Posts By Scott Kelby

I think a lot of photographers these days are taking the old adage about “Shooting at Sunrise” too literally, and because of it, they’re missing out on a lot of great shots.

Here’s what I mean: The best light, and amazing skies, and empty streets, and tourist-free areas — the dream of travel photographers everywhere, all happen well before sunrise. The sunrise itself is silently signaling “Here comes the end of your shoot — time for breakfast!” But unfortunately, that seems to be when all the photographers start showing up — right after all the good stuff just ended.

Just before sunrise. Beautiful light and you’re all alone. (photo by Erik Kuna)

Erik Kuna (Rocket-photographers and my co-host on ‘The Grid’) and I were in downtown Chicago a few weeks ago leading a local photo walk as part of my annual Worldwide Photo Walk. During the walk, we went through Millennium Park, and its most famous feature, the giant chrome-covered “Bean” sculpture (it’s actually named the ‘Cloud Gate sculpture,’ but I’ve yet to hear anyone call it anything other than “The Bean”). Anyway, around 70,000 people visit The Bean each day — it’s absolutely packed with people from morning to night. But Erik decided to get up really early to shoot it. Ya know how many people Erik found when he went to The Bean well before sunrise? Just one.

Look in the reflection – there’s nobody there. (photo by Erik Kuna)

Not only were there no tourists. There were no photographers. All this beautiful light. Great clouds. No tourists, and not a single photographer in sight. As soon as the great light is gone, and the harsh sun is coming up, here come the photographers, streaming into the park right along with the first groups of tourists. What they wind up getting is kind of crappy light and a bunch of tourists milling around. They missed the great light and tourist-free scene by about 20 to 30 minutes.

Right at sunrise, the light isn’t nearly as nice, and the photographers and tourists arrive (seen in reflections). (photo by Erik Kuna)
A little while later; everybody’s there, and it’ll be like this until late, late at night. (photo by Erik Kuna)

The same thing happened this week in New York

The Vessel. We went the day before this was taken. There were tourists, photographers, and instragrammers everywhere. Right before dawn? Nobody. (Photo by Erik Kuna)

Erik experienced this same phenomenon this past week in New York City (we were up there for the Photo Plus Expo). He got up early and walked over to “Vessel” in Hudson Yard (it’s part public modern art piece, part spiral staircase [with its 150+ interconnected staircases], and part observatory. It’s free to enter [you get tickets online] and you can walk-up inside it when it’s open). When Erik got there — sure enough, lots of beautiful light, no tourists, and most notably — no photographers, even though there is a major photography tradeshow being held right across the street at the Javitz Center.

That Dumbo location well before sunrise – nobody’s there at all. (photo by Erik Kuna)
Right before sunrise, still nobody there and nice light. BTW: These NYC shots were taken by Erik with his iPhone 11.
Sun’s up – here come the photographers and Instagrammers.

He also got up early on the 2nd day; went out to that famous shooting location in the Dumbo park area of Brooklyn (you know the one), and ya know what? Same thing — great light; no tourists, and still no photographers. Once the sun came up, with it came the photographers, the tourists, and the Instagrammers with selfie sticks.

This is an easy mistake to avoid

All the good stuff happens well before sunrise. In that 30 minutes before the sun comes up — you need to be out there, in place, on a tripod, ready to capture the tourist-free scenes in beautiful light. Once the sun comes up, you have just a few more minutes where the light is still good — the color is warm, and the sun is touching the edges of things as it rises, but 15 or so minutes after that, the light generally turns pretty bad, and that’s the way it stays, getting worse and worse all day until about an hour or so before sunset.

Just get up a little bit earlier. Don’t time your morning to get there at sunrise. Get there at least 30 minutes early, and the difference in your images will be amazing, you’ll have your choice of spots, no tourists, and you’ll see for yourself why it pays big time to set your alarm clock a bit earlier.

Here’s wishing you a tourist-free, great light week of shooting wherever you are. :)

-Scott

P.S. I’m off to San Francisco next week for my “Ultimate Photography Crash Course” full-day seminar out there on November 6th. Hope you can join me — you’ll super dig it. Tickets and info here.

