0º A Photographic Art Book

I have just finished publishing a photographic art book set through my favorite bookmaker, Blurb Books. I have also created a series of how-to videos on planning and designing a photo art book. You can see the series here. But if you are interested in previewing the books online, take a look at the previews below. Enjoy.

The Photographic Art Book: 0º

While the project includes two books, the principal book in the project is a large 12×12 inc photography book of landscapes. It is work I have created over a very long time that explores a feeling of cold. Not just in the sense of temperature, but also in the sense of cold and austere, vacant, lonely, stark and for me… home. The photographs evoke a feeling of quiet that I felt in my youth growing up in a very vacant landscape in the high desert of northern Arizona. I was a cowboy from a very young age, riding a flat and bleak range, sparsely spotted with small shrub-like trees. As you might expect, those years on the open range inspire my photography today. When I am working for a client, my work conforms to their needs, but when I am out photographing for my soul, I am drawn to subjects and compositions that take me back home.

I hope you enjoy the images in this collection of landscapes called .

You can also view this book on Blurb Books’ website here.

The Companion Book: 0º

Because I wanted the photographic book to be focused completely on the images, I chose not to clutter up its pages with text. Instead, I put the text in this little companion book. This book contains some of the photos in the artbook as well as some additional, behind-the-scenes images. The text includes a mixture of thoughts on photography as well as some useful tips and tools I use in the creation of my images. I hope you find them interesting.

You can also view this book on Blurb Books’ website here.

Creating a Photo Book with Blurb Books

Join me as I take you through the process of a Self-Publishing Book Project with Blurb Books. You will learn how to think about your photo project, I’ll help you make decisions about your book choices and even show you how to use Lightroom Classic and BookWright to design your book. But first, let’s talk about your photos and the reason you should make a physical self-published book with Blurb.

The Case for Printing Books


Your Images are Competing with Billions of Images

Everywhere I go I see people buried in a phone, scrolling through Facebook or Instagram.  I was in line at the grocery store and 5 of the 6 people in line (I was the sixth) were scrolling through something.  I noticed that none of them were reading.  They were constantly sliding their finger up or down the screen.  So they were consuming images, or videos without ever once stopping to appreciate the imagery they were seeing.  It made me think twice about how impactful my images are when I post them on Instagram.

During my undergraduate studies, I took a course from Mary V Swanson, that was based in the business of photography and getting published.  We would take field trips to the book store and browse through all genres of magazines and books doing research on which publishing companies were using photos.  In the 1990s, the internet was still in its infancy and the gatekeepers to a mass market of viewers for our photographs were the publishers of books and magazines.  Sure, you could self-publish a book, but it was either that or buy a car.  So the vast majority of photographers either maintained an expensive hobby or continued to submit work to the gatekeepers in an effort to reach the mass viewers.

That is obviously no longer the case.  Today, any photographer can reach the masses with a free social media account and a smartphone.  Whether the masses will see their images depends now on searches, algorithms, and trends rather than an editorial board.  But this means that there are over 500 million people sifting through 95 million photos/videos that are posted to Instagram every single day!  No wonder the people in the grocery store line never stopped swiping through photos on their phones.  Who has the time?

Getting Past the Gatekeepers

When the gatekeepers of the photo viewing market fell to the open free-for-all arena of social media, blogs, and Wix sites, the world gained access to a lot of great photographers and those great images instantly got lost in the junk pile of cappuccino photos and eye makeup videos.  And worse, the public lost its ability to focus on a meaningful image for more than a second.  Muscle memory is hard to fight.  That thumb is going to keep scrolling even when the brain says, “hold on, that was interesting!”  Too late, it’s at least three swipes up your feed.

I both love and hate the brave new world of photography.  I love the access that technology has given us to tell stories and promote our work to anyone and everyone.  It’s no longer who you know that gets you access to the mass market… you have access; the market can discover your work, and you can even target an audience and drop it right in front of them anytime you want.  Unfortunately, the venue is less than ideal.  Your work will be appreciated for all of one second if you are lucky, maybe even a “like” or a “heart.”  

There are Too Many Photographs in Your Feed

For those who know their work is worth more than a passing glance on a continually scrolling 3-inch screen, there is print.  There may be a number of steps in the relationship between someone liking your work on social media and them buying a printed photograph, but you will know someone is serious about photography when they hang a print on their wall or hold a book or magazine in their hands.  I don’t think there is a better way to experience photographs than in a well-printed book or magazine.  It is the perfect viewing distance to really experience the image and the perfect opportunity to add contextual information with text about the image.

Early in my career, the only way to make a book project was to print hundreds of them and plenty of photographers sold the extra car to pay for the book printing and then spent the next ten years trying to sell the book to recoup the cost.  They did it because they understood the value of the book experience!  Today, we can print just one book (or magazine).  This is as big as the online photo revolution, but with a better outcome for the photos!  

In this video, I discuss the reasons for self-publishing and the kinds of books that are available through Blurb Books. Join me in my book project and make your own!

The Best Proofing Method for Client Photos are Books

I am a professional photographer and as such, I am paid to take portraits of people and document weddings among other things.  This new access to one-of-a-kind book printing changed the way I provide physical images to my clients.  Before affordable books were available, my options were to print a stack of loose proofs or post them online where the images would be viewed on the client’s uncalibrated monitor with ungodly saturation in the magentas and the sharpness turned up to 1000%.  I realized, with a book or a magazine, I could control the print quality and the experience the client would have when they looked through their images.  I could control which images were shown next to which, and how big each image would be seen.  There is no better way to show a client the images from their wedding than in a well-styled and beautifully printed book.  

Although I use quite a few different programs to design different books, Blurb Books has always printed them and my clients love the experience of sitting down and looking through their images from a wedding or a portrait session with a beautifully printed and designed book.

