The Print Edition is here!
It’s my biggest update in years, and it has ALL the latest stuff, including all the new Profile features — it’s the latest edition of the world’s bestselling Lightroom book, and you can get it right now at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or pick one up at the Photoshop World Official Bookstore at the conference).

Check out this cool giveaway from Profoto USA
Next Friday (one week from today) Profoto is picking one lucky winner to win $10,000+ of awesome lighting gear, plus you’ll get a two-day workshop with photographer Michael Anthony (that’s his shot above) to learn how to make the most of it.

Look at what they’re giving away (this is an insane list of gear!):

2x Profoto A1 for Canon or Nikon (valued at $1990)
2x Profoto A1 Gel Kits (valued at $198)
1x Profoto A1 Soft Bounce (valued at $149)
1x B1X Location Kit (valued at $4,148)
1x B2 To-Go Kit (valued at $1,995)
1x OCF Softbox 2×3′ (valued at $219)
1x OCF Softbox Octa 2′ (valued at $159)
1x OCF Beauty Dish White (valued at $199)
3x OCF Speedrings (valued at $298)
1x OCF Magnum Reflector (valued at $199)
1x OCF Grid Kit (valued at $99)
1x Profoto Air TTL remote of your choice (valued at $419)

They are choosing a random winner from the entries, so go enter right now, right here: https://t.co/rvEA6a7vLg

Good luck everybody!

With the big Photoshop World Conference just 6-days away…
…we are all psyched/crazy-busy/excited/exhausted but having a ball doing it all. Can’t wait to see everybody next week – it’s going to be an amazing conference (and if you’re wondering…is it too late to go? Nope — you can still come join us — people are still signing up every day). Hit us up at photoshopworld.com for details/info/tickets. OK, here’s some stuff:

Today at 1:00 PM I’m the guest on the Photofocus Podcast with Vanelli
It’s coming out today – the interview with host, Mr. V himself, Vanelli. :)   We’re talking about education (formal vs. informal) and all sorts of stuff. Check http://photofocus.com to check it out, or subscribe to their podcast at 

Getting great feedback from my “Where to shoot in New York Travel Photography Course.” 
Here’s a comment I saw yesterday from Kevin Scott:

“Loving this course! I have NEVER had a desire to go to NYC, but this is making me rethink that. Regardless, I love all the “Photographer’s Guide to…” courses. Even if it is somewhere I don’t have on my travel radar, I always take away nuggets, from post-processing tips/tricks to just seeing some of the shots that I keep in the back of my mind to inspire me in my everyday shooting. Thanks so much, @ScottKelby for doing these!”

If you’re coming to PSW next week, don’t forget your camera!
We’ve got lots of cool sets, models, and fun stuff to shoot. PLUS, if you’re a Canon shooter, Canon will be there doing FREE sensor cleanings right on the spot. Did I mention it’s free for Canon shooter? Yup. It is.

My band will be rockin’ next Thursday night…
…and after our first set at the Photoshop World Party, we’re doing an ‘Instructor Jam Session” where we’ll be inviting some the many KelbyOne instructors that are musicians to come up and jam with us on a song or two. It will be a night to remember.

I’m doing a book signing…or two!
One at the Peachpit Press booth in the official bookstore, and one at the Rocky Nook bookstore. Both of my latest books (The Flash Book and my just-released Lightroom Classic book for Digital Photographers will both be there in stock).

If you’ll be at Photoshop World next week…
Two things you definitely want to do:

(1) Go to the free Orientation class 
If this is your first time at Photoshop World, we have a special crash course just for you. Hosted by Larry Becker, this orientation is designed to make sure you get the most out of your experience. Free and open to all attendees on Wednesday (the day before the full conference kicks off).

(2) Download the App 
We have an awesome conference app (for IOS and Android) that you will find invaluable during the conference. The full schedule is in there; directions; events times and locations, and a whole bunch more. Find it on the App Store for iPhones, or on Google Play for Android.

