Posts By Scott Kelby

Today is Veterans Day here in the US, and I wanted to take a moment to honor and thank the men and women who have served in our country's military, and who fought to defend the very freedoms we enjoy today.

America owes you a debt of gratitude for your service and sacrifice, and I just wanted to join in with a heartfelt thanks.

Last week on my Facebook page I pointed to an article I found  on a WPPI Forum called “50 Brides Reveal What Their Photographers Could Have Done Better” (the original article was posted on and I thought it actually provided some interesting points and feedback directly from the folks wedding photographers are trying to make happy, so that’s a good thing, right?

Well, while it was widely viewed (it reached over 510,000 people on my Facebook page alone, and was reshared there nearly 1,000 times), it sure wasn’t widely embraced. A lot of wedding photographers seemed to blame the brides themselves for ‘not hiring better wedding photographers in the first place.’

Here’s a reader comment from Ross Mealey that garnered 83 likes from other readers:

“While I only shoot weddings for people I am close with… I have to comment and ask the REAL question… how many of the people who commented of the 50 things shopped around, read photographers reviews, and spent more than a couple hundred dollars and even then tried to cheap out of paying… everyone wants something for nothing… so they hire sub-standard photographers and expect the world when the product is delivered…”

Whether you find some information in that “50 brides post” that will help you better meet future brides’ expectations, or if you agree with the general feeling that these brides “got what they paid for⦔ I think perhaps the best learning opportunity may actually come from those Facebook comments posted by the photographers themselves. A lot of pro wedding photographers did a nice job of sharing how they handle or deal with some of the very same issues the brides pointed out, so you might find it helpful to see how other photographers are dealing with these topics by reading the 140+ comments on that Facebook post (here’s the link â” scroll down to my post from November 6th).

Now, let’s turn the tables
While you’re here, if you had the opportunity to tell 50 potential brides what would help you, as a wedding photographer, to create the type of wedding images they’ve always dreamed of, what would it be?

I’ll get the ball rolling with one
I would insist if they hire me that it is an “unplugged wedding” where the Bride and Groom ask the guests in advance to leave their cameras at home and their cell phones in their pockets or purses, and just enjoy the wedding day as guests. Rather than having them experience the wedding through a glass screen, let them know that you have hired a team of photographers who will make sure everything is covered, and so they won’t have to come as journalists, they can just relax and be a part of a moment instead of trying to chronicle it. The bride and groom at the last wedding I shot agreed to do this, and it really made the day a pleasure for everyone and the guests actually got to be guests again.

I’d love to hear what ideas you’d have for those 50 potential brides (imagine that you’re speaking to them in a small ballroom at a bridal show and you have the stage sharing advice to help them out). Maybe if we get enough great responses we could create a post with ideas which we could share with potential brides?



Friday before last, my company threw a big party for me to celebrate my being “The #1 Best Selling Book Author in Computers or Photography for 10 Consecutive Years.” 

My awesome wife Kalebra organized the event (she is the queen of incredible events), and since my wonderful Publisher Peachpit Press had already presented me with a beautiful award during Photoshop World, she wanted to do something really unique to commemorate this milestone. So she called my whole family up on stage and presented me with the amazing Paul Reed Smith Custom guitar (you see above), with a personalized plaque right below the bridge (a close up of the plaque is seen below).

I have a few PRS (Paul Reed Smith) guitars but they are all “SE” models, which are their much lower-priced kind of “entry-level” models, and I dearly love mine (they don’t play like entry level models). But when my wife handed this one to me, I didn’t (at first) realize it wasn’t an SE model â” this was the ‘real deal’ â” my first real PRS! Well, as blown away as I was, I was not at all prepared for what was coming next…

What came next…
So I’m standing there holding the guitar, and everybody’s clapping, and my daughter and son are there and I keep saying to my wife, “This is a real PRS!!!” and the whole thing is kind of surreal. Then my wife says, “Your son wants to say something,” and she hands him the mic.

Now, my son is a really good public speaker, and he started by cracking a couples of little jokes that got everybody laughing. But then he started into his speechâ”one that absolutely had me and everybody speechless.

