Tuesday
Nov
2013
26

My 8th Annual Gonzo Holiday Gear Guide

by Scott Kelby  |  12 Comments

Welcome to my “8th Annual Gonzo Holiday Gear Guide.” If you’ve been a faithful reader of this Gear Guide for the past seven years, this year’s name probably sounds familiar, and that’s because it is. It’s the original name for this Gear Guide, and I’m bringing it back with a vengeance (I’m not really sure how to make a Gear Guide vengeful but I’m working on it), with all of its original “Gonzoness” (yes, that’s a word, I’m pretty sure).

This is replacing last year’s “Awesome Gear Guide” name (awesome is way overused—mostly by me), and now here you are, reading it right now. How “in the moment” is that, right? Okay, this year, I’m breaking things into three distinct categories:

1: Stocking Stuffers (You can also use these as actual holiday gifts if you’re not that crazy about the person.)
2: Great Value Gear (Stuff that’s a really good deal for not a lot of money, but he or she will totally dig it.)
3: Cha-ching! (Stuff you buy for the doctor/lawyer/rap mogul on your holiday gift list. This is the stuff that makes them burst into spontaneous tears of joy. Well, at least I would.)

Anyway, the “Awesome” is out, the “Gonzo” is back, and this year’s Gear Guide is packed with some really cool stuff that we don’t need, but we really, really, really want because getting (ahem—I mean giving) is what it’s really all about. At least, that’s what I read in a Christmas card once.

THE RULES:

These are my self-imposed guidelines for which products make it into the guide. It’s just two rules, actually. To be listed here the products have to be ones that I use myself, that I absolutely love, and now can’t live without (well, I could live without them, but I just wouldn’t want to). And if a product makes the guide, it has to be one I would recommend to a close friend without hesitation, especially if my friend were a rich doctor (kidding). Okay, folks, hang on to your Fruchtsaftgetränke, here we go!

STOCKING STUFFERS


20×24″ Rosco CTO Gel Sheet

If the photographer on your gift list has a flash, this is a perfect gift because it’s something he needs but probably doesn’t have, and it’s cheap as anything. Get him a big sheet of thin orange gel. He tapes it over his flash head and it warms up the color of the flash, creating a more flattering color for portraits. Get the Rosco CTO (Color Temperature Orange) 1/4 sheets for just $6.49 a sheet at B&H. Do you want to really splurge on him? Throw in the 1/2-cut and full-cut sheets, as well. If he doesn’t like cutting, get the Rosco precut Strobist pack for just $7.95 with gels in all sorts of colors. A fantastic deal.

Roll of Gaffer’s Tape

If he already has some gels, get him a roll over Gaffer’s tape. This is the handiest stuff on earth for photographers (I even give away a few rolls at my seminar—I’m not making this up). It looks like black duct tape, but it comes off clean with no residue or pulling off any paint. It rocks. $6.50 a roll. Buy two (and keep one for yourself).

30″ Westcott 5-in-1 Collapsible Reflector/Diffuser

He probably already has a reflector, but that’s okay—what you want is the diffuser inside the reflector (you zip it open and there it is). You use this outdoors to turn harsh, direct sun into beautiful, soft, flattering light (just put it between the sun and your subject). Around $30. Plus, you could keep the reflectors and just give him the diffuser. I’m just sayin’.

Lightroom Magazine

Does the photographer on your gift list use Lightroom? Of course she does! So get her a few issues of Lightroom Magazine. (I love this magazine because—because, well, I’m the publisher, but it’s an awesome, awesome magazine. This is a case where using the term awesome, and using it twice, is perfectly acceptable.) You can find it on the App Store on iTunes for $4.99 an issue. Cheap. If you really want to go all out, go ahead and buy her all the back issues.

