Monthly Archives July 2010

One of my most-asked questions during my last two Lightroom seminars was “How do I get my photos out of iPhoto and into Lightroom.” Matt got a lot of the same questions during his stops as well, so I asked Matt if he would do a short video for our students on how to make the move painless.

That video is up live over at Matt’s site (Here’s the link). Thanks Matt! :)


I just got the list of what the winner of the “Vincent Versace Award for Excellence in Digital Photography” (Affectionately known as “The Vinny”) which is awarded during the opening keynote presentation at the Photoshop World Conference & Expo), coming up next month in Las Vegas, and it is hands down, one of the most amazing photo competition prize packages in our entire industry!

Here’s what “The Vinny” winner will win:

An Epson Stylus Pro 3880 printer
An Xrite Color Munki and Passport
A Dynalite Strobe Kit
A Westcott 5 in 1 Reflector
The Complete Collection of onOne Software’s Photoshop plug-ins
The Complete Collection of Nik Software’s Photoshop Plug0ins
All of Acme Educational’s tutorial DVDs
A Hoodman Camera Loupe
An Induro Carbon Fiber Tripod
A Wacom Bluetooth  Tablet
An Expo disc
A Laser Etched Customized 13×19 Pina Zangaro portfolio
Lexar Compact Flash cards
A Lowepro Slingshot bag
Tuition to any workshop at Maine Media workshop
Tuition to Photofusion at Palm Beach Photographic Workshops
1 year subscription to Kelby Training Online
A signed copy of Vincent’s new book (coming out in October)
A signed copy of David Duchemin’s latest book
A signed print 24×30? Versace print
An individual serving packet of Vegemite.
Adobe Photoshop CS5

The competition is open to all attendees of the Photoshop World Conference & Expo (there’s no entry fee for registered conference attendees), and the presentation of the award takes place during the opening keynote on the morning of March 26th (the Vinny Award is a special category and every one that enters the photography category as part of the Photoshop World Guru Awards is eligible to win. The winner of the Vinny is chosen by Mr. Versace himself).

Beyond the prizes themselves, winning the prestigious Vinny Award has launched the careers of a number of well known names (including NAPP’s own Corey Barker, and Photoshop World instructor, retoucher and photographer David Cuerdon, just to name a few). If you’re going to Photoshop World, you’ve got to enter the competition (there is no entry fee), so there’s no reason not to enter.

Here’s where you’ll find the official rules and how to enter the Guru Awards competition, and qualify your photo to be up for the Vinny Award.

iTunes Cap

We’ve got a lot going on right now at Kelby Media Group, so here’s a quick update:

Last two days left to save $100 off Photoshop World Conference Registration
Just a quick reminder—Friday’s the cut-off for the “Save $100” Early Bird registration for Photoshop World Vegas (coming Sept 1-3). First, here’s a post I did about the last Photoshop World (in Orlando), with lots of photos. Secondly, here’s the link with all the details, travel discounts, and a link where you can register (I promise, you’ll have a blast!). Thirdly, I hope to meet you in person in Vegas! See you there!

Great Review of David’s Ziser’s “Captured By the Light”
OK, although this review starts with the reviewer giving me some heat for raving about the book so much, within a few a paragraphs, he agrees calling it “one of the best he’s ever read on the topic,” so, (whew!) he kind of lets me off the hook. (Well, kinda). Anyway, it’s a great review over at the Digital Wedding Forum (link).

Catch Corey at the “Photoshop Down & Dirty Tour” in Nashville Next Week!
Our own Photoshop Guy, Corey Barker, is taking our “Photoshop Down & Dirty Tricks” to the Nashville Convention Center next week, on Friday, August 6th. It is truly an amazing day, and I hope you can spend the day with Corey. You’ll learn so much your head will explode (in a good way, if there is such a thing). Here’s the link with details.

