Posts By Brad Moore

Did you know that you can come to the Photoshop World Expo for FREE?? All you have to do is go sign up for a pass over at the Photoshop World website, then come take advantage of all the free classes from people like Cliff Mautner, Dave Black, Jeremy Cowart, Jack Reznicki, Frank Doorhof, and plenty of other amazing instructors! And, of course, you’ll be able to get your hands on all the latest gear too ;)

Speaking of great instructors, Rafael “RC” Concepcion’s book Get Your Photography On The Web is now back in stock at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and the Kelby Training Store!

Need a high end camera? Need a super telephoto lens for a special shoot or trip? Need to reserve some gear for the wedding you’re shooting two months down the road? Well, you’re in luck! Our friends over at LensProToGo are offering 15% off any rental of one week or longer till the end of March. Just enter the discount code MARCH15 when you’re checking out to take advantage of this great offer.

Just a quick update… The “Web Tech Guru/Geek” opening that Scott mentioned a little while back has been filled.

And, lastly (drumroll please)… The one and only Scott Kelby has been named the Top-Selling Photography Book Author for 2010! Let’s give him a round of applause!

That’s it for today. If you missed yesterday’s guest blog from John Paul Caponigro, make sure you check it out! Great inspiration and motivation for turning those ideas for personal projects into reality. Have a great Thursday!

Developing Personal Projects

As a fine artist, I advance my career with personal projects. Personal projects also create a clearer direction for and develop greater meaning in my life. My life would be unfulfilled without them.

You don’t need to have a fine art career to benefit from personal projects. Many commercial photographers find that personal projects re-energize them, add purpose to their lives and quite often lead to new assignments or whole new streams of income. Many amateurs, making images purely for the love of doing it, find greater satisfaction and personal growth through personal projects.

As an artist who mentors other artists in workshops and seminars, I’ve often been called to speak about the importance of personal projects; how to find them, start them, develop them, complete them, present them, and promote them.

Here’s an overview of what I share.

Personal Projects

Defining a project is one of the single best ways to develop your body of work. When you define a project you focus, set goals, set quotas, set timelines, create a useful structure for your images, collect accompanying materials, and polish the presentation of your efforts so that they will be well received.

Focusing your efforts into a project will help you produce a useful product. A project gives your work a definite, presentable structure. A finished project makes work more useful and accessible. Once your project is done, your work will have a significantly greater likelihood of seeing the light of day. Who knows, public acclaim may follow. Come what may, your satisfaction is guaranteed.

Create a mission and set goals.

Define the purpose of your project and what you’d like to achieve through it. Many times, people adopt the mission and goals of others without first checking if those goals are personally beneficial. Some have professional aspirations, others don’t. Your goals will help you determine projects and timelines that are appropriate for you. The few moments (or hours) you spend clarifying why you’re doing what you’re doing and what you’d like to see come of it will save you hours, months, even years by ensuring that you’re going in the right direction – a direction of your own choosing. When you take control of your personal projects, you also take control of your life.

Make a plan to achieve your goals.

A plan will help make your project a reality. A simple action plan is all you need to get started. Action plans define the steps that are required to achieve completion. Action plans should be clear and practical. Action plans should be flexible; odds are, things will not go exactly according to plan and you’ll need to modify your plan to accommodate surprises, both pleasant and unpleasant. Reality happens. Grace happens too. Having defined what you need to accomplish, your unconscious will go to work on the task, generating many ideas. You’ll find yourself ready to make the most of unexpected opportunities as they arise.

Set a timeline.

A timeline can be used to combat procrastination and/or distraction and encourage you to produce work. Set realistic timelines. Unrealistic timelines simply produce frustration.

Identify where and when you’ll need and who will help you.

While many artists define and produce projects themselves, some artists engage a curator, gallery director, publisher, editor, agent, writer, or designer to help them realize a project, in part or in whole. Finding the right collaborator(s) can improve any project. Above all, seek feedback. Seek feedback from people with diverse perspectives whose opinions you value and trust. One thing you can always use, that you can never provide for yourself, is an outside perspective. People with different perspectives may identify ways to improve, expand, or extend the reach of your project. Remember, feedback is food for thought, not gospel. In the end, all final decisions are your decisions; it’s your project.

