Category Archives Lightroom

I’m back from my Great American Photo Workshop with renowned landscape and aerial photographer Bill Fortney and I have to say, it was one of the most enjoyable workshops I’ve ever been a part of. We had such a great group of talented, fun, easy-going, and passionate photographers that it really made for the ideal creative atmosphere to learn, make photographs, and laugh and awful lot.


Guest Instructors
This was my first time in Savannah Georgia, and it’s a perfect place for a photo workshop, with loads of stuff to shoot around every corner (photo above taken with my iPhone 3Gs; much improved camera). We started on Wednesday with slideshows and presentations from the instructors, including two guest instructors; Joanne Wells (a wonderful Savannah-based fine art photographer with great knowledge of local shooting locales), along with first-class bird photographer Wayne Bennett (we had a total of four instructors for 30 students). By the way; that’s Wayne at the far right of the photo above).

Shooting a Classic Caddie
We did dawn location shoots each day, and a few optional dusk shoots as well (it was in the high 90s all week, with lots of humidity, so we made the dusk shoot optional). We went to some great locales (I’ll post a shot or two tomorrow), and then on the last morning we rented a Classic 1962 red Cadillac Convertible for the class to shoot among the old brick buildings and alleyways of Savannah’s Riverfront (the iPhone shot above, and at one at the top of the post, show a few of our students during our shoots).


Here’s our group shooting in a back alley of Savannah’s Riverfront.


Here’s one of my shots from that angle (above—click on it for a larger view). Taken with a Nikon D3, and a 70-300mm f/4.5-f/5.6 VR lens on a tripod. I shot at ISO 400 at 1/13 of a second at f/4.8.


While the class was still shooting, I climbed up to a crosswalk above and behind the car where I got this shot. I leaned out as far as I could and then held the camera out away from my body. I had to shoot it at 2000 ISO because of the low light, but the noise is so unnoticeable (from the D3 with a 14-24mm f/2.8 lens), I didn’t even need to run a noise reduction filter. In fact, there are no effects filters or HDR used on any of these shots—-just Lightroom (though I did sharpen one in Photoshop).


Above is another iPhone shot of the group shooting the Caddie.


…and here’s the shot I got from that spot (above).


This is me above, lying down on the job; ball head in hand, trying to get a low angle on the car. The photo was taken by one of my workshop students; Bruce Thayer (who’s quite a good photographer himself) who came all the way from Australia for the workshop.


Above is one of the shots I got lying on the ground (and as I expected; it’s not nearly as good as the one Bill Fortney got lying down there).


Same spot—different angle of view. By the way; if you look on the stairs to the right of the car, you’ll see the legs of one of the students in the workshop. I could have cloned them out, but for some reason, I kinda like ’em there. Go figure.

A Celebrity in our group
We were lucky enough to have 14-time Grammy winning country and bluegrass artist Ricky Skaggs as one of our students, and he was just as humble, entertaining, and fun as you’d hope he would be. He’s a great photographer, but just learning Lightroom and Photoshop, and he’s totally loving it! (He pulled some strings and got us a table at Paula Dean’s famous restaurant for dinner, which saved us from waiting in the 80 to 100 person-long line each morning for reservations which snakes around the block starting at around 7:30 am. The dinner was fantastic!).

Learning Lightroom
In the classroom, we focused on Lightroom all week, and I have to tell you; I’m amazed at the transformation in the students between day one and Sunday morning when the workshop wrapped up.

In-Class Student Critiques
Each day we did live, in-class critiques of the students’ best shots from each shoot, and it was a wonderful learning experience. (A number of students told me it was the single most valuable learning part of the week for them, because when we would talk about what a problem was with a particular photo, I could open that photo right there on spot, and make the Lightroom/Photoshop changes that were necessary, or to recrop and recompose the photo, and they saw live exactly what to do to improve the shot next time around.)


Deconstructing My Edits in Lightroom
We did kind of our own mini one-hour “Photo Walk” on Saturday morning along the Savannah Riverfront area, and then I put together a slideshow of around 20 of my best shots from the shoot (I processed them all in Lightroom before I presented my slideshow—shown above).  Then after my slideshow presentation, I went back to each image, and using the History panel in Lightroom, I showed each individual step of how I got from the original raw image out of my camera to the final image that made it into my slideshow. This worked amazingly well, and it really turned the light bulb on for a lot of the students.

