Posts By Scott Kelby

This is the written tutorial of something I did in my course on using Westcott Speedlight Modifiers over on KelbyOne, and the trick is a very effective, location lighting technique for a formal portrait of the bride, and part of the technique is done in camera, and then the other part in Photoshop, and the good news is — both parts are really easy (but the final result is really sweet!).

Westcott Wedding 1sm

Above: Here’s the final image with the light hidden

The Lighting Set-up
We’re only going to use one simple hot-shoe flash for this technique. Lately I’ve been using the Phottix Odin hot shoe flashes, and I’m super-digging ’em as their just released new Phottix Odin II TTL Flash Trigger is hands down the easiest hot shoe flash transmitter I’ve ever used (it even has hard buttons for each group, which makes it incredibly easy to change groups, turn on/off flash, change the power [using a simple dial], etc.. Very smartly designed, and the price is right, at around $209).

Then, we’re going to use a collapsible softbox made for hot shoe flash — it’s the 50-inch Recessed Mega JS Apollo from Westcott (around $169 street price) Note: anyone who has been to my “Shoot Like a Pro: Reloaded” seminar would recognize this bad boy!

Figure 2

Above: The flash is mounted inside the softbox on a light stand, and then it aims inward at the back of the softbox, and the light returns back out toward the subject, giving you softer lighter without a bright hot-spot right in the center like usual.  

There are five really nice things about this softbox:

(1) It’s pretty huge, and the bigger the softbox the softer the light, so when I have a choice, I go “big” like this.

(2) It’s collapsible like an umbrella, so despite it’s large size, it’s super-portable, lightweight, and sets-up fast.

(3) The flash aims backward — toward the back of the softbox, not directly at your subject, so the light reflects and bounces back toward your subject, which avoids a hot-spot in the center and creates even softer more wrapping light all the way around.

(4) Since it’s so large, you can light groups with it

(5) For a softbox this large, $169 is really a bargain.

 

Camera Settings
When I’m shooting with flash, especially indoors like we are here at a very popular venue for weddings and wedding receptions, I’m setting my ISO at the lowest, cleanest native setting for my camera, which for my Canon 5D Mark III is 100 ISO. Since I’m using flash, I’m always shooting Manual mode so I can get my shutter speed at what I would say is a very safe, kind of “default no worries” shutter speed for flash, which is 1/125 of a second. Lastly, my f/stop is usually around f/5.6 if I want the background a little soft but in this case I went with f/4 (I probably accidentally hit the dial on the back of my camera at some point and it moved my f/stop).

The lens I’m using for this particular shot is in vast contrast to the price of all the lighting gear, because it’s a high-end lens — Canon’s new 11-24mm ultra wide-angle lens shot at 11mm (which is just insanely great). Of course, you don’t have to use this lens (but man is it sa-weet!) — any nice wide angle will do the trick (like the 16-35mm).

You’re going to take Two Shots. Shoot this one first.
First you’re going to position the light right near your subject, in this case I’m positioning it right next to our bride and as you can see from the production shot here, the lighting isn’t aimed directly at her — it’s kind of aimed a bit past her so the light is just skimming her a bit. That way, the light is more subtle and softer because the light that’s hitting her is from the edges of the softbox, instead of from the center (you’ve heard this technique referred to as “feathering” the light). You can also see my photo assistant Brad “The Beard” Moore standing by as I take the shot. This is important (more on why in just a moment).

Figure 4

Above: Here’s the shot with the softbox fully visible in the image. That’s OK – you’re supposed to see it in a wide angle shot like this, but it won’t be there for long. 

Then comes the 2nd shot
Once you take that shot, where you can clearly see the softbox, ask your assistant (or friend, or friend of the bride) to pick up the light (it’s not heavy) and move it far away so you don’t see the light at all in the scene, and take your second shot. You want to keep your camera up to your eye the entire time, so minimize your movement between frames. Of course, if you’re shooting on a tripod, it doesn’t matter — you can theoretically take all the time you want, but you need to tell your subject (the bride in this case) to please hold her pose until you’ve taken both shots, so you don’t want to take too long between shots.

