This week, our in-studio guest on the Grid was renowned wedding photographer Cliff Mautner, and it was one of our best, most-informative episodes ever. It’s a 60-minute show but Cliff was on such a roll, and so “in the zone” that we let it run over to a full 90-minutes, and the feedback we are getting is just incredible. Here’s just a few of the comments:
“I’m glad that show went longer than 60 minutes, but I would have enjoyed that going on for many hours. 90 minutes was a bonus though. That was a GREAT episode! The Grid is off to a great 2015, first Joel Grimes, then Cliff Mautner. Wow!” [John Pokocky]
“Any chance this could be a part I episode and get him back for a part II? I could’ve watched him do critiques all day!” [Joel Thomas]
“Cliff was great. He joins Joe and Moose for my favorite blind critique guests.” [Tony Drumm]
It was supposed to be one of our “Blind Critique” shows, and we asked for just wedding images, and technically it was but we only got to 9 critiques if that tells you how it went. Cliff covered everything from the business side of weddings to the creative side, and his insights were just so incredibly valuable – it was more like an online class than a show (except for the goofy parts, and there were a few really funny moments).
Anyway, if you’re a wedding photographer, I would really encourage you to sit down and watch the show this weekend. I promise you, you’ll learn a lot and it won’t cost you a dime.
Hope you all have a fantastic weekend; hope you get some great shots, and we’ll see you back here on Monday.
Kicking Off 2015 with Joel Grimes on The Grid!
If you missed last week’s episode of The Grid, the first of the new year, with Joel Grimes, it’s one you’re going to want to go back and watch. Joel is always full of great advice and wisdom, and he didn’t hold back on this episode. If you’re looking for inspiration to jump start your creativity this year, look no further!
DSLR Filmmaking: Creating slideshows with Adobe Premiere with Brandon Ford
Learn how to harness the full creative control provided by Adobe Premiere Pro CC 2014 to create custom slideshows. Join our own Brandon Ford as he walks you through the fundamentals of getting started with Premiere, then takes you through every step in the process of creating dynamic slideshows complete with motion, animation, transitions, music, and text. By the end of the class you’ll be ready to create your own slideshows that can be exported out of Premiere and shown to the world.
Leave a comment for your chance to come to one of these events for free! And keep an eye out for soon to be announced dates for our brand new tour featuring Joel Grimes!
Moose Peterson Is Heading To England!
If you’re in London, or just want a reason to visit, Moose Peterson will be there in April doing a presentation, workshop, photo walk and more! If you’re interested, you can get more details right here.
I didn’t intend to become a travel photographer. In hindsight, perhaps it was obvious, but it wasn’t something I originally set out to do.
In March 2007 I turned over the keys to my house and set out to travel around the world for a year. Like many people who travel, I purchased an expensive SLR that I didn’t know how to use in the theory that an expensive camera will take better photos.
I was wrong.
After only a few weeks on the road, I quickly realized that my camera wasn’t going to take good photos on its own. I was committing all the rookie mistakes: shooting in jpeg, shooting in program mode, not editing my photos and not putting any thought into my images.
Over the next several years I slowly figured out what I was doing by reading blogs and forums, and a whole lot of experimentation. I went through all the stages which most photographers go through, including an HDR phase.
Since I started traveling, my year around the world has turned into eight, with no end in sight. I’ve been to over 170 countries and territories around the world and all 7 continents. I’ve done photography underwater, in caves, and from helicopters.
I’ve shot dog sleds teams in the Canadian Yukon, and sand dunes in the Namib Desert. I’ve captured holy week in Jerusalem, a Holi Festival in Singapore and New Year’s Eve fireworks in Sydney.
My work over the last 8 years was eventually recognized when I was named Travel Photographer of the Year by both the Society of American Travel Writers and the North American Travel Journalists Association.
What I have learned over the last eight years of traveling around the world and growing as a photographer is something which any photographer can benefit from.
Lesson One: Be Brutally Honest With Yourself You will never improve unless you are honest with yourself about where your photos are at. This doesn’t mean simply being hyper critical with your own work, but also recognizing when you’ve created something good. You also then have to try to distill what made a given photo good or bad, so you can try to replicate those techniques in the future, or at least when circumstances are similar. Simply pressing the shutter button isn’t going to improve your craft unless you are pressing it in a conscious manner. Every time you go out you need to be conscious of what you are trying to accomplish and how you are trying to accomplish it.
Lesson Two: You Don’t Need A Lot of Gear I’ve spent the last eight years traveling around the world with a single camera body, 3 lenses and a tripod. That’s it. My camera isn’t even a full frame camera, which shocks many photographers. While there are some limits to what I can do because of my gear, there aren’t many. Cameras and lenses are technical items designed to solve technical solutions.
