Scott Kelby “Light It! Shoot It! Retouch It!” Seminar

IMG_1522I have a couple of Kelby books since they’re good for recipes for doing stuff in the various Adobe packages. When I saw he was coming to London and doing a day’s seminar and it was about sixty quid, I figured why not wander along. It’s not far to go and there’s decent food and beer in Islington if all else failed.

The title of the seminar didn’t fill me with much hope as it’s remarkably similar so Brian from Family Guy’s great steaming pile of book called “Wish It, Want It, Do It”. I’d also recently downloaded his iPad app “Scott Kelby’s Lighting Recipes“, which, whilst being full of useful recipes, his presentation annoyed me somewhat with little snuffles at the end of sentences. In the event his presentation was relaxed, funny and snuffle-free.

As an aside, this was the first time I’d been inside the fabulous Business Design Centre and there were a fair few photographers shooting things of architectural and abstract interest! Great little building with an interesting history.

The agenda was:

  1. Lighting and retouching for headshots
  2. Dramatic lighting and retouching
  3. Edgy light and high contrast
  4. Lighting and retouching for fashion and glamour
  5. Compositing: lighting and and Photoshop techniques

For me, the first three sessions were the best and it seemed to lose its way ending in some really awful compositing: taking a bright, clear shot, scuzzing it up to fit an industrial background, adding a bizarre drop shadow and adding it to a CD cover. It REALLY looked dreadful.

That aside, the techniques for softening the female portrait and making males more “dramatic” were excellent and used forms of layering I’d not seen done before.

The notes I took were:

  • Reflector
  • The nearer the light, the greater the falloff. This something I kind of intuitively knew, but it was nice to have confirmed and demostrated
  • Get down low for fashion then fix the keystoning afterwards. This was new to me!
  • You can download Photoshop brushes for eyebrows and eyelashes. Bizarre!
  • 15 year old girls can have perfect skin. Even lighting from the side, there are no blemishes!

While in the seminar, I hit up Amazon and bought:

  • A nice big reflector. It’s a way of adding a second light for cheap. Adjust the power by adjusting the disatnce. And use the silver side for strobes and the gold side outside in natural light or with a warming gel on the strobe.
  • A long USB cable. Shooting tethered is definitely the way to go. When in Taipei though, I’d been to a shoot Doris Yeh did where the tethering was projected on a huge blank wall. That was overkill!

Kelby pushed the Elinchrom BXRi kit quite hard and if you have the space and take enough of these pics, I’m sure they’re very worthwhile. I’ll stay strobist for now; maybe invest in a nice big softbox.

He also pushed Blow-It fans as a cheap, quiet, portable hair fan. Of course, Leibowitz uses three fans to get the turbulence realistic.

And finally, having had Adobe shoved in our faces all day, I booked an Apple Aperture seminar at the Apple store. So there! I’ve use iPhoto as my storage system since the year dot and I’d like to see how to integrate Aperture into my workflow without having to adopt a whole new system. Now I have 8G RAM in my Mac book Pro, this is plausible.

And that’s it. Overall, I’d say it was sixty quid reasonably well spent and has certainly left me fired up to take more pictures. And the burrito for lunch was very good, if pricy. When did a lunch go from a fiver to nearer eight quid?!


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One Response to “Scott Kelby “Light It! Shoot It! Retouch It!” Seminar”

  1. I have attended a couple of Scott’s seminars and I share similar a experience. They are good value for money, but you can’t really expect too much for £60. I recently downloaded his iPad app and it’s okay, but again relative to the cost.

    I agree with shooting tethered, so much easier.


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