Monthly Archives July 2014

Let me start by saying, I don't take photos professionally. But wait, don't stop reading! Hear me out. My name is Mia McCormick and before I took a position at KelbyOne, I spent a decade telling stories and interviewing some of the most influential people in the world in the name of TV News. Now I've spent the last two years interviewing the very best photographers on the planet, for KelbyOne. I've grilled them about technique and business plans. I've asked them about gear and studio decisions. But some of the most important conversations, often get the least amount of attention, like the ones about inspiration. Having interviewed nearly three dozen industry leading photographers, about what inspires them to create compelling images, I've learned a bit about what drives the top creative minds in the business. What better place to share those thoughts than here on Scott Kelby's blog.

First, let me just get this out of the way. There is one word that comes out of every professional photographers mouth when I ask about inspiration: LIGHT. So NEWSFLASH! The way your subject is illuminated matters, whether it be a landscape, child or delicious scoop of ice cream. And that illumination can drive imagination at every corner of this industry. Now that's out of the way.

Photographers tend to fall into two categories, those who thrive on external inspiration and those who need internal connection. Before I explain what that means, let me say that I've interviewed many photographers who pull from both, but most of the time they gravitate towards one or the other. Those who are inspired by external stimuli generally look to color, texture, music, and locations to help them channel their very best work. For instance, Lindsay Adler makes an Inspiration Board before a shoot. On it you'll find snippets of ideas, colors, textures and themes that speak to her about a certain project. One of my favorite wedding photographers and good friend Chip Litherland loves vibrant, in your face color. A bride in a red wedding dress is his "holy grail."

Photo by Joel Grimes

Lots of photographers will look at the work of people they respect and identify with when they're feeling stuck or "tapped out." Somehow looking at work they admire kick starts an idea that leads to their next great image. Joel Grimes once told me that when he's stuck in a shooting rut, he will flip through a magazine looking for images that speak to him. When he finds one, he'll look at how it was created and see how he can apply similar techniques to his own work. A lot of people find inspiration this way. It's one reason why the website 500px is so popular. I've heard many pros call it "an endless well of inspiration."

If you just read the last two paragraphs and thought, that's crazy, don't you know that inspiration comes from within?! Then you fall into the second category, those who need an internal connection to their subject, to produce inspired work. Gregory Heisler says his "worst nightmare is to have his brain polluted by millions of other images" before he begins a photo session. He needs some time alone in his head with an assignment. Only then can he come up with a vision for the image he wants to produce. It's not that he doesn't admire the work of others, but to him there's a difference between reverence, technique and vision.

Photo by Jeremy Cowart

Some photographers love a story. A model, with lights in a contrived environment just feels cold. They identify internally with capturing a frame that could replace three pages in a diary or a bio. They work like there is an invisible string dangling them inside someone else's life. Knowing they have just one frame to tell a story, elevates their work. Jeremy Cowart is well known for his images of Hollywood "A listers," but when I asked him about his humanitarian work, his eyes lit up and there was an awakening that happened mentally and physically. Doing good, he tells me, is what photography is supposed to be about.

Joe McNally is one of the best visual storytellers alive. He makes it a personal goal to capture images that tell stories in a way that no one has seen them before. And Joe loves a challenge. What better way to illustrate changing a light bulb, than to climb to the very top of the Empire State building⦠in the fog⦠attached to ropes for safety⦠and shoot the man who's job it is to swap out the bulb at the apex.

Photo by Deanne Fitzmaurice

Deanne Fitzmaurice is the perfect blend of curiosity and fearlessness, and that makes her an outstanding photojournalist. Assignments that tackle difficult issues, ones that are hard to convey visually can often frustrate even the most experienced shooters, but that's where Deanne thrives.

Now if I can take a moment to share what inspires me. At heart I'm a journalist, with over 10 years of experience in TV News and television production. I love finding a story and sharing it, but more than that, I feel inspired when those stories have impact. When I come in contact with an image, story or idea that moves people to action, I start to get that anxious fluttery feeling in my stomach. Then I know, "this is going to be good." Whether it's an attitude adjustment, some kind of activism or even just to wipe a tear, I'm reverent over stories with the strength to generate action.

