Posts By Brad Moore

Let me start by saying, I don't take photos professionally. But wait, don't stop reading! Hear me out. My name is Mia McCormick and before I took a position at KelbyOne, I spent a decade telling stories and interviewing some of the most influential people in the world in the name of TV News. Now I've spent the last two years interviewing the very best photographers on the planet, for KelbyOne. I've grilled them about technique and business plans. I've asked them about gear and studio decisions. But some of the most important conversations, often get the least amount of attention, like the ones about inspiration. Having interviewed nearly three dozen industry leading photographers, about what inspires them to create compelling images, I've learned a bit about what drives the top creative minds in the business. What better place to share those thoughts than here on Scott Kelby's blog.

First, let me just get this out of the way. There is one word that comes out of every professional photographers mouth when I ask about inspiration: LIGHT. So NEWSFLASH! The way your subject is illuminated matters, whether it be a landscape, child or delicious scoop of ice cream. And that illumination can drive imagination at every corner of this industry. Now that's out of the way.

Photographers tend to fall into two categories, those who thrive on external inspiration and those who need internal connection. Before I explain what that means, let me say that I've interviewed many photographers who pull from both, but most of the time they gravitate towards one or the other. Those who are inspired by external stimuli generally look to color, texture, music, and locations to help them channel their very best work. For instance, Lindsay Adler makes an Inspiration Board before a shoot. On it you'll find snippets of ideas, colors, textures and themes that speak to her about a certain project. One of my favorite wedding photographers and good friend Chip Litherland loves vibrant, in your face color. A bride in a red wedding dress is his "holy grail."


Photo by Joel Grimes

Lots of photographers will look at the work of people they respect and identify with when they're feeling stuck or "tapped out." Somehow looking at work they admire kick starts an idea that leads to their next great image. Joel Grimes once told me that when he's stuck in a shooting rut, he will flip through a magazine looking for images that speak to him. When he finds one, he'll look at how it was created and see how he can apply similar techniques to his own work. A lot of people find inspiration this way. It's one reason why the website 500px is so popular. I've heard many pros call it "an endless well of inspiration."

If you just read the last two paragraphs and thought, that's crazy, don't you know that inspiration comes from within?! Then you fall into the second category, those who need an internal connection to their subject, to produce inspired work. Gregory Heisler says his "worst nightmare is to have his brain polluted by millions of other images" before he begins a photo session. He needs some time alone in his head with an assignment. Only then can he come up with a vision for the image he wants to produce. It's not that he doesn't admire the work of others, but to him there's a difference between reverence, technique and vision.


Photo by Jeremy Cowart

Some photographers love a story. A model, with lights in a contrived environment just feels cold. They identify internally with capturing a frame that could replace three pages in a diary or a bio. They work like there is an invisible string dangling them inside someone else's life. Knowing they have just one frame to tell a story, elevates their work. Jeremy Cowart is well known for his images of Hollywood "A listers," but when I asked him about his humanitarian work, his eyes lit up and there was an awakening that happened mentally and physically. Doing good, he tells me, is what photography is supposed to be about.

Joe McNally is one of the best visual storytellers alive. He makes it a personal goal to capture images that tell stories in a way that no one has seen them before. And Joe loves a challenge. What better way to illustrate changing a light bulb, than to climb to the very top of the Empire State building⦠in the fog⦠attached to ropes for safety⦠and shoot the man who's job it is to swap out the bulb at the apex.


Photo by Deanne Fitzmaurice

Deanne Fitzmaurice is the perfect blend of curiosity and fearlessness, and that makes her an outstanding photojournalist. Assignments that tackle difficult issues, ones that are hard to convey visually can often frustrate even the most experienced shooters, but that's where Deanne thrives.

Now if I can take a moment to share what inspires me. At heart I'm a journalist, with over 10 years of experience in TV News and television production. I love finding a story and sharing it, but more than that, I feel inspired when those stories have impact. When I come in contact with an image, story or idea that moves people to action, I start to get that anxious fluttery feeling in my stomach. Then I know, "this is going to be good." Whether it's an attitude adjustment, some kind of activism or even just to wipe a tear, I'm reverent over stories with the strength to generate action.

