Posts By Scott Kelby

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You guys have probably heard me talking about the role “size” plays on the impact of your images, especially when they’re viewed on the Web, and this tip really reinforces that concept.

Last night I was working on a post for our other blog (LightroomKillerTips), about some new Lightroom presets from “The Creativv” and while I was on their site I saw a post they had written about an Instagram tip —  something I hadn’t realized they added when Instagram recently added the ability to post landscape images (instead of just square images), you can now post images in Portrait (tall) mode as well.

The tip is — if you crop your image to a 4×5 ratio (a built-in cropping preset in Lightroom), your image then takes up pretty much the entire screen (see above right).

Compare the impact of the image on the far left, with the full screen portrait image on the right (note: if you scroll down, you’ll still see the caption for the image, but if you want more impact and engagement, I believe the one on the right will bring a lot more of both).

Here’s the link to their post (with the step-by-step cropping Lightroom details):

IMPORTANT: There’s one thing they didn’t mention in their post that had me scratching my head for a moment, and that is — once your image is in Instagram, you need to tap that little landscape/portrait button in the lower left corner of the image to switch your image to portrait orientation (from square). In the preview, this will show a gap on either side of your image, but when you post it, the gap doesn’t appear (as seen above right).

Also, thanks to all the awesome feedback I’ve gotten from my “How to Build Your Audience on Instagram” online class — as an educator, that type of feedback has us walking on air.

JOIN ME TOMORROW — If you’re a KelbyOne member, tomorrow at 2pm New York Time we have a live broadcast with two of Canon’s awesome super techie guys doing a live Q&A exclusively for KelbyOne members. Keep an eye out on your email for the link to come join us — we’ll be answering questions about the new Canon EOS 1D X Mark II, and anything else you can ask to stump our DSLR and DSLR video gurus (Rudy and Brent know this stuff at a terrifying level).

Hope you find that Instagram tip helpful (and thanks to Creativv for sharing it). :)

Best,

-Scott

P.S. Why did Adele cross the road? To say “Hello from the other side.” ;-)

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Peter Read Miller and Damien Strohmeyer not only shot the SuperBowl yesterday, they shot it with pre-release versions of Canon’s just announced EOS 1D X Mark II camera, and they’ll be sharing their experiences with it, and stories, and taking your questions live on the air.

Who: The Grid with Peter Read Miller and Damian Strohmeyer
What: Super Bowl Photography Love Fest!
When: This Wednesday at 4:00 PM (New York Time)
Where: http://kelbytv.com/thegrid

Hope you can join us!

ALSO:
Also on Wednesday (at 2pm) we’re doing our first ever “Gear Heads Only” live Q&A with two of Canon’s top nerdy guys tech guys (Rudy and Brent) that are there to answer your tech questions about the new 1D X Mark II. This broadcast is for KelbyOne members only — keep an eye out for the link if you’re a member (if you’re not a member, you could take the 10-day Free Trial and watch it that way).

Hope you all have a totally solid Monday!

Best,

-Scott

P.S. I’ll be in Houston a week from this coming Friday (the 19th), with my “Shoot like a Pro: Part 2 Reloaded!” seminar – hope you can join me for the day. 

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When I heard I was going to get to shoot an early pre-release test version of the new Canon EOS 1DX Mark II, I was super psyched, and I never thought I’d get the chance to shoot a College Football Bowl Game, and an NFL regular season (Falcons vs. Saints) game with it, but that’s exactly how it came down, and man was that a thrill!
My Field Report
When I do a real world field test like this, it’s less like DP Review (they do a serious deep dive into all the specs and technical aspects of the camera, uncover every nook and cranny and nobody does it better), where mine are more like what I’d tell a buddy if they asked “So, how was it?”  

