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One Hour Photo - Colby Brown

Lesson 114 from: Fundamentals of Photography 2016

John Greengo

One Hour Photo - Colby Brown

Lesson 114 from: Fundamentals of Photography 2016

John Greengo

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Lesson Info

114. One Hour Photo - Colby Brown


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


Welcome to Photography


Camera Types Overview


Viewing Systems


Viewing Systems Q&A


Lens Systems


Shutter Systems


Shutter Speeds


Choosing a Shutter Speed


Shutter Speeds for Handholding


Shutter Speed Pop Quiz


Camera Settings


General Camera Q&A


Sensor Sizes: The Basics


Sensor Sizes: Compared






Sensor Q&A


Focal Length: Overview


Focal Length: Angle of View


Wide Angle Lenses


Telephoto Lenses


Angle of View Q&A


Fish Eye Lenses


Tilt & Shift Lenses


Subject Zone


Lens Speed


Aperture Basics


Depth of Field


Aperture Pop Quiz


Lens Quality


Photo Equipment Life Cycle


Light Meter Basics




Histogram Pop Quiz and Q&A


Dynamic Range


Exposure Modes


Manual Exposure


Sunny 16 Rule


Exposure Bracketing


Exposure Values


Exposure Pop Quiz


Focus Overview


Focusing Systems


Autofocus Controls


Focus Points


Autofocusing on Subjects


Manual Focus


Digital Focusing Assistance


Focus Options: DSLR and Mirrorless


Shutter Speeds for Sharpness and DoF


Depth of Field Pop Quiz


Depth of Field Camera Features


Lens Sharpness


Camera Movement


Handheld and Tripod Focusing


Advanced Techniques


Hyperfocal Distance


Hyperfocal Quiz and Focusing Formula


Micro adjust and AF Fine Tune


Focus Stacking and Post Sharpening


Focus Problem Pop Quiz


The Gadget Bag: Camera Accessories


The Gadget Bag: Lens Accessories


The Gadget Bag: Neutral Density Filter


The Gadget Bag: Lens Hood and Teleconverters


The Gadget Bag: Lens Adapters


The Gadget Bag: Lens Cleaning Supplies


The Gadget Bag: Macro Lenses and Accessories


The Gadget Bag: Flash and Lighting


The Gadget Bag: Tripods and Accessories


The Gadget Bag: Custom Cases


10 Thoughts on Being a Photographer


Direct Sunlight


Indirect Sunlight


Sunrise and Sunset


Cloud Light


Golden Hour


Light Pop Quiz


Light Management


Artificial Light




Off-Camera Flash


Advanced Flash Techniques


Editing Overview


Editing Set-up


Importing Images


Best Use of Files and Folders




Develop: Fixing in Lightroom


Develop: Treating Your Images


Develop: Optimizing in Lightroom


Art of Editing Q&A


Composition Overview


Photographic Intrusions


Mystery and Working the Scene


Point of View


Better Backgrounds


Unique Perspective


Angle of View


Subject Placement


Subject Placement Q&A




Multishot Techniques




Human Vision vs The Camera


Visual Perception


Visual Balance Test


Visual Drama


Elements of Design


The Photographic Process


Working the Shot


The Moment


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Lesson Info

One Hour Photo - Colby Brown

Hello, everybody. My name is John Greengo, and welcome to One Hour Photo. This is the very first of one hour specials that we're gonna be putting on once a month here, and this is kind of a bonus video to go along with the Fundamentals of Photography class. As you know, in the Fundamentals, I have my very elaborate keynotes. That takes us through a lot of the, well, the fundamentals of photography. And I think that's really important for anyone wanting to get to know photography and getting to know their cameras to know that skillset. But there's a lot of other things that can make you a good photographer besides going out and actually shooting. And so I wanted to produce a one hour show where we could get together once a month and I could take your questions, we could take a look at your photos, and maybe have some other fun along the way. And so what we're gonna be doing in this very first version of the One Hour Photo is we've got 10 questions. And these are questions that we've pul...

