Category Archives Apps

Greetings from Holland (well, greetings from 33,000 feet above Holland â” I’m on my way back from speaking at the Professional Imaging show in Nijkerk – awesome experience — more on that coming soon).

OK, let’s talk about Periscope, a FREE app from Twitter (for IOS only at this point), that lets you broadcast live from anywhere you have a connection to the Internet and people can chat with you live (type questions), and visually experience exactly what you’re seeing. It is one of the most fun social media experiences I’ve had. As my buddy Frank Doorhof says, “It’s addictive!”

Beside the educational uses (which are pretty mind-blowing by themselves), what I love about it is the immediacy â” you decide to share what you’re doing/seeing, etc. and bam â” it’s live, and people who have Periscope (or are following you on it), can see it right now.

For example, while I’ve been at this photography expo in The Netherlands, I’ve been able to give a virtual tour of the show floor, and people could ask me questions to ask to various vendors about their products while I’m standing there right in front of the booth, and the whole thing is live â” as it happens.

Last night I was shooting on location a night shot of Amsterdam (along with Terry White and Frank), and you’re right there with me during the live shoot â” people were asking questions about settings, and lenses, and making comments as we went â” it was just so much fun (and it was really chilly and windy as well). While we’re taping, a couple comes up and says, “Hey, are you using that new Periscope App?”  Small world. :)

To become a part of this new social media revolution (and it’s been a while since somebody’s come out with something as cool as this), here’s all you have to do:

STEP ONE: Download the free App Periscope from the App Store (IOS phones only)

STEP TWO: Log in with your regular Twitter Account, and then you’ll have the option of following your friends on Twitter who are already on Periscope.

STEP THREE: Click the center icon at the bottom of your screen to start a broadcast. Now just say what you’re looking at (Here’s my cat; photo shoot on an abandoned rail road track; here’s a dead tree stump, whateverâ¦) and while you’re doing that, it will establish a video link (you’ll be amazed at the quality of the audio and video – better than FaceTime IMHO). Then, when you’re ready to broadcast, hit the red “Start Broadcast” button and you’re live! Start talking, and watch people from all over the world start watching and sharing your experience live!

To flip from the front camera to the back camera, just double-tap the screen. To end your broadcast, swipe down. You’ll see comments appear on screen while you’re taping, and you’ll see how many are currently watching your broadcast live, and you’ll see little “hearts” float in on the screen when people like what they’re seeing â” they’ll tap the screen to send you love. :)

That’s it. It’s just so simple. Try it once, and you’ll be hooked.
I’m on my flight now, but I’ll be doing a live broadcast when I land in Atlanta near 3:00 pm today, and if you want to come and experience it (you can just watch or chat for this first one, but you’ll surely want to do your own after seeing one â” my wife Kalebra did her first one yesterday called “Coffee with Maggie” the wonderdog, and it was really cute). Also, when you do a broadcast, it can send a tweet right then to your followers on Twitter that says you’re LIVE right now, and inviting them to come and join.

While you’re in the App, I hope you’ll follow meâ¦
and Frank Doorhof, and Glyn Dewis, and Kalebra Kelby, and Terry White, and Brad Moore and RC Concepcion and Ajna Adams (our Duchess of Social Media at Kelby One who turned us all onto Periscope â” she’s runs our KelbyOne periscope account, too!).

The way Twitter has designed this, and it’s hook into regular Twitter is just so clever and so simple, I think it’s going to revolutionize the way we communicate via social media. Once you try it, you’ll see what I mean, and we’re just at the tip of the iceberg of what can be done with Periscope.

Hope to see you live on Periscope once I land in Atlanta (and clear US Customs).


Writing blog posts in a chair in the sky….. 

Morning gang (it’s still morning, right?)
Sorry for the late post (putting this together took way longer than expected).

Those of you who follow me regularly here on the blog have seen the photographic stories I’ve posted over on my account, which I think is an absolutely marvelous way to tell a story with both pictures and words (here’s a link to my exposure page and you can see what I mean). Far better than any blog post.

