Category Archives Guest Blogger

A Game Plan for Improvement

Hi, and welcome to Scott’s blog. Let me first say what a privilege it is to be asked to write an article this week. Well, as many of you know, Scott and I share a common passion and subject interest, sports photography. So it seemed natural for me to write about a sports related topic.

I’ve been on the road a lot lately and Friday was a rare afternoon at home. As I sat down to write this article I had the TV tuned to the Golf Channel’s coverage of the WGC Bridgestone Invitational. I happened to catch the interview with Tiger recapping his poor 2nd round performance. A reporter asked him if he was going to “set a lower goal seeing that he was coming back from an injury and all that has happened.” Tiger instantly answered, “No. Never have. Why show up at a tournament if you’re not there to win.”

You think Tiger has a game plan for a few more green jackets? Ya think? I have always walked into each photographic project with a game plan for improvement. It is this mindset that fuels my passion for whatever I am photographing. Passion can only motivate a person so far before improvement and encouragement is needed to continue on. During my 30 plus years of photographing Professional and Olympic sports I have applied several guidelines that have helped me improve my image making at each event I covered. Let me add that these guidelines can apply to any photographer no matter what subject they shoot. So even if you photograph weddings, portraits, wild life, landscapes or whatever, grab your seat in the front row, buy a hotdog, and enjoy the play-by-play.

Know Your Subject
I began my sports photography career as the team photographer for the men’s and women’s USA Gymnastics teams in 1980. I grew up in the sport and competed at both the High School and NCAA College level. I even coached for several years before stepping into the photography position for the US team. I knew only what I had learned in a single semester B&W photography class in college, but I knew everything about gymnastics. This in-depth knowledge of my subject, gymnastics, gave me a distinct advantage over even the best photographers in the sports magazine industry. I knew the athletes, their routines, their new skills, and all the best angles to capture the action from. It was as if I had seen a video of the competition the day before. I always seemed to be more than 1 step ahead of the photographers from Sports Illustrated, Time, and Newsweek.

So, when Mary Lou Retton landed this vault scoring a perfect 10.0 and won the Olympic gold medal she became the biggest story of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games. The sport became very popular and I then became the go-to guy for Gymnastics images. This led to other major sports event coverage both Professional and Olympic, and the rest, as they say, is history. Anyone can improve their images just by knowing something about their subject. The great wildlife photographers know the habits and best season to photograph specific animals. A great wedding photographer knows the layout of the church in advance so they can move quickly into position for key moments. And the portrait photographer makes conversation and builds relationship with their subject so as to capture the mood and personality of the individual. If you want your pictures to improve, Know Your Subject, whether it’s an athlete, a bride, a moose, or the environment.

Get There Early
Back in 2003 I had the opportunity to photograph Peyton Manning of the Indianapolis Colts during the final regular season game. Sounds simple enough except that he was scheduled to only play 3 downs before being pulled to save him for the playoffs. Although I did get a nice image or two of him handing off the ball 3 times, this pre-game picture was more to the liking of my client. I had photographed Manning several times over the years and knew that he liked to come on to the field early for stretching and warm-up throws…(sound familiar? … Know Your Subject).

While other photographers were still preparing gear for the game I headed out to the field very early just to capture this image. Stylized by underexposing the image –1.3 stops and then lit using 2 Nikon Speedlights rubber-banded together, I held them well off camera in my left hand. I made a single frame of him running onto the field. Get There Early, you’ll never regret it.

Stay Late
If getting to the game early helps you make a unique picture, then staying late can also be of benefit. When Troy Aikman was injured in the 4th quarter it seemed natural to follow him off the field at the end of the game, but no other photogs seemed to think so. After all, it might be his last game, and I believe it was his last game for that season. Apparently TV also thought it was important to stick around and get coverage of him in civilian clothes and a sling.

