Category Archives Guest Blogger

garrett hubbard TONE w camera stephen KELBYsm

Photojournalism. More than a photograph.

Life has taught me that photography is more than a photograph. In the past few years my career has taught me that photojournalism is also more than a photograph. Photojournalism is a relationship, a catalyst for change, and it is ever changing yet still the same. Great visual storytelling can hit us in the heart and leave an indelible mark. It is my hope; it is my prayer–that you come away from my story about cameras, taking risks in South Africa, and prison with more than a photograph. I am thankful for Brad and Scott who provided me this opportunity to share my heart in words, pictures, and sound.

Photojournalism: It’s about relationship.

I wasn’t born with a camera in my hands. I think I grew up creatively challenged with no apparent inclinations for drawing, painting, or anything musical. While at University at the age of 20 I submitted to what seemed prudent and declared my major to be Economics with an emphasis in accounting. It seemed as though I was destined for a creative wasteland. That same year my Father (whom I admire greatly) gave me my first camera. It was his Nikon N8008 SLR, the very camera that captured the memories of the later years of my childhood and family life. It was the same camera captured the beauty of my mother, the pistol-like personality of my sister, and the annual Easter family portrait before church. I tried to use this camera to capture the pain behind the food eating contests with my seven roommates, the wondrous beaches in Santa Barbara, and the majesty of the mountains on rides with our Mountain Bike team. As I engaged with my friends and watched any part of my life unfold I tried to capture it. I just put it on “P” mode because “P” is for Professional :)

Victory is declared at The White House Easter Egg Roll in Washington, D.C. April 5, 2010. Photo by Garrett Hubbard © USA TODAY 2010 (This is the closest thing I have to an Easter portrait of my own! )

My life and work now with USA TODAY and with my wedding storytelling business is far from my college dorm, regrettably far from the beach, and definitely includes less saddle time on my bike. But in some ways, little has changed. Even after my degree in Visual Journalism at Brooks Institute of Photography, hundreds of thousands of actuations on my cameras, and developing my own personal vision, many of the principals are the same. I am still photographing real people who are allowing me to tell some part of their story because they trust me. I have learned that the extent to which I can make a good photograph and the extent to which I can tell a good story is predicated on the extent to which I am trusted. This trust and this relationship is why people invite me into their lives for times of celebration, heartache, and healing. This trust I gain with the stories I tell for USA TODAY is so similar to the trust my clients have in me to tell their wedding story. I truly love getting to know my clients before hand so that on the day of the wedding my clients families and friends don’t know me as “the photographer‚” but know me simply as Garrett. My clients’ trust in me is why my they invite me into the center of their lives for one of their most important days to tell the first chapter of their story. AND they ask me to celebrate it with everyone else in the world who is important to them. Love my job!

Amy getting her makeup on before marrying Mark in Alexandria, VA. © Garrett Hubbard 2008

Jake and Elyse make their exit after their wedding celebration at the Capitol Hill Club. Fun fact: Elyse’s father ran for President in 2000 and gave his toast between portraits of Reagan and Roosevelt that evening. ¬© Garrett Hubbard 2008

Photojournalism: A catalyst for change.

My life was forever changed in the summer of 2002. I had just graduated from the University of California Santa Barbara with my Economics and Accounting degree with grand plans of continuing on for a fifth year on a fast track towards my CPA license. That summer after graduating I should have been at an accounting internship furthering my career plans. Instead, I spent my summer serving people in the townships outside of Cape Town, South Africa. I will tell you that this did not come completely out of left field. You see I had been reading much about the life of Jesus and what kind of company he shared. I learned that he hung out with corrupt tax collectors, unfaithful spouses, social outcasts, and the poor. These were all the people that the religious people (who were charged with being God’s ambassadors) would call “sinners” and with whom they would not be caught dead. Not only did he keep company with the lowest of people, he had a profound impact on their lives. I found this to be radically beautiful. I soon realized these scriptures were transforming my heart. As I found small ways to do this with people in need in my community I found great joy in loving people like Jesus did. I believed I needed to step outside of my western comfort zone to love and serve the poor, broken-hearted, and suffering cross-culturally. I did just that in the summer of 2002 and my life was never the same. It was in South Africa that I learned new definitions of suffering, faith, perseverance, and joy. I lived through stories there that I will never forget. Some moments of these stories were captured on that same Nikon N8008 my father had given me.

