Category Archives Featured

Each image I considered was already picked as a “winner” by the local walk leaders…
…from nearly 1,000 walks all around the world. You just can’t imagine how hard it is to narrow it down to just 10 finalists and one Grand Prize winner, but that’s what I’ve done today, and I’m tickled to present to you this year’s finalists and Grand Prize, winners.

Note: If you want to learn more about the judging process, scroll to the bottom of this post, but since right now everybody just wants to know who won, here goes:

This year’s Top 10 Finalists (in no particular order):

By Tom Van Rozendaal (Apeldoorn, Nederland)
This is just so beautiful — it looks like a painting. The colors work so well together and that little drop of water on the left adds that little something that takes it over the top. Just lovely.

By Axel Marinkovic (Metropolitana, Chile)
Now, this is just a really cool shot! Such an interesting subject – great color – great texture – really great lighting –  and that one missing side of the glass is just so intriguing. I love shots that make me want to know more about the subject – where it was taken – why is he wearing those goggles in the first place? I love it!

By Ann Behnke (Hamilton, Ontario, Canada)
Hats off to their walk leader for picking such a wonderful route that it went past this waterfall, but once there, the photographer did a wonderful job with this shot. The composition is spot on, with a wonderful low perspective and interesting foreground color and just enough long exposure. Very nicely done – makes me want to go there.

By Rick Williams (Tucson, Arizona, USA)
It’s hard to get a great shot of a wild animal during a walk, but this is so sharp, clean and arresting. Even though the shot is very crisp, it has a softness and approachability about it that I love. Great shot!

By Jose Tan Jr. (Silay City, Philippines)
The color and composition are just spot on here. Having the two little girls for scale is really key, but the color of their outfits add to the scene as does their gesture. This is a really nicely composed shot from top to bottom. Nice work.

By Ruben Trindade (Sintra, Portugal)
This is one I kept coming back to again and again, and I’m not usually a fan of the “framed” effect, but the tones and lighting and color here are so strong that I couldn’t let it go. There’s a lot of depth to this photo, which is saying something for something so simple.

By Jens Franke (Munich, Germany)
This is just such an interesting photo – really a great eye on the photographer that captured this, and since it’s a monochrome shot, there’s no leaning on color – this is pre-composition and timing, and it makes me want to know more. Really nicely done.

 

 

 

By Andrew Newman (Lambeth, England)
I know they’re not breaking new ground here, and I know a lot of new photographers practice doing techniques like this, but this doesn’t look like “student art” – the placement of the tourists here is so “on” that it makes the picture. The black and white treatment fits the image perfectly and it’s a great example of this technique done right.

By Arash Soleymani (Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari Province, Iran)
How can you not love that face? I just want to hug her, and the overhead perspective is just so perfect. Now add in her wonderful sense of color, and you’ve got a shot that takes the smile on her face and puts it on yours. I really, really like it for so many reasons.

 

By Saul Addison (Brooklyn, New York, USA)
This is another one of those shots that I just couldn’t let go of. I love the post processing treatment – it so fits the mood of the shot, and I love that the riders look so joyful – not scared – not screaming – just happy. There’s a timeless quality to this shot that I really love and while normally that fence in the foreground would be distracting to me, in this particular shot, somehow I think it adds something special. Nicely done.

And the GRAND PRIZE WINNER is…

By Oscar Cuevas (Valparaíso, Chile)
There is something very special about this shot. The simplicity of it is just wonderful, but so many things had to come together to make this shot work. The expression on the subject’s face and the lighting on him is just too perfect. The fact that there’s just enough of a clear spot on the glass to share this moment, and the subtle colors, and perfect composition – wow. This is what it looks like when it all comes together. This is a shot I would hang on the wall, and my hearty congratulations to the photographer – just beautifully crafted from start to finish. Three cheers.

How I do the judging
I look at every single winning image from all the walks around the world. I do find that the great shots jump right out at you, and I make those as picks to go back and look at again. I was able to get down to 118 shots after going through all of them. That’s a big cut, but a very long way from 10 finalists and one winner.

