I used Dave Cross’s ingenious “Photoshop World PDF Planner” to pick which classes at the upcoming Photoshop World Conference & Expo (on April 2-4), I would take if I wasn’t teaching any classes myself, and could attend a different class the entire conference–just like an attendee (see the graphic above, which was generated from Dave’s planner). Now, these aren’t my suggestions for everybody else; these are just the sessions I would catch if I could (although I am going to do my darndest to catch at least one class per day—that’s much harder to do than it sounds with my schedule).

If you’re going to Photoshop World, go to Dave’s site and download his free planner—you will love it. If you’re going, but you haven’t signed up—there’s only two days left to take advantage of the $100 off early bird registration. If you’re not planning on going…why the heck not? I checked Travelocity last night for some flights to Orlando, and here’s what they listed as their cheapest fare (cheap!):

(All roundtrip airfares)

  • From Charlotte, NC: $148
  • From New York’s JFK to Orlando $158
  • From Chicago O’Hare $200
  • Boston $193
  • Atlanta $166
  • Cleveland $186
  • Detroit $213

Hotel rooms are fairly cheap too, because the conference is so close to Walt Disney World. I hope I’ll see you there! (Here’s the link for more info, or to register).



Yesterday I was shooting some shots for a project I’m working on (see top image–click on it for a larger view), and I got to use Lastolite’s Hilite background, which gives you, about as simply as I can imagine it could ever be, a perfectly lit, shadowless white background for high-key shots. I got a live demo of the HiLite background at the Imaging USA expo in Tampa back in January, and I bought one right on the spot, but this is the first chance I’ve had to shoot with it. It was so easy to set up, so easy to use, and just so darn clever, that I knew about 5-minutes into the shoot that it was going to get my “Scott Thinks It’s Hot!” Award.

This background is incredibly portable—basically, it just pops-up (when it’s collapsed it looks like a large collapsible reflector), and it’s free standing, so you don’t have to carry any stands or supports for it. You just stick a strobe in one end (as seen in the bottom photo above; (photo courtesy of Lastolite), or both ends (I only used one strobe on one end) and that’s pretty much it. You pop-it open, pop a strobe in the side, and that’s it—you’re ready to shoot high-key, even in a very small space, or on location.


I took the top photo at the top of this post, featuring model Stevie Lynn, on the HiLite background (there are no other lights on the background). My Main Light was a Elinchrom RX-600 strobe with a 53″ Elinchrom mini Octa softbox, mounted on an Avenger rolling C-Stand, and I fired the strobes using Elinchrom’s Skyports (more on them later this week). It was shot with a Nikon D300, at 1/60 of a second, at f/7.1 at 200 ISO. The lens was a 70-200mm f/2.8 VR lens at 102mm. So, the set-up was one main light, and the light inside the HiLite background—that’s it. (click the photo right above for a larger view of the shoot; that’s me on the far left–photo by RC).

The HiLite Background comes in two sizes; a 5’x7′ and 6’x7′ (by the way; get the 6’x7′ model—you’ll thank me later), and B&H Photo has the 5’x7′ for $376 (link), and the 6’x7′ for $428.95 (link). For more info on the Lastolite HiLites, click here.


Howdy folks. Here’s what’s going on:

  • Let’s start with some photographic inspiration, from photographer Joe Felzman. This guy has some very cool stuff. Start your Tuesday off right by clicking here.
  • I just got the 2008 spring/fall catalog of classes from the Santa Fe Workshops, (the cover is shown above) and since it’s just a listing of their upcoming classes, I guess I wasn’t expecting to see so much incredible photography, but…it’s filled with incredible photography! It’s a beautifully designed catalog that makes such great use of photography that I had to sit there with it for a few minutes, and just let the images soak in (here’s a link to download a PDF version of the catalog). While I was looking through all the classes, I thought to myself, “If I could take just one class at Santa Fe, which one would it be?” Without a doubt, it would be Karen Kuehen’s “Mastering the Portrait” class coming up this June. She is just flat out incredible!!!
  • My wife is an absolutely incredible cook, and I’ve been trying to convince her to create her own cookbook. Since I’ve been really getting into food photography lately, I’m bugging her about it a little more than usual (in fact, I’ve taken to making her sit down and dictate the recipe to me right after she makes one of her incredible dishes). Anyway, I came across this site called “” that lets you create your own custom cookbooks, using their templates (or even their recipes, if you like). They even let you upload your own food photos to accompanying your recipes, but at this point, what’s keeping me from using them is that you can’t upload your own cover photo, or the full page section opener photos (you have to choose from their stock photo collection). If and when they let you upload your own cover shot, and section openers—I’m in—big time! It’s still worth checking out just to see what can be done (and it’s affordable enough that you could create a custom cookbook as a gift). Here’s the link to Tastebook’s site.
  • I mentioned a few weeks back that Joe McNally was doing a special session and book signing at B&H Photo’s Event Space at the New York City store. Well, not only did Joe pack the place—-he broke the Event Space attendance record! Way to go big Joe! In other “Joe News,” did a review of Joe’s book, “The Moment It Clicks” and here’s the link to it. Also, make sure you catch Popular Photography’s feature story on “The Moment It Clicks,” complete with excerpts from the book (here’s the link). Lastly, if you haven’t added Joe’s new blog to your daily routine, ya oughta (here’s that link).
  • This is the last week to save $100 by registering early for the Photoshop World Conference & Expo (early bird registration ends Friday, Feb. 29th, 2008). One of the classes I’m teaching in Orlando this year combines, and updates, two of my most-requested sessions from previous Photoshop World’s; my “Lost Art of Typography” and “Designing With Type.” This class is really aimed at photographers who want any type they add to their images to improve the image, to support it, and not take away or distract from it. These classes have really struck a chord with my students over the years, so I’ve updated and tweaked it, and I hope I’ll see you in my session. Click here for more info on Photoshop World.
  • Adobe’s Lightroom Evangelist George Jardine has just posted two episodes of his Lightroom Podcast, including one where he interviews famous photographer Gregory Heisler. You’ve got to check these out (here’s the link).
  • Thanks to everyone who shared their ideas for “alternative news sources” based on my “Depressing News” post from last week. I’m now checking out (I’m amazed at how little we cover world news in the US), along with (which has a very customizable site, with hardly any sensational personal tragedy junk), along with, the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and (which is very cool), along with a few other great news sites that are now on my watch list (thanks to you).
  • My thanks to the Pro Photography Roundtable–on last week’s show, one of their five “Picks of the Week” was Vol. 2 of my book, “The Digital Photography Book.” Many thanks guys!

