Monthly Archives December 2010

Hi everybody. Brad’s on vacation, but why let that spoil a piping fresh bowl of pimpy Thursday? Here’s what happening here right before the holidays:

> Photoshop World instructor, and author of the hit Photoshop book “Welcome to Oz” (which Shutterbug had chosen as it’s book of the year)  Vincent Versace has just released, “Welcome to Oz 2: A Cinematic Approach to Digital Still Photography with Photoshop CS5.” The book comes with $250 worth of software (Focalpoint 2.0 FULL version and three NiK Software Plugins, also with the complete collection of Vincent’s own presets for the Wacom Cintiq (current and last gen) and all Intuos tablets for both left hand and right hand as well as for Mac and Windows.

> My buddy Jeff Revell over at posted his “Last Minute Holiday Gift Guide” (in PDF format) and you can check out his “all under $100 gift guide” right here. By the way: Jeff told me about one item on his list—replacement lens hoods made of rubber that hold up like the Mamiya lens hood I bought for my 70-200mm, but for a fraction of the price. That was worth it for me right there.

> We taped our Annual Holiday Gear Guide episode of Photoshop User TV today, and we’ve got some really cool stuff this year, including a Polaroid-like Fuji camera for $70 that makes instant prints, to a toaster-like device for backing up your images, to the best iPad stand ever. The episode (Episode #250) should go live later today (or tomorrow if things get squirrely) over at this link. We also included a bunch of Photoshop tips in between, because…well…we’re the Photoshop Guys!

> Over 1,000 Photoshop users joined the National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP) during our live NAPP-a-Thon last week, and if you didn’t sign up then, we’d still absolutely love to have you join up as a member today. It’s only $99 per year, and your membership includes a subscription to the newly expanded Photoshop User magazine (bigger and better than ever, and now you get 10 issues a year, instead of just eight). Here’s the link to join the more than 70,000 other Photoshop users, just like you, around the world. (Hey, this makes an awesome Christmas gift, but what else did you expect me to say on Pimpy Thursday, eh?).

> I just heard from John Paul Caponigro that over $2500 worth of prizes will be awarded tomorrow in the South Africa Photo Safari Sweepstakes. Here’s the Web site with all the details, and you can find out more about the workshops on John Paul’s site (here’s that link).

That’s it for this Yuletide Pimpy Thursday. Hope you have a great day (and hope you’re enjoying your vacation, Braddo), and we’ll see you here tomorrow for Pimpyless Friday.

I have no idea what Mr. Kelby was thinking when he chose me to be this week’s guest blogger. I am very humbled by this opportunity, and I must say that my name belongs nowhere near the long list of other guest bloggers, which includes some of the greats like Jay Maisel, Bill Fortney and Joe McNally. I’m always looking at the blogs of photographers whose work I admire, and trying to soak up as much information as I can.  And now I have the opportunity to speak from the same podium as they, but I don’t know what to  say!  I’m only 18 years old and still have a lot to learn when it comes to taking a picture, not to mention trying to figure out how to play this game called life. So I am going to simply share what I’ve learned so far, and how I’ve learned it…

I have been unbelievably fortunate when it comes to photography. I have had the opportunity to be mentored by Senior Staff Photographer for Golf Digest, Dom Furore, since the day I first picked up a camera. One of the first things I was taught was the importance of looking at the work of great photographers. “You can’t take a good picture until you know what one looks like,” he said.  More and more, I realize how new ideas are inspired, not invented. I find it funny when I see some article about a photographer who came up with a “new look” even though it looks exactly like something that’s been done a million years ago, and done better with a lot less equipment. Another thing that has helped me to grow as a photographer is studying different kinds of work. For me it is always important to put my own “twist” on inspired work and to give credit where credit is due, something that I learned from Jim Clark.

In 2009 I was able to attend the North American Nature Photography Association annual summit in Albuquerque, New Mexico as a high school scholarship student. I met a ton of very talented people and had the opportunity to learn from the best. Jim Clark met with our student group and he said two things that have always stuck with me, “Always give credit where credit is due” and “Don’t make yourself a legend in your own mind, let others make you a legend.”

Another tremendous source of progress for me has come from the opportunity to attend the Great American Photography Workshops and learn from legendary photographers like Bill Fortney, Rob Sheppard, Tom Bol, and George Theodore. Bill Fortney has become a mentor and friend, and his work has served as a tremendous source of inspiration for me.

