It’s Guest Blog Wednesday featuring Colby Brown!

by Brad Moore  |  17 Comments

Let me start off by saying thank you to Scott for reaching out and asking me to put together this guest blog post. While my passion for photography is well known, I love being given the opportunity to talk about the philosophical and underlying importance of realizing just how fortunate we all are to be in the world of photography these days, but I digress…so let’s begin!

“Walking to Nirvana” – Angkor Wat, Cambodia

While my passion for photography lies with my landscape and nature work, it is actually my travel and humanitarian photography that has allowed me to carve out a name for myself in the photography industry. It has been through these experiences of traveling the globe as a photographer and photo educator that I have been able to take a somewhat unique view of both life on this planet and how it correlates to the ever changing photo industry as a whole.

These days, I feel there is no doubt that we are in the middle of a shift when it comes to photography and the photo industry. As digital cameras continue to become more affordable, photo technology continues to advance at unbelievable levels and digital editing software continues to become more accessible and easier to understand, we will continue to see a massive influx of individuals becoming interested in photography as their artistic median of choice.

While photographers of past generations seem to stubbornly focus on the perceived over-saturation of the market, they sadly miss one of the most prolific and fundamentally important virtues of this change. The simple fact that today, more people have the ability to creatively express themselves through the art of photography than ever before in the history of our species. And tomorrow….there will be even more than today.

“Lost Innocence” – Port Au Prince, Haiti

While giving more individuals the ability to capture their experiences throughout life is amazing in its own right, it is through our unprecedented ability to share those images and experiences instantly with the world around us we begin to truly see just how significant this change truly is. According to Internet World Stats in 2011 there were 2,267,233,742 active internet users on the planet. This equates out to roughly 32.7 of the planet. Can anyone guess how much of an increase this was from 2000?

If you guessed 528% then you would be correct! The advent and increased popularity of the Internet has dramatically shaped not only how we find information, but how we share content. While sitting in my office on the complete opposite side of the world I can instantly get information of a civil uprising in Syria, an earthquake in Haiti, the discovery of a new species in Papa New Guinea or simply hear about my sisters new job….all with nearly the same amount of ease…using the same pathways of instant communication that many of us have taken for granted over the years…Social Media.

Colby Brown’s image of Mt. Fitz Roy in Patagoni on his Google+ Account

As Photographers we all should all already understand the importance of the “visual element” when it comes to our photographs. All of us strive to create compelling images that are enjoyed by others, but do we really understand just how powerful our images are in influencing others? Let’s find out…

For the images below, I want you to take a second and asked yourself what are the first words that come to mind when you view each of these photographs individually.

Now while each of us might have different reactions to these images, the average response is fairly consistent when I give this presentation at seminars and photography events.

1st Image – Serene, balance, peace, tranquility. This image is of a set of mountains taken in a valley in Las Glacieres National Park in Southern Argentina.

2nd Image – Destruction, Earthquake, Sorrow, Sadness, Despair. This image is of the Carribean Market in Port Au Prince, just months after the devastating earthquake in 2010.

3rd Image – Happyness, Joy, Warmth, Bright. This image is of a sunflower in my home town of Denver, Colorado.

4th Image – Love, Compassion, Innocence, Peaceful. This image is of my son just hours after he was born in 2012.

The point of this little exercise is to showcase the power that a single image can have over another individual. Not only can an image invoke a particular emotion in the viewer, it also has the power to effectively change their view of a given moment, experience or scene. Think about it. How often have you been moved by an image and allowed it to change the way you think about a particular subject. It could have been an image of a malnourished child in Africa, a group of soldiers in Afghanistan or a Polar Bear floating away on an iceberg.

While these scenes are more exotic that the average photographer typically gets to experience, let’s make this a little more relatable. Have you ever thought about how your images of the area surrounding your home effect other individual’s impression of your state? Let’s use Colorado, my home state as an example. According to Longwoods International, the state of Colorado had 57.9 million visitors in 2011. Out of these travelers, my home state brought in over $10 billion in revenue, which is no small amount, especially in a difficult economy. What does this have to do with photography?

Well every time I shared an image of Colorado, every time I wrote about my travels throughout the Rockies every time I gave a presentation on photographing this beautiful state, that content was published out onto the interwebs for the entire world to see. Was I personally responsible for the massive numbers I listed above? Of course not. But when you imagine the residents of the State of Colorado, the Colorado Tourism Board, all of the businesses that rely on tourism and the travelers themselves all sharing images and stories via the internet and a picture begins to be painted.

