Posts By Scott Kelby

Welcome to my "7th Annual Awesome Holiday Gear Guide." I think what has made this guide extra awesome the past couple of years is that I've really tried to focus on choosing great value-for-the-money gear. As always, this year's gear guide is packed with some really cool stuff that we absolutely, positively don't need on any level, but we desperately want because that is, after all, half the fun!

The only thing better than actually buying cool gear for someone you love is having someone you love buy you cool gear (kiddingâ”kind of). So, without further ado (that's rightâ”everything up to this point was "ado"), here's this year's collection of really cool, handpicked gift ideas. (Remember my motto: It's perfectly acceptable to buy gifts for yourself if it has lots of buttons or any kind of LCD screen.)


These are my self-imposed guidelines for which products make it into the guide. It's just two rules actually. To be listed here they have to be:

  1. Products that I use myself and that I absolutely love, and now can't live without (well, I could live without them, but I just wouldn't want to).
  2. If a product makes the guide, it has to be one I would recommend to a close friend without hesitation, especially if my friend was a rich doctor (kidding).

A Large Print of One of Your Images

Giving a large print of one of your favorite images is a very personal gift, and you don't even have to have your own printer to do it. I use a lot around the holidays for this very reason. I upload an image, choose a matt, plus a simple black metal frame with clear glass, and they ship it directly to the person on my gift list. Same thing with If you want to send someone a canvas print, they kick butt at it, and people lose their minds when they receive either a framed print or a canvas. You can buy gift codes from Mpix so the photographer on your list can choose to have her own image printed and framed or mounted just the way she wants.

Artistic Photo Canvas


Snapseed from Nik Software

This is one of the most clever, fun, and powerful photo-editing programs ever for iOS (for iPad and iPhone), and there's even a Mac and Windows desktop version. If you want to give it as a gift, you can "gift" an app directly from the iTunes Store. Snapseed is only $4.99 for the iOS version and $19.99 for the desktop version, which honestly is way underpriced.

Snapseed by Nik Software

iOS: $4.99
Desktop: $19.99


Moo Cards

Moo makes business cards, but what makes them really unique is that you can upload 50 images and they'll put one image on each card. So when someone asks for your business card, you can basically fan out your portfolio and say, "Choose whichever one you like." The quality is excellent and they're surprisingly affordable. Perfect for designers, photographers, and illustrators. They'll dig it.

Moo Cards

Price: Starting at $19.99 for 50 cards


A Blurb Photo Book

Even though custom photo books are becoming a big thing these days, there's a darn good chance the photographer on your holiday gift list hasn't made one yet. If she uses Lightroom (and she almost undoubtedly does), then she can choose her photos, click on the Book module, create a custom book right within Lightroom, and upload it directly to In a few days a beautiful photo book arrives (well, as long as she takes beautiful photos), and you just pick up the cost of the book. She'll be hooked once the book arrives, and you'll be a hero.

Blurb Books - Order by Dec 16 and save 25% off your order by using the discount code KLBYVID456

Offer valid through December 16, 2012 (11:59 p.m. local time). A %25 discount is applied toward your product total. Valid for printed books only. This offer is good for one-time use, and cannot be combined with volume discounts, other promotional codes, gift cards, or used for adjustments on previous orders.

Price: Starting at $12.59 for a 20-page, 7×7″, softcover book on premium lustre paper


SmugMug Pro Business Account

If the photographer on your gift list wants a way to showcase and sell his images online, he would totally love a SmugMug Pro Business account, which lets him do both without having to have any Web design skills. Really well designed, but it's a tad pricy. Well, pricier than last year anyway since they just raised their annual rates, but you'll be a holiday hero for it.

SmugMug Pro

Price: $35/month or $300/year


Sigma 15mm f/2.8 EX DG Diagonal Fisheye Lens

It's not a lens you use every day, but when you use it, it really has impact. If the photographer on your list shoots sports, weddings, or travel, she will be psyched to see this super wide-angle fisheye lens with a red bow around it. Plus, it's significantly cheaper than the Nikon or Canon fisheyes, but it's sharp and works great.

Sigma 15mm f/2.8 Fisheye Lens

Price: $830


Lexar Professional 1000x UDMA 7 CompactFlash Cards

If you have a sports shooter on your list, there are two things you can count on: (1) The faster the speed of the memory card, the happier he is (for numerous reasons he already knows), and (2) he needs more memory cards. The new Lexar Professional 1000x cards are screaming fast (it's what I use). Full disclosure: I'm one of Lexar's "Elite Photographers," so I might be biased, but I had Lexar cards even before that and, either way, for sports I'd still be using their 1000x speed cards.

Lexar 1000x UDMA 7 CF Cards

Price: Starting at $78 for 16-GB card (at B&H with Instant Savings deal until Dec. 31st).


