Category Archives Photography

jimmydsm

Above: My dear friend, colleague, and mentor, Jim DiVitale in a portrait I made backstage at Photoshop World for a personal project I called “Sessions” — it was a series of portraits of famous photographers who were also musicians (a pair of drum sticks in Jimmy’s hands).

My heart sank when I heard the news that my dear friend and colleague Jim DiVitale had passed away after a long tough battle with cancer. Jim was one of the brightest, most passionate, most helpful photographers on the planet — a working commercial photographer, dedicated educator, and just one of the nicest, most down to earth guys you’d ever want to meet. Respected and admired by his peers, and loved by his students around the world. We have lost one of the greats.

There will be so much written about Jimmy’s career, and his countless contributions to photography, education, and the photography industry as a whole, and what a pioneer he was in leading the transition from film to digital and introducing photographers to Photoshop. But here I want to share some very personal stories of how Jim directly impacted my career, and my life, and how Jim wound up touching so many people without even realizing it. It’s a story of how he planted seeds that grew into mighty oaks in my life, and my company’s history, and it’s a story that gives you some insights into the extraordinary person behind the gifted photographer and educator Jim truly was.

I’ll always remember the day I first met Jim
It was in Atlanta, at the Georgia World Congress Center attending a trade show held by “The Printing Industry of The South.” My business partner Jim Workman and I had flown up there to get some pointers on how we could improve the Photoshop World conference, which had just been launched earlier that year. Jim and I are walking around the show floor, when a man recognizes me; stops me and says,

“You don’t know me. I’m Jim DiVitale, and I was at your Photoshop World conference in Orlando a few months ago, and it was great. Really great! But you only had one class on digital photography. Digital is the next big thing, and it’s so important, and well…your instructor was just terrible. He seems like a really nice guy, but he’s a terrible teacher. I’m sorry, but he was just really, really bad.” 

I didn’t get upset at Jim’s critique of that class, because I knew he was right. I had read every attendee’s evaluation form from the conference, and I knew that particular class was the lowest rated class of all. Then Jim started to pitch to me how next year he should be the guy to teach the class. In fact, he said we really need more than just one class, but he’d help us put together some really solid classes on the topic, and he told me about how he had been teaching for PPA at their conference, and about these workshops he was doing, and it all sounded so great that I looked at my partner Jim, and he smiled and nodded, and I said…

“OK, you’re hired. You’re our digital photography guy for next year’s conference.”

Jim kept going like I hadn’t said anything, and he continued on with his resumé and what he would do if he had the chance, and I told him again. “Jim. You’re in. You’re hired. You’re the guy. I’m serious!” I don’t think he fully believed me, but I got his card and told him I’d be in touch soon. That was 1999. Jim has taught at every Photoshop World ever since. He was everything he said he would be, and then some.

It was Jim that helped us grow our entire curriculum of photography at Photoshop World, and he brought on guys who have been mainstays at Photoshop World for years, guys like food photographer Joe Glyda (one of the greatest guys ever), and fashion photographer and ace educator Kevin Ames (more on Kevin in a moment), and it was Jim’s idea to create a panel where we didn’t teach at all — instead we would celebrate the art of our incredible group of instructors. Well, “The Art of Digital Photography”panel, moderated by Jim himself, was born, and it soon became an institution at Photoshop World, where Jim shared the stage with celebrated photographers like Jay Maisel, Joe McNally, Jeremy Cowart, John Paul Caponigro, Moose Peterson, Joe Glyda, Dave Black, and many more and he was the host for an evening that often included roars of laughter and tears of joy; standing ovations and gasps of amazement; and a night no one in the crowd would soon forget. He was an incredibly gracious, and humble host, and the crowds loved Jim, and they loved seeing his work presented in this creative atmosphere.

Jim literally built my first studio. In one day, no less.
In Photoshop User magazine, we had been doing product reviews for many years, but we had to rely on contacting companies and getting them to send us product shots to use alongside their reviews. The quality ran from top notch to terrible; from high res to low res, and usually they had to ship them to us via mail or UPS, and that often delayed the magazine from going to press. We finally got to point where we realized we needed to be taking our own product shots for the magazine in-house, but I had never used studio lighting (only flash), and only then for shooting portraits, so I had no idea how to set up a product photography studio, let alone take the shots, but I knew Jim, and that’s who I called.