Meet Project Luca
A buddy turned me onto this new iPad-based free photo storytelling app called Project Luca (it’s still in Beta at this point, but you can request to try it out at and it has some very interesting features â” including some doesn’t offer yet, so I wanted to at least give it a try, and I chose to do it with the 2-1/4 shoots I got to do while visiting London back in October.

Here’s what’s different about Project Luca:

  1. You actually build your project right on the iPad itself (but when you’re done, anyone with a web browser on any device, from desktop to laptop to mobile device, can view it).
  2. It has lots of professionally designed templates to choose from (rather than exposure’s one standard layout).
  3. Your project can have motion (meaning, the text can kind of “float over your images” with a window shade effect).
  4. You can choose your fonts and there’s a decent level of customization.
  5. You can have your images dissolve between frames, so it can be kind of like a slideshow.
  6. It allows captions under the photos, which is awesome (and something has yet to do, though they do now offer a caption feature but it can only appear over the image itself, and only at the top of the image).

Here’s how it works:

Once you install the app on your iPad and launch it, it shows you a few example projects so you get the idea of how Luca’s look  and then if you want to create a “Luca” of your own hit the text at the top (I didn’t really have to say that last part now, did I?). ;)

It brings you to this starting screen where you can start entering text and adding pictures from all over, including Lightroom Mobile, your Adobe Creative Cloud account, Dropbox, etc.

What threw me was you don’t pick your template first â” you just start creating. It took me about an hour (literally) until I realized that the “Color Palette” icon at the top (which you would assume is where you go to pick your colors) is actually where they hid the templates. Ugh. Anyway, now that you know, you can pick a template now if you’d like (and I recommend that you do, because this app is all about the layout. Or the bass [no treble]).

Above: That list of fonts on the right side of the screen, is actually the list of template choices. I would prefer to see thumbnails, rather than fonts, but it’s kind of a preview of how the opening screen text will look and layout, sans images. 

The rest is easy â” you add photos, add your text, you just keep scrolling down and adding more stuff. At this point, it’s just the creative process of choosing which photos, at what size (you can choose from full width of the screen to smaller size images with white space on all sides) and entering your text.

When you’re done adding text, you hit the upload button and the screen you see above appears. You can choose to make your Luca public or private, and share it about everywhere if you choose. It also copies the URL to your Luca to the clipboard automatically so you can share the link manually if you want to.

One more thing: you can add credits to the bottom of your photo story, but you add it here in the upload window, rather than in the project itself. The placement of that one had me scratching my head. I’m telling you now so you won’t drive yourself crazy looking for it (like I did).

Above: Once it uploads (it goes very quickly) your story is ready to view on anything with a web browser (here it is on my iPad). You just scroll down the page to see the images and read the story (you can click on the image above for a larger view). 

Above: You can edit, and view your Luca, in either landscape or portrait mode. Here’s an interior shot of London’s famous Royal Albert Hall. If you get a chance to read the story, I posted more images and the story behind it.

I Hope You’ll Check Out My First “Luca”
My “A Little bit of London” Luca is now live online and if you get a moment, I hope you’ll check it out (just seeing it will answer a lot of your questions, including “what does he mean about the text floating over the images?”).

Here’s the link

So, how does it stack up against
It has some advantage and disadvantages, but at this point, Project Luca is still in Beta (it’s not the full final version of the software). While it’s very promising overall, I’m not ready to switch from Exposure to Luca for these reasons: [NOTE: the Luca Team responded to these comments â” when you done, see the bottom of the post]

