Instagram Spotlight – Omar Dean

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By Zach Settewongse on


JOBY Instagram Spotlight | featuring @thebumonboard

Omar “O M A R” describes himself as an artist/ athlete/ adrenaline junkie on Instagram. One look at his page and you’ll see that he’s a guy who lives everyday to the fullest and does it with a smile. If ever we’re having a ho-hum day at JOBY we take a peak at Omar’s page to bring our spirits back up. Omar Dean another JOBY Advocate we’re proud to be associated with!

Omar Dean  |  Age: 31  |  @thebumonboard  |


What gear do you use?

MOBILE: iPhone 6

CAMERAS: Canon 60 D, Gopro Hero 4 Silver & Black

DRONES: DJI Phantom 2

ACCESSORIES: JOBY Action Gorillapod, Action Clamp & Locking Arm, GorillaPod Original, GorillaPod SLR-Zoom, Suction Cup & Locking Arm/ GorillaPod Arm, Action Grip, Action Adapter Kit, Hub Adapter, Jib Kit & Pole Pack, and Feiyu-tech G4 Gimbal Stabilizer.


When did you start taking photos?

About 5-6 years ago


Why did you start taking photos?

Back when EVERYONE use have/carry a point and shoot camera, my friends and I would go to things like live events to a night on the town. My buddies brother & I would stand side by side of each other and take group photos of our friends throughout the night. I would come home and look at my shots, and would find a few (as in maybe a dozen) good ones. I would hop online to upload my photos (this was back in the myspace days) & would see that my buddies brother had taken similar shots as me, but they were 10 times better. This irritated me so I picked his brain on technique and did my own research on composition, lighting, and etc.   I kept on practicing, practicing, practicing till I finally started to see the progression I was looking for.


When did you join Instagram and why did you join?

I joined Instagram Spring 2012. I had just bought an Iphone 3 before a trip to Jackson Hole, WY. I wanted a different platform to showcase my photos where you could connect with other like minded individuals. Back then editing apps were not as sophisticated as they are now, so the filter choices Instgram provided at that time were legit!


What is your favorite image you’ve posted to Instagram and why?

It’s hard to narrow it down to one, as I shoot various styles of photos but at this present moment I would have to say its one of my more recent pictures from Beaver Creek Colorado.

[ Perspective ] – I love when people can create an image that not only looks good, but captures the moment in a way that makes you feel like you were there, wish you were there, or makes you never want to be there ( the adrenaline side of me!)


What do you use the most, DSLR or Smartphone?



Are there any photo apps you recommend?

Get your feet wet with Snap Seed, especially because it’s FREE! Then Step your game up with VSCO CAM


Are you a professional photographer or hobbyist?

PRO- Hobbyist


If you’re a professional photographer tell us a little about it. Brief 2-4 sentences.

Through figuring out what I really enjoy shooting and what I can actually do a great job at shooting; I have come to figure out through the years that action sports and music festivals are my favorite style to shoot, and that’s currently what I do.


Do you attend or have you attended photography workshops, classes etc?

YES! Knowledge is power. Photo stores and things like Groupon offer great affordable options for some one trying to get their learn on!


What’s your day job?

Sheet Metal Worker by Day, Marketing, research and development by night!


Do you carry a camera daily? Which one?

iPhone & Gopro


Which fellow instagrammer do you admire the most?



Any advice to those staring out?

Have a vision to design, create, & capture a story you not only think, but feel is worthy of sharing with the world. As you do these things, help out as many people along the way as possible.

People come and go, NEVER give up on your PASSION!!!






Pro Spotlight – John Rathwell

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By Zach Settewongse on


JOBY Pro Spotlight | 13 Questions for a Pro Photographer | John Rathwell

This month we’re featuring John Rathwell an action adventure photographer from Ontario. John consistently produces some amazing images. We’re fans of his work here at JOBY but also have grown to love the positive attitude John has. He’s a top level photographer who humbly calls himself a “pro button pusher”. At JOBY we’re proud to have John as an Advocate.


John Rathwell  |  Age: 27  |  Ottawa Ontario


Facebook: (John Rathwell Photography)

Instagram: (@JohnRathwell)

Twitter: (@JohnRathwell)


What type of professional photographer are you?

I like to consider myself as more of a professional button pusher than photographer, but to answer your question, I shoot action and adventure sports for commercial and editorial use.


Your Gear – What do you use regularly?

I use a variety of gear depending on the shoot but my go to is; Canon 5D mk III, Canon 8-15mm, 16-35mm, 24-70mm and 70-200mm. Lately I have also been using primes like the 50mm and 135mm a lot more. In terms of accessories I typically carry LumoPro Flashes, Pocket Wizard Plus III’s, GorillaPod Focus and ND filters. I love ND filters!



What would be your dream photography job?

Any job that keeps me traveling to beautiful places and working with amazing people and athletes. It doesn’t get much better than that! My bags are already packed…where in the World should we go?


