Category Archives Guest Blogger

If you’re wondering whether you should register for Photoshop World, here are just a few examples of what you might learn, or be inspired by, from our instructors. Below are excerpts from just a few of our favorite Photoshop World instructors’ guest blogs. Click on their names to view the full posts. And if you find inspiration in these, just imagine what’s in store for you at Photoshop World!


Gilmar Smith: Make The Best With What You Have, and Develop A Personal Style

I still work with the first and only camera I’ve ever had. My trusty Canon 5D Mark II. I bought my Elinchrom strobes at around the same time I bought my camera. It was probably September of 2011, and those are still the only ones I have. My computer is about that old too. It even died on me a couple of months ago, and I got a new hard drive, a new battery, turned to YouTube, and fixed it myself. This is proof that when you want something you go for it. I can’t make excuses. I do drool over gear, but I’m supporting two kids on my own and building my empire brick by brick. So, I make the best with what I have.

It goes back to what makes you unique. I get a lot of messages from people asking me how can they jump into the photography business to make a living. And, to be honest, those questions were the inspiration to write this blog post.

I don’t have all the answers. My process hasn’t been easy. I’ve gotten a lot of doors shut on my face, and I’ve had to dust myself off, get up and try again. But I’ve been fully committed all the time.

First, find your niche, then, make your work stand out from the rest. You can only do that by investing long hours on your craft. Try different techniques. There’s no shortcut. Put the hours in and be creative.


Moose Peterson: Passion Tells The story

Where do you start? Well in this instance, you start by first making introductions and the simple portrait. Always working on making the uncommon from the common, we start at the hangar. With nothing more required than a camera and lens, I’ll show you by simply moving a subject back into a hangar you can find dramatic lighting to create that first portrait. That huge door wide open is a great light source and the hangar is a place pilots are very comfortable. Combining the two is how you introduce your skills and passion to the pilot that can lead to so much more, hopefully that air to air photo mission. In our Air to Air class, we also start in the beginning, which means on the ground. Light is what wraps up our visual storytelling and learning that on the ground is essential! How do you do that? You’ll see as we “fly” a model around looking at the light falling on it, the background and then the combo to tell the story. You learn just like the pilots do, in ground school before you take to the air. We’ve laid it all out for you so all you have to do is insert your passion to make it all come to life!

Photographers come to photography often thinking the f/stop, shutter speed and Photoshop are the biggest challenges to be conquered to be successful. Not to scare you, but that’s the easiest and simplest to master in this craft. It’s not till after you think you understand light that the challenge really becomes personal and the mastery creeps along. Because it is then you must invest the most important ingredient for improvement, time! Personal projects where you invest your heart, time and personality to tell the visual story are the true calling of photography. Stories unfold every second of every day around the world providing us all with an opportunity to explore and invest, to fail and succeed in and what I still feel is the grandest pursuit in life. The ball is now in your court to move forward, just remember, passion tells the story!


Kristina Sherk: Retouching in Lightroom vs. Photoshop

Let’s say you want to make five changes to the iris of your model. So – let’s hypothetically think about how we would do that in Photoshop versus Lightroom.

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Photo by Sam Haddix

Editor’s Note: Can you believe there was once a time we may not have known who this rockstar was? In honor of her latest KelbyOne class, Best Kept Secrets to Amazing Dog Photography, being released, I thought we would revisit the guest blog that started it all!


Hi! I’m Kaylee. And I’m going to tell you something that will knock your socks right off. Ready?

I love dogs.

And oh my gosh, I wish I could say this in a sort of casual, non-chalant, “Yeah I think dogs are pretty cool, no big deal,” sort of way. But you guys… I mean it. I mean like, in a totally and completely bonafide ‘crazy dog lady’ kind of way.

So, it’s kind of embarrassing when I walk down the street and audibly and uncontrollably squeal with delight over every little wiggling, passing pup I see. My friends actually try and deter me from the path of an oncoming dog as we walk down the sidewalk – for fear that we’ll get stuck in a 25 minute interaction that includes me excessively ogling, squishing and kissing a strange dog with a sometimes slightly terrified owner looking on.

The truth is, I find more beauty, purity and joy inside the iris of a happy dog than I do anywhere else in the world. When all else seems to fail me – I find solace in the smile of a dog. Dogs have this perfect ability to live simply – to live in the moment. And that just fascinates me.

Luckily for me, I was blessed enough to be able to turn my copious amounts of “dog crazy” into passion – and that passion into a profession.

Yup, you heard it here folks – I am a professional dog photographer.

I know, I know. WHAT? (accompanied by a cocked head, big eyes and sometimes a giggle at my expense; this is the typical response I get when people first discover my job title.) A professional dog photographer. I’m wildly humbled and grateful to say that I’ve turned that passion into a very busy reality that has me booked almost one full year ahead with both private and commercial jobs. Who would’ve thought that could even be within the scope of reality for someone who only photographs dogs?! Good gravy! Sometimes I have to pinch myself. I wake up every day and smile. I smile because life is so silly and full of wonder. I smile because Im living my real live dream. And that dream is called Dog Breath Photography.

