Posts By Brad Moore

The Making of a Photographer

I must start off by stating that it’s a huge honor to be writing for Scott’s blog, given that I picked up my first Kelby-authored book back in 2003 while learning to use Photoshop 7.  I should also note that I’ve been reading and envying the talented guest bloggers on Scott’s site for years, so it’s quite humbling to join the roster. I must admit it’s also a bit intimidating … because that very roster includes many of the photographers who inspired me when I picked up my first DSLR three years ago.  However, as I reflect on my current work as a commercial photographer, I realize that my journey into photography started long before I ever picked up a camera.  I can clearly recall key milestone events, as bizarre and trivial as they may seem, that helped to move me further along a path in the world of visual arts.

The first key moment in my journey took place within the first few days of elementary school when I got my first big art assignment. The teacher asked each of us to draw a picture of our family’s house.  As expected, all of my classmates turned in the standard drawing of a square with a triangle on top.  Now, I’m not sure if this was because they weren’t pumped about the assignment or if they each lived in a box with a parking cone on top… but I saw this assignment as an opportunity to get the creative juices flowing while busting out my new pack of colored pencils that my mother packed in my school bag.  While my finished rendering was no Picasso, the teacher was thoroughly impressed with the amount of detail I captured in my first real art project.  This was my first experience of turning a visual thought into a real creation and receiving accolades from another person.  In other words, I just pleased my first client! This was something that really provided me with personal pleasure and was the first time I really discovered the joy of art.

My second milestone event took place in 3rd grade when my art teacher took notice of my work and asked me to do a drawing demo at the upcoming art fair.  The demo consisted of me sitting awkwardly at a table while drawing ninja turtles as people walked by. It was a bit bizarre but it was a real confidence booster at the same time. There’s a saying that goes something like this, “You’re not an artist until an artist tells you so.” I never considered my own artwork to be anything special but that changed upon receiving praise from an artist with some credibility. It was the confidence booster that I needed to keep doodling, and that’s exactly what I did.

I never put down the colored pencils, and the doodling never stopped.  Yet another notable incident occurred in middle school when I sold my first drawing.  It was a full-color rendering of Beavis & Butthead for which a fellow classmate offered a whopping ten bucks! That was no chump change in middle school but the dollar amount wasn’t the key significance, it was the realization that art could be more than just a hobby.  Shortly after, I started getting requests from more and more peers as I was beginning to see the business potential in my craft.

In high school, I took years of drafting class because architecture seemed like a great career choice that would take advantage of my passion for drawing.  It was almost déjà vu when I was assigned to draw my family’s house once again, but this time a few rectangles and green blobs (trees) weren’t going to cut the mustard. I was to create detailed blue prints and even produced a scale model made of foam board. I didn’t end up fully pursuing architecture because it turned out to be a bit more technical and less creative than I had hoped. Nonetheless, the experience certainly helped sharpen my sense of detail. To this day, I am haunted by flashbacks of the T-square every time I create a new guide in Photoshop!

Now entering college with architecture out of the picture, I was back to doodling and wondering where I could direct my artistic capabilities. I still wanted to pursue a creative career but I didn’t want to end up a starving artist. Just as I hit this roadblock in my creative career path, I was introduced to the world of computer aided design. I was working at a small office on campus at my community college when I met the in-house graphic artist. I found myself constantly sneaking out of my office to see what he was creating with computer software that resembled science fiction to me. Either way, I knew it was time to merge my traditional art skills with technology and that’s exactly what I did. I started learning about computers and shortly after, I was building my first custom PC and getting enrolled into the Digital Media program at UCF.

Although my decision to get into graphic design was a bit spontaneous and not completely based on traditional career planning, I knew it was the right decision. I was soon learning about all aspects of digital media including computer illustration, game design, web design, 3d animation, photography, and video & music production. I continued focusing most heavily on graphic design and started freelancing before I finished college. Once I completed my degree program, I set out into the job market and landed my first gigs as a graphic artist which included work at a print shop, a small publishing company and a global accounting firm. I finally made it! Or so I thought…

After working in the graphic design field for several years, there was a problem. I wasn’t completely fulfilled and I needed another creative outlet. Up until that point, I had very little experience with photography with the exception of borrowing my Dad’s film cameras to record weekend rollerblade sessions with my friends back in middle school. In mid-2008, I made a purchase that turned out to be the biggest milestone of my life: I purchased my first DSLR, a Nikon D80.

I bought a camera because I was doing a lot of wake boarding at the time and wanted to capture our sessions just like I did in my skating days. After having my camera for a couple weeks, I met a photographer out on my friend’s boat who showed me some pics he took earlier that day during a fashion shoot. I was intrigued to say the least. He proceeded to tell me about a local Photography Meet & Greet that was two weeks away and I told him to count me in. I attended, snapped some photos of the models who showed up, and the rest was history. It’s been a little over three years since that event and I haven’t put down my camera ever since.

