Posts By Scott Kelby–wVGM

Some are calling it our best episode ever. I was getting texts during the first 20 minutes or so saying the same thing, but I have to tell you, the first 20 minutes area, well, I’m not sure what it was, but there was a lot of laughing (and dating tips). I think it must have been something in the water (or in Brad’s beard) that kind of took the train off the tracks for a while, but we eventually pulled it together and Roberto shared some really great stuff â” he was really awesome.

Our topic was based on my blog post from Monday called “If you were only allowed 10 pieces of photographic gear, what would it be?” (here’s the link), but when you watch “The Grid” (above), it’s helpful to know that eventually we do get to that topic, but there are lots ofâ¦umâ¦moments along the way. That’s all I’m sayin’. Hope you enjoy it.

Never fear!
While this episode won’t be entered into any competitions for educational content, Roberto was at our studios taping an inspirational class, and we’re working on some other projects coming up, so there’s lot of meaningful education happening under our roof, and of course, he’ll be with us at Photoshop World teaching live in just a few weeks.

Hope you all have a great weekend!



P.S. My wife Kalebra has been sharing some wonderful images and personal stories from our trip to Paris over on her blog. I particularly love her shot from the top of the Arc de Triomphe (wish I had taken it) and the one of our son you’ll see on her blog. Here’s the link if you’ve got a sec.

Hi Gang: The video above kind of explains what the book is about, but I thought I'd take 30-seconds to define both, so you know which one is for you (and, of course, I'm hoping one of them is for you. And your friends. And family. And strangers you meet on the street. Etc.).

My existing Lightroom Book for Digital Photographers
It's designed to teach you Lightroom from the ground up, and its focus is on workflow, and teaching you all the awesome stuff that Lightroom does so you can fall in love with it like about a bazillion photographers around the world already have. Here are the links to it on Barnes & Noble, Amazon, or from us at KelbyOne.

My New Lightroom Book
This one is a reference guide for people already up and running in Lightroom. You don't read it cover-to-cover (like the other book); instead, you just keep this one nearby and when you see something you don't know how to do (or wonder if Lightroom can even do it), you turn to the right chapter, and there's a quick, no-nonsense, straight-to-the-point description of how to do just that one thing. Here are the links to it on Barnes & Noble, Amazon, KelbyOne, or from Rocky Nook (this is my first book with them. I hope I don't blow it with the risky idea I'm about to unleash below).

On August 13th, we're trying something we've never done beforeâ¦
On that date, we're putting the entire book online (all 250+ pages), for free, with each page on its own page (just like the book), for a limited time. Why are we doing this? Because we're hoping you'll find it so useful, that you'll buy either the print book or the eBook. This is either going to work brilliantly, or it's going to be the shortest experiment in the history of book publishing. But we're going all-in on it, so we'll see what happens.

If you're a member of KelbyOne, you can download the eBook today for just $10. Ten bucks! That's insanely cheap (but that deal is only for KelbyOne members)! For everybody else, it's $235.00. Okay, it's not quite that expensive (but it certainly should be). ;-)  Here's the link for the member deal, and here’s the coupon code for non-members: Lightroomkelby.

Anyway, could you please take just a moment and watch the video where I explain it above (it's only around one minute long), and then go order the heck out of it (and if you could help me spread the word about this new book, and new concept, that would be especially helpful (and many thanks from me and the book team in advance).

Thanks for taking a moment to check this out, and I hope you all have a better than average Tuesday!


P.S. I'll be signing the print version at the Photoshop World Conference coming up in just a few weeks in Vegas. Hope I get to sign yours there.

â¦that was a question posted on my Facebook page by Are Knudsen, a photographer from Norway.

Why the question? Well, I kicked off a new monthly Q&A column in Shutterbug magazine a few months ago (they named it “Ask a Pro”), but essentially I answer questions posed by Shutterbug’s readers along with questions I get throughout the month on my blog or social media, and the column has been a lot of fun for me (and I’ve been a reader of Shutterbug for many years, so it’s also really a kick to be in their pages).

