Posts By Brad Moore

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Extreme Photography: First Frame

When high school guys have a little too much courage (or booze) in their system, they sometimes hit the road for a game of “chicken.” In the game (primarily designed to thin the herd of the stupid young males before they get to breed) two people drive right at each other in cars, until one blinks and swerves out of the way first.

This person is the loser of the game.

Get a little more age and enough alcohol involved — and a handgun — and you may end up with a game of Russian Roulette, which is an even faster ticket to a finalist slot in the Darwin Awards.

As a young sports photographer 20 some-odd years ago, our professional equivalent was a little game we liked to call “First Frame.” I was introduced to it by my friend Rich Riggins, who was a ridiculously good sports shooter at a very young age.

The rules were simple: Two competing photographers shooting the same game shot the first frame of a 36-exposure roll of Tri-X at each other, thus verifying that no rolls of film were switched later. The very next frame was your entry in the game. Whoever had the best action shot (moment, composition, focus, etc.) won.

Mind you, this was in the days of film and manual focus cameras. We didn’t have 11FPS auto-focus digital Uzis with 4000-shot clips. And yes, we walked to school, five miles, uphill both ways — in the snow. Barefoot.

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Inside Tips on Building a Great Composite

As a High End Retoucher, I love working on cool images with cool creatives! Over the years I’ve been super lucky to get to work on some really fantastic projects, from movie posters, to ad campaigns, to beauty images. I’ve gotten to work on a wide range of fun projects.

©Columbia Pictures

Of all the genres of images, the ones I get asked to work on the most involve compositing, and, I gotta admit, this is probably my favorite type of project. Pulling off a believable composite involves a pretty wide range of skills. From masking, to color correction, to adjusting lighting, it can take a lot to bring several disparate elements together to create a well crafted image.

©Kate Turning

For this Guest Blog post, I thought it would be good to talk a little bit about some of the most important factors you need to think about when building a composite image in Photoshop. These factors are:

  • Layer Structure
  • Masking
  • Color Correction
  • Lighting
  • Perspective
  • Depth of field

Let’s take a quick look at each of these.

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Three Misconceptions That May Be Hurting Your Business

I’ve been a professional photographer since 1999, and most of that time, I worked exclusively with natural light.

I told myself (and others) that I preferred natural light. It’s soft, beautiful and, well, FREE! But the truth is, I used natural light exclusively because I didn’t know how to create soft beautiful light with artificial light. And the thought of learning it scared me to death.

I had a lot of misconceptions about strobes and flash. And believing in those misconceptions did more than just keep me from learning to create my own light. Those beliefs hurt my business.

Let me explain.

To have a strong photography business you must have a solid photography brand. And to have a solid brand, your work needs consistency. Your clients expect and deserve to get the look and quality of the images you share in your portfolio and on Instragram. That means that you need to be able to produce the same quality photos every time someone stands in front of your camera.  

When I worked exclusively with natural light I could create beautiful, award winning images, on bright and sunny days. But when the weather turned and that light went away, I couldn’t. Clients who came to me on sunny days got very different photos than clients who came to me on days that were dark. And as someone who lives and works in Seattle, WA, that was a problem. 

Winter months were filled with cancellations, re-shoots a ton of stress, and yes, unhappy clients from time to time.  

I’m sharing this because I know I’m not alone. Many photographers rely exclusively on natural light for the same reasons I did. They have misconceptions about strobes and flash. And those misconceptions keep them from learning a skill that alleviates a lot of problems and stress!

If this sounds like you, it’s okay, you’re not alone.  

Let’s look at what some of the most common misconceptions about strobes and flash are and liberate you from those ideas!

Misconception #1: Artificial Lighting Is Hard

It’s not.

In fact, you already know most of what you need to know to get started.

Why?

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