My “Photo Recipes App” featuring in the iTunes Store
One of my readers just brought this to my attention—my “Photo Recipes: Behind the Scenes” App (for the iPad and iPhone) has been featured on Apple’s iTunes Store (See above, and Whoo Hooo!). Thanks to the thousands of people have already bought the App, and I’m really excited about it (and the other stuff we have coming soon!). Here’s a direct link.

Photoshop World Pre-Conference Workshop Are Starting To Sell Out
Just a heads up if you’re going to Photoshop World: These optional pre-conference (the day before) workshop are already sold out:

  1. Creating Video with DSLR Cameras
  2. Channel & Masks
  3. On Location Wedding Shoot
  4. The NAPP Photo Safari

The HDR Crash Course workshop will be sold out by Monday as well. Also, in danger of selling out shortly is the “Real World Concert Photography” workshop (only 14 spots left).

One workshop that still has spots left, only because I think it’s totally mis-named, is James Schmelzer’s “Quality of Light” workshop, which is really a hands-on lighting class on shooting incredible Senior Portraits. Jim is a brilliant teacher (one of the best), and his Senior Portraiture classes on Kelby Training Online are a HUGE hit. In fact, if you sign up for his pre-conference workshop and you don’t absolutely just love it, come see me and I’ll refund your workshop registration fee on the spot (I’m that sure you’re going just love it).

You can find out more on the pre-conference workshops right here.

My Lightroom 3 Book is Now in Bookstores
I have a number of questions this past week about my Lightroom 3 Book for Digital Photographers, and I just wanted to let you know that it’s now in bookstores (actually has been for a few weeks now). Here’s a link to a short video with me describing what’s new in the Lightroom 3 version of the book (besides just the obvious new Lightroom 3 features), and you can buy the book right now online at either or Barnes & (online, or in their actual stores), or wherever cool Lightroom books are sold.

Kick Butt Tip from David Hobby on D-Town TV
We were very fortunate to have David Hobby (the Strobist Himself), on as an in-studio guest on D-Town TV (the free weekly show for Canon and Nikon DSLR shooters, hosted by Matt Kloskowski and myself), and David has an incredible tip for off-camera flash or location strobe shooters, that uses a camera trick, with a little bit of Photoshop, and it’s really brilliant. Plus, it’s super simple, which makes it even more brilliant. I tried his trick out yesterday on a location shoot I did in Downtown Tampa, I have to say, not only did it work like a charm, but I’ll be using it from now on! (Thanks David). Of course, there’s lots more in this episode (including a great tip for shooting still and video simultaneously from Moose Peterson). Here’s the link.

Cliff Mautner for President
Did Cliff Mautner’s Guest Post totally nail it yesterday or what!!!! Just read the comments (and Cliff’s replies as well), and you’ll see what I mean. His way of looking at wedding photography, and photography in general is really inspirational, and his images capture such depth and emotion. He truly is one a kind. Thank you Cliff for sharing your gift with my readers.

My FREE Lightroom Editing Online Class goes up at 12:00 noon EDT today
If you participated in my World Wide Photo Walk, and you missed my live Lightroom editing online class yesterday (held just for Walkers), don’t worry—we archived the class, and it’s totally free for you—you can watch any time, at your leisure, by going to the World Wide Photo Walk site (link), then log-in to your walker’s account, and you’ll see a replay of the live class. Again, it’s set to up at 12:00 noon EDT today. Thanks to everybody who watched live yesterday and asked some great live questions yesterday. Matt, RC, Nancy, and I had a ball!!!!

NOTE: We’ve got a LOT more TOTALLY FREE live, interactive training classes coming from Kelby Training very soon—more details to come, but I think you’re going to like it. A lot!

There even more happening here…
But I’ve got to hit the sack. Thanks for giving me a chance to share all the new stuff we’re working on with you. I feel very, very fortunate to get to teach for a living, and I’m indebted to all of you I’ve had the pleasure of teaching. Here’s wishing you a totally great Thursday!


