Category Archives Techniques

I wanted to run this week’s episode of D-Town TV (The weekly show for all DSLR users—it’s not just a Nikon only show anymore), here because I wanted to add something that I would have liked to have been included in the show, and also because it’s so timely with the Indy shoot that I wound up doing earlier this week.

In the first part of the show, I talk about a Panning technique to show motion in sports photography, and I got a lot of really positive feedback about the piece, but I wish I had gotten some examples to the video crew before the show aired (totally my fault, by the way), so I’m going to show them here instead:


Above: Here’s a throw-away shot from last year. With a fast shutter speed, the car is sharp, but it’s also frozen, so it kind of looks like the car is parked on the track rather than speeding through it at over 100 mph. This was taken with a shutter speed of a 1/6400 of a second.


Above: Look at the movement and sense of speed that’s created by using a slower shutter speed (1/320 of a second in this case, or less—down to 1/100 of a second) and panning using the technique I outlined in the episode above. You see wheel spin, and motion blur in the background (not added in Photoshop), and yet the car (well, most of it) is sharp (again, another throw-away shot). However, the whole image tells you the car is moving fast.

Anyway, watch the video above and this will all make a lot more sense.

NOTE: Also in this episode, we have another of Larry Becker’s “Cheap Shots,” some tips from Canon Explorer of Light Rick Sammon, a set of beginner tips from Matt, and some other stuff, so if you’ve got a minute, check it out.

Scott and Dano

We just released this brand new class on Kelby Training Online, and although I’m the host of this new class, the star is really Dan Steinhardt from Epson (better known as ‘Dano’), and in this new class we dispel many of the long-held myths and folklore about printing, and show how really easy it is to get great looking prints every time.

Dano, the man behind Epson’s Print Academy, knows this stuff absolutely inside and out, and he delivers his insights and information in such a fun, casual, straight forward way and you’ll love learning from him. Here’s the link for more details on this brand new online class—-“How to get Killer Prints from your Epson Printer.”

UPDATE: Hey guys, we’re working on the problems that were pointed out and will update the class as soon as possible.  We’ll let you know when we have the new and improved version posted!


If you’re in the San Diego area, Dave Cross and RC Concepcion, are coming to San Diego this Friday with our Adobe CS4 Creative Suite Unleashed Tour, and then onto Boston on December 1st. If you haven’t had a chance to catch this special Adobe-sponsored tour, you don’t want to miss it, as they cover everything from Illustrator to InDesign, from Photoshop to Flash, and how it all works together.

This special tour is only $49 (or just $39 for NAPP members), and you can get all the details, or sign up, right here. Hope we’ll see you San Diego on Friday, or in Boston in just a few weeks!


I got an email yesterday from a reader of one of my books, and it’s an email I’ve gotten dozens of times before, and it always puts me in an uneasy position. Uneasy enough, and yet common enough, that I wanted to share it with you guys.

He had read something in my book “The Photoshop Book for Digital Photographers” where I said to do something a particular way, but then he found someone on a Web site somewhere who said to do it differently (in fact, they said to do it the exact opposite of what I said in my book). So, basically, he was emailing me to ask me to defend what I written in my book. Ugh.

As I’ve done dozens of times in the past, I set out to write a lengthy explanation of why what I had stated in the book was correct, and give even more detail and background than was already provided in the book, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized (from previous exchanges exactly like this over the years) that this was just going to start a long back and forth, and that in the end, because he had doubts (based on what he read on some Web site) he was going to believe what he wanted to believe anyway.

So instead, without being a smart-alec in any way, I politely let him know that what I wrote in the book is actually how I feel on the topic, so he already knows that’s what I believe, but I also told him (I’m paraphrasing here):

On the Web you’ll find conflicting information on every topic; whether it’s medical advice or how to hang a picture frame; from how to play the Blues on guitar, to how to cook spaghetti bolognese. It really comes down to you making a decision about which advice to follow. You have to choose which person’s explanation, theory, or technique sounds more “right” or makes more sense to you, and try that and see what you think. :)

In the end, I’ve realized how important it is to find sources that I can trust on a wide variety of topics. I usually look for experts on the topic, and once I find someone who makes sense to me, and then (this is important), I take their advice and try it for myself and it works for me, then that becomes my go-to person for that topic.

