Capturing The Natural Beauty Of Yosemite National Park with Moose Peterson Join Moose Petersonin the heart of Yosemite National Park! In this class you’ll see Moose’s approach to planning, the gear he uses, the logistics that need to be considered, and his philosophy for making the best of the situation you face when you arrive. As Moose travels through different locations in the park he draws on his extensive Yosemite experience to teach you what to look for when you arrive on scene, and how to notice the small details as much as the breath-taking grandeur of the landscape in front of you. Moose wraps up the class with a look at some of his post processing workflow, as well as his method of reviewing photos with the goal of making the next day of shooting even better than the last.
In Case You Missed It Learn how to harness your software to process your landscape photos the way you felt in your heart when you took the photo. Join Moose Peterson as he shares his favorite techniques, tips, and ways of thinking, to help you get the most out of your post processing workflow. Using primarily Photoshop and Camera Raw, with the occasional trip through Nik plug-ins, Moose helps you understand the connection between your camera, your software, and light, so that you are in control from the moment the shutter clicks to when you move software sliders later on. From bringing out the best in dramatic skies to making black and white photos with impact, Moose focuses on both the technical and the inspirational components you need to address to not only make your photos look great, but to infuse them with passion and romance. By the end of the class you’ll be thinking more about how you capture photos with your post processing workflow in mind.
I’ve been working as a Professional Creative in a variety of roles for over twenty years now. I’ve run the press/printers, worked at an internal creative group supporting marketing, then to being at an agency, to now running our studio/agency with my wife. One thing I get asked on a regular basis is, “What would make me a better (insert title here).” In this current era of our industry, the situation has flipped from when I was starting out. The hardest part back then was getting good enough gear to execute your ideas. You could have all the ideas in the world, but you couldn’t execute something that looked professional. That was why we all wanted to work at big agencies, magazines, corporations, etc. They had the resources to make great things, and we all wanted to be a part of something at that quality.
Today, that’s simply not the case… The challenge is no longer the gear. Yes, there are gear-heads out there, I’m sure a few of you are clutching your XQD cards right now ready to tell me all about how it’s amazing and made you a better image maker. Maybe you have the latest HSS strobe and want to tell me about how it helps you stop hair at 1/2500th of a second while flicking it in a shot. Let’s not even get started on 4k-5k displays, or mirrorless cameras, or megapixels.
All of that is impressive, but it’s not making you better at your career. It’s making you capable of executing a particular feature or solution. But I see people starting out today executing very technical, and impressive, projects in part thanks to the quality of consumer grade technology.
I thought for this post I would offer a few of my favorite tips on what creatives can do to give themselves a boost. That power up that I know can’t be bought, and yet is necessary to be a leader and succeed in your services.
How do you generate ideas? For some people it comes very naturally, and for others it’s a real struggle. Do you stare at a blank canvas when someone says “go” and it just stresses you out?
Bringing a concept to your projects can really help show your ability to execute a visual narrative. If you have a strong community, collaborate with them. I often ping my friends, and colleagues, to get their ideas and thoughts. I don’t speak only to other photographers or designers. Quite the contrary; if I’m doing a project for a new restaurant, I’ll call my friends that work in the food industry and get their thoughts. “What do you wish you could see done for your field?” If I don’t have those resources, I’ll go out to lunch and introduce myself to people in the restaurant that is well designed. I’ll offer to buy the manager a drink if they chat with me for a few minutes.
If I don’t have those resources, then I use a bubble map. This is almost secondary for me now and it happens on every scrap piece of paper on my desk. It’s almost a way of taking notes during a call.
Start with the detail you know the most at the center. Then ideate bubbles outward with secondary and tertiary details. Then as you move farther out you get into more abstract ideas that might help paint a picture in your mind. That picture can influence color choices, shapes, composition, and more.
Steve Jobs (RIP), and now almost every leader in the modern corporate world, believe that “design thinking” is a pivotal skill for success. Understanding how to solve problems creatively isn’t just some “artist” mindset, it’s a process. One that is taught, and practiced, by some of the biggest firms in the world today. For some, in this modern era, it’s a natural occurrence that is second nature to them. Firms like IDEO and others, really pushed this process into the design of everything and anything. From shopping carts to lamps to logos. Rapidly prototyping their ideas with a fail fast mentality so that as something breaks, they learn from it quickly and course correct. How would you apply this to your own services and value proposition? Even if it’s not a process you put your clients through, it’s something you can put your own ideas through to see if they can stand on their own merit. Evaluate them with peers and see if they have the same outcomes.
