Category Archives Guest Blogger

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Photo by Kelsey Foster

Howdy folks… Extremely humbled to be here.  Big thanks to Scott and Brad for giving me the stage.  Three-Act play here today… let’s get started.

ONE // INTRO

Three short years ago I stood in a tiny restroom six stories above 31st Street & Park Avenue in Manhattan.  Buzzed from my 4th cup of crappy office coffee, I stared at my reflection for what seemed like hours. Did I really just leave my entire world behind, only to find myself in a supremely uninspiring job in an extremely lonely city?   Was this really what the rest of my life was destined to become?  Did I really believe that moving to New York City would ignite some long-lost passion I had buried somewhere?  I was three years out of business school, stuck in a boring finance job, in a new city with zero time to invest in my growing interest in photography.  I chuckled at myself, realizing I was staring back at a young man either a) on the verge of a serious life change or b) destined for (more…)

Brooklyn-based commercial photographer Eric Ryan Anderson! I (Brad) met Eric when I was in New York for Photo Plus a few weeks ago.  Once I got back home and checked out his website, I immediately fell in love with his work, which you can check out here (he even shoots Polaroids!).

His post for tomorrow is part inspirational, part practical, and all heart.  He loves what he does, and that really comes through in his writing.  My favorite line, in regards to keeping things in perspective, is, “Most of your Twitter followers won’t be at your wedding… or your funeral.”

Come by tomorrow (or tonight, if you’re up late) and check it out!

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Wow, thanks to Scott and Brad for giving me this rad opportunity to guest blog. I’ve been an avid Photoshop user for about 15 years and have been impacted by Scott’s amazing books and tutorials for as long as I can remember, so it’s really cool for me to get to do this.

Most of you don’t know me, so here’s a little ice breaker:

10 Ways I’ve Used Gaff Tape in the last year:

1. To reduce terrible chafing between my legs while shooting at Witch’s Rock in Costa Rica.
2. To patch up holes in my mosquito net over my bed in Tanzania
3. To hold up the water bladder I used to bathe in Sudan
4. As a bandaid to keep the blood from my cut finger off equipment
5. To keep the insane knot-untying raccoons out of my bag while camping on the beach in Costa Rica
6. To strap my camera to the top of a piece of rebar for a time-lapse in the earthquake zone of Beichuan, China.
7. To attach my camera to my hand while paragliding in the Himalayas
8. To make it unbelievably difficult to steal a camera I wanted to leave on a construction site for a 5-day time lapse (used like half a roll on that sucker, it worked!)
9. To hold my battery charger into a really jankity outlet in India.
10. To keep the spitting cobras out of my cottage in Zambia

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Using gaff to set up a time-lapse in rural China

I finished school about a year ago and since then I’ve been able to travel through about 20 countries working with a variety of different missions-based organizations on assignment to capture what they are doing abroad (both through still and motion picture.) My work is typically used to share what they are doing with others in efforts to raise money for the organization in one way or another, whether it’s sold as art or just connecting with donors on an emotional level.

It’s definitely been a whirlwind of a year and I’ve loved every minute of it. I’ve learned so much from the people I’ve met, the experiences I’ve had and the failures I’ve endured. I could write forever about all the ins and outs of travel photography; how to prepare for a shoot in 140°F Sudan, how to pull off an album cover shoot in an earthquake zone in rural China or even how to get the best seats on international flights (without paying an extra penny!) (more…)

…..a really gifted Dallas, Texas-based photographer, Austin Mann.

I met Austin in New York the day before the Photo Plus Expo, and besides being a really nice guy, he’ an incredible photographer (go check out his online portfolio right here).

I got a preview of his post for tomorrow, and he shares a few stories about seeing something you want to achieve, and going for it, and it’s a wonderful mix of inspirational and practical thinking, and it’s the perfect post to take us into the Thanksgiving Day holiday weekend, so make sure you check back tomorrow.

Programming Note: Thursday is Thanksgiving Day here in the USA (a day we take to give thanks for our blessings, which include eating loads of Turkey and watching American-style football. Our offices are closed for the rest of the week (and I took this whole week off anyway to hang out with the family), so I won’t be posting again until Friday for a weekend wrap-up. I’ve got lots to share then, so I hope you’ll join me back here.

