The Lastest Book News

by Scott Kelby  |  33 Comments


OK, this is the official unveiling of the completely new cover for my Photoshop CS4 Down & Dirty Tricks books (shown above), created by my wonderfully talented in-house book designer Jessica Maldonado.

This new cover came about after I did a post last month about finishing up my writing on the book, and a number of you mentioned that the old cover looked pretty dated (we had just updated the old CS2 cover with new colors and a slight modification to the type). We all agreed that it did look dated, and so Jess started from scratch and created the entirely new cover you see above (which we at NAPP HQ all love, so be nice to Jess). Thanks Jessica for all your hard work on this total redesign!

NOTE: Although the book is available for pre-order on Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com, they’re probably still showing the old cover, so don’t let that throw you.


I got a pre-release copy of Joe McNally’s new “Hot Shoe Diaries” (Big Light from Small Flashes) this week and I’ve got to tell you—it rocks!!!!! The publisher did a fantastic job with the layout, and they were able to create a look that gives it the feel of his smash bestseller, “The Moment it Clicks,” while still having its own separate identity. The book contains a lot more “how to” than “The Moment it Clicks,” did (in fact, that’s the focus of this follow-up book), but there’s still lots of Joe’s amazing and inspirational imagery, along with his behind-the-scenes stories. That makes it a great read as it informs and delights. I’m not done with it yet, but this is one I’m going to read cover-to-cover. Twice! Here’s the link to it Barnes & Noble.com and Amazon.com. Congratulations Joe—-you’ve done it again!!!!


David sent me the first four or so chapters of the book, and I immediately thought to myself—-this book is going to be huge!!!!

It’s still a couple of months from being published, but the images are just so captivating, and the way he’s structured the book is just spot on, that it is just going to be a massive hit for anyone into shooting editorial style travel or people (or just learning about photography from a broader scope). His teachings on composition are worth the price of the book alone!

Keep it going David—-I can’t wait to see the rest!!!! (Note: The cover above is a “stunt cover” and not the actual cover, which David tells me they are finalizing now). You can pre-order it now on Amazon.com.

OK, that’s all I’ve got on books today, but I wanted to share this stuff while it’s top of my mind.


Tomorrow’s Special Guest Blogger is….

by Scott Kelby  |  5 Comments

….an icon in the photography world, and truly a living legend; Jay Maisel.

Jay Maisel!!!! I know—I can’t believe it myself!

I can’t tell you what an honor it is to have Jay as a guest here tomorrow and I just can’t wait to read what Jay has to share. I am just about beside myself at the thought of having Jay gracing these digital pages, so I hope you’ll join me here tomorrow for a rare opportunity to learn from one of the most gifted and engaging photographers in the world today.


Quote of the Week

by Scott Kelby  |  22 Comments

This quote comes from Terry White from a review on his Tech Blog of the new Nikon P6000 point and shoot compact digital camera (here’s the link). Terry at some point in his review was going to mention that this camera from Nikon was probably positioned as an answer to Canon’s popular G9 and G10 compacts, and just mentioning that can bring some harsh comments, so so he wisely included a disclaimer right up front that basically said he didn’t want to turn this into a “Nikon vs. Canon” thing. Then came his short and sweet “quote of the week,” which was:

“…does anyone ever win those anyway?”

He’s absolutely right! Have you ever read a forum with people arguing back and forth on Nikon vs. Canon (or Mac vs. PC, or Ford vs. Chevy), where one person or the other finally says, “Ya know, you’ve got a point there—-I’m selling all my gear and switching to your brand!”? It’s probably happened once, but only because everything’s happened once.

