Monthly Archives June 2017

Each year, on the Fourth of July we celebrate Independence Day. It’s a day where Americans from all walks of life gather together to enjoy massive fireworks displays as our way of celebrating our independence from Dave Clayton and Glyn Dewis, shown above posing with some random American male model).

We celebrate by surrounding ourselves with hot dogs, hamburgers, and mountains of potato chips before settling into a lawn chair with an ice cold beer to watch a glorious fireworks display using fireworks made in China. By the way — they’re “chips.” Not fries. Just sayin’ ;-)

Another great American tradition is the “Sharing of how to take awesome fireworks tutorial” that I do each year here on the blog, and since we’re just a few days away from the fireworks displays, we’d better start ramping up for it now. Here we go:

Here’s what you need from a Gear standpoint:

  1. Tripod: For the best results, you’ll need to shoot fireworks with your camera on a tripod, because you’re going to need a slow enough shutter speed to capture the falling light trails, which is what you’re really after.
  2. Cable Release: This is where using a cable release really pays off because you’ll need to see the rocket’s trajectory to know when to push the shutter button. If you’re looking in the viewfinder instead, it will be more of a hit or miss proposition.
  3. Zoom Lens: Use a zoom lens (ideally a 200mm or more) if you want to get in tight and capture just the fireworks themselves. If you want fireworks and the ground (like fireworks over Cinderella’s Castle at Disney World, or at the beach, or a city skyline, etc.), then use a wider lens, like the 28mm lens I used in the shot above (taken with my brother’s very old Canon Rebel and an 18-200mm zoom).

Camera Settings:

I recommend shooting in full Manual mode because you just set two these settings and you’re good to go:

  1. Set the Shutter Speed to 4 seconds
  2. Set the Aperture to f/11. Fire a test shot and look at the LCD monitor on the back of your camera to see if you like the results. If it overexposes, lower the shutter speed to 3 seconds, then take another shot and check the results again.

That’s the basics.

If you want to take things up a notch (and go all ‘pro’ on me), you could also add these four things:

1. Set your focus to infinity (This isn’t critical, but if your lens can do it, why not). The fireworks are so bright you can use just regular ol’ autofocus for the most part, but if you have a lens that has a distance scale window on the top of your lens barrel; first turn off your auto focus (right on the lens –  switch it to off), then rotate the focus ring on your lens until you see the Infinity symbol [it looks like the number 8 lying on its side], then turn it back just a smidge, so you’re almost right on the infinity symbol. Again, you don’t have to do this, but it might make things a bit easier.

2. A couple of years ago @SuzanMcEvoy (one of my followers over on my Twitter page) recommended also switching your White Balance to Tungsten and it works really well (Thanks Susan for the tip).

3. Lightroom (and Photoshop’s Camera Raw) Dehaze feature works wonders on the extraneous smoke in the background, so make sure you give it a try. It’s like it was made for fireworks shots.

4. This one probably goes without saying, but you’re on a tripod so use your lowest ISO setting for the cleanest shots.

TIP: If your camera has ‘Bulb mode’ (where the shutter stays open as long as you hold down the shutter release button down), this works great — hold the shutter button down when the rocket bursts, then release when the light trails start to fade. (By the way; most Canon, Nikon, and Sony DSLRs have Bulb mode). The rest is timing because now you’ve got the exposure and sharpness covered and you have a hand free to hold the adult beverage of your choice.

Hope you all have a safe, happy 4th of July as we celebrate our nation’s physical distance, in miles and magnitude, from Glyn and Dave which makes it truly a day worth celebrating. ;-)

Cheers!

-Scott

How To Use Macphun’s Luminar Plugin For Lightroom and Photoshop with Scott Kelby
Learn how to add Luminar to your Lightroom and Photoshop workflow! Join Scott Kelby as he introduces you to exactly how he uses Luminar. Macphun’s Luminar is a plugin for Lightroom and Photoshop, as well as being a standalone image editor, which means there are lot’s of ways you can add this tool to your existing workflow. You can think of Luminar as special effects plug-in that can be used for creating quick looks, finishing touches, or even serving as a substitute for Photoshop if you are a Lightroom-only user. Luminar is currently a Mac-only product, but a Windows version is scheduled to be released soon. In this class Scott shows you how to access Luminar, gets you oriented to its interface, and then shows you how he uses its filters, presets, and features to give his images that extra finishing touch through several start to finish projects.

