Posts By Brad Moore

How To Make A Great Shot With An Ultra Wide Lens Using The Tamron 15-30mm with Scott Kelby
Shooting with an ultra-wide-angle lens opens up all kinds of new creative possibilities for photographers. Join Scott Kelby as he explores Tamron’s new SP 15-30mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2. Scott explains how easy the lens is to use and shares some tips and techniques for getting the most out of an ultra-wide-angle lens. He takes viewers on a location shoot to the historic Tampa Theater and gets some great shots. This class will get you excited about the possibilities of shooting ultra-wide.

In Case You Missed It
Join Larry Becker for a class designed to give you a firm understanding of lens characteristics, capabilities, technologies, and key terms. Lens manufacturing has advanced at a rapid rate, and it is important to stay up to date with the advantages newer lenses have over those in the past. Larry takes you through the variety of lens mounts, aperture settings, focusing concerns, image stabilization, and cutting edge lens technologies that will make you a better lens consumer. Larry wraps up the class with a closer look at a few popular lens configurations currently available.

A little more than six years ago I wrote my first guest blog post here on Scott’s website, and it’s incredible to see both how much has changed, and also how much has stayed the same. Since my last post here I got married, moved five times, adopted two dogs, traveled to eight new countries, checked off a few items on my bucket list, and I’ve also grown my photography education business into a full-time job. While my life looks a little different than it did in 2012, my excitement and passion to grow as a photographer is the same.

One of the things I love best about my job as a photographer is that I get to call all of the shots. I have gone in a solo direction with my work and get to photograph what I want and make books and tutorials that are of my own creation. It’s fulfilling, but it also takes a lot of self-determination and a good work ethic, and I’m constantly forced to stay at my own very high level of expectations. Here I’d like to share some of the things I’ve learned during my time as a photographer.

This is a selection of some of the images I created while in high school. I quickly fell in love with photography but worried I would fall out of love with it if I made it my full-time job.

Forge Your Own Path
When I was in high school, I can remember wanting to be a sports photographer. I had just taken my first class in photography and joined the yearbook committee as a staff photographer. I found my “thing” and knew that photography was something I wanted to do long term. Then, when I joined the military, I chose a path other than photography. I was worried if photography was my full-time job that I would fall out of love with it.

I began my career in photography by creating and licensing photos for stock photography, just like this image of a utility lineman working on a power line.

Now, a few decades later, I realize that I had nothing to worry about. Because of the Internet and digital photography, I was able to find a way to make photography my career. A path that began as with stock photography has evolved into a career in photography education. I wasn’t following someone else’s path or anything out of a book. I discovered the way on my own.

Each year in Canby, Oregon, the dahlia fields bloom, and with it come the bees, which are very photogenic. I have a lot of fun chasing and photographing both the bees and the flowers.

Whether or not you make photography a business, you’ll likely still go down a certain path with your work. Maybe you enjoy landscapes, architecture, portraits, or flowers. Whatever it is, make sure it’s something you enjoy, and don’t be afraid to experiment with new types of photography that may be vastly different than your current photographic interests.

I’m lucky to live in the Pacific Northwest, one of the most beautiful parts of the country. And I’ve fallen in love with landscape photography because of it.

Should you stick to one genre? Maybe. It depends on your goals and what you want to achieve as a photographer. This is a very personal decision and is entirely up to you. Personally, I enjoy photographing almost everything. Many people know me for my food photography, but I also do a lot of landscape, nature, and travel, as well as macro and water-drop photography. I’ve even done some underwater photography as well. And thankfully, with the job I chose, having a diverse set of photographic interests can be beneficial. With a wide genre of photographs in my portfolio I am able to write books and create video training that appeals to a larger audience. And I also love the challenge of learning something new, and sometimes that involves going down a creative path that is completely different from the photography I’ve made in the past.

Sometimes I like to challenge myself to create something that is outside of what I normally would photograph, such as this black-and-white street image in Venice, Italy.