I try not to be swayed simply because an image was taken in an exotic location or somewhere I’ve never been or never seen — I wanted to pick a photo, simple composition or not, easy to capture or not, post-processed brilliantly or not — that is simply special. Maybe it’s the right light, expression or mood, or story or a combination — I search for whatever that certain something is that makes me come back to it again and again — and  I want to give every image fair and open-minded consideration.

What makes this process harder is that these are already curated. Each image was already judged and chosen as a “winner” by the local walk leaders, from nearly 1,000 walks. Narrowing it down — it’s just so hard, and you second and third-guess your choices along the way because you want to give every image a fair shake.

You could easily make a case for hundreds of images to be chosen as finalists, but you only get to choose 10, and one Grand Prize winner, and you finally just have to make a choice. It is literally one of the hardest things I do each year, but also one of the most rewarding because I get to see so many great images during the process. I hope that gives you a little insight into my judging process.

Even though this round of judging is over …
We still have our People’s Choice Award coming on Friday and the Leader’s Competition winner, and I always list my ‘Honorable Mentions’ (images that are so good that even though they didn’t win a prize, still deserve recognition). So, while this is the official announcement of the Top-10 Finalists and the Grand Prize winner, the competition phase still has a few more components left.

Thanks to Canon USA and all our sponsors
Special thanks to our Premier Sponsor, Canon USA, (who gave us some amazing Canon prizes) and to Adobe Systems, Peachpit Press, Tamron, and B&H Photo — thanks for all your support this year and for offering such awesome prizes to our winners. We are very grateful.

Thanks to our Walk Leaders
It’s a lot of work, and a thankless job, so let me be the first to say “thanks.” We couldn’t do any of this without our volunteer walk leaders around the world, who do such a great job of creating the walk; working with the walkers, and making the whole thing happen on the local level, and that means a lot.

My personal thanks to our own Jeanne Jilleba, who did an amazing job of keeping the communication flowing (amid a number of unexpected technical glitches) all while managing walks in nearly 1,000 cities. It’s a very challenging job (and she took a lot of slings and arrows throughout), but handled it all like a pro. Thank you, Jeanne — we are all indebted for all your hard work and dedication to making the photo walk a success.

Lastly, thanks to all the talented photographers from around the world
who created such inspiring, creative, and beautiful work, and special thanks to those of you who contributed to the Springs of Hope Orphanage in Kenya — it means more than you know.

More to come as we reveal more winners on Friday.

Best,

-Scott

How to Become A Concert Photographer
Concert photography is one of the most challenging fields in photography, but it’s also one the most satisfying. Imagine combining your two passions – music and photography – and shooting your lifelong idols in front of the stage. For some of you, this might feel like a dream come true.

But how do you start to become a concert photographer?

What equipment do you need?

Which camera settings work best?

In this blog post, I am going to reveal how you can get started as a concert photographer, which equipment you need when you’re on a budget and what camera settings work best. I hope it will improve your skills in this exciting field of photography.

Getting Started
The easiest way to build your career as a concert photographer is to start taking photos of concerts in small, local clubs. In these venues, it’s more likely that you can enter with your camera equipment without any special press accreditation. In my opinion, it’s also the only route when you’re starting out, learning all the basics that will help you nail the shots when you get to shoot the big rockstars later on. Why not ask some friends who play in a band and offer them your skills next time? For sure they would be more than happy to have pictures of their next concert.

The challenge in these small venues is often the lack of stage light! Most of the concerts I was starting with had only a blue and a red spotlight on stage. Besides the fact that the musicians look like creatures from another galaxy, the light was so low that you hardly got sharp pictures when not using proper equipment.

What is the solution? Get the right camera gear!

GEAR FOR CONCERT PHOTOGRAPHY

Camera: First, you’ll obviously need a camera. There are hundreds of different cameras from various manufacturers in different formats such as compact cameras, DSLRs, mirrorless or micro four thirds (M43) systems to name a few.

If you want to get out to a concert as soon as possible, get yourself a good DSLR and don’t think about it anymore. It doesn’t matter which brand you choose. I use Nikon, others use Canon and there are others who use Sony. Nikon and Canon are the biggest players in the market and offer a wide variety of lenses. Just go to your local photography store, hold some and decide which camera body feels best in your hands.