Great images + Great people
All in all, it was a stellar workshop; I met some really great people (two of which will be with me down in St. Lucia with Joe McNally in a few days for another week-long workshop), and I saw some old friends (Steve and Larry) and made some new ones. Thanks to all my students, and especially to Bill Fortney, (whose brilliant photography continues to just blow me and everybody in the room away), for the honor of teaching alongside him.


Hi Everybody:
I’m back in the saddle after a wild week out West last week (I missed my “Embarrassing Photo Thursday” so here ya go: It’s from the mid-80s during my short stint with the band “Sneek.” (photo by NAPP member Jay Handler. Who’d a thunkit?). I think we played just one or two gigs before we broke up (dig my Eddie Van Halen knock-off red and white taped guitar).

Now, onto the update, report, and stuffage that’s been stacking up:

  • Down in Downtown
    The day before the shoot, I got to do an impromptu photo walk in Downtown Denver with Jason from the (really great guy—we had a lot of fun, laughed a lot, and had a great dinner with the seminar team). I think I even got a few decent shots, but I’ll never know, because the next morning I accidentally reformatted the memory card (it’s a long story, but suffice it to say, that was the least of my problems in Denver). Here’s why I didn’t back up my images that same night.
  • Crashing in Colorado
    The night before my seminar I’m going through my classes in my hotel room, and I can tell something’s wrong with my laptop. I’m getting the “Spinning Beachball” each time I click. A restart (which usually does the trick), didn’t help. Rebuilding Preference, zapping pram, running Disc Warrior; nothing worked. Finally, it screeched to a halt. At 6:45 am we were scrambling to resurrect the drive, but this was a hardware failure (bad hard drive), and we had to move to the back-up machine for the seminar. Unfortunately, the back-up machine didn’t have Nikon Camera Control Pro on it (I needed this for the tethered shoot that afternoon), so we spent all morning working on that. Anyway, we did finally get it up and running (after a few miscues), and we “got ‘er done.’ The nearly 500+ crowd on hand was awesome; I met lots of great people (including a bunch who read this blog), and then headed for the airport for my flight to Portland.
  • 20 Hours with Laurie Excell
    One of my favorite landscape photographers, Laurie Excell, lives in Portland, and she invited me to go shooting along the beautiful Oregon coast on my day-off between seminars. We landed in Portland around midnight. She picked me, and my buddy Jeff Leimbach, up at our hotel at 3:45 am,  (Zzzzzzzz) and we headed out for sunrise. Along the way we saw some amazing light starting to peek over the hills. The problem was: we were still 23 miles from our shooting location. By the time we got there; the good light was already gone. It was only 5:15 am.  I was dressed in a t-shirt and jeans. It was 36 degrees when we got there (Good planning, eh?)! We still shot, and had a lot of fun (I slipped and fell flat on my %$&, but as Laurie said, “It was the most graceful and soundless slow-motion fall she’d ever seen.” Nothing was bruised but my ego (since Jeff and Laurie were laughing there #*$ off!). Next, we headed down the coastline. 450 miles in all. In crappy light. It was a blast. We didn’t shoot much, but we laughed, and had some great meals, shared stories, and saw some absolutely beautiful scenery along the way. We kept going until sunset (which was around 8:50 pm). At about 8:00 pm the sun tucked into a cloud bank and we never saw it, or any color whatsoever, again. We didn’t care. We got back in the car, and wound up back at our hotel after midnight. We were beat, but still laughing. There is probably something wrong with us.
  • Panic’d in Portland
    The next morning we had more issues to deal with before the laptop was ready for the day (and it came right down to the wire), but everything went pretty smoothly (well, until the last 10 minutes, when not only did Photoshop crash, but upon restarting, it said the serial number was invalid. We just restarted it again and it worked fine, but the audience was just cracking up). Then we had a quick dinner at Red Robin, and then took the train to the airport for an 11:00 pm red-eye home (through Chicago). Thanks to everybody in Portland and Denver who came out to spend a day learning Lightroom. You all made it a lot of fun (and a special thanks to my long time friend, and Mac-book co-author, Dave Gales who literally saved the day by resurrecting enough of my stuff to help the day come off right).

