by Skip Cohen
Gareth Rockliffe is a good buddy, and he's currently on the road in New England. I caught up to him on a text the other day, and just for the fun of it, he sent me the image above. I love the power in this image and the way Gareth's choice of black and white, composition and technique, pull you into the photograph.
There's another piece of the backstory that's special for me personally. I lived in Boston for many years, and this is captured up north in the Rockport area at Lanes Cove, Cape Ann, MA. I asked Gareth for the "gearbox" and exposure triad, and he sent me the text below:
I love the "old school" comment. Going "old school" is like those favorite recipes we have for so many different things we enjoy, especially in classic cooking! "Old school" always works!
Gareth is no stranger to SCU. Check out his July podcast on "Beyond Technique." He shared a lot of great insight into the spirituality of life and imaging.
And his website is just a click away.
by Skip Cohen
Time for you to meet Joe Pellicone! A few weeks ago, images from his neon lights project were shared on the Platypod blog. I love it when artists give us a different perspective on subjects we take for granted. We've all driven by diners and buildings without thinking about how they look at night.
Joe started his "Neon at Night" project a year ago and has now accumulated 128 diners and other beautifully lit buildings - all with his camera on a Platypod. Besides his skill set, what makes the images so interesting is the angle he's working at - just a few inches off the ground.
Joe wrote about what :
I did my first diners with a tripod and quickly learned that it took too long to set up at each location. I had several encounters with diner employees or owners who came out while I was opening and placing my tripod. Some challenged me and questioned why I was taking photos. One was angry and threatened to call the police. I didn’t want to deal with the confrontation, I determined I needed to shorten my setup time so I could be in and out quickly. One thing that helped me with that was ditching the tripod and switching to a Platypod Ultra.
...Placing the rig on the ground adds an unusual perspective to my photos which I believe is an added bonus. Shooting low down gives the focus to the buildings, flattening out the ground in front of them and giving them a ‘hero’ look...The look is achieved by shooting in Aperture Priority at F22 and ISO 100. It provides me with starbursts on lights and gives a nice clear photo. These usually end up as long exposures running from 5 seconds to a minute.
Read Joe's complete post and check out more great images from Neon at Night. And, if you're in the NYC area, Joe's speaking at several camera clubs in the months ahead. Already on the schedule are: Syosset Camera Club on October 17, 2019; Suffolk County Camera Club on March 11, 2020, and the Port Washington Camera Club, May 13, 2020. Follow Joe on Instagram, his website and Facebook. He's always sharing great content.
A fun contest was just announced this week with some outstanding prizes including a first prize valued at just under $400! The theme is "Tight Spaces" and Platypod's looking for creativity, photography excellence and technique. All the rules are on Platypod's Instagram page, easily found with a click on the thumbnail below.
I've always had a problem with the way many photographers look at an album. For example, with a wedding album, it's not a book of photographs but the first family heirloom of a brand-new family. You're not selling pictures but tangible memories, and to the world outside the photographic industry, you're magicians.
Your clients deserve an excellent presentation of their images at a reasonable cost. At the same time, you deserve a reasonable profit margin. Well, Marathon's developed a full product line to help you increase business and profitability.
The team at Marathon has been fine-tuning and expanding their selection of Bella Albums, and the quality is excellent. Plus, you've got an infinite combination of paper stocks, printing formats, colors, textured covers, styles, embossing and the list goes on and on.
When we were fighting my mother's Alzheimer's, one of the greatest treasures was pulling out old family albums. She may not have remembered what she said five minutes earlier, but she looked at every picture. Each one took her back to that moment in time. Those albums brought back great memories and created new ones for us at the same time.
Your clients deserve great presentations of their images, whether it's a wedding, family sitting, or Day-in-the-Life shoot. Click on any image in this post to link to Marathon's Bella Albums pages. We're coming up to fall seasonality and the holidays. It's time you planted some unique gift ideas with your clients, and Marathon's team is ready to help!
by Skip Cohen
One of the fun aspects of this series is sharing the work of a different artist each month. As always, I continue to be amazed at the diversity and willingness of each featured "chef" to share their recipes.
Rick Friedman joins us in the Tamron Kitchen in this new episode. We had a hard time trying to figure out which image to share. I took the easy way out and featured two.
