Category Archives Photo Shoots

helpp1On Saturday morning, Brad, Matt, RC and I were very fortunate to be a part of the amazing Help-Portrait movement put together by¬† photographer Jeremy Cowart, and it truly is something special. I didn’t realize how special Help-Portrait was until I actually participated this weekend.

We were part of a group of photographers and retouchers that did portraits at Operation PAR, a women’s drug abuse treatment center. There are about 70 women and their children that live in a ‘village’ operated by the center, and we had 17 photographers and assistants shooting, but just Matt, Brad and I doing all the editing, retouching, and output.

We decided to do the printing as well, so we could deliver a finished 8×10 and a sheet with a 4×6″ print and four wallet-sized prints, right there on the spot. The day really had it’s ups and downs, as your heart just so went out to these women (many with young children, and a number that were pregnant), but then when you saw their reaction to the finished images, it just lifted you right back up.


That’s Matt and I retouching (above) as photo assistant Pam Hazelwood waits for us to finish up a retouch or two late in the day.( iPhone Photo by Brad Moore).

The moment that it really hit for me how special Help-Portrait is, was when a mother tearfully told me that this was the first photo even taken of her two-year-old son. There were a lot of tears on both sides of the lens, but luckily there were some real tears of joy, too as they got their photos, and beautiful photos of their children.

Of course, we were just one small link in a very big chain that reached around the world as photographers and retouchers were doing the same thing all over the US, and all over the world, touching the lives of so many people who otherwise couldn’t afford to have a professional portrait made. Please take a moment to share in this day, and visit the Help-Portrait Website, right now, and then next year join in yourself and become part of something very special. I promise you, it’ll be one of the most enriching and important things you do all year.


P.S. A big thanks to my assistant, photographer Brad Moore for all he did so we could be a part of this very special movement, and to Jeremy Cowart for having the idea, and taking the initiative to make a real difference in the world.

light it

The 2nd online class in my three-part series called “Light it, Shoot it, Retouch it” went up live last week at Kelby Training Online, and this one shows how to shoot and retouch a beauty-style headshot like the one you see below left (in-house we call it the “Oil of Olay” look).

I show how to create the exact same beauty-style head shot that I took which wound up being featured in FJ Westcott’s 2009 lighting catalog (seen below), and you see the entire process from start-to-finish including setting up all the lighting, the shoot itself, and the retouching in Photoshop afterward.

I just got incredible feedback from the first one in this series, and I hope you’ll give this 2nd one a look now that it’s live. Here’s a link to the online class.



Hi folks—here’s what’s up:

New Help Portrait Web Site and Must-see Video
As Brad and I are starting to ramp up for our local “Help Portrait” shoot (on Saturday, December 12th), we just got word that organizer Jeremy Cowart (a really terrific guy and incredible photographer) has released a new updated version of the Help Portrait Web site, along with a quick video you’ve just got to see. Here’s the link (seriously, if you’ve got a minute, this is really an incredibly wonderful thing he’s doing. Don’t stand on the sidelines—-get involved with photographers all over the world who, on December 12th are giving back by sharing our talents to do something really great for those less fortunate).

Wait…I Forgot These Three!
Yesterday, after I posted my “10 things I wish I could Tell Every New Lightroom User” article, my buddy Matt Kloskowski did a follow-up post over at Lightroom Killer Tips with three more things he would add, and not only are they spot-on, but I agree with every one of them. Here’s the link to Matt’s follow-up post.

Just Released: “Editing Video Shot With Your DSLR” Online Class
Video guru, photographer, and Photoshop World instructor Richard Harrington just released a new online class at Kelby Training Online called Editing Your DSLR Video on a Mac, and it answers so many questions about this booming new area of creativity for photographers. If you’ve got a DSLR that shoots video, you’ve got to catch Rich’s class (here’s the link). NOTE: We have another class already in production on editing DSLR video for Windows users.

