Several months ago I did a webinar with the Manfrotto School of Xcellence on getting your work published. If you weren’t able to join me for the live presentation, kick back and check out this archived version. Enjoy!
So pleased to share my favorite video produced from a shoot for the new Manfrotto BeFree tripod. We spent a week traveling to some of the most iconic photography locations in California–it was a dream job, with unbelievable locations and even better teammates. This video was produced by The Bui Bros–mad skills! Check out the full BeFree campaign here, and stay tuned for an in-depth blog post on the entire experience.
Who’s ready for a quick study in light and DOF???
This intimate sunrise image from the Cholla Garden in Joshua Tree NP is the perfect candidate.
Firstly–light. We all know that superb light is the lifeblood of any meaningful landscape image. Know light. Study it. Understand what it can do for your images. This image illustrates the qualities of having the light source behind your subject. “Backlighting” is perfect for accentuating shape and adding drama to your images. It filters through translucent, or light colored objects, and infuses tehm with life. Notice how each little needle on these cholla cacti are lit up, showcasing both the sheer magnitude and quirky nature of this location.
Secondly–this image is a legit study in depth of field. To help people better understand depth of field, I often compare my photographic frame to a loaf of bread. Think of the image in a three-dimensional way–the foreground is your front slice of bread, the background is your back slice of bread. Depth of field pertains to how many “slices” of bread will appear sharp or in focus within our image.
This image illustrates shallow depth of field. You can see that I’ve utilized a technique called selective focus to steer the viewer to a certain part of my frame, focusing on a certain cholla cactus. So, in reference to the loaf of bread example, I have very few slices of bread in focus. Selective focus (utilizing shallow DOF), is a very useful technique when you have busy compositions that would otherwise leave viewers confused and searching frantically for something to settle on visually.
Try this technique the next time you find yourself amidst a challenging, busy composition–and pay attention to that light source, give a go with backlighting!
It’s a quiet Sunday here in the 801, which gives me a moment for pause and reflection upon some of the past 45 days or so of shooting. It’s been a busy and productive couple of months–weeks that I will be able to look back on in 30 years with fondness…
This is a subtle, sleeper image that just happens to be one of my favorites from the past couple of weeks of work. It was the very first evening of a week-long shoot for Manfrotto, and I was simply hoping for a moment of serendipity.
At the time, I didn’t know I had captured it at all, let alone been fortunate to have clicked the shutter at the moment when a couple of seagulls were placed just perfectly in my frame…one near, one far…just out of alignment, but close enough to feel connected. Sure, I could recreate a moment like this in post, but to know that it occurred in reality is so much more gratifying…
This image evokes emotion, and for me, that is what makes it a keeper. It’s a moment that we have all lived, or would all like to experience at some point in our lives. It’s that care-free feeling that accompanies a salty breeze at the ocean’s doorstep. It’s the nostalgia that takes us back to a simpler time, when ferris wheels were far more important than interest rates and elections.
This image is about a state of being, as much as it is about the good state of California. It is about leaving the present for a moment, and traveling backwards or forwards…into lightness and frivolity.
Strive to capture images that evoke emotion. They are the reason so many of us turn to imagery for release.
I had the pleasure of working with lifestyle apparel brand Mountain Khakis this past summer, capturing a slew of imagery featuring their 2013 Spring/Summer product line. We had a jam-packed two days of shooting in several different locations in northern Utah, including Park City, Uinta National Forest and the rural farming paradise of Oakley. It was an absolute blast, and we ended up producing some killer images. Check out the case study on adambarkerphotography.com for imagery from the shoot
I’ve always said that the hardest part of running a photography business…is running a photography business.
For the most part, I try and remain free of the online armchair quarterbacking that will straight suck the creative life right out of you, but, within all but the most elite levels of photography, there has long been a misconception in the creative world that artistic prowess is somehow a portal to weakness when it comes down to the nitty gritty of doing business.
There are many veteran photographers in the industry that are incredibly wary of what the future holds. While completely justified in their grim outlook (vs. the glory days), I can say with assurance that I believe the future to be bright, albeit very different. The bottom line has always been “adapt or die”. That’s a tough one for sure–I believe adaptation, in this sense, walks a fine line between relinquishing standards and understanding what is a sustainable new way of doing business. Adapt in a way that benefits both parties involved, understanding that there will need to be compromise from both parties.
