Category Archives Guest Blogger

On September 9, 2009, my sporadic photojournalism suddenly became as serious as it gets in the technology news business: I had to shoot a Steve Jobs keynote speech.

I work for CNET News, where a “Jobsnote” is a harrowing experience. Live coverage means reporters write and photographers write and shoot as the event progresses. Stupendously high reader interest can flatten even major Web sites, so there’s immense pressure to deliver. Because our regular photographer was out that day, CNET’s editors asked me to fill in for the event, at which Jobs returned to the stage looking skeletal after a surprise liver transplant.

For a full-time photojournalist, it wasn’t so awful: the lighting was reasonable, a dark background made for easy autofocus, and nearly every moment during an Apple product launch is photogenic. But I was a part-timer, so I was relieved when my photos turned out well enough.

For anyone who’s curious about my news photography job, I cover three topics here: The event details that freak me out, the gear I carry, and the wish list I fantasize about. Many thanks to Kelby Media for lending me Scott’s soapbox.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs speaking in 2009. This was shot at 1/200 sec., f4, ISO 6400 with a Canon 5D Mark II and EF 70-200mm f/4L IS

The Jobs speech was a trial-by-fire introduction to today’s tech photojournalism, a specialty that’s changing as fast as the technology it uses. Jack-of-all-trades journalists have extra value now that the walls between photojournalists and reporters are coming down. There are several reasons for the change: cameras are getting easier to use, digital workflow wiped out many technical hurdles, readers like photo galleries, and shrinking news budgets mean dedicated photographers are scarce. If a reporter can’t shoot an event, that can mean the news piece has no photos.

I got lucky because I live in both worlds. In most of my 20 years in journalism, photography was a useful but largely optional skill. In my earliest days I shot “wild art” — photos to enliven a gray page of newspaper text on a slow news day. My first digital SLR was a Canon Rebel XT in 2005, followed by a few nice lenses, Adobe Lightroom, a Canon 5D Mark II, and now a 5D3.

Taking product photos at dark launch events is difficult, but every now and again I get lucky with the weird lighting. It doesn’t look so good on faces

As I got more serious, photography became more important to my job, and now I consider photography essential to just about any event out of the office. I shoot press conferences, conference speeches, interviewee portraits, new products, and news stories like queueing Apple fans in Paris or the Large Hadron Collider particle accelerator near Geneva.

To start, here are the concerns I face now:

Where’s The Network?
In days of yore, reporters would gather information, package it up, then publish or broadcast their reports. Nowadays at tech events, live blogging is the order of the day, which means you need a network. Unfortunately, at the big events with hundreds of smartphone-toting techies, the Wi-Fi almost always bombs shortly before the event begins. Occasionally an enlightened show organizer will assure coverage of its event by lacing the press seats with Ethernet cables, a gloriously stress-relieving luxury. More often, the only choice is a dongle for tapping into the mobile-phone network. For really important shows, it’s best to bring more than one. Even then sometimes the only option is a mad dash for the press room after the event.

A news photographer’s blessing: People are emotional about Apple products. This is an early customer of an iPhone 5 in Paris

Where’s The Power?
Editing photos hammers laptop batteries, and every milliamp-hour is precious during 18-hour trade shows. I sometimes have to work while waiting in a queue before an event begins or while riding public transit to a conference center. I take every chance I get to juice up.

Where Do I Sit?
In a conference hall, I need to be near the speakers, without obstructing teleprompters, but I also want to get straight-on shots of the presentation slides. Being on an aisle gives me flexibility to get up and walk, but if I’m writing, too, I’ll mostly be parked underneath a laptop. Outlets are usually on the edges of the halls, though sometimes you can poach power from an overhead projector or the sound guy. A table with Ethernet, power strips trumps all other considerations, but often there are more press personnel than seats available.

The worst location dilemma came at Mobile World Congress in February when I had to cover Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt. Show organizers let reporters sit in the auditorium but quarantined photographers behind the back row. Apparently it was inconceivable one person would be both both writer and shooter. I opted for sitting in the audience to write — but then I pulled my camera out of my pack, snapped a dozen frames, made sure there was something usable, then stashed the camera again. In other words, I lied to get into the audience seating. That’ll be our little secret, OK?

