Friday
May
2012
04

The first copy of my new “Lightroom 4 book for Digital Photographers” has arrived in-house

by Scott Kelby  |  21 Comments

My buddy Matt Kloskowski just me this iPhone shot of my latest book which just arrived at the office yesterday (I was working at home, getting caught up for my trip), so that means it’s already on its way to bookstores.

Really excited about this one! (I added lots of cool new stuff — more on that later, but I’m psyched). You can preorder yours from Amazon.com, or Barnes & Noble.com, (both are selling it around $27. Cheap!), or anywhere super cool books are sold.

Friday
May
2012
04

Thank you London — What a Wonderful Way to Wrap Up My Live Tour!

by Scott Kelby  |  12 Comments

(Above: iPhone shot before the day got started).

It couldn’t have been a better crowd or location to wrap up my “Light it, Shoot it, Retouch it” live tour than what we had last week in London, England.

What a great group of photographers — totally engaged, very responsive, lots of great questions, and some of the most kind, genuine folks I’ve had the honor to preset to. Some even brought gifts (I got everything from guitar picks (including some really cool ones), chocolate bars, British Kit Kats, and more.

My guest retoucher Glyn Dewis totally rocked it and gained LOTS of new fans, and it was such a kick sharing the stage with him. He showed loads of cool bonus stuff, and I sat in the crowd taking notes along with everyone else. Really a brilliant job and I learned a lot.

A big thanks to the awesome folks at “The Flash Centre”(http://www.theflashcentre.com/) who not only helped us with on our stage gear, but even gave away some cool Lastolite gear. Totally great folks (I visited their store in London, and if you haven’t, you definitely should — well stocked and super-helpful staff).

Also thanks to Adobe, who were there with a stand, and were kind enough to give away two copies of Lightroom 4 for our afternoon drawing.

Thanks to everyone who came out to support the tour in London, to Flash Centre, to Adobe, to my mate Glyn for an outstanding job, to Dave Clayton for once again leading the charge to get us there in the first place, and to the warm people of England who’s big smiles and kind hearts made this a trip to remember. Can’t wait to come here and teach again soon!

Thursday
May
2012
03

It’s Free Stuff Thursday!

by Brad Moore  |  221 Comments

Google+ Photographer’s Conference
We’re just a few weeks away from the Google+ Photographer’s Conference on May 22-23 in San Francisco! Register now for your chance to participate in photo walks, live shoots, and sessions with great instructors like Guy Kawasaki, Trey Ratcliff, Peter Hurley, Alex Koloskov, and tons of others. We just set up a couple of discount codes to use for registration…

Use GPLUSCOMM to save $50 off registration AND get 2 free months of online training at KelbyTraining.com. Or if you’re a student, use GPLUSSTUD to register for just $99 (must provide student ID)! These discount codes are valid until May 18.

And and, you can leave a comment for your chance to win one free ticket to the conference!

KelbyTraining.com
Want to know What’s New in Photoshop CS6? That’s the latest class from Matt Kloskowski over at KelbyTraining.com!

Plus, there are two brand new classes from Rich Harrington: DSLR Video Planning & Shooting and DSLR Video Post Production. If you want to learn about DSLR video, there’s nobody better than Rich to teach this stuff!

The Photographer’s Photoshop CS6 Power User Tour
Speaking of learning the latest in Photoshop CS6… If you’re in Indianapolis, you’ll want to sign up for The Photographers’s Photoshop CS6 Power User seminar with Dave Cross! Dave is coming to town on May 23 with the tour that’s just been updated to showcase all the features photographers will want to know to get the most out of Photoshop CS6.

Keep an eye out for more dates to come, and leave a comment for your chance to win a free ticket to this seminar!

A Day with Jay Maisel DVD
It was announced on The Grid yesterday that we’re heading to Paris next week to film another class with Jay Maisel called (what else?), A Day with Jay Maisel in Paris! To celebrate, what better way than to give away three copies of the Day with Jay Maisel DVD that includes the first two classes that were filmed on the streets of Manhattan?