If you told my five-year-old self what my profession would one day turn out to be – I think her head would have actually popped off with joy. If you hang on just a sec, I think I can hear her squeals of delight from all the way back in 1990. Holy banana sandwiches.

So, after being invited to write this guest post on Scott’s blog (but not before I finished the elaborate robot dance of joy that I executed quite fabulously all alone in my studio with my dog looking on judging me harshly), I thought how wonderful it would be to share some of my best tips and tricks. The little golden nuggets of wisdom that I’ve felt blessed to have learned over the past 5 years of my dog photography adventures. While getting great photos of your client’s or your own pets sometimes feels impossible, I can assure you with the utmost conviction – it’s not.

I’ve got some stuff up my sleeve that you just might find helpful – especially when you’ve got Rufus set up for the most perfect frame, arranged meticulously in the gorgeous, golden afternoon light, and he suddenly runs off in the direction of that squirrel for the 45th time. (Let me tell you now, as much as you try to reason with them, dogs just don’t appreciate the nuances of really good light.)

So, let’s dive into some content that will help you get amazing photos of your pets, that will create the illusion that you’re working with a perfectly trained dog every time.

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Titans fans receive ear warmers from Ticketmaster and CMT before the game between the Tennessee Titans and the Jacksonville Jaguars at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, TN.

If you’ve been around Scott’s blog long, you know that football is kind of a thing around here. With the NFL preseason beginning soon, I thought I would take a slightly different approach to covering a game.

When it comes to covering a game, it takes a team of photographers to get all the coverage that’s needed. Most people who want to cover an NFL game are trying to get as close to the action as possible, but I barely know who the top players are on any team.

Titans fans receive ear warmers from Ticketmaster and CMT, handed out by the Boy Scouts of America, before the game between the Tennessee Titans and the Jacksonville Jaguars at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, TN.

However, I do have some experience covering events, so I’m happy to wonder around the venue and see what else is going on around the game! And that’s why Donald Page, team photographer for the Tennessee Titans, invited me to help cover some of the event marketing photos for the team and their sponsors a couple of seasons ago.

A band performs on the Pinnacle Tailgate Party stage before the game between the Tennessee Titans and the Jacksonville Jaguars at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, TN.

While these photos aren’t showing the peak moment of a wide receiver catching the game winning touchdown, they do give color and texture to what’s happening on game day. Plus, I’m guessing that sponsors enjoy seeing photos of fans enjoying and interacting with their brands.

Fans grab drinks from Yee-Haw Brewing Co. during the game between the Tennessee Titans and the Jacksonville Jaguars at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, TN.

If you’ve ever been to an NFL game, you know that the event doesn’t begin when you get to your seat, but as soon as you arrive outside the stadium. On this game day, there were plenty of activities to participate in as soon as you got inside the outer gates of the stadium.

Fans toss a football at the Bridgestone Quarterback Challenge before the game between the Tennessee Titans and the Jacksonville Jaguars at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, TN.

From a concert stage, to a football toss, to cookies and free swag, there were plenty of things to check out on your way inside the stadium.

Fans receive Tiff’s Treats cookies before the game between the Tennessee Titans and the Jacksonville Jaguars at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, TN.
Titans fans receive shirts from Comcast Xfinity before the game between the Tennessee Titans and the Jacksonville Jaguars at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, TN.

Then there are the personalities on hand who go all out for their favorite team. They wouldn’t dress this way if they didn’t want to be photographed!

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me_photo_by_@TomDiPace
Photo by Tom DiPace

Editor’s Note: Rob’s latest KelbyOne course, Everyday Sports Photography with Your iPhone, gets you close to the action with your camera phone. This guest post from 2014 covers a lot of photography basics that, in combination with the lessons in his class, will have you well on your way to some amazing images!


Hello everyone, my name is Rob Foldy and I am a sports photographer. I am extremely humbled that Brad and Scott would ask me write this post for you all and I am excited to share with you some of the things I have learned thus far in my career and how I have been able to put them into practice. I like how Scott tends to break things down in his writings into “bite size pieces,” so I’m going to attempt to do the same. Most of the things I’m about to share apply to sports photography, but I think most of these tips and tricks can be used in almost all types of photography.

I tend to be long winded and go on lots of tangents, so I’m attempting to really reign myself in and only focus on one topic for this post: making a different photo than the other photographers.

This is important for all styles of photography, but especially true in sports where often times there are many photographers trying to take pictures of the same things. What will make your photos stand out? What will make a client want yours instead of theirs? What will make yours the best?