Some Cool Books

Your photographer will love Zack Arias’s Photography Q&A book (only $18.20 on Amazon or Barnes & Noble). Or how about the recent refresh of The Digital Photography Book, Part 2 by Scott Kelby (I love everything he writes) for $18.23 on Amazon or Barnes & Noble (weird price; cool book)! If he’s into sports, get Peter Read Miller on Sports Photography ($31.86 on Amazon or Barnes & Noble for $35.77), or if you want to splurge a little, get Frank Doorhof’s Mastering the Model Shoot for around $28.45 on Amazon or Barnes & Noble for $28.96(I worked on this book with Frank—he totally rocked it!). Note: Book prices on online change frequently. Just so ya know.

GREAT VALUE GEAR


Vanguard Quovio 49T Rolling Bag

If you want a rolling camera bag with Think Tank Photo quality, but can’t quite swing it, then check out the Vanguard Quovio 49T. It holds a lot of gear (and your laptop), and it holds it all well. I’ve taken it on a few trips now and I really like how it’s made and its usability. Lots of clever little features and great overall design.

DxO FilmPack 4

This is probably the best plug-in for Photoshop or Lightroom out there for faithfully reproducing classic film effects, and it totally nails these effects. It has a great interface with a smart design, and you can’t argue with the realistic looks it effortlessly creates, but you can still tweak each look big time. Plus, it does everything from contrast effects to borders and custom frames. I don’t use a whole bunch of plug-ins, but when I want a realistic film look, this is the only plug-in I reach for (and by reach, I mean I just go under a menu).

Imagenomic’s Portraiture Skin Retouching Plug-in

The incredible Frank Doorhof turned me on to this plug-in when I asked him how he was retouching skin in his portraits, because his stuff was really looking good. I had to pry it out of him a bit (LOL!), but as soon as he told me, I went straight to Imagenomic’s site and picked up a copy. Pretty darn amazing; pretty darn fast. It’s $199.95, which ain’t cheap, but the wedding or portrait photographer on your list will hug you and not let go for a good long while.

Westcott’s Rapid Box 20″ Octa Mini and Deflector Plate

This is, hands-down, the best beauty dish for hot-shoe flash I’ve ever seen. Plus, it pops up and you’re ready to go, so it fits with the whole run-and-gun portability behind hot-shoe flashes. Very well made and thought out. I use the 20″ Octa Mini ($169.90), but you’ll need the Rapid Box Deflector Plate for another $19.90 (that’s what gives you the beauty dish look). She will be super-diggin’ this.

Kata LPS-216 DL Laptop Backpack

I generally don’t like backpacks (I use rolling bags instead), but what I love about this one is that it’s not big and bulky, yet it still holds a lot of gear and my laptop. Plus, the interior is bright yellow, so you can actually find stuff. It’s really well made and only $109.99, which makes it my favorite photo gear backpack ever!

Squarespace.com

Every photographer, designer, and illustrator needs a portfolio, and Squarespace.com has a killer deal on them with very slick professional templates. With Squarespace, you can have a very cool-looking online portfolio up and running in about 15 minutes with absolutely no Web design experience necessary. I use Squarespace for my sports photography portfolio and absolutely love them! They start at around $10 a month (but you’ll get your photographer a full year for $96). You’ll be a hero.

Lexar Professional Workflow HR1 (Four-Bay USB 3 Reader Hub)

You know what photographers hate? They hate waiting for their cards to download to their computer. That’s why this baby was born. Well that, and the fact that a lot of cameras these days have more than one memory card slot, and often those are two different types (like an SD card and a CompactFlash, or a CompactFlash and an XQD card). With this, you buy the docking bay ($99.99) and then up to four readers that pop right in, in any format you want (SD, CF, or XQD) starting at $36.99 each. I love this. Big time.

Yongnuo YN560-III Hot-Shoe Flash

If you want her to think you spent a bundle, which will lead to you getting “Most Favored Friend” status for all of 2014, get her a Yongnuo hot-shoe flash. It’s only $70 but looks like it cost $600. It creates a bright flash of light (just like every other flash), but without the high price of about every other flash.

Impact Quickbox Softbox Kit

B&H Photo put this kit together and for the money, I don’t know how you can beat it. It’s a 24×24″ collapsible pop-up softbox, a tilt-swivel bracket, a bracket that holds your flash and the softbox, and a 8′ light stand, all for $149. It’s hero time.

