Posts By Scott Kelby

Greetings from Swingin’ London everybody! So, check this out â” Canon just released a special, limited-time bundle deal and I am so excited that we’re a part of it. Here’s the scoop:

If, during the run of this offer, you buy either a:

> Canon 5D Mark III, or a Canon 7D Mark II, or Canon 6D

It comes with:

> A full year subscription to the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plan (so, basically Photoshop CC & Lightroom CC),

PLUS

> A full-year of online training on Photoshop CC and Lightroom CC from us at KelbyOne.

So, it’s the camera, the software, and the tools to learn Photoshop and Lightroom. Oh yeah!

Here’s the link with full details on the “Power to Create” offer. Also, check out the promo video below:

http://youtu.be/NtwpDeA36KQ

Hope you all have a great Monday!

Best,

-Scott

P.S. Hope to meet a whole bunch of you tomorrow at my seminar in London. It’s not too late to get a ticket if you want to come join me (here’s that link).

 

http://youtu.be/UBdcpIfd3_Q

This past Wednesday was our monthly “Blind Photo Critiques” episode of ‘The Grid” where we ask our viewers to send in 3 or 4 of their images and give an honest critique (which is why we don’t ask for their names, we don’t say who took the shots so we can give an honest critique without publicly embarrassing anyone).

These Blind Photo Critiques are really popular because we try to use these critiques as learning tools for all our viewers (not just the person whose images get critiqued), but I gotta tell ya â” this past Wednesday’s was a pretty rough episode. I felt pretty down afterward, because we didn’t have a lot of good things to say about the images that were submitted, try as we might to find a silver lining in some cases. Usually we have three or four photographers whose work is really solid, and sometimes it’s more like 6 or 7, but on Wednesday, we only had one, and that really made it rough.

Our guest was photographer and instructor Rick Sammon, and Rick (as always) had lots of helpful technical insights on composition and technique, but we all struggled at times to come up with anything meaningful or nice to say, and I can tell you, that’s not fun. We want to be encouraging, but at the same time, we feel we need to be totally honest to really help, and every time we are, it reminds us of why it’s so much easier to lie and tell people “you’re on the right track” even when you know they aren’t.

It makes you feel like crud when you read a tweet like this, from someone we reviewed this past week:

“Well thats left me more than slightly deflated! Had my photo’s critiqued on #thegridlive by @ScottKelby & @aboutrc. Didn’t go down too well!”

Thankfully, we do see a lot of positive tweets from people who tell us it’s what they needed to hear, and you can tell they have the kind of attitude that’s going to make them a success. We’ve had people go right out again shooting after their critique; and share their photos literally a week later that are a night-and-day improvement from what they had submitted just a few days earlier, and that’s what keeps us going. There is nothing that makes an educator want to stand up and cheer more than seeing one of their students succeed. It’s what puts the fuel in our tanks, so you can imagine how all three of us felt after Wednesday’s episode where we barely had anything kind to say. It was a rough show. You could tell when things were really going bad because RC and I would just look over at Mr. Sammon and say “Rick?” and let him try to come up with something (poor Rick – he’s just a good sport).

If you get a few minutes, please take a look at the episode I posted above because there actually are some really good learning moments in there, especially in the first critique we did of the guy’s shots in the park (we spent a lot of time on his shots, but it was time well spent from a learning standpoint). We did have to make the point, after the commercial break, that the goal of the episode isn’t how many photos we get through â” it’s about how much we learn, and I hope you do take something useful from it (and I hope you submit your images next month around this same time).

I’m off to London!
I'm teaching my seminar in London on Tuesday, and if you're in the UK and you're not one of the 300 or so photographers coming out to spend the day with me (and Brad), why the heck not? Come on out - you'll learn a lot (it's 100% money back guaranteed, so you have nothing to lose - if you don't think it totally kicks butt, you get your money back!). Here's the link - I hope to see you there on Tuesday!

Have a great weekend everybody, and a great week (and make sure you follow me on Twitter and Facebook as I’ll be sharing my trip there next week. Well, starting Sunday anyway).

Best,

-Scott

OK, I had planned to swing by the office and pick up a camera body, a lens, my tripod and a cable release, but we were having a busy family day and we wound up at my brother’s condo (a 4th of July family tradition) without a camera.

