Posts By Scott Kelby


We just released two new classes on (well, technically Eddie’s new class, Seeing the Light, went live last week, but I didn’t get a chance to let you know), and now Katrin’s new class called “Creative Panoramic Photography” (shot live on location), is now up, where she shows how to prepare for, shoot, merge and experiment with panoramic images. (Here’s the link to her class).

Eddie’s class, filmed live in the studio, is focused on just one topic; a simple formula for getting spectacular lighting (here’s the link to his class).


I’ve had a lot of questions about the whole keyboard “skinning” thing, so just to follow-up, I thought I’d post this image, which is a series of photos shot and put together by RC Concepcion (click for a larger view) which shows the process of “skinning” a Korg M3 Music Workstation/Sampler with a Skintronix skin. Thanks to RC for letting me share this you guys. :)


First things first. It’s an honor to be invited to be a guest contributor here on Scott’s blog and to follow terrific guest posts by both Vincent Versace and Joe McNally. Cheers to what I hope will become not only a long happy tradition but also an industry trend. I know I’ll be guest blogging for other industry luminaries. And I’ve invited them to make guest appearances on my blog. My blog? Yes! You heard it here first. Not even my Insights enews members know this yet. My new blog is live! Check it out here. (After you read the great posts on this blog!)

Many take the view that pictures should be seen and not heard. I did. After being called to comment on my work time and time again, I realized that learning to comment on my work not only made my work more effective but it also helped me understand my work better and solve certain creative challenges. In fact, I realized that there are many types of writing and many uses for writing. Writing is now an integral part of my creative process from start to finish. Making the Visual Verbal is a useful skill that can benefit everyone, including you. You don't think you can write? Anyone can finish a sentence. Finishing it well just takes practice. And some kinds of writing don't need finished sentences. While it's true there's only one Shakespeare, we can all write. After all, think of all the great writing (fiction and nonfiction) that's been written since Shakespeare. Personally, I don't want to receive love letters written by Shakespeare. I want love letters written to me by my wife.

How have I been called to talk about images? Here are 5 ways.

  • You can read Interviews I’ve given here.
  • You can read conversations I’ve had with other great artists here.
  • You can read statements I’ve written here.
  • You can see related images here.
  • You can find my workshops here.
  • You can find my DVDs here.
  • You can find my tutorials at Kelby Training here.

Making the Visual Verbal

“Pictures should be seen and not heard.” “If we could communicate what we want to communicate with words, then we’d be writers not artists.” The words had rained down on me so many times that my mind had been saturated with the idea. While it reflects some truth, chiefly that a text (written or verbal) can never be a substitute for an image, it can also be misleading. Pictures have always been, continue to be, and will always be talked about-particularly by artists.

Growing up in an artistic family, the parade of visitors and people we visited included many types of artists from musicians to sculptors and most frequently photographers. The topics of conversation were far-reaching and colorful. Often there would be complaints about what had been written about their own work, sometimes about what had been written about each other’s work, or … (more…)


My wife Kalebra has always been fascinated with severe weather, which is handy since so much of it comes our way. She was born and raised in the Tampa Bay area of Florida, (known as the Lightning Capital of the World), so she grew up living with everything from massive thunderstorms to hurricanes and tornadoes, which is why I think my wife is so interested in learning about severe weather.

When you grow up dealing with stuff like this, the pendulum doesn’t usually stop in the middle; you’re either terrified of it, like one of Kalebra’s sisters, or really fascinated with it, like Kalebra is.

That’s why I wasn’t surprised when she told me she wanted to spend a week out in the midwest with a team of meteorologists (and other weather freaks), chasing storms, and learning about them up close and personal. And last week, that’s exactly where she was (where she captured the photo you see above, taken last Saturday, where they saw 11 tornadoes in one day).

By the time she left for the trip; she had company as Moose Peterson, Laurie Excel, and her brother had all signed on for the week of running for their lives, too (Moose has chronicled the week on his blog–here’s the link).

The people on the trip mirrored the people I talked about above; some were there to overcome their fear by facing it head on, and others were there (including native Oklahomans) who were just as fascinated with learning about the weather they have deal with as she was.

The group she went with was called “Tempest Tours” and when I asked her what she thought, she said, “Do they know what they’re doing? Absolutely! Were the guys in charge (Bill, Brian, Keith, and Steve) knowledgeable? Absolutely. Do they mean it when they say, ‘It’s not about the food or the lodging? Absolutely!”

All in all she learned a great deal, had a great time, saw some amazing weather, and got a real insight into what people who live in that part of the country have to deal with each year. Would she do it again? Absolutely!


Every once in a while you come across a workshop you’d just love to attend, and for me, one of these is Jim Divitale and Helene Glassman’s 3-day hands-on digital imaging workshop coming up July 28-30th, 2008 at Jim’s studio in Atlanta.

