Tuesday
Jan
2012
24

My Favorite Football Shots of The Season

by Scott Kelby  |  71 Comments

Man, it sure felt like more, but as it turned out,I only shot 10 football games this entire season (I’m not complaining on any level—I just sure thought it was more). They were:

  1. Notre Dame vs. Michigan State
  2. Tampa Bay Bucs vs. Indianapolis Colts
  3. San Francisco 49ers vs. NY Giants
  4. USF Bulls vs. Miami Hurricanes
  5. New Orleans Saints vs. Atlanta Falcons
  6. Marshall Thundering Herd vs. FIU Golden Panthers
  7. Tennessee Titans vs. the Cincinnati Bengals
  8. Atlanta Falcons vs. Minnesota Vikings
  9. Countryside Cougars (High School Football)
  10. Georgia vs. Michigan State

And as we’re kicking off this New Year, I thought I’d take a look back at some of my favorite shots from this past season. All of them pretty much shot with the same set-up: 2 camera bodies: Nikon D3s and D3. Main lens: 400mm f/2.8. Secondary lenses: 70-200 f/2.8, 24-70mm f.2/8, and 10.5mm fisheye.  NOTE:  These look much better larger, so please click on them to see a larger size). Here they are (in no particular order).

 

There ya have it, folks—-my favorite shots from this season. Thanks to everybody who tolerated all my football posts here this season and to everybody who supported me throughout the year with your kind comments. I love sharing what I pick up from these games (good and bad), and it’s been really fun having you all along with me for the ride. :)

Monday
Jan
2012
23

My “Best of 2011″ Awards

by Scott Kelby  |  54 Comments

Hi everybody—-it’s time (well, it’s a bit overdue) for my 3rd annual “Best of 2011 Awards” (Well, it’s not actually my 3rd best of 2011; it’s my 3rd “Best of” awards but you know what I mean).

It’s important to note once again that I didn’t say “Best photography gear” or “Best Photoshop stuff” (though both of those are represented). Instead, this is just my favorite “bestest” stuff from 2011, (including things like songs, movies, travel stuff, food, etc.) presented in no particular order.

Hope it starts off your New Year right! (By the way; make sure you read my disclaimers at the end of the list). Here we go:

————–

My Best Switcharoo of 2011:
Switching from Sirius Satellite Radio to XM
Even though they’re owned by the same company, Sirius XM, the station selection on XM is much better, and it has the best stations from Sirius already.

Most-receptive crowd to present to in 2011:
My LSR seminar in Toronto.
Those folks were awesome! Can’t wait to go back!

Best iPad App:
Photo Manager Pro
I’ve tried about every portfolio app for the iPad, but this one is the easiest, and most flexible

Best App for frequent travelers:
GateGuru
It finds which airport you’re at, and tells you what’s there, in every terminal, from restaurants to airport lounges, gift shops to ATMs, and it saves you a ton of time.

Best iPad game:
Temple Run
I could have had at least two more books written if it wasn’t for this addicting game.

Best Photoshop plug-in Update:
Nik Software’s Color Efex Pro 4
My most-used plug-in of the year 

My pick for best up-and-coming plug-in for 2011:
Topaz Detail
It’s “Freaky Detail” in a plug-in

Best new retouching plug-in:
OnOne’s Perfect Portrait
This one stands alone 

Best iPad Photo Editing App:
Snapseed
Apple chose it as their App of the Year. I’m not surprised.  

Best thing in 2011 for photographers that’s not a camera, lens, or lighting:
Google+
An incredibly vibrant, active community of photographers and it’s growing like a weed.

Best place to show your images online:
500px (link)
Plus, their iPad App is a fantastic place to go for photo inspiration.

Best place to get cool, inexpensive gifts for photographers:
PhotoJojo’s Store  (link)
They have the most clever stuff anywhere!

Best game of 2011:
Call of Duty MW3 for XBox Live
I can’t imagine the cool things I could have accomplished this year had it not been released

Best iPhone App for Photographers:
True HDR
(link)

Best Restaurant Find of 2011:
Max Brenner’s in NYC
(link)
I’m not a chocolate fanatic, but this place could convert me

Best fun new restaurant:
Wagamama
(link)

Best New Blog for Photographers:
blamethemonkey.com
(link)
Great information, including lots of cool HDR stuff, from photographer Elia Locardi

Best Blog for Fashion Photographers:
fashionphotographyblog.com
(link)
Great resource and wonderful photography from Melissa Rodwell

Best New Studio Accessories of 2011
The gear from Tether Tools 
(link)
I’m hooked on their tethering accessories. It’s not cheap, but it’s not cheap!