As I was working on the latest installment, I asked the folks who follow me over on my Facebook page if they had any questions they’d like to consider for the column, and they came through with enough great questions to fill out the rest of the year, including this one from Are (above), but I couldn’t fit it in the Q&A column because I would have only been able to answer that one question, so I thought I’d tackle it here.

OK, back to our story
So, I was working on the latest installment, and I asked the folks who follow me over on my Facebook page if they had any questions they’d like to consider for the column, and they came through with enough great questions to fill out the rest of the year. One in particular that stood out to me was the headline you see above, posted by Are Knudsen from Norway.

I can tell you this – it’s a harder question to answer than it would appear
Especially for someone like me who shoots three different categories (Sports, People and Travel). After lots of thought and careful (read as painful) equipment cutting, I got it down to the 10 things I personally would need, but again these are what I would need â” your needs would certainly vary depending on what you shoot. The fact that I shoot sports really puts a strain on my choices (and my wallet), because I need extra expensive lenses, but that’s what he asked, and that’s what I do, so I kind of have to roll with it.

To make this more helpful to a wider range of photographers….
Let’s do two versions. One for what I’d use today by cutting down my existing gear, and one if I was starting over from scratch and had to buy it all at once, so budget would be a big consideration. With that in mind, here’s the first one (cutting down my existing gear). So, here we go:

Q. If you were only allowed to have 10 pieces of photographic gear, what would they be?

A. Here’s what I’d choose:

1. A Canon 1Dx camera body
If I had to just go with one body, why not go all the way. The 1Dx is larger, and heavier than my other go-to body, the 5D Mark III, but it’s high-ISO performance is insane, and at 12-frames-per-second it would more than cover me on the sports side. So, I’ll be lugging around a bigger, heavier camera, but at least it is the best body I’ve ever used, so I’ll deal with it if I can only have one. (details)

2. A Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 zoom lens
This is my go-to lens. I use it for portraits almost exclusively (yes, I’d be giving up my 85mm f/1.2, which I do use here and there), and I use it as my 2nd body for sports, and I could, and have used it for travel, but it’s kinda big and draws attention to itself. That being said, it’s an outstanding lens with legendary sharpness. Couple it with the 1Dx and I’m definitely going to be developing some upper arm strength. ;-) (details)

3. The Canon 11-24mm super wide angle zoom
I just started using this (I don’t actually own one yet â” I’m using a short-term loaner from Canon), but even at that it’s my all-time favorite wide angle lens, and what I took most of the shots from my recent trip to Paris (there’s only one fish-eye shot in the entire gallery â” the first shot). It’s sharp as anything, wide as anything, heavy as anything. I’m going to look like Schwarzenegger when I’m done hauling this stuff, but no pain, no gain. (details)


4. Elinchrom Quadra ELB 400 Two Action Heads To Go Kit
If I had to get down to just one lighting kit, this would be the one. It has two heads (with just one battery pack that is super small and lightweight), and I can use it in the studio or on location anywhere. It accepts nearly all of Elinchrom’s soft boxes and beauty dishes, and even their ring light. (details)

5. Elinchrom 53″ Midi Octa Softbox
If I had to pick one main softbox to go with my Elinchrom Quadra ELB kit, it would be this one. It’s so big. So gorgeous. So well-made, and very portable. I super-dig it. (details)

6.  Elinchrom 20″ x 51″ Rotalux strip bank softbox
I need a 2nd light. The Ranger Quadra comes with 2 flash heads, and I can’t have that 2nd one being a bare flash, so I’d go with the 1′ x 3′ strip bank. It’s a perfect shape for a 2nd light, and I could still shoot automotive detail shots using it, or product shots, or as my kicker light for portraits. A real workhorse. (details)