Researching women in this industry inspired me to start a new interview series here at KelbyOne called Trailblazers. I found ladies willing to step outside of their comfort zones, and into dangerous, extreme and sometimes downright hostile situations, to tell a photographic story. Their internal and external battles moved me, and many of them have never shared their experiences publicly before now. Their courage is inspirational, and it made me want to take a courageous leap in my own life. Look for the series to debut in the next few weeks on KelbyOne.com.

Whether it's the strong precise movements of an athlete's body that gets your adrenaline flowing or the story behind their rise from poverty to fame that sparks an idea for a frame, the goal is to leave the shoot a little breathless. If you're moved, chances are others will be too.

You can watch Mia’s interviews with photographers at KelbyOne.com, and follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Win A FREE Pass to Photoshop World Las Vegas!
Submit your best photos to this contest for your chance to win a FREE pass to Photoshop World Las Vegas! The big winner will also have their photo published in Photoshop User magazine AND get a free year of KelbyOne! The winner will be chosen by a panel including Scott Kelby, Matt Kloskowski, Peter Hurley, Tamara Lackey, and Erik Valind. The deadline to submit is August 2, so click here and share your best work!

Behind The Lens: In-Depth Portfolio Reviews with Joe McNally and Scott Kelby
Join Joe McNally and Scott Kelby for an evening of no-holds-barred portfolio critiques, stories, and laughs. Joe graciously provides his expert, constructive insights to help beginners and experienced shooters alike improve their portfolio. More experienced photographers often get to a point where takeaways and suggestions are rare. Joe's unique way of seeing into photographs, coupled with his years of experience, and absolutely entertaining delivery style, makes this live night at the Tampa Improv a must watch class for any photographer.

Leave a comment for your chance to watch this for free!

KelbyOne Live
Want to spend a day with Scott Kelby, Joe McNally, or Corey Barker? Check out these seminar tours!

Shoot Like A Pro with Scott Kelby
Aug 26 - St. Louis, MO
Aug 28 - Kansas City, MO

One Flash, Two Flash with Joe McNally
July 24 - Milwaukee, WI
July 28 - Boston, MA

Photoshop Down & Dirty Master FX with Corey Barker
Aug 1 - Miami, FL
Aug 13 - Austin, TX

You can check out the full schedule for seminars through August, and we'll be updating it with more dates soon! Leave a comment for your chance to win a ticket to one of these events!

Jeremy Cowart’s Photographers Toolkit
Our good friend Jeremy Cowart recently made his Photographers Toolkit available for free download! If you’re curious about the gear Jeremy uses to make the amazing images he creates, just sign up for his mailing list and you’ll get a link to download this PDF. He covers everything from his cameras and lenses to apps to desks to lights and everything in between. Rather than try to explain it myself, here’s a blurb from the toolkit intro:

Just imagine we're sitting down at a coffee shop and I'm quickly telling you about my latest favorite pieces of gear. That's the idea and tone behind everything below. If you want all the super impersonal, technical details about gear then well, there are a million other places to go for that.

This isn’t THE guide for photographers, this is MY guide. These are the actual items that I own and use on a daily basis. I don't necessarily have all the latest greatest versions of everything, so some of the items below might be a little outdated. But if they're here, that means I'm currently still using them and loving them. I've collected them over time, and would suggest you do the same with your gear. You don't need to go out and buy everything you want right away. Pick a few that you enjoy and go create great art.

Last Week’s Winners
KelbyOne Rentals
– Brent Connell
– pinkquin

KelbyOne Live Ticket
– Rusty Parkhurst

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

When I received an email from Brad asking me if I wanted to write a guest post for Scott I was psyched. I screamed some colorful words like the ones coming out of the Master Jay Maisel's mouth and I quickly wrote back saying YES! I was honored to even be considered to write on Scott's blog. But then I panicked…. What could I possibly write about?

