It’s that time again! Join Scott Kelby and Erik Kuna for the latest episode of The Grid, in which they do their signature blind photo critiques. If you’d like to submit photos for a future critique episode, keep an eye out on Scott’s Facebook page for the link to submit.
New KelbyOne Course: Backyard Bird Photography and Beyond with Rick Sammon
Back in November 2019, I had the opportunity to photograph Dude Perfect at their headquarters in Frisco, Texas for their merch website. If you’re not familiar with Dude Perfect, they’re a group of five guys who do crazy sports videos that get hundreds of millions of views.
My goal was to photograph them on a white background with the typical edge lighting used in a lot of athletic portraiture, but also light from the front well so the merchandise was accurately portrayed. This meant a six light setup:
Two Profoto B1Xs with umbrellas to light the background
Two Profoto B1Xs with strip banks for the edge lighting
One Profoto B1X with a beauty dish for the face and upper body
One Profoto B1X with a 5′ octabank further back, but powered up, for a more even frontal fill
My trusty assistant, Graham Dodd, stood in for some tests while we got everything dialed in.
I worked tethered into Lightroom (with my trusty TetherTools cable) with a live gallery updating to the merch company back in Tampa, so they could share feedback with me during the production. I did not do final edits on anything, so I just dialed in exposures and made basic develop module adjustments that applied as photos downloaded to Lightroom.
Here are some of the resulting images:
Here’s how some of the final images look on the website, once the retoucher and designer worked on them:
And some production photos, courtesy of Graham Dodd:
I hope that’s an insightful look into a commercial photo production!
And, I would be remiss if I didn’t share some images of my newest favorite subject… My daughter, Eliza! I may be biased, but I think she’s pretty cute ;-)
The Grid: How Would I Edit Your Photo? – Episode 457
Ever wonder how Scott Kelby would edit your photo? Check out the latest episode of The Grid to see how he edits viewer submitted images including landscape, portraiture, architecture, and more!
New KelbyOne Course: Photographing the Arctic and the Aurora with Dave Williams
Learn how to get the best photos possible in a hostile environment! Join Dave Williams in arctic Norway as he shares his tips and techniques for planning, preparing, and keeping himself (and his gear) safe in extreme conditions. You may head above the arctic circle with the goal of photographing the aurora, but Dave explains how to be prepared for shooting the wildlife, water features, snowy scenes, and not so snowy scenes you may encounter along the way. Dave wraps up the class with lessons on knowing how to find, prepare for, and shoot the northern lights.
I know Scott Kelby and Brad Moore from the bygone days of journalism school, when I would attend photojournalism conferences as a college newspaper editor and wannabe photographer. Digital photography and smart phones were really becoming mainstream at the time and it felt like everyone wanted to be a photographer, especially in my circle of coffeehouse junkies and art nerds.
In those days, I was an okay photographer with no specific niche or direction, and there were a lot of kids who were a lot better than me. I took as many photojournalism classes as I could get my hands on, but kept my focus on my journalism major and working my way up the newspaper ranks, where I felt more confident and a lot less competition. I never even considered a career in photography, not because I didn’t love it, but because it felt a lot less safe, and I was pretty deeply insecure. I was creative, sure, but I had only ever had one art class, in 5th grade. I felt like an imposter.
Ah, The Post Grad Days Of Juggling Jobs And Trying To Find Your Footing…
After graduation, I got hired on as a freelancer for the local paper who, because of dwindling profit margins and much to my benefit, was happy to hire someone who could write and take the pictures, too! A great deal for us both. To pay the bills, I also got some very glamorous jobs as a school portrait photographer and sales gal at Pier 1 Imports. If you’re not juggling three jobs and eating a diet of exclusively BLTs, are you even in your 20s?
None of these jobs felt cool to me. But I didn’t feel like I deserved cool, either. I had imposter syndrome and a hardcore drive to get to something exciting, but I didn’t go into the workforce feeling like I had earned anything yet. I was ready to work hard and climb my way to my dreams.
Inexplicably, the newspaper allowed me to pitch and go after pretty much anything I wanted, and I ended up with several regular series, including a food column that introduced me to the person that got me my next job: as a product photographer for Kirkland’s home decor. I started as a temporary assistant, shooting product on white in a closet in the back of a warehouse in the middle of nowhere, Tennessee. Still not glamorous, but a step in the right direction.
