Here’s Why We Always Bring a Flash. Or Two.

by Scott Kelby  |  46 Comments

I love natural light
Love it! I don’t talk about it a bunch here on the blog, because it seems like I’m always lighting something, but you might be surprised that I don’t always walk into every situation thinking I’m going to light it. Oh, don’t get me wrong, we always bring a flash or two, but in most cases I’d prefer to use natural light. Why? Three reasons:

(1) It’s easy
(2) It’s free. (Well, mostly)
(3) It’s fast (that’s really a biggie for me)

If there’s available natural light I try to use it first
That was the case with the shot you see above (that’s a two-page spread in a wedding book I’m working on). This is up in the balcony  and there were all these beautiful old wooden theater-looking seats (great looking, but not particularly comfortable) and to the right of the scene above is just this huge window. Huge! So of course my first thought was — let’s just use natural light.

The problem is: natural light isn’t always beautiful light
Sometimes, even indoors like this with a big beautiful window with a shade streaming natural light, that light can still be really harsh, dappled and unflattering (or in our case, all three).

If we think we might have the opportunity to use natural light, I have Brad bring at least a 1-stop Diffuser (something that goes between the direct sunlight and our subject, like the Lastolite 1-stop TriGrip diffuser you see above, to spread and soften the sunlight). The sunlight at this time of day (around 3:00 pm) was so bright and harsh that even when we diffused it, our bride was still squinting and the light was still kinda harsh. Look at the light on the chair to the right of her and you can see how harsh that light is.

You’d think the light would be even….
But we soon realized that while we could diffuse the light somewhat (we really needed a 2-stop diffuser), we’d still have very strong dappled beams of light landing right next to her so we wound up chasing down these beams and positioning the diffuser in different places (that’s John our 2nd assistant on the shoot jumping in front of some dappled beams).

This is why I always bring a light. Or two. 
I just wasn’t happy with the natural light, and our inability to control it, so I called down to Brad to bring up a flash head with a small softbox (it’s a 27″x27″ square softbox). I have to tell you, it’s pretty frustrating to be standing in a room with this much light and still have to bring out a flash, but we were having such a hard time getting the light where we wanted it. We finally moved the bride to a different location, hoping for better luck by placing her back a few rows into an area that wasn’t getting much harsh light, but we still had to use the diffuser to keep some of the direct beams from falling on her, or near her.

The idea was to have her in a dark part of the chairs, and then just put a little light on her, and have everything else look pretty dark and dramatic, and this new set-up seemed to work OK. It’s not great light. It’s not amazing light or anything — it was more like just having a problem, solving it to some extent, getting a decent shot so we could move onto another location with the groom waiting downstairs.  Once we got it “in the ballpark” I took the shot using a super-wide 14-24mm lens, and rolled out of there. I basically cut my losses because although I felt like with another 15 or so minutes I could have probably nailed the lighting, I didn’t have another 15 or so minutes.

In the end….
I think the shot works in the two-page spread you saw at the top of this post, even though with that cool of a set-up (with a gorgeous stained-glass window on the far left, and these wonderful old chairs wrapping around), I really thought I could come up with something really special, but just didn’t. I played the hand I was dealt and we both folded. I didn’t win, and the harsh light didn’t win, but I lived to light another day. Hopefully next time, it’ll be later in the day, and I’ll be by a north-facing window —- one that hasn’t been washed in an awfully long time. :)


It’s Free Stuff Thursday!

by Brad Moore  |  34 Comments

Adobe Sneak Peek of RAW Processing on Tablet
Yesterday on The Grid, Scott and Matt were joined by Tom Hogarty from Adobe, who gave us a sneak peek of processing RAW photos on a tablet! Using a prototype version of a possibly upcoming app on his iPad 2, he demonstrated the ability to edit RAW photos using Lightroom-like capabilities such as Highlights, Shadows, Exposure, Contrast, and more. He also discussed cloud synchronization with the edits made on tablets back to your computer. Careful not to say anything concrete, he also mentioned that he would like to see the ability to mark picks and rejects or set other categories in the app.

There were also a ton of giveaways, including copies of Lightroom, so check out the show above for more info on how to win!

