Posts By Scott Kelby

Hi Gang: Friday I did a post on “How to Shoot Awesome Fireworks shots!”  and today it’s how to Edit them in Photoshop (that way you’re prepared for the editing, now, too!). The video includes a really simple trick for creating your own custom “Fireworks Show Finale!” So cool you’ll drop your hot dog. That sounds bad but you know what I mean. 

Check out the video I made for you below:

Pretty fun stuff. Hope you get some awesome shots!.

Our offices are closed tomorrow for the Holiday…but…
We’ll be back on Wednesday for another gripping episode of “The Grid” and you don’t want to miss it because…well…you just don’t want to miss it. Ya know. Missing it is bad. Etc.

Have a great Monday, and be safe tomorrow and get back here Wednesday in one piece.

Best,

-Scott

P.S. Are you coming out to my full-day Lightroom seminar in Nashville or Richmond this month? Ya oughta. It’s a pretty fun day, and you’ll learn a bunch, and you’ll have the opportunity to buy a really expensive bland convention center lunch. Here’s the link with details. 

Each year, on the Fourth of July we celebrate Independence Day. It’s a day where Americans from all walks of life gather together to enjoy massive fireworks displays as our way of celebrating our independence from Dave Clayton and Glyn Dewis, shown above posing with some random American male model).

We celebrate by surrounding ourselves with hot dogs, hamburgers, and mountains of potato chips before settling into a lawn chair with an ice cold beer to watch a glorious fireworks display using fireworks made in China. By the way — they’re “chips.” Not fries. Just sayin’ ;-)

Another great American tradition is the “Sharing of how to take awesome fireworks tutorial” that I do each year here on the blog, and since we’re just a few days away from the fireworks displays, we’d better start ramping up for it now. Here we go:

Here’s what you need from a Gear standpoint:

  1. Tripod: For the best results, you’ll need to shoot fireworks with your camera on a tripod, because you’re going to need a slow enough shutter speed to capture the falling light trails, which is what you’re really after.
  2. Cable Release: This is where using a cable release really pays off because you’ll need to see the rocket’s trajectory to know when to push the shutter button. If you’re looking in the viewfinder instead, it will be more of a hit or miss proposition.
  3. Zoom Lens: Use a zoom lens (ideally a 200mm or more) if you want to get in tight and capture just the fireworks themselves. If you want fireworks and the ground (like fireworks over Cinderella’s Castle at Disney World, or at the beach, or a city skyline, etc.), then use a wider lens, like the 28mm lens I used in the shot above (taken with my brother’s very old Canon Rebel and an 18-200mm zoom).

Camera Settings:

I recommend shooting in full Manual mode because you just set two these settings and you’re good to go:

  1. Set the Shutter Speed to 4 seconds
  2. Set the Aperture to f/11. Fire a test shot and look at the LCD monitor on the back of your camera to see if you like the results. If it overexposes, lower the shutter speed to 3 seconds, then take another shot and check the results again.

That’s the basics.

If you want to take things up a notch (and go all ‘pro’ on me), you could also add these four things:

1. Set your focus to infinity (This isn’t critical, but if your lens can do it, why not). The fireworks are so bright you can use just regular ol’ autofocus for the most part, but if you have a lens that has a distance scale window on the top of your lens barrel; first turn off your auto focus (right on the lens –  switch it to off), then rotate the focus ring on your lens until you see the Infinity symbol [it looks like the number 8 lying on its side], then turn it back just a smidge, so you’re almost right on the infinity symbol. Again, you don’t have to do this, but it might make things a bit easier.

2. A couple of years ago @SuzanMcEvoy (one of my followers over on my Twitter page) recommended also switching your White Balance to Tungsten and it works really well (Thanks Susan for the tip).

3. Lightroom (and Photoshop’s Camera Raw) Dehaze feature works wonders on the extraneous smoke in the background, so make sure you give it a try. It’s like it was made for fireworks shots.