led from the previous class, as well as the Facebook page from CreativeLive, questions that you have about cameras and photography. I wanna go through and give some answers to those. And then, for this first episode, I'm really happy about this, we have a special interview with Colby Brown, who's done some classes here at CreativeLive. And we're gonna be talking to him, looking at his photos, and be talking about how he got to where he is now in the world of photography. And he's got some great images, so it's gonna be fun to talk about how he created some of those, and maybe some advice that he has for all of you. And then he's gonna stick around and we're gonna look at some of your images in a photo critique section. These are photos that you've submitted to the work gallery in the Fundamentals page, and there's some good photos in there and there are some photos that maybe need some work, and we're gonna look at them. And we're gonna talk about what we like, what we don't like, and maybe most importantly, what we would do if we were in those situations and we were wanting to try to get that type of photo. Would I use this lens? Would I move a little bit to the left? Or whatever those things may be. And so I think this is a really helpful tool, a helpful way of getting better, just looking at other people's work and then through what worked and what didn't work. And so that's what we'll be doing in the third section here, the photo critique section. So to start with, what we're gonna be doing is looking at some of your questions. I get lots and lots of questions, and in the actual class, I only get time to answer one or two questions per section. And so this is a chance for me to go through and look at a bunch of other questions. I've been teaching photography and, well, I've been in the world of photography for decades now, and so I know these questions come around quite a bit. And so I've picked off ones that I think are gonna be very valuable to a lot of different people. So first up is, "Where do I find the histogram on my camera? "I have a Nikon d53." So, just kind of as a word of warning, we're not gonna be able to always address very specific camera issues in this class, 'cause this is only gonna apply to Nikon. But I thought I'd throw this in here because Nikons are particularly frustrating to me because they don't allow you to turn on the histogram until you dive into the menu system. You need to go into the Playback menu under Display Options. And there will be a checkbox so that you can turn on the histogram. So Menu, the Display menu under the Playback Menu, and turn on the histogram option. And then when you go back to play, you playback your image, on the back of the camera, there's usually a four way, up, down, left, right controller. And I believe on most Nikons, if you go left and right, you'll go forward and backward through your images, and if you go up and down, you'll cycle through the different information tabs. So you do have it on that camera. You have to turn it on, and then as you cycle through your images, you would just simply go up or down to look at that additional information. Next question. "Talking about lenses, do you recommend "to stay with the brand of camera you have?" So, for all the manufacturers, they, of course, recommend that you stay with the own brand of lenses. And so if you have a Canon, they recommend you stay with Canon lenses. But there's a lot of other manufacturers out there that make some interesting options. And myself, I own predominantly the name brand lenses for that brand of camera. But that does not mean that's the only lenses I'll have. Sigma, for instance, as of lately has been putting out some really, really nice, high quality lenses. I have their 50 1.4 for the Canon system, and I absolutely love it. I think it's better than the one that's offered by Canon right now. And so Tamron, Sigma, Tokina, those are all some pretty major manufacturers that make auto focused lenses. But there's other manufacturers, ZEISS and Voigtlander and many more we don't have time to go into, and if you find it a better value, if you like the way it works, I would say it's probably not gonna be any sort of problem at all. It's not gonna damage your camera. There is a case from time to time where some of these lenses don't have the right chip or the right information in it and there is some focusing problems. Some of the older Sigma lenses were notorious not working on brand new cameras from Nikon and Canon because they didn't have the right electronic information. They would fix it on warranty. And so there is that one little slight precaution that you need to be aware of. But in general, whatever works works in my mind. "What is the best lens for food photography? "I'm using a Canon 70D." Well, food photography is not my expertise, but I know the size of most plates of food. It's not too big. I think a good place to start is probably a macro lens so that you can get in really tight. Like if you wanted to show a baby tomato full frame on your camera, a macro lens will allow you to get in, but it also allows you to focus at a greater distance. And so if you're just trying to document the food, I think a macro lens would be the best lens. But if you're trying to do maybe more food, lifestyle food, like you wanna show a plate of food at a restaurant and you wanna have a little bit of the restaurant in the background maybe a little bit blurry, you could be using a slightly wide angle lens, full frame equivalent of a 35 or a 28 millimeter lens. You probably don't wanna get too crazy into the ultra wide category. And so this can be very easily done with your kit zooms and your very basic lenses. But if you wanna get close up details, that's when the macro lens would come in. I have a lot of Nikon questions here. "I have a Nikon DX 3300. "I have the DX18 to 55 and the 55 to 200." So that's the standard zoom and the telephoto zoom. "I'm considering a used Nikon 35 1.8. "Will that be a good choice to take on a cruise?" Well, let me forget the last line for the moment. With those two lenses, I can almost always recommend the Nikon 35 1.8. I think it's a great lens that gives you an option that you don't already have. And so if you want a lens that has a faster aperture that can be very good under low light conditions, that 35 is a normal, standard angle of view and that 1.8 aperture is, not gonna do the math right now, but it's about four times faster, letting in four times as much light, then your zoom lenses. Now, will you be using that on a cruise? I've been on a number of cruises, and I don't think that you're gonna get a lot of use on the deck of the boat with a 35. If you're wanting to shoot pictures maybe in the dance hall or reception area, it might be kinda nice for that. But when you stop and you go into towns, like I've been on a cruise ship that goes in through Italy and Croatia, and you have all these neat little dark walkways, that's when the 35 might be really nice. Especially if you get tired carrying around all your gear and you just wanna throw one simple lens on your camera to kinda force you to think and work in a certain style, I know a number photographers that are completely happy taking their camera and a standard lens with them as they walk the streets. And so I think it's a great third option. It depends on where you're gonna wanna use it on the cruise, but I like that three lens kit option there. "How do I get sharp photos in low light conditions? "Any time I bump up the ISO and shutter speed, "the picture is grainy." Well, this could be a complicated, long answer here, but I'm gonna try to keep it as short as possible. The first thing to do is you need to figure out, what is the slowest shutter speed that'll work for what you're doing? And this is gonna come down to what type of action are you shooting and how steady you can hold the camera. Let's just say for the moment you're photographing dancers on the stage, and they're running around and jumping. In that case, you're gonna need 500th of a second. But maybe if you don't take pictures while they're running and jumping, you do it more when they stop and they pose, you could back that down to 250th of a second or a 125th or maybe even a 60th of a second. So it depends a little bit on the type of shot that you're trying to get. And so you don't wanna get an overly fast shutter speed. It's the slowest shutter speed that does the job that you need. And so it's not the shutter speeds that are gonna really cause the problem there, and so that's kinda getting you set up correctly. When you bump up the ISO, all cameras get noisier. And it's just the fact of the way the sensors work on the cameras. Each camera is gonna be a little bit different. On my current camera, once I get over 3200, it starts not looking so good. But I remember back in the earlier days of photography, once you go over 800 it started to look pretty bad. Cameras with larger size sensor, cameras that are more current are typically gonna do a little bit better, and so you might look at potentially some of the cameras that have larger sensors or might be newer. But first, I would take a look at that shutter speed and make sure that you're making the correct choice there. Also, you can also throw in the little idea that if you have a faster lens you won't need as high of ISO. So there's a lot of different options on a way to attack this problem. But good question. "How do you recommend "testing your ISO limits on your camera? "Do you use certain lenses "or is it different with different lenses?" And so as far as your ISO goes, that's not going to matter from lens to lens. And so when I get a new camera, I do wanna see how good it is at different ISOs. And despite there's lots of companies and websites that do testing, I kinda wanna do my own test just to see how it works for myself. I'll set my camera up on a tripod on an object that is stationary. I'll be very careful to make sure that I am focused exactly right on. So I'm usually using live view and manual focusing. But I make sure that I'm focused properly, and then I just shoot a series of photos at all the major ISOs, 100, 200, 400, 800, and on up. I download them. I look at them in my software program. I usually use Lightroom. And then I look at them at about 100%. And I look at 100, and it's usually really clean. At 200, 400, 800, it's looking pretty clean. And then you start noticing the noise coming in. And what I do is I just try and remember, when does that noise start to really show itself? And then when does it get so bad that it has really impacted the quality of the images? And for a lot of the cameras out there these days, that top ISO most people feel comfortable feel shooting is somewhere in the 3200 to ISO 12,800. But it all depends on a case to case basis. "What do you think about using auto ISO and manual mode, "IE, only ISO changes to balance the exposure?" Well, as many of you know from my class, I'm not a big fan of auto for anything in the exposure world, but there is always exceptions to the rules. In general, I don't like using auto ISO. If my subject is under a relatively fixed or non-changing light, and so let's just say I'm focusing on a soccer game, and they're out playing in the field, it's outside, and the light is not changing. I don't want the fact that my camera has panned over to an area where there's some dark trees for the camera to go, "Uh oh, it's dark. "Let's change the ISO on you." It doesn't need to be doing that 'cause that's just in the background. And so if it's a fairly stable situation, and stable in terms of the light changing, I wouldn't wanna use auto ISO. If you are in a little bit more of a wild, changing environment, maybe you're doing bird photography and the bird flies from bright sun into the nest in the shadows and you need to have very different