Posts By Scott Kelby

Hi Gang: Once a month on “The Grid” RC and I do our “Blind Photo Critiques” episode where we ask our viewers to submit images for a live critique on the air. When the submitted images are portraits, we often see the same type of problems again and again, so I thought today I’d share a few hopefully helpful things to ask yourself about a portrait image to see if you’re on the right track â” kind of a checklist to mentally take your image through to see if it’s working.

This checklist is short and simple, and certainly not complete, but at least if you’ve asked yourself these things about it, you’ll be ahead of the game. Here we go:

(a) Does your subject look engaged, either with the camera or someone in the frame (or just off frame)?
Peter Hurley has a great staying for this, he says “Are they giving you anything?” This “engagement” from the subject is incredibly important, and without it, the rest of the stuff below, even if you have them all, probably won’t make it without this (unless “e” below works well enough).

(b) Is the light either really flattering or really appropriate to the subject?
That doesn’t necessarily mean soft â” it might mean hard light, depending on who your subject is, whether they’re male or female, and the mood you’re trying to create, but generally the flattering light part is pretty important.

(c) Is the background clean and simple?
If your background is simple for a straight up portrait, your chances for success go way up. This is bigger than it sounds. If the background is distracting, or has very bright areas that draw the viewers eye, your viewer won’t be looking where they’re supposed to be looking, and that’s not a good thing.

(d) Is the subject separated from the background?
In an outdoor portrait, creating some separation between your subject and the background usually helps put the focus on your subject. Try the lowest-numbered f/stop your lens will allow (f/2.8, f/4, f/5.6 â” the lower the number the better), and zoom in on your subject to help create that separation.

(e) Is the subject doing anything interesting?
They don’t always need to be engaged with you (at the camera) or someone in the scene if your subject is doing something interesting to the viewer. Seeing someone doing something interesting is justâ¦wellâ¦interesting!

Again, this isn’t the be-all, end-all list, but the next time you’re sitting in front of a portrait and you’re wondering if it “works,” run it through this checklist and see how it holds up (an ideal time to do this, is when you’re reviewing images during the shoot, while you can still do something about it â” if not, it’s still something to strive for on the next shoot).

Hope you find that helpful, and here’s wishing you an usually awesome, Tuesday! :)



P.S. If you live in the UK, I hope you’ll catch my monthly column in Digital Camera World magazine (link). I’ve been writing it now for about 7-months and having a lot of fun with it. 

Hey Gang: Adobe just announced The 2015 Release of Creative Cloud, and there’s cool new stuff in Photoshop, Lightroom, and Lightroom for your Mobile Devices, plus there’s some cool mobile apps, new “Adobe Stock” stock photos accessible right from within your CC applications, and a whole bunch more fun stuff for Creative Cloud subscribers.

You can check out Adobe’s 2015 Release of Creative Cloud page for more details.

Visit our KelbyOne 2015 Release Launch Center for some free training on the Creative Cloud’s new features.

Also, I did a write up on all the cool new Lightroom & Lightroom for your Mobile Device new features over at our sister site: – so you can check that out right here. 

It’s a big fun day – lots of cool new stuff across a whole bunch of Apps – will share more soon!






Hi Gang:  Just wanted to let you KelbyOne members out there to know that I've kicked off a new Lightroom Q&A column in Lightroom magazine (this is our new "magazine within a magazine" that comes inside each issue of Photoshop User magazine, which is published in print and digital 10-times a year for KelbyOne members. 

In the magazine I'm answering many of the great questions that are posted by our readers over at readers  (thank you for that), so if you're a KelbyOne member, keep an eye out for the new issue of Photoshop User, and my new column in Lightroom Magazine."

Hope you all have a great Monday, and make sure you stop back by tomorrow - I've got some really cool stuff lined up! :)




Yesterday I gave a shout-out to Kristina Sherk’s new class on KelbyOne on high-end skin retouching techniques, and this is absolutely nothing like that. LOL!!

I ran across this tutorial of hers last night on YouTube and when I saw the headline, “How to create Lens Flare in Lightroom 4″ I just assumed that she started in Lightroom; jumped over to Photoshop to use the Lens Flare filter, and then jumped back. Pretty standard stuff, right?

I was wrong. She does it ALL in Lightroom (and it’s a very clever method). So much so that it’s double-Kristina shout-out Tuesday here on my blog. Here’s the video:

That’s pretty clever, right! :)

Hope that makes your Tuesday a little more fun.