Even though I make my income in portraits, weddings and lifestyle photography, I am like all photographers on the planet.  I love making landscapes, still lifes, travel photography and documentary work.  And most of the time, that kind of work is completely personal.  But I want people to experience that work, but I want them to enjoy the images in a way that I control.  I can’t do that on Instagram or Facebook.  That is why I don’t just publish my photographic work online, but also in self-published books and magazines; total control over the experience.

Self-Publishing is Photo Training

Self-publishing also provides an incredible learning experience for the photographer.  There is so little thought that goes into the process of posting an image to Instagram.  That’s why people post photos of the cheesecake they are about to eat.   But reviewing and selecting images and designing a book around those images is an entirely different experience.  It inspires deeper thinking, more planning, and most importantly, it slows the process down a little.  When you decide you are going to make a book, the process of selecting your images becomes a much more serious endeavor.  You ask yourself more questions about the images and how they fit together.  Just the need to come up with a title for the book makes you think about the theme of your images.  

As you design your book, each image is placed on a page with a great deal of thought.  Will it be on its own.  Will there be an image on the facing page, or with there be any text to help explain the images?  Should the image fill the entire page?  If not, how big should it be?  Should the image be cropped to fit the page design a little better, and if so, how does that change the meaning of the image?  The process of putting images on a series of sequential pages also requires you to think of the sequence and the cadence of the images or the story being told.  This process of self-publishing is one of the most productive things a photographer can do to improve their photography.

I always have a few personal projects happening at any one time.  Right now, I am creating a book I call Notes, which is a small book with a mixture of photographs spanning my entire career and my personal thoughts about the photographs.  Often times those thoughts are stories about the photos and sometimes they are metaphoric musings inspired by the photos.  I have been working on that project for a little over a year now.  I have just completed my 0º project which is a large book of landscape images with a small behind-the-scenes companion book.  You can watch the process unfold in my video series Self-Publishing a Photography Book with Blurb Books.  In the series I discuss the entire process of reviewing and selecting images, honing in on a subject for the book, choosing the right kind of book for the project and even designing the book.  I also teach you how to use two different book designing tools: Adobe Lightroom Classic’s Book Module and Blur Book’s Book Write software.  I hope you will watch it and join me and engage in your own Self-Publishing project at the same time.

The internet and social media upended up the flood gates and connected photographers with the world.  But the availability and affordability of Self-Publishing finally made it possible for photographers to bypass the gatekeepers and present their art in a truly meaningful way to connoisseurs of photography.   Not only are my Blurb books a very large part of my professional photography business, but they are an integral part of my improvement as an artist.  If you have not created a self-published book, now is a great time to start.  It doesn’t have to be a big, expensive book.  It could be a simple magazine.  But take this as a challenge.  Watch my series on Self-Publishing a Photography Book with Blurb Books, and start your own project today.  You will walk away with far more than a book in hand.

Your Assignments:

Welcome to class. In this set of lessons and assignments, I will walk you through the process of creating your own Self-Published Book. Take it one step at a time. When you are done with your book project, I would love to see what you have created. Make it public on Blurb.com and post a link to the book project here in the comments so we can all see what you have created. Who knows, we might even order a copy of your book for ourselves.

Assignment 1:  Create a Collection

Using the plus button by the Collection or Album panels in Lightroom Classic or Lightroom Desktop, make a new Collection/Album and start collecting items into that collection.  You will be far more efficient if you assign that collection/album to be your Target Collection and you Sync it with the Cloud (the Lightroom Ecosystem).  

Assignment 2:  Start Searching and Collecting

Just start looking through your images and look for an image or set of images that will become your inspiration.  Once you have an inspirational image set, start searching for images based on that inspiration.  You can use keywords, or locations, people or dates.  If you go into the Lightroom Desktop or Mobile applications, you can search with A.I. help in the form of Adobe Sensei.  When you find images, throw them in your collection and move on.  Don’t be too detailed at this point, just collect on an instinctual level.

Assignment 3:  Pair Down Your Collection

Create a new collection/album and call it the same name, plus “pass 2” at the end.  Make it the Target Collection and start looking through your first collection.  Look for common themes and connections between images.  If you are telling a narrative story, look for images that will help push the narrative along.  Use the Command or Control Key with the B or T key to add them to the target collection (B in Lightroom Classic and T in Lightroom Desktop).  Or just drag the images into the new, smaller collection.  Be more selective on this pass.

Assignment 4:  Brainstorm Your Presentation

While you are looking for this second set of images, you will have more concrete ideas coming into your mind of how the images could be presented.  When you do, write them down and entertain them as you go about your day.  It is time to start thinking about books and sizes… will there be text?  How much text?  Do the images need to be big or small?  Is it an intimate experience, or is it something to sit on a coffee table?

Assignment 5:  Choose the Proper Software to Design Your Book

Once you have a collection of images (even a loose collection) and you know how you want to present your images, it is time to choose the proper software to design the book.  There are three programs that will do an excellent job at building your book and will automatically submit it to Blurb Books for publication.  

Lightroom Classic:  Lightroom Classic’s Book Module has Blurb built-in.  It is very simple to use and my favorite thing about it is that I can design a book with completely RAW images.  This means that once the book is designed, I can edit any of the images right in Lightroom and they will be automatically updated in the book design.  I can also design the book in the Lightroom Catalog on a plane while the actual photos are sitting at home on a large hard drive.  I don’t need to collect the photos first, export them, and then import them into another program to get a book design finished.  So Lightroom Classic is an extremely convenient and efficient tool for designing books.  It does have two shortcomings.  First, it is not simple to work with Text in Lightroom’s Book Module.  Although the text editor has the same text controls as Indesign, it is cumbersome and clunky to work with text in the Book Module.  Second, there are limited paper and products available in Lightroom’s Book Module.  But if I am ok with the products that are available there, and I have a book to design with limited amounts of text, it is the most efficient way to design a book.

