Posts By Brad Moore

I've been afraid to admit this for a while… afraid to say this out loud.

But this is a safe place right?

For years I felt like a fake. I would be so nervous the night before a shoot that I felt like tomorrow was the day that I was going to come undone.

Tomorrow the world will discover that I'm faking this. I'm not really a good photographer. They really shouldn't pay me for this. I'm not worth anything.

I'm pretending to know what I'm doing. When really, I'm scared as hell.

You may or may not know this, but I'm a celebrity, music and advertising photographer in Nashville. I make most of my living shooting album covers for musicians and photographing advertising campaigns for companies like Pepsi, March of Dimes and Cracker Barrel.

But I owe all of my clients an apology.

A few years ago I had some big breaks. I shot an album cover for a band that sold over a million copies. I probably copied an idea from someone else or slightly altered someone else’s style and claimed it as my own. Regardless, I was the new hot thing in Nashville for a minute or two.

After a few more successes and working my butt off trying to take amazing photos… I realized I could just keep doing what I was doing. I found a couple of things that worked. Like shooting on a white backdrop and a specific lighting set-up that would look killer every time. It became my "old faithful." I became more confident in my craft… or at least a few of my tricks.

I didn't want to feel insecure anymore or worry that I'd be discovered as faking it, so I started playing it safe. We've probably all experienced this right?

I found myself saying by default, "How about we shoot that band on a white seamless backdrop. That would be cool and original!" Even though I'd already done it a hundred times.

If you've been shooting for a while, I bet you can relate to having a specific set-up that you know will work. Maybe you shot a killer senior portrait session in your secret location, or a bride in a beautiful backlit garden, and you kept replicating your past successes.

No one knew it wasn't your best. But you knew. You knew it was only a copy of your previous best.

Sometimes early success is not good for you (or at least me). We turn to coasting on the momentum we luckily gained from a big break.

I've heard it said, "If you're not growing, you're dying.

Well, here's my confession:

I've been stale. I've been coasting. I've been lieing to you. Cheating my clients.

I told the artist, I loved the idea. I told my clients this was my best work, I told you… well, what you wanted to hear. I didn't want to be vulnerable, I didn't want put myself out there again, I wanted to be comfortable. Frankly, I wanted stay on my couch where it is warm and cozy.

PLEASE STOP THE MUSIC.

The world needs your art. It needs all you have. It doesn't need my half-assed effort anymore. It needs my best. It needs me to push limits. To do things that scare me.

DON'T WITHHOLD YOUR BEST. If you're not absolutely spent after a shoot… you've cheated the world.

I've had a few moments of being shaken back to reality in the past few years… but then I fall back into the same creative rut or safe zones.

Until recently, I hadn't done any test shoots for myself in the last 3 years. I hadn't gone out and tried something new. In contrast, my first couple of years, I was shooting every chance I could to build my portfolio, to learn, and sometimes just to create something beautiful.

Everything I've been doing recently has been from techniques that I learned years ago… and I kept doing the same things over and over.

Maybe for you, you need to stop shooting the same backlit portraits at the same location over and over shooting at f/2 to get that same super shallow depth of field. I need to stop shooting on the same white seamless background.

PUSH YOURSELF.

I love Jon Foreman's lyric in the Switchfoot song: "This is your life. Are you who you want to be?"

I've been in a creative rut. I've been doing the same old things over and over… because they are safe and I know they work.

But that's lame. I've been a coward.

I dare you to join me. I dare you to get uncomfortable. Let's push the limits.

I dare you to risk being discovered as a fake… again.

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

The Mixer Brush Tool with Pete Collins
Join Pete Collins as he takes you on a walk through of the incredibly powerful Mixer Brush Tool. The key to getting the most out of the Mixer Brush is in understanding the four key settings that determine just how your strokes will look. Pete takes you through all of the options, shows you how each option works in concert with the others, how to leverage the built-in tool presets, and how to customize them to make your own brushes. Once you get the hang of the Mixer Brush you'll find that you can create strokes, details, and looks that you just can't get any other way.

