Wednesday
Oct
2014
01

It’s Guest Blog Wednesday featuring Richard Bernabe!

by Brad Moore  |  10 Comments

It’s the Destination

As a photographer, chances are you’ve thought about doing some traveling, if you haven’t traveled extensively already. The journey might start out as a simple weekend getaway after a few rough days at the office or as an expansive road trip through several states and time zones: car packed with a camera and a few favorites lenses, wind in your hair, sun on your face, nothing but freedom and the open road in front of you. Over time this could lead to dealing with travel agents, passports, guides, and epic expeditions to the other side of the world involving multiple flights and a bone-jarring ride in the back of a rusted out Japanese pickup with a driver who speaks a different language than your own. Photographers are particularly susceptible to the lure of the exotic.

You could live right across the street from a premier national park with hundreds of square miles of mountain wilderness, waterfalls, charismatic wildlife, pristine beaches, wildflowers in the spring, blazing foliage in the fall – this is the cosmic photo destination we’re talking about – and you would still feel as if you were missing out on something somewhere.

It would be far too easy to dismiss this urge as a misguided grass-is-always-greener human impulse. After all, maybe the grass really is greener on the other side of the proverbial fence. Maybe the grass over there isn’t even green at all, but some other color you’ve never seen or even considered. Maybe the grass is wild and untamed, unlike the neatly manicured turf in your tidy neighborhood with which you’re so accustomed. Then again, sticking with the working theme here, maybe it’s not really about the grass at all but the journey.

I said, maybe. You see, I personally consider the whole it’s the journey not the destination sentiment as just another feel good, pop-culture pseudo-profundity that’s too easily taken at face value. The actual journey, for all the saccharin and nostalgia it conjures, actually sucks. If I could close my eyes, snap my fingers, and magically teleport myself to the destination instantaneously, while skipping the whole journey thing, I’d be happy as a clam. I’m guessing that whoever penned this particular piece of bumper sticker wisdom never had their precious little journey take them through a major 21st century airport. And yes I do realize the phrase is a derivative of Emerson’s and a well-intentioned metaphor for life. Yet all too often it’s used literally by slick travel brochures and cruise operators and I, for one, am tired of hearing about the journey’s so-called virtues.

I do find it ironic that the most blissful photogenic destinations on the planet require you to first travel through hell on Earth in order to reach them: canceled and delayed flights, missed connections, lost luggage, fees for checked bags, long lines at the check-in counter, security, passport control, and customs, rude and surly customer service representatives, invasive TSA agents, full-body x-rays, pat downs, no liquids or gels, removed shoes, crowded airplanes, no leg room, airline food, and fights with attendants about your camera pack that won’t quite fit in the overhead bin but is too fragile to allow apathetic baggage handlers to throw from luggage cart onto mobile conveyor belt are just some of the indignities to be endured and we’ve not even mentioned the repulsive edifices themselves. The English writer and humorist, Douglas Adams observed that there is no language that has ever produced the phrase as pretty as an airport.

But all the agony and pulverizing boredom of travel itself soon fade from memory once a destination is finally reached. So why do we photographers bother to travel anyway? I suppose everyone has their own personal reasons: capturing and seeing something new, exploration, adventure, enlightenment, different cultures and food, or running from the law – just to name a few. And while all of the preceding could apply to me as well (aside from the running from the law part) I should mention that it also happens to be my job. I haven’t quite mastered the art of keeping a straight face as I explain to friends and loved ones that I’m “going to work” when I pack my bags for some far-flung, exotic photography trip but I do deserve at least some credit for not employing the smug rejoinder, “but somebody’s gotta do it” or something to that effect.

And while I understand “getting away from it all,” as a justification for some people’s travel bug, it’s one that’s never quite resonated with me. I just don’t see my life and work as anything from which I need, or want, to escape.

But more than any other reason, travel takes me away from everything that’s familiar and razes the personal comfort zone to which I – and all of us respectively, really – try to cling. I like that. Sometimes I need that. Travel writer, Freyda Stark once wrote, “To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the most pleasant sensations in the world” and I could not concur more. When applied to photography, these strange new places and experiences act as powerful catalysts to help get my creative juices going and force me to think and see differently. After all, if I’ve never seen something before, what other choice do I have?

Then there are the places and scenes that are simply too beautiful for words, which is fortunate enough since we photographers are paid to create imagery where words alone are inadequate. The first time I laid my eyes on the southern Andes of Patagonia or the aurora borealis or a herd of mammoth elephants marching ceremoniously across the African plains, my sympathetic nervous system shot into overdrive and delivered a dose of goose bumps all over my arms and shoulders, making the hair stand straight up on the back of my neck. The very best part of this sensation was that in each instance, I never saw it coming. Each and every time was like a thunderbolt from the blue.