Blurb BookWright:  BookWright is a FREE layout program (downloadable at Blurb.com) that is simple to use and quite powerful.  It has many of the simple functions for organizing images as you build your book that Lightroom does.  And it has a far easier text editing environment.  If I am designing a book with entire pages of text, I will choose BookWright over Lightroom Classic every time.  The major downside to Bookwright is that it requires you to export your images from Lightroom or whatever image program you use and then import your final images into the BookWright software.  This means you not only are making extra copies of your images but that if you design the book and see that change needs to be made, you need to go back to the original photos, make the changes, re-export them into the same folder and then synchronize those changes with the software.  That is a lot of work for a small change in a book.  But, you will more than likely save more than enough time to make up for it with the improved text editing environment.  BookWright also has a shape tool which helps in adding subtle graphic elements into the design of the book.

Adobe InDesign:  There is no question that the Gold Standard for page layout design is Adobe InDesign, but it is a complicated program to learn.  And that is InDesign’s negative.  If you don’t know how to use it already, you probably don’t want to learn how to use it.  But if you do know how to use it, it is very powerful and can create anything.  You can add photos, text, vectors, and even video to an InDesign document (not that the videos will be printed in a book, but their thumbnail could be).  It is similar to BookWright in almost every way, just more powerful and more complicated.  Anytime I am designing something that needs an extremely finer touch and especially something that is going to have a lot of text, like a magazine or a how-to photo book.  I am going to use InDesign because I already know how to use it and it is “all-powerful.”  But again, BookWright has most of the important capabilities that InDesign does.  

All three of these programs can create a beautiful book design and send it directly to Blurb Books for printing.  I have covered Lightroom Classic and BookWright in this book project set of lessons since they are the two simplest programs to use. Your job is to decide which of the programs to use based on your skill level and your book project requirements.  If the book is very minimal on text, then I suggest using Lightroom Classic.  But if you need more text in your book, or you don’t own Lightroom Classic, then BookWright is the best option.  Unless of course, you are an InDesign user.  So make you choice and let’s get started making a book.

Assignment 6:  Add Your Graphics and Logos to Your Collection

Make sure to add your graphic elements or logos to the Collection/Album before starting a Lightroom Book Module book or exporting your images for your BookWright / InDesign project.

Assignment 7:  Decide on Your Book

What kind of book are you going to make?  This is where you need to make some choices.  You should have been thinking about this the whole time that you were looking at images.  What is the purpose of this book?  How do you want it to feel?  What kind of price point do you want to hit for this book?  Is it for people to take on a vacation and enjoy, or is it a coffee table book?  Choose the type of book you want to make, the size, the shape and the paper!  You will be asked all of these questions when you start your project.  You don’t need to make a $200 Photo Book right off the bat.  You can make a Trade Book or a Magazine for $20.  Start there… it will be fun, simple and you will get a chance to experience the entire process from start to finish.

By the way, if you don’t know what to expect, and want to see some books and magazines, just go to www.blurb.com and buy a few books from the Blurb Book store.  You will find some very interesting book projects there and you will be supporting other artists like yourself.

Assignment 8:  Design Your Book

Don’t get nervous now and stop.  Keep going!  You have nothing to lose.  You don’t even have to order this book if you don’t want to.  But you need to start the book.  And not just so you can finish it, but so that you can experience the process of laying out images in relation to one another and the words that go with them.  There is a lot of education in this process.  So get started.

Lightroom Classic:  If you are using the Book Module in Lightroom, just choose your second, third or fourth pass collection/album and then go into the book module and start placing images.  Have fun.  Watch the full video lesson on designing a book in Lightroom Classic.

BookWright:  If you are designing in BookWright (or InDesign), you will need to select your final collection/album of images and export them as full, high-resolution images, most cameras today are high enough resolution for a 12×12 inch book.  So just export them at their native size and you should be just fine.  If you are shooting with an older camera, you might need to increase the size slightly when you are exporting them.  sRGB JPGs at 100% Quality at their original size is perfectly acceptable.  Watch the full video on designing a book in Blub’s BookWright software.

Assignment 9:  Order Your Book

It’s time to order your book.  All three of these programs can submit your book directly to Blurb from the program.  Just order one for now, even if you plan on making more.  It’s good to see the book and confirm that what you are expecting is translating on the printed page the way you expect.

A word of warning: if you have never calibrated your monitor, you may not be seeing accurate color, contrast or brightness.  If you edit your photos and put them in a book design without a calibrated monitor, you may end up with very different results on a printed page than what you are seeing on your monitor.  It is a very good idea to calibrate your monitor.  To learn how to do that, watch my video on Calibrating Monitors.

See The Final Books

You can see the final books here. Just click and browse the books and even order them directly through BLURB BOOKS. Enjoy!

The Art Book

Behind the Scenes, Companion Book


Photo Education and Tools & Huge Discounts

The 5DayDeal is an incredible opportunity for photographers (pro and enthusiast alike) to get photo education and tools at a huge discount..

The 5DayDeal has just begun!  Educators, Software Makers, and Photo Equipment Manufacturers put thousands of dollars of extremely useful items together and offer them up to help raise money for charity and give photographers everywhere an insane discount on everything from online courses to photo software. I highly suggest you check it out. 

I have already purchased my copy of The Complete Bundle.  

There is so much in this bundle. It is incredible.

  • Photography Video Lessons
  • Photoshop Actions
  • Websites
  • Lightroom Presets and Profiles
  • Photoshop Brushes
  • Photoshop Overlays

And don’t worry, you get some of my Lightroom Presets and Profiles with the Complete Bundle. You can see it down in the bottom right-hand corner of the photo below. My products alone are worth $105. And yet you get that at 11,000 more presets, actions, and brushes for $157. That means everything else in the 5DayDeal cost you only $52. There are 62 hours of videos too. So you have to figure that in as well. In the end… it is a lot of great stuff for the price of a hotel room for a night! Wow.

