Friday
Apr
2012
13

If you missed this week’s episode of “The Grid”….

by Scott Kelby  |  10 Comments

….don’t worry — I’ve got the free rebroadcast right here! :-)

This week we had our friend, and social media magnate, Scott Bourne (of PhotoFocus.com), as our in-studio guest, along with my totally awesome (and hilarious) wife Kalebra, and the whole show is about Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest for photographers.

As it turned out, we wound up with some really great information on Pinterest, so if you’re wondering what it’s all about (now that it has mushroomed into the 3rd largest social media network), you’ll learn a lot in this episode (we’re getting all kinds of emails, comments, and notes about people who joined Pinterest after watching this episode).

Hope you guys enjoy the show, and hope you have a kick-butt weekend.

P.S. Monday, we have some really HUGE news, so make sure you here for the big announcement. Mmmm. Announcement. ;-)

Thursday
Apr
2012
12

It’s Free Stuff Thursday!

by Brad Moore  |  178 Comments

Light It. Shoot It. Retouch It. LIVE! in London
This is it… Scott Kelby’s last ever, Light It. Shoot It. Retouch It. LIVE! seminar in the world. Come be part of this once-in-a-lifetime, history-making event! Think of the stories you’ll have to tell your children… “There I was, just mere yards away from him, watching Scott Kelby explain the importance of using eggcrate grids with strip banks, and, all at once… it… just… CLICKED.” ;-)

Okay, seriously though, we would be delighted for you to come spend the day with us in Islington, London on Saturday April 28. We’ve had tons of great feedback from attendees, and it’s been a really fun tour to do. We hope you’ll join us for the finale of this highly informative, yet fun and entertaining tour!

Leave a comment for your chance to win one of two tickets!

Lightroom 4 Live
Matt Kloskowski is hitting the road soon with the all new Lightroom 4 Live tour. He’s hitting Minneapolis, Los Angeles, and Chicago this month, and more cities will be scheduled soon. Check out KelbyTraining.com for all the dates and details!

Leave a comment for your chance to win one of three tickets! Just make sure you say which city :-)

David Ziser’s Live Wedding Shoot DVD
Wedding season is  upon us and if you’re a wedding photographer or if you’re aspiring to be one, this DVD is a must-watch for you. Nationally-recognized wedding photographer David Ziser takes you through a wedding shoot from start to finish — and when he says start to finish he means it. From getting ready with the bride in the morning to taking the required outdoor shots no matter the light quality and discreetly using a flash to capture the ceremony to covering the reception so nothing is missed, David shares his entire workflow method and experiences from more than 25 years in the business. Love is in the air and so are cool wedding photography DVDs, so leave a comment to win a copy of Live Wedding Shoot: From Start to Finish and we’ll randomly draw 3 winners from the comments.

KelbyTraining.com
If you’ve ever been to The Art of Digital Photography panel at Photoshop World, you know that Joe Glyda is the master of the self assignment. The latest class from Kelby Training is just that… Giving Yourself A Photography Assignment! Joe gets you thinking differently, outside of your normal routine, to renew your creativity and see things in a different light.

FREE Downloads from OnOne Software
Perfect Layers 2 is now available for free, giving every photographer the ability to create the images they envision. Use tools designed specifically for photographers to easily combine images and blend exposures, create layer masks, build composites, and more—giving you endless creative options.

Perfect Layers 2 also allows you to use the workflow of your choice, giving you a seamless way to create layered files with your images directly from Lightroom, Aperture, or by using it as a standalone application.
And Perfect Effects 3 Free is a great way to add a heavy dose of excitement or a subtle amount of elegance to your photos. Based on the full-featured Perfect Effects 3, this free version includes over two dozen effects that will enhance and stylize your photos.
Get live previews of each effect along with the ability to adjust the strength and where the effect is placed on your photo. Perfect Effects 3 Free can be used as a plug-in directly within Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, Lightroom or Aperture. You can even use Perfect Effects 3 Free on its own as a standalone application and get more effects from the onOne Marketplace.

Photoshop Quiz Game from Dave Cross
As previously mentioned, Photoshop Quiz Game from Dave Cross is a new game show style app that tests your knowledge of Photoshop. Now that the app has been released, Dave is giving away three free downloads! Just leave a comment for your chance to win one of these three giveaways.

