Wednesday
Sep
2014
24

It’s Guest Blog Wednesday featuring Erik Almås!

by Brad Moore  |  9 Comments

I believe there’s opportunity for everyone to have commercial success as a photographer in today’s market. This as long as they have a unique and honest perspective…

Hi!

I’m excited to be writing for Scott Kelby and the Guest blog Wednesday!

I’m also excited about the current state of photography!

Really excited!

Daily I get questions through e-mail and social media. They span a wide range but the BIG question I get asked, among practical advice on gear, computers and offers of coffee and beer is: “How do I MAKE it as a photographer?”

“How do I break into advertising photography and how do you get the jobs that you do?”

To be honest, I asked myself the same question for years as I attempted to break into the world of advertising…

If you are at a point where you have absorbed tons of photographic knowledge through school or online learning, know photo is your passion and you want to make this your career, it’s not unusual to ask yourself…

Now what?

How does one get hired to do this thing you are so crazy passionate about??

There’s a lot of writing in social media and the blogosphere about how hard and competitive it is to succeed as a full-time photographer. So I thought I’d use this time to share some optimism and give a different perspective about the things that excite me about the opportunities in photography today.

What I believe is this; there are opportunities for everyone to have commercial success as a photographer in today’s market.

This as long as they have a unique and honest perspective…

Before I get into this, I want to give you a brief background on what I do and share some signature images of mine that represents who I am as a photographer.

In short I’m a Norwegian photographer who, since 1995, been residing in the US.

I got started in photography by being curious…

There were a few friends that had cameras and I joined them in a darkroom course while in the National Defense in Norway.

At the time I skied a lot and started taking pictures of my friends floating through powder and flying off cliffs. Out of these adventures on the ski slopes came my first published pictures and marked the start of me as a photographer.

Later, at 22, when faced with the crossroads of “What do I do with my life?” I decided to study photography. Through great advice and some random encounters I ended up in San Francisco at the Academy of Art University where I studied photography for 4 years, earning a BFA.

From there, I was a camera assistant for almost 3 years before venturing out on my own, starting my photography business…

Going slow in the beginning, I steadily matured in my style and integrity as a photographer and now consistently shoot for the most familiar companies and brands in the world.

So why am I excited about this market that seems to get tougher by the minute?

Clients are paying less and less and there’s more and more photographers being educated from colleges and online training programs.

How can I be really excited about this?

To be honest it’s mostly taking a different perspective.

What if we view this from the top rather than the bottom?

If we look at the shallow end of the photography market there are too many photographers that are all underbidding each other and no one seems to be making a good living.

The view from the top is very different:

We are now living in the most visual culture ever!

The collective level and sophistication of photography is increasing every day and there’s quite obviously an increasing place for images in our lives. As influencers and tastemakers we as photographers now have something that’s increasingly valuable and do believe we have a great future.

There truly is an excitement about pictures and photography today that’s beyond anything before us, and it’s growing. Every day we upload around 55 million images to Instagram.

Facebook? We add about 350 million new photos a day and as many as 250 billion images since it’s inception. In the US we now spend 3.2 hours on social media every day. Most of this time is looking at pictures! We are absorbing visual content like never before.

In some ways it’s hard to even comprehend. When I came to the US to study photography almost 20 years ago the discussions in class were about photography’s burgeoning acceptance as fine art and if cropping your images in the darkroom was ethically ok.

Today photography is not only accepted but one of the most popular forms of art and cropping?? That discussion is completely dead and only serves as dating my photographic career!

One can argue that all these images we are bombarded with daily are diluting the value of photography, but what if you create something that truly stands out among all these images? What if you create something unique, which resonates with a fast expanding audience and manages to stand out from all the other images out there?

What if you have an image that makes someone pause, think and feel, now that is just amazing!

We then have something that is unbelievably valuable to anyone trying to market a product or service…

As our attention span is getting shorter this capability is getting more and more valuable!!

The ones that can produce images that stand out in this screaming match for attention has one bright future as a photographer!

