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Things I Wish I Knew…
We have all been there. The moment when the light bulb clicks and you feel dumb for not realizing it sooner. As someone with no formal training in photography, and the bulk of my learning coming from the advice of serval great mentors, resources like KelbyOne and YouTube, and messing up until I figured it out, I find myself in this position on a frequent basis. In hopes that it may help someone else, here are a few of the numerous embarrassing realizations I have had and some words of advice from my first year as a professional.    

I tend to learn much better via hands-on trial and error than reading or watching a video. This ultimately leads to me overlooking or misunderstanding a feature that my be very useful at some point down the road (a bad habit I know, which I’m working on). This could be either in workflow, pre or post, or while capturing the image. Thinking you understand your gear and actually understanding your gear can be a bigger gap than you may realize.

You Don’t Need All Those Focal Points!!
This is from the perspective of shooting action. So, I know there are times you may want to have edge to edge selectable focal points. I used to think I wanted to be able to have pinpoint edge of glass to edge of glass control on every shot. As time went on though, I began to realize it can get really fumble-y and difficult to flip through 64 different points in time to get the shot you want  in a split second. It is not worth the risk of missing the perfect moment because you missed the focal point, and it is very easy to do with that many options. Now I have my camera set with single spot selectable on 9 focal points. This allows me to be able to flip to any 3rd with one toggle.

Spend Some Quality Time With Your Gear
Even if you think you know your gear, do a quarterly or yearly “date night” to catch up. Flip through every single menu item, and if you don’t know what something is, look it up. Do test shoots where you very well may not produce any usable images because you are testing out the extremes of what your gear can do.

This can be a good exercise for even experienced shooters as they keep jamming features into the new products that can be very helpful and make your life easier. It often helps spur ideas for shoots when I’m thinking about ways I can incorporate that particular feature into an image. The image above was shot after one of these experimental sessions and was shot as a test after researching the rear curtain flash sync setting.

Relax, Breathe, And Then Get To Work
To use a Nashville music business reference, “making it” overnight takes seven years, but one bad performance can set you back several. The pressure is real, and it intensifies the further you get into your career. If you are not on point, or you produce bad work when your name is called, word can travel fast. And much faster than if you nailed the shoot.  You have to be on your A game at every shoot. It is very easy to get overwhelmed when something is not working and all eyes are on you to get the shot.

One of the best ways I have found to prepare before a shoot is to take time to relax and have a short meditation. This may sound crazy, but it makes a big difference. Visualize the entire shoot from start to finish how you want it to go with the results you want. This will help you walk into the room more confidently and ready to deal with anything thrown your way. Remember, they hired you for a reason.

Final Words Of Advice
Don’t take yourself too seriously (or take yourself more seriously depending on your personality). You know where you fall here. I find myself on the side of needing to lighten up sometimes. Don’t forget why you started photography. Don’t forget where your fire to create came from. Art is unique in the fact that most people don’t get into it because someone made them or, “it’s what society says you’re suppose to do.” 99.999% of us started because we found a passion that brings us peace and lights a fire in our soul. It’s very easy to lose that in the day to day grind of making a living in photography. Find time to shoot for you, create what you want, and create with a purpose

Sam Carbine is a Sports and Fitness Photographer in Nashville, TN. You can see more of his work at and follow him on Instagram.

The inspirational cloud I’m sitting up high on right now is mind-blowing! A big thanks to Scott and the whole team behind Photoshop World for putting on the world’s most incredible conference!



I’m Dave Williams and as with every #TravelTuesday, I’m right here on Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider to share something from my world. As someone who is involved with KelbyOne, but only involved in Photoshop World as an attendee, it seems appropriate that this week I share some of the little nuggets of gold from the hub of inspiration, education, and networking that the Hyatt Regency Orlando became!

I’ll focus on what I take as the most important element of Photoshop World, but this is from my perspective and not from everybody’s: the networking.



