Posts By Scott Kelby

Hi Gang — we’re only 76 days away from the Photoshop World Conference (May 31-June 2, 2018) in Orlando, Florida at the Hyatt Regency Convention Center (whoo hoo!), and I thought I’d give a quick update on what’s up, via a Q&A style post. Here we go:

Q. This is the only Photoshop World Conference this year, right?
A. That’s right, it the only one, so you should definitely come.  

Q. I see you’re at the Hyatt this time instead of the Orange County Convention Center.
A. You bet! The Hyatt was our host hotel last year and we absolutely loved it. What we didn’t love was having to walk all the way through the Hyatt Convention Center, just to walk to another convention center. Now, you just come downstairs and you’re right in the middle of everything. The Hyatt’s convention center is much newer, and we can have a bigger keynote, a bigger partner pavilion, and we’re all together in just one convenient place. We’re pretty psyched! 

Q. Is that where all the staff and instructors are staying?
Yup, we’re all staying at the beautiful Hyatt Regency. You can stay there, too but it’s filling up very fast (they have a special discount for our attendees) details here.

Q. Is that where Joe McNally is staying?
No. Actually, Joe insists on staying at Cinderella’s Castle at Walt Disney World. He takes a limo over each morning. 

Q. Really?
Of course not. He takes a carriage. It’s why we have to end all conference events by 11:45 PM.

Q. Scott, I’m more of a visual person, and I need to see it to really understand it. Is there any way you could create some sort of short slideshow, set to some upbeat royalty-free music, with lots of photos? Also, could you make it around 90-seconds? —  I have a short attention span. 
Well, when you make it that specific, I feel like I have to. Here it is (below) to your exact specs.

Q. What kind of conference is this really?
It’s ‘clothing optional’

Q. Are you serious?
Well, it’s really up to you. That’s why we call it “optional.”

Q. It’s called Photoshop World?— is it all just Photoshop classes?
It’s grown to be much more than just Photoshop. We have full conference tracks on Lightroom and photography, and lighting/flash, and graphic design, and Business/Career, and more. Of course lots of Photoshop classes, too.

Q. Do I have to pick my classes in advance?
A. Nope. You can go to any class you want, any time you want, and move between classes as you like. No pre-registration necessary unless you’re coming a day early for the pre-conference workshops.

Q. Are the workshops the day before still available?
There are ten pre-conference workshops, but a few of them are almost sold out, so if you’re thinking of coming a day early to get into one of these in-depth workshops, I’d get your ticket for the one you want now, so it’s not sold out.

Q. If I’m a beginner will I be lost?
Only if you don’t follow the directional signs in the Hyatt.

Q. I meant in the sessions?
We have a lot of beginners that come to Photoshop World each year, and they’re able to follow along no problem with most of the sessions. Of course, if a session is named “Advanced” then you should probably sit that one out, but there are nearly 100 sessions so there will be plenty of other classes to choose from. Also, while you might arrive as a beginner, you won’t leave as one.

Q. Last year you guys had Stacy Pearsall for your special evening presentation, and she was awesome. Who will it be this year?
A. We are truly excited this year to bring you “An evening with Jeremy Cowart.” He is one of the most engaging, passionate, driven photographers and champions for social good in our industry, and it will truly be a very special evening for everyone.

Q. Will Roberto Valenzuela be there?
A. Absolutely! He’ll be rocking it.

Q. Peter Hurley? Joe McNally?
A. You bet!

Q. What about Stella Kramer? Please tell me Stella’s gonna be there!
A. She is. Everybody loves Stella!

Q. What about Lindsay Adler? Terry White, Matt Kloskowski? Dave Black? Julieanne Kost? Scarlett Johansson? Kristina Sherk? Dave Cross, Corey Barker, What about them?
A. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, no, yes, yes, yes.

Q. Any international instructors?
A. Oui! (see what I did there?). We’re talkin: Glyn Dewis, Serge Ramelli, Frank Doorhof, Dave Clayton, and Tim Wallace (aw, yeah)

Q. Moose?
A. Moose! :)

Q. Kaylee Greer and her doggos?
A. Si, con mucho mas doggos y puppers!

Q. Any new instructors?
A. Always! We’re welcoming Family/newborn photographer Tracy Sweeney (link), and Photoshop design sharks Mark Heaps and Jesus Ramirez. 

Q. Alright, I’ll go register right now. Just checking — Joel Grimes, he will be will be there too, right?
A. You bet. 

Q. Isn’t there a competition for people who attend the conference?
A. There is — they’re called “The Guru Awards”  and winning a prestigious “Guru” award has launched many a career. Here are the details on entering.