In this new Recipe, Rick's working with two different Tamron lenses, but the common denominator is Julianna Nicole, one of his favorite models. And, the two images are entirely different. But if you know Rick or have watched him at a Tamron demo, you know creativity is in his blood - along with always having fun!
"Fun," as I've written in the past, is one of those words too often lost in business today. We're so wrapped up in deadlines and the stress of each moment we often forget about having fun. Well, you can't have fun if your heart isn't in it - and Rick's an artist whose heart is in every click of the shutter.
Images copyright Rick Friedman. All rights reserved.
In the light-painting image below, I love the fun of Rick's comment about being in the picture, "That's fat me behind skinny her!" And photographers always have fun in Rick's workshops with his work-hard-play-hard style of teaching.
With every Tamron Recipes post, I like to find a quote that seems to fit our guest "chef."
"You gotta have fun. Regardless of how you look at it, we're playing a game. It's a business, it's our job, but I don't think you can do well unless you're having fun!"
About "Chef" Rick: Rick's based out of Boston and best known as a photojournalist, but in all honesty, I don't think there's anything he can't photograph. He's also become one of the industry's leading educators, especially in lighting. He started his workshops close to twenty years ago, and "fun" is always a key element in helping artists better understand how to improve their technique. His work has been published in magazines all over the world, including an episode of "Why?" right here at SCU.
Part II of Rick's recipe series is coming next Tuesday. You can be sure we'll be talking about lighting, creativity, education, and pushing the envelope with today's technology. His website is just a click away.
About the 100-400mm F/4.5-6.3 Di VC USD lens used in the portrait above: Click on the banner below to find out more about this outstanding lens. Rick captured the image of Julianna above with the 100-400mm at 400mm!
About the SP24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2 lens used in this image: This has become one of Rick's most favorite lenses and used in so many different situations. Click on the banner below to find out more about this remarkable piece of glass!
Both images were from Rick's workshops/presentations. The top image was captured at T&F Camera in Vineland, NJ. The second image was at a lighting presentation in the event space at B&H Photo in NYC. If you're looking for a great class on lighting and developing a stronger reputation as a pro, check out Rick's workshops.
Tamron never slows down on manufacturing some of the finest optics in photography. Visit your local Tamron dealer and take advantage of their special FALL SAVINGS program going on until November 2, 2019.
Image copyright Don Komarechka. All rights reserved.
It's Mirrorless Monday and the perfect time to share this image by Don Komarechka.
Don's no stranger to SCU. We've featured a number of his images, guest posts and a podcast or two - most recently on "Mind Your Own Business. He's an accomplished artist, educator, author, and over the years has become a great friend. I often refer to him as the Mad Scientist of Macro.
Don loves to take on challenges. He loves finding new ways to shift paradigms. It's like watching some of the best episodes of "Myth Busters." Over and again, he's taken us through new ways to capture and create incredible images.
He shared the image above on his Facebook page last week, with a detailed explanation of how it was created. It was too unique to not share again here at SCU for Mirrorless Monday! Don goes into the full backstory about the capture of the image on his Facebook page. It's well worth the read, but I pulled some fun highlights:
"A few simple ingredients at play here, all held together by a new accessory from Platypod – flexible gooseneck arms attached to their Platypod Max as a “base of operations” that performs exceptionally well for tabletop macro work!
...This image is novel for a number of reasons, beyond the cool gadgets I get to play with to make these setups easier and more robust. Another point of simplicity is that this image is not taken with a macro lens, nor was it focus stacked! This is the magic of the high-resolution mode in the Lumix S1R.
...Imagine shooting a 187MP image, which is possible with the Lumix S1R, and then intentionally throwing 90% of it away by excessively cropping. You’ll still have just under 19MP worth of image data to work with, and I had previously been shooting with 18-20MP cameras for my entire professional career."
LUMIX S1R Kit, Digital Mirrorless Camera
With 47.3MP MOS Full Frame, 24-105mm F4 L-Mount Lens
Don Komarechka needs to be on your radar.
His website is just a click away. While you're there, check out the pre-order special on his new book, Macro Photography: The Universe at Our Feet. Just click on the thumbnail to the right for more info.
