If you’ve ever held a DSLR in your hands, you’ve probably heard of Vincent Laforet.
He’s the Pulitzer Prize-winning mastermind behind some of the most incredible photos seen in National Geographic, The New York Times, Vanity Fair, Time and more.
Vincent earns his bread and butter using the industry’s most coveted photographic equipment. He is a Canon Explorer of Light who breaks down the barriers between Photo and Video. We’ve been behind him since his his first HDDSLR short film, Reverie, and now he’s written a book that everyone should read.
Visual Stories: Behind the Lens with Vincent Laforet
Whether you’re an avid photographer or just someone who seeks a better creative process, you’ll love taking the journey through Visual Stories.
In it, you’ll find over 200 pages of inspiring photos, personal reflection and informative technical details to help craft your unique vision. The DVD contains over 60 videos that get you up-close and personal with the photojournalist himself.
Because Laforet’s experience began in journalism, he shows you how the principles of this genre can be applied to tell powerful stories in a single image. You’ll learn how to craft this energy into any type of photograph, include landscapes, close-ups, portraits, action shots, aerials and more.
Plus, get tips on using light, shape and color to create rich photos that support your story and add intense beauty and emotion.
Vincent Makes his Mark for You
We’ve got five autographed copies of this beautiful book, ready to find their way into your hands. Here’s how to get one:
1. Like SmugMug’s Facebook page HERE.
2. Post a message on our Facebook wall telling us why you want this book.
We’ll pick five lucky winners from the list on Wednesday, December 28, 2011.
So what will it be? You can keep grasping in the dark and taking the same photos, or you can grab a copy of Visual Stories and learn how a master works his craft. Check it out now at Peachpit Press.
Think Tank Photo’s name perfectly reflects their company vision: To help photographers be ready before the moment, to travel easier, take pictures faster and be more efficient. It’s all about creating your vision.
We love the idea of clearing away annoyances and obstacles so you can focus on your photo. It’s a classic philosophy, one which prompted us to retire to our reading chairs, pour a brandy and pontificate the possibility of another giveaway.
Retropective 20. One Winner.
Think Tank will bestow this beautiful, rugged bag, the Retrospective 20, to one lucky photographer:
Relive the glory of photography masters like Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Frank with this vintage-inspired camera bag. Just add your own trusty tools and you’re ready to hit the streets and do some serious shooting.
It’s perfect for photojournalists and travel photographers. Here’s just a few reasons why:
- Fits 1 pro size DSLR with up to a 70-200 f2.8 lens attached and 1 – 3 additional lenses.
- Includes a seam sealed rain cover so you can shoot in any weather.
- Hook and loop “Sound Silencers” eliminate noise and keep you stealthy.
- Understated colors fit any occasion.
Check out their website for full specs and ideas on how to fill it.
(You’ll receive the Pinestone color pictured here. Camera not included, sorry!)
SUPER DUPER BONUS
Just because we love hearing from ya, we are adding a bonus. Help us get up to 60k “Likes” on our Facebook Fanpage by Oct 17, and we’ll stuff the Retrospective 20 with prizes for you AND a friend. Prizes include free years of SmugMug Pro, super-awesome print credit to Bay Photo, and more treats from Think Tank Photo.
How to Win:
- Like SmugMug’s Facebook page here.
- Link Think Tank Photo’s Facebook page here.
- Post a link to your favorite travel photo in the comments below.
- Spread the word! Help SmugMug get to 60k Likes by Oct 17 to qualify for a Bonus.
Get your entries in by Sunday, October 16 and we’ll announce the (randomly picked) winner right here on October 17.
Thanks for playing and can’t wait to see your favorite travel shots.
Holy Moly! With over 700 comments, this giveaway shattered records and made Smuggy history. We didn’t hit the Bonus Goal of 60K Likes, but heck, we love you guys and want to show ya some love. We randomly picked an awesome First Prize winner, AND two runner ups, just cuz.
HUGE Congrats to Venissa Walsh, our First Prize winner! She’s taking home the Retrospective 20. Two runner ups, Brenda De Los Santos and Jordan Hofker, will get a special Smuggy care package. We loved looking through all your photos and hope you’ll stay tuned for more awesomeness from us very soon. Congrats again everyone!!
