Shooting & Compositing Commercial Projects with Tim Wallace Join Tim Wallace as he takes you through his entire process, from planning through completing the final composite, of photographing an airplane for a commercial project. In this class you’ll learn how Tim approaches the job, the planning that goes into each element of the final image, what factors you need to keep in mind when shooting, and how Tim pulls it all together in post processing. Through each step in the process, Tim shares tips and techniques he’s learned and developed from years of shooting similar commercial transport projects all over the world.
In Case You Missed It Want to learn how to photograph a car like a pro? Join Tim Wallace, a commercial photographer based in the UK, as he steps through the process of positioning, lighting and shooting a Ford Mustang convertible on location while providing real world tips along the way. It’s all about the angles, as you build up your lighting from the available light to however many strobes you need to achieve your desired result. Learn everything you need to know to ground the car in its environment and light it without it looking too lit.
The promise of photography the first time we pick up a camera body is overwhelming, nearly life changing! We’ve all been exposed to photographs, but to have that power within our own reach nearly takes our breath away that first moment we embrace that magical black box. Then we find our first photographic love in the viewfinder and all those feelings come rushing back to push our photography even further. For over 25 years, this was the feeling I got every time a critter filled my viewfinder! That emotional reward has kept me going out over and over again no matter the photographic reward. Then in 2008 my photographic world was blown apart and reassembled in ways I never knew were possible!
It was June of that year that my childhood of stories and model building were reunited in the viewfinder. I was incredibly fortunate to grow up spending the summer hiking the Sierra backcountry with my father, a WWII & Korean War vet. At night around the campfire when not staring at the heavens getting my nightly navigation lessons, my dad would share his stories with me being in a B-29. Those nights under the stars planted the seeds for much of my life to come, ones I wasn’t even aware were there.
What makes us the photographers we are comes from all our experiences we’ve had up to that moment we go click. I’m not talking about photographic experiences, but all of our life experiences! On that June morning in 2008, my 25 years of panning with birds to capture flight shots, along with my childhood stories around the campfire, came together in the viewfinder when that first aircraft at Reno Pylon Race School exploded my world! Just hundreds of feet away, the thunder of the engine vibrated the earth, getting louder and louder as it came closer… the explosion of air rushing by, and the thrill of experiencing 400mph up close and personal, and getting the shot. Wow! As I warn everyone I take out to photograph aircraft for the first time, “Don’t blame me if you get hooked,” because from that moment on, I sure was!
Where The Pixel Leads Us As we all painfully know, success with one photograph or one photographic shoot means you’re hooked, but then the real work begins. I was again incredibly fortunate in my career to hook up with folks very generous with their knowledge. Richard, a gifted aviation photographer befriended me, providing some key insight he’d learned over his years. Bob, an amazing pilot and gentleman took me under his wing to mentor me as we made the real decision to add aviation to our wildlife image library. What many call “reinventing,” we simply call natural growth as storytelling is in my genes. So the challenge beckoned!
I’m sure you’ve been there, from that new camera experience, new photographic endeavor and finally the challenge. No matter the genre of photography you find continually in your viewfinder, how do you move the pixel forward? Fun, yep, fun, that’s what is key in making it all work as you go through the ups and downs it is to be a photographer! At least that’s what I do with a huge dose of passion. In this case I set my goals real high, and that’s to move from photographing aircraft from the ground to up into the skies. Like everything in photography though, getting there requires small steps.
Typically photographers start off with little if no foundation in the fundamentals of photography. Again I was fortunate in 2008 in having enjoyed some success as a wildlife and landscape photographer. For example, panning a 500mm lens hand-held with a speeding aircraft in the viewfinder was second nature after 25 years of chasing birds. And watching that background to make the most of it is landscape photography to me. And what all of these genres of photography have in common is the same as the photography you enjoy, light! In following that light I quickly went from a ground-based photographer to sky-based and over the past nine years, and it’s been a thrilling ride. It’s one you can do too!
What Is So Cool About Aviation Photography Any Who? That’s a darn good question, thanks for asking! When I’m asked this, the first thing I tell folks is it requires no special gear to start photographing aircraft. Seriously, any camera body and lens that has 200mm in it and you’re golden! With this in hand, the next thing I tell folks is access is open to everyone. All spring, summer and fall there are hundreds of airshows and fly-ins around the nation, permitting everyone with the same access to some amazing aircraft. With this equal playing field is the next cool thing about aviation photography, standing out from the rest!
This is where your skill and passion as a photographer comes into play. At most airshows, for example, the aircraft fly when we tend to think it’s the worst possible time of day for light, noon. If you start to create images of static or flying aircraft in this kind of light that stands out, you will instantly stand apart from the photographer standing next to you shooting the same thing. How?