Why did you become a professional photographer and when did you know you wanted to be one?

To be honest, I became a professional photographer by accident. I was kayaking full time when a chronic shoulder injury put me on the sidelines. I found myself in a situation where I was sitting on the banks of some of the greatest rivers in the world with the top paddlers in front of me. I had the thought “Gee…someone should take photos of this” and it all began. From that time on (about 2009) I have slowly grown and expanded my photography business to a place it sustains a living for me. I don’t believe I ever woke up one morning and said “today is the day I am going to be a professional photographer”. It just kind of happened…and I hope it keeps happening!


Did you study photography?

I did not go through a traditional college photography course. That being said, I did put my time in reading books, watching tutorials and learning off of local photographers that inspired me. I also spent a lot of time just shooting, editing and learning by trial and error.  Side note: The book the stands out the most to me, in terms of teaching crux skills for my career is Syl Arena’s Speedliters Handbook (I still have it…and if you want to learn to light you should get it to).



Do you carry a camera with you daily when not working?

Don’t we all these days (holds up phone)? I pretty much always have my iPhone on me, which for most situations on the fly, can capture the shot I am after…even if I have to work it a little more (but thats all part of the fun). I recently started carrying the Canon G1 X mk II around with me in certain situations, which has has been fun. I have been known to through a GoPro in my pocket as well when going on adventures with friends as a quick and easy way to shoot photos.


When you’re not shooting photos – you are?

Any of my friends can tell you, that at any moment I can be torn off the path we are headed down to start working any sort of photo that I think might have potential. Kind of like a dog and squirrel situations you could say. When we are on road trips, everyone knows if I am in the car it is going to take longer than average! Actually, I try to drive as much as possible so I can choose to pull over, as my friends have started ignoring me when I ask if we can stop for a photo.


If you couldn’t be a professional photographer you would be a?

Good question. I would be doing something else that I love and that makes me happy. My theory has never been to do a specific job because it pays well. It has always been to simply just be happy. So whatever it is, I can bet it will be doing something outside.



Have you ever dropped a lens? – Come on be honest!

A lens? As in just one? I wish I had a short answer for this question…but unfortunately I have dropped a lot of gear. To keep it down to my 2 scariest stories, last fall I was shooting sea kayaking on the rugged shores of northern Nova Scotia. I had climbed high onto a rocky shore line and   went to grab my camera to start shooting when the body came of the lens. The body dropped and tumbled off the edge of the rock and feel about 20 feet. After that it continued to tumble down the sloped rock towards the sea about another 40 feet. It stopped right before it hit the water. Luckily the camera still works great. I also had my entire bag fall off a rock and end up in the river once. I had to jump in in my clothes to fetch it out of the cold spring water. I ended up loosing one flash which is pretty lucky considering that my entire kit was in the bag at the time. When it comes down to it, gear is a tool to get the job done. I do my best to protect and take care of it, but in the end its about getting the shot, not making sure my gear stays in mint condition for ever.


If you could only have only one lens for a year what would it be?

My 24-70 is my workhorse, go to lens and has been for awhile. I think that catches a lot of people off guard, as sports photographers always go to their trusty old 70-200. I prefer showing more of the environment the athlete is in and is trying to conquer, which is why I prefer the wider lenses.


Name a famous person living or dead whose photo you would wish you could take.

There are several amazing action sports athletes on my list, past and present that I would love to work with, but I am actually going to say my father, who passed away last summer. As a photographer, it is sometimes hard to make the time to create a really good portrait of someone in your family, but it is something that is very much worth doing.

Dane Jackson - Action


The next piece of gear you’re going to buy is?

I have been eyeing up the 24mm tilt shift lens or the new Canon 100-400mm. I try not to focus on all the fancy stuff to much though. I find to be at your creative peak you need to have a few restrictions, which is why I think I have been loving the use of primes lately.


And finally what is the one thing you wish a professional photographer had told you before you became a professional photographer?

I feel like for myself, I misunderstand the need to always be learning. When I started getting into it I tried to learn all these techniques and thought “once I know all these things, every photo will be amazing”, but the fact is you always need to learn and push yourself. Photography gets boring if you keep making the same photos and using the same techniques. I have discovered that my “personal photography” has become experimental in terms of trying to do something new or different then mastering it. Once I master it, I bring that technique to my professional work.




Instagram Spotlight – Gordon Mak

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By Zach Settewongse on


JOBY Instagram Spotlight | featuring @gcmak

JOBY headquarters is based near San Francisco; which is what lead us to gcmak. His captivating images of the Golden Gate Bridge and his Instagram videos of fog rolling over the bay had us hooked and following his page.

Gordon Mak | @gcmack |


What gear do you use?

