Happy Monday, everybody. I’m going to tackle a question I get asked a lot while out on my seminar tour, and even though it sounds like a simple one, I think it’s an important one. The question is along these lines:
Q.I’ve heard that hard drives die after a certain amount of time, and so do CDs, and DVDs, and optical drives, and all the stuff we backup our photos onto. I’m not sure there’s any storage media that lasts even for 10 years. What about uploading them to someone else’s digital storage like Google photos? Are they always going to be around? What if Google goes out of business, or somebody buys them? I stilll remember what happened to Kodak (and Kodak Photo CDs in particular). What do you recommend for protecting our most precious photos?
A.First, I agree — I don’t know of a single storage media that I would trust more than just a few years at best without replacing it entirely, and adding a 2nd backup copy, and even then I wouldn’t trust them 100% (same goes for any online backup solution. It feels like they’re just one major internet hack away from being wiped out). All that being said, there is one method that has stood the test of time and I can’t recommend enough (for a myriad of reasons beyond protection), and that is making prints. Simply making prints nearly guarantees that your images will last, probably at least 100 years, if not more.
I have photos from when my parents were kids, and from when my brother and I were babies, and the only reason I have them today is that my parents made prints back in the day and literally stuck them in a shoebox. Say what you want about that method, but it worked, and the only reason why many of us even have those historical images of our family is that our parents did that simple act of printing and storing them in a dumb ol’ box. Wasn’t that dumb after all.
This begs the follow-up question: What are you doing to preserve the visual history of your family?
If you did nothing but upload the images on your cell phone to MPIX or Bay Photo Lab or even Costco for gosh sakes, and you made a bunch of 4×6 prints when they were on sale cheap, and you took ’em and put them in a waterproof/fireproof box you get at Staples, you’d almost be ensuring that your most precious photos would live on for many, many years after you’re gone (and your heirs could actually find them and have access to them).
This is important stuff. I hope that gets you to thinking this morning.
Have a great Monday, everybody!
P.S.If you’re a Lightroom user, check out my post today on over LightroomKillerTips.com about edge-to-edge borderless printing in Lightroom.
Mornin’, everybody! Not sure if you’re following me over on my Facebook page, but I’ve been sharing lots of behind-the scenes shots from shoots over there, along with all the lighting set-ups and camera settings.
They’re really popular so far – if you get a chance, you can check them out over there on Facebook.
Are you into guitar? Or Van Halen? Or both! :)
Tonight I’m talking guitars and amps (and even a little photography), with guitar god Eric Broadbent (and btw: if you think they’re going to win any points with me by referring to me as “Photography’s Eddie Van Halen” in their graphic above, well, you are absolutely right. LOL!!).
Who: Me and rockin’ guitar player and show host Eric Broadbent What: Lots of talk about guitars and amps and music and some photography Where:Follow this link (the podcast is free and open to everybody) When: 9:00 PM EDT Tonight Why: Guitars, Music & Photography? Why the heck not! I’m in! :)
Have a great weekend everybody! Here’s to breaking your high e-string!
Using Photoshop & Lightroom to Create Amazing Cityscapes with Serge Ramelli Join Serge Ramelli as he shares his secrets to creating amazing cityscapes. Great cityscapes start with great captures, and Serge begins the class with a discussion of camera settings and his approach to being in the right place at the right time. After the photo is taken, Serge steps through his editing workflow in Lightroom. Starting with the global edits that lay the foundation for a strong cityscape, Serge moves on into a detailed look at how to use all of Lightroom’s local adjustment tools to take your photos to the next level. Whether you are shooting with a DSLR or smart phone, and from stitched panoramas to merged HDR, Serge shares the tips and techniques that you can use in all kinds of situations.
In Case You Missed It Consider this your very own photographer-friendly guide on where to go for the best photographs of London, England. Join Scott Kelby and Larry Becker as Scott shares his favorite locations to shoot, along with the kind of veteran traveler tips that will help you capture images that you’ll be delighted to bring back home. Timing is everything, so you’ll not only learn where to go, but what times will yield the best chances for great photographs. This is strictly a travel guide for photographers (including a downloadable PDF), so there’s no Photoshop or Lightroom involved, just the kind of information that will aid you on your photographic journey and inspire you to get out there and shoot.
Let me introduce myself. I have been the Chief Sports Photographer of The Sun Newspaper in London, England for the last 29 years. It’s my job to fill the sports pages of the UK’s best selling newspaper, with over 1.6 million papers sold daily and with over 45 million unique viewers to our digital platforms.
