Category Archives Photography


I’ve been wanting to try out Lastolite’s new Kickerlite ever since I read about it back around the Photokina time frame, and while doing some shoots for my Digital Photography book, Volume 3 , I finally got a chance to use it, and I have to say, it’s surprisingly sweet (and a lot better than I thought it was going to be by just looking at it and reading the description of what it’s supposed to do).


So, here’s how it works: it sits on the floor in front of your subject (as seen above—photo by Brad Moore) and it’s in the shape of a wedge aiming up at your subject (kind of like a vocal monitor for all you rock heads out there) and it kind of looks like a softbox.

There’s a horizontal H-shaped pole and flash bracket in the back where you mount one of your existing strobes on it. Then you aim the strobe down into the kicker light wedge at a 45° angle, and that light hits an angled reflector inside and that light is bounced back up toward your subject, and it creates a wide, soft, flattering fill light on your subject (it diffuses the light from the strobe by two stops).

What makes this different than a standard reflector is that a standard reflector can only reflect light coming from another strobe. The Kickerlite actually has a light inside it (well, you add a light to the back and it aims inside) so you have full control over the amount of light that it creates. This does an amazing job of evenly lighting your subject, minimizing shadows under the chin, eyes, and hair, and it almost gives your subject’s face a glow (as seen in the image below).


Here’s the shot (above) I took using the set-up you see above (the main light is an Elinchrom RX-600 strobe with a Beauty Dish Attachment on it, and the strobe on the kicker light is an Elinchrom BXRI-500. However, you could also attach an off-camera flash like an SB-800 or a Canon 580EX II there instead.

I thought I’d show a quick comparison of the difference between using a reflector, and the same set-up using a Kickerlite instead (see the images below), and that pretty much tells the story right there.


The Bottomline
I initially thought this thing might be a bit gimmicky, but after trying it we were not only pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to set-up and use, it had a bigger effect than we thought it would. It was a little weird using it at first because I’m not used to having much control over the light from what would normally be just a reflector, so I never had to make a decision about how much light should come from the reflector. I guess having that option of how much light you want from where a reflector would normally be is actually a good thing. It works well for lighting everything from beauty-style portraits to full length shots because of the large soft wrapping flow of light.

It does seems a tad expensive since you have to add your own light (I would think the pricing sweet spot for something like this would be in the $150 range, where it would be a no-brainer). I also think the name “Kickerlite” may cause some confusion because at the end of the day, its not a light; it’s a softbox (well, at least until you add a light inside it). Those two minor quibbles aside, it’s pretty a pretty clever unit all the way around and you can’t argue with the results.

The 3′ x 4′ Kickerlite comes with the softbox, the flash bracket, and a carrying case (it folds down to about 1/3 its size) for around $207 over at B&H Photo (here’s the link). You can learn more about it over at


I’ve talked about before (which is basically a site that does a very clever job of gathering blogs about specific topics and it puts them all on one handy page, but that’s just part of the story). They call it, an “online magazine rack” that they update every hour.

Anyway, just recently, they introduced a feature called “MyAlltop” where you can set up your own Alltop page, with your own favorite blogs on it. So, I put one together with blogs about Photoshop, Photography, the Mac, and other stuff I check each day, and of all the things like this I’ve tried (various RSS readers, blog aggregators, Google-this, Yahoo-that, etc.), this is the quickest to use and easiest to set up.

One of my favorite features of Alltop is that you can move your cursor over a headline and it shows you the first paragraph or so from that post, so you can quickly decide if you want to click the link and read more.

It’s free to sign up, and once signed up, you just search by topic (Photoshop for instance), and it shows you a list of the Photoshop blogs they follow. To add one of those, you just check the box, and keep on choosing blogs until you’ve got your own custom page set up. You can also reorder the blogs in the order you want them to appear by just dragging and dropping. Anyway, it’s free, and quick, and definitely worth a try. Here’s the link to set-up your own page.

Let me know what you think after you’ve tried it for a few days. (If you want, you can check out my own page by going to


When you get featured in Nikon World magazine, you get to do something that’s almost as cool as being in the magazine itself; they do a live interview with you (about a month after the feature comes out), where you get to tell the story behind each shot featured in the magazine. Then they marry that interview with the images and it becomes a really cool online audio slideshow and the whole thing is really nicely done. (Here’s the link to the audio slideshow interview).

