I ran across Patrick Hoelck’s brilliant photography portfolio after I saw it discussed (OK, debated) in an online forum (I wish I could remember which one). I really, really like his style, but beyond his cool photography, what peaked my interest was how the forum participants were arguing back and forth about whether his “look” comes from his technique in camera, or after the fact in Photshop. Now, as a guy who really loves Photoshop, I have great respect for him either way (because digital photography in the 21st century is two things; the photography and the processing in Photoshop), so if he’s getting this look in Photoshop, all I can say is “Please teach it to me!” If he’s doing it all with lighting (as apparently he is quoted in a magazine article), then all I can say is “Please teach it to me!” Either way; take a look at his cool images and see what you think (and post your comments as to whether you think it’s mostly done: “In the Lighting” or “Later In Photoshop”).

Lightroom for Digital PhotographersNow that Adobe has officially announced Lightroom Verison 1.0 (see the next post down), I’ve just finished wrapping up my new book, “The Lightroom Book for Digital Photographers“, which has the exact same layout and style as my “Photoshop CS2 Book for Digital Photographers,” where it takes you through the whole process step-by-step, from importing, thru sorting, developing your raw, JPEG, and TIFF images, all the way through printing the final image (and there’s an entire section just on using Lightroom with Photoshop; where Photoshop fits it, and when and where to use it).

NOTE: If you purchased the pre-release eBook version of this book (the online downloadable PDF version, based on the public Beta release of Lightroom), you’ll be happy to know that I basically rewrote the entire book from scratch for this final print edition, with all new content, photos, new chapters. What I’m most excited about are the last two chapters, which I added for the print version, which take you step-by-step through two real working photography projects; a wedding shoot (where we start with a live bridal portrait shot on location at the church) and it takes you through the entire process, including importing, sorting, the inital client presentation in your studio, having the client proof shots online, all the way to actually printing the final 16×20 formal print for framing. The second chapter follows a different step-by-step workflow, from the live shoot to print, of a outdoor/landscape photo shoot. This two chapters pull it all together in a way I’ve never seen illustrated like this before,and I can’t wait to share it with you.

You can order it now

And be the very first to get this new book, from Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble.com, or wherever books are sold.

Also, I’m doing something completely different next week, as I’m teaching a two-day hands-on Lightroom Workshop at the Digital Technology Centre in Sarasota, Flordia, and if you want to learn the future of the professional digital photography workflow, I hope you’ll join me (the class is limited to 20 people, and there are just a few seats left). You can find out more, and reserve your spot by CLICKING HERE. I hope to see you there! (By the way, if you sign-up for my workshop, make sure you bring your camera, because this is totally hands-on, and we’ll be doing the whole process live, from capture to output).

Life Lessons from Photoshop

Rare is the software application that transcends its basic utility to become not only a ubiquitous element of pop culture and daily life for many, but also a verb. Photoshop is one such unicorn. 

As such, many successful approaches to life can also be applied to gaining proficiency in Photoshop—and vice versa. Here’s a look at ten life lessons to be gleaned from and applied to mastering one of the world’s favorite software applications.

Flexibility is Key

While there’s no easy Cmd/Ctrl+Z equivalent in life, the value of flexibility is easily understood. Just as having options in life makes it more manageable , maintaining flexibility in Photoshop is also crucial. Smart objects, masks, adjustment layers—these are game-changing ways of working that provide the ultimate in flexibility. Use them to your advantage.

Experimentation Leads to Breakthroughs

Throughout human history, there are many storied examples of how experimentation, happy accidents, and unexpected discoveries have led to enormous scientific breakthroughs (penicillin, anyone?). The same sense of curiosity and wonder can be applied to Photoshop to unlock new potential. What effect does the Difference blend mode have? How many different ways might you make use of the Render > Difference Clouds command? How exactly might the Pencil tool be useful? What happens if you invert your image or apply your edits in a different order? One of the best ways to figure out what a command or setting in Photoshop does is to push the limits and see for yourself. Drag sliders to their extremes and see what happens. Unlike life, you can’t ruin Photoshop with poor choices. There’s always a way back.

The Learning Never Ends

No one knows absolutely everything there is to know about Photoshop. Everyone has their respective silos of mastery. Some know everything about working in 3D, others can teach you everything there is to know about non-destructive editing. But there is always more to learn. Even after 20 years of Photoshopping, I’m constantly surprised by random little quirks or hidden surprises I somehow never stumbled across before. Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to ask questions of some of the original masterminds that have been part of Photoshop’s creation since the beginning—and even they didn’t have all the answers. Let this be both a comfort and a call to action. In life, as in Photoshop, the day we stop learning is the beginning of the end.

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Pandemic Productivity & Creativity: You Don’t Drown by Falling in Water; You Only Drown if You Stay There

“You don’t drown by falling in water; you only drown if you stay there.”

That Zig Ziglar quote sounds kinda funny, but it sure is true – especially during this worldwide pandemic where many of us have “fallen in the water.”

Breaking my ankle and having major surgery in July of 2021 compounded (greatly) my personal experience of “sailing in rough seas” during the “tidal wave” of pandemic.

At times, like many of you, I felt as though the “water was rising” – especially with how the business side of photography was being affected. However, being the positive person that I am, I found a “life preserver” that pulled me to safety: a life preserver of productivity and creativity. 

I share my story with you (thank you Brad and Scott for the share) with the hope of giving you some encouragement if you feel as though you are falling beneath the waves – and to illustrate how being productive and creative is important, some may say essential, for the health of the mind and body . . . and your business.

Scott Kelby and Eric Kuna are members of the group, along with KelbyOne instructors Karen Hutton, Richard Bernabe, Steven Gotz, Mark Heaps and Rob Sylvan.

To begin . . . In the early stages of the pandemic I started the Photo Therapy Facebook Group – a safe place with no politics, and a place where members could share their photographs and get honest feedback. Today we have more than 5,000 members worldwide who find posting their photographs and sharing their stories very therapeutic and rewarding. Yes, I hope you can join the photo fun and photo learning!

As part of the Photo Therapy Facebook group, I set up a Photo Therapy YouTube channel. Here my friend Linda Marshall hosts Monday Meditation, and I share slide shows (that’s me on piano) of some of the members’ photographs . What fun!

Productivity and creativity to the rescue 1.0.

I came up with the idea for the Facebook group after receiving lots of positive feedback on my all-pictures-and-no-words book, Photo Therapy Motivation and Wisdom – discovering the power of pictures, which was published two years earlier.

Shortly after starting the Photo Therapy Facebook Group I came up with the idea for another inspirational book, Photo Quest – discovering your photographic and artistic voice. I felt as though the pandemic was the perfect time for photographers to find their voice. Many of my pro photographer friends agreed, and contributed to the book, hence the “All-Star Photo Mentors” in the credit line.

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