Learn how to create beautiful wedding albums in Lightroom CC! Join Scott Kelby as he shares his favorite design tips, tricks, and techniques for creating wedding photo books with high impact. Scott takes you through the process, from beginning to end, showing you how to get started with your book, maximize the Lightroom interface for an efficient workflow, how to add photos, customize pages, work with text, and all the while sharing his insights into how to design your layouts like a pro. You’re going to fall in love with the process once you realize how much control you have over the design, and your clients will fall in love with your albums.
Over and over again, we are told to create a personal style. As we find our personal style, it starts to become recognizable and that is fantastic. What do we do when the bookings start to come in more and more and the work starts to become, well…work? Many people relish this thought, but coming to terms with the reality of creating the same type of image day in and day out for clients can become a grind.
Several photographers whom I highly respect have had this happen to them in my chosen field of compositing. I find myself struggling with this as well. It can sometimes be a long slog for an image, sometimes up to 40 hours for some of my projects, and it’s not always easy to complete them in a timely manner. Your vision doesn’t always align with the client’s vision, and it can make for images you don’t always find to be your best work.
Another possibility is you become restless in your creativity and want to try other things, but the time isn’t there because you’re creating work for other people and for goodness sake, you’re an artist! You need to experiment and ‘art!’
So, I’m encouraging you to shake it up! If you do epic composite work, try some natural light portraiture (terrifying to me, but I do it every once in awhile). If you make natural light photographs, push your boundaries and try a strobe. If you like landscapes, mix in a human. If you only shoot studio portraits, try some street photography.
Make a simple personal project. For you and only you. What would you like to create? Start doing that thing now. Do it little by little, so you are creating more of what you love. If there is any way that it will make you money in the future, fantastic. If it won’t, that is fine as well. This is for you. Your own personal creativity. Getting you out of the box of other people’s ideas or what other people expect you to post on IG. The expansion of your mind, your eye and possibly even create a new portfolio are great excuses to experiment while creating new content.
What I have been doing for the past several years is to shake up my composite work with portraits and environmental portraits with one or two strobes. Simple work with simple backgrounds, and the editing must be quick. It’s about the opposite of creating a composited image. For me it almost feels like I’m cheating. There is very little pre-planning, and I use some simple umbrella boxes I made that pack really small. For me it’s almost improv photography.
Most of the time it is men I’m photographing for this respite from my work as they are so much easier to photograph for me. I am not trying to recreate the portrait world in these moments. I’m simply trying to capture a moment of time, a beautiful image, and their personality in one simple click of the shutter.
This work is faster, simpler, and different than what I am known for, and on Instagram it doesn’t get as much love most of the time. That’s okay! I’m completely fine with that because it makes me look more broadly at my photography. There is less PS in these images, but there is still some because I don’t feel any shot is complete straight out of camera. Some kind of dodging/burning, color correction, sharpening, etc. is usually needed.
Suggestions For A Photo Shake-Up
Here are some suggestions for you to shake up your photography and create something new:
Essentials For A Sports Photography Business with Dave Black
For anyone wanting to get started in sports photography there’s no better brain to pick than the legendary Dave Black. In this class, moderated by Scott Kelby, Dave takes questions from a live audience on a range of sports photography topics. As the questions come in and the answers flow, Dave shares his well earned insights into a range of topics, such as choosing the right gear for the sport you are covering, how to work with a wire service, how to get credentials, what makes a photo publishable, who owns the copyright of your photos, how to get started in the commercial side of sports photography, and more. All along the way Dave shares fascinating stories from his decades of experience covering a wide range of sports.
In Case You Missed It
Take your sports action photography to the next level with lighting! When you control the lighting you will set your work far apart from the rest of the pack. Join veteran sports photographer Dave Black as he takes you through three different action sports scenarios using a different lighting setup in each location. From speedlights to the Elinchrom Quadra and Ranger systems, you’ll learn about all of the gear Dave uses, the camera settings needed to freeze fast action, how to use zone focusing to get tack sharp results, how to work with your subjects to keep everyone safe during the shoot, and so much more!
Most classes out there teach you how to shoot, but very few, if any, teach you what to shoot. This class gives you practical shooting ideas that’ll help motivate and inspire you to get out and shoot more often. Face it, even when you swear there is nothing worthy of shooting at the moment, there is always something to shoot.