Nikon did a great job with this whole concept (what a perfect follow-up to the article), and if you’ve got a few minutes I invite you to check it out over at their site (here’s the link to my feature page (shown above); just click the “Audio Slideshow” link or the direct link in the previous paragraph.

Also, I’m equally as excited that Nikon has asked me to do a similar live presentation in their booth each day at the Photo Plus Expo (PPE) in New York City this October (I’ll be including more photos in those presentations), so I hope you’ll catch the ‘live’ version then. Thanks to everyone at Nikon USA, and at Nikon World magazine for these wonderful opportunities. It truly is a honor.


Just a quick update on yesterday’s official launch:

  • After a few Web site hiccups in the morning, we got most of the kinks worked out and a number of walks were completely full by dinner time (I believe Terry White’s Detroit Photo Walk was the first one to fill up) so if you’re thinking of joining a walk; I wouldn’t wait.
  • I approved dozens more city leaders last night (including walks in China, Portugal, Australia, Thailand, Japan, Canada, France, The Netherlands, The Philippines, Germany, and a dozen or so other countries, including dozens of locations in the USA) but until those leaders activate their pages, you won’t be able to sign up for their walks.
  • We have a fast-growing list of cities, and you can find them by going to the official Website, then clicking on Cities, and when the map appears, click on the “List by City” link just above the top left side of the map.
  • If a walk in a particular city fills up, we’ll check to see if someone has applied to be a leader, and then we can see about adding a 2nd walk.
  • The NAPP Gang: RC is leading a walk in Dunedin, Florida. Brad Moore is going to be leading a walk in downtown Tampa. Matt Kloskowski and Dave are also leading walks, but I’m not sure where yet. Corey Barker is leading the walk in Safety Harbor, Florida.
  • Just a note: the folks this year have done a great job of sharing their qualifications for leading walks, and it’s making the process move along much faster, so thanks to everyone who took the extra time.
  • has joined on as an official WWPW sponsor, and my thanks to our co-sponsor Adobe Systems for their support (we’re working on some cool stuff with them for the walk—–more as soon as it’s all in place), plus my thanks to, Peachpit Press (publisher of my books), and of course NAPP (but they really had no choice, eh?).

Also, a big thanks to everyone who has volunteered to lead to walks, and shown such enthusiasm for this worldwide social photography event. You guys make it an awful lot of fun!


Today’s it’s official, as we announce the date for Scott Kelby’s 2nd Annual Worldwide PhotoWalk™ to celebrate the upcoming release of “The Digital Photography Book, Volume 3,” and you’re invited to be a part of this global, social photography event.

Here’s a quick Q&A with all the details.

Q. When is the official PhotoWalk day?
A. It’s Saturday, July 18th.

Q. What exactly is a PhotoWalk?
A. Watch the short video clip on the home page over at the official Worldwide PhotoWalk Website (here’s the link).

Q. Is there a fee to participate this year?
A. Once again it’s free—there is no fee to join this year’s walk—just come and have a ball!

Q. Do you have any cities signed up with PhotoWalks yet?
A. We already have 183 cities around the world which have scheduled PhotoWalks.

Q. How did those cities gets walks already?
A. We gave last year’s PhotoWalk leaders the first opportunity to lead a walk this year.

Q. How many cities participated last year, and how many photographers did the PhotoWalk that day?
A. We had:

  1. 8.324 photographers register for local walks
  2. 47 Countries had participating cities
  3. 44 States in the US had PhotoWalks
  4. We had a total of 236 cities worldwide
  5. More than 1,017,125 photos were taken on walks that day

Q. How can I lead a PhotoWalk?
A. You apply over at the official Worldwide PhotoWalk website: ( and click on the “Lead Your Own PhotoWalk” link.

Q. Does everyone get accepted as a PhotoWalk leader?
A. We’re looking for people who have experience leading groups, so if you’re the president of your local camera club, or a college teacher, or photography instructor, or you run a local camera store, or you’ve lead PhotoWalks in your area before, etc., you’re more likely to get accepted to be a leader. We ask for your qualifications on the leader application, and that’s the type of experience we’re looking for. Last year, we had some people put, “Well, nobody else signed up from our city, so I guess I’ll do it.” That’s doesn’t instill a lot of confidence in you as a leader. So, in short, I read every application myself. If you convinced me you’d make a good leader, I approved you.

