Last year, I got to shoot a classic Cobra and a brand new Corvette at photographer Paul Markow’s studio in Phoenix (a super-nice guy with a killer studio — big enough to shoot a car no problem, and a cove roof to bounce the lights off). This year I wound up shooting a Maserati GranTurismo — seen above (believe it or not, I rented it from Enterprise rent-a-car in Phoenix for a song), and then Adam Thaler, a photographer who follows me on Facebook, saw my search for an exotic car and brought over a red Ferrari California — so the shoot was on!
If you’ve been following me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, you’ve probably seen me posting some shots from a class I’ve been working on about my location lighting set-up. I had four different location shoots planned for the class (we wrapped up taping last week), but the day before Photoshop World we did the first shoot out on a dry lake bed just outside Vegas.
Here’s one of the shots from the shoot. It’s lit with just one flash and it’s the replacement for what has been my go-to kit for years now — the Elinchrom Ranger Quadra — the new model is the ELB 400, and it’s got a slew of new features over the old kit (I go over all that stuff in the class, but mostly the class is about lighting tips and techniques and ideas for location lighting. The ELB is pretty awesome, though!). The dress is from DreamShootRentals.com
The softbox was my go-to softbox (been using this for years); it’s my Elinchrom Rotalux 53″ Midi Octa. I just love that softbox (and it’s not too crazy expensive for being fairly big — it’s $329 at B&H Photo).
TIP: August may not be the ideal time to shoot in the desert
I knew I’d already be there; my video crew would already be there for Photoshop World starting the next day; and Kalebra would be there with me to do the Art Direction (she rocks!), so I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to pull off a shoot like this. Ya know, except for the whole shooting in the desert in the August heat thing.
One thing that made it a bit complex is that we were kinda out in the middle of nowhere. We were going to need a restroom on the scene, and a place for the model to get hair/makeup and to change outfits. We had a large crew: our video crew and producer (this is part of a KelbyOne class), Brad, my assistant Lynn and a second photo assistant. We had a location scout, and Kalebra and I working on the direction and shooting, so we wound up renting this production trailer, which is what they would normally use on a movie or TV production, but it worked out really well (as long as we didn’t run all four air conditioners, which would blow a fuse). Check out the video below for more on the production trailer.
Above: Here’s a little iPhone BTS video we shot so you could see the set-up, and we went in the production trailer for a quick tour, too. It’s pretty short. Worth checking out.
Above: Here’s a gallery of some behind the scenes shots. Click to see a larger version.
I can’t wait until the whole class is done
I really was able to cover a lot of stuff — four different shoots and an entire section just about the gear to start it all off. I’ll let you know as soon as it’s ready.
Above: Here’s some thumbnails from some of the other finals from that shoot. More to share in the class.
Hope you all have an awesome Monday (well, we can only try, right?), and we’ll see ya back here tomorrow. :)
When I mentioned on Facebook I was shooting a wedding on Saturday, Jose Rodriguez (who follows me on FB and who had been to my original “Shoot like a Pro” seminar) wrote, “Don’t forget an iPad to take pictures of the rings” which brought a flurry of follow-up questions from photographers asking why.
Here’s why â” it makes a great surface to create reflections of the rings if a glossy black piano (my first choice) isn’t available. This is a trick I shared in my original Shoot Like a Pro seminar, and it was my wife Kalebra who came up with the idea when we were doing a shoot last year at the reception hall and couldn’t find a black piano.
Above: That’s me shooting a 100mm Macro using natural light to light the rings. By the way â” the iPad mini (shown here) is turned off to give a solid black background.
So, the day after I post this tip on my Facebook page it’s Saturday and we’re in the middle of our wedding shoot, and it’s time to shoot the rings, and I realize that I left my iPad downstairs with all the gear (we’re up in the Bridal Suite), so I went with “Plan B” – I pulled out my iPhone 6+ and shot them right on its screen to get the reflection of the rings. It worked pretty darn well, but in the middle of the shoot my phone suddenly woke to a twitter notification (see the third pic below). LOL! :)
Above: here’s the rings from Saturday – I love the design of the groom’s ring.
Above: The wireless trigger is still on there from shooting earlier – this was just window light.
If you’re wondering if I did thatâ¦
â¦classic shot where you lay the ring flat between the pages of a open bible and then fire a flash behind it at an angle so it makes heart shape shadowâ¦ wellâ¦yesâ¦yes I did! (and the bride absolutely loved it!). She liked it so much, in fact, I was tempted to do a selective color effect (but I restrained myself).
I wanted to share this with you all this morningâ¦
â¦in case you don’t follow me on Facebook or missed it there (the two posts really struck a chord with folks, getting 7,200 likes (that’s a LOT for my Facebook page), and 358 comments. I read every single comment, but what’s been really cool is how many people who literally tried the technique this weekend on their Wedding shoots, or they just tried it with their wedding rings now and posted examples. Some really great stuff, including my favorite taken outdoors, under a tree, on the hood of a Camaro by photographer Laura Beth Robinson. Lots of really great shots!