Jim, and his soon-to-be bride, the wonderful and talented Helene Glassman (a well known, highly respected portrait photographer herself), flew down to Tampa to our headquarters for the day; took me out to buy the materials we needed; came back and set it all up, and in one day literally built a small product photography studio, and then taught me how to light and shoot products for the magazine. This tiny table-top studio was built right on the other side of the wall of my office; using the first studio lights I ever owned. While it didn’t look fancy, or cost a lot, the product photos came out great, and it transformed the quality of our reviews in the magazine overnight, and we wound up doing so much more for the magazine with that tiny little studio; from artwork for feature stories, to shots for ads and for our mailers. After getting the studio up and running, Jim and Helene spent the rest of the day, and into the night, teaching me portrait lighting; Helene teaching me posing techniques, and Jim talking me through all the settings in the camera.

I just couldn’t get over that they would do that for me. All on their own time, all on their own dime, and they never asked for a penny in return. They were so patient, and answered my every question. As I stepped on stage two days ago in Dallas, Texas to teach 250+ photographers how to light and shoot a portrait, just an hour after learning the heartbreaking news that Jimmy had passed away, it wasn’t at all lost on me that I wouldn’t even be able to stand on that stage teaching portrait lighting at all, if it weren’t for Jim, and Helene, and that day. I’ve written bestselling books, taught numerous online courses, and done many live workshops on studio lighting (this was my 2nd year of teaching a Studio Lighting Master Class at Photo Plus Expo in New York, and speaking about studio lighting in Canon’s expo booth), and that’s all from the seeds Jim planted that day.

Looking to Jim for Guidance on my most-important book
After transitioning to digital myself; getting totally immersed in shooting again (I used to shoot film back in the day); and teaching so many photographers how to use Photoshop through my live seminars back then, I finally realized it was time to put all this into a book that would be called “Photoshop for Digital Photographers.” I had learned first-hand from the photographers that came out to my seminars, what the Photoshop challenges they were facing; what they were trying to accomplish, and of course I would include all that in the book. But if I wanted this to really be the book I wanted it to be — one that would help folks moving from film to digital to be able to really use Photoshop, it would have to include the stuff the pros would expect to be in there. I knew I needed to call Jim and get his guidance and input before I wrote the book.

A few days later, Jim and Kevin Ames (mentioned earlier, and a new Photoshop World instructor who really knew his stuff from both the camera side and the Photoshop side), flew to Tampa to help me out. They spent the day with me listing all the techniques I should include. Getting this type of feedback from Jim and Kevin, two working pros, was unbelievably helpful. The outline for the book was really starting to come together, and I think the three of us all realized that this could be that breakout book to really help photographers start using Photoshop for processing their digital images. Then Jim said,

“You know what would really set this book apart? You should include a tear-out gray card in the back of the book! Maybe one that’s perforated so they could tear it out and use it on shoots.”

I looked at Jim and said,

“What’s a gray card?”

After Jim and Kevin stopped giggling, and explained what it was and why it would be important, I was able to convince my Publisher, the wonderful Nancy Ruenzel, to include a gray card in that first edition of the book, published back in March of 2003. It’s been in every edition ever since, including the one that went to press just this month. There’s also a tear out gray card in my Lightroom book, too. Always has been. It’s there because of Jim. That Photoshop book was my biggest hit yet, and it opened a new world of post processing for hundreds of thousands of photographers around the world (it’s been translated into dozens of different languages over the years) and I owe a lot of the thanks to Jim, and to Kevin, who graciously shared their insight and ideas, and without whom the book never would have reached the worldwide audience it did. Jim did so many things like this, behind the scenes, to help our industry, to help his friends, to help his clients, and he had a impact on so many lives and careers — more than he would ever know, or take credit for.

