Why are clients hiring someone other than me?

Wellness Center [NIKON D5, 35.0 mm f/1.4, ISO 560, Ä/2.2, 1/100]
If you are like most photographers we like to question why people/company who know us will hire someone else to do a photography job. When I get together with other photographers you can feel the disappointment when they have their clients hiring someone other than them these days for some jobs if not all the jobs.

Wellness Center [NIKON D5, 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6, ISO 8000, Ä/5.3, 1/500]
Everyone feels like at some point you have earned the right, but this isn’t really true.

We need to remind ourselves what a privilege it is to do any work.

privilege is a special advantage not enjoyed by everyone. If you’re very snooty, you probably don’t allow just anyone the privilege of being your friend. Privilege comes from Latin privilegium, meaning a law for just one person, and means a benefit enjoyed by an individual or group beyond what’s available to others.

Wellness Center [NIKON D5, 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6, ISO 8000, Ä/5, 1/500]
Once you have accepted the fact that you are asked to do a job the better you will be in executing it for the client.

Skip Johnson [NIKON D5, 85.0 mm f/1.8, ISO 100, Ä/4, 1/200]
I must remind myself I am a service for my clients and they have many other choices they can make. What this does in my head is make me realize I am there to win them over every time I do something for them.

Be a friend you’d want to have. …
Make them feel good. …
Find the good in them. …
Put in the work to keep the friendship. …
Don’t badmouth others or gossip excessively. …
Don’t take it personally if not everyone wants to be friends.

The very hardest thing in that list of things we have all heard is that last one that everyone doesn’t want to be your friend.

Almost Maine performed by Roswell High School Theater [NIKON D750, 24.0-105.0 mm f/4.0, ISO 2200, Ä/4, 1/80]
Intellectually I understand that I am just not going to be good friends with everyone.

We have all seen the overlapping of circles that show the intersections of interests between groups and people. If the other photographer has more overlapping interests with the client than you then it is easier to accept that you lost a job due to the other person having something more in common with the client.

Jane Yandel [NIKON D4, 85.0 mm f/1.8, ISO 100, ƒ/1.8, 1/400]
What you need to keep the competition away is barriers. Now if for example your specialty in photography is underwater photography you have cut your competition down by just creating a barrier.

Your competition needs to be an expert diver, buy special camera gear and market to your clients to even compete with you.

Well today there are many more people than 20 years ago that are competing in that space. This is true for extreme sports photographers. Once TV started covering these sports there has been a spike in the participation. Basically twenty-five years ago there were a handful of rock climbing photographers and today there are hundreds, if not thousands competing with each other.

Recycling Cup – Peachtree at Collier FSR [NIKON D4, 14.0-24.0 mm f/2.8, ISO 100, ƒ/2.8, 1/40]
There’s a brutal truth in life that some people refuse to accept–you have no control over many of the things that happen in life.

Recognize that sometimes, all you can control is your effort and your attitude. When you put your energy into the things you can control, you’ll be much more effective. Work on your portfolio and marketing materials.

To have the most influence, focus on changing your behavior. Be a good role model and set healthy boundaries for yourself.

[NIKON D4, 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6, ISO 400, ƒ/6.3, 1/100]
You might be thinking, “I can’t allow my business to fail,” you don’t take the time to ask yourself, “What would I do if my business failed?” Acknowledging that you can handle the worst case scenario can help you put your energy into more productive exercises. Basically you may need a “Plan B”.

If you are actively solving a problem, such as trying to find ways to increase your chances of success, keep working on solutions. If however, you’re wasting your time deliberating, change to a new thought. Acknowledge that your thoughts aren’t productive and get up and go do something for a few minutes to get your brain focused on something more productive.

Your lifestyle can be adding undue stress. Exercising, eating healthy, and getting plenty of sleep are just a few key things you need to do to take care of yourself.

[X-E2, XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS, ISO 2500, ƒ/3.2, 1/100]
The hardest part of living life with these issues is getting a healthy perspective. I recommend the Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.

Talking with friends and asking them to be honest with you can help as well. Don’t just complain, seek to understand what you can do and what you have no control over.

There is a reason Amazing Grace is sung so much around the world. Take those words to heart.