MOBILE: iPhone 4s, iPhone 6

CAMERAS: Canon G7 X, Nikon D7100, Sony Alpha A7ii

LENSES: Nikkor 35mm, Tokina 11-16mm, Tamron 16-300mm, Sony 28-70mm, Sony G 70-200mm

ACCESSORIES: JOBY GorillaPod Original, GorillaPod Hybrid, GorillaPod Focus, GripTight Mount, GripTight Stand, UltraFit Sling Strap, UltraFit HandStrap with UltraPlate



When did you start taking photos?

Ever since I was a child but I started getting more serious into photography in 2007 and really began to explore more advanced techniques in 2014.


Why did you start taking photos?

Photography is a way for me to explore the world around me and get to meet interesting and talented individuals. It’s often relaxing and satisfying.


When did you join Instagram and why did you join?

2013 as a way to get inspired by talented photographers and to share my experiences while traveling as well as life living in the Bay Area.


What is your favorite image you’ve posted to Instagram and why?

Taken in January 2015 at Ocean Beach near Sutro Baths, this is my favorite image because I was not expecting low-tide and certainly not a “ninja” who would be performing fire tricks during an awesome sunset.



What do you use the most, DSLR or Smartphone?

More photos are taken with a smartphone but I’ve started to bring my larger cameras around now.


If smartphone are there any photo apps you recommend?

I use the native camera app in iOS, which has powerful editing abilities if needed. If I feel the need to be more creative I’ve used the app Enlight which is very powerful and beautifully designed.


Are you a professional photographer or hobbyist?



Do you attend or have you attended photography workshops, classes etc?

When I was a child yes, but now I mostly attend meet-ups, events, Instagram Meets. I will occasionally attend free informational sessions put on by Adobe.



What’s your day job?

I work in Learning and Development within a sales company primarily as a Learning Management System Administrator.


Do you carry a camera daily? Which one?

My iPhone


Which fellow instagrammer do you admire the most?



Any advice to those starting out?

Just go out and shoot. No matter where you live or what your interests are, you can find inspiration from everyday and seemingly mundane locations or subjects.



Follow @gcmak . . .


GripTight Fitment Guide – Which GripTight do I need?

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By JOBY Inc on

The following guide below is designed to answer most GripTight sizing questions you may have. With or without a case, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus or Android, we have the right GripTight Mount for your smartphone.

Available in two sizes. Regular or XL

JOBY GripTight Mount Sizing Guide

GripTight Mount for smaller smartphones (Regular)
Adjustable grip fits smartphones between 2.1-2.8 in | 54-72mm wide.

GripTight Mount for larger smartphones (XL)
Adjustable grip fits smartphones between 2.7-3.9 in | 69-99mm wide.


Apple Smartphones 4, 4s, 5, 5s, 6, 6 Plus Mount Guide

Apple Smartphones

From the iPhone 4 to the 6 Plus we have a GripTight Mount for your current Apple smartphone of choice. The images in the guide below will help you choose which size GripTight is right for you.

GripTight Mount size guide for the Apple 4, Apple 4s, Apple 5, Apple 5s

iPhone 4 -GripTight Regular recommended (with or without case)
iPhone 4s – GripTight Regular recommended (with or without case)
iPhone 5 – GripTight Regular recommended (with or without case)
iPhone 5c -GripTight Regular recommended (with or without case)
iPhone 5s - GripTight Regular recommended (with or without case)

iPhone 6 with GripTight Regular and GripTight XL with iPhone 6 Plus side by side.

iPhone 6 – GripTight Regular recommended without a case.
Have a case? See additional images below
NOTE: GripTight XL will work, see images below.

iPhone 6 Plus – GripTight XL recommended without a case.
Have a case? See additional images below

iPhone 6 with GripTight Regular

JOBY GripTight Regular the perfect smartphone mount for the iPhone 6.

iPhone 6 with GripTight XL

While the JOBY GripTight XL will work for the for the iPhone 6 without a case the Regular size is recommended for a tighter grip.


iPhone 6 in OtterBox Defender case with GripTight Regular

The OtterBox Defender case is massive and is the largest case we could find for the iPhone 6. The GripTight Regular fits but just barely at it’s maximum opening width. Your case probably isn’t this large. With a case we would recommend the Regular size for the iPhone 6. NOTE: If you do have the OtterBox Defender case you should use the GripTight XL.


iPhone 6 Plus in OtterBox Defender case with GripTight Mount XL

The JOBY GripTight XL if perfect for the iPhone 6 Plus with or without a case. It even fits easily with the massive OtterBox defender case.


Android Smartphone GripTight Mount guide. Nexus, Motorola, LG, HTC, Samsung

 ANDROID Smartphones

On the Android side there are a few more options of smartphones to choose from, yeah! We have a few sizing examples of the current leading Android mobile phones (as of 2/15).

