Monthly Archives October 2010

Hi Gang: I’m totally calling in ‘lame’ today, and taking a day off.

I just got in from New York City on a late night, really crowded, oversold flight, and after spending Tuesday taping “Another Day with Jay Maisel,” then Wednesday doing a shoot for my next book (full details and photos coming on Monday), and all day Thursday doing presentations at Photo Plus Expo, I am just whipped.

I’m taking today off to spend with the kids, and just hang out. I wish you all a wonderful weekend, and I hope you’ll stop back by on Monday.

All my best,

Sleepy Bear

I’m teaching two FREE sessions on the Photo Plus Expo floor today in New York City:

(1) Studio Lighting: Behind the Scenes

When: 12:15 pm
Where: Manfrotto Distribution’s booth/theater (they distribute Elinchrom lighting, Lastolite modifiers, Gitzo, Kata, and more).

(2) Portrait Retouching Secrets

When: 3:30 pm
Where: Wacom’s booth/theater

Hope to see you later today (make sure you come up and say “hi”).

Brad here, blogging from NYC with all the latest pimpy stuff…

Matt Kloskowski just finished the update to his very popular Layers: The Complete Guide to Photoshop’s Most Powerful Features book, and it’s now available for pre-order! He’s completely updated it for Photoshop CS5, plus added a whole new chapter!  And, if you pre-order it, you’ll receive an autographed copy!  It’s only $35.99 (NAPP members get it for $26.99), so order your copy here!

Speaking of Matt, if you’re at Photo Plus Expo at the Javits Center in New York this week, make sure you stop by the Nik Software booth to see some free live training sessions from Mr. Kloskowski himself!

And speaking of Photo Plus Expo, you should already know that Scott is presenting in the Manfrotto and Wacom booths tomorrow afternoon. But did you know that our buddy RC Concepcion is presenting in the Manfrotto booth as well? He’ll be there at 1:15 pm, so make sure you stick around to see him too!

We came up to New York earlier this week to film a sequel to one of our most popular Kelby Training Online classes. While we were filming, Scott was asking for questions from his Twitter followers and Facebook fans. If you want to know more about this class and aren’t already keeping up with him on one or both of those, you can do so here and here!

If you’ve been thinking about joining NAPP, now is the time to do it!  Right now, you can join NAPP for one year for $99 and get a free Photoshop CS5 Power Session bonus DVD (a $69.99 value).  Or you can join for two years and get two free bonus DVDs – Photoshop CS5 Power Session AND Mastering HDR in Photoshop CS5. Click here or call 800-738-8513 to take advantage of these offers.

You can also check out a free digital issue of Photoshop User Magazine at

That’s all the pimpy I’ve got for today. Have a great Thursday!

I’ll start off with a little history on me. I’m a second generation photographer. My father started the business over 30 years ago and when I was 11 years old I started going to weddings and shooting with him. I guess you can say photography is literately in my blood. I began taking photography extremely serious at the age of 19 and never looked back. As I grew our business grew. Now ten years later at the age of 29 I’m still doing what I love. I’ve managed to keep our old photography business very young and fresh. My father who I refer to on my blog as “Big Joe” is still shooting weddings too. I don’t like to call myself a “wedding photographer” but rather a photographer who happens to photograph people in love. Maybe it sounds sappy or corny but that’s what I do.

One of my favorite things to shoot are engagement sessions. I enjoy these because as a photographer I get to know my clients. Sure by wedding day I’ve exchanged countless emails and phone conversations, however spending an hour to an hour and a half photographing my clients and having fun really breaks the ice. By the end of an engagement session I feel like we’re old friends.

This was down in the financial district in NYC this past July..

Here is a result of what I was capturing..

Picking a location for an engagement session is always fun. With my sessions I like to shoot in different locations rather then a typical downtown city look. Don’t get me wrong, I do those all the time too. However if I can make them different I’m all over that. Before we choose where we’re going to shoot, I need to know why. Is this location relevant to the couple? For example I’ve shot in Fenway Park but if they were Yankee fans that probably wouldn’t have worked. I’ve shot at The Historic Saratoga Race Course, a fair and on the Brooklyn Bridge. Choosing locations like this allows me to give my clients unique images that their other engaged friends probably won’t have.

