Tuesday
May
2015
12

Backstage Pass, Hartford Here I come, and “The Lightroom Show” Update

by Scott Kelby  |  11 Comments

The “Photoshop Guys” reimagined as Super Heroes?
Each month we release a podcast just for KelbyOne members called “Backstage Pass” and in this month’s episode, our producer and host Mia McCormick thought it would be fun to leverage Corey Barker’s love of movies and totally mad-Photoshop skills by doing a SuperHero theme (ya know, with the Avengers movie premiere and all), and well — you can see some of the results above. If you’re a KelbyOne member, make sure you catch the whole behind-the-scene video (and lots of member news stuff) at this link. 

Photographers in Hartford, Connecticut – Here I come!

My all-new tour is on it’s way to Hartford next month on Friday, June 5th (it’s my last US-stop before heading to London for my July 14th seminar). Hope you can make it (it’s just $99 for the full day, including a detailed workbook). I’d love to meet you there in person. Here’s the link with details.

Episode #13 of “The Lightroom Show” (and now we go on a 1-month hiatus).
Our first season of “The Lightroom Show” (our weekly show all about Lightroom, hosted by RC and me), is in the can, and the latest episode is now online (here’s the link to watch it, and any episodes you missed).

After 13-weeks each of our shows takes a one-month hiatus, but we’ll be back with Season Two before you know it (as long as “before you know it is about a month). Thanks for all your support on this new show, and we’ve got a bunch more cool stuff to share with you when we kick off Season Two.

In the meantime, you can find RC, Pete, Me and some special guests sharing our favorite Lightroom tips each weekday at LightroomKillerTips.com

OK, gang. I’m off to Spain this week with my brother Jeff, and I’ll be sharing my adventures via the free Periscope live streaming App starting Tuesday, so I hope you’ll follow me there (I’m @scottkelby on Periscope).

Have a super Tuesday everybody!

Best,

-Scott

P.S. Regarding Friday’s post (I’m dumping my Apple Watch) – One of my readers mentioned that I might be within Apple’s return window and and son-of-a-gun I was in time, and returned it for a full refund (and I was also able to cancel my black wristband that hadn’t shipped yet). It was a pretty interesting two weeks — not surprised at how many people were downright angry that I bought an Apple Watch in the first place, but pretty stunned at how many people were seriously cranked that I returned it, like it somehow invalidated their purchase. I had to permanently ban a few folks, which I very rarely ever have to even delete a nasty comment. I have no idea why people get so offended over somebody else buying or returning a watch, but man — some people are really on the edge over stuff like this. Hey, it’s just a watch for goodness sake.

 

 

 

Monday
May
2015
11

My New Lightroom Book is Shipping!

by Scott Kelby  |  17 Comments

Whoo Hoo!  Here’s the quick video that describes the latest version (which has LOTS of new stuff — not just the new features):

It’s available right now at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Direct from us, and wherever cool Lightroom books are sold. NOTE: The book is exactly the same, and works the same whether you have Lightroom CC or Lightroom 6 (just skip the chapter on Lightroom mobile if you have Lightroom 6).

Hope you all have a super-awesome Monday (well, it something to shoot for, anyway), and we’ll see ya here tomorrow! :)

Best,

-Scott

P.S. In case you missed it on my Facebook and Twitter accounts — I did a post on Exposure.co with my favorite images from my trip to France and Italy last week (here’s the link). I think they look way better over there than they did here on the blog in the book layouts. Sheer size makes a big impact. See if you agree. 

 

 

Friday
May
2015
08

I’m Dumping My Apple Watch

by Scott Kelby  |  230 Comments

I can’t believe it has come to this, after not even two full weeks, but I either have to dump my Apple watch and go back to my Fossil watch, or I’m literally going to have to buy a 2nd Apple watch because the battery life issue is ruining the entire Apple Watch experience for me.

By having a 2nd watch, I could keep one on the charger, and then each day or so swap the watches, so one would always be charged.

I am not kidding.

How did it come to this?
It hit me this morning, when I woke up and my watch was just about dead. I put it on the charger for a couple of hours and went about my morning, but I noticed that during that two hour block I looked at my empty wrist about 5 times. The fifth time, I really needed to know what time it was, and my iPhone was charging on the other side of the house, so I had to find my iPad just to know what time it was.

A couple of days ago, it was when it went dead at work because I had forgotten to charge it and my charging cable was back at home. A few days before that it was when I went to look at it after waking in the middle of the night but it was dead (I really like knowing the time if I wake up — do I have 15 minutes left to sleep or three hours? I even made a special Apple Watch clock face just for when I go to sleep).

