Category Archives Featured

The Importance of Play

Being a creative in 2019 can be tough sometimes. There is this expectation of perfection everywhere you look. There is the need to outdo your last piece of work. There is the race for more follows and likes. There is a constant fight for attention and affirmation that didn’t exist before.

Technology has changed the way we view and present work: We post our work online to social media instead of as prints in homes or galleries. It has changed the way people respond to work: A constant barrage of imagery and content online has desensitized viewers and has made them less likely to react to anything in a meaningful way. Technology has changed the way our work receives attention and praise: We get double taps, tags, and “likes” instead of clients and gallery print sales.

I actually recently found an Instagram account called @insta_repeat, that displays this idea all too well. Everyone is so busy fighting for attention, that they’re more willing to recycle and blatantly imitate something they’ve already seen get a good reaction, rather than try to invent compelling imagery for themselves. Why bother putting in the effort to make something that might not get as many likes as a “behind the model, holding hat, staring at beautiful landscape shot?”

The pressure to be consistently great is exhausting, at best, and crippling at worst. It makes us (at least me), not want to create anything that isn’t meticulously thought out. I found myself not wanting to shoot anything unless I had the session completely mapped out in my brain, from what hair and makeup was going to look like, what every piece of our wardrobe was going to be, to exact lighting, and what the set was going to look like. Don’t get me wrong, these things are important to keep in mind and plan for, but there was a certain, unyielding rigidity to the way I went about doing it.

I didn’t like having to be flexible if there was a change in plans for a certain look or shot. I didn’t push myself to venture outside of the box of static images I had already pre-planned in my head. And the worse part is, if I didn’t nail something exactly the way I saw it in my head, I felt like the entire shoot was ruined and like I was the worst photographer in the world.

Then, something happened a few months ago: It was my birthday and my plan was to spend a quiet day in my pajamas playing video games and drinking wine. However, instead of doing that, I ended up spending 13 hours in front of my computer racing to meet a retouching deadline.

By the time I was done with that work, the LAST thing I wanted to do was spend MORE time in front of the computer, home alone, on my birthday. So instead, I got dressed, grabbed my camera, and went downtown to the venue where my husband’s band was playing.

My only motivation that night was to go out and have some fun. I people watched, I took some photos of the band, of new friends I had made, of the dancing crowd, and around downtown at night. There were zero expectations of me from clients or otherwise. I was shooting because I wanted to, not because I had to.

That night I had the most genuine fun with my camera that I have had in a long time.

(more…)

Breaking Through Sports Composite AND Design A High-Impact Sports Graphic with Corey Barker

In the first part of this exclusive design bundle by Corey Barker you’ll be guided step-by-step through the process of creating a composite image of a soccer player appearing to kick a ball through a glass window. One of the greatest aspects of a composite image is that it allows us to create scenes that would be too dangerous or impossible to do in real life. Download the practice files and follow along as Corey demonstrates how to blend each element of the final composite into a dynamic sports graphic. You’ll learn techniques using masking, 3D, layer styles, and more along the way.

In the second segment of this exclusive sports design bundle, you’ll be guided, step-by-step, through the completion of a high-impact sports design graphic. The creation of this composite image involves a wide array of Photoshop tricks and techniques that you can apply to many different projects. In this class you’ll use layer styles, custom brushes, 3D design, lighting effects, extractions, selections, and more. Be sure to download the practice files and follow along as Corey teaches you what’s possible when you experiment, create, and have fun in Photoshop.



In Case You Missed It: Advanced Compositing in Adobe Photoshop

Get ready to take your compositing skills to the next level! Join Corey Barker as he steps you through the creation of a fantasy composite image, from extracting the subject though the final touches. Whether you are using an older version of Photoshop or the latest, you’ll learn how to cleanly extract your subject from the source image, how to build a background environment around your subject, and how to blend all of the elements together using lighting and atmospheric effects to create a believable composite image with impact. Corey will show you ways to use Photoshop that you’ve never thought of before, and he wraps up the class with cool tips for adding text and blending non-human objects into your composite.

