Grab Shots: Grit, Wisdom & Laughs

Spent the last couple of days making the leap from PC to Mac. While setting up the browsers, I did some link cleaning. Some are worth sharing — a true grab bag:

Scoltt Kelby* Get Gritty: Scott Kelby tells us how to get that “cool, gritty look.”

* Find Some Release: A page of model releases from the National Press Photographers Association.

* List of Lists: This buy has made a list of 87 photo sites he consider great.

* Talking about Seeing: Pixchannel has interviews with great photographers — like Eddie Adams and Ruth Bernhard — on why they do what they do.

* Obama Rama: The New York Times as a zippy compilation of readers’ photos of the Obama inaugural (told you I was doing some deep cleaning!).

* Foiled Again: David Hobby, aka The Strobist, tells us how to use aluminum foil for shiny table top photos.

* For Laughs: Get your eyes out of the histogram and onto xkcd, a web comic. Here’s a panel about photography.

Grab Shots

People Magazine cover* People Who Need People: The New York Times asks the question we’ve all been wondering about: “Can a few snapshots of a baby or a bride, accompanied by a fawning article, really be worth millions of dollars?” Read the whole story about why tab magazines now routinely pay celebs to play (like this cover of Branjelina and child).

* Gulf Twosome: The two shooters atop the current photo how-to heap — David Hobby and Joe McNally — report back from the doings at Gulf Photo Plus. David offers the behind-the-scenes story on this SB800-laden image. Joe calls Dubai “3 parts Vegas, one part planet Tatooine, and 6 parts oil money.

* Photographers Wanted: Want to be a photojournalist? These newspapers are hiring.

* Pitching a Home Run: Rob Haggert (A Photo Editor) tells us how to make winning pitches to photo editors. Rule #1: “The absolute fastest way for photographers to get a story made is to approach a writer that the magazine uses on a regular basis.”

* Jumping the Canon-Nikon Divide: Freelance sports photographer Preston Mack switched from Canon to Nikon when he heard these words from an editor: “The cover image doesn’t look in focus.” Read Mack’s whole tale of learning to love the D3 on

Smile — don’t!

David Hobby, the Baltimore Sun shooter turned lighting (and Mountain Dew) guru points to Time Magazine’s cover of Elliot Spitzer by celeb bio-photographer Platon as an example of how to add interest to mugshots. Says David:

“Generally, you do not get much time when shooting celebrities and other famous people. So you have to spend your ammo wisely. You want to get a photo that connects with the viewer, but you don’t have to hold the button down and dupe that look continuously for the whole three minutes you have them captive in front of you. Do you really need that 37th version of a canned smile with eye contact”

If I’m doing a headshot and my natural charisma is not pulling out the expression I want, I’ll use a trick I learned during my early newspapering days in Berkeley from a reporter named Bob Kroll.

After Bob had asked a question during an interview and the subject had answered he would wait, letting silence fill the air until the subject became uncomfortable enough to start talking again. The best stuff, the best quotes always came after the pause. The first response was canned, the second real.

Patience can be the key to a good photo — even when you’re in a hurry.

ALSO: For a great editorial use (and well-placed caption) of a photo shot before a news story broke, see this Elliot Spitzer cover by New York Magazine.