Archive for 'Events':
Our new studio is officially open! We had a great opening party this past weekend. Big thanks to everyone who came out. Was Cousin Dan not the most amazing show you’ve seen this year? Thanks to Ben Helfin as well for spinning his amazing collection of vinyl.
Now that we are officially open I wanted to let you know that we’ll be having regular events here in the new space.
The first event will be a live critique night February 18th at 7pm. Bring a chair, a beer, a box of tissues, and your work. We’ll have everyone throw their web site / flickr page / thumb drive / etc in a hat and Meg and I will randomly start pulling them out for live critique. We will be screen capturing this for the blog. It’s going to be a good time. We promise not to leave you hanging. I think doing this live instead of at our dining room table will bring the level of critique and conversation up. Critique nights will be a BYoB and BYoChair kind of event as there’s no telling how many will show up. Think of it like a night at the Laser Show at Stone Mountain just completely different.
In addition to critique nights we’ll be having a series of events with guest photographers and shooting/lighting hands on demos. I’ve moved to the Phase One system and I’ve talked to them and the good folks at Capture Integration about doing a medium format night of shooting here at the studio. We’ll set up lights, cameras, subjects, etc and you’re welcome to join us for a night of pitchers and pictures.
All events will be announced via Twitter / Facebook / G+ and our mailing list. Sign up on our mailing list here. Expect to see something happening here every four to six weeks as the schedule allows. All events will be open to the general public and will be free of charge to attend. If you have an idea for an event you’d like to see or a guest you’d like to hear drop it in the comments below.
Upcoming blog posts – Why I had to move to a bigger space (with more photos) and why I moved to medium format.
Alright folks, we are just a few days away from the next creativeLIVE three day class. It starts this Friday and it is called “The Foundations of a Working Photographer.”
I’ve been teaching workshops for about four years now and I’ve met hundreds and hundreds of photographers. I would venture to say that most photographers entering the industry today are self taught. You read blogs, watch DVDs, go to workshops, attend conferences, read books, and do a lot of trial and error. We all do that. We are all learning and growing and trying to move forward but from my experience working with a lot of emerging photographers these days I see a number of holes in a lot of people’s foundations. There are a number of missing ingredients and this weekend’s class is designed to identify those weak areas in the industry and fill them in with knowledge and practical advice.
The goal you should have for yourself is to be able to walk into an environment, size up your subject, your shooting conditions, and your camera bag and formulate a plan quickly, efficiently, and with a smile on your face. Before you ever open your camera bag you should already know which lens you are going to need. You should have an idea of where your subject needs to be, what your background will be, and what you are going to have to do to the light. It’s like the matrix. You have to see the code.
This Friday we start with the basics of cameras and lenses and knowing your subject. Can you run your camera blindfolded? Do you know it? I mean KNOW it? I mean KNOW KNOW KNOW your camera. When you walk in a room do you know which lens you need and why you need it? When you are ready for a new lens do you know EXACTLY which lens you have to purchase next and EXACTLY why you need and do you know EXACTLY what it will do and what it won’t do for you? Are you nailing your exposures? Do you know how far your in camera meter is off? Can you identify 18% grey quickly? Do you know that aperture is only a SMALL part that determines depth of field? It isn’t the only thing that determines that and sometimes it’s the LEAST significant part of the depth of field equation.
Do you know your subject? Do you know how to best light them and best photograph them? Do you know how to keep them happy while you are freaking out in your brain about the shoot? When it all goes to hell can you keep them engaged, keep the shoot going, and make it the best experience they’ve had in front of a camera? That’s all on Friday.
Saturday starts of with light. Available light, flash, strobe, mixing the two, etc, etc. Get rid of the plastic cocktail cup on your flash and grow as a photographer. It’s all about light. It always has been and always will be. We are going to be shooting a lot on Saturday. Working with light, working with our gear, working with our subjects, and taking lots and lots of technical questions via the creativeLIVE chat room, twitter, etc. I’m going to end the day with my take on Jeremy Cowart’s 90 minute portfolio. I’ll have a few subjects to work with and I’m going to try to create as many different looks and photos with whatever I have to work with in whatever environment I have to shoot in. We’ll be taking breaks from shooting to talk about the creative process, getting rid of fear, and moving forward when you don’t have it all figured out.
