I thought’d I’d better tell this story myself before it takes on a life of its own, so on this past Wednesday’s episode of “The Grid” I went ahead and spilled the beans. I have already taken quite a bit of ribbing about it (including emails from friends poking fun, people calling, and even images sent my way), but I feel the only way to deal with this is to just put it out there, take my lumps, and try to move on.
So, here’s a short excerpt from The Grid (above) where I explain what is probably my most embarrassing photography story ever (and those of you that follow me here know that’s going to take some doin’). I didn’t tell RC what the story was in advance, so his reaction is real, and priceless — just the look on his face alone is worth watching the clip.
All I ask is two words: Be kind. ;-)
Hope you have a less embarrassing weekend than I probably will.
-Scott “SC” Kelby
P.S.Thanks so much to everybody who watched our Photoshop World-a-thon last night. What a blast! If you missed it, it’s streaming continuously at this link. Plus, we’ll have it up on YouTube later today.
Wedding Photography Systems with Justin Wojtczak
Take your wedding photography business to the next level with Justin Wojtczak’s systematic approach to building and running a successful wedding photography business. At the end of the day it is about the level of service you give your bride and groom, and Justin takes you through every step in the process of completing a successful wedding shoot, from the engagement session to the consultation, and from the wedding day itself to the delivery of treasured photographs. All along the way Justin shares pro-level tips, tricks, and techniques for elevating your photography above the competitions and creating an experience for your client that can help grow your business through referrals and word of mouth.
Leave a comment for your chance to watch this class for free! You can also check out a short behind the scenes video from Justin right here.
The Art of Digital Photography: The Inspirational Series with Jeremy Cowart
Join Mia McCormick as she sits down with Jeremy Cowart for an hour of conversation that delves deeper into how Jeremy has managed to merge his passion for the arts with his passion for helping other people. Starting at the beginning we learn how Jeremy got started as a photographer, and how that opened doors for experiencing life in all new ways, and how Jeremy’s love for collaboration with fellow artists of all types pushes his work in new directions. Over the course of their chat Mia and Jeremy touch on the importance of finding ways to exercise your creativity beyond work, why it is crucial to develop your own unique vision that helps your work stand out from the crowd, and so much more!
Leave a comment for your chance to watch this class for free!
KelbyOne Live Want to spend a day with Scott Kelby, Joe McNally, Corey Barker, Matt Kloskowski, or Ben Willmore? Check out these seminar tours!
Let me start by saying, I don’t take photos professionally. But wait, don’t stop reading! Hear me out. My name is Mia McCormick and before I took a position at KelbyOne, I spent a decade telling stories and interviewing some of the most influential people in the world in the name of TV News. Now I’ve spent the last two years interviewing the very best photographers on the planet, for KelbyOne. I’ve grilled them about technique and business plans. I’ve asked them about gear and studio decisions. But some of the most important conversations, often get the least amount of attention, like the ones about inspiration. Having interviewed nearly three dozen industry leading photographers, about what inspires them to create compelling images, I’ve learned a bit about what drives the top creative minds in the business. What better place to share those thoughts than here on Scott Kelby’s blog.
First, let me just get this out of the way. There is one word that comes out of every professional photographers mouth when I ask about inspiration: LIGHT. So NEWSFLASH! The way your subject is illuminated matters, whether it be a landscape, child or delicious scoop of ice cream. And that illumination can drive imagination at every corner of this industry. Now that’s out of the way.
Photographers tend to fall into two categories, those who thrive on external inspiration and those who need internal connection. Before I explain what that means, let me say that I’ve interviewed many photographers who pull from both, but most of the time they gravitate towards one or the other. Those who are inspired by external stimuli generally look to color, texture, music, and locations to help them channel their very best work. For instance, Lindsay Adler makes an Inspiration Board before a shoot. On it you’ll find snippets of ideas, colors, textures and themes that speak to her about a certain project. One of my favorite wedding photographers and good friend Chip Litherland loves vibrant, in your face color. A bride in a red wedding dress is his “holy grail.”
Photo by Joel Grimes
Lots of photographers will look at the work of people they respect and identify with when they’re feeling stuck or “tapped out.” Somehow looking at work they admire kick starts an idea that leads to their next great image. Joel Grimes once told me that when he’s stuck in a shooting rut, he will flip through a magazine looking for images that speak to him. When he finds one, he’ll look at how it was created and see how he can apply similar techniques to his own work. A lot of people find inspiration this way. It’s one reason why the website 500px is so popular. I’ve heard many pros call it “an endless well of inspiration.”
