Tuesday
Jul
2008
15

Tomorrow’s Special Guest Blogger is…

by Scott Kelby  |  0 Comments

….my buddy, brazen Canadian, and Photoshop User TV co-host; Dave Cross (a foreign man from a foreign land).

Dave came up with an interesting idea for his post that at first might sound like a response or rebuttal to Stephen Johnson’s post from last week, but you have to read it for yourself tomorrow because (despite the timing) it’s a totally different take on things, and I think you’ll really enjoy it.

Monday
Jul
2008
14

Coming Clean: Blog Disclosure Day

by Scott Kelby  |  4 Comments

clean.jpg

My buddy RC was recently at an industry event and one of the instructors called him over to the side and basically said, “Hey man, be straight with me. Does Scott really write his blog himself, or does he have a team of people that write under the “Scott” name?”

This isn’t the first time I’ve heard this, and I’ve been hearing similar things for years about my books, so I thought I’d interview myself and come clean about the blog, my books, and some other stuff people ask.

Q. So, do you really write all this stuff yourself?
A. Sadly, yes. I write every single word you read here on my blog, and in my books myself. I don’t use “ghost-writers” or anyone else to write the blog or my books, or any article you read with my name on it. I know. It’s a sickness.

That’s why I needed “No Blog Wednesdays,” because I just couldn’t keep up with all my work duties and the blog. Now, I’ve got “Guest Blog Wednesday” which believe it or not, takes around 30 minutes for me to prepare to post each week, but that still takes less time than writing the blog entry myself, (but it does make me long for “No Blog Wednesday” sometimes). The real problem now is; the stuff my guests have been coming up with has been so great, that now I can’t stop it, and I really look forward to reading their posts!. The vicious cycle continues. ;-)

Q. Yeah, but what about using “Co-Authors?”
A. Out of the 50+ plus books I’ve written so far, there were five of those books where I did have a co-author, and my co-author’s name appears on the cover, their photo and bio appear on the “About the Authors” page, and in those cases we split the book 50/50 (so if the book has 10 chapters, I write five chapters and they write 5 chapters).

Q. So why do you use co-authors?
A. Sometimes it’s because I wouldn’t have the time to write the book if I did it all myself (figure it this way; it takes half as long to write half a book), and sometimes it’s because my co-author knows parts of the program better than I do. For example, Terry White and I co-author a book called “InDesign Killer Tips.” I’ve been using InDesign for years (I use it every single day), and there are parts of it I know inside and out (like anything to do with Type), but Terry is an expert at InDesign Interactivity, PDFs, creating rich-multimedia documents with InDesign, and a whole lot more, so I called Terry and asked him to do the book with me, and he did a brilliant job. Without Terry’s involvement, I wouldn’t have even attempted the do the book.

Q. OK, that makes sense, but I’ve got some other personal questions I’d like to have answered. Is that OK?
A. Absolutely. You’re my favorite interviewer, and besides; I feel pretty certain you won’t ask any questions that I wouldn’t feel comfortable answering.

Q. I appreciate that vote of confidence you’ve put in me. You’re really quite a guy!
A. {Blush}. Well, that’s awfully kind of you to say.

Q. So, “Mr. Write It All Myself,” it’s pretty obvious you’re sponsored by Nikon by the way you’re always pushing their cameras. I guess that’s because they send you all your gear for free, right? Continue reading

Friday
Jul
2008
11

Calendar Tutorial Using Photoshop CS3

by Scott Kelby  |  5 Comments

Well, it’s finally here (putting this simple 10 minute tutorial together was harder than it looks—it took me nearly two hours, which is why this post is going up so late. Sorry ’bout that).

This tutorial has a lot of steps, and takes nearly 10 minutes, but it’s NOT hard—it just has a lot of steps, but at least when you’re done, you’ve got a reusable template. Also, since I wanted to keep this to a one-part tutorial (meaning I only had 10 minutes), I haul butt. But just remember; it’s video; you can rewind it if you missed something. I also didn’t have enough time to include the ripped page part at the end, so go back to last week where I did the iPhoto tutorial, because at the end I showed how to make the rip in Photoshop CS3.

In this video, I show how to build a calendar that you can have actually have printed by a photo lab (I used Mpix.com’s specs because that’s the only lab I use, but I’m sure there are other labs that print calendars as well). Click the video below to watch the step-by-step on how to build your own calendar templates like the ones in Apple’s iPhoto.

