Monthly Archives December 2022

New KelbyOne Course – White Seamless: 11 Creative Ways to Use It with Gilmar Smith

Discover 11 tips and tricks that will transform a simple white seamless background into different looks and styles. Join Gilmar Smith as she goes through her gear, her settings, and her process for photographing subjects on a white seamless background in truly creative ways. Take your photography to the next level without breaking the bank or your back!

In Case You Missed It – Personal Brand Photography: Going Beyond the Headshot with Gilmar Smith

Learn how to incorporate personal branding sessions into your existing photography business! Join Gilmar Smith as she gives you an introduction into the importance of personal branding, how it can help your customers, and how it can help you stand out from competitors. Gilmar begins the class with a look at what goes into a personal branding session, tips for adding it to your offerings, and then takes you through a three-part personal branding session with a client wanting photos with a seasonal theme. Gilmar wraps up the class with a look at her post-processing workflow in Lightroom Classic and Photoshop.

Photo by Levi Sim

Editor’s Note: With the new year upon us, I wanted to share my post from 2015 about a principle that I still try to adhere to and share with others. Enjoy, and here’s to becoming the people we want to be!

Your Calendar Isn’t Your To-Do List… It’s Who You Want To Be.

Last week I was in a conversation with my pastor, Tommy, who was talking about counseling people regarding their lives and relationships. He mentioned talking with people who have these big aspirations of things they want to do with their lives… Become a pilot, get their black belt, write a book, etc. Yet when he asks if they have the steps toward doing those things on their calendar, they don’t. And that’s when he said the thing that’s stuck with me since…

Your calendar isn’t your to-do list. It’s who you want to be.

– Tommy Phillips

If they were serious about these things, they would be scheduling time for them. Otherwise they’re just pipe dreams.

Tommy Phillips at Watermark Tampa

Every year, Tommy and his wife Sarah map out their family calendar to be sure they make time for the important things: Date nights with each other, family time together, one on one time with each of their three kids, evenings on the porch remembering the past and discussing the future. They’re not just going about their lives and marriage haphazardly. They’re being purposeful about it and planning for the future they want together.

A not very well planned month

So all of this got me thinking about my own life. Am I just taking things a day at a time, or am I planning and taking steps to become the person I want to be? Am I saying yes to the things I want to do and that are important to me? Am I saying no to the things that are just distractions and won’t mean anything a year from now? Have I been taking advantage of my free time and using it to better myself and accomplish the things I want to accomplish in life? Or have I been wasting it away in the vast, bottomless, never-ending (though very entertaining) vacuum that is Netflix and giving in to every distraction that pops up?

As we draw near to the end of 2022, I’m going to invite you to join me in making a plan for 2023. Grab a calendar and think about the things you want to accomplish in the next 12 months. Then figure out the steps you need to take each month, week, and day to accomplish those things and put those steps on the calendar. And along the way, say no to the things that are just distractions from accomplishing those goals. If you get to the point where you have so much on your plate that you can’t handle it all, learn to ask for help and delegate the things that don’t require your full attention to others.

If you know you have a habit of starting strong but not finishing, plan for that. If one of your goals is to get in better shape, maybe just joining a gym isn’t enough. Maybe you need to take the extra step of hiring a personal trainer or enlisting a friend who will hold you accountable. If you want to up your photography game, watch some classes and read some books, but don’t stop there. Actually schedule time to create some new photos and make time to experiment with new techniques. Explore other genres of photography outside of what you normally shoot to see what looks and techniques you can apply to your own work.

What if you’re not happy with where you are but you don’t know where you want to be? Ask the people in your life to describe you. What traits do they see when they think about you? Are you a strong leader? Do you find joy in helping people? Are you happiest when you’re working by yourself or with others? Do you like variety or repetition? Ask yourself the age old question… What would you do if you could do anything and money didn’t matter? Then figure out what steps you can take now to start working toward that.

Make time for the important things, both personal and professional

This isn’t a set of New Year’s resolutions that are going to be abandoned by March. Put the steps on your calendar and stick to them. Seek support through friends, family, community, and any other ways you can stay accountable to yourself. Learn to adjust to the things that life throws at you without abandoning what’s important to you. Let’s make 2023 our best year yet!

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

Its #TravelTuesday and I, Dave Williams, am reporting this week from Lapland. If you”ve been following my socials you’ll know I’m currently on an Arctic adventure dubbed ‘Due North II.’

The van is a self-converted Mercedes Sprinter named Kofifernweh and the whole point is to feed my addiction for the northern lights and cold landscapes. So far, so good! I’ve made it past the Arctic Circle line and into Lapland where I’m chasing lights at every opportunity. The weather hasn’t entirely been on my side but I wouldn’t expect anything else here – a couple of polar storms have rolled through in the north and the temperatures have fluctuated between -13˚F (-25˚c) and 32˚F (0˚c) so I’m glad my heater and insulation are doing well at keeping me warm (and alive!)

The northern lights have been particularly strong at times as we approach solar maximum, a topic I’ll be covering in detail soon. With that and the overdue flip in the Earth’s magnetic field it’s more important than ever to fully understand the aurora if you want to see and photograph it. Forecasting it is not easy but once you get the hang of things, it becomes fairly simple to figure out what’s going on up there. Photographing it is what I want tot touch on today.

