Friday
Oct
2013
04

The Worldwide Photo Walk Is Tomorrow (plus seven last-minute tips)!

by Scott Kelby  |  13 Comments

It’s here!!! Tomorrow in more than 1,200 cities around the world my 6th Annual World Wide Photo Walk kicks off, and by tomorrow night nearly 30,000 photographers around the world will collectively have taken literally millions of photos as part of their local Photo Walks. Just “Wow!

If you haven’t signed up for a walk yet: go here  right now — find a walk near you and sign up free! (you can be walking with us tomorrow!).

If you’re already signed up to walk, here are SEVEN LAST MINUTE PHOTO WALK TIPS to make your day a success:

(1) Walk Leaders: Make Sure You Watch my Leader’s Video
If you’re leading a Photo Walk, go to your Leader’s Dashboard page on the Official Worldwide Photo Walk site and watch my video called my: Top 10 (or so) Tips for Leading A Successful Photo Walk.” There is some VERY important info in that video, so please make absolutely sure you watch it before your walk.

(2) Get a Group Shot Right at the Beginning
Somebody remember to take a group shot before you head out for your walk (it’ll be much harder to corral everybody after the shoot, so get one right before you head out). Send some to me, and I’ll post ‘em on my blog next week and over on our Google+ Event Page.

(3) This is The Gear I’m Taking on My Photo Walk
I’m walkin’ light again this year. I’m going with a Canon 5D Mark III body with just one lens; a Tamron 28-300mm f/3.5 – f/6.3 XRDi lens. I’ll be using a Black Rapid strap (a strap that goes across your body, rather than over your shoulder) and two Lexar 32GB 1000X cards (one SD and one Compact Flash).

(4) Don’t Forget to Wear Really Comfortable Shoes
You’ll be doing a lot of walking, so make sure you wear shoes that make your feet happy. Don’t forget sunscreen (or a raincoat, depending on the weather for your walk).

(5) Charge all your batteries tonight
Don’t forget to charge your camera batteries, clean your lenses (and sensor), and make sure you’ve got an empty memory card and a back-up.

(6) Go read Dave Cross’ “Photo Walk Ideas” article
If you’re looking for some great ideas, give Dave’s great article a quick read. Even though he wrote it back for my 2009 walk, it’s a great article and it’ll increase your chances for a killer shot! Here’s the link.

(7) The Most Important Thing Is…: That you all stay safe
Look out for each other on the walk.
 Drink plenty of water beforehand and during the walk. Keep an eye on your gear at all times. Don’t go into scary-looking areas, traipsing down deserted alleys, or anyplace that looks unsavory. Don’t get distracted by shooting—you don’t want to bump into, or trip over, anything. Get some great shots, and I’ll see you back here on Monday for a recap of the event.

A special thanks to our wonderful sponsors who made all of this happen (especially our premier sponsor Canon who gave us some incredible prizes for the contest and to Peachpit Press, for giving the local winner in each city and the local walk leader the ebook edition of my “Lightroom 5 Book for Digital Photographers,” and to all the photographers around the world who volunteered to lead walks.

My humble thanks to you all for being a part of his historic photography event. Can’t wait to see your shots!!!!!! :-)

All my best,

-Scott

Thursday
Oct
2013
03

It’s Free Stuff Thursday!

by Brad Moore  |  30 Comments

Sixth Annual Scott Kelby Worldwide Photo Walk
Have you signed up for the Scott Kelby Worldwide Photo Walk yet? We’re just a few days away, but there’s still time to find a walk near you and sign up. There are over 26,000 already people signed up to take part in this year’s event!

If you are signed up, make sure you go check out Jeff Revell’s Photo Walk Pro blog for A Few Thoughts On Photowalking! Jeff gives some great tips on things to look for when you’re shooting, like looking or color, using shallow depth of field, shooting portraits, and makes some other great suggestions for getting great shots.

