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Last week on my live video podcast ‘The Grid,’ I had the honor of clicking the ‘Launch’ button to start the kickstarter campaign on one of the most innovative ballheads ever‚ the “Platyball.” Best of all it’s from Larry T. and the team behind the beloved Platypod who are just some of the best folks out there.

Their goal was to raise $18,000 to fund the launch and initial run of Platyball. Within just a few days, they’ve already raised over $232,000. It. is. on. fire! Larry and his family put their heart and soul into this project and I couldn’t be happier for them. I love it when the good guys win.

Check out their launch video below.

Here’s the link if you want to get in on their kickstarter, and get yours in the first batch that ships.

I’ve been lucky enough to do a lot of interviews over the years, but this one with Roger and Joey from from the Lensrentals Podcast was one of my very favorites ever. It was just so much fun. Check out this comment below from when I shared the podcast this weekend on my Facebook page:

When I first started reading that comment, I was sweating it, but I’m glad it had a better ending. :)

I’m putting the link below — let it run in the background while you’re retouching, and let me know what you think. It’s definitely not you’re average interview. LOL! :)

Here’s the link: http://lensrentals.lensrentals.libsynpro.com/how-to-do-everything-with-scott-kelby

Hope you can give it a listen (and thanks to Roger and Joey for being such cool guys!

No Photoshop needed for this trick — it’s nuthin’ but Lightroom!

I got a lot of great feedback on this technique I shared last week over on our sister-site LightroomKillerTips.com and I think what’s surprising is that the entire technique is done right inside Lightroom, and it’s super quick and easy.

Here’s the link if you’ve got a sec.

Those four cities are my next stops for my “Ultimate Photography Crash Course” full-day seminar. San Diego on Feb 12, Phoenix the next day on Feb. 13th. Then I’m in Houston on the 23rd and on to LA on the 25th. Come on out and spend the day with me – it’s 100% money-back guaranteed — you’ve got nuthin’ to lose and everything to gain. Here’s the link. See you there!

Here’s wishing you a great week ahead, everybody! :)

-Scott

P.S. I got a chance to spend the past few days at the NAMM (Music Gear) show out in Anaheim, California and I’ve never felt more at comfortable or more at home anywhere. Why? Because almost EVERYBODY there was wearing a black t-shirt with a logo and jeans. It was like “Planet Scott.” LOL!!! I had such a blast, and yet, I didn’t buy anything (well, I bought some new t-shirts), but much to Kalebra’s chagrin, I did come home with a shopping list, which does include a guitar. :)

The Reality of Switching to Capture One

Matt Kloskowski, Serge Ramelli and me tackled ‘The Reality of Switching to Capture One” as our topic this week on The Grid and we had a really great discussion, with so many people thanking us for helping clear up a lot of confusion and clarifying a lot of the bad info out there. I’ve embedded the episode below — you can just let it run in the background while your’e editing photos, but I know a lot of folks found this really helpful — it might clear up a lot of things for you, too.

Thanks to everybody who commented and got involved in the discussion. It was really a lot of fun, and I think we shared a lot of eyeopening info.

My new ‘Natural Light Portrait Book’ made fstoppers.com Top 10!

I was very psyched to see my new ‘Natural Light Portrait Book’ made fstoppers.com top-10 picks for 2019 Educational Photography Books. Here’s the article (honored to be in the company of some really great authors and titles).

The book is in-stock at Amazon right now (Prime shipping, too) if you want to grab the printed version before Christmas I’d go order your copy right now. Of course, it’s available as an ebook for Kindle and the Nook, too!

If you’re looking for a great podcast, here’s one I highly recommend:

It’s photographer, and Photoshop author Glyn Dewis, and Design Guru, British Supertar Dave Clayton. It’s so great — you’ll love it and you’ll thank me for turning you on to it. The get really great guests; you’ll laugh, you’ll learn, you’ll dig it. More info at https://heshootshedraws.com

Have a great Holiday weekend!!! :)

-Scott

I am so excited — this is the first thing I’ve ever invented (with lots of help from my friends at Westcott) — it’s a lighting tool for educators and students, and its sole purpose is to teach people lighting before they go and buy lighting. Check out the video below to see what it’s all about (and how the idea came about).