The obvious question is: So how do we create images that stand out?

How do we create something unique?

We all have access to the same cameras and the same software, so its sure not the gear you have.

The only way to be unique is to use these tools in a way differently than the other photographers out there.

We have all heard this before. What I’d like to offer though is a super speed highway to get there. A fast track to finding that uniqueness that reflects your own visual DNA.

To me, the only way to find this uniqueness is to look at oneself. Find what you are drawn to, what visually turns you on and craft images from the depth of yourself.

Sounds corny? Sounds impossible to access?

It’s NOT!

And here’s how: You find your photographic DNA.

This can be years of self-examination, or spending the infamous 10,000 hours popularized by Malcolm Gladwell.

There’s a faster way though and that’s to look at the work of other photographers you truly admire.

This is super highway to really understand your own sensibilities and vision to find what innately inspires you.

Pick a hundred images and ask yourself over and over WHY and WHAT about these pictures attract you to them.

Make a list and you will get an understanding of your innate visual language.  These descriptors you have of why you like these100 pictures is the defining descriptors of your own photographic DNA…

In these descriptors you will see what light quality you like, what color palette and subject matter and all the other elements that you are drawn to.

Your uniqueness is in this…

So next time you take pictures you will have a clear sense of direction. You now know you like a certain type of place with a certain type of light with a certain type person in there, doing a certain type of pose. It’s all in there!

I have, together with fotofagskolen in Norway created the below to help get you started in finding these Visual and emotional descriptors.

In doing this exercise you should have should have a great visual awareness of what you like and long for in your images. It’s then just to dive in and create.

Don’t feel inspired? Just look at your list of words. The things that inspire you should all be right there!

After doing this exercise there’s no need to get into a discussion of natural light or 1 light or 5 light approaches. You just use the tools needed to get to the light quality you know resonates with who you are…

So after finding that unique photographic footprint then what’s next?

It’s getting these unique pictures in front of the Photo editors, Art buyers and Art directors.

Marketing is an art in itself and I will save this for another guest blog.

So to sum this up I’d say: Don’t get engaged in the “photography is dead and we can’t make any money and people work for free conversation.” Create work that’s personal and meaningful to you that reflect the visual things you are drawn to and you will find your worth in your pictures. Photo editors and agencies will recognize this and you will be hired to photograph the things you love and have experiences in the wake of taking pictures few other professions will allow.

Like my Venture Capital friend keep telling me: “Erik, you have the best income to lifestyle ratio of anyone I know”.

And I’m not saying this to brag, but to inspire.

Happy picture taking!!

Erik

To learn about the camera equipment that I use, you can click right here.

If you want to learn about my process, here’s a link for that.

You can see more of Erik’s work at ErikAlmas.com and follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and YouTube.

Tuesday
Sep
2014
23

This year, we’re “Photo Walking with a Purpose”

by Scott Kelby  |  2 Comments

We are now just 18-days away from my 7th Annual Worldwide Photo Walk. There are nearly 900 photo walks already organized in cities all over the world, which is awesome. We’ll have a lot of fun, we’ll make lots of great pictures, lots of folks will win prizes and we’ll make a lot of new friends in the process. This is all great fun, but this year, we’re try to do something more meaningful.

This year, we’re “Walking with a Purpose” because we’re using this worldwide event to raise money for the Springs of Hope Orphanage in Kenya. Right now, they need our help in a big way, and we can really make a difference by helping hit our goal of raising $50,000. Here’s how:

(1) We are asking each walker to find it in their heart to donate just $1 to the Orphanage. You can do this when you sign up for your walk, or you can give a gift directly, as so many thoughtful, generous, and just awesome folks already have. Here’s the link to donate whatever amount you’d like ($1 is fine, but if you’ve been blessed and can share you, that is a double-blessing).

(2) Buy one of our official 2014 Worldwide Photo Walk T-shirts (seen above) as 100% of the profits from these t-shirt sales go directly to the Orphanage in Kenya.  Last year (with our friend Rob Jones help and generositywe raised over $6,000 to feed and cloth the children, and this year we’re hoping, with your help, to hit $10,000 just from t-shirt sales alone. Here’s a link to order yours today (better order to day to get yours in time for the walk.