Sunday will be a recap on the technical and then it’s on to business and balance. If you are trying to do this for a living or would like to then you need to know how to position yourself in your market, how to price for your services, how to research the industry around you, and how to find a way to stand out from the crowd. If you begin to find success with any of this you may just find your personal life going down in flames. Photography will take everything from you if you let it. Sunday we will be ending the day with my love, Meghan, and I having a transparent conversation about work and life and family and the issues we face trying to keep it all together with a business and four kids aged 12 and under.
There are going to be times I get on a soapbox. There will be times I say things that aren’t a lot of fun to hear. This isn’t going to be all double rainbows and fluffy kittens. This is a hard damn job and there are some people who just aren’t cut out for it. Photography calls many but chooses few. I know what it’s like to find success in this field but it wasn’t until I was an utter failure in everything. I sucked as a photographer. I sucked as a business person. I sucked as a family man. I’ve seen the mess that this can become and it sucks. I’m going to do all I can to help you avoid some of this and hopefully increase your odds at being one of those who are called and chosen. I promise to leave you on Sunday with plenty to be thinking about and plenty to be working on. I’m going to also free you up from some of the stress you may be feeling about some things. Like, forget about branding. It really doesn’t matter for you right now. Go get a cheap blog and don’t spend a dime on a logo. Huh? Really? Yep. Go rock $50 portrait sessions like it’s nobody’s business… because it’s nobody’s business. You’ll see.
It’s going to be like flying a kite in a hurricane and it’s going to be a blast!
Do you have any initial questions right now? Things you really, really, really want to see covered? Drop them in the comments below. We will also be taking questions Friday, Saturday, and Sunday via the chat room and twitter. It’s free to watch all weekend and they will be rebroadcasting over night for those of you on other parts of the globe.
PS – I might get into my new personal project that I’m working on. A few of the images are above. If you know what project I’m speaking of don’t mention it in the comments.
I can never speak highly enough about Gulf Photo Plus in Dubai. It is a week long photography education event filled with some of the greatest teachers I’ve met. It’s small. It’s intimate. It’s in Dubai. It’s a pain to get there from here (US) but it’s so worth it. I’ve had the honor of teaching there for the past three years and I swear, at some point, I hope I can just go and attend as a student.
We had another shootout to end the week this year and it was a showdown between myself and photographer extraordinaire Joey L. I had no idea what the subject would be but I had an idea for a shot when I was walking into the auditorium. I had Dan pre-stage some gear in the back that would be ready when I called for it but I forgot all about that when Hakam walked on stage. I’ve never seen Tanoura dancing and I was in shock. He was so smiley and intense. The voice of Borat was ringing in my ears. Suddenly the whole plan I had was thrown out the window and I had to come up with something else.
To see what this post is all about you can watch a video of the event here…
My first thought was “slow shutter speed = motion blur”. I was going to go there first but then I thought that would be expected. Joey was the first to shoot and that was the route he went so I was glad I changed my mind. Eventually it is where Heisler went as well. I was down the hall in a separate room while he was shooting so when I walked in the door I had no idea who the subject was or what Joey had shot.
Always the one who is thinking about logistics I figured this guy was lured into doing this with the promise of some free photos so I damn well better get a portrait of him. If we both went for “art” shots he would never have gotten anything he would be happy with most likely.
I figured I would somehow work a portrait + detail shot into a diptych and call it a day. Thanks to the language barrier, my stress level, the fact I just walked in from teaching a location shooting class, the time limit, following Joey, and world effing class photographer, Gregory Heisler, busting my chop every step of the way, I ditched the diptych idea because I wasn’t really getting the portrait part of him that I wanted and I was already losing a lot of time. My mind was melting down pretty quickly on this one.
Then I thought that maybe I would get a “performance portrait.”
When I got the shot above I felt that at least I had gotten enough for him but I still needed my shot.
