WWPW 2016 – Part II

I have posted several images which I took at Scott Kelby’s Worldwide Photowalk on October 1st. here in Pacific Grove, CA. Check them out at http://www.robsirotaphotography.com/Rob-Sirota-Photography/Other-Events/WWPW-2016/. You can also see some behind the scenes shots of the other shooters at http://blog.robsirotaphotography.com/scott-kelbys-worldwide-photowalk-pacific-grove/

I hope you enjoy them as much as I did taking them.

Here is a picture of our group!

WWPW 2016 – Pacific Grove, CA walkers

Scott Kelby’s Worldwide Photowalk – Pacific Grove

On October 1st, Scott Kelby held his annual worldwide photowalk. I had the honor of hosting a walk here in beautiful Pacific Grove, CA. We had about 10 walkers and it was a beautiful day. I wanted to show a few BTS images of some of our walkers doing what the do… Taking pictures.


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Concert Photography Workshop with David Bergman

Last month I received a message from a photographer that I have admired and only spoke to online, David Bergman. For those of you who don’t know of David or his work, he is the photographer for Bon Jovi among other great bands. David informed me that he was going to be “testing” the waters doing a couple of concert photography workshop giving people the opportunity to shoot a real concert. My first though was “great another class in New York”. But to my surprise he was doing this class HERE in Northern California. So I immediately contacted David and he invited me to join. He limited the number of students to between 3 and 5 which is great! We were going to photography Andy Grammer perform at the Wente Vineyard Concert Hall in Livermore or at the Mountain Winery in Saratoga. Since I live only a few minutes from the Mountain Winery I picked that event.

Since I had shot concerts before, way back in the early 90’s, with film. I wanted to get some pointers from David. I already knew the basic rules but I figured this would be a great opportunity. Knowing the limitations of shooting concerts I was planning to be prepared for anything that arose.  Planning was the key. Since I did not know how much equipment I could bring and if I would have any place to store excess I came with limited supplies. Also, David informed us that Canon was supplying gear to try. However, since I am a Nikon shooter I brought my own gear. I brought 2 primary bodies; my Nikon D5 (amazing in low light) and my Nikon D750. In addition I only right 3 lenses which I underestimated (I’ll explain why later); my Nikkor 17-35 ƒ/2.8, my 24-70 ƒ/2.8 and my Sigma 70-200 ƒ/2.8 all very fast glass for the evening.

Now is when the fun started. We all got to the venue at about 1PM, met David and proceeded to out little room we commandeered. There were only 3 of us in the class plus David. After a round of introductions, a presentation of David’s work, slide shows of our work, we were ready! Knowing that there always may be problems when shooting concerts I was almost ready for anything… Well almost! We were working very closely with “Video” Andy who is the videographer and photographer for Andy Grammer’s tour. He was our go-between. “Video” Andy as we called him was a great guy and did everything in his power to help us out. Since we were “special” guests we were not “officially” limited to the first 3 songs. (That’s some goofy rule made up by someone somewhere.) However, we could only shoot Andy Grammer not the other act. Which was no problem. We did have a coupe of issues with some people who worked at the venue. However, when you treat people with respect and nicely things work out.

The Venue –

Those of you who have not had the privilege of attending a show at the Mountain Winery, it’s quaint. To that end, people pay big bucks to be close to the entertainers. This meant that 1) there was no “pit” for us to shoot from and 2) we could only shoot from a couple of isles. Here is where the being prepared comes into play. I was hoping we would have a pit that’s why I brought the 16-35 and 24-70. If I would have known I would have brought gear to mount a remote on the stage. (David had one and I was kicking myself!) Additionally I should have brought my 200-500 lens since at times we were at a distance and had to deal with the crowd. All that being said we had a great time.

The Mountain Winery. Not much of a “Pit”. As Andy Grammer does his quick sound check.

After we grabbed a quick bite to eat, we got our game plan together and Andy went on at 7ish. Here are a couple of the shots which I took. I was trying to shoot differently. Look for different angles and shoot other band members. Below are a few  of the shots from that evening.

The Concert –

The band gets the show started!
The band gets the show started!
Andy's first song from behind the piano.
Andy’s first song from behind the piano.

As you can see from the image above. We had a few obstacles to deal with. Since Andy was the first act, there were other mic stands to deal with.

Andy's fans love him!
Andy’s fans love him!
Andy Grammer
Andy Grammer
I wanted to show the view from the audience.. Through a patron's arms...
I wanted to show the view from the audience.. Through a patron’s arms…
With this expression you'd think _____.
With this expression you’d think _____.
What's a concert without an iPhone :)
What’s a concert without an iPhone 🙂

The Review –

All in all this was a great event. To anyone who wants to try their hand at shooting a live concert, I recommend looking to David for his classes. I know over time he will be doing more of these. Please keep your eyes on his website for more dates.