The Business Side of Tim Wallace
Tim Wallace is one of the top automotive photographers in the world, with clients like Mercedes, Jaguar, Aston Martin, and more. Sit down with Tim and Kelby Training’s Mia McCormick in The Business Side of Tim Wallace as they discuss being a successful business person, getting hired, how to price your work, marketing yourself, and much more.

Leave a comment for your chance to win a free rental of this class!

Kelby Training Live
Want to spend a day with Scott KelbyMatt KloskowskiRC Concepcion, or Ben Willmore? Check out these seminar tours!

The Shoot Like A Pro Tour with Scott Kelby
Apr 30 – Chicago, IL
May 23 – Seattle, WA (info coming soon)
May 24 – Los Angeles, CA (info coming soon)

Photographic Artistry with Adobe Photoshop with Ben Willmore
May 15 – Columbus, OH
May 21 – Boston, MA

Photoshop CS6 for Photographers with RC Concepcion
May 10 – Salt Lake City, UT
May 17 – Milwaukee, WI

Leave a comment for your chance to win a ticket to one of these events!

Get Scott Kelby’s Lightroom 4 Book for Digital Photographers eBook for Just $9.99!
There are just a few days left to get Scott Kelby’s Lightroom 4 Book for Digital Photographers eBook for only $9.99! It’s the current eBook Deal of the Week from Peachpit Press this week, which means you can get it until Saturday, May 4 at this special price. Check these links each week for other great deals on other books from Peachpit.

Leave a comment for your chance to win a free copy of this eBo!

Winners Rentals
- Avishai F
- Shelley Franklin

Kelby Training Live Ticket
- Andrea

That’s it for today. If you’re one of the winners, we’ll be in touch soon!


It’s Guest Blog Wednesday featuring Brad Moore!

by Brad Moore  |  50 Comments

Photographing Some of my Heroes

At this past Photoshop World in Orlando, I realized that I had never fully taken advantage of the opportunities that I have there sometimes. I’m surrounded by a number of people who’ve been great influences on my life and career. I have lights and a camera. And, even though I’m busy, I can at least try to find the time to make something happen.

So I looked at the schedule, found a small block of time where I didn’t have too much going on, and set up a couple of lights in an empty room just around the corner from the staff office.

You know how when you’re watching someone work, you have epiphany moments where you see something that you’d never thought of before? I had always seen lights put in front of subjects, but never behind. Until assisting Joe McNally on a job one day when he had me do just that, and I was astounded at the result. So I wanted to use a similar setup for this shoot as a bit of a nod to one of the many things I’d learned from my time working with him.

Once I was set up I asked Joe if he would mind stepping in front of my camera for a few minutes. Truth be told, I was nervous about this and he could probably tell. I mean, I’d been in front of his lens plenty of times in the past as a test subject, and I doubt he was too nervous about shooting me in those instances. But the tables were turned this time and I definitely was. I know he’s had his share of nerves over the years, especially when photographing his heroes (like Arnold Newman), so I’m hoping he could relate.

Once I thanked Joe and let him get to his next presentation, I went back to the staff office to see who else might have a minute and allow me to photograph them.

If you’ve followed me at all, you know I’m into concert photography, and I wouldn’t know half of what I do if it weren’t for Alan Hess. From day 1, he’s helped me figure out who to contact for photo passes and given me all kinds of advice for shooting. I like to pop into the concert workshop he teaches at Photoshop World when I can and pick up new tips, and he always has great new work in his presentation.

After finishing up with Alan, it was back to the staff office to see who else might be around. Luckily, I saw just who I was hoping for.

There are lots of legendary photographers who teach at Photoshop World, and Jay Maisel is at the top of the bunch. I was honored when he said yes to my request for a quick portrait. I wanted to respect his time and get him in and out as quickly as I could, but he jumped right in and started making suggestions and giving me advice! I couldn’t have been more tickled.

We finished, and I went to find my final subject, another person to whom I owe quite a lot.

It goes without saying that I’m incredibly thankful for the opportunity to work with Scott Kelby. I have and continue to learn from him not only in the way of photography and post processing, but also business and life lessons. From great ideas and work ethic to balancing work and family, I’m always learning something from him.

There were definitely other instructors I would love to have photographed, but with everyone’s limited time and busy schedules, I got what I could. Hopefully I can continue this project at future events and add more of the people who have been great influences on me to it.