If I don’t screw things up too badly, I might create something that invites the viewer of the image to participate in this new experience as well, through the prism of my emotional response and photographic technique. Since I am interpreting the experience artistically, it’s still my experience but the viewer has traveled with me vicariously, except without all the burdens of modern day travel I described earlier.

Or I could forget to remove the lens cap and everyone will just have to take my word for it. Either way, if I don’t make the journey in order to witness it myself, it never happened – for any of us. So the journey is necessary, if not a necessary evil. In fact, with the right attitude – and good set of noise-canceling headphones – the journey itself might not be so intolerable after all. Just don’t let anyone tell you it’s not about the destination.

*     *     *     *

Richard Bernabe is a landscape, wildlife, travel photographer and author as well as Contributing Editor to Popular Photography Magazine. You can see more of Richard’s work at RichardBernabe.com\ and follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Tuesday
Sep
2014
30

Joe McNally’s One-Man-Show

by Scott Kelby  |  8 Comments

One of the greatest photographers ever made is having his first solo gallery show, opening this week at the Monroe Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico and if you get a chance — you have to see it in person. Here are the details:

Who: Joe McNally
What: A solo exhibition
Where: The Monroe Gallery: 112 Don Gaspar Ave, Santa Fe, NM (link)
When: October 3rd thru November 23rd
Why:  Because Joe is a photography students will study after we’re all gone.

Here’s a link to the gallery’s site with all the details. Hope you get the chance to see it in person.

I’m off to Orlando for my seminar there tomorrow — looking forward to meeting a whole bunch of you there.

Have a better than average Tuesday. That’s all I can muster for a Tuesday. ;-)

Best,

-Scott

Monday
Sep
2014
29

It’s “Update Your Portfolio” Monday

by Scott Kelby  |  69 Comments

OK, we’ve had “Backup Tuesday” and now it’s time for “Update Your Portfolio Monday” — a reminder that it’s time to shake the dust off that portfolio — see if you have newer, better shots that need to be added. Take a look at the sequence (order) of your images and see if they need changing, see if anything needs to come out, and just make sure everything’s up-to-date.

So far, I’ve only had enough time to update my Sports Photography Portfolio (here’s the link). I actually added a new category for College Football, and updated my NFL port, and made a change or two to my GameDay Detail port, too. Tonight I’m going to update my regular port (hosted by smugmug — you can use the link at the top right of my blog here).

Hey, if you update your blog today as part of “Update Your Port Monday” leave me a link here, and let me know what you did to update it. If you don’t have an online port, what are ya waitin’ for?

Here’s wishing you an updated kinda Monday!

Best,

-Scott

Friday
Sep
2014
26

Trailblazers: A new series on Powerful Women of Photography

by Scott Kelby  |  6 Comments

This is something we’re really proud, and very excited about  — our own Mia McCormick had the vision and talent to create a brand new series all about inspiring female photographers — woman who are blazing new trails in our industry and changing the way females are preceived in our industry.

Mia (an award-winning journalist and instructor herself), just did such a amazing job with this series, and the women you’ll meet, and the stories they tell, will just absolutely captivate you from start to finish. If you’re a KelbyOne subscriber, make sure you watch any interview in this series, and I know from there you’ll want to watch them all — they are just that good.

We have thousands of technique lessons on KelbyOne, and I know how important those are. This year, we’re producing more than ever have in our history, but we also feel very strongly that there’s more to learning photography than just how to use your camera and where to put the light.

Why not let this weekend be one where take a short break from the techniques and get lost in being inspired, learning the business side of photography, gaining important insights, and being swept away by amazing images, courageous people and wonderful artists.

Hope you all have a safe, fun weekend (and if you’re in Houston, Texas for my seminar here today, I hope you’ll come up and say — its always a treat to meet people in person who read my blog.

All my best,

-Scott

 

Thursday
Sep
2014
25

It’s Free Stuff Thursday!

by Brad Moore  |  26 Comments

Corey Barker’s Photoshop Down & Dirty Master FX Seminar Tour
Come spend the day with Corey Barker, the award-winning designer, illustrator and also best-selling author of the book “Photoshop Down & Dirty Tricks, Volume 2” as he brings concepts, images and ideas from his book to life in this one-day live training seminar.

Join him as he ventures to take your Photoshop skills to the next level and beyond by teaching you how to master the eye-popping techniques used by designers, artists, and photographers all over the world. You will never look at Photoshop the same way again! Don’t miss your chance to spend an entire day learning from one of the best Photoshop instructors. You’ll be amazed at what you can learn in just one day. Guaranteed!