First, I’d like to thank Scott and Brad for having me back on Photoshop Insider. It’s always an honor – and a lot of fun to be here!  Second, I’d like to thank YOU for stopping by today. Third, whew! I feel much better getting 40 books out of my head!!

So here’s the deal: A new filter, camera, lens, tripod and speedlite can surely help you make better photographs – but they can’t necessarily make you a better photographer.

That’s where my 40th book, Photo Therapy Motivation and Wisdom – Discovering the power of pictures, comes in. Understanding why and how we are motivated to make pictures – and what your photography means to you – is of the utmost importance. So is learning about emotional intelligence for photographers, how to steal like an artist, realizing that it’s never to late to be who you might have been, and understanding the difference between looking at seeing. Exploring light and color therapy also helps.

All those topics and much more – including my 40 quick-tip “Sammonisms” and 20 “missions” (self assignments) – are covered in my latest book.

Click here to order the Kindle version ($9.95).
Click here to order the paperback version ($15.99).

Unlike my other 39 photo-rich books, Photo Therapy Motivation and Wisdom – Discovering the power of pictures has no photographs between the covers. Yet, I feel as though it is my most important work. I trust this book will make you think – hard – about your photography, and about how using your brain, the best photo “accessory,” will help you become a better photographer. Or as stated by black-and-white landscape photographer Ansel Adams, “The single most important component of a camera is the twelve inches behind it.” 

Famed photographer Lewis Hien said, “If I could say in words what I say with my pictures, I would not have to lug around a camera.”

It’s not that I am tired of lugging around a camera. It’s just that I think the motivational and inspirational message of this book is better expressed without showing my own pictures. Rather, in reading the 35,000-word text, I’d like you to imagine your own pictures – and potential pictures – while I am describing a situation, process, technique, feeling or emotion.

Well-known photo educators, who also believe in the power photo therapy, contributed to my latest work. They include: Art Wolfe, Trey Ratcliff, Scott Bourne, Skip Cohen, Richard Bernabe, Randy Hanna, Ron Clifford, Denise Ippolito, Derrick Story, Jonathan Scott (The Big Cat Man), and Steve Brazill.

Before I get going here, this is how I looked while writing 35K words… and after!

Here are a few chapter excerpts from the text-only book. Enjoy!

Chapter 3: Photography Can Improve Your Health and Sense of Wellbeing

If you are seeking creative ideas, go out walking. Angles whisper to a man who goes for a walk.

Raymond Inmon

Photography, for the most part, involves exercise – walking around a bustling city, hiking a wooded trail, hiking up a mountain path, making footprints on a sandy beach and so on. 

Those activities can help us burn calories and build muscles – if we walk as if we are going somewhere, as opposed to just strolling along. Add a camera backpack filled with gear, a tripod and a bottle of water, and that extra weight causes us to exercise a bit more strenuously which can be a good thing if we want to keep in shape.

(more…)

Anyway, I finally got them together and I hope you’ll have a sec to check them out. Here’s the link. https://spark.adobe.com/page/kY4DWLrcs928p/

It’s taken me a few weeks to get these together — I was on a critical book deadline, but the book is done, and there’s time for fun (that would make such a great start for a “book author’s rap song”).

We also wound up in Belfast, Ireland and Iceland for day as well, so I threw a few of those shots in as well.

Have you signed up to join your local Photo Walk yet?

Now’s the time! We have approved nearly 900 cities so far around the world to host photo walks as part of my 12th Annual Worldwide Photo Walk on Saturday, October 5, 2019. Click here to go to the official site and see if there’s a walk organized near you. If not, maybe you should be the one to lead one? Click the same link for details on leading a walk.

This is going to be a great day, and an awesome week!

Let’s make the most of it. Hope yours is a great one!

-Scott

Happy Friday, everybody! Here’s what’s up:

OK, I finally got a new lens!

I unboxed it live on The Grid on Wednesday when it came in from B&H.

