Tuesday
Jan
2015
27

Frozen (the tour)

by Scott Kelby  |  0 Comments

I was born and raised in Florida. I was 24-years-old before I ever saw snow in person. Now I’m in Columbus, Ohio where I did my seminar yesterday and I’m making up for lost time. It’s “snow city.” Brrrrrrr!!!!

This is Brad. He’s from Knoxville, Tennessee so he’s used to cold weather, and even likes it, but it’s really not fair because his beard generates it’s own heat (just ask the ladies in Columbus).

Luckily, we hunkered down indoors yesterday, and we had an awesome group of photographers (over 300+ photographers braved the cold and the snow to come out for the day – as seen above). Thanks to everybody who came out, and even thought it was cold outside, I sure got a warm welcome from the great photographers up there. I’ll be back next year with my new tour. :)

I won’t be there for “The Grid” tomorrow….
Brad and I will be in Richmond, Virginia (in fact, I’m at the airport right now), and I’ve got a shoot at one of the most beautiful classic old theaters in the country today (provided my flight doesn’t get delayed), and then I’ll be teaching my seminar when the Grid air, and I hate to miss it, because our in-studio guests are none other than Dave Black, and lifestyle photographer Erik Valind. It’s gonna be a great show, so make sure you join RC tomorrow at 4pm as he welcomes Dave and Erik. Here’s the link. 

OK, I gotta fly!
They’ll be boarding soon, so I’ve got to head out. Hope I’ll get to meet some of you in person tomorrow at my seminar in Richmond (if you haven’t signed up, it’s not too late – here’s the link).

All my best,

-Scott

P.S. Yesterday I started a new series over on LighroomKillerTips.com called “10 Things I would tell a new Lightroom user” and if you’ve got a quick minute, it’s right here.
 

 

Monday
Jan
2015
26

A 2nd Look at Project Luca — The App for Photo Storytelling is Moving Forward

by Scott Kelby  |  3 Comments

OK, it’s not actually a “Photo storytelling app” — it’s a Storytelling app that just happens to be really good for photo-storytelling
When I did a “First look” at Project Luca, back in December (here’s the link) there were things I really liked about it (like professionally designed themes, different fonts, a decent level of customization, that it’s app-based, there’s motion options and dissolves, and lots of stuff that makes it great for photographers who want to tell a story).

There was also some key stuff I felt was missing…
…and I called them out on it pretty seriously in the article. The Project Luca team wrote me back that same day saying that a lot of the things I complained about (not being able to reorder photos, you couldn’t center captions, updating your story was funky at best, and hidden somewhere hard to find at work, and so on) and they let me know that stuff, and more, was coming in a future build. Well, I’m happy to say, they just released a pretty significant update (the app is still in a limited public beta — you can request to try it out at this link), and it’s come a long way in a short time.

Above: There’s better control over your photo size and location including the ability to move a place photo up or down within your story, which is a big improvement.

Here’s what the Project Luca team noted are the new features in the latest update:

-        Centered captions

-          Support for high res images on desktop browsers (folks said my London Luca project looked VERY pixelated when viewed on a desktop computer).

-          New themes icon (a little thing, unless you can’t find where they hide the themes)

-          New publish dialog

-          New theme

-          Image re-ordering (much needed, and it works great)

-          Photo grid image re-ordering (also needed. So glad this feature made it)

-          Better copy/paste support (respects line breaks) (Oh, hallelujah!) 

But there’s still no bold and no italic
That’s a deal breaker for a storytelling app, because without those two, what do we have left at our disposal for emphasis? ALL CAPS?

They fixed a lot of the really glaring issues, which is great. Just one more hurdle to go: 
Building a Luca is still not intuitive enough. I talked about this pretty extensively in my previous post, and while stuff that was missing is now there, the overall process of building a Luca is still kind of counter-intuitive. For instance, the way you start adding photos and writing a story in the default template and then later you pick the template you actually want. Wouldn’t you pick the template first? If not, you start off working in a template you’re not going to use. The app has a lot of quirks like that. Sure, eventually you figure out how to do most of what you want, but do you really have extra time to “figure out” an app, or should it all just make sense?

They’re close. Really close. 
The experience for the reader is actually very good. If they can tackle the authoring experience issues, and make putting a Luca together more of a pleasure than a puzzle, they’ll pretty much have it licked. I’ll keep you updated as they move toward shipping the final version.