Catch Corey in New Orleans on October 3, and leave a comment here for your chance to win a free ticket!

Wacom Tablets for Photographers with Wes Maggio
Looking to get the most out of your Wacom pen tablet, or just wondering what benefits a tablet can bring to your photography workflow? Then join Wes Maggio, Senior Evangelist for Creative Products at Wacom, for an in-depth look at how a pen tablet can help you bring out the best in your images and do it more efficiently than any other input device. A pen tablet provides a level of control that is just not possible to obtain with a mouse or trackpad. In this class Wes carefully explains the principles behind pen input and pressure sensitivity, then walks you through a series of practical photographic examples that demonstrates the strengths of a tablet workflow. Along the way you will learn how to customize the settings to fit your needs, how to take advantage of multi-touch input and functions, how to use a tablet in a dual-display environment, and what to consider when choosing the right tablet for your workflow.

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

Motion Graphics in Photoshop CC with Corey Barker
This class with Corey Barker gets you up and running with creating motion graphics and video clips entirely in Photoshop using the newly enhanced timeline panel and keyframe based animation. Learn quick and easy tricks to getting high-end broadcast style motion graphics and animations including animating in 3D!

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

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
Sept 26 – Houston, TX (Tomorrow!)
Oct 1 – Orlando, FL
Oct 10 – Westminster, London, UK
Oct 17 – Charlotte, NC
Dec 1 – Ft. Lauderdale, FL

The Power of One Flash with Joe McNally
Sept 24 – Cleveland, OH
Nov 6 – Washington, DC
Dec 9 – San Diego, CA

The Lightroom LIVE Tour with Matt Kloskowski
Sept 29 – Livonia, MI
Oct 22 – Colorado Springs, CO
Nov 4 – Philadelphia, PA
Dec 5 – San Antonio, TX

Photoshop for Photographers with RC Concepcion
Oct 20 – Chicago, IL
Nov 7 – Los Angeles, CA

The Photoshop Creativity Tour with Ben Willmore
Sept 22 – Arlington, TX
Oct 7 – Raleigh, NC
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!

David Ziser Clearance Sale
David Ziser is having his FIRST EVER MASSIVE CLEARANCE SALE at the Digital Resource Center! Everything must go and is priced at 50 – 80% OFF! Books, DVDs, bundles, and more are available for the lowest prices they’ve ever set, so head on over and grab what you can before it’s all gone.

Last Week’s Winners
Shoot Like A Pro Seminar Ticket
- marco miliani

KelbyOne Live Ticket
- Chris Mc

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

Wednesday
Sep
2014
24

It’s Guest Blog Wednesday featuring Erik Almås!

by Brad Moore  |  9 Comments

I believe there’s opportunity for everyone to have commercial success as a photographer in today’s market. This as long as they have a unique and honest perspective…

Hi!

I’m excited to be writing for Scott Kelby and the Guest blog Wednesday!

I’m also excited about the current state of photography!

Really excited!

Daily I get questions through e-mail and social media. They span a wide range but the BIG question I get asked, among practical advice on gear, computers and offers of coffee and beer is: “How do I MAKE it as a photographer?”

“How do I break into advertising photography and how do you get the jobs that you do?”

To be honest, I asked myself the same question for years as I attempted to break into the world of advertising…

If you are at a point where you have absorbed tons of photographic knowledge through school or online learning, know photo is your passion and you want to make this your career, it’s not unusual to ask yourself…

Now what?

How does one get hired to do this thing you are so crazy passionate about??

There’s a lot of writing in social media and the blogosphere about how hard and competitive it is to succeed as a full-time photographer. So I thought I’d use this time to share some optimism and give a different perspective about the things that excite me about the opportunities in photography today.

What I believe is this; there are opportunities for everyone to have commercial success as a photographer in today’s market.

This as long as they have a unique and honest perspective…

Before I get into this, I want to give you a brief background on what I do and share some signature images of mine that represents who I am as a photographer.

In short I’m a Norwegian photographer who, since 1995, been residing in the US.

I got started in photography by being curious…

There were a few friends that had cameras and I joined them in a darkroom course while in the National Defense in Norway.

At the time I skied a lot and started taking pictures of my friends floating through powder and flying off cliffs. Out of these adventures on the ski slopes came my first published pictures and marked the start of me as a photographer.

Later, at 22, when faced with the crossroads of “What do I do with my life?” I decided to study photography. Through great advice and some random encounters I ended up in San Francisco at the Academy of Art University where I studied photography for 4 years, earning a BFA.