I was the last photog on the field when Aikman disappeared into the locker room. It was a small bit of Aikman history that sold and resold several times over the course of his career. My advice is this, after the game is over and your job is seemingly done, stop, don’t pack up the gear yet, and look around to see what might make an interesting picture. More often than not, something will catch your eye, and if it does, then make a picture of it. Stay late, a good picture might be waiting for you.

Think Coffee Table Book
These next few images were made at Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby.

Whenever I cover a sporting event I try and make a collection of images as if I was working for a coffee table book publisher. Not because I am working on a book, but because I want to make a total package of documentary coverage.

You never know what the magazine editor or school’s sports information director will want. So why not give it all to them, from sunup to sundown, from close up, too wide angel, and from event ambiance to heart pounding action.

This allows your client to pick and choose, and perhaps publish more pictures. Yes, it’s more work, but so often my client would request a single image in advance, but when the magazine came out I would have several photos published that they didn’t request.

Think Coffee Table Book and watch how many more of your pictures get published. Besides, it’s just fun to make pictures.

“Go Big or Go Home”
This is a quote from Mike Powell, one of the former owners of the All Sport picture agency, which became the sports division of Getty. What he meant by this was if the photographer next to you is using a 300mm lens, you should use a 400mm. If they are using a 400mm, then you should use a 600mm. And, if they use a 600mm, then put a 1.4 teleconverter on your 600mm. Simply said, use a longer lens to draw in your subject and make a different picture than your colleagues do.

Here is Michael Phelps winning gold at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens. Swimming imagery is all about the face, but that’s a very small subject within the Olympic pool. Most photographers had 400mm or 600mm lenses, but I went with a 600mm and 1.4 teleconverter all on a Nikon D2h with DX sensor. Yikes! Some would ask why not just crop the image later, because I want to capture it in such a way that it would have impact when my editor opens the file. I want my picture to get noticed immediately, and have a chance of making the cover, or a double page spread. It takes practice and sometimes it takes courage, and sometimes you can fail, but for sudden impact, Go Big or Go Home.

Have an Edge
I had shot very little golf coverage during my career prior to being asked by Golf Digest to do documentary coverage of the Masters. I would be part of a team of 4 other photographers who were the best in the golf business, and here I was, no one in the business of golf. I felt I needed to walk into Augusta with an edge that would help my work standout and contribute to the coverage. I had brought all my normal cameras with long lenses, but decided to include a small Nikon Coolpix 8700. Sounds crazy, but I felt I could use the silent shutter of this small consumer camera to capture a very rare moment in golf, the top of the back swing.

Clicking the shutter on a 35mm DSLR camera is highly unethical at golf tournaments. The abrupt sound can cause a golfer to loose concentration and result in the golfer’s caddie grabbing your camera and throwing it into the lake, not to mention having your credential taken away. The silent shutter of the Coolpix 8700 along with its RAW file capability was my edge. The editors were blown away when the first round of back swing images came across the computer screen. “STOP!” they said. “You’ll get us all thrown out.” “It’s OK,” I said. “The shutter is silent.” Here is Phil Mickelson at the top of his back swing making his final drive off the 18th tee on route to winning his first major, the 2004 Masters. Have an Edge, and walk in with confidence knowing you can offer your client something new and unique.

Take a Chance
I don’t think of myself as a gambler. My wife would suggest otherwise and say my entire business as a freelance photographer is based on taking chances. After all, I have no daily guarantee of being hired, of making picture sales, or of receiving a paycheck at the end of the month. Well, here I am, still in business 30 plus years later partly because I do take some chances.

Most of the photographers at the 1994 Winter Olympics used fast shutter speeds to freeze the 85mph flight of the Sky Jump finalists, but not me. I took a chance and decided to use a slow shutter speed of 1/30 during the entire competition. This included photographing the jumps of the eventual Olympic medalists. Not an easy task seeing that I was using an F3 film camera with a 600mm f4 lens and a 1.4 teleconverter…hand held (a monopod tends to sink in deep snow). My editors at Newsweek applauded the risky approach and the unique images. So, Take a Chance, you might win.

