Friday
Apr
2014
04

My Indy Car Shots (and a lesson about planning)

by Scott Kelby  |  13 Comments

I posted some of my favorite images from the race, and the story behind them, over at Exposure.so — if you’ve got a minute, here’s the link. 

What I didn’t post…
…were the shots I never got to take because quite honestly, I kinda blew my game plan for covering this race by biting off way more than I could chew.

Anytime I’m covering an event, shooting sports, planning a complex location shoot, or even shooting a wedding, I start by coming up with a game plan based on what I want to come away with. It starts with the equipment I think I’ll need, and in this case it was a pretty simple set-up:

> Two bodies (I want to switch lenses as little as is humanly possible, so I’ll be carrying two bodies)
> Three lenses (1) My main lens would be a 200-400mm f/4 for the race action shots. (2) For getting shots of fans, vendors, etc. I would use a 24-105mm, and for wide sweeping shots of the track and downtown from up high, I’d use (3) the 16-35mm.
> A monopod to hold the long lens, a Black Rapid Strap for my 2nd body, and a Hoodman Loupe.

I was given a shot list of the things they needed me to cover (I was one of four photographers covering the event for them on race day), and it included everything from fans to fun to very specific race action, and lots of sweeping shots showing the race taking place on the waterfront (otherwise, the track shots could have been taken at any Indy event).

Where I went off track (no pun intended)
A solid game plan includes making good decisions about what you can cover in the time you have to cover it. The race lasts around 2-1/2 hours from start to finish, and I plotted out the course I wanted to take from one end of the track to the other. That was my first mis-step — this is a huge course — nearly 2 miles long and to get from one end to the other, making your way through huge crowds while lugging a bunch of gear, takes at least 20 minutes, especially if you decided to first climb up to an airport control tower for part of the race, and then soon after wait while your assistant gets shots from the top of a Ferris Wheel with a 30-minute wait to get on. I tried to do way more than I ever should have, and because of that I didn’t get to cover all things I really wanted to and as a result I didn’t come away with the type of shots that made me want to shoot the race in the first place.

Above: Here’s the view from the airport control tower that I really had no time to be up in, but at least I got a shot of the Ferris wheel that threw us off by 40-minutes. 

Eerily Similar Shots
The worst part — I pretty much came away with mostly similar shots to what I took last year. Nothing really new and special. I gambled on shooting from an office building outside the track (I had to actually leave the race track to reach the building), and while it was a great place to see the race from, there were so many trees obstructing the view that I only got around one single shot out of it, yet it took 20+ minutes to get there, and 15 or so minutes up there, and the race actually ended on our way back, because I didn’t manage my time well and tried to do WAY too much during a 2-1/2 hour time frame.

Above: I’m still smiling at this point because the race hasn’t started. LOL!! Photo by Rob “State of St. Pete” Foldy.

The Smart Thing Would Have Been…
To choose a few key locations, not far from each other, and really try to work those to come up with something special — not traipsing around a huge track where you spend more time walking than shooting. I was pretty cranked at myself (still am), but I learned a valuable lesson about not trying to cover too much ground, and too many different locations. It’s hard to find your “groove” when you’re constantly relocating.

Luckily, I was more concerned with getting the images the City needed than what I wanted, so I got a lot of shots for them (about 4x as many shots as I turned in last year), so that’s a good thing. The other good thing: I learned a valuable lesson about future game planning for an event. Come up with what I want to do, and then cut that number in half.

Today I’m only shooting one thing!
I’m out an airfield this morning for a sunrise shoot of one of the world famous Blue Angels — they’re rolling one out on the Tarmac for a group of photographers from the ISAP (the Int’l Society of Aviation Photography) along with an F22 Raptor. I’ll be tired, but I’m only shooting that one thing. OK, maybe two. ;-)

In case you missed it…
Here’s the link.  to some of the shots I actually did get. :)

Have a great weekend everybody, and I’ll be back on Monday to kick off Photoshop World Week!

Best,

-Scott

 

Thursday
Apr
2014
03

It’s Free Stuff Thursday!

by Brad Moore  |  31 Comments

Photoshop World Expo
If you’re in the Atlanta area (or feel like making a road trip) next week, you should come by the Photoshop World Expo and check out the FREE Bonus Classes in the KelbyOne and Photoshop World Booths! Whether you’re looking for lessons on small flash, building a portfolio, 3D printing, compositing, using Lightroom, or any other number of things, you can find it at the Expo. You can also check out the latest stuff from Adobe, Canon, Epson, Macphun, Mpix, SmugMug, Squarespace, and lots more.

