I am psyched to be back at WPPI this year (the Wedding & Portrait Photographers International) Conference & Expo in Las Vegas next week. Last year was my first time ever speaking there and I had a really great time, and excited to be back again and expanding my classes.

Here’s my speaking schedule: 

(1) WPPI Conference Track:

"Portrait Retouching Secrets for Photographers"
Tuesday, March 4
4:00 PM to 5:30 PM
Portrait Track

Canon Theater
I’ll be teaching sessions on Lighting and Portraiture in the Canon booth:

> Monday at 10:45 am
> Monday at 3:15 pm
> Tuesday at  11:30 am

B&H Photo Booth
I’ll also be teaching a session on “Shooting it with Just One Light” for B&H Photo at their booth/theater:

If you're at the show, I hope you'll catch one of my sessions (and if you see me wandering around, make sure you stop me and say "hi").

Hope you have a great start to your week!



P.S. I’m up here in Atlanta today for my “Shoot Like a Pro” tour stop and I’m looking forward to meeting everybody (and making some new friends). My next tour stop is in Phoenix on March 12th. 


First, our Quote of the Week (which has already made it’s way around Twitter).

So, Peter was our in-studio guest for our “Blind Photo Critiques” episode of “The Grid” this week, and during the show we brought up one particular set of submitted portraits that had a lot of problems and Peter is trying to be as kind as possible with his comments but you can see he’s really struggling with it.

We ask him on the show, “If you had to give this photographer one bit of advice, what would it be?” and he’s really trying to be nice, so he tells them they need to take a “Beginner’s portrait class,” and Matt is trying to help Peter pin down what the problem is, so he asks Peter, “Lighting? Expression?” and this sets up our “QUOTE OF THE WEEK” (it’s the 2nd line ahead), “so Peter says “I don’t know what to say about those picturesâ¦reallyâ¦I just don’t⦔ (wait, here it comes):

“I take pictures people would want to look at, and I guess they⦔

and he stopped right there…and we all just lost it knowing that what  he just said would surely be our Quote of the Week.

You gotta see it, though, to appreciate it — it starts around 33:15 mark in the video (above). Despite his inner-struggle not to say what he’s really thinking (and people commenting that he’s being too kind), Peter was really great on the episode (as always) and there’s a lot to learn from him during the show, so I hope you get a chance to check it out.

Peter Just Wrapped His First Book, and It Rocks!
Peter was down here literally finishing the final chapters for his first book which we’re producing for Peachpit Press, and it’s called “PETER HURLEY: THE HEADSHOT” and we are super-psyched about it. I’m the Editor for Peter’s book and I cannot tell you what an amazing learning experience this has been for me. In fact, I learned stuff just yesterday that made me want to go back and reshoot my last shoot — it’s just that good. The book is heading into production and layout now with our in-house team (all the writing is done), and I just cannot wait until it’s released (early summer) because I can tell you right now, it’s going to be an absolute smash hit. Congratulations to Peter for literally knocking it out of the park.

Creative Cloud Month on KelbyOne
Each weekday this month, a new Creative Cloud class is being added to KelbyOne! Take advantage of your full Adobe Creative Cloud membership by learning about the other programs you haven't been familiar with. Just this week we've added Premiere Pro CC for Photographers, The Essentials of Typography, Getting Started with Audition CC, and today On Using Behance is becoming available! Check back tomorrow for Premiere CC Beyond The Basics, and each day for the rest of the month for even more.

Leave a comment for a chance to check these classes out for free!

KelbyOne Live
Want to spend a day with Scott KelbyMatt Kloskowski, or RC Concepcion? Check out these seminar tours!

Shoot Like A Pro with Scott Kelby
Feb 21 - Tampa, FL (Sold Out)
Feb 24 – Atlanta, GA
Mar 12 - Phoenix, AZ
Mar 28 - Minneapolis, MN

Lightroom 5 Live with Matt Kloskowski
Mar 5 - Los Angeles, CA

Photoshop for Photographers with RC Concepcion
Feb 26 - Oklahoma City, OK
Mar 4 - New York, NY
Mar 26 - Arlington, TX

You can check out the full schedule for seminars through March! And leave a comment for your chance to win a ticket to one of these events!

