Friday
Jul
2015
31

Roberto Valenzuela was awesome on “The Grid” (but the rest of us…well…)

by Scott Kelby  |  0 Comments

Some are calling it our best episode ever. I was getting texts during the first 20 minutes or so saying the same thing, but I have to tell you, the first 20 minutes are…well…I’m not sure what it was, but there was a lot of laughing (and dating tips). I think it must have been something in the water (or in Brad’s beard) that kind of took the train off the tracks for a while, but we eventually pulled it together and Roberto shared some really great stuff — he was really awesome.

Our topic was based on my blog post from Monday called “If you were only allowed 10 pieces of photographic gear, what would it be?” (here’s the link), but when you watch “The Grid” (above), it’s helpful to know that eventually we do get to that topic, but there are lots of…um…moments along the way. That’s all I’m sayin’. Hope you enjoy it.

Never fear!
While this episode won’t be entered into any competitions for educational content, Roberto was at our studios taping an inspirational class, and we’re working on some other projects coming up, so there’s lot of meaningful education happening under our roof, and of course, he’ll be with us at Photoshop World teaching live in just a few weeks.

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Best,

-Scott

P.S. My wife Kalebra has been sharing some wonderful images and personal stories from our trip to Paris over on her blog. I particularly love her shot from the top of the Arc de Triomphe (wish I had taken it) and the one of our son you’ll see on her blog. Here’s the link if you’ve got a sec. 

Thursday
Jul
2015
30

It’s Free Stuff Thursday!

by Brad Moore  |  184 Comments

How Do I Do That In Lightroom? eBook Giveaway!
You saw it announced here earlier this week… Now it’s time to give some away! Leave a comment for your chance to win one of three free How Do I Do That In Lightroom? eBooks from Scott Kelby!

What’s that? We have three free The Headshot by Peter Hurley eBooks as well? Great! Leave a comment for your chance to win one of these too!

Photoshop World
Photoshop World is right around the corner! If you’re in the Las Vegas area and want to swing on by, we’d love to see you. You can still get FREE Expo Only passes by visiting PhotoshopWorld.com.

Getting Your Best Footage And Editing in GoPro Studio with Mia McCormick
Take your GoPro capture skills to the next level with Mia McCormick! In this class Mia builds on her previous GoPro class to share tips and techniques for capturing the best still images and footage with your GoPro, and then how to use the free GoPro Studio software to create a finished video project. Mia starts off by covering some key considerations for making your camera setting decisions, as well as her favorite must-have accessories, before diving into showing you how to complete a project using GoPro Studio.

Edge Animate Basics with David LaFontaine
Get started using Edge Animate! Join David LaFontaine as he explain what Edge Animate is and why it is becoming so popular. You’ll learn how to use the basic tools and controls, so that by end of class you’ll know how to make a simple animated banner that includes text, sounds, and events triggered by user interaction. This class provides the perfect foundation for moving on to more advanced skills in the next class in this series.

KelbyOne Live
Want to learn from Scott Kelby, Joe McNally, RC Concepcion or Ben Willmore live in person? Check out these seminar tour dates to see if they’re coming to a city near you!

Shoot Like A Pro: Reloaded with Scott Kelby
Sept 22 – Phoenix, AZ
Sept 28 – Austin, TX
Oct 16 – Washington, DC

The Moment It Clicks with Joe McNally
Aug 21 – Orlando, FL
Aug 24 – Miami, FL

Lightroom CC Power Tour with RC Concepcion
Aug 26 –  Charlotte, NC
Sept 16 – Arlington, TX
Sept 24 – Milwaukee, WI

Lightroom & Photoshop for Photographers Tour with Ben Willmore
Aug 4 – Kansas City, MO
Aug 6 – St. Louis, MO

These are just some of the upcoming dates for these seminar tours. You can find the full calendar of events right here, and leave a comment for your chance to win a free ticket to one of these events!

Last Week’s Winner
KelbyOne Live Ticket
- Cheryl Tadin

If that’s you, we’ll be in touch soon. Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday
Jul
2015
29

It’s Guest Blog Wednesday featuring Brad Moore!

by Brad Moore  |  14 Comments

Not Every Shoot Is A Winner
Here’s the scenario: You go do a shoot, download the images, go through the take, pick the keepers, do your editing, and deliver the shots. The client loves them… But you don’t. They’re okay, but they don’t quite send you to your happy place.