Becoming a commercial photographer was never my intended plan… but I can now see that it was life’s plan for me. The journey that started within my first week of grade school eventually led to developing a craft as well as a passion.  With that said, it’s hard to imagine that I may have never discovered what makes me happiest had I missed any of those key moments. Either way, I couldn’t be happier with the way things unfolded and the best part is—this is only the beginning!

Joey Wright is an Orlando-based photographer specializing in swimsuit, beauty, and commercial fashion photography. You can see more of his work at

Hey gang, Brad Moore here with the latest news and updates!

New Westcott Apollo Softboxes
Our friends over at FJ Westcott have just introduced two new additions to their Apollo Speedlight Softbox lineup. Check out the 43″ Apollo Orb, the first octagonal softbox that doesn’t require an adapter ring, and the 16″ x 30″ Apollo Strip, perfect for adding that accent or hair light to your speedlight toolkit!

In honor of these two new softboxes, Westcott is running a contest where you might have the chance to win one of these hot new items! Head over to The Lighting Lowdown blog for all the info and to enter.

Deals from Kelby Training
If you’re thinking of staring your holiday shopping early and picking up a book or DVD from, now’s a perfect time because in October, every order ships with a coupon good for $10 off your next purchase — so order now, and save more later!  Visit The Kelby Training Store to get started.

Unadvertised Special:  The Light It. Shoot It. Retouch It. Super Bundle includes Scott’s LSR book and DVD for one low price. This bundle is like a class and a resource guide for lighting, shooting and retouching. Available at for $110.99 or $88.99 if you’re a NAPP member.

If you are into senior portrait photography (not senior citizens but seniors in high school), James Schmelzer’s Senior Portrait Photography 3-disc DVD set is on sale for $30 off. This DVD set covers everything from indoor lighting to outdoor lighting to cool ideas for backdrops and props.
Calvin Hollywood’s Photoshop Tricks for Beginners has just been added to the library. In this class, Calvin gives you a string of quick Photoshop tips that will instantly improve your own techniques in Photoshop CS5 and earlier versions. It might say “beginners” in the class title, but this class is for all skill levels as any of these tricks can help improve the way you work in Photoshop!

Light It. Shoot It. Retouch It. Webcast with Scott Kelby & RC Concepcion
If you missed the live broadcast of Scott and RC’s Light It. Shoot It. Retouch It. webcast the other day, keep an eye out on the NAPP member site and today. It’ll be added as soon as our web team can get it posted to these sites :)

The Grid
Another thing to keep an eye out for today is the new episode of The Grid! We had a doozy of a discussion yesterday about “What’s Fair Game for Your Portfolio?” with lots of lively questions and comments from viewers on whether or not photos from workshops should be in your portfolio. Episode 27 will be up sometime later today, so keep checking in over at to see when it’s live. (And feel free to watch some of our other shows while you’re there ;) )

Dave Cross Workshops
Dave Cross will be hosting some killer workshops over the next few weeks! Check these out:

October 17Make Your Lighting Exciting with David Ziser
October 25Photoshop Design Effects with Corey Barker
October 26 –  An Evening with Tim Wallace: “An Inspiring World”
November 1-3 – The Business of Boudoir with Shannon Michelle

Photo Plus Expo
If you’re going to Photo Plus Expo, Scott will be speaking in the Manfrotto booth Thursday afternoon, October 27. We’ll let you know what time as soon as the schedule is finalized, but you can go ahead and register for your free Expo pass right here.

That’s it for today. Have a kick-butt Thursday :D


Stop and think how much time actually goes into three minutes. I’m not talking about 180 seconds, I’m speaking to hours worth of building out sets, days worth of pre-production, weeks worth of planning and concepting, and months or even years worth of imagining what an image will finally be like when the shutter is pressed.

It’s the idea that a photograph may be years in the making that interests me. Sometimes it keeps me up at night, sometimes it is in dreams. I am constantly envisioning how to make portraits and how to take photographs. Sometimes these thoughts are vague and based around a mood or a concept that I’m trying to  express in an image. Other times these ideas are more concrete images  that are burned into my mind about what I’m going to create with a subject.

When a project comes up to make these dreams a reality and to take this vision and turn it into an actual photograph, then my mind really begins to work. The wheels start turning and vague ideas about tone and color start to transform into lighting diagrams, composition, and post-processing.

Testing and pre-planning actually allows me to turn these thoughts and ideas into clearer translations of my vision. The trial and error of the process serves to further hone the ideas of mood and intention that I want to get across from my subject. I also want to practice through the process to help me consider anything unexpected that might come up.