The auto industry learned decades ago that blazing lights means products look better. This Mercedes was at the 2012 Paris Motor Show

Now, the gear. I’ve refined my on-the-road gear to this selection:

Canon 5D Mark III
If I were starting fresh, I’d take a serious look at Nikon, but I’ve got lens lock-in and am reasonably happy with Canon. This camera body is rugged, has vastly superior autofocus compared to its predecessor, shoots well in dim lighting, and has a silent mode that’s terrific for unobtrusive shooting. The SD Card support is terrific, too, for occasions when I’m swapping cards. I don’t do a lot of video, but it delivers the goods. Also, my personal photography inclines toward landscape and architecture, where the 5D3 is superb. Full-time photogs will carry another camera body so they don’t have to switch lenses, but I don’t have the budget or backpack for that.

Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS
This is my primary lens. Because I shoot mostly for publication on the Web, I have pixels to burn, so I can crop my photos instead of carrying a $7,000 supertelephoto. I love my Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS, which is sharp, durable, and relatively small. However, I must confess that a Sigma’s 70-200mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM I’ve been testing has stolen my affections. It’s bulkier and heavier, but the image stabilization works; it’s sharp; that extra stop helps tremendously; and the shallower depth of field is great for portraiture.

Usually when out of the office, I take product photos with Canon’s 50mm f/1.4 lens, but I didn’t have it with me when Nokia debuted its Lumia 620 smartphone. I shot this with Sigma’s 70-200mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM, which I’d brought for taking pictures of people, not gadgets, but it worked fine as long as somebody else was there to hold the phone.

Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L and EF 50mm f/1.4 USM
Of my secondary lenses, I use the wide-angle zoom for slides in presentations, event venues, vendor booths, crowds, and product demos. The fast fifty is chiefly for product shots, since it has nice bokeh when I want it and a reasonably close focus distance for mobile phones. And it’s small enough to be portable and to use shooting one-handed so I can hold the latest smartphone or other trinket in my left hand.

15-inch Retina display MacBook Pro with Adobe Lightroom and Apple Aperture
This laptop has competitive performance and battery life, is very well built, has a great screen with good color, and almost never crashes on me. I can run it with the screen turned down to nearly nothing or even entirely off to save battery power, and the backlit keyboard is useful in dark auditoriums. Its SSD is way too small for photography’s storage needs, so I make sure I clear off old catalogs to my secondary storage before hitting the road. I like the portability of the MacBook Airs, but they’re just not powerful enough. For software, I usually use Lightroom, but I find Aperture faster as long as you don’t need to edit much, its tethering support is less flaky, and its white-balance tools work well for me. I can’t always shoot tethered, since it chains me to my seat, but it’s much faster during deadline events. I always shoot raw, though for time-critical events I’ll add JPEG to the mix.

I try to find what I can besides standard photos. This shows corkscrew contrails forming from an an Airbus 400M’s propeller tips at the Farnborough airshow in England.

Tamrack Series 5550 Adventure 10 Backpack
When I travel, I squeeze all my gear and a few days’ clothes into it. It’s served me well, but I’ll be honest: I’m in the market for something more rugged. The laptop zipper is busted, the inside stitching couldn’t handle the pressure, and one of the outside straps is partially detached. Also, when traveling on airlines like Lufthansa that are picky about your carry-on baggage weight, I bring a lightweight nylon bag that scrunches down into nothing. When the staff complains that my pack is over the weight limit, I move the camera and laptop over to the nylon bag. It also helps for warm-weather clothes or other overflow items.

Modahaus Tabletop Studio
When I’m shooting products in the comfort and safety of my own home, I use this tabletop studio. It’s a handy piece of washable plastic whose tabs fit together to make nice even background, and color inserts can spice up the view. Usually product photography is more relaxing than event photography, because there’s time to get things right and the lighting is better than cavernous convention centers. But shooting for CNET can be intense because of the deadlines; earlier this year I had just a few hours to test and photograph a new Google Chromebook laptop, write the review, edit the photos, and publish it all. And a lot of product photography I do is in the middle of product launches where dozens of others are jockeying for scarce examples of some new gadget or prototype.

She was just taking a video of people in the Apple iPhone 5, but it looks like an act of worship.

Last, let me share my wish list.