I wish I had it on tape, but I’ll paraphrase as best I can. Here’s what he said:

“Dad, I was 7-years-old when you won this award for the first time and now it’s been 10 years in a row. This has been a tremendous amount of work for you, but when I was in elementary school, and we had presentations at school, you were always there.  When I played basketball or soccer in middle school, you were always at my games.  When we had parent/teacher conferences at school you were always there⦔

â¦and he went on and on through all the times he needed me there, from dealing with a broken heart to cheering at his Crew races, and he listed them one after another in a list that seemed to go on forever, and he ended every single one with “â¦and you were always there⦔ By this time I’m in tears and everybody at the party is in tears, and he’s just describing this all so eloquently, and he’s on stage in front of this large crowd, and he keeps listing all these things and then he pauses for a moment and saysâ¦

“And you know what all this taught me, dad?”

And the whole place goes silent. And he saysâ¦

It taught me how to be a man.” 

That was it â” tears just came pouring out, and I hugged him, and everybody cheered, and it was literally one of the most amazing moments of my entire life. There isn’t a dad out there that could have asked for his son to say anything more. I was so incredibly touched, and he did such a wonderful job presenting the whole thing (which of course, made me even prouder). Needless to say it’s a moment I’ll never forget, and as much as I love awesome guitars, this meant so, so, so much more.

As I write this post (which is very late for a Friday post I might add), I’m with my wife and son â” for the past two days we’ve been visiting college campuses around the country (six flights in two days) and just having a ball. We’re about to head out for another campus tour, and I’m so excited for the adventures, learning, and fun my son will embark on next year. We’re a very close family, and he and I have always been very close, and it’s going to be really hard on me when he goes off to school in a different state, but no matter how old he and I get, I’ll never forget his words, or what it means to be his dad.

Here’s to all the dads out there, who know exactly what I mean, and how I feel. :)

Have a great weekend everybody!



Every year it’s a big challenge. Looking at images from more than 1,000 walks all over the world â” ones that have already been selected as the best from each local walk â” and then trying to narrow things to just one grand prize winner, and 10 finalists. There’s just so many great shots that it makes the process really tough.

The Process
I take this judging role very seriously â” I put a lot of thought and careful consideration into each selection. Every image gets viewed, and reviewed and considered and reconsidered to death because you can make a great case for so many of them. Think about it â” this is a group of photos from every corner of the world, and there are a lot of captivating, fascinating, cute, fun, and very serious images, and so I view every image full screen size, and then tag the best of the first round.

A lot of images actually make this first cut. Then I look at just those tagged images, and narrow things down to just the best of that group (this year I got down to around 79 images at this stage). Then I do it again and again until I have just 11 left. One of those 11 will wind up being the winner. That’s when it gets really tough. It takes a lot of time, and I sweat every decision, but in the end a decision has to be made.

Even though this round of judging is over …
You'll still get to make your own picks in our People's Choice Award, and we have a Leader's Competition, and I always list my ‘Honorable Mentions’ (images that are so good that even though they didn’t win a prize, still deserve recognition)  so while this is the official announcement of the Top-10 Finalists and the Grand Prize winner, the competition phase still has a few more components left.

First, let’s reveal this year's Top 10 Finalists (in no particular order):

By Macbeth (Gyeongsangbuk-do, South Korea Photo Walk)
This shot just looks happy â” even though you can’t see the expressions on the people walking down the hill, the vibrant colors, and sun beams, and the whole thing makes it look like a scene from the Teletubbies, and I just loved it. I love the placement of the people on the hill, and just the overall vibe of the shot.

By  Jean-Christophe (Lyon, RA France Photo Walk)
This shot has a lot of graphic appeal on its own, with its angular lines in either direction, but the placement of the man on the stairs really made it all come together. Very simple, but very cool.

By Tinnakorn (Chiang Mai, จ.à¹à¸Šà¸µà¸¢à¸‡à¹ƒà¸«à¸¡à¹ˆ Thailand Photo Walk)
What a great scene! I just love the juxtaposition of those three large hero photos above with this gentle looking man just having a beer â” it really caught my eye right away. I love the colors and how it all works together. Makes me wish I was at the next table over having a cold one myself. Nicely done.

By  Joseph (Charleston, South Carolina, USA Photo Walk)
OK, I know this isn’t a technically perfect shot, and that plant on the far left is distractingâ¦but it’s still a great shot. It’s so simple, and casual, and I like the post processing and it was so different than any of the other entries that it really stood out to me. It’s not the typical type of shot I’m drawn to, but I sure do like it.