In Case You Missed It
Building on his previous landscape photography class, Scott Kelby uses the photos he captured at Cannon Beach to teach you 10 essential post processing techniques every landscape photographer should know. Starting from a simple example to get oriented to the tools, Scott takes you step-by-step through his Lightroom and Photoshop workflow to learn increasingly more advanced techniques. In this class you’ll learn how to evaluate each photo before processing, different ways to boost contrast, how to stitch multiple frames into a panorama, how to process realistic looking HDR images, how to sharpen to bring out detail, how to enhance washed out skies, and so much more! Be sure to watch the landscape photography class first so that you can see the process through from capture to finish!

Photo by Jeremiah Wilson

What Not To Do When You’re Pregnant (aka WNTDWYP)

Hey there, Robby Klein here again!

For those of you who aren’t familiar with me or my past Guest Blogs, I am an entertainment and advertising photographer based out of Nashville,TN and I have a 2-month old son named Beckett! And that’s where this blog begins!

Throughout my wife’s pregnancy I probably took more photos a day than I ever have in the 15 years I’ve been shooting. I tried to think of pretty maternity photos to take of her, but if you’re familiar with my style, it is not the cute and pretty maternity type photos that some of you do so well. My editorial background tends to take me to weirder places and ideas than you would typically find in a maternity shoot.

During her 30th week of pregnancy I off-the-cuff mentioned something that she should not do while she’s pregnant, and it made us both laugh at the idea of her actually doing it as a pregnant woman. That day as I thought more about what I had said I started thinking about several crazy things that pregnant women shouldn’t do, and asked my wife if she would pose for one of those ideas.

The first idea was “boxing…”

..and after we shot the photo I realized that there was something fun and interesting about the “What Not To Do Idea” and decided that we would start doing a weekly photo until our son was here.

Things quickly escalated, as they typically do when creative decisions are left up to yours truly, and my next idea came to me pretty quickly as I passed by an old Army Tank at a VFW Hall outside of Nashville. I knew we had to use it for a photo. After a quick Craigslist hunt for a uniform and visit to our local prop shot, Art Dogs Props, we reminded people what not to do when you’re 32 weeks pregnant, “Go to war!”

I travel often and am lucky enough to bring my bride along with me most of the time. So when we found out that we’d be heading down to NOLA, where we are originally from, I knew I wanted to incorporate Louisiana into the series, which would also help diversify the photos.

I called my BFF Garrett to tell him we were coming down, and I wanted to head out into the swamps to shoot a photo! I picked Garrett because I’d seen him catch gators plenty of times in the past.

So, sure enough, one late night we headed into the swamps in search of a gator for our photo to help remind people what not to do when you’re 33 weeks pregnant, “catch gators.”

We headed back to Nashville after that. One idea that I had early on was fencing. I shot out a few emails after hitting the google machine pretty hard and found the Music City Fencing Club. They welcomed us in to remind ladies what not to do when you’re 34 weeks pregnant,“fencing.”

Like I said, we travel a good bit, so when we booked a trip to Arizona and decided we were going to swing by the Grand Canyon, the wheels started turning! I convinced an eBay dealer to meet me in person with a rattlesnake statue and found a fantastic jacket to hit the bill!

On a freezing (and snowing) day at the Grand Canyon, we reminded everyone what not to do when you’re 35 weeks pregnant, “Rattlesnake Hunting.”

By this time I had a running list of ideas in my phone. As the weeks went on, I would pick the ideas that I thought we could best pull off with the time we had. Because of our often demanding schedules and the fact that each photo was both shot and released on the week it represents (that was important to me to stick to), multiple times during this series I would realize at 4pm on a Tuesday that the following day from 1pm-3pm was the only time we had to shoot the photo! So it would turn into a mad dash of trying to track down locations, props, etc. in a matter of hours to be able to pull off the shot.

