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When The Little Moments Reveal The Bigger Picture

Hello all,

My name is Rob Foldy, and KelbyOne just released my new class Making Your Pee Wees Look Like Pros. In the class, I go over a lot of quick, easy tips that can take anyone’s images to the next level. One of the many things I share is that great photography is all about storytelling.

Often times, these aren’t peak action moments. Sometimes they are, sure: a horse crossing the finish line to win the Kentucky Derby, the last out of the World Series, the touchdown that sends a high-school football team to their first ever state championship. But often times, it’s the moments in between plays, or immediately following a big moment, that when captured can really tell the best story, and make for some great pictures!

I’d love to share a few images that I’ve made over the past year or so that I believe help illustrate this idea. Each of these images is the result of an event that just occurred, but I believe are more powerful than the actual event itself.

In this image, the shirtless player had just hit a walk-off hit to win the ballgame for his team. In the celebration immediately following (which typically also makes for great photographs), his teammates somehow ended up pulling off his jersey, which resulted in this image. You can tell which team won by looking at his smiling teammate, and see the opposing team walking off the field dejected.

This photo is one of my favorites. This is an image of a pitcher who was just removed from a game, despite pitching seven perfect innings. You may have heard of a no-hitter in baseball, those are quite rare. Even more rare is a perfect game, meaning that the pitcher not only allowed no hits by the opposing team, but also didn’t walk anyone and his teammates did not commit an error. The manager had a very good reason for pulling him out of the game: this pitcher was prone to getting blisters if he threw too much, and their team was about to head into the playoffs, where they would need him to be healthy. It’s rare to have a dugout this empty during a game, and this image speaks volumes about what must be going through this player’s mind. Instead of celebrating the tremendous accomplishment of throwing a perfect game, he sits alone in the dugout.

This frame shows both the starting and backup quarterbacks from the Miami Dolphins walking off the field after a win. Last year was the best season the Dolphins have had in a very long time, despite their starter getting hurt late in the season and having to rely on solid play from their backup. I believe this image reveals the closeness of their relationship, and I think it was that kind of closeness on the entire team that allowed them to have the season they did.

At first glance, this may look like a typical Gatorade bath shot, but there’s a bit more than meets the eye. This was an interim head-coach, and they’re usually not the ones who get to experience that kind of celebration and support from the players.

These players are jumping in celebration after a big play that occurred on the field, but by leaping into the air, they positioned themselves against a much cleaner background than the cluttered NFL sidelines.

 

Now that you have a glimpse into the types of moments to keep an eye out for, here are a few more photographs that should hold their own without me having to explain them:

Of course, life isn’t always happy, celebration photographs. The most difficult assignment of my career was covering the remaining three Miami Marlins games of last season after their star pitcher died tragically in a boating accident. As a photojournalist, my job is to tell the story: good, bad or indifferent. I honestly hope nobody ever has to tell another story like that one:

This last image is just a pretty picture of a guy playing baseball. Sometimes, it’s just that simple. Photography is fun. Sports are fun. So just go out and make fun pictures!

I hope this helps you be prepared for the little moments that best tell the story of what you’re photographing. For more information on this, and a lot more tips on how to create powerful sports images, be sure to check out my new class!

Rob Foldy is a professional sports and portrait photographer based in Miami, Florida. You can see more of his work at RobFoldyPhotography.com, and follow him on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. His career has grown to serve multiple private clients, universities, sports teams and top-tier wire services both across the U.S. and globally. In addition to being the team photographer for Major League Baseball franchise the Miami Marlins, other notable clients include the Miami Dolphins, Getty Images, ESPN and Sports Illustrated. Rob’s commercial clients include Nike, Beats by Dre and Lexus, and his editorial work has been featured in magazines, on websites and used on television programs for The New York Times, Microsoft, ESPN’s SportsCenter and many more. He has covered events such as the NBA Finals, NCAA College Football Playoffs, NFL championship games, and has shot a Major League Baseball no-hitter. His unique perspective and strong attention to detail set Rob’s images apart from the competition.

Rob is proud to use Nikon, Adobe, Spider Holster, Think Tank Photo, Hoodman and Apple products.

Above: My iPhone shot of Ann Wilson (lead singer of Heart) at the Capitol Theater on Saturday night.

