Category Archives Fun

Above: My wife texted Brad that if he didn’t take a bunch of photos of me in my tux, that when we got back she would shave his beard off herself. Needless to say, he took lots of photos. 

The best way I can describe it is “Surreal.” I know that term is over-used, but it honestly best describes the whole event. The scope â” the scale of it all, was way beyond what I was expecting. I figured the awards ceremony would be in a nice hotel ballroom, but I wasn’t prepared for something more along the lines of “The Oscars” and when we pulled up in front of the massive stage, assembled from scratch in the shadow of Dubai’s iconic Emirates Towers, in front of the Dubai International Financial Centre, I was speechless.

Everyone connected with HIPA’s event was just incredible 
They are some of the most gracious hosts on the planet (a special thank you Mohammed Al Daou, Ronald Villegas and Ziad Al Salama). It’s a first class organization, and a world class event and having his Highness the Crown Prince there, and to be presented with an award by His Highness himselfâ¦wellâ¦it’s something I’ll never forget. To say it was an honor, and an amazing evening, is just an understatement.

Today, I’m going to share a lot of behind-the-scenes photos, mostly taken with an iPhone, mostly taken by Brad, and I’m going to hold off on sharing my images from my 2-1/2 days of shooting until I find out (later today) if we’re going to do a live Webcast about the trip.

RC was there 8-days right before I arrived, and I’m hoping the two of us, along with Brad, can do a live Webcast about the trip next week (I’m off to Amsterdam this week), so I want to save sharing those images until then (but I’ll do a simultaneous release on of the images from the webcast for those who can’t attend).

I could share so many stories, but for now here’s some BTS shots, with captions that help tell the story of at least the HIPA Awards Ceremony, until I can tell the full story, and share some videos during the live Webcast (details as soon as I have them). Until then, here we go:

Above: Click on this pano to see it much larger, and it will help you get a feel for the scope of the event. This is about 2-hours until curtain, and everybody’s in prep mode, testing the lights, projectors, audio, cameras, etc. 

Above: Look at the size of that video screen â” it blends down and continues right onto the floor, so they can project images on the floor as well. That entire black wall behind the screen was erected just for this ceremony. 

Above: Here’s a shot from the stage looking back toward the seating — the Emirates Towers make an awesome backdrop. 

Above: Yes, of course we have time for a selfie. :)

Above: Brad was looking very spiffy for the event as well, and his beard really took on an international flavour, don’t ya think?

Above: Brad was clearly concerned about not having enough tux shots, so he was constantly posing me, but it must have worked â” he still has his beard. 

Above: Here’s an iPhone pano of the scene just before showtime at 7pm (click for a much larger view).

Above: The Crown Prince has arrived, and now it’s showtime! (and time for me to get a little nervous). 

Above: Before each category was presented, we saw a really slick video that interacted with performers on stage. Very well done, and they must have rehearsed like crazy to get the timing down the way they had it. Very well done. 

Above: After seeing lots of amazing images from around the world who were entered into the contest, it was time for the Special Awards category. In just a moment The Crown Prince His Royal Highness Hamdan bin Mohommed bin Rahshid al Maktum would come to the stage to present the HIPA Special Award himself to a very excited American author and Photoshop Guy. 

Above: Here’s a shot of me receiving the Award from The Prince. I will never forget that moment!

Above: You can see how excited I was to receive this award. 

Above: When I got back to my seat, I just could not stop smiling. What a night!

Above: At the end, all the winners came on stage to get a group shot with the Prince. I’m way over on the left side. 


Above: That’s a shot of me, and my buddy Ali Rajabi from Iran, posing with our awards (Ali won in the general category for an amazing shot he took of a snowy street in New York City). 

Above: Amazing after-party under the stars, and then off to bed for an early sunrise shoot on top of building (this was taken just after sunrise). 

Above: This is my new friend, Daniel Cheong (thanks Elia Locardi for introducing us!) who was a wealth of knowledge on where to shoot in Dubai, and how to get access to high places, like this rooftop (he should know – he’s taken some of the most well-known iconic images of Dubai with the tops of skyscrapers peeking through the clouds). Awesome guy â” tons of fun, and we’re looking forward to having him on “The Grid” when he visits us later this year. 

Above: Look who we found in Dubai! Yup, skyscraper scaling, lunch eating, flash-firing, love-making (love-making?), risk taking, bundle of energy and light, the one and only Joe McNally, who was taking up residence at the Park Hyatt before heading home from his Gulf Photo Plus gig (and photographing the Burj Khalifa’s window washers hanging off the side of the building 140-something stories up. Yikes!) Had a wonderful lunch with Joe and Brad, and the weather couldn’t have been more beautiful. 

