Firstly thanks to Scott and Brad for the opportunity, and also thanks to Glyn Dewis for introducing me.

Hi Everyone, My names James Hole, I'm from Brighton, UK and I've been given the wonderful opportunity to guest post on Scott's blog today.

I began my journey in photography at the end of 2012, when a friend asked me to take a couple of DJ promo shots for him. I didn't really know anything about photographing people or using and shaping light. So I chucked a speed light (I bought on eBay that same week) on a light stand armed with a snoot fashioned from a bunch of drinking straws, I watched a couple of YouTube videos and believe it or not the shoot actually went ok. I clearly remember that moment when I began looking at everything differently, realising that I wasn't limited to just what was in front of me to make a picture. With these basic tools I could create an image that looked completely different from the way a scene appeared to the eye. An idea that continues to excite me every time I make a picture.

At the time I was in the construction industry. I'd been looking for a career change for a while and had been considering going back to college. I decided that I’d see where this could take me, so I began reaching out to friend and picked up a bunch of small shoots and managed to get paid a little bit for them. I was just happy to be taking pictures. A little later on I decided with the support of my wife, I was going to give it shot full time. That was about mid-2013 and things have been going well since.

One of the most important things in starting my career was the personal work, the friends and family that I worked with to create a small portfolio. I can attribute the beginning of my career to one particular image. It was an idea I'd had for a while to photograph my Dad playing guitar on the deck at the back of my house. I put the shoot together in about 10 mins and shot for another 10 mins while my wife was cooking dinner one evening. The same day I'd had some ND filters arrive in the post that I was desperate to try out. The image above is the result of that test. The sun was setting (the flare is real, I only colour toned the shot) I popped a strobe in an umbrella and used about 5 stops of ND. I was so excited, I posted it up everywhere! About two weeks later I was asked to quote for an ad campaign and that shot was the main reference for the campaign.

I realised recently when deciding what to write in this guest post that I hadn't been shooting like this anywhere near enough recently. So this is a reminder for me too, to get out and make images that excite me and push me in the direction I want to be going in!

Make work you love, not what you think people want to see!

If I could share a few things I've learned during my short career it would be.

1) You need to be excited about the work you're creating. It shows through.

2) Network! People like to work with people they know and like.

3) Show your work! Don't keep waiting till you have this or that ready to be ready to show, tell your audience it's on its way with a teaser at the very least. Potential clients can't see something that isn't out there to be seen! (I'd recommend reading Show Your Work and Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon for inspiration on this).

I’m in the early stages of my career and far from having it all figured out, but I'm excited and grateful to have the opportunity to keep making images and see where this journey will take me. At the moment I am concentrating on editorial and commercial portraits and carving a path into the entertainment industry. Hopefully you've enjoyed reading my post and possibly found something interesting or useful to takeaway.

If you'd like to stay in touch with James, drop him a line on Twitter or Instagram, and check out more of his work at

The views and opinions expressed in the Guest Blog series are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Scott Kelby or Kelby Media Group.

Yesterday I gave a shout-out to Kristina Sherk’s new class on KelbyOne on high-end skin retouching techniques, and this is absolutely nothing like that. LOL!!

I ran across this tutorial of hers last night on YouTube and when I saw the headline, “How to create Lens Flare in Lightroom 4″ I just assumed that she started in Lightroom; jumped over to Photoshop to use the Lens Flare filter, and then jumped back. Pretty standard stuff, right?

I was wrong. She does it ALL in Lightroom (and it’s a very clever method). So much so that it’s double-Kristina shout-out Tuesday here on my blog. Here’s the video:

That’s pretty clever, right! :)

Hope that makes your Tuesday a little more fun.



P.S. This will work in Camera Raw, too, but of course there is already a Lens Flare filter in Photoshop, so…ya know. 

Morning everybody, and welcome to “late post” Monday! Just a few quick things:

1. Quick Lightroom Skin Retouching Tip
Today I posted a quick tip on Skin Retouching in Lightroom over at, based on a question I was asked at my seminar in Hartford on Friday. Here’s the link to that tip, but if you want more pro-level stuff in Photoshop, check out Kristina Sherk’s just-released online class on “High-end Skin Retouching” over at our site (here’s the link to her class – it’s getting rave reviews!).