Case in point: Restaurants. Restaurants provide a treasure-trove of images. Most people don’t see them because they are focused on why they are there, food. I am too most of the time. But next time you are out to eat, take a second to look around and see if there isn’t an image to be had. The following image I got just the other evening.
Here are some other images all taken at a restaurant while waiting for my food.
The class gives multiple examples of places, events and times to shoot, then talks about waking up to new ideas that are right in front of you, such as Shoot Details.
Too often we focus on the big picture, basically missing the trees for the forest, or, in the following example, the plateaus for the arch. On any given day at Mesa Arch, in Utah, there will be 20 to 40 photographers fighting for the perfect spot to set up and photograph the first light of the day hitting the bottom of the arch. While doing so, 99% of them will miss other images right in front of them.
By switching from a wide angle to telephoto lens, multiple layers of plateaus make a fairly interesting image. Yes, get the iconic shot, but don’t be so focused on it that you miss everything else around you.
I’ll leave you with this tip that will force you to look, and look hard for images. Start a Self Assignment. I have several that have been going on for years. Everywhere I go I’m hunting for three things, architectural numbers, architectural patterns and reflections in shop windows. It forces me to look around all the time no matter where I am. I encourage you to find something that interests you and make it a self assignment, then see how it changes how you see things.
Here are a couple of samples of my self assignments:
I like to think I’m a regular guy; a husband and father who loves traveling, food, movies, and music. But of all my passions, photography sets my soul on fire, and I always wanted to turn my biggest passion into a career.
I took my first steps into the industry working as a second-shooter for other photographers, but after a while, I wanted to go my own way.
It took me some time to find my own style and identity as a photographer. It was a steep learning curve, and there was a lot of trial and error, but eventually I settled on my signature style – candid, cinematic, and deeply emotive images.
I took the plunge and launched my own brand, Weddings by Qay in 2017, with only one wedding on my books. Nowadays, I shoot along with my wife since last year.
Because my style is so different from a lot of photographers in my native Malaysia, I got a lot of criticism from the local photography community when I first started out. I was told I’d never make it, and that the tone of my images was so dark that you’d need a torch to be able to see them. When I wanted to do my first photography workshop, they dared me to show my work to people beforehand.
Even now, I still get negative comments, and some of my critics have even claimed that I buy awards and recognition. I don’t let myself get too affected. This is my journey, and I know that I would never be happy if I wasn’t being true to myself, and taking the kind of photos that I want to take.
Being a creative photographer is different from being a businessman, and I learned about that side of things from some amazing photographers who I consider to be my friends and mentors.
I learned about marketing from my friend, Marko Marinkovic, and I jumped at the opportunity to do a mentoring session with the amazingly talented Eric Rene Penoy when he was shooting a wedding in Kuala Lumpur.
I was lucky enough to be able to second shoot for Eric in Scotland and Finland, and that’s when my career as a destination wedding photographer really began. From then on, my career has gone from strength to strength.
I did my first local workshop last year with Merve and Nils from Dirty Boots and Messy Hair, and following that, I established my own photography community, The Rebel.
I’m passionate about photography, and I work so hard, but never in my wildest dreams did I imagine the accolades and recognition I would receive.
I was the Rangefinder Magazine Rising Star in 2017, US Brides Magazine named me as the Best Wedding Photographer Abroad, LooksLikeFilm awarded me Best Wedding Photographer 2018, and I also became a mentor myself, at the Rise & Shine Program at WPPI 2019 in Las Vegas.
But whatever comes my way, I know that I wouldn’t have achieved even half as much if I didn’t have the constant support and encouragement from my wife, my close friends and the desire to give my kids a good life. They are my motivation to keep going, and I will.
To anyone who wants to chase their dream, I’d say never give up, even the journey is rough. Work hard and earn it. Don’t be afraid to set big goals and be true to yourself, whether or not other people like it. Work on your mindset and use it to deal with the negativity that’s always going to be around. What other people think of you is none of your business, your job is to push yourself to be a better person.
Qay Majid is a destination wedding photographer from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia who travels around the world photographing weddings. You can see more of his work at WeddingsByQay.com, and keep up with him on Instagram and Facebook.