Bestowing an honor well deserved
About three weeks ago I flew to Atlanta to see Jim, and to personally present Jim with a trophy he would have received in person in Orlando next spring, as he was to be inducted into the Photoshop Hall of Fame for his contributions to the art and education of Adobe Photoshop. I wanted to present it to Jim now, in case he wasn’t feeling up to making the trip down to Orlando. I also wanted to have the chance to let Jim know how much he meant to me, and how I would never forget the things he had done for me, my business, my family. I reminded him of the stories I just shared here with you. Jim was so humble and so gracious, and while of course he remembered all those occasions, from our first meeting, to teaching me studio lighting, to the book ideas, his column in Photoshop User magazine, and the Photoshop World conference all these years, he wouldn’t take credit for any of it. He didn’t see it as the big deal it really was. He’s just such a humble, down-to-earth person. Sharing like he did, helping and teaching other people — that’s just who he was.

He’ll never know how many people he inspired, informed, and helped along the way, and the seeds that were planted through this work will continue to grow for many years, and he leaves behind a legacy to be admired, celebrated and imitated. I will miss Jim, and I know so many of you that looked up to him and thought the world of him, as I did, will miss him, too.

When his wonderful wife Helene takes the stage in Orlando next spring to formally accept the Photoshop Hall of Fame award on Jim’s behalf, I know that hall will be filled with people that have been touched by Jim’s work; his teaching, and his heart for sharing what he had learned over the years, with an industry that meant so much to him.

I consider it a great blessing to have known Jim, and it has been an honor to call him my friend. Our industry and our lives are better because he was in it.

Jim, I shall never forget you. None of us will.

-Scott

My guest this week on “The Grid” was the most awesome dog photographer anywhere, Kaylee Greer (who, by the way, has the cover shot on the new National Geographic magazine “Nat Geo Wild“). On the episode (you can watch it above), she answers viewer’s questions; shares her techniques for dealing with hard to photograph dogs (and tougher to deal with dog owners), and well…she was just awesome. You will love it and learn a lot (she shares some great tricks, too!).

Kaylee is here at our studio filming another online course for KelbyOne that should be released in about four to six weeks. Her first class was such a huge hit, and she shared everything from lighting to post processing, but she’s got so much more to share, so we were out on location with her today filming her next class and we’re super psyched to be bringing more Kaylee your way.

Hope you all have a great weekend, and we’ll see you back here on Monday (well, I sure hope). :)

Best,

-Scott

titletracksexp

I am so excited about this personal project! It’s a photo collaboration between Kalebra and I (she comes up with the concept, and does the art direction and styling, and I do the lighting, shooting and retouching), and I can’t wait to share the first shot in the series with you today.

The whole story; the final image; and lots of behind-the-scenes shots (along with camera and lighting details) are over at this link. 

Thanks so much for checking it out. I can’t wait to shoot #2 in the series! (more details to come).

Hope you have an awesome Tuesday!

Best,

-Scott

It’s going to be a great Tuesday, let’s kick it off with some football and remote stuff:

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I had such a fantastic time shooting with the Miami Dolphins photo crew for the Dolphins big win against the Jets (shoutout to Surf, Jon, Brandon, and Jeff – these guys are doing some really progressive stuff photography wise and social media wise).

I was psyched to see one of my images on the Dolphin’s Social Media during the game. That’s one of my shots above, taken with a remote camera rig (see below), so I thought I’d break that down here on the blog.

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Above: Here’s the remote camera rig (I took this shot at the game). This is actually a surprisingly simple set-up.

(1) You need two PocketWizard Plus IIIs — that’s what wirelessly fires the camera. One goes on top of your remote camera (as seen here); the other goes on top of the camera you’re holding in your hand. You could just fire the remote by pressing the Test button on the other PocketWizard, but I prefer that it fires the remote automatically when I fire the camera I’m holding in my hands. All you have to do to make that happen, is put the second PocketWizard Plus III on the hotshoe mount of the camera you’re shooting. Boom. Done.

(2) You will need a little connector cable (sold by PocketWizard) that connects the PocketWizard to the port on the side of your camera where you’d normally plug in a cable release. Make sure you buy the cable that fits your camera’s brand, make and model.

(3) I use a Platypod Pro Max as my base. It’s very thin, sturdy as anything (made of aircraft grade aluminum), and I could do a whole blog post just about it and how you can use it. Believe it not, this will easily mount to a goal post. It’s the best ever!

