After purchasing my first DSLR in March of 2008, I received two pieces of advice: first, read the Digital Photography School blog and second, read Scott Kelby’s Digital Photography Books (there were only two volumes at the time). I signed up for an email subscription to DPS and carried those Digital Photography Books in my camera bag.
The next month DPS published Photographing Your Best Friend’s Wedding – 10 Tips, basically you own a nice camera so your friend suckered you into shooting their wedding. I laughingly told my sister about it, and then she paused and said, “I’ve been meaning to ask you something . . .”
You guessed it—my sister wanted me to shoot her wedding! By that time I would have only owned my camera three months. In my sister’s defense, she trusted me completely and never acted nervous. I, however, was terrified. Absolutely terrified.
Thankfully each Digital Photography Book has a chapter on wedding photography. Although reading them made me feel better, it just wasn’t enough. The week before the wedding I drove to Nashville for a four-hour NAPP (National Association of Photoshop Professionals) event called Photoshop CS3 for Digital Photographers. My life had become a crash course on learning how to use both my camera and my editing software. (Did I mention that I was scared. out. of. my. mind?)
I gained more than information that day in Nashville, I found my people: I found NAPP. At the end of the day I signed up for a two-year membership.
After the wedding I still carried around Scott Kelby’s Digital Photography Books until I’d read them cover to cover (and didn’t have to obsess over the wedding chapters). That summer I posted the photo that’s my before and after shot for today and mentioned Scott.
I have no idea how he found my post, but two hours later Scott left a comment. Those simple words—much-needed encouragement from someone who didn’t know how much his work had influenced me—had a profound effect. The Kelby stamp of approval on my photo pushed me to edit it further; it’s appeared on Adobe’s website for over 3 years in the Lightroom section (click over to page 2 in the Customer Successes section).
Since April 2009, I’ve been an Evangelist for NAPP, where everyone learns Photoshop. It’s not about religion, but about being an enthusiastic advocate, like Adobe Product Evangelists. If you join using my promo code—DAWN—you’ll save $10 on the $99 per year membership, plus receive Photoshop Down & Dirty Tricks for Designers FREE! If you qualify for an Education Discount (we do as homeschoolers), you’ll save another $10.
- Use the adjustment brush in Lightroom to decrease saturation on the whites of her eyes, which lightened them (we’d just gotten home from the pool and you could tell).
- Increase contrast on the blue in her eyes (I think I did this in Photoshop).
- Use the adjustment brush in Lightroom to decrease clarity on some of her skin, evening the tone.
- I didn’t add the vignette; it’s from the lens.
I usually don’t work on eyes that much, but I’d missed my focus, which was more on her eyebrows, than her eyes. I edited her skin because it looked splotchy from the sun and the pool.
I’m giving away the Scott Kelby Digital Photography Book Volumes 1-4 Boxed Set! This is the two books I carried in my camera bag plus two more that have been released since then. These books are written in a conversational tone free of technical jargon; they’re filled with simple instructions for how to get the shots you want.
Even though Volume 1 was released over 6 years ago, it is currently the #9 best selling photography book on Amazon!
Related Post: 9 Days of NAPP Day 7: Scott Kelby
[Click here to read my other 31 Days series, 31 Days of Encouragement and 31 Days of Real Life.]