Photographer Spotlight – Q&A with Max Roper

We’re excited to to partner up with concert-photography maven, world traveler, and entrepreneur, Max Roper. We got to pick his brain about some of the visually striking images he’s captured and packaged it all up this this blog post for your enjoyment! So read on and enjoy!

Mute-Math – Drum Jump!

Tamrac:  Tell us about your first experience with photography and when you knew it was something you wanted to do.
Max:
  I am a fairly new photographer in general, I got my first DSLR back in 2009 and started just taking photos of anything I was doing. I travel a lot so I was very excited to start getting some good documentation of my travels. Music is a huge part of my life so I think once that was blended with photography, I was into it!

Black-Keys

Tamrac: How did you get started with concert photography? Did you know the bands or just show up with your camera in hand and start taking awesome photos?
Max:
I love and play music and was going to shows all the time and I thought that I would try and sneak my camera in to get some shots of this artist I was seeing at a smaller venue. I separated the camera up between a few of my friends and I got it in. After the show, I posted the photos on the artists facebook page and they loved them. It was really unexpected. I honestly really had no idea what I was doing, but they really liked my photos. That encouraged me to continue.

MUTEMATH-Dallas

Tamrac: What kind of camera gear do you usually take on your concert shoots? Do you ever use a flash as a fill or use only stage lighting?
Max: My first camera was the Nikon D80 and I loved it, so now I am a Nikon dude! I use the D700 now and pretty much just the 24-70 f/2.8 and the 70-200 f/2.8. Once in a while I will bring out my fisheye or the 50mm 1.4 if it will work for the shoot I am on. The 24-70 f/2.8 is pretty much my go-to lens. About 90% of my shots are with that lens.  I bought a flash a few years ago and the first time I tried to take it out it got dropped in a lake and that was that. I am a big proponent of using only stage lighting.

Jay-Z

Tamrac: You’ve managed to capture some epic moments in concerts (Mute Math drum jump). Are some of these simply being at the right place at the right time and do you also have an idea of how the show will go so you’re able to plan your shoot out?
Max: Thanks :). That Mute Math concert was actually the 4th concert I had taken photos at so I was still getting into the swing of how it all works. I had never seen them before. They were just unreal! Still to this day, they are one of the most amazing bands touring. That night may have had a bit of luck on it. I was also just so into their energy. I think it contributed to how good all of the shots came out. Since then I’ve been on a few tours with bands where I’m shooting their show every night which allowed me to really learn the pace of their sets. You can be very calculated in that type of situation.

Mumford-and-Sons

Tamrac: From all of the concert shoots you’ve been on I’m sure you’ve seen some pretty crazy stuff. Do you have any funny or crazy stories you can share?
Max: There is always something crazy happening at every concert. Haha. I was taking photos in New York once and it was a pretty insane show; mosh pits everywhere and crowd surfing galore. I was up front and taking photos and some dude from the crowd that was (obviously) pretty drunk decided that it was the best call to pour the remainder of his beer all over me and my camera. My camera was a bit sticky but it was all good. He ended up apologizing. It was pretty funny afterwards.

Tamrac: So what do you like to do when you’re not shooting Jay-Z or traveling around the world?
Max: I have a few things going on. I do tech stuff over at Red Bull and just finished up the Red Bull Stratos project where we had an athlete skydive from space. The project went very well and I am glad he is alive. I also have a tech startup called Appetize. It’s a mobile app that allows you to order food/drinks/merchandise at stadiums and get it delivered to your seat. It is going very well and we have some pretty awesome products that I am very happy about. I love the blues. When I am not working on my other projects, I am playing some blues guitar.

Gimmelwald

Tamrac: Are there any projects or opportunities on the horizon for you that you’d be able to share with us?
Max: I am a licensed skydiver and am trying to get as many jumps as possible to be able into get to base jumping. I am pretty excited about it and plan to start base jumping everywhere I travel to. Hopefully some of my photography can carry over into that space and I can starting getting some new and innovative shots.

Tamrac: Lastly, do you have any advice for other photographers that have been inspired by your work?
Max: Every photographer should strive to be as unique as possible. Just trying to copy someone else won’t get you very far and ultimately will just put you in the cloud of others. Strive to be as personally creative as possible!

To see and learn more about Max:
Website: www.maxroper.com
Instagram: @maxroper
Twitter: @maxroper

Tamrac Sponsored Photographer Ted Craig Q&A

Ted Craig – self portrait

We are thrilled to have Ted Craig as part of the Tamrac team and as a Sponsored Photographer.  Ted is a conceptual artist based out of the West Coast of America. His creations of imagination and  pushing art have captured the eyes of both domestic and international viewers. Ted continues to push the boundaries of creativity through is images.  We are excited to share our Q&A with Ted.


