Surprising Gear Changing The Way You Shoot with Scott Kelby, Erik Kuna & Guests | The Grid EP. 544

This week on The Grid, Scott Kelby and Erik Kuna are joined by special guests Chicky Nando, Kirk Nelson, and Sam Haddix! Chicky drops by for a moment to chat with Scott about their upcoming workshop in Lisbon! Then Kirk and Sam join to discuss some unique gear that can help you stand out from average photographers. Tune in for another episode you won’t want to miss!

New KelbyOne Course: At the End of the Day, We Are Storytellers with Joe McNally

Being a visual reporter is a stressful, arduous thing to do. It is also a wonderful, exciting, and important thing to do. The best, most searing and crucial stories of our life and times are recalled in photographs. Our memories are grounded in visuals. In this class, Joe McNally, a former LIFE staff photographer, 25 year assignment photographer for National Geographic, and a contract photographer for Sports Illustrated, takes you through the demands, the research, the happenstance (good and bad) of being on location, and pursuing emotional, important stories out in the world. A good storytelling set of photos stirs the reader’s heart and mind, and involves their head and their hearts. How do you do that?

Editor’s Note: In honor of Joe’s latest KelbyOne course, I wanted to share this post from 2011 in which he shares his experience working for National Geographic!

Crossing the Yellow Border

I’ve been shooting for “the yellow magazine” since 1987, and that land beyond the yellow border is indeed a wonderful, and strange, place. It contains and defines the entire realm of shooting experiences—impossible odds, magnificent occurrences, unprecedented access, nearly unbelievable bad fortune, outright danger, the exhilaration of the hard won chrome or file captured, and the devastation of bad days, or even weeks in the field.

The Palomar Telescope fires a laser 60 miles into the heavens.

That place, “in the field,” can be the urbane and sophisticated streets of Paris, or someplace literally so remote as to have never felt the footprint of man. It can be the ultra-sacrosanct tombs and structures of societies time has all but forgotten, or the blinking, humming computers that power our most modern technologies. The magazine’s official mission statement is “to increase and diffuse geographic knowledge.” “Geography,” for the editors there, generally encompasses both physical and cultural geography. People and their places. People in relationship to the planet. The planet itself, in all of its’ magnificence, and wreckage. The earth, sea and sky, and all the organisms those elements nurture, and occasionally, punish.

Over the Keck Observatory on Mauna Kea, Hawaii. I found that my fingers didn’t work so well trying to load a 617 Pano camera with 220 film in an open door chopper at 14,000 feet.

In short, everything. Trust me, I know this first hand. I was once given a story to do called “The Universe.” Yikes. (To my editor, I was like, “Okay, how long do I have to shoot this?”)

I was already an established “New York” shooter, with covers of Sports Illustrated, LIFE, Time, Newsweek, New York, etc., by the time I came to the attention of the yellow border gang. Strategizing to get an assignment, I turned down a go everywhere credential to the Seoul Olympiad for Sports Illustrated to honor a commitment to a week long freebie speaking tour called The Flying Short Course, sponsored by the NPPA. Sounds unbelievably stupid, right? A freelancer turning down a month of day rates to keep an obligation to do a series of free lectures.

On the face of it, yes. But the method to my madness involved being on the same touring faculty as Tom Kennedy, then DOP of Geographic. I had the opp right then and there to show my portfolio to Tom, five days in a row. I gulped, said no to SI, didn’t’ go to Seoul, and instead went off to lecture. At the end of that week of touring and talking, Tom looked at me and said, “You should come down and start shooting for us.” That was 1987. Still shooting for them. Finished my last assignment this past summer. Almost 25 years, and lots of yellow boxes, and pixels, later, I’m still out there, trying to increase and diffuse.

For a story on Global Culture, i needed a global storyteller. Who better than George Lucas? I wanted George Lucas to simply be part of the tableaux I created outside this old theater, but it didn’t quite work out that way. George is front and center, surrounded by his creations.