You see how many awesome people are in this picture?  Conference Technical Chair of Photoshop World, Scott Kelby; the host with the most, podcaster, broadcaster, and so much more, Larry Becker; former assistant to Joe McNally and Scott, now ruling concert photography, Brad Moore; the 2018 Photoshop Guru Award winner for Best in Show, Kirk Marsh; the 2017 Photoshop Guru Award winner for Photography, now owning underwater photography, Dalton Hamm; Photoshop World dog photography instructor, Kaylee Greer; the other half of Dog Breath Photography, and a totally lit portrait photographer, Sam Haddix; Photoshop wizard and Guru Award-winning Mark RodriguezPhotoshop User magazine contributor, photographer, and “down to the very last pixel” creator of mind-meltingly magic photos, Gilmar Smith; portrait and real estate photography king of L.A., J.R. Maddox; capturer of magic and sparkles, park photographer, and videographer, Doug Young; and wedding and event photographer, with an eye for detail and a 2018 Couples’ Choice Award to prove it, Matt Divine. Even I’m lucky enough to be in this shot! You get my point, right?


What I’m saying here is that Photoshop World is the best place in the industry to make and maintain connections, bar none. It’s funny because when you learn to write for editorial there are a whole bunch of rules, one of which is that when you want to emphasise something you put it in italics—you don’t make it bold and underline it, but I just can’t make that point strongly enough! Take this example: the photo floating above this paragraph is me with Chris Main, Managing Editor of Photoshop User magazine and Lightroom Magazine. I’m standing with him on the expo floor, proudly showing some of my articles and tutorials on the screens. What’s particularly nice about this is being able to spend time with Chris in person rather than just via e-mail. Similarly, in the photo below I’m with (L-R) Noah, Larry, and Mina, who are the entire Platypod team. Seeing them pop up so frequently in KelbyOne productions might make you think that it’s a huge corporation, massively financially backed with a huge marketing budget, etc., etc. In fact, it’s Larry who invented the Platypod, and it’s plugged so frequently because it’s simply a great product! Being able to spend some time with them, too, rather than limit all exchanges to e-mail was really special.



The sheer power of connecting with the people you see at Photoshop World is phenomenal. It’s literally a career builder. It’s inspiring to talk to like-minded individuals in a setting where you absolutely know you can say almost anything to almost anyone and both be on the same page. It’s a place where, not only can you learn, but you can also take a lunch break or an evening meal and still carry on learning and building connections. Even over breakfast, you can have a meeting or a conversation steered towards photography, Photoshop, creativity, business, anything! I’m the kind of person who uses coffee for fuel, and man I couldn’t get my coffee quick enough at this breakfast (below).


So, in summary, my point is this:

You should never underestimate the power of networking provided by Photoshop World, as well as the learning, inspiration, motivation, and everything else on offer! You never know who you might be talking to and everyone there is your friend.

British pro tip: take the time to experience the local culture and cuisine, like I did with Mike “Hollywood” Kubeisy and J.R. Maddox. ;)



Much love


The Complete Guide to Creating Natural-Looking Lifestyle Family Portraits with Elena Blair
Join Elena Blair as she takes you through her shooting workflow while working with a family on location. Meaningful family lifestyle photography is in high demand. Creating photographs based on how you feel is more important than technical skill alone. Elena’s workflow is efficient and effective, but what drives her is the opportunity to create timeless family heirlooms for her clients. In this class Elena shares her process for getting clients ready, scheduling a shoot, selecting the gear she uses, working with her clients on a shoot, and selecting the final images that make up the gallery that is shared with the client. When approached through your creativity, family photography has the potential to be both profitable and fulfilling as an artist.

In Case You Missed It
Learn how to cultivate beautiful memories for your client families! Join Tracy Sweeney as she shares her years of experience as a family photographer to help you prepare for success in this business. Tracy starts off the class with a focus on planning, preparation, and scouting; all of which will help you get the most out of your session while feeling confident and looking professional. From there you’ll witness Tracy at work with two different families in a park and on the beach. Tracy talks through her approach to lighting, to working with the families, the importance of building a relationship with the family members, and how she poses them as a group and one-on-one. After the shooting is done, you’ll head to the studio where Tracy teaches you her post processing workflow from Lightroom through Photoshop to create the final images that go on to become family treasures for years to come.