This 5DayDeal Photography Bundle is serious!  You will be downloading awesome photo-related products for days!  Here are a few of my favorite products in the Photography Bundle.

The 5DayDeal ends on October 19th, 2021.  Don’t miss it.

There are more than 68 hours of video and over 11,000 presets, brushes and actions in the Complete Photography Bundle.  Which includes my own Lightroom and Photoshop Presets and Profiles.  There are also so many great videos from amazing instructors like Peter Hurley and PHLEARN.  

That’s over $5000 in products and downloads for $157.  And there are smaller bundles available too for as low as eighty-nine dollars.  Don’t miss out on getting a great discount on so many photo educational videos and tools.

Here are just a few of my favorite products in the 5DayDeal!

Helping Charity at the Same Time

But the best part of all of this is that while you are getting all of these tools and educational videos, you are going to be raising a lot of money for charity!  The goal this year is to raise over $80,000 for charity.  And you get to choose from a large list of charities.  To date, the 5DayDeal has raised over 2 Million Dollars for charity.

I chose to donate to the Make-A-Wish foundation and the Wounded Warrior Project.  But you can choose from a large list of charities that help children, the environment, and so many others!  No matter what you choose to give to, thank you for giving!

Check out the 5DayDeal today.  If you put it off, you may completely miss it. It ends on Oct 19th!

High Dynamic Range HDR Landscape Photography Lesson on Histograms

Perfect Exposure

Get the perfect exposure from your camera by learning how to read the histogram.

Perfect exposure on location with model and no flash
UNLOCK THE SECRET TO PERFECT EXPOSURES…

To a serious photographer, few things are more stressful than blowing your exposure. Especially when you’re working under pressure, say, for a client. That’s why I have perfected the process of nailing the right exposure in my camera quickly, efficiently and without interrupting my creative process. I work for demanding clients who expect to get amazing images. The last thing I want is to get back to the studio and find that I captured the perfect moment… incorrectly. Sure I can recover some of the missing data, but noisy shadows and blown highlights are not my friends. I want to avoid them wherever possible. Like that sweaty guy at the party obsessed with polka music.

You may know that I train professional and amature photographers in Adobe Lightroom. If you’ve seen my Lightroom training videos on CreativeLive, you know that I take a systematic approach to getting the absolute most out of my images. Getting the highest quality images requires the highest quality input from your camera. After all, garbage in, garbage out. I want you to get the same consistent, high-quality captures I get. That’s why I have created a mini-workshop for my students to take you through my system for verifying I have the correct exposure every time. I call this system Pre-visualizing your Exposures for Post-Production and once you master its few simple principles it will forever improve the way you shoot

I will also show you why working with correctly exposed images in Lightroom is a complete treat and makes image processing a snap. Once you’ve got your correctly exposed image in Lightroom, not only will you rapidly move through the correction process, but you will finally be able to make truly-effective use of presets to nearly-instantly add unique style and flavor to your images.

Through a series of four free quick video lessons and a free one hour recorded webinar with Q&A, you will dramatically improve your photography and speed your workflow. It doesn’t matter if you are a wedding, portrait or landscape photographer, you will see how to quickly get perfect exposures in camera and how that is the key to making your images sing in Lightroom — I mean really sing! These FIVE free lessons will teach you to harness the full power of your camera and Lightroom together so you can take better images and spend less time working on them in post.

Making a Music Video with Minimal Gear

Making a Music Video with Minimal Gear and a Skeleton Crew

I filmed a music video to Kevin Burdick’s song, “My Religion” in New York City with a skeleton crew.  I am not a film director or a music video producer or anything of the sort.  I am simply a photographer and photography instructor who loves a challenge, so I often create challenges for myself.  Let’s make a music video while I am in NYC… sounds fun.  So I did it.  What you might be interested in is how I did it and with what equipment.

Kevin Burdick’s song is one of my favorite songs. I love listening to it. When I first heard it, I saw bits of this music video in my head, so I set up the opportunity to film it while I was in New York City for a photo convention, lecturing for Adobe. My friend Carlos Martín helped out during filming with Art Direction.  He lives in the NYC Area so he was great for helping us find the best locations for filming, although a lot of the filming was done randomly as we walked to and from lunch and other fun stops along the way.  We were not on a tight time schedule.  There were a total of three of us… Kevin Burdick (the musical artist), myself as Director and Cinematographer and our friend Carlos Martín as Art Director.  We ended up filming everything in NYC except or the studio session in the chair, which was filmed in my studio back in Chandler, AZ.

When I arrived in NYC, I was interested in getting a small, lightweight and inexpensive camera that has a great autofocus system with a touch articulating screen and the Canon EOS 70D was perfect for the job.  I already have a lot of Canon glass, so it made sense to stay with the system.  But I also needed a good video lens with a very smooth and silent focus so that autofocus wouldn’t call attention to itself.  So I got the Canon 40mm Pancake Lens.  I have been using this little lens ever since for most of my online video lessons.  Now here’s a bit of a dangerous thing to do… I bought both the lens and the camera the day I arrived in NYC at B&H Photo Video.  You should always test things before you use them on a job, spend some time with the equipment you are going to use!  But the camera was so simple to use, so easy to operate and focus with the touch screen and auto face detecting focus that I was able to get some great shots with only a few hours of practice before meeting up with Kevin and Carlos for the video shoot.  Now, I know cameras and I have a lot of experience with Canon cameras, but still… this was a simple camera to work with and the lens is smooth as butter on autofocus.  We also used the Canon 5D Mark IV in the studio shots of Kevin in Chandler, AZ, which also has a touch screen, but it is not articulating, so not as easy to work with while moving around and it is quite a bit heavier, so the 70D was preferable in the streets of NYC.

