Category Archives Photography

I hadn’t seen this in 10 years, and I had never seen the full version.

My friend Kevin Gilbert sent me this a week or so ago and it’s just so wonderful â” It’s just a few minutes long, but totally worth every minute. I hope it makes your Tuesday, and your upcoming year in photography, a little bit brighter by remembering it’s all about emotion.

Thank you, Kevin for bringing this back to life for me and my readers.



Milestones for 2014
Besides the most popular and most commented-upon posts (which I posted here in Part 1 on Monday), we were pretty busy here on the blog during 2014. Here's some highlights of what we shared:

We raised nearly $40,000 for the Springs of Hope Orphanage
I don’t think anything we did this year was as important as this â” by having folks who participated in my 7th Worldwide  Photo Walk donate $1 when they signed up, we made a major difference in the lives of some really wonderful kids. Of everything we did this year, this is what I’m most proud of.

I started my love affair with
Last year when I posted my “Favorite Football Shots from the 2013 Season” I tried for the first time, and literally fell in love it, and it became my go-to source for photo-storytelling.  I used for a number of photo stories from the year, including:

A Walk in Rome (images from four days in Rome) – link
Shooting The U.S. Open – link
A Colorful Journey (images from my trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico) – link
Shooting The U.S. Open Men’s Final – link
Game Day with The Vols (shooting Tennessee football) – link
A Rolling Museum (my images of the classic American cars of Cuba) – link
Automotive Photography – link
Shooting the Firestone Grand Prix Indy Race – link
The World on a White Seamless Background – link
From Prague to Budapest (images from my trip along the Danube river)  – link
A little bit of London (shots from my quick trip across the pond) – link 

I tried some “silent movie style” 30-second Micro Photoshop Tips
I tried something new â” super quick tips I could do, at my kitchen table at home, without hooking up a mic and I would do them like a silent movie, with just text to explain the tip. The tips were cool, but ultimately the experiment failed, with many folks leaving me comments that “the audio wasn’t working.” You can check out some I posted here on the blog right here. 

We Took The Photoshop World Conference & Expo to Atlanta for the First Time
It’s pretty much been in Orlando for the past 15 years, but this year we thought we’d try something new by taking the show to Atlanta. The Cobb Galleria venue in Atlanta was absolutely ideal for a conference, and it was one of our best conferences ever! (but of course, everybody still wants to go to Vegas).

I taught at the WPPI Conference for the first time
What a great show, and a great experience. I spoke on the Conference Track teaching retouching and I got to speak in Canon’s booth to just huge crowds. Totally had a great time from start to finish and met tons of great people.

Adobe Launched Lightroom Mobile⦠
â¦and we were there with not only an in-depth Launch center, but we launched our first online class on Lightroom mobile to get everybody up and running fast. Here’s the link to the class.

Karen Hutton made me cry
I’ve never actually seen the finished interview, because it was so upsetting (and embarrassing) at the time, I couldn’t bring myself to watch it (if I had, I’m sure I would have made them cut out that part.

Apple pulled the plug on Aperture, and we had a Webinar on “How to move from Aperture to Lightroom” that very night
We can be really quick when we need to be. And of course besides that, we put together a full-length online class on exactly how to make the big switch.

We produced a free live Travel Photography Webcast called “From Prague to Budapest”
After my trip, I shared some photos, some tips, some tricks, some post processing techniques, I answered questions â” it was so much fun. You can watch the entire Webinar above.

I told probably my most embarrassing photography story ever (above). It is NOT pretty.

We broke some news about a little secret Adobe kinda snuck into the release of Lightroom 5.5 to allay a lot of folks’ concerns about the Creative Cloud photographers’ bundle. After you watch the video above, read the Q&A I put together to help explain it. Here’s the link (but again, watch the video first so the Q&A will make sense).

We got more love from this than you can imagine
It’s called “How Photographers Can Turn Their DSLR Video Clips Into Movies in Just 5 Minutes (using, believe it or not, just Photoshop). The clip is above. Yes, this is for you.

I Shared a Little Known Feature of Lightroom Mobile here
I shared a quick video tutorial (above) about a little-known feature of Lightroom Mobile that is just so darn cool. I do a live model shoot in the video above (which is much better than a dead model shoot) to show you how it all works. You’ll dig it.