  1. Writing long text on an iPad is pretty brutal. Most folks don’t use a separate keyboard with their iPad so typing in long paragraphs of text on a touch-screen keyboard can really become tedious. In fact, if I didn’t finally switch to verbally dictating the text (using the iPad’s built-in dictation feature) I think I would have bailed on the whole project.
  2. There are still a lot of user experience things that just don’t make sense. Like not starting by choosing your template. Sure, now I get it, but I was totally thrown off by it at first. Also, the color palette icon for choosing templates is a head scratcher [see response from the Luca Team below]. So is putting the credits on the upload screen. I could go on.
  3. If you want to turn off their window-shade animations (the floating text effect) for a particular template…you can’t. You’re kinda stuck with it, and if it annoys youâ¦you’re stuck with it. [See response from the Luca Team below].
  4. At this point, it appears that you can use bold and italic, but you can’t. You can highlight text; choose bold or italic; it just doesn’t work. Could be a bug (I’m hoping it’s a bug).
  5. You can’t center headlines or subjects or even captions (all of which does beautifully), which is kind of a deal-breaker for me right there. What’s weird is â” you can center or left/right justify the text on the opening cover page of your Luca, so it’s not like they don’t have the technology to do it. [See response from the Luca Team below].
  6. You can’t change the order of your photos once they’re in your Luca, so you have to do a LOT more planning beforehand ( lets you change the order any time).
  7. I couldn’t find the URL to my “Luca” (to share with you in this post), without literally re-uploading my entire project. Ugh. [See response from the Luca Team below].
I’ve communicated all these things directly to the Project Luca team, so this isn’t the first time they’re hearing it from me. In fact, they’re probably really tired of hearing it from me.

The Bottomline:
I generally pick up learning new software fairly quickly, but I was lost in Project Luca a lot.

Your experience may differ, but the Luca creation process just doesn’t seem to be designed in an intuitive way overall. What’s weird is â” there are parts of it that are designed beautifully, and I say to myself “Man, I wish Exposure did it like this!” and then there are other parts where I’m really surprised they totally dropped the ball from an author experience perspective. In fact, if this product has an achilles heel it’s that the user experience of building a Luca seems like it was designed by committee, if that tells you anything.

I so wanted to love Project Luca, because there are still some things (as great as it is) hasn’t added (like captions under the photos for example), but it’s still got a ways to go. To be fair, it’s Beta software and I’m hoping that before they’re finished they’ll address some of the issues, but I think it needs a major rethinking on the author experience part â” the final uploaded Luca’s look really nice, but getting there is more than half the battle.


UPDATE!!!! Right after I released this first-look, I sent an email to the Project Luca team, and I was delighted to see their response (especially since I was kind of scared to initially see their response): They wrote:

    1. Centered captions are in the next build [see example below -ed]
    2. The template icon is changing from a paint icon to a magic wand [I probably would have clicked that just to see what it did -ed]
    3. Ability to turn animations on and off is on the roadmap, but will not be in version one. That falls under the category of theme customizations, and those come a little later.
    4. Bold and Italic are not in the product right now. They are on the roadmap. The bug you described has been fixed.
    5. You will be able to re-order photos in our next build [yay!!! -ed]
    6. We are surfacing the URL for your Luca on the projects screen so you can get it without republishing [perfect! -ed]
    7. You will be able to left or right align floating captions (the ones that fade in/out over your photos) in the next build [awesome -ed]:

Above: Here’s one part of my Luca [from the desktop view] â” notice the centered caption below the photo. Yay!

Above: Here’s a template with centered subhead text. Of course, I’d like to be able to center the subhead in any template, but at least this is a start.

I think these are all very positive developments, and my thanks to the Project Luca team for sharing a bit of their roadmap with my readers. :)



I can’t give you my favorite iPhone 6 features, because mine hasn’t come in yet, but I did makes the leap to IOS 8 this weekend and I absolutely love it! My favorite IOS update in years. So, without further ado (yes, that was ado), here are my Seven Favorite IOS Features (and some of ’em are kinda hidden, but awesome nevertheless):

(1) QuickType Predictive Typing
I read about this one online, and I kind of shrugged, but once I used it, it became my #1 most-favorite, how-did-I-live-without-this feature. It basically predicts with uncanny accuracy what the next word you’re about to type is (based on the word you just typed and it learns the strings of what you commonly type), and it give you three choices you just tap one. OMG it works so much better than I would have imagined. It speeds texting, emailing, and taking notes like you cannot believe. Worth the entire price of the upgrade! (Oh, it’s free. Well, I surely would have paid for just this alone).