Capture the Moment

If you don’t capture the key moment, you’re toast. Simple as that.It’s not going to go well for you back at the office.

This image of Kevin Barrnet serving up the winning point during the final game of the World League Volleyball Championships was one of Sports Illustrated’s first digital Leading Off images. Many of the guidelines and advice that I have mentioned contributed to the making of this picture. Although I’m not an expert on volleyball I did Know My Subject from previous competitions and was very familiar with Kevin’s perfect serving style. Once Jimmy Colton, SI’s picture editor, had assigned me the championships, I began planning my Coffee Table Book approach so that I could provide plenty of choices regarding the magazine’s Leading Off section.

I Got There Early during the practice days prior to the week of international competition and spent time with the event organizers in an effort to secure permission to do something special. My Edge would be to install my Nikon D1 as a remote camera in the catwalk over the colorful court, and use Sport Strobe Lighting to illuminate the court. I would trigger the camera/strobes using the wireless Pocket Wizard system from my courtside photo position. This would of course mean I would need to Stay Late after the court was cleared to retrieve the remote camera and shut off the strobes. In 2001 digital imagery was quite new to the magazine industry and I felt I would need to compose the scene very tight in order to have enough quality to be published as the Leading Off double page spread. Cropping the image was not an option so I decided to Go Big rather than Go Home and used a 70-200mm lens at 200mm. To Take a Chance like this is very risky, but I felt that if I could pull this off I would have an exceptional image. This image is not cropped. All my planning and careful study of Kevin’s airborne serves helped me position the camera precisely over the area of court where he achieved perfect form. Capturing The Moment of Kevin serving the final match point to win the World title for the USA was just what SI expected, as did I.


Well, there you have it, A Game Plan for Improvement. Perhaps more effort than some would care to apply, but when a photographer, regardless of their chosen genre, incorporates even some of these guidelines into each event, portrait, wedding, or landscape they photograph, I guarantee that their imagery and their clientele will improve significantly.

It’s been a pleasure to write this article for Scott’s Guest Blog. I hope you have enjoyed the images and commentary.

You can see more of Dave’s images and teaching articles at, and watch his brand new Action Sports Flash Photography class over at Kelby Training.
(want to see the video larger? Click on the full screen icon on the right of the video window – RC)

Proof: A Short by RC
Hey gang, Brad here just to share the story behind how today’s guest blog came to be…
(click on the image to see it larger on the 500px website)

One day as I was browsing, I saw that RC Concepcion had posted this photo of his daughter at the piano. The next day, I came into the office and mentioned that I thought it was a nice shot of Sabine. He asked if I knew the full story behind the image, and, though I knew bits and pieces of it, I didn’t know the entirety of it.

Interesting Little Circles
He started to explain the significance of all the elements of the photograph, and that he was going to write a blog post about it over at his website. As he continued on about not only the significance of each element, but how everything was related to one another, I told him, “This isn’t a blog post… This is a video.” Then I asked if he would mind sharing it here, and he graciously agreed.

I think this can remind us of the importance of using photography to preserve the story of our families and heritage. Sometimes we can get caught up in only pulling out our camera when we’re “going out to shoot,” whether it’s a studio portrait, a sporting event, a birthday or holiday, or any other thing that we get excited about. But it’s easy to overlook the everyday moments like this that can end up being the most important and meaningful times that become the stories we tell our children and grandchildren.

So, thanks RC for sharing this on the blog today :)

Thanks to Scott and Brad for having me a guest blogger, especially for this piece today. It’s about an assignment that is near and dear to me.

As a way of introduction: I’ve been a commercial photographer now for over 30 years. Spent 4 years getting my BFA in photography at RIT, about 5 years assisting in New York after that, and now 30 years being on my own has, as we photographers say, flashed by. I’ve been very, very lucky at having some really great long-term clients, who are the exception rather than the rule for commercial, business-to-business photographers.

