Hey hey! Thanks for dropping by Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider today. I’m Dave Williams and this week I’m going to talk to you about the importance of personal projects.

First off, it’s important to note that personal projects are important! What projects do you have on the go or in the pipeline? During this post some images will pop up. The disclaimer is this: – I’ve pulled these images from my archive and some are very old. As such they should not be used to judge me ;)

As a travel photographer it’s fair to say that what that actually means is that I shoot a very broad range of subjects. Landscapes, cityscapes, people, food, still life, long exposures, it really is a lot of different stuff. Every little personal project can therefore be a little extra experience, a little extra practice, a little extra notch in the belt, and a step towards perfection (not that I’ll ever get to that point) when it comes to my everyday shooting and my built in ‘autopilot.’ Here’s an example: –



Both of these personal projects helped me to understand light. On the one hand it was about creating and controlling directional light, leaving nothing to fall on the background and creating the ‘invisible black background’ (Glyn Dewis, 2010) and on the other it was all about an even bathe of light, minimal highlights and shadows, across a flat-lay inspired by World War One. These helped when I translated them across a number of photographic ‘arenas’ including weddings and promotional Instagram posts to name just two.

What I’m trying to say here is that it’s the care and attention, the discovery of techniques and the understanding of different dynamics in the world of photography which were picked up whilst working on projects that have helped me to become more efficient and competent in my everyday photography.

It’s not just projects that relate to your particular field of photography that help, however. I spent a lot of time working on a macro project. I’m very aware that there’s a very, very strong chance that Scott will disapprove of me posting this, but for what can be gleaned from this I’m taking that risk for you all ;) Scott, close your browser now!


So, I wanted to understand the mechanisms of lenses and depth of field. What better to explore this than macro photography? Understanding depth of field through the use of true macro 1:1 lenses and through more extreme macro using reversing rings helped me to much better also understand light, the quantity and quality of light required, the effects of movement of lens glass, literally so much cane from this project it’s unreal. That leads me on to how it goes a step further from the camera and into retouching.



Once you’ve taken the shot in camera, learning the ins and outs of Photoshop through these projects is also extremely beneficial. It can be an exploration of different tools and features, and this again can translate to a faster workflow and a deeper understanding which brings huge benefits to your everyday photography.

Most of us are stuck in habits with both our photography and our retouching, and bringing personal projects into your flow can bring you out of that ‘rut’ and broaden your photographic horizons, sometimes to no end! Stepping out of your comfort zone, removing that safety net for the sake of development, and allowing yourself to be open to new ideas brings with it new skills, and potentially new customers too!

The other benefit is opening yourself up to a whole new community. Getting stuck and trying to figure out what you’re doing wrong can lead to engagement in forums and groups online from which you can learn and share. Win win, right?

Think about it – we never stop learning and if you can catalyse your learning and develop new skills through personal projects you’ll keep yourself at the top of your game!

If you need inspiration for your personal project just take a look at the massive range of photographers work up on the @kelbyonepics Instagram page, find something you don’t know how to do or that you’d like to improve on, and get on with it!
I hope this rapid paced post has been helpful!

Much love


Happy Monday, everybody. I think I’ve got a good one for ya today (plus a free downloadable print template for you, too). It’s how to create a custom print layout that you can use in a Wedding Album (heck, you could use it for anything I imagine, but I was inspired by seeing this layout in an Australian Wedding magazine).

It’s quick and easy, and I show you how it’s done – all from scratch, and I also have a link below where you can download a print template I made of the layout (just to save you some time, but you should still watch the video, if for nothing more than to see how to install the template).

Hope you found that helpful.

Here’s the link to download the free Print Template I made just for you!



P.S. Don’t forget — you can save Print layouts as individual JPEG files. You do that in the Print Job panel at the bottom of the Right Side panels — from the ‘Print to’ pop-up menu choose JPEG file.

Once again, KelbyOne Members all over the world sent in entries, and these entries keep getting better and better, which makes the judging harder and harder. Nevertheless, we found an incredible photographer to honor with this own solo gallery show opening, and we’re excited to announce that our latest winner is UK-based photographer/Photoshop artist:

Ian Munro

Ian (and a guest of his choice) will be flown to Tampa, Florida to be there for the wine and cheese reception celebrating his own solo gallery show at “The Gallery at KelbyOne.” (Note: If you’re like “What’s this whole gallery thing?” check out this quick Q&A)

Ian’s fine art conceptual storytelling and his masterful post processing style really captivated the judges. We kept coming back to his images again and again, because of their understated humor, wonderful composition, and an overall sense of taking you to a fanciful, peculiar, and distinctively different time and place.

One thing we’re really excited to see is how amazing Ian’s images look printed big on the walls of the gallery (the images are printed using Bay Photo Lab‘s ‘Xpozer’ system for exhibition printing, and Ian’s images are going to rock printed in this medium).

You’re invited to Ian’s gallery opening:

7:00 pm on Friday, March 16th at the Gallery at KelbyOne (in the Tampa, Florida area). 

Immediately following the reception, we’ll move into the theater where we’ll be broadcasting a live 1-hour interview (hosted by Larry Becker) with Ian at 8:00 pm ET that evening (streamed live and open to everyone).

More details and a link to RSVP as we get closer to the opening.

