Monthly Archives November 2007

If you’ve been to one of my seminars in the past couple of years, you’ve heard me preach about how critical it is to back up your photos, and how I set Lightroom to automatically back up a 2nd copy of everything I import to a separate hard disk. I had been using two 500 GB LaCie hard discs for my at home backup until one of the LaCie’s died (though I suspect it’s death was aided by some amount of physical interaction with a small child whilst I was away, but I can’t prove that).

You also might remember me switching to a Drobo earlier this year for all my at home backup (Drobo is a very clever, well designed robotic backup device that constantly monitors a set of four hard disks to make sure they stay healthy, and if something goes wrong with any of those disks it kicks into action to save your images. You can watch a short demo movie on it right here) It’s the first system I’ve had that really lets me sleep at night, because I’m very paranoid about losing my images (and losing that LaCie drive did nothing to help that paranoia, but at least I did have a 2nd back-up disk, so I was OK).

The problem now is: I have a 500GB LaCie drive at my office with my “off-site” backup of photos there as well, and it’s so full that I haven’t been backing up to it for a few months, and well…I’m not sleeping at night again. I went to Paul my IT guy with my backup paranoia story and yesterday it arrived…a shiny gleaming black Drobo.

I was running down the halls high-fiving everybody with a triumphant “My Drobo is here! My Drobo is here!” chant, and this started a Drobo discussion yesterday in Matt’s office, with everybody wanting a Drobo, but RC (rebel that he is), is concerned about the fact that it connects by USB 2.0, instead of the much faster Firewire, which I whined about, too at first, but at this point it’s not really an issue because the only time it really comes into play (as I experienced yesterday), the first time you do a major backup. It took right around four hours to move my 500 GB of storage from my office LaCie to my office Drobo, and while I’m sure it probably would have moved in just 3 hours via Firewire, either way; it wasn’t going to be a 15 minute job.

With my Drobo at home, I never even notice how long it takes to backup to to the Drobo, because the images are coming into Lightroom and I’m off and running as soon as the thumbnails appears, so I honestly couldn’t even tell you that I notice the speed whatsoever. I guess at the end of the day, it comes down to this; When Paul asked me what I wanted to use for new backup at the office, I chose a 2-Terabyte Drobo. Now I can finally get some sleep.





The day before my Photoshop CS3 Power Tour seminar in New York City last week, I rented a photography studio in Manhattan that is set-up to look like a trendy New York loft. It was completely furnished with 150 set pieces that were arranged into different rooms, for different looks. I hired two professional male models and a female model for some location shots for the book I’m working on: Volume 2 of “The Digital Photography Book,” (This isn’t an update of the first book; this is a totally new book that picks up where the last book left off, and adds chapters on off-camera flash, building a studio from scratch, and a lot more).

Anyway, here are a few shots from that shoot [click on any of the bottom three for a larger view]. These aren’t shots that will actually make it into the book, but it gives you an idea of what the shoot looked like, and what kind of look I was going for. This was a daylight studio, with windows on all sides, but since a lot of the shots would be backlit, I brought in a 7′ Elinchrom Octabank (the single most glorious, marvelous, and wrapping light I’ve never seen–you can see it in the third shot above) as my main light source. I shot with both a Nikon D2Xs and a Canon EOS 1D Mark III (the shot of me shooting above was taken by Dave Moser).

The floors in this loft studio were white, the ceilings were white, the walls were white, but the furniture was very cool (and that made it a bit hard to maneuver that huge Octabank and power-pack around sometimes), but we had a blast at the shoot, and then wound up at B&H Photo (as all good New York trips do), and finally at Carmine’s on W. 44th for an incredible family style Italian dinner. The next day was my seminar, and right after that I caught the last flight home. What a great way to spend a few days in the city. :-)

Here are three quick things to get your week started off right:

(1) Check out the incredibly slick work of photographer Andrew Zuckerman. I learned about his work from a comment posted last week here on the blog from one of my readers; Frank Weichmann, and I have to agree with Frank; Andrews stuff is just amazing (make sure you see his animals gallery). Very unique stuff! (here’s the link)

(2) I found this link on either CNN or this weekend; it’s called “25 photos taken at exactly the right time” and you’ll get a kick out of it. (here’s that link)

(3) Lastly, a student at my NYC seminar last week has started a 10-part review of my seminar at his (her?) blog: The Ivory Hut. Besides the review (just part 1 has been posted thus far), there’s some nice photography, poetry, and a very interesting section at the top called “43 things.” It really made me stop and think. Here’s the link.

I’ve got a lot of stuff to share this week, but it’s 1:57 am EST, and I’ve got to hit the hay (whatever that means). Have a great Monday everybody! (Do that thing you do!)


It’s here: the long awaited, unabated, triangulated, amalgamated, 2nd annual edition of Scott’s Gonzo Holiday Gear Guide! It’s the cover story (and a 10-page feature spread) appearing in the new issue of Layers Magazine (the how-to magazine for everything Adobe).

This year’s expanded in-depth guide includes nothing but the coolest, personally hand-picked gear for the photography and Photoshop freak on your holiday list. PLUS, there’s also a Special Online Version, with all the same wholesome goodness as the printed guide (it’s carbonated, hyphenated, alienated, and slightly perforated), and you can check it out right here at Layers Magazine’s Website.

Happy Holiday Shopping Everybody!

