Posts By Scott Kelby

Photo by Brad Moore

I want to wish all my readers (well, at least the US-based ones) Happy Independence Day.

I'm taking today off to spend some time with my family, and I hope you're able to do the same. Have a great day and we'll see you here tomorrow for “Free Stuff” Thursday.

Just in case: here’s what â˜Independence Day' Really Means to Us
Today is a national holiday celebrating our country's independence from traditional film. No longer will we press the shutter button thinking, "Well, that just cost me 22¢" or "Well, that's 36â”time to pop in another roll." or that phrase heard so often on vacation, "I need to stop and buy some film."

Should we win the day, the 4th of July will no longer be known as an American holiday, but as the day when the world declared in one voice: No longer will we wait hours, or days, to see our prints only to find out that someone was blinking or the flash didn't fire. No longer will we go quitely into the night, to drop off our film in an overnight drop box. We're going to live on to shoot for free another dayâ”free from the tyranny of film chemicals and safe lights; changing bags and temperature regulators; cotton gloves and Print tongs. No today as we gather together to fill our 16 and 32-gig cards with wild abandon we celebrate our real Independence Day! (-insert wild cheers here).

Hi Gang: Each year right before Independence Day (celebrated here in the U.S. on the Fourth of July), I share a quick post on how to photograph Fireworks (a traditional part of the 4th of July celebration here). 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 on the fourth, and remember to stay safe around fireworks of any kind, and we'll see you back here in one piece tomorrow. :)

(NOTE: If you watch this one-minute long video above now, you can skip all the way down to the last lne of text for details). 

If you missed my “Light it, Shoot it, Retouch it” LIVE tour, you can now finally experience the entire seminar, from start to finish, and get the same tour workbook (in color no less), plus all freebies I gave out for attendees, starting today no matter where you live as we are making the day available as a digital download (just like you’d buy a movie online to download).

Although I was able to visit many major cities in the US, Canada, and even three cities in Europe, there were just so many places we didn’t get to visit with the tour. But now no matter where you are, you can attend the entire event, just as it happened, live from beginning to end. You’ll learn all the techniques, all the lighting, all the retouching, and you’ll absolutely have the best seat in the house, but at literally half the price.

We are SO excited to bring this to you our friends around the world —- our first-ever start-to-finish full day seminar available now anywhere you are.

Here’s the link to download the full digital seminar today (it’s just $49.99 US).

Last week on ‘The Grid” (our weekly photography show), we had Joe McNally as our in-studio guest, and we had Joe do blind-critiques of portraits submitted by our viewers, and I have to say, I learned more about portrait photography in that one show that I have in a year.

People are absolutely raving about Joe’s critiques, as they were, hands down the most insightful, informative, and just plain brilliant I’ve ever seen. Period. I’m running the free broadcast right here, so if you really want to see portrait photography in a new light, you have got to watch this class. I promise, you will be amazed.

The new issue of “Light It Magazine” (issue #8) is out, and available in Apple’s Newsstand App on the iPad (it’s only $2.99. Crazy cheap!), and (BIG NEWS) we are currently beta-testing the Android version and so far the testing is going great (the mag looks and works great — just a couple more things to address before we release it, so it won’t be long now).

This issue I’ve got a behind-the-scenes “Photo Recipes” food shoot using two Westcott TD-6 Spiderlites along with some things you can pick up at your local hardware store (seen above).

This is one of my favorite issues so far. Great stuff from Joel Grimes (you’re seeing the opening page above, which includes an embedded video), plus Frank Doorhof always brings great stuff,  and there’s lots of cool stuff cover to cover.

It’s available now, so I hope you’ll check out the new issue, (which costs less than the price of about any McDonald’s Extra Value meal, which that unto itself either says a lot what an incredible value this magazine is, or about how expensive Extra Value meals have become). ;-)

P.S. We now have annual subscriptions available for just $19.99. Insane-o cheap. Cheaper than dinner at Chili’s (well, if you at least order chicken Fajita’s, some chips and salsa, and maybe a Corona) and you get a whole year of issues. Seriously, that’s hundreds of pages of lighting techniques, so subscribe at the App store right this very minute before your fajitas get cold.