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Hi Gang – you might have heard me talk about an online course I did on “Designing Beautiful Wedding Albums in Lightroom CC and I said it was more about the design and layout ideas for the wedding album, than on teaching you how to make photo books in Lightroom (especially since I already have a course on that topic).

So, I asked our video crew to pull out an actual excerpt from the online course so you can see what I’m talking about, and once you watch it, it will be immediately clear. In this excerpt I did two layouts  (in the full online class I do a whole bunch! In fact, that’s most of the class — showing you how to create, and then save, these layouts as your own custom templates so they’re just one-click away in the future).

Anyway, the clip (below) is 5-1/2 minutes long, but you’ll learn some really solid techniques — enough that I hope it will make you want to watch the full class this weekend.

Here’s a link to the full class if you’re a KelbyOne member and you want to check it out (and if you’re not, you can join now for just $19.95 for a month and watch it (and nearly 50 other full length Lightroom classes) to death (to death I tell ya!).

But first, if you’re in Boston or Philly…
I’m inviting you to come out and spend the day with me as I kick off my new Lightroom On Tour full-day seminar. It’s just $99 (including a detailed workbook), and it’s 100% guaranteed — if it’s not the best Lightroom seminar you’ve ever attended, at any price, we’ll refund your ticket right on the spot! I’m in Boston on Friday, March 10th, and Philly on Monday the 13th. Come on out – we’ll have a blast! Details and tickets are here.

Best,

-Scott

P.S. My next seminar stops after that are Chicago on April 10th and then the Detroit area on April 11th . If you’re up that way, I hope you’ll come and spend the day with me. 

Shooting Photos & Video with the Mavic Pro Drone with Scott Kelby and Terry White
The Mavic Pro may be small, but its packed with power. Learn how to shoot great photos and capture beautiful video with Scott Kelby and Terry White, as they take you through everything you need to know to get up and flying safely. In this class you’ll learn what you must do before you take your first flight, how to operate the drone safely, all the key settings to use for still and video capture, how to perform a pre-flight check, how to safely land, and a whole lot more. Don’t forget to download the accompanying PDF to take that pre-flight checklist with you everywhere you go.

In Case You Missed It
Get ready to fly with the DJI Phantom 3! Join Mia McCormick and John McQuiston as they show you what you need to know to get off the ground with the DJI Phantom 3. John and Mia start off by explaining the differences between the three versions of the DJI Phantom 3, before moving on to highlighting the main rules and regulations you need to understand before you take to the air. From there, you’ll get an in-depth look at the controller, a lesson on how to use the DJI Go app on your mobile device, how to prepare for and execute your first flight, helpful practice tips, and more. By the end of the class you will feel confident using the controller, the aircraft, and the app, and you’ll be ready to safely fly your DJI Phantom while capturing great photos and videos.

Dave Black working with Nikon SB-5000 Speedlights

Your Questions & My Answers
Hi and welcome to Scott’s blog … It is an honor to be asked to write a Guest blog for Scott … many thanks Scott for the opportunity.

I receive dozens of questions via my website’s Contact Dave page every month from passionate photographers eager to learn, and so this guest blog will be Your Questions and My Answers to a variety of my Instagram and Portfolio images.


“Alpine Shadow” … Nikon D3s, ISO1000, 1/500 at f/14, Nikon 24-70mm lens, SanDisk 32G Extreme Pro Flash Card

Q: Hi Mr. Black, Greetings from Switzerland. I really enjoy your Instagram pictures/mini photo lessons each day, and in particular the Alpine Shadow picture from Switzerland. Please can you elaborate with some backstory? Kind Regards. Francois – Zermatt, Switzerland

A: Hi Francois. So glad that you are enjoying my Instagram posts @daveblackphoto and the mini photo lessons that often accompany each IG picture.

As mentioned in the IG post, Rotenboden Station is a familiar location for those who are climbing, hiking or photographing the alpine sunrise at the Matterhorn in Switzerland.

