Monday
Dec
2014
22

Sing to the tune of “I’ll be home for Christmas” (by Bing Crosby)

by Scott Kelby  |  39 Comments

To kick off this Christmas week, please join in and sing the following to the tune of “I’ll be home for Christmas” by Bing Crosby.

“I’m laming out for the Holidays
You can count on it.
There won’t be posts, or anything new…
It’s a present just for me.

Christmas Eve will find me
Far away from this blog
But I’ll be back again next week
I’m off to watch TV”

That’s right folks, I am totally “laming out” (laming rhymes with flaming) and kicking back and relaxing with the family. I’m not working, blogging, breathing, eating, posting, no Grid episode, no guest blog Wednesday; just joyous rest, relaxation, the sounds of distorted guitars and explosions as I play Call of Duty between football games. So, take a brief moment to soak in all the wonder and magic that is the stock image with text I added in Photoshop, and  then let’s not think about any of this until next week? Deal? Deal!

Here’s wishing you and your family a safe, happy, healthy holiday and all the joy His season can bring. :)

Merry Christmas!

-Scott, Braddo, and the entire crew here at KelbyOne

 

Friday
Dec
2014
19

My Photo Essay: “A Little Bit of London” (and a first-look at the free photo storytelling App “Project Luca”)

by Scott Kelby  |  10 Comments

Morning gang (it’s still morning, right?)
Sorry for the late post (putting this together took way longer than expected).

Those of you who follow me regularly here on the blog have seen the photographic stories I’ve posted over on my exposure.co account, which I think is an absolutely marvelous way to tell a story with both pictures and words (here’s a link to my exposure page and you can see what I mean). Far better than any blog post.

Meet Project Luca
A buddy turned me onto this new iPad-based free photo storytelling app called Project Luca (it’s still in Beta at this point, but you can request to try it out at getluca.com) and it has some very interesting features — including some exposure.co doesn’t offer yet, so I wanted to at least give it a try, and I chose to do it with the 2-1/4 shoots I got to do while visiting London back in October.

Here’s what’s different about Project Luca:

  1. You actually build your project right on the iPad itself (but when you’re done, anyone with a web browser on any device, from desktop to laptop to mobile device, can view it).
  2. It has lots of professionally designed templates to choose from (rather than exposure’s one standard layout).
  3. Your project can have motion (meaning, the text can kind of “float over your images” with a window shade effect).
  4. You can choose your fonts and there’s a decent level of customization.
  5. You can have your images dissolve between frames, so it can be kind of like a slideshow.
  6. It allows captions under the photos, which is awesome (and something exposure.co has yet to do, though they do now offer a caption feature but it can only appear over the image itself, and only at the top of the image).

Here’s how it works:

Once you install the app on your iPad and launch it, it shows you a few example projects so you get the idea of how Luca’s look  and then if you want to create a “Luca” of your own hit the text at the top (I didn’t really have to say that last part now, did I?). ;)

It brings you to this starting screen where you can start entering text and adding pictures from all over, including Lightroom Mobile, your Adobe Creative Cloud account, Dropbox, etc.

What threw me was you don’t pick your template first — you just start creating. It took me about an hour (literally) until I realized that the “Color Palette” icon at the top (which you would assume is where you go to pick your colors) is actually where they hid the templates. Ugh. Anyway, now that you know, you can pick a template now if you’d like (and I recommend that you do, because this app is all about the layout. Or the bass [no treble]).

Above: That list of fonts on the right side of the screen, is actually the list of template choices. I would prefer to see thumbnails, rather than fonts, but it’s kind of a preview of how the opening screen text will look and layout, sans images. 

The rest is easy — you add photos, add your text, you just keep scrolling down and adding more stuff. At this point, it’s just the creative process of choosing which photos, at what size (you can choose from full width of the screen to smaller size images with white space on all sides) and entering your text.

When you’re done adding text, you hit the upload button and the screen you see above appears. You can choose to make your Luca public or private, and share it about everywhere if you choose. It also copies the URL to your Luca to the clipboard automatically so you can share the link manually if you want to.

One more thing: you can add credits to the bottom of your photo story, but you add it here in the upload window, rather than in the project itself. The placement of that one had me scratching my head. I’m telling you now so you won’t drive yourself crazy looking for it (like I did).

Above: Once it uploads (it goes very quickly) your story is ready to view on anything with a web browser (here it is on my iPad). You just scroll down the page to see the images and read the story (you can click on the image above for a larger view). 

Above: You can edit, and view your Luca, in either landscape or portrait mode. Here’s an interior shot of London’s famous Royal Albert Hall. If you get a chance to read the story, I posted more images and the story behind it.

I Hope You’ll Check Out My First “Luca”
My “A Little bit of London” Luca is now live online and if you get a moment, I hope you’ll check it out (just seeing it will answer a lot of your questions, including “what does he mean about the text floating over the images?”).

