Category Archives Photography

I love natural light
Love it! I don’t talk about it a bunch here on the blog, because it seems like I’m always lighting something, but you might be surprised that I don’t always walk into every situation thinking I’m going to light it. Oh, don’t get me wrong, we always bring a flash or two, but in most cases I’d prefer to use natural light. Why? Three reasons:

(1) It’s easy
(2) It’s free. (Well, mostly)
(3) It’s fast (that’s really a biggie for me)

If there’s available natural light I try to use it first
That was the case with the shot you see above (that’s a two-page spread in a wedding book I’m working on). This is up in the balcony  and there were all these beautiful old wooden theater-looking seats (great looking, but not particularly comfortable) and to the right of the scene above is just this huge window. Huge! So of course my first thought was â” let’s just use natural light.

The problem is: natural light isn’t always beautiful light
Sometimes, even indoors like this with a big beautiful window with a shade streaming natural light, that light can still be really harsh, dappled and unflattering (or in our case, all three).

If we think we might have the opportunity to use natural light, I have Brad bring at least a 1-stop Diffuser (something that goes between the direct sunlight and our subject, like the Lastolite 1-stop TriGrip diffuser you see above, to spread and soften the sunlight). The sunlight at this time of day (around 3:00 pm) was so bright and harsh that even when we diffused it, our bride was still squinting and the light was still kinda harsh. Look at the light on the chair to the right of her and you can see how harsh that light is.

You’d think the light would be even….
But we soon realized that while we could diffuse the light somewhat (we really needed a 2-stop diffuser), we’d still have very strong dappled beams of light landing right next to her so we wound up chasing down these beams and positioning the diffuser in different places (that’s John our 2nd assistant on the shoot jumping in front of some dappled beams).

This is why I always bring a light. Or two. 
I just wasn’t happy with the natural light, and our inability to control it, so I called down to Brad to bring up a flash head with a small softbox (it’s a 27″x27″ square softbox). I have to tell you, it’s pretty frustrating to be standing in a room with this much light and still have to bring out a flash, but we were having such a hard time getting the light where we wanted it. We finally moved the bride to a different location, hoping for better luck by placing her back a few rows into an area that wasn’t getting much harsh light, but we still had to use the diffuser to keep some of the direct beams from falling on her, or near her.

The idea was to have her in a dark part of the chairs, and then just put a little light on her, and have everything else look pretty dark and dramatic, and this new set-up seemed to work OK. It’s not great light. It’s not amazing light or anything — it was more like just having a problem, solving it to some extent, getting a decent shot so we could move onto another location with the groom waiting downstairs.  Once we got it “in the ballpark” I took the shot using a super-wide 14-24mm lens, and rolled out of there. I basically cut my losses because although I felt like with another 15 or so minutes I could have probably nailed the lighting, I didn’t have another 15 or so minutes.

In the end….
I think the shot works in the two-page spread you saw at the top of this post, even though with that cool of a set-up (with a gorgeous stained-glass window on the far left, and these wonderful old chairs wrapping around), I really thought I could come up with something really special, but just didn’t. I played the hand I was dealt and we both folded. I didn’t win, and the harsh light didn’t win, but I lived to light another day. Hopefully next time, it’ll be later in the day, and I’ll be by a north-facing window —- one that hasn’t been washed in an awfully long time. :)

It’s a beautiful day here in Chicago today (should hit around 80°) and I hope you’re one of the nearly 600 photographers who’ll be here for my “Shoot Like a Pro” tour. Looking forward to meeting everybody!

Don’t forget the big Sneak Peek coming from Adobe tomorrow for photographers on “The Grid” at 4:00 pm LIVE (here’s the link).

I’ve gotta get over to the Convention Center. Here’s wishing you all a beautiful 80° kinda weather day!).

Cheers,

-Scott

 

http://youtu.be/G-y44OzzbZs

Check out the short video above (it’s like 90-seconds or so) which explains why Adobe is doing this unprecedented sneak peek, but once you watch that, here are the specifics:

Who: Tom Hogarty from Adobe Systems
When: Wednesday, May 1st at 4:00 PM ET (New York time)
Where: Live on “The Grid” (here’s the link)
Why: This is your chance to get straight answers straight from the source and to see a sneak peek of some stuff I haven’t even seen yet — but I heard about them— and you’re definitely going to want to see ’em! (everybody will be talking about it on Thursday!)

