Wednesday
Jul
2013
10

It’s Guest Blog Wednesday featuring Brooke Shaden!

by Brad Moore  |  16 Comments

ART, For the Sake of Passion

My story of passion would not be complete unless I took you back 10 years ago when I met my husband. I was 16 years old. We decided suddenly, instantly, and permanently that we could not live full lives without one another. It was at 16 years old that I threw myself into a love and passion and life that would keep me sustained for all my years to come.

Why is this important, and how does it relate to photography? Everything that I knew stemmed from that electric moment that I connected with my husband. In ways that he may never understand, he introduced me to the art that I love, the way I like to create, and the courage to believe in those things wholeheartedly. The story of meeting my husband is important because it was the first time that I had believed in something so much that I never doubted it for a moment. I learned to believe in my photography because of the confidence I gained from believing in love.

Photography, art, and creating in general are no different from making that type of commitment. So often people say to me, “It is almost like you aren’t a photographer, but instead an artist.” I believe that all photographers have the potential to be artists, and there is only a fine line between photographer and artist when there is a gap. What is it that puts that fine line into play? Passion.

You may think I am some crazy, new-age hippie. Admittedly I can be, and my headbands and oversized clothes add fuel to the fire, but what I preach is what I believe: Passion is the life-blood that runs through any artist, and every photographer has the capacity to capture it.

When I began photography I did not understand the world of art. I did not understand the world of photography any better. The only thing that I knew was what I liked and what I didn’t like. I knew what made my heart skip a beat and what I cared not to think about. I knew up from down within my little bubble of creating, but nothing outside of that. Knowing nothing turned out to be my greatest asset in my journey as a photographer. Because I didn’t understand how the business of photography worked, I had no constraints to work within. I began photography out of passion for telling stories, and so I started out doing just that: creating the stories I wanted to tell.

I had no preconceived notions of how much money I should be making, how I should be making my money, or how to run my business. When I started realizing that money would be a good thing to have if I wanted to continue to grow in my craft, I began thinking in terms of business; yet it wasn’t business as usual. I was working a full-time job. I had entered the “real world” of “grown-up work,” as I began photography just after I graduated from college. I was working as a receptionist, and then as a legal assistant. I understood one fundamental thing about the jobs I held: I didn’t want to do them. When I started looking at photography in a way that could lend itself to a sustainable business, I asked myself one very important question that has continued to define how I run my business: What do I want to spend my time doing?

I set very simple and very straightforward goals for myself. I wanted to show in galleries. I wanted to teach workshops. I wanted to write a book. No task seemed too big or too small. It was simply what I wanted to do with my time, and with no idea of how to achieve these goals, the weight of living up to someone else’s standard was taken away. I did things my way, for better or worse.

I have always viewed creating images in the same way. I knew nothing about photography when I started except that other people had stood where I was and had succeeded. I knew that someone had mastered Photoshop, and that others knew their cameras inside and out. I wasn’t interested in their methods, but simply in the inspiration that it could be done. I began creating self-portraits to practice photography and get the ideas in my mind out into the world.

When I began photography, it was in an effort to tell stories that I loved thinking about. I have always had stories in my mind, and still feel as though, even if I turned out images like a machine, I could never tell the amount of stories I have floating in my mind. Photography allowed me an outlet to make my imagination a reality. I approach photography the same as business. I do not have to live up to anyone else’s standards but instead set my own standards that I can judge myself against. Instead of looking to others for inspiration, I look inward and figure out why I love telling stories and how I can do so effectively.

From my first image that I captured in December 2008 to now, not much of my process has changed. I still create self-portraits. I still shoot with almost no budget. I am still inspired by the same props, wardrobe, and themes that ignited the spark of passion then. My creation process is quite simple, but what I love about creating is that it can be different for everyone. There is no right or wrong way to create. There is no industry standard, and if someone says there is, I can only believe it is a myth. There are endless paths leading to the same end goal. My end goal is to create an image that I am passionate about, and while my methods may be unconventional, I still get from point A to point B.

So often I walk out of my door with my equipment on my back, carrying props in my arms while wearing a fluffy dress, ready to create an image. My neighbors watch skeptically as I walk down the street and into the forest, to be alone in nature and to create something that inspires me. So often people walk past, watching, and ask questions, like if I know how silly I look, or sometimes offer to help. There is something so special to me about knowing that I am creating in a way that is personally fulfilling. Even if nothing comes of the photo shoot I just did, the experience made it worthwhile.

