Posts By Scott Kelby

Hi everybody – I’m back from a whirlwind trip out West – three seminars in one week (LA [seen above], San Francisco & Seattle), plus a talk at the Canon Experience Center in Costa Mesa.  Had a really fun time, and met some really cool people along the way. Thanks to everybody who came out. OK, onto what’s up this week:

The Eclipse is here
Hope you caught Erik Kuna’s excellent post on Friday called ‘7-tips for shooting the Eclipse’ and if you didn’t, here’s the link. Erik and Kalebra hosted ‘The Grid’ this week and their topic was photographing today’s eclipse and there’s lots of great info that episode as well, so I’m embedding it here below. Hope you get some great shots!

I’m back at HQ now, so I’ll be on this week’s show, broadcast live, this Wednesday at 4PM ET. Hope you can join us this week.  

2017 Worldwide Photo Walk Update
We’re just a couple of weeks into this year’s walk and it is already rockin’! Here’s a quick look:

  • Photo Walks already up and running (you can join these today): 547
  • Cities with approved walks not yet released by the leaders: 949
  • Photo Walks started by leader and in draft mode (almost ready): 84 
  • Number of walkers signed up for walks so far: 5,272

New Photo Walk Prize Category for Kids
More and more parents are bringing their kids along on our Photo Walks, and getting them involved in this social photography event, and so this year, with Canon’s gracious help, we launched a new prize category for the competition for kid’s under 16-years-old, and the winner in this Youth category gets all this stuff:

How cool is that!!!! A big high-five to Canon, and all our sponsors who stepped up big time to support this new category for our youngest walkers. :)

My September Seminar
I’ve only have one Lightroom seminar date coming up in September (I had to reschedule Houston and Dallas due to a scheduling conflict), but it’s in an awesome place — Denver, Colorado. Hope you can join me for the day.  

Good luck tonight at the eclipse. Here’s to staying safe, and getting some once in a lifetime shots! :)

Best,

-Scott

It’s one of the hardest things we have to do as photographers — to look at our work and decide whether it’s a good image or not. Is it good enough to put in my portfolio? Good enough to share with my photo club? Good enough to put on 500px.com, or on Facebook? Is it good enough to enter a competition or submit to a magazine? Can I get client work with this image?

Part of the challenge of evaluating your own images is that you have emotion attached to those images. You see and feel things in that image the rest of the world doesn’t see. For example, when you look at your image, you might remember:

  • How hard it was to create.
  • How much fun you had the day you took that shot.
  • Maybe it’s a type of shot you’ve always wanted to take.
  • Perhaps you were with your family when you took it, and it reminds you of a great vacation?
  • You’re proud of the post-processing you did. It’s the best you’ve done so far.
  • Maybe it was the first shot you made with that new lens you bought.
  • Or maybe there’s just “something about it” that strikes you.

You see some or all of that in the image you took of that tree. But to everyone else, your cherished photo of a tree is just that — a photo of a tree.

We’ve all seen trees before. To you, it’s a special tree in some way (maybe one of the reasons I listed above). To us, it’s just a tree. That’s part of the reason why it’s so hard to evaluate your own images, and why it’s so easy for others to quickly see if it’s a good image or not — they have zero emotion attached to that shot — it’s either a good photo, or it’s not, and that’s instantly clear to people who have no emotional attachment to it.

It helps to know there are two sides to evaluating any image…
…and they couldn’t be farther apart from each other:

(1) Technical or Foundational evaluation
These are the easiest to identify because we have a basic set of guidelines about whether an image is technically correct. Stuff like “Is the horizon-line straight?” or “Is the image sharp?” This is the stuff that often ruins good photos, but on the other hand, if you get every one of the technical things right on the money, it can still be a boring, soul-less, nothing of a photo. Nailing all the technical stuff won’t, by itself, make a good photo but making technical mistakes sure can sink a good one.

(2) The Artistic or Creative Side
This one is 100% totally subjective. One person can love a particular image, and another person may not like it at all. It’s art. It’s subjective. If you did the technical stuff in number one correctly, then you can focus on evaluating the photo’s artistic merit. One way is to honestly ask yourself if someone was looking at this would they find it fascinating or beautiful or intriguing? Does the image tell a story they would want to know more about, does it have that special something that moves them in some way? Does it have something that elicits an emotional response of some sort? Happiness? Sadness? Anger? Laughter? Joy? Longing? Interest? Pride? Surprise? Wonder?

