Category Archives Behind-The-Scenes

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 shadow⦠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! :)

Best,

-Scott

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 FurlerPhil 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!

You can see more of Brad’s work at BMOOREVISUALS.COM, and follow him on Instagram and Twitter.

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!

Best,

-Scott

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,

-Scott

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). 

I shared this shot last Friday on Social Media and here’s what I wrote:

“I hesitate to even post this shot from yesterday’s bridal shoot (Kalebra was there doing the art direction and she was just amazing). It’s one of my favorites but I hesitate to post it because I emailed it to a buddy last night and he said “Selective Color?” Of course, it’s not. There’s lots of other color in the image. Please don’t make me regret sharing it with a chorus of selective color comments. Many thanks.”

So, I held my breath, and posted the image. Luckily the comments were very kind (over 160 that day), except for the usual few unsolicited critiques (groan), but then one of the commenters, Daniel Nicholas said something thatâ¦wellâ¦here’s what he wrote:

“I love it!!! He must be color blind lol”

The moment I read it, it hit me. Oh my gosh â” my friend actually is color blind!!! I am not making this up. I just about fell on the floor!!! My friend was just ribbing me either way, but literally laughed out loud the moment I read that, and felt a whole lot better about sharing it.

Anyway, here’s a behind-the-scenes photo — and if you look on the screen you’ll see the final image is very close to what was captured (more in the caption below the photo).

Above: While she was well lit from the front, from behind it was pretty dark, and I wanted to over-exposed the background so it would blow out to white (for effect), so I had to use a tripod. I actually started with the tripod extended up over my head and used a stepladder (a LadderKart actually), but I kept getting parts of the ceiling in the shot so I finally lowered it and came back down. 

Camera Settings:
This was shot at f/3.2 at 1/10 of a second. My ISO was 640 (I was on a tripod so I could have lowered the ISO quite a bit, but it would have slowed the shutter speed down a lot and if she moved even a little, it would be blurry, so I left it where it was. I was shooting a Canon 1Dx so the noise doesn’t show anyway).

Tethering:
I’m shooting tethered into Lightroom 5.5, and that’s Julio (our 2nd assistant on the shoot â” Brad Moore took this behind-the-scenes shot). Kalebra is a few feet behind Julio so she can see the screen and direct the bride). We have a Tethertools laptop stand we usually mount on the tripod, but it was trickier than it looks on those stairs so we removed it and Julio just held the laptop. He loves holding laptops. It’s a sickness.

Venue:
It helps to have an amazing venue, and we sure did. This was taken at the Kapok Tree Event Center in Clearwater, Florida. It is literally attached to, and shares the same parking lot as Sam Ash Music. I think I should get some points for completing this shoot and never walking into Sam Ash, even though I walked directly past their front door. I think that was my biggest accomplishment for the day, but when I returned to the office, the used Boss Super Chorus stomp box I ordered had arrived, so somehow it all worked out.

I think you can see, the camera part of this was simple â” what made this come together was having Kalebra doing the art direction, and having the vision for this shot in the first place â” that just left me to compose, get the exposure I was looking for, and hit the shutter button. We make a great team. :)

Hope you all have an awesome Tuesday, and we’ll see you here tomorrow for Guest Blog Wednesday. :)

Best,

-Scott

Last Saturday I shot a wedding in Orlando, Florida and I thought I’d share a few pages from the Wedding proof book I put together in Lightroom.

This was about as ideal of a shooting situation as you’re going to get: The bride and groom, Ryan and Lindsay, could not have been easier to work with, and Linsday was a stunning bride (and both Ryan and Lindsay were both very photogenic, which made my job really easy). They were really a joy to photograph and they were incredibly accommodating. The groomsmen and bridesmaids were wonderful and the parents couldn’t have been nicer, and the surroundings were first class all the way. The pre-wedding and reception were held at the gorgeous Ritz Carlton, and the ceremony itself in a beautiful church in Winter Park.

I really wanted to do this right, so I brought some serious back-up: I had the wonderful Kathy Porupski as my 2nd shooter during the ceremony (she could only cover the ceremony itself, but she totally rocked it!), and I had Brad Moore assisting me with the lighting (and doing some 2nd shooting pre-wedding and at the reception) along with Pete Collins and we even got our buddy Kevin Graham (who lives in Orlando) to help us out, so I had everything well covered, and my crew did a great job during a long 16-hour day with only one 30-minute break all day.

Camera Stuff
I’ll leave the rest to the captions, but in short, I shot withthe pre-wedding images with a Canon 1Dx, and a 70-200mm f/2.8 and a 24-70mm. I also used the new Profoto B-1 Off-Camera Flash with a 5′ Octa softbox for the formals of the groomsmen, and for formals at the church, and some pre-wedding portraits.

For the reception, I used pretty much just one lens — the 85mm f/1.2 but I shot it at f/1.4 (I’m not sure I’m accurate enough at run-and-gun photography to keep enough in focus at f/1.2. I’m pushing it at f/1.4) with a Canon Speedlight 600EX-RT flash mounted on the hot shoe (aiming straight upward — seen a bit farther down below).