Amazing Grace, How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now am found
T’was blind but now I see

T’was Grace that taught my heart to fear
And Grace, my fears relieved
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed

Through many dangers, toils and snares
We have already come.
T’was grace that brought us safe thus far
And grace will lead us home,
And grace will lead us home

Amazing grace, How Sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost but now am found
T’was blind but now I see
Was blind, but now I see.

Digital Natives aren’t Tech Savvy

Report: 6 of 10 Millennials Have ‘Low’ Technology Skills

By Dian Schaffhauser


Digital natives aren’t as tech-savvy as they think they are — at least, not according to their bosses. American millennials (those between the ages of 16 and 34) may be the first generation that grew up with computers and Internet access, but all that time spent glued to a small screen hasn’t translated to technology competence. While they spend an average of 35 hours every week on digital media, nearly six out of 10 millennials can’t do basic tasks such as sorting, searching for and emailing data from a spreadsheet. […READ MORE]

I am finding that 60% number is pretty accurate in my teaching of millennials.

Mobile Consumption vs. Laptop Production

Consuming content is better on a mobile device than on a laptop. Our mobile devices are always with us, always ready to go. With our mobile devices we can lean back, walk around, and use on the go.

Our laptops, conversely, are much better for producing than they are for consuming.

The problem is that so many know how to consume the technology, but when it comes to producing it you need to know a LOT MORE.

This morning I got an email from one of my students saying, “I am having trouble uploading my photos because it says that I don’t have enough storage on my computer.”

Every time I teach photography I always start with some computer basics that will become problems if they are not taken care of immediately.


External Hard Drives

First of all your photos are going to be at least a thousands times bigger in file size than most of your documents.

My first recommendation is to put all photos and videos on external hard drives like the ones pictured above.

Filing Cabinets

Hard Drives work like filing cabinets. You need to think of a file structure for organizing, because it doesn’t take long for this to get cumbersome.

Related image


Rename your Hard Drives. You can do use anything you like, but even just something like “Stanley_2018” will work.

I have two folders for all my photos. “NAME OF PROJECT RAW” and “NAME OF PROJECT JPEGs”. All the photos I ingest which are shot as RAW are ingested into the RAW folder and after I work on them in Lightroom I export those to the JPEGs folder.

So move all your photos and videos off your hard drive.

Hat organizer

Clean Computer

Empty Trash–This means on your computer and in programs like your email.

Download Folder–Delete all your downloads. It’s time to kick some of these files to the curb. You should be transferring all your downloads to the proper folders where you need them later. If you’re on a Mac, you’ll find your Download folder next to the Trash Bin in the Dock. If you’re on a PC, you can find it by navigating to c://users/username/appdata/local/temp. Sift through the files in there and toss the ones you no longer need into the trash. If you’re a frequent Internet user, you’ll be surprised at not only how many files are in there, but also by how much space you free up.

Audit Your Entire Computer–You need to see what directories are taking up the most space on the drive, and drill down into those folders to even discover the individual files that are the culprits. There are some apps to help you do just that, but since I am not using any at the moment I just recommend you Google that for your PC or Mac.

More from that article I quoted from earlier:

… The results of the analysis, shared in the four-page report, “Does Not Compute: The High Cost of Low Technology Skills in the U.S. — and What We Can Do About It,” found that although 91 percent of millennials consider a lack of computer skills irrelevant to their job prospects, employers think otherwise, A survey by the American Association of Colleges and Universities, found that only 37 percent consider recent college graduates well prepared to stay on top of new technologies.

By the way I love that the Grady College of Journalism & Mass Communication is preparing their students to produce digital content. One of the last classes the students must take to graduate is a Capstone class where they put all the mediums together to tell stories.

I like this last paragraph from the story:

“Opportunities to learn problem solving with technology must become the rule rather than the exception,” the report’s authors stated. “Now is the time for business to join forces with government, educators and other STEM advocates to ensure that all young people…have the opportunity to become tech savvy.”


Monday Devotional–Starting a new week

Hilo Bay is a large bay located on the eastern coast of the island of Hawaiʻi. [NIKON D5, 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6, ISO 250, ƒ/5.6, 1/200]
Waking up this Monday morning I am ready to start a new week. There is something about Monday’s being the first day of the work week and the feeling of having some time off over the weekend.

Yesterday I led my Sunday School class in a discussion of what does it mean to be a Christian. My goal for the lesson was to have people thinking about how their faith impacts the way we live.