We don’t currently have a way to give you a chance to watch this for free, but how about this… Leave a comment for your chance to win a free copy of Scott Kelby’s The Lightroom 5 Book for Photographers!

Frank Doorhof and Mastering The Light Meter
If you’ve watched any of Frank Doorhof’s classes on KelbyOne, you know he’s all about using a light meter. If this is something you’ve wanted to master as well, check out this new class that Frank has released on just that topic! It’s over an hour long, and Frank covers everything you’ll need to know in order to master the light meter.

Leave a comment for your chance to win a free download of this class!

Last Week’s Winner
KelbyOne Live Ticket
– D. Lambert

If you’re the lucky winner, we’ll be in touch soon. Have a great Thursday!

When I was a teenager, I was a Canadian expat living in a US border town whose main interest outside of a rapidly growing fascination with photography primarily consisted of the acquisition and digestion of as much music as I could get my hands on. I mainly listened to a lot of punk, and even as I grew up there were certain things about that movement that stuck with me: bits of lyrics, simple lessons, a strong DIY ethic, etc.

But it was the saying Talk – Action = 0, a slogan of Vancouver band D.O.A. that always resonated with me most. Even though it was originally meant to relate to politics and activism, the idea of words that aren’t backed up by taking real action being meaningless always felt appropriate when I thought about my photography and other creative endeavors, and I think it's a lesson that a lot of photographers would benefit from taking to heart.

We've all run into the photographer who has a million good ideas and two million excuses as to why they'll never pull them off:

“Plane tickets are too expensive.”
“I don’t have a studio.”
“My camera isn’t good enough.”
“I need better lights.”
“People won't like my images.”

They can talk themselves out of anything before they even get close to starting. Others might be so tied up in their past successes that they spend most of their time talking about a shot they took years ago and might have difficulty moving on to new projects. Sometimes the reasons for not pursuing ideas are more internal and might be due to dealing with some issues related to self-sabotage or impostor-syndrome (both of which can affect photographers at any time in their career, not just emerging shooters), that can leave them frozen in place and verbally beating themselves up, talking more about why they think their work sucks rather than making new images or improving their skills.

There's a good chance that all of us, at one point or another, are going to deal with some of these issues. It's a natural part of being in a creative career, and despite our best intentions and discipline we sometimes slip into bad habits and negative patterns of thought that can really throw us off our game. Some people talk about their work and creative issues as a therapeutic and cathartic action, seeking advice and working through problems with others so that they can move forward, and having a discourse about how photography interacts with culture, commerce, and art is hugely important. But, sometimes, we start to use talking about our work as a surrogate for actually making it. People tend to take the path of least resistance. Talking about making work is a lot easier than actually doing it, and it takes a lot less effort to sit still than to start walking. But as Mark Twain supposedly said, “The best way to get ahead is to get started.”

Up until very recently I shared a studio with a guy who is a perfect example of putting your money where your mouth is. Scott Gable has self-funded a number of high risk trips around the world to capture some amazing stories. He's traveled to Alaska to photograph the commercial salmon fishing season, and most recently he spent four months trekking through China, Taiwan, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam to create a series on the rice harvest (the first part in a planned trilogy about the world's staple food products of rice, corn, and wheat).


Photo by Scott Gable

I could think of a million reasons someone might talk themselves out of going to China, Alaska, or even across their own state – people can talk themselves out of anything, especially when money is on the line. But rather than looking for reasons to say no, Scott wholeheartedly said yes to every opportunity he had, and where he didn’t have them, he made them.

Don't speak the language? Scott took Mandarin lessons for months leading up to the trip.

Don't have a client willing to send you? Scott saw this as an investment in his work and funded these projects himself, often with his credit card (he calls it his most valuable tool).

Don't know where to start? Scott reached out to programs like the Cornell Rice Intensification program who helped make introductions with several of the programs and contacts he worked with during his trip. He also hit the books, doing extensive research on rice production in the region.