More Light
I should probably bite the bullet and shoot with a flash more often, but the baggage burden and technical complications discourage me. Most often I can get away without one with no trouble. I usually shoot between ISO 800 and 6,400, which the 5D Mark III handles well enough for my purposes. The tech industry has only begun learning what the car industry has long known: kilowatt-sucking arrays of blazing lights dramatically improve product photos. The worst lighting I’ve endured in recent memory was, perversely, Hasselblad’s unveiling of its “Lunar” camera prototype in a very dim room.

A Better Backpack
Why don’t camera bag makers offer a better selection of bags that can hold both camera gear and ordinary baggage? There are terrific high-capacity bags that you can stuff to the gills with lenses, camera bodies, and accessories, but I also need to fit in rain gear, fleece, first-aid kits, maps, guidebooks, and often lunch for a family of three. And I need it to hold up longer than a year.

I write about digital photography, too, which means I get to try some nice equipment. The 80-megapixel Phase One IQ180 medium-format camera captures color so well I broke my rule of not taking flower photos.

Networked Cameras
Someday perhaps, cameras will do a better job with wireless networking and GPS, but for now it seems the camera makers are at least five years behind smartphone makers when it comes to embracing the connected-device era. That’s why I find the Samsung Galaxy Camera interesting. In my perfect world, I could use inexpensive wireless tethering, with photos being stored on both my laptop and my phone, and my phone’s location could be easily registered by my camera for automatic geotagging. Sure, my phone doesn’t have enough storage space for all the photos I take, but in my fantasy realm it’ll have cheap enough data plans that my shots will be uploaded automatically to the cloud. We’re not there now, but I have some optimism that the present golden age of camera experimentation will produce something with a lens, image sensor, and awareness of the Internet. I’m impatient, but watching the tech industry’s progress in the last decade, I believe this dream eventually will come at least partly true.

I had the window open for better light while taking macro shots of a Google Chromebook when a ladybug arrived on the scene.

You can keep up with Stephen on CNET, and follow him on Twitter, Google+, and Facebook

Photo by Joe McNally

Back in October, I made my annual trek to New York City for Photo Plus Expo. But this year I did something that I hadn’t done in previous years… I signed up to have my portfolio reviewed while I was there.

These portfolio reviews are a little different than most others. They’re done by creative directors from major magazines, art buyers from ad agencies, photo editors from wire services, and other people who see tons of images every day from a multitude of photographers (and some of them are photographers themselves). My experience with this was a good one, but that’s another blog post for another day. I mention these portfolio reviews because one of them led to the events that took place this past weekend…

The last review I had was with a photo editor from Clear Channel Media + Entertainment, a company that owns 850 radio stations across the country. She liked my work so much that she wound up hiring me to cover the Jingle Ball concerts for Y100 in Miami and 93.3 FLZ in Tampa.

The lineups for these shows included everyone from up and coming artists like Walk The Moon, Karmin, and Austin Mahone…

Walk The Moon


Austin Mahone

…to megastars like Flo Rida, Enrique Iglesias, and Justin Bieber.

Flo Rida

Enrique Iglesias

Justin Bieber

And since I was shooting for Clear Channel, I got an all access pass to both shows. (more…)

I’m honored to be back here for a second time as Scott’s guest blogger. Like my last post, I’m going to share some non-technical thoughts because it’s too easy to get lost in gear and megapixels.

It’s hard to believe I’ve been a professional photographer for as long as I have, but here are a few things I’ve learned along the way.

People Still Love Prints

Technology is awesome. I sleep with my iPhone next to my bed and am at my computer within minutes of waking up. Photos look great on the iPad and my online portfolio is an important marketing tool.

But physical prints are still king.

When is the last time you held one of your favorite images in your hands, printed on 11X14 heavyweight matte paper? Try it. Have a real print made, frame it, and hang it on the wall. It feels good and looks good.

I’ve created a modern business by selling prints. I tour with a number of bands (most recently Bon Jovi), and offer officially licensed prints through my company It’s a fun gig, makes money, and fans seem to enjoy getting real prints.

Fans can buy various sizes of my 2011 image of Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora in Istanbul.

Prints have an impact that screen images just don’t have. You can scroll through hundreds of photos in a Facebook web gallery and they’re gone in a flash. But go through a box of mounted prints, and you’ll instinctively handle the artwork more carefully.

After I shoot a job, I try my best to make a big print of my best image, sign it, and mail it to the PR person, manager, subject, etc. Sometimes I actually get a call or email back thanking me for sending it, and the next time I see them, they remember me.

How often does that happen from a web gallery?