After a night of flash floods, boys walk the streets in the township of Pola Park near Cape Town, South Africa. This humble photograph was the catalyst for me to become a storyteller. © Garrett Hubbard 2002

The photo that started it all for me.

My words fall short in sharing with you how much the life and death I encountered changed my world. After nine weeks of community development work with my friends from church I returned with a story to share. What I had experienced was not necessarily new to many people around me, but the way I shared it was. After all, they had heard about HIV/AIDS ravaging much of Sub-Saharan Africa because many of them chose to watch news outlets that shared stories outside of the U.S. When I showed them my amateur photographs, they wanted to find a way to love and serve my South African friends; friends that they would almost certainly never meet. This was my first encounter with the radical power of visual storytelling and it was not to be my last.

Object Name
A mother prays in her native Xhosa tongue for her dying daughter, Ntombikayse who has AIDS. She died the next day leaving her daughter an orphan. One year after my first journey to South Africa, I came back to tell stories. © Garrett Hubbard 2004

It turns out that I was not as creatively challenged as I had once thought and I had some sort of talent that I needed to explore with photography. However, talent was not enough to cause me to leave my pursuit of my CPA and my Bachelor of Arts behind, but purpose was. It was my belief that visual storytelling could be a catalyst for change, a means to communicate why we should care for the poor, the outcast, the widow and the orphan. I don’ care about these things out of the goodness of my own heart, but because God has showed me his mercy and put these desires in me. Could there be a better tool to communicate God’s heart for people than photojournalism in the most visually literate society that this world has ever known? I wasn’t completely sure how I was going to make my expensive education at Brooks Institute of Photography come together but I knew why I wanted it. A new risk was upon me and I took it.

Photojournalism: Ever changing tools yet still the same

I went to prison in April. Thankfully, the warden let me out every night and let me back in the following mornings. I was there to tell a beautiful story of repentance, reconciliation, and fatherhood. I came armed with a Sony XDCAM EX1 HD video camera and two Canon 5d Mark IIs. I went in knowing full well that most of my efforts would be geared toward my documentary video story “Fathers for life.” I wanted to tell a story about men in Louisiana State Penitentiary, America’s largest maximum security prison which also used to be America’s bloodiest prison.

I’ve heard it said that the news business is great because it’s new every day. As if my job wasn’t dynamic enough, the rapidly evolving technology has practically made storytelling different from day to day. If I were telling this fatherhood story just 10 years ago, I guarantee I would be going with still cameras to tell a “photo story” which is a carefully edited sequence of images (usually 6-12) with robust captions that would pair with a writer’s story to go in the paper. Today it is much different. I come to every story with my DSLRs and my HD video camera. I don’t always use both, but I always have them. This is largely due to the way we consume our news online via computer, smart phone, iPad, etc. Many photojournalists have embraced this brave new world and have learned multimedia and video storytelling and see them as additional tools in the toolbox to tell the story. I am one such photojournalist/video journalist/visual journalist. Most of those who have refused to adapt and learn have been let go in the massive buyouts and layoffs in the newspaper industry. In spite of all this change in Photojournalism, its purpose remains the same. Photojournalism is still about relationship and being a catalyst for change through education.

For this story, like most, I did a lot of reporting, research, and pre-interviews before I even set foot in prison. Once inside, I worked alone, like I often do which gives me the freedom I need to tell the story as it unfolds before me. This freedom also leaves me with the responsibility of being the still photographer, producer, reporter, videographer, and editor. So here is the story about some incarcerated fathers who want to reconcile with their children to break the generational cycle of incarceration.

Here is a link to the story + Photo Gallery

Not all stories I tell for USA TODAY are as serious as my Fathers for life story. Some are quite light-hearted, like this story I did about a young guy who after making videos in his basement made his way out to Hollywood.

