Posts By Brad Moore

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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The Art of Zootography with Steven Gotz

The zoo is a wonderful place to begin or renew your love of photography! Join Steven Gotz at the Oakland Zoo as he takes you through all of the photographic opportunities that can be found at your local zoo. From shooting megafauna like lions and bears to microfauna like reptiles and insects, there’s always something to photograph at a zoo.

In this class you’ll learn about the gear and camera settings you can use, how to shoot through fencing and glass, how to use small flash in surprising ways, how to shoot animals in natural looking habitats, the importance of doing your research before you go, and so much more. As Steven takes you through the zoo he shares many tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your zoo experience.

In Case You Missed It: Moose Peterson’s African Safari Adventure

Moose goes on safari! With a career studying and photographing wildlife for over three decades, Moose has his first African safari and you’ve got a front row seat. Join Moose as he encounters the wide array of wildlife that calls the Mala Mala Game Reserve in South Africa home. Moose shares his take on the gear he brought along with his tips and techniques for capturing images that help tell the story of your trip.

I want to thank Scott and Brad for allowing me to share my travel photography process and tips. I’m an architectural photographer that started out using 4×5 view cameras, which just means I’ve been photographing architecture a long time.

Tips for Photographing Architecture While Traveling

You might think that when traveling I would focus on something different, like people or landscapes, but my real love is still photographing architecture. Now I even find myself planning trips that allow me to photograph beautiful and spectacular buildings and their interiors. Here are a few tips to help you capture great architectural images in your travels.

Strahov Monastery Library, Prague

Planning Your Shot List

The number one thing you can do is to plan your trip as far in advance as possible and give yourself plenty of time to do the research needed for success.

One of the first places I go is Google Images. I start with Google because they have almost every image ever made by mankind with links to websites where the images came from. I’ve found information there from other photographers that allowed me to know exactly where and at what time they took their photos. This can be very helpful when you don’t have time to scout the location in advance.

Dancing House, Prague

Google may be good for finding a location, but not for inspiration. That is where 500px.com comes in. If you want to get excited about your travel location and subjects, you’re going to love 500px. It is visual overload with great images that will motivate you. The not so good with 500px is that locations are not always provided, which can be frustrating.

Geisel Library, San Diego, California

The Gear

Now that you know what and where you want to photograph let’s talk a little bit about gear.

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3D Compositing Bundle: Create A 3D Polaroid Effect and Illuminated Backdrops with Corey Barker

Learn how make the impossible possible by using the 3D space inside of Photoshop! Join Corey Barker as he teaches you how to create a 3D scene from 2D objects, where you have complete control over everything.

In Corey’s first class for this week, he walks you through working with Polaroids in a 3D space! You’ll start with a photo of a Polaroid photo, transform it into a 3D object, and then create an entire scene in 3D space that would be impossible to do in real life. This project is a lot of fun and provides lots of room for creativity and experimentation.

After learning how to work with Polaroids in a 3D space, join Corey in his second class for this week where he’ll show you how to work with 3D illuminated backdrops! He demonstrates how to create an illuminated backdrop from scratch, place it in 3D space, create a floor that interacts with the backdrop, and then place silhouetted figures on the floor with complete control over every element. This project is a lot of fun and provides lots of room for creativity and experimentation.

In Case You Missed It: Sports Design Bundle

In the first part of this exclusive design bundle by Corey Barker you’ll be guided step-by-step through the process of creating a composite image of a soccer player appearing to kick a ball through a glass window. One of the greatest aspects of a composite image is that it allows us to create scenes that would be too dangerous or impossible to do in real life. Download the practice files and follow along as Corey demonstrates how to blend each element of the final composite into a dynamic sports graphic. You’ll learn techniques using masking, 3D, layer styles, and more along the way.

In the second segment of this exclusive sports design bundle, you’ll be guided, step-by-step, through the completion of a high-impact sports design graphic. The creation of this composite image involves a wide array of Photoshop tricks and techniques that you can apply to many different projects. In this class you’ll use layer styles, custom brushes, 3D design, lighting effects, extractions, selections, and more. Be sure to download the practice files and follow along as Corey teaches you what’s possible when you experiment, create, and have fun in Photoshop.