Here’s the link

So, how does it stack up against Exposure.co?
It has some advantage and disadvantages, but at this point, Project Luca is still in Beta (it’s not the full final version of the software). While it’s very promising overall, I’m not ready to switch from Exposure to Luca for these reasons: [NOTE: the Luca Team responded to these comments — when you done, see the bottom of the post]

  1. Writing long text on an iPad is pretty brutal. Most folks don’t use a separate keyboard with their iPad so typing in long paragraphs of text on a touch-screen keyboard can really become tedious. In fact, if I didn’t finally switch to verbally dictating the text (using the iPad’s built-in dictation feature) I think I would have bailed on the whole project.
  2. There are still a lot of user experience things that just don’t make sense. Like not starting by choosing your template. Sure, now I get it, but I was totally thrown off by it at first. Also, the color palette icon for choosing templates is a head scratcher [see response from the Luca Team below]. So is putting the credits on the upload screen. I could go on.
  3. If you want to turn off their window-shade animations (the floating text effect) for a particular template…you can’t. You’re kinda stuck with it, and if it annoys you…you’re stuck with it. [See response from the Luca Team below].
  4. At this point, it appears that you can use bold and italic, but you can’t. You can highlight text; choose bold or italic; it just doesn’t work. Could be a bug (I’m hoping it’s a bug).
  5. You can’t center headlines or subjects or even captions (all of which exposure.co does beautifully), which is kind of a deal-breaker for me right there. What’s weird is — you can center or left/right justify the text on the opening cover page of your Luca, so it’s not like they don’t have the technology to do it. [See response from the Luca Team below].
  6. You can’t change the order of your photos once they’re in your Luca, so you have to do a LOT more planning beforehand (exposure.co lets you change the order any time).
  7. I couldn’t find the URL to my “Luca” (to share with you in this post), without literally re-uploading my entire project. Ugh. [See response from the Luca Team below].
I’ve communicated all these things directly to the Project Luca team, so this isn’t the first time they’re hearing it from me. In fact, they’re probably really tired of hearing it from me.

The Bottomline:
I generally pick up learning new software fairly quickly, but I was lost in Project Luca a lot.

Your experience may differ, but the Luca creation process just doesn’t seem to be designed in an intuitive way overall. What’s weird is — there are parts of it that are designed beautifully, and I say to myself “Man, I wish Exposure did it like this!” and then there are other parts where I’m really surprised they totally dropped the ball from an author experience perspective. In fact, if this product has an achilles heel it’s that the user experience of building a Luca seems like it was designed by committee, if that tells you anything.

I so wanted to love Project Luca, because there are still some things Exposure.co (as great as it is) hasn’t added (like captions under the photos for example), but it’s still got a ways to go. To be fair, it’s Beta software and I’m hoping that before they’re finished they’ll address some of the issues, but I think it needs a major rethinking on the author experience part — the final uploaded Luca’s look really nice, but getting there is more than half the battle.

-Scott

UPDATE!!!! Right after I released this first-look, I sent an email to the Project Luca team, and I was delighted to see their response (especially since I was kind of scared to initially see their response): They wrote:

    1. Centered captions are in the next build [see example below -ed]
    2. The template icon is changing from a paint icon to a magic wand [I probably would have clicked that just to see what it did -ed]
    3. Ability to turn animations on and off is on the roadmap, but will not be in version one. That falls under the category of theme customizations, and those come a little later.
    4. Bold and Italic are not in the product right now. They are on the roadmap. The bug you described has been fixed.
    5. You will be able to re-order photos in our next build [yay!!! -ed]
    6. We are surfacing the URL for your Luca on the projects screen so you can get it without republishing [perfect! -ed]
    7. You will be able to left or right align floating captions (the ones that fade in/out over your photos) in the next build [awesome -ed]:

Above: Here’s one part of my Luca [from the desktop view] — notice the centered caption below the photo. Yay!

Above: Here’s a template with centered subhead text. Of course, I’d like to be able to center the subhead in any template, but at least this is a start.

I think these are all very positive developments, and my thanks to the Project Luca team for sharing a bit of their roadmap with my readers. :)

 

 

Thursday
Dec
2014
18

It’s Free Stuff Thursday!

by Brad Moore  |  22 Comments

8 Krazy Deals
Today is day 7 of our 8 Krazy Deals, and for today’s deal we’re offering a KelbyOne Annual Membership Plan with Bonus! In addition to your full year of all access to KelbyOne online training and all of the things that come with it, you’ll also get a free portfolio review from industry professionals! For more info, check it out right here.

Photographing Groups: Small to Large with Tony Corbell
Our newest class is by none other than Tony Corbell! Tony has photographed three U.S. presidents, 185 World Leaders, 65 Nigerian Heads of State, about 600 brides and grooms, a couple of NASA astronauts and lots of famous and not so famous faces.

Tony’s class is called Photographing Groups: Small to Large. If you’re a member you can watch this class tonight and if not a member, you can watch a preview and see if it’s a fit you want to add to your photography education.

New Addition to the Team
Julio Aguilar is our newest addition to the KelbyOne team. Julio will be managing our KelbyOne Blog and making sure we get you the latest and best info on Photography, Photoshop and Lightroom. Check out the blog and say hi to Julio at KelbyOne.com/blog, and follow him on Twitter!

