Perhaps my most revealing interview ever

Last week, while we were all at Photoshop World, the always amazing Karen Hutton released an interview she did with me on her show “The Chat” and of all the interviews I’ve ever done, a lot of folks have told me this was the most revealing. I wouldn’t’ know, because I haven’t been able to bring myself to watch the interview because of something that happened to me during the interview as it went to a place I was not expecting, or prepared to go.

Anyway, I shared it on social last week when she posted it, but I wanted to share it here with my readers who have been with me for so long because we’ve all been through a lot together here on the blog. Here’s how Karen described the interview:

“…It was a revelation; so moving, so deep, heartfelt and genuine. Scott opened up in ways that will probably take you by surprise. He is incredibly passionate about teaching - and about making knowledge accessible to the many, not only the few. You're about to find out why⦠and discover the moment in Scott's life that started an empire.”

You can watch the interview right here on the blog (above), but even though I doubt I’ll ever be able to watch it myself, I am still grateful for Karen being for being such a wonderful and caring interviewer and for bringing out something different in each of her guests. Her show is really taking off, so I hope you’ll jump on board with her â” here’s the link to her blog so you can check out other “The Chat” interviews as well.

I’m in Salt Lake City today
My first time in at least 10 years, and I’m excited to be back. I’ve already had an adventure or two and the seminar hasn’t even begun.

Here’s wishing you all an adventure-filled day (in a good way)!



  1. Scott, your training has done for me exactly what you hoped it would for people.

    I discovered photography in late 2009 and I quickly realised that there wasn’t anywhere or anyone in or around my small Australian country town where I could learn more about photography.

    I then found Kelby Training. I have learnt SO much from Kelby Training via online classes, blog posts, books and magazines. I wouldn’t know 90% of what I do today without (what is now) Kelby One.

    So from the bottom of my heart I say “thank you!”

  2. I took on my first one-on-one pupil a couple weeks ago. Kaleb is an 11th grader at a local high school who came in my restaurant and along with his mother asked me to tutor him. I’ve never tried this type of teaching, I’ve taught at our club many times but this was different. I see in this young man myself 40+ years ago! In two days I had him up and running with Lr5 and on the 1st shoot I guided him to a photograph that he entered into an art contest. Nothing, and I mean nothing has been so gratifying to me as a photographer. I feel ya Scott, thanks for all u have done for me, you’re training has given me the tools to pay it forward.

  3. Booyah! No shame in that game Scott. I know the times I have interacted with you, in class at the Hockey Seminar, online, via email, that has been what I have felt all along. You want to take all those years of pretense and ‘you have to pay your dues’ and show them that if you share and show and care then the passion comes easy. NEVER LET ANYONE CHANGE THIS!

  4. Wooow, Scott, you just touched the point and I just want to say thank you a lot for your words, your ideas, your philosophy. It’s been more than 10 years I’m following your work, reading your books, following your classes and almost 8 years since I decided to be independent and run my own business. I’m far not the best but I’m leading by passion and really love what I do. Thank you so much for just opening that door!!!! Have a fabulous one and I hope to see you again (like in London 2 years ago) ;)

      1. that would be awesome :-)
        …and by the way, did you see Pharel Williams yesterday by Oprah Winfrey? the tear at the corner of his eye reminds me something :-)
        just true people :)

  5. Very inspirational words Scott. Thanks for sharing yourself with us. I am a teacher too. It took me many years of trying to be something other than a teacher, trying to sell a product or a service to a customer only to end up trying to educate them to help them make a better, more informed decision. I may not always accept what you teach (or your opinion) to be the best for me, (heck I do not always agree with myself! LOL) but I 100% agree with your methods and your motivation. Especially your motivation….I get it. Thanks.

  6. Scott, I admire you for your true efforts to share and teach and trying to be among the best of the best in everything you do. And the fact that you do it because you really believe in it, is what takes your efforts to the highest levels. You deserve the success you got after hard working, and we are lucky to have you and you team at kelbyone as a source for creativity and inspiration to our generation.

  7. I am so excited to watch this! I want to tell you, before I even start the clip, that I am grateful for you. I am grateful because you are a humble man who seeks to help others. The very first time I encountered you helping someone I could tell there was no conceit or pride. To me, that is the best kind of human being. You are one of my heroes. Now I am going to watch the video and no doubt, love you even more! : ) Happy Monday, Becky from Life with Kaishon

  8. Scott, in a way, I was not surprised by the emotion you showed. I am a huge fan of you and your company, but mostly I have been inspired by the type of person you are. This interview reinforced what a true human being you are. Don’t ever be embarrassed to show your true self.

