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Seize the Night: Night Photography Techniques with Gabriel Biderman
Seize the night! Join Gabriel Biderman and gain a solid foundation for creating better images once the sun goes down. In this class Gabe discusses all of the tools you’ll need, the importance of scouting locations, how to play with time and movement, and how to shoot everything from cityscapes to fireworks and start trails to moonlit landscapes. All along the way Gabe shares insightful tips, guidelines, and techniques to help you get the most out of your gear and your experience. By the end of the class you’ll be inspired to venture out and do more night photography.

In Case You Missed It
Join Dave Black for some lightpainting under the stars in Mono Lake and Bodie Ghost Town. Dave starts off with a walk through of all the gear needed for lightpainting before taking us through the importance of a site survey. Over the course of six different shoots in a variety of locations Dave shares all of the steps and settings needed to create stunning lightpainted starscapes. Each lesson is packed with tips, tricks, and lessons learned from Dave’s decades of experience. Dave is a master teacher, and his love for creating these photographs is truly infectious.

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[Editor’s Note: On October 7, 2016, we lost not just one of our favorite photographers, but one of our favorite people, Tim Mantoani, to his battle with cancer. In his honor and memory, we wanted to share Tim’s first guest post from 2009 again today. Tim, thanks for all you did over the years, for your kindness, and for sharing your thoughts and ideas with us. You’ll be greatly missed.]

A few weeks back Brad Moore, Photo Studio Manager at Kelby Media Group dropped me a line inviting me to be the Guest Blogger. I first met Brad while he was working with Joe McNally in New York. Brad came with Joe to the 20×24 Polaroid Studio, while I photographed Joe for my Behind Photographs Project. So, thanks Brad and Scott for giving me the stage for the day.

Photography is part of my soul, it is not my job. Simply put, I love it. Richard Avedon said it best, “If a day goes by without me doing something related to photography, it’s thought I’ve neglected something essential to my existence, as though I had forgotten to wake up.” So today I will share some images and some thoughts that help put a smile on my face and make me feel complete.

BE WHO YOU IS
Ian Summers is a great business coach in our industry. He loves the quote, “Be who you is, cuz if you ain’t who you is, then you is who you ain’t.” As a photographer it is easy to try to imitate another shooter’s work and to try to be all things to all people. I am based in a smaller photo market in San Diego and often have to shoot a variety of styles to satisfy my clients. However, when it comes down to the work, I always try to give them what they want, then shoot something they way I see it. At least at the end of the shoot, you have something YOU are happy that you created. Put YOU into your work. It is important to sing in your own voice. Think of yourself as a musician. You can place a guitar in the hands of any person and it is just a box with a hole in it, the same is true of a camera. What is the sound of your photography? U2 does not sing Rap, Folk, R&B, etc… They don’t sound like another band, they sound like U2. Be YOU too!

There are people that shop for “photography” and people that shop for a “photographer.” If you are just selling photography, then the cheapest price will get the job. Make your clients buy YOU. Find time to shoot personal work and promote it.

These Polaroid shots were taken on an assignment where I had very limited time with each player and a specific shot that the client needed. Once I knew I had what my client needed, I snapped two Polaroids of each player. In the end, they were my favorite images from the shoot.

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These images of Luchadores are part of an on going personal project. I love the funkiness of these characters. What do you love? Go shoot it.

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ROLL THE DICE
When I was a student at Brooks Institute, Gregory Heisler was a guest speaker. I remembering him say, “Take the biggest chance when you have the biggest opportunity.” It is easy in this business to play it safe. If you do so, people will not remember you or your photography.

I started my Behind Photographs Project in 2006. I had always wanted to try shooting with the 20×24 Polaroid camera, so I rented it for an afternoon. It was expensive to rent and I knew I wanted to shoot something that was important to me. So, I called Jim Marshall and Michael Zagaris. Both legendary photographers, I asked them if I could make a portrait of each of them holding one of their iconic images. Jim told me I was “f***ing crazy.” It was intimidating, expensive and challenging, but it was also exhilarating, priceless and contagious.

