Posts By Brad Moore

Designing Beautiful Wedding Albums in Adobe Lightroom CC
Learn how to design beautiful wedding albums in Lightroom CC! Join Scott Kelby as he shares his favorite design tips, tricks, and techniques for creating wedding photo books with high impact. Scott takes you through the process, from beginning to end, showing you how to get started with your book, maximize the Lightroom interface for an efficient workflow, how to add photos, customize pages, work with text, and all the while sharing his insights into how to design your layouts like a pro. You’re going to fall in love with the process once you realize how much control you have over the design, and your clients will fall in love with your albums.

This class will be available today, exclusively at KelbyOne.com, and leave a comment for your chance to win a free 1-month membership to KelbyOne!

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IT’S ALL ABOUT PERSPECTIVE
It’s always a privilege to appear as a guest blogger on Scott’s Photoshop Insider Blog. Having a chance to share some of my experiences in photography with Scott’s blog readers is always a pleasure. If anything I say plants a seed in your mind that you then nurture and turn into a unique memorialization of a moment in time, I couldn’t hope for more.

This will be my fourth appearance as Scott’s guest blogger and this time I’ll be chatting about one way to create some sports images that are different than the usual stuff you may see. If you’ve tried your hand at sports photography you know how much competition there is in the field. With camera equipment becoming relatively affordable and with technology advancing so much that pro level equipment is readily available to all, there has been a proliferation of folks who are geared up to shoot sports. With so many new shooters, I find it necessary to do anything I can to distinguish myself from others for the sake of continued photo assignments. Thus, I strive to capture images that stand out from what others capture.

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15mm fisheye shot from the floor

For many years, I have used a diagonal fisheye lens to add one or two images to my typical set. The unique image curvature created by this lens is always good for images that are different from typical sports images. The shot above is an example of a basketball image taken with a 15mm fisheye and the camera body placed on the floor angled upward. The problem is that a little fisheye goes a long way. One or two images in a set are plenty.

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Trying a different perspective for this shot

To supplement equipment in my bag of tricks I try to use creativity as a means of generating novel images. Over time, I have developed a reputation among colleagues as the guy who will try almost anything in order to get a different perspective for an image. It’s become a running joke with my friends and it’s gotten to the point where they are no longer surprised when they find out from where I managed to get a given shot.

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And here’s the shot

My philosophy is pretty simple – the best way to separate my work from that of others is to be creative enough, and sometimes crazy enough, to find unique perspectives for images. The early bird may get the worm, but the creative one is more likely to get the shot that turns heads.

Perspective is one of the easiest things you can change to make an image look completely different from another one depicting the same scene. That’s why for sports like basketball which are played indoors, I have been venturing up into the nosebleed section of FSU’s basketball arena to shoot some images during a game. To do so, I had to force myself to overcome a fear of heights but it has been well worth it for the sake of unique images.

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The view of the Tucker Center’s basketball court in Tallahassee, Florida from the catwalks above the arena

Normally, when people talk about going to the nosebleed section of a stadium or an arena it’s usually a sarcastic reference to being relegated to crappy seats. When I tell people that I’m headed to the nosebleed section, it’s not with sarcasm in my voice, it’s with a mixture of excitement, fear, and a lot of trepidation. My version of being in the nosebleed section of an arena is different than sitting in the cheap seats – it’s making my way up to the catwalks that ring FSU’s arena high above the facility.

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The catwalks and the steel girders that support the structure

In order to get to the best spots from which to shoot, I have to climb up and down ramps, scale ladders, and negotiate obstacles, cables, and lights, all the while petrified beyond words. I don’t like heights. No, that’s an understatement. I really, really hate heights. But when I sit at my computer after a game and look through the images that I get from the catwalks, I can only smile.

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The arena lights just in front of the steel grates that make up the floor of the catwalks

Some photographers set up remote cameras on the catwalks and then trigger them from the floor. For them, spending one minute more than necessary perched on a catwalk sends shivers down their spines. I wish I was more willing to trust technology but I still believe that if I want something done right I need to do it myself. I refuse to trust a camera’s autofocus capabilities or pre-focus on a spot and set the camera to Manual Focus to generate images. I’d rather not hope and pray that a given shot sequence is in focus only to find out later that the images aren’t sharp. Old school still rules so I shoot from above.