Also just released is a class from RC Concepcion called “WordPress Basics for Photographers.” We asked RC to do this class because we get so many requests from photographers who want to do their own WordPress Blogs, and there’s just not anything like this out there. Way to go, RC! (Here’s the link to that class).

Terry White (of Terry’s Tech-Blog Fame) Releases His Annual Holiday Gift Guide
Another guy in a race to ensure he gets little to no sleep is my buddy Terry White, who just released his Annual Holiday Gift Guide, and he’s got all the cool tech toys, camera goodies, Mac goodies, and well just loads of goodies for everybody on your shopping list. Here’s the link (definitely worth checking out. I saw lots of things I hadn’t thought of!).

Tomorrow’s Special Guest Blogger is…..
…following in the fine tradition of special guest bloggers that are photo assistant, and this week we’re honored to feature Scott Rinckenberger, who is Chase Jarvis’ assistant.

I’ve got to imagine, Scott has some amazing stories from his life in the field with Chase, so I can’t wait to see what he has to share, so please join us both here tomorrow to see what Scott has in store (That’s right, it’s “Double-Scott Wednesday”). ;-)

Have a Great Tuesday Everybody
During your day today, take two seconds to smile and know that so many of you here on the blog pitched in to help build a orphanage in Kenya that opened its doors on Friday, and without you guys, it that simply wouldn’t have happened. That is something worth smiling about. :)


The first of my three “Light it, Shoot it, Retouch it” online classes went live two weeks ago, and I just heard today that they’ll have the 2nd class live in just about two weeks.

I’ve gotten loads of great feedback from the first class, so I’m looking at adding more segments in the future, so if you’ve got any ideas of particular lighting looks you’d like to see, let me know and they might wind up as one of my next series of shoots. :)

In the meantime, here’s a link to my first of the three “LSR” online classes.

Mike Scott & Alex1sm

Solider Field 2sm

Hi Gang: As you re reading this, I m in Philadelphia for my Photoshop Tour for Digital Photographers seminar, but on my way to Philly, I headed up to Chicago for an NFL sideline shoot at the Chicago Bears vs. Cleveland Browns game on Sunday, with a couple of my buddies; Mike Olivella, and Alex Walker (That’s us above. L to R: Mike, me, and Alex at Soldier Field during the game).

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It was perfect weather for a football game; around 55 with no wind, and all three of us had an absolute blast! I ve included a few shots from the game (but I got into Philly around 12:30 am so I didn’t have a lot of time to go through all the shots yet), but here s a few quickies and the details on the gear I used, and settings:

I used two bodies: A Nikon D3, and a Nikon D300s. My main camera was the D3, and with it I used a 200-400mm f/4 mounted on a Gitzo carbon fiber monopod. My secondary camera was the D300s, where I switched between a 70-200mm, a 50mm f/1.4 (used mostly when the play moved inside the 10 yard line), and the occasional fish-eye lens for stadium shots (see below). I carried my gear using a Think Tank Photo modular belt system and used a Black Rapid R-Strap on the D300s (since it wasn t mounted on a monopod). I also usually lose my Lens Hood once or twice during a game, so Brad finally got me a screw-on, rubber lens hood which worked great.



Mike and Alex are both Nikon shooters, too, and Alex was shooting a D300 with a 300mm f/2.8 lens that he got from the Paul and great folks over at (here s the link—-I rent lenses from them myself, and I highly recommend them).

Soldier Field


I shot in JPEG mode (to get the most frames per second), and I left the 200-400mm wide open at f/4 all day (to get as shallow a depth of field as possible to help separate the players from the background). I shot in High-Speed shooting mode, and set my focus to Continuous as well. It was a day game, so my white balance was set to Auto most of the day (until the field got in shadows, then I changed the white balance to shade), and I shot between 280 and 400 ISO (a little higher than usual because there was a thick cloud cover most of the day).