(4) You will need some type of ballhead, so you can aim your camera. I used an inexpensive Oben BE-117 (around $79 from B&H Photo). Actually, a darn good ballhead for the price, and holds up to 17+ pounds.

Of course, you will need a body and a lens. I used a Canon 1Dx with a 14mm ultra wide angle lens to get a little more depth (since I had to position it kind of blindly).

Camera Settings
I set my f-stop at f/5.6, and my Shutter Speed was 1/1000 of a second, at 160 ISO (that ISO is courtesy of Auto ISO, which I always have turned on at the game, with the minimum shutter speed set at 1/1000).

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Above: Here’s the placement. The timing is so tight that you don’t get a lot of time to precisely position it. Since the players and the smoke aren’t firing at full bore, the whole thing is a bit of crap-shoot, which is why having an Ultrawide 14mm lens is a good choice. It’s going to get everything — it’s all going to be in focus, and you can just crop it in later. dolremote2

Above: Here’s a better look. This was taken with a 70-200mm I’m holding in my hands to shoot the player intros. Again, when I fire my handheld camera, it automatically fires that remote camera at the same time. Well, pretty close anyway.

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Above: Here’s the shot taken with my handheld 70-200mm, shooting down on my knees (oy!). Not nearly as epic looking or dynamic as the remote shot down super low, and plus you see the other photographers in the tunnel (special thanks to our buddy Jon Willey for wearing that bright green vest and positioning himself right in the frame). ;-)  The video guy behind him didn’t follow every player out — just the last one, so you wouldn’t normally see him. But Jon? Yes, of course, always. In every frame. Like a beacon in the night. Or in the smoke. Whatever…he was there. I took the last chicken wing in the photo workroom just to get even with him. ;-)

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Above: Sometimes you get lucky and for just a few moments Jon gets hidden behind one of the smoke plumes. Ahhh, but you just can’t count on that smoke.

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Above: This is the un-cropped 14mm lens shot so you can see how wide it really is. Now that is WIDE!!!!

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Above: I had to shoot a couple of stadium shots with the 14mm, before they opened the doors to the public.

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Above: The 14mm from the 50-yard-line up high.

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Above: Of course, I had to try a 15mm fisheye shot, while I was there. There’s always room for one or two fish shots.

I hope you found at least some of that helpful. The remote camera thing is easier than you’d think, and it’s not just for sports — the last wedding I shot, I set up a remote camera behind the alter to get the expressions of the Bride and Groom.

The Dolphins Photo Crew Rocks!
A big thanks to Jon, Surf and the crew for the opportunity to shoot with you guys. What a first-class operation — everybody we met was so incredibly gracious and really made me (and my buddy Winston who was shooting with us), feel right at home. I was so impressed with how they’re running their photo operations (with 8 on-field photographers at home games) and their integration and support of social media. These guys are leading the way, and it was fascinating to see what they’re doing now, and what they have planned in the future. Also, my personal thanks to Dolphins photographer, the awesome, Rob Foldy, for bringing us all together in the first place. Feel the love, baby!

One for the road…
It’s a pano of the stadium taken with my iPhone 7.

pano

Have a great Tuesday everybody, and I hope I’ll see you tomorrow at 4pm ET for “The Grid” — we’re talking about Lighting and other fun stuff!

Best,

-Scott

P.S. Hey Las Vegas photographers – My seminar is coming there in 8-days. Come out and spend the day with me. 

Sorry for the late post, gang. I shot the Thursday night game last night and got home after 1:30 am and I was beat! Anyway, I’ve been meaning to post some pics from some of the games I’ve been shooting, but I’ve been shooting so sporadically (the Bucs have been on the road so much), but I’ve finally got a chance to share some of the my favorites.

After that long drought, now I’ve got three games in one week (Last Sunday’s Bucs vs. Raiders, last night’s Bucs vs. Falcons and this Sunday’s Dolphins vs. Jets down in Miami).

Today I’m sharing some from the Bucs vs. Falcons (last night); Vols vs. Alabama College game, plus Bucs vs. Raiders. I’ll post my gear and settings at the end.

