Category Archives Photography

Welcome to my "9th Annual Gonzo Holiday Gear Guide" (yes, last year I brought the "Gonzo" back after a brief break because just calling it a "Holiday Gear Guide" lacked that certain, I dunno, "gonzoness.") So, I now bring you the blog-version of my "Gonzo Holiday Gear Guide" (which appears in the current issue of Photoshop User magazine, seen above) whose light burns brighter than a thousand suns (insert dramatic pause here), featuring an unbridled collection of 100% absolutely necessary gear that there's no way we can see clear to live another minute of our hopeless, desperate lives without. (I gotta tell ya, you have to search far and wide to find any holiday gear guide that uses the terms "hopeless" and "desperate" in the opening paragraph, which is more irrefutable proof that this guide truly stands alone.)

Before we get to the list, remember that the holidays aren't about which gifts you get. They're about how many gifts you get, and the person who dies with the most gifts wins. (By the way, you can now add "dies" to "hopeless" and "desperate," making this the most riveting of all gear guides ever!) Okay, folks, watch your Geschwindigkeitsbegrenzung, because here we go!


These are my self-imposed guidelines for which products make it into the guide. It's just two rules actually. First, to be listed here they have to be products that I use myself, and that I absolutely love, and now can't live without (well, I could live without them, but I wouldn't want to). Second, if a product makes the guide, it has to be one I would recommend to a close friend without hesitation, especially if my friend is a personal injury attorney (kidding).

Gear Guide Categories:

In sacred Gonzo tradition, I'm breaking things into three distinct categories:

1: Stocking Stuffers (You can also use these as actual holiday gifts if you're not that crazy about the person.)
2: Great Value Gear (Stuff that's a really good deal for not a lot of money, but he or she will totally dig it.)
3: Cha-ching! (Stuff you buy for the doctor/lawyer/rap mogul on your holiday gift list. This is the stuff that makes them burst into spontaneous tears of joy. Well, at least I would.)


Really Nice Photo Paper

If the photographer on your holiday list has a printer, this is a gift she will truly love because you can never have enough paper (or ink for that matter). Recently, I saw some absolutely beautiful papers from Freestyle Photographic Supplies when I was at Photoshop World in Vegas. You can get an Epson Premium Photo Paper Glossy for $11.99. Sweet!

Starting at around $11.99

Remote Shutter Release (Wireless or Wired)

This is one of those gifts that every photographer at one time or another will need, but it's one of the last things we think to buy, which is what makes it such a great gift. You'll need to know the make and model of his camera so you get the right type of connector. Prices start at around $18 for a Nikon or Canon wireless release. Sadly, the better DSLR he has, the more the cable release that works for that camera costs, so just hope he has a lower-end model.

Starting at around $18

Spare Battery

I love this stocking stuffer because even if he has a spare battery, he would still love another one. It's one of those can't-go-wrong stocking stuffers. They're usually fairly inexpensive (from around $40-60), unless of course, he has a high-end camera like a Canon EOS-1Dx ($165) or a Nikon D4s ($149), in which case this gift may test the limits of your friendship. Just sayin'.

Starting at around $40

Collapsible Rubber Lens Hood

This is a really great stocking stuffer because your photographer will love it. They're awesome because they save space while protecting her lens from damage and lens flare, and it looks like it costs a lot more than it did. They start at $4.95. Of course, the price depends on the size of her lens measured in millimeters. For example, a typical 70-200mm lens uses a 77mm size lens hood, which is still only $19.95 at B&H Photo if you buy the B+W brand, and less than half that if you buy the General Brand lens hood.

Starting at $4.95

Some Cool Books

He will love Night Photography: From Snapshots to Great Shots by Gabriel Biderman and Tim Cooper (around $16 on Amazon), or how about Matt Kloskowski's awesome eBook Landscape Photography Workflow Using Lightroom and Photoshop for $9.99 on Amazon. (It's an eBook for Kindle or the Kindle app on your tablet or smartphone.) Hey, he might like my new book, part 5 of my The Digital Photography Book series (just $15.80 on Amazon in print or $9.99 for the eBook version), or if you want to splurge a little (and he shoots portraits), get him Picture Perfect Posing by Roberto Valenzuela (around $30 at Amazon).

Starting at $9.99


Macphun Tonality Pro

The king of black-and-white conversion plug-ins had always been Nik Software's Silver Efex Pro (now part of the Nik Collection by Google), and it's still a great plug-in, but there may be a new king in town. Macphun has created a killer black-and-white conversion tool at less than half of the price of buying the Nik Collection. The Pro version is $69.99 and it totally kicks butt! If your photographer is into black and white, this will become her new tool of choice. (The only caveat is that it's Mac only, so make sure she uses a Mac first.)


