Today was the Royal Wedding. Greatly anticipated and over-hyped. You either love it or you hate it. Londoners are split in how they feel about it, but there is no denying the celebration of those who embrace it.

I’d be the first to admit that I’m no photojournalist. Capturing fleeting, meaningful moments and expressions are how I’ve built my business, but walking through the streets of London covering a major news story was out of my comfort zone. What better way to challenge myself and experience up close a once-in-a-lifetime event. An opportunity to document a historic event and tell my grandchildren I was there. And it fit in perfectly with iStockphoto’s new editorial content library.

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  • thanks for sharing Randy…have fun!ReplyCancel

  • so amazing you were able to experience the royal wedding and be a part of a day everyone will remember and talk about for years to come. It was refreshing to see a formal wedding, I in a way their love brought love to everyone today. I think it uplifted people around the world for a few hours taking their minds off of all the natural disasters happening. Cheers!ReplyCancel

  • Great pictures of the big day, Randy!

    Purely for the record, the RAF jets were two Tornados and two Typhoons, not Harriers. They retired the Harriers from service earlier this year…

    Loved the shots of the Lancaster, Spitfire, and Hurricane aircraft from WW2.ReplyCancel

  • Megan

    Randy, even though I’m working this event, I’m thoroughly enjoying reading about your account of it! Awesome writing & fantastic pictures!!ReplyCancel

  • Chris, as I always say, you are da Mann! I’ve corrected my post, thank you for providing the information. I knew about the Spitfires, but could not identify the larger WWII aircraft. At first I thought it might be a B-52, but realized it wasn’t when it flew closer. Amazing to see them flying again over England!

    Alexis… thanks! It was very emotional standing in the streets during the ceremony. And this coming from a veteran wedding photographer! I was actually fighting back tears a couple of times feeling the emotion of the people around me and the pride. Lots of people were wiping tears away. It was quite lovely (as they say).

    Thanks for following along!ReplyCancel

  • I think you made a very smart choice to stay and record this once in a lifetime event. While watching the planes fly overhead on TV (The Tele) I was wondering if you down there in the crowd. I guess this answers my question.

    Thanks so much for investing the time to share this with us all.
    One of my favorites is the shot of the lady holding the paper.ReplyCancel

  • Fred Von During

    Just getting to this part of your continuing saga, what a fantastic trip for me up to this point! The pic. with the hidden clip of the Prince and Kate was cool! For me it’s like being there and I mean that as my legs and feet would never allow me to do what you are doing and it is so much appreciated! March on young man, I know I’m behind in your current travel I just have too much computer travel on my plate! Therefore this insert to let you know I’m trying to keep up with you. Your descriptions are fantastic and I also just did your visit to Maui, I was in Hawaii years ago but not to Maui so this was so fun along with your description of the wedding, it all just get’s me out of this small house in Kingman,Az. one of the least interesting places in Arizona. So keep up the good work and tomorrow I’m gonna give a good shot at catching up with your current position!!ReplyCancel

  • owen Price

    Randy, you can ask as many questions as you like as long as you keep producing those drinking vouchers.ReplyCancel

  • I have loved every image and every insight you’ve shared with us these last 4 days. I could almost feel being pushed through the crowd with you!ReplyCancel

Up is down and day is night. Today was the first day I felt normal. Well, until mid-afternoon, then jet lag kicked in. Morning started with a traditional English breakfast buffet. Everything I was warned of was there. Baked beans, runny eggs, strange fruit and bacon that is somehow different. The room was full of Europeans with accents ranging from German and French to Italian seated in very close proximity to each other. Definitely something I’m not used to, but I tried to embrace as it seemed the norm. Tea instead of coffee… sign me up. That has been very enjoyable.

Finished with breakfast, it was a race through the streets of London to the Somerset House. A team of iStock photographers took a couple of models into the streets. After that, I attended what was by far, the most inspiring class so far. Three of Getty Images top contributors gave a presentation discussing the conceptualization of stock photo shoots and how to think in an original way. They shared their stories of getting into stock photography and it was very close to my own story. I felt that twinge of destiny listening to them speak and sat in awe of the imagery they shared.

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  • Amy Ruth

    Randy! I am so jealous of you – what a perfect time to be in London!! So awesome. Please, please do go out and take photos of the royal wedding madness, I’m a junkie and seeing your “behind the scenes” photos is too cool.