There Is More To Being A Professional Photographer Than Just Making Great Images

Photographers are everywhere. Digital cameras, autofocus, and Instagram have made it simple for anyone to make “decent” images.

But how many people do you know who are full-time, working professional photographers? There aren’t that many of us.


Because “point, click, and share” just isn’t enough.

I was fortunate to begin my career nearly 25 years ago, before technology lowered the entry barrier to the profession. What I learned is that “taking the picture” is only about 10% of the job.

There is so much more that goes into making a successful photography business: Marketing, promotion, invoicing, managing and archiving your image library, backups, balancing the books, buying and testing new gear, commercial insurance and workman’s comp, pre- and post-production, taxes, and more.

Of course, having the right gear for the job is important as well.

Here’s the gear I used at SuperBowl XLVI. If I missed a shot, I couldn’t ask the players to do it again.

Your Uncle Bob may have a shiny new DSLR, but would you trust him to capture a once-in-a-lifetime event like your wedding? What happens when his only battery dies or he’s in the bathroom during the cake cutting?

Just because you occasionally make a good photo doesn’t mean you should quit your day job.

Relationships Are Everything

People hire photographers that they know and like. It’s rare, if ever, that you’ll send in a portfolio or web link cold and get a gig. It just doesn’t happen that way.

If I go back far enough, I can trace most of my best jobs back to friends from college. You never know how it will happen: that guy was friends with this guy, I did a job for his sister and met this person at the gig, and ten years later he works at a big ad agency. Fast forward another ten years and, well, you get the point.

That doesn’t mean you don’t have to do the work. Once you get in the door, you still need to do a great job or they won’t hire you back or recommend you to anyone else.

I recently photographed my fifth Olympic Games, but it was my first time working for NBC. A few months later, when they put together a telethon to raise money for Hurricane Sandy relief, I called my contact at the network so I could do my part to help the storm victims. The next day, I found myself backstage shooting portraits of some of the artists before the show.

I photographed Jon Bon Jovi, Jon Stewart, Steven Tyler, Tina Fey, Whoopi Goldberg, Billy Joel, and others at the telethon.

I donated all of my profit from print sales of these images to the Red Cross. You can see them all at

Don’t burn any bridges. You never know when you’ll have to cross them.


Those are just a few of the important things I’ve learned over the years. Photography is a service business and, like any other, it’s important to be professional, valuable, and memorable. Treat your clients well and hopefully they’ll keep coming back for more.

You can see more of David’s work at and, and follow him on Twitter and Facebook

I, Photographer

I believe it was last summer when I was having dinner with Brad Moore at City Fish in Oldsmar, FL when he asked me to write my first post for Scott's illustrious Guest Blog series. I was humbled, giddy, and nervous. As a longtime follower of Scott's work, being asked to contribute marked a milestone in my career as a photographer. I fully admit modeling a lot of how I teach and relate with our users at onOne Software based on Scott's practices, so you can imagine my surprise when I got an email from Brad a few weeks ago with the subject, "It's that time again." I am truly honored to reprise my role as guest contributor and I'd like to thank Scott, Brad, Matt, RC, Corey, Stinky Pete and the rest of my good friends at Kelby Media for doing so much to help so many of us reach our own milestones as photographers.

<Cue the Wayne's World wave dissolve and smoothly segue to the post>

I will always remember the first time I admitted to actually being a photographer to someone. It was in late winter of 2009 and I was photographing the beautiful and frigid coastline of Provincetown, MA. At the time, I had a full time job at a software company that created products for the financial sector and I was also starting to make inroads with my own little commercial photography business. I already had a few solid gigs under my belt and had been lining up some more. Things were looking good and my goal was to move into doing this full time at some point in 2010. While I was photographing the Provincetown coastline, an elderly woman saw what I was doing, walked up to me, and asked me plainly, "What do you do?"

And to that, for the first time in my life, I answered, "I'm a photographer."

Prior to that, I would have likely stumbled and stammered to justify what I was doing and I'm sure that more than a few of you can relate. For some reason, there is this layer of self-doubt that we have when owning up to answering this particular question. It's almost as if we are trying to justify it to ourselves as we answer it. Before I move on to how this memory spurred the point of this post, let me clear the air. We are all photographers. Whether you are a casual hobbyist, an avid enthusiast or a part/full time paid professional, just by virtue of picking up a camera with the intention of freezing a moment in time, you are a photographer.

