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Hi! It’s Justin Wojtczak of 375 Photography Inc., from Atlanta, Georgia.  I work with my partner Justin McGough, and we are commercial wedding photographers. I am also an instructor for KelbyOne.

Before I get started talking about how we use drones in our work, let me get a couple of things out of the way up front:

  1. We are responsible drone pilots. No need to say anything more about what you should and should not do.
  2. We take the safety of others seriously.

So, now that we’ve got that out of the way – we love drones! And who doesn’t? Having this amazing tool in our Creative Toolbox is another way for us to get creative and offer our clients phenomenal shots! So we wanted to share with you some ways we are taking advantage of drones, as well as give you some insights from what we have learned.

Weddings
Using a drone at a wedding is a very difficult balancing act. You certainly want to take things to the next level, but you also want to be mindful of the safety of others. So let’s break down this shot:

1-Wojtczak

We shot a wedding down in the Dominican Republic and it was out of this world! When I found out months beforehand that the ceremony was going to be on a pier, I knew I had to bring the drone. I spent months thinking about how to get the kind of shot I wanted to get, and developed a general idea and plan. But after a couple of practice flights the day before the wedding, I had a completely different vision.

http://vimeo.com/170567200

Did you notice how the sun hit the palm trees? I did too, and knew I wanted that to be my shot. Because the ceremony only lasted 8 minutes I had to make a decision on whether or not to risk getting the shot. I knew we were down in the DR (a unique opportunity), the drone would be over water (so if it crashed no one would get hurt), but more than anything, the bride really wanted it. Would it be worth it?

YES!

So before the ceremony I took one more test flight to make sure I knew the extract controls and maneuvers I needed to get everything in one shot. As the ceremony started, I had one camera rolling video, my wife taking pictures, and I picked up with my drone. It was already powered on and ready, so there was no delay, and I ran to my take off spot and got the shot in 57 seconds. I landed the drone, secured it, and rushed back to the ceremony on the pier.

http://vimeo.com/160395110

A couple of quick observations: first, be sure to communicate with the bride and groom your vision of using the drone during the ceremony so they understand and expect the noise of the drone. Secondly, you need to have another shooter to make sure that the ceremony is covered, because it would be bad if you got drone footage but missed an important part of the ceremony.

To recap, balance the next level shot with the safety of others, and figure out what you need to beforehand. This turned out to be a great shot because the bride and groom were so blown away by the result.

Best Time to Use
We love using the drone footage to augment our snapshot videos.

(Wait, what is a snapshot video you ask?  It is a combination of video and stills highlighting the best parts of the client’s day. We are teaching a course at Photoshop World this year called Snapshot Videos: Creating Small Videos that Create Large Opportunities. This is an amazing class on how these snapshot videos have generated some crazy opportunities for us…but you’ll have to come to PSW to find out more!)

So, as I was saying, we use the drone to add value to the footage we already have. Here are a few times during a typical wedding day that we like to use a drone:

http://vimeo.com/159452675

 

– Intro shot for the snapshot video
– B-roll
– Stunning shots of the couple
– Exit shot to end the video

We’ve also found that drones are unbelievable tools when working with golf courses. The aerial footage really allows us to gain a new perspective of each course. In fact, one of the ways we’ve developed relationships with several courses is by building a relationship with the wedding coordinator when we shoot a wedding at a country club. Once that relationship is built, we can give them a sample of what we can do for that club for their marketing material. Showing a country club from a different perspective is very attractive for the club managers.