So, the process is this:

> Get your light in place
> Take the first shot, and keep the camera up to your eye.
> Have someone move the light out of the scene quickly and take the 2nd shot. Pretty easy stuff.

Figure 5

Above: Here’s the second shot, once the light has been removed. All you’re getting is the ambient light in the reception hall and no light from the flash. 

The post processing part is easy
Now open both images in Photoshop. Go to the image that has the bride lit by the flash; select all and copy that entire image into memory.

Figure 6

Above: Open both images in Photoshop; copy the shot with the flash in it into memory. 

Now go to the image with no flash (the ambient light image) and paste that image with the lighting visible right on top. If you used a tripod, you can skip this step and go on to #8, but if you handheld the shot (like I did), you’ll need to have Photoshop automatically Align the two images so they were perfectly aligned with one another.

You do this by going to the Layers panel; selecting both layers, and then go under the Edit menu and choose “Auto Align Layers” as seen below. When the Auto Align dialog appears, use the default setting of “Auto” and click and in just a few moments your two images will be perfectly aligned. Note: you’ll need to slightly crop the image to hide the white edges created by the alignment, but we’ll do that later.

Figure 7

Above: Paste the lighting shot onto the unlit shot, then select both layers and use Auto Align Layers to perfectly align them. 

Go to the Layers panel and click on the top layer (the layer with the lighting). Next, hold the Option key on Mac (the Alt key on a Windows PC) and click the Layer Mask icon at the bottom of the Layers panel (it’s the third button from the left). This adds a black layer mask over your entire layer, so the lit layer is now hidden behind that black mask, which is exactly what we want. Now, get the Brush tool and choose a small soft-edged brush from the Brush Picker up in the Options Bar at the top of the screen. Make sure you Foreground color is set to white. Now take the brush tool and simply paint over the bride and now she appears “lit” as you’re revealing just that one part of the lit image layer that was hidden behind that black mask (this is similar to the trick we used last issue for creating a cityscape at dusk).

As long as your bride isn’t close to the background in the shot, you won’t have any trouble painting her in — it’ll take all of five seconds. If she’s close to the background, then you have the worry of spilling light onto the background as you reveal the lit version of her. You can still do it, you just have to be more careful, take more take, and use a smaller brush.

Figure 8

Above: Add an inverted Layer Mask (hold the Option key on Mac, or the Alt key on Windows, then click the Layer Mask icon) to the lit layer; take a brush and paint over the bride in white to reveal the lit version of her in just that area. No spill on the ground, or the walls, or anything.

The last step is to use the Crop tool to crop away those white edges created by the Auto Align move. Lastly, I hate to say just “Add contrast” but — add some contrast in Camera Raw; sharpen the image, and you’re done.

There ya go: Some camera work, some Photoshop work, and a beautifully lit final image without spending a bunch of money.

Hope you found that helpful, and if you’re a KelbyOne member and want to see the full video on it, here’s the link.

Best,

-Scott

P.S. Next week, I’m coming to New York City with Part 2 of my “Shoot Like a Pro: Reloaded” seminar. Hope you can join me. 

gridwithpeterhurley1

Above: We’re both shabangin‘ and squinching but the flatmosphere had us looking pretty ambifacial, but it’s mostly because we were worried that the photographer who took this (Kim Doty) might try to apply the brick wall technique.

OK, you see that caption above? It’s packed with some Hurleyisms, which are terms the one and only Peter Hurley has coined to describe what to do (and what not to do) when photographing headshots, and he was using these Hurleyisms pretty liberally during his in-studio guest duties on The Grid this past Wednesday (Peter was AWESOME by the way). Anyway, I mentioned during the show that there should be an online glossary of some sort somewhere with all these Hurleyterms, and lo and behold — now there is.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I welcome you to to the Official Unofficial Peter Hurley Glossary of Headshot Jargon (with definitions from Peter Hurley himself):

SHABANG!
A characteristic, attribute or trait that an image possesses producing a visceral gut reation of approval in the artist who upon viewing it for the first time rejoices by yelling SHABANG! at the top of their lungs.

