, the fiery sunset I was hoping for was nowhere to be found, as the sky was cloudless from horizon to horizon. I was left longing for a more interesting shot than just a surface flow with a blank sky.

In the world of a landscape photographer, many of us know that it is a love/hate relationship with clouds. We want clouds for that stunning sunset, but then we want clear skies for our astrophotography images. With the clear skies available for the taking, I decided that it would be nice to try and create an image with some stars above the lava. After analyzing the sky, I noticed that there was a small crescent moon off to the southwest and it was still Milky Way season, so the celestial center should be off to the south somewhere. The question on my mind though was, would the crescent moon be too close to the Milky Way and wash it out, or would it be the perfect amount of light to add a nice element to the sky while being able to retain detail in the Milky Way core?

As twilight faded, I began to set up my composition and quickly realized another issue. The surface flow in front of me was way too bright and I wouldn’t be able to properly expose for both the Milky Way and lava in one frame. As easy as it would be to shoot the image in two parts, one for the Milky Way and one for the lava, I didn’t want a blended image if I could avoid it. I decided to move away from the larger surface flow breakout and towards the area of the lava that was cooling but still had a glow from just beneath the crust. This worked out perfectly.

The lava was bright enough to show through the cracks in a vibrant red color, all the while allowing the night sky to come through beautifully. I rattled off my first frame and then encountered another problem. The glow from the larger surface flow area was too bright and was flaring my frame so badly that the image wouldn’t be useable. I was shooting on a Nikon 14-24mm lens, so there was no lens hood, which meant I had to create one myself. All I did was simply stand a few feet to the left of my lens and positioned myself until my shadow covered the front element of my lens, and boom…human lens hood.

I rattled off my second image and noticed that I needed to move just a tad further back to be completely out of my frame, but besides that, everything was technically exactly where I wanted it to be. I took note of where I should stand, triggered my timer on my camera, and then stepped into position. The shutter opened and I took in the moment. Listening to the lava crackle like Rice Krispies, the moon and Milky Way shining above, and then in the blink of an eye, I saw a meteor streak across the sky. It was too good to be true and I almost ran to my camera to see if I captured it all before the shutter closed. Thankfully, I caught myself before I moved, which would have resulted in the whole image being lost due to that evil lava flare.

When I heard the shutter close, I quickly ran over and waited for the noise reduction to render out. After what seemed to be the longest 25 seconds ever, the LCD lit up with the image and had all the elements there, perfectly tack sharp. An active lava flow glowing up from the surface, the moon shining above, the Milky Way glowing brightly, and a meteor streaking through starry night sky. I couldn’t believe my eyes and I knew I couldn’t top that shot, no matter how long I stayed out that night. So with that said, I packed up my gear and began the long seven-mile trek back.

61gspaceng

After posting the image online, the shot went viral. It was published all around the world, including National Geographic – Russia. With the image getting so much attention, comments and messages began rolling in questioning the reality of the image and claiming that even if it were real, there would be no way possible to capture all those elements and differences in light in one shot. Well, as the guy who melted part of his shoes off while standing as a human lens hood near 2300ºF lava, I can attest…it is 100% real and 100% possible. It simply took an understanding of light and how to work with it. Oh yeah, and a little bit of luck and dedication.

The image you see here was shot at f/2.8, ISO 2500, and 25” shutter. Basically the settings that were needed to properly expose for the night sky. For post processing, minimal adjustments were made. I corrected the white balance, added a bit of clarity and contrast, and did a bit of dodging and burning. I hope this article enlightens you all to how this image came to life with so much planning before the shutter was even clicked.

You can see more of Mike’s work at MikeMezPhotography.com, and follow him on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Getting Started in Real Estate Photography with Thomas Grubba
Get started in real estate photography with Thomas Grubba, a San Fransisco based real estate photographer. From assessing the property to the basic gear, Thomas starts you off at the very beginning of how to approach a real estate photography shoot. Working through each room, as well as the exterior, Thomas takes you step-by-step through his process for getting the best story-telling compositions, as well as his thoughts on how to light each room. Once the shooting is done, join Thomas back in the studio for a look at his post processing workflow. Thomas wraps up the class with a primer on how to start a real estate photography business, the basics of his business model, and the importance of using contracts to protect your copyright. The goal of this class is to show you how to develop an efficient workflow that will deliver consistent results, and by the end of the class you’ll be ready to go!

