Thursday
Jul
2013
25

It’s Free Stuff Thursday!

by Brad Moore  |  19 Comments

Photoshop World Webcast – TONIGHT!
Be sure to tune in tonight at 7:00PM ET to get a glimpse of what’s going to be happening at Photoshop World Vegas! The Photoshop Guys will be showing you what they’re teaching at the conference, and we’ll also have tutorials from other instructors! If you have questions, we’ll be talking to you in the live chat and answering them on air. We’ll also be offering an additional discount to people who register during the webcast, and we have some free stuff to give away (including tickets to Photoshop World), so register now to be entered into the drawing for those!

It’s all happening at PhotoshopWorld.com/webcasts tonight at 7:00PM ET, so we’ll see you there (invite your friends too)!

Studio Photography Techniques Using Constant Lighting
Join Master Craftsmen Photographer James Schmelzer in Studio Photography Techniques Using Constant Lighting as he guides you through the transition from strobes to using constant lighting sources. Constant lighting gives us the ability to better read the lighting on the face. James starts off with an introduction into lighting theory, then takes you through the step-by-step process of setting up various types of constant lighting sources, and ways to create different effects with some of the lights that are available today. Constant lighting sources make it fun and easy to experiment, and you’ll leave the class feeling inspired to try some of the techniques in your own photography!

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

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

Shoot Like A Pro with Scott Kelby
July 29 – Colorado Springs, CO
Aug 16 – San Antonio, TX
Aug 21 – Indianapolis, IN
Aug 27 – San Jose, CA

Photographic Artistry with Ben Willmore
July 22 – Cleveland, OH

One Light, Two Light with Joe McNally
July 31 – Virginia Beach, VA
Aug 7 – Charlotte, NC
Aug 9 – Pittsburgh, PA

Lightroom 5 with Matt Kloskowski
Aug 2 – Hartford, CT

Lots more dates have been added for the rest of the year, so head over to the Kelby Training Live site to get the full schedule! And leave a comment for your chance to win a ticket to one of these events!

Free Cross-Processing Lightroom & Photoshop Preset Pack from Nicolesy
Nicole S. Young
, a.k.a. “Nicolesy”, is giving away a free preset pack for Lightroom and Photoshop over in her store! And, as a bonus, her presets also contain an action set for Photoshop CC users, thanks to the new Camera Raw filter. The preset pack will be a FREE DOWNLOAD through Sunday night, so head over there soon to get your copy. And, while you’re there, if you see anything else you like in the store, Nicole has offered a 20% discount code for you to use on all products, good through July 31st: KELBY20

Winners
Photoshop World Ticket
- James Minns

Zack Arias Class Rental
- Banh

Kelby Training Live Ticket
- Mark

If you’re one of the lucky winners, we’ll be in touch soon! Have a great Thursday, and we’ll see you tonight at 7PM ET for the Photoshop World Webcast!

Wednesday
Jul
2013
24

It’s Guest Blog Wednesday featuring Mike Kubeisy!

by Brad Moore  |  10 Comments

Perception. When you watch a James Bond movie you just know James will show up in a black tux adjusting his bow tie and tugging his jacket to look sharp, kind of like “That’s right I’m here. Bond, James Bond!” Actually it’s just an actor playing a role of a very cool British Secret Agent. My personal favorites are Sir Sean Connery and Pierce Brosnan.

Here’s a photo of my funny friend Michael Weatherly in the infamous pose…

I am Mike Kubeisy. I’ve been shooting in Hollywood for many years and perception is a huge part on the set. It may look like a wood floor, but it’s actually paint on cement. Many times I’ll touch something to see what it really is, only to be amazed that it’s not what it appears, but it sure looks good. That actor’s character is mean and repulsive, but actually he is a very kind, gracious man. He’s acting.

When talent walks on my set, how do I appear?

Am I professional, casual, a bit over the top, maybe tightly wound because of who I’m shooting or the nature of the shot? I want to be confident. I need to be commanding! How does my equipment look? Are the strobes matching, are they making funny noises because the fans are dirty or have been dropped so many times they rattle? Is anything bent or do you have tape holding something together? Is your approach “They function properly, the image should turn out fine.” ERROR! Really? C’mon man, how is that perceived?