It’s been a while since I’ve bought a new lens, so…ya know…I was due. LOL! This is my first in Canon’s mirrorless R-mount line of lenses that match up with its EOS R mirrorless bodies. It’s the just-released 24-240mm f/4-6.4, and this is my new travel lens.

Here’s why I bought it:

(1) I can get my travel rig down in weight considerably, because I won’t be lugging my heavy 70-200mm f/2.8 with me to China next week. Just this lens, and my 16-35mm f/4 (which will hopefully be replaced with a soon to be shipping 15-35mm R-Mount lens).

(2) I won’t have to use the Adapter with this new lens since it’s built for the EOR R mirrorless.

(3) From the reviews I’ve read, it’s absolutely tack-sharp edge to edge! The lenses Canon has been releasing for their mirrorless line have been crazy sharp, and one review I read said it was so good it was worth switching to the EOS just for this lens.

(4) B&H had a killer deal on it — $899. Boom! Done.

(5) Back when I was shooting Nikon, I loved their 28-300mm as my travel lens, but since my switch to Canon six years ago, they haven’t had anything with a similar size and weight, so I got a Tamron 28-300mm that I really like and used a bunch, but this new lens is actually wider, which I love. It’s 24mm rather than 28mm. I can crop the 240mm long end just a little and get to a 300mm equivalent, but you can’t make a 28mm any wider, so starting with a 24mm is a big, big plus in my book.

(6) I love the smaller size. Works great with my Think Tank Photo sling bag. Much better fit than my 70-200mm that’s for sure.

Here’s what I wish were different:

(1) It’s an f/4 to f/6.3, and I would have preferred an f/3.5 to f/5.6. Not a deal breaker, but I’d prefer the variable range I had with my Tamron and Nikon.

(2) Get this — you don’t get a lens hood with it. You have to buy it separately for $35. Oh. Come. On!

I’ll do a field report soon

I’ll have some shots from China soon with it, and I’ve got a location portrait shoot on Monday so I’ll probably bring it as well, and I’ll let you know what I think of it once I take it through its paces.

See what you missed in Vegas!

Check out this video put together by our video crew with highlights from the recent Vegas Photoshop World. If you didn’t get to go, this is what it was like!

We’re one month away from my Worldwide Photo Walk

Well, technically yesterday was one month away because it’s Saturday, October 5th in 1,000+ cities all over the world. It’s free, it’s fun, you oughta come (Hey, that rhymes!). Here’s where to go to see if there’s a photo walk already organized near you (link). If you’re thinking, “What the heck is the Worldwide Photo Walk?” then watch this video (below).

Very Cool Video on Where to Photograph Jets at LAX

Our buddy and rockin’ guitarist Jefferson Graham has been doing a Photowalk series where he shows you cool places to shoot photo walk style, and recently he did a really cool one on where to photograph the big jets coming through LAX. If you’re in photo walks and you’re not following Jeff’s new youtube series, you oughta! Check out his “Hidden LAX” video below and don’t forget to subscribe to his page: Jefferson Graham Photowalk.

Come spend the day with me in Nashville in a few weeks

That’s my crowd in Philly last week. Such a great group – we had a blast!

My “Ultimate Photography Crash Course”full-day seminar is coming to Nashville on Wednesday, Sept. 25th at the Music City Center. It’s just $99 for the full day – includes a detailed workbook of my note, plus it’s100% money-back guaranteed if it’s not the best photography seminar you’ve ever been to, at any price. period. Tickets and details at KelbyOneLive.com (get your tickets now – my Boston seminar last week sold out in advance). 

Have a great, safe, dry weekend everybody!

-Scott

Simplify Your Process To Become A More Efficient Filmmaker

I’ve had the pleasure of working with some great subject matters in the field lately. As a filmmaker, my goal is to capture engaging moments and edit them for viewers to enjoy. That seems quite simple, but the road to making a video from top to bottom can be quite daunting.

