Monthly Archives December 2011

Rob Jones pulled off a Christmas Miracle, and he doesn’t even know it. First, a quick background: Rob runs Towner-Jones Photography based up in Washington DC, and when I started my Worldwide Photo Walk a few years back, Rob contacted me asking if he could help by setting up and running an t-shirt shop with the proceeds going to “Springs of Hope Orphanage” in Kenya (which was built from the ground up in part by donations from some of the wonderful people who read this very blog).

Anyway, Rob’s idea was a hit, and last year alone we raised more than $7,000 to feed and cloth the wonderful kinds at Springs of Hope Kenya. This year, Rob set a goal of $10,000, but we got the store up a little late (my fault) and we were at around $7,000 once again, but Rob wouldn’t settle for that, and he personally kicked in another $1,500 and he got a good friend of his, Troy Breidenbach (president of IGT America ( to donate the remaining $1,500 to reach our $10,000 goal for the orphanage.

Timing is everything
Here’s where Rob’s Christmas Miracle kicks in. Last night my family went to our church’s annual Christmas Play, and at the end our Pastor asked if the folks there could find a way to kick in a little that night to help the Springs of Hope because there had been two recent break-ins at the orphanage, one of them being a violent break-in (he didn’t elaborate), but they wanted to add more security, including a security system, to help protect the children and staff.

Molly Bail, the director of Springs of Hope in Kenya, was visiting our church last night, and she was out front selling hand-bags made by the children and staff to raise money for the orphanage. I hadn’t seen Molly yet (didn’t even know she was there), but I saw her after church and was able to tell her that $10,000 was on its way (even more than they needed), and she was just overcome.

I have a favor to ask
This never would have happened if not for Rob, and for Troy Breidenbach, and for those of you around the world who brought the official Worldwide Photo Walk t-shirts, and I am just so very grateful to you all. That being said, I have a favor to ask. Could you join me here in thanking Rob for working and managing this t-shirt project for years now, so at the end of it all, we don’t just have photos to show for it—-we have something that makes in a real difference in the lives of some very deserving children’s lives. Just leave Rob a quick comment here, or visit his blog and thank him there , or I’m sure that Rob would even appreciate it more if you visited and sponsored a child, or you could pick up a holiday gift for them (shown below) that won’t cost you very much, but these gifts of food mean more than you can ever know.

Merry Christmas everybody!
Thanks to Rob and Troy, and even my friend Janine who sends a donation to Springs of Hope every single month, and thanks to you all for coming to the rescue once again, and being a part of a little Christmas miracle.



NOTE: Whatever you do, stop right now and get the FREE UPDATE from the App store. This is an important bug fix so download it right away. Now, onto our story:

After taking what seemed to be 5 lifetimes to approve issue #2, issue #3 is already here and ready for downloading! (Whoo Hoo).

It’s an awesome issue, which includes a very cool article from Jason Groupp on “Lighting for Weddings,” plus Frank Doorhof’s “Studio Techniques,” My “Photo Recipes” column, Tom Bol on “Location Lighting,” Erik Valind with “Little Lights, Big Shadows” and our feature story is “Visualizing Lighting for a Composite Image” is from James Quantz, Jr. Don’t wait—-go download that puppy now!

P.S. Did I mention that you need to download the free update from the App store?  :)


Animoto Pro has joined with NAPP (National Association of Photoshop Professionals) to create a very special combo offer – now you can get both for the price of one!

From December 16-18, just sign up for one year of Animoto Pro at $249 and you’ll also get a one-year membership to NAPP (good for renewals too).

Act now and tap into the power of these two amazing resources that will forever change how you approach your photography and your business.

What is Animoto Pro?
Animoto Pro is the tool photographers everywhere have embraced to turn their photography and video clips into custom HD videos injust minutes. Animoto Pro lets you spend more time doing what you love – shooting and editing amazing photos.

What is NAPP?
You don’t have to be a Photoshop pro to join NAPP, but you’ll become one when you do. No other training resource offers a how-to magazine like Photoshop User (10 annually), thousands of online tutorials, hundreds of money saving discounts, three online Help Desks, and more.