settings as it goes from the sun to the shade, that would be an excellent time to incorporate auto ISO. It's a little bit of a matter of personal preference. Some people leave their cameras in auto ISO all the time, but I like to be in manual just to be on top of all the settings on my camera. "I'm thinking about upgrading my camera "in the next 12 months. "Should I start looking at a mirrorless? "I currently have a Nikon D5300." Well, first off, the D is a relatively current, very good camera. I think you're capable of getting very nice results out of that. If you are looking at a new camera, yes, you should of course look at the mirrorless. There's a lot of options out there. There have been more mirrorless cameras introduced over the last two years than there has been SLRs, and so there seems to be more and more options in the mirrorless world. And I have no doubt that in 10 years from now, most people will be shooting mirrorless pretty much all the time. I think there'll still be SLRs for quite some time, but there's gonna be a trend going that direction. Now, that doesn't mean you should rush out and sell your SLR. I have two of them, and I have no plans on selling them anytime quick. But the industry is going more and more towards mirrorless. They are attacking each of the problems we've had. They've had poor quality view finders, which are very good and completely workable now. If you are doing a lot of sports photography, I would stick with your SLR right now. The mirrorless cameras are just starting to come up on par with your intermediate level SLRs, but they haven't surpassed it at this point. At some point, I think they may. I don't know when that's gonna be. And so it's an option. Look at what's out there. See if there's something that fits your needs. "I'm looking to get a better camera. "Should I buy a top of the line crop frame "or a basic full frame body?" Okay, this is a dilemma a lot of people have, because once they go through my talk on sensors and they talk about how great full frame sensors are, some people are saying, "Well, maybe I should skip the beginner step "and get full into what I wanna get into." And this is gonna depend a little bit on what you are doing and how much money you have to spend. The honest truth of the matter, and I do say this in my class, is that full frame cameras require more expensive lenses for the most part, and they're often a little bit bigger and bulkier. And so there is a price to be paid, and the first question you should ask is, does that work well for you? And I know a number of photographers, some travel photographers, that okay, maybe they're not as young as they used to be and they don't wanna carry around as much equipment. They're shooting with crop frame cameras, because the quality is good enough for what they're doing and it's lighter weight and it's smaller and it fits what they're doing. If you are looking to get into photography professionally, look at what the professionals are using in your field. If you're gonna be a wedding photographer, yep, pretty much all the serious pro wedding photographers are shooting full frame. Gonna shoot professional sports? They're pretty much all shooting full frame, as well, 'cause they're shooting under low light conditions. And so it's a complicated question. I can't answer it in perfection because I don't know the rest of the details, but those are some thoughts. "There's a new version of my current camera. "Is it worth the upgrade?" Now, I've kinda paraphrased this one down, 'cause usually they come in and they're much, much longer than this. I see this a lot. And I like to read reviews on new cameras, and one of the things that happens at the end of the review is the reviewer always tries to say whether it's worth the upgrade from the previous one. And in almost every camera review I have read, they have said it is worth the upgrade. And I'm gonna call bologna on this, and that is because they do not know what you are doing with your camera and how well it's meeting your current needs, and they don't know your budget. If you're having a hard time paying the monthly rent, no, you should not go out and pay a lot of money to get two more megapixels. And so I think this is an impossible question to answer. This is something that only you can by just gathering more information. How much better is the new camera than the old camera? Is it gonna solve problems that you are currently having? Does it have features that you don't have right now? And I'd be a little bit careful about saying, "Oh, it's got this and I don't have that." Ask yourself really honestly, are you going to use that? Because some people think, "Well, it would be nice if I had this," and then they never end of up using it. And so in most cases, I tend to be a little bit more on the thrifty side. And most of the time, it's not worth upgrading from model to model. I'll throw this out there. I think Nikon upgrades their cameras, a lot of their lower and middle level cameras, way too often. I think Canon is kinda guilty of this, as well. Every time they come out with a new model, every 12 to 18 months, it is too frequent. There are too many changes, or there are not enough changes, and you should probably wait to an every other year cycle. I've seen many people using cameras that are five, six, seven years old, and it fits what they do very well. So you first have to address, does it fit what you are doing really well? So hopefully that helps in making those decisions. I know that's always a tough call, and it's tough to answer that. So if you want to submit a question, and we are looking for questions, so please, I wanna answer questions. And as a side note, don't email me. I'm not gonna answer questions anymore. This is where I will answer questions. If it's a good question, put it here and I will try to answer it right here in the One Hour Photo. And so here is the link for you to submit those questions. There's a lot of places where you can talk and see what other people are doing on there. But if you got a question, put it right in there, One Hour Photo question for John or something like that, and we're gonna try to get that in. I want 10 good questions every month. And so please, I look forward to answering those questions for you. All right. It is time for our special guest. Let's welcome in Colby Brown. All right, Colby. Thanks for coming and joining us here. Thank you so much. Have a seat. Let's talk photography here. And so you recently wrapped up some classes here. What were the two classes that you put on the books here? So I just wrapped up today Monetizing Your Social Media Presence for Outdoor Photographers. And then the last two days, I put together a in-depth, two day course that does a deep dive into developing your social media presence overall for photography. So it's understanding what the networks are and how they work and what are algorithms and giving you tips and tricks to how to build your audience. Nice. And social media has totally changed photography. I've been doing this for a couple decades now, and it's just revolutionized the whole photographic world. It's a different space. It has adjusted a lot of different avenues within the photo industry, advertising, marketing, how people connect, how many photos people are sharing these days. All different avenues have been affected, and it's really impossible to ignore anymore. Yeah. Well, I know a lot of people who are watching probably already saw your class and know a little bit about you, but we've probably got a bunch of people who don't even know who Colby Brown is. And so what type of photography do you engage in? How do you classify what you do? I technically, in terms to marketing speak, I usually call myself a landscape, travel, and humanitarian photographer. My main company is Colby Brown Photography, and that's mostly what I am known for. But I also created a second company about five, six years ago called The Giving Lens, which essentially has humanitarian efforts. We do trips around the world that acts as fundraisers where we partner with local NGOs and we take teams of photographers through these different places to learn about photography but also to give back. And so that whole humanitarian side has also been part of who I am for a number of years now, and yeah, it's kinda awesome. That's nice, very nice. So the world that you're into is kinda what I enjoy, as well. That's a pretty popular world. How do you maybe differentiate your stuff, or do you have certain style about the way you do things or the way you see or present things? It's a good question. I think for me, I think most photographers need some sense of a style and some sense of a vision that we develop over years. Because I like to shoot a lot of different things, which I think you're kinda similar, as well, we're attracted to or we bring out our camera when we're compelled to. And sometimes that isn't just with a landscape or just with an individual. It can be a lot of different things. And so for me, it's that idea, that diversity that has pulled me into photography that allows me to create and photograph a variety of subjects. And what the connection point essentially is is mostly probably more so on the feel or the look of the images, not necessarily so much in the content. So while most of my stuff is landscape, nature, travel, which is all encompassing, as you know, it's the style. So the colors I typically gravitate towards, or you look through my portfolio and some of the stuff is a little bit more moody, it's maybe slightly darker, but I still have nice highlights. And so looking through that portfolio, you can see these connection points. Rather than some other photographers, where you see that they're shooting the same thing all the time 'cause that's what they wanna be known for, I simply wanna photograph things that I love. Nice, nice. So you still seem kinda young and kinda new in photography, but you've made a fairly meteoric rise in the photographic world. Maybe you could talk a little bit about the early days of your photography. What was that like? What were you doing? Maybe what were some mistakes you made? Absolutely. Okay, so I started photography back in 2006. So it's been 11 years now that I've been doing this. But when I first got into it, I always tell everyone, I've never had this nostalgic story where my father handed me a camera and I always wanted to do it. I stumbled into it. The truth of the matter is that once I graduated from university, I had the travel bug from traveling. Every once in a while. I'd take a couple semesters off while I was going through the process. And once I graduated, I got a real job at a hospital and worked there for about six months and realized that an eight to five job just wasn't for me. And so I sold everything I had at the time, moved up to British Columbia. Actually, I went to school in Dallas, Texas, moved to British Columbia. Has somewhat of a quarter life crisis where I was like, "What do I wanna do with my life?" And what it came down to was I just wanted to get back and travel. I wanted to have travel experiences. I wanted to feel out of my element. That's one of my places where I feel most at home. And it just so happened that I felt that photography might be that medium that would allow me to do so. And so that was the tripping into photography. I was very naive. I didn't know what to expect. I didn't know what I was doing. And so I had to buy books and teach myself for a number of months. And eventually what happened is I decided I wanted to get back out there and start traveling again, and so I bought one way ticket to Southeast Asia, to Bangkok. And what happened was, on the flight over, so this was a few months after picking up my first camera, on the flight over, the woman sitting next to me was a rock climber from Jackson