Anyway, it was an awful lot of fun spending the day shooting with a couple of buddies, plus I got to try out some of the tips I picked up from Sports Illustrated s Peter Read Miller as well, which were a big help.


My thanks to everybody at the wonderful Bears organization (Go Bears!), and now I ve got to get back to my seminar (the next one s in Tampa, Florida in just over two weeks, on November 16th, so come on down and hang out for the day!).





LAtech 13sm


LAtech 1sm

Scott & Matt

I hit the road last Thursday, and it’s been a busy weekend. I thought I’d do a quick interview with myself to answer those lingering questions I have about myself. Here goes:

Q. Hey, how’d your Lightroom seminar in Michigan go?
A. It was awesome! We had a huge crowd, but not only that—they were a really a great group to present to. They were totally into it from the get-go, and they really made me feel feel welcome.

Q. How did you handle all their questions?
A. Luckily, Lightroom expert, and Adobe Technical Sales Director Terry White was there with me answering questions from the crowd between each session and at lunch, and that helped a bunch (in that neck of the woods, everybody knows Terry and he was mobbed with questions on every break).

Q. How many of his answers were correct?
A. Very few, but he’s so friendly people didn’t seem to mind.

Q. Really?
A. I’m totally kidding. Terry knows Lightroom inside and out, and he was tremendously helpful (especially when I got stumped a few times—-I just sent the people to Terry).

Q. Judging by the photos above, I guess you didn’t go straight home after the seminar?
A. Nope, I took a detour down to Ruston, Louisiana to shoot the Louisiana Tech vs. New Mexico State college football game from the sidelines with one of my frequent commenters here on the blog, pro sports photographer Matt Lange (here’s a link to his blog).

Q. How’d you hook up with Matt?
A. When I was getting shellacked about the whole ‘Shooting from the Sidelines’ contest a few months back, Matt sent me a very kind email of support, and we started talking back and forth, and one thing lead to another and the next thing you know Matt and I and a bunch his friends and family are sitting around tail-gating before the game. Then we headed out to the field to shoot in absolutely perfect football weather. That’s me and Matt in the last photo above, taken right after the game.

Q. Scott, you look like hell in that photo.
A. That’s a statement, not a question.

Q. Sorry. Scott, why do you look like hell in that photo?
A. It’s been a long couple of weeks, brother. ;-)

Q. Louisiana’s a long way to go for a shoot isn’t it?
A. Yup, but it was totally worth it. First, I made some new friends. Besides being a really talented photographer (link), Matt is just a terrific guy all around, and so is his buddy Donald Page (who’s now my buddy, too, despite the fact that he tried to work his way into just about every shot I took all day—that’s his camera in my fisheye shot above), but it’s not just Matt; he’s surrounded by a bunch of great people, from his lovely wife Chelsea, to his his friends, his Mom, his brother, old college roommates and all, and they couldn’t have been more gracious or made me feel more at home as they were plying me with Jambalya and Boudin.

Q. But it was more than just a day of yummy food and fun, eh?
A. You betcha. I got to pick Matt’s brain about how he shoots football, and I picked up some great tips from him (he shoots NFL, college, and other sports, along with sports portraits), and plus; I really needed the practice. Shooting football is a lot harder than it looks, and I hadn’t shot a game since last season, and I was so rusty at first that after the first quarter I felt like re-formatting my memory card and just starting over. Luckily, things got better as the day went on, and I got a little more into the groove, but shooting football is something that just takes a lot of practice, and a lot of hustle to do it right. I wasn’t on assignment covering the game, so I could be pretty leisurely about it this time, and Matt and I talked a lot and had a lot of laughs the whole day, but that’s not the case when shooting a game if you’re on assignment.

Q. How crowded were the sidelines?
A. There were only about 10 photographers covering the game, so it was pretty wide open.