Give it try yourself
Give it a try for yourself and see what you think, and let me know if I’m just being too picky (which is entirely possible, but when I see something this close to being really amazing, I want to help push it over that edge to greatness). Get early access over at GetLuca.com

That’s it from cold, gray, snowing Columbus, Ohio…
where I’ll be spending the day inside, toasty warm with 300+ photographers who are here for my Shoot Like a Pro Tour. Really looking forward to meeting everyone today, and I’ll be sure to share a photo of Brad’s first-morning fresh beard at breakfast, over on my Instagram account to start your day off right. ;-)

Best,

-Scott

P.S. I’ll be in Richmond on Wednesday with the tour, then Raleigh on Friday. Come out and spend the day with me. 

Friday
Jan
2015
23

Some Lightroom Love…Some RC Love, and other Friday Stuff

by Scott Kelby  |  31 Comments

I’m very excited to announce that the awesome RC Concepcion has been named “Director of Content and Education” at KelbyOne
RC wrote a blog post about it, called “My New Job at KelbyOne” (here’s the ink) so I want you to hear it about it in his words, but I’m so happy for him; I”m excited about what he brings to the role, and I’m just really proud of him on so many levels. Please join me in welcoming RC to this new position leading our team and helping to mold and guide our educational curriculum for the future.

Yesterday We Released FOUR Brand New Full-Length Lightroom Online Classes (All taught by yours truly)
We’ve having a Lightroom Love-fest and I hope you’ll check out my new classes (the one shown above is one of my favorites of the four. The entire class is about “How to Create Cool Photo layouts” for your images, from multi-photo posters to slick one-photo layouts and everything in between. It not only show you how to create them, but I share a bunch of my own favorite layouts, with all the settings, in the class. Here’s the link to watch it right now.

Here’s my other classes that were released yesterday, too:

> Why you might want to switch to Lightroom (for folks not yet using Lightroom) link
> My Lightroom Sports Photography Workflow (link)
> Sharpening in Lightroom (link)

By the way, we release brand new online classes every Thursday (Brad mentioned Pete’s new online class on Photoshop’s “Mixer Brush” yesterday, and if you just said to yourself “What’s the Mixer brush?” then you’ve gotta watch Pete’s class. You’ll fall in love with it!) :)

My next Lightroom class, scheduled for release next week, is on shooting tethered and using Lightroom Mobile in the studio (from start to finish).

We’re giving away FIVE copies of Jay Maisel’s brilliant new book TODAY!
We’re picking the winners this afternoon, but there’s still time to enter (provided you’re reading this on Friday morning, mind you), so head over to LightroomKillerTips.com – leave a comment THERE (on the Jay’s Book giveaway post), and you’re entered. We’re picking the winners this afternoon around 4pm (NY time).

It was either a really awesome or totally horrible episode of “The Grid”
This week’s episode of “The Grid” (our weekly live talk show on photography) is being hailed by some as our best show ever! It’s also being hailed by some as literally our worst show ever. It is definitely our longest episode ever. Our in-studio guest was Jared Polin (Fro Knows Photo) and it had a little bit of everything (swearing, rants, arguing, blood pressure rising, big hair, sniping, 80s throwbacks – you name it. The train did come off the tracks a few times). Jared was a great guest – really outspoken and passionate, and he really gets into his groove about 1/2 way into the show, and we just had to let it keep rolling because it was really getting interesting. Anyway, while it is a very long episode, there’s lots of good info wrapped in some really funny (and polarizing) moments, so it’s worth at least letting it run in the background and just listen. Hope you check it out (above).

If you live in Columbus, Richmond or Raleigh, I hope I get to meet you in person next week!
I’ve only got a few cities left for my full-day “Shoot Like a Pro” seminar and I’ll be in:

> Columbus on Monday
> Richmond on Wednesday
> Raleigh on Friday (my first time visiting Raleigh ever)

Hope you can come out. It’s just $99 for the full day and there a 100% money-back guarantee if it’s not the best photography seminar you’ve ever been to at any price, period! Here’s the link with all the details.

Well, that it for this Friday!
Hope you all have a fantastic weekend – hope you have some opportunies to shoot, create, and have a yummy snack or two, and I hope to see you here again next week.

Best,

-Scott

P.S. If you’re not following me over on Instagram yet, you’re missing some really boring photos I put up there. My Instagram name is (wait for it…wait for it…) Scott Kelby — go follow me right now, in case you’re having a hard time sleeping. ;-)

Thursday
Jan
2015
22

It’s Free Stuff Thursday!

by Brad Moore  |  64 Comments

The Mixer Brush Tool with Pete Collins
Join Pete Collins as he takes you on a walk through of the incredibly powerful Mixer Brush Tool. The key to getting the most out of the Mixer Brush is in understanding the four key settings that determine just how your strokes will look. Pete takes you through all of the options, shows you how each option works in concert with the others, how to leverage the built-in tool presets, and how to customize them to make your own brushes. Once you get the hang of the Mixer Brush you’ll find that you can create strokes, details, and looks that you just can’t get any other way.