[kml_flashembed movie="http://youtube.com/v/VT1P_eXx98s" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

Thursday
Jul
2008
10

Thursday News Stuff

by Scott Kelby  |  0 Comments

Hi Gang: It’s Thursday, here’s what’s goin’ on:

  • First, my sincere thanks to Stephen Johnson for his thought-provoking special guest blog post yesterday. I thought it was especially cool that his comments were posted here on the Photoshop Insider (just to note: Don’t think for a moment that Stephen is anti-Photoshop. In fact, he’s in the Photoshop Hall of Fame. He’s just very “pro-photography” and very big on “doing it right in the camera” and I’m all for that, as well).

    If you get a chance to learn from Stephen, he’s a brilliant teacher (read the comment yesterday from one of his students), and you should totally jump on it. Here’s the details on his next workshop:

    From RAW to Print in One Week
    Summer Digital Boot Camp
    July 20-24, 2008
    http://www.sjphoto.com/raw-to-print-workshop.html

    Here’s how Stephen describe his workshop: “An intense immersion into digital photography with one of its pioneers. In five days you will go from perhaps not even understanding what a RAW file is, to making well-crafted and thoughtful prints. Some fieldwork and extensive lecture and lab work will fill our time together. Every student will have full access to their own workstation in our lab. Topics include practical experience with digital exposure, RAW processing, image editing, color management and printing. We will work in the field and in the lab. We will interact with what has been done. We will look, ask much of our work and press on to make it as strong and sensitive as possible”

  • We’ve just released another new online class at KelbyTraining.com, this one from photographer Laurie Excell on how to set-up and use a Nikon D-300 DSLR. Laurie is a total gear-head (she runs NAPP’s Gear Desk), and she’s a terrific teacher to boot (which is why we have her teaching at Photoshop World to rave reviews), and her online class focuses on how to use the most important features and options on the D-3oo. Here’s the link to the full outline. (PS: Canon shooters; don’t worry, we have similar classes coming for you, too!).
  • While we’re on a Nikon thing: I totally missed the fact that Nikon released some pretty significant firmware updates for both the D3 and D-300 (the updates were more significant for the D3). For details, go to the same place where I learned about it; Moose’s News Blog (and he has direct links to the firmware downloads there).
  • My in-house book designer and general design wizard, Jessica Maldonado, sent me this link, and although it sounds kinda weird (it’s cameras sawed in half), it’s actually pretty cool (you just have to see it). Take two secs and check it out over at Wired.com
  • Just a reminder: the deadline to take advantage of the Photoshop World Conference & Expo Early Bird Discount (where you save $100 off the conference registration) is just three weeks away (Aug. 1st, 2008), so if you’re planning on going, I’d get registered now. Here’s the link for more info, or to register.
  • We had photographer’s rights and copyright advocate Jack Reznicki do a follow-up interview on next week’s Photoshop User TV and it was just as informative and just as eye-opening as attorney Ed Greenberg’s interview on copyright issues the week before. I used many of your questions posted on the blog on Monday, and Jack not only answered them fully, but he got very specific about everything from file formats, to exact sizes, specs, and the whole nine yards—-all step-by-step. It was outstanding information. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get a video up tomorrow here on the blog or not (just depends on how swamped our video team is), but if not, the interview will appear on the show next week (and hopefully here on the blog as well). Stay tuned.
  • Also, next week on Photoshop User TV we’re giving away one of my Westcott TD-5 Spiderlite “Scott Kelby Studio Kits” to some lucky winner who answers a trivia question we pose on the show, so make sure you check out next Monday’s episode and enter the contest. Here’s the link to see what you’ll win if your correct answer to our Photoshop trivia question is picked as our winner!

Tomorrow I hope to have that video tutorial on how to make calendar templates in Photoshop. Have a better than average Thursday and we’ll see you back there tomorrow.

Thursday
Jul
2008
10

Totally Just For Fun: Catch “Big Electric Cat” Drummer Scott Stahley’s Solo from our gig at BB King’s Bar & Grill this past April

by Scott Kelby  |  0 Comments

This is totally off topic, but it’s so cool I wanted to share it with you. It’s a 2 minute and 14 second kick butt drum solo taped during my band’s (Big Electric Cat) gig at the Photoshop World attendee party at BB King’s Bar & Grill in Orlando, Florida back in April.

