Here’s a short video I did to celebrate the launch of the latest edition of my book, ‘The Photoshop CS6 for Digital Photographers” (the book is already written, edited and is getting its final prep before it heads to the printing press).
This video is all about those cool little features, tweaks, and enhancements in Photoshop CS6 that don’t get all the big headlines (like Content Aware Move, and Adaptive Wide Angle), so a lot of folks don’t know about them, but they are pretty darn sweet! Plus, I threw in a tip or two along the way.
By the way, just in case (ya know) you can pre-order my book at Amazon.com,Barnes & Noble.com, or wherever cool books that have some really cool stuff in them (including a really helpful majorly updated chapter on Photoshop’s built-in HDR, and a brand new chapter on editing video from your DSLR right within Photoshop CS6 itself, which I think for a lot of folks is exactly what we’ve been waiting for), are sold. :-)
Just in case I didn’t, and just in case you haven’t downloaded the free premiere issue, I thought I’d at least let ya know about “Light It’ magazine, and show you some of the covers from our first seven issues.
The magazine is about hot-shoe flash and studio lighting, and I write a column in the magazine called “Photo recipes” where I show the final image, and then the behind-the-scenes shots of exactly how it was all done.
Here’s the short video (below) that launched the magazine and it tells you all about it (why we launched it, how we designed the magazine, and stuff like that). It’s short but totally worth checking out.
You can download the Premiere issue free on your iPad (the Android version is coming soon!), and the other issues are just $2.99 each (cheap!), plus you’ll be learning lighting techniques from some amazing teachers (we’ve featured everybody from Joe McNally to Jeremy Cowart to Joey Wright to James Schmelzer, Erik Valind, Frank Doorhof, Tom Bol, Jason Groupe, Kevin Ames, and lot of cool training (like Lighting for Weddings) from a literal whose who of flash and studio lighting. Plus we’ve got a DIY lighting columns, lot of lighting gear news, lighting Q&As, some amazing work in our gallery, and lots of fun stuff I promise you’ll love.
It’s less than coffee! Well, it’s less than a latte where we get coffee near our office anyway, and you’ll learn enough to be able to charge coffee-chain prices for your work (OK, that whole thing is a bit of a stretch, but seriously $2.99 is cheaper than a McDonald’s Extra value meal but that doesn’t sound as cheap as the whole coffee analogy).
OK Scott, I want it. Bad! Where do I get it? Just go to the App Store on iOS and search for “Light it Magazine” or just click this link and it will take you there.
What’s on tap for Monday here on the Blog? I’ll be showing some pages from my Paris Photo Book. In other news: all day Monday I’ll be in our studios rolling out my new “Photoshop CS6 for Photographers” live tour to a group of invited Kelby Training subscribers for free. Can’t wait to show some of the cool new stuff in CS6 and how I’m using it today. Have a great weekend everybody!
FREE Creative Cloud Webinar! During our 6 Days of Photoshop CS6 event, we got a ton of questions about the Cloud, so today at 3:30 ET we’re hosting a live webcast to answer some of the most burning ones.
Matt Kloskowski and RC Concepcion will be your hosts for this free event.
RSVP here and we’ll send you a reminder, AND you’ll be entered into a random drawing for these prizes:
Win a NAPP Membership! If you use Photoshop and you’re not in the National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP), you’re missing out on some KILLER CS6 tutorials along with other key information about how to make the most out of Photoshop in photography, design and illustration. Plus Scott Kelby is the President of NAPP, so you know it’s a cool organization to join! :-) Leave a comment to win a one-year membership to NAPP for you and one for an active duty U.S. service man or woman or a retired member of the military. If you don’t win and you want to join NAPP now, here’s how you can get 2 extra months added onto your one-year membership free: use code SOCIAL1 when you checkout online.
Win a Copy of Scott’s new Lightroom 4 Book! Leave a comment to win a copy of the Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 Book for Digital Photographers. This book will have you up to speed with everything that’s new in Lightroom 4 and it will also show you how to create your own efficient workflow in Lightroom. As always, if you don’t win it you can buy it here. It just arrived in the warehouse this week so get ‘em while they’re hot!