Holy crap. The time has arrived. I’m blogging here today thanks to Matt Kloskowski, who stumbled into my Photo Plus seminar last year. During the presentation, Matt was amused by my ramblings, texted Scott multiple times to come take a look, and presto, I now find myself in unbelievable company teaching for Kelby Training. I was asked to be a guest blogger last fall, but my wedding schedule was out of control – so I asked Brad if I could delay it a bit. Truth be told, I had no idea what to write. Truth be told, I still have no idea what to write, but I suppose I’ll figure something out along the way. When I blog, I blog photographs, not words! I find it pretty darn funny that when someone tells you that you can write about anything you’d like, writer’s block sets in like rigor mortis.


I suppose, the first step would be to quickly let folks know who the heck I am, and why I was given the honor of guest blogging for Scott. I’ll work on the former… I’m a wedding photographer in the Philadelphia region, and I’ve been shooting professionally for a whopping 29 years. I’m only 48, so if ya do the math, I started getting “paid” for this stuff when I was a 19 year old college kid. 29 years in professional photography… there’s got to be some conversion we could do – sort of like dog years, only photographer years. It’s just about the only thing I’ve ever done for a paycheck, with the exception of the swell jobs my dad used to get me loading trucks in a meat warehouse in Newark, NJ when I was in college. Man, those jobs sucked, but I learned a ton about life.


After 6000 assignments during a 15 year career with the Philadelphia Inquirer, and after 750+weddings (haven’t really counted), I’ve never really looked back, until recently. I’ve been pretty damn fortunate to have made a living pushing a button for all these years. While I was certainly no star in the PJ world, I did get to meet people, see places, and experience things I’m incredibly grateful for. I loved photojournalism, and while you can take me out of photojournalism, you can’t take the photojournalism out of me.


When I first started at the Philadelphia Inquirer in 1985, the staff was ridiculously talented. I used to sneak peaks at the negs of some of those I admired most- Larry Price, Sarah Leen, Akira Suwa, Michael Viola, John Filo, Tom Gralish, and so many others. The Inquirer staff was like a Pulitzer factory.  So many great people to learn from, and be inspired by. My beat, generally, was the suburbs of Philadelphia- specifically, South Jersey. Elliot Erwitt once said, “You can take good pictures anywhere, you can even take good pictures in New Jersey.” I’d love for Mr. Erwitt to come to Deptford, NJ to shoot. He may change his mind. However, every once in a while….I’d make a picture I’d really like. Elliot Erwitt remains an inspiration to this day when I’m reminded that sometimes there’s a picture to be made just about anywhere.


I cut my teeth shooting local news, sports, politics, and features that were incredibly eclectic. Some were fun, some were dumb, some were hard, some were easy, some were sad, some were inspiring. Yet collectively, all were part of a learning process – a cumulative experience that I still call upon. Well, with the exception of the assignment I had in Audubon, NJ… “Cliff, there’s an odor in Audubon, we need art for B-1 tomorrow, go make something, here’s the address”…. Um, huh? A photo of an odor? As assignments go, it wasn’t as bad as my friend Dan Johnson’s assignment when he had to photograph a controversial purple house out of place in an historic district… yes, they ran it in B+W. But I digress.


In 1998, after 15 years doing what I loved, The Philadelphia Inquirer and the Newspaper Guild had, well, a little disagreement, and I found myself one of the odd men out. So, I did what several self respecting out of work photojournalists do – I shot anything I could – corporate events, ad work, public relation events, grip and grins, product shots, brochures, and just about anything else for a buck- including a foray into the wonderful, wacky world of wedding photography.


I first began shooting weddings with a massive chip on my shoulder. I thought weddings were a bit of a joke, and to some people – maybe those who’ve never shot them – they still are. However, I quickly learned that besides the fact that they were NOT a joke. The moments I was able to capture for my clients were incredibly satisfying to both the client, and myself. It didn’t take very long before I was able to plant my feet firmly on the ground from a business standpoint- developing strong relationships with venues, floral designers, musicians, and other photographers – all of which are essential to the success of anyone in the wedding biz. However, I felt like it took some time for me to evolve photographically.  I mean, I was pleasing my clients, and I was making some money, but it wasn’t until I began to learn how to use light that my style began to evolve.


