Monthly Archives November 2009


Hi gang:
First I want to thank yesterdays Guest Blogger Scott Rinckenberger for his very cool post yesterday, and thanks to my own assistant Brad for coming up with the idea to feature the assistants of famous photographers. I love how this is shaping up! Now, onto some quick news:

Joe’s Number One!
A big congratulations to my buddy Joe McNally, whose book “The Hot Shoe Diaries” was just named to the “Best Books of 2009” list as the #1 bestselling book in the Arts & Photography category for 2009 at (as seen above) If you don’t have a copy yet, it would make a perfect Holiday gift (and it’s a totally kick-butt book, which is precisely why it’s number 1). My congrats to Joe and the great folks over at New Riders Publishing, who together put together one heck of a book (and I didn’t want to say ‘heck’).

Got Lots of Lighting Gear to Ship? Take a tip from Big Joe
Larry Becker pointed this tip out to me last week, when a bunch of Joe McNally’s equipment arrived at our offices. He noticed that some of his larger gear was stored in cases that looked just like golf travel cases (the kind intended for shipping golf club bags). Larry pointed out that Golf travel bags are generally a lot cheaper than photo-lighting equipment bags that are about the same size and shape. So, Larry went checking and last weekend he spotted a hard shell golf bag at Sports Authority on sale for $89! That’s about $200 off compared to something similar for photo gear. Thanks for the tip Larry (and Joe).

Meet me in Tampa on Monday
My last seminar of the year is coming up on Monday, as my new “Photoshop for Digital Photographers Tour” makes it’s final stop at the Tampa Convention Center. Hope I’ll get to see you there! (Here’s the link with details).

Want to see some Amazing Art?
My buddy Mike “Hollywood” Kubeisy turned me on to the art of Tom Fritz who is just an incredible traditional artist. In fact he’s so good, he does exclusive work for companies like Harley Davidson (among others), and his stuff is just totally amazing. If you want to start your day off right, two one minute and check out his paintings right here. Wow!

That’s it for today folks
Have a great Thursday everybody, and we’ll see you back here tomorrow, cause I’m working on setting up a special deal for you guys for the weekend.

When you get comfortable, move.


First off, thanks to Scott and Brad for this opportunity to connect with such a broad and passionate audience.  I’m Scott Rinckenberger, right hand man to Chase Jarvis, the fastest moving photographer I’ve ever seen.

We recently brought on a new intern at Chase Jarvis Inc.  It’s a tough gig to get.  For a while I couldn’t really put my finger on why he had made the cut, despite being the person in charge of the hiring.  Sure, he was hard working with a great attitude, but that’s an absolute prerequisite among the talented field of applicants seeking work at our shop.  I knew he was the right guy for the job, just couldn’t say exactly why.  Then we were having chat on the way back from a location and he was explaining his life’s path.  He said something that made me realize why he had been the one chosen.  “I hate to be comfortable.  When I get too comfortable I move.”  And with this offhand comment I realized why he is so qualified.  He had landed at the very core of what it means to work at Chase Jarvis Inc.  An absolute dedication to kinesis.  Some companies fear change.  Ours is built on it.

Chase and I met while he was early in his career and specializing in outdoor sports photography.  He was one of the outstanding ski photographers in the country at the time, and I was enjoying a position of some regard as an aspiring pro skier.  Our paths crossed with increasing frequency as magazines and ski companies took notice of the skiing and photography we were working together to create.  Soon we were traveling the globe to produce images for the best publications and companies in the sport.  It was during this period that our relationship was cemented on a foundation of hard work, ambition, and an overarching positive outlook on life.


The professional respect that Chase and I fostered in our photographer-subject relationship soon transitioned into regular assisting gigs for summer clients during my off-season.  This eventually lead to an internship, then part time employment, and finally six years ago into a full time gig as the “right hand man”.  Chase has been in the professional photography game for around thirteen years.  I’ve been there for ten of those.  Watching, helping, and learning as Chase has grown a budding outdoor sports photography business into one of the most recognized brands in photography today.