One of those shots happened when we pulled favors from every corner of Nashville just to remind you fine people at home what not to do when you’re 36 weeks pregnant, “Ride The Bull.”

I tried hard to make these images as fun, interesting and authentic as possible and, Art Dog Props really came through for me week after week! The locations were always what took the longest to find, and that was definitely the case for week 37! I finally remembered my friend Alicia is quite the adventurer and picked her brain a bit. She helped us find a great outdoor location so that I could remind the adventurous ladies of the word what not to do when they’re 37 weeks pregnant, “rock climbing.”

Around this time I was starting to feel like we were in the home stretch. I had an idea for week 40 and was getting nervous that the baby would come early and I would lose the chance at the closing image. We thought about shooting it early, but decided against breaking our rule of both shooting and release on the accurate week it’s portraying.

With the help of my buddy John and his trusty steed, we reminded you wild ones out there what not to do when you’re 38 weeks pregnant, “motorcycle stunts.”

This next idea may have been one of my earliest ideas, but for some reason I assumed getting an airplane as a prop would be easy! It wasn’t, who would have guessed.. So FINALLY after weeks of searching, we got connected with a flight school that was more than happy to help us remind the thrill seekers out there what not to do when you’re 39 weeks pregnant (besides turning a leaf blower on your wife), “skydiving.”

I never would have guessed that we would have had as much fun or gotten as great of a response with this series as we did. The stress of producing them each week just went away while we would be shooting and I saw the ideas come to life.

A few weeks into this shoot I knew how I wanted to end it. I had recently binge watched Stranger Things and fell head over heels for the show. Over a couple weeks time I collected all the items needed, and on that faithful open day that popped up, we emptied my living room and built our set as a final reminder what not to do when you’re 40 weeks pregnant, “Communicate with the Upside-Down.”

This project ended up being more fun and meaningful than I ever would have imagined! We are excited to share them with baby Beckett, who was delivered on 4/11/17, and tell him the tales of all of mom’s great adventures in pregnancy! And who knows, maybe there will be a “What Not To Do With A Newborn” series coming down the pipes…

I am someone that fell in love with photography long before I ever considered making a career out of it or financially gaining from it. I love shooting, I do it for fun daily! So when this project started, that’s just what it was, another fun thing to do with photography. I hadn’t considered what my clients would think of the project, but after a recent round of meeting in NYC and L.A. I was so happy to hear that so many of them had followed the series online and wanted to know more about it! At that point I started showing the series on my iPad at meetings and I feel like it’s really helped people see where my mind goes, and hopefully the love that I have for the craft, even when there is no financial gain to motivate.

I know a lot of you enjoy seeing more of the making of type stuff, I’ll leave you with some behind the scenes shots so you can get a little more context on how they were created.

You can see more of Robby’s work at RobbyKlein.com, and follow him on Instagram, Twitter, and Tumblr.

Wouldn’t it be cool if you could take a folder of images (RAW images, TIFF images, etc.) and have Photoshop automatically convert that folder of images into any formats you like (PSDs, TIFFs, JPEGS or all three at the same time), and while it’s doing it, how about having it run the Photoshop Action of your choice, and even embed a color profile for the Web, and your copyright info? That would be cool, right?

Here’s how to unleash this unholy power! (it’s not really unholy — that was just added for dramatic effect because, after all, this is just a script running in the background doing fancy stuff you can’t see).

See, that was cooler than it sounded, right?

OK, guess where I’m going? 
If you guessed either:

Nashville (Friday, July 28th)
> Richmond (Wednesday, July 26th)
> Los Angeles (Monday, August 14th)
> Seattle (Friday, August 18th)
> San Francisco (Wednesday, August 16th)

You were right on the money!

I’ll be in those cities teaching my Lightroom On Tour full day seminar, and I want you to come out. How much do I want you to come out? Well, enough that I made a 1-minute, 8-second video to tell you all the cool stuff you will learn (and it’s plenty!). Here’s the link with all the details (but watch that video first).

OK, makes you want to come and join me right? Right! Let’s do this! :)  Hope I’ll get to meet you in person in one of those cities.