I’m up in New York City today for the big photography show, Photo Plus Expo, and at 11:00 am this morning, over on my Facebook page, we’ll be living streaming a tour of the expo floor, so you can see what all’s going on at the show firsthand. Join me and Erik “the rocket man” Kuna (everybody’s invited); we’ll be taking your requests for booths to visit and gear to see, so make sure you join us (and please help us spread the word). That’s 11:00 AM New York Time (ET) on my Facebook page. See you then!

Come By and say “Hi” at My Book Signing today

If you’re up there in New York for the Expo, I’m also doing a book signing at 3:00 PM at the Rocky Nook booth. They are in booth 572 — at the back of the 500 Aisle on the left-hand side. I’d love to meet you (you don’t have to buy a book), just come on by and say hi if you get a chance. :)

You Missed A Really Cool Episode of ‘The Grid’ Yesterday

Well, actually you only missed it if you weren’t watching, but in case you didn’t catch the live stream of our weekly photography podcast, our guest was high-end LA-based retoucher Viktor Fejes (he’s in town recording two new classes for KelbyOne) and he offered to share some retouching techniques for viewers who sent in their portrait images. He is an absolute master of color, and he gave some killer Photoshop tips (in between cracking us up with his snarky comments). If you missed it, you can watch it below:

This next one is for KelbyOne members.

Issue 55 of Lightroom Magazine Is Now Available

Look at that – one of my Blue Angels images wound up on the cover. Sweet!

From Managing Editor Chris Main: Issue 55 of Lightroom Magazine is now available for KelbyOne members on the KelbyOne site and the KelbyOne Mags app for iOS and Android.

In this issue, our cover story is about avoiding the five biggest post-processing mistakes, plus Rick Sammon shares his “five Ps” for travel photography, using Guided Upright with panoramic landscape images, managing profiles, adding beams of light to your photos, and so much more!

Note: KelbyOne Pro & Plus members have access to more than 75 back issues of Photoshop User magazine all the way back to January 2012, plus all 55 issues of Lightroom Magazine. Not a Pro Member yet? Click here for more information.

Hope to run into you on the Expo Floor today! :)

-Scott

It’s not actually my first time shooting the Navy’s incredible Blue Angels — it’s just my first time shooting them when they’e actually flying. I got the opportunity to shoot them at dawn on the ramp back in 2015 (see below), but I never got a chance to actually photograph them flying until this past week.

Here’s a shot of them on the ramp at dawn from back in 2015.

I got lucky enough to shoot them last Friday with my friends and fellow members of the ISAP (the International Society of Aviation Photographers), during the Alliance Airshow in Ft. Worth, Texas the day after my seminar in nearby Arlington.

I put together an Adobe Spark page with the images, the story, and some behind-the-scenes shots: hope you can give them a quick look (don’t worry — there aren’t nearly as many shots as in my trip to China. I only got to shoot for four hours total, before having to head for my flight home).

Here’s the link. – Hope you can check them out. :)

Thanks for checking out my Spark Page, and I’m looking forward to seeing a whole bunch of you photographers up here in Richmond today. Can’t wait!

I’m Coming to San Francisco and Atlanta Next Month!

Very excited to be teaching my seminar “Ultimate Photography Crash Course” seminar in San Francisco (Wed., Nov 6) and Atlanta (Mon., Nov. 18th), and I hope you can come out and spend the day with me.

Tickets and more details here (just $99 for the full day, including my 153-page printed workbook. Even less if you book right now, plus it’s 100% money-back guaranteed if it’s not the best photography seminar you’ve ever attended at any price, period).

-Scott

I shared this a while back with KelbyOne members on our Insider’s Blog, but I wanted to share it with you all here as well. I take behind-the-scenes of what’s on The Grid set; where it all came from, and the story behind it. If you’re a Grid viewer, it’s “must see TV.” ;-)

I’m Still in Texas – Shooting the Blue Angels today

Had just a kick-butt time at my seminar here in Arlington. Thanks for the great turnout — my biggest crowed in about six or seven years. Really a wonderful crowd to preset to — can’t wait to come back.