If it’s a picture of the old bridge in your home town — one that the locals pass by every day, it had better be a pretty awesome photo, showing that bridge from an angle or perspective they haven’t seen before, or it has to be in unusually dramatic light or beautiful light that it’s seldom seen in, or something that makes this photo of the bridge special, or they’re going to look at it and say, “Yup, that’s the old bridge.”

That’s why the technical side of evaluation is so much easier 
It’s well defined. You either did the right thing right or you didn’t. However, a technically correct image is only the foundation of how images are evaluated. It’s that “other stuff” – the creativity, the light, the moment, the story, or a magical combination of all that that creates an image that makes people say “wow.” I wish I could tell you exactly how to make an image like that. I wish it was that easy. I wish it was as easy as the technical side, but it’s where the real magic of photography lies.

Let’s Start With The Technical Part
The foundational stuff. I think I can help with that, but before I get to that, I have to tell you this: Once a month on ‘The Grid’ (my weekly photography show) I ask our viewers to submit images for a “Blind Critique” (it’s blind because we don’t know or reveal the photographer’s name on the air. The reason is so we can give honest critiques without publically humiliating or embarrassing anyone). It’s hard to get an honest critique of one’s work these days. Your spouse isn’t going to tell you the truth about your images. Neither are your friends or co-workers. Neither will people online (well, there’s always that one guy, right?). So, we try and give an honest critique and give pointers on how to make that image, or that photographer in general, better. Sometimes people send in images that are so good all we can say is “keep up the good work,” but most times we’re able to help with suggestions of what they could do to improve, both in camera and in post processing.

One of the most frustrating parts of being one of the critiquers (if that’s even a word) is that we see people making the exact same fundamental, technical mistakes each time we do critiques. Worst of all, some of these images could have been really great images if they had just paid attention to some of the technical parts, because those technical flaws are so obvious, that it kills the creativity and art of the image.

Some people would argue that it doesn’t matter if there are technical problems however, I would offer that those are the very people who are making technical mistakes and don’t want it held against them or their images. I would say to them — why would you let basic technical mistakes in your image take the viewers mind off the story you’re trying to tell, or the scene you’re trying to capture, or the emotion you’re trying to share?

Sometimes, an image is so strong that we can look past the fundamental technical aspects and just enjoy it for what it is. Sometimes we get lucky and capture an incredible frame despite doing a lot of things wrong, but luck isn’t a good strategy for creating wonderful images (though I’m happy to welcome luck with open arms anytime it appears in front of my camera).

Harder Than I Thought
I wanted to help all those folks who struggle with the fundamentals, so on Friday of last week, I went into our studio and recorded one of the hardest courses I’ve taught in a while. It was hard on a lot of different levels. One part was that I had to share over 100 of my really bad images throughout the class to use as examples of what not to do (including some really cringe-worthy stuff). Stuff I shot years ago. Some more recently, sadly. All that sharing of awful images with an audience of other photographers — that isn’t fun. The other part was conveying the message in a way that wouldn’t make the viewer think that just nailing the technical stuff was enough. It’s not.

I also fretted a lot with my idea of creating downloadable checklists the students could download for each genre I covered in the course (they included Landscape, Natural Light Portraits, Studio Portraiture, Travel, and Location Portraits using Flash). I finally decided to do it but I was careful to remind my students that it is NOT a checklist for seeing if you made a great image. It’s a checklist to see if you covered the fundamentals, and sidestepped some of the traps that ruin otherwise great photos. It’s a learning tool. Not a set of laws.

My video team tells me it’ll be about six weeks before the course comes out because we already have a bunch of courses in the production cue. I am really looking forward to getting it out there, because I think it has the potential to help a lot of people (plus, seeing 100+ of my worst images is probably just good for people’s souls). ;-)

I hope this post helps you realize that the technical stuff, this ground level stuff of photography, is important enough that you should be taking it into account when you’re making images. The technical parts of photography are not laws written in stone, and some of the greatest photos in history have some of these same flaws. Sometimes when I see one of those, I think, “Man, that is an amazing photo! Too bad they didn’t…” – see what I mean? Don’t let there be a “but…” after your photo. Learn the fundamental stuff, and apply it when you can to get that technical junk out of the way, so we can enjoy your story, the emotion, the light, the scene, and viewing your image without any “buts.”