So, last Saturday night my big brother Jeff and his girlfriend Dee treated the wifey and me to a concert by Ann Wilson, lead singer of the classic rock band Heart. Ann was great — she can belt it out like a boss, and she’s freakin’ 66-years-old. She did some Heart songs of course, (not as many as I hoped), but she did some incredible covers, including songs by Yes and The Who that people went crazy for — she seriously nailed those songs. Great concert overall, and an intimate 750-seat venue to enjoy her in — really fun night.

Anyway, I posted the pic above from the show on my Facebook page, (proving once again that Kalebra clearly is the iPhone photographer in our family), but there’s another story here — an inspirational and awesome one, and I wanted to share that with you.  It came in the form of a comment on my Facebook page, under that photo, from a woman named, Monica Fraioli Cole and it underscores what I always say about the power of creating photo books. Here’s what Monica wrote: 

How is this for a photography story? I am an Elementary Ed. teacher and amateur photographer. I married my love for photography with Ann Wilson – took a Sony RX100 to two back to back special solo concerts she gave in 2015 at City Winery in NYC. Shot from two different audience seats during each show and came up with some interesting shots.

I did not like the way they were editing in color, so I chose to go with black and white. Made a sequence order photo book documenting both shows and sent it to Ann. She loved it, I edited further and it is now being sold as a commemorative photo book at her current shows and online. Great feeling and experience for me :)

p.s The show you saw is Ann Wilson of Heart…not a full Heart show….she is focusing on doing songs she loves…that is why Magic Man and Even it Up were not on the setlist. Hope you enjoyed her song choices. Awesome singer for almost 67! Here is my photo book – just screenshots, but you will get the idea. https://mocophoto.zenfolio.com/p845003400

Seriously! How cool is that?! Shot from the audience with a Sony RX100! Of course, a ton of people take shots from the audience at concerts these days, with their phones and even DSLRs, but by Monica taking that one step and going further — making a photo book — and sending it to Ann — look where she wound up. I’ve heard stories like this again and again, and it always does my heart good to hear about someone having success like this.

Thanks Monica for sharing your story, and the link to your photo book screen shots. I think you totally rocked it!

Hope to see you back here for Guest Blog Wednesday, and on The Grid tomorrow at 4 pm ET when my guests will be LA-based commercial photographer Ian Spanier and the man behind the Platypod himself, Larry Tiefenbrunn — it’s going to (wait for it…wait for it…) epic! :)

Have a great Tuesday everybody!

Best,

-Scott

P.S. My full-day Lightroom seminar is coming to Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle in August. Get a seat now before I make you stand the whole time. ;-)  Here’s the link. 

Happy Friday everybody! We were fortunate enough to have our dear friend and colleague, the one and only Moose Peterson in town this week at KelbyOne HQ (he was taping two online classes for our members), but we were also able to get him on “The Grid” (my weekly show for photographers), and our topic was:

“How to get really get sharp images.”

Here’s a link to  the episode:

Moose also did a private members-only Webcast with an open Q&A on Wildlife Photography, and we had some many great questions! (and Moose gave so many great, very specific, answers). If you’re a member, you can watch it at this link.

If you’re looking to learn from Moose this weekend, may I recommend these awesome classes? (the official trailers are below – some of these are really cute!).

Here’s a link to Moose’s Air-to-Air Photography Class.

Here’s a link to Moose’s class on Photographing Wild Animals on Safari

Here’s a link to Moose’s ‘Aviation Photography: War Birds and the men who flew them” class.

Here’s a link to Moose’s class for Beginner’s on Wildlife Photography.

Here’s a link to Moose’s three-part class on ‘Romancing the Landscape, Part 1’

Hope you take some time to watch The Grid episode, catch the Webcast, and check out some of Moose’s amazing, inspirational classes. :)

Have a great weekend!

-Scott

Sports Photography: Make Your Pee Wees Look Like Pros
Photograph your kids sports like a pro! Join Rob Foldy, professional sports photographer, as he teaches you the basic photographic principles that will make your subjects proud. This is not a class on gear, but Rob does show you how to use what you have, and how to configure your camera for the best results. You’ll also learn the importance of storytelling and how being prepared before you go to the game will help you take your photographs to the next level. Rob brings it all together by working with three parents while they photograph their kids’ soccer game, providing them tips for shooting with everything from a mobile phone to a DSLR.