What are you doing for exposure? Are you under ½ a stop to play up shadows and punch up colors? Are you watching your background to incorporate the small cloud? Are your basic hand-holding and panning skills top shelf so the photograph is tack sharp? Have you spent time with the static aircraft to understand the aircraft’s best angle for the light so you can incorporate that knowledge when it’s flying? How are your post production skills? Are you fixing or finishing your photographs? And most importantly, are you incorporating a passion for photography and subject that comes out in your photograph?
This is just partly what’s so cool about aviation photography! Let’s be honest here, as we’re all photographers, first, we can’t just own one body and one lens, especially when the bug has bitten us. Then there is the speed and sex appeal of our subject. The amazing folks who are part of our aviation heritage play a huge part of what makes it cool. Many aviation photographers primarily photograph the folks of aviation, the plane being just something in the background. Then there is the challenge in getting the shot in the worst conditions that everyone loves. And finally, getting out tomorrow to do better than you did today! And the best part and what makes this the coolest is that after all of these rewards and successes, there is still so much more. What I think is the ultimate reward!
The Sky’s The Limit! When you know that there is no limit, that the sky’s the limit. It’s an exhilaration that propels your photography to a whole new level! Air-to-air photography (not aerial) is an adrenaline rush like none other I’ve experienced! Literally hanging out of an aircraft with only a safety harness between you and the earth directing another aircraft like a remote control on a string with a camera in hand is a thrill I wish all could experience! That feeling the first time you put a camera in your hand is relived each and every time the prop turns heading off on a photo mission. That’s until the reality that you must, must produce at the very least a tack sharp image sets in. Then a panic greater than falling out of the plane strikes you!
You’ve gotta do better than the other guy, you’ve gotta do better than the last time, the next flight depends on your success of this one. What’s your secret ingredient to making it all come together in the viewfinder? Your passion for your subject. All the lessons you learned on the ground photographing parked aircraft as well as those flashing by at airshows come into play as the breeze slaps you in the face as you look out the door through your viewfinder. And hopefully you’re thinking this is all up your alley because it is!
Takeoff There are many traditions in aviation that naturally are transferred to aviation photography like helping the new guy. It’s one aspect I truly love about aviation because I’ve been a recipient of that tradition, which is why in large part along with Scott and the team at KelbyOne we’ve brought out Takeoff. From the cover, you might think this book is about aviation photography, and you’d be right. But man, it’s much bigger than that as photography is photography no matter the genre. Gear, flash, settings and basic techniques are part of Takeoff, as a firm foundation is required. What about the business of photography, printing and the real toughie for me, walking up to a stranger and asking to make their portrait? Yeah, that’s all in the book as well, because they are universal photographic challenges.
What Takeoff includes more than anything else is what photographers love, all the secrets. I lay them all out there because I have no secrets, but more importantly, I want you to move your photography forward no matter the genre that excites you! What kind of secrets you ask? How but the biggie, just how do you get an air-to-air photo mission? How do you make your photographs stand out from the guy next to you (the answers apply to any genre of photography)? How about getting your images published? Yep, that’s in the book too.
“They belong to everyone!” The first time Bob said those words to me, they really set me back on my heals. After 25 years of guarding the slide and then the file, the idea of just giving a file to someone was about as repulsive a business concept as they come. Bob and I were talking about the ownership of aircraft when he made that comment. He went on to say that he was just the momentary steward of that aircraft. He was just the one at the moment who got to share its history, tell its story. Ever since that conversation the giving of files to pilots has been kinda basic business practice and it has paid back in spades.
Photography, just like aviation, has many traditions, and one of its grandest is the telling of stories. It’s probably why aviation photography has become so incredibly popular because we are historians, visual storytellers at heart. May blue skies fill your horizon!
I’m Dave Williams, a.k.a., Hybrid Dave, and I’m here every Tuesday for #HybridDaveTuesdays at ScottKelby.com. Some of you know my friend Dodge, but some don’t. So, let’s talk about Dodge.
Dodge and Burn tools are commonly used among Photoshop professionals—the world of design and retouching holds them as basics—yet many hobbyist photographers and retouchers don’t quite get it. But, not getting it isn’t a problem—you may know what a spark plug does, but wouldn’t be expected to understand its inner workings, right? So, why should you be expected to understand the Dodge tool if you’ve never sat in a design class? If you’ve never used it, then this post is an introduction for you, and to be honest, I wouldn’t be surprised if you hadn’t because the Dodge and Burn tools haven’t always been as good as they are in the Creative Cloud version of Photoshop. I know I keep talking about them, but it’s those Adobe boffins, again! They’re good!
So, let me get back on track and introduce you to Dodge. If you select the Dodge tool, you’re going to use it to brighten areas of your image. You use the tool as a brush and paint into those areas with it.