Ten years ago you could have asked me if I could assist a single photographer for almost a decade.  The answer would have been a resounding no!  How could I possibly be expected to change rolls of film (yup, started with film), clean lenses, edit slides, and track an inventory of images for ten years?  I mean, it only takes a year or two to master the whole gig, right?

Well, there were all those interesting changes.  The advent of professional digital photography, the Photoshop era, the rise and fall of macrostock, changing copyright laws, online photo distribution, social media, nothing short of the largest shift in the photography industry since, well maybe ever.  These changes could have kept me in the assisting role for even a couple more years to put new systems in place, learn some Photoshop skills, and then move on to shoot my own work.  Interesting times, but not interesting enough to keep a fast moving guy like myself in the same gig for years.

Until you add the Chase Jarvis factor.

Chase Jarvis.  The whirlwind of energy who has already in his thirties become something of a living legend has managed to keep me not only interested, but running at ABSOLUTELY FULL SPEED to keep up.  Editorial and stock shooter, commercial photographer, Hasselblad Master, Nikon poster boy, award winner, blogger, social media wizard, fine art photographer, book creator, software developer, video director, mobile photography evangelist, all of these titles and more have been attached to Chase Jarvis in his relatively short career.  There are few who doubt that Chase runs one of the most dynamic shops in the business.

With each of the arenas in which Chase has seen fit to expand his business, comes a new set of requisite skills, both the outward facing skills (i.e. Chase’s role) and the background skills (those of myself and the rest of our incredible crew).  When Chase was specializing in editorial photography I focused on selecting, submitting, and tracking slides around the world.  Stock was all about smart editing and attention to minute detail.  When we moved on to exclusively commercial work, the volume decreased, but the travel skills, workflows, and post production had to be of the highest level.  The Hasselblad and Nikon days called for a more experimental brand of photography with complex lighting and retouching projects (you can’t imagine how many hours I spent in Photoshop making this dirt explosion just right, it’s almost embarrassing.)


Once the blog, behind the scenes videos, and social media came into the picture there was an almost constant need for evolution.  I’ve learned the ins and outs of shooting and editing video and behind the scenes stills, becoming comfortable on camera, blog writing, social marketing strategy, and working hard to find ways to inspire other artists in as many ways as can be imagined.  Now books and iPhone apps are requiring  long term planning and vision, and a lightning fast response time as the projects change and develop.

We have been fortunate enough to be able to expand our staff as the complexity of our projects has increased.  The first to join in was Chase’s wife, Kate. She keeps the productions tight and the numbers in the black.  Dartanyon came on board next. He combines an encyclopedic knowledge of photography with an innate ability to actually talk to computers (seriously, he can talk to computers and make them do what he wants).  Mikal was the next to join the team. She brings production, PR, and marketing skills.  And we are happy to welcome the aforementioned Norton, Brazilian intern extraordinaire.  Most of what we do would not be possible without the support that comes with this fantastic crew.

Not one of us have an education in photography.  We had college majors like English, French, Philosophy.  You know, those subjects that inevitably prompt your parents to ask just exactly you plan to make a living with that degree.  But what we lack in formal training is made up for in a blue collar work ethic, a disdain for convention, and a never ending search for new creative outlets.

So here I find myself ten years down the line with a passport that is almost completely full of travel visas, a server almost completely full of ridiculously complex Photoshop files, a computer bursting with applications that all strangely mean something to me, and a collection of memories that can hardly be accounted for.

As a team, we’ve hit ambitious revenue goals, won sought after awards, landed the big gigs, built a huge community of like minded creative people, all of the trappings of a successful photography business by any measure.  But here comes the punch line.  At our annual retreat, Chase wrapped up two days of meetings with this characteristic line that could only come from a mind as remarkable as his.  “For the first time in my career, I really feel like things are starting to happen.  Now we’ve got to really go for it.”

