Posts By Brad Moore

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Throughout my journey to impoverished countries all over the world, one trait has reigned true: warmth. No matter what stressful situation or unknown location we find ourselves, there is always good people we meet among the madness. The old saying goes “A few bad apples spoil the bunch” and I find that to be very true, especially in places that have been riddled with war for decades. Good people are everywhere, even in the darkest of corners of the earth. These good people are responsible for uplifting others and guaranteeing awareness of the problems that many face, every day.

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When I was first offered the opportunity to travel to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia I was really unaware of the problems and issues that plague the city and the country as a whole. On the minimal available information I had been given, it was tough to surround my brain around our mission. There is so little knowledge, I was forced to dive deeper and I only scratched the surface of what I would eventually come to find.

It all started with my friends at Nadus Films and their “Give A Story” grant project. We give a grant to those world-wide foundations that need it most. The grant provides the opportunity to document, capture and provide the right tools, so these initiatives can raise awareness and gain traction for further funding. Our project in Ethiopia focused on a foundation titled “Youth Impact” which provides shelter, food and a solid path for homeless children located in the city of Addis Ababa.

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Due to famine and communist civil war, nearly 60% of Ethiopia, Africa is under the age of 18 and of that demographic nearly 100,000 children are completely homeless and suffer from tremendous injustice. Poverty, addiction, prostitution and disease. Some children, just 6 years of age roaming the streets of the city. There is an extreme lack of leadership, parents and grandparents. It is a country of youth.

I knew the project would involve children who have struggled. Children who have stories and I wanted to tell their story the only way I know how, through imagery. I decided to form a portrait series of homeless street children as well as people that have grown through the Impact program. I wanted to bring the aesthetic of my portrait work blended with a journalistic mood. That style involved creating a custom 3×4 canvas solely designed from the ground up for this series.

Upon arrival at the Youth Impact shelter the initial mood wasn’t shock, but difficulty. The shelter was small, similar to a one floor ranch-style two bedroom home. The front yard was piled with random rusted debris and the back porch was a concrete dorm with open doors and ropes covered in wet clothing. The shelter is completely surrounded by a 10-foot concrete wall which was embedded with shards of glass; an inferior barbwire.

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We didn’t have a system to rig the beautiful 3×4 canvas, so we grabbed what we could from the pile of wreckage on the alley-way next to the Youth Impact shelter, a cracked wooden ladder and trashed twin bed frame. Using a Manfrotto 035 Super Clamp, attached to the backdrop draped over Manfrotto 2983 Adjustable Background Holder Crossbar, we linked the clamp to another Manfrotto 035 Super Clamp and attached it to the debris. Using a combination of Gaff Tape and Zip Ties we secured the bottom of the backdrop to avoid kick up from wind.

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The light setup was simple; a Profoto B2 Location Kit attached to a Manfrotto 026 Swivel Umbrella Adapter which we attached to a Manfrotto 680B Compact Monopod for complete mobility. The Profoto B2 head is modified with a 46” Photo Softlighter II, the softest source of modification I’ve ever used. Luckily, I had two trusted assistants who spoke enough broken English to understand my instructions of feathering the light and keeping the strobe consistently directional opposite the sun.

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Youth Impact has blazed a trail for dozens of successful business men, architects, carpenters and artists. Once homeless, now-adults had been saved through the Youth Impact initiative. I wanted to capture not only the current children living through the shelter, but also these blossoming people who had so much to owe to their mentors. It was a humbling experience to photograph this community that has so much to say, but no voice. Hopefully, this series provides that voice that they so yearn to have.

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Behailu Kassanhun – Orphan, joined Youth Impact, he has since graduated with a College degree and teaches Architecture.

 

 

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Amanual Haile – Orphan, joined Youth Impact at the age of 12, he has since graduated College.
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Genet Fantanhun – Orphan, joined Youth Impact at the age of 14, she has since graduated College and is currently a Elementary School Teacher.

 

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Kidist Tesfaye – Orphan, joined Youth Impact, she has since graduated College and is currently serving at a local hospital as a nurse.

 

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Yemisrach Tesfaye – Orphan, joined Youth Impact at the age of 12, she has since graduated College and is currently serving at a local hospital as a nurse.
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Dawet Daneyl – Runaway, joined Youth Impact from the streets of Addis Ababa, he left his home in Ghana to find work in Addis Ababa.

 

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Mubarek Abedela – Runaway, joined Youth Impact at the age of 16 from the streets of Addis Ababa, he left his home to find better work.

 

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Sebesebea Akalu – Runaway, joined Youth Impact from the streets of Addis Ababa, he left his farm in Ghana to find a better life in Addis Ababa, which resulted in homelessness for over 4 years.