It’s named after an old darkroom technique, which has been carried into the age of the lightroom. The term “dodge” derives from blocking a part of your negative to block it from the light, resulting in a lighter exposure. It may seem a bit counter-intuitive, and you may have re-read that sentence to check you got it right, so try not to overthink it, but look at it this way:
In a darkroom, you start with a negative slide and a white piece of paper. As you expose your paper to light, the developing image gradually becomes darker. So, to create areas which are lighter in the post-process technique, you block (or dodge) the light so that the white paper remains and doesn’t darken.
Crystal clear? It’s upside down thinking because it’s a technique originating from the world of negatives. Let’s not overthink that, though! Just remember: dodge = brighten.
So, here’s a little example: I shot this image in Arizona, somewhere in the Sonoran Desert National Monument area, whilst waiting for the sun to dip towards the horizon to get some drama on the cacti dotting the landscape. The light is pretty balanced, resulting in an evenly exposed shot, but I want to tweak it a little and add some highlights by dodging the main chunk of cactus on the right.
To do this, with the image open in Adobe Photoshop, we should work non-destructively and create a new layer to work on. With this layer selected, press Command-Option-J (PC: Ctrl-Alt-J), and it will replicate with a dialogue box opening giving the option to name it. Name this new layer “Dodge” and hit Return (PC: Enter).
Next up, open up the Dodge tool by tapping the O key or selecting it from the Toolbox. If you hit O and landed on the Burn tool or Sponge tool, hit Shift-O to cycle through to the Dodge tool. You’ll see this Options Bar appear up top:
If you look around, you’ll see there’s a drop-down menu labeled “Range,” which allows us to target either Shadows, Midtones, or Highlights with our adjustment. In this example, I’ll tackle the Shadows and Midtones, brightening them but leaving the Highlights as they are. The Exposure field is expressed as a percentage, and as a general rule of thumb when adjusting a landscape, you should set it at around 50%, but for a portrait, go down to around 15%. It really is done “by eye,” after painting a stroke and seeing what effect it has, then making adjustments to your settings as necessary.
What’s worth noting when using this tool is that every time you let go of that mouse button, or every time you pick up your pen from your tablet, it starts again. To add one layer at 15%, paint once; to add another layer at another 15%, paint again. I’ve painted over the entire cactus stalk here at 15% on Shadows and 15% on Midtones and this is my result:
The result is subtle, but it’s there. We can use this tool to draw attention where we want it—the stats show that the viewer’s eye is drawn to the brightest parts of our images. In terms of portraits, we can brighten facial features where we need to. It’s a multi-use tool, and a great one to have in our box.
So that’s Dodge. Have you met my friend, Burn? He’s just like Dodge turned upside down, darkening the bright areas ;).
Good morning, everybody from fascinating Marrakech, Morocco (we came here after my Photo Walk in beautiful Lisbon, but we’re heading back home tomorrow). Here’s the group shot from my Libson walk – I was very fortunate to have another great group of photographers, along with some of my friends join me on the walk, including Fernando Santos, Peter Treadway, Dave Williams, Roby Pisco, Mimo Meidany, Kathy Baitson and her/our new friend Gabby, Mike McCaskey, Piotr Trumpiel, and my big brother Jeffrey).
We had such a great walk, thank to perfect weather and an absolutely awesome walk route created by my friend Lisbon photographer Fernando Santos. What a perfect place for a photo walk. It was cool to meet everybody, including many who came from all over Europe to join us for a day of photos and fun. It was a perfect way to celebrate the 10th year of this Worldwide Photo Walk. :)
Group Shots From Around the World One of the highlights for me each year, is seeing the group shots from around the world come pouring in — it’s such a treat to see all those smiling faces, from every part of the globe, having fun and enjoying one of the great joys of being a photographer, which is hanging out with other photographers and making new friends in the process.
I’m still in Morocco (where the Internet upload speeds at our Airbnb apartment are among the slowest on the planet), I’m not going to be able to share group shots here, but folks are posting lots of them from walks all over the world over on my Facebook page (here’s the link). When I get back home, I’ll do another post and feature those shots, so post ’em here, post ’em there, but I’ll post them all when I get back. I get such a kick out of seeing all the group shots – it really means so much to me to see all the different folks that participated.
Thanks for helping the Orphanage (and if you haven’t yet, it’s not too late) Thanks to all the gracious photographers who donated to help those less fortunate by donating to the Springs of Hope Orphanage in Nakuru, Kenya, which this photo walk has adopted as our own. We’re behind last year’s numbers, so I hope you’ll find a way to help out with a donation — they are really counting on it.
OK, we’re off to wander the busy streets of Marrakech today — lots of photos and stories to share when I get back, but I have to at least share this one (below) — something we were just not expecting to see yesterday on our road trip to the ocean.
