Monthly Archives October 2021

Portrait Photo Tips with Scott Kelby & Guests | The Grid Ep. 489

This week, Scott Kelby is joined by the one and only Julio Aguilar on The Grid! Together, they also welcome instructors from the upcoming Portrait Photography Conference, including Frank Doorhof, Terry White, and Gilmar Smith! They share some fantastic tips using some of their portrait work. This is an episode you don’t want to miss!

In Case You Missed Them: Portrait Courses from Frank, Terry, and Gilmar!

Want to get a jump start on The Portrait Photography Conference? Check out these KelbyOne courses from this week’s The Grid guests, Frank Doorhof, Terry White, and Gilmar Smith!

It’s #TravelTuesday and I, Dave Williams, am here again! I write to you today from the top of the Quiraing on the Isle of Skye in Scotland. I’m waiting patiently for the gale force wind and sideways torrential rain to stop so I can walk a trail and fire off a few shots as part of my Due North series. It’s testing my patience, if I’m being honest. Hopefully in the morning (Tuesday) I’ll have a. gap in the weather that I can make the most of.

Today I want to touch on the subject of Instagrammable locations, and by that I mean locations made famous by hitting the Explore section of Instagram so often. In particular, I’ll be talking about the Glenfinnan Viaduct.

Made famous following Harry Potter and The Chamber Of Secrets, when Harry and Ron are flying in the blue Ford Anglia when the Hogwarts Express arrives behind them, this location attracts droves of tourists wanting to see the train come around the tracks.

This location, like so many, is feeling the effects of being made somehow famous. From the photo you may think it’s a rather solitary location, and you’d likely think the same if you saw a BTS image I took on my phone: –

When I show a pano from the location you’ll see that the truth of the matter is quite different.

(Apologies for blotching out the tripod – it is a pre-produciton model and it’s still super secret)

You’ll see that there’s actually quite a horde of spectators waiting for the Jacobite Steam Train to pass by, and I’ve had to crop the edges to ensure the faces of the people behind me can’t be seen. There’s probably 60 people, and this is a weekday during school time.

Instagram and other such influences have made otherwise out-of-the-way, tranquil locations become very popular. It’s a catch-22 for us, however. We want to be the only people to know about such a place, but we wouldn’t necessarily know about it if it hadn’t been made ‘instagram famous’. My personal thoughts are that we should embrace it, enjoy it, share the space, and shoot the best and most unique image we can.

Much love

I’ve talked a lot in my live seminars about photographers whose plan to make great photos is based on sheer luck. They’ll go out shooting and hope that something just comes their way – some great photo just falls into their lap, because they’re not really doing anything to make a great photo happen on their own.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m all for getting lucky (I call it “Getting even” because so many times there are things we can’t control, like the weather, that destroy the best laid plans), but it doesn’t make a very effective strategy.

The reason I’m thinking of this now, is because I’ve been watching photographers like Erik Kuna, or my buddy Paul Kober, who work really hard to make a shot happen, and it’s in such stark contrast to what I see so many of us do. For example, Paul had a shot he wanted to create of marathon runners and he wanted to use a really slow shutter speed so the runners would be blurred with a backdrop of downtown Chicago right along the river. So, to get this shot he envisioned, here’s what he did.

  1. Two weeks before the Chicago Marathon, he drove from his home in Michigan to Chicago to scope out locations along the route.
  2. The week before he set up his camera rig in his driveway and keep running by it, each time firing the camera wirelessly and trying different shutter speeds to see which one would give the right amount of blur.
  3. The day before the Marathon he drove back to Chicago and tried out his set-up at different locations (he wound up strapping his Platypod to a pole) and testing out different angles and positions.
  4. He got up at dawn and got in place before anyone was there for the race to make sure he could get the location he wanted.

Did he get “the shot?” He did (that’s it above), and it’s definitely a solid shot, but he feels like it was just his first try at it, and he learned a lot, and he’s already planning his next blurry runner marathon shot so the best it yet to come, but the important thing is that he’s working to get the shot, and that means it’s just a matter of time, and effort, not luck.

He’s not hoping a great shot falls in his lap – he’s out there trying to make it happen (like Erik Kuna does when he plans an entire family vacation around getting to locations where he can shoot the Milky Way with a great foreground).