Sound familiar? If it does, I have some good news for you. You’re not alone.


Is there anything wrong with this shot? Not technically, but it’s not winning any awards.

I would guess that most photographers go through this, even the best ones. No matter how much we try to make the best possible images we can, not every shoot is going to result in a new portfolio image. You can plan all you want, put together your shot list, research the location, research your subject, make inspiration/mood boards, clean your lenses and sensor, and carry your lucky rabbit’s foot; but when you do the shoot, the shots are decent, but not great. The client is happy, so you’re happy that you’re getting paid, but you wanted to come away with better shots.


Arrive at the venue only to find out there’s no photo pit, and you weren’t there early enough to stake out a spot up front? Better hope you brought a telephoto lens.

Sometimes your subject just isn’t ideal. Or the location you picked days ahead of time fell through on the day of the shoot and you had to quickly find something else that worked. Or you were unexpectedly battling the harsh sun on what was supposed to be a cloudy day. Or you just flat out had an off day of shooting and don’t know why.


Right place, right time? Not this time. When the singer takes off down the other end of the stage and you can’t get there in time, this is the result.

For me, it’s concerts. There are so many things that come into play here that can make or break an image. How’s the lighting? If there’s lighting, is it always the same or constantly changing (to give variety to the shots)? Is the band doing fun and crazy stuff, or are they all just standing in one spot throughout the performance? Is there so much going on that I don’t even know where to point my camera to try and capture peak moments? Can I get to the spot in the pit I want to be in, or are there twenty other photographers vying for position and I’m stuck where I’m at?


Even when you’re in the perfect position to capture something you know is going to happen, things don’t always come together to capture the best moment.

I get lucky sometimes and I’m in the ideal position as the guitarist jumps off her amp in the perfect light, and my camera focuses, fires, and I nail the shot. Other times I see it happening out of the corner of my eye and turn to try to capture the moment from the wrong spot and there’s so little light on her that my camera can’t lock focus, and I get a blurry shot. Or a lot of the time I get what are, for me, mediocre shots of the singer with their mouth open and eyes closed standing in front of a mic. It’s a perfectly fine shot that you’ve seen it a million times, but you won’t see it in my portfolio.


Is there ANYTHING good about this shot??


Keep firing shots and hopefully you’ll get one that works. Still won’t see this one in my portfolio though!

But here’s the thing… You’ve gotta keep shooting. You have to push through those bad days to get to the good ones. I once heard Jay Maisel explain it this way to a frustrated photographer:

“It’s like, if I’m trying to be a well built body builder… If I go to the gym on Monday next week maybe or maybe Thursday, or just when I find a day, then it’s not going to happen. You have to go to the gym and work out. I don’t go to the gym and work out as a photographer, but I do the visual pushups everyday. If you shoot once in a while you may get some nice pictures, and if you shoot very rarely you’ll get fewer. But if you shoot all the time, the number is going to go up.”


Is there something cool happening but you’re just not sure of the best way to capture it?


Keep working the scene, trying different angles, and sometimes you can work through and find the shot.

So don’t let a bad shoot or two get you down. Keep doing those visual pushups so you increase your chances of finding those holy grail shots that you add to your portfolio. When you get them, we’ll rejoice with you. And if you don’t, just remember… You’re not alone!

You can see Brad’s keepers at BMOOREVISUALS.COM, or browse the archives to see more of the mediocre stuff if you want. And you can follow him on Instagram and Twitter.

Tuesday
Jul
2015
28

My New Lightroom Book Is Very Different Than My Other Lightroom Book

by Scott Kelby  |  4 Comments

Hi Gang: The video above kind of explains what the book is about, but I thought I’d take 30-seconds to define both, so you know which one is for you (and, of course, I’m hoping one of them is for you. And your friends. And family. And strangers you meet on the street. Etc.).

My existing Lightroom Book for Digital Photographers
It’s designed to teach you Lightroom from the ground up, and its focus is on workflow, and teaching you all the awesome stuff that Lightroom does so you can fall in love with it like about a bazillion photographers around the world already have. Here are the links to it on Barnes & Noble, Amazon, or from us at KelbyOne.

