Thursday
Jan
2015
22

It’s Free Stuff Thursday!

by Brad Moore  |  64 Comments

The Mixer Brush Tool with Pete Collins
Join Pete Collins as he takes you on a walk through of the incredibly powerful Mixer Brush Tool. The key to getting the most out of the Mixer Brush is in understanding the four key settings that determine just how your strokes will look. Pete takes you through all of the options, shows you how each option works in concert with the others, how to leverage the built-in tool presets, and how to customize them to make your own brushes. Once you get the hang of the Mixer Brush you’ll find that you can create strokes, details, and looks that you just can’t get any other way.

We don’t currently have a way to give you a chance to watch this for free, but how about this… Leave a comment for your chance to win a free copy of Scott Kelby’s The Lightroom 5 Book for Photographers!

Frank Doorhof and Mastering The Light Meter
If you’ve watched any of Frank Doorhof’s classes on KelbyOne, you know he’s all about using a light meter. If this is something you’ve wanted to master as well, check out this new class that Frank has released on just that topic! It’s over an hour long, and Frank covers everything you’ll need to know in order to master the light meter.

Leave a comment for your chance to win a free download of this class!

Last Week’s Winner
KelbyOne Live Ticket
- D. Lambert

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

Wednesday
Jan
2015
21

It’s Guest Blog Wednesday featuring Luke Copping!

by Brad Moore  |  6 Comments

When I was a teenager, I was a Canadian expat living in a US border town whose main interest outside of a rapidly growing fascination with photography primarily consisted of the acquisition and digestion of as much music as I could get my hands on. I mainly listened to a lot of punk, and even as I grew up there were certain things about that movement that stuck with me: bits of lyrics, simple lessons, a strong DIY ethic, etc.

But it was the saying Talk – Action = 0, a slogan of Vancouver band D.O.A. that always resonated with me most. Even though it was originally meant to relate to politics and activism, the idea of words that aren’t backed up by taking real action being meaningless always felt appropriate when I thought about my photography and other creative endeavors, and I think it’s a lesson that a lot of photographers would benefit from taking to heart.

We’ve all run into the photographer who has a million good ideas and two million excuses as to why they’ll never pull them off:

“Plane tickets are too expensive.”
“I don’t have a studio.”
“My camera isn’t good enough.”
“I need better lights.”
“People won’t like my images.”

They can talk themselves out of anything before they even get close to starting. Others might be so tied up in their past successes that they spend most of their time talking about a shot they took years ago and might have difficulty moving on to new projects. Sometimes the reasons for not pursuing ideas are more internal and might be due to dealing with some issues related to self-sabotage or impostor-syndrome (both of which can affect photographers at any time in their career, not just emerging shooters), that can leave them frozen in place and verbally beating themselves up, talking more about why they think their work sucks rather than making new images or improving their skills.

There’s a good chance that all of us, at one point or another, are going to deal with some of these issues. It’s a natural part of being in a creative career, and despite our best intentions and discipline we sometimes slip into bad habits and negative patterns of thought that can really throw us off our game. Some people talk about their work and creative issues as a therapeutic and cathartic action, seeking advice and working through problems with others so that they can move forward, and having a discourse about how photography interacts with culture, commerce, and art is hugely important. But, sometimes, we start to use talking about our work as a surrogate for actually making it. People tend to take the path of least resistance. Talking about making work is a lot easier than actually doing it, and it takes a lot less effort to sit still than to start walking. But as Mark Twain supposedly said, “The best way to get ahead is to get started.”

Up until very recently I shared a studio with a guy who is a perfect example of putting your money where your mouth is. Scott Gable has self-funded a number of high risk trips around the world to capture some amazing stories. He’s traveled to Alaska to photograph the commercial salmon fishing season, and most recently he spent four months trekking through China, Taiwan, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam to create a series on the rice harvest (the first part in a planned trilogy about the world’s staple food products of rice, corn, and wheat).


Photo by Scott Gable

I could think of a million reasons someone might talk themselves out of going to China, Alaska, or even across their own state - people can talk themselves out of anything, especially when money is on the line. But rather than looking for reasons to say no, Scott wholeheartedly said yes to every opportunity he had, and where he didn’t have them, he made them.

Don’t speak the language? Scott took Mandarin lessons for months leading up to the trip.

Don’t have a client willing to send you? Scott saw this as an investment in his work and funded these projects himself, often with his credit card (he calls it his most valuable tool).

Don’t know where to start? Scott reached out to programs like the Cornell Rice Intensification program who helped make introductions with several of the programs and contacts he worked with during his trip. He also hit the books, doing extensive research on rice production in the region.


Photo by Scott Gable

Sometimes you have to get dirty to chase the images in your head. This wasn’t a trip full of luxury hotels and creature comfort, on the contrary. And despite all of his careful preparation, Scott often found himself hiking inaccessible footpaths for days at a time, being sheltered and fed by people he met on his trip, and getting close to his subjects.

The results were unbelievably intimate portraits of people in all aspects of rice production, from rural cultivators to industrial workers in larger cities who were involved in the later stages of the process. Scott created stunning portraits of the people he met and created gorgeous landscape images of farmlands and valleys where huge amounts of the world’s base nutrition come from. He’s also created a short film about his work and experiences on this trip.

While you may not be in a position right now to self-fund a trip across the world to photograph the rice harvest of a half dozen countries, the spirit of what Scott did is accessible to everyone, at any point of their career.