Think Tank Photo Airport Roller Derby

It's a four dual-wheel roller camera bag that she will absolutely go bonkers over! It holds a ton of gear, and it glides through the airport like it's on rails. Lots of room for lots of gear, and a very well-thought-out bag all the way around (plus, it fits in the overhead bin with no problem). However, fabulous eight-wheeled bags don't come cheap: it's around $390. Give it to someone you love, or someone you want to love you who doesn't yet, but will after you give her this.


MagMod Modular Flash Modifiers

There are a lot of great flash modifiers out there, and MagMod is a new player in this market, but I gotta tell ya, their magnetic system of flash modifiers is so incredibly easy to use that you'll be a hero when the photographer on your list uses this system for the first time. The MagMod Basic Kit is $89, which comes with the MagGrip, MagGrid, and MagGel (magneticâ”it just pops on and off) but then you (or he) can buy accessories fairly inexpensively like $19 for the Creative Gel Set or $25 for the MagGel 2 Slot Kit. Cool stuff!

Starting at $89

BlackRapid CURVE (RS-7) Strap

I learned about this strap about four years ago on one of my photo walks and I've been using one ever since. The strap wraps across the body (great for safety since a thief can't just grab it off your shoulder and take off), and the camera hangs upside-down at the side ready to slide up the strap and shoot at anytime. Really can't say enough about 'em. Around $62 at B&H. Totally worth it.


Cactus Wireless Flash Transceiver V5

These are so inexpensive it probably should have been listed under stocking stuffers, but don't let the low price fool youâ”these puppies work amazingly well. They're used for firing your flash or strobes wirelessly and they do a great job of it, even if they're not the prettiest wireless units out there. A set of two is around $75 (and yes, he'll need twoâ”one goes on top of his camera in the hot-shoe mount, the other attaches to the flash itself).

$74.95 for two

SmugMug Portfolio

It's never been more important to have an online portfolio, and SmugMug's gorgeous, newly designed templates have taken the world by storm. If the photographer on your holiday list doesn't have an online portfolio yet (or if she does and she has dreamed of selling her work online), this is the ticket. Their Basic plan is just $40 for a yearâ”so get her a year plan. She'll love you for it!

Starting at $40/year

3 Legged Thing Punks - VYV Magnesium Alloy Tripod & Airhed

I started using one of these British tripods this year and I really love it, and the photographer on your gift list would totally love one, too! It makes an awesome travel tripod and it comes with a ballhead. It has reversible legs so it folds up really small, and it's super lightweight, but amazingly sturdy. B&H carries it for $199. You'll get lots of love in return.


Battery Grip

This is one of those gifts that he will love you for forever because it's so handy, and it will make his camera look and feel more like a high-end pro camera. It also gives him a second battery holder and a shutter button for when he's shooting vertical. They start at around $50 for a third-party grip, but if you buy a Nikon or Canon brand, expect to pay at least two to three times as much, so give the Vello brand at B&H a serious look. You'll be a holiday hero for this one!

Starting at $49.95

MPIX Modern Metal Print

Want to really make a photographer lose her mind? Gift her one of her own images printed on metalâ”it's like seeing her image in HD for the first time. Just remarkable! (By the way, this isn't metallic paper; this is printing on actual metal.) MPIX rocks at these metal prints and you will rock for giving them. They start at $33.99 for an 8×10 (the 12×18 is a good deal at $59.99).

Starting at $33.99

B&H Gift Card

Not sure exactly what to get him? Yes you do. Get him a B&H Gift Card. I don't know anyone who doesn't want something from the greatest photo store on earth, plus this way he can get whatever he wants (within the limit of how much you put on the card, of course). You can order them directly from the B&H site. They send a card and a catalog so it looks pretty substantial.

Starting at $20

Westcott Zeppelin

While this isn't nearly the most expensive gift in this gear guide, it's the biggest, so it may have the most physical impact. It's quite properly named because this mammoth softbox will give you maximum impact as it slowly casts a shadow over the studio space. Okay, I may be overdramatizing the size, but not the impact. Through a clever design, this new softbox allows you to focus and shape the beautiful light by sliding the actual strobe inside the softbox. She will love you for it. Westcott Zeppelin lights cost $399.90 for the 35″ model; $499.90 for the 47″ model; and $699.90 for the 59″ model, which looks like it's the actual size of the Goodyear Blimp when you see it live.