Stay focused and follow through.

You can work on multiple projects at a time. Be careful that you don’t get scattered. Starting projects is easy. Finishing them is hard. Make sure you’re working on the best project. List all your possible projects and identify the ones that are most important and the ones that are easiest to finish. If you’re lucky enough that the same project fits both criteria, focus all of your efforts there. Otherwise, you’ll have to strike a balance between what’s practical and what’s most important to you. Only you can decide this and the balance is likely to shift as time passes and circumstances develop. Look for a common theme among projects. Often your projects will be related. Focus your efforts in related areas. It’s very likely those areas have greater relevance for you than others. Your work will be perceived as stronger and more cohesive if your projects relate to one another, implying evolution.

What’s your project?

A project is a wonderful thing. It gives direction. It brings clarity. It increases productivity. It produces tangible results. It brings personal growth. It presents your work in the very best light. You and your work deserve this. Pick your projects well. They define not only how other people see you but also what you become. You are what you do. Take the first step today; make a commitment to create a personal project. (Write something right now – put your words somewhere where you’ll constantly be reminded of them and can continue refining them!)

You’ll find an extended version of this content and many other related resources here.

Now, let me speak in more specific and personal terms, as a way of sharing a few more of the insights I’ve found over the many years I’ve developed personal projects. (more…)

KT Online
Have you seen the latest classes from adventure sports photographer Tom Bol? Check out the teaser video above for a glimpse of what you’re missing if you haven’t!

Photoshop World Orlando
There are still a few spots left in some of the pre-conference workshops! Check out…
Photoshop For Beginners with Lesa Snider
Art of Contemporary Painting CS5 with Fay Sirkis
HDR Crash Course with Matt Kloskowski

The cutoff date for the Rosen Centre Hotel has passed, but go ahead and call to see if there’s still anything available at the special rate before booking at another hotel. Why? It’s very conveniently located right across the street from the conference center, and it’s where the instructors stay!

Want a chance to have one of your images SUPER SIZED and showcased at the conference? Check out Russell Brown’s EXTREME Print Challenge!  Not only will your image be showcased, but Adobe is throwing in some other goodies as well. Deadline is March 18, so hurry!

And don’t forget to upgrade to the Photoshop World Pro Pass and snag an After Hours Party ticket when you’re registering!

Kelby Training Live
Dave Cross is coming to Arlington, TX on March 18 and Phoenix, AZ on March 21 with the Photoshop CS5 Power User Tour.

Ben Willmore is bringing the Photography & Photoshop CS5: From Focus to Finished Tour to Los Angeles, CA on March 23 and Atlanta, GA on March 25.

And Scott Kelby’s brand new Light It. Shoot It. Retouch It. LIVE! Tour kicks off in Boston, MA on March 24!

All info on these and other tours can be found over at

Project New Orleans
If you’re interested in working for nonprofits, check out the Project New Orleans Workshop in New Orleans, hosted by Momenta Workshops!

Every year, Momenta Workshops hosts the Project New Orleans workshop, which trains photojournalists and multimedia producers to work with nonprofits. The workshop is only five days long, April 6-10, and includes photographers from around the country. It’s a great way for photographers to give back to the community with their work while also helping to build a portfolio of nonprofit based projects for their professional work. Plus, it’s a great time and a great opportunity for networking. They also offer discounts to students, professional photographers and military photographers.

All the details can be found right here.

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

First off I would like to thank Scott (and Brad) for inviting me back as a guest blogger.  It was an honor the first time and it’s an even greater honor to have another opportunity to be here again.

Before we get started, here’s a little bit about me…

I am a professional wildlife and nature photographer. My images have been published in Outdoor Photographer, Outdoor Photography (UK), Photoshop User, Elements Techniques, and Layers magazines. My work also appears regularly on Audubon calendars and National Park Service postcards, calendars, and posters. I lead popular wildlife photography adventures in North America.  I am also a moderator for the Nikon Digital Learning Center on flickr. Prior to working as a professional photographer, I spent more than two decades in photographic sales, helping pros and hobbyists decide which equipment suited their particular needs.