#2: The Camera and Phone Apps are way better
You can finally do some decent tweaking right in the photos app, and the camera now lets you adjust brightness before you take the photo by just tapping on the thing you can focus on and then dragging up/down on screen to brighten/darken. To access the Photo edits, click on a photo in the Photos App; tap the Edit button then tap on the Dial icon. You can change the Light, Color or make a B&W. What your’e seeing above is when you click Light then hit the three-line icon on the far right. Now click any setting and you get a slider for that feature and instant on-screen feedback. Kinda feels a little Snapseedish (if that’s even a word). Nicely implemented all the way around â” huge improvement. I hear you can also integrate third-party editors into the camera app — I just haven’t got that far yet.

#3: Now we finally know which apps are eating up all our battery life 
Apparently, now that I know, I can see I’m probably using Jelly Splash, Poptile, and Fruit Splash too often. Ack! It’s found in Settings; under General, under Usage, under Battery Usage. Be prepared to see some unexpected apps chomping battery like nobody’s business.


#4: Quick Reply to Texts Where-ever
This is one I didn’t think I’d need, but now I can’t live without it. Let’s say you’re playing, I dunno, Jelly Splash (I wouldn’t know, I don’t play games. Ahem. Where was I?), Oh, yeah and a text comes in and appears in a small banner at the top of the screen. You used to have to switch to the messages App to reply, but now you can just tap and pull down on the message and a Reply field appears so you can reply without leaving your game. Erâ¦I mean important spread sheet App. NOTE: I didn’t have a graphic for this one. Nobody I know is up at this crazy late hour, so I couldn’t get anybody to text me so I could get a screen capture, so just imagine it looking pretty much like you’d think it would.


#5: Seeing (and being able to Delete) text message attachments
You’ve got every attachment everybody who has ever texted you has ever texted you, all stored on your phone eating up memory like you cannot believe. So, the next time you can get an episode of Smash! to fit on your iPhone, maybe it’s because your Message App is stuffed full! To see (and/or delete) all the message ever sent by someone to you, go the Message App; click on a recent message from them, and then tap the Details link in the top right corner of the screen and scroll down to see every attachment they’ve ever sent. Huge time-saver if you need to find an attachment from a year ago (this is friend Jose’s attachments. He send me jet fighter shots he takes and pictures of his new baby. Both totally worth seeing — but not deleting).


#6. If you hate Mobile Web Sites (like I do), you will love this!
Now in Safari (Apple’s built-in default Web browser), if you hit a web site that forces a mobile version of their site on you (I so hate those), just tap on the URL up top, then drag down and two new fields appear and one of them is called “Request Desktop Site” and it reloads the page with the regular site like you’d see on your computer, rather than a stripped down mobile site. Super Diggin’ It.

#7: Hands-free Siri is finally here!
Last but not least (but it’s still last at least), is when you are in your car (which is primarily where I use Siri), you no longer have to use the Home button to bring up Siri. As long as you’re plugged into to a power outlet (car charger) and you’ve gone to Siri’s Preferences and chosen “Allow Hey Siri” you can just say “Hey Siri” and it wakes and takes your voice request. So I can say “Hey Siri, play Hot Cheri” or “Hey Siri, Who won the Giant’s game last night (I know better than to ask who won the Bucs/Falcons game) or “Hey Siri, is it going to rain today” and she goes right to work. Very well done.

So, that’s my favorites so far, and how to find them/use them. Hope you new IOS 8 users find it helpful.

NOTE: This post is for folks who have iPhones and have, or are considering, downloaded IOS 8. No comparisons to any other phones of any kind were made or implied. If you don’t have an iPhone then this isn’t for you – feel free to completely ignore it. There’s no need to defend your choice of a competing phone or mention how much better your phone choice is; how your phone has had all these features since 1972  and how dumb we all are, and so on. Thanks. 

Hope you all have a fully upgradable Monday, and we’ll see you here tomorrow for something. I’m almost sure of it.



