Monthly Archives February 2012

Welcome to my world (well, as of late).
This is the small hole in the glass you get to shoot through when you’re shooting hockey (The NHL made the holes smaller recently to protect the photographers and players). The one here is from Saturday night at the Tampa Bay Times Forum (the arena where the Tampa Bay Lightning play their home games).

I’ve talked with other photographers shooting hockey, and they tell me they would kill to have any hole in the glass, because they have to shoot through the glass, which is often 1-inch thick and almost guarantees their shots won’t be nice and sharp, so I really shouldn’t complain.

Here’ the view if you angle  your camera in that hole as far as you possibly can and shoot blindly down the rink (I say blindly, because it would be kinda hard to fit your head in a position that would actually let you look through the viewfinder, but I thought I’d at least show that not matter what, you’re not getting a shot of the other goal, so you’re only going to get the goal you’re positioned right in front of).

The Challenge (Warning: football metaphor coming):
Shooting from the position I was assigned (the shooting positions are assigned before game time by the team photographer, and you stay in that position the entire game), it lets you basically shoot from the back of the goal you’re in front of to the blue line (before you reach center ice). In football terms, that would be like having to shoot from the 5-yard line all game, and you can only shoot from the back of the goal to the 15 yard line. But, you can’t shoot all the end zone, because there’s a big net covering part of the end zone. Because you can only shoot when their action in front of you, it always seems like all the action is at the other goal (which you can’t shoot at all from your position, so you just sit quietly and watch the game).

Dave Black to the rescue
I had really been struggling through the last couple of games, and while I made some progress in game two, I wanted to continue improving (which I knew would eventually come the more games I shot), but Dave Black (the magical wizard of sports photography) was down here at our studio taping some classes for Kelby Training Online, so I tracked him down to get some advice for shooting Saturday night’s Lightning game against the Washington Capitals, and of course, he was a huge help.

Football messed me up
Well, not just football, but for most sports we shoot wide open; usually at f/stops like f/2.8 or f/4, but Dave suggested that I try shooting at f/8, which kind of freaked me out, until he pointed out that in Hockey the fans are right at the glass, and unless I was zoomed in really tight, they were going to be in focus anyway (and I wasn’t going to get those super soft totally out-of-focus backgrounds with the crowd just 2 feet from the players on the boards, which totally made sense. He mentioned that I might have to crank the ISO and I might only get up to f/5.6 but that would help my focus issues, and boy did it ever. Huge difference!

(Above: An iPhone shot taken by the usher of me hand-holding my 200-400mm f/4 from the Mezzanine level shooting position. I had to bump the fill light massively as the original shot had me as a silhouette). 

Take the 400mm! (I don’t need it! Yes you do!)
Besides shooting from ice level, we also have the option of shooting overhead (just over the glass) from the Mezzanine level, and I was going to take my 300mm, but Dave thought it might be too short and recommended that I take the 200-400mm instead. Of course, I briefly (and stupidly) argued with Dave, telling him low to the rink the mezzanine level actually was, but once I got there and started shooting (hand held no less—no monopod), I realized (as expected) that Dave was right. I shot out at 400mm the entire time.

It’s like cheating!
I will say this—shooting from above the glass, unobstructed, with a clear view of both goals and pretty much the entire rink was a blast. It was also pretty much like cheating, because you can see everything so darn well. You can follow the play pretty easily and you’re probably not going to miss a goal, so if reporting the news is your goal, it’s perfect. The only problem is; your shots look like you took them from the stands. The just don’t have the impact and feel the ones at ice level do, which explains why I was the only guy shooting from the mezzanine. So, while it great for catching everything, you’re not going to come back with shots that have the impact you want. I only stayed up there one period, and then I went back down to my tiny hole in the glass.

(Above: Lecavalier scores [note the puck behind the goalie] to help the Bolts win 2-1).

Progress Report
Dave’s tips (all of them, not just the two I mentioned here), really helped a lot, and I turned in my best shots yet (but of course, I’m still nowhere near happy with them, but at least things are going in the right direction). My timing is getting better and I’m getting just much more comfortable with my setting and surroundings.

Note to Self: Don’t look at their screens
In the photo room at the end of the night, I made the mistake at looking at Lightning Team Photographer Scott Audette’s shots as they were being uploaded (he is just sick at shooting hockey, and gets incredible shots despite the fact that he can’t shoot high speed because he’s firing strobes overhead. His timing and composition are astounding), and I saw some of Mike Carlson’s shots (he shoots for AP) and although he’s not firing strobes, his shots totally kick butt. He has the perfect shooting position on the ice — he’s behind the goal and to one side, and from there he can shoot end to end no sweat (with a 300mm lens pressed against the hole—he crops out the edges of the hole in post).

