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. 

Thursday
Mar
2014
27

It’s Free Stuff Thursday!

by Brad Moore  |  35 Comments

The “Vinnie” Award At Photoshop World Atlanta
At the upcoming Photoshop World in Atlanta April 8-11, one lucky person will receive the Vincent Versace Award for Digital Photographic Excellence.  It is a bi-annual award in which the goal is to remove as close to every technological obstacle there is that keeps a photographer from stepping up to the next level in their artistic evolution.  This occurs through the continuing generosity and longtime commitment of the corporate sponsors of this award and the belief in helping contribute to the evolution of the creative who wins. This is the best and biggest Vinnie award since it’s inception!

This Photoshop World the winner will receive:

  • Nikon D610 camera (NEW to the Vinnie!)
  • Epson 3000 printer
  • 1-year subscription the entire Adobe Creative Suite
  • Atomos Ninja 2 external video reorder for DSLRs (NEW to the Vinnie!)An Xrite Color Munki and Color Picker Color Checker
  • Induro C314 carbon fiber tripod and BH2 ball head
  • Lowepro Slingshot Camera bag
  • Maine Media Workshop’s offer for the winner to attend one of my Maine Media Workshop’s Workshops (plane fare and hotel accommodations not included) (Welcoming back to the Vinnie!)
  • Wacom Intous tablet
  • Lexar 32 Gig UDMA flash card
  • Westcott 30-inch 6 –in 1 reflector set
  • ExpoDisc White balancing disc
  • Upstrap Camera Strap (NEW to the Vinnie!)
  • The Complete onOne software suite
  • The Complete Nik Software Collection by Google
  • 1-year KelbyOne.com membership
  • One year subscription to Lynda.com (NEW to the Vinnie!)
  • Hoodman Loupe
  • 13×19″ Pina Zangaro custom portfolio
  • Signed Vincent Versace 24×30″ print
  • Signed copy of From Oz to Kansas
  • Whatever crumpled up cash Vinnie have in my pocket
  • A jam packet that Vinnie will personally steal  from that morning’s breakfast
  • The magic “Lint of Creativity” from Bert Monroy’s pocket

Good luck to all who entered, and be sure to wish Vinny a happy birthday on April 8!

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

Shoot Like A Pro with Scott Kelby
Mar 28 – Minneapolis, MN (tomorrow!)
Apr 14 – Salt Lake City, UT
May 13 – Portland, OR

Lightroom 5 Live with Matt Kloskowski
Mar 31 – Indianapolis, IN
Apr 2 – Columbus, OH

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 The Moon, Stars, and Milky Way with Jennifer Wu
Landscape photography doesn’t end when the sun goes down! Join Jennifer Wu, a Canon Explorer of Light, as she guides you through everything you need to know to start photographing stars and the night sky in Photographing The Moon, Stars, and Milky Way. You’ll learn about the equipment you need to capture the scene, how to research your subjects, the importance of scouting your location, the key camera settings, how to post process your photographs, and so much more!

Leave a comment for your chance to see this class for free!

Frank Doorhof New York City Workshop
On May 3, Frank Doorhof will be hosting a workshop in New York City at a great location that will combine studio work, shooting with natural light, and even shooting on top of a building.

The group is limited so there is a lot of time for personal attention. This will be a learning frenzy with loads of tips and tricks on lighting, coaching the models, getting the right expression, natural light, strobes, mixing light sources, telling a story, building a brand, retouching and much much more.

There are only a few openings left, so click here to book your ticket for the workshop you don’t want to miss!

Leave a comment for your chance to win a copy of Frank’s book, Mastering The Model Shoot!

Last Week’s Winner
KelbyOne Live Ticket
-Glenn Nieciag

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

Wednesday
Mar
2014
26

It’s Guest Blog Wednesday featuring Christian Brecheis!

by Brad Moore  |  4 Comments

It’s funny with photography, it’s pressing a button. However until you get to actually ‘do it’ it can be so effortless or so incredibly complicated. There’s definitely a good range of possible roadblocks between you and the photos you want to achieve. In the end it comes down to who you are as a photographer and what you would like to shoot. One thing is easy for sure, it’s to think, “I could have shot that,” but you simply haven’t until you have. One of Scott Kelby’s favorite quotes of Joe McNally has to be, “If you want more interesting pictures, you gotta stand in front of more interesting stuff.” I’d like to use this guest post to show you my process of shooting new work for my portfolio, maybe it will help some people to go and make the work they want as well.

You can scale your shoots from simple and cost free to a high end production. This is just my approach. My goal was to work on my lifestyle book and shoot new work. I had the chance to go to Cape Town which has basically everything you need: the weather, locations, models, stylists and so forth. Sounds like a game plan, but the trip was miles outside my comfort zone. These shoots came out of my own pocket and I needed to bring together a lot of people to make it happen. As just mentioned this would be: models, stylists, make-up, etc. All willing to work for free or cheap and in return for new photos. Testing is a common term for shooting for your portfolio when working in a production environment. Everyone involved likes to use new images to promote themselves with new work in their field or to show a new direction.

Before making the trip to Cape Town I started to reach out to all kinds of contacts in order to get a team together. The majority of hair/makeup artists and stylists work with representation. This makes it easier to localize and finding the right people for the test. I found a stylist that was into the idea of shooting a road trip like story. There was also one scenario where styling wasn‘t as key and the model could bring his own clothing, which made me a bit more independent scheduling. For models I planned on finding talent either local or on-stay. You can approach model agencies and ask for new faces that need to build their book. Established models also do tests, you just need to be more convincing.

Finding locations can work either way too. For the road story shoot, locations were lonely roads or places by the coast and not a big deal to shoot at. For another test I wanted to use a pool and therefore worked with a location scout to find one. In that process I also came across an apartment that I liked where the owner was fine with a half day rate, which made it affordable to rent it. Again, no big budgets so tweaking it on all ends was necessary to make it happen which also meant cutting my shot list to what suits a half day.

With all the when and where in place, I was able to start casting. I used some of my personal contacts and also reached out to model agencies. Usually when shooting with people I know or my friends, I‘ll tend go into a direction where I make them feel comfortable and they can do well in the shoot. Meaning not necessarily chasing a vision first. Whereas having a set idea and finding models to match that, is the same procedure as on a job, which I find is good practice. Another plus of test shoots. It’s a good idea to have a Plan B in place when it comes to casting. Out of 7 models I shot with, 5 models cancelled last-minute because a paid job came along or they needed to go on a casting. Understandable, paid jobs come first.

Finally I was done with pre-production and it was time to shoot photos. This is the fun part. It‘s a test, this is the time to try things, learn and improve. At the same time you have your team and the model that would like to have results they can work with. I like to find the balance – achieve results, not re-invent the wheel but also have room to play, allow error, learn something new.

I hope this serves as a bit of inspiration for you to go out and shoot the photos you want, even if what you want is to hang your shot of the Eiffel Tower over your couch. Then your only chance is to make a trip to Paris to photograph it. The one in Las Vegas is a joke and does not count. ;-)

You can see more of Christian’s work at ChristianBrecheis.com, and follow him on Twitter and Instagram

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