FP-1 Floor Plate for Using Remote Cameras

If you’ve ever thought about using a remote camera (like a camera set up behind the bride or on the balcony, or for sports), this floor plate is fantastic! I use these for sports and absolutely love ’em. They’re very strong, yet surprisingly lightweight, and they’re designed to work with just about any ballhead and PocketWizard remote. Incredibly handy for only $65.

B&H Gift Cards

Not sure exactly what to get her? Yes you do. Get her a B&H Gift Card. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t want something from the greatest photo store on earth, plus this way she can get whatever she wants (within the limit of how much you put on the card, of course). You can order them direct from the B&H site. They send a card and a catalog so it looks pretty substantial.

PocketWizard PlusX Wireless Transceiver

PocketWizard has always been the gold standard in wireless triggers for flash or even for firing remote cameras, but the best is always expensive. But this year, they came out with a new budget-priced model for only $99 each (you need two—one for your camera and one for your flash), called the PlusX, and it has the ruggedness, range, and quality without the high price. They’re simple and they work. If you can’t swing the $198, try Cactus triggers instead (two for $60). Not the same quality, build, design, or range, but it’s not the same price either.

Canon Close-up Lens Filter (for Canon or NIKKOR)

Get him this screw-on lens filter that turns most any Canon or NIKKOR lens into a Macro lens for close-up photography. It’s small (only about 1″ thick), screws on just like a filter, and violá, you have a macro lens that you can toss into any camera bag (perfect for wedding photographers). They start at around $72 and go up to around $150, based on how wide his lens is (in millimeters).

CHA-CHING!


Westcott SkyLux LED

What’s the next big wave in lighting? LED continuous lighting (it’s not a flash, so what you see is what you get). Video creatives have long-embraced LEDs but now they’re finally (finally!) making their way to still photography. Westcott’s SkyLux is really fantastic, and even though it’s here in “Cha-ching Land” at around $1,200, it’s one of the cheapest LED solutions out there. Plus, Westcott makes a ton of softboxes that fit right on it. This is where lighting is going. You can take someone special there now, this holiday season, and he will love you like a puppy without all the yipping (well, some yipping but it ends after a few weeks).

Canon EOS 70D

I got a chance to use the Canon EOS 70D on a few studio shoots and events, and I have to say this camera body may be the best deal of anything on the list, value-wise (well, maybe beside the $6.49 sheets of Rosco gel). It has features way beyond its price, and if the photographer on your gift list has any ideas about shooting DSLR video, he’ll lose his mind over this puppy! Did I mention it has a touchscreen, and that you can pinch to zoom and flick to scroll through your photos, and it’s responsive like a smartphone touchscreen. I remember when Nikon released the D700 a few years back and we all thought, “What was Nikon thinking? It’s too good a deal.” I feel the same way about the 70D. Pro-quality images with many pro features, but they pretend it’s for consumers.

PrioLite MBX500 500 W/s Monolight

This is a serious studio strobe that lets you use studio strobes on location. That’s not new; there are a bunch of strobes that you can take out in the field using a battery pack that slings over your shoulder. The difference here is that there’s no battery pack to sling over your shoulder. The pack is built right into the strobe itself. There’s no cable. There’s no battery pack. It’s just the light. It’s awesome! But it ain’t cheap. They’re $1,479 each. Definitely for pros or for the Wall Street crony on your holiday gift list.

AF-S NIKKOR 28–300mm f/3.5–5.6G ED VR or Tamron 28–300mm f/3.5–6.3 XR Di VC


The AF-S NIKKOR 28–300mm f/3.5–5.6G ED VR is my all-time favorite travel photography lens because it’s one lens that does it all—from wide-angle to portrait lengths to a tight zoom. Plus, this particular lens is amazingly sharp, lightweight, and very well built. It’s not cheap at $1,049.95, but it’s worth it. Give her this as a holiday gift and you may not be able to get rid of her. A perfect gift for someone you’re stalking.
If the photographer on your list is a Canon shooter, unfortunately Canon doesn’t make a compact 28–300mm like this Nikon model. (The Canon version is full size, quite heavy, and expensive at an MSRP of $2,689.) Tamron makes a 28–300mm f/3.5–6.3 XR Di VC that will do the trick. It’s not as sharp as the Nikon 28–300mm or the Canon for that matter, but it’s not nearly as expensive either at around $630.
Monday
Nov
2013
25

