Monthly Archives January 2011

So here’s exactly what happened to me at the Bears/Packers NFC Championship Game yesterday: I’m set up right on the goal line. Just minding my own business. Taking a few shots. Chatting with other photographers, and sharing my hot cocoa with them. Pretty typical game.

On the Packer’s first possession, they drive right down the field, and they’re on the 2 yard line. Greenbay Packers’s Quarterback Aaron Rodgers drops back to pass, but everybody’s pretty well covered, and he sees a hole on my side of the field, and he starts running directly at me and dives for the Goal Line (as seen below).

I’m shooting my 400mm f/2.8 on a Gitzo monopod, but when I see this unfolding, I hold my Monopod with the left hand, and grab my 2nd body; a Nikon D3 with a 24-70mm f/2.8, with my right hand—I put it up to my eye and start firing at Rodgers as he’s running straight at me. Rodgers lands right in front of me, and starts sliding toward me. I keep shooting. Rodgers keep sliding. I keep thinking at some point he’s going to stop sliding, and then BAM—-he’s levels me, the guy beside me, and my camera on the monopod goes flying.

You can see from the photo I took above, Rodgers is between me (with my 24-70mm), and my 400mm on the monopod (which you see upside down on the other side of him). This is not good.

And then I see it—-the bottom half of my monopod is gone!! Ripped off at the stem. So I’m right in front of Rodgers, and I yell, “Hey…..Rogers….you broke my monopod!” And he looks at me, and I guess he sees my Bears earmuffs, and says “Too bad, Bears fan!” And I said “Hey, you’re buying me a new Monopod!” And he looks at me says, “Yeah, right.” and I’m all “Yeah, we’ll just see pretty boy.”

Above: Just then, one of his teammates sees what’s going on as Rodgers is getting up from the ground, and he runs over, grabs his jersey (seen above), and I overhear him say, “Hey man, I think you need to buy him a new Monopod. It looks like a Gitzo—- those aren’t cheap.” Then I hear Rodgers say, “How much do you think it costs?” He says “Probably $350, but it didn’t look brand new, so I’d just offer him $250.”

Above: Rodgers did score so I think he just wanted to get this over with, so he looks back at me and says “I’ll give you $250.” I paused and said “Well, OK,” and his buddy pats him on the back (shown above) and whispers, “You did the right thing man,” and then Rodgers just heads into the end zone to celebrate the score with his other teammates.

Here’s a photo taken of the TV screen during the game (photo by blog reader George Zanotti) right after Rodgers agreed to give me the $250, and even though I’m still down, I keep shooting and I’m all smiles now knowing at the very least, I’m getting my Gitzo monopod replaced.

Here’s what one one of my readers, Michal Tuzinkiewicz, wrote on my Facebook page when he saw the play unfolding live on TV:

“Scott Kelby a true NFL photographer: gets Slammed on the sideline during the bears/packers game, gets right back up, his camera in one hand and keeps on shooting with a huge smile on his face.”

It’s true—–I didn’t hold a grudge, I just got back to shooting (though I did see the broken off end of the monopod, and I picked it up and took a swing at Rodgers leg as he was running away. Don’t worry—I missed. Barely though).

An Unexpected Twist
Of course, I didn’t see Rodgers again until the end of the game, at center field, where all the players and coaches are rushing out there for interviews and celebrations. Rodgers sees me, and I think he’s going to walk right by me, but then—without making eye contact—he reaches out and shoves a wad of cash into my hand, and then he heads for the tunnel. I just stood there, more than a little stunned.  When I counted the money, there was only $220. Sigh.

One last thing
Of course, none of the above is true. Well, the part about Rodgers hitting me and breaking my Monopod was real, but the rest is totally made up. It’s not Rodgers job to look out for me—it’s my job to get out of his way. I didn’t feel a thing, which is great, and while my camera, 400mm lens, and most of me were covered in dirt, we were all working perfectly, which is why I was able to pop up and keep shooting with a big smile on my face, but I was lucky. Well, at least until I counted out that cash. ;-)

It’s late here, and I have an early flight, so I’ll work on the real game photos tonight and post them on Tuesday. Thanks to everybody who sent me texts, posted on Facebook, or here on the blog when they had a “Scott Spotting.” That was a kick. :)

(Note the specially “pimped out” monopod for easy sidelines spotting)

OK, I am at full happy because on Sunday I’m flying up to Chicago to shoot the NFC Championship Playoff Game between the Chicago Bears (Yeah baby!) and the Green Bay Packers (Booooo) at Soldier Field.