Sometimes, you only get an hour with a subject – if you’re lucky. Sometimes you only get 40 frames. Whether you count that time in clicks of the shutter, or seconds, every thing that you do working up to those moments has to prepare you for anything to happen. Your subject could be your best friend and want to stay extra, or if you’re even luckier, they could be up for doing something crazy in front of your lens

Or your subject could be your worst enemy, wanting nothing more than to get out of your set. Equipment could (and ultimately will) fail, lights won’t fire, strobe won’t sync, rain will fall, storms will storm – if it can happen, it will. Not only do you need to expect surprises, but more importantly, you need to embrace them and work with them, work past them – moving forward and making pictures all the while, even if you only have 180 seconds.

There is something to be said about how a photographer connects with his or her subject. When I approach making a portrait, I want that photograph to be the best and most interesting representation I’ve ever seen of the subject. In order to accomplish that, there is a special balance between allowing my subject to be themselves and be comfortable on set, and directing that subject to work with me on my vision. Usually I can help them be confident that we’re working on the same team and that I am doing everything in my power to make the best picture possible. As comfortable or attractive as any subject could be, if the lighting is unflattering or poorly executed, the final result will be lacking. Using that light as a tool to create mood, intent, and shape in my portraits, it becomes crucial to direct my subjects to fit into the lighting that I have envisioned for their image, while still allowing them to be and express themselves.

Sometimes, the answer to this question is to light my subjects very broadly, meaning to create the light in a way that will allow the subject to move around in their space or environment and still have that same quality and shape of light.

Other photographs need a more deliberate type of lighting with a very narrow window for the sweet spot. In a way, this is more challenging because it creates constraints both for the subject and I – they’re limited to a certain space or a certain direction, and I am limited to keeping them in that space.

The consistency of vision and theme becomes even more important as I’m starting to shoot more video. Instead of capturing just one frame of a subject, now I have thousands to manage in one small take. With video, this ability is both challenging and liberating, in one sense I’m not tied to a single moment or a single expression to show a message, yet at the same time, I have to keep my message consistent across an entire take of video, as long as that may run.

In order to make these concepts possible, the image making process is fully collaborative with my in house digital artist, Emily Von Fange. She is a major part of executing my vision and she is part of the process from conception through final delivery of the job.  My intentions usually extend beyond one frame, one single photo, and one set of hands.

Whether that means that physically the frame and composition I see is multiple photographs stitched together side by side, or multiple exposures of the same image blended together, or different elements and photographs composited into a single photo, I refused to limit what I imagine and what I visualize by the constraints of a single frame. Often Emily can bring her strengths to the table in a way that I had not always envisioned.

I hope that I’ve managed to explain a bit of what goes on beyond the photo shoot itself, how the idea of only 180 seconds can take hours, days, months, or even years to pull off. When the process is described this way, it may seem crazy to some – a never-ending cycle, constantly caught up either in the idea or the act of making pictures. Maybe I am a bit crazy for going to these lengths to get it right. I’d rather do it this way than live a life where I’m not making pictures.

You can see more of Chris’s work at, keep up with him on his blog, and follow him on Twitter

Hey gang, Brad here with a quick post on what’s going on around here:

Light It. Shoot It. Retouch It. Webcast
Don’t forget to register for Scott’s Light It. Shoot It. Retouch It. webcast! When you register you get an email reminder and you are included in the drawing for prizes.  The event is Tuesday the 11th at 3:00PM EST.  Also, since Matt is on the road, RC Concepcion will be joining Scott for this one.

10 Tips To Help Photographers on Google+
Scott, Matt, and RC put together a free Kelby Training class with some tips for photographers on making the most of Google+. It’s a two-part class, each part around 30 minutes long. Part one is the 10 Tips, plus a bunch of mini tips, that will help you understand and use Google+ to your advantage. In the second part, the guys are joined by Trey Ratcliff, Mike Wiacek, Catherine Hall, Alex Koloskov, Scott Jarvie, and Brian Matiash to share tips on how they use Google+. Check out Part One here, and Part Two here!

Kelby Training Live
Light It. Shoot It. Retouch It. Live! with Scott Kelby
– Oct 7 – Lansing, MI

Photography & Photoshop CS5: From Focus to Finished with Ben Willmore
– Oct 17 – St. Louis, MO
– Oct 19 – Kansas City, MO

Lightroom 3 Live with Matt Kloskowski
– Oct 26 – Phoenix, AZ
– Oct 28 – Indianapolis, IN
Check out Moose Peterson‘s latest class: Aviation Photography! Moose covers static and ground-to-air photography, panning technique, and portraiture, along with equipment, camera settings, and conveying motion. After he gets the shots, he then takes you through the digital darkroom to process the images quickly so you can get back out to shoot more!