When I had Hakam start dancing I still had no clue where I was going to go with this. I was running out of time and had to do something. I had talked so much smack to Joey leading up to it I had to find something interesting so my mind went to “detail shot”. As he started dancing and I put a lens on him I saw his hands and I saw a horizontal frame and I focused in on that. I went vertical a few times but those images looked pretty boring. As that dress, or whatever it is, started to fly out I really saw a horizontal image and worked that till I got it. Finding his timing was the hardest part. Spraying and praying was not going to get the job done. It rarely does.
While I was editing I like this image…
I just about went with that one as my shot but I also liked seeing both hands in this one…
I like the hands and his neck so I picked that. Being Heisler was now stealing the show with his shot and I was having to deal with editing on Joey’s POS Macbook Air, I had a few extra minutes to get online, find a Polaroid frame in a google image search and present my shot on the screen in a Polaroid frame as a dig to Joey’s performance the year before as can be seen in this video…
Greg ended the evening really well. I loved his shot the most. Actually, I was looking over his shoulder while he was editing and there were a few other frames I liked even more.
The moral of the story is this…
A) You have to be ready to drop an idea and find a new one. Then drop that one too.
B) The real winner of these shootouts is always the audience even though I’m clearly the winner in any such event. ;p
C) Gregory Heisler is the man.
D) Joey L can eat sand.
E) Forgo buying that 85mm 1.2, buy a used 85mm 1.8 instead, and spend the money to go to Dubai next year and hang out for a week at an amazing conference. Seriously. That’s what I would do.
I’m really excited about the next creativeLIVE weekend I’ll be teaching. I’ll be teaching April 29th, 30th, and May 1st. If you aren’t familiar with creativeLIVE the deal goes down like this. You can tune in and watch it live… for free! If you like it and want to see it again, you can buy the download. If you think it’s crap then you never have to pay a dime for it. Broke and can’t afford anything, then take the weekend off and grab a notebook.
The first class I taught was all about studio lighting. This class is going to be based more around a theme than one specific aspect of shooting. It’s built off of a talk I give called “Stuff you need to know to be a photographer”. That’s a one hour talk that I’m turning into a three day class. It’s almost a top 10 things you need to know kind of class but it won’t suck like most top 10 photography lists do.
So many of you have requested a class about business. Many requested natural light. Plenty of you want strobe + ambient. All of you want more “client interaction” and posing guidelines. Each of these could be a weekend class but I only have one weekend this year I can do a CL event so I’m going to open a fire hydrant on you and get a number of things covered. The creativeLIVE crew is already telling me to plan on staying within X hours of teaching each day and, well, they should know better than that. If you aren’t going to purchase the download then you better pull up a comfy chair to the computer cause it’s gonna be on like Donkey Kong that weekend.
I’m going to start with the basics and move into intermediate and advanced concepts and techniques.
Here is a rough outline of how the weekend is going to go down… (Note that live shooting will be a large part of each day)
#1 – Know Your Camera
- Aperture / Shutter Speed / ISO
- Camera skills
- Considerations when purchasing new cameras
#2 – Know Your Glass
- Lens selection is one of the most important things you do as a photographer
- Aperture isn’t the only thing that effects depth of field
- Perspective expansion & compression
#3 – Know Your Subject
- Subject interaction and direction
- Knowing the needs of your subjects
- Contributing your own vision to a project
#4 – Know Your Light
- Available light, continuous light, small strobes, big strobes
- Creating moods
#5 – Know Your Limits
- Working within the limits of the gear you own
- Pushing the limits of your gear
#6 – Creativity
- Most people can see. Few have vision
- Making the most out of a little
- Simple exercises to expand your creativity
#7 – Vision & Style
- Your photography and your business both require it
– Zack’s take on Jeremy Cowart’s 90 minute portfolio
#8 – Courage
- Fear of gear, clients, business, marketing, other’s opinions will kill you
- Live critique
#9 – Business & Marketing
- How I did it wrong
- How I’m learning to do it correctly
- Branding sucks. Don’t worry about it right now.
