The Grid: Why Capturing Memories Is Important Now & In Future with Fernando Santos – Episode 456
Do you have a list of photography plans that you’ll do ‘someday?’ Check out the latest episode of The Grid, where Scott Kelby and Erik Kuna are joined by Fernando “Chicky Nando” Santos, to talk about why RIGHT NOW is just as important!
New KelbyOne Course: Photographing Wildlife in Winter with Moose Peterson
Moose covers all that’s important for you to know so that you can have a great time viewing and photographing birds and mammals in their winter environments. All of the core photographic principles still apply, but this class gives you the fundamental tools for putting them into practice in cold and snowy conditions.
Hi from England, and I hope that you are safe, well and warm wherever you are.
I don’t seem to have taken many photos in 2020. The global pandemic has not helped but doing other stuff has also restricted my opportunities in what has been an incredibly difficult year for all of us.
Time to look forward to better days I say. I have decided that 2021 is the year that I get back to taking more photos, both for my clients, my business and also for myself. And with that thought in mind I am going to be making a concerted effort to take better photos as well. And this leads me seamlessly into this post (blimey – it almost sounds like I know what I am doing here), which I am delighted to be writing for Scott’s website.
These are my own words, thoughts, and opinions based on well over 30 years of photographic experience.
Ok let’s get in to all this good stuff.
1. Get Out and Take Photos
Yep, this is my number one tip. The number one way for you and I to improve our photography is to get off our collective backsides, get off the sofa, computer, tablet, phone, TV or games thing and get out there and take photos.
And it is so good for our physical and mental wellbeing to get out and about. Sure, there are restrictions that are in place now, but they will be gone hopefully and in 2021 we can all get back to normal life.
I still love doing this.
I find this one thing exciting even now, after well over 30 years of practising and enjoying my photography – I still get a buzz from packing my (small – see later) camera bag knowing that I am off to explore somewhere new.
And fresh air is good for us of course.
It is all good.
There is no negative to going out taking photos, unless you spend all your time doing this and neglect your nearest and dearest that is. And I am not advocating that of course!
Or if you still use film which is not cheap these days!
You will feel better for getting out and about, refreshed and invigorated, and you never know you might have some great photos to enjoy forever and a day.
So, get out and take some great photos with me in 2021. Well not actually with me but you know what I mean.
Talking of which, this is me photographing the wonderful Durdle Door.
There is only one thing that I can guarantee though – if you do not get out and take photos you will not get any great new images.
2. Stop Looking at New Gear
I spent years doing this. I would buy some shiny new gear and use it and then be on the lookout for something else.
I even bought gear that I never actually used.
And do you know what – I spent more time looking at gear than I did taking photos.
And where did that get me?
Poorer and with cupboards full of stuff that I did not need. And my photography at a standstill.
Yep I did this for years. And then the penny dropped.
I was looking for something specific, and in looking for it I had to go plough through a whole heap of gear that I had either hardly used or not used at all.
The One-Year Rule
I put all this gear in a box (or three) and put that lot in the garage and invented the one-year rule.
And one year later the stuff was still there unused. I sold it all.
And unusually for me I learned from this lesson, and now only buy something if I specifically need it, or if I see something that will help me take better photos.
Ongoing Gear Lust
OK I’m not perfect – I have bought the odd thing that I did not need. But the real takeaway from this is that I do not look for gear any more – what I do is look for gear to fix a problem when a problem arises.
This is where I prove myself.
I am still using a Canon 6D Mk 1 – it took great photos in 2014 when I bought it and it still takes great photos in 2020. And will do so in 2021.
The Grid: How To Achieve Photography Goals for 2021 – Episode 455
It’s a new year, and there’s no better time to figure out what you want to do this year with your photography! Scott Kelby and Erik Kuna are joined by Kristina Sherk of Shark Pixel on the latest episode of The Grid to discuss plans for achieving your photography goals for 2021.
New KelbyOne Course: Lightroom Classic – Importing Like A Pro with Scott Kelby
Become a master of the Lightroom Classic import process! Join Scott Kelby as he demystifies the Lightroom Classic import window, explains the core workflow, orients you to all of the options, and shows you methods to make this process more efficient and reliable. Once you fully understand this aspect of the workflow it will make your Lightroom Classic life so much easier!
Of all the visual arts, photography has historically been most prized for capturing reality. Snapshots that preserve the truth of the way life was. Black and white impressions of caissons wheeling bodies off the field of battle during the American Civil War gave mute but powerful testimony to the horrors of battle. From unsmiling tintypes to migrant mothers and now ubiquitous sunset family portraits, we instinctively see these images as depictions of reality.
