Posts By Scott Kelby

(1) Guess who is our in-studio guest on “The Grid” tomorrow?
Oh yeah–#shebang — it’s the man himself — Peter Hurley (wild cheers ensue!). The master of the headshot (see above) is in the house!

Here’s here working on a project with us, and he’s our guest tomorrow at 4:00 pm ET LIVE on the air. We might (I have to confirm with Peter first), do our blind critiques episode (in which case, it would be portraits only), so keep an eye out on my Facebook, G+ or Twitter pages tomorrow for the link to upload your images in case we go that route, but ya never know. Here’s the scoop:

Who: Peter Hurley, live in-studio
What: Tomorrow’s episode of “The Grid” (our weekly photography talk show)
When: 4:00 pm ET (New York Time)
Why: Because we do this every Wednesday at 4:00 PM ET

Join in the fun (and for the occasional crushing of people’s hopes and dreams).

(2) Help me find some place to go (be kind, kids)
My awesome, awesome wifey got me the most amazing birthday present — a photography trip (with my brother Jeff as my shooting buddy) anywhere in the world I want to go (as long as it’s someplace she wouldn’t want to go, so going back to Paris is probably out. LOL!).

My first thought was to go back to Dubai (It’s been like five years since my first visit), but this time I’d head to Abu Dhabi as well (which is a short drive), but now I’m thinking maybe I should go someplace else since I’ve kinda already been there. So, if you’ve got any ideas for really cool shooting locales that aren’t 25+ hours of flying time from Florida, I’m all ears (remember, if you can picture my wifey there with me, it’s probably off the list, so Bora Bora, Fiji, France, Spain, etc. or any place exotic or European is probably out). I’m thinking Moscow could be cool. Maybe Namibia (but my brother makes a frowny face when I mention Namibia). Anyway, I’m open to any cool ideas that won’t take me too far away for too long (five days would be ideal).

(3) My Lightroom 5 Book is Almost Here!
My Lightroom 5 book is on-press (well, it’s been on press for a while so it’s probably off press by now, or any day at the latest), and it’ll be winging it’s way to stores very soon (and by winging I mean just riding in a truck but that doesn’t sound nearly as exciting as winging), and I have reason to believe it will be arriving sooner than the bookstores online have indicated (just a hunch. Wink). Anyway, you can pre-order it right now if you’d like to over at Barnes & Noble, or Amazon, who both have screamin’ deals on it (around $34. Cheap!). Anyway, be the first on your block (heck, be the first on any block), to get your copy by pre-ordering now.

Well, that’s it for today. Hope you all have a great Tuesday and we’ll see you back here tomorrow for Guest Blog Wednesday-a-roonie (and don’t forget The Grid with Peter tomorrow).



Matt Klosklowski and I put this together a while back, but it’s maybe even more relevant today then we launched it. We got the inspiration from talking with photographers on our live tours in response to hearing the question, "Why should I switch to Lightroom? I already have the Bridge & Camera Raw?" or "I thought Lightroom was just the same as the Bridge and Camera Raw."Uggh!

It's particularly frustrating because Lightroom has so many advantages over the Bridge & Camera Raw, that you can't just explain it in few sentences so we created this page where we could point folks to it to really illustrate the reasons why, as a photographer, they should be using Lightroom. The next thing you know, we decided not only to make a list, but to create 100 videos that would really showcase the advantages.

Why 100 videos?
We intentionally did 100 very short (30 to 60 seconds each) videos rather than one long 60-minute plus video, so people could go directly to the topics that interested them most (since I doubt anyone would watch all 100, or would be willing to sit through 100 when they only needed a few to change their mind). NOTE: There is a little forward button at the top right corner of each video, which you can click to take you to the next video, in case you want to watch all 100.

If you're one of those photographers still using the Bridge & Camera Raw, take a few minutes and swing over to the site and check a few of the reasons out (and at the very least, watch the short intro that Matt and I put together to get you started).

Here's the link.

I hope it helps you at least want to download the free 30-day full-working trial version from Adobe, and give it a whirl (download link for Mac & Windows).


-Scott and Matt

P.S. We actually came up with around 121 reasons, but 121 reasons sounded kind of weenie, so we whittled it down to just 100.