An Un-plugged Wedding
We sent the bride a link to the CNN article I talked about here on the blog about “un-plugged weddings” where the Bride and Groom ask the guests to NOT take their own photos at the wedding, and leave the photography to the hired photographers and the guests just relax and enjoy the day, and the bride loved the idea and rolled with it. I cannot tell you how much easier that made our job. Three cheers to the bride and groom who totally embraced the idea.

OK, on to the wedding album proofs:

Above: I used a 105mm Macro lens on a tripod for this one.

Above: Here’s the set-up for that shot, taken on the balcony of the bride’s hotel room right after the bouquets were delivered.

Above: The bride’s mom and dad on the right page. Lovely people (really made us feel at home).

Above: The flower girls were absolutely adorable — love the portrait drawn while the bridesmaids were getting ready.

Above: We had set aside just over an hour for portraits of the bride at the hotel before we left for the church, but as is usually the case, things ran behind and as it turned out I actually only wound up with less than 20 minutes with her and a long walk to here I wanted to shoot. The shot at the top of the page was made as we were walking back through the hotel’s convention lobby on the way to her limo to race to the church. I ran in front of Lindsay and asked her to pause just a moment right in the window light just long enough to pose her and get that shot. She was incredibly calm throughout, even though we were cutting it really close in getting to the church on time.

Above: Here’s a behind the scenes of the shot in the spread above, right page. Taken using a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens.

Above: The shot on the right is one of my favorites. It’s taken on the staircase leading to the spa, just outside the hotel (so he had to hoof it a bit to get there). I’m standing on a step ladder (the ladder cart I mention in one of my books), and I’m using the Canon 16-35mm lens at 16mm. I also over-exposed nearly a stop using just natural light. On the left: That’s the bride still laughing and smiling after walking pretty darn far to get there.

Above: I shot a few from the right side as well, without the ladder and a tighter lens. 

Above: More shots taken on the way back to the limo. For the shot on the right, I asked Pete and Brad to ask the flower girls to hide out-of-site for a moment and once the bride started walking, have them come out and follow the bride but not run up to catch her. That way I could have them out-of-focus in the background, as you see here (I was shooting at f/2.8). , and it worked out pretty well. They’re a little cut-off on the left side of the page just because of the page dimensions. If I wind up making this a two-page spread, you see all of them and lots of breathing room as well.

Above: Here’s a behind-the-scenes of the shot on the page above left.

Above: I saw a small bench in front of this window and I asked (begged) Lindsay to let me just take one more and I promised it would be the last one before she jumps in the limo. She gladly obliged and I’m so glad she did.

Above: The shot on the right is on those circular stairs leading to the spa, shot using just natural light. I’m down at the bottom of the stairs, shooting up towards her.

Above: Here’s a behind-the-scenes of the ring closeup in the previous spread. That’s Pete Collins holding a white card to bounce some window light back onto the rings to create a highlight. The shot was taken on an end table in the hotel room.

Above: Here’s a wide angle shot with my 16mm of the bride and groom walking down the aisle in a two-page spread. The church doesn’t allow any photographers near the front of the church during the ceremony whatsoever, so I went either really wide or 200mm tight. Honestly, I wished I had brought at 300mm, or at least a 1.4 tele-extender.

Above: This one’s just using the available room light and me cranking up the ISO, which worked amazingly well. 

Above: After the ceremony, right before we arrived at the Ritz Carlton, I stopped for just a minute to jump out to get this shot, thinking it would make a great transition in the album between the ceremony and the reception.

Above: The bride and groom make their entrance to the reception ballroom.

Above: On the right, the groom’s father gives a warm welcome speech. He really looks like a star in this shot (and his welcome speech was one of the best!). That him below dancing with his daughter.

Above: Here’s me shooting directly into a video light to get a lens flare effect.

Above: For all these shots I’m either just using that one Canon Speedlight, aiming straight upward (so just a little light goes forward toward the subjects), or I turned off the flash and just shot at a high ISO to get the shutter speed up high enough to freeze motion. My strategy was to position myself directly across from the moving lights the band put up aiming at the dance floor. That way, I could get a lens-flare effect when the light aimed right at my lens. It didn’t work every time but when it did, I thought it looked great (that’s how I got all these shots with the exception of the top right where the lens flare didn’t work, but I really liked the shot.

Above: Here’s my set-up for shooting the reception. 85mm f/1.2 and a Canon 600EX-RT Speedlight.

These are just a few of the pages from the album (I didn’t include any of the formals at the church here, or all of the reception shots, or getting-ready shots, and so on), so these are just a few of my favorite spreads from the book.

A wedding like this is a lot of work
Even with a whole team (my thanks to Kathy, Pete, Brad and Kevin who were all very professional and a huge help from start to finish), but of course, my work has just begun — I’ve got prints to deliver, a final book to create, web proof pages, and a myriad of things before our work is done. We had a really great time, thanks to a Bride, Groom who knew what kind of images they wanted, and were very accommodating to make sure we had the opportunity to create them.

We were honored to have the opportunity to share in Lindsay and Ryan’s special day, and their willingness to request an “unplugged” wedding from their guests made our job so much easier and less stressful for everyone. It was a beautiful wedding of two lovely people, and I feel very fortunate to have been small part of it. Here’s to the Bride and Groom — and to love and laughter, happily ever after. :)

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