If you just read the last two paragraphs and thought, that’s crazy, don’t you know that inspiration comes from within?! Then you fall into the second category, those who need an internal connection to their subject, to produce inspired work. Gregory Heisler says his “worst nightmare is to have his brain polluted by millions of other images” before he begins a photo session. He needs some time alone in his head with an assignment. Only then can he come up with a vision for the image he wants to produce. It’s not that he doesn’t admire the work of others, but to him there’s a difference between reverence, technique and vision.
Photo by Jeremy Cowart
Some photographers love a story. A model, with lights in a contrived environment just feels cold. They identify internally with capturing a frame that could replace three pages in a diary or a bio. They work like there is an invisible string dangling them inside someone else’s life. Knowing they have just one frame to tell a story, elevates their work. Jeremy Cowart is well known for his images of Hollywood “A listers,” but when I asked him about his humanitarian work, his eyes lit up and there was an awakening that happened mentally and physically. Doing good, he tells me, is what photography is supposed to be about.
Joe McNally is one of the best visual storytellers alive. He makes it a personal goal to capture images that tell stories in a way that no one has seen them before. And Joe loves a challenge. What better way to illustrate changing a light bulb, than to climb to the very top of the Empire State building… in the fog… attached to ropes for safety… and shoot the man who’s job it is to swap out the bulb at the apex.
Photo by Deanne Fitzmaurice
Deanne Fitzmaurice is the perfect blend of curiosity and fearlessness, and that makes her an outstanding photojournalist. Assignments that tackle difficult issues, ones that are hard to convey visually can often frustrate even the most experienced shooters, but that’s where Deanne thrives.
Now if I can take a moment to share what inspires me. At heart I’m a journalist, with over 10 years of experience in TV News and television production. I love finding a story and sharing it, but more than that, I feel inspired when those stories have impact. When I come in contact with an image, story or idea that moves people to action, I start to get that anxious fluttery feeling in my stomach. Then I know, “this is going to be good.” Whether it’s an attitude adjustment, some kind of activism or even just to wipe a tear, I’m reverent over stories with the strength to generate action.
Researching women in this industry inspired me to start a new interview series here at KelbyOne called Trailblazers. I found ladies willing to step outside of their comfort zones, and into dangerous, extreme and sometimes downright hostile situations, to tell a photographic story. Their internal and external battles moved me, and many of them have never shared their experiences publicly before now. Their courage is inspirational, and it made me want to take a courageous leap in my own life. Look for the series to debut in the next few weeks on KelbyOne.com.
Whether it’s the strong precise movements of an athlete’s body that gets your adrenaline flowing or the story behind their rise from poverty to fame that sparks an idea for a frame, the goal is to leave the shoot a little breathless. If you’re moved, chances are others will be too.
It’s official — the latest book in my series is headed to bookstores in just a few weeks, and the video above tells you what makes this new addition, called “Part 5 — Photo Recipes” different than the rest.
You can preorder the book right now from Amazon or Barnes & Noble or direct from us and be the first to receive the book when it ships in a couple of weeks. It’s only around $17 street price, which is an awesomely low price (it’s about impossible to find something for photography that only costs $17 bucks, right? This puppy is a steal).
I’m really excited about this 5th Part to the series — it took an awful lot of work (and I about wore Brad out with all the shoots and travel), but I’m very hopeful it will help a lot of photographers along their journey — especially those of you who already own other books in the series. Let me know what you think of the “all photo recipes” idea, and I hope you’ll give it a try.
All my best,
P.S.Did I mention that it would make a really cool gift? Well, ya know…it would. Just sayin’ ;-)
I absolutely LOVE to learn new stuff, and if I get a chance to sit in another photographer’s class, or spend a day in their workshop, I jump at the chance. Here are five (in no particular order) that are coming up that I would really love to attend (and I’m hoping to get to at least a few of these as a student myself).
(1) Frank Doorhof’s Ultimate Workshop Weekend
I remember the first time I saw Frank teach in person. I caught his first class, and then went back three more times, taking notes every time. Frank is one of the people I’ve learned the most from about fashion lightning, and I continue to learn from him every time I get in front of him (that’s me with Frank above). He’s coming to NYC (he lives in the Netherlands) for a three-day intensive Fashion/model photography workshop with a small group of very lucky students. I’m hoping to be one of them. Here’s the link with all the details.