Photo by Scott Gable

Sometimes you have to get dirty to chase the images in your head. This wasn't a trip full of luxury hotels and creature comfort, on the contrary. And despite all of his careful preparation, Scott often found himself hiking inaccessible footpaths for days at a time, being sheltered and fed by people he met on his trip, and getting close to his subjects.

The results were unbelievably intimate portraits of people in all aspects of rice production, from rural cultivators to industrial workers in larger cities who were involved in the later stages of the process. Scott created stunning portraits of the people he met and created gorgeous landscape images of farmlands and valleys where huge amounts of the world's base nutrition come from. He's also created a short film about his work and experiences on this trip.

While you may not be in a position right now to self-fund a trip across the world to photograph the rice harvest of a half dozen countries, the spirit of what Scott did is accessible to everyone, at any point of their career.

Whereas Scott is fairly established in his niche, I also want to talk about a photographer who is just entering this business. Valerie Kasinski is one of the most exciting young artists working in Western NY right now. She recently graduated from Villa Maria College's photo program and has been an active part of WNY's ASMP chapter, which is where I first met her. Val even interned for me for a little while, and I've always been really impressed by her work and her dedication to making the images in her head real.


Photo by Valerie Kasinski

While Scott Gable has traveled the world to document and connect with other communities, Valerie has had her own share of journeys and adventures in her efforts to connect with a community she already belongs to. Part of a loose group of creatives that she originally met through Flickr, Val and her online friends have become something of a real life photographic family.

At a time when a lot of students were focusing on taking the easy way out with their work, or focusing only on their given assignments, Val was taking days long cross-country train trips to create work and collaborate on projects with this group. When other photographers can't find a reason to interact with their local photo community, Val has traveled all over the United States and Canada to create work that explores portraiture, nature, and her own fascination with self-created worlds. Her current project, Together We Are, has grown out of the relationships that she's built and the community she's worked hard to be part of.


Photo by Valerie Kasinski

She could have stayed home.
She could have slept late.
She could have decided to try something easier.

But she worked at it, built those relationships, took those long trips to get where she wanted to make the images she was chasing. I know thirty-year veterans of this business that aren't that dedicated to their work, who won’t pick up their camera unless they're getting paid for it.

I've seen too many photographers with ambitions like Scott and Valerie stall. They talk a good game about what they want to make, where they want to go, the endgame is right there for them. But the product never seems to materialize – It's like their own goals are outrunning them. Eventually it starts, that litany of excuses that we talked about; a million reasons why they can't, won't, or shouldn't see their vision through. They can't go anywhere because they never really get started. They’re so mired in the holes that they have dug themselves into mentally.

But you have got to remember that big things start with small steps. So send that email, set that date, take that first shot – do whatever you have to do to build momentum. Yes, there are going to be walls, but you can break through them, if not all at once, then brick by brick. And once you start, once you begin to generate that momentum it is so much easier to break through those walls, the ones that circumstance puts there, and more importantly, the ones we put in our own way.

So right now, this second, make a commitment to yourself to stop talking about that project you always wanted to pursue, and take those first actions towards actually doing it.

Luke was kind enough to share the work of other photographers he admires here today, and you should also check out his work at LukeCopping.com, and follow him on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

http://youtu.be/Y6zIh2JX8w8

Kicking Off 2015 with Joel Grimes on The Grid!
If you missed last week’s episode of The Grid, the first of the new year, with Joel Grimes, it’s one you’re going to want to go back and watch. Joel is always full of great advice and wisdom, and he didn’t hold back on this episode. If you’re looking for inspiration to jump start your creativity this year, look no further!

DSLR Filmmaking: Creating slideshows with Adobe Premiere with Brandon Ford
Learn how to harness the full creative control provided by Adobe Premiere Pro CC 2014 to create custom slideshows. Join our own Brandon Ford as he walks you through the fundamentals of getting started with Premiere, then takes you through every step in the process of creating dynamic slideshows complete with motion, animation, transitions, music, and text. By the end of the class you'll be ready to create your own slideshows that can be exported out of Premiere and shown to the world.