My new bottom line? CAN YOU SLEEP AT NIGHT WITH THE DEAL YOU JUST MADE? Is it good for both parties involved? Is it ridiculously lopsided? Look out for numero uno, while keeping the health of the industry a close second.
Head back to adambarkerphotography.com.
Or maybe, I should say…I’M back. Funny how so many of us photographer/entrepreneurial types throw that plural form around like it’s half-cooked noodle–just waiting to see if it sticks. “We” like to make you think that there’s a huge entourage of bustling interns working themselves to the bone each and every day while this well-oiled machine of a photography brand is in cruise control, taking the world by storm while I field calls from clients that want to overpay me for work that is far easier than it looks.
The truth is, the “we” that I throw around so often is basically me, my wife and my three boys. There. I said it. SURPRISE!!! The other truths?
1. I could never work this hard for anyone else but myself.
2. I’m not rich.
3. But I make a fine and decent living.
4. I have a quality of life that far exceeds anything I could have ever imagined in my wildest dreams.
5. I have a creative appetite that must be fed whether it’s being paid for or not.
6. This means I love what I do, and I do what I love.
7. I drink way too much Coke.
8. I abhor mediocrity.
Every day I wake up and think that I must be one of the most fortunate people on this planet. I wonder, for a moment, what my life would be like were I not to have taken that enormous leap of faith and chosen to follow my heart and pursue a career that would make me happy for the rest of my life.
I have been pushed to the brink of sanity and then welcomed back with a nugget of success. I have progressed at alarming rates, only to then face the same simple challenges I did as a rookie. I have achieved and I have failed. I have been buoyed up and I have been incredibly let down. And through it all, I continue to believe that the path of photography as a career is viable, noble, engaging, feasible, crazy and super cool.
So why the introspective diary entry of a blog post??? Why the hell not? As in so many other cases, I do it because I can. And on this Tuesday morning, it felt right. I have many, many of you to thank. You really do know who you are. I have many that have inspired me, and in turn, I hope to have been a source of inspiration and aspiration to many of you at some point in time.
Whatever pursuit it is in which you are engaged at this moment. If it is worthy, don’t ever stop. Go till you can’t manage another labored breath, and then pick yourself up, and go some more. It is all worth it.
Stoked on my latest cover! Julian Carr shredding Solitude Mountain Resort on the January cover of SKI Magazine.
What is an environmental lifestyle image? Seems pretty self-explanatory, right? It’s an image that gives as much (if not more) attention to the environment, as it does to the activity taking place. It’s the perfect marriage between location
For me, it’s like having my cake and eating it too. I discovered my passion for photography in scenic landscape work. I have also been an avid participant in many recreational pursuits since a young age. It’s a combo that takes me to many beautiful locations, while watching and/or participating in the things I love to do.
This image embodies everything I love about fly fishing on the ocean. Clean, open air. Limitless space. Uninhibited motion. Surreal landscape. Endless skies. Soft, barefoot sand. Whether approaching it with a camera, or a rod in hand, it is an absolute dream.
This image was captured about 15 min before sunset. Having that sun low on the horizon emphasized the repetitive texture in this spit of sand. The location was perfect here. The activity was spot on. But the light it what brought this image to life. Without light, this image is an average shot of a dude casting to bonefish on a pleasant spit of sand in the middle of the Bahamas. And we all know that average is just as close to the bottom as it is to the top.
Don’t be average.
Is that not what this whole photography thing is all about??? The first memory I have of picking up a camera for any purpose beyond simply documenting what was occurring in front of me was to simply share with others. Share the beauty. Share the wonder. Share the ridiculous. Share the inspiring. Share something that made someone say “wow”. Share something that made someone want to go and explore their backyard, go adventuring and lose t
While some things have changed about my approach to photography, one thing remains constant–and that is my desire to share with others that which I see. I am fortunate to see crazy cool stuff in unbelievable locations all over the world. I count myself lucky each and every day.
This image reminded me of that this morning. Shot deep in the Trinity Alps of northern California, this locale felt like something out of a fairy tale. Skinning through old growth forests plastered with moss and lichen–so cool!
A telephoto lens was key in compressing the scene, enhancing the layers of forest, and filling the frame with color and texture. Understand your equipment, and how it can help you maximize each location and each shooting opportunity. Know what you want, and have the technical backing to go out and get it. Finally, share! Share your work. Share your vision. Inspire and be inspired!