Don never compromises on the quality of anything he does. So, if you're looking to expand your skill set into macro check out his podcasts, galleries and workshops too.
by Skip Cohen
Every time I write about this tour, I hear Willie Nelson singing "On the Road Again" in the background. It's day twenty-eight for the Bubble Trailer Light Tour. I've lost count how many photographers Suzette and Jonny have met over the last four weeks. If my calculations are right, they're also coming up on six-thousand miles and just about the halfway mark.
One of the most fun aspects of the tour has been the images Suzette's been posting and sharing all along the way. They're not only teaching workshops but using a lot of great gear at various stops on the journey. Her shot of the NYC skyline above is spectacular. It was captured with a LUMIX S1R and 24-105 mm lens - f16 @ 15 seconds, ISO 400. Make sure you click on the image to see it enlarged in the lightbox.
Nanlites are on the trip with Suzette and Jonny. If you don't know about the product line, they're just a click away. It's time to find out what all the buzz is about.
Suzette described the shoot, which was in the salt flats earlier on their trip:
"...We used the Forza 300 for the main light and then the Forza 60's for accent lights and for shooting later when we needed less power...and we can shoot with them on location where there is no power! Even the Forza 300 and 500 can be powered with a V Mount Battery,
One of the biggest advantages I see with the Nanlites is how they have one point of light instead of a panel of pin-lights. Often, the panel lights show as a freckled light in catchlights and even have a different light falloff than a strobe in a softbox. With the Nanlites, we can use the softboxes and get a perfect portrait quality of light, and that professional edge we have worked years to perfect. It's our leverage as a visible means of setting ourselves apart from the competition!"
The image below shows the set up for the shoot. What a kick using great gear that goes virtually anywhere!
Everywhere Suzette, Jonny and Ms. BT go they're meeting more photographers. Here are a couple of the stops they made this past week.
It takes great support from the industry to put together a tour like this. Obviously it starts with Suzette and Jonny's love for photography, people, and wanting to drive across the country and back! We all live in an Internet world - what a kick to spend time face to face with so many artists.
But, part of that love for imaging and people is fueled by some of the best companies in professional photography:
Where are they now?
The Bubble Trailer Light Tour needs to be on your radar. Here's the schedule for next week, occasionally dates and locations are subject to change. The complete itinerary is available with a click on the button below!
"I am a part of all that I have met..."
Alfred Lord Tennyson
by Skip Cohen
I've used that quote above so many times over the years. Every person we meet; each photograph or video we see; and each conversation we have all contribute a piece to who we are or become. Since I started working with the team at Platypod, I've been introduced to some of the most creative artists I've ever met. And they've shared one how-did-they-do-that image after another. Each image has been like the three degrees of separation game with Kevin Bacon - only instead of Bacon, the connection has been Platypod.
Platypod is so much more than an accessory for imaging - it's a creative tool that allows you to think outside the box, and change the perspective on how you're going to capture an image. It can go where tripods can't, and it's helping artists create new ways to capture every day. In the almost 200-year history of photography, there have never been more tools at your fingertips than today - and Platypod is part of that toolkit!
Stay tuned, because we're going to be sharing a lot of amazing images in the months ahead. We'll be talking with artists who are setting the standard for pushing the edge of the creative envelope!
You'll see what I mean when you watch the video below. I saw it for the first time a few days ago and loved it. The tripod is hardly dead, but like the video closes with - it needs a sidekick!
Click on any image above to listen to the podcast.
This year we're celebrating five years of incredible guests on the "Mind Your Own Business" podcast. It started in the spring of 2014 when Rich Harrington at Photofocus had an idea. We launched the first program in April of that year. A year or so later Scott Bourne joined me as co-host, and when Scott moved on to other projects, Chamira Young and I kicked off the expanded series in March of 2017.
To date we've done 70+ podcasts together, including "Beyond Technique," "Tamron Recipes," and at least two on Pro Photographer Journey. Through all of these guests, we've only had two previous episodes with sports photographers.
Terrell Lloyd joined us on this new episode. Terrell's the Senior Manager of Photography Services and Lead Team Photographer at the San Francisco 49ers. We not only talked about the challenges of being a sports photographer but many of the milestones of his journey. Terrell's all about relationship-building and he shares a lot of good insight in his story from starting out as a pro-bowler to today.
