I’m not saying I’m old. I’m just too old to be making mistakes like this. I have to admit, it's very humbling â” no actually, it's worse than that â” it's embarrassing and a bit humiliating to be my age and still having to learn life lessons I should have learned long ago.

For the love of Paris
You only get to visit a city like Paris so many times in your lifetime. It's more than a treat. It's a privilege. A gift. A blessing. Every time I'm there, I just can't believe I'm really there. It's that kind of place.

It was my 9-year-old daughter's first visit, and my son's first since he was six (he's 18 now and off to college in the fall), and we had an absolutely marvelous time. Beautiful weather. Great meals. Lots of love and laughter the entire trip, and being in a city like Paris with my beautiful wife, and surrounded by our kids â” well, it's just hard to describe the feeling. The trip was everything I hoped it would beâ¦with one small exception (and that's what this story is about).

A unique opportunity for a shoot
I did lots of research before the trip, and I hoped to shoot in one special place while I was there â” one that would hopefully be a part of a photography "coffee table" book I've been working on for a while called "The Great Indoors." It's a book that celebrates beautiful classic interior spaces around the world. It's about 70-80% complete, so it's still a "work in progress," and it includes everything from concert halls to libraries; from theaters to cathedrals; museums, restaurants, palaces, mosques, hotel lobbies, even a train station or two â” gorgeous interior spaces from around the world, presented in hard cover coffee-table book format (a printed proof of which I showed at my seminar in London last week).

One of the things I’ve done in the book is to try and present the interiors without any tourists in the scene, which I was able to do in most cases with special permission from the location by shooting before or after hours, but in one or two cases there are just a few people in the scene at the time, but in those cases it's so few that it adds to the image, rather than taking away.

I've been very fortunate to shoot a number of interiors in France, including Versailles, the church of St. Sulpice; the interior of Le Train Bleu, Notre Dame, and many others but another place I've wanted to shoot for a while is the incredibly beautiful Reading Room of the Biblioth¨que nationale de France (the French national library). I reached out to my Parisian friend Serge Ramelli, who contacted the library and got the ball rolling for me, and before I left for Paris, I had the shoot all set up â” Friday morning between 9am and 10am before the library opened, so I could use a tripod and shoot it bathed in beautiful morning light.

I had to sign a contract beforehand about how the images would be used, and there was a fee for doing a shoot like this, but it was surprisingly reasonable and absolutely well worth it. Plus, the woman I was working with in the photo department at the Biblioth¨que nationale de France was a delight, and it was all coming together.

On a side note â” I tired to arrange a similar shoot while in England earlier in the week, and my buddies over there were doing some legwork for me in advance, but we learned that the fee for shooting in this location was nearly FIVE times what it was in France. I still considered it on some level until I got to the part where they retained ALL the copyrights to my images, so I bailed on that shoot altogether. It's too bad â” it would have made a wonderful addition to the book.

Anyway, I was psyched for this shoot for all sorts of reasons â”  I would get up while the family was still sleeping, do the shoot, and I'd still be back in time to join them for for the incredible French breakfast served each morning at our hotel. we'd head out for a day of exploring Paris (our three days there included a day trip to Paris Disneyland â” we hadn’t mentioned Disneyland Paris to our 9-year-old daughter but she saw a poster for it in the train station andâ¦wellâ¦you just can't get that close to a Disneyland and tell your 9-year-old she can't visit "the most magical place on earth”). One day, when she’s all grown up, it will hit her that we actually left Paris, the City of Light, to take a train trip to Disneyland Paris just for her, and she'll give us the biggest hug ever, and it will have all been worth it! (Of course, we got many hugs that day, so I guess she kind of paid it forward).

Preparing the gear for the shoot
The night before the shoot I stayed up late; charged the batteries, backed up my cards, took extra cards; made sure everything was in place for the big shoot. I brought extra gear just for this shoot, including the new Canon 11-24mm f/4 (I asked to extend the loaner from Canon for this trip), and my Canon Fisheye zoom, as well as my casual walk around lens, a Tamron 28-300mm f/3.5 to f/6.3, and my new favorite travel tripod from 3-Legged Thing (so sturdy yet very lightweight). I set my alarm early, and I was up and ready to go. I went back to the instruction email from the Library to confirm the address, and according to Google Maps, the Library was 12 minutes away by taxi, so I was in the hotel lobby at 8:30 for my quick ride to the Library, but there were no taxis to be found. The hotel tried calling a taxi company and they said "We'll call you back." Ack! They finally did call back, but it took about 10 minutes for the taxi to arrive.