Starting at $399.90

Lightroom + Photoshop CC Photography Bundle

For around $120, you can get her a one-year subscription to Adobe's Creative Cloud Photography Bundle where she'll get the latest versions of both Photoshop and Lightroom, plus Lightroom mobile (for iOS), as well as some other goodies. Love will rain down upon you for this gift!



Profoto B1 500 AirTTL

Every photographer who shoots studio strobes on location dreams of two things: working on location without hauling around a battery pack, and shooting Profoto gear. The new Profoto B1 500 AirTTL fills both dreams at once because the battery is built into the sleek body (so no hauling a separate battery pack around). Profoto is the cream of the crop for performance, and they're gear is built like a tank (which is why most rental houses offer Profoto as their main line). But the price of the B1 500 AirTTL isn't for just anyone at $1,995â”definitely for pros or for the Wall Street insider on your holiday gift list.


Synology NAS (Network Attached Storage) Backup

This is a very important and powerful gift because this will house your holiday photographer's entire photo collection in a safe, rock-solid storage system (the same one I use myself), plus it will give her access to her images no matter where she is (via the Web). I've been looking for a kick-butt backup and archive system for years, and this is the one! A totally mind-blowing gift. Use their NAS Selector to find out which one is right for the photographer on your list. This may be one gift where you tell them up front, "I'm getting you a Synology NAS," so you get the right one for her needs (and the outpouring of unconditional love may start before the actual holiday does).

Starting at around $380

Canon EOS 7D Mark II

I know I've been something of a cheerleader for this camera since Canon announced it in late September, but it's because I think Canon did something really special with this camera aimed at sports and wildlife shooters. They put pro specs into an affordable camera body, so you no longer need to have NFL-sideline-quality gear just to get great photos of your kids' high school sporting events. With 10 frames per second, a 20.2-megapixel sensor, and much improved high-ISO noise performance over the older 7D that it replaces, I think it's an amazing camera at a brilliant price. He will follow you around like a puppy for the rest of his life if you buy him this.


Tamron 28-300mm f/3.5-f/6.3 Di VC PZD (for Full-Frame DSLRs)

This is the lens I use as my all-around travel photography lens. It's lightweight, compact in size, and you can't beat the price as far as value goes. Will it be the sharpest lens in his bag? Nope. Will it be the lens he turns to again and again because it covers everything from wide-angle to super-telephoto? Yes it will. Will you be showered with affection for giving a lens as a gift? Yes you will.


DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ Copter

The popularity of these DJI copters is exploding because, quite simply, they let your camera fly in the air for stills or video, and photographers have absolutely flocked to them in the past year. This isn't just photography, this is fun! It's $1,229 with a spare battery, and it's worth every single penny. This may be the coolest gift ever.



A One-Year KelbyOne Membership

Wanna give him a gift that he'll remember all year long? How about world-class online training on everything from Photoshop to Lightroom to photography? It's $249 for an entire year (with 24/7 access to literally thousands of lessons), or just $25 a month. Not only will he love you for it, so will I.

$249/year; $25/month

Corey Barker's Photoshop Down & Dirty Tricks for Designers, Volume II

The name says "for designers," but since just about every project in the entire book starts with a photo, it's really a special effects book for designers, photographers, or anybody who wants to learn how to create amazing effects in Photoshop.


Treat Them to a Live Seminar

Buying someone a ticket to one of these full-day seminars would make an awesome gift. My "Shoot Like a Pro" tour, Matt Kloskowski's tour for learning Lightroom, or Joe McNally's "The Power of One Flash" tour are among the choices.
Starting at $89; $79 per person for groups of five or more

Treat Them to Photoshop World Vegas

Give him a full conference pass to the Photoshop World Conference & Expo. It's a three-day Photoshop, Lightroom, and photography love-fest. If you buy it for him now, you can get $100 off with the Early Bird discount. If you want to get a one-day pass instead, it's just $249.
Starting at $599
Well, there ya have it — hope you find it helpful for your Holiday Gear Gift Shopping! :)





A few weeks ago, I posted a link to a very short video tutorial I did over on the new KelbyOne Blog on how to use a camera on a monopod, with a fisheye lens, and trigger it with a wireless remote (here’s the link) for a really unique overhead look (it’s a lot easier than you’d think).

This week, a photographer named Konstantin Articus in Germany did something I so love — he took that monopod/fisheye lens idea that I showed for use in sports, and he took that idea and applied it to something completely different, and he got just wonderful results (see below).