I first played this video to introduce the book I used for some of the discussion points by Scott Kelby.

The core of Scott’s book It’s a Jesus Thing is he wanted people to know how much his faith has enriched his life and wanted to share that with friends and family of his that are on the edges of Christianity.

I like how he explains how “Jesus spent most of His time here on earth literally trying to teach us how to get along with one another, how to live in peace together, how to take care of each other, and how to relate to God in a new way.”

I think that Sunday’s for me are a time where I go to my church and especially my Sunday School class called “THINK” and study Jesus and get the thoughts of others and how they view what he was teaching us.

Yesterday I was reminded that God loves everyone. That is hard to take in when I find many people unloving and even despicable. The cool think is that the creator of the universe loves me and wants the very best for me and everyone.

So that I would always feel welcome to talk to God he gave me grace. This means there is nothing I can do that he is not willing to forgive and even before I am asking for forgiveness he is giving it to me.

Now that is the kind of friend everyone needs. Someone who knows I have done wrong but is willing to look past whatever I have done to have a relationship with me.

The Rainbow Falls in Hilo are a good place to visit early in the morning perhaps even before breakfast. This broad waterfall in the Wailuku river is conveniently located within Hilo town. It cascades over a lava cave that according to legends is home to the ancient Hawaiian goddess Hina, the goddess of the moon. It was raining on this visit. [X-E3, XF10-24mmF4 R OIS, ISO 200, ƒ/4, 1/120]
My grandfather, a baptist minister, asked me one day why I was created. That was the only time I remember he ever had a one-on-one talk with me about God. He then told me about the scripture that tells me why I was created.

Ephesians 2:8-10
8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

During high school I felt the call of God and thought that might be to be a pastor of a church. While studying social work, which was my plan to then go to seminary, I discovered photojournalism. This is the first time I started to really feel a passion about something. This was my spiritual gift from God that would need to be nurtured.

1 Peter 4:10
10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

As I grew in the faith I also started to see how we are all called and all given gifts. Our gifts are to be used in serving others.

Photographing Island Breeze Dancer Victoria Taimane Kaopua [X-E3, XF10-24mmF4 R OIS, ISO 200, ƒ/4, 1/480]
After spending years learning how to capture people’s stories in the most authentic way possible–photojournalism, I began to share with others how to do this.

The major turning point in my life was receiving a phone call from Dennis Fahringer asking me to come and teach lighting to his School of Photography 1 students in Kona, Hawaii.

Hearing Hawaii alone was enough to get my bags packed. That first group of students was some of the smartest people I have ever encountered. My family came with me and we were treated so wonderfully.

When you are raised in a family of faith over time you start to really understand how awesome it is to experience grace and how revolutionary of an idea it is when you not only receive it but more importantly when you start to practice it yourself.

The reason I say practice is because only God can truly give that kind of grace. I am too human and people tick me off.

What grace has done for me is to really care for my students. While I want them to learn the subject I am there to teach I have learned through the years that why we are there may not be the life lesson needed to be learned.

Jim Veneman, a good friend, said one time that we may be here on this earth for God to have us on a street corner at a certain point in time to help someone with something he had planned.

There are two people who have impacted my world and the lives of many of my friends–Billy Graham and Truett Cathy.

What they both have in common is they both had a Sunday School teacher around the age of ten that took them under their wing and changed their lives.

Today you might not be the rock star or celebrity that is impacting the world, but you could be the person impacting the next leader of a generation.

Remember how much God loves you today and respond by loving others by using your gifts today to serve.


Photo Night at Grady College

Mark Johnson interviews Kevin Liles a documentary and commercial photographer based in Atlanta, specializing in covering religion, politics, and sports in the South. His career has included working as a small-town newspaper reporter and photographer, as well as a full-time assistant with Sports Illustrated, before transitioning to a full-time, independent photographer in 2012. Kevin has covered hundreds of assignments throughout the Southeast for clients such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, Sports Illustrated, NPR, The Wall Street Journal and The Players’ Tribune. [X-E2, XF10-24mmF4 R OIS, ISO 6400, ƒ/4, 1/40]
UGA’s Photojournalism program had their first Photo Night last night. This was all inspired by Billy Weeks who has been doing this for five years in Chattanooga.