Hole, Wyoming. And she had been going out to the Railay Peninsula in southern Thailand for years, had fallen in love with a local Thai and was going to get married. Long story short, her friend was a photographer that backed out at last second. And so on the flight over, I convinced her to hire me to essentially photograph this traditional Buddhist wedding in this rural village in the middle of southern Thailand. We were one of just a few other white people that were there. Very few people spoke English. It was a surreal experience. And even though I didn't get paid a lot, it gave me the confidence to think that I could actually do this. And so fast forward a few years from there, I ended up getting a pretty lucky break where I'd spent a few years traveling around the world and building up my portfolio and building up a little bit of a resume, and I just so happened to end up getting hired by National Geographic to start running some of their student expedition programs in South America in Ecuador and the Galapagos. That's a good opportunity there. That's a great opportunity. For most people that have had the chance to work with National Geographic, they're a wonderful organization. They don't pay exceptionally well. They are an NGO. Most people don't know that. Most people think if you're doing something with National Geographic, you've arrived. In some sense, you have. You don't directly get to benefit from it, but it's the indirect. It's the fact that that opened up exponentially more doors. And that was really a launching factor for my career. And that just so happened to be around the time that social media was coming out, and so the correlation between that as a launchpad and a resume builder for me and social media that just seemed to make sense for me correlated into me being able to find success quite quickly. Nice. So I don't know about you, but when I look back on my photos, I'm categorized by year. And so when I need a photo, what I'll do is I'll look back as far as a certain year. And before that, it's the learning curve is still going on. Can you pinpoint when that learning curve was like, "Okay, this is when I started to really get it?" I think so. I do the same thing, actually. So my Lightroom catalog is very similar. I essentially have it by year, and then usually by continent and the country and then whatever I'm doing. And so looking back at my stuff, I think there definitely probably was a turning point probably four or five years in where I look back now, at least, and I'm not necessarily so embarrassed by where I was at and the level that I felt I was working at and what I was doing in terms of processing and things like that. Of course, obviously, camera technology has improved and software has changed, but our vision has changed, as well. I think talking about that idea of style, I think I also didn't have that early on. It takes a while to build that, that idea of building what is your own creative vision. And so I feel that once that came together, you see a shift in my portfolio in terms of the quality of content that was coming out of it, but also how there is that common thread now between all the different styles of my work. And so I don't necessarily have a pinpoint, a specific time or necessarily trip, but just looking back, I know that there is this somewhat of a divide that happens rather quickly, because all of a sudden it was like I know what I'm liking. I know what I'm shooting, and all of a sudden, I find myself shooting less, but the quality is actually getting much better. Yeah. And I think that's something that everyone struggles for, but I think it's hopeful, because no matter where you are, no matter what age you are, things can get better and better. And you look back and it's like, I look back on 10 years ago and I'm thinking, "Oh, wow, I thought this was good." This was the cover of what I thought was the best thing ever. And then things change. Absolutely. So you're taking all these photos. You're a professional photographer. How do you make money though photography? So I make money through a handful of different revenue streams. This is something I actually talk quite a bit about in each of my social media classes here at CreativeLive. Essentially, the idea that I think most photographers these days, and I think you'd agree, have to have some sense of diversification. There's just so much going on and so much has evolved that it really helps take away a lot of the stress from sitting there and having all your eggs in one basket. And so for me, photo education, of course, is a big portion of things. Like you, I am a photo educator. I have been for 11 years. Each of my companies run tours all over the world. I've written books, do video tutorials, all those things. That's a good chunk of what I do, maybe around 40%. I also work quite a bit on large marketing campaigns in both the tourism and the tech industries, where I'm working with companies like Sony and Samsung and Microsoft and LG, or destinations, like governments, for like the Canadian government and Jordanian Tourism Board or Australia Tourism Board. And so those things make up a big portion of what I do, as well, probably another 40 to 50 percent. And then most of the rest of the stuff is image licensing, sponsorships. I work with quite a number of companies and brands because of my social following. And all of that together has allowed me to create a very nice brand that lets me live quite comfortably. So you have a very large hat rack at your house, 'cause you're wearing a lot of hats. Absolutely. In my class, I joke that being a photographer is probably the second most popular career choice. First would be rock star. (Colby laughs) If you could be Mick Jagger, wouldn't you probably take that? I would probably take that. Yeah. But once you get past 25 or so, you're thinking, "Okay, that's not gonna probably happen, "but that photographer thing seems really nice." And so one question that I wanna ask all my guests, just because I know there's people at home going, "That's awesome. "That is so cool. "That's what I wanna do." The question is, what percent of your time is actually shooting photographs? That's a good question. Yeah, most people have this over romanticized notion of what we do. I'd probably say that the percentage of time, of working time, that I'm actually shooting out in the field on a given overall year comparatively, probably like six percent. (John laughs) Six percent? Maybe six to nine percent to be optimistic. I mean, the reality is that photographer, when you're doing this for a living, you're an entrepreneur. So I love business. That's why I've started multiple. I'm starting more. I have other ones down the pipeline. I love that stuff, almost probably as much as I love creating work, creating photography work. And so a lot of the stuff that I do, I'm constantly building. I'm constantly trying to think 10 steps ahead. And so while that number might scare people, especially new, aspiring photographers, the reality is that it takes a lot to make what we do happen, makes it all of it come together. Yeah. I love time away, I love getting out and shooting, but I also have a family at home. So I always say that I wanna work smarter and not harder, which means that every year that goes on, not only do I wanna be more financially successful but that I also want to not work as hard, which for me oftentimes means not so much time out in the field. So when I do travel, it's more pointed. It's more specific, and I'm more effective so that I can go home and play LEGO Batman with my five year old son, because that's what I love to do, and that's my driving force. Nice, nice. I think it's fun to get that question out there-- Absolutely. Because I think most people are gonna say 10% or less on it, and it just doesn't seem right. And one of the things in my classes, I don't necessarily encourage people to try and make a living from photography. I think it's a great activity. It's a great lifestyle. And if you just work your normal nine to five job and you spend all day Saturday photographing, what is that, like 14% of your time? Yeah. You double what you did this year. You're doing better, absolutely. Well, that's the rube. That's the reality mixed in with the fantasy or the romanticized notion that people that do this for a living, who travel all the time, only beautiful places, nothing bad ever happens, we get paid exceptionally well, and all we do is shoot. And that's just not reality. I'm sorry. Well, let's look at some of your reality. And we've got some photographs, and let's go ahead and jump through these things. Excellent. Maybe you could quickly describe where it is, 'cause I'm sure people are like, "Where's that? "That's awesome." Absolutely. So this photo was taken in lower Antelope Canyon in Page, Arizona. Beautiful place I highly recommend that people check out. I will tell you that it is a little bit of a zoo in terms of the fact that there are so many people that come through these areas, through these slot canyons, because they're so popular. But they are gorgeous. Amazing light. Yeah. I've been down through them a few times, and it's spectacular. Let's just talk for a moment about, you've got some beautiful destinations that we're gonna see, crowded destinations. Okay, there was a post on one of the blogs that I went to, and someone traveled the western United States. And they had a photo in there that was maybe almost as good as this. But they had traveled to all the iconic locations. And of course, one of the commenters comes in and says, "I've seen all those places before." And one of the ideas that I have is I don't care if it's been photographed before. I wanna shoot it. You haven't photographed it. Yeah. Absolutely. How do you feel about people going to these places even though they've been shot to death? Me and you are on the same page here. The reality is that if you haven't photographed it, it doesn't really matter. Now, there are caveats in that. Obviously, what you may be able to do with something like this that has billions of other photographs with it, how many people might wanna purchase this or do something with, but in terms of actual just your own experiences and the experience of being in lower Antelope Canyon is phenomenal. And yes, it's a madhouse, and yes, it's crazy, but that's part of the experience, and if you don't do it, you don't know. So I highly recommend that you don't listen to other people telling you not to do stuff, especially when it comes to traveling around. Yeah. I think there's something that you can learn from the experience. And in some ways, I think of it as, "Okay, this is a great book. "Somebody else read the book. "Well, I wanna read the book." Exactly, absolutely. All right, let's go to the next one here. So this is stunning light. Love that. Thank you, thank you. So this is Petra, ancient city of Petra in Jordan. It is a wonderful, wonderful place to visit, and incredibly safe place to visit, contrary to the fact that it's surrounded by some of the more crazy countries in the Middle East. The people are incredibly friendly. The Bedouin culture is amazing. I look forward to visiting there very time I can. But this specific event is called Petra at Night, and what they do is, a few times a week, at least during more of the tourist season, is that they will light up the Sikh, which essentially is the walkway that takes you into Petra, and this all culminates right here at the treasury. Most people might recognize this from like one of the Indiana Jones movies. And essentially, they have this unique experience where they actually have Bedouin musicians playing throughout this candlelight. And so a bunch of photographers gather there, line up on the side, and this was just one of the, this is the experience that I was there to photograph. I'm not surprised