I gave Project Luca a shot
This was fairly recently â” it’s a new iPad-based photo storytelling app, and I tried it out by doing a story on my very short photographic journey in London a few months ago. I wouldn’t say I trashed it, but it needs a few things before it’s ready for prime time (it’s still in beta, but the developers saw the article, responded the same day, and are fixing a bunch of stuff before it ships, so it’ll wind up being pretty darn cool). Here’s the link

Book Launches:

I launched Part 5 of my “The Digital Photography Book” Series here on the blog â” this one is all “Photo Recipes.”

I released a big update to my book, “The Photoshop CC Book for Digital Photographers” – it’s my first all “CC” version and it’s gone over really, really well. Still very excited about it (the video above explains it).

I released an ebook of nothing but my Chapter Intros (to raise money for the Springs of Hope Orphanage) - The book is available right here.

We did some stuff that mattered
Like Behind the Lens: An evening with Joe McNally â” it was just an electrifying presentation, a magical night, and one of our most popular and most talked-about classes of the entire year. Every photography student should be required to see it. (link)

We also did our first documentary: Moose Peterson’s “Aviation Photography: Warbirds and the Men Who Flew Them.” It came out so wonderfully, we shared it with the world with a one-night free premiere, with Moose himself on hand. There’s wasn’t a dry eye in the house. This was something we were all really proud of.

We launched a new series of in-depth interviews called “Trailer Blazers: Powerful Women of Photography” showcasing women who changed and challenged our industry.

We also did our first-ever “Creative Cloud Month” where each day we released a new full-length online class on one of Adobe’s Creative Cloud applications. (Interesting note: When we launched this, Adobe had around 1.5 million subscribers to the Adobe Creative Cloud. Today they have only 3.5 million).

Jeremy Cowart in Miami â” portraits on location revisited
A few years after our classes in Venice Beach, California with Jeremy (which were such a hit), we caught up with Jeremy again on Miami’s South Beach and, son-of-a-gun, man can that guy turn nothin’ into something. It’s like a masterclass on how to shoot anywhere, and it was as big a hit as his classes from Venice. You can watch the intro right here and you’ll see what I mean (even if you’re not a KelbyOne member).

SmugMug Films mini-documentery on me (above) as an educator and photographer was such an honor (and they produced it beautifully).

That's just some of the highlights of what we covered in 2014 here on the blog and at KelbyOne. Next week we'll wrap up with Part 3, which will be our top-10 episodes of "The Grid" (our weekly photography talkshow) and I'll embed the episodes right on the blog so you can watch â˜em right there.

Have a great weekend everybody and we'll see you next week!



Last Friday I had my last football shoot of the season (sniff, sniff), but it was a doozy! It was the Tennessee Vols first bowl game since 2010, and it was an electrifying atmosphere to shoot a football game. Such a blast!

I was shooting with the Vols photo crew (led by the awesome “Big Daddy” Don Page) so I had lots of extra access (including the locker room after the big Vols win), and I covered it all over on

Here’s the link to the images if you’ve got a sec.

I also posted some of the images in that post that I uploaded to Instagram during the game (mostly behind-the-scenes stuff), and I showed the final shot of having to shoot through a throng of other photographers and video camera and mics at the end of the game (see below).

Anyway, I hope you get a chance to check out the images. 

One more thing
Hey,  tomorrow our in-studio guest on “The Grid” (our first episode of the New Year), is none other than photographer and Photoshop World instructor  Joel Grimes, and it’s going to be an awesome episode you don’t want to miss. It’s at 4pm Wednesday at this link right here. 

That’s it for today. See you here for Guest Blog Wednesday tomorrow (if you’re at all into shooting video, you’re not going to want to miss it!).



Morning gang (it’s still morning, right?)
Sorry for the late post (putting this together took way longer than expected).

Those of you who follow me regularly here on the blog have seen the photographic stories I’ve posted over on my account, which I think is an absolutely marvelous way to tell a story with both pictures and words (here’s a link to my exposure page and you can see what I mean). Far better than any blog post.