12 months ago I covered my sixth Olympic games, on this occasion in Brazil, where I followed some top British athletes in their quest for gold at the games, getting up close to them in training and getting great access to them before going to the games.
I also covered my 10th European soccer championships in France, my 35th Wimbledon All England Championships, my 35th English Football Season, England’s summer cricket campaign, and many professional boxing bouts working in conjunction with some top fighters.
It’s been a busy few years in the game!
I have been honoured to have won three major industry awards for my work, including The Sports Journalism award for my picture of a double handed save by England’s Joe Hart voted the best football picture of the season. I also won two awards from our National Football Association for the same picture and for a goal celebration by Daniel Sturridge against Wales. Plaudits like these make you strive harder to keep trying to get those images we all remember.
I started the campaign by photographing our Olympians.
First was Adam Peaty, our gold medallist in the games. I wanted to photograph Adam in the pool using strobe lighting. I shot with a Canon 1DX Mark II and 400mm f/2.8 lens using two Elinchrom D-lite RX strobes with a fast syncing connection and two soft boxes and two assistants hanging over the pool lighting Adam. I powered the lights with a Godox power pack and took no more than 5 attempts before I knew I had my shot.
Next came Matthew Hudson-Smith, a British track and field sprinter who specializes in the 400 metres. We photographed him in the National Indoor Arena, again using two fast syncing Elinchrom D-lite RX strobes. This time I shot with a Canon 1DX Mark II and a 300mm f/2.8 lens on a tripod. We used a beauty dish to the front with a grid on it, as well as a soft box in front, and a grid with a blue gel on it behind, just to change the colours.
My third assignment was well out of my comfort zone. I had to photograph Claudia Fragapane, who is an artistic gymnast. This was a challenge, knowing nothing about this sport. She was wonderful to photograph! She showed me the most dangerous move that she did, so all I had to do was try and light it. I used three fast syncing Elinchrom D-lite RX strobes and shot with a Canon 1DX Mark II and 85mm f/1.2. We used a beauty dish to the front with a grid on it again, we also used two grids to the front and rear.
The result was nice but it needed something else. I used a Topaz star burst filter in post production and it made the image pop. She was pleased with the image and that was good enough for me.
Next, it was down to the National Sailing Centre in Plymouth where I photographed gold medallist sailor Giles Scott. I did not have a clue about sailing, but he was great. He allowed me to bolt on Canon 600EX-RT flash guns and sealed them with house hold kitchen film because of the salt water. These were fired with an infrared transmitter. I shot the image with a Canon 1DX Mark II and a 24mm-70mm lens. The strobe light made the image pop beautifully.
When we finally got to Rio for the Olympics, it was full on chasing Brits winning medals. The city handled the games well, but the distances between the events put lots of stress and strain on photographers getting from A to B for events, not to mention the crime aspect. You had to be vigilant 24 hours a day to protect your equipment and your personal belongings. I luckily had nothing stolen, but knew of people having things stolen.
My favourite image from the games was of Mo Farah, who won the Men’s 5000m Final. He did his thing very easily and won the race, but the image came after the race. He had finished his lap of honour, and from behind a stand came running out and jumped in mid air with a union jack flag behind him. I was using a Canon 1DX Mark II with a 300mm lens. This image was corner to corner in the view finder. Many photographers cut fingers or cut off the top of his head, but luckily for me I got the frame.
The English Domestic football season was dominated by Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United. Chelsea had a new manager, Antonio Conte, who came in and won the Premier League in his first season. The night they clinched the Premiership, the players were celebrating with him. They grabbed the manager and started to throw him in the air. Luckily for me I was positioned perfectly! They threw him up and threw a banner that said “The Champions.” This was taken on a Canon 1DX Mark II with a 500mm f/4 lens.
Manchester United won the League Cup at Wembley Stadium. The game was won in the dying minutes of the final half with a winning goal by Zlatan Ibrahimovic. I took an amazing image on a remote camera positioned behind the goal with a Canon 1DX and 24mm f/1.4 with Pocket Wizard. My paper loves these pictures because of the angle its taken from.
People who know me well know that I love to photograph boxing, the fights as well as the previews building up to the fight. One fight in particular was Anthony Joshua vs Wladimir Klitschko. The fight was set to take place at Wembley Stadium in front of 90,000 people. The build up in the UK was massive. Luckily for me, I had access to Joshua before the fight. This is where all the KelbyOne videos I’ve watched paid off.