See a full list of my gear HERE.

I wanted the video to have a very documentary feel, so we did everything in Black and White and handheld, but that can get very shaky without a gimbal of some kind.  There are a lot of great options today, but there weren’t as many when we did this shoot (the new DJI Gimbal for small DSLRs looks great). But at the time, we didn’t have this option AND more importantly, I was just messing around and wanted to keep the cost on this project very low.  So, I used my monopod.  A lightweight monopod will do wonders for stabilizing a small video camera or DLSR.  The extra weight on the bottom of the camera and the length of the monopod helps to act as a stabilizer for the camera and makes it harder to tilt the camera as you move.  It’s not as good as a gimbal, but it takes out a lot of the shake as you move the camera.  Then, when you are going to stand still with the camera, you can always plant the monopod and there is still a little movement in the camera, so your video doesn’t feel quite so stiff.  So a small monopod is a great tool in stabilizing camera footage, although using a Gimbal like the DJI Ronin S is a great idea, and not too expensive.

The main shot that was in my head from the beginning was the shot of Kevin in the subway station with the subway speeding past him.  I heard the beginning of that persistent beat when I first heard the song and I saw exactly what you see in the video now.  It is a combination of different views of the same platform.  I have footage close up to Kevin and far away from him, with multiple trains and then with one train.  Some were slower trains, others faster.  Occasionally to get the closer up views I needed to use my Canon 70-200 2.8L lens, which does not work on autofocus in video so well, so I manually focussed first and then left it on that focus setting.  It Image Stabilization was helpful on the monopod, it really helped to stabilize the shake from the long focal length.  It took a lot of editing in Adobe Premiere to get the back and forth between the different cuts to look just right, but I was super pleased with the final results.  It is what I saw in my head.

If I were to do it all over again, I would have gotten a lot more footage of the hustle and bustle of the NY streets.  I was lacking on that footage to make some transitions and to fill in some holes, but I ended up with barely enough to get it done.  I think the lessons learned there was: take a lot more b-roll that you think you need.  Don’t just stay focused on the principle story and subject.  And I know that from still photography, but like everything we do as a novice, we tend to get hyper-focused on the one thing and forget to do the rest.  People who are new to lighting with flash get so worried about that aspect of their shoot that they forget about posing, etc…  I just got so wrapped up in getting footage of Kevin in various situations, singing and not singing that I didn’t think enough about getting the extra b-roll.  So, don’t gorget the b-roll.

The other thing we couldn’t live without was Kevin’s iPhone.  Every time we wanted him to sing, he would pull up his song on iTunes in his phone and start playing it and sing to it.  Here’s a tip: if you do this, make sure you put the iPhone close to the camera microphone, or radio it into the microphone jack so that your camera has a good audio signal from the original source.  This makes it so much easier to match the singer’s lips to the video footage.  In Premiere, you can then simply synchronize the audio track to the video track.  Pretty simple.  The rest of the footage that doesn’t need to sync can be placed wherever it looks good.

I think that it is interesting how a song can take on a new layer of meaning when it is layered with visuals.  When I started layering New York City over the top of this song, I started to see a completely new message in the song, which I am sure Kevin never meant, but that is the beauty of art: it can have so many different meanings because the viewer gets to ultimately assign the meaning to the art.  The song, I think, originally was written with a woman in mind, but I think when you think of the culture of NYC and what that city means to the people who love it, there is a bit of a religious fervor over the culture of New York City.  I love the message that evolves with the layering of the New York visuals and Kevin’s rich lyrics about deep and devoted love.

It was a fantastically fun project to do.  I always love to take on a little personal project that will challenge me to figure something out and it is always exciting to have a vision in my head and to make it work.  With Kevin’s music, Carlos’ eye for detail and some extra technical advice from Matt Madrid, I think we created a beautiful visual companion to Kevin Burdick’s masterful song, “My Religion.”

This video was finished as part of my 30 Videos in 30 Days project. This one took a while to accomplish but was well worth the experience. There is something very fulfilling about working on a project of passion. We have to do things that excite us, projects that take us back to that exploratory nature of childhood where we are inspired to play and take risks and are completely willing to fail.

The music and performance are all by Kevin Burdick. Kevin Burdick is a Triple Scoop Music artist and this song is licensed through Triple Scoop Music. Thanks to Post-Production technical advisor, Matt Madrid, and my onset Art Director, Carlos Martín.

I hope you enjoy this music video. I hope you enjoy the music. Let me know what you think.

See a full list of my gear HERE.

Engagement portraits in Atlanta Georgia near the lake soft look from the bride

Meghan and Charles Engagement Portraits in Atlanta Georgia

This engagement portrait session was an absolute joy.  I flew into Atlanta, Georgia and met Meghan and Charles at their family Lake House outside the city at Lake Lanier.  It was mid-January, and it was a fairly cold day and it only got colder.  So we spent a few hours taking advantage of the chilly weather (which looked chilly as well).  But you will see that the chill in the air influenced the way the photographs look and event the treatment of the images.  I did not attempt to “warm them up” in fact they are fairly cool, if not neutral.  We even got a little fog for some of the shots rolling in over the trees on the other side of the lake.

Meghan asked specifically that we photograph with a 1990’s Vanity Fair / GQ style.  So the clothing, the grain, the posing, the muted color, the clean light, etc… all of it was my effort to give a bit of that look to the photoshoot.

I was shooting the engagement portrait with a new Canon EOSR mirrorless camera, which was a great opportunity to really put that camera through its paces.  It is a wonderful little camera, but I look forward to a more professional version of the R series cameras to come out from Canon, hopefully soon.  It is still much easier to shoot with a Canon 5D Mark IV or some other pro body camera.  That being said, the EOSR will be a nice addition to the bag with its small, lightweight body and completely silent shutter (great for the wedding itself) which will be held in a small church in the Bahamas this summer.