From there, I was a camera assistant for almost 3 years before venturing out on my own, starting my photography business…

Going slow in the beginning, I steadily matured in my style and integrity as a photographer and now consistently shoot for the most familiar companies and brands in the world.

So why am I excited about this market that seems to get tougher by the minute?

Clients are paying less and less and there’s more and more photographers being educated from colleges and online training programs.

How can I be really excited about this?

To be honest it’s mostly taking a different perspective.

What if we view this from the top rather than the bottom?

If we look at the shallow end of the photography market there are too many photographers that are all underbidding each other and no one seems to be making a good living.

The view from the top is very different:

We are now living in the most visual culture ever!

The collective level and sophistication of photography is increasing every day and there’s quite obviously an increasing place for images in our lives. As influencers and tastemakers we as photographers now have something that’s increasingly valuable and do believe we have a great future.

There truly is an excitement about pictures and photography today that’s beyond anything before us, and it’s growing. Every day we upload around 55 million images to Instagram.

Facebook? We add about 350 million new photos a day and as many as 250 billion images since it’s inception. In the US we now spend 3.2 hours on social media every day. Most of this time is looking at pictures! We are absorbing visual content like never before.

In some ways it’s hard to even comprehend. When I came to the US to study photography almost 20 years ago the discussions in class were about photography’s burgeoning acceptance as fine art and if cropping your images in the darkroom was ethically ok.

Today photography is not only accepted but one of the most popular forms of art and cropping?? That discussion is completely dead and only serves as dating my photographic career!

One can argue that all these images we are bombarded with daily are diluting the value of photography, but what if you create something that truly stands out among all these images? What if you create something unique, which resonates with a fast expanding audience and manages to stand out from all the other images out there?

What if you have an image that makes someone pause, think and feel, now that is just amazing!

We then have something that is unbelievably valuable to anyone trying to market a product or service…

As our attention span is getting shorter this capability is getting more and more valuable!!

The ones that can produce images that stand out in this screaming match for attention has one bright future as a photographer!

The obvious question is: So how do we create images that stand out?

How do we create something unique?

We all have access to the same cameras and the same software, so its sure not the gear you have.

The only way to be unique is to use these tools in a way differently than the other photographers out there.

We have all heard this before. What I’d like to offer though is a super speed highway to get there. A fast track to finding that uniqueness that reflects your own visual DNA.

To me, the only way to find this uniqueness is to look at oneself. Find what you are drawn to, what visually turns you on and craft images from the depth of yourself.

Sounds corny? Sounds impossible to access?

It’s NOT!

And here’s how: You find your photographic DNA.

This can be years of self-examination, or spending the infamous 10,000 hours popularized by Malcolm Gladwell.

There’s a faster way though and that’s to look at the work of other photographers you truly admire.

This is super highway to really understand your own sensibilities and vision to find what innately inspires you.

Pick a hundred images and ask yourself over and over WHY and WHAT about these pictures attract you to them.

Make a list and you will get an understanding of your innate visual language.  These descriptors you have of why you like these100 pictures is the defining descriptors of your own photographic DNA…

In these descriptors you will see what light quality you like, what color palette and subject matter and all the other elements that you are drawn to.

Your uniqueness is in this…

So next time you take pictures you will have a clear sense of direction. You now know you like a certain type of place with a certain type of light with a certain type person in there, doing a certain type of pose. It’s all in there!

I have, together with fotofagskolen in Norway created the below to help get you started in finding these Visual and emotional descriptors.

In doing this exercise you should have should have a great visual awareness of what you like and long for in your images. It’s then just to dive in and create.

Don’t feel inspired? Just look at your list of words. The things that inspire you should all be right there!

After doing this exercise there’s no need to get into a discussion of natural light or 1 light or 5 light approaches. You just use the tools needed to get to the light quality you know resonates with who you are…

So after finding that unique photographic footprint then what’s next?

It’s getting these unique pictures in front of the Photo editors, Art buyers and Art directors.

Marketing is an art in itself and I will save this for another guest blog.

So to sum this up I’d say: Don’t get engaged in the “photography is dead and we can’t make any money and people work for free conversation.” Create work that’s personal and meaningful to you that reflect the visual things you are drawn to and you will find your worth in your pictures. Photo editors and agencies will recognize this and you will be hired to photograph the things you love and have experiences in the wake of taking pictures few other professions will allow.

Like my Venture Capital friend keep telling me: “Erik, you have the best income to lifestyle ratio of anyone I know”.

And I’m not saying this to brag, but to inspire.

Happy picture taking!!

Erik

To learn about the camera equipment that I use, you can click right here.

If you want to learn about my process, here’s a link for that.

You can see more of Erik’s work at ErikAlmas.com and follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and YouTube.

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