By Phongphanich (Bangkok Thailand [Rattanakosin Island] Photo Walk)
This is just a wonderful combination of color and composition, and I love the post processing on this shot. It makes me want to know more about the shot â” what’s the rest of the story. Who is the guy in that picture? There’s a lot going on here for such a simple photo.

By Sonata (Kaunas County Lithuania Photo Walk)
The first time I saw this shot, it was like looking at a still shot during a movie. It has a real cinematic feel and I love the way our subject, and the birds, are all back lit, and I love her position in the frame. Really makes you feel like you came upon a moment in a movie and that was all I needed.

By Eman (El-Gamaleya, Cairo, Egypt Photo Walk)
What captured me about this shot was the light. From the light beams streaming behind our subject, to the soft light on his face, to how the overall scene is lit â” the lighting is just really wonderful. Plus, I really like the subject’s expression and care that’s being given to his work. Very nice capture.

By Mark (Hoover, Alabama, USA Photo Walk)
This is another one of those shots where the first time I saw it, I loved it, and of course what I loved the most is how the mushroom is lit. It just stands out so beautifully in the otherwise dark scene. I wish that little spot of white wasn’t there at the top of the frame, because it does draw my eye a little, but it’s such a lovely shot that I’m willing to look the other way on that, and just enjoy the beautiful scene. Nice!

By Andrew (Seoul, South Korea Photo Walk)
This shot just cracked me up, only because it’s such a real scene. I love how the women are in very traditional outfits, but they’ve got a cell phone up on an “extender for selfies” pole and they’re flashing peace signs. It’s kind of surreal, but at the same time, you’re looking at something very real. Great shot!

By Daniela (Haarlem, The Netherlands Photo Walk)
First, there’s the subject â” a young girl on stilts, which is something you just don’t see every day, but the lighting in this shot is so subtle and beautiful without the scene being dark and dramatic. I feel like I walked in upon a quiet moment and I want to know where she’s going, why she’s wearing stilts, and how she’d get so lucky to be learning to walk on stilts in such gorgeous light. One of my favorites for sure.



By Michal (Warszawa, Mazowieckie Polska Photo Walk)
There is just something about this shot. I kept coming back to it again and again. I love the overall tone of the image, and how you see these individual drops frozen in time like that. There’s not enough water so that it looks cheezy (which can happen when freezing water in a fountain), and I love the composition with that wide open area to the right. I wish I could give you a better technical reason why I like it, but I think it’s 100% an emotional response. If you keep coming back to it again and again, then you just know there’s something special there, and I think this is a very special shot.

A Big Thanks!
A special thanks to Canon, our Premier sponsor (and provider of amazing Canon prizes) and to flickr, Adobe Systems, Peachpit Press, Tamron, KeepSnap, B&H Photo, and Wacom â” thanks for all your support and for offering such awesome prizes to our winners (we are very grateful).

Thanks to our Walk Leaders who did such an outstanding job once again of giving of their time and talents to make their local walks happen, and to the wonderful photographers from around the world who created such inspiring, creative, and beautiful work.

P.S.: We still have the unveiling of the Honorable Mentions (images that didn't win a prize, but that are so good that I felt they needed special recognition), so make sure you stop by on Friday for that. Don't forget: Although this phase is over, we still have the People's Choice Award to pick, and a special competition for your Walk Leaders, so there's more to come. :)


Hi everybody. I’m so sorry the judging is taking so much longer than usual.  I feel terrible that the results aren’t going to be posted until tomorrow, but I know you don’t want me to rush through the selection process (it’s a LOT of images to consider, and a lot of tough choices to make), so thanks for understanding and for the time extension.

If all goes well, I should have the winners posted in the morning. :)

All my best,


UPDATE: Judging all of these amazing images is taking longer than I expected! Check back again later and I’ll announce the winners just as soon as I can.

Hi Gang: Join me here today at 2:00 pm EDT for my official announcement of the 10 finalists (all prize winners), and the Grand Prize Winner from my 7th annual Worldwide Photo Walk. (Here’s a worldwide time finder to help. Use New York City as your search).

We've got some amazing prizes and some wonderful images to share, so I'll see you then â” right here on the blog.

Good luck everybody! :)