Wednesday
Oct
2014
29

It’s Guest Blog Wednesday featuring Steve Simon!

by Brad Moore  |  10 Comments

The Passionate Photographer – A Life Obsessed
All I ever wanted to do was take pictures. I love photography. My tagline says “obsessed by all things photographic” and it’s true.

When I was 16, I spent a summer riding around my suburban Montreal home on a 70cc motorcycle, an all-mechanical Nikon FM/35mm lens dangling from my neck. I was documenting community life for a local weekly newspaper long since gone. Even better, I got paid for it. As good as it gets I thought.

Years later, I graduated university with a journalism degree, and I couldn’t wait to aim my camera at issues I thought were important.

Fast forward ten great; sometimes-frustrating; always-stimulating years as a news photographer, I was finding it difficult to stay fresh and challenged. Daily assignments had made me a skilled and swift-working photographer, but I had become impatient, often retreating within my comfort zone, feeling forced to work in a formulaic fashion because of time constraints. I was ready for a photographic break-through, a way to slow down and find a way back to the innocence of vision and joy I had as a young guy cruising around town with my camera.

If there’s one concept I want to convey in my guest post (thanks Scott and Brad for the opportunity), it’s that the most rewarding part of the photographic process often comes when you find a project or theme you feel passion for, one you can dig into, and challenge yourself to create a set of pictures.

Finding Your Passion
Directing your photographic energy and passion towards a story or theme is something I feel confident will lead you toward becoming the photographer you want to be. It is passion that will take you there…if you let it.

But you have to find the subject matter that inspires you to commit and drives you to work hard, moving past frustrations and through obstacles, pushing towards a photographic place of competence and excitement you cannot even imagine as you read this.

In the evolution of a photographer, to get to the next step, liberating yourself from photographic routine, peeling away layers of traditional imagery to get to the core of your photographic soul is to be honest and ask, “What is it I am trying to say through my photography?”

Diane Arbus said something to the effect of “the more personal you make it, the more universal it becomes.”

What a powerful and liberating thought. In my experience it’s dead on.

Photography is a universal language and the more honest and revealing you are, the more viewers will respond to the work. If you stop trying to make images that look like what you think strong photography is supposed to look like and instead look inward, aiming your camera at the things most personal to you, following your curiosity —your work will be elevated. Honesty and passion shine through.

Story ideas can come from anywhere. I tend to read as much as I can, looking at blogs, magazines, news sites, reading books, listening to music, visiting galleries, looking at the work of other artists and photographers. But many of my best ideas come from my own life. Personal experience and exploring your own connections often yield some of the best and most rewarding projects.

If you’re inspired by the landscape, what is it that inspires you? How does it make you feel? As you dig deep the goal is to create images that make the viewer feel something, maybe discovering what you already know about the place. In other words, images that transcend the literal and become more lyrical.

Consider putting together a set of images for a book or exhibition, even if that exhibition is in your own living room. The challenge of creating a set of pictures is to make each piece strong, yet when put together in a very deliberate way, the message communicated is often bigger and more complex than any individual piece can convey on its own. The sum is greater than the parts.

The process of assembling, sequencing and showing a set of pictures will force you to make tough decisions. If two images are similar, you need to choose the strongest one or the image that adds to or moves the communication of the project further. Some projects, use repetition as a way to build momentum, a portrait series for example. Regardless, it’s like peeling an onion, you get deeper and deeper, and start to make images that scratch and dig below the literal surface to photographic places new and exciting.

It’s no mystery that when you go through a volume of work, you learn from your experience and you get better. And because you’re passionate about the work, you will work harder and longer; putting in the time.

More comprehensive coverage yields stronger, deeper, and more interesting work. If your story involves people, for example, they often get more comfortable with you as time goes by, relaxing and letting their guard down to reveal more of themselves for you to c!apture. Shooting more helps improve your skills and makes you a better photographer.

For two summers, I went on a road trip from Maine to Alaska and I never looked back. Even though it has never been published, The America At The Edge Project changed my life.

Of course, all big ideas start with a small step, and securing your idea is what you need to do first. Don’t over think it, you won’t know for sure that your idea is executable until you start the process of shooting.

What Personal Projects Have Taught Me
All my projects turn into amazing adventures. Personal projects have taught me so much. I have shared my process in my book The Passionate Photographer and now in this post. I’m sure much of my process will sound familiar to you.