Last Week’s Winners
The lucky winners of last week’s giveaways are…

Light It. Shoot It. Retouch It. LIVE! London
Taz Hussain and Jude

The Digital Photography Book Library
Michael Lane

The iPhone Book, Fifth Edition
Darrell Peterson

Congratulations everyone, and we’ll be in touch soon!

That’s it for today. Have a great Thursday, and remember to be careful while texting and walking

Wednesday
Apr
2012
11

It’s Guest Blog Wednesday featuring Adam Elmakias!

by Brad Moore  |  59 Comments


Photo by Collin Hughes

This is awesome. I have never done a guest blog before, so thanks to Scott and Brad for giving me the opportunity.

I am a music photographer and I spend most of my time photographing bands/ musicians while they tour the world. In addition to photographer I also make those fun Lens Bracelets® you may have seen floating around recently at Photoshop World DC. Anyway, it’s really hard to sum up my career path quickly, but I still want you to give you a bit of background information on myself so that you know where I am coming from. Bullet points will suffice:

  • Started photography at age 16 for high school year book assignment. I was living in Madison, WI at the time
  • Went to tons of local shows, started bringing camera and photographing them for fun/made me feel “cool” (cut me some slack, I was young)
  • Befriended the local promoters, traded show photos for free admission and band posters
  • Began working with online music sites, getting press passes for larger shows and shooting from the pit
  • Bands started crashing at my house after shows and we would do quick press shoots the next day around town
  • Became good friends with a few younger national touring acts
  • Flew out to New York for my first big shoot when I was a senior in high school, totally blew it, shots never used
  • College for a semester while still shooting press images on spec and live shows when I could, started making pretty decent money
  • Stop college, go on the road with a band I was good friends with for 30 days, full USA, 8 dudes, 15 passenger van, smelly
  • Kept touring for next 18 months or so, continued shooting live and press images, working for publications
  • Moved to San Diego on a whim, continued touring and shooting
  • I have been doing a mixture of everything for the past few years. Shooting bands in studio, on the road, off the road and working for a few various publications.

That’s the gist of it. There is heaps more, but at least it gives you an idea of what I have been up to. You can check out a full list of where I have been here, and view a map of it all here. If you want to get a little more in depth about whats its like to live on the road, I suggest checking out my five part blog about a summer I spent on The Vans Warped Tour, which was pretty wild. Here is part one to get you going.

Like any photographer I have grown a lot over the past few years. I didn’t like shooting live and/or candid images of people at all to begin with. In fact, at first I was very emotionally disconnected from photography. I thought of it as a pretty basic thought process – get five sweaty dudes, put em in order and make ‘em look nice so they can sell some records. However it has turned into something more than that for me. I imagine it will continue to connect with more and more as I continue to shoot and grow, but at this current point in time I am pretty stoked on shooting lives/candids and portraits. Lifestyles is a good way putting it.

So we left off with shooting live and candid images of the band on tour. What does this exactly mean? Well, put simply, just think of me as a professional stalker. I follow the guys around from sunrise to sunset, and then well into the night documenting just about everything. I have a blast and it is definitely more of a hang out with some photography splashed in it here and there. I go on the road for no upfront cost- however I make my money by selling my images to publications, labels, managers and the bands themselves. I prefer doing it this way because when a band takes me on the road I am on my own schedule. For example if we were in London for a day and I wanted to spend it all with my uncle I could. It’s also nice because there is no pressure to shoot anything, everything I do is self assigned and shot because I want to shoot it. When I am forced to shoot images like this I tend to have a very difficult time getting into the shots. Maybe that’s a good thing, maybe it’s something I need to work on- I haven’t quite figured it out yet.

For the most part my shoot locations change everyday on the road. Cities, backstage, hotel rooms, sites, and wherever else we may wander. However after a week of touring and shooting the same band for five nights in a row, every live shot I took started looking pretty similar. The stages and crowds would change but it was hard for the most part to tell the images apart. I started getting comments on my blog that “All my live images looked alike” – and after looking them over totally agreed. I mean, I shot the same show at least 15 times on one tour, I had to start learning and challenging myself in one way or another or I would get bored- and if I am bored, you most likely are too. That is never fun! And my main goal while doing anything in life is to have fun. Must. Have. Fun.