Over the past two years, I have shot over 100 photographers and now own a 20×24 Wisner camera. It has been the most rewarding project I have shot to date. I do not have a trust fund, I am not independently wealthy, I refinanced my home to do this. (Did I mention I have the greatest wife in the world?) Believe in yourself. Remember, the rollercoaster is more fun than the merry-go-round.

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Jim Marshall
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Greg Heisler
Dog Legs, 6/19/08, 11:53 AM, 8C, 7308x11688 (948+312), 150%, Repro 2.2 v2, 1/60 s, R69.3, G45.0, B60.2
Elliott Erwitt
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Nick Ut
Water Polo Team, 6/19/08, 11:13 AM, 8C, 7308x11688 (948+312), 150%, Repro 2.2 v2, 1/60 s, R69.3, G45.0, B60.2
Joe McNally
Mary Ellen Mark, 6/19/08, 11:03 AM, 8C, 7308x11688 (948+312), 150%, Repro 2.2 v2, 1/60 s, R69.3, G45.0, B60.2
Mary Ellen Mark
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John Filo
Harry Benson - Beatle Pillow Fight, 8/25/08, 11:30 AM, 8C, 6996x11904 (1104+72), 150%, Repro 2.2 v2, 1/40 s, R60.2, G36.1, B51.2
Harry Benson

YOU ARE THE AUTHOR OF YOUR OWN LIFE STORY
One thing I really enjoy about teaching workshops is not what my students learn from me, but what I learn from them. At the end of one of my classes, a student approached me to say thanks and told me that she was a teacher. She said, “I tell my kids that they are the author of their own life story.” I though it was such a simple idea, yet so true. If you don’t like where you are in your life or with your photography, turn the page tomorrow and start taking it where you want it to be. If you don’t, no one will.

A few years back I had hit a creative wall and wanted to shoot some new images for my book. I took off for five days on a trip with a friend from Brooks and we traveled to Cuba. There were many reasons not to go, time away from my family, the cost, etc. But, there were far more reason to go. The trip pushed me out of my comfort zone, forced me to look at a new place in a new way and got the creative juices flowing. It made me feel alive. This image of Leonard is one of my favorites from the trip. I later sold it as stock to a national car company for an ad campaign.

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JUST ASK
Years ago, my friend Greg had just gotten out of the Navy as a photographer and was taking a motorcycle trip down the California coast. When he got to Carmel, he stopped at a McDonald’s and thought to himself, “I think Ansel Adams lives here.” So he picked up the phone book and looked up his name, dialed the pay phone, it rang and Ansel answered. “Mr. Adams? I didn’t think you would answer, well…..I am a fan of your work and was in Carmel and just dialed your number.” Ansel asked where he was and it ended up being a few blocks from his home. He invited Greg up to the house, gave him a tour of the darkroom and later had him up for workshops as an assistant. I believe people in general are good and want to help. If you are afraid to ask, you are probably onto something interesting. Don’t be afraid to ask.

When Lance Armstrong won his sixth Tour, I really wanted to photograph him. So, I called an editor that I knew at a sports magazine and asked him if the opportunity came up, would he please consider me for the job. A month later we did the shoot.

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PLAY AND REJUVINATE
When I worked for Dean Collins, he used to say, “You get into photography the same way you get into being a prostitute. First you do for fun, then you do it for friends, then you do it for money.” Remember the feeling… The first time you picked up a camera. The first time you saw your image published. The first time you watched an image appear in the darkroom. These moments made us feel alive. Shoot things that make you feel this way again, the energy and passion will become apparent in your images.

One of the greatest things about being a father is watching your kids play and discover the world. Through them you see the world from a fresh perspective and you can become a kid again. I watch cartoons, play with Legos, draw with crayons and make funny faces at myself in the mirror. Become a kid again. The world is less complex, more fun and the food is more colorful. Play.

This series of portraits was taken for USA Softball of the Olympic Team.

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A while ago, I took a wetplate workshop from Will Dunniway in Corona, California. I have always been amazed that early photographers figured out how to make tintypes. At the time, most of my assignment work had become so “digital” I was thirsting to get my hands dirty again. Each plate is a unique image that cannot be repeated. They are hand-made. They are special. Find a way to make your work special.