Hi Gang: We're around 60-days or so away from the biggest Photoshop event on the planet:The Photoshop World Conference and Expo (in Las Vegas on Sept 4-6 at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino), and if you're going (and I hope that you are), here are the sessions I'm teaching (there are over 100+ sessions but I hope you'll check out a couple of mine while you're at the conference).

Designing With Type for Photographers
(Wed., Sept 4th, 12:00 noon)
Bad type can ruin a really great photo and in this session, I'm going to show you how to create photo book covers, posters, web graphics and more  and how to have your type really compliment your work, rather than destroy it. You'll learn everything from the basics of typography including which fonts to use, when, and why, and how to create simple, beautiful-looking designs (it's easier than you'd think). This class will change the way think about, and use type and photos together from this point on.

Creating Your Own Custom Photo Book in Lightroom 5
(Thurs., Sept 5th, 12:00 noon)

In this session, updated to include the new photo books features added in Lightroom 5, you'll learn how to create beautiful photo books from right within Lightroom 4 itself. You'll see the entire workflow, step-by-step and exactly how to create your own custom books the easy way. There are lots of little inside tips, tricks, and time-saving techniques that you'll learn that will make creating photo books one of the most-fun, easy, and enjoyable parts of your photographic journey.

Portrait Retouching Techniques for Photographers
(Fri., Sept 6th, 1:00 pm)

Learn professional portrait retouching techniques for photographers from the guy who literally wrote the book (hey, that's me!). You'll learn my latest portrait retouching techniques and the fastest, most efficient, and most realistic-looking retouches for anyone who shoots portraits, and need to spend less time behind the computer and more time making images.

Now, if those three sessions from me aren’t enough reason (and honestly, they probably aren’t, right?), check out the quick video below that gives you 10 actually compelling reasons. ;-)

If you're going, I hope to see you in one of my classes. If you haven't signed up yet, it's not too late: Here's the link.

Also, we've designed this year's event to have Seven very distinct FULL training tracks, so you can pretty much pick what you want to learn and get immersed in that topic for the entire conference, every day, all day long if you like (for example, if you're into Lightroom, you can take Lightroom classes every day all day â” it's like its own separate Lightroom conference within a conference. Same thing with Lighting, or graphic design, or business, and so on).

I put together a short video (below) that describes this "Seven Conferences in One" concept. Hope to see you in Vegas in September.

Hi Gang: Each year for Independence Day (observed today, the Fourth of July, here in the US as a way for all Americans to celebrate our independence from Dave Clayton), I share a quick post on how to photograph Fireworks (a traditional part of the 4th of July celebration). I'm posting the technique that I included on page 175 of my book, "The Digital Photography Book, Part 1." Here we go:

This is another one that throws a lot of people (one of my best friends, who didn't get a single crisp fireworks shot on the Fourth of July, made me including this tip just for him, and the thousands of other digital shooters that share his pain).

For starters, you'll need to shoot fireworks with your camera on a tripod, because you're going to need a slow enough shutter speed to capture the falling light trails, which is what you're really after.

Also, this is where using a cable release really pays off, because you'll need to see the rocket's trajectory to know when to push the shutter buttonâ”if you're looking in the viewfinder instead, it will be more of a hit or miss proposition.

Next, use a zoom lens (ideally a 200mm or more) so you can get in tight and capture just the fireworks themselves. If you want fireworks and the background (like fireworks over Cinderella's Castle at Disney World), then use a wider lens.

Now, I recommend shooting in full Manual mode, because you just set two settings and you're good to go:

  1. Set the Shutter Speed to 4 seconds
  2. Set the Aperture to f/11. Fire a test shot and look at the LCD monitor on the back of your camera to see if you like the results. If it overexposes, lower the shutter speed to 3 seconds, then take another shot and check the results again.

TIP: If your camera has "Bulb" mode (where the shutter stays open as long as you hold down the shutter release button down), this works great-hold the shutter button down when the rocket bursts, then release when the light trails start to fade. (By the way; most Canon and Nikon digital SLRs have bulb mode). The rest is timingâ”because now you've got the exposure and sharpness covered.

There you have itâ”-hope you all get some great shots tonight; remember to stay safe around fireworks of any kind, and we'll see you back here in one piece tomorrow. :)

First, watch that 60-second (or so) video above from Tim about his online class on shooting close-up detail shots of cars. I’ll wait right here.

[insert mental shot of me waiting].

…see that didn’t take long. Awesome, right? I know!