And if you need any extra incentive to sign up for this fun, free event, we’ve recently had more additions to the Contest Prizes! The Grand Prize package is now valued at over $13,000 and includes a Canon 70D, Canon PIXMA PRO-1 printer, Adobe Creative Cloud membership, Wacom Intuos tablet, $250 B&H Gift Card, OnOne Perfect Photo Suite 8, Graphic Authority Complete Collection, Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 lens, Nik Collection by Google, 1 Year of Squarespace, 1 Year of SmugMug Portfolio, Manfrotto Tripod and Ball Head, Westcott Skylux Lighting Kit & 7′ Parabolic Umbrella, Olloclip, 24×36″ Print from iAcrylic, Hurley Pro Board, 2-Year KelbyTraining.com Subscription, 2-Year NAPP Membership, and the Kelby Training Book Library. That’s a lot of stuff!!

Free Classes at KelbyTraining.com
We recently started airing a free class each week over at KelbyTraining.com, and this week’s class is Contemporary Children’s Portrait Photography with Tamara Lackey! The class just started airing yesterday and will run through October 9. All you have to do is go to KelbyTraining.com/onair and sign up for a free account, then click play! Of course, if you want to watch all of the other classes any time you want, you can always sign up for a KelbyTraining.com subscription ;-)

You can also leave a comment here for your chance to win a 1-month subscription!

Kelby Training Live
Want to spend a day with Scott Kelby, Joe McNallyMatt Kloskowski, RC Concepcion or Ben Willmore? Check out these seminar tours!

Shoot Like A Pro with Scott Kelby
Oct 25 – Washington, DC
Oct 29 – Boston, MA

One Light, Two Light with Joe McNally
Oct 9 – Denver, CO
Oct 23 – Des Plaines, IL (Chicago area)
Oct 30 – Orlando, FL

Lightroom 5 Live with Matt Kloskowski
Oct 11 – Portland, OR
Nov 6 – Fort Lauderdale, FL

Photoshop for Photographers with RC Concepcion
Nov 1 – Phoenix, AZ

Adobe Photoshop Creativity with Ben Willmore
Oct 4 – Tampa, FL
Oct 16 – Atlanta, GA

Lots more dates have been added for the rest of the year, so head over to the Kelby Training Live site to get the full schedule! Don’t forget, if you register for a seminar at least 14 days in advance, you can save $10 by using the code KTL10 at the checkout. And leave a comment for your chance to win a ticket to one of these events!

Winners
KelbyTraining.com Rental
- Dwain Rosenberger

Kelby Training Live Ticket
- David Wilkinson

Scott Kelby Photoshop & Lightroom Book Bundle
- Suzanne Offner

If you’re one of the lucky winners, we’ll be in touch soon. Have a great Thursday, and a great Photo Walk Saturday!

Wednesday
Oct
2013
02

It’s Guest Blog Wednesday featuring Mark S. Johnson!

by Brad Moore  |  66 Comments

I’m writing this post in the wake of the devastating flood that swept through my town of Boulder, Colorado just over two weeks ago.  Like so many others, my family endured the hardship of fighting rising floodwaters only to see them consume 50% of our home.  As if this weren’t challenging enough, the City of Boulder drainage system backed up, filling our basement and part of our first level with sewage.  We spent nearly two weeks without the ability to shower, wash clothes, clean dishes, or cook food.  Although my family was shaken by the impact of the flood, I can already feel hope beginning to wash over me.  I attribute this to the love and support of our family and friends and to the resiliency of the creative human spirit.  The flood is giving me a fresh perspective and helping to crystallize several important ideas that I’d like to share today (the images associated with these ideas are merely intended to entertain and inspire).

In this fast-paced, often cynical world, each and every one of us can benefit from sincere encouragement and inspiration.  Here is an invitation: Consider being the person who provides these things both to yourself and to others.  The result will be a more harmonious world where we feel supported each time we share our work with others or take creative risks.

