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

 

Monday
Oct
2012
15

Making New Friends and Taking Millions of Photos All Over The World!

by Scott Kelby  |  20 Comments

On Saturday we all got to share in something very special with a record-breaking 1,300+ walks with more than 32,000 walkers from all over the world: from Nigeria to Egypt, from Iran to Romania, from India to the Philippines, from Dubai to Mexico, from New York to LA — all coming together as one big community to share our passion for photography and people. Millions of photos were made that never would have been made otherwise, and lots of new friends were made along the way, which is what it’s really all about.

We just got back home from France literally a few hours ago (This trip was a birthday present from my mega-awesome wife Kalebra who of course came with me and we had a ball all week), and I’m enjoying one of the most amazing aspects of doing a worldwide event like this, which for me is seeing the group photos from all over the world come in (you can post them over on my Facebook page — here’s the link — I’ll copy them to a master post shortly, just remember to include your city’s name in the file name).

Three Cheers for RC Concepcion!
This was my fifth annual Photo Walk, and I really think it was the best one yet, and a lot of the credit goes to my buddy RC Concepcion. We were having our first meeting about the walk months ago and I was grousing about problems we had last year (mostly my fault) and how we could improve the experience for walkers and leaders this year and RC just stepped up and said, “I’ll lead the project!” and lead it he did.

I saw a comment on Google+ yesterday from Craig McCormick who wrote, “And a big shout out should go to both +Scott Kelby and +RC Concepcion for running the show and making this the most interactive and social global photography event ever. You should be extremely proud of this years event!” (though it’s RC that should get the most credit for sure: He really worked hard to make this the smoothest Worldwide Photo Walk yet and I’m so grateful he took the reins and rocked it the way he did). Thanks RC!!!

Also, a big thanks to Brad Moore, Jennifer Bontempi (J-Bonn), Karey Johnson, and our Web Team, Kevin Agren and Mary Laurinitis and her team for all their hard work (and it definitely does take a team to pull off something of this scale. Also, thanks to our sponsors — without them offsetting some of the costs, we couldn’t do the walk in the first place).

My Group Photo Above
At the top of this post is my group shot from my Paris, France walk (which was awesome!!!!!), but the ironic thing is: We’re posed on the steps of the Church of the Sacre Coeur, which is the only church in Paris that I’ve found that forbids ANY photography inside the church. Not just “no flash” or “no tripods” — we’re talking “No Photos!” with a guard right there to enforce it. Ugh!

Above: Here’s me giving my “Welcome to the walk” short speech to my group of walkers, and the bad news that we can’t shoot inside the church, and just some tips for the walk. I had some of the nicest people on my walk you’d ever want to meet, and I was tickled to learn that many came from far away to be on my Paris walk. I met folks who traveled from Hungary, Germany, The UK, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, and The Netherlands, and of course, from different parts of France. [Trusty iPhone photo by Kalebra].

The Weather. Well…it wasn’t the greatest.
But it wasn’t awful, either. We did have gray skies, sometimes dramatic (which is good), sometimes just solid gray (which isn’t), but we only had five minutes of light rain (better than the weatherman had predicted) so we had lots of fun and laughs. I didn’t shoot much at all — I spent most of my walk just visiting with the walkers and making new friends and that by itself makes the walk for me. [Trusty iPhone photo by Kalebra].

Serge to the Rescue!
I have a secret weapon in Paris, my buddy (ace photographer and the #1 Photoshop trainer in France) Serge Ramelli (that’s him in the center of the street above) who lives in Paris and knows the city (and just about everyone in it), like the back of his hand, and he helped me organize the walk, find a great restaurant for us all to meet in after the walk, and generally helped out the entire time (he even led his own walk later that same day, and I joined him as a walker in his walk, where I did shoot quite a bit more). Serge has a beautiful shot of about every amazing scenic location in Paris (we saw his posters for sale in shops all over Paris) and if you’ve got a moment, take a look at his work. Here’s that link.