Well, as luck would have it, there was much more traffic than the taxi driver or I had expected, and after leaving late, and encountering lots of traffic, I arrived about 6 minutes late.  Not good. Worse yet, as it turned out I was on the other side of the huge complex from where the entrance was, and the signs were in French but I finally found someone to point me in the right direction. Once at the main entrance, I had to go through security (including showing my contract so they would let me in with my "professional gear" as the guard called it), and then getting my gear x-rayed as well, and long story short, when I got through all that and asked for my contact at the information desk, I was already about 15 minutes late, and fairly stressed. I still have 45 minutes for the shoot, so I’m still OK â” that’s all the time I need.

The woman at the desk was very helpful (and spoke very good English) and tried to ring my contact several times, but then while she was trying to track her down, I got an email from my contact asking where I was (since I was late), and letting me know she was waiting in the garden. When I told the woman at the desk that she was waiting in the garden, she looked kind of puzzled. "The garden?" Then I showed her the email, and she looked surprised and upset.

This is where things got sticky
She said, "Oh no. You're at the wrong location,” and my heart began to sink. As it turns out there are two locations for the French National Library, and the Reading Room (the place I wanted to shoot) is on the other side of town. In my contact's email she told me which entrance she would be at â” she even gave me the exact street entrance where she'd be at, but I assumed (there's that word â” here we go), that the entrance she was talking about was at that main location. Sadly, it was not. Well, I was freaking out and I told the woman at the desk I would just jump in a taxi and race there, but she told me â” it's very hard to find a taxi there (which turned out to be the understatement of the year. She should have said "nearly impossible).

Panic sets inâ¦
I looked back in that original email and saw my contact had left her cell number, and when she answered I told her my mistake â” I apologized profusely and told her I would jump in a taxi and be there right away. But she told me that with morning rush-hour traffic, I was at least 25 minutes away (maybe more), and she had to return to her home office (which ironically is where I was calling her from), so she was very apologetic, but my shoot was now cancelled â” I would not be able to shoot the Reading Room. She had made the trip all the way to this other location just to meet me for this shoot â” she went way out of her way just to make all this happen for me, and I totally blew it. I was so disappointed, frustrated, mad, and justâ¦arrrgggghhh!

So, whose fault was this really?
Absolutely, positively 100% â” it was all my fault. I could give you reasons it happened, from me not picking up in her email that the address was different than the one in her email signature, or that if I had shown the taxi driver her short email with two different addresses, he would have told me they were at two different locations. Then, of course, as it turned out he dropped me off blocks from the entrance which didn't help, but at the end of the day, what killed my shoot was simply bad planning on my part by not giving myself enough time for anything to go wrong. If all of those things had happened but I had been there 30 minutes early, instead of 15 minutes late, I still would have had enough built-in extra time to get to the other location and still do the shoot. But since I was late, time was stacked against me from the start. My fault. No one else to blame. Period.

I know this stuff. Well, I should know this stuff.
Of course, I know to be at any shoot early, but my plan of being there 15-minutes early is a "best case scenario" plan and doesn't really allow for anything to go wrong along the way. This one really smarted, and when I walked out of the building, and I'm standing there trying to hail a taxi where there are no taxis (I finally got an Uber driver, but it was a loooonnngggg wait), I felt just as foolish as I could be. This is the type of stuff a kid does â” not someone my age.

I was so disappointed in myself â” I still am, but once I got back to the hotel; told the story to my very sympathetic wife (who totally resisted the urge for a well deserved "I told you so"), and my two awesome kids with big smiles and hugs, everything quickly came into perspective. I missed one shoot, but I'm in Paris, with my kids, my wonderful wife, it's a beautiful day outside, and I can smell the fresh baked baguettes. The rest of the day was immeasurably better, and I learned a valuable lesson I should have learned a long time ago. So, the shoot was a bust, but overall, I'd say the day was a roaring success!

