Monthly Archives December 2012

Creating Your Own PhotoBook in Lightroom 4
Want to create a photo book of your holiday memories, vacation pictures, or your kids? Check out Scott Kelby’s latest class, Creating Your Own PhotoBook in Lightroom 4! In this class, Scott shows you just how easy it is to put together your own photo book using Lightroom 4’s Book Module. He covers everything from which shots to include, to layout design, adding captions, and submitting the book to Blurb for printing.

Not a subscriber? You’re in luck, because this class is available as a FREE rental for a limited time! Head over to today to start making your own photo book. And, leave a comment for your chance to win a 1-Month Subscription :-)

Photoshop CS6 Book for Photographers ebook, only $9.99!
This week only, till midnight on December 22, you can grab the digital version of Scott Kelby’s Photoshop CS6 Book for Photographers for just $9.99! Just head over to to take advantage of this limited-time deal.

And, I think we can swing a free ebook for one lucky person. Leave a comment for your chance to win! Classes Available For Rental
Did you know that most (if not all) of the classes on are now available to rent? For a limited time, you can rent any class you want for only $6.99! That’s less than a ticket to the movies. After a while, the price will go up to $9.99 per class (which is still cheaper than a ticket to the movies in a lot of places), so head over to and check out that class you’ve been wanting to see now!

Corey Barker Decorates for Christmas
Want to see how Corey Barker decorates his house for Christmas? A bit unorthodox, but he gets the job done ;-)

Photoshop Elements Book
– Richard Nilsson

1-Month Kelby Training Subscription
– TNitsirk

APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur
– H. Heigl

That’s it for today. Have a Merry Christmas!

On September 9, 2009, my sporadic photojournalism suddenly became as serious as it gets in the technology news business: I had to shoot a Steve Jobs keynote speech.

I work for CNET News, where a “Jobsnote” is a harrowing experience. Live coverage means reporters write and photographers write and shoot as the event progresses. Stupendously high reader interest can flatten even major Web sites, so there’s immense pressure to deliver. Because our regular photographer was out that day, CNET’s editors asked me to fill in for the event, at which Jobs returned to the stage looking skeletal after a surprise liver transplant.

For a full-time photojournalist, it wasn’t so awful: the lighting was reasonable, a dark background made for easy autofocus, and nearly every moment during an Apple product launch is photogenic. But I was a part-timer, so I was relieved when my photos turned out well enough.

For anyone who’s curious about my news photography job, I cover three topics here: The event details that freak me out, the gear I carry, and the wish list I fantasize about. Many thanks to Kelby Media for lending me Scott’s soapbox.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs speaking in 2009. This was shot at 1/200 sec., f4, ISO 6400 with a Canon 5D Mark II and EF 70-200mm f/4L IS

The Jobs speech was a trial-by-fire introduction to today’s tech photojournalism, a specialty that’s changing as fast as the technology it uses. Jack-of-all-trades journalists have extra value now that the walls between photojournalists and reporters are coming down. There are several reasons for the change: cameras are getting easier to use, digital workflow wiped out many technical hurdles, readers like photo galleries, and shrinking news budgets mean dedicated photographers are scarce. If a reporter can’t shoot an event, that can mean the news piece has no photos.

I got lucky because I live in both worlds. In most of my 20 years in journalism, photography was a useful but largely optional skill. In my earliest days I shot “wild art” — photos to enliven a gray page of newspaper text on a slow news day. My first digital SLR was a Canon Rebel XT in 2005, followed by a few nice lenses, Adobe Lightroom, a Canon 5D Mark II, and now a 5D3.

Taking product photos at dark launch events is difficult, but every now and again I get lucky with the weird lighting. It doesn’t look so good on faces

As I got more serious, photography became more important to my job, and now I consider photography essential to just about any event out of the office. I shoot press conferences, conference speeches, interviewee portraits, new products, and news stories like queueing Apple fans in Paris or the Large Hadron Collider particle accelerator near Geneva.

To start, here are the concerns I face now:

Where’s The Network?
In days of yore, reporters would gather information, package it up, then publish or broadcast their reports. Nowadays at tech events, live blogging is the order of the day, which means you need a network. Unfortunately, at the big events with hundreds of smartphone-toting techies, the Wi-Fi almost always bombs shortly before the event begins. Occasionally an enlightened show organizer will assure coverage of its event by lacing the press seats with Ethernet cables, a gloriously stress-relieving luxury. More often, the only choice is a dongle for tapping into the mobile-phone network. For really important shows, it’s best to bring more than one. Even then sometimes the only option is a mad dash for the press room after the event.

A news photographer’s blessing: People are emotional about Apple products. This is an early customer of an iPhone 5 in Paris

Where’s The Power?
Editing photos hammers laptop batteries, and every milliamp-hour is precious during 18-hour trade shows. I sometimes have to work while waiting in a queue before an event begins or while riding public transit to a conference center. I take every chance I get to juice up.