Unless there is something you physically cannot do with your current gear, upgrading probably won’t do much for you. Technique and being at the right place at the right time will do more than new equipment ever will. When I do need a longer lens or something I can’t carry with me, I will just rent it.
Lesson Three: Get Out And Shoot All the gear and technique in the world won’t help you take a great photo of a landscape or an animal if you aren’t there. At the end of the day, the great photos are taken by those who are willing to go out of their way to get great photos. Opportunities for great images will not come to you. Photographers tend to obsess about gear and settings and forget that in the end, you have to be in the presence of a great photo opportunity.
Many of the most iconic photographs of the 20th Century are not technically perfect. They are slightly out of focus, overly grainy, or suffer from other problems. What makes them great is that they captured a moment in time which was special, and that couldn’t have happened if the photographer wasn’t there.
Lesson Four: Make Your Work Public For over 7 years now, I have posted a daily photo on my website. Over 2,500 consecutive days of making my photos public. Not every one is a home run, but the fact that I know I have to show my photos to the public is a huge incentive to improve and make sure I’m taking quality images. If no one sees what you are doing, you’ll never know if you are getting better and it allows you to coast.
Because I travel full time, I never had the benefit of being part of a photography club or other network of other photographers. I was able to get feedback by sharing my images with the public, which in many ways is a much stronger feedback mechanism than even sharing with friends.
Lesson Five: Love Your Subject I love traveling. I’d travel even if I couldn’t carry a camera with me. I know many wildlife photographers who would go and spend time observing wildlife even if they couldn’t capture an image. One of my persuasions is photographing UNESCO World Heritage Sites and North American National Parks. Whatever it is you are shooting, if you have a passion for the subject, it will improve your images.
You don’t have to travel around the world to improve your photography. The skills I’ve learned from 8 years on the road can be replicated by anyone with a camera and a passion for photography.
I hadn’t seen this in 10 years, and I had never seen the full version.
My friend Kevin Gilbert sent me this a week or so ago and it’s just so wonderful — It’s just a few minutes long, but totally worth every minute. I hope it makes your Tuesday, and your upcoming year in photography, a little bit brighter by remembering it’s all about emotion.
Thank you, Kevin for bringing this back to life for me and my readers.
To wrap up my three-part look at 2014 and the “Best of the Blog” for this past year, I put together my picks for my favorite episodes of “The Grid” (our live weekly talk show for photographers, which airs each Wednesday at 4:00 pm ET).
These are the episodes (in no particular order) that seemed to really resonate with our viewers (based on comments, emails, etc.) along with some that I just felt were really helpful, or fun, or hopefully both. I’ve embedded the episodes right here in the post so you can just hit play, sit back, and come along on a weird and wonderful journey (that sounds better than just “well, here they are”). ;-)
Joe McNally | Open Q&A
Anytime Joe is on the show, it’s always special, but this one was particularly fascinating and Joe was so “on.” Having our viewers ask Joe literally anything created some really fun, interesting, revealing and sometimes hilarious moments. Really a special episode.
Blind Critiques with Gregory Heisler Gregory is one of the most interesting photographers out there. Heck, he’s one of the most interesting people out there, and his critiques were insightful and eyeopening. What a truly great speaker, a fantastic guest, and a brilliant teacher.
Kevin Gilbert on backing up and the launch of Mylio
I shared Kevin’s wonderful Tedx talk earlier this year about the importance of protecting our images (not the copyright stuff, the “not losing a lifetime’s worth of irreplaceable images” stuff) and it was a big hit, so we had Kevin take viewers’ questions about this topic and to show a little bit of Mylio (technology for protecting and accessing all your images across all your devices). Everybody who cares about protecting their images should watch this episode (and Kevin was just terrific).
Tony Corbell, along with RC & Me revealing the magic behind “Photoshop for Video”
For me, this was the most important episode we did all year because it made an immediate impact in a lot of photographers lives. You just cannot believe the comments, emails, even phone calls we got after our five-minute reveal of a little known “secret” about creating mini-movies right inside of Photoshop, using just Photoshop and the video clips from your DSLR. That was the first part of the show, then lighting guru Tony Corbell came on and hit it out of the park.
Linday Adler: When Inspiration Becomes Imitation
Lindsay is always a great guest because she is a mixture of super-creative photographer with savvy businesswoman and gifted instructor. That’s a combination that makes for great TV, but the stuff she uncovered and unpacked in this episode made it a jaw-dropper. Just some really eye-opening stuff that you will find hard to believe is happening. A really interesting, fun episode with lots of learning moments.