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Two shots taken from a side angle

There are some guidelines I follow when venturing up to the catwalks. As far as equipment, I only take one camera body strapped diagonally and securely around my body with the lens attached. Since basketball is the sport I typically photograph from catwalks, I’ll walk you through what I do to shoot basketball from the heavens but the same basic principles apply to anything else that you might shoot from up there.

My lens of choice for basketball is usually a 300mm f2.8 that I hand hold. On occasion I will also take a wide angle lens or my 15mm fisheye for artsy fartsy stuff, but if I take an extra lens it is stuffed deep into my pants pocket. I leave everything else on the arena floor and that includes camera bag, lens hoods, cell phone, monopod, keys, glasses, and anything else that I might accidentally drop from above. Not only are these items superfluous, they pose a risk of serious injury (and possibly even death) to the people below if accidentally dropped.

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Two more shots taken from a side angle

Some arenas do not have catwalks that run directly above either basket or directly above center court. For a long time, that was the case at FSU’s Tucker Center but I was nevertheless able to find spots where I could position myself to nab some cool stuff. Even though I wasn’t directly over a basket, I was able to alter the images’ perspective somewhat in Photoshop to make them look almost as if they were taken from directly overhead. The two images above are examples of images I shot from the side and then corrected to some extent in Photoshop.

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A couple of other images shot from different vantage points

By moving around on the catwalks and changing locations I use different vantage points to get different perspectives on images. I shoot some images vertically but most of the time I stick with a horizontal orientation.

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The Tucker Center during player introductions taken with a 17-35mm lens

I use a wide lens for shots of the venue during games that pit FSU against teams that are usually highly ranked, such as Duke, Louisville, or North Carolina. These games usually mean that the seats in the arena will be full which lends itself to desirable images. But after those shots are in the can I switch to the 300mm lens. The 300mm on a full frame camera body is ideal from up top because it lets me get tight on the action while still allowing me to follow it so I don’t miss too many shots.

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The grate over the center catwalk supported by girders underneath. Top/center is the opening through which I shoot
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Me (right) and a colleague (left) shooting from the catwalk pictured above. Photo by Colin Abbey

The best shots from overhead are when players are looking up at the rim or up at the ball, such as the opening tip, going for a rebound, about to release a floater in the lane, or just before a dunk. Last year, Florida State renovated the Tucker Center and finally cleared out an area that has a small opening over each of the baskets so I can now shoot from a position almost directly overhead. That is the ideal situation as I can now mix up my shots, some from the sides and some taken from directly overhead.

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Two images shot from almost directly overhead of the baskets

I try to stay alert even when play stops as opportunities for images often present themselves after the whistle blows. If I had let my guard down after the whistle blew (first image) or after a timeout was called (second image), I would have missed the images below, one of a player who collapsed in pain and the other of a dance team member doing a back flip.  Fortunately, I kept an eye on the floor after play was stopped and snapped away.

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A Clemson player collapses in pain shortly after the whistle blew

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An FSU dancer does a back flip during a time out

Another shooting opportunity presents itself during timeouts. I keep an eye on the game clock and anticipate the media time outs. When I know one is approaching, I’ll boogie over to a spot directly above one of the teams and wait for the players and coaches to gather for their strategy session. Shooting the teams from the catwalks during a timeout yields images that are not your traditional, vanilla time out images. Here are a couple of examples.

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Duke men’s team uses its bench for seating during timeouts
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FSU women’s team uses seats brought out to the floor during timeouts

If you’re fortunate enough to have catwalks available for use in your arena, by all means give it a go. To shoot from the catwalks I obtain permission from the arena facilities director to access the catwalks. That individual is usually making the rounds around the floor of the arena before the game. Once I find him and obtain permission, I make sure he contacts his staff via radio to ensure that someone will unlock the stairwell door that leads the catwalks. I make my way to this door long before I intend to shoot so I can slowly, carefully wind my way up and down the ramps and stairs that eventually end up on the catwalk that rings the arena.