“Mt. Wilson in the Fall” – Telluride, Colorado

In understanding these fundamental changes, I created a new organization in 2011 called The Giving Lens. The idea is to combine photo education with supporting sustainable development initiatives in 3rd world countries around the globe. Each workshop we offer acts as a fundraiser where over 60% of the proceeds go back to the NGO’s and individuals we work with on the ground to help fight for child education, women’s rights, clean drinking water projects, species preservation and much more. So far this year we have worked in Peru and Nicaragua, with trips to Cambodia, Jordan, Israel/Palestine, and a second Nicaragua trip on the horizon. The idea is to find tangible outlets for your photography work to make a difference.

In the end the digital revolution of the photography industry and the Internet has changed the world. As more and more individuals are able to afford quality digital cameras and as we continue to become more globally connected through the Internet, the importance of the freedom of artistic expression has never been more visible. As artists and photographers we have the opportunity, and to some extent responsibility, to share our experiences with the world no matter if we are full time professional photographers or just picking up a camera for the first time. From receding glaciers to species preservation to the perception of the place we call home, we all have a role to play in shaping the image of life on this planet.

You can see more of Colby’s work at, circle him on Google+, and follow him on Twitter


My Life After Drobo

by Scott Kelby  |  80 Comments

For everybody who has been waiting patiently (and otherwise) for what I did after my “I’m done with Drobo” article, today’s the day. I’m so sorry that it’s taken this long, but I was waiting for the last piece of my backup strategy puzzle to be complete, but that’s taken so long that I’m just going to go ahead and write it from where it stands now, so here goes.

First off, I went with G-Tech G-Speed Q drives
Three of them, 12-Terabytes each (they look like the one you see below, and are a little smaller in height and width than my Drobos). I keep one at my house, one in Brad’s office, and another one at the office networked to an Apple Mac-mini so Brad and I can go access it if need be (that one is stored in our server room with our IT guys. At least, that’s where I assume it is, it could be stored at Five Guys burgers for all I know — it just shows up on my network, so I’m cool with that).

When I originally wrote my post about dumping Drobo, and asked for suggestions on what to use instead, I had a lot of folks recommend G-Tech drives and Synology drives as well. I even had the Synergy folks reach out to me on Twitter (though we never actually connected), but when I learned that my in-house video team had been using G-Tech drives and really liked them, that was enough to push me in that direction.

So far — I love them. I was able to move all my stuff off my Drobos (we had to swap drives to a working Drobo to transfer them over to my new G-Tech drives), and everything has been smooth as glass ever since (and I never have a problem mounting my G-Tech).

True Story
Last night Kalebra and I went to our friend Alan’s birthday party, and a photographer comes up to me at the party, introduces himself and asked me what I ever did to replace my Drobo because his Drobo just “bricked” (his words).

He said he bought a replacement to get his images off his Drobo but he wasn’t going to chance that again, but he wasn’t angry — he said his Drobo lasted three years — he was just a little miffed that he had to buy another Drobo to get his images back, which is pretty much what my post was all about.

Part 2: My offsite Back-up: I went with CrashPlan

After this last episode, I wasn’t taking any chances
A lot of folks recommended as well for my offsite backup, so we went that route, but I gotta tell —- this is the piece of the puzzle that’s been taking so long. It initially told us that our back-up to would take just over a month (yikes!), but then we hit some snags (on our end), and then we learned we were backing up too much stuff to take advantage of their “buy hard drives from Crashplan, fill-them-up, and send them back via FedEx” plan so we just had to wait it out.

Well, with Photoshop World and everything —- we’re STILL backing up, so while this is clearly not the speedy choice for backing up, at least when it’s finally done, I’ll sleep a whole lot better at night.

I wasn’t searching for the cheapest possible deal
I’m sure there are probably cheaper deals out there for on-site and off-site back-up, but the cheapest deal wasn’t my goal. I wanted two methods I could really depend on, and although these were clearly not the cheapest routes to go, after all my research (done in house, through your recommendations, and through recommendations from friends), I felt this was the best route for us, and so far, I’m happy with how it’s going.

And the Winners are….
I mentioned that rather than give the $100 to Drobo (which is the price they finally came down to after three calls on my repair), instead I would give a $100 bounty to the person who helped me find my new backup solution. Congrats to my readers Kody Kahle (who recommended CrashPlan) and  Lee Ramsden (G-Tech) — I’ll be contacting you directly about where to send you your bounty! :-)

Thanks to everybody who was so patient while we were putting all this together, and a big thanks to my assistant Brad Moore who had to administer this whole plan and is still putting the final touches on it. But in the end, I think we both agree it was totally worth it (and very necessary).


