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Rick’s Top Tips for Taking Incredible Travel Photos with Rick Sammon
Take a trip with Rick Sammon as he shares the essential tips for creating incredible photos on your travels! Rick has photographed in over 100 countries, and has learned a lot along the way. Rick brings that hard earned wisdom together to teach you everything you need to know to get the shots you envisioned. In this class you’ll learn the importance of respecting your gear, how to always seek the strongest compositions, and fundamental tips for stunning landscape, wildlife, people, low light photography, and more. Rick wraps up the class with a look at the workflow he uses, and all along the way he shares lessons learned from the road.

In Case You Missed It
Learn how to Shoot Travel Photos Like A Pro with Scott Kelby! All along the way Scott shares his very best tips and techniques for planning, preparing, and getting the most out of your next travel adventure. Come along and watch the entire process of shooting in a variety of locations in this class then meet back up in part 2, Editing Your Travel Photos with Lightroom and Photoshop.

Photo by Cameron Powell

The making of the Ugmonk Gather product video

A peek inside the process of a successful crowdfunding video

In December of 2016 Jeff Sheldon and I first talked about collaborating on the launch of an upcoming Ugmonk product. 5 months later the video I directed helped him raise over $446,022 in pre-orders, was viewed over 1,092,758 times and shared by more than 900 people online.

Background
Jeff is a designer-turned-entrepreneur and the founder of Ugmonk. He produces high-quality products with fresh, simple designs. We had connected on Twitter a couple of years ago, and in November of 2016, he reached out to me about a product idea that he wanted to launch on Kickstarter.

My Role
I worked with Jeff to produce and direct a product video to help him raise the funds for the manufacturing of his biggest product endeavor, Gather. Gather is a minimal, modular organizer that cuts clutter. When Jeff first told me about it, I couldn’t quite picture the appeal of the product. But as soon as I saw photos of the product mockups, I knew that he had come up with something that had the customer appeal to reach far beyond his own audience.

My Approach
Jeff’s branding and product photography style is very distinct, and when we started planning the product video he came prepared with significant visual inspiration and ideas. Originally, there were a lot of colors in the conceptual imagery, but we ended up narrowing the color palette to reduce setup and filming time during production. Because Jeff came prepared with significant aspirational content, Dropbox Paper was an incredibly useful tool for project planning. Everything — the script, inspirational visuals, and mood board — were all organized in Dropbox Paper. Below are some of the images we had in our moodboard.

Jeff had spent over three years designing and prototyping Gather, and simultaneously, how he tells the product’s story. He wrote the entire video script himself. Jeff has always written wonderfully compelling copy for his website and products, and he did an excellent job of highlighting the product and features. I gave him minimal notes before we locked the script.

Pre-Production
Jeff recorded the narration before we started production. I used this voiceover to cut together a storyboard animatic of the entire edit. He had a list of product videos that had similar camera angles he wanted to use, so I sourced those for the animatic. I also borrowed visuals for the intro scene from an Apple commercial.

I did some rough Photoshop edits for a couple of the desktop shots. Jeff had some images of his desk setup on Unsplash (a free stock photo website), which was very useful for this. I also used the Unsplash photo of Jeff’s desk as a stand-in for the desktop shots in the video. For the front-facing shot of the model in front of the colored background, I borrowed from a prior project that I directed for the agency Ueno. Below you can see some screenshots taken from the animatic.

The final result was an animatic that matched the final edit with near-exactitude. Jeff filmed his own interview at his house after the animatic was finished. Since I knew which exact moments we wanted him to appear onscreen, we filmed just those portions. Jeff and I set up a FaceTime call while he filmed so I could direct the angle and placement of his camera in relation to the room and windows. Jeff had filmed a couple of his prior product videos in the same office, so I had plenty of reference footage for camera placement.

Filming and Production
We spent two full days filming all the studio elements and a half-day filming the interior home scenes. Since we were filming in Nashville and not Philadelphia, Jeff’s hometown, I had to re-create Jeff’s desk in the studio. He brought his speaker and miscellaneous knick-knacks to set dress the desk. My friend Brett Warren (no relation) owned the same iMac as Jeff and generously provided it for filming. To recreate Jeff’s monitor stand, I referenced the instructional guide that he had written a few months prior.

