Monthly Archives April 2010


Hey gang—Just a quick update:

Grab One of The Last Seats in Chicago!
I’m in Chicago tomorrow with my “Photoshop for Photographers Tour”, and as of yesterday morning, there were only 19 seats left, so if you want to join me, grab one of those last seats now. Here’s the info.

McNally Sells Out Philly!
Yesterday in Philadelphia, Joe McNally kicked some major butt on his Kelby Training Live tour (which was sold out in advance!). This guy is just unbelievable!!!! He’s coming to Denver next, and I’ve seen the pre-registration numbers—he’s gonna sell it out again (if you’ve ever seen him live, you know why). Details here.

Catch Corey in Beantown!
Corey Barker is bringing our “Photoshop Down & Dirty Tricks” tour to Boston next Wednesday, and if you’re up that way—you do not want to miss him. He’s got some absolutely stick stuff to show you (in a good way), and you can sign up right here.


Let me start by thanking Scott for giving me his blogspace for today, I will try to leave it the way I found it :)

My name is Frank Doorhof and I’m a Dutch fashion and sometimes glamour photographer. In our business we made a quite drastic move into teaching workshops instead of aiming for the magazines. I still shoot for magazines and advertising of course, but our main focus is on the teaching of workshops. In the last few years this has resulted in workshops worldwide and the release of 6 instructional DVDs and this year number 7 will hit the market.

So what is the thing I try to do in the workshops? In a time where you can see a lot of photography on the web and photographers who have only been shooting for three months already teaching workshops, it’s a market that is very confusing for the people just starting out with photography or simply people looking for a good workshop. What also struck me with amazement is the lack of basic knowledge in most posts you see online. One of the most asked questions for example on my shots is, “How did you light this?” In most of my work, with just the basic knowledge of light, you can clearly see how something was lit.

To make a long story short I try to start with my students on square one. Don’t, however, think that I only focus on how you should put the lens on the camera. That’s something I skip completely. What I do teach however, is understanding (and I mean really understanding) what light does. Too many photographers are just placing their lightsources in the trusted setup they have used for many years or which they know will work because they copied it from someone else who is successful. The problem with this is that when you don’t understand what you are doing you will one day run into big problems when a situation occurs where you have to improvise, and those situations are the ones where you can get customers for life.

By understanding what light does and how it behaves you can get a good shot in almost any situation, whether it’s with natural light, strobes or bounced light. Because even this blog space is not long enough to explain everything in detail I will give you some very quick tips which I hope will trigger you to search further on the net or maybe visit one of the workshops I teach :) Also please look into one of the greatest teachers ever – Dean Collins.


Why fake it when you can create it?
Most questions you see online are about recreating a certain style. The funny thing is that after seeing pages of people trying to recreate that style, most fail. The reason why most fail is very simple – they use different light setups. In the old days of photography everyone knew that light was the most important thing in a photograph. When your light was wrong, the picture would not come out correct. However, somehow in this day and age with Photoshop, most photographers seem to think that there is a filter for everything and they can just shoot a bad picture and the magic filter will transform it into art….. Well, I’ve seen some amazing things done with Photoshop (just visit Scott’s seminars), but even the best Photoshop users can’t make a bad picture really shine….. That instant killer shot filter still doesn’t exists….. or does it ?


Your viewfinder is your Photoshop
It depends on what you see as filter. For me the viewfinder of my camera is the first and most important step. Learn to look through the viewfinder, and I don’t mean look through the viewfinder to see the subject and shoot, but REALLY look through the viewfinder. Find the right composition, look for factors you don’t like and look for your shadows. Too often I hear the expression, “I’ll will fix that in post.” Remember that, often, fixing it right away will take you seconds while fixing it in post can ruin your picture or take you forever. If you load a picture into Photoshop that’s already almost perfect, then there are some stunning things you can do and really finish that shot into art. But remember, the shot has to be there. In fact, the raw file should already be the finished product. Photoshop should only be used for the finishing touches, or in some cases to create the real art that was envisioned.