Q. What if my city already has a PhotoWalk, but I want to lead a walk, too?
A. Some big cities can accommodate more than one walk, and so as soon as one starts to fill up, we add a 2nd city walk if we have a leader apply. Or, if the walks are held geographically far from each other but technically in the same major city, we usually add those, too. (Cities like Paris, New York, London, Tokyo all can have multiple walks and draw from totally different population groups)

Q. What do I get for being a PhotoWalk leader?
A. You get a free copy of my upcoming book, “The Digital Photography Book, Volume 3” as soon as it’s released, and you get to pick the best shot from your group and award them with a free copy as well. Plus, that person is entered into the grand prize competition.

Q. Do I have to enter the prize competition?
A. Absolutely not. This is a totally separate part of the experience, and if you don’t want to enter your images, you absolutely don’t have to (it’s just to make the experience more fun). Some people freaked out last year thinking they were required to enter, but just know—you absolutely don’t have to enter your image—you can go and shoot for the day, and never let anyone see your photos. Ever. They can be your private “secret” photos.

Q. So are you going to choose the Grand Prize winner from all the city winners?
A. You betcha!

Q. Did you get any complaints last year about how the winners were chosen?
A. Absolutely. People get pretty cranked if they think their image deserved to be the winner and wasn’t chosen, but after being one of the Guru Awards judges for 10 years, along with judging other competitions over the years, I’m kind of used to that response. Surprisingly, I didn’t get one single complaint about my picks from any of the winners.

Q. So are you going to try and work some angle so that Orphanage in Kenya gets something out of this?
A. Ahh, you know me too well. I had been trying to come up with a good tie-in, but luckily one of my readers, Rob from Towner Jones Photography, came up with a great idea—we’re going to create an official Worldwide PhotoWalk T-shirt, and 100% of the profits from the sale of any of these t-shirts will go to feeding the kids at the Springs of Hope, Kenya Orphanage. I think it’s a great idea, and I’m so grateful that Rob wanted to help in this way (I finally met Rob at my DC seminar—a really great guy!). As soon as we’ve finalized the design, we’ll put a link on the Web site.

Q. How come the people following you on Twitter got advance notice about the day, and early access to the Website?
A. That’s part of my deal with them. This is just the beginning.

Q. So are you leading a PhotoWalk again this year?
A. You betcha! I love PhotoWalks, and I’m planning mine for Ybor City (just outside Downtown Tampa, near where Dave Cross led his walk last year).

Q. What about Jeff Revell of
A. You know Jeff’s in, but I doubt he’ll lead two walks in the same day this time around. (That really kicked his butt). Also, I just saw where David duChemin is leading a walk in Vancouver, Canada. Sweet! Of course, Matt, Dave, and RC will be leading walks too (and if I can weasel Corey into one, he’ll have one as well). Moose Peterson will be up in Alaska and he might lead a walk up there (everybody loves PhotoWalks).

Q. What was the best thing that came out of last year’s walk?
A. I think it was the fact that so many photographers not only made new friends, but then went on to form their own photo walks during the year. This is totally a social event, and that’s why makes it so much fun. Most of the people on my walk had never done a Photo Walk before, but everybody had so much fun, they all wanted to do one again right away. Photo Walks are infectious, because when you get that many creative people together, who all have the love of photography in common, you can’t help but have a great time.

Q. What happens when a city fills up?
A. It’s full.

Q. How many is full?
A. PhotoWalks are limited to 50 photographers. If that doesn’t sound like a lot, you haven’t seen 50 photographers coming down the sidewalk at the same time, and later all converging at once on a restaurant or pub. It’s more like a scary bike gang (except without the bikes, or gang, or scariness).

Q. Hey Scott, this isn’t exactly PhotoWalk related, but you’re in Denver tomorrow for your Lightroom seminar on Wednesday—are you looking for a great place to shoot tomorrow at sunset around the Denver area?
A. Wow, you read my mind (and you snuck this in my Photowalk Q&A. Pretty clever). Yeah, if you know of a great place to shoot, let me know or I’ll just stay holed up in my hotel room with a big bag of chips. I mean, with “rice cakes and bottled water.”


Q. Hey is that you on your walk from last year?
A. Yup, that was taken right when we headed out (photo by RC). It was raining at first, but right at 10:00 am, when my walk was scheduled to start, the rain stopped and we didn’t get a drop again until we were in the restaurant having ricecakes and bottled water.