I do have many more images, I took over 3000 frames. But I won’t bother you with all of them 🙂

I do have one parting shot:

Is that a camera on the stage?
Is that a camera on the stage?

As the concert was ending I noticed this guy saw David’s remote camera. I snapped a quick pict of him taking a pict of the camera. Who know? maybe he will be in one of David’s upcoming classes 🙂

Once again, thanks to everyone. David, “Video” Andy, Andy, the staff and security at the event. We all had a great time.

Networking, it’s just not social… Get out there and talk!!!

Most people only think of networking in the social sense. While it is great to have a following on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. nothing is better that actually talking face to face. Who knows you may get noticed or find out something you didn’t!

I tend to attend many trade shows, meetups, trainings etc. The main purpose of attending these other than to learn about the topic at hand, is to make connections and possibly make long term friendships. Don’t be afraid to talk to others attending, open yourself up. Many events are now having sub-events where people who have never met do dinner or other events together. These are invaluable! I will give you some real life example which have turned out to be great for me.

For the last two years I have been attending Sport Shooters Academy in Orange County, CA. The main reason is to learn from the many masters who shoot sports on a day to day basis. However, in these two years I have forged many new friendships which have helped me in the long run. From talking to some of the attendees there I was able to get “in” with a sports wire service and now I’m back on the sidelines. But more importantly is that I can ask many of these people “how to” questions and get immediate responses. But this is a two way street. I also help many of the people in any way that I can since has verifying their work for Nikon Professional Services, or helping them technically.

Over the years of attending Photoshop World and other events such as WPPI and PPA, I have made some great connections and now can call many of the worlds best photographers among some good friends.

In the corporate world I see this all of the time, when someone asks the audience for questions everyone just sits there with their mouths shut. Not me, I’m vocal! I’m not afraid to go up to someone I admire and say “excuse me, I’m Rob Sirota and we have communicated on FaceBook (or twitter) and I just wanted introduce myself.” Most of the time it’s accepted with open arms and a bond is formed. We are all equal in this world. If someone thinks they are up on a pedestal and wants no part of you then, then you’re better off without them.

Remember BE OPEN!

Here are some of the people I now call my friends…

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Cool accessories from Really Right Stuff and others

It’s been a while since my last post so this one is a biggie, complete with a video! This is about a cool product I learned about from Joey Terrill at Sports Shooters Academy this year. I hate using straps, but sometime they are a necessary evil. This adapter from Really Right Stuff does the trick. So without further ado here is the video:

Here are some links to these great products. One small correction, I stated the strap was from Really Right Stuff, it is actually a Rapid Strap from Black Rapid. Too many RS’s 🙂

Products from Really Right Stuff

B2-FABN: 38mm Screw-knob clamp with strap bosses
L Brackets

Products from Up Strap

All Camera Straps – I use the kevlar web ones

I hop you find this informative and I will be bring your more information as I develop it.

Have a Happy Holiday and Safe New Year!





Image Backup then Backup then Backup

I had to comment on this new story I saw a couple of days ago and the importance of backing up your images. MULTIPLE TIMES and LOCATIONS!

Here is the story from KSBW in San Francisco.

While I am very sorry for her loss this could have been elevated. Here are some of the precautions I take with my images. And yes I have lost complete hard drives and all of the images on them but was able to get them back.

I store nothing on my Mac’s builtin hard drive. My main drive for current images is a Drobo Desktop system with 4 bays set to raid 0. Which I have double redundancy on. That’s a lot of gobble-di-gook, what does it mean.

Drobo 5D

This device has 5 network level hard drives (2TB) each. It is set up so that if one drive fails and needs to be replaced it can be done without loosing any data. But even better this is double redundant so that the world can come to an end and I’d still have my images.

In addition to this drive, I have several backup drives that I use Carbon Copy Cloner with a nightly backup job that copies my changed images to secondary drives and to a network drive.

Carbon Copy Cloner

As a last local backup I have Apple’s Time Machine running on my hard drives.

Now for the remote backup – 

I use CrashPlan from Code42 which allows you to backup to their cloud. This is a little slow the first time out but after that it just backs up the changes.

As a last resort –

Once a month I back up current images onto another drive and it is stored at a buddies house about 25 miles away.

With all of that there should be no reason why you should loose any important data. Please remember 3 backups minimum!

Social Media – Always Improving!

A quick side note: I’ve been offline for a couple of weeks as many of you know I lost my dog two weeks ago. She was a staple in the studio and I have been heart broken. Thank you for all of the comments and well wishes.

Laci's final day in the studio.
Laci’s final day in the studio.