Squarespace Snapshot By Matt Kloskowski
Join Matt Kloskowski as he sits down with Shon Dempsey from Squarespace to provide you with an overview of how to get up and running with your own custom Squarespace-hosted website quickly and hassle free. Shon and Matt take you through every step in the process from choosing a template through customizing it to make it match your style. With the look and feel of your site designed you can easily enable features like e-commerce, forms, and a cover page. Shon wraps up the class with a series of tips and tricks to ensure you get the most from your Squarespace experience.

KelbyOne Live
Want to see Scott Kelby live in person? Here are the first three dates for Scott Kelby's Shoot Like A Pro Tour for 2015! If you're in one of these cities, come check it out:

Jan 26 - Columbus, OH
Jan 28 - Richmond, VA
Jan 30 - Raleigh, NC

Leave a comment for your chance to come to one of these events for free! And keep an eye out for soon to be announced dates for our brand new tour featuring Joel Grimes!

Moose Peterson Is Heading To England!
If you’re in London, or just want a reason to visit, Moose Peterson will be there in April doing a presentation, workshop, photo walk and more! If you’re interested, you can get more details right here.

Last Week’s Winners
KelbyOne Live Ticket
– Alan Norfleet

Photoshop Elements 13 Book
– David in Signal Mountain
– smilingmike
– Kean Reardon

If you’re one of the lucky winners, we’ll be in touch soon. Have a great Thursday!

5 Lessons From A Nomadic Photographer

I didn't intend to become a travel photographer. In hindsight, perhaps it was obvious, but it wasn't something I originally set out to do.

In March 2007 I turned over the keys to my house and set out to travel around the world for a year.  Like many people who travel, I purchased an expensive SLR that I didn't know how to use in the theory that an expensive camera will take better photos.

I was wrong.

After only a few weeks on the road, I quickly realized that my camera wasn't going to take good photos on its own. I was committing all the rookie mistakes: shooting in jpeg, shooting in program mode, not editing my photos and not putting any thought into my images.

Over the next several years I slowly figured out what I was doing by reading blogs and forums, and a whole lot of experimentation. I went through all the stages which most photographers go through, including an HDR phase.

Since I started traveling, my year around the world has turned into eight, with no end in sight. I've been to over 170 countries and territories around the world and all 7 continents. I've done photography underwater, in caves, and from helicopters.

I've shot dog sleds teams in the Canadian Yukon, and sand dunes in the Namib Desert. I've captured holy week in Jerusalem, a Holi Festival in Singapore and New Year's Eve fireworks in Sydney.

My work over the last 8 years was eventually recognized when I was named Travel Photographer of the Year by both the Society of American Travel Writers and the North American Travel Journalists Association.

What I have learned over the last eight years of traveling around the world and growing as a photographer is something which any photographer can benefit from.

Lesson One: Be Brutally Honest With Yourself
You will never improve unless you are honest with yourself about where your photos are at. This doesn't mean simply being hyper critical with your own work, but also recognizing when you've created something good. You also then have to try to distill what made a given photo good or bad, so you can try to replicate those techniques in the future, or at least when circumstances are similar. Simply pressing the shutter button isn't going to improve your craft unless you are pressing it in a conscious manner. Every time you go out you need to be conscious of what you are trying to accomplish and how you are trying to accomplish it.

Lesson Two: You Don't Need A Lot of Gear
I've spent the last eight years traveling around the world with a single camera body, 3 lenses and a tripod. That's it. My camera isn't even a full frame camera, which shocks many photographers. While there are some limits to what I can do because of my gear, there aren't many. Cameras and lenses are technical items designed to solve technical solutions.

Unless there is something you physically cannot do with your current gear, upgrading probably won't do much for you. Technique and being at the right place at the right time will do more than new equipment ever will. When I do need a longer lens or something I can't carry with me, I will just rent it.

Lesson Three: Get Out And Shoot
All the gear and technique in the world won't help you take a great photo of a landscape or an animal if you aren't there. At the end of the day, the great photos are taken by those who are willing to go out of their way to get great photos. Opportunities for great images will not come to you. Photographers tend to obsess about gear and settings and forget that in the end, you have to be in the presence of a great photo opportunity.