Win Matt’s CS6 DVD Who’s taken the plunge and upgraded to CS6? If so, Matt Kloskowski has a killer DVD out in a week or so that shows you all of the coolest new features — it’s called What’s New in Adobe Photoshop CS6. Win it here before you can buy it and we’ll ship it to you the first day it arrives! Leave a comment and we’ll pick 2 lucky people. If you don’t win and you still want to have Matt at your workstation* showing you the ins and outs of CS6, just order your copy here. *You can win a copy of Matt’s DVD, not Matt.
KelbyTraining.com Since I skipped last Thursday’s post, there are a bunch of new classes on Kelby Training to let you all know about!
Next up is RC Concepcion with an introductory class on Adobe’s latest creation, the Creative Cloud.
And, last but certainly not least, is Jerry Ghionis with Perfect Posing Techniques for Wedding Photographers! Of course, a lot of the techniques in this class are applicable to any portrait situation, not just weddings. If you have people in front of your camera, this is definitely one to watch!
Lightroom 4 Live Seminar Tour Matt Kloskowski is hitting the road again in June with the Lightroom 4 Live tour! Here are the cities and dates:
Leave a comment for your chance to win a ticket to one of these seminars! Make sure you state which city too :-)
One Light, Two Light Seminar Tour with Joe McNally That’s right, Joe McNally is back with another seminar tour, and this time he’s keeping things simple! During the One Light, Two Light Seminar, he’ll show you how to create amazing images with just one or two lights. He’s kicking things off in July with some stops in Canada, and we’ll have more cities and dates to announce soon.
First, If you really want to know what it was like to actually be there, watch that video above, created by conference attendee (and Googler) Petra Cross. She captured it perfectly in this short, yet totally amazing 2,000 image stop-motion video!!!!
I met Petra during the conference (she’s very cool) and she even taught an “Un-Conference” session during the event on how she makes these videos. It’s not just the images she captured, its not the great post-processing, it’s not just the technique, or the editing — it’s ALL of it. She is one VERY talented photographer/videographer. Thanks for sharing this with us all. We love it!!!!
It kicked off the day before with photo walks all over San Francisco I though it would be cool, seeing as this is a social-media based event, so start off with everybody making friends, so the day before the conference kicked off, we organized Photo Walks™ all over the city, led by the conference instructors themselves (that’s my group below, from our walk in the Golden Gate Park and the Japanese Tea Gardens. Photo by Brandon Ford).
I thought by getting these groups of photographers before the conference, they’d instantly make new friends and connections, and that’s exactly what happened. I tried to spend some time with everyone on my walk. I hardly shot at all, but I met lots of great folks, and then we headed to Park Chow restaurant for yummy food and conversation.
Wining and Cheesing After the Photo Walks, it was off to the gallery for our Wine & Cheese reception, where we displayed the printed work of some of our most talented attendees. The venue was really cool, and their images looked amazing! Besides the gorgeous prints, (all printed on Epson’s Exhibition Fiber Paper no less), their images were also displayed on huge screens around the gallery. Very cool nite (that’s Matt Kloskowski with Lindsay Alder), with some cool music, yummy cheese, great wine and lots of folks making new friends. (Photo by Matt Leitholt)
Well, it was a fun night except for this one thing…
That’s me, during the party, with RC’s iPad, running an App you never want to run: Find my iPhone. :( I walked into the gallery and it looked so cool I immediately grabbed for my iPhone to take some shots, and….it was gone. I had just used it in the taxi to give the driver directions from the Photo Walk to the gallery, and I guess it fell out of my pocket in the taxi at some point. RC had his iPad at the gallery (no surprise there, as it’s never less than an arm’s length away), and I logged in and started watching as my iPhone made taxi stops all over San Francisco. (Photo by Matt Leitholt)
I sent messages to the phone offering a reward to the driver for its return; I sent the gallery address, I offered bribes, sent signal tones — you name it. After about an hour, it eventually stopped moving for 30 minutes, and then sadly I made the decision it was time to “Wipe” the iPhone so I sent the “Kill” signal (knowing I would now have to buy a new iPhone. Uggh). I lost all my iPhone photos from Paris, and London, which was a drag, but I got everything else back when I synced my new photo to my laptop. I have to tell you — it’s a weird feeling to have lost your phone (I did have a passcode set, but still…). Well, off to bed — the keynote starts the next morning.
