Allow me to introduce myself; my name is Bal Bhatla aka @mrwhisper. I’m a London based photographer and I’m hyped to be the guest on this week’s blog. I’ll be sharing my story of how I turned my passion for photography into a full time career, followed by a selection of my favourite projects.

Background
Before I became a commercial photographer, I worked full time as a digital creative director in a variety of ad agencies in London for just over 12 years. During the last few years, I noticed how social media was becoming increasingly important within the campaign work I was doing. Simultaneously my personal Instagram account was growing at a steady pace, and I began to get commissioned by notable brands like Lonely Planet, Jaguar, and Adidas to name a few. In the back of my mind I began thinking that perhaps one day I could leave my full-time role to become a freelance commercial photographer working directly with brands.

So about five years ago, I quit my job and decided to freelance as a creative director, which would then afford me the time and flexibility to see if I could make this photography dream a reality.

Fast forward two years and I was lucky to be receiving enough commissioned work to just focus on photography full time. Since then I’ve been on an incredible journey working with some pretty cool brands.

I’m a street photographer at heart, and this is what drives me to keep making images everyday. However I don’t let this limit what I do commercially. During my career my portfolio has been built up with a variety of genres (fashion, cars, travel, alcohol, and sports and film), and below are just a few highlights from the memorable projects I’ve worked on.

Star Wars Rogue One x Disney
Commissioned to create a small series of London based images, which would visually draw comparisons to the locations and themes used within the movie.

When Disney first approached me for this gig, I thought it was someone playing a prank, however after a few meetings and receiving the brief I knew this dream job was 100% real. Surprisingly I was given almost complete creative freedom to create the series of 5 images. Some Star Wars specialists supported me to ensure the scenes being created would be plausible within the Rogue One world, as I certainly didn’t want to upset the huge fan base who are particularly protective about the storylines.

All the props used in the shoot were originals from the movie, which meant that I had security with me on the day of the shoot.

The series of images were then displayed at the Films Premiere in the cinema Lobby.

I was also invited to get some exclusive shots of the Cast at the Launch party held at the Tate Modern.

Narcos x Netflix
I flew out to Bogota, Colombia to shoot portraits of the main cast members of the hit Netflix series Narcos.

Sadly there was no moustache as he had finished all his scenes for the series. However, it was great to meet Wagner, especially as I’m such a huge fan of the show. The best part was when he stopped the shoot to discuss my Fuji X-T1 (my camera at the time), which proved to be a great ice breaker.

Shot on set in-between takes, literally had less than 5 minutes to get the shot.

Audi A4
To celebrate the UK launch of the brand new Audi A4, I was asked to come up with a concept for a series of 5 images for their social campaign. I was given the car for 24hrs, and here are a couple of my favourite shots from the night shoot I decided to do.

ROUX – A London Based Fashion Label
I’ve had the pleasure of working on a few fashion projects, but one label I’ve worked with consistently and built up a good relationship with over the years is ROUX. The label is heavily embedded within the Soho, London history and culture and therefore was the ideal choice of backdrop for this shoot for their lookbook.

Timberland Europe for Hypebeast Magazine
Timberland released a new boot called the Flyroam designed for the city, and so they asked me create a small series on the streets of London.

Bombay Sapphire – Artistry Of The Ultimate Gin and Tonic
This was a slightly different project than what I’m normally used to. Bombay Sapphire invited six of London’s leading mixologists to create their take on the ultimate gin & tonic. My role was two-fold. Firstly I was to present the final creations as they were unveiled at an exhibition at the Bombay Sapphire distillery to the media, and secondly then travelled to each of the mixologists respective bars to shoot them creating their innovative drink in situ.

You can see more of Mr. Whisper/Bal’s work at MrWhisperStudios.com, and follow him on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube, or reach out to him at mr.whisper@gmail.com.

Winter is coming people!

It’s that time again, I’m back to share my weekly dose of photographic wisdom under the lovingly crafted hashtag – #HybridDaveTuesdays

This week it’s something I feel I have a good standing to talk about due to my love of cold places. I’m going to tell you about shooting in the cold in the form of a list. If the internet has taught me only one thing it’s that everybody loves a list, right? By the way, I realise that winter is only approaching in the northern hemisphere and I’m kinda excluding half of the population of the entire world, but I’m finding peace from that with the knowledge that you southerners are about to have your Christmas BBQ’s fired up!

So here goes!

 

Here’s some snow…… it’s authentic Finnish

 

Tip #1 – Never delete anything in camera!