 

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Habetamu Fentetahun – Runaway, joined Youth Impact from the streets of Addis Ababa, he left his farm in Dessie to find a work in Addis Ababa, which resulted in homelessness for 2 years.
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Alem Kere Tiehay – Runaway, joined Youth Impact from a tough life on the streets of Addis Ababa. He has been jailed 8 times for alcohol related crimes. He left his farm in Ghana for Addis Ababa.

 

 

 

It was a true honor to hear the stories behind these young adults, who have so much to offer but, nearly had zero foundation to create a life. Fortunately, Youth Impact has provided a reachable dream and given the ladder of victory. Built upon a dark past, they are the future of Ethiopia.

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

NikSoftware

Rockin’ the FREE Nik Collection of Plug-ins with Scott Kelby
Join Scott Kelby as he shows you his tips and secrets for using the FREE Nik Collection from Google! This plug-in suite has long been many photographers’ secret weapon, and now it’s free to everyone!

In this brand new class, Scott will walk you through each of the eight plug-ins in the suite and show you how to best utilize them to your advantage. From making killer black and white images with Silver Efex Pro, to adding a special look to your images with Color Efex Pro, using Viveza to control specific colors, creating amazing HDR images with HDR Efex Pro, refining the details with Dfine and Sharpener Pro, or making your digital images look like film with Analog Efex Pro, Scott has you covered! Here’s the link to the full class.

It’s “Throwback Thursday” Class Time:
It’s one of our all-time most popular classes, and in case you missed it, check out Scott’s Shooting Travel Photos Like A Pro online class, shot on location in Paris. It’s tres magnifique! 

Photographer Jeff Lombardo photograph's Dubai Marina from the Princess Tower in Dubai, the Tallest Residential Building in the World.
Photographer Jeff Lombardo photographs Dubai Marina from the Princess Tower in Dubai, the Tallest Residential Building in the World.

How did you get your start in photography? Have you always done what you’re doing now, or did you start with one or many genres of work and then gravitate to your current style?
Well, I’m not the photographer that was given a camera at a young age or the photographer that followed in his father’s footsteps. I’m also not the photographer with a darkroom and film background. I actually never had any desire to become a photographer at all. I was a freelance graphic designer for NBC, Universal Studios, MGM, A&E, FOX, Disney, and many others — who one day decided to put everything he owned in a storage unit and follow his dream of world travel.

A helicopter view of downtown Vancouver
A helicopter view of downtown Vancouver.
A view of Brooklyn and Manhattan (Photo by Jeff Lombardo)
A view of Brooklyn from Manhattan.

I know it sounds like I had everything figured out but I had no idea how I was going to make it work. I had the confidence that it would work itself out, but a lot of the time it was hope. I decided to come up with a monthly figure that I needed each month to travel and live on, then I divided that number by 3 and pitched my top 3 clients an all you can eat package and suggested a 6 month retainer. Between the 3 clients I reached the figure I needed each month and I was able to lock in paychecks for the next 6 months.

Model on a gondola in Venice, Italy. (Photo by Jeff Lombardo)
Model on a gondola in Venice, Italy.
Jessica Burciaga on a beach in Honolulu. (Photo by Jeff Lombardo)
Jessica Burciaga on a beach in Honolulu.

That idea landed me on 62 flights in 10 months and provided me with 2 ½ years of world travel while living out of a suitcase. I was living a life worth documenting so I documented it just like anyone else would. Photography itself started to become appealing when all the iPhone photo editing apps started to emerge.

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Lions Gate Bridge in Vancouver, British Columbia.
People vacationing on holiday in Positano, Italy (Photo by Jeff Lombardo)
Crowd of people vacationing on holiday in Positano, Italy.

Having a mini Photoshop in my pocket appealed to my graphic design background and when Instagram came out, it was icing on the cake. Photo editing apps and Instagram gave me a greater purpose to share my photos in real time with those I was out of touch with, rather than having them just sit on my phone. That’s when I went from taking point and shoot vacation photos to putting thought, effort and creativity into each photo. I became passionate about it and I wanted to become better. The study and learning process is what got me into photography.

Sunset in Brooklyn, New York overlooking Manhattan (Photo by Jeff Lombardo)
Sunset in Brooklyn, New York overlooking Manhattan.
Horseshoe bend in Page, Arizona (Photo by Jeff Lombardo)
Horseshoe bend in Page, Arizona.

As time went on and I felt like I was getting to a place that I was comfortable with in my photography. I knew I had another talent to offer my network of friends so I began putting the word out and swinging for the fences when looking for new opportunities.

The Empire State Building through the legs of the Manhatttan Bridge (Photo by Jeff Lombardo)
The Empire State Building through the legs of the Manhattan Bridge.

Prior to photography I worked on some big projects as a graphic designer and I definitely had to pay my my dues. I went from being a starving artist all the way to working on the Dark Knight, Twilight, New Moon, WATCHMEN and countless other great projects. But once I decided to take the leap into becoming a professional photographer I realized I was a starving artist all over again — and I hated it.