  9. Scott, I watched it when Karen posted it on google+. As anyone who has ever struggled to learn a subject in school, or a trade or anything else and suddenly is given a simple key to begin to master what they are seeking, the feeling is indeed overwhelming; filled with gratitude and overwhelming emotion. This is what kelbyone is doing for all of us who love photography and want to get better. And you do it on a daily basis. Thank you’s sometimes are not enough! But Thank you!

  10. That was a lesson in how to treat others, how you would like to be treated. I am out of work so am not able to pay to watch the Kelby lessons but you give so much free stuff away on Kelby TV tips and tricks, the Grid, Photoshop guy’s ect, that I have been able to improve my photography with my basic kit, so thanks for doing that Scott, its made me make sure I pass what I have learned onto others.

  11. Scott, while there you might want to check out Antelope Island Great Salt Lake State Park. Bison, coyote, jack rabbits and a beautiful variety of birds are on this island in the Salt Lake. BTW, I enjoyed very much your Shoot it Like a Pro seminar in Tampa in Feb.

  12. Wow, that was amazingly open and honest. Not that I expect any less from you, Scott. You always share yourself with your followers and it’s no surprise why I admire you so. Please don’t be embarrassed, sharing your emotions and passion is what being human is all about. Our world needs more of it. Thank you!!

  13. The Photoshop programs are indeed complicated and your instruction does make it so much easier BUT the gems that I look for are the pieces of wisdom from (now) KelbyOne much like you have described which comes from stories and conversations from the people you have given a forum to. Yeah, I have seen all the McNally, Maisel, Peterson, Hurley, et al. classes but I would still pay to attend (PS World, Kelby Seminars) to hear them again for that one pearl. Once struck by PS Lightning or a life story, you have to hear more to test your own knowledge or dedication.

    For some instructors the dry material is a given, but insight is rarely dry and boring as it often deals with people. Often it takes awhile to sink in, but when it does….. So thanks to all of the gang for making my life more creative, and yes, rewarding.

  14. Thank you Scott. And I thank you on so many levels. You’re a true inspiration and you give so much. I just want you to know how much it’s appreciated.

  15. “Eureka!” moments are beautiful. Mine came when I first began reading “Photoshop 7 Killer Tips” by Scott Kelby! It made Photoshop fun for me (though I’m still learning…..).

  16. Scott… you are a treasure. I know what it took to “go there” in our Chat… and I will never, ever forget sitting next to you, lights on, cameras rolling, our little audience watching… and experiencing your heart opening wide up and sharing itself with me. And now, of course… now with everyone. It’s so rare (and incredibly special) to experience that, all by itself. But what’s more, you’ve given us all the opportunity to see – up close and personal – that when soul’s deepest vision is harnessed to a real world mission, miracles happen. Empires are created. People are transformed in SO many ways! And what else are we here for? That’s the whole ball of wax, right there.

    This is a lesson for life. And you brought it, with grace and authenticity. Thank you for letting your heart and soul speak so eloquently. I will never forget this Chat. A million hugs!!

      1. Absolutely the same opinion like Michael Karen, you did a gr8 job in that interview, showing the real emotion (on both sides) :-) Thx a lot for that!

    1. Karen — I owe you another big hug when I see you. You are really a gifted interviewer, and a wonderfully talented person and although it was probably the hardest interview I’ve ever done (for obvious reasons), I was honored to be a part of “The Chat” and very grateful for the time Kalebra and I got to spend getting knowing you better. I’ll never forget my interview on The Chat :)

  17. Scott, i know in the interview you asked if that part could be cut out and worried how stupid you looked. Nothing could be further from the truth. If only more teachers in the US (or frankly the world) would realize that what you explained is exactly what people need I think we would be better off.
    Being clear and explaining exactly what you are doing is so much better than hoping osmosis will teach people your skills.
    That is what I started watching you and the people in your circle (matt for example).
    IT’s why I started coming to photoshopworld and keep coming back (Vegas again this year!) because you make it so I actually feel like i can do what you teach!
    Keep it up!

  18. Scott, this was a great and down to earth interview. I decided a couple of years ago that I really wanted to become a better photographer, not a professional, just take better photographs. I read a couple of books and purchased Photoshop and then discovered you. And along with you, Kelby Media, NAPP, and Matt, Pete, Brad, Corey, RC, etc. I am completely self-taught and I have become a better photographer thanks to Kelby Media/KelbyOne. I appreciate the fact that you are willing to share what you know with the rest of us. As I get older, I sometimes get panicked that time is running out for me to learn to do everything I want to do in life. Photography was one of those things I wanted to learn and thanks to you, and your vision, I am knocking that one out! You are one of the lucky ones that gets to do what you love and get paid. I’m glad Karen didn’t edit your interview. It’s great to see your passion to want to be a great teacher and help others learn. Thanks for the opportunity to learn from the best!

  19. This was terrific! No way should you be embarrassed by this. Creative photography is about going deeper into our humanity. Each of us would do well to discern our defining moments in life.

