Photography / Hands-on Review

Scott Kelby: Teaching Photographers How to Make Pictures Perfect


If digital photography were like Chinese philosophy, then Scott Kelby would be the Confucius of our age. Like the ancient philosopher, Kelby stresses self-improvement and education as a focal point in shaping people’s lives. 

The author of more than 40 books about photography, the leader of live seminars around the world, the host of numerous training sessions online and on DVD and the preëminent expert on using Photoshop and related Adobe programs, Kelby has become a sort of guru of motivational mobility, an inspiration to both the newbie camera buff and seasoned pro. Whether you’re starting out, seeking to refresh your skills or ready to attain the next level of excellence, Scott Kelby can help you reach your goals.

Yet, even Kelby sometimes thinks about the shot that got away. He was driving with his family along a back road in Hawaii on a dreary day.

Scott tells B&H: “I see an old couple walking down this lonely road. They had a red umbrella and a yellow umbrella. Outdoors was gray and drizzly. It looked like a set-up shot. It was so perfect. I stopped the car and said, ‘Honey, I’m going to get out of the car and shoot this.’ And my wife said, ‘Are you sure?  It’s raining.’ ”

Scott hesitated. “In that moment, one of them closed their umbrella and it was over. We’re sitting in the car, and my son says, ‘Yeah, it would have made an awesome shot.’ And I say, ‘Oh, no!’ ”

Acting on your instincts is sound advice for aspiring photographers. Scott exclaims: “Because digital cameras have gotten so incredibly good, you have to do something to really stand out. There was a time you had to be a craftsman to get a good picture. There wasn’t an LCD on the back of the camera. You couldn’t change ISOs on the fly. Today, anybody can buy a digital camera off the rack and get a good shot. The camera does so much work for you. So, you have to do something that is unique to stand out from the person who says, ‘Hey, I’ll do your wedding for free; I’ll do your portrait for free.’ You’ve got to take it to that next level.”

In an interview with B&H’s Steve Schwartz, Scott revealed who inspired him to become an educator (click to watch video). “It was my dad. I grew up watching him emcee different events. He was great teaching you anything. He had that teaching gene. Then I became a teenager and it all [briefly] went out the window.” He explained that after seeing his dad on stage all the time, “I figured that was what you were supposed to do.”

Scott Kelby has been training Photoshop users since 1993. He is editor and publisher of Photoshop User magazine and president and co-founder of the National Association of Photoshop Professionals. 

The NAPP boasts a membership of more than 71,000 worldwide. Becoming a NAPP member affords certain benefits including:

A subscription to 10 issues of Photoshop User magazine;

Members-only forums, online portfolios and a job bank;

Online technical support and special Learning Centers;

Helpful product reviews and breaking industry news;

Unlimited access to more than 1,000 Photoshop and Lightroom tips and tutorials.

Scott also created Kelby Training, which creates courses for distribution on DVD and, which provides online training and iPad apps. Kelby and a cadre of colleagues take their training courses on the road, doing some 80 one-day seminars each year in cities throughout the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom.

Among Scott's latest books are The Adobe Photoshop CS5 Book for Digital Photographers and The Digital Photography Book, Volume 3. Recent Kelby Training DVDs include Light It; Shoot It; Retouch It, a three-disc set and Scott Kelby's 7-Point System for Adobe Photoshop CS5.

Adobe Tutorials

Wedding Photography Tutorials

General Photography Tutorials


Kelby Training

To read more about Kelby Training products, see the accompanying articles: General Photography and Wedding Help from Kelby Training and Conquering Adobe Software via Kelby Training DVDs. The latter focuses on such products as Photoshop and Lightroom.