Category Archives Photography

This is your invitation to come to beautiful Paris, France and join me and long exposure expert; KelbyOne Instructor Mimo Meidany for an unforgettable four-day travel photography workshop — “The Essence of Paris” in the most photogenic city in the world. First, watch this short video:

Tickets & Details

What: The “Essence of Paris” Travel Photography Workshop
Instructors: Scott Kelby and Mimo Meidany
When: June 7-10, 2019
Where: Our boutique hotel is just steps from Notre Dame
Price: $4,950 Per Person (includes accommodations, and breakfast each day)
Tickets: More details and tickets here (limited to 12 participants maximum)

Don’t Miss Out!

All of my 2018 workshops were sold out in advance, and as of this morning, there’s only 9-spots left for this one. I hope one of those will be yours. Reserve your spot now, and we’ll see you in Paris this summer.

Head to scottkelbyworkshops.com for tickets and lots more info.

Have a great weekend everybody!

Hope I run into you next week out in Vegas at the WPPI show. I’ll be doing a book signing at the Rocky Nook booth on Wednesday. Come on by and say hi.

Thanks,

Scott

Hey hey! Happy #TravelTuesday, once again. I’m Dave Williams, coming at you from the UK to share something about Photoshop, photography, and life. This week: photography! Pick up what I put down, and let’s go!

Time and time again this question lands in my inbox: – “How many megapixels?” Well, in truth, the only time you really need a lot of megapixels is when you’re shooting something for a billboard. Here’s why:

Photography is both an art and a science. It’s an art in terms of its creativity, but a science in terms of the application of all the elements that lend themselves to the creative result. The science is made up of gigabytes, megapixels, photons, and a whole load of other cool sounding words. The problem can often derive from people’s scientific or technical way of thinking being transposed into the art of photography, and particularly, in terms of the requisite number of megapixels, it’s often misunderstood.

Here’s the marketing myth that goes with the theory: – the more megapixels you have, the better the camera.

Nope!

So, a megapixel is basically a million dots. These dots make up the image. It would seem that more megapixels mean a sharper photo, but this is not necessarily the case—you could just have more dots on a bad photo. The lens you use, the sensor in the camera, and the photographer’s grasp of light and composition are far more important factors about what makes a good photo than the megapixels cameras are arranged by in the electronic store. It’s often said, in various different ways, that the most important thing about a camera are the six inches behind it.

The big things to consider when buying more megapixels, along with the aforementioned potential creative differences, are that more megapixels mean bigger file sizes, which in turn, means you need more hard drive space. And, that more megapixels cost more, owing to the marketing value associated to megapixels when retailers rank cameras.

Look at all those megapixels!

Let’s go back to the billboard thing. You know when you watch TV and you have the option to go between the regular channel and the HD version of the channel you’re watching? On the whole is there actually a difference? Perhaps there’s a difference on a huge screen, but on the average TV screen, it’s not noticeable. This is exactly akin to comparing what most people will use a photo for versus the one in 100 photographers who is shooting that billboard ad. Make sense?

Taking that a stage further, a very common use for images is social media. Often we find that we’re downscaling the images before we post them, and then the posting algorithms of Instagram and the like will resize our image and its resolution, once again, when we upload it. Those megapixels you invested in are, in this case, wasted.

In short, if you’re going to make a tight crop on an image or shoot for that billboard, megapixels matter. In almost all other cases, they simply don’t.

Megapixels matter in some cases, but not many! If you’re shopping for a new camera, look at other things first—read reviews on sensor quality, ISO performance—and make sure you invest properly in your lens, as well as the camera.

Much love

Dave

I’m Dave Williams and it’s #TravelTuesday here on Scott’s blog. This week, I’m going to tip most articles on their head.

When we start out in photography, we seek inspiration and education from all manner of sources—YouTube, KelbyOne, magazines, blogs, workshops— but I think the most important way to learn is to make mistakes.

The thing these methods all have in common is that they tell you what to do. Obviously! They tell us the mistakes to avoid, so that we can be better photographers. But, I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my journey and I strongly recommend you do too! (Stick with me here!)

I’m not saying make all the mistakes I’ve made—for example, don’t drop your camera from a rock on the coast of Iceland straight into a rock pool (it survived), or don’t continuously trek to a remote location to shoot only to realise when you arrive that you have one bar left on your battery. I’m talking about other mistakes.