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My first time up in the catwalks I made sure to leave myself enough time to get a feel for what it was like up there and explored the vantage points that exist by walking around. I took test shots of the teams as they warmed up to dial in the right exposure and explored the image possibilities from the different vantage points. After that I was all set to create my images.

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If you make it up to the catwalks of an arena and you’re like me, your heart will be in your throat until you are safely back down on the court. But when you download your cards and take a peek at what you got, you’ll be glad you made it up to the nosebleed section of nosebleed sections.

Miguel (Mike) Antonio Olivella, Jr. is a professional photographer based in Tallahassee, Florida. Mike has been a Featured Photographer for Florida State University Athletics for over ten years and a stringer for two international wire services. Mike’s sports photographs are routinely published worldwide and his astrophotography, wildlife, travel, and landscape images have been exhibited in solo and joint gallery exhibitions. You can see more of Mike’s work at BaselineShots.com, on Google+ , or on Facebook.

How To Get The Most Out Of Adobe Creative Cloud
Join Terry White, Adobe’s Worldwide Design & Photography Evangelist, to learn how to Get The Most Out Of Adobe Creative Cloud. In this class Terry demystifies what it means to subscribe to the Creative Cloud, how to find and install Adobe applications, and how to take advantage of all the additional benefits of a Creative Cloud subscription. From online storage space to increased collaboration tools, and from access to online assets to a wealth of mobile apps there’s a lot more to a Creative Cloud subscription than just installing and updating Adobe applications. By the end of this class you’ll learn how to empower your workflow with new tools, ensure you are getting the most out of your subscription, and know how to take steps to maintain it into the future.

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

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Photo by Jimmy King

On Being Discovered / Mentored by Icons
When I was a student, David Bowie phoned up, out of the blue. I’d just arrived back in NYC, exhausted from my commute from Princeton, in time to hear, “Some guy on the phone says he’s David Bowie.” A prank call, no doubt. Then, David’s charming voice: “I’ve been following your work for several years and I’m a fan.” I was shocked. Though I’d passionately pursued my photography for years, it was mainly published in underground magazines and I was majoring in cultural anthropology, uncertain of my direction in life.

Bowie became my mentor, launching both my careers: first as a photographer, with the album cover for “Heathen,” then a dozen years later, as a director for my first major music video for his “Valentine’s Day.”

Was it luck, divine intervention? Of course—as is every breath, every being we meet. It was also, without doubt, the result of years of experimentation, creating work that though overlooked by many, was worthy of being ‘discovered’ by an icon.

Indeed, my career was built on intensive collaborations and being discovered – not just by Bowie, but by fashion svengali Isabella Blow, who commissioned my first major fashion magazine covers; by mogul Iman who gave me my first book cover and ad campaigns; by Andy Warhol’s Interview editor Ingrid Sischy, who encouraged my digital experimentation. Later, as a director, I was discovered by fashion icon Daphne Guinness, who starred in my first short film, and by Hollywood producer Rick Schwartz (Black Swan, Gangs of New York) who produced my short film that won Best Film at the International Fashion Film Festival, among others.

These icons worked with the world’s most famous artists—why choose me, a shy, Indian, publicity-adverse nerd (early on) working with a former classical harpist Markus Klinko? It soon became clear that opportunities come with challenges that the usual experts can’t resolve.

Bowie’s first most daunting request: create a cover of the book he was art directing, “I am Iman.” You may ask, what could be easier than shooting Iman, a most extraordinary supermodel? Indeed, problem was, the book was a collection of the most stunning images taken over 3 decades by the world’s most famous photographers – and Bowie had rejected them all. For the cover, he wanted something stronger, more true to the incredible character and brilliance of his wife.

I turned to a discovery of my own: young stylist GK Reid, whose futuristic ideas, global explorations and original approaches inspired me. Together we raided comics, films and fashion archives, and studied Iman, creating a concept of part amazon warrior, part goddess, all woman. Working with Markus we created the images we dreamed of.