Kalebra and I spent the week with Serge and his adorable wife Karen, and they were the most fun, most gracious, and most helpful ever. It was four days of non-stop laughter and lots of photo taking (All four of us are photographers so nobody ever said, “OK, that’s enough!” LOL!).

Above: We gathered in a small restaurant in Montmarte after my walk where we shared photos and stories. As soon as we got in and got seated, it started pouring, so our timing couldn’t have been better. I tried to sit at everyone’s table for a while and visit with them (and steal a few of their pomme frites) and I loved hearing everyone’s stories (and seeing their portfolios on their cell phones — LOTS of great photographers there with us that day).

Above: I had a really fun group of photographers from the Philippines who were on my walk, (OK, the guy in the bottom right isn’t from their group, but a great guy nevertheless), and part of a larger group of Philipine photographers back home. I always see lots of great images from the Photographers in Philippines each year (in fact, I believe we’ve had a grand prize winner from there at least once), and while they are a lot of fun, they are very serious about their photography, and I can’t wait to see their shots from our walk.

Above: This really nice guy made up his own custom t-shirt just for my Montmarte walk.

Above: Here’s a close-up of his shirt.

Above: That’s how we roll — taking over the back streets of Montmartre (because the tourists and a wine festival had taken over the main streets — I’ve never seen Montmartre that crowded), so we basically had to take to the streets Gagnam Style! ;-) [Trusty iPhone photo by Kalebra].

Above: This is my buddy Serge Ramelli’s afternoon walk group shot. He planned his walk along Paris’ Seine River [photo by Kalebra Kelby]. That’s Serge giving a “thumbs up” in the bottom right corner, and that’s me far right center with my hoodie up.

Serge’s walk had rain on/off and at one point we all wound up huddled beneath a bridge (as seen above). Later, it got so rainy that we all ducked into a small French cafe (which was warm and dry), and after about 20 minutes indoors sipping wonderful french coffee (and perhaps eating a crepe with Nutella), the weather broke and it was absolutely beautiful outside —- blue skies, beautiful clouds — you would never guessed 20 minutes before it was storming, so we ended Serge’s walk on a high note. [Trusty iPhone photo by Kalebra].

Send Me Your Group Shots and Video Links
Tomorrow I’ll be posting lots of group shots and videos from all around the world, so if you haven’t already sent me your group shot (or video link), just post it here on the blog, and I’ll download the image and post it tomorrow. Again: don’t forget to include your city name and country in the file name.

Link to the Google+ Event Page
We had a special Google+ event page just for the Worldwide Photo Walk, and we had lots of leaders who set up their own individual Event Pages just for their walks, or created G+ Circles for their walkers, which I thought was really cool. Having one main event page was great! It was just slick to sit there and see images streaming in live from all over the world during the walks. Here’s the page if you want to check it out.

On Twitter search for the Hashtag #WWPW
A lot of folks were Tweeting and uploading images live during their walks, and it is so exciting and just plain fascinating to see all the comments and images posted during these live photo walks from every corner of the globe. To see all these comments, just go to Twitter, and up top in the search field type in #WWPW

  • My thanks to everyone who attended my walk in Paris, and who participated in other walks around the world. I always have a lot of fun during these walks, and I hope you did, too!
  • A huge thanks to all the volunteers who organized and led walks around the world (We couldn’t have done it without you).
  • Also, a thanks to my book Publisher Peachpit Press, for their major support of this event, and to the great folks at Adobe who played a major role in all of this. A big thanks once again to all the sponsors who pitched in to make this a very special day for photographers around the globe.

Check back here tomorrow for group photos, videos, and more photo walk updates!
See you here tomorrow — I’ve got to hit the sack, I’m “le beat!” LOL! :)

Saturday
Oct
2012
13

Today’s the Day for my 5th Annual Worldwide Photo Walk. Whoo Hoo!!! :-)

by Scott Kelby  |  6 Comments

OK, I know this is a rare Saturday post for me, but it’s Worldwide Photo Walk day and I’m so excited!!!!