If you can’t go this year…
Then make sure you tune in Thursday morning at 10:00 AM ET (I’ll put a link here on the blog on Thursday morning and on all our social media) so you can watch the opening keynote LIVE. It’s going to be (wait for it…wait for it…) epic!

Also, Brad will be posting shots from the conference next week, so if you want to see what’s happening, make sure you check back here then.

Gotta run — got a lot of work this weekend to get ready for the conference (and I’ve got practice-up on some of my songs, so I remember the chords, the words, ya know, stuff like that.

Have a great weekend, and I hope I’ll see you in Orlando next week!

Best,

-Scott

Travel Photography: A Photographer’s Guide to New York City with Scott Kelby
Join Scott Kelby for an in-depth look at twenty locations in and around New York City for amazing photographic opportunities. From some of the most iconic spots to places you’ve probably never heard of, Scott shares tips and tricks for getting there, what to shoot while you are there, and things to know before you go. Not only will you come away with stunning photographs, but you’ll have had a fantastic time experiencing some of the best that New York has to offer. Don’t forget to download the provided PDF to get the street addresses for every location mentioned.

In Case You Missed It
Join professional photographer Scott Kelby on his trip to Paris. He walks through realistic travel scenarios including night time photography, avoiding tourists, and weather, and offers tips and techniques on how to best handle them to get the iconic photos you want. Make sure to check out Part II of this series Travel Photography – Post Processing to learn how to edit all of your travel photos. This class is perfect for a beginner photographer looking for tips for shooting on vacation.

Limitation Exercises or: How Playing Guitar Saved My Photography
Before I was a photographer, I was a musician. I was the “practice for 10 hours a day until my fingers bleed” sort of musician. About 8 years after I picked up my first guitar, I found myself a graduate of Berklee College of Music. I had a wealth of musical knowledge, and a ton of sweet gear – from custom shop guitars to collectable amplifiers and a small army of effect pedals and accessories. It was up to me to take all of that knowledge and gear and make something amazing happen. Something earth-shattering. Something that would set me apart from all other musicians and propel me through the stratosphere and into stardom. Except, that didn’t happen. Instead things just kind of…stalled out. You know?

So, why am I talking about music on the world’s most popular photography blog? Have you figured it out yet?

My photography career (and maybe yours as well) mirrored my experiences with music almost exactly. Luckily, there has been one big exception. This time, instead of remaining stalled I’ve been able to reboot my photography in a big way, and I’d love to talk to you about it. If you don’t mind listening, that is.

A few years into my photography career I found myself with several camera bodies, nearly a dozen lenses, a cavalcade of flashes, strobes, modifiers, stands, backdrops, and endless miscellaneous accessories. Hadn’t I been here before?

Every time I made a photo, it was a huge undertaking. If I was creating a simple portrait, I would try to use as much gear as possible in a constant attempt to reinvent the proverbial wheel. I was also trying my hand at every style – from simple black and white portraits to elaborate composites.

Before I knew it, what started as a passion had become a job. I was photographing weddings to pay the bills and, while I didn’t hate it, I certainly didn’t love it. Things got to the point where I didn’t want to take my camera anywhere if I wasn’t getting paid for it. Taking a photo was simply too much work to be bothered with. The transition from passion to work also coincided with the quality of my photography beginning to plateau. I felt uninspired and unmotivated. I’d hit a wall, and I knew something needed to change.

One evening last spring I was sitting in my living room playing my black Fender Strat (lovingly nicknamed Malificent), when the answer suddenly came to me. Limitation exercises.

You may be asking – what the heck is a limitation exercise? If you’re musician, you’ll get this analogy immediately. If you’re not a musician, hang with me anyways. I’m sure you’ll pick it up.

A guitar has 6 strings and roughly 20 frets. We’re talking 120 total possible notes from which endless combinations can be made! When presented with so many options it’s easy to get overwhelmed.

What do I do with all of this? Where do I even start?

Is this beginning to sound familiar?