I want to once again recognize my awesome wife Kalebra for coming up with this idea of honoring, uplifting and celebrating the work of the talented photographers, illustrators and artists in the KelbyOne community by providing them with added recognition and a new audience to enjoy their work. Who knows what doors this could open, and I’m thrilled we get to be a small part of it all.

Congratulations Ian – we can’t wait to share your fun, fascinating storytelling images with the world. :)



Mastering The Natural Light Portrait: Post Processing with Scott Kelby
Join Scott Kelby for the conclusion to his Mastering the Natural Light Portrait class, as he works through his process for editing the photos from that shoot. In this class you’ll learn the core types of edits you will apply to all of your natural light portraits. In this class you’ll learn different techniques for reducing distractions and making the face the most eye-catching part of the photo. From soft northern exposure light to dappled light, Scott teaches you how to analyze the photo, plan your approach, and get the most out of what Lightroom and Photoshop have to offer.

This class is perfect for anyone looking for tips on post processing or editing natural light photos.

In Case You Missed It
Learn the essential elements of retouching! Join Viktor Fejes as he provides you with a solid a foundation for how to approach retouching. This is not a class on how to use the basic tools of retouching, but rather how to think about retouching in a logical and methodical fashion, so that you can develop a workflow to properly retouch a photo from start to finish. You’ll learn how to evaluate an image, how to start in Camera Raw, how to structure your layers in Photoshop, how to use techniques involving false colors to fine tune texture, tones, and color, and all the while gaining a firm understanding for why you would approach retouching in this way.

Over the past few years, my career path has transformed from studying business in college, to one as a freelance photographer and designer for major brands and top musicians. 

But, that’s not what I want to talk about today. 

Today, I want to talk about taking pictures of “boring things.”

As I was starting to dabble with photography in college, I did a year-long one-a-day photo challenge to try to capture my everyday life with a unique perspective.

Some days I very quickly found the shot. I’d be going cliff jumping with my friends, or would be at a concert with cool lighting. Those days were easy.

Other days, however, were the days I really learned how to see. How do I take a cool photo of me writing an essay, eating breakfast, or what is aesthetically interesting about the walk back home that I had seen so many times?

I accidentally dropped my breakfast in that last one actually. Instead of letting the moment go by as an inconvenience, my one-a-day challenge mindset allowed me to see it as an opportunity for a photo.

The year long photo challenge of photographing “boring” ended up playing a huge role in changing the way I see the world, and in turn the way I grew as a photographer.

I want to encourage you to grow in the same way, and I want to start with a few questions:

Have you ever stopped and looked at the aesthetics of a pencil? The color of the side and eraser, the hexagonal geometry, the way the edges transform when it is being sharpened?

Because of my one-a-day challenge, I finally did.

Or have you ever paused while cleaning the dinner table and noticed the patterns of plates, the tones of the leftovers, and the way it quietly tells a story of the conversations just had moments before?

This was post-thanksgiving a year ago.

There is so much potential beauty to be found in the little moments around us. We just have to take the time to step back and see how not “normal” everything is. We get so accustomed to seeing stoplights or puddles, but if you actually think about what you are looking at, those things are ridiculous! A candle for example:

Crazy right??

I want to challenge you guys to find something today that you overlook and try to capture it in a new light.
You don’t have to capture the whole thing either. In fact, I find that simplicity in aesthetic helps highlight what is often overlooked.

Look for things like pattern, texture, color, composition, juxtaposition, and especially light. Also, consider including a human element to your photos by directing a friend or capturing a stranger. It’s the little things you wouldn’t normally notice that can set your photos apart.

No matter if you are in fashion, sports, landscapes, or somewhere in between, intentionally stopping to notice the beauty around you will begin transforming the way you see the world, and especially the way you photograph.

You can see more of Connor’s work at ConnorDwyer.com, follow him on Instagram, follow Thad the Finger on Instagram, and check out his coloring book!

It’s “Faster Lightroom Classic Tuesday,” everybody!

Adobe just released another update to Lightroom Classic CC (the regular desktop Lightroom we all know and love), but today we will love it more because it’s much faster than ever before.

Lots of speed improvements throughout (building upon the speed enhancements from the October update), and you’ve probably already read test results leaked around the Web last week that show the new Lightroom Classic 7.2 is significantly faster in many areas (provided you have at least 12 GB of RAM – though I always recommend, and use 16-GB). Plus, they’ve made the process of creating Collections and Collection Sets from Folders tremendously easier, along with some other important tweaks that you’ll dig (it’s all good stuff).

Lightroom expert (and Photoshop World Instructor) Rob Sylvan did a post today on all the new 7.2 update features over on my other blog: LightroomKillerTips.com and if you’ve got a sec, he’s posted all the full details and screen caps there. Here’s the link. 

Next week, it’s you, it’s me, it’s Lightroom in Texas
Next week I’m in San Antonio and Houston for my Full-day Lightroom seminar (and yes — I’ll be showing the new stuff live at the seminar). You can still come out and spend the day with me – here’s the link.

After that I’m heading to the WPPI conference in Las Vegas (I’ll be doing a book-signing there at the Rocky Nook booth. Details to come). Maybe I’ll run into you there. :)

Alright, let’s go download the new Lightroom Classic! :)