The Keynote kicks it off in style! Here’s a shot of the theater where we held the keynote (photo by RC Concepcion). We kicked off the morning with two videos (both produced by our own Daniel Bryant). One the big dramatic cool graphic opener…and well….then we played this one we produced called:
Great Advice for New Photographer’s on Google+ ;-)
After the video (and all the giggle died down), I brought out our keynote speaker, Google VP Bradley Horowitz who gave us some insights into his role at Google and Google+ in general, and he did a great job kicking things off.
That’s Bradley on stage during the keynote. Really cool guy and very comfortable speaking in front of big crowd. (Photo by Brad Moore).
Off to Classes After the keynote, it was off to one of our five classes going on at any given time:
(1) A big class in the Main Theater (same place where the keynote was held). (2) The Forum (smaller classroom holding around 400 people (3) The Screening Room (shown below) for more intimate talks (4) Our FJ Westcott Shooting Lounge (where we held lots of interactive live shoots) (5) Our One-on-one Portfolio Reviews room
My first class was a session on Shooting Sports, held in the Screening room, and it was totally filled to capacity before I even arrived to teach the session.
The following day, I was part of a panel discussion on the future of Photography Book publishing hosted by Nancy Ruenzel of Peachpit Press. That’s the panel above (in the Screening Room): L to R that’s Colby Brown, Jeremy Cowart, Me, Peachpit Press Editor Ted Waitt, Dan Milnor from photography book publisher Blurb.com, and Nancy Ruenzel seated on the edge of the stage (photo by Sara Jane Todd). It was a fantastic panel with some real insights for people wanting to get their book published (and at least four people pitched some cool book deals during the conference).
Live Blind Critiques Done Live Matt and I took our popular segment from “The Grid” and added Trey Ratcliff and Jeremy Cowart to what turned out to be a fantastic live session as we critiqued images submitted by G+ Conference attendees. Lots of great feedback on these sessions (the following day RC Concepcion sat it for me as I was on the Peachpit Panel during that time slot). (Photo by Matt Leitholt)
Live Shoots Everywhere! This conference was packed with live shoots, many of them interactive, where the instructor starts the session and then turns it over to the crowd to do their own shoots. Here’s a session on product photography with Alex Koloskov and he totally rocked it. People were just blown away at the stuff he was doing, and as you can see, they got really up close to the action. (Photo by Matt Leitholt)
On Location Shoots At the end of each day, we boarded buses and headed out to a cool location about 2 miles from the conference center to do location lighting shoots, with strobes, Spyderlites, and natural light and everybody gets to shoot at four different stations. Matt did this motorcycle shoot with a large Westcott Spyder light — it’s continuous light so lots of folks could shoot simultaneously. We also shot a BMW (I did that shoot), then Erik Valind had a model with Spiderlights, and Jeremy Cowart did portraits and Natural Lights (that’s him above right with his crew). We did this both days and it was a blast! (Photo by Matt Kloskowski)
Above: Here’s a behind-the-scenes photo by Leonid Malashenok
The Missing Motorcycle Story The first day, we had rented the green Harley you see above, but on the 2nd day, as I’m in a taxi on the way to the shoot, trying to beat the two buses packed full of photographers, and just literally 5 minutes from the location, Brad Moore calls from the location to say the guy can’t get his motorcycle to start and so we won’t have a motorcycle to shoot. I freak out just a little. Matt and I are in the cab, trying to figure out what our back-up plan is as we turn off the freeway, and we see a beautiful motorcycle parked in the street, and then I look and see a guy working on another motorcycle. I yell to the driver, “Can you pull over for a minute?” He does. Matt looks at me and says, “I’ve got this.” He jumps out. He’s gone for three minutes. He jumps back in and says, “He’ll be there with his motorcycle in 6 minutes.” That’s the awesome red bike you see in the first shot. Matt saves the day!