Many of the most iconic photographs of the 20th Century are not technically perfect. They are slightly out of focus, overly grainy, or suffer from other problems. What makes them great is that they captured a moment in time which was special, and that couldn't have happened if the photographer wasn't there.

Lesson Four: Make Your Work Public
For over 7 years now, I have posted a daily photo on my website. Over 2,500 consecutive days of making my photos public. Not every one is a home run, but the fact that I know I have to show my photos to the public is a huge incentive to improve and make sure I'm taking quality images. If no one sees what you are doing, you'll never know if you are getting better and it allows you to coast.

Because I travel full time, I never had the benefit of being part of a photography club or other network of other photographers. I was able to get feedback by sharing my images with the public, which in many ways is a much stronger feedback mechanism than even sharing with friends.

Lesson Five: Love Your Subject
I love traveling. I'd travel even if I couldn't carry a camera with me. I know many wildlife photographers who would go and spend time observing wildlife even if they couldn't capture an image. One of my persuasions is photographing UNESCO World Heritage Sites and North American National Parks. Whatever it is you are shooting, if you have a passion for the subject, it will improve your images.

You don't have to travel around the world to improve your photography. The skills I've learned from 8 years on the road can be replicated by anyone with a camera and a passion for photography.

You can see more of Gary’s work at Everything-Everywhere.com, and follow him on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

The Inspirational Series with Jay Maisel
Jay Maisel is an internationally acclaimed photographer who is equally gifted in his ability to distill the wisdom earned from decades of capturing light, color, and gesture through the lens of his camera. Join Mia McCormick as she spends an hour as a guest in Jay's iconic home discussing topics that range from the aspirations of his youth to how the transition from film to digital opened the doors to new photographic opportunities. Over the course of their conversation Jay reflects on lessons learned from professional assignments, personal projects, and life itself. Jay is a true living legend, and getting the chance to hear him speak will leave you amused, inspired, and reaching for your camera.

Photographing Cityscapes with Matt Kloskowski
There is tremendous beauty to be found in cities throughout the world. Join Matt Kloskowski as he demonstrates various ways you can photograph a cityscape. Starting off with some tips on how to research locations before you go, Matt takes you through the gear and camera settings he uses before heading out into the field to show you how to pull together all of the key ingredients for an absolutely stunning photograph. From long exposures to dramatic black and whites, Matt shares the post-processing tips in Lightroom and Photoshop that you'll need to know to create these killer looks.

KelbyOne Live
Want to see Scott Kelby live in person? Here are the first three dates for Scott Kelby's Shoot Like A Pro Tour for 2015! If you're in one of these cities, come check it out:

Jan 26 - Columbus, OH
Jan 28 - Richmond, VA
Jan 30 - Raleigh, NC

Leave a comment for your chance to come to one of these events for free! And keep an eye out for soon to be announced dates for our brand new tour featuring Joel Grimes!

The Photoshop Elements 13 Book for Digital Photographers
We just got our first copies of the brand new Photoshop Elements 13 Book for Digital Photographers by Scott Kelby and Matt Kloskowski in! This book breaks new ground by doing something for digital photographers that's never been done before-it cuts through the bull and shows you exactly "how to do it." It's not a bunch of theory; it doesn't challenge you to come up with your own settings or figure things out on your own. Instead, it does something that virtually no other Elements book has ever done-it tells you flat-out which settings to use, when to use them, and why.

You can pick up your copy here, or from wherever great books are sold. And leave a comment for your chance to win one of three free copies we’ll give away right here next week!

100,000 on YouTube!
We want to thank all of you on YouTube who subscribed to our channel, we hit 100,000 subscribers on New Years Day and now have a total of over 9 MILLION VIEWS! You can catch us on YouTube and you can also view all of our shows at KelbyTV.com.

Winner
KelbyOne Live Ticket
– Terry Gardner

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

Close