See you on Wednesday!

Happy Friday everybody! Here’s Five Quickies (stop snickering):

http://vimeo.com/64780209

That’s an awesome drum solo from Scott Stahley, the drummer in my band “Big Electric Cat,” taped live with a remote camera mounted beside the drums by Scott Diussa last week during our gig at B.B. Kings Bar & Grill in Orlando (during Photoshop World). Scotty is an killer drummer, so if you’ve got a sec, check out his solo right above (thanks to Scott Diussa for shooting and sharing it).

One from yesterday’s bridal shoot
I shot this yesterday for a project I’m working on . It was taken at a small church in downtown Tampa, and it’s lit with just one flash and a small 27″ soft box. 1/80 of a second (I choose a slower shutter speed so you can see more of the available light in the church), and f/4 (I chose a wider aperture than I would in the studio so the background would be out of focus). You’ll see a lot more from this project, soon! :)

http://youtu.be/Dwx49Wq-PX0

New Wacom Cintiq 13HD 13″ Unboxing Video
Our own Pete Collins got his hands on the coolest new, small-sized Cintiq and he had an unboxing video (like only Pete can). You can watch it right above.

In the video above Pete talks about a “Out of the Box” setup and configuring video that gives you a little bit more of a look at the 13HD. If you want to check that out, click on the link here: http://kel.by/Y05R8y

http://youtu.be/jPdtn-reu_c

If you missed “The Grid” This week with our topic “A Current Look at Social Media for Photographers…”
Well, it’s right above. Lots of great interaction and questions from the live viewers, plus we have a couple of giveaways for folks who are watching the rebroadcast, so I hope you’ll check it out.

I am really enjoying curating “Cool Photography Stuff” (my own Flipboard 2.0 Magazine)
If you have the App “Flipboard 2.0” for the iPad  I invite you to check out my free Flipboard magazine called “Cool Photography Stuff” which I curate by including cool photography stuff I find during my daily research. I put everything in there from news to tutorials to beautiful images from photographers all over the world. Best of all, it’s free (yay!). NOTE: There is now an Android version of Flipboard, but they haven’t released the 2.0 update yet which includes the self-curated magazine feature— I’ve heard rumors it’s coming within the next month.

If you have the Flipboard 2.0 App, launch the App and go up in the search field search and search for the magazine by name (It shows “Skelby” as the person it’s from, but that’s me). I update it about every day (including weekends), and often several times a day. Hope you find it helpful, because it sure is fun (Also, thanks to the 4,500 photographers who have already subscribed and get my magazine in their Flipboard field daily now).

Here’s the direct link: http://flip.it/zLnnZ

Now, it’s Pro Hockey Photography Workshop Time!
We kick off our workshop tonight, so you’ll be seeing images from the workshop over on my Facebook, Twitter and G+ feeds (hope you’ll follow me there). Looking forward to seeing everybody tonight, and we’ll see you on the ice!

Cheers everybody, and here’s wishing you your best weekend this year so far! :)

Chicago, here I come!
I’ll be there this coming Tuesday with my “Shoot Like a Pro Tour” and if you’re anywhere in the Chicagoland area you’re invited to come out and spend the day with me (the short video below explains the tour). There’s already over 450 photographers signed up for the day, so if you want to come, reserve your seat right now (it’s $99 for the full day of training; just $79 if you’re a NAPP member). Here’s the link with more info or to sign up. See you on Tuesday the 30th! 

http://youtu.be/2CKquHZYYxQ

P.S. My next tour stops are Seattle on May 23rd and Los Angeles on May 24th.

Review of Photoshop World
It was my buddy Mike Olivella’s first time to Photoshop World, and every time I saw Mike he was like a kid at Christmas. Mike sent me an email yesterday with a link to a review he wrote on his BaseLineShots blog with his full review, lots of photos, and stories. Here’s the link if you’ve got a sec.