Snow is a funny old thing. It tricks our cameras as well as our eyes. There WILL be shots you look at of snowy scenes on the back of your camera that look terrible, but then when you get them up in Lightroom or Camera Raw they’ll look amazing following a tweak or two.

 

Tip #2 – Keep your gear cold

When you take your gear from cold to warm (like in and out of a hotel or rental car) it puts a strain on it. Once it’s cold, keep it cold. It can short out the electrics if condensation forms inside the camera. The worst thing you can do is to actively try and warm your gear up or try to make it warm near the heat vent or under your ski jacket. Furthermore, if you see that shot and pull out your camera but it instantly fogs you’ll have nothing to show your friends! I remember shooting in Finnish Lapland where I visited the Wild Spirit Animal park and just after meeting Romeo the wooly pig and before meeting Spike the Husky I was taken into a small, round cabin with a fire burning inside for a hot drink to warm me up. I left my camera outside on a pile of wood so it stayed cold and was ready to shoot again as soon as I was back out.

 

Cold enough for an Arctic Fox

 

Tip #3 – Except your batteries. Keep them warm!

There’s some science here. I mean, I don’t know what it is, but it’s here! So basically, if your batteries are exposed to the cold they’ll lose power quicker. I’ve experienced this first hand, it definitely happens. I was shooting the northern lights in the Icelandic Westfjords up on top of a mountain. I couldn’t feel my face, it was that cold. Whatever was happening to my batteries due to the cold happened pretty quick. The power was just going. What I discovered is that if I kept my batteries in my inside pockets my body heat kept them going for longer.

 

Tip #4 – Then warm your gear back up slowly!

I learned this the hard way! Kirkjufellsfoss, shown below, is an iconic Icelandic waterfall with it’s namesake mountain right behind it. Take a look here though – I have a nice wide lens mounted on my Nikon D810 but the middle of the shot is all hazy and soft. This is a direct result of having moisture build up inside the lens. It’s virtually impossible to remove in post because it ruins a whole portion of the image. Bottom line is to consider ways to warm your gear up slowly. Put it in the boot of the rental car where it’s that little bit colder and far from the heating, and put it inside your bag (closed) when you take it indoors so that it gradually adjust to the new, warmer climate. If your camera does get moist for any reason, keep it somewhere dry and of a consistent temperature, and leave ALL of the ports wide open to give the moisture an easy escape.

 

Kirkjufellsfoss, with Kirkjufell in the background – Iceland

 

Tip #5 – Overexpose for white snow

What our eyes see as pure, white snow filling the landscape, our camera sees as overexposed and so brings your camera down a notch or two. To combat this, it’s a wise idea to shoot a little over. It’s the number one tip you’ll always see on advice for shooting snow but it’s easily overcome so just be mindful of it and shoot over – you can always bring things back down in Photoshop if you’re way too bright. On a sidetone, your Auto White Balance will often change things a little towards to blue end – another thing to bear in mind. If you’re the type to use a grey card or a light meter then fine, but I’m not and I consider it all in post.

 

Some snowy bushes in Iceland

 

Tip #6 – Don’t concentrate only on snow

There’s so much more going on and snowy scenes are in themselves very romantic, I find. This shot below is of a couple stood alone outside the beautiful House of the Roundheads in Riga and although they’re only a tiny feature of the images, they add to it just enough. As with everything you shoot, snow has a tendency to get very ‘samey’ and breaking it up with details, much like you would when shooting a wedding, you’re giving it a new perspective and engaging your audience and lifting interest.

 

House of the Roundheads – Riga, Latvia

 

Tip #7 – Shoot the fauna

Even if it’s hard to find some! There are two animals which epitomise Iceland – horses and puffins – and here’s 50% of that combo! Shooting animals helps give a sense of their hardiness to the testing climates they find themselves in and if you get it right, showing their character, it can give the viewer an intense connection!

 

An Icelandic Horse

 

Tip #8 – And the flora

Good luck finding some! Much like the animals, showing the hardiness of the plant life can create a connection between the viewer and the image. It mixes up and breaks up the images of snow scene after snow scene too!

 

Lapland

 

Tip #9 – Capture the festivities

There’s a 50% chance (hemispherically) that winter means it’s Christmas! Alongside this, there’s so much going on and it all tends to give contrast to the cold. Warm fires, hot chocolates and fairground rides – it’s all beautiful, especially when you capture it right. Going to a Christmas market with a camera can yield some awesome results.

 

One of many Christmas markets in Berlin, Germany

So there’s 9 tips for shooting in the cold, I hope you can use them! Right now I’m in Tromsø, Norway, way up in the Arctic Circle (oh the power of the internet!) and you can check my progress on my Instagram story or on Facebook to see the snow I’m seeing :)

 

Until next time!