The backstory is an exercise in patience. I had completed making my sunrise image of the Matterhorn from a location about 1 kilometer away from the Rotenboden Station and had just hiked back to the alpine railway station.

While I was waiting for the train to return and continue my journey up the mountains the sunlight and shadows on the station were beautiful and seemed to be begging for a human element to enter the scene.

The train arrived and I let it go without me. Then, after about 15 minutes, the shadow moved to reveal the cross and a minute later a fellow hiker (with backpack) approached the railway platform and his shadow was cast onto the station wall … thus offering a “different” image of the Matterhorn.

We often go out “looking” for a picture, but we must always be aware of the changing light and shadows around us… and be ready to capture a “moment” when it happens along.

Thanks for your question Francois, hope the backstory is helpful. Cheers. Dave


“Red Rythmic” … Nikon D5, ISO4000, 1/800 at f/13, Nikon 24-70mm lens at 45mm, WB 6250K, 4 NEW Nikon SB-5000 Speedlights with Radio Control, Manfrotto light stands, XQD Card

Q: Hi, Dave! I always check out your three portfolios on your website to see what’s new. Thanks for adding new pics each month. Can you explain where you placed your Speedlights for the Red Rythmic gymnastics image in your Creative Lighting Portfolio on your website? Thanks. Kevin – London.

A…Hi Kevin. Glad you are enjoying my portfolios. I really enjoy adding new images each month to the three collections!

I purposely underexposed the scene by -2.0 stops and then illuminated my subject with FLASH. I used 4 NEW Nikon SB-5000 Speedlights with Radio Control, all of which were in High Speed Sync mode.

The main SB-5000 had a Grid to help spotlight my athlete and was set to FULL power and placed high on a light stand 15 feet away.

I placed a second SB-5000 on a small rock about 20 feet out in front of the athlete and about one foot above the ground cover. This SB-5000 was set to 1/2 power and illuminated the foreground vegetation and the tail ends of the red ribbons.

Because of the uneven terrain, I had an assistant hand hold two SB-5000 Speedlights about 35 feet behind the subject. These two Speedlights, each set to FULL power illuminated some of the vegetation behind her, but not the forest background which I wanted to remain dark.

The subject was an Olympic athlete who was amazing to work with. She performed multiple leaps on the boulder despite it being a very cold, early morning shoot in the Yamanashi Forest of Northern Japan.

Thanks for a great question Kevin.  Cheers. Dave


“Winter Coyote” … Nikon D500, ISO2000, 1/1000 at f/8, Nikon 200-500mm G VR lens with Nikon TC 14E III 1.4x teleconverter, SanDisk 32G Extreme Pro SD Card.

Q: Dear Dave, I’m a longtime fan and very much looking forward to attending your classes at Photoshop World in Orlando this April. I just love the Winter Coyote picture in your Planet Portfolio. Can you tell me the how you captured this picture. Thank you. Debbie – Jacksonville, FL.

A: Hi Debbie. Gad you like the “Winter Coyote,” and please come up and say hello during Photoshop World Orlando. Your question fits into one of my favorite classes at PSW 2017: THINK Before You Press the Shutter a class teaching pre-visualization.

This image was made recently when I joined good friends Keith Ladzinski and Doug Ladzinski for a fun photo safari on a snowy January day in Rocky Mountain National Park.

We had been slowly cruising around the park photographing elk when Doug saw four coyotes way off in the distance, braving the winter storm on a small ridge about 150 yards from the road. With the snow storm and the long distance to the coyotes, I sensed this could be an opportunity for a very special picture.

Let me emphasis that, before I stepped out of the vehicle, I set the in-camera Set Picture Control menu of the D500 to standard and also reduced the contrast and saturation levels slightly. Then I increased the clarity level to help define the snow flakes and Coyote.