These are all my fault for not monitoring the battery life of my Apple watch closely enough, but I don’t want to have to baby sit the battery on something I’ve never given a second thought to in my entire life. Watch batteries had been something I had to replace every four years, but now I’m worrying about my watch battery every single day.

I know it sounds like a “1st world problem” but I’m already worrying about my iPhone 6′s battery charge (so much so that I’m now carrying a Mophie), and my iPad, and my MacBook Pro’s battery, and I needed another thing to worry about charging like I needed a hole in my head. I’m sure over time I could condition myself to monitor the watch battery status more closely, but the problem is — I don’t want to. This watch is supposed to make my life easier — not give me something new to worry about charging each day.

Besides telling time, the Apple Watch really does just one main thing…
It keeps me from having to dig my iPhone out of my pocket. That’s really its main advantage, and that’s great, but I’ve just replaced one minor inconvenience (pulling my iPhone out of my pocket), with a bigger inconvenience (losing the use of my Apple Watch for two hours at a time every day or so).

Aren’t there other options?
Sure. I could buy a clock for my nightstand, and that way I could charge my Apple Watch all night every night. I just don’t want to do that. I want a wrist watch like I’ve always had. I could buy another $40 charging cable and keep it at work, so I’d have one at home and one at work, so the whole “battery ran out at work thing” wouldn’t happen again, but then I’d have to take off my watch at work for a couple of hours each day. I don’t want to do that either. There are probably other compromises and workarounds, and I hate to say it but the one that makes the most sense is:

…to buy a second Apple watch.

That way, one of the two would always be charged. When I wake up in the morning each day (or before I go to bed each night), I would just take the fully changed one off the charger; put it on my wrist, and put the other one on the charger to get fully charged. It’s too perfect. Except of course, for the price.

I already bought the cheapest one they make — the $399 sport version. I wanted the Stainless Steel version for $700, but I just couldn’t mentally spend that much on a watch (I never have — that kind of money is reserved for guitars). ;-). So, I couldn’t pull the trigger on the $700 Stainless Steel model, and today I’m doubly glad I didn’t.

So, if I bought a 2nd Apple Sport Watch, I’d be at around $800, but then I’d have to order the black sport band separately (I’m still waiting on the original black sport band I ordered on pre-order day), and that was another $50, so a 2nd one would make a total of $100, which would bring my total Apple Watch investment (for two of the cheapest ones they make, but with black sport bands) to…

$900. Plus tax.

That’s a lot just to make my one Apple Watch not stress me out.

As for the rest of the watch…
I’m perfectly happy with all the rest of it. I love the screen. It’s slickly designed overall. The apps are pretty clever. It’s well-thought out and solid, and it’s fun (and fun is worth a lot to me), but after using it for about two weeks, I realize what I use it the most for is…a watch, and I don’t need a watch that requires me to baby sit the battery or buy a second one to make up for the really bad battery life.

That’s why I’m dumping my Apple watch
So, today I’m going back to my simple, $85 Fossil watch (seen below), and the next time I’ll have to worry about the battery is probably sometime in 2019.

 

 

Thursday
May
2015
07

It’s Free Stuff Thursday!

by Brad Moore  |  20 Comments

Copyright Essentials for Photographers with Jack Reznicki & Ed Greenberg
Join Ed Greenberg and Jack Reznicki as they get you up to speed with the latest information on protecting your copyright and registering your work. There have been some changes in the process since their last class on the subject, and Jack and Ed walk you through all the steps involved in the registration process to show how it can be done. Beyond the registration process itself, Ed and Jack answer the important questions of what exactly copyright is, why it is important, and what rights you are granted by it. Pulling from years of experience as an intellectual property attorney and a commercial photographer, Ed and Jack share real life stories all the way through to illustrate why this issue is so important to all creative professionals.

Extraction and Close-ups in Nelson Ghost Town with Bill Fortney
Learn how to capture pieces of history and take a walk through time. Join Bill Fortney in Nelson, Nevada, a fantastic ghost town that is just chock-full of Americana. What’s Americana? Well, you’ll learn about that and a whole lot more as Bill takes you through one of his favorite places to photograph. You’ll learn about all of Bill’s gear for this type of project, his philosophical approach to the subject matter, and then he walks you through each photographic setup as he makes a photograph. Bill wraps up the class with a look at his post-processing workflow for different types of images.

