Friday
Mar
2012
09

Great New Book for Making The Most Out of Google+

by Scott Kelby  |  13 Comments

One of my favorite business book authors, Guy Kawasaki, just released (today) a new book about Google+ called “What the Plus! (Google+ for the Rest of Us).”

I started reading it last night, and I have to say, Guy just has an amazing way of making everything just make sense. Plus, I really love some of his research and insights into why you should be on Google+ in the first place, and why you need to really learn how to make the most of your presence on there.

I’ve only just started the book, and it was all I could do to put it down tonight to write this post. Really insightful, informative, and written like only Guy can.

If you’re on G+, you owe it to yourself to check What the Plus! out (for a limited time it’s available as a FREE downloadable PDF or you can get the Kindle or iBook version for just $2.99).

Here’s the link to the official site (going live today).

Friday
Mar
2012
09

What I’m Teaching at the Photoshop World Conference & Expo (later this month)

by Scott Kelby  |  8 Comments

Hi Gang: I know a lot of you are heading to Photoshop World in Washington, DC at the end of this month (It’s kicks off on the 24th), and I was hoping you might consider checking out some of the sessions I’m teaching at the conference. (by the way —- those shots above are from previous Photoshop Worlds).

(1) Light it, Shoot it, Retouch it
This is a mini-version of my live tour, but I didn’t want to do the same lighting set-ups that I do on the tour (since a lot of you have seen the tour live), so I’m doing three different looks using just one single light; I’ll be doing the shoot live on stage (as always), and then I’ll take one or two of those images and take you through the entire start-to-finish retouch.

(2) Photoshop for Travel Photographers
When I taught this class at last year’s Las Vegas Photoshop World, I was hoping that anybody would show up at all (with multiple tracks going at once, you never how how many folks will actually chose your class), but it was standing room only, with nearly 1,200 photographer in that session. I was psyched, and we had an awesome time. I’ll be showing my latest Photoshop techniques for making the most of your travel photos, and how to create the color, depth, and dimension you saw when you were there, come through in your images.

(3) Lightroom 4 Killer Tips
OK, it’s actually a combination of cool stuff from Lightroom 3, and some new tricks for Lightroom 4, too, but if you use Lightroom — you’ve got to be there. I had so many people come up after I did this last time around, and they told me that one session was worth the entire price of the conference. I can’t swear that’s it that good, but I heard that comment again and again, and I hope when I teach in Washington, DC this month, I’ll look out and see you there.

I hope you’ll check out at least one of my sessions, and if you do make sure you come up and say “hi.” I always get a kick out of meeting people who read this blog (and if you’re a commenter, especially come up and say hi — that way I can put a face with a name.

Book signing
I’ll also be doing a book signing of my latest book, “The Digital Photography Book, Part 4″ (and any other book of mine for that matter), at the Peachpit Press Bookstore on the expo floor on Sunday at 3:00 pm.

Maybe some more retouching
If I can work it out in my schedule, I’ll also be doing a special retouching session at the Wacom booth on the Expo floor, and I’ll be using the new Intous 5 tablet (Whoo Hoo!!!).

It’s not too late…
If you haven’t signed up  for Photoshop World, it’s not too late. Go to Photoshop World.com right now and get all the details, grab a hotel room, and we’ll see you in just a few weeks for a learning experience that you’ll be talking about for years (don’t forget, if you go, you gotta come to one of my sessions). See you there! :)

Thursday
Mar
2012
08

More Free Stuff! Lighting Recipes App Just Released for iPad

by Brad Moore  |  58 Comments

Brad Moore here again with another bit of news… Our latest iPad app, Scott Kelby’s Lighting Recipes, just launched on the iTunes store today, and it’s FREE!

The cool thing is, it’s not just a couple of lighting setups… There are 13 lessons in this app, showing you the finished image and production shots so you can see how each one is set up.

Scott walks you through each setup, plus there are even bonus setups within some of the lessons! Not bad for free, eh? :)

If you’re looking for some of our other educational apps, you can see a full list of Kelby Training apps (for iPhone and iPad) right here, including Learn To Use Brushes in Photoshop, another app that was just release this past week.

And if you like the Lighting Recipes app, make sure you check out Light It Magazine, our magazine for all things lighting!

Leave a comment for your chance to win a free download of the Brushes app!

Thursday
Mar
2012
08

It’s Free Stuff Thursday!

by Brad Moore  |  377 Comments

Light It. Shoot It. Retouch It. Live! in Atlanta & Tampa
We only have two more US dates left for the Light It. Shoot It. Retouch It. Live! seminar tour… We’ll be in Atlanta tomorrow, Friday March 9th, at the Cobb Galleria Convention Centre, and wrapping things up in Tampa this coming Tuesday, March 13 at the beautiful, historic Tampa Theatre.

