Category Archives Guest Blogger

Photo by Cato Catoldo

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.

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.

The Tension Between Creating Art and Getting the Job Done
My name is Mike Hagen, and I am a professional photographer working out of Gig Harbor, Washington. A big thank you to Scott and Brad for inviting me to write for this week’s guest blog.

City skyline at dusk. Seattle, Washington.

I love photography. Like others who have chosen photography as an avocation, I eat, sleep and drink photography. As a working shooter, I don’t specialize in any one photographic genre; rather I point my lenses in quite a few directions. In the last 12 months, I’ve photographed commercial jobs, wildlife, portraits, events, architectural jobs, written two books, operated photo trips around the world, and have taught numerous classes and workshops.

Leopard on the Serengeti.
Icelandic puffins

Nature and outdoor photography got me into the world of professional photography, but over the course of two decades in the business, I’ve added a number of skillsets to my photographic repertoire. In this day and age, I feel strongly that you have to keep learning in order to keep earning a living. This blog article details a different aspect of professional photography that you might not have considered in the past. I hope it gives you a neat behind the scenes look and that it challenges you to consider a new perspective.

Portrait of young boxer. Havana, Cuba.

Getting The Shot
I really enjoy exercising my creativity. However when I’m shooting for a paying client, I struggle with the tension between creating art and simply getting the job done to meet the client’s expectations.

This image on Lake Washington shows my client’s moisture barrier materials during the construction phase. On the right side of the photo is the building where Boeing manufacturers the 737 airliner.

One of the subjects I regularly shoot in my business is commercial construction for building product manufacturers. For these jobs, I contract with a manufacturer to photograph their materials on high profile construction projects. For example, a deck & railing manufacturer will hire me to photograph their products on high-rise buildings in big cities. Or, a moisture barrier wrap company will hire me to photograph their materials on buildings during the construction phases of the project.

Decks and railings on a high-rise in Seattle, WA.

My client’s photographic needs are never as simple as, “photograph the building.” Rather, they hire me to demonstrate their product on a building as it is being used in the real world.

(more…)

Small Studio, Big Potential
Around 10 years ago I invested in a wooden cabin at the end of my garden. Finally I got every portrait photographers dream, my own permanent studio and it was HUGE… then I started adding lights, props, an office and I realised it was small, very small!

Thanks to YouTube, I’ve invited millions of photographers into my studio and have been asked countless questions about my small home studio set up, so here are some answers.

How Small Is Small?
Don’t let the photos fool you, my studio is just 13 feet wide by 24 feet long. That sounds like plenty of space until you realise 6 feet of length is my office and shelving takes up 3 feet of width in places.

The ceiling is 8 feet high at the centre but drops to 6.5 feet at the edges. On paper, floor space might sound like the big limiting factor but I’ve found the lack of height is an even greater restriction on the lighting styles I can use.

What Are The Limitations?
There are obvious ones, like full length portraits are very tricky with anything other then a wide lens and there’s never enough space to store stuff. But there’s also the unexpected compromises, such as the need to use smaller softboxes; my go-to size is between 50 – 100cm (20 – 40in) diameter. I also shoot a surprisingly large number of images with people sitting down just so I can get my lights up high. I’ve become very adept cloning out stray light stand legs. Shift clicking with the Spot Healing Brush Tool is my secret weapon there.

Does The Limited Space Limit Your Style?
I may only have one wall to shoot against, but that doesn’t mean I only have the choice of one background. I’ve found working in the same space has made me very good at being creative, especially with backgrounds. When I change my background I’m in a whole new studio and ideas flow from there. Fabric, paper, smoke and coloured gels; I’ve used all sorts of things to create new backgrounds in my small home studio.

Where Did You Get That Textured Background From?
After years of working with a smooth white vinyl background, I needed to do something very different to save my sanity. Building a permanent grungy, textured background was the best thing I ever did in my studio. You can read the write up on the build on my blog. My D.I.Y. skills are basic at best, can’t even saw in a straight line. So if I can build this, almost anyone can!

Does A Small Studio Mean Small Lights Are Best?
It’s not the size of the space that dictates the power of the light, it’s the size of the modifier and how close it is to your subject. But in theory yes, I could shoot almost everything I do with speedlights. But having a slightly more powerful light means I can run it at a lower power for quick recycle times and super fast flash durations. Whatever flash you choose, get one that’s battery powered. With less room to run cables and often a forest of light stands filling the space, small studios can be a big trip hazard!

What’s The One Thing You’d Change About Your Studio Space?
My photography studio has evolved over time, but one thing has remained a constant pain: the heating and ventilation (or rather the lack of).

Do you like to use smoke in your shots? Me too. A lack of ventilation makes clearing the smoke a slow process, and as a result it’s ALWAYS held back for the last shots of the day.

In the winter my studio is freezing. Insulation in the walls would help, but that would make my small studio even smaller. Ever wondered why my models often wear coats and jumpers? Now you know!

You can see more of Gavin’s work at GavTrain.com, and follow him on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Photo by Eric Ryan Anderson

What’s Brad Been Up To?