Best Point-and-Shoot Camera of 2011
The iPhone 4s 
(link)
I love it because it’s always with me. 8-megapixels; I can edit and process “in camera” and upload to the Web directly from my “camera” or send the photo I just took as an email.  

> Best new tech blog:
The Verge
(link)
Great reporting with a fantastic layout 

> Best gadget of 2011:
Cordies
Brilliantly simple desktop cord management from Quirky.com

Best Photoshop Book of 2011
Matt Kloskowski’s “Compositing Secrets” (link)
I wish I had written it, but if I had, it wouldn’t have been as good 

> Best book every serious photography should own:
“The Photographer’s Survival Guide,” by Ed Greenberg and Jack Reznicki (link)
Don’t let the name through you off; it’s about model releases, copyright, and stuff you really need to know

> Best Prime Rib of 2011:
Keen’s Steakhouse on West 36th in New York City
(link)
When they serve it, it looks like something you’d see on the Flintstone’s

> Best burger of 2011:
Hands down it was Plan B in Hartford Connecticut
(link)

> Best burger in NYC:
Shake Shack
(link)
There’s a reason you have to wait 30 minutes in line to get in.

> Best Live Show I Saw in 2011:
Rock of Ages
(link)

Best Live Concert I Saw in 2011:
Rod Stewart at Caesar’s Palace
Some guys have all the luck :)

Best thing I added to my Mac in 2011:
Mac OS X Lion
Much better than I thought. Lots of great little improvements, and iCloud integration rocks!

Best business book of 2011:
Enchantment by Guy Kawasaki
(link)

Another that comes close:
“Crush It” by Gary Vaynerchuk
(link)

Best really handy accessory for hot shoe flash:
Rogue Gels
(link)
I never mind paying for things that make my job easier 

Best romantic comedy I saw in 2011:
Crazy Stupid Love

Best romantic movie to watch again during the holidays:
Love Actually

Best movie that wanted to be good, but really wasn’t:
Columbiana
Massive holes in the plot sunk this one for me

Best movie that was so bad it was kinda good:
A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas
We wound up seeing this as part of my wife’s new “Date Night Movie Roulette” where you’re not allowed to even look at what’s playing until after dinner. Then you go to the movies, and see whatever’s playing at that time. H&K was all that was on. It was so bad, it was good.

Best list I was surprised (yet thrilled) to be included in:
Top 10 Best Portrait Photographers Today
(link) Toby

Best Old School Style Song I bought in 2011:
Diverse City by Mac
(iTunes Link)
“It’s like a freak show, in your neighborhood”

Best Golden Oldie I added to my iPod:
Duke of Earl by Gene Chandler (iTunes Link)
“As I walk through this world, nothing can stop….the Duke of Earl”

Best Classic Rock Song From A Band I’d Never Heard Of:
Inside Out by XYZ (iTunes Link)

Best old R&B song I added:
Don’t Stop by Jeffery Osborne
(iTunes Link)

Best classic rock song I added:
Be Good to Yourself by Journey (iTunes Link)

Best new song:
So Help Me God by Fireflight (iTunes Link)

Coolest kinda-jazzy but yet kinda alternative song I bought in 2011:
Hello City by Bare Naked Ladies (iTunes Link)

Best song I bought after hearing it on my son’s iPod:
Dear X: You Don’t Own Me by Disciple (iTunes Link)

Best Country Song I bought in 2011:
That’s What I love About Sunday, by Craig Morgan (iTunes Link)

Best Band I Never Though I’d have on my iPod:
Sixx: A.M.

Best New Song:
Stand, by Lenny Kravitz
(iTunes Link)

Best guitar-related gift I got in 2011:
A Hartke Kickback 12 Bass Amp (link)

Best new reason to love England:
Tim Wallace

He makes we want to grab my camera, and a bucket of water, and shoot!

Best new photographer to learn from:
Cliff Mautner
I can’t believe how much I learned from watching his online class. 

Best Day Trip of 2011:
Flying to Cedar Key, Florida with my wife as the pilot

Best bargain in lighting in 2011:
Westcott’s Giant 7′ Parabolic Shoot Through Umbrellas
The megapixel race is over. Now, it’s whoever dies with the biggest modifier, wins (Link)

Best way to start a fight since mentioning HDR:
Mention that your App is only available for the iPad

————————

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMERS:
(1)
I could be totally wrong about any of these—they’re just my opinions

(2) Some of these things could have actually come out in 2009, or even 2008. I’m old and lose track of time easily.

(3) If you disagree with any of my picks, that’s OK.