His condo overlooks the bridge leading to Clearwater Beach, Florida and his balcony has a great view of the fireworks, and since this was Clearwater’s 100th anniversary, they promised the Bay Areas biggest fireworks display. All the more reason why I should have made sure I had time to swing by the office and pick up my gear. Sadly, I did not.

Luckily, my brother loaned me his Canon Rebel 2Ti, with an 18-200mm lens. He even had a tripod, but no cable release, but beggars can’t be choosers, so I was happy to have anything. The T2i, despite being a pretty old camera [it debuted back in 2010 â” you can find them used today for under $200], it did a pretty decent job. I used the same settings I listed here on Friday, except for I experimented with different shutter speeds (though the one I shared on Friday actually worked the best).

ISO: 100
f/Stop: f/11
Shutter Speed: 4-seconds to 8 seconds
Shot in: Manual Mode

I would have liked to go wider than 18mm, especially since this was a cropped sensor body so it was more like 28mm on full frame, but there was a wall on the left side of his balcony and it kept creeping into the frame so I wound up stuck at around 28mm cropped, which is like a 44mm lens on a full frame if, of course, they made a 44mm lens.

OK, it’s almost “grand finale” time (above) and things are about to get crazy. Although the grand finale is always the most fun to watch, it’s also the brightest part of the display, with everything kinda going off at once, and it takes a bit of post-processing (mostly, just dragging the Highlights slider to the left will do the trick, but they don’t make a long enough Highlights slider to bring back what’s going to happen in the next photo (the grand finale).

Well, I tried. It was just too much bright light for that T2i.

I can tell you three things I did in post that helped a lot:

(1) Applying the new Dehaze slider in Lightroom CC â” it helped a lot in reducing the smoke from the fireworks.
(2) I increased the contrast a bit so the image didn’t look flat and backed off on the highlights to keep things from being too blown out.
(3) I increased the Clarity a bit to enhance the overall detail.

While I certainly didn’t “crush it” I had a lot of fun (and the fireworks show was really cool). My brother made some incredibly yummy hot dogs (with all the toppings) and (wait for it, wait for itâ¦) Kraft Macaroni & Cheese (not the Deluxe stuff in the horizontal box â” this was the “real deal” in the tall blue box. That stuff is magic!). Anyway, the kids loved it; Kalebra loved it; I loved it, and another family tradition continues on at my brother’s condo downtown. Until next year, where I’ll do my best to remember my gear, but if I don’t, at least I know there’s a T2i there I can use. :)

Hope you all had a great 4th!

Best,

-Scott

P.S. I’d love to see some of your fireworks shots from Saturday; post ’em here or send me a link to them if you’ve got a sec. :)

 

 

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Hi Gang, and happy Friday: Tomorrow (July 4th) is a big holiday for us here in the US â” it's Independence Day â” a day where all Americans celebrate their independence from Glyn Dewis and Dave Clayton (shown pictured with me above. They both serve as Beefeaters in service to Her Majesty The Queen as Yeomen Warders of Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress the Tower of London, and Members of the Sovereign’s Body Guard of the Yeoman Guard Extraordinary, but they are shown here in the regular street clothes, but you know and I know, those clothes are anything but regular).

If you're thinking of shooting some fireworks shots tonight, I wrote an article for ColaCola's Journey website where I take you through the recipe for how to make Awesome Fireworks photos (It's a step-by-step article â” follow the recipe and ya can't miss). Here's the link.

I would add three things to that article for the more serious photography crowd here on my blog. They are:

>> Set your focus to infinity (This isn't critical but if your lens can do it, why not). The fireworks are so bright you can use just regular ol' auto focus for the most part, but if you have a lens that has a distance scale window on the top of your lens barrel; first turn off your auto focus (right on the lens â” switch it to off), then rotate the focus ring on your lens until you see the Infinity symbol [it looks like the number 8 lying on its side]. Again, you don't have to do this, but it might make things a bit easier.

>> Last year @SuzanMcEvoy (one of my followers over on my Twitter page) recommended also switching your White Balance to Tungsten and it works really well (Thanks Susan for the tip).

>> This one probably goes without saying, but you're on a tripod so use your lowest ISO setting for the cleanest shots.

Hope you all have a safe, happy 4th of July as we celebrate our nation's physical distance, in miles and magnitude, from Glyn and Dave which makes it truly a day worth celebrating. ;-)

Cheers!

-Scott

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! :)

Best,

-Scott

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: LightroomKillerTips.com – 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!

Best,

-Scott

 

 

 

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