Monthly Archives February 2019

Whenever the topic of access comes up, we as digital artists love to snipe and gripe. “Man if I shot that (event, celebrity, etc.), I would have done ____, ____ or _____. But whatever, they always give the great jobs to this mope.” Flip the conversation to privilege, however, and see how everyone starts to get uncomfortable.

I mean think about it. What’s the last photo related event you were at? What did you see? Cameras, booths, whatever. But what was the crowd like? Let me fill you in: it was a group that skews older, male, and white. 

Now pause. 

That in itself isn’t bad, it’s just a reflection of mean income and wealth.  Before the emergence of the smartphone, photography was too expensive for the layman to just pick up casually. Cost was and still is our biggest deterrent.  

The question I wanted to ask with this piece: what happens when that lack of access/abundance of privilege effects our ability to story tell and leaves large portions of stories untold or shot voyeuristically?

The skinny: subjects see images that don’t fully resemble themselves. Communities see stories that don’t tell the whole tale. Everyone feels the images aren’t honest to their story. The heavy: It continues to leave stories untold or half-assed ones that are lazily told whilst shutting out photographers who may be able to do a better job.

Let’s start with the skinny. You may be in the demographic I described earlier: older, white and male. You are a talented photographer and you want to do more story telling about people of color. What can you do to ensure that your subjects look at your work and get excited?

It All Starts With The Hair

Do you use a hair light? Like a dedicated light for your models in your three light system? If your subject has dark hair, it will absorb a lot of light. Adding a hair light adds separation and helps bring out detail and texture in the hair that could otherwise be lost if only working with a single light. A few of you will chuckle and say of course. Well then great! You’re done, you can stop reading. Nah, I’m playing. Keep your butt here.

Okay so you use a hair light. How is your placement of it? Often the hair light kisses the top of a subjects hair. If you are using a crate or grid, do whatever you can to widen the area that the hair light hits to make sure models with textured hair can get details throughout their hair. For example braids, cornrows, etc. may have different patterns and designs on a part of the head.

Be Conscious Of Undertones

Skin tones come in warm and cool variations, and which group your subject fits into will determine what colors of backgrounds, outfits, makeup, and accessories will complement them.

You can tell a subject’s undertones by looking at their wrist. A person with cool undertones will have veins in their wrist that appear blue, while someone with warm undertones will have veins that look green.

For best results, pair warmer colors with subjects with warm undertones and cooler colors for those with cooler undertones.

As you choose environments for portraiture, look for complementary colors that work well with the undertones for a soothing portrait, or contrasting or clashing ones for a more provocative look.

For example: I leaned into Jihaari’s skin’s orange undertones by placing him in compositional opposition to a sign with similar colors.

And you can see how the subtle inclusion of red in the setting of the photo above goes smoothly with Kelechi’s undertones.

Know The Difference Between The Whites vs. Blacks Sliders And Shadows vs. Highlights

The best advice I can give you is leave your histogram up on Lightroom while you play with these and see how the tonality changes.

Resist the urge to lighten someone up…. I’ll say it again for the folks in the back: Properly lighting dark skin is not the same as abusing the exposure slider in Lightroom. How will you know if someone’s skin is exposed properly? It’s the same as it always is. Study the differences in light. Are there highlights and shadows with differing detail? Are the shadows pure black? 

If you have to, take time to use the Dodge and Burn Tools sparingly to bring up shadows.

On to the heavy:

If you are shooting a project on a topic or in an area or neighborhood that isn’t your lived experience, why not spend time doing the following:

  1. Do actual research about the place.
  2. Get there two days early. Get a good night’s sleep and just walk around and take in the environment.
  1. Hire a local assistant.
  2. Follow photographers whose work doesn’t look like yours and who don’t look like you or have your life experience.
  1. Review your images with your subjects.
  2. Make yourself accountable: give your subjects a direct line to you after the shoot is over.
  1. If you think this story isn’t for you, challenge your client or editor to choose someone else! (always helps to recommend a few folks.)

Thank you for taking the time to listen, if you have any thoughts, questions, feedback, praises whatever, you can find me on instagram as @aundre or email me at

Aundre is a former Adobe Creative Resident. You can see more of his work at, and keep up with him on Instagram, Twitter, and Behance.

