Posts By Brad Moore

When I moved to Florida, I needed to find something to get me behind the camera regularly, so I took up concert photography. With lots of advice and help from Alan Hess (whose new book you should order), I made the leap into the world of high ISOs, slow shutter speeds, long nights, and tight spaces between rowdy crowds and sweaty rock bands. And I loved it!

A fan sings along with The Word Alive during their performance at The Ritz in Ybor City, Tampa, Florida

Shooting concerts has helped me learn more about how I see, and to develop my vision. Through shooting regularly, I’ve been able to find my style, and to hone in on the type of lighting scenarios I enjoy having in front of my lenses the most. I’ve learned where to position the camera in relation to the light to get certain effects, like lens flare, in shots. It’s taught me how to tweak settings in post production to get the most impact out of the images. It’s opened my eyes to complementing and contrasting colors. To the impact of showing a full range of coverage, from close-up detail shots to wide coverage The list goes on.

Michael Maddox of Kill Hannah performs at The Ritz in Ybor City, Tampa, Florida

A fan body surfs over the crowd while A Day To Remember perform during 97X Next Big Thing in Tampa, Florida

Fast forward a couple years to today. I still love concert photography, and plan on continuing to do it. But this year I’m going making an effort to transition more into portrait photography. That doesn’t mean I won’t be bringing part of my concert photography with me, however.

Through honing my vision, I hope to bring a unique take on portraiture. By translating certain aspects from the stage to the studio, I plan on exploring new possibilities (to me anyway) in portrait photography. Thanks to all the lessons learned above, I have ideas sloshing around loosely in my head that I’m noodling on, trying to figure out how that translation is going to look when it arrives in the studio.

Can I make studio strobes mimic the effects of stage lighting?

Olga Yagolnikov of Kye Kye performs at The Roosevelt 2.0 in Tampa, Florida

Can I make a large empty warehouse look like a dance club?

Will anyone notice the large brick wall I’ve built where the cyc used to be? ;-)

Roger Waters of Pink Floyd takes the stage at the start of his “The Wall Live” tour at St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, Florida

Like learning any new craft, it’s going to take a little while to find my footing. While I’ve had the honor of working with a couple of the greats in McNally and Kelby, I haven’t had much experience directing subjects from behind the camera on my own. There’s a HUGE difference between being told where to put a light and making the decision of where to put it, much less pulling certain expressions, or more importantly, emotions from a subject. Through years of experience, these guys know how to connect with their subjects, make them feel comfortable, even confident, in front of the lens.

Sean Gadd and Andrew Wessen of Grouplove goof around backstage during 97X Next Big Thing in Tampa, Florida

And that’s something that doesn’t come naturally to me. It’s something I’ll have to work on. Which means setting up shoots and having subjects waiting on me to direct them to figure it out. Like I said, I’ve been watching Joe, Scott, and others for years. But there’s a big difference between the water boy and the quarterback… And there are only so many tricks you can pick up from other people before you have to find a way to make them your own.

Which is why it’s important to stay behind the camera, working to make the ideas in your head reality. Even if you don’t get it right on the first try, keep working on it until what’s on the screen matches your mind’s eye. It’s a process, and not something you can learn from a book or video. Those are great for learning the technicalities of photography, but not always for finding your vision.

Derek E. Miller and Alexis Krauss of Sleigh Bells perform for a sold-out crowd at State Theatre in St. Petersburg, Florida

Vision can’t be taught. It has to be discovered.

And once you’ve discovered your vision, keep feeding it with new work so it can continue to grow and find new possibilities to explore.

So, here’s to a new year, new possibilities, and new goals that will keep pushing us all to grow creatively!

You can see more of Brad’s work at, follow him on Google+ and Twitter, and come see him at Southwestern Photojournalism Conference February 24-26.

Brad Moore here with a quick update… I just got word that Scott Kelby and Matt Kloskowski’s newest book, The Photoshop Elements 10 Book for Digital Photographers, is now available for pre-order on! It’s due in next week, so any orders placed now will be among the first to leave our warehouse. It’s just $39.99, or $29.99 if you’re a NAPP member.