This was one of my favorite engagement sessions of all time. Shooting in Fenway Park in Boston, MA was just awesome! The Red Sox were on the road and there was actually a PHISH concert going on that evening. The groom Alex, used to work for the Red Sox and had a connection and got us into the park for a couple hours. It was us and PHISH sound checking while we shot. It was pretty neat having live music to shoot to.

If you look closely you can see them actually playing on the monitor.

I’ll often share behind the scene shots like this on my blog. My viewers love this stuff.

The result.

One more of my favorites from this session.

This was shot at a local summer fair. I just love the color. I have a metallic print from Miller’s Lab that this color just screams off of!

In Saratoga Springs we have a 147 year old horse racing track. Saratoga Race Course was a blast to shoot at.

Last but not least, I shot an engagement session on the Brooklyn Bridge. I know maybe this is more of a common location however it was the most difficult location to shoot at. There were people coming at me in all directions and I had to be patient for it to pay off.

After love comes marriage right? Our wedding photography approach is fun and simple. I don’t like to jeopardize the day or make it about me what so ever. Our clients hire us for that reason. Aside from liking our style, reputation and reliability, they love our personality. I have a go-with-the-flow approach on wedding day. Although I guess I say that with caution because I’m not one of those photographers that doesn’t take charge or speak when needed. We know the shots we need to get and let the rest kinda happen. I think that’s why our images have a natural look.

At every wedding I have to get a token shot. I like to think of it as the couples icon from their wedding day. These are the images people hire us to get. My requirements for this token shot is bride and groom in the image, natural light only, unique and real. Here are a few favorites from the 2010 wedding season.

Something else I do at most of my weddings is the Elario Photo Booth. It’s not a “booth” per say… It’s simply a backdrop setup that allows for fun, loose and interesting party shots. I exclusively use drop it MODERN backdrops. Why? Well for starters they are totally unique and different. I could setup a white seamless but then my photo booth would look like everyone else’s. These backdrops allow me to have a different look that all my clients just love. I have created a behind the scene’s video showing how exactly I do this setup.

I’d like to thank Scott Kelby for this huge opportunity to be a guest blogger. I enjoy sharing information with the world. Most importantly I love what I do.


twitter: @jpelario
photo lab:

On Sunday, I shot the Bucs vs. Rams NFL game on assignment for Southcreek Global Media (Both teams are having decent seasons so far and the Bucs ended up winning in the last 15 seconds, taking them to a 4 and 2 record. Whodathunkit?).

(Above: Cadillac Williams early in the day, not yet knowing he would make the game winning catch with just seconds left on the clock. CLICK ON IT FOR A LARGER VIEW).

The Dream Lens
I couldn’t hold out any longer, so I went ahead and bought the dream lens—the 400mm f/2.8, and after shooting with it for just one game, it truly is the lens for football. Scary sharp, great shallow DOF, and the 400mm length is really ideal. It definitely is heavier and larger than the 300mm f/2.8, but it’s worth it.

Camera Specs
My main camera was my Nikon D3 (with the 400mm attached, mounted on a Gitzo monopod), and my 2nd body was a Nikon D700 with my 70-200mm f/2.8 lens. I shot in Aperture Priority mode, wide open all day with both set at f/2.8, at ISO 200 on both cameras.

(Above: Quarterback Sam Bradford hands off to Steven Jackson, an amazing athlete, who had to have rushed for at least 100 yards on the day. Every time he touched the ball, I held my breath because he was always one step away from breaking for a touchdown).

(Above: Freeman was hauling in the ball from bad snaps all day, but I particularly like this one because of the way Cadillac Williams is ready to block up front).


(Above: with 15 seconds left in the game, Carnell “Cadillac” Williams catches the winning touchdown. I was really happy for him. He’s a great guy, and struggled back through two long, painful knee injuries that end most players careers).