Free From Macphun Software – Snapheal!
Want a free copy of Macphun Software’s Snapheal for Mac? Just click here and enter your info at the bottom of the page! Use this to easily remove unwanted objects from your images, fix skin blemishes, and make other enhancements to your photos. Offer good until March 1, so grab it before it’s too late.

Exploration Photography and Shooting Abandoned Places
Our friends at Peachpit are giving away 5 free eBooks of their latest from Fuel Books, Urban Exploration Photography: A Guide To Shooting Abandoned Places. This new eBook by Todd Sipes is part of Peachpit’s new FuelBooks series. Check it out here, and leave a comment for your chance to win one of the five free copies!

They’ve also got a free Photo Club coming up next Tuesday on this very same topic. Sign up here to reserve your spot!

Last Week’s Winners
SLAP Atlanta Ticket
-Allison Cobb

KelbyOne Classes
-H G Bennett

KelbyOne Live Ticket
-Jerry W

If you’re one of the lucky winners, we’ll be in touch soon. Have a great Thursday!

Feeding the Sika Deer in Nara, Japan. 2012. (Captured by my sister, music writer, Alex Vickery.

I stared at this cursor for a good ten minutes before I actually let a line stick. I feel like the ending to an episode of Doogie Howser, M.D.

An enthusiastic, "Yes," was my response to Brad's request that I pen a guest post, without question, because Brad is awesome, but the fact is I spent a lot longer than ten minutes catching up on the past guest posts here that I had missed. I was blown away at the inspiring words and visuals and was suddenly at an impasse.

With 62 pages of posts from world-renowned artists, what was I going to bring to the table? After considerable thought I decided to try to answer a question that I'm casually asked all the time.

"What is your favorite photo?"

Now I'm sure most are implying an image that I personally took, in which case I have frames that I like at any given time. To get those out of the way here are a few of my own most recent images that I personally enjoy.

Houston artist Kelsey Jackson. 2014.

Houston-native, Machine Gun Kelly. 2013.

Actress Katlynn Simone of BET's "The Game". 2014.

Polar Vortex 1. Buffalo, NY. 2014.

Old Forge, NY. 2014

Houston artist Cray Cray. 2013.

Back to the question at hand. My answer is the same every time. My favorite photograph is one I didn't personally take, in fact I don't really know who took it. It's a medium format print of an image of my grandfather teaching a firearms class during his time in the Air Force stationed Tachikawa AFB near Tokyo, Japan. I always loved the texture of the image and the official stamp on the back. The photo, as old as it is, is sharper than 99% of digital captures today. It makes me want to use my Hasselblad more.

Both of my grandfathers died in the late 90's and I loved both of them dearly, however the reason why the image is so important to me isn't just because of who is in the photo, but more of what the image represents: family.

I remember being envious of grade school classmates that always seemed to have several cousins close by or a huge family gathering every weekend. My family was stretched from San Francisco to New York to Tokyo to Cleveland to Paris and everywhere in between. I moved with my family from Houston, TX to Paris, France in the middle of my 5th grade year. Then we moved back 3 years later. It was a tough adjustment, but I got through it. In the end I had been to a dozen different schools, as many or more different houses, different environments and different memories.

No matter where we were, I always loved that I could open up our photo albums and see the same photos of friends and family. Those photographs held it all together.

My dad and his brothers on Halloween. Buffalo, NY.

Ever since I started to really enjoy photography several years ago, I have been on a quest to preserve as much of my family's negatives, prints and old video footage as possible. It started with the tedious task of converting our family's old VHS tapes into digital files and progressed into scanning prints, negatives, and sometimes other interesting documents like postcards or report cards.

Me. Normandy, France. 1994.

As photographers we take the greatest care organizing and archiving our own photography, so why not make that same effort to protect our family's historical record? Regardless of how organized and secure our own pixels are, for most of us, there is an aging box of yellowing prints from a pre-digital era that aren't part of that archiving workflow, but they should be.

My sister recently moved back to the states from Dublin. My mom lives in Singapore. Before that they were in Brazil. It’s tough not getting to see some of your family as much as you'd like. In 2012 I visited my grandmother in New York whom I rarely get the chance to see. She had a very old photo from 1914. It was a photo of her mother, my great grandmother as a young schoolgirl in 1914. She was about to throw it out. I had to save it.

