Camera Essentials: Nikon D500 with Larry Becker
Get the most out of your Nikon D500! Join Larry Becker as he walks you through the important things you’ll want to know about your new D500. This is not a class for seeing every menu option and obscure function, but instead Larry focuses on the things you need to know to get the camera to do what you want it to do, as if a good friend was showing you how. You’ll learn the basics of navigating the buttons and dials, how to access various shooting modes, where to find key settings, and along the way Larry shares a wealth of tips, recommendations, and insights to help you feel like a master user by the end of the class.

In Case You Missed It
If a Sony A7R II or A7S II is in your future or already in your camera bag, then this class is for you! Join John McQuiston as he gets you up to speed on everything you need to know to get started on the right foot with your camera. From getting oriented to all of the buttons and dials to changing exposure settings, and from explaining the focus modes to how to shoot video, John steps through the features and functions you need to know, while explaining its purpose and showing you how it’s done.


The Good, The Bad, and The Great – How To Vet Your Clients In Order To Save Your Time, Your Sanity, and Your Career

I don’t think there is a moment associated with as many jumbled emotions in a creative’s career as the first time you tell a potential client, “No thanks, I’m going to have to pass on this assignment.”

On one hand, we want to work, shoot, and create. But on the other hand, we want our relationships with clients to be positive experiences that move our career goals forward and leave us feeling valued and respected – allowing us to make a living without bringing unnecessary stress into our lives (or in the case of some truly toxic clients, waking nightmares.)

Some clients are a dream come true – they value your contribution to their projects, are enthusiastic to work with you, have similar communication styles to yours, and are eager to pay your rates because they understand the inherent value of what you do for them. These clients are rare and beautiful – so hold on to them when they come along.

Most other clients are just fine. You may have a hiccup here and there along the road, but for the most part they act in good faith, are easy to communicate with, and are open to resolution when misunderstandings or disagreements do arise. With a good process in place that establishes realistic client expectations you will have no trouble dealing with clients like this throughout your career.

But there are some clients you should run from – the ones who devalue your work/process, overstep the boundaries you set in your professional relationships, make unrealistic demands based on unrealistic expectations, operate in bad faith, and drive you crazy with little to no rewards. There’s an old saying about “the clients who cause 90% of your problems will generate 10% of your income.”


The simple fact is that most photographers get so excited by the prospect of even being offered an assignment that they rarely stop to think if the assignment is something that will be helpful or harmful to their careers in the long run. This lack of foresight is why you see photographers excitedly start relationships with toxic and in some cases abusive clients for little more reason than they are offering work (and in the worst cases, those photographers will end up working for these clients for free – either through getting on board the free work carousel or by plain being stiffed on payment.)

You need to put a system into place for identifying which types of clients and projects are the right ones for you. This system should be integrated into your client research/on-boarding process, be data driven, and based on key attributes and values that are important to you in a client. Some things that you may look for in a great client are:

  • Enthusiasm for working with you and your specific style
  • Trust in you and your skills
  • An understanding of what you offer that leads to them understanding its value
  • Responsive to questions about project specifics
  • Their deadline is one that will allow you to do your best work in the time allowed
  • An understanding of how your rates correlate to your output
  • An understanding of the goals of their own project
  • A realistic understanding of their budget
  • Are verbal and written communicators

A client who possesses many of these attributes is highly likely to be a dream client, while one who does not (or even exhibits the opposite tendencies) is one that, at best, may require a great deal of education and, at worst, may be a client you should be hesitant in working with.


Another important skill to develop is learning to recognize red flags in how your potential clients communicate. A few months ago when I was developing Project Prescription For Photographers with Shauna Haider and Paul Jarvis we focused a lot on what data points and warning signs one could identify in client behavior to help them decide if the client was a good fit or not – and this became the core of our client evaluation module, a data-driven scorecard of sorts for photographers to use internally when deciding if they should work with a new client. Here are just a few of the major red flags we identified and what they could signify.

Have they at any point in your relationship used the phrase “We can’t pay you, but…”
I’m not a fan of working for free, except with a select group of non-profits where I truly believe in the organization’s mission and WANT to donate my time to it (mostly animal rescues these days), and never because of a vague promise of future work or credit. This is one of the easiest and most visible warning signs of a client who needs photography but simply does not value it (or you). And the worst part is that once you work with a client like this, they will have a tendency to call again and again – often increasing the scope of the free work and breeding further resentment over time that can lead to a very toxic relationship.

Have they asked you to provide prices before outlining the scope of the project?
While not always a deal-breaker, these clients have a tendency to see all photography as one-size-fits-all arrangements. You will often receive inquiries from them that are accompanied by almost zero information and followed by an immediate request for a price. These clients tend to be focused on price rather than value, service, and results.

Do they make a lot of “just” or “only” statements?
Clients will often use statements that include the words “just” and “only” as a means of devaluing their own needs as a means of getting you to lower your rates. Classic example phrases include “We JUST need a few portraits,” or “We JUST need you to shoot for an hour or two,” and “We are ONLY using them for social media.” By creating the sense that they don’t value the assignment/usage themselves you may be more inclined to assign less value to the work they are requesting when assembling your estimate.