Hi all! Dave Williams here, coming at you this week from a very cold Chicago where I’m spending a few days shooting in the city. Perfect timing, it seems, to share some top tips for shooting a cityscape.

When we shoot a cityscape, we can often relate it to landscape photography, applying similar camera settings to achieve similar results. What differs in the main is the objective of the photo. We are quite often seeing a faraway land and putting our spin on its appearance by making notable points within the scene stand out, by bringing something in focus (whether that be one element or the entire skyline), and sometimes reflecting the local culture within the shot.

Yesterday, I was shooting Chicago with KelbyOne member Kevin Scott, who I know reads this blog daily.

Tip 1: Golden hour and blue hour are the best times for shooting a cityscape. As the sun rises, the city is quiet, as it begins to wake up. The changing colour of the light can bathe the city and warm it up, ready for the day ahead. In a similar way the sunset changes the light of the city, but the difference here is that the lights that are probably switched off at sunrise are being switched on for sunset. The tones in the sky are usually quite beautiful and there’s a harmonious balance between nature and the influence of people.

Tip 2: Change your perspective! The city is usually shot from a handful of good locations, over and over again. If you get the opportunity to shift perspective and shoot from somewhere else, you should absolutely make the most of that.

Tip 3: Bad weather = good! So, yesterday, I was moaning quite a lot about the cold—I won’t lie about that. That cold weather did something for the city, though, and the ice was an extra element. This translates to a rainy day, too, where the rain gives nice, shiny, reflective surfaces to shoot within a scene. The reflection not only adds a mirroring effect or a deeper element to the photo, but it also adds a level of saturation and an often overlooked location can look really great!

Tip 4: Consider the foreground. Speaking of bad weather, the ice was my foreground yesterday and it’s a foreground that isn’t permanent, so it gives my photos an edge over the rest of the market. I won’t go too much into the subject of foregrounds, save to say that they’re a good thing!

Tip 5: Lead in with leading lines. Leading lines are a powerful compositional tool because they force depth and they cause the viewer’s eye to move exactly how and where we want it to. What can potentially be a messy scene can suddenly become coherent with this simple addition.

Tip 6: Stabilise. To get the length of exposure we need, in order to keep the entire range in focus for such a deep scene, we often need to use a tripod, or where tripods aren’t allowed or are too heavy to carry around, a Platypod.

Tip 7: Use your imagination! Look for patterns, look for light, think about movement, such as water and vehicles, and capture the essence of the city as best as you can! When planning your city shoot, use the tools available to you to get the best shots in the best locations: – Instagram, 500px, Pinterest, Flickr. Take a look at what everybody else is doing, so you can decide on your location. And, most importantly, have a great time!

Do you notice from the photos I’ve shared that there’s no real right or wrong? It’s more a case of considering what’s there and how to make the most of it, whilst keeping the photographic principles we know in mind!

Much love


Here are seven more of my favorite Photoshop keyboard shortcuts — ones I use every day in my work and I hope you find them useful in yours. Here goes:

To move your current layer up one layer (in the layer stack), press Command-] (Windows: Ctrl-]). To move it down a layer in the stack, press Command-[ (Windows: Ctrl-[).  Note: the left and right brackets keys are just to the right of the letter “P” on your keyboard.

When you have the Crop tool, you can press the letter “x” to flip the orientation of the crop from wide to tall (or vice versa)

To fill the current layer with your Foreground color, press Option-Delete (Windows: Alt-Backspace). This works if you have a selection in place, too.

To Hide everything and just show your image on screen surrounded by a nice clean black background, press F-F-Tab. To get out of it, press F-Tab.

When you’re zoomed in tight on an image, hold the Spacebar down and your cursor temporarily changes to the Hand tool so you can click and drag your image around, rather than using the scroll bars which don’t work well when you’re zoomed in.

To create a new blank layer, press Shift-Option-Command-N (Windows: Shift-Alt-Ctrl-N). This is a really handy one — start using it now and it’ll be 2nd nature in two weeks.

