Masters Academy Evolves

Masters Academy Evolves

Hi everyone! I’ve got some exciting news to share with you all. As you may already know, I launched my own online learning platform back in September called Masters Academy. It was designed to help users master the tools of their digital trade: Photoshop, Lightroom and Photography. Up until recently, Masters Academy members would log in to a private, member-only Facebook group to watch the videos, ask questions and interact. While this worked, we knew that Facebook wasn’t the ideal platform for the academy and I am excited to announce some huge updates, improvements and member benefits.

First of all, I have partnered with Craig Swanson (co-founder of CreativeLive) and his company, Digital Product Studio. It is this partnership that has fueled many of the Masters Academy improvements, including a new, dedicated website for hosting the videos. At the time of this post, the site is a bit bare-bones because it is geared toward current members, but it will become full-fledged in no time. As part of launching the new site, we have also secured a new domain name,

When members view a lesson, they will now have a clickable table of contents, downloadable practice images for all lessons (where appropriate) and PDF companion guides for all new lessons. We no longer rely on PayPal for payments, and we froze the pricing for existing member renewals (the price for new members will continue to increase as we add new features). We have also have started recording in a professional studio in Seattle, so the quality is light-years better than it was in those initial lessons!

If you become a member today, you’ll immediately gain access to the 24 existing lessons and then will get a new lesson every week for a full year. In general, this project is where I’m dedicating all my time. My calendar is clear of all Photoshop/Lightroom-related speaking events so that you pay a single price for my entire output this year!

As you can see, we’ve been extremely busy and will keep you posted as we continue to make improvements to Masters Academy!

Visit the product page on Digital Mastery for detailed information, or visit the Masters Academy site to look around or sign up to be a member.

Service Station Images: Before & After

Service Station Images: Before & After

Hi gang! I hope everyone has been keeping their sanity during this crazy holiday season! I’ve been taking a lot of time out the past few weeks to work on images. As you may already know, one of my ongoing projects is to photograph over 350 service stations that I have researched and mapped out. When I’m traveling and shooting, I don’t have as much time to process the images, so they sometimes get “piled up.” I’ve been working on that virtual pile and wanted to share some before and afters with you.

When retouching the images, I don’t add any objects, but I will remove any modern elements such as cars, telephone lines, etc. I feel that this helps to create a timeless image. With the images posted below, use the scroll handle, dragging it left and right to see what the image looked like before and after processing. Enjoy!

Free Masters Academy training video!

Free Masters Academy training video!

Hi everyone! I just wanted to let you all know that for the next 48 hours, you all have access to a free Masters Academy training video. The lesson is on Photoshop and Lightroom integration and will only be available to non-members until 2:00pm EST on Thursday, Dec. 8th.

If you’ve never heard of Masters Academy before, it’s a private academy that I created to help users master the tools of their digital trade: Photoshop, Lightroom and Photography. Through weekly streaming video lessons and a private, members-only online discussion group, I push Masters Academy members to the next level of understanding and competence. The whole idea is to go beyond what you can learn through most video-based classes by making a full year’s commitment to continuous learning.

I wanted to offer this free lesson because 1: Everyone likes free training!; and 2: If you were thinking about joining Masters Academy but unsure if it’s for you, the video will give you an idea of what the weekly lessons are like.

You can access the free video on Facebook by clicking HERE.

To learn more about Masters Academy, or to sign up, click HERE.

If you happen to catch this post late and missed the free video, not to worry! I will periodically be posting videos like this on my Facebook page HERE.



Recent Travels & Our Expanding Photo Series

Recent Travels & Our Expanding Photo Series

Hi gang! As we recently wrapped up another two-month international adventure, I thought I would share some of the imagery that came from the trip. We started our journey in Rome and over the course of the two months, we visited Italy, France, Malta, Croatia, Slovenia, Greece, Spain, Morocco, Monaco, Montenegro and Portugal. This is what our route looked like:

As you can see, our itinerary was incredible and we were overwhelmed with some of the amazing experiences we had. If we had to choose a top highlight, it would probably be our night time gondola ride in Venice. If you ever get the opportunity to do this, we highly recommend it!

As you may already know, my wife and I have an ongoing project that we collaborate on together. It’s a photo series called “The World is My Yoga Mat,” where I photograph Karen bending into different yoga poses in unique places all over the world. For us, it’s important that the pose we choose fits with the surroundings in a graphical or visually pleasing way. This has been a fun and challenging project in that we are constantly searching out optimal locations for this every place we visit. It’s very rare that we already have a location in mind when we arrive somewhere, but it does sometimes happen. Iconic structures are an example of this. We knew we wanted to make an image at the Colosseum in Rome, and in a gondola in Venice.

During our last trip, we shot no fewer than 80 yoga images, and I have been posting them daily to our Instagram account @theworldismyyogamat. We are also tagging the images so they can be seen on a world map and you can view those HERE.

When we are traveling internationally like this, we are usually doing so on board a Crystal Cruise ship. On the ship, I teach a class on how to make fun movies on the iPad using the photos and videos guests capture on their trip. Our next adventure begins on March 3 and we’ll be exploring South America, the Amazon River, the Caribbean, the Panama Canal, etc. You can learn more about those upcoming voyages on our Events page.

To close, I’ll leave you with a few images from this past trip, but we encourage you to check them all out on Instagram by visiting @theworldismyyogamat.