I know a lot of you will be watching this nationally televised playoff game, and so I thought I would create this handy “Scott Spotting Guide” so you can see me freezing my butt off on the sidelines in the freezing 22°F (-5C) weather during the game.

Brad Pimped Out my Monopod
To make “Scott Spotting” easier, Brad added some red flames and bright yellow tape around the top section of my monopod and hopefully if I show up on camera, it won’t be from me diving out of the way of an incoming receiver.

(Above: Look for the black Fender logo ballcap).

Alternate cold-weather looks
Another “Scott Spotting” technique is to look for a sideline photographer wearing a black “Fender” guitar logo ball cap (as shown above in this blurry iPhone photo). I will, most likely, also be sporting a red NFL photo vest, but there is a possibility that I’ll be wearing a green vest instead, but I’ll try and let you know in advance.

(Above: If it gets really windy, I’ll go with plan B and add a full face mask).

The temperature is supposed to be approximately the same as it was for my Pittsburgh Steelers shoot a few weeks ago, and it wasn’t windy so I was fine. However, if it gets really windy, or I run out of money and need to stop by a local bank, I’ll switch to this full face mask, in which case you’ll need to rely solely on the hat and my new Oakley glasses.

I’m usually out at the center of the field right immediately after the game catching some shots of the players right after the big Chicago win, so keep an eye out for a cold-looking guy in a Fender logo ballcap.

Can’t wait to share the shots with you guys on Monday. Have a great weekend, and….GO BEARS!!!!

P.S. If the TV camera happens to aim directly at me, I’m going to hit them with some “Blue Steel.” ;-)

My love affair with Epson printers started with their Epson Stylus Photo R2200. I still know people that have one, and they still love it.

Then I upgraded to the R2400, and then finally to the 2880, which has been my favorite 13×19″ photo printer ever. But I just read where Epson announced their new Epson Stylus Photo R3000, (shown above—photo courtesy of Epson) and I think it might be time to upgrade again, because of course they improved enough stuff that I can’t say no, like larger ink tanks, and no more swapping black ink cartridges when going between photo and matte papers, new built-in advanced black & white capabilities, better paper handling options, and of course they always tweak the ink technology so the prints look amazing, but what put me over the top was the wireless printing part.

I have an Epson Workforce 600 wireless printer at home (that my buddy Terry White talked me into getting) and I love, (my wife and son use it all the time too—because it’s wireless).

Anyway, I haven’t seen one in person yet, but after reading all about it, I have a bad feeling I’m going to have to get one sometime in March when they ship. It list’s for around $850.  Here’s a link to Epson’s site for more info on it.

Things are already starting to heat up for Photoshop World Orlando!  Pre-conference workshops are filling up quickly (see the post below for more info), and so are the rooms at the Rosen Centre Hotel.

This is the official host hotel for the conference, where all of the instructors stay. And it’s conveniently right across the street from the conference center.

You can get all the details on the Photoshop World Travel Info page, including a link to online reservations, address, nightly rate, and phone number to call-in your reservation. And don’t forget… NAPP members get a discount on Hertz Car Rentals!

Hey gang, Brad here with all sorts of great training opportunities from the best instructors on the planet, as well as killer deals you won’t want to miss. Here we go!

> Kelby Training Online Classes
Have you checked out the newest courses from Kelby Training Online?  We’ve got One Light Lighting with Jack Reznicki, as well as Why Fake It When You Can Create It? with Frank Doorhof.

Jack and Frank both have other classes available, including Model Releases for Photographers and Freeze Motion Photography.  Check out this preview from Frank’s class:

If you want to subscribe to Kelby Training, act now and you’ll also receive a free copy of RC Concepcion’s brand new book, Get Your Photography On The Web AND his Adobe Dreamweaver for Beginners DVD.  This offer is good through tomorrow, January 21. Just use the promo code ANJAN11 at the checkout to add those items to your order.