Now back to the scheduled post…

Everyone knows the importance these days of being active on social media and the web. This is one reason why I started blogging, in addition to my web and social media sites. Before I begin here are all of the places you can find me:

My Main Web Site – www.robsirotaphotography.com
My Sports Images – sports.robsirotaphotography.com

Social Media:

Facebook500pxTwitterLinkedIn • TumblrFlickrG+ • Yelp! • Pinterest

I do segregate some of my accounts. For instance, my personal FaceBook page is for friends. For my business I use the business page above. My linked in is also for professional relationships. So please do not get offended if I decline random requests.

After being at PhotoShop World for a week it has become more evident than ever that your social presence is so importance. I can not begin to say how many people came up to me and saw my name tag and said that they followed me. Additionally, having conversations online with many folks overseas and finally meeting them in person has made relationships which I hope will last forever.

Here are a couple of things to do (which I do) to build your social media presence.
1 – Don’t be a wall flower. Go up and meet people.
2 – Ask for their business cards, give them yours and follow them.
3 – Cross post on all of you social media sites. I use IFTTT for that. For those of you not familiar with IFTTT it is a service that you can script different things (not just social media) and these scripts will run for you. For example, I have scripts that auto reply when I have a new follower on Twitter. Or When I post to my Facebook page it goes to my Twitter and many more.
4 – Follow companies and people you admire.

There is much more to talk about in the social media realm, but for now just work on these points.


Photoshop World 2015 – That’s a wrap!

Photoshop world 2015 has come to an end. It was a long week in Las Vegas. But it was a fun week. I want to give you some insight as to what went on and why, if you didn’t go, you should!

Special Thanks

Before I begin my views on the weeks events I wanted to thank and shout out to some very special people whom I now call my friends.

First and foremost, Joe McNally and Annie Cahill for being my dear friends and allowing me to work for such great people. I see Joe as a mentor and an inspiration and Annie is just all around great! I would also like to thank Lindsay Adler and Frank Doorhof for allowing my to help them with their setup for their sessions. Peter Hurley, what can I say? You’re the man! It was great finally meeting the kids and your wife. It was great to finally meet in person a couple of the greats, Moose Peterson and Jay Maisel. My new Brit compadres Glyn Dewis and Dave. Some of my old friends Dave Black, Joel Grimes, Alan Hess, Erik Valind, Jack Reznicki, Jason Groupp, Rick Sammon, Roberto Valenzuela, Tim Wallace, Scott Diussa, and Jim DeVitale.



A special shout out to the folks at KelbyOne; Scott, Corey, RC, Pete, Larry, Brad “The Beard” and Mia. And a few new friends from my social media including Ajna, Jessica and Kim. I’m sure I missed a few of you and it was great seeing all of you!

For everyone else I was able to finally meet in person from social media, it was great!


Pre-Con Day

The day before Photoshop World opens is the Pre-Con. These are a bunch of sessions with the masters. While I attended one last time, this year I had the privilege of assisting one of my dear friends, Joe McNally. Working with Joe is a great honor and you work your butt off but have a great time. Joe’s session was Characters on Location: Telling Stories With Light. This session was limited to 50 participants and was held at HKPK Las Vegas. This is a really cool place for gymnasts to practice along with a lot of the members of Cirque and American Warriors. While it was a long day setting up, tearing down and working with the students and models it was a great time had by all. I do want to take a minute to thank in addition to Joe; Cali, Jon, MD and Adam. Our makeup artist Jane Ellen and of course the talent. The talent include several gymnasts, models, body builders, and Cirque performers. Thanks to Charlotte, Alyssa, Manu, Drew and Daria. You guys were fantastic and it was great talking with all of you. I hope to see you next year. Oh, thanks Jeff the place was great!

Here are some behind the scenes shots from my iPhone of us setting up and the class.
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And a special thanks to Annie who was celebrating her birthday!

The Sessions

While I did not get to attend as many sessions as I would like I did see a few which were great including:

Building A Successful Business Model with Tim Wallace. This was  great session on business and was 2 hours long. It could have gone on for hours but was full of great insights. A few of which really stuck out!

Be different – Don’t copy others be yourself!
Style is everything – Have a “style”
Need to specialize – Specialize in a certain type of photography. But you can still do others. just be know as the go to person for “X”.
Who are your customers going to be? – Know who you want as customers!


I also attended a couple of Lindsay Adler’s classes including:

How to Flatter Anyone and 5 Fashion Lighting Techniques to Take to the Bank. Both of these classes were jam packed with valuable information from Lindsay!

IMG_0774 IMG_0701

And finally classes by Frank Doorhof – Mastering the Model Shoot, which despite a few technical issues Frank had everyone in stitches!


The Expo

While the expo floor was missing (in my opinion) some major players such as Nikon (who was doing cleanings in a suite). There were some other notable missing people such as Wacom, Savage Backdrops, and Manfrotto. But on a positive note that saved me money!