Here’s some cool free stuff from me that you might have missed, so I thought I’d share it here in honor of it being ‘Seis de Mayo’ and all. ;-)

(1) Download My FREE Lighting Recipes iPad App
It’s an App dedicated to teaching different lighting set-ups — The cool thing is, it's not just a couple of lighting setups⦠There are 13 lessons in all, showing you the finished image and production shots, a lighting diagram, and my own audio commentary so you can see how each one is set up. It’s been downloaded about a bazillion times — it’s has nearly 700 reviews on the iTunes Store and it’s rated 4-1/2 stars (Whoo hoo!!!). Anyway, it’s free from the App store (or you can use this link).

(2) Take my FREE online class on creating custom photo books in Lightroom
That’s right â” it’s my full-length class on where I take you through the entire Lightroom photo book-making process from beginning to end and you’ll see exactly how it’s all done (and learn lots of helpful tips and hints along the way.

Here's how it works:
Our online classes are also available as downloadable 3-day rentals (just like you'd download a movie rental), and that's the case here, but you'll notice that instead of there being a $6.99 rental fee, the rental button says FREE (well, technically it says “RENT NOW” but you’ll see that the rental price is actually $0.00, and $0 means F-R-Double-E Free!).

Here's a link to the free online class, and I hope you find it helpful (photo books are easy to get hooked on â” make one and you'll fall in love).

(3) Watch my online class called “Crush The Composition” for Free!
This is the free rebroadcast of my talk at the Google+ Photographer’s Conference about why so many of us struggle learning photo composition and I introduced a new way to teach composition that breaks with the traditional methods and it has just really struck a chord with a lot of people. In fact, I probably get more email from fans about this class than any I’ve ever taught. It’s been viewed over 200,000 times and you can watch the entire class free (I’ve embedded it right above).

Well, there ya have it folks â” three free things from me! :)

Hope you find this stuff helpful and if it moves you even just a few more feet down the road, then I’ll be a happy man. Have a great Tuesday everybody. Hope it’s your best one so far this year! :)




Yesterday afternoon I was on location shooting some long exposure black and white (well, I was shooting in color with the intention of converting to black and white later) and I thought I’d share an iPhone App that has made finding out exactly how long to keep your shutter open an absolute no-brainer.

It’s called ND Timer and you just tell it three things:

  • (1) What your current shutter speed is (before you put your ND filter on your lens)
  • (2) How many stops your ND filter is (like a 3-stop, 4-stop, 10-stop, etc.)
  • (3) If you’re stacking more than one ND Filter on top of another you tap the “Stack Filter” button then let it know the number of stops of your 2nd ND filter

Instantly it tells you exactly how long to leave your shutter open, and it even has a built-in timer countdown clock.

It’s just 99¢. That rocks! (you can find it on the App store)

Plus, it couldn’t be easier to use (there’s really nothing more to it than I just told you.

Anything Missing?
Well, yes. There is one feature I would love to see added: sometimes you’re standing there for 5 or 10 minutes waiting on a long exposure, and it is counting down the time, but I’d love to be able to switch to another App (maybe check my Facebook page), but when it gets down to 10-seconds left before you need to release the cable release lock it needs to have a pop-up warning that appears on screen and ideally an option for an audible warning, like one of the built-in alarm sounds. I’d also love to have the option of having it beep each second for those last 10-seconds (like the self-timer on your camera), so you can get ready to release the cable release lock.

Outside of that, it just rocks, and for 99¢ how can you go wrong?

How about a Long Exposure Photography Tutorial?

OK! (see below)

That’s a long exposure tutorial I did on location in Maine a few years back for my buddies who run the “Weekly Photo Tips” blog. It’s already been viewed nearly 550,000 times — the only thing missing was this App (I didn’t know about it then). Anyway, hope you find it useful.

That’s it for today, folks. I’ve been working on another project for (this one is a special project for Mother’s Day) and I did three shoots for it yesterday. I’ll have details, and a link, coming soon.

Hope you all have a really great Tuesday!


Milestones for 2012
Besides the most popular and most commented-upon posts (which I posted here in Part 1 on Friday), we were pretty busy here on blog during 2012. Here’s some highlights of what we shared:

1. A fresh new look for the blog (and my new logo)
We started the year with a new blog look and a new logo (by our own Felix Nelson) which incorporates my book authoring and photography into one design (See top left). link

2. “Connecting with Cuba” my free online talk
After my trip to Havana, Cuba, I posted the images here on blog and I had so many questions that I decided to do a free Webinar about the trip, the people, the country, the post processing and the photography. You can watch it right here.