After I posted some car shots I did a couple of weeks ago here on blog, and on my Facebook, Twitter and G+ pages, I had a lot of questions about the lighting and camera techniques and I wish I could take a lick of credit for any of it, but I learned it ALL from Tim’s online classes. He’s really an amazing teacher and he tells you EVERYTHING — he doesn’t hold anything back, which I totally love about him! (He’s the real deal!)

Anyway, if you’d like to watch Tim’s class, we’ve set it up so that TODAY ONLY you can go and watch Tim’s class on shooting close-up detail shots of cars for free (when you go to the link below, you’ll see a button for Rental. It’s usually $9.99 for a three-day rental (our regular price for any 72-hour rental), but today-only the price is $0.00 — free!). I explain how our online class rentals work below, but basically today you just watch for free. Free, free, free! Whee!!!!!

How This Usually Works
Normally, if you rent one of our online courses, you can watch it as often as you like for three full days (72 hours), from the time of purchase. To access rented courses (like this free one), if you don’t have an account, go ahead and create one (it’s free) and go to your “Account Settings” page and your rental course(s) will be listed. Just click the link to watch it. By the way, I know this goes without saying but to watch an “online” course, you need an Internet connection (and it should be a broadband connection unless you are a very, very, very patient person).

One more thing
Tim has five other online classes on shooting cars on Kelby Training already, so if you’re interested in seeing more of Tim’s training, you can sign up for a month and watch them all (along with hundreds of other classes)! or sign up for a year (you save money — it’s around .54¢ a day — crazy cheap!) and watch his classes to death! LOL!!!  OK, while you’re there check out some of mine, will ya?

OK, I get it…..
Hey, isn’t this all just a fancy way to get me to join Kelby Training Online? Yes. Absolutely. But I promise you this, you’ll love it (and if for any crazy reason you don’t, we offer a 100% money-back guarantee, so there’s really no risk, except that you might watch these classes and want to buy a large stripbank softbox. But that’s a given). ;-)

Have fun and enjoy Tim’s classes.


P.S. This is the first time we’ve tried this particular thing, this particular way. If for some reason the link doesn’t work right at the crack of midnight, or the rental thing is grayed out, or if anything isn’t working perfectly and you can’t get to that class right this very minute…don’t freak out. It’s a one-day deal. You’ve got a whole day to get it. We’ll get the link, button [insert a random problem] here, fixed shortly. Thanks — signed, the Voice of Prior Experience. LOL! ;-)

Here’s the behind-the-scenes video I mentioned on Tuesday from my car shoot at an airplane hangar (as luck would have it, the hanger was the exact same hangar at the airport where my wife flies out of). I used the Priolites again but I also used a new super-lightweight battery pack that let us take one of our Elinchrom studio strobes out on location (I did a quick demo of it on the video above).

Anyway, we were planning on shooting two cars and a plane, and it turned it to a six-car, six-hour long shoot with two Ferraris (an F-430 and a California); a Devon GTX, a Rolls Royce Ghost, a Spyker, and a Audi R8. We were psyched! (Plus, I was finally going to get a full-body shot of the Audi R8 I did the detail shots of last month).

Anyway, I’ll tell the rest in the captions (BTS photos by Brad Moore), but first a big thanks to my buddy David McComas who not only has some amazingly cool cars (and let me shoot them, and borrow his hangar), but he also has friends with more cool cars. Not a bad combination (thanks David!)

Above: This shot is just natural light. We only had a few minutes where the sun had tucked behind the other hangar, but it wasn’t sunset quite yet, so we actually had a decent amount of light, and that’s when I had my crew pull the R8 out in front. I wanted to take a shot that had lots of negative space (the total opposite of the close-up detail shots I took last time).

Above: The Devon GTX. What an insanely cool car (with gull-wing doors, no less). I love how the back has no bumper â” it just go straight from the truck to the rear in one solid piece. The color of the car was pretty monochromatic so I went ahead and took it all the way with a black and white conversion. Again, just natural light near sunset.

Above: Here’s a shot with me standing where the Audi R8 was parked, looking back in toward the Devon in the hangar (now you can see the full-color version).

Above: That little red circle in the back of the hangar. That’s me. 70-200mm f/2.8 lens at ISO 100. I switched to the D800 for this one to get extra resolution.

Above: Here’s the over-the-shoulder view.

