Ask A Pro: Scott Kelby Answers Your Photography Questions

Got Questions About Photography? Professional Photographer and Photoshop Expert Scott Kelby Has Got Answers.

Q. I use a Canon EOS 70D and ordinarily record the images in JPEG format. Recently I was taking photos of my granddaughter on her trampoline against a cloudy but bright sky using both JPEG and Raw. When I looked at the photos on the camera, the overexposed background was flickering between black and white. However, later the photos looked OK on the computer. Is this a camera malfunction, or a signal from my camera that those areas were overexposed or saturated?

A. That’s a highlight warning (also called a clipping warning) that was going off. It’s there to warn you that something in your image (in this case, probably the sky) was so bright that it’s lost all detail in that area (no pixels; no nuthin’). But that’s not the whole story—that’s just what the blinking part on the camera was all about. Now, here’s why you saw a problem on your camera that you didn’t see on your computer. When you shoot in Raw format one of the big advantages is a wider dynamic range, and images don’t clip as easily as they do when shooting in JPEG, but here’s the “gotcha.” Even though you’re shooting in Raw mode, the preview you see on the back of your camera is a JPEG, so that’s why you saw clipping in the camera that you didn’t see on your computer using the actual Raw file. The Raw file wasn’t clipping yet thanks to that expanded dynamic range, but the JPEG preview you saw on the back of your camera was clipping. The good news: If you see a little clipping on the JPEG, the actual Raw file is probably OK—as long as it’s just a “little” clipping. If the back of your camera is flashing like a disco strobe all over, you need to use some Exposure Compensation to darken your exposure a little to make that clipping go away.


Q. When I’m using Lightroom to shoot tethered to my Nikon D750 sometimes the images stop coming into Lightroom. Is there a way to fix this?

A. Not that I’ve found. When Lightroom’s tethering works, it works great, but when you least expect it (at some point in most every shoot), it just stops working. It’s the single most finicky/fickle thing in all of Lightroom. So, while I can’t prevent it from stopping, I can tell you what to do when it inevitably happens. First, make sure your camera is awake. If your camera goes into sleep mode to preserve battery life, it will lose its connection to Lightroom. However, if that doesn’t work, turn Lightroom’s tethering off and then back on again. My guess is that one of those two will do the trick, but if they don’t…unplug and replug your tethering USB cable—both from the camera and from your computer as either one could have come unplugged. If none of those options work, then restart Lightroom. One of those will do the trick.


Q. I’m shooting a wedding and am concerned about lighting the formal shots of the family (there could be as many as 10 people in some of the group photos). How many lights should I use?

A. Well, I can tell you how many I use for groups up to 20: just one light with a big softbox. The biggest challenge with lighting groups is getting even light across the entire group. Otherwise, one side will be brightly lit as the other side gets progressively darker. The trick is to move the light way back and turn up the power to compensate for being back so far. OK, how far is “way back”? About 15 feet from the front row. By moving the light that far back, the lighting will be even across your group.


Q. What do you do to get your white balance right in mixed lighting situations like daylight and tungsten light, or daylight and fluorescent?

A. Switch to Live View mode so you’re looking at the LCD monitor on the back of your camera, instead of looking through your viewfinder. When you’re in Live View mode like this, the white balance is “live,” meaning when you change white balance on the camera, you see it change live on screen. Now scroll through all the different white balance presets—don’t look at their names, look at the screen—and stop at the one that looks most natural to you. If none of the presets look right, switch to the K (Kelvin) setting and try different temperatures. Again, don’t look at the numbers, just look at the screen. When it looks good, stop turning the dial (that’s deeper than it sounds).


Q. Sometimes when I use the Spot Removal tool in Lightroom it smears the edges of what I’m trying to remove and then other times it works fine. What gives?

A. The Spot Removal tool works best (no smearing) when the thing you want to remove isn’t touching anything else—kind of like an island rather than a peninsula. That’s why it works so well for removing spots and blemishes; they are all by themselves, not touching anything. However, as soon as you try and remove something that’s touching something else (like removing a frayed piece of clothing that’s sticking up), it smears because it’s touching an edge. One thing that can really help is to go to the Spot Removal tool’s Options (found under the Histogram at the top of the right side panels) and change the Brush from its default “Heal” to “Clone.” When you use Clone instead, the smearing is reduced pretty dramatically, or doesn’t appear at all.

Correction: In the February 2016 issue I explained how to make a double exposure in-camera on a Canon EOS 7D, except it doesn’t work on a 7D. That technique only works on a 7D Mark II, and the 70D, but not the old 7D. Totally my fault. Sorry for any confusion or frustration that caused.


Scott Kelby is a photographer, Photoshop Guy, award-winning author of more than 50 books, and CEO of KelbyOne, an online education community dedicated to helping photographers take the kinds of images they’ve always dreamed of. You can learn more about Scott at his daily blog (, or follow him on Twitter: @scottkelby.

(Editor’s Note: Ask a Pro is a new Q&A column from professional photographer, writer, and educator Scott Kelby. Scott is here to answer all your photography-related questions, so if you have something you’d like to know, e-mail him at -- with “For Scott Kelby” as the subject line -- and your query could be featured in the next edition of Ask a Pro.)