Are they asking you to do work way outside of your specialty/comfort zone?
You likely have a goal in mind regarding the type of work you want to be shooting – and while they may be offered out of good intentions, not all assignments will move you towards that goal. For example, if you want to primarily shoot portraits, it is unlikely that you will want to take on several product photography assignments (unless you have a dire need for the money) because it will divert focus away from your primary goal, provides little opportunity to develop portfolio work, and may be time better invested in marketing to relevant clients. This can also indicate the client is unfamiliar with your work and just looking for ANY photographer.

Do they respect your boundaries?
This is a huge red flag that encompasses a large scope of behaviors. In its most extreme form it may include being inappropriate/rude towards you in speech or action during your collaboration, or asking you to do things that you find unethical. And in lesser examples it could include not respecting your business hours or calling you at inappropriate times. It is very important to be vocal and firm in setting the boundaries that you expect your clients to adhere to.

Do they want you to work without a contract?
This is business 101 – never work without a contract. I would be highly suspect of any client who actively insists that you work without some kind of agreement in place that sets the terms of your working relationship.

Are they asking you to do spec work?
Block their number.

All of what I just wrote comes with a caveat – I totally understand that rent needs paying, food needs buying, and families need taking care of. Sometimes you have to bite the bullet and deal with an a**hole for a while in order to take care of your responsibilities (and hopefully these will be the first clients you cut loose once your situation is more stable). But once you are in a position where you are comfortably able to turn down work when it isn’t a good fit, being picky about your clients will allow you to do all of the above with more clarity and success as your business grows.

So say it out loud right now: “Not every client is the right client for me!”

You can learn more about the entire Project Prescription system here – as well as download a free copy of our client evaluation worksheet to help you find the types of clients you are best suited to collaborate with. You can also see Luke’s work at, and follow him on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Vimeo.



I’ve got a busy week coming up in New York City at Photo Plus — the big daddy of all photo shows here in the US, and I hope at some point our paths cross in one of my presentations. Here’s my schedule:

8:00 am: “Creating Gorgeous Light for Captivating Portraits”
This is a two-hour session in their Master Class conference track for photographers who want to learn studio lighting from scratch; how to work with their subjects during a live shoot; and how to create really beautiful, flattering light for their subjects. Registration required. Details here.


Thursday – 12:00 pm Noon: Book Signing at Rocky Nook booth #769
My latest book, “How Do I Do That in Photoshop’ will be there, and I’ll be at the Rocky Nook booth doing a book signing of it (and any other of my books), and I hope you’ll stop by (I’m happy to sign any books you already have, or if you pick up one there at the show). Either way, come on by and say hi.


Thursday – 2:20 to 3:05 pm:
Travel Photography with the Canon EOS 5K Mark IV at the Canon Booth

I’ll be on the main stage at the Canon booth (it’s the first giant booth when you walk in the door), doing a talk on how to take travel photos like a pro. I’ll be sharing shots from my Iceland trip, Venice, The Dolomites along with all sorts of tips — everything from camera settings, accessories to take (and which to leave behind), plus lots of stuff on what to shoot, when, and how. It’s free if you have an Expo pass, so come on by.


Thursday: 4:30 – 6:30 pm
Hands-on “Portraits on location” Photo Walk workshop
I’m working with the awesome folks from Lexar Memory on this photo walk – It’s limited to a small group of people, and we’re going to head out into the streets of Manhattan with two professional models. I’ll explain the technique, then you’ll split into two groups and try out the same techniques yourself with the models. We’ll be using both natural light and flash, and we’ll pack a lot into those two-hours — you’ll learn a bunch, and you’ll be shooting plenty the whole time. Unfortunately, this one is already sold out in advance.


Friday – 2:00 – 2:45pm – Shoot with Flash Like a Pro
Canon Live Learning Stage (Canon Booth)
If you want to really get into flash, and using some really awesome flash modifiers, come by and catch this free session on the Canon Live Learning Stage (right up front). I’ll be doing a live shoot with a model and showing you how to set everything up; how to work with the model, and lots of tips and techniques, and it’s all free (thanks to the folks at Canon), and I hope to see you there!
OK, busy week, and it’s only just begun (as I sit here in the Atlanta airport between flights).  Again, hope our paths cross, or I see you in one of my sessions or book signing while I’m up in NYC! :)


Above: This was taken as they introduced me to open the Photoshop World keynote presentation earlier this year (that’s me on the far left). Photo by Rob Foldy. 

Happy Monday everybody, and greetings from Charlotte, North Carolina where I’m here with my seminar today at the Charlotte Convention Center (and after shooting the Vols vs Alabama game on Saturday).

The big news today is: Registration is now officially open for The Photoshop World 2017 Conference in Orlando, Florida on April 20-22, 2017 at the Orange County Convention Center. It’ll be our first time on the East Coast in three years, and we’re very excited to be bringing the conference back to Orlando.