2. Why didn’t anybody tell me Van Halen released a new live Album with David Lee Roth?
I saw them in Tampa a year or so ago when they just kicked off their new tour, and they sounded great live (but the iTunes review comments are pretty mean all the way around. Ack! Anyway, I just previewed some of the songs and it sounds OK to me). I’m in that group of folks that feels like Van Halen isn’t “Van Halen” without David Lee Roth up front!

3. More Helpful Features from
My favorite online photo-storytelling site keeps getting better and better â” has added a new text-only feature for folks who want to have a story block without having to have an image to go with it. If you’ve got a sec, here’s a link to my photo stories over at exposure.

4. Very proud of RC!
Next Saturday he’ll be in NYC to see his work hanging in the Joshua Liner Gallery there – how cool is that! If you missed the whole story on Friday, here’s the link. Very cool stuff (and very proud and excited for RC!)

5. I’ve been trying out a new lens!
It’s just a loaner, so I only have it for a few more days, but Canon’s new 11-24mm is one of my favorite lenses ever! Super sharp all the way to the edges, and that super wideness is super awesome! Hope to have some test shots soon â” I’m working on two shoots where it would be awesome (my shoot in Hartford this past week fell through, so I’m onto something new). I will say this â” I’ve yet to shoot it anywhere near 24mm â” it’s all 11 to 15mm range stuff (mostly 11) as many of you know (link) that I’m not a fan of 24mm (I really like a much wider lens, but I’ve never had the opportunity until now to shoot a full frame body with 11mm super-wide, and let me tell you it is sweet!).

OK, gotta run – hope you all have a fairly decent to on the verge of awesome Monday, and we’ll see ya here tomorrow where I hope to actually have a proper post written and in place sometime late tonight. :)



P.S. When I mentioned retouching stuff earlier, I didn’t mention this but I’m teaching a class called “Retouching Faces” at the Photoshop World Conference & Expo coming up in August. You can see the full schedule of classes here. 

First off, I’d like to thank Scott for giving me the opportunity to share this invitation with you.  Next Saturday June 13, 2015 I will have a few of my images shown at the Joshua Liner Gallery in New York City as part of Canon’s #FromLightToInk campaign.  As a NYer, born and raised – I can’t begin to explain how exciting and humbling it is to have my work there, if for such a short amount of time.  If you are in the area, I would totally love it if you could stop in.

I also wanted to share with you a little bit about the project – and why I was even happier to participate once I knew the social media involvement in it – not having it be about me.

More Than Just Us

The project came about as a partnership with Canon to have people more familiar with their large format imagePROGRAF printers (if you want to learn more about the imagePROGRAF printers, click here) .  To me, the print really is the final step in the process, and no matter where you do it, you really owe it to yourself to see your image in this final form.  I tend to want to see my images as big as possible.  I feel like it really gives a user the feeling of being wrapped in the process.

Canon’s idea was to create a gallery around the concept of “Embrace” – giving you a very wide latitude of shooting subjects that let you jump in on that as well as show off some work.  To that end, they asked if I would be willing to go and shoot some images and submit some of my earlier work to share in the gallery.

This however was just the start.

They also asked if I would reach out to other Canon shooters as well – asking if they would like to share images they felt would fit in this theme.  I shared the information over social media and many people participated in the project.  Out of the many entries that were submitted, we had the job of bringing these images to two winners.

Erin Monroe:

Erin’s shot of a father and child really took the embrace concept literally and let us step into a touching moment shot perfectly well. The use of black and white really lent to the feeling of the image, and its something that definitely warranted being seen on a much bigger scale.

Rachel Tine:

Rachel’s fine art approach to the subject really made me look at the image over and over again.  The posing of the subject against the lines really drew you in and the overall feel of the piece really gave this classic art feel to it – begging to see it in a bigger scale.  Just great work!

Rachel and Erin will each get to bring a guest and be flown to NYC, put up in a hotel, and get to see their work featured alongside mine on the gallery on June 13.  I loved how we were given the opportunity to reach out to all of you to share in this moment – and I have a greater amount of joy to know that Rachel and Erin both will get to share in that experience.  Your images deserve it!