Metering is everything
You don’t want to know the discussions I had about using a light meter. According to some the light meter is something from the past and should not be used anymore. “Just use the histogram” is the well known expression. Well think about this… When you look at your models and you look at their skin tones, are they all equal? ?I don’t think so, so when you are shooting on a histogram how do you know when you nailed the exposure? Exactly – you don’t. You can get close, but how about reshooting the same model a week or two later? Can you make a 100% accurate series? With the meter you can, and it’s lighting fast, just use the incident metering, aim towards the light source and you have your exposure. But also invest in a meter that can do spot metering. When using the spot meter function you can very quickly calculate the white or black backgrounds.?Let’s look a bit more into that very quickly.


It’s all in the numbers
To understand the method to calculate backgrounds, it’s important to first understand that 18% gray is seen as middle gray, or in fact a spike in the histogram in the center of it. (Some people claim it’s 12% but I’m more in the 18% gray camp). When you know that one stop of light is double the amount of light it’s very easy with a reflective meter to calculate the backgrounds, but also to see if a dress still holds detail in the shadow areas or highlights.

Let’s start by making a white background really white. When we start out with a measurement of our model on F8 (incident) and we want the background to turn white we can very quickly calculate how that should work. We switch to reflective reading metering and measure the background. For this example it’s also measuring F8 (to make it easier). If we shoot now, our model should be correct and the background should be 18% gray. But we wanted it to be white…… Well it’s not as hard as it seems. Every stop is double the amount of light so one can calculate white at 2.5 stops over. 18% is middle, 1 stop higher is 36%, one stop higher is 72% and add a bit more and you are at app 100, so we normally can say it’s app 2.5 stops over. For black it works the same way. 18% is middle, 1 stop less is 9%, 1 stop less is 4.5%, 1 stop less is 2.2%, 1 stop less is 1.1% so we normally put black at 4.5 stops under.

With this knowledge you can measure incredibly fast if a scene holds its detail (perfect for wedding photographers). However with the new cameras and growing dynamic range it can happen that the numbers will change slightly, so test this with your own camera, but for most cameras this technique will work flawless. When mastering this techique you will know exactly when to use fill in flash or when to just take away light.


Ok, a meter is fun but it’s not accurate?
It’s always a letdown when you buy an expensive meter and it doesn’t work the way it should. However with most light meters this is a fact. This is not the fault of the meter however, not all cameras are using a real ISO100 so you have to “calibrate” the meter to the system you are using. That sounds complicated? Well it actually isn’t. In fact you can do it within a few seconds. As mentioned before, 18% gray should render a spike in the middle of the histogram, so the proper and quick way to calibrate your light meter to your camera is to simply shoot an 18% gray card and check the spike. If it’s not in the center you can use the offset of the meter to make sure it is after the calibration. You now have an accurate tool for measuring your light setups.

Another small tip
I get a lot of mails about the high contrast shots I make, especially in the portraits. People are mailing me examples of their attempt and they don’t seem to be able to pull it off. So very fast the conclusion is drawn that it must be the expensive camera and the expensive light. In reality this is not true (luckily).

The first thing I try to teach is to start out with just one light, don’t be afraid for the shadows. They are (when properly placed) wonderful. But also understand a thing that’s called the inverse square law. The inverse square law dictates the fall off of your lights. When understanding this rule you will know that when you place a light source very close your subject the light will fall off very quickly and for a portrait this will pay back in one side of the face lit and one side of the face in darkness, and this can be done with even the largest softbox.

Understanding this rule will give you an incredible amount of power to use on location and in the studio, and the option to create every possible combination of light and shadow you have in your head.

Styling and concept
You can understand all the theory and light behavior you want, but it doesn’t guarantee a good image. Well, it will often guarantee a technically good image, but to make an image more interesting it’s very important to also invest in the styling and the model. For this a good team of creative people is vital. The best shots I see are rather simple in lighting setups but rock in styling and clothing. But I have to add that I just love over styled themes




A blog post is always difficult to fill simply because there is limited space and so much to tell. What I hope to have triggered is a little spark into the understanding of how you can use light to your advantage. When you know what’s going on and how you can control your light, you can make your own light setups without the need to copy others. And when you learn to look through the viewfinder in a photographer’s way you, will save loads of time in Photoshop. Or in simple words, “Why fake it, when you can create it?”