Other stories can be pretty physically demanding like 24 Hours in the ER where I was shooting stills and video for 17 straight hours. On this story I teamed with the talented Thad Allender for the shoot. I shot from before sunrise for the next twelve hours and then he came on and we overlapped for four hours, then he carried us home for the final 12 hours. Steve Elfers, my boss and director of Video at USA TODAY helped prep us for the shoot, with our editing, and voice over.

You can check out more of my video stories & projects here.

In a few years, we all might be telling stories with 3D cameras, who knows? After that, the next generation of technology will present itself. I will learn it and I will learn the technology after that because I am a visual storyteller who wants to reach you.

Grace and peace,



Thank you, Scott for letting me interrupt your guest blog series with some unnecessary foolishness.
Photographers are a weird bunch, which is why a daily comic strip centered around the business writes itself (or so I wish). For this guest blog I’ve decided to highlight 10 themes (some controversial) that have made for good comic fodder over the years.

1. Man vs. Machine
One of the six elements of comic strip humor is writing something that is “recognizable”. It’s no wonder then that this strip has become an all-time favorite to many…


OK, who HASN’T heard that before? By the way, I’m still look looking for an upright bass that will make me sound like Brian Bromberg.


2. Pro or Pro bono


That strip has been turned into a verb. My dad emailed me to let me know he was “WTD43’d” one time. Writing for one of the most unregulated industries provides a fair amount of material. Who’s a professional, who’s not and who cares?
The following strip is inspired by the second most asked question of photographers. (the first most asked question being: “Can I have a copy of that?”)


Don?t think…DO!

I’ve sat here for 15 minutes with absolutely NO idea what to write for you all. None.

I’ve gotten up, gone to my garden and smoked a cigarette. Sat down. Stared at the screen. Gotten back up. Smoked. Sat back down.

Then it struck me! Just go and write it.

Don’t think, do!

I’m fortunate enough to be in the position to have been asked to make a contribution to Scott’s site as as Guest Blogger, so I’m just going to WRITE IT!

And it’s going to be about exactly that principal in relation to photography. The principal of NOT planning, not getting tied up in details, not sweating the small stuff. The principal that sometimes, you just gotta throw your shoulders back, lift your chin, walk in the room with a smile and freaking shoot the thing! :)

I’ve found myself taking this approach increasingly this year. Having spent so many hours in the run up to previous shoots trying to pre-empt the un-pre-emptable, trying to predict how someone’s going to behave, how they’ll respond to the concept, to me, to the location or whatever. I’ve learned that I’ve been in SO MANY rooms with SO MANY different people and I’ve walked out with a picture that there is a great lesson to be learned from all of those shots.

Some of my best pictures, award winners, covers, exhibited works, have come from an idea COMPLETELY off plan and it was only through an ability to be flexible, to go with a different flow, that I’ve been fortunate enough to capture them. Now this isn’t a boast here. I’m not saying that this is a measure of some photographic zen quality. This isn’t even about ME, this is about all of us. In fact below are some examples of work which has come ‘off the cuff.’ What I’m trying to impart is that they are not the result of ANY photographic skill. They are simply in existance becauseIi was FLEXIBLE!. We are all flexible to some degree! We couldn’t cross a main street otherwise, and if we can build on that…ability, it can help enhance our work. Regardless of our lighting kit or our megapixel count.

A GREAT example!:

Last year I was commissioned to shoot Pete Doherty. My client had a PLAN! A detailed one! Now Pete has had his problems and they’re well documented. So when my client tried to brief me on exactly what they wanted I knew I had to just zone out, make ‘yes, yes’ noises and relax in the knowledge that if Mr D actually arrived at the shoot, and as long as I could connect with him and use the lighting skills that I have, we would make it work.

NOTHING went to plan :)

He did arrive and we did connect (I still have the Union Jack neck scarf he gave me permanently around the head of my tripod) and the resulting set of pictures have won enough stuff and been hung in galleries in London. If I had worried about the ‘plan’ we would have probably not shot a thing.