Hope that got you thinkin’ :)

Best,

-Scott

P.S. I’m in Los Angeles today teaching my Lightroom seminar. Between LA, San Francisco on Wednesday and Seattle on Friday, I’ll be training just over 1,000 photographers. I hope you’re one of them. :)

Happy Friday, everybody! One quick thing, then Photoshop time!

I’m going back to Cali…
I’m teaching my Lightroom seminar on Monday in LA, Wednesday in San Francisco, and Friday in Seattle. It’s not too late to come out and join me. :) Sunday night I’m doing a talk at the Canon Experience Center in Costa Mesa. It’s gonna be a busy week!

Photoshop Buried Treasure Time
I’ve got another in my series on Photoshop Buried Treasure, and this one is about two little known “Recently Used” menus — one for recently used brushes and one for recently used color swatches. Best of all, it’s all automatic (you just need to know where to look).

If you open the Brush Presets panel (under the Window menu); if you look at the top the panel, you’ll see the last seven brushes you’ve used appear across the top of the panel (as seen above).

Same thing with the color Swatches panel (also found under the Window menu); it puts your last 13 color swatches right across the top of the panel (seen circled above).

Kinda hidden, but kinda handy! :)

We’re only a week in, and things are jumpin!!! Here’s a quick look at some stats, as of yesterday:

> We have 856 Leaders approved for walks

> We have nearly 400 Photowalks up and active

> 66 Leaders have created walks, but haven’t released them publically yet

That’s an awesome start for Week One (can’t believe we already have 400 Photo Walks up and running — that is outstanding! Way to go everybody!

I have just four openings left for my Photo Walk in Lisbon, Portugal. :)

Find a walk near you right now, and come join us Saturday, Oct 7th, 2017 all over the world.

Have a great weekend, everybody and we’ll catch ya back here on Monday. :)

Best,

-Scott

P.S. I’m excited to announce we’ve added family and newborn photographer (and KelbyOne Instructor), Tracy Sweeney to the Photoshop World Conference 2018 Instructor Roster. She is absolutely awesome (and a favorite with KelbyOne members). She is gonna rock it! :)

It’s here, and you’re invited to join us at my 10th Annual Worldwide Photo Walk™ brought to you by our friends at Canon, and produced by KelbyOne. This photo walk is a worldwide phenomenon with nearly 1,100 cities around the globe hosting walks last year. Best of all, it’s all to benefit the Springs of Hope Orphanage in Nakuru, Kenya.

Above: That’s the group shot of the local photo walk I led in Venice, Italy last year — we’re posed in Venice’s famous St. Mark’s Square, where we started our walked (and we ended at a cafe nearby). Such a great group to walk with. 

Here’s a quick Q&A with all the details:

Q. When is the official Photo Walk day?
A.The official date is Saturday, October 7, 2017 – two months from today! (here’s a link to the official site)

Q. So Scott, are you leading a Local Walk again this year?
A. 
Absolutely! I’m leading a local photo walk in Lisbon, Portugal (I’ve already posted the details for my Lisbon walk  — I hope if you live in the Lisbon area, or like me, you’ve dreamed of going to Portugal, you can join me). Here’s a link to my walk. :)

Q. What do you do on a Photo Walk?
A. You start by meeting with up to 50 other photographers at a central meeting point. Then a Photo Walk Leader leads the group on a leisurely paced stroll through an area that is photographically interesting; you take lots pictures; you can chat with other folks (photo walkers are very friendly by nature); you laugh, you enjoy being outside with a group of like-minded folks.  Then, after around 2-hours, you wind up at a local restaurant, pub, cafe, etc. (chosen in advance by the walk leader), where you can have a meal, some drinks, and make some new friends.

It’s a social event, and it’s really a blast (and you get to make some cool pictures, which is always good).

