Wednesday
Feb
2013
13

It’s Guest Blog Wednesday featuring Jeff Cable!

by Brad Moore  |  11 Comments

Shooting the Olympic Games: The preparation, challenges, and the advantages!

Hundreds of millions of people have watched the Olympic Games on their televisions or seen the countless images being transmitted online from this epic sporting event, but far fewer have had the opportunity to experience the Olympics first hand. Trust me, being there is truly an amazing experience!

I have been lucky enough to photograph three Olympic Games (Beijing, Vancouver, and London) and I am already preparing for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

Since you are reading this on Scott’s blog, chances are you have an interest in photography, and maybe even sports photography. I thought you might like to know what it is like to be a photographer at the Olympics.

Photographer Dave Black says that “shooting the Olympics is like photographing three Super Bowls per day for 16 consecutive days.” And he is right. At the Olympics, the pressure is huge and the competition is fierce—and I am just talking about the photographers!

But let’s back up for a second and talk about the planning, since well before shooting the Olympics, there is a ton of preparation involved.

The Preparation
The first and most important part is getting the ever-coveted Olympic photographer credentials. Since most countries only get a handful of these, this is rarely ever a “given” and must be earned.  It took me years of work and building relationships to get my first chance. Now that I have photographed numerous Games and proven myself, this process is a little easier than trying to break into this from square one, but still never a “given.”

Then, assuming that I get my credentials, there is the challenge of travel and lodging. I need to find airlines that make it easy for me to carry on lots of gear, since I have no desire to check my expensive camera gear. Before my first Olympics, I lost weeks of sleep just trying to figure out what gear to bring with me. How many cameras? Which lenses? How many memory cards? How many bags?

And, this is the Olympics, which means that hotel rooms are hard to find and expensive. It’s imperative to find a place to stay that is close enough to the Olympic Park, with easy access to the press buses, but not crazy expensive. Access to the press buses is key, since this helps me avoid crowded public transportation. Did you know that they have special “Olympic lanes” on the roads? The press buses are allowed to use the special lanes en route to the park, which saves more time, and time is at a premium.

Before leaving for the Games, I need to be “in the know.”  I need to know everything I can about the sports I’ll be photographing. Having an intimate knowledge of the sport helps me predict the key moments and best shooting locations. I also need to know about the venues. In London I spent a lot of time at the Water Polo venue, so I arrived there four days before the competition started and walked every inch of the building. I learned the allowable shooting positions, the restrictions, possible remote locations, pressroom details, and much more. And, of course, I need to know my camera inside and out. At the most recent 2012 Summer Olympics in London, I was using the newly released Canon 1DX. I was lucky enough to get my hands on a prototype of the camera a month before I left for London, so that I could become familiar with the new user interface and button layout.

The Challenges
Before shooting my first Olympics, I looked at the schedule and mapped out a plan of events to shoot. It was not until I got to the visiting city that I realized that the distance between venues and extended travel time meant that I could only shoot two or three sports per day. Not only are the events in many different locations, but their times often overlap, as well. There were many times in Vancouver when I could not photograph both USA Hockey teams (men and women) because their games overlapped and the arenas were an hour apart. I found a new tool while in London that was a real game-changer for me. For the first time ever, there was an iPhone app for the Olympics, which listed out the events for the day. If my schedule changed for any reason, I could look at the app, see what other events might be upcoming, and change my plan right there and then. It was awesome!

It’s also very important to get into a shooting position early. It’s not possible to show up last minute to the swimming pool to shoot a medal event. There will likely be hundreds of other photographers there, taking the best spots. It also helps to understand how many others will be shooting with you. The Summer Olympics, for example, might have 2,000 photographers onsite, while the Winter Olympics averages only 800 of us shooters.