And if you decide you want to check out the conference classes as well, you can pick up a one-day pass for just $249 once you’re there!

KelbyOne Live
Want to spend a day with Scott Kelby, RC Concepcion, or Ben Willmore? Check out these seminar tours!

Shoot Like A Pro with Scott Kelby
Apr 14 – Salt Lake City, UT
May 13 – Portland, OR

Photoshop for Photographers with RC Concepcion
Apr 11 – Washington, DC
May 20 – Hartford, CT

Photoshop Creativity with Ben Willmore
Apr 16 – Chicago, IL
May 7 – Philadelphia, PA
May 9 – South San Francisco, CA
May 28 – Sacramento, CA

You can check out the full schedule for seminars through March! And leave a comment for your chance to win a ticket to one of these events!

Photographing Vintage Auto Americana with Bill Fortney
Join outdoor photographer and author Bill Fortney for an immersive trip through vintage auto Americana as he explores over 6 miles of trails filled with old cars, trucks, and the many other things that can be found at Old Car City, located about 45 minutes outside Atlanta, GA. There are classic treasures at every turn and Bill walks you through his gear, philosophy, and techniques for shooting on this kind of special self-assignment. From wide environmental portraits of a rusting DeSoto to up-close and personal gritty macros of decaying hood ornaments, Bill digs deep and shares from his wealth of tips and tricks to inspire you to get out to your nearest junkyard and have your own photographic adventure.

Now, you may be thinking, this class came out a while back so why is it being mentioned again? Well, Bill Fortney himself is offering up a FREE ONE DAY SHOOT at Old Car City to one lucky person! Leave a comment for your chance to spend a day shooting vintage cars with Bill, and a chance to see this class for free!

Click2Click with Moose Peterson
Moose Peterson’s Click2Click new photography and digital darkroom classes start shortly. The classes Moose says can be summed up simply, “to give you the confidence in your camera and post processing so you know everything that is going to happen when you go Click2Click.” KelbyOne members get a 10% discount, so to learn more and to get registered, click here.

Leave a comment for your chance to check out one of Moose’s KelbyOne classes for free!

Last Week’s Winners
KelbyOne Live Ticket
- Jim

KelbyOne Class
- Holly Tarquino

Mastering The Model Shoot by Frank Doorhof
- Michael Reeves

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

Wednesday
Apr
2014
02

It’s Guest Blog Wednesday featuring Rob Foldy!

by Brad Moore  |  10 Comments


Photo by Scott Kelby

Hello everyone, my name is Rob Foldy and I am a sports photographer. I am extremely humbled that Brad and Scott would ask me write this post for you all and I am excited to share with you some of the things I have learned thus far in my career and how I have been able to put them into practice. I like how Scott tends to break things down in his writings into “bite size pieces,” so I’m going to attempt to do the same. Most of the things I’m about to share apply to sports photography, but I think most of these tips and tricks can be used in almost all types of photography.

I tend to be long winded and go on lots of tangents, so I’m attempting to really reign myself in and only focus on one topic for this post: making a different photo than the other photographers.

This is important for all styles of photography, but especially true in sports where often times there are many photographers trying to take pictures of the same things. What will make your photos stand out? What will make a client want yours instead of theirs? What will make yours the best?

I’ve read lots of books and articles, watched lots of videos, and talked to lots of photographers whose work I admire in an attempt to try and make my photos better. Here are a few tips that have really stuck with me, and things I try to remember every time I shoot:

“Get your camera in a different place.” (from Joe McNally’s “The Moment It Clicks”)
It’s the first tip, in the first chapter, in the first book I read when I decided to get serious about my photography. Like Joe said, chances are, the picture you’re thinking about has already been made, so how do you make it different? One way is to get your camera somewhere else. This may mean shooting from above, lying on the ground, through a tree, with a remote camera, a longer lens, shorter lens, etc. Like I mentioned earlier, at most sporting events there are at least 5 photographers (if not 200) standing in the same place trying to make a picture. How do you make a different picture? It’s often simple: go somewhere else.