Head on over to and pre-order your copy today!

Hey gang, Brad Moore here with something a little different… Pimpy Thursday will now be known as Free Stuff Thursday! So, here’s the deal…

Scott is all about making sure his readers know about cool stuff and helping you get great deals on it. So each Thursday, not only will we be sharing the latest happenings and cool things that are going on, but we’ll be giving something away! To be entered, all you have to do is leave a comment on the post, and Scott will randomly choose a winner.

To kick things off, we’ve got a free ticket to…

Photo Pro Expo 2012
Let me just say right off the bat that this event looks crazy good, and it’s at a price that’s hard to beat… Photo Pro Expo 2012 is taking place February 2-5 in the Greater Cincinnati area and features instructors like Scott Kelby, Jerry Ghionis, Vincent Laforet, Joel Grimes, Syl Arena, and more. The regular price is $279 for the expo, but use the promo code PPESK12 when registering to sign up for just $149! And, if you stay an extra day through February 6, you can spend a full day with Jerry Ghionis for just $99!

There is a print competition on February 2, seminars February 3-5, and a big trade show on February 4-5. You can get the full schedule and register (if you’re not the lucky winner of the free ticket) at

January Blowout Sale!
Is one of your New Year’s resolutions to become even better at Photoshop, Lightroom, or photography? If so, we’ve got some killer prices on our best-selling books and DVDs on Photoshop CS5, Lightroom 3, HDR, and Wedding Photography from Scott Kelby, Matt Kloskowski, Corey Barker, RC Concepcion, Dave Cross, and David Ziser!

If you don’t have these books or DVDs, now’s the time because we’ve discounted these as much as 70% off! The sale ends January 31, 2012 or when supplies run out – whichever comes first. You can find it all over at

Clearance Stuff
We’ve put some of our DVDs on clearance for as low as $9.99. If you’d like to learn things like the importance of model releases, how to avoid business mistakes and other important facets of photography, you can do just that for a low price. It’s all over at

Light It. Shoot It. Retouch It. LIVE
Scott (and myself) are hitting the road again at the end of the month for the Light It. Shoot It. Retouch It. Tour! On January 30, we’ll be in Austin, TX. On February 21, we’re heading to Dallas, TX, then over to Phoenix, AZ on February 22. You can get all the details and register at

That’s it for today. Make sure you leave a comment for your chance to win a pass to Photo Pro Expo!

Why choose photography as a career?
In general terms my interest started from a very early age, 7, but was first in the printing side of things, I loved the magic of the print starting to come up in the developer, to some degree the first part of my life in photography was very much based on the printing side and as such I still approach my work with the final print in mind when I shoot, looking at the tone and texture of a scene to light it so that I achieve as much as possible in camera but know what I will do in post edit to get the final image that I require, the image that I have in my head firmly before I even unpack the equipment and start the shoot.

I worked initially within the newspaper industry as a printer, then went on to work as a photographer for some UK picture agencies shooting mainly press related and editorial work. At the age of 20 I made a drastic career move and joined the Royal Marines, serving 6 years before moving back into media as senior operations manager for Virgin Media. Just over 4 years ago I was made redundant, and at this point I took a long hard look at my future and decided to move back to photography. After a long 5 days drawing up my business plan, Ambient Life was born. A lot of people don’t realize when they look at my client list and my work that we started just 4 years ago and that what we have achieved so far has all been done in the last 4 years… From that point I have not looked back.