Being a professional photographer in the Motion Picture Industry is a very cool job, kind of like James Bond. I’m sure if you asked any Special Operative about their job they would say it’s very cool, but they would also tell you, it’s at a very high cost with all the sacrifices made.

I would like to share about having a commanding presence on the set. Not acting or perceiving to be a photographer, but being one!

Just what does that mean? When I get the call to shoot on any given day, I am always early! I was once told “It is easy to be early, hard to be on time.” In Los Angeles that is so true with traffic and any other issues that may occur. My camera equipment is good to go.

Batteries are charged, and I have backup equipment should there be a problem. I suggest having instruction manuals of your gear loaded in PDF format in your phone or tablet.

Nothing is more embarrassing than to have a show’s star in front of your camera, and you’re not quite sure why it’s not working right. This actually happened to me. I was shooting on Crossing Jordan with the star of the show, Jill Hennessy, when my camera would not focus. I tried a few settings and smiled a lot (never let them see you sweat). Finally I just put the lens mode in manual and bypassed all the other settings on that lens (that was the beginning of the end with my Nikon relationship), got the shot and all was good because I knew my gear and was confident with it.

How do you gain confidence? Or since today it’s my turn to blog, how do you learn to have a Commanding Performance? Work with some friends, not just good friends who know your quirks, but new friends that you have to engage.

Have your work critiqued but not on Facebook! Try and find a mentor, colleague, or camera club where your work can be critiqued creatively. Shoot then shoot some more. Shoot in situations you’re not comfortable with so that you need to practice and think outside the box.

In the early `80s I assisted shooting catalogue fashion for the May Co. You were given 3 rolls of 120 film, that’s 12 frames on a Hasselblad camera. The first roll was shot for the Art Director’s concept, the second was shot for the Buyer’s ideas of the items being photographed, and the third roll was shot for your input. So there was some creativity but it was not all about you. You learned to see differently and light accordingly. The other thing you learned is that when the ad came out and it was your image, you kept your mouth shut and never said “I told you so.”

I can teach someone about the camera in about 3 months. Lighting however is a forever education. I’m still learning new tricks with different tools I see used on the set. It’s kind of like muscle memory; just keep doing it till it comes naturally.

In baseball you practice, take ground balls, throw it around, get in the batting cage, and hit a few at different speeds everyday to develop the muscle memory.

One of the ways I learn a new technique in Photoshop (when I don’t call the Photoshop Guys) is from making mistakes or not being able to achieve what I want to. Then I have to research it, and apply my new technique.

(Great time to plug Photoshop World in Vegas. You will learn a lot! Enough said, moving on.)

If you have an opportunity to go to a workshop or seminar for a couple of days but it might cost $1500, and you don’t really have it, what should you do? My stand is you need to learn in order to compete. You have to be on top of your game, know what’s going on in the market and industry you shoot in be it photography, lighting or software upgrades. It will also be good to network. Remember your competition will also be there. Find the resources and go.

Here’s a great debate: equipment. Do you buy the most expensive, newest model on the market? I would love to; however, I know from my experience that many photographers love gear. They will have a shoot that pays them $2500, and then they go out and buy that piece of new gear for $2400. Soon they’re out of business or at the very least selling that gear for pennies on the dollar. I invested in a digital camera, and learned to digitally enhance it with Photoshop. I was one of the first to shoot on the set digitally. Soon I was commanding the set with a digital camera and was gaining the respect of Producers. Not just on one show but many, I was, and still am respected for my digital skills. The shows I shoot on all know that I have all the gear I’ll need in working, reliable order.

Do you know what they say about film? It’s the stuff on your teeth! Oh how I crack myself up, thank you very much, I’ll be here all week, try the veal. Braddo, thanks for the stage. Okay I got this, back to the blog.

I have shot with Alien Bees since `97. They are not the most expensive strobe heads in the market, but I can tell you they are very dependable, and the customer service is fantastic. I just upgraded my strobe heads to the Einsteins in the past year, and thus far I have been satisfied with the gear. My equipment is always functional and reliable.

