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01
Apr

2013 GPP Shootout

Posted by / Filed under Workshops, BTS

Last month I had the great pleasure of traveling to Dubai to speak and teach at GPP 2013.  It was an incredible experience and I was able to meet some awesome people and photographers.  GPP was an incredibly well planned and exciting week of workshops and seminars by some of the top teachers in the industry.  I tried to pop in on a few different workshops when I had 10 minutes or so to spare, and I learned so much, even in such a short amount of time.

I had many great experiences and interactions on this trip, but perhaps the best part of the whole trip was dinner each night.  Not because the food was incredible (Well, Ravi’s was), but it was the people I sat next to at dinner: David Alan Harvey, Greg Heisler, David Burnett, David Hobby, Zach Arias, Peter Hurley, Joe McNally, and on and on.  Wow.  How fun!  Talk about great conversations and stories.

In addition to being one of the teachers, I was also asked to participate in the shootout on the last night of the week.  The GPP shootout is a fairly new tradition that has caught on like wild fire.  3 photographers competing against each other under less than ideal circumstances.  The rules are explained in the video, but basically you are given an assignment in front of 350 people, and from that moment, you have 20 minutes to think, light, shoot and edit a picture from start to finish.  After all 3 photographers have finished, the crowd votes on who they think won.  My competitors were Zack Arias, and Lindsay Adler.  It was intense, but I have to say, after feeling nervous for about 30 seconds, I really enjoyed it.  Not to mention, I love how my picture turned out!  Now I have Leibovitz and Heisler in my collection.

So what was the assignment?  Create a portrait of one of the greatest portrait photographers of all time, Gregory Heisler.  Fortunately, I had gotten to know Greg over the course of the week, so I knew he was an awesome guy, and that helped a bit.  Before I packed my bags for Dubai, I had anticipated, or at least hoped the assignment  would involve shooting a portrait, or at least photographing a human one way or another.  To be at least somewhat prepared, I brought a few props just in case (turtleneck and wig).  I only needed 2 of them as it turned out, so I’m going to keep the other options a secret for now.

The video above is condensed quite a bit, so there is a lot you aren’t seeing and hearing, but this is a great recap of how it all went down.  Congrats to Zack Arias on winning!  He was talking trash all week, and he backed it up by going for the jugular.  And by that, I mean he put a teabag on my head.  Which I should have been more humiliated by, but I was too shocked at the time to fully know what was going on.

David Hobby (strobist.com) wrote a very flattering blog post about the GPP Shootout from his perspective which is worth a read if you are interested.  He has done the shootout before, so he has a good perspective from all sides of the event.  Thanks David for the kind words, and thank you Mohamed, Hala, and everyone else at GPP for being such wonderful hosts!  I hope you all enjoy watching this, and maybe I’ll see you in Dubai next year.

12
Mar

Congrats Catherine Giudici

Posted by / Filed under CELEBRITY

Catherine Giudici portrait by John Keatley.

Congrats to my friend Catherine Giudici on finding love on The Bachelor.  It became official last night, so I thought I would share a fun outtake from our recent shoot together.  Very excited for Catherine and Sean Lowe.  Hopefully I can share more of the images in the near future.  There are so many great shots!

Gotta run.

20
Feb

Ryan Lewis Portrait

Posted by / Filed under CELEBRITY

Ryan Lewis in the house ya’ll.  I recently posted one of my portraits of Ben Haggerty a.k.a. Macklemore, and now it’s time to share a portrait of his creative partner Ryan.  They are in the middle of success that very few people ever experience, and this Saturday you can see them on SNL.  Congrats guys!

I’m so thrilled with this portrait.  I have wanted to shoot something with this type of feel for a long time, and it turned out so great.  Big thanks to Gigantic Squid for the retouching.

More soon.