3. You spoke. Adobe listened
After my Open Letter to Adobe (link) you spoke (over 700 comments here) and Adobe listened and changed their policy in a very fair way.  link

4. Lightroom 4 Public Beta Launch
At the launch, we had Adobe’s Lightroom Product Manager Tom Hogarty live in our studios for live Q&A sessions, broadcast free every two hours all day, plus we released our Lightroom Launch Center that same day.

5. Adobe launched Photoshop Touch for the iPad
When we announced it here on blog, we had LIVE broadcasts that same day with lots of info and demos on a product that went on to become one of Apple’s “Apps of the Year for 2012.” (link)

6. #1 for the second straight year!
I found out that for the second year running (according to data from Nielsen Bookscan) that I was the #1 bestselling photography book author once again. Whoo Hoo!! (and a BIG thanks to all my readers). (link)

7. I shot my first hockey game
It wasn’t pretty (link) but it didn’t stop me and thankfully before too long, it got better (link). And better (link). Still a long way to go to be where I want to be, but hey — the NHL strike just ended this week. As my buddy Scott Audette would say: Drop the puck already!

8. I received the American Socieity of Photographers International Award
What a great way to start the year. I was truly honored (still am)link

9. Adobe released a Public Beta of Photoshop CS6
Of course, we were all over it, and I launched our CS6 Learning Center here, along with live CS6 broadcasts all day. (link)

9. We broke the news that Adobe lowered Lightroom’s 4 official price to just $149
This was huge! We did live broadcasts and the whole nine yards. (link)

10. I did probably my most in-depth interview ever
It was one-on-one with Glyn Dewis and it got more positive feedback than most any I’ve ever done. A very different kind of interview. (link)

11. Adobe announced the Creative Cloud and I tried to help clear up the confusion
Lots of people had lots of questions so I tried to jump in and help. (link)

12. A new series of photos emerges from my trip to Paris to tape my travel class
I tried something new, and I like it. It’s not for everybody, but nothing is. (link)

13. One-on-One with the Photoshop Product Managers
We had Bryan O’neal Hughes and Zorana Gee live in the studio taking your questions on the just released Photoshop CS6. Here’s the link — you can watch it right here on the blog).

14. I did a quick little video about Photoshop CS6 features nobody was talking about
And of course, I launched it here on the blog. You can still watch it right here.

15. We launched my 6th Annual Worldwide Photo Walk
And we broke every record, with over 1,300 cities participating around the world; more than 32,000 walkers, and more than $12,000 donated to the Springs of Hope Orphanage. (link)

16. I switched my photography portfolio over to SmugMug
I took a 14-day free trial and I was hooked. (link) You can see the latest version right here. 

17. A lot of folks in the Industry, and even at Adobe were shocked…
When they saw how much we really do to help people learn Lightroom. It’s all right here.  

18. I posted four short videos that show you exactly what you missed at Photoshop World Vegas
These are the same videos we show at the closing seminars to recap an amazing week. (link)

19. I finally licked my struggle with my Sports Photography Workflow
With some blood, sweat, tears and help from a fellow sports shooter. (link)

20. I posted group photos from all over the world from my Worldwide Photo Walk
Look at their faces. This is why I do it, and seeing these is the icing on the cake! (link)

22. I did a post on “Why we limit Photo Walks to just 50 people.”
There’s a reason why this is so important.  (link)

22. A lot of folks called this post, written by Bill Fortney, the best post about photography of the year
Bill post called “Why bother” really struck a chord with folks and got reviews like nothing I’ve read this year. (link)

23. I launched a FREE class on creating Photo Books in Lightroom 4
You can watch it free, right now (lots of folks already have). (link)

Teaching Live
1. In 2012 I wrapped up my “Light it, Shoot it, Retouch it” tour
I hit every big city in USA, plus three stops in Canada, plus Swingin’ London Baby and Amsterdam, Holland and Cologne, Germany.