The key of Design Thinking is considering the impact, or experience, of the user versus the creator. What will it mean to those who receive the experience versus the experience of the person solving the problem. This alone offers a shift towards empathy of the audience, our brand’s audience.
Empathize: Define and understand the audience.
Define: Make clear exactly the problem to be solved.
Ideate: Brainstorm and aggregate all the ideas you can around the needs.
Prototype: Build a proof of concept from your ideas.
Test: Try it on the media, or with a specific audience, refine and improve.
Ok this is a biggie! I mentioned it briefly in my first guest blog post about becoming a professional creative. Most clients/customers don’t hire you because of your talent or creativity. In fact, those are an expectation of your service. But, what clinches a lot of work for some creatives over others is their ability to communicate effectively. Here’s just a few things to consider.
Being accessible. Create as many access points as possible for a client to reach you, and make sure you set it up in a way that it’s easy for you to manage. I personally have 5 email addresses that I manage, however they all route to the same single inbox. A flag in Gmail tells me which address they came from. When I choose to respond, Gmail sends it back as if it was from the originating email. You can do this with other mail providers also.
Social Media. I also have contact notifications setup for all my social media streams I care about (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram). Yes, I have given up some of my personal life to always being accessible. But it’s important if I’m going to get work. So, I don’t have to respond immediately, but noticing when a lead contacts me is extremely important. I have contact/message buttons on my social media business pages also.
Old school. Lastly the classic. A contact-form. Some people don’t want to chat verbally, and they might not be into the millennial preferences of social media. So on my page people can use a contact form to send in their requests for info. Just make sure your form requires a return email address, phone number, or some other point of contact info. Include a direct Call-to-action. If you’re not a web designer, a lot of good web template services now have a contact form template they will provide you for free.
A great professional creative who acts as their own Producer understands how to facilitate meetings, or other engagements, so that the client feels confident in you. This could be a whole course unto itself. But, let’s cover some basics that are really important for when you meet with a client or are setting up a meeting.
Have a clear agenda, establish your rules of engagement, share it before the event
Focus on the topic of your service or the project details
Stay impartial and open to everyone’s thoughts/feedback (no client wants to feel excluded)
Set proper expectations for everyone involved, such as Roles/Responsibilities.
Be prepared! Always go to a meeting with more information than you’ll probably need. Consider the variables.
Know your value, what you’re offering, and what else could be an upsell
It’s essential today to have soft skills that provide a next level quality of service and engagement with your audiences, clients, and more. Having the latest and greatest piece of gear is a tactical way of finding efficiency improvements in executing a project, but it’s not going to be the reason people come back to you.
I remember working once for a studio that bought two RED cameras when they first came out. The price tag was ginormous and they were stunned to discover that during our pitch meetings no one cared about the bullet point stating we used RED cameras. No doubt, the gear was impressive, to us. But to a client, all they heard was “so you like gear.” Later we spoke to how that equipment enables us to execute at a quality of our ideas which only we could deliver. What became clear is the client wanted to hear/see the quality of the idea most and they left the gear up to us.
My advice is always remember to invest in developing yourself as much as possible. That is where the true value comes from as a Professional Creative. Then build your equipment to the scale of your ideas.
Good luck, and please comment below with some of your favorite Boost ideas.
If you want something, go and get it! Find a way or make one!
I’m Dave Williams and, as always, I’m here on Scott’s blog for #TravelTuesday for you! I aim to enlighten and inspire every week with something to do with photography, Photoshop, and life. Today, I want to provoke you to take last week’s personal project and monetise it, either directly or indirectly.
When we shoot as professionals, that is to say, we are making money from our photography, we are doing more or less everything with a goal in mind—a bill that needs paying! Removing that element of life and shooting for self-development allows a relief of the stresses and pressures placed upon us (by others or by ourselves), so we can afford more of our efforts on the creative aspects of the shoot rather than the “end goal.” It’s important to have that creativity in the moment, to enjoy the moment, rather than simply aiming for that end goal, and it’s an aspect of photography that is worth incorporating into everyday life. Here’s why: –
Whilst it’s good and often important to have a goal in sight, staring at that goal won’t get you anywhere on its own. Concentrating your energy and efforts on the here and now is what makes things change and ultimately what shows your value as a person. It’s what shows your commitment and understanding, not of what you want to achieve but how you’ll achieve it.
