Insights and ideas from Jay Goodrich
Capitalizing on opportunity
Getting up at 5 a.m. to trudge off to another day at the office is not the most appealing proposition for Jay Goodrich. Instead, what gets him up in the morning is the opportunity to convey his vision to others through photography. Goodrich is prolific, taking picture wherever and whenever he can with whatever camera he has on hand. In addition to being a lifelong student of photography, he’s also a teacher, hosting digital photography workshops with his friend Art Wolfe. In this interview with Photoshop.com, he shares his passion for capturing dynamic experiences in his photography and his approach to creating, organizing, and sharing his images.
Photoshop.com: Which piece of equipment couldn’t you live without and why?
Jay Goodrich: My favorite piece of equipment right now is my iPhone. No matter where I am, if there’s something I see I can capture it—video or still photos—I can’t ever say I missed the shot. Plus the thing is attached to my pocket 24/7 so why not put it to use?
Photoshop.com: What role do Adobe digital imaging solutions play in your photography process?
Jay Goodrich: Adobe® Photoshop® Lightroom® software is my main image catalog. I have around 80,000 digital photos and I’m working on scanning in 40,000 slides. I use the Develop module in Lightroom to perform global adjustments and apply presets. These adjusted raw files are then sent to Photoshop software for more precise edits, like tweaking a color or editing a particular area of the image. When I shoot with my iPhone, I also use Photoshop Express. It lets me easily add saturation, tone, convert to black-and-white, or sharpen an image. From there it is uploaded to all of my social media outlets—Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Best Camera. I have been creating so many images with my iPhone that we are now going to produce a fine-art coffee table book of our favorites—stay tuned. Oh and for that, we will be using Lightroom and Photoshop CS5 to master the portfolio.
Photoshop.com: How did you create the result in the photo with the swirling colors (Image 1)?
Jay Goodrich: I captured the image with the swirling colors with my iPhone. The colors and patterns of the ground cover caught my eye as I was hiking with my six-year-old daughter and I just had to render this scene somehow. Knowing the limitations of your equipment is typically a message I teach anyone willing to listen when I discuss photography. And that concept transfers to a piece of equipment as simple as an iPhone. To create this effect, I spun the phone really fast as I was taking the shot in a very wet, dense forest by my home in Washington. Because I was pretty still from the waist down, my shoes are recognizable, giving my viewer something tangible when they view the image. I then used Photoshop Express to lighten, add contrast, saturation, reduce noise, and then finally sharpen the image.
Photoshop.com: Describe a favorite photo you’ve shot and what grabs you about it.
Jay Goodrich: Man that’s a tough one. I have favorites that I feel have great marketing potential, I have favorites that I just like, and I have favorites for completely different reasons. I think my favorites at any given moment are usually the images that I just created because they are who I am as an artist right there, right now. There are many times that I need to look back years in the catalog for a usage request or print purchase and I find something that I completely forgot about, then that becomes my favorite. Right now I can’t get the image of the downhill skier out of my head. It’s probably because I am going to make a huge print of it to hang in my house and because we are producing a short film to promote my ski photography, so all of those favorite images are fresh in my head.
Photoshop.com: How do you know that a photo is really good?
Jay Goodrich: At the risk of sounding too much like a hippie—I just feel it. I don’t know why. My best shots are those that everything has come together. The composition, light, subject, and vision all join forces and produce an image that works, but contains a statement and an emotion. This doesn’t happen every day, nor does it have to happen in every image that is successful from a marketing or sales perspective.
Photoshop.com: What do you like most about shooting digitally?
Jay Goodrich: Immediate gratification. No longer do I have to wait for those canisters to come back in proof sheets to review on a lightbox with the microscopic loupe. If there is ever any doubt, I just look at my LCD. If I want to explore a new aspect or technique, I have the instant results to see if what I am doing is actually working or not.
Photoshop.com: What are your favorite features in the latest release of Lightroom? Why?
Jay Goodrich: Lightroom is a very important tool in my photography workflow. I’ve amassed so many images and Lightroom lets me quickly type in a keyword and locate what I’m looking for. I also love the ability to catalog video clips in Lightroom along with my images. I can keyword these as well, so when I do a search I can retrieve all of the media related to a particular topic. I also love the fact that I can adjust the images right there, and lately, more times than not, they are mastered without further refinement in Photoshop. My goal is to spend more time in the field shooting and less time sitting in the office, and this little piece of software is worth every penny.
Photoshop.com: What advice do you give people who attend your training sessions who are just starting out in the photography world?
Jay Goodrich: I really try to get them to think creatively. Outside the box. There are so many photographers out there just copying the work of other previous photographers and I feel that is completely ruining the impact of the profession as a whole. Come to the table with open eyes and a thirst for the world. Yes, look at the masters for inspiration, but then take that inspiration and generate your take on the way you see it. It’s okay to overexpose, underexpose, or create artistic effects on your images. That’s what makes it art. The digital camera age is quickly figuring out the operation, now it’s time to focus on the creation.
Photoshop.com: How do you share your photography with clients, family, and friends?
Jay Goodrich: When I shoot with my iPhone I edit the images in Photoshop Express and then upload to Facebook or The Best Camera website. I also upload a lot of those images to Flickr. Like many photographers, I also share images on my website, which features my portfolio for prospective clients. I have a stock site that we are now populating with about a hundred new images a week. We create prints. Clients get private, protected-galleries to review and discuss the images they need for projects we just produced. And there is the weekly blog post, where I discuss anything from the business side of photography to something funny that has happened in my life. Every project has an output and most have multiple destinations.
Photoshop.com: Was there a defining moment when you knew that it was time to take pictures professionally or was it a gradual transition?
Jay Goodrich: I’ve been a photographer for 20 years, but I started my professional life as an architect. I worked for a small architectural firm in Colorado and worked with all of our high profile clients and projects. I always loved photography and shot a lot of skiing, adventure, and nature. When I was laid off due to the economic downturn I started building my reputation as a photographer. I quickly realized that I would rather be a photographer than an architect, so I went into it full tilt. I knew I needed something that could draw in money and support my lifestyle. My background in architecture gave me a leg up on other photographers because I was able to shoot from a different perspective. Today, my business is divided equally among architecture, nature, and adventure photography.
Photoshop.com: Describe the most remarkable photo shoot you have done.
Jay Goodrich: My favorite thus far was a shoot I did with friend Art Wolfe in San Francisco. We chartered a Bonanza out of a General Aviation airport about an hour south of the city and spent the sunrise hours photographing abstract lines and shapes over San Francisco Bay. I am a licensed pilot, so understanding everything that was going on around me was awesome, and being able to finally shoot from the air instead of monitoring my location and situation was the icing on the cake. It is the inspiration for an upcoming business that a friend and I are going to get into together. I have close to five hundred selects from this shoot alone.
Photoshop.com: What artist(s)/photographer(s) do you admire?
Jay Goodrich: I’ve always admired the work of Jackson Pollack and Pablo Picasso, so much so that I’m working on a top-secret project that was born out of this inspiration. I also admire Chase Jarvis and caught on to The Best Camera concept early on. I’m now creating my own fine art book about iPhone photography. Art Wolfe has also greatly influenced my career. We’ve been friends for a long time and we have similar interests, which makes us easy travel buddies. We do a lot of workshops together, with Art pointing out the creative aspects of composition while I work in Lightroom to do the image editing. And then there are the masters—Ansel Adams, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Elliot Porter—the list is too huge, I could go on forever. Architecture firms like Morphosis and RoTo and tons of graphic designers all help me grow visually every day.
Jay's initial adjustment preset