3.1-Wojtczak 3.10 Wojtczak 3.9 Wojtczak 3.8 Wojtczak 3.7 Wojtczak 3.6 Wojtczak 3.5 Wojtczak 3.4-Wojtczak 3.3-Wojtczak 3.2-Wojtczak

And that’s a great tip: Don’t be afraid to be proactive and be on the hunt for potential new clients. Get comfortable with putting yourself out there, because you just never know what opportunities you might generate.

http://vimeo.com/152776725

http://vimeo.com/168111315

http://vimeo.com/154212007

Okay, final recap:

Drones add a huge value to our work!!  In fact, just having a drone has brought us jobs. But what sets us apart is how we use it. Here are three things we do to help make our footage stand out:

  1. We take time to build a relationship with our clients and invite them to watch us while we capture footage. We get excited when we shoot and that excitement carries over to the client, especially when they connect the emotions from that moment with the footage we provide.
  2. We set ourselves up for the best possible light.  Having an amazing sunrise will make any project look even more amazing than it already is. We plan very carefully so we can capture that golden light as much as possible. Sometimes things don’t work out, but that’s okay. We’ve learned to stay calm, be flexible, and do our best to still get dramatic footage. Even if you have to come back, it will be worth it in the end.
  3. A little touch of color grading.  We are not color grading experts, but we are trying to understand how to get the best results we can. Tweaking even a few settings on the drone and in post can make a significant difference (but that’s for a different post).

If you have any questions, please let us know. If you’re going to Photoshop World, be sure to check out our two classes, Snapshot Videos: Creating Small Videos that Create Large Opportunities and DSLR: Video Basics for Photographers. Thanks for reading and happy shooting!

You can see more of Justin’s work at 375Photography.com, and follow him on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, and check out his videos on Vimeo!

Hi Gang: Yesterday it was “How to Shoot Awesome Fireworks shots!” and today it’s how to Edit them in Photoshop, including a really simple trick for creating your own custom “Fireworks Show Finale!”

Check out the short video I made for you below:

 

https://youtu.be/KNAeAKm41lE

Pretty fun stuff. Hope you got some awesome shots last night (feel free to share yours below).

Tomorrow: Another KelbyOne Member’s-only Webinar
We are psyched to have Adobe’s own Terry White (Adobe’s Worldwide Evangelist, and soon to be Photoshop Hall of Famer), as our guest and he’ll be taking your questions live about the just-released Photoshop CC 2015.5. It’s at 1pm tomorrow ET (if you’re a KelbyOne member – keep an eye on your email inbox for your invite).

Don’t Miss The Grid tomorrow at 4pm EDT
Should be a fun one – Terry will be there too (but we’re not doing a Photoshop Q&A – that’s for members). Here’s the link to The Grid: http://kelbytv.com/thegrid

Have a great Tuesday and don’t forget to drop back for tomorrow’s guest blogger, wedding photographer Justin Wojtczak (last week, my guest blogger was concert photographer Alan Hess who had a rockin’ post [no pun intended, but what the heck, right?) about releases, and the business side of shooting bands and concerts. If you missed it, here’s the link.

Best,

-Scott

P.S. Speaking of Alan – he’ll be teaching at Photoshop World later this month (the 19th-21st). So will Justin. And Terry. So will I. Hope you’ll be there, too (it’s not too late – http://photoshopworld.com)

fireworks1

Hi Gang, and Happy 4th!

Today is a big holiday for us here in the US –  it’s Independence Day – a day where Americans celebrate their independence from England (around 240 years ago), but also from Glyn Dewis and Dave Clayton (two of England’s finest, but still worth keeping at a safe distance).

We celebrate by gorging ourselves with hot dogs, hamburgers, and mountains of potato chips before settling into a lawn chair with an ice cold beer to watch a glorious fireworks display using fireworks made in China. We also use the word “chips” liberally without anyone ever even once thinking we’re referring to French Fries. ;-)

If you’re thinking of photographing your local fireworks display tonight, you might want to check out an article I wrote ColaCola where I take you through the recipe for how to make Awesome Fireworks photos (It’s a step-by-step article – just follow the recipe and ya can’t miss).

Here’s the link.

However, I would add four things to that article for the more serious photography crowd here on my blog. They are:

1. Set your focus to infinity (This isn’t critical, but if your lens can do it, why not). The fireworks are so bright you can use just regular ol’ auto focus for the most part, but if you have a lens that has a distance scale window on the top of your lens barrel; first turn off your auto focus (right on the lens –  switch it to off), then rotate the focus ring on your lens until you see the Infinity symbol [it looks like the number 8 lying on its side], then turn it back just a smidge, so you’re almost right on the infinity symbol. Again, you don’t have to do this, but it might make things a bit easier.