Bucs vs. Falcons
Raymond James Stadium, Tampa (Bucs are in their red “Color Rush” uniforms for Thursday night)

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Bucs vs. Raiders
Raymond James Stadium, Tampa

NFL 2016 - Buccaneers vs. Raiders

 

 

Tennessee Vols vs. Alabama Crimson Tide
Shot in Tennessee with the awesome Vols crew, led by Donald Page (you’ll see him in the gallery with the sunglasses).

 

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Camera Gear
> Main Body: Canon EOS 1Dx with a Canon 400mm f/2.8 lens on a Gitzo monopod
> 2nd Body: Canon EOS 1Dx with a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens
> Black Rapid Strap for 2nd body.
> Accessories as shown below.

Note: For the Vols game, I also used a 14mm super wide angle lens mounted on the end of the Monopod and triggered using a PocketWizard Plus III

loadout

Camera Settings
Aperture: f/2.8 (never changes)
Shutter Speed: 1/1000 of a second minimum (I use Auto ISO with the minimum shutter speed set to 1/1000)
ISO: Varies but it’s chosen automatically because I use Auto ISO

Hope you found that helpful.

OK, I’m off to shoot the Dolphins. Hoping to be able to set up a remote camera for the player intros, and I’ll be taking some shots of the stadium up with with it empty before they open the stadium to the public.

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Best,

-Scott

P.S. Photographers in Las Vegas — I’m there with my Shoot Like a Pro: Reloaded seminar in just a couple of weeks. Come on out and spend the day with me. 🙂

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Hi gang — and greetings from the Sacramento airport (we wrapped up our seminar here today and Brad and I are headed home on a red eye. Zzzzzzzzz).

OK, so here’s what I’m working on…
It’s a new online class for KelbyOne on reducing noise in your photos, and I’m planning on covering it from both sides — the camera side of things, and of course the post processing, and here’s where I need your help: I want to make sure I cover all the most common noise scenarios, so if there’s a particular kind of noise you struggle with in your photography, please leave me a comment here, and I’ll try to include it in the class.

I plan on covering everything from long exposure noise reduction, to high ISO / low-light issues, along with issues that come from opening up the shadow areas even on low ISO images. I’m going to share lots of different strategies, including 3rd party plug-ins, native solutions, in-camera options, and more. Let me know the kind of stuff you’re having to deal with, and I’ll try to tackle it in the class (again, just leave me a comment below).

I’ve got another new Photoshop class coming out this week…
On Thursday we’re releasing my new “Removing Distracting Stuff using Photoshop” online class. I packed that baby full of stuff that we run into day in/day out, and I think it’s going to help a lot of people. I did it one problem at a time, so people can just go right to the type of thing they want to remove and, short and sweet, you’ll see exactly how to remove them. I’m also posting lots of downloadable practice files so you can practice along with the tutorials. More on Thursday when it launches.

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Above: Here’s a shot from Monday morning, before we opened the doors at my seminar in Sacramento. It probably looks pretty much the same right now, since it’s been 5-1/2 hours since the seminar ended. LOL!). Really enjoyed meeting everybody – such a wonderful crowd of photographers to present to (and thanks for the great turnout!). Can’t wait to come back!

OK, that’s it for tonight (well, by the time you read this…it’ll be morning, right?)
Hope you all have a good night. I’m home for a while, until my next seminar, which is in Denver on Monday, November 14th, and then Las Vegas on Wednesday, November 16th. Here’s where you get tickets.

Best,

-Scott

newtele

P.S. Did I mention I got a new guitar? Well…I did! (it’s not actually “new” – it’s used – just new to me). It’s a 2008 Schecter PT Tele with coil tapped Super Rock humbuckers. I’ve had my eye on one for a while, but I finally came across the right deal, and now she’s sitting at my desk. I haven’t had much of a chance to play her (or change her funky colored strings), but I’m hoping to get a chance this week.

Dig the high gloss finish and lack of pick-guard (which I particularly love, since tele’s pretty much always come with a pick guard). OK, now I have to sell one (or two) to make room. Reverb.com here I come!

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