Lots of other shots I actually did get, here tomorrow
I'm putting a few of my favorites together for tomorrow, and I do have a few stories and tips to share here with you here as well. Hope you'll stop by then. By the way â” stop by early â” I've learned that really makes a difference. ;-)

Merci mes amis,


MASTER FX: Maleficent Character Effects in Photoshop with Corey Barker
Take your Photoshop effects skills to the next level with the first class in a new series from Corey Barker! Each Master FX class is a project-based course where you will learn how to do something creative as well as use an assortment of Photoshop tools in ways you might not have thought of before. The project in this class was inspired by the movie Maleficent, and Corey demonstrates, step-by-step, how you can start with a simple portrait and take a creative journey in Photoshop that involves seamlessly incorporating elements from other sources as well as creating new elements from scratch. By the end of the class you'll be looking at using Photoshop in entirely new ways.

Click here to watch the first lesson for free!

Dreamweaver: Next Steps with Janine Warner
In this course, Janine Warner will take you through how to create a variety of different page layouts using html and css. Begin in Photoshop and move on to Dreamweaver. Discover the different layout features used in Dreamweaver, as well as how layouts can give you a headstart in your designs. Also, how to optimize your finished web pages for viewing on tablets and smart phones.

KelbyOne Live
Want to learn from Scott Kelby, Joe McNally, RC Concepcion or Ben Willmore live in person? Check out these seminar tour dates to see if they're coming to a city near you!

Shoot Like A Pro: Reloaded with Scott Kelby
Sept 22 - Phoenix, AZ
Sept 28 - Austin, TX
Oct 16 – Washington, DC

The Moment It Clicks with Joe McNally
July 17 - Toronto, ON
Aug 21 - Orlando, FL
Aug 24 - Miami, FL

Lightroom CC Power Tour with RC Concepcion
Aug 26 -  Charlotte, NC
Sept 16 - Arlington, TX
Sept 24 - Milwaukee, WI

Lightroom & Photoshop Creative Integration Tour with Ben Willmore
Aug 4 - Kansas City, MO
Aug 6 - St. Louis, MO

These are just some of the upcoming dates for these seminar tours. You can find the full calendar of events right here, and leave a comment for your chance to win a free ticket to one of these events!

Rocky Nook’s Guide to Photographing Cuba
Curious about photographing Cuba? Rocky Nook has a free eBook just for you! It covers topics like:

  • What to pack including items not readily available while abroad
  • How to select the best gear to take with you
  • Friendly advice on how to best interact with the local culture
  • Top photography locations, insight, and suggestions
  • Beautiful images conveying the landscape, architecture, and culture of Cuba
You can check it out right here!

Vincent Versace at the B&H Event Space
Vincent Versace has a number of workshops coming up at the B&H Event Space on August 3 and 4! If you’re interested in color to black and white conversion, printing and calibration, having your print work critiqued, or infrared photography, he’s got you covered. Just click any of those links to register for the events, and, you know, show up for them, and you’re all set!

Last Week's Winner
KelbyOne Live Ticket
– Michael Glover

If that's you, we'll be in touch soon. Have a great Thursday!

Photo by Mike Silberreis

Loving Light

Hello everyone. My name is Tilo Gockel. I'd like to start by saying that I am incredibly honored to have the opportunity to share my thoughts with you on Scott Kelby's blog. I've been a professional photographer for seven years now. Previous to that I was an engineer, where I was in close contact with image sensors, video transmission, pattern projectors, and optics. Nevertheless, it took me quite some time to understand the technical challenges and the creative impact of photography. After years of practice I've now come to think of photography like learning a new instrument: I had to (and still have to) practice the scales, so to speak.

Let's rewind to when I started out. It did not take long for me to become totally addicted to light and lighting. From there, the obsession grew to include flash, because flash yields the most possibilities of all the artificial light sources. Then I took another small step and got interested in the "Strobist" field and community. I thought, "Wow, look at all these shots made with some inexpensive off-brand speedlights from Asia. I want to be able to do this!"

Lighting with all variety of flash units does imply a bit of technical expertise, even in a time of tethered shooting, TTL, modeling flash, and many other great options and features. For me, as a former nerdy engineer (still nerdy, to be honest), using flash offered the perfect combination of fiddling a bit with cool technical stuff and being creative.

I love to try something new on every shoot. I really don't like to do the same old routine day after day. I remember a photo job during which I had to shoot rubber gaiters and shoe stretchers. Dozens of them, in all colorsâ”after two days, I hated it! For me, I have to be doing something new to stay interested, like shooting underwater, "bokehrama" images, powder and ashes, motion, and of course, experimenting with different light sources.

