Posts By Brad Moore

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Before anything else, I’d like to extend a big “thank you!” to Scott for having me back. I really enjoyed my last visit here and was very appreciative of all of your comments. Fresh from leading the Adobe Headquarters Photo Walk in San Jose, I’d also like to call out what Scott and everyone at the NAPP do; not just for education on a wide array of Adobe products, but their celebration for the passion of photography. My favorite part of my job is seeing what people do with our software and the excitement and creativity it brings to them; Saturday’s Photo Walk offered a really nice perspective on what that looks like early on, from behind-the-person-behind-the-lens. Here in San Jose, we enjoyed a full house; had a special guest participant, and I finished with Lightroom 2.0 and Photoshop CS4 demos from our own Park conference room – a great way to spend a Saturday. Thanks to Scott & friends for putting me in touch with some great people and talented shooters!

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Although I’ve collaborated with Scott and the staff of the NAPP for many years, last year was my first trip out to NAPP headquarters. My experience there prompted what I’m going to share today. (more…)

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David J. Nightingale © Bobbi Lane

Before I begin I’d like to thank both Scott and Brad for inviting me to be a guest blogger – it’s truly an honour, and I’m delighted to be appearing alongside the many other wonderful photographers that have contributed to Guest Blog Wednesday. So thanks again to Scott and Brad, and hello to everyone else.

Seeing the Light

One of the hardest things I find about writing is starting – not because I procrastinate, which I do – but because there are always so many different and interesting topics that can be discussed in relation to photography. In this case, after spending a couple of weeks trying to narrow it down, I went back and reread (and re-watched) many of the guest blogs that have been posted this year in search of inspiration. After realising that I had a lot to live up to – there have been some really inspiring posts in recent months – I was struck by a point that Eddie Tapp made:

“Learning to ‘see the light’ is perhaps the single, most exciting experience in one’s imaging life.”

Eddie went on to discuss this point in terms of the nature of light – how to recognise different types of light, how to modify and shape the light falling onto a subject, and so on – but his key point was that being able to “see the light” is one of the most significant skills we need to develop. And he’s right.

But exactly which light is it that we need to learn to see?

On the face of it, this sounds like a dumb question – we need to be able to see the light that’s there, and when we can appreciate and understand its nature we can photograph it, modify it, and so on – but there are two things that complicate this process.

The first complication is obvious, and was implied in Eddie’s post: the light that we need to learn to see is the light that our camera sees, not what we see. Whether you’re shooting film or digital you will know that what you see is not always what your camera sees; i.e. the human eye/brain combo can perceive a much larger dynamic range than your camera’s sensor or your film. For example, while a digital sensor is limited to around 6-9 EV, the human eye can perceive a dynamic range of approximately 14 EV without any adaptation, and up to around 24 EV when you take into account the facts that it can also adjust to very dark scenes and that the pupil can change size to accommodate varying levels of brightness.

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The net result of this is that we learn to either not shoot scenes with a massively large dynamic range, or we find ways to modify the light within such scenes to decrease the contrast ratio between the darkest and brightest areas, or we shoot a sequence of photographs and convert them to an HDR image. In this instance, the only viable option was to (more…)

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Photo by Jacob Cunningham

Hello Scott. And friends of Scott. Not to mention you people who know friends of folks who at one time thought they knew Scott or saw him once. As if in a dream.

My name is Deke. But enough about me. What’s more important is what I have to offer. In celebration of The Day After Scott’s Birthday, I bring you the most special Eighth of July gift ever. A video. A Web-based, streaming video. With a mouse cursor moving around the screen and me talking and everything. (!)

The topic of this video is masking. Over the course of things, we’ll take this girl:

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With all her hair and rambunctious attitude.

And blend her into this composition:

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Granted, the end result is over the top. And a bit silly. (Forgive me, I learned design from Mad magazine. Or was it Super Mario Brothers? I forget.) But it’s impeccably executed. And it demonstrates a point: If you can merge that hair and that dress and that girl against that background, you can do anything.

And by “anything,” I mean anything. Turn lead into gold. Climb vertical walls. Fly. With glistening, radioactive abs of steel.

I call my intensive video “The Essential Approach to Masking in Photoshop.” It’s not a step-by-step recipe. It’s not a magic bullet. It’s an overarching roadmap of the tried-and-true approach to masking a complex image. In about 30 minutes (I told you it was intensive!), you and I will create a full-blown mask—from scratch, mind you—and employ said mask to composite a complex foreground against a foreign background. In Photoshop.

This is not an inspirational video. This is a training video. (I’m sorry, but it’s what I do.) It’s carefully crafted and tightly produced. And believe it or not, it moves along at a fairly brisk pace.

Definitely click the full-screen button for every bit of gloriously compressed detail in this 1280 by 800-pixel movie.

Watch. Rinse. Repeat.

