Posts By Brad Moore

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!

1836589_679579325421813_4483720862706522595_o

Hey there everyone! Big thanks to Scott for sharing the blog with me today, and for Brad for putting up with my constant delays in turning this in.

I’m not sure if you knew or not, but I’ve recently set out on my own. It’s the first time in my 43 years that I’ve been self-employed, and it’s been a wild ride so far. I can only imagine what the future holds. If you want to read more about it, I did a whole post over on my blog.

But today, I wanted to share with you a new series of stories I’ve been writing. It’s called “Photography Lessons for My Mom.” Basically, my mom has taken up photography over the last couple of years, and helping her along the way has been really enlightening for me.

By the way, these lessons aren’t in a specific order. I’m just writing them as they happened while I was helping my mom. Here goes:

Lesson 1 – How To Learn Your Camera

My mom had mentioned she wasn’t comfortable shooting because she didn’t know what she should have her camera set to and was getting confused by all of the settings. So we sat down and I taught her the camera, the same way I’d teach someone Photoshop. Just as I’d never teach someone just starting out in Photoshop about Curves or Calculations, I’d never tell my mom to worry about rear-curtain flash sync, or focus-peaking. Rather, I just spent that time showing her the basic things I thought she’d need to get out there and shoot.

mjk_6231-copy

But here’s the catch, and this was my advice for her. She mentioned that it’d be hard to remember all of those settings, and that every time she goes out and shoots, she forgets them and where they’re at. My advice was this…

“Mom…You bought a professional piece of camera equipment. You purposely did not buy a simple point-and-shoot, and you want something with more creative control than your iPhone. But you can’t expect to master that complicated piece of equipment by going out and shooting once or twice a month.”

As we talked, I let her know there were two ways she could get better at moving around in the menus, and knowing her camera:

  1. Get out and shoot more. There’s no substitute for practice.
  2. However… shooting more really isn’t an option for her because she’s busy. So, I offered another tip. Sit down with your camera every day for 2-3 weeks for a few minutes. Go through the menus and settings that you use a lot. I promise you, that at the end of those two weeks, you’ll feel so comfortable with your camera that you won’t think twice about changing settings the next time you go shoot.

Lesson 2 – Just Shoot!

Next lesson… So, a few weeks later when I asked my mom if she had gone out shooting she said “Well, not lately… I’m going to try to practice these settings more, and maybe in a month or so I should be ready”.

That response really hit home to me because I hear it from a lot of people. It seems a lot of people own really good photography gear, but are almost afraid to use it. They think they’re missing something, and that studying more will help.

sony-horizontal

Obviously I disagree. I don’t care where she focusses, I don’t care what ISO she has the camera set to, I don’t care if she shoots it at f/4 or f/22, or what metering mode she has, or if she’s shooting HDR brackets and all of that crap. All of that stuff is nice-to-know extras, that we all let get in the way of the most important thing – shooting. Get your camera to a good place, and shoot!

Why My Mom’s Situation Really Impacted Me?

Here’s a little back story to why this really impacted me, and I’d never even told my mom this story before that day on the phone. When I was a teenager, I played the guitar. I started when I was about 10-11 or so, and fell in love with it. I took lessons every week for years. I had 2 of the best guitar teachers in the state of NJ at the time. They’d literally spend hours with me each week. I sucked up information as fast as they’d give it out.

Like many photographers I meet, I became obsessed with the “technical” details of music. When most of my friends who picked up the guitar were just jamming away to Van Halen, Motley Crue, and Ozzy Osbourne (I was a kid in the 70s and early 80’s), I was studying music theory. I knew every scale, every chord, up down, left and right. I became an expert at the “technical” part of playing the guitar.

But one thing I never did was to create. I never created anything. I was afraid. I always thought I wasn’t ready to make music, so I just played other people’s music, and read/practiced the technical stuff (scales, chords, etc.). My friends would take their tape recorders and just play rock rhythm chords to them for 5 minutes. And then they’d play it back and just jam over it. Eventually they got really good at “creating.” I was jealous. I always felt that I “knew” more than them about music, and theory and all that techie stuff. But they were better than me.