Creativity is not a gift for a chosen few.  It is your birthright!  Proof of this lies within the heart and mind of every child.  Just yesterday, I marveled as my daughter discovered (for more than 30 minutes) that plastic bags make incredible parachutes for dolls.  Sadly, it is only through repeated negative conditioning that we become convinced that we’re not creative.  In the words of best-selling author Richard Bach, “Argue for your limitations, and sure enough they’re yours.”  When you don’t feel innovative, consider seeking out an image that deeply inspires you and let it serve as a stepping stone to your own creation.  Viewing (and even imitating) work that you love is a great way to get your creative juices flowing.  Often, when I set out to mimic someone else’s work, I wind up creating something that becomes uniquely my own.

Creativity is like a meandering river with numerous bends.  I’ve been creating images for 20 years and I still encounter challenges in every one.  Only though experimentation and so-called “failures” do I arrive at gratifying results.  Mistakes and “failures” are our best learning opportunities.

In the initial stages of each creative endeavor, do whatever you can to gently quiet your inner critic (which masquerades as fear-based thoughts).  We all have one and it doesn’t nourish us.  The more you honor and appreciate yourself and all the uniqueness you bring to this world, the more creative and productive you’ll become.  Remember that the best way to evaluate your own pictures is by how much each one makes your heart sing.

Those whose work we admire most are the ones who have transformed curiosity to passion, and passion to perspiration.  In other words, these folks have worked extremely hard at refining their craft.  While some may pick up basic mechanical skills faster than others, it is only through passion and persistence that these (or any) people become truly accomplished.

Be wary of folks who place rules around art.  Rules are limiting and have the power to eclipse the vibrant human spirit.  When you create for the pure joy of the process, you open yourself up to producing art that is a genuine expression of you.  Personally, I enjoy making images that express more how I felt about a place or event than what I actually saw.  My intention is to convey emotion.  Whether you prefer to depict the world realistically or interpretively isn’t what’s important; what matters is that you are true to your personal vision.

Make a habit of seeing photography as a process and allow yourself to unabashedly employ whatever tools you wish to convey your ideas.  When it comes to expressing myself, I am delighted to use any and all creative resources available, including a vast array of lenses, lights, and software.  My creative process is split between the camera and the computer.  I do everything I can to get the photo right in camera so I can use Photoshop to sculpt it into something that resonates with me.  Keep in mind that how you create art is far less important than what you create.

Consider being transparent about the creative process with your audience.  I get so excited about sharing my images with others that I can’t help but explain all of the thrilling techniques I used to create them.  Don’t be afraid to let the world know how much you enjoyed every stage of the creative process.

Seek out teachers that fuel the embers of your creative spirit and learn as much as you can from them.  As you feed your passion, you’ll expand the scope of possibilities and the toolkit necessary to take advantage of them.  When you’re feeling stuck, learning is also a marvelous way to light your way back to creativity.

The world is filled with compassionate souls who understand the healing power of creativity and beauty.  Although we often don’t hear about these people in the popular media, I believe there are millions of them all around us.  I encourage each of you to let your voices be heard.

I’d like to conclude by sharing three quotes that have lightened my heart during this particularly difficult time.  I sincerely hope that they add a little spring to your step as well.

“Don’t ask what the world needs.  Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it.  Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
–  Howard Thurman

“The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money…or the most awards.  They simply are the ones who care the most.”
–  Charles Schulz

“In large measure becoming an artist consists of learning to accept yourself, which makes your work personal, and in following your own voice, which makes your work distinctive.”
– David Bayles and Ted Orland

See your creative expression as your gift to the world.  Give yourself permission to be creative.  Make time for your art.  Allow creative momentum to build inside of you.  Create art that resonates with your personal vision of the world.  And most importantly, have fun with the process!  Thank you.