I’ve found that whilst I can take a good image of a place the first time I visit, I often think of better images and better techniques and want to revisit until I nail it. It’s this which prompted me to undertake personal projects, which develop my skill as a photographer (and storyteller) and allow me to get better images the first time around. But, that said, the second visit (and third and fourth) will never go away because…
“There’s no such thing as ‘just one last shot'” –Peter Treadway, 2014
This kinda has a few meanings to us photographers. It can mean that we’re usually such perfectionists that an image is never really finished, or it can mean that, actually, it is finished but we just find it hard to recognise when! That’s something to think about.
Here’s my current go-to example of second visits: –
Mont St-Michel, France. The image above was taken about five years ago, and the below image was taken a couple of months ago. I’d like to think both images work, and they’ve both sold so each has their own merit, but that is the very point—each has their own merit. Each shows the same place but in entirely different ways. It’s going to my development as a photographer that that’s happened, through grit, determination, practice, perseverance, and through personal projects! So, what about that one word I just said: “sold.” Let’s talk about that.
I’ve been talking to a few photographers lately about this, and whether it’s for the purpose of paying your bills or simply for funding new gear for your hobby, I implore you to get involved with monetising your photography. The people I’ve been talking to have been largely successful in the first stages of getting into stock photography, but there are other ways to monetise your photos. The world is a small place; you no longer need to be “famous” to make a living from photography, nor do you need to drive from home to home with a strobe and a backdrop in your car shooting family portraits. Here’s the thing: –
All those photos you see on billboards, in magazines, on leaflets, in menus, in newspapers, in brochures, on packaging, on computer screensavers, in books, on ads you scroll past online, literally everywhere, they all came from somewhere. Why not come from you?
Signing up for stock photography for these things is easy—all you have to remember is to play by the rules. For example, a test submission to a stock agency will state “common theme, not overly retouched, no brand names. in focus,” etc., etc., and as long as you stick to the rules (so that you pass the test submission), you can start to sell your images! It doesn’t have to be stock, of course. You can monetise your Instagram account in a similar way—find agencies who are looking for people and, again, follow the rules! Perhaps the rules are a common theme, signature look, 5,000+ followers, good engagement—follow the rules and you’re in! How about postcards? Take a look on the back of postcards next time you see a display rack and you’ll see the company who produces them printed on the back. Why not send them an e-mail? Send a few of your best images over and see how you get on—at worst, they say “no thanks,” and at best, you’re making money!
Seriously, no more excuses! It’s 2k19; it’s time to make your photography pay!
The cover image here is of me 13 years ago when I was living in South Africa. I was busy shooting thorns in the Klein Karoo area with my SLR (yes, SLR, no screen) and working out what kind of a photographer I was. Essentially, a whole series of personal projects, one after the other, finding a niche through the process.
Want to do something for you and for your photography journey that will absolutely, positively make you happy on so many levels? Then stop what you’re doing, and right now take two minutes and let’s make this a Monday to remember…by making a print. You have to, it’s “Make a Print Monday!” (I just created this fake holiday, but at least it’s a pretty good one).
If you don’t have your own printer, send it to an online lab (I use both BayPhoto Lab and MPIX.com — both make great prints and both have world-class customer service, and if you don’t already have a lab, try either of these — you’ll love them). You just open an account, upload your image, choose your size and they take it from there. In a few days, your print arrives. Couldn’t be easier.
If you upload a print to a lab, not only will you feel awesome today because you stopped and actually sent off one of your images for printing, but you’re setting up a major boomerang effect because that feeling is coming right back again in an even bigger way in just a few days when your beautiful print arrives.
Don’t just get a print. Get a big print! You can get a 16″x24″ print from BayPhoto.com or MPIX.com for around for $24. There are few ways you can spend $24 today and effect you or someone you love (a gift?) that can have a bigger impact than a print.
If you’ve ever wanted your work to live on, to have a bigger impact than it does by just sharing it on Facebook, and if you want those pixels on screen to become something real, something you can hold in your hands, something that will make you feel great inside, join me today (I’m doing it!) for “Make a Print Monday.” :)
A few weeks back I got an email asking about what can be done in Photoshop if you caught your subject with one eye partially closed when you pressed the shutter. I’ve had that happen so many times over the years that I already had a fix for it. In fact, it literally only takes two-minutes if that (well, maybe three minutes the first time you try it, but after that, you’ll have it down to two-minutes flat). Here goes:
Above: Here’s our original image and her eye on the left is partially closed (it was the only one I shot that day where her eye was like this), but luckily the fix is easy because her other eye is fully open and that’s what we’ll use to do our quick retouch.
