This is a question my buddy Terry asked me this week:

“If COVID were completely behind us, and it was 100% safe to travel to anywhere, where is the first place you’d choose to go shooting travel photography?

Location Italy. Green pin on the map.

It didn’t take me long to come up with an answer. Hands down, it would be Italy. Why Italy? It’s one place that pretty much has it all (as you’ll see in a moment), and because of the country’s small physical size (it’s actually smaller in size than the state of California), and its excellent train system and roadways, you can get to pretty much all of quick and easy, covering a lot of ground in a short time, without rushing around.

Italy has everything from snow-capped mountains, to gorgeous sprawling summer lakes, to hilltop villages, to ancient cities, to seaside hideaways, to big metropolitan cities, to floating cities, and landscape photo opportunities as far as the eye can see.

Here are my top picks for travel photography cities and regions in Italy:

Venice. One of the most unique cities on earth. No roads, no cars, no bikes — just canals and bridges, and wonderful architecture. It’s as close to a magical place as you can get.

Rome. Ahhhhhh, Roma. It’s got everything from ancient architecture to stunning cathedrals, from where Chariots raced to small winding alleys with quaint cafes and coffee shops. The Vatican is here, too, and a treasure to photograph inside and out. There are so many things to shoot in Rome — it, by itself, is a photographer’s paradise.

Tuscany. The hills of Tuscany — the light at dawn and dusk — the quaint villages and roads to wander for miles (er, kilometers), you could spend a month there and not see it all.

Cinque Terre. It’s a collection of five little coastal villages on the Italian Riviera that are so picturesque it looks like Disney made them. Incredible vistas, beautiful color, and charming as all get out.

The Dolomites. It’s a mountain range in Northern Italy that has become very popular with landscape and travel photographers. It’s incredible. Like a bit slice of the Swiss Alps right there in Italy.

Portofino. I’ve been there twice, and while very tiny and compact, there is still much more to be uncovered. One of the most beautiful harbor views you’ll ever see.

Sienna. It’s a hilltop village deep in the heart of Tuscany, and while it takes a few stairs to get up there, once there, you’ll be rewarded with many photographic opportunities. How cool is it that people live there and wake up each day surrounded by this magical place?

Luca. It’s another amazing town in Tuscany, with a unique circular town square that’s…well…it’s not square, and surrounded by charming buildings.

Florence. With its famous bridge extending over the river, and the amazing Santa Maria del Fiore cathedral dome rising over the city (not to mention the statue of David), so many people fall deeply in love with Florence and return to it again and again.

The Amalfi Coast. Another area with the most charming seaside villages, incredible views, places you’d want to move there to live, and so many wonderful shooting opportunities around every corner.

Pisa. Yup, the place with the Leaning Tower, and it’s cooler to see (and shoot) in person than you’d think, and the drive there (from wherever you are in Italy), is just beautiful.

Lake Garda. Another Northern Italy locale that is so charming and interesting and just fun. You’ll find a ton to shoot along the road that rings the lakes, winding through cute little storybook villages. You’ll dig it.

You’re crazy close to the South of France. When you’re in Portofino and Cinque Terra, you’re literally just three hours by car from a whole ‘nuther world — the South of France (Cannes, Nice, Marseilles, Saint-Tropez, and Monte Carlo is right there, too), and it’s so different than Italy but completely charming and awesome. You’re also pretty close to the rolling Lavender fields of Valensole — just a short drive and so worth it at the right time of year. Heck, it’s worth it in the off season.

Plus, have I mentioned Naples, or Genoa, or the super vibrant colors of Burano (seen above – just outside Venice) or Capri, or Ravello, or San Gimignano? I could go on and on because there are so many incredible places everywhere you roam in this amazing country. There’s still so many places in Italy I haven’t been, and I want to capture a piece of them all. :)

The Italian people are warm and wonderful

It’s one of the things that just takes any trip to Italy over the top. The language is among the easiest to learn (well, for Americans anyway), but almost all the folks you’ll deal with in your travels speak some (or a lot) of English anyway, so you don’t have to worry too much about the language barrier. In face, I’d say it’s not a barrier at all.