Just in case this is the first time you’re hearing about the camera, I’ll just quickly list the specs here, then we’ll get to the field use stuff:

  • 20.2 megapixels (up from 18 mp previously) – totally new sensor.
  • 14 frames per second (up from 12 previously).
  • Insane buffer. If you shoot in JPEG (I do for sports), you can shoot forever. RAW format — almost forever (around 170 RAW shots uninterrupted in continuous burst shooting).
  • Built in GPS (didn’t particularly excite me – somebody somewhere is probably jumping for joy)
  • 4K 60P Full HD 120P Video (I don’t shoot video. Still, I know some folks really dig this)
  • In-camera auto correction for dealing with chromatic aberrations and diffraction correction, instead of having to do them later in Photoshop. Sounds great, but I didn’t notice any in my sports shots (that’s why?)
  • Enhanced viewfinder with 61-point AF with expanded coverage and all of those 61 points are selectable.
  • Even cleaner high ISO performance (less noise).
  • They included a new CFast memory card slot for super fast transfer time (and if you’ve got a fast memory card, you can just shoot JPEGs continuously for a thousand shots and it will just keep cranking on and on!)
  • Enhanced wi-fi capability if you get the optional transmitter.
  • A bunch of other tweaks and enhancements throughout.

OK, onto the field report:

So how was it?
In short, it’s the best camera I’ve ever used. It’s a lot like the 1Dx…only way better (if that gives you any idea). It even looks like the 1Dx (but with a noticeable “bump” on the top for the built-in GPS). Now, like I said, I shot a college bowl game with it and an NFL game with it, and I shoot with two cameras for football so I got to shoot it for about half a game each, but here’s what I found:

They super-tweaked the auto focus system and it is everything you’d hoped it would be. For me, that pretty much stole the show. It’s incredibly fast, and the most accurate focus system I’ve ever used. I actually loved the focus system in the previous 1Dx (it was mostly responsible for me making the leap to Canon in the first place, three seasons ago), so a redesign of the focus system honestly wasn’t something I was expecting would be in the 1D X Mark II. I thought it was awesome before, but I have to say, now that I’ve used it — I totally get it. It locks on in an instant — stays on — it’s really something you have to experience for yourself (this is all aided by an improved AI Servo [continuous focus tracking], and it’s definitely a leap in the art of super-fast auto focus.)

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Above: Shot just outside the locker room at 25,600 ISO. Yeowch! (no added noise reduction)

What about the noise?
As good as the 1Dx was — this is better. I didn’t get to do a side-by-side test with it, but I made sure to shoot some really high ISO stuff around the locker room area where the light was just terrible, and I was really impressed with how clean and sharp the files looked, even at really high ISO settings.

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Do those 2-extra frames per second make that big a difference?
Are you kidding? I know it’s just 2-frames more per second, but when you shoot it, it feels like it’s 10-frames more per second. I remember years ago standing on the sidelines next to a Canon shooter and thinking “Theirs sounds so much faster ” and I kept telling myself it really doesn’t make that big a difference (which is the battle cry of the jealous). So here’s the thing: it makes that big a difference. It’s the difference between having one frame where the receiver is looking over his shoulder to catch a pass, and in the next frame he’s already caught it. Those extra two frames per second help you catch that frame in-between that you would have missed — the one where the ball is just at his fingertips or just as he’s reaching out to grab it. It’s the difference between getting the shot or missing it.

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Above Left: The original shot after an interception takes the play to the other end of the field in just seconds.
Above Right: This is a super tight crop from that same shot, and the resulting cropped image is still over 1,100 pixels wide! That’s why those extra megapixels make such a difference when shooting sports. 

More Megapixels?
They added two more, bringing it to 20.2 megapixels (from 18MP). For those of you who know me, you know I’m totally not a “more megapixels means better photos” guy on any level, but if there’s one area where having more megapixels really matters, it’s sports photography (and probably wildlife as well), because the action (or your subject) can move very far away from your shooting position in a split second, so cropping in tight is a way of life for us. If I have more megapixels, I can crop in that much tighter, and still have enough detail, clarity and resolution to send the image to the wire. So yes, in this case, for this type of shooting, those extra megapixels matter big time.

How about the video stuff
I didn’t shoot a single frame of video. I’m not a video shootin’ guy. I know it has real 4K video and other stuff that video guys tell me is really awesome, but…it doesn’t help me, so I’m going to skip over it. There’s tons of info about all the new video stuff on Canon’s site and on DP Review.