As I've written so many times over the years, the best thing in our industry isn't really about photography but the friendships that come out of everyone's love for the craft. Terrell and I go back to my early WPPI days and maybe further. When the 49ers played Tampa Bay a few weeks ago, we were able to get to the game and watch him in action.
Knowing how many stadiums and events have restrictions on DSLRs and often interchangeable lenses, I took the LUMIX FZ300. It was close to 100°, and we were ten rows down from the top of the stadium. I dropped an arrow into the shot on the right pointing to where Terrell was in the image below.
I needed a camera that could handle the challenge without the weight. With its 25-600mm fixed zoom most of the time it's perfect for what I need. There's a lot of horsepower packed into this camera, and at 1.5 pounds, even with a smaller sensor, it's great to travel with.
A big thanks to Terrell for joining us on "Mind Your Own Business," and for working in the time for dinner the night before the game. While social media is fun for staying connected - NOTHING beats quality time face to face!
Image copyright Jeff Allen. All rights reserved.
The fun of sharing this image isn't just because it's so spectacular, but because knowing about it is the result of social media. Here's the short backstory:
Meet Jeff Allen, a photographer from Battle Ground, Washington. We met on Facebook when I sent him an IM meant for my buddy Jeff Allen over at Tamron. I was inviting "Tamron" Jeff to dinner the next time he and the Tamron crew were on the road doing a workshop here on the gulf coast of Florida. Well, Jeff Allen responded with, "I think you messaged the wrong Jeff Allen lol... But sure! We'd love to have dinner!"
Nothing beats a great sense of humor, and when Jeff posted this image on Facebook yesterday, I had to share it. As always, I asked for permission along with the specs on the photograph.
This was taken with my DJI Mavic 2 Pro with the Hasselblad 20mp camera.
It has a 1 inch sensor. I was 400 ft from the ground, which is already about 600 ft above sea level.
So technically I took this about 1000 ft above sea level.
f/5 @1/400 sec ISO 100
Jeff needs to be on your radar. Follow him on Instagram. He shares a lot of beautiful work and he's just a click away!
And to both Jeffs, the dinner offer still holds, whenever either of you show up!
A few weeks ago I announced Platypod was on board as a new SCU partner. If you know me, or at least my reputation, I love working with companies who make quality products and applications I believe in. Platypod's got all the bases covered.
In the almost 200-year history of photography, there have never been more creative tools for photographers.
Platypod helps expand that list of tools, especially when it comes to situations where a tripod just isn't going to deliver what you need. For example, extremely low and high camera angles; or photographing in locations like a museum where tripods aren't typically allowed.
We're seeing so many creative applications. They're shared every day on Platypod's Instagram page.
Platypod is a remarkable family of products and growing all the time. There are now several "family" members, including the soon to be available goosenecks. And if you don't know about Platypod, check out the short review below shared this week by one the industry's finest and most diverse artists, Charles Maring.
Stay tuned because there's a lot about Platypod coming your way!
Image copyright Dave Williams. All rights reserved.
Intro by Skip Cohen
As I've written so many times, the fun of this industry isn't just about photography, but the friendships that come out of everyone's love for the craft.
Meet Dave Williams. He's a travel photographer, writer, educator, blogger and social media influencer based in the UK. Besides our mutual love for the craft, we share some great friendships, starting with the team at Platypod, the Kelby Media crew. I know as time goes on we'll find more common denominators.
Working together with the team at Tamron USA and Platypod, I saw one of Dave's images recently and talked him into a short guest post. The image above is a forty-seven-second exposure! It brings together Dave's creativity with Tamron's quality and Platypod's stability.
Dave might be based in the UK, and five-thousand miles away, but in cyberspace, it's only a click of a mouse! The Internet has made the world an incredibly small place, allowing us to share images, videos, and conversations in a way that's changing all of our lives!
Dave needs to be on your radar. Check out Dave's website with a click on his image above and follow his blog too. You'll also find more of Dave's work as part of "Travel Tuesday" today on the Platypod blog.
By Dave Williams
As part of a little mission to north Wales earlier this year I shot the lighthouse at Penmon Point.