Leave a comment for your chance to win!

The Digital Photo Workshops with Dave Black
Join Dave Black and The Digital Photo Workshops crew as we explore the rugged coastline, lighthouses, and majestic villages of Maine. Rockland, Maine will be base-camp for this nautical themed workshop June 14–17, 2012.

You will work side-by-side with legendary photographer Dave Black as he shows you his magic technique of lightpainting. Take part in dawn patrol as we take you to some of Maine’s best sunrise photo spots. During the day learn workflow, Lightroom, and Photoshop techniques from the pros. Also get personal one-on-one help processing your images. As the sun goes down we’ll have you in the perfect spot to catch an image you can be proud of. And did I mention NAPP members get $100 off?

Leave a comment for your chance to win a free ticket to this workshop!

Last Week’s Winners
Here are the winners of last week’s giveaways…

David Ziser’s Wedding Portraits DVD
- S Traynor
- Lewis Johnston
- Camelia

The Digital Photo Workshop with Ben Willmore
- Lizzy Pat

That’s it for this week. Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday
May
2012
02

It’s Guest Blog Wednesday featuring Moose Peterson!

by Brad Moore  |  19 Comments

Humble Beginnings

Most started as bird watchers, I always loved that fact. The birds had the secret they all wanted, sought and required!

We’d driven past the brown and white sign along the highway a couple of times, but Huffman Prairie Field meant nothing to us. Then at the Monday night briefing for the next day’s B-25 flight to Wright-Patterson for the Doolittle reunion celebration, it was mentioned we’d be flying over the field the next morning. So now I was curious. Four days later we decided to explore where the signs were directing us. We drove through the gate, which at first seemed would stop our quest. Negotiating it we went down a country road that turned into a one way lane. We came up to one of those big signs indicating ‘You Are Here’ telling us we were at a dead end road with a gate. In fact, we didn’t see a thing nearby resembling a field or prairie. We had no choice but to continue down the one way road.

We made a turn in the road, which took us out of the trees to a big open field that looked like any other field. It was a gorgeous day with an armada of giant puffy clouds, sailing across the crystal blue sky. The green carpet of spring grasses raced to the horizon to greet the clouds. We just had to stop to make a click. We got out and then saw another sign stating ‘You Are Here.’ But this time the sign said more, telling us we were on the edge of Huffman Prairie Field, the world’s first aerodrome! But it’s more than that.

Off in the distance we saw a small tower and shed, so we headed there to check them out. It was important to me to reach this place, in the middle of nowhere Ohio that 99% of the world has never heard of. It is from this point over 100 years ago all of our lives would be changed. Huffman Prairie Field is where the Wright Bros made their first powered and sustained flights, proving the flight was not only possible, but also our future!

Flying over this field in the nose of the B-25J “Maid in the Shade” to honor the Doolittle Raiders was quite something, especially when the Wright Brothers thought flight would stop wars because it would connect societies by bringing them closer together. Touring the Wright-Patterson USAF Museum and then writing this on my commercial flight home I am blown away how flight continues in magical, marvelous ways and to think it all started with simple bird watching.

A common beginning

How did your photography begin? Mine started as a bird watcher at age 9 (but I never invented a means of flight!). Do you ever take time to reflect on that first moment, experience, magic, love or click? I sure do. I grew up in a family of shutter buggers who were always taking pictures. We would have big family parties that would culminate at the end of day by sitting in front of a large screen either inside or outside in the summer viewing images, reliving past memories and telling new stories. Not much of a stretch understanding where I got it from.

