Monthly Archives February 2011

Last Tuesday I shot the Orlando Magic vs. the LA CLippers—-my first NBA game shoot of the year (and only my third NBA game shoot ever), and thought I’d share a few shots from the game here.

The Fisheye Strikes Again!
When my buddy Erik Kuna (head of our Video Operations) and I got to the brand new Amway Center arena in Orlando, the doors hadn’t opened yet, so I grabbed my 10.5mm fisheye lens and headed up as high as I could go to capture this view of the arena. I actually took quite a few HDR shots while I was up there, and processed them using three different HDR programs, but I didn’t think any of them looked as good as just the single image with Nik Software’s Color Efex Pro 3.0 applied using the preset “Tonal Contrast” and that’s what you see above (click on the image for a much larger view).

What a Difference an Extra 100mm Makes
This was the first basketball game I got to shoot with my 300mm f./2.8 lens, and I have to say having that extra 100mm made a bigger difference than I thought. The past two games I just had my 70-200mm, which works pretty well when they’re down at the end of the court where I’m shooting from, but when they were at the other end, I got to the point where I just laid my camera in my lap and waited for the action to come my way.

But with the 300mm, I spent most of my time shooting at the other end of the court, because when I turned the camera vertically, I could fill the screen with the action. Plus, you can’t compare the quality of the shallow depth of field at f/2.8 on the 300mm with the 200mm. There’s just something really special about it.

On my 2nd body: the 24-70mm f/2.8
When the action did come to my end, I mostly shot with my 24-70mm f/2.8 so I could capture wide shots like this (cropped using my Cinematic Cropping technique–link). Of course, I missed a bunch of tight-in stuff around the basket, but I was able to grab a few with my 70-200mm (I switched back and forth between the 70-200mm and the 24-70mm during the game).

Above: Here’s one of those shots caught with the 70-200mm, at 112mm (and even at that I cut off the Magic player’s feet). That’s the Clipper’s 6’10” star rookie Blake Griffin in mid air shot above.

Above: One of my favorite shots from the game. I just love the expression on Blake’s face.

Above: Orlando’s superstar Center, 6’11” Dwight Howard jams one during the first period. By the end of the game, I had so many shots of player’s jamming the ball, I intentionally had to look to shoot something else. Thanks to that 300mm I’ve got ’em hanging from the rim, going up in the air from every angle, and lots of shots along those same lines, like the one you see below shot at the far end of the court.

Above: here’s one more uncropped 300mm shot, and you can see why I love this lens for getting in tight. I shot at 1,250 to 1,600 ISO all night (the lighting in this new arena was really pretty darn good).

Above: Here’s my final shot of the game; of Clipper’s 6’11’ Center DeAndre Jordan (the other famous Jordan basketball player). I actually did get to see Michael Jordan play once in my life, in Orlando, when the Bulls played the Magic many years ago. My brother and I drove over and bought tickets from a scalper outside the arena. We paid quite a bit, because our seats were right down in front. At least, that’s why the scalpers printed arena seat map showed, but once we actually got inside, we learned they had reversed the seat map and our Row AA seats, weren’t down low, but at the beginning of the top section. It was still great (and we got to watch the last period from some great seats down low).

Another Learning Experience
Every time I shoot another game, I learn a lot more. Having the right equipment here helped a lot, but sitting directly next to the guy shooting for AP Wire Service was a bigger education. I paid close attention to when he shot, what he was shooting (I peaked quite a lot while he was chimping), and which lenses he used when (yup, he had a 300mm too, plus a camera mounted on the basket which he fired remotely with a Pocket Wizard). Like anything you want to get good at, it takes practice, and although I felt like I did much better at this game than I had at my previous two, I still need a lot more practice. Luckily, that’s something I’m not afraid to do.

Above: Erik Kuna took this shot of me (shooting out wide at 24mm), from the other end of the court (we got split up on opposite ends because it was unusually crowded with photographers that night). You can see me in the middle, a very nice NAPP member I met shooting the game, and the guy from AP who unwittingly helped me learn a lot that night. Click for a larger view.

One more thing
Nothing makes the game better than a win for the home team, and the Magic did just that, beating the Clippers 101 to 85.

My thanks to my buddy Erik, to the Magic’s Dante Marchitelli, and to all the great folks at the Orlando Magic for having me and Erik, and for how great they treat photographers shooting the game. It totally rocked!

I mentioned earlier this week that back on Monday we invited some NAPP members to come to our headquarters (just outside Tampa, Florida), and be a part of a full dress rehearsal/dry run for my upcoming “Light It, Shoot it, Retouch It Live!” nationwide tour (inspired by my series of classes with the same name on Kelby Training Online). Well, I got some images from Brad and I thought I’d share them here with you guys on the blog.