So I started switching it up by putting my own flashes on stage. I have learned some pretty solid techniques that really started changing my images. So obviously I wasn’t taking my best shots this whole time, but I was learning, out shooting, making mistakes. Between then and now I have learned how to shoot on stage with 1-2 flashes, so I decided to share that with you. My next step will be to use more flashes, and to start gelling/ color coordinating them and balancing them with the stage lights. However, it’s a lot harder than it seems and it gets expensive. (Note to self, convince LensRentals.com to loan me 50 flashes so I can takeover a stage.)

So for now, we shall stick with two lights. Most of the images I shoot are black and white, because to be quite honest, most stage lights are really ugly. There are a few really good lighting designers, but a lot of the time not so much. And even if I do get a good LD, they might use all red lighting and then I am really screwed. I have started to gel my flashes once in awhile but again, I am still working on it. So black and white in the mean time- plus it looks badass.

I recently photographed a band I have been working with for almost four years now, The Devil Wears Prada (after the book, before the movie). They had a show at The Glass House in Pomona, California on March 16. Now, unlike most of my live shoots, I only had one day to shoot these guys. When I am on the road with bands I can assign each day to getting a few images. So for example maybe I will focus on just the drummer for the whole set and really knock out every angle with multiple lighting set ups for the whole 65 minutes. But because this particular shoot was just one show, I had to try to make the most of it with what little time I had.

Here is how I lit the stage. The red squares are my flashes, and the blue area is where I shot all my photographs from.

Here is a quick video of me running around setting up each flash and testing them out. Now sometime after the main support act finished and The Devil Wears Prada started, I had to set all these bad boys up. Here’s a quick video of me running around on stage. Basically what I do is set each light up, take a test shot or two. Then go modify the lights accordingly. I also takes shots so I can see where the light is hitting.

Light #1: 580ex behind the drummer

Goal: Light up drummer and separate him from background, also lighting up everyone else from behind if possible

Trips/ tricks:
- Try to shoot from pit and keep drummers body between you and your flash head
- Turn flash power up high, this way you can knock out stage light when needed without having to adjust flash
- You can always add more ambient light in by lowering shutter speed, won’t effect flash
- sweat drops and smoke will give you amazing effects with this backlit technique
- don’t blind your drummer if he turns around!, or the drum tech

Previous shots using this technique


A Day To Remember live in Cologne, Germany on Febuary, 18th 2011


Eric of Breathe Carolina in London, UK on September 24th, 2011


Alex Shellnut of A Day To Remember in Münster, Germany on October 28th, 2009

Light #2: 580ex on stage right

Goal: light up anyone on stage, no matter where you are shooting from, also be used to silhouette people

Trips/ tricks:
Continue reading

Tuesday
Apr
2012
10

It’s “I Got Nuthin” Tuesday

by Scott Kelby  |  12 Comments

Yup, I don’t have a darn thing for today, and I’m behind on pretty much everything….so I’m bailing on this one (hope you guys understand).

Just a reminder: “The Grid” is on the air tomorrow (4:00 pm live, ET), and we have the awesome Scott Bourne from PhotoFocus.com as our in-studio guest, along with another special guest — the lovely Kalebra, (if she gets over her wicked cold in time) who will attempt to balance out the two Scott’s (not an easy task). We have an awesome topic: Female pilots and the authors that love them (kidding. That’s next week’s topic).

Here’s the link to watch it live tomorrow (mark your calendars, set an alarm, remind a rooster, etc.). Although “I’ve got Nothin’” today, here’s wishing you a Tuesday full of somethin’ really great! Cheers!

Monday
Apr
2012
09

My Short, But Intense, Hockey Shooting Season

by Scott Kelby  |  37 Comments

(Above: It was an amazing mid-air catch by Lightning goalie Sebastien Carbon — now if I could just get the crowd to react on cue). ;-)

It Was Eight-Game Crash Course and I Loved Every Minute!
Regular readers of the blog will remember my post from February 3rd called “My First NHL Hockey Shoot…and It Sure Looked Like It” (link) and in that post I mentioned that I actually registered the domain “IsuckatshootingIceHockey.com” (you could tell I was new at this, since I didn’t know at that time you just call it “hockey” and not “Ice Hockey.” Noob!).