Above: Here’s Erik Valind and a professional model during his location shoot (behind the motorcycle shooting area). He’s using Spyderlites too, so everybody gets to shoot the whole time. Erik was fantastic and made LOTS of new fans during the event. (Photo by Matt Leitholt)
The Google Lounge Google set up their own lounge in-between the classrooms, with free wi-fi, cool round chairs, and fun stuff (like a Google Photo Booth), and it became the hangout throughout the whole conference and the meeting place for business and fun. They themed the whole area with furniture, logos, pillows, it was just really cool (and very Googly). ;-)
Above: that’s a like 19-second video I shot with my iPhone from the 2nd floor overlooking the Google lounge (classes are in session so there’s not much going on at this point, but check out the impromptu photo shoot going on, on the stairs. The whole conference was like that — instant shoots and photo walks and people just shooting everything the whole time. Very inspiring and an awful lot of fun around every corner.
Above: RC during one of his live shoots in the Shooting lounge. (Photo by Leonid Malashenok)
Above: Google co-founder Sergey Brin holds a secret Photo Walk with some of the instructors and conference attendees to try out the revolutionary, but not seen in person before, Google Glass camera mounted to a pair of eyeglasses. Nobody expected this! (Photo by Brad Moore).
Above: RC gets to try on the Google Glass as Peter Hurley looks on. Hey, RC’s lunch look tasty! (Photo by Brian Matiash).
Sergey shocked the conference (and the whole tech world in general) by making an unannounced appearance on stage during the “What do you want next from Google+” panel where he showed shots made during his secret photo walk, and he demoed and explained the whole concept to a VERY receptive (and blown away) audience. (Photo by Brad Moore).
Above: Peter Hurley so ROCKED his “The Art of the Headshot” session. He was a huge megabit!!! (and a super nice, fun, genuine guy in person). (Photo by Matt Leitholt)
Above: Here’s my grainy, blurry, kind of lame iPhone shot of a fantastic class! It was Fashion Photographer Lindsay Adler’s session on 5 new lighting set-ups and I sat in on the class and man did it rock! I learned a lot (and Lindsay is a fantastic presenter. She was five minutes into her presentation and the guy sitting next to me leans over and says, “She’s gooooooooooooddddddd!!!!” Great class, and I learned A LOT!!!
Above: That’s me during an updated version of my “Crush The Composition” Class. I absolutely loved teaching the class, because the audience was so “getting it” and really into it, and from a teacher’s perspective, it’s as fun and exciting as it gets. I totally loved it!!! (Photo by Leonid Malashenok)
The Bottomline We’ve produced more than 25 Photoshop World conferences, and each one gets better and better, but I have to say of all the events we’ve ever produced, I honestly think this one was the best yet. Ask anyone who has been to a Photoshop World Conference, and they’ll tell you about the vibe and energy of the event. Believe it or not, the vibe and energy here was even higher. Through the roof. Like nothing I’ve ever experienced.
Everyone was fully immersed — fully engaged — from the Google crew, to the instructors to the vendors and the attendees. it was an amazing experience to be a part of, and I’m grateful to our sponsors, vendors, instructors, participants, and a BIG BIG BIG thanks to Google, our main sponsor, and without whom we never would have, or could have, done a conference like this. Thank you Francois, Jenny, Allen, Mike, Brian, Cathy, Vincent, Bradley, Sergey and all the great folks at Google who helped to turn our vision into a reality. And of course to my home team here at Kelby Media Group: Julie, Kathy, Dave, Erik, RC, Matt, Pete, Brad, Tom, and a special thanks to Kalebra who dreamed up some of the cool stuff we did but didn’t get to attend in person (but hey, our son rocked all his final exams, so she said it was totally worth it). :-)
It’s seriously cool to be a part of a history-making event like this, and I’m grateful to everyone who came out to join in the learning and the fun.