Oh, and this is the Olympics. You can’t just shoot from anywhere. Most of the time, shooting locations are limited and mapped out by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). This makes it even harder to find a unique shot.  Often times, I will walk into the spectator area to try to find a unique perspective, but when shooting up-close to the action, you are generally lumped in with all the other shooters. Each venue will have their own restrictions, so before shooting there for the first time, I stop by the venue press office and ask about their setup. They let me know when I can enter the playing area, where we can stand, if remote cameras are allowed, etc. If I have never photographed that particular sport, I might even ask advice for optimum lens choice. Some events, like the Opening and Closing Ceremonies and certain gold medal matches, are what they call “high impact events” and those require tickets, even for us photographers. For those tickets, you must apply to your National Olympic Committee (NOC, or in my case the USOC). Believe it or not, there are many photographers who go to the Olympics who can’t get tickets to the Opening Ceremonies.

I mentioned that time is at a premium at the Olympics. This is really an understatement. The typical hours of an Olympic photographer are 9 a.m. until 2 a.m. every day. This is the one time in my life where I eat to survive, not to enjoy the food. For me, just about every waking moment is taken up by prepping, shooting, downloading, moving from one location to another, editing, posting, and blogging. I was under contractual obligations to go through my images from each game and get them back to Team USA within two hours of the completion of that event. That means that I am going through thousands of photos, finding the best 10 or 15 shots, adjusting them (exposure, white balance, cropping—no cloning is allowed), and then sending them through ftp back to the U.S. Most nights in London, I was eating a quick dinner at midnight while posting a blog or the last images from that day.

The key to shooting the Olympics, like so many other photography assignments, is to tell a story. For this reason, I’m always acutely aware of what is happening in front of me as I capture my images. Who is the star? Who just made a game-changing mistake? Who is the most interesting person to the audience back home?

The Advantages
Along with all of the challenges of shooting the Olympics, come the big advantages of being there. First of all, I am at the Olympics! Even though I have photographed three of these events already, I still get chills thinking about the next one. There is a very special vibe at the Games, with most people very excited to be there, and lots of geographic pride. This leads me to the next advantage: I get to represent my country. Not as an athlete, but as a professional who is there to do my job and do it as well as possible. Heck, I’m competing to get that “gold medal shot” that nobody else captured.

As a fully accredited photographer at the Olympics, I have the best seats in the house and often times get a chance to mingle with the athletes. And every shot that I take is another piece of history being captured.

While one of the biggest challenges is dealing with hundreds or thousands of photographers vying for the killer shot, it’s also one of the best advantages of being at the Olympics. I get a chance to meet amazing photographers from all over the world, and see them again at the next Games. Spending time together in this pressure-cooker environment makes you a close-knit family in a short amount of time.

Another great advantage of shooting the Olympics is that I get a chance to photograph unique and varied sports. Trust me, there isn’t a whole lot of bobsledding action in the San Francisco area! I love the challenge of shooting something different, and often find that my favorite images from the Games are from sports that were new for me.

Shooting the Olympics does provide one large business advantage for me. It helps me to build my reputation within the photo community. And I won’t lie; having the Olympic credentials definitely impresses potential clients. In this competitive environment, if this helps me differentiate myself from the other photographers in my area, that’s a good thing.

Lastly, and most importantly, shooting the Olympics is fun! Sure, it is a ton of pressure, endless work, and crazy long hours, but it is a blast nonetheless.

You can see more of Jeff’s work at JeffCable.com, keep up with him on his blog, and like him on Facebook.

Tuesday
Feb
2013
12

Blind Critiques on The Grid

by Scott Kelby  |  0 Comments

Tomorrow, February 13 is Blind Critique day on The Grid! Matt and I will be joined by landscape, travel, and humanitarian photographer Colby Brown, so those are the types of images we’ll be choosing to critique tomorrow.

If you’d like to have your travel and landscape photos considered for tomorrow’s blind critiques (we show your images but don’t mention your name on the air), just leave us a link to your images AT THIS ADDRESS: http://kelbytv.com/thegrid/critique/

That’s the only place we’ll be picking images from, so don’t leave a comment here to submit your photos. Go there and pay close attention to the instructions at the top of the page for the best chance at being picked for critique.

We’ll pick 20 or so photographers’ work to go over on the show, and the live show is broadcast tomorrow at 4:00 pm ET. (Here’s a world time-zone calculator: http://bit.ly/JUuYUj — use New York City as our time zone). See you on The Grid!