Q. So the Guru Awards are only open to be people who attend the conference?
A. That’s right.

Q. That doesn’t seem fair.
A. It does to me.

Q. Will the Partner Pavilion vendor area be open to the public?
It will not, but if you want to bring a spouse or someone traveling with you, we can arrange a special free pass for them.

Q. OK, this sounds like a go. Do I get a discount if I sign up early?
You can save $100 bucks off the full conference pass if you register before April 28, 2018. 

Q. Do I get a discount if I’m a KelbyOne Pro member?
A. You bet! You save $100 off a conference pass.

Q. It says the conference is produced by KelbyOne. Is it only for members?
Anyone may attend (well, anyone who’s cool), and if you’re not a member, you will be – a one-year KelbyOne membership is included in your conference price.

Q. So I can keep learning from the Photoshop World Conference instructors even after the conference?
You so “get this!” Yes, yes you can keep learning from them after the conference in their awesome online courses. Thank you for asking such a non-set-up, spontaneous, impromptu, unplanned, yet marketing savvy question. I so dig you.

Q. So, if I’m a KelbyOne member and I register before April 28th, 2018 –  I can get $200 off, right?
A. You are right. It’s a steal at full price, but you can still get $200 off if you’re quick about it.

Q. What if I have a question that’s not answered here?
Well, that’s hard to imagine, but if somehow one slipped by, check our official FAQ or you can chat with our team directly from the site unless you do it late at night when they’re all busy on

Q. Well Scott, this has been incredibly informative.
 That’s really more of a statement, but since it’s so on the money, I’ll let it stand.

Q. I’ve always wanted to go — this is the year. I’m going!
Now yer talkin’!

Well, I hope you found this at least 22.4% helpful. Have a great week everybody!



Q. Scott, is there any way you might embed a short video below that might just push me over the edge about going?
A. I’m reluctant to do that, but OK — it’s below, but only because you asked. ;-) Here are some highlights from last year’s conference, but just know — this year will be even awesomer! 

British Photographer Ian Munro will have his own solo show tonight at “The Gallery at KelbyOne”
Tonight, at a special wine & cheese reception we’ll be celebrating the photographic work of Ian Munro and you’re invited to be a part of the opening, no matter where you are in the world.

Ian won a competition we hold several times a year for KelbyOne Pro members where the winner gets a solo gallery show with images beautifully printed on Vivid Satin by Bay Photo Lab using their unique Xpozer print display system.

We’re live-streaming our interview with Ian tonight, and you’ll get a peek at the gallery, and his witty, wonderfully inspiring work.” It will be a night to remember, and you’ll see it all unfold live.


Who: Photographer Ian Munro and our host Larry Becker (Plus, a bunch of people enjoying wine and cheese). Mmmm. Cheese.
The Opening reception and interview from Ian’s solo show at  “The Gallery at KelbyOne”
When: Tonight – Friday, March 16th – the live broadcast with Ian starts at @8pm ET
Where: My Facebook Page, or at
Why: To showcase the amazing work of our KelbyOne members, and share their work with a worldwide audience

The presentation starts at 8 PM ET (Note to International viewers: the US observes Daylight Savings Time so we recently moved our clocks forward 1-hour). Hope you can join us. :)

For more details about the gallery competition (including how to enter when we open the next round of entries shortly), jump over here.

See you tonight – you will enjoy meeting Ian, and you absolutely love his work.



So my buddy Jim sends me a photo he took with his iPhone of the first Photoshop World Conference brochure ever to let me know the first one was back in 1999 and this is our 19th year of producing the Photoshop World Conference (whoo hoo!). Anyway, the photo he sent was pretty much a mess, and this was something I wanted to keep for posterity.

So, I used Photoshop (and some slick Lens tricks) to bring the brochure back to life and you see the whole process from Start to Finish, and as luck would have it, it’s a perfect segue for me to mention that the annual Photoshop World Conference is indeed less than 90-days away (in Orlando, Florida no less) and you should come. But first, the tutorial:

Thanks for sending me that crappy photo, Jim. 😂

Hey, since we’re all talking about the Photoshop World Conference and all that, check out this quick little trailer about it below:

OK, go sign up right now, while you can still snag at room right there at the Hyatt Regency Orlando (where all the stuff, instructor and yours truly are staying. Here’s the link.

Have a kick butt Monday, everybody! (stop with the eye roll. Monday’s can kick butt!).