Join Us

If you are in the NYC area on the 13th, I would really dig it if you came down and said hello.  There will be plenty to see in the gallery beyond my stuff – and the day can serve as both inspiration and an opportunity for me to say thank you to all of you for letting me do what I do.

I really hope to see you there!


High End Skin Retouching with Kristina Sherk
Take your retouching skills to the next level with Kristina Sherk! Improving your portrait retouching skills will not only help you make your clients look their best, but they'll want to keep coming back for all of their portrait work because no one else makes them look so good. Kristi's approach is designed to help you understanding all of the critical fundamentals of retouching, from enhancing eyes and lips to dealing with blemishes, and from there she walks you through the essentials of adding depth and dimension while smoothing skin and retaining important detail. This class has the potential to revolutionize your approach to skin retouching while increasing your understanding of the underlying principles involved.

40 Must See Jaw Dropping Landscape Finalists
The submission period is over, and the 40 finalists have been chosen for our ViewBug contest! Now all that’s left is for Scott Kelby to judge the finalists and pick the lucky person who will get a full conference pass to Photoshop World Vegas in August! If you want to check out the finalists for the contest, you can see them right here.

KelbyOne Live
Want to learn from Scott Kelby, Joe McNally, 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
June 5 - Hartford, CT (tomorrow!)
July 14 - London, UK

The Moment It Clicks with Joe McNally
June 15 - Lansing, MI
June 17 - Nashville, TN
July 13 - Ottawa, ON
July 15 - Calgary, AB
July 17 - Toronto, ON

Lightroom & Photoshop Creative Integration Tour with Ben Willmore
June 19 - Seattle, WA
Aug 4 – Kansas City, 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!

Last Week’s Winner
KelbyOne Live Ticket
– Mr Bill

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

A self-portrait of my Veterans Portrait Project location studio set-up

Howdy Scott, Brad, Kelby-crew and readers! Can you believe it's been just over four years since my last guest blog post? So much has happened since then I'd like to share with y'all. But first, I need to extend a thank you to Scott and Brad for inviting me back for a follow-up.

Okay, let's get to it! As you know from my previous post, I began a personal endeavor, the Veterans Portrait Project, while recovering from combat injuries I sustained in Iraq while documenting the war as a military combat photographer. After spending hours in Veteran Administration hospital waiting rooms surrounded by veterans from every generation and branch of service, I felt compelled to honor and thank them in the only way I knew how, photography. The Project became my new mission. In a way, it was my therapy too, and over time I began to heal both physically and mentally.

The journalist in me felt compelled to take my personal project public, to share the unique stories of these extraordinary citizens. Eventually it became a way to raise awareness too. I wanted to show what veterans really look like: Black, Hispanic, Asian, Caucasian, Native American, male, female, homosexual, heterosexual, young, old, homeless, married, single, disabled, and everybody in between. After all, everyone has his or her own idea of what a veteran looks like, about their background, and their reasons for serving. Admittedly, I did tooâ”white, male, middle-aged combat veteran. And, yes, 92.5 percent are male and 79.2 percent are white, but what's interested me most throughout my experience with the Veterans' Portrait Project has been the smaller groups of veterans, including those like myself, who don't necessarily fit the iconic veteran image.

A self-portrait for my Veterans Portrait Project archive

With the current popularity of war hero movies, such as Lone Survivor and American Sniper, people are inundated with images of Special Forces operators creating a misconception that all veterans fit the aforementioned attributes - young and chiseled. These portrayals, while compelling and worth our attention, are just a small representation of the veteran community. Through the Veterans Portrait Project, I strive to showcase all who've served and to educate and entertain the general public with real American military veterans' stories and to archive the military histories of all service men and women.

[pearsall_slideshow1/] Veterans Portrait Project by Stacy Pearsall

Since starting the Project in 2008, I've photographed thousands of veterans in countless cities nationwide, hosted community-based exhibitions, and conducted numerous public speeches and town hall style discussions on veterans' issues. I continue working worldwide as a photographer, educator, military consultant, and public speaker, but the Veterans Portrait Project is my heart and passion. It has been fuel for my soul.

