Monthly Archives October 2011

Hi Gang, and greetings from the cold, kinda rainy, but still gorgeous Lake Placid, New York, where I’m hanging out as guest instructor at Moose Peterson’s “Digital Landscape Workshop Series.”

Last night I kicked off my segment of the workshop a presentation of my “Crush the Composition” class, which is really fun to teach (especially to this group—really nice people and totally engaged. This week is going to be a blast!).

That being said, it’s Midnight, and we have a dawn shoot, some I’m going to keep this short and sweet. First, below is an unofficial part of my Worldwide Photoshop Walk (it’s more of a tradition), but people send me their group shots and I post ’em (this time, over on my Google+ page — here’s the link), but I’m also showing the smaller thumbnails here. Since I last posted this, the list of cities that have sent in group photos has grown by quite a bit, and when they come in, I post ’em. Again, this is just a tradition, and not something anyone is required to do, so I didn’t send out an invitation or anything like that — I just mentioned it here on the blog.

I hope to have a photo or two to show from either tomorrow’s dawn or dusk shots (fingers crossed on the weather), but either way, we’re going to having a ball. Hope everybody has a great Monday, and hopefully I’ll have something for tomorrow, but for now it’s off to bed. Zzzzzzzz. Have a great Monday (that’s an oxymoron). ;-)

(Above: L to R: Pete, RC, Matt [in his old belt], Yours Truly, Corey, and Brad, right after his testing)

Last night the Photoshop Guys were there to support our buddy Matt Kloskowski as he tested for his Black Belt in Taekwondo, and as expected—-he rocked it!

He’s been winning tournament after tournament during this training, including 1st place in sparring and 1st in forms competition numerous times, and he’s competing in a little over a week in a big competition—his first as a black belt.

A big congratulations to Matt, who has been training hard for years for this night, and we all are so proud of him. Way to go, Ski!!!!! :-)

Hi Gang: There’s a lot going on right now, so I thought I’d just bring you up-to-date on what’s up:

(1) If you missed the Grid, you gotta catch the replay
We had an epic episode of “The Grid” this week (RC co-hosted The Grid with me as well, filling in for Matt who was teaching a landscape workshop up in Maine), and it’s kind of based on the photo you see above (the topic was inspired by an excellent article in Outdoor Photographer magazine by Bob Krist). The rebroadcast is now online, and if you get a chance, check it out.

You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and as you’ll see there is a 25% it will enrage you (but for many people it was also very enlightening and a real learning moment). Here’s the link.

(2) I only have three dates left this year for my“Light it, Shoot it, Retouch it” tour
I hope you can make it out in one of these cities:

> San Francisco: Nov. 14th

> Seattle: Nov. 21st

> Washington DC: December 2nd

Here’s where you go for more info, or to reserve your seat. Hope I get to see you in person soon

(3)If you missed my Webcast, it’s been posted for free replay
If you missed my free Webcast on Tuesday, the rebroadcast is finally (finally!) online. We do a studio shoot, create three different lighting looks, then I take you through the retouch from start to finish. I took questions during the live broadcast and answered those as well. Hope you can check it out. Here’s the link:

(4) I’m the guest speaker at next week’s DLWS Workshop
This weekend I’m heading to Lake Placid, New York where I’m the Guest Instructor at Moose Peterson’s Digital Landscape Workshop Series workshop (link), and I am really psyched. Any time I get to present along Moose Peterson it a true honor, and I’m looking forward to meeting everybody on Sunday night where I’m doing a special presentation of my “Crush The Composition” class. Can’t wait! A big thanks to Moose for letting me be a small part of your renown workshop series.

(5) My love affair with Google+ continues to grow
If you’re on Google+ I invite you to follow me there. I post there usually a few times a day, and I often share things there I don’t get to share anywhere else (or at the very least, I get to share them there first). It’s really an amazing social meeting gathering place for photographers, and the community there reminds me a lot of the one we have here — a lot of great people all helping each other. You’ll love it. Here’s the link to my Google+ page.

(6) A great deal for Photo Walkers from our friends at Adobe
If you’re in North America and participated in my Worldwide Photo Walk, you can pick up Lightroom for $200 Off!
Adobe put together a special deal for North American participants of my Worldwide Photo Walk. We sent an email to eligible participants yesterday so keep an eye on your inbox for all the details (that’s the header of the email above), but I think that’s very cool of Adobe to offer that, so thanks Adobe! :-)

(7) Our Web sites were….well….it hasn’t been a great month for our Websites
Thanks to everybody who dropped me a line here or over on Twitter to let me know that our and Matt’s Lightroom Killer Tips site were having problems. It took a bit of detective work, but we finally tracked down the problem and got it fixed, but we couldn’t have done it without you guys letting us know first.