We had multiple tabletop surfaces made of different materials that we could quickly swap out for different looks, which you can see at the beginning of the video. My friend Emily Carlton and her boyfriend were generous enough to come by the studio to model their hands on the screen, which you can see at the beginning of the video. My friend Anna Russell also modeled her hands and her face on screen for the product use demo.

Post-Production
Even though about 90% of the edit was taken care of by the time filming was completed, much finessing still needed to be done. I also had to create animation overlays and color grade all of the footage. We ended up going through 16 revisions to get to the final video. Most of the changes were small, but each revision made for an even better product video.

Results
I love sharing the process of what I’m working on in the moment, but often I can’t talk about what I’m working on until it’s both finished and released to the public. What made this project unique is that Jeff wasn’t trying to keep everything secret until launch day. He teased the product with an abundance of behind-the-scenes photos and product shots. This helped build up anticipation and excitement about the new product leading up to the launch day.

Within 47 minutes of launching the Kickstarter project, it was completely funded. In 24 hours it had passed $100,000 in funding. We reached $250,000 in funding 1/3 of the way through the campaign. The final amount raised on Kickstarter was $430,960. We got some great press write-ups on sites like Uncreate and GQ. Product Hunt was also helpful with building momentum.

Unfortunately, Kickstarter doesn’t allow you to accept product orders after the deadline is met. However, Indiegogo has a nifty feature that lets you import a project from a competitor’s platform. Jeff was able to raise an additional $15,534 in pre-orders on the Indiegogo platform.

If you want to learn a little more about the process of planning this launch, you can listen to Jeff’s interview with Dale Partridge, eCommerce Influence, and GrowthLab. He discusses the whole project in detail, and if you’re planning a product launch yourself, I’d highly recommend listening to these interviews.

Jeremiah Warren is a filmmaker and photographer based out of San Diego, CA. You can see more of his work at JeremiahWarren.com, and follow him on Instagram, Vimeo, and Twitter.

Hi, gang. I was inspired to do this trick after I saw it used yesterday by B&H Photo in a graphic for a lens they were tweeting about. As soon as I saw it, I thought, “Hey, I’ve been teaching that technique for years” and then I realized, it’s probably been too many years. LOL!! Anyway, here ya go (there’s lot of little mini-tricks within this tutorial — everything from how to get the original drop shadow back, and a reflection effect, and more. In short; there’s more there than just faking a studio lighting look).

Hope you found that helpful.

Can you learn Photoshop in just one hour? 
Yes. How do I know? Because people are ready doing it, and they’re loving it!  I have a brand new course called “Learn Photoshop in One Hour” and it’s one of my highest-rated courses of the year. People are raving about it (even people who already know Photoshop are giving it love). So, if you’ve got an hour, you can learn Photoshop and change your world. Check out the official course trailer below. It’s just 49-seconds.

I hope you’ll check it out this weekend. It can change everything for you. :)

Have a great weekend everybody!

Best,

-Scott

P.S. Did I mention it’s just one hour? That’s really quick ya know. ;-)

Mastering Nikon Wireless Flash with Moose Peterson
Learn how to master the new Nikon wireless flash system with Moose Peterson! Join Moose as he provides the foundation for how this system works, goes though the components involved, demonstrates how to pair the flash with your camera, and then takes you step-by-step through a variety of shooting scenarios, using single and multiple lights, in studio and in the field. Even though the Nikon wireless system is currently only compatible with a select number of Nikon bodies, you can get a glimpse of where this exciting technology is going, and learn how to get the most out of it now.

In Case You Missed It
Learn how to add one more flash to your portrait lighting with Scott Kelby! Building on the foundation you gained in Just One Flash, Scott teaches you the why, when, and how of adding a second flash to your Speedlight setup. Whether you want to create separation between your subject and the background, add a fill light to your subject, or change the look of the background itself, you’ll be amazed at all the great things you can do with a second flash. Be sure to re-watch the Just One Flash class first, then you’ll be ready to take it to the next level with the skills you’ll learn here.

There are many ways to set up a successful photo shoot. Some are obviously more effective than others, depending on what you focus on. The part I really love is the production prior to the shoot itself.

To understand where I’m coming from, you should know that I currently run my own Real Estate Photography business in Southern California. Agents all over southern California use my services for their listings. One of the many things that have helped me with my business being successful is my focus on time management and always being ready for my shoots.

