Dave Black’s Lightpainting Grand Landscapes Start your year off right with some creativity and venture into lightpainting with the help of Dave Black! In Lightpainting Grand Landscapes, Dave’s latest class for KelbyTraining.com, he heads out to Grand Teton National Park to capture the beauty of rustic barns and grand landscapes. He covers everything from the gear he uses to create his painting-like photos, to surveying the area, and shooting the scene to capture beautiful images.
Head over to KelbyTraining.com where you can rent this class (and his other classes) for only $6.99 apiece! And leave a comment for your chance to win a free 1-Month Subscription.
Kelby Training Live The first seminars of the year are on the calendar! Check out these dates:
Leave a comment for your chance to win a free ticket to one of these events!
Frank Doorhof Workshop Want to spend two days with Frank Doorhof photographing classic cars and doing glamour photography? He’ll be holding two one-day workshops on April 13 and 14 in Lakewood, NJ (just outside of NYC). You can sign up for one day for $450 or $550 (depending on the day), or both days for $900! If you’ve seen Frank’s classes on KelbyTraining.com, you know that he is a master at lighting and creativity. Make sure you sign up soon, because space is very limited!
And, anyone who registers through Scott’s blog gets a free copy of Frank’s first Lighting DVD!
I remember that cold day in spring, back in 1991, when I visited a photography fair in the Javits Center in Manhattan. At that time, I worked for Neil Molinaro as a first assistant in Clark, New Jersey. Neil is an unbelievebly creative advertising photographer and an blooming nice guy. Not only has he created his own lighting system, he also managed to bring scenes on film that were almost impossible to even think! And because that’s not enough, he hired a German guy named Uli Staiger as his assistant.
Slowly, stop. Uli Staiger, that’s me. I am a photographer, Photoshop addict and 3D artist based in Berlin, Germany. After an apprenticeship of three years I figured I could need some international experience and boom: After a few weeks working at a New Jersey gas station I found myself as Neil’s assistant. Crazy world! So we visited the mentioned fair in NYC. Fresh design for Hasselblad’s 500 CL. Nice. New film emulsion for Fuji slide films. Woohoo. But then it happened: I met my first pixel! I hate big words, but anyway: Imagine you meet the love of your livetime, maybe at rush hour in a crowded supermarket. You wouldn’t even realize it! That’s what happened to me in a way! I clearly remember seeing this television screen (monitor), where some guy zoomed into the middle of a sun flower (pan tool). Then all of a sudden, the film grain became square: PIXELS!! And I had no idea that the scene I just whitnessed would power up my live more than anything else did before.
Back in Germany, I started my own business. Twitter, Facebook and YouTube were not even in anybody’s mind (Mark Zuckerberg was nine years old), so marketing was a complete unknown planet for me. I worked analogue, photographing with an KODAK EPS, Tmax and Highspeed Infrared. I also went to photography school in Potsdam near Berlin. One of my classmates had this software called Photoshop. Brand new version 3.05, and of course I was curious as hell, so he showed it to me. And believe me or not: Staring at the monitor I could FEEL my life was changing in the first ten seconds I sat there! This was the most amazing gadget I could think of and I needed it. Now. Somehow I rediscovered the girl in the supermarket…
Photoshop was the missing link I needed for my work without even knowing I missed it! Sure enough it took no longer than a couple of days and I had organized a PC with incredible 16 MB RAM, a scanner and a Photoshop instruction book (at this time, there was almost nothing you could buy concerning Photoshop, so I was happy to get a PS 2.5 book). I scanned my landscape photographs and combined them with new studio stills, focusing on kitchen tools. The results were mindblowing, at least for me they were. Photoshop still was a pretty new thing to Germany’s photography scene, so anything that was somehow composed was cool and modern. I sent a few works to a contest and for the first time I won! That encouraged me a lot and I sent more stuff to more contests, even to a few magazines, hoping for a story about me and my new buddy Photoshop.
Slowly, a new kind of creativity grew in Germany and the rest of the world, and I was a part of it! The internet no longer exclusively belonged to the Pentagon, and my busines partner and I started our first website and a complete new studio. I wrote several books about Photoshop and up to this day I write articles about my work for German and international magazines. I’ve done a bunch of training videos, stage workshops in several coutries and try to improve both my skills and my style.