Researching women in this industry inspired me to start a new interview series here at KelbyOne called Trailblazers. I found ladies willing to step outside of their comfort zones, and into dangerous, extreme and sometimes downright hostile situations, to tell a photographic story. Their internal and external battles moved me, and many of them have never shared their experiences publicly before now. Their courage is inspirational, and it made me want to take a courageous leap in my own life. Look for the series to debut in the next few weeks on

Whether it's the strong precise movements of an athlete's body that gets your adrenaline flowing or the story behind their rise from poverty to fame that sparks an idea for a frame, the goal is to leave the shoot a little breathless. If you're moved, chances are others will be too.

You can watch Mia’s interviews with photographers at, and follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

It’s official â” the latest book in my series is headed to bookstores in just a few weeks, and the video above tells you what makes this new addition, called “Part 5 â” Photo Recipes” different than the rest.

You can preorder the book right now from Amazon or Barnes & Noble or direct from us and be the first to receive the book when it ships in a couple of weeks. It’s only around $17 street price, which is an awesomely low price (it’s about impossible to find something for photography that only costs $17 bucks, right? This puppy is a steal).

I’m really excited about this 5th Part to the series â” it took an awful lot of work (and I about wore Brad out with all the shoots and travel), but I’m very hopeful it will help a lot of photographers along their journey â” especially those of you who already own other books in the series. Let me know what you think of the “all photo recipes” idea, and I hope you’ll give it a try.

All my best,


P.S. Did I mention that it would make a really cool gift? Well, ya knowâ¦it would. Just sayin’ ;-)


I absolutely LOVE to learn new stuff, and if I get a chance to sit in another photographer’s class, or spend a day in their workshop, I jump at the chance. Here are five (in no particular order) that are coming up that I would really love to attend (and I’m hoping to get to at least a few of these as a student myself).

(1) Frank Doorhof’s Ultimate Workshop Weekend
I remember the first time I saw Frank teach in person. I caught his first class, and then went back three more times, taking notes every time. Frank is one of the people I’ve learned the most from about fashion lightning, and I continue to learn from him every time I get in front of him (that’s me with Frank above). He’s coming to NYC (he lives in the Netherlands) for a three-day intensive Fashion/model photography workshop with a small group of very lucky students. I’m hoping to be one of them. Here’s the link with all the details.


(2) Peter Read Miller’s Sports Photography Workshop
Peter is one of the all-time greats of sports photography (he has over 100 covers of Sports Illustrated magazine, just for starters), and he’s doing a hands-on workshop in Atlanta on Oct. 6-11th. I got to attend part of his workshop last time they were in Atlanta, and it was absolutely phenomenal!!! Highly recommended! By the way, the class is mostly about action sports, but working sports photographers wind up doing a lot of portraits of athletes, and he covers that as well, as seen above. (Sign up while he’s still got seats):

(3) Lindsay Adler’s Beauty & Fashion Workshop
Every time we have Lindsay on “The Grid” as our guest, or she comes down to tape an online class for KelbyOne, I learn something new. Yes, she does teach lighting, and posing, and all the stuff you’d expect, but her insights in the business of being a beauty/fashion photographer are worth their weight in gold, too! She’s got a seminar, and a hands-on weekend workshop coming up in Vancouver, Canada starting Friday, October 17th, 2014 (the hands-on portion goes through the weekend). I’ve been in Lindsay’s audience at a talk she did for our conference and she was absolutely fantastic, but I’ve never had a chance to take her full workshop. If only they would let me into Canada (long story). Here’s the link — it’ll be amazing.