In Case You Missed It
In Action Sports Flash Photography, Dave Black uses his Nikon Speedlights and DSLR to create the kind of stylized sports portraits that you normally see in feature articles, programs and magazine covers – and he shows you how to do it too. In this class, you’ll learn how to capture action sports, in varying degrees of action from track and field to motocross, with high-speed sync and fast action shutter speeds. You’ll also learn what equipment and settings work best for each progressive action sports situation; but most of all, you’ll learn that while you may not have the exact same kind of equipment Dave does, it won’t matter half as much as you think as long as you share his exuberance and desire to take an amazing picture.

We are photographers, we photograph a lot. That is our job, and it can lead to problems if you do not properly take care of yourself. Even if you are just a photographer that shoots occasionally, you can build up wrist problems/issues/pain. Let’s call it, photographer wrist? Is that a thing…? Let’s make it one. My goal is to help educate you so that you can take steps to prevent this photographer wrist. Too often people wait for something to go wrong, then address it – and it can really detrimental to your job and more importantly your everyday life. If you are already injured, I have a few tips for you. But keep in mind I am not a doctor and I am going to simply share what worked for me through experience. This does not mean it will work for you, but it will hopefully give you some ideas and send you in the correct direction.

I didn’t know wrist issues were even an issue when mine began. About four years ago I was on The House Party Tour – a four band tour where I photographed everyone sound checking and hanging out during the day. Then at night for about four consecutive hours I would shoot each band’s set. It was a lot of work, but I loved it. About halfway through I ended up having to put my left wrist in a brace cause it was hurting so bad, and a few days later I had to do my right one as well. I was in bad shape. By the time I got home a few weeks later, my whole left arm from the elbow down was frozen. I literally couldn’t bend my wrist more than 5 degrees in any direction and the pain was a bit much. I had no idea what to do. It just didn’t make sense to take showers a few times a day just to try and warm up my arm – this is also incorrect, don’t do this.

Not fun

Through internet research I eventually found a massage master by the name of Joel in Orlando, Florida that specialized in rehabilitating clients with chronic pain. You can check him out at Orlando-Massage.com. (Don’t forget the “-” or you are redirected to a not so safe for work website.) I had no idea what I was in for, but it seemed like a step in the right direction. The session was two hours long and it consisted of a lot of painful, very calculated and precise work on my wrists, armpits, back, shoulder etc. He works with professional violinists, tennis players etc. I’m not kidding you…. same day results. My wrist worked again. Not entirely, but I was on my way.  It was a deep breath of fresh air; I could have kissed the ground I was so grateful. It was one of the most painful things I have ever done, though the rewards made it all worth it. Little bit of pain now for a lot of relief later. I went to him a few more times, but I don’t live in Florida so I had to find someone else to go to back home in San Diego.

I tried Chiropractor, Acupuncture, and various stretches. They all kind of worked; they were baby steps in the right direction or a combination of them would provide temporary relief. But I wasn’t progressing like I did with Florida. For a good three years I had weak wrists after that. I couldn’t really jump up ledges and hoist myself up. I did my pushups with fists and I had to be careful to not jab them. I had to be constantly aware of my wrists, and I still am. A year ago I emailed the Florida guy. I am not sure why I waited so long, but he pointed me in the direction of who to go with and I am 100% healed now thanks to another similar professional in San Diego. If you are trying to find someone in your area, you want to look for someone who does Rolfing® Structural Integration.

In addition to this I also workout regularly, stretch well before I shoot, and also changed the way I carry my gear and such. I also have back balls and this back massager. Also the more well known back roller. All life changing.

Photographer wrist protection pack

Long story short – the problems I acquired from shooting were mostly because of the harness I was wearing while I was shooting for such long hours. The harness was great, it’s a money maker – I absolutely love it and still use it, however I would advise against using it for long periods of time in combination with with very heavy gear. I used it to hold a Camera with a 70-200mm lens on my left side while I shot with the camera from my right. If there is one thing you take from this blog I want to to be that it is never a good idea to have heavy weight on your shoulders while they are up in shoot mode.