In the book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell examines the factors that contribute to the making of highly successful people in many fields.  There are the genetic and the geographic factors but it’s the 10,000 hour rule which states that “A person must put in 10,000 hours of work on some skill to become not only proficient at but, in the top of their field.” That got my attention.  If you do the math that’s 250 weeks at 40 hours per week, factor in a two- week vacation and that’s five years working full time to become proficient at any one thing. Thinking along those lines led me to ponder the four stages of consciousness known as the Conscious Competence Ladder.  If it takes 10,000 hours to become proficient at one thing, what are the stages along the way that track our progression?

Unconscious Incompetence (You Don’t Know that You Don’t Know): At this level you are blissfully ignorant: You have a complete lack of knowledge and skills in the subject in question. On top of this, you are unaware of this lack of skill, and your confidence may therefore far exceed your abilities.1

I traded in my accordion for my fist SLR when I was ten years old.  My dad handed me one of his Pentax Spotmatic cameras with a 50mm f/1.4 lens attached.  I stood there looking at my dad and back at the camera, at my dad, the camera, dad, camera, dad… now what!  Little did I know at the time that the hobby I was about to embark upon would take me on a journey that would shape my life and career.

I didn’t have a clue what to do with this object in my hands. I was an Unconscious Incompetent.  I didn’t realize just how little I knew about the workings of my new camera.  I knew that it made photographs but I had no idea what dials to turn, what buttons to push, what was involved in adjusting the camera so that an image would be made.  Not just any image but an image that was composed and exposed properly.  One that represented my experience at the moment I clicked the shutter; an image that took your breath away when you looked at it, one that brought the scents, the sounds even the taste of the moment flooding back.  An image that transports your viewer to that precise time and place at the moment you clicked the shutter…

How did my dad get the exposure right every time?  How did my mom make images that captured my imagination, took my breath away with their vibrance and beauty?  It looked pretty simple: aim, focus, center the needle by turning a couple of dials, fire, wait a couple of weeks and when the yellow box arrived from the lab, review all the beautiful images.  But wait, where did those beautiful images go?  And, what was this out of focus,  shaky, underexposed, poorly composed junk that was mounted in little cardboard frames with my name on them?

Even with my first weak attempts, I was captivated.  I couldn’t get enough of this thing called photography.  I saw something, I aimed my camera and viola!, I captured a moment in time with the click of my shutter.  My camera became my constant companion over the years.  I had found a wonderful way of sharing my world with others through my images but, I had a lot to learn about f-stops, shutter speeds, ISO, depth of field, focal length…is your head spinning as fast as mine did at the mere thought of learning it all?

But wait, stop and think about that last sentence, if your head is spinning, you have moved to the next level of Conscious Incompetent!  At this point I knew that I had a lot to learn, that I knew so little about making beautiful images.  I was conscious of my photographic incompetence and was taking steps to become competent.  So, I immersed myself in photography.  I went to my dad for guidance on the technical aspects of photography, I joined the local camera club, I got a part time job in a camera store; I lived, breathed, and slept photography.  It was my life.  Photography opened doors for a shy little girl. As photography editor for my high school yearbook, I was given carte blanche to go where I wanted, when I wanted.  I was right there on the sidelines of the games, I prowled the hallways clicking photos of fellow classmates, I attended many school functions with my trusty Pentax along at all times.  I wasn’t shy when I had my camera in hand.

Conscious Incompetence (You Know that You Don’t Know): At this level you find that there are skills you need to learn, and you may be shocked to discover that there are others who are much more competent than you. As you realize that your ability is limited, your confidence drops. You go through an uncomfortable period as you learn these new skills when others are much more competent and successful than you are.1

Over the years I got better and better as I shot more and more.  With each series of failures, came the few successes that drove me to keep photographing.  I learned what works and what doesn’t by pouring over books and then by trial and error.  I learned about f-stops and their relationship to depth of field…

I also learned the basic differences between the different shutter speeds.  Knowing when to select a fast shutter speed to stop action…

or a slow shutter speed to blur motion…

and the relationship of ISO in the equation.  Low ISO for higher resolution, needs more light, tripod, fast lenses…

Or, high ISO for low light, which results in some noise

Through hard work, determination and a great deal of curiosity, I was progressing from a Conscious Incompetent to a Conscious Competent.