Meet Project Luca
A buddy turned me onto this new iPad-based free photo storytelling app called Project Luca (it’s still in Beta at this point, but you can request to try it out at and it has some very interesting features â” including some doesn’t offer yet, so I wanted to at least give it a try, and I chose to do it with the 2-1/4 shoots I got to do while visiting London back in October.

Here’s what’s different about Project Luca:

  1. You actually build your project right on the iPad itself (but when you’re done, anyone with a web browser on any device, from desktop to laptop to mobile device, can view it).
  2. It has lots of professionally designed templates to choose from (rather than exposure’s one standard layout).
  3. Your project can have motion (meaning, the text can kind of “float over your images” with a window shade effect).
  4. You can choose your fonts and there’s a decent level of customization.
  5. You can have your images dissolve between frames, so it can be kind of like a slideshow.
  6. It allows captions under the photos, which is awesome (and something has yet to do, though they do now offer a caption feature but it can only appear over the image itself, and only at the top of the image).

Here’s how it works:

Once you install the app on your iPad and launch it, it shows you a few example projects so you get the idea of how Luca’s look  and then if you want to create a “Luca” of your own hit the text at the top (I didn’t really have to say that last part now, did I?). ;)

It brings you to this starting screen where you can start entering text and adding pictures from all over, including Lightroom Mobile, your Adobe Creative Cloud account, Dropbox, etc.

What threw me was you don’t pick your template first â” you just start creating. It took me about an hour (literally) until I realized that the “Color Palette” icon at the top (which you would assume is where you go to pick your colors) is actually where they hid the templates. Ugh. Anyway, now that you know, you can pick a template now if you’d like (and I recommend that you do, because this app is all about the layout. Or the bass [no treble]).

Above: That list of fonts on the right side of the screen, is actually the list of template choices. I would prefer to see thumbnails, rather than fonts, but it’s kind of a preview of how the opening screen text will look and layout, sans images. 

The rest is easy â” you add photos, add your text, you just keep scrolling down and adding more stuff. At this point, it’s just the creative process of choosing which photos, at what size (you can choose from full width of the screen to smaller size images with white space on all sides) and entering your text.

When you’re done adding text, you hit the upload button and the screen you see above appears. You can choose to make your Luca public or private, and share it about everywhere if you choose. It also copies the URL to your Luca to the clipboard automatically so you can share the link manually if you want to.

One more thing: you can add credits to the bottom of your photo story, but you add it here in the upload window, rather than in the project itself. The placement of that one had me scratching my head. I’m telling you now so you won’t drive yourself crazy looking for it (like I did).

Above: Once it uploads (it goes very quickly) your story is ready to view on anything with a web browser (here it is on my iPad). You just scroll down the page to see the images and read the story (you can click on the image above for a larger view). 

Above: You can edit, and view your Luca, in either landscape or portrait mode. Here’s an interior shot of London’s famous Royal Albert Hall. If you get a chance to read the story, I posted more images and the story behind it.

I Hope You’ll Check Out My First “Luca”
My “A Little bit of London” Luca is now live online and if you get a moment, I hope you’ll check it out (just seeing it will answer a lot of your questions, including “what does he mean about the text floating over the images?”).

Here’s the link

So, how does it stack up against
It has some advantage and disadvantages, but at this point, Project Luca is still in Beta (it’s not the full final version of the software). While it’s very promising overall, I’m not ready to switch from Exposure to Luca for these reasons: [NOTE: the Luca Team responded to these comments â” when you done, see the bottom of the post]

