Secrets to Amazing Photos from the Masters with Marc Silber
Learn the secrets to amazing photos from the masters. Join Marc Silber in a complete course designed to help you with advancing your photography to the next level. In this class you’ll learn the fundamental concepts, terms, and techniques to help you continually elevate your photographic skills. Photography is a life long love affair, and Marc will help you understand the basics so that you can move through each aspect of a photographic workflow with confidence and a connection with your work.
In Case You Missed It… Crush The Composition
Composition is important to any good photo. Professional photographer Scott Kelby covers the basic rules, but then demonstrates how to actually apply these techniques in a real world setting. He shares his secrets and some trial and error examples in getting the photo you want.
This class is perfect for a beginner photographer needing to learn about composition.
First, thanks to Scott for having me back on his blog and thanks to Brad Moore for putting this all together. Love you guys!
This post is a condensed version of the chapter Finding Your Superpowers and Inner Voice in my latest book, Photo Quest – Discovering Your Photographic and Artist Voice. A book, by the way, that does not include a single photograph – only words of motivation and inspiration. Some by me and some by the team of awesome All-Star Photo Mentors I put together for this project. You’ll recognize a few of these names from Photoshop World and KelbyOne.
Enjoy, and please post your super power in the comments here.
“Batman doesn’t have any superpowers. He has to use his brain and his courage. That’s what always appealed to me.”
Like Batman, you have a superpower (or superpowers), but you may not know what it is at this moment. That’s how I felt when I first started reading about superpowers.
I will share with you what I feel are my superpowers at the end of this chapter, but for now, let’s first explore superpowers, and then how they relate to you and your photography and art—and to finding your inner voice.
What piqued my interest in the topic of superpowers, which probably goes back to the time of Plato and Socrates (and maybe before that, although likely known by a different description), was a conversation I had with my son Marco.
Knowing more than a few successful and talented people, I was saying to Marco that people who are good at one thing are usually good at many things. Marco began talking about why people are successful and mentioned superpowers, a new term for me at the time. I was fascinated and started surfing the web for information on superpowers.
My search brought me to an article by Konstantin Mitgutsch on Medium.com. As Mr. Mitgutsch says in his article: “We have numerous hidden ‘Superpowers’ that are not just very human and personal, but really define who we are and could be on the deepest level. However, for a variety reasons, we’ve never understood this, let alone discovered these strengths and learned how to exploit them.”
On Forbes.com, Dede Henley argues that a superpower, “Isn’t a skill but a perspective, a mindset, a way of working that enhances everything you touch.”
To find our superpower, which defines our creative voice (among other things), we have to ask ourselves a few questions, taking photography out of the equation. The questions to ask are: What am I good at? What am I the best at? Why am I good at it? How did I get good at it? What do others think I am good at? Was I always good at it?
If all this talk about superpowers sounds far out (as we used to say in the 1960s), consider the following. After seeing a movie, you might say something like, “So and so is the best actor I’ve ever seen.” Sure, the actor may be a terrific actor, but he or she drew on their superpower to excel in their craft. That may be the power to influence others through their facial expression, the tone in their voice, and their ability to convey strong emotions and feelings that they drew on from their past for their performance in the film.
Another example is the guitar work of Carlos Santana. Sure, he’s a master guitar player, but his playing perhaps comes from his superpower, one of being very spiritual and mystical. You can read about his superpower on wsj.com in the article “The Mystical Journey of Carlos Santana.” In effect, Santana is playing the same notes as a million other guitar players. But his superpower makes him unique and gives him his creative voice.
Relating this concept to photography, Ansel Adams, for example, used the same aperture and shutter speed as other photographers, but he was unique because he drew on his superpower or superpowers, which may have been an affinity for getting in touch with nature, and his ability to see contrast and envision the end result, using what he called “creative visualization.”
In my quest to learn more about superpowers and our inner voice, I asked some of my well-known photographer friends about theirs. Take a look. Yes, these mentors are wonderful photographers, but their advice can be applied to many art forms.
Zoo photography counts as travel photography, so for #TravelTuesday today I want to share my top tip for photographing animals in the zoo. I’m Dave Williams and I’m here every Tuesday on ScottKelby.com—let’s begin!