Leave a comment for you chance to win a ticket to one of these events (make sure you specify which one). Or you can still sign up for both of these by registering online or calling our customer service team at 800-201-7323.

Win a Copy of The Digital Photography Book Part 4!
Yep, we’re giving away another cool book. This time it’s Scott Kelby’s Digital Photography Book – Part 4. It just came out this week and like the first 3 volumes, it contains over 200 of the most closely guarded photography secrets in the industry today. For those keeping score at home, the first book in this set, The Digital Photography Book – Volume 1 was THE best-selling photography book of all time. Leave a comment below and we’ll draw 3 winners before next week’s Free-Stuff post. If you don’t win it, you can still buy it at KelbyTraining.com.

Bill Frakes “Shooting Portraits on Location” Webinar
Sports Illustrated photographer and Kelby Training instructor Bill Frakes will be hosting a free webinar March 15 on Shooting Portraits on Location, hosted by the Manfrotto School of Xcellence. The webinar goes from 2:00pm – 3:00pm EDT, and you can register right here. I would say leave a comment to win something, but this one is already free ;)

Joe McNally Hot Shoe Lighting Workshop in St. Lucia
Yep, McNally’s headed back to the beautiful Anse Chastanet and Jade Mountain Resorts in St. Lucia for his Hot Shoe Lighting Workshop this fall! The workshop takes place from September 30 – October 6 (but trust me, you’ll want at least an extra day or two to enjoy the island). You can get all the info over at the Jade Mountain website (scroll to the bottom of the page), and they also handle pricing and registration.

Workshop attendees will also receive a free copy of Joe’s Sketching Light book and Language of Light DVD set! While we can’t give away a free ticket to the workshop (sorry), leave a comment for your chance to win a copy of Joe’s book, Sketching Light!

Princeton Photo Workshop with Jack Reznicki
Kelby Training instructor Jack Reznicki will be teaching at the Princeton Photo Workshop on April 28, alongside Steve Dreyer and Alan Kesselhaut! Together, they’ll be covering lighting, composition, workflow, HDR, post processing, and lots more. You can find all the info and register right here. Sign up by March 15 and save $30!

We’re giving away a ticket to one lucky commenter, so leave a comment for your chance to win!

Dave Cross Workshop with Calvin Hollywood
Calvin Hollywood will be doing a rare stateside, hands-on workshop at Dave Cross Workshops in Tampa on April 14. Don’t miss this opportunity to see Calvin’s entire workflow, from conception of the idea to final print. He’ll share how he finds his ideas and thinks in terms of the finished product while photographing and working in post production.

And… Leave a comment for your chance to win a ticket!

Last Week’s Winners
The winners of last weeks winners are…

- Atlanta LSR Seminar: Mike Cooper
- Tampa LSR Seminar: Ken Hunt
- The Digital Photography Book Library: Ryan Jensen

Congrats to you all, and I’ll be emailing you before noon today :)

Leave a comment for your chance to win one of this week’s giveaways, and have a great Thursday!

Wednesday
Mar
2012
07

It’s Guest Blog Wednesday featuring Randy Harris!

by Brad Moore  |  30 Comments

Thank you Scott and Brad for the opportunity to participate as a Wednesday guest blogger.  I’ve been a long time reader and consider it an honor to be included.  I thought I’d share the story of how I was able to find a niche market and turn my love of photography into a viable business. Many part time photographers have another full time job to pay the bills and can’t possibly give up a reliable income to start all over.  This was my situation and yet my journey is a little unique. In 2008 my wife accepted an international assignment in Paris, France. I resigned from my day job; we packed up our Seattle home and soon settled into a classic Parisian apartment a few blocks south of the Eiffel Tower. The “package” she received allowed me to concentrate full time on my photography. I hit the ground running looking for work, scouring Craigslist for “creative” jobs.  I soon shot a wedding for a young couple, photographed a few apartment interiors to be rented and through a friend of a friend, I was asked to shoot the fashion shows during Paris Fashion Week.