Shootin’ some Monday Night Football Tonight! (and it’s contest time!)

by Scott Kelby  |  53 Comments

OK, I am super psyched because tonight I’ll be shooting on the sidelines at the Monday Night Football Game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Denver Broncos at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, alongside my buddies Michael Benford and Matt Lange.

Monday Night Football is a grand sports tradition here in the US and it’s broadcast nationwide (as it’s the only pro football game that airs on Monday night—-all the rest play on Sunday).  I know a lot of you will be watching, so I thought I would post this shot of me wearing pretty much what I’ll be wearing tonight (with black kneepads) and the beige vest and al — that way if  you see a photographer get creamed by a receiver on the sidelines (or if Peyton Manning breaks my monopod), you’ll be able to tell if it’s me they’re carting off. ;-)

Let’s make it interesting with a “Scott Spotting Contest”
The first three people who take a photo of their TV Screen where you can see me, and post it, or a link to it, it either to my Facebook page (link), Tweets me with the photo (link), or posts it to my Google+ page (link) gets a signed copy of my new book, “Photoshop CS6 for Digital Photographers.”

Where I’m likely to be on the field:
I generally shoot from these two areas:

(1) The End Zone (there’s less chance of refs, the chain gang, video crews, and the guy with the giant blue parabolic mic walking in front of your shot)

(2) Between the 15 yard line and the goal line.

If I get flattened by a player during the game, the first person to visit me in the hospital (besides my wife), gets my entire Photoshop and Photography book library. I’m hoping we don’t have a winner for this one.

Can’t wait to share the shots with you guys (provided I get any decent ones), but tomorrow is the long-awaited “Life after Drobo” post so it’ll have to wait. Have a great Monday, and we’ll see you tonight. Well, you know what I mean. :)  GO FALCONS!!! #RISE UP!!!


Get a Shot at Winning an Awesome Guitar and Help Out Some Wonderful Orphans At the Same Time

by Scott Kelby  |  49 Comments

Hi Gang: Please take a minute and check out the short video clip above—We need to raise some funds for the kids at the Springs of Hope Orphanage in Kenya (the orphanage built from the ground up with help from people who read this blog), and the video shows how you might win “The Photoshop Guys” signed incredibly cool guitar for helping out (hey, it comes with a floyd rose locking tremolo and beautiful pearl inlay).

Here’s the link (watching the video first, then I hope you’ll click the link and help. If you do help, please leave me a comment so I can thank you personally!). :)


It’s Free Stuff Thursday!

by Brad Moore  |  23 Comments

One Light, Two Light with Joe McNally
Joe McNally is in Phoenix with his One Light, Two Light seminar today, and heading to Hartford next Thursday, September 20! Check out some of the things people are saying about this tour:

I wish Joe could have had another day of training with us. I learned a lot about my speed light use and refectory light. I learned way more than I thought I would. I just wanted to keep it going.
P. Messal

Joe gives a lot of “why” behind the “what”. His explanations are brilliant, honest, and effective.
P. Hayashi

Leave a comment for your chance to win a free ticket to his Hartford seminar next Thursday!

Photoshop CS6 for Photographers
RC Concepcion is bringing the Photoshop CS6 for Photographers seminar to Arlington tomorrow! Join RC as he teaches everything from Camera Raw to retouching, along with tips and tricks to help speed up your workflow. If you want to make your images look great and get back to shooting as quickly as possible, this is where you want to be!

Leave a comment for your chance to win a free ticket to this seminar, and I’ll pick a winner later today.

A Week With Jay Maisel In Paris
The long awaited, much anticipated A Week With Jay Maisel In Paris is here! Head over to to join Jay and Scott Kelby on the streets of Paris as they discuss both street photography and the history that has brought Jay to where he is today.

Kelly Moore Bag Review & Giveaway
Yesterday’s guest blogger, Nicole S. Young, recently bought her first Kelly Moore Bag and has just posted her review on her blog. Not only that, but she’s giving one away! So, go read her review and leave a comment on her blog for your chance to win one of your own!

Shootoff Visual Media Workshops
This weekend, the Shootoff Visual Media Workshops are in San Antonio! It kicks off Friday with portfolio reviews and career counseling. Saturday is packed with speakers like Lisa Krantz, Dirck Halstead, Eli Reed, and others. Sunday is a day of assignment shooting. And things wrap up on Monday with assignment judging and an awards presentation.

You can get more info on the schedule here and register here!