P.S. I did a fun interview with the awesome Ross Chevalier (from the Photo/Video Guy Podcast) all about photography and Photoshop education. It’s an audio-only podcast so you can just let it run in the background while you work in Lightroom. Here’s the link if you’ve got a sec. 

Just a quick heads up — this tutorial (which is WAY more interesting than it sounds) is for intermediate-level Photoshop users, so if you’re a beginner, this is one you can out for now. It’s how to use Photoshop Lens tools to fix a bad shooting location. The techniques aren’t hard — they’re actually pretty easy — I’m just moving at a speed for intermediates, and I’m not explaining all the detail behind each step (for example, if I can go to Free Transform and flip horizontal) you’d have to know what that means to get a lot out of it. Anyway, give it a look — it’s pretty wild!

Hope that takes you into your weekend in a wild way (seeing what Photoshop can do in situations like this — pretty amazing, right?).

If you’re a Lightroom user…
I’ve got an intermediate speed and level tutorial for you over at today – it’s a start to finish project, and if you were OK with the speed and style of the video here, you’ll super dig the one over there. Hope you’ll check it out.

Have a great weekend, everybody!



Howdy, folks – here’s what’s up:

Check out this still image my buddy Erik Kuna (or “dcats” to Grid viewers) – took at last week’s NASA Atlas 5 Rocket launch from the Cape (one of three cameras he had set up), but then he took his still image into Plotaverse to add the animation you see below (click the play button). Man, does it work like a charm for shots like this!

Congrats, Erik on an amazing shot! (plus, that Plotaverse is amazing)! Not to plug our own stuff, but at the same time actually plug our stuff – we have an entire course on how to add animation to your still images. Here’s the link, ya know, if you’re so included.


I’m excited, honored and just plain psyched to be included in Berlin-based XXLPix’s annual list of the Top 100 Photographers on The Web. It’s an international listing, and I’m thrilled to be on a list with many awesome photographers. Many thanks XXLpix. You can see the whole Top 100 list here. 




My Venice Travel Photography workshop next month (with guest instructor Mimo Meidany) that I announced last week is sold out (whoo hoo!). I’m excited to share this amazing city with such a cool group of people.


Thanks for stopping by, everybody and we’ll catch you here tomorrow for Tuesday’s with Dave. :)



P.S. Just a few weeks before I’m in Atlanta and then Milwaukee, Wisconsin with my full-day Lightroom seminar. Come out and spend the day with me. Tickets and more details here.

I was inspired to write this post after Wednesday’s “Blind Photo Critiques” on The Grid (Rick Sammon was my in-studio guest, and he was awesome, as always). When it comes to The Grid, we often get hundreds of submissions for these monthly Blind Critiques, but we only get to show a handful on the air. One reason is many of the images are the same because many photographers are stuck in a particular stage of their development, so their photos (even if they are different types of subjects) look essentially the same. That’s why today I wanted to break these stages down so folks might see which stage they’re at, and I included my advice on how to level up to the next stage.

I’m kinda “telling it like it is” here, speaking frankly and honestly — not to hurt feelings, but sugar coating this message doesn’t help move anybody move further down their path. In fact, it almost reinforces why they should stay right where they are. So…here goes:

STAGE ONE: Camera Owner
You’ve been getting lots of good comments from friends on your Instagram posts taken with your cell phone’s camera — so much so you decided to buy a “real camera.” You were pretty sure buying a nice camera was going to take your photography over the top, and your friends can’t wait to see you blow it up on Instagram now, but…not only do your photos not look better — they look worse. This real camera thing is way more complicated than you thought, and just using it as a heavy-cell phone replacement isn’t giving you the amazing shots you thought you’d be getting. Here’s why: buying a DSLR or Mirrorless “real” camera doesn’t make you a photographer any more than buying a saxophone makes you a sax player.  At this stage, you are simply “A camera owner,” and you’re just taking pictures (and you still call them “pictures”). Since you’re not getting the results you thought you should, you’re focused on trying to figure out which setting, buried deep in the menus on the back of your camera, turns on the secret feature the pros use for making great photos. You know it’s there somewhere — but where?

How to Level Up: If that sounds like the agonizing stage you’re currently at, here’s how to level up: Stop looking at the menus. Ignore all the other stuff. Just focus on learning what the Aperture (f/stop), Shutter Speed, and ISO mean, and how they work together. Forget everything else for now, because once you understand those and get used to adjusting them on your camera, you can stop worrying about the settings and start working on making great pictures (and yes, you still have to call them “pictures” for a little while longer. It’s the law). 