A limitation exercise involves limiting some aspect of your creative process. It’s a concept I had used for years whenever I felt my guitar playing had grown stale.

The limits you choose to set upon yourself are arbitrary, but here’s the guitar example I was working with the night inspiration struck. I had limited myself to using just 4 notes to create an epic rock solo. So, what could I do with only 4 notes? Quite a lot, it turns out. To top it off, I found myself playing all sorts of cool and different things I would never normally play, and I was having a blast doing it! Have I hammered this metaphor in enough yet?

I thought to myself – if limitation exercises can get me this excited about my guitar playing, maybe I can apply the same concept to my photography. Maybe I could take just “four notes” and make something worth talking about.

I knew I needed to make a change and commit, so I made a pact with myself to dive in and not look back.

So what limitations would I set? Should I try to shoot exclusively at f/22? Should I make portraits only at noon? Should I shoot everything on a yellow backdrop?

Here are the limitations I decided to apply to my photography:

  • I would choose only one lens and one camera body to shoot with.
  • I would use only one light source.
  • I would photograph only individual portraits.
  • I would keep each portrait session to under 5 minutes.
  • I would photograph “normal” people; friends, family, and interesting people I met.
  • I would shoot with these limitations for 1 full year.
  • I would do it all for free.

So, let’s all nerd out for a minute and talk about the gear I chose and why I chose it.

For my camera body, I wanted to shoot with the Fuji GFX50S. I’ve always had a fascination with the look of medium format cameras, but their cost has always been wildly prohibitive. When this camera was announced with it’s (relatively) low price point, I knew it was my moment to make the jump. So I went for it. Luckily, I love it.

For my lens, I decided to shoot with the Fuji GF 63mm (basically a 50mm equivalent on a full-frame camera). Ok – I know I’m not supposed to take portraits with such a wide lens. I get it! However, since I could only use one lens for this year-long experiment, I wanted a lens with a familiar focal length, and I’d always loved my 50mm. I also wanted a lens that would give me some flexibility when shooting in all sorts of different spaces. Are my images slightly more distorted than they should be? Maybe. But I’ve got to be honest – I don’t really care. We guitarists love distortion.

For my one light source, I left myself two options. Either the Profoto B1 (usually with a beauty dish), or the Wescott Icelight. Both of these lights are extremely portable and produce beautiful light. Since I wanted a “run and gun” sort of setup, these were the perfect fit.

So here’s what I love about this setup. Say, for example, I’m walking around with a few friends. I can pop my one camera and my one lens and my one light into a small backpack, and stop for 5 minutes here and there to make some quick portraits. It doesn’t have to be a huge production, but I can still make great photos that I’m proud of. What could be cooler?

So with my gear chosen, there were still a few of the more “logistical” limitations.

I wanted to limit the length of my portrait sessions to 5 minutes or under – which may sound crazy to a lot of people. I knew the time limit would be tough, but I wanted to challenge myself to think on my feet. I didn’t want to get bogged down in possibilities. I just wanted to see where my eye took me naturally, and try to make the best photo possible in the time I had. Because I didn’t have to worry about questions like “which lens?” or “how many lights?” I found myself working faster and more comfortably than I ever could have imagined.

I also wanted to photograph “real people”. I didn’t want to rely on models, people dressed in high fashion, or in heavy makeup. I just wanted to photograph the people in my life the way they really are.

I didn’t want to take any money from any of my portrait subjects because when it came down to it, this was personal work. This project was a quest to help find my voice as a photographer and I didn’t want the process to be skewed by the expectations of paying clients.

And finally, I wanted to shoot with these limitations for an entire year. I knew that if I tried this experiment for only a week, I’d be right back where I started the following week.

A year may seem like a long time, but it felt right to me.

The big question is…how did this experiment turn out? All of the photos in this blog post were taken over the last year with these limitations in place – so check them out and draw your own conclusions. It’s possible you hate all of my portraits, and that’s okay! In my own opinion, I couldn’t be happier with the work I’ve been making since implementing my limitation exercise. I feel that for the first time in my decade-long photography career I’m beginning to develop my own artistic voice.