    Sounds like the iStock has been pretty helpful? Sorry to hear about the rude guy – there seems to be at least one on every bunch, hey? Hope it didn’t get you down. You’re a fantastic photographer, go seize the day and enjoy England!ReplyCancel

  • Brian Laurent

    Go killer! You can take a punch. Remember, “rope a dope” was invented by an American. And anybody who’s more interested in disregarding the work of an entire nation of artists based on the use of strobe must be forgetting something about creativity and openmindedness. I admire your positive attitude and humble and perservering spirit. Thanks for sharing.ReplyCancel

  • “I know everyone has an opinion (all valid) and different tastes, but this gentleman was downright rude.” If he was rude and his review “harsh and impolite”, then maybe he wasn’t really a gentleman! Thanks for sharing your adventures Randy. It sounds like you are rolling with punches but more importantly learning a great deal this week! Looking forward to more posts from London!ReplyCancel

  • Stephanie Howard

    I’m sorry to hear that English photog was so rude. You would think he would have had a more open mind and taken the time to actually look at your work. The whole point is to gain constructive feedback to learn from.

    It sounds like you are making the most of your trip with how much stuff you are packing into each day! wow! I am soo excited to see some pictures from the Royal Wedding! You couldn’t have gone at a more perfect time. I really hope you get to see the wedding party and such. It’s not often you get a chance to see an event like that. I hope you rest well tonight.ReplyCancel

  • My man, eff that arse and his pre-concieved “review.” A portfolio review is supposed to be constructive not destructive (unless he’s a bitter fart). You’re too kind to refer to him as a gentleman.
    You and Big Ben look good. Have fun tomorrow. Back to wedding photography already, hmm?ReplyCancel

  • It really is amazing that you just happen to be there for the Royal Wedding. I’m sure you’ll get some great images.

    How sad an unfortunate the guy doing your portfolio review was so biased. Good for you in keeping an open mind. Unfortunately I’ve witnessed similar reviews throughout the years. The reality is that if he doesn’t keep an open mind and contain his comments on the actual work presented he’s just not the person who should be doing portfolio reviews. Shrug it off (as best you can) and move on.

    My suggestion to improve on the food it to cross The Channel into France. Great food to be had everywhere.ReplyCancel

  • I think maybe your critic was attacking strobe lighting to cover up his inabilities or his laziness to learn how to use strobes…it’s not easy you know! But it is a lot of fun! Thanks for sharing your trip!ReplyCancel

  • Hey Randy! Looks like you’re having fun already!

    Hoping to be able to meet up with you tomorrow if your schedule permits – sounds like it’s been nonstop so far.

    Give me a call – I think you have my mobile number – or email me…



  • Tammy Kepple

    I’m so proud of you that you contained your “gentleman” ways with this “critic”! You are an amazing photographer and a pretty amazing person as well. PLEASE post today’s photos! I’m so anxious to see them…btw-did you get my return text?ReplyCancel

  • Fundy

    Man, I love Jane Seymour.ReplyCancel

Or so I overheard on the plane, just as we were landing in Heathrow. After nearly 12 hours of being cramped in airplanes with little reclining and no legroom. It was a contest of will to sit there for hours on end. The hardest part of traveling to London is traveling to London.

My day started in Portland with the Delta ticket agent telling me my checked baggage was 3 pounds overweight and I was going to be charged $150! I decided to deal with that issue when I returned. Nothing was going to ruin this trip for me.

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  • Tammy Kepple

    I’m so excited to see your daily posts!! How fun! Get some rest. Keep the stories coming!!!ReplyCancel

  • So excited for you Randy. I remember when I went to London in college, it was one of the best experiences of my life. Love that city, love the brits, the pubs! Have a shanty while you are there, it’s half lemonade and half beer and really good!

    I’m sure you are totally exhausted yet excited at the same time. Will you be there for the royal wedding? That will be a once in a lifetime experience. Have fun and remember to mind the gap:)ReplyCancel

  • Your day 1 title line sounds like an Austin Powers quote… The photos look mashing Randy, have a great time. But I got to tell you, in Amsterdam you have Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands too. You are right about Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, it’s all you said and probably the longest ride in a airliner taxiing after landing that I have ever had at any airport. It seemed like we rode as far as Portland is from PDX.ReplyCancel