Where Do I Sit?
In a conference hall, I need to be near the speakers, without obstructing teleprompters, but I also want to get straight-on shots of the presentation slides. Being on an aisle gives me flexibility to get up and walk, but if I’m writing, too, I’ll mostly be parked underneath a laptop. Outlets are usually on the edges of the halls, though sometimes you can poach power from an overhead projector or the sound guy. A table with Ethernet, power strips trumps all other considerations, but often there are more press personnel than seats available.

The worst location dilemma came at Mobile World Congress in February when I had to cover Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt. Show organizers let reporters sit in the auditorium but quarantined photographers behind the back row. Apparently it was inconceivable one person would be both both writer and shooter. I opted for sitting in the audience to write — but then I pulled my camera out of my pack, snapped a dozen frames, made sure there was something usable, then stashed the camera again. In other words, I lied to get into the audience seating. That’ll be our little secret, OK?

The auto industry learned decades ago that blazing lights means products look better. This Mercedes was at the 2012 Paris Motor Show

Now, the gear. I’ve refined my on-the-road gear to this selection:

Canon 5D Mark III
If I were starting fresh, I’d take a serious look at Nikon, but I’ve got lens lock-in and am reasonably happy with Canon. This camera body is rugged, has vastly superior autofocus compared to its predecessor, shoots well in dim lighting, and has a silent mode that’s terrific for unobtrusive shooting. The SD Card support is terrific, too, for occasions when I’m swapping cards. I don’t do a lot of video, but it delivers the goods. Also, my personal photography inclines toward landscape and architecture, where the 5D3 is superb. Full-time photogs will carry another camera body so they don’t have to switch lenses, but I don’t have the budget or backpack for that.

Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS
This is my primary lens. Because I shoot mostly for publication on the Web, I have pixels to burn, so I can crop my photos instead of carrying a $7,000 supertelephoto. I love my Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS, which is sharp, durable, and relatively small. However, I must confess that a Sigma’s 70-200mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM I’ve been testing has stolen my affections. It’s bulkier and heavier, but the image stabilization works; it’s sharp; that extra stop helps tremendously; and the shallower depth of field is great for portraiture.

Usually when out of the office, I take product photos with Canon’s 50mm f/1.4 lens, but I didn’t have it with me when Nokia debuted its Lumia 620 smartphone. I shot this with Sigma’s 70-200mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM, which I’d brought for taking pictures of people, not gadgets, but it worked fine as long as somebody else was there to hold the phone.

Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L and EF 50mm f/1.4 USM
Of my secondary lenses, I use the wide-angle zoom for slides in presentations, event venues, vendor booths, crowds, and product demos. The fast fifty is chiefly for product shots, since it has nice bokeh when I want it and a reasonably close focus distance for mobile phones. And it’s small enough to be portable and to use shooting one-handed so I can hold the latest smartphone or other trinket in my left hand.

15-inch Retina display MacBook Pro with Adobe Lightroom and Apple Aperture
This laptop has competitive performance and battery life, is very well built, has a great screen with good color, and almost never crashes on me. I can run it with the screen turned down to nearly nothing or even entirely off to save battery power, and the backlit keyboard is useful in dark auditoriums. Its SSD is way too small for photography’s storage needs, so I make sure I clear off old catalogs to my secondary storage before hitting the road. I like the portability of the MacBook Airs, but they’re just not powerful enough. For software, I usually use Lightroom, but I find Aperture faster as long as you don’t need to edit much, its tethering support is less flaky, and its white-balance tools work well for me. I can’t always shoot tethered, since it chains me to my seat, but it’s much faster during deadline events. I always shoot raw, though for time-critical events I’ll add JPEG to the mix.

I try to find what I can besides standard photos. This shows corkscrew contrails forming from an an Airbus 400M’s propeller tips at the Farnborough airshow in England.

Tamrack Series 5550 Adventure 10 Backpack
When I travel, I squeeze all my gear and a few days’ clothes into it. It’s served me well, but I’ll be honest: I’m in the market for something more rugged. The laptop zipper is busted, the inside stitching couldn’t handle the pressure, and one of the outside straps is partially detached. Also, when traveling on airlines like Lufthansa that are picky about your carry-on baggage weight, I bring a lightweight nylon bag that scrunches down into nothing. When the staff complains that my pack is over the weight limit, I move the camera and laptop over to the nylon bag. It also helps for warm-weather clothes or other overflow items.