DOUBLE CHINSVILLE
A place you don’t want to visit — where the subject lives when they don’t get jam their forehead towards the camera.

SCHTICK 
It’s your mojo – it’s your go-to moves to engage the subject. Could be comedy, could be chill and calm, whatever it is that works for you to draw something out of your subject.

FLATMOSPHERE 
The environment a photographer creates during a shoot when they’ve got zero schtick.

MFSS
Massive Front Shoulder Syndrome is when you turn the body 3/4 and then when you shoot it, the lens choice you’re using makes their front shoulder look three times larger than their back shoulder.

AMBIFACIAL
A character of a very small percentage of the population that can be photographed from any angle of their face still looks good.

PTERODACTYL NECK
A unattractive thickening of the neck when you cortort your subject into a strange and awkward position, to where their shoulders turn away from the camera, but their head is aimed back directly toward the camera creating a bulky looking trapesizous and a tense sternocleidomastoid.

HOLDING YOUR SUB
The main move to slim down arms when photographing somebody who is overweight. (see video below)

https://youtu.be/lXbOx36YXrU

HURLEYISMS
One liners foisted upon the subject to gain a facial reaction.

SQUINCH
Narrowing the distance between the lower eyelid and the pupil. It’s not quite a squint, it’s a pinching of the lower eyelids, so the subject appears more confident than they actually are.

LOOKABILITY
A Shabangin’ shot that makes you want to stare at that sucker.

BES
Beaty Eye Syndrome —  when your subject has one eye smaller than the other.

BPS
Big Pupil Syndrome — this happens when you shoot strobes and the pupil grows so you lose real estate in the Iris, which means you lose color in the eye. This doesn’t happen with continuous light sources — just strobes.

The Brick Wall Technique
It’s what you pose people in front of when you’ve completely run out of ideas — you’ve got nothing left in your tank, and you’ve got a brick wall close to your proximity, so you throw them in front of it and take the shot.


 

Well folks, there ya have it! Thanks to Peter for taking the time to glosserize his terms for me here on the blog.

That’s it from here in Houston, Texas (I’m here for my seminar today — next step New York City on March 3rd). Hope you all have a great weekend, and we’ll see you back here next week.

Best,

-Scott

P.S. Peter has organized the first ever “Headshot Crew Cruise” this April (on Norwegian Cruise Lines no less), where you cruise with Peter and his guest instructors from NYC down to Bermuda and back, and you learn and laugh and chill from port to port. The cool this is — the training part is free — just get your cabin, and you’re “in” to all the live classes (and fun) along the way. Here’s a link with all the details. 

 

 

apostapp1

OK, it’s not technically for just Instagrammers, and there’s nothing in the app that says it’s for using with Instagram, but it’s so perfect for Instagram, I can’t believe Adobe wasn’t thinking that way from the start (even if they didn’t say it).

The App is called “Adobe Post” (it’s free, and available for iPhone) and it lets you create all sorts of custom graphics with text for social media. While there are a bunch of apps that already do this type of thing, this one is particularly clever, thoughtfully designed and very fast and simple to use.

It comes with a bunch of pre-made, nicely designed, easily customizable templates for use as your starting place, but the way you can tweak and change everything (including trying out new color schemes with just one tap), makes it not only fast but actually a lot of fun.

adobepost1a

Above: This is the opening screen which shows a bunch of different templates (there are way more than you can see in the screen cap — they appear when you scroll down) — just click on the one you want to customize or “remix” as they say.

adobepost2

Above: Once you choose a template to start with, you can use their built-in photos or your own. Here I took a photo and blurred the heck out of it first; and then imported it into the App as the background. Now you can choose different color palettes for the tint over your image and the text and the graphic (a rope circle in this case) separately. You can keep remixing these colors by tapping on the arrows over the color.