How has photography changed your life?
I count myself as very fortunate that I do something that I simply love, I get paid well for my work and also get paid to do something that I am extremely passionate about, the old adage that if you do a job that you love you will never work another day in your life is very true in my case. I see the world I think slightly differently than others, and as a photographer that is a key gift I feel. I travel the world and work with some amazing people and see some amazing sights. Sure it is very hard work, and there is a lot of pressure that people don’t always appreciate, but it’s what I was born to do and I think if you are lucky enough to find that one skill that you were born to do, then life is somehow complete…

You have spoken previously about being self taught in photography – how did you teach yourself?
I did what I believe is the best thing to do in learning photography, getting out there and shooting stuff, even if it’s just to see what something looks like photographed… Looking at light… no camera required, trying to understand light and how to use it to create a scene that you want, shape it and change its property for the photographer’s benefit. I think that photography is a little like riding a bike, you need to get on the bike and start riding and falling off, not reading books about it only…

There is no secret. It’s a case of learning your craft and exploring the possibilities yourself as this will often be the building blocks to you developing a strong style of your own.

What are your secrets to obtain such a strong style of images?

Getting Ready for 2012 – Or 12 New Year’s Resolutions for Photographers

When my friend Brad Moore at Kelby Training emailed and asked me to do a guest blog post about getting ready for 2012, I said, “Absolutely.” That’s after I said “thank you” to Brad, Scott and RC for thinking about me for this post.

Saying “thank you” is important. More on that topic later in this post.

I said “Absolutely” because that’s exactly what I have been doing for the past few months. As a photographer, professional or enthusiast, you gotta plan ahead.

After carefully considering the many things we, as photographers, need to do in the planning process, I picked my top 12 recommendations for 2012.

Here goes.

1. Set goals
If you don’t set goals, you really don’t know where you are going – and how you are going to get there. Perhaps more important, once you set a goal, fine-tune that goal as you move toward it.

For example, say you want to become a better people photographer. That’s a good goal for sure. But setting the more specific goal of making better portraits or environmental portraits (showing the person in his or her environment) is a more specific goal. In this case, study the work of well-known pros – and painters – to see how they create wonderful pictures and paintings. Study light – shadows and highlights.

To make my “Girl with a Pearl Earring” photograph, I studied the painting, “Girl with a Pearl Earring,” by the Dutch master, Johannes Vermeer.

Put some shooting dates on your calendar. Put what you learned to use. You really have to take a lot of people shots to get better at it, and get more comfortable working with your subjects.

Evaluate your goal. Regularly. Be tough. Ask yourself if you are reaching or achieving your goal. Ask your family members and friends if they think you are improving.

2. Socialize
Use Google+, Facebook, Twitter, etc. to get your name and your work “out there.” These free marketing tools are essential for the working pro and aspiring pro.

See how other photographers are using these tools to their advantage. Daily.

These marketing tools are also a great way to share a favorite picture and to make new friends.

Look at these tools as building your fans and friends customer base.

Once you start, you should post new photos on a regular basis.

3. Network
You can use social media to network, of course. But actual face time (as in showing up in person as opposed to FaceTime on the iPhone/iPad) is also a great way to network.

Photoshop World is a great place to network. So is the PhotoPlus Expo in New York City and the California Photo Fest in Los Osos, CA.

Joining local Meetup groups is also a great way to network. Meetup photo groups are like camera clubs. They offer great opportunities to go out shooting with other photographers. Some host monthly meetings as well. If there is not a Meetup group in your town, start one – and start networking.

4. Plan Ahead
Here is what I tell freelance photographers, like myself: Being a freelancer is like being on a roller coaster. The highs are high and the lows are low. However, that’s much more exciting than being on a merry-go-round.

To be a successful freelancer, you need to plan ahead. Way ahead. I am planning my 2012 and 2013 workshops and seminars right now. One reason: I know many of my friendly competitors are doing the same thing. And, the groups that sponsor these events need time to promote dates to their members.

Make a plan and stick to it. Remember: dates in your “review view mirror” are closer than they appear.

Check your e-calendar daily. Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.

Here is something else I tell freelancers: Never give up. Believe in yourself. Follow your heart and don’t listen to those, especially on social media, who want to put you down.

5. Think “Free”
Get this book, Free by Chris Anderson. In the book the author talks about the importance of giving away stuff for free… in the hope of making a connection with a potential customer and making money down the road.

