Wednesday
Dec
2013
11

It’s Guest Blog Wednesday featuring Alan Hess!

by Brad Moore  |  11 Comments


Photo by Drew Gurian

A big thanks to Scott and Brad for having me back here on Guest Blog Wednesday. In the past I have discussed workflow and why you should only show your best work. This time around I want to talk about something a little different, keeping yourself motivated.

I am writing this on Monday evening after a crazy week of shooting five different concerts in five nights with 17 different bands.

There was a lot of standing around and waiting.

There were some really odd restrictions.

There were some very crowded photo pits.

There were some really challenging lights.

And I loved every second of it.

I have one of the best jobs in the world.

The question I get asked a lot is “What is your favorite band to shoot?” or “What was your favorite shoot?” The answer might surprise you.

My favorite band to shoot is the next one. Doesn’t matter if they are a huge name like Jay Z or a up and comer with the opening 5:00pm slot on a multi-band holiday show like J. Roddy and Business. I approach each one as if it is the most important shoot ever, and for those three (or two) songs, it is.

Recently, I was reminded how I important it is to take each shoot, each day, each moment and make it the most important ever. It was all because of Andrew Youssef. Andrew was a Southern California based concert photographer. He wasn’t a friend, we didn’t know each other well. We were more like work acquaintances. We shared the photo pit on numerous occasions. We chatted in hallways of venues and swapped concert photography horror stories. Bad lighting, pushy photographers, good publicists. The stuff that we had in common at the time. Andrew was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer in 2011. He lost that battle on November 30 at the age of 38.

The thing is, Andrew kept shooting. He kept going to shows and taking great photos even while battling cancer. It really put it into persecutive for me. I have had days where I didn’t want to go shoot some opening act. Where I knew the lighting would be tough and I would be pushing my camera into the 6400 ISO and higher zone. I didn’t want to go hunt for parking downtown only to stand around waiting to shoot some band I have never heard of. But I have never had to battle cancer.

Imagine loving your job so much that nothing could keep you from doing it?

Imagine loving your job so much that it actually made you physically feel better when you got to do it?

So, my favorite band to shoot? The next one, and the one after that. Every single time I walk into a photo pit, I feel rejuvenated, I feel alive. Each one of the 17 bands photographed this past week got the same level on intensity and focus from me. Each of the bands had me striving to capture the best possible images. Sometimes I have to stop, take a deep breath and look around. I’m one of the lucky ones, I’m doing what I love.

The reality is that no matter how much I love this, there re times when I need a little creative pep talk. Here are a few of the things that I try to keep me interested and motivated to getting the best shot.

1) Change focal lengths: I love the 70-200mm f/2.8 lens. So when start to feel like I am just going through the motions, I switch up lenses to something wider like the 24-70mm f/2.8 lens or the 20-35mm f/2.8 lens. It’s uncomfortable, it can be frustrating, and it forces me to really look at the scene as it unfolds in front of me.

2) Change locations: There isn’t much space to work in photo pit and I usually start over on stage left. So when I am feeling complacent, it’s time to move over tot he middle or stage right.

3) Use the lighting: I have really started to try and use the stage lighting more in my images. Instead of just focusing on the performer, I start to look to see if I can incorporate the lights as an element in the image and not just as something illuminating the subject. This can mean dropping the shutter speed a little so you have to really time it right to get a sharp image.

4) Stop and watch: There are times when the lighting is so tough, that it is better to put the camera down and just take a few moments to watch what is going on. Look for lighting patterns or angles that might make a better shot.

5) Stay out of the pack: I really don’t want the same shot as everyone else in the photo pit. So I tend not to crowd right in the same areas as everyone else. I will try to get a different angle on the same scene by shooting from further rout to the sides. This works really well with bands that like to reach out to the crowd.

6) Turn around: This is something that I really need to do more often. Photos of the fans watching the show can be just as much fun as photos of the band.

The payoff is that if you treat each shoot as if it was the most important thing you could be doing, chances are your images will reflect that. I know mine do.