adobepost3

Above: You can change design templates any time, along with different placements for your text (everything is pretty much editable at any time — you can change text, fonts, size, colors, templates, you name it). Here I changed templates, and then I uploaded a different photo. Just tap on those thumbnails below the image and it changes the layout.

adobepost4

Above: I switched to an entirely different layout for a different photo (just a snap with my iPhone, and one of my favorite quotes from my wife — she said it to our daughter one morning and I still laugh every time I think of it). I changed the top text, the text below it, and tried different color palettes.

adobepost5

Above: Here’s how it looks when uploaded to Instagram (yes, you can take your edited image from Adobe Post directly over to the Instagram App for posting).

Adobe Post is available FREE for the iPhone on the App Store (here’s the link).

Hope you find that helpful. Have a great Tuesday everybody!

Best,

-Scott

http://youtu.be/Tbubwyu1zIA

A few weeks ago we had super-mega popular concert and music photographer Adam Elmakias as our in-studio guest on “The Grid (and he was a great guest – lots of fun, and amazing images). Anyway, at one point in the show he mentions a particular URL he had registered, and it uses a term, or perhaps a phrase that he innocently is taking at face value, but some people (mostly adults) use that phrase to mean something…(ahem)…quite different. (I edited to just that clip above – pretty short, like 3 minutes total).

Well, as soon as Adam says it, Brad starts giggling and turning red like he’s in high school, and things pretty much go off the rails from there, but the best part is when someone from our staff (Jenn our producer) messages him with what the phrase is used to describe, and…well…it’s worth seeing “that moment” happen live on the air.

Anyway, I thought I’d share it here to start your week off on the right foot.

Peter Hurley is Our Guest This Week on The Grid!
Yup — Peter’s here, and it’s going to be a wild show, even if Peter doesn’t innocently use a naughty phrase like Adam did. Hope you can join us — Wednesday at 4pm (New York Time Zone). Here’s the link to use on Wednesday for the live broadcast (we’re taking your comments and questions, on the air, as always).

Hope you have an epic Monday!

Best,

-Scott

P.S. Photographers in the Houston area – I’m there this Friday teaching my full day seminar. Come on out and play!

scottstage

Mornin’ everybody – here’s what’s up:

New Tour Dates and Cities for My Seminar
We just added a bunch of new cities and dates for my full-day “Shoot Like a Pro: Part 2 (Reloaded) Seminar” [photo above by Kevin Newsome]— they are:

> March 3 – New York, NY – View
> March 30 – Boston, MA – View
> April 26 – Seattle, WA – View
> April 29 – Portland, OR – View
> May 12 – San Diego, CA – View
> June 7 – Orlando, FL – View
> June 9 – Ft. Lauderdale, FL – View
> July – Nashville, TN (exact date in July TBA)
> August – Indianapolis, IN (exact date in Aug TBA)
> August – Columbus, OH (exact date in Aug TBA)
> September. 21 – Minneapolis, MN
> September 23 – Milwaukee, WI
> October – Arlington, TX  (exact date in Oct TBA)
> October  – Sacramento, CA (exact date in Oct TBA)
> November 14 – Denver, CO
> November 16 – Las Vegas, Nevada
> December, Charlotte, NC (exact date TBA)
> Plus a few more cities yet to be announced.

Hope I’ll see you in one of these cities (you can find out more details here).

 

psw2016

Photoshop World Registration Opens Next Week
I can’t wait to tell you what we have in store this year for the Photoshop World Conference (including some awesome new instructors we’ve added to the roster, some fun new events, cool new classes, and lots more). Registration opens next week for this year’s conference in Las Vegas. Awwwwyeah!

I’ll post a link here when registration goes live next week, but you can start planning now because the official dates are July 19-21, 2016 (at the beautiful Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino). It’s going to be (wait for it…wait for it…) epic!  :-)

memonly

Rebroadcast of our Canon Total Gear Head Live Q&A
On Wednesday afternoon we did a special live Q&A exclusively for KelbyOne members featuring two of the super genius tech guys at Canon (Rudy Winston – DSLR tech guru seen above right, and Brent Ramsey -DSLR Video guru seen above left).  They were there to answer questions about the newly announced Canon EOS 1D X Mark II, and we have the rebroadcast now available and the questions were just pouring in.