We were using the new Profoto B10 off camera flash (two of them) and they are magnificent.  All the power we needed, never ran out of batteries, never missed a shot and always created beautiful light.  One of our lights had a softbox and the other was sporting the OCF Magnum Reflector.  That was the light set up most of the time (especially when we were outside).  It was a bit windy, so the softbox was a challenge, but a little weight on the stand in the form of a log took care of that problem.

Getting to know Meghan and Charles at the lake house and on their engagement portrait shoot was a real joy.  And aside from the photos, that is the major value of doing an engagement shoot of some kind: getting to know the clients, and the clients getting to know the photographer.  It’s like a little test run and an opportunity for a little model training.  Meghan and Charles thought they could use some modeling lessons.  I think they were great right from the start.  But, we talked through some basic rules for being a subject on a photoshoot.  I won’t go through them here, but I will give you one very important rule:

Rule 1: If you’re uncomfortable, you are going to look uncomfortable!  Get comfortable.

Enjoy the photos from the session.

 

 

 

Engagement portraits in Atlanta Georgia near the lake Black and White Engagement portraits in Atlanta Georgia near the lake Black and White Engagement portraits in Atlanta Georgia near the lake in color Engagement portraits in Atlanta Georgia near the lake winter portrait Engagement portraits in Atlanta Georgia near the lake winter portrait Engagement portraits in Atlanta Georgia near the lake fog rolling in Engagement portraits in Atlanta Georgia near the lake close up with fog rolling in Engagement portraits in Atlanta Georgia near the lake soft look from the bride Engagement portraits in Atlanta Georgia near the lake under and umbrella Engagement portraits in Atlanta Georgia in the lake house Engagement portraits in Atlanta Georgia in the lake house Engagement portraits in Atlanta Georgia in the lake house color classic portrait Engagement portraits in Atlanta Georgia in the lake house color classic portrait by the fire place with fire

Looking Back On a Year of Photography 2018

I am looking back on the past year of photography.  It has been an interesting year with a lot of travel and a lot of focus on portraiture and art.  It was interesting to review my work over the last year and choose images to represent my year.  When you do this as a photographer, you pull images that speak to you.  I seem to be gravitating toward landscapes and documentary this year.  I didn’t include a lot of wedding photos or family portraits because I think it is probably more important (in an exercise like this) to select images that indicate where my mind is right now, what I am looking at and responding to.  I think you will find that if you are a photographer and you do the same thing that you will see that all your “work-related” images are heavily influenced by the images you pull based on some level of gut reaction.  What is the theme?  What is the glue that holds them all together?  There are landscapes, portraits, documentary, weddings, travel photos and even textured walls.  I have been paying very close attention to light and composition.  There are of course, messages and stories being told in many of the images, but overall, I think I can safely say that the past year from the end of 2017 to the end of 2018, I seem to be slowing down a bit and paying more attention to composition and light.  And those are two great things to focus on in photography.  They are not the only things, nor are they necessarily the most important things, but they are very critical to making impactful images.

I encourage everyone to take a look back at the last year and pull your favorite images (not one from every job, just the ones that really stand out to you for whatever reason, and then make an assessment… what is the theme of your year of photography.  What were you focusing on?  Then maybe you can set a direction for the new year: what will you focus on in your imagery in 2019?  Our assignments will always push us down various roads, but no matter what job or opportunity we have, how we photograph it is really up to us.

What will I focus on this year?  Good question.  Maybe the subtext.

 

This slideshow was made with Smart Slides, which is the simplest slideshow making option available and the highest quality slideshow available.  It is trly 4K and will deliver the right size imagery to any device or monitor.  No matter where you are watching the slideshow, the imagery will be absolutely perfect.  This is the ONLY slideshow creator available that offers this kind of quality. And when I say it is simple, it is ULTRA simple. It also comes with a limited selection of licensed music, but I continue to use Triple Scoop Music’s subscription service. No matter what program I use to make my videos, I have all the music I could ever want, ready to use anytime I need it.

Learn more at www.triplescoopmusic.com. Music in this video licensed through www.triplescoopmusic.com.

The music for this slideshow is by Hawk Silver and can be found on Triple Scoop Music.

Unlimited music licensing plans are normally $995 per year and up. However, right now, for a limited time, there is special pricing! Get yours for just $499 per year (annual billing) or $49 per month when you sign up this month. If you only use one new song each month, you will save $221 this year. At those prices, I will save $1,301 this month alone! That’s pretty amazing. Choose all the music you need all year long. Choose from over 35,000 hand-picked songs and soundtracks. Click here to learn more: www.triplescoopmusic.com

Use the code “JAREDPLATT18” and save an extra 10% on your music membership!

You can follow this project here, or on my blog at www.jaredplatt.com/blog. If you are a Vimeo fan, you can watch this project unfold at my Vimeo Album: https://vimeo.com/album/5227999

For a complete list of my equipment, you can go to B&H Photo Video. https://bhpho.to/2Kx88bl

@Triple Scoop Music @triplscoopmusic #triplescoopmusic #musicLicensing #PhotographyLessons #jaredplatt #photography
#canonUSA @CanonUSA
@smartslides @pixellu
@BHPhoto #BHPHOTOVIDEO

30 Days Project: A Portfolio of Photography

Improving your photography through recognition.

After a weekend of rest and relaxation, I collected this set of portfolio images that range from weddings to commercial property to documentary images and child photography, portraits, etc. Really, the way I collected them was to pull out my iPad and open up Lightroom CC (what used to be called Lightroom Mobile) and scanning through various collections of images and selecting anything that stood out to me as great. I hope you see them that way. Each of these images struck me fairly hard, so that is why you are seeing them now.