4. This one probably goes without saying, but you’re on a tripod so use your lowest ISO setting for the cleanest shots.

TIP: If your camera has ‘Bulb mode’ (where the shutter stays open as long as you hold down the shutter release button down), this works great — hold the shutter button down when the rocket bursts, then release when the light trails start to fade. (By the way; most Canon, Nikon, and Sony DSLRs have Bulb mode). The rest is timing because now you’ve got the exposure and sharpness covered and you have a hand free to hold the adult beverage of your choice.

Hope you all have a safe, happy 4th of July as we celebrate our nation’s physical distance, in miles and magnitude, from Glyn and Dave which makes it truly a day worth celebrating. ;-)

Cheers!

-Scott

Wouldn’t it be cool if you could take a folder of images (RAW images, TIFF images, etc.) and have Photoshop automatically convert that folder of images into any formats you like (PSDs, TIFFs, JPEGS or all three at the same time), and while it’s doing it, how about having it run the Photoshop Action of your choice, and even embed a color profile for the Web, and your copyright info? That would be cool, right?

Here’s how to unleash this unholy power! (it’s not really unholy — that was just added for dramatic effect because, after all, this is just a script running in the background doing fancy stuff you can’t see).

See, that was cooler than it sounded, right?

OK, guess where I’m going? 
If you guessed either:

Nashville (Friday, July 28th)
> Richmond (Wednesday, July 26th)
> Los Angeles (Monday, August 14th)
> Seattle (Friday, August 18th)
> San Francisco (Wednesday, August 16th)

You were right on the money!

I’ll be in those cities teaching my Lightroom On Tour full day seminar, and I want you to come out. How much do I want you to come out? Well, enough that I made a 1-minute, 8-second video to tell you all the cool stuff you will learn (and it’s plenty!). Here’s the link with all the details (but watch that video first).

OK, makes you want to come and join me right? Right! Let’s do this! :)  Hope I’ll get to meet you in person in one of those cities.

Have a kick-butt Tuesday! (if there is such a thing). ;-)

Best,

-Scott

P.S. Tomorrow is “Blind Photo Critique” day on The Grid. Our category is “Portraits” and we’ll have Hungarian retoucher Viktor Fejes as my in-studio guest (here’s here recording some classes for KelbyOne – he is awesome!). Here’s the link to submit your portrait images. 

Dear Adobe: 
It’s 2017, and we still have to hold the Shift-key to resize things proportionally. Can we please, please just resize images like nearly every modern application on the planet does, where the default is to resize proportionally by just dragging, but then if you want to squash or stretch the image non-proportionally, then you hold the Shift key?

I know, this is “the way we’ve always done it…” but it’s not too late to change this for us, and for future generations of Photoshop users (especially people new to the program, who are used to resizing images without having to hold a modifier key).

If you’re concerned about those people who hate change, how about a compromise — make it an option in Photoshop’s Preferences. Give us a checkbox in the General Preferences that says “Resize with Shift, ” and it can even be on by default, but at least we could turn it off and resize images proportionally without having to hold a stinkin’ modifier key.

Imagined History Lesson
A buddy of mine and I were talking about this very topic a while back, and he said he imagined what happened was this:

Somewhere around Photoshop 3.0 (when Layers were introduced), an Adobe Product Manager said to the engineers, “We need a way to resize an image on a Layer,” and they said, “OK, here ya go, it’s called ‘Free Transform.’ The product managers started testing it and said, “Hey, it doesn’t resize proportionally — it stretches everything!” so the engineers went back, added that feature, and said “OK, we added it. Just hold the Shift key and now you can resize proportionally.”

Now, we have no idea if that’s how it all came down, but it sure sounds plausible to me.

There’s Still Time…
For the past few years, at Adobe’s Max Conference (coming up in October) they have announced/released new features for Photoshop CC, and since it’s only June, there’s probably time to add a preference for turning off the Shift-key thing. So, my plea to Adobe (on behalf of Photoshop users everywhere) is:

Please either swap the Shift key thing (make it only necessary when you don’t want to resize proportionally) or give us an option in preferences to change it ourselves. 

