Monthly Archives November 2009


Looking at photography is one of my favorite pass-times. It’s awesome how the great photographers can make me actually feel the moment of capture. I enjoy the greatness of their talent. What a trap.

As if photography wasn’t full time enough, lately I’ve been charging head down in an ancillary effort to learn what drives people to create. Research, writing, listening and conducting interviews across all disciplines while dissecting my own work.

Most photographers I know can recall nearly every click of the shutter, and those book-worthy gems capture more than just a replica of the moment. We own the image more than the others. There was nothing tentative about the instant we pressed the shutter. There it is – Got it.

My latest talk was with one of the most gifted guitarists I know; a long time professional of both studio and live performances. Recounting the time when he first entered the studio after touring live, he shared a moment of struggle to get something respectable on tape. What probably seemed harsh at the time was sage in its simplicity:
“It all starts from your fingers, I’m just trying to get on tape what you’re sending me” – was the curt response from the engineer.

Since I’m not a musician what I heard was, “It all starts at your eyes”. It doesn’t start at your camera. It doesn’t start with the file download or the choice of a good post artist. I’m a photographer, it starts at my eyes.

It took a musician to remind a photographer that ignoring a seemingly trite perspective can make one tentative. There’s no truth in your work unless you not only understand that it starts from your eyes, but own it like a born again evangelist.

You can view Part II of Will’s interview here.

The trick to looking at photographs is to surround yourself with the art – the emotion. The moment questions start, abandon the effort. Comparisons keep me from starting the photograph from my eyes. Comparisons turn me tentative. Could I do that? No. It’s a trap, there’s no truth found by going there.

You can view Bruce’s photography at, and read more of his thoughts on creativity at his blogazine


If you’re in the San Diego area, Dave Cross and RC Concepcion, are coming to San Diego this Friday with our Adobe CS4 Creative Suite Unleashed Tour, and then onto Boston on December 1st. If you haven’t had a chance to catch this special Adobe-sponsored tour, you don’t want to miss it, as they cover everything from Illustrator to InDesign, from Photoshop to Flash, and how it all works together.

This special tour is only $49 (or just $39 for NAPP members), and you can get all the details, or sign up, right here. Hope we’ll see you San Diego on Friday, or in Boston in just a few weeks!

Hi Gang: I have just 12 minutes this morning to write this news and stuff. Here goes:

Tampa Love (vague reference to Tupac)
Thanks to the 500+ photographers who came out to my Photoshop seminar in Tampa yesterday. What a fantastic group to present. Even had Manuel Obordo (one of the two guys who originally taught me Photoshop) stop by and say hi. It was an awesome day and a great way to wrap up the tour for this year.

Catch my interview on TechTock Radio
I did an in-depth interview Jack Howard on Adorama’s Tech Talk radio show, and we covered everything from Photoshop ethics to retouching ethics to…well…you name it, because we covered a lot of ground. Here’s the link to check it out.

Lightroom on Alltop
I didn’t know this until this week, but now has a page dedicated to Lightroom blogs, and you can check it out right here.

Lightroom Collections Questions Answer Man
Thanks to TrevJ (one of my readers) for helping field Lightroom questions here on the blog yesterday while I was teaching my seminar. I’m a bit underwater today, but I’ll try and catch any others today when I come up for air. That’s again TrevJ!

Made the Top 20 Gift List
Thanks to Camera 47 for including my “Digital Photography Book Volume 3” in their 2nd annual holiday “20 photography gifts under $100 list.” Here’s the list (Lots of great stuff on their list).

Scott Bourne on Social Media Marketing for Photographers
I just got my copy of PPA’s excellent “Professional Photographer” magazine, and in this issue is a fantastic article on Social Media Magnate Scott Bourne, and in the article, Scott shares some amazing insights on building and working social media for photographers. You can download a PDF of the article here (even if you’re not into the marketing aspects of this—download the article just to see some of his great images!).

Taping an Online Class Today on Getting Killer Prints From Your Epson Printers
Dan “Dano” Steinhard is at the Kelby Training Studio today as Dano and I are filming an online class for Kelby Training on how to get the best possible prints from your Epson printers. Dano was at my Tampa Seminar yesterday and we had a chance to catch up at lunch, and he has a really brilliant class outline, and it’s really going to help a lot of photographers big time! I’ll let you know when it goes live (it’ll still be a few weeks in production after taping).

Good on Getty!
I just got word that Getty Images is once again funding two major grants for photographers in the coming year. Here’s how they describe them, “Getty Images Grants for Editorial Photography was established in 2004 to enable emerging and established photojournalists to pursue projects of personal and editorial merit. Getty Images will again award five professional photojournalism grants of $20,00 each and four student grants of $5,000 each, annually.” The 2nd reads, “Getty Images Grants for Good was launched in 2009 to involve the creative and nonprofit communities. In the program’s first year, the participation of a creative agency was optional, but is now a requirement in the application process in 2010.  This change ensures that all grant proposals will benefit from an agency’s strategic guidance as to how the imagery will be used by the nonprofit.” For more details, click here.

That’s it for today.
Gotta run. Have a good one!


Last week when I ran my “10 Things I wish I Could Tell New Lightroom Users” post (link), one of the 10 things I talked about was using Collections rather than Folders, and I had a number of follow-up questions on my collections workflow, so I thought I’d break it out a bit here. Here’s what I do:


STEP ONE: Make a Collection Set
Immediately after importing my photos into Lightroom, I go to the Collections panel and from the pop-out menu I choose “New Collection Set”, as shown above (which is kind of like a big folder I can put other collections inside to stay organized. It’s empty at this point, just like when you create a new folder on your computer). I’ll name this Collection Set “Tuscany.”