I kept my distance on purpose as I wanted to shoot through more volume of the falling snow. The camera-lens combination of the Nikon D500 cropped sensor and 200-500mm f/5.6 lens (at 500mm) with a 1.4x teleconverter gave me a visual lens length of about 1,050mm.

All these preparations: 1,050mm, Set Picture Control adjustments and keep my distance from the coyotes in order to shoot through as much falling snow as possible, but still see my subject clearly… were “pre-visualized” in my mind in just a few seconds. THEN I stepped out of the vehicle onto the snow.

I used manual exposure and chose to nearly overexpose the snow, but not quite. Once this single coyote moved away from the pack and ventured out onto the ridge with the falling snow and head-down posture, the “click” of the shutter was all that was left to do… Voila! “Winter Coyote.”

This process of creating the scene and technical scenario in my mind first is called “pre-visualization” and is what I believe to be the “key” missing component for many photographers trying to make the memorable pictures they want.

Hope this answer is helpful and I look forward to meeting you at PSW. -Dave


“High Riders” … Nikon D810, ISO1000, 1/2500 at f/10, Nikon 14-24mm lens, three Profoto B1 strobes in High Speed Sync mode with Profoto Tele-Zoom Reflectors and Clear Protection Plate, three C-Stands, and Articulating Boom Lift for me to shoot from, SanDisk 32G Extreme Pro Flash Card.

Q: Hi Dave, Your sports portfolio has an insane moto shot with one guy flying and another guy upside-down. Can you tell me what flash was used and how you pulled this picture off? Brandon – Louisiana.

A…Hi Brandon. Thanks for a great question, glad you like the shot.

This Freestyle Motocross image of Team FMX stars Travis Willis (white) and Ed Rossi (blue) was a commercial project that was quite an undertaking for myself and my #1 assistant, Julio Aguilar to accomplish.

I typically use my Nikon SB-5000 Speedlights with radio control for about 90% of my flash work as they are small-portable and have High Speed Sync. But occasionally I need a BIGGER blast of FLASH from a long distance to override the bright ambient sunshine and illuminate my athletes against the underexposed background or sky… so I bring in the Profoto B1 Air strobes.

As mentioned in the image caption above, I used three Profoto B1 Air strobes in High Speed Sync. Each is equipped with Profoto Tele-Zoom Reflector and Clear Glass Protection Plate (instead of the factory frosted plate).

These two modifications that I’ve incorporated with my B1 strobe system have helped make the factory 500 watt second power of a B1 illuminate my subjects more like a 1200 watt second power pack. That’s a HUGE increase in illumination simply by using the Tele-Zoom Reflector and clear protection plate on each B1 unit.

To get up where my athletes perform, I used an Articulating Boom Lift (king size Cherry Picker) to have maximum stability in the bucket, and to access my athletes at about 70 feet in the air for this particular shot.

Travis and Ed made a dozen “tandem” jumps, but this jump in particular was performed with them only a few feet apart and nearly on top of each other at the landing area… CRAZY and AMAZING skill. The icing on the cake was the full moon rising in the upper right corner in front of the lead rider’s boot.

A really awesome photo shoot and a blast to pull off … Thanks for asking.

Adios, Dave


“NFL Game Day” … Nikon D800, ISO4000, 1/1250 at f/5.6, Nikon 600mm f/4 G VR Zoom lens, WB 6250K, SanDisk 32G Extreme Pro Flash Card.

Q: Hello Dave, I am a student looking for a direction to take my life. I was very interested in photography which I really enjoyed and achieved high grades. As an enthusiastic sportsman, I was considering merging the two and becoming a sports photographer. Would you recommend this, and do you have any advice? Gavin – Houston

A: Hi Gavin. The road to being a professional SPORTS photographer who makes their entire living from their craft is not usually achieved overnight, but is an extremely rewarding occupation to pursue.