Over the years if there is one job that I would want to define my career it would be an assignment I’ve now done for 16 out of the last 17 years. We just finished shooting a few weeks ago for the Toys R Us Differently-Abled Guide. For a week I get the privilege to photograph a wonderful group of special needs, differently abled kids. Over the years I’ve photographed, with the extraordinary help of my crew, a wide variety of kids. A partial list of the kids I’ve photographed over the years have included those with Down syndrome, autistic, hearing impaired, visually impaired, spina bifida, brittle bone, this year a wonderful 2 year old with Progeria also know as the aging condition, and many other varied conditions.

The images shown here are from previous years catalogs, as I can’t show any from this year until the current catalog comes out this fall.

This is the one assignment I call the art director to get the shoot date held 4 to 5 months ahead. That’s very unusual in commercial assignments, but they understand the reason is I try and get the same crew reserved and together. They are freelance and likely not available if I don’t hold the dates early. It’s an exceptional crew. The hair and makeup stylist Miriam Boland, the wrangler Biata Doyle, Stylist Beth Mosner, and my number one assistant Norman Smith who has worked on each catalog with me from the beginning. The producer is easy to get, it’s my wife Regina. The last 4 years a wonderful art director at Toys R Us to guide us, Michelle LaConto Munn.

If there is one thing that I would tell anyone working on a project like this in any capacity, especially a photographer, is to remember and keep in mind one important over riding factor about all these kids, and that’s the fact that they are all kids first and foremost. Sounds simple, but if you keep that in the forefront, and not treat them any differently, the rest comes naturally.

Two other qualities to keep in mind is patience and flexibility on your part. Many times we have a child who at first thinks they are at yet another therapist or doctor’s office, what with the cables and equipment all around. We’ve had many a very reluctant child who at first blush looked like “No way, Jose, am I going on set and looking happy about this” but patience and attention to understanding each child is key. Some like a lot of activity some don’t. Some like lots of loud music, but some, like those with a cochlear implant, prefer a quieter setting. You need to spend some time with the kids, talk to the parents, and understand that each child is an individual, their own person, and you need to adapt a little to their personality, not vice versa. It’s all about the kids, not about the photographer.

The first year of the catalog, 1994, when I heard they would be producing a Differently Abled Guide, I called the Creative Director at Toys who pulled this all together, Mary Hogarth. After doing numerous catalogs including their Christmas Book several times, it was the only time I asked directly to be given a catalog at Toys R Us. Mary told me there was little to no budget and she would probably use existing art. I said I was willing to help in any way, including adjusting my photo fee, and luckily, Mary was able to utilize me.

Just one of the many reasons why this project was started was Mary getting a letter from a mom with a differently abled child, who lamented that while her and her husband knew what toys to get their child, their relatives and friends sent 15 pairs of pajamas that Christmas. No child needs 15 pair of pajamas rather than15 toys at Christmas.

Even with the support of the founder of Toys R Us, Charles Lazarus, Mary scrambled  to get the first catalog produced. That first year was really a labor of love on many people’s part and especially because of Mary’s determination. The catalog, which is well known and regarded in the DA community, has each toy labeled in the catalog with symbols to alert parents, relatives and friends, which toys are good for various abilities. The symbols alert people what the toy is good for fine motor skills, large motor skills, vision, verbal, social, and so on. Very helpful when you don’t know what toy might be appropriate for a differently abled child. At the first production meeting, it was emphasized that all the research and advise from various organizations and associations was that it shouldn’t be “”special toys for the special kids in a special place”.  Every toy we shoot is a standard toy from standard stock at any Toys R Us store.

Casting that first year was hard, as we had no pre-existing catalog to show people at different associations. Educators and therapists who work with these kids are rightfully very protective of them and it took some doing to gain their trust and help for that initial casting the first year. We called friends who connected us with various schools and organizations. I went and did a Polaroid castings where I could, taking notes on various abilities. After the first year, when people saw the results and that first catalog, casting is now easier. Toys R Us now gets a lot of letters from parents asking to be in the catalog. So many are so adorable, but there are limited slots and we have to match up ages and abilities with the toys being promoted.