Continue reading

Tuesday
Oct
2014
28

Now I’m Offically “More-Sicky”

by Scott Kelby  |  12 Comments

After feeling sicky for about a week, and every day feeling like the next day I was going to be better, I actually started getting worse in the past couple of days.  My wifey gave me that “Boy, you need to go to the doctor” look yesterday, so I did and the Doc didn’t like my cough at all — he did chest X-rays, and I do have a full-on case of Bronchitis. After looking at my x-rays he said if I hadn’t come in, it would have been pneumonia by Friday, so as usual, the wifey was right (man, I say that a lot).

I felt really cruddy yesterday, but now I’m on four different medications to knock this out fast (and I do feel quite a bit better today, but not good enough to jump on a plane and hack all over everybody).  So, I’m delaying my trip to the Photo Plus Expo, and I’ll miss out on moderating that panel tomorrow night on “How technology is leading the story-telling revolution” which really stinks, but I feel like if I can get that extra day of rest and antibiotics in me, I’ll be feeling great by Thursday.

Of course, at this point (today), I sound like that dog above looks (weird thing is, my throat isn’t sore at all). Anyway, I’m already on the mend (I know, I should have gone to the doctors last week). Luckily, my wifey is taking awesome care of me (even made me some of the most amazing chicken soup last night), so I’ll be back up and running in no time (and by no time, I mean Thursday).

I had a location portrait shoot set up for tomorrow afternoon in New York with my buddy David Vaskevitch that I’ll be missing out on now too, and I was really looking forward to it. Hope I’ll get the chance again soon.

My thanks to Greg Scoblete (tech editor for PDN and Rangefinder magazine) for covering my moderator duties on that panel (very cool of him), and in the meantime, I’ll be taking it VERY easy, and mostly playing Jelly Splash on my iPad, which has proven medicinal healing powers, only surpassed by Kalebra’s Chicken Soup. :)

Here’s wishing you good health (wash your hands often), and an awesome Tuesday!

Best,

-Scott
Cough, Hacker & Wheezing, Inc.

 

Monday
Oct
2014
27

My Speaking Schedule This Week at Photo Plus Expo in New York

by Scott Kelby  |  3 Comments

 

PLEASE NOTE:  Due to being sick, my schedule for all of Wednesday is CANCELED.  I will resume my schedule, as planned, on Thursday.

I’ve got a busy week coming up in New York at the big daddy of all photo shows here in the USA, and I hope at some point our paths cross in on my presentation. Here’s my schedule:

WEDNESDAY:

First, I’m moderating a panel on how technology is leading the storytelling revolution (details below) on Wednesday at 5pm (don’t worry — the panel doesn’t go for three hours — there’s other stuff after our talk).

Above: I did have to giggle at how they listed my title as just “Kelby” (as in Scott Kelby of Kelby) and they didn’t list any title for Jeremy. I wish they had even left his last name off, so it’s like “Cher” or “Seal.”

THURSDAY:
Canon has invited me to speak in their booth’s theater again, and it’s on one of my favorite topics: Sports Photography, and it’s open to anyone at the Expo, so come on by:

> I’m on Thursday at 2:30 pm on Canon’s main stage

I’m also speaking at the Mylio booth:

> I’m on Thursday at 12:30 pm in the Mylio booth (#273) on the expo floor.

Note: if you’re wondering “what is Mylio?” — they are launching at the show, and by next week everybody will know about Mylio. Really super cool stuff!

I’ll also be speaking at the Mylio launch party on Thursday night, but I think that one is a press event.

FRIDAY:
I’m at the Canon booth on the Expo floor, talking about sports photography.

> I’m on Friday at 10:45 am on Canon’s main stage

We have a KelbyOne theater on the show floor and I’ll be doing a session called “Photo Retouching Secrets”

> I’m on Friday at 12:30 in the KelbyOne Booth: #473

Right after that I head straight for the airport to get home in time to go trick-r-treating with my daughter (this year she decided her costume would be a throwback outfit from the 1950s, so she’s got the pink poodle skirt and the whole nine yards. So cute!

Hope you all have a great Monday and I hope I get to meet you at some point, later this week. :)

Best,

-Scott

Friday
Oct
2014
24

My Football Game Day Shooting The UT Vols

by Scott Kelby  |  15 Comments

It’s taken me a while, but I finally got my football shots from the Vols/Gator’s game a few weeks back, posted over at Exposure.co.