My goal with this article is to share some recent work, discuss how I approached making them, and the gear I used along the way. I hope that by sharing my experiences, you can learn a new trick, tip or technique for your next video project. It doesn’t matter if you’re dabbling in video or a full-time filmmaker, I believe there is always something more to learn and grow into from sharing and swapping stories from production experiences.

Recently I’ve turned my attention to documentary and commercial work. Much of the time, the demand for certain types of film work will trend toward wanting a certain look or style. You see this by the requests you get and may notice you’re being asked to do similar work more often. These demands usually come from the different sources or platforms viewers commonly watch content.

For YouTube hosted videos, requests are typically aimed for edited content between 3-5 minutes. Viewers are also using platforms that are a bit more limited for video, such as Instagram, and the request for 1-minute or 30-second edited clips are what many clients commonly request.

The final product or edited video times may have changed, but the time it takes to capture the event or moment are typically the same. I find myself feeling very conflicted on set, filming loads of footage for a clip I know is going to be cut to 3-minutes. As a documentarian, I have to keep my final edit in mind when shooting, but I can’t cut the camera when action is happening on day full of magical moments. 

I never really know what clips will make it into the final cut, but I try to give myself or the editor enough footage to put together a proper piece, while trying not to overshoot as well. I do several things to be an efficient filmmaker without gear getting in the way of capturing the perfect moment that’s impossible to recreate. 

Typically I travel with three Mirrorless Nikon Z 6 camera bodies. I dedicate each one to play a different role and to capture a totally different type of look that helps give my edit a wide variety of looks.

Camera “A,” as I like to call it, is set up in a traditional 24fps setting with a 24-70mm f/2.8 lens with a variable neutral density filter to be able to quickly capture any moment indoors or outside. This camera is on a shoulder rig that is also capturing two sources of audio. One channel is running a wireless lavaliere microphone attached to the main subject. I run a second source of audio on the same camera which is a shotgun mic to capture any ambient or group of people talking. Both mics record simultaneously so that I can use either or both sources of audio depending on what’s needed for the edit.

In order to capture two sources of audio, I run one mic to the Nikon camera body and the other mic to a Atomos Ninja V recorder. This recorder also allows me to record in time lengths longer than the limit in my Mirrorless body, which is typically around 30 continuous minutes. This monitor / recorder will record as long as you have available storage, so I load it with a 500GB hard drive and can film for hours at a time if need be.

The reason for running the audio this way is so that all the captured audio gets attached to the singular video file. This Atomos recorder will record the audio coming from the camera body and also has a mic input on the record, which then all records to the video file, allowing me to have all my necessary audio on one file vs one video file and two separate audio files that need to be sync’d in post. You want to give yourself as many options as possible all while keeping your editing process as quick and efficient as possible. In the past, if I didn’t use this process it would take me the whole first day of my editing process to sync audio to my video. Just by capturing audio straight to my video I can save myself an entire day of sitting in front of the computer.

Once I made this change, I sought out other ways to save myself time in post and on shooting days. Battery life was another challenge for me. If I’m using the Atomos recorder/monitor, that’s two different devices on my rig that require batteries, and they’re not the same. So to free myself from swapping batteries and missing important moments, I use a V-Mount Battery. This is a big brick of power that allows me to film all day and power multiple devices at a time. This sufficiently powers my Nikon camera, my recorder and I have the option to power a third device if need be. A common 3rd device would be a Wireless Video Transmitter. If I need to send my cameras video signal to a client monitor, then I can power all three devices and remain 100% wireless. Moving to V-mount power has been a game changer.

The video below shows this main camera in action for a commercial I produced for Nikon’s announcement to debut a new firmware update that allows the camera to auto-focus on the subject’s eyes. 

Camera “B,” as I’ve labeled it, is dedicated just to slow motion. Since the Nikon Z 6 has beautiful slow motion, I set it to capture 120fps. I make sure to double my shutter speed so it’s set at 1/250sec. This usually darkens my image quite a bit so I tend to use a prime lens such as the 50mm f/1.8 or a 35mm f/1.8. This captures details and beauty shots, giving my final edit a variety of looks to help tell the story and change the mood.

(more…)
Close