Q. What was the biggest challenge?
A. Getting a decent background. The stands were only about 2/3 full at best, with both end zones open (no seating—just grass) and the bleachers toward the ends of both sides were empty too, which makes for some pretty bad backgrounds. Some of my shots where I had captured the best action had some of the worst backgrounds (from a number of angles it looked like there was no one at the stadium, but actually in the middle of the stands it was packed). So, you had to try and work around that all day, but sometimes, depending on where the play was happening, you just couldn’t avoid it.

Q. Any other challenges?
A. The constantly changing light. It was pretty cloudy the whole day, but then the sun would break through for a few minutes, then back into the clouds, then back out again, so you really had to keep an eye on your exposure. Also, there was a lot of white in their uniforms, so you had to keep an eye out for clipping the highlights, especially when you’re shooting wide open all the time.

Q. How much post processing did you do?
A. Really just two things: (1) I added contrast (2) I sharpened the images. I shot in Auto White Balance and it worked fine for a daylight outdoor game, so I didn’t have to do any color correction or enhancement at all (the field was astroturf, so the colors were already really vibrant). I also had to crop a few shots (for example, I had to crop Don’s face and arm out of the fisheye shot). I also shot in JPEG Fine mode (gasp!), wide open at f/4 all day, trying to keep my shutter speed at 1/1000 of a second or faster. I used a D3 as my main camera, and a D300s as my 2nd body when the action got inside the 20 yard line. I also used the latest RS-4 R-Strap (from Black Rapid)—the one with the new connector, on my second body, and I have to admit; the new connector is a big improvement (though the magnet in the shoulder strap kept getting attached to Matt’s friend’s truck). Can’t live without the R-Strap for shooting sports.

Q. Anything else notable happen?
A. Well, there was thing one thing. It took two flights each way. One on a small Delta commuter jet, and the other on a full-sized Delta 757. The commuter’s overhead and under seat space was so small that I had to gate check my camera bag (a Think Tank Photo’s International Traveler I just bought a few weeks ago—–it’s smaller than the Airport V2 I have, but still can hold two bodies, my 200-400mm lens, two other lenses, and tons of accessories). Anyway, it survived the first flight fine, but on the way home they had to gate check it again. Once we landed in Atlanta, I watched from the jetway as they unloaded the cargo hold. They pulled a conveyor belt right up to the plane, but rather than putting it right up even with the hold; they put it about 3 feet lower, and the Delta baggage handler inside the plane just rolled the bags out of the hold, and they tumbled down about three feet to the conveyor belt below. I watched as bags hit and and rolled over, and watched as my camera bag, marked fragile, hit and rolled as well. I opened the bag and made a visual inspection and so far nothing appears broken, but later today Brad and I will give it all a once over.

Q. The belt is hydraulic, right? Why didn’t they just raise it right up to be level with the hold?
A. I have no earthy idea. After they loaded it, they drove the bags over to the jetway, and raised it all the way to the top of the stairs, so it can go very high. I’m stumped, and disappointed that Delta would let this happen, but I’m also relieved that the Think Tank Photo bag is built like a tank, and I didn’t pick up a bag full of broken glass.

Q. Do you have any more sideline shoots coming up?
A. I’ve got a few lined up already, which is why I was so anxious to get out there and shake some of the rust off. At the end of the day, it all comes down to practice (just like Photoshop, just like guitar, just like anything you want to be good at, really), but luckily I don’t mind practicing any of it. In fact, I love it!

Q. So what’s next for you?
A. Catch my other post for this week’s festivities. I’m not sure I’ll be gettin’ much sleep (between my schedule, and how badly my Tampa Bay Bucs are doing this year). Hey, at least the LA Tech Bulldogs had a great day—they beat New Mexico State Aggies 45 to 7. Thanks Matt for everything—for the food, the fun, the learning, the practice, and some cajun food I’d never tried before. Oh, more more thing….”you had me at ‘I’ve got you a media pass.'” ;-)