Looking at their shots can really bum you out, because I’m not getting shots anything like theirs, so I’ve got a long, long way to go, but hey, at least I made some progress (thanks to Dave and more practice), and that’s all I can hope for at this point in my hockey-shooting journey.

Heading to Dallas and Phoenix
I’m off to do a couple of my seminars this week (link just in case you can go), so I won’t be shooting any hockey this week, but that’s OK — the Lightning’s on the road anyway, but when they get back, I’m back too and I’m hoping I can pick up an assignment to shoot a game or two. Have a great Monday everybody!

Wednesday night I read a terrific post over on Google+ by Guy Kawasaki with his tips for speaking in public (link). It was a really insightful article, and in it he links to an article in the UK’s The Guardian about how Steve Jobs used to prepare for his keynote speeches.

The article was written in January of 2006, and this one paragraph really put things into perspective for how far Apple has come in just a few short years. The writer, Mike Evangelist, wrote:

“Objectively, Apple Computer is a mid-sized company with a tiny share of its primary market. Apple Macintoshes are only rarely seen in corporate environments, and most software companies don’t even offer Apple-compatible versions of their products. To put it another way, Apple is just bit larger than Cadbury-Schweppes and about the same size as Nike or Marks and Spencer in terms of annual sales.”

At the time, of course, he was right. But who would have guessed that in just a few short years, Apple would become the #1 most valuable company in the world, surpassing not only Microsoft, and Google, but even Exxon/Mobile. Truly amazing. (By the way, the image above is Apple’s home page from January of 2006). 

That being said, I have now publicly mentioned Apple, which means you are now free to post hateful comments that have absolutely nothing to do with the topic I just discussed, except for the fact that I mentioned Apple. Please don’t forget to use the term “fanboy” frequently, but right after that, read this:

(Above: You might be wondering “Scott, why the static no-action shot?” That’s because I’ve found that when the players aren’t moving, it’s somewhat easier to get a shot in focus, and that “in-focus” thing was eluding me most of the night, so I posted this shot to prove to myself I can shoot a sharp still life. Maybe next time pears in a bowl).

I shot another NHL hockey game last night (the Tampa Bay Lightning vs. the San Jose Sharks), and while I certainly did some things better, I didn’t do enough of them to actually share the actual shots. My painful dance of learning to shoot through a very small hole in the ice continues. My angle this time was actually worse than in the other game, and I could only shoot the goal directly in front of me, and about 3/4 of the way to the blue line. Anything from the center line to the opposite goal was absolutely impossible to shoot (though I had a great angle on a McDonald’s ad).

(Above: When they come crashing into the boards, all you can do is jump back and try not to get killed. Here’s the view of my little hole in the glass; just large enough to fix a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens through, but not nearly big enough for a 300mm f/2.8 lens. By the way, if you’re wondering if I screamed when this happened—yes—like a Brownie at Halloween Horror Nights!).

Of course, since you can’t shoot the other end of the rink, it always seems like all the action happens down at the other goal. Sigh. Well, there’s only one way to get better, and that’s keep on trying. I shoot the Bolts again on Saturday night. I may even shoot some of the players when they’re moving. Hey, ya never know. ;-)

(Above: It’s like these guys follow me from sport to sport to make certain I have more shots of them, than of the athletes themselves. This just reeks of a carefully orchestrated worldwide conspiracy by a secret cartel of referees).  

P.S. The Lightning beat San Jose 6 – 5 in Overtime. Go Bolts!!! :)


Tomorrow is the LAST DAY TO SAVE $100 on Photoshop World Washington DC registration! The conference is March 24-26, which is just around the corner.

Don’t wait around and spend more money next week. You can put that $100 toward collecting snow globes with all the monuments and government buildings!

While you’re at registering, go ahead and book your hotel room as well! The travel page has direct links to hotel websites that automatically apply the Photoshop World discounted room rate, so make sure you take advantage of those links.

Man do we have lots of great stuff to give away today!

A Day With Jay Maisel DVD – Win It Before You Can Buy It!
Legendary photographer Jay Maisel has a new DVD entitled A Day With Jay Maisel – Two Part Series that’s due out on February 20th, but we’re friends with Jay so we have the early hook up.  In this DVD, you’ll join Jay Maisel and Scott Kelby on a walking tour of Jay’s favorite places to shoot in New York City. They walk the bustling streets of the Big Apple – talking about theory, technique, and the art of finding photographs among the faces and architecture they find along the way.