So, now that you’ve seen the video, you know — it’s about experimenting, learning, and seeing “the light.” That way, when you do buy a flash or a studio strobe or continuous light, the frustration, the futzing, and the whole guessing game is over because you’ll have a plan — you’ll know what you’re trying to achieve, what light does, when to use hard light, diffused light, what gobos do, what fresnels do, the color differences between tungsten and daylight. You’ll know all this because the light comes with a full training class on light, and how to use The Learning Light, in your classroom, or with other students, or for just you as you’re learning.

It’s got direct hard light, soft diffused light, a Fresnel spotlight, its own set of gobos, and a carrying case it all fits perfectly inside. It’s LED powered so it doesn’t get hot to the touch.

We released a full training class on it to KelbyOne members this week, but if you buy the light, you get full access to the class as part of the lighting package.

It’s available today

The light, with the gobos and the training class, is just $89.90 and you can get it direct from the folks at Westcott (here’s the link), and B&H Photo will be carrying them any day now, too.

As an educator myself, you can probably imagine how exciting it is to have a tool like this for other educators and students, and I’m so grateful to my friends at Westcott: Eric Eggley (who came up with so many great ideas for The Learning Light, and took my initial idea and took it much farther than I’d ever hoped), and to Brandon Heiss, whose vision and commitment to helping teachers is why there is a Learning Light today at all.

I’m super-psyched! (can ya tell)? ;-)

One last thing, and it’s something I think is really important (and you’ll hear me talk about this aspect a lot). This is not lighting. It’s a learning tool. It’s the light you buy before you buy real lighting. It’s for experimenting with shadows, and light, and for learning lighting before you fully invest it in. I truly hope you’ll find it helpful (and I think you’ll find it’s a lot of fun), and thanks for taking the time to let me share this all with you (and tell your teacher friends about it, if you would). :)

Have a great weekend, everybody!

-Scott

P.S. Did I mention I invented a light for educators? Whoo hoo!!! I’m super-psyched!

The judging part keeps getting harder
Imagine trying to pick one winner…from nearly 1,000 walks all around the world, and every image you’re looking at has already won a contest just to be considered — each image is the winning image from a local photo walk. It’s so challenging and frustrating to narrow it down to just 10 finalists and one Grand Prize winner. There are so many images that deserve to be in this list, but narrowing things down is what I have to do today, and I’m delighted to present to you this year’s 10 finalists and our 2018 Grand Prize winner.

Note: If you want to learn more about the judging process, and how I came down to picking these images, scroll to the bottom of this post. 

Here are this year’s Top 10 Finalists (in no particular order):

By Janos Leo Andanar (Dapa, Philippines)
There is such joy in this image. Some of the children are aware of the photographer, but none of them are posing, and the backlighting is awesome, and the color is vibrant without being over the top — it just all came together for this shot. The photographer probably took dozens of shots of this scene, but the timing and position of the kids on top makes it a really special frame. Very well done.

By Marco Van Apeldoorn (Haarlem, The Netherlands)
It’s tough to make a really captivating shot of reflections on a car, but this photographer pulled it off big time! Great color and composition, and a really intriguing image. This would make a great desktop background image.

By Elousagun (Candon, Philippines)
This is just such a cool shot, and the outfit our subject is wearing just fits so perfectly into this scene. I loved it the moment I saw it. If I had taken this image, I already know what I would title it. “Top shelf!” Such a cool shot.

By Prapoport (São Paulo, Brazil)
This one should be used in college courses on composition. The placement of the subject in the frame, and the colors surrounding our subject, and the arrows on the ground and above our subject, and the way the buildings are leaning in from the fisheye lens — this is really a special image. Great, great eye!

By Alfie Narisma (Doha, Qatar – Pinoy Shooters Club)
This is just a really intriguing shot, and I’m not usually drawn to photos of people taking photos, but in this case, it just works. Also, I’m usually not of fan of the flat-looking post-processing that’s going on here, but it so perfectly suits the shot — it really helped take an interesting image and move it up a big notch.