Did I mention the food?

I don’t have to tell you how incredible Italian food is, but the Italian food you get in Italy and that crazy next level stuff you only get there. My single favorite restaurant in the world is in Rome, it’s Mimi e Coco. Just indescribable and every bit as charming as a 20-seat restaurant tucked away down an alley in Rome can be. The food is worth the trip…but take your camera just in case. ;-)

I hope this inspires you to add Italy to your travel photography wish list — there’s just no place like it, and you’ll come back with pictures and memories that will stay with you forever.

Ciao, ciao!

-Scott

P.S. If you’ve got a sec, I shared some of my favorite images from my last workshop in Rome, along with the stories and behind-the-scenes photos. Here’s the link.

The Grid: Blind Photo Critiques – Episode 458

It’s that time again! Join Scott Kelby and Erik Kuna for the latest episode of The Grid, in which they do their signature blind photo critiques. If you’d like to submit photos for a future critique episode, keep an eye out on Scott’s Facebook page for the link to submit.

New KelbyOne Course: Backyard Bird Photography and Beyond with Rick Sammon

Learn how to get great bird photographs at home and anywhere else in the world you may go. Join Rick Sammon as he shares over 250 tips, tricks, and techniques on photography, wildlife, and Photoshop to help you create the best bird photographs of your life. Bird photography can be challenging, but the bigger the challenge the bigger the reward, and after learning from Rick you’ll be prepared to photograph birds in any location.

Photographing Dude Perfect

Back in November 2019, I had the opportunity to photograph Dude Perfect at their headquarters in Frisco, Texas for their merch website. If you’re not familiar with Dude Perfect, they’re a group of five guys who do crazy sports videos that get hundreds of millions of views.

My goal was to photograph them on a white background with the typical edge lighting used in a lot of athletic portraiture, but also light from the front well so the merchandise was accurately portrayed. This meant a six light setup:

  • Two Profoto B1Xs with umbrellas to light the background
  • Two Profoto B1Xs with strip banks for the edge lighting
  • One Profoto B1X with a beauty dish for the face and upper body
  • One Profoto B1X with a 5′ octabank further back, but powered up, for a more even frontal fill

My trusty assistant, Graham Dodd, stood in for some tests while we got everything dialed in.

Just the edge lights
Just the background lights
Just the beauty dish
Just the 5′ octa
All lights combined

I worked tethered into Lightroom (with my trusty TetherTools cable) with a live gallery updating to the merch company back in Tampa, so they could share feedback with me during the production. I did not do final edits on anything, so I just dialed in exposures and made basic develop module adjustments that applied as photos downloaded to Lightroom.

Here are some of the resulting images:

Here’s how some of the final images look on the website, once the retoucher and designer worked on them:

And some production photos, courtesy of Graham Dodd:

I hope that’s an insightful look into a commercial photo production!


And, I would be remiss if I didn’t share some images of my newest favorite subject… My daughter, Eliza! I may be biased, but I think she’s pretty cute ;-)

Photo by Hannah Leigh

You can see more from Brad at BMOOREVISUALS.COM, and keep up with him on Instagram and Twitter.

Let’s have a slightly colder #TravelTuesday this week here on ScottKelby.com, I’m Dave Williams and I want to lay down two quick tips for snow photos.

After you’ve read this I’d love you to check out my new class exclusively on KelbyOne, Photographing the Arctic and the Aurora.

Following on from the Aurora tip in the video above, here are some hot snow photo tips:

Firstly, White Balance. Our camera measures the white balance by finding 18% gray in the scene, or determining what 18% gray should look like, and it measures from that point to determine what it thinks white should look like. From there it works out all the other colours and tones. There’s some serious math going on in this process and it’s all happening at lightning speed. Sometimes our camera gets it wrong, and sometimes what’s right in reality just doesn’t look right. It’s for this reason that we should shoot raw – it affords us full creative control over our white balance in post, regardless of the white balance we shot at.