It’s a good philosophy. Give a free lecture or photo seminar. After the lecture, promote your workshops, prints, etc. Also, post free videos on YouTube and give free webinars. Again, promote your paid work at the end of the video or webinar.

And while we are on the subject of books, read, The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuck. It’s a great reminder of the value of saying “Thank You.”

6. Embrace Technology
You can make a few bucks by embracing technology. For example, pick your best work and create a PDF e-book. Sell it through E-junkie and promote it on your site and blog.

Also consider apps. As more and more iPads and iPhone are sold, more and more people are getting into app development.

Apps are more affordable than books. They are also available in every home with an Internet connection on the planet – which means you have a tremendous customer base.

After writing 36 books, I have now moved mainly to apps. I gotta tell ya, they sell way better than books these days.

7. Be Healthy
If you are not in good health and good shape, you can’t make the best possible picture and run the best possible business – and have the most fun possible. I know this because I recently hurt my knee, which slowed me down for a bit. A good New Year’s resolution would be to get in good shape and stay healthy throughout the year.

8. Create Your Own Reality
This may sound silly to some, but you can create your own reality, and you are responsible for your own reality to a great degree. If you want to be a photographer … you have to move toward that goal and invest your time and energy in photography. You might have to start with small jobs or volunteer to help other photographers, but you will be gaining great experience along the way. Remember the old expression, “you have to pay your dues.”

Also, read, Real Magic by Dr. Wayne Dyer and you’ll see what I mean.

Hey, it worked for me. For 10 years I worked in a NYC ad agency in a suit and tie. I dreamed of becoming a travel photographer. I read Real Magic and put the ideas in the book to work in my life. It might work for you, too.

Here’s another quote that may help you create your own reality: “It’s never too late to be who you could have been.” I know it sounds funny, but in many cases it’s true. Try to create your own reality.

9. Update Your Blog or Site
If you want to keep your customer’s attention, and if you want to attract the attention of new customers, you must keep your site current. Post new pictures as often as humanly possible.

I post new stuff on my blog almost daily. No matter how tired I am, I post. For example, I was teaching a photography workshop recently in Bosque del Apache, New Mexico, and I posted new work at 2 A.M. – when our wake-up call for the week was 4:30 A.M.

Posting every day has an added benefit: You need to make new pictures to post, and to find interesting stuff to write about. You’ll learn a lot, which brings us to tip #10.

10. Learn Something New
Learning is health, or at least that’s what the Buddhist say. Learn a new plug-in or software program. Learn a new photography Photoshop technique. For example, thanks to Matt Kloskowski, I recently learned how to make a better montage.

Learn HDR. Learn about travel or wedding photography. Learn, learn, learn. The photo field is filled with opportunities for learning; there are books, apps, DVDs, online training, workshops and seminars. Choose one and get started.

11. Practice
Read the book, Outliers by Malcolm Galdwell. In his book, the author talks about the importance of practice. Hey, I know you already know that, but this book really drives home the point. Strongly. Recent research, however, confirms the importance of natural talent and ability in the equation. Seems like combining practice with talent is the best formula for success.

12. Love What You Do
Here’s my final quote for this post: “If you love what you do, you never need to work a day in your life.”

I, like you, love photography! So the question is: “Why am I still working my butt off?”

Seriously, follow your passion. Even if you can’t do it full time, photography is still a creative outlet that simply can’t be beat.

Happy New Year fellow photographers! Hope you have a great year. Let me know how these tips work for you through my blog:

Check out the B&H Unboxing Video Contest! All you have to do is put together a video of yourself unboxing something from B&H and upload it for your chance to win a Canon 5D Mark II DSLR camera, Kodak PLAYSPORT Zx5 video camera, or Sony MHS-FS1 Bloggie camcorder!

Of course, the more creative you get, the better chance you have of winning! Here are a few examples of videos that have already been entered…

The deadline for entries is January 2, and you can find all the info you need over at B&H. Good luck!