(Above: Quarterback Josh Freeman heading in after winning the game in the final seconds. What I like about this shot is the way you can see the stadium in the reflection on the back of his helmet).

My Camera Settings
Here’s how I set up both cameras for shooting Football.

(1) I set the Focus Mode to Continuous (technically called “Continuous-servo AF”

(2) I set the Auto Focus area mode to “Dynamic Area AF” (So I can move the focus point using the multi-selector button on the back of the camera). If the ball carrier moves off the point, it automatically uses the surrounding points to try and lock on the focus.

(3) In the Custom Menu, under Auto Focus, I go to the AF-C Priority Selection and choose “Release”

(4) Also in the Auto Focus Custom menu, I change my Dynamic AF area to just 9 points (ideal for sports tracking)

(5) The last change I make in the Custom Settings Auto Focus menu is to go the “Focus Tracking with Lock On” menu and lower the length to “Short.” (this gives you better response when you quickly change subjects at different positions on the field, like when you’re swinging from the quarterback to a receiver down field).

(6) I shoot in High Continuous mode so I can shoot a string of continuous shots if need be. I sent my camera to Nikon to have the buffer upgraded so it holds literally twice as many shots in the buffer as normal. It’s a $500 upgrade, but if you do this type of thing, it’s worth it. Here’s a link with the details.

(7) I use really fast 600X Lexar memory cards, which not only helps in camera, but it helps big time when you’re downloading the images to your computer at halftime (I upload a handful of shots during halftime to Southcreek so they can get them out there to media outlets while the game is still in progress).

(8) The 400mm f/2.8 is the first lens I’ve had that has a special “Tripod” setting for its VR (Vibration Reduction), but since I didn’t know enough about it, I didn’t want to take a chance, so I turned VR off on the lens. If a sports shooter out there knows whether this applies to shooting sports on a monopod, let me know.

Well, there ya have it. That’s how I set my gear up for NFL for NCAA shoots. Hey, speaking of College football, Notre Dame would be a fun game to shoot this coming weekend, dontchathink? ;-)

It’s kind of weird shooting your home team (or my adopted team, the Bears), because you have a lot of emotion on the outcome of each play, whereas guys who flew into town to shoot the game, probably don’t care that much one way or the other. It’s funny to me because I’ll be shooting and we’ll get a first down or make a big play and I’m yelling right there on the sidelines with my eye pressed up to the view finder. Then once the play’s over, I make the “First Down” gesture. I’m all alone at that point. ;-)

(Above: OK, I’m a sucker for these types of shots. What you can’t see in this frame, is that Buc’s Tackle Donald Penn had to literally jump up in the air a decent ways to reach the fan’s hand. I have shots that show this, but this one was my favorite because they’re actually touching).

(Above: Me with my new baby—the 400mm f/2.8 on the sidelines. iPhone photo by Matt May).

All in all, it was a really fun day, and my first chances to see the Bucs this year. I had some self-inflicted problems during the halftime uploading process that made things take a lot longer than they should have, but outside of that (and the fact that I didn’t get my parking pass in time, and had to park about a mile or so from the stadium), it was a pretty darn sweet day. I love this stuff! :)

Last week was Joe McNally’s workshop down in the Caribbean island of St. Lucia, and I was there as a guest instructor (teaching some Lightroom and stuff), and man, did we have a ball. (NOTE: Joe posted the final image of what you see him shooting above over at his bloghere’s the link).

Of course, Joe was the main attraction, so he had to work his butt off, and well….I only had to teach on Friday, so I could hang out with the class and go on shoots, or sleep in (which I did a lot of), or just hang out on the beach and do nothing (ditto). It was an awesome week of relaxing and fun, at one of the top-rated luxury resorts in the world (and yes, I totally know how lucky I am). :)

Joe does a pretty cool thing at this workshop. At the beginning of the week, he takes his students through all the gear he uses (off camera flashes, portable softboxes, hot shoe EZ-box, Lastolite tri-flectors, and so on), and then he splits them into small groups, and gives each group their own set of gear for the week, in a carry bag, so they have access to the gear on each shoot.