What I also like to do is teach. Each summer I give a lecture on photography basics and I also teach a flash photography workshop. So, it was only natural that I wrote a book called One Flash! Great Photography with Just One Light to help even more photographers understand the crucial elements of flash photography. What made me even prouder was when this book was translated from German to English.

What I cover in the book is what I've deemed "the one flash approach." This is a very zen-like approach to flash photography, emphasizing the use of one single flash. You might think that is a very challenging restriction, but actually it is quite liberating--less stuff to buy and maintain, less to carry. More time to set up that one light properly and to shoot. I really enjoyed every single shoot in this book. And we shot a lot. The book covers motifs like food, products, and people, and techniques such as bouncing flash, supersync, flash composites, and bokehramas. One part of the book that I found to be really interesting was about shooting with shadow patterns. Here's a sneak peek.

Imagine you are forced to shoot inside in an empty room and you only have your camera and one speedlight with you. Now, to get shots that are a bit more creative than the typical "girl in front of a white wall" shot, you have to think outside the box. I chose to project some interesting shadows on the subject. For the first example, I cut some reeds from a nearby sea and shot the flash through them. This not only makes the light a bit softer, it also gives that interesting pattern projection on the model's face.

A bunch of reeds and a speedlight-a simple scene to shoot photos with interesting shadow patterns.

The outcome: Safari girl, lying on a cowhide, looking sexy!

"Like Rita Hayworth!" Photos with lots of shadows also look fine in black & white.

For the next shot, I used a piece of cheap synthetic lace and shot the flash from a long distance through that "gobo"--the longer the distance, the sharper the projection.

An even simpler setup: A single speedlight shining through a piece of synthetic lace.

The resulting image with the floral pattern on the girl's face.

Traveling light and shooting with only one flash is easy, and it has great potential. Being freed from all the technical complexity that comes with more gear, you can focus on the things that really matter, like communicating with the model and creating images with emotional impact.

--Tilo Gockel

You can see more of Tilos's work at his blog (in German) and follow him on Flickr, Facebook, or via the author's page at Rocky Nook. If you want to find out more about the projects and workshops in the book, have a look at the image gallery on Flickr.

Above: Leave it to a US company to come over and singlehandedly ruin this great country. LOL!!!! ;-)

Greetings from one of my favorite places on the planet â” London, England! I’m here today for my “Shoot Like a Pro Tour: RELOADED” seminar and I’m so excited to meet everybody (my whole family is here as well, and we’ve been having a blast!).

OK, my one day of shooting (yesterday) was a total bust!
I would have one day of shooting here before the seminar, so I came up with a list of places I’d love to shoot. At 8:30 am, we were first in line at St. Paul’s Cathedral here in London (which I might add, is one of the most spectacular cathedrals I’ve ever seen, perhaps 2nd only to St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome â” it was just amazing).

Where, when you walked in the front door to pay for your ticket (it’s about $28 per person for entry), you see these NO PHOTOS! signs everywhere. Of course, I saw people taking photos with their iPads, with their DSLRs, with their cell phones, etc., and there were times where we no one was looking where I could have “sneaked off a shot,” but I didn’t do it (it’s not a good example for the kids for one – we used it as a learning moment for our daughter), but I wanted to respect their rules as well. I tried to reach out to their social media folks before the trip but had no luck (they have a very active Twitter page).

Anyway, it was wonderful to see the cathedral, and if you haven’t had the chance, it’s absolutely worth seeing, even if they don’t allow photos or video.

Then, it was off to other places I couldn’t shootâ¦
Like the famous, ultramodern Lloyds of London building who wouldn’t even let me take one single shot in their lobby, or the amazing City Hall building which is open to the public, except of course for the one place I really wanted to shoot (their center atrium), which is off limits for photos, but if you Google “City Hall London” you’ll see scads of photos (here’s a link to a page with some nice photos of it).

I tried to get permission to take photos inside the Parliament building inside. No!
Westminster Abbey? No! (they don’t allow photos either)
It was pretty much a resounding NO!!! everywhere I went.
I didn’t even mention using a tripod, which is apparently results in a louder version of NO!

So, what do I have to show for my day of shooting?
That iPhone shot of a double-decker bus you see at the top.

I’ve got one more chance, Wednesday morning, so I’m trying to gain access to a couple of places for just 30-minutes (I’m trying to shoot these interiors for my first coffee table book, which is about 80% done. More on this soon).