  • Mind the gap! So funny you say that… I wasn’t quite sure what that meant until I rode the Underground, and then it quickly became obvious. Can you imagine a system like that in Portland? Yes,I will be within walking distance of the Royal Wedding. I suppose I’ll venture out, not sure about the crowds of 1 million+ … breakfast was fascinating. From the closeness of everyone in the way they seat you to the myriad of languages and accents. I feel as though I’ve arrived. it’s marvelous! (and the tea is quite good!)ReplyCancel

  • Randy,
    Looks like you have a nice room. Everywhere I stayed in France the rooms seemed so tiny, especially the elevators. Hope you get your sleep cycle in sync; it took me about 3 days. Glad you are off to a good start.ReplyCancel

It is every man’s obligation to put back into the world at least the equivalent of what he takes out of it. ~ Albert Einstein

As I was preparing for my trip to London and my goal of blogging once a day while traveling, I decided my iPad would be the perfect way to do this. And who wouldn’t? Apple advertises how the iPad eliminates the barrier of technology, “When technology gets out of the way, everything becomes more delightful, even magical. That’s when you leap forward”.

A nice balance between portability and power. It allows me to handle nearly any office task and relax with a number of entertainment options. Serious photo editing can wait until I return to the office and my Mac Pro. But as I researched a workflow for writing content and uploading photos to my WordPress blog, I quickly discovered the shortcomings of the iPad.

I spent time reading, asking questions and calling my friends who had iPads. I bought a number of photo apps and the entire process quickly became frustrating. My friend JP encouraged me to write about it and what I ended up doing for my trip to London, so John, this is for you.

My objective was simple. Write daily content and include photos. I shoot RAW, which includes a high resolution JPG file. Using the Apple Camera Connectivity Kit, connect my camera to the iPad and import photos. Minor color corrections, black and white or special effects, crop and resize the photos to 900 pixels wide and finally upload to my blog for publishing. Sounds simple, right? Here’s what I’m bringing to London.

Essential Photography and Blogging Kit

1. Canon 5D and BG-E4 Battery Grip
2. Canon 580EX-II Speedlite
3. X-Rite ColorChecker Passport
4. Ultimate Ears SuperFi 5vi Noise Isolating Earphone Monitors
5. Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM
6. Canon 35mm f/1.4L USM
7. Giottos Rocket Air Blower
8. ThinkTank Pixel Pocket Rocket CF Card Wallet
9. Apple iPad Camera Connectivity Kit
10. Apple Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard
11. Apple iPad 1st Generation – 32GB Wi-Fi
12. Griffin iPad Stylus

Surprisingly, there isn’t a well written article on doing this aside from John Larkin’s post WordPress and the iPad. An educator in Australia, his article is one of the best I found when researching for my trip to London. His article primarily focuses on batch uploading of photos and my approach is different, so I hope you can benefit from both approaches.

The Apple Safari app or Atomic Web Browser and WordPress are exactly the same experience you have on a computer. I was frustrated that there was no scroll bar in the editing window, until someone showed me how it was done using two fingers on the iPad. So far, no problems at all. As long as I had internet access, I could easily do this from my iPad. Then I tried to upload a photo to my blog.

This is where it gets tricky and frustrating. Normally, within WordPress you can upload or insert a photo by clicking the media browser icon and browse for the photo you want to insert into your post. For whatever reason, Apple has limited access to the finder on the iPad. So you can’t access your photos as you would normally, meaning the media browser option doesn’t work on the iPad.

What next? Well, my research led me to the WordPress app. It allows you to write your post and upload photos to a folder on your server. At least that way, you can manually link to the photos and you’re blogging. The problem is, the app itself is worthless for writing. Aside from getting around the photo upload issue, I don’t understand why this app exists. But at least it got me thinking that there must be an app that would allow me to edit my photos, crop and resize them for my blog and then upload them to a folder on my server. My search now turned to photography apps.

The maximum photo size for the iPad is 2304 x 1536 pixels. That’s pretty stunning for professional photographers wanting to display their images in stunning HD quality. But for a blog post, it’s overkill. What I needed was an app that would allow me to edit, crop, resize and export.

iPad Photography Apps:

Adobe Photoshop Express – Adobe is the undisputed king of image manipulation and post production. I was excited to discover Photoshop for the iPad and quickly disappointed as it’s easily the most worthless app available for photo editing. Sorry, but this is a total fail for Adobe. If all you want to do is upload iPhone photos to Facebook, this may have some value to you simply because it’s free.

Photogene – One of the more highly rated apps for photographers. They offer cropping and exporting options, though I had to write support to discover where it was hidden. One of the better apps for serious photographers, they even have a PRO upgrade, which offers ftp support and watermarking. Their support was quick, friendly and professional.