You can see more of Brad’s work at, and follow him on Twitter, Google+, and Instagram.


Greetings from Chicago!

by Scott Kelby  |  7 Comments

It’s a beautiful day here in Chicago today (should hit around 80°) and I hope you’re one of the nearly 600 photographers who’ll be here for my “Shoot Like a Pro” tour. Looking forward to meeting everybody!

Don’t forget the big Sneak Peek coming from Adobe tomorrow for photographers on “The Grid” at 4:00 pm LIVE (here’s the link).

I’ve gotta get over to the Convention Center. Here’s wishing you all a beautiful 80° kinda weather day!).





Coming Wed: Adobe “Sneak Peeks” What’s Coming for Photographers in the Creative Cloud

by Scott Kelby  |  18 Comments

Check out the short video above (it’s like 90-seconds or so) which explains why Adobe is doing this unprecedented sneak peek, but once you watch that, here are the specifics:

Who: Tom Hogarty from Adobe Systems
When: Wednesday, May 1st at 4:00 PM ET (New York time)
Where: Live on “The Grid” (here’s the link)
Why: This is your chance to get straight answers straight from the source and to see a sneak peek of some stuff I haven’t even seen yet — but I heard about them— and you’re definitely going to want to see ‘em! (everybody will be talking about it on Thursday!)

See you on Wednesday!


5 Quick Things for Friday

by Scott Kelby  |  11 Comments

Happy Friday everybody! Here’s Five Quickies (stop snickering):

That’s an awesome drum solo from Scott Stahley, the drummer in my band “Big Electric Cat,” taped live with a remote camera mounted beside the drums by Scott Diussa last week during our gig at B.B. Kings Bar & Grill in Orlando (during Photoshop World). Scotty is an killer drummer, so if you’ve got a sec, check out his solo right above (thanks to Scott Diussa for shooting and sharing it).

One from yesterday’s bridal shoot
I shot this yesterday for a project I’m working on . It was taken at a small church in downtown Tampa, and it’s lit with just one flash and a small 27″ soft box. 1/80 of a second (I choose a slower shutter speed so you can see more of the available light in the church), and f/4 (I chose a wider aperture than I would in the studio so the background would be out of focus). You’ll see a lot more from this project, soon! :)

New Wacom Cintiq 13HD 13″ Unboxing Video
Our own Pete Collins got his hands on the coolest new, small-sized Cintiq and he had an unboxing video (like only Pete can). You can watch it right above.

In the video above Pete talks about a “Out of the Box” setup and configuring video that gives you a little bit more of a look at the 13HD. If you want to check that out, click on the link here:

If you missed “The Grid” This week with our topic “A Current Look at Social Media for Photographers…”
Well, it’s right above. Lots of great interaction and questions from the live viewers, plus we have a couple of giveaways for folks who are watching the rebroadcast, so I hope you’ll check it out.

I am really enjoying curating “Cool Photography Stuff” (my own Flipboard 2.0 Magazine)
If you have the App “Flipboard 2.0″ for the iPad  I invite you to check out my free Flipboard magazine called “Cool Photography Stuff” which I curate by including cool photography stuff I find during my daily research. I put everything in there from news to tutorials to beautiful images from photographers all over the world. Best of all, it’s free (yay!). NOTE: There is now an Android version of Flipboard, but they haven’t released the 2.0 update yet which includes the self-curated magazine feature— I’ve heard rumors it’s coming within the next month.

If you have the Flipboard 2.0 App, launch the App and go up in the search field search and search for the magazine by name (It shows “Skelby” as the person it’s from, but that’s me). I update it about every day (including weekends), and often several times a day. Hope you find it helpful, because it sure is fun (Also, thanks to the 4,500 photographers who have already subscribed and get my magazine in their Flipboard field daily now).

Here’s the direct link:

Now, it’s Pro Hockey Photography Workshop Time!
We kick off our workshop tonight, so you’ll be seeing images from the workshop over on my Facebook, Twitter and G+ feeds (hope you’ll follow me there). Looking forward to seeing everybody tonight, and we’ll see you on the ice!

Cheers everybody, and here’s wishing you your best weekend this year so far! :)

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