Anyway, Terry had a great theory on why this silly “my brand is better stuff” goes on so frequently.  He said, “It’s because nobody wants to feel like they made a mistake and bought the wrong one, and they get very defensive about their choice, because they don’t want to be the goober who’s not using the right, or better, stuff.” Makes sense. His theory—-not the whole “arguing the brand” idea.  ;-)

Just remember this; whichever brand of camera you do shoot, keep this in mind; you could take a $199 point-and-shoot camera that we wouldn’t even consider to shoot our neighbor’s kids birthday party at Chuck e-Cheese’s, and hand it to my Guest Blogger tomorrow; send him out the door for an hour, and he’d come back with a better photo than most any of us have taken in our entire lifetime. Which, (as you’ve heard for the millionth time) just proves once again (say it with me now) “It’s not about the camera!”

Have a great Tuesday everybody!


Review: The New Elinchrom BXRI-500 Strobes

by Scott Kelby  |  70 Comments

I’ve been working with the newly introduced Elinchrom BXRI-500 studio strobes, and I did a video review for you guys (below) to look at the pros and cons of this new mid-level set-up.

Here’s the link to the complete Elinchrom BXRI 500 kit at B&H Photo (They currently show it selling for $1550, with two 500 watt strobes, two 20″ softboxes, two 9′ light stands, the wireless transmitter, two cases, etc.).

Here’s the kit with 1-500 and 1-250 (but still includes all the other stuff).

Here’s the kit with two 250s. (also includes all the other stuff).

NOTE: There’s only a $200 difference between the two 250s and two 500 watt system. There’s only $100 between the one with one 500 and one 250, and the two 500 watt kit. In short; spend the extra money and get the two 500-watt strobes system.

VIDEO: The video player requires Flash Player 10. If you are not able to watch the video, you may need to upgrade. Click here to install the latest version of Flash Player.


Behind the Scenes From My Recent Product Shoot

by Scott Kelby  |  35 Comments


I took the shot you see above for a project I was working on, and I wanted to share it here and show a little behind the scenes stuff, because on this coming Monday’s episode of Photoshop User TV, I did a step-by-step tutorial on the post production I did after the shoot using Camera Raw and Photoshop CS4 (on Monday you can watch the episode online, right here).

The production shot below (taken by my assistant, Brad Moore), shows the simple three-light set-up used to light the sunglasses. Now, don’t let all the boom stands and stuff make you think this set-up is more complicated than it really is. I’ll break it down below the photo.


First, I wanted a black background behind the sunglasses, so Brad slid a black Westcott flag (made of black felt) over a boom stand arm, and that’s what you see behind the sunglasses (you can click on the photo to get a much larger view). Then Brad used three boom stands and fishing wire to hold up the sunglasses (as seen above).

I used three lights: (1) One Elinchrom Style RX 600 strobe with a softbox directly above the sunglasses aiming straight down, to put a highlight across on the top of the sunglasses (2) There’s another Style RX 600 strobe aiming up from below it, to add a highlight across the bottom of the sunglasses, and (3) the 3rd light is another Elinchrom strobe with softbox aiming right at the front of the sunglasses to light the glass part in the front of the sunglasses. The flashes were triggered using Skyport wireless triggers.

CAMERA SETTINGS: The photo was taken with a Nikon D3, at f/22 at 1/200 of a second. The ISO was set at 200. The lens was a Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR lens, and I shot it racked all the way out at 200mm. I took the shot mounted on a Gitzo tripod with a Really Right stuff ballhead.


Here’s the before photo as it came out of the camera. As you can see, there are some challenges with the background, the fishing wire, and the front of the glasses, and that’s exactly what I cover on Monday’s show, so I hope you’ll tune in and check it out then.


Our Seminar Next Week in Houston is Sold Out!

by Scott Kelby  |  2 Comments

We’ve been getting a lot of frantic calls and emails about our Photoshop for Photographers seminar next week in Houston with Ben Willmore, because a few days ago it sold out.

The good news is; we were able to expand the ballroom in the Convention Center to accomodate more people (so everyone on the cancellation waiting list will be now able to attend), and if you weren’t already signed up—now you can (although there are already less than 40 seats left, so if you’re thinking of going—-I’d sign up now. Here’s the link.

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