7. 3 Legged Thing EVO3 Punks Rick Carbon Fiber Tripod
I started using these 3-legged-thing tripods last year, and I really love them! Great build, very sturdy, and not too heavy, which is good since I’m lugging lots of heavy stuff. Now, I’m kinda “sneaking one past the goalie” by including a Really Right Stuff ball head as if this were just one item, but I can’t use a tripod without a ball head, so they kind of go together. However, if you think that’s cheating, then I’ll just go with one of 3-legged-thing’s Mohawk ball heads that comes with the tripod (but the Really Right Stuff ball heads are, in my opinion, the best on the planet). (details)

8. A Black Rapid Curve strap
I would have probably gone with an “Upstrap” (which I dearly love, since they don’t fall off your shoulder at all), but since I’ll be doing sports as well, I have to go with the Black Rapid because it’s hard to beat when you add sports into the mix. It goes across your body, rather than over your shoulder, so you’re ready to fire in an instant, and it’s great for travel (safety-wise) as well. (details)

9. a Canon 200-400mm f/4 zoom lens
I only need this for shooting sports, but if I want to work, I’m going need something longer than 200mm, and while I love a 400 f/2.8, the 200-4oomm is really flexible, plus it has a 1.4 tele-extender built-in, so I can jump to 580mm with a flick of a switch. (details)

10. A Westcott 30″ 5-in-one reflector/diffuser
Quite honestly, I rarely use the reflector, but the diffuser is a MUST! In fact, I could probably just go with their $20 1-stop diffuser (for natural light shooting), but since they make a version with reflectors and a diffuser, why not go with it, right? (details)


OK, now for the budget version:
The stuff above is a version of what I already own (bought over the years, not all at once). If I had to start over today, and buy it all from scratch, here’s a budget version (but all still good solid stuff!).

Q. If you could only buy 10 pieces of photographic gear today, what would they be?

A. Here’s what I’d choose:

1. A Canon EOS 7D Mark II
Although the 5D Mark III would be my immediate first choice because it’s such a really great body for the money, but the fact that I shoot Sports also would probably sway me to the Canon 7D Mark II, which is the little brother of the 1Dx, but since it’s a crop sensor, it gets me closer to the action without losing megapixels, which is a good thing, and the 10 frames-per-second thing pretty much seals the deal. Although I think of it as a sports camera, it’ll take a great shot of whatever you point it at, so I’ll have to go with it. (details)

2. A Canon 70-200mm f/4
OK, so I lose a stop of light going with this one, instead of the f/2.8 version, but it’s a lot cheaper, and a lot lighter, and it’s still very sharp. I’ve used this lens before and I was very impressed.

3. A Canon 16-35mm f/4 Wide Angle Zoom
While it’s not as sharp or as awesome or as wide as the 11-24mm, and it’s an f/4 (versus 2.8) but  it’s still a really solid lens at about half the size and weight and 1/3 the price. (details)

4. A Yongnuo YN-560-II Speedlight
It’s not a high-end speed light for sure, but it’ll do the trick  (details), although I would need the Yongnuo YN650-TX Manual Flash Controller as well (details).  (Hey, the Elinchrom kit I mentioned earlier comes with triggers).

5. Westcott 50″ x 50″ Mega Apollo Softbox for hot shoe flash
It’s big and beautiful, but honestly you could even go with their 7′ white diffusion shoot-through parabolic umbrella for just $99 and you’d be rocking it. Hard to beat either one of those.  (Apollo details & Parabolic details)

6. Westcott Apollo Strip Bank 16″ x 30″
It’s not a whole lot cheaper than the Elinchrom strip bank, but it’s made for Hot Shoe flash, and it’s very portable. (details)

7. Oben AC-1361 3-Section Aluminum Tripod with BA-117 Ball Head
I’ve used Oben tripods from time to time and they’re surprisingly solid for the money, and a great alternative to more expensive tripod and ball head combos. It’s not Carbon Fiber, but it’s not Carbon Fiber priced, either and it only weighs 1/2 pound more than the Carbon Fiber. (details)

8. A Black Rapid Curve strap
I’d still go with this strap because the price is still reasonable and there isn’t a great alternative. (details)

9. Canon 100-400mm f/4.5 to f/5.6
I shot an NFL game with it last year, and I was surprised at what a good job it did (and how nice it was to shoot with just one body, one lens, and no monopod necessary). Plus, it’s under 1/5 the price of the 200-400mm f/4, and less than half the weight. (details)

10. A Westcott 30″ one-stop Diffuser
It’s $19.90. Can’t beat it. (details)

OK, as you can see, we can shave a lot off my “dream list” of stuff.