(Above: I was disappointed there weren’t more fights. I always figured there would be more fights than playing time, but as it turns out, they play quite a bit. Luckily, by the end of the season, the helmets were coming off, fists were flying more often —- the crowd loves it — I love it!!!!).

(Above: Ahhh, nothing like the smell of crushed ice in the morning. Well, that’s what time I got home after the game some nights).

After Shooting My First Game, I was Hooked
I wasn’t sure how I was going to like shooting hockey. Everybody had warned me that it was the hardest of all team sports to shoot, and I heard stories of shooting in very crowded conditions with a tiny hole in the glass (made even smaller recently by the NHL to protect fans and photographers), and the action moves so fast at ice level that it’s a real challenge to get anything decent. I agree with all of those statements for sure.

Plus, the other shooters at the arena had me good and freaked out about from the start about getting hit with the puck or getting knocked on my butt when two players crash against the boards in front of me (both of which almost happened on numerous occasions). But after I shot my first game — I was hooked. I stunk at it, but I felt like I could get better, so I really wanted to stick with it (which was lucky, because the wire service I was shooting for had already assigned me to two more games).

(Above: OK, it took me a bunch of games to finally get a decent shot with the puck just coming off the stick).

(Above: This shot, taken during my four game shooting, was a breakthrough for me as it was chosen by Zuma Press as one of their “Photos of the Day” and they look at images from tons of different wire services, so when I saw someone mention on Twitter that my shot was on there, I was just about doing backflips).

The Dance Continues
So I kept going back for more, which led to my post here called “My painful dance shooting Hockey continue.” Here’s the link. I only posted one static shot from the game. That’s how badly I felt I did. I still had to turn in at least 15 to 20 shots for the wire service, which I did, but I was not thrilled with my uploads (and I’m sure they weren’t either, but thankfully since they knew I was new, they let me keep shooting. After all — that’s the only way I was going to get any better, right?).

(Above: Depending on my shooting position [assigned by the team photographer], I could either just shoot at the goalie [up to the blue line], or that and down to the opposing goal, but you always had a pretty clear view of the goal in front of you).

Call for Help
After struggling for a few games, I realized it was time to call my buddy, and sports photography genius, Dave Black for some help, and man did he help. First, he told me to get decent shots you really need to understand the game, and until I got to that point, I was going to struggle along. Luckily, for the first time in my life, I was really starting to enjoy hockey. In fact, I was becoming a fan. I was learning who the players are, and I sat down and learned the rules of Ice Hockey, and I started to get a feel for where things were going a bit. I didn’t have it “down” by any means, but at least a little flame started to flicker.

Dave told me to spend the first period shooting from an upper deck with a 200-400mm lens — instead of down at ice level with closer glass — and this would do three things:

(1) It would give me a chance to get some decent shots, since you can shoot freely from up on the mezzanine without having to worry about a hole in the glass, since you’re shooting above it.

(2) You won’t miss any shots because it’s like shooting fish in a barrel up there. It’s actually easy because the game moves much slower from that vantage point. And…

(3) Then in the 2nd and 3rd periods, when I moved down to the ice level, it would actually seem slower to me and I’d be able to follow the action and puck better, and doggone if he wasn’t right.

The only problem? The shots from above the glass, from the mezzanine level, just aren’t dynamic. You cover the action, but that angle doesn’t give you the impact from shooting at ice level, which is why everybody wants to shoot from ice level. However, AP shooter Mike Carson gave me great advice that night. He said the mezzanine is great for shooting overtime  — when you have to get that game-winning goal — because up there — you WILL get it. It may not be as dynamic, but if they need the shot of the winning goal —- you’ll be the guy that has it.

I wrote about this (with some behind-the-scenes photo) in a post called “The Challenge of Shooting Hockey (and a Progress Report). Here’s the link. 

(Above: Where’ the puck? Read below).