- Stop being shy
#10 – Service & Balance
- A transparent Q&A session with Zack and his wife Meghan on how photography, business, and family are both a blessing and a curse.
NOTE :: As of the initial posting of this information, creativeLIVE does not have this listed on their site yet. I’m working on getting my stuff to them and they are working on getting that stuff on their site so please sit tight and give them a day or so to get all the crap they are waiting for from me on to their site. You’ll then be able to sign up in advance for the free weekend and I’m sure they’ll have some sort of pre-sale on the download.
I think Meg needs to finish off Sunday evening with playing a few songs for all of us and we’ll all sit back, listen to her music, and have a beer. What do you think?
So that’s the basic run down of the weekend. Some of the order/titles/etc may change around depending on the logistics making this happen. Want to be part of the live studio audience? There are very few spots (like 4 to 6) so follow the directions in the video above and send your video our way.
Have questions? Want to see something covered that you don’t see in the list above? Hit me in the comments.
NOT only did he whoop me on single image votes but he also won most votes overall for his five images against mine. He won 1,451 votes against my 1,242 votes. His single best image won with 867 votes. I came in second place with 509 votes with this image…
In the original post Jason’s photos were 1, 3, 4, 7, & 9. Mine were 2, 5, 6, 8, 10.
It’s always fun to go out and shoot with another photographer you admire and respect. It’s even more fun to go out and shoot with a photographer you admire and respect and make it a competition. Then it is interesting to see how the public views the outcome of the images when it goes to a vote. The big take away from this is… None of y’all know great photography when you see it!!! I’m just kidding.
Jason… Congratulations. Enjoy your sucksess for the next year. Maybe you should even start placing “Photographer of the year” in your bio and on your website. Know this… I’m coming back next year to this light fight as Iniogo Montoya…
We’ll have the BTS video that Jason’s crew shot online this week AS WELL as a post about the “light saber” I was using for this shoot-out. There’s a new modifier in town and it’s pretty awesome. But evidently not awesome enough for me to win this shoot-out.
Today my good friend and collegue, Jason Groupp, and I had a shoot-out in the streets of NYC. We have been talking smack for two weeks about this on Twitter and we now have the results of our bravado.
******* Voting is now closed. Results here. *******
Click “more” to see the rest of the original post and photos…
Here is how it worked. Jason booked Amanda and Sean to be our subjects. Jason set up the first shot and he had five frames to execute it. Then I had to use the same location and execute a shot in five frames. I then chose the next location, shot five frames, and then Jason would shoot five frames. We piggy backed like that for six locations. At the sixth and final location I challenged Jason to tape his LCD screen. I did the same. We had five frames to shoot, with lights, without meters, and no chimping. It was a blast!
We have now picked our top five images and you are going to vote on who won best image of the shoot-out. This will be like a presidential election. One image will be the top photo of the day and then we will tally the votes of each image and see who received more total votes than the other and they will be crowed “President of Light” or something stupid. I have a feeling this might just be an annual thing.
So here are the images. Vote at the bottom of the page. Voting will continue through PhotoPlus this weekend and we will announce the results at the first of next week along with a behind the scenes video of the shoot and some of our out takes.
Thanks for voting!
We all live in a big a$$ yellow bus. We are on the road with our OneLight Family Tour!
We are currently in Asheville, NC. As soon as we wrap up the OneLight here tonight we drive all night to DC. With the exception of Pittsburgh we are having mixers in each city and we would love for you to come out and catch some live music, win gift cards from B&H, OneLight DVDs, and network within your local photographic community. The mixers are free and open to the public. Here is where we will be…
7/1 :: Washington DC
7/6 :: Cincinnati, OH
7/8 :: Indianapolis, IN
7/11 :: Chicago, IL
7/13 :: Saint Louis, MO
7/15 :: Nashville, TN
Here is the Home Depot tag for the shiny tile board stuff I’ll be using on the white seamless. I typically can find this stuff at Home Depot and Lowes in the paneling or bath section.
Find the list of gear I’m using via this link.