Thanks so much to Konstantin for allowing me to share these images with you here, and my hat’s off to him for being able to take a technique shown for one use, and apply it so brilliantly somewhere else. Well done!

Hope you all have a fantastic weekend, and we’ll see you back here on Monday for my 2014 Annual Holiday Gear Guide.

All my best,


Last week on my Facebook page I pointed to an article I found  on a WPPI Forum called “50 Brides Reveal What Their Photographers Could Have Done Better” (the original article was posted on and I thought it actually provided some interesting points and feedback directly from the folks wedding photographers are trying to make happy, so that’s a good thing, right?

Well, while it was widely viewed (it reached over 510,000 people on my Facebook page alone, and was reshared there nearly 1,000 times), it sure wasn’t widely embraced. A lot of wedding photographers seemed to blame the brides themselves for ‘not hiring better wedding photographers in the first place.’

Here’s a reader comment from Ross Mealey that garnered 83 likes from other readers:

“While I only shoot weddings for people I am close with… I have to comment and ask the REAL question… how many of the people who commented of the 50 things shopped around, read photographers reviews, and spent more than a couple hundred dollars and even then tried to cheap out of paying… everyone wants something for nothing… so they hire sub-standard photographers and expect the world when the product is delivered…”

Whether you find some information in that “50 brides post” that will help you better meet future brides’ expectations, or if you agree with the general feeling that these brides “got what they paid for⦔ I think perhaps the best learning opportunity may actually come from those Facebook comments posted by the photographers themselves. A lot of pro wedding photographers did a nice job of sharing how they handle or deal with some of the very same issues the brides pointed out, so you might find it helpful to see how other photographers are dealing with these topics by reading the 140+ comments on that Facebook post (here’s the link â” scroll down to my post from November 6th).

Now, let’s turn the tables
While you’re here, if you had the opportunity to tell 50 potential brides what would help you, as a wedding photographer, to create the type of wedding images they’ve always dreamed of, what would it be?

I’ll get the ball rolling with one
I would insist if they hire me that it is an “unplugged wedding” where the Bride and Groom ask the guests in advance to leave their cameras at home and their cell phones in their pockets or purses, and just enjoy the wedding day as guests. Rather than having them experience the wedding through a glass screen, let them know that you have hired a team of photographers who will make sure everything is covered, and so they won’t have to come as journalists, they can just relax and be a part of a moment instead of trying to chronicle it. The bride and groom at the last wedding I shot agreed to do this, and it really made the day a pleasure for everyone and the guests actually got to be guests again.

I’d love to hear what ideas you’d have for those 50 potential brides (imagine that you’re speaking to them in a small ballroom at a bridal show and you have the stage sharing advice to help them out). Maybe if we get enough great responses we could create a post with ideas which we could share with potential brides?




PLEASE NOTE:  Due to being sick, my schedule for all of Wednesday is CANCELED.  I will resume my schedule, as planned, on Thursday.

I've got a busy week coming up in New York at the big daddy of all photo shows here in the USA, and I hope at some point our paths cross in on my presentation. Here’s my schedule:


First, I’m moderating a panel on how technology is leading the storytelling revolution (details below) on Wednesday at 5pm (don’t worry â” the panel doesn’t go for three hours â” there’s other stuff after our talk).

Above: I did have to giggle at how they listed my title as just “Kelby” (as in Scott Kelby of Kelby) and they didn’t list any title for Jeremy. I wish they had even left his last name off, so it’s like “Cher” or “Seal.”

Canon has invited me to speak in their booth’s theater again, and it’s on one of my favorite topics: Sports Photography, and it's open to anyone at the Expo, so come on by:

> I'm on Thursday at 2:30 pm on Canon’s main stage

I’m also speaking at the Mylio booth:

> I’m on Thursday at 12:30 pm in the Mylio booth (#273) on the expo floor.

Note: if you’re wondering “what is Mylio?” — they are launching at the show, and by next week everybody will know about Mylio. Really super cool stuff!

I’ll also be speaking at the Mylio launch party on Thursday night, but I think that one is a press event.

I’m at the Canon booth on the Expo floor, talking about sports photography.

> I'm on Friday at 10:45 am on Canon’s main stage

We have a KelbyOne theater on the show floor and I’ll be doing a session called “Photo Retouching Secrets”

> I’m on Friday at 12:30 in the KelbyOne Booth: #473

Right after that I head straight for the airport to get home in time to go trick-r-treating with my daughter (this year she decided her costume would be a throwback outfit from the 1950s, so she’s got the pink poodle skirt and the whole nine yards. So cute!