Together, with the $1 donation for walkers all over the world, and the profits from the t-shirt sales, we’re trying to raise $50,000 to help them feed, clothe and house some wonderful children.

Remember: 100% of your $1 goes directly to the orphanage (it’s a very small orphanage, housing 33 kids, but feeding many more each day). You have no idea what a difference your dollar will make (and it would mean a lot to me that you’re helping.

This year, we walk with a purpose, on Saturday, October 11th all over the world. Hope you can join us. :)

Here’s a link with more details — just 16-days to go!

Best,

-Scott

Monday
Sep
2014
22

My Seven Favorite Features in IOS 8

by Scott Kelby  |  77 Comments

I can’t give you my favorite iPhone 6 features, because mine hasn’t come in yet, but I did makes the leap to IOS 8 this weekend and I absolutely love it! My favorite IOS update in years. So, without further ado (yes, that was ado), here are my Seven Favorite IOS Features (and some of ‘em are kinda hidden, but awesome nevertheless):

(1) QuickType Predictive Typing
I read about this one online, and I kind of shrugged, but once I used it, it became my #1 most-favorite, how-did-I-live-without-this feature. It basically predicts with uncanny accuracy what the next word you’re about to type is (based on the word you just typed and it learns the strings of what you commonly type), and it give you three choices you just tap one. OMG it works so much better than I would have imagined. It speeds texting, emailing, and taking notes like you cannot believe. Worth the entire price of the upgrade! (Oh, it’s free. Well, I surely would have paid for just this alone).

#2: The Camera and Phone Apps are way better
You can finally do some decent tweaking right in the photos app, and the camera now lets you adjust brightness before you take the photo by just tapping on the thing you can focus on and then dragging up/down on screen to brighten/darken. To access the Photo edits, click on a photo in the Photos App; tap the Edit button then tap on the Dial icon. You can change the Light, Color or make a B&W. What your’e seeing above is when you click Light then hit the three-line icon on the far right. Now click any setting and you get a slider for that feature and instant on-screen feedback. Kinda feels a little Snapseedish (if that’s even a word). Nicely implemented all the way around — huge improvement. I hear you can also integrate third-party editors into the camera app — I just haven’t got that far yet.

#3: Now we finally know which apps are eating up all our battery life 
Apparently, now that I know, I can see I’m probably using Jelly Splash, Poptile, and Fruit Splash too often. Ack! It’s found in Settings; under General, under Usage, under Battery Usage. Be prepared to see some unexpected apps chomping battery like nobody’s business.

 

#4: Quick Reply to Texts Where-ever
This is one I didn’t think I’d need, but now I can’t live without it. Let’s say you’re playing, I dunno, Jelly Splash (I wouldn’t know, I don’t play games. Ahem. Where was I?), Oh, yeah and a text comes in and appears in a small banner at the top of the screen. You used to have to switch to the messages App to reply, but now you can just tap and pull down on the message and a Reply field appears so you can reply without leaving your game. Er…I mean important spread sheet App. NOTE: I didn’t have a graphic for this one. Nobody I know is up at this crazy late hour, so I couldn’t get anybody to text me so I could get a screen capture, so just imagine it looking pretty much like you’d think it would.

 

#5: Seeing (and being able to Delete) text message attachments
You’ve got every attachment everybody who has ever texted you has ever texted you, all stored on your phone eating up memory like you cannot believe. So, the next time you can get an episode of Smash! to fit on your iPhone, maybe it’s because your Message App is stuffed full! To see (and/or delete) all the message ever sent by someone to you, go the Message App; click on a recent message from them, and then tap the Details link in the top right corner of the screen and scroll down to see every attachment they’ve ever sent. Huge time-saver if you need to find an attachment from a year ago (this is friend Jose’s attachments. He send me jet fighter shots he takes and pictures of his new baby. Both totally worth seeing — but not deleting).

