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5 lessons I learned from Scott Kelby’s Shoot like a pro seminar

Photography / No Comment / July 15, 2015

Yesterday I was in the audience for the only London date on Scott Kelby’s Shoot like a pro – reloaded seminar. It was well worth the early start to get there.

Scott went through five different topic and without giving away all the content from each of them, these are my key take-aways:

1. Composition is key. You choose what your viewer sees, so don’t be afraid to crop. That most iconic images of the 20th Century, Che Guevara, omits another person and what looks like an large potted plant!

2. Don’t be afraid to ramp up contrast in images, especially of architecture and landscapes. Colours in unprocessed raw images files tends to be more muted compared with JPG files that have had adjustments applied in-camera. Processing raw data in Lightroom means that you can recover more detail and push adjustments like this further without sacrificing image quality.

3. You can achieve really impressive lighting effects on a small budget. Flattering light, especially for female subjects needs, to be soft, meaning a big light source. Scott recommended the 50-inch Westcott JS Apollo which currently retails on Amazon for £209. Off-camera flash units and remote triggers are now also very affordable.

4. In an age where almost all images are now seen on screen, printed photos are a powerful tool in building relationships. Whether as a large wall print or a small photo book, you can use them to say thank you, to open doors to otherwise inaccessible locations and to demonstrate your credibility as a serious photographer. They offer the recipient a tactile experience and ensure that you are remembered with respect and perhaps even affection.

5. Shoot really wide or shoot really tight. In full-frame terms, kit lenses typically cover the 24 to 70 mm range, so shoot either side of this to create photos that stand out. Go wide in a cathedral to convey the grandeur and sheer scale of its architecture or use a long lense and a wide f2.8 aperture to completely separate your model from a messy background.

The seminar series returns to the US next week but, having attracted an audience of 300 yesterday, I hope Scott will return here next year. I’ve watched his weekly photography discussion show, The Grid, for the last couple of years and briefly said hello yesterday. He talked affably to a steady stream of people during the breaks between sessions and certainly generated a lot of positive social media buzz:

Collage of tweets

Tweets from fellow delegates

If you’re looking to develop your photographic skills, attending a KelbyOne Live seminar like this one is a good investment.

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