Tripods, light stands and battery grips may get your juices flowing but even the biggest gear nerds like to cut loose and have a little fun.
That’s were Photojojo kicks in. Their motto is “We find the best photo shiz anywhere” and, boy, do they mean it.
Cool toys for everyone
Photojojo has long been a part of our ClubSmug, offering registered Smuggers a sweet little deal on everything in their shop. Check out their site for all kinds of cool, unique and fun goodies! You don’t have to be a full-time professional to enjoy their loot. Or a full-time millionaire.
In fact, they prove that everyone is a photographer at heart.
This contest will prep you for anything
We know it sucks when you spot a Sasquatch and your DSLR is back at the hotel. But the best camera is the one you have.
So this week we’re teaming up and giving away a set of adorable (and useful) camera phone accessories that will give that little lens a big boost. They come in four sizes: Fisheye, Wide Angle, Macro and Telephoto, all to let you shoot whatever you wish from your trusty pocket gadget.
The best part is they’ll all fit in your pocket.
To enter this giveaway:
1. ‘Like’ Photojojo on their Facebook page here.
2. ‘Like’ SmugMug on our Facebook page here.
3. Post a comment below and share a link to your favorite camera phone shot.
We’ll announce a winner right here in this space on Wednesday, September 14th so you have a full seven days to dream up what you’re gonna shoot.
Good luck! Maybe this year your holiday cards will feature a pic snapped from your phone (of your family, not bigfoot). Don’t tell ‘em the truth and they’ll never know.
The giveaway is now wrapped up, and one lucky photographer has been randomly picked to take home Photojojo’s neat cell phone lenses. Big congrats to Lesley Myrick! Check out her cool cell phone shot here.
Thanks everyone for participating, and as always, check back again soon for another chance to win big.
Rick Sammon‘s a big name in the photo biz and his reputation is well-deserved. He’s always out shooting, teaching and sharing his expertise (and his RICKSMUG20 SmugMug discount code) with photographers everywhere. After all, it’s his love for life that makes him so appealing to pin down and chat with… if you can catch him.
But we know where he’ll be on June 18th, and you can be there, too. No charge. No fee. Autographs optional.
2011 Times Square Shootout: Where and When
Shoot with Rick in one of the most iconic and photo-rich places in the world: Times Square! So clear your cards, pack your bags and show up in Duffy Square in Times Square at 5 PM, June 18th. He’ll kick it off with a big group photo. From there, anything goes.
We’re green with envy as we type because it’s such a great opportunity and it’s totally free. If you’re in New York and can go… GO! But if you can’t make it, that’s OK. The happy clan will pop their photos into this pool on SmugMug by June 22nd so the rest of us can see what we missed.
For the information about the event, check out Rick’s blog post here.
Build Buzz and Win Stuff
To get you charged, we’re giving away goodies to a few lucky folks. There are two ways to win:
Option 1) Join the shooting session. One Rick-picked winner gets a free year of SmugMug Pro AND a gorgeous MetalPrint of one of their Times Square shots. A perfect way to remember your incredible day in the city. We’ll announce Rick’s pick for the grand prize on
June 27th June 23.
Option 2) Spread the word. Follow @smugmug and @ricksammon and then tweet this to get your name entered:
Join @RickSammon and @SmugMug ‘s Times Square Shooting Session for fun and prizes, 6/18. Please RT. Info here: http://smu.gs/lMe1lG
On June 20th we’ll randomly pick some winners from a hat and send them a care package of SmugSwag, PLUS a free year of SmugMug Pro (Value: $150, not including bragging rights).
RECAP OF DATES
June 18 at 5pm: Meet Rick in Times Square. Commence major shooting session.
June 20: We’ll announce the winners of Rick’s Twitter contest (option 2).
June 22: Deadline for uploading Times Square shots to Rick’s gallery.
June 27 June 23: We’ll announce the winner of the shooting session (option 1).
Happy shooting… and don’t forget to bring cab fare. ;)
We drew a few names out of a hat and picked a handful of photographers to win a care package of SmugMug Swag, plus a free year of SmugMug Pro (Option 2). Congrats to @nicole627, @meggiemagoo, @DatsPhoto, and @OffsideElement! Please email katherine [at] smugmug [dot] com for more info on how to collect your prizes.