The ISO capability of your camera is key in concert photography. Depending on your budget, try to buy a crop sensor DSLR camera with a maximum ISO setting of at least ISO 6400. You will be faced with low lighting conditions on stage and therefore need the option to set high ISO values.

Crop sensor DSLRs are mostly available as a kit package together with a lens. You can get a decent camera body with a lens such as an 18-55mm f3.5-5.6. This kind of lens is good for “everyday” photography purposes, like travel and birthday parties outside, but they are absolutely useless for concert photography. So, in addition to your kit lens you will need to get another lens, or save some money and opt for a “body only” purchase.

Lens: For novice concert photographers on a budget, I would recommend the cheap 50mm f1.8 prime lens (it’s available for all brands and is a no-brainer!), because of its ability to shoot in low-light at its largest aperture setting. This lens is made of plastic, is small, lightweight and unobtrusive. The “Nifty Fifty” – also called the “plastic fantastic” – has saved me more than a few times. For small stages, a 50mm lens is a good compromise to get a headshot of the lead singer and a full-length shot of the drummer. Alternatively, you can also start with a 35mm f1.8 lens if you prefer a wider focal length.

You might ask, “but what about zoom lenses? I can have all focal lengths covered in one lens. Why should I buy a prime lens?”

Here’s the deal. The kit zoom lenses that come with cameras have smaller apertures (higher aperture numbers). By using an aperture of e.g f5.6, less light passes through the lens (compared to f1.8), which will result in a lower possible shutter speed. From my experience, an aperture of at least f2.8 is a necessity in concert photography, and therefore a cheap zoom lens is not an option for using as a concert photographer. You can get zoom lenses with an aperture of f2.8, but they are quite expensive and thus are not fitting for everyone’s budget.

MUST-HAVE CAMERA SETTINGS FOR CONCERT PHOTOGRAPHY
The correct camera settings are key to getting awesome concert photos in low light situations. Maybe you were in this situation before. You used the fully automatic mode in front of the stage and – BAM- the little flash monster sitting on top of your camera pops up and throws the ugliest light you can think of onto the singer’s face. At this point, a lot of frustrated concert photography beginners just take their cameras home and never shoot a concert again. But wait! The following camera settings are the ones that I use all the time during concert shoots, and I promise they’ll help you to get awesome concert photos.

1) Aperture vs. Manual Exposure Mode
I started in Aperture priority mode. In this mode, you tell your camera the aperture you want to use and the camera sets the shutter speed accordingly. This is a great option for a beginner to use because you’ll be stressed enough with all the other things going on around you. However, I soon recognized that only the manual mode would give me the flexibility I was looking for. I set aperture, shutter speed, and ISO and then change them on the fly using the internal exposure bar in the viewfinder.

2) Lowest Aperture Number
When deciding which lenses will work best for concert photography, you’ll always come to the same conclusion: use fast lenses and shoot them wide open. Set your aperture to the smallest number on your lens e.g. f1.8 (which reflects a big aperture). This allows the most possible light to enter your sensor and is a must-have setting in ultra low-light stage conditions. The best zoom lenses have an aperture of f2.8, the best prime lenses f1.4 or f1.8. For beginners on a budget, like I said before I suggest to get a 50mm f1.8, which is cheap and therefore a no-brainer for concert photography.

3) Fast Shutter Speed
Have you ever been to a concert where the artist was hyperactive jumping from one side of the stage to the other? To freeze these movements we have to use a fast shutter speed. In general, I set my shutter speed at 1/200 and faster. Otherwise, you risk blurred photos.

4) High ISO Values
ISO or film speed refers to the sensitivity of an analog film. Today the term is used for the sensitivity of your digital sensor. The higher the ISO setting the less light is needed for a proper exposure, but the more noise you will encounter in your pictures. Depending on the ability of your camera a good starting point is an ISO setting of 1600. If my shutter speed is too low at this setting, I will crank up the ISO setting to 3200 or 6400.