    NOTE: As always, I had all my Lightroom Tour files backed up on an 8GB USB jump drive on my keychain. On Tuesday it broke off my keychain, and when I went through security, I had to put it in the gray bin separately. Unfortunately, I forgot to take it out. Figures, eh? Also, luckily, I did have a full back-up of my computer (using Apple’s Time Capsule), which I’m using to restore all my files now that I’m home. I should have had a full bootable external drive with me. I will next time.

  • Quick Photo Walk Update
    While my computer was down for the count, my assistant Brad Moore stepped in and helped me out, getting a lot more cities approved, helping lots of folks, and keeping the flow of info going. He also started a Photo Walk blog on the site (, where we’ll both be giving updates as we move closer to the event. We hoped that this year’s blog would build on what we did last year, but we had no idea it would mushroom to what it already has. For example: 

    Last year’s number of cities active by the day of the walk: 236
    This year’s number of cities active in the first week: 422

    We already have thousands of people signed up to walk (won’t have the exact figure until I get into work tomorrow), and a number of cities not only have full walks, but we’ve added multiple walks in multiple cities to handle the overflow. Also, I just learned that NAPP’s Executive Director Larry Becker is now hosting a photo walk in Lakeland, Florida. If you’d like to join Larry, go to the Photo Walk site and sign up quick.

    Catch “The Laddy” doing Down & Dirty in Richmond on Wed.
    Corey Barker, the man who helped me develop the new Photoshop Down & Dirty Tricks Tour, is going to be teaching the tour himself this Wednesday in Richmond, Virginia. It’s going to be a packed house, so if you want to catch the Photoshop Laddy and learn some really cool stuff from an incredible instructor, here’s the link to sign up.

  • Learning Location Lighting from Joe McNally
    There’s just one spot left for the week-long Location Lighting seminar Joe is hosting on the Island of St. Lucia in the Caribbean this July (I’ll be there, too, doing some workflow stuff on the last day), so if you’ve been on the fence about going; this is “last call,” (here’s the link).

    In other McNally news; Kelby Training Live is kicking off a new one-day Location Lighting Techniques seminar tour with Joe, that kicks off in San Francisco on Friday, July 31st. If you’ve ever wanted to spend a day learning from Joe; this is your chance. It will change the way you light forever! The one-day workshop is only $99 ($79 if you’re a NAPP member). Here’s the link with all the details.

    No Indy For Me
    Remember that shooting gig I dig for the Indy Racing League for the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg? Well, right after that gig they contacted me and offered me the gig of shooting the entire Indy 500 weekend (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday), as part of the Indy Staff. There was only one problem: Friday I would be doing my Lightroom tour in Portland, and I looked at flights and I’d pretty much miss Saturday, too and everything but the actual race itself on Sunday. But after having been away from my family Tuesday through Saturday, I thought I’d better pass on shooting the race this time around and head home to see the kids. It was tough missing the opportunity to shoot the Indy 500. Well, it was until my daughter jumped into my arms on Saturday, and my son came running to hug me so fast that it literally almost knocked me over. That just reminded me once again that I had totally made the right decision. There isn’t a shot I could have taken that would have put that feeling in my heart, and that big a smile on my face. It’s great to be home.

    Tomorrow’s Special Guest Blogger is….
    Photoshop Hall of Famer, Canon Explorer of Light, Photoshop World Instructor, and one of the nicest, most genuine guy’s you’d ever want to meet; Eddie Tapp.

    If you’ve ever been lucky enough to catch one of Eddie’s classes at Photoshop World, or his online courses, then you know you’re in for a treat any time Eddie shares, well… anything! So join me here tomorrow as we check out our very special guest blogger, our good friend Eddie Tapp.

That’s it for today folks. I hope to have lots more to share on Thursday, so have a kick-butt Tuesday and Wednesday, and oh yeah, did I mention you should back-up your computer? ;-)

Hello there.  Me again.  Scott has been in Portland since yesterday morning and spent the day shooting with Laurie Excell.  Today is the next stop on his Lightroom Tour (fingers crossed that this one will run smoothly), and he gave away a free ticket to the seminar to a lucky follower on Twitter last night.