Rick got so excited about all your amazing photographs, he went ahead and picked his favorite early. Drum roll please…
The big winner of the Times Square Shooting Session, handpicked by Rick himself, is Margie Strange, for this shot:
As the genius behind Rick’s favorite shot from the day, Margie will win a gorgeous Metal Print of her shot, plus a free year of SmugMug Pro. Congrats Margie!! To collect your prize, please email Rick.
Read Rick’s recap of the whole day, plus see some of his other favorite shots here.
Thanks everyone for getting together for such a fun day!
Hello, happy snappers! Our buddies at Borrowlenses got a mad hankering to share some glass with you so they’ve put together a little giveaway: One lucky winner will win $200 towards any lens rental. To see how, keep reading.
You Want What They Got
If you thought the peeps at BL are hardcore, leather-clad, badass, glass-toting ninjas in their bunker surrounded by every lens your wallet dreams of… well, you’re right. It’s kind of awesome.
Check out their brand-spanking new security system, guaranteed to bring down the meanest, toughest, most savage thief in the industry:
You can rent this bad boy if you win (sans fur, since they’re pros at cleaning gear), so all you have to do is:
- Like Borrowlenses on Facebook.
- Like us (SmugMug!) on Facebook.
- Post on Borrow Lenses’ wall and tell them what you’d rent with that $200 credit. (Just once, please!)
They’ll announce a winner this Friday, May 27th. You may want to start booking some events this weekend.
Sorry, but the kitten’s not included.
Our friends at Eye-Fi happen to be our neighbors, too, located just down the street from us at SmugMug Central. They’ve always been good to us and as friends do, they’re throwing a virtual party to celebrate the cool stuff that happens when forces unite.
After all, when you pair unlimited uploads, gorgeous galleries and effortless, wireless uploads that’s just about as sweet as it gets for turbo ‘togs like you. See for yourself:
Shoot, Upload and Share for a Year
They’re giving away three great bundles to three lucky people:
- One collects a free year of SmugMug Pro and one Eye-Fi Pro X2 wireless memory card.
- One enjoys a year of SmugMug Power and one Eye-Fi Mobile X2 memory card.
- One scoops up a SmugMug Basic account and one Eye-Fi Connect X2 memory card.
Eye Fi is such an awesome way to wirelessly upload your photos and videos as soon as you shoot them… which lets you share them faster and stay organized. Never run out of space on your card again!
Enter By May 22nd*
Here’s how to play:
- Hit the Enter Sweepstakes link on the Eye Fi Fan Page and you’re done.
Entries are open to legal US residents and your deadline is May 22nd, 2011 at 11:59 PM (PDT). So don’t be late!
NOTE: Earlier, we listed the incorrect date of May 29. The deadline is May 22nd. Sorry for any confusion.
From our fine friends at Blurb:
Hello, SmugMuggers! All of us at Blurb are thrilled to announce ProLine, our new ultra-premium book customization options that give you even more creative range.
With ProLine, you can choose from:
- Two gorgeous professional-grade Mohawk papers in uncoated and pearl finishes
- A curated selection of end sheets in sophisticated shades
- New cover linens that give your hardcover, dust jacket book a rich textural look and feel
We’d love for you to give ProLine a try with your SmugMug photos. Upgrade one of your existing books or make a new one, choose any or all of the ProLine options at checkout, and then type in the promo code SMUGPRO and save 15% on your product total.
Not in the US? We’ve still got discounts for you! Try these:
But don’t dally – this offer expires on June 30.* To get started, whether upgrading an existing book or making a new one, go here and then click on ProLine in the top navigation bar.
You can also toss your hat in the ring for a free book (made by you, of course) by giving Blurb a Like on Facebook
AND commenting on this blog post. You are also eligible if you comment on our FB post here. One winner will be randomly selected on Friday, May 13th. So, go ahead, this is your chance to check out ProLine and when you do, your SmugMug photos are going to look amazing.