that you captured it at the right time, but I'm just surprised I don't see a bunch of people taking selfies all in the shot. Can you talk about dealing with the crowds here? Absolutely. Well, I've been there a number of times, and so this time was actually the very tail end of one of their tourism seasons or travel seasons, so it was early into December, so it was starting to get pretty cold, which is unique for this area. Most people travel at different times of the year, and during those times, there's more individuals. But this specific event, actually I found it to be quite nice compared to most other places in that. There were definitely photographers in the times that I visited when there was more people around, but most of them were very respectful. Everyone is kinda on the side. And it was asked by the people that are hosting this to be quiet and to appreciate the silence. It doesn't last for super long. You're not sitting there down there for four hours. It's down there. It lasts for maybe 35 to 40 minutes. And so it's just a really quiet, serene experience. And they asked everyone there to hold taking images that have flash until the very end. Then everyone can do it at the same time. So every once in a while, of course, someone does it, and it ruins one of your shots that's like 30 seconds long, and you'll be like, "Oh, no." But for the most part, I just haven't run into too many problems there. Some of the times, you've gotta do crowd control, but for the most part here, it's quite good. Nice. So one of the questions I have is, as I was coming up through photography, I was shooting out in the field and I didn't know if it was a good shot or not. When you're out in the field, do you know? Are you like, "Okay, this is it, I got it?" I have a higher propensity of knowing more so now than earlier in my career. With caveats, obviously, that mistakes can be made. But for the most part, technology has gotten good enough to essentially allow me to make sure that I know I have the image data that I need using my histograms to check out after the image has been taken. You can zoom in enough generally to make sure that things are sharp enough. And so those two things when I'm out in the field usually give me a good enough indicator to know. And oftentimes, once I've shot it, like a specific scene that just kind of was, "Wow," I generally know I'm good. Now, what is more surprising to me is the ones that I know I think are good, I know I'm gonna keep, that surprise me like a year or two later. As I go back and I'm like, "Wow, I completely missed this gem." To me, that is the most surprising thing compared to taking a truly epic moment and then just realizing that you have it and you're like, you're good. And I think that is something that's important for people to do, is to go back to their work two, three, four years ago, because you might discover some gems that you didn't have the vision to see at that time. Absolutely. But now you realize, "Oh, okay." And maybe you've learned some Photoshop techniques, and like, "Okay, if I do this to it, I can save this image," and it fits in. Absolutely. No, I 100% agree. Like I said, every time I go back and I'm surprised. And this is another reason, we're all shooting digital. I mean, it's not necessarily free. Hard drives obviously cost money. But the reality is that if I'm shooting something that isn't, or I'm keeping every image that I shoot that isn't out of focus or that if I know I don't already have another sister shot of that same subject that is better, so most other things I will keep on that off chance that I'm gonna come back a few years later and just feeling creatively differently and all of a sudden I'm like, "Oh, wow, I can do something with this now." Nice. All right, let's talk about this one. All right. So this is a Buddhist monk taken in Myanmar in Bagan, ancient temple city. Lots of stupas and pagodas and all sorts of wonderful things out there. Myanmar that I had always wanted to go, and I found myself out there for the first time back in 2013. Yeah. It's probably number one on my list right here. I highly recommend it. It looks spectacular. As you know, the doors are open now and people are flooding in, but it's starting to build up the infrastructure, becoming more easy to travel to get to. People are so friendly, and they're so beautiful. Unlike a lot of other places in Southeast Asia, they haven't been jaded by so many years on the travel circuit, so you can still get unique experiences there. So I know some people at home are probably gonna be asking, did you get permission from this guy? Did he sign a model release? Can you tell us a little bit about that end of this? Absolutely. So with this monk, I actually worked with a local monastery and got permission from the head of the monastery to do this. I do have a model release so that I could use this. I've actually licensed this image. This is actually, the image was taken, right now I'm sponsored by Sony, but it was taken by a Canon camera that was licensed to Canon in the Asian territories for a number of years. But yeah, I make sure I get model releases anytime it's a visible, identifiable subject when I'm doing this stuff. And yes, I generally ask permission every time I'm out there doing things. A lot of times, the work that I'm doing, I have fixers or translators or people with me, and I'll make sure that some of this is correlated. There are times, of course, when you're getting candid shots. In those situations, sometimes I'll try to capture the moment and then afterwards I'll follow up just so that I could get a model release so that I can do more with the photos. Makes sense. All right, next up. This is actually Myanmar again. I included this in there. This is, I can't remember the actual name. I think it's-- Lake Inle? It's not Lake Inle. It is in Mandalay. It's the U Bein Bridge, B-I-E-N, I believe. And it's a wonderful, it's right there in the main lake in Mandalay. And essentially what happens is at sunset, obviously, a little haze that is common in Southeast Asia, around sunset, it's near a local monastery. And so what happens, a lot of these monks and a lot of these people cross the bridge across to each side, and so you pay one of the boat guys to essentially take you out there. And I'm like, "Okay, this is the spot. "Stop here." And then I'll wait essentially. So you were on land to get this shot, or were you in a boat? I was in a boat. You did a boat, okay. And so looks like you were getting fairly close down to the water. Yeah. The boats are, it's just paddle boats or little row boats, so I'm kinda hanging off the front edge as I'm kinda directing my little boat rower. And, "Don't row, don't move. "Gotta get a shot. "Low ISO, come on." Yeah. Working from a boat can be really challenging. Absolutely. So this is the city of Banff up in Alberta. Ah, okay. So Banff National Park. And it's a beautiful mountain town, one of the most beautiful places in North America in my personal opinion. And yeah, I went up and did some projects for the Canadian government up there. And this is one of the images that I envisioned when I was doing research for it, and happened to find a good spot. And it snowed. It's been snowing up there before I got there, so it all worked out. I would imagine there's a number of people who look at an image like this and go, "Yeah, that's a nice image. "I'd probably take that same image." But notice, it's not the middle of the day, folks. This is either, I don't know if it's sunset or sunrise, but you were out there in the dark. I don't know if this is on a parking lot, or did you have to ski up there? It was switchbacks, like double switchbacks, car switchbacks, we were able to drive, but it was after sunset. So this was during blue hour, so the temperature at this time, 'cause this was actually around a polar vortex, so it was actually around negative 20 degrees. (John laughs) And we were hanging outside for a good 20, 30 minutes, waiting for the light to be just right. And this specific exposure, I believe, I can't remember offhand, but I believe it was a couple minute. So it was actually pretty dark. I'm getting the very tail end of blue hour as that blue hue fills the opposite side of the sky, depending on from where the Sun is. Yeah, great time of day to be out there shooting, but it's a little inconvenient. A little inconvenient. And so yeah. All righty. This is Godafoss Waterfall in northern Iceland. There are some auroras happening above. So this is taken during winter. I believe it was February or March last year or the year before. And it was just one of those epic nights up in that part of the world. It's close to the Arctic Circle, so you know that you generally get more aurora activity, or at least you can see stuff, it's more visible. And yeah, Iceland is a place that, I know we were talking about before, I've visited more times than any other country. I'll be back there in two weeks for teaching another workshop, and that's my 23rd trip to Iceland, which is a little bit ridiculous, to be honest. (John laughs) And so if this was in, you said February? Yes. You know what, actually now that I think about it, this was actually taken in November. Okay. It's pretty much dark all the time there, 'cause it is right next to the-- Yeah. Well, you're getting close to the winter equinox, and so, or winter solstice-- Were you shooting primarily nighttime stuff on this whole trip, or was it-- For most of it. This was actually a private workshop. So some individual had hired me to come out there and take them all around Iceland. And so we were focusing mostly on auroras, and then, of course, the beautiful waterfalls out there. And so we had a camper van so we can chase the light wherever we needed to go, and it just really worked out well with the good timing. I think for most people traveling to Iceland, that wouldn't be the time that they'd normally go, but it actually works out really well for photography, 'cause folks, if you haven't noticed through the images that we've shown so far, not a lot of them are taken at noontime in bright sun. You had a lot of nighttime stuff and edge of the day stuff. All right, diving deep. This is back into Iceland, of course. You'll probably see a few more of Iceland maybe. So this inside an ice cave. Photographing ice caves is one of the things that I love to do. I am a cold weather guy. I'm cold weather mountain guy, and so my happy place is actually in negative 20 degrees on a glacier in the middle of someplace. That's where I like to be. And so this was taken literally looking up at one of the, almost like a cenote or a reverse cenote of a water drip from the top of the glacier. So I'm inside a cave looking almost straight vertical. Oh, really? This was looking up. This was looking straight up. 