“Getting Down: The Low-Angle Shot” (from “Peter Read Miller on Sports Photography”).
It’s so basic, yet so few people do it: LAY DOWN. You may get dirty, so what? Go home, throw your clothes in the laundry and take a shower…you probably already smell from working the event anyway. Now, this isn’t something you usually want for portraits (or traditionally for photographing women), but shooting from a lower angle makes your subjects appear bigger and gives them a “larger than life” quality. Additionally, it cleans up your backgrounds and makes your photos look more dynamic than the photographer standing or kneeling next to you. (Side note: shooting from up high will also get very clean backgrounds, and nice light can make for interesting shadows. But, be careful that your shots still look professional from those angles, as it’s very easy to have them start looking like fan photos taken from the bleachers)

Clean Backgrounds.
This again is in almost in every book, yet it’s another thing people don’t seem to keep in mind when making photos. Most of the time cluttery backgrounds can be avoided, it just takes foresight. Watch out for tents, advertisements, yard line markers, TV microphone plastic globe thingies, neon shirt wearing stadium attendants or anything else that’s going to distract from your photograph. Also, don’t be afraid to frame your subject. An isolated shot of a player (or athlete, car, what have you) with a clean background is nice, but what about one with some context and environment? And while you’re at it, keep those horizons straight. If you can’t shoot them straight, at least fix them when cropping (unless you’re purposely tilting your frame, and in that case: tilt away my friend).

Where is your light coming from?
Is your subject backlit? Front lit? Is it nasty fluorescent light? Is it diffused sunlight? What about harsh noon-day light? Ooooo, what about golden hour light peaking in from the 3rd base side of an early spring baseball game? Makes me all tingly just thinking about it. Use whatever light you’re working with to your advantage (unless it’s fluorescent light, then just strobe it or…I don’t know, fluorescent light sucks).

Getting your “safe” photos before you start gamble too much.
If you’re shooting for a client, there are certain things you’re usually required to turn in from every event. Typically, for most sports, that’s both head coaches, leading scorers, large plays, celebration (nicknamed “jubo”, short for jubilation. A term I taught Scott and he really loves. Another fun sports word I shared with him is “reacts.” This one is great when captioning, as in “John Smith reacts after striking out and causing his team to lose the big game” or “Jane Doe reacts after being called for technical foul.”)… Here I go rambling; back to safe vs. gamble photos. Get the shots you know you need to turn in before you start experimenting too much. This is one of the reasons I like to use a lot of remote cameras. I set those up for the shots I know in advance I’d like to get, and then I shoot the “safe” photos with my hand held cameras. If the remotes work out and I get the pictures I want, great. But if they don’t, I still got what I needed (or arrive early and experiment before the game).

The overall tip I want to leave you with is simple, yet very difficult…

Work harder than anyone around you.
Get there early & stay late. Run back and forth to the other end or the track/field/court/whatever. Lay down on the ground, climb stairs to get a different perspective. Read books, watch videos (and join Kelby One if you haven’t already. I don’t care what kind of photographer you are or what level you’re at, the content on the site is phenomenal. I wish I had enough time to spend hours a week just watching some of these guys (and girls) teach.) Good companies/clients will admire hard work and the desire to get better. (Good companies/clients, not all companies/clients). Take this craft seriously. We’re lucky. With digital media, modern camera metering technology, automatic modes, and auto focus lenses, it’s easier than ever to begin down the path of being a photographer. But the line is drawn when people know how to compose a good photograph, use light correctly, and actually work hard at the trade.

Oh, one more thing…

Get your work critiqued.
I am the biggest critic of my own work, but there are a few people fighting passionately for second place. If you want to get better, let people you trust tear your work apart. “It’s crooked. The white balance is too green. Dirty background. His foot’s cut off. That’s boring.” If you ask the right people, don’t take it personally, they’re just trying to make you better. And it will make you better. There are a ton of photographers out there. If you’re going to stand out, it’ll be because you’re the best… Or at least working harder than everyone around you.

Thanks for your time, and I hope these things that I’ve learned may be able to help some of you. I tried to keep this short, sweet & simple, but if you’d like to discuss any of this in more detail, please feel free to contact me through my website.