_dsc2463-21x15

So why didn’t I do the same thing as them? I always thought I didn’t have the right equipment to lay one audio track on top of the other. I always thought I didn’t have the right amp, or effects pedal. I always thought I didn’t know enough about the song, or what scale to play in, or the music theory behind the song to really make anything that was my own.

Friends would ask me (much like other photographers may ask you to go shooting), to bring my guitar over and just jam out and play. I never did. Even though I knew I was good, I never felt good enough to actually go and “create” with them.

As a result, I eventually stopped playing. I lost interest because I got tired of not knowing enough to get good (or at least what I thought “good” was). I never created anything, and eventually I wasn’t interested in just playing other people’s songs so I dropped out of playing the guitar.

Lesson 3 – Stop Having GAS

I haven’t written about this one yet, so I’m debuting it here. My next lesson for my mom is to stop having GAS. I know, it’s not an easy thing for a 43 year-old son to say to his slightly-older-than-him mother. Oh, and in case you’re wondering what GAS is, it’s an acronym for Gear Acquisition Syndrome. Basically, it’s the feeling (and action) of a constant need for more gear. That some how, gear is what’s holding you back.

For a while, my mom was texting me all the time with questions of whether she needs this lens, or this filter, or this something-or-other. Where’d she get it from? Most likely her friends. She belongs to a camera club, where you have all different levels of experience and budgets. I can totally see how it happens, right? I mean, if you’re like me and you get a piece of gear the you love, what do you do? I know I go around telling people, “OMG! I love this new lens!” But I’m not necessarily thinking that they may not shoot what I shoot, or have a need for it. And so the cycle begins.

As an example, my mom came to me and asked me if she should buy a macro lens. First off, I have one and I told her she could use it anytime (for $100 that is) ;-)

macro2_1_-jpg-full

What I explained to her was that before going out and buying something new, borrow it if you can. Or make do with what you have for a little while longer. But don’t buy anything new until it becomes prohibitive not to own it. Until you get to the point where you know your photo was held back by not having that macro lens.

I also explained to her that many of the photos she was looking at were close ups, and could have been taken with her 24-240mm zoom lens with the right settings and composition. But the most important part about it, was to show her that the gear was not holding her back. In just about every situation she asks me about, I can almost guarantee you that she already has the gear she needs.

Thanks Mom!

I mentioned in the beginning that it has really been an eye opening experience for me. It’s changed the way I teach because I realize so many other people have the same questions that my mom does. So… thanks mom!

And thanks to all of you for stopping by to read my post today. If you like this article and want to follow up on the series, head on over to my website. While I post all the time, the best thing to do is just sign up for email updates, and I usually send them out every couple of weeks so you don’t have to keep checking back.

See ya!
– Matt Kloskowski

You can see more of Matt’s work at MattK.com, and follow him on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.

How to Remove Distractions in Adobe Photoshop with Scott Kelby
Don’t let distractions ruin good photographs! Join Scott Kelby for a class devoted to teaching you how to remove all of those distracting elements from your photographs. Whether it is unwanted bright spots in the background, power lines stretching across a sky, walls covered in graffiti, stray hairs on a portrait, or too many tourists in your landscape (to name a few), Scott has a technique to save the day. This class is designed to start you off with an introduction to the essential tools you’ll need inside of Photoshop, and then each lesson that follows is a project unto itself that demonstrates a wide range of techniques you can add to your skill set. You can even download the project files and follow along. Even if you’re familiar with some of the tools, Scott has included all kinds of little tricks he’s picked up over the years to help you get the job done faster than ever before.

In Case You Missed It
Don’t let bad weather ruin your next photo shoot. Learn how to make great photographs with Joe McNally, internationally acclaimed photographer, as he calls upon his years of on-location experience to give you the tips and tricks you need to get the job done in a variety of locations and uncooperative weather. Joe starts by introducing the gear he takes with him on location and then walks you through his process of making the most of whatever nature has in store at each unique destination.

Close