Much love

Dave

 

OK, guys — today, Cyber Monday, is your last chance to get our absolute best prices of the year on KelbyOne annual memberships, and Photoshop World 2018 Conference Tickets. Here are the deals: 

NOTE: These deals END TONIGHT at 12:00 am midnight ET

PROGRAMMING NOTE: Today, starting at 10:00 am ET and running until 4:00 pm, at the top of every hour we’re doing a LIVE 10-minute screaming deal Webcast where we convinced one of our partners to offer an insane discount but just for One-hour (and ONLY1-hour). Last year, these deals were so insane, it was literally crashing our partner’s servers (I heard B&H is rolling out a killer tripod deal today on the show) but you’ve got to watch to get the Discount code. Here’s the details:

Who: Join Larry Becker LIVE from our studios
What: Unbelievable Cyber Monday deals that only last 1-hour TOTAL!
Where: Here’s the link
When: Today starting at 10:00 am and at the top of every hour until 4pm.
Why: Cause we always do something cool on Cyber Monday!

Of course, our KelbyOne & Photoshop World Conference deals are running all day today, too, so for goodness sake don’t forget about those!

OK, that’s the Cyber Monday scoop! The deals are here, but only for today! Hope you have a great start to your week, everybody! :)

Best,

-Scott

Today is “Black Friday” (the biggest retail shopping day of the year in the US) and we’ve got our best deals of the year on:

Here’s the link to the deals

We’d love to have you as a KelbyOne Pro member (we have an incredible line-up of new instructors and amazing courses planned for 2018, and you’ll be joining a worldwide community of people just like you, helping each other, sharing their techniques, and taking advantage of a ton of benefits that make your membership absolutely invaluable).

Of course, we’d love to have you spend three-amazing days with us in Orlando next May at the conference. Hope you cash in on these deals right now.

By the way – here’s why Photoshop World is so awesome (and why you’ve gotta be there)!

Hope you have a great weekend (#rolltide), and we’ll see ya back here on Monday! :)

Best,

-Scott

P.S. On “Cyber Monday” we’ll be doing LIVE broadcasts EVERY HOUR ON THE HOUR with special “1-hour only screaming deals” we’ve specially arranged with our partners. These are CRAZY deals (last year we were literally crashing our partner’s servers – these deals were so awesome). Join the always awesome Larry Becker on Monday (I’ll have all the details here on Monday, so make sure you start your day here).  

Today in the US we celebrate Thanksgiving; a national holiday where we give thanks for the many blessings we enjoy (and I truly feel like the most blessed guy on earth).

Traditionally this is a day where families come together to eat a Thanksgiving turkey feast, and then we watch the Cowboys lose to drop to 5-6 on the season. It’s just about a perfect day.

Our offices are closed today for the holiday, but I’ll be back here tomorrow with some insane deals on all our stuff in honor of Black Friday — the biggest shopping day of the year.

In the meantime, please enjoy the stock image above (nothing brings the warmth, togetherness, and joy of Thanksgiving together like a stock image with a mini pumpkin).

In all seriousness, here’s wishing you and your family a joyous, happy, and yummy Thanksgiving.

All my best,

-Scott

P.S. Don’t tell anybody, but our Black Friday deals actually start today. Actually, please tell everybody you know! Here’s the link to our best deals of the year. :)

Unlocking The Power Of Aurora HDR 2018 with Trey Ratcliff
Join Trey Ratcliff as he teaches you how to get the most out of Aurora HDR 2018. Well known for his distinctive HDR style, Trey has been working with Aurora’s developers for several years, and knows the program inside and out. In this class, designed for beginners and beyond, you’ll become familiar with what’s possible in Aurora HDR as Trey processes photos that demonstrate its awesome capabilities for almost any situation. From processing a single raw photo to bracketed exposures, you’ll discover the power and simplicity for making beautiful images that match your own artistic style.

In Case You Missed It
Learn how to add Luminar to your Lightroom and Photoshop workflow! Join Scott Kelby as he introduces you to exactly how he uses Luminar. Macphun’s Luminar is a plugin for Lightroom and Photoshop, as well as being a standalone image editor, which means there are lot’s of ways you can add this tool to your existing workflow. You can think of Luminar as special effects plug-in that can be used for creating quick looks, finishing touches, or even serving as a substitute for Photoshop if you are a Lightroom-only user. In this class Scott shows you how to access Luminar, gets you oriented to its interface, and then shows you how he uses its filters, presets, and features to give his images that extra finishing touch through several start to finish projects.

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