Category Archives Guest Blogger


Hi all,

It’s a real honor to be writing today, and I want to thank Scott and Brad for the bandwidth. I’d like to share a behind-the-scenes story about the most exciting project of my career.

I’m an adventure photographer in Aspen, Colorado. When I first picked up a camera 15 years ago, I was tickled at the idea of being paid to rock climb, ski and travel. I certainly didn’t get into photography to “make a difference.” Indeed, from a cynical bent, you could say that I shoot leisure sports — images of rich white people overindulging in the outdoors.

Last winter, however, I turned my lens in the other direction. My wife and I were about to adopt a young boy from Ethiopia. As I read about the country’s poverty crisis (it’s one of the 10 poorest places in the world, with a mind-boggling 5 million orphans), I had pangs of guilt over our decision. We were spending thousands of dollars to haul a child to America when, one could argue, the money could go much further keeping at-risk parents alive. If we really cared about the welfare of our new boy or his Ethiopian peers, wouldn’t it be better to keep his family healthy and fed in the first place, rather than opportunistically adopting him as an orphan? (more…)

Bert Monroy headshotsm

Guest Blog for Scott! When I was asked to write this blog I had no idea what to write about. What did I eat this morning? What am I doing this afternoon? My latest painting? I had no idea. Guest blog for Scott Kelby—the man that has written more books than I can count—that’s a tall order!

As I tossed and turned thinking of what to write, I realized that previous guest bloggers were mostly photographers, retouchers and art directors—a virtual cornucopia of talents and skill sets. But they all had one thing in common—Photoshop.

As I write this blog I am still coming down from the excitement of Photoshop World that took place in Vegas this month, where once again, a vast number of people came together because of this one piece of remarkable software. People from all walks of life imaginable have this one thing in common.

As Adobe Photoshop celebrates its twentieth anniversary, it is interesting to look back at how this computer application changed the way we approach Imaging. As an example, just the other night I was channel switching and came across one of those crime investigation dramas where the verb “Photoshopped” was used three times!

There have been many changes to our workflow since Photoshop became one of our tools. I remember witnessing a major shift in the graphic arts industry back in the early 90s. Ad agencies all over New York City started dumping those giant, costly behemoths that were known as paint box systems. These giants took up valuable space and required a techie to run them. They were replaced with Macs directly on the art directors’ desks.

The combination of digital photography and Photoshop dramatically changed our approach to imaging. Gone are the days… (more…)


Hello photographers and people frequenting this blog stalking Scott Kelby. My name is Matt Lehman. I’m a graphic designer at CMT (Country Music Television in the family of MTV Networks), and I have a small freelance gig called Invisible Associates. Here’s my guest blog. In the immortal words of Ron Burgundy, “I don’t know how to put this, but I’m kind of a big deal.” Minds will be blown. Poverty will be eradicated. Roofs will most definitely be raised (figuratively speaking, like when you push your hands up and down in the air). Yay photography!

Photo by Lee Steffen

I’m not a photographer in any way. I’m afraid of cameras really. They’re expensive. They break. Worst of all, there’s too much to learn… focusing, aperture-ness, ISO-ness, lenses, shutter speed, ambient light, other fancy words, etc. I took a photography class in college, and it was miserable. Most of my pictures involved me lying on the ground and tilting my camera at what I perceived to be an avant garde angle. Hey look, I just took a titled shot of that fire hydrant! Some things are in focus and some aren’t! Then I had to spend three hours in the darkroom to confirm that yep, these pictures are indeed pathetic. So I continued down the super-lucrative path I was on: the yellow brick road known as graphic design and illustration.

I love design and illustration despite the fact that the names connote some guy sitting at a drafting table with an airbrush kit turning around to give someone an affirming thumbs up. In a sweater vest. And a mustache. And not the ironically cool kind of mustache that’s currently en vogue. Photography. Just the name alone sounds so much cooler. In college, people who had earrings and ponytails and played in bands were photography majors. It was up there with actor, circus performer, or mime in “careers parents don’t want their kids to select.” There was and is a sexiness to photography. Remember the Lamborghini Trapper Keepers? Someone had to shoot that goodness.

Speaking of Lamborghini Trapper Keepers, (more…)

Nashville-based graphic designer Matt Lehman.  Matt first came to my attention (me being Brad) when Jeremy Cowart announced the winner of the Help-Portrait Logo Contest (Matt was the winner, if you didn’t already figure that out).  I checked out his website, showed it to Scott and Corey, they gave it a thumbs up, and I asked if he wanted to take one of our Wednesday spots.

I would link to his site, but I know he’s working furiously to get some new work up by the time the blog goes live.  Anyway, Matt has a great post on photography from a designer’s point of view.  Plus he’s just a crazy guy, so you’ll get a kick out of his blog even if you don’t care about photography or design.  At which point I would ask why you’re even here, but that’s beside the point…

Come back tomorrow and check out Matt’s zany post on what he like about photography, some tips on getting chosen for a job (he works at CMT), and Lamborghini Trapper Keepers!


Ok, but seriously folks, I really do love my job with Zack. The idea for that video came from a recent porch night with the Usedfilm crew after bringing up the request to do a blog post here. I hope you enjoyed it.