The feedback we have received has just been phenomenal, if you’re a KelbyOne member, you can watch the rebroadcast right now at this link. (if you’re not a member, you can take the free 10-day trial and watch it that way, along with all the rest of our classes). Thanks to our friends at Canon for lending us Rudy and Brent – they totally rocked it!

 

weddingbook

New Online Classes
Yesterday, we mentioned my new KelbyOne online class on Designing Beautiful Wedding Albums in Lightroom, but I thought it was important to let you know about what makes this class different than my existing online class on creating Photo Books in Lightroom.

This class is really about the design of the book – the layout, and creating beautiful looking photo books – that’s the focus of the book — not learning all the Lightroom photo book features (even through you wind up learning those, too). Check out the preview here. 

Also, here’s a peek at some of our other upcoming online classes already taped and in post production:

> Get Up To Speed Fast on the Sony a7R II
> Photo Recipes: Dramatic Lighting
> Using the Canon 600EX RT Hot Shoe Flash
> Design Basics for Adobe InDesign
> Adobe InDesign for Photographers
> Light Painting & Photographing The Stars
> DIY Photography Gear Solutions

Next month we’re taping new KelbyOne online classes with Moose Peterson, along with new classes from Photoshop Retouching Shark Kristina Sherk, and Adobe’s own Bryan O’Neal Hughes on using Adobe’s latest mobile apps, PLUS I have a few new classes I’m taping as well — one on my own simple system for organizing your images, and 10 Things Every DSLR User Should Know. 

Just a quick look at what’s coming your way — hope you all have an awesome weekend (hate to see that football season has ended), and we’ll see ya here next week.

Best,

-Scott

P.S. Houston, Texas — I’ll be there a week from today. Come on out!

instatall
You guys have probably heard me talking about the role “size” plays on the impact of your images, especially when they’re viewed on the Web, and this tip really reinforces that concept.

Last night I was working on a post for our other blog (LightroomKillerTips), about some new Lightroom presets from “The Creativv” and while I was on their site I saw a post they had written about an Instagram tip —  something I hadn’t realized they added when Instagram recently added the ability to post landscape images (instead of just square images), you can now post images in Portrait (tall) mode as well.

The tip is — if you crop your image to a 4×5 ratio (a built-in cropping preset in Lightroom), your image then takes up pretty much the entire screen (see above right).

Compare the impact of the image on the far left, with the full screen portrait image on the right (note: if you scroll down, you’ll still see the caption for the image, but if you want more impact and engagement, I believe the one on the right will bring a lot more of both).

Here’s the link to their post (with the step-by-step cropping Lightroom details):

IMPORTANT: There’s one thing they didn’t mention in their post that had me scratching my head for a moment, and that is — once your image is in Instagram, you need to tap that little landscape/portrait button in the lower left corner of the image to switch your image to portrait orientation (from square). In the preview, this will show a gap on either side of your image, but when you post it, the gap doesn’t appear (as seen above right).

Also, thanks to all the awesome feedback I’ve gotten from my “How to Build Your Audience on Instagram” online class — as an educator, that type of feedback has us walking on air.

JOIN ME TOMORROW — If you’re a KelbyOne member, tomorrow at 2pm New York Time we have a live broadcast with two of Canon’s awesome super techie guys doing a live Q&A exclusively for KelbyOne members. Keep an eye out on your email for the link to come join us — we’ll be answering questions about the new Canon EOS 1D X Mark II, and anything else you can ask to stump our DSLR and DSLR video gurus (Rudy and Brent know this stuff at a terrifying level).

Hope you find that Instagram tip helpful (and thanks to Creativv for sharing it). :)

Best,

-Scott

P.S. Why did Adele cross the road? To say “Hello from the other side.” ;-)

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