Penmon Point Light is pretty iconic as far as UK lighthouses go. Guarding ships from the shallow, rocky waters of the Menai Strait between Anglesey and Puffin Island, this iconic black and white striped lighthouse has stood since 1838. Its purpose is to mark the channel of safe passage between the two islands. The sea here is rough, owing to the shallow waters, steep beaches, and underlying rocks. To get here involves crossing private land, and as such the landowner charges a toll of £3 ($4.50) which is used to maintain the road and land.
When you get to the end of the road there’s a car park and a small shop selling drinks and ice cream and offering restrooms at this popular spot, but I by-passed that and headed straight for the rocks. My aim in this visit was to shoot the lighthouse using a Tamron 70-200 f/2.8 and calming the sea with a 10-stop (ND3) filter.
I soon learned just how slippery the rocks were and began to take extra caution as I crossed them as far as I could to the waters edge, with that very water breaking around the rocks I was stepping on. I found my spot and set up my rig, which was entirely hanging around me from my BlackRapid strap: - I had my Nikon D810 with my Tamron 70 – 200mm f/2.8 lens which was attached to my Platypod Ultra with a 3LeggedThing ballhead, and I used the Platypod screw spikes to make sure nothing slid across the rocks.
On the front of the lens was my Gobe 10-stop filter, and firing the camera was a Pluto Trigger, controlled with my iPhone. The sky was overcast, which is fairly typical for us here in the UK, but there was just enough texture and difference in those clouds that the sky wasn’t completely flat. Just as the sun dipped below the horizon the clouds split, but I couldn’t hand around long as I had to go find my hotel for the night before shooting sunrise the next morning.
It was a long trip, but a trip that was absolutely worth making, and a shoot made simple and effective with the gear I was using.
Today, you've got the most creative tools in the history of photography. Many of them thanks to Tamron!
Tamron is manufacturing some of the finest glass in imaging optics. Isn't it time you visited your Tamron retailer?
Click on the banner above for more information about one of Dave's favorite lenses. And, check out the current instant savings promotion, which includes the 70-200 mm F/2.8 Di VC USD lens.
by Skip Cohen
It's no secret I'm a big fan of education and everything that helps artists raise the bar on their skillset, together with a better understanding of business and marketing. That's the foundation for everything we've been sharing here on the SCU blog since the beginning.
In the last few years, there have been some great boutique conferences launched. Each one has brought another outstanding experience to the party. Here's a new one not to miss.
Check out the 2020 PAS de DEUX Dance Photography Conference. If you're an artist with a focus on dance, there's an exciting conference coming up in Phoenix in January. I'm excited to be helping its founder, Ron McKinney help spread the word.
What I love most about this conference is that it's intentionally meant to be small and maximize the education and experience for each attendee. Ron's brought together six of the most recognized dance photographers in the industry. This is an opportunity for you to spend time with speakers Rachel Neville, Eric Pare and Kim Henry, Jordan Matter, Taylor Ferne-Morris, David Hoffman and Jonathan Givens.
Jonathan Givens is on the platform as a featured speaker, and he's no stranger to SCU. Just click on his image below to listen to his episode of "Why?"
From raising the bar on your skills to networking and expanding your creativity, it's destined to be a conference to help you thrive. If you've got an interest in dance photography, click on the banner above for more information!
Image copyright Lisa Garcia. All rights reserved.
by Skip Cohen
For years I've talked about the best thing about our industry - the friendships. Out of the mutual love for the craft, we meet other photographers at conventions, workshops, in our community and online in cyberspace.
Meet Lisa Garcia, a talented artist here in Sarasota. Had it not been for our mutual friend, Bobbi Lane we might not have met. If you know Bobbi, then you also know that looking at her circle of friends is like playing the Kevin Bacon, three degrees of separation game. Think back, and I'm betting many of you can link to somebody who knows Bobbi, and no more than three degrees away.
All of us had lunch together last spring when Bobbi and husband Lee Varis were here in Sarasota. We had a chance to visit Lisa's studio in St. Armands Circle, and her work is stunning. The image above won a bronze award at the Portrait Masters Conference in 2018, further recognizing Lisa's success as a visual artist.