My New Lightroom Book
This one is a reference guide for people already up and running in Lightroom. You don’t read it cover-to-cover (like the other book); instead, you just keep this one nearby and when you see something you don’t know how to do (or wonder if Lightroom can even do it), you turn to the right chapter, and there’s a quick, no-nonsense, straight-to-the-point description of how to do just that one thing. Here are the links to it on Barnes & Noble, Amazon, KelbyOne, or from Rocky Nook (this is my first book with them. I hope I don’t blow it with the risky idea I’m about to unleash below).

On August 13th, we’re trying something we’ve never done before…
On that date, we’re putting the entire book online (all 250+ pages), for free, with each page on its own page (just like the book), for a limited time. Why are we doing this? Because we’re hoping you’ll find it so useful, that you’ll buy either the print book or the eBook. This is either going to work brilliantly, or it’s going to be the shortest experiment in the history of book publishing. But we’re going all-in on it, so we’ll see what happens.

If you’re a member of KelbyOne, you can download the eBook today for just $10. Ten bucks! That’s insanely cheap (but that deal is only for KelbyOne members)! For everybody else, it’s $235.00. Okay, it’s not quite that expensive (but it certainly should be). ;-)  Here’s the link for the member deal, and here’s the coupon code for non-members: Lightroomkelby.

Anyway, could you please take just a moment and watch the video where I explain it above (it’s only around one minute long), and then go order the heck out of it (and if you could help me spread the word about this new book, and new concept, that would be especially helpful (and many thanks from me and the book team in advance).

Thanks for taking a moment to check this out, and I hope you all have a better than average Tuesday!

Best,
-Scott

P.S. I’ll be signing the print version at the Photoshop World Conference coming up in just a few weeks in Vegas. Hope I get to sign yours there.

Monday
Jul
2015
27

If you were only allowed to have 10 pieces of photographic gear, what would they be?

by Scott Kelby  |  30 Comments

…that was a question posted on my Facebook page by Are Knudsen, a photographer from Norway.

Why the question? Well, I kicked off a new monthly Q&A column in Shutterbug magazine a few months ago (they named it “Ask a Pro”), but essentially I answer questions posed by Shutterbug’s readers along with questions I get throughout the month on my blog or social media, and the column has been a lot of fun for me (and I’ve been a reader of Shutterbug for many years, so it’s also really a kick to be in their pages).

As I was working on the latest installment, I asked the folks who follow me over on my Facebook page if they had any questions they’d like to consider for the column, and they came through with enough great questions to fill out the rest of the year, including this one from Are (above), but I couldn’t fit it in the Q&A column because I would have only been able to answer that one question, so I thought I’d tackle it here.

OK, back to our story
So, I was working on the latest installment, and I asked the folks who follow me over on my Facebook page if they had any questions they’d like to consider for the column, and they came through with enough great questions to fill out the rest of the year. One in particular that stood out to me was the headline you see above, posted by Are Knudsen from Norway.

I can tell you this – it’s a harder question to answer than it would appear
Especially for someone like me who shoots three different categories (Sports, People and Travel). After lots of thought and careful (read as painful) equipment cutting, I got it down to the 10 things I personally would need, but again these are what I would need — your needs would certainly vary depending on what you shoot. The fact that I shoot sports really puts a strain on my choices (and my wallet), because I need extra expensive lenses, but that’s what he asked, and that’s what I do, so I kind of have to roll with it.

To make this more helpful to a wider range of photographers….
Let’s do two versions. One for what I’d use today by cutting down my existing gear, and one if I was starting over from scratch and had to buy it all at once, so budget would be a big consideration. With that in mind, here’s the first one (cutting down my existing gear). So, here we go:

Q. If you were only allowed to have 10 pieces of photographic gear, what would they be?

A. Here’s what I’d choose:

1. A Canon 1Dx camera body
If I had to just go with one body, why not go all the way. The 1Dx is larger, and heavier than my other go-to body, the 5D Mark III, but it’s high-ISO performance is insane, and at 12-frames-per-second it would more than cover me on the sports side. So, I’ll be lugging around a bigger, heavier camera, but at least it is the best body I’ve ever used, so I’ll deal with it if I can only have one. (details)

2. A Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 zoom lens
This is my go-to lens. I use it for portraits almost exclusively (yes, I’d be giving up my 85mm f/1.2, which I do use here and there), and I use it as my 2nd body for sports, and I could, and have used it for travel, but it’s kinda big and draws attention to itself. That being said, it’s an outstanding lens with legendary sharpness. Couple it with the 1Dx and I’m definitely going to be developing some upper arm strength. ;-) (details)