Modahaus Tabletop Studio
When I’m shooting products in the comfort and safety of my own home, I use this tabletop studio. It’s a handy piece of washable plastic whose tabs fit together to make nice even background, and color inserts can spice up the view. Usually product photography is more relaxing than event photography, because there’s time to get things right and the lighting is better than cavernous convention centers. But shooting for CNET can be intense because of the deadlines; earlier this year I had just a few hours to test and photograph a new Google Chromebook laptop, write the review, edit the photos, and publish it all. And a lot of product photography I do is in the middle of product launches where dozens of others are jockeying for scarce examples of some new gadget or prototype.

She was just taking a video of people in the Apple iPhone 5, but it looks like an act of worship.

Last, let me share my wish list.

More Light
I should probably bite the bullet and shoot with a flash more often, but the baggage burden and technical complications discourage me. Most often I can get away without one with no trouble. I usually shoot between ISO 800 and 6,400, which the 5D Mark III handles well enough for my purposes. The tech industry has only begun learning what the car industry has long known: kilowatt-sucking arrays of blazing lights dramatically improve product photos. The worst lighting I’ve endured in recent memory was, perversely, Hasselblad’s unveiling of its “Lunar” camera prototype in a very dim room.

A Better Backpack
Why don’t camera bag makers offer a better selection of bags that can hold both camera gear and ordinary baggage? There are terrific high-capacity bags that you can stuff to the gills with lenses, camera bodies, and accessories, but I also need to fit in rain gear, fleece, first-aid kits, maps, guidebooks, and often lunch for a family of three. And I need it to hold up longer than a year.

I write about digital photography, too, which means I get to try some nice equipment. The 80-megapixel Phase One IQ180 medium-format camera captures color so well I broke my rule of not taking flower photos.

Networked Cameras
Someday perhaps, cameras will do a better job with wireless networking and GPS, but for now it seems the camera makers are at least five years behind smartphone makers when it comes to embracing the connected-device era. That’s why I find the Samsung Galaxy Camera interesting. In my perfect world, I could use inexpensive wireless tethering, with photos being stored on both my laptop and my phone, and my phone’s location could be easily registered by my camera for automatic geotagging. Sure, my phone doesn’t have enough storage space for all the photos I take, but in my fantasy realm it’ll have cheap enough data plans that my shots will be uploaded automatically to the cloud. We’re not there now, but I have some optimism that the present golden age of camera experimentation will produce something with a lens, image sensor, and awareness of the Internet. I’m impatient, but watching the tech industry’s progress in the last decade, I believe this dream eventually will come at least partly true.

I had the window open for better light while taking macro shots of a Google Chromebook when a ladybug arrived on the scene.

You can keep up with Stephen on CNET, and follow him on Twitter, Google+, and Facebook

Do you totally love Photoshop tips & tricks? Me too! Then join us tonight because we’ll be sharing a ton of them LIVE from 7:30 PM to 9:00 PM ET at our “NAPPaThon”.

It’s 90-minutes of cool Photoshop tricks to give folks an idea of what we do for our members at the National Assn. of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP).

PLUS, we’re giving away a one-year membership to someone watching live EVERY MINUTE!!!! It’s going to be a blast, so join me and the gang tonight!

Who: Matt, RC, Corey, Pete, and Me (“The Photoshop Guys”)
What: A 90-minute love-fest of our favorite cool Photoshop tips
Where:  RSVP right here: 
When: Tonight at 7:30 pm to 9:00 pm ET
(Here’s a world time-zone calculator: — use New York City as our time zone).
Why: We hope that you’ll love this so much, and when you hear our secret “BIG ANNOUNCEMENT”  you’ll want to join the Photoshop training association that I head, called the National Assn. of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP). You can learn more about NAPP here. 

Hope you’ll join us there tonight! We’re gonna get tipsy! (wah, wah, wahhhh).



P.S. Can you please invite your friends? Everyone’s welcome and we want to get as many people to tune in as possible. Many thanks in advance. 


My book publisher, Peachpit Press, has been running these “One Week Only Deals” on eBooks and this week they’re featuring the eBook version of my latest Photoshop book, “The Photoshop CS6 Book for Digital Photographers” (shown above). It’s just $9.99 and it comes in just about every ebook format you can think of.

ABOVE: The entire book has been redesigned by Peachpit from the ground up to make the most of reading it on a tablet (as shown above and below).

You’re probably wondering why you haven’t heard me talking much (or basically at all) about my eBooks and that for two reasons:

(1) I always absolutely hated the way my print books look as an eBook.
It’s not Peachpits fault — it’s that the ePub format made for formatting ebooks works great for novels but horribly for books like mine. That’s why Peachpit decided to re-layout the entire book to make it really work on a tablet, and now it does (they knew I would never talk about my eBooks even it wasn’t something I was proud of, so I’m delighted that they took the bull by the horns and did a great redesign for tablets. And…

(2) I thought the regular ebook price is a bit too high
I like this $10 price, though. Well, $10 is actually probably a bit too low (it’s 72% off the regular ebook price), but hey â” it’s only for one week, right? :)

Here’s the link to order yours for this insane-o one-week-only (they promised) deal only available direct from Peachpit.