(4) Rick Sammon’s Provence, France photography workshop
Provence has been at the top of my list of places to go for years â” almost got the chance this year but then I had a scheduling conflict and couldn’t go. Broke my heart. Also, I’ve always wanted to take one of Rick’s workshops, because he’s not only a great teacher, but a really great person, and I imagine a workshop filled with fun, laughter, and lots of pictures. So although I’ve missed the opportunity to visit Prevance, and I’ve missed Rick’s workshops, this might be my chance. Plenty of time to plan â” it’s next June. Here’s just in the planning stages, but if you’re thinking (like I am) that Provence in June with Rick might be just amazing, here’s the link. 


(5) Joe McNally’s “On Assignment: St. Lucia!” Workshop
If you can imagine how incredible a week with Joe McNally might be, shooting and learning from literally one of the world’s best, in an exotic island location, in literally one of the world’s top-rated resorts (ANSE CHASTANET and JADE MOUNTAIN) then this can be that bucket-list workshop you’ve always dreamed of. I was fortunate enough to be Joe’s guest instructor twice down in St. Lucia, and it is truly an experience you’ll never forget. The resort is just beyond words. The locations where you’ll shoot? Amazing. And the shoots Joe sets up for the class are just astounding. And if all that weren’t enough, our own RC Concepcion is the guest instructor teaching you his Lightroom workflow and his Photoshop techniques. It’s this September 14 – 19, 2014 — you’ll learn small flash, how to use it like a pro, and work fast with the minimum of gear. You will lose your mind!!! It’s a very small group, and once it’s full, it’s full so save your spot right now. Here’s the link with more details.

Well, that’s my dreaming for this Monday. Hope to have some cool news to share with here tomorrow (and a short video), so I’ll hope you’ll stop by then.



When I posted this behind-the-scenes iPhone pic yesterday on FB and Twitter, and mentioned I was using Lightroom Mobile (that it running on my iPad), I had lots of questions of how and why we used so I thought I’d tackle that here today on the blog.

Why Lightroom Mobile?
First, I know there are lots of apps (OK, at least a few) that will let you transfer your images from your camera over into your iPad so you can see them during a shoot. In fact, Terry White had a great article on shooting straight from an Eye-fi Wireless SD card, through an App, right over to your iPad (here’s the link), but I wanted more than just being able to see them. I want this to be a part of my workflow to make my job easier and faster so I thought Lightroom Mobile might do the trick.

Above: Here’s a test shot I took the night before seen here in Lightroom Mobile. You can see the Develop Module Basic Panel adjustments shown here, like White Balance presets; Temp and Tint, Auto Tone, Exposure (you swipe to the left to see all the rest). 

Above: Here’s one of the shots from yesterday’s shoot seen in the wide orientation view of Lightroom Mobile. Dig that Histogram in the upper right corner. The buttons across the bottom take you to (from L to R), a Filmstrip view; the Basic Panel editing; Develop Module presets, and Cropping. By the way: Amazing dress rented from

Here’s the advantages LR Mobile gave me:

(1) I was tethered directly into Lightroom during the entire shoot, and I could have the images I tagged on my Laptop in Lightroom transfer wirelessly to my iPad, which worked great. But that part’s a given.

(2) Because the images were now on my iPad, I can hand this iPad to anyone on the set. The Art Director can have this right in her hands, and when she sees a shot she likes, just can flag it as a Pick and her choices are sent right back over to me in Lightroom on my Laptop. That is slick! Also, she can be looking at different images than I’m seeing on my screen, so I don’t get in the way of what she’s looking at on the iPad, and vice versa.

(3) I can edit those images right on my iPad, even when I shooting in Raw! If we’re looking at a shot and the Art Director (or client, or MUA, etc.) notices a light stand in the shot and says “Can your crop that out?” I can crop it right there on my iPad while they watch. I can brighten it, darken it, add Clarity, open up the shadows, apply Presets — all the same things I’d do in Lightroom in the Basic Panel are all right there for me in for real time, and those changes are sent right back to Lightroom without me having to do anything.

