Category Archives Photography

01_filesOne of my book readers, Tobias Gräning from Berlin, Germany, dropped me a note yesterday with a great tip, based on one of my tips in my Digital Photography Book, Volume 3. My quick tip was to make sure you download the free digital PDF versions of your camera’s user manual because they’re searchable, and you’ll find what you’re looking for a lot faster (I have PDF manuals for all my own gear).

He took the tip up a notch by telling me about an iPhone application called “Good Reader PDF” that is designed to let you download and read these large-sized PDFs (larger size PDFs than you can normally read on an iPhone or iPod touch). You can see a screen cap above how the PDFs are listed, and then how they’re displayed (it’s just 99¢ from the iPhone App Store).

You can’t imagine how handy it is having your camera’s user manual right out on location with you, without dragging the physical manual out in the field. Thanks Tobias for sharing this one with me (and my readers).


Professional Food Photography with Joe Glyda Now Online
We just had an online class “go live” this week that I’m particularly excited about; it’s Joe Glyda’s class on Professional Food Photography. Joe is a terrific teacher (if you’ve ever caught Joe during one of his sessions at Photoshop World you know what I mean), and he’s got some really great techniques in his new class. Here’s the link with all the details (NOTE: If you’re not a Kelby Training Online subscriber, you can still watch the first couple of segments by following that link). ALSO: I did a quick little video from the production set of Joe’s class to give some background on the class and what he’s teaching, and you can watch that short clip right here.

Next Stop For My Lightroom 2 Live Tour: Detroit
Well, it’s actually Livonia, Michigan, so it’s the greater Detroit area, but it’s going to be a great day (I take you all the through my actual workflow from start to finish), and I hope you can join me for my first Lightroom event in Michigan ever! Here’s the link for more details or to reserve your seat (it’s only $99—or $79 is you’re a NAPP member).

Model Releases for Photographers Class Now Online
Jack and Ed are back with a fantastic online class on when and why you need to have model releases, what they need to cover, and a host of things you’ve probably never considered, but if you shoot portraits of anybody—you’ll definitely need to know. Absolutely invaluable info! Here’s the link to view the lessons.

McNally’s Next Off-Camera Lighting Tour Stop is Washington DC
That’s right—the same one-day Off-Camera Flash workshop that Joe McNally sold out in San Francisco weeks early, is now headed to Washington DC on Friday, October 23rd. People are still talking about Joe’s San Francisco workshop, and I hope you’ll be able to snag one of the available spots for his day there (seating is limited, and filled on a first-come, first-served basis). Here’s the link for more info.

Next Stop For the Photoshop Down & Dirty Tricks Tour is Houston, Texas!
Brilliant Photoshop trainer and author of the “Photoshop WOW” book series Jack Davis is taking our Photoshop Down & Dirty One Day Workshop to Houston, Texas on Wednesday, September 23rd for a day of nothing but the hottest Photoshop special effects. Here’s the link for all the details (by the way; Jack totally rocks, and it was his original WOW! book series that got me hooked on Photoshop special effects. If you get a chance to learn from Jack in person—don’t miss it!).

What’s Coming Up Next in Online Classes
We’re welcoming a new photographer to our online teaching faculty when James (Jim) Schmelzer’s first online class goes live next week on creating Senior Portraits. I’ve been a fan of Jim’s teachings for a few years now (I have at least two of his DVDs on lighting), and I thought so much of his style and delivery, that I asked him to share his lightning and posing techniques in a series of online classes, and his first one just hits it right out of the park! If you’re into the growing Senior Portrait market, you’ve gotta see his class when it goes live next week at Kelby Training Online.

I know a lot of you have been asking about when my first “Light it, Shoot it, Retouch It” online class will be available at Kelby Training Online and the good news is; it’s set to follow the week after Jim’s class, so it won’t be long now. I’ve done three of these Light it, Shoot it, Retouch it, classes, and after the first one goes live, we’ll be working on finishing the 2nd and 3rd classes. I’ll let you guys know as soon as it’s up and running.

New Training DVDs Now Available
Everybody likes to learn a different way; some of our students like to learn online; some through books, some in live seminars, and some like to own DVDs of the classes themselves and the good news is; some of our most popular classes are now available as DVDs, including Moose Peterson’s very popular Yosemite Big Game Photography class, and Matt Kloskowski’s popular “Mastering Layers in Photoshop CS4” class. You can find both (and all our other DVDs) right here.