Tamrac:
Tell us about your first experience with photography and when you knew it was something you wanted to do?
Ted:  My first real experience with photography would have to be my first pictures for my band’s album cover. I remember grabbing our drummer’s expensive leather chair, sneaking it out past his family, and putting out in a sand pit where we ended up taking the photos. I had no idea what I was doing, but I loved it! With no access to a tripod, I placed it between two rocks. Then, I hit the timer on my moms Nikon Coolpix 7900 and ran like hell only to find out later that it was “artistically out of focus.” From there on I was known as the lead guitarist and designated photographer, I was one hundred percent on board after that!

Tamrac: You’re work is very imaginative and creates a story.  Where do your ideas and inspirations come from?
Ted:  It goes beyond just the capture and the post production. I do a lot of self-portraits because, one: I am always available and two: it is the easiest way to experiment with lighting to conceptualizing. Some people work out, read, or shop, but I simply take photos everyday. And every photo, 99% of the time, is an expression of who I am that day.

Tamrac: You are working on the 365 project.  Can you tell us more about that?
Ted: I took on the 365 project for the first time this year. I believe, and I really stress this to people that ask me about the pros of doing it, this is the best thing you can do to further yourself with photography. What I have found with this project is a personal style, and a way of thinking; that is not something you just simply acquire or can buy. I have had my days when it was hard to pick up my camera, dedicate myself to an idea, and execute it; but those are the days that make you appreciate the project and that you will accomplish it in 365 days. I am on day 302 today!

Tamrac: As an active user on Instagram, you have over 5800 followers and growing quickly. How has it helped you as a photographer?
Ted: I honestly thought Instagram was not for me and did not think twice of it in benefiting my photography. Now, it is my highest traffic source and I have met many connections through it. I am thankful for all the people that have helped me on Instagram to get where I am today.

Tamrac: Shooting your images seem to have quite a process.  Can you share how much time is spent in pre and post production?
Ted: Some insight on how long my processing takes from start to finish: you can actually go ahead and look at my first image titled, ‘chest of drawers.’ (see above) The shooting portion did not take me long, just over 20 minutes. The reason it took me such a short period of time to do so was because I was working with natural window light, which became directly involved and displayed in the image. Realism is the first thing I try to accomplish in my images. I know it isn’t real but if it were to be real that is what it would be like, from light to shadows on all variables in the actual image. There was an hour or so of post work on this image. Again, creating realism within a fantasized world isn’t always easy, but that is probably the hardest part of the process. This is a 7 image composite.

Tamrac: What do you like to do when you are not shooting?
Ted: Outside of photography, I love films. It is still related to photography in a sense and I would love to be in the film industry as a DOP. The work of Ce’sar Charlone in ‘City of God’ got me really interested in the possibilities of creating beauty within film. Getting out of photography all together, I really love surfing, cooking, spending time with family and working on my other company mavenOG.

Tamrac: Lastly, are there any projects or opportunities on the horizon that you can share with us?
Ted: A project that I am exited about is a collaboration with my sister, Paige. She is a brilliant writer out in Denver, CO and that is all I will reveal for now!

Part of Ted’s Halloween photo project…SPOOKY!

To learn more about Ted and is very cool images check him out www.tedcraigphoto.com and follow him on Instagram @tedcraig.

Here is Ted’s Tamrac gear!

Tamrac Sponsored Photographer Kevin Kubota Q&A

Kevin KubotaAmerican Photo Magazine named Kevin Kubota one of the “Top 10 Wedding Photographers in the World”. His photos have been featured on the covers and within the pages of countless popular magazines and photography books. Kevin has been a featured presenter for Nikon and Adobe, and his work with the Nikon digital camera earned him a spot as a Nikon “Legend Behind the Lens”.

Kubota is an internationally recognized speaker, having presented for every major photographic convention in the USA. He created the popular “Digital Photography Bootcamp®” workshop which has been running successfully since 2002. He authored the book under the same name, now in it’s second edition, published by Amherst Media. Kevin shares over 2 decades of commercial and portrait lighting experience in his latest book, The Lighting Notebook, published by Wiley. The companion iApp, is available in the iTunes store.

