Monthly Archives December 2009

helpp1On Saturday morning, Brad, Matt, RC and I were very fortunate to be a part of the amazing Help-Portrait movement put together by  photographer Jeremy Cowart, and it truly is something special. I didn’t realize how special Help-Portrait was until I actually participated this weekend.

We were part of a group of photographers and retouchers that did portraits at Operation PAR, a women’s drug abuse treatment center. There are about 70 women and their children that live in a ‘village’ operated by the center, and we had 17 photographers and assistants shooting, but just Matt, Brad and I doing all the editing, retouching, and output.

We decided to do the printing as well, so we could deliver a finished 8×10 and a sheet with a 4×6″ print and four wallet-sized prints, right there on the spot. The day really had it’s ups and downs, as your heart just so went out to these women (many with young children, and a number that were pregnant), but then when you saw their reaction to the finished images, it just lifted you right back up.


That’s Matt and I retouching (above) as photo assistant Pam Hazelwood waits for us to finish up a retouch or two late in the day.( iPhone Photo by Brad Moore).

The moment that it really hit for me how special Help-Portrait is, was when a mother tearfully told me that this was the first photo even taken of her two-year-old son. There were a lot of tears on both sides of the lens, but luckily there were some real tears of joy, too as they got their photos, and beautiful photos of their children.

Of course, we were just one small link in a very big chain that reached around the world as photographers and retouchers were doing the same thing all over the US, and all over the world, touching the lives of so many people who otherwise couldn’t afford to have a professional portrait made. Please take a moment to share in this day, and visit the Help-Portrait Website, right now, and then next year join in yourself and become part of something very special. I promise you, it’ll be one of the most enriching and important things you do all year.


P.S. A big thanks to my assistant, photographer Brad Moore for all he did so we could be a part of this very special movement, and to Jeremy Cowart for having the idea, and taking the initiative to make a real difference in the world.

We put together a special BONUS “Insider’s Guide” to Photoshop User TV to let people, who are new to the show, in on all the silly inside jokes that have become part of the show during our four years of taping.

It’s all here: Pointy-Choppy; the horse jokes, jazz hands, “tips,” steam, cat sounds—you name it. It’s totally just for fun, so hope you enjoy it. :)


All right you guys—I convinced the crew here to give absolutely the best deal, hands-down, in the history of Kelby Training Online for “This Weekend Only.”

Only $149 for a full year—every trainer, every class (including my new Light it, Shoot it, Retouch it classes), the whole ball of wax. That’s it. Period. No, you can’t combine it with any other discounts, or anything else—just $149 for an entire year (that’s less than $3 a week!).

As usual, this “This Weekend Only” special deal expires at 12:00 midnight EST on this Sunday Night.

>> Here’s the SPECIAL LINK to get this deal (you have to use this link). <<

There ya go! This would make an awesome Holiday Gift for…well….anybody! :-)

P.S. If you just want to look at all the classes, and see what we offer, click this link instead.

Hi Gang: As we head into the weekend, here’s what’s up:


McNally Scores Big!
First, a big congrats to our buddy Joe McNally, whose book, “The Moment it Clicks” has been honored with a prestigious 2009 HOT ONE Award from Professional Photographer magazine (here’s the link). Way to go, Big Joe!!!!

A Big Thanks to Bart Babinski
Bart was my guest blogger on Wednesday, and as Howard Schatz’s assistant continued our series featuring the photo assistants of famous photographers. I don’t know if you got to read Bart’s post, but here’s what one of my readers had to say, “Brilliant article. A perfect explanation of the passion for learning. Loved it.” I agree. If you missed it, go back to Wednesday and check it out (plus, there’s a couple of nudie naked photos of nakedness, which is always a plus). ;-)

A Photographers Guide to Avoiding Common Business Mistakes Class Live
Another amazingly insightful online class is now online at Kelby Training, this one is from our copyright experts; intellectual property attorney Ed Greenberg, and Photographer’s copyright advocate Jack Reznicki. This is the final segment in their series which has covered everything from model releases to how to register your copyright to protect your work, and now they’re covering common mistakes. This has been an amazing series, so make sure you check out this latest installment (here’s the link).