KelbyOne Live
Want to learn from Scott Kelby, Joe McNally, Joel Grimes, or Ben Willmore live in person? Check out these seminar tour dates to see if they’re coming to a city near you!

Shoot Like A Pro: Reloaded with Scott Kelby
June 5 – Hartford, CT
July 14 – London, UK

The Moment It Clicks with Joe McNally
May 19 – Philadelphia, PA
June 15 – Lansing, MI
June 17 – Nashville, TN

The Photographers Creative Revolution Tour with Joel Grimes
May 8 – Denver, CO

Lightroom & Photoshop Creative Integration Tour with Ben Willmore
May 29 – South San Francisco, CA
June 19 – Seattle, WA

These are just some of the upcoming dates for these seminar tours. You can find the full calendar of events right here, and leave a comment for your chance to win a free ticket to one of these events!

African Photo Safari with Moose Peterson
If you enjoyed Moose Peterson’s Safari Adventure on KelbyOne, you can join in on the fun in person this July! Moose is leading another adventure and there is a seat with your name on it. Dates are July 27 – August 5, 2015, and you can find out more info right here.

Leave a comment for your chance to win the eBook version of Moose’s book Captured: Lessons from Behind the Lens of a Legendary Wildlife Photographer!

Live Photoshop World Tweetchat with Jack Reznicki
Starting at 9pm ET tonight, Jack Reznicki will be doing a live tweetchat where you can ask him anything! Use the hashtag #PSWchat to join in and chat with Jack.

Last Week’s Winners
RC Concepcion Photoshop World Workshop
- Allison Cobb

Lightroom CC for Photographers eBook
- Lyle
- Matt C
- Dennis Zito

Lightroom CC Book for Photographers
- Roger Botting
- Orin Johnson
- Gregg Romey

KelbyOne Live Ticket
- Michelle H

If any of these are you, we’ll be in touch soon. Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday
May
2015
06

It’s Guest Blog Wednesday featuring Nick Fancher!

by Brad Moore  |  87 Comments


Photo by Chris Keels

Hello everyone. My name is Nick Fancher and I’m your guest blogger today. In case you don’t know me (which is likely the case), I am a Columbus, Ohio based portrait and commercial photographer. A couple of weeks ago I released Studio Anywhere: A Photographer’s Guide to Shooting in Unconventional Locations, on Peachpit Press. The idea behind the book is that photographers can get away with shooting without a conventional studio most of the time, as long as they can learn to make the most of their environments; all with the use of minimal, affordable gear.

This idea was born out of necessity. When I was in New York City last year, I wanted to do some test shooting in my free time. I began looking around for studios to rent for the day, and found the average price to be around $1,000. It’d be one thing if this was for a paying client, who would be footing the bill, but this was for unpaid, personal work. And even if I did shell out the $1,000, all the models would then be forced to come to me, which for an unpaid test shoot, would not exactly be a motivating factor for them. Instead, I opted to meet them at their homes, realizing that all I really needed was a white wall, and every home has at least one white wall. And it worked out just fine.


Setup: one light with grid


White walls work

Once I returned to Columbus, I started putting this practice to test, now opting to meet clients at their homes and offices for shoots. Not only did it allow for me to happen upon some pretty amazing environments to shoot in, I think it also gave me a +1 for convenience, in the eyes of the clients. It also led me to some particularly small spaces, which forced me to get creative with my lighting. As you may know, most of the time you need your light several feet away from your subject, in order to get a larger light spread. But if, say, your client lives in a 200 square foot apartment and the only spot to shoot is the spot next to his bed in his living room, you don’t have that luxury.  To make my light source larger and softer, I turned the flash in the direction of the white wall on the other side of his bed and it worked smashingly.


Setup: one light bounced into white wall


White walls wreally work!

You may have noticed in the previous setup shot that there are white boards propped up behind the subject. I have two white and two black, 40×60” sheets of foam core that I bring with me to every shoot (leaving them in the car until I see if I actually need them). I often end up needing to use them in a variety of ways. Often I tape two boards together to make a v-flat, in order to block a light source or reflect light. Sometimes I use them as a backdrop, as in the previous scenario. Other times I stack them up so the model can stand on them, if I need a full body shot and the room has an unsightly floor, such as shag carpet.

My rule of thumb is to travel as light as possible, since I typically work without an assistant. I want to minimize the amount of trips I have to make to my car. So if I am heading in to shoot in an unfamiliar space, all I take in with me is my camera bag, a light stand and an umbrella, leaving my tripod, sandbags, additional stands and white boards in the car unless they are absolutely needed. And once I get a lay of the land, I scope out viable shoot areas. Large white walls are a plus. Areas with concrete or gloss wood floors will reflect light and make seamless, full body portraits a lot easier.