With the same mindset I recently shot for a blue chip corporate client: VODAFONE. The brief moved two or three times in pre-production, the deadline was incredibly tight for post production and the talent list was Florence of Florence And The Machine, F1 superstar Jenson Button and supermodel and actress Lily Cole. The call time was 6am, Jenson was flying in from Montreal having come 2nd in the Canadian Grand Prix and he would be with us for ‘1 HOUR EXACTLY.’ We would have all three together for 20 minutes. The brief moved again :). The deadline got tighter and ‘Did I think everything would be okay?’ :)

Now at this point I had to just remind myself that the job was Lily, Jenson and Florence TOGETHER and the fact was that, again, if they all turned up and if I connected with them then really, with such huge names, it would shoot itself. There was simply no point worrying about what COULD go wrong because if something DID go wrong (ie Jenson’s flight) we would just have to DEAL with it somehow.

“It’s all going to be fine,” I assured my client. Picture below :)

Vodafone UK announces major new sponsorship deals giving custome

And when it does go wrong? Like when you’re commissioned to shoot a TV personality with a leopard and the day before the shoot a volcano erupts in Iceland meaning that you arrive at the studio to find you have a leopard…and no TV personality?

Well, you shoot the leopard…and shoot the personality two weeks later :):

LOUISE REDKNAPP photographed by John Wright

So now I’m thinking…’This applies to everything I do…or at least I should APPLY it to everything I do!’

How many hours have I sat around OVER THINKING what I should do next only to find that when I have to act, I act positively!? More importantly, how many hours have YOU sat around pondering “What shall I shoot?…How will I contact that magazine?…How should I light this? only to find that when you PUT yourself in front of the subject you wanted to shoot, YOU DID FINE!

Gordon Ramsay

Okay you could have improved something by doing this or changing that, but that’s called ‘experience,’ and you’ve learned from it, and it’ll be better the next time BECAUSE you put yourself in the situation in the FIRST place :)


What I’m saying is let’s all STOP trying to work out how to ‘get that client’ and ‘what if my portfolio appointment goes flat’ and ‘how can I light this or that’ or ‘would it be better if I had x camera?’ and let’s just get on with DOING this great, weird, difficult, delightful thing that is photography. Let’s go to places people only dream of, meet people who have inspired and outraged and shocked and entertained us, let’s just capture moments that will never ever ever EVER happen again. Let’s see what happens if we ‘open up a stop’ or ‘turn that head off’ and if we do, if we just throw our shoulders back, lift our chins, walk in the room with a smile and just shoot the freaking thing! I really believe that all the rest of it, will look after itself.


Thanks to Scott and Brad for letting me write this and many many thanks to you for taking
the time to read it!

John Wright


It’s an honor to be included as a guest blogger for Scott Kelby!  Since there is no higher blogging status, I thought long and hard about what to include here.  I decided on some background, some humor and hopefully some inspiration.


I’m an editorial and commercial photographer based in Colorado.  My photo career began as a journalism major in school, but took a turn towards the wild side…literally.  My passion was and still is adventure sports.  After school I set off to travel the globe climbing mountains and kayaking rivers, spending years guiding in the backcountry.  I traveled with camera in hand, documenting expeditions and attempting to capture the mood, atmosphere and drama that was taking place around me.  My guiding skills put me in spectacular locations for shooting, my photography skills progressed to help me capture the moment.



But some moments I couldn’t capture.  I took part in an Indo-American expedition to climb Nanda Devi, a 25,000 foot peak in the Indian Himalayas.  We established one camp on a narrow ridge around 20,000’.  I knew this location would make a great shot of our tents perched on the icy ridge with the summit in the distance.  We had a full moon, so I went out at night along the ridge to photograph our tents illuminated by headlamps.  As I set up in the dark, I kept hearing noises right behind me.  I was sure it was the wind….until I heard the heavy breathing.  Now this might sound like an abominable snowman encounter, and at the time I was sure it was.  I looked over my shoulder and saw something big moving in the shadows, coming right towards me.

That moment was almost the end of my photo career and me as I practically fell off the ridge running back to my tent.  Running at 20,000’ on an icy ridge is like breathing through a straw while jogging on a balance beam at sea level; you almost pass out and fall off due to lack of oxygen.  The next morning we discovered the identity of the mystery creature.  A snow leopard had been in camp, walking right over my shooting spot from the night before.  I don’t have a single image from that night.  But I remember it like it was yesterday.  That is one reason I love photography.  It is a catalyst for producing experiences I otherwise would never have.