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Photo by Markus Klinko and Indrani Pal-Chaudhuri, creative direction by GK Reid

Pleased with the results, Bowie said we’d talk soon about his album. A year passed. Then a second unexpected call: David invited us to his studio and immersed us in his music. I was enthralled hearing him sing and being asked my thoughts as he was recording. Post-9/11 the mood was dark, we discussed ideas and his developing lyrics, and intriguing, layered views on the state of the world. Likewise, he studied the details of my images and my cutting-edge digital processes. Now he had a new challenge: “I love what you’re doing with these hyper-real colors and digital effects on these women. I’d like to see what you’d do with the opposite, black and white 20’s darkroom effects, on a man–on me.”

In our many discussions, life and death were always close at hand. Before the “Heathen” shoot, David referenced philosophers and artists from Neitzsche to Man Ray, relating to the fear of the death of God and of society as we knew it after 9/11. The character he portrayed was blind.

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Photo by Markus Klinko and Indrani Pal-Chaudhuri, creative direction by GK Reid

To me, a truly great portrait is an image that captures a glimpse of the divine spark that animates its subject. An artist, like a shaman, shares a slice of the connection they felt with the subject, a sliver of both souls, as it were. That’s why discovering and mentoring collaborators is key, to kindle new combinations of energies to inspire each other to creatively thrive.

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Photo by Markus Klinko and Indrani Pal-Chaudhuri, creative direction by GK Reid

A dozen years later, when I was a fledgling director wracked with doubt about whether to take time off from photography to fulfill my great passion for film, I was again at a pivotal juncture, when David called: “I’m sorry it’s been longer than I expected. I’ve been waiting for the right moment.” My short films had just begun winning awards. “I’d like you to direct my video, for my favorite song on the new album.” Markus and I again collaborated, GK creative directed.

Though Bowie wanted a stripped-down, simple video, to contrast all his previous works, for weeks we discussed ideas and experimented conceptually together. Our connection was more charged than before with a powerful intensity, exciting, awkward, playful, yet always channeled into the work. David was reserved yet caring, profoundly encouraging yet eager to push beyond my artistic comfort zone. And he let me push him, to perform with a fierce intensity, bringing to life a character so alien yet influentially traumatizing to our society today, from whose point of view he wrote the song: a mall shooter / terrorist / psychopath. He wanted us to try to understand the mind of such a man, to find solutions.

http://youtu.be/S4R8HTIgHUU

After that shoot, David and I had many discussions of future projects, game-changing disruptive ideas we developed together that would have blown everyone’s minds. But he kept postponing scheduling, saying he’d get back to me soon, when he would have more time.

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Photo by Markus Klinko and Indrani Pal-Chaudhuri, creative direction by GK Reid

The afternoon of his death, I was giving a lecture to a large audience at Photo16 in Zurich. As I shared my work and stories, I found myself strangely lingering on David and his incredible importance to my life. Each time we worked together, we pushed each other beyond our comfort zones, to take our ideas to their extremes, to challenge ourselves and everyone else to their maximum and beyond. I will miss so much the excitement of knowing he was always working away at thrilling new projects, that he would call me about when I’d least expect it. I will miss dropping everything to rush to work with him for days or weeks to develop together new visions. And I will be forever grateful for his encouragement of my creativity and belief in my potential, at critical junctures of my life when I was uncertain of my way.

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Photo by Markus Klinko and Indrani Pal-Chaudhuri, creative direction by GK Reid

You can see more of Indrani’s work at Indrani.com, and follow her on FacebookTwitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

BRAD_NOTC_Blog_01.28.16_InstagramAudience

How To Build An Audience In Instagram with Scott Kelby
Take your Instagram presence to the next level! Join Scott Kelby as he shares everything he’s learned about creating an interesting and compelling Instagram account that encourages people to interact and follow you. This is an incredibly important time to be on Instagram since it is the only social media platform that is made specifically for photography. In this class Scott explains the advantages Instagram has over other social media outlets, how to work with your images before posting, the importance of captioning, why you need to use hashtags, and all kinds of tips and tricks to help you develop a strategy for growing your Instagram audience and have fun doing it. Keep an eye out for this class later today at KelbyOne.com!