I take great pride in a successful composition, a beautifully lit image, and a well-told story. Sometimes the images are successful at all three of these things. But when we are honest with ourselves, our images often lack in one or two categories. But looking through our own images and selecting portfolio groups and asking the hard questions about composition, lighting, and narrative is what improves us. Too many people think that you improve as a photographer by getting out and photographing… that’s a bit of “cart before the horse” thinking. Improving your photography is more about improving the way you see and the way you think about what you see that it is about the technical understanding of the camera. Now, I love great craft, but if a perfect exposure was what determined great photography, we would all be amazing photographers in the next five years as cameras get more and more intelligent. Focus and exposure will be so perfectly automatic in the next decade that you won’t have to think much to get a technically perfect photo. All of these technically perfect images will still lack the basics: composition, lighting, and story. These are the things you have to learn to find or create and the first step to finding and creating anything is learning to recognize what you are looking for.

Because of this need to constantly improve, I am constantly looking at my portfolio of images and selecting new images. This 30 Days Project has helped me do this even more often and I am glad of that. This is just the latest installment of my portfolio of images over the years. It is by no means a complete or exhaustive portfolio. In fact, I plan on posting a number of these over the next few weeks. This portfolio slideshow is accompanied by the music of Hive Riot with their song, “So I Dance.” Their music is some of my favorite music of all time, and lucky me, it is on Triple Scoop Music so I can license their songs for any project I make. Especially with Triple Scoop Music’s new subscription-based services which allows me to download as many songs as I need for my projects. Choosing a song for me is a very big deal. I often see images and know what song needs to go with them? Other times, I hear a song and know which images I would like to use to connect with the music. In that way, this is a collaborative effort. I make the images, Monday Gledhill and Hive Riot make the songs.

This slideshow was made with Adobe Clip and directly uploaded to Vimeo for distribution. Clip is such a simple way to make slideshows and can be done from your iPad or Smart Phone in just a few short minutes. I can’t say enough good things about Adobe Clip. It even has a few songs for simple projects, but the number is seriously small and they aren’t that great. That’s another reason to use Triple Scoop Music’s subscription service. No matter what program I use to make my videos, I have all the music I could ever want, ready to use anytime I need it. And that is very useful now as I am making 30 Videos in 30 Days…

Learn more at www.triplescoopmusic.com. Music in this video licensed through www.triplescoopmusic.com.

The music for this slideshow is by Hive Riot and can be found on Triple Scoop Music.

Unlimited music licensing plans are normally $995 per year and up. However, right now, for a limited time, there is special pricing! Get yours for just $499 per year (annual billing) or $49 per month when you sign up this month. If you only use one new song each month, you will save $221 this year. At those prices, I will save $1,301 this month alone! That’s pretty amazing. Choose all the music you need all year long. Choose from over 35,000 hand-picked songs and soundtracks. Click here to learn more: www.triplescoopmusic.com

Use the code “JAREDPLATT18” and save an extra 10% on your music membership!

You can follow this project here, or on my blog at www.jaredplatt.com/blog. If you are a Vimeo fan, you can watch this project unfold at my Vimeo Album: https://vimeo.com/album/5227999

For a complete list of my equipment, you can go to B&H Photo Video. https://bhpho.to/2Kx88bl

@Triple Scoop Music @triplscoopmusic #triplescoopmusic #musicLicensing #PhotographyLessons #jaredplatt #photography
#canonUSA @CanonUSA
@Adobe #AdobePremiereClip @AdobePremiere
#weddingPhotography #destinationWeddingPhotography
@BHPhoto #BHPHOTOVIDEO

triathlete has his portrait taken by Jared Platt before he goes to Worlds.

30 Days Project: Senior Portrait of a Triathlete

A Portrait of a Triathlete or Two.

This portrait session, as I mentioned yesterday in my how-to video, is of my nephew Mitchel, who is competing as a triathlete and is currently on his way to Australia for the world competition.  During our portrait shoot, we made sure to get images of him running, biking and swimming as well as the everyday portrait shots.  We even included his cousin Brigham, who is also a triathlete and competed at worlds the year before and who is now in Mexico serving as a missionary there.  So when you see the second athlete, that is who you are seeing.  These two boys are incredible young men who have been training together for years, waking up at 4 in the morning to swim or run or bike.  That kind of dedication and perseverance on the part of a teenager is rare and worth celebrating.  So I celebrate it in the best way I know how: photographs.

We spent the day moving between Gilbert and then out to the canyon lakes area outside the Phoenix area to photograph the lake shots and those on the canyon roads for the road biking shots.  Mitchel is on the Hamilton High School Swim Team, so we took some shots there in Chandler at the high school aquatic center as well.  We really moved around a lot that day, but we do whatever we need to to get the right shots.

Making a senior portrait is more than just taking beautiful photos of a high school senior wearing their school jersey or standing in front of a textured wall.  Every time I photograph a high school senior, I meet with them and discuss what is important to them, what makes them tick… and then I develop a production schedule for the day of the portrait session with the right props, the right activities, and the best locations to make the perfect portraits.  I want to make images that are meaningful to the student and their family.  But in addition to all of that, I want them to have a great experience while we are making the images.  It is a big production!  We have a lot of fun throughout the day.

As with all productions, there are a lot of stories on how we got various shots.  The photographers who are reading this will be interested in technical things like f-stops, light modifiers, and lenses.  But the rest of you will probably be more interested in the funny, interesting efforts made to make images like the ones at the lake.  At one point I was trying to get the splash that would occur as Mitchel would be running out of the lake, but the real splash wasn’t cutting it, so I ended up kicking water with one foot, balancing on the other and shooting the shot at the same time.  It took a lot of shots to get the right amount of splash!

Well, this is me, wishing Mitchel the best of luck at the world competition in Australia.