(4) If some of my picks make you seething mad, and you want to post mean comments to me, remember—you can start your own blog today, for free, and by this afternoon you can post your own list (don’t worry—everybody will agree with all your picks). Here’s a good place to start (link).

Well, that’s it gang. I’m always on the lookout for great anything (songs, movies photo gear, iPhone/iPad Apps, restaurants, travel tips, etc.), so if you have something I missed on my list, just let me know.

Friday
Jan
2012
20

How I post-processed the images from my “Four Days in India” photo book

by Scott Kelby  |  25 Comments

On Wednesday’s episode of “The Grid” (our weekly talk show about photography, broadcast live each Wednesdays), I took some time at the end of the show to answer a lot of the questions people had here on the blog about how I post processed the images seen in my photo book from my recent trip to India (link to my “Four Days in India Part 1, and Part 2 from earlier this week).

The video clip above shows the Lightroom [Camera Raw] and Photoshop tweaks I did to the image, but there’s also some talk about shooting portraits on the streets, including a great street shooting tip from Zack Arias who was our in-studio guest. Lots of fun on the show (our topic was our Predictions for 2012 for the photo industry), and if want to catch the full episode (Zack was an awesome guest), you can watch it free online right here.

Have a great weekend everybody, and join me here Monday for my annual “Best of 2011″ post.

Thursday
Jan
2012
19

You Spoke. Adobe Listened.

by Scott Kelby  |  67 Comments

I’ve got great news! While I was in India last week, Adobe announced that they have reconsidered and have officially changed their upgrade policy to Photoshop CS6. You spoke and they listened!

Now Adobe is offering CS3 and CS4 users special introductory upgrade pricing all the way through the end of 2012. Since Adobe has indicated that CS6 is due in the first half of this year, they are basically giving the community a year’s notice, along with an upgrade discount, and I think that’s more than fair. Especially since Adobe releases free 30-day trial versions of Photoshop, so users will be able to take CS6, and Creative Cloud, for a spin and still have at least six months to kick the tires and see if it’s right for them.

You can read Adobe’s official announcement right here, and I believe more details are still to come in the near future, but in the meantime I wanted to thank all of you who took the time to leave comments on my “Open Letter to Adobe” post. It really made a difference.

I also want to thank the folks at Adobe — on behalf of us all — not only for listening, but for caring enough to be flexible about their upgrade policy to give all the CS3 and CS4 users a fair upgrade path (either by simply upgrading Photoshop, or through the new Creative Cloud) and the opportunity to continue on as Adobe Photoshop customer.

Thursday
Jan
2012
19

It’s Free Stuff Thursday!

by Brad Moore  |  189 Comments

It’s time for another installment of Free Stuff Thursday! Brad Moore here to help you win a copy of…

Frank Doorhof: Live In Boston DVD
Frank Doorhof has released his brand new Live In Boston Workshop DVD! You can pick up your copy right here, or leave a comment for your chance to win one of two copies.

Or, if you’d rather take the workshop in person, Frank is returning to Boston on March 31 to do another Why Fake It When You Can Create It workshop, right after Photoshop World DC! You can get all the info and register over at WhyFakeItWhenYouCanCreateIt.com.

Wildlife Photography: From Snapshots to Great Shots
Check out the latest book from Laurie Excell, Wildlife Photography: From Snapshots to Great Shots! Laurie takes you through equipment, camera settings, lighting, and composition to help you get the great shots of birds, bears, and other wildlife. Plus it features Laurie’s own beautiful photography!

Leave a comment for your chance to win one of two copies of this book.

Kelby Training Affiliate Program
Good news for bloggers and website owners! KelbyTraining.com has partnered with Commission Junction to bring you a great affiliate program! Earn up to 35% commission on referrals!

KelbyTraining.com
Composition Made Easy with David Ziser is the latest addition to the KelbyTraining.com library! David shows you his on-location composition techniques as he teaches how to recognize and shoot a wide variety of visual elements to create spectacular, one-of-a-kind compositions. Check it out over at KelbyTraining.com!

Kelby Training Live
Coming soon to a city near you…

January 25 – Oklahoma City, OK – Photography & Photoshop CS5: From Focus to Finished with Ben Willmore

January 27 – Covington, KY – The Photographer’s Photoshop CS5 Power User Tour with Dave Cross

January 30 - Austin, TX – Light It. Shoot It. Retouch It. Live! with Scott Kelby

You can register for these and other upcoming seminars over at KelbyTraining.com.

OnOne Software On Sale – TODAY ONLY!
Today is the last day to take advantage of OnOne Software’s big sale! Get 20%, 30%, or even 50% off the latest versions of OnOne’s plug-ins, and even the Perfect Photo Suite which includes all seven plug-ins!