One of the limits I realized after a few years was the fact that my ideas grew faster then my skills. That meant I had to learn Photoshop more profoundly, not only knowing how the tools work, but also what strategies can do for me. Let me give you an example: It is nice to see what blending methods can do to an image. Good to know that “multiply” is a great way to correct overexposure, while “negative multiply” works the other way round. But masking a hairy portrait, just by using a grey background and a layer mask, thats a strategy.
In CS3, Adobe implemented a brand new feature that I always wanted to work with: The possibility to use 3D objects. That was when I started to combine 3D with classic retouching. They took it further, brought in a powerful material system and a real raytrace renderer. Today, you can import just about any 3D object you want into Photoshop, texture it, light it, render it. I combine my Photoshop work with self built 3D models. I use Maxon’s Cinema 4D, a powerful tool that works perfectly with Photoshop. Some of my design studies are pure fantasy, others are inspired like the “Racer A” by Dough Chang or the “Detonator motorcycle” by great designer Daniel Simon:
Maybe you want to earn money with your creative work, maybe you are lucky and just work for your own pleasure. Anyway I have a few tips that would have helped me when I started out (but probably I would not have believed them in my early days, so be smarter then me and at least read it!):
Show your work! Send your images to one or more platforms on the net! Discuss with others and don’t be sad if someone gives you a mean comment. Be happy about honest compliments, think about critique and forget insults (and let me know how you do that please).
Compare your work! Look for contests. Some of them are just for the honour of taking part, others have great prizes to win. If you do not win anything, try to find out what the difference is between your work and the winner’s.
No secrets. In a time of omnipresent internet you can be pretty sure that you are not the first person on the planet who found out about this or that Photoshop secret. So if anybody asks you how you did it: Tell it to them! We all get better by working together, not against each other.
New learning. When I was a kid, learning meant going to school. But the possibilities of how we can learn changed dramatically: There are fantastic blogs like the one you are reading in this very moment. You can pick tips and tricks for free from the internet, follow a webinar or get a video training. Online, offline, wherever, whenever, your choice. Just do it. Learning means sharpening your mind.
Practice! That’s the most important of all tips. Only by practicing you join your knowledge and your creativity. It may take some time until the result comes close to your imagination, but once you achieve your aim you’ll realize it was more than worth it!
Personal Style Don’t think about it, it’s like falling in love: You will KNOW when it happens, as you will know when you develop your own style. To achieve it: See the point above!
Find your topic! You are interested in everything? Love portraits, street photography and little birds? That’s good. Don’t make a decision, which of these themes might be more important then the other. But be aware of the fact that probably just one of them will be “your” topic in the future. Or maybe you haven’t even discovered it yet?
Make a scribble! I could never ever start any work by opening Photoshop at first. I start with an idea. It stays in my mind until I can feel the image. Then I draw a scribble (oh yes, everybody can do that). After the idea is scribbled on a piece of paper, I start collecting the images I need, and then, but only then, I put them together in Photoshop.
Take your own pictures! Stock images are not really expensive. But they are compromises! You decide, whether it is smart to buy an image (snow covered mountains are hard to photograph in July when you live in Texas) or if you can take it yourself. Perfect lens, perfect lighting, perfect subject. Right? Right.
Take. Your. Time. I know people who complain that nobody likes one of the 500 composed images they produce every year. Probably it would be better to produce just 5 great ones than 500 middle class ones. And never forget: Always go on full speed, but be aware of harbour walls:
Okay. Now you have a rough impression what I do and how I do it. Want to take a look at the studio? Paul Lundahl and Glen Janssens from emotionstudios in San Francisco did this videoportrait about me and my work:
Milestones for 2012 Besides the most popular and most commented-upon posts (which I posted here in Part 1 on Friday), we were pretty busy here on blog during 2012. Here’s some highlights of what we shared:
1. A fresh new look for the blog (and my new logo) We started the year with a new blog look and a new logo (by our own Felix Nelson) which incorporates my book authoring and photography into one design (See top left). link
2. “Connecting with Cuba” my free online talk After my trip to Havana, Cuba, I posted the images here on blog and I had so many questions that I decided to do a free Webinar about the trip, the people, the country, the post processing and the photography. You can watch it right here.