Trick Or Treat Treats
October is trick-or-treating month and we’re giving away $10 treats!  With every book, DVD or bundle order OR every new NAPP membership, you get a coupon for $10 off your next order.  So buy something now, and get a coupon in the shipment for $10 off for later.  Check out our full selection at the Store.  Standard terms & conditions apply. Full details on the coupon.

$30 Off James Schmelzer’s Senior Portrait Photography DVD
We’ve got a killer deal on a DVD at Kelby Training.  James Schmelzer’s Senior Portrait Photography 3-DISC set is now $30 off. This is a great DVD to have if you’re adding senior portrait photography to your services or if you’re involved in a shoot … it’s got lighting tips, background ideas, indoor/outdoor strategy and much more. Check it out at the Store.

NAPP October Wallpaper of the Month
The Wallpaper of the Month is up for October on the NAPP site.
This one is free to everyone, so if you want a spooky desktop, check it out at .  The image is courtesy of Greg Easterday from Cherry Hill, NJ – NAPP Member since 1999.

That’s it for today. Have a great Thursday!

[Editorial Note: This post contains images and stories pertaining to child slavery. If you do not wish to view these, do not click through to the full article]

I became a photographer to change the world. It’s just been a little bit harder than I thought it would be.

I grew up in Iran, and by the time I was twelve I had been around the world twice with my family, and had visited twenty countries along the way. I wanted to find a career that would keep me out in that world, and journalism—especially photography—seemed perfect. I saw the role that photography had played in ending the war in Vietnam and wanted to join that cadre of crusading photographers.

But when I joined the staff of National Geographic, my ambitions became somewhat more modest—or realistic: I could illuminate worlds most people would never see. As a journalist, I loved telling stories, and especially loved being behind closed doors in intimate situations that revealed something about the human condition. I tried to get that kind of photograph into every story, no matter how complicated the assignment or vast the terrain.

And they were big: cities (Jerusalem, Los Angeles, London, Hong Kong, Helsinki, Nashville, Shanghai and Venice) and countries (China, Jordan, Thailand and Taiwan). But my later stories on the women of Saudi Arabia, the geisha of Japan, and the science of beauty and love let me make the kinds of photographs I liked best. I was able to enter some very private places indeed—some never photographed before—and share them the world.

But then a newspaper article about Congress passing the Anti-Trafficking Act caught my eye and I knew that contemporary slavery was an issue I had to try to make sense of. It would be the culmination of all my passions and experience.


Hey gang, Brad Moore here with this week’s Pimpy Thursday. Let’s kick things of with some seminar tour dates!

Scott will be heading to Houston, TX and Lansing, MI next week with his Light It. Shoot It. Retouch It. Live! Tour, plus Ben Willmore and Matt Kloskowski will be taking their seminars on the road too!

Kelby Training Live
Light It. Shoot It. Retouch It. Live! with Scott Kelby
– October 5: Houston, TX
– October 7: Lansing, MI

Photography & Photoshop CS5, From Focus to Finished with Ben Willmore
– October 3: Boston, MA
– October 17: St. Louis, MO
– October 19: Kansas City, MO

Lightroom 3 Live with Matt Kloskowski
– October 26: Phoenix, AZ
– October 28: Indianapolis, IN

Just a couple more days to save ten bucks on select books at
Some of our most popular titles on CS5, Layers, Lightroom and the iPod. Oh, and now that there are only a couple days left, we can tell you that there is actually one book included in the sale that’s only $5.99 and $1.99 for NAPP members!  So head over to KelbyTraining and check it out.

Our Senior Portrait Photography DVD Set is on sale – $30 off the regular AND NAPP member price.
This DVD is perfect for anyone who shoots senior portraits or plans to oversee a shoot … it’s full of unique ideas, lighting tips, and how to make the subject look their best.  $30 Off the 3-DISC set, but only for a limited time.
Close-Up: An Introduction to Macro Photography with Bill Fortney (check out this trailer for the class if you haven’t seen it yet)
DIY Commerce: Selling Your Work Online with Janine Warner

Rick Sammon’s iHDR Mac App
Kelby Training instructor Rick Sammon and app developer Dave Wilson have turned Rick’s iPad iHDR app into a true Mac App! Rick talks about it over on his blog, so head on over to get all the details.

Worldwide Photo Walk T-Shirts
If you haven’t already signed up to take part in the Worldwide Photo Walk, it’s not too late! We’re just a couple of days away, but you can look for a walk and sign up right here. Don’t forget to order your official Worldwide Photo Walk shirt, with all profits going to the Springs Of Hope Kenya Orphanage.

That’s it for today. Have a great Thursday :)