By Jing Esteban (Downtown Boise, Idaho, USA)
How beautiful is this? The light, the colorful, the movement — it all comes together in this gorgeous shot. Very nicely done!

By Debora Suterko (Claremont, California, USA)
This is such a peaceful, beautiful, timeless image. So simple — yet it makes you want to not only see what’s inside, it makes you want to be inside, with its art on the easel and fresh flowers in your foreground. Beautiful light, very nicely post-processed. Great capture all around.

 

By Susan Chapel (Belcrum Breda, The Netherlands)
I know this “person standing there looking at art” has been done many times before, but I think this one is particularly intriguing for a number of reasons. I love how our subject shows the sheer scale of the image, and I love that it’s a woman looking at these images because it really makes you wonder what she’s thinking about them. Compositionally, not only is she in the perfect position, but the way her blond hair pops on that dark background immediately draws you to her. There’s more going on here than you see at first glace. Top job.

By Jer-Sandel (Bulacan, Philippines)
Of course, the color is amazing, and for a silhouette to really work, you have to immediately be able to identify what the shapes are, and you certainly do here, but the gesture of the little boy on the left — that takes it over the top. Such a great photo.

 

By ValeriaBD (Copenhagen, Denmark)
I kept looking at this image again and again, and I kept coming back to it. The reflections are just so amazing here — this photographer has a really great eye for composition, balance, and for taking something simple and making it really captivating.

And the GRAND PRIZE WINNER is…

Who wins all the stuff below, and more…

Is this image:

By Omar Shebl (Alexandria, Egypt)
There is just so much going on in this simple shot. A living legend of photography, Jay Maisel says it in his seminal book “Light, Gesture, and Color” and this shot has it all. The light is so appropriate without calling attention to itself. The color tones, from the color of their skin to the dominos to the board to the table to the floor — they’re almost too perfect, and both player’s gestures are so opposite of each other that it gives you a hint as to each players personality. Add a wonderful shooting perspective and you feel like you’re right there in the middle of all it. This was an instant stand-out to me, and I knew from the start the photographer had captured something very special. I love it.

How I do the judging
I look at every single winning image from all the walks around the world. I do find that the great shots jump right out at you, and I make those as picks to go back and look at again. I was able to get down to 106 shots after going through all of them. That’s a big cut, but a very long way from 10 finalists and one winner.

I try not to be swayed simply because an image was taken in an exotic location or somewhere I’ve never been or never seen — I wanted to pick a photo, simple composition or not, easy to capture or not, post-processed brilliantly or not — that is simply special. Maybe it’s the right light, expression or mood, or story or a combination — I search for whatever that certain something is that makes me come back to it again and again — and  I want to give every image fair and open-minded consideration.

What makes this process harder is that these are already curated. Each image was already judged and chosen as a “winner” by the local walk leaders, from nearly 1,000 walks. Narrowing it down — it’s just so hard, and you second and third-guess your choices along the way because you want to give every image a fair shake.

You could easily make a case for hundreds of images to be chosen as finalists, but you only get to choose 10, and one Grand Prize winner, and you finally just have to make a choice. It is literally one of the hardest things I do each year, but also one of the most rewarding because I get to see so many great images during the process. I hope that gives you a little insight into my judging process.

Even though this round of judging is over …
We still have our Leader’s Competition winner coming next week and I always list my ‘Honorable Mentions’ (images that are so good that even though they didn’t win a prize, still deserve recognition). So, while this is the official announcement of the Top-10 Finalists and the Grand Prize winner, the competition phase still has a few more components left.

Thanks to Canon USA and all our sponsors
Special thanks to our Premier Sponsor, Canon USA, (who gave us some amazing Canon prizes) and to Adobe Systems, Peachpit Press, Tamron, and B&H Photo — thanks for all your support this year and for offering such awesome prizes to our winners. We are very grateful.

Thanks to our Walk Leaders
It’s a lot of work, and a thankless job, so let me be the first to say “thanks.” We couldn’t do any of this without our volunteer walk leaders around the world, who do such a great job of creating the walk; working with the walkers, and making the whole thing happen on the local level, and that means a lot.