I don’t think anyone’s going to be getting comfortable any time soon.

Many thanks to Brad Moore and Scott Kelby for facilitating this venue for photographers and their crews to share their insights and rants about all things photography.  To learn more about myself, Chase and the rest of the crew, visit,,, or


Hi folks—here’s what’s up:

New Help Portrait Web Site and Must-see Video
As Brad and I are starting to ramp up for our local “Help Portrait” shoot (on Saturday, December 12th), we just got word that organizer Jeremy Cowart (a really terrific guy and incredible photographer) has released a new updated version of the Help Portrait Web site, along with a quick video you’ve just got to see. Here’s the link (seriously, if you’ve got a minute, this is really an incredibly wonderful thing he’s doing. Don’t stand on the sidelines—-get involved with photographers all over the world who, on December 12th are giving back by sharing our talents to do something really great for those less fortunate).

Wait…I Forgot These Three!
Yesterday, after I posted my “10 things I wish I could Tell Every New Lightroom User” article, my buddy Matt Kloskowski did a follow-up post over at Lightroom Killer Tips with three more things he would add, and not only are they spot-on, but I agree with every one of them. Here’s the link to Matt’s follow-up post.

Just Released: “Editing Video Shot With Your DSLR” Online Class
Video guru, photographer, and Photoshop World instructor Richard Harrington just released a new online class at Kelby Training Online called Editing Your DSLR Video on a Mac, and it answers so many questions about this booming new area of creativity for photographers. If you’ve got a DSLR that shoots video, you’ve got to catch Rich’s class (here’s the link). NOTE: We have another class already in production on editing DSLR video for Windows users.

Also just released is a class from RC Concepcion called “WordPress Basics for Photographers.” We asked RC to do this class because we get so many requests from photographers who want to do their own WordPress Blogs, and there’s just not anything like this out there. Way to go, RC! (Here’s the link to that class).

Terry White (of Terry’s Tech-Blog Fame) Releases His Annual Holiday Gift Guide
Another guy in a race to ensure he gets little to no sleep is my buddy Terry White, who just released his Annual Holiday Gift Guide, and he’s got all the cool tech toys, camera goodies, Mac goodies, and well just loads of goodies for everybody on your shopping list. Here’s the link (definitely worth checking out. I saw lots of things I hadn’t thought of!).

Tomorrow’s Special Guest Blogger is…..
…following in the fine tradition of special guest bloggers that are photo assistant, and this week we’re honored to feature Scott Rinckenberger, who is Chase Jarvis’ assistant.

I’ve got to imagine, Scott has some amazing stories from his life in the field with Chase, so I can’t wait to see what he has to share, so please join us both here tomorrow to see what Scott has in store (That’s right, it’s “Double-Scott Wednesday”). ;-)

Have a Great Tuesday Everybody
During your day today, take two seconds to smile and know that so many of you here on the blog pitched in to help build a orphanage in Kenya that opened its doors on Friday, and without you guys, it that simply wouldn’t have happened. That is something worth smiling about. :)


The first of my three “Light it, Shoot it, Retouch it” online classes went live two weeks ago, and I just heard today that they’ll have the 2nd class live in just about two weeks.

I’ve gotten loads of great feedback from the first class, so I’m looking at adding more segments in the future, so if you’ve got any ideas of particular lighting looks you’d like to see, let me know and they might wind up as one of my next series of shoots. :)

In the meantime, here’s a link to my first of the three “LSR” online classes.

I got the idea for this post from an excellent post from Rob Sylvan (Rob is one of our Photoshop Help Desk gurus, as well as a Lightroom author and instructor), called “10 Things I Wish I Could Tell Every New Lightroom User.”

Rob’s article ran on Scott Bourne’s must-visit site, and he had lots of really great tips for new users (here’s the direct link). I thought his idea was brillliant, and I sat down and started thinking about what I would tell new users, and then I thought I oughta do a similar post (with a different list of ten).