> Kelby Training Live Seminars
Dave Cross
is bringing his über-popular Photoshop CS5 Power Tour to Oklahoma City, OK on January 26 and San Antonio, TX on January 31!

And Matt Kloskowski is bringing the (also über-popular) Photoshop CS5 for Photographers Tour to Covington, KY on January 28 and Austin, TX on February 4!

You can register for these and other seminars at

> NAPP Membership Special
NAPP is currently running a special that adds one extra month to your membership for free if you sign up or renew by the end of January! Just use promo code 1EXTRA online or when calling customer service to take advantage of this great opportunity.

> Photoshop World Pre-Conference Workshops
Are you thinking about doing a pre-conference workshop at Photoshop World OrlandoSign up now because they’re filling up fast!  Don’t miss your chance to spend a day…
– With David Ziser on a live wedding shoot
– Learning HDR from Matt Kloskowski and RC Concepcion
– Shooting DSLR video with Rich Harrington
– Rocking out with Alan Hess and Scott Diussa in their concert photography workshop
– Creating killer portrait lighting with James Schmelzer
– Nailing those tricky channels and masks with Deke McClelland
Transforming photos to paintings with Fay Sirkis
– Or getting the basics of Photoshop with Lesa Snider

The NAPP Photo Safari with Moose Peterson and Joe McNally is already sold out, and there are plenty of others that only have a few spots left. Register here to make sure you don’t get left out!

> South African Photo Safari with John Paul Caponigro
Want to join world-renowned fine art and nature photographer John Paul Caponigro on a 10-Day South African Photo Safari? Here’s your chance!  Go to to enter for the February 1 Grand Prize Drawing and all the details about the trip and full list of prizes totaling $2500!

That’s all the pimpy for this week.  Scott’s got something fun for tomorrow, so swing back by to feel the love :)


It is an honor to be back here on Scott’s blog. The last time I was here the guest blogger idea was in it’s infancy and a lot has happened since then…. but some things have stayed the same.

My guest blog post in 2008 was centered around shooting Billy Idol in concert, so I though it would be cool to share the experiences I’ve had with them since then. I have been lucky enough to shoot Billy Idol five times in 2010. This blog post has to do with how that became possible and how it led to being able to photograph Billy Morrison at the release of his signature Gibson Les Paul at NAMM this last weekend.

It really is a very simple concept. I only show my best work.

It sounds easy enough in theory, but in reality it can be real tough to do. It’s tough to step back from the time and energy involved in shooting and just pick out the best image from the show. Now, if I am shooting for a wire service or a music website or magazine, I will submit more than one image depending on what was asked for. This one shot is the image that I will try to get to the musician. I am looking for the image that they will like, that will get a reaction from them. Musicians see a lot of photos of themselves, what I want to do is make sure that the image they see from me stands out.

Before I get in the actual editing process, I want to talk about Billy Idol, Steve Stevens and Billy Morrison. In 2008 I was able to photograph the opening night of the Billy Idol tour in San Diego. After the show was over, I edited my images and sent a few of the very best to the person who got me the photo pass. These included a shot of Billy Idol and one of Steve Stevens. These images were then shown to the band members and the next thing I knew, Steve Stevens (Billy Idol’s lead guitar player and collaborator on some of his biggest hits) was inviting me to photograph the band again in Hollywood later that year (which was the subject of the previous guest post). Since that time I have kept in contact with Steve, and when Billy went back out on the road in 2010 I was able to photograph the Southern California dates.

During the summer of 2010 I shot three shows, and the first thing I noticed was that this was not the same band I shot in 2008. There were some additions to the band, most noticeable to me was Billy Morrison on rhythm guitar. The really enjoyable thing about photographing a band like Billy Idol is that it is so visual. Each member has a great look and are not afraid to act like rock stars. After the shows were over, I made sure to send the best photos on to Steve and asked that he share them with the band. The images made their way to Billy Morrison and he had contacted me to let me know that he really liked them. That just makes my day. It’s a great feeling when the subjects like my photos of them. Just plain makes me feel good.