Leave a comment to enter and we’ll draw 2 lucky winners next Wednesday. As always, if you don’t win it you can buy it at — just $89.99 for the set (or $69.99 if you’re a NAPP member).

$14 Off Bundles
Also – only 2 more weeks to save $14 on all Bundles at Check out the sale page and get some amazing training packages at a great price!
We’ve added some great new classes to the library in the past few weeks! Check these out:

Photoshop CS5 Finishing Touches for Photographers with Dave Cross
Photoshop Techniques for Photographers: Bringing Back the Focus with Vincent Versace
Photoshop Techniques for Photographers: Extending the Dynamic Range of Focus with Vincent Versace
Inspired Light and Automotive Photography with Tim Wallace

The Digital Photo Workshops in Moab with Dave Black
Dave Black is heading to Moab with The Digital Photo Workshops April 19–22! If you want the opportunity to learn from the master as he covers Lightpainting Arches, Action Photography with Climbers and Mountain Bikers, and photographing Mesa Arch and Canyon Vistas, you can sign up right here.

Leave a comment for your chance to win a free pass to this workshop!

Nikon School for DSLR Video
Matt Kloskowski recently attended the new Nikon School for DSLR Video and gave a great writeup about it over at There are spots available at upcoming workshops in Miami, Seattle, Baltimore, Boston, and Chicago (dates below), which you can register for right here.

March 17-18: Miami
April 21-22: Seattle
April 28-29: Baltimore
May 5-6: Boston
June 2-3: Chicago

And… Leave a comment for a chance to win a free ticket to one of these workshops! Make sure you let us know in your comment which one you want to check out.

B&W Workshop with Vincent Versace & Harold Davis
Vincent Versace and Harold Davis are teaming up to do a full-day B&W Master Class Workshop on Saturday, March 10 in Berkeley, California. They’ll be covering workflows for Lightroom, Nik Silver Efex Pro, Photoshop, creating monochromatic HDR, and plenty more.

Registration is $395.00, but you can leave a comment for your chance to win a free ticket!

All Access: Your Backstage Pass to Concert Photography
Alan Hess just released a book that’s been years in the making, All Access: Your Backstage Pass to Concert Photography! If you’ve been to Alan’s classes at Photoshop World or watched his (and Scott Diussa’s) class on Kelby Training, you know he’s the go-to guy for all things concert related. Not only does he cover concert photography from A-Z in this book, he also includes Pro Tips from other concert photographers, lighting directors, musicians, and photo editors.

I (Brad Moore) am honored to be included in Alan’s book, along with my buddies Scott Diussa, Drew Gurian, Hali McGrath and others. You can see the full table of contents over at Alan’s website, and leave a comment for your chance to win one of two copies of this book!

Blind Critiques on The Grid
Yesterday Scott and Matt tried something new on The Grid. Viewers were invited to submit photos to be considered for blind critiqued on the show! I went through all of the submissions and chose people at random, grabbed their images, and put them in numbered folders so that Scott and Matt wouldn’t know whose images they were. From that pool, they chose the ones they thought would be the most helpful to critique, then gave their feedback on the show.

According to our live viewers, this was one of the most helpful and appreciated episodes we’ve done! There’s a good chance the guys will be doing another one of these in the future, so keep an eye out on Scott’s Google+ and Facebook pages for news on that.

The episode should be posted on Kelby TV sometime today if you missed the live airing, or you can also subscribe to the podcast in iTunes.

Last Week’s Winners
The winners of last week’s prizes are… Laura Downs for the Photoshop World pass, and Anna Soens for the RC Concepcion Web Bundle!

That’s it for this Thursday. Leave a comment for your chance to win one of these great prizes!

How important is it to accentuate your subject’s jawline in a portrait?  For me it’s major, and more often than not the first direction that comes out of my mouth toward anyone in front of my camera. I believe it’s our job to pull the best out of our clients, so we need to be feeding them constant direction in order to do that.

As photographers, we all use direct direction in order to get a client into a position that makes them physically look better.  So since this one area means so much to me, I thought I’d share some tips on it in this little video.  In it you’ll see how adamant I am about having my clients bring their jawline towards my camera day in and day out.  This simple technique instantly improves the images I’m taking of my clients, and I hope you gain a few insights here that you find helpful and can implement on your next shoot.  Enjoy!

You can see more work from Peter at, follow him on Twitter, and like him on Facebook. And if you want more tips on shooting headshots, check out his 4-hour The Art Behind The Headshot DVD!