Monthly Archives July 2020

15 Years Of Retouching and My “Over Retouching” Story

When I started photography 15 years ago, what attracted me to it at first was the post-processing process. I remember seeing some super strong HDR photos that I was in complete admiration of, hoping that one day I would be able to pull that off.

So I started photography using Photomatix and doing lots of HDR. I felt like a kid that was given a toy. And like any kid, I played with the latest toys until I got bored with it

A panorama  of the opera with a bit of illustrative look
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One of my first HDR shot of the Eiffel Tower that became an official post card sold at the Eiffel Tower :-)

I loved doing this kind of photography. But there was just one thing that bothered me. The first reaction I was always got was, “Did you use Photoshop?” All  because I used a post processing software. It sort of meant to me that I was not any more a legit photographer, but more like a graphic designer.

At first this did not bother me. But after years and years of getting this reaction, I started getting a little tired of it.

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Another HDR shot of La defense, the business area of Paris

In 2010 I went to Photoshop World for the first time in Las Vegas and discovered the work of Peter Lik. I was absolutely in admiration of his photography and the size of the gallery in the Mandalay Bay Hotel. I did some research on him and discovered that he had several galleries on his own. Since then, I visited the one in Soho New York and Rodeo Drive in Los Angeles (which is now closed). I spent hour observing the reactions of the public in the gallery.

What surprised me the most is that the public usually reacted with, “Wow! What a beautiful beach, what a great city,” etc… there was no mention of Photoshop.

It was clear to me that there was some serious post processing done on his photos. But it was good processing. Processing that made the photos very dramatic but with a natural flair.

I then realized that there were several issues in my photos.


One thing #TravelTuesday has great potential for is an epic road trip, and having embarked on plenty in my time, I thought it would be a good idea to share 10 tips for road trips. This isn’t about the photography—it’s about the trip itself. With lockdowns taking place throughout the world, these tips will come in handy when restrictions are lifted, so save them and don’t use them until it’s zero-risk!

A classic road trip is a bucket list item for many of us, and there’s a good reason for it. The freedom to explore and take in everything at our own pace is a very exciting prospect. With airlines up and down at the moment (pardon the pun), the idea of hitting the open road is very inviting. It takes good planning and a decent plan to make it work, so let’s check out the top 10 tips!

Keep a Clean Car

Before and during the trip, a mess will do nothing but annoy us. Keeping a clean car, with all our gear easily accessible, makes a huge difference. There’s nothing worse than empty drinks bottles and gum wrappers getting in the way and rattling around. It can be a tight space in there, particularly if we’re sharing with others. As the trip progresses, it’s well worth taking the time to jettison anything we don’t need in there!

Check the Vehicle

Oil, water, tyres, spares, it’s all really important and becomes more important over greater distances. Don’t rely on anybody else to check it all, even in a rental!

Have a Plan

With goals in mind, we feel good when we achieve them and they help us to have a track to stick to. The planned stop each night is likely to be a range of different hotels. Having hotel reservations and activities planned and paid for will also keep us on track, and keep us well-aligned to our end goal.

Use Back Roads

Main roads, highways, interstates, motorways, autobahns, and the like will help us to cover a greater distance in a shorter time, but rarely will they offer us a chance to pull out and see something epic. Back roads are where we’ll find all manner of awesome sights and stunning scenery.

But Plan to Escape to Main Roads Where Necessary

There may be a time that progress is important, and some back roads may be nothing more than strip malls or trees. Where this is the case, have a plan to get to a main road and move on!

Anticipate Trouble

I’m talking about rush hour, roadwork, and other such delays. I quickly learned there’s never a good time to drive in Los Angeles, for example, and in order to get anywhere, you must travel at the right time and anticipate this traffic trouble.

Divide the Work

Sharing driving time is good for the mind and the soul, giving everyone an equal chance to stare out of the window and at the landscapes passing by and dividing the tasks like sharing the snacks, reading the maps, and formulating back-up plans.

Load Up the Entertainment

A good playlist is key, and to be honest, I’m surprised I left it until so far down the list! Sometimes a local radio station will be okay, but a talk show in an alien language can throw that right off. Occasionally, the tedium of an apparently endless drive can be remedied quite simply with an in-car karaoke session!


And recovery! Anything could happen, and in a rental, a small dink can be astronomically expensive. Complete insurance and a roadside recovery plan are very, very important, and can get us back on the road quickly if anything does go wrong.


Knowing the documents we need to carry, wherever we are in the world, will verify us a lot quicker. Not all countries require us to carry all our documents, so knowing what we do need and having it readily available will help if we’re challenged for any reason.

Here’s to some epic post-COVID road trips!