Well wanting to participate in the fun and of course the attention that comes from having your photo on the screen, I needed a camera. I collected and saved Blue Chip stamps until finally I could redeem them to get a Kodak Brownie Instamatic. I was 9. By the time I was a freshman in high school, I was using my dad’s Argus he’d carried through the wars, which evolved to using his Minolta SRT 101. That lasted me about a year until I’d saved up my money to buy the latest and greatest Minolta SRT 202 (since my dad and brother had lenses, seemed like the thing to do). The first pages of my book Captured pick up the story from there when one evening on a beach in So California I had found my two loves of my life, Sharon and photography.

I doubt many of us have really too different of a beginning in photography. Bird watching or people watching, car watching or sports, like the Wright brothers something sparks in all photographers the power of observation and then the desire to share what we see with others. But unlike the Wright brothers, we are fortunate enough to hopefully learn from others who came before us. I personally can’t imagine that first time zipping down a rickety wooden rail in a wood and cloth contraption about to be launched into the air and feeling, “Is this a smart thing to be doing?” Photography in the beginning can be just as scary, especially when you share your photography for the first time! Wait until the first time you start to teach!

I have a desire

I’ve had a couple of great teachers in my life who have greatly influenced me. My dad loved to teach and had a style of making folks think about the answer. He devoted a lot of his life to helping other teachers be better teachers though that wasn’t his occupation. The other was my high school photo teacher. Mr. Traub made his students go out with a camera and find answers for themselves, not handing us easy answers or those that would work for just the moment. Not until I was much older would I understand why he started the first weeks of the class studying the images of old masters (McNally & Maisel were part of our lessons, ha!), looking at light and thinking about composition before he ever put a twin eye monster in our hands.

I started in my sophomore year and by the end of that year, Mr. Traub had me helping the new students. That’s when I started to teach photography and yet, I wasn’t even a photographer myself. And I’ve never stopped.

What is it about photography that gets us up early, takes us out in the rain, at times traveling what seems like the end of the earth just to make a click? I wonder if it’s really any different than what those cave dwellers in Germany felt when they made crude paintings on the wall we can still see today. Did they pass on their knowledge of mixing paint and painting? I wonder.

One of the greatest attributes of NAPP and especially Photoshop World is this huge community that comes together to celebrate creativity in all its visual forms! Even better is the amazing group of people, on stage and off with the desire to share what they have learned so others can learn from their life experiences. I love watching “fans” when they see in person one of their heroes at PSW for the first time. Even though we are all just people, we are very fortunate that fans think so highly of us when at some point, we all had the same simple beginnings.

Unlike the Wright brothers, those on stage are not sharing a new invention but more often just a different way of thinking, approaching and communicating visually. At the same time entertaining and inspiring you to not only try this or that new technique or tool, but also to share your vision. Share through your photographs and share through your teaching others what you’ve learned.

I’ve never heard of any photographer being born with a silver camera. Each and every one of us has had to move ourselves down the path and at times, with the help of others a little further down that path. That’s how I see myself, just a little bit further down that path than some and because of the passion my teachers passed along to me, a responsibility to pass that on to others. And now that you’ve had your beginnings, it’s up to you to pass along what you’ve learned as well! Just think how we can change the world if everyone shared that same desire to help others?

What’s this ramble all about? For quite a while now, I’ve encouraged photographers to share their images, knowing that photography can change the world. Now I want to challenge you to share what you’ve learned with other photographers! And it doesn’t matter what your skill level is, you have something to teach everyone and that includes me. I always come away with at least one great lesson from someone at Photoshop World, someone willing to share an experience they have had that I have not. You don’t have to do a workshop to teach, it can be as simple as a five minute conversation with someone at a camera store counter (of course finding one of those these days is a challenge).

Photographers, every single one as far as I’m concerned are the luckiest folks on the planet! The experiences life has afforded us and that we can share are life-changing. And all you have to do is look at some of the great “projects” already in place like Help-Portrait and you can see the change we can affect on the world. The Wright Brothers while protecting some of their concepts of flight because of business nonetheless opened the doors to a world we enjoy over 100 years later. They taught by doing, leading and inspiring. I think we as a photographic community can do the same thing. Wouldn’t it simply be cool in 100 years society could look back and see the tremendous changes photographers made with the simple act of sharing and teaching? And no matter where you’re at, take comfort in knowing that every single one of us started with humble beginnings.