3.You spoke. Adobe listened After my Open Letter to Adobe (link) you spoke (over 700 comments here) and Adobe listened and changed their policy in a very fair way. link
4. Lightroom 4 Public Beta Launch At the launch, we had Adobe’s Lightroom Product Manager Tom Hogarty live in our studios for live Q&A sessions, broadcast free every two hours all day, plus we released our Lightroom Launch Center that same day.
5.Adobe launched Photoshop Touch for the iPad When we announced it here on blog, we had LIVE broadcasts that same day with lots of info and demos on a product that went on to become one of Apple’s “Apps of the Year for 2012.” (link)
6. #1 for the second straight year! I found out that for the second year running (according to data from Nielsen Bookscan) that I was the #1 bestselling photography book author once again. Whoo Hoo!! (and a BIG thanks to all my readers). (link)
7. I shot my first hockey game It wasn’t pretty (link) but it didn’t stop me and thankfully before too long, it got better (link). And better (link). Still a long way to go to be where I want to be, but hey — the NHL strike just ended this week. As my buddy Scott Audette would say: Drop the puck already!
8.I received theAmerican Socieity of Photographers International Award What a great way to start the year. I was truly honored (still am). link
9. Adobe released a Public Beta of Photoshop CS6 Of course, we were all over it, and I launched our CS6 Learning Center here, along with live CS6 broadcasts all day. (link)
9.We broke the news that Adobe lowered Lightroom’s 4 official price to just $149 This was huge! We did live broadcasts and the whole nine yards. (link)
10. I did probably my most in-depth interview ever It was one-on-one with Glyn Dewis and it got more positive feedback than most any I’ve ever done. A very different kind of interview. (link)
11.Adobe announced the Creative Cloud and I tried to help clear up the confusion Lots of people had lots of questions so I tried to jump in and help. (link)
12.A new series of photos emerges from my trip to Paris to tape my travel class I tried something new, and I like it. It’s not for everybody, but nothing is. (link)
13. One-on-One with the Photoshop Product Managers We had Bryan O’neal Hughes and Zorana Gee live in the studio taking your questions on the just released Photoshop CS6. Here’s the link — you can watch it right here on the blog).
14. I did a quick little video about Photoshop CS6 features nobody was talking about And of course, I launched it here on the blog. You can still watch it right here.
15. We launched my 6th Annual Worldwide Photo Walk And we broke every record, with over 1,300 cities participating around the world; more than 32,000 walkers, and more than $12,000 donated to the Springs of Hope Orphanage. (link)
16. I switched my photography portfolio over to SmugMug I took a 14-day free trial and I was hooked. (link) You can see the latest version right here.
17. A lot of folks in the Industry, and even at Adobe were shocked… When they saw how much we really do to help people learn Lightroom. It’s all right here.
18. I posted four short videos that show you exactly what you missed at Photoshop World Vegas These are the same videos we show at the closing seminars to recap an amazing week. (link)
19. I finally licked my struggle with my Sports Photography Workflow With some blood, sweat, tears and help from a fellow sports shooter. (link)
20. I posted group photos from all over the world from my Worldwide Photo Walk Look at their faces. This is why I do it, and seeing these is the icing on the cake! (link)
22. I did a post on “Why we limit Photo Walks to just 50 people.” There’s a reason why this is so important. (link)
22. A lot of folks called this post, written by Bill Fortney, the best post about photography of the year Bill post called “Why bother” really struck a chord with folks and got reviews like nothing I’ve read this year. (link)
23. I launched a FREE class on creating Photo Books in Lightroom 4 You can watch it free, right now (lots of folks already have). (link)
Teaching Live 1. In 2012 I wrapped up my “Light it, Shoot it, Retouch it” tour I hit every big city in USA, plus three stops in Canada, plus Swingin’ London Baby and Amsterdam, Holland and Cologne, Germany.