Announcing the Winner of my 2013 “Worldwide Photo Walk Leaders Contest”

by Scott Kelby  |  24 Comments

And the winner is….2013 Official Photo Walk Leader Dave Lord for the bridge image you see above (Dave didn’t include his city name). It’s really hard picking just one image out of all the entries from around the world, and the moodiness and composition of this image just kept me coming back to it. It’s muted color palette and atmosphere really make it interesting and I love the post production on it. A really executed shot.

There were some other really great entries from our Photo Walk Leaders, and even though they didn’t win a prize, I thought these 10 deserved some attention as Honorable Mentions. Here they are:

Above: By Photo Walk Leader ananon105, Quartzsite, Arizona

Above: By Photo Walk Leader Christophe Levet, Grenoble City, France

Above: From Photo Walk Leader Ahmed Waheib

Above: By Photo Walk Leader Howard Ignatius,  Morro Bay, CA

Above: By Photo Walk Leader Liette Chamberland

Above: By Photo Walk Leader Max Black, Manchester, England

Above: By Photo Walk Leader Mohamed Mekhamer, Cairo, Egypt

Above: By Photo Walk Leader Paul Gotiong

Above: By Photo Walk Leader photodaddi

Above: By Photo Walk Leader Pierre Bisson

Congratulations once again to Dave Lord, and to our Honorable Mentions above, and of course to all the Photo Walk Leaders around the world who submitted such great images. A special thanks to all the Leaders for taking their time and talents to make these walks available to so many photographers everywhere as part of my 6th Annual Worldwide Photo Walk. My hats off to you all. Until next year….

Friday
Nov
2013
22

Adobe’s Letting Everyone In On $9.99 “Bundle Deal” But Only For a Few Days

by Scott Kelby  |  191 Comments

On Wednesday Adobe announced a special “Black Friday Deal” where for a VERY limited time, they’re letting pretty much everybody in on the photographer’s $9.99 a month Photoshop/Lightroom bundle deal that was originally only for folks who owned some previous version of Photoshop (from CS3 on up), but now everybody can get in on the deal for the next few days (only until Dec 2, 2013).

When I posted this on my Facebook page, it was seen by over 140,000 people, and of course there were a ton of comments — lots of happy people taking advantage of the deal, the usual amount of mis-information, and of course we heard from the same people who aren’t happy no matter what Adobe does. I thought I’d address as many of those comments as I could here in a short Q&A. Here we go:

Q. I had the full Creative Suite, and I wasn’t able to take advantage of the $9.99 deal, but now I can?
A. Absolutely.

Q. But I called Adobe Customer service and they said I couldn’t.
A. They’re wrong. Try calling again.

Q. But what if I already subscribed to Photoshop alone? Can I downgrade to this and save the money?
A. Yup!

Q. But I called Adobe customer service and they said I’d have to pay a cancellation fee?
A. You don’t. Try calling again.

Q. But what if I never ever owned Photoshop. Can I get in on this deal?
A. Yup.

Q. Really?
A. Really!

Q. I didn’t see that one coming.
A. Me either. 

Q. What if I already have a Creative Cloud subscription that costs more?
A. They’ll let you switch to this cheaper plan as long as you do it by the cut-off date.

Q. No way!
A. Way!

Q. But I called Adobe Customer Service and they said I can’t downgrade
A. Call back until you get someone that has actually read the memo.

Q. “They must be hurting for revenue.” (direct quote from Facebook)
A. Adobe had hoped to have one million subscribers by the end of year. They hit their goal nearly four months early, and now Adobe’s stock is at an all-time high. Yeah, they’re hurting’ ;-)

Q. Should I form my opinions of how Adobe is doing financially based on a hunch or what I read from strangers in online forums, or should I actually read the official business reports?
A. Ummmmm.

