Monthly Archives September 2009


I’ve had so many people who were a part of my 2nd annual Worldwide Photo Walk write in to tell me that we should do a book made up of the great photos taken that day, that I thought I should at least investigate the idea.

I love the idea of creating a beautiful coffee-table style and quality book, with a simple, clean no-nonsense layout, that lets the photos take center stage and do all the talking.

I see it including more than just some of the winning shots. I would love it if it included some group shots from walks around the world, and shots of people shooting during the walk, and some shots that weren’t even picked by the local winners—but are still great shots and deserve to be recognized, and I just want to share visually what an amazing day it was, and some of the amazing images that were created that day.

To do something like this would take a lot more work than you might imagine. For example, because we’d be selling the book, I’d have to get permission for every single image we want to use in the entire book, which I would envision would include hundreds of images. But that’s just one of the hurdles, which include creating the layout, printing, marketing the book, and on and on (books aren’t easy).

In the spirit of the World Wide Photo Walk, I don’t want to do all this just to make another book of interesting photos. I want to capture the spirit of the walk and use this opportunity for something bigger (you knew this coming, right?). I would want to have this book feed some hungry children half way around the world that really need our help.

By sending 100% of the profits from the book to the Springs of Hope Kenya orphanage (to house and feed the orphans that the readers of this blog have adopted with their hearts and with their pocketbooks), This would make the book extend way beyond what we did on July 18th to something much bigger. But before I get all carried away with the idea, I need to hear from you.

Here are some things I need to know:

  1. If you participated, how would you feel about donating the use of your image for the book?
  2. If you participated in the walk, does this sound like a book you’d buy, even if your image wasn’t included in the book? (After all, we had around 32,000 participants, who took literally millions of photos that day, so only a small percentage of walkers’ photos would wind up being included).
  3. Do you think other people, who didn’t participate in the walk would buy the book?

I love this idea on so many levels, but I have a fear that the logistics of putting it all together, (getting all the releases and permissions and then either finding a publisher who wants to donate their services, or publishing it ourselves, and then trying to market it, distribute it, fulfill orders, etc.), might be even more work than putting on the Photo Walk itself (which was a huge undertaking).

Anyway, before I even start researching what all would be involved, I’d love to hear your feedback and ideas on how we can make this work, and whether you feel the project would be a success in the first place.

I look forward to hearing what you think about this whole concept, and thanks in advance for helping me navigate these waters.



I know the prize package for the winner of the World Wide Photo Walk was pretty amazing, but of course, with 32,000 photographers who could enter up to two photos each, the competition was pretty amazing too, and your chances of winning were….well… can do the math.

That’s why I think the best opportunity for some killer prizes and big time recognition may be entering the Photoshop World Guru Awards competition (sponsored by, and competing to win the “Vincent Versace Award for Excellence in Digital Imaging” (which is a sub-category of the photography category. Everyone that enters the photography category is automatically eliglible to win the “Vinny” award, which is chosen by Vincent himself).

This contest was created to honor the work of Photoshop World attendees, so only other attendees to this year’s conference in Vegas can enter, and not of all them: (a) are photographers, and (b) will enter. In fact, only a few hundred people will actually enter the competition at all, but the list of prizes for just the Vinny alone are pretty staggering.

For example, the “Vinny” winner gets:

  1. An Epson 3880 printer
  2. A Wacom Intuos 4 tablet and wireless pen
  3. The Entire collection of Nik Software Photoshop Plug-ins
  4. Two (2) 8 gig 300x UDMA flash cards from Lexar
  5. An Induro 314 carbon fiber tripod
  6. An Xrite Color Munki
  7. The entire collection of OnOne Software’s Photoshop Plug-ins
  8. All of the Acme Educational titles
  9. An Expodisc and an Expoaperture
  10. A one-year subscription to Kelby Online Training
  11. A signed copy of David Duchemin’s “Within the Frame”
  12. A signed Vincent Versace print

That is just an amazing prize package, plus you get the Vinny Award itself (which Mr. Versace presents himself during the Guru Awards ceremony).

Best of all, there’s no entry fee (again, this competition is only open to registered Photoshop World attendees). Here’s a link with details on how to enter the Photoshop World Guru Awards and take your shot at winning “The Vinny.”

My thanks to Vincent for putting together such an amazing prize package, and thanks to Wacom, Lexar, OnOne Software, Nik Software, Xrite, Epson, Induro, and all the sponsors of this year’s Vincent Vercsace Award for Excellence in Digital Imaging.