My cameras and lenses are Canon. This is where I get in trouble…I don’t believe in third party glass, and here’s why. If there is compromise in any of their glass, why would I take any chance for failure? If the third party lenses were being compared to the manufacturers, why then would I compromise with the standard of the lens? True, Canon L lenses are very expensive, but Canon does not compare their lenses to third party lenses.

I am challenged every day with varying situations and personalities beyond my control. The things I can control, my equipment, I need to know it will function with the support I require. This way when I’m on the set, I can command what it is I’m doing and deal with those that I’m responsible for.

I have had guests on the set with me, and when I wrap, they always graciously ask if they can help strike my gear. If my assistant or I don’t put it away, I have no idea the condition it will be in when I need it again. All of my gear is in cases, and each item has its place. If an item is not there, I will know right away because it’s not back in the place it needs to be, and I need to look for it.

On a motion picture set my crew consists of a Camera Assistant…

…a Grip, a Make-Up Artist…

…Hair Stylist, and a Set Costumer…

I don’t tell them their craft, but I do make them aware of any problems, it could be a crooked tie or a flyaway piece of hair, maybe the make-up is not heavy enough. Not that there’s a mistake, but when they were prepping, the talent was not under my lighting. Now when the talent is on the set, it will be seen differently through my camera, and it is my job to bring it to their attention. Lighting is all me. I’m directing the Assistant and Grip on how we’re going to achieve the look required. If I don’t sound like I have a clue what I’m doing, how will they have confidence in me and be motivated to do their best?

My energy is dictating the flow of the crew. If I’m timid or not confident, it’s like the kid who keeps turning out of the batter’s box before the pitch even comes close.

One of my assistants, Christine, always wants to rehearse or at the very least go over the shot list and any special equipment that will be used in the shoot. This way she doesn’t look surprised or out of control on the set. She is in charge of what she’s doing, commanding. Am I making sense yet, are you getting this?

I can always tell a rookie by the way they hold the camera, their hand will be twisted the other way under the lens, not allowing them the stability they get from holding it right. Learn your craft, not just know it, but look it. Convey confidence.

You also need to be personable and approachable. There is always gum on the set. Who wants to discuss something with you if you have coffee breath? It’s gross but it is reality. I also find a sense of humor works for me. I said humor not arrogance. I promise you, if you’re timid or arrogant on the set, there will be a relief pitcher there in a heartbeat. I have replaced photographers from other shows because they were too demanding or high maintenance. Stay sharp (no pun intended). You can read my first Guest Blog I did for Scott about 3 years ago, about attitude.

I was in Dallas with Scott a few years ago for a Lightroom class. I figured that after dinner the night before the class I could hang out with The Man himself and learn something from him. Scott graciously excused himself and told me that he had to prep and rehearse for his class tomorrow. I’m thinking “This guy does this kind of stuff all the time. Prep for what? You’re an All-Star.” Then it hit me like a wild pitch, that’s why Scott Kelby is an All-Star, he still preps. I had just learned another lesson.

Prepping is so important in gaining confidence. Confidence will gain you more experience.

Experience will allow you to hit it out of the park.

My Friends be Commanding, but be humble, and BE SO GOOD THEY CAN’T IGNORE YOU!

Thanks Braddo and Scott.

From Hollywood I’m Mike Kubeisy.

That’s a wrap, fade to black.

You can see more of Mike’s work at 4stills.com, follow him on Facebook and Twitter, and check out his classes on KelbyTraining.com.

Tuesday
Jul
2013
23

Big High-Five to Flipboard, Who Gave My “Cool Photography Stuff” Magazine Some Love

by Scott Kelby  |  9 Comments

A big thanks and shout-out to Flipboard for including my Flipboard 2.0 magazine “Cool Photography Stuff” on their Inside Flipboard blog last week in a post about Flipboard magazines for photography.

If you’re not familiar with Flipboard, it’s a killer App for the iPad and Android tablets that transforms your Twitter, Facebook, G+ and other social media feeds into a beautifully laid-out magazine, and it changes your social media experience to a much richer, more visual experience (perfect for photographers and designers).