Moto X 2nd Gen with GripTight Mount Regular compared to Moto-X 2nd Gen with GripTight Mount XL

The Moto-X 2nd Gen is 2.85in | 72.4mm wide. Fitting both the GripTight Regular and XL fit. If you have a case or not will depend on which is best for you. See the images below.


The GripTight XL the prefect smartphone mount for the Moto X 2nd Gen.

Recommended – The GripTight XL fits the Moto X 2nd Gen with plenty of space between the jaws. Perfect for use with or without a case.


Moto-X 2nd gen with JOBY GripTight Mount Regular

Possibly Recommended? – The GripTight Regular fits the Moto X 2nd Gen with a small amount of space to spare between the jaws. This is preferred by some of our JOBY staff as it provides a very snug fit. Only recommended without a case.


GripTight Mount guide for the Samsung Galaxy S5

The Galaxy S5 is 2.85in | 72.5mm wide. The GripTight XL is recommended and has plenty of room for most cases.

The Galaxy S4 is 2.75in | 69.8mm wide.
Without a case we recommend the GripTight Regular.
With a case we recommend the GripTight XL.


Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and Note 4 GripTight Mount sizing guide.

Galaxy Note 3 is 3.12in | 79.2mm wide. The GripTight XL fits the Note 3 & 4 perfectly and has plenty of room for most cases.

The Galaxy Note 4 is 3.09in | 78.6mm wide. Use the GripTight XL


Basic Rule of Thumb:

Smartphones without a case:
Under 2.8in | 72mm wide use the GripTight Regular.
Over 2.8in | 72mm wide use the GripTight XL.

Smartphones with a case:
iPhone 4, 4s, 5, 5s with a case use the GripTight Regular.
iPhone 6, 6 Plus and similar size Android smartphones with a case use the GripTight XL.


Don’t see your phone? Still have a question?

First see if a phone above is a similar size to yours and follow the guide for that phone. If you still have questions email us at and we’d be happy to help.





What does it take to get the shot? CAVING

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By Zach Settewongse on


Photographer Chris Higgins shows us what it takes.

I think we’ve all seen those amazing caving photo images and looked at them in awe, but just what does it take to get those shots? A few months ago I came across a photo by Chris Higgins that was a top five winner in a JOBY, Lowepro, & Outex  joint contest. It started me thinking about all the difficulties capturing just such a shot might entail. So after a few emails back and forth I was off to Tennessee with Joey Hiller (JOBY Web Designer).  Assuming you’ve watched the video I’ll be elaborating a bit more below about what you don’t see, all the gear, and Joey will chime in with his perspective.



Never again! -Zach

“Never again” we’re the first words out of my mouth as we emerged from the cave. I’ll straight up say it right now; I had an amazing time but hundreds of feet underground, completely covered in mud, and mostly in complete darkness wasn’t for me. This is odd as I’m drawn to extreme activities but I’m also a clean freak. All I know is this was one of the rare times I thought I’d gotten myself in over my head and I’ve literally  crawled out under the wing of a small plane mid flight to get a shot.



The video is made up of a combination of two days of caving but for the sake of storytelling we combined them into one. The first day we were in the cave 12 hours and it was almost all rappelling. We came out of the cave at about 1:30am and were freezing after climbing up the waterfall. We then had to ride in the back of Chris’s jeep for an hour just to sleep on the ground in a cow pasture. You can probably already guess; I didn’t sleep. The second day we entered a second cave and were in the cave 8 hours. Day two was almost all crawling on our stomach. It was 2000+ feet in and 2000+ feet out. At 4 hours into it on the second day I called it; we had the footage we needed and I wanted to take a shower and crash in a hotel bed.

TRAINING: Joey has experience outdoor climbing and he is comfortable around ropes. I have a lot of structure/ building exterior climbing and rappelling experience but using a different rappel device. Our training with Chris literally was 5-10 minutes each where we both had tried to go up and switch over from the ascenders to the descenders (rappel device). I messed this up both times which resulted in the descender opening. If I had an issue while climbing back up the rope and needed to make a change over to the descender I would have to do it right. On Joey’s ascent before me he had an issue with his crawl (the ascender close to your chest that holds you in place) and almost had to make a change over. The crawl was slipping and not grabbing the rope securely. After he finished his ascent he lowered his harness  and gear down for me to use. I had to use it for my ascent; so you can see why I was a bit nervous.

GEAR:  As you can see in the closing shot we took a lot of gear into the cave with us. Most of it was ropes but I’ll list out everything we used to film it and what Chris brought.

Chris”s Higgins Gear: Nikon D7000, Sigma 10-20 lens, JOBY GorillaPod HybridJOBY Flash ClipLowepro Dryzone 40L When outside of a cave Chris has a variety of other lenses and uses a Lowepro Photo Sport Pro 30L AW and a JOBY GorillaPod Focus with Ballhead- X.