You will probably hear a lot of strong opinions on whether or not you should stick to one niche, along with many other topics relating to photography and business. Maybe they come from an anonymous voice in an online comment, or from a trusted photographer friend. I know I’ve heard my fair share of opinions from photographers who think they know what is best for me and my business. But in the end only you know what’s best for you and your photography. Listen to your gut and don’t let someone else steer you in the wrong direction.

Find The Best Social Network For YOU
With social media so prevalent in our digital lives it’s sometimes difficult to keep up. Staying fully engaged on social media can be a full-time job, and very few are able to have a team of people working this job for us. Personally, I’m pretty awful at keeping up with it, so now I’m doing my best to determine which of the current platforms to spend more of my time and energy on.

I also have my own social network, so to speak. One of the best forms of communication I have is my newsletter. While social media is good for sharing photos and other information, so much of it gets swept away only moments after it is posted. With email, however, my messages are going directly into the inboxes of my subscribers. It’s understood that each message I send is about me and my work, which is why people signed up in the first place. And while I offer a lot of free downloads and tutorials to my subscribers, I don’t hesitate to ask for a purchase. In fact, I make nearly all of my income from what I offer my members through the newsletter. It’s my most personal—and profitable—form of communication. It also allows someone to get directly in touch with me, just by replying to one of my emails! That gives me the chance to chat one-on-one with someone, and their message doesn’t end up getting buried by the endless flood of social media streams.

Challenge Yourself
Many of the photographic skills I have are from trying to learn and master something new. In fact, I quite enjoy the challenge of seeing whether or not I could really learn how to photograph something on my own, only using books and the Internet as my guide. And I’ve discovered some very enjoyable genres of photography that I will continue to pursue into the foreseeable future.

I taught myself food photography and eventually went on to write two books and one video course. This image of blueberry French toast was created in my KelbyOne course — Food Photography: A Recipe for Savory Success.

Food photography is one example. In my early stock photography days, I decided to give it a try, even though I knew nothing about how to properly photograph food. My initial images were awful, but as time progressed and I learned more about lighting and food styling, my images improved. Eventually I would write two books on food photography—Food Photography: From Snapshots to Great Shots—as well as a video course on the KelbyOne website.

I thought it would be fun to see if I could create some legitimate water drop photos, and I was right! This is now one of my favorite types of photography.

Another good example is with waterdrop photography. In fact, I came across this just by random interest. There is a device I was purchasing—the Pluto Trigger—to use for photographing lightning, and while researching it I saw that they also sell a water drop valve as an accessory. The valve was not too expensive, and I thought it might be fun to try my hand at photographing water drops. After getting the valve and doing some research online, I was able to create some beautiful photos on my first try! It’s now become one of my favorite things to photograph.

Practice, Practice, Practice
Whether or not your goal is to become the best photographer you can be, we tend to enjoy something more when we’re good at it. The best way to become good at something is to practice as much as possible. Not only will you help create muscle memory with your camera, you will solidify your technical knowledge about your gear, settings, and even your surroundings and subject matter. And this also applies to processing your photos and using software. I’ve been an avid Photoshop user for a very long time, but even those skills can get rusty! I make sure to create my own personal projects on the side to keep my “Photoshop muscles” fit.

I love experimenting and playing around in Photoshop, which is how I created these double-exposure images.

Even I have had my moments where my camera sat around collecting dust for a little too long, and I remember feeling rusty when I finally picked it up again. If you enjoy photographing landscapes but live somewhere that is lacking in natural beauty, maybe you can experiment with a different type of photography that is not dependent on the environment. Or maybe you could sign up for a 365 challenge, where you create a new photograph each day for an entire year. I attempted this one (and didn’t make it all the way), but it did encourage me to create a handful of good photos that otherwise would not have been created.

There are a lot of other opportunities to encourage you to pick up the camera. If you’re on Flickr, you may find groups that motivate you to get out and use your camera. I even have my own “Nicolesy” group where I run monthly photo challenges (click here to check it out on Flickr). Or maybe you’ve joined a local photo club, a photowalk, or an online forum. Find something that works for you and inspires you to get out and create something.