When I go on the road for seminars or photo shoots, I generally try to stay at Hilton Garden Inns (which is a less expensive boutique hotel chain run by Hilton). They’re all pretty new, so the hotels are nice and clean (that’s very important to me), and you get free breakfast, and free wireless, and they have a little 24-hour store where you can get toiletries, and snacks and stuff, and for the money, they’re really hard to beat.

At least I thought that until I stayed at a Hyatt Place the night before my Orlando Photoshop Down & Dirty seminar. That’s where I want to stay from now on.

Like the Hilton Garden Inn, the Hyatt Place is Hyatt’s lower priced boutique chain, but where the Garden Inn is kind of simple and homey, the Hyatt Place has a much more creative bent to it (it’s kind of like the “jetBlue” of hotels, and I totally mean that as a compliment).

For example, the layout of the hotel is very hip. It looks like something you’d see in New York or San Francisco costing lots more. They had a small Starbucks attached to the front desk, and it was open 24 hours (since it’s manned by the front desk staff late at night), and when you order a sandwich (even late at night), they serve it on a real plate—-heated if you like—and they served the whole thing up like you were in a restaurant, even though you take it back to your room.

My room was great. It really wasn’t much bigger than a standard sized room (see the image up top—courtesy of Hyatt Place, which totally doesn’t do the room justice), but the layout was really brilliant (it was like a Think Tank Photo bag. The same size, but somehow they made it feel much bigger).

Totally digging my suite-like room
They made the room seem like a suite, with a vertical half-wall separating the bedroom from the rest (but much nicer than an Embassy Suites room) with really cool furniture, which included a wall-mounted 45″ High-Def flat panel television. The TV was set up so you could plug anything (including HDMI) right into it; your iPod, your digital camera, your computer—-you name it. You could do a slide presentation right in your room.

It had a refrigerator, a wet bar, a work desk, a great roomy shower, lots of places to sit (it kind of had a big sectional so you could put your feet up, work, and watch TV). Plus, it was super clean.

It came with free Wireless everywhere, and the whole room was just set up very smartly, and it actually reminded me of a room at the “W” hotel, but it was roomier and at just a fraction of the cost. Also, the staff was really on the ball and went out of their to help me on several occasions.

You get free breakfast. They had a cool-looking restaurant downstairs, where you got your free breakfast, but I skipped it that morning to get over to the convention center early.

Price Matters
I did some checking to compare prices between the Hilton Garden Inn and the Hyatt Place, and they’re priced very comparably (in some cases, one was $10 to $12 bucks higher than the other, but it just depended on the city as to which one was a little higher than the other).

Anyway, I know this isn’t generally the kind of thing I blog about here, but you know when I learn about something really great, I can’t keep it to myself. I know a lot of you travel (and I know a lot of you travel to my seminars), and if you’re going to a city that has a Hyatt Place, you should give it a try—–if you’re a creative type (which if you read this blog, you are), you’ll totally dig it. (Here’s a link to their Website).

By the way, if you come to Tampa for my Lightroom seminar in November, they just opened one right by the airport (about 10 to 12 minutes from the convention center).

3up singingsm

Hi everybody. It’s Thursday—but before we get to the news, a big thanks to Scott Bourne for his kick-butt tutorial yesterday on bird photography. Nobody’s ever covered that topic here, and I thought his 10 tips were terrific (though he did leave out one of my favorites bird shots of his;  a black & white shot he used in a recent post that I just loved. Here’s the link to see for yourself). Now, here’s what up:

My Rock n’ Roll Studio Shoot’ Tutorial Now Online
The image you see above (of professional model Orsolya Bergman), was shot after I wrapped up a photo shoot for Volume 3 of my Digital Photography Book. I created the 3-up rock shot as a tutorial for the NAPP member Website, where I show the entire process, from the initial set-up and shoot, through the post-processing retouching, and compositing after the fact in Photoshop.

Well, good news; that tutorial is now live online at the NAPP member Website, and you can check it out there (it’s 23 minutes long, but I cover everything from the lighting to the Photoshop stuff). Hope you NAPP members enjoy it! (and if you’re not a NAPP member, why not? Here’s the link for details).

NOTE: My EDP tutorial is scheduled to go live (at NAPP) in just a few weeks.

Making the Top 10 and the Top 5 in One Week. Whoo Hooo!!!!
A big thanks to the, who named this blog one of their “Top 10 Photography Sites” (here’s the link) and to “Beyond Megapixels” who named my blog one of their “Top 5 photography Websites they rely on.” (link to their list). I’m honored that you guys would include me, and a sincere thanks!!!!