If you’re into aviation photography, this is for you!
The International Society of Aviation Photography (ISAP) is holding their annual conference next month (May 16-18) in Seattle and I’ve got to tell you, they put one of the best photography conference anywhere! The shooting access they get, and the quality of instructors (Matt Kloskowski is teaching there this year), and the camaraderie between the attendees makes it really a blast (I’ve been to three of their conferences so far, and I’m an ISAP member as well). Can’t recommend their event enough — absolutely a steal at $275 (if you sign-up before the 26th. Afterward it’s still just $300). Here’s the link with more info.

A big thanks to everybody who follows me on Twitter!
Last week I was psyched to hit 100,000 followers on Twitter, and I wanted to thank everybody there for the follows. I answer a LOT of questions there because the answers can be so short and sweet, so if you’re not following over on Twitter, come on over (here’s the link). Many thanks for the follows everybody!

This weekend? It’s Hockey Workshop Time!
Oh yeah! Hockey baby!!! Our professional hockey photography workshop is on again this weekend! Looking forward to hanging with Scott, Mike, and photographers from all over the world. Can’t wait! #kickice!

My Portfolio Update Continues
I’m still working with portfolio consultant Stella Kramer (link) on my portfolio — will be for a while now (by the way, people like Dave Black and Jack Reznicki had nothing but great things to say about Stella when I saw them at Photoshop World  — they had worked with her when she was a magazine photo editor). Tweaked the Sports portfolio some more and I updated my regular portfolio so the background color is white (seen above); then I consolidated Football and Sports into just one category; I consolidated Travel & Landscape into one category (yes, I greatly lowered the number of images in each); and I got rid of the personal category (it lives over on the Sports site). Still lots of work to do, but it’s progressing.

Taping an online class with Peter Read Miller
Late next week (after I get back from my Chicago seminar), I’m spending a day taping an online class for Kelby Training Online with a legend of Sports Photography, long-time Sports Illustrated shooter Peter Read Miller.

I asked Peter to do a very specific class which I think it going to help a lot of shooters out there. He’s going to go sport-by-sport and show exactly “what makes a great sports photo!” For example, if you’re shooting tennis, where should the ball be in the frame (and does it need to be in the frame). If so, what makes the best position; which angles are best, what should your shooting position be, and exactly what are you aiming for during the shoot? (and so on). I took his workshop up in Atlanta and he had some amazing insights into exactly this type of stuff — so much so I thought it would make a brilliant online class, and I can’t wait to hear what he has to share.

I’m pretty much heads down right now on a book project
I know, like always, right? When I write a book I really have to kind of shut everything off and just focus, so if I don’t respond to emails in a timely fashion (or later than usual. LOL!), or I’m about impossible to reach by phone, or if my blog posts go up late for a few weeks (ahem), well, at least you’ll know why.

Thanks everybody, and here’s wishing you a fantastic Tuesday!

Yes, there are portfolio consultants, and I found an awesome one!
My friend Jason Joseph turned me on to her work and after listening to her doing a guest-spot on a podcast; then checking out her Web site (link), and eventually talking with her on the phone, I was convinced she could really help me, and she already has.

Her name is Stella Kramer, and even though we just started working together, I can’t tell you how much I learned from just our first hour working together. I took a whole page of notes, but what I learned was far beyond just tweaking my portfolio. Really just an eyeopening, enlightening, and fascinating look into a different side of the business (I’ve got to get her to write a guest blog one day). Anyway, one of the first things she proposed for me was to separate out my sports photography into a separate site, which I did (that’s it shown above).

Here’s the link.

I created this new sports portfolio over at Squarespace.com using one of their built-in templates (they have really cool layouts) and it’s linked directly into my SmugMug.com portfolio (since the two companies have an alliance  — note the little SmugMug logo on the left side under my navigation).

Anyway, while my new sports portfolio site isn’t quite complete yet, (but hey…it’s a start)
Lot’s more work to do with Stella moving forward including the art of sequencing the images and a wide range of stuff but this was at least one of my homework assignments from her, so I’m on my way.

Let me know what you think of the new layout. Hope you guys have a great Monday — I’m off to Photoshop World! Hope I see you there. :)

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