UGA Photo Night where they had the White House News Photographers Association’s Eyes of History exhibit it up, thanks to the help of the UGA NPPA Student Chapter. [X-E3, XF10-24mmF4 R OIS, ISO 800, ƒ/4, 1/125]
Each of the primary speakers brought just 3 photos to talk about.

Mark Johnson interviews Dorothy Kozlowski, a Double Dawg with degrees in landscape architecture and journalism. She is a photographer with UGA’s Marketing and Communications Division and the main focus on her work is to showcase the academic side of the University for its print and digital publications, as well as for its central social media platforms, while staying consistent to the University’s branding guidelines. Her position requires a mix of photojournalism and studio photography skills (and, in many situations, a visually seamless blend of the two).
     Ms. Kozlowski is an alum of Grady’s visual journalism program where she took part in several workshops, including the 2009 Motorsports Workshop at the Petit Le Mans, an international, endurance sports car race here in Georgia. [X-E2, XF10-24mmF4 R OIS, ISO 6400, ƒ/4, 1/40]
Mark Johnson who interviewed each of the guests was able to keep the evening moving and packed a lot in for just an hour and half presentation time.

Mark Johnson interviews Dorothy Kozlowski [X-E3, XF55-200mmF3.5-4.8 R LM OIS, ISO 10000, ƒ/3.5, 1/100]
In between the main guests there were two presentations by present students.

Tony Walsh & Rebecca Wright are students of Mark’s and talk about what they have to do as a team to cover UGA Football Games. [X-E2, XF10-24mmF4 R OIS, ISO 6400, ƒ/4, 1/40]
[L/R] Christina Matacotta & Miranda Kay Daniel talked about how they covered the Warrior games this past summer at the Air Force Academy. [X-E3, XF55-200mmF3.5-4.8 R LM OIS, ISO 10000, ƒ/3.5, 1/100]
Stay tuned for the next Photo Night at Grady School of Journalism.

One Tip for Posing

Click on to see larger.

One of the best ways to improve your portrait session is to first start with a plan for posing. My uncle Knolan Benfield had a studio in Hickory, NC where he did mainly portraits for his business.

You may have seen some of these folios that many photographer still sell as a way to display more photos from a session for the client.

He realized that he could shoot to help sell those and up his average sale. Well it worked. He started to pre-visualize the photos in the folio.

Chelle Leary [NIKON D5, 85.0 mm f/1.8, ISO 100, ƒ/9, 1/160]
The customers were buying more photos and he was getting better photos for the customer in the process.

At first it will feel a little mechanical and formulaic, but over time you start expanding the poses.

At first you may just be having a person face to one side and then the other. Slowly however you will start to experiment. You start to learn that each basic pose of the body is endless when you start going for different expressions.

Click on to see my instagram feed

What was surprising to me was the likes on the fun photos verses just stunning photos of theatre students I did this past weekend.


Shoot to for a folio
Add a photo each time you do a portrait
Try for different expressions in each pose

Hannah Broeils [NIKON D5, 85.0 mm f/1.8, ISO 100, ƒ/5.6, 1/125]

Headshots for Actors

Hannah Broeils [NIKON D5, 85.0 mm f/1.8, ISO 100, ƒ/5.6, 1/125]
This past weekend I spent both Saturday and Sunday doing headshots for Columbus State University Theatre students.

Setup for headshots [X-E3, XF10-24mmF4 R OIS, ISO 12800, ƒ/4, 1/13 ]
Here you can see the basic setup for the photos.

[X-E3, XF10-24mmF4 R OIS, ISO 12800, ƒ/4, 1/35 ]
I had two lights on the white background and would turn them off for the grey background look.

Erika Johnson [NIKON D5, 85.0 mm f/1.8, ISO 100, ƒ/5.6, 1/125]
I kept them on for the white background. I also had a hair light up straight behind the subject.

Debrinja Watts [NIKON D5, 85.0 mm f/1.8, ISO 100, ƒ/5.6, 1/125]
My main light was a beauty dish and I kept the aperture at ƒ/5.6 with the Nikon 85mm ƒ/1.8 lens. Not too shallow of a depth-of-field and not too deep either.