I feel more comfortable creating portraits than ever before. Most importantly, I feel inspired to keep going. I’m just a few short months away from my one year goal, and I’m looking forward to switching things up slightly in the future. I’m not sure what the change will be, but I know that what I’ve learned this past year will act as a rock-solid foundation for my photography moving forward.

I’d love to get your feedback on the blog. If you’ve had a similar journey with your photography I’d be honored to hear about it. If you plan on trying an experiment like this please let me know, and keep me updated on your progress! If you have any suggestions for different types of limitation exercises, please post them here. Keep the conversation going!
And finally, I’ll be at Photoshop World in Orlando next week helping Kaylee Greer present a few of her really amazing classes on dog photography. If you see me in the hallway I hope you’ll stop and say hello!
Thank you for taking time out of your day to check this out. I truly hope it was worth the read.
Rock on.
-Sam Haddix

Sam Haddix is a portrait photographer from Boston Massachusetts, a graduate of Berklee College of Music, a lover of professional wrestling, and one half of Dog Breath Photography alongside world-renown dog photographer Kaylee Greer.

You can see more of Sam’s work and connect with him on Instagram, Facebook, and at SamHaddixPhotography.com.

Good day, hey hey, happy #TravelTuesday one and all! Today this post goes live as I sit at 35,000 ft high, at a steady cruise of around 560 MPH, heading from London to Orlando in preparation for Photoshop World! It’s the creative event of the year and everyone who’s anyone will be there. You’ll see more on that elsewhere though so, for now, let’s hit a subject we can maybe learn a little something from, which today is the basics of a histogram.

So, my intention here is to explain what exactly a histogram is showing you and how to make use of it to improve your photography both in-camera and in post. It’s no masterclass, but I reckon it’ll be useful.

Why have I chosen to write about such an exciting subject? Well, it has come to my attention that there are a lot of people out there who just ignore the histogram. Sometimes it’s ignored out of ignorance and sometimes out of a lack of understanding, but its very prevalence should be sending a message that perhaps it’s quite an important tool.

A histogram is telling you all about the quantity of light in your shot, and here’s how: –

The x-axis of the histogram is showing the frequency—on the left, the darker areas and on the right, the lighter areas. The y-axis shows the quantity of these frequencies. If there are more shadows, there will be more spikes on the left. If there are more highlights, there will be more spikes on the right.

Here are the key points: –

– If you have a single floor-to-ceiling bar at the left, your shadows are clipped. Similarly, if you have one on the right, it’s your highlights that are clipped. This is causing a loss of detail in each of those respective areas.

– If your histogram is split into channels of red, green, and blue, you’ll be shown gray to indicate that all three channels are overlapping. If it’s two channels, you’ll get a different colour: yellow, cyan, or magenta. This helps to show us which channels are behaving in which way.

– A correctly exposed image gives us a histogram which is a central peak, whereas something underexposed peaks on the left and something overexposed peaks to the right.

– A histogram can help us understand the overall exposure state of an image. A histogram is, however, scientific. Science and creativity sometimes work together, but not always. This considered, remember that as well as reading a “good” or a “bad” histogram to determine correct exposure, it’s still good practice to use the histogram as a tool to help rather than as the ultimate decider.

So, what lesson is there to take from this today? Well, perhaps make it a habit to keep an eye on the histogram both in camera and in post. Learn the basics and once you have, there’s nothing wrong with staying right there. Having that base knowledge to help keep details in images and expose correctly can be a lifesaver, and although learning all the fine details of a histogram may or may not make you more of a pro, it’s certainly a good foundation in either case to grasp the fundamentals. The histogram is not optional. ;)

So for now, until next week….

Much love

Dave

At my seminar last week in Salt Lake City (great folks there, by the way — had a blast!), I was talking with a gentleman and he told me his photos were backed up already because he backs-up his Lightroom catalog once a week. Ack! Another guy there thought the same thing — that backing up your Lightroom Catalog also backs up the photos you have in Lightroom.