One of the most thrilling experiences I’ve had was cage diving and photographing great white sharks. It’s an opportunity I may not have had if I were not excited about photography.

Whatever route you end up following, if photography is important to you, the best thing you can do for yourself is to create. While photography is my main focus, I am a fan of creating so many other things and have quite a few hobbies. I love to knit, I’m a big pottery enthusiast, and I also enjoy the process of working on my website and creating books and video training for my business. When I’m creating, I’m happy.

You can see more of Nicole’s work and tutorials on her website, YouTube channel, and Flickr profile, and keep up with her on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

Advanced Photoshop: Pro Curves Techniques with Bret Malley
Join Bret Malley and learn how to unlock the power of curves in Photoshop! In this class you’ll gain a better understanding of the curves adjustment, how read a histogram, explore different ways curves can be used, learn different techniques for manipulating curves, and explore some of the most common use case scenarios. From global edits to localized tweaks, curves can be a powerful ally in your post production work.

In Case You Missed It
Learn how to do a family portrait with a magical twist! Join Bret Malley as he teaches you all the steps, from shooting to post processing, needed to create your own fantasy fine art composite. Bret takes you through the gear he uses, his process for pre-production, how to communicate and work with the subjects, his lighting setup, how to photograph each element of the composite, and then how to bring it all together in Photoshop. The first half of the class is a live shoot where Bret creates all the pieces, and in the second half, he teaches you his tips and techniques for creating a seamless composite that brings your imagination to life.

5 Must-Know Photoshop Tips and Tricks for Photographers
In this article, I’m going to show you five of my favorite Photoshop tips and tricks for Photographers. These are techniques that most people probably don’t know, but are very useful and they can help you speed up your workflow.

#1 – OPEN THE SAME IMAGE IN TWO WINDOWS
In Photoshop, you can open the same image in two windows and set them side-by-side to work on both details and the overall image at the same time.

To open the same document in two windows, go to Window > Arrange, “New Window for [Name of Document].”

These are not two separate documents. They are the same document, and any adjustments that you make to one will reflect instantly on the other.

Then go to Window > Arrange > Two up Vertical to put the two tabs side-by-side. You can then Zoom into one window and zoom out on the other.

If you have two monitors, then you can place a zoomed in version in one monitor and a zoomed-out version on the other.

This technique comes in very handy when working with large documents. I once worked on a huge composite that had over 1,500 layers. By using this technique I saved a lot of time by not having to zoom in and out of an image after I made a small adjustment to details.

# 2 – NUDGE, SCALE, AND ROTATE CLONE TOOL SOURCE
To speed up your workflow when using the Clone Stamp Tool, remember that you can use keyboard shortcuts to nudge, scale, or rotate the sample source to better match the size and orientation of the cloning destination.

First, set the sample point by holding Opt/Alt and clicking on an area to sample from. You will then see an overlay of your sample source.

You can then try these keyboard shortcuts to adjust the sample source.

To nudge the Clone Source, you can hold Opt/Alt and tap on the Arrow keys (left, right, up and down).

To rotate the Clone Source Hold Alt (Mac: Option) Shift < or >.

To scale the Clone Source Hold Alt (Mac: Option) Shift { or }.

If you cannot remember these keyboard shortcuts, you could instead use the Clone Source panel (Window > Clone Source) to make these adjustments to the sample source.

#3 – SPOT HEALING BRUSH TOOL MODES
One way to quickly remove wrinkles, blemishes, and other distractions from portraits is to use the Spot Healing Brush Tool. But an often-overlooked option is the Modes dropdown which add a lot more power to this tool.

Under the Options bar, the Spot Healing Brush Tool has Blending Modes that you can use as you paint to better target the pixels that you want to remove.

To select the right mode, you first must look at the blemish, wrinkle, or distraction that you want to remove. Then ask yourself, is the distraction darker than the skin tone or is it lighter than the skin tone?

In the example for this article, the blemishes are darker than the skin tone. That means that you want to “lighten” those blemishes to reduce their intensity.

From the Modes dropdown select Lighten.

