Scott Kelby Shares ‘Probably His Most Embarrassing Photography Story Ever’

What’s the worst photographic mistake you’ve ever made? Whatever it was, the scope of the error — at least geographically speaking — was probably much smaller than what Scott Kelby recently did. In the short video clip above, Kelby shares what he calls “probably [his] most embarrassing photography story ever.”

Watch the video for Kelby’s story. Otherwise, you can keep reading for a shorter summary of what happened.


Basically, Kelby is releasing a new photography book that has sold quite a few preorder copies on Amazon already. Soon after the book went on sale, he was contacted by a reader who asked about a transgression he spotted in the book: a wedding photo that had selective color applied.

Selective color is when the entire frame is black-and-white except for a particular color or section.

Kelby didn’t believe the reader at first due to his own hatred of selective color effects, but he was soon unpleasantly surprised with the truth: there was indeed a selective color photograph printed across on an entire page.

It turns out Kelby had accidentally left some RAW edits on a file after giving a demonstration of a masking technique — creating a selective color image in the process — and then submitted that photo file for publication. The strange-looking image will soon be on photographers’ bookshelves around the world. Oops.

  • Sarpent

    Actually, he didn’t accidentally leave that image “demonstrating why you shouldn’t do selective color,” he accidentally left it after using it in a masking demo.

  • Michael Zhang

    Yikes — sorry for that error on our part. We’ve correct the text.

  • pgb0517

    If that’s his most embarrassing tale, he’s lived a very happy life indeed.

  • Damian Brown

    Any marketing is good marketing..

  • Christopher McRae

    BAHAHAHA…I bet he was white as a ghost.

  • videoflyer

    Truly. From the headline, I was expecting something a LOT juicier.

  • OtterMatt

    I was expecting that he posted an unflattering photo of the Queen of England or something that would bring the ire of an entire nation. Yeah, that’s pretty silly, but not that bad in hindsight.

  • OtterMatt

    Photographer’s note: if you’re going to be militant about a specific photo effect or process, then stay the heck away from it.

  • Pickle

    I think he needs to go easy on the clarity tab too, but then he’s a marketing machine rather than a photography machine.

  • Mike

    I would have thought his most embarrassing moment was sending a tweet to all of his followers asking them to accept a personal Jesus in their lives.

  • Apul_MadeeqAoud

    This is one of those “You’ll never believe…” click bait posts.

  • markz

    I don’t get the idea of hating on a (any) specific technique.

    it’s like hating on claw hammers because some people use them for doing stuff other than banging nails in.

    sort of shows a level of immaturity that dictates a need to sit down in a small room for a few hours and take a long hard look at yourself and what you’re doing wrong with your life.

  • Zos Xavius

    I’m not a christian, but why should he feel embarrassed about his religion?

  • Pickle

    The only time to mention Personal Jesus is when referring to the Depeche Mode song. Other than that, keep it to yourself.

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  • Christopher

    It’s funny, with all these post-processing techniques – people tend to start to hate an effect not when they discover and use it but after they realize that many other people are just as clever and have discovered it and used it too rendering what they have done less unique.

  • kenflan

    Seems like you do have a bit of a problem with his choice in religion then.?

  • Chris Adval

    watch out for the pro/lover of selective color come out of the cave!

  • Zos Xavius

    not really, but why are christians the one group that feels a need to try to convert everyone to their viewpoint? are muslims knocking at my door? shiites? I rest my case.

  • Jeremy Madore

    Ah, so a mere 2% of the population (that would be Mormons, by the way, who specialize in the door knocking campaigns) is enough to generalize an entire group. Let’s go ahead and ignore the 23% Catholic population who, when I last checked, didn’t condone door-to-door.

  • Zos Xavius

    Haha. Let’s not start on the Catholics. Quite honestly, I’d rather go have teeth pulled than debate religion. On petapixel, no less. I think the whole spirit of my first comment was that I don’t want to hear about religion really or have it forced upon me. So, on that note, I’m out.

  • Alexandra G.

    You need to remember that even though he hates it, “selective color” has many other uses:

  • Alexandra G.

    Most people have no idea, or care to learn “where else” selective color can be used, IS used, or really needs to be used.

  • Alexandra G.

    My favorite Depeche Mode song!

  • Alexandra G.

    I agree, which is why I wrote my blog post about it:

    I have heard people bash Photoshop non stop, and is usually those who don’t understand it’s purpose, or know how to use it, because it is easier to bash something, than take an hour (or more) of your life and learn about it. This is exactly what’s wrong with photography today; a lot of people “want” to be photographers because they think it’s some lazy man’s job, and when they realize they have to learn a few things about it, some start bashing various things. It’s so annoying. I’ve been called a “hater” because I pointed out the lack of professionalism on someone! Pfff….if they only they spent that time fixing what I pointed out…their clients would thank them.

    This is literally just a technique that we available to us to use when we need it, or want it…the key is to use it well, and create a real interest rather than make it look like $hit, and showcase the fact that “you” don’t have any skills…

    I hate it when fauxtographers grow threes out of innocent people’s heads! Let’s start a war on that, cause it’s such a small thing to avoid, it’s not funny! LOL