That’s it for this Kelby Training Update. I’ll let you know when the new stuff goes live! :)


A few weeks ago I got to do a photo shoot with a group of U.S. Army Black Hawk helicopter pilots from an Army Reserve Medevac unit. During the shoot my 2nd assistant on the job, Chris Cox, looks at me and says, “Is there any place where you feel less like a man than when you’re a civilian at at Army base?” We both just cracked up (because it’s true!). We stuck out for sure, but this was just really cool! Black Hawks. Army Base. We’re guys. What’s not to like? (click on the photo above for a larger view).

Brad and I had already done a scouting trip to the base a week earlier (in fact, it was through Brad that I got this opportunity in the first place, as one of his friends is not only a Black Hawk pilot, but a Lieutenant at the base). I knew I wanted to do some shooting with the choppers on the flight line as my backdrop, which would put us all out in the sweltering August Florida heat, so on the day of the shoot, we went as early in the morning as we could.


My initial idea was to use a Lastolite 4 foot x 6 foot scrim overhead, suspended on two light stands—(as seen above), to diffuse the direct sunlight, but no sooner than we got it set up, a huge cloud cover moved over the entire area, and we wouldn’t see the sun again for the rest of the shoot. I took a few test shots with this set-up (which is what you see above—photo by Brad Moore), but it was so overcast that the light was flat and boring.

Luckily, we had brought along the Elinchrom Ranger Quadra two-head strobe kit you saw me talk about a few weeks earlier with Mark Astman from Bogen Imaging (here’s the link). This was our first in-field test, and I have to tell you—-it performed even better than I had hoped. In fact, it was working so well, I had to call my buddy Terry White (who was considering a set for himself) during the shoot and I told him to go ahead and place the order right now. It’s that good!). It was great not having to mess with any wireless issues (the wireless receivers are built right into the Quadra units, so all you need is the matchbox-sized transmitter that sits on your hotshoe).

We could see some pretty scary-looking storm clouds way off in the distance slowly heading our way, so we went right to work. We took down the Lastolite scrim, and we attached an Elinchrom 39″ softbox on one of the Ranger Quadra heads, and mounted it on a light stand to the left of our subject (Our main subject that day was Lieutenant Rob Ozburn, Brad’s friend, and just a tremendous guy all around. In fact, everybody we met at the base that day was just fantastic!).

As hot as it was, Rob put on his heavy flight gear, helmet and all, to pose for the shots. Brad and I are out there in short sleeves, and we’re sweating to death, but it didn’t phase Rob one bit. I found out why; their choppers don’t have air conditioning (except for back where the wounded are), and the cockpit temperature can often reach over 120 degrees.

Rob flight line2sm

Rob Gogglessm

Here’s a couple of the shots out from out on the flight line. I had been shooting with my 200mm f/2 (seen in the previous production shot), but I couldn’t fit enough of the choppers in the frame, so I switched to my 14-24mm f/2.8, and shot this one out at 24mm at f/13. No HDR—-just Camera Raw.


As we were shooting, we could see the storm getting closer, and the Lieutenant wanted to get a group shot of his Medevac team, so we switched to a larger softbox (a 53″ MidiOcta) and relocated at the other end of the field. In the shot above, I’m discussing where to place some of the pilots, but as it turned out, we wound up shooting at an entirely different chopper from a different angle.


The storm is almost here. It’s not raining yet, but we don’t have much time. The guys are gearing up and coming out, but it takes a while to get everybody out to the flight line, so we’re checking out angles and deciding how to light the group. Brad was really pushing for me to fire up the 2nd head to cover that large space, but time was short, and I really thought I could cover it with one by just moving it back behind me and cranking it up to full power, so we lit the group shot (which you see at the top), with just that one single Ranger Quadra head with that 53″ Octa.


I finally got everybody in place (I positioned them in little clusters of three and four guys, which works great for group shots), then I put my 14-24mm wide angle lens on, got down low, and I positioned myself so the chopper blade would appear right over my head (thanks to the 14mm). I did this group shot (you can see the final image at the top of this post), then set up in front of the chopper for individual portraits, but by now the storm was nearly on us.

I only had time for about two frames each, and the base commander sent word out that there were lightning strikes in the area, so we headed right for the hanger. The hanger was only about 100 yards (90 meters) away; I had turned off my camera and we’re rolling the lightstand and strobe back to the hanger. We’re about half way there, and all of sudden the strobe fires—-then a second later CRACK!!!!! The lightning had triggered the flash and then a split-second later—BOOM!!!!! We raced inside, and within 60 seconds it was absolutely pouring!!!!


Since it was pouring outside; we set up inside. From my scouting the previous week, I knew I wanted to get a shot of Rob beisde a Black Hawk in the hanger, but also using the huge American Flag as a backdrop. I got down low and had the Lieutenant look up over me. I used that same single Quadra strobe but we switched to a 39″ square softbox, up high, to his left aiming down.