You can see more of Moose’s work at MoosePeterson.com and WarbirdImages.com, check out the new BT Journal for iPad, and find him on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+

Tuesday
May
2012
01

My first three-light car shoot (with lots of help from Tim Wallace’s online class)

by Scott Kelby  |  75 Comments

I needed some shots for an upcoming project, and when my friends (and fellow photographers) Kathy Porupski and Jim Sykes heard that I needed a cool location for the shoot, they told me about a local advertising agency that had remodeled a 1950′s gas station for their new offices.  They make a few calls and the next day I was there shooting. Here’s one of the shots from the shoot (above), my first with three lights for an automotive shoot.

Not only did I follow the tips from Tim Wallace’s Kelby Training online classes on car photography, I actually pulled out my laptop during the middle of the shoot to make sure I had the lights set up correctly (see below). I never would have tried this without having seen Tim’s class. In fact, it was Tim’s class that made me want to do it in the first place.

This is taken from the shooting position (photo by Brad Moore), and you can see the three lights and their position. Rob, our brave 2nd assistant on the shoot, had to dodge traffic like you can’t believe (you can’t tell what a busy road this was). Not having that third light (lighting the front wheel), on a light stand made this a lot more challenging because after every shot, the wheel light was in a different position, but because of all the traffic, we didn’t have a choice. Lucky he’s young, and can run fast. ;-)

Gear and Lighting Info
This was my first shoot with the Nikon D800 (more on this in a minute), and I used my go-to lens for my outdoor shots was my 70-200 f/2.8 VR II lens. I shot in Manual mode (since I was using strobes), and I used three lights: 2 Elinchrom Ranger Packs, and 1 Ranger Quadra (so three flashes total). One the light in the back of the car, I used a large Stripbank soft box (like 18″x50″ or something close to that). On the front of the car, I used a small Stripbank (like 12″ x 36″), and the third light was a bare strobe with a 20° metal grid.

For my close-up detail shots (shown further down this post), I used an old 70.0-180.0 mm f/4.5-5.6 Macro lens I bought from Moose Peterson a few years ago. Great lens by the way (thanks Moose).

(Above: Here’s a reverse view of the lighting set-up. Look how nervous Rob looks out there in the street). 

The Nikon D800 — be careful what you wish for!
I was really looking forward to seeing all the extra detail I heard the D800 would bring (I had actually seen samples my buddy Matt Kloskowski had taken on a trip to Oregon with my D800, and it was just incredible), but this was my first shoot, and I couldn’t wait to see how it pulled detail. Well, you know that saying, “Be careful what you wish you?” Well, it smacked me in the head, because with all that added detail (and there is plenty), comes all that extra retouching to remove some unwanted detail my other cameras didn’t bring out (everything from fingerprints, to tiny spots, specs, reflections and other stuff that was usually soft enough it wasn’t worth messing with).

It reminded of when HTDV took off and all the TV news anchors had to use way more make-up because the HD brought out every little detail and flaw that nobody notice before. Same kinda thing here. Take a look at the sample’s below and you’ll see what I mean.

(Above: When you’re zoomed out, it pretty much looks like my old camera captured images. This is the out-of-camera shot as is). 

(Above: But when you zoom-in to 100% full size, you realize your retouching work has just begun. However, I’m not complaining — I’ll take the amazing detail any time — it worth the extra retouching!) 

(Above: Here’s a version that’s cleaned up a bit).

(Above: Here’s a production shot of the detail shot. Yes, we shot with all that ambient light and still got a solid black background. I learned that in Tim’s class, too!).

(Above: Here’s a detail shot of the owner’s blue ’32 Ford Roadster. I loved the wheels — classic!)

