Teacher, heartfelt, humble, funny, generous; are but a few words we can use to describe him…
What an honour it was for us to have had the opportunity of interviewing the soft-hearted family man who loves teaching and has a real soft spot for fries!
We heard that Scott Kelby is a huge fan of fries and when we asked him about the rumor he admittedly said that he’d classify any form of potatoes as comfort food but that a good fry is his Achilles’ heel.
Having played in a band in his earlier years it is safe to presume that Scott takes pleasure in music. You’ll find him jamming out to Rock & Roll hits from the late 70’s, 80’s and 90’s such as Bon Jovi, Eddie Money and Tesla. When editing, he prefers listening to mellow music to the likes of James Taylor or some classical music.
He still plays guitar, almost every day. With a ‘grand’ collection of 18 guitars just in his office and many more at home, I think it’s safe to call him a cultivated devotee. One of his guitars are right next to him on a stand with an amp close by for those moments he has time to play a bit.
His two favourite guitars are the Gibson Les Paul his wife gave him for his birthday and the 1985 Ibanez his wife got him for Valentine’s Day – it’s super thin and bright candy apple red, he just loves it.
Besides his evident love of photography, retouching and playing guitar, Scott Kelby is also very fond of travelling (especially if the family can join) and does so whenever the opportunity arises.
Scott Kelby has quite an interesting life with lots of unexpected twists and turns throughout bringing him to where he is now. So, knowing what he does today, we asked him what advice he would have given himself at 21? He laughed saying, “That’s a good one!” and that he’ll rather pass on this question, as he wouldn’t want to change a thing about his life. Adding that he is really blessed and happy but later admitting that he’ll probably tell himself to go find the same woman and marry her.
Helping people is like second nature to him. It is the teacher in him that causes that inherent desire to help others. It’s something instinctive and truly makes him happy.
He is truly grateful to know that he’s in the position of helping people who want to learn more. “Every time I’ve helped someone push the ball up the hill or aided in them enjoying to create images, as a teacher, I’m truly gratified”. Continuing “We just love and live for those moments where a student takes something that you’ve taught them and takes it to the next level”.
We asked him to share with our readers the procedure he generally takes when retouching a portrait photograph and this was his advice:
- Evaluate the image and decide what needs retouching for example wrinkles, stray hair, skin problems etc. “You want to do as little as possible!” he emphasized.
- Remove blemishes and whatever you decided needed retouching, adding that sometimes the model won’t even need skin softening thereafter.
- Generally, he doesn’t like removing “stuff” he just reduces the imperfections. “When someone has a mole or wrinkles, once you remove that it tends to look fake and weird. You just want to reduce them.” He’ll remove it momentarily in Photoshop by either using the healing brush or the patch tool, and then he’ll go under the edit menu and choose the fade option. “It’s almost like undo on a slider so you can drag it to the left to undo as much as you want.”
- Then he continues on to whitening the eyes a little bit, not a lot otherwise it looks weird. Remove any red veins and make the iris stand out. Generally by adding contrast to the iris. The way he normally does this is by duplicating a layer that includes the eyes and changing the layer blend mode to either soft light or overlay. He then holds the option key (iMac)/ALT key (Windows) then clicks the layer mask icon “on” and paints in only the iris.
- He also sharpens the eyes.
The single most important thing to remember when retouching is to NOT OVERDO IT! Don’t retouch things just because you can or because you know how to do it. Really evaluate the image and ask yourself, ‘does this need retouching.’
When it comes to using Photoshop in general he’d say people shouldn’t take things too far. Whether you’re doing HDR or sharpening, don’t go too far. “Less is more. A lot of little subtle changes and adjustments can lead to a great impact. A lot of big things add up to a mess.”
He got his big break with one of those, ‘let’s do it’ kind of moments, taking a very big risk of paying $13,000.00 for a 2 page add in the Adobe Magazine back in the day. There was no way of knowing it’ll pay off and there where no guarantees. He just felt that the Adobe Magazine had the right audience for them, thinking that if he could just craft an add that will resonate with the readers, that they’ll (the company) make it.
Besides taking that chance, the things that made a huge impact on his career was getting published as an author and him just trying to be real with everybody. Instead of being formal he tries to talk to people as if they are friends. He thinks the fact that the company is informal, casual and friendly while treating all people like colleagues goes a long way.
As far as future plans are concerned they are really focused on KelbyOne, creating an even better experience for the members. They are focused on adding new features and ways to help guide and lead their members, making sure they are successful.
Most of Scott’s family photos are taken with his iPhone and are very informal but he also takes along his DSLR camera when they travel; usually to take beautiful travel-type photographs. He prefers taking fewer photographs and teases that his wife usually takes tons of photos.
His personal philosophy, ‘You never go wrong by doing the right thing’ stems from his father. Stating that throughout his life he saw his father making decisions, noticing that sometimes making the right choice is the hardest. “It’s easy to take shortcuts, to be fake or to take the shorter path, but doing the right thing tends to be more difficult.” Believing that it might make the road a whole lot harder but taking the high road sure makes your life a whole lot better.
Lastly, we asked him if he ever has or dreamed about visiting South Africa to which he replied, “I’ve always wanted to visit South Africa but have never been since it is really far from where I live” and he won’t come alone since it’s really rough on the kids when he’s gone for too long. But once the kids are off to college him and his wife will definitely make a plan to come visit, given that it’s always been a dream of his.
And with that it was the end of our interview. We feel truly privileged that Scott Kelby took some time off between work, playing his guitar and spending time with his family… to give our readers a few insightful tips from the expert himself.