Same thing here for post processing. No HDR—-just Camera Raw (well, if you want to be technical, the Develop Module of Lightroom, which is Camera Raw).


After I got the shot with the flag, I set up to do individual portraits of each pilot, but rather than do the regular dark dramatic background, I took a cue from Tim Mantoani’s fantastic portraits of this year’s top NFL draft picks, and shot them on a white background (using a Lastolite HiLite background), and I used hard edge rim lighting from behind to skim each side of their face.

I used one of the heads from my Ranger Quadra to light the HiLite background, and then one as my main light the left of my camera position. We had to flag-off the two back rimlights (which are Elinchrom BXRIs powered by that Innovatronix Explorer XT battery pack I talked about back in June, and in Vol. 3 of my Digital Photography Book. So, I use four lights in all: 1 Quadra as a main light, one to light the HiLite, then the two Elinchrom BXRI’s to do the rim lighting on Rob. By the way; the 2nd boom stand extending into the Hi-light is just to steady to the Hi-lite—there’s no light attached.

By the way; do you see my laptop stand? I know what you’re thinking; “but where’s the laptop?” That’s coming up in a moment.


Here’s one of those shots on the white Hi-Lite background. They don’t compare with what Tim did on any level, but I’m glad I tried something different than I normally would. Again, no HDR, but like the other images here, it’s a single-image process I call EDP “Expanded Definition Processing.” I’m teaching a special tutorial on this for the NAPP member website, where I’ll use the same images you see here and take members through the process from start to finish.

Now to the “missing laptop” question. It died on the gig. Once we got inside the hanger, it started storming like I couldn’t believe (I learned later it was one of the worst thunderstorms we’ve had in years), and all of a sudden the wind changed, and the rain started blowing in on our equipment.

While I was shooting the flag portrait of Rob; Brad and Chris were quickly pulling the gear further inside—away from the rain. My laptop was on the tripod’s laptop stand, and while Brad was moving the whole rig by himself (and navigating through all the gear on the floor), he tipped the stand too much and my laptop fell right off onto the concrete floor. It was dead. It wouldn’t boot at all. Brad felt terrible, but I wasn’t upset at all. Brad was trying to help me out and protect my gear, which I really appreciated, but he still took it pretty hard.

Luckily, two things happened. From my experience in Denver earlier this year (and at the instance of my friend Terry White), I had a bootable backup of my laptop with me, so I was able to work immediately off that external drive. After we got back to the office, my IT guys got me a replacement hard drive; popped it in and it worked just fine (thanks Paul and Keith).

When I got home that night, I set my Apple Time Machine wireless backup device to restore my files (it had backed me up at 6:08 am that morning), and when I woke up the next morning, it was as if nothing had happened. Everything was back just as it was. I love Time Machine!


Here’s the last shot of the day (and one of my favorites), taken in natural light. I had Rob walk out of the hangar about half a dozen times, carrying his helmet, at various speeds, until I got the frame I wanted (seen above).

Then I overexposed the shot a bit in Camera Raw, and used Nik Software’s Silver Efex Pro to make the black and white conversion you see here (by the way; Silver Efex Pro is absolutely fantastic!!!!! If you’re into Black & White—get this plug-in!!!! Also, if you’re a NAPP member don’t forget to use your discount).

Despite the weather and laptop smashfest, we had a really great shoot. But beyond that, I really want to thank Lieutenant Rob Ozburn, and the men of F Co 5-159th AVN REGT who put their lives on the line in service to our country. It was a true honor to get to photograph these brave men.


The wait is over! After releasing the Canon version of their iPhone remote control app earlier this year, now OnOne Software has released a Nikon version of their app which lets you control your Nikon DSLR wirelessly from your iPhone or iPod Touch.

I haven’t given it a studio test yet (that’s coming next week), but basically what this puppy does is let you take control over your tethered Nikon DSLR, letting you change your f/stop, shutter speed—-you can even use LiveView to see what you’re camera’s seeing (right from your iPhone)—-and then use it actually take the photo wirelessly (think about using this when you’re shooting the kids!).

Anyway, you just gotta love that, technology like this for both Nikon and Canon shooters, is starting to appear. It’s $19.99 and you can buy it from the iTunes Store. Way to go OnOne!!!! Here’s a link with more details.


Hi Gang: A friend turned me on to Journeys Unforgettable, and their amazingly unique photographic workshops. Here’s the scoop on their next one (which is coming in October) which is going to Zambia & Zimbabwe (and I’m passing this on because NAPP members get $500 off). If you’ve got a sec; check out the details below (wish I could go!).