In the meantime, even if you don’t celebrate a formal Thanksgiving Day in your country, why not take a few moments on Thursday to pause and be grateful for all the blessings we have. We’re all very blessed to share this common love of digital imaging, and I’m very grateful that you stop by here once in a while to see what’s up. Happy Thanksgiving!

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Looking at photography is one of my favorite pass-times. It’s awesome how the great photographers can make me actually feel the moment of capture. I enjoy the greatness of their talent. What a trap.

As if photography wasn’t full time enough, lately I’ve been charging head down in an ancillary effort to learn what drives people to create. Research, writing, listening and conducting interviews across all disciplines while dissecting my own work.

Most photographers I know can recall nearly every click of the shutter, and those book-worthy gems capture more than just a replica of the moment. We own the image more than the others. There was nothing tentative about the instant we pressed the shutter. There it is – Got it.

My latest talk was with one of the most gifted guitarists I know; a long time professional of both studio and live performances. Recounting the time when he first entered the studio after touring live, he shared a moment of struggle to get something respectable on tape. What probably seemed harsh at the time was sage in its simplicity:
“It all starts from your fingers, I’m just trying to get on tape what you’re sending me” – was the curt response from the engineer.

Since I’m not a musician what I heard was, “It all starts at your eyes”. It doesn’t start at your camera. It doesn’t start with the file download or the choice of a good post artist. I’m a photographer, it starts at my eyes.

It took a musician to remind a photographer that ignoring a seemingly trite perspective can make one tentative. There’s no truth in your work unless you not only understand that it starts from your eyes, but own it like a born again evangelist.


You can view Part II of Will’s interview here.

The trick to looking at photographs is to surround yourself with the art – the emotion. The moment questions start, abandon the effort. Comparisons keep me from starting the photograph from my eyes. Comparisons turn me tentative. Could I do that? No. It’s a trap, there’s no truth found by going there.

You can view Bruce’s photography at DeBoerWorks.com, and read more of his thoughts on creativity at his blogazine PermissionToSuck.com

When you get comfortable, move.

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First off, thanks to Scott and Brad for this opportunity to connect with such a broad and passionate audience.  I’m Scott Rinckenberger, right hand man to Chase Jarvis, the fastest moving photographer I’ve ever seen.

We recently brought on a new intern at Chase Jarvis Inc.  It’s a tough gig to get.  For a while I couldn’t really put my finger on why he had made the cut, despite being the person in charge of the hiring.  Sure, he was hard working with a great attitude, but that’s an absolute prerequisite among the talented field of applicants seeking work at our shop.  I knew he was the right guy for the job, just couldn’t say exactly why.  Then we were having chat on the way back from a location and he was explaining his life’s path.  He said something that made me realize why he had been the one chosen.  “I hate to be comfortable.  When I get too comfortable I move.”  And with this offhand comment I realized why he is so qualified.  He had landed at the very core of what it means to work at Chase Jarvis Inc.  An absolute dedication to kinesis.  Some companies fear change.  Ours is built on it.

Chase and I met while he was early in his career and specializing in outdoor sports photography.  He was one of the outstanding ski photographers in the country at the time, and I was enjoying a position of some regard as an aspiring pro skier.  Our paths crossed with increasing frequency as magazines and ski companies took notice of the skiing and photography we were working together to create.  Soon we were traveling the globe to produce images for the best publications and companies in the sport.  It was during this period that our relationship was cemented on a foundation of hard work, ambition, and an overarching positive outlook on life.

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The professional respect that Chase and I fostered in our photographer-subject relationship soon transitioned into regular assisting gigs for summer clients during my off-season.  This eventually lead to an internship, then part time employment, and finally six years ago into a full time gig as the “right hand man”.  Chase has been in the professional photography game for around thirteen years.  I’ve been there for ten of those.  Watching, helping, and learning as Chase has grown a budding outdoor sports photography business into one of the most recognized brands in photography today.