 

#6. If you hate Mobile Web Sites (like I do), you will love this!
Now in Safari (Apple’s built-in default Web browser), if you hit a web site that forces a mobile version of their site on you (I so hate those), just tap on the URL up top, then drag down and two new fields appear and one of them is called “Request Desktop Site” and it reloads the page with the regular site like you’d see on your computer, rather than a stripped down mobile site. Super Diggin’ It.

#7: Hands-free Siri is finally here!
Last but not least (but it’s still last at least), is when you are in your car (which is primarily where I use Siri), you no longer have to use the Home button to bring up Siri. As long as you’re plugged into to a power outlet (car charger) and you’ve gone to Siri’s Preferences and chosen “Allow Hey Siri” you can just say “Hey Siri” and it wakes and takes your voice request. So I can say “Hey Siri, play Hot Cheri” or “Hey Siri, Who won the Giant’s game last night (I know better than to ask who won the Bucs/Falcons game) or “Hey Siri, is it going to rain today” and she goes right to work. Very well done.

So, that’s my favorites so far, and how to find them/use them. Hope you new IOS 8 users find it helpful.

NOTE: This post is for folks who have iPhones and have, or are considering, downloaded IOS 8. No comparisons to any other phones of any kind were made or implied. If you don’t have an iPhone then this isn’t for you – feel free to completely ignore it. There’s no need to defend your choice of a competing phone or mention how much better your phone choice is; how your phone has had all these features since 1972  and how dumb we all are, and so on. Thanks. 

Hope you all have a fully upgradable Monday, and we’ll see you here tomorrow for something. I’m almost sure of it.

Best,

-Scott

Thursday
Sep
2014
18

It’s Free Stuff Thursday!

by Brad Moore  |  35 Comments

Scott Kelby’s Shoot Like A Pro Tour
Come spend the day with Scott Kelby, the photographer who wrote the bestselling book on digital photography, as he brings the concepts, images and ideas from his best-selling book series to life at his Shoot Like A Pro Tour! Here are the upcoming dates:

Sept 26 – Houston, TX
Oct 1 – Orlando, FL
Oct 10 – Westminster, London, UK
Oct 17 – Charlotte, NC
Dec 1 – Ft. Lauderdale, FL

Leave a comment for your chance to win a ticket to one of these upcoming seminars!

The 7th Annual Scott Kelby Worldwide Photo Walk
We’re just a few weeks away from the 7th Annual Worldwide Photo Walk! If you’re not already signed up and want to join in, you can go here and look for a walk near you. And if you want to get a shirt and help raise some funding for The Springs Of Hope Orphanage in the process, you can pick one up right here.

KelbyOne Live
Want to spend a day with Joe McNally, Corey Barker, Matt Kloskowski, or Ben Willmore? Check out these seminar tours!

The Power of One Flash with Joe McNally
Sept 24 – Cleveland, OH
Nov 6 – Washington, DC
Dec 9 – San Diego, CA

Photoshop Down & Dirty Master FX with Corey Barker
Oct 3 – New Orleans, LA

The Lightroom LIVE Tour with Matt Kloskowski
Sept 29 – Livonia, MI
Oct 22 – Colorado Springs, CO
Nov 4 – Philadelphia, PA
Dec 5 – San Antonio, TX

Photoshop for Photographers with RC Concepcion
Oct 20 – Chicago, IL
Nov 7 – Los Angeles, CA

The Photoshop Creativity Tour with Ben Willmore
Sept 22 – Arlington, TX
Oct 7 – Raleigh, NC
Nov 10 – Toronto, ON
Dec 12 – Phoenix, AZ

You can check out the full schedule for seminars through the end of the year. Leave a comment for your chance to win a ticket to one of these events!