 2. A couple of years ago @SuzanMcEvoy (one of my followers over on my Twitter page) recommended also switching your White Balance to Tungsten and it works really well (Thanks Susan for the tip).

3. Lightroom (and Photoshop’s) Dehaze feature works wonders on the extraneous smoke in the background, so make sure you give it a try. It’s like it was made for fireworks shots.

4. This one probably goes without saying, but you’re on a tripod so use your lowest ISO setting for the cleanest shots.

Hope you all have a safe, happy 4th of July as we celebrate our nation’s physical distance, in miles and magnitude, from Glyn and Dave which makes it truly a day worth celebrating. ;-)

Cheers!

-Scott

7's

Happy Friday folks! Here’s a few quickies:

(1) I need your help with a new course I’m working on. It’s called “Seven Photoshop Techniques Every Lightroom User Needs to Know.” The details are at this link (the how’s and whys of the class), but I need you to leave a comment with what you want learn in Photoshop (as a Lightroom user). Thanks in advance for your input. :)  BTW: you can skip the rest of the page over there, because I share this same news over there – just read the top part about the class. 

(2) As you saw from yesterday’s post, I released a new class called “Masking Hair and Compositing Made Easy” – and I saw some comments from folks who are totally digging the class, but would love to have the images from the class to practice with. Never fear, I’m posting a bunch of them (most of them), this morning (I couldn’t post every single one because a few were stock backgrounds), but you’ve got the important shots for sure.  Here’s the link. 

(3) The amazing Corey Barker has just recorded a class for us on “Advanced Compositing” as a follow-up to my  “compositing made easy” class and it’ll be out in a few weeks (we release at least one new class every Thursday), so after watching my class, you’ll be ready for Corey’s. I’ll let you know when it goes live.

(4) The next stop for my “Shoot Like a Pro: Part 2 [reloaded]” full-day seminar is in Nashville, and if you’re in that area, I hope you’ll come out and spend the day with me. There’s an entire session on my Lightroom Seven Point System, and people are super diggin’ it.

(5) Did you notice that spiffy “7” Logo up top. Did you get the subtle Las Vegas vibe from it? You shoulda, cause we’re just 19 days from Photoshop World Las Vegas! Come out and join us. It’s a Lightroom / Photoshop / Photography love-fest. Get the details right here.

Thanks for stopping by, and here’s wishing you an epic weekend!

Best,

-Scott

BRAD_NOTC_Blog_06.22.16_PSCompositing&MaskingHair

Adobe Photoshop CC In-Depth: Compositing and Masking Hair Made Easy
Gain a solid foundation in compositing by learning how to select and mask hair in Scott Kelby’s newest class, Adobe Photoshop CC In-Depth: Compositing and Masking Hair Made Easy! Selecting objects with hard edges is a breeze, but being able to realistically mask all kinds of hair is what takes real skill. In this class Scott builds up your masking arsenal by demonstrating a number of different masking techniques, step-by-step, so you’ll always have the right technique for the job at hand. Any good composite consists of being able to select the subject, remove edge fringe, match the tone and color of the background and subject, and then unify all components together to make it look realistic. By the end of the class you’ll learn different ways to handle each step of the process, and be well on your way to creating great looking composite images.

In Case You Missed It
Time to let the dogs out! Join the fabulous Kaylee Greer, a private and commercial pet photographer based in Boston, as she shows you how to capture the best dog photographs you’ve ever taken. In this class Kaylee works with four different dogs in different locations, ranging from the local park to the local animal shelter, and shows you her tips and tricks for engaging with her subjects to bring out their unique personalities and create portraits their owners will love, or that can help a shelter dog find a forever home. The locations and lighting are not always ideal, so Kaylee teaches you how she works with whatever situation she finds herself in to locate those hidden gem spots that provide the perfect backdrop for your dog. You’ll need to be prepared to get down on the ground and make silly noises, but the effort will show in the fantastic photos you can create.