  20. I cannot thank you enough for this. I hope in time to pay forward what I have been gifted by you and your staff with a boundary-pushing collaborative body of work created in an atmosphere of raw love and determination. I love you guys, I love you guys, and I want to tell the world. The crazy fluke that was a ticket to my first PSW last year and my introduction to NAPP/Kelbyone has led to an enormous change, not just in my skill level, but in who I am.

  21. Scott,
    That was amazing. Your “Moment” that you wanted edited absolutely makes the video. I have learned a ton from all of the different instructors since I saw Ben Wilmore and joined NAPP in Arlington, TX in December 2006.
    I will always, always, always be a member. I too try to teach my students in that Just Tell ’em method. And yes, when you see that light go on it is amazing to me.
    You have done right by me and I’m proud to say “THANK YOU MY FRIEND!”

  22. Scott from the Heart…. You and your company is why I love photography. I was all tears with you, because it happing to me the same way. Someone took the time to teach me and show me how. Scott I can’t wait to meet you one day at photoshop world. thank you Scott and your family…. GOD BLESS you man!

  23. Scott,

    Great interview! It takes a real man to be able to breakdown like that and really communicate that kind of passion for what you do. I’ve met you in person at your seminars a couple of times now and you are really genuine and overall a great person.

    Your book the (7-Point System) was a turning point in my life. My girlfriend (now wife) bought it for me for Christmas the year that book came out. It was a style of book I had never read before. In all of my years of school I had never learned as much about Photoshop as I did from that book. You made learning fun!

    I quickly became a NAPP and Kelby Training member in 2008 and have been one ever since. Your company is amazing on so many levels. Kelby Media has helped me achieve a lot of my goals as a photographer/digital artist and I’m proud to say that you have played a part in helping me launch my career. Thanks Scott and the team at Kelby Media!

    1. Thanks Brian, for your words and for your support all these years — it’s much appreciated. We really love what we do and for whatever small part we played in helping you launch your career, we are honored to have helped. :)

  24. Scott – This was one heck of an interview. I totally respect your candid and open nature. That life changing moment when you learned how to improve your musical improvisation was really eye opening to me, as I can really relate to that experience. Thank you for sharing your story. YOU rock!

  25. Hi Scott, I just wanted to say that the video really struck a chord with me (pun intended I guess :-)). There are so many professionals out there who seem to be so afraid their students might actually reach their level or become even better than them. It is really frustrating.
    Althought I am sorry you had to go through that, I am happy you did find someone who ultimately helped you to not only get better at improvising, but also inspired you to become the kind of teacher you are today.

    From the moment I picked up your digital photography book I was hooked on your style of teaching and your “picture me as a friend who helps you out with understanding some of this stuff”-approach. Through your books, blog posts and videos you have not only taught me, but more importantly: you have inspired me. You made me want to go out, shoot, experiment and learn more about Photoshop (and buy more gear, like studio lighting… haha). Thank you for that!

  26. Scott… I hope you know; You, Kalebra and your great ensemble have changed my life! Forever touched me and while I may never “get there” I’m miles beyond where I was and it’s ALL because of you… NAPP & The Digital Photography Book 1 (teaching me, no years of struggle and frustration, but sharing the “secret”) turned my life from floating aimlessly to swiming towards my dreams!

    Shared a tear… Love you Scott!

  27. Scott, you’ve certainly taught me a lot over the many years I’ve been following you. You’re my first source for digital imaging education. You’re a phenomenal teacher. I just wish I had one-tenth of your drive.

  28. Thank you for sharing your story. Now it all makes sense. I’ve been reading your books, and watching Kelby Training videos for a few years now. You and the other instructors make everything so easy that I was wondering if you guys knew you were giving away all kind of secrets. No one ever made it that easy. It’s nice to know the backstory.

  29. Wow, Scott, I just got home from work and got a chance to see this interview. I wanted to watch it last week at PSW when Karen posted it on Google+, but I couldn’t get it to load up. I’m so glad that she left the interview whole and didn’t edit out the middle. Just hearing how much that one point in your life affected you (and still does all these years later) and formed your life philosophy really touched me, as well.

    I, too, took keyboard (electric organ) lessons at a young age. However, I gave them up, as I didn’t care for my teacher. Granted, he was an amazing organ player (Cripes, he could play “Flight of the Bumblebee” on the foot pedals!!), but his teaching style was severely lacking. Lessons were the same and boring. I had no hope of ever getting good at playing, never mind as good as him. So discouraging, but now I kick myself that I didn’t ask Mom to help me find another teacher.

    I thank my best friend for getting me back into photography back in 2005, but the biggest thanks goes out to you for showing me how simple and rewarding photography can be. Your Digital Photography books started me on that path, and going to your seminars, joining NAPP and Kelby Training (now Kelby One) and attending Photoshop World have helped me in countless ways. You’re that teacher I wish I had 40 years ago, only in a different discipline and form.