The idea of this day was to get in front of a live audience, do the entire seminar from start to finish (with all the lighting set-ups, shooting, and then retouching, editing, and finishing of the photos in Photoshop), and then get live, on the spot feedback from the attendees about anything they wanted added, addressed in more detail, and generally anything I could do to make the day more valuable to them. Well, I’m happy to say, the experiment worked even better than I had hoped (and the tour will be that much better because of it).

OK, that’s me goofing off above while Brad was taking production shots (Nothing is more handsome than having a wire hanging off your face, eh?) Anyway, the audience was absolutely fantastic—I couldn’t have asked for a better group. They were totally into it, and a HUGE help with lots of insights, great questions, and requests that I was able to add directly to the detailed seminar workbook before it goes to press. By the way; you’d think I would have retouched that funky dent in my hair on the top left side, but after seeing this shot, I actually took it a step further and went and got my hair cut today. :)

Here I am doing bunny ears. It was that kind of day. We had three different professional models working with us during the day (two women and a man), and we went through different lighting set-ups for different looks, then we did the full portrait retouches, and ended each segment with finishing off the photos, and adding portrait effects and some fun Photoshop tricks (including a whole segment on compositing).

I really want this tour to be something that will help a lot of people by showing the complete process from empty room to finished image, and I owe a debt of thanks to everyone who came that day to help make the tour the best it can be. Thanks for all your feedback, great input, and for being such a great crowd to present to. You guys rocked it! :-)

This was, hands down, one of the most fun seminars I’ve ever taught, because we covered so much ground in so little time, and everything happened in real time. I’ll have cities and dates coming next week (the tour kicks off in just a few weeks), so stay tuned.

Thanks to everyone who pointed out the problem with the RSS feed for this blog. I’m not quite certain why it happened, but whatever it was, I think (hope) we have it fixed now. If not, just let me know, and somehow we’ll track it down.

(By the way; that RSS graphic above, courtesy of, fits the “RSS Gone Wild” headline better than you might think, because once you get to my age, having a box of popcorn like that [with all its salt, saturated fat, butter, empty calories, carbs, and everything else that makes it taste incredibly yummy like you can’t believe] is literally living on the wild side). Man, this getting older stuff is a blast (but of course, it beats the alternative). ;-)

Sorry about that. Now back to your regularly scheduled somethin’ er other.

Have you ever wanted to go on location with a world-renowned entertainment photographer and look over their shoulder while they’re doing a photo shoot?  This is your opportunity!

As you’ll see in the short promo video above, Scott Kelby takes you On Location with Jeremy Cowart in Venice, CA to see how he assesses an area, zeroes in on his frame, and makes the most out of a location in a short amount of time.  Using only one light and a reflector the entire day, Jeremy shows you how to capture unique images by utilizing creative compositions, textures, and shapes.

So hop on over to Kelby Training Online and catch On Location with Jeremy Cowart, Parts 1 and 2.  And keep an eye out for Jeremy’s next class where he shoots album artwork for a band on-location in Nashville!

Get Your Photos on the Web by RC Concepcion
Getting images on the web today could not be cheaper or easier–if photographers just knew how. But they don’t need to learn coding, design, programming, or scripting anymore. They need to know where to go to get the tools they actually need, and how to put it all together. In his brand new book, Get Your Photos On The Web, Rafael “RC” Concepcion provides what so many photographers need as he lays out a step-by-step plan for exactly how to do it.

You can see a preview of the book over at Amazon, which includes Scott’s foreword where he talks about how the idea for the book came about, the table of contents, and some of the opening pages. The copies we send out from here will be signed by RC himself for everyone who pre-orders his book from, or you can also order from Barnes & Noble. Go place your order today!

iPhone Book
If you’re picking up the long-awaited Verizon iPhone today, you might also find Scott Kelby and Terry White’s The iPhone Book helpful!  Place your order with Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Also, check out the 10 Must Have iPhone Apps for the New Verizon iPhone Owner!

Photoshop World
If you’re looking to attend Photoshop World Orlando, you only have a few weeks left to save an extra $100 off the registration price. The Early Bird Deadline is Friday, February 25.

If saving an extra $100 isn’t motivation enough, we’ve created some great deals as part of our Gimme Five! promotion.

Whether you’re looking to get a free Speed Pass or attend an $89 pre-conference workshop for FREE, you’ll have the chance to enhance your Photoshop World experience with one of five hot deals from Monday, February 14 – Friday, February 18. Stay tuned to for more info on these amazing deals!

Valentine’s Day Sale
Nothing says “love” like Kelby Training Books and DVDs, so we’re having a Valentine’s Day sale starting on 2/11 through 2/14! Check out the amazingly sweet low prices on select DVDs and books over starting tomorrow.

Kelby Training Live
Dave Cross
is bringing his Photoshop CS5 Power User Tour to Tampa on February 17, and Richmond, VA on February 21!

Ben Willmore is coming to Salt Lake City on Febrary 23 and San Jose on February 25 with his Photography & Photoshop CS5: From Focus to Finished Tour.