Whereas Scott is fairly established in his niche, I also want to talk about a photographer who is just entering this business. Valerie Kasinski is one of the most exciting young artists working in Western NY right now. She recently graduated from Villa Maria College’s photo program and has been an active part of WNY’s ASMP chapter, which is where I first met her. Val even interned for me for a little while, and I’ve always been really impressed by her work and her dedication to making the images in her head real.


Photo by Valerie Kasinski

While Scott Gable has traveled the world to document and connect with other communities, Valerie has had her own share of journeys and adventures in her efforts to connect with a community she already belongs to. Part of a loose group of creatives that she originally met through Flickr, Val and her online friends have become something of a real life photographic family.

At a time when a lot of students were focusing on taking the easy way out with their work, or focusing only on their given assignments, Val was taking days long cross-country train trips to create work and collaborate on projects with this group. When other photographers can’t find a reason to interact with their local photo community, Val has traveled all over the United States and Canada to create work that explores portraiture, nature, and her own fascination with self-created worlds. Her current project, Together We Are, has grown out of the relationships that she’s built and the community she’s worked hard to be part of.


Photo by Valerie Kasinski

She could have stayed home.
She could have slept late.
She could have decided to try something easier.

But she worked at it, built those relationships, took those long trips to get where she wanted to make the images she was chasing. I know thirty-year veterans of this business that aren’t that dedicated to their work, who won’t pick up their camera unless they’re getting paid for it.

I’ve seen too many photographers with ambitions like Scott and Valerie stall. They talk a good game about what they want to make, where they want to go, the endgame is right there for them. But the product never seems to materialize – It’s like their own goals are outrunning them. Eventually it starts, that litany of excuses that we talked about; a million reasons why they can’t, won’t, or shouldn’t see their vision through. They can’t go anywhere because they never really get started. They’re so mired in the holes that they have dug themselves into mentally.

But you have got to remember that big things start with small steps. So send that email, set that date, take that first shot - do whatever you have to do to build momentum. Yes, there are going to be walls, but you can break through them, if not all at once, then brick by brick. And once you start, once you begin to generate that momentum it is so much easier to break through those walls, the ones that circumstance puts there, and more importantly, the ones we put in our own way.

So right now, this second, make a commitment to yourself to stop talking about that project you always wanted to pursue, and take those first actions towards actually doing it.

Luke was kind enough to share the work of other photographers he admires here today, and you should also check out his work at LukeCopping.com, and follow him on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

Tuesday
Jan
2015
20

Want Some Cool Lightroom Tips? Here’s a Whole Bunch of ‘Em!

by Scott Kelby  |  11 Comments

In the past few months, since RC and I picked up the reins from Matt over at LightroomKillerTips.com we have really been putting up a ton of cool Lightroom tips, techniques and tutorials on there.

For example, today I’ve got a really cool tip on how to get a “Fade” effect (like we have in Photoshop) over in Lightroom when you use the Adjustment Brush.  On Monday I did a post called “7 Really Useful Lightroom Shortcuts” that a lot of folks said they really found helpful. Last week, RC did a short, quick, right to the point “Start to Finish in Five Minutes Black & White” portrait conversion, and basically we’re adding new stuff every weekday (we’ve even had some awesome guests already with lots more to come).

We’ve done some great giveaways there, too (today we’re giving away FIVE copies of Jay Maisel’s book, “Light, Gesture & Color”) and we’re really starting to have some great community interaction, input, and fun, and if you haven’t been checking me and RC out there regularly, I sure hope you’ll give us a look. 

OK, so that’s basically it — if you’re into learning more about Lightroom, I hope you’ll come check us out. 

Best,

-Scott

P.S. Sorry I didn’t get a chance to post here yesterday. We took a weekend trip with my son to celebrate his 18th birthday and we didn’t get back until yesterday. My little boy is all grown up (sniff, sniff). But what a man he’s turned out to be. Could not be prouder! 

Friday
Jan
2015
16

It’s Like a Free 90-Minute Master Class On Wedding Photography…

by Scott Kelby  |  5 Comments

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.

Best,

-Scott

Thursday
Jan
2015
15

It’s Free Stuff Thursday!

by Brad Moore  |  13 Comments

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.

Squarespace Snapshot By Matt Kloskowski
Join Matt Kloskowski as he sits down with Shon Dempsey from Squarespace to provide you with an overview of how to get up and running with your own custom Squarespace-hosted website quickly and hassle free. Shon and Matt take you through every step in the process from choosing a template through customizing it to make it match your style. With the look and feel of your site designed you can easily enable features like e-commerce, forms, and a cover page. Shon wraps up the class with a series of tips and tricks to ensure you get the most from your Squarespace experience.

KelbyOne Live
Want to see Scott Kelby live in person? Here are the first three dates for Scott Kelby’s Shoot Like A Pro Tour for 2015! If you’re in one of these cities, come check it out:

Jan 26 – Columbus, OH
Jan 28 – Richmond, VA
Jan 30 – Raleigh, NC

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.

Last Week’s Winners
KelbyOne Live Ticket
- Alan Norfleet

Photoshop Elements 13 Book
- David in Signal Mountain
- smilingmike
- Kean Reardon

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

Wednesday
Jan
2015
14

It’s Guest Blog Wednesday featuring Gary Arndt

by Brad Moore  |  13 Comments

5 Lessons From A Nomadic Photographer

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.

You can see more of Gary’s work at Everything-Everywhere.com, and follow him on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

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