Last Week’s Winners
KelbyOne Rental
- marijke

KelbyOne Live Ticket
- Chance Hammock

If you’re one of the lucky winners, we’ll be in touch soon. Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday
Sep
2014
17

Joe McNally at the Monroe Gallery – Santa Fe – Oct 3 – Nov 23

by RC Concepcion  |  9 Comments

Hey everyone – RC here. If you have spent any time on this blog or at KelbyOne, you have more often than not come across of Joe McNally.  With over 30 years in the business, he is one of the most sought after photographers out there working today.  He’s shot for Sports Illustrated, Newsweek, LIFE and National Geographic – winning a dizzying amount of awards in over 60 countries.

But the best honor for him yet happens this October 3 – November 23 2014 at the Monroe Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He will have his first solo show!  I figured it would be neat to share why Joe’s one of my photographic idols – and why I cannot wait to make the trek to New Mexico for opening day. (Click on this link for more details on this)

The Tenacity of Being a Photographer

(photo credit - Christopher Morris - VII Agency)

I’ve been a fan of Joe’s work for a long time – long considering him one of my photographic idols. His ability to work with flash has always been second to his tenacity for wanting to get an interesting shot. Here he’s working on a rooftop in Russia photographing a ballerina. Why? Because that’s where the picture was.

I’ve always thought of Joe as one part Ernest Hemingway, one part Hannibal Smith from The A-Team.  When he has an idea – it would seem that there is not much that will get in the way of him getting it. Just yesterday, I saw a location here in St. Lucia (we’re teaching a workshop out here) and thought to myself “Man, this one cave/vine area would be a great location to make a picture. But man, that looks like a bit of a climb. I wonder how dangerous that climb is….”

Telling Joe about the location? “Yeah, I made this picture up there a couple of years ago when I was…”

The next time I get there, you’ll be sure that I won’t hesitate climbing to that location to make a shot. Because that’s where the picture is.

The Storyteller in the Photographer

The quest to tell a story has brought him around the world. This is a picture of a girl in Mumbai in 1999.

This picture was a part of a series he did called “The Panorama of War.” That series won him the Alfred Eisenstaedt Award for Journalistic Impact. Eisenstadt. A giant in the photographic world.

I often look back at my own work and think about how much excess I throw into a picture to try to make a point. To try to help the caption that I have under the picture. I want the effects that I place in the file to help move the reader to the conclusion I want them to see.

I’ll often look back at pictures like this and get inspired to find a story. Forget about the effects and the software. Just walk around and find one picture that doesn’t need a single caption. I’m completely OK with the fact that I am not there yet. This isn’t a race. I just want to make sure that I am on the right track. In this – I see Joe as a beacon.

The Dreamer in the Photographer

Imagine going into a shoot with Michelle Pfeifer. Most people would be freaking out about having to make a picture with an actress of that stature.

Joe’s response? Oh lets make a custom jewelry case, and make a picture with the Hope Diamond.

As a photographer you don’t really need an actress or the Hope Diamond. But – how many pictures have you had in your own head that you’ve never really given yourself permission to create?  How many ideas stay stuck in your head – a victim of “Oh that will never work.”  I think that one of the biggest challenges that one can have as a photographer is to know that sometimes you have to shift from capturing whats in front of you to realizing a concept. I am horrible at that. I relegate my creative experience to making something cool of a situation in front of me. I get extremely timid, however, telling people “Oh… I have this idea in my head… Let me tell you what it is.”  In that, I feel like I don’t move myself along. I should. But I don’t. But looking at Joe’s work makes me want to. In that, he’s my inspiration.

The Monroe Gallery

When it comes to historically important pictures in Photojournalism – you cannot beat The Monroe Gallery in Santa Fe. The gallery features the work of photographers like Alfred Eisenstadt, Margaret Bourke White, Carl Mydans, Arnold Newman, Neil Leifer and many others.

Walking into this place feels like you’re walking into a hallowed hall.  As a photographer, I think it’s so important for you to look back into these founts for inspiration and bearing.   To be surrounded by the work of someone we all admire, is a big call for celebration – and we are all so happy for him because of it.

Hopefully I will see you guys there on opening day!!

(Big thanks to Joe for letting me use your pictures)

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