    Keep doing what you’re doing, my friend, and keep wearing your heart on your sleeve. It’s what makes you who you are.


  30. I almost skipped this video thinking you would say the same things you say in other interviews….man, sure glad I watched. Scott, in two words, “you rock”…Karen, fantastic interview….!! I think anyone would open up talking with you…great stuff!!

  31. Scott you are amazing and a true inspiration. In case anyone had any doubt this video really reveals who you are and what you are about. In any profession there are a large % of people who are competent but there are only a very few like you who truly love and care with real passion about what they do. The love that you clearly get from seeing people totally improve their photography skills to a higher level is just out of this world to watch. Then on top of that you credit your success to your family and team. Please keep up your incredible work and spirit. You make a huge positive difference to soooo many people including me. Thank you. Richard

  32. Loved the interview! It needs to be viewed by as many people as possible! Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us, as well as this inspiring look into your motivation and passion for what you do. I love your personal philosphy!!

  33. Scott, you are truly an inspiration, an amazing teacher and a wonderful human being. Please accept my thanks for such an honest and heartfelt view of who you are, and what makes you want to “get up in the morning”, even if, like me, you just detest that alarm clock going off.
    Take care.

  34. Thank you, Mr. Kelby. Remarkable, as always. I had the pleasure to meet you at a seminar as well as photoshop world LV. You said about others, if they said, “That makes me want to learn photography. I want to learn photoshop; I can do this stuff. It was the changing moment in my entire life.”

    I can honestly say from my heart that it is Kelby Training/Kelby One and you as well that made me feel that exact same thing: I can do this stuff. People come up to me and say “Wow, at 18 how do you know all of this stuff?!” And I just have to tell them “I don’t know. I guess I had a pretty freakin’ good teacher,” and it’s true; I have. So thanks to you and all of the KelbyOne staff. Heartfelt. Emotional. Reactive. This interview was wonderful; I only hope I get the chance to work alongside people like all of you someday, doing these things.

  35. I finally got around to watching this. No wonder you have been so successful. You have the right attitude. You and your team are certainly the best instructors around.

  36. Heartfelt moment Scott.
    The thing I’ve always liked most about your training style, is that there are no ‘secrets’. You all share what you know and enjoy teaching.
    Most of us have shared your frustration at a young age of desperately wanting to know how things ‘work’.

  37. Scott, a real gift to see you so open, honest and vulnerable. The sign of a truly strong and confident man. I know understand so much about your passion, teaching style and personal mission. I’ve loved Kelby training before, but appreciate it so much more now. Thank you. I think your generosity needs also to be noted. You’ve done so much to promote other photographers, get them the spotlight they deserve but couldn’t get on their own and helped them to increase their income as photographers – selflessly, generously and cheerfully. Admirable.

  38. Scott thank you so much. I have been following you from the beginning. I am in the IT world and people do not share information like you can take it with you. In the beginning I struggled with photography because I didn’t understand the basics. Since I have been a photoshop member I have been digging in and now Kelbyone I am getting better each day. At the ATL conference I attended many basic courses to get the foundation information to the build upon. Many light bulbs went off and because of the photographers who shared their passion has given me a better understanding. So thank you to all the kelbyone crew, and keep it coming.

  39. Thank you Scott for your honesty, humility and courage. You can’t fake that kind of passion, but it is a hard thing to put your heart out there like that. I appreciate the courage in not having her remove that section of the interview. It helps me understand where your drive comes from. Thank you.

  40. Just got back from a week in Europe on assignment with a choir, so I just finished watching this interview. During my week there, several people expressed appreciation for what I’m able to do, and asked me how I learned photography. My stock response was that I’ve been taught by some of the best photographers alive today. And they all come from you. So, when Karen asked how, at the end of the day, you’ll know if you’ve been successful, let me just say this: you’ve been extraordinarily successful already, for the reasons you so expressed with such heartfelt emotion. Thanks for everything that you and your colleagues do for us.

  41. Wow! What an awesome interview! I just wanted to drop a note and say thanks for giving awesome education at affordable price. Where I live the opportunity to get education isn’t easy without going somewhere for training….so i love that i can sit at my computer learning from the best of the best without breaking the bank. THANK YOU!!!

  42. I have to say this interview blew me away. It hit me on such a personal level because I have had a very similar experience with learning in the past and I just wanted to say thank you. I almost gave up on photography at one point in my life because of “pros” who couldn’t (or wouldn’t) break it down into something a newbie could understand. Then one day, years later, I picked up one of your books and said “omg I can totally do that!” And all the concepts that confused me in the past started making perfect sense. So, thank you for that. You are a fantastic teacher!

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