Creative Lightpainting & Upcoming Photoshop Bootcamp

Creative Lightpainting & Upcoming Photoshop Bootcamp

Hi gang! It’s been a busy couple of weeks and I just wanted to fill you in on what’s going on and what’s coming up. I’ve been spending most of my time preparing for my upcoming Photoshop bootcamp class that will be broadcast on CreativeLive from June 6 – July 1. It’s called “Adobe Photoshop CC: The Complete Guide” and will be a comprehensive, 4-week class, covering everything from the basics of Photoshop to advanced retouching, actions, etc. Each day, a new lesson will be broadcast and it will repeat all day long so that you can watch at your leisure. As with all CreativeLive classes, it’s completely free to watch during the broadcast. If you want anytime, unlimited access to the videos, as well as all of the bonus materials and handbooks that come with the course, you can purchase it for a discounted price during the month it’s being broadcast. This class is also special in that we have a designated Facebook group where you can post your work, ask questions and interact with other students taking the class.  To learn more about the course, view the daily schedule and enroll for free, visit the class page here.

Aside from preparing for the Photoshop bootcamp, I’ve been doing some creative photography using light-painting, a technique I specialize in. When I create an image like this, I start with a completely dark scene and literally “paint” light onto the subject using a flashlight or similar light source. This images below were shot as part of a yoga series that my wife and I collaborate on. I shoot images of her in yoga poses all over the world, and while these particular shots aren’t special due to the location, they’re special due to the technique and creative element. You can follow the yoga series on Instagram @theworldismyyogamat.


The above image was captured during a single 12-second exposure, half of which was spent fumbling in the dark to re-find the cable release to close the shutter. The white streak in the image is the edge of the light source, which also reveals the path it took when traveling across the scene. I also set the light source on the ground angled up at about a 20° angle to light the lower legs and arms. Karen was positioned atop a black Westcott Masterpiece Sheet Background that was draped over the floor and sofa and table that was in the background. I had to darken the background a bit in Lightroom to make sure the folds were not visible. 

I used a homemade lighting instrument which consisted of a yard stick with a diffused LED linear strip light and battery gaffer-taped together. Here are sources for the critical components used in its construction:…/lfd-series-led-line…/1310/


The same setup was used in the image above. It was captured during a 10-second exposure using a Sony A7Rii and Canon 24-70mm lens. The streak of light above gives you a hint that I started with the 18″ bar-shaped light source almost parallel to the ground, which caused the camera to only see a sliver of it on the left of the frame, then I tilted the light slightly as I moved it toward the right, which allowed the camera to see more of its surface and produced a thicker streak of light.

If you want to give light painting a shot, then download this free PDF that shows you how to get started:…/u…/2015/08/LearnToLightpaint.pdf

More to come!

Lightroom Mastery Keyword Set Now Available!

Lightroom Mastery Keyword Set Now Available!

Hi gang! I hope you all had a great weekend! I want to take this opportunity to make an exciting announcement. It’s been a long time in the works, but my Lightroom keyword set is finally complete and available for purchase! If you are familiar with my teaching and my work, you know that I adore Adobe Lightroom and use it every single day. One of Lightroom’s incredibly useful features is the way it allows you to keyword your images so they can be easily searchable in the future. I have over 200,000 images in my Lightroom catalog, and I can find any image that comes to mind in five seconds or less. And no, that’s not an exaggeration. The reason I can do this is that I have a very organized system for applying keywords. I have spent over two years creating and implementing a keyword set that is organized using a hierarchal system and has allowed me to completely streamline the way I tag and search for images. I’ve become a digital neat freak, if you will.

base_keywordsI know that most people don’t want to invest that much time into creating such a system, so I am offering my system up to you. Not only do you get my complete keyword set, but I’ve also written a detailed, 30-page e-book that will teach you about keywords and how to use them. The main focus of the e-book is to make your images searchable by applying keywords. Regardless of whether you have no idea what a keyword is, or if every image you’ve shot has been tagged with a keyword, my approach will change the way you think about this invaluable feature.
In the book, you’ll learn how tagging a single keyword to an image can suddenly make the image findable when searching for over a dozen different keywords. That means tagging an image with “Cathedral” will make it show up in searches for “Church,” “Architecture,” “Religious Structure” and more.

Keyword Organization You’ll see how organizing your keywords can have many benefits and give you a different way of exploring your image catalog. Instead of viewing your images by folder, collection, or search, you can now browse based on subject matter.

Special Characters You’ll see how using special characters can change the way you approach keywording and how capitalization can shift the way you interpret your keyword list.

Smart Collections Using Smart Collections, you’ll be able to quickly locate images that can be adjusted remotely, determine which images should be keyworded and which images have larger, hard drive-hogging previews than may be unnecessary.

As I said above, I’ve been working on this keyword set and e-book for well over a year. Every time I thought I was finished, I would come up with another way to extend the functionality… and push the completion date further away! So I apologize to those of you who have been inquiring on when this set would be ready, but rest assured that the delay has resulted in a much better final product!

I’m really excited to release this set, not only because it has taken forever to create, but because it has dramatically improved the way I organize, sort and search for images in Lightroom, and I would love if it could help you in the same way!

Click here to learn more or to purchase the keyword set and e-book.

More to come!


Example pages from the e-book