30
Jun

The Value of a Photographer

Posted by / Filed under News, VIDEOS

Somebody who can light, and show up, and make a portrait is of no value anymore.  It sounds like just another wild statement to grab your attention, but it’s actually true.  I interviewed my incredible rep Maren Levinson of Redeye for our Survival Guide workshop and what she has to say is so powerful, I wanted to share it with everyone.  This is such great advice for artists today.  The industry is changing rapidly, and it is really important to understand what your value is as an artist, and how you fit into the big picture.  I hope you find this exciting and inspirational.  If it strikes a chord with you, and you want to learn more about marketing, strategy and business for artists.  You can check out one of our Survival Guide workshops on our workshop page.  To receive updates on future workshops and opportunities, email nichelle@keatleyphoto.com.

11
Feb

Ohhh Wallace

Posted by / Filed under Personal Work

Portrait of a dog called Wallace by photographer John Keatley.

A little over a year ago I got an assignment for VIV Magazine to photograph a service dog named Radar and his boy who has autism.  To be perfectly honest, I didn’t think much about the images after I wrapped up the assignment.  Several months later, I revisited the images with fresh eyes, and 2 of the portraits of Radar jumped out at me immediately.  There was something very human like about his expressions and how he was coming across in the portraits.  It looked like I photographed him in the middle of a conversation.  This got me thinking about some new ideas, and lately I have found myself photographing dogs in a way that makes them seem more human than animal.  It’s been a fun process, and today I thought I would share one of my recent favorites from my adventures with dogs.  Say hello to Wallace the French Bulldog.  How perfect is that name.  Wallace.  I love it.

On a personal side note, as a kid, I really wanted to be a dog trainer.  I have always loved dog’s, but at some point in my life, I liked them so much I wanted to work with them for a career.  Looking back now, I suppose it is only fitting that I now find myself working with dogs, and thoroughly enjoying it.  And if you ever find yourself at our studio, ask me about the silly tricks Oliver, our small Pomeranian can do.

07
Feb

Instagram

Posted by / Filed under News

John Keatley rolling on a light stand at a photo shoot.

And that’s pretty much what I do on a typical day.  It’s a good life, with very few complications really.

So there is this new app called Instagram for mobile phones.  Seeing as I do not consider myself an “early adopter” it took me some time to check it out, much less install it on my phone.  Needless to say, it is pretty cool, and I have enjoyed using it this past week.  I never do anything unless I am all in, so it is safe to say, you can follow me on Instagram and expect a steady stream of photos from my adventures with a camera.  There are a lot of funny moments that happen behind the scenes, so that is what I am going to be focusing on with this outlet.  It will be a different view into my world from what I have been showing on the blog, Facebook, and Twitter etc.

You can find and follow me @johnkeatley or www.instagram.com/johnkeatley

Thanks so much, I’ll see ya out there.

02
Jun

Seahawks’ Derrick Coleman

Posted by / Filed under Editorial Work, CELEBRITY

It seems like forever ago now, but I actually played football in college until a shoulder injury sidelined my aspirations of reaching the NFL.  I mostly played free safety, but I also moved to defensive end in my last season.  Needless to say, photographing athletes is something I really enjoy, as it get’s me back out on the field to some extent.

Here is a quick snapshot I found from back in my college days. But back to Derrick Coleman, because that’s really what this is all about.  Most of you have probably already seen the incredible Duracell commercial about his fight to get to the NFL, but if you haven’t or if you want to watch it again, here it is.  It makes me emotional every time I see it.  So good.

Thanks for a fun shoot Derrick and Go Hawks!

Possibly the biggest “studio” I have ever shot in.