Along the way, I mention some links. They are these:
-For the images, fotolia.com/deke
-For the videos, lynda.com/deke
-For the books, deke.oreilly.com
-For more free masking videos, dekedotcom.blip.tv
-For still more videos, youtube.com/dekepod
-For 24/7 love action, deke.com

Now stop reading this and watch the video. And have a really awesome day.
–Deke

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Photo by Scott Kelby

Before I begin I want to thank Scott for including me as one of the weekly guest bloggers on his blog. To say it’s an honor for being one of the 52 guests he has per year is an understatement! You wouldn’t really think that being a guest blogger for Scott is an intimidating task until you are given the opportunity. Only then does the truth of the matter come out! I myself, a man of many words, struggled with what I should talk about and who I should target my post for. Then I remembered the KISS method; Keep It Simple Silly. For the more complex theories and techniques, I will guide you to the experts that I pull my inspiration and knowledge from. Please don’t mistake this for name dropping for shameless plugs for my friends… As they say, “it takes a village to raise a child“. In this case the saying would be “a community of artists draws inspiration!
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First I want to thank Brad Moore and Scott Kelby for inviting me along as a guest blogger. I’m flattered and excited to share some random insights about what I do. I would like to inform that I am a young digital born photographer that has been practicing for three years. I will try and keep this concise since the last thing I want to do is bore anyone with quotes and clich©s. If anyone has any technical questions about how I created an image please email me and I will get back to you with detailed specifics.

photographer.

The title of photographer can mean so many things these days that I have come to dislike the question of, “What do you do for a living?" Nothing is more difficult than trying to explain the randomness that is my job. I sometimes reply, “Yes, weddings and stuff like that,” just to change the subject. It is not uncommon that a person who asks the question is, of course, also a photographer, and they immediately ask me which brand of camera I use. Ten minutes after trying to explain why I personally don’t care which brand is better, I am asked to take a group photo with a point and shoot camera because well…I’m a photographer.

a very quick bio.

When I was very young, I wanted to be a cartoonist and the evidence of that was all over my school work. During high school I could care less about anything that didn’t involve a skateboard. And in college, graphic design kept my interest for a short while until I began dabbling in film. During film school I found most of what I loved about film could be accomplished using one frame. I began coordinating photo shoots with friends to create film-like stills. I quickly realized that for the types of images that I wanted to create I needed to learn everything that I possibly could about lighting for photography.

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Before a shoot I’ll sometimes sketch out how I want certain shots to be framed. This helps my subjects to better understand what I want from them.

style.

I feel that I developed my style early because I knew what I wanted to create from the start. I feel that many photographers struggle with finding a style because they start a business purely based on the fact that they enjoy photographing, simply love photography gear, or are in it to make money. Looking at my style from a business standpoint, the images on my website are not always the best display for the job at hand. Sometimes I have thoughts of updating my site with a more diverse portfolio, but always decide to stay with what I love. The truth is, I do many types of photography whether it is product, lifestyle, weddings, editorial, documentary or advertising. I can easily say that I enjoy some jobs more than others although I am extremely lucky to be getting paid to create images at all. I choose the style I display in my portfolio as my identity because these are the images that I love and what I ultimately want to be hired for.

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light.

When I look at an image, I don’t want the first thing that I notice to be the light. I would much rather be confused as to how the light in an image was created, or whether it was lit at all. The photographers that I am most impressed by are ones that puzzle me with their process. I think that sometimes we forget, since we have access to many varieties of expensive portable strobes, that natural light could possibly be the best answer. One of my favorite things to do recently is to take one small strobe with me and limit myself to just that. I’ll use sunlight as my key and pop the tiny strobe on the subject’s hair or cheek to give the image a more three dimensional look. You can also use the available light as a hair/edge light and the strobe with a modifier as the key. I would say that ninety percent of the time I would rather have large studio strobes, but a hot-shoe flash on a stick/stand allows for virtually no set up at all and can save you when you are guerrilla shooting on location. It is amazing how much you can do with one light and knowledge of how to use it effectively.

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One small strobe behind subject shot in an actual down pour.

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One small strobe on ground and angled up camera left.

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Here I set off all my battery pack would allow in my car.

business.

I have been working full-time with this for roughly three years now. I owe most of my photographic knowledge to the endless amounts of information available on the web. Three years doesn’t seem like a long time, but when you’re hungry enough to constantly improve, there is nothing stopping you from teaching yourself. I don’t scour the web looking for pointers the way that I used to, I mainly just learn from happy accidents or thinking up a technique and giving it a try. I used to get nervous before each shoot and wondered if I was going to be able to deliver. After countless jobs, I can say that a client has never been displeased and I always try to deliver far more than is expected of me. If I struggle with anything today it is mastering photography as a business. Unfortunately being a successful photographer isn’t purely based on photographic talent, but knowing how to conduct a proper business as well. I think that I myself, as much as the next person would much rather study their craft than read practices on how to promote it. I have become better at my business over time but I think that everyone faces similar challenges when their work is also their play.

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So I think I’ve taken up enough of your time and I thank you all for your interest. I’d like to thank Brad and Scott again for allowing me to go on a rant here. I have tried to mix it up a bit with the images chosen for this blog, but if you would like to see more you can visit my website and also keep up with me on my blog.

jonpauldouglass.com

jonpauldouglass.com/blog

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Photo by Bill Fortney

“Jack of all trades…”

Hey everybody! I can’t tell you how happy, excited, anxious, intimidated, honored and humbled I am to be today’s guest blogger! When Scott asked me to do this a few weeks ago I was speechless. It truly is great to be here today.

My first question to Scott was… who am I following??? ;-) I will say that it worked out perfectly for what I want to talk about that I am following the incredible post by Mike Olivella from last week. Mike’s specialty in sports photography, and the fact that he has so many other shooting talents as seen on his website, will bring home a point I want to make in just a little while. So, great job, Mike!

My thoughts on what to write about have gone in a multitude of different directions but they always come back to some basic points… creativity, learning and teaching. How can we, as creative people, learn as much as we can from others and also teach what we know to help others? My inspiration to write about something like this rather than a photography “how to” lesson was a quote I read recently in a book my friend, Bill Fortney, gave me…
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