So why is it that so many of us get defensive when someone calls you an amateur photographer? It's such a beautiful word, so appropriate for so many of us out there, and yet in the same breath, it is seen as a form of denigrationâ”a lower rung in a caste system of photographers. Have you ever actually looked up the definition of amateur? While there are different interpretations of the word, the definition I wholeheartedly subscribe to is â˜a person who engages in a pursuit.' Doesn't that sound so lovely? It almost has a romantic feel to it. And it's true after all, isn't it? Aren't we all actively engaged in the pursuit of our photography? While I consider myself a working photographer, I also wholly consider myself an amateur. Photography is my life and I will dedicate my time here to mastering it in my own way and helping others find their own paths.

But let's go back to the issue at handâ”namely, the consternation that we feel when we have to justify whether we are photographers. It was in thinking about this that I realized what I should write about. The problem lies in this pervasive need to seek the approval of as many people as possible in order to justify whether you are a photographer, and worse, whether you are even a good photographer. For many of us, the quality of an image has been relegated to the response rate and engagement percentage of a post you made on your social media outlet of choice. Good, honest, quality feedback has been supplanted by mindless Likes and +1s. Our entire scale of artistic growth has been commoditized whereas the clear voices of a small group of mentors and trusted friends have been replaced by a cacophony of fleeting words and phrases left as comments. And then there are the trolls and the flame wars. Small-minded people getting off on slicing and dicing anything that you share with impunity, no matter what the nature is.

The culmination of investing your emotions and tying your growth to all of these things can be terribly destructive and stifling for those photographers out there who are doubtful of themselves and not sure whether they feel like they can contribute anything meaningful to the world with their work. All of this static may serve to turn someone away, making them gun-shy to share their work or even pick up a camera in the first place. I am saying this because I know it to be true. I have friends who are impacted in this way and it truly saddens me and that is why I wanted to bring it to light here. Photography is only what you make it out to be for yourself.

Understand this: photography isn't easy. There are no shortcuts. It's laden with frustration and disappointment, but it's also a labor of love. Yes, the barrier to entry for creating an image is extremely lowâ”just pick up any device capable of capturing an image and press a button. If that's as far as you want to take it, then by all means "snapshoot" away. I'll support you 100%.

There is one lesson I'm hoping you take away from this: true growth in photography, or in any craft or vocation, requires confidence in yourself and confidence in your ability to dust yourself off when you do fail, because you will. It also means that you have confidence to weed out the static and confidence to pursue meaningful growth from those you trust and who will give feedback that is both constructive and supportive and not laced with anything else.

If there is one concept that I am vehemently passionate about, it is sharing of work. I share my work because I believe that is how I infuse the last piece of soul into my image. I also share the anecdotes and technical details surrounding the creation of my images because I absolutely love teaching my techniques and giving away the farm. I don't share to get comments, +1s or Likes. They are most certainly appreciated but please understand that they aren't any sorts of driving forces for me. I share because I am a photographer and sharing is the elemental outcome of being a photographer.

I'd like to leave you with what my hope is that you'll take away from this post. Do you remember when I defined the word â˜Amateur' up above? It is a person who engages in a pursuit, and in this case, the pursuit is photography. What I'd like you to think about is â˜who are you pursuing photography for?' By determining the true answer to that question, I suspect you'll find your individualized path to artistic growth appear a bit more clearly.

And always remember: never stop shooting.

Thank you for your time.

You can see more of Brian’s work at, and find him on Google+, Twitter, and Facebook.

Four years ago we started this crazy idea of Help-Portrait. The concept was simple - find a person in need, take their picture, print it and deliver it. Our goal was to give photographers, stylists and friends "permission," so-to-speak, to use what they had in their hands to give back to the community.

The idea caught on quickly, thanks in no small part to Scott Kelby lending his platform for me to share this idea.

Help-Portrait is now a global volunteer effort that takes place each second Saturday in December. To date 20,000+ volunteers have given approximately 200,000 portraits to the less fortunate. We're doing it again this December 8th.

Then Hurricane Sandy hit, and I was reminded why we do this. Why we have to do this.

I was watching the telethon after the superstorm and nor'easter wrecked New York City and the East Coast. Every person interviewed said something to the effect of, out of everything they lost, what they most wanted back was their pictures.

