Monthly Archives July 2010

Jack Parker of The David Crowder*Band – Photo by me, Brad Moore

“The Shot”

It’s something we photographers all hope for. The thing we strive to achieve every time we pick up the camera. The one image that could possibly define who we are as a photographer, and maybe even our careers.

But if we’re successful in our quest, what then?

The image above was shot during one of my first “real” concert photography experiences, last November (you can read about it right here). It’s during a pretty epic part of one of their songs, so I was already pumped before I shot it, then even more so when I saw how great it turned out in my edit later.

Since then, it’s become my signature image. Have I shot anything worthwhile since then? I think so. Have I shot anything to top it? That’s debatable… But I’ll keep trying.

My friend and co-worker RC Concepcion is also a photographer. If you follow him and his work, you’ve most likely seen his “Mommy and Me” photo of his daughter Sabine looking up at her ballerina momma, Jenn.

Mommy and Me Ballet

It’s a great shot, one that any portrait photographer would love to have in their portfolio.  He loves it, his wife loves it, and everyone he’s shown it to loves it. But he’ll tell you, every time he looks through his portfolio, he wonders if he’ll ever get a better shot, or is this as good as he gets?

So, is having “The Shot” a good or bad thing? A blessing or a curse?

I asked Jeremy Cowart to share his thoughts on the subject…

“I personally think it’s far more of a blessing than a curse. At least you can say you’ve taken some good images you feel confident in. It’s much better than having nothing to show for. Also, I love the challenge of this idea. They say ‘you’re only as good as your last shoot’ and the pressure of that idea to constantly improve is massive and haunting and hangs over our heads like a boulder as we keep climbing higher. But I love that pressure of figuring out how to climb over that boulder. It extends beyond getting a better ‘shot’ for me. It extends into pushing my overall brand, coming up with new ideas, new ways to shoot, new ways to compete. Come to think of it, this ‘pressure’ you speak of is the defining element of my career that makes me a better photographer. And for that I’m grateful.”

What do you think? Do you have a “Shot” of your own? Sound off in the comments!


Don?t think…DO!

I’ve sat here for 15 minutes with absolutely NO idea what to write for you all. None.

I’ve gotten up, gone to my garden and smoked a cigarette. Sat down. Stared at the screen. Gotten back up. Smoked. Sat back down.

Then it struck me! Just go and write it.

Don’t think, do!

I’m fortunate enough to be in the position to have been asked to make a contribution to Scott’s site as as Guest Blogger, so I’m just going to WRITE IT!

And it’s going to be about exactly that principal in relation to photography. The principal of NOT planning, not getting tied up in details, not sweating the small stuff. The principal that sometimes, you just gotta throw your shoulders back, lift your chin, walk in the room with a smile and freaking shoot the thing! :)

I’ve found myself taking this approach increasingly this year. Having spent so many hours in the run up to previous shoots trying to pre-empt the un-pre-emptable, trying to predict how someone’s going to behave, how they’ll respond to the concept, to me, to the location or whatever. I’ve learned that I’ve been in SO MANY rooms with SO MANY different people and I’ve walked out with a picture that there is a great lesson to be learned from all of those shots.

Some of my best pictures, award winners, covers, exhibited works, have come from an idea COMPLETELY off plan and it was only through an ability to be flexible, to go with a different flow, that I’ve been fortunate enough to capture them. Now this isn’t a boast here. I’m not saying that this is a measure of some photographic zen quality. This isn’t even about ME, this is about all of us. In fact below are some examples of work which has come ‘off the cuff.’ What I’m trying to impart is that they are not the result of ANY photographic skill. They are simply in existance becauseIi was FLEXIBLE!. We are all flexible to some degree! We couldn’t cross a main street otherwise, and if we can build on that…ability, it can help enhance our work. Regardless of our lighting kit or our megapixel count.

A GREAT example!:

Last year I was commissioned to shoot Pete Doherty. My client had a PLAN! A detailed one! Now Pete has had his problems and they’re well documented. So when my client tried to brief me on exactly what they wanted I knew I had to just zone out, make ‘yes, yes’ noises and relax in the knowledge that if Mr D actually arrived at the shoot, and as long as I could connect with him and use the lighting skills that I have, we would make it work.

NOTHING went to plan :)

He did arrive and we did connect (I still have the Union Jack neck scarf he gave me permanently around the head of my tripod) and the resulting set of pictures have won enough stuff and been hung in galleries in London. If I had worried about the ‘plan’ we would have probably not shot a thing.


With the same mindset I recently shot for a blue chip corporate client: VODAFONE. The brief moved two or three times in pre-production, the deadline was incredibly tight for post production and the talent list was Florence of Florence And The Machine, F1 superstar Jenson Button and supermodel and actress Lily Cole. The call time was 6am, Jenson was flying in from Montreal having come 2nd in the Canadian Grand Prix and he would be with us for ‘1 HOUR EXACTLY.’ We would have all three together for 20 minutes. The brief moved again :). The deadline got tighter and ‘Did I think everything would be okay?’ :)

Now at this point I had to just remind myself that the job was Lily, Jenson and Florence TOGETHER and the fact was that, again, if they all turned up and if I connected with them then really, with such huge names, it would shoot itself. There was simply no point worrying about what COULD go wrong because if something DID go wrong (ie Jenson’s flight) we would just have to DEAL with it somehow.

“It’s all going to be fine,” I assured my client. Picture below :)

Vodafone UK announces major new sponsorship deals giving custome

And when it does go wrong? Like when you’re commissioned to shoot a TV personality with a leopard and the day before the shoot a volcano erupts in Iceland meaning that you arrive at the studio to find you have a leopard…and no TV personality?