If you are currently enrolled at a university, or if you have graduated, consider assisting a local sports photographer as a way to learn the profession. Some assistants make good money assisting someone until they are ready to set out on their own business.

Just so you know, the notion that all a SPORTS photographer does is go to a game for three hours, take pictures, and collect a check is far from accurate. “Speedy” computer skills and business savvy are just as important as photographic skills if one is to “make it” in today’s sports photography market place.

The SPORTS photography industry is highly competitive, and your degree of passion should demand a great deal from you, but if you persevere and make GREAT pictures you can have a fine living.

So, do I recommend having a career as a SPORTS photographer….YES, absolutely! It’s the greatest job on the planet. And when you “make it,” you are truly on top of the world each and every time you arrive at the event.

Best to you Gavin. -Dave


“Fire Fighter” … Nikon D500, ISO200 at 30 seconds, Nikon 24-70mm lens, WB 10,000K, Manfrotto Tripod and 410 Geared Head … Lightpainting, SanDisk Extreme pro 32G Card.

Q: Hey Dave, love your light painting portraits. I read your instructional blog about the “soft focus” technique for your portraits but I don’t get it??? Can you explain it. Thanks, Jeromy – Chicago

A: Hi Jeromy. Whether you use Photoshop’s Gaussian Blur tool or my “soft focus” technique with camera and lens, the purpose is to create selected areas in the scene that are soft looking so as to draw attention more directly to the subject’s face which is in focus.

This light painting portrait of a female fire fighter makes use of a manual exposure time of 30 seconds. I used seven seconds to light paint her face, helmet, ax and torso using a small white LED penlight.

For the next 12 seconds of exposure time, I turned off my flashlight, walked to the camera, and manually unfocused the lens to infinity, then walked back to the subject to resume light painting using a small red LED penlight to “soft focus” areas of her arms and helmet.

Finally, with about 11 seconds remaining in the 30 seconds exposure and with my lens still unfocused to infinity, I light painted the backdrop with red LED flashlight while the backdrop was being “fluttered” by an assistant, thus creating a “soft focus” & motion blur… I’m always experimenting.

Hope this answer explains “soft focus.”

Adios. Dave


THANKS again to Scott for having me write this guest blog. Looking forward to seeing many of you at Photoshop World 2017 in Orlando, Florida: April 19-22. See you there! -Dave

You can see more of Dave’s work at DaveBlackPhotography.com, where he shares his monthly Workshop At The Ranch posts like this one. You can also follow him on Instagram and Twitter.

Hi Gang — we’re only 50-something days away from the Photoshop World Conference (April 20-22, 2017) in Orlando, Florida at the Orange County Convention Center (whoo hoo!), and I thought I’d give a quick update on what’s up, via a Q&A style post. Here we go:

Q. I know you’re in Orlando now, but you’ll be in the Vegas in the fall, right?
A. No. We are not doing a Vegas Photoshop World this year because Adobe will be holding their Adobe Max Conference in Vegas at the same time we’d be there. 

Q. I usually go to the Vegas one — but since there’s not one, should I come to the Orlando Conference instead?
A. Absolutely! It’s going to rock — Orlando is a perfect location for the conference (in fact, Photoshop World started in Orlando, back in 1999). The convention center is about 15 minutes from Walt Disney World, and amazing restaurants, clubs, shopping, and fun stuff are all within walking distance of the convention center and our host hotel. You will love it!! 

Q. Will dog photographer Kaylee Greer be there?
A. You bet! She’s all over it — doing a pre-conference workshop and class sessions.

Q. What about Matt Kloskowski? How about Jay Maisel? Serge Ramelli? Dave Black? Moose! Glyn Dewis? Julieanne Kost? Kelly Anne Conway? Terry White? Kristina Sherk? What about them?
A. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, no, yes, yes.