A Great Learning Tool for Photographers with an iPhone
This new App, called Strobox, lets you create sketches of lighting layouts and even share them with other people. You can drag and drop in a background, a strobe, a softbox—you name it. Now, you might be thinking, “When would I ever use that?” I can tell you where I’ve used a computer-based version of the same thing (except it was a layered Photoshop file). I use it when I go to workshops, or spend time working with another photographer. I can totally map out the lightning set-up they used right there on my phone in just seconds—it’s a great tool for doing just that, and best of all—it’s free!!! Here’s the link.

PhotoFocus Picks Their “Photo Educator of The Year”
I just learned yesterday that had chosen me as their “Photo Educator of the Year,” and am just so honored that they chose to honor me with this award. Although it’s my name on Kelby Training, it’s an organization of nearly 90 full-time employees, and a group of dedicated and truly gifted individuals, and it takes every single of one of them to do what we do as a training organization, and I couldn’t do any of this without them, and I’m so blessed to get to work alongside them, who all share this honor with me today. I want you guys to know that the wonderful people at did the very best thing for me they could possibly do, and that is to send the award in the form of a donation to Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep, which is an outstanding organization (link) that we feel very strongly about at Kelby Training, and it was so fitting that they chose them. My humble thanks to everyone at PhotoFocus who nominated me.

Thanks PC World Magazine!
A shout out to the folks at PC World magazine who included my book, “The Photoshop CS4 Book for Digital Photographers” in their Holiday Gift Guide for digital photographers. Here’s the link.

Another great Gear Guide for Photographers
My buddy Jeff Revell over at Photo Walk Pro put together a really nice gift list this year over at his blog, with some suggestions I hadn’t even thought about (but includes some that will end up on my personal gift list this year). Here’s the link (really nice job, Jeff). :)

That’s it for today
There’s probably more, but I’m beat! Have a great Friday, and a fantastic weekend!

If you look back to August 26, you’ll remember that my buddy Jeremy Cowart used his guest blog spot to announce the idea of Help-Portrait.  If you don’t know what Help-Portrait is about, take a couple of minutes to watch this video.  If you watch this thing without tearing up, you need to check your pulse :)

Well, the big day is this Saturday! So if you haven’t already signed up, go take a look at the community section of the Help-Portrait site and find a group in your area that could use your help. But you don’t have to be a photographer to help out!  Some events will need makeup artists, stylists, retouchers, people who are there to lend a hand with other random things, and any number of needs. If you can’t find any events in your area, or if the existing groups already have enough help, you can do something on your own!

It doesn’t have to be a big production (or even this Saturday for that matter).  You could go across the street, knock on that single parent’s door and ask if they’d like to have a family portrait made. Then when you go back to deliver the print, you can bring something else they may need. Diapers, groceries, toys, or something else they could use help with.  It’s not just about giving someone a picture; it’s about something bigger than that.

So take some time out of your schedule this holiday season and give someone a gift that they’ll cherish forever… Hope.




If you’re looking for a really unique holiday gift for the photographer on your list (or you just want a really cool t-shirt that nobody else will have), AND you totally love the idea that 100% of the profits go to feeding and caring for kids in a orphanage in Kenya that you guys helped to build (see below), then man have I got a holiday gift idea for you!

I came up with the idea for these off-camera flash t-shirts earlier this year, and with the gracious help of the folks over at, you can order yours today in different colors and styles (men’s and ladies’ versions) , and sweatshirt and hoodie designs, and if you don’t want the t-shirt, there’s even a coffee cup for the off-camera flash geek on your holiday gift list.


There are four different shirt designs:

  • Group A, Channel 1
  • Group B, Channel 2
  • Group C, Channel 3
  • Group D, Channel 4

and the coffee cup, and you can find ’em all right here.

Note: The Springs of Hope Kenya Orphanage was built this year from the ground up with financial help from the readers of this blog who have adopted this orphanage as their own. The orphanage is now fully open (they finally got electricity, which was a big hurdle), and they are housing and feeding some really wonderful kids, including their latest orphan who is HIV positive.

This is one of two fund raisers I’ve got planned for the end of the year, and I’m very grateful for your continued support of these very deserving children. If you’re not a t-shirt person, but want to help feed these kids, you can make a PayPal donation to Springs of Hope right here.