I was thinking of using a different name for mine, but then Rob wound up coming to to my Boston “Photoshop for Digital Photographers” seminar, and afterward he even gave me a ride to the airport. During that ride to the airport, although we didn’t talk about his post, I felt that somehow there was an implicit permission to run with his idea [ ;-) ] so with apologies (and full credit) to Rob (and Scott Bourne), here’s my own list, called:.

10 Things I Would Tell New Lightroom Users:


(1) Use Solo Mode To Tame All Those Panels
New users can get really flustered by scrolling up and down the list of open panels in Lightroom, which is why you should turn on “Solo Mode.” That way, the only panel you’ll see is the one you’re working on (and the rest all automatically collapse). This not only saves time, but cuts the clutter big time, and makes it easier to focus on just what you’re working with. You turn this on by Ctrl-clicking (PC: Right-clicking) on the title of any panel and choose “Solo Mode” from the pop-up menu that appears.


(2) Use Collections instead of Folders
Folders are where the actual photos you imported from a particular shoot are stored. Your good photos from that shoot, bad photos—the whole ball of wax. But once we import photos, are most of us really care about are the good ones, and that’s why Collections were invented (well, it’s one of the reasons anyway). Matt and I always joke that “Folders are where we go when we want to see the shots that weren’t any good” because we put all our “keepers” in a collection right away. Collections are safe, and will keep most users out of trouble.

(3) Store all your photos inside one main folder
You can have as many sub-folders inside that one main folder as you want, but if you want to have peace, calm, and order in your Lightroom, the key is not to import photos from all over your computer. Choose one main folder (like your Pictures folder on a Mac, or your My Pictures folder on a Windows PC), and put all your photos inside that folder. THEN import them into Lightroom (and if you’re importing from a memory card, have those images copied from the card info a folder within your main folder). Plus, this makes backing up your image library a breeze. Every time I run into someone who’s Lightroom life is a mess, it’s because they didn’t follow this one simple rule. Also, if you’re working on a laptop, it’s totally fine to store your photos on an external drive, rather than on your laptop.

(4) Do as much work in Lightroom as possible
I now do about 80% of my work in Lightroom in itself, and I only go over to Photoshop in case of an emergency, or to do something that Lightroom just can’t do (like collaging images with layers, or creating professional level type, or using the pen tool, applying certain filters, etc.).. You can do an amazing amount of your everyday work within Lightroom’s Develop Module (especially since the addition of the Adjustment Brush and Gradient Filter). So, take the time to learn these tools, and you will speed your workflow (and simplify your life) in ways you can’t imagine, by staying in Lightroom as much as possible.


(5) Create Presets and Templates whenever possible
The key to working efficiently in Lightroom is to make Presets and Templates for the things you do every day (even though a lot of users never take the few seconds it takes to create even one). If you find yourself making a particular edit more than just a couple of times; make a Develop Module preset for it, so it’s always just one click away. Have a printing set-up you use pretty often? Save it as a template. Once you start making presets and templates, your efficiency will go through the roof. Unless you’re charging by the hour, this is how to up your ROI big time!

Save as JPEG

(6) How to Save Your Image as a JPEG
Matt reminded me about this one and it’s a good one, because I get asked this question again and again at my Lightroom seminars. It’s because it’s not totally obvious how to do it, because there is no “Save As” or even just “Save” command under the File Menu (like almost every other app on earth). If you do go under the File menu, you’ll find four different Export commands, but none of them say “Export as JPEG” so again—it’s not real obvious. However, you can just choose the one called “Export,” when the dialog appears, you’ll have the Option to save your selected image (or images) as a JPEG.

Auto Hide

(7) Turn off Auto Show for panels
I get more emails from new Lightroom users asking if there’s a way to turn off this “feature” than you can stick a shake at. I have users literally begging me; “Please tell me there’s a way to stop the panels from popping in and out on me all day long!” Thankfully, there is; Ctrl-click (PC: Right-click) on the little arrows on the center edge of each panel. A pop-up menu will appear—-just choose “Manual” and now the panels will only open when you click on that little arrow (or if you press the F-key keyboard shortcuts [F5 to show/hide the top navigation panel. F6 for the filmstrip at the bottom. F7 for the left side panels, and F8 for the right side panels], or if you press the Tab key it will hide all the panels).