Evolution! That’s what I’ll blog about! It only took me several paragraphs of rambling nonsense, but I’m on it. Now, I’m the first to admit that some wedding photographers take themselves, and their work, way too seriously sometimes. Nonetheless, it’s still an important genre to those who need us most- the families we work for. When I first began shooting weddings, I thought I was doing pretty good work. I’d pick out 15-20 images from a wedding and included them into whatever marketing attempts I was making.


A year or two later, I was selecting fewer and fewer images to include into my portfolio. As the years passed, it took so much more to make the cut. A few years after that, I found myself selecting fewer and fewer images from each wedding to include into a portfolio. Jump to today. It takes quite a bit to satisfy me now. I work my ass off each and every wedding. However, I may only LOVE a few select images in an entire year. Now, before you jump to the conclusion that I completely suck, you must first understand that as time passes, as your work evolves, and as you become more critical of your own work, your standards are set by what you’ve accomplished in the past. This, in turn, makes you better, and more consistent as a professional. The few images I make per year that I love are what keeps me going in this business. If I can make one or two during the year, I’d consider it a pretty good year.  Just the feeling I get – the spine chilling sensation that occurs every blue moon – is more than enough to remind me that I thoroughly continue to LOVE being a photographer.  I don’t care whether you’re a commercial shooter, portrait shooter, or product shooter, the feeling is the same. The feeling that you just created something special. I mean, that’s why you’re even reading Scott’s blog to begin with – the passion we have for the craft.


With this mantra, hopefully, the level of work I produce continues to evolve. I strive to reset my standards week in and week out. In essence, if I became completely satisfied with my work, I’d never evolve. The lesson here, in a half serious tone, is to hate your work sooner, rather than later! You’ll evolve faster, I promise.

Now, please don’t interpret any of this to mean that I hate everything I shoot. That’s not my message. On the contrary. It’s more about a search for the photographic holy grail – something you’ll never find. If you do, it’s time to quit. That’s my message, in a nutshell. I’ve selected a few wedding images below that I still like quite a bit, and hopefully that some people will even remember.


Evolution of style means so many things to so many different photographers. In my opinion, the only way to develop your style is to make sure your technical abilities and fundamentals are completely, and utterly innate. Your camera needs to be an extension of your mind’s eye. If you’re too concerned with F-stops, shutter speeds,  ISO’s, focusing, and achieving accurate exposures, you’ll NEVER develop a style. If you find yourself struggling with the basics, you’ll struggle even more with composition, and other elements that make up your style. And, don’t even get me started on the subject of light. I mean, heck, light is everything. Joe McNally, a man who I admire a great deal says it best when he talks about “the language of light”. Talk about inspiration… Go see this man speak, BTW. Anyway, light is just about everything in photography. That is, everything AFTER you’ve taken care of the small stuff – exposures, lens selection, composition, and all of that other insignificant stuff. I try to create texture, dimension, and mood with my lighting. That’s what I find compelling. That’s what I try to teach.










My goal as part of Scott’s online training team is to help empower photographers with the skillset needed to go after a style of their own. The wedding photography industry is chock full of homogenized work, and if you’re going to survive in this business, it’ll take more that a fancy blog and social networking to keep paying the bills. My friend David Williams, terrific photographer and educator from down under, preaches “skillsets before action sets”. I developed my Lighting and Skillset Bootcamp to teach just that. I’ll be sharing whatever I can with the Kelby team to drive that same message home.  I hope I’ve connected with at least a few of you out there, and I can’t thank Scott enough for the opportunity he’s given me.

You can see more of Cliff’s work at or keep up with him at his blog. And if you’re a Kelby Training Online subscriber, check out his class The Essentials of Wedding Creativity that just went up a few days ago!