Then start painting with a small brush and small strokes over the blemishes and wrinkles to remove them. But notice how you will not lose essential detail in the highlights. The Spot Healing Brush Tool will only target dark pixels which are the pixels that you want to remove.

In the example below, you will see how the fine white hairs remained on the side of his head while the darker blemishes were removed.

If your blemish or distraction is lighter than the skin tone, then select Darken from the Mode drop-down menu, and paint away.

To learn more about how this technique works, you can check out my full-length tutorial on the Spot Healing Brush Tool.

#4 – LOAD LUMINOSITY AS A SELECTION
In Photoshop you can use the luminosity of an image (the bright pixels) as selections. The easiest way to select the bright pixels of a photo is by pressing Cmd Opt 2/Ctrl Alt 2.

If you cannot remember the keyboard shortcut, you can also load luminosity as a selection by holding Cmd/Ctrl and clicking on the RGB thumbnail in the Channels panel.

With a selection active, you can create an Adjustment which will target the bright pixels.

If you would like to target the dark pixels instead, you can “Invert” the selection. To do so, Select the Layer Mask, and click on Invert in the Properties panel. Alternatively, you can press Cmd I, Ctrl I when the layer mask is selected to Invert.

Now if you make an adjustment, the dark pixels will be affected instead of the bright ones.

#5 – CURVES AUTO COLOR CORRECTION
Did you know that you can color correct a photo with just one click?

With the Auto Color Correction Algorithms inside of the Curves (and Levels) Adjustment Layer, you can automate color correction in Photoshop.

This essential technique will let Photoshop do all the hard work, and it will automatically adjust each channel to color correct the image.

You can apply the Auto Tone non-destructively by creating a Levels or Curves adjustment layer, then click the “Auto” button in the Properties panel.

But the default algorithm is not usually the best one. To change the algorithm hold Opt/Alt and click on the Auto button.

Then, from the Auto Color Correction options you can select one of 4 algorithms to color correct your image. In Photoshop CS6 and newer, the default algorithm is Enhance Brightness & Contrast. In older versions of Photoshop, the default is Enhance Per Channel Contrast.

You can then click on the different algorithms and see how they affect your image. In most cases, I found that “Find Dark & Light Colors” give you the best results.

You can click on the “Save as defaults” checkbox so that this algorithm is applied when you click on the Auto button.

After you apply the color adjustment, you will see how the image will instantly be color corrected.

For more information on how this technique works and what to do when the auto color correction doesn’t work, you can check out my YouTube video on The Curves Auto Color Correction Options

I hope that you enjoyed these tips and that they help you out in your workflow. If you want to learn more Photoshop tips and tricks like this one, then check out my video 19 Amazing Photoshop Tips, Tricks, and Hacks (That You Probably DON’T Know).

You can see more tutorials from Jesús at PhotoshopTrainingChannel.com, and keep up with him on Behance, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, and YouTube.

Photoshop For Business: Pro Techniques for Working Faster, Smarter, and Maximizing your Output with Mark Heaps
Think differently about your business! Join Mark Heaps as shares tips and tricks for efficiency in Photoshop, while at the same time teaching you how to set yourself and your collaborators up for success. This class has two parts, and in the first half Mark demonstrates a number of Photoshop techniques to help you work smarter. In the second half he delves into more strategic concerns designed to help you grow your business, help you define who your customers are, learn key phrases and terms, and so much more. By the end of the class you’ll have a strong foundation for working as a great collaborator whether you are part of a team or an independent freelancer.

In Case You Missed It
Join Mia McCormick and John Keatley as they sit down to discuss the business lessons John has learned from his career as an advertising and celebrity portrait photographer. John has photographed celebrities, athletes, and politicians, and his work has appeared in publications ranging from Rolling Stone to Wired. Over the course of an hour John and Mia discuss topics ranging from developing a business frame of mind to knowing your costs before entering negotiations, and from the role of social media to how to demonstrate what you can do in an engaging way, and so much more that will help you accelerate your business today.