I’ve got lots of behind-the-scenes shots, and the whole story behind the day, including shots inside the locker room; on-field during warm-ups, and of course during the game itself.

If you get a quick minute, I hope you’ll check them out (here’s the link).

I’m shooting the Bucs/Vikings NFL game on Sunday if I can shake this cold that’s hit me this week. Finger’s crossed ’cause it could be a great day of really mediocre football. ;-)

Here’s wishing you a super-awesome weekend!

Best,

-Scott 

Thursday
Oct
2014
23

It’s Free Stuff Thursday!

by Brad Moore  |  15 Comments

New KelbyOne Website and New Blog!
We have a brand new design on our website and it looks really sleek. But more importantly, it’s super easy to navigate and find the classes and instructors you are looking for. That’s over on KelbyOne.com AND, we have a brand new blog with all kinds of photography and photoshop related content. We have contributors from all over and all kinds of industry related news and info. Check that out over at kelbyone.com/blog

How To Shoot Tack Sharp Images with Matt Kloskowski
One of the most important skills for a photographer to master is how to capture the sharpest, most in-focus image possible when taking a photo. Join Matt Kloskowski as he takes you through all of the factors you need to consider in order to nail tack sharp photos every time. Matt covers everything from how to hold the camera correctly to how to leverage the features and functions of your camera to capture the sharpest images possible. Once you’ve got the shot, Matt takes you through a number of Lightroom and Photoshop techniques designed to make those sharply focused photos appear even sharper.

KelbyOne at Photo Plus Expo
KelbyOne will be at the Photo Plus Expo in NYC Oct 30-Nov 1. We’ll be at booth #473 and we’ll have some of our instructors on hand teaching and sharing some amazing tips. Scott Kelby and Matt Kloskowski will be around, Pete Collins will show you his amazing “photo spin” technique for some awesome kids portraits. Jay Maisel will be at the booth, along with Roberto Valenzuela, Peter Hurley, Brian Smith, Tamara Lackey… the whole gang. Please stop by and say hi! And, if you can’t make it to NYC for the show, be sure to check in on the blog for show updates throughout the Expo – KelbyOne.com/blog

Be sure to check out The University on Wednesday, October 29th at PhotoPlus Expo for a great overview of the newsest techniques in photography as well as some of the newest gear. Use the code: UNIVF and get admission to this special event for free.

Explore The University’s shooting bays for 45-minute interactive sessions by Lou Freeman, Jen Rozenbaum, Peter Hurley, and Lindsay Adler, who will focus on how to strengthen your shooting and posing techniques, and how to manage everything from speed lights to studio strobes. You’ll be handling and experimenting with some of the newest gear, all provided by The U’s official sponsors: B&H, Sigma & the MAC Group!

If you have a bit more time, be sure to check out PhotoPlus’s seminar offerings by perusing the Conference Brochure.

Create Your World The Photoshop World Image-Editing Challenge
From creative composites to beauty retouching, the Create Your World contest is looking for photographs that highlight your world through your eyes. Use Photoshop to enhance natural beauty or create the environment of your dreams.

One Grand Prize winner will receive a $2,500 cash prize, a 1-Year KelbyOne subscription, a $500 Gift Card to B&H Photo, a Full Conference Pass and a Pro Pass Plus to the 2015 Photoshop World Conference in Las Vegas, NV. Five First Place winners will receive a $500 Gift Card to B&H Photo, a 1-Year KelbyOne subscription, and a Full Conference Pass to the 2015 Photoshop World Conference in Las Vegas, NV.

For more information go to CreateYourWorldChallenge.com

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

Shoot Like A Pro with Scott Kelby
Dec 1 – Ft. Lauderdale, FL

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

The Lightroom LIVE Tour with Matt Kloskowski
Nov 4 – Philadelphia, PA
Dec 5 – San Antonio, TX

Photoshop for Photographers with RC Concepcion
Nov 7 – Los Angeles, CA

The Photoshop Creativity Tour with Ben Willmore
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!

40% Off Tutorials from Serge Ramelli
This week only, our buddy and well-known French photographer and Photoshop instructor Serge Ramelli is offering 40% off his tutorial downloads! He has courses that include commercial still life photography, landscape and sky post processing, black and white photography, Lightroom presets, Photoshop retouching and more! Head over to PhotoSerge.com and fill up your cart, then enter the promo code KELBYOCT at checkout to get your 40% off through the end of the month!