Thanks to everybody who participated in walks around the world. Hope you got lots of great shots, made some new friends, and maybe even saw a goat tree or two (hey, it’s possible). ;-)
It’s here and I’m so excited (and I can’t believe this is the 10th year in a row!) Greetings from gorgeous Lisbon, Portugal where this morning I’m leading a local walk here with 50 awesome photographers (and some of my dear friends from around the world, including my “Lisbon Connection” Fernando “Cheeky Nando” Santos) as part of my 10th Annual Worldwide Photo Walk, sponsored by the great folks at CanonUSA.
Here’s some “Day of Walk” stuff from me and the crew:
1. Our hashtag is #WWPW2017 On Twitter, follow @kelbyone and talk to us about photo walk using the hashtag #WWPW2017.
2. Post your group shots here One of my biggest thrills is seeing the Group Shots from walks all over the world come in, so if you have yours, please send me the link or leave me a link here in the comments so I can share them. DON’T FORGET to tell me your city and country for your group shot (in fact, it’s really helpful if you name your file with the city name and country, too!).
3. Keep an eye out for an email from us on where to upload your images to share with your other walkers Once the walk is completed, we will ALSO email all of you so you’re aware of how to upload a picture for the optional walk competition.
4. A big, big thanks to our sponsors, including our premiere sponsor Canon, for their gracious support and awesome prizes:
Here’s wishing you all beautiful weather, a safe fun walk, a chance to make new friends, and some of your best photos yet!
P.S.Don’t forget that the Spring of Hope Orphanage in Nakuru, Kenya is counting on us – I urge you to give the $1 donation and help some kids you don’t even know, which is makes it all the better because you’re truly giving from your heart.
It’s here!!! Tomorrow, in a thousand cities around the world, my 10th Annual World Wide Photo Walk kicks off, and by tomorrow night collectively we will have taken literally millions of photos. How cool is that!!!!
If you haven’t signed up for a walk yet:go here right now – find a walk near you and sign up free! (you can be walking with us tomorrow!).
If you’re already signed up to walk, here are SEVEN LAST MINUTE PHOTO WALK TIPSto make your day a success:
(1) Walk Leaders: Make Sure You Watch my Leader’s Video
If you’re leading a Photo Walk, go to your Leader’s Dashboard page on the Official Worldwide Photo Walk site and watch my video called my: “Top 10 (or so) Tips for Leading A Successful Photo Walk.” There is some VERY important info in that video, so please make absolutely sure you watch it before your walk.
(2) Get a Group Shot Right at the Beginning Remember to take a group shot before you head out for your walk (it’ll be much harder to corral everybody after the shoot, so get one right before you head out). Post them here, or post a link to them here, and I’ll post ’em on my blog next week and over on my Facebook page at http://facebook.com/skelby
(3) This is The Gear I’m Taking on My Photo Walk I’m going with a Canon 5D Mark IV body with just one lens; a Canon 70-200mm f/2.8. I’ll be using a Black Rapid strap (a strap that goes across your body, rather than over your shoulder) and a Lexar 64GB 1000X CF card.
(4) Don’t Forget to Wear Really Comfortable Shoes You’ll be doing a lot of walking, so make sure you wear shoes that make your feet happy. Don’t forget sunscreen (or a raincoat, depending on the weather for your walk).
(5) Charge all your batteries tonight Don’t forget to charge your camera batteries, clean your lenses (and sensor), and make sure you’ve got an empty memory card and a back-up.
(6) Brings LOTS of water (and drink lots of water!) This is key! You don’t want to dehydrate on your walk – you want to have 100% fun the whole time, so make sure you drink plenty of water before the walk, and during the walk – it makes a big difference in your enjoyment of the walk, and your safety and well being.
(7) The Most Important Thing Is… That You All Stay Safe Look out for each other on the walk. Don’t go into scary-looking areas, traipsing down deserted alleys, or anyplace that looks unsavory. Don’t get distracted by shooting – you don’t want to bump into, or trip over, anything. Get some great shots, and I’ll see you back here on Monday for a recap of the event.
Special thanks to Canon, the official Photo Walk sponsor, who gave us some incredible prizes for the contest portion of the walk this year) and to all our wonderful sponsors who made all of this happen, and to all the dedicated photographers around the world who volunteered to lead walks.
Also, a very special thanks to our Walk Leader Coordinator, Jeanne Jilleba, who once again did an absolutely outstanding job from start to finish.
My humble thanks to you all for being a part of this historic photography event. Can’t wait to see your shots!!!!!!
All my best,
P.S.Check your email for an email from us today, with a video about the Springs of Hope Orphanage, and make sure you watch our Photo Walk tips videos from yesterday – it’ll help you make better images, stay safe, and have more fun.