Part Two: “My Four Days in India”

I thought I’d pick up where I left off yesterday, with the remaining photos from my India Photo Book (I made the book on my last morning in Jaipur, but that was made a lot quicker by the fact that each night I would go through my images and make my “Picks” so I already had a folder with my favorite images all all ready to go, which makes the book-making process go much faster).

Post Processing
I didn’t have to do a lot of post processing on these, but they all got tweaking and sharpening in Photoshop or Lightroom. In particular, one thing I used a lot was a tiny bit of Highlight Edge Vignetting. Just a little bit in the Effects panel of Lightroom–I just drag the Amount slider to the left a little bit (as shown above) to darken the outside edges, and focus the attention away from the edges. Another thing I used here and there was Nik Software’s Color Efex Pro plug-in, in particular their Tonal Contrast preset. I normally didn’t apply it to the entire image—I would apply it, then hide the effect layer behind a black layer mask and then paint over parts of the image that needed more contrast.

I also increased the Clarity and Vibrance amount for some of the images, but overall it wasn’t anything fancy (it’s the same stuff I show in my live Photoshop World class called “Photoshop for Travel Photographers.”

Where’s all the HDR?
I’m waiting until I get back in the office (today) and I’m going to hand off some 5-shot brackets to RC Concepcion (who literally wrote the book on HDR post-processing) and let him have a go at it. I love the way he does his post on HDR images, so I hope to share those later in the week. And yes, I know…having RC process my HDR shots is cheating. :)

Next time, I’m building My Book in Lightroom 4
Now that Lightroom 4 Beta has a Books feature built-in, I’ll be doing my next book there, mostly because the layouts in LR4 are more flexible, so it opens lots of creative possibilities (see yesterday’s post where I showed the layout of the book in Lightroom 4. Worked even better than I expected!)

More Details on the Grid
Tomorrow, on “The Grid” Live (our weekly photography talk show), I’ll be talking about the trip, and some of the specific things I ran into photographically during the trip, so I’ll hope you’ll join us live tomorrow (Wednesday) at 4:00 PM ET at (or for the free rebroadcasts starting on Thursday).


Don’t forget to watch The Grid tomorrow at 4:00 pm. I’ll show some other shots, and we’ll talk about all sorts of stuff surrounding this. Thanks to everybody who gave me suggestions, helpful hints, warnings, and great advice before my trip to India. It really made a difference, and it was much appreciated! :-)


    1. Hi Aaron:
      I think more likely it would be a class on Kelby Training, because I’m not sure I have enough material to fill a book on Travel Photography, because I have a method I use, both in the shooting and in the post processing, and they’re both pretty simple, so to fill a book, I’d have to add a lot of fluff, and I had fluff (unless it’s a quirky intro page, which is SO not fluff!). ;-) Thanks for the idea though—-it might make a nice tidy online class! :)

      1. It seems to me like your shooting method is based on three things: big (landscape, architecture, etc.), little (details, food, patterns, designs), and people. There’s three chapters right there. :)

        That’s so simple, yet when I come home after traveling, I find that I’ve done two of those and totally forgotten about the other.

    1. Hi Scotty:
      Look at the Taj, it’s on the right side. There’s a mosque on either side, and it’s on the one on the right. What made it look good though, was the fact that virtually nobody was there that early in the morning (and there’s a little secret I’m going to share tomorrow on “The Grid” about the woman in the photo, and no…I didn’t add her in Photoshop). :-)

      1. Scott,
        Just for a bit of random knowledge.  Actually only one of the buildings on the side (the western one) is a mosque, the other is there just for symmetry. 

  1. Great pics. Impressive variety for only 4 days of shooting.

    I saw the Beta was out and thought “Meh, LR3 does all I need for now” and was reading through the release notes still thinking “Ho hum” until I saw Books. I’ve already downloaded the beta, and will pretty much preorder the release. Not having to flick between Booksmart and LR will save me loads of time and effort, never mind any flexibility in layout advantages (yes I use the Blurb plugin, but it’s still a bit laboured).

  2. Awesome images! So jealous am I, but thankful for the mini trip via your photos.

    You don’t have to post this…I just saw something & I wanted to let you know.
    Not sure if I’m right, (because the type is so small) but in the picture of the man
    with the scale, I think it says, “Weighting His Order” in the caption as opposed to
    what I think you meant Weighing His Order? Perhaps I’m wrong, I don’t know?
    I just thought to check in case it was something that was going to be sent off to
    be printed. If I’m wrong then I’m sorry I doubted your spelling skills.

    Till next time…have a great day!
    : )

  3. Another beautiful collection from S.K.!!!! I’m still in awe over your 3pc book collection, The Digital Photography Book. No other books will do exactly what those three will; give a photographer the recipe for shots with hilarious humor as the rest of the page filler!! I’m dying for more like that!!! But no talk of any, yet. Guess its time to cough up $200 for my yearly membership to N. A.P.P.;)

    1. Hi Blazej:
      Wow!!! It’s the same image all right, but taken from the opposite corner (Mine was from the left corner—your from the right), but the perspective and composition is virtually the same. Great minds think alike, eh? :)

  4. Snakes… why did it have to be snakes?

    Stunning images again… Great eye. The simple yellow vase against the terracotta vases is striking.