Tuesday
Feb
2013
12

Shooting Exotic Sports Cars at the duPont Registry

by Scott Kelby  |  50 Comments

Above: A Lamborghini Gallardo shot at the duPont Registry Headquarters in Clearwater, Florida.

When I was at Photoshop World in Las Vegas last September, I ran into an old friend, Manuel Obordo (literally, the guy who taught me Photoshop —- if you’ve heard any interviews about how I got started in this business, you’ve heard me tell the story of Manuel).

Manuel is the duPont Registry magazine’s Director of Technology (the duPont Registry is a luxury car and lifestyle magazine that’s hugely popular here in the USA, and I’ve been reading it, and drooling over the cars in it, as long as I can remember). When I saw him I asked if I could come and shoot some of their collection of cars (I had heard they always have all kinds of cool, and man did they ever). So, on Friday Brad and I went and did a location scouting trip out to their headquarters, and then yesterday Brad and I shot there from 2:00 pm to around 5:30 — all with just one strobe (an Elinchrom Ranger Quadra and then when its battery finally ran out from shooting at full power the whole time, a regular ol’ Elinchrom Ranger for the last car), and just one softbox — a 5-foot stripbank. That’s it.)

Above: A detail shot of a Ferrari’s F-430′s wheel.

Above: Here’s the rear of the Ferrari, lit so just the highlights show. It didn’t hurt that the Ferrari was already black. Also, there’s this program called Photoshop that helped here a bit, too).

Above: Here’s a behind-the-scenes shot so you can see the full rig. That’s Brad Moore with our strip bank and flash mounted on a monopod. The Ranger battery back is on the floor. If you’re wondering how the background went so solid black, it’s because I’m using the camera settings and techniques I learned from a KelbyTraining.com class from Award-winning commercial automative photographer Tim Wallace. I used an f/stop (in this case, f/22) and I got the softbox close enough to a very quick fall-off to the light. I used my Nikon D800 for this shoot so I would have loads of detail and file size.

So, while there are rows and banks of florescent lights above us, and through my view finder I can see the stacks of boxes in the background, and I can see right out the large windows, when I fire the flash, it crushes down the ambient light to nothing and only the light from the strobe lights the car. If you watch Tim’s class, you’ll totally get the technique. It doesn’t hurt to have really cool cars to use it on, though.

Above: Same light, but I had Brad move over to the left a bit and place the softbox at an angle to this view of the Ferrari and the engine compartment in the rear. Those highlights are the soft box reflecting in the car’s rear hood and glass.

Above: Here’s a close-up detail shot using a Macro lens; hand held with the same lighting set-up and settings.

Above: Here’s the set up I used for the hood shot, and for headlight detail shots.

Above: The previous five photos use the same everything; we’re just moving around the car. The cars were parked together really tightly and we couldn’t move the cars, so it made it pretty challenging some times (well, for Brad anyway).

Above: They also had a rare Corvette Sting Ray with Split Rear windows and I couldn’t help but get a few shots.

Above: Here’s one of the rear views [stop snicker -- I meant the car] — still only that one soft box — the reflections are doing double-duty.

Above: Here’s a Behind-the scenes shot, and Brad is wearing the Elinchrom Quadra Ranger battery pack over his shoulder on the right. This was our first time with the new Lithium Ion battery and we couldn’t believe how light that battery pack was with it. Brad was super-diggin’ it.

Above: They also had a brand new Fisker Karma (first time I’d see one in person up close), so I wanted to shoot it as well. It’s hard shooting a white car, so we warmed up on this car. I only got a handful of shots I liked but at the end of the shoot I got this one I liked.

Above: To get the perspective you saw in the last shot I needed to lay down on the ground, and Brad mounted the softbox on a boom stand and put it just a little bit in front of the car, as seen here. I’m shooting tethered directly into Lightroom for most of the day, but later we were “runnin’ and gunnin’ so I shot directly to the card in my camera. This gives you an idea of how tight the quarters were to get side shots of the cars.

I took a lot more images, including images of a Harley Davidson Sportster and that 1937 Lincoln Zephyr on the left of the Karma I’m shoot, but I’m running out of space here.