Cheers,
Rob

Rob Foldy is a freelance sports photographer working primarily for Getty Images. He uses Canon cameras & lenses and Think Tank Photo bags & accessories. You can see more of Rob’s work at RobFoldyPhotography.com, and follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

Tuesday
Apr
2014
01

How ’bout a Free Expo-only Pass for Photoshop World Atlanta?

by Scott Kelby  |  7 Comments

If you can’t make the full three-day training conference, how about a FREE Expo-only Pass for the upcoming Photoshop World Conference & Expo coming up in Atlanta in like 6 days? (April 8, 9, and 10th). That way, you can check out the show floor, see some cool gear, check out Adobe’s tradeshow booth and all the fun stuff at the Expo portion of the show.

Even though these passes are $40 at the door,  if you register for your FREE pass now online, B&H Photo will pick up the tab for your Expo pass (how sweet is that!). 

Is it worth going to just the expo?
If you’ve never been to our Expo floor, it is truly awesome! There are lots of classes running on the Expo floor; tons of demos and special expo-only pricing on gear; Adobe will be there along with lots of software and hardware vendors (everyone from Canon to Epson to Westcott and more!), lots of cool stuff to see and learn (there’s a theater with free classes going all day), and totally lots of fun! Best of all — it’s free (if you reserver for your free tickets now, in advance).

Sign-up now for your free Expo-only pass (good for two admissions) right here.  (IMPORTANT: when you get to that page, scroll down and click on the “Free Expo Pass” button) then click “Register Now.”

See you in Atlanta next week!

-Scott

P.S. I had hoped to have Indy Racing photos to post today, but I’m behind on….well…everything. Hopefully will have them ready soon. 

Monday
Mar
2014
31

One Shot of Many To Come

by Scott Kelby  |  12 Comments

Hi Gang: I covered the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg all day yesterday. I have lots of stories, but I also have loads of shots to go through and I didn’t get home until late, so I don’t have images to post yet (well, here’s one, taken during a pit stop).

I hope to post more shots tomorrow along with a story that I hope will help you in covering events (what I learned will certainly help me).

Lots more going on this week (this is the week before the Photoshop World Conference in Atlanta), so I’d better run. Hope you all have a great Monday, and we’ll see you tomorrow for some Indy stuff. :)

Hope you have a rockin’ Monday!

Best,

-Scott

Friday
Mar
2014
28

1: Brrrrrrr! 2: Gregory Heisler for President (3) Salt Lake City Here I Come!

by Scott Kelby  |  16 Comments

Greetings from freakin’ cold Minneapolis!!!
Look, I was born and raised in Florida — I’m not sure I can function in temperatures below 60° and I have a seminar to do today here, so can somebody please call the convention center and make sure they have the heat turned on? ;-)

Looking forward to meeting everybody (over 300 photographers signed up for my class here today).

How to take a big leap in your portrait photography in just 64 minutes
If you thought you could really make a big improvement in the quality of your portraiture in just a little over an hour of your time, and it was totally free, you’d do it, right? Of course! Then sit down today, or this weekend, and watch Gregory Heisler from his appearance on our “Blind Critiques” episode of “The Grid” from this past Wednesday (posted here above). He just absolutely crushed it! I’ve already seen people on social media calling it our best episode ever, and you will be amazed at the way he communicates the how’s and whys of getting great portraits — it will change the way you think and shoot. Just brilliant! I say “Gregory Heisler for President in 2016!”

Two Tickets to Paradise!
OK, how about a chance to win a free ticket (for two lucky people) to my Salt Lake City stop for my “Shoot Like a Pro” tour? I haven’t been to Salt Lake City in about 10 years, and I’m excited about going (and catching lunch the day before at Crown Burger — I still remember it — it was that good!).

Anyway, I’ve got two FREE tickets (one ticket for two separate people). Just leave a comment here and you’re entered. I’ll pick the winners on Monday. Good luck and I hope to see you there on April 14th (at the seminar. Not Crown Burger).

Here’s a quick video that explains the seminar (below):

OK, I’d better head over to the Convention Center. Looking forward to see a lot of you today (bring me some hot coffee and a blanket and maybe a snow plow!). ;-)

Have a great weekend!

-Scott
Brrrrrrrrrrr!

P.S. If you haven’t signed up for the Photoshop World Conference & Expo coming up in 10 days in Atlanta, there’s still time. Here’s the link. 

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