Chris's Gear

Zach’s Gear: Canon 5D mkII, Canon 50mm f/1.2 L, JOBY GorillaPod Focus with Ballhead- X, six JOBY GorillaTorch Flare 125’s, Lowepro DryZone 200, Rode Mic

Zach's Gear

Joey’s Gear: Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera, Panasonic Lumix 14mm f/2.5, JOBY GorillaPod Focus with Ballhead- XLowepro DryZone 200, two JOBY GorillaTorch Flare 125’s

Joey's Gear

I couldn’t have imagined myself actually doing this. – Joey

“There was really nothing that could’ve prepared me for this trip. The conditions in a cave are truly some of the hardest I’ve dealt with. It all became obvious when we first entered the cave. With camera rubbing against the rocks and a 150 foot rope around my shoulder pinning me in place, I stopped feeling the jet-lag and the reality of what we were doing really set in.

To get quality video in the cave I shot with the Black Magic Cinema Camera which has a native ISO of 800 and generally performs beautifully in low light. I paired it with the Panasonic Lumix 14mm f/2.5, which isn’t the fastest lens of all time, but has a nice field of view and has the added benefit of being only a $300 replacement if destroyed.” – Joey

Joey Hiller

Chris Higgins


JOBY Flash Clamp & Locking Arm Photo Contest

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By Zach Settewongse on



WOW there were a lot of entries into the JOBY Flash Clamp & Locking Arm contest. There was also a lot of really, really good entries! Trying to pick just five winners was difficult and in the end we decided to pick five unique approaches to the using a flash.


And the 5 Winners are:

Peter M.  – Arches National Park

“This is my first attempt at a star trail taken of Double Arch in Arches National Park, Utah.  The shot is comprised of about 200 30 second exposures.  On the final exposure, I walked around the base of the arches manually popping a Nikon SB-700 up into the arches to illuminate them.”

Peter M - Arches National Park


David L. – Blue Fronted Dancer Damselfly

“Here is my entry for the flash clamp giveaway.  This is a Blue Fronted Dancer damselfly, taken along the rocks by a stream running through Robert E. Lee Memorial Park in Maryland.  I used a reversed 50mm prime lens and set of macro extension tubes along with an SB-700 speedlight flash and mini-soft-box. .”



Dale M. – Kayak Spinning Wave

“A perfect night we hit the uk floods, the wave formed in perfect condition steep, fast and fantastic. The wave forms about 330 feet across visibility is low so reliant on moonlight meant without flash a photo was impossible, this shot meant using high speed sync to freeze motion in its tracks.”



Jesse R. – Little Reader

“Just as a child’s body needs food to grow, so does his mind. And what better food for a growing mind than a magical book. The photo is of my son and I was inspired by the importance of reading to our children. I used a single flash pointed into the book to reflect back and create the illusion of a magical scene versus simple words on paper.”

Nikon D3s, 24-70mm @55mm, 1/250th shutter speed, Nikon sb900 pointed into book, Nikon sb600 thru umbrella to light the cover of the book.



Jose Q. – Jeep Splash

“Those flash clamps could have been very useful for this picture. I had to use bungee cords and duct tape. Two flashes attached to the sun visors.”  :o( Cheers!



Winners will be notified by email :)




Additional Awesome Entries.

Here are a few entries that were excellent. We really struggled on choosing the winning images in this contest as so many entries were just so creative.  Some really, really great work. We’ll have more contest coming soon so keep entering.


Kevin V. – Girl in Pool – Turning Daylight into Night

“Photo was taken July 28, at 4:46pm. ( bright sunshiny day), in a pool.
Nikon D300, Nikon 24 – 70mm lens, ISO 200, 1/200sec. at f11, 2 external  Nikon SB-900’s”



Loren L. – Water Drop Collisions



Tom R. – Flip

“It took me a lot of attempts to capture my flip with the self timer in such a way that I was equally lit in the air.”



Rita M

“It is melting frost on my car windshield.   I caught it as the sun was rising on the opposite side from where I was standing.  I used on camera flash and what I got was pure magical. ”



Rob E.



Fernando P.



Melissa H.

“The most awesome impossible (fake) skateboarding photo ever! Haha”



Kelly M.

“Attached is a picture of a beautiful gerbera daisy taken with flash in my home.”



Tony Y.



Shawn G.

“The flash (430 ex II) was fired with a small radio trigger. The flash was flat against the umbrella rod, pointing up into it, being held in place by her hand.”



Steven B.



Laura M. – Water Drop



Travis A. – The Sailboat & The Sea




Thank You Everyone!

There were many, many more entries that were excellent. Thank you all for participating!


JOBY Instameet Birmingham AL #InstawalkBham

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By Zach Settewongse on


BIRMINGHAM, AL –  From the photos submitted it was a Lego filled day on the JOBY sponsored Instameet. All of us at JOBY are jealous that we couldn’t come along on what looked like a very fun day at the Brickfair Lego Festival.

Thanks everyone for submitting photos; they all were great!