It’s been a really, really tough month for our Web team here at Kelby Media. We added some amazing new features for our Kelby Training Online subscribers, but it was not without a ton of bumps and bruises along the way. Most of it is behind is now, but we’re still battling a few issues we did not expect, so first I’m so sorry to everyone who experienced our growing pains, and thanks to everybody who was patient, helped us track things down, and generally put up with us through all of this. You guys are the best.

(8) Lastly, here’s that Disciple band poster I made for my son
If you did catch “The Grid” this week, you heard me talking about some posters I made for my son of his favorite band, the Christian Metal band “Disciple.” I got the chance to shoot them when they were on tour earlier this year (here’s the link to that story), and I took some shots of the band, and made them into 20″x30″ posters in Photoshop. Then I uploaded them to, who then printed them, mounted them, framed them, added glass, and then shipped them to me the very next day (This is one of my favorite things about MPIX). The one shown above is the one I wanted to display on the show, but I didn’t have it on my blog post, so I took this iPhone photo of it before we hung it up in my son’s room. MPIX so rocks!!!! (So does Disciple, by the way. My favorite song of theirs is Dear X, You Don’t Own Me  —  available on iTunes).

(9) There’s more, but I’m pretty tired so I’m hitting the sack
Here’s wishing you your best Friday yet, and a totally cool and kick butt (CAKB) weekend. Cheers!

Hey gang, Brad Moore here with the latest news and updates!

New Westcott Apollo Softboxes
Our friends over at FJ Westcott have just introduced two new additions to their Apollo Speedlight Softbox lineup. Check out the 43″ Apollo Orb, the first octagonal softbox that doesn’t require an adapter ring, and the 16″ x 30″ Apollo Strip, perfect for adding that accent or hair light to your speedlight toolkit!

In honor of these two new softboxes, Westcott is running a contest where you might have the chance to win one of these hot new items! Head over to The Lighting Lowdown blog for all the info and to enter.

Deals from Kelby Training
If you’re thinking of staring your holiday shopping early and picking up a book or DVD from, now’s a perfect time because in October, every order ships with a coupon good for $10 off your next purchase — so order now, and save more later!  Visit The Kelby Training Store to get started.

Unadvertised Special:  The Light It. Shoot It. Retouch It. Super Bundle includes Scott’s LSR book and DVD for one low price. This bundle is like a class and a resource guide for lighting, shooting and retouching. Available at for $110.99 or $88.99 if you’re a NAPP member.

If you are into senior portrait photography (not senior citizens but seniors in high school), James Schmelzer’s Senior Portrait Photography 3-disc DVD set is on sale for $30 off. This DVD set covers everything from indoor lighting to outdoor lighting to cool ideas for backdrops and props.
Calvin Hollywood’s Photoshop Tricks for Beginners has just been added to the library. In this class, Calvin gives you a string of quick Photoshop tips that will instantly improve your own techniques in Photoshop CS5 and earlier versions. It might say “beginners” in the class title, but this class is for all skill levels as any of these tricks can help improve the way you work in Photoshop!

Light It. Shoot It. Retouch It. Webcast with Scott Kelby & RC Concepcion
If you missed the live broadcast of Scott and RC’s Light It. Shoot It. Retouch It. webcast the other day, keep an eye out on the NAPP member site and today. It’ll be added as soon as our web team can get it posted to these sites :)

The Grid
Another thing to keep an eye out for today is the new episode of The Grid! We had a doozy of a discussion yesterday about “What’s Fair Game for Your Portfolio?” with lots of lively questions and comments from viewers on whether or not photos from workshops should be in your portfolio. Episode 27 will be up sometime later today, so keep checking in over at to see when it’s live. (And feel free to watch some of our other shows while you’re there ;) )

Dave Cross Workshops
Dave Cross will be hosting some killer workshops over the next few weeks! Check these out:

October 17Make Your Lighting Exciting with David Ziser
October 25Photoshop Design Effects with Corey Barker
October 26 –  An Evening with Tim Wallace: “An Inspiring World”
November 1-3 – The Business of Boudoir with Shannon Michelle

Photo Plus Expo
If you’re going to Photo Plus Expo, Scott will be speaking in the Manfrotto booth Thursday afternoon, October 27. We’ll let you know what time as soon as the schedule is finalized, but you can go ahead and register for your free Expo pass right here.

That’s it for today. Have a kick-butt Thursday :D


Stop and think how much time actually goes into three minutes. I’m not talking about 180 seconds, I’m speaking to hours worth of building out sets, days worth of pre-production, weeks worth of planning and concepting, and months or even years worth of imagining what an image will finally be like when the shutter is pressed.