'Cause it seemed like that was something that you would walk, that was the entrance. Exactly. But that's a chimney. Exactly, exactly. And all the water had dripped and essentially come down. And this was one of the years that I took this, essentially, there had been too much extra rain that had come earlier in the winter season, and a lot of the cave had been destroyed because rock and sediment had come through. And so you had a handful of these little things that had popped up, these little chimneys, because of that water melt. We should mention, we don't have any disclaimer on this class, but there is safety issues when you do this. We have ice caves up here in the Northwest that have collapsed and killed people. Absolutely. And so any thoughts or words of warning? For sure. If you're going into any of these things, I highly recommend that you hire a guide that knows what they're doing. Generally, they're gonna be supplying safety equipment, and also, they know when you can go in there. So specific to Iceland, the ice cave season is generally around November 15th through the end of March because otherwise it's getting too warm. And when it's too warm-- You don't wanna go in there. You don't wanna go into an ice cave. Things are melting. You wanna go in when it's as cold as possible. People don't realize how heavy ice is, where one of those big things lands on you and it's pretty much, there's nothing happening. Over very quickly, yeah. All right. All right, so another waterfall. This is actually, again, in Iceland. This was Bruarfoss, so this is a popular waterfall in Iceland, but from a different angle. Most people see it from the bridge where you're looking straight up, and I certainly photographed that probably 100 times that way. But it's fun being back and going there in the wintertime, which is my favorite time to photograph some of these specific waterfalls, because (mumbles) the blue hue with the contrast of the snow and really kinda get into the waterfall. So I'm sitting there and I'll bring little micro spikes to get me onto the rocks. I have gaiters on so I can get a little bit wet and essentially try to have a more intimate moment. You're not just leaning out the car window? No, no. This is a 50 minute hike, which isn't too bad, but then I'm literally crawling or climbing on ice rocks to get to this place. Like the water there is not only freezing, but it's also probably 10, 15 feet deep. And it's not something, again, you recommend for everyone, but having been so many times and wanting something that was unique, sometimes you gotta put forth the effort. And so technically getting this shot, I'm guessing a tripod. Tripod. Very long shutter speed. Were you using a neutral density filter? I used a circular polarizer, 'cause when you're in wintertime in Iceland, the light is so low on the horizon that you just don't get harsh contrast almost any part of the day. That's nice. Why I love visiting in Iceland during that time, during wintertime. And so I was able to use a circular polarizer to remove a lot of the reflections from the rocks, but I wanted to keep some of it. You can see there in the bottom left had corner where I wanted to have a little bit of detail. I didn't wanna remove a total reflection, 'cause otherwise it would just be black. And so I dialed it in as what I needed, and then because I was shooting at a time of day that there was enough overcast where I was able to get about a second exposure, photographing, I think it was around F13, allowing me to elongate shutter speed a little bit. Nice, very nice. Oh, more Iceland. I guess I'm surprised. Iceland heavy here. (mumbles) nothing but Iceland. I'm totally fine with Iceland. I'm totally fine with it, 'cause they have great stuff there. So this is Jokulsarlon . This is the iceberg beach, the black sand beach on the other side of the Glacier Lagoon. I love going there during sunrise because you get specific scenes like this where you have beautiful, crystallized ice and then you have a nice, hot, warm sun in the background and the kind of contrast between the blues, the cold blues and the warm oranges, mix them together. A beautiful balance. Yeah, it's a good balance between the tones. Blue and orange or blue and yellow, they go together. They're meant to-- Vibrate together. And so yeah, it worked out well. Again, gaiters. I like getting, well not getting my feet wet. I like getting in the water because I wanna get closer to my subjects, and so I'm just prepared for this type of stuff, making sure that I can get as close and get the long shutter speed that I need using tripods to pull off scenes like this. So was this on a tripod? On a tripod. So what I do is-- That's very tricky, 'cause the sand, it wants to sink in. Sink in. And so what I do is I minimize the tripod legs so that the sturdiest ones are the only ones that are out there, cause I'm getting low to the ground. I mean, this iceberg is maybe two feet high. Yeah, you're a foot off the ground. Yeah, exactly. And so I'm going up there, and what I do generally is, because I'm wearing the gaiters, is I'll go in there and I'll clamp the tripod down. And then I'll push it down as hard as I can, usually during a wave that's coming previous so that it can get in there. And then I'll wait. And then as long as the next wave isn't big enough to knock me over or obviously damage my camera gear, then I can get the shot. On the reverse end, to make it a little bit safer, sometimes what I do is I wait for the water to come in, and then as it's coming out, I'll run out there, put it down while the water is receding so the sand is soft so I can push it down fast enough, and then I can quickly focus and then grab the shot. That's a little bit more tricky. Yeah. So do you see the difference here? Because on one side, we have him acting like a complete clown out on the beach, which any logical person would be looking at, "What is this idiot doing?" And then he ends up with a beautiful image. There's a method to the madness. Yeah. It's not always acting stupid gets you good photos, but sometimes you do have to just do whatever it takes to get-- I can tell you that I've had many times, 'cause I've been to Iceland, again, so many times, I've had many times with wet boots going to this place because just too big of a wave came up, came over my gaiters or something. So it doesn't always work out ideally. Right, right. But great shot there. Thank you. Patagonia. All right, down south. Patagonia is one of my favorite places to go in South America. This was specifically taken in Argentina in Los Glaciares National Park just outside of the town of El Chalten. This is Cerro Torre, one of my favorite mountains in all of the world. It's a unique spire range. It's incredibly difficult to climb, which I've never actually climbed it myself. But it has this beautiful kind of lagoon right there in front of it. And if you go at certain times of the year, more of those ice chunks are popping out there. And if you're fortunate to get beautiful weather like this and to have things with no wind, you get reflections, which is really difficult to get. 'Cause that's one of the windiest places on Earth. Absolutely. Well, all the shoots, all the storms that come off those mountain and all the glaciers that are there, there's more glaciers there than I think anywhere else on the planet. And what happens is they form these weather patterns, and then all of this wind, the wind comes out and is just brutal, I mean, like brutal. I've been there and I've been through 90, 120 mile an hour winds. And obviously, in those situations, you can't get a shot like this. You're not getting reflections. You're inside. You're huddling in your tent and hoping that it stops. But it's worth it, 'cause sometimes it takes a couple days to wait it out. And you really gotta, if you have the right camera and you go out there, it doesn't mean the light is gonna be like that. You have to be dedicated to going, "Hey, this might happen sometime in the next week. "I'm going out every morning." Absolutely. Well, in a place like Patagonia especially, I've literally known, now, I've been fortunate every time I've gone, but I know other photographers that have gone down there and taken three works off their work, whether they're doing it full time or not, and gone down there and had three days of quality light. Three days. And it's expensive to get down there, and it takes a long time to get there, and then you've gotta hike out to many of these locations. So it's a frustrating place that rewards you when it's kind, and unfortunately, you will probably be very angry if it doesn't. Yeah, yeah. You did well on that one. Nice job there. Thank you very much. I think this may be our last one. Excellent. So this is another Patagonia. This is actually on the Chilean side. So this is in Torres del Paine National Park. These are the famous Cuernos del Paine in the background there. They're known as the Blue Mountains, though they look a little bit more brown there, but really, they hold a lot of blue hue inside them, which is why they're called the Blue Mountains. And there's a lot of, a series of dead trees that happen pretty close to the Salto Grande waterfall. And essentially, during this one night of epic sunset, I was photographing the waterfall, got a couple images I was happy with. And I saw these on an earlier scouting expedition the day before and literally tried to beeline it. So the wind was about 60 miles an hour. And so I'm like, I took the shots, ran off. I knew that it was like a 15 minute run. Ran over there, and luckily there was still a little bit of light and kinda clamped down and got the shot that I wanted. Nice, nice. And I'm sure if somebody asked you, "What are you running for?" "There's a really nice looking dead tree over here." Yeah. (laughs) It sounds crazy. I have to go find it. The light is good. Beautiful. Well, thanks a lot for sharing those. I hope you're able to pick something out of there. Notice, not a lot of noonday skies. You know your light well. Oh, actually one more. Oh, one more. Okay, one more Patagonia. Last one hopefully. So this is Laguna Amarga, again, Torres del Paine. So this is essentially one of the lakes on the east side of the park. If you look straight in the back there, there's kind of spires in the background. That's Las Torres, a very popular mountain in Patagonia, and specifically Torres del Paine. And this was, again, incredible fortunate with beautiful light and no wind, so beautiful reflections. And so this was actually a pretty massive panorama. I took this with my Sony a7R, and so I think it's four or six shots wide, so it's 160, 200 megapixels. It could be reproduced really large, for the hotel lobby. Exactly. Hotel lobby (mumbles) waiting for. One more. One more, okay, last one, hopefully. Hopefully. So this is Seljalandsfoss. This is another waterfall in Iceland. Beautiful sunset we had at this place. This is one of the most photographed waterfalls in Iceland. But this was taken during the summer when you were photographing typically at two or three o'clock in the morning. So I believe this shot was actually like three a.m. And what happens is it's the midnight Sun. So sunrise and sunset converge 'cause they're so close together, and so if you have the right conditions like this, because the Sun goes so low on the horizon, that if you have the right clouds, you could essentially have a sunrise and sunset that combines for like six hours. For just a nice light like this, yeah. It will spoil you any time you go photograph anywhere else. Because you're like, "I have time," and then all of a sudden it's gone, whereas here, you can shoot all night. Yeah. Excellent. (John laughs) I never checked what was my last one. This is an aerial photograph in the central highlands. So I hired a plane essentially for the entire day to take me all over places that I love in Iceland and see it from a different perspective. I love doing aerial work. I have a couple drones, but sometimes you want a full frame, large 42 megapixel sensor taking these shots, and drones just don't cut it for that. Right, right. Puffin, wildlife. All right, so-- (mumbles) a little bit of that in there. Good. Little wildlife photography. I like to dabble. As we talked about, I like to shoot what I'm feeling. So this was taken in the Grimsey Island, an island far north, above the Arctic Circle in Iceland. And it's just something I like to dabble with. Same thing with tigers. It's based on opportunity. What country was this in? This was actually in the country of Denver, Colorado. So this is a wild animal sanctuary just outside Denver. They do lots of amazing work out there. And I was actually testing a camera for Sony at the time and came away with a very intimate moment where I'm pretty sure this tiger wanted to have me for lunch. (John laughs) Beautiful close up there. Very nice. Thanks so much. Okay, so thank you very much for sharing those. Wonderful work. And if you don't mind sticking around for a little bit, we're gonna take a look at some of our viewers' photos-- Let's do it. And we're gonna see if we can give them some helpful advice. I like it. And what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna switch programs here. And we're gonna work with this in Lightroom. That way if there is a change, like you think maybe we can crop this, and let's go ahead and make this change, so go full screen here. And I do not have the names, but all these people have submitted their photos to be critiqued, and so first time around, we're just gonna keep it anonymous at this point. All right, fair enough. And so do you know what type of animal this is? 