Setup: three lights gelled cyan, magenta and yellow


White wall plus a sturdy table = clean, full body portraits

I’ve even used grey walls or cream colored walls without issue. Of course white balance isn’t much of an issue when your two lights are gelled red and cyan.


Setup: two lights gelled cyan and red


Cream colored wall is no problem when your white balance is not in play

Once you start working this way, you start noticing things that you can use to your advantage, such as a nice, red wall. I made a v-flat out of my two black boards and used a white board as a bounce, opposite the red wall. By firing a flash into the white and red surfaces on either side of the model, I had a large, soft spread on a black background, creating a stylized final shot.


Setup: two lights, fired into white bounce and a red wall


Large, soft, stylized light

Want a variety of backdrops for little to no cost? Browse royalty-free images on Google or buy cheap stock images to project onto a white wall. It’s an old Hollywood trick, but it’s a cool one to play with.


Setup: projector for back wall and one light, snooted


Free trip to Switzerland

What if you’re just starting out and you don’t own a strobe? Do you have a garage? It’s a great spot for shaping available light. It’s especially effective on a sunny day. By placing your subject closer or farther away from the open garage door, you can control the amount of light falling on them.


Setup: subject sandwiched in a black v-flat


Dramatic, available light portrait

Achieving a blacked out environment, sometimes referred to as “invisible black,” is a lot easier than you may think. Find a background that’s a mid to dark tone, not in direct sunlight. Make sure that you have enough space to keep the subject and light(s) away from said background. Get an ambient exposure and then close down at least three stops to get it to go dark/black. Add your light, output set to a high enough output to properly illuminate your subject. Flag light as needed, to keep it from spilling on to background, by using a grid, zooming in the flash head, angling the light away from the background, etc.


Setup: A medium-toned brown wall in the shade is a perfect backdrop to achieve a black scene. I used two bare bulb flashes on the model, one to light her upper torso and one to light her legs, below the tutu.


Black scene

Sometimes I want to add natural, visual elements to a shot, such as flowers or tall grass. To do this, take a black or white v-flat to a park and place it in front of said flower/grass element and have the subject sit/stand in the v-flat. Side note: if your camera case is nice and sturdy as is my Pelican 1510 case, it makes a fantastic chair for your subject.


Setup: Black v-flat in a field, flagging the direct sunlight from the model


Dramatic portrait on black, with added visual elements

As I mentioned earlier, I typically work alone, without an assistant. This means that I am traveling light, without sandbags, for examples. It also means that I can’t put a large light modifier on my flash, such as an umbrella, without it blowing over with the smallest breeze. So I am usually looking for ways to soften a bare flash, when I am in the field. As was the case for the living room scenarios, lighter, neutral-colored walls are great for reflecting light. Simply place your light 2-3 feet away from the wall, zooming in the head, if applicable. Angle the light into the wall so that it’s heading in the direction of the subject (think banking a pool shot).


Setup: A white wall found in park made for a great bounce surface for my flash


Soft light on my subject without an umbrella (and sandbag) on my light

I realize that many of you are likely already using some of these techniques/hacks, and you may even have some that I have not yet heard of or tried. Please use the comment section for sharing your ideas and experiments. If you feel so inclined, pick up a copy of my book/ebook, Studio Anywhere, here. Thanks for reading and happy shooting!

You can see more of Nick’s work at NickFancher.com, and follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

Tuesday
May
2015
05

My Photo Book From Last Week’s Trip to The South of France

by Scott Kelby  |  20 Comments

Hi gang. Here’s a few pages from the photo book I always create after a trip (I made the book in Lightroom’s Book module). The area we were mostly in is the French Riviera, but there it’s called the Côte d’Azur and that sounds a lot fancier so I went with that for the name of my book, even though we would up taking a day trip to Italy (where we went to in Italy was just 3-1/2 hours by car).

Anyway, I was pretty light on the photography this trip – I did a lot of relaxing and just sightseeing – In six days I only took 1,057 shots total, including a lot of bracketed shots. That breaks down to only around 170 shots a day, which is really light for me, but I have to say, it was one of the most relaxing and fun trips I’ve had in a while. Absolutely loved it! OK, on to the book (I’ll tell more in the captions).

NOTE: Click on the images to see a larger version.