Well, I have been shooting for only 3 years, I've had my up and downs, I've tried several photography genres, and I kicked and whined just to think about specializing in just one thing. Then I realized what I enjoyed the most was shooting people. So far this is what has worked for me.

Between now an then I experimented a little with landscape photography, long exposures, macro photography, food photography, concert photography, and I even had the great opportunity to work with a motor sport team (8 Star Motorsports) and cover a couple of events and do their pictures for their sponsors brochure. By trying all of this I learned things I couldn't have learned if I had said I that only specialized in portraits, and I would have missed all the amazing experiences I had by playing around in different genres. I don't mean I don't enjoy photographing cars, food, flowers or landscapes, I just think they look way better when there's a human in the frame. But that's my personal case.

Personal Projects
Personal projects have been a huge part of my photography. When I got my camera in 2011 I took over the garage and built a little studio, then I annoyed everybody at home so I could practice with my new set of lights. After a little while people gave up on being my subjects and I had to try a new genre…. The Selfie. Along with the selfie I discovered my crafty skills, and soon after the Hamburger Hat was born. After 3 years of making the hat and using those pictures as my avatar in every social media platform I really enjoy when a client ask me if they can have their picture taken with the Hamburger Hat. It's my personal ongoing series.

My Portfolio
Almost every single one of my images have a sentimental meaning to me but I couldn't just fill my portfolio with selfies. I've put myself in front of the camera because I have a huge need to create, to try new things, and, heck, I enjoy taking a selfie from time to time too! I will say my camera is my Xanax, creating pictures is how I have kept my sanity the last 3 years but I think it was necessary for me to have more subjects than myself in my book.

After listening to a zillion opinions of how to build a portfolio, I decided I was only going to show the kind of images that I wanted to be hired to do. The kind of work that I enjoy doing the most. Portraits with a creative twist and beauty. At the time I was doing mostly corporate portraits (what paid my bills), so I had to find a way to get those creative pics I had in my head into my portfolio.

Then we come to one of the questions I get asked the most…

How do you find your models?
Social media. Facebook. To date, most of the models I've worked with I have met through groups or friends on Facebook. Yes, I've heard of Model Mayhem, I have an account but honestly I have never used it. I kinda feel safer using Facebook because you have more access to personal information so you can see who you're dealing with.

Always be clear when contacting models if your doing TFP, (time/trade for print) and talk about terms and expectations before the shoot. And always, always, always get your model release signed. Make sure all of the parties know what the use of the images are gonna be and it's a fair trade.

Keep your dirty laundry in the hamper!
Working in a positive creative environment is extremely important to me.  I've been contacted several times to collaborate with different kind of artists and when I see their posts on social media I just get completely turned off by erratic behavior. It doesn't matter how good somebody's work is, a bad attitude can easily screw up a deal.

Remember this is my personal 5 cents on the topic, this is the way I work.

Building a killer team.
I was extremely lucky to build a killer team when I was in Orlando with a hair and make up artist, Valeria Angelino. We met on a shoot and since then we started working together. It was magical. We were always on the same page and we really enjoyed creating together. She's fantastic, she has toured with Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears and she's currently touring with The Voice. I miss her to death.

Chances are there are lots of local artists looking to build their portfolios too, don't be afraid to contact people, the worst thing can happen is somebody says no. Know the value of your work, know what you have to offer, and think of a deal that can be beneficial for both of you whether it's prints, digital images, editorials, etc.

Remember all these collaborations can bring something for your business in the future.

Stay Inspired
The best way to stay inspired is to keep busy. Whether it is planning shoots, shooting personal projects, making props, learning new techniques, experimenting; If your butt’s on a sofa waiting for the magical powers of inspiration come to you, chances are you're gonna get frustrated and nothing is gonna happen. Connect to people, scout new locations, find new subjects, heck do something!