That doesn’t mean I ignore the rest of the world, but if I read something conflicting, I take it with a grain of salt. For example, if Joe McNally tells me something about off-camera flash—I know he’s speaking from experience, and I take his advice and run with it. If I read in a forum, or even in a book something that flies in the face of what Joe says, that doesn’t mean Joe is necessarily wrong; it just means somebody else does it differently, and that may work for them.

In Photoshop, it’s the same thing. There are so many different ways to do things, and so many of us teaching how to use Photoshop, that you’re going hear and see different techniques that we found work for us, and we pass those on to our students. For example, there are a dozen (probably more) books written on color correction in Photoshop. Which one is right? They all work (you don’t ever see a color correction book where the correction looks worse than the original), but again, you have to choose which experts techniques makes the most sense to you (for me, it’s Dan Margulis; to me he’s the bottom line on color, but you’ll find others who disagree). That’s OK, what I’ve learned from Dan works for me.

But finding an expert who makes sense to you, whether its about Photoshop or how to drive a race car, is only one part of this. It’s perhaps even more important to try this person’s techniques yourself and see if it actually translates to what you were looking for. Does it actually work the way you were hoping?

The person who wrote me that email could have tested both theories (the one outlined in my book, and the one he read somewhere on the Web) in less time than it took to find my email address and compose that email. He would have known right then and there if what I said was right, or what he read on the Web was right. That’s what’s so great about Photoshop. Testing is nearly instant. It’s not like medicine (where you have to wait to see if you got it right, and a lot more is riding on the line).

I guess the point of all this is that at some point, you’re going to have to trust somebody, but beyond that once you do find somebody whose opinions you trust; if at all possible, try them out yourself. See if their techniques/advice/theory works for you, and if you’re getting the results you hoped you would. Oh yeah, that, and don’t write an author asking if what they wrote in the book is what they really meant. I doubt they’ll say, “Oh that….oh, I was just making up stuff for the book. I really think something completely different.” ;-)


Back at Photoshop World in Boston, I did a two-part class on Portrait Retouching. In the first part, I went through the most requested current retouching techniques, but in the 2nd part (held the following day), I spent the first class on more techniques, taking it further, but then I did a live shoot (with a professional model), and then took the images from the shoot and did a full start-to-finish live retouch right in the class.

Well, last night I was looking the latest issue of HOW magazine, and I saw a new print ad for NAPP (seen above) and they used the actual before and after photo that I retouched live in the class, and I thought I’d share that here (if you click on the ad; you’ll see the larger version).

Anyway, the reason I’m sharing all this is; I’m doing this same two-part Retouching series at Photoshop World in Las Vegas this October and I hope you’ll come and check out my class in person (well, both my classes). Here’s the link for info on Photoshop World. I hope I’ll see you in my classes!


With the 4th of July coming up tomorrow (The 4th is Independance Day in the US, and we celebrate with Fireworks), I thought I’d run a quick blurb from Vol. 1 of my book, The Digital Photography Book on how to shoot Fireworks (like I did last year around this time). Here ya go:

You’ll need to shoot fireworks with your camera on a tripod, because you’re going to need a slow enough shutter speed to capture the falling light trails, which is what you’re really after.

Also, this is where using a cable release really pays off, because you’ll need to see the rocket’s trajectory to know when to push the shutter button—if you’re looking in the viewfinder instead, it will be more of a hit or miss proposition.

Next, use a zoom lens (ideally a 200mm or more) so you can get in tight and capture just the fireworks themselves. If you want fireworks and the background (like fireworks over Cinderella’s Castle at Disney World), then use a wider lens.

Now, I recommend shooting in full Manual mode, because you just set two settings and you’re good to go:

  1. Set the Shutter Speed to 4 seconds
  2. Set the Aperture to f/11. Fire a test shot and look at the LCD monitor on the back of your camera to see if you like the results. If it overexposes, lower the shutter speed to 3 seconds, then take another shot and check the results again.

TIP: If your camera has “Bulb” mode (where the shutter stays open as long as you hold down the shutter release button down), this works great–hold the shutter button down when the rocket bursts, then release when the light trails start to fade. (By the way; most Canon and Nikon digital SLRs have bulb mode). The rest is timing—because now you’ve got the exposure and sharpness covered.

Here’s wishing you all a safe and happy fourth, and I hope you capture some great images this year!