Hey everyone, Brad Moore here with the latest happenings in Kelby Land :)

Corey & Scott Get Down & Dirty
Join us for a free live webcast this Thursday, December 15th beginning at 4PM ET. You can register on or you can just pop in on Thursday afternoon. Those who register will be entered into a drawing for prizes like Corey’s book, a one-year NAPP membership, a $25 gift certificate to The NAPP Gear store and more. Scott & Corey will be sitting down to talk about this book which is really unique in that it uses all kinds of nooks and crannys of Photoshop to make really cool designs. It sold out on Amazon within a week and people are raving about it. Also, if you buy the book at in December, Corey will sign it for you AND you’ll get 3 free clearance DVDs (randomly selected) with your order! We hope to see you at the webcast on Thursday!
In Advertising Photography: From Pre- to Post-Production with Douglas Sonders, we take you on-location with Douglas as he shows you how he approaches an advertising shoot from beginning to end. He shows you all of the planning before the shoot, the shoot itself, and the post-processing/retouching process that results in the final image.

And in Composition: The Strongest Way of Seeing, Rick Sammon shares the secrets to composing technically and emotionally as he shares images from his worldwide travels.

Giveaways on The Grid
If you were watching the live broadcast of The Grid yesterday, you already know Scott and RC were giving stuff away left and right during our Holiday Gift Guide episode! But it’s not too late to win if you weren’t watching live… We’ve still got some stuff to give away for everyone else :) You can tune in over at as soon as Episode 36 is posted (should be sometime this afternoon) and leave a comment for your chance to win some amazing prizes!

Holiday Templates for Lightroom
Matt Kloskowski is doing special Lightroom holiday template tutorials each day this week over at Be sure to swing by each day to catch all five!

Photoshop World DC
It’s not too early to register for Photoshop World Washington DC. You can put it on your wish list, or give it to someone else as a gift! All of the hotel and travel info is up, plus the class schedule, and pre-conference workshops. And, if you’re going, you’ll definitely want to download the Photoshop World App to make your own custom schedule and get alerts for everything that’s going on.

Vincent Versace in American Photo
Kelby Training instructor Vincent Versace is featured in the current issue of American Photo Magazine! His work from his travels to Burma, where he photographed Aung San Suu Kyi and the people of Burma, is featured in an 8-page spread in the January/February 2012 issue. You can pick it up at a nearby magazine rack, and check out more of Vincent’s work at

That’s it for this week! I’ll leave you with this quote as food for thought…

Before I became a picture editor, I assumed that ‘good photographers’ took ‘good pictures’ because they had a special eye. What I found was that good photographers take good pictures because they take great pains to have good subjects in front of their cameras.
John Loengard

After being rejected 5-times in a row by the App Store, it’s finally here—-issue number 2 of Light It Magazine, our how-to magazine on studio and hot shoe lighting (For the iPad. Only $2.99).

Even bigger news!
Since it came out so incredibly late, we have already submitted issues #3 and #4 to the App Store for approval, and the minute they are approved by Apple (which they should be within 5-days unless something goes horribly off track, which as we have learned can absolutely happen), we’re releasing them. That way, we’ll have released four entire issues of Light It by the end of the year.

Thanks to everybody who hung in their patiently (and even not patiently). After such a fantastic launch, and have three issues already in the bag at launch, the delays were really tough on us, but we made it through to the other side, and we’re excited about the coming year and expanding the magazine. (Note: if the magazine is the success we hope it will be, we’ll be looking at releasing it on Android tablets as well).

Where to get “Light it”
> If you’ve already downloaded the Light It App, you can buy the latest issue from right within the App itself
> If you haven’t downloaded the free Premiere issue App, you can download it from the App Store

One more thing
Perhaps the best thing about producing a digital App is the ability to make changes quickly, and I hope you’ll find our 2nd issue even more useful, helpful, inspiring, and fun. I can’t wait until you can read issues 3 and 4.



Writing the guest post for Scott Kelby’s blog is intimidating. Consider the giants of the industry who have posted here before – masters of lighting, composition and post production – skilled teachers who make complicated techniques simple and practical.

I thought about what I could add and kept coming up blank. I tried to work out the reason behind any success that I’ve ever had apart from blind luck and then it hit me, I’ve always relied on the strengths of someone else.

To have a career in photography requires competency in all sorts of disciplines; art, business, social media, networking – it’s a never ending list and those are just the general strengths needed. Specific fields of photography require specific competencies: consider how all the best wildlife photographers have an intimate knowledge of animal patterns and behavior. To have strengths in all of these disciplines is next to impossible for an individual. At some point it makes sense to outsource your weaknesses to someone else, allowing you to focus on your strengths.