My MPIX Pro Journey Continues
I got my first prints back from MPIXPro, and they included a number of shots from my Black Hawk helicopter shoot (see Tuesday’s post) and they did an phenomenal job. I had the one of Lt. Ozburn walking away as a metallic print, mounted on a black foam core, and it just looked great (in fact, it looked better than the shot I took. I can’t believe what that metallic finish did for the image!!! Hey—I’m not complaining—if their printing makes my image look better than it really did, I’m totally OK with that). Anyway, I received this round of images the very next day after I ordered them (Terry White just got approved as an MPIX Pro customer last week, and I told him one thing that got him totally hooked—-the next-day Fed Ex shipping for MPIX Pro customers is only $4. Four bucks! Sweet!).

I also got an acrylic print done as well with one of the image from my Tuscany trip (these are gallery style prints that appear between two clear Plexiglas sheets, like you’ll see in some photographic gallery exhibits. These are mounted with four brushed aluminum round mounts in each corner which just adds to the gallery look. However, I made a mistake a silly mistake in Photoshop that caused the image to come out differently than I had imagined.

I ordered a 12″x12″ acrylic frame, and I wanted my image to appear “floating” in the center of the frame, with the area around it clear. In Photoshop, I made a new 12″x12″ document, and then I put my 7″x7″ square image centered within it, and forgot (ugh), to delete the background layer, so my image printed with a white background (not MPIX Pro’s fault—that was my fault. I created it with a white background, so they printed it with a white background). Just a heads up in case you order one yourself (even the one with the white background looks great—-it’s just not what I was going for). What I should have done was just made a 7″x7″ image in the first place, and then it would have floated automatically in a 12″x12″ frame. Double Ugh. Anyway, just an update for you guys on how my move to MPIX Pro is going.

The “Live Concert Shoot” Pre-Con Gets Even Cooler!
Now that Nikon Professional Services (NPS) is officially sponsoring our Live Concert Shoot workshop at Photoshop World next month in Vegas (taught by concert photographer Alan Hess, with special guess instructor Scott Diussa), Nikon is bringing some extra bodies and some really fast glass for any Nikon shooters in the class who want to try some new fast gear. They’re also sending an NPS tech rep to answer your question right there on the spot. If you’re thinking of being a part of this, there are only about 9 spots left, so snag one now before it’s sold out! (Here’s the link with details).

There’s Still Time
Want to go to Vegas, and be a part of the world’s largest Photoshop training event? I’m teaching some really cool classes (including two classes on portrait retouching, and one on Creative Print Layouts in Lightroom).

Plus, Matt will be there. Dave wiil be there. Corey, RC, Deke, Ben, Moose, Jack Davis, Katrin, McNally, Julieanne, Russell, Jack and Ed, Bert, Eddie (HCIET!), and even more of nothing but the best and most talented Photoshop instructors and photographers (Jay will be there), in the world.

They’ll be all there for one reason—–to teach you their latest stuff. To give you the edge. To make you better, more creative, more marketable, more valuable, and to take your career to a whole new level.

We’ll all be there! You can be, too! There’s still time. Here’s the link.

That’s it for this Thursday.
Have a really kick butt day and don’t let the Goobers get you down! :)

bk_ipod2book3My new iPhone book is here!!!

Last Thursday I got my first copy of our new 3GS version of “The iPhone Book,” which I co-authored with iPhone super genius guru guy, and one of my very dearest friends, the amazing Terry White.

Of course, we added all the new stuff found in the iPhone 3GS, plus we added lots of new tips and tricks, and we basically took the whole book up a big notch, showing you faster and better ways to do…..well….just about everything on your iPhone! (People who buy the book always tell us they’re amazed at what they didn’t know about their iPhone).

This book is written in the exact same style and exact layout as “The Digital Photography Books, volumes 1, 2, and 3” so if you have any of those books from me, you’ll feel right at home with this one, too.

By the way: The first edition of The iPhone Book was chosen by’s editors as their Computer/Technology Book of the Year. The second version of the book was chosen by Amazon as one of their “Top 10 Must-Have Books” in their annual list of the most “gift-worthy” books of the holiday season, and this 3rd edition has even more tips, techniques, and ways to get the most out of your iPhone than ever before.

Also, when you get this new version of the book, you get access to a free one-hour video Terry and I did where we share our favorite iPhone accessories, our very favorite iPhone apps, and some of our favorite iPhone tips, too.

It’s just hit the bookstores, so order your copy today from Barnes &, or or head into your local Barnes & Noble store and get your hands on a copy.

P.S. If you’ve got an iPhone, don’t forget every Friday is “iPhone App of the Week” day over at Terry White’s tech blog, where each week he picks another cool app that you won’t be able to live without. Here’s the link.