Much love

First, a world of thanks to you folks on my blog who attended last week’s Photoshop Conference. We’re so grateful for the incredible turnout, and we’re just tickled to death with the wonderful feedback we’re getting. We had the greatest crew of instructors, and a fun, totally-into-it group of participants. My humble thanks to you all for being a part of this event — the sense of community and togetherness was just incredible. You guys are awesome!

If you follow me regularly, you know I do most of my daily work in Lightroom, and jump over to Photoshop when I need to, but because our conference last week was a Photoshop Conference (and not a Lightroom Conference — we did that one earlier in the year); I did a lot of my post work in Camera Raw, and opened it as a filter numerous times to do things I would normally do in Lightroom.

Seeing me do so much in Camera Raw confused a number of folks, and In fact, one question I got was, “If Photoshop does all this amazing stuff and has Camera Raw, why should I use Lightroom at all?”

So, today I thought I would try and help clear things up , and answer that gentleman’s question at the same time. It’ll help if we start out with a very brief history lesson (it’s really quick, but it’ll really help). Let’s go:

Adobe Camera Raw Came First

It was born in 2003 (it was created by Adobe’s Thomas Knoll; the same guy who originally wrote Photoshop), and it was a plug-in to Photoshop, much like it is to this very day. It was a pretty ground-breaking thing and changed the way the world worked with their images from that day forward.

Then, three years later, Lightroom was born

When Adobe released Lightroom 1.0 (actually, they did a free 1-year public beta before the actual 1.0 release), they took Camera Raw, as is, and put it directly into Lightroom. The same sliders in the same order using the same math that all do the exact same thing. They did change one thing, though, it was a biggie (and helped bring us to the land of confusionville).

Adobe could have named the module in Lightroom “Camera Raw” (as seen in my mock-up above), and everybody would have known exactly what it was. However, they decided that instead of calling it Camera Raw, they would change the name (and only the name) to “Develop.” So, the Develop Module we know and love in Lightroom Classic (and the Edit section of Lightroom “the cloud version”) are both in reality, Adobe Camera Raw (or ACR as well call it for short).

So, to recap: all three; Camera Raw in Photoshop; The Develop Module in Lightroom Classic, and the Editing functions in Lightroom ‘cloud’ are ‘Camera Raw.” They all have the same sliders, in the same order, using the same math, that all do the exact same thing. They are (say it with me), the same.

This added a tiny bit more confusion…

Now, one cool thing Adobe did (which also helps to add a tad bit more confusion), was that you could use Camera Raw as a filter in Photoshop. Yup, it’s under the Filter menu as “Camera Raw Filter.” So, if anytime you’re working on an image in Photoshop, and let’s say you want to edit your White Balance, you can just go up to the Filter menu and choose Camera Raw Filter; the regular window pops up; you tweak your White Balance (using the Temperature and Tint sliders just like you would in Lightroom), and then click OK. It essentially works like any other filter in Photoshop. You open it; use it, and click OK. Boom. Done.

Now, back to that guy’s question, which was:

“If Photoshop does all this amazing stuff and has Camera Raw, why should I use Lightroom at all?”

It’s because Lightroom’s strength is in its organization (I’ve yet to see any other program with the depth and features of Lightroom’s organizational tools), and the Print features of Lightroom Classic are unmatched — blows Photoshop’s away. And, it’s got top drawer sharing and mobile features. Plus, it has Camera Raw built right it, and better yet it was designed from the very beginning, from version 1.0, to work seamlessly with Photoshop, so if there’s something I can’t do in Lightroom, I can bounce over to Photoshop, do it there, and send that file right back to Lightroom. It’s a seamless, easy roundtrip.

So, what I’m hoping all this did, was (a) help clear up the confusion. (b) re-answer that guy’s question, and (c) I don’t really have a “c.” Anyway, I hope that helped anybody out there who was a bit confused, and if you were, believe me, it’s understandable.

We just announced it last Wednesday, but…

…nearly 400 photographers have already signed up for “The Landscape Photography Conference,” coming this September 8-9, 2020. If you missed the news, catch the short launch video below :

Here’s the link to get your tickets. It’s going to be something very special, and you don’t want to miss out.

Here’s wishing you a great week, good health, and lots of creative possibilities.


P.S. Don’t miss Travel Tuesdays with Dave here tomorrow, because one day, hopefully soon, we’ll be able to travel again.

Watch the short 2-min+ video below and you’ll see what it’s all about and why it might be just what you’ve been waiting for:

The official dates are:

September 8-9, 2020 with a special pre-conference session the day before open to all registered attendees. Here’s the link to get your tickets. It’s going to be something very special, and you don’t want to miss out.