Hope you all have a great Monday and I hope I get to meet you at some point, later this week. :)



It’s taken me a while, but I finally got my football shots from the Vols/Gator’s game a few weeks back, posted over at

I’ve got lots of behind-the-scenes shots, and the whole story behind the day, including shots inside the locker room; on-field during warm-ups, and of course during the game itself.

If you get a quick minute, I hope you’ll check them out (here’s the link).

I’m shooting the Bucs/Vikings NFL game on Sunday if I can shake this cold that’s hit me this week. Finger’s crossed ’cause it could be a great day of really mediocre football. ;-)

Here’s wishing you a super-awesome weekend!



You know if the Monday after the game I post a Demotivational Poster, I probably didn’t have a great shoot. I know that generally as the season progresses you’re supposed to get better and better,right? And I was really feeling like I was “in the zone” two weeks ago at the Falcons/Giants game at the Meadlowlands, but dang I just do not know what happened yesterday but I just had a real clunker!

It seemed like I was always in the wrong position, and I missed some stuff I definitely should have caught, and I was just generally to the point that I wanted to chuck my gear in the trash bin on my way out of the stadium. I didn’t, mind you. But I wanted to.

Now, don’t get me wrong â” I still had a blast
Any time I get to shoot with my buddies Mike Benford and Jimmy Cribb from the Falcons, I always have a great time, but at the same time I always want to do my very best when I’m shooting for a team or a news wire (or heck, even just for myself), so I was kicking myself all the way to the airport (by the way, I think one thing I did do was prove my undying love for Delta by leaving the game around 4pm and not arriving back home until after midnight. After flying USAir to Charlotte last week, I came running back to Delta screaming, “Please, please take me back! I’ll do a connection in Atlanta â” anything â” just don’t make me fly USAir again!”).

Above: In the fourth quarter I went up high to get some quick Fisheye and 16mm wide angle shots. 

Above: Raven’s QB Joe Flacco looking up at me and thinking “Hey, that photographer up there is using an 8mm fisheye.”

A Mini-Momentous Occasion

Two unusual things happened during this game:

(1) It was a Sunday during the football season and the Bucs did not lose (it was their ‘bye’ week).
(2) It was my first time shooting the Ravens, and until yesterday they were the only team in the NFL that I hadn’t shot yet, so I was psyched to now have shot all 32 teams (plus, it’s always a blast to shoot in a different stadium). Still about 12 NFL stadiums I haven’t shot in yet, My top most-wanted stadiums to shoot in are; Lambeau Field (Green Bay), Seattle, the 49ers new stadium and Foxborough.

I was back using my 1Dxs this week, since I had to send the 7D Mark IIs back, and I shot with the 200-400mm f/4 with the built-in 1.4 tele. On my 2nd body I used a 70-200mm, except when I went up top for those stadium shots.

Anyway, I’m on my flight back home right now (got to go with the family to Disney World on Saturday, so this was just an awesome weekend all the way around), but I’m back in the saddle and back in the office tomorrow.

Here’s what’s coming up this week:

Tomorrow: Something, I’m sure. Not quite sure what yet. I’m open to ideas. Maybe an Exposure Post on my Vols shoot if I can get it done in time (I’m about 75% done).
Wednesday: Dave Black is in town and we’re doing blind photo critiques on ‘The Grid.” Check my Facebook page later for a link. Of course, we’ll have a cool guest blogger on Wednesday as well.
Thursday: Brad will be giving any free stuff here on the blog. Probably stuff he’s not authorized to give away. We also release new classes every Thursday at, so they’ll be one or two for sure.
Friday: I’m keeping my fingers crossed about sharing some new technology on Friday, but it’s iPad related and believe it or not, I left my iPad in London (luckily, Dave Clayton found it in one of his bags — long story, changing trains, blah, blah), anyway Fed Ex has made me getting my own iPad require an act of Parliament, but hopefully I’ll have it in time for this cool new thing by Friday.

Hey, have you met Ajna?
She is our official “Dutchess of Social Media” and she’s awesome! If you’re not following her (she runs our KelbyOne twitter and Facebook page), ya know, you really oughta. She’s always posting behind the scenes photos, and running contests and giveaways and stuff, and she probably knows more about what’s actually happening tomorrow than I do (clearly), so give her a follow if you will.

That’s it for this “I’m at 33,000 feet” edition of my Monday blog, featuring a demotivational poster and a dash of selective color. This is the kind of stuff that just starts your Monday off with a sigh. I mean, a bang! I meant bang.


Faithful Delta Customer, Accidental Selective Color Guru, Mad at Fed Ex in the UK guy