Have a kick-butt Tuesday! (if there is such a thing). ;-)

Best,

-Scott

P.S. Tomorrow is “Blind Photo Critique” day on The Grid. Our category is “Portraits” and we’ll have Hungarian retoucher Viktor Fejes as my in-studio guest (here’s here recording some classes for KelbyOne – he is awesome!). Here’s the link to submit your portrait images. 

Dear Adobe: 
It’s 2017, and we still have to hold the Shift-key to resize things proportionally. Can we please, please just resize images like nearly every modern application on the planet does, where the default is to resize proportionally by just dragging, but then if you want to squash or stretch the image non-proportionally, then you hold the Shift key?

I know, this is “the way we’ve always done it…” but it’s not too late to change this for us, and for future generations of Photoshop users (especially people new to the program, who are used to resizing images without having to hold a modifier key).

If you’re concerned about those people who hate change, how about a compromise — make it an option in Photoshop’s Preferences. Give us a checkbox in the General Preferences that says “Resize with Shift, ” and it can even be on by default, but at least we could turn it off and resize images proportionally without having to hold a stinkin’ modifier key.

Imagined History Lesson
A buddy of mine and I were talking about this very topic a while back, and he said he imagined what happened was this:

Somewhere around Photoshop 3.0 (when Layers were introduced), an Adobe Product Manager said to the engineers, “We need a way to resize an image on a Layer,” and they said, “OK, here ya go, it’s called ‘Free Transform.’ The product managers started testing it and said, “Hey, it doesn’t resize proportionally — it stretches everything!” so the engineers went back, added that feature, and said “OK, we added it. Just hold the Shift key and now you can resize proportionally.”

Now, we have no idea if that’s how it all came down, but it sure sounds plausible to me.

There’s Still Time…
For the past few years, at Adobe’s Max Conference (coming up in October) they have announced/released new features for Photoshop CC, and since it’s only June, there’s probably time to add a preference for turning off the Shift-key thing. So, my plea to Adobe (on behalf of Photoshop users everywhere) is:

Please either swap the Shift key thing (make it only necessary when you don’t want to resize proportionally) or give us an option in preferences to change it ourselves. 

Now, what I would say to Adobe is this:

“I know you don’t want to change this (because if you did, you already would have), but if you had to start over from scratch and rebuild Photoshop all over today, would you still make proportional resizing require holding the Shift key? Of course not. You know how I know this is true? Because recently you did build a new application from the ground up — Adobe Muse — and when you resize images in Muse, they resize proportionally without holding the Shift key.”

Adobe, this simple change would make you heroes to many, many longtime Photoshop users out there. Remember when you let us change the name of a Layer by just double-clicking on it? It used to take a pop-up dialog box, but then you fixed it, and we cheered. Little things like this mean a lot to people who live and work in Photoshop CC every day. We’re not asking for some miracle technology. We’re not asking for the next healing brush or Vanishing Point. It’s “the little things.” Just add a simple preference to make our lives easier. It’s hero time.

Drops the mic. ;-)

Hope you all have a great Monday, with minds open to change and not just doing things because “that’s the way we always did them.”

Best,

-Scott

We are very, very excited to once again announce the winner of our contest where one talented KelbyOne member (and a guest) will be flown to Florida for their own solo gallery showing at “The Gallery at KelbyOne.”

We had members enter from all over the world, and I’m excited to announce that our winner is KelbyOne member:

Melanie Kern-Favilla

Her gorgeously quiet, breathtaking images of flowers and close up shots of nature absolutely captivated the judges, and we can’t wait to see her images hanging on the walls of the gallery (printed beautifully by Bay Photo Lab using the ‘Xpozer’ system).

Her gallery show opening is at 7:00 pm on Friday, July 21st and we’ll be broadcasting a live 1-hour interview (hosted by Larry Becker) with the artist at 8:00 pm that evening from our live events theatre (the live stream on Facebook from the opening and interview are both open to everyone). More details and a link as we get closer.

Congratulations Melanie – we can’t wait to share your wonderful work with the world. :)

Have a great weekend everybody, and see ya next week!

Best,

-Scott

P.S. If you’re like “What’s this whole gallery thing?” check out this quick Q&A. 

Close