AHess_Kelby_blog-Head
Photo by Nadra Farina-Hess

It’s good to be back here on Scotts’ blog. Thanks Scott and Brad. Photoshop World is fast approaching, and this year I’m thrilled to be presenting on Night and low Light Photography and Concert Photography. I wanted to take this opportunity to discuss an aspect of concert photography that those not in the business probably don’t even know about, and that is the Photo Release we are often asked to sign before photographing the band.

If I ruled the world and made up the rules, there would be no photo releases, but sadly (for me) I don’t rule the world (yet) and these releases are a part of doing business. Let me walk you through the typical steps involved with shooting a concert. I am going to talk about the recent 91X-Fest as an example because it is the perfect example of all the types of releases we get to deal with.

The Young Wild performs at the 91X-Fest on June 5, 2016 at Sleep Train Amphitheatre in Chula Vista, CA
91X-Fest lineup t-shirt on June 5, 2016 at Sleep Train Amphitheatre in Chula Vista, CA

The 91X-Fest is the summer concert by the local radio station, and I have been photographing it for a variety of outlets for the last few years. This year I was covering the event for the radio station but since the actual concert was put on by Live Nation at a Live Nation venue, I still had to go through the local Live Nation representative to get permission to shoot the individual bands. I emailed my request to shoot the show, stating who I was shooting it for, and what the images would be used for.

The Frights perform at the 91X-Fest on June 5, 2016 at Sleep Train Amphitheatre in Chula Vista, CA
The Frights perform at the 91X-Fest on June 5, 2016 at Sleep Train Amphitheatre in Chula Vista, CA
SWMRS perform at the 91X-Fest on June 5, 2016 at Sleep Train Amphitheatre in Chula Vista, CA
SWMRS perform at the 91X-Fest on June 5, 2016 at Sleep Train Amphitheatre in Chula Vista, CA
91X-Fest on June 5, 2016 at Sleep Train Amphitheatre in Chula Vista, CA
91X-Fest on June 5, 2016 at Sleep Train Amphitheatre in Chula Vista, CA

There were 11 bands on the schedule, and the local Live Nation rep would compile a list of all the photography requests, contact the bands and get approvals, then get back to the photographers and let them know when said yes and who said no. The local rep was also in charge of sending out and collecting the signed photo releases for the bands that had them. The photo release is a form that stipulates where the images can be used and how they can be used. Most times, they restrict the photo usage to the specific outlet that you site when applying for the photo pass. So for example, since I was shooting for 91X, the images would be used on the 91X websites and social media accounts. If I was shooting for a magazine, then the images would be limited to that magazine. One of the bands headlining the 91X show was The Offspring, and they had a photo release that limited the images to just the outlet I was shooting for. Here is an example of what that looks like.

91X-Fest on June 5, 2016 at Sleep Train Amphitheatre in Chula Vista, CA

The second headlining act was Cheap Trick, and they also had a photo release. Their release is what’s known as a rights grab release where they allow you to shoot the concert but for that privilege, they then expect to not only be able to use the images for free, they expect the photographer to sign over the rights to the images without compensation. That wording looks like this.

91X-Fest on June 5, 2016 at Sleep Train Amphitheatre in Chula Vista, CA

Not only does the band expect to approve each photo used, they expect copies of all the images (you can tell how long the band has been using this release by the wording as there is no mention of digital files but instead still reference negatives and transparencies. So even though I was working for the radio station that was putting on the show, I refused to sign the Cheap Trick photo release and did not shoot their set. One of the reasons that bands get away with this is that there were other photographers who were quite happy to sign the release as it meant they got to photograph the band even though they were not earning a dime from the work. I can’t think of any other job where people would be happy to work for free, then give away the rights to their work, just because of the subject matter. (Notice I said work for free AND give away their rights). It’s a crazy idea, yet as concert photographers we seem to think it’s pretty normal.