5) Spot Metering (using Aperture priority mode)
Set your camera’s internal light meter to spot metering. This takes a light reading limited to the center of your viewfinder. When shooting concerts, you will often find yourself in a situation where the artist is lit by a spotlight and the rest of the stage is almost dark. When using spot metering mode, place the artist’s face in the middle of your viewfinder and you’ll get the right exposure for it. When using the matrix (or evaluative) metering setting, the camera will take a light reading at several points in the scene and you’ll probably get overexposed faces if the background is dark.

6) Autofocus Point
On your camera, only use the most central focus point in low light situations. This will be the most accurate one. If you don’t always want to have the artist in the middle of the frame, you have to “recompose.” Simply push your shutter button halfway down to focus on the artist’s face. By holding the shutter button, you lock focus. Now move your viewfinder until you get the desired framing and push the shutter button fully down.

To use this technique, you have to set your camera to “Autofocus single” (AF-S) mode, otherwise the camera focuses continuously whilst you’re reframing your picture.

7) Auto White Balance
Use the auto white balance setting on your camera. The reason being is that I shoot in RAW format and can, therefore, adjust the white balance setting in post-production anyway.

8) Multiple Shot (Burst) Mode
Set your camera to multi-shot mode. It allows you to rapidly shoot three to four photos in a row (depending on the frames per second of your camera model). It’s more likely that at least one of the four photos is tack sharp whereas the others might not be in focus.

9) Never use flash
In general, you are not allowed to use a flash in concert photography. Imagine ten photographers burst their flashes at the same time. This would be quite annoying for the artist. Second, straight flash pictures don’t look awesome. So my tip is to learn the basics without using a flash.

10) RAW Format
Always shoot concerts in RAW format. If you shoot in JPEG mode, the camera’s internal computer adds contrast, saturation, and sharpness to your photos. These files look great when you open them on your computer, but don’t leave much freedom in post-production. If you shoot in RAW format, the camera does not process the photo at all. The advantage is that you can change parameters like exposure, white balance, saturation, contrast, clarity and so on afterward.

With these camera settings, you will be able to get great results when shooting in low light conditions such as concerts.

Summary
– Start in small clubs
– Get a crop sensor DSLR camera with an ISO setting of at least 6400
– Buy a 50mm f1.8 or 35mm f1.8 lens
– Use the camera settings from above
– Enjoy living your passion

Matthias Hombauer is the founder of How To Become A Rockstar Photographer, a platform that helps passionate people start living their dream as concert photographers. In his weekly HTBARP Podcast he is interviewing the worlds best music photographers who share their crazy story about their Rockstar life. You can follow him on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

KelbyOne Members sent in entries from all over the world, and these entries keep getting better and better, which makes the judging harder and harder. Nevertheless, we found an incredible photographer to honor with this own gallery opening, and we’re excited to announce that our latest winner is:

Stephen Wallace

Stephen (and a guest of his choice) will be flown to Tampa, Florida to be there for the wine and cheese reception celebrating his own solo gallery show at “The Gallery at KelbyOne.” (Note: If you’re like “What’s this whole gallery thing?” check out this quick Q&A)

Stephen is both an anesthesiologist and an attorney, but with an incredibly creative side, as his wonderful, playful, fascinating images from Myanmar absolutely wowed the judges. The colors and composition were spot on, but his dramatic light scenes were so breathtaking they won the hearts of the judges.

We can’t wait to see Stephen’s images hanging on the walls of the gallery presented using Bay Photo Lab‘s ‘Xpozer’ system for exhibition printing. We know Stephen will be blown away, and you will be too if you can come and see them in person (and yes — if you’re a KelbyOne member, you’re invited to be there his gallery opening).

You’re invited to Stephen’s gallery opening!
The opening is:

7:00 pm on Saturday, December 9th at the Gallery at KelbyOne (in the Tampa, Florida area). 

We’ll be broadcasting a live 1-hour interview (hosted by Larry Becker) with Stephen at 8:00 p ET that evening from our theatre (the live stream on Facebook from the opening and interview are open to everyone). More details and a link as we get closer to the opening.

Congratulations Stephen – we can’t wait to share your fascinating work with the world. :)

Here’s to an awesome week!

Best,

-Scott

“Yes! I’m so happy that this has taken off and has been well-received. Another fantastic interview! I absolutely love his impressions. He’s snuck a few of them in on the Grid from time to time. Great job Kalebra! And great interview Dave!”