I am using a song by Krysta Youngs (one of my favorites on Triple Scoop) which is licensed by Triple Scoop Music through their new unlimited subscription membership.  I know, I have already used it once before in my 30 Days project, but I loved it so much and I wanted to try it out on a Senior Portrait.  I can always make another slideshow with the same images with a completely different song some other day. 

Go to www.triplescoopmusic.com to learn more about an unlimited membership.

This video is part of my 30 Days Project in connection with Triple Scoop Music’s new Pro Photographer’s unlimited Music Subscription Service.  The music makes the presentation and no service is better than Triple Scoop Music with thousands upon thousands of quality songs from independent music artists in every genre.  Enjoy this how-to video on making a Slideshow with Animoto.  The slideshow is shown at the very end of this how-to video.  I will post the slideshow on its own tomorrow.

Music in this video licensed through www.triplescoopmusic.com

This slideshow was made with Animoto’s online slideshow making tool.  The simplicity of uploading the images and song and letting Animoto do the work is quite appealing when you are as busy as I am.  Each slideshow can have one of a long list of styles.  This style is called “Chic.”  I am typically a very simple “documentary style” slideshow maker, but this one works really well for a senior portrait.

Speaking of music, this whole 30 Days project is possible because of Triple Scoop Music’s new subscription-based service which allows users to pay one monthly fee rather than per song.  If you are producing projects and need music, I highly recommend Triple Scoop Music.  The service is full of great original songs from independent artists.  License one song at a time, or sign up for the subscription service and use as many songs as you need, whenever you need them.  Learn more at www.triplescoopmusic.com

Unlimited music licensing plans are normally $995 per year and up.  However, right now, for a limited time, there is special pricing! Get yours for just $499 per year (annual billing) or $49 per month when you sign up this month.  If you only use one new song each month, you will save $221 this year.  At those prices, I will save $1,301 this month alone!  That’s pretty amazing.  Choose all the music you need all year long. Choose from over 35,000 hand-picked songs and soundtracks.  Click here to learn more: www.triplescoopmusic.com

Use the code “JAREDPLATT18” and save an extra 10% on your music membership!

You can follow this project here, or on my blog at www.jaredplatt.com/blog.  If you are a Vimeo fan, you can watch this project unfold at my Vimeo Album: https://vimeo.com/album/5227999

For a complete list of my equipment, you can go to B&H Photo Video.  https://bhpho.to/2Kx88bl

@Triple Scoop Music @triplscoopmusic #triplescoopmusic #musicLicensing #PhotographyLessons #jaredplatt #photography

#canonUSA @CanonUSA

@animoto

#seniorPortraitPhotography #highschoolSeniorPortraits #ArizonaSeniorPortraits

triathlete has his portrait taken by Jared Platt before he goes to Worlds.

30 Days Project: Making a Senior Portrait Slideshow

Making a Senior Portrait Slideshow with Animoto.

Today I am making a senior portrait in Animoto and showing you how to work with Animoto.  I am using a song by Krysta Youngs (one of my favorites on Triple Scoop) which is licensed by Triple Scoop Music through their new unlimited subscription membership.  I know, I have already used it once before in my 30 Days project, but I loved it so much and I wanted to try it out on a Senior Portrait.  I can always make another slideshow with the same images with a completely different song some other day.  Making a slideshow on Animoto is quite easy, but there are a few little tricks that are helpful when you want to customize the slideshow just a bit.  You can even import images into Animoto directly from your Lightroom CC account in the cloud.

Go to www.triplescoopmusic.com to learn more about an unlimited membership.

This video is part of my 30 Days Project in connection with Triple Scoop Music’s new Pro Photographer’s unlimited Music Subscription Service.  The music makes the presentation and no service is better than Triple Scoop Music with thousands upon thousands of quality songs from independent music artists in every genre.  Enjoy this how-to video on making a Slideshow with Animoto.  The slideshow is shown at the very end of this how-to video.  I will post the slideshow on its own tomorrow.

Music in this video licensed through www.triplescoopmusic.com

This slideshow was made with Animoto’s online slideshow making tool.  The simplicity of uploading the images and song and letting Animoto do the work is quite appealing when you are as busy as I am.  Each slideshow can have one of a long list of styles.  This style is called “Chic.”  I am typically a very simple “documentary style” slideshow maker, but this one works really well for a senior portrait.

Speaking of music, this whole 30 Days project is possible because of Triple Scoop Music’s new subscription-based service which allows users to pay one monthly fee rather than per song.  If you are producing projects and need music, I highly recommend Triple Scoop Music.  The service is full of great original songs from independent artists.  License one song at a time, or sign up for the subscription service and use as many songs as you need, whenever you need them.  Learn more at www.triplescoopmusic.com

Unlimited music licensing plans are normally $995 per year and up.  However, right now, for a limited time, there is special pricing! Get yours for just $499 per year (annual billing) or $49 per month when you sign up this month.  If you only use one new song each month, you will save $221 this year.  At those prices, I will save $1,301 this month alone!  That’s pretty amazing.  Choose all the music you need all year long. Choose from over 35,000 hand-picked songs and soundtracks.  Click here to learn more: www.triplescoopmusic.com

Use the code “JAREDPLATT18” and save an extra 10% on your music membership!

You can follow this project here, or on my blog at www.jaredplatt.com/blog.  If you are a Vimeo fan, you can watch this project unfold at my Vimeo Album: https://vimeo.com/album/5227999

For a complete list of my equipment, you can go to B&H Photo Video.  https://bhpho.to/2Kx88bl

@Triple Scoop Music @triplscoopmusic #triplescoopmusic #musicLicensing #PhotographyLessons #jaredplatt #photography

#canonUSA @CanonUSA

@animoto

#seniorPortraitPhotography #highschoolSeniorPortraits #ArizonaSeniorPortraits