(Above: Here’s me, lying on the ground, to get the lighting and perspective I wanted for the shot you just saw of the tire and wheel. How did I know that was where the shot was? I didn’t. I just kept trying different angles — they all looks pretty lame, until one finally found this one that looked good. Tip: it’s usually the one with the most uncomfortable shooting position). 

(Above: Here’s a close-up detail shot of the M6 taken right after we did the full body shots from across the street).

(Above: Just one light — a strip bank, and again, the previous shot was taken in daylight). 

(Above: Another detail shot, this one taken from the back). 

(Above: Here’s a production shot of the shot you just saw above). 

(Above: I couldn’t resist shooting at least one HDR of the gas station once the shoot was over and the place was closed up). 

While we had a great time, and wrapped the whole thing up in right around three hours, of course there are things I would do much differently next time (like watch Tim’s class again, and pay even closer attention, because I missed a couple of things that I could do a lot better lighting wise), but I sure learned a lot from Tim’s class.

He really makes everything so clear, and I just really enjoy his wonderful, laid-back, yet straight to the point teaching style. He doesn’t hold anything back, and that’s not only just the kind of guy I want training for me, apparently it’s just the kind of guy I want training me, too!

Sunday
Apr
2012
29

My Adobe Creative Cloud Quick Q&A

by Scott Kelby  |  213 Comments

Last week I was at Adobe’s Creative Cloud launch event out in San Francisco, and after getting a lot more details on what the Creative Cloud is all about, I have I’ve gone from cautiously curious to really excited.

I think this is going to open a lot of new opportunities and put some amazing tools in the hands of creative pros that were previously out of their reach. But I know from mentioning this briefly last week, a lot of folks have a lot of questions (I did too), and I thought I’d tackle some of the most-asked questions I’ve been getting here and see if this helps.

But before we get to the questions, I thought I would at least try to explain, in one brief paragraph, what the Creative Cloud is. Here’s how I understand it:

“It’s two things: (1) You can pay a monthly fee and get to download onto your computer, and use, full versions of all of Adobe’s Creative Suite software (everything from the latest Photoshop to After Effects to Dreamweaver to Premiere Pro, and so on [I think it’s 26 programs in all). As long as you pay your monthly membership, you get to use any (or all) of their software programs. And (2) You get a number of Web services including things like Cloud syncing, Adobe’s Business Catalyst Web hosting, storage and online collaberation stuff among others (a list of which I’m sure will grow pretty quickly).”

OK, that’s the one short paragraph version, but here are my quick Q&A follow-ups:

Q. Do I have to sign-up for a Creative Cloud membership or can I just upgrade like always?
A. Nope—you can just upgrade like always.

Q. Are “Creative Cloud” applications Web-based applications, or are they on my computer like regular applications?
A. They are NOT Web-based apps. The programs work just like they always did, right on your computer, but instead of installing them from a CD or DVD disc (like the “old days”), you download any ones you want from Adobe’s Creative Cloud site. If you’re a Mac user and have used the Mac App store to download software, it’s pretty much like that. Personally, I think the name, “Creative Cloud” makes it sound “Cloud-based” when it’s really not, but I guess calling it “Creative Download” wasn’t a great name either.

Q. How much does Creative Cloud Membership cost?
A. You can pay only $49.95 a month if you sign up for an annual plan (so basically, you’re “in” for 12 months), but if you want to do just a month-by-month thing (with no 12 month commitment), then it’s going to cost you more, I believe it’s around $70-something bucks a month.

By the way, you also get all the new Adobe touch Apps, and it includes the whole online Web hosting and storage space deals, plus there are services that come with your membership (the business catalyst stuff), and a bunch of stuff I wasn’t aware expecting.

This whole industry is changing really rapidly (just a couple of years ago, there really weren’t even tablets out there — now it’s a huge market, not to mention the mobile market as a whole) and so I imagine the whole Creative Cloud thing will evolve pretty rapidly (so we can create content for things like iPads and Android tablets quickly) and we’ll soon see new tools, more services, and they’ll come up with new ways to integrate workflows across all this stuff.