For those wondering about Scott’s computer, it was a hard drive failure (as he always says, it’s not if your drive fails, it’s when!).  And, yes, he did have everything backed up with Apple’s Time Machine.  I’m sure he’ll give you the full run-down when he gets back next week.

One of the things on said hard drive was an embarrassing photo, which was supposed to be for yesterday’s blog.  You’ll will get to see that next week :)

For those keeping up with Photo Walk news, I’m posting daily over on the Photo Walk Blog.  Swing by and check it out!

For fans of Joe McNally, he just posted a video on YouTube from when he was testing out the Nikon D3.  If you like cameras, elephants, frogs, birds, or snakes, you might enjoy it.  You might also catch a glimpse of me.  I’m the guy wearing the red shirt and goofy hat when our friend Suzie the Elephant was with us in the desert.  That was a great day :)

And lastly, there’s a new episode of DTown TV up, which includes tips on AF Priority modes, features on the new D5000, info on Picture Control settings, and a tip on shutter speeds when using studio lights.

That’s it for today.  Have a happy Memorial Day Weekend!


Wait, two guest blogs in a row?  Well, not exactly.

Scott asked me to write something on his behalf to let you guys know that he can’t post a blog for today.  Why, you ask?  Because his laptop died last night.  A horrible, grueling, painful death…  But it will be fixed by the time he does his Portland Lightroom 2 Live Seminar, so that is still on as scheduled.  (Did I just hear a huge sigh of relief coming from the West Coast?)

So, let’s see… How about a couple of updates…

The Worldwide Photo Walk Blog (hosted by yours truly) is now up and running!  I’ll be doing my best to keep you all up to date on what locations are full, nearing capacity, and just opening, along with any other Photo Walk related news.  So, swing by, scroll to the bottom, and check it out!

If you’re following Scott on Twitter, you know he was going to announce the winner of a free pass to his Portland Lighroom 2 Live Seminar soon.  But, since he doesn’t have a computer, it’s not looking like that’s going to happen.  But I can guarantee this won’t be the last time he does giveaways on Twitter, so if you’re not already following him, it might pay off to sign up and follow ;)  [Speaking of the Photo Walk and Twitter, the official hashtag is #SKphoto.]

That’s it for now.  If I know Scott, I’m sure he’ll have a story and lesson from today to share with all of us when he gets back to the blog, so check back later to see what he has to say!  Happy Thursday everyone :)



Just a reminder; I’ll be in Denver, Colorado on Wednesday with my “Lightroom 2 Live!” tour, then I’ll be in Portland, Oregon (for my first time ever), on Friday with the tour, so I hope I’ll see you in one of those cities for a day that will change the way you sort, edit, show, and print your work.

Here’s the link with all the details. If you’re coming and you read the blog, make sure you come up and say “hi.” (I met all kinds of great readers when I was in DC—-I love it!).


Lightroom has become such a big part of the professional photographer’s workflow these days, that this year at the Photoshop World Conference & Expo (held in Boston, March 25-27, 2009 at the Hynes Convention Center) we have added so many more Lightroom sessions that it’s become its own “Conference within a Conference.”

There are now so many Lightroom classes that you can actually come to Photoshop World and totally immerse yourself in Lightroom learning as we now have a full track of Lightroom training every single day! (So, you could actually go to Photoshop World and never take a Photoshop class. Eerie. I know).

We’re calling it “The Lightroom Conference at Photoshop World” and check out this all-star line up of the world’s leading Lightroom instructors:

  • Katrin Eismann
  • Scott Kelby (hey, that’s me!)
  • Julieanne Kost
  • Matt Kloskowski
  • Jack Davis
  • Martin Evening
  • Kevin Ames
  • Andrew Rodney
  • and David Ziser

Plus, we’re planning special after-hours events just for Lightroom Users, including Birds-of-a-Feather dinners, and more.

Best of all; it’s all included in your Photoshop World Conference Pass, so if you sign up for Photoshop World, you’re able to attend any or all of the Lightroom sessions and special events. We’re really excited about “The Lightroom Conference at Photoshop World” and to be able to add this new training experience, which is based upon what attendees at last year’s Photoshop World Conference & Expo in Las Vegas told us—“We want more Lightroom!” Well, you got it, baby!!! Here’s where you sign up. Hope to see you there!