STAGE TWO: Snapshot Maker
You’ve got a feel for how to use your camera, and you’re taking time to go out shooting. Maybe you’re doing some street photography, or heading out to the countryside and actively looking for shots. However, at this stage, you’re making tons of technical mistakes. Your horizon line is always in the center; you’ve got trees growing out of people’s heads; there are distracting things pulling the viewer’s eye away from your subject, and the rule of thirds is what you employ when you order one dessert, and the waiter brings you three forks. Since you haven’t learned the basic rules of composition yet, you don’t realize your photos have all these mistakes, so you’re actually in a fairly good place. In fact, you’re in one of the happiest places you can be as a photographer. You stink, but you don’t know it, but it’s OK because your friends aren’t any good either, so they can’t recognize that you’re making all these mistakes, so they don’t point them out. In short, you’re taking snapshots — they look like the same shot a stranger with a cell phone would get if they walked up beside you while you were taking yours. If you compared shots, they would look pretty similar; yours would just have more megapixels. The good news is at least you’ve stopped calling them “Pictures.”

How to Level Up: If that sounds like you (if you thought to yourself, “what’s the rule of thirds?” it’s you), you need to do some learnin’. Buy a book – take an online course (I know, it sounds like I’m plugging my stuff, but this is what I’d tell a friend), or join your local photo group and tell them right up front, “I’m new to this.” You need local photography friends. You can help each other, share what you’ve learned, and you’ll have someone to go shooting with and so you’ll go shooting more often. Photographers at these groups are really happy to help new photographers when they meet them in person. However, for your progress and self-esteem, I would absolutely stay out of public online photography forums. This is where angry people gather to attack anyone showing even the slightest sign of weakness. You might eventually find an answer you were looking for, but it may exact an emotional toll along the way. Make local friends, do a photo walk, attend the local group. You’ll level up much faster, and have more fun doing it. 

STAGE THREE: Photo Taker
You’ve learned the basic rules; you’re very comfortable with your camera, and you’re going out shooting pretty regularly, but what you’re spending your time shooting at this stage are photos that you think you’re supposed to shoot. Things that you think more accomplished photographers would shoot, and you convert your images to black and white because they feel more ‘serious’ and more ‘artsy’ to you, (but most of these images don’t really make great black and whites anyway). It’s like you’re saying to yourself, “This is what a good photographer would be shooting…right?” You’re shooting dead tree photos, homeless people in town, railroad tracks, the old bridge, and while they are technically good, they’re not interesting (well, they’re interesting to you but only because you’re experiencing what they call the “Gee, I made that!” effect.  You’re excited at what you made because you made it, and you’re impressed that you could do that. Everybody else sees a black and white photo of a bridge in bad light – one they drive past every day, and to them, it looks just like it looks. You want people to look at your images and say “Wow!” Not, “yup, there’s the old bridge.”

How to Level Up: To move up at this stage, you need to figure out what type of photographer you want to be. Think about where are you are focusing your time and energy today photographically. It’s important to take a moment to think about that because that’s where you’re headed. You can’t be great in every genre — you’ve got to pick some topic, some category and really focus on it. Be it flower photography or portraits; landscape or travel, wedding or commercial products — if you want to get really good at something, you’ve got to find what that something is. What’s the thing that really excites you — the thing people tell you-you’re really good at? What do you seem to really have a knack for? Listen to that voice inside you, and follow where it leads. Once you figure out what that genre is, you need to go all in. You need to study everything you can get your hands on; you need to read the top three books on the topic; you need to start getting the equipment together you’ll need to be a success, and you need to pour your time, energy, and most importantly practice into that nailing that genre. Don’t just read about it, and watch courses, that will make you an authority on the topic — but that won’t create great images. Practice will. That’s the secret at this stage — find out what it is you want to be, and focus on that; practice that, dive into that. You’ll be amazed at the results. 

STAGE FOUR: Emerging Photographer
You’re getting there. You’re doing lots of projects you see on the Web. You’re photographing water splashes, and you’re doing the ‘steel wool at night spark trick,’ and you’re doing long exposure shots of cars driving by; and you’re adding edgy film-look borders around your images. You’re learning lots of different, fun techniques one after another. These personal assignments make you feel like you’re really growing, and if a client were to call and they needed a steel wool sparks photo or a water drop, you’d get that gig in a heartbeat. You’ve upgraded your gear, you’ve bought some really nice lenses (and you call your lenses “glass”), and you’re not taking pictures, and you’re not taking photos, you’re creating “images.” You’re starting to think about getting a camera body that’s been converted for infrared, and you have long conversations with other photographers about the type of bokeh certain lenses have. You feel like you’re really making progress, but inside you know you still have a lot to learn (which is why you’re talking about bokeh — it makes you feel “next level,” but in reality, the next level shooters don’t talk about bokeh). In fact, the more you learn, the more you realize how much there really is to learn about the bigger picture of photography, and when you watch a course from Jay Maisel, you realize how truly far you have to go. The good news is: you now fully realize there is no setting in your camera that makes great photos. In fact, you’re almost at the point where you realize how little the camera make and model even matter.

