Monthly Archives January 2019

Adventures of Becoming A Dog Photographer: A Behind The Scenes Look with Kaylee Greer
Join Kaylee Greer for an around-the-world adventure in dog photography! In each lesson Kaylee peels back the curtain and takes you behind the scenes to show you what it took to get the shot. Consider this class a backstage pass to some of her most fun and unforgettable photo shoots. It’s never a perfect process, and you’ll quickly find that behind every amazing photo there’s a certain amount of love, madness, whimsy, hard work, trust, patience, and determination needed to bring her vision to the world.

In Case You Missed It
Time to let the dogs out! Join the fabulous Kaylee Greer, a private and commercial pet photographer based in Boston, as she shows you how to capture the best dog photographs you’ve ever taken. In this class Kaylee works with four different dogs in different locations, ranging from the local park to the local animal shelter, and shows you her tips and tricks for engaging with her subjects to bring out their unique personalities and create portraits their owners will love, or that can help a shelter dog find a forever home. The locations and lighting are not always ideal, so Kaylee teaches you how she works with whatever situation she finds herself in to locate those hidden gem spots that provide the perfect backdrop for your dog. You’ll need to be prepared to get down on the ground and make silly noises, but the effort will show in the fantastic photos you can create.

OK, I’m not the first one to come up with the idea for a Safari-themed fashion shoot. I’m probably about number 500, but I wanted to do something different and fun, and this seemed like it would both (and we could do it without breaking the bank).

Here’s how the shoot came about
I was working on a class on how to use the location strobe I’m using now, (the Profoto B1x), and I was going to do the whole thing in the studio because the class was about how to use the light and the wireless remote, but since the strobe is made for location shooting, I thought at the end of the course, I would go on location and actually do a shoot, so the photographers watching the course would see how easy and awesome they are to use in the field.

Kalebra is my art director for production shoots like this, and while she usually comes up with the concept for our shoots, I knew this time I wanted to try this Safari Fashion look and she was happy to help. I did some upfront research (on Pinterest, Google Images, and Instagram), and I compiled a list of what we would need to pull this off.

  1. A Luxury Safari tent. I found ones you could rent for $500 a day (yikes!), but that’s kinda outside our budget but then we found one that looked nearly as good that we could buy for $249 from Walmart — we would just have to cut a slit in the back so you can see through the tent to the field behind it (I wanted to have some depth behind it). As it turned out, I’m so glad we didn’t rent and bought the tent instead because the shoot was canceled three times due to rain. The rental house doesn’t care if you got rained out — you pay for the days you have it.
  2. A rug or two, for the floor of the tent, or for in front of the tent.
  3. Some steamers or luggage as props
  4. Some chairs (I originally wanted something nice Safari-looking chairs, until I saw the prices) so Amazon to the rescue with a director’s chair and HomeGoods came through with the other.
  5. And some side tables and props, many which we literally took on our sets at the office, and people’s desks, and well…we kind of borrowed them for the day

Kalebra went to work on getting the outfits, hair and make-up concepts, finding the right model, and figuring out the props; Christina (our super awesome in-house producer for our online courses) set about to find us an outdoor shooting location that didn’t look “Florida-ish” (it’s supposed to look Africa Safari-like), and a rental jeep (I thought it would be cool to have a jeep out of the focus in the background, but the jeep actually broke down on the way to shoot and never showed up, so scratch the jeep).

The biggest challenge was the cows. This was a cow-pasture in Plant City, Florida (about an hour from the KelbyOne HQ), and from time to time the cows would wander behind the tent and become part of the scene, and nothing says ‘this isn’t Africa’ like some dairy cows roaming behind your model.

Above: Here’s my first test-shot of our model Gabi on the set. The lighting looks pretty bad. The idea of this location shoot was to show how to mix your flash with the available light, and this looks way, way too “flashy” (looks like I used a big utility flashlight from Home Depot), but hey — we just set up the light; aimed it at her, and took a test shot. Hey, ya gotta start somewhere, right? Also, during this “setting the lights” stage I tell the model they don’t need to pose while I’m working on the lighting.