To move a selection as you’re drawing it, hold the spacebar and you can reposition it as you drag. This is better than it sounds — try selecting something in your image that’s round, then try this trick. Pretty awesome, right? :)

Hope you found those helpful. 🙂

You keep sayin’…
…that one of these days you’re going to go to the Photoshop World Conference. Why not this year? If you register now you can save $100 with the Early Bird discount, plus right now you can snag a hotel room right at the Hyatt Regency (our host hotel) at a special discount rate for attendees. Plus, airfares are cheap to Orlando now. Come on, say it with me — “This is the year. I’m going!” All the details are at

One more thing…
I’ve got 5 handy tips for making photo books in Lightroom Classic thanks to the new features that were added in a recent update – it’s over on my daily Lightroom blog, Here’s the link if you’ve got a sec. 🙂

Have a great Monday, everybody!



This is your invitation to come to beautiful Paris, France and join me and long exposure expert; KelbyOne Instructor Mimo Meidany for an unforgettable four-day travel photography workshop — “The Essence of Paris” in the most photogenic city in the world. First, watch this short video:

Tickets & Details

What: The “Essence of Paris” Travel Photography Workshop
Instructors: Scott Kelby and Mimo Meidany
When: June 7-10, 2019
Where: Our boutique hotel is just steps from Notre Dame
Price: $4,950 Per Person (includes accommodations, and breakfast each day)
Tickets: More details and tickets here (limited to 12 participants maximum)

Don’t Miss Out!

All of my 2018 workshops were sold out in advance, and as of this morning, there’s only 9-spots left for this one. I hope one of those will be yours. Reserve your spot now, and we’ll see you in Paris this summer.

Head to for tickets and lots more info.

Have a great weekend everybody!

Hope I run into you next week out in Vegas at the WPPI show. I’ll be doing a book signing at the Rocky Nook booth on Wednesday. Come on by and say hi.



5 Fashion Lighting Looks Anyone Can Do with Frank Doorhof

Join Frank Doorhof in his own studio and learn how to take your lighting from zero to hero! In this class Frank shares his tips, tricks, and techniques for being creative with studio lighting. You’ll see him work through a range of studio lighting setups where he demonstrates how to use various lighting modifiers, single and multiple lights, avoiding glare in glasses, coaching your subject, and the importance of following your creative impulses. Frank wraps up the class with a series of post processing sessions to help you understand his retouching workflow.

In Case You Missed It

Make the most of your studio space! Join Frank Doorhof in his Netherlands studio space as he shows you how he has built his studio to maximize every nook and cranny to make it work for his business. Whether you have a large space or a small space it is all about making the most of what you have, seeing things with a photographer’s eye, finding the right angles, being creative, and having fun. As Frank takes you through his studio he demonstrates how he shoots tethered for more control, how he uses venetian blinds as a prop, how to shoot in tight spaces, and how to be efficient with the space you do have. By the end of the class you’ll be itching to start building new sets in your own studio.

Photo by Robby Klein

Happy Wednesday everybody! I just thought I would share a couple of short video projects I worked on recently. I partnered up with two local Nashville businesses to create quick-hit promo videos for them so people can see what they’re all about.

First up is Gift Horse, a quirky shop that carries artisan goods with a sense of humor and personality. Owner Jessica Maloan curates all the goods in her store, and her customers love her sense of style. There are lots of artisan and handmade goods, and a lot of the items she carries will definitely put a smile on your face.

Then we have Diskin Cider, which is where you’ll likely find me hanging with friends on the weekend since they’re just around the corner from where I live. They make some tasty beverages and have a really great, welcoming space to hang out in as well.

Both videos were shot on the Sony A73 body with Sony lenses (which I was just trying out but really enjoyed working with). They were edited in Adobe Premiere CC, and the music is from SoundStripe.

Oh, and in case you missed it… I got married!

That’s me and my beautiful wife, Katelyn!
Photo by Hannah Foldy

Our photographer, Hannah Foldy, did a guest post about photographing our wedding recently. But it was back around Christmas, so I figured I would mention it again here since you may have been a bit busy then!

That’s it for today. Have a great week!

You can see more of Brad’s work at, and keep up with him on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.