If you’ve ever been to Photoshop World (where Jim and Helene are featured instructors), you already know what amazing teachers they are (Jim has been one of our featured photographers for the past 15 or more Photoshop World’s in a row!).

If you’ve read my book, The Photoshop Book for Digital Photographers, then you know already know Jim, because he’s referenced throughout the book, and in the acknowledgments, as one of the people who help me come up with the initial outlines, concepts, and even some of the techniques themselves.

If you’ve read my book, The Digital Photography Book, Vol. 1 or 2 you’re feeling the influence of Helene Glassman, who spent an entire day with me sharing her portrait photography techniques, tips, posing ideas, and lighting set-ups. She does the same thing in her Photoshop World classes, and she goes beyond that with teaching photographers how to market their work.

I know what these two have to offer; I’ve seen the results they get, and that’s why I’m dying to take their hands-on workshop. The 3-day workshop is designed is for people with intermediate to advanced knowledge of Photoshop CS2 or CS3, and covers:

  1. Hands on digital capture workflow using DSLR cameras.
  2. Understanding lighting formulas for portrait and commercial still life photography.
  3. Custom profiling the camera, monitor, and printer for predictable results
  4. Advanced lighting and camera techniques for location and in the studio
  5. Determining proper exposure values for digital capture.
  6. Repairing damaged files and poor lighting conditions.
  7. Creating high quality black and white and color images.
  8. Understanding bit depth, resolution and file format for professional jobs.
  9. Managing digital files from concept to archiving.

I hope you get a chance to spend a few days learning from Jim and Helene, because it will have a real impact on both you and your work. Here’s the link with all the details.


I recently did a location shoot at a recording studio for a project being developed by the Korg Keyboard company, for a very cool new accessory for keyboard players that lets you apply a “skin” to your keyboards. (You can see the blue image “skin” on the Korg M3 Music Workstation/Sampler above—the keyboard is normally just solid white–click on it for a larger view. The model is musician Justin Finley).

This is bigger than it might first sound. Although guitar players and bass players have always had a wide choice of finishes and patterns for their guitar bodies, and drummers have had everything from sparkle finishes to wood grains to even clear shells; keyboard players have pretty much had one look; solid black. More recently, white. That’s about it.

The idea of skinning keyboards is the brainchild of John Chase over at Korg, and John contacted me to work on the original mock-ups, and slide presentations for the initial concepts, but once we started actually “skinning” full size keyboards for the final prototypes, we had to get some serious help. We brought in the immensely talented RC Concepcion who literally busted his $#%& to get the final full-size mock-ups developed using some of my photography, and some illustrator vector images, like the one shown at the top (he really did an amazing job—RC rocks, and we couldn’t have done it without him).

Once RC got a full sized image designed to the exact specs, and output at full size, I got the chance to be the first keyboard player to play a “Skinned” Korg M3 Workstation live during my Big Electric Cat gig at B.B. King’s Blues Club in Orlando, Florida, (with John Chase on hand). The keyboard was skinned with one of my images of the Disney Hall in downtown Los Angeles.


The photo above was taken by RC Concepcion during the shoot at the studio, inside the control room, and from it you can see I was using just one single Nikon SB-800 flash, mounted on a lightstand to my left, and firing through a 42″ shoot-through umbrella. I was shooting tethered to my Laptop so I could see the images coming straight into Lightroom.

SPECS: The photo was taken with a Nikon D3, at 200 ISO, with a shutter speed of 1/60 of a second, at f/5.6. I used a 14-24mm Nikon f/2.8 lens at 14mm for that really wide look. I triggered the flash using a Nikon SU-800 Commander unit sitting on the hotshoe of my D3.

Below are three more location shoots (the top two behind-the-scene shots are by RC, taken hand held at 3200 ISO with a Nikon D3), in a different part of the studio. The third shot below is what I was shooting, but I lit with with two SB-800 flashes; the one in front you see here, behind the shoot through umbrellas, and a bare SB-800 kicker on a lightstand, diagonally behind Justin, with a HonlPhoto Speed Snoot (link) to keep the beam from spreading out. (NOTE: In the top photo, that’s Dave Cross looking at my tethered laptop with a concerned look on his face. In the 2nd photo, you can make out John Chase, on the floor next time, not looking nearly as concerned as Dave).




One last thing: I use two Korg keyboards for my own rig; the M3 Music Workstation/Sampler and a TR Music Workstation, and they’re just amazing! As a keyboard player, you can image how honored I am to be developing a special “Scott Kelby Signature Line” of photography-based skins with Korg, and as soon as these skins are available I’ll be sure you give you all the details (by the way; these skins are called “SkinTronix”).

Thanks to RC for all his help, and thanks John Chase and the folks at Korg for getting me involved in this very cool project!