(2) Peter Read Miller’s Sports Photography Workshop Peter is one of the all-time greats of sports photography (he has over 100 covers of Sports Illustrated magazine, just for starters), and he’s doing a hands-on workshop in Atlanta on Oct. 6-11th. I got to attend part of his workshop last time they were in Atlanta, and it was absolutely phenomenal!!! Highly recommended! By the way, the class is mostly about action sports, but working sports photographers wind up doing a lot of portraits of athletes, and he covers that as well, as seen above. (Sign up while he’s still got seats): http://kel.by/1qqC5tv
(3) Lindsay Adler’s Beauty & Fashion Workshop
Every time we have Lindsay on “The Grid” as our guest, or she comes down to tape an online class for KelbyOne, I learn something new. Yes, she does teach lighting, and posing, and all the stuff you’d expect, but her insights in the business of being a beauty/fashion photographer are worth their weight in gold, too! She’s got a seminar, and a hands-on weekend workshop coming up in Vancouver, Canada starting Friday, October 17th, 2014 (the hands-on portion goes through the weekend). I’ve been in Lindsay’s audience at a talk she did for our conference and she was absolutely fantastic, but I’ve never had a chance to take her full workshop. If only they would let me into Canada (long story). Here’s the link — it’ll be amazing.
(4) Rick Sammon’s Provence, France photography workshop
Provence has been at the top of my list of places to go for years — almost got the chance this year but then I had a scheduling conflict and couldn’t go. Broke my heart. Also, I’ve always wanted to take one of Rick’s workshops, because he’s not only a great teacher, but a really great person, and I imagine a workshop filled with fun, laughter, and lots of pictures. So although I’ve missed the opportunity to visit Prevance, and I’ve missed Rick’s workshops, this might be my chance. Plenty of time to plan — it’s next June. Here’s just in the planning stages, but if you’re thinking (like I am) that Provence in June with Rick might be just amazing, here’s the link.
(5) Joe McNally’s “On Assignment: St. Lucia!” Workshop
If you can imagine how incredible a week with Joe McNally might be, shooting and learning from literally one of the world’s best, in an exotic island location, in literally one of the world’s top-rated resorts (ANSE CHASTANET and JADE MOUNTAIN) then this can be that bucket-list workshop you’ve always dreamed of. I was fortunate enough to be Joe’s guest instructor twice down in St. Lucia, and it is truly an experience you’ll never forget. The resort is just beyond words. The locations where you’ll shoot? Amazing. And the shoots Joe sets up for the class are just astounding. And if all that weren’t enough, our own RC Concepcion is the guest instructor teaching you his Lightroom workflow and his Photoshop techniques. It’s this September 14 – 19, 2014 — you’ll learn small flash, how to use it like a pro, and work fast with the minimum of gear. You will lose your mind!!! It’s a very small group, and once it’s full, it’s full so save your spot right now. Here’s the link with more details.
Well, that’s my dreaming for this Monday. Hope to have some cool news to share with here tomorrow (and a short video), so I’ll hope you’ll stop by then.
When I posted this behind-the-scenes iPhone pic yesterday on FB and Twitter, and mentioned I was using Lightroom Mobile (that it running on my iPad), I had lots of questions of how and why we used so I thought I’d tackle that here today on the blog.
Why Lightroom Mobile? First, I know there are lots of apps (OK, at least a few) that will let you transfer your images from your camera over into your iPad so you can see them during a shoot. In fact, Terry White had a great article on shooting straight from an Eye-fi Wireless SD card, through an App, right over to your iPad (here’s the link), but I wanted more than just being able to see them. I want this to be a part of my workflow to make my job easier and faster so I thought Lightroom Mobile might do the trick.
Above:Here’s a test shot I took the night before seen here in Lightroom Mobile. You can see the Develop Module Basic Panel adjustments shown here, like White Balance presets; Temp and Tint, Auto Tone, Exposure (you swipe to the left to see all the rest).
Above:Here’s one of the shots from yesterday’s shoot seen in the wide orientation view of Lightroom Mobile. Dig that Histogram in the upper right corner. The buttons across the bottom take you to (from L to R), a Filmstrip view; the Basic Panel editing; Develop Module presets, and Cropping. By the way: Amazing dress rented from DreamShootRentals.com
Here’s the advantages LR Mobile gave me:
(1) I was tethered directly into Lightroom during the entire shoot, and I could have the images I tagged on my Laptop in Lightroom transfer wirelessly to my iPad, which worked great. But that part’s a given.
(2) Because the images were now on my iPad, I can hand this iPad to anyone on the set. The Art Director can have this right in her hands, and when she sees a shot she likes, just can flag it as a Pick and her choices are sent right back over to me in Lightroom on my Laptop. That is slick! Also, she can be looking at different images than I’m seeing on my screen, so I don’t get in the way of what she’s looking at on the iPad, and vice versa.