Michelle the art director has quiet a task laying out the catalog, working with the toy buyers, matching the right kids with the appropriate toys, and making it all work.

I will say that while this catalog is very unique, Toys R Us has always been inclusive in all their catalogs, well before this specialized one, and have always shown the diversity that makes up our society. The Differently Abled Guide should be out in September at Toys R Us stores. If you don’t see them, ask at the store, or request one online from the Toys R Us website. You can get the entire story and many of the covers (I did not shoot most of the celebrity covers) right here.

The Differently Abled Guide the only commercial project I take on that we produce prints for each child. Not only do I make a print of an outtake from the catalog, but we also try and do a basic portrait to also provide. A lot of families put so much effort and resources into providing for their special child, that a great, professionally done portrait is not high on their list. Providing them with what I’m good at, getting a good shot means a lot to them, but in a way even more to me.

If you are a photographer who is good with kids and you make a living photographing kids, think about giving something back and doing something like a nice portrait for a family with a differently abled child. They will greatly appreciate it and you’ll find out that you too will greatly appreciate doing it. You will find out that these special needs kids are really just special.

You can see more of Jack’s work at, and keep up with him and Ed Greenberg over at The Copyright Zone

Rim Light, A Page from Avedon’s Book

Richard Avedon has captured my imagination ever since my dad bought me my first camera. At 16 years old, I wasn’t savvy enough to know how he created such compelling and visually stunning portraits – all I knew was I couldn’t stop looking at his images and felt an immediate, spellbinding connection with his subjects. Over the years, I’ve studied and learned a lot about his technical style, and one of the most important is rim lighting – a skill all portrait photographers should incorporate into their arsenal of tricks.

Sometimes called “back light” or “hair light,” rim light creates a silhouette of light around the side or top of a subject, without illuminating the background. This light allows the viewer to visually separate a subject from the background. A subtle sheen around the silhouette of a subject can be achieved by placing an artificial lighting source behind a subject or by placing the subject in front of the setting sun. A master at rim light, Avedon uses lighting techniques that give his human characters an exceptional and differential depth.

Taking a page from Avedon’s book, I consider lighting one of my most important technical investments. I have been consistently amazed by people’s positive reactions to lighting in my portraits. I believe our eyes and minds are wired to look for depth in every photograph – and lighting can completely change your perception of the entire composition of the image and the depth of the characters.

I’m fondest of Avedon’s early years, when he often used soft, blurry rim effects in his famous fashion portraiture. Artists have a tendency to mimic their heroes and I, too, often steer toward less extreme, softer set-ups. In the following photograph, I used the after hours, early evening sun as rim – using a 4×6” zebra California Sunbounce as the key light and natural ambient light as the fill. Notice that the rim light helps the viewer focus on the human subjects before identifying with the surrounding environment. The result is a soft, romantic portrait of a couple doused in a sheen of natural light in a vineyard – and it’s just so beautiful.

I’ve learned the hard way, however, that I should step out of the box and try something other than what I’m naturally inclined to do. My lighting director is extremely passionate about lighting (duh) and has taught me to be more adventurous with different kinds of lighting. Thanks to him, I’ve experimented with artificial light to create stronger rim light in some of my shots – which instantly creates a completely different emotional effect. In the following photograph, I used a hard rim light set at about 1 f/stop higher than the key light softbox. The rim light was actually tucked into an alcove behind the bar. This prevents lens flare while creating a golden glow on the silhouette of the model’s hair.

There is no hard and fast rule about how you should use rim light. You should have a vision and design your shot using your available tools and techniques. This might mean adjusting the placement of the rim light, having more rim light, or using natural ambient light (instead of an additional fill light) to complement the rim effect. I meter all my shots; this makes it easier for us to compose the shot again – or know how much we have to modify.