I took a risk and quit all three jobs to pursue a temporary gig that had much more interesting possibilities, and decided I was going to work so hard that there was no way they could let me go. And they didn’t.
They had a larger, much nicer photography studio at their corporate offices in Nashville where they shot styled images in a faux “home” setting, and I made it clear that’s where I wanted to be. Then I worked hard enough to get there. It didn’t happen overnight, but over my three years there I eventually went from being a temporary assistant to just an assistant, and eventually, simply, photographer. We spent all day shooting and styling and set designing and painting and laying floors and hanging art and it was amazing, even if it wasn’t 100% my personal style.
I loved the creativity and teamwork and immersing myself in the world of design. And it reminded me of something: the reason I worked at Pier 1 after college was because I had experience working there in high school, when I thought for a year I might want to be an interior designer. (Feel free to laugh here, because at 17 taking that job in retail felt like relevant job experience to becoming an interior designer. But hey, it funded my shoe addiction and that was enough for me at the time.)
My point is, I remembered something about myself that I had let go of in order to pursue a career that felt more safe and logical. I traded my interest in design to go down the path of journalism, and here fate had brought me back to it.
In 2016, my husband and I decided to move to my hometown of Charleston, SC, where there weren’t any large corporations hiring staff product photographers, and starting my own photography business was pretty much my only option if I wanted to continue down this path. So I did.
Creating Landscape Composites: Advanced Techniques with Bret Malley
Go beyond what your landscape images are, and imagine what they could be! Join Bret Malley in the follow-up to his Creating Landscape Composites class with a more advanced look at new features, cool effects, and fun techniques that allow you to unleash whatever you can imagine. From starting with a good foundation to incorporating a range of new elements to replacing the sky and making it all look like a coherent piece, Bret will pique your interest in playing with your landscape images in new and exciting ways using Photoshop.
In Case You Missed It: Creating Landscape Composites with Bret Malley
Anything you can imagine you can make happen with landscape composites! Join Bret Malley as he takes you on a journey of creativity while teaching you the techniques and concepts you’ll need to use to create eye catching composites of outdoor scenes. You’ll learn the importance of key blending modes, how to replace skies, multiple techniques for blending graphic elements into a scene, how to use selections and masks, tips for fine tuning your creations, and how to add atmosphere and final touches. This is a great way to learn powerful Photoshop techniques while breathing new life into your landscape photographs.
Hi all! Greetings from the land down under. Thanks to Scott and Brad for inviting me to share some of my work and background info with you. I hope you’re staying safe and well. It’s been terrible to see the devastating financial impact Covid had on areas of our industry. May the sun keep rising and world keep turning – and lets hope brighter days are ahead for not just photography, but the planet as a whole.
IN THE BEGINNING
My lifelong love of animals began during my formative years in outback Australia where my father was a sheep shearer and wool valuer. As an only child, my constant companions were my dogs, guinea pigs, horses, rabbits and bottle-fed lambs. My family had a great regard for Australian wildlife and I often helped my mother rescue and care for a wide array of injured kangaroo joeys, birds and other creatures until they could be released back into their natural habitat.
At age 11 I moved with my family to the Pilbara, an area in northern Western Australia, and a place that was the ideal environment to grow up in. I spent much of my spare time there exploring the surrounding desert with my Rottweiler, Ally.
Driven by a desire to contribute to society, I joined the Western Australian Police Service at age 19 and served for 14 years as a police officer and crime analyst. In 2005 I was burnt out from the stresses of the job, and I transferred to the Australian Federal Government, where I worked for five years as a Senior Transport Security Inspector, auditing city and regional airports and airlines for their counter-terrorist security measures. I travelled a lot during this time, often doing up to 200 flights a year. And I hate flying, but that’s a whole other story!
THE FOCUS OF MY LENS
Photography became a serious passion in 2006. On occasion I’d used a point-and-shoot camera and film camera until then, but when a friend showed me the scope of digital photography I was hooked. Never one to do things by halves, I spent every spare moment studying photographic literature, and practicing the craft on my own pets, those of friends and family, as well as farm animals and wildlife. I tried a few other genres such as landscapes and people, but animals enthralled me more than any other subject. Within a short period of time, I knew animals would be the focus of my lens.