Monthly Archives August 2019

Cinemagraphs for Photographers: Animate Your Photos Without Learning To Shoot Video with Erik Kuna

Learn how to animate your photographs without shooting video! Join Erik Kuna for an in-depth look at Plotagraph Pro software to explore the possibilities for adding motion to a still photograph that really grabs the viewer’s attention. Cinemagraphs bridge the gap between still photographs and video and provide a unique method for bringing your photos to life.

In this class Erik takes you through the installation and setup of Plotagraph on the desktop and on the iPad, then walks you through a series of demonstrations to show you how to animate water, clouds, smoke, fire, hair, clothing, and more! Erik wraps up the class with a look at key export settings for sharing your animations with the world, and ideas for how to take your cinemagraphs to the next level.



In Case You Missed It: How to Bring your Still Images to Life Using Plotaverse

Join Trey Ratcliff as he teaches you how to add animation to your still photographs with Plotaverse. These dynamic images exist somewhere between a still photo and a movie and are just mesmerizing to watch. Throughout the class Trey teaches you the ins and outs of using the software, inspires you with mind blowing examples, and walks through ideas of where and how to use Plotaverse to get the most impact in your portfolio.

This class is perfect for any photographer looking to start using Plotaverse or wants to add dynamic impact to their portfolio.

What Does A Food Shoot Cost?

Do you ever get questions like that? How do you answer, “What does a food shoot cost?” When I have a potential client ask me this, I jokingly tell them “It costs about the same amount as a car.”

You can see their wheels turning as they calculate their ideas of what a car might cost. We then engage in some conversation about if they want a $30,000 luxury car or a $1,200 beater like my 17-year-old drives. Maybe it’s somewhere in between.

Out Of Pocket

The real question, and more important for us to understand is, what does a food shoot cost me? Before I can give the client a number, I need to know what my costs are. Most of the out-of-pocket costs associated with a shoot are easy to calculate (generally)…

  • First assistant: $500/day
  • Digital tech: $500/day
  • Food stylist: $950/day
  • Food stylist assistant: $450/day
  • Groceries: $250
  • Production assistant: $350/day
  • Prop stylist: $650/day
  • Catering and craft services: $500/day
  • Retouching: $150/image
  • etc, etc…

But what about my time? What about my value? (More on “value” in a future post.) What about my utilities? My insurance? My marketing and advertising, business license and taxes…the list of expenses goes on and on. Needless to say, there are many expenses/costs I need to be aware of, and then calculate into my estimates. But how?

I think we photographers have conveniently forgotten about all these other costs in an effort to try and compete on price. (More on “competing on price” in a future post.) These costs of doing business are substantial and are definitely part of the cost of a shoot. So, how do we account for these costs in our estimates?

Overhead

Consider overhead. These are our monthly expenses we incur regardless of how many days we’re shooting (or not shooting). Overhead is monthly bills and expenses. Rent, utilities, insurance, etc.

To help me figure out how much to calculate (and charge) for these expenses, I look at the annual total and divide by the number of shoot days—either actual from previous years or a goal for the current year. Let’s say my annual overhead is $100,000 (using round numbers to avoid long division). If I figure I’m going to shoot 100 days this year, then each shoot needs to clear $1,000 to cover my overhead.

Notice I said “clear”, as in, it’s above or more than the other costs of the shoot. This is income that stays in my bank account after I pay my crew and other out-of-pocket expenses in the list above. 

Salary

What about our salary? Did I say “salary?” Why yes, I did. We need to be paid. (More on paying ourself a salary in a future post.) Do we need to make $75,000 this year? Then we better make sure we’re adding $750 per day of shooting into our estimates. (I don’t have time or space to talk about “make” vs “take home” salary. We can discuss in greater detail in a future post.)

Equipment

But wait, we’re not done yet. Yes, there’s more. More for us to consider. Have you thought about your investment in all your equipment? That’s a lot of money. This is not overhead. Equipment purchases are capital expenditures. You know all too well.

