Posts By Scott Kelby

Hi Gang and Happy Friday. I wanted to talk briefly about something I see on a pretty regular basis when doing portfolio reviews or even just looking at another photographer’s work. It’s something that really weakens their portfolio, and so in this case, I want to talk about what not to do — and how to sidestep this portfolio mistake:

Don’t put the same subject in your portfolio more than once
Take a look at the portfolio above. Out of the nine images, eight are different views of the same lighthouse. Here’s what that tells me about your work overall:

(1) You’re not a very experienced travel/landscape photographer. Looks like you’ve been to one place — the Oregon Coast. Even if this was a gallery titled “Oregon Coast” people still wouldn’t want to see eight shots of the same lighthouse from different angles. That’s more a project you do in school (shooting the same subject from different angles), rather than a showcase of your best work.

(2) You must really like that lighthouse

If you love lighthouses, that’s great — now put together a portfolio of different lighthouses from different locations — not a bunch of shots of the same lighthouse. Now you’re cooking! :)

In most cases, I would suggest that you avoid repeating the same exact location twice, unless they are very different photos, maybe taken from entirely different vantage points, in entirely different lighting. So, it can work, but when it comes to portfolios, it’s your job as photographer to pick your best shot of that lighthouse, and only show that one.

This goes for shots of people, too 
For example, If you shoot weddings, if potential clients don’t see a wide variety of brides and grooms, they think you’ve shot maybe one or two weddings. That’s a warning flag for getting hired — nobody wants to hire a wedding photographer with what appears to be two weddings under the belt. Same thing with models — If you have 12 shots in your portfolio, and 9 of them are of the same model, and 5 of those are in the same outfit (I see this quite often). It says “this photographer must not have much experience.” Also, it’s just boring. Pick your best shot of that model, and then find more models to photograph and start building your portfolio.

Building  a portfolio of different people, different weddings, different landscape locations or travel destinations takes time. It’s something photographers have to constantly work at — you’ll probably wind up scheduling shoots and doing them just for your portfolio, and that’s OK, but while you’re in this process, avoid repetition as much as possible.

NOTE: An exception to this is high-end fashion, where you’ll often see the same model in four very different outfits from an editorial shoot, or a campaign, but for the most part, this “stick to one image of that subject” is a pretty good guideline to stick by. 

Hope that helped you side-step a little portfolio quicksand. :)

Hope you have a great weekend, and we’ll catch ya back here on Monday!

Best,

-Scott

P.S. This weekend, do you want to learn the “Top 10 Things Every Photographer Should Know on Their Camera?” Here’s the link.  I think you’ll dig it. :)

Happy Tuesday, y’all. This is just a quickie, but it’s really handy if you shoot really wide angle lens for anything from landscapes to group shots. Don’t take points off because its so darn easy to do (in fact, it’s more about what not to do, instead of what you need to do). Here ya go:

Hope you found that helpful.

Here’s wishing you a packed-with-awesomeness kinda Tuesday!

Best,

-Scott

Happy Monday everybody — glad to have you here. So, last week on “The Grid” my wife Kalebra was our guest on the show, and we started the show sharing one of her ideas that has come to life. In short, here’s how it works:

“Picture this — we fly you and a guest to the KelbyOne Headquarters in Tampa, Florida so you can attend the opening night of your own private Gallery Showing.

It starts with you cutting the ribbon on your exhibit, then we usher you in with the crowd to a wine and cheese reception where they can enjoy your beautifully framed and mounted work in our new photographic gallery, with sprawling white walls; beautiful lighting; and wood floors.

After posing for pictures and chatting with the crowd, we head into the theater for a live interview where we talk about you, your work, and get some insight into the images you create. Your “gallery talk” is streamed live to KelbyOne members and guests who’ll be celebrating your gallery opening evening event, and talk, from every corner of the globe.”

Sounds like fun? It’s more than fun — it’s the opportunity to feature KelbyOne members and lift up a talented photographer or artist and share their work with the world. To get them recognition and exposure they might not get any other way. Our goal is to be that “foot in the door” or “big break” that gets an artist noticed and hopefully one that leads to bigger and better things.

I did a short Q&A below, because while we’ve already had hundreds of entries since we launched the idea last Wednesday, we have lots and lots of questions. Here goes:

Q. Is this just an online gallery?
A. No, this is a physical gallery, located at our Headquarters just outside Tampa, Florida. The gallery itself is currently under construction, but it’s fairly far along, and will be completed very soon (well before the actual first opening).

Q. Is this just a one-time thing?
A. Nope, this is something we’re doing throughout the year, so there will be multiple gallery showings each featuring a different photographer or artist.