I’ve read lots of books and articles, watched lots of videos, and talked to lots of photographers whose work I admire in an attempt to try and make my photos better. Here are a few tips that have really stuck with me, and things I try to remember every time I go out:


Get Your Camera In A Different Place

It’s the first tip, in the first chapter, in the first book I read, Joe McNally’s The Moment It Clicks, when I decided to get serious about my photography. Like Joe said, chances are, the picture you’re thinking about has already been made, so how do you make it different? One way is to get your camera somewhere else. This may mean getting a perspective from above, lying on the ground, through a tree, with a remote camera, a longer lens, shorter lens, etc. Like I mentioned earlier, at most sporting events there are at least 5 photographers (if not 200) standing in the same place trying to make a picture. How do you make a different picture? It’s often simple: go somewhere else.


Getting Down: The Low-Angle

This one is from Peter Read Miller on Sports Photography. It’s so basic, yet so few people do it: LAY DOWN. You may get dirty, so what? Go home, throw your clothes in the laundry and take a shower! You probably already smell from working the event anyway. Now, this isn’t something you usually want for portraits, but getting a lower angle makes your subjects appear bigger and gives them a “larger than life” quality. Additionally, it cleans up your backgrounds and makes your photos look more dynamic than the photographer standing or kneeling next to you. (Side note: a higher perspective will also get very clean backgrounds, and nice light can make for interesting shadows. But, be careful that your photos still look professional from those angles, as it’s very easy to have them start looking like fan photos taken from the bleachers).

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Editor’s Note: This post originally ran in 2011, but the wisdom Dave shares is still applicable today! Be sure to catch Dave and many other great instructors at this year’s Photoshop World Conference, happening August 30 – September 1.

A Game Plan for Improvement

Hi, and welcome to Scott’s blog. Let me first say what a privilege it is to be asked to write an article this week. Well, as many of you know, Scott and I share a common passion and subject interest, sports photography. So it seemed natural for me to write about a sports related topic.

I’ve been on the road a lot lately and Friday was a rare afternoon at home. As I sat down to write this article I had the TV tuned to the Golf Channel’s coverage of the WGC Bridgestone Invitational. I happened to catch the interview with Tiger recapping his poor 2nd round performance. A reporter asked him if he was going to “set a lower goal seeing that he was coming back from an injury and all that has happened.” Tiger instantly answered, “No. Never have. Why show up at a tournament if you’re not there to win.”

You think Tiger has a game plan for a few more green jackets? Ya think? I have always walked into each photographic project with a game plan for improvement. It is this mindset that fuels my passion for whatever I am photographing. Passion can only motivate a person so far before improvement and encouragement is needed to continue on. During my 30 plus years of photographing Professional and Olympic sports I have applied several guidelines that have helped me improve my image making at each event I covered. Let me add that these guidelines can apply to any photographer no matter what subject they shoot. So even if you photograph weddings, portraits, wild life, landscapes or whatever, grab your seat in the front row, buy a hotdog, and enjoy the play-by-play.

Know Your Subject

I began my sports photography career as the team photographer for the men’s and women’s USA Gymnastics teams in 1980. I grew up in the sport and competed at both the High School and NCAA College level. I even coached for several years before stepping into the photography position for the US team. I knew only what I had learned in a single semester B&W photography class in college, but I knew everything about gymnastics. This in-depth knowledge of my subject, gymnastics, gave me a distinct advantage over even the best photographers in the sports magazine industry. I knew the athletes, their routines, their new skills, and all the best angles to capture the action from. It was as if I had seen a video of the competition the day before. I always seemed to be more than 1 step ahead of the photographers from Sports Illustrated, Time, and Newsweek.

So, when Mary Lou Retton landed this vault scoring a perfect 10.0 and won the Olympic gold medal she became the biggest story of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games. The sport became very popular and I then became the go-to guy for Gymnastics images. This led to other major sports event coverage both Professional and Olympic, and the rest, as they say, is history. Anyone can improve their images just by knowing something about their subject. The great wildlife photographers know the habits and best season to photograph specific animals. A great wedding photographer knows the layout of the church in advance so they can move quickly into position for key moments. And the portrait photographer makes conversation and builds relationship with their subject so as to capture the mood and personality of the individual. If you want your pictures to improve, Know Your Subject, whether it’s an athlete, a bride, a moose, or the environment.

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Choosing lenses can be confusing with so many things to take into consideration… Focal length, maximum aperture, weight, price, prime vs. zoom, etc. I’m going to try and break things down as best I can and hopefully give you a better understanding of all this so you can make a more informed decision on what to purchase.

What Do All Those Numbers Mean?
When looking at lenses, you’re going to see lots of different numbers. The first ones are going to be followed by mm. So, 24-70mm or 70-200mm or 16-35mm or whatever. This is the focal length. The smaller the number, the “wider” the lens, so these are called wide angle lenses. The bigger the number, the “longer” the lens, and these are called telephoto lenses once they’re 70mm or more. After these numbers, you’ll see some that start with f/. So, f/2.8, f/4, f/3.5-5.6, etc. This is the maximum f-stop or aperture (the terms are relatively interchangeable). The lower the number, the “faster” the lens, aka glass. The bigger the number, the “slower” the lens/glass. Let’s dig into these two sets of numbers a little deeper…

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