  1. Writing long text on an iPad is pretty brutal. Most folks don’t use a separate keyboard with their iPad so typing in long paragraphs of text on a touch-screen keyboard can really become tedious. In fact, if I didn’t finally switch to verbally dictating the text (using the iPad’s built-in dictation feature) I think I would have bailed on the whole project.
  2. There are still a lot of user experience things that just don’t make sense. Like not starting by choosing your template. Sure, now I get it, but I was totally thrown off by it at first. Also, the color palette icon for choosing templates is a head scratcher [see response from the Luca Team below]. So is putting the credits on the upload screen. I could go on.
  3. If you want to turn off their window-shade animations (the floating text effect) for a particular template…you can’t. You’re kinda stuck with it, and if it annoys youâ¦you’re stuck with it. [See response from the Luca Team below].
  4. At this point, it appears that you can use bold and italic, but you can’t. You can highlight text; choose bold or italic; it just doesn’t work. Could be a bug (I’m hoping it’s a bug).
  5. You can’t center headlines or subjects or even captions (all of which does beautifully), which is kind of a deal-breaker for me right there. What’s weird is â” you can center or left/right justify the text on the opening cover page of your Luca, so it’s not like they don’t have the technology to do it. [See response from the Luca Team below].
  6. You can’t change the order of your photos once they’re in your Luca, so you have to do a LOT more planning beforehand ( lets you change the order any time).
  7. I couldn’t find the URL to my “Luca” (to share with you in this post), without literally re-uploading my entire project. Ugh. [See response from the Luca Team below].
I’ve communicated all these things directly to the Project Luca team, so this isn’t the first time they’re hearing it from me. In fact, they’re probably really tired of hearing it from me.

The Bottomline:
I generally pick up learning new software fairly quickly, but I was lost in Project Luca a lot.

Your experience may differ, but the Luca creation process just doesn’t seem to be designed in an intuitive way overall. What’s weird is â” there are parts of it that are designed beautifully, and I say to myself “Man, I wish Exposure did it like this!” and then there are other parts where I’m really surprised they totally dropped the ball from an author experience perspective. In fact, if this product has an achilles heel it’s that the user experience of building a Luca seems like it was designed by committee, if that tells you anything.

I so wanted to love Project Luca, because there are still some things (as great as it is) hasn’t added (like captions under the photos for example), but it’s still got a ways to go. To be fair, it’s Beta software and I’m hoping that before they’re finished they’ll address some of the issues, but I think it needs a major rethinking on the author experience part â” the final uploaded Luca’s look really nice, but getting there is more than half the battle.


UPDATE!!!! Right after I released this first-look, I sent an email to the Project Luca team, and I was delighted to see their response (especially since I was kind of scared to initially see their response): They wrote:

    1. Centered captions are in the next build [see example below -ed]
    2. The template icon is changing from a paint icon to a magic wand [I probably would have clicked that just to see what it did -ed]
    3. Ability to turn animations on and off is on the roadmap, but will not be in version one. That falls under the category of theme customizations, and those come a little later.
    4. Bold and Italic are not in the product right now. They are on the roadmap. The bug you described has been fixed.
    5. You will be able to re-order photos in our next build [yay!!! -ed]
    6. We are surfacing the URL for your Luca on the projects screen so you can get it without republishing [perfect! -ed]
    7. You will be able to left or right align floating captions (the ones that fade in/out over your photos) in the next build [awesome -ed]:

Above: Here’s one part of my Luca [from the desktop view] â” notice the centered caption below the photo. Yay!

Above: Here’s a template with centered subhead text. Of course, I’d like to be able to center the subhead in any template, but at least this is a start.

I think these are all very positive developments, and my thanks to the Project Luca team for sharing a bit of their roadmap with my readers. :)



A few weeks back I got a chance to try out a pre-production model of Canon’s new 100-400mm f/4.5 – f/5.6 USM II lens shooting on the sidelines for an NFL game (Eagles vs. Titans) up at Lincoln Financial Field in Philly, and I thought I’d deliver a field report here in a quick Q&A format. It’s not a technical look or in-depth review, just my initial thoughts after shooting it for a game. Here ya go:

Q. How is the physical size of the lens?
A. It’s really close to the size of Canon’s 70-200mm. It’s just a little bit wider but I was surprised to see it’s actually a little bit shorter than the 70-200mm. However, with the large lens hood attached, it definely looks beefier than the 70-200mm.

Q. How was the weight compared to the 70-200mm?
A. If I handed you the two lenses, you’d think they weighed about the same, but I think technically the 100-400mm weighs about 2 or 3 ounces more.

