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 want to use a remote camera for a wedding I’m shooting. The venue doesn’t allow photographers to shoot from behind the altar back toward the bride and groom, but photographers can put remote cameras back there. How do I shoot this camera remotely?

A. There are a number of different ways to do this, from simple to complex, but since this is your first time, let’s make it really simple. You’re going to need a couple of wireless transmitters. I use PocketWizards for firing remote cameras, because they have great range and they have a wizard on their site to help you find the exact short little cable you’re going to need to connect your PocketWizard to your camera. Once you have two wireless transmitters and the connector cable, place one transmitter on top of your camera in the hot-shoe flash socket, then connect the cable to the shutter release port on the side of your camera. Once you do that, press the “Test” button on your second remote and your remote camera will take a photo. You will need something to mount your camera on, and what I use is a Platypod Pro (a very sturdy, thin metal plate that sits on the floor). I screw a small ball head right on the plate (it’s designed to hold a ball head) so I can aim the camera right where I want it. One last thing: If your camera has a quiet or silent shutter setting, definitely use it, and be selective about how often you fire that remote camera behind the bride so you don’t wind up interfering with the ceremony.


Q. I want to move all my photos from my laptop to an external hard drive but I’ve heard horror stories about Lightroom losing track of all your photos when you do so. However, my laptop is running out of available space. What should I do?

A. Moving to an external drive is the right thing to do—it’s how you do it that matters. Plug in your external drive; then go to Lightroom’s Folders panel and click the plus sign (+) to the right of the word “Folders” to create a New Folder. Navigate your way to this external drive and create your main top-level folder (I name mine “Lightroom Photos”) and click OK. Once you create this new empty folder, Lightroom will now “see” this hard drive and it’ll now appear in the Folders panel itself. Now in that Folders panel you can drag and drop folders that are on your laptop over onto that new folder on your external hard drive and Lightroom will totally keep track of your images (because Lightroom knows where you moved your photos, since you moved them from within Lightroom itself), so everything stays perfectly intact.


Q. I’ve just started shooting portraits outdoors with a wireless flash and much prefer shooting with the flash to my left. Is there a rule that I should be following about which side to put the flash on?

A. Indoors you can put the flash wherever you like, but for more natural-looking shots outdoors, your flash should generally be placed on the side where the sun is coming from (even if the sun is behind your subject). There are two reasons for this: (1) You don’t want the image to look like you lit it with flash. You want it to look like your subject is being lit with natural light, and if the light from your flash is coming from the opposite side of the sun, it throws the viewer off subconsciously. (2) When you light from the opposite side of the sun, you run the risk of the image looking like a composite—like you shot the image in a studio and then placed the subject on an outdoor background in Photoshop. When you don’t light from the proper side, it messes with how the image translates to the viewer. I’ve seen this “looks like a composite” more times than I can count, because the lighting is coming from the wrong side. So, outdoors, yes, it definitely makes a difference what side to put your flash on.


Q. In Lightroom’s Print module, in the Print Job panel, when I drag the Brightness or Contrast sliders I don’t see anything change. If they don’t do anything, why are they there?

A. They do actually do something, but you’re not seeing the changes on screen because it only applies those Brightness and Contrast changes to the printed version (it’s not actually changing the brightness or contrast of the image file itself). Those two sliders are there because so many users complained that their prints came out much darker, or less contrasty, than their nice, bright backlit screens. So, by being able to brighten and add contrast just to the print, you can get your prints to more closely match your monitor, without actually changing the brightness or contrast of the image itself—it just applies those adjustments to the version of the image it sends to the printer. It will probably take you a couple of test prints to find out just the right amount of Brightness and Contrast so your prints match what you see on screen, but at least once you know those Brightness and Contrast numbers, you can use them again and again to make your prints look right on the money.


Q. I’ve heard that a big advantage of mirrorless cameras is that if you shoot in Manual mode the electronic viewfinder will show you what the exposure looks like live as you move the dials. Can I see what my exposure will really look like using my DSLR?

A. Well, this isn’t exactly the same thing, but try this: Switch to Manual mode on your camera, then turn on the Live View feature on the back of your camera, and look at the monitor on the back of your screen. As you move the dials, you’ll see the exposure change. When your exposure is set and you’re ready to shoot, you could turn off Live View and shoot using the viewfinder, or just shoot with Live View still turned on.


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 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.)