Category Archives Guest Blogger


Writing the guest post for Scott Kelby’s blog is intimidating. Consider the giants of the industry who have posted here before - masters of lighting, composition and post production - skilled teachers who make complicated techniques simple and practical. I thought about what I could add and kept coming up blank. I tried to work out the reason behind any success that I’ve ever had apart from blind luck and then it hit me, I’ve always relied on the strengths of someone else. To have a career in photography requires competency in all sorts of disciplines; art, business, social media, networking – it’s a never ending list and those are just the general strengths needed. Specific fields of photography require specific competencies: consider how all the best wildlife photographers have an intimate knowledge of animal patterns and behavior. To have strengths in all of…

Corey (final shot2)

In the beginning… A really long time ago there was a Photoshop book published by an up-and-coming Photoshop trainer, you may know his name; and it was called Photoshop Down & Dirty Tricks. I remember I saw the book on a colleagues desk. I was working for a newspaper in Bradenton, FL not too long after I had graduated from the Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, FL. I was immediately intrigued and started flipping through it and was amazed at how simple this stuff looked; I knew I had to have this book. I was so excited that I went to the bookstore that day to get my own.  Remember, this was at a time when Photoshop training wasn’t nearly as ubiquitous as it is now; especially cool stuff like this. I actually still have my original copy. The point I…

Hey everyone, Jeremy Cowart here. A little over 2 years ago, I launched an idea here on Scott’s blog called Help-Portrait. I had no idea if it would fly or not. But it was worth a shot. 3 years later, photographers around the world have embraced the idea and have reached out to their communities and made a massive impact in helping and serving others.

And with the growth and success of this idea, I’ve had to grow the Help-Portrait team to continue making it all happen. People seem to think that it’s just me running this organization, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. There is a truly remarkable, selfless, all-star team of people around me that are helping make Help-Portrait happen. They are working year-round on making Help-Portrait a success and I’m constantly inspired by them. So I wanted to take this opportunity for you to get to know them a little bit and see why they’re so awesome.

So without further ado and in no particular order, let me introduce you to my Help-Portrait team!

Name and your job title/role for Help-Portrait:
Kyle Chowning – Executive Director + Board member – Oversee the overall planning, development and execution of the Help-Portrait operations

What’s your favorite moment from your Help-Portrait experiences so far?
My favorite moment was the first year, when we worked tirelessly to pull off the very first Help-Portrait. I remember stepping back and watching hundreds of people come through our event getting their picture taken—often for the first time in a very long time, or ever, and seeing the smiles on their faces. They were so appreciative. Truth is, they were doing more for me that I was doing for them. Easily one of the most memorable days in my life to-date.

Why do you believe so much in Help-Portrait?
Not being a photographer myself, I believe in Help-Portrait not because of what it does for the photography industry, but for the subjects: women who never felt beautiful, knew they were beautiful; homeless people who were typically avoided, engaged and became rock stars, even if just for a moment; lack of confidence turned into confidence; shame turned into pride; rejection turned into acceptance; sadness turned into excitement; hopelessness turned into the promise of something new; unemployed and homeless now had a professional portrait to share with prospect employers; the list could go on and on. All of this happened with a simple click and a print. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that story?

Why should others get involved with Help-Portrait?
If you’re a photographer…

First off I’d like to thank Scott and Brad for giving me the opportunity to write today’s Guest Blog. I’m really very proud to be the first German on here, after meeting Scott this year in Cologne in Germany on his ‘Shoot it, Light it, Retouch it’ tour. (Or has ‘Calvinizer’ Calvin Hollywood maybe also written a contribution!?!?) Well, OK, just to be sure, I won’t talk about photography in today’s blog. Instead I’ll devote my attention to the topic of Computer Generated Imaging. The first time I came across CGI was about 4 years ago. I was so fascinated that I immediately gave up my job as advertising director with a major company in order to be able to concentrate completely on my own creative work.  In 2009, along with my partner Thomas Bach, I set up a studio for photography, CGI and…

Am I good enough? It’s a question that I have often asked myself. When I am entertaining the idea of a new venture or project, a leap into unfamiliar territory, the question pops into my head accompanied with an all too familiar physical sensation of tightness in my chest and the palpable quickening of my heart. Can I do it? Do I have what it takes to make it happen? I was examining the answer to those questions while doing an exercise in which I needed to create a timeline beginning from the completing of high school to today. In it, I needed to document my professional life as well as my personal life and note the high points and low points of both. Admittedly, I didn’t look forward to this exercise, because the thought that immediately came to mind were the myriad of…

“What type of photography do you do?” This seems to be the first question most people ask when they discover you are somewhat competent with the camera. I still don’t have a clear answer to this question. However, during a trip to Guatemala two years ago I quickly realized that travel/mission-oriented photography captivated me the most. It was the first time since I started doing photography that I was able to get out of the bubble that is America. Being in such humble, yet beautiful, conditions really showed me the power that this medium possessed.

Last year I had the chance to visit Haiti about 5 months after the quake. I went there to do make some images for Mission of Hope Haiti. MOH Haiti is an amazing organization that does so much that it’s difficult to know where to begin. For starters, on their grounds alone they have an orphanage, a school, a church, and a prosthetics lab. So many lives have been impacted and even saved by them. The mission is also so well run that they were more equipped than almost anyone else in the nation for the earthquake. In fact, they served more meals to people in the first week than the UN. It’s pretty unreal. To hear the doctors speak about the quake was chilling. They said the first victim arrived within 10 minutes, and that began a 36 hour marathon of emergency surgeries.

Also, the fact that they had a prosthetic lab was an absolute God send, in every sense of the word. They have a doctor who specializes in prosthetics come almost weekly to serve the people who need artificial limbs. I was allowed to ride along to drop some of the patients off at their homes on one occasion. Here are some images from that:

The entrance to one of the tent communities that housed a few of the patients

A sister comes home after getting fitted for a prosthetic

Several more kind folks

A man getting fitted back at the mission

The thing that struck me about the people was their real joy, despite their loss. They were so eager to love and to be hospital. It started to drizzle while I was there and I heard a woman calling to me in Creole. I went over to her and she took my camera and put it in a plastic bag to protect it. This is the heart of the people.

On another day we were taking a walk through a neighboring village. Because my guide had a good relationship with them, several of the people allowed me to make portraits of them.

A little girl and her puppy

A worker who is helping to rebuild

A kind older gentleman

One day we took the orphans from the mission to the beach. Here is a little girl experiencing the shore, maybe for the first time

Something about Haiti that I did not anticipate was the beauty…oh the beauty. We often hear of the poverty or the despair, and while that is a reality for many people there, there is an incredible amount of beauty as well.

The view from Mission of Hope Haiti