Here’s what happening as we wrap up the week:

  • This is going to sound bad, but it’s not what it sounds like: It’s a cool new blog with lots of info on camera gear, and photography related stuff, and despite it’s name “” after more than four and a half hours of searching I was not able to find even one shot of naked, nudie, nakedness on the entire site, which as you know is very disappointing (totally, kidding there). There’s a story behind why they chose that “unusual” name, but I imagine one of two things will happen with it: (a) they’ll become a huge success because of it, or (b) Not, then hopefully they’ll change their name to something that really reflects the quality and content of what they’re doing. That notwithstanding, I think it’s pretty cool blog; check it out right here.
  • During my day up at the Photo Plus Expo, I did a quick video interview with Scott Sheppard over at Inside Digital Photography show, and you can watch the clip right here.
  • Want to see some really wonderful photography? Check out the online galleries of Canadian photographer Peter Leverman. I really like his style, and his post-processing in Photoshop is nicely done. However, his Website is kind of funky (I hate any site that resizes my Web browser’s window without asking), and the navigation is a bit clunky, and it takes longer to load than it should. But his photography is so good that I can forgive all the rest. Here’s the link.
  • Here’s some stuff to put on your calendar: The last stop for my Photoshop CS3 Power Tour is coming up on Tuesday, November 27th at the Washington DC Convention Center. The last stop this year for my Lightroom Live Tour will be in Honolulu on Monday, December 3rd, and my guest shooter (doing the live shoots), will be none other than Joe McNally! Hope I’ll see you at one or the other (I know, you probably want to go to the Hawaii one, right?). ;-)
  • A big congratulations go out to our buddy Terry White, who just posted his 200th episode of his top-notch “Adobe Creative Suite Podcast” (and he’s now pastthe 5 million download mark. Way to go, big T!). BTW: I heard from Terry that there’s a new faster version of the Delkin PC Slot Compact Flash Card Reader out there now, that uses the native speed of the slot, and Terry is going to run some speed tests and post the results next week on his Tech Blog.
  • Don’t miss reading this fascinating insight into the future of Photoshop from Adobe Photoshop Product Manager John Nack. This is an absolute must-read! (here’s the link).
  • USA Today did a blurb on my latest book, “Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Seven Point System for Adobe Photoshop CS3” in their “Technology Live” section and you can check it out right here!

Well, that’s it for this Friday. Hope everybody has a great weekend, and we’ll see you bright and early on Monday. Now get outside and take some shots!!!


I have a quick Lightroom maintenance routine for you today (it only takes a few minutes). Besides ensuring the health and maintenance of Lightroom, it might just free up some serious drive space for you (I got back around 26 Gig myself).

  • (1) The first thing to do today is Back-up your Lightroom Catalog. I know many of you do this on a regular basis (in which case #2 is for you), but I talk to people almost daily who have never backed up. The process is so easy, and so automatic, that there’s no excuse not to. You set Lightroom to do an automatic backup by going to Lightroom’s preferences, under the General Tab. At the bottom of this window, click on the “Catalog Settings” button and the window you see above will appear. There you’ll find a pop-up menu where you can have Lightroom back up right now (just choose “Next time Lightroom Starts Only,” then Quit Lightroom and then relaunch it), or ideally, set it to backup at least once a week, if not once a day. That way, you have a recent backup if your Lightroom Database gets corrupted for some reason. Hey, I had it happen to me once and I was able to go to my backups folder and use yesterday’s backup. I was back up and running in about two minutes.
  • (2) If you have Lightroom set to backup daily, or once a week, go look in your Lightroom folder (which is probably found within your “Pictures” folder on a Mac, or your “My Pictures” folder on Windows), for a folder called, “Backups.” All the Catalog backups you’ve made are there, named by the date they were created (I actually had backups still there from months ago, but if my catalog got corrupt, I wouldn’t want to jump back to what I had in Lightroom four months ago—I would use the database from last week, or the week before). So, I kept about four backups (because I’m a tiny bit paranoid. Ya know, just in case), and I trashed the rest, which freed up nearly 10GB right there! I wound up going through this routine the night before my Power Tour in NYC because I was running out of hard disk space on my laptop (once again). This is something I constantly struggle with because I’m a document/photo pack-rat. I had gotten down to where I had just 2GB available (which is a dangerous place to be, especially when you’re running Photoshop, which needs lots of scratch disk space). So, I needed to delete some photos to make more space and that’s when it hit me to check my Lightroom folder, and voil¡–I had about 26 GB of extra stuff there. So, where did I come up with 16 more GB of extra stuff? That’s #3.
  • (3) If you’ve been to my Lightroom Live Tour, you’ve heard me talk about how important it is to have Lightroom automatically backup your imported photos to a separate hard disk (so one copy of your image is on your computer, and another copy is automatically backed to a separate hard disk. That way, you have two copies of your image before you reformat your memory card). Well, if you have this option turned on, but you forgot to attach that external hard disk, Lightroom doesn’t want to let you down, so it makes a copy anyway, and puts it in your Lightroom folder, in a folder called “Download Backups.” I looked in my folder and found another 16GB of stuff I already had backed up to my main storage device (a Drobo), and my studio computer. (However, because I’m a paranoid photographer, I have another Drobo on its way so I can keep a third copy of all my photos backed up offsite). So, basically; check your Download Backups folder and see if you don’t have a few (or many) Gigs of unneeded duplicates.
  • (4) Last but not least, if you’ve got a lot of photos being managed by Lightroom and things are feeling a bit sluggish, while you’re in that Catalog Settings window (shown above), you’ll see a button called “Relaunch and Optimize” and pushing this button basically gives Lightroom the go ahead to optimize your library to make sure it’s lean and clean, and running mean (hey, I had to make that rhyme–my son is looking over my shoulder).

Anyway, take just a few minutes and make today “Lightroom Maintenance Thursday” and trust me—you’ll sleep better at night knowing that (1) You’re covered if your database gets corrupted (2) You’re not needlessly wasting space by keeping databases from back in June (3) You don’t have a bunch of duplicate copies of photos eating up extra space, and (4) Lightroom is running at top speed.