P.S. This will work in Camera Raw, too, but of course there is already a Lens Flare filter in Photoshop, so…ya know. 

Morning everybody, and welcome to “late post” Monday! Just a few quick things:

1. Quick Lightroom Skin Retouching Tip
Today I posted a quick tip on Skin Retouching in Lightroom over at, based on a question I was asked at my seminar in Hartford on Friday. Here’s the link to that tip, but if you want more pro-level stuff in Photoshop, check out Kristina Sherk’s just-released online class on “High-end Skin Retouching” over at our site (here’s the link to her class – it’s getting rave reviews!).

2. Why didn’t anybody tell me Van Halen released a new live Album with David Lee Roth?
I saw them in Tampa a year or so ago when they just kicked off their new tour, and they sounded great live (but the iTunes review comments are pretty mean all the way around. Ack! Anyway, I just previewed some of the songs and it sounds OK to me). I’m in that group of folks that feels like Van Halen isn’t “Van Halen” without David Lee Roth up front!

3. More Helpful Features from
My favorite online photo-storytelling site keeps getting better and better â” has added a new text-only feature for folks who want to have a story block without having to have an image to go with it. If you’ve got a sec, here’s a link to my photo stories over at exposure.

4. Very proud of RC!
Next Saturday he’ll be in NYC to see his work hanging in the Joshua Liner Gallery there – how cool is that! If you missed the whole story on Friday, here’s the link. Very cool stuff (and very proud and excited for RC!)

5. I’ve been trying out a new lens!
It’s just a loaner, so I only have it for a few more days, but Canon’s new 11-24mm is one of my favorite lenses ever! Super sharp all the way to the edges, and that super wideness is super awesome! Hope to have some test shots soon â” I’m working on two shoots where it would be awesome (my shoot in Hartford this past week fell through, so I’m onto something new). I will say this â” I’ve yet to shoot it anywhere near 24mm â” it’s all 11 to 15mm range stuff (mostly 11) as many of you know (link) that I’m not a fan of 24mm (I really like a much wider lens, but I’ve never had the opportunity until now to shoot a full frame body with 11mm super-wide, and let me tell you it is sweet!).

OK, gotta run – hope you all have a fairly decent to on the verge of awesome Monday, and we’ll see ya here tomorrow where I hope to actually have a proper post written and in place sometime late tonight. :)



P.S. When I mentioned retouching stuff earlier, I didn’t mention this but I’m teaching a class called “Retouching Faces” at the Photoshop World Conference & Expo coming up in August. You can see the full schedule of classes here. 

OK, over 3,200 of you voted yesterday and I posted the results from that Lightroom Reader Suggested Feature Survey (quite surprising results by the way), over at along with a link to today’s even quicker one-question survey, which is based on the series that I wrote which started this whole thing, called:

“What I love to see added to Lightroom”

I did a post on one feature each day for seven days, so there are just seven feature ideas (but you can only pick one). It’s short and sweet â” will take you less than 60-seconds.

Here’s the direct link to this new survey if you just want to jump over there real quick and vote, but make sure you jump back over to Lightroom Killer Tips to see yesterday’s results, too.

Perhaps, equally as important, but not really….
…are the results from my “Which Guitar Has To Go Home?” survey:

That’s right â” the Paul Stanley (lead singer for KISS) Signature Model Flying “V” up in the top right corner was your clear #1 choice and therefore must be banished from my office, and sent into exile within my private residence (which is very close to my house) under strict orders not to get anywhere near my Les Paul or my Paul Reed Smith Custom 24.

In times like these it’s a tradition (for over 1/100th of a century) to conduct an official “Changing of the Guitar” ceremony broadcast LIVE today via the Periscope App (free for IOS and now Android). If you’re not already following me there, please do (I’m @scottkelby) and watch as the magic unfolds. The spectacle and pageantry of this majestic processional is really something to behold. You’ll want to tell your grandchildren about this one, so make sure your batteries are charged, you have plenty of film on hand, and get there early to get a good spot and avoid all the tourists.

That’s all from here in “I’m up way too late” land. Hope you have a rockin’ Tuesday!



P.S. Later today we’ll be forming the “Missing V” formation as we gather in unison to hum “Detroit Rock City.”