I think many adventure sports photographers juggle the balance between wanting to climb/kayak and the desire to create images of these activities.  When I first started shooting, climbing outweighed photography.  Now the opposite is true.  I will always like to climb and paddle, but my desire to create images of these activities dominates my choices.  Everyone who shoots feels this drive at some level.  You just don’t feel satisfied until you have camera in hand creating new work. It is more important to share these experiences with others than participate in them. This creative process is as important to me as the outcome.  Constant shooting develops the nuances of my creativity and technical skills.


When I teach workshops I am often asked what is the most important thing to do in developing your skills as a photographer.  My answer is stay true to your vision and continually shoot.  We all need work to survive financially, but shooting on your own time, especially personal projects, is good for the soul and your creativity.  Your technical skills will be more tangible to track, but your creative style takes time to develop and is harder to evaluate.  You may not know it at the time, but personal projects define your style and vision down the road.  It is easy to talk about your next project and what you are going to shoot, but you don’t progress if you don’t shoot.  I’ve come to realize non-paying personal projects are equally as important as paying jobs.  I need them both to survive and grow as a photographer.

This concept has lead me to where I am today.  I’m obsessed with exploring light, especially applying strobe in outdoor sports.   I think waiting out so many storms and cloudy skies through the years got me thinking there must be another way.  I love experimenting with different lighting styles to add impact to my images.  The more I learn about lighting, the more I realize I don’t know.  The subtitles of lighting are endless.



Using 4000 watts of power near raging rivers can present some interesting technical and safety issues.  I have kayaker friends who will gladly paddle off huge waterfalls without hesitation, but when I ask them to pose with lots of wattage near the water they get nervous.  Maybe they know something I don’t?  So far I have only had one flash head float down a river.  I was able to grab the light before it pulled the pack into the river.  We often put our flash packs in waterproof dry bags used by rafters.  This protects packs from quick dips in the river.


My goal with lighting in adventure sports is to add more drama and adrenaline to the sport being captured.  Sometimes all that is needed is a pop from a beauty dish to add a little snap to the shot.  Other times multiple edgy light sources are used for impact.  Lighting ratios go from near fill flash to minus two or more for the ambient light.  Often the hardest part is getting lights in place across a river or up on a rock wall.  And not breaking any gear.


Photography has allowed me to pursue my dreams, meet new people, experience new cultures and learn a lot along the way.  I’m not sure where this career will take me, but I’m along for the ride.  I just hope there aren’t anymore leopards in the path.

You can see more of Tom’s work at, and keep an eye out for upcoming Kelby Training Online adventure photography classes from Tom as well!

Photo by Derek Wood

Hello, my name is Ryan and I am a photographer living and working in Los Angeles. My background spans everything from shooting natural light, street photos in black and white film, to the staged tableau that you will see below. The goal of each photo is to create a narrative which has a specific concept, but also allows the viewer to develop their own story.

A common question I’m asked about my work is whether or not it is the result of a Photoshop composite. Generally I would prefer not to spend time behind the computer and so the goal of each shoot is to capture as much as possible in one frame. With the larger group photos there are many people involved and inevitably different frames are pieced together in order to get the best expressions or actions from each character but everything is shot and lit at one time. Here I’ve illustrated one example with a diagram to show you exactly how it was lit. I would also like to open up the remainder of this post to any additional questions you may have about this photo or others from my site. The beauty of this blog seems to be the interaction amongst the readers and I’d love to create a dialogue about whichever topic interests you all the most so please feel free to ask anything tech-related or not.