Join Host Journeys Unforgettable with Special Guest 2008 BBC Wildlife Photographer of The Year: Miguel Lasa and Dana Allen for an Extraordinary Unforgettable Photo Adventure into the Heart of the Wilderness to Zambia & Zimbabwe.

Miguel Lasa who was recently featured in the June 2009 Issue of Outdoor Photographer may be a physican by training, but he’s a top wildlife photographer by avocation.  Some of his top tips for your best wildlife photo moments are:  Passion & Patience, Understand Animal Behavior, Use a Fast Shutter Speed, and Utilize a Suitable Camera and Lens.

We are very fortunate to have this incredible duo for this photo safari workshop led by Photography Professionals Dana Allen and Miguel Lasa.

You will not only learn how to capture the moment, but receive daily in-depth instruction, giving you all the tips into how to optimize your incredible images and share with all!

The camps for this photo adventure have been specially chosen for the unique game behavior at this time of the year.  We are planning to visit the South Zambian Kafue National Park, famous for its open plains and incredible cheetah sightings.  Following this, is a visit for a couple of days on the Lufupa River which will allow for photography from a wet/water perspective with fantastic bird life.  Then it’s onto the famous Little Makalolo camp in Hwange National Park with some of the most amazing elephant sightings anywhere in the world!

-Daily Activities Include Fieldwork in Exotic Wild Africa
-Max. 4 Photographers Per Open Land Rover (each photographer has own row)
– 1 on 1 Instruction
-Classroom Lessons with Peer Review and Professional Critique
-Electrical Power 24/7 For Photographic and Computer Equipment
-An Experience That Will Change Your Life!

Arrive in Johannesburg on October 4th to Enjoy Group Dinner and Overnight at Luxury Hotel

  • October 5th Depart for Victoria Falls,Zimbabwe
  • October 5th Toka Leya Classc Camp in Zambia
  • October 6,7, 8, and 9 Shumba River Premiere Camp in Zambia
  • October 10 and 11 Lafupa Tented Classic Camp in Zambia
  • October 12,13,14, 15 and 16 Little Makalolo Classic Camp in Zimbabwe
  • October 17th Depart for Return to Johannesburg with onward flight to USA.

**Pre-Post Trip Extensions to other camps/cities available**

If interested, please contact to receive Special Pricing & Itinerary Details.

NOTE: *NAPP Members will Save Additional $500*

photo equipment on green grass

I guess it depends on how you look at it.

(NOTE: before you post a comment; please read Mike’s comments in the next post below, which explains what happened, and why FSU is absolutely not to blame).

You all know that on Monday we announced the winner for our “Shoot on The Sidelines with Scott & Mike,” contest, and Alex Walker, a really talented amateur sports photographer from Virginia won with an incredible shot of his son taken during a soccer (football) match.

You probably also know that a very vocal group of sports photographers were outraged at the fact that we did this contest in the first place. They didn’t feel an amateur, no matter how talented, had any place in “their world.” They were very bitter, angry, and made it very clear in online forums that having the winner on the sidelines was absolutely unacceptable.

But they didn’t stop there.

We just got word that these photographers were so upset that some of them contacted Florida State University directly, and told them they were making a mistake by letting an amateur “run amok” on the sidelines. This was dangerous. It’s not a good decision. This “amateur” has no business on the sidelines, and they should pull his sidelines pass!

Apparently, these angry sports photographers were very convincing. Florida State felt they had no choice but to rescind his pass Now, Alex will not get to shoot on the sidelines at the Florida State game.

Congratulations. You were able to steal Alex’s dream of shooting a big time game from the sidelines.

Yesterday I called Alex and told him the news. As you might imagine, he was very disappointed, but as good a photographer as Alex is, he’s even more of a gentleman and took the news like a pro.

He was already aware of the angry, hateful comments posted by some of these photographers, but I don’t think he ever thought it would come to this. Nevertheless, he was still grateful to have his photo chosen, and I’m sending him a bunch of cool goodies to, in some small way, take the sting out of losing out on such a wonderful opportunity, but obviously it won’t replace what was taken from him.

So, I guess these sports photographers felt it was really important for them to keep Alex off the sidelines, even though doing so:

  1. Wouldn’t put a dime in their pockets
  2. Wouldn’t in any way help their careers
  3. And wouldn’t impact their livelihood in any way

But they did manage to take a lifelong dream away from a very kind, talented dad, who just loves taking shots of his son.

My congratulations to this group of sports shooters on being able to convince Florida State University to change their mind. You should be very proud, and celebrate this great day for sports photography.