Monday
Oct
2012
22

Three Quick Monday Things

by Scott Kelby  |  11 Comments

Hi Gang: Just a few quick things:

(1) Tried out a new lens on my 2nd body for yesterday’s NFL game
I’ve really never been happy with any of the lenses I’ve used on my 2nd body for shooting football. I’ve tried the 14-24mm, 24-70mm, 50mm f/1.4, 28-300mm and none of them fit the bill. I usually wind up falling back to my 70-200mm f/2.8 which you do see a lot on the sidelines. But recently I’ve run into a few guys using the 24-120mm f/4 on their 2nd body and they swear by it, so I rented one from http://www.lensprotogo.com for yesterday’s Saints/Bucs NFL game and I’m digging it (and I snagged this shot that was picked for Zuma Press’s “Sports Pictures of the Day.” I’m thinking I might have to pick this one up.

(2) Today at 12:00 noon (Florida time) is the deadline for uploading your image for the Worldwide Photo Walk contest
Hey, there are some pretty kick-butt prizes, so pick your best shot from that day and get in the contest. If you don’t know how, there’s a video from RC on the Photo Walk home page (and I ran it here on the blog on Friday) on how to upload your image. Good lucky everybody.

(3) Dont’ forget tonight is my free online Webinar called “A Walk in Paris” 
Here’s the link with all the details — I hope you can join me live at 7:00 PM ET (Florida Time). Lots to share (and we’ll be talking about the Worldwide Photo Walk, making photo books, post-processing, my images from Paris, and much more). I’ll be taking your questions as well. Should be fun. :)

Hope you all have a fantastic Monday and don’t hate your referee for blowing a call in the end zone that cost your team the game, ya know, like mine did. Cheers, -Scott

Friday
Oct
2012
19

Some Quick Friday Stuff (and a free Webinar Monday Night)

by Scott Kelby  |  12 Comments

Hi Gang: Just a few quick newsy things for Friday:

Join me Monday Night for a FREE online Webinar called “A Walk in Paris”
I did one of these after my trip to Cuba (called “Connecting with Cuba”) and it was really well received, so I thought we’d do one about my images and photo book from Paris last week. If you’re into travel photography, I’ve got lots of practical photography and Photoshop tips for you, and I’ll be taking your questions and comments live on the air.

Plus we’ll talking about my Worldwide Photo Walk (I held a local walk in Paris, and participated in a friend’s walk there as well). I’ve got lots of fun stuff to share and some really helpful photo tips,so I hope you can join me (it’s Free) at 7:00 pm ET Monday at this link. Also, can you help me spread the word? :) [NOTE: If you can't make the live broadcast, we'll start free rebroadcasts the following day].

> Great Article about Google+ and its thriving photography community
The article, by Tim Berribeau, is over DPReview in their “Connect” section of the site and the whole thing is about how G+ is a healthy community for photographers. They even mention the Google+ Photographers Conference we produced earlier this year. Here’s the link. 

> Lots of New Group Shots from the Photo Walk
I’ve been posted lots more group shots from the Photo Walks around the world, and I hope you’ll take just a moment and check them out. There is something so hopeful about seeing photographers from all over the world, with all difference cultures, all sharing the same passion and you can literally see it on their faces. It reminds us all of how much we really have in common. I love seeing that there were walks in Libya and China, in Iran and all over Africa and so many fascinating locations. Every time I see their group photo, I wish I had been there with me. Here’s the link. 

> This video (above) for Joe McNally’s Upcoming Class is….well…you just gotta see it!
When Joe tapes a video, it’s always a wild ride, and this one (about sometimes having to make location portraits in less than ideal weather and horrible light), is definitely worth watching. It’ll make your morning.

> OK, this video (above) by my buddies Dave Clayton & Glyn Dewis is…well…don’t watch it. ;-)
It was taping during their local photo walk as part of my Worldwide Photo Walk in Oxford, England and….well…I really can’t recommend it, so watch it right now. :)

> Do you live in Washington DC? How about Boston? Great! Come and see me! 
I’ve only got a couple of my “Photoshop for Photographers” seminars left this year; in Washington DC on October 29th, and in Boston on November 7th. Hope you can come out and join me for the day (you’ll totally dig it). Here’s the link. 