. . . and now for our TOP 3 pics.


TOP 3 Pics BIRMINGHAM #instawalkBham

_allisonjane Capturing the overall feel of the Instameet. So much concentration there! Makes me want to be a kid again if just for a day :)



scotiagirl68 Nice framing and use of filters to create a pretty cool art piece. Digging how you focused the color on just one!



wendleeme This shot really captures the scale of the the lego festival and more than anything has me thinking I need to start playing with legos again!



Wants us to sponsor your Instameet? Tell us about your Instameet.


Thanks Birmingham!

See you all on the next JOBY sponsored Instameet:)

by :\ Zach S – JOBY Social Butterfly w a Camera



Learn from a Pro Action Photographer – JOBY Burnout – Action GoPro Clamp

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By Zach Settewongse on

The making of the JOBY Action Clamp Ad “The Burnout”.


By: JOBY Photographer Zach Settewongse

I’m often asked how did you shoot that from people who are into photography. I also get comments like “Oh which Instagram filter did you use?” from those not into photography . . .  :(

This is a behind the scenes look at what it took to create this action photography product image. You might be surprised at the work that goes into it?

The GOAL: Create an ad about the JOBY Action Clamp for GoPro, Sony, Contour, Drift or other action cameras that show the product used as intended, and do it awesomely.

Saturday 2pm

Step 1 – CONCEPT: This is the easy part as I use both GoPro and Contour action cameras daily during my work and could have kissed the designers when I saw the JOBY Action Series. Upon seeing the product I immediately thought this would be great for when I have to set up a GoPro quickly (in seconds), get my shot, and get out of dodge. I’m often frustrated with the GoPro mounting parts bits, the number of them I need to carry, and the time it takes to frame a shot with them. So while riding my bike I thought of the idea of a rider filming himself doing a burnout. At first I was thinking in the middle of a busy big city intersection but that changed as you’ll see below.


Step 2 – LOCATION SCOUT: This is seriously where almost all shoots start as the location can influence the final piece a lot. So I always begin by riding around on my bike and looking, going in alleys, by railroad tracks, industrial sites, new modern buildings, etc. I’m just getting ideas as I go and not dismissing anything; remember I said I already was thinking a busy intersection, but so many times before I’ve found something great is a just around the next block.

Down to two locations: Main intersection in old downtown Petaluma, CA or the parking garage close by. Why Petaluma, CA? Well because it is only 34 degrees outside and as much as I wanted to ride an hour into San Francisco at 2am to get my shot it was just too cold.

Saturday 7pm


Step 3 – TEST SHOTS – Time to head back out at night.

Now this sounds like I should take a test of the real planned shot but no. This is just to get a feel for how the elements will look on a bigger screen. Remember it’s a product shot so the product has to be placed right and there has to be plenty of room for the text that is sure to be placed on top of it later. An awesome shot with no clean area for copy will always get rejected; it’s sad but true :(

TIPS: Take notes:

  • Make notes of your camera placement.
  • Measure how far your product is from a fixed point
  • Measure all the elements in the shot’s placement to the camera.
  • Have a bag of fixed lenses. I always test with a 24,mm, 50mm, 85mm for this type of shot. Why? Two reasons. One because it’s a night shot and I want lenses with the lowest f-stop as possible. Two I’m not a huge fan of zoom lenses for ad shots. There is just a extra little bokeh (look it up) magic certain fixed lenses have. The Canon 24mm f1.4 has very little edge distortion if any. The Canon 50mm f1.2 is a staple of perfection giving you exactly what you see and low light magic. The Canon 85mm f1.2 can make a a subject absolutely pop; it’s a tricky lens to use but it can produce amazing results.
  • Move around and look at the subject from all angles. Take more shots.
  • Plan your get away :)

The Intersection: I had my mind set on this and found a nice architectural background. Idea one had it shot from the side of road with the JOBY Action Clamp clipped onto a mirror of another motorcycle. It wasn’t looking right, so how about a shot from the center of the road? That could work, maybe?


Parking Garage: Not digging it in testing but lets shoot a few shots anyways.


Saturday 9pm


Hmm time to make a decision, I only have one rear tire for the shot and time to take one. I really struggle on this for all of five minutes and then go for the parking garage.

So what am I looking for? I want a cool background but it can not be distracting. The background is so, so important in any shot. When I look at the images on a big screen the intersection is out and the parking garage looks promising but could be too boring. When all the element of the shot come together it might work; we’ll see!


Saturday 12:30 am It’s getting late!

Step 5: THE SHOOT – it’s about time.

Place the elements: I positioned the motorcycle and the JOBY action Clamp with GoPro first. Easy since I took notes earlier and then made adjustments after looking at test shots. Check, double check looks good.


Camera & Lens: So I chose the Canon 50mm f-1.2 on a Canon 5D mk II body from testing. This combination is great for low light and the framing and focus DOF between the two subjects was best with the 50mm in this case. I wanted to use the 85mm but 50mm won out.