Thanks to everyone who attended “The Photoshop Conference”

Yesterday we wrapped up our two-day live online Photoshop Conference, where over 1,200 folks joined us from all over the globe, and it was. just. awesome! We had incredible instructors and equally incredible folks to present to which made the whole thing an awful lot of fun. There’ was such a great spirit of community and that we’re all in this together; learning, laughing, and being inspired by each other.

Here are just a few attendee comments from the Conference:

“I can’t thank KelbyOne enough. This conference was exactly what I needed. I’m feeling inspired and like opportunities are limitless.” — Nikki

This was really awesome, so much great information. I am already using some of the things I learned. Looking forward to the Landscape event. Thank you! so much! — Vicki

“Fantastic learning experience with kindred souls! Already registered for the Landscape Conf. Thanks!” —RB

“This one course has been more beneficial than anything I have watched before. PS is so confusing to me, but a lot of stuff is making sense now.” –Jill  

“The sneak peak bonus session was worth what I paid for the entire conference.” — Tony

Concur, the entire conference was great. I learned so much. The Kelbyone crew is excellent. — Cathy

This conference was great! A great way for us who are unable to travel to physically attend conferences. Thank you so much KelbyOne!!!” —Robert

“I’m literally already creating actions in my documents from Terry’s last session” — Marie

Thank you Scott and Larry and ALL of the instructors…this was awesome!” — John

“Great Conference. Loved every second!” –TW

“Fantastic conference – Big thanks to everyone making it possible! Love the online format.” — Susan

“Great conference – see you at the landscape conference!!!
Cannot wait!”

I would love to take credit for how awesome the whole thing came off, but honestly — it’s the instructors. They were brilliant. So “on,” so into it, so engaged, and so willing to share and engage with everybody. Answering questions one-on-one, helping people solve their Photoshop problems on the fly — it was a beautiful thing to see, and I’m honored that I got to play a small role it in all.

I’m so grateful to the instructors, and to our conference host, the just out-and-out fantastic Larry Becker, and I’m so thankful to have the crew we have at KelbyOne. Erik “The Rocket Man” Kuna, Christina Sauer, and her Top Gun quality video production crew. Our Web team, marketing and design crew, accounting, our member services dept., everybody worked together, and so hard, under a challenging lock-down environment, to do something important and much needed in our Photoshop community, and I couldn’t be prouder.

We’re taking the things we’ve learned at this conference and using them to make The Landscape Photography Conference even that much better. We’re constantly learning, evolving, and working to always make the next thing we better than the one before for our attendees and for KelbyOne members, and the best is yet to come. Hope you can join us in September. It is going to rock! (get it, landscapes? Rock? Oy. OK, I guess we could still do some work on the jokes).

Here’s wishing you a great weekend. Stay healthy. Look out for each other. Love your neighbor (not too much, mind you), and we’ll catch you back here next week.


Hands On With the Canon 1DX Mark III: Everything You Need to Know to Get Great Shots with Erik Kuna

Are you interested in the new Canon flagship camera, the 1DX Mark III? Then this class is for you! Join Erik Kuna as he dives into the nitty gritty details of this beast of a camera. Whether you shoot video or stills or both, this is the ultimate hybrid camera providing rock solid performance for years to come.

In this class Erik explains the new features, the key options and functions for configuring and customizing the camera for stills and video, as well as sharing his impressions after spending time shooting with the 1DX Mark III.

In Case You Missed It… Hands On with the Canon EOS R: Everything you Need to Know to Get Great Shots with Larry Becker

Join Larry Becker to learn the ins and outs of the amazing Canon EOS R! Whether you just picked one up or are thinking about adding one to your kit, you’ll want to learn all the hidden features and pro tips that set this camera apart.

From features such as programmable controls to flexible priority mode to shooting video, Larry teaches you how to set them up (and more!) and get the most out of them. Larry wraps up the class with three interviews with professional photographers, Joel Grimes, Roberto Valenzuela, and Rick Sammon who have a lot of insights to share from their early hands on experience with the EOS R.

Since my new class was just released, Architectural Photography: Market. Shoot. Edit. I’ve decided to write about my journey to becoming an Architectural Photographer. 

It started back in college when I was taking drafting and civil engineering classes in hopes of transferring to an architecture program somewhere. That’s not where I discovered I was horrible at math, but that’s where it really started to annoy me. So, I jumped to graphic design, where I excelled. The rest is history, well, not exactly.

While a creative director for a couple of ad agencies and companies over the years, I still loved buildings. It wasn’t until I got deeper into photography that I realized I could merge my love for buildings and my love for photography. So, I did.

I started small by going around photographing buildings to put together some sort of a portfolio. That allowed me to show an acquaintance, who was the new business coordinator for an architectural firm, some of the images I was taking. She hired me for one job, then two. Then she left for another firm. See where I’m going here?

Now I had two clients, then three. But my biggest break came when I did something out of the norm. This was the turning point for my career.