The stuff I had a cut to reach my 10 item limit (sniff, sniff):

1. A Cable release (I can get away with using my camera’s self timer, but I would have liked to have a real cable release, but I had to make some tough choices).

2. Any filters. (I would have chosen a 10-stop ND filter for long exposures, so I guess I’ll be giving those up. I don’t do as much landscape photography as I used to, so I’ll get by without it, but I sure would have liked to include it.

3. A Hoodman Loupe. (This one I’ll really miss, especially at day games and while traveling, but something had to go.).

4. Gaffer’s tape. (I use this for all sorts of stuff all the time. I’ll have to borrow some from the guy next to me).

5. My 8-15mm Fisheye lens. (This was a hard one to let go, but the 11-24mm is so wide at 11mm, that I felt I could cut it loose, but I’m not happy about it).

6. My 24″ Joe McNally Signature EZ-Box. (I couldn’t go with three soft boxes, but if I had, this would be the other one. Great for quick location shoots).

7. My Wacom tablet. (I going to count this as “post processing” and not a camera accessory, because I have to have one for my retouching and editing, so although it’s not on the list, I’m not cutting it either).

8. All my Tethertools tethering gear. I shoot tethered as often as I can. I guess now I’ll just be sitting it on a table or on the floor. Ugh. Not happy about this one either, but I can work around it.


OK, that’s quite a list (for a Monday anyway). :)

Hope you found that helpful, and we’ll see you back here tomorrow for some news (spoiler: I’m announcing a new book. Whoo hoo!!).



Hi Gang: If you missed “The Grid” this week, our topic was travel photography, and I showed image, and talked tips and tricks based on my trip last week to London and Paris. Lots of helpful little nuggets, and we answered lots of questions from viewers. If you’ve got a sec, here’s the episode (below):

In case you missed it â” I posted my favorite images from the trip over at (along with the story and more tips there, too). There’s that link:

Lastly, if you’ve got a sec, I was featured this over at shotkit with a look at my photo gear loadouts for the three main types of photography I do. I break it all down over at their site (here’s the link):

Hope you all have an awesome weekend, and we’ll see ya back here on Monday (by the way, I think I’m going to have some fun news Monday, so make sure you check back).



Hi gang â” I just posted a few of my favorite shots from my trip this past week to Paris with the family. After my seminar in London, we took the high-speed Chunnel train from there down to Paris (only about a two-hour and 15 minute trip, and the train was awesome!).

Anyway,  the images, and the story, and some tips for travel photography are here:

Here's the link

If you get a sec, I hope you can check them out. Have a great Tuesday, and we'll catch ya tomorrow for Guest Blog Wednesday.

Le best,


P.S. Hi dave. Boom!

I’m not saying I’m old. I’m just too old to be making mistakes like this. I have to admit, it's very humbling â” no actually, it's worse than that â” it's embarrassing and a bit humiliating to be my age and still having to learn life lessons I should have learned long ago.

For the love of Paris
You only get to visit a city like Paris so many times in your lifetime. It's more than a treat. It's a privilege. A gift. A blessing. Every time I'm there, I just can't believe I'm really there. It's that kind of place.

It was my 9-year-old daughter's first visit, and my son's first since he was six (he's 18 now and off to college in the fall), and we had an absolutely marvelous time. Beautiful weather. Great meals. Lots of love and laughter the entire trip, and being in a city like Paris with my beautiful wife, and surrounded by our kids â” well, it's just hard to describe the feeling. The trip was everything I hoped it would beâ¦with one small exception (and that's what this story is about).

