Wednesday
Oct
2013
09

It’s Guest Blog Wednesday featuring Rob Sylvan!

by Brad Moore  |  38 Comments

Lessons from the Help Desk

Greetings! I can’t tell you how excited I am to have a chance to give a little something back to you all. Many thanks to Scott and Brad for the opportunity. You see I have been answering Help Desk questions for NAPP members since 2005. I started out assisting Peter Bauer with Photoshop questions, but once Lightroom 1.0 hit the scene I was tasked with handling all of the Lightroom questions sent to the Help Desk from that point forward. It was truly one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever been given.

Sure, it was a job, but that is not what I mean by the gift I was given. The gift was the education I received as a result of the countless interactions I have had with so many NAPP members over the years. I did indeed learn a lot about Lightroom, and that alone has lead to a number of really great opportunities, but even more important was that I learned a whole lot about how to interact with people; people in a hurry, people at their most vulnerable, and people at their most-frustrated-end-of-their-rope-worst. Believe me when I tell you this is a skill that has served me well in my 16 years of marriage. :-D

It has also served me well in other Help Desk roles I’ve taken on, such as answering customer support tickets for a new stock photography co-op (Stocksy United) I am a member of, and even helping people in the field with The Digital Photo Workshops. Oh, and I answer all of the tech support questions for Kelby Training too.

So, when Brad asked me if I would be interested in writing a guest post for Scott’s blog I thought I could take the opportunity to share some of the most important lessons I’ve learned in my many roles as a helper in the hopes that perhaps it may inspire you to become a helper in you own way. I’ve also included a few photos taken around my backyard just to share some of what I do beyond answering questions.

1. You’ll become a better listener.
When you truly step into the role of helping someone the first and most important thing you can do to actually help him or her is to understand what he or she is really saying. I get a fair number of questions that are full of a lot of information that is really not relevant to the core reason this person is reaching out to me. I see it as my job to step back, really read (most of my interactions with folks are via email) what they are saying then focus in on the key issue. Sometimes this requires me to ask a few questions to ferret out the right information, but the rookie mistake is to reply too quickly to what we think someone is saying, and then spiral off into a rabbit hole that leaves both parties feeling frustrated.


Newly hatched bluebird chicks.

2. There’s no shame in knowing what you don’t know.
We pride ourselves on being experts and in being able to solve any problem that comes our way, but the reality is that there are a lot of things I just don’t know. I used to be afraid of those three words (I don’t know), but now I embrace them. I feel it is far better to let the person asking the question know that I honestly don’t know the answer, than to try and bamboozle them with bull-oney to cover up the fact that I don’t. I just come clean, and then we can work on trying to solve the problem together, and hopefully at the end they’ll have a solution and I’ll have some new information for the next person that comes up against the same issue. The person asking the question ends up actually helping himself (or herself), helping me, and then passing it along to others. It just doesn’t get any better than that.


Me tending to my bees.

3. There’s no shame in asking for help.
My wife will get a big kick out of me saying this as I am far better at giving help than asking for it, but I am working on it! I have had the privilege of helping people from all walks of life, all types of professional backgrounds, and a wide range of ages, and what they all had in common was they had a question that I could answer and the self-confidence to ask it. The moment I gave them that one thing they didn’t have before they were free to move on, to stop spinning their wheels, and to get stuff done. Why waste your time digging yourself into a deeper rut when there are so many ways of asking for help these days? I know, I know, I’ll try it myself one day. :-)


A beech leaf floating on the pond.

4. Always remember there’s a real genuine human being on the other end of that question.
Except when I am on a workshop or standing in at the Help Desk Live booth at Photoshop World, most of my help interactions are done via email. As we all know email and text communication can easily become very impersonal. I’m lucky in that I have gotten to meet a great number of people by working at Photoshop World that previously were only emails stacked up in my inbox (see photo below).  However, I will never meet the vast majority of the people I help, but I strive to always conjure up a picture of them in my mind’s eye when replying to their emails as a way to remind myself that they are not just another problem to deal with, but rather a person reaching out for a little guidance. I feel that this comes through in my response, as I have never been accused of talking down to someone or of being disrespectful. I also try to remember this in all those small frustrating interactions we have with each other while standing in line at the grocery check out, waiting at the doctor’s office, and driving on the highway.


My good friend Ed Law at Photoshop World 2013.