Thanks so much for having me here on the Scott Kelby blog.

For more info about Frank, check out his website, follow him on Twitter, or visit his blog.


Don’t Miss Adobe’s CS5 Launch Event on Monday
Next Monday, Adobe is taking the wraps off Photoshop CS5 (and the rest of the Adobe Creative Suite), with a global launch event. Without stealing any of Adobe’s thunder, I can tell you hands down that it’s one of the most important, and robust upgrades in years, so you don’t want to miss it (and yes—your mind will be blown!). Here’s the link to attend this free online event.

Moose’s After Show Coverage
Photoshop World instructor, Moose Peterson, did a great photo slideshow (using Animoto) featuring images and video he took during Photoshop World. It does a great job of showing another side of Photoshop World, and if you’ve got a quick sec, check it out right here. (It looks like Moose had a lot of fun that week!).

Meet Me In Chicago on Friday
I hope you can join me in Chicago on Friday for my “Photoshop CS4 for Digital Photographers” seminar (at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center). It’s gonna be a blast—–I hope I’ll see you there. (here’s a link with details).

Check Out Terry’s Top Must-Have iPad Apps
Terry White shares his Top-10 Must-Have iPad Apps for the Apple iPad, over at  “” If you’ve got an iPad, you gotta check it out. Also, if you missed Terry’s full iPad review (he had massive server issues yesterday), you can read it right here (it’s one of the best, and most complete reviews I’ve seen anywhere).

Check out this iPad video review from Talking Tech
Take a minute and check out these iPad video reviews from USA Today’s Talking Tech crew (Jefferson Graham and Ed Baig), and it will answer a lot of your iPad questions, pros, and cons included. Here’s the link.

Tomorrow’s Guest Blogger is….
…a photographer whose work I’ve admired for a while now, and I finally got to meet him in person when I was speaking at Professional Imaging 2010 in Holland, photographer and trainer, Frank Doorhof. As I mentioned in my report from the event, Frank rocks (I watched his show floor demos four times), and I can’t wait to see what he’s got to share tomorrow, so make sure you check it out.


In honor of Frank’s Guest Blog tomorrow, I’m giving away…..
…a signed copy of the special edition hardcover Dutch Translation of my books, The Digital Photography books Volumes 1, 2 & 3 (it’s all three books in just one book—as seen above). It’s really nicely done—so nice in fact, that I wish there was an English edition. All you have to do is be the first photographer based in the Benelux region to tell me you want the book, and it’s yours , with my compliments (I’ll sign it, and we’ll ship it to right to you).

That’s it for today gang
I hope you guys have a great Tuesday, and we’ll see you back here tomorrow for Frank’s Guest Blog. :)


Showing your photography portfolio on your own iPad is no problem. In fact it’s about the best showcase you can possibly give your photos on a screen. The iPad was born for this stuff. That’s not the problem.

The problem is what happens when people visit your web site on their iPad to look at your portfolio, which is probably a Flash-based portfolio (it’s tough to find a pro photographer’s web site that isn’t Flash-based these days. They’re out there, there’s just not that many of them), and the iPad doesn’t support Flash.

Now, this isn’t a debate about whether or not the iPad should have Flash. That debate is over—it isn’t there, and I don’t think you’re ever going to see Flash on the iPad period (just like we’ve never seen it on the iPhone), so let’s just deal with what we’ve got, and move on (in other words; please skip the debate. For more on the whole Flash on the iPad thing, you’ve got to read Terry White’s review today. It’s a must-read—here’s the link).

So, if you have a Flash-based portfolio (like me), what do we do now?
Millions of people are going to buy iPads. It’s estimated that nearly three quarters of a million people bought them just this weekend. But let’s put that aside for now. What about the iPhone users? They don’t have Flash support either.