We learn in life from mistakes, and often it’s the best way to learn. A combination of both regret and education, mistakes are something from which we learn how to do something and how not to do something, as the lesson from the experience is etched into our memory.

Shooting at too high an ISO and having an overly noisy image is one of the mistakes that’s important to make in order to understand how your camera’s sensor interacts with the available light, and how your manipulation of the camera’s settings affect the final image. The extra effort that would have gone into using a tripod and shooting a longer exposure at a lower ISO would be the fix and the lesson to learn in such circumstances.

Speaking of ISO, when I used to shoot weddings, I lost track of the number of times I’d be shooting inside a beautiful church at a high ISO to balance the tonal range of the images, but then stepped outside continuing to shoot at that high ISO and ruining the first handful of images. It was essentially a learning curve—it happened a few times, but once I eventually got it in my mind, it never happened again!

On the same sort of level, one thing that used to often happen when I was shooting in the high north during winter, is that I would go out to shoot the Northern Lights (or at least look for them!) and have my camera set on a long exposure to capture the motion, with a high ISO to be sensitive to the level of light coming at me (which I obviously wouldn’t overlook), but I’d also have the autofocus switched off! The following morning I’d grab the camera, having seen a cool-looking mountain or something, and shoot it, having adjusted the ISO and shutter speed to suit, but forgotten about the autofocus! Again, once I’d made the mistake a few times, it was set in my mind and it hasn’t happened since.

And again, on the same sort of level, the cold, in this case. Have you ever had a wet tripod and not dried it off properly? The result is terrible—trust me! It’s a lesson not forgotten when everything seizes up!

Over-processing is a mistake often made in the early days, and it’s worth noting here that if you want to make your images look unrealistic and have a halo around every object, make sure you crank the Clarity and Saturation sliders right up. ;)

See the big shadow, here, in the sky over Turkey? A reminder to clean the sensor or lens is learned from the mistake of not doing just that!

Making mistakes is very important. I’d like to say we only make them once, and although that is often the case, it’s not always the case. Nevertheless, when we make mistakes, we (sooner or later) won’t repeat them and will get our time to shine and get it right every time. It’s in our nature to make mistakes, and it’s also in our nature to learn from them. I just wish I didn’t make the same mistake twice!

Just be yourself; it’ll all fall into place.

Much love

Dave

The Canon rumor mill was heating up last week with news of a release of a new consumer-focused mirrorless camera; with a lower price and scaled back feature set from the Canon EOS R mirrorless they released late last year. The anticipated feature set was leaked by a reliable online source, and the specs look pretty legit, so I imagine when the actual camera announcement from Canon comes (the rumors are saying it’s around, if not on, Valentine’s Day), will be pretty close to what we’ve read.

In the scheme of things, a lower end consumer model is probably the right move for Canon, but I’m holding out for a pro model in this new mirrorless line.

I absolutely loved shooting with Canon’s original full frame mirrorless camera, the EOS R which was released late last year. I spent two months with it; took it on a number of trips, and I felt it was like a 5D Mark IV but with a lot of the stuff the 5D Mark IV was missing. When Canon asked me to return the loaner, I should have turned right around and bought one myself, but the word on the street is that Canon is going to release a pro model, and I’m hoping it’s this year (I don’t have any insider info; just hoping. OK, praying).

Canon, don’t screw this up (like everybody else has)

Every camera out there has made a compromise; missing some key feature that should have been there, but isn’t. Nobody makes a complete camera. One day, somebody will. Canon, this is your chance — please don’t screw this up.

Let’s start with the Sensor

I just spent five days in Canada with my friend Ramtin Kazemi and all he could talk about was how incredible the sensor was in his Nikon D850. When I’m around my Sony shooting friends, all they talk about is their sensor. Nobody’s mentioned Canon’s sensor quality in years because it hasn’t evolved since the 1Dx Mark II. I’d be tickled if they did nothing more than put the original 1Dx sensor in their new pro mirrorless. They can lower the frames per second; it doesn’t have to be a sports camera, so it doesn’t compete with their sports camera, but it should have at least a good a sensor low-noise wise, and an expanded dynamic range at least as good as the Nikon D850 and the latest Sony’s. It can’t be another “regular” sensor.