2. We launched our first downloadable full-day seminar tour
When my Light it, Shoot it, Retouch it tour was done, we recorded the final stop on the tour and for the first time ever made the entire seminar, complete with digital workbook, available as a download so if we didn’t make it to your city, you could still see the tour live as it happened. (link)

3. I launched a new tour, my “Photoshop CS6 Tour for Digital Photographers”
Between RC Concepcion and me, we hit just about every big city in the USA in 2012. I met lots of really great, passionate photographers. (link)

4. We brought Photoshop World to Washington DC
It was our biggest East Coast Photoshop World ever, and we posted lots of Pics and reports from the event. (link)

5. We launched “The Google+ Conference for Photographers”
It turned out to be a really ground-breaking event — a mix of photography training and social media (check out the stop-motion video clip above by Petra Cross to get a great idea of what it was like) . Probably the best thing we ever produced, and our first conference just for photographers. (link)

6. Nikon had me speak at the ISAP Conference
This is the third time I’ve spoken at this amazing conference for Aviation Photographers, and it’s always a blast. They truly offer probably the best value in a conference anywhere. I’m hoping to go this year just as an attendee (and I joined the ISAP this year as well. Wonderful organization). (link)

7. We put “Big Joe” out on tour with just one flash. OK, maybe two.
Any time Joe takes the stage, it’s magic, and his year we went all over the US and Canada with a Kelby Training produced tour and he absolutely rocked it!!! He wanted to show what could be done with a lean-and-mean one or two flash set-up and it really resonated with a lot of folks (as expected). (link)

8. I launched my “Travel Photography Online Class”
It turned out to be one of my most well-received classes ever, and it was shot on location in Paris, France (I know, rough life). It’s a two part class; the first part is on the actual shooting, then the 2nd part I show all the post-processing. (link)

9. I did a short video about why the DSLR Video editing features in CS6 are so awesome
This is a game changer. So much so, that I had to do a video about why: (link)

10. I launched a new class and for the first-time ever, we let folks “Rent it.”
Yup, in fact we launched a bunch of classes that are now available from Kelby Training Online for a three-day rental for just $9.99. My new class “Light it, Shoot it, Retouch it for Hot Shoe Flash on a Budget” was the launch class, and one of my best-received classes yet.  (link)

11. I did a video “photo talk” about my vacation to Paris 
It was called “A walk in Paris” and I talked about the photography and post processing, and you can watch the rebroadcast right here (well, above).

Here are the books and Apps we published and launched here on the blog in 2012:

1. My Lightroom 4 Book for Digital Photographers
I love Lightroom so this book is a labor of love. The most challenging part is filling 500 pages with new images nobody’s seen before, but the good news is: you get to shoot about 500 pages of photos! Also, Adobe added a Book Module in Lightroom 4 and I’m such a photo book freak that it really made this update a lot of fun.

2. My Photoshop CS6 for Digital Photographers
When Adobe released CS6 and Lightroom 4 within a month of each other, it kept me crazy busy!!! I don’t think I saw daylight for months and when both were done I took a big break from writing for a while. My favorite part of this book was the new chapter for photographers on editing DSLR Video in Photoshop. Adobe nailed it!

3. The Digital Photography Book, Part 4
This book was released over a year late because I didn’t want to write it until I really had something significant to share. It takes about 200 new tips to create one of the books in this series, and I didn’t want any repeats of stuff in previous volumes (even if the topics were similar, like sports or weddings) and back in 2011 I had to tell my publisher I just wasn’t ready, which I’m sure didn’t thrill them but they were very supportive nonetheless. In 2012 I finally had enough really meaty content that I was able to Part 4 and it was a big success which just convinced me even more that waiting until I had really great stuff was the right way to go (you never go wrong by doing the right thing). link

4. My Photoshop Elements 11 Book for Digital Photographers book (co authored with Matt Kloskowski)
Adobe doesn't add a ton of new features to Elements in each rev, so what Matt and I do instead is add the new things that we have learned during the year, and we take the techniques we use in CS6 and try to convert them into techniques that work in Elements, and that has worked wonderfully well so far (based on feedback from readers). We added some really great stuff in this update, so the book continues to grow and evolve (and Matt gets a lot of the credit).