You can see more of Alan’s work and keep up with his blog at AlanHessPhotography.com, and follow him on Twitter, Google+, and Facebook. You can also come check out his classes at Photoshop World Atlanta or on KelbyTraining.com, and pick up one of his many photography books or eBooks.

Tuesday
Dec
2013
10

Tuesday News Stuff (and a cool giveaway)

by Scott Kelby  |  5 Comments

Bucs/Bills
First, to kick things off here are a couple of shots from the Bucs/Bills game on Sunday (I’ll share some game action shots over on my Facebook/Twitter/G+ accts. The 49ers come to town this Sunday and that should be a really fun game to shoot, so I’m looking forward to that one for sure.

Thanks Toronto!
What a great city to wrap up this year’s tour! It was my last seminar of the year and the photographers in Toronto sure made it a memorable one. Great turnout (The seminar was sold out weeks in advance). I’m over at Henry’s Camera on Church St. in downtown Toronto today if you’re around and want to come by (it’s free!). I’ll be talking lighting and retouching.

Jeff’s giving away the farm!
My buddy, sports photographer Jeff Cable is doing it again, but this time he’s giving away nearly $3,000 worth of goodies (including some of my new books, and Lexar cards and readers, and an Epson printer, and on and on). To enter, just head over to Jeff’s Facebook page (here’s the link).

New Kelby Training iPad App is on the way!
We’ve submitted the updated, IOS7-compatible Kelby Training Online App to the App store, and as soon as Apple approves it (hopefully by the end of this week/first of next week), I’ll let you know. We’re working with an Android developer to create our first Android version of the App and I’ll let you know how that progresses (thus far, we haven’t had a whole lot of luck developing for the Android platform, but our fingers are crossed that this time we’ll have better luck).

OK, that’s it from the frozen tundra of Canada (OK, that might just be stretching it a bit, but it is super-brrrrrrr here — at least for this Florida guy). Hope you all have a fantastic Tuesday!

 

 

Monday
Dec
2013
09

Just Released: My ebook on Pro Sports Photography Workflow

by Scott Kelby  |  18 Comments

The video above explains the new ebook (and it’s short and sweet, just like the book), but I just wanted to reiterate: this ebook is designed for photographers who are shooting on assignment and have to get their images sorted, tagged and uploaded on a deadline. But don’t buy it without watching the video above (important!).

Here’s the link to it on Amazon and on Apple’s iBooks Store. 

It’s $9.99 (cheap!)

Hope you find it helpful. :)

-Scott

Friday
Dec
2013
06

Some Shots From Last Week’s Wedding Shoot

by Scott Kelby  |  113 Comments

Last Saturday I shot a wedding in Orlando, Florida and I thought I’d share a few pages from the Wedding proof book I put together in Lightroom.

This was about as ideal of a shooting situation as you’re going to get: The bride and groom, Ryan and Lindsay, could not have been easier to work with, and Linsday was a stunning bride (and both Ryan and Lindsay were both very photogenic, which made my job really easy). They were really a joy to photograph and they were incredibly accommodating. The groomsmen and bridesmaids were wonderful and the parents couldn’t have been nicer, and the surroundings were first class all the way. The pre-wedding and reception were held at the gorgeous Ritz Carlton, and the ceremony itself in a beautiful church in Winter Park.

I really wanted to do this right, so I brought some serious back-up: I had the wonderful Kathy Porupski as my 2nd shooter during the ceremony (she could only cover the ceremony itself, but she totally rocked it!), and I had Brad Moore assisting me with the lighting (and doing some 2nd shooting pre-wedding and at the reception) along with Pete Collins and we even got our buddy Kevin Graham (who lives in Orlando) to help us out, so I had everything well covered, and my crew did a great job during a long 16-hour day with only one 30-minute break all day.