Two card slots

I rarely put a second memory card in my 5D Mark IV, so for me, this feature is kind of a non-factor, but honestly, a pro camera without compromise should have two slots (heck, SD slots are thinner than a quarter; no reason not to have two). Also, don’t add some expensive alternate memory card scheme — the world is cool with SD slots, they’re super affordable, so just go with those. If Canon added three slots (maybe two SDs and a CF) it would break the internet. Three would become the “new thing.” Nah, just stick with two.

It’s needs a faster frame rate…

At least a solid 8-fps would be fine. 10 is even better.

Real 4K non-cropped video

When Canon left 4K video out of the massively upgraded 6D Mark II, the missing 4K video was all anybody could talk about. When the EOS R came out, it was “it’s cropped 4K’ so it’s not the real 4K everybody wanted. Please give us the 4K video we (they) actually want.

It needs a few more buttons

Pros don’t have the time to dig through menus. The EOS R is very menu-driven. Add a few more customizable buttons and it will make a big difference.

Please don’t make it 100-megapixels

There are a few rumors out there, ranging anywhere from 100mp to 150mp. I hope they’re wrong. Does a pro-level camera have to replace a medium format camera? Nope. Can you just make it maybe 50-megapixels tops? It’s not like 30-pixels isn’t enough, but you know they have to up it because everybody else has, but please don’t make it too high.

In-body Image Stabilization

Canon has said that in-lens stabilization is still better than in-body stabilization, but the camera world won’t rest until Canon adds it into their bodies (Nikon’s mirrorless already has it), so hopefully, they’ll do it, otherwise the tech reviewers will all glom onto it as the “deal-breaker missing feature” as they did with the EOS R’s single card slot.

Don’t leave any little thing out

It’s gotta keep the good stuff from the EOS R – stuff like built-in GPS (missing on the Nikon D850), and the fully articulating screen (also missing on Sonys and Nikons); it needs to keep the built-in wi-fi — don’t start stripping out stuff because it’s a “Pro camera” as camera manufacturers tend to do when they go “pro level.” Keep the good stuff. Don’t compromise. Don’t let it have that Achilles heel that has hamstrung a number of other cameras that stopped just short of being great. Don’t mess this up.

None of this is ground-breaking stuff….

It’s just that no camera company has put all of this in one camera. They’ve all dropped the ball on one or more of these features. The industry doesn’t need another camera that “isn’t all that.” That stops just short of being great. Canon doesn’t need that either. It’s time for somebody to finally make a killer camera without compromises. Without leaving something key out, or cutting corners. Canon has so many things right — the screen, their UI, the ergonomics of their camera (not a little thing), their color rendition, their auto-focus system; their new mirrorless lens are incredible (with apparently more on the way); and much more. All the piece are there — it’s time to put them together.

I hope my holding out for a pro-level Canon mirrorless pays off. If not, I’m going to buy the EOS R like I probably should have done 5 months ago. I hope Canon proves me wrong. :)

Have a great Monday, everybody, and here’s to a day when we get a camera with no compromises.

Thanks for listening,

Scott

If you want something, go and get it! Find a way or make one!

I’m Dave Williams and, as always, I’m here on Scott’s blog for #TravelTuesday for you! I aim to enlighten and inspire every week with something to do with photography, Photoshop, and life. Today, I want to provoke you to take last week’s personal project and monetise it, either directly or indirectly.

When we shoot as professionals, that is to say, we are making money from our photography, we are doing more or less everything with a goal in mind—a bill that needs paying! Removing that element of life and shooting for self-development allows a relief of the stresses and pressures placed upon us (by others or by ourselves), so we can afford more of our efforts on the creative aspects of the shoot rather than the “end goal.” It’s important to have that creativity in the moment, to enjoy the moment, rather than simply aiming for that end goal, and it’s an aspect of photography that is worth incorporating into everyday life. Here’s why: –

Whilst it’s good and often important to have a goal in sight, staring at that goal won’t get you anywhere on its own. Concentrating your energy and efforts on the here and now is what makes things change and ultimately what shows your value as a person. It’s what shows your commitment and understanding, not of what you want to achieve but how you’ll achieve it.