Last Week’s Winner
KelbyOne Live Ticket
- Scott J

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

Wednesday
Oct
2014
22

It’s Guest Blog Wednesday featuring Alan Hess!

by Brad Moore  |  19 Comments


Photo by Nadra Farina-Hess

My name is Alan Hess and I love being a photographer. I am really lucky that I get to photograph things for a living. As the house photographer for a large indoor arena in San Diego I get to capture some of the biggest names in music like Cher, The Who, Taylor Swift, Justin Beiber, as well as other events like the NBA, MMA, and the WWE. This year we will also have a Professional Bull Rider event. But even with the wide variety of events I get to shoot, once in a while I still find myself in a creative rut. That’s where personal projects come in.

For me, that is taking photos of my dogs.

I have two rescued boxers. They make for great subjects for a couple of reasons. They are always available since they live with me. They have distinct personalities that makes photographing them more fun (or challenging). And best of all they never want to see the photos, and never complain that they don’t look good. On the downside, they don’t have a great attention span and can easily wonder off in the middle of the shoot, and getting them to pose can be challenging.

I started off by just trying to get a portrait shot to use as a wallpaper on my iPhone, which led to experimenting with lighting and learning how to create the invisible black background portraits. This led to creating the Fuel Book, Pet Portraits that Stand Out. This Fuel Book led to my newest full book, Pet Portraits: From Snapshots to Great Shots. This was the most fun that I have ever had writing a book since it didn’t seem like work at all. I was able to take all that information I had accumulated while creating photos of my dogs and turn it into something that could help others get great photos of their pets.

First I want to tell you what this book isn’t. It isn’t a book on creating a pet photography business, or how to profit from taking photos of people’s pets. This book is not about having to go out and spend a lot of money on special gear. It is just about getting better photos of your pet, or any pet. I photographed dogs, cats, birds, horses, lizards, snakes, fish, hamsters, mice, rats, and bunny rabbits. I spent time at leash free areas getting to capture dogs in action as they ran, jumped and played with other dogs. I got nudged by horses and had a lizard climb all over my gear. I spent time with an exotic pet vet, and even though I did not cover spiders as pets in the book, I ended up with a tarantula crawling on my hands.

It was the most fun I have had writing a book.

I spent some time photographing big dogs at play. I find it fascinating what you can capture at 1/4000 second that you don’t see when watching the action in real time. These dogs are playing together on the beach, but if you just saw the fangs you might think that it wasn’t a friendly encounter.

Getting to lie in the grass and photograph a group of puppies the first time they got to roam around outside is a great way to spend a morning.

I wanted to make sure that the book dealt with all pets, and not just dogs and cats. So I tracked down a wide variety of different pet owners and rescue groups. The best part was that pet owners and rescue group volunteers are really passionate. The passion that they have for their pets is really contagious. Need a little pick-me-up? Ask a pet owner about what their pet did recently. I learned more about snakes, frogs, mice, birds and lizards in the past few months than I thought possible. Every photo shoot was a new adventure.

I spent quite a bit of time photographing cats as they are the second most popular pet in the US, right behind dogs. Cats turned out to be both easier in some respects and much more challenging in others. They love to stand in doorways and look out. Turns out that this makes for great portrait light.

It was tough to think of it as work as I lay outside watching a friend’s cat stalk his cat toy. A tough day at work.

Photographing cats became an exercise in patience. Cats can sit still for what seem like hours, then suddenly leap into action… or just stretch out and go right to sleep.

Getting up close and personal with a horse was really quite awesome. I was in constant awe of their power and size. Watching the muscles under their coat as the walk and run was fantastic, and getting to photograph them up close was really amazing.

On a final note, I used to think that personal projects were just a time suck. When was I supposed to go out and shoot stuff just for me and at the same time try to earn a living. There just didn’t seem like enough of a payoff to spend the time shooting for myself when I could be out trying to earn a living. It got to the point where I didn’t pick up my camera unless I was off to shoot something for a job…

I was wrong.

Turns out that taking the time to go out and photograph something just for me not only recharges the creative side but can lead to other work.

You can pick up your copy of the Pet Photography: From Snapshots to Great Shots from Peachpit (use the code PETSHOTS to save 35%), Amazon, or Barnes & Noble.

You can find out more about Alan and his work at AlanHessPhotography.com, and follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

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