Tintype Portrait of OJ Mayo

LISTEN TO THAT VOICE
I’ve been in this business for almost 20 years and learned the hard way in some cases. If someone is calling you for a job and it just doesn’t seem to be a good deal for you, it probably isn’t. If it looks like a turd and smells like a turd, guess what? Walk away or you will be sure to step in it. Conversely, when you have an idea that you think is good, run with it. Trust your instincts and shoot it. Make the time, spend the money, see if it has legs.

For this image of Tony Gwynn, I had the idea to reflect baseballs in the top of his silver bats. These bats are given away each year in MLB to the hitter with the highest batting average. To achieve this, I took an image of a baseball on a black background and made a 3×3 foot backlit enlargement of it. This print was then placed over the top of a 3×3 softbox, turning the light source into a giant baseball. The light was then positioned to reflect in the top of the bats. I shot this with a 90mm on a Sinar 4×5. It is now part of a featured exhibit at The Lousiville Slugger Museum.

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PUT IN THE EXTRA TIME
As I write this, it is now 12:30 a.m. My family has been in bed for hours and I am putting in my time. If I don’t someone else will.

For this shot of triathlete Linsey Corbin, I was hired by a magazine to shoot the cover of their annual wetsuit issue. They originally wanted to do a shot that was similar to a image they had run on the cover a year prior of a woman running out of the ocean in a wetsuit. I could have easily shot this type of an image, but I really didn’t want to because it wouldn’t be anything special. Linsey was the top finisher from the US at the Ironman World Championships so I pitched the magazine with the idea of doing an under water shot of her with a flag. This idea required far more production, testing, scouting and time, but in the end it was different and made people in that industry talk. As Yoda said, “Do or do not…there is no try.”

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HALF FULL
My friend Mark Mosrie is a photographer in Nashville and is one of the most positive minded people I know. He came out to visit me in January and had on a t-shirt that had a simple line drawing of half full glass with small type in it that read “half full”. So often, I hear photographers say, “If only I had a ______( Insert: new camera, a new website, more money, the latest light, gizmo or gadget here), I could ________ (Insert: show my portfolio, start my project, get more work, get a rep, etc. here.” Work with the gear you have, market with the resources you have, show the portfolio you have. You will always be waiting for something and if you wait for that new website, that new promo piece, that new camera, you will be missing out on NOW. You can take some amazing images with the sun and last time I checked, it has a much faster recycle time than any strobe system on the market. Focus on what you do have and what you can do, make your glass half full.

Oscar Pistorius is a world-class runner, enough said.

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THIS IS NOT A DRESS REHERSAL
Nine years ago I was playing in a soccer game. Late that night, I had a sharp pain in my knee that lasted through the night. In the morning, I called my doctor and he told me he was out and I could go to the Emergency Room if needed. I wasn’t shooting that day, so I decided to go in and have it checked out. Within the course of several hours, I found out that I had a tumor in my left femur, it was most likely cancer and that the doctors would do their best to “salvage my limb.” At that moment, nothing else mattered. I underwent five weeks of radiation, had half my femur and knee replaced with titanium and spent six months in and out of Chemotherapy. Just in case that was not enough to handle, my wife gave birth to our son, Lucas, 10 days after my surgery.

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This life experience has taught me that you need to do things that you dream about NOW. Every photographer reading this blog has a project they have always wanted to shoot but haven’t. Start it tomorrow. No matter how many reasons you have not to, start it. Make that first call, send that first email, make that first picture. You will be amazed how your life will change and how you will grow both as an artist and as a person. You only get one chance, one life, this is it! You can’t change yesterday, but you can change tomorrow.

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Hey gang, just a quick update on where we are on the Worldwide Photo Walk.

Let’s look at the numbers first, cause they’re awesome!

(1) We had 24,338 walkers participate
(2) We had 1,068 walks organized around the world
(3) We have raised (so far), over $24,000+ for the Springs of Hope Orphanage in Nakuru, Kenya (which is more than double what we raised last year. This is a BIG awesome win!! Whoo Hoo!!!)

