Hands On with the Nikon Z7: Everything you Need to Know to Get Great Shots Join Larry Becker to learn the ins and outs of the amazing Nikon Z7! Whether you just picked one up or are thinking about adding one to your kit, you’ll want to learn all the hidden features and pro tips that set this camera apart. From getting oriented to the buttons and menus to customizations and focusing options (and more!), Larry teaches you how to set them up and get the most out of them. Throughout the class you’ll also encounter interviews with professional photographers, Stacy Pearsall, Cliff Mautner, Dixie Dixon, and Joe McNally, who have a lot of insights to share from their early hands on experience with the Nikon Z7.
In Case You Missed It Join Larry Becker to learn the ins and outs of the amazing Canon EOS R! Whether you just picked one up or are thinking about adding one to your kit, you’ll want to learn all the hidden features and pro tips that set this camera apart. From features such as programmable controls to flexible priority mode to shooting video, Larry teaches you how to set them up (and more!) and get the most out of them. Larry wraps up the class with three interviews with professional photographers, Joel Grimes, Roberto Valenzuela, and Rick Sammon who have a lot of insights to share from their early hands on experience with the EOS R.
How have your thoughts/techniques on lighting evolved? Do you find yourself using gear now that you didn’t think you would use when you started out? Or are you using the same gear but in different ways?
I worked very hard over the first several years of freelancing to perfect lighting techniques, and certain aspects of lighting have become second nature. I’m constantly experimenting to keep things fresh, but one big lesson that I’ve learned is that focusing on lighting alone doesn’t guarantee a great photo. We often get too wrapped up in technical perfection, and I’m certainly guilty of that myself.
As a portrait and lifestyle photographer, I want to make the talent look amazing- and sometimes that’s largely based around the lighting. However, even more important than the lighting, is connecting with whoever I’m photographing in order to create a compelling portrait. Thinking my way into how to make that happen has proven to be more beneficial over time than stressing too much over what type of lighting I’d like to use.
As for gear, though every shoot is different, I try to use a fairly minimal gear pack. Lighting has evolved quite a bit over the last five years, and the Profoto B1 in particular has changed the way I’m able to work on set. It’s enabled me to work lighter and faster than ever before with access to a massive lineup of light shapers for any scenario imaginable.
What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made that has proven to be a valuable lesson? Has learning from that mistake saved you in some way on another job?
The biggest mistake I made when starting out was saying yes to everything. We’re all hungry for work, and oftentimes seriously undervalue our talent when we shouldn’t be doing so.
Almost every single time I’ve taken a low paying job just for the money, it’s been soul sucking work where there’s zero respect for the creative process.I’ve been learning this lesson all along, but am just starting to consistently turn down jobs for this reason.
Some of those clients have gone away entirely, but I’m okay with that. The truth is, I believe it to be more valuable to spend my time shooting something I’m invested in creatively.
What kind of balance do you keep between editorial and commercial clients? If commercial clients pay more than editorial, what value do you see in working for editorial clients?
About 75% of my client base has been commercial since day one. I never really marketed myself to one type of client more than the other initially, but because my work is commercially oriented, that’s been the majority of the work I’ve gotten. Brands tend to pay a lot more than editorial- which is cool since I live in Brooklyn and the cost of living here is less than ideal.
There is a huge amount of value in editorial work though, and I thoroughly enjoy diving into these jobs when they come in. There’s generally a lot fewer people on set for editorial jobs (sometimes just an assistant and myself), and I find that I can use the talent’s time much more efficiently when that’s the case. There’s often a lot more creative freedom on editorial jobs, and I try to dive in as deep as possible to create something I want- which isn’t always possible on commercial jobs.
What’s the best business/technical/other advice you would give yourself if you could talk to five-years-ago Drew?
Accept the fact that work comes in waves, and that there will be times where you have absolutely no work. For the first few years, I consistently had a few months per year where I had zero work coming in, and I struggled to deal with it. We’re all somewhat insecure artists, and it’s easy to assume that we’ll never work again. It’s tough to make it through this.
Instead of getting into a funk, the only thing that’s ever fixed this for me is picking up a camera and shooting. It always brings me back to my love of photography and reminds me of why I do this in the first place.
If you could re-do one shoot, which one would it be and what would you do differently?
I’d really love to have an opportunity to work with Kendrick Lamar again. I spent a day with him about 4 years ago just before ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’ was released, but didn’t completely get what I wanted. I was shooting a media day for Reebok in a hotel suite filled entirely with Reebok branding, so there was very little in the way of candids without logos surrounding him.
I managed to shoot a quick portrait on the terrace, I wish I had pushed a little harder to have some more time with him outside of the hotel suite.
If I were to ever have another opportunity with him, I’d love to shoot something more journalistic.
What would you consider your most successful shoot and why? How do you define a successful shoot (your happiness with the final product, how much you made on it, the size of the production, the biggest name client, etc)?
I was assigned to photograph David Byrne of the Talking Heads, in his Soho studio earlier this year, and it’s definitely one of my favorite shoots in recent memory. David is a true icon, and I did tons of research to make sure I knew what I was getting into. I watched documentaries, interviews, and gathered photographic inspiration to share with him on-set. He was an incredible collaborator, and I shot a few frames that feel very true to who David is as an artist- which was the ultimate goal, and the sign of a successful shoot for me.
This particular shoot was not a moneymaker (in fact, I spent some money on it), but I’m really happy with the photos and the entire experience with him.
How do you keep your creativity fresh? How do you avoid getting visual burnout (consuming so much imagery you just get tired of it/numb to it)?