We have all heard some passionate friend say, “if only I could be a full time photographer, painter, movie director (put in any creative job there), and make enough money I would be happier. Problem is that I have a family to take care and can’t afford to drop everything for my passion.” Well at least I have been in that state of mind for many years.
This post is a short story about how I shifted from salesman to photographer and made a living doing something I loved. While it happened in my 40s I wouldn’t say it was a mid-life crisis (or at least I hope it wasn’t).
Ever since I was a kid I wanted to work as a movie director, or photographer. I missed the opportunity in my youth. I was not daring enough and went on to take a regular job in computers, it wasn’t a boring job, but I never quite felt complete. Then at the age of 25 I went into sales for various companies as I got tired of sitting in front of a computer all day and wanted to talk to human beings.
At the age of 30, my brother created a web agency and hired me as a salesman, at first I had a lot of fun, and the company took on expansion. My dream of being an artist was parked, but things were ok. In the meantime, I was married, had four kids, one from a first marriage and my second wife had three young boys whom we raised. I bought a big house, a car and two motorbikes and had loans up to my neck!
At the age of 35, I went on holiday with friends on the Seychelles Islands. One of them was a pro Photoshop retoucher, and he started showing me Photoshop and retouched a portrait I had just taken. I was amazed. Seeing that brought back all these dreams about having a creative job. For some reason, that I day I made a decision that I was going to find a way to get into the movie industry, but I didn’t have the slightest idea how.
I had more debt than ever and it was going to be a lot harder than in my youth. Making a movie as a director is a team activity. I had no team. I figured becoming a photographer would be a start. The advantage is that I just needed a camera, and I could start creating, no team needed and it was a step toward that dream.
I went into the first bookstore, I could find and bought several books about Photography and Photoshop. Most of them seemed to be pretty hard to understand, except one author by the name of Scott Kelby. If I remember well it was Adobe Photoshop CS Down Dirty Tricks. I then “investigated” all the books and tutorials I could read from that author. Later I discovered NAPP and the Photoshop Guys.
I started doing a photo series in Paris called “Paris Cinema.” The idea was to shoot Paris in the most dramatic light possible, just like we see in the big movies, such as Gone with the Wind, Spielberg movies etc. I though this would be a good exercise to train toward being a movie director.
A little note on how I learned. I had a precise method to learn photography that worked for me, in three steps:
1. Find a photographer that inspires me.
2. Read all his books, watch all his tutorials and try to “copy” his work.
3. Find your own style around that technique.
Here are some examples of what I mean.
HDR: RC Conception/Trey Ratcliff, I bought RC’s books and studied HDR, as well as studying Trey’s tutorials.
Below is is my understanding of their HDR photos.
Below more my personal style.
Another photographer I learned from was, Jean Michel Berts. A French photographer who’s style I love, he works with film and produces fine arts prints.
Here is one of his New York photos:
Below me trying to reproduce his type of work.
Here is my own style.
Joel Grimes, I’m crazy about his composite work. When I see his photos, I get so much emotion. What I love about it is the mixture of portraits and landscape, two forms of art in one photo.
This is my attempt to reproduce Joel Grimes’ style of work:
This is how I changed it to my own style:
Back to the story
A couple of years and thousand pictures later, I met a screen writer who had worked for TV shows for quite some time and had written three feature film scripts.
I read the scripts and loved them. There was one particular script, a comedy, that I would love to direct. The screen writer told me he was tired working for other production companies and wanted to produce these three films. He needed a partner who had some experience in sales to be the producer and help negotiate the contracts with the studios/TV Channels. That was great as I was passionate about movies and I had worked as a salesman for quite some time.