Above: What’s Brad’s beard look like 124 floors above the earth? Like this. He can take a selfie like a boss!

Above: Spent two really fun days in Dubai and Abu Dhabi with the wonderful Eva von Pepel, from the Swedish Photo Crew (a wonderful group of Swedish expat photographers living and working in Dubai â” they led a photo walk last year as part of my annual Worldwide Photo Walk, and I contacted them before my trip and Eva was kind enough to chauffeur us all over, and get us access to cool places). This shot was taken in front of the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. Unbelievable place (more on this, and many photos, to come soon). Thanks again Eva! I think we put 1,200 miles on her Nissan Armada (and we crushed several slower, smaller cars along the way). 

Above: This is Brad “In da club” (it’s true. It’s just that we were in this rooftop club at 6:00 am for a sunrise shoot, but we couldn’t resist the “I’m in da club” shot). 

Above: On Wednesday night there was a press conference/panel at the hotel, hosted by HIPA and I was one of the participants. Totally cool event (very well run â” the hostess who asked the questions and kept things moving was really great). A tux was not required, but had it beenâ¦I was prepared. 

Above: The panel discussion part mostly focused on photographic education and that was really fun for me. You could tell from the discussions how serious the Crown Prince and HIPA are about making Dubai a center for serious photography. Their commitment and passion are really refreshing and there were really engaging moments, spontaneous applause, thoughtful comments and just a really great presentation all around, presented in three different parts. I was really tickled to be a small part of it. 

Above: After the panel, there were meetings with different magazines, press organizations, the team from HIPA, and some serious photographers from all over the world. 

Above: Here I’m taping an interview for a Philippine’s based magazine. 

I’ve got so much more to shareâ¦
This is just a peek at some of the behind-the-scenes stuff. Again, I hope to be announcing a free live Webcast about the trip with RC, Brad and me, hopefully for next week (depending on schedules and things), and I’ll be sharing some of my images then.

Thanks for hanging with me through this very long post. Can’t wait to share the pictures and stories and people of one of the coolest places on the planet â” Dubai and the UAE. :)

Here’s to an awesome week everybody!



A big congrats from everybody here to KelbyOne instructor Cliff Mautner who not only took the 1st place at in WPPI’s annual 16×20″ print competition, but he also won 1st place for wedding photojournalism, AND the Grand Award for photojournalism (this was his 2nd time running the Grand Award by the way) at the awards ceremony held on March 4th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
There were more than 3200 images entered from around the globe in various categories, which is fairly awesome unto itself, but while Cliff was there he also received the title of "Double Master of WPPI" with his accumulation of points in this competition. To view a video (and while you’re there, check out Cliff’s Lighting and Skillset Bootcamp, and also check out his new online classes on KelbyOne filmed on location during an actual wedding (it’s a two-part series).
About Cliff’s award-winning photo, above (in Cliff’s words):
“In many traditional weddings when a bride prepares for her wedding at her home, it's common for them to have her father waiting for her at the bottom of the stairs. I had concerns about my ability to capture this moment because of the lack of space between the steps and the front door. I decided to shoot this from inside the living room- thereby using a frame within a frame. I take great pride in never staging a moment like this, and it's rare that all of the elements fall into place the way this did. Her twin sisters followed her down the stairs along with her niece, and her dad, normally a stoic man, was really overcome with emotion. The three ladies were a bit stunned at dad's reaction, and I was able to fire off one single frame with this composition. Those judging the image compared it to a Norman Rockwell illustration that depicted an American wedding. This happened so fast, yet I thought I'd made something pretty special at the time, but I wasn't sure until I went back and chimped on the LCD a few moments later. One frame-one decisive moment, and it was gone. The only thing I did was put myself in the right place at the right time, and the rest was all about my client. I called and thanked them for handing me this moment, because in the end, we're only as good as our clients!”
Please join me in congratulating Cliff on these amazing accomplishments, and my personal thanks to him for his willingness to share the techniques that have made him a celebrated award-winning photographer with all of us. :)

That video above is a public sneak-peek of a new Webcast created exclusively for KelbyOne members called “Backstage Pass” and it’s produced and hosted by our own Mia McCormick. In this first episode, she takes you on a rollerblade tour of our expanded KelbyOne HQ and she meets up the “Photoshop Guys” along the way, including a stop by my office for a quick chat.

Anyway, since it has this behind-the-scenes tour in it, we thought we’d make just this first one available to the public, and I hope you enjoy Mia’s “rolling review.” ;-)

I’m in Dubai today, and as you might imagine I’m very excited about tonight’s Awards Ceremony and I’ll be posting photos from the event (taken by Brad) over on my Facebook page, so stop by there if you get a chance (btw: Dubai is nine hours ahead and the ceremony is at 7:00 pm, so by 10:00 New York time the awards ceremony will be starting.