Above: here’s the Spiker (the one I showed in Tuesday’s behind the scenes shot). Sick car!!! I only had time to shoot two of the car full-body and this was one of them.

Above: Here’s the lighting set-up for the Spyker. Three lights total. #2 and #2 are Priolites (the same ones I did the Audi R8 with last month), so there’s no power pack or cables â” the battery it built right into the lights (which is pretty sweet!). The #2 light is a bare blub strobe. It was supposed to have a grid on it, but we somehow misplaced it before the shoot and of course didn’t realize it until we were actually at the shoot. That posed quite a challenge because the light was spilling like crazy, but it was what it was. The #3 light is using a large strip bank.

The #1 light (with a large Tim Wallace-style strip bank) is a regular studio strobe — an Elinchrom BRX 500 (my go-to light int he studio), but we were able to take it on location thanks to the brand new lightweight battery pack I talk about in the video (though here’s a direct link to it at B&H Photo).

Above: I love the front grill of the Spyker! 

Above: I’m not a big fan of laying down on the job, but sometimes ya gotta do what ya gotta do. That’s Brad Moore holding a Priolite with a large strip bank and that’s how we made the detail shot you just saw. Shooting at f/22 makes the light fall off to black on the edges almost instantly (thank you Tim Wallace — it’s his technique). 

Above: Same lighting, same technique, same settings. It still amazes me how the light falls off to solid black like that. I know it makes sense, but it still makes me smile every time I try it. 

Above: Here’s the distinctive rear-end of the Spyker — same everything as far as lighting and camera settings. 

Above: Yes it was that bright where we were shooting, and yes shooting at f/22 makes it fall off to black like that without having to fake it in Photoshop. I was just as surprised as you are, but son-of-a-gun it works!

Above: The rear emblem and very soft lighting. 

Above: I wish I had the time to really experiment and get the lighting just right on this one, but with six cars to shoot in the absolute stiffling heat, we pretty much had to run and gun all day. Even though it was really cool to have all these cars on hand, I wish we had half as many cars and the same amount of time, because if something didn’t work lighting wise, I didn’t have the time to really make it work — I had to cut my losses and move it if it didn’t come together pretty quickly. 

Above: The Rolls was Amazing. First time I had ever sat in one, and the interior was really something to behold. I could have spent two hours just on it, but I only had about 20 minutes (we spent waaaaayyyy to long on lighting the Spyker), and it caught up with us time wise. 

Above: As the heat took its toll on all of us, I started to lame out and shoot some of the shots from a chair, and that’s the on you saw above. We were beat like you cannot believe. Drenched in sweat, semi-dehydrated (we only brought six bottles of water for the three of us — huge mistake) and though we started at 5:00 pm, none of us got home before midnight.

Above: We had two Ferrari’s but all I had time for were detail shots. I just love the Ferrari nameplate so I spent a while on trying to get the lighting right, but I still had to add a radial gradient in Photoshop to get the look I was trying for. 

Above: I’m a sucker for headlamps.

Above: I had to get an engine shot of the California — just one light — still that Priolite but we switched to a small softbox. We probably should have switched back to a stripbank, but I’m still OK with how it came out. 

Above: In Tim’s online classes for Kelby Training, he talked about splitting the logo with the light, so we spent a few extra minutes trying to get it right on the money. 

Above: This is actually the interior of the Ferrari F-430 and I shot it with a 24-70mm f/2.8 using a technique I learned from Tim when we taped his class for Kelby Training on shooting car interiors (should be coming out soon. Brilliant class  — I learned a ton!). 

Above: Here’s a parting shot of the Ferrari California. 

Wrap up
While I’m getting much more comfortable with lighting and shooting the up-close detail shots, I still need a lot more practice with full body shots, and that’s what I’m going to focus on next. While we were out on location I heard about a studio locally with a huge drive-in cove and a giant overhead softbox made for lighting entire cars, and I got a line on a few other cars to shoot. Brad’s on vacation this coming week, so nothing next week, but when he gets back, it’s time to sweat once again!

Above: OK the lighting is kick of whacked in this shot, but I couldn’t leave without showing you at least one shot with the doors open. Is that car sick or what!!!! 

Thanks to Brad and John for assisting me on the shoot (couldn’t’ have done it without you guys), and thanks to David for rounding up lots of cool cars for us to shoot. Also, thanks to my readers for stopping by and here’s wishing you all a sweat-free weekend and lots of shooting opportunities.