Above: Is it bad that my first shot isn’t from France? This is Vernazza in Italy’s Cinque Terre. We drove there one morning, and then hiked up on the side of the hill to get this shot and stayed there until well after sunset. Kalebra was a trooper to make the climb with me up there because it was a bit of haul, going straight up tons of really steep stairs and stuff, but the view was really gorgeous from up there. 

Above: While we’re in Italy, let’s have lunch! These are from Portofino, Italy. I was there in 2009 and it was awesome to see it again. It looked exactly the same. They hadn’t even moved a pebble in six years. 

Above: It tasted even better than it looks! Bella bella cucina! (inside joke there).

Above: OK, we’re back to the French Riviera, and here’s a shot overlooking Monte Carlo. They had the grandstands and track set-up for the world famous Monaco Grand Prix Formula 1 race, and you could actually drive the track since it winds through the city streets, and so of course we had to. There’s nothing like driving an F1 track in an SUV. ;-)

Above: My two favorite places in Monaco were the marina, where all those amazing yachts are docked, and the area around the famous casino, which is just beautiful. Here’s a few shots from around the casino (btw: the cover shot shows part of the roof of the casino itself). 

Above: Monaco is like a moving exotic car showroom – especially in front of the casino where I found this Ferrari, but honestly finding a Ferrari or Lambo in Monaco takes about 60-seconds — just stop anywhere on the streets and one will be driving by shortly. 

Above: Here’s the Casino at night. They’re kinda “Snapshottylooking” — I just handheld them on the way by as we were heading back from dinner, but I wanted to have something to remind me of how the Casino looked at night. I didn’t even have to wait — a Porsche 911 was, of course, driving right by us. 

Above: Kalebra really wanted to see the Princess Grace Rose Garden and as soon as we arrived it started raining, but we waited it out and an hour later we had the place to ourself. I grabbed a few shots, but I’m not a “flower guy” – I have to say, Kalebra is a “flower girl” and she crushed it with her flower shots. Here’s a link to her blog where you can see some of them.

Above: This is the hotel we stayed in, in Cap-Ferrat, which is located pretty much right between Nice and Monaco, and not far from Cannes. It’s called the Royal Riviera and it was a wonderful place to stay. Terrific service and pretty fast internet (which matters when you’re doing research for what you’re going to do the next day, and backing up your files to Dropbox). Anyway, the next couple of pages are interior shots from the hotel. 

Above: These are 16-bit HDR images compiled using Lightroom CC’s Merge to HDR feature.

Above: More 16-bit realistic HDRs done in Lightroom CC alone. 

Above: We took a morning trip to Eze Village — a tiny old world village on the top of a hill, and it was just as charming as it could be. Really enjoyed it (and the girls loved the shopping). Had an amazing lunch at Deli’, a tiny salad restaurant and olive oil shop at the top of hill. If you go to this region, Eze is a must-see. Here’s a couple of more shots from Eze.

Above: These shots were taken at the restaurant Deli’.

Above: It wasn’t exactly a spice market, but a vendor had a nice set-up selling different spices, including some that looked like potpourri.

Above: I call it “Spice stuff in interesting light.” ;-)

Above: That bowl was behind the spice vendor’s table and it looked kinda interesting. On the right — this little sculpture was under an umbrella at one of the many outdoor cafes in Eze. 

Above: Remember I mentioned earlier that Kalebra and I stayed up on the top of this hill until sunset? Well, the sun didn’t actually “set” it just kind of disappeared into a foggy cloudy mess, so the sky is kinda lame which is why I pretty much kept it out of the shot. I took this one and then we headed back down the hill toward town for a delicious dinner in a charming little restaurant. 

Above: Here’s a few inside the church in the Eze village, and one of the only fisheye shots from the entire trip. Why did I lug a fisheye to France? I have no idea. Shoulda left it home. 

Above: Another one inside the church to wrap things up. 

Two versions of the book
I always make two versions of each book — one for me as a photographer, and one for the folks with us on the trip, and we were there with another couple (Debbie and Kleber), and they were a blast and made the trip so much fun, so the other book has all those sorts of shots, and if you look at my blog post from yesterday you’ll see a shot of Kalebra and me taken in front of the casino — so it’s this book (with lots of other pages I didn’t show), along with a bunch of shots like that.

Well, gotta get to the office. Thanks for letting me share these with you, and I hope you all have an awesome Tuesday!

Best,

-Scott

P.S. Tomorrow on “The Grid” we’re doing our monthly “Blind Photo Critiques” show, so check out my Facebook or Twitter pages on how to submit your images to be critiqued on the show. 

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