 

15
May

Reflecting on Why We Do the Survival Guide

Posted by / Filed under News

Hello, blogosphere!  I want to introduce myself to you all.  My name is Nichelle, and I am the newest member of the Keatley team.  I’ve been working at Keatley for the last 8 years in a very limited capacity managing the finances, but about 9 months ago I stepped up my role at Keatley to now include post-production, office management, and workshops.  I have been having a blast getting the chance to be a part of the day to day workings of Keatley, getting to participate in the crazy antics and photoshoots that John and Taylor experience daily.  Oh, and one other pertinent piece of information: I’m John’s wife. 🙂

Being that workshops is a big part of my job, I wanted to take the opportunity to reflect on the first two Survival Guide weekends that have come and gone, and how we have come to where we are.  John, as some of you may know, is a man with many ideas.  Small ideas, big ideas, crazy ideas, fabulous ideas.  But there are a lot of them!  When we first were married, I would ride the roller coaster of emotions, as his mind produced idea after idea.  Until I realized, these are ideas, not necessarily every one of them is going to come to fruition.  I now try to be a supportive listener, and really only heed attention to those ideas that keep resurfacing.  It’s made for a much saner life for me, yet allows him to keep dreaming.  But I am also realizing through the Survival Guide, that sometimes what can start out as a small idea, can grow and flourish when seen through the eyes of other people.  Ideas don’t have to be dreamed by just one person.

Several years back, John et al came up with the idea of a 2-day workshop that focused on marketing the first day, and lighting the second.  It was in response to numerous people wanting to know “How do you do what you do?”  But even from the beginning of that workshop, John realized that doing what he does was more than just taking pictures.  It was and is about creating and understanding business.  That workshop (fondly referred to as the “Un-Workshop”) was successful, and John taught it around the world, in Seattle, Dubai, and the Bahamas.  Despite the great response from that workshop, though, John struggled with generating an excitement for teaching it.  Throughout many conversations, it just became obvious that teaching about lighting and technique was not where his heart was.  He creates images from a place of emotion and feeling, and that is not easily transferred into shutter speed and lighting technique.  The lighting class to him felt dry and boring, something he would be uninterested in attending.  And so the Un-Workshop just settled on the back shelf as his commercial photography business started booming.

About a year and a half after the first Un-Workshop, John received an email from an attendee, describing how the information he learned during the Day One / Marketing class had transformed his career.  He had managed to enter into full-time photography, was working with some large clients, and was feeling confident in how to market his current successes into getting his next job.   One month later, he got a second email with a similar tale.

John and I were driving around one day shortly after receiving those emails, and the idea began to occur to both of us.  No one was writing to say how their careers were dramatically changed by the information they had learned in his lighting class.  But careers were being changed by the information he was most passionate about, something he liked teaching and talking about: business and marketing.  That seemed significant, and something not to just dismiss without a second thought.  We needed to rethink this workshop, and teach to John’s passion for business.  And that’s really how the Survival Guide began.

We’ve now completed our first two weekends here in Seattle, and the support and response from those who have attended has been heart-warming and completely eye-opening.  I’ve heard attendees say there is no other workshop teaching what we are teaching in such a realistic and honest way.  Yet John’s take on this is that a person will never be truly successful if their business is built on secrets, because someone else will figure them out or create something better.  The information discussed at the Survival Guide is raw, pertinent, real, applicable, and very honest.  We have taken the information that we use on a daily basis to bid on jobs, the questions to ask when speaking with a client, our understanding of what it takes to find a space for yourself in the art world, how to build authentic relationships when marketing, and wrapped it up into an intensive 2.5 day course.  Our intent is to build the artistic community a solid foundation, so that we are all being pursued for jobs based on artistic ability and not undercutting one another based solely on the bids.

And so what started as a small idea a few years ago, is now building steam and support.  We are excited.  So very excited for the way this workshop is starting to impact lives and careers.  30 to count so far.  And in July, we are heading to St. Louis.  July 10-12 to be exact, being hosted by the gracious RGG EDU.  We are stoked to meet the city of St. Louis, to see the Gateway Arch, taste the local cuisine, and experience the hospitality of the MidWest.  We hope you will join us, or let us know if you would like to be kept abreast of future locations and dates.