Photo by Casey Cosley

BREAKING THE PLANE- 3D For Photographers

I was recently watching a tutorial on advanced product retouching in Photoshop, during which the instructor spent an astounding amount of time removing imperfections and isolating every element to its own layer. It was eye-opening, but not in the way I expected. During my career I’ve captured a client’s or art director’s vision on a two-dimensional plane with lighting, subject matter, resolution, and camera angle baked-in forever. This had me looking for another way to approach image and motion creation.

Here I’m on location capturing overhead shots of foliage to be used in SpeedTree to re-generate the plants in the 3D realm. I capture a naturally lit overhead shot as well as a back lit shot to tell the 3D program how the texture is to look when back-lit.

During a recent series of trips to New York, I found myself with quite a bit of downtime in the evenings which allowed me to dive headfirst into the world of 3D. 3D is nothing new, but as of late the software and hardware is advancing at lightning speed, and I noticed that it wasn’t being used in generating food imagery nearly as much as it should.

In order to use 3D in production as a food photographer, I needed to become adept at modeling, texture creation, photogrammetry, VFX, compositing, and sculpting. Not an easy task and as many know, but the learning never ends!

This entire scene was modeled, lit, and rendered in around 30 minutes. The scene still has that overly-slick 3D look so blending in grunge maps and other imperfections to the scene works wonders. This scene was lit with what’s known as an HDRI map with is essentially a spherical panorama of a location that is used as the lighting source.

My current software workflow includes Modo for hard surface modeling, Substance Designer and Substance Painter for texture authoring and painting, Zbrush for sculpting 3D meshes, Reality Capture for photogrammetry, SpeedTree for foliage generation, Marvelous Designer for fabric, Houdini for VFX, Redshift for rendering, and of course Photoshop for the final touches!

For organic objects, nothing beats photogrammetry! To create this oyster asset, I shot the oyster on a Lazy Susan from every angle possible and stitched the images together in Reality Capture. The resulting 3D mesh is then cleaned up in Zbrush and the color texture is cleaned up in Photoshop.

My favorite breakthrough in 3D and one that doesn’t get nearly enough focus in 3D software development is VR. I currently use MODO for modeling, and they recently implemented a VR viewport allowing the user to physically enter the 3D space. This is important as I’m used to moving around a physical subject and my hope is eventually to be able to conduct a virtual photo shoot live within this realm.

What I love about 3D is that anything becomes possible and the food on set never goes bad!

The strength of 3D lies in the ability to create any photorealistic environment you want and change anything from lighting to export resolution forever. Learning 3D also makes you a better photographer. Photographers always tout their understanding of light, but it took me all of two minutes learning PBR material authoring to realize I didn’t know squat!

Rendering realistic objects is challenging and render times increase as the light complexity increases. I will often test techniques in isolation such as caustics and light bounce counts.

I use Redshift for nearly all of my rendering needs and I tend to render out EXR files which contain the various “passes” needed for post-production. This process separates depth, luminance, puzzle matte, roughness, albedo, emission, sub-surface scattering, and other passes so that each element can be manipulated separately in Photoshop or After Effects If the export is for motion.

Material authoring is addictive but time-consuming. There are many 3rd party sources that provide a variety of base materials such as these to get your started.

As much flexibility as 3D offers, every still image render ends up in Photoshop where the final creative touches are applied. Having a strong knowledge of Photoshop, lighting, camera operation, etc. gives photographers a strong starting point to learn 3D.

The more I progress in adding 3D to my wheelhouse, the more I realize that this hybrid approach to image creation will soon be a requirement for emerging photographers.

Every material applied to objects is a series of tiles, typically 4-8k square in resolution. To apply a texture to an object, it often needs to be “flattened” by creating a UV map. This bizarre image is a world space normal of a UV flattened Buddah’s Hand Fruit.

There’s an enormous amount of information to take in when learning 3D, but hopefully this will help you know where to begin when adding 3D to your image creation wheelhouse.

MODO VR:

You can see more of Steve’s work at SteveHansenImages.com, and keep up with him on Instagram.

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