Camera Stuff
I’ll leave the rest to the captions, but in short, I shot withthe pre-wedding images with a Canon 1Dx, and a 70-200mm f/2.8 and a 24-70mm. I also used the new Profoto B-1 Off-Camera Flash with a 5′ Octa softbox for the formals of the groomsmen, and for formals at the church, and some pre-wedding portraits.

For the reception, I used pretty much just one lens — the 85mm f/1.2 but I shot it at f/1.4 (I’m not sure I’m accurate enough at run-and-gun photography to keep enough in focus at f/1.2. I’m pushing it at f/1.4) with a Canon Speedlight 600EX-RT flash mounted on the hot shoe (aiming straight upward — seen a bit farther down below).

An Un-plugged Wedding
We sent the bride a link to the CNN article I talked about here on the blog about “un-plugged weddings” where the Bride and Groom ask the guests to NOT take their own photos at the wedding, and leave the photography to the hired photographers and the guests just relax and enjoy the day, and the bride loved the idea and rolled with it. I cannot tell you how much easier that made our job. Three cheers to the bride and groom who totally embraced the idea.

OK, on to the wedding album proofs:

Above: I used a 105mm Macro lens on a tripod for this one.

Above: Here’s the set-up for that shot, taken on the balcony of the bride’s hotel room right after the bouquets were delivered.

Above: The bride’s mom and dad on the right page. Lovely people (really made us feel at home).

Above: The flower girls were absolutely adorable — love the portrait drawn while the bridesmaids were getting ready.

Above: We had set aside just over an hour for portraits of the bride at the hotel before we left for the church, but as is usually the case, things ran behind and as it turned out I actually only wound up with less than 20 minutes with her and a long walk to here I wanted to shoot. The shot at the top of the page was made as we were walking back through the hotel’s convention lobby on the way to her limo to race to the church. I ran in front of Lindsay and asked her to pause just a moment right in the window light just long enough to pose her and get that shot. She was incredibly calm throughout, even though we were cutting it really close in getting to the church on time.

Above: Here’s a behind the scenes of the shot in the spread above, right page. Taken using a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens.

Above: The shot on the right is one of my favorites. It’s taken on the staircase leading to the spa, just outside the hotel (so he had to hoof it a bit to get there). I’m standing on a step ladder (the ladder cart I mention in one of my books), and I’m using the Canon 16-35mm lens at 16mm. I also over-exposed nearly a stop using just natural light. On the left: That’s the bride still laughing and smiling after walking pretty darn far to get there.

Above: I shot a few from the right side as well, without the ladder and a tighter lens. 

Above: More shots taken on the way back to the limo. For the shot on the right, I asked Pete and Brad to ask the flower girls to hide out-of-site for a moment and once the bride started walking, have them come out and follow the bride but not run up to catch her. That way I could have them out-of-focus in the background, as you see here (I was shooting at f/2.8). , and it worked out pretty well. They’re a little cut-off on the left side of the page just because of the page dimensions. If I wind up making this a two-page spread, you see all of them and lots of breathing room as well.

Above: Here’s a behind-the-scenes of the shot on the page above left.

Above: I saw a small bench in front of this window and I asked (begged) Lindsay to let me just take one more and I promised it would be the last one before she jumps in the limo. She gladly obliged and I’m so glad she did.

Above: The shot on the right is on those circular stairs leading to the spa, shot using just natural light. I’m down at the bottom of the stairs, shooting up towards her.

Above: Here’s a behind-the-scenes of the ring closeup in the previous spread. That’s Pete Collins holding a white card to bounce some window light back onto the rings to create a highlight. The shot was taken on an end table in the hotel room.

Above: Here’s a wide angle shot with my 16mm of the bride and groom walking down the aisle in a two-page spread. The church doesn’t allow any photographers near the front of the church during the ceremony whatsoever, so I went either really wide or 200mm tight. Honestly, I wished I had brought at 300mm, or at least a 1.4 tele-extender.

Above: This one’s just using the available room light and me cranking up the ISO, which worked amazingly well. 