Yachting through the Mediterranean Sea with a view of an active volcano in Stromboli. (Photo by Jeff Lombardo)
Yachting through the Mediterranean Sea with a view of an active volcano in Stromboli.
Overlooking Positano from a balcony in the mountainside (Photo by Jeff Lombardo
Overlooking Positano from a balcony in the mountainside.

I hit the reset button on my career at midlife. I went from the peak of my design career and having 15+ years experience under my belt to being an amateur without any experience under my belt and a world full of competition all over again. I did my best to leverage both backgrounds in my pitches while I continued to aim for gigs out of my ballpark. I had nothing to lose.

On the roof of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican in Rome, Italy (Photo by Jeff Lombardo
On the roof of St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican in Rome, Italy.
Emirates plane flyover. (Photo by Jeff Lombardo)
Emirates plane flyover.

Because I was traveling, I had a lot of travel photos. I decided to make a website with my photo work and it was all travel work and I labeled myself a Travel Photographer. Once I had some decent landscape and cityscape shots, my friends in the music industry started to notice and opportunities in music started to land. I used each one as a launchpad to get me to the next level.

Ne-Yo being interviewed at his "Forever Now" music video shoot. (Photo by Jeff Lombardo)
Ne-Yo being interviewed at his “Forever Now” music video shoot.
Ne-Yo in the studio writing a song. (Photo by Jeff Lombardo)
Ne-Yo in the studio writing a song.
Ne-Yo Performs in Manchester on the 2013 UK R.E.D. Tour. (Photo by Jeff Lombardo)
Ne-Yo performs in Manchester on the 2013 UK R.E.D. Tour.

I ended up going on tour with Ne-Yo, shooting the top 5 EDM DJs on 5 different continents and winning a photography award all in my first 2 years. A lot of you may ask how? Hustle and persistence is all I can say to that. I believe you have to align yourself with the opportunities you want and you have to be strategic and persistent. Find the gatekeepers that hold the power to what you want and beat down doors until someone lets you in. Everyone has something they need and something they can offer; it’s up to you to connect those dots.

Sebastian Ingrosso performs under fire at Stereosonic 2013 in Sydney, Australia (Photo by Jeff Lombardo)
Sebastian Ingrosso performs under fire at Stereosonic 2013 in Sydney, Australia
Hardwell spinning at EDC London 2013 at Queen Elizabeth Park (Photo by Jeff Lombardo)
Hardwell spinning at EDC London 2013 at Queen Elizabeth Park
Carl Cox spinning at Las Vegas Motor Speedway during EDC Las Vegas 2013 (Photo by Jeff Lombardo)
Carl Cox spinning at Las Vegas Motor Speedway during EDC Las Vegas 2013

Being a great photographer in 2016 isn’t enough. You have to be a great marketer. An ‘ok’ photographer who is great at marketing can make it further than a great photographer who is terrible at marketing. I don’t think that’s fair but that’s the game and sometimes you can’t change the game, all you can do is play it.

In the studio with Kendrick Lamar as he records To Pimp a Butterfly in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jeff Lombardo)
In the studio with Kendrick Lamar as he records To Pimp A Butterfly in Los Angeles.

What led to you getting such intimate access with Kendrick Lamar?
I believe it’s a combination of trust, respect for my work and knowing the right people. Growing up we all used to hear the phrase, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” — but I disagree. It’s definitely both.

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InDesignPhotographers

Adobe InDesign for Photographers: Creating a Trifold Brochure, with Dave Clayton
Photographers need collateral material to further promote their brands, but InDesign can be intimidating to new users. Join Dave Clayton for a step-by-step approach to creating a trifold brochure for your photography business. Even if you don’t know where to start, Dave will take you through the process of gathering up all of your materials, customizing the InDesign workspace, and then putting all of your copy, photographs, icons, and logo together in a stylish design that is simple, professional, and ready to deliver to the printer. By the end of the class you’ll have gained enough confidence in using InDesign to take on new projects and elevate your skills to the next level.

https://youtu.be/lu5DquV_UC0

Throwback Thursday
In case you missed it, you might want to also check out Glyn Dewis’ class Shooting Sports Physiques On Location!

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My name is Brian Podnos and my wife Donna and I run an architectural and interiors photography company based in NYC called Donna Dotan Photography. I wanted to share the interesting process by which we recently created a 60 foot photo for a client.

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(Click here for a MUCH higher resolution view)

Before I get into the making of this photo, here is a bit of context surrounding the job:

  • While doing a photoshoot of model units for a new development, the client asked Donna and I to photograph the view from on top of the construction site for a print. We happily obliged and got a great shot at sunset. The view was NYC with Citi Field in the foreground.
  • For the shot, we used a Canon 5D Mark III with a 24-70 zoom lens.
  • After delivering the image, the client told us the resolution wasn’t high enough. They wanted the image to be printed as wallpaper to cover their sales gallery wall of 60 ft by 9 ft.
  • They asked us to redo the shot. However, in order for everything to be ready for an upcoming event in the sales gallery the following week, we only had three days to deliver the image.