Cockpit Panos from Moose Peterson
If you’re a fan of aviation, check out these 360-degree cockpit panoramas of various warbird planes that Moose Peterson has been doing. It’s pretty cool be able to see everything in the cockpits of these planes, and even zoom in to read their checklists and instrumentation panels.

Last Week’s Winner
The winner of the free ticket to The Digital Photo Workshop in Death Valley with Rick Sammon is Tess Kauffmann! Congratulations Tess, and I know you’ll have a great time :)

That’s it for today. Leave a comment for your chance to win a copy of Frank Doorhof’s Live in Boston Workshop DVD or Laurie Excell’s Wildlife Photography: From Snapshots to Great Shots!

Wednesday
Jan
2012
18

It’s Guest Blog Wednesday featuring Lindsay Adler!

by Brad Moore  |  16 Comments


Portrait of Lindsay Adler, Photo by Bob Trautman

10 Tips for Improving your Portfolio in 2012

New York City is filled with thousands of amazing fashion and commercial photographers, all fighting for similar clients and resources. Because of this I must constantly improve my portfolio and strive to stand out from the crowd.  Yet this is not an easy task! I need to push myself to be creative on each and every project, and find ways to make my images exciting.

I’m always striving for my next shoot to be the best shoot I’ve ever done. Yes, I like my work and portfolio but I am never ‘satisfied’… and I think that’s a good thing!

I have the best job in the entire world. Hands down. I photograph beautiful people, in beautiful clothing, in beautiful locations. No complaints about that! Yet one of the biggest challenges is always getting better and finding a way to distinguish myself. I’ve always got to be improving my portfolio and defining my style. I must find ways to stop viewers in their tracks and engage them with my images.


I frequently utilize the color red as a very aggressive and visually compelling color to help give my images impact.

Below are 10 tips that I use to improve my portfolio, and I always keep these tips in the back of my mind. They help me to weed out bad images, to challenge myself creatively, and ideally to become a better photographer. Hopefully they will help you to improve in 2012!

1. Cut Weak Images
People remember your best images. They also remember your worst images. You are much better off cutting weaker images and having fewer images in your portfolio than padding your portfolio with mediocre images. Cut, cut, cut! Having 12 incredible images in your portfolio is a lot better than having 12 incredible images plus 12 average images. Aim for impact, and cut the weakest.


This image was in my portfolio for several months. Although I liked the clean yet aggressive feel of the image, it simply was not strong enough to stay in my portfolio.

2. Get Outside Critique
When deciding which images to cut and which images to include in your portfolio, get outside critique.

Sometimes you can be too emotionally attached to your images to realize that they should be cut from your portfolio. Let’s say that you hiked 7 miles in a blizzard to photograph a beautiful mountain scene. If the image is just an average landscape, then your suffering and pain doesn’t make it any better. As my friends say, “Sometimes you have to kill your babies”… referring to photographs of course!

When you get outside critique, be sure it is from someone you trust and respect. I often get outside critique from other photographers, my photo agent, and even my mom (hobbyist photographer too!). Between the several critiques I get, I can usually determine which images have the highest impact and are most successful, as well as which images need to be cut.

3. Look at Other Photographers’ and Artists’ Work
It’s not cheating to be inspired by other photographers’ and artists’ work. You can get inspiration from anywhere. When you look at other photographers’ work, you may be inspired by the lighting, composition, styling, posing, or any number of different elements.

In fact, many of my shoots are a combination of elements from many inspiration images. I save thousands of images on my computer to help communicate (visually) my ideas to my creative team when I do a shoot. I might use lighting inspired by one image, a pose from another image, and styling inspired by another photo. In the end the photograph is 100% mine regardless of the inspiration!

Obviously it’s pointless to copy an image… if it’s already been done, then there is no point in you creating or ripping off someone else’s ideas! Yet inspiration is completely legitimate whether you get inspired by a photographer, painter, location, movie, or any other source.


This image (of an environmental activist) was inspired by the fashion photographer Tim Walker who regularly uses grand scenes and fairytale props to create striking images.

When I look at other artists’ work, I try to really analyze what’s compelling about the images and what I can do to incorporate these elements (see #9). In the image above I was inspired by the work of Tim Walker, who regularly uses fairytale props and dramatic scenes.

4. Experiment
Don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone and try new techniques or types of photography. If you are landscape photography, try portraits. If you love photographing at sunset, try painting with light in the middle of the night. Look at other photographers work and try different techniques. Don’t be afraid to try new things!

For example, I saw many excellent photographers who were using paint with light as a technique for painting landscapes, urban scenes and even portraits. The images were beautiful, but looked challenging. I decided to experiment with paint with light for my fashion images, and was THRILLED with the results!