Q. Alright, I’ll go register right now. Joel Grimes and Lindsay Adler will be there too, right?
A. You bet. 

Q. What if I get arrested during the conference? Will you bail me out?
A. Are you planning on getting arrested?

Q. I never plan on getting arrested. Sometimes it just happens.
A. Don’t worry. Each year we put an amount aside in escrow strictly for attendee bail purposes.

Q. Really?
A. No.

Q. Last year you guys had the wonderful Gregory Heisler for your special evening presentation. Who will it be this year?
A. What an incredible night it’s going to be. It’s “An evening with Stacy Pearsall.” She’s an award-winning, medal-winning US military combat photographer and her images and stories are just stunning. Stacy absolutely mesmerized the crowd with her sessions at Photoshop World last year, and we knew giving her this after hours event would be a truly special night for everybody.

Q. Are you doing the Film Festival in Orlando?
A. Absolutely! That was another big hit from last year’s Photoshop World, and we’re making it bigger and better this year. The deadline for entries (for registered attendees only) is March 17, 2017 at midnight ET. More details (and the entry form) here. 

Q. When is the deadline to enter the Guru Awards contest?
A. Same date as the Film Festival — March 17th, 2017. Here’s the details on that.

Q. What if I’m not going? Can I still enter?
A. Ummm…..no.

Q. So these contests are only open to be people who attend?
A. That’s right.

Q. That doesn’t seem fair.
A. I dunno. It does to me. These are competitions created exclusively for people who attend the conference — so they’re competing only against other people at the conference, so we’re all there together for these competitions.

Q. Except me.
A. Right. All the cool people will be there. Except you.

Q. So, you’re kind of implying that I’m cool by saying all the cool people would be there “but” me, so you were including me in the “cool pool.”
A. I was, but I gotta tell ya, this whole line of questioning is putting you in danger of getting a one-way ticket out of coolsville, daddy-o. 

Q. OK, I get it.
A. 
That’s more of a statement, but I’ll let it slide.

Q. What is the host hotel this year?
A. 
We have an awesome hotel this year — it’s the beautiful Hyatt Grand (it’s used to be the Peabody hotel, but they renovated, expanded, and it’s even more awesome). Plus, it’s connected to the convention center so you’re right there where the action is.

Q. Is that where you and all the instructors are staying?
A. 
Yup. Well, except for Joe McNally. He insists on staying at the Four Seasons. 

Q. Really?
A. 
Of course not. Joe’s at the Hyatt, too. Room 1863. Tip: he leaves his door open when he’s taking a shower. True story.

Q. Do I have to pick my classes in advance?
A. Nope. You can go to any class you want, any time you want, and move between classes as you like. No pre-registration necessary unless you’re coming a day early for the pre-conference workshops.

Q. Are the workshops the day before still available?
A.
There are ten workshops, but a few of them are literally going to sell out this week, so if you’re thinking of coming a day early to get into one of these in-depth workshops, I’d get your ticket for the one you want now, so it’s not sold out.

Q. Will the Partner Pavilion vendor area be open to the public?
A. 
It will not be, but if you wanted to bring a spouse or someone traveling with you, and we can arrange a special free pass for them.

Q. If I’m a beginner will I be lost?
A. 
Only if you don’t follow the directional signs. You could easily wind up at Seaworld if you go too far past the end of the convention center.

Q. I meant in the sessions?
A. 
We have a lot of beginner’s that come to Photoshop World, and they’re able to follow along no problem with most of the sessions. Of course, if a session is named “Advanced” then I’d probably sit that one out, but there’s nearly 100 sessions so there will be plenty of other classes to choose from. Also, while you might arrive as a beginner, you won’t leave as one.

Q. I’m looking for a roommate for the conference. Any ideas?
A. 
Well, you could try match.com or get the Tinder app like our instructor Erik Valind.

Q. He uses the Tinder app?
A. 
I have no idea, but let’s just say that since we briefly showed his naked butt in our “Wayne’s World II” movie spoof during the opening keynote a couple of years ago, he hasn’t had to look very hard for roommates.