Here’s the link to reserve your tickets:

An incredible instructor team!
Each year it’s my job to put together the instructor team for Photoshop World, and this past year’s crew was one of our best ever! The new instructors totally rocked, and a bunch of them are already on board for Orlando, and of course we’ll be bringing back some of your favorites as well.

We’re expanding the Partner Pavillon
We’ve got nearly the entire West Side of the Orange County Convention Center, from one end to the other (with the beautiful Hyatt Grand right next door as our host hotel), and we’ve got the entire 2nd floor, and part of the 1st floor, so we’ll be expanding our Partner Pavillon Expo this year, too!

You can register for Pre-Conference Workshops, now too!
When you register for the conference, you can get your tickets for any pre conference workshops now before they’re sold out (earlier this year in Vegas, nearly every single pre-conference workshop was sold out in advance, so nail yours down as soon as you register so you’re not locked out).

More fun stuff, more shooting opportunities, more awesomeness!
We tried some stuff in Vegas that turned out to be really, really well received, so we’re going to build on that in Orlando, including expanding the Photoshop World Film Festival, the photo challenges, and more. You are going to super dig it!

Of course, the sooner you register for the conference, the more you’ll save (and KelbyOne members always save $100 on their Photoshop World Conference registration).


Want some inspiration?
Check out these photos from the last Photoshop World – see what you missed – and make plans not to miss it this coming April (it’ll be here before ya know it!).

So, that’s the big news today, but we’ve got lots of fun stuff planned for here on the blog, so I hope you’ll check back tomorrow.

OK, off to work
I’ve got a few hundred photographers to hang out with today in Charlotte – Brad and I are looking forward to meeting everyone!



Hi everybody – happy Friday, and here’s what’s up:


My “Simplified Lightoom Image Management” System
Last night, in front of a live audience, I taped a class I’ve been working on for quite some time designed for photographers whose Lightroom organization is either a total mess (very common), or it’s not a mess but it’s too complicated and/or time consuming to keep up. It’s a whole new way of thinking about how to organize your images, both before you get into Lightroom and after, and I can’t wait to share it with you on KelbyOne once it’s finished up (about four weeks or so I imagine). Thanks to everyone who came out and spent the evening with me last night, and thanks for all the wonderful feedback – can’t wait to share this with the world! :) [photo credit: Kim Doty]

Real Estate Photography Photo Critiques (and tips!)
Definitely one of our best episodes of the year, and that’s thanks our guest, California-based Real Estate photographer Thomas Grubba. He was awesome, and although the episode was supposed to just real estate photo critiques (using images submitted by our viewers), there were so many great questions pouring in, that we had to take a bunch of them, and Thomas totally rocked it, giving insights into everything from lighting, color, composition, and gear. Absolutely top notch episode, and you can watch it right above.

Charlotte Skyline from Marshall Park

Charlotte – I’m there with my seminar on Monday!
Hope you can come out (I already have a couple of hundred photographers signed up, but we’ve got room for one more!). It’s my “Shoot like a Pro tour, Reloaded!” – hope you can come out and join me there on Monday.


Gabe’s Night Photography Class Rocks!
I know Brad announced this new nighttime photography class yesterday, but last night one of my audience members had already watched the class and he was absolutely raving about it, and the instructor, my friend Gabriel Biderman. Gabe literally wrote the book on night time photography, and we’re honored to have him teaching with us at KelbyOne. Here’ the link to Gabe’s new class.


Want some cool Lightroom tips?
Well, I’ve been cranking them out over on our sister site: – a few of mine from this week:

> Reader Question: Can you create Crop Tool presets? (yes you can! link)
> Quick Develop’s Hidden Little Secret (link)
> How to Clearly See Sensor Dust and Spots on your image (link)

I post there three times a week (monday, Wed and Fri), so if you’re into learning Lightroom, I invite you to pop on by. link

OK, gotta run! Lots of share on Monday about my speaking schedule next week at Photo Plus Expo in New York City. Can’t wait!! :)




Seize the Night: Night Photography Techniques with Gabriel Biderman
Seize the night! Join Gabriel Biderman and gain a solid foundation for creating better images once the sun goes down. In this class Gabe discusses all of the tools you’ll need, the importance of scouting locations, how to play with time and movement, and how to shoot everything from cityscapes to fireworks and start trails to moonlit landscapes. All along the way Gabe shares insightful tips, guidelines, and techniques to help you get the most out of your gear and your experience. By the end of the class you’ll be inspired to venture out and do more night photography.

In Case You Missed It
Join Dave Black for some lightpainting under the stars in Mono Lake and Bodie Ghost Town. Dave starts off with a walk through of all the gear needed for lightpainting before taking us through the importance of a site survey. Over the course of six different shoots in a variety of locations Dave shares all of the steps and settings needed to create stunning lightpainted starscapes. Each lesson is packed with tips, tricks, and lessons learned from Dave’s decades of experience. Dave is a master teacher, and his love for creating these photographs is truly infectious.