3. The Canon 11-24mm super wide angle zoom
I just started using this (I don’t actually own one yet — I’m using a short-term loaner from Canon), but even at that it’s my all-time favorite wide angle lens, and what I took most of the shots from my recent trip to Paris (there’s only one fish-eye shot in the entire gallery — the first shot). It’s sharp as anything, wide as anything, heavy as anything. I’m going to look like Schwarzenegger when I’m done hauling this stuff, but no pain, no gain. (details)

 

4. Elinchrom Quadra ELB 400 Two Action Heads To Go Kit
If I had to get down to just one lighting kit, this would be the one. It has two heads (with just one battery pack that is super small and lightweight), and I can use it in the studio or on location anywhere. It accepts nearly all of Elinchrom’s soft boxes and beauty dishes, and even their ring light. (details)

5. Elinchrom 53″ Midi Octa Softbox
If I had to pick one main softbox to go with my Elinchrom Quadra ELB kit, it would be this one. It’s so big. So gorgeous. So well-made, and very portable. I super-dig it. (details)

6.  Elinchrom 20″ x 51″ Rotalux strip bank softbox
I need a 2nd light. The Ranger Quadra comes with 2 flash heads, and I can’t have that 2nd one being a bare flash, so I’d go with the 1′ x 3′ strip bank. It’s a perfect shape for a 2nd light, and I could still shoot automotive detail shots using it, or product shots, or as my kicker light for portraits. A real workhorse. (details)

7. 3 Legged Thing EVO3 Punks Rick Carbon Fiber Tripod
I started using these 3-legged-thing tripods last year, and I really love them! Great build, very sturdy, and not too heavy, which is good since I’m lugging lots of heavy stuff. Now, I’m kinda “sneaking one past the goalie” by including a Really Right Stuff ball head as if this were just one item, but I can’t use a tripod without a ball head, so they kind of go together. However, if you think that’s cheating, then I’ll just go with one of 3-legged-thing’s Mohawk ball heads that comes with the tripod (but the Really Right Stuff ball heads are, in my opinion, the best on the planet). (details)

8. A Black Rapid Curve strap
I would have probably gone with an “Upstrap” (which I dearly love, since they don’t fall off your shoulder at all), but since I’ll be doing sports as well, I have to go with the Black Rapid because it’s hard to beat when you add sports into the mix. It goes across your body, rather than over your shoulder, so you’re ready to fire in an instant, and it’s great for travel (safety-wise) as well. (details)

9. a Canon 200-400mm f/4 zoom lens
I only need this for shooting sports, but if I want to work, I’m going need something longer than 200mm, and while I love a 400 f/2.8, the 200-4oomm is really flexible, plus it has a 1.4 tele-extender built-in, so I can jump to 580mm with a flick of a switch. (details)

10. A Westcott 30″ 5-in-one reflector/diffuser
Quite honestly, I rarely use the reflector, but the diffuser is a MUST! In fact, I could probably just go with their $20 1-stop diffuser (for natural light shooting), but since they make a version with reflectors and a diffuser, why not go with it, right? (details)

———————————————-

OK, now for the budget version:
The stuff above is a version of what I already own (bought over the years, not all at once). If I had to start over today, and buy it all from scratch, here’s a budget version (but all still good solid stuff!).

Q. If you could only buy 10 pieces of photographic gear today, what would they be?

A. Here’s what I’d choose:

1. A Canon EOS 7D Mark II
Although the 5D Mark III would be my immediate first choice because it’s such a really great body for the money, but the fact that I shoot Sports also would probably sway me to the Canon 7D Mark II, which is the little brother of the 1Dx, but since it’s a crop sensor, it gets me closer to the action without losing megapixels, which is a good thing, and the 10 frames-per-second thing pretty much seals the deal. Although I think of it as a sports camera, it’ll take a great shot of whatever you point it at, so I’ll have to go with it. (details)

2. A Canon 70-200mm f/4
OK, so I lose a stop of light going with this one, instead of the f/2.8 version, but it’s a lot cheaper, and a lot lighter, and it’s still very sharp. I’ve used this lens before and I was very impressed.