'Cause I love the hair on it. It looks almost like a yak. Okay, that could be. But I think I'm wrong, because I'm not recognizing where that would necessarily be. Yeah. I'm not sure if that's-- Some sort of bovine family-- Yeah, exactly, exactly. And so I think I have seen lots of great photos of this. And this one, I'm not such a huge fan of the out of focus post in the foreground and the very bright background on it. I think there's a potentially really nice, tight headshot with those eyes just poking through the hair. Absolutely. What are your thoughts? Same thing. I'm always a fan of looking at an image and trying to instantly, like the first thing I look at is try to see what's distracting. That's usually my process for looking at my own images. Good thing. And for something like this, I 100% agree on both counts. It's not only the post that kind of is out of the way. I can understand it being in the situation, 'cause it might be hard to reach over or something is happening, but it does distract. And then the bright background, I understand that there was probably not enough dynamic range obviously to shoot it, photograph it, but I would highly recommend jumping in and darkening that, using an adjustment brush or something to paint that in. And the other thing that I'd mention, 'cause I am kind of a stickler for details, I always like to say that if you take care of the frame edges the center will take care of itself. Most people don't pay attention to the frame edges. So if you look on the corner of the side, the left side of this image, you see the frame edge is pretty close to the bull's horn. I was thinking the same thing. So that bugs me. Just a little bit more space. Exactly. Always, always give your subjects more space than you think they need. You can always easily crop in just a little bit. It's not a big deal to lose a megapixel. You can't necessarily easy create a megapixel. It's a careful balance, because you're trying to get as many pixels on your subject as possible, and I encourage, take that tight shot, but then just wanna little back it out. That's why zoom lenses can be so nice. Absolutely. All right, we don't have too much time, so we'll go through these relatively quickly. Okay, so screaming fish eye lens. Yes. And I have been a big fan of fish eye lenses for a long time, but I don't know that this is the best use of one. No. I think the scene just isn't really calling for it, and I think that the subject matter is just, it's distracting. Almost everything about this image is kind of distracting. I think it's just the nature of how the plants were. If there was some sort of natural frame you can get there in the bottom, that could've changed things a little bit. I think depending on how you wanna balance out the trees, but there's a lot of elements that aren't lining up necessarily. So the problem is that my eye does not know where to go. Yeah. My eye keeps going down to the water and I'm hoping to see a fish looking up at me. That's what I wanna see down there. Where's the fish? Yes. And so if you could bring a fish with you, it might totally make the shot. Absolutely. Okay. Actually, I think this might be the same photographer here. Rainbows. So everybody gets excited with rainbows. Everybody pulls their camera out with a rainbow. And getting the first shot of the rainbow, get it out of your system, and then I think if you can incorporate something more, some other element. Maybe there's, it's a five year old girl in a yellow rain soaker standing in a puddle there. You have that there, right? It's always ready. No, I agree. I think it's a nice photo. It's nice. Yeah. I don't really know what to do with it. You might not necessarily wanna put it up on your wall. You don't know where it is. It's nice. One piece of advice I would say specifically for rainbows is utilizing circular polarizers, 'cause rainbows, literally by definition, are reflected light. So if you're using a circular polarizer, maybe if this rainbow is more enhanced or maybe if it was two rainbows. I don't know. You can always make them disappear, so you have to be careful. Exactly. You have to dial it in. It might enhance it just a little bit more. Yeah, no. Exactly. All right. Kind of interesting here, 'cause immediately I noticed that they cropped the image. And so when it falls out of that one by one and a half aspect ratio, I know they've done a little bit of work on it. I think it works. Square works quite well. I don't mind not seeing the end of the trunk or the end of the legs. Usually, I do. In this case, I don't. I think it actually does, as you mentioned, I think it plays well. And I think part of that is not necessarily just the crop. I think it's how they processed it. Yeah. I like the tones. It's black and white, obviously. And I think plays well in black and white. Absolutely. Having been to many places that have elephants, I know that sometimes it can just be very earth tony around there, so you don't really know what you can do in terms of processing, and elephants generally have very blue and grayish tones, so you can't really bump up that saturation with them looking like an alien. And so black and white is very common. And their skin almost asks for it because of that contrast and that texture that you get. So whoever did this, I'm a fan of it. The only thing, again, I would say, and again, it's only being a stickler, is just checking out some of those pieces of the tree where there are holes in it, that top, right hand frame. It's very nitpicky. If I had to give some advice, it would be try to use a clone stamp tool or something just to fill in those. It's just my eye is pulling to it-- Yeah. Your eye is drawn to the brightest elements, and so that's one of the distractions. Now, would you suggest cloning some more stuff up in there or just bring it down tighter on the crop? That's a good question. Let me just go ahead and do that, 'cause I did say we would actually do this. So I'm gonna keep it in the same, it's just a little bit maybe right there. And so let's-- Oh, easy. Yeah, I would do that. We still have enough space above the head. As long as you have a little bit of breathing room for your subject, I think you can get away with it. If it was down where it was super close, then you'd obviously have to create those pixels, but no. I think that was great. Let's try to go to a before image. And so if I can ... Yeah, I guess it's not gonna work for me. Okay, so let's go here. The selective color. That's kind of a hot topic. It's the Comic Sans of photography. (John laughs) It's a tough one. It really is. I get the desire. Right. So for those of you who don't know, it's a very common technique. It used to be really common in a black and white photograph. I mean, my parents' wedding photographs were black and white, and somebody went in and hand colored them. And they spent more time hand coloring in my mom and my dad than the background. And so people have replicated that. And it's something that, almost any time it gets used, it tees off a certain level of photographer. It's just like, it doesn't work. And so it's kinda one of those things. It's like, oh, it's kind of a cheesy trick. A little bit. I don't think it works well here, because our subject, which obviously your eye is drawn to what's colorful in the image, isn't really strong. We're just looking at their butt. Yeah. Yeah, if it was something, and the colors, I think, also. I think just what they were wearing, whether it was enhanced or it was just the natural colors, which it definitely seems like there's some enhancement, it's, I don't know. There's something that just doesn't scream, "Yes," to me. But I think it looks like an interesting place for doing street photography. Absolutely. It looks like there's a lot of color and action and movement and things that could play well for you. I'd love to see it in the color version. And so I think their instincts are right for shooting at this time, but I think it just needs more refinement. Absolutely. All right. So I'm not sure exactly what we're looking at. It looks like we're looking at the bottom of a spiral staircase, but I don't think people are walking on stained glass. I'm a sucker for spirals-- Yeah, and the color. And I love the colors. And it's also got this weird, reflected light going on around it, as well. And so I love this. I think it's great. I don't see anything that I would necessarily change. I like what they've done. They've obviously added, I think there's definitely been a touch of glow, because photographing this, there wouldn't be so much glow. So that is a positive post-processing choice, I feel. I think that a lot of that accentuates a lot of that light, the color coming off that stained glass. And yeah, it just leads you through the entire image, which I think is a challenge for a lot of photographers. Yeah. Very clean. Clean edges and so forth. Gotta show one of the puppies or the kitties and stuff. And I know you love your animals. This one, I included it because it's got a good look to it. It's got that something, 'cause when you have a picture of your animal, okay, fine. You've got the picture of the animal, but if you can have a little something extra, that brings it up. And so I think here, the cropping needs to be adjusted. What do you think about the scene? You know, the scene is kind of okay. I'd love to see if it was in more, it looks like there's more grass behind that. (crosstalk) You can't pose the dog necessarily. I understand that. Yeah. It might be something that I, if you had to photograph here, I might process it differently, maybe even try to go black and white or something because of so much dirt. Let's do that little black and white right there. Yeah. Just a little bit. The dirt, we don't really notice that now. And then I'd probably pull down the whites, where there's contrast between the bright whites and then the darker, darker fur. So I'd pull back the highlights a little bit, just balance out the scene. But I think the most distracting element is still the crop. I think it's just, part of the dog's head is cropped off, and then the side of the dog's face is just to close to the side. And then the bright thing in the upper right hand corner. Yeah, it's like, "Why is that there?" And so it's just kind of like, I wanna back up about six inches to a foot and then up a little bit to the right-- Yep, yep. And then have a nice, clean, grass background. And it'd be perfect. And I love the look, and so if that's your puppy and he gives you that look all the time, then-- Take it. Then you got another shot at it. Absolutely. Okay, I think we're gonna wrap it up after this, so I thank everybody for sending their photos in. Hopefully you've got something out of that. We're gonna continue doing this every month, so I invite you to join me to answer questions and look at photos and do all sorts of other special, fun things as we go along on this. So thanks a lot for coming in. Colby, thank you very much for coming in. Appreciate it. And we'll see you next time on One Hour Photo with John Greengo.