After every WWII veteran's portrait session, I take a selfie-smooch-picture and post it to Instagram. I've amassed quiet a distinguished collection. I have to say, my heart flutters with every stolen kiss. I'm a lucky gal for sure!

On top of conducting portrait sessions across the U.S., I've been active in organizations such as Songwriting with Soldiers, Fatigues to Fabulous, Defense Centers of Excellence, Veterans of Foreign War, and American Legion. Can you believe it? I've been given awards for what I'm doing - and doing what I love, no less! Yes, the Daughters of the American Revolution presented little ole me with the Margaret Cochran Corbin Award and The White House declared me a White House Champion of Change. Whoa.

Despite the accolades however, I still believe those most deserving of awards are in front of my camera, and not the gal behind it.

Communities nationwide have received the Veterans Portrait Project positively and it's gained so much momentum in just the last three years. My head is reeling.

The Veterans Portrait Project has been fortunate enough to gain a wide breadth of media exposure both nationally and abroad. A documentary series by PBS titled, Coming Back with Wes Moore, included a bit about me, and the work I'm doing with the Project. There have been print and online articles that have reached halfway around the world.

One day I received an email from a retired British Army soldier, and combat veteran, by the name of Stephen Porteous. Here's an excerpt from his correspondence dated December 11, 2014.

"When the funeral corteges and repatriation ceremonies of our service personnel who'd been killed in Afghanistan began appearing on British TV it struck a cord with the general public. However in the short space of time since we've left Afghanistan it is evident we [veterans] are becoming less newsworthy. In a bid to give something back, and play my part in keeping British Forces and veterans on the public radar, I decided I would act on the inspiration you provided through photography. My plan would be to mirror your project for UK veterans. It will be completely non-profit and, for the most part, self funded. Would you be prepared to endorse such an endeavor?"

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so I was truly humbled by Stephen's missive. However, I was also hesitant to relinquish my Project, albeit a separate division, into the hands of someone else. That required faith they'd treat the Project, and the veterans involved, with the same admiration and respect I have for so long. I took a few days to consider the proposal and did some soul-searching within. Ultimately, I decided to give Stephen a chance under the condition I'd fly to London to train him. Only then would he have my endorsement.

We decided upon the first week of May 2015, which happened to coincide with the 70th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day! You can watch a video from our day with the amazing Royal Hospital Chelsea Pensioners HERE.

[pearsall_slideshow2/] The Chelsea Pensioners

In the end, it felt amazing empowering Stephen with the tools he needed to stand up the Veterans Portrait Project UK, and to share the healing powers of photography with someone else. I'm encouraged by Stephen's enthusiasm and passion - I recognize myself in him quiet a bit. Truly, it was meant to be and I believe he'll do very well. He already is.

So what's next for me this year? Well, I've got 20+ more Veterans Portrait Project engagements on the calendar, six or so exhibits, a few more speeches, and I'm also teaching a class called Starting a Personal Project (08/11/15 from 3:14-4:15 p.m.) and giving a presentation about my career titled, Shooter: Combat from Behind the Camera (08/12/15 from 8:15-9:15 a.m.) at Photoshop World 2015!  If you're attending, I'd love to meet you! If you can't make it, please be sure to follow the Veterans Portrait Project Facebook page to see if I'll be in your neighborhood.

Other than the growth of the Veterans Portrait Project, here are a few things of note that have also happened since I last blogged: wrote and published Shooter: Combat from Behind the Camera, wrote and published A Photojournalist's Field Guide: In the Trenches with Stacy Pearsall, walked the runway during New York Fashion Week, judged the 2015 Pulitzer Prize, recognized by PDN in the Photo Annual 2015 for Personal Projects, ran the Marine Corps Marathon and celebrated my ninth wedding anniversary with my hubby, Andy Dunaway.

The best part of it all, being able to share my small victories with you! I've had so much encouragement and motivation from so many wonderful, amazing people like you. I couldn't have done any of these things alone either - from my dedicated assistants and supportive husband, to my stalwart sponsors and unfaltering cohorts, you've all had a hand in my success. For that, thank you!

Until next time y'all, salute!

If you would like to contribute to the continued success of the Veterans Portrait Project, you may do so by visiting our Crowdrise site HERE. You can see more of Stacy’s work at, and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.