My thanks to Tim Wallace — a brilliant teacher, amazing photographer, and terrific guy because I wouldn’t’ be shooting this stuff without learning his techniques first, so if any of them look OK, Tim deserves the credit.

Above: That’s me with Manuel “Manny” Obordo at Photoshop World last year. He’s usually much more smiley than he appears here. He’s a totally cool guy, smart as anything, and you don’t want to play him in golf  – especially for money. 

Also, a big thanks to Tom duPont, all the patient crew at the duPont Registry magazine, and especially my buddy Manuel Obordo (shown with me above) who not only made this shoot happen, but 20-something years ago taught me how to use the Pen tool, which I always felt was the biggest breakthrough I had in learning Photoshop, and the whole Photoshop thing has worked out pretty well for me so far, so although thanks isn’t nearly enough Manny…thanks!

Monday
Feb
2013
11

Join Me Wednesday Night for 90-minutes of the Coolest Photoshop Tips and Tricks Yet! (and it’s free!)

by Scott Kelby  |  9 Comments

Do you totally love Photoshop tips & tricks? Me too!
That’s probably why our NAPP-a-Thon a few months ago broke records. So much so, that we’re going it again, but this time it’s a “Photoshop World-a-Thon” where we’ll be sharing a ton Photoshop tips LIVE from 7:30 PM to 9:00 PM ET this Wednesday night.

It’s 90-minutes of cool Photoshop tricks to give folks an idea of what it’s like to be at the Photoshop World Conference & Expo (coming up in Orlando on April 17-19 at the Orange County Convention Center).

PLUS, we’re giving away a Full Conference Pass to someone watching live EVERY 10 MINUTES!!!!

BUT, it’s getting crazier than that! We’re giving away everything from hotel room nights in Orlando during the conference to Walt Disney World tickets, to lots of cool stuff from the exhibitors that will be on our Expo Floor.

ALSO: We’ll be running some sweet deals on full conference passes, too so you don’t want to miss any of it!

It’s going to be a blast, so join me and the gang this WEDNESDAY night!

Who: Matt, RC, Corey, Pete, and Me (“The Photoshop Guys”)
What: A 90-minute love-fest of our favorite cool Photoshop tips
Where:  RSVP right here: http://photoshopworld.com/webcasts/ 
When: This Wednesday (two days from now) at 7:30 pm to 9:00 pm ET
(Here’s a world time-zone calculator: http://bit.ly/JUuYUj – use New York City as our time zone).
Why: We hope that when you learn all this cool stuff, and get a preview of what it’s like at Photoshop World (we’re each going to preview some stuff from the classes we’re teaching), that you’ll say, “Yeah, this is the year….I’m going!” If you already want to go to Photoshop World — awesome — here’s where you can sign up now (and save $100 with an Early Bird discount on your Full Conference Pass).

Hope you’ll join us there on Wednesday! We’re gonna get tipsy! (wah, wah, wahhhh).

Thanks,

-Scott

P.S. Can you please invite your friends? Everyone’s welcome and we want to get as many people to tune in as possible. Many thanks in advance. 

Friday
Feb
2013
08

It’s “A Bunch of Stuff” Friday (and I made the Top 10. Woot!)

by Scott Kelby  |  23 Comments

Hi Gang: Not really one big topic today, but here’s a bunch of quick stuff that’s going on:

A big thanks to the readers of Shutter magazine, who named me as one the Top 10 Most Influential in the Industry (I came in at #6). I am very grateful to everyone who voted for me, and to Shutter who did a feature on each of the top 10, and I included some caps of their article about me below (here’s the link to the article in Shutter, where you can read the interview and see all the winners, which included my buddy Joe McNally).

“10 Tips for Creating a Successful Portfolio”
Cliff Mautner (named one of the Top 10 Wedding Photographers in the World” by American Photo magazine) was our in-studio guest this week on “The Grid” (our free weekly show for photographers) and this episode is getting a lot of buzz. Our Topic was “10 Tips for Creating a Successful Portfolio” and Cliff was the perfect guest because of his insights into the world of wedding photography. Great episode and if you missed it, you can watch it right below.