That longevity was not a given, to be sure. It never is in the world of freelancing, and I did my best in my first few efforts for NG to ensure my career with them would be truly short lived. I made big time screw up after big time screw up.

It was a different type of shooting, you know? I was used to the New York method. That kind of played out like this: Get a phone call from an editor at a weekly publication in Manhattan. Say yes. Never, ever be able to reach that editor on the phone again. Make all the arrangements, Go shoot the job. A week was a long time. Six pages was a big story. Get in, get out. Process film. Deliver it in a breathless rush. Not hear anything. Call three weeks later. Finally get the editor on the phone. “Oh, hi. Yeah, Joe! It is Joe, right? That story that you shot? Oh, oh, yeah. Oh, yeah, uh, it was good, we liked it. Thanks. Gotta go to a meeting.”

Have phone ring back, almost immediately. It’s a call from that very same editor you were just talking with. That editor who now all of a sudden remembers you, and realizes you are standing there, somewhere, with enough time to make a phone call and this qualifies you as a warm body with a camera, and potential availability to solve a problem the managing editor just threw on his desk like a big, steaming turd. “Hi, yeah, uh, by the way, are you busy in the next two hours?”


It’s #TravelTuesday and I, Dave Williams, am here as always with a little something from the world of traveling photography. This week I’m reporting to you from Arctic Norway, not far from the Andenes Space Port on the island of Andøya. It isn’t space that I want to talk about, though.

I got involved in a conversation this past week about Lightroom. The course of the conversation led to a discussion about darkrooms and photo purism. The verb ‘Photoshop’ was thrown around and in the conversation I pointed out that before Adobe Photoshop there was such thing as photo manipulation in the darkroom.

We know the terms dodging and burning, often in relation to portrait retouching but also across the board in retouching any photos, but these terms have their roots in the darkroom.

These tools come from dodging light and burning light into an image in the darkroom, changing the shadows and highlights of a photo by having less or more exposure. Crazy, right? Well in actual fact Ansel Adams ‘Photoshopped’ his photos in this way, retouching them in the darkroom by dodging and burning long before Adobe came up with the digital version of the concept.

This 1955 photo of James Dean is always my go-to example of how it all worked. This image was annotated by Pablo Inirio of Magnum Photos, showing his process and telling us the story of the dodging and burning that took place in editing this photo.

Taking this all a little step further, even the photos we see on our cameras image preview screen are ‘Photoshopped’ (please excuse my intentional, totally incorrect use of the word) because even when we shoot in raw, what we see is a compressed, JPEG preview. And don’t get me started on cropping!

To an extent, all images are altered in some way. In our world we like to do so for the sake of creativity and expression, and rightly so. We’re showing things in the way we see them, and I’m all for that. Photo purism isn’t truly a thing – we’re changing reality the moment we press the shutter button with all the settings dialled in, so we may as well continue our creativity in Lightroom.

Much love

Every time I share a multi-layer layout, I get questions about how to create them, and luckily, it’s so easy in Lightroom Classic. Here’s a quick tutorial on how to make them.

Hope you guys found that helpful. :)

We’re just two weeks away from the Depth of Field Portrait/Wedding Conference in NYC

I’m super psyched to be teaching four sessions in person up in New York City next month at B&H Photo’s awesome “Depth of Field Conference” (the Pro Portrait, Wedding, and Event Photography Conference). You can attend in person in NYC or watch the conference online – either way – it’s free (thanks to the folks at B&H and a host of industry-leading sponsors). Here’s the link to RSVP and for more details. Can’t wait, and I hope to see you there.

Let’s go have a kick-butt Monday, everybody!


It’s a quicky, but it’s my favorite way to shoot with my iPhone:

Told ya it would be quick. :)

I’ve got a Killer Photoshop Tip for removing powerlines and telephone wires from your shot

Here’s a link to the tip – it starts at the 27-minute mark, but I have it all cued up at the right spot so just click the link, and you’re right at the tip:

There ya go! Have a great weekend, everybody!