After seeing many photographers utilize paint with light in their work, I decided to experiment and use this technique for my fashion photography.

5. Define Your Style, Specialize
While I urge you to experiment, eventually you want to define your style and specialize. If you’d like to make photography your profession, you don’t want a website that has portraits, landscapes, macro and fashion. You are more likely to get a job or be memorable if you have a specialty or niche.

Even if you aren’t a professional, if you wish to exhibit your work it will be more appealing to galleries when you have a cohesive body of work. People don’t remember the ‘photographer who photographers everything.’ They remember the “food photographer” or “fairytale-inspired portrait photographer”. The more you specialize, the more you will be remembered.

I go back over and edit my portfolio ALL THE TIME. I really look at the weakest images, and attempt to replace them. Next I look at the strongest images. Why are they so successful? I try to use those same successful elements in future shoots.

I personally feel my style is clean, graphic and bold. When I shoot, I try to stick to this style, either using high contrast or bright colors to emphasize my compositions and poses.


This image, shot for Papercut Magazine, fits into my style of fashion photography that is clean, graphic and eye-catching.

6. Make Mistakes
Some of my favorite images and techniques started with a ‘mistake’. We have all spent a lot of time learning the ‘rules’ of photography. Yet I often see that that images that break the rules are the ones that stand out. When I experiment I try to remember that it is okay to make mistakes, and sometimes those mistakes I like best! In fact, many photographers use these ‘mistakes’ to make their signature style.

Try adding lens flare, or motion blur, or something considered ‘wrong’ by traditional photo standards. Once when doing a shoot, someone’s clothing got in front of the lens, and it created this very interesting blur effect in the frame. Now I purposely create this blur effect, as seen in this image which recently appeared in Z!NK magazine. Sometimes ‘mistakes’ make the most interesting images.


Sometimes allowing yourself to make mistakes can help you discover truly interesting effects. Here I held colored plastic in front of the lens to create this blur effect.

7. Give Yourself Assignments
Give yourself assignments and deadlines to meet those assignments. Especially if you are not a full time photographer, it can be hard to find time to shoot for yourself. By giving yourself deadlines and assignments it gives you something to work toward and concentrate on.

When I give myself assignments, I try to analyze ‘what’s missing’ in my portfolio or what I could do to improve.

Assignments can be single words like “Red” or techniques like “Religion”.


For this image I gave myself the assignment of shooting the theme “Religion.” I decided to take the ‘religious’ warrior route and utilized a Lensbaby and Photoshop to create the final effect.

8. Enter Contests
If you are struggling to come up with self assignments, look for contests to help give you assignments. You can find contests online, in magazines and much more. They might give you subject matter to focus on. Furthermore, if you do win the contest, it helps get exposure for your work and perhaps some cool prizes.

For example, my good friend Brooke Shaden has a monthly contest on her blog. The contest themes vary but always seem to spark my creativity. Find blogs, magazines or websites with competitions and shoot to win! Ok, well if not to win at least to challenge yourself and explore your creativity!


I entered this image in the PDN’s “The Look” competition and was named one of the finalists.

9. Analyze Images
Most of us know an image we love when we see it. But do we really stop and ask why? Is it the lighting that is striking? Or is it powerful subject matter? Or do you love the composition? If you analyze photographs you can start to see which elements attract you to an image. From there, you can set the goal to incorporate these elements into your own work!

For example, I find that I love really graphic compositions and bright colors, and so I always try to incorporate this into my own work. Sometimes it happens naturally, and sometimes I make a conscious decision.

I look at the photographers I truly admire, and try to figure out what makes their work so incredible, and see if I can infuse that into my own!

10. Shoot personal work
If you are a professional or aspiring professional looking to improve your portfolio, don’t just shoot client work. Put together your own creative shoots that reflect the type of work you’d like to be hired for. This shows potential clients your creative abilities. I can almost guarantee that if you ONLY shoot when you are paid to shoot, your portfolio is suffering.

Furthermore, by shooting personal work people can see your creativity and vision and perhaps open up more opportunities. I try to shoot 1 personal project a week. When I first moved to NYC to pursue my fashion career, I dedicated each Sunday to shooting some sort of personal project, and the rest of the days to getting paid gigs. My portfolio improved 10x, and really helped kick-start my career!


This image was inspired by a Japanese artist who projected floral patterns on a face. This started as a personal project, but later ran in several international fashion magazines.

You can view more of Lindsay’s work at LindsayAdlerPhotography.com, keep up with her on her blog, and follow her on Twitter.

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