It's heartbreaking to know thousands of memories documented by priceless pieces of paper are forever destroyed, lost and ruined from this storm. It adds insult to injury for families who've lost much, and maybe all.

And it happens all over the world with regularity now. Hurricanes, wildfires, tornadoes, tsunamis and earthquakes know no ethnic, regional or economic boundary. Disasters aren't limited to natural causes either.

Even though hearing the stories and seeing the photos of these disasters can sometimes be overwhelming, or worse, emotionally numbing, I know that we can make a difference.

After watching the pain on the faces of Hurricane Sandy victims, I knew Help-Portrait was made to respond to disasters like these. While lost photos can't be replaced, new family portraits can symbolize strength today and infuse hope for tomorrow.

So we're starting with Hurricane Sandy, and positioning ourselves to mobilize the global community to respond to future events.

Our teams on the ground in New York and across the U.S. are planning Help-Portrait events for those who've been hit hardest by Sandy. We're hoping this will lead to funding that will allow us to replicate our response efforts around the globe.

Here's how you can join us.

We're launching a fundraising campaign with a goal of $160,000 so we can provide relief for at least 150 families with care packages valued at more than $1,000 - ideally we'd really like to raise $200,000 and reach 200 families. In several events in December, the main one on December 15, we'll provide free professional portraits and hair & makeup to families and individuals in some of the hardest-hit communities. We'll also give them cameras and equipment to capture and digitally preserve their new memories.

We'll give relief supplies, gift cards to major retailers and necessities, and other gifts, like tickets and transportation to a Broadway play. Pampering these folks for an afternoon may feel frivolous but this is about more than a handout and a gift bag - it's about restoring one's dignity, reminding them of their worth and giving them a tangible symbol of hope and a fresh start. A picture can do that.

Will you help us?

Donate here:

Pushing the Envelope

I have a phrase for it, the Darwin Theory of Photography - Evolve or Perish. While it's very true that I'm a gear head and one of my greatest pleasures in life is to get a new piece of gear and just sit and inhale the new gear smell, there is most definitely a method behind my madness. I love telling stories and since I can't draw, dancing is out of the question and my family won't even let me sing in the shower that leaves me with photography to tell my stories. In 1998 when I first started to shoot digital, I knew then that the means in which I delivered my photographic stories was going to have to change.

It gets complicated for Sharon & me in the fact that we make our livelihood by telling stories with my photographs. The editorial marketplace is where we have worked and grown for the last three decades in part of our own mission to get the word out about our wild heritage. Realizing from the get-go that we couldn't do it on our own, we needed to enlist every possible photographer in shooting and sharing their stories, so then our editorial requirement grew from our own stories to helping photographers tell theirs as well. This created an even greater need for the editorial marketplace to be healthy and strong.

Over the years digital photography has as you know become more and more powerful as a medium. Its ability to instantly tell a story and the web's ability to deliver it has in some ways crippled our traditional method of telling stories. Many a magazine and newspaper has succumbed to this new pressure due in part to not following what they don't know about, my Darwin Theory of Photography. In a nutshell, if you're a storyteller, you gotta have a way and place to tell your story. And if you're a storyteller who tells stories with photographs and depends upon magazines for a vehicle and they are disappearing, your ability to tell stories is going to disappear too. And if you have a mission to help others, the pressure is even greater. You gotta push the envelope!

One of the greatest perks of working with all the great folks at NAPP is the constant flow of creativity. I am very fortunate to be able to sit down and talk with Scott or Matt or RC or Moser and discuss the creative and business side of photography and outreach. It was from a conversation with Scott years ago when the iPad was first made known to us though it was not on the market yet that got my wheels turning. It was then that I saw at least in my own mind, a way to push the envelope of photography and the editorial marketplace and deliver content in a very new and exciting way.

Shortly after the iPad's release, a plug-in became available for InDesign that permits you to take your InDesign document to the iPad. I'm not talking eBook, which is just a glorified PDF. I'm talking a whole new method to deliver content in an exciting and visually more stimulating way, taking advantage of all the unique qualities of the iPad to improve learning. This was the way we could push the envelope and take advantage of our digital photography and the way more and more want to receive their content, how they want to learn. One major, big, giant problemâ¦it was way over my head!