We don’t currently have a way to give you a chance to watch this for free, but how about this… Leave a comment for your chance to win a free copy of Scott Kelby’s The Lightroom 5 Book for Photographers!

Frank Doorhof and Mastering The Light Meter
If you’ve watched any of Frank Doorhof’s classes on KelbyOne, you know he’s all about using a light meter. If this is something you’ve wanted to master as well, check out this new class that Frank has released on just that topic! It’s over an hour long, and Frank covers everything you’ll need to know in order to master the light meter.

Leave a comment for your chance to win a free download of this class!

Last Week’s Winner
KelbyOne Live Ticket
- D. Lambert

If you’re the lucky winner, we’ll be in touch soon. Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday
Jan
2015
21

It’s Guest Blog Wednesday featuring Luke Copping!

by Brad Moore  |  5 Comments

When I was a teenager, I was a Canadian expat living in a US border town whose main interest outside of a rapidly growing fascination with photography primarily consisted of the acquisition and digestion of as much music as I could get my hands on. I mainly listened to a lot of punk, and even as I grew up there were certain things about that movement that stuck with me: bits of lyrics, simple lessons, a strong DIY ethic, etc.

But it was the saying Talk – Action = 0, a slogan of Vancouver band D.O.A. that always resonated with me most. Even though it was originally meant to relate to politics and activism, the idea of words that aren’t backed up by taking real action being meaningless always felt appropriate when I thought about my photography and other creative endeavors, and I think it’s a lesson that a lot of photographers would benefit from taking to heart.

We’ve all run into the photographer who has a million good ideas and two million excuses as to why they’ll never pull them off:

“Plane tickets are too expensive.”
“I don’t have a studio.”
“My camera isn’t good enough.”
“I need better lights.”
“People won’t like my images.”

They can talk themselves out of anything before they even get close to starting. Others might be so tied up in their past successes that they spend most of their time talking about a shot they took years ago and might have difficulty moving on to new projects. Sometimes the reasons for not pursuing ideas are more internal and might be due to dealing with some issues related to self-sabotage or impostor-syndrome (both of which can affect photographers at any time in their career, not just emerging shooters), that can leave them frozen in place and verbally beating themselves up, talking more about why they think their work sucks rather than making new images or improving their skills.

There’s a good chance that all of us, at one point or another, are going to deal with some of these issues. It’s a natural part of being in a creative career, and despite our best intentions and discipline we sometimes slip into bad habits and negative patterns of thought that can really throw us off our game. Some people talk about their work and creative issues as a therapeutic and cathartic action, seeking advice and working through problems with others so that they can move forward, and having a discourse about how photography interacts with culture, commerce, and art is hugely important. But, sometimes, we start to use talking about our work as a surrogate for actually making it. People tend to take the path of least resistance. Talking about making work is a lot easier than actually doing it, and it takes a lot less effort to sit still than to start walking. But as Mark Twain supposedly said, “The best way to get ahead is to get started.”

Up until very recently I shared a studio with a guy who is a perfect example of putting your money where your mouth is. Scott Gable has self-funded a number of high risk trips around the world to capture some amazing stories. He’s traveled to Alaska to photograph the commercial salmon fishing season, and most recently he spent four months trekking through China, Taiwan, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam to create a series on the rice harvest (the first part in a planned trilogy about the world’s staple food products of rice, corn, and wheat).


Photo by Scott Gable

I could think of a million reasons someone might talk themselves out of going to China, Alaska, or even across their own state - people can talk themselves out of anything, especially when money is on the line. But rather than looking for reasons to say no, Scott wholeheartedly said yes to every opportunity he had, and where he didn’t have them, he made them.

Don’t speak the language? Scott took Mandarin lessons for months leading up to the trip.

Don’t have a client willing to send you? Scott saw this as an investment in his work and funded these projects himself, often with his credit card (he calls it his most valuable tool).

Don’t know where to start? Scott reached out to programs like the Cornell Rice Intensification program who helped make introductions with several of the programs and contacts he worked with during his trip. He also hit the books, doing extensive research on rice production in the region.


Photo by Scott Gable

Sometimes you have to get dirty to chase the images in your head. This wasn’t a trip full of luxury hotels and creature comfort, on the contrary. And despite all of his careful preparation, Scott often found himself hiking inaccessible footpaths for days at a time, being sheltered and fed by people he met on his trip, and getting close to his subjects.

