To start off – THANK YOU to Scott and Brad for letting me write a guest post! As they say in radio I’m a, “long time listener, first time caller.” I’ve been fortunate to attend a handful of KelbyOne Live events and virtual conferences and have been a big fan for a long time. To share even a tiny bit of space with the likes of Scott, Rick Sammon, Joe McNally and the dozens of photographers who have been a part of this space is really cool!


My photography journey began almost 40 years ago when I inherited my grandmother’s Minolta HiMatic7. My dad had been an avid amateur and he encouraged me to explore photography but I had never had my own camera before. The next year I spent an entire summer buying my first used camera five dollars at a time. I edited my high school yearbook and shot frat parties in college for extra cash.

I got into the photo retail world when a Photo 101 class was killing me financially and I needed the employee discount to go through 5-8 rolls of film a week. I still work in a brick and mortar camera store, as well as teach and shoot a good bit in my adopted hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina.

In short – in some form or another, photography is just about everything in my world. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have worked with a number great mentors over the years and that’s what I’m writing about today – the value of teaching, mentoring and helping out the next generation of photographers. 


I find a lot of photographers who share their time, talent, insight, and technique and appreciate all that they do. Over time I’ve given a hand up to aspiring professionals and watched them grow (some have become far more successful than me). As I’ve gotten older and more secure in my space, I find more and more that I enjoy the teaching part of what I do far more than the shooting. Mentoring and coaching rookies is so fun and rewarding, and its not unusual for me to learn something from them, too. It’s true: old dogs CAN learn new tricks! <using the whisper voice> Most days I actually prefer teaching and coaching over shooting and editing.


#TravelTuesday today is a throwback to some travel and a look at adding some zing to our travel photography with light. I’m Dave Williams, and I’m taking you today from my flat on the outskirts of west London, UK to Route 66 near Seligman, AZ. Let’s go.

Last summer after Photoshop World West in Las Vegas had drawn to a close, Mark Heaps and I found ourselves in a Triumph dealership picking up a pair of Triumph Tigers to go on an adventure we’d spent months planning and years yearning for. We were taking our two-wheeled machines from Nevada into Arizona to explore a stretch of Route 66.

Capturing the adventure would be a challenge because we were both riding so the shots we got needed to be remotely activated or cleverly executed, but there was one particular thing we wanted to capture that removed us from the scene altogether – the brilliant light of the Milky Way.

As we rode back to our top-quality motel one evening and the darkness drew in we noticed the Milky Way piercing through the deep blue of the twilight sky and despite being separated from each other and our heads encased in protection we seemed to both just know what we needed to do and stopped at the pullout in sync.

The moon was absent and aside from the nearby freeway there was no artificial light for miles, nor any cloud or haze to catch it if there even was any. The objective was clear – shoot the bikes under the Milky Way. The problem was the lack of light. To make this photo special would require us producing our own light and applying it in such a way that the bikes didn’t distract from the stars, or vice-versa.

I pulled out my Litra Pro and we both got our tripods and cameras ready, constantly scanning for tiny, stingy critters like scorpions and spiders as we stepped through the grit, and we were ready.

With the light set perfectly, here’s what we got: –

In travel and landscape photography we tend to rely entirely on natural light, but using our own light can add to a photo and make it really creative as well as technical.

Flash and lighting is not just for portraits, it can be applied in so many ways to add to our images. It just happens that right now KelbyOne is running a conference to teach all about flash, which you can jump into right here.

Thanks for dropping by, and I hope that little glimpse has inspired you to think about artificial light and different ways to apply it. As with everything it’s important to learn the fundamentals and step it up from there.

Much love

PROGRAMMING NOTE: Today is Pre-Conference day at the Flash Photography Conference, and I’m kicking it off this morning with a “Flash For Absolute Beginners” Class at 11:15 am ET (even if you miss it, you can watch the archive of the live class for six months after the conference). It’s not too late to join us today, or for the official start tomorrow — Tickets here.