> If you were on the Worldwide Photo Walk, check out RC’s video on uploading your contest entry (above)
I told my walkers in Paris — everybody here should upload a photo for the contest without question. You just never know which photo your leader (or eventually me) might choose as a winning image. For most walks, only a handful of people actually enter the contest part, but seriously — what do you have to lose? If yours doesn’t get picked, you don’t get a harsh critique or publicly called out, you just don’t get picked — no biggie, but at least you tried and that’s a win right there. Check out he video for exactly what to do (thanks RC!).

> That’s it for today, folks.
I hope I’ll be hearing from you Monday night at my free Webinar, “A Walk in Paris.”  Au revoir and have a great weekend!

Thursday
Oct
2012
18

It’s Free Stuff Thursday!

by Brad Moore  |  149 Comments

15% Off Kelby Training Books and DVDs
Starting today, you can get 15% off all books and DVDs at the Kelby Training Store! All you have to do is use the promo code 15KTB for books or 15KTD for DVDs when you check out. And if you’re buying a book/DVD bundle, either code will work.

This sale goes till January 1, so start your holiday shopping early to make sure your favorite people get that book or DVD they’ve had their eye on :-)

We’re giving away a free book and DVD of your choice, so leave a comment for your chance to win!

50% Off Kelby Training Apps
Not only are our books and DVDs on sale, but so are our apps! For a limited time, you can grab Kelby Training Apps for 50% off. That’s a full class from one of your favorite instructors for just $4.99!

We have two free download codes each for the Lightroom 4 Crash Course and Photoshop CS6 Crash Course apps. Leave a comment for your chance to win!

Kelby Training Live
Photoshop CS6 for Photographers
10/19 – Chicago, IL (with RC Concepcion)
10/29 – Washington, DC (with Scott Kelby)

One Light, Two Light with Joe McNally
11/2 – Philadelphia, PA
11/5 – Tampa, FL

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

Worldwide Photo Walk
Just a reminder for everyone who participated in the Worldwide Photo Walk this past Saturday… The last day to submit your best photo to the competition is Monday, October 22. If you haven’t already submitted your photo, make sure you do it soon! All you have to do is go to WorldwidePhotoWalk.com, log in, go to your Photo Walk page, and upload your photo. RC Concepcion even put together a quick video showing how to do it.

And why wouldn’t you submit a photo? You have nothing to lose, but a chance to win some really cool prizes!

Mpix Tap To Print App
Our friends over at Mpix have just released their FREE Tap To Print iOS app! With this app, you can order 4×6 and 5×7 prints from Mpix straight from your iPhone or iPad! You know all those pictures on your phone are just screaming to get out and be put on display for all to see. So take a few minutes to download the app and get prints of those works of art :-)

Food Photography & Secrets of Great Portrait Photography
Our friends over at New Riders Publishing have just released two great new books: Food Photography & Lighting from Teri Campbell, and Secrets of Great Portrait Photography from Brian Smith!

Lucky for you, we have one copy of each to give away, so leave a comment for your chance to win.

Winners
One Light, Two Light Seminar
- Dee Francis

Photoshop CS6 for Photographers Seminar
- Mike Barber

That’s it for today. Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday
Oct
2012
17

It’s Guest Blog Wednesday featuring Rob Adams!

by Brad Moore  |  20 Comments

How to Really Learn Video

Rob Adams – “Forget about audio….”

Random Photographer – “Okay. Wait, what?”

Rob Adams – “You’re not good enough for audio yet.”

Random Photographer – *blinks*

I don’t pull punches. This is what I tell every photographer venturing into the arena of HDSLR video for the first time. I also tell this to photographers who have been shooting (messing around) with their video functions for some time now. Why? Well, imagine WPPI, Imaging USA, After Dark, PDN and InFocus. These are all conventions dealing with photography, or nowadays imaging to be more precise.