A unique opportunity for a shoot
I did lots of research before the trip, and I hoped to shoot in one special place while I was there â” one that would hopefully be a part of a photography "coffee table" book I've been working on for a while called "The Great Indoors." It's a book that celebrates beautiful classic interior spaces around the world. It's about 70-80% complete, so it's still a "work in progress," and it includes everything from concert halls to libraries; from theaters to cathedrals; museums, restaurants, palaces, mosques, hotel lobbies, even a train station or two â” gorgeous interior spaces from around the world, presented in hard cover coffee-table book format (a printed proof of which I showed at my seminar in London last week).

One of the things I’ve done in the book is to try and present the interiors without any tourists in the scene, which I was able to do in most cases with special permission from the location by shooting before or after hours, but in one or two cases there are just a few people in the scene at the time, but in those cases it's so few that it adds to the image, rather than taking away.

I've been very fortunate to shoot a number of interiors in France, including Versailles, the church of St. Sulpice; the interior of Le Train Bleu, Notre Dame, and many others but another place I've wanted to shoot for a while is the incredibly beautiful Reading Room of the Biblioth¨que nationale de France (the French national library). I reached out to my Parisian friend Serge Ramelli, who contacted the library and got the ball rolling for me, and before I left for Paris, I had the shoot all set up â” Friday morning between 9am and 10am before the library opened, so I could use a tripod and shoot it bathed in beautiful morning light.

I had to sign a contract beforehand about how the images would be used, and there was a fee for doing a shoot like this, but it was surprisingly reasonable and absolutely well worth it. Plus, the woman I was working with in the photo department at the Biblioth¨que nationale de France was a delight, and it was all coming together.

On a side note â” I tired to arrange a similar shoot while in England earlier in the week, and my buddies over there were doing some legwork for me in advance, but we learned that the fee for shooting in this location was nearly FIVE times what it was in France. I still considered it on some level until I got to the part where they retained ALL the copyrights to my images, so I bailed on that shoot altogether. It's too bad â” it would have made a wonderful addition to the book.

Anyway, I was psyched for this shoot for all sorts of reasons â”  I would get up while the family was still sleeping, do the shoot, and I'd still be back in time to join them for for the incredible French breakfast served each morning at our hotel. we'd head out for a day of exploring Paris (our three days there included a day trip to Paris Disneyland â” we hadn’t mentioned Disneyland Paris to our 9-year-old daughter but she saw a poster for it in the train station andâ¦wellâ¦you just can't get that close to a Disneyland and tell your 9-year-old she can't visit "the most magical place on earth”). One day, when she’s all grown up, it will hit her that we actually left Paris, the City of Light, to take a train trip to Disneyland Paris just for her, and she'll give us the biggest hug ever, and it will have all been worth it! (Of course, we got many hugs that day, so I guess she kind of paid it forward).

Preparing the gear for the shoot
The night before the shoot I stayed up late; charged the batteries, backed up my cards, took extra cards; made sure everything was in place for the big shoot. I brought extra gear just for this shoot, including the new Canon 11-24mm f/4 (I asked to extend the loaner from Canon for this trip), and my Canon Fisheye zoom, as well as my casual walk around lens, a Tamron 28-300mm f/3.5 to f/6.3, and my new favorite travel tripod from 3-Legged Thing (so sturdy yet very lightweight). I set my alarm early, and I was up and ready to go. I went back to the instruction email from the Library to confirm the address, and according to Google Maps, the Library was 12 minutes away by taxi, so I was in the hotel lobby at 8:30 for my quick ride to the Library, but there were no taxis to be found. The hotel tried calling a taxi company and they said "We'll call you back." Ack! They finally did call back, but it took about 10 minutes for the taxi to arrive.