Scott Kelby’s Shoot Like A Pro Tour
We just announced the first three dates for Scott Kelby’s Shoot Like A Pro Tour for 2015! If you’re in one of these cities, come check it out:

Jan 26 – Columbus, OH
Jan 28 – Richmond, VA
Jan 30 – Raleigh, NC

Leave a comment for your chance to come to one of these events for free!

Last Week’s Winner
The Fuji X-System User’s Guide from Bill Fortney
- Neoh Soon Hueng

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

Wednesday
Dec
2014
17

It’s Guest Blog Wednesday featuring Bill Fortney!

by Brad Moore  |  21 Comments

The Season For Giving
Since it is approaching Christmas, you may think this is an blog entry about Christmas gift giving, but it’s actually not!

Let me start with a funny story! You may have heard Scott Kelby refer to me as “Bill Fortney – A Man Barely Alive!”  and wondered what that is all about? Well let me give you the back story. I met Scott about a dozen years ago when I worked for Nikon and called on him as a client. We went on to become great friends! My father died at age 66 and I was in my mid to late fifties when I met Scott. I guess I thought with heredity and all I probably wouldn’t live much longer than my father did! I was a two times cancer survivor and I’m a type two diabetic so I guess I thought my leash was short! Scott found it amusing that I would answer questions about if I would be a such an such event and I would say, “Sure, if I’m still around.”

So that is how that whole a man barely alive thing got started. Let’s fast forward a decade and I’m coming up on my 69th birthday in February, and even closer to the big last trip! I am a huge football fan. I once was actually the official photographer for the Washington Redskins, and in football terms I’m definitely in the 4th quarter! Since none of us knows the exact moment when we will be leaving this sphere, the two minute warning could have sounded for me already, who knows!?

Being at this stage in the game of life causes one to consider some pretty important questions, questions we should consider long before the middle of the fourth quarter! What is this life really about? How famous we are? How rich we become? Who admires us? I think not. I think this life is about leaving something valuable when you leave. For me, I have three main goals at this stage of my life: Serve my Heavenly Father and share his love with everyone I meet, be the best husband, father, and grandfather that I can possibly be, and lastly leave a photographic legacy I can be proud of.

How do you leave a photographic legacy? I’m not talking about a body of meaningful or beautiful work. I’m talking about helping others that love the same craft that I do. A lot of people have inspired me, and taught me over the past 45 years and they helped me to get better each day! It’s my turn. I teach workshops, speak at events, do classes on KelbyOne, and write books because I want to share what I’ve learned with others.

Am I a good enough photographer to have anything worth sharing? I hope so, but the “information” I share, I know can help other photographers! I am at heart, and have always been a teacher. I love to see others learn and get excited about this craft I love so much. You can visit my website BillFortney.com to see my work, learn about my workshops and even buy my eBooks, but that is not why I wrote this article.

I want to encourage you to consider how you can take your considerable talent and knowledge and share it with those that could benefit from it! You could offer community classes in photography at your public library, or maybe your church. You could volunteer to teach a photography class for your local high school or adult education program. Many camera clubs and civic organizations are looking for programs, you could share your knowledge and entertain them! In Jay Maisel’s wonderful new book, Light, Gesture, and Color, he thanked his high school art teacher Leon Friend for the incredible start he gave him, and the chance to become a member of the ”Art Squad!” Just think what this high school art teacher gave us, all of us, that have learned so much from Jay!

I want to be that kind of a teacher, one that has students produce art long after I’m gone! Here is a secret… If you want to have a really great life, help others get what they need and want! Trust me, a thank you from someone that you have helped learn, is worth far more than fame and fortune!

Merry Christmas!
Bill Fortney

Tuesday
Dec
2014
16

Help Us Welcome “The New Guy” at KelbyOne, Julio Aguilar

by Scott Kelby  |  11 Comments

Hi gang, meet Julio. He’s a little shy in the video above (after all, it’s just his first day), but he’s an awesome guy (we’ve been working with him for about a year – he helps out on complex shoots and assists the instructors that come here with location shoots and stuff while they’re taping classes for KelbyOne). He’s an event/portrait photographer himself, and he’s joining our team full-time as chief editor, fancy-pants blog specialist, and big kahuna of content on the just-launched KelbyOne blog, where you’ll find him every day bringing’ the love.

Julio’s job is to make the KelbyOne blog incredibly awesome! He’s going to make it packed full of cool content on Photoshop, Lightroom and Photography; he’s going to tell us what’s going on in the biz each day, he’s bringing cool guests, breaking news, reviews, whatever’s going on — he’s totally going to be on top of it. Plus, he has really awesome hair (rivaling the finely-tuned fro of Jared Polin, which is not an easy thing to do).

If you get a chance, stop by the K1 blog, or just leave him a shout-out here.  Thanks for helping us welcome Julio (you can follow him on Twitter at @julifro) and we look forward to him sharing his hair care secrets his freshly starched ideas with us all.

Have an awesome Tuesday everybody, and we’ll see you back here tomorrow for Guest Blog Wednesday.

Best,

-Scott

P.S. Joe McNally is our in-studio guest tomorrow at 4pm live on “The Grid.”  

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