Now imagine just about the same amount of conventions that are similar in size and attendance and that are geared towards only audio. That’s why.

Audio is its own beast and it’s the mitigating factor as to why I hear so many photographers say “I want to shoot video, but I just can’t get the audio to sound any good. I just gave up on it.”  This is not uncommon. It’s a hurdle and it can suck the passion right out of you. It’s not necessary to focus on audio when learning to shoot quality video. But you will get there.

You are image artists. Stick with that for now. Audio will come in time once you’ve mastered the basics of video. It will come when you are no longer staring at your 27” screen wondering why the heck your video looks so bad.

Want to start shooting video? Good video? Here’s what you do:

Turn off the audio (for the time-being).

It’s a distraction and will only frustrate you. If you can tell your story visually, you’re on the right track.

Stabilize.

Do NOT try to hand hold your camera like a news cameraman. It may look cool in Breaking Bad, but shaky footage is not professional when trying to please your wedding or portrait clients. They expect your photos to look clean and polished and so should your video. Get this monopod.

Yes, that one exactly.  It’s industry standard and the best in the world use it. You won’t find a better one cheaper and the more expensive ones are just not necessary. This is perfect for shooting high-quality, steady video. It comes with a quick release plate that you keep on your camera for fast, easy mounting.

Shoot SHORT clips.

Rolling on something for more than 10 seconds is only going to frustrate you in the editing process. If you are trying to capture an entire wedding ceremony, you are probably biting off more than you can chew at this stage in your video education. That’s also a common problem. Trying to take on too much too soon.

When you first started photographing did you immediately start shooting weddings by yourself without watching someone do it first? Perhaps you were a second shooter or an apprentice for a while. If you answered “yes,” I’m pretty certain you made some big mistakes and lost some sleep or hair over it. Maybe both. Keep your clips short and simple. Period.

For goodness sake, don’t zoom.

Let me ask you this: When was the last time your eye zoomed? It doesn’t. It’s not natural. Zooming is for 90’s wedding video (although I see it far too often today) and it is a telltale sign of amateur video. It’s the equivalent of using a pop-up flash for professional portraits. You just don’t do it. When you see the camera moving towards or away from something in a movie it’s called a “truck.” It’s when the camera and the lens move together relative to a subject on a Z-axis. It mimics the natural movement of your body in any one direction. Your eyeball doesn’t have glass elements that magnify light to make an object appear closer and with video, the lens should mimic the eye.

Don’t move the camera, yet.

Random Photographer – “But Rob, isn’t that what shooting video is all about?  Movement?”

Rob – “No.  It’s about storytelling”

Watch movies. Unless it’s some wild chase, a fight scene or some dialogue where the director is intentionally trying to impart a sense of drama on the viewer, camera movements are almost ALWAYS purposeful and controlled. Those camera operators on shows like Breaking Bad and The Wire didn’t shake because they were bad shooters. They meant to do that. This observation is especially prevalent in many romantic movies or romantic comedies. These types of films tend to be what our wedding films mimic the most.

Study the way the camera moves the next time you watch a chick-flick. From establishing shots to over-the-shoulder dialogue, street walking and car-scenes the camera doesn’t move unless it’s stabilized on some sort of motion control device. I just ruined movie watching for you forever. Welcome to my world.

Let the subjects be your “motion.”

So now that you have your camera steady and still the movement should come from what you are filming.  Filming people standing in front of a camera taking a portrait is boring.  Have them do something to make motion.  It’s as simple as that.  Then creatively, the sky is the limit.   Sometimes the sky is no limit at all.  Take the Mars rover for example.  It shoots video.

Pre-Focus.