I turned a nice image of Joshua into an amazing front cover of the pull out for my paper. It was taken on a Canon 5Ds with a 85mm f/1.2 and three Elinchrom D-lite RX strobes using soft boxes with grids.
The highlight of the summer sports for me is the Wimbledon All-England Tennis Championships. 14 days of sunshine, great working facilities, great pictures and a great place to have the privilege of working. You have to have your wits about you all the time.
It’s not just tennis, you have to watch for celebrities arriving and enjoying the tennis, members of the Royal Family having a day out, including HRH The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. You must not point a long lens at the Royal Box during play, which is one of the rules of Wimbledon that is observed by the press pack.
This year there were celebrities like Eddie Redmayne, Bradley Cooper, and singer and actress Grace Jones. The women’s championship was won by Garbine Muguruza and the men’s was won again by Roger Federer.
I am one of the lucky ones who are allowed on the court for the trophy presentation, but there are certain rules that have to be observed. No shorts, only trousers and a shirt must be worn to take the pictures, and definitely no monopods allowed on the grass. All cameras have to be hand held.
I use two Canon 1DX Mark II bodies and one Canon 1DX at Wimbledon that are cabled to the internet for direct picture transmission to our photo editors in the media centre. I use 500mm, 300mm, and 70-200mm lenses for celebrities and tennis action pictures.
Another summer sport for us Brits is cricket. There are three forms of the game: 20/20, which is fast a furious a bit like baseball, then there is 50 over cricket and the last is a five day test match between England and South Africa which I had to cover. Basically you have to be there for a 9:30 photo briefing to pick your working position for the day. You watch every ball bowled from 11am till 1pm, then 1:40pm till 4:40pm, then from 4pm till the official close of play at 6pm. Luckily the BBC provides great radio commentary, so this helps when the play gets slow. This can go on for four days without a result, or if you get lucky you can get a result inside three or four days. Days four and five turned out to be big moments in the game.
Ben Stokes, English bowler, bowled Faf Du Plessis of South Africa on the fifth day England spin bowler to a hat trick and bowled out the last three South African batters for no runs, and then was mobbed by his England teammates after he secured victory in the match.
My final two pictures of the year I want to talk about are from the IAAF World Athletics Championship most recently held in the London Stadium, which was formerly The Olympic stadium for 2012 games. First night action, especially for the British fans, was Mo Farah competing in the 10,000m. The anticipation of the crowd was electric and the noise was so loud. 25 laps of the track in the last event, Mo was being pushed about. He had a spike put into his leg, elbows, the usual thing. On the last lap he went for the front and took the lead. The roar of the crowd was nothing that I have experienced since 2012. He came hammering towards us, and for me it was go small with a 300mm lens or stay strong and go with the 500mm.
Mo knew he had the victory on the line. Arms went out wide and the eyes popped! What a great picture on the first night.
My final image was on the Saturday night of Usain Bolt’s last ever race in the 100m against his rival Justin Gatlin. The British media had hyped this race up over Gatlin’s past with drugs. The race was terrible for me. Bolt was in lane four, Gatlin in lane nine. Anyway, on your marks, set, go, the only thing you can do is keep an eye on the track and the giant video screen, 60 yards out is decision time. I go on Bolt.
He comes across the line in third, not a frame on Gatlin. Then, by luck, Gatlin looks to the video screen and sees he has won. Bolt comes to him and holds his hands out, Gatlin then goes down and bows to the greatest sprinter in history. What a picture perfect positioning for me! An incredible two days for me to finish a calendar year in sports photography.
My genre is travel, and I’ve spent years perfecting travel photography and learning the best ways to shoot travel. This week, I’m not going to share my killer tips with you on how to take better travel photos, but I’ll tell you how to take the best travel photos! There’s no point holding back, let’s get it done!
Think about the light
The easiest way to make your subject appeal to the complex, little, biological device that is the human eye is to think about the light. It’s the beautiful light that makes the image over the subject. Take this example:
In this photo above, we have an indistinct field of sunflowers. It’s in Germany, but it doesn’t matter where it is, and I’ll bet the farmer who owns this field wouldn’t even recognise it in the photo. The next photo is of one of the world’s most recognisable places, but the light makes it much less attractive despite our brains being wired to like familiar things. The difference that the right light can make is amazing. Consider the time of day, and the position of the sun (or other light source). Trust me in saying there’s no time like sunrise—people are still in bed, the atmosphere tends to be calm, the colours (not colors) tend to really pop, and for the photographer, the resulting image can be a huge reward and a great start to the day.