Q. Where do I sign up to join a walk in my city?
A. Visit the official Worldwide Photo Walk Website, and click the “Find a Walk” button to see if there’s a walk set-up in a city near you. If there is, and there are spots still available, you can sign up right there for free and join that walk. If there isn’t a walk in your city, maybe you can start one and lead it yourself (more on that in a moment). And if you don’t see any in your area, keep checking back because new walks in new cities are being added every day.

Q. Why isn’t there a walk in my city?
A. We don’t choose the cities. Photo walks take a place in a city because a volunteer in that city contacts us and says they are willing to form and lead a walk. Any city can have a walk — it just takes the right person in that city to volunteer to organize a walk. They can apply to lead a walk on the official site.

Q. Is there a fee to participate?
A. There is no fee — it’s totally free. However, each year we do

Q. Does the walk have a social mission?
A. Absolutely. Each year we “Walk with a Purpose” to benefit the Springs of Hope Orphanage in Nakuru, Kenya. Walkers from around the world raise funds to help the orphanage feed, clothe and care for some very wonderful children who need our help. We do it from simple one-dollar donations. When you sign up for a walk, you’ll have the option (the donation is totally optional), to donate just $1 to the orphanage via Paypal. 100% of your donation goes directly to the orphanage, and last year we were able to raise more than $24,000. This year we’re trying to hit $30,000, and with your help, we can do it! You cannot imagine what a difference this makes to the orphanage (and it would mean a lot to me that you’re helping. :)

So, if you could donate just $1 when you’re on the site that would be awesome (and you’ll be helping more than you know), but again, it’s totally optional. By the way, you can give more than a buck if you’d like — some folks give a $hundred — we’ve had folks donate a $thousand, which of course, just makes our head explode with joy!

tamgr

Above: Here’s the group shot from the walk I led in 2011 in Tampa, Florida. It was fairly warm, but the people were hot (and I mean that in the nicest non-naughty way possible). Kathy and Barb were there. What could go wrong? ;-)

Q. What happens when a local walk fills up?
A. We have a waiting list for each sold out city, so if someone cancels, it automatically adds (and notifies) the next person on the list.

Q. How many is full?
A. Each Photo Walk is limited to a maximum of 50 photographers. If that doesn’t sound like a lot, you haven’t seen 50 photographers coming down the sidewalk at the same time, and later all converging at once on a restaurant or pub. It’s more like a scary bike gang (except without the bikes, or gang, or scariness).

Q. Why do we limit each Photo Walk to just 50 photographers?
A. Click here for the explanation.

romegroupshot

Above: That’s a group shot from the walk I led in 2013 in Rome. It was kinda chilly, kinda rainy, but we had so much fun (and some amazing food) and the weather sure didn’t dampen anyone’s spirits. 

Q. If I led a walk last year, can I lead a walk again this year?
A. We would love that! Check your email inbox — we sent out invitations already to last year’s leaders (the email comes from us at “KelbyOne: World Wide Photo Walk” and it was sent last week). The subject line reads “Worldwide Photo Walk needs you to lead a walk again this year!”

Q. Is there a photo contest again this year?
A. Absolutely! The best photo in each city (as chosen by your local Walk Leader) will get a digital copy of my book, “Photoshop CC for Digital Photographers,” and their winning image is also then entered into the main photo competition vying for even bigger prizes. From those local walk winners I will choose 10-finalists, who all get great prizes, and then I choose a single Grand Prize winner, who just gets an insane amount of stuff.

Q. If I bring my kids, can they enter the contest?
A. Yes! I’m happy to announce that this year we have a special Youth Contest just for walkers under 16-years of age (kids are more than welcome to join a photo walk (we love kids!) but must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

Q. I see on the site that Canon is the Sponsor. Does that mean the Grand Prize might include a camera and a lens?
A. Why, yes it does! Our friends (and official sponsors) at Canon are giving the Grand Prize Winner a Canon EOS M5 Mirrorless camera with an EF-M 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS lens, and a Canon Pixma Pro color printer. Plus they win: a $250 B&H Gift Certificate

> $250 B&H Gift Certificate
> Drobo 5D3 5-bay storage solution
> Think Tank Photo StreetWalker Rolling Backpack camera bag
> $500 Westcott Gift Certificate
> Platypod Max, Ultra, and Multi Accessory Kit camera support system
> A one-year membership to the KelbyOne Online Educational Community

How sweet is that! There are other prizes, too!