See more images after the jump…
I really did start my studio on the streets. As seen in the photo above.
Update – Thank you one and all for those who worked so hard behind the scenes and those thousands and thousands of you who tuned into the live event! More to come!
As we get closer to this weekend’s creativeLIVE studio class I wanted to go ahead and share the rough time frame and course material for the weekend.
There are a lot of things I want to cover in this class and I know I’m going to run out of time at some point. That’s why we have spread this out over a weekend. As far as subjects we will be photographing go we are going to be working with emerging models, musicians, and regular folks off the street.
Keep a few things in mind… This is live Internet we are dealing with so all sorts of things can go astray but rest assured there is a full pro crew behind the scenes ready for anything the internet can throw at them. The times listed below are approximate aside from start times. Keep an eye on my Twitter account as the weekend goes on. We will be updating events there. IE : “Going to start shooting the band in 30 minutes.” “Almost done with lunch. Going live in 10.” “Talking about grip right now.” You get the idea. I have a basic outline in my head of what I want to do but I’ll be working in a new space and may change things here and there as I go but always teaching why I’m changing things and what’s going through my head as I try something different.
All start times are PDT (or -8 GMT)
Friday June 11th – 1:30pm – 4:30pm’ish / 5:30pm’ish • My personal philosophy of having a studio space • Considerations for getting a space of your own or turning a space you have into a studio space. • The basics of exposure when using flash in studio. We will be using hotshoe flashes and strobes. • Working with multiple lights and working with different lighting ratios • Using a light meter and how to figure it out on the fly without a meter • Overview of the modifiers we will be using over the weekend. Those include… ••• Straight flash ••• Umbrellas ••• Softboxes ••• Octabanks ••• Beauty dish ••• Ring flash ••• Grids ••• Flags/Silks/Reflectors ••• DIY modifiers • Q&A
Saturday June 12th :: 10am – 1pm’ish • The many uses of white seamless. I’ll be walking you through the entire process of shooting on a white seamless and getting the most out of one simple background • Post production on the white seamless • Q&A • (lunch break somewhere between 1pm and 2pm.) • Building a set. It will already be in place. I’ll just talk about the basic modular set pieces that went into making it. • Grip equipment. How to put stuff together and do stuff with that stuff. • Slowly moving away from the seamless and onto other background choices. IE: Fabric/Walls/Sets • Working with subjects. Interaction and Posing. (I’ve had a lot of questions about this so I’m spending a lot of time on it.) • Musicians. Duo and Trio. Group shots plus individuals. White seamless and other backgrounds + a simple set. • Q&A • In order to conclude in time to rebroadcast over night we can only teach for 10 hours a day. So the latest this day will run is 8pm. Don’t know if it will go that long or not.
Sunday June 13th :: 10am • Quick recap of previous day and previous information about exposure. Not going to spend a lot of time on this but just a quick recap for those just joining. • If I don’t cover the grip equipment on Saturday I’ll most likely do that Sunday morning. • Art Direction! I will be pulling people from the live audience and giving them assignments to see what problems they run into and guide them through the process. • More shooting. Different modifiers. Improv. • Q&A • (lunch break somewhere between 1pm and 2pm.) • Working with a four piece band. Individuals and group shot. • More shooting. Whatever we decide to do making sure I’ve used all the modifiers from the list above. • Q&A
I will be online live with Chase Jarvis tomorrow, June 9th, from 1:30pm till 3pm for a live Q&A leading up to the weekend. If I haven’t covered something in the notes above then hit me here in the comment section or tune in here tomorrow and ask while we are online.
You can sign up for the class here and see all the swag we have to give away during the weekend! We have stuff from B&H, x•rite, Pocket Wizard, Westcott, and Sekonic in addition to several copies of the OneLight DVD. Big thanks to B&H, The MAC Group, and Westcott for really bringing the goods. No t-shirts or ball caps in this prize closet. Also a big thank you goes to Affix Music for providing us with some licensed and cleared tunes to listen to while we work this weekend.
Questions about the class or something you might want to see covered? Drop them in the comments.
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