Madi StepCaitlin Melvin [NIKON D5, 85.0 mm ƒ/1.8, ISO 100, ƒ/5.6, 1/125]
I prefer ƒ/4 to ƒ/5.6 when shooting individual headshots. Occasionally I will use really shallow depth-of-field of ƒ/1.4, but you and the subject must be really still to make that work.

Robert Trammell [NIKON D5, 85.0 mm ƒ/1.8, ISO 100, ƒ/5.6, 1/125]
The fun thing with Theatre students is they enjoy trying all kinds of expressions.

Kate Fowler [NIKON D5, 85.0 mm ƒ/1.8, ISO 100, ƒ/5.6, 1/125]
So we had some fun looking surprised.

Hannah Broeils [NIKON D5, 85.0 mm ƒ/1.8, ISO 100, ƒ/5.6, 1/125 ]
We tried a lot of expressions.

Brady Madden [NIKON D5, 85.0 mm ƒ/1.8, ISO 100, ƒ/5.6, 1/125 ]
The one thing that happened after trying some goofy photos, surprise photos and even being sad was that the expressions that followed were more genuine and authentic. Actors are up for the fun and challenge, but even they need to loosen up and the best way to do that is to push the limits and then dial it back.

Debrinja Watts [NIKON D5, 85.0 mm ƒ/1.8, ISO 100, ƒ/5.6, 1/125 ]

Some tips for headshots

  • Keep the setup simple
  • Make it easy to change backgrounds
  • Encourage people to bring wardrobe changes
  • Give yourself time with each person.
  • Have fun



Tips photographers could learn from golfers

[NIKON D5, 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6, ISO 2000, ƒ/5.6, 1/4000, 35mm Equivalent=300mm]
I find a lot of similarities between the game of golf and photography. We talk about golf being the game of inches and so too we say the same in photography.

If you just move the frame ever so slightly it would be a much better photo.

Lifeshape’s Legacy of Leaders Golf Classic [NIKON D5, 28.0-300.0 mm ƒ/3.5-5.6, ISO 110, ƒ/5.6, 1/100, 35mm Equivalent=300mm]
Before a golfer takes a shot they examine the lie of the ball. They look at the distance to the pin. They see if they need a couple shots to reach the pin. When putting they try and read the putt before they take a swing.

The problem I am seeing with most beginning photographers is they were playing golf is they would just walk up to the ball and just hit it. They don’t look at what they want to accomplish. They don’t decide which is the best club from their bag to hit the ball with and then make a decision on how they will swing to hit the ball.

Lifeshape’s Legacy of Leaders Golf Classic [NIKON D5, 120.0-300.0 mm ƒ/2.8, ISO 2800, ƒ/5.6, 1/4000, 35mm Equivalent=600mm]
Now at the best golf courses and for pro players they had caddies.

In golf, a caddie (or caddy) is the person who carries a player’s bag and clubs, and gives insightful advice and moral support. A good caddie is aware of the challenges and obstacles of the golf course being played, along with the best strategy in playing it. This includes knowing overall yardage, pin placements and club selection.

At the very top of their game you see pros not swinging a club before they have paused and considered everything possible and then select the club and then even will do some practice swings.

Lifeshape’s Legacy of Leaders Golf Classic Lifeshape’s Legacy of Leaders Golf Classic [NIKON D5, 28.0-300.0 mm ƒ/3.5-5.6, ISO 100, ƒ/5.6, 1/100, 35mm Equivalent=125mm]
Here is a tip for every photographer. Before you click the shutter take a moment and decide each of these and why you picked them before you take a photo.

  • ISO
  • Aperture
  • Shutter-Speed
  • White Balance
  • Under exposed, normal exposure or over exposed
  • Do I need to change the light in some way [reflector, flash, etc]
  • Background
  • Foreground
  • Composition

If you were to talk about why you took a photo, could you tell us also why you chose different settings on your camera to capture the moment?

It all boils down to why am I taking this photo? What am I doing with the camera to be sure that I have captured it the best possible way to achieve my goal.


Lighting Comparison of Georgia Dome to the new Mercedes Benz Stadium

Georgia Dome – Georgia Bulldog’s Freshman Running Back #35 Brian Herrien Scores his very first collegiate touch down while UNC’s Safety #15 Donnie Miles was unable to stop him during tonights Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game September 3, 2016 at the Georgia Dome. [NIKON D5, 120.0-300.0 mm ƒ/2.8, ISO 45600, ƒ/5.6, 1/4000, 35mm Equivalent=240mm]
When photographers go to a new football stadium they are concerned about a few things. Here are some of those comparisons between the older Georgia Dome and the new Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia.