Now, what I would say to Adobe is this:

“I know you don’t want to change this (because if you did, you already would have), but if you had to start over from scratch and rebuild Photoshop all over today, would you still make proportional resizing require holding the Shift key? Of course not. You know how I know this is true? Because recently you did build a new application from the ground up — Adobe Muse — and when you resize images in Muse, they resize proportionally without holding the Shift key.”

Adobe, this simple change would make you heroes to many, many longtime Photoshop users out there. Remember when you let us change the name of a Layer by just double-clicking on it? It used to take a pop-up dialog box, but then you fixed it, and we cheered. Little things like this mean a lot to people who live and work in Photoshop CC every day. We’re not asking for some miracle technology. We’re not asking for the next healing brush or Vanishing Point. It’s “the little things.” Just add a simple preference to make our lives easier. It’s hero time.

Drops the mic. ;-)

Hope you all have a great Monday, with minds open to change and not just doing things because “that’s the way we always did them.”

Best,

-Scott

We are very, very excited to once again announce the winner of our contest where one talented KelbyOne member (and a guest) will be flown to Florida for their own solo gallery showing at “The Gallery at KelbyOne.”

We had members enter from all over the world, and I’m excited to announce that our winner is KelbyOne member:

Melanie Kern-Favilla

Her gorgeously quiet, breathtaking images of flowers and close up shots of nature absolutely captivated the judges, and we can’t wait to see her images hanging on the walls of the gallery (printed beautifully by Bay Photo Lab using the ‘Xpozer’ system).

Her gallery show opening is at 7:00 pm on Friday, July 21st and we’ll be broadcasting a live 1-hour interview (hosted by Larry Becker) with the artist at 8:00 pm that evening from our live events theatre (the live stream on Facebook from the opening and interview are both open to everyone). More details and a link as we get closer.

Congratulations Melanie – we can’t wait to share your wonderful work with the world. :)

Have a great weekend everybody, and see ya next week!

Best,

-Scott

P.S. If you’re like “What’s this whole gallery thing?” check out this quick Q&A. 

Howdy, folks. Now, if you’re a Lightroom user, you’re probably not going to find much use for this feature because Lightroom was born to make contact sheets with it’s awesome Print module, but if you’re just using Photoshop, this is one of those things you probably didn’t even realize was there (plus, Adobe took it out for a while, but enough people screamed that they brought it back after a while). Anyway, here ya go, mateys!

STEP ONE: Go under the File menu, under Automate, and choose Contact Sheet II.

STEP TWO: When the window opens, up top choose which folder of images you want to have Photoshop make into a contact sheet. The bottom section (Document) is where you choose the size of the document you want it to create (in this case, I was feeling nostalgic for a paper size nobody’s digital camera actually cares about), so I made it an 8×10″, and I chose a resolution of 240 ppi. In the Thumbnails section, you choose how many columns and how many rows you want (and some other options are there that are self-explanatory), and if you want the file name to appear beneath the images (helpful if you’re making an actual contact sheet for yourself or a client), then you can turn on “Use Filename as Caption” at the very bottom.

STEP THREE: Now sit back and let Photoshop “do its thing” and in a couple of minutes you’ll have your contact sheet. By the way — an especially cool feature is that it will create as many individual documents as it necessary to put all the images in the folder you choose on contact sheets, so don’t be surprised if you see 4, 5 or more tabs across the top when it’s done if you had a lot of photos in that folder.

There ya have — we’ve dug up some more Photoshop buried treasure!

Hope you have a great Monday everybody!

Best,

-Scott

P.S. We added new July tour stops in Richmond and Nashville to my “Lightroom On Tour” full-day seminar. Get your tickets now and come spend the day with me learning Lightroom like a boss! 

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