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

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http://vimeo.com/152717969
Video by Matthew Rojas

My first week as the photographer for the Dallas Stars was one of the craziest weeks in my professional career. In the span of 5 days, I became a new photographer.

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This starts many weeks before the shoots with creative meetings. We were trying to figure out the new direction for the Dallas Stars for both the calendar which they hadn’t released the last couple of seasons because of lack of sales, and the media day photoshoot which they use for everything from billboards to programs to the commercial breaks during the broadcast of the games.

My creative direction for the calendar was easy. I knew exactly who the key demographic of this young and, according to my fiancee, “hot” team was. I had to make this team look sexy. The obvious answer there is something GQ. Let’s put these players in suits and the calendars will sell themselves. On top of that I had always wanted to do a Behind the Scenes of a movie set look. I pitched this idea to the Dallas Stars Foundation and they loved it immediately.

Over the next couple of weeks I built a set and gathered props to create the look for the calendar. In retrospect I wish I had hired a set designer because of the amount of time I put into building this set. Me being the hard headed control freak I am, I wanted full control of how this was going to look and I didn’t want any outside input.

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Sunday is day one of two for the calendar shoot for the Stars. For the calendar, each month would be either an individual or duo from the team and then the cover was to be a shot of the crowd favorites. The only problem with that was that these players were split up over the two days. I think no problem, I’ll just set up a monopod and lock it down so we can composite each player together into the one image.

This wouldn’t have been a problem, but the next day we were shooting the calendar was three days later on Wednesday. Somewhere in that time, someone came into the studio and moved parts of the set. I don’t work out of a typical studio. I share a studio space with 60 other creatives in Dallas called WELD. I love this place, it is amazing. But this is where communal studio space becomes a problem!

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Anyway, day one was a HUGE success and I couldn’t have been happier with how everything had gone. We had to wrap the shoot by 4pm because my crew and I had to be on a plane to Chicago for a two day photo shoot with Topgolf. We got into Chicago by midnight and into the hotel room by 1am, got a few hours of sleep and shot long, full days. That’s another story for another blog post though.

We flew back Wednesday morning at 6am to get back to the studio at 10am and started shooting the remainder of the calendar at 11am. THANK GOD we had everything set up and ready to go, because when we got back to the studio I think we all took a quick 30 minute power nap.

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The second day of the calendar shoot went by without a hitch (other than the moved set). I chose to not let it bother me and just suck it up and accept the fact that I would have a little bit more post ahead of me. We wrapped around 4pm and immediately had to break everything down and get it loaded up into the van for the media day shoot the next morning – at 5am. Ouch!

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My crew and I got up to the Dallas Stars training facility at 5am to start setting up. By this point, we had everything nailed down from multiple test shoots at the facility. I had everything mapped out, powers dialed in and we knocked out the set up in about an hour. The fun thing about media day is that I get roughly 5 minutes with each player in which I have to get 4-5 different looks.

I had three stations set up in which I would get at least two separate looks at each station by getting the player to face different directions and toggling lights on and off to give it a new look. The last station was the “action” station in which I would have the player skate at full speed and do a few different variations of shooting, stopping and skating.

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INSERT HUGE PROBLEM. With all of the tests I had done, I had never had a problem with my lens fogging over. And wouldn’t you know it, the first player skates up to have his picture taken and my lens is completely fogged over. AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! DEAR GOD WHY!? Growing up in Texas, I have never had much experience with my lenses fogging over due to cold weather, so the first thing I do is stick the camera in my jacket to warm it up. This fixes it momentarily, but keeps fogging up every couple of minutes.

It ended up working out and I got images that myself and the Dallas Stars were both proud of. I know I wouldn’t have been able to knock out these shoots without the help and support of my amazing crew that week, and of course my fiancee who kept me from breaking out into tears on multiple occasions.

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

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