Lisa's work is beautiful, but I loved her backstory even more:
A quick back story on this client: She was 58 and was going through a lot of changes in her life. She was in a place of wanting to see herself in a different way and asked to be photographed nude. When I asked how she wanted to be photographed she simply said…I trust you. She loves and cherishes her images. She still to this day tells me that that day changed her life. Sometimes it isn't just about the end result of the photograph, but the journey that is taken to get there. I am humbled by the women that I have had the honor of photographing over the years. It is my spiritual journey as well as theirs.
There's a very special ingredient when it comes to capturing and creating remarkable portraits...trust.
Being a great photographer isn't just about technique, but relationship building. It's about your clients trusting you to listen and understand what they're hoping you can capture. If you love the craft like Lisa does, then you also know creating a great experience for the subject goes both ways. I love her line about her sessions often being a spiritual journey for her as well her clients. It's that dedication and love for the craft that gives Lisa the ability to capture images like the one above.
Lisa's studio is just a click away.
by Skip Cohen
OTR is for "On the Road" and with the schedule for this tour, I can hear Willy Nelson singing in the background every time I look at the map!
Last week two great photographers, Suzette Allen, and Jon Yoshinaga, hit the road with their "partner in crime" Ms. Bubble Trailer. In the tradition of "Where's Waldo," we're going to track and share their 13,000 nine-week journey each week and also give you a peek at where they're headed next.
It's an incredible undertaking in hands-on education and networking. It's going to give so many of you a chance to raise the bar on your images, pick up new techniques and see some of the latest products/services from some of the industry's most progressive companies.
Along the way, in between formal classes, this trip is about seeing America and sharing images. Suzette wrote about last week when hitting the Bonneville Salt Flats:
...We decided to invite our friends, the Chopstick Guys! They are a couple fo fun-loving, sushi-eating photographic educators and photographers and they did a fab class out there a few months back...Then we connected with Bry Cox in Salt Lake City and we had a creative photo party! Bry brought a couple models, Pamela and Addie, and we got some great shots with them and Ms. BT of course!
...We set up our new NanLites, which are super bright LED lights. that enabled us to do video as well. I loved the way we could separately light up the trailer and the model and have a perfectly lit look, making them pop on a cool blue backdrop!
Check out Suzette's complete post with more great images from the Salt Flats.
Great programming like this doesn't happen without strong industry support. What a kick and an honor to be part of the craziness of a 13,000 mile adventure and thousands of photographers who Suzette and Jon will be with in the weeks ahead.
In 1827 the first photograph was captured, but it wouldn't be until 1837 when Louis Daguerre captured an image that took less than eight hours to expose! However you look at when photography was invented, in the 192-year stretch, there have never been more creative tools at your disposal.
Our good buddy and industry icon Rick Sammon just brought one more creative tool to the table. This is his fortieth book, further establishing his reputation as a leading author, educator, artist, podcaster, and a good friend to so many of us in the industry.
Rick's been an inspiration to so many of us over the years, but usually, it's through the lens of his camera. His new book is about bringing your heart into imaging. And, if you think about it, it's your most important creative tool.
You can't create images that tug at people's heartstrings if your own heart isn't it.
Photo Therapy Motivation and Wisdom: Discovering the Power of Pictures is a book about life and the role photography plays. It's loaded with incredible insight, starting with Trey Ratcliff's foreword. Rick described the book as:
Understanding why and how we are motivated to make pictures – and what your photography means to you – is of the utmost importance. So is learning about emotional intelligence for photographers, how to steal like an artist, realizing that it's never to late to be who you might have been, and understanding the difference between looking at seeing. Exploring light and color therapy also helps. Rick Sammon
Packed with wisdom, it also includes 20 motivating self-assignments along with what Rick refers to as "Sammonisms." This is about the value photography plays in all of our lives. It's not about capturing stunning images but understanding the role imaging plays in having a stunning life.
Rick should be on your radar. Keep tabs on everything he's doing with a click on the picture of him above and link to his website.
What has four legs, four eyes, moves on six wheels and is jam-packed with energy, creativity, and fun education? I'm sure you guessed the answer. In just a few days, Suzette Allen and Jonny Yoshinaga are going to kick off an incredible adventure. It's a photographic tour, unlike anything any of us have experienced. Even better, there's an opportunity for so many of you to be involved.