Making Slow but Steady Progress
Luckily, the guys who shoot this stuff all the time, including Team Photographer Scott Audette, were really friendly and they actually tried to help me along. They knew I was “the new guy” and although they teased me for it, they were also helpful and tried to find me decent shooting positions, and they gave me tips along the way that helped a lot.

One night, between periods, I went over to Scott Audette and just straight up asked him for some shooting tips. He is an absolutely incredible hockey photographer (he’s been at it for years, and I know a lot of guys have been at it for years, but his stuff in just insane). He was happy to help, and he had some really great tips for me about what type of shots to be looking out for, and he told me to look at the NHL shots that get published, and to look at how many don’t have the puck in the shot. He was right. That really surprised me, but it also helped me improve what I was sending to the wire service (in most other sports, if the “ball” isn’t in the shot, it’s generally not a good shot).

(Above: After talking to Scott I realized that you can only have so many shots of the puck in the back of the goal, so I started going for the player’s reaction after the goal. Not just the celebration (upper left), but the anguish as well (far right), and sometimes you get all three — puck, celebration and anguish all-in-one).

It was a dark and stormy night….
OK, it was neither, on the way home I always call my wife and give her progress report on how it went that night, and God bless her you know she probably couldn’t really give a rat’s butt, but she listens dutifully, and gives me lots of encouragement, and that night, after my sixth game, I told her, “Honey, tonight I made a big leap. I didn’t get any spectacular shots or anything, but it was the first time I actually felt comfortable shooting hockey. I felt like I was finally moving in the right direction, and I was comfortable with my settings, and my white balance, and my lens selection, and my shooting position, and by golly it was starting to come together at least a bit for me.” She seemed genuinely happy for me (which is just one of the thousand things that make her the woman of my dreams, but that’s for a different post).

Only Two Games Left In The Season
Time was running out on the season, and with Photoshop World and some other commitments, I had to miss a number of home games, so I was only able to shoot the final two home games of the season. But, I had very good shooting positions for both games (to me, that means a position where I can shoot “down ice” to the other goal with my 300mm with a f/1.4 tele-extender on it, and being able to shoot the goal I’m in front of as well).

Now that I was starting to get comfortable, I have to say that during those last two games I had the most fun I’d had since the first game, and I was enjoying the sport itself (and getting to know the players) more than I ever expected to, as I moved from shooter to hockey fan. I was screaming and cheering a few times when I should have been shooting, which is a peril of being a fan at the game you’re shooting. It happens to me a Bucs and Bears NFL games all the time.

(Above: Nice save off the stick….but I’m a Lightning fan, so….)

I Didn’t Realize What I Had
One thing I realized after four or five games was that the Scott Audette, the team photographer) pretty much shoots from the same shooting position for every game, so it must be a really good location, and of course, it is. The thing I didn’t realize was how good it was when he gave me that position the very first time I shot hockey. Here I was on my blog, complaining about shooting in this little hole, and how restricted my movement was, not knowing that the team photographer had given up his shooting position for me. Thanks Scott, and I’m sorry I whined at all (you don’t know, what you don’t know, right?).

(Above: I’d be praying too — but I think it was a thankful prayer, because Lightning Goalie Dwayne Roloson had an amazing night, and was MVP of the game. It was an amazing thing to watch, and he was right in front of my shooting position).

In the end…
I have a LONG way to go with shooting hockey. Eight games just begin to scratch the surface of what it takes to get really good at shooting hockey, and that is driven home right after every game, when I go into the office where the shooters hang out before and after the game. It’s Scott Audette’s office, and his assistant (also named Scott), is already uploading Scott Audette’s images to the league, and I see them nice and big on Scott’s 30″ display, and it always sends me out of there knowing how far I have yet to go.

There’s a lot to learn about shooting this sport
Everything they warned me about was true, and everything they promised (that I would love it), was right on the money. I got help along the way from Dave Black, Bob Dechiara (who regularly shoots the Boston Bruins, and helped me out quite a bit from the start), and of course to Scott Audette and his crew (Scott and Vinny). I’m very thankful to them for “letting me live” and for giving me great opportunities to learn.

I hope to get some hockey assignments next season, so my somewhat less painful dance with shooting hockey can continue. GO BOLTS!!!!! :)

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