Publishers of technology books, eBooks, and videos for creative people

Home > Articles > Digital Photography > Adobe Photoshop Lightroom

Peachpit Exclusive: Interview with Legendary Computer and Photography Book Author Scott Kelby

  • Print
  • + Share This
In this exclusive interview, bestselling Photoshop and technology book author Scott Kelby speaks with Peachpit Publisher Nancy Aldrich-Ruenzel about being the top-selling computer book author for the fourth straight year, making the transition from podcast to television, his latest book projects, his photography equipment, his workflow, and much, much more.
Like this article? We recommend

Nancy Aldrich-Ruenzel: Congratulations on being named the number one best-selling computer/technology book author for the fourth year in a row! A simply amazing achievement. And what’s even more exciting is that your weekly podcast, Photoshop User TV—which has been on iTunes for over two years and has been downloaded monthly by an average of 2 million times—just landed on national television. Congratulations! What has it been like to work in a different medium and make the leap to national TV?

Scott Kelby: It’s been a little stickier than we thought. The first show we sent to Fox was 8 seconds too short, and they couldn’t air it, so we missed our first week, which was really disappointing. There have also been some issues with how we master the video to tape, and well ... there are definitely some bumps in the road when you go from a simple podcast to broadcast TV, but not nearly as many as we had learning the whole video podcast thing, so I’m pretty optimistic about getting the kinks ironed out in the next few weeks.

Nancy: Let’s talk about your latest bestseller: The Digital Photography Book, Volume 2, was just released, which was a follow-up to the original The Digital Photography Book, which sold more than 175,00 copies. What can readers look for in this new edition?

Scott: Well, first ... it’s all new stuff. It’s not just an update of Volume 1; instead, it’s an entirely new book that picks up where the old book left off. What makes it different are some of the topics. People that bought Volume 1 wrote me and asked me to do a second volume that covered off-camera flash, and how to build a studio from scratch, and they wanted that next level of wedding photography tips, and travel tips, and well .... just more! The most exciting part for me is reading the reviews, which say that Volume 2 feels exactly like it picked up right where Volume 1 left off. That was my goal all along—to keep the same flavor, voice, and style, but just bring my readers the stuff they wanted to learn next, and I’m thrilled to read that that’s exactly how it’s being received.

Nancy: A lot of readers want to know what you shoot with when you go out on a shoot. What equipment do you use to get the best shots and why?

Scott: I shoot mostly Nikon gear—right now a Nikon D3, and a D300 (which I dearly love) but I’ve also shot some great Canon gear as well, including a 5D, and an EOS 1D Mark III (both incredible cameras). But the accessories and lens are as important as the camera (maybe more). The one accessory I can’t live without: a good tripod and a ball head. If you want to get photos with the same sharpness the pros do, you’ve got to shoot with a tripod. It’s one big thing that separates the amateurs from the pros. (By the way, my good friend and mentor, renowned landscape photography Bill Fortney, has this to say about tripods: “There are two types of tripods: small, lightweight tripods, and good ones.”

Another thing is: you’ve got to have “great glass, ” so I try and shoot only with zoom lenses that have the same f/stop throughout the range of the lens (meaning, if you buy a zoom that is f/2.8 at 70mm and is also f/2.8 at 200mm—that’s good glass. If it’s f/2.8 at 70mm, but at 200mm it’s f/3.5 or f/4, that’s what I stay away from). Good glass is key!

Nancy: What is your typical workflow? Do you use Lightroom? Bridge? Camera Raw? What do you like and dislike about each? What do you wish Adobe would build into these programs in their next upgrades?

Scott: I have to be honest, I’m not a big fan of the Bridge (and that’s being polite). I always say, “There’s a reason why it’s free. ” I’m a Lightroom guy, and I imagine these days I spend about 65 to 70 percent of my time in Lightroom, and the rest in Photoshop. Lightroom is just a brilliant tool for photographers, and the more shots you take, the more you need it. Camera Raw is great, but the version of Camera Raw that’s built right into Lightroom is better (it has features that, to this day, the CS3 version of Camera Raw still doesn’t have).