5. Answer the question, but also try to increase their understanding.
When someone asks a question there is almost always an opportunity to give them something more to help increase their overall understanding, and quite possibly head off the next question before they even knew they were going to ask it. If job one is understanding the question, and job two is answering the question, then job three in my book is providing them a link, resource, tip, or tidbit that gives them something more to chew on. If someone asks what is the keyboard shortcut to show/hide the Lightroom adjustment brush mask I tell them (press O), then I provide a link to all of the keyboard shortcuts too. It would be quicker in the short-term to just answer the question and hit Send, but by taking a few seconds longer I can give them a resource that gives them more and saves them from having to send in five more questions. That’s a win for both of us.


The view from the side of my house one snowy morning.

Beyond those five things I can tell you that working on the Help Desk is one of the most rewarding jobs I’ve ever had, that it must be good for my karma, and it has allowed me to learn Lightroom inside out and upside down. For all of that, and so much more, I am grateful to you all for the opportunity to serve. Hope to see you at Photoshop World!

You can see more from Rob at Lightroomers.com and follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He is a photographer, trainer, and author. Aside from also being a NAPP and Kelby Training Help Desk Specialist, and instructor for the Perfect Picture School of Photography and the host of Peachpit’s Lightroom Resource Center. He is a founding member of Stocksy United (a stock photography co-op). Rob writes the “Under the Loupe” column for Photoshop User Magazine, is a regular contributor to Lightroom magazine, and is the author of many photography related books.

Tuesday
Oct
2013
08

Submitting Your Photo To The Worldwide Photo Walk Competition

by Brad Moore  |  9 Comments

Hey everyone, Brad Moore here with a quick update on submitting your photo to the Worldwide Photo Walk competition. RC Concepcion put together a video on editing, exporting, and uploading images to the competition that you can watch above. If you’re short on time, here are some instructions on submitting:

Walkers should log into your account at WorldwidePhotoWalk.com and go to your walk page. There you’ll see a box where you can upload your best photo. The suggested dimensions are 1000px on the longest side at 72dpi, and the maximum file size is 1MB.

Once your image has been uploaded, you will see it on screen and be able to confirm that the correct image uploaded. If you change your mind and want to submit a different image, you will have until the cutoff date (October 14 at 12:00 noon ET) to upload a new image. After that, no changes can be made.

Leaders will not see the upload box during the submission period because they aren’t able to submit a photo to the walker competition. Once the submission period has passed, they’ll see a gallery of images that were submitted and will then be able to choose the winning image from their walk.

Leaders will be getting information on the leader competition from RC once the walker competition is finished.

Monday
Oct
2013
07

Making New Friends All Over The World!

by Scott Kelby  |  23 Comments

Buonjiorno everyone and greetings from beautiful Rome, Italy!

We’re still here wrapping up our trip, and it’s just been wonderful, capped off by spending the day with a really awesome group of photographers from all over Italy, Europe and the USA who joined me here in Rome for my local walk on Saturday.

I’ll have lots more to share about my walk (and how we got this shot of us in the sunshine with a 90% chance of rain), and walks all over the world, tomorrow but in the meantime if you took a group shot during your local walk, can you share the link with me and I’ll do a post with them here tomorrow on the blog.

Above: Here’s our group as we start our walk on the backstreets of Roma (shot by my wife Kalebra with her “trusty iPhone”). :)

Thanks and here’s wishing you a cappuccino-filled day!

Ciao!

-Scott

Saturday
Oct
2013
05

by Scott Kelby  |  1 Comments

It’s Worldwide Photo Walk day and I’m so excited!!!!

Greetings from beautiful Rome, Italy! I’m leading a local walk today here in Rome, and I’m so looking forward to meeting everyone here. :)

I’m very excited to have my wife Kalebra joining me on the walk again this year as well (she’ll be wielding her “Trusty iPhone”) along with my brother Jeff and his girlfriend Dee, and we have a bunch of friends joining us here as well (Serge & Karen, Tony & Lindsay) and 50 new friends we’ll meet today here in Roma!

Make sure you keep an eye on our social media pages today (from Facebook to Twitter (#WWPW) to Google+) where we’ll be sharing group photos and images from around the world (and I’ll be posting to my own pages on Twitter (link), Facebook (link) and G+ as well.

Here’s wishing you all beautiful weather, a safe fun walk, and your best photos yet!

Ciao,

-Scott

 

 

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!

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