It is amazing where life can take you when you have a camera in your hands. Last August I found myself assisting Dom Furore at the PGA Championship golf tournament. At the PGA I had the opportunity to meet some of the professionals whose work I admire. I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to meet people like John Biever, Fred Vuich, Sam Greenwood, Simon Bruty, Matthew Harris, Scott Diussa, and Christian Iooss. Countless times I have taken my eye away from the viewfinder and realized what a blessing it is to be where I am. Having the opportunity to assist and learn from Red Wings Team Photographer, Dave Reginek, was one of these times. The more I get out, the more people I meet, and the more help I get. I am surprised by how helpful many of my “photographic heroes” are. One of the things I really like about the photography business it that it seems to be passed onto the beginners from the greats.

There are two more people I need to thank before I finish. First, I owe a great deal Bill Pekala at Nikon for providing me with some of the greatest cameras being made: Nikon. Finally, a big thank you to Scott Kelby for giving me this opportunity. I’m not sure what the next step is for me, but I enjoy every second spent behind the camera.

You can see more of Luke’s work at

This past Sunday I got really a wonderful opportunity—to shoot the Washington Redskins vs. Tampa Bay Bucs with the amazing team at Hail! Magazine (I talked about their magazine for Redskins fans here on the blog a few months ago), and despite the chilly weather and non-stop rain, I truly had a blast.

So while the weather wasn’t pretty (though thankfully the 16 mph winds never materialized) I really learned a lot from spending the day shooting with the four talented sports photographers behind Hail!: Brian “Murf” Murphy, Eric Espada. Melvin Arroyo and Peter Lockley. They work on a really tight schedule, and it was great observing their workflow on and off the field. These guys really have it together and it shows in their work.

As much fun as I had at the game, my biggest thrill was having them include two of my images in this week’s issue of Hail! (that’s two of my shots at the bottom of the page spread from Hail! shown above). Now that was exciting! Thank you guys—it’s truly an honor.

Tech Specs: I used a Nikon D3s with a 400mm f/2.8 as my main camera, and my D3 with a 70-200mm f/2.8 as my 2nd body. Because it was raining and overcast, I had to shoot at 1,600 ISO pretty much all day, like I would for a night game. Toward the end of the game, as the rain and clouds increased I had to crank the ISO to 3,200 to keep my shutter speed above 1/1000 of a second.

Protecting My Gear
I used Think Tank Photo’s Hydrophobia lens and camera rain cover combination on both cameras, and I have to say, they worked brilliantly, and my gear was bone dry the entire day. The one piece that winds up outside the cover is your viewfinder eyepiece (it kind of has to be that way, but they give you a viewfinder eyepiece extender with the kit), so since it’s out in the rain, you get rain drops on your eyepiece, which makes judging focus a bit harder. Even though the water isn’t really on your view finder or lens (just on the eyepiece extender), it takes a bit of getting used to looking through your viewfinder and everything’s blurry like your glass is wet.

Above: Bucs Guard Jeremy Zuttah celebrates after the Bucs score in the 2nd half. The Bucs would wind up winning by one point after the Redskin’s missed scoring the extra point, with nine seconds left on the clock, due to a really bad snap (over the kicker’s head).

Thanks again to the wonderful team at Hail! magazine, for giving me the opportunity to shoot alongside you guys and learn along the way. Photographers will particularly love Hail! since it’s run by photographers, so the emphasis is on great sports photography and that really helps make the mag stand out. You can subscribe to Hail! for free, right here. Don’t forget to check out their brand new issue while you’re there.

Thanks Brian, Eric, Mel, and Peter for giving me a day I won’t soon forget.

…if you’re one of those really serious types that’s going to post a “Mr. Kelby, I am very disappointed in you…” comment.

It’s a hilarious Photoshop rap music video, but besides being so cleverly written and well produced, it actually has a few real Photoshop tutorials within it, which makes it even funnier.

WARNING: The video has some suggestive and otherwise offensive language and other PG-13 visual stuff, and if that type of stuff offends you, and you’re just waiting around for something to come along that lets you express your personal outrage, I’m begging you, “Please do not watch this video!” You’ve been warned, so if you watch it and you get upset, no complaining or whining allowed. Just laughing. :)

Last week RC Concepcion walked around our headquarters (located just outside Tampa, Florida) and took shots of our offices, studios, and stuff like that, so we could show it during our live NAPP-a-Thon.