That’s it for Tuesday. I’m doing a couple of studio shoots today, and then shooting my son’s basketball playoffs tonight. Go Hawks! :-)


If you’re a Nikon D3 owner (you lucky $*#&@), then you’ll want to take a quick trip over to Moose Peterson’s Nikon D3 microsite to catch his new video clips where he explains some of the most important D3 settings, and shares his own personal settings (and why he uses them). Really great stuff, and if you own a D3, this is a must-see for sure. Here’s the link (and kudos to Moose making this resource available).

In some semi-related news: one of the absolute coolest, most fun, and most enlightening things I got to do in 2007, was to be a part of two of Moose’s “Digital Landscape Workshop Series” on location workshops. Moose has put together a really unique learning environment for photographers, and if you’re into landscape photography, this is literally the cream of the crop, taught by the best in the world (including Moose himself, Joe McNally, and Laurie Excell). Their workshops always sell out in advance (in fact, I had to call in some favors to get a close friend into an already sold-out workshop later this year), so if you’re thinking you might want to attend; I’d sign up right this minute (if not sooner). Here’s the link.


We just posted a brand new online class at from color legend Dan Margulis, and it’s called “The Picture Postcard Workflow, Part One.” Personally, I’ve been dying to take this class, ever since Dan was down here recording the class, and he gave me a folder full of before and after images, and said “Take these home and see if you can take the “before” images and make them look like the “after” images. I spent that night throwing every trick I had at them, and wasn’t able to come close. I tried Lab channel moves, Curves, Selective Color, High Pass Sharpening—you name it—it didn’t come close. Of course, Dan knew I wouldn’t figure out his new technique , so I’m sure he slept pretty well that night. If you want to see a sneak peek—click here to watch a sample of his brand new course.

Hi everybody. Here’s what’s happening today:

itunesbestsm.jpgOne of my friends sent me this; Apple sent out an email last month, and it featured their Editor’s picks for Best Podcasts of 2007, and Photoshop User TV was one of their picks (seen here—we’re in the bottom left corner). We were totally psyched! Also, I finally got to see Photoshop User TV on “real TV” this morning (no, I didn’t stay up until 1:30 am Wed morning. That’s why God invented Tivo), and I realized that our corny jokes are just as lame on the TV screen as they are on the Web. Anyway, it was fun getting to see it finally up there.

  • Nikon released another couple of free updates; this time to Nikon Camera Control Pro 2 (for shooting tethered to your computer), and an update to Nikon’s Capture NX. Here’s the link where you can download both.
  • Our buddy Dave Cross did a quick little video about Matt’s new book on mastering Photoshop Layers, and if you didn’t get a chance to see it yesterday on Dave’s blog, here’s the link (Congrats to Matt; the book has just been out two days, and they’re already going back to press for the 2nd printing. If you want to get yours anytime soon, I’d go order your copy now).
  • Corey Barker “The Photoshop Lad” and co-host of “Layers TV” has a pretty cool little video tutorial over at on how to create folds and creases on an image (it kind of makes your image look like it was folded up like a map, and then unfolded—you have to see it to see what I mean). Anyway, it’s pretty clever, and definitely worth checking out. Here’s the link.
  • I did a brief interview over at with my book publisher Nancy-Aldrich Reunzel, and we covered everything from what kind of gear I’m shooting with now, to my personal workflow, to what are some of my most memorable shooting experiences. If you’ve got a sec—pop over and read the short interview right here.
  • This guy, I like: (click here). When you see the photo, you’ll know why. ;-)

Have a wonderful weekend everybody. Try to get there and do a little shooting, then come back inside and do a little rearranging of pixels, and then have a yummy slice of pie. Doesn’t sound like a bad way to spend a day now, does it? See you Monday!