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There’s a new Card Slot?
Yes — it’s a CFast card slot, and the camera is available with a CFast card and reader. It’s like greased lightning and together with the camera’s huge buffer, if you shoot JPEG I don’t think you will ever fill the buffer, period. Shooting RAW, you get around 170 full continuous burst shots, so you probably never even have the chance to experience that, but at least you know, if you need it, it’s there.

Did they bring over that feature from the 7D Mark II where it adjusts to flickering and pulsing indoor lighting automatically?
Why, yes they did!

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Above: The vibrance and depth of the color is amazing (that image above is a JPEG straight out of the camera — no vibrance or contrast added or needed!)

How do the images look?
Wow! That was the first thing I said when I uploaded my first shots from the game.  I’m sure that’s because it has an all new sensor (I can’t tell you all the technical reasons why they look better because I have no idea what they are, and a tech guy at Canon tried to explain it to me, and he used a lot of techie terms that had me glassy-eyed, but he seemed very excited about it), but the files look very sharp, with really great overall contrast, and the color rendition is just outstanding.

OK, what’s missing
I hate to whine about a camera that is hands down the best I’ve ever used, but I have a few things I wish were different.

(1) So, they added some touchscreen technology for when you’re shooting video, but the screen on the back isn’t a touchscreen for anything else. You can’t choose menus by touch, or swipe through images, or pinch to zoom with touch, and so on like you’ve been able to do for years now on their old 70D model. I understand not making an articulated screen like the 70D (though that would be fantastic for shots of the coaches shaking hands at the end of the game, or the coin toss, or team huddles during warmups), but I just don’t get not including a full touch screen. I know some high-end pros might make a fuss about a touch-screen not being as durable, but not everybody buying this camera is a high-end pro. I think given a choice, most folks would opt for the touchscreen version.

(2) When you shoot a burst of images, do you generally want the last image in the burst, or is that decisive moment somewhere within that long burst? Of course, it’s somewhere within that burst. On the 1D X Mark II, it displays just the final image from the burst. If you want to scroll back through the burst to tag your image, you first have to press the Play button before you can start scrolling. There should be an option that lets you just scroll back without having to press the Play button first. Other cameras do it this way — no reason Canon can’t make this an option you can turn on/off (the camera hasn’t shipped yet — it’s not too late, Canon)!

(3) I dig the idea of having a blazingly fast CFast card slot, but I’d like to see Canon also offer versions of the 1D X Mark II that come with either two regular CF card slots, or two CFast card slots, so you can choose which set-up works best for your workflow. It just seems that one of each is kind of a pain, and now I need a separate reader that reads CFast, too. Maybe it’s just me, but I’d like the option.

None of those are deal breakers for sure, but I felt they were still worth noting.

Any portraits? Any non-sports stuff?
Now, while I know a 1D X Mark II will take a picture of anything you point it at (which I was reminded of this past week as I was sending images to a UK mag that’s doing a feature on my work, and I saw how many of my wedding and portrait shots were actually taken with my old 1D X), but it was designed from the ground up with sports and wildlife photographers in mind, and for that crowd the 1D X Mark II absolutely crushes it. Crushes it! I would have loved to do some portrait and/or wedding work with it, but I only had the pre-release loaner camera for just two days (and two back-to-back games), so I didn’t get to try much else (for example, I didn’t get to try the wireless transfer, and I didn’t get to try it shooting in candlelight, and so on).

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The Bottom Line
The Canon EOS-1D X Mark II is the real deal. I’ll admit that sports photographers (in particular) are probably the most demanding group of shooters out there. They always want more and better everything. Give us more megapixels (so we can crop tighter). Give us faster frames per second (so we can catch that micro-second of peak action); give us lower noise in high ISO situations (so our files look cleaner), give us a better focus system so more of our shots are in focus, and they stick and stay on our subject), give us faster, better everything. Even for that tough to please crowd, I think Canon delivered right across the board, and that’s saying something.