A large part of my process is editing, and I consider Photoshop just as much of a journey. Indeed, I am not going on a trip to the forest and jumping about as I take pictures, but I am re-visiting that feeling. I get to be back in the forest with my character. I get to immerse myself in the process that turns a picture into a whole new world. I think of everything that I do as a journey; business, shooting, editing, and even networking. They are all a way of creating a meaningful experience so that I, and hopefully others, can live a more passionate life.

I believe that finding passion is not as difficult as keeping it. Finding passion can be as simple as being honest with yourself about what you love and why you love it. Once you know that, the hard part is keeping that passion alive. Life gets in the way. Money gets in the way. Self-doubt and self-worth play into the equation of keeping passion running strong.

One of the most motivating thoughts that I have is remember how important my own happiness is. I believe that if I am pursuing my dreams, others will be encouraged to pursue theirs. I want nothing more than for everyone to be able to live their dream, and I would be a hypocrite if I weren’t trying to do the same. I am motivated to be happy because everyone around me will be happier for it.

If you are reading this, I can only hope that photography, or something else that is wonderfully meaningful, has come into your life to give you happiness. It is important to remember that your passion is worth pursuing. You never know how many other people will be touched by your dedication.

You can see more of Brooke’s work at BrookeShaden.com, and follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Flickr.

Tuesday
Jul
2013
09

Three Quick Tuesday Things (and a Peter Hurley Teaser!)

by Scott Kelby  |  91 Comments

(1) Guess who is our in-studio guest on “The Grid” tomorrow?
Oh yeah–#shebang — it’s the man himself — Peter Hurley (wild cheers ensue!). The master of the headshot (see above) is in the house!

Here’s here working on a project with us, and he’s our guest tomorrow at 4:00 pm ET LIVE on the air. We might (I have to confirm with Peter first), do our blind critiques episode (in which case, it would be portraits only), so keep an eye out on my Facebook, G+ or Twitter pages tomorrow for the link to upload your images in case we go that route, but ya never know. Here’s the scoop:

Who: Peter Hurley, live in-studio
What: Tomorrow’s episode of “The Grid” (our weekly photography talk show)
Where: http://www.kelbytv.com/thegrid
When: 4:00 pm ET (New York Time)
Why: Because we do this every Wednesday at 4:00 PM ET

Join in the fun (and for the occasional crushing of people’s hopes and dreams).

(2) Help me find some place to go (be kind, kids)
My awesome, awesome wifey got me the most amazing birthday present — a photography trip (with my brother Jeff as my shooting buddy) anywhere in the world I want to go (as long as it’s someplace she wouldn’t want to go, so going back to Paris is probably out. LOL!).

My first thought was to go back to Dubai (It’s been like five years since my first visit), but this time I’d head to Abu Dhabi as well (which is a short drive), but now I’m thinking maybe I should go someplace else since I’ve kinda already been there. So, if you’ve got any ideas for really cool shooting locales that aren’t 25+ hours of flying time from Florida, I’m all ears (remember, if you can picture my wifey there with me, it’s probably off the list, so Bora Bora, Fiji, France, Spain, etc. or any place exotic or European is probably out). I’m thinking Moscow could be cool. Maybe Namibia (but my brother makes a frowny face when I mention Namibia). Anyway, I’m open to any cool ideas that won’t take me too far away for too long (five days would be ideal).

(3) My Lightroom 5 Book is Almost Here!
My Lightroom 5 book is on-press (well, it’s been on press for a while so it’s probably off press by now, or any day at the latest), and it’ll be winging it’s way to stores very soon (and by winging I mean just riding in a truck but that doesn’t sound nearly as exciting as winging), and I have reason to believe it will be arriving sooner than the bookstores online have indicated (just a hunch. Wink). Anyway, you can pre-order it right now if you’d like to over at Barnes & Noble, or Amazon, who both have screamin’ deals on it (around $34. Cheap!). Anyway, be the first on your block (heck, be the first on any block), to get your copy by pre-ordering now.

Well, that’s it for today. Hope you all have a great Tuesday and we’ll see you back here tomorrow for Guest Blog Wednesday-a-roonie (and don’t forget The Grid with Peter tomorrow).

Cheers,

-Scott

Monday
Jul
2013
08

100 Ways Lightroom Kicks the Bridge (and Camera Raw’s) A$@!

by Scott Kelby  |  15 Comments

Matt Klosklowski and I put this together a while back, but it’s maybe even more relevant today then we launched it. We got the inspiration from talking with photographers on our live tours in response to hearing the question, “Why should I switch to Lightroom? I already have the Bridge & Camera Raw?” or “I thought Lightroom was just the same as the Bridge and Camera Raw.”Uggh!