In Case You Missed It
Create amazing food and beverage photos in natural light! Join Steve Hansen, a commercial food and beverage photographer, on location as he takes you through a variety of food and beverage setups in a natural light studio. Styling food is a huge component of food photography, and Steve shares invaluable tips on how to handle and style everything from fried eggs to cold glasses, and from real flames to coffee. For each shoot Steve builds the set from scratch sharing his thought process and various tricks and techniques he’s learned and developed over his career. Beyond the sets and the food styling you’ll learn how to control, tame, and manipulate natural light even if you’re just using one of your own windows.

lm-headshot

The Value Of Your Image Has Nothing To Do With These Three Things
Karen said she needed to call me with some exciting news, but what she told me broke my heart.

She had an exciting opportunity — a request from a national news publication to use her photo — and she planned to give her image away. Karen decided that her photo wasn’t worth any money because of her lack of experience and because she shot it with an entry-level camera.

I know the feeling because I have thought that myself. This photo can’t be worth much because I didn’t really work that hard to get it. I don’t deserve payment. Fill in your own reasons.

If you have ever nursed one of these seeming innocent untruths, I have three messages for you.

1) The value of your image has nothing to do with the length of time you have been a photographer.

Have you ever walked into a gallery and saw a great photo? There’s usually a card under it with relevant information. You will find the photographer’s name, the title of the piece, and the price.

There is nothing about how long you have been a photographer. Why? It’s not relevant to the buyer.

I don’t know of anyone who has proudly described art hanging on her walls by bragging that the photographer has been shooting for 20 years.

street-portrait-calvin

2) The value of your image has nothing to do with your skill level as a photographer.

Magazines and news organization charge their clients advertising based on an established rate. Nothing on that rate sheet identifies the skill level of the photographer. You pay for how many people see, read, or click.

When an editor decides to take up a page of valuable real estate in the magazine with your photo, the editor has already assigned it value. By selecting and placing it in the layout, she has decided that it has value in illustrating the story.

If your image leads more people into the article, that is the value. Nothing in the equation factors your experience level.

3) The value of your image has nothing to do with the camera you use.

When Time Magazine wanted to cover the destruction of Hurricane Sandy in New York City and New Jersey, they outfitted their reporters with iPhones.

Did that hamper them? Not at all. In fact, one photo was good enough to make the cover of the magazine. The value of the images was in educating 3 million readers not that it was shot on an iPhone.

How do you determine the value of your image? There are two ways I might measure its worth — one is intrinsic value and the other is market value.

street-portrait-gamerholic

Intrinsic value – Because you created the image, you can assign your own value – to you.

Take the late Prince as an example. One of Prince’s legacies is, even after his death, you couldn’t play his music without paying for it. You couldn’t rock out to Prince on YouTube or Spotify. You couldn’t satisfy your nostalgia without paying his price.

In an environment that says you have to give away your music to be heard, Prince placed an intrinsic value on his music that wouldn’t allow him to do that.

Hip Hop artist Sir Mix-a-Lot shared some insight on why it might be harder to place intrinsic value on your art.

“You have a generation of fans who have grown up never paying for music, and you have a generation of artists who have never been paid for their work,” he said. “Everybody has been subconsciously taught music has no value.”

You can say the same thing for photography. Pictures have become so plentiful, we are being conditioned to believe that they have no value.

It’s up to us to assert that our images have value, if only because we created them.

Market Value – Just because you think your photos have value doesn’t mean you can extract any sum of money for them.

The market will tell you the monetary value based on a variety of factors.

Exclusivity – Let’s say you are at a wedding and notice the bride and her mother in a tight embrace. You see a single tear trickling down the bride’s face.