I hope you take advantage of this deal (and thanks to Peachpit for redesigning the book and for this screaming deal). :)

Hey everyone, Brad Moore here with a quick announcement… The NAPPATHON is on for Tuesday, December 18th from 7:30-9:00pm ET!

Scott and the Photoshop Guys will be cramming as many Photoshop tips as they can into the 90-minute broadcast.

Plus, RSVP now to be eligible for a chance to win a free NAPP membership â” Scott is giving away a membership every minute of the NAPPATHON â” 90 FREE Memberships!

If you’re already a NAPP member, you know what NAPP is all about (and hopefully you think it’s pretty awesome). Now, tell your friends to tune in so they can find out too!

And keep reading below for some great book suggestions from Scott :-)

I’ve had a lot of folks asking me for book suggestions for photographers this Holiday season, so I thought I’d share a few here (without including mine since since I included a few in my Holiday Gear Guide a few weeks back). So, here’s we go (by the way, these are in no particular order).

> Behind Photographs: Archiving Photographic Legends
by Tim Mantoani
Tim did a masterful job with book, which features his portraits of famous photographers holding a print of their favorite image. It’s powerful, it’s an important work, and the portrait and the image they’re holding tell you so much about them. I promise you, the photographer you buy this for will love it!

[Get it at Amazon]


From Oz to Kansas: Almost every black and white conversion technique known to man
by Vincent Versace
This may be the most accurate book title ever! In this follow-up to his bestselling “Return to Oz” Vincent shows Photoshop users a wide range of methods on how to create beautiful black & white images. Very well done from top to bottom; very current, and very useful techniques from a man who really knows how to create the black and white print.

[Get it at Barnes & Noble  or Amazon]


Shooting in Sh*tty Light: The Top Ten Worst Photography Lighting Situations and How to Conquer Them
by Lindsay Adler and Erik Valind
I just got to see this book in print last week and I am very impressed. This is such real world stuff because in so many cases we don’t get to dictate when we’re going to shoot or where we’re going to shoot, and this book shows you how to shoot in the harshest lighting situations and come out looking like a star. Great info!

[Get it at Barnes & Noble  or Amazon]


> The Accurate Color interactive iBook series
By Herb Paynter
Herb is one of the pioneers of working with color and his book is just about the most in-depth book for actually understanding color that I’ve seen a quite a while. The key word here is “in-depth” and although it’s for beginners to color, if the photographer on your gift list really, really wants to “get” color in detail, they’ll get a lot out of it (it has interactive quizzes and other cool features). It’s not so much about Photoshop — but it’s really about understanding color at a level they never thought they would.

Get it at Apple’s iBook store for IOS devices


APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur-How to Publish a Book
By Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch
This book was just released this week and I think this will be an absolute boon to photographers who have always dreamed of publishing their own “Coffee-table” book (or any other kind for that matter). Guy’s a brilliant mega-bestselling business author and Shawn’s a brilliant app/book designer (and a pretty formidable Black Ops II player) and together they show you exactly how its all done, and give you insights you’re not going to find anywhere else.

[Get it at Amazon] — Kindle ebook only


Sketching Light: An Illustrated Tour of the Possibilities of Flash
By Joe McNally
I don’t know a photographer using small flash that wouldn’t absolutely LOVE to get a Joe McNally book. In fact, I don’t know a photographer period that wouldn’t love one! Sketching Light is filled with Joe’s wonderful stories, amazing examples, very cute and to the point diagrams, and they will absolutely love it — it’s a lock! The book has 57 reviews on Amazon (which is a lot!) and an average rating of 5-stars (which is very rare indeed). Guaranteed to make you holiday gift champion.

[Get it at Barnes & Noble  or Amazon]


> All Access: Your Backstage Pass to Concert Photography
By Alan Hess
There have been lots of books about shooting concert photography, but never anything like this. It is just so straight to the point, pragmatic, no BS, and it really shows you exactly what to do and how to do it. I really think it’s the new bible of shooting concert photography and if the photographer on your Holiday gift list dreams of shooting shows, this book is the ticket. Very well done with loads of great images, ideas, and hard-learned techniques from a pro who is in the photo pit every week walking the walking. This book rocks! (I’m cool with the pun). ;-)

[Get it at Barnes & Noble  or Amazon]


OK gang, there ya have it. Now, if you’re thinking “Aw man, Scott I thought surely some of your books should have been included” (OK, that’s really more wishful thinking on my part), well here’s the link to them all on Barnes & Noble and Amazon.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Yesterday I started a whole “12-days of Christmas” giveaway thingy over on my Google+ page ( and I’ll be giving away something new every day (including my books, apps, DVDs, memberships, and more). Hope you’ll check it out (and I hope you win). :)