But all is not lostâ¦
Because when I wasn’t being told I couldn’t shoot, we went all over London having fun, and I met up with my dear friends Dave Clayton and Glyn Dewis for dinner, along with my seminar crew and my friends Peter and Dave (from Hybrid Photography here in London), and we ended the day with a lovely dinner and lots of laughs.

Looking forward to meeting everybody today at my seminar (and a big thanks to everybody attending today, and to everybody who helped spread the word).



Greetings from Swingin’ London everybody! So, check this out â” Canon just released a special, limited-time bundle deal and I am so excited that we’re a part of it. Here’s the scoop:

If, during the run of this offer, you buy either a:

> Canon 5D Mark III, or a Canon 7D Mark II, or Canon 6D

It comes with:

> A full year subscription to the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plan (so, basically Photoshop CC & Lightroom CC),


> A full-year of online training on Photoshop CC and Lightroom CC from us at KelbyOne.

So, it’s the camera, the software, and the tools to learn Photoshop and Lightroom. Oh yeah!

Here’s the link with full details on the “Power to Create” offer. Also, check out the promo video below:


Hope you all have a great Monday!



P.S. Hope to meet a whole bunch of you tomorrow at my seminar in London. It’s not too late to get a ticket if you want to come join me (here’s that link).



This past Wednesday was our monthly “Blind Photo Critiques” episode of ‘The Grid” where we ask our viewers to send in 3 or 4 of their images and give an honest critique (which is why we don’t ask for their names, we don’t say who took the shots so we can give an honest critique without publicly embarrassing anyone).

These Blind Photo Critiques are really popular because we try to use these critiques as learning tools for all our viewers (not just the person whose images get critiqued), but I gotta tell ya â” this past Wednesday’s was a pretty rough episode. I felt pretty down afterward, because we didn’t have a lot of good things to say about the images that were submitted, try as we might to find a silver lining in some cases. Usually we have three or four photographers whose work is really solid, and sometimes it’s more like 6 or 7, but on Wednesday, we only had one, and that really made it rough.

Our guest was photographer and instructor Rick Sammon, and Rick (as always) had lots of helpful technical insights on composition and technique, but we all struggled at times to come up with anything meaningful or nice to say, and I can tell you, that’s not fun. We want to be encouraging, but at the same time, we feel we need to be totally honest to really help, and every time we are, it reminds us of why it’s so much easier to lie and tell people “you’re on the right track” even when you know they aren’t.

It makes you feel like crud when you read a tweet like this, from someone we reviewed this past week:

“Well thats left me more than slightly deflated! Had my photo’s critiqued on #thegridlive by @ScottKelby & @aboutrc. Didn’t go down too well!”

Thankfully, we do see a lot of positive tweets from people who tell us it’s what they needed to hear, and you can tell they have the kind of attitude that’s going to make them a success. We’ve had people go right out again shooting after their critique; and share their photos literally a week later that are a night-and-day improvement from what they had submitted just a few days earlier, and that’s what keeps us going. There is nothing that makes an educator want to stand up and cheer more than seeing one of their students succeed. It’s what puts the fuel in our tanks, so you can imagine how all three of us felt after Wednesday’s episode where we barely had anything kind to say. It was a rough show. You could tell when things were really going bad because RC and I would just look over at Mr. Sammon and say “Rick?” and let him try to come up with something (poor Rick – he’s just a good sport).

If you get a few minutes, please take a look at the episode I posted above because there actually are some really good learning moments in there, especially in the first critique we did of the guy’s shots in the park (we spent a lot of time on his shots, but it was time well spent from a learning standpoint). We did have to make the point, after the commercial break, that the goal of the episode isn’t how many photos we get through â” it’s about how much we learn, and I hope you do take something useful from it (and I hope you submit your images next month around this same time).

I’m off to London!
I'm teaching my seminar in London on Tuesday, and if you're in the UK and you're not one of the 300 or so photographers coming out to spend the day with me (and Brad), why the heck not? Come on out - you'll learn a lot (it's 100% money back guaranteed, so you have nothing to lose - if you don't think it totally kicks butt, you get your money back!). Here's the link - I hope to see you there on Tuesday!

Have a great weekend everybody, and a great week (and make sure you follow me on Twitter and Facebook as I’ll be sharing my trip there next week. Well, starting Sunday anyway).