 

The US Navy retweeted my Carrier Shot blog post
When I saw this on Twitter:

“@scottkelby got a once in a lifetime chance – take photos aboard CVN77. This AWESOME photos & blog –> ow.ly/htX1J”

I was so excited, and so honored, and just totally psyched!!!! Whoo Hooo!!!!

The Evolution of an On-Location Portrait Session
Our good friend Rick Sammon has a wonderful post today over on his blog called “The Evolution of an On-Location Portrait Session.” The images and behind-the-scenes stuff are terrific, and there are some real learning moments. Also, if you’re already a Kelby Training Online subscriber, make sure you check out Rick’s online classes (they have been really rockin’!).  Anyway, if you’ve got a sec, check out Rick’s post right here: http://bit.ly/14BTX67

Above: One of Rick’s shots from his post. Very cool stuff!

Tutorial: How to control the panning of still images and video in Photoshop CS6
Check out this Awesome Photoshop tutorial from our friend (and NAPP Photoshop Guru) Nicole S. Young for people who edit DSLR Video in Photoshop CS6 (and CS6 is perfect for photographers who want to edit video without learning a whole video editing program). Here’s the link: Way to rock it Nicole!!!! :-)

Big shout out to “Weekly Photo Tips” for their in-depth review of our magazine for photographers using hot shoe flash and studio lighting: “Light It Magazine” for iPad (above).

My favorite line from the review? It’s where they said:

“If I could only have one photography publication, it would be Light It, hands down.” Woot!!! :)

Here’s the link if you’ve got a second: http://bit.ly/YGBLVN

Psyched to see one of my shots from the aircraft carrier make PhotoExtract.com’s
“8 Top Google+ Photographs” list for January 29th!

Here’s the link: http://www.photoextract.com/plus-extract/2013/1/29 (Whoo Hoo!). :-)

Man, it’s be an amazing few weeks!!!!! My feet still aren’t touching the ground.

Thanks everybody for all your support, kind comments, and good vibes this past few weeks. Here’s wishing you a super-kick-butt weekend and we’ll see ya back here on Monday.

Cheers! -–Scott

P.S. Don’t make plans for Wednesday night — we’ve got something fun brewing! :-)

Thursday
Feb
2013
07

It’s Free Stuff Thursday!

by Brad Moore  |  115 Comments

Peter Hurley – Mastering Headshot Photography
SHABANG! The latest class in the KelbyTraining.com library is Peter Hurley’s Mastering Headshot Photography, but don’t let the name fool you… If you photograph people AT ALL, you need to watch this class. Peter doesn’t focus on lighting or the technical aspects of his shoots, he focuses on the people in front of his camera. Watch as he works his magic to pull great expressions and emotions from his subject, and learn how the smallest thing can make the difference between an okay picture and a great photograph.

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

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

Lightroom 4 Live with Matt Kloskowski
Feb 20 – Arlington, TX
Feb 22 – Atlanta, GA
Mar 22 – Phoenix, AZ

Photoshop CS6 for Photographers with RC Concepcion
Feb 27 – Richmond, VA
Mar 15 – Tampa, FL
Mar 25 – Houston, TX

Photographic Artistry with Adobe Photoshop with Ben Willmore
Mar 19 – New York, NY
Mar 20 – Washington, DC

Leave a comment for your chance to win a free ticket to one of these events!

Cliff Mautner Lighting and Skillset Bootcamp
Want to spend a couple of days with Cliff Mautner in London? This summer is your chance!

When: June 11th and 12th
Where: Moor Park, Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire WD3 1QN
Why: It will empower photographers with the skills needed to obtain a style of their own.

The workshop is limited to 20, and more information can be found on Cliff’s blog. You can send an email to cliff@cmphotography.com with questions or to register.

Leave a comment for your chance to win a free rental of one of Cliff’s KelbyTraining.com classes!

Nikon Capture NX 2
Want to learn how to edit your photos using Nikon’s Capture NX 2 software? Check out this class from Scott Diussa to see how you can take full advantage of this powerful, yet easy to use program.

And, leave a comment for your chance to win a free pass for this class!

Winner
Lightroom 4 Live Ticket
- JessicaD

Photoshop CS6 for Photographers Live Ticket
- KC

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