What Are Your Images Saying?

Raise your hand if you’ve heard phrases like: “What are you trying to say?” or, “What’s the concept?” … and pretended like you knew what that actually meant?

I, for one, have always understood exactly what they meant. I nodded knowingly when I heard those phrases tossed about in podcasts and interviews. I 100% knew what it meant … riiiiight up until I asked myself what I was saying with my own image making.

That’s where I got stuck. I began noticing that the images I was making, although technically well executed, were leaving me unsatisfied. They weren’t saying anything. I wasn’t saying anything. Nothing. Zip. Zero. Zilch. Nada. And then Ben Sasso opened my eyes and mind to new possibilities with one YouTube video.

I’m a married father of four who didn’t get my first DSLR until I was 40. I didn’t go to art/photography school where instructors discuss what makes compelling images. I missed out on the homework assignments & projects. I didn’t get to practice weaving symbolism and references into my early work. I missed out on having an arena to develop ideas and peers with which to bounce ideas off of.

So when Ben produced his BTS video (with the best narration you’ve ever heard) that went into the symbolism and references behind a concept … it clicked. He used props, color, location & posing to say what he wanted to say.

I was inspired and began noodling on what I wanted to say, and what props and tools could I use to convey my own thoughts and feelings.

It still took me months of noodling to come up with my own concept. I had elements of a shoot in my head, but it wasn’t complete enough to scout locations or cast talent. The final piece of the puzzle came by accident.

Next door to my favorite coffee shop is a second hand store. They sell all manner of antiques and I never paid it much attention … until I saw an old CB radio out front with dozens of other random items. That radio sparked something in me.

For whatever reason, it took me another day or two before I went into the shop to ask about the CB radio. It was for sale for $70. Not what I wanted to spend on a relic, but I knew investing in my own personal shoots was crucial to producing the kind of work I want to get hired to shoot. I asked about renting instead … turns out that was the right way to go. I could rent it for $20 for the weekend. Ever since then I use these kind of stores to scout for inspiration. I kind of understand “antiquing” now.

These images are the result of that first concept shoot. Although I don’t feel like I nailed the concept, it is an awesome start. I know I missed some angles and emotion, but I’m happy with the opportunity to get my ideas out. Incorporating symbols and references into my personal shoots gave me the voice I’d been missing. Slipping details that represent me and the way I see and feel about things into my images has been a game changer (a way over-used expression, I know. But it fits).

I think this Ansel Adams quote helps: “To the complaint, ‘There are no people in these photographs,’ I respond, There are always two people: the photographer and the viewer.” 

If I’m a part of every image I make, what do I want them to say about me and the way I see the world? Without that, they’re just pretty pictures and that left me feeling incomplete.

Am I the only one late to the references and symbolism party? Or do I have company I can walk with on this photo journey/obsession? I’d love to hear where you’re at on your journey.

Jason Flynn is a portrait photographer living in Burbank. You can see more of his work at JasonFlynnPhotography.com and keep up with him on Instagram and Twitter.

Photograph An Airshow Like A Pro with Moose Peterson

Learn how to photograph an airshow like a pro with Moose Peterson! Join Moose for two days of shooting during Aviation Nation at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas, Nevada. In this class Moose shares his process for preparing for the show, the gear you’ll need, what to look for when choosing your shooting locations, the camera settings he uses, and a host of important considerations to help you get the most out of your time. After two days of shooting, Moose reflects on what he’s seen, what he’s learned, and how to keep on improving over the day before. Moose wraps up the class with a look at his process for reviewing photos and post processing the keepers.

In Case You Missed It: Using Light to Bring Emotion into Your Images

Follow the light! Join Moose Peterson for an inspiring look at how to use light as a means to tell a story with your photographs. In this class Moose draws on his 40 years of experience as a photographer to teach you how to see light, how to understand the way the human brain responds to photographs, and how to bring all of that information to bear to create more evocative and impactful photos. Chock full of examples, stories, and insight, you’ll end up with a deeper appreciation for the qualities of light that you can blend with your passion for image making.

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