This was all great fun and I made some money, but I soon grew weary of hustling up the next new job. I wanted to leverage the Internet and have business come to me, so I came up with the idea of conducting and leading photo tours. Paris is the most visited city in the world, so there’s an endless supply of camera-equipped tourists arriving daily, some with just a few days to spend in the City of Light.  My goal was to create a tour business to escort them to the iconic landmarks, find the hidden gems in between and show them interesting ways to compose their photos. After registering my domain name, PhotoToursInParis.com, and building a simple website, I was up and running. I chose this domain name because it was a natural search phrase. I wanted ParisPhotoTours.com, but it was already taken. Some time ago I learned that most online searches begin with the city name with the subject following. I’m not an online marketing expert, but knew I wanted to get as many inbound links as possible. I submitted my site to Google and Bing and any other travel-related site I could think of or find online. I left my business cards with many of the hotel concierges and encouraged them to reach out to me if their clients were looking for something interesting to do while in town. About three weeks later, the first photo tour inquiry arrived in my Inbox. To prepare for my first tour, I had already mapped out a walking route that included landmarks as well as interesting parts of Paris tourists may not find on their own.

My goal was to help my clients become better photographers, learn their camera settings and show off Paris. I went over some of the basics of photography like the rule of thirds, foreground, middle ground and background, and how shutter speed, ISO and aperture all work together. I explained that anyone could stand below the Eiffel Tower and take a snapshot that was similar to the millions of other shots, but moving over 100 feet and including a foreground made for a much more interesting photograph. I explained the composition I envisioned in my mind, shot the scene and then showed them my LCD screen. They would then eagerly use their cameras to capture their own photographs.

Roughly 75 percent of my clients use digital SLRs, while the remainder use point and shoot cameras. Of the digital SLR photographers, over half are new to the technology so they are shooting in Auto mode, yet wanting to learn more about exploiting the features of their cameras. I am a long time Nikon user, but quickly became very familiar with Canon camera settings. When I first struggled to figure out how to change a Canon setting for a particular camera, I would look it up on YouTube so I was ready the next time. Some of the more common settings we discuss are Auto rotate (turning it off or on), the over/under exposure button, programming a button to review images faster and more easily, viewing the histogram, etc.

Business grew dramatically each and every month. During my first year, almost every photo tour consisted of only a single photographer (I let non-photographers tag along free). By the second year, my business really took off. Initially I was doing a tour a day for groups of 3-5 photographers, but demand kept growing so I soon included an afternoon and evening photo tour to the mix.

One afternoon I took out a U.S. photographer living in Prague who was in a similar situation as me. His wife had taken a job in Prague and he wasn’t working. I suggested he start a Prague photo tour, but he said he didn’t know how to get it started. Instantly it dawned on me that I should start a Prague Photo Tours business! I went home and found PraguePhotoTours.com was available, as was RomePhotoTours and many others. I invested in these names and built new sites for Rome, London, Prague and Venice. And when people wanted a photo tour in another city like Barcelona, Istanbul or Athens I would set it up for them as well. Once again, I leveraged the Internet. To find quality photographers in these cities, I placed a Help Wanted ad on Craigslist. I was inundated with responses and interest. I considered the quality of their responses and their online portfolios when selecting who to hire as contractors. I put a lot of faith and trust in these photo guides and relied on a gut feeling about their ability to lead a great photo tour. Once they complete a photo tour, I pay them via PayPal.com.

One of the reasons my business has grown is my commitment to exceptional customer service. I respond to every email inquiry or question as quickly as possible. These speedy responses differentiate my service from my competition. Just think about how many times you’ve sent an email to a company without receiving a response, or receiving it so late it no longer mattered. I also offer a ‘No Fault’ cancellation policy. If clients need to cancel due to their travel plans changing or being cancelled, or if bad weather halts a photo tour, I refund their entire fee. Having a No Fault cancellation policy reduces risk so people feel more comfortable booking tours. Cancellations happen so infrequently that I more than make up for the loss with added bookings. I send every client an email in which I thank them for their business and include links to interesting photography sites and blogs (including ScottKelby.com). Also, clients are more willing to book night tours (which are more expensive), because they can borrow tripods for free, which saves them the hassle of packing them.

After two years of living in Paris, my wife was reassigned back to the U.S. Fortunately, I found two excellent photographers to lead my Paris tours. Once back in Seattle, my former employer hired me back. Now I use the Internet before and after work to manage my photo tours business from home. It keeps me extremely busy working my day job and managing the photo tour business off hours. Although I’m not out taking photos on a daily basis any longer, I’m happy to be involved in the photography industry.

The photo tour business model isn’t new. There are several companies in Paris offering the same type service. In fact, I have a professional relationship with one in which we exchange leads when we are overbooked. In Seattle, there are three companies offering photo tours and I helped a friend set up a photo tour business in Melbourne, Australia.

Business has been very good and extremely rewarding. I’ve taken out photographers from over 35 countries. Several men have shared their plans to propose mid-tour and asked me to capture the special moment. Many clients have become friends of mine; we keep in touch via email and Facebook and we often share photos.

You can see more of Randy’s work at RandyHarrisPhoto.com and check out his photo tours at PhotoToursInParis.com

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