Here’s to even more creative options,
*Offer valid through June 30, 2011 (11:59 p.m. local time). A 15% discount is applied toward your order. Maximum discount is USD $200.00, GBP £125.00, EUR €160,00, CAD $210.00, or AUD $230.00 off product totals. This offer is good for one-time use, and cannot be combined with other promotional codes, gift cards, or used for adjustments on previous orders
The giveaway is now over and the randomly selected winner of a free Blurb book is Wayne Parham. Congrats Wayne!
Do you know all those times when you’re out shooting and you run into another photographer? You sneak glances at their gear to see if they measure up to what you’ve got (or because you covet thy neighbor’s glass.) Don’t worry, we all do it!
Now we’re letting you do it shamelessly and without fear of getting caught. Let’s see what SmugMug’s House Pro Andy Williams of Moon River Photography puts in his bag. Read all the way to the bottom — you may just win something…
I’ve owned lots of gear, but my collection has actually shrunk over the years and now I only keep and carry what I actually use.
Let’s start with the bag itself. For years and years, I’ve been using the Crumpler Farmer’s Double and I still love it. It’s my bag of choice for a day trip or short outing. Look for it used, because Crumpler doesn’t make it anymore. :)
For longer trips, I’ve recently settled on the Kiboko bag from Andy Biggs’ Gura Gear. I’ve had the opportunity to try a whole lot of bags – top of the line models from Lowepro, Crumpler, Tenba and Think Tank – and I chose the Gura Gear bag:
It’s super light, made from the same fabric used in America’s Cup sailboat sails! It’s less than half the weight of the big bags from the other guys, and when you carry it all day that makes a big difference. It holds plenty: two bodies, plenty of glass, accessories and more. You can even put a 500mm f/4 in it!
The suspension system is awesome, it rides well, and you feel like you’re carrying much less weight than you actually have. And, it hides when you don’t want to use it. This bag will easily swallow up 35lbs of gear with room to spare. Everything about this bag screams attention to detail – the way the suspension system tucks away out of sight when you’re not using it, the built-in raincover, the zipper pulls that are glove-friendly. They’re out of stock most everywhere right now, but Andy Biggs assures me that he’s got some really cool stuff in store for his fans really soon.
As a landscaper, this is without a doubt one of the most important pieces of gear I own. I recently started using the newest carbon-fiber kit from Really Right Stuff, their TVC-23. Expensive? Yup. But the stability of this rig just can’t be matched by any tripod I’ve used (including the top of the line Gitzos). It’s super strong and super lightweight at only 3lbs. I pair this tripod with the Really Right Stuff BH-40 ballhead which also supports the lenses that I use regularly (up to 300mm). I do own the larger RRS BH-55 ballhead for when I need to support a 400mm or 500mm lens. For years, I was using the Gitzo 2530, and what I like about the new RRS ‘pods is their stability, and the way the head comes together with its “Apex Lock” system. It is without a doubt the sturdiest, lightest tripod I’ve ever owned.
For traveling, and lightweight (like backpacking), I also have the Gitzo 1541 and a RRS BH-30 which is a super lightweight combo! I shoot lots of panoramas, and so a very important piece of my kit is the Really Right Stuff Pano Head, which I use for stitched panos in the landscape.
I admit I’m a bit of a glass snob. I’ll use primes when I can, but I do love a couple of zooms I own. Let’s go from small to big.
- First off, the Tokina 10-17mm fisheye zoom – super ultrawide on the full-frame 5DII and for really fun landscape videos on the 7D. Sharp and reliable! But… I do have my eye on Canon’s newly announced 8-15mm fisheye zoom though, and expect to be shooting with it this summer.
- Canon’s 24 f/1.4L Mark II – a fantastically sharp wide angle lens, I’m so in love with this glass that I gave up the supremely sharp Zeiss 21mm f/2.8 for it!
- For all-around use, I have one of the very first copies of Canon’s 24-105L and it’s a workhorse lens for me. If I’m out for a day and I can’t take a lot of glass, I’ll grab this.
- For portraits, I have a couple of excellent choices: Canon’s 50 f/1.2L and Canon’s 135 f/2L. Given enough room, I love shooting portraits with the 135L, it’s one of the sharpest lenses ever, bar-none. Love the 50mm 1.2 for it’s ginormous lens opening – and it’s my go-to lens for extreme low-light work.