(4) Any changes I make to an image once it comes into Lightroom on my Laptop (cropping, brightness, Vibrance, all that stuff and more) â” those get sent directly over to the person holding my iPad so they see my changes right after I make them. Sweet!

(5) I don’t have to pay anything extra for any of this â” I don’t have to buy special wireless SD cards, and I don’t have to use a camera that uses SD cards (some of my camera’s can’t use SD cards), and I don’t even have to buy an App. Lightroom Mobile is part of the $9.99-a-month Photoshop and Lightroom Creative Cloud bundle deal from Adobe. If you have the full Creative Cloud subscription instead (I do), you still get Lightroom Mobile, so either way you’re covered.

(6) Lightroom Mobile is on my iPhone, too.

Those are the reasons I wanted to try-out Lightroom Mobile at the shoot, and I was tickled with the results. I’ll be using on set from here on out (plus, it has a lot of “cool factor” — it’s pretty slick to hand someone an iPad and there are the images they just saw being made).

Above: Here’s one of my own Behind-the-Scenes shot, seen in Lightroom Mobile’s Basic Panel layout (see the controls along the bottom?). Weird but true: This was actually taken with a real-life DSLR (instead of an iPhone) â” I just zoomed out wide to catch this BTS view. That’s Adam on the left, our Steadicam operator and genius video guy with Kristina, our awesome New York City-based model, whose eyes are closed so I can only imagine that Adam has bored her into a sleep state. Be that as it may, I have to say, I’ve never seen Adam look more radiant. Or was it resplendent? 

What about color management? 
I saw a couple of comments asking about this, and of course (I hope this goes without saying), but iPads and iPhone don’t have a color management system. Well, they may have one, but you can’t touch it or adjust it or match it to anything. I’m totally 100% fine with this, because like pretty much everybody these days, about 99.5% of my images are going to be posted on the Web â” in my portfolio, or here on the blog, or on Facebook, or G+ or Twitter. Which means my images will look different on every single person’s computer on earth. Want to test this one? Go to BestBuy and stand in the monitor department and watch the self-running demos that appear across the screens. The color is different on every single monitor and these are brand spankin’ new monitors! Same thing with TVs.

Every screen, everywhere, looks different, so sweating stuff like color management (unless you are indeed making a print), just isn’t practical for me. I’m not telling you not to worry about color management on your iPad â” I think this should be at the top of your list of worries, especially since you can literally do just about nothing about it, so if you want to lose sleep over this stuff like this, have at it. Me? I’m cool with my iPad’s screen looking different than my iPhone’s screen, and my Laptop’s screen, and every other screen on earth and I don’t sweat it, and I sleep great at night. (ARCSI)

Above: We set up a two-monitor workstation on the set so I could proof, and approve clips for a behind-the-scenes video, while the model was in make-up for the next look. Even those two monitors, from the same manufacturer, don’t exactly match color-managment wise. 

Learning more about Lightroom Mobile
We created a FREE Lightroom Mobile Learning Center with lots of videos that literally take you through the entire App and teach you exactly how it works. Here’s the link. If you’re a KelbyOne subscriber, we have a similar online class there. Of course, since we did that, Adobe just came out with some nice improvements and enhancements to Lightroom Mobile, so if you want to hear about those, just watch the video below from our own Matt Kloskowski, who by the way is on vacation in Hawaii, so I’m not in the mood to give him much more love than that, strictly due to extreme jealously. There. I said it.

So, that’s it. I’m not an expert at Lightroom Mobile (yet), so hopefully I’ll uncover some new things the more I use it (and I’m happy to share anything I learn along the way), but for now, I’m just super digging’ it.

Ya know what else I’m super digging?
The fact that it’s Friday. I’ve had a super-mega busy week, that started with a trip to Canon’s HQ up in New York City, and ended with a majorly delayed flight. I had The Grid the following day; I had a spate of non-stop back-to-back meetings at the office, I had a mini-shoot Wednesday night; I had a major shoot yesterday, and now my friends, it’s Miller Time. Well, it’s actually still morning, so it’s not exactly Miller Time but you know what I mean.