Years ago, my good buddy Tony Corbell got me using the word "knucklehead." I use it as an expression of endearment, usually referencing somebody's incredible creativity, thought process, risk-taking, passion for life, or simply all of the above. Well, Suzette and Jonny are two of our favorite knuckleheads, and they're about to open their doors to everyone along their 13,000-mile teaching and sharing tour of the US.
Supported by a stellar team of outstanding sponsors, you can be sure there will be plenty of surprises along the way.
It all kicks off on September 6 at Bay Photo with ten programs in just September alone! Programs like this don't come along very often. As one of the sponsors, we couldn't be more proud to be a part of the craziness and fun this team is about to share coast to coast. Remember, "fun?" It's one of those words that's too often lost in business today, but we're all in this business because we love it!
The program schedule just for September is below. Click on any program date for more information. And,click on the road map or the banner above to follow their complete schedule. Tune in here for weekly updates, podcasts and posts every Bubble Trailer Tuesday!
September Event Schedule
There's an incredible amount of helpful content on the WestcottU site. And it's all FREE.
It's "Wednesdays with Westcott," and I found the perfect piece of inspiration and support for a lot of you! Scrolling through, I found a topic that speaks to the help, so many of you need - product lighting. Now, before you roll your eyes, and suggest I don't know what I'm talking about because you don't do product shots and you're not a filmmaker.
Let's use wedding photographers as an example. I love going through the list of specialties to find out what everyone in each of my workshops is doing. When I ask about tabletop work, there are almost no hands that ever go up. Yet, wedding photographers have the toughest of all table-shots to get - the wedding take. And, what if the bride is using her great-grandmother's engraved cake knife and she wants the detail?
Then there are those of you who like to share product shots on your blogs as both still images and video. For example, coming up to this year's holiday season, you want to show a new frame line, albums or presentation boxes from a company like PhotoFlashDrive. (Note, I love their products to completely upgrade your client presentations!) You need to show these products with the same professional look you're working hard to achieve in all your work.
Tips for Capturing Tabletop and Product B-roll
This video was inspired by seeing how some of our favorite content creators have been using Flex LED mats in their production workflows. Whether doing an unboxing or creating a cooking channel, compact Flex light are awesome for creating a professional set even in the tightest of spaces. For this setup, we used a few Flex LED lights along with a variety of modifiers to create multiple lighting setups for a standard tabletop b-roll shoot. But before we got started, there were a few things we needed to prepare…
After we got our environment ready, it was time to begin placing our lights. When shooting tabletop b-roll, there were a few questions we had to keep in mind while setting up.
These things will typically be determined by the products that you’re shooting. If the items are extremely shiny, dark, or reflective, you’ll need to be aware of reflections as well. Shooting with a monitor is extremely helpful in this case, allowing you to see the finer details. Here, we were shooting on an A7III with HLG2 into an Atomos recorder using Kit and Gamma Assist.
For the shot above, we placed a Flex 1x1' Bi-Color mat in a China Cube overhead. This created a very soft key light. We used blocks on each side of the cube to flag the light off of the background and edges of the table, keeping the focus on the products. This light was set at 4500k.
Then, we added an edge light and back light to add some contrast. The back light, a Flex 1x1' RGBW set to a bright blue tone, was softened with a hard diffuser and mounted below the the table with a QR Mount. We placed an egg-crate grid on this light to really direct it onto the wall. This light reflected back onto our products slightly, acting as a subtle edge light.
Don't forget everything you buy, when connecting to any product from an SCU blog post or through the door to Westcott below puts 10% of your purchases in the funding for Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. As a Westcott affiliate, SCU keeps no commission but for the rest of this year, directs it to one of the industry's most recognized nonprofits.
Westcott never slows down on their efforts to help photographers raise the bar on their skill set and capture the very best in imaging. And, their YouTube channel is packed with great content plus a never-ending flow of inspiration on the WestcottU site!
By Chamira Young
There's nothing like upgrading a lens and seeing how it can revolutionize your work. I recall the first time I decided to do my first lens upgrade years ago, and couldn't believe I hadn't done it sooner! The quality of my work instantly skyrocketed, especially as I tested and became familiar with my new equipment.