Joe McNally: Taking the next step with your photography
I could listen to Joe talk about milk. His stories, his unique insights from a lifetime behind the lens — he’s just a treasure trove of valuable information and his stories are just so captivating and real. Great teaching moments throughout this episode — definitely one of our best. You’ll dig it.
Ask Peter Hurley Anything Day [plus, a farewell tribute to Matt]
Peter is a blast. Just a blast! He’s smart, funny, a great teacher, great photographer, great guy all around, and we let the live viewers drive this episode by asking Peter anything, and it was a great episode from start to finish. Also, this was Matt’s last episode of “The Grid” as he was leaving us that week to join OnOne Software, so I did a little look back at my personal and professional life with Matt as we wished him the best in his new career.
How to become a better photographer in 2014 with Karen Hutton
This was one of our first episodes of last year, and man, having Karen on started the year off with a bang! She was an absolutely excellent guest, and has such a creative, artistic, and just wonderful look at photographers and the art of photography and there were some really great ideas and inspiration throughout. Even though this kicked off 2014, it could have just as easily been our kick-off for 2015 — the info is still 100% valid and valuable.
Photographer’s State of the Union Address
Matt and I looked back over the past last year and tried to offer a realistic, truthful look at where we are as an industry, and where photographers stand at this point in time, with an emphasis on the emotional state of photographers now, and where we see things going in the future. Worth checking out.
Pete and Brad on What Photographers Do in the Winter
I was up in Canada for some meetings, and people were texting me in the middle of my meetings to tell me what an incredible job Brad and Pete did on this episode. Then I read the comments. These two not only did the show proud in my absence, they did one of the best, most useful episodes of the entire year. Both inspirational and informational.
Stacy Pearsall on Photography If you’ve never seen Stacy’s work (she’s an award-winning military photographer embedded in Iraq) it’s amazing, but Stacy is more than that — she’s a real life hero, and her stories and images are just stunning. Plus, Stacy is funny as all get-out, and it was an amazing hour. You’ve gotta see this one.
Sport Photography with Elsa Garrison
There are only two women on the entire planet that shoot sports for Getty Images. One lives in New Zealand and the other is Elsa. Wow. Just a “wow” show from start to finish. She’s a brilliant photographer, a funny and engaging guest, and she shared lots of valuable knowledge (and I picked her brain on everything from camera settings to shooting positions). You know I had to love this episode. You will, too.
There ya go, folks — a look back at the best of 2014.
We’ve already kicked off 2015 with some great episodes (including one that will probably make my picks for 2015 with Joel Grimes, which aired just last week). Our in-studio guest this Wednesday is one of the best wedding photographers in the business — Cliff Mautner, so I hope you’ll join us then, live at 4pm (here’s the link). Thanks for watching. :)
Milestones for 2014
Besides the most popular and most commented-upon posts (which I posted here in Part 1 on Monday), we were pretty busy here on the blog during 2014. Here’s some highlights of what we shared:
We raised nearly $40,000 for the Springs of Hope Orphanage
I don’t think anything we did this year was as important as this — by having folks who participated in my 7th Worldwide Photo Walk donate $1 when they signed up, we made a major difference in the lives of some really wonderful kids. Of everything we did this year, this is what I’m most proud of.
I started my love affair with Exposure.co
Last year when I posted my “Favorite Football Shots from the 2013 Season” I tried Exposure.co for the first time, and literally fell in love it, and it became my go-to source for photo-storytelling. I used Exposure.co for a number of photo stories from the year, including:
A Walk in Rome (images from four days in Rome) – link
Shooting The U.S. Open – link
A Colorful Journey (images from my trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico) – link
Shooting The U.S. Open Men’s Final – link Game Day with The Vols (shooting Tennessee football) – link
A Rolling Museum (my images of the classic American cars of Cuba) – link Automotive Photography – link Shooting the Firestone Grand Prix Indy Race – link The World on a White Seamless Background – link From Prague to Budapest (images from my trip along the Danube river) - link A little bit of London (shots from my quick trip across the pond) – link
I tried some “silent movie style” 30-second Micro Photoshop Tips
I tried something new — super quick tips I could do, at my kitchen table at home, without hooking up a mic and I would do them like a silent movie, with just text to explain the tip. The tips were cool, but ultimately the experiment failed, with many folks leaving me comments that “the audio wasn’t working.” You can check out some I posted here on the blog right here.