Here’s wishing you all a relaxing, fun-filled, helium-filled weekend!



Win A FREE Pass to Photoshop World Las Vegas!
Submit your best photos to this contest for your chance to win a FREE pass to Photoshop World Las Vegas! The big winner will also have their photo published in Photoshop User magazine AND get a free year of KelbyOne! The winner will be chosen by a panel including Scott Kelby, Matt Kloskowski, Peter Hurley, Tamara Lackey, and Erik Valind. The deadline to submit is August 2, so click here and share your best work!

Behind The Lens: In-Depth Portfolio Reviews with Joe McNally and Scott Kelby
Join Joe McNally and Scott Kelby for an evening of no-holds-barred portfolio critiques, stories, and laughs. Joe graciously provides his expert, constructive insights to help beginners and experienced shooters alike improve their portfolio. More experienced photographers often get to a point where takeaways and suggestions are rare. Joe's unique way of seeing into photographs, coupled with his years of experience, and absolutely entertaining delivery style, makes this live night at the Tampa Improv a must watch class for any photographer.

Leave a comment for your chance to watch this for free!

KelbyOne Live
Want to spend a day with Scott Kelby, Joe McNally, or Corey Barker? Check out these seminar tours!

Shoot Like A Pro with Scott Kelby
Aug 26 - St. Louis, MO
Aug 28 - Kansas City, MO

One Flash, Two Flash with Joe McNally
July 24 - Milwaukee, WI
July 28 - Boston, MA

Photoshop Down & Dirty Master FX with Corey Barker
Aug 1 - Miami, FL
Aug 13 - Austin, TX

You can check out the full schedule for seminars through August, and we'll be updating it with more dates soon! Leave a comment for your chance to win a ticket to one of these events!

Jeremy Cowart’s Photographers Toolkit
Our good friend Jeremy Cowart recently made his Photographers Toolkit available for free download! If you’re curious about the gear Jeremy uses to make the amazing images he creates, just sign up for his mailing list and you’ll get a link to download this PDF. He covers everything from his cameras and lenses to apps to desks to lights and everything in between. Rather than try to explain it myself, here’s a blurb from the toolkit intro:

Just imagine we're sitting down at a coffee shop and I'm quickly telling you about my latest favorite pieces of gear. That's the idea and tone behind everything below. If you want all the super impersonal, technical details about gear then well, there are a million other places to go for that.

This isn’t THE guide for photographers, this is MY guide. These are the actual items that I own and use on a daily basis. I don't necessarily have all the latest greatest versions of everything, so some of the items below might be a little outdated. But if they're here, that means I'm currently still using them and loving them. I've collected them over time, and would suggest you do the same with your gear. You don't need to go out and buy everything you want right away. Pick a few that you enjoy and go create great art.

Last Week’s Winners
KelbyOne Rentals
– Brent Connell
– pinkquin

KelbyOne Live Ticket
– Rusty Parkhurst

If you're one of the lucky winners, we'll be in touch soon. Have a great Thursday!

When I received an email from Brad asking me if I wanted to write a guest post for Scott I was psyched. I screamed some colorful words like the ones coming out of the Master Jay Maisel's mouth and I quickly wrote back saying YES! I was honored to even be considered to write on Scott's blog. But then I panicked…. What could I possibly write about?

Well, I have been shooting for only 3 years, I've had my up and downs, I've tried several photography genres, and I kicked and whined just to think about specializing in just one thing. Then I realized what I enjoyed the most was shooting people. So far this is what has worked for me.

Between now an then I experimented a little with landscape photography, long exposures, macro photography, food photography, concert photography, and I even had the great opportunity to work with a motor sport team (8 Star Motorsports) and cover a couple of events and do their pictures for their sponsors brochure. By trying all of this I learned things I couldn't have learned if I had said I that only specialized in portraits, and I would have missed all the amazing experiences I had by playing around in different genres. I don't mean I don't enjoy photographing cars, food, flowers or landscapes, I just think they look way better when there's a human in the frame. But that's my personal case.