Wacom Intuos5 touch Pen Tablet

Want to really score some points? Get your designer or photographer the new Wacom Intuos5 touch wireless tablet. They're amazing and they'll change the way he works in Photoshop forever (and he'll think of you every time he picks up the wireless pen). I use the Intuos5 touch Small when I travel (it slides right into my laptop bag), and the Intuos5 touch Medium in the studio. This is a can't-miss gift!

Wacom Inutos5 touch Tablets

Price: Smallâ”$229; Mediumâ”$349; Wireless Accessory Kitâ”$39.95


FolioBook Photo Portfolio for the iPad

If your photographer has an iPad, then she has probably been searching for the perfect portfolio app to show her work on the iPad, and there are a ton of them out there (and I've tried a bunch). But I think FolioBook is hands down the best one, and it's cheap (just $12.99). Gift her the app directly from the App Store or buy her an iTunes gift card to get it.

FolioBook for iPad

Price: $12.99


LASTOLITE 8-in-1 Umbrella

LASTOLITE came out with this clever, very handy, and inexpensive shoot-through umbrella that acts like softbox, and I'm really impressed with it. Clever design, and it's big enough that you'll look like you spent a lot more on it than you did.

Lastolite 8-in-1 Umbrella

Price: $173


Really Right Stuff BH-30 LR II Ballhead

This year I've been using a smaller, more compact ballhead from Really Right Stuff (in my opinion, they're the masters of ballhead manufacturing), and it has lightened my travel gear load while still letting me use the best ballhead on the planet. Same great features as the bigger BH-55 and BH-40 but in a smaller, lighter size. They're not cheap, but they're worth every penny. Give this to someone you love and she'll love you forever.

Really Right Stuff BH-30 Ballhead

Price: $290


Jay Maisel's DVD Collection

Jay Maisel is a living legend of photography, and the two classes we produced on location with Jay in New York have become classics, melding the feel of a documentary with a master class in learning photography. People's reactions to Jay, his work, and these classes have been amazing, and you'll get lots of hugs for giving these two DVDs as a giftâ”one she will treasure.

A Day with Jay Maisel 2-Part DVD

Price: $89.99


Some Cool Books


I would be remiss if I didn't mention our own books because they make really great gifts. Matt's book on compositing is, I truly believe, the best book ever written on the topic. Period. RC's book, The HDR Book, focuses on postprocessing in Photoshop, and it's been a megahit (and helped to make RC a household name in Photoshop and photography). I have two new books out: The Adobe Photoshop CS6 Book for Digital Photographers and The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 Book for Digital Photographers. My company produced all of these books (just so you know).

Books from Kelby Training

Prices: See website


Another Cool Book

Here's another book to check out: Moose Peterson's new eBook called Taking Flight (for the iPad) is a fantastic book for anyone into aviation photography.

Taking Flight by Moose Peterson

Price: $14.99


B&H Photo Gift Certificates

There's nobody on the planet who wouldn't love you to death (like a puppy) if you get him a B&H Photo Gift Card. That way, he can get whatever he wants (within the limit of how much you put on the card, of course), but I don't know anyone who doesn't want something from the greatest photo store on earth. You can order them directly from the B&H siteâ”they send a card and a catalog so it looks pretty substantial.

B&H Gift Cards

Price: Completely up to you


Silver Efex Pro 2 from Nik Software

If the photographer on your gift list is into black-and-white photography, this Photoshop and Lightroom plug-in from Nik Software will make him lose his mind. I don't know a single black-and-white pro not using it because it's just that good. You'll score lots of points for this one.

Silver Efex Pro 2 by Nik Software

Price: $199.95


G-Technology G-SPEED Q Drives

Photographers are constantly fighting the battle of shrinking hard drive space, especially with all the high-megapixel cameras today with their giant file sizes. This year I switched all my photo archival duties over to G-Technology drives, and I'm loving them. I use their 12-TB G-SPEED Q system, which would definitely be for someone you're very close to because they cost a few bucks, but giving one of these will change your relationship status on Facebook for sure. (That's right, I'm saying the photographer on your gift list will marry you, or if you don't get him one, he'll divorce you. I'm kidding, of course. Kinda.)

G-Technology G-Speed Q Drives

Price: $799.95-1,799.50


1.4x Teleconverter

This is a reasonably inexpensive way to make a zoom lens even longer. It increases the zoom magnification by a factor of 1.4, so a 200mm lens becomes a 280mm for a fraction of the cost of actually buying a quality 300mm lens. I recommend buying one made by the same manufacturer as the zoom lens it's going to be used with, so Nikon users would buy a Nikon teleconverter, Canon shooters a Canon, Tamron owners a Tamron, and so on.