So, this week – ask yourself this question, “Are you working to get the shot, or are you waiting for it to fall into your lap?” If it’s the latter, you might be waiting a long time. Put in the work. It’ll pay off.

Here’s to a week of hard work, learning lots, and making some great shots!


P.S. It’s just two weeks to the Portrait Photography Conference. I’ve got some killer classes lined up, along with an absolutely top-notch instructor lineup – it’s going to be epic. Details and earlybird discount tickets right here.

Open Q&A day with Scott Kelby & Erik Kuna | The Grid Ep. 488

This week on The Grid, Scott and Erik answer viewer questions! No topic of the day, just anything viewers want to know about. Tune in to see all the great info they shared!

New KelbyOne Course: Putting Emotion Into Your Wildlife Photography with Kristi Odom

Kristi Odom’s years of photographing personal projects and conservation work have taught her a unique way of seeing emotion and have forever changed how she approaches photographing wildlife. Animals have a different way of showing and expressing emotion. How do you take an emotion and make it two-dimensional? How do you get people to connect and feel when they look at an image? Kristi will answer those questions and more. In this session you’ll learn tips and tricks on how to put more emotion into your wildlife photography, ultimately creating a more impactful image.

It’s #TravelTuesday again and I, Dave Williams, am here! You didn’t think I’d skip the world’s favourite photography blog just because I’m full-time on the road now, did you? On that note, I’d like to say a huge thanks to everyone that tuned in to the premiere episode of Due North on YouTube on Sunday. I promise my videos will improve – I’ve just picked up Premiere Pro and the Adobe magicians have pointed me in the right direction.

I am now officially heading north and my first proper night was spent at the Scottish border. I woke up to a beautiful purple and pink sky, and all the vibes I needed to put my mind in the right place were there. Exploring and simultaneously sharing is what I absolutely love to do. Everything else that comes with it could be considered a by-product. After I captured a few shots of my sleeping spot, I headed towards Kielder Forest because there’s one shot I wanted to get. It’s that shot that I’m here to tell you all about.

In Kielder Forest, there are several art installations. This particular one is called the Nick Shelter, at Blakehope Nick on Forest Drive in Kielder Forest, UK. The reason I wanted to shoot it is all down to having seen a friend’s shot taken there.

Rita the Ranger

I wanted the shot. It hit the list the moment I saw it and I wanted it. In photography, we’re concerned about copyright and other infringements, but we learn a lot by copying. It’s all summed up quite nicely in Glyn Dewis’ book, Shoot Like a Thief, which is a great resource for learning methods, along with the rest of his books.

I knew I’d learn something and I knew it would be worth my while in going and shooting this location with Kofifernweh in the centre of the frame, so I banked the image my friend took and didn’t look at it again. I headed out to Kielder Forest and found the sculpture, lined the van up, and took my shot. Here’s what I ended up with: –

It’s not perfect, but it’s mine. I love the concentric pattern of the pentagonal slats that form this sculpture, and the handy little parking spot across the road at the end is almost asking to be used for photos.

So there it is. My advice to you all this week is to find a photo you love and copy it! Add your own style, your own ideas, your own signature moves, but take inspiration from the work of others and use it to better yourself.

Thank you Duncan for allowing me to show your image of Rita the Ranger!

Much love

Blind Photo Critiques with Scott Kelby, Erik Kuna & Mary Bel | The Grid Ep. 487

This week Scott and Erik are joined by photographer Mary Bel for blind photo critiques! Tune in to get their unique perspectives and feedback on viewer-submitted images and see what you can apply to improve your own work.

New KelbyOne Course: A Photographer’s Guide to Bar Mitzvahs with Jefferson Graham

Considering adding photographing b’nai mitzvah to your income stream? Join Jefferson Graham to learn all the fundamentals you’ll need to get started with this lucrative event photography opportunity. In this class you’ll gain an understanding of what a bar or bat mitzvah is if you’re unfamiliar, how to pose subjects indoors and out, the key moments to add to your shot list for the ceremony and party, post event considerations, how to get your foot in the door for being hired, and so much more. Jefferson even brings in the perspective of another professional bar and bat mitzvah photographer to gain further insight.