I realise that zoos aren’t for everyone, so let’s get that out of the way straight off. Personally, I’m careful to ensure that any zoo I visit has credibility in conservation because, as an animal lover, there’s nothing I loathe more than visiting a zoo with animals that aren’t properly cared for. There is a difficult balance, I realise that, but so long as there’s no mistreatment etc., I’m happy to visit.
I won’t mess around with a clickbait-esque title—I’ll cut to the chase. My number one tip for photographing animals in the zoo is…
Make it look wild!
It can be tricky to achieve this, but making the scene look wild will add so much to our images. Freeing the animal back into the wild gives a much greater connection to the animal’s natural environment, and that connection will cause the viewer to lend more appreciation to our image.
To achieve this our best tactic is to ensure the background is absolutely clear of any “zoo clutter.” By this I mean any unnatural enclosure features, like cheesy fake rocks, fences, walls, cables, walkways, all the stuff we see at the zoo that makes it so fake.
Something else we can do is crop in close on the animal, perhaps not dissimilar to a portrait shoot showing just the head and shoulders. This will bokeh out any unwanted background and give star-focus to the animal we’re photographing, revealing their character. When we do this a key portrait rule applies: always focus on the eyes! Bonus tip: if the animal is at an angle, focus on the closest eye.
And, finally, also themed around aperture, is this: –
When shooting through a mesh fence, like in a predator enclosure, we can lose the fence by shooting wide open if the subject is a reasonable distance from the fence. This wide aperture pushes our plane of focus and depth of field away from us (and from the fence), so we can often get a cool image with no fence in it.
I hope that tip was useful, and if you keep an eye on my Instagram for the next few days you can catch a few more tips!
If you’re a regular here on the blog, you probably caught my post a couple of weeks ago called “Why Adobe was right to do with a subscription model” (if you missed it, here’s the link). I used as an example something I was experiencing outside of the Adobe world, in my music production.
In short, I have a home recording studio, based around the popular Logic Pro X digital audio workstation software from Apple. There’s another piece of software I need to be able to isolate the lead vocal tracks from the songs I want to recreate in my studio. However, as I shockingly found out that software costs $1,200. This is just my hobby. There’s no way I could justify spending $1,200 for this software, which is actually designed for professionals (ya know, like Photoshop, which is designed for image editing professionals). Anyway, what I wished in that post was that the company would offer a subscription model that would allow me to use this professional-level audio software but without the professional-level price (like Adobe does for Lightroom and Photoshop, which was the point of my whole article).
Here’s the punch line
Sadly, they do not offer a subscription option (I searched their site up and down). However, when I shared the story on Facebook one of my followers there asked me in the comments if I subscribe to “Splice Audio,” (an online subscription service for music producers, and as luck would have it I already was a subscriber). Anyway, he let me know that there is a Splice membership level which includes full use of that very software I needed.
I raced over to the site – upgraded my account to a $15.99 a month plan (you can cancel anytime or just pause your membership), and 15 minutes later, I was working on my songs and absolutely loving it! (the software, Izotope RX 7 Standard, is just incredible!).
They offered a 3-day free trial — I could have joined, isolated, and exported all the lead vocals from the list of songs I had been compiling — all on day one, and then canceled my subscription before they ever even charged my card. But when people do stuff like that, it doesn’t help software companies stay in business, and doesn’t keep the engineering genius’ that come up with this technology employed [or feed their families]. It keeps companies from making amazing software like Izotope RX 7 in the first place), so I’m happy to pay even though I already have converted the songs I need.
Anyway, my thanks to my Facebook follower Aaron OTT who is going to get a signed copy of my latest book (on press now), as my way of saying thanks. It made my whole month. :)
Well, there ya have the rest of the story.
I’mGetting blasted on Social Media
Last week on The Grid I thought it would be cute to order a custom KelbyOne Mask and wear it at the beginning of the show. I wear a mask all the time when I come in to the office, except when the cameras are rolling, and at that point, everyone is at least 10+-feet from me and 10+ feet from each other (we’re serious about our social distancing). Anyway, after I wore it for a minute at the beginning of the show, people watching starting asking where they could get a KelbyOne mask for themselves.