Lucky for me, Billy Idol decided to play a couple more shows in Southern California in December of 2010 and once again I was able to photograph them. By this time I was in contact with Steve Stevens and Billy Morrison directly. When the shows were done, I sent them both images from the shows. The email I got back from Billy is one of my all time favorite responses to my work I have ever got. He loved the shot I sent him. I would reprint that email here, but due to the Rock ‘n Roll nature of the language I think it’s safer to just say that he really liked the shot.

Here is the key… it was just one image. Not a slew of good images with one great one in the middle, but a single image. From there we talked about shooting opportunities and usage for the shot he loved. For example, it was used along with a Steve Stevens photograph for a press release by AKG Microphones.

That brings us to The NAMM Show (National Association of Music Merchants), a show held each January in Anaheim. It’s not open to the public, but it is the place for music manufacturers to show off their goods to music buyers. This includes a lot of signings and endorsements, and this year included the release of the Billy Morrison signature Gibson Les Paul guitar.

So there I was in the Gibson room with Billy as he gets to see and play a production model of his signature guitar for the first time ever. All of this from just making sure I showed my best work. (For more on Billy and his new guitar, click here.)

I think the best moment for me personally was watching as fans came up to ask for Billy’s autograph, and the photo he pulled out to sign was the one I had sent him.

So how do I pick that one image?

First, I import all the images using Photo Mechanic.

I then start looking at the images as I import them, full screen. I find that Photo Mechanic is by far the fastest program for doing this.

I go with my gut feeling on the first round, just picking the images that stand out. It might be the lights, or the pose, or a look in the subject’s eyes, but I don’t think too much about it. It’s either good enough or it isn’t. This is by far the fastest part of the sorting process. I never spend more than a few seconds with each image. For some shows, this means picking 10% of the images, other times it is closer to 40%. I am not too worried about picking too many since I know I will be culling images again in Lightroom.

The next step is to select all the picked images and I copy them into a new folder called Picks. I then import these images into Lightroom. This makes my catalog easier to deal with since it only has the images I think are worth editing. I now apply a preset to the images that turns on the lens correction and applies Noise Reduction of 20 Luminance.

My next step is to go through the images and crop where needed to make sure that the composition is what I wanted. I tend to shoot a little wide and usually have to crop each image a little. This only takes a few seconds per image, but now I can start to go through the images and start really narrowing down the picks.

In the Library module of Lightroom, I select the first image, press E for loupe mode, then Shift+Tab to hide all the panels except for the main screen, and press L twice so that the screen is black. Now I start to look through the images with a more critical eye. When I see a shot I like, I press P to mark the image as a pick.

Once I have gone through all the images, I press L to bring up the lights, and G to see the images in a grid. Now I select all the images that have been marked as picks and create a collection of them. These are the best of the best and will be the web gallery on my website or submitted to the client.

It is from these images that I still need to pick the single best shot. To do this, I ask myself a simple question; does this image portray the musician in a way that I think they want to be portrayed? That usually makes it easier to get the selection process down to a small handful of images and then it is a matter of looking hard to decide which is the best.

I have to tell you that sometimes this process is easy. There are shows I have shot that the minute I pressed the shutter release button I knew that I had that one shot. I wish it was that way for every show but it isn’t.

I have found in speaking to many photographers that this is one of the hardest things to do. They take great photographs, then dilute the images by showing too many. It is one of the hardest things to do and the only way to make it easier is to practice.

So that’s it! Thanks for reading, and I hope you got something out this.

For more on Concert Photography, check out the Kelby Training class I did with Scott Diussa. If you are planning on joining us at Photoshop World in Orlando, Scott Diussa and I are teaching a concert photography pre-conference workshop with a live band, which you can sign up for right here!

About me:

I shoot as may concerts as I can.
I have written five books, including iPad Fully Loaded, Composition Digital Field Guide and Exposure Digital Field Guide.
I teach at Photoshop World.
I love my iPad.
I shoot with a Nikon D700.

Follow me on Twitter and keep up with me on my Blog