You don't need to break the piggy bank.
We all dream about a huge production budget for a shoot but in real life you don't really need to spend a huge amount of money to have a successful shoot. Use a piece of fabric, make bubbles, shoot through a window or a glass, use powder or flour, make hair or makeup the main focus on your subject.

Choose your battles.
The not very fun part of becoming a photographer is educating people. I still get invited to parties and then right after the invitation I get the, "Oh and bring your camera" comment. I get lots of "exposure" payment offers even for people that are trying to use my pictures for commercial purposes. Sadly some people don't take photographers seriously and this can become very frustrating. Choose your battles, sometimes it’s better to just walk away than try to prove your point . Value your work, your time and your talent.

You can see more of Gilmar’s work at GilmarPhotography.com, and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest.

The Art of Digital Photography: The Inspirational Series with Greg Heisler
Join Mia McCormick and Gregory Heisler as they sit down to discuss Greg's award-winning career as a portraitist. Greg is known the world over for his evocative portraits of some of the most well known leaders in government, business, the arts, and more. Spend an hour hearing inspiring stories of how Greg got started in photography, and some of the many lessons he has learned along the way. From the importance of having a unique vision that transcends technique to the willingness to take chances when everything is on the line, Greg and Mia discuss key moments in Greg's experience as a portrait photographer that will surely give you a new appreciation for his thoughtful approach to his work.

Leave a comment for your chance to watch this class for free!

Creating Websites with Lightroom and the SmugMug Plug-In
SmugMug is known as one of the industry's best looking and easiest ways to show off, sell, and print your photos online. In this class, Matt Kloskowski walks you through setting up and using the SmugMug Lightroom plug-in to get your galleries online.

Leave a comment for your chance to watch this class for free!

KelbyOne Live
Want to spend a day with Scott Kelby, Joe McNally, or Corey Barker? Check out these seminar tours!

Shoot Like A Pro with Scott Kelby
Aug 26 - St. Louis, MO
Aug 28 - Kansas City, MO

One Flash, Two Flash with Joe McNally
July 24 - Milwaukee, WI
July 28 - Boston, MA

Photoshop Down & Dirty Master FX with Corey Barker
Aug 1 - Miami, FL
Aug 13 - Austin, TX

You can check out the full schedule for seminars through August, and we'll be updating it with more dates soon! Leave a comment for your chance to win a ticket to one of these events!

Lost Photos from Macphun
Ever wanted to find photos that you know are buried deep in your email but have no idea where to find them?

Lost Photos is a handy Mac app that securely scans your email account for every photo you've ever sent or received and then displays them for you in a convenient browser.  All photos are downloaded to your computer, making it ultra-fast to view them, archive them to permanent storage, edit them and even share them again.

Install Lost Photos for FREE to access the first 100 photos from your email account(s), then upgrade for a couple of bucks to get an unlimited number of photos.

Leave a comment for your chance to win a free canvas print of one of your photos that Lost Photos uncovers for you!

Last Week’s Winners
KelbyOne Class Rental
– Thor Doc

KelbyOne Live Ticket
– Jose G

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

I recently had the opportunity to cover a sold out arena show for the band Third Day, who gave me full access to do pretty much anything I wanted. Today I want to share some of those shots with you, as well as my experience covering the show. I also recently shot some band portraits for another artist that I'll share after the concert stuff.

As soon as I got the phone call asking if I was available to come to Atlanta and cover the Third Day show, and being told I would have full access, I knew I wanted to set up a remote camera on stage to capture the view of the band performing with the sold-out audience as well. I set it up during the band's sound check (as you can see in the test shot above) using two Manfrotto Magic arms (one to hold the camera and another attached to the rail and arm holding the camera for added security/support).