Nancy: You just received Professional Photographer magazine’s Hot One award for The Adobe Photoshop CS3 Book for Digital Photographers, a perennial bestseller and the leading book in its category year after year. How does it feel to be the only book among all the hottest products, like cameras and accessories, to receive this prestigious award?

Scott: I was just thrilled. Professional Photographer has been one of my favorite magazines for years (maybe even more so, now, eh?), and to be honored by them was really special. Their audience is professional wedding and portrait photographers, along with some very serious amateurs (many are pro-quality shooters, but they don’t make their living doing photography), and because of the type of work they do, they’re very demanding on their hardware and software tools, so when I learned their judges choose my book as their only pick for 2008, I was just on cloud nine.

Nancy: You rub shoulders with some of the world’s top photographers. What are some of the most memorable experiences you’ve had traveling and shooting with them?

Scott: Shooting with Joe McNally and Moose Peterson on location has been just invaluable. Watching Joe do a location shoot, with on-location lighting, is just amazing. You learn so much that your head explodes. Also, being with Moose, out in some incredible setting, and hearing him explain how he would shoot the scene, and then actually looking through his lens to see how he sees the scene, is just an incredibly eye-opening experience. I also spent a morning with Vincent Versace shooting on a small island in Puget Sound. It was a beautiful, crisp morning, and we were just about the only people there. It was incredibly memorable. Also, I spent four days with Bill Fortney shooting the Antelope Canyon slots, and sharing stories, and just enjoying the moment. We sat on the outdoor porch of a restaurant on the rim of the Grand Canyon during that trip, and it was close to a perfect evening of food, fun, photography, and laughter as I’ll ever get. It was a magical night.

Nancy: If one of your readers told you he was just starting out in his career, what single piece of advice might you offer him to get him started as a digital photographer?

Scott: It’s a three-step piece of advice: (1) First, figure out which kind of style of photographer you want to be, be it a people photographer, travel photographer, wedding photographer, etc. (2) Find your "heroes" for that style of shooting —the people whose published work makes you think, “That’s the kind of shot I want to be taking.” (3) Find out which one of your heroes does workshops, and go to his or her workshop absolutely as soon as you can. If they’re teaching a workshop in Tuscany, then skip buying the fancy lenses, and go to Tuscany and shoot and learn alongside them. It will get you faster to where you want to be than any piece of equipment ever made. Of course, make sure you buy one or two of my books for the flight over.

Nancy: Before we conclude here, share with us, if you would, what you are most excited about in 2008 —both books and otherwise.

Scott: I’ve got an amazing 2-year-old daughter and that is absolutely the most exciting thing in the world to me, so it’s going to be hard to top that (excitement-wise), but for other stuff: Lightroom’s over a year old now, so I’m excited about the prospect of a new version of Lightroom being released sometime this year. That’s really got me psyched.

Also, I’m really enjoying watching all the cool, new stuff that springs forth from Apple, and I love covering their stuff—it’s so creative and so much fun to write about. I’m speaking in Dubai at a photo conference this spring, and I’m really excited about that, and I’m excited about being able to devote more time to photography this year, because I’m cutting back my travel schedule. I want to spend more time this year being a student, and less time being a teacher, and that has me pretty psyched, too, but in the end, I make my living as a teacher, so the two go hand-in-hand, because I always pass on everything I’ve learned to my readers. I’m like that really annoying person who eats at a great restaurant, and then has to tell everyone he’ve ever met about it. That’s me—just for photography, Photoshop, and cool tech gear. It drives my wife a bit nuts, but at least we get to eat at some really great restaurants.

Editor's Note: Scott Kelby has published a slew of best-selling computer books. Here are a few of his newest and upcoming releases:

The Photoshop Elements 6 Book for Digital PhotographersThe Photoshop Elements 6 Book for Digital Photographers

The Digital Photography Book, Volume 2The Digital Photography Book, Volume 2
The iPod BookThe iPod Book
  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

Peachpit Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from Peachpit and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.

Overview


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about Peachpit products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information


To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.

Surveys

Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites; develop new products and services; conduct educational research; and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.

Newsletters

If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email ask@peachpit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information


Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.

Security


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.

Children


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.

Marketing


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information


If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.

Choice/Opt-out


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by Adobe Press. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.peachpit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information


Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents


California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure


Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.

Links


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact


Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice


We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020