Q. I heard I have to run Photoshop in a Web Browser. Is that true?
A. For the love of God, please let this one go. No. No, no, no for the millionth time no. You do NOT run Photoshop or Lightroom in a Web browser. They work just like they always did.Ugh!

Q. Yeah, but then I lose access to all my images, right?
A. You do NOT have to store your images in the cloud. Please let this one go, too!

Q. You sound like you’re frustrated.
A. For a year or so I’ve been reading the same “You have to run it in a browser”…”You have to stay connected to the internet all the time” and “you lose access to all your images”  and all this same old misinformation is just starting to wear me down. Sorry.

Q. It’s OK. I know you’ve taken a lot of heat, and we appreciate you helping to cut through the clutter [obviously not a real Facebook comment].
A. Thanks for understanding.

Q. I know Adobe says they’re going to try to keep the monthly price at this level, but they don’t guarantee it. What if it goes up?
A. My understanding is they are not planning to raise the monthly subscription rate. I imagine it’s because if they did after a year or so, they would lose a lot of customers, right? But nobody is “locked into” this thing — if they raise the price at some point down the road, you can always just not renew and go back to whatever the last version of Photoshop you owned is. That being said, just for fun let’s  pretend that they decided to raise the monthly subscription by 10% at some point. That would mean you’d have to pay (wait for it….wait for it…) $12 more a year.

I seriously doubt even that will happen, but I would pose this: find me something whose price just never goes up: Gasoline? Milk? Bread? Electricity? Coffee? College Tuition? Eggs? Anything? 

Q. Why does it cost more in the UK and in Europe?
A. I ask myself this exact same question every time I visit the UK or Europe. Why does my hotel room cost twice as much there? Why does a can of Coca Cola cost twice as much there? Why does the exact same microphone that I rent here in the US cost triple when I rent it in London? It’s the exact same mic! In fact, pretty much everything over there costs at least double of what it does here or more, even if it’s the exact same product? Why is that?

As for Adobe, they have offices in the UK and all over Europe, and staff in all those locations, and I imagine their offices cost at least double what they do here. So does their electricity, gasoline, staff salaries, insurance and of course their taxes have to be dramatically higher, and their overall cost of doing business has to be through the roof over there as well. Yet, their customers expect them to eat all those extra costs and charge the same amount that they do here. Unfortunately, that’s not generally how business works. Extra operating costs are passed on to the customers to offset the cost of doing business in that country. Just’ sayin’.

Q. What was your favorite comment over on your Facebook page?
A. This one from Robert Court

“10 bucks a month for professional software. I upgrade every 18-24 months both LR and PS. Hummmmm. So if I am doing the math correctly. $190 PS and $80 LR = $270 divided by 18 months = $15 per month. $270 divided by 24 months = 11.25 per month. So where exactly is ANYBODY being ripped off. Now they are letting everyone in on the deal even if you never owned PS. I still do not get what people are B!!ching about. I for one am all in on this deal and no I did not drink the Adobe cool-aid. This is professional software for $120 per year. Even if you are a hobbyist you should consider selling your gear if you if you can’t somehow come up with two Starbucks coffees per month. Really if someone cannot afford this PROFESSIONAL software they have bigger problems in life than Adobe. Thank you Adobe.”

It had 17 likes. :)

Q. What was your least favorite?
A. I deleted it.

Q. But that’s limiting freedom of speech!
A. It’s my Facebook page — not The Washington Post. I’m not the government. I don’t owe anybody the right to attack me, or other people who comment, or use foul language, or just plain hate on my personal Facebook page. If you want freedom of speech, you can go start your own Facebook page at this address: http://www.facebook.com (sign up today!).

Q. Should people who aren’t going to take Adobe up on this offer take their time to tell you that in the comments?
A. Sure. It’s fun. They are dying to tell me, yet again for the millionth time, that no matter what deal Adobe comes up with they’re not going to get on board. They think I somehow have control over the pricing policies of a multi-billion dollar global software company. It’s kinda entertaining at this point. 