Ten Rules for Photography Success
Jefferson Graham, host of USA Today’s Talking Tech and author of Video Nation, recently shared Ten Rules for Photography Success over on his blog. He says they may be painfully obvious, but have helped him create some very successful images!

Leave a comment for your chance to win a digital copy of Jefferson’s book, Video Nation!

Want To Win A 5D Mark III or D800? is giving away a Canon 5D Mark III or Nikon D800 in their sweepstakes! Head on over to Facebook and like them to enter the sweepstakes.

Photoshop CS6 for Photographers Seminar
- Brentano

Exposed by Michael Clark
- thedigitaldoc

We’ll be in touch soon with your prizes. Have a great day!


It’s Guest Blog Wednesday featuring Nicole S. Young!

by Brad Moore  |  24 Comments

Image © dav.d -

I’ve been reading Scott’s blog for quite a while, and a few years back would never believe that I would be asked to write a guest post for him. (Or … maybe he’s just running low on options? I kid, I kid.) :) I do a lot of writing about photography, and you’ll probably see plenty of “how-to” posts up on my blog and on Google+. This, however, is my moment to share more than just the how I photograph something, but rather why—my journey to becoming a photographer, so to speak. I learn so much from other’s experiences and I hope that by sharing my story I’ll inspire, motivate or maybe even help you make that one decision you’ve been struggling with. So, here goes nothing :)

My path as a photographer somehow seems to have “just happened”. I know, of course, that things didn’t just fall into my lap, but rather I opened doors and paved the path to get to this point. When I think about this path it seems like a straight line, but in reality it would probably be more in the shape of a labyrinth … a twisty-turny mess of a path that was a lot more difficult to get through at the time. I’m still finding my way, yet when I look back I realize that there were certain events, both big and small, which brought me to where I am today.

We all have those times in our lives where if we had gone another direction or made a different choice then things would, right now, be completely different. These moments may not solely determine who we are, but they have such a profound impact that they end up shaping, molding and pushing us to change small bits of our lives. These small bits get piled up to become big, life-changing, defining moments. Here are just a few of my very own “defining moments”.

Discovering Photography
I think all of us can reminisce about the story of how and why we fell in love with photography. I wish I could say that I’d been carrying a camera around since before I could walk, but I didn’t find photography until late into my teenage years. I’d always been a “crafty” kid who loved drawing, painting and making strange sculptures with popsicle sticks and pom-pom balls. When I was in High School I needed to fulfill an art credit in my Junior year and noticed photography was one of the options. I though, “Why not? This could be fun”. Oh, how my world was about to change.

I can remember sitting in class when we were learning about aperture and shutter speed, and I had a “lightbulb” moment. Holy crap, I GET IT! I realized at that moment that photography was my art, the method I could communicate my vision to the world (or, in the time of film and darkrooms, to my fellow classmates). If I had not decided to take that class who knows what my path would have been.

I’m a photographer today because I made a seemingly small decision when I was 16 years old.

Joining the US Navy
While I was in High School I wanted to be a professional photographer so badly, but knew it was extremely competitive. I also had this crazy idea that if I did something I loved for my job then it wouldn’t be fun anymore. So … I joined the Navy instead. Another subject I enjoyed and was fairly good at was languages, so I enlisted as a Cryptologic Technitian Interpretive. I spent the next two years of my life learning Korean and going through some pretty intense training (a.k.a. Aircrew and SERE school) and then flew off to Japan for my first duty station.

Now, I thrive in structured environments, but the military is structure like you would not believe. Rank, uniforms, inspections, endless training, fitness tests … you name it, I did it. And, I did it well. I learned responsibility, how to lead (and how not to lead), and also gained experience I would have never found elsewhere. I was exposed to a very large group of diverse people, both from within the military and from different cultures, and went to countries I knew nothing about. Throughout this process I learned that I can pretty much make it through anything—I just have to be persistent, knowledgeable and never quit. I’m a much stronger person today because I served my country.

Re-discovering Photography
At some point during my time in the military I bought my first digital SLR. I’d been using film for quite a while, but thought it was time to make the transition to digital. And, when it came to maneuvering my way around my DSLR, not to mention post-processing in Photoshop, I was clueless. So I looked for a local photography class to fill in the gaps for me, and also to have a focus for my photography. I looked, but couldn’t find anything that was at the level I was hoping for.

Then, one day while reading a photography magazine I came across an article on microstock. I was immediately intrigued by the whole idea of it … people would create photos, upload them to the site and then maybe make a few bucks from it. So, I signed up and started uploading images. Eventually I started creating photos specifically for my stock portfolio and ended up using microstock as a “focus” for my work. I was creating more images with more intensity than ever before, and was learning so much in the process. It was perfect! I didn’t even need a class—I was teaching myself, reading blogs and hanging out in the iStock forums and it was just what I needed to improve my images.