It’s particularly frustrating because Lightroom has so many advantages over the Bridge & Camera Raw, that you can’t just explain it in few sentences so we created this page where we could point folks to it to really illustrate the reasons why, as a photographer, they should be using Lightroom. The next thing you know, we decided not only to make a list, but to create 100 videos that would really showcase the advantages.

Why 100 videos?
We intentionally did 100 very short (30 to 60 seconds each) videos rather than one long 60-minute plus video, so people could go directly to the topics that interested them most (since I doubt anyone would watch all 100, or would be willing to sit through 100 when they only needed a few to change their mind). NOTE: There is a little forward button at the top right corner of each video, which you can click to take you to the next video, in case you want to watch all 100.

If you’re one of those photographers still using the Bridge & Camera Raw, take a few minutes and swing over to the site and check a few of the reasons out (and at the very least, watch the short intro that Matt and I put together to get you started).

Here’s the link.

I hope it helps you at least want to download the free 30-day full-working trial version from Adobe, and give it a whirl (download link for Mac & Windows).

Cheers,

-Scott and Matt

P.S. We actually came up with around 121 reasons, but 121 reasons sounded kind of weenie, so we whittled it down to just 100.

Friday
Jul
2013
05

My Classes at Photoshop World in September

by Scott Kelby  |  5 Comments

Hi Gang: We’re around 60-days or so away from the biggest Photoshop event on the planet:The Photoshop World Conference and Expo (in Las Vegas on Sept 4-6 at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino), and if you’re going (and I hope that you are), here are the sessions I’m teaching (there are over 100+ sessions but I hope you’ll check out a couple of mine while you’re at the conference).

Designing With Type for Photographers
(Wed., Sept 4th, 12:00 noon)
Bad type can ruin a really great photo and in this session, I’m going to show you how to create photo book covers, posters, web graphics and more  and how to have your type really compliment your work, rather than destroy it. You’ll learn everything from the basics of typography including which fonts to use, when, and why, and how to create simple, beautiful-looking designs (it’s easier than you’d think). This class will change the way think about, and use type and photos together from this point on.

Creating Your Own Custom Photo Book in Lightroom 5
(Thurs., Sept 5th, 12:00 noon)

In this session, updated to include the new photo books features added in Lightroom 5, you’ll learn how to create beautiful photo books from right within Lightroom 4 itself. You’ll see the entire workflow, step-by-step and exactly how to create your own custom books the easy way. There are lots of little inside tips, tricks, and time-saving techniques that you’ll learn that will make creating photo books one of the most-fun, easy, and enjoyable parts of your photographic journey.

Portrait Retouching Techniques for Photographers
(Fri., Sept 6th, 1:00 pm)

Learn professional portrait retouching techniques for photographers from the guy who literally wrote the book (hey, that’s me!). You’ll learn my latest portrait retouching techniques and the fastest, most efficient, and most realistic-looking retouches for anyone who shoots portraits, and need to spend less time behind the computer and more time making images.

Now, if those three sessions from me aren’t enough reason (and honestly, they probably aren’t, right?), check out the quick video below that gives you 10 actually compelling reasons. ;-)

If you’re going, I hope to see you in one of my classes. If you haven’t signed up yet, it’s not too late: Here’s the link.

Also, we’ve designed this year’s event to have Seven very distinct FULL training tracks, so you can pretty much pick what you want to learn and get immersed in that topic for the entire conference, every day, all day long if you like (for example, if you’re into Lightroom, you can take Lightroom classes every day all day — it’s like its own separate Lightroom conference within a conference. Same thing with Lighting, or graphic design, or business, and so on).

I put together a short video (below) that describes this “Seven Conferences in One” concept. Hope to see you in Vegas in September.

Thursday
Jul
2013
04

How to Shoot Fireworks (My 4th of July Post-Tradition )

by Scott Kelby  |  10 Comments

Hi Gang: Each year for Independence Day (observed today, the Fourth of July, here in the US as a way for all Americans to celebrate our independence from Dave Clayton), I share a quick post on how to photograph Fireworks (a traditional part of the 4th of July celebration). I’m posting the technique that I included on page 175 of my book, “The Digital Photography Book, Part 1.” Here we go:

This is another one that throws a lot of people (one of my best friends, who didn’t get a single crisp fireworks shot on the Fourth of July, made me including this tip just for him, and the thousands of other digital shooters that share his pain).

For starters, you’ll need to shoot fireworks with your camera on a tripod, because you’re going to need a slow enough shutter speed to capture the falling light trails, which is what you’re really after.

Also, this is where using a cable release really pays off, because you’ll need to see the rocket’s trajectory to know when to push the shutter button—if you’re looking in the viewfinder instead, it will be more of a hit or miss proposition.