Q. What do the 10 Finalists win?
A. Lots of fun stuff: 

> $50 B&H Photo Gift Certificate
> $50 Certificate Off Any Drobo On The Drobo Store
> Think Tank Photo Trifecta 10 DSLR Backpack
> $50 Westcott Gift Certificate
> Platypod Ultra camera support with Multi Accessory Kit
> 1-Year Membership to KelbyOne Online Educational Community

 

CanonVCK

Q. I see there is a category for video taken during the walk. What’s the prize?
A. Our friends from Canon are giving away a Canon Video Creator Kit (seen above), to the best video submitted from the walk. The kit includes a Canon EOS 80D Body; their new 18-135mm lens; a Canon Power Zoom Adapter; RODE VideoMic Go; a 32G SD Card, and all the other goodies (battery, charger, strap, etc.). 

sydneygroupshot

Above: That’s the group shot of the local photo walk I led in Sydney, Australia in 2015. We started our walk at the world famous Sydney Opera House. 

Q. Are any cities with Photo Walks organized yet?
A. Yes! We already have walks set-up all over the world, with more being added every day! From Cairo, Egypt, to Raleigh, North Carolina — from Newcastle upon Tyne, England to Woodland, Florida — from ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands to Gig Harbor, Washington — from Acre, Israel; to Inveraray, Scotland, from Tabriz, Iran and Sioux City, South Dakota — there are walks all over the world who would love to have you join them!

tarpon

Above: That’s my group shot from my Tarpon Springs Photo Walk a few years back. My wife and I made a very dear friend on that photo walk.

lond

Above: That’s a group shot from my London Photo Walk two years ago. Hybrid Dave and Hybrid Peter are in there somewhere. Two top men. My friend Bryan is in there. So is Brad. Mike is there, too! Lots of cool folks.

Q. How can I lead a Photo Walk in my area?
A. You apply over at the official Worldwide Photo Walk website — just click on the “Lead a Walk” button (or just click here).

Q. What does it take to become a Photo Walk Leader?
A. We’re looking for people who have experience leading groups, so if you’re the president of your local camera club, or a college teacher, or photography instructor, or you run a local camera store, or you’ve lead Photo Walks in your area before, so you’re familiar with keep a group of up to 50 people happy, safe and healthy, etc., you’re likely to get accepted fast to be a leader. We ask for your qualifications on the leader application, and that’s the type of experience we’re looking for.

Q. What if my city already has a Photo Walk, but I want to lead a walk, too?
A. Most big cities can accommodate more than one walk, and so as soon as one starts to fill up, we add a 2nd or even a third or fourth depending on the response and city size. Also, if the walks are held geographically far from each other but technically in the same major city, we usually add those, too. (For example, New York City could have walks in Central Park, SoHo, Chinatown, and Times Square, and probably a half dozen other locations)

ybor

Above: This is the group that I led in Ybor City, Florida back in 2009. I hated these people. Of course, I’m just kidding – they were awesome – I just wanted to see if you were paying attention. Worked, didn’t it? ;-)

Q. Do I have to enter the prize competition?
A. Absolutely not — it’s totally optional — you don’t have to upload even a single photo for the contest).

Q. Do I get anything for being a Photo Walk LEADER?
A. Love. You get lots of love. And admiration from your walkers (and me). You also get the eBook edition of my bestselling “Photoshophsop CC book for Digital Photographers,” as our way of saying “thank you.” You also get to pick the best shot from your local Photo Walk group and award them with a copy of the same ebook as well (and judging a photo competition is a lot of fun. While it’s tough to narrow things down to just one winner, it’s also fun because you get to see lots of beautiful images in the process).

paris

Above: That’s my group shot from my Paris, France photo walk. Yes, that’s is our friend (and Photoshop World instructor) Serge Ramelli standing next to my wife Kalebra. You get extra points if you recognized Serge from my Rome walk group shot as well. 

