Joey Lawrence and my Guest Blog Program

by Scott Kelby  |  23 Comments

Yellow Sticky Note

Joey L’s excellent, inspirational Guest Blog post from yesterday got me thinking about a lot of things, and one of those was the guest blog topic in general:

  1. I’ve followed Joey’s blog for quite a while now, so I knew his photography would be great, but I was equally as impressed with his writing style, and even more with what he had to say. His post was what I love most about this Guest Blog concept, which is that every guest brings their own personality, their own story, and their own views on photography to my readers, and I think it’s that freedom that makes it great.
  2. I also want to thank my assistant and digital tech Brad Moore, who was responsible for us having the honor Joey L as our guest in the first place. But beyond that, Brad has taken a big role in growing and managing “Guest Blog Wednesday,” and thanks to him we’ve got some really exciting photographers, Photoshop gurus, and other special guests coming in the months ahead. This has helped me immeasurably, and I’m very grateful for his ideas, hard work, and dedication. Thanks, man!
  3. Of course, I wouldn’t have a Guest Blog at all if it were not for Vincent Versace, who not only approached me with the idea (after I had announced “No Blog Wednesdays”), but offered to get the ball rolling by writing the first Guest Blog post (which was a huge hit, no less). Thanks Vinny—you were right—it was a great idea! :-)
  4. But what makes it all worthwhile is reading your kind, insightful, and genuine comments to my Guest Bloggers, and seeing how warm and welcome you make my guests feel. You’ve made this a very inviting place for others to share their ideas and images, and I wanted to let you know it hasn’t gone unnoticed. How thankful I am that I can invite anyone, from any discipline or background, without worry about how they’ll be accepted here. You guys are the best!

I’m looking forward to a lot of amazing Guest Posts in the next few months, but I wanted to take this quick ‘time out’ to offer my thanks to everyone who has helped to make this idea have wings. I am in your debt.


Thursday News Quickies

by Scott Kelby  |  11 Comments

Howdy folks. It’s Thursday; here’s what’s up:


It’s our tradition to come up with a new theme each year for the Photoshop World Conference, and this theme plays out through everything we do around the event, from the marketing pieces to the opening keynote, to the signage at the event—even to the outfits our staff wears at the event. Each year also we create an official conference poster for the conference attendees.

Well, this year’s conference is based on a Football theme, and  Nancy Masse (our in-house social diva and bon vivant) has a very cool post over at the Photoshop World Blog with all of the show posters we’ve created over the years (and by “we” I mean Felix Nelson, NAPP’s amazing Creative Director who created all those posters himself!). The poster on the left above is from 2001, when we did a Basketball Theme, and introduced the whole “Photoshop Instructor Dream Team” concept, and on the right it this year’s show poster. (To see all the posters, click here to check out Nancy’s post).

Nancy was bragging this week how she “scooped” me with her post, but I had one up my sleeve. You see, Nancy’s posters start in 2000, but the first Photoshop World was actually held in 1999, in Orlando, Florida and the poster was designed (pre-Felix) by Photoshop genius Doug Gornick. I don’t have the original Photoshop file, but we have that original poster framed and hanging in one of our hallways at NAPP Headquarters, but somehow Nancy missed that (he chuckles under his breath), and so I had Brad take a photo of it, still it in its frame (because over the years its gotten a bit washed out and splotchy because of its hanging location in direct sunlight), and I present it to you below.

The sad part is; if you could see the full size original poster, Doug put an incredible amount of detail into this giant space station, in orbit above a “death star-like” version of Earth, and it’s totally lost in this small Web image (but is clearly visible in the original, and people are always amazed when they see it in person. Those little orange blobs are highly detailed astronaughts welding on that structure). Anyway, thanks to Nancy for her efforts, and oh yeah—“Nah, na, na, na, naaaa, nah!” ;-)


In other news:

  • I don’t know if you caught Terry White’s post about his Drobo back-up issues earlier this week, but I’ve received a couple of emails about it, and so I called up Terry to ask him to detail the problem. As Terry says in his article, (I’m paraphrasing here), ‘the Drobo did it’s job, but he still lost his data.’ That’s because the Drobo’s job is to protect against Drive Failure, which is exactly what it did—-all of his drives were still functioning perfectly. But he had a problem the Drobo couldn’t protect against, which was Data Corruption on the OS-level. His directory got hosed, so the data was actually still there, and you can recover it with recovery software, but when your directory doesn’t think the data is still there, you can’t access it. Terry shared a great analogy that brings the problem into perspective; “Let’s say you’re using a  Windows PC, and you get a nasty virus. Your Drobo will still have all green lights, because it monitors drive health, and all your drives are fine, but the virus is destroying your directory and all your files on the drives. If you don’t have a back-up of the files on your Drobo in a case like that, you’re hosed.” This is another reason why I have two Drobos; one at home and a mirror of it at the Office. If one goes down, I have a backup. By the way; Terry had a backup, and although it took overnight to restore it; all his photos were saved. Whew!
  • We released a new training video this week on Kelby Training Online called “Building a Website with Photoshop CS4 and Dreamweaver CS4,” from Photoshop Web Guru RC Concepcion. We’ve had a lot of folks asking for a class just like this, which really shows the step-by-step process from beginning to end and RC has done a kick-butt job of it (when it comes to this stuff; RC is ‘The Man”). Here’s the link to the full run down of his new course.
  • We just announced the winners of the 4th Annual Photoshop User Awards, (produced by Photoshop User magazine, and sponsored by Adobe Systems, Layers Magazine, MPIX, and Peachpit Press).  To check out the winning entries, click this link. Congratulations to digital artist Ciro Marchetti, who won the Best of Show award, and will going to Barcelona, Spain for a 5-day “Dream assignment!”
  • Lastly, if you want some Thursday inspiration, check out the incredible photography of Thomas Broening. I’ve showcased his work before, here on the blog, but I just went by his site again, and I was impressed all over again with some of his latest stuff. Just brilliant! Here’s the link.

Have a great Thursday everybody, and for those of you who follow NAPP via Nancy’s NAPP_News Twitter page, please don’t mention the whole “I just re-scooped her” thing. She has so little joy as it is. ;-)


It’s “Guest Blog Wednesday” featuring JoeyL!

by Brad Moore  |  70 Comments

We are very excited to have JoeyL as our guest blogger today!

WARNING: If you’re familiar with Joey’s work, you know that he travels all over the world photographing many different cultures. His post today contains some National Geographic-y type images of natives, and since these natives don’t tend to overdress, there are a few images where the natives have exposed breasts. If you’re sensitive to seeing these types of images, then please don’t click the “Read the Rest of this Entry” button below. Even more importantly, now that you’ve been warned up front, don’t post complaints about the images (I’ll just delete them).  Now, here’s JoeyL!


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Your Photography Portfolio Questions

by Scott Kelby  |  32 Comments


Yesterday’s post about portfolio reviews raised a lot of questions about size, shape, look, content, etc., and I wanted to address a couple of those here, but before I do I want to reprint a comment posted yesterday by Jeff Revell (of, in response to the question, “…. can [you] give us some insight of how to best present a portfolio….. His comment was so “spot on” that I wanted to share it here. Jeff wrote:

“When you see folks standing in line for the portfolio reviews at Photoshop World, it’s always interesting to see how many different styles of portfolios there are. Some folks have their images on a slideshow on their computers, some have a large folio of mounted prints, sometimes it’s as simple as a photo album.

I think the real key to a good portfolio isn’t necessarily the way you present your images but rather which images you present. It’s hard to summarize your complete body of work in about 12 to 15 images but that is the best way to do it. Force yourself to really find your best work and edit your shots down to as few as possible while still being able to represent your entire portfolio. Forcing yourself to go through that type of selection will probably be harder than any portfolio review you ever receive.”

I think Jeff’s advice to limit the number of images is right on the money, especially since the person doing your review only has a limited time with you. If you have 20 images, they can spend a minute an image. If you have 60, you’ll be lucky to have enough time for your reviewer to even glance at them. This is definitely a case of “less is more.”

I had 25 portraits in my portfolio review with Joe. Today, there are a few less. :)

Another thing to keep in mind is to be prepared. If you’re showing a slideshow on your computer, don’t sit down with your reviewer and spend five minutes starting up your computer, launching your slideshow, arranging your images, etc. Have everything ready so once you sit down, in 15 seconds you’re both looking at images. I’ve done reviews where the photographer spent 10 minutes in front of me trying to get everything up and running. That means I only had 10 minutes to help her.