Kubota Image Tools products have won multiple Hot One Awards as well as the Readers Choice Award. Kevin was personally awarded the 2009 Monte Zucker Memorial Humanitarian Award for social service through photography

Tamrac:
Wedding photography can be very challenging, but your images convey beauty, personality and spontaneity.  What inspires you to create such amazing photos?
Kevin:

Adrenaline!  But seriously, I do actually thrive on the pressure of photographing weddings. I think that certain people are able to use pressure and adrenaline to be creative and solution oriented, while others tend to freeze under it. Good wedding photographers find a way to use the pressure to fuel their creativity. The style of my imagery, I think, comes from my own romantic imagination and my ability to connect and put my clients at ease. I try not to use formulas to create an image, but instead I let my imagination run wild and try to put what’s in my head in to my client’s head – so they become part of the process. I’m also not afraid to ask my client to do anything that pops in to my head – within reason. If they say no, I move on, but I’m not afraid of hearing “no” because usually they say, “Sure!”.

Tamrac:
Have any funny moments happen to you during a shoot?
Kevin:

My wife, Clare, and I would often joke with wedding clients during the pre-wedding meeting about what, if any, unique events they had planned – so that we could be prepared to photograph them. We’d joking say, “Do you have anything special planned? Special guests giving speeches? Slideshows? Fire breathers?”. We’d get a giggle and make a note of anything to watch for.
After one wedding, we were packing up to head home as the wedding reception continued to rage on through the night. As we were walking out, I saw behind the reception tent a woman in a skimpy costume (which of course caught my eye :-) secretly pouring liquid from a can on some sort of baton, and in her mouth. I immediately thought it was some wacky belly-dancing pyro terrorist plot, but then soon put the pieces together…FIRE BREATHER!
I whipped open my (Tamrac) bag, grabbed my camera, and ran back in to the tent just in time to catch the surprise fire-breathing dance show that one of the guests had planned for the bride and groom! It was amazing and certainly something you don’t see at every wedding!
Clare and I laughed, we finally got our fire breather.

Kubota-Fire-Breather

Tamrac:
You recently traveled to Rwanda, can you tell us about your experience?
Kevin:

It was an emotional roller coaster! We went there with some of our staff and a few photographer friends to deliver some funds we’d saved to a woman who ran a large orphanage. I was initially introduced to her by my good friend, Benjamin Edwards. He inspired me – through his own documentary photos, to do something to help her and the orphans. She was Rwandan and didn’t speak English, but after we’d told her we had the gift to give her, she – via a quick cell phone video – managed to convey her sincere thanks, and encouraged me to come visit her in Rwanda. I was moved to tears and we were determined to make the trip happen.

kubota-africa-2
While we were there we visited with her, the children, the volunteer teachers at the makeshift school, and all the wonderful people who’s lives she touched. We documented the journey with photos and video and shared the experience when we returned. I’ve heard from many photographers since then who have seen my work and in turn been inspired to do something charitable like that themselves – just like I was inspired by Ben.
We often never know how our images will affect people and the world, so we have to just take them, share them, and know that the ripple effect has been put in motion.

kubota-Africa-1

Tamrac:
What advice would you give to aspiring photographers?
Kevin:

Create personal projects. One of the hardest things for new AND seasoned pro photographers is to stay motivated and fresh. Whether you need to learn a new technique, perfect an existing one, or push yourself to create something completely new, projects are the way to go. You simply cannot wait for ideas and assignments to find you! You have to create time and commit to doing them until the day comes when client requests overwhelm you. At that point, it’s even harder to schedule time for personal projects, but they are just as important to keep doing. Put it on your calendar a time to do a personal project. Treat it like a real job and commit to it. You’ll grow in leaps and bounds!

Kubota Ninja

Tamrac:
Tell us one place that you have not been but would love to photograph and why?
Kevin:

I have not yet been to Atlantis. I love scuba diving and have started working on my underwater photography. It’s a lot harder than I thought! I think the under-sea world is absolutely fascinating and beautiful. It reminds me of being on another planet (not that I’ve actually been on another planet yet). I enjoy the challenges of learning something new and of photographing things we don’t see every day. When underwater, you generally have to get much closer to your subject to make it come out clear and colorful and this is particularly challenging when the currents are whisking you around or big sharp teeth are smiling at you.

Kubota Tuscany

Tamrac:
How has Social Media helped you as a photographer?
Kevin:

It’s given me another avenue to share my experiences and projects – which often leads to inquiries about new jobs and opportunities. In a way, it is also an incentive to get out and keep shooting or to be more committed to my personal project agendas. When the world is watching, you want to push yourself a little more – and that’s good for our own growth.

Kubota Italy

Tamrac:
What is your favorite movie?
Kevin:

Ooh, tough one. I loved Moulin Rouge for it’s silliness, romance, quirkiness, and dramatic sets. It is just so unusual and entertaining. I also loved Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind for its unusual premise, characters, and romantic desperation. Then, of course, I love movies like Lord of the Rings and 300 for their visual amazingness and inspiration.