Q. Is there an entry fee for my work to be considered?
A. There is no fee for KelbyOne members.

Q. What if I’m not a KelbyOne member?
A. Sorry — this is something we’re doing just for the KelbyOne member community, so only KelbyOne members may submit their work for consideration.

Q. What do you need for me to have my work considered for “The Gallery at KelbyOne?”
A. We just need a link to see your work. We’re looking for a body of work — we’ll feature approximately 14 of your images in the Gallery Show. It can be a link to your portfolio, to a photo gallery on Facebook — doesn’t matter. Just some place where we can see your work.

Q. Are you looking for a special topic or category?
A. Not at all — we’re just looking for great undiscovered work from great undiscovered artists.

Q. Do the images have to be photos?
A. Nope. They can be illustrations, line drawings, graphic designs, collages, montages, fine art — you name it, but the gallery is for digital art, so keep that in mind.

Q. Do I need to put my work in categories so you can judge them?
A. Nope — we just need to see that within your work there are enough solid images for a Gallery Showing. Again, we’re looking for approximately 14 images to display.

Q. What if I don’t live in the United States?
A. That means it will (a) Cost us more for your airfare, and (b) you’ll have to get a passport.

Q. What if I live in North Korea?
A. You will have very little traffic on your ride to the airport, or anywhere for that matter. Of course, they won’t actually let you leave when you get to the airport, but don’t worry — we’ll eat your weight in cheese at the opening, and I’ll just interview myself, which I think think this Q&A proves I’m perfectly capable of.

Q. Would it help if I send a bribe — maybe cash sent to your offices in a plain manila envelope?
A. Absolutely! That would definitely tip the scales in your favor.

Q. Really?
A. No! Are you kidding? This isn’t the Olympics! (Ouch, who said that? Just a joke. You knew that was a joke right? Everybody know that’s a joke, right? Right? hello?)

Q. Hey, I’m not a KelbyOne member, but I am a North Korean, and an Olympic Judge, and I’m offended!
A. Sorry, being offended by nearly everything is strictly an American trait, so you’re disqualified. Next question!

Q. Who takes care of the printing and framing of my images if I’m chosen?
A. We take care of all of that for you. When you arrive everything will already be in place, and it won’t cost you a dime.

Q. Do I get to keep the prints after the showing?
A. Absolutely. We’ll ship them to you with our compliments.

Q. OK, what’s the catch?
A. There is no catch. To give you a little insight, one day I asked Kalebra “If you could have any job in the world, what would it be?” She immediately said, “I’d be a talent scout. I would love it, because my job would be to make people’s dreams come true!” If you ask me, this is a just an extension of that — Kalebra’s dream of lifting someone from our community up, and giving someone who might never have the opportunity a gallery showing of their own. This is their shot, their chance, and hopefully that will open doors and lead to big things. It’s a very genuine idea, and there’s no marketing, no discounts, no deals, no hidden agenda. It’s another side of us, and our community, and as soon as she shared her idea with us, we all loved it and wanted to be a part of it — of lifting an artist up — and that’s really what this is all about.

Q. When is the cutoff date for submissions?
A. It’s January 15th, 2017 at midnight ET.

Q. That’s not a lot of time.
A. That’s not a question.

Q. Can I have more time?
A. No. Come on, it’s 14 or so images. It’s just a link to your images online. If you can’t put that together in a week or so, maybe you’re not ready for a Gallery Showing.

Q. Really?
A. No, I was just being mean. That’s one of the only benefits of writing a daily blog — the opportunity to get snarky with people who ask dumb questions like that. See, that’s me being mean again, and for no reason at all. I’m simply invoking “Blogger privilege.”

Q. Wait, but isn’t it actually you that is writing these questions in the first place?
A. Ummmm. Next question please.

Q. OK, where do I submit the link to my work?
A. Log into the KelbyOne member site, and then click this link (if you’re not logged in, it will ask you to log in with your member User Name and Password).

Q. I see you have a set of terms I have to agree to that sounds like I’m signing over the rights, not only to my work, but also perhaps the deed to my home, and any future profits from the potential sale of medicinal marijuana. Are you going to steal my work?
A. Look, I’ve seen your work. Believe me, nobody is every going to want to steal your work.