Just how many of them can’t see your portfolio on their iPhones? Well, Apple sold about 25 million iPhones in just 2009 alone, so we’re somewhere in the area of 70 million iPhones sold total so far. None of those 70 million or so people can see your Flash-based portfolio on their iPhone.

When In Doubt, I Call RC
If we want iPad and iPhone users to see our portfolio, we’re going to have to use something other than a Flash-based portfolio, or keep the Flash for your computer-based viewers, but swap out iPad and iPhones users for some sort of HTML portfolio.

Now, I’m lucky. I’ve got RC Concepcion on my team. As you probably already know, RC is a Web/photography wizard, and in just two days, RC was not only able to come up with a solution for me, he added something that totally blew me away.

First, if you click on the Portfolio link here on my blog, you get my full Flash-based portfolio (the new version we updated earlier this year, which was based on flash-templates from Diablo Tibi, one of the talented designer brains behind However, if you come to my site on an iPad, and click that same link, RC set it up so you go to a different version of my portfolio—an HTML and Javascript version that works on an iPad or iPhone, and (get this), you can change images by swiping your fingers, just like you would normally on an iPad or iPhone (he did that using a common jquery library – Galleria).

(ed Note: Single Finger Swiping on the gallery is now live – RC)

Now, he had some help from Alan Brusky of Fireleaf Design (link), and together they created this alternate portfolio, complete with thumbnails, finger swiping (or you can tap on the photo to advance to the next photo), and the good news is—RC is making all this a part of his new class called “Portfolio Power” (I’m not sure if it’s an online class or just a DVD), but either way—he’s including four templates you can use for this type of stuff today (which includes the one he using for me).

We Need a Plan Now
By next weekend, more than a million US users will be missing your Flash-based portfolio. Don’t wait. Come up with a plan now. I’m having to do the same thing here on my regular blog. I use a Flash-based player for videos I embed on the blog, but I can get around that, and make my videos playable on iPhone and iPads by simply uploading them to instead.

Now, I’m not giving up on Flash—-I love Flash personally, but I want to make sure I’ve got a Plan B—a back-up plan, for anyone visiting my site without Flash support. Also, I know a lot of photographers have been doing this “visit the HTML version” for a while now, so I’m not breaking new ground here, but Flash has received such wide support that few photographers have had to worry about a browser not supporting Flash. Until now.

Let’s Help Each Other Out
That’s my plan for now, but it’s still evolving, so I’m totally open to hearing your ideas for serving video to this market, and for having a way to show your portfolio online so it can be seen to iPad and iPhone users. I really want to hear what you’re doing—-my work, what you’ve tried, and I know a lot of others will be interested as well.

Thanks RC for helping me out (you’ve done it again, my friend!), and for passing on what you’ve learned to me, and my readers. Also, many thanks to Diablo for the incredible Flash work you’ve done for the community, and to Alan for helping make sure RC didn’t get any sleep this weekend.


Here’s what happened: I had ordered an iPad Wi-fi + 3G which means I would be waiting until the end of the month until I got my iPad, but I really wanted to see one in person, so Saturday afternoon my son and I went to the local Best Buy store and played with one for 45 minutes. We were just blown away, so I told the guy at Best Buy “I’ll take one” (I got totally carried away, especially since I already had one ordered).

He asked his supervisor how many they had left. He looked at me and said “Zero. We’ve been sold out for hours.” We asked if they could call around to the other Best Buys in the area. All sold out. Then I found out our IT guy had already bought two for us for testing purposes, so I snagged one for the weekend. Whoo-baby it is sweet! Anyway, here are the seven things that surprised me most:

(1) It’s better than I thought
I was expecting it to be pretty cool. I remember seeing ads and reading about the original iPhone, and I thought it looked cool, too. But once I actually held one in my hand, everything changed. Same thing here. Whatever your impressions of the iPad are, they will change once you actually hold one in your hands. It’s a beautifully designed piece of technology.

(2) It’s heavier than I thought
I knew it was a few ounces heavier than the Kindle, but it feels twice as heavy. Sturdy and well built for sure, but definitely heavier, and certainly heavier than I thought (seeing as it’s so thin).