5. The iPhone 5 Book (co authored with my buddy and iPhone freak, Terry White)
This is the “Sixth” edition of this book Terry and I have written (we split the book in half: I write the easy chapters and Terry writes the hard ones) but I actually think this is the best version of the book yet. We really tried to simplify it, make it more to the point, and just make it better and more useful all around and that’s a good thing.

6. I launched a book I never though I would write
I won’t spoil it for you, but it’s not about photography or photography. It’s more important than that. (link)


1. My "Lighting Recipes" App
It’s a totally free App (for iPads), and in it I break down all sorts of portrait lighting set-ups with behind-the-scene shots, layouts, and the whole nine yards. It was a huge hit (it even got a mention and some love from the New York Times  — link) and if you haven’t downloaded it, remember…it’s free! :) (link)

2. Light It Magazine goes on the iPad’s Newsstand
This App originally launched near the end of 2011, but once we got it out there we needed to get it into Apple’s “Newsstand” App, which was a surprisingly monumental task, but it also allowed us to start selling subscriptions. We had hoped to have an Android version of it last year as well, but the development of an Android version has been harder than getting it in Newsstand (we have to reconfigure the whole thing for non-newsstand for Android, which apparently is much harder than it sounds). Anyway, it’s there now, and you can download the premiere issue free and a best-of sampler also free. Issues are $2.99 each. Cheap.

3. Shortcut Sumo: The Biggest, Baddest Collection of Adobe Keyboard Shortcuts Ever!
We launched this here on blog in October: The App itself is free and comes with the Camera Raw shortcuts, and there are in-app purchases for other Adobe products (like Lightroom or Photoshop). link 

Fun Stuff

1. I played drums for a reunion gig of my first band (back in High School) called “Phoenix”
We played for the high school reunion and it was a lot of fun (and I posted lots of shots taken by my wife, who refers to this gig as “the not-my-reunion” gig, since three of the guys in the band graduated a year before me, and so this was really their reunion (mine would be this year — I graduated in 1978).

2. I got to play two gigs with my current band, Big Electric Cat
That shot of me above is before our after hours party in D.C. What a cool club (and a great crowd!). I’m playing Valentine’s Day present guitar (from my sweetie), a 1987 Ibanez. Love it!

2. I know this is going to sound crazy, but I took a crazy amount of vacation again this year
I have people who email me that they’re concerned about me working too much, and being a workaholic. Don’t worry — I took more than TEN weeks of vacation this year (and I don’t work while I’m on vacation). I went to Hawaii with my family for two weeks and then a couple of days in Disneyland (link); My wife took me to India for an amazing trip (link), I went to London to teach a one-day seminar but stayed and played for a week (link), then we took a family trip for a week in Ireland (link), then my wife took me to France on a romantic vacation and ended the trip by holding my local Photo Walk there (link); plus I took the Christmas Holiday’s off (two weeks straight); I took Thanksgiving week off; my wife and I snuck away for a Valentine’s week trip; my wife and I (and some friends) took a really fun trip to Havana, Cuba (just for fun) and I just got back last night from a week’s vacation in Vail, Colorado, with my family which was an awesome way to start the New Year. People always ask me “When do you sleep?” Apparently, it’s when I’m on vacation. Well, I sleep late, anyway. :)

3. We raised another couple of thousand dollars for the Springs of Hope Orphanage
I raffled away one of my very favorite guitars, but it was worth it. (link)

4. I released a series of posters where you can share my pain
It’s called “Moments of Football Ungreatness.” It’s extremely ungreat! (link)

5. If you have a daughter (like I do), you’ve got to watch this
Sometimes, Disney does some really brilliant stuff. This is one of those. (link)

That’s just some of the highlights of what we covered in 2012 here on the blog. On Friday, we’ll wrap up with Part 3, which will be our top-10 episodes of “The Grid” (our weekly photography talkshow) and I’ll embed the episodes right on the blog so you can watch ’em right there. Have a great week and we’ll see you then!