Lots of weight on your shoulders, be careful

It was a lot of weight at once. Also… for four hours a night? Not a good idea. You have to make sure you use your gear correctly. Remember gear is a tool, and tools have different applications. Think of shoes… You have certain shoes for running, and another type of shoes for going to a formal event. It’s the same thing. Different gear, different uses. Use it wrong, and you can hurt yourself. You wouldn’t go running in heels ya know. It just might not be so obvious or known at all when it comes to camera gear, so you need to figure it out. Here are some things I have figured out so far.

How do you hold your camera while shooting?
Posture is important – just like when you are on your computer, back straight and such, try not to hunch over while you are shooting. Engage your core!  I think strength comes into play here. You really need to make sure your upper body is toned. You don’t need to be ripped, just go to the gym a few times a week, get a strong core. It’ll help you be more stable while you shoot. Stay healthy, stay fit. The more out of shape you are, the more difficult your job will be. Every time I go to the gym I just think “this will help you become a better photographer” – and I mean it is true, it definitely isn’t going to make me worse. I want to be the best I can be, and give myself the best circumstances possible in order to push forward and grow.

I use a Spider Holster Hand Strap for my camera, it helps take the weight off my wrists and spread it out. So comfy as well…. And you can’t drop your camera. Well I guess you could, but it would mean also dropping yourself.

Spider hand strap helps spread the camera weight out
Don’t drop addicted to the shindig

If you don’t like the above option you can also wrap your camera strap around your wrist, it comes free (not really, you pay for it) with your camera. In addition if you adjust the length just right you can kind of anchor it with your body and the tension will hold it stable.

Wrap around wrist tight
Tension elbow techniques… I have no idea what to call this

How do you carry your camera while you are in between shots on a shoot?
Money maker is a good option, I think it works great for weddings or events you do not have to do everyday. It allows for the fast change of cameras at a seconds notice. Throw a 24-70mm on one camera and a 70-200mm on another and you have got a full range at your finger tips.

This is an old photo I just found on the internet, before I injured myself

I use a camera bag now. I use the ThinkTank TurnStyle series over one shoulder and diagonally around my back for when I am shooting with one extra lens. It is really easy to change gear with as well and I love this. Again not a lot of weight.

ThinkTank TurnStyle bag in action

I use a camera bag that I set down while I am shooting for any situation where I will have more than one extra lens on me. I try to not hold the bag on me so that I avoid injury and stay relatively unrestricted with my movement. I have never been a big fan of being bogged down by gear. I want to move and I want to move quick. This specific bag is the Think Tank Photo Retrospective, however there are so many different kind of bags like this. I just really love Think Tank and have had the best experience with them.

Think Tank Retrospective shoulder bag

How do you travel with your camera gear?
I think the biggest factor in this is – how are you traveling? Car? Bus? Plane? Train? Jet? All of the above? For me I always bring as little as possible and want to be as mobile as I can be at any given point. But maybe you have a lot of gear, maybe you have to do artificially lit shoots on the go – I do not know your setup. However make sure that there is intention behind each piece of gear. Even too many extra batteries weigh you down. Keep that in mind when packing. Here is what I suggest.

If you are going to use a backpack, get something with support. Anything that buckles up top and at bottom. I use the Think Tank Shapeshifter – I like that it can changes sizes and is very secure with compartments.

Support my dance

If I have to bring a big more gear, I’ll bring a bag with wheels so that there isn’t to much weight on my back. However it’s important I have a home base if I take this bag, if I am constantly on the go I try to keep it off the ground. If you have more gear, get a bigger bag. I usually suggest avoiding checking anything when you fly as it takes extra time when you land and the last thing you want to do is pay an airline to lose your bag. One time I had an airline break my pelican case… I don’t even know how they did that. I didn’t think it was possible.

Anyway. That is all I got. I wish you the best and please be safe. No matter what career you are in, you have to maintain your work tools. That means taking care of yourself. Be healthy and be smart. Don’t ignore your body. Listen to it. Feed it good food also. Like vegetables and such.

Feel free to share your own knowledge, we can all learn from each other.

You can see Adam’s work at AdamElmakias.com, and follow him on Instagram, Tumblr, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.

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