Q. Wow, that was kinda harsh.
A. Look, somebody had to tell you. OK, in all seriousness, we hate having all that legal crud as much as you do, but sadly because we live in such a litigious society, now if you’re going to display anyone’s images it takes a team of lawyers to come up with terms so you don’t get sued. You can thank the lawyers for that one, but these types of terms are sadly very common these days no matter which competition or contest you enter. We’re not trying to take anything from you — we’re just trying to protect ourselves. We wouldn’t have those terms if we didn’t need to legally protect ourselves. We would have greatly preferred to keep the money our own lawyers charged us to create it. Don’t get me started.

Q. Well, it sounds like a rights grab, so I’m not going to submit my work.
A. Okey Dokey. Lots of other people already submitted so we’ll choose one of them instead.

Q. You’re pretty serious about the snarky thing?
A. It’s what gets us out of bed in the morning. That, and the knowledge that at some point in the day we might get the opportunity to shoplift something small from Walgreens.

Q. You do that?
A. No, but a guy has to have dreams, doesn’t he?

Q. This isn’t about the gallery per se, but are you shooting the College National Championship Game tonight between Alabama and Clemson?
A. Why yes I am (and thank you for asking). I am super-psyched, and #rolltide!

Q. Snarkiness aside, you’re pretty excited about this, aren’t you?
A. I am. The moment Kalebra shared her dream of making someone else’s dream come true, we were “all in.” I can’t wait to meet the artist myself on Opening Night. It will be something none of us will ever forget.

So, there ya have it. If you have any questions I haven’t answered here, just leave it for me in the comments, and I’ll get an answer for you (maybe even a snarky answer if you ask a snarky question).

Here’s to a 2017 where your work get recognized, and you reach a worldwide audience that can enjoy, appreciate, and celebrate your work.

Best,

-Scott

Let’s wrap up my first week back with a short, sweet, tutorial that is kind of a Trojan Horse, because it seems like it’s a Photoshop tutorial on How to turn a single Panoramic image into a Triptych (three separate images that have the basic look of a single image — perfect for printing) but hidden inside is a surprisingly handy, little known, little used Photoshop feature that is so incredibly handy.

Let that marinate for a minute. 

OK, ready for the first Trojan Horse tutorial of the year? Let’s do it (it’s short, easy, and partially automated which is the fun part).

See, that was better than it sounded, right?

OK, how ’bout some more cool stuff? Great!
For my first episode of “The Grid” for the year, I was lucky enough to have my super awesome wifey Kalebra on as my guest, and it was a really great show (some folks literally called it our best episode ever), but it starts with some REALLY BIG NEWS for KelbyOne members. It really got a lot of folks excited (and we are over-the-moon about it here at KelbyOne HQ), and we get right to the news at the beginning of the show, so I embedded it below.

Check it out (below), and let me know what you think about the big news in the comments below!

My 9-top Instagram Photos for 2016
As chosen by the awesome folks who follow me there (based on the total number of likes). :)

OK, that wraps it up for me, ya’ll.

I have some handy stuff coming on Monday (and some other news), so I hope I’ll see you then. :)

Have a great NFL Wild Card Weekend! (I’m not shooting any NFL this weekend, but…#rolltide!)

-Scott

Hi Gang: First, there’s a BIG very cool announcement for KelbyOne members today on “The Grid” (my weekly talk show about photography), and you don’t want to miss it. Plus, my very, very special guest is none other than Kalebra Kelby herself.

Lots to share today on “The Grid” – our topic is “How to become a better photographer in 2017”. That’s at 4pm ET (http://kelbytv.com/thegrid).

OK, on to our Photoshop Down & Dirty Trick (it’s quick, easy and pretty fun, too! Plus, it doesn’t use the ol’ Drop Shadow Layer Style, which would make it look like it’s just floating in space).

Hope you found that helpful (and down. and dirty). ;-)

Don’t forget “The Grid” today at 4pm – we’ll be announcing one of the coolest things we’ve ever done for our members.

See you then!

–Scott

Hi Gang: So glad to see you here in 2017 – and I’ve got a really slick little tutorial for you, based on a text the awesome Brad Moore sent me last night — it’s something you can do with expensive lighting, but you can get really close to that look using just Photoshop, and it’s super quick and easy (and a variation of a technique I showed here last year).

Take a look for the whole story:

Hope you found that helpful (and maybe it even saved you a few bucks. Maybe enough to come to the Photoshop World Conference this April, eh?). ;-)

Today’s my first day back from an unbelievably relaxing Christmas and New Years break — so I’d better get back at it. Glad to see you here again, and best wishes for an awesome 2017!

Best,

-Scott

P.S. We had planned to do Photoshop World on both coasts this year, but we’re not doing a Vegas show this year as Adobe is holding their conference, Adobe Max, at the same time in Vegas, so we’re going to just be East Coast this year. 

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