Hope you all have a fantabulous Monday!



I can’t believe it’s been seven years since I took these shots in Dubai â” I was there speaking at an Adobe conference, and I got a chance to spend two extra days just shooting and having fun in this amazing place, along with my brother Jeff and my buddy Jeff Revell.

I was there at the height of Dubai’s construction boom. At the time around 25% of all the construction cranes in the world were in Dubai. The Burj Kalifa was about 80% complete (seen below) and at that point nobody really knew how many stories it would be when completed (Well, somebody knew but they weren’t saying).

I said to my brother and Jeff back then, “I would just love to come back here in five years and see what it all looks like when they’re all done.” Apparently, they’re not done â” it’s still growing fast, and it took me a couple of extra years beyond that five to make the trek back, but I’m so excited to be visiting Dubai again â” one of the most amazing places I’ve ever seen.

This time I’m not there to teach â” I am humbled, honored and so excited to be presented Monday night with the prestigious Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum International Photography Award. And it comes with an added bonus that I finally accomplished something that made my young daughter slightly impressed with me. “A Prince is giving you the award?! Now that’s something Daddy!” Lol! Finally!

The awesome folks at 500px did a really nice write up about it over on their blog (here’s the link), and if you’ve got a sec maybe you could pop-on over there as they’ve got all the details.

I’m so looking forward to thisâ¦
â¦and I’m excited to have my buddy Brad Moore along with me for the trip this time. We’re trying to fit in some shooting time during this short trip, and I’m excited to see the completed Burj Kalifa (the hotel we’re staying at has a direct view of it), and to possibly make the short drive up to Abu Dhabi for a shoot there as well. And of course, the highlight will be the awards ceremony (I had to rent a tux and all), and I hope to have lots of photos to share when I return next week.

Hope you all have a fantastic weekend, and we’ll see you back here on Monday, provided I have enough time to actually put together a post. Hmmmm. Maybe I could write one on the plane. Seems like I’ll be a few hours in the air. ;-)

All my best,


It’s Tuesday â” and I’ve got nuthin’. Nuthin’! Well, not exactly nuthin â” because here’s a photo of Brad with his beard in full bloom posing in front of a VW Jetta rental car. That’s something, right? It’s something (wait for itâ¦wait for itâ¦) epic!

I’m at Adobe HQ all day today for a bunch of meetings, so I’m looking forward to seeing a lot of friends here, but outside of that, I’ve got nuthin’ and I’m heading to bed, so check back tomorrow for Guest Blog Wednesday, which, no matter who it is and no matter what the topic, it has to be better than “I’ve Got Nuthin'” Tuesday.

Have a good one!

He’s got nuthin’

P.S. Thanks to everybody who came out to my Sacramento seminar yesterday. Awesome crowd and a perfect way to wrap up my tour.

I was born and raised in Florida. I was 24-years-old before I ever saw snow in person. Now I’m in Columbus, Ohio where I did my seminar yesterday and I’m making up for lost time. It’s “snow city.” Brrrrrrr!!!!

This is Brad. He’s from Knoxville, Tennessee so he’s used to cold weather, and even likes it, but it’s really not fair because his beard generates it’s own heat (just ask the ladies in Columbus).

Luckily, we hunkered down indoors yesterday, and we had an awesome group of photographers (over 300+ photographers braved the cold and the snow to come out for the day – as seen above). Thanks to everybody who came out, and even though it was cold outside, I sure got a warm welcome from the great photographers up there. I’ll be back next year with my new tour. :)

I won’t be there for “The Grid” tomorrow….
Brad and I will be in Richmond, Virginia (in fact, I’m at the airport right now), and I've got a shoot at one of the most beautiful classic old theaters in the country today (provided my flight doesn't get delayed), and then I'll be teaching my seminar when the Grid air, and I hate to miss it, because our in-studio guests are none other than Dave Black, and lifestyle photographer Erik Valind. It’s gonna be a great show, so make sure you join RC tomorrow at 4pm as he welcomes Dave and Erik. Here’s the link. 

OK, I gotta fly!
They’ll be boarding soon, so I’ve got to head out. Hope I’ll get to meet some of you in person tomorrow at my seminar in Richmond (if you haven’t signed up, it’s not too late – here’s the link).

All my best,


P.S. Yesterday I started a new series over on called “10 Things I would tell a new Lightroom user” and if you’ve got a quick minute, it’s right here.