He got to show a few of the images on the air, but I asked RC if I could share them here on the blog, and he was more than happy to. So, here’s a quick visual look at our home base.

Above: This is the view down the hallway when you come in the front door (if you make it past reception. Barb up front forms a human barrier).

Above: That’s Eric, the big chief of our video operations, hanging back between some of the sets. This is where he goes to hide when I come over to his department looking for him. When he’s not hiding, he does an amazing job, and he’s a totally great guy.

Above: This is the area where Matt, Corey, RC, Dave Cross and I work. It’s where all the cool kids work. And Brad. (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself). My office is the last one on the right side. That’s RC’s office straight ahead with the red walls, and you can see a hint of Corey’s to the left of RC’s (in blue).

Above: Just outside my office is our photo studio, and here are some of our crew, getting set-up for a shoot.

Above: This is Juan; he’s a video editor on our team and perhaps the meanest Jib operator in the world today. Juan’s great, and despite his mean look, he’s a really mellow, super nice guy—very talented, and he’s got a great dry sense of humor.

Above: That’s Nicole, a freakin’ unbelievable designer in our video department. She has mad skills.

Above: That’s Meredith, who is interning with us on our video team, and here she’s running a camera with a teleprompter, which to me is just hilarious, since any of you that have watched any of our shows knows darn well we don’t ever look at a teleprompter. Mostly because we don’t know how to read.

Above: That’s Adam—super talented guy, really great guy as well, and one of the only employees we allow to drink during the work day, so he’s usually rarin’ to go!

Above: This is one of my dearest friends, one of the hardest working guys, and absolutely one of the best guys on the planet, my buddy Dave, our Chief Operating Officer. He has a cluttered desk, and he’s trying to look busy, but he spends most of his day playing Call of Duty: Black Ops. We all do.

Above: This is the view of part of our graphics and design department. This is where the team that puts together the magazines, ads, and book layouts works, in these work “pods.” That row of offices in the back belong to the owners (Me, my wife Kalebra, and Jean A.). We have glass fronts so we can spy on the designers. It totally freaks them out. (By the way; we have two buildings on the same street, so I keep offices in both).

Above: That’s another Dave (we have a lot of Daves. Anyone named Dave is hired immediately). Dave lays out all sorts of stuff, but he pretty much single-handedly lays out the entire Photoshop World NYC-telephone directory-sized workbook attendees get. He’s in a cool band, and he plays guitar and sings (he’s good!).

Above: This is one of our conference rooms (we have four, because meetings are so awesome. Let’s have more! Let’s have meetings to plan our next meeting!). I’m not sure these people really work here. They may be paid actors.

Above: That’s Jean A, one of the founders and co-owners. She’s trying to look really serious here, but she a sweetheart, and a great friend for many years. We dig her.

Above: This is where the Kelby Training Live and Online crews live (well, where they work anyway). They’re not at their desks because they’re probably all at Chili’s, the official restaurant of Kelby Media Group.

Above: This is Jessica, who is totally awesome! She designs all my books, and all the books we do with outside writers (like Moose Peterson, David Ziser, and Joe McNally), and she totally rocks! Great designer. Great person.

Above: That’s the wonderful Chris Main, Editor of Photoshop User magazine, who has been with us for more than 10 years. His desk looks like a Sci-Fi convention fell on it. Chris is a really great guy, and he never yells at me.

Above: That’s Fred, who works on our Web team. I hand picked Fred myself, and let me tell you—-Fred is absolutely awesome!!!! I love this guy!!! Super talented, very humble, and I love his designs. We were lucky to get Fred.

Above: This is Tommy. He is the Powerful Web Wizard that runs our Web team, and Tommy is a genius. I’m not making this up. As my son would say, “He’s insane-o smart” and he’s a really great guy on top of it all. He’s somewhat of a hero in our halls.

Above: Ladies and Gentlemen, may I proudly introduce, our Social Media Ninja; the woman behind @NAPP-News, and the International Ambassador of Love (I have no idea what that means), Nancy! She’s not French, but she pretends she is. We go along with her, because we don’t want her to spill her croissants.