    When you build your next book in LR4, who will you use to print it? iPhoto? Mpix?

    Thanks again,

  5. Great shots, I suddenly feel small! Im surprised the photo shooting right into the sun (wall/stairs on left) was not just a silhouette? HDR?
    Is LR4 going to be upgradeable from LR3.5? Or does upgrade mean a full new purchase?

    1. Hi Rodney: The sun is to the right of the wall, and it’s lighting the wall (the sun isn’t behind it—it’s to the side). I went and checked the un-edited photo, and it’s fully lit.

      Adobe normally lets users upgrade directly from the previous version of Lightroom to the next, so thankfully you’d get an upgrade deal rather than having to buy the whole thing from scratch. :)

  6. Beautiful photographs once again. I like the architectural ones a lot.

    I don’t know whether anyone else is facing this, when I visit a thread to comment I see all the details of the person who has posted before me.. like his, email and website. Weirdly true.

  7. Hi Scott,
    The more I think about it the more I am convinced that it takes a foreigner to capture the true essence of a place. I am originally from India but living in the US for the last 15 years. I go to India every couple years for a month but never have I shot such wonderfully vibrant pictures. Great job in such a short time.

    Next time you visit India, make sure you go to Jaiselmer and Jodhpur. They are the other two cities in Rajasthan having such wealth in culture, tradition and a LOT of history. I am sure you will love it.

  8. Beautiful images Scott!

    It must be nice to be Scott Kelby! A wife that takes you to India, a Brad to help with you lighting and studio shoots, and an RC to process your HDR images! When’s B&H going to start keeping Brads and RCs in stock so we can use them too?

    1. The 2012 line of Brad’s and RC’s is coming out first week of February. ;-)

      I honestly feel VERY blessed to be married to such an amazing wife (23 years this year), and Brad and RC have both been big blessings in my life. It’s why you don’t hear me complain about things very often—-I lead a blessed life; I know it, and I’m VERY thankful for it. :)

      1. Congratulations on everything! You definitely deserve it for all you do to give back to the community.

      2. And besides that Scott, You are an extremely nice person. Every time I’ve ever interacted with you, my life got better! I sure wish I could make DC or Dallas, but I’ll see you again just after Labor Day. :)

  9. Did your time with Jay Maisel have an influence on the amount of great pictures you have on the local faces? For me this makes the pics yours. With the internet, stock photos abound of the buildings and non-people scenes. I second a Kelby travel preparation and hints video.

  10. Awesome pictures Scott. I really hope you do consider going to my country Nepal(next to India) someday and take amazing pictures. I am pretty sure you will love the landscape, mountains and culture in Nepal.

  11. Scott, it’s really incredible what you did in just 4 days. We love India, the food the people and sure the culture. Wish you had more time to travel also to some remote places.

    We will be shooting a wedding in Chandigarh in March and during our “goals for 2012” blog post we featured our favorite photos from our last (6 weeks) Northern Indian trip in 2009.

    have a great time at PSW and the travel photography class. we would love to attend that one.
    Greetings from Munich
    Carmen and Ingo

    PS: say “Hi” to Matt plese ;-)

  12. Hi Scott, Thanks for sharing with us your fabulous vacation. You have an awesome wife ! When we take vacations, my wife is alwayes telling me, “Just take the picture”! Anyway, How did that travel tripod work out ?

    Thx, Glenn N- Chi-town

  13. Hey Scott Great images. The book looks great. I was wondering have you used other photobook companies such as my publisher and what are your experiences if any.


  14. Scott, as soon as I settle on where to travel this year, you throw up some amazing images (from only 4 days!) and almost completely unravel my plans.


    You really should do a training class on your travel photography because I could certainly use the help!


  15. Hi Scott,

    I was just looking at the pictures from your India trip and I see you have pictures of people you saw during the trip. My question is do you get signed releases from all the folks you take pictures of when on vacation.

  16. Hi Scott great images. My question to you is have you used any other photo book company to make your books? Im presently looking into making one from my Europe trip and have been procrastinating on choice.


  17. Hii…

    thanks for posting such a beautiful blog. saw the Beta was out and thought “Meh, LR3 does all I need for now” and was reading through the release notes still thinking “Ho hum” until I saw Books. I’ve already downloaded the beta, and will pretty much preorder the release.Awesome pictures Scott. I really hope you do consider going to my country someday and take amazing pictures. I am pretty sure you will love the landscape, mountains and culture in our country.thanks for posting this post.

  18. I was in India in Sept 11. Your photos are amazing Scott. Happy to see I got one or two similar shots to you. 
    If you are ever planning a trip back to Jaipur, please give me a shout, I have the number of the BEST rickshaw driver! He took us all over the city, and was just a really nice guy.
    Anyway that getting off the subject of stunning photos. I always find it interesting how seeing a photo can invoke a range of emotions. 

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