2. We launched our first downloadable full-day seminar tour When my Light it, Shoot it, Retouch it tour was done, we recorded the final stop on the tour and for the first time ever made the entire seminar, complete with digital workbook, available as a download so if we didn’t make it to your city, you could still see the tour live as it happened. (link)
3. I launched a new tour, my“Photoshop CS6 Tour for Digital Photographers” Between RC Concepcion and me, we hit just about every big city in the USA in 2012. I met lots of really great, passionate photographers. (link)
4. We brought Photoshop World to Washington DC It was our biggest East Coast Photoshop World ever, and we posted lots of Pics and reports from the event. (link)
5. We launched“The Google+ Conference for Photographers” It turned out to be a really ground-breaking event — a mix of photography training and social media (check out the stop-motion video clip above by Petra Cross to get a great idea of what it was like) . Probably the best thing we ever produced, and our first conference just for photographers. (link)
6. Nikon had me speak at the ISAP Conference This is the third time I’ve spoken at this amazing conference for Aviation Photographers, and it’s always a blast. They truly offer probably the best value in a conference anywhere. I’m hoping to go this year just as an attendee (and I joined the ISAP this year as well. Wonderful organization). (link)
7. We put “Big Joe” out on tour with just one flash. OK, maybe two. Any time Joe takes the stage, it’s magic, and his year we went all over the US and Canada with a Kelby Training produced tour and he absolutely rocked it!!! He wanted to show what could be done with a lean-and-mean one or two flash set-up and it really resonated with a lot of folks (as expected). (link)
8. I launched my “Travel Photography Online Class” It turned out to be one of my most well-received classes ever, and it was shot on location in Paris, France (I know, rough life). It’s a two part class; the first part is on the actual shooting, then the 2nd part I show all the post-processing. (link)
9. I did a short video about why the DSLR Video editing features in CS6 are so awesome This is a game changer. So much so, that I had to do a video about why: (link)
10. I launched a new class and for the first-time ever, we let folks “Rent it.” Yup, in fact we launched a bunch of classes that are now available from Kelby Training Online for a three-day rental for just $9.99. My new class “Light it, Shoot it, Retouch it for Hot Shoe Flash on a Budget” was the launch class, and one of my best-received classes yet. (link)
11. I did a video “photo talk” about my vacation to Paris It was called “A walk in Paris” and I talked about the photography and post processing, and you can watch the rebroadcast right here (well, above).
Here are the books and Apps we published and launched here on the blog in 2012:
1. My Lightroom 4 Book for Digital Photographers I love Lightroom so this book is a labor of love. The most challenging part is filling 500 pages with new images nobody’s seen before, but the good news is: you get to shoot about 500 pages of photos! Also, Adobe added a Book Module in Lightroom 4 and I’m such a photo book freak that it really made this update a lot of fun.
2. My Photoshop CS6 for Digital Photographers When Adobe released CS6 and Lightroom 4 within a month of each other, it kept me crazy busy!!! I don’t think I saw daylight for months and when both were done I took a big break from writing for a while. My favorite part of this book was the new chapter for photographers on editing DSLR Video in Photoshop. Adobe nailed it!
3. The Digital Photography Book, Part 4 This book was released over a year late because I didn’t want to write it until I really had something significant to share. It takes about 200 new tips to create one of the books in this series, and I didn’t want any repeats of stuff in previous volumes (even if the topics were similar, like sports or weddings) and back in 2011 I had to tell my publisher I just wasn’t ready, which I’m sure didn’t thrill them but they were very supportive nonetheless. In 2012 I finally had enough really meaty content that I was able to Part 4 and it was a big success which just convinced me even more that waiting until I had really great stuff was the right way to go (you never go wrong by doing the right thing). link
4. My Photoshop Elements 11 Book for Digital Photographersbook (co authored with Matt Kloskowski) Adobe doesn’t add a ton of new features to Elements in each rev, so what Matt and I do instead is add the new things that we have learned during the year, and we take the techniques we use in CS6 and try to convert them into techniques that work in Elements, and that has worked wonderfully well so far (based on feedback from readers). We added some really great stuff in this update, so the book continues to grow and evolve (and Matt gets a lot of the credit).
