|The Kelby Faithful|
First up, when I arrived in the morning sipping on my first coffee of the day I was greeted by a lineup out the front door of the conference centre. I don't mean a small lineup, but a huge one. I started to people watch as I tend to do and listen in on conversations (OK I was eavesdropping) and realized that I was amongst a very large crowd of enthusiastic amateurs. Thats cool, lots of amateurs are awesome photographers, better than some pros. But I was worried. Was this going to be a day of people asking questions about what an aperture was? Was I doomed to a long day of explaining how to fire a flash and an explanation of how to export to Photoshop from Lightroom? I love to learn, I don't think I know everything there is to know, but I also want to invest my time wisely.
|The lineup before the show|
Once in the main room you are greeted by several rows of tables and chairs. I sat down on an aisle so I could have room for my legs and a quick exit if this proved to be as bad as I feared. Then, when it all started I was immediately surprised. Scott started by saying that if people had questions to please wait until the breaks where he would wait up front for people to answer them in person. No class interruptions to explain what a RAW file was!! Nice. And this Kelby guy is pretty funny. I mean kind of stand-up funny. Some of the jokes were obviously rehashed from previous shows, but never-the-less I was yukking it up with the crowd.
The day breaks down into several modules of Kelby setting up lighting with Brad his assistant, bringing in a model (some who tour with the show and have obviously done this before and some locals) and shooting the images tethered to the big screens through Lightroom. Then Brad moves Scott's Macbook Pro over to a table where he sits and edit the images just shot right in front of you on the big screens. There are five different sessions like this and you follow along with a workbook that you are given when you arrive. No notes to take!
And the content was very very good. Yes I knew a lot, or even a majority of what was talked about, but my interest was kept and the lighting and retouching tips were excellent. I think they will appeal to most amateurs, pros and even retouchers. A lot of what Kelby teaches is often done faster with plugins nowadays, and he says so himself, but some of the techniques are really helpful and I'm already using them. Finally I can get rid of eye veins convincingly.
I had to leave the show about 20 minutes early as it was running late and I had to catch the float plane back home, but this is a show/tour that is worth taking in. When I mentioned to a pro in Vancouver I was going he looked at me like I was nuts because this Kelby guy just appealed to the masses and sold our secrets to them for cheap (the tour ticket cost $99). Honestly, here is what I think. Most of the people there were just there to see Scott in person. They are fans. Most of them will use less than 10% of what they learned, and that is true of any seminar I've been too. Photographers have to get over the democratization of information. Go to the show. You'll love it. Just make sure you're ready to laugh a bit and if you get Kelby's autograph well good for you.