As self proclaimed #KingOfTheSelfie it’s important that I continue to preserve my title, so I shot this self portrait a couple of nights back. Here’s how: –

This BTS iPhone shot shows the scene. The camera on the left is a Nikon Z 6 with a 14-24mm which I set on my 3 Legged Thing Bucky. I set the exposure details and then set the camera on Interval Shooting Mode to continually take photos. I shot at 4 seconds, f/2.8 ISO 6400 and simply stood in front of the camera as still as I could to get the shot. The ambient light from a street lights of a road not far behind the camera lit me nicely while the aurora explosion filled the skies.

You can find a whole lot more detail about photographing the Arctic and the Aurora in my KelbyOne class. If you aren’t a member, now’s the time. For the Holiday sale the first month is just $5!

I’ll be back next week to wish you a Happy New Year but until then…

Much love

As you might have guessed from the headline, I’m taking next week off to enjoy some time with my family, watch lots of disappointing Bucs football, play lots of Call of Duty Warzone II, play with my new tripod (well, I asked my brother for a new tripod and he’s got a perfect track record of getting me cool stuff), and record some songs in my studio. Might even take a picture or two. :)

Here’s wishing you and your family all the joys of the season — I hope you get lots of awesome Christmas presents, and here’s wishing you a happy, safe, and fun 2023.

With much love and thanks,

The Holiday Break Guy

New KelbyOne Course: Recreate Lighting From Inspiration Photos with Lenworth Johnson

Learn how to recreate the lighting looks from your favorite inspirational photographs! Join Lenworth Johnson as he shares his three-step process for analyzing, deciding what was used, and then putting it all together in the recreation process. This is a great skill for developing your own lighting looks as well as being prepared if asked by a client to achieve a certain look. Lenworth demonstrates the process through five different model shoots showing his gear, settings, and final images.

In Case You Missed It: From Concept to Creation: Making Impactful Fashion and Beauty Portraits with Lenworth Johnson

Join Lenworth Johnson, a beauty and fashion photographer, as he takes you through his process for creating fashion portraits with impact. In this class you’ll learn how to develop your concept into a visual message, the importance of building a team to support your creative efforts, how to convey your ideas to your team, the tools you need, how to get your light right, how to work with models on set, and many more tips to help you elevate your craft! You’ll get to see it all come together in three separate shoots as Lenworth transitions his concept from the basics to extravagant.

Editor’s Note: In the hustle bustle of the holidays, it can be easy to lose sight of what matters most. I love this 2017 guest post from Justin about some personal photos he did just because it was a memorable time that mattered. Let’s take time to reflect and be thankful no matter what’s going on.

Commercial photographers are tasked with producing salable imagery in a client-driven environment; we’re hired to help create an image that itself is a product, and that often means that we’re working to a client’s specifications. In a busy year that could mean you’re constantly reacting and trouble-shooting ideas and concepts without a break to recharge your own creative battery. Many photographers take the time to fit in their own creative projects to do this. These personal projects can also lead to more work.

Shot to spec | Client: BrazeauSeller Law, Agency: McMillan
Client/Photographer collaborative | Client: Kettleman’s Bagel Co.

I love what I do and so I typically only take breaks when they’re presented to me, like a slow period when I’m not booked for any shoots and have few deadlines. I typically take this time to watch movies, read, and play video games which all can act as alternate sources of visual inspiration outside of photography. Of course, unplanned breaks can also have unplanned interruptions.

Environmental Portrait | Client: Career Cruising

My last shoot of 2016 was local artist working out of his home-studio. We had a fun session and I came away with some environmental portraits that I was happy with. I tweeted my thanks for everyone’s support over my fifth, and best, year in business. I unpacked my bags at home, uploaded my photos started some edits, welcomed my kids home from school and heard the scream and cries as one of them broke his left femur.

Waiting in Emergency

I wouldn’t consider myself a documentary photographer or photojournalist, but I instinctively grabbed my Fuji x100t – I bought this little camera after I found myself taking fewer photos of my children – and away we went to our local children’s hospital, CHEO.


From Emergency, we went to traction. From traction, we went to Surgery, and from surgery we stayed, filling the hours with Lego and Advil.


Days before Christmas, Santa even came to visit the children, some of whom wouldn’t be home for the holiday.


All the while I was taking photos. Not something client-driven. Not a personal project. Just documenting a part of my son’s life because. “Because?” Because it’s what we do. Downloaded and edited on my iPhone. I updated his journey with friends and family. Letting them know he was well and, eventually, home.

Home for Christmas

When I was asked to do a guest-blog post I thought maybe I’d write about the process of managing a commercial photoshoot, or a click-bait list of useful gadgets I use. I had a whole week on break to come up with it, but a different kind of break changed everything. A sort of personal project in a style that I rarely ever do. Something not technically motivated, but personally. Something that is likely to outlast anything I create for a commercial client. Something just for me and my son.

You can see more of Justin’s work at, and follow him on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.