Speaking of testing and becoming familiar with new glass, today's post is going to demonstrate how versatile and fun Tamron's SP 15-30mm F/2.8 lens is. A great piece of glass is a powerful asset to any photographer's repertoire, and when it comes to high quality glass, Tamron walks the walk. I decided to embark on a journey to see how flexible this lens could be while still maintaining high-level quality. Spoiler alert: I was not disappointed in the least! From up close portraits to panoramic shots, this lens is great for a variety of situations.
The first thing I used it for was a high school senior portrait session. The setting was a Michigan overcast afternoon with rain threatening at any moment. The lens was sensitive enough to grab sharp photos, and all I needed was a little extra fill light for the shadows falling across my subject's face.
I also decided to try out an up-close portrait of yours truly, as it was time to update my self-portrait. For this shot, I was indoors against a black backdrop, with the shades drawn and just one key light in order to give it a dramatic flair. I used Westcott's Ice Light 2, which was perfect for the challenge and so efficient in a situation like this. After some creative editing in Photoshop, I was quite happy with the result.
Next, I couldn't resist heading down to my favorite local park, hopping on my kick scooter, and grabbing some fun nature shots. I absolutely love the level of both foreground to background sharpness the lens was able to capture.
Finally, I wanted to really push the envelope in terms of how large of an object I could capture, so grabbing a shot of a local freighter crawling by was the logical decision. This behemoth felt like it was practically on top of me, and yet the lens allowed me to capture it in its entirety. As for the bridge behind it, I managed to capture a solid chunk of the structure.
All in all, it was fun getting out in a wide range of situations and seeing what this baby could do! Tamron never compromises on quality, and their SP 15-30mm F/2.8 lens is a great addition to many photographers' arsenals.
By the way, if you're going to be attending ClickCon in Chicago, be sure to visit the Tamron booth August 5-6 and check them out for yourselves!
"The S series is just the perfect creative tool!"
by Skip Cohen
Somehow I missed this video featuring Annie Griffiths in Patagonia with the LUMIX S1. Panasonic's NEW full-frame mirrorless camera is remarkable, and so is the amount of excellent information she packs into a three-minute video. Click on the images to view in the SCU Lightbox, but keep in mind these images were pulled as screenshots - so imagine the impact of the originals!
And if Patagonia is on your bucket list to visit - you're about to be there through Annie's eyes. I love the way this video gives you a tour of the country AND the camera!
Annie Griffith needs to be on your radar. Follow her and the entire US LUMIX Ambassador team. And, you'll find them speaking/teaching at LUMIX retailers and conventions all over the U.S. They're one of the most diverse and creative teams in professional photography, and should all be on your radar. You'll be surprised at how much great content they share.
Check out the complete S series family and also more videos and tutorials with a click on the banner below.
Intro by Skip Cohen
Now and then there's an image shared on Facebook that simply deserves to be seen by more photographers. My good buddy Scott Bourne knocked it right out of the park on so many different levels with his shot of the eagle above. Click on the image to see it enlarged in the SCU Lightbox, and keep in mind I'm sharing a screenshot of Scott's photograph on Facebook. Now, imagine how good the original print must be!
With the image above, Scott wrote the following:
This is a commissioned piece I made for one of my Chinese patrons. It is called "Go Fish?." I have never shown this image on social media before.
It is a bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) fishing in the Cook Inlet of Alaska. This is one of my favorites - not because of anything to do with the creation of the image but because it shows my favorite eagle behavior. Sometimes, when they aren't sure if they actually caught a fish they will bring their talons up to their beak to see what (if anything) they caught. Kind of cool.
Get Olympus OM-D E-M1 MK II, Olympus 40-150 f/2.8 Pro Lens at ISO 500 - f/7.1 - 1/2000 - hand held from a moving boat.
Corrected in Luminar and finished in Topaz Impression II.
Check out more of Scott's work on his blog. You'll never be disappointed in the images or great advice he shares! Just click on the banner below. And, make sure you check out his workshop schedule.
ClickCon 2020 Circle the Dates!!
It's rare that a first year conference has the power that ClickCon brought to the industry this past August.
The dates have been announced for 2020 at the Palmer House in Chicago. August 11-14!
What a kick!
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.