The Shelters perform at the 91X-Fest on June 5, 2016 at Sleep Train Amphitheatre in Chula Vista, CA
The Shelters perform at the 91X-Fest on June 5, 2016 at Sleep Train Amphitheatre in Chula Vista, CA
Chevy Metal perform at the 91X-Fest on June 5, 2016 at Sleep Train Amphitheatre in Chula Vista, CA
Chevy Metal perform at the 91X-Fest on June 5, 2016 at Sleep Train Amphitheatre in Chula Vista, CA
The Shelters perform at the 91X-Fest on June 5, 2016 at Sleep Train Amphitheatre in Chula Vista, CA
The Shelters perform at the 91X-Fest on June 5, 2016 at Sleep Train Amphitheatre in Chula Vista, CA

Out of the 11 bands that performed at the 91X Fest, there were three bands with photo releases. The third band with a release was WOLFMOTHER, and their release was a first for me. It was a photo release that actually stipulated that I could use the images for self promotion, on my social media outlets provided that it was representative of my work as a whole. It also allowed the band to use the images for their social media and websites and non-commercial use. I was good with that.

The rest of the bands that day did not have any photo release at all. You can see some of the images from their sets in this blog post. So if you have wondered about the rules when photographing a concert, I hope this cleared up some things and why you don’t always see the images from the shows I shoot on my social media or website.

WOLFMOTHER perform at the 91X-Fest on June 5, 2016 at Sleep Train Amphitheatre in Chula Vista, CA
WOLFMOTHER perform at the 91X-Fest on June 5, 2016 at Sleep Train Amphitheatre in Chula Vista, CA
The Shelters perform at the 91X-Fest on June 5, 2016 at Sleep Train Amphitheatre in Chula Vista, CA
The Shelters perform at the 91X-Fest on June 5, 2016 at Sleep Train Amphitheatre in Chula Vista, CA
IRATION perform at the 91X-Fest on June 5, 2016 at Sleep Train Amphitheatre in Chula Vista, CA
IRATION perform at the 91X-Fest on June 5, 2016 at Sleep Train Amphitheatre in Chula Vista, CA
IRATION perform at the 91X-Fest on June 5, 2016 at Sleep Train Amphitheatre in Chula Vista, CA
IRATION perform at the 91X-Fest on June 5, 2016 at Sleep Train Amphitheatre in Chula Vista, CA
KONGOS perform at the 91X-Fest on June 5, 2016 at Sleep Train Amphitheatre in Chula Vista, CA
KONGOS perform at the 91X-Fest on June 5, 2016 at Sleep Train Amphitheatre in Chula Vista, CA
KONGOS perform at the 91X-Fest on June 5, 2016 at Sleep Train Amphitheatre in Chula Vista, CA
KONGOS perform at the 91X-Fest on June 5, 2016 at Sleep Train Amphitheatre in Chula Vista, CA
KONGOS perform at the 91X-Fest on June 5, 2016 at Sleep Train Amphitheatre in Chula Vista, CA
KONGOS perform at the 91X-Fest on June 5, 2016 at Sleep Train Amphitheatre in Chula Vista, CA
WOLFMOTHER perform at the 91X-Fest on June 5, 2016 at Sleep Train Amphitheatre in Chula Vista, CA
WOLFMOTHER perform at the 91X-Fest on June 5, 2016 at Sleep Train Amphitheatre in Chula Vista, CA
WOLFMOTHER perform at the 91X-Fest on June 5, 2016 at Sleep Train Amphitheatre in Chula Vista, CA
WOLFMOTHER perform at the 91X-Fest on June 5, 2016 at Sleep Train Amphitheatre in Chula Vista, CA

You can see more of Alan’s work at AlanHessPhotography.com, and follow him on Instagram and Twitter. You can also see him live in person at Photoshop World Las Vegas on July 19 & 20!

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