My personal thanks to our own Jeanne Jilleba, who did an amazing job again this year of keeping the communication flowing, working with the leaders and managing walks in nearly 1,000 locations all over the globe. It’s a very challenging job, but she does it like a boss and I’m very proud of the job she does (even better this year than next). Thank you, Jeanne — we are all indebted for all your hard work and dedication to making the photo walk a success.

Lastly, thanks to all the talented photographers from around the world
who created such inspiring, creative, and beautiful work, and special thanks to those of you who contributed to the Springs of Hope Orphanage in Kenya — it means more than you know.

More to come as we reveal more winners next week.

All my best,

-Scott

This is our third year with a “Video shot during the photo walk” category, and Canon USA (our awesome sponsor) has once again come up with an amazing package for the winner of this category. The Video Category winner receives:

The Canon Video Creator Kit (seen above). The kit includes a Canon EOS 80D Body; a Canon 18-135mm lens;Canon Power Zoom Adapter; RODE VideoMic Go; a 32G SD Card, and all the other goodies (battery, charger, strap, etc.).

High-five to our friend Rob Altman of Canon USA for his vision and support for our video category — Canon has been our main sponsor for a number of years now, and they are an absolutely AWESOME sponsor. Big thanks to everyone at Canon USA who helps make this annual event happen.

OK, let’s get right to it — we’ll start with the winner, and then I’m going to share a few other videos that, while they didn’t win any prizes, I thought they deserved an honorable mention.

AND THE WINNER IS…

Winner: Three Blind Men & an Elephant Productions
Photo Walk: New York City Highline

NOTE: I think they did a wonderful job of capturing the spirit of a Photo Walk. Very well done! :)

And now for our Honorable Mentions
(other videos that while they aren’t prize winners, still deserve some recognition):

Honorable Mention (and best documentary): Hesham
Photo Walk: El-Darb El-Ahmar, Cairo, Egypt

Honorable Mention: Roberto Pisco
Photo Walk: Innsbruck, Austria

Honorable Mention (and best cinematography): @chknss
Photo Walk: San Antonio, Chile

Honorable Mention: Ronan Colin
Photo Walk: Miami, Florida USA

Honorable Mention: Jerus Oritz
Photo Walk: Bantayan, Philippines 

Honorable Mention: CJ Estrada
Photo Walk: Cebu City, Philippines 

Honorable Mention: Beth Meckly
Photo Walk: Jacksonville, Florida USA

Honorable Mention: Avishek Das
Photo Walk: Calcutta, India

Honorable Mention: Avishek Das
Photo Walk: Albay, Philippines

Thanks for letting me share all of these with you; congrats once again to our prize winner Stefan, and a big, big thanks to the 2017 Worldwide Photo Walk Official Sponsor, Canon USA, for making this video category a reality. :)

Check back Friday Morning for the big reveal of the Grand Prize Winner and Top 10 Finalist!

All my best,

-Scott

 

This is our first year having a mobile-photography category (images taken with a cell phone camera), as part of my Worldwide Photo Walk, and we have some beautiful shots to honor in this new category from some really talented photographers.

We have one winner in the category (below), and after that one, I chose five other images that, while they don’t win a prize, they still deserve an honorable mention:

AND THE WINNER IS…

Winner: Ramy Hikal
Photo Walk: Cairo, Egypt

OUR HONORABLE MENTIONS: 

Honorable Mention: Sana Namawala 
Photo Walk: Muscat, Oman

Honorable Mention: Portia Shao 

Photo Walk: Santa Cruz, California, USA

Honorable Mention: Surendra Patel
Photo Walk: Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India

Honorable Mention: Foad Gholamshahi
Photo Walk: Homozgan, Iran

Honorable Mention: Mhadse Semiei
Photo Walk: Isfahan, Iran

Congratulations to the wonderful photographers who entered this, our new Mobile Photography category! :)

More contest winners yet to be announced later today and tomorrow!

Best,

-Scott

 

 

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