Q. What kind of conference is this really?
A.
Well, apparently it’s ‘clothing optional’ if that tells you anything.

Q. Are you serious?
A. 
As far as you know. 

Q. OK, this sounds like a go. When does the early bird discount expire?
A. 
You can save $100 bucks off the full conference pass if you register before March 17, 2017. 

Q. What’s the deal with you guys and March 17th? It’s like everything expires on March 17th. 
A. 
That’s when our cream cheese in our fridge at the office expires, so we felt like that was a sign. 

Q. Do I get a discount if I’m a KelbyOne member?
A. You bet! You save $100 off the full price.

Q. So, if I’m a KelbyOne member and I register before March 17th, I really get $200 off, right?
A. Right!

Q. What if I’m a Photoshop World Alumni, and a K1 member, and I register early? Do I get $250 off?
A.  No, unfortunately, offers and discounts can not be combined.

Q. Who would make a coupon that’s a foot long?
A. I know. That one always puzzled me.

Q. What if I have a question that’s not answered here?
A. 
I have answered every possible question and permutation with complete clarity, silent lucidity, and quadrophenia.

Q. OK, but let’s just pretend for a moment that somehow one slipped past the goalie. Where can I learn more?
A. 
Well, in that one-in-a-million chance, you could start by reading our official FAQ (as opposed to this somewhat nonofficial Q&A), or you can chat with our team directly from the site unless you do it late at night when they’re all busy on match.com

Q. Well Scott, this has been enlightening, engaging, and endemical.
A.
I’ll take that as a compendious. I hope I’ll see you, and your fancy words, in Orlando!

Q. I’ve always wanted to go — I wouldn’t miss it! 
A.
I knew you were one of the cool people!

Q. As cool as Erik Valind?
A.
No.    

Well, I hope you found at least 16% of that helpful.

Have a great Tuesday everybody. Wait, one more thing —  come catch me and my guest, the ambidextrous, multi-breasted, Matt Kloskowski as he “Rocks the Houseski” on “The Grid” tomorrow at 4pm – don’t miss it – http://kelbytv.com/thegrid

Best,

Scott

P.S. Q. Scott, is there any way you might embed a short video below that might just push me over the edge about going? A. I’m reluctant to do that, but OK — it’s below, but only because you asked. ;-)

 

Hi Gang – and happy Friday. Let’s kick into the weekend with a Peter Hurley love fest:


It’s “The Top Ten Tips for Connecting With Your Subject” with Peter himself as the guest on this past Wednesday’s episode of “The Grid.” We said it was 10, but Peter was like a fountain of ideas and it was just so great. Wonderful ideas, and great insights on connecting with your subject to make better portraits. Really good stuff — so worth watching. (Plus, check out Peter’s latest look).

We just recently released a brand new full-length online training class from Peter — it’s “Peter’s Top 10 Headshot Questions Answered.” People are raving about how great this class is. Check out the official trailer (below):

 

Watch the full length online class at bit.ly/2kz26ts  – if you’re not a KelbyOne member, take the 10-day free trial and you can watch this entire awesome class right now.

 

This is the one that started it all. It’s the classic, and it debuted right here on the blog, in a Guest Blog post from Peter, and now its been viewed more than 3-million times. Let’s make it 3-million and one. ;-)

There ya have it folks — a Peter Hurley Triple Play! Hope you watch Peter’s Class this weekend, and his Grid episode — just incredibly fun, helpful, insight stuff and nobody brings it like Peter.

Have a great weekend everybody and I hope to see your smiling face back here on Monday. :)

Best,

-Scott

P.S. Heads up — If you’re thinking of entering your work in the Photoshop World Guru Awards Competition (a photography and Photoshop contest just open to folks attending the Photoshop World Conference 2017 in Orlando this April), the deadline for submissions is March 17, 2017. For more details on “The Guru Awards” click here.  

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