I’ve found that whilst I can take a good image of a place the first time I visit, I often think of better images and better techniques and want to revisit until I nail it. It’s this which prompted me to undertake personal projects, which develop my skill as a photographer (and storyteller) and allow me to get better images the first time around. But, that said, the second visit (and third and fourth) will never go away because…

“There’s no such thing as ‘just one last shot'” –Peter Treadway, 2014

This kinda has a few meanings to us photographers. It can mean that we’re usually such perfectionists that an image is never really finished, or it can mean that, actually, it is finished but we just find it hard to recognise when! That’s something to think about.

Here’s my current go-to example of second visits: –

Mont St-Michel, France. The image above was taken about five years ago, and the below image was taken a couple of months ago. I’d like to think both images work, and they’ve both sold so each has their own merit, but that is the very point—each has their own merit. Each shows the same place but in entirely different ways. It’s going to my development as a photographer that that’s happened, through grit, determination, practice, perseverance, and through personal projects! So, what about that one word I just said: “sold.” Let’s talk about that.

I’ve been talking to a few photographers lately about this, and whether it’s for the purpose of paying your bills or simply for funding new gear for your hobby, I implore you to get involved with monetising your photography. The people I’ve been talking to have been largely successful in the first stages of getting into stock photography, but there are other ways to monetise your photos. The world is a small place; you no longer need to be “famous” to make a living from photography, nor do you need to drive from home to home with a strobe and a backdrop in your car shooting family portraits. Here’s the thing: –

All those photos you see on billboards, in magazines, on leaflets, in menus, in newspapers, in brochures, on packaging, on computer screensavers, in books, on ads you scroll past online, literally everywhere, they all came from somewhere. Why not come from you?

Signing up for stock photography for these things is easy—all you have to remember is to play by the rules. For example, a test submission to a stock agency will state “common theme, not overly retouched, no brand names. in focus,” etc., etc., and as long as you stick to the rules (so that you pass the test submission), you can start to sell your images! It doesn’t have to be stock, of course. You can monetise your Instagram account in a similar way—find agencies who are looking for people and, again, follow the rules! Perhaps the rules are a common theme, signature look, 5,000+ followers, good engagement—follow the rules and you’re in! How about postcards? Take a look on the back of postcards next time you see a display rack and you’ll see the company who produces them printed on the back. Why not send them an e-mail? Send a few of your best images over and see how you get on—at worst, they say “no thanks,” and at best, you’re making money!

Seriously, no more excuses! It’s 2k19; it’s time to make your photography pay!

The cover image here is of me 13 years ago when I was living in South Africa. I was busy shooting thorns in the Klein Karoo area with my SLR (yes, SLR, no screen) and working out what kind of a photographer I was. Essentially, a whole series of personal projects, one after the other, finding a niche through the process.

Much love

Dave

I took this shot at the Venice Opera House before my workshop there last year.

Want to do something for you and for your photography journey that will absolutely, positively make you happy on so many levels? Then stop what you’re doing, and right now take two minutes and let’s make this a Monday to remember…by making a print. You have to, it’s “Make a Print Monday!” (I just created this fake holiday, but at least it’s a pretty good one).

If you don’t have your own printer, send it to an online lab (I use both BayPhoto Lab and MPIX.com — both make great prints and both have world-class customer service, and if you don’t already have a lab, try either of these — you’ll love them). You just open an account, upload your image, choose your size and they take it from there. In a few days, your print arrives. Couldn’t be easier.

If you upload a print to a lab, not only will you feel awesome today because you stopped and actually sent off one of your images for printing, but you’re setting up a major boomerang effect because that feeling is coming right back again in an even bigger way in just a few days when your beautiful print arrives.

Don’t just get a print. Get a big print!
You can get a 16″x24″ print from BayPhoto.com or MPIX.com for around for $24. There are few ways you can spend $24 today and effect you or someone you love (a gift?) that can have a bigger impact than a print.

If you’ve ever wanted your work to live on, to have a bigger impact than it does by just sharing it on Facebook, and if you want those pixels on screen to become something real, something you can hold in your hands, something that will make you feel great inside, join me today (I’m doing it!) for “Make a Print Monday.” :)

Thanks,

-Scott

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