For this part of the post, I’m choosing to give you a background of how I came to work with Zack full time. Here we go…

I was born and raised in rural Oklahoma about 45 miles northeast of Tulsa where I graduated high school with a class of 54 students. That’s it. Tiny farming community by the name of Adair. I mean my neighbors were cows for crying out loud! Out of high school I went off to study graphic design at the technical branch of Oklahoma State University. After 1 1/2 semesters I quickly realized that I wasn’t any good at it, though the art history class was awesome. Failing marker rendering class isn’t hard if you can draw worth crap…

After that I went back to what I knew. My trumpet. Yep, I was your classic band dork in high school and decided it would be a good idea to study music education at a four year university. Well, after 3 years of “real college life”  it came to mind that I really didn’t want to teach some kid how to bang a drum in the middle of nowhere Oklahoma as a career. Can you blame me? During that time though, a camera was put in my hands by a friend’s mom who was a photographer. I had an interest and I had the chance to work in a darkroom once during a high school summer program. She gave me an old tank of a body too, a Canon AE-1. I LOVED that camera. Until it got a light leak and wasn’t worth getting fixed. I tried tape and everything, wasn’t happening.

So I took a year off from school and just worked and hung out like a regular person. Still taking pictures for the fun of it and always wishing I knew what I was doing when I saw a scene worth photographing. So, during that time off I enrolled in the photography program at the same school I studied design previously. It was strange to go back and see the same teachers that failed me before.

While at photo school I realized I wanted to merge my love for music and photography and shoot live music and bands. Especially after understanding that your average music mag photos were horrible! Next thing I knew it came time for my internship semester and I literally Googled “Music Photographer” when searching for somebody to work with. Zack Arias came up number three on the list. The first two were in Europe, completely out of reach for me. For two months solid I was emailing and calling with no avail. I had a faculty member helping me out even! But one day in early May, Zack is calling me to invite me out to work for the summer. That was pretty cool.

That summer of 2005 was awesome. Zack and I hit it off like old buddies and we had a blast for 3 months going to shows, quoting stupid movies that we like and going out for ribs and Newcastle. That was the best part…

After that was all said and done and I was back in Oklahoma I had one more semester of school and next thing I knew I had a fancy piece of paper that said something about an associates degree in photography…… I don’t remember really…

You know what happens when you graduate college?? You’re unemployed!!! Yeah, I worked like 6 jobs after school just trying to support my photography because there just isn’t a market out there for ‘takin’ music ‘peechurs.’ So I was forced to work junk temp jobs that I hated and provided low pay. The longest run and last one I had was working at a factory building school buses for 10 hours a day assembly line style. Yep. It was just as fun as it sounds. Why on earth would you want to leave a job where you had to walk under welding slag all day?? I mean really!!?? But one day in October of 2006 I’m driving home tired and filthy from a long day’s work and my phone rings. It’s Zack. Instantly for some reason I knew why he was calling. It was seriously no more than a ten minute conversation that ended with me saying “Give me a few months to save money and I’ll be there”.

February 7th, 2007. I arrive in Atlanta, GA with my dog Copper (he’s awesome), ready to start a new life as a full time assistant.

Since I’ve been here it’s been a wild ride. Not knowing what the next day or month will bring us. From a workshop that Zack had an idea about to a full on DVD that’s getting shipped worldwide. From local Atlanta bands to getting invited to go to Australia. It’s all thanks to Zack just being a humble guy without pretense willing to share his thoughts.

I still pinch myself sometimes…

Erik doesn’t have a website for fear that it would be subject to a Zack and Meghan critique, further eroding what little bit of hope he has left for his life.  But you can be his Facebook friend or follow him on Twitter if you like.  It would be the highlight of his month if you did.  His beard has a Facebook page too.

Drew Gardner photographed on Polaroid Type 55 by Lucinda Marland

Recently I was commissioned by Suzuki to shoot a print and billboard ad for the Suzuki Swift.

It was based around an incident in a tattoo parlour, which goes horribly wrong, the tattooist misspells the word ‘respect’ writing ‘resplect’ instead.


To unimaginable consequences but very funny.

Now this shoot is the most interesting I have undertaken in a very long time.


Because as well as shooting the ad as a still, my team and I shot it as a short movie for the client too.

A true glimpse into where I believe the industry is heading at breakneck speed.

We shot the still in the morning and decided to retain the same lighting to give the same visual ‘language’ in print and moving images.

It was a lot of fun but there are many differences.

Ok, first the kit………

We used a Canon 5d mk2 on a Zacuto Rig, which puts you in charge of the focus, and a Marshall V-LCD70P monitor, which lets you judge focus so much more acurately than on the LCD.

In my mind the shoot just would not have been possible without these two pieces of kit.

I could bang on about the kit some more but this shoot revealed so much more to me.

For a successful moving image shoot it really is less about one person and more about the team of people around you.

In fact it was like stepping back in time to a pre-Photoshop age for one very simple reason.

Shock horror!

You have to get it right in camera!

Yes folks, if you don’t get it in-camera and have not made provision, it is not there.

I feel this is set to bring back ‘camera’ craftsmanship and will deal a blow to those who use retouching as a crutch for bad photography.

And we all know that there are many of those out there, right?

All of a sudden direction was back in on the shoot, and there was nobody paintively whispering in my ear, “Don’t worry we will fix it in post.”

We either got it or we didn’t.

All of a sudden I felt I had ‘come home.’

Less of the computer stuff and more of the photography.

Which in my mind is what it should be about.

When I’m lecturing I conduct a little question and answer session and I go round the audience and ask…

‘Why did you become a photographer?’

The answers are in the range of…

‘Because I love taking pictures.’

‘I wanted to travel.’

‘To meet people and see the world.’

Many, many others too, but you know what?

Not one person has ever said they became a photographer because they wanted to be a computer operator.

Now I’m not saying I’m against the use of Photoshop, something I use extensively in ‘The Descendants’ series.

But getting it right in the can is way more fun and profitable too.

So enjoy all the post production by all means, but get out there and remember the meaning of the word Photography.

‘To draw or paint with light.’

To see more of Drew’s unique vision and work, visit his website and blog.