I was sitting at my desk working and our son Brent was down for the weekend from college. Brent has this unbelievable ability to make computers sing with just a glance. He was looking over my shoulder while we were talking and I was doing battle with the program when he asked, "Dad, what are you trying to do?" I explained it to him, kinda and he just said, "I've got a minute why don't you let me try it?" The rest is history now. He had it working within a heartbeat and my blood pressure went back to normal.

Our first goal was to take our 15yr old BT Journal to the iPad. The main thing was to just not "take" it to the iPad but take advantage of the iPad technology. The first thing that came to light is the ability to deliver more photographs and more of their stories. Brent loves the "push dad button" as he started asking for more and more photos for the digital version of the BTJ. This is because he was able to do slideshows, adding 400-500% more images to the content. With the traditional editorial model, you have only so much real estate where you can place images. Such is not the case with the iPad, which not only vastly increases useable real estate but also presents the layout designed both in landscape and portrait format. (And when magazines can use more and more photos and you're in the business of selling images, this is a good formula!)

But our abilities to present content in more untraditional ways doesn't stop there.  When you go to iPubs, you have the ability to incorporate video content right along with the written and visual. This is very powerful stuff when it comes to teaching and inspiring! One of the first cool videos Brent incorporated was of Upper Yosemite Falls. When you flip the page in the BTJ, folks see the waterfall shot and at first think it's a still image until after a moment they notice the water is flowing, falling and crashing. The look on folks' faces when they see their digital magazine "come to life" is great! Being able to include video got Brent to thinking and that's how the Pg28 Videos came to be. Where on the hard copy Pg28 are just photo captions (which are greatly expanded and attached to the photos in the digital version), in the digital version Pg28 are video Photoshop lessons about photos in the issue. It wasn't long before we realized there are no limitations! Our latest BTJ issue with an interactive map is an example of this, but wait, there is so much more.

You might have noticed I like to take pictures of planes. For awhile now, I've been trying to get you excited about playing with planes. Just like with wildlife photography, I've been putting out information on how to improve your aviation photography and wanted to put it all in one place for folks, what we traditionally call a book. Well, no one wanted to publish a book on aviation photography, "no market" was the response. Publishing a book is expensive, distribution is tricky and marketing is everything and this all takes time. Brent & I put our heads together and decided we were going to push the envelope again and produced the world's first iBook, Taking Flight.

Taking Flight took one month to write, lay out, assemble and put on the market. Taking Flight is an iBook that has hundreds of photographs, web links, videos and the best thing, is updatable! That's right! Our iBook (only $14.99) includes free updates, which we have already done in the form of additional photos and more videos since its release. If you want a new edition of a traditional book, what do you have to do, buy a new book right? This is not the case with an iBook. The worldwide response has been so amazing that we're working on our next iBook, and it will be FREE!! We don't stop pushing the envelope around here.

But what does this all have to do with you? I know one of the first comments below will be, "I don't have an iPad or will it be coming out on Android?" which to me is no different than, "I don't have $29.95 to buy a book." And I'm sure each producer of a new means of communication since the printing press has heard the same basic comment for their day at the introduction of their product. That brings us back to the Darwin Theory of Photography. And this is not for those books you want to curl up with next to a fire on a snowy afternoon. What we're talking about here is increasing the marketplace, the means to tell our visual stories in a changing editorial world, which we need to support if we want it to support us!

Our traditional model of delivering content is fading with newspapers, magazines, and books slowly disappearing from our visual landscape. If you are like me and tell your stories visually through the editorial medium, this means you're going to lose if nothing else, income. If you not only need that income but also have a burning desire to share your photographs (which you all should have!), then you need to push the envelope and be part of how we develop the next generation of magazines and books. You can do that by subscribing to all the magazines now available on the iPad and buying those iBooks that might interest you. At the same time, think creatively how you can add content to these mediums and get more involved in sharing your photographs.

Evolve or perishâ¦be it a new body, lens, technique or passion, it is at the heart of my photography. And I hope now I've planted the seed that becomes the heart of yours. When Brad pinged me to write about how Brent & I went to the iPad with content, I scratched my head how the story might be of service to you. And in a long winded way, I came back to really basics illustrated with a high ended story. Pushing ourselves and more importantly our photography is what all great photographers have done since the dawning of the medium, which is how we got where we are today. It is now up to us to push past camera brands and megapixels and focus on telling the story of our days by using the mediums now available to us. Don't settle, share your photographs and change the world, knowing that in part you do it by pushing the envelope!

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