Want to do something for your photography journey that will absolutely, positively make make an impact? Stop what you’re doing, and right now take two minutes and make a print.

If you don’t have your own printer, send it to an online lab (I use both BayPhoto Lab and — 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 day or so, your print arrives. Couldn’t be easier.

Make it a large sized print

You can get a 16″x24″ print from or 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’re not sure how to print, this can help:

Here’s a link to that course. You’ll get a lot out of it (I promise).

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, make the most of today. Make it “Make a Print Monday” :)


On Tuesday, the KelbyOne Flash Photography Conference 2020 kicks off (featuring the world’s #1 wizard of flash, Joe McNally), but the day before I’m doing a pre-conference workshop for people who are absolute flash photography beginners, designed to get folks up and running fast.

I’ll be literally starting from scratch, but I think what most folks will find surprising is how easy is actually is to make professional looking portraits with flash, and I’m sharing a recipe, camera settings, flash settings and all, that works every time (I hear from students all the time who tell me they’ve tried it and it worked perfectly even the first time they tried it).

Then on Tuesday it splits into two training tracks: one for beginners with me, and an intermediate / advanced track with Joe. Although the whole event is live (with Joe up in a studio in Connecticut and me down in Tampa), but we archive the entire conference for six full months so you can go rewatch any sessions, or catch any sessions you missed on either track. I’m putting the official trailer below (it’s really short — it’ll help a lot in you deciding if this is for you).

Photographers from all over have already signed up, and it’s not too late if you want to join us next week.

Here’s the link for tickets and more details.

This is incredible opportunity for anyone whose ever wanted to learn flash, or for existing flash photographers who want to take their skills to the next level fast. Hope I’ll see you online starting Monday, and then all day Tuesday and Wednesday.

Have a great weekend, everybody. Safe safe and sane, and we’ll catch you next week. :)


P.S. Joe did a fantastic blog post this week about what he’s teaching at the conference His track is going to be incredible. Here’s the link if you’ve got a sec.

The Grid: Topaz AI with Greg Rostami – Episode 451

This week, Scott Kelby and Erik Kuna are joined by special guest Greg Rostami of Topaz Labs to discuss some of the exciting AI (artificial intelligence) features coming down the pipes for Topaz’s software and plug-ins!

Mastering Black and White Photography in Lightroom with Serge Ramelli

Take your B&W photo processing using Lightroom Classic to the next level with Serge Ramelli! In this class Serge goes through 9 color to B&W processing projects designed to teach you a variety of tips and techniques for mastering black & white photography. By the end of the class you’ll know Serge’s complete workflow for making fine art black & white photographs that can be applied to landscape and portrait images.

Mickey with Dr. John West and his image at the Mount Miguel open House

My name is Mickey Strand, I am a US Navy Combat Photographer Veteran. I served for 24 years, retiring in San Diego in 2009. I am a professional photographer, involved in many projects, the number is dependent on my ADD. 

Currently, I am photographing members of America’s Greatest Generation, The Veterans of World War II. Collecting stories, memories, and images for future generations from these heroes who signed the dotted line on a check that could have included their life if called upon.

Navy Chief Photographers Mate, Joe Renteria turned 103 years old in July and is still photographing the world today. Joe was a Navy PHC and retired after 20 years.

The project started as a suggestion from a mentor that I should work on my studio portrait lighting by shooting one portrait a month. He suggested I find a subject I was interested in, that it would grant “buy-in” of the work, find something or someone you want to photograph and you’ll work harder on it. This self-assignment started two portrait projects, the Veterans Portrait Series taking on the bulk of my attention.

I was inspired by other Veteran photographers who were shooting Veterans, collecting their images telling these stories, but saying “I want to shoot Veterans”, is like saying you want to learn about photography. I narrowed it down with a concentration on America’s Greatest Generation.

Corporal Seki “Don” served in the US Army with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team (RCT).