Now that’s Texas Hospitality!

Awwww, yeah. Now this is how you start the day in Texas — first thing in my morning one of my seminar attendees greets me with a gift of Easy Cheese and Chicken in a Biskit crackers. You haven’t experience real cheese until it comes shooting out of can! Thanks, Robert! :)

That me and Larry last year shooting out at El Centro Naval Air Station.

Today I’m in Ft. Worth with Larry Grace and the crew from ISAP (the International Society of Aviation Photographers) who are holding an event for their members here. I’m looking forward to shooting the Navy’s Blue Angels with them today (they have total VIP access).

On Monday, I’m in Richmond with my seminar

It’s not too late to come on out if you want to spend the day with me. Tickets here.

Gotta run — got an early shoot. Here’s wishing you a fantastic weekend, and lots of great shots!

-Scott

We had one heck of a great discussion on last Wednesday’s live episode of “The Grid.” It started with a discussion about whether or not taking a photo of someone else’s art (in our discussion, a sculpture in downtown Chicago), make it suddenly “your art” or is it just a picture of someone else’s art?

Photographer and photography app wizard Troy Plota joined us (he was awesome), and we went down into the rabbit hole in a big way, and it was such a great episode I wanted to share it with you here today.

Today’s the Deadline for Entering The Worldwide Photo Walk Contest

If you participated in the Worldwide Photo Walk, today is the deadline to enter your best image taken during the official walk into the photo contest. Make sure you head over to the site; upload your image, and your local leader will be announcing the winner for your walk very soon.

One week from today I’m doing my new full-day seminar in Richmond

…and this Thursday I’m in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, so come on out and spend the day with me. We already have hundreds of photographers signed up, so don’t be the only one to miss out. Also, coming to Atlanta next month. Looking forward to seeing everybody. Tickets and info here.

Behind-the-scenes shot from my workshop in Guilin, China.

Thanks for checking out my China pics!

Thanks so much to everybody who checked out my images here on Friday from my workshop trip to China with Rick Sammon. Thanks for all the very kind comments — it really was an incredible experience, and I was tickled to get to share it with you. If you didn’t have a chance to check them out, here’s the link if you’ve got a sec.

Also, if you’re a KelbyOne Pro member, I did a members-only Webcast about the trip, including lots of tips about shooting in rural locales like this. Here’s the link if you want give it a look – we got lots of great comments.

That’s it for this Monday. Don’t forget to check out today’s tip over at LightroomKillerTips.com (and tomorrow I have my another “Lightroom in 60-seconds” video tip over there). Hope you can check ’em out.

Here’s wishing you awesome, fun-filled, great weather week!

-Scott

Mornin’, gang, and happy Friday! I finally got some of my favorite shots together from my recent workshop trip to rural China, and I shared the final images, with lots of behind-the-scenes shots and videos, and the stories behind it all.

Here’s the link if you’ve got a minute. I hope you can give them a look.

TIP: At the end of the post, I shared how I set up my three Custom Modes on my camera. Most cameras these days have the ability to set up your own custom modes, and man do they make your life easier! Hope you find those helpful.

Heads up: if you participated in the Worldwide Photo Walk last week, Monday is the deadline to enter the photo contest

The contest prizes this year are pretty amazing (including a Canon EOS RP Mirrorless Camera with a 24-105mm lens, and the Adobe Creative Suite, and a B&H Gift Card, a whole bunch more!). Even the finalist prizes are crazy good, so make sure you enter your best shot from the walk. Hey, ya never know, right?

Here’s wishing you all a great Friday, a rockin’ weekend (#rolltide), and hopefully you’ll stop back by on Monday to see what’s going on. :)

-Scott

P.S. I shared a technique today over at LightroomKillerTips.com on how to edit in Lightroom Classic on your laptop when you’re traveling, and then how to merge all that you did; the images, sorting, editing — the works, with your main computer back home. Here’s the link if that sounds like something that might interest you.

Close