Lo-Mob -Low resolution for iPhone. No HD iPad version. You can choose from 3 preset resolutions when saving or a variety of social media options, including email. Support is difficult at best. They make you like them on Facebook to ask support questions and then never respond to the questions. But the 28 retro effects are stunning and unique. Some of the effects are broken on the iPad and it’s not clear if they will ever fix it, as support has gone missing.

Plastic Bullet – Low resolution for iPhone. No HD iPad version available. Wonderful choice of effects, but it’s random and if you find something you like, save it because you may never see that combination again. The only export option available is saving to your photo library at a very low resolution of 640 x 480 pixels. Red Giant software is well known in the motion picture industry for their powerful color editing tools. It would be nice to see this app updated for the iPad.

PhotoStudioHD – Beautiful interface and lots of great photo effects. They offer cropping and resizing, but no way to export to WordPress or ftp to a server. There is the typical social media options, mail and saving to the Photo Library. My daughters really like this app and all the options for enhancing photos they share on Facebook.

Filterstorm -Hands down the absolute best app out there for professional photographers. Designed for photojournalists, this is the app Adobe should have created. The tools are familiar to professionals and powerful. Curves, color correction, noise reduction, sharpening, black and white conversions with the ability to fine-tune, filters, brushes… the list goes on. Best of all, the effects are applied on layers with powerful masking tools, so you can selectively apply or fine-tune the effects. And the ability to upload your photos to a server via ftp access.

Another piece of frustration is the DAM (Digital Asset Management) on the iPad. Apple has designed iTunes to be your digital media hub. This is how you load music playlists, podcasts, movies and photos. You can either sync with an iPhoto library or load a folder of images from your hard drive. Where it falls apart is in transferring content created or imported on the iPad. iTunes doesn’t give you a way to transfer images back to your computer. You have to launch iPhoto and import photos. You can also use the GoodReader app to transfer images to Dropbox, but all of this is ridiculous. Apple needs to improve this workflow.

In the end, the workflow I developed for blogging from my iPad is as simple as I hoped it would be. Import JPG’s from the day’s shoot directly from the camera into the iPad. From there, edit the images in Filterstorm or Photogene and upload to my server via the built-in ftp option in both apps. Using Safari or Atomic Web, I can write my content and hand code a link to the images. I prefer typing on a regular keyboard to the virtual glass keyboard. I can type emails with one finger pretty fast, but trying to write an entire post would be an exercise in frustration.

And finally, the beautiful moleskin case that I have is a Portenza handmade case for the iPad. It’s one of the best I’ve ever seen. The iPad is cradled in an eco friendly bamboo case with rubber grips on the corners. It’s low profile, professional and most people think it’s an actual moleskin journal.

Will all of this work in the real world? There’s only one way to find out and that test begins in less than 48 hours. What are your thoughts on blogging from an iPad? What are your favorite photo apps? Did my article help you? Did I miss anything? Have questions?

Visit my Facebook page for Randy Kepple Photographs and LIKE— it’s greatly appreciated. You can also follow me on Twitter @randykepple. Inspire a conversation by leaving a comment. I enjoy hearing from you! And most of all, support me in my adventure to London and the challenge to share that journey with you by blogging every day.

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  • Brian Laurent

    Traveling light and fast, in computer and lenses, respectively. Hope it works well. Where’s the external HDD or jump drive for backup?ReplyCancel

  • I don’t have a laptop, thus the iPad. A friend offered me the use of an Epson backup device, but I’m running out of time to go pick it up. I do have a 16GB Sandisk USB stick. I was thinking of throwing that into the kit, along with a card reader. Surely I could transfer images at the hotel, right?ReplyCancel

  • Randy,
    I’m so excited for you and this trip. Looks like a great choice of gear to take along, just enough without it being a burden. Can’t wait to see what you come away with. I’ll be following you daily.ReplyCancel

  • Gary… I’m actually reconsidering bringing my 50mm f1.4. I wanted the 70-200 because it’s a great portrait lens. If you look at the schedule of events, there is a lot of studio time. For walking around London, the 35 and the 50 would be nice options, don’t you think?ReplyCancel

  • Tammy Kepple

    Can’t wait for today’s blog. At least then I’ll know you’re there safely :) Miss you!!!ReplyCancel

Life at a crossroads.

“There is nothing wrong with change, if it is in the right direction.” —Winston