Hey everyone, I figured I would take this opportunity to just check in and let you know what I’ve been up to so far this year! I’ve been doing a bit of a hodgepodge of things, but I’m definitely staying busy…

I kicked the year off with a few thousand of my friends (and Styx and Keith Urban) at Jack Daniel’s Music City Midnight at Bicentennial Mall Park in Nashville.

Photo by Robby Klein

As if that wasn’t enough fun, just a few days later I made my debut at The Ryman when I helped my buddy Robby Klein out on a shoot there.

Then there was a Run The Jewels concert a few weeks later.

At some point in January, I decided to start taking this whole photography thing more seriously.

And figured, if I’m going to take this seriously, then then what better way than by helping my buddy Rob Foldy out on a shoot at Vanderbilt University for ESPN?

Photo by Matt Divine

In February, I took a trip to Vegas for WPPI where I led an available light portraiture photo walk. Rob returned the favor by helping me out here ;-)

When I got back, I took some pictures of my favorite pup nugget, Opal Pancake, to give my sweetheart for Valentine’s Day.

(She may have also had a birthday recently…)

I’ve also been shooting some video content for my buddy Phil Barnes, a musician and songwriter in Nashville.

Photo by Eric Ryan Anderson for The New York Times

In March, I helped Robby Klein on another shoot with Kellie Pickler for her Selma Drye home goods collection, then followed that up with helping my buddy Eric Ryan Anderson on a shoot with Paramore for The New York Times.

In April, I shot a couple of videos for a new music startup called Crowd Music.

And one for my friend Annette McNamara to help her promote her corporate headshots.

Then I met up with the old gang in Orlando for Photoshop World.

And from Florida, I went to Atlanta and spent a few days editing photos for The Orange Conference.

Last week I shot Tycho when they came through Nashville and played at Marathon Music Works.

And just a few days ago, I photographed the Iroquois Steeplechase horse race at Percy Warner Park in Nashville.

Coming up next month, four days of shooting at the Bonnaroo Music Festival for Red Bull! This will be my first time photographing the iconic music festival in Manchester, TN, so I’m pretty stoked for that experience!

It’s been an exciting 2017 so far, and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the year holds for me!

Brad Moore is a Nashville based entertainment and commercial photographer and videographer. You can see more of his work at BMOOREVISUALS.com, and follow him on Instagram, Vimeo, and Twitter.

Photo by John Schell

My 5 Essentials For An Outdoor Location Shoot
Spring is officially underway and with it, a flurry of photoshoots among the beautiful flowering nature. It’s that time of year when shooting outside is comfortable, and the evening light has the last of winter’s lingering softness. A vast majority of my shoots take place on location, and over the years I’ve learned to bring along a few things that make shooting outdoors that little bit less stressful.

1) Scissors
I have a pair of strong scissors I bring to “tidy” up a scene (i.e. get rid of leaves, small branches, brambles, etc). They also come in very useful if labels are left on clothes, and any of the multitude of reasons you’d need scissors for!

2) Rose Clippers
On the subject of “tidying” up a location, some foliage is a little too thick and this is when my rose clippers would come out. They’ve saved me lots of Photoshop time across many a shoot.

3) Fabric (thick or thin)
Sometimes it’s not so easy to predict whether an outdoor location would be muddy or not. I always bring fabric along to protect the garments from getting dirty. If the dress the model is wearing is full length I would make sure to always have fabric tucked underneath so as to protect it from dirt. Ideally using a fabric that’s a similar colour to the dress makes life easier.

4) Reflector
If you’re a natural light shooter then bringing a reflector along is always a good idea. It’s a great tool to manipulate light as well as doubling up as a scrim, providing some shade where there isn’t any available. It’s also super versatile as it comes in handy on occasions where I forget to bring fabric and needed to protect the garments.

5) Safety Pins and Hair Grips
Two things that are a staple in my camera bag! If you’re working with an experienced hair or makeup artist they would bring these along with them. I, however, can always count on something going wrong on location shoots such as, zips breaking, hairstyle needing tweaking, pinning the dress so it fits better, etc!

We all know that the more you can capture in camera the better, and that’s why it’s worth going the extra step in preparation.

Here are a few more suggestions for a comfortable location shoot!

Water: Hydration is always a good idea!

Hand warmers, hot water bottles and heaters: Great if you’re shooting in the winter.

Umbrella: Have one for the model if you’re shooting in the summer.

Food and snacks: Because food puts everyone in a good mood!

Music and a bluetooth speaker: To help set the mood and vibe

Ladder: Useful as a prop or to capture a new perspective/angle.

Battery bank: You never know when people’s phones or other things need to be charged. It’s always good to have something in this situation to keep you covered.

Shower Cap: If it were to rain, you can protect your camera with it and it also allows you to still work with it.

I would love to know, what are your location shoot essentials? It’s always interesting to see what other photographers bring along to shoots!

You can see more of Bella’s work at BellaKotak.com, and follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.

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