Working in Iceland was one of the highlights of my career. Planning and coordinating shoots from another country required extensive planning and attention to detail, a weakness that I outsourced.

My love affair with photography began at the same time I met Tina, the woman that I would marry. Intuitively, I knew that if I was to spend any time learning photography, I would have to include Tina. She was so surprised when I arrived home with a camera for her (it wasn’t even her birthday). She was even more surprised to find out that I had booked a job involving both of us, leaving her two weeks to learn photography.

Our profile picture is a caricature of us at this point. I was technically competent and knew camera and lighting techniques whilst Tina had a well developed artistic eye. The job involved me setting up the cameras and lighting whilst Tina did the actual shoot – with all of 2 weeks’ worth of experience.  Against all logic, the shoot went well and our photography partnership began. We’ve been working together for six years and in retrospect, most of what we’ve done wouldn’t have been possible as individuals.

Flawless Moves, a London dance group, commissioned us to create promo images for their performance in Street Dance. Whilst Tina worked with multiple lights to create the images for the brief, I noticed beautiful window light highlighting one of the members. I used the light to create a series of black and white portraits completely different from the setup scene. Working as a team enabled us to offer something extra.

Our first commercial opportunity was a dream job. At the time we were living in East London, South Africa. An advertising agency had been contracted to promote the city who, in turn, were looking for a photographer to create the imagery. The advertising agency contacted us after finding our Flickr stream through a Google Image search (this has happened more than once). We were to meet the agency the following day to discuss the possibility of working with them. I was so excited about the job that I spent the entire night going through every possible conversation in my mind.

By the time the meeting began, I was a wreck to say the least. I was over thinking every question and panicking that the conversation wasn’t panning out as it did in mind the night before. As I tried in vain to steer the conversation in that direction, it became painfully awkward and I expected to be dismissed without any further consideration. Fortunately Tina took over, laughing and joking with the client, showing them that we were real people who would be enjoyable to work with. Because of Tina, we were hired to produce imagery covering architecture, landscapes, portraits and in-water surfing. It is still one of the most challenging and exciting jobs we’ve ever done.

One of the images from that first job.

Later, we were contacted by SA Rugby magazine to photograph Butch James. I was delirious with excitement, being a massive rugby supporter and follower of the Springboks. Butch James is a Springbok legend, helping the team win the 2007 World Cup. Rugby is to a South African what football is to an American. When I told Tina about the shoot, she seemed mildly indifferent. As someone with no interest in sports, she didn’t even know who we were photographing.

On the day of the shoot, I was focused on meeting and exceeding the brief hoping to impress the magazine. After taking over 200 images, I passed the camera on to Tina to go and tinker with the lights. She took about 10 images and managed to do something I had completely overlooked – she connected with the subject and created an engaging picture. The editor chose one of her images as the cover of the magazine and I enjoyed the irony.

The image on the right is the cover image of Butch James. A month later, having learnt my lesson, I handed the camera over to Tina who once again shot the cover image on the left.

Now that we’re based in London, the bulk of our commercial work is fashion based.  People who know me find this quite amusing. Whilst I enjoy working with people and love location based portraiture, I have never been called a fashionista. At the first London Fashion Week we attended, one of the fashion personalities did a triple take when he saw me in jeans and a hoodie. He literally needed three looks just to confirm how badly dressed I was. Tina on the other hand gets fashion. She understands that making the clothing look good is just as important as making the model look good. I can’t tell you how many times she has saved me from hours of retouch work, just by being attentive and understanding styling and fashion.

Fashion – an art that I rely on Tina to understand.

Recently we have been doing quite a few dance related shoots, another field where I am completely lost but Tina understands.

I’ve been saved by Tina’s sparkling personality, her ability to engage with people and her keen sense of style. So how have my strengths helped us? Well I can carry a lot of gear and generally take care of post production, but what I bring to the business is that I dream up crazy ideas and put us  into the sort of situation that Tina’s strengths have to get us through.

This is one of those situations I put us in that felt quite scary at the time. We shot this guerilla style, getting the athlete in place than back to safety in under 30 seconds.

The biggest breakthroughs in my photography have not been as a result of a magic piece of equipment, new post production technique or social networking. They’ve resulted from passing off my weakness to someone else and focusing on what I can do well.

Thank you Brad and Scott for the opportunity to write this post. Both of you epitomize teamwork and my own story owes a lot to your example.

You can see more work from Jon and Tina at