Q. Which other lenses did you use during the game?
A. None. I shot the entire game using just this one lens.

Q. What was it like shooting with just one lens?
A. It was absolutely awesome!! I cannot tell you how sweet it was using just one body, just one lens, no monopod needed and so lightweight compared to what I’m usually lugging along the sidelines (two camera bodies, a 400mm f/2.8 and a 70-200mm f/2.8 and a monopod). Shooting on a monopod definitely limits you, and affects your shooting angles, so it felt like it does when I shoot my 70-200mm, so that was really nice.

Q. Did the lens get heavy to hold up as the day went on?
A. Not at all. Like I mentioned, it’s about the same as size and weight as my 70-200mm (which I shoot quite often, and it’s usually on my 2nd body at games anyway) so the weight wasn’t an issue.

Q. How’s the overall sharpness of the lens?
A. I felt it was a very sharp lens (especially for the money). It was super-crazy sharp at 300mm and under, and only slightly less at a full 400mm, but I was using a pre-production model on loan (just for that one game) so it didn’t have all the final tuning and adjustments the shipping model will have, but even at that it was still very crisp. I called a buddy of mine who is one of the tech gurus at Canon and he said that the Canon engineers internally are saying the final shipping version of this lens is really close in overall sharpness to the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 (which I think is one of the sharpest lens ever made by anybody), and for a 100-400mm at this price, that’s saying something.

Q. When is it supposed to ship?
A. I believe B&H Photo is shipping their pre-release lens orders today, so I’d say “any day now.”

Q. How was the overall “feel” of the lens?
A. Well, in the first quarter of the game I was surprised how tight the zoom barrel was on this lens (the older version of this lens was a push/pull lens â” you didn’t rotate a barrel to zoom â” you pulled the lens outward or pushed it in). Luckily, between quarters I saw a circular adjustment that lets you set the exact amount of tension you want, so I set it right then to how I like it (which is a looser zoom than the default setting).

Q. Did you use it on a full frame or crop sensor body?
A. I shot on a full frame Canon 1Dx, which is why I could get away with using just that one lens all day.

Q. So, is there a downside to using it on a cropped sensor body?
A. I wouldn’t say it’s a downside, because you gain something but you also lose something â” it’s more of a tradeoff. On a crop sensor body, you’d gain 60% reach, so your 400mm lens suddenly has the reach of a 640mm lens on a full frame body, which is awesome (especially if you’ve ever priced a 600mm lens). However, that means when you zoom all the way out to 100mm, on a crop sensor that’s the equivalent of a 160mm and that would be too tight once the players get close to where you’re shooting from. So, if you’re shooting on a crop sensor body, you would want to have a 2nd lens to switch to for when the team gets inside the 20-yard line (something like a 24-70mm would probably be ideal).

Q. How did the auto-focus perform?
A. I was impressed â” it was pretty snappy! I’m used to shooting some really high-end lenses and this one still felt pretty quick overall.

Q. Who is this designed for lens for?
A. I’d say it’s really designed for daytime sports photographer and for wildlife photographers, but of course it will take a picture of whatever you aim it at, so you’ll see everybody from wedding photographers to portrait photographers using this same lens, especially at its size/weight and price (B&H Photo has it for $2,199).

Q. Is it a Daytime only lens?
A. Well, it’s like this: it’s an f/4.5 to f/5.6 lens, so unless you’re shooting a body with really great high-ISO (low noise) performance (like the 1Dx I was shooting at this game) you’re going to have some really noisy images after dark, or inside a gymnasium or an arena. For wildlife photographers, this probably won’t be much of a problem, but for sports photographers this is something you have to consider, which is why I say it’s a daytime lens. During daylight, it rocks! I set my f/stop to f/4.5 and didn’t change it all day. I had Auto-ISO turned on and set it so the slowest shutter speed it would ever take would be 1/1000 of a second, so the ISO would climb as high as it needed to get that shutter speed. It worked awesome. It would be less awesome (at f.4/5 to f/5.6) at night or indoors.