Personally, a lot of it has to do with being in New York City. As crazy and as living in the city is, there’s more inspiration here than I can imagine just about anywhere else. I feed off the energy, grit, and hustle of the culture constantly, and that’s what keeps me pushing forward.
I’m Dave Williams, and I’m back again, right here on Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider for my weekly #TravelTuesday post—straight from across the pond in (not so) sunny England. Today, I’m going to lay down some tips for shooting wide, which have come from my realisation that I’ve been carrying around a 14–24mm, 24–70mm, and 70–200mm lens almost everywhere I go, but haven’t actually used the 24–70mm for a very, very long time! Instead, I’ve opted for the 14–24mm to take in a much wider scene.
The most important points to note when shooting with such a wide lens are these:
It will make big things seem smaller! This can mean that our point of interest can be lost amongst the larger scene and we really do need to consider this when we’re composing the scene.
It needs a foreground element to work well. This is because there’s so much in the frame that if we didn’t have a foreground, we’d risk creating a confusing mess of a photo, with the viewer’s eye wandering around a large scene and getting lost without anything, in particular, drawing their attention around the edges. When setting up and composing our shot with a wide angle lens, just the smallest movement can make a huge difference to the foreground element. Whatever foreground element we choose, be it a road or some other leading line, or perhaps something like water to support the atmosphere of our composition, it must support and direct to the background to work just right. Because the foreground is so much more emphasised with a wide angle lens it really must be carefully considered and composed.
It will put more of the scene in focus. The depth of focus from a wide angle lens is so much greater than other, longer lenses and, therefore, it’s easier to catch a lot more of the image in focus. What we can potentially lose in distortion, which we can, of course, deal with in post, we are going to gain in overall sharpness throughout the scene.
Having a wide angle lens in the arsenal is a fantastic thing for many genres of photography, but in particular for landscapes. When it’s used carefully and properly it can help us create some truly powerful and dramatic images, so use it right and step your photography up a gear!
Today is Veterans Day in the US, and I wanted to take a moment to honor and thank the men and women who have served in our country’s military, and who fought to defend the very freedoms we enjoy each day.
America owes you a debt of gratitude for your service and sacrifice, and I just wanted to join in…
The Walk Leader competition is always one of the hardest to judge This year, especially so. There are so many great entries from so many talented leaders, and it made my job as tough as ever. Maybe the hardest yet.
Although there’s only one winner, I felt there were some images that were so good that even though they didn’t win a prize, they still deserved to be recognized, so I’m displaying my “Honorable Mentions” first, then we’ll reveal our winner.
I present our 10 Walk Leader Competition Honorable Mentions (in no particular order):
Leader / Photographer: Pat Byme Photo Walk:Meath, Ireland
Leader / Photographer: Cromwell Photo Walk: Lapu City, Cebu, Phillipines
Leader / Photographer: Shea Williams Photo Walk: Cordova, Tennessee
Leader / Photographer: Leesa Oliver Photo Walk: Sulphur Springs, Texas, USA
Now, presenting the 2018 Official Walk Leader Competition Winner:
Leader / Photographer: Libin KP Photo Walk: Muscat, Oman
My Comments: This image is really compelling. I love the light — the color shadows on the floor; the angle of the composition, and the post-processing. It all just comes together to create a really beautiful image — one that makes you want to see that wall of color for yourself. Really nicely done, beautifully composed, and just an awesome shot all the way around.
As Walk Leader Competition Winner, KP will receive a Canon EOS M5 Mirrorless Camera, with an EF-M 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM Lens Kit; a Canon Pixma Pro 10 Printer; a $250 B&H Photo Gift Card; a ThinkTank Photo StreetWalker Harddrive Backpack; a $100 Westcott Gift Certificate; a Platypod Ultra with Multi Accessory Kit; 1 full year of the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plan; and 1 full year of KelbyOne Pro membership for winning this year’s Leader Competition.
Congratulations to all the Photo Walk Leaders Competition honorable Mentions and our Winner!
This would wrap up this year’s Worldwide Photo Walk, but we’re well short of our goal for raising money for the orphanage, so we’re going to talk about that a little more next week and see if we can’t get some last-minute donations to help the orphanage. :)
Pro Tips for Photographing Toddlers with Tracy Sweeney Don’t be afraid of toddlers! Join Tracy Sweeney as she shares her best practices for photographing these little movers like a pro. In this class Tracy teaches you the importance of setting expectations with the parents and shares her tips for coaching the families through a session. You’ll learn her approach to posing toddlers and creating natural opportunities for keeping them engaged. You’ll get to see Tracy putting it into practice through three different live shoots with toddlers and their parents, and at the end of the class Tracy shares her post processing workflow to help you become more efficient at creating your final images. With all of these tips and techniques in your bag of tricks you’ll be ready to create dynamic portraits that your clients will cherish.
In Case You Missed It Join Tracy Sweeney for a masterclass in newborn photography! Filmed on location in Tracy’s studio, you’ll learn the essentials for getting started photographing newborns. Safety and comfort is job one in newborn photography, and Tracy starts off sharing her methods for keeping babies safe, warm, and soothed. From there, Tracy takes you through her choice of gear and lighting, and then gives you a front row seat for a series of newborn sessions. You’ll learn how to wrap the baby, how to pose the baby on a variety of props, and how to maximize the time spent on set to give you a variety of looks in a short amount of time. Family photos are part of the package, and Tracy shares her process for working with the family in a variety of configurations. After the shooting is done, you’ll learn Tracy’s workflow in Lightroom and Photoshop for creating the final polished images that go on to become timeless heirlooms for the family.