Conscious Competence (You Know that You Know): At this level you acquire the new skills and knowledge. You put your learning into practice and you gain confidence in carrying out the tasks or jobs involved. You are aware of your new skills and work on refining them. You are still concentrating on the performance of these activities, but as you get ever-more practice and experience, these become increasingly automatic.1

I now felt skilled enough to make creative images of my chosen subjects.   I could anticipate behavior and be prepared to capture the peak of action, I knew how to take control of the settings on my camera, how to work the light and create pleasing compositions.  I was constantly aware of my settings and their effect on my images, all the while watching for unusual behavior, combining photographic skills with knowledge of my subject put me in position to capture peak of action…

Unconscious Competence (You Don’t Know that You Know – It Just Seems Easy!): At this level your new skills become habits, and you perform the task without conscious effort and with automatic ease. This is the peak of your confidence and ability.1

After all the years I have invested in bettering my craft I feel that I am at the top of my game when it comes to wildlife and nature photography, I have reached my comfort zone.  And yet, I still have so much to learn.  Each time I pick up my camera it is with the anticipation of what the new day will bring, what wonderful moments will present themselves for me to document for the viewing pleasure of myself and many others who follow my work. At this stage in my career as a wildlife photographer I feel that I am a Subconscious Competent as I don’t feel that I am unconscious when I photograph but rather that I run through the technical functions sub-consciously in the back of my mind while concentrating on my subject rather than worrying about my camera settings.  That doesn’t mean everything I do is perfect but, it does mean that when the action is hot and heavy, I move quickly and naturally through the settings on my camera, selecting the aperture/shutter speed combo that best captures the defining moment.

or the subtle beauty in a scene…

I look forward to each new challenge that presents itself and to improving my skills to best capture a given moment in time so that you, too may enjoy the magical moments in nature that I am fortunate enough to experience…

Where is your photography on the Conscious Competence Ladder?  Are you blissfully unaware of all that you don’t know and happily clicking away?  Or, are you aware of all that you don’t know and frustrated with this lack of knowledge that will take your photography to the next level?  Are you on top of your game and sub-consciously operate your camera to achieve the best exposure for the given situation?  Do you still stop and think the settings through before proceeding?  Wherever you are in the photographic process, remember that it’s the journey, the people we meet along the way and our reaction to life experiences, not the destination that makes us who we are today.

In a few words, share what subjects you like to photograph, where you feel you currently are on the Conscious Competence Ladder and why…

Thanks again for tuning in and following this thread to the end.  Be sure to say hi if you see me in your travels.
Snapshots to Great Shots: Composition

1Quoted from the Conscious Competence Ladder at Mindtools

Hi Gang: we got the crew over at Animoto (the amazing online video slideshow maker that photographers are all gaga over), to give us a special “This Weekend Only” special deal.

If you sign up for an Animoto 1-year Pro Pass, they’ll add three months for free. Pretty sweet! Plus, they said that if you try them out, and don’t totally love them within 10 days of  of your purchase, they’ll give you a full refund. What have you got to lose? Anyway, if you’ve been waiting to sign up for Animoto, this is your shot.

  • Use this Promo code to get the extra three months free: kelbymoto
  • Here’s the link to sign up. (The deal expires Sunday at 12:00 Midnight EST).
  • Here’s where to go if you’re thinking, “What’s Animoto?”

Many thanks to the crew at Animoto for making this deal available to my readers. :)

P.S. They have a free plug-in that lets you upload directly from Lightroom or Aperture right to Animoto to create your slideshows. Here’s that link.

Hey gang, Brad here with lots of good stuff for you this week. Check this out…

A 4-day event where a wide variety of photography professionals volunteer to teach, inspire and motivate students in the art of visual storytelling. Learn from Pulitzer Prize winning photographers, authors and career educators as they share their knowledge and passion for the love of photography.

Open to all military and government photographers.

Washington D.C.

Thursday, March 17 through Sunday, March 20

There will be a showing of the film An Unlikely Weapon about the life of Eddie Adams on Thursday, March 17 at 5:30 p.m. in the auditorium of the Navy Memorial, and ANY photographer in the DC area can attend for FREE. After the movie, the Shoot Off instructors will be doing portfolio reviews for anybody who wants one.

You can find all the info over at!