One of the hardest things to do while shooting video with a large format sensor camera like a DSLR is to follow-focus. This means trying to keep a subject in focus as they move around, especially if your aperture is set to f/2.0 or some other shallow depth-of-field. Sure, f/2.0 looks great, but it’s going to take much practice and great damage to your vision trying to follow-focus on that tiny LCD screen. Instead, pre-focus. It’s the same as capturing a bride walking down the aisle in the good old days of film. You’d expose at f/8.0 somewhere on the aisle and when the bride walked into that area…pop. Try that with video. It’s actually pretty cool looking when something or someone moves into your focus range. Just make sure you are rolling before the subject hits the focused area.

Don’t change exposure while filming.

This will create a great deal of frustration when editing. If your light changes and blows out a dress or a skin stop filming, change the exposure, and resume. Trying to edit around exposure clicks in video can be a real challenge for a beginner. It looks unprofessional and amateur if they are left in there too.

Keep your aperture deep, for now.

Shooting video will be far less frustrating when you look at it later and it’s not completely out of focus. What you see on that 3” LCD screen is NOT representative of what you are actually filming focus-wise. You’ll understand this the second you look at your video clip full-size on your monitor later on. Trying to shoot subjects far away at f/2.0 is not easy, or wise.  Especially when they are moving.

Keep your depth-of-field deep for long shots (f/8 or higher) and shallower (around f/4) for tighter, more intimate shots. I know that shallow apertures look amazing, but think of it like choosing the right golf club for the situation. Beginning video shooters shouldn’t stop down below f/3.5…ever.  Trust me, it will build your confidence seeing shots that are in focus when viewed at full resolution and then you can build upon your shallow-depth-of-field shooting skill from there.

So turn off your audio and try these simple techniques. Practice makes better. Even the best cinematographers in the world have been chasing perfection for decades. Continued improvement is what keeps filmmaking fun.

Random Photographer – “So what can I do with video clips that don’t have audio?”

Rob Adams – “Good question.”

How about making a fusion slideshow? I bet there aren’t many photographers in your market doing them. It will set you apart, especially when you get good at it. Using web-based Animoto makes it easy. Or, how about having your subject(s) talk for a bit “on mic” about something or each other (if it’s a couple?). It doesn’t take much to add that in with music after, but that’s another article for a later time. With either of these you can also offer a “movie poster.”  My clients freak over them and you can use one of your awesome photos with my pre-made movie poster template packs.

What you should know is that you already understand a great deal about being a good cinematographer. The lighting principles are basically the same, composition still rests on the rule-of-thirds and shutter speed relates directly to blur and crispness. They are all variables. It’s how you equate them that will determine the desired look.

Below is one of the film trailers that I show to the many photographers that I teach. Notice the camera movements, the audio, and the storytelling. That’s my goal when I shoot and edit. Polished=professional.  Before you watch it mute the audio. Can you still follow the story?  That’s the idea.

(You can watch full-screen HD here)

Rob Adams is a New York City area based wedding filmmaker with more than 15 years experience in the wedding industry.  Rob speaks all over the world on cinema techniques and holds workshops regularly.  Rob’s next appearance will be at PDN in New York City on October 25th.  Rob is also holding a comprehensive wedding cinema workshop on November 6th in the New York City area.

To view more of Rob’s short videos and trailers visit RobAdamsFilms.com

To purchase a DVD of Rob’s full length feature wedding films click here.

Rob is holding a comprehensive Wedding Cinema Workshop on November 6th in the New York City area.

Rob and his wife (photographer Vanessa Joy) will also be holding a Photo/Video Fusion Workshop on November 7th in the New York City area.

Tuesday
Oct
2012
16

Group Photos From Our Photo Walks Around The World

by Scott Kelby  |  10 Comments

Here’s a compilation of Group Photos from around the world, sent to me by group leaders and photographers who participated in my World Wide Photo Walk this past Saturday.

I have to tell you, I get such a big smile when I see each and every one of these. I try to imagine what their walk was like, and how much fun it would have been to be at that walk I’m looking at. Everybody looks so happy in these group shots and it just really tickles me each time I see one.