Above: I think that’s Allison, from Kelby Training Live, but it’s hard to tell, seeing as her back is turned. She puts mirrors up, so if she’s sees me coming to her desk, she can hide the Web broswer where she’s usually watching Glee.

Above: That’s Felix Nelson, our Creative Director, and one of the most talented, creative, funny, and downright brilliant designers on the planet. I’d put him up against anybody. He creates magic!

Above: That’s another Dave, from Canada, and he’s in the midst of stealing American jobs. He’s a member of the United Auto Workers. While it looks like he’s speaking into a mic, that’s actually an assembly line robot. Dave needs more stuff in his office.

Above: This is my long-suffering executive assistant, Kathy. She’s a Redskin’s fan so she’s not happy today. Her desk is very neat and orderly because she actually does nothing all day. Sometimes she goes shopping for hours at a time. (Totally kidding. Kathy rocks!!! Anyone that has had to put up with me for 8 years deserves a special place in Heaven. She might have two. I’ll bet they’re neat and orderly).

Above: That’s Brad, my photo assistant, who incidentally is on vacation until the end of the year, so while he’s gone we’re going to take all the concert prints down from his walls and replace them with portraits of Matt running in a field. Serve’s him right. Brad runs the studio, too, and he shoots concerts, and he’s a big teddy bear (Oooh, I just heard him cringe all the out in Tennessee).

Above: This is part of our Printer room. We’ve got lots of printers because we print stuff all the time. Plus, if you leave these printers alone in their own room for a while, they multiply.

Above: Here’s where we keep the paper and inks for our printers. What you see here represents about $22 million in paper and ink. It’ll last for 2-1/2 weeks. At best.

Above: That’s Jen—She’s the new kid on the block in our Video Department, and she’s a really good editor, which is her main gig (it’s tough to get a job in our video dept.—to work there you have to totally kick #$% and she does). She’s also a camera operator and she directs us on the set. Once she puts that headset on, and starts talking to the control room, she thinks she’s Francis Ford Coppola. I don’t have the heart to tell her Francis is a man.

Above: That’s Daniel, an absolutely kick-butt editor on our video team. He is really great at his job, and he’s got a fantastic attitude, and loads of talent. But beyond that, he’s a really great person, who’s already done two mission trips to Haiti to help out there. He was a real find!

Above: A view from the other side of our video sets. We have nine sets in all, and one of the key jobs of our video crew is stand there and stare at them, as shown above.

Above: This group shot is of our customer service team, and they are, hands down, the best in the business. They really care about our customers, and we’ve empowered them to do whatever it takes to make our customers happy, so our customers are happy, and our team is happy, because nobody wants to work in a position where they can’t help people. They are a totally crack team, and I’m very proud of them. They’re lead by Julie, (2nd from right, back row), who also is the show director for Photoshop World. Julie is the best. Period.

We have like 60 or so more full time employees you didn’t get to see (like our Accounting dept, HR dept, Shipping, and on and on), because we’d have 60 or so more photos, and you’d have stopped reading a long time ago. In fact, you’re probably not reading this now, but I at least hope you enjoyed this little behind the scenes look (courtesy of RC), and you got to see some of the very special that I feel very fortunate to work with each day.

I know it’s technically not Pimpy Thursday, but I just found out the follow-up to one of my most popular training projects ever; Photo Recipes Live, is now on its way to bookstores. It’s called (wait for it, wait for it)….…..”Photo Recipes Live 2″

This is a combo DVD/Book set based on the final chapter of my books, “The Digital Photography Book” (Volumes 1, 2, & 3) where I show a particular shot or “look” and then I show exactly how you can recreate that same look, including all the lighting, softboxes, camera settings—the works (I don’t leave anything out!).

In this new Part 2, I take you (and a video camera crew) with me, behind the scenes, on location to a very cool Miami Beach studio set, and then out to Miami Beach itself, where you’ll learn the step-by-step techniques on how to set-up and light a host of different really popular lighting styles for portraits.

I’m really excited about how this one came out, and if you liked the original, I think you’ll really love this all new training combo even more. These should be in bookstores very soon and you can preorder yours right now at (they have it for only $29.69) or Barnes & Noble, or wherever cool books and DVD are sold.