“The workshop met my expectations because I needed help with every step that we covered. John explained everything in depth and took time to answer our questions. I loved all the personal assignments as well as the group assignment, where we had to put in a bid and explain our numbers. The workbook and handouts are awesome! I have confidence that when I am presented with a potential job, I won’t be undercutting the market, or myself, and I won’t look like an amateur. I already know that I will be referencing these materials for years to come.” – Joshua Huston

“John’s workshop answered a lot of my questions -and questions I didn’t know I had, about the business side of commercial photography. He runs you through a job from start to finish. He starts with how to market yourself to the work you want, bidding for the job, running all the way to how to thank your client at the end of a great shoot. He shows you how to be the best photographer and business manager you can be. This isn’t to mention all of the real world insights he slips in.   The information is worth it all by itself, but the relationships you’ll build and the fun you have will simply put the whole experience over the top!” – Cori Keady

“Exceeded (my expectations)!  The most overwhelming side of being a creative is how to be realistic, professional, and run a business.  Hearing and seeing the tools required to be successful is a huge weight off my shoulders.  Can’t wait to put these tools into session.  I would say that it took away the unknown aspects of running a creative business that often paralyzed my growth.  It has made me excited again to be an artist, and one that could make money and be happy.” – Lonnie Webb

A huge thank you to BlackRapid for hosting us in March and April.  Looking forward to future Survival Guide collabs in Seattle!

Photo by Jackie Donnelly

Photo By Jackie Donnelly

Photo by Jackie Donnelly

Photo by Becky Mohrlang

Photo by Anna Rajdl

Photo by Jackie Donnelly

23
Apr

Charissa Thompson For Seattle Met

Posted by / Filed under Blog

Hello, Taylor here! Hot off the press with some new work coming out of the Keatley studio. Last month we were given the assignment by Jane Sherman at Seattle Met to photograph a portrait of Charissa Thompson. Charissa host’s Fox Sports Live and reports on celebrity news for Extra. Basically, she is talking to famous people on a daily basis, and after spending 10 minuets with her I could see why. Extremely charismatic and approachable. And although she is intimidatingly beautiful and a celebrity in her own right, she seamlessly fit right in with the entire crew. She’s the first one of Keatley’s subjects to ever call me before the shoot and offer to buy everyone coffee. I mean, come on!

Before the shoot Matthew Halverson and Jane Sherman, at Seattle Met, told us they wanted and iconic serious portrait, but with a sports twist. Going into the shoot we had what we felt were 10 strong ideas. After tinkering with lighting until it was perfected, John began to gravitate toward 2 of those concepts. The top image you see is exactly what we envisioned. Monochromatic, fun, sporty, but also has a tinge of seriousness. One thing John said while driving to the shoot stuck with me. He said that he wanted to create an image that she could use for the next 50 years. While only Charissa could be the judge of that, I think he did a bang up job. Hope you enjoy the outcome!

Charissa Thompson for Seattle Met

AD : Jane Sherman

Writer: Matt Halverson

Producer: Me

Hair & Makeup: Haley Olsen

Retouching: Luminosity Imaging (Ryan Cleary)

03
Mar

New DEDPXL Digital Download

Posted by / Filed under News, BTS

Wow, this is so exciting!  Introducing our new digital download from DEDPXL and Zack Arias.  Ta Da!  I spent 3 days with the DEDPXL crew last Fall filming this video.  We put together some great shoots ranging from simple portraits to some conceptual work with a set build.  This video series takes you through my personal life, career, failures and triumphs and also takes you on-set, behind-the-scenes to see some of my methods, gear and techniques as well as a full day of shooting.  It could not have turned out any better in my opinion.

This short trailer gives you a good idea of what to expect.  Thanks for taking a look. We have been overwhelmed by the positive response.  Head on over to DEDPXL to download the full video now and enjoy!

Huge thank you to Zack Arias and Bernard Brand for all of their hard work on this.  I am really proud, and happy to be a part of it.

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