The light is first of all much more even from one end of the field to the next. Unless you put lights in the end zone pointed straight at the field it is impossible to make it as even as the middle of the field where some of the lights are in front of the action.

Mercedes Benz Stadium – Chick-fil-A Kickoff Washington vs Auburn [NIKON D5, 120.0-300.0 mm ƒ/2.8, ISO 25600, ƒ/5.6, 1/4000, 35mm Equivalent=600mm]
The color temperature in the Mercedes Benz is about 5400k with +8 magenta using Adobe Lightroom. Very close to daylight. In the Georgia Dome the temperature was 4650K with +33 magenta making it closer to Fluorescent.

Georgia Dome – UNC vs Georgia [NIKON D5, 120.0-300.0 mm ƒ/2.8, ISO 40000, ƒ/5.6, 1/4000, 35mm Equivalent=600mm]
The other big difference is there was more of a flicker in the Georgia Dome with the lights. I didn’t detect any flicker in the Mercedes Benz Stadium.

The complaints for those working the games in the new stadium are due to the size of the place. Under the stadium behind each bench are restaurants about the size of a football field and then outside of that is the tunnel to walk around with the locker rooms outside that area.

The press box is no longer center field. It is in the corner. The photographer work room is on the outside wall of the field level tunnel.

Mercedes Benz Stadium – Chick-fil-A Kickoff
Washington vs Auburn [NIKON D5, 120.0-300.0 mm ƒ/2.8, ISO 20000, ƒ/5.6, 1/4000, 35mm Equivalent=460mm]
You walk about double the distance to get to the field from the work rooms than you did in the older Georgia Dome.

I am noticing photographers are in better shape now days as well as the writers who decide to come down from the press box to the field.

Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game – Some of my photo coverage

Chick-fil-A Kickoff, Washington vs Auburn
[NIKON D5, Nikon 14.0-24.0 mm f/2.8, ISO 400, ƒ/9, 1/500 35mm Equivalent=14mm]
Fans love to show their support for their teams using face paint.

Auburn’s Kam Martin (9) barrels through Washington’s Huskies at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Ga., on Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018. Auburn defeated Washington 21-16 in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game. [NIKON D5, 120.0-300.0 mm f/2.8, ISO 20000, ƒ/5.6, 1/4000]
Another Chick-fil-A Kickoff is in the books and Auburn broke their losing streak at Mercedes Benz Stadium with a win over the Washington Huskies with 21-16 victory.

Fans enjoy a moment of glory for catching football. The fans get a nice cushioned mat whereas the players hit the hard ground after such catch. This was at the International plaza just outside the Mercedes Benz Stadium during the Chick-fil-A Kickoff. [NIKON D5, 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6, ISO 100, ƒ/5.3, 1/640]
The day begins long before the 3:30 pm kickoff where fans get to dream a little about their end zone catch that they would make for their team during the FanZone experience.

Fans enjoy getting their photos made with the Chick-fil-A Cows at the International Plaza before the Chick-fil-A Kickoff. [NIKON D5, 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6, ISO 100, ƒ/8, 1/400]
I am there to capture not just the action on the grid iron but the fans enjoying themselves.

Chick-fil-A One Members enjoy sampling all flavors of Chick-fil-A Milkshakes as part of the Chick-fil-A One VIP Experience before the game. [NIKON D5, 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6, ISO 100, ƒ/4, 1/1250]
While in the past fans were able to get their photos made with the Chick-fil-A cows, this year two of the most liked menu items, Waffle Fries & Milk Shakes, were being given away in the VIP Experience before the game.

Digital “Be Our Guest” cards were stocked in each stadium cup holder for the Chick-fil-A Kickoff. [NIKON D5, 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6, ISO 3200, ƒ/4, 1/100]
Every fan that had a ticket to the game also got more free food with a “Be Our Guest” digital card they could redeem later at their favorite Chick-fil-A Restaurant.