Two years ago, Apple named Flipboard their “App of the Year” (yes, it’s that good), but this year Flipboard took things up a notch by allowing anyone to create and curate their own custom Flipboard magazine, using content shared on the Web and social media, so I launched my own (they’re free to create, and free to subscribe to. In fact, even the Flipboard 2.0 App is free. It’s all free, free, free!). :)

I was really tickled to see this, cause I really enjoy curating my little daily magazine (see above).  Each day I “flip” any cool stuff I see on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and a dozen other sources around the Web into this free daily Flipboard mag, including news, tutorials, beautiful images, and interesting articles. So, if you want to know what’s happening out there in photography every day, it’s kind of a one-stop-shop.

Above: Here’s the link to my mag (it shows it’s by skelby — that’s me). The cover story photo is by one of the hottest up-and-coming sports portrait photographers out there today, Matt Hernandez. I’m a big fan Matt’s work. You can choose a new cover (from things you’ve flipped) each day if you like (and I usually do). 

Here’s the link to Flipboard’s blog post (with a number of great Flipboard magazines listed as well), and if you click on the cover  of mine, it takes you to my “Cool photography stuff” mag: http://bit.ly/13jeFIS — Thanks again Flipboard for the shoutout, and for making such a cool App. Also, thanks to the 6,000+ photographers who have already subscribed for free and get my magazine in their Flipboard daily feed.

Cheers,

-Scott

P.S. Hey, don’t forget, on Thursday we have our free “Photoshop World-a-thon Sneek Peek” where me and the “Photoshop Guys” are sharing some of our favorite tips from the upcoming conference in September in Vegas. Everyone’s invited this Thursday at 7:00 pm. RSVP at this link (it’s free, and of course, we’ll have lots of cool giveaways and loads of tips). You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll kiss an hour goodbye! LOL! See you then! 

 

Monday
Jul
2013
22

My First Studio Car Shoot (plus behind-the-scenes)

by Scott Kelby  |  50 Comments

(Above: a 2014 Mercedes Benz CLS 550, in a dark grey with a hint of blue. Thanks to Tony Pinero for the car). 

Ever since I started shooting cars, I’ve wanted to shoot one in a studio, but there have been a couple of obstacles. One being finding a studio with a really large white cove that’s big enough to drive a car into, but the really big obstacle is to find one that has a giant car-sized softbox overhead (like the 10-foot x 30-foot F2X from Chimera, but the price is……the price is…well….see below).

That gives you some idea of why, outside of Detroit, finding a studio with one of these with an affordable rental rate is pretty challenging. Well, it would be for a regular guy, but not for the amazing Brad Moore, who found Studio 75, a commercial rental studio set up for automotive photography, that’s only about 25-minutes from our offices. It’s affordable, the guy seemed really easy to work with, and although they didn’t have the Chimera, they did have a home-made rig that works, so we booked it.

Above: In this behind-the-scenes shot, you can see the cost-effective lighting rig Dan created himself. It’s five 1,000 watt White Lightning strobe heads (bare bulbs), mounted on two long poles, hoisted up with a pulley-system, and then firing through a large 20′x20′ Matthews overhead silk diffusion panel (around $700) mounted to aluminum fence top-rail (you can buy a Matthews 20′x20′ collapsable frame for around $975, but the fence top-rail DIY route would be much cheaper at around $88 for the tubing (Eight 10′ x- 1-3/8″ round inter-connecting rails at Lowes for around $11 each. Then you’d need four 1-3/8″ corner connectors at around $4 or so each).

OK, back to the production still above: To get the right look, I’m nearly at the back of the studio. To get the perspective right, I’m laying down on the floor (not a big fan of that part), and I’m tethered directly into Lightroom so I can see the shots at a very large size as I’m taking them.

Once the lights are in place, you set them to full-power and adjust the f/stop until it looks right, so it’s a pretty straight ahead set-up from above.

Welcome to my World
While you could get a car in the studio without any trouble, maneuvering once inside is quite tricky, but luckily this particular car had a backup camera, which made things easier. However, having Brad Moore giving you directions in that back-up camera…well…just watch the video below (shot by Dan as I was backing the car) and you’ll see what I mean. Welcome to my world.