Q. So, is Adobe going to switch back to selling the latest version of Photoshop?
A. No.

Q. Are you sure?
A. I’m more sure about that than anything else I’ve written on this page.

Q. Any other comments from your Facebook page that stand out?
A. How about this one from Armando Almada responding to Robert’s comment above:

…totally agree….a glass of wine in NYC is $12, and that’s no include the tips….

I also like this one telling “The other side of the story” from Karl Mathias Moberg who wrote:

Totally agree with this. As a part-time photographer, with not a very high income… I can’t afford the upfront cost for both photoshop and lightroom. This, and the normal CC deals are perfect for me. I have no problems what so ever with the subsciption models.

A lot of folks want to pretend that people like Karl just don’t exist. The fact is, there are a ton of people who can now use Photoshop and Lightroom that were locked out because they didn’t have $849 (the cost of Photoshop and Lightroom last year, and the only way to use it was to buy it at that price).

Q. So, what if I don’t sign up for this by December 2nd, 2013? Then what?
A. You don’t get the deal. That’s it. It’s a limited time offer (it’s a Black Friday Deal running before and after black Friday but not by much).

Q. Where can I learn more?
A. You can get the official details direct from Adobe’s deal page. Here’s the link. They also have an FAQ here.

Q. OK, if I don’t like this deal, or I live in Europe, or I live in Russia where this deal isn’t even valid, or I had a fight with my spouse, or I’m just generally angry, can I blame  any part of Adobe’s Black Friday Deal that I don’t agree with on you?
A. What the heck  —- sure. Why not? :)

OK, that’s the scoop as best as I know it, and of course as always I reserve the right to be totally wrong about any or all of this. Here’s wishing you a day where all your pixels move right where you want ‘em to.

Best,

-Scott

P.S. No football this weekend but I am shooting a wedding tomorrow in Orlando and hopefully I’ll have some shots to share here early next week.

Thursday
Nov
2013
21

It’s Free Stuff Thursday!

by Brad Moore  |  32 Comments

Cyber Weekend at KelbyTraining.com
From November 29 – December 2, you’ll be able to get the best deal on KelbyTraining.com subscriptions, Kelby Training Live tickets, and even Photoshop World conference passes we’ll offer all year! Head over to KelbyTraining.com/cyberweekend to sign up for an email reminder and find out just how great these deals will be.

Natural Light Portrait Photography with Matt Kloskowski
Join Matt Kloskowski on location under sunny Florida skies to learn the basics of shooting beautiful portraits in natural light. Creating portraits under natural light gives you the flexibility to shoot at almost any time of day with a minimal amount of gear. In this class Matt teaches everything you need to know to take your natural light portraits to the next level. You’ll learn what to consider when choosing a camera body and lens for portraits, a formula for dialing in the right camera settings, how to work with bright sun and deep shade, and a ton of tips and tricks aimed at helping you get killer results every time.

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

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

Shoot Like A Pro with Scott Kelby
Dec 3 – San Diego, CA
Dec 9 – Toronto, ON

Lightroom 5 Live with Matt Kloskowski
Dec 6 – Seattle, WA
Dec 13 – Jacksonville, FL

Photoshop for Photographers with RC Concepcion
Dec 11 – Calgary, AB

We’ve added more dates for next year too, so make sure you check out the full schedule for seminars through March! And don’t forget, if you register for a seminar at least 14 days in advance, you can save $10 by using the code KTL10 at the checkout. And leave a comment for your chance to win a ticket to one of these events!

Jeremy Cowart premieres OKDOTHIS on The Grid
Yesterday on The Grid, Jeremy Cowart joined Scott and Matt to show off his upcoming app, OKDOTHIS, publicly for the first time! The episode will be up on Kelby TV and YouTube sometime today, so you can watch it then and see exactly what it is. It releases for iOS next week, on Monday if everything goes according to plan, and sometime in the future for Android. This app will help spark your creativity and give you great ideas for your photos, as well as let you share ideas with others!