3. A Canon 16-35mm f/4 Wide Angle Zoom
While it’s not as sharp or as awesome or as wide as the 11-24mm, and it’s an f/4 (versus 2.8) but  it’s still a really solid lens at about half the size and weight and 1/3 the price. (details)

4. A Yongnuo YN-560-II Speedlight
It’s not a high-end speed light for sure, but it’ll do the trick  (details), although I would need the Yongnuo YN650-TX Manual Flash Controller as well (details).  (Hey, the Elinchrom kit I mentioned earlier comes with triggers).

5. Westcott 50″ x 50″ Mega Apollo Softbox for hot shoe flash
It’s big and beautiful, but honestly you could even go with their 7′ white diffusion shoot-through parabolic umbrella for just $99 and you’d be rocking it. Hard to beat either one of those.  (Apollo details & Parabolic details)

6. Westcott Apollo Strip Bank 16″ x 30″
It’s not a whole lot cheaper than the Elinchrom strip bank, but it’s made for Hot Shoe flash, and it’s very portable. (details)

7. Oben AC-1361 3-Section Aluminum Tripod with BA-117 Ball Head
I’ve used Oben tripods from time to time and they’re surprisingly solid for the money, and a great alternative to more expensive tripod and ball head combos. It’s not Carbon Fiber, but it’s not Carbon Fiber priced, either and it only weighs 1/2 pound more than the Carbon Fiber. (details)

8. A Black Rapid Curve strap
I’d still go with this strap because the price is still reasonable and there isn’t a great alternative. (details)

9. Canon 100-400mm f/4.5 to f/5.6
I shot an NFL game with it last year, and I was surprised at what a good job it did (and how nice it was to shoot with just one body, one lens, and no monopod necessary). Plus, it’s under 1/5 the price of the 200-400mm f/4, and less than half the weight. (details)

10. A Westcott 30″ one-stop Diffuser
It’s $19.90. Can’t beat it. (details)

OK, as you can see, we can shave a lot off my “dream list” of stuff.

The stuff I had a cut to reach my 10 item limit (sniff, sniff):

1. A Cable release (I can get away with using my camera’s self timer, but I would have liked to have a real cable release, but I had to make some tough choices).

2. Any filters. (I would have chosen a 10-stop ND filter for long exposures, so I guess I’ll be giving those up. I don’t do as much landscape photography as I used to, so I’ll get by without it, but I sure would have liked to include it.

3. A Hoodman Loupe. (This one I’ll really miss, especially at day games and while traveling, but something had to go.).

4. Gaffer’s tape. (I use this for all sorts of stuff all the time. I’ll have to borrow some from the guy next to me).

5. My 8-15mm Fisheye lens. (This was a hard one to let go, but the 11-24mm is so wide at 11mm, that I felt I could cut it loose, but I’m not happy about it).

6. My 24″ Joe McNally Signature EZ-Box. (I couldn’t go with three soft boxes, but if I had, this would be the other one. Great for quick location shoots).

7. My Wacom tablet. (I going to count this as “post processing” and not a camera accessory, because I have to have one for my retouching and editing, so although it’s not on the list, I’m not cutting it either).

8. All my Tethertools tethering gear. I shoot tethered as often as I can. I guess now I’ll just be sitting it on a table or on the floor. Ugh. Not happy about this one either, but I can work around it.

——————–

OK, that’s quite a list (for a Monday anyway). :)

Hope you found that helpful, and we’ll see you back here tomorrow for some news (spoiler: I’m announcing a new book. Whoo hoo!!).

Best,

-Scott

Friday
Jul
2015
24

Travel Photography Tips & Tricks

by Scott Kelby  |  6 Comments

Hi Gang: If you missed “The Grid” this week, our topic was travel photography, and I showed image, and talked tips and tricks based on my trip last week to London and Paris. Lots of helpful little nuggets, and we answered lots of questions from viewers. If you’ve got a sec, here’s the episode (below):

In case you missed it — I posted my favorite images from the trip over at exposure.co (along with the story and more tips there, too). There’s that link: http://bit.ly/1Ds4ssN

Lastly, if you’ve got a sec, I was featured this over at shotkit with a look at my photo gear loadouts for the three main types of photography I do. I break it all down over at their site (here’s the link): http://bit.ly/skshotkit

Hope you all have an awesome weekend, and we’ll see ya back here on Monday (by the way, I think I’m going to have some fun news Monday, so make sure you check back).

Best,

-Scott

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