Anyway, hope you found it helpful, and here’s wishing you all a great Monday! :)
Editorial Note: Scott’s taking some time off from the blog, so he’s asked Brad Moore, Corey Barker, and Pete Collins to take over for a few days. Thanks for checking out Brad’s post today, and come back Monday to see what Corey has for you and Tuesday for a post from Pete!
Red Rocks Amphitheater… It’s one of the most iconic concert venues in the US, if not the world. It was on my list of places where I wanted to see a show during my lifetime, and thankfully I got to do that and more this past weekend! Here’s a rundown of what happened.
A few years ago David Carr, drummer for the band Third Day, started getting into photography. He found the Kelby videos and books, and through those found some of my concert photography and saw that I had photographed them before. He reached out to me to invite me to shoot an upcoming show of theirs, and since then we’ve been buds! During that time, I’ve had the opportunity to photograph them a number of times, including at their sold-out Third Day & Friends show at Gwinnett Arena in Atlanta last year.
This year they decided to do another of these shows, not just in Atlanta, but also at Red Rocks. As soon as I found out about it, I contacted the band and told them I’d be happy to come out and cover this momentous show if they wanted. Thankfully they agreed, and out I went!
As soon as you arrive, you realize this place is just breathtaking (especially if you’re going up and down the stairs a bunch)! The band took the stage for sound check, and I wondered around snapping shots without getting in their way. Over the years I’ve learned that the stage is not just a performance space, but it’s also a workplace for the band and their crew. As I am their guest, I have to be very respectful of their space and make sure I’m not doing anything/going anywhere I’m not supposed to. Now that I’ve had the opportunity to cover their shows a number of times and gotten to know the crew a bit, this becomes easier to navigate. But if it’s your first time working with a band, you want to tread lightly and triple check with the crew before doing anything.
One reason you want to make friends with the crew (besides just to be a kind, decent person) is if you want to set up a remote camera on stage…
This is a Canon 5D MkIII with a 14mm f/2.8. On top is a PocketWizard Plus III, and it’s all mounted to a Manfrotto 244 Variable Friction Arm with Camera Bracket and Super Clamp. The clamp goes around the rigging for the lighting, then I positioned the rest of the arm and camera accordingly. Once everything was in place, I tightened it down and secured it with zip ties and a safety cable. Because of the wide variation of light, I set it to shoot bursts of three bracketed shots: two stops under, even, and two stops over. Auto ISO, aperture priority at f/5.6 (just for depth of field/focus safety), evaluative metering. I also focused the camera, then switched it to manual focus so it wouldn’t be focus searching during moments of low light.
Because of the size and uniqueness of the venue, I wanted to set up a remote camera at the top/back as well (also so I wouldn’t have to be going all the way up and back down throughout the show and missing up-close moments).
This is the same setup as on stage, but with the 8-15mm f/4 fisheye lens at 15mm, also set to f/5.6. The fisheye allowed me to capture the full rock on the left side of the image all the way over to the stage on the right, as well as some of the landscape beyond that, which you’ll see later. I triggered both of these remotes with a third Pocket Wizard Plus III that I kept with me and fired by hand instead of putting it on one of the cameras I had on me. I did it this way because the moments I would be shooting with the cameras I had on me wouldn’t necessarily be the moments I wanted to capture with the remote cameras. The remotes were more about the crowd than the stage, so I had to wait for moments where the crowd was lit up and not just the stage.
After sound check, there’s a good bit of time to set up the above remote cameras, chill, and grab food before the show starts. Of course even the dressing rooms in this venue are amazing because the venue is built around the natural rock formations!
The first half of the show was the “Friends” portion featuring Warren Barfield, Peter Furler, Phil Wickham, Brandon Heath, and Matt Maher. During this portion, the acts alternated between performing on the main stage and a secondary stage that was set up above the front of house sound area in the middle of the crowd.
To cover the show, I had two Canon 1DX bodies on me set to auto ISO with a 1/250 minimum shutter speed, aperture priority, and spot metering. One had the 70-200mm f/2.8 and the other switched between my new favorite lens ever, the 11-24mm f/4, and the not as favorite but still very useful 24-70mm f/2.8, all shot wide open at f/2.8 or f/4.
After the Friends all performed, there was intermission, so I retreated back to the band’s dressing room to snap some candids of them getting ready.
Just before they took the stage, they took a minute to go sign the iconic tunnel that leads from backstage, underneath the seating area, and up to the front of house sound area…
Pretty much everyone who plays at Red Rocks signs the tunnel, so it’s covered in legendary names. You could spend hours searching for your favorite musicians if you wanted!