Here’s a short behind the scenes video of the shoot:

(Click to see REALLY big for all the details)


Lighting Legend:
1: Profoto at palm tree over van
2: Profoto at 3 marching band members outside of van
3: Profoto at man holding flowers
4: Profoto inside of van
5: Profoto behind building shining through back window
6: Profoto behind back wall, bounced off ceiling
7: Slave Light Bulb in ceiling fixture
8: Slave Light Bulb in ceiling fixture
9: Profoto in bushes on woman in pink dress
10: Slave Light Bulb in ceiling fixture
11: Profoto on roof at man with flowers
12: Lumedyne mounted in ceiling at woman in back booth
13: Slave Light Bulb in ceiling fixture
14: Lumedyne mounted in ceiling, hairlight for woman in pink
15: Slave Light Bulb in ceiling fixture
16: Slave Light Bulb in ceiling fixture
17: Lumedyne mounted in celing on woman at cash register
18: Slave Light Bulb in ceiling fixture
19: Slave Light Bulb in ceiling fixture
20: Profoto with green gel bounced off ceiling in back kitchen
21: Slave Light Bulb in ceiling fixture
22: Profoto on waitress spilling food
23: Profoto on marching band members in front
24: Profoto on marching band members in front

Leave a comment with your question(s) and comments, and I’ll respond to as many as I can as quickly as I can.

To see more of Ryan’s work, check out his website and keep up with him at his blog!


Wow. Let me tell you, I never thought this would happen. Guest blogging for Scott Kelby didn’t even come into my dreams it was so crazy. It is an incredible honor to be able to talk about my photography to so many people, and to follow the long list of fantastic photographers that make up the Scott Kelby guest blog “Hall of Fame.”

I started taking pictures about 4 years ago, around my 12th birthday. My family was just about to go on vacation to Arizona, and right beforehand I got an Olympus C-765 UZ. It was my second digital camera (the first was a Fujifilm, but it broke pretty quickly). I don’t really know what prompted my initial interest in photography. I like to think it was the thrill of capturing a moment in time and being able to revisit again and again. I think that’s why we all take pictures.

So in Arizona, I took some “pictures.” They weren’t up to “photograph” level quite yet. As you can see, I had the eye, but there was a journey ahead.



One person that I can’t credit enough for my photography is my Aunt Janet. She has been there EVERY step of the way helping me, encouraging me, and carting me around to wherever we decided to go. I don’t think I’d be a photographer at all had it not been for her. And even though I probably mess her up a lot and get in her shots, she sticks with me and she’s the best photo partner anyone could ever have.

So with Aunt Janet’s help, we both grew as photographers. It seemed like almost every weekend we went on photo “expeditions” to various places around our beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. I think I learned more in a weekend of shooting than I did in a week of school!

Another important source of information was books. I ate ’em up. I loved to read about photography, and I think that, besides just getting out and shooting, is the best way to get better. Scott Kelby’s Digital Photography books were huge in developing my photography. I don’t think I’ve learned so much from a single book than I have from that first edition. It was like a whole new world, ready to be explored. And that book was the gateway. I soon started watching Photoshop tutorial videos with Aunt Janet from Practicing my skills in both areas, the shooting aspect and the processing aspect, I was slowly inching toward making “photographs.”

Reading, watching videos, and just getting out and experimenting pretty much summed the next twelve months of my photography. This was also the period that I got my Nikon D80, which really set me free creatively. Point-and-shoots are nice for when you want to do exactly that, point and shoot, but there is no replacement for a good SLR. And again I have to thank Aunt Janet. I remember asking my parents often for a new camera, even bargaining that I would pay for most of it.

(Here’s a little note: Being a young photographer, I didn’t (don’t) really have any income. Which means, the money I did get, went straight into photography. Other kids wanted PS3s? Yeah, I’ll go for a new tripod).

When considering a D80 for a Christmas present, my Mom asked Aunt Janet if she thought I would be responsible and take care of it, she responded with enthusiasm that she knew I would take care of my camera better than I take care of anything else. Thanks again, Aunt Janet. I owe you about ten billion.

Here’s a couple shots with my then new D80. I was starting to get the hang of editing.



After a while, my Aunt and I were tired of shooting locally, so we went on a trip to the Grand Tetons, then the next year to Yosemite National Park. They were both week long trips and well worth the price of getting out there. It’s amazing how much you can learn from a week of shooting. It was also nice to worry only about photography, and not about seeing museums or anything like that. Going with a fellow photographer means you can spend a couple hours at a location without people getting bored!





