My Five Favorite Fotogs of 2010

If you see me out I typically have a camera in my hands and if I don’t it’s not very far away.  I keep my Nikon D300 pretty close at all times, even at work since I never know when I might need to photograph some evidence or something like that.  Having a camera nearby usually elicits photography conversation and I usually ask the other photographer who they follow or which blogs they read.  The vast majority of the local photographers that I associate with don’t seem to read or follow anyone else’s stuff.  That’s kind of surprising to me actually.  Matt Baxter is the exception.  He and I follow the same people for the most part.

Over the last few years I have been religiously following a few different professional photographers.  I like these guys because not only are they amazing photographers but they also have the “heart of a teacher” (Dave Ramsey quote) and want to share what they have learned.  So here is my top five list in no particular order.

1. Joe McNally :

Joe has been shooting for well over 20 years and has been coined the Master of Flash.  Every image of his tells a story but to hear Joe actually tell the story makes it even better.  He is not shy in front of a video camera and he explains things very well.  I’ve been able to locate a fair amount of interviews on youtube but the best place to learn about Joe is on his blog at http://www.joemcnally.com/blog/.

2. Zack Arias :

Mr. Zack Arias.  How do I explain why I like him….  I think I like and follow Zack more because of his candid, un-politically correct attitude toward the craft of photography.  Don’t get me wrong, he is an amazing photographer, but his candidness is great too and lends itself well to the community.  I see Zack as being the type of guy that really has to work at being a creative.  Here’s just a little personal story I have about the Arias family.  Zack had a “Black Friday” special on his OneLite DVD back last month.  It was so good that I couldn’t pass it up and was one of the first ones to hit the purchase button.  When I got my DVD and tried to play it there was something messed up with the audio.  I contacted his wife Meghan and was rushed a new DVD with a nice little note inside.  Their customer service is wonderful and the DVD is awesome!  I recommend it.  You too can follow Zack on his blog at http://www.zarias.com/.

3. Chase Jarvis:

I found Chase back a couple of years ago by accident much like I found these other guys.  His images were different and very conceptual.  Chase shoots mainly commercial photography but posts a lot of his personal work too.  He does a lot of behind the scenes videos which adds to his teacher qualities that I like and admire.  Follow Chase at his website over at http://blog.chasejarvis.com/blog/.

4. Mike Colon:

Mike is an internationally known wedding photographer.  He is simply amazing.  There isn’t much else to say about him.  If you’re a wedding photographer or aspire to be then I highly encourage you to start reading his blog over at http://www.mikecolon.com/.

5. Scott Kelby:

Last but certainly not least is Scott Kelby.  Yes, that’s right, Mr. Photoshop made my top 5.  Scott is an amazing teacher and an amazing photographer.  He recently started shooting some NFL and college football games and is nice enough to share those with us.  While I am not a huge football fan, I do enjoy looking over the images and reading how he is able to get such crisp and clean pictures.  Follow Scott at http://www.scottkelby.com/.  I also recommend checking out his online training website where you can learn all about photoshope, wordpress, off camera flash, and a mixture of other photography related subjects from professional photographers such as Joe McNally, David Ziser, Jay Maisel, Jeremy Cowart and many others.

All of the above are also avid twitter users too.  You should be able to find their twitter handle on their blog page.  If you can’t then ask me and I’ll give it to you.

If you are a photograph then I recommend you find and follow a few photographers that shoot things that inspire you and encourage you to get off your butt and shoot more images.  The wheel doesn’t need to be re-invented.  Learn from each other.  That’s what makes this fun.

Who are some of your favorite photographers?

Camera Equipment and Tips

Friends often ask me what kind of camera I use.  Before I answer them I usually ask them why they want to know and 99% of the time, the reason is that they love my images and want to be able to make images like mine.  A lot of the times these same friends have a good, quality DSLR camera similar to the one I shoot with.

The reason for this post is this; the cameras that we have today are 100 times better than most of the film cameras people were using just 10 years ago.  The camera doesn’t make the image, the person behind the camera makes the image.

If you want to learn how to use your DSLR to it’s maximum let me give you a few tips.

1.  Read your manual.  Learn all you can about your camera.  Become one with it and it won’t lead you astray.

2.  Stop using the pre-programmed modes.  Use the “A”, “S”, or “M” modes.  These will give you greater control over how your image looks.

3.  Read and view professional photographer’s blogs such as Joe McNally, Scott Bourne and Chase Jarvis.

4.  Visit my buddy Stephen Zeller’s DSLR Workshop page and watch his tutorials.

5.  Get off your butt and shoot.  The more images you make, the more you will learn and the better you will become.

For those of you who are wondering.  I shoot with a Nikon D300.  I usually have either the kit (18-135mm) kit lens attached to it or my 50mm f/1.8.  You don’t need all that crazy expensive equipment to make beautiful images.

Photo Workshop

Last Sunday I attended a studio lighting workshop hosted by Photonooga in Chattanooga,TN.  The instructor was Rocke of www.sexymuse.com.  This was my first workshop and was definitely the first time doing any type of work with models.  I learned a lot but still have much to learn.  Here are a few images I made.

Paige
Laurel
Kourtney