$3,000 for a camera body. $1,900 for a lens. $2,400 for a computer. $4,500 for lighting. You might end up with $30,000 or $55,000 invested in equipment. Then a year or two goes by and it’s time to upgrade a few things here and there. These costs are big and they come at us at different intervals, sometimes without warning. 

Where does the money for all our equipment come from? These big capital expenditures need to be covered by our business’s cash reserves. But how? Imagine for a moment that we didn’t own any equipment, how would we get by?

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Hey hey! It’s #TravelTuesday with me, Dave Williams, and every week I’m here with something for you from the category lineup of photography, Photoshop, travel, or life. This week: – life. Mine, to be more specific.

First on the agenda, Photoshop World. It was awesome! I had my first PSW class, my “Ten Tips to Help You Create Captivating Travel Images,” and I loved it! I had a great time up on the stage in front of the attendees and it looks as though I had around 200 people in there with me. So, to those who came and to everyone who has followed along on my travels, thank you! Here’s a little look, courtesy of Brad Moore and Mark Heaps.

And, another big thanks to Rachel and the KelbyOne crew for being so ace, and for delivering me a donut onstage!

Now, since Photoshop World it seems life has resumed, which for me means travelling! I’m writing this post from the porch of the Thunderbird Lodge in Chinle, AZ, having woken up in Page and taken a look over the amazing vista at Horseshoe Bend before rolling through the landscape to Monument Valley where I’m currently shooting with Siân Elizabeth on some projects both together and independently. So far so good on that one, but I want to tell you about the little adventure that just finished.

Mark Heaps and I fulfilled a promise. Two years ago we decided we would go on a motorcycle adventure and we have now done that, albeit quite a short and sweet one (but, hopefully, the first of many.)

We collected our Triumph Tigers from Las Vegas Triumph immediately after Photoshop World ended, and we rode straight out into the blazing Nevada and Arizona deserts with one goal in our sights: – Route 66.

For three days we took in the sights on this amazing stretch of the mother road around the Seligman area, and if you didn’t know already, Seligman is perhaps better known as Radiator Springs from the Disney movie Cars. We tested our riding skills with twists and turns, ups and downs, strong side winds and dusty gravel roads, and it was amazing! I’ve been on some cool rides before but this was the most diverse, entertaining, and in some places, challenging motorcycle road trip I’ve had. Mark and I had the opportunity to share our experiences of photography training and of life in general. I already mentioned that we had planned to ride together for a couple of years, but here’s the point: –

One of the most beautiful qualities of friendship is to understand and to be understood. It refreshes the soul. Having the opportunity to share stories and experiences, and then subsequently share and adventure, came off the back of having met online through shared interest and realising we ticked the same tock, and we developed that and took it up a notch. The KelbyOne Community and Photoshop World are a fantastic way not only to learn but to share and to network. Mark and I maximised on it, and I strongly urge you to do the same so that you can click with like-minded people who speak your language, metaphorically and literally, and take on the world together.

Never let your friends get lonely. Keep disturbing them!

Much love

Dave

Adobe Keynote speaker Terry White, shown above in all four frames, totally crushed it at the conference in Vegas!

…it was just incredible (truly one of the best ever), and I’ve got a bunch of pictures and stories to share but I couldn’t get them ready in time to post them today. I’ll have ’em together pretty soon and post a link to them here, but for now…I’ve pretty much got nuthin.

Well, actually…

Over on my other blog, Lightroom Killer Tips, I have a pretty cool skin smoothing technique I picked up from Frank Doorhof when I was at the conference, and it uses the new Texture slider along with two other sliders to give the best skin smoothing I’ve seen in Lightroom yet. Here’s a link to that post.

Dave Williams at Photoshop World

Dave was teaching at Photoshop World for the first time, and I stuck my head into his travel photography class and it was absolutely packed. From all accounts, Dave rocked it, and I was thrilled to see him up on that stage! Congrats Dave. Don’t forget to catch his column tomorrow here on the blog. :)

Wednesday I’m off to Boston for my seminar there Thursday, and then Friday I’ll be in Philadelphia for my new “Ultimate Photography Crash Course” seminar. If you’re in either one of those cities this week, come out and spend the day with me. Tickets and details here.