That’s a quote from one of our members, talking about this new interview series from Kalebra called “The Personal Side of…. The series is well-named, as it unveils another side of some best-known educators, artists, and photographers in the world. I was thrilled Kalebra got to chat with Dave Black, my hero in sports photography and although I’ve known Dave for years, I learned so much about Dave I didn’t know.

What a fascinating person. He reveals so much about himself in such an honest and real way. It’s what I love about her series.

Her first published interview…
…with UK-based photographer Tim Wallace literally had me in tears — an incredible experience and you’ll find that Dave’s interview is packed with these same type of insightful, personal moments that make it a joy to watch and listen.

There’s much more to these legends than we know from their work behind the camera, and I’m honored that we get to share this other side of our KelbyOne instructors with our members in such an inspiring way. If you’re looking for something uplifting, intriguing, hilarious and just plain entertaining this weekend, give Dave’s “Personal Side’ conversation a try. You’ll be glad you did.

Have a great weekend everybody!

Best,

-Scott

Lightroom Presets: Killer Looks With Just One Click with Serge Ramelli
Lightroom presets are powerful tools for supercharging your workflow! Join Serge Ramelli as he demonstrates the steps he uses to create a variety of different presets that make photos look great in a single click. In this class you’ll learn how to make your own custom presets, how to apply them to different photos, how to create variations of your favorite presets, how to import presets you’ve downloaded, and much more. Develop presets are the fastest way to creating consistent looks across sets of photos, and once you start using them they can really change your Lightroom life.

In Case You Missed It
Time to learn everything else there is to know in Lightroom! Join Scott Kelby in this class designed to teach you a wide range of specific topics every Lightroom users needs to know. You can jump in on any topic that interests you and get up to speed on that aspect of Lightroom, and use this class as a go-to resource any time you need to expand your skill set even further. Maybe you need to know how to transfer a collection of photos from one computer to another, how to get the most out of the powerful Before and After options when editing, how to find any missing photos, or finally master Lightroom’s search feature. All these topics and more have been bundled into this first part of a multi-part series of classes, so pick the topic that interest you the most and dive right in!


I’m super excited about releasing my first post and I’m glad that it can be about this subject! This happens to be one of my top favorite things, mainly due to how spontaneous everything is. As you go through life as a creative you find out that a lot of your best work comes from when you just stop thinking and go for it. It’s even better when having muses who are up for any crazy lighting, open to different ideas and trying new things, it ends up as a perfect recipe for the magic to be made! A lot of times people aren’t willing to step outside of their comfort zone for the image, and most of the time that is what’s needed for a masterpiece.

The Set Up
I try to keep my settings and equipment around here when shooting my muses.

Equipment:

  • Canon 6D
  • Shutter: 1/125
  • F/: 5.6
  • ISO: 125
  • 70 – 200mm 2.8 Sigma
  • Lights: Elinchrom
  • (1) Portalite Elinchrom Square Softbox
  • (1) White Beauty Dish
  • (1) Snoot with  a red gel
  • (1) Reflector with another color gel
  • Neutral Density (optional)

I normally like my photos to have a lot of contrast in them. Using harsh lighting, I am able to create depth and clarity which makes it a little more tedious when it comes to retouching but worthwhile once the image is finished.

When using the square softbox, I position it as the key light, and the beauty dish is used for fill. I know that’s not very ideal at all, but creates exactly what I need. I also use the snoot with the red gel to cover the shadows with red. Sometimes you have to mix gels to get the proper color you want.

Lighting Example:

THE FINAL MOMENT!
Towards the end of my shoots, I always learn something new. By the end of the session, I may start creating slow shutter speed shots or playing with a different setup. When using colors and experimenting it’s welcomed. Don’t be afraid of not getting it right the first time, the second time, or the third time. Work at it until it’s almost perfect.

HOWEVER, to get back on point, I started creating shots with long exposure. It took a long time because with the method long exposure you have to make that everything is just right. That means everything from a steady camera to the camera settings, and all the way into lighting. Throughout trial and error and a little dizziness, I finally get the shot that I’m searching for.

You can see more of Donte’s work at DonteMaurice.com, and follow him on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Close