We Took The Photoshop World Conference & Expo to Atlanta for the First Time
It’s pretty much been in Orlando for the past 15 years, but this year we thought we’d try something new by taking the show to Atlanta. The Cobb Galleria venue in Atlanta was absolutely ideal for a conference, and it was one of our best conferences ever! (but of course, everybody still wants to go to Vegas).
I taught at the WPPI Conference for the first time
What a great show, and a great experience. I spoke on the Conference Track teaching retouching and I got to speak in Canon’s booth to just huge crowds. Totally had a great time from start to finish and met tons of great people.
Adobe Launched Lightroom Mobile…
…and we were there with not only an in-depth Launch center, but we launched our first online class on Lightroom mobile to get everybody up and running fast. Here’s the link to the class.
Karen Hutton made me cry
I’ve never actually seen the finished interview, because it was so upsetting (and embarrassing) at the time, I couldn’t bring myself to watch it (if I had, I’m sure I would have made them cut out that part.
Apple pulled the plug on Aperture, and we had a Webinar on “How to move from Aperture to Lightroom” that very night
We can be really quick when we need to be. And of course besides that, we put together a full-length KelbyOne.com online class on exactly how to make the big switch.
We produced a free live Travel Photography Webcast called “From Prague to Budapest”
After my trip, I shared some photos, some tips, some tricks, some post processing techniques, I answered questions — it was so much fun. You can watch the entire Webinar above.
I told probably my most embarrassing photography story ever (above). It is NOT pretty.
We broke some news about a little secret Adobe kinda snuck into the release of Lightroom 5.5 to allay a lot of folks’ concerns about the Creative Cloud photographers’ bundle. After you watch the video above, read the Q&A I put together to help explain it. Here’s the link (but again, watch the video first so the Q&A will make sense).
We got more love from this than you can imagine
It’s called “How Photographers Can Turn Their DSLR Video Clips Into Movies in Just 5 Minutes (using, believe it or not, just Photoshop). The clip is above. Yes, this is for you.
I Shared a Little Known Feature of Lightroom Mobile here
I shared a quick video tutorial (above) about a little-known feature of Lightroom Mobile that is just so darn cool. I do a live model shoot in the video above (which is much better than a dead model shoot) to show you how it all works. You’ll dig it.
I gave Project Luca a shot
This was fairly recently — it’s a new iPad-based photo storytelling app, and I tried it out by doing a story on my very short photographic journey in London a few months ago. I wouldn’t say I trashed it, but it needs a few things before it’s ready for prime time (it’s still in beta, but the developers saw the article, responded the same day, and are fixing a bunch of stuff before it ships, so it’ll wind up being pretty darn cool). Here’s the link
I launched Part 5 of my “The Digital Photography Book” Series here on the blog — this one is all “Photo Recipes.”
I released a big update to my book, “The Photoshop CC Book for Digital Photographers” – it’s my first all “CC” version and it’s gone over really, really well. Still very excited about it (the video above explains it).
I released an ebook of nothing but my Chapter Intros (to raise money for the Springs of Hope Orphanage) - The book is available right here.
We did some stuff that mattered
Like Behind the Lens: An evening with Joe McNally — it was just an electrifying presentation, a magical night, and one of our most popular and most talked-about classes of the entire year. Every photography student should be required to see it. (link)
We also did our first documentary: Moose Peterson’s “Aviation Photography: Warbirds and the Men Who Flew Them.” It came out so wonderfully, we shared it with the world with a one-night free premiere, with Moose himself on hand. There’s wasn’t a dry eye in the house. This was something we were all really proud of.
We launched a new series of in-depth interviews called “Trailer Blazers: Powerful Women of Photography” showcasing women who changed and challenged our industry.
We also did our first-ever “Creative Cloud Month” where each day we released a new full-length online class on one of Adobe’s Creative Cloud applications. (Interesting note: When we launched this, Adobe had around 1.5 million subscribers to the Adobe Creative Cloud. Today they have only 3.5 million).
Jeremy Cowart in Miami — portraits on location revisited
A few years after our classes in Venice Beach, California with Jeremy (which were such a hit), we caught up with Jeremy again on Miami’s South Beach and, son-of-a-gun, man can that guy turn nothin’ into something. It’s like a masterclass on how to shoot anywhere, and it was as big a hit as his classes from Venice. You can watch the intro right here and you’ll see what I mean (even if you’re not a KelbyOne member).
SmugMug Films mini-documentery on me (above) as an educator and photographer was such an honor (and they produced it beautifully).
That’s just some of the highlights of what we covered in 2014 here on the blog and at KelbyOne. Next week 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 weekend everybody and we’ll see you next week!