Well, as luck would have it, there was much more traffic than the taxi driver or I had expected, and after leaving late, and encountering lots of traffic, I arrived about 6 minutes late.  Not good. Worse yet, as it turned out I was on the other side of the huge complex from where the entrance was, and the signs were in French but I finally found someone to point me in the right direction. Once at the main entrance, I had to go through security (including showing my contract so they would let me in with my "professional gear" as the guard called it), and then getting my gear x-rayed as well, and long story short, when I got through all that and asked for my contact at the information desk, I was already about 15 minutes late, and fairly stressed. I still have 45 minutes for the shoot, so I’m still OK â” that’s all the time I need.

The woman at the desk was very helpful (and spoke very good English) and tried to ring my contact several times, but then while she was trying to track her down, I got an email from my contact asking where I was (since I was late), and letting me know she was waiting in the garden. When I told the woman at the desk that she was waiting in the garden, she looked kind of puzzled. "The garden?" Then I showed her the email, and she looked surprised and upset.

This is where things got sticky
She said, "Oh no. You're at the wrong location,” and my heart began to sink. As it turns out there are two locations for the French National Library, and the Reading Room (the place I wanted to shoot) is on the other side of town. In my contact's email she told me which entrance she would be at â” she even gave me the exact street entrance where she'd be at, but I assumed (there's that word â” here we go), that the entrance she was talking about was at that main location. Sadly, it was not. Well, I was freaking out and I told the woman at the desk I would just jump in a taxi and race there, but she told me â” it's very hard to find a taxi there (which turned out to be the understatement of the year. She should have said "nearly impossible).

Panic sets inâ¦
I looked back in that original email and saw my contact had left her cell number, and when she answered I told her my mistake â” I apologized profusely and told her I would jump in a taxi and be there right away. But she told me that with morning rush-hour traffic, I was at least 25 minutes away (maybe more), and she had to return to her home office (which ironically is where I was calling her from), so she was very apologetic, but my shoot was now cancelled â” I would not be able to shoot the Reading Room. She had made the trip all the way to this other location just to meet me for this shoot â” she went way out of her way just to make all this happen for me, and I totally blew it. I was so disappointed, frustrated, mad, and justâ¦arrrgggghhh!

So, whose fault was this really?
Absolutely, positively 100% â” it was all my fault. I could give you reasons it happened, from me not picking up in her email that the address was different than the one in her email signature, or that if I had shown the taxi driver her short email with two different addresses, he would have told me they were at two different locations. Then, of course, as it turned out he dropped me off blocks from the entrance which didn't help, but at the end of the day, what killed my shoot was simply bad planning on my part by not giving myself enough time for anything to go wrong. If all of those things had happened but I had been there 30 minutes early, instead of 15 minutes late, I still would have had enough built-in extra time to get to the other location and still do the shoot. But since I was late, time was stacked against me from the start. My fault. No one else to blame. Period.

I know this stuff. Well, I should know this stuff.
Of course, I know to be at any shoot early, but my plan of being there 15-minutes early is a "best case scenario" plan and doesn't really allow for anything to go wrong along the way. This one really smarted, and when I walked out of the building, and I'm standing there trying to hail a taxi where there are no taxis (I finally got an Uber driver, but it was a loooonnngggg wait), I felt just as foolish as I could be. This is the type of stuff a kid does â” not someone my age.

I was so disappointed in myself â” I still am, but once I got back to the hotel; told the story to my very sympathetic wife (who totally resisted the urge for a well deserved "I told you so"), and my two awesome kids with big smiles and hugs, everything quickly came into perspective. I missed one shoot, but I'm in Paris, with my kids, my wonderful wife, it's a beautiful day outside, and I can smell the fresh baked baguettes. The rest of the day was immeasurably better, and I learned a valuable lesson I should have learned a long time ago. So, the shoot was a bust, but overall, I'd say the day was a roaring success!

Lots of other shots I actually did get, here tomorrow
I'm putting a few of my favorites together for tomorrow, and I do have a few stories and tips to share here with you here as well. Hope you'll stop by then. By the way â” stop by early â” I've learned that really makes a difference. ;-)

Merci mes amis,