Giving the invocation at the Chick-fil-A Kickoff is Daniel Carl Wuerffel a former college and professional American football quarterback who won the 1996 Heisman Trophy and the 1996 national football championship while playing college football for the University of Florida.
[NIKON D5, 28.0-300.0 mm ƒ/3.5-5.6, ISO 22800, ƒ/5.6, 1/4000]
The Chick-fil-A Kickoff game is one of the few college football games that has an invocation before the game.

Chick-fil-A Cow Airborne Division parachuted over the fans during the Chick-fil-A Kickoff. [NIKON D5, 120.0-300.0 mm ƒ/2.8, ISO 64000, ƒ/5.6, 1/2000]
Just before Kickoff Chick-fil-A Cows parachute in the stadium for the fans.

Washington wide receiver Aaron Fuller (2) makes a catch as Auburn defensive back Javaris Davis (13) defends in the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018, in Atlanta. [NIKON D5, 120.0-300.0 mm ƒ/2.8, ISO 22800, ƒ/5.6, 1/4000]
The action didn’t disappoint either team during the game. Remarkable catches were made by both teams.

Auburn wide receiver Bryan Davis (23) breaks away from Washington defensive back Jojo MacIntosh (14) during the Chick-fil-A Kickoff game in Atlanta on September 1, 2018. [NIKON D5, 120.0-300.0 mm ƒ/2.8, ISO 25600, ƒ/5.6, 1/4000]
I couldn’t have covered the game by myself and all the activities. Greg Thompson, Michael Schwarz and Robin Rayne Nelson all helped to cover the days events.

Auburn’s running back Shaun Shivers rushes for yardage during the Chick-fil-A Kickoff game at Mercedes Benz Stadium during the Chick-fil-A Kickoff game. [NIKON D5, 120.0-300.0 mm ƒ/2.8, ISO 22800, ƒ/5.6, 1/4000]
If you were to see all 3,000+ images I shot for the day, you would notice a few things I am doing.

Always looking to capture faces and expressions
Watching my background
Watching how the light is hitting the subject
Looking for Chick-fil-A branding – They are the client
Something happening – Working for action and peak moments

Washington’s Miles Gaskin (9) is stopped by Auburn during the Chick-fil-A Kickoff game. [NIKON D5, 120.0-300.0 mm ƒ/2.8, ISO 25600, ƒ/5.6, 1/4000]
Starting early in the morning and shooting until past the game ends as the players say thanks to their fans and then hit the road to go home.

Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham (8) thanks fans for their support after the win at the Chick-fil-A Kickoff at Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia. [NIKON D5, 120.0-300.0 mm ƒ/2.8, ISO 45600, ƒ/5.6, 1/4000]

Some of you may wonder why I put camera data in my captions here on the blog. Well the main reason for this blog is teaching. I have students all the time who are learning the skills of how to do what I am doing. When you are starting out seeing some of this camera data helps you understand what camera setting let me get a sharp, well exposed and proper white balance for my photos. By the way correct white balance is done by doing a custom white balance.

This is the best Investment to turn Pro in photography

Godox V860IIN 2.4G TTL Lion Battery Camera Flash Speedlite for Nikon + Godox X1NT Flash Trigger

One of the biggest mistakes new photographers make that are trying to do photography as a profession is not investing soon enough in a light kit that lets them take photos with the light source off of their camera.

The super simple kit I have above is so inexpensive to take off-camera flash photos.

Here is what I recommend for just about everyone and they make this kit for Nikon, Canon, Sony, and Fuji. There are many other solutions like this, but just invest in an off camera light source.

$225.00 – Godox VING V860II TTL Li-Ion Flash with X1T TTL Trigger Kit
$57.15 – Manfrotto 5001B Nano Black Light Stand – 6.2′
$17.90 – Godox S-Type Speedlite Bracket for Bowens
$20.50 – Westcott Optical White Satin Diffusion Umbrella (45″)
$320.55 Total

This alone will make your photos stand out. This photo below is without a flash.

[Nikon D5, 85.0 mm f/1.8, ISO 100, f/1.8, 1/100]
Now just look at everything the same but an off-camera flash can do at 45º from the camera.

[Nikon D5, 85.0 mm f/1.8, ISO 100, f/1.8, 1/125 – Godox V860IIN
2.4G TTL L + Godox X1NT Flash Trigger]
The only difference between the photos for the most part is the off-camera flash.

Which one of the photos will people pay you to take more often than the other? The one with the flash, because they can get the other photo with their camera on their phone.