Q. Is there a separate Contest For Photo Walk LEADERS?
We have that, too! It’s our way of honoring the photographic work of our dedicated and talented leaders. The best image submitted from a leader will win a prize package that includes a Canon Mirrorless camera and lens, plus a Pixma Pro lens and loads of other prizes. It’s our best leader prize package yet!

Q. Do we have cool t-shirts for Walkers & Leaders?
A.You betcha! Here’s the link. (order yours right now so you can wear it during for the walk and look all cool and everything, like the model you see in the photo above — but even cooler).

100% of the profits from the sale of these t-shirts go directly to the Springs of Hope Orphanage in Kenya for the feeding, medical needs, clothing, education and care for these great kids. Last year, with our friend Rob Jone’s help, we raised nearly $6,000 just from these t-shirt sales alone (imagine how much $6,000 alone means to a small orphanage).

Here’s the link to the t-shirt store (they come in multiple styles and colors).

NOTE: We have special LEADER shirts as well (Leaders —  we’ll be posting a link on your leader’s dashboard).

dunedin1

Above: OK, not exactly a posed group shot, but it is my group, seen here in a behind-the-scenes shot from the very FIRST Photo walk ever — back in 2008 – this one is in Dunedin, Florida.

Q. I want to know more about this Photo Walk thing. Where do I go?
A. 
There’s a FAQ on the Website (here’s the link) but it’s a lot of the same stuff I have here, but there is some contact info if you need to get in touch with us directly.

Q. Where do I go for the latest Photo Walk information?
A. Stay up-to-date by following us on our Twitter page and Facebook Page (If you talk about the walk on social – we would love it if you would include the hashtag #wwpw2017).

Plus, I’ll shoot you an email once a week leading up to the walk with some photography tips, camera tips, post processing tips, and fun stuff to get you ready for the big walk on Saturday, October 7th.

I hope you join us this year as we “Walk with a Purpose” to help the Springs of Hope Orphanage in Kenya and as we make worldwide photographic history once again!

All my best,

-Scott

P.S. We want as many people to participate as possible, so anything you can do to help us spread the word about the walk would be greatly appreciated. Could you share it on forums, on social, with your camera clubs, and anywhere cool photographers hang out? Many thanks. :)

Well, it’s calling me, the wifey and kids anyway (photo above of the view from our cottage by Kalebra with her TrustyiPhone).

Yup, I’m taking a few days off at the beach, but  never fear, my awesome new columnist, Dave Williams will be here tomorrow with his Tuesday post of awesomeness, then it’s Guest Blog Wednesday on Wednesday (I’ll be back in time for ‘The Grid’ at 4PM – probably doing Blind Photo Critiques I imagine), and then Thursday it’s “New Class Thursday” and then I’ll be back on Friday with a glorious post. How’s that for a tidy little week? :)

So, in short – I’m laming out today, sitting on the beach in Margaritaville, cool drink in my hand, Buffet on the radio, and it’s ‘No post-a-roonie Monday!” Hope yours is a good one. :)

Best,

-Scott Beach Shack Bingo Kelby

Hi everybody, and greetings from Nashville, Tennessee where I should already be in bed because it’s nearly 1:00 am and I’ve got my seminar here tomorrow in the morning and well…I dunno…I should be in bed by now.

Anyway, if you’re out in the greater Los Angeles area, I want to invite you out to a talk I’m doing there next month at the Canon Experience Center in Costa Mesa — it’s called “The Stuff They Don’t Tell You” and it’s an updated version of a talk I gave in England at ‘The Photography Show.’ I hope you can make it out — it’s free (compliments of our friends at Canon USA).

Here are the details:

Who: Me.
What: A free inspirational, motivational, informational, gravitation talk on ‘big picture’ photography stuff
Where: Canon Experience Center  – 123 Paularino Ave, Costa Mesa, CA
When: 6:00 pm – Sunday, August 13th, 2017
How to register (seating is limited): Click here. :)

I hope I’ll see you there, or maybe I’ll see you today in my seminar here in Nashville, or maybe I’ll see you in my seminar in LA the day after that talk at Canon, or maybe in San Francisco a couple days later, or two days after that in Seattle. 

That sentence right there made me want to finally hit the sack.

Hope you all have a great weekend – one packed with fun, and cooler than Florida temperatures. :)

Best,

-Scott

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