STEP ONE: Zoom in tight and use Photoshop’s Lasso tool to make a very loose selection around her open eye, as shown here. Now press Command-J (PC: Ctrl-J) to put that eye up on its own separate layer.
STEP TWO: Using the Move tool, drag the copy of her open eye over so it covers the partially closed eye (which is what I did here), but you can just leave it at that because she’d have two right eyes (and that would look weird). To fix that, press Command-T (PC: Ctrl-T) to bring up Free Transform (it puts a bounding box with handles around that copy of her eye) and then right-click anywhere inside that bounding box to bring up the pop-up menu you see here. Choose Flip Horizontal as shown here. Because she’s leaning over quite a bit in the image, it won’t be a perfect match to the other eye — you’re going to need to rotate the flipped copy into place, so move your cursor outside the Free Transform bounding box and your cursor changes into a two-headed arrow cursor. Click and drag in a circular motion to rotate her eye to where it looks about right (as seen here as well).
STEP THREE:To really make sure you get the eye at just the right position and angle, here’s a trick I use that works wonders. While you’re still in Free Transform, go over to the Layers panel and lower the Opacity for this layer down to around 60% or so. Now you can see through this copied eye, to the original eye’s position on the layer below it, and you’ll now be able to rotate the eye easily to the exact right amount, and then move your cursor inside the bounding box and drag the eye copy until it lines up perfectly (as seen here). Now press Return (Windows: Enter) to lock in your transformation, then raise the opacity of this layer back up to 100%. Before we move on, you can see the problem here — the shadows aren’t right, and that’s because the eye we copied was on the side of her face that was farther away from the light, and was partially in shadows. This isn’t going to be a problem, because we don’t need all that area around her eye; all we really need is the Iris and whites of the eyes to make it look open (which we’ll fix in the next step).
STEP FOUR:Hold the Option key (Windows: Alt key) and at the bottom of the Layers panel, click on the 3rd icon from the left to add a black Layer Mask over your image (its icon looks like a white rectangle with a black circle in the center). This hides the eye-copy layer behind that black mask so you can no longer see that layer, but that’s exactly what we want. We don’t want to see the whole eye copy — just the Iris and whites of the eyes. Set your Foreground color to white (if it isn’t already); choose a small soft-edged brush from up in the Brush Picker on the top left side of the Options Bar across the top, then paint over just the areas where you want to reveal the eye on the top layer. Here I pained over her eye on the left with that small soft-edged brush and it reveals just that part of the eye from the top layer. If you look closely, you can see my circular brush cursor painting on the far right side of her left eye. I’m careful not to paint in too much or it will start showing those shadows, so I’m pretty much just staying inside the eye area and not going onto the eyelashes or lids too much. We still have a problem. The catch-light in her left eye is on the wrong side.
STEP FIVE:To fix the catch lights, first we’ll create the missing one. Get the Clone Stamp tool; choose a soft-edged brush and make the size of the brush just a little larger than the white catch light in her right eye. Move your cursor over that eye; hold the Option key (Windows: Alt key) and click once to sample that white catch light. Now move over the left eye, where you catch-light should be (on the upper left side of her iris) and click once, and it clones the white catch-light from the right eye over onto the top left of her iris on the left eye. Of course, now she has two catchlights in the left eye, so we’ll need to remove the extra one so it matches the other eye.
STEP SIX:Get the Spot Healing Brush tool; make your brush size cursor just a little larger than the extra catch-light; then click once to remove the extra catch light. Easy peasy!
Above: I zoomed out here so you can see the final retouch, quick and easy. :)
Hope you found that helpful.
I was in the studio all day today… The shot you see above was from a few years back — today I was in our studio at KelbyOne HQ making new images while recording an update to one of my most-popular online courses, it’s called “10 Essential Studio Techniques Every Photographer Needs to Know.” This new course will replace the original which was recorded nearly 8 years ago. The recording session today went great, and I was really tickled to get to redo the class using today’s tools and today’s techniques, and applying some of the things I’ve learned in the past eight years. I think (well, I certainly hope) it will help a lot of photographers who want to break into shooting in the studio. I’ll let you know when it comes out — shouldn’t be too long now.
Hope you all have a fantastic SuperBowl weekend. Don’t forget, when the Patriots lose, America wins! #GoRams!