 Kubota Italy Rock Shore

Tamrac:
What do you love about your Tamrac bags?
Kevin:
I’ve been using Tamrac bags for about 20 years. My mentor when I started wedding photography had a Tamrac bag that he swore by, so of course I had to get one too. I’m kind of a gadget geek and pretty particular about ergonomics and details in the products I use. I’ve been known to buy several brands and types of similar products just to find the one that is “just right” and then give the others away. My Tamrac bags and products have always just fit my needs and held up extremely well. I’ve never had one break, rip, or wear out. The features are well thought out and satisfy my ergonomic pickiness.

Tamrac:
What Tamrac gear do you use?
Kevin:

My main bag has been the Super Pro 14. It is the perfect size for my primary photo gear and I particularly love the computer sleeve in the back of the bag. I use this for my computer, obviously, but it also perfectly fits my 42” pop-up reflector disc (when folded), which goes with me everywhere. I like that this slot is behind the main cover so my disc can stick out a little and I can still secure the front flap over the main compartment. I haven’t seen any other bag on the market that offers as much versatility for my needs.
I also have a Super Pro 13 that I use for my speedlights, wireless transceivers, and other smaller lighting gadgets.
I have a 324 tripod bag, and 3 of the 328 Location bags for my light stands and folding light panels.
I use Rolling Strong Box 692 and 694 for my studio strobes and larger light heads. I love that they protect my delicate gear, are relatively light to move, and have wheels for easy cruising.
When I’m traveling abroad and don’t want to carry a ton of gear I use my Adventure 9 backpack for my DSLR and misc. goodies and an Express 6 compact case for my point-n-shoot.
For my day-to-day work commuting with my laptop and gadgets I use the Superlights Computer Messenger 15. I also have the Superlights Computer Sleeve 15 for when I just need to transport my laptop and nothing else.
And of course, what accessory collection would be complete without a red flames camera strap!

 

For more on Kevin Kubota, you may visit his website at www.KevinKubota.com

Q&A with Tom Carey

tom carey

We are so thrilled to have surfing photographer Tom Carey as a Tamrac Sponsored Photographer.  Tom joins our team with an incredible talent at capturing surfers in some of the most extreme and beautiful enviroments.  Since picking up his first camera at the age of 12, Tom Carey has been passionately pursuing his lifelong dream of shooting the best surfers, in the best waves, around the world. Nineteen years later he’s still doing what he enjoys and his photos are a testament to that love.  When not roaming the globe, Tom resides in Costa Mesa, CA with his lovely wife K.C. The 32-year-old Seal Beach native is currently a staff photographer for Volcom Inc. and Surfing Magazine. In 2010 he ranked 1st on the Transworld Business Exposure Meter.

Tom Cary

Self Portrait, Tom Cary

Tamrac: How did you get into surfing photography?
Tom:  I started off with my mom’s Minolta SLR just shooting my friends who were good amateur surfers at the time. This was the film days and my first shots weren’t too bad. A lot of my friends turned pro and I ended up sticking with it.

©Tom Carey

Tamrac: Did you learn to surf before you became a photographer?
Tom: I definitely learned to surf before I became a photographer. I wouldn’t say I’m that great or anything but my timing and wave knowledge is good I think.

©Tom Carey

©Tom Carey

Tamrac: What tip would you give to someone who wants to photograph surfing?
Tom:
I’ve seen the most success from people that buddy up with one great surfer, travel around with them, and meet other great surfers. Really it’s all about connections and opportunities. So knowing the right people always helps.  Otherwise a lot of guys are shooting underwater and empty wave photos only now. They seem to be having some success with that so it just shows you that you don’t have to have someone on the wave to make a great photo.

©Tom Carey

©Tom Carey

Tamrac: You have traveled all over the world, is there a particular location you love to visit?
Tom: A lot of times you end up going to the same places time after time so anywhere new and fresh is always an adventure. Indonesia however seems to have the best waves and weather, which are two combinations we all love.

©Tom Carey

©Tom Carey

Tamrac: What projects are you excited about this summer?
Tom: Well I think Volcom is going to slowly start filming for an upcoming movie, which I hope to contribute to. That might take us over to France, Bali, and really just bring our team together. Its always fun to work on these projects and then see the finished product and say “Wow, I was a part of that .” It’s a good feeling.