Last Week’s Winners
Peter Read Miller Class Rental
-Samppa Toivonen

Kelby Training Live Ticket
-Eunice T

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

Wednesday
Nov
2013
20

It’s Guest Blog Wednesday featuring Peter Hurley!

by Brad Moore  |  23 Comments

In February of 2012 I did my first post for Scott’s guest blog called It’s All About The Jaw! I’m not particularly keen on writing, so I decided to do it as a video blog on the very first direction I give everyone who steps foot in front of my camera. It ended up being a huge hit and was his most popular guest post of 2012.

Having outdone myself the first time, I found myself pushing off a second attempt in fear of not being able to live up to the hype. Well, I finally got the courage to create my second effort and you can judge for yourself whether it makes the cut or not.

It’s the second in this little series I’m doing and it’s called It’s All About The Squinch! I know what you are thinking… What the heck is squinching? Truth is I made it up. You’ll have to watch the video to get a sense of it, but I believe it is the single reason behind me being able to talk to you right now.

13 years ago I picked up a camera and started shooting models and actors in New York. I had no formal training, and only a camera in my hand and my desire to become a successful portrait photographer. Being a former model, I knew that whenever a camera was pointed at me I had to do something; create a look, make a move, fire out an expression, whatever. Anything but sit there looking blank and lifeless.

As a fledgling photographer I began looking at other’s work, specifically the headshot industry here in New York. I saw one thing that was repeated over and over again. Blank lifeless images with absolutely no juice coming towards the camera. Why didn’t I see the same thing when I looked at celebrities in magazines? Was it the photographer or the celebrity that made the difference in those shots? I believe now that it’s a bit of both, but it was then and there that I decided it was my mission to create interesting expressions for my clients.

That’s right, I had to create it for them. I couldn’t leave it up to my clients to do it on their own. It was my work and I was going to infuse it with life if it was the last thing I did. It became my responsibly, so no matter how stiff or uncomfortable anyone was, they weren’t leaving my studio without what I considered a Peter Hurley headshot. No way, no how. This was my domain and my biggest weapon became the squinch.

My biggest fear was that other photographers would find out about the squinch. Well, over the past few years I’ve been teaching squinching up the wazoo in my Headshot Intensive, my Kelby Training class, Mastering The Headshot, as well as on my DVD, The Art Behind The Headshot. I’ve been drilling the point home the best I can that to me all my success is simply based on making each person squinch in front of my camera. No other way around it, this is a biggie and the fact that I’m here to tell you proves that for me. So enjoy the video and next time someone’s in front of your camera why don’t you try having them fire in a little squnch!

I’ll be throwing out more of my signature stuff down the road, so be on the lookout. Scott and I are working on a book and I’ll be speaking at Photoshop World in Atlanta. If you want to see my current teaching schedule then check out my coaching site for headshot photographers worldwide at PH2Pro.com.

You can see more of Peter’s work at PeterHurley.com, and follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Tuesday
Nov
2013
19

Shots from the Broncos/Chiefs Game Sunday Night

by Scott Kelby  |  52 Comments

Hi Gang: Sorry I’ve missed the last couple of days of blogging (it’s been crazy around here, and my travel schedule is…well…crazy! I was in Denver Sunday, Miami Monday (still down here, shooting an online class with Jeremy Cowart today), and then I’m back in Tampa tonight. Whew!

Anyway, it was an amazing game to cover, and the weather held up and it really wasn’t too cold. In fact, it was great weather for a game. Brisk, but not windy. I came away with 60 overall keepers from the game and 62 image for the assignment I was on (which was to cover four specific players, but mostly Peyton Manning, and I have a ton of shots of him).

Down goes the photographer
A lot of you saw me get knocked over late in the 4th quarter, on a play that was reviewed (so they showed the replay numerous times). The players never got near me — it was more of a domino effect of other photographers and video guys getting out of the way, and I just lost my balance and went over. I was cracking up, and saying “Man down, man down!” to Dave Black who was shooting right beside me). Didn’t hurt even one tiny bit.

Anyway, here’s a few of my favorites, including my epic-fail on a remote shot for the player intros:

Above: Just out of reach. I really wished he had caught it for the sake of the photo (though I was rooting for the Broncos). 