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Okay, so lots of pressure, not a lot of time to figure out the best way to approach the project. One thing we knew was that we wanted a medium format camera system in order to get that kind of image quality. People were going to be looking at this photo from less than a foot away, so we wanted to make sure we had the best resolution possible. Going medium format would be a risk because we only had one opportunity to do it right, it’s a very expensive system to rent, and it was something we had never done before! However, Donna and I felt that the reward outweighed the risk, and this way we would ensure that the resolution was the best it could possibly be.

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The Phase One IQ3 100MP system had just been released, and we really wanted to utilize the latest and greatest sensor on the market (100MP!). After some adversity (you’ll see in the video) we were able to rent the camera. At this point we were left with only one day to get the shot, edit the file and deliver it to the printers!

Everything had to go according to plan. The weather had to cooperate, we had to learn the mechanics behind the camera system the day of the project, and we had to figure out exactly by what method we would create the photo. Since the wall was 60 feet wide, we figured we would have to shoot multiple panels and stitch them together in post (even with a medium format system and 100MP sensor, a single shot wouldn’t be sufficient), but we weren’t sure if we should use a rail or a tripod. We also didn’t know if we should photograph in the horizontal or vertical orientation, or if we should capture the panels top-down or left-right (or both!). Lastly, we weren’t sure which lens would be most appropriate. Lots of questions, not a lot of time to spare.

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After much deliberation, we decided to take multiple lenses and figure the rest out on site. Thankfully, the weather was on our side that day. We rented the camera from Digital Transitions in NYC and they were amazing in teaching us how to operate it. They also assured us they would always be around should something arise on site. That comforted us to say the least.

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Sunset was around 5:15, so we arrived at 4 and made our way up the construction site to the 15th floor. It was already so beautiful as the sun was setting behind the Manhattan skyline. Quickly, we were able to eliminate the rail system we had brought. Our photo subject was so far away that we could easily photograph the needed panels using our Arca-Swiss D4 tripod head. Next, we decided that the Schneider 150mm was the lens to use. It gave us exactly the frame we were hoping to get with minimal cropping needed in post. We elected to orient the camera vertically and shoot 7 panels from left to right.

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One additional element we worried over was the fear that the construction site would be too active. Any camera shake would cause our long exposure capture to be blurry. Luckily we were able to select a floor where no construction workers were working and thus were free to begin.

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Once the camera was set up, we ran a test by tethering to a computer and taking a look at how the panels stacked up next to each other. The raw files looked really good. We were zooming in and able to read traffic signs that were miles away!

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Finally, we were confident that we would be able to create the image the way we wanted to. Now we just had to wait for the buildings to light up during twilight…

The next day we imported all the files to our office computers and spent the rest of the day editing the shot. It literally took all day to stitch the panels seamlessly, get the color correction on point, and pull out all the details we wanted to showcase. Each shot was a 15 second exposure, and since the sky gets dark so quickly there was a noticeable gradient in color with each panel. Smoothing out the sky was quite a challenge!

We finally submitted the panoramic photo and shortly after heard from the printer that the file was going to work. We all breathed a sigh of relief.

https://youtu.be/NzqbEx53mNY

Donna and I got to see the photo in person a week later, and it was incredible. Inspecting the wall up close we really got to see how sharp every detail was. Considering this was our first time using a medium format system, and considering all the external pressures to get the job done right, I feel like we really succeeded in what we set out to do.

Reflecting on the experience, the whole process was pretty wild. There were so many question marks in the air, but it all worked out in the end. We created an amazing final product and made an important client very happy.

-Brian Podnos
Donna Dotan Photography

Special thanks to Onex Real Estate Partners, Modern Spaces, Digital Transitions, Ken Jones, and Pitra Media!

You can see more of Donna and Brian’s work at DonnaDotan.com, and follow them on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

PhotoRecipesDramaticLight

Photo Recipes: Dramatic Light
Discover a cool recipe for a dramatic lighting look with Scott Kelby! Join Scott as he shows you, step-by-step, how to configure your camera, arrange the lighting, position the subject, and create a very nice, yet dramatic lighting look. You’ll learn the full process, from the initial setup to the subject direction to the retouching of your best photos at the end, and all throughout the class Scott shares additional tips and tricks to help you nail the shot when you try it on your own. This look can be achieved with studio strobes or speedlights, and Scott discusses the gear you’ll need for both situations, so there’s no reason not to add this recipe to your bag of tricks.

Leave a comment for your chance to win a free 1-month KelbyOne membership!

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