Our drummer is Scott Stahley, whom I’ve played with on/off since he was 17 years old (we’re both…well….a bit older now. Ahem), and he’s been playing as one of the featured drummers in the off Broadway musical “The Rock & The Rabbi” as well as touring with Christian recording artist Darrell Evans, and besides all that, he’s just a heck of a great guy. Take 2 minutes and check this guy out! (You can also see him live when we play “The House of Blues” in Vegas this September).

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/MRLtLmwtjG8" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

Wednesday
Jul
2008
09

It’s Guest Blog Wednesday Featuring: Stephen Johnson

by Scott Kelby  |  2 Comments

The Intrigue of Complexity

Art seems rarely achieved through complex techniques, hidden features or secret workflows. This is particularly true in the digital era where the distraction of the software itself can make the creative process become stymied in menus and self-doubt regarding using the program to its fullest potential. Add to this a steep learning curve inherent in the current transition to digital photography and you have a situation where “tricks” can effect results more than vision.

Any state of technology in flux, and in demand, also produces many willing to share their expertise. The seduction of photography as a career, combined with the vast reach of the internet, has produced a unique opportunity for those interested in a platform from which to pontificate, some well informed, some anxious to be noticed. It could be said that my words here are such a platform.

My concern is the level of distraction I am seeing in people struggling to understand this new medium of digital photography. I’ve seen people expend hours and hundreds of dollars pursuing complex solutions to problems that really didn’t exist. They were sure though, that they had to follow some special path because they read it on the internet, usually from someone with little or no reputation as a photographer or educator. These “special techniques” are often employed before an understanding of Photoshop’s built-in capabilities are understood, adding inexperience to sometimes questionable information, wasting aspiring photographers’ money, time, and more importantly, their emotional commitment which can be heavily impacted from great effort and less than remarkable results.

Contributing to this seems to be a conspiracy of unrealistic expectations. Manufacturers often contribute to this by promising print sizes well beyond their camera’s resolution capability. The seduction of big prints from moderate files leads many to lower their image quality expectations, rather than raise image quality, which is what I think can happen with digital imagery. There is a reason large-format cameras have traditionally been used, to achieve large prints with great detail. That really hasn’t changed. Also contributing is the “Tips and Tricks” mentality that has permeated the Photoshop experience since the early 1990s. Solid image editing is far less about secrets, trickery, hidden features and shortcuts, than it is about starting with a strong photograph, knowing your goals, and methodically working toward them. Craft is not tricky; it is most often plain hard work and care.

In the same sense that many software packages have promised to transform photographs into “art” (without even realizing the insult that statement carries), many workflows, plug-ins and Photoshop Actions now promise truly innovative and professional results if only you will use their stuff instead of the mere pre-packaged Photoshop capabilities. While there is real innovation and sophisticated interaction with digital images made easier by many of these offerings, far more seem to be distracting users from the real issues at hand––making better photographs, heartfelt and strongly seen. There is a presumption that one can process a photograph into significance. Editing rarely creates beauty and saturation controls are not beauty sliders.

More energy seems to be expended on editing the photograph in Photoshop than spending time making the photograph. If a day ends with hundreds of images having been made, you are either in the midst of exploding events, in a place beautiful and complex almost beyond belief, or possibly you are being haphazard in your making of photographs, hoping for one or two to be successful. Casually seen photographs are usually casually appreciated at best. Intensity and strength far more often comes from time spent and care expended.

I would strongly urge people to see simply, and edit simply. Your photographs are your asset, much more so than your Photoshop skills. Those image-editing skills may well be critical to your craft, but they are secondary to your photographic vision. “Fix it in Photoshop” is a prescriptive attitude that often leads to making images not worth investing time trying to salvage through image editing.
——

Stephen Johnson is a photographer, designer and teacher. His photographic work has concentrated on landscape projects – exploring wild, endangered spaces, and human altered lands, while focusing on soft color and abstract design. He has also worked on refining the new tools of digital photography with the hope of empowering individual artists to use these tools to express their ideas. He has been teaching photography workshops since 1978, digital imaging since 1989, and served as a consultant and advisor to many of the companies involved in the development of digital imaging including Adobe Systems, Agfa, Apple Computer, Eastman Kodak, Epson, Foveon, Gretag-Macbeth, Hewlett Packard, Leaf Systems, Microsoft and X-rite. He is the author of five books, including his seminal “Stephen Johnson on Digital Photography” in 2006. He was named into the Photoshop Hall of Fame in 2003 and by Canon as an Explorer of Light in 2006. For more info, click here.

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