The most important thing is to define your style as a photographer and let your style define what tools and techniques you use in each shoot. For Avedon, it was always more about the emotional darkness and lightness of his human subjects and less about the technical setup. Create a lighting style that best represents your own artistic sense, but don’t be afraid to change it up. You’ll be surprised at some of the shots you will get.

You can see more of Catherine’s work at, keep up with her on her blog, see her on TWiT Photo, follow her on Twitter, and find her on Facebook.

It’s strange how life comes full circle when you least expect it. I was born and raised in South Florida into a family with a long history of fishing, surfing and diving. My deep respect for the ocean and the life that inhabits the majestic waters came from my father, who also spent his formative years enjoying Florida beaches. Little did I know my two passions, the ocean and photography, would collide.

Surfing kept me out of trouble in my teens, which eventually led to a 10-year career as a professional surfer. When reality set in and I realized I needed to get a “real” job, I knew the cubicle life wasn’t for me. Photography had always been a hobby, but when I focused on making my hobby a career, the stars aligned and doors opened that I never dreamed possible.

By my mid-20s, I had earned positions shooting sports photography with the Sun Sentinel, Getty and Reuters. Some of it had to do with talent, but most of it had to do with luck. I shot a handful of Superbowls, Stanley Cups, NBA Finals and MLB World Series. During this time, I fell in love with the science of lighting and found a talent for shooting portraits of athletes. There is nothing in the world that comes close to capturing a thought, feeling or personality when the light hits the subject just right. It’s all about chasing moments…

I bought my first Ikelite underwater housing for a side project I wanted to do while spending quality time with my dad fishing and diving. I wanted to find out if I could capture the same type moments with fish, rather than people. My first underwater portrait was a mahi-mahi about 30 miles off of Fort Lauderdale. When I got home and viewed the images from that day, I was hooked.

It took time to perfect my technique, but I quickly learned that I only had a split second to get the right shot. There was never room for hesitation. Capturing the distinct details of an individual fish quickly became an obsession. Each fish has unique differences. These differences set them apart from the rest of the school.

It’s not always easy and there have been many fishing trips when I came home with nothing. It can be extremely difficult to get a shot because I have to get within two to three feet of the fish. The fish also have to be close enough to the surface to get enough light to capture the brilliance of each fish’s coloring.

Although I don’t have fear while I am taking the portraits, I look back at times and wonder where I found my courage. On one outing, I was even able to jump in the water with two big eye threshers. One measured 14 feet and the other one measured 16 feet. There have been a few bites and a couple close encounters, but I am thankful that fish and sharks are usually more curious than aggressive.

The key to taking great photos is finding the adventure in every moment. Whether you are shooting sports, weddings or fish, there is always an adventure waiting and a story to be told.

You can see more of Jason’s work at, follow him on Twitter, find him on Facebook, and keep up with him on his blog.

Hey everyone, Matt Kloskowski here again. Thanks once again to Scott, for giving me his blog for the day. I’ve had a topic I’ve been wanting to write about for a while, so here goes: How Photoshop changed my Photography. It’s not what you think though. I’ve heard plenty of stories of how Photoshop is a game changer because of the ways that we can now enhance our photos so quickly. We can make blue skies bluer, green grass greener, remove blemishes, clone out wires, etc… But my photography-life-changing experience is a little different.

I Started with Landscape and Travel Photography
See, I started with landscape and travel photography. That was my favorite. Landscape and travel is what got me excited about taking my camera out of my bag. I sound like a total dork, but I’d have a hard time sleeping the night before I was going someplace cool to shoot. I steadily picked off some must-see places that I had always wanted to photograph. To this day, I still love landscapes. They don’t talk back, I love the peaceful feeling I get when I’m standing in front of a beautiful place like Mesa Arch, Moraine Lake, or Multnomah Falls and soaking it all in.

While teaching in Dubai, I spent some time at the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. Words can’t describe what a beautiful, pristine, quiet and inspiring place this was to photograph.

