Photographing Some of my Heroes

At this past Photoshop World in Orlando, I realized that I had never fully taken advantage of the opportunities that I have there sometimes. I’m surrounded by a number of people who’ve been great influences on my life and career. I have lights and a camera. And, even though I’m busy, I can at least try to find the time to make something happen.

So I looked at the schedule, found a small block of time where I didn’t have too much going on, and set up a couple of lights in an empty room just around the corner from the staff office.

You know how when you’re watching someone work, you have epiphany moments where you see something that you’d never thought of before? I had always seen lights put in front of subjects, but never behind. Until assisting Joe McNally on a job one day when he had me do just that, and I was astounded at the result. So I wanted to use a similar setup for this shoot as a bit of a nod to one of the many things I’d learned from my time working with him.

Once I was set up I asked Joe if he would mind stepping in front of my camera for a few minutes. Truth be told, I was nervous about this and he could probably tell. I mean, I’d been in front of his lens plenty of times in the past as a test subject, and I doubt he was too nervous about shooting me in those instances. But the tables were turned this time and I definitely was. I know he’s had his share of nerves over the years, especially when photographing his heroes (like Arnold Newman), so I’m hoping he could relate.

Once I thanked Joe and let him get to his next presentation, I went back to the staff office to see who else might have a minute and allow me to photograph them.

If you’ve followed me at all, you know I’m into concert photography, and I wouldn’t know half of what I do if it weren’t for Alan Hess. From day 1, he’s helped me figure out who to contact for photo passes and given me all kinds of advice for shooting. I like to pop into the concert workshop he teaches at Photoshop World when I can and pick up new tips, and he always has great new work in his presentation.

After finishing up with Alan, it was back to the staff office to see who else might be around. Luckily, I saw just who I was hoping for.

There are lots of legendary photographers who teach at Photoshop World, and Jay Maisel is at the top of the bunch. I was honored when he said yes to my request for a quick portrait. I wanted to respect his time and get him in and out as quickly as I could, but he jumped right in and started making suggestions and giving me advice! I couldn’t have been more tickled.

We finished, and I went to find my final subject, another person to whom I owe quite a lot.

It goes without saying that I’m incredibly thankful for the opportunity to work with Scott Kelby. I have and continue to learn from him not only in the way of photography and post processing, but also business and life lessons. From great ideas and work ethic to balancing work and family, I’m always learning something from him.

There were definitely other instructors I would love to have photographed, but with everyone’s limited time and busy schedules, I got what I could. Hopefully I can continue this project at future events and add more of the people who have been great influences on me to it.

You can see more of Brad’s work at, and follow him on Twitter, Google+, and Instagram.

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