- More reach? I’m not the first guy to say that Canon’s 70-200 f/2.8L IS Mark II is a favorite. I own it, have owned the prior model, and won’t ever be without it. Super sharp, great IS so you can shoot in low-light when needed. Fast on the AF. And yeah, I use it in the landscape, too.
- Recently, I’ve been using Canon’s newest zoom, 70-300 L IS. It’s not fast (f/5.6 at the long end) but boy is it sharp and what a convenient little package.
- If you’re wondering about birds and wildlife: I don’t own really long glass but when I need it, I usually rent a 500mm f/4L or 600mm f/4L from BorrowLenses. When I travel to Africa for three weeks this October, I’m doing just that!
No surprise here – I shoot with a Canon 5D Mark II and a Canon 7D. The 5D Mark II is a super landscaper’s camera, great performance, high pixel count, HD movies, and more. When I need a faster frame rate and a bit faster AF, I reach for the 7D.
Funny, I used to be a 1Ds Mark III snob… but I cannot for the life of me figure out why one would buy that camera body at nearly 3x the cost of a 5D Mark II. Sure, I’m awaiting the rumored 1Ds Mark IV like most Canon shooters, but the sane part of me says, “why”?
Guess what? I own only two, a circular polarizer and a neutral density filter. I use the CPL when I want to get the best sky possible 90 degrees or so from the sun. I will also use it in certain circumstances like fall foliage to get richer colors, and of course to lose reflections when shooting water. I love my 6-stop ND filter, to smooth out the water in a waterfall or running stream in daylight.
On my 5DII and 7D bodies, I add a Camdapter Hand Strap – super comfortable! I always carry my Infrared-converted Canon SD-980IS, camera manuals (you never know!), extra batteries, an intervalometer for timed exposures, a remote shutter release, headlamp, flashlight, shooting gloves for the cold weather, plenty of CF cards, lens cloth, lens cleaner, a mink brush, Giottos mini-Blower, The Photographer’s Rights, my business cards and a leatherman for when things go wrong.
After I shoot there’s plenty to do! I use Adobe’s Lightroom 3 (and SmugMug’s awesome built-in uploading), Photoshop CS5, Auto Pano Pro for my stitches, all on an Apple Mac Pro with two 30″ HP Monitors.
Win This MetalPrint
It’s not all work, and no play though. Now that you’ve gotten a close look at my gear bag, here’s your chance to take home something fun (note: Ts and Cs here). Comment on our blog post below and “Like” us on Facebook. One winner will be randomly selected on Monday, April 18 at Noon PDT to win a big and beautiful MetalPrint of this Mono Lake Tufa photo. You can see how it will look on your wall here.
Enjoy (looking into other photographers’ bags) photography,
UPDATE! We were totally blown away by the response to this giveaway, so we are sharing the love and randomly selecting THREE Winners!
First place, and the winner of the MetalPrint, goes to Darlene Buck. The two Runner Ups, and the winners of a free year of SmugMug Pro each, are Jordan Van de Vorst and Jenny Sipes. Congrats!! Katherine from our team will be emailing you each shortly with details of your prize.
Double the Pleasure, Double the Fun
Nothin’ says lovin’ like sharing our photo geekery with Smuggers. In our latest giveaway we’re joining forces with the inimitable Scott Bourne of PhotoFocus.com to give away two (yes, two!) Canon 60Ds, plus a free year of SmugMug Pro to two lucky people.
Scott’s a kindred spirit who is as crazy about photography as we are. His blog at Photofocus.com is a great resource for in-depth opinions and reviews on a huge array of useful topics.
What else can we say? Scott’s running the show on this one, so click here to see how to enter.
News flash! We’re doing another giveaway on Facebook for an awesome, versatile and sturdy Lowepro Pro Trekker 600 AW bag and a genuine box-framed print by our superstar pro, Andy Williams. That’s a $700 value winnable with just a few keystrokes:
The 16 x 20 print is high-quality art paper mounted on masonite for durability, then set in a glass-free black wood frame. It’ll look faboo on any wall. (Full specs here.)
To enter: Visit our Facebook page and post why you need a new bag for your loot. We’ll pick a random winner on Monday, 3/7 at noon PT.