Nikon 1.4x Teleconverter
Canon 1.4x Teleconverter
Tamron 1.4x Teleconverter
Sigma 1.4x Teleconverter

Price: Starts at around $250, depending on brand


Subscription to Light It Magazine

If your photographer is into lighting, for $20 you can give him an App Store gift certificate so he can subscribe to my magazine on studio lighting and hot-shoe flash called Light It magazine (for the iPad). Of course, you could buy him just one issue for $3, but then it definitely goes in the stocking. For $620, you can get him a 32-GB iPad with retina display and a subscription and then you win the holiday gift-giver award for sure.

Light It Magazine

Price: $19.99


The Big Stopper ND Filter by LEE Filters

If you think the photographer on your list might want to make some of those gorgeous long-exposure black-and-white images (where the sea looks like silk), or she wants to shoot waterfalls in broad daylight and have beautifully smooth water (rather than frozen water), then get her an ND (neutral density) filter. It lets her keep the shutter open longer to get those wonderful water effects. Get her an 8- or 10-stop ND filter and she'll lose control of her faculties. The Big Stopper will give her 10 stops, but it also requires the Lee System Foundation Kit filter holder, plus adapter ring, which will run you an additional $115 or more.

Lee Big Stopper ND Filter

Price: $160


Lexar USB 3.0 Dual Card Reader

Everything's moving to USB 3 right now, and the faster the card reader, the faster your images download from your memory card to your computer (and faster is better). I use a Lexar Professional USB 3 Dual-Slot Reader that has both SD and CompactFlash in the same unit and supports UDMA 7 (read my Lexar disclaimer above).

Lexar USB 3.0 Dual Card Reader

Price: $64.99


…and my new “Light it, Shoot it, Retouch it for Hot Shoe flash on-a-budget” is one of the first classes we have available for rent, just like you would rent a movie or TV show from online (that’s one of the shots from the class above   — here’s a link to a 1-minute video clip where I explain what I teach in the class). You get to rent it for three days (and watch as many times as you want during that three-day period).

Our special intro deal is  just $6.99 for the three day rental (here’s the link). The regular price will be $9.99

We’re rolling this new feature out in stages, and so only 12 or so classes are available for rental at this time, but of course more will be coming (we have literally hundreds of full-length online classes at

Now, why would we rent classes? I’m betting on the fact that you’ll watch one or two, you’ll totally dig ’em, and then you’ll want to sign up to access all our classes 24/7, unlimited, all year long (after all; if you rent two or three classes, it’s a better deal to at least sign up for a month [or, better deal, a year] and watch as many as you want, right?).

Here’s some comments from people who have watched this new class: 

This has been the most informative tutorial I have ever watched !! Thanks Scott. I love how this guided the audience from the very first step (set-up), right to the finishing touches on Lightroom and Photoshop.

> Thanks Scott Kelby, for a thorough well thought out and complete short course on inexpensive lighting, and taking the shoot all the way through. I have been a shooter for many years, and even I learned a lot from your course. Thanks Again.


Okay … i’m raving about this course!!! thank you, thank you, and, thank you!!! I so needed every bit of what you gave us … not surprised … but very grateful!!!


Great course! I have been waiting to see some more photoshop & Lightroom classes and this one was great! Love the lighting and photoshop and Lightroom mix! Thank you Scott you nailed it:-}


Awesome class Scott. This class alone is worth the cost of Kelby Training. While I can afford (some) expensive studio gear, I can’t rationalize it nor do I have the space for it. This training hits the sweet spot for those who want to take better portraits of their family and friends without investing a bunch of money. Of course the retouching closes the loop. Thank you!


Well done Mr. Kelby! It’s nice to watch a tutorial where the focus was [not] on inexpensive gear.


Excellent Tutorial Scott! I especially liked the retouching segments – a perfect blend of beginning & advanced training!


It is, in my opinion, one of the better training videos I have watched on Kelby Training. Thank You.


Please do more like this i absoutley loved this course i already have all the gear you used in this class and i dont have any studio equipment…it felt like this class was designed for everything i want to be able to do… thank you so much!!!!


Simply an outstanding course! I really appreciate the focus on getting great results with a modest investment in lighting equipment.


Scott, I cannot wait for my Holidays time off to experiment with my off-camera flash. You got me all excited and I am now confident I will get great results! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!


This was one of the most useful courses for my photography. Thank you SO much for this.


I have been waiting for a course like this. It thoroughly and simply answered so many questions I had about using hot shoe flash for portraits.


Scott.. good video! Purchased the $70 Flash just to see how good..or bad.. it was. I am VERY surprised by the build quality, great. I put it to work last night in a quick shoot and it worked just fine! Thanks for the tip and the detail.”


Thanks for such a great lesson Scott! It’s like you read my mind.