That’s it for now —  here’s to a rockin’ week!

-Scott

Convert 2D Art Into 3D Objects with Corey Barker

Join Corey Barker for a fun project that creates a 3D scene from a flat 2D piece of art while exploring a certain part of movie history. Corey provides the original 2D art so you can follow along as he explains and demonstrates each step in the process. By the end of the class you’ll have your own version of the 3D scene and a new set of Photoshop 3D techniques that you can use in your own creative projects.



In Case You Missed It: Outrageous 3D with Photoshop

Corey Barker is going to dig into Photoshop’s 3D features from a creative designer’s perspective and create some outrageous eye-popping 3D graphics all right inside Photoshop CS4. While a basic understanding of 3D is helpful, you don’t need to be a 3D expert to take full advantage of these features. So strap in, this is going to be one heck of a ride!

David Ziser is teaching at Photoshop World Las Vegas, taking place this week, August 21-23. Register now to come see him in person!

My Top 5 Tips for Safari Photography

Good Morning Everybody,

I have to say, I was thrilled when I received a note from Brad inviting me to do a Guest Blog Post for Scott’s blog as a run-up to Photoshop World Las Vegas just a few days from now. It’s been a while and I’m happy to be back in the “blogging” saddle again.

As many of you know, my wife LaDawn and I have ramped up our world travels these last several years. To put that in perspective, we now travel worldwide about 7 months of the year – last year we crossed the Atlantic Ocean 8 times, the Equator twice, and the Arctic Circle twice covering about 65,000 miles in the process, whew!!!

That’s a lot of time in the air but the adventures are worth every minute!

Now all that travel does not mean I’m slowing things down photography-wise, not at all! Each year, I’m shooting about 60,000 – 70,000 images. In fact, Canon’s Service Department just told me I wore out the shutter on my Canon 7D Mark II. Happily, I just received it back from their repair department. But now the subject matter isn’t brides and grooms. Up until last year most of my images have been travel and landscape related – I’m still inspired by the culture, history, beauty, and people of all the countries we visit. It’s just a thrill to photograph everything we encounter in our travels. 

Then last year, I co-hosted two photo safaris in South Africa shooting over 45,000 images in just five weeks. You’re right, that was quite an edit job. And just recently, we returned from nearly 6 weeks in South America climbing up to Machu Picchu and dancing with the Blue Footed Boobies in the Galapagos Islands shooting a grand total of 31,000 images. The Africa and Galapagos experiences have really energized my wildlife photography aspirations.

Watching the Blue Footed Boobies almost gives you “Dancin’ Feet.”

That being said, I hope you’ll join me at Photoshop World where I will be presenting two completely new programs: Landscape Photography Between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Because I’m too darn lazy to wake up earlier than that and I usually have an adult beverage in my hand after 5 p.m.) and my second program – How I Became a World Famous (OK, reasonably decent) Wildlife Photographer in Only Three Weeks. 

Ok, I know my program titles are a little “tongue-in-cheek,” but the cool thing is that I really did learn a lot of new photography techniques and tips from all our world travels and experiences these last several years. I want to share some of that info, particularly Safari info, in this blog post and then more thoroughly in my two programs I’ll be presenting at Photoshop World in the next few days. 

BTW, I’m leading two safaris again to Africa next year and a third to India to photograph Bengal tigers, but more on that at the end of this post.

In this post I’m going to hit on a few tips and tricks that I think could really help any aspiring wildlife photographers out there. So, let’s get to it…

We drove nearly 3 hours in the drizzling rain to get this photo. The cheetah brothers where still hiding when the first safari vehicle passed. We were in the second vehicle passing about 5 minutes later – perfect timing!

Tip #1: Gear Considerations:

Just like anyone going on their first Safari, I was worried about want kind of gear to pack. I wanted to pack lean and mean but still be adequately equipped to capture great images. Here was my first pass at the gear list:

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