Class Materials

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Fundamentals of Photography Outline

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Learning Project Videos
Learning Projects PDF
Slides for The Camera Lessons 1-13
Slides for The Sensor Lessons 14-18
Slides for The Lens Lessons 19-31
Slides for The Exposure Lessons 32-42
Slides for Focus Lessons 43-62
Slides for The Gadget Bag Lessons 63-72
Slides for Light Lesson 73-84
Slides for the Art of Edit Lessons 85-93
Slides for Composition Lesson 94-105
Slides for Photographic Vision Lessons 106-113

Ratings and Reviews

a Creativelive Student

Love love all John Greengo classes! Wish to have had him decades ago with this info, but no internet then!! John is the greatest photography teacher I have seen out there, and I watch a lot of Creative Live classes and folks on YouTube too. John is so detailed and there are a ton of ah ha moments for me and I know lots of others. I think I own 4 John Greengo classes so far and want to add this one and Travel Photography!! I just drop everything to watch John on Creative Live. I wish sometime soon he would teach a Lightroom class and his knowledge on photography post editing.!!! That would probably take a LOT OF TIME but I know John would explain it soooooo good, like he does all his Photography classes!! Thank you Creative Live for having such a wonderful instructor with John Greengo!! Make more classes John, for just love them and soak it up! There is soooo much to learn and sometimes just so overwhelming. Is there anyway you might do a Motivation class!!?? Like do this button for this day, and try this technique for a week, or post this subject for this week, etc. Motivation and inspiration, and playing around with what you teach, needed so much and would be so fun.!! Just saying??? Awaiting gadgets class now, while waiting for lunch break to be over. All the filters and gadgets, oh my. Thank you thank you for all you teach John, You are truly a wonderful wonderful instructor and I would highly recommend folks listening and buying your classes.


I don't think that adjectives like beautiful, fantastic or excellent can describe the course and classes with John Greengo well enough. I've just bought my first camera and I am a total amateur but I fell in love with photography while watching the classes with John. It is fun, clear, understandable, entertaining, informative and and and. He is not only a fabulous photographer but a great teacher as well. Easy to follow, clear explanations and fantastic visuals. The only disadvantage I can list here that he is sooooo good that keeps me from going out to shoot as I am just glued to the screen. :-) Don't miss it and well worth the money invested! Thank you John!

Vlad Chiriacescu

Wow! John is THE best teacher I have ever had the pleasure of learning from, and this is the most comprehensive, eloquent and fun course I have ever taken (online or off). If you're even / / interested in photography, take this course as soon as possible! You might find out that taking great photos requires much more work than you're willing to invest, or you might get so excited learning from John that you'll start taking your camera with you EVERYWHERE. At the very least, you'll learn the fundamental inner workings and techniques that WILL help you get a better photo. Worried about the cost? Well, I've taken courses that are twice as expensive that offer less than maybe a tenth of the value. You'll be much better off investing in this course than a new camera or a new lens. I cannot reccomend John and this course enough!

Student Work