You are the only photographer who rushes over and captures that photo. When the bride and mom see that photo, will they demand to know what kind of camera you used before they purchase? Not likely. The value to them is in the moment you captured.

Supply And Demand – If you are at a news event and capture the one-millionth view of an evolving story, most editors will not care. If you have the only photograph of the news story of the day, you can begin negotiating.

Technical Expertise – If you have perfected a technique that looks interesting and few people can duplicate it, you can charge for that.

Marketing – Don’t underestimate your marketing’s impact on the value of your images. Your ability to tell your story in a way that is compelling can also create the perception of value.

If you want to know what your photo is worth, ask what is valuable to the recipient? How is your photo being used? What impact will your image have for the purchaser? Those are your key metrics.

macro-flower

Money isn’t the only way to measure the worth of your image, but it doesn’t mean you have to devalue your photography.

Have you ever have someone ask for your image and offer you exposure in lieu of money?

Sometimes it might be worth it, but remember exposure can be quantified. How many people will see your image? Are the people seeing it the ones who you care about? Will they see your byline? Will you get a link? Is there an equivalent ad rate?

Relationships have a value that can be leveraged appropriately.

My mom asked me to photograph her event. Naturally, I’ll do it for free. The guy I just met at a networking function gets an invoice. My old college buddy? It depends.

Here’s an easy test. Would you lend them something you value? If you aren’t close enough to lend them something you value, why would you give them your images, something else you value?

Generally, friends who value your talent won’t feel entitled to your work.

Are you volunteering for a cause you feel strongly about? Give them the gift of your images and send an invoice showing the value of your donation. They’ll appreciate your gift and understand what it is worth.

There are so many ways to decide how to value your images, but none of them have anything to do with how long you have been a photographer, your skill level, or the type of camera you use. Don’t let anyone else use those reasons to devalue your work.

Lynford Morton is a photography coach and founder of the Shutterbug Life podcast community. He teaches beginner and enthusiast photographers how to create great photos, build an audience, and make an impact with their images. Follow him at ShutterbugLife.com, and on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.

Finding Your Artistic Voice with Karen Hutton
It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see! Join Karen Hutton for an exploration of how to find your voice, and share it with the world. Finding your voice takes a lifetime, but you don’t need to wait to start using it. In this class Karen shares a simple process, using many visual examples, for how you can look at your own life and connect who you are to what you do with your photography. Your voice is who you are, and the world needs you to weave things that matter into what you want to say with your art. From having a vision to practical examples and exercises, Karen shares what has helped her find her voice and bring it to bear in her work. This class was filmed in front of a live audience, so be sure to stick around for the Q&A session at the end.

In Case You Missed It
Deanne Fitzmaurice began her career as a staff photographer for the San Francisco Chronicle, and her incredible images have appeared in an array of top publications ranging from National Geographic to Sports Illustrated. Deanne’s dedication, compassion, and courage to completing emotionally and photographically challenging assignments that have taken her to dangerous regions across the globe is an inspiration to all aspiring photojournalists. In this segment of our Trailblazers series Mia McCormick sits down with Deanne to discuss topics ranging from how she got started in photography to how she deals with the obstacles that arise when trying to tell compelling human interest stories, and from how she handles the emotional and physical challenges that can accompany the act of storytelling to the importance of covering the lows as well as the high moments in the arc of a story.

paris

Serge Ramelli has two photo workshops this spring! One in beautiful Paris and the other in wonderful Italy! They are both 6 day photography adventures, come and join him!

Journey around Paris or Italy with Serge photographing little-known locations, then join him in his retouching workshop where he will train you on Photoshop, Lightroom and everything in-between!

rome

Covering everything from shooting with your camera to the whole retouching workflow, this workshop is a great opportunity you do not want to miss. Workshop will start every day at 2pm and finish at about 11pm.

All you have to do is get your plane ticket, and bring your camera! For more info, head over to PhotoSerge.com/workshops!

Close