Above: For shots where the front of the car is visible (like the one you just saw), we used a large softbox to fill-in the shadows. We also used a large black bounce card to help create some shadow areas on the car (more on this in a moment). You can see my low shooting position here (production shots by Brad Moore). It was a bit more comfortable here — sitting on the floor and laying back on the first step of the stairs leading to the studio’s loft.

Above: Sony had loaned me some of their DSLR gear to try out, and I thought this would be a great opportunity since the Sony A99 had a swivel-out LCD monitor, so I could place the camera on the floor (for the lowest possible perspective —- one where the photo would clearly show the rear tire on the far side) and then I could just angle it up a bit and do all the composition using the tilt-up display. This sounds easy, but try it with a sneaker coming out of the front of your head (see above)

It worked even better than I thought (though the electronic viewfinder is kind of…well…kinda weird when you work in a studio environment. It has a special mode for it, and perhaps you would eventually get used to it, but seeing something on screen that looks so different from what you’re going to create really threw me. Maybe it’s just my inexperience with the Sony, so I don’t want to totally trash it, because I know a lot of folks love it, but it would definitely take some getting used to (for me, anyway). So, I shot both my Nikon D4 and the Sony A99 during the four-hour shoot in the studio.

Above: Here’s a two-thirds view, where you can see the side the front. It was the first shot we tried that day. You can really see the black bounce card in the bottom half of the doors. That really made a huge difference.

Above: Here’s the production shot. I’m lying on the floor again, but I did mount the Nikon on my Gitzo tripod but we splayed the legs way out so I could get it just a few inches above the ground. I kind of leaned on my elbow to compose the shot, then I’d lock down the ballhead.

Above: When we were all done, I thought I’d take a shot from up above, from the loft (where the studio’s office is), and I kinda like the angle. Plus, it was a LOT easier because at this high angle, we didn’t have to deal with many reflections that appear on the car (which is what turned out to be the challenge of the day for the rest of the shots).

The Tip of the Day
Before we left the studio, the studio owner, commercial photographer Dan Gaye, told Brad to bring a circular polarizer, and man did that thing absolutely work wonders!!! The lighting part of this is actually pretty straightforward — it’s a bunch of lights aiming straight down from directly above through some material that softens and diffuses them. If you need a fill for one part or another, just add one more strobe with a soft box. That part was surprisingly easy. The real challenge is eliminating reflections in the car.

First, the Polarizer helps darken scene, but more importantly it helps you nearly eliminate the hot-spots and reflections from the strobes above in the windshield and side windows. Without that polarizer, you’d have a serious retouching nightmare. You just rotate the circular polarizer and you can literally see the reflections in the windows disappear. I told Brad — learning that was worth the studio rental right there!

Above: Of course, since I had the car there, I couldn’t help but do a few detail shots, using the standard set-up: a single large strip-bank (we turned the overhead lights off), and shooting at f/22 (hat tip to Tim Wallace), just like always.

It’s not the Lighting that’s hard. It’s managing the reflections
Dan said something that really stuck with me. He said “Cars are like giant mirrors. You see anything in front of it like you’re aiming at a mirror” and he wasn’t just-a-kiddin’. It was amazing to see this in person, because you could see everything from the kitchen in the studio, to Brad’s head, to a blue Kayak mounted up near the ceiling, to beams in the ceiling, light stands, me, paintings on the wall, cables on the floor — EVERYTHING!

I have to give Dan big credit and major love here, because he is a master of hiding all these things using black drop clothes, black seamless paper (we had to bring out a 15-foot wide roll), black 8-foot ball bounce cards, and more. You had to take a shot — zoom in tight and you can’t believe all the stuff you’d see — just like you were looking at a big mirror aiming back at the studio. It took 5 minutes to get the lighting right for the very first shot I posted at the top of the page, and about 50 minutes to minimize the reflections.

Now that I’ve seen the process of dealing with all these reflections, it really is just a trial-and-error case of being a “Reflection Detective” but I could not have pulled this off without Dan’s experience and help (and he was incredibly helpful throughout. Since it’s his studio, he knows every trick in the book).