The camera itself is a Canon 5D Mark III with a 8-15mm fisheye lens at 15mm, and I put the biggest memory card I had in it to make sure I didn't run out of card space during the show as I wouldn't have access to it to swap out cards. Since this was my first time setting up a remote camera on stage, I just took a guess at the settings and hoped it would work. I went with Spot Metering, Auto ISO with 1/250 as the minimum shutter and 12,800 as the max ISO, and f/5.6 just to be safe on depth of field.

To trigger the camera, there's a PocketWizard Plus III in the hot shoe and connected to the remote port with the appropriate cable, and I had another PocketWizard Plus III in my front shirt pocket that I used to trigger it during the show. I could have put the PocketWizard I had on me on one of the cameras I was carrying if I wanted the on-stage camera to shoot at the same time I was shooting, but I opted not to.

This allowed me to capture some key moments during the show from a unique perspective, as well as show the size of the crowd. These guys aren't doing too badly for a band that's both been around for over 20 years, and it's still four of the founding members!

It's always a privilege to shoot soundcheck, so here are a couple of my favorites from that:

The band invited some friends to join them for the show, including one of my other favorite bands, Needtobreathe, who were also in town for their own shows at The Tabernacle that weekend and stopped by for a couple of songs:

And here are a few more of my favorites from the evening:

And at the end of the show, I went on stage to get a shot of them facing me with the crowd behind them:

It's a cool experience being able to shoot for a band that you grew up listening to and can now call friends, so I'm hoping to have the privilege of shooting for these guys more in the future!

Speaking of friends in a band, my buds in Preson Phillips recently released a new album and needed some shots to help promote it. They wanted a close up, kinda harsh and gritty look, so here's what I wound up doing for them:


Preson Phillips (aka Tommy), singer, acoustic guitar


Nate Murray, bass


Mickey Holm, drums


Tim McTague, one of a few dudes who play rotate on electric guitar

I mainly used all constant lights for these shots; two Westcott TD6s with strip banks on either side and a fluorescent ring light (mainly for the catchlight in the eyes). The background light was an Elinchrom BRX 500 with a reflector aimed at the white wall behind them:

So there you have it, a look into a couple of my recent shoots. Hopefully some of this was helpful and will inspire some creativity in you as well. If you have any questions, leave a comment and I'll do my best to respond as soon as I can!

You can see more of Brad’s work at BMOOREVISUALS.com, and follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

DSLR Filmmaking: Video Basics
Join Mia McCormick on location in Las Vegas for a fantastic primer on video basics for DSLR filmmaking. Mia expertly guides you through all of the fundamental concepts required for taking your DSLR video to the next level. In this class you will learn about the key camera settings needed for video, how to choose the right lens for capturing motion, the important role your memory card can play, how the pros keep their subjects in focus, and so much more. If you've been neglecting the video functions on your DSLR because you haven't been satisfied with the quality of your footage then this class is for you!

Leave a comment for your chance to watch this class for free!

KelbyOne Live
Want to spend a day with Scott Kelby, Joe McNally, or Corey Barker? Check out these seminar tours!

Shoot Like A Pro with Scott Kelby
Aug 26 - St. Louis, MO
Aug 28 - Kansas City, MO

One Flash, Two Flash with Joe McNally
July 24 - Milwaukee, WI
July 28 - Boston, MA

Photoshop Down & Dirty Master FX with Corey Barker
Aug 1 - Miami, FL
Aug 13 - Austin, TX

You can check out the full schedule for seminars through August, and we'll be updating it with more dates soon! Leave a comment for your chance to win a ticket to one of these events!

Ron Martinsen’s Photography Gear Recommendations
Our buddy Ron Martinsen recently put together a list of his favorite photography gear recommendations over on his blog that anyone who is getting into, or has been into photography for a long time can find useful. Ron lists out his favorite and most useful pieces of gear, everything from camera bodies and lenses and filters and flashes and tripods to bags and software and books and websites, and even offers links and discounts for a lot of the gear he’s listed! You can see all of his recommendations right here.

Last Week’s Winners
KelbyOne Class Rental
– Michael Matthews

KelbyOne Live Seminar Ticket
– James D.

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

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