You can see them larger over at my Google+ page. Here’s the link:

https://plus.google.com/photos/105256156026694816333/albums/5799663987839737585

If you have a group photo, and haven’t sent it to me (or I somehow missed it), I keep updating this Google+ album as they come in. I hope you’ll send in yours because I already know it’ll make me smile. :)

Tuesday
Oct
2012
16

Why We Limit Photo Walk Groups to just 50 Photographers

by Scott Kelby  |  15 Comments

During the walk on Saturday, I saw a comment made on our G+ Events page that kind of stood out to me. It read along the lines of this:

“Limiting the walks to just 50 people seems a bit elitist to me.” 

After I shook my head and thought, “Geesh, there’s one in every crowd,” I did think that there might be some people who are just curious why we have a limit at all, so I thought it might be worth giving you an insight into how that limit came about.

When I first had the idea for this worldwide event, I did a lot of research, including talking extensively with Jeff Revell of PhotoWalkPro.com (he’s done a lot work on finding “the right” number of people for a walk), and Jeff recommended that between 35 to 40 would be ideal, but whatever I do make sure I do not to go over 50 people. After the very first walk I ever led years ago, I can tell you without reservation — Jeff was right on the money (and 50 is on the high-end for sure). Here’s a few of the reasons we think 50 is the right maximum number:

(1) I want each walk to be a quality experience for both the walker and the leader

When I lead a walk, I want to meet everyone participating in my local walk, and believe it or not, in just two hours with 50 people, that’s not as easy as it sounds. For example, you’re only walking for 120 minutes total, which leaves you less than two minutes to talk to each person, but that’s only if you spent the entire time talking, and never took a single photo during the walk. The people who volunteer to lead walks do it to promote and grow their local photographic community and to make new friends along the way. Having a group size that’s manageable, and getting a chance to meet the walkers is as important to them as it is to me. The quality of the experience for everybody is that important.

(2) Believe it or not, finding a restaurant or bar to willingly accommodate 50 people is harder than I ever imagined

You’d think restaurants or pubs would be falling over-themselves to have you deliver a large group of people to their business, but that’s often not the case. I’ve been turned down by restaurant after restaurant (including ones in Paris) that either didn’t have enough staff, or enough seats, or just didn’t want to be bothered with that size of a crowd coming in all at once. I can’t imagine how many doors would close if it were 75 or 100 people.

(3) The more people you have walking in a large group, the more potential you have for someone to get lost in the shuffle

Ask anyone who has led a walk —- keeping an eye on your walkers, making sure they follow the route, and making sure everybody stays together (and stays out of trouble) and winds up where they’re supposed to be  isn’t as easy as it seems for the leader (which is why we’re so careful about who we allow to lead a walk). Think of how tricky it is to manage 50 people in a meeting room, then take those same 50 people and let them loose on a busy street. Now, give them all cameras. See what I mean? It’s kind of like putting kittens back in a box (and the less kittens you have, the easier it is on everybody). :)

(4) It’s supposed to be intimate

It’s supposed to be a small group getting together to share their passion of making images. Big crowds are intimidating to a lot of people (imagine 100 people coming down a city street — it looks more like a mob, right?) so keeping things small keeps the intimacy, and the feel of being a part of something very big, while still being very small and friendly. I got to sit at lot of people’s lunch table after my walk, chatting and sharing photos. That’s very important to me, but with a larger group, I would have probably had a chance to talk to less than half of the folks, if that. We want a small, fun group. Not just a big crowd.

(5) When a walk reaches 50 photographers, someone can apply to lead another walk in the same town

We only limited the number of photographers in a walk — but not the number of walks in a particular area. If a walk fills up (or even gets close to filling up), and we get a request from someone who wants to lead another walk in that city, we add that walk, which expands the number of open spots by another 50 (and there are numerous cities that have numerous walks, at different times, like the two walks I participated in, in Paris).

I hope that gives you some insight into why we limit our walks to 50 people per walk. We do it to make your photo walk experience a fun and memorable one, and to make it manageable enough so your leader will actually want to lead another walk next year in a town near you.

Cheers,

-Scott

 

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