OK gang, it’s available right now for rental (follow this link, then click the yellow button on the right side to get the rental). Hope you enjoy the class. :-)

I actually saw this video back when it was originally produced at a meeting at the local Apple office in Tampa (long since closed), and I remember thinking, “I wonder if we’ll ever really have stuff like this in our lifetime?”

Of course, there was no way for anyone to know back then that what we were looking at was a version of what would eventually be released as Siri. :)

Start from the 1-minute point for the demo of what they envisioned as “The Knowledge Navigator.” Now, I just mentioned Apple, which means this will quickly turn into a comment war, so to divert your attention briefly from that, how about people who shoot HDR photography, huh? That’s not “real” photography, right? ;-)

It’s a blessing and a curse — we had the biggest single sales day in the history of our company (yay!!!), but at the same time, having all that took down our network, half of our sites, our customer service phone lines, and well…you name it. It was off-the-chains (whatever that means. I hear kids say that).

If you couldn’t get through to us for any reason yesterday….
…we will still gladly honor any of our Cyber Monday deals today (see yesterday’s post for a listing).

Although I’m making a joke (to keep from crying…)
We take our customer service commitment very seriously, and although we thought we were fully prepared to tackle the Cyber Monday crunch, it went way beyond our wildest dreams and we were digging ourselves out all day (until late into the night). Thanks to everyone who took advantage of our deals, and to everyone who couldn’t get through (or struggled to get their order in online) I hope we get the chance to make it right for you today. Thanks for your patience, your support, and for hanging in there with us.

DEAL #1: Save $40 on our kick-butt Online Training for photographers
You get it all —- unlimited access to all our online training courses for an entire year (literally hundreds of classes by the best teachers anywhere) for just $159 for a full year (or $139 if you’re an NAPP member). Here’s the link. 


DEAL #2: Join NAPP, get cool stuff 
OK, that’s our next deal (above) — on joining the National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP). Join today and get 3-extra months added, plus our “What’s new in Photoshop CS6 Training DVD” (usually $49.95) for free. This includes a subscription to Photoshop User magazine by the way (sweet!). Here’s the link.  (there’s also deals for member who want to renew their membership).

DEAL #3: Save money on the Photoshop World Conference & Expo (coming in April to Orlando)
There are two deals here for Photoshop World (see above): One is a “Bring a Buddy” deal, where if you sign up you buddy can get a full conference pass for only $299 (pretty sweet), and the other deal is if you register for Photoshop World online today you can $50 plus you get a free Speed Pass (you have a reserved seat right up front in most every session). Here’s the link. 

DEAL #4: Get a Bundle Deal: Kelby Training Online & NAPP membership together for just $199
This may be our best deal ever, since it’s $100 off the price of both. This way you get the best Online photography training bundled with the world’s best Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom training (includes a subscription to Photoshop User magazine) for just $199. This is nuts. Somebody should be fired. Maybe me. Hopefully not, though. Anyway, it’s crazy and I’m glad it’s only for one day. Here’s the link.  (NOTE: This will take you to the NAPP sign-up page — just choose an individual membership and enter this code at checkout: CYBER60 and you’ll automatically get the Bundle deal of NAPP and Kelby Training Online.

DEAL #5: We’re going to help you find everybody else’s killer deals on Photography and Photoshop Stuff

Ok gang, we’re doing something we’ve never done before for Cyber Monday (in fact, I haven’t seen anybody do this yet). Here’s the plan:

We’re going to scour the entire Web to bring you the best Cyber Monday deals out there on photography and Photoshop-related gear, LIVE every hour, on the hour, all day Monday!

It’s just a quick five-minute live broadcast from me and the gang at the top of every hour starting at 10:00 AM ET Today!!! (and only for today, Cyber Monday!)

I just came up with this idea this weekend, so can you help me spread the word Twitter, Facebook, your blogs, etc.? Also, there are just so many great deals out there we can’t keep up with them all, so if you find a really great deal and you want us to share it, leave me a comment right here (make sure you include a link to the deal).

Thanks everybody and we’ll see you starting at 10:00 am at this link.  It’s gonna be a fun, money-saving day!

Today in the U.S. we celebrate Thanksgiving; a national holiday where we give thanks for the many blessings we enjoy (and I truly feel like the most blessed guy on earth). Traditionally this is a day  where families come together to eat a Thanksgiving turkey feast, and then we watch football until we pass out. It's just about a perfect day. :-)

Our offices are closed today for Thanksgiving, but I'll be back here tomorrow with some insane deals on all our stuff in honor of the biggest shopping day of the year.

In the meantime, please enjoy the stock photo above (nothing brings the warmth, togetherness, and joy of Thanksgiving together like a stock photo).

In all seriousness, here's wishing you and your family a joyus, happy, and yummy Thanksgiving. :-)