5. The iPhone 5 Book(co authored with my buddy and iPhone freak, Terry White) This is the “Sixth” edition of this book Terry and I have written (we split the book in half: I write the easy chapters and Terry writes the hard ones) but I actually think this is the best version of the book yet. We really tried to simplify it, make it more to the point, and just make it better and more useful all around and that’s a good thing.
6. I launched a book I never though I would write I won’t spoil it for you, but it’s not about photography or photography. It’s more important than that. (link)
1. My “Lighting Recipes” App It’s a totally free App (for iPads), and in it I break down all sorts of portrait lighting set-ups with behind-the-scene shots, layouts, and the whole nine yards. It was a huge hit (it even got a mention and some love from the New York Times – link) and if you haven’t downloaded it, remember…it’s free! :) (link)
2. Light It Magazine goes on the iPad’s Newsstand This App originally launched near the end of 2011, but once we got it out there we needed to get it into Apple’s “Newsstand” App, which was a surprisingly monumental task, but it also allowed us to start selling subscriptions. We had hoped to have an Android version of it last year as well, but the development of an Android version has been harder than getting it in Newsstand (we have to reconfigure the whole thing for non-newsstand for Android, which apparently is much harder than it sounds). Anyway, it’s there now, and you can download the premiere issue free and a best-of sampler also free. Issues are $2.99 each. Cheap.
3. Shortcut Sumo: The Biggest, Baddest Collection of Adobe Keyboard Shortcuts Ever! We launched this here on blog in October: The App itself is free and comes with the Camera Raw shortcuts, and there are in-app purchases for other Adobe products (like Lightroom or Photoshop). link
1. I played drums for a reunion gig of my first band (back in High School) called “Phoenix” We played for the high school reunion and it was a lot of fun (and I posted lots of shots taken by my wife, who refers to this gig as “the not-my-reunion” gig, since three of the guys in the band graduated a year before me, and so this was really their reunion (mine would be this year — I graduated in 1978).
2. I got to play two gigs with my current band, Big Electric Cat That shot of me above is before our after hours party in D.C. What a cool club (and a great crowd!). I’m playing Valentine’s Day present guitar (from my sweetie), a 1987 Ibanez. Love it!
2. I know this is going to sound crazy, but I took a crazy amount of vacation again this year I have people who email me that they’re concerned about me working too much, and being a workaholic. Don’t worry — I took more than TEN weeks of vacation this year (and I don’t work while I’m on vacation). I went to Hawaii with my family for two weeks and then a couple of days in Disneyland (link); My wife took me to India for an amazing trip (link), I went to London to teach a one-day seminar but stayed and played for a week (link), then we took a family trip for a week in Ireland (link), then my wife took me to France on a romantic vacation and ended the trip by holding my local Photo Walk there (link); plus I took the Christmas Holiday’s off (two weeks straight); I took Thanksgiving week off; my wife and I snuck away for a Valentine’s week trip; my wife and I (and some friends) took a really fun trip to Havana, Cuba (just for fun) and I just got back last night from a week’s vacation in Vail, Colorado, with my family which was an awesome way to start the New Year. People always ask me “When do you sleep?” Apparently, it’s when I’m on vacation. Well, I sleep late, anyway. :)
3. We raised another couple of thousand dollars for the Springs of Hope Orphanage I raffled away one of my very favorite guitars, but it was worth it. (link)
4. I released a series of posters where you can share my pain It’s called “Moments of Football Ungreatness.” It’s extremely ungreat! (link)
5. If you have a daughter (like I do), you’ve got to watch this Sometimes, Disney does some really brilliant stuff. This is one of those. (link)
WHEW!!!! That’s just some of the highlights of what we covered in 2012 here on the blog. On Friday, we’ll wrap up with Part 3, which will be our top-10 episodes of “The Grid” (our weekly photography talkshow) and I’ll embed the episodes right on the blog so you can watch ‘em right there. Have a great week and we’ll see you then!
I only shot four more games this year than I did in 2011, but having a Season Photo Credential to shoot the Bucs (for Zuma Press) sure made it a lot easier (the stadium is just 25 minutes from my house).