We agreed to work together and I would get the chance to direct one of the movies. The only problem was that creating a movie company meant no revenue for a couple of years, time spent preparing the cast, getting the funding and preparing the team to shoot. We also had to make some short movies to show what we could do.
But as I mentioned earlier I had bills to pay and could definitely not afford to drop all my work for a few years while the family didn’t eat.
I had worked out a pretty intricate plan with my brother and his business partner how it could work out. However after a year of work the plan didn’t work out. Needless to say I was devastated… Yet again the dream was disappearing. But on the plus side, I spent every possible minute shooting and retouching pictures in order to improve my skills.
I went back to see the screen writer and told him that for now I couldn’t create the film production company, and that I had no solution at all. He looked at me and gave me a pep talk. He told me that I had a created such a large collection of great photography which there must be a way to monetize.
So we found a way to start selling prints to hotel owners as a decoration item for their hotel. To my amazement one of the hotels I contacted was very interested and wanted to buy a series of prints for his hotel as I had proposed. But wait… He wanted prints for two hotels! I was incredulous listening to his voice mail.
In all I sold close to $180,000 worth of fine prints, basically being sponsored by many friends and refurbished over 150 hotel rooms with photos in each room.
Below are some examples:
I was so happy, because not only I had enough money to make that transition into the movies, but I made it through art.
I would never have thought that this hobby of mine would become something I could make money from.
With the screenwriter we were now ready to create our movie production company that we named Alandra Films.
One of my last shots:
In two years, we shot eight short movies, and all three major feature films are being funded. We have major partner agreements, and we should be shooting the first movie this summer. The first is called House of Time, a thriller sci-fi movie about a man who made a fortune in Role Playing games inviting friends over for a week end to play time travel…
It took a bit more time than I expected to finance the first movie; I had to learn a lot about movie production, (I knew nothing about it), as I was making no money in the film company. I became a part-time photographer, to earn a living, while learning and working on the film projects.
Today my income as a photographer comes from architectural photos, brands buying some of my photos of Paris, and tutorials. About a year ago I made a deal with a French editor to sell some tutorials about my photo techniques. It turned out to be a success. In fact, over the last months the tutorials became the number-one Photoshop tutorials on that site. I’ve now added English tutorials on various platforms.
Today I make almost twice the revenue I used to make as a salesman, but now I make it doing what I love, photography and movie production.
By now you may think this post is about me and some bragging about myself. Actually quite the contrary, it is rather a story about how long I waited to do something that I should have done long ago.
If I had to summarize all this into one word and try to help people at the same time it would be: Commit. As long as it was just an idea or a desire it was in my mind the day I decided to commit to that dream and go through what I had to to make it, things started working out.
I believe that a decision, a strong decision, one completely without “maybe,” will create action, then it’s all a matter of finding the right mentors.
Well, Scott Kelby is my mentor as well as Matt Kloskowski, RC Concepcion, and all the Photoshop Guys. Many years ago I chose to do most of the classes on KelbyTraining.com and learned everything from there.
They are in my heart as I have never been happier than before doing what I love, and they contributed to that in a very big way.
Recently I had the chance to spend a week with Scott in Paris. I had never met him in person, and it was way above my expectations, in terms of fun, in the way he makes you comfortable. A few minutes after meeting him, I had the feeling that we had been friends for years.
Steve Jobs said, “Keep looking, don’t settle, find something that you love and you will do great.” And Confucius said, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” For me nothing is truer.
I still have a lot to learn and share, and I know the movie business is going to be a long and adventurous road, but I love it.
It’s in the train station Gare de Lyon, and we were able to do a video interview with Jay Maisel for our online class (and Jay and I got to have a pretty yummy breakfast during the taping), and the following night I took my wife and our friends Barb and Mike for dinner there as well.
It feels a lot more like dining at “The Louvre” or Versailles and a lot less like eating in a train station, eh? :-)
NOTE: I was hoping to have a “Report from the G+ Photographer’s Conference” for today but I’m still gather photos, so hopefully I’ll be running it alongside “Free Stuff Thursday” this week. Have a great Tuesday everybody!