Above: There are three shots in this series, and in this one Chiefs wide receiver Dwayne Bowe catches the pass for the touchdown (he’s in the end zone). I’m on this with my 2nd body, and a 70-200mm f/2.8. 

Above: Even though it’s not a peak action shot, I actually like this one better — I love touchdown shots where you can see the ref signaling the touchdown. 

Above: The last frame, he starts celebrating his touchdown and I am right directly in front of him firing away and it looks right into my lens. Sweet!

Above: For one quarter I switched my 2nd body to a 16-35mm f/2.8 lens and that’s what I used to get this touchdown. I like that you get the scope of the stadium, but my style is to shoot tight, so I’m not super loving’ it. 

Above: After the score he dives up and into the crowd. I run over with the 16-35mm to get this close-up shot. There were a bunch of photographers doing the same thing, and this was one of the only clean ones without a bunch of cameras in the frame. 

Above: Wish you could see his eyes, but I liked any shot with the player in mid-air. I’m a sucker for those.

Above: I laid down at the back of the End Zone to get this low angle shot with my 70-200mm. I was hoping they’d get closer, but they wound up kicking a field goal instead. 

Above: You know I love detail shots (in fact, I just added a Game Detail gallery to my sports portfolio — here’s the link) and this one was before the team took for the field for warm-ups. Note the “honor the military” gloves. Some players also had cammo-themed towels to show their support for our armed services. 

Above: Cool motion shot, right? Actually, total accident. At some point I hit the dial on my camera and accidentally changed my f/stop to f/14 which lowered my shutter speed from 1/1000 of a second down to just 1/125 of a second, which creates that blur. Luckily, Peyton was just handing off the ball, so he’s not moving very fast, so he wound up in focus. 

Above: Before the game I contact Broncos Team Photographer Eric Bakke (great guy, great photographer), about setting up a remote camera for the player intros, and I took an iPhone shot of the set-up so you could see it’s position.

 Above: Here’s the set-up: a Canon 1Dx on a Manfrotto bullhead mounted to a metal floor stand from fplate.net, and triggered with a Pocket Wizard Plus-X wireless trigger on top. The security guy I was working with put a goal marker there so the Cheerleaders would clearly see it through the smoke and steer clear of it, and they totally did. Made me want to bring one of my own from here on out. LOL!

Above: You need LOTS of clearance to get approval to do an on-field remote camera like this, including approval from the Pyrotechnics guys, on-field security, team security, and well, pretty much everybody, or you have another security guy (or NFL official) coming out (seen above) asking, “What is this doing here!?” and Eric was a great help with that and lots of folks were in the loop hours before kick-off. 

Above: They have a pretty cool opening, with a horse and rider running out, then the Broncos cheerleaders, then in this case, members of the military with flags as part of the NFL honoring the military (seen above), and so far the remote is working pretty well. The placement seems OK, and it’s looking good so far. 

Above: The Offense runs out as a group, then you have the individual player intros and that’s where my epic fail began. First, as you can see, I set the camera (with a 16-35mm lens at 16mm) too far away from the players, and it’s probably aimed too high. I didn’t have another photographer to stand there to let me lock in my focus, so I had to eye it, and sure enough if it’s tack sharp. Worst yet, this was the first player introduced, and the last shot the remote fired. Thats right — it stopped after this shot, even though I was firing the remote trigger. I have no idea why. Did the cable come loose? Was there radio interference? Who knows, but I only got this one lame shot. #fail. It happens. 

Above: I love celebration shots and this is one of my favorites from the night — it’s Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno leaping up and over Broncos tight end Julius Thomas (the guy who actually scored the touchdown), and you know I like it because the ref is signaling touchdown in the background.

Well, that’s a look at some of my favorites, and the story of my remote fail, and how I survived getting knocked over by the sideline domino effect and lived to tell about it (how’s that for adding drama). ;-)

Hope you all have a fantastic Tuesday and stay out of the way of fast-moving objects, and may all your remotes fire each and every time! :)

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