When we got back from the Tetons, we decided to exhibit in the art show here in town. We signed up, framed and matted our prints, and showed up on a Saturday morning. We did pretty well! I forget how many we sold, but we were fortunate to have friends and family come and support us, and a few even bought some. It was a great experience and very encouraging. One of my shots was picked to go on the Judges’ Fence. This was the first award of any kind I’d ever won. The show was also a fantastic way to meet area photographers and to see some really great work from local artists and photographers.

My next opportunity came last year when my brother, a french horn player in the Princeton University Orchestra, toured Europe, playing in Germany and the Czech Republic. My family went along and it gave me an opportunity to shoot in another country. This trip was different, because with my family, you can’t spend a long time anywhere, because they get bored, even though the light is just about to be perfect. Sometimes frustrating, but totally worth it. Here’s my favorite shot from the trip. (NOTE: I entered this one in the annual local photography contest a few weeks ago and this one won best in show out of over 300 other photographs! My first “real” award!)


Most recently, I’ve been working on a little bit of portrait photography. Reading and watching Kelby Training videos has taught me so much about lighting and flash. I asked my friend, Jabez, if he’d go out in the country and model for me. He brought his guitar and we were both having a great time. I snapped some, changed the light a bit, snapped some more. You don’t have to make it a huge deal if you don’t want to! Just get out there and try it! Here’s my favorite from the day.


With a few good shots in my arsenal, I decided to apply for the NANPA High School Scholarship program. I had read about it the year before, but wasn’t eligible to enter because I wasn’t quite old enough. I sent in ten shots, wrote a few essays and forgot about the whole thing. Four months later, I got an email telling me that I was one of ten high schoolers in the country accepted for the program! Talk about excitement!

It was a week long event, consisting of two days of shooting then 3-4 days of conference time. All the shooting was with Canon provided equipment (before I went, I thought that was going to be a problem, but it turned out that I really liked the 7D). We got to use both the 600mm and 800mm Canon lenses, along with 4 other lenses we carried in our bag. In the two days, we were guided and helped by pro photographers to Lake Tahoe, Swan Lake, Pyramid Lake, and Fly Geyser. We met many professional photographers, George Lepp, Robert Shepherd, Joel Sartore, and Arthur Morris. We also met with editors from National Geographic, representatives from stock agencies, and commercial photographers. It was really a fantastic program for the ten of us and we all became really great friends. Hands down, the best experience I’ve ever had. If any of you know high school or college students interested in photography, make sure they check out the NANPA Scholarship. Here are some from the two days of shooting.



In recent months, Aunt Janet and I have started a photo club in our town, which is held in our church building. Through Flickr, we’ve found great photographers in the area and come together, beginners and experienced alike, every month to talk about photography, hold critiques, and listen to wonderful guest speakers. If you don’t currently have a club or something of the sort in your city or town, I would encourage you to start one. It’s not difficult! Just bring photographers together and it can go on for hours! When preparing to teach a lesson, I find myself learning a lot, even when I think I know a lot about the material. If you’re going on a Scott Kelby Photo Walk, talk to your leaders and the other people in your group to see if they’re interested. Even the best photographers have something to learn and it’s a great way to share your knowledge while continuing to get better.

I am grateful to you guys for reading what seems like a pretty boring post. The main thing I want you to do, is to do what Aunt Janet did for me, and find an apprentice, a pupil. Somebody young that has either talent or interest in photography. Help them, encourage them, and shoot with them and I promise you will become a better photographer for your efforts.

Thank you so much, Scott, for this amazing opportunity. I’m continually amazed at what a (as you would say) “stand up” guy you are. I hope to one day meet you in person. And Brad, thanks for the help in figuring what a 15-year-old kid can say to a bunch of experienced photographers. And thanks to Alex, who suggested the idea of having me guest blog. You are continually a source of inspiration and encouragement.

As a final note, in preparation for my post, I read Jeremy Cowart’s fantastic guest blog. Summed up, Jeremy’s opening paragraph stated, if you want it bad enough, get off your tail and do something to move forward. Let’s do something to move forward.

You can check out Andy and his Aunt Janet’s website at