Place the Camera: I have a good idea of where I want the tripod. Exact placement of the tripod is important as it cannot be moved; you’re thinking “What?” I can’t give everything away but I almost always take multiple shots to create one image and no not like HDR.

START SHOOTING: I bet you’re thinking I should set up the lighting first? Well lets break down the shots:

Shot ONE

  • Move all subjects shoot empty background. You might need this later and will kick yourself if you don’t have it.
  • Put subjects back, remember I have measurements or marks. Check, double check! Is the product perfectly square ?. .  if someones paying you it better be.


Shot TWO

  • I use a JOBY Flare 125 to highlight the product and get sharp focus on product. Take a shot.




  • Elements: I need a shadow on that wall in front of the bike, so I use the headlight from my Mini Cooper (one light covered by a floor mat) to create it exactly where I want it. Take a shot.




  • Additional elements: There is one more that is a lighting and focus trick combined. It is a subtle additional element layer that is right there in the photo. I’m keeping this one to me. Sorry :( Take Photo.


Shot FIVE the cool one!

  • I then place additional lights behind the bike. Two more JOBY Flare 125’s at max to backlight this shot.
  • This is an action manly photo so it should be sharp. I’m shooting RAW, I always do and it’s a must for this photo for the sharpening effect I want. I’m thinking of the final product and not the photo I’m going to take next. OK time to get on the bike and do the burnout, it’s now 1:30am and Petaluma is about to wake up.
  • . . . . Oops security just showed up and are watching, Pretend to do pre-shots for 10min until they get bored and leave.
  • 1:45am their gone. I get on the bike and my assistant double checks focus. My assistant is my fiancee which is the only type of assistant you can find without pay, who will spend a whole day doing this, and stand there for an hour when it’s 34 degrees. She really is awesome! As I start the 30sec+ burnout which echoes intensely through the garage located adjacent the fire station I try to steady the bike as best as I can. The shutter speed on the camera is slow at 60 so if I’m not holding the bike still while the back tire is spinning it will be blurry. Shots are taken with remote rapid fire as fast as possible. She’s smiling so I know it looks good!

Holy Smokey! The final frame I end up using as the base is about 70% of the way through the burn out.


Step 6: GAG tire smoke is not pleasant to breathe and at this point I start dry heaving in my helmet. Thankfully I didn’t puke!


Saturday 2am


  • This is where I put all the shots together, all the elements. It’s all these small touches that make the image. I’m adding a few elements to the base final shot (step 5) and being subtle, really, really small adjustments.
  • Change the bike color from green to white.
  • Add a bit of gradient to the bottom. Those cables are a bit distracting.
  • Add a bit of text.
  • It’s 5am

It’s now 5am and I need to order a new tire before going to bed. I bet you never thought all of that went into that one image! Or maybe you did?

FINAL NOTE: Realize you will FAIL repeatedly. I FAIL miserably with shots from time to time. I can’t tell you how many times I thought I was going to have an epic shot and it didn’t pan out. But who cares just move on to the next idea YOU CAN create something awesome! Just believe in yourself and try, try again. After a few years I’ll admit I have much fewer fails but I think it’s only because I can see them coming sooner and move on to the next idea faster.

Hopefully you learned something from my long winded post. Onto the next shot.

Zach Settewongse – JOBY Photographer.






JOBY Instameet TORONTO #GorillaPod # GripTight

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By Zach Settewongse on


TORONTO –  You guys nailed it and this means I’m having a very tough time choosing a Top 3. You can really tell when an Instameet is full of creative types having fun. All of us at JOBY really enjoyed the images you Instagramers  took at the JOBY sponsored Toronto Instameet.

1hr later . . .  hmm which three, so many good pics

and 3hrs later . . . OK I picked a TOP 3 + added a few other ones I liked below.


TOP 3 Pics TORONTO #jobytoronto


1. hagow First tell me where this is I’m tempted to fly there to shoot this; seriously! Back to you :) Maybe the best pic of the Intsameets I have seen yet.  Would I normally shoot this dead center? No and I would have missed this because it works, it works damn well. Why? The color and the contrasting greys. Seriously nice work :)



2. daromantictech I hope you know how difficult it is to capture a shot like this when you are trying to. If it’s a mistake it’s a great one. The steam :) What do they see? The street sign placement, is it a clue? A photograph that makes you think, ponder, is a hard to accomplish great thing.



3. crispaza Creative, structured, and just nice to look at. Maybe the most well thought out compositions of the Instameets. I could see this in Dwell magazine easily.