But, of course, they’re not.
Almost since the inception of photography, people have been trying to capture the world not as it is, but how they saw it. From the “decisive moment” to staged poses and careful post production manipulation, photographers have always aimed to create visuals that represent their own ideas. Certainly there is truth involved, but of a much more complex sort that is, more often than not, exaggerated in some way.
Rather than being a form of falsehood or “cheating,” this ability to infuse photography with some level of the fantastical reveals truths about the photographer, who they are, and how they see both their subjects, and the world. How they choose to frame an image, what they shoot, where the focus is, all these things give the viewer clues about the creator of the work.
Now that photographers have more powerful post-production tools at their disposal than ever before, this ability to reveal truths through fantasy is in the beginning of a golden age. And for those of us who focus on the fantasy genre, it is a particular blessing.
Hands-On with the Canon EOS RP: Everything You Need To Know To Get Great Shots with Erik Kuna
Get up to speed on the Canon EOS RP with Erik Kuna! If you’ve purchased the RP or are just curious about what it has to offer, then this is the class for you. Join Erik as he shares his experience with using the RP, discusses what type of photographer will benefit the most from this new model. From there, Erik takes you on a deep dive exploration of the buttons, dials, menus, and video functions to help you get the most out of this amazing full frame mirrorless camera.
In Case You Missed It: Hands On With the Canon 1DX Mark III with Erik Kuna
Are you interested in the new Canon flagship camera the 1DX Mark III, then this class is for you! Join Erik Kuna as he dives into the nitty gritty details of this beast of a camera. Whether you shoot video or stills or both, this is the ultimate hybrid camera providing rock solid performance for years to come. In this class Erik explains the new features, the key options and functions for configuring and customizing the camera for stills and video, as well as sharing his impressions after spending time shooting with the 1DX Mark III.
When I started in this incredible industry over 10 years ago, I hunted for inspiration. I really had to go out of my way to find images that made me say “Wow! How the hell did they do that?”
In 2020, we are bombarded by information and image overload, whether we search for it or not, with all of the exponential growth of social media, Google and AI. All we have to do is mention something to someone in passing and our smart devices will be listening, only to freak us out at the first opportunity with its findings in the form of posts, pop-ups and adverts the moment we look at our screens.
HOPELESSNESS IS IRRELEVANT
How is this relevant to the topic of this article you may ask? Today we face an onslaught of outstanding and awe inspiring images on social media that can leave many photographers feeling paralyzed with fear that they’re not capable or good enough to compete in a marketplace that has never been more competitive or fierce.
That said, there really is no need to worry; help is at hand! Particularly with amazing resources like Scott Kelby’s blog, its vast reservoir of knowledge and experience; there’s really no reason to feel like you have to go it alone, or indeed feel alone period.
In this feature I want to share how some of my award-winning images were created by breaking down my thought processes on the shoot, technical settings, and lighting setups to try and provoke thought and inspire ideas for you. The key here is to understand my thought process; after all, camera settings and lighting setups replicated in isolation are as good as knowing nothing about the image at all if you don’t understand what triggered certain ideas or decisions under the pressure of the situation.
This is the essence of authenticity, of provenance; using your vision, experience, expertise and ability to cope under pressure… basically you’re extracting the best of your personality and ability as a professional and as an artist and imbuing the image with something truly unique.
This is my approach with each of these images – I use what I know about my clients, their story, my equipment and my understanding and belief in my own tastes; I know what appeals to me and what doesn’t to create a solid start point.
‘FROM LONDON WITH LOVE’
For example, this image was from the couple’s engagement shoot in London’s Hyde Park. They wanted an image that embodied their love, their cool relaxed demeanour, their style as a couple and their lifestyle which was achieved through the way I posed them alongside his car (which in this case says a lot about him) in an area of London in which they live. The emotion in this image is embodied in their pose, connection and expressions and enhanced with dramatic lighting.
I only had moments to set this image up because of the extremely tight security in London. Despite this, I used 3 lights to create this image because the impact of the concept demanded it. I used one gridded flash to camera left in front of the car set low down to illuminate the front of the Aston Martin and to provide a rim light for the bride. I used one unmodified bare bulb flash to camera right at a high angle to light the rear of the car and provide a rim-light to the groom. The third light had a quarter CTO gelled light on the couple to give them a soft, warm, comforting tone. I had to slightly underexpose for the failing light of the sky by stopping down to f/11 and setting the shutter to the cameras’ sync speed at the lowest possible ISO. The small aperture had the added effect of creating the star bursts from the light reflecting off the car in camera.