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  • Category Archives Guest Blogger

    Tie Interceptor: Full Size Replica
    Click on the picture to see it bigger, or see it in Flickr

    Hey everyone, RC here. I was chatting with Scott a couple of days ago about my experiences at the Star Wars Celebration that just happened in Orlando, FL – and he thought it a good idea to share them here on the blog. I was happy to oblige! [NOTE: RC is being kind here. I absolutely loved his images, and the story behind them, and I begged him to do a post about it—Scott].

    I walked into this opportunity not really being a Star Wars fan. I’d seen the second half of the movies as a kid, but never really got around to watching the three prequels. For the most part, I don’t watch a lot of movies, so it wasn’t something that I felt I was missing out on.

    Why I Went
    elvis-1What attracted me to go to this convention was passion. I’m a passionate person by nature – you kinda have to be to work here. Because of that, I find myself attached to people who are really into being passionate about things. I don’t follow sports, but i’ve always wanted to be friends with one of those superfans who paint themselves with the letter D and hang out by a stadium.

    I mean, i’m the guy who drove by myself a ton of hours to go to the “RC Cola Moonpie Festival”. I love talking to people about the things that they love talking about. The sparkle in a person’s eye is just awesome- I guess it’s why I enjoy environmental portraiture as much as I do. To be able to go to a place where people get dressed up to pay tribute to something that they love was just something that I couldn’t pass up.

    I packed a bunch of lights in my car and headed out to the convention. I was prepared for anything – from small lights to a pack and head scenario. More often than not, i’m usually the guy that’s packing 6 strobes so this isn’t entirely out of character. It’s the McNally in me. Last minute – I threw my tripod in the car, not really knowing why.

    Check out the rest of the story by clicking on the link below…

    sonderspaguia

    Hello everyone, it has been a very busy year and a half since I last did a Guest Blog Wednesday. I would like to thank Scott Kelby and Brad Moore for the chance to share what I have been up to with the community once again.

    The busy year and a half has been filled with fighter jets, muscle cars, helicopters, armored tanks, jet-powered boats, rock stars, athletes and general adventure and mayhem. In other words, work has been loads of fun and I feel extremely lucky and thankful for every moment.  Here is a short video with highlights from the past year or two:

    You may recall that I work very closely with my retoucher, Justin Paguia, who also was a previous Guest Blogger. About 3 years ago I decided that I wanted to accomplish something visually with my photography that I was unable technically to do on my own. I could imagine what I wanted in my head, but didn’t have the time or advanced Photoshop skill to create these final images I dreamed. Thus, I began my adventure to search for a retoucher that I could establish a close working relationship with that would understand my style and my passion for the action/rock and roll/gasoline/bright colors/adventure. I did some Google searching and I asked for referrals. Nobody seemed to be the right fit for me until one day NY art director & stylist “Jersey” introduced me to Justin. We hit it off right away with our immature love for 80’s action movies and similar artistic visions.

    Over the coming months Justin and I would slowly train each other how to work in order to achieve the dynamic “look” I was striving to achieve.  Before each shoot/project/campaign I intend to be retouched, I will normally call/email Justin (he is NYC based and I am always on the road) to consult the creative concept I envision and what elements I would have to capture on-set (extra ground elements, sky, articles of clothing, various portrait poses, etc) to make his job easier. After 3 years of practice and training and experience, we have become quite a team. Justin won’t retouch every shoot, but I always have him working on something.

    Some of the best work in my portfolio (in my opinion) are images I did for myself or for my portfolio. If I were to give any photographer a piece of advice, it would be to always shoot something for yourself. Sure, we all have to pay the bills and you may say to yourself you are too busy doing the “bread and butter” jobs, but let me tell you, I am crazy busy doing photography and co-running a film company, but I make time for personal work because whenever I shoot something for myself that I am passionate about, new and better paying gigs come from it. Trust me on this.

    Today I will be sharing with you two projects I did as personal projects and Justin will be chiming in with his retouching process. I hope you enjoy!

    A PRE-SCRIPT... I am sitting in Port-au-Prince, Haiti right now trying to work on this guest blog post, but all I can think about is that across the street from me at this very moment, not far from the collapsed National Palace and Ministry of Finance, taking up every available green space, there lies rows and rows of improvised tent cities. "Tent" is a generous phrase. These are mostly tarps strung loosely over sugarcane framed boxes. Discarded cardboard and worn vinyl. It's hot and it's raining. Water trucks show up nearly everyday to throngs of people clamoring for their allotted 700 ml. It is chaos, it is overwhelming, and most surprising, it is the new normal. I say all of this only to remind us that in so many parts of the world tonight families will sleep on the ground without shelter. For many,…

    Change Is Always Coming Thirty-two years of professional photography and the best advice I can give to any photographer is: Change is always coming...be ready to alter course, reorganize, try something new. Adaptability and flexibility are crucial attitudes for navigating through abrupt challenges and difficult seasons both personally and professionally. I've found that being willing to adjust to unforeseen circumstances can lead to a new assignment, project, or even a new genre of photography I may not have discovered otherwise. Back in the early 90’s I was loving my job as a photojournalist for a newspaper’s Sunday magazine. I had been in the position almost ten years and assumed the ride would continue forever. It was a golden era for photojournalists. Then, one day the staff was called in and we could all hear the proverbial pin drop as we were informed that our…

    Making It Personal…

    benvanhooksm

    When I’m speaking to college students about my work, I’m always asked about finding ‘real’ moments while in the midst of a commercial shoot.  I believe it goes hand in hand with developing a personal voice in your photography.  I know students struggle with this all the time.  I’ve thought a lot about this question and in my mind it always comes down to being in touch with who you really are deep down.  We’ve all grown up with a different set of experiences and tapping into those experiences, celebrating them, finding the uniqueness in your self is really what makes us artists.

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    That self-realization, combined with an incredible work ethic, is a recipe for success in this business.  It’s not about the camera, digital vs. film, strobe or natural light, or how much gear it takes…

    It’s about how you see the world. 

    Holy crap. The time has arrived. I’m blogging here today thanks to Matt Kloskowski, who stumbled into my Photo Plus seminar last year. During the presentation, Matt was amused by my ramblings, texted Scott multiple times to come take a look, and presto, I now find myself in unbelievable company teaching for Kelby Training. I was asked to be a guest blogger last fall, but my wedding schedule was out of control - so I asked Brad if I could delay it a bit. Truth be told, I had no idea what to write. Truth be told, I still have no idea what to write, but I suppose I’ll figure something out along the way. When I blog, I blog photographs, not words! I find it pretty darn funny that when someone tells you that you can write about anything you’d like, writer’s block…

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