Backing up your Lightroom catalog DOES NOT backup your photos. These are two separate processes.

Your Lightroom catalog is simply a database of edits you’ve made to your images and a collection of thumbnails of those images. It’s a list of your sorting and organization, but that’s it. Backing up this catalog is important (and to a separate hard drive I might add), because if your computer ever had a serious crash and your hard drive died, or your computer gets damaged or stolen, you’d be starting over from scratch in Lightroom, but that backup of your catalog does not include any actual photos.

Above: When you Quit Lightroom, this Back Up Catalog window appears. Hit the Choose button to choose a location to save your Lightroom catalog, and I would recommend saving to an external hard drive, or to Dropbox (as I have here) or a cloud backup. 

After you’ve backed up your Lightroom catalog, you need to back up your photos separately, and I would recommend:

(1) Putting your photos all on an external hard drive

(2) Buy a 2nd external hard drive as a 2nd backup of all those same images (ideally in a different location. That way if your house burns down or you get robbed, you still have a backup offsite. I keep one drive at the office, and a 2nd at home, and I sync them up once-a-month).

(3) I would have a third backup in The Cloud (I use Backblaze.com) because if your area experiences a natural disaster (ask folks in Houston, South Florida, New England Coast, Louisiana), you’d lose all your photos in both locations – home and office – at once.

So, most importantly — make a backup of the photos on your computer. Today if possible. And get a 2nd backup. Hard drive dies. Always. Especially when it’s the least opportune time possible, so protect yourself with a backup of your entire photo collection. Then get to backing up your Lightroom catalog.

Hope that helps you sleep better at night. :)

Only 10 more days ‘till the Photoshop World Conference! Whoo Hoo!!!
Even though we’re only 10-days away, people are signing up every single day — you can too, and join us in Orlando, May 31 – June 2nd. Tons of Lightroom training every day of the conference. Details/tickets here. 

Here’s wishing you a great Monday, and a kick-butt week!

Best,

-Scott

If you are, I think I can help you come back with some of the best images you’ve ever taken. Check these out these courses this weekend:

> If you’re heading to Europe, check out one of my “Photographer’s travel guides” on where to shoot in:

I hear from photographers all the time who tell me how helpful these were to them, and what a difference it made in the images they brought back from their trip.

>> If you’re heading to New York City this summer, next week we’re releasing my “Photographer’s Guide to New York City” and it’s not the same ol’ places you’re used to (well, it’s a few of them, but lots of interesting and fun places you might not have known about). Should be out next Thursday. Can’t wait to share this one with you.

> If you just want to learn about Travel Photography in general, check out my Travel Photography course on KelbyOne — it’s a two-part course: Part one is on the shooting, and Part 2 on the post-processing, and it’s filmed on location in Paris.

> Rick Sammon has a great travel photography course that’s a great compliment to the one I did in Paris. He has lots of great insights — totally worth checking out. Here’s the link. 

> Another great online course — this one from Colby Brown — it’s on How to Make a Living as a Travel Photographer. Here’s the link — really great info. 

> We also have some awesome members-only Webinar you can watch, streamed on-demand, including my “A Walk in Lisbon” travel photography Webinar, and “A Walk in Venice” and another — From Prague to Budapest” – plus join Rick Sammon and me for a members-only Travel Photography Webinar.

> A while back I did a talk on my trip to Cuba, and it had lots of tips and locations, so if Cuba is on your travel list, you can watch this one right on YouTube. Here’s that link. 

Whew! That’s a lot! Hope those help you to get your very best travel images yet! :)

Have a great weekend everybody — it’s a perfect one to start prepping for those summer photo trips.

Best,

-Scott

P.S. Just 12-days until the annual Photoshop World Conference in Orlando. People are signing up every day (a bunch signed up just this week). You can still sign up and join in. Detail/Tickets right here.Hope you can make it.

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