And then, I started making real money with my photography! Not a lot, especially at first, but enough to have another “lightbulb” moment … I might actually be able to do this as my job! And I was right. I separated from the military a few years later and now my sales from stock photography make up the majority of my income. Plus, it’s opened up doors for me I never even knew existed. Who knew that one article in a magazine could change my life forever? :)

Going to Photoshop World
I honestly can’t tell you how I found out about NAPP and Photoshop World. I probably read about it in a magazine, or saw it on a blog. Whatever it was, I knew it looked interesting. It was 2008, and at this point I was in my third year of stock photography, but I knew that I had a lot to learn and PSW seemed like the right place to start. So I bought my ticket, booked my flight and hotel and was on my way to an event that would, again, change my life.

It was at Photoshop World that I met people in person for the first time, mostly those I knew through Twitter along with several other iStock photographers, and I started making a ton of friends and connections. I learned just how much I actually knew about Photoshop (which was a lot more than I had realized) and that pushed me to want to learn even MORE. After this experience I eventually became an ACE (Adobe Certified Expert) and shortly after started actually working for NAPP as a Help Desk Specialist (I’m one of the folks who answer Photoshop questions from NAPP members). None of that would have happened if I hadn’t gone to Photoshop World. And I still go—every year. Where else can you get the best teaching about Photoshop and be surrounded by so many amazing people at the same time?

Seeing Light
I can vividly remember the moment I first saw light … I was driving down the road and it hit me like a ton of bricks. I could see the light, the shadows … I knew which direction the light was coming from just by looking at the way the light wrapped itself around something. I honestly can’t believe that it took me so long to get to that point, almost as if I had been photographing while being blind-folded—after all, we need light to create a photograph. The key to good photograph is not the existence of light but the quality of the light. Now I can not only see light, but I can manipulate it, communicate with it and read between the lines. That moment was the start of shaping and changing my vision as a photographer and light is now no longer the mystery it used to be.

Moments like these, the “break-throughs” we experience often come from a daisy-chain of other events. It might be from seeing something in a book, or hearing an instructor say something. I don’t know what it was that prompted this moment, but I’m glad it happened. Every little morsel of information and learning we devour matters. I think of this moment when I’m teaching or writing about photography and keep in mind that anything I explain is always new to someone. And if it’s not new, it’s probably a good refresher.

Writing my First Book
It’s not everyday you get a phone call from a book publisher asking you to write a book for them, but that’s exactly what happened to me in 2009. Up to this point I’d been blogging regularly, but didn’t know I could actually write. So I signed a contract with Peachpit and started writing my first book, and a year later I was on my second book. A year after that, my third, and now (another year later) I’m writing my fourth book with Peachpit, and I even have a few eBooks with Craft&Vision under my belt. I honestly never, ever expected to be an author. I’ve learned a bunch in the process and hopefully have helped out my readers learn more about photography along the way.

I expect to be writing books and eBooks as far into the future as I can imagine, and hopefully nudge my way into other types of instruction and education if I can. Overall, writing has extremely impacted my life—I’m more passionate about photography because of it and I get to share that with so many people. Photography is my passion and I understand how important it is in creating and sharing memories, stories and beautiful art with those around us. I’m so happy that I get to spread what I know with as many people who will listen.

Joining Social Networks
Of all of the things that have impacted my path as a photographer, Social Media is at the top of the list. At first Twitter was the “place to be”. I made connections with other photographers and businesses and had many doors opened up for me in the process. Then, just last year, Google+ came onto the scene. I thought I’d give it a try, and even though it’s just over a year old it has, by far, been the biggest influence in my life in terms of social media. I’ve made a ton of friends (some of them are even the kind you actually hang out with in real life) and even met a great guy along the way. For me, social media is not just a place to post photos and casually interact with other photographers … it’s a community of people—real people—one that evolves and grows and becomes better because of the people who are a part of it. To say that my life is changed for the better from being connected on sites like Google+ would be an understatement.

The thing about all of these moments is that you don’t realize their importance until afterwards. Knowing this makes me really think about each decision and to take in and really appreciate each moment. It also helps me realize how important my relationships are and that I should do things out of love and respect instead of emotion and impulse. Everything I read, write, and photograph brings me closer to the people I meet along the way … which, if you ask me, is what life is really all about.

You can read Nicole’s blog at, find out more about her books HERE, follow her on Twitter or hang out with her on Google+.

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