Seriously I had a really tough time on this one as there we’re so many awesome photos to choose from. The Toronto Instameet group really stepped up on this one. Makes me want to hop on a plane and join you for the next one :) – Zach @ JOBY

and a few more I LIKED TOO!

romanac epic in black and white, on a different day I might have placed this on top.



madvillian I hope this is your social media cover photo. It rocks!!!! If you have higher res version send it to us. attn: Zach.  Maybe this will be the new Instameet cover image ;)



stanislav359 You nailed the lighting . . .  Perfectly!



shellche I debated on this for a top 3 ohh so close. Love it! I really love that you looked up. Hmm maybe it should be a top 3. Dang you guys made it hard!



notwithoutmypassport – DOF sweetness. Did you just snap a pic of someone else’s postcard? LOL –  Seriously great eye, good work.



snap2see You know this is awesome, it’s Pottery Barn window display perfect and because it’s so perfectly delicious, I decided you really didn’t need the kudos of Top 3. Our praise is your prize.  . .



_beautifiedrealisim_ It beautiful and mysterious. That sky is the real subject, it looks like it might be this all encompassing vast storm I could stare into.  (Suggestion – let me see more of what makes this what it is, pull back a bit and make the storm the subject)


Nice . .  a little more light, but such good composition :)



jeffpsamuel . . . um I’m diggin how I keep looking back at this. Amazing what the right perspective can do to something so ordinary.



nikkopa If I was only more of a dog and not a cat person I would have called this a masterpiece.






Really impressed with this Instameet group. Thank you guys for participating.





Wants us to sponsor your Instameet? Tell us about your Instameet.


comments by: Zach @ JOBY – I really don’t know what I’m talking about, or do I ?   nah  :)

JOBY Instameets Dec 2013 #GorillaPod # GripTight

Comments (0)
By Zach Settewongse on


WOW – Multiple JOBY sponsored Instameets were held all around the world last month. YOU produced some amazing content! It’s really cool to see the diversity of creativity from the different Instameets. You have inspired us and we are lookig forward to the next round of Instameets with JOBY Instagram fans.

Amsterdam | Georgetown |Queen City, NY | Washigton DC | Embuke Kenya

See the Top 3 Instagram pics submitted from around the world below.

Wants us to sponsor your Instameet? Tell us about your Instameet.


TOP 3 Pics Amsterdam #instameetams13

san_ This pic is awesome! Excellent composition with the lines and the direction of the light, jacket, hair. The use and blend of filters is perfect and bring a superhero worldly feel to the image.

rptw Seeing what most miss; love it!

ruu_da Color sets it apart and then the subject implies movement that immediately starts you wondering about his intent. Nice!




TOP 3 Pics Georgetown #igdcjoby

dccitygirl Lines with a perfect ending. The multiple lines in this pic all lead you into the city. Normally a pro wouldn’t place that walkway dead center but the framing of the dark trees and the bridge to the left make this a master of composition. Yeah :)

beingdave Color boosted by the shimmer of the rain set this one apart. (Suggestion: Next time make that subject pop. Get rid of the bag. Black dress and red umbrella; oh the potential.)

 bujubonchon A Tilt that makes we want to float away. This scene would pose problematic but you nailed a difficult composition by just showing us enough.



TOP 3 Pics Queen City #queencityinstameet

noahturleyphotography Layers of mood are what work here. Just the scenery and it’s cool, just the subject and it’s cool but together it’s great! The subject looking down and almost beaten as he walks off into the surely undersaturated/ sepia scene makes this a photo you could star at for awhile. Hang it on the wall in the gallery :)

s_franklin Hmm some debate on weather this was done in camera or in PS but who cares it’s creative and works. The sharpness of the foreground against the soft cloudy sky really is a nice backdrop.

thedudejunior OK this made me smile :)  I think what we like best about this is that it does make you smile without trying and is visually interesting to look at at the same time. Keep jumping!

Instameet-QueenCity-noahturleyphotography Instameet-QueenCity-s_franklin Instameet-QueenCity-thedudejunior


TOP 3 Pics Washington DC #instameetmetro

iamregieblack Seeing it differently without making me understand immediately why. Those of us who live in the city see this scene all the time but you did  really nice job of changing the perspective slightly and then amplifying the subject with contrast and motion. I would hang this on the wall in the office.

melodyinfocus Glowingly an ART piece.  I simply love how the train itself seems to glow; not easy to do in black and white. Perfect perspective, exposure, and mod. Print it in large format, sign it and go place it on the wall in the train station ;)

sriarpita The white lighting the background seems made for the subjects. Pros spend a lot of time artificially lighting a scene to get just that. It looks like a meeting of two spies.

Instameet-WashingtonDC-iamreggieblack Instameet-WashingtonDC-melodyinfocus Instameet-WashingtonDC-sriapita

TOP 3 Pics Embuke Kenya


davideandr3 Contrast and Color working perfectly up a path of perspective. A bunch of fancy words to say WOW it’s beautiful in Kenya!



Awesome Work Everyone!

See you all on the next JOBY sponsored Instameet:)

by :\ Zach S – JOBY Social Butterfly w a Camera