Also, don’t spend the first five minutes of your review apologizing for your work. This happens more often than not, and it doesn’t help anyone (least of all you). Let your work speak for itself, then let the reviewer do most of the speaking—-remember, that’s why you waited in line—to hear their suggestions and get their input and ideas on how you can develop as a photographer.

Portfolio Sizes
There were a number of comments about what’s the proper size for a printed book, how much of a border should there be, and so on. There isn’t an “international standard” for this, and like Jeff said above; everyone’s will be different. Just make sure whatever you show, in whatever format you choose, that it is professionally presented, so it doesn’t distract from your work. If you’re using a printed portfolio, make sure it’s neat and clean, and that stuff isn’t falling out of your book. Also make sure it’s at least letter-sized so the images are large enough for the reviewer.

Last Minute Tips

  • Also, don’t show more than one shot of the same subject in the same surroundings.
  • Start with some of your best work, and end with a really strong piece.
  • If you have to explain to the reviewer what the photo is about, or why you included it in your portfolio, it doesn’t belong in there.
  • Keep the look of your portfolio simple. If it’s a slideshow, skip the fancy transitions and just use a simple dissolve. If it’s printed, keep the layouts simple, the borders white, and leave the focus on the images (not what’s surrounding them).
  • Don’t include EXIF data (your reviewer doesn’t care what f/stop you used—they care what the image looks like).
  • If I had to choose an ideal number of images to present, it would be no more than 20 (even though I used 25. I wished I had followed my own advice).

Well, I hope that answers at least a few of the questions from yesterday.


Tomorrow’s Special Guest Blogger is….

by Scott Kelby  |  6 Comments

… famous photographer, and one of the “It” guys; the amazing Joey Lawrence (also known as simply “Joey L”).

Joey has really made a name for himself with his very cool gritty photographic composition and lighting along with some top notch post-processing (a combo that’s hard to beat), which has made him one of the most in-demand photographers around, shooting for clients like Forbes, Warner Brothers Records, Kawasaki, NBC, Atlantic Records, and Arena Magazine (among others). Joey also writes a blog where he shares some behind-the-scene videos. Here’s the link to check out his blog, but make sure you check back tomorrow for his special guest blogging post. I can’t wait!


The Best Thing I’ve Done for My Photography In The Past Year

by Scott Kelby  |  14 Comments


So last week Joe McNally was down here at the Kelby Training Studios recording a new online class, and between tapings I asked Joe if he would mind sitting down with me for a few minutes to give me a portfolio review (gulp!).

This wasn’t my first portfolio review with Joe; he had given me one about two years ago, and it was a real turning point for me, and I wanted to have him take a look at some of my more recent work. I told Joe not to sugarcoat it or go easy on me because we’re friends, and he assured me he would give it to me straight.

He spent about 25 minutes with me, and I have to tell you; it was incredibly helpful, and I learned things I couldn’t have learned any other way. He absolutely gives you the straight scoop; the good and the bad, but that’s exactly what I needed, and I honestly believe what I learned in that 25 minutes will change how I approach my photography from now on. I was really frustrated with an area of my photography, and Joe helped me see things in a different way, and mentally break through that barrier.

Now, the reason I’m telling you this is this; you might be thinking to yourself, “Oh yeah, sure, it must be nice to be able to have someone like Joe McNally sit down and give you a one-on-one review,” and honestly it is. But the thing is; you can have Joe review your portfolio, too. Believe it or not, Joe does one-on-one portfolio reviews, for free, at Photoshop World. Every Photoshop World, including the one coming up at the end of March.

It’s not just Joe, it’s people like Moose Peterson (shown above during a portfolio review), and Jim DiVitale, along with some of the top photographers in their fields, and while they give you the straight scoop on your work; they’re not there to tear you down, or make your feel bad—they’re doing this to help you become a better photographer, and if you’ve never had a portfolio review by a pro; I promise you, it is an amazing experience that (if you follow their sage advice), will make you a better photographer.

When I’ve done week-long workshops, I always include a one-on-one portfolio review for my students, and when I read the final evaluations at the end of the workshop, invariably the students note that having their portfolio reviewed was one of the most valuable parts of the workshop.

Anyway, if you’re going to Photoshop World, I just can’t encourage you enough to take advantage of this, and have your portfolio reviewed by one of these experts. These are filled on a first-come, first-served basis, so make sure you sign up in advance for these free, yet absolutely invaluable insights into your work. If you’re not going to Photoshop World, it’s not too late (here’s the link).

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