Ten years ago you could have asked me if I could assist a single photographer for almost a decade.  The answer would have been a resounding no!  How could I possibly be expected to change rolls of film (yup, started with film), clean lenses, edit slides, and track an inventory of images for ten years?  I mean, it only takes a year or two to master the whole gig, right?

Well, there were all those interesting changes.  The advent of professional digital photography, the Photoshop era, the rise and fall of macrostock, changing copyright laws, online photo distribution, social media, nothing short of the largest shift in the photography industry since, well maybe ever.  These changes could have kept me in the assisting role for even a couple more years to put new systems in place, learn some Photoshop skills, and then move on to shoot my own work.  Interesting times, but not interesting enough to keep a fast moving guy like myself in the same gig for years.

Until you add the Chase Jarvis factor.

Chase Jarvis.  The whirlwind of energy who has already in his thirties become something of a living legend has managed to keep me not only interested, but running at ABSOLUTELY FULL SPEED to keep up.  Editorial and stock shooter, commercial photographer, Hasselblad Master, Nikon poster boy, award winner, blogger, social media wizard, fine art photographer, book creator, software developer, video director, mobile photography evangelist, all of these titles and more have been attached to Chase Jarvis in his relatively short career.  There are few who doubt that Chase runs one of the most dynamic shops in the business.

With each of the arenas in which Chase has seen fit to expand his business, comes a new set of requisite skills, both the outward facing skills (i.e. Chase’s role) and the background skills (those of myself and the rest of our incredible crew).  When Chase was specializing in editorial photography I focused on selecting, submitting, and tracking slides around the world.  Stock was all about smart editing and attention to minute detail.  When we moved on to exclusively commercial work, the volume decreased, but the travel skills, workflows, and post production had to be of the highest level.  The Hasselblad and Nikon days called for a more experimental brand of photography with complex lighting and retouching projects (you can’t imagine how many hours I spent in Photoshop making this dirt explosion just right, it’s almost embarrassing.)

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Once the blog, behind the scenes videos, and social media came into the picture there was an almost constant need for evolution.  I’ve learned the ins and outs of shooting and editing video and behind the scenes stills, becoming comfortable on camera, blog writing, social marketing strategy, and working hard to find ways to inspire other artists in as many ways as can be imagined.  Now books and iPhone apps are requiring  long term planning and vision, and a lightning fast response time as the projects change and develop.

We have been fortunate enough to be able to expand our staff as the complexity of our projects has increased.  The first to join in was Chase’s wife, Kate. She keeps the productions tight and the numbers in the black.  Dartanyon came on board next. He combines an encyclopedic knowledge of photography with an innate ability to actually talk to computers (seriously, he can talk to computers and make them do what he wants).  Mikal was the next to join the team. She brings production, PR, and marketing skills.  And we are happy to welcome the aforementioned Norton, Brazilian intern extraordinaire.  Most of what we do would not be possible without the support that comes with this fantastic crew.

Not one of us have an education in photography.  We had college majors like English, French, Philosophy.  You know, those subjects that inevitably prompt your parents to ask just exactly you plan to make a living with that degree.  But what we lack in formal training is made up for in a blue collar work ethic, a disdain for convention, and a never ending search for new creative outlets.

So here I find myself ten years down the line with a passport that is almost completely full of travel visas, a server almost completely full of ridiculously complex Photoshop files, a computer bursting with applications that all strangely mean something to me, and a collection of memories that can hardly be accounted for.

As a team, we’ve hit ambitious revenue goals, won sought after awards, landed the big gigs, built a huge community of like minded creative people, all of the trappings of a successful photography business by any measure.  But here comes the punch line.  At our annual retreat, Chase wrapped up two days of meetings with this characteristic line that could only come from a mind as remarkable as his.  “For the first time in my career, I really feel like things are starting to happen.  Now we’ve got to really go for it.”

I don’t think anyone’s going to be getting comfortable any time soon.

Many thanks to Brad Moore and Scott Kelby for facilitating this venue for photographers and their crews to share their insights and rants about all things photography.  To learn more about myself, Chase and the rest of the crew, visit chasejarvis.com, chasejarvis.com/blog, facebook.com/scottrinck, or facebook.com/chasejarvis.

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