10 Tips For Aspiring Bird Photographers
All photos Copyright Scott Bourne – All Rights Reserved

Photo by Carolyn Wright

Thanks to Scott Kelby for the high honor of being invited to post on his popular blog. I’m in some pretty nice company here, so it’s a bit intimidating, but I’ll do my best to inform and educate. I wish I could give you something as emotionally compelling as David duChemin or as stunning as Vincent Vercace. But hey – I’m just a guy having fun wearing Tommy Bahama shirts everyday and chasing the birdie – literally – so I’ll stick with what I know.

If you’re familiar with my work you probably already know I am nuts about birds. I have a passion for avian photography that I’d like to share with everyone. I really like the challenge of photographing these beautiful creatures, so here are 10 tips that might interest anyone who would like to get better at photographing birds. Some of these tips work for any situation, birds or not.


1. Research and read everything you can about birds. This tip is good for any subject, but especially birds. I wanted to photograph eagles in flight. I found out they often defecate right before they fly. And that’s how I get so many eagle flight shots. The more you know about any subject, the better off you’ll be when it comes time to press the shutter.

2. Have the right gear. Avian photography is one of the rare photographic pursuits where the equipment can often make the difference between getting a shot or not. Very long, fast lenses of 400 to 600mm (or even 800mm) at f/4 or f/5.6 are required for bird portraits. Fast 300mm lenses with image stabilization are required for flight shots. A good heavy tripod is a must and a camera with a fast burst and buffer rate really helps too. You’ll also want autofocus lenses and a body with great autofocus. If you don’t have all this stuff don’t worry, you can rent it at most pro camera stores.


3. Know your gear before you go. The first time I went out to make avian images I took my new Canon 600 F/4 IS lens with me (I shoot Nikon now but that’s a different story). I was unfamiliar with all the switches and the IS. I didn’t get any keepers. I took the lens home and practiced on coke cans in my back yard before my second outing and it made all the difference. Also, if you’re going to use a new camera, read the entire manual and play with all the features BEFORE you go into the field. Birds move fast. They won’t wait for you to remember how to set the aperture.

4. Photograph with your back to the sun. Birds look best when front lit. Sidelight may be the landscape photographer’s friend, but the avian photographer’s enemy. To get detail in the feathers and great color, point your shadow at the bird. You’ll never be sorry you did.


5. Make the photograph at the bird’s eye level. I got down on the ground to make one of my best-selling bird images and the editor told me it was the ground/eye-level shot that made the difference. When you shoot down on the bird, you miss the drama that you can capture at eye-level. You also risk making a mediocre shot that looks like lots of other bird photos. The eye-level shots are the ones that tend to stop the viewer in his/her tracks.

6. Backgrounds, backgrounds, backgrounds. Having a clean background is a must. When I photograph birds against a clean blue sky, I often get the most compliments. Also, the further your subject is from the background, the better. Busy backgrounds detract from the subject. Simple background draw the viewer’s eye to the subject.


7. Practice at local zoos and/or bird refuges. Captive birds will give you a chance to study behavior, hone your skills and become familiar with bird photography and guarantee enough keepers that you won’t be frustrated. Even if you don’t bring a camera, time spent observing bird behavior under controlled conditions can provide you with an amazing learning experience.

8. Take it slow and be quiet. Birds are very easily disturbed. Sudden movements, loud noises and anything out of the ordinary will spook them. Take your time. Birds take off when they see nearly anything move quickly. If you want tame birds, some places offer you a better chance than others. The gulf coast of Florida for instance offers ridiculously tame birds. Young birds are also more likely to be tame since they haven’t learned to fear people yet. But don’t get so close as to disturb or threaten them. It’s not worth harming a bird to get a photo, ever.


9. Like many subjects, birds are best photographed early in the morning and late in the afternoon. These are the times that most birds are active. Fortunately this corresponds with the best light. Be there at the right time and you’ll increase your chances of getting a winner.

10. Look at lots of bird pictures. Writers read if they want to become better writers and photographers look at photographs if they want to become better photographers. Look at avian images in books, magazines and on the Web. See what the photo buyers are selecting. Use those images as your benchmark and then go get some of your own.


I hope this post has inspired you to go out and try to make some great bird images. I have found photographing birds to be one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. While there are certainly things you’ll want to know and techniques I didn’t have time or space to list in this article, I’m hoping the few quick tips I’ve provided here will get you off to a good start.


I’d really like to thank Scott Kelby again for the chance to share with his audience. This is a must-read blog for me every day and I am glad to have the chance to contribute.

Feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions about bird photography –