When we shoot a scene blanketed in snow or encased in ice our camera can be fooled when trying to find the 18% gray it’s looking for. This often throws the white balance off, usually resulting in photos that turn out too blue. Shooting in raw and shifting the colour slider in Adobe Lightroom of Camera Raw to the right a little will help us bring things back to a truer representation of what we really saw.

The second tip is for the camera and relates to Exposure. Looking again at a scene covered in snow can fool another piece of sensing in our camera – the Exposure Meter. When we point our camera towards the subject or scene it is reading the amount of light, displaying what it determines to be the correct exposure through our viewfinder or on our screen. The large amount of snow reflecting light in our photo often causes the meter to think the scene is too bright, showing an incorrect reading and causing us to underexpose our photo. To combat this, it’s often a smart move to overexposed by 1/2 a stop to one stop when shooting a scene full of snow.

Short, sweet, and to the point, that’s my input for the week. If you want to learn more, be sure to check out my class. Have a great Tuesday!

Much love

Dave

A buddy of mine just did a survey about what people struggle with in Photoshop and the #1 response didn’t surprise me at all, because sooooooo many Photoshop users struggle with the same issue — printing. It’s only because, printing in Photoshop kinda stinks (and that’s being kind).

The fix is so simple — when it comes to printing — stay the heck out of Photoshop and ALWAYS print from Lightroom Classic.

Lightroom’s printing is everything Photoshop’s isn’t. It’s flexible, you have lots of great printing options, features and layouts, it’s streamlined, powerful, and modern, and it just works. It’s literally one of the things Lightroom does best and Photoshop (for all it’s magic, and there’s plenty) does worst. I’ll bet I haven’t printed an image from Photoshop in probably 10 years (and no, there haven’t really been improvements since then).

If you’re a KelbyOne member, you can watch this class I did on printing from Lightroom Classic (the trailer is above above), and I take you through the process from start to finish. If you’re not, either buy it and watch it right now ($29 I think), or join for a month and watch it as part of your subscription. Once you see how easy, and powerful Lightroom’s printing is versus Photoshop’s, you’ll never go back.

Here’s a link to the course.

Remember, learning cool new stuff is a great way to start your week off right. :)

-Scott

P.S. Speaking of learning new stuff – I had to learn to play a little slide guitar this weekend for a recording of Elton John’s Rocket Man. First time I ever actually tried slide (well, I tinkered for about 10 minutes once a few years ago when I bought a glass slide on a lark), but this time I needed it for the song, so I was patient and just practiced a bunch and son-of-a-gun it actually sounds OK. No one is more surprised than me. Now I’m thinking, it’s time for “Freebird!” ;-)

Happy Friday, everybody! Here we go:

I Took 1st Place In The WPE International Photography Awards Landscape Category

I’m excited to share the news that I won 1st place in the Landscape category in the 2020 WPE International Photography Awards. I was super psyched (and I got a lovey cut glass engraved award), and I was equally amazed that I somehow edged out famous landscape photographer Peter Lik, whose work I’ve always admired. Thank you to the judges for choosing my image (taken near Guilin, China) — I’m truly honored.

It was just a few weeks ago that, on The Grid, where out topic was “Things you can do to make the most of your photography in 2021” I talked about why you should enter photography competitions because you just never know (and contests are uniformly kind if your image doesn’t win an award). This is exactly what I was talking about, and I hope this gives you a nudge to enter some of your images in competitions this year.

21 Questions With…Um…Me?!

I did a really fun interview with the social media crew at B&H Photo, and they asked some really interesting questions. If you’ve got a minute or two, here’s the link (or click the link in their tweet below).

I’m Speaking At the Depth of Field Conference

It’s the fourth year in a row B&H Photo has produced the Depth of Field Conference for portrait, wedding and event photographers and I’m excited to be one of the instructors this year.

It’s March 7-8, 2021 and it’s all online. Here’s the link to register, and I’ll catch you then online.

OK, that wraps up Scott Stuff day (perhaps the greatest name of a blog post in the history of blog posts, but then, I may be biased).

Have a kick butt weekend, everybody! #GoBucs!

-Scott
The Guy Behind Scott Stuff

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