(3) It’s faster than I thought
I’m really stunned at how fast things happen on the iPad. Photos appear instantly. You scroll through hundreds of photos in an instant. Apps launch fast. Everything just feels really, really fast. I know I’m not the first person to point this out—everybody’s saying the same thing, but I didn’t realize it would be as fast as it is.

(4) The screen is much better than I thought
I knew the screen would be good, but the screen is way over the top crisp, bright and sharp. In fact, I don’t know what they’d have to do to improve the screen itself. I’ve never seen a device this size with a screen like this. Heck, I rarely see a device of any size with a screen like this. Everything looks great on it.

(5) It Makes You Hate Your Old iPhone-sized Apps
To really experience and fall in love with an iPad, you have to use Apps redesigned for the iPad. They’re brilliant. So far, the developers seem to have not merely just up-sized their existing apps—they’ve upgraded them big time. It’s like they’ve broken free from what must have been a very limiting experience (design-wise) creating apps for the iPhone and iPod touch, and now they’re like, “OK, now we can really do what we’ve always wanted to do!” Unfortunately, this makes you kind of hate your old iPhone apps (which get copied over to your iPad when you sync it with your computer), and honestly, I can barely stand to run them. They’re pixelated and almost “old fashioned” looking once you see what can be done at full iPad size and redesign.

(6) The Screen Seems Much Bigger Than It Is
The screen size is so perfect, that it actually seems to be much larger than it really is. It feels like there’s space galore, instead of it being at a premium. Movies look great, and feel big. Maybe it’s because the whole thing is just one big screen, but everything feels nice and big—-bigger than the screen actually is in reality.

(7) Books and Magazine are Much Better Than I Thought
Apple’s free iBooks App is just plain amazing. Way better than I thought it would be. It makes you want to read books on it. said it better than I could, when yesterday they wrote:

“It’s the first e-book reading experience we’ve seen that seems to truly understand the visceral, sensual enjoyment of holding an actual volume in your hand.”

The iBooks App is simply brilliant for reading novels, business books, reference books, etc.. The selection is somewhat slim at present, but like the iTunes Store, it’s going to explode with lots of titles very soon (including a bunch of my own).

Also, Amazon’s Kindle App for the iPad is amazingly good, too (in fact, since it’s in color, my Kindle format books look much better on Kindle for the iPad, than they do on an actual Kindle reader (which displays the photos in black and white), so good job Amazon—your iPad App rocks (which in my opinion, was a very smart business move for Amazon). That’s my book shown in the Kindle Reader for iPad above.

The Bottomline
When people say, “Oh, it’s just a big iPod touch,” they’d be right if all they did was run their old iPod touch Apps at 2X the size, but it’s the redesigned and new iPad Apps (like the iBook App, the Marvel Comics App, and the ABC TV App, among others) that make it an entirely different experience.

I was met with a room full of skeptics during an Easter get-together at my house yesterday—-a room full of “Oh, it’s just a big iPod touch, right?” But everybody left saying, “I have got to have one!” That doesn’t come from running iPod touch apps at twice their size.

It blew everybody away. They all already have iPhones or iPod touches, so they were expecting “more of the same,” but man did they all fall in love once they saw what it could do. I couldn’t get it out of their hands to show the next person how it worked. It has an impact that you can’t get from an article, or an Apple TV ad, or a video on their Website. You have to hold one and try it yourself. Once you do, you’ll hear what I heard half a dozen times or more yesterday. “This is way better than I thought.” I totally agree.


That’s right—we’ve been developing an iPad App since the iPad was announced by Apple, and soon Kelby Training Online subscribers will be able to watch Kelby Training Classes right on their iPads.

We’re still putting some finishing touches on it, but it won’t be long now, and now that I’ve seen for myself what can be done on an iPad, I’m really excited about how we’ll be able to deliver our training (and of course this app is just the beginning).

Keep an eye out here on the blog and I’ll let you know when it’s released (and of course, I’ll have lots more details then).