You can register and get info on these and other tours over at

A Photo Assistant
If you’re a photo assistant or looking to get into assisting, check out for some great articles with tips and advice. It’s managed by Tim Olsen, a guy with more than 10 years experience assisting on all sorts of different types of shoots.  As he shares stories from his various experiences, there’s always something to glean that will help you next time you’re on set.

That’s all the pimpy for this week.  This is Brad, signing off! Have a great day :)

Sitting here in front of the computer having just come off an 8-day assignment, I’m struggling to come up with an opening to this post. Beginnings are often the hardest part of any venture and this seems to be no exception. I have a pretty good idea of what the substance of this post will be, just not how to begin it. Glancing over some previous guest blogs, there seems to be two different approaches to the opening – either dive right into the main topic or start off slowly with a thank you. The second option sounds like it’s as good a way as any, so let me firstly thank Scott, Brad and the team here for the opportunity to contribute a guest blog. It is indeed an honor to be here amongst so many talented, creative photographers.

Introductions are probably in order about now, so I should mention that I’m not the funny guy on TV. We share a name but that’s as far as the similarities go. What I am is an Asia (Taiwan to be specific) based travel, cultural and environmental photographer. I actually come from Australia but it’s been close to a decade since I’ve called it home.

In late 2009, I started giving some thought to a long term project that would promise to be a test of patience and discipline. Initially I was thinking along the lines of a 365 photo a day type project but it didn’t really gel in my mind. My aim was to start something on January 1st 2010 and have it run for a year. A 365 fits perfectly but I felt that the idea of such wasn’t right. I needed something more and so hit on the idea of putting together a daily phototip series. A bit of Googling suggested that no one had started and finished something so strictly defined although plenty of people have certainly posted more than 365 tutorials over time. It excited me from the outset, and promised to be a bit more of a challenge than just creating a daily photograph. I promised myself that I’d try to offer more substance than a simple one or two sentence tip. It would be quite easy to simply write something like “obey the rule of thirds” or “when shooting portraits, shoot wide open to create a nice bokeh” and pass that off as a phototip. More of a challenge would be to explain why it’s useful to do these things, and expand on those basics. And so it began. The first week of 2010 saw tips concerning creative white balance, metadata presets in Lightroom, off-center portrait composition, sunsets, vintage filter effects, access and leading lines.

The aim was to mix things up. I wanted the phototip series to appeal to photographers of all levels and abilities. For every entry-level tip such as sunny 16 and basic workflow, I tried to balance it with advice that’d be of use to working photographers with things such as copyright, business resources and shooting for your book.

For the first few months, coming up with a daily tip was fairly easy. In the weeks prior to starting the project, I made a list of as many areas to cover as I could think of, and then slowly worked my way through them. Ideas were jotted down in notebooks while riding in taxis, or recorded in Evernote on my phone and synced back to my computer. Others came up almost spontaneously as I sat down to write. Some stemmed from workshops I gave and classes I taught while others came from workshops I attended (thank you Joe McNally) and books or blogs I read.

That was the first few months. Then it got harder and a lot more time consuming. By the end of the year, it got to the point where I was spending 2-3 hours a day trying to think up and write a tip. Trying not to repeat myself, and also to keep it interesting for readers became a real challenge. I was determined however not to give up. My progress was marked in 50’s. I’d only look that far ahead which allowed myself to think “only 30 (20, 10 etc) to go. Once I reached a 50, I’d start again. It made it seem a lot more achievable than if I’d thought “250 to go”. The final month though ended up being perhaps the easiest of the lot. I had leftover ideas that had been jotted down earlier in the year that needed covering, as well as ideas that were fitting for end of year tips with topics like fireworks photography and best-of roundups. I actually managed to draft the final 15 phototips in a flurry of activity in mid-December which meant that all I had to do during those last two weeks was upload a photo and post the tip.

When embarking on a project of this nature, it was encouraging to see the level of support I got from the photographic community. The wonderful team at Black Rapid sent me a couple of R-Straps to use as giveaways in a competition, I was invited to become a beta-tester for IGVP (International Guild of Visual Peacemakers), the guys at Phottix sent me prototype flash triggers to test and review, and photographers everywhere shared, linked, Tweeted and Liked the phototip posts.

In carrying out the phototip project, I had to learn a lot myself. At some point, I wanted to cover video and although I’d bought a 5D Mark II soon after its release, other than learning which buttons to press for video, I hadn’t used it for anything other than stills. To teach is to learn, and learn I did, throwing together a behind the scenes video shot during a group photoshoot. Whether it’s any good or not is probably not something I can tell you but feel free to watch it yourself and see.

Ultimately this ended up becoming an immensely rewarding project. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend other photographers who want to try something similar and in fact, if you do, let me know and I’ll check it out. Thank you.

You can see more of Craig’s work at, become his friend on Facebook, follow him on Twitter, and check out his photo tips here.