Switching to Portraits
I slowly started to make the move to portraits. A friend asked if I’d take some photos of his family. Then a friend of his friend asked the same thing when they saw the photos. And it grew. Before long, I found myself shooting a number of family portraits. To this day, I still love to capture family moments.

I also found I really enjoyed it. Especially when kids were involved. The kid in me really liked the challenge of getting them to smile and laugh. And I guess (because of the age that I must act), I really seemed to make a connection with the kids I was photographing :-) That eventually led to me doing some studio and lighting work too. But something was missing for me. Believe it or not, it was the art of post processing. I’m a Photoshop Guy and I’ve chosen this as my career because that’s what I love to do. I realized that the deeper I got into portrait photography (while artistic in it’s own way), the further away I got from being artistic with Photoshop.

Something Changed
A couple of years ago I saw a cool ad for Mountain Dew. It incorporated a skateboarder with motion graphics. I thought it looked so cool so I sat down one night and created this composite. I was hooked.

It hit me like a bag of bricks. Bam! I immediately realized, compositing is what I want to do more of. But that was just the beginning. I knew right away that this would change the Photoshop side of my life. But what I didn’t realize, is how it would change the photography side of my life.

Will You Get to the “How” Already?!
See, as I got more and more into compositing, the entire world became fair game for compositing/photography opportunities. The more Photoshop work I did, the more I realized that sure, I can create smoke in Photoshop, but it never looks as real as the real thing. Not to mention, it’s too time consuming. So I’d rather shoot a photo of smoke and drop it in. Sure, I can create dramatic clouds in Photoshop with brushes and filters and all, but it’s much easier to photograph dramatic clouds. Then I simply make a “Clouds” folder and put those photos in it, so I can find them when I need ’em.

Take Your Camera Everywhere!
I’ve often heard people say this. Honestly though, I was a total light snob. If the light wasn’t great, if I wasn’t in a studio, or if there wasn’t some kick ass scenery right in front of me, I didn’t bring my camera. I was so used to only pulling out my camera for beautiful landscapes or in the studio, that I let everything else pass me by. But now, anything is fair game. Alleys, fences, brick walls, empty parking garages, city skylines on bla hazy overcast days, garage doors, dogs, water fountains (because you never know when you need water coming out of a water gun), you name it.

Heck, I even take photos of cracks in the street because you never know where you’ll use them :)

My artistic side in Photoshop has caused a place for an entirely new world of photography opportunities to open up to me. I’d never put my tripod down in the middle of a tunnel to take a photo. I mean, why? It’s only a tunnel right? And it wasn’t even a good looking one to begin with. But when you add a motorcycle (that was lit in only the way you could light it in the studio) to the tunnel, now we’ve got something.

Now I get to put my passion for photography, my desire to create something, and my passion for Photoshop together. Not just sharpening and color correction. But really sitting down and being artistic, as I put a composite together. The light sources, the shadows, special effects, all that stuff. Things that we need to know about in photography I can now work with in Photoshop too. I love it!

So, have I stopped shooting landscapes?
Absolutely not! I still love shooting travel and landscape photos. In fact, if you walk through my house, that’s what I have on my walls. Personally, no matter what composites I create, no matter what portraits I’ve taken and no matter how much I may like the lighting on on one of my subjects, I’d have a hard time putting a photo of a person (who’s not closely related to me) on my walls at home. That’s just me though. But if it’s on my wall, it is either a spectacular place I’ve visited or a photo of my family. So landscapes will always hold a close place in my photography portfolio. But now, because of Photoshop, my camera gets used so much more.

Thanks again to Scott and everyone here for giving me a few minutes of your time today. I’m so passionate about this stuff that I actually just wrote a book called Photoshop Compositing Secrets (Amazon (link) | Barnes & Noble (link) | Kelby Training (link)). If any of this stuff sounds interesting to you, I hope you’ll check it out. Have a great weekend! :)