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The 1D X Mark II is due to ship in April, and it’ll be around $5999 (well, that’s the MSRP) or $6,299 bundled with a 64GB CFast memory card and card reader (B&H is taking pre-orders now). If you want all the techie detail stuff, head over to Canon’s 1D X Mark II info page. 

Hope you find that helpful. :)

Best,

-Scott

First, a big thanks to everyone who has sent some love after watching my new online class  “How to build your audience on Instagram” — the feedback has been tremendous! Here’s one of my favorites:

I have watched the class and applied what you taught to my account (I started 2 weeks ago)… just today I have far more interaction on my images than any I have posted to Facebook. Great class!” —Jason L. Eldridge 

I’ve got dozens more along the same lines from Twitter and Facebook, and as a teacher any time you create a class that resonates with your students, it’s a great feeling, so thanks for letting me know (and I’m glad it’s helping). :)

Posting to Instagram From the Desktop:
Although I talked about it briefly in the class, one thing a lot of folks want to do is something that Instagram natively doesn’t really do, which is to let you publish to Instagram from your desktop or laptop computer. You pretty much have to post from within the phone (or tablet) app itself (there really isn’t an iPad app for Instagram — you just download the iPhone app to your iPad, and then run it at 2x size, so at least then it’s full screen, and you can upload from your iPad).

However, there are a few other options (none of them awesome):

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There is a App for the Mac OS called “Uploader to Instagram” that I bought for $4.99 that lets you right-click on any image upload directly from the desktop. Once you right click on the image (here I right-clicked on an image on my desktop), you go to the bottom of the menu, under Services, and choose “Share to Instagram” as seen above.

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Then this tiny windows appears on screen, which shows you a preview of your image, and it has a slider below it for resizing your image before posting (or you can take a live photo of yourself using your laptop’s built-in camera). This window is really, really small (and I have no idea why they made it so small — that is about actual size that you’re seeing above). Once you click done, the following appears:

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A window pops down from your menubar with a Share to Instagram window. Again, it’s a very small window with a very small field to enter your caption, but you enter your caption and hashtags; hit the Share button, and you’re done.

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Since it doesn’t give you any kind of confirmation that it actually posted, I went to view my Instagram account on my Web browser (instagram.com/scottkelby) and there it was. If you scroll down you see the captions and hashtags, and you can see it worked.

What’s missing? 
Plenty. You can’t simultaneously post to Twitter and/or Facebook, so you have more steps to do manually, which kinda stinks. Also, you can’t add a location, which stinks big-time. Also, it doesn’t suggest any previous #hashtags you’ve used, and all the windows are wayyyyyy too small, and of course there’s the fact that there’s no confirmation that it even posted in the first place, so you have to go and check.

Worse yet — if you don’t post a square photo (you use the slider to post a wider image), it doesn’t tuck your image, and the text, up to the top of the post, like the Instagram App does — instead it leaves this awkward gap of white space above and below your image (see the above image of it on Instagram’s site). Not a good look! This was the deal breaker for me. I’m out.

So, does it work? Yes, but it’s got a long way to go to really be a truly helpful tool. It’s more of a “Well, I might use it as a last resort before my phone battery is dead” type of feature.

There a FREE service called “Gramblr”
It ain’t great. It’s a browser-based service that pretty much suffers from the same problems as Uploader to Instagram, but it has two advantages: (1) It’s free, and (2) it has scheduling, so you can set a time for your posts to release. It does have some decent image editing features built-in, and it lets you freeform crop, and add overlay graphics and stuff, (sadly, it continues the theme of making the smallest text field possible), but it’s still missing enough critical stuff that I’d be hard-pressed to use it.
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So, what do most people do?
It’s all about getting the images from your computer to your smartphone so you can post directly from the Instagram App, and there are a number of ways people do this:

(1) They save their images to Dropbox on their computers, and then access their dropbox to save the images to their camera roll, and then upload from the Instagram App (or see below).

(2) You can save your image to Dropbox and then use the Dropbox app to post directly to Instagram, which just saves you the step of saving it to your camera roll.

(3) You can use Apple’s iCloud (on an iPhone) to transfer images from your Desktop to your iPhone and then save it to their camera roll, and then post from the Instagram App.