These tips can easily be used for studio photography, family portraits, or other photographic pursuits. In fact, you can use these techniques for pretty much anything you want to do. As I perform a lot of different styles of photography, compositing has become one of many that I just love to do. To make sure I always have the time for this, I ensure that I’ve collected all the info I’ll need to establish the shoot. After that, the process of creating the photo becomes a downright fun experience. Just like it should be!

When I’m collecting that information, it’s important to ask the right questions. I always start with the absolute basics…

“What am I shooting?”

“Will it be a model?”

“Will it be a house, landscape, etc…”

These questions dictate a lot about my set up. From lenses to tripods to how early I show up, these questions ground my process in the reality of the shoot.

In order to keep this discussion short as possible, and straight to the point, let’s say this will be a studio photo shoot for your own portfolio.

Concept
The first thing you’ll need to do is come up with a concept. I often get mine from movies, TV shows, Pinterest, and my personal favorite: 500px. To be honest I have seen some of the best photos I’ve ever come across on this site. If all you get out of this article is 500px, you’ve already found an immense wealth of value here! A couple of great photos from people I follow on 500px.

Compiling this inspiration into a mood board on my private Pinterest allows me to gather my thoughts in one place and start thinking. This also lets me share with everyone that is working on the photo shoot, reducing communication errors. We’ll talk more about this later on.

Budget
After a concept has been established, budgeting quickly becomes our top priority. Understandably, to the starving artist, the budget in question is simply non-existent. That being said, even a budget of $0 is better than having no idea what you’re working with. The most important thing to remember is that you should put money into your portfolio. This will be shown as your best foot forward when you bring in paying clients. Having a portfolio that can persuade paying clients is the primary purpose of a portfolio.

Collaborating
I’ve always tried to find other creatives that are interested in the same things I am. When it comes to photography, it is no different. I’ve found over the years a network of models, makeup artists, and stylists that I utilize if I need help with a photo shoot. They can’t always do it for free but if it’s the right concept they just might be willing to collaborate with you. Sometimes, they’ll do it for free if they can have digital copies for their portfolio. The main takeaway is you can always try and find a group of people to work with on future projects. I’ve found a majority of my resources through workshops, friends of friends, and various outlets of social media. Particularly Facebook.

Distribution
Once I’ve built my team, including a model, makeup artists, and stylists, I make sure to share the Pinterest board I described earlier. It is important that only we can see this board. What this achieves on the shoot is a boost to the communication for what we’re attempting to shoot. If we can improve the understanding of the team, we’ll get done sooner, and be more satisfied with the results.

Scheduling
Truly, nothing is more complicated than getting a team ready to shoot on the same day(s). It’s important to understand some of the people involved will have a day job or other obligations to handle. As a result, these people won’t be as flexible as other members of your team. Keeping this in mind, understand that scheduling will rarely work perfectly! What will set you apart from the rest, is to avoid getting upset when the makeup artist calls in at the last minute to cancel the shoot. Obviously, this pushes back the entire shoot.

As this can happen often when you are collaborating with others, it’s best to know how to handle it like a professional. I haven’t always been as coolheaded as I am these days [read: Screaming at my computer in frustration!], which is why this advice is so pertinent.

So this is why we try and get as much of this production set up early as possible to minimize this kind of setbacks on the day of the shoot.  Understanding that we can’t control all of the setbacks, we should at least take ownership of the setbacks we can control. If you are paying someone to help you out, say a makeup artist, your chances are a little more likely they will not flake on your project. Money is an excellent motivator for your team to stick to their commitments.

What we’ve established here is a pretty solid plan prior to your next shoot. I think it would be irresponsible to go into more depth at this point as there are so many little steps involved in the photography process. Making a photo requires a lot more preparation that people simply don’t take into consideration. This guide is for you to keep your plans simple and reliable.

On your next shoot, remember that a successful shoot revolves around a detailed plan. Creating your vision is pivotal, and you’ll need to clearly explain it to your team in order to make it a reality. I hope that this guide helps you realize your vision. As a fellow photographer, as an artist, and as a professional I am here to answer questions that you may have. You can contact me at jr@maddoxphoto.com I will certainly talk your ear off about anything photography… My advice? Shoot, shoot, shoot, then shoot some more!

You can see more of J.R.’s work at MaddoxPhoto.com, and follow him on Facebook, Instagram, and 500px.