How to Level Up: You’re good at all the technical stuff, so put down the camera, and start looking at the work of photographers you admire. Don’t just look at it. Study it. Break it down. Become a photographic detective — figure out where they put the light, or where they positioned their subject. Look at their subject. Look at the scene, how they composed it. Figure out what it is about their work that makes their images so special. If you can’t figure out how they’re doing it, what chance do you have of stumbling upon it in your work? You have to study and learn how the masters do it, and you have to learn how to emulate their looks, so your own look and your own style will emerge from it (by the way, none of your personal style and look will include steel wool). Remember, you’re not just looking, you’re studying — study the work of the type of photographer you want to be — that’s how you level up. You know what your goal is. What you’re aiming for, and now perhaps even how to get there. The agonizing part of this is simply that there is no shortcut — you have the road map now, but you have to make the trip to get there. There are no shortcuts for experience — you get experience by doing it again and again. Through practice. Through trying and failing, and you keep on trying. I think it was Caesar who said, “Experience is the teacher of all things.” He also said, “This salad could really use some croutons.” This is the 2nd most agonizing and frustrating stage of being a photographer because breaking out of this stage isn’t something you buy. It’s not a camera. It’s not a lens. It’s seeing. It’s creativity. It’s things they don’t sell.  

STAGE FIVE: Frustrated Photographer
You’re an accomplished photographer at this stage. A pro-level shooter. You’ve entered photo contests, maybe even won a few. You’re getting some paid work here and there, too. You’re confident in your skills, you’re getting the most from your gear, and you know it inside and out. In fact, you’re so confident that you don’t have to even think about it that much — it’s all second-nature at this point, in fact, it’s becoming routine. You should be absolutely delighted at this stage, but in reality, this is the #1 most-agonizing stage. You’re perhaps more frustrated and disappointed with your own work than any time in your career. It’s because you know in your heart, your best images are still inside you, but you can’t for the life of you coax them out. You look at the best image in your portfolio, and you think to yourself, “I know I can make a better image than this one.” And you know what? You’re actually right. But it’s going to take some work. The better you get, the harder it is to get measurably better. When you were in Stage Two and Stage Three, you were making big progress. Now, you don’t learn something new every day. Maybe you pick up something new just once every couple of months. How do you make amazing images when you’re learning so little?

How to Level Up: You’re going to need to stretch yourself, but do it in a way that’s relevant and meaningful to the type of photographer you are. It’s time to invest in yourself. It’s time to invest in making the kind of images you’ve always dreamed of. This is serious, personal work, and something that can propel you and keep you engaged and growing for years to come. For example, if you’re a landscape photographer, don’t buy another lens or a better camera body. Buy an airplane ticket. Travel to Patagonia, or Greenland. Head to the Sahara Desert or Namibia or Antartica. Go to places that will inspire you; places that will challenge you; places where you have opportunities to make the shots of a lifetime. It’s not going to happen at that barn in Wyoming or at Delicate Arch in Moab. You need to go “next level.” If you’re a fashion photographer, go to New York, LA, Miami, London or Milan. Hire a brilliant stylist, an incredible make-up artist, and a fantastic model, and shoot in a world class location. You need a great team, and the best ones are literally in those cities. It will transform your work more than a new body, or a new lens will ever do. If you’re an automotive photographer, stop shooting Camaros on top of an empty parking garage. Fly to an amazing location (maybe the Scottish Highlands, or even Mount Tam or the Pacific Coast Highway in California); rent a Ferrari (or a Bentley or a Jag), and do it right. It’s time to invest in yourself and into creating those images that push you, your images, and your career forward. 

I hope you found that helpful, and if you saw yourself in one of those stages (we’re all in one of them, or transitioning between them, right?), don’t get upset or be defensive, especially if one hit really close to home, and it’s a stage you’re not happy identifying with. We all just want the same thing. We want to make great images, and we want to have fun doing it. Wherever you are in your journey, whichever stage you’re at, just know you’re simply passing through it. Don’t focus on where you are; focus on how to level up, and you won’t be at that stage very long.

I wish you the very best on your photographic journey. :)