Thank you to all the leaders who gave their time and expertise; thanks to everybody who joined a walk, and of course a big thank you to everyone who bought a t-shirt or donated to the Orphanage. What a blessing this will be for them (and for you, too!).

Now, some housekeeping stuff:


(1) The deadline to enter the main photo contest is…
Sunday, October 16, 2016 at 12:00 Midnight EDT.

To enter your image (which must have been taken during the official walk), go to the WorldwidePhotoWalk official web site; log-in with your user name and password; then from the top right side of the menu bar select “Your Walk.” Then, on your walk page, go to the Contest Tab (as shown below), and click on the photo contest button (shown circled in red below).

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Our contest this year is handled by the folks at ViewBug. They’ll ask you to create a free ViewBug account, and you can submit your one image to the photo competition there.


 

WALK LEADER PHOTO CONTEST

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(2) The deadline for the Leader photo contest is…
…the same as above for the walkers (Sunday, Oct. 16th, 2016); go to the site; log-in with your user name and password, and from the Leader’s Dashboard, in the top menu click on “Photo Walk” and from the pop-down menu choose “Your Photo Walk.” Then click on the Contest tab, and you’ll see a button for “Enter Leader Contest” (as shown above).

That’s it for now. Lots more contests and fun coming up, including the “Video Contest” (with an awesome prize from Canon USA our awesome sponsor — more on this next week), plus the People’s Choice Awards, and the announcement of all the finalists and winners.

Hope you found that helpful. Make sure you stop back tomorrow for a very special guest blog/tribute to one of the true greats in our industry.

Best,

-Scott

outdoorworkshop

Going to Photo Plus Expo in a couple of weeks? Come Shoot Portraits with Me!
Hi gang — it’s Monday. Here’s what’s up: If you’re going to Photo Plus Expo in New York, I want to tell you about a hands-on “Portraits on location” workshop I’m doing with the folks from Lexar Memory.

It’s limited to a small group of people, and we’re going to head out into the streets of Manhattan with two professional models. I’ll explain the technique, then you’ll split into two groups and try out the same techniques yourself with the models. We’ll be using both natural light and flash, and we’ll pack a lot into those two-hours — you’ll learn a bunch, and you’ll be shooting’ plenty the whole time.

Here’s the link to sign up for the workshop

These workshops [Photo Plus Expo calls them “Photo Walks” but they’re really hands-on workshops], are very limited to the number of participants, so if you want to join me (and Brad), then sign up right now before it’s sold out.

 

Another side of Street Photography on “Photography Live and Uncut”
I recently was a guest on the UK-based Web show “Photography Live and Uncut” with host Paul Griffiths (great host, and really nice guy), and we got “into it” on the topic of Street Photography. It’s a discussion you don’t hear very often, and if you’ve got a few minutes, just let this run in the background — it’s more entertaining than a Presidential Debate (but then, what isn’t?). ;-)

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Honored to be included in “Get Inspired” Magazine
It’s a magazine of creative inspiration and in their current issue (issue #31) they included one of my portraits, and I’m very excited and honored to be included among such great photographers in this issue. Here’s the link to download the magazine.

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Photographers in Charlotte and Sacramento — I’m headed your way!
I’m in Charlotte next Monday, the 17th, and then I’m in Sacramento the next week, on the 24th, with my full day seminar. Hope you can come out and spend the day with me. 🙂

That’s it for today! Hope yours is a great one!

Best,

-Scott

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Above: My MacBook Pro in the photo workroom, secured with “The Ledge” and cable lock.

A couple of weeks ago I covered the Bucs home game vs. the LA Rams, and I tried out a new lock for my MacBook Pro Retina laptop called “The Ledge” from MacLocks.com (while I’m out on the field, my laptop is back in the photo workroom, and I don’t like to leave it there unattended without it being locked down).

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Above: Here’s the cable lock I keep in my Thinktank Laptop bag.