©Tom Carey

©Tom Carey

Tamrac: Most of us will never know the feeling of being in a “pipe” or “tube”, can you describe what it is like?
Tom: The vision you get is always amazing. I couldn’t tell you what it feels like to be on a surfboard on a giant Tahiti barrel or anything like that but I’ve had a few tubes on some smaller waves. The feeling of coming up from shooting a big tube is pretty awesome as well. Especially now that our cameras are digital. You usually know when you had a good “hook-up” and you’ll straight away check out your LCD screen. Next thing you know you’re showing the surfer that probably got pounded on the wave if he fell. So they like to know the beating wasn’t for nothing.

©Tom Carey

©Tom Carey

Tamrac: What Tamrac gear do you use?
Tom: I travel with my Tamrac Expedition 8x Back Pack and either my Super Telephoto Lens Pack to fit my 600mm, or my Tamrac Big Wheels Speed Roller Case.

Tamrac: What do you love about your Tamrac bags?
Tom: The durability hands down to me is my number one concern. I abuse my gear constantly with all my travels and Tamrac’s bags are the only ones that seem to hold up. The salt air that I surround my self with corrodes everything, especially zippers. But my back pack has the weather sealed zippers and I never get a single snag. I’ll carry as much gear as I can on the planes these days as well. And my Tamrac’s just seem to fit everything more proficiently.

For more information on Tom and to see more of his amazing work, visit his website! tomcareyphoto.com

Q&A with Matt Beard

Matt Beard in action

Matt Beard in action

We’re excited to announce our new partnership with Los Angeles based photographer extraordinaire, Matt Beard. Matt has spent the last 20 years capturing the visual essence of clients including Apple, Nike, Levis, Lucky Jeans, Sony, Maroon 5, and Cirque Du Soleil. To introduce you to Matt, here’s a little Q&A session with our new friend. Enjoy some of Matt’s tips, tricks and funny moments!

Matt Beard

photo of Matt Beard by: Corinne Saffell

Tamrac: How did you get into photography?
Matt: I’ve always loved photography, even as a young kid I was experimenting with my folks 126 and 110 film cameras.  In 9th grade, my parents lent me their 35mm canon A-1, and I started taking b&w photography classes at Venice High with Larry Shapiro…and the journey begins!

Tamrac: What is the one piece of camera equipment you always take with you?
Matt: My Canon 5D Mark2.

Maroon 5 Matt Beard

© Apple iTunes / by Matt Beard

Tamrac: What advice would you give to aspiring photographers?
Matt: If you always produce the best work you can, every job will lead to another…and so forth.

Maroon 5 Matt Beard

© Apple iTunes / by Matt Beard

Tamrac: What projects do you have coming up that you are excited about?
Matt: Can’t say, top secret.

Switchfoot Matt Beard

© Apple iTunes / by Matt Beard

Tamrac: Do you have any unique or funny moments while shooting on location?
Matt: There’s quite a few, especially from the assisting days.  Once I was told that we were doing a top-secret photo shoot, and it was very hush-hush.  NO cell phones allowed, and we couldn’t reveal our location to anyone.  I didn’t know where we were going, or who we were shooting until we were about a mile away from the location.  At first I thought we were photographing the president.  But, it turned out to be Kobe Bryant’s wedding.  So I got to shoot at Kobe’s wedding… pretty cool!

Carmen Electra Matt Beard

Carmen Electra Shoot

Tamrac: You get to meet and photograph a lot of really cool bands…what music do you enjoy listening too?
Matt: Oddly enough, I’ve always listened more to the news than to music.  However, I really like a lot of different genres of music.  I grew up with everything from Rock, Metal, Ska, Punk and Pop…to Hip Hop, House, Trance and Techno.  I also love classical music, Jazz, swing, big band, reggae and rockabilly.  I’m a fan of anything unique and creative, which has a feeling of the artist’s soul in it.

John Cryer Matt Beard

John Cryer Promo Shoot

Tamrac: What Tamrac gear do you use?
Matt: I use a Big Wheels SpeedRoller 2x, Rally 7 Messenger BagZuma Compact and a Tamrac Medium Tripod Bag.  I also have an older 692 Big Wheels Rolling StrongBox.  It is still in really great shape after all these years and still works great.  I also have a Tamrac Pro-9 Backpack that I’ve used for years, and love!

Tamrac: What do you love about your Tamrac bags?
Matt
: They are affordable, easy to use, and they last a really long time.  They are also fairly inconspicuous and can look more like regular luggage than a camera case…which helps with airline travel…and those run-and-gun guerrilla shoots.

For more information on Matt and to see more of his photography, go to his website: http://www.mattbeard.com/

All images are the property of Matt Beard Photography and cannot be used or reproduced without permission.