After all the work she had done, I felt bad that Kalebra couldn’t actually be at the live shoot, but she had a scheduling conflict, so we set everything up as best as we could, but we knew it didn’t look right, so we had Kalebra FaceTime in. That way she could see the tent, the props, and the outfits, then she worked directly with our make-up artist (whom we all adore and use every chance we get), the awesome Hendrickje Matthews to get everything right on set, and Christina and Rachel from our crew to get the set looking good, so I could focus on dialing in the lighting.

Above: Hendrickje (L) and Rachel work on tweaking the outfit after Kalebra FaceTimed into the shoot.

Above: The first thing Kalebra did was remove most of the junk (see above) we had piled in and around that tent. It was “over-accessorized.”

Above:  Once we started removing stuff per Kalebra’s guidance, the set was starting to look much better. The light still isn’t there, but at this point, we’re mostly focused on getting the set right, and the outfit, and stuff like that.

Above: Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at the set-up. Just one light (the Profoto B1x 500-watt battery-powered strobe). Special thanks to Kathy Porpukski and Erik Kuna for the behind-the-scenes shots. :)

Above: I take my tethering rig on location every chance I get — it makes that big a difference. Shoutout to the folks from Tethertools.com – they make awesome tethering gear!

Above: It’s every educator’s dream to teach standing in a cow pasture. 😂

Above: The glamour of shooting on location is real. Real smelly.

Above: The awesome Julio Agular assisting me on the shoot. Look how small that strobe is. Sa-weet!

Above: Here’s the overhead view from our drone. A cow pasture in the middle of nowhere is about the only place you can still actually fly a drone.

Above: Here’s what it looks like with the light off, and just the available light.

Above: Here’s what it looks like when your flash is too bright.

Above: Here’s the final image, with the light from the flash balanced with the natural light.

The lighting is supposed to look natural, not too bright, not too flashy. The goal is to make it look like natural light. It shouldn’t be obvious you used a flash. It’s a dance between adjusting the shutter speed (which controls now much natural light you’re letting in – the slower the shutter speed, the more natural light you get), and the power of the flash (which I try to get looking natural by not overdoing the power of the flash). Believe it or not, it just takes a couple of minutes to dial it in and get it looking right. We also feathered the softbox (so it’s not aiming directly at the subject) to create an even softer more flattering light. As much as I already loved the B1x, I feel even deeper in love during the shoots for this class. It’s such a brilliantly designed light — I’m thrilled to finally get to use them.

Also, I wanted to make the grass in the background look more “Safari-like” so in Lightroom I desaturated the greens quite a bit (using the HSL panel). You can also see the addition of the prop binoculars and the hat over her back (both Kalebra’s tweaks via watching the shoot via FaceTime).

Here’s the trailer for the full online course (in case you want to check it out)
I start in the studio and go through how the light works, and how the remote works with it (it’s super simple), and then we head out for the location shoot. I also added a bonus lesson which is a quick-start guide, so if you watched the class, and later want a quick recap when you’re out on a shoot, you’d be able to just watch that one lesson as a refresher.

Here’s a link to the class.

I hope you found this behind-the-scenes stuff helpful. In just a few weeks I’ll be recording a Part 2 of this class, where the entire class is all location shoots (based on feedback from the class – folks wanted more of the live shoots, so I’m happy to add another three shoots to the mix).

Here’s to a great week. Hope you’re staying warm (wherever you are) and see ya here tomorrow for Travel Tuesday’s with Dave. :)

Thanks,

-Scott

Now, this is a cool giveaway! Some lucky person (maybe you?) will be picked at random (for those that enter) to get flown to either Vegas or Orlando (we’re doing both this year, so your choice); we’ll put you up at the official conference hotel, get your airport transfers, we’ll even get your meals while you’re there, plus you get a VIP full conference pass and a party ticket to the greatest Photoshop, Lightroom and Photography conference on the planet. Awwww, yeah!

If you win and choose to go to Orlando Photoshop World, the dates are May 30th-June 1st, 2019, and if you choose Las Vegas instead, it’s August 21st-23rd, 2019 (remember, you pick which one you want to go to, on us).

The contest is open to everyone — so go enter right now (and tell your friends. Actually, maybe not a great idea in case they win. Your call). Rules, the entry form, and some nice graphics are right here.

Good luck everybody — hope you win the big trip! :)

Thanks,

-Scott

From Paris to Hollywood

Ever since I was a teenager I dreamed of being an artist, an actor, a director or just being involved in making movies.