Above: Here’s another detail shot; this one of the rear of the car, with the name plate and tail light sections.

Above: Here’s the emblem on the trunk, lit with that same single strip bank, held diligently by Mr. Moore.

Above: Thought I’d give you one more look at the overall full-car lighting set-up (and the blue kayak which had to be cloned out of just aobut every shot). This one gives you a great view of the White Lighting strobes and the diffusion silk.

Above: I wanted to include a shot of studio owner and photographer Dan Gaye because he was just an incredible help all day. He designed this inexpensive overhead lighting rig back in 1995 and it still works really well to this day. His system of ropes and pulleys lets him raise/lower/angle the lights and diffusion panel pretty much however you want it.

He was super-helpful and really made me understand the challenges of minimizing reflections and the techniques to hide distracting stuff, which is somewhat of an art unto itself. Needless to say, I learned a lot. So, a big thanks and high-five to Dan, but also thanks to Brad for finding Dan and his studio, and for all his hard work that day, and for all the production stills. Way to go Braddo!

Of course, me being me, I see all sorts of stuff I’d do differently next time
That next time will hopefully be in just a few weeks from now, because I’ve already found another cool car that needs shootin’ and I surely need the practice, but I’m totally OK with that. It was just my first studio automative shoot, but hopefully it’s just the first of many, and you know what they say about practice. :)

Friday
Jul
2013
19

Catching Up On “The Grid”

by Scott Kelby  |  2 Comments

Last week on my Facebook and Twitter pages, I posted a link to a Great article on Annie Leibovitz on “Getting the Shot, and the Future of Photography” over at FastCompany (shown below).

I have to say, her new campaign for Disney has made me a Leibovitz fan. Really brilliantly done, and the article has some great insights about shooting portraits. Worth a read (and the Disney photos are seriously very special).

Well, after I posted the link to the article (here’s the link by the way —- definitely worth the read: http://bit.ly/1aJjik5), a conversation started where some we’re trying to give anyone but Annie the credit for the amazing shots. They wanted it to go to anyone from the set designer to the post production people to the hair and make-up — anyone but her (and yes, it does take all of those folks and more to do something on the scale of what Disney hired her to do).

Anyway, it was our topic this week on “The Grid” and there were lots of great comments from the live audience, and of course, plenty of debate because we took it a lot further than that. The episode is at the top of the page if you’ve got a few minutes to check it out.

Also, the previous week, our in-studio guest was the amazing Peter Hurley, and he was there for our monthly “Blind Photo Critiques” episode and we featured nothing but critiques on portraits. There’s a LOT to learn from him in this episode. Here’ s that episode (below):

Shooting cars!
OK, today I’m in a local photo studio doing my first in-studio automotive shoot with a giant overhead softbox longer than the car. Wish me luck, and while we’re wishing, here’s wishing you a fantastic weekend. See you Monday! :)

Friday
Jul
2013
19

Metal Murals – THIS WEEKEND ONLY DEAL!

by Brad Moore  |  2 Comments

This weekend only, take advantage of a special deal from Metal Murals!

In addition to the original Metal Murals, they have announced a new product, Gallery Style Metal Clusters.

Gallery Style Metal Clusters are made of scratch resistant UV coated aluminum with a gloss finish (satin and metallic available upon request). Attached metal hanger float mount allows for easy hanging, while the nearly invisible 3/4″ rubber bumpers create a shadow box effect by keeping the image away from the wall. Suitable for inside and outside use. Rounded corners also available upon request.

Contact Metal Mural at 732-361-8511 for pricing on custom sizes. Maximum size is 23×34″

FREE one time standard shipping within continental US per promotional order. Hardware is included, and no minimum purchase required.

12×12″ $25/ea           sale $16.00 (36% savings)
11×14″ $27/ea           sale $18.90 (30% savings)
16×20″ $56/ea           sale $39.20 (30% savings)
20×24″ $83/ea           sale $58.10 (30% savings)

Page 61 of 488« First...102030...5960616263...708090...Last »
Advertisement