Review – Light It, Shoot It, Retouch It

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A couple of weeks ago I attended a Scott Kelby Training seminar called Light It Shoot It Retouch It Live. It was almost eight hours of very interesting, well presented information and demonstration about studio photography. Whether or not you’re interested in studio photography I highly recommend you attend this seminar if you possibly can. While I learned a lot about studio lighting and photography, much of what was taught is applicable in many other forms of photography, especially the Photoshop sections of it.

Let me set the stage. If you aren’t familiar with Scott, that’s a photo of him above, here’s a short bio of Scott that I copied from his blog Scott Kelby’s PhotoShopInsider:

Editor and Publisher of Photoshop User Magazine, Editor-in-Chief of Layers Magazine; training director and instructor for the Adobe Photoshop Seminar Tour, President National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP), CEO of Kelby Media Group, author of a string of bestselling technology books. Conference Technical Chair for the Photoshop World Conference & Expo, author of numerous Photoshop training DVDs and online courses, and co-host of PhotoshopTV, and D-Town TV. 10 jobs, little sleep.

Wrote “The Digital Photography Book, Vol. 1? which became the bestselling book in history on digital photography. Won the Benjamin Franklin Award for my book The Photoshop Book for Digital Photographers, was named The #1 Bestsellling computer/ technology author in the world for the past six years straight. Earned my black belt in Tae Kwondo. Played in a rock band in Europe, started my own successful business, married the girl of my dreams, and have an absolutely wonderful little boy, and an amazing little girl. I’m one happy puppy!

Note that in the paragraph above he states that he was named the #1 Bestselling computer/technology author in the world for the past six years straight. Also, he is recognized in most circles as the leading expert in PhotoShop and Lightroom. Now there’s a reason that Scott owns these distinctions – he’s earned them.

If you have read or own any of his books you already know this, but he not only tells you how to do something, he walks you through it, step by step, and when you finish, no matter how complex you thought it would be to do something, you realize how easy it is when you follow Scott’s well presented steps. Guess what? The seminar was exactly the same way. I felt like I got my money’s worth in the first hour and the rest was free.

Okay, I’m somewhat of a novice when it comes to studio photography. However, I went with a very good friend who is a successful wedding, senior and portrait photographer and he also felt like he got his money’s worth and more as well.

Okay, how much money. The one-day seminar is $99. If you’re a member of NAPP (National Association of Photoshop Professionals) it’s only $79.

The seminar consisted of what I would call modules. Each of the four different modules was designed to demonstrate and capture a different lighting/image effect.

First, Scott would set up the lighting to create the effect he wanted. He explained what he wanted to create and why he used each light and why he placed it where he did.

Next, he placed the model where he wanted her, or him, to stand and began shooting. He was shooting tethered (see Tiffany’s article about tethered shooting) and each image he captured was shown on large flat screen TV’s at the front of the room so everyone could see the results.

Then he would select one or two of the images and work with them in Photoshop, explaining in detail what he was doing and why. On more than one occasion I said to myself that the way he did it was a lot easier than the way I usually did.

He also completely demystified one of the photographic styles I’ve struggled with using trial and error. You’ve seen those edgy, high contrast portraits where one side of the subject is perfectly exposed and the other side is almost dark. It might not be what a bride wants for her wedding portrait and it doesn’t really work if the subject is smiling, but it does create a definite mood. I’ve tried to capture an image like that and haven’t been very successful. In part because I don’t have all the equipment I need (yet) to really create the effect and because I really didn’t know how to get the lighting just exactly right. Some of the shots were okay, but not at the level I wanted.


I know now, because I was taught how to do it at this wonderful one day seminar. Go to the link in the first paragraph and see if it’s being offered in your area. Or, you can be like the woman that sat next to me at the seminar. Keep in mind that I live in the Orlando, Florida area and it was a 30 minute drive from my house to the seminar. The woman next to me flew from North Dakota to attend the seminar. Now, that’s dedication.

As a bonus, I also learned what studio lighting equipment I want to purchase. The same as Scott used, of course. At a very reasonable price, I can outfit a complete studio. It’s true that you can purchase similar equipment for less, but this is real top-of-the-line equipment and depending on the size of your bank, it doesn’t break the bank. You can, of course, buy the equipment separately but B&H is selling it as a complete package. Elinchrom Scott Kelby’s Light It. Shoot It. Retouch It. LIVE Tour Kit

You may be thinking that this is a commercial for Scott Kelby. Please be assured that I received nothing from Scott except a wonderful day of learning and what I paid for. I wanted to write and post this article so you know about the seminar and are aware of how valuable it can be to you as a photographer.

Photo Credits:

Dark-light by Aaron Edwards on Flickr Creative Commons

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