There were two main products that I really wanted to see and purchase. These were Palette and Platypod Pro. In addition it is always a time to purchase some books from PeachPit.

At the Palette booth I had a good chat and demo with Ryan from Palette. Played with the product and when I got home made the purchase of the Aluminum Professional Kit with a 15% discount from Photoshop world (code may still be active “PDW2015”). Once I get the product, hopefully in November, I will a full review here…

At the Platypod Pro booth I met with Larry and he showed me the product. As a sports shooter this will be replacing my f-Plate for remote work. But it is much more than that. Once I get it unboxed, I will have a full review here too…

During the rest of the expo part of the show I had a chance to catch up with many old friends and meet many new ones. Many people whom I have connected with on social media I finally got to talk to in person.

As usual I purchased a few books. Always making the packing for the return home a bit of a challenge. The three books I purchased were:
The Headshot by Peter Hurley – I can say that being close friends with Peter for years now makes this a must read. I also had this signed.
It’s Not About The F-Stop by Jay Maisel – What can you say he is the master. I was a pleasure meeting him and “chewing the fat” for a while.
Picture Perfect Practice by Roberto Valenzuela – It was a pleasure finally meeting Roberto and I now call him my friend!


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Finally, a couple of fun notes

There are always some fun stories to tell. Most of them are in a fog but here are two that stand out!

Peter Hurley, and his daughters and wife are relaxing on a couch with a few others around like Jared Polin and Erik Valind. Then up comes Lindsay Adler to give “the talk” to Peters girls. The conversation got to boys farting and went down hill from there! Fun had by all!!!

Next one of my new friends Latanya (who was riding around in a scooter due to surgery recovery) thought it would be cool to do a video from her perspective of the show. We all took turns in the scooter sipping around the show floor and expo hall. I had to do it twice. RC took it and like RC we could not find it for a while. When we did it was up on blocks (just kidding) it was in his class. As I zipped around I got a few of my friends to do it also including. Levi Sim, Jack Rezniki, Larry Becker, Glyn Dewis and a few more but I finally got Joe into it.. He had a blast too.


I can’t wait to see and share the final video….

The more I watch… The more I learn… Photoshop Training

Dodging & Burning –

Today (and part of last night) I watched (again and again) Kristina Sherk of SharkPixel.com‘s training video about high end retouching on KelbyOne as part of their Photoshop training courses. I reported on my first watching this video when it first came out and raved about how much I learned. So to keep my retouching skills growing I decided to watch it over and over again with emphasis on her dodge and burn technique.

This lesson I really concentrated on what and how to properly do Kristi’s dodge & burn effect. After doing all of the set up of the different layers, picking my highlight (foreground) color and shadows (background) color as instructed by Kristi. I began to work. Following her advise to add some visual aids to assist you in seeing what you are modifying I started to work.

With my brush at10% opacity and 10% flow, I started to bring out the highlight and work on the jaw line.

The images below show the before and after with the visual aid of a B&W layer turned on.

Why do we use the B&W aid? When you perform the dodge & burn and have this layer visible in Photoshop you take the color out of the equation and your eye only see the changes you are doing.

After turning off the B&W layer aid:

As always, it’s a work in progress. However, I can not say enough about KelbyOne and what you can learn from their instructors.

Photoshop World 2015 is almost here!!!

Yes, it is that time of the year again when the best photographers, teachers, students meet in Las Vegas for KelbyOne’s annual Photoshop world. This year they have gone from 2 shows to one mega show in Vegas from August 11-13 at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino.

I am so looking forward to this years conference for so many reasons…

  1. The events! If you go for the pre-conference on August 10th you will be able to learn hands on side by side from some of the best photographers and teachers out there. Including Joe McNally (Unfortunately this is sold out). But I have the privilege of assisting my mentor and friend Joe! There are still a lot of pre-conference sessions available. Check them out at the Schedule page. I’d highly recommend Real World Concert Photography Shoot with Alan Hess and Scott Diussa. I attended this class the first year and it was great! Alan is a good friend and you can learn a lot from him. For first timers, be sure to check out Larry Becker’s class for first time attendees, and for Lightroom users RC has a great Lightroom session.
  2. The 3 days of learning… There is just too much to write about here… Your head will explode from learning so much!!!
  3. Parties… Yep there are a few of these…
  4. Mingling and meeting new friends… What ever you do be open to meeting new people. The instructors are there for you and will give you as much time as they can (or have available). This is your chance to meet and become friends with some of the worlds best in the photography business.
  5. The trade show… Bring cash (I think the casino’s may have these ATM machines :)) There are so many good products! I usually end up having to buy another suit case.
  6. Bring your camera!!! You can shoot at the trade show, experiment with new lights, backdrops, etc. There are gonna be some photowalks (I think too).

Most importantly have fun!!! Bring comfortable shoes!!!

Be sure to ping me if you are going to be there!