Next, use a zoom lens (ideally a 200mm or more) so you can get in tight and capture just the fireworks themselves. If you want fireworks and the background (like fireworks over Cinderella’s Castle at Disney World), then use a wider lens.

Now, I recommend shooting in full Manual mode, because you just set two settings and you’re good to go:

  1. Set the Shutter Speed to 4 seconds
  2. Set the Aperture to f/11. Fire a test shot and look at the LCD monitor on the back of your camera to see if you like the results. If it overexposes, lower the shutter speed to 3 seconds, then take another shot and check the results again.

TIP: If your camera has “Bulb” mode (where the shutter stays open as long as you hold down the shutter release button down), this works great–hold the shutter button down when the rocket bursts, then release when the light trails start to fade. (By the way; most Canon and Nikon digital SLRs have bulb mode). The rest is timing—because now you’ve got the exposure and sharpness covered.

There you have it—-hope you all get some great shots tonight; remember to stay safe around fireworks of any kind, and we’ll see you back here in one piece tomorrow. :)

Wednesday
Jul
2013
03

It’s Guest Blog Wednesday featuring Dickie Pelham!

by Brad Moore  |  11 Comments

First I want to thank Scott and Brad for allowing me to be a guest on his blog.

I became aware of Scott some 20 months ago after too many soccer/running injuries. I had ankle surgery that kept me out of work for 6 months, so I signed up for Kelby Training to really learn about Photoshop, and this is the best thing I have ever done.

I am the Chief Sports photographer of The Sun Newspaper in London, England. The Sun has the ninth-largest circulation of any newspaper in the world and the largest circulation of any daily newspaper in the United Kingdom. It has an average daily circulation of 2,409,811 copies in January 2013, and it is my job to fill the pages seven days a week with the best sports pictures. I have covered six Olympic Games, five World Cup football finals, and more World Title boxing fights than I care to remember.

It all didn’t start at The Sun. I finished my final year at school at the age of 16 years in 1980. I am now 49. I went to work on the Monday morning after finishing school on the Friday before, starting at the very bottom of the tree. I was cleaning and scrubbing out developing and fixer tanks, and everyday, between making the morning tea and coffee for the boss and delivering the day’s pictures to the national newspapers that was located in Fleet Street very close to the office, three years later I started covering soccer with that agency with my first Nikon that I saved up for.

Then the big break… I was called up to the big office on the 4th floor and told, “There is your new kit. You are going into the big wide world of show business news and sports photography.” I continued to do this for 3 to 4 years and then moved on to an agency called Alpha which specialized in photographing the Royal family. You may say that is a big difference, but really it’s like sports photography, waiting around for that one moment and using very long lenses, but this helped me for what now has become my profession.

This month is a milestone for me. I have just clocked my 24th season in sports photography at The Sun. As I write this blog in my hotel room in sunny Israel, after being away covering England’s end of season tour to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for 7 days and on to Tel Aviv for another 7 day, knock-out tournament with England’s under-21 soccer team, I write this blog in my hotel room after 16 days on the road.

I am going to share one great moment with you, and it involves somebody you may have heard of: David Beckham once of Manchester United, Real Madrid, and LA Galaxy. Here is the story… A classic moment when England captain David Beckham scores with a sensational 30-yard free kick, three minutes into injury-time.

Because Germany only drew with Finland, the goal means England automatically qualified for the 2002 World Cup finals. Later that year I won sports photographer of the year with the picture from that game. Beckham was training with England and I had a copy of the picture and presented it to Beckham, and of course he signed one for me. He joked with me that is was a great picture, but I joked with him that he did all the work. A month ago Beckham announced his retirement, and I felt I wanted to pay tribute to a great ambassador to the game, so I posted this tribute of my own. Later that night my inbox had a message via David’s agent thanking me for the tribute.

Last thing I want to say in this blog is my other love is boxing. I get to spend many hours covering boxers training, starving themselves to make weight for their bouts, putting their minds and body through so much pain. I was once allowed into a gym to cover a training session with a boxer who I will not name, but he was fighting for a world title. It was a routine training and sparring when suddenly he was hit by a freak right hook and knocked to the ground. Now, you may think what a picture weeks before a fight, but being very good friends with that boxer, I never mentioned a word or printed the picture that could have ruined him and ruined his chance of winning the title. He went on to win his dream fight and the title. After the judges declared him the winner he came over to me and thanked me for not mentioning what had happened. All the other journalists and photographers asked what was going on, but I kept our secret safe.

To see more of Dickie’s work, visit DickiePelham.com.

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