Mark S. Johnson is an Adobe Photoshop luminary, a photographer, an author, and one of the most passionate instructors you will ever encounter.  Through the Rocky Mountain School of Photography, The Radiant Vista, and Boulder Digital Arts, he has lectured in front of and worked side-by-side with countless individuals, including Adobe’s Chief Executive Officers, Jane Goodall, the U.S. Ambassador to Finland, and Academy Award winning director, Louie Psihoyos.  Mark’s tutorials appear on the National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP) and Planet Photoshop websites, and his imagery and articles have been featured in Photo Techniques, Nature’s Best, and After Capture magazines.  He is a contributor to Dewitt Jones’ heartwarming Healing Images campaign and a Trey Ratcliff Flatbooks author.  Watch hundreds of Mark’s inspiring and entertaining Photoshop tutorials at MSJPhotography.com.

Tuesday
Oct
2013
01

Just 4 Days Till The Worldwide Photo Walk!

by Scott Kelby  |  6 Comments

We’re just four days away, and it’s not too late for any photographers you know to join their local city walks as part of my Worldwide Photo Walk this Saturday.

So….I was hoping you might help me spread the word, so as many people as possible have to opportunity to participate in walks. If you could put the word out on your Facebook pages,TwitterGoogle+, your blogs, photo club bulletin boards, and anywhere else you think it might help. You can even grab some web graphics and logos to use.

You can send them to main Photo Walk page at WorldwidePhotoWalk.com

Many thanks in advance, and we’ll see you this Saturday! :)

Ciao!

-Scott

Monday
Sep
2013
30

We are just 5 Days Away From My Worldwide Photo Walk

by Scott Kelby  |  10 Comments

We’re just five days away, and right now we have more than 23,000 photographers already signed-up for 1,200+ local walks around the world this Saturday, Oct 5th. We are thrilled at the worldwide participation and sense of community this has created, and I can’t wait for the local walk I’m leading on Saturday in Rome, Italy to get here (it’s my and my wife’s first time to Rome, and my brother, his girlfriend, and a few more friends will be joining us along the way. I am psyched!).

If you haven’t signed up for a Walk Yet….
It’s not too late. Here’s the link—find a city near you, and sign up to be a part of your local walk.

Seven Tips for Walkers
Each year, I gave seven tips for walkers to help you make the most of your walk, and I’ve got those here for you again. If you’re going to be walking with us this weekend, take a moment to give these  a quick read: I promise it’ll make a difference in your experience.

(1) Drink Plenty of Water
Make sure you take plenty of water with you and stay fully hydrated during the entire walk. Two hours is a long time to be out in the sun so make sure you drink lots of water before and during the walk. (TIP: Want to be a hero? Bring an extra bottle of water or two to share with other walkers).

(2) Use Sunscreen
If your walk is during daylight hours (and most are), make sure you wear plenty of sunscreen, and don’t forget to wear a hat for protection as well.

(3) Leave a Small Footprint
Make sure that you have as little physical impact on the area you’re walking in as possible. If you’re walk is in nature, make sure the area looks exactly the same when you leave as when you got there. Same thing in a downtown area—-we want store owners and pedestrians to welcome events like this, so be kind to everyone you meet, and create as small a footprint on your walk route as possible. Take only pictures. Leave only footprints.

(4) Make New Friends
This is a social event, and everybody is there to have fun and make new friends, so make sure you talk with other walkers in your group. Ask them ‘what kind of stuff like they to shoot,’ or ‘how they like their camera or a particular accessory,’ or ask ‘if they’ve ever been on this street or area before,’ and you’ll have a conversation up and running in no time.

(5) Let Your Leader Lead
Your walk leader has put a lot of time and effort into planning the walk, organizing and publicizing the walk, and making the whole thing happen (after all; without your local Leader there might not be a walk in your city, right?), so don’t try and hijack the walk; let your Leader do the talking, and the leading, and that way you can just relax and focus on getting some great shots.

(6) Get To Your Walk Early
It happens every year; some people miss the walk altogether because they couldn’t find a parking space, or they missed the train or subway, or they ran into something that delayed them from getting to the start of the walk on time. It’s really heartbreaking to get there and find that the walk is already underway and there’s nobody standing there but you, so make sure you plan extra time to get to your walk’s Starting Location, especially if you’re not familiar with the area. You’ll save yourself a lot of stress (and possible heartbreak) by getting there early. Plus, if you get there early, there’s extra time to make friends before the walk even starts—maybe you’ll make a “walking buddy” who’ll share the experience with you.