That’s Stephen Wallace, and you probably recognize him as the KelbyOne member who was the winner of our contest for a solo show in the Gallery at KelbyOne, but he’s also a rising star, and on Saturday night his star was certainly shining bright!

Right after his interview with Larry Becker, broadcast live and viewed all over the world, I was standing in the theater when a gentleman who was in the audience came up to tell Steve how much he admired his work, and how fascinating his talk was, but he said something that really stood out. He said to Steve that what was most amazing to him was for an incredible of a photographer as Stephen is, he was so humble about it all. It made us all love him, and his work, even more.

It was a magical night
Like the openings for Mark Wegner and Melanie Kern-Favila before him — there is something so special that happens when we all come together to experience beautiful art; to share the process and learn about the person behind it; and to celebrate what is good in this world. It was a wonderful night of learning, laughter, and watching as another star is born. I’ll share some of the images from the evening here, with a few captions, but if you get a chance, watch Stephen’s talk from the gallery (it’s embedded a little farther down this page). There is so much to this artist, to his man, and he has a lot to share. He truly honored the gallery with this images, and his words.

Above: I took this shot at the end of the night, after everybody left, down low with a wide angle lens. Stephen’s images from Myanmar (formerly Burma) looked amazing on the walls.

Above: He talked a lot about why he choses to photograph so often in Southeast Asia. His answers were so insightful.

Above: His use of natural light, and his understanding of how to harness that light, was really intriguing. So simple, but so effective.

Above: I grabbed a few shots before and after the sold out crowd arrived for his opening.

Above: That’s my personal favorite of Steven’s gallery images. It’s like he’s flying.

 

Above: Some scenes from Steve’s opening. 

Above: Matt Kloskowski and his wife Diana dropped by – that’s Matt chatting with Steve before his talk.

Above: I know we talk a lot about Bay Photo Lab’s Xposure printing system, but you should see the reaction of people who visit the gallery. The images look so amazing, and the mounting is so clever. It was one of the first things Stephen looked at when he saw his images for the first time. We feel very fortunate, very blessed to have BayPhoto as our sponsor for the gallery — their printing system helps the images come alive.

Above: This is Steve’s interview from Saturday night with Larry Becker (who was as awesome as always) – it says “The Grid Live” for some reason, but that’s not what the actual video is — it’s Steve’s chat with Larry. I promise you – you’ll love it. You’ll learn a lot. You’ll laugh, too. You’ll be intrigued and engaged, and you’ll just really enjoy it. You’ll see some wonderful images, and meet a fascinating man who has lived a pretty incredible life. I hope you take the time. It’s worth it.

Above: Steve and his wonderful wife Becky. We got to spend a little time with them before and after the gallery opening, and they are just awesome people.

Are you next?
On Thursday, we’ll be announcing the next gallery competition opening dates and how you can submit your images, during a live Webcast we’re doing for KelbyOne members on how to get your work noticed in 2018. It’s just one part of our presentation, but it’s an important one.

I hope you’ll be joining some of these amazingly talented people — photographers who all thought they’d never be the one chosen. If you think you probably won’t win…you’re in good company.

A special thanks
I want to give a special thanks to our in-house team who works so hard to put together this special evening. Thanks to Merideth Duffin, our director, Steve Nicolai who leads our video team and makes sure everything works like a charm; to Juan Alfonso our camera operator and jack-of-all-trades; to Rachel Scott who wore many hats from event photographer to social media maven (her day job) to live chat moderator; to Jean A. Kendra for all her help, for being our cheese and wine expert, and for being so supportive of this idea from the very beginning. Thanks to Larry Becker (he’s just so brilliant); to Pam Suttmiller for always helping every time, and to Erik Kuna, who so loves what we’re doing and why we’re doing it, and helps in every aspect from start to finish.

It all started with Kalebra’s dream
None of this would even be possible if Kalebra hadn’t come up with the idea to take someone from our community and find a way to raise them up; to give them a bigger audience for their work; to get them the recognition they deserve. Thank you for being so awesome, and for having such a heart for others. You are just such a cool person.

My thanks for Steven and Becky for honoring our studio, and being such fun, modest, and just just awesome people. Thanks, Steve for sharing your gift with our members and with the world. It was a night none of us will soon forget.

Here’s to a great week everybody, and to new opportunities. :)

Best,

-Scott

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