STEP TWO: Deleting the obvious mistakes
Before I do anything else, I quickly scroll through the images I just imported and delete any images that are obviously mistakes (Ones that are totally out of focus, or solid black, or shots where I accidentally took a shot of my foot, or the ground, or anything that so bad that even as a small thumbnail I can tell—-this needs to be deleted now).


STEP THREE: Create a “Full Shoot” Collection
Now that the obviously bad ones have been deleted (from Lightroom, and from my hard disc), I Select All, then press Command-N (PC: Ctrl-N) to put all the photos into a new collection (as shown above). When the New Collection dialog appears, I make sure this new collection appears within the Collection Set I created in the previous step.


STEP FOUR: Find the Winners and Losers
I double-click on the first image (to enlarge the size), then I press Shift-Tab (to hide all the panels), then I press the letter “L” twice. This puts my photo center screen, with a black background around my photo, so all the distractions are out of the way. Now I use the right arrow keys to move through the images to mark just two things: (1) Which ones are so bad that they should be deleted [really bad ones I missed when just looking at small thumbnails), and (2) The really good shots from the shoot—-ones the client might actually see.

STEP FIVE: Separate the Best Shots
I turn on the filter so only the ones I marked as really good are showing. Now I do a “Select All” and put those in their own collection called “Picks.” At this point, inside my main Tuscany Collection Set I have two Collections:

(1) The Full Shoot (minus the really bad ones)
(2) Picks (the keepers—the ones that could possibly wind up being seen by the client)

STEP SIX: Narrow it down to just the very Best Shots
I don’t want to send my client 80 or 90 photos—–I’d rather do the photo editing and edit things down to the best of the best. Maybe 15 or 20 shots max (more likely, less). So, I go through the Picks collection and find the very best ones, and mark them as so.


STEP SEVEN: One Last Collection of “The best of the Best”
Then I turn the filter on again to just show those I marked as the best. I Select All and put them into a Collection, and name it “Selects.” These are the ones I email to the client, or post in a Web gallery for them to proof. Now I have three collections inside my Collection Set (as seen above).

How this works for me:

(1) If I want to see all the shots from this shoot, I’m one click away—I click “Full Shoot”
(2) If I want to see just the good shots—the keepers–I click “Picks”
(3) But most of the time, all I really care about in the future are the very best shots from that day—-so I click “Selects”

If I’m shooting an event, like a Wedding, or Sporting Event, I use the same basic idea, but I use more Collections inside my Collection Set (as shown below).


Now, you could actually break these groups of three info their own Collection Sets inside the Collection Set, which I sometimes do, but since they all appear together (thanks to the magic of alphabetizing), I don’t have to (but again, sometimes I still do. If things gets crazy [lots of collections] then I usually do).

Well, there you have it—a look at how I arrange my own Collections in Lightroom. This obviously won’t work for everybody, but I’ve tried a number of different options, and for me this way is quick, simple, and consistent. Also, using this method is much, much faster than it looks here in print—the whole process moves along really quickly, and gets you down to the ones you’ll actually show the client (or your friends) very quickly.

I hope that answers at least some of the questions from last week. :)


P.S. I’m teaching my “Photoshop for Digital Photographers” tour today in Tampa, so I won’t be able to answer any questions until later this evening, but during the lunch break I will take at look at your comments.

Last week we called the guys over at and asked if they would run a special deal just for readers of this blog on the exact same type of prints and mounting that I order from them all the time.

I usually order 16×20″ prints on Metallic Paper, and then I get them mounted on black foam core. Everybody loves the way they look with that paper and black mounting, so I thought it would be the perfect one for a special like this. (Watch the really short video I did above to see an example of what I’m talking about).

I also use these mounted prints fairly often as gifts (I have MPIX ship the mounted prints directly to the person I want to send the gift, and I can’t tell you what a great reaction it gets—especially since they ship flat in a large thin box).

Anyway, for this weekend only, readers of this blog can upload your image to them, and they’ll create that same 16×20″ metallic print of your image mounted on foam core for just $28.93 each (plus shipping). This deal (which would normally run you $34.04) expires at Midnight CST this Sunday, and you have to enter this special promo code when you check out to get your discount:


Don’t forget to enter that promo code—or you’ll have to pay the full price (15% more). Also, under Framing and Mounting, choose Foam Core. Here’s the link to so you can set up your account (it only takes two minutes), and upload your image(s). Anyway, once you get your print (or prints), drop me a comment here on the blog to let me know what you think.

Thanks to Joe, John and the gang at MPIX for hooking my readers up with this weekend deal. You guys rock!

The fairly embarrassing “behind the scenes/not so best-of” video clip above is designed to distract you from the fact that two days ago we should have launched the new 13-week season of Photoshop User TV on our new set, with our new format (so go ahead and watch that video clip now—-it helps ease the pain).

In short, here’s what happened: When we showed up to tape the show last week, we all kind of realized that everything wasn’t quite in place yet (ugh!). The set is much larger than before, and as soon as we started blocking the segments, we realized that we needed a lot more studio lighting than we thought, so we ordered a whole new lighting set-up from Westcott (they make video lighting, too and we already use their stuff on our green screen set and it rocks, so we’re totally relighting our real set with their lights). The lighting should be here today, as well as some mounts we’re missing for the video panels, and well…it all just wasn’t ready yet, so once again, we wait.

Anyway, you all have been really (overly) patient while we’re getting this all together, so thanks for hanging in there with us. Dave, Matt, and I are really excited about the new format, and we think you guys will totally dig it, if we can just get everything together and launch this new season. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we can shoot the season premiere early next week.

Once we get that done, we can move onto getting D-Town TV up and running on its new set and get that baby launched. I know, I know….one thing at a time. Ugh!