When I got home, people were texting and emailing me about where they could order one, but mine was a one-off (it cost me, with shipping, around $20). So, I text’d Erik Kuna (who maintains our Zazzle online swag store for KelbyOne members so they can buy KelbyOne t-shirts, mugs, etc.), and asked him if they offer masks, and if so could we make one available? About 20 minutes later, Erik emails me that it’s up and running. How cool is that — people were asking for it, and in 20 minutes Erik got it in the store. You gotta love the Internet.
However, when I posted the news on Facebook, I got hammered in the comments. People couldn’t wait to tell me how greedy I am, how they don’t trust me anymore, how I’m profiting from the pandemic, and on and on. Essentially now I’m a bad person, our company is terrible, etc. and so on. A lot of people complained that the price was ridiculously high, which just proved we were ripping people off.
It might be helpful to know: (1) we don’t set the price. The price is set automatically by Zazzle (the company that creates and fulfills these orders). and I think they charged around $15.95 each for the masks. (2) 100% of the profits from this mask and every KelbyOne t-shirt, hat, jacket, sweater, etc., we sell goes to support the Springs of Hope orphanage in Nakuru, Kenya. Always has.
I didn’t try to push these masks on anyone; I’m not “hawking” them. I made them available for the people that asked for them. We do it for our community, we do it the Springs of Hope, and we do it for fun, and let me tell you, it’s been a lot of fun for me lately. Ugh. You gotta love the Internet. ;-)
I don’t want to leave you on a crappy note, so…
Want a surprisingly good animated comedy/action movie to watch one night this week? On Saturday we watched, “Spies in Disguise” featuring the voice-over work of Will Smith, Rachel Brosnahan (Ms. Maisel), and even DJ Kahlid (among others). Way better than you’d think, and Will Smith is…totally Will Smith (I love Will, so I guess I was pre-disposed to like it). It’s like James Bond meets the Men in Black. It’s streaming on Apple TV and a bunch of other places. If you watch it, let me know what you think. Here’s the trailer (below).
Let’s have a great week everybody. Stay safe, watch a funny movie, look out for each other; love your neighbor, and I wish you all good health.
If you can’t wait for the print version, the eBook version is on Amazon right now. The print version is literally on press as we speak (so don’t let the late date that Amazon put on it scare you off — it’ll be here fairly soon). If you missed the news about this major update to the bestselling book on digital photography in history, check out the video below.
Here’s the link to the eBook edition (available now)
Here’s the link to pre-order the print edition (on press now).
This is for photographers who do their own portrait retouching:
We just released a Photoshop class I did on “25 Quick and Easy Portrait Retouching Techniques for Photographers.” I wanted photographers who wind up doing their own retouching to have a resource where they could go and quickly learn exactly the particular retouch they need to know right now for the image they’re working on. So, if they needed to learn how to trim eyebrows, there’s a quick lesson on just that. Hotspots? Check. One eye higher than the other? Got it. Need to reduce wrinkles — go right to that lesson and there it is — quick and easy. Hope you’ll give it a look this weekend. Here’s the link.
We’re just a few weeks away from our Photoshop Conference
It’s two full days, all live online with with two simultaneous training tracks, and an incredible team of instructors. Best of all, it’s all online, so everybody, everywhere can attend, and it’s so affordable anybody can be a part of it. Hundreds of photographers have already signed up – you can too at https://kelbyonelive.com/photoshop-conference – sign up right now to get the best pricing.
Have a great weekend, everybody. Safe safe and sane and we’ll catch you next week. 🙂
Sound Like A Winner | Simple Audio Makes All the Difference with Larry Becker
If you are a photographer stepping into video recording, then this class is for you! Recording good audio is not easy with just your DSLR alone. Join Larry Becker as he teaches you how to get started with two capable, yet simple, microphone setups. Larry also shares a variety of handy tips and techniques to help you capture the best audio soundtrack for working with later when you edit.
In Case You Missed It… A Clear Vision of Lenses for Photographers
Larry takes you through the variety of lens mounts, aperture settings, focusing concerns, image stabilization, and cutting edge lens technologies that will make you a better lens consumer. Larry wraps up the class with a closer look at a few popular lens configurations currently available.