Let’s take the Eiffel Tower, again. Google it, and you’ll find 61.5m results, most of which look pretty similar to one another. That’s the crowd, and you need to stand out among it! It’s a pretty big challenge and to overcome it, we absolutely must be original. That means be creative with our perspective, our content, composition, light, focus point, everything! If we can capture a place along with a person and/or a thing, then we stand a half decent chance of changing things and even becoming the rose (British reference. Go team!) among the thorns. Here’s what I mean…
This is a shot I took (which Scott stole—he must’ve read Glyn Dewis’ book) in Paris a few years ago, giving a different view of the Eiffel Tower.
Twist into portrait
Taking a tall photo, rather than a landscape one, will work wonders with many scenes and gain much more attention in today’s smartphone-oriented world. The days where most people look at photos in landscape mode on a desktop or laptop computer screen are passing, and now it’s far more likely that your photo, when viewed online, will be portrait-oriented on the screen of a phone or tablet. And, if you want to go so far, let’s not forget that magazine covers are set that way, too. When we scroll through Instagram, we are far more likely to engage and react to a photo which fills the screen, for example.
Emphasise the person
When you take a portrait, make sure it really is a portrait. Capture the person and make sure the photo is all about them in any and every way you can. If you choose to reflect their character, their location, their emotion, make sure their personality comes with it and that the photo evokes thought about the subject with your viewer. If you present someone in your photo and the viewer goes away wondering about their back story, then you’re winning.
Think about your composition
Look, then think, then look, then think—just make sure you’ve really nailed the composition. Take a look around, suck in what surrounds you, look for leading lines, look for foreground elements, break things up into threes or into spirals. If you give yourself a second to think about what’s going on and being more deliberate about your composition, your photo stands a much higher chance of catching people’s eye.
When you go somewhere new, and most of the places we go when shooting travel are new, it’s a very, very good idea to put in the time to research where you’re going. Learn the local stories, the specialties, the history, and find the best spots for your photos. Two of my preferred (and tried and tested) ways to do this are to get on Pinterest and Google Maps. There is a LOT of information out there from people who have been before, so make the most of their experiences and use their information. You’re doing it right now! On Pinterest, we find a whole variety of photos, articles, and tips on locations simply by searching the right keywords. We can save our favourite bits and pieces straight to our own board and build a plan from there. Once we know where we’re going, or at least where we think we’re going, we can save the destinations on Google Maps and even download an offline version of the area just in case our cell phone loses data while we’re there roaming. Put in the legwork beforehand, and be armed with knowledge, and don’t forget that there’s a reason they say “failing to prepare is preparing to fail.”
And that, my friends, is how to be the BEST travel photographer! Now that you’ve taken the photos, show them to the world!
Hi everybody – I’m back from a whirlwind trip out West – three seminars in one week (LA [seen above], San Francisco & Seattle), plus a talk at the Canon Experience Center in Costa Mesa. Had a really fun time, and met some really cool people along the way. Thanks to everybody who came out. OK, onto what’s up this week:
The Eclipse is here Hope you caught Erik Kuna’s excellent post on Friday called ‘7-tips for shooting the Eclipse’ and if you didn’t, here’s the link. Erik and Kalebra hosted ‘The Grid’ this week and their topic was photographing today’s eclipse and there’s lots of great info that episode as well, so I’m embedding it here below. Hope you get some great shots!
2017 Worldwide Photo Walk Update We’re just a couple of weeks into this year’s walk and it is already rockin’! Here’s a quick look:
Photo Walks already up and running (you can join these today): 547
Cities with approved walks not yet released by the leaders: 949
Photo Walks started by leader and in draft mode (almost ready): 84
Number of walkers signed up for walks so far: 5,272
New Photo Walk Prize Category for Kids More and more parents are bringing their kids along on our Photo Walks, and getting them involved in this social photography event, and so this year, with Canon’s gracious help, we launched a new prize category for the competition for kid’s under 16-years-old, and the winner in this Youth category gets all this stuff:
How cool is that!!!! A big high-five to Canon, and all our sponsors who stepped up big time to support this new category for our youngest walkers. :)
My September Seminar I’ve only have one Lightroom seminar date coming up in September (I had to reschedule Houston and Dallas due to a scheduling conflict), but it’s in an awesome place — Denver, Colorado. Hope you can join me for the day.
Good luck tonight at the eclipse. Here’s to staying safe, and getting some once in a lifetime shots! :)