As a teenager I remember seeing Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, and this totally changed my life. Not so much by the quality of movie, which I loved (I went to see it three times in the theater the first week of its release), but by the impact it created around me. Everyone at school was only talking about the movie, and I realized that a movie could have a huge impact on culture and society at large.

This dream kind of faded away as I grew up. I became a father early in life, and I got a job coding. But sitting at a desk was not a life for me, although I loved computers. I then got into sales for the travel industry, first selling sightseeing tours in Paris and later on working for my brother’s company selling websites to hotels.

In 2004 at the age 34 years old, I had four kids to take care of and lots of financial responsibilities. I was doing ok, but I started being obsessed again about working in movies. I decided to go back to acting class and to create some short movies to tackle the world of entertainment. Back then there was no DSLR that could shoot movies. To get anything decent you had to rent very expensive cameras that did not even have nice bokeh or depth of field and did not look like cinema at all.

All my efforts came out to nothing; my shorts were horrible and not finished, and the acting classes were not doing well. I felt like I would never make it.

As I was about to give up, I went on vacation with a whole bunch of friends in Guadeloupe. I had a small Sony point and shoot camera and started for the first time in my life to shoot digital photos. They were just snapshots of our holiday.

One night we were a little bored, nothing good on tv. One of my friends present, Kelvin Pimont asked me if I wanted to see what Photoshop could do. I had heard about the software but never saw it in action. Kelvin was a young designer who was a master Jedi at the software.

He starts showing how to select the sky and make it super dramatic, how to erase all the tourist around a portrait we had taken together and I couldn’t believe how powerful and how ‘easy’ the software seemed to be.

My first Photoshop experience before and after

That day I had a major epiphany that would change my life forever.

Until I could figure out how to make movies, I could at least create art with photography and make my photo sublime with the help of this magical Photoshop software!

When we came back home, I went into the biggest technical library in Paris (Eyrolles) and looked for all the books I could find on Photography and Photoshop. After buying a large number of really hard to understand books, I found a Photoshop book by Scott Kelby. Finally something I could understand.

I then started a project that went on for 5 years, taking dramatic photos of Paris after work in the most dramatic light possible. I would then watch tutorials on post processing and using Photoshop, and then later on Lightroom, I was able to make the photos even more dramatic!

This was a blast and my life made sense again. When I became 38 in 2008, I started doing interior design photography as I did a photo shoot in a hotel in Paris (in HDR) with the Seven Hotel. The hotel belonged to a hotel celebrity by the name of Philippe Vaurs.

Philippe was blown away by the photos. At the time there was very little retouching in interior design photography and most photographer were shooting on film. I added some subtle light effects in Lightroom that seemed to hit home ☺

He started promoting my work to many hotel managers/owners and I started getting lots of job inquiries. So much that a few months later, I resigned from my VP of Sales duty to being a full time photographer.  (more…)

It’s #TravelTuesday again right here on Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider. Usually I, Dave Williams, take the opportunity to use this platform to share some pearls of wisdom with you all about photography, Photoshop, travel, or life. Well today I’m using this platform to do something altogether different and share some wisdom from somebody else.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen, it is my pleasure to introduce 20 year old Abdulazez Dukhan. I won’t introduce him further than that, I’ll simply share the transcript of our conversation with you here, alongside some of his photos.

 

 