It’s the idea that a photograph may be years in the making that interests me. Sometimes it keeps me up at night, sometimes it is in dreams. I am constantly envisioning how to make portraits and how to take photographs. Sometimes these thoughts are vague and based around a mood or a concept that I’m trying to  express in an image. Other times these ideas are more concrete images  that are burned into my mind about what I’m going to create with a subject.

When a project comes up to make these dreams a reality and to take this vision and turn it into an actual photograph, then my mind really begins to work. The wheels start turning and vague ideas about tone and color start to transform into lighting diagrams, composition, and post-processing.

Testing and pre-planning actually allows me to turn these thoughts and ideas into clearer translations of my vision. The trial and error of the process serves to further hone the ideas of mood and intention that I want to get across from my subject. I also want to practice through the process to help me consider anything unexpected that might come up.

Sometimes, you only get an hour with a subject – if you’re lucky. Sometimes you only get 40 frames. Whether you count that time in clicks of the shutter, or seconds, every thing that you do working up to those moments has to prepare you for anything to happen. Your subject could be your best friend and want to stay extra, or if you’re even luckier, they could be up for doing something crazy in front of your lens

Or your subject could be your worst enemy, wanting nothing more than to get out of your set. Equipment could (and ultimately will) fail, lights won’t fire, strobe won’t sync, rain will fall, storms will storm – if it can happen, it will. Not only do you need to expect surprises, but more importantly, you need to embrace them and work with them, work past them – moving forward and making pictures all the while, even if you only have 180 seconds.

There is something to be said about how a photographer connects with his or her subject. When I approach making a portrait, I want that photograph to be the best and most interesting representation I’ve ever seen of the subject. In order to accomplish that, there is a special balance between allowing my subject to be themselves and be comfortable on set, and directing that subject to work with me on my vision. Usually I can help them be confident that we’re working on the same team and that I am doing everything in my power to make the best picture possible. As comfortable or attractive as any subject could be, if the lighting is unflattering or poorly executed, the final result will be lacking. Using that light as a tool to create mood, intent, and shape in my portraits, it becomes crucial to direct my subjects to fit into the lighting that I have envisioned for their image, while still allowing them to be and express themselves.

Sometimes, the answer to this question is to light my subjects very broadly, meaning to create the light in a way that will allow the subject to move around in their space or environment and still have that same quality and shape of light.

Other photographs need a more deliberate type of lighting with a very narrow window for the sweet spot. In a way, this is more challenging because it creates constraints both for the subject and I – they’re limited to a certain space or a certain direction, and I am limited to keeping them in that space.

The consistency of vision and theme becomes even more important as I’m starting to shoot more video. Instead of capturing just one frame of a subject, now I have thousands to manage in one small take. With video, this ability is both challenging and liberating, in one sense I’m not tied to a single moment or a single expression to show a message, yet at the same time, I have to keep my message consistent across an entire take of video, as long as that may run.

In order to make these concepts possible, the image making process is fully collaborative with my in house digital artist, Emily Von Fange. She is a major part of executing my vision and she is part of the process from conception through final delivery of the job.  My intentions usually extend beyond one frame, one single photo, and one set of hands.

Whether that means that physically the frame and composition I see is multiple photographs stitched together side by side, or multiple exposures of the same image blended together, or different elements and photographs composited into a single photo, I refused to limit what I imagine and what I visualize by the constraints of a single frame. Often Emily can bring her strengths to the table in a way that I had not always envisioned.

I hope that I’ve managed to explain a bit of what goes on beyond the photo shoot itself, how the idea of only 180 seconds can take hours, days, months, or even years to pull off. When the process is described this way, it may seem crazy to some – a never-ending cycle, constantly caught up either in the idea or the act of making pictures. Maybe I am a bit crazy for going to these lengths to get it right. I’d rather do it this way than live a life where I’m not making pictures.

You can see more of Chris’s work at, keep up with him on his blog, and follow him on Twitter

Join RC Concepcion and me in this free online Webinar, where I’ll be Lighting, Shooting, and Retouching LIVE online and taking your questions, all based on my brand new book (from Peachpit Press) called, “Light it, Shoot it, Retouch it!” (The book inspired by the live tour).

Here’s all the details:

When: Today  at 3:00 pm EDT (Online time zone converter here: link)

Where: Right at this link:

Cost: It’s Free! Just register at that link above then be there at 3:00 pm today!

Plus, we’ll have special offers on the book and other goodies, and we’ll do a giveaway or two, and I promise to make it fun, informative, and I’ll share lots of tips and techniques with everybody live.

I hope you can make it (and I hope you’ll pass the word on to your friends so they can join us, too!).

See you this afternoon, live! :-)