Well, you shoot the leopard…and shoot the personality two weeks later :):

LOUISE REDKNAPP photographed by John Wright

So now I’m thinking…’This applies to everything I do…or at least I should APPLY it to everything I do!’

How many hours have I sat around OVER THINKING what I should do next only to find that when I have to act, I act positively!? More importantly, how many hours have YOU sat around pondering “What shall I shoot?…How will I contact that magazine?…How should I light this? only to find that when you PUT yourself in front of the subject you wanted to shoot, YOU DID FINE!

Gordon Ramsay

Okay you could have improved something by doing this or changing that, but that’s called ‘experience,’ and you’ve learned from it, and it’ll be better the next time BECAUSE you put yourself in the situation in the FIRST place :)


What I’m saying is let’s all STOP trying to work out how to ‘get that client’ and ‘what if my portfolio appointment goes flat’ and ‘how can I light this or that’ or ‘would it be better if I had x camera?’ and let’s just get on with DOING this great, weird, difficult, delightful thing that is photography. Let’s go to places people only dream of, meet people who have inspired and outraged and shocked and entertained us, let’s just capture moments that will never ever ever EVER happen again. Let’s see what happens if we ‘open up a stop’ or ‘turn that head off’ and if we do, if we just throw our shoulders back, lift our chins, walk in the room with a smile and just shoot the freaking thing! I really believe that all the rest of it, will look after itself.


Thanks to Scott and Brad for letting me write this and many many thanks to you for taking
the time to read it!

John Wright

Hey gang, Brad here with a few updates on books, events, and all sorts of stuff!

  • First off, if you haven’t already ordered Scott’s new Lightroom 3 Book for Photographers, you can do so right here. If you purchase through that link, you’ll also get a free Killer Presets CD from Matt Kloskowski! We haven’t gotten our copies just yet, but we’re expecting them ANY DAY, so order now!
  • Speaking of Lightroom, make sure you check out the dates for the Lightroom Live Tour. Scott’s coming to Fort Lauderdale and New York, and Matt’s coming to Boston, Los Angeles, and San Francisco all this month!
  • If you are a NAPP member, you will definitely want to check out the LIVE Members Only Webinar tomorrow, July 9th from 3:00-4:00 pm Eastern.  Matt, Dave, Corey, and RC will all be hanging out and answering your questions live, right on the spot. Nothing pre-planned, no mapped out lessons. Just you and them, getting through as many questions as they can in an hour!  All the info (and live feed when it happens), right here.
  • If you haven’t already signed up for Photoshop World Las Vegas, you can get registered right here.  Also, we have the best room rate we’ve ever had at Mandalay Bay at only $129 per night!
  • Have you checked out lately? We’re adding new classes every week, including Moose Peterson’s “Nature Photography – Shorebirds,” RC Concepcion’s “Lightroom 3 for the Web,” Dan Margulis’ “There Are No Bad Originals,” and Matt Kloskowski’s “Lightroom 3 In Depth, Part 3 – Printing and Showing Off Your Photos.” Also, keep an eye out for upcoming classes from adventure photographer Tom Bol!
  • And if you haven’t signed up for the 3rd Annual Worldwide Photo Walk yet, it’s not too late! Go here and type in your location to find a walk near you!

That’s it for today, and make sure you check out today’s guest blog from celebrity and fashion photographer John Wright!

Joe is back at it this month with another round of One-Day Lighting Workshops in Dobbs Ferry, NY (just north of NYC)!  This time around, he’s doing both Basic and Advanced workshops. Here are brief descriptions of each:

July 11, 13, 14, 15, 17, 18

These hands-on workshops are not camera system specific, nor are they are not about buttons and dials. All day, we will deal with the question of how to manage light, while emphasizing how to “write” with light and how it shapes the mood, message, color, and feel of the photograph. Joe will start with the basics of one flash, and move quickly into scenarios involving multiple flashes. Significant location lighting issues will be discussed during the course of a jam-packed day.

July 12, 16, 27, 28, 29

The techniques taught in the basic lighting workshop will be incorporated, albeit in a compressed time format. Basic proficiency with flash, on and off camera, is required.
Depending on the pace of the class, the following advanced techniques below will be examined:
$#x2022; Auto FP hi-speed sync.
$#x2022; Multiple exposure, using multiple groups.
$#x2022; Complex multiple flash scenarios.
$#x2022; Mixing small flash with bigger strobes.
$#x2022; Stroboscopic (if time allows).

Head over to Joe’s site for the full skinny on everything.  Classes are filling up quickly, so don’t wait to register!!


First, ya gotta know, there’s a photo involved, but it’s not a photo competition—so anyone can win.

Here’s the scoop: For the month of July, Lexar Media is holding a ““Take the Next Shot” Sweepstakes, and the winner gets their choice of either a Nikon D300s or a Canon 7D, along with a Lens and a Lexar 600x memory card (plus runners-up get 300x cards).

All you have to do is follow Lexar on Facebook or @Lexarmedia on Twitter and then just email them a photo. This makes you eligible for the drawing for the prizes (they’re not judging the photos, just using that as an entry into the contest). Click either one of those links above for more details, or to enter.

RC  & crew shoot back during last year’s Worldwide Photo Walk – Photo by Scott Kelby

Hey everyone, Brad here.  Just wanted to let everyone know that this coming Saturday, July 10 is the cutoff to be approved as a leader.  We want to make sure everyone has plenty of time to plan their walk, and we think two weeks is about the minimum for planning something like this.

So if you’re wanting to lead a Photo Walk in your area, make sure you sign up asap to get in before the cutoff date!