Q. So, what’s the best deal?
A. Honestly, the best deal is for anyone who already owns (is a registered user of) either the CS3, CS4 , CS5 or 5.5 Creative Suites, because Adobe has a special deal for the first 12-months, which is just $29.95 a month, which honestly is insanely low (you can’t get dinner for two at Chili’s for $29.95). That’s probably the best value overall (and you get EVERYTHING), but if you just want Photoshop CS6 by itself, you can do a monthly plan on it for only $19.95 (cheaper than dinner for one at Ruby Tuesday’s), which is kind of crazy when you think about it. I think this is going to put Photoshop in lots of folks hands who never could dream of using it before.

Q. What if I never owned the Creative Suite, do I have to buy it first?
A. That may be the most amazing thing — you don’t. There are no up-front costs for joining the Creative Cloud — you pay the $49.95 a month (if you do the annual contract), or $70-something for month-to-month even if you’ve never owned an Adobe product at all. I know, that sounds like it can’t be right, but that’s the way I understand it (and I asked Adobe people about this while I was at the launch numerous times because it seems a little too-good-to-be-true, but they assured me that’s the deal).

Q. What happens when CS7 eventually comes out?
A. I think this is the absolute best thing about the whole Creative Cloud idea —- you don’t have to wait for 18 or so months (like we did in the “old days”) to get new features. Adobe plans on releasing new features as soon as they’re ready, so when Adobe engineers come up with new technologies, or the tech or content landscape changes quickly, they can release that stuff as soon as its baked (instead of waiting for the next full release, which is what they were required to do in the past).

So, in short, the wait is over, and you get every new feature as soon as its released (while people not in the plan, will still have to wait the 18 or  so months until the next big release, like CS7). This is similar to Call of Duty Elite (stop snickering), where as an Elite member I had new COD map downloads months before the public release (I love the Elite program for just that reason), so if you’re in that program, then you know what I’m talking about (cover me, I’m reloading). ;-)

Q. After a certain number of months do I get to keep that software?
A. Nope. You’re basically paying for access to all that stuff, and as long as you keep paying, you keep playing. It’s kind of like renting an apartment— no matter how long you rent, it doesn’t one day become your apartment. Also, just like an apartment, you can pretty much do what you want as long as you keep paying your rent. But if you stop paying, the landlord will kick you out.

Q. Do I have to be connected to the Internet all the time to use the Creative Cloud?
A. Nope. It just checks once a month to make sure you’re still enrolled on the plan, but outside of that, you can use it “off line” just like always, on planes, trains, and automobiles (as long as you’re not the driver).

Q. What if it’s not for me?
A. That’s totally cool. You can pretend the Creative Cloud doesn’t exist, and just pay up front for upgrades and full versions of the software like you used to. The Creative Cloud is an option — one that makes sense for a lot of people who can’t handle the up-front costs of the regular Creative Suite, but if it’s not for you, no biggie.

Q. So you’re pretty excited about it?
A. As a guy that makes his living training on Adobe products, I obviously want as many people as possible to be using Adobe products, and I think this will put the Creative Suite applications in a lot of people’s hands that wouldn’t otherwise have access to it, so I think that’s a good thing for everybody. It’s not available yet, but I’m going to be a Creative Cloud member as soon as it does ship, and while I know it’s not right for everybody, for a lot of people, this is something they’ve dreaming about, and now it’s nearly here. I’m psyched. Or as RC would say, “pumped!” :)

OK, well, I hope that helps. I’m also hoping some Adobe people jump in here and help answer any follow-up questions you guys might have (I’m sending some of my friends there a heads-up that I’m posting this today, to see if they might help-out with any follow-ups from you guys, but just remember—they’re out West, so they may be still asleep when you posted your questions).

Have a great Monday everybody, and I’ll be back in the States later on today. Cheers!

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