Personal Projects
Personal projects have been a huge part of my photography. When I got my camera in 2011 I took over the garage and built a little studio, then I annoyed everybody at home so I could practice with my new set of lights. After a little while people gave up on being my subjects and I had to try a new genre…. The Selfie. Along with the selfie I discovered my crafty skills, and soon after the Hamburger Hat was born. After 3 years of making the hat and using those pictures as my avatar in every social media platform I really enjoy when a client ask me if they can have their picture taken with the Hamburger Hat. It's my personal ongoing series.

My Portfolio
Almost every single one of my images have a sentimental meaning to me but I couldn't just fill my portfolio with selfies. I've put myself in front of the camera because I have a huge need to create, to try new things, and, heck, I enjoy taking a selfie from time to time too! I will say my camera is my Xanax, creating pictures is how I have kept my sanity the last 3 years but I think it was necessary for me to have more subjects than myself in my book.

After listening to a zillion opinions of how to build a portfolio, I decided I was only going to show the kind of images that I wanted to be hired to do. The kind of work that I enjoy doing the most. Portraits with a creative twist and beauty. At the time I was doing mostly corporate portraits (what paid my bills), so I had to find a way to get those creative pics I had in my head into my portfolio.

Then we come to one of the questions I get asked the most…

How do you find your models?
Social media. Facebook. To date, most of the models I've worked with I have met through groups or friends on Facebook. Yes, I've heard of Model Mayhem, I have an account but honestly I have never used it. I kinda feel safer using Facebook because you have more access to personal information so you can see who you're dealing with.

Always be clear when contacting models if your doing TFP, (time/trade for print) and talk about terms and expectations before the shoot. And always, always, always get your model release signed. Make sure all of the parties know what the use of the images are gonna be and it's a fair trade.

Keep your dirty laundry in the hamper!
Working in a positive creative environment is extremely important to me.  I've been contacted several times to collaborate with different kind of artists and when I see their posts on social media I just get completely turned off by erratic behavior. It doesn't matter how good somebody's work is, a bad attitude can easily screw up a deal.

Remember this is my personal 5 cents on the topic, this is the way I work.

Building a killer team.
I was extremely lucky to build a killer team when I was in Orlando with a hair and make up artist, Valeria Angelino. We met on a shoot and since then we started working together. It was magical. We were always on the same page and we really enjoyed creating together. She's fantastic, she has toured with Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears and she's currently touring with The Voice. I miss her to death.

Chances are there are lots of local artists looking to build their portfolios too, don't be afraid to contact people, the worst thing can happen is somebody says no. Know the value of your work, know what you have to offer, and think of a deal that can be beneficial for both of you whether it's prints, digital images, editorials, etc.

Remember all these collaborations can bring something for your business in the future.

Stay Inspired
The best way to stay inspired is to keep busy. Whether it is planning shoots, shooting personal projects, making props, learning new techniques, experimenting; If your butt’s on a sofa waiting for the magical powers of inspiration come to you, chances are you're gonna get frustrated and nothing is gonna happen. Connect to people, scout new locations, find new subjects, heck do something!

You don't need to break the piggy bank.
We all dream about a huge production budget for a shoot but in real life you don't really need to spend a huge amount of money to have a successful shoot. Use a piece of fabric, make bubbles, shoot through a window or a glass, use powder or flour, make hair or makeup the main focus on your subject.

Choose your battles.
The not very fun part of becoming a photographer is educating people. I still get invited to parties and then right after the invitation I get the, "Oh and bring your camera" comment. I get lots of "exposure" payment offers even for people that are trying to use my pictures for commercial purposes. Sadly some people don't take photographers seriously and this can become very frustrating. Choose your battles, sometimes it’s better to just walk away than try to prove your point . Value your work, your time and your talent.

You can see more of Gilmar’s work at, and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest.