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  • Category Archives Guest Blogger

    Farah+Jahan_T_0161

    “Life is pretty simple: You do some stuff. Most fails. Some works. You do more of what works. If it works big, others quickly copy it. Then you do something else. The trick is the doing something else.”
    – Leonardo da Vinci

    My name is Matt Adcock and I am lucky to have found my dream partner, Sol Tamargo. Together we run Del Sol Photography in Playa del Carmen, Mexico and we are always in search of “something else.” Since 2005, we’ve been using water and climate to create original, fun, and artistic wedding photography. I’d love the opportunity to share some of that with you and also wanted to thank Scott Kelby and Brad Moore for giving me the chance to do so.

    For Sol and I, as I’m sure is the case with so many talented artists and artist teams, finding ways to stay fresh and creative, break out of routines, and chase that “something else” is a labour of love. It takes patience (which we don’t always have), it takes dedication (which is sometimes hard to muster), and it takes an ability to embrace the unknown to be ready to take advantage of it – which is so hard to see coming!

    For Sol and I, we have a few areas that are the keystones of our efforts in our attempts to chase that “something else…”


    Photo by Juan

    Make Epic Photos About Them
    If you allow yourself to daydream a little, it’s pretty magical where you can go with a creative mind. After listening to and understanding our clients’ expectations, we try to figure out the perfect shot for them. We brainstorm and sometimes even make sketches (when necessary) to see the frame. Our favorite clients are always dreaming and picturing “what if”… so it’s important that our imagination is in tune with theirs.

    Imagine carrying 2 Underwater Housings (and all of the accoutrements) more than 500 miles from home with 3 packs (full of gear) by car, plane and boat to reach your destination. Imagine further, 5 more boats on the wedding day and a tiny strip of sand in the middle of nowhere – San Pedro, Belize. A solid example with one of our craziest executions making photos of �them� happened a when our studio received this inquiry:

    “My fiance Lara and I are planning a wedding in Belize…. picture it… A white sand beach that crests just above the water not more than a few inches… no trees, no dirt… nothing but sand… water so clear it magnifies the ocean floor for miles around and skies so blue and perfect that the odd cloud only enhances every scene…”


    Photo by Matt (more from this event here)

    Equipment + Environment – Use it and Abuse it!
    Ever look down a windy beach and see that mist that travels off the ocean with the wind? In Spanish, the word for this misty salty mash is “Bruma.” We are always surrounded by it – whether we like it or not!

    During one session, I wanted to feature the “Bruma.” I knew a creatively used flash would add the dimension to the frame I was looking for. Basically we sculpted with light creating shadows with a little back lighting using a small speedlight at full power, full CTO Gel on my flash and my WB set to 10,000 kelvin.


    Photo by Matt

    While the toll is high… Imagine changing lenses or having anything with metal contacts in this environment, don’t even think about sensor gunk – it’s unbelievable. Tropical climate for sure means a reduced shelf life for electronics – but when you get an image like this, it’s all worth it. Our suggestion is to invest in sealed camera bodies and buy the professional lenses to increase usability if you plan on working tropical.

    Inspire and be Inspired
    The late Steve Jobs quoted Picasso: Good artists copy and even greater artists steal! The idea is that nothing is really original, everything we produce as artists is a reflection from something or someone that we were influenced by. While I think the word stealing is heavily laden with sometimes negative connotations – I love to be inspired, I love to give credit where credit is due, and I love to take ideas to new levels.

    I would like to thank Tony Hoffer (again) for stopping me dead in my tracks and reminding me to take risks with weather. A few years ago, my bags were packed and I retreated when rain occurred. Seems like the intelligent thing to do right? Ever since that first time I laid eyes on Tony’s engagement image, I’m excited when mother natures throws me a curve-ball. Tony didn’t invent the rain, but he certainly had a thing or two to share and I think we’re all the better for it!


    Photo by Matt

    Did I steal this image? No, I don’t think so. Did I glean inspiration from Tony�s original creation? Absolutely, and I worked hard to push it further in a very different setting, and �was quick enough to recognize a great set of circumstances were aligning when I captured this moment (somewhat lucky too). The reflection / bounce on this all black umbrella caused this amazingly soft down light. I didn’t plan that :). Also, her toe kick and the little trickle of water being lit by the flash really gives an additional movement feature to this frame…

    Personal Projects as a Lifeline to Creative Freedom
    Trash the Dress (TTD) has become a real source of creative freedom for Sol and I as it started as a personal project. Although it’s hard to reinvent yourself each shoot, we find ways to trip the imagination and come up with �something else.� The fun comes in the challenges we face, rugged locations, hikes, mosquitos, and almost anti-gravity underwater. The real kicker, these people aren’t models, and quite often they can’t swim! Its a bit cold as well, 62 degrees, so we really only have 30 -45 minutes of shooting time underwater. There are many risks, but the payoff is monumental.

    Did I also mention that we find our way into caves to get this crystal clear water? They’re natural sink holes, called cenotes (se-no-tays), considered a sacred portal to the Mayan Underworld. The cenotes are part of the largest underground cave network in the world and exist only here in Mexico. Somehow we were able to merge daydreaming / fantasy photography and our brides into a business that is as far away from the “aisle” as possible. When was the last time a wedding photographer donned a wetsuit for anything wedding related?

    I wanted to share a few TTD frames because this has been one of the most amazing things to happen to us. As you look through these TTD snaps, realize that we are always shooting for US and less worrying about client expectations.


    Photo by Sol

    ScottStrazzanteMug

    When I was a kid, in lieu of hiring a babysitter, my mom would just plop me down in front of the television. I think I learned more about life from Mike and Carol Brady than my own parents. In fact, at the time, I looked a lot like Cousin Oliver, who was brought on the “The Brady Bunch” to boost sagging ratings, but, instead, only helped the show jump the shark. So, where am I going with this trip back to before the remote control was invented? Well, it isn’t because I caught the photo bug from the episode where Greg Brady inadvertently made a shot of a key football play while photographing his cheerleader girlfriend, but because I think I was subconsciously inspired to do street photography by another show I watched. You see, my local public television station in Chicago would…

    startrac_rollerderby_FINALSHARP

    Think like a digital ninja.
    First of all I’d like to thank Scott and Brad for inviting me to write – I’m a big fan of what they do and how they empower the world to be better creators. Without people like them spreading the amazing wealth of information we have at our fingertips it would have been more difficult for me to migrate from a zoological career catching snakes in the Australian outback to where I am now – creating conceptual imagery for brands and magazines.

    We live in a time where what we imagine, we can make – there has never been a better time to be an artist.  I wanted to take this opportunity to talk about my digital workflow in the hopes that you will find it useful.

    I deal in high-impact imagery. I try to photograph ideas more than portraits – directing scenes and characters to tell a story. I started out as a photojournalist shooting first wildlife, then wild places, and now; wild people and stories. I have a background in retouching and compositing, skill-sets which I now leverage to create images that would be impossible to make happen otherwise. As far as aesthetic qualities, my work is characterized by contrast, depth, rich color and texture. I also incorporate compositing into many of my images, one of the components of a digital workflow that we’ll be dealing with here. Rather than talk about them, you can check out my images here.

    Photography, particularly in the commercial world, has become far more than just shooting film and handing it off to the client. The digital revolution has not only led to the incredible democratization of creation we see today (I highly recommend you watch press pause play), but also an entirely new way to approach creating images.

    The digital workflow allows us to create anything we can imagine. I can shoot elements in Africa, Australia and Southern California and blend them seamlessly so that the image looks like it was shot in one frame. For example, I just finished a campaign working with Art Director Jethro Ames and local ad agency Parkerwhite where I built 8 different images that communicate the beauty and heroism of athletes in moments of peak action. About half the talent we shot in a studio on green screen and the other half were on location – where the background was remixed beyond anything we could have achieved in a single frame. This allowed us to create scenes in the same way that a painter or illustrator would build a scene. It’s difficult to describe, so check out a highlights video we put together here:

    http://vimeo.com/38225503

    I’m going to go over some of the fundamental elements in a digital workflow the way that I see them.

    Green screen
    I refer to it as green screen, but…

    1_RandyHarriscrop

    Thank you Scott and Brad for the opportunity to participate as a Wednesday guest blogger.  I’ve been a long time reader and consider it an honor to be included.  I thought I’d share the story of how I was able to find a niche market and turn my love of photography into a viable business. Many part time photographers have another full time job to pay the bills and can’t possibly give up a reliable income to start all over.  This was my situation and yet my journey is a little unique. In 2008 my wife accepted an international assignment in Paris, France. I resigned from my day job; we packed up our Seattle home and soon settled into a classic Parisian apartment a few blocks south of the Eiffel Tower. The “package” she received allowed me to concentrate full time on my photography.…

    1_nappmember

    You know that moment when you are sitting in a bar and the pretty girl keeps looking over at you, she approaches you, then walks right past as she was actually looking at the good looking guy behind you? Well, when I got the email from Brad asking if I wanted to be a guest blogger here, my first reaction was to text Glyn and say "I think Brad meant to send you this email mate." I would like to stress that I don’t think of Brad as the pretty girl nor Glyn as the handsome guy, that is a scenario none of us need to think about! Hi, I’m Dave Clayton, a.k.a ‘NAPPMEMBER UK’, a.k.a The NAPP UK Evangelist, a.k.a The Earl of Grey & Lord Chappyton Jollybottom (the latter two thanks to Scott Kelby). I’m not a photographer but one day hope…

    GlynDewis

    So who is Glyn Dewis? Well believe me, that’s a question I’ve struggled with more times than I care to remember. Don’t get me wrong, I know who I am as a person: I’m Glyn, 40 years of age (only just I hasten to add), I’m married and I live just outside of Oxford in the UK...that bit is easy. What I’m talking about here is who am/what am I when it comes to Glyn the Photographer? Roughly 7 years ago one of my Uncles, who was always known as our family photographer, showed me how he could remove ‘red eye’ from his photographs using a piece of software called Photoshop. Literally in a split second it was gone and I was like ‘Wow!’ Now as someone who was brought up using computers, my first being an Amstrad CPC464 with the green screen monitor…

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