“Listen to the advice of people you trust.”
“Be a student so long as you still have something to learn, and this will mean all your life.”
Clay P. Bedford
Yesterday SmugMug Films released the above video on photographer, author and educator Scott Kelby. Kelby started giving Photoshop workshops more than twenty years ago and that passion has morphed into KelbyOne today—their tagline is “online education for creative people.”
So if you’re a creative person I wanted to put them on your radar if they’re not already there. I’ve been a fan of Kelby’s books, seminars, and online training for years. KelbyOne is photography and Photoshop centered with a deep well of instructors that cross-over into various aspects of storytelling, creativity, business, social media, and life.
KelbyOne has a more than 70 instructors and some of my personal favorite online classes they have are taught by Jay Maisel, Jeremy Cowart, Zack Arias and Joe McNally. Even if you consider yourself purely a writer, if you invest just $25 for a single month and watch as many online classes as you can it will help you take better pictures of your family and friends. And even if you don’t want to spend any money you can find free Kelby videos online via The Grid with Scott Kelby and Matt Kloskowski. They record and broadcast live ever Wednesday at 4pm EST. And you can also find free videos at Kelby’s You Tube channel.
“Photography’s gotten super cool—everybody wants to do it and thanks to technology everyone can. It’s a whole new world.”
Peter Reed Miller
Sports Illustrated photographer interview with Mia McCormick on KelbyOne
As a side note—speaking of Sports Illustrated— just a few days ago I listened to a 2011 PhotoShelter interview of Steve Fine, former Sports Illustrated Director of Photography, and though I’d been reading Sports Illustrated since I was ten I’d never heard the SI secret photo formula until last week. Fine said what he looked for in a photograph was:
1) Magical moments
2) Sense of place
(Sounds like a trailer mix of Oscar-winning movies, right? Emotional, right? Check out the post 40 Days of Emotions.)
And if you can get magical moments, a sense of place and tears & cheers in one shot then you really have a great photo. (The same could probably be said for screenplays and movies, too.)
Another part of the SI formula is shooting with either a 600mm or a 28mm lens (and going where most people can’t) and sifting through 250,000 photos that haven’t seen before for each magazine. (No, that’s not a typo—250,000 photos for each issue.)
But not everybody is going to be a Sport Illustrated photographer and Scott Kelby understands that. I remember when I was starting out in photography and film it was very hard for working professions to pass on trade secrets. It’s always been a competitive field and has only gotten tougher for various reasons. But Kelby and others openly pass on those trade secrets which is great—except it makes a competitive field more competitive. But that helps create greater work. There are classic photos that 20 years ago were cover shots for Sports Illustrated that wouldn’t even be selected to be published in the magazine today.
Kelby knows his audience isn’t just professional photographers, but soccer moms, engineers, and the like who just love photography. (And who are often quite serious and talented.) He acknowledges that photo hobbyist and those who make some of their income doing photography are his largest of his audience.
“This idea of Metallica or some rock n’ roll singer being rich, that’s not necessarily going to happen anymore. Because, as we enter into a new age, maybe art will be free.”
Five-time Oscar-winning producer/director/writer Francis Ford Coppola
Last year I met a businessman who had a 600mm Nikon lens and loved to shoot surfing photos in Satellite Beach. We’re talking a lens that’s just under $10,000 to buy! And he bought the lens and was shooting just for the joy of it —and he gives the photos away for free. He didn’t seem interested in becoming a professional photographer—and would probably have to take a pay cut to become one. (BTW—According to Merriam-webster the word amateur is a French word that comes from “the Latin amator lover, from amare to love.”)
This isn’t to say you need expensive equipment to become a photographer. (I have lots of photographer and cameraman friends and not a single one personally owns a 600mm lens.) Kelby says many photographers are like amateur golfers thinking that buying the latest golf club will make them a better golfer.
“Don’t worry so much about the gear…there’s not a button on the camera that you press to get better photos.”
One of the things I appreciate about Kelby’s teaching is he isn’t saying take this class and get rich and famous. He understands that more often than not it’s the business and marketing side that separates photographers, so he teaches that along with all the fun and creative aspects of photography. So wherever you are on your creative journey check out KelbyOne and see if it gives you a creative (or business) jolt.
Here’s episode #57 of The Grid where Kelby talks with the photographer Joe McNally:
P.S. All this talk about sports photography reminds me of one of my all time favorite photos. I took it when I was 19 and only owned a camera for just over a year. But I knew sports and was a staff photographer for the Sanford Herald and on this occasion photographed a well executed suicide squeeze play at a high school baseball game. What I love about the shot is I took it using film, with a manual focus fixed lens, and without an auto-winder. Yet despite some technical limitations and lack of experience I believe I captured what photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson called “the decisive moment.”
Photography is Your Friend
Ansel Adams, Zack Arias & Unicorns
Joe McNally/David Hobby
The Rise of Storytellers with Cameras (Features a video Zack Arias did for Kelby.)
Cinematography and Emotions
Mike Rich & Hobby Screenwriting
“Who said art had to cost money?”—Coppola
Scott W. Smith