Above: After the ceremony, right before we arrived at the Ritz Carlton, I stopped for just a minute to jump out to get this shot, thinking it would make a great transition in the album between the ceremony and the reception.

Above: The bride and groom make their entrance to the reception ballroom.

Above: On the right, the groom’s father gives a warm welcome speech. He really looks like a star in this shot (and his welcome speech was one of the best!). That him below dancing with his daughter.

Above: Here’s me shooting directly into a video light to get a lens flare effect.

Above: For all these shots I’m either just using that one Canon Speedlight, aiming straight upward (so just a little light goes forward toward the subjects), or I turned off the flash and just shot at a high ISO to get the shutter speed up high enough to freeze motion. My strategy was to position myself directly across from the moving lights the band put up aiming at the dance floor. That way, I could get a lens-flare effect when the light aimed right at my lens. It didn’t work every time but when it did, I thought it looked great (that’s how I got all these shots with the exception of the top right where the lens flare didn’t work, but I really liked the shot.

Above: Here’s my set-up for shooting the reception. 85mm f/1.2 and a Canon 600EX-RT Speedlight.

These are just a few of the pages from the album (I didn’t include any of the formals at the church here, or all of the reception shots, or getting-ready shots, and so on), so these are just a few of my favorite spreads from the book.

A wedding like this is a lot of work
Even with a whole team (my thanks to Kathy, Pete, Brad and Kevin who were all very professional and a huge help from start to finish), but of course, my work has just begun — I’ve got prints to deliver, a final book to create, web proof pages, and a myriad of things before our work is done. We had a really great time, thanks to a Bride, Groom who knew what kind of images they wanted, and were very accommodating to make sure we had the opportunity to create them.

We were honored to have the opportunity to share in Lindsay and Ryan’s special day, and their willingness to request an “unplugged” wedding from their guests made our job so much easier and less stressful for everyone. It was a beautiful wedding of two lovely people, and I feel very fortunate to have been small part of it. Here’s to the Bride and Groom — and to love and laughter, happily ever after. :)

Thursday
Dec
2013
05

It’s Free Stuff Thursday!

by Brad Moore  |  12 Comments

The Art of Photography with Peter Hurley
Take an inspiration break with Mia McCormick and Peter Hurley, an advertising and commercial photographer based in New York. Peter is known around the world for his ability to draw emotion and expression from people posing for his headshots, but you may not know the story about how he got started and built the business he has today. Over the course of an hour Mia and Peter discuss a wide variety of topics that range from getting started in the business to figuring out how to create a viable career, from what Peter’s typical day looks like to the importance of building relationships, having the burning desire, setting goals, and so much more!

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 9 – Toronto, ON

Lightroom 5 Live with Matt Kloskowski
Dec 6 – Seattle, WA
Dec 13 – Jacksonville, FL
Jan 23 – San Antonio, TX
Jan 31 – Covington, KY (Cincinnati Area)

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!

Last Week’s Winners
Matt Kloskowski Class Rental
- Brian

Kelby Training Live Ticket
- Alicia Stanley

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

Wednesday
Dec
2013
04

It’s Guest Blog Wednesday featuring Gabriel Biderman!

by Brad Moore  |  17 Comments

Shooting Stars
Admit it, you are enamored by certain stars; you follow and keep track of all of their movements. I’m a sucker for stars too, but more of the celestial type. There is a certain magic to shooting at night and capturing what can’t be seen with the naked eye. Hopefully these tips will inspire or help you improve your night visions.

The Right Stuff
In order to successfully capture the night I would recommend a digital camera from the last 2-3 years, a sturdy tripod, and a cable release. I tend to shoot wide, 18mm-21mm, to include more of the sky. However when shooting wide, it is very important to incorporate an interesting foreground. Trees, rocks, and structures will add more dimension and scale against the night sky.

Get Out Of Town
Get away from all the light pollution of the city to better capture the starry skies. If you can’t see the stars, then neither can your camera. This shot was taken 40 minutes north of NYC, at the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. The three crosses shot (later in the blog) was taken in the remote town of Las Cruces, Baja – and revealed more stars than I had ever seen or imagined.