With that rite of passage under their belts, the band took the stage for their sold-out show!
As the band performed, I shot from on stage, in front of the stage, side stage, the front of house sound area, and anywhere else I could find a decent vantage point. And all along the way I kept an eye on the crowd waiting for moments where it was lit up, then laying down on the remote trigger and hoping for the best.
I learned a lesson about remotes that are a decent distance away from you in large crowds of people that night… Theoretically every time I hit the trigger, both cameras should have fired, thus having pretty close to the same number of shots by the end of the show. But that was not the case… The on stage camera fired over 3,300 shots, while the one at the back of the venue only fired around 500 shots.
When I set them up, I tested the trigger distance, and it worked from the back of the venue all the way to the stage. But my guess is that once the venue filled up, all of the cell phone and radio frequencies caused interference. Since I was much closer to the stage throughout the show, that remote fired more reliably than the one at the back. Should I do another similar setup in the future, the remedy to this would be to set up another PocketWizard Plus III halfway back in the venue to serve as a “repeater.” This would receive the signal from the trigger, then relay it on to the remote with a stronger signal to ensure it fires reliably.
At the end of the show, the band took a bow, then I ran out to get a shot of them facing me with the crowd in the background.
And that was that! It was an amazing experience, one that I won’t soon forget. A HUGE thanks to the band for bringing me out to the show and letting me have a dream come true experience!
That video above is a public sneak-peek of a new Webcast created exclusively for KelbyOne members called “Backstage Pass” and it’s produced and hosted by our own Mia McCormick. In this first episode, she takes you on a rollerblade tour of our expanded KelbyOne HQ and she meets up the “Photoshop Guys” along the way, including a stop by my office for a quick chat.
Anyway, since it has this behind-the-scenes tour in it, we thought we’d make just this first one available to the public, and I hope you enjoy Mia’s “rolling review.” ;-)
I’m in Dubai today, and as you might imagine I’m very excited about tonight’s Awards Ceremony and I’ll be posting photos from the event (taken by Brad) over on my Facebook page, so stop by there if you get a chance (btw: Dubai is nine hours ahead and the ceremony is at 7:00 pm, so by 10:00 New York time the awards ceremony will be starting.
Hope you all have a fantabulous Monday!
I just released a post over at Exposure.co (the photo story-telling site) with the story of my first time ever shooting a pro tennis tournament, and in this case it was Day One of the US Open Tennis Championships in Flushing Meadows, New York (these shots were taken last Monday).
I was only able to shoot starting at the 11:00 am matches and then I had to leave by 3:30 pm to catch my flight to St. Louis for my seminar there (which was awesome! Shout out to all the folks in St. Louis who came out and in Kansas City two days later. Awesome crowds â” super nice people!).
Research Beforehand Really Paid Off!
I did a LOT of research before this shoot, and while I think I did “OK” for my first time out, I have a long way to go to get to where I’d like to be. The only reason I even did “OK” was this research beforehand, plus I got help from three sources:
(1) Dave Black. I called him and he had all sorts of little tips about the bigger picture of shooting tennis. The guy’s just amazing. He’s shot everything! (including the US Open).
(2) Right when I walked in to the photo workroom at The Open, I ran right into Elsa Garrison from Getty Images (our guest on “The Grid” just a few weeks ago). She gave me some great, very specific tips for shooting at that venue. Andâ¦
(3) I read an awesome book called Photographing Tennis by Chris Nicholson and it was incredibly insightful. He really did a great job of explaining so many things I had questions about. I really got a lot out of it.
Anyway, there are lots of photos and the full story, and all the camera gear, settings, shooting positions, and the whole nine yards all over at Exposure.co â” if you’ve got a sec, I hope you’ll check them out.
I’ll be back…
I’m going back to New York one week from tonight to shoot the US Open Finals and I just can’t wait. It’s great to have a “second chance” to shoot any event, and even though I’m sure there will be 10x as many photographers, and that will make it that much more challenging â” I don’t care â” I’m thrilled to have that 2nd chance, and the opportunity to photograph the world’s best players.
Of course, before then I have the Bucs vs. Panther’s NFL regular season home opener and I’m off today for Photoshop World in Vegas. No rest for the weary! (hahaha â” don’t worry â” I’m lovin’ it!).
Lots to share from Photoshop World this week â” Brad will be shooting, and posting lots of pics from the Vegas show. Hope to meet a whole bunch of you there in person, and thanks for letting me share my first Tennis shoot with you here today. I absolutely had a blast, learned a lot, and can’t wait to shoot it again!
All my best,
P.S. We’ll be streaming the Photoshop World Keynote LIVE â” keep an eye out here for the link (it’s Wednesday morning at 9:00 am Pacific Time).