(4) A lot of folks email themselves the photo they want to post; save it to their camera roll, and then post from the Instagram App.

(5) You can upload the image to Google+ and share to Instagram from there.

(6)  You can upload an image to Adobe’s Creative Cloud (like you would on Dropbox), and then share it from there.

(7) You can upload directly from Flickr to Instagram

(8) You can use a social media management scheduler (like Hootsuite), but all the ones I’ve seen are pretty expensive, and all but one are still kinda clunky (I thought Hootsuite was going to be the answer, but it still makes you pretty much post it yourself through Instagram — it’s just kind of an elegant reminder).

(9) Export from Lightroom to Dropbox, and upload from there

(10) Insert your workaround here (well, down in the comments).

You know what would be ideal?
The ideal thing would be that Instagram itself let you upload from their Website (or they put their API out there allowing third-parties to upload directly that aren’t phone based). Will this happen? I think it will one day before long (and I’m encouraged by the fact that Twitter is expanding its 140 character limit), but hey, ya never know.

Anyway, just a quick look at a question I’ve been seeing a lot since my class came out.

Hey, speaking of my class:

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The class is designed for photographers, and if that’s you, here’s the link (if you’re not already a KelbyOne member, you can sign up for a 10-day free trial and watch it now).

That’s it for Monday – hope yours is a good one!

Best,

-Scott

P.S. Thanks to all the enthusiastic, kind and just plain fun folks who came out to my Richmond and Atlanta seminars last week. Over 600 of you came to spend the day with me, and I’m very grateful that you did. Next stop? Houston, Texas on Feb. 19th. Hope I get to meet you there. http://kelbyone.com/live/

 

Hi Gang: It’s 1:28 am at night here in Atlanta – I’ve got a class to teach all day tomorrow, so I’ll make this short and sweet.

Adobe released a free update to Lightroom CC (bringing it to version 2015.4) and it includes a new feature to help you deal with those white gaps left in the corner of panos that you’d normally have to jump over to Photoshop for and manually fix it one way or another. It’s called Boundary Warp and you can see it in action below:

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Pretty amazing right?

Other stuff (Lightroom 6 users get this stuff, too, but not Boundary Warp above – that’s just for CC subscribers):
They fixed the issue Nikon users have been having (not being able to tether into Mac OS El Capitan)

Plus, this stuff listed on Adobe’s official Lightroom Blog:

  • Nikon 1 J4 Camera Matching Profile added
  • The panorama merging process should complete roughly twice as fast as Lightroom 6.3
  • Improved quality when applying Auto Straighten and Upright “Level” mode
  • A preference was added to the Mac to prevent accidental “speed swiping”
  • Metadata is added to merged panoramas to support Photoshop’s Adaptive Wide Angle filter
  • Customers can now set the location of where photos are stored when downloaded from Lightroom mobile or Lightroom web in the preference panel or contextually in the folder panel
  • Thumbnails update much quicker when copying and pasting settings in the grid view
  • Images load faster in the Library module when you are zoomed in and navigating images
  • Tethered support added for the Nikon D5500 and Nikon D7200

Here’s the link for the full list of new features, cameras, lens and fixes.

That’s it – gotta hit the sack-a-roonie.

Best,

-Scott

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OK, so last week Brad made this shot (above) of my gear, and you may have seen it here in a tutorial I did on removing moiré patterns in Photoshop that sometimes appear in our shots. Well, someone suggested to my wife Kalebra that she share a shot of her gear, too, so she asked Brad to take a shot of “her gear” as well (seen below).

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I’ve been one-upped. Again. By my own wife (though I have to admit, she’s got some really tasty gear in there). My only defense is that she has to replace some of her gear a lot more often than I do. That’s all I’ve got. #roasted.

I’m headed out to Richmond, Virginia today (Brrrrrr!) for my seminar there tomorrow. I’ll be teaching the seminar in Atlanta on Friday if you want to come out. :)

Have a great Tuesday, try to stay warm, and don’t eat too much of your gear…you’ll get a tummy ache. ;-)

Best,

-Scott

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