Be In Tune With The Moon
Photographing under the moonlight can be a magical and therapeutic experience. The size and brightness of the moon will depend on what phase it’s in. Knowing this and what time the moon will be rising, will dictate the length of your exposure. I use the MoonPhase app to plot out what nights will be the best to shoot. The app, Moonrise, lets you drop a pin on a location/date and find out when the moon will be rising and setting.

Focus To Infinity
Autofocus doesn’t work for most night photography; there simply isn’t enough contrast in the scene. If you are shooting the stars and not including any foreground for 20-30 feet then switch to manual focus and set it to infinity. Note that most AF lenses go past infinity – so make sure to align the infinity symbol correctly to the MF hash mark on your lens. To focus on dark foregrounds without contrast use a high power flashlight so you can autofocus. Once you have locked down the focus – switch the camera back to manual focus so when you trigger the exposure it doesn’t search for focus again.

The 500 Rule For Better Celestial Skies
There are two ways to interpret stars – either as star points or star trails. Digital capture has made photographing star points, or celestial skies, easier than ever. A good starting point for capturing a celestial sky is a 25 second shutter speed, ISO 3200, at f/4. That was the exposure details of the Milky Way shot over Independence, California.

How do we figure out our exposure?

The most important factor is time. The earth rotates and when we capture star trails we are actually capturing the rotation of the earth – the stars remain constant.

There is a simple equation that will tell us how long we can expose until the stars start to trail. It was originally called the 600 Rule, which is probably safe for viewing on the web. But if you want to print or view the images at 100%, I recommend using the 500 Rule, where you divide 500 by the focal length of your lens.

500/24mm = 20 seconds

500/50mm = 10 seconds

The more telephoto the lens, the more it will zoom in and magnify the movement of the stars.

Now comes the balance of ISO and Aperture.  The two factors to consider is how fast and sharp your lens is wide open and how high can your camera’s ISO safely go?  I typically like to stop my lens down at least one stop – so from f/2.8 to f/4, and there is often a big difference between the noise at 3200 ISO and 6400 ISO.

Let Them Trail!
Star trails definitely have that “wow” factor, especially if we can point our camera north and expose for at least one hour. The problem is noise. Nothing creates more noise in-cameras than long exposures – it’s like a herculean effort to hold that shutter open! A quick and easy solution is to go into your camera’s menu and turn on your Long Exposure Noise Reduction (LENR). This will create a black mask over your image that will eat away most of the noise in-camera. However this often takes the same amount of time as your exposure (1 hour exposure + 1 hour LENR) and renders your camera useless until the “processing” is over. A more productive way is to take a series of images that will equal one long exposure and then stack them together in post. For example 18 five minute exposures = 1 ½ hours.

The trick with stacking is that you need to use a cable release like the Vello Shutterboss, and make sure your interval between images is no longer than a second or else you will have significant breaks in your stars. Even at a second, blown up to 100% you will probably notice subtle breaks in the stars.

Which do you like more – the star points or star trails?

Stacking In Post
There are lots of star stacking actions out there but I’ve gotten the best result by simply opening up all the images as layers in Photoshop and then changing the blend mode to lighten for each one. This will quickly and simply connect all the lines.

Operating under the stars can be a magical experience. I want to thank Scott and Brad for inviting me to share my nocturnal visions with you. If you want to learn more – the book I co-authored with Tim Cooper, Night Photography:  From Snapshots to Great Shots, was just released! If you are in NYC on Wednesday December 4, we are having at book signing/gallery opening at the Soho Photo Gallery from 7pm-9pm and would love to see you. Also, night workshops are some of the coolest ways to get more comfortable photographing in the dark. There are lots of options across the States that offer hands on teaching often in locations that you normally can’t access at a night. You can find out more info on my workshops and adventures at ruinism.com.

Carpe Noctem!

You can see more of Gabriel’s work at Ruinism.com, and follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+

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