Why we need a separate lock today
The MacBook Pros’ used to have a built-in slot for attaching a lock directly to the body itself, and I used a MacBook cable lock back then, and it worked perfect. But then in 2012, with the newer, thinner MacBooks, Apple sadly did away with that locking slot on the body, so I had to find another solution, and MacLocks.com had the only decent solution I could find, which had you attaching a lightweight, yet strong, thin horizontal bar along the bottom rear of your MacBook, and on the end there was a slot where you inserted the lock (here’s the link to that review here on the blog). While it did add a long bar to the back of your MacBook, it did the job well (I still have my MacBook despite being left on its own many times). My only big complaint with this older lock was there was not a combination lock model available — you had to use a key lock.

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Above: Here’s a close-up of The Ledge — it’s really small and unobtrusive.

The Ledge is That Much Better!
Beside the fact that you couldn’t get a combination lock with the other bar method, the other downside to the “locking bar” is that bar would sometimes get caught when  taking it in/out of your laptop bag. No biggie, but it happened enough that it was a bit annoying. Not enough to remove it, and take my chances with an attended laptop just lying their begging to be stolen, but annoying enough. That’s why when I saw “The Ledge” I wanted it badly — It’s the smallest, most unobtrusive, and easiest to install MacBook Pro lock I’ve ever used (just remove one screw; pop the “Ledge” on; use the included MPB screw and you’re set). Two minutes tops. And now I can say hands down The Ledge is absolutely my favorite. It addressed my one minor gripe from the old version, and it did it in a better way than I was expecting. It’s just so small and so simple. I love simple design.

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Above: Finally — a combination lock option! Note: be careful when setting your combination — you press in a little button on the bottom (with a pen or small screwdriver) while setting the number you want for your combination (unless, of course, you want 0-0-0-0 to be your number). If at any time you let off the pressure even a tiny bit, it will choose whatever number you’re currently at, but you won’t realize it until it’s too late. Yes, this happened to me, and I had to get a replacement cable lock. It’s tricky to do with just one person, so ask a friend to help. 

You can choose a key lock or combination lock (I went with the combo lock).

Highly recommended if you worry about protecting your Mac anywhere you have to leave it unattended, even for a minute. It’s $79.95 for the Ledge with the cable lock, special little screwdriver, and slightly longer screw to attach the Ledge to the bottom of your MacBook Pro. More details at bit.ly/2dzFrd1

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Above: Here’s a close-up of combo lock attached to The Ledge.

Overall Rating
If I actually had a five-star rating-system, with 5 being best, this would be a 5-star (I gave the old version I a 4-1/2 star rating, knocking off the half star because at that time they didn’t offer a combination lock option (only a key lock) but now they do, it’s just a $5 upgrade.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars! ✭✭✭✭✭
Price: $79.95 (includes key lock cable)
Combination Lock Cable Option: Add $5.00
Works on: 13″ and 15″ Retina MacBook Pros
Available from: MacLocks.com

Hope you found that helpful. Try to stay safe and dry out there, and have a great weekend! #rolltide

Best,

-Scott

lrkillertips

Lightroom Killer Tips with Scott Kelby
Time for some Lightroom killer tips! Join Scott Kelby as he digs deep and shares dozens of tips, tricks, and workarounds to help you work faster, more efficiently, and have more fun while using Lightroom. From little known features to time-saving techniques, Scott will help you get more out of Lightroom than you knew was possible. Feel free to jump in with any lesson that catches your eye, or take it from the top. These killer tips can be found almost every corner of Lightroom and can be applied to any workflow.

In Case You Missed It
Whether you are a professional or a hobbyist, there’s no getting around the fact that photography gear can be expensive. Join Larry Becker in Inexpensive and DIY Photography Gear Solutions as he shares all kinds of cool ways you can save money on a wide range of photographic accessories. Larry is always thinking of clever alternatives to conventional gear and do-it-yourself ways to make the things you need at a much lower cost. Sometimes we can save money just by learning from the cautionary tales told by our peers. In this class Larry has gathered up a ton of his favorite tips, tricks, and projects to help you find low cost solutions for things all photographers need and use. By the end of the class you’ll be ready to head out to your local hardware store and start experimenting with your own solutions and alternatives, so that you’ll have more money to spend on the important things.

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