I leave for my walk here in Paris, France in 30-minutes where I’m leading a group through Montmartre (my friend, Parisian photographer Serge Ramelli and his wife Karen are joining us) and I’m most excited to have my wife Kalebra joining me on the walk again this year as well (she’ll be wielding her “Trusty iPhone”).

For the first-time ever, we have a special “Google+ Events Page” where we’ll be sharing photos from around the world and interacting live during our walks, so check it out (and if you’re part of a walk today, make sure you click the “Yes” (I’m attending) button so you can join right in. Here’s the link: http://bit.ly/wwpwgplus

Here’s wishing you all beautiful weather, a safe fun walk, and your best photos yet!

Cheers,

-Scott

Friday
Oct
2012
12

The Worldwide Photo Walk Is Tomorrow!!!! Whoo Hoo!!! (plus seven last-minute tips)

by Scott Kelby  |  18 Comments

It’s here!!! Tomorrow in more than 1,300 cities around the world my 5th Annual World Wide Photo Walk kicks off, and by tomorrow night more than 30,000 photographers around the world will collectively have taken literally millions of photos as part of their local Photo Walks. Just “Wow!

If you haven’t signed up for a walk yet: go here  right now and find a walk near you and sign up free! (you can bet walking with us tomorrow!).

If you’re already signed up to walk, here are SEVEN LAST MINUTE PHOTO WALK TIPS to make your day a success:

(1) Walk Leaders: Make Sure You Watch my Leader’s Video
If you’re leading a Photo Walk, go to your Leader’s Dashboard page on the Official Worldwide Photo Walk site and watch my video called my: Top 10 (or so) Tips for Leading A Successful Photo Walk.” There is some VERY important info in that video, so please make absolutely sure you watch it before your walk.

(2) Get a Group Shot Right at the Beginning
Somebody remember to take a group shot before you head out for your walk (it’ll be much harder to corral everybody after the shoot, so get one right before you head out). Send some to me, and I’ll post ‘em on my blog next week and over on our Google+ Event Page.

(3) This is The Gear I’m Taking on My Photo Walk
I’m walkin’ light again this year. I’m going with a Nikon D800 body with just one lens; the 28-300mm f/3.5 – f/5.6 VR lens. I’ll be using an Upstrap camera strap (a strap that doesn’t fall off your shoulder no matter what) and one Lexar 16GB 600X card (I won’t fill more than that).

(4) Don’t Forget to Wear Really Comfortable Shoes
You’ll be doing a lot of walking, so make sure you wear shoes that make your feet happy.

(5) Charge all your batteries tonight
Don’t forget to charge your camera batteries, clean your lenses (and sensor), and make sure you’ve got an empty memory card and a back-up.

(6) Go read Dave Cross’ “Photo Walk Ideas” article
If you’re looking for some great ideas, give Dave’s great article a quick read. Even though he wrote it back for my 2009 walk, it’s a great article and it’ll increase your chances for a killer shot! Here’s the link.

(7) The Most Important Thing Is…: That you all stay safe
Look out for each other on the walk.
Drink plenty of water beforehand and during the walk. Keep an eye on your gear at all times. Don’t go into scary-looking areas, traipsing down deserted alleys, or anyplace that looks unsavory. Don’t get distracted by shooting—you don’t want to bump into, or trip over, anything. Get some great shots, and I’ll see you back here on Monday for a recap of the event.

A special thanks to our wonderful sponsors who made all of this happen (especially Peachpit Press, who is giving all the walk leaders, and walk winners my “Lightroom 4 book for Digital Photographers,”), and to all the photographers around the world who volunteered to lead walks.

My humble thanks to you all for being a part of his historic photography event. Can’t wait to see your shots!!!!!! :-)

All my best,

-Scott

Page 94 of 485« First...102030...9293949596...100110120...Last »
Advertisement