I didn’t get to shoot any college games this year (just NFL) but while the Bucs were on the road, I did get to shoot a few other NFL games, which is always a blast. This season I shot 14 games in all (with one more to come — the Falcons first playoff game at home). But until then, here are the teams I got to shoot this season (so far):
Tampa Bay Bucs
New England Patriots
New Orleans Saints
San Diego Chargers
St. Louis Rams
There are only four NFL teams I haven’t had the opportunity to shoot yet: The Seattle Seahawks [shooting them on Sunday in Atlanta], Kansas City Chiefs, Buffalo Bills, and the Baltimore Ravens.
And as we’re kicking off this New Year, I thought I’d take a look back at some of my favorite shots from this past season. All of them pretty much shot with the same set-up: 2 camera bodies: Nikon D4 and a D3s. Main lens: 400mm f/2.8. Secondary lenses: 70-200 f/2.8,24-120mm f.4, and 15mm Sigma fisheye. NOTE: These look much better larger, so please click on them to see a larger size). Here they are (in no particular order).
There ya have it, folks—-my favorite shots from this season Thanks to everybody who tolerated all my football posts once again this season and to everybody who supported me throughout the year with your kind comments. I love sharing what I pick up from these games (good and bad), and it’s been really fun having you all along with me for the ride. :)
P.S.Today was supposed to be Part II of my “Best of the Blog” but I got in too late (more on that soon), so I’m shooting for that tomorrow (if all goes well). See you then.
I thought I’d kick off the new year with a quick look back at the most popular, and most commented-on posts of 2012 here on my blog, and some of the fun stuff we shared during the past year.
By the way: If you’re wondering how many posts we put up in the course of a year, in 2012 it was 355 posts! (Whew). Also, in case you were wondering: I actually do write all my own posts with the exception of “Guest Blog Wednesday” and “Free Stuff Thursday” which are handled for me by my photo assistant Brad Moore, to which I am boundlessly grateful for and for which I will be forever in his debt. Wrangling those two is a lot more work than it looks by a long shot (many thanks Braddo). :)
The Top 10 Most Commented-on Posts of 2012 Here are the posts that garnered the most comments from readers during the year, in order: (NOTE:I didn’t include any of my “Free Stuff Thursday” giveaways in these tallies or Guest Blog comments which have their own separate catagory).
My Photo Shoots When I do a shoot, I usually post the images here within a day or so (or the spread from the photo book I made if it was a travel shoot), and here are the shoots that garnered the most comments from 2012 (in order of popularity):
1. My Location Scouting trip to Ireland (105 comments) link
2. My First NFL Shoot With The Nikon D600 and some other new gear (92 comments) link
3. I shot my First NHL Hockey Game Last Night (97 comments) link
4. I’m back from 2-1/2 Days in Havana, Cuba (87 comments) link
5. Some pages from my Paris Photo Book (80 comments) link
7. My first three-light car shoot (with lots of help from Tim Wallace’s online class) (73 comments) link
8. Back From a Week in Paris (and a new photo series emerges) (71 comments) link
9. My Favorite Football Shots of the 2011 Season (71 comments) link
10. My First ‘Real’ Shoot with the Nikon D4: The Tavistock Pro Golf Tournament (65 comments) link
That’s it for Part One I’ll be back on Monday with Part Two, where we’ll look at some of the milestones from an entire year here on the blog and I hope you’ll join me back here then. In the meantime, here’s wishing you a fantastic “1st weekend of the New Year” and I hope it’s the beginning of a string of wonderful weekends to come!
Photo Pro Expo 2013 Kick your year off right by registering for the Photo Pro Expo taking place February 7-11 in Cincinnati! Learn from speakers like Joe McNally, Julieanne Kost, Rick Sammon, David Ziser, Kevin Kubota, and 21 other photographers who will help you take your photography business to new levels in 2013.
The price of registration is normally $159, but use the promo code PPENAPP13when registering and pay only $139 for four days of education from some of the top photographers in the industry! Not only that, but the first 50 people who register using this promo code will have a chance to win an iPad Mini. Not a bad deal, eh?
Even if you can’t make it for the entire four days, you can still register for just one day for $99, or grab a tradeshow pass for only $20.
And, since this is Free Stuff Thursday, leave a comment for your chance to win a free ticket to this amazing event!