(8) Throw away your old backups
If you back-up your catalogs on a regular basis (once a day, or weekly) before long you’re going to have a whole bunch of back-ups stored on your computer. After a while, if you’ve got a lot of photos, those old outdated back-ups are going to start eating up a lot of space on your hard disc, so go to your backups folder and delete the ones that are more than a couple of weeks old. After all, if your catalog got messed up, would you want to go back months in time, or last week? Right—those old ones are pretty much useless.

New cat
(9) It’s OK to have multiple Catalogs
You don’t have to keep everything in just one catalog—-you can create as many catalogs as you want (and you might want to create multiple catalogs if you’re going to have more than 40,000 or 50,000 images in one catalog). For example, I have separate catalogs for portraits, for family photos, for travel photos, for sports photos, for weddings, and so on. I know a wedding photographer that creates a brand new fresh catalog for every wedding he shoots. He likes the speed and cleanliness of of a fresh catalog with nothing it in but the photos from that one particular wedding. Creating a new fresh, empty catalog is easy—just go under the File menu and choose New Catalog (don’t worry—it doesn’t erase your old catalog—it just saves and closes it). To open one of your previously open catalogs, just go under Lightroom’s File menu and choose Open Recent.
(10) Ask yourself whether you need lots of keywords or not
We were all originally taught to invest a reasonable amount of time adding global and specific keywords (search terms) to all the photos we import. If you’re selling stock photography, this is an absolute must, and if you have a client base that might call you up and ask, “Send me all your photos of red car, and they need to all be in vertical orientation, and I only need one’s where you can see the driver, and the driver has to be female” then you’ll want to keyword like a pro. However, if you’re just keeping track of the photos from your vacation to Paris last year, you might not need to go through all your photos and assign keywords. Ask yourself this question: When was the last time I couldn’t find the photos I need by just going to my Collections panel? If you’re not having problems getting your hands on the photos you need in just seconds, you might be able to skip all the keywording stuff. I’m not telling you not to keyword—I’m just asking you to consider whether you need to add a bunch of keywords or not, because most users probably don’t need many (or any). [Code: IAARRWTAW]

So there ya have it—-the 10 Things I would Tell new Lightroom Users. Thanks again to Rob Sylvan for the original idea (and to Scott Bourne for publishing Rob’s original post), and I hope those 10 ideas (along with Rob’s) help to make your Lightroom life easier.


I am absolutely thrilled to share that last night I got an email from my friend Molly Bail from Springs of Hope, Kenya, to let me know that today they’re welcoming the first children to the Orphanage that you, the readers of this blog, helped to build.

Your contributions literally helped finish the roof on this orphanage earlier this year, and then later you helped buy the beds, furniture, and kitchen appliances, and now today there are homeless children that are homeless no more because of your gracious generosity. I am incredibly thrilled, and humbled at what you all have done in supporting the construction of this Orphanage.

In her email, Molly calls today’s opening a “soft opening” because they are still dealing with some electrical issues, but the first children arrive today, and are sleeping under a roof you helped build tonight. To me, that’s a grand opening indeed. (The photo’s above are from Molly, and the captions are hers as well).

It’s been a real struggle for Molly and Joseph to build this orphanage half way around the world, and in the past few months they have really struggled to clear the final hurdles, approvals, and mountains of red tape like you would not believe, but today we have something wonderful to celebrate.

Whatever else happens in your day, and whatever hurdles life throws at you today, just remember that because of your contributions, a homeless child now has a home, food, and has two people in Molly and Joesph that will love and protect them.

Honestly, there’s no adequate way to thank you all for what you’ve done. The phase “Thank you” isn’t enough, but thank you.