The results were unbelievably intimate portraits of people in all aspects of rice production, from rural cultivators to industrial workers in larger cities who were involved in the later stages of the process. Scott created stunning portraits of the people he met and created gorgeous landscape images of farmlands and valleys where huge amounts of the world’s base nutrition come from. He’s also created a short film about his work and experiences on this trip.

While you may not be in a position right now to self-fund a trip across the world to photograph the rice harvest of a half dozen countries, the spirit of what Scott did is accessible to everyone, at any point of their career.

Whereas Scott is fairly established in his niche, I also want to talk about a photographer who is just entering this business. Valerie Kasinski is one of the most exciting young artists working in Western NY right now. She recently graduated from Villa Maria College’s photo program and has been an active part of WNY’s ASMP chapter, which is where I first met her. Val even interned for me for a little while, and I’ve always been really impressed by her work and her dedication to making the images in her head real.


Photo by Valerie Kasinski

While Scott Gable has traveled the world to document and connect with other communities, Valerie has had her own share of journeys and adventures in her efforts to connect with a community she already belongs to. Part of a loose group of creatives that she originally met through Flickr, Val and her online friends have become something of a real life photographic family.

At a time when a lot of students were focusing on taking the easy way out with their work, or focusing only on their given assignments, Val was taking days long cross-country train trips to create work and collaborate on projects with this group. When other photographers can’t find a reason to interact with their local photo community, Val has traveled all over the United States and Canada to create work that explores portraiture, nature, and her own fascination with self-created worlds. Her current project, Together We Are, has grown out of the relationships that she’s built and the community she’s worked hard to be part of.


Photo by Valerie Kasinski

She could have stayed home.
She could have slept late.
She could have decided to try something easier.

But she worked at it, built those relationships, took those long trips to get where she wanted to make the images she was chasing. I know thirty-year veterans of this business that aren’t that dedicated to their work, who won’t pick up their camera unless they’re getting paid for it.

I’ve seen too many photographers with ambitions like Scott and Valerie stall. They talk a good game about what they want to make, where they want to go, the endgame is right there for them. But the product never seems to materialize – It’s like their own goals are outrunning them. Eventually it starts, that litany of excuses that we talked about; a million reasons why they can’t, won’t, or shouldn’t see their vision through. They can’t go anywhere because they never really get started. They’re so mired in the holes that they have dug themselves into mentally.

But you have got to remember that big things start with small steps. So send that email, set that date, take that first shot - do whatever you have to do to build momentum. Yes, there are going to be walls, but you can break through them, if not all at once, then brick by brick. And once you start, once you begin to generate that momentum it is so much easier to break through those walls, the ones that circumstance puts there, and more importantly, the ones we put in our own way.

So right now, this second, make a commitment to yourself to stop talking about that project you always wanted to pursue, and take those first actions towards actually doing it.

Luke was kind enough to share the work of other photographers he admires here today, and you should also check out his work at LukeCopping.com, and follow him on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

Tuesday
Jan
2015
20

Want Some Cool Lightroom Tips? Here’s a Whole Bunch of ‘Em!

by Scott Kelby  |  11 Comments

In the past few months, since RC and I picked up the reins from Matt over at LightroomKillerTips.com we have really been putting up a ton of cool Lightroom tips, techniques and tutorials on there.

For example, today I’ve got a really cool tip on how to get a “Fade” effect (like we have in Photoshop) over in Lightroom when you use the Adjustment Brush.  On Monday I did a post called “7 Really Useful Lightroom Shortcuts” that a lot of folks said they really found helpful. Last week, RC did a short, quick, right to the point “Start to Finish in Five Minutes Black & White” portrait conversion, and basically we’re adding new stuff every weekday (we’ve even had some awesome guests already with lots more to come).

We’ve done some great giveaways there, too (today we’re giving away FIVE copies of Jay Maisel’s book, “Light, Gesture & Color”) and we’re really starting to have some great community interaction, input, and fun, and if you haven’t been checking me and RC out there regularly, I sure hope you’ll give us a look. 

OK, so that’s basically it — if you’re into learning more about Lightroom, I hope you’ll come check us out. 

Best,

-Scott

P.S. Sorry I didn’t get a chance to post here yesterday. We took a weekend trip with my son to celebrate his 18th birthday and we didn’t get back until yesterday. My little boy is all grown up (sniff, sniff). But what a man he’s turned out to be. Could not be prouder! 

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