(3) I can edit those images right on my iPad, even when I shooting in Raw! If we’re looking at a shot and the Art Director (or client, or MUA, etc.) notices a light stand in the shot and says “Can your crop that out?” I can crop it right there on my iPad while they watch. I can brighten it, darken it, add Clarity, open up the shadows, apply Presets — all the same things I’d do in Lightroom in the Basic Panel are all right there for me in for real time, and those changes are sent right back to Lightroom without me having to do anything.
(4) Any changes I make to an image once it comes into Lightroom on my Laptop (cropping, brightness, Vibrance, all that stuff and more) — those get sent directly over to the person holding my iPad so they see my changes right after I make them. Sweet!
(5) I don’t have to pay anything extra for any of this — I don’t have to buy special wireless SD cards, and I don’t have to use a camera that uses SD cards (some of my camera’s can’t use SD cards), and I don’t even have to buy an App. Lightroom Mobile is part of the $9.99-a-month Photoshop and Lightroom Creative Cloud bundle deal from Adobe. If you have the full Creative Cloud subscription instead (I do), you still get Lightroom Mobile, so either way you’re covered.
(6) Lightroom Mobile is on my iPhone, too.
Those are the reasons I wanted to try-out Lightroom Mobile at the shoot, and I was tickled with the results. I’ll be using on set from here on out (plus, it has a lot of “cool factor” — it’s pretty slick to hand someone an iPad and there are the images they just saw being made).
Above:Here’s one of my own Behind-the-Scenes shot, seen in Lightroom Mobile’s Basic Panel layout (see the controls along the bottom?). Weird but true: This was actually taken with a real-life DSLR (instead of an iPhone) — I just zoomed out wide to catch this BTS view. That’s Adam on the left, our Steadicam operator and genius video guy with Kristina, our awesome New York City-based model, whose eyes are closed so I can only imagine that Adam has bored her into a sleep state. Be that as it may, I have to say, I’ve never seen Adam look more radiant. Or was it resplendent?
What about color management?
I saw a couple of comments asking about this, and of course (I hope this goes without saying), but iPads and iPhone don’t have a color management system. Well, they may have one, but you can’t touch it or adjust it or match it to anything. I’m totally 100% fine with this, because like pretty much everybody these days, about 99.5% of my images are going to be posted on the Web — in my portfolio, or here on the blog, or on Facebook, or G+ or Twitter. Which means my images will look different on every single person’s computer on earth. Want to test this one? Go to BestBuy and stand in the monitor department and watch the self-running demos that appear across the screens. The color is different on every single monitor and these are brand spankin’ new monitors! Same thing with TVs.
Every screen, everywhere, looks different, so sweating stuff like color management (unless you are indeed making a print), just isn’t practical for me. I’m not telling you not to worry about color management on your iPad — I think this should be at the top of your list of worries, especially since you can literally do just about nothing about it, so if you want to lose sleep over this stuff like this, have at it. Me? I’m cool with my iPad’s screen looking different than my iPhone’s screen, and my Laptop’s screen, and every other screen on earth and I don’t sweat it, and I sleep great at night. (ARCSI)
Above:We set up a two-monitor workstation on the set so I could proof, and approve clips for a behind-the-scenes video, while the model was in make-up for the next look. Even those two monitors, from the same manufacturer, don’t exactly match color-managment wise.
Learning more about Lightroom Mobile
We created a FREE Lightroom Mobile Learning Center with lots of videos that literally take you through the entire App and teach you exactly how it works. Here’s the link. If you’re a KelbyOne subscriber, we have a similar online class there. Of course, since we did that, Adobe just came out with some nice improvements and enhancements to Lightroom Mobile, so if you want to hear about those, just watch the video below from our own Matt Kloskowski, who by the way is on vacation in Hawaii, so I’m not in the mood to give him much more love than that, strictly due to extreme jealously. There. I said it.
So, that’s it. I’m not an expert at Lightroom Mobile (yet), so hopefully I’ll uncover some new things the more I use it (and I’m happy to share anything I learn along the way), but for now, I’m just super digging’ it.
Ya know what else I’m super digging?
The fact that it’s Friday. I’ve had a super-mega busy week, that started with a trip to Canon’s HQ up in New York City, and ended with a majorly delayed flight. I had The Grid the following day; I had a spate of non-stop back-to-back meetings at the office, I had a mini-shoot Wednesday night; I had a major shoot yesterday, and now my friends, it’s Miller Time. Well, it’s actually still morning, so it’s not exactly Miller Time but you know what I mean.
Here’s wishing you all a relaxing, fun-filled, helium-filled weekend!