Q. I want to know more about this PhotoWalk thing; what’s involved, how do I sign up, and all that stuff. Where do I go?
A. There’s a detailed FAQ on the Website (here’s the link), but we’re still tweaking the site a bit (adding new features and a master list of all the cities), but we’re lightyears ahead of where we were last year at this same time, and I’m pretty psyched to have more than 180 cities on announce day. I hope we have a lot more to come, and I hope you’ll be a part of it this year, too!


So after I shot the Honda Superbike Races on Sunday in Birmingham, I hopped a flight (well, two flights), up to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina to be a part of Moose Peterson’s DLWS (Digital Landscape Workshop Series) “Outer Banks” workshop, which kicked off Sunday night (I’m not teaching; I just came to shoot and hang out with my buddies Moose, Joe McNally, and Laurie Excell, and I had a blast (That’s right; I did this morning’s sunrise shoot then headed to the airport to head back home).

They’re still going to shoot sunset today and sunrise tomorrow, but I’ve got to head back home, see the kids, and then get ready for my Down & Dirty tour in DC (which was sold out last Friday with over 700 people for the day). Also with me was the ‘Bad Man’ himself, Brad Moore (who used to work as staff at these DLWS events, so this was old home week for him!).

I’ve got to tell you this about DLWS: they run an absolutely first-class, well organized, and most importantly downright fun workshop experience from beginning to end. Everybody here is having such a good time, and the crowd is so into it—they’re really hungry for the information, and they are getting it here by the armloads.

Yesterday we started the day with a dawn shoot out at a local lighthouse (this is lighthouse city out here on the Outer Banks of North Carolina), and while it wasn’t a spectacular sunrise by any means, we still had some fun (I’ve only taken a peek at a few shots so far, but here are a couple [above and below] from yesterday’s morning outing).


When the light got too high in the sky, Joe McNally did an awesome on-location small-flash portrait shoot with a local model, and I don’t care how many times you’ve seen Joe, every time is just amazing. Seeing how he sets up the shot, adjusts for problems with light, and explains how to walk away with a client-pleasing shot is just something to see, and everybody was eating it up (the shot below is Joe during that mini-session; taken with my iPhone’s built-in camera).


Then we were back in the classroom with Moose, Joe, Laurie, and Kevin Dobler (who was doing some of the Photoshop training—and did a great job by the way). After the classroom sessions, (and a late afternoon snack); we headed out to some sand dunes for a sunset shoot, but got totally socked in with rainy weather.


So, Joe pulls out some SB-900s and we did another portrait shoot, in the rain, with Photoshop TV’s own Stephanie Cross as the model, and it rocked. We’re all huddled (about 40 of us) under a shelter, and Joe has her standing just out in the rain, in a raincoat and hood, and came up with a great shot, despite the conditions (like Joe says; your photo editor doesn’t care about how harsh the conditions you encountered; you’re being paid to come back with a shot, and if you want to work for them again, you’d better come back with a shot; and he showed us what to do to get that done—-using High Speed sync).

This morning we headed out to a commercial fishing port, and the highlight was an area with old rusting hulls and salvage boats that were great for HDR stuff. We were all walking around and at one point Joe and I were walking over to these two big boats and I looked at Joe and said something really stupid. “Joe…you shoot much HDR?” He gave me the look you see below. I had to capture it.


So that became the running gag for the day. “Hey Joe, do you think this would make a good HDR shot?” Hey Joe, is this like that HDR shot that National Geographic asked you to do?” It ended up with an HDR breakfast shoot of pancakes joke about an hour later. Just the look on McNally’s face above said it all.

Anyway, after that, we had to head out, and I’m already on my way home. Had a great time, and I saw first-hand why every single DLWS workshop for the rest of the entire year is already sold out in advance. Moose Peterson and his staff have put something very special, and very unique together here. It’s an experience like no other, and I was as excited as everybody else there just to be learning from Moose, Joe, Kevin, and Laurie, and to be spending some time together doing something we all love. Plus, I never had to dive out of the way of an oncoming car or motorcycle moving at 140 MPH. That’s a bonus. Below are some chairs on the back of that house I shot above. Yes, I just took a few minutes, sat in them, and looked out at the beautiful shoreline. I know it’s a throwaway shot, but now those chairs will bring back fond memories of a morning shoot in May.


One last thing: I met so many people who came up to me and said, “Hey, I read your blog first thing every morning.” I was really tickled, and wound up meeting some really cool folks, including one sports photographer that I’m going to hook up with when I shoot the Indy 500 later this month. Small world.