I am from Homs, Syria, and now I live in Belgium. After three years of war in my home we left for Turkey. It was there that my story with art began. I started to watch videos online to learn about Adobe Photoshop. In the beginning it was hard but I wanted to learn it and develop my new skill so that I could express myself in images rather than through lots of words. I have watched many different courses and put in a lot of hours of practice to try and get better in cutting images, understand colour, and all the other knowledge that goes into retouching. Since I started  to use Photoshop I became more interested in photography, but it was so hard to buy a camera as I never had enough money. In January 2016 we left Turkey and moved through to Greece. I found myself in a refugee camp along with thousands of other people, living without any knowing of what the next day had in store for us. There I decided to start with the photography that had been on my mind. In the beginning I took photos on my phone to document what was happening around me. I decided to start volunteering to improve my English. I met many volunteers in the refugee camps. One of them was an Italian named Annalisa. When she went back to Italy she insisted that she want to send me a gift to thank me for helping. I declined initially but eventually after she insisted I said, “a small trip camera would be really helpful as I can document the situation,” and so my story started with photography – I had my first small camera. I trusted myself that I can be a photographer and I started taking photos. I made a small album, put it online, and started to take more and more photos. A Spanish volunteer, Carles, saw my work online and wanted to support it. He very generously sent me a Nikon D3300 as a birthday gift. I had an upgrade and my photos started to get better as my understanding of light, composition, and the technical elements of creativity grew. This time my new camera had manual mode and it allowed me to start practicing more, and in a better way. I spent many hours every day practicing and trying to understand the difference between ISO, shutter speed, and aperture. After almost a year in Greece I asked a German photographer friend named Geo about a lens I was interested in and I was surprised when he said “I want to buy a new camera and I want to send you mine.” I was amazed and through such generosity I now have my own professional camera. A Canon 60D. Where I lived and what I have seen has always inspired me, those who didn’t know me but believed what I believed, that I can be photographer, gave me a feeling of strength through adversity. Living in hard conditions taught me that there is no such word as ‘impossible.’ I’ve thought hard about it and I’ve decided on the name ‘AzYeux,’ which is a combination of my name and the French word for ‘eyes.’ Creating a website and brand today makes me very glad. I always wanted to have all of my work on one website. I would love to take my photography and art to a more professional level, and do commercial work, commissions, travel, and work on big projects. I would love to meet other photographers and artists who I can learn from.

 

I asked Abdulazez to briefly explain some photos of his that stood out to me. Here they are, along with his explanations: –

 


Sometimes falling down isn’t like our world. Sometimes falling down is going up, or falling up. It reminds me a lot of pain. At some points on my journey I really felt I was making the wrong choice, but then I was surprised that it was better than the others.

I have always heard about Superman but everyone knows he is just a superhero character from movies, so I wanted to show that it is not in a movie. There are many real supermen, not in the superpower or the clothes maybe, but the goals.

I wanted to make it very clear for many people why refugees leave their countries. I used art to cut the original photo and edit it.

I took this photo in Karamanlis refugee camp in Greece. The text wasn’t exactly that, it was “save me and my children it is very cold” but as it was with the kid it didn’t work so I asked permission and changed the text to message I wanted to reach to people.

Sometimes there are just scenes you see in your mind before you make a photo. While swiping photos of Syria, I saw it as something different in my mind so I took what I learned about compositing and I made it into what I was seeing.

Through photos I tried to focus on the situation, to try to reach to media and reach out to people. People have been stuck in camps for a long time and this was an idea just to try and say, “we are still here.” #IDeserveLife

Photos in the ‘I wish I could be’ series that I have taken and edited show that these kids deserve to live and have dreams just like any other kids in the world

Thank you so much for taking the time to read a little into Abdulazez’s story and taking a look at the photos he’s made through self-taught creative skills which were realised because of the opportunities he was given from the kindness of strangers. You can find him on Instagram or on his website if you’d like to see more. I’d like to thank Abdulazez for letting me share this portion of his story and his journey, and a massive thanks to KelbyOne for giving him access to their courses to further develop his skill, and to Platypod and BlackRapid for giving him an Ultra and a Sport Breathe strap to add to his collection of gear.
Much Love
Dave

Yup — it’s a Photoshop book (and I think it will be a tremendously helpful one to a lot of people). First, watch the official trailer (made with love) below:

I wrote this book expressly for Lightroom users because it just covers the most important things that you’d go over to Photoshop for, and it makes it super easy to learn Photoshop. You’ll learn everything from layers to retouching to special effects, how to create today’s hottest looks, and so much more. If you’re a Lightroom user, and you’ve been wanting to learn Photoshop, this is the book you’ve been waiting for.

Here are links to it on Amazon (both print and Kindle versions are available) and on Barnes & Noble.com (both print and NOOK eBook versions available here, as well).

If you’re a KelbyOne member, you can get 37% off the print version (plus free shipping) or the eBook if you order at Peachpit.com. Just enter this code at checkout: PSLR37 .

Go get one! :)

Good to be back
I took a few weeks off to spend time with my family up in the mountains of Tennessee, and we had such a great time, but it’s always good to be back home, and I’m back on the saddle with my blogging here and at LightroomKillerTips.com, so I hope I’ll be seeing a lot of you this year.

Here’s to a kick-butt, super awesome, fun, happy, healthy, Photoshopy 2019!

Thanks,

-Scott

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