Q. How did the f/4.5 to f/5.6 range affect you for this game?
A. At first, at the 1:00 pm kick-off it didn’t at all, but later in the game some cloud cover rolled in and my shutter speeds started dropping. Then the game ran long (lots of penalties) so by around 4:30 pm it looked like dusk and the stadium lights were on, and my Auto ISO started climbing. Take a look at the shot up farther on this page â” the shot where Titan’s Lineman Mike Martin is pulling on Sanchez’s jersey  â” that was shot at 1,600 ISO and it’s just 4:41 pm in the afternoon. Lenses with these higher f/stops make you shoot at higher ISOs when it’s not bright sunshine â” it’s that simple, and that’s why I call it a daylight lens. Just my take on it.

Q. Wasn’t there (ahem) an “incident” during this game? Something to do with a bullet pass?
A. Next question, please.

Q. Did you sharpen any of these images?
A. Of course. Every image you see from a pro game is sharpened (I applied an Unsharp Mask filter with these settings: Amount: 90; Radius 1.5, Threshold 0 – to the full-sized images). I didn’t think it would be a fair comparison to put un-sharpened sports images from any lens up against the sharpened sports images you see every day.

Q. Can’t you post an unsharpened image?
A. Sure. Here ya go (below) â” this is an un-edited, un-cropped, tilty, unsharpened, JPEG shot straight out of the camera that needs straightening, brightening, cropping and sharpening. Still looks nice and sharp, but outside of this blog post I would never post ANY sports image without, at the very least, applying sharpening first.

Q. Did you shoot in RAW or JPEG?
A. I shoot all my sports in JPEG, so these are all JPEGs. 

Q. Anything else strike you about it?
A. Not really. I think Canon did a nice job with this lens, and I think at this price, it will make a lot of people happy (especially since the old version was introduced about 10-years ago). What was most memorable for me about shooting with it was just how awesome it was shooting an entire game with just one lens. Shooting without a monopod gives you a big advantage, so that was a big thing, and not ever having to switch bodies or lug all that gear was a real plus for me. I took all my gear to the game, and was expecting to switch to my regular much (ahem) high-priced lens for the 2nd half, but I was enjoying the freedom, size, weight and results so much I decided to just stick with it, and I was really happy with the results.

Q. By the way, who won?
A. The Eagles won 43-24.

(Above: Although I was shooting for the Titans that day, my buddy John Geliebter shoots for the Eagles and I snapped this one of him during a time out. After the game he drove me to the airport in record time to catch my flight, so I owe him several beers next time I see him). 

(Above: That’s my buddy Donn Jones, Titan’s Team Photographer and just one of the greatest guys out there. However, I feel like his iPhone is outdatedâ¦wellâ¦especially since my 6-plus just came in last night. I’m not sure Donn and I can be friends any longer). ;-)

This weekend off I’m to shoot with the Falcons on Sunday for their home game against the Steelers. Might do a few remotes (you know I love that!). I have some shots from the game next week. :)

Hope you all have a great weekend (#gofalcons, #riseup) and we’ll see you back here on Monday.




Mornin’ Everybody, here’s what’s up:

1) How to Sharpen Portraits of Women in Lightroom
Since I took over the helm over at I’ve been posting lots of new content, including this short tutorial about I question I get asked a lot. Here’s the link.

2) Peter Hurley is our in-studio guest tomorrow on “The Grid’ at 4pm.
Peter’s here wrapping up his “Mastering the Headshot” book, and he’s recording a class on “How to find the “one” (how to know which shot out of an entire shoot is “the one” and while we’re here, you know RC and I have to get him on “The Grid.’

3) You Can Download a PDF Version of my Gonzo Holiday Gear Guide
Really handy for giving “hints.” ;-)  Here’s the link. 

4) Congratulations to the 10 folks who won my “Photoshop for Lightroom Users” Book
To see if you’re one of the lucky winners, click on over here. (Thanks to everybody who entered)

5) Fascinating Insights from Photoshop Senior Product Manager Bryan O’Neal Hughes
RC had Bryan on as a guest on his weekly show “Photo Tips & Tricks” and Bryan shares some insight into how features like Brightness and Contrast, Adaptive Auto, have evolved over the years. His segment is around the 10:15 mark in the show.

Hope that helps you kick off your Monday! :)



P.S. I got a chance to field test Canon’s new 100-400mm f/4.5 to f/5.6 lens on an NFL game recently and I’ll be posting the full report on Friday here on the blog.