(7) Play it Safe
The single most important thing is your safety during the Photo Walk.

Don’t get distracted by what you’re shooting or seeing, and back right into the street, or into another photographer (or just a person walking down the street). Keep your wits about you, and remember than many of you will be shooting in a downtown area, on crowded sidewalks or busy streets, so just stay alert the entire walk, and look out for other walkers as well. Also, don’t wander into any areas or alleys that may look the least bit unsafe—stay with your group—there’s safety in numbers, and of course always keep a close eye on your camera gear and personal items.

Also, make sure you check out the Official World Wide Photo Walk Facebook Page (here’s the link) for more walking tips and also you can follow the official walk on Google+ (here’s the link) or on Twitter using the Hashtag #WWPW.

See you guys this weekend as we make photographic history!

Friday
Sep
2013
27

How to Create Realistic Shallow Depth-of-Field Backgrounds for Compositing

by Scott Kelby  |  71 Comments

Mornin’ everybody. I wanted to wrap up the week with a quick trick for creating realistic backgrounds for compositing, so here goes:

When I was in Seattle for my “Shoot Like a Pro” Tour, before the seminar kicked off in the morning, Brad and I went just outside the convention center so I could create some real shallow depth-of-field backgrounds I could use in Compositing. I did this mostly because I hate how it looks when you take an in-focus background and try and “fake it” by adding a massive Gaussian Blur or Lens Blur filter in Photoshop.

Above: I had Brad stand in the street, and I zoomed-in fairly tight on him with a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens, at f/2.8 so the background would be way out of focus (as seen here). Once I was focused on Brad, I would hold the shutter button half-way down to lock the focus on Brad, then I would give Brad a signal and he would walk out of the frame (that’s Brad walking out of the frame above).

Above: Once Brad was fully out of the frame, I’d just press the shutter button the rest of the way down and take the shot. Mission accomplished  — a realistic shallow depth-0f-field background.

Above: Since this technique literally took less than 30-seconds, we shot a handful of different backgrounds, at different angles and on nearby streets, and every time the technique was the same: Brad stands in place: I focus on him at f.2/8; hold the shutter button half-way down; I give him the signal; he walks out of the frame; then “click.” I had 20 or so background in just 10 minutes.

Above: Here’s the image at the top again — it was my first test of the concept. I didn’t crop our subject here as tightly as I had actually shot Brad, so it would be more realistic if I had matched her size relative to the frame, but at least I can see that it worked — now I just have to find the right image for the foreground.

My subject was shot on a light gray background in my studio, and then I used Photoshop’s Quick Select tool along with the Refine Edge feature to remove her from that background and then I copy and pasted her onto the out-of-focus background. Once there, I matched her overall color-tone to the background, and then lastly I put a slight tint over the entire image (to help visually unify the two) and I added a soft glow effect as well (a 50-pixel Gaussian Blur, and then I changed the blend mode to Soft Light and lowered the opacity to 50%).

Anyway, just a quickie for Friday, and maybe something you’ll consider next time you’re out shooting with a friend who can act as an “in-focus” stand-in to create some out-of-focus backgrounds.

Back to Football
This weekend I’m shooting the Bucs vs. Cardinals NFL game with the Buc’s new starting quarterback Mike Glennon. That should keep me busy during the first quarter, eh?  Also, trying some new techniques I picked up from the just-released book, “Peter Read Miller on Sports Photography.”

I’ll share some shots next week, but next week is also Worldwide Photo Walk week (the actual walk is next Saturday, and we have 1.200 walks organized in cities all over the world, with more than 22,000 walkers so far. Hope you’ll join us next Saturday. 

Here’s to a great weekend. Hope it’s a safe and fun one. :)

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