One of the shoots I went to was in the jungle, on a mountain biking trail, where Joe had arranged with some local riders to work with the class, and I went out with a group, and we set up and lit a rider with an SB-900 flash. We used Rear Curtain Sync and dragged the shutter to get movement at the beginning of the exposure, and then the flash fired at the end to freeze some of the rider. That’s the team I was with above working the shoot.

Above: I only took about four frames, because I didn’t want to take any longer and take time away from the students, but this was the general idea of what we were going for. Some of the students got much better shots than this, and when that happens, you really win, because that’s exactly what you want.

Then I brought our rider inside the bike shack and we did a quick 5-minute portrait with one off camera flash. Weird side note: What are the chances that I’d shoot two mountain bikers, within 10 days of each other, 3,000 miles apart—one in the desert, one in the jungle, and wildest of all—-they were both named “Tyson.” (Insert twilight zone music here).

For some of the location shoots, Joe would do the shooting, and honestly, I found this more valuable because just watching Joe work with his subjects is really a learning experience unto itself. Getting that connection with your subject is such a key part of all of this, and Joe did an amazing job I learned a lot from how he talked with, and directed his subjects.

That’s Joe above, shooting a local singer/guitarist at some ruins out in the jungle. She was amazing, Joe was hilarious, and yet focused, and of course, we all learned a ton.

Of course, his lighting is insane. Simple, but just so perfect, and he does it all with such ease. He really reminds you that you don’t need to have a bunch of lights to create some really captivating looks.

One night we went down to the beach and shot a local saxaphone player, and Joe had her get in the water (up to her knees anyway), and he lit her with just one light (An Elinchrom Quadra with a deep octa softbox) and a reflector, and the final image is just really magnificant (I’m sure Joe will be posting some of the finished images on his blog soon).That’s one of the students holding the tri-grip reflector, and Drew is holding the deep throw octa mounted on a painter’s pole.

Above: Another side note—there’s a art gallery there. In the gallery they sell a canvas print of a shot that I took from my room at the Jade Mountain Resort when I was there last year, and I grabbed the shot you see above (hey, while I was there they had just sold another one. Sweet!) They send me the orders, and I have Artistic Photo Canvas print and ship the panos directly to the buyers (APC totally rocks) and it works out just great!

The woman that runs the gallery asked if I could create another pano to go with it, so while I was there I arranged to have a boat take me out, and I got a nice companion pano to go with it. I haven’t finished the high-res version yet, but when I do, I’ll post a photo of it here on the blog.

The week in paradise was over all too quick. Friday came, and I did my Lightroom training, and we got a lot accomplished that day. That night, class was back on the beach for a sunset shoot, and then the next day my wife and I were on our flight home.

It’s NFL Game Day!
I shot an NFL game on Sunday (no rest for the weary), and finally got to shoot my home team, the Tampa Bay Bucs, vs. the St. Louis Rams, and the Buc’s pulled out a win in the last 15 seconds to go four and two. Whodathunk it. I’ll have photos on Tuesday (with any luck).

More Jay is a Good Thing
Speaking of Tuesday, I’ll be up in New York City shooting (wait for it….wait for it….) a follow-up to our incredibly popular online class at Kelby Training Online with Jay Maisel. This one’s called “Another Day with Jay Maisel” and we’re off again to different parts of New York learning while we walk (and ride) around the city. I can’t wait.

Catch Me In New York on Thursday
Also, I’m speaking at Photo Plus Expo in New York on Thursday, at Wacom’s booth, and at Manfrotto’s booth. I’ll have details tomorrow, but if you’re going, I hope you’ll stop by.

That’s it for today. I want to thank Joe for letting me be a part of his incredible workshop. It truly is the opportunity of a lifetime for his students, and to be a guest instructor alongside Joe, is a real honor (plus, Joe and his wife Annie are the most gracious hosts on the planet—my wife and I had an amazing time—thanks you guys!), and thanks to you guys for reading today.

Hope to see you back here tomorrow.