I rescued the photograph and scanned in a ton of old photographs she had collected. It's important to me, these photographic records of my family's history. Sometimes, if not all the time, the process of scanning and organizing an overwhelming pile of prints is tiresome, but the look on your family's face when they've re-discovered an old memory at the bottom of that pile that you unearthed and preserved can make it all worth it.

In 2010, for my grandmother's 80th birthday, I compiled my favorite scanned images into a 400-page book that I self-published as a surprise for her. Check out my blog to read more about that project.

They all don't have to be a book project, but if that unorganized pile exists for you and your family, scan them in. Burn them to a disc or drive. Make copies and give them to family members for safekeeping.

My grandmother. Akron, Ohio. 2010.

Family Selfie. Zugspitze, Germany. 2012.

My favorite photographs are the ones of my sister as a baby in Paris, the ones of my dad holding me as a baby, my grandma making me fried rice, grandpa as a kid.

I am their historian. I am their archivist. I am the only one who knows how to work the scanner.

Todd Spoth is a commercial and editorial photographer based out of Houston, Texas, USA. When he isn't making pictures, writing sentimental blog posts or speaking in the third person he writes and records his own music which can be heard here.

See more of Todd's work at ToddSpoth.com and connect with him on Twitter and Instagram.

Well, we’re back from our Valentine’s weekend getaway (with Sharon and Moose Peterson) and did we have a blast! (We packed a lot into 2-1/2 days).

I put together a photo-story-gallery post over at Exposure.so of my self-assigned photo project while I was there — I chose “Color” as my subject (and I explain why in the Exposure post) and share lots of images there as well.

If you’ve got a minute, I hope you’ll check it out (here’s the link).

Although I’msharing photos from my “color as my subject” project, we did lots of other fun stuff including:

(a) Visiting a way-off-the-beaten-path white cliffs/mountain-thingy in Abiquiu, New Mexico called “Plaza Blanca” where key parts of the movie “Cowboys & Aliens” was filmed. It was actually pretty cool (even though I’ve never seen the movie). I took plenty of photos. None of them good (we were there at “high noon”).

(b) Making over an hour drive to a State Park that was “Closed for the Season.” Ugh.

(c) Dining at what Joe McNally called “The best Mexican food he’s ever eaten” (Joe doesn’t like Mexican food, so that’s saying something). It’s called Gabriel’s and it’s just outside of Santa Fe. Super yummy.

(d) Getting lost and accidentally winding up in Taos, New Mexico, which as it turned out was not a bad thing.

(e) We laughed for 2-1/2 days solid. Our sides still hurt.

Now I’m back to work, and ready to roll — lots of fun stuff to work on this week.

Hope you all have a great day, and hope you get a chance to check out the shots from the trip. :)


Well, I say that but by the time you read this we’ll actually already be on our flight back home from our Valentine’s Day getaway weekend, where Kalebra and I met up with Moose Peterson and his wife Sharon in Santa Fe, New Mexico to spend a few days relaxing and shooting a few pictures in between (including this shot of the famous San Francisco de Asis church in Taos made famous by Ansel Adams).

Even though I’ve taught workshops out in Santa Fe in the past, my wife had never been, so we all decided to meet up here and spend a few days relaxing and just having fun (and we did plenty of both). The weather was absolutely beautiful (in the low 60s° in the days, and a bit cooler at night), and we had such a great time â” Moose and Sharon are a blast to hang out with.

I have lots of shots to share, but couldn’t get them done for today’s blog, so hopefully I’ll have them later this week. Tomorrow I have a Commercial Shoot for a new client, and then Wednesday and Thursday Peter Hurley is in town to finish up work on his new book which we’re producing for Peachpit Press (and of course, Peter will be our in-studio guest on “The Grid” on Wedneday at 4pm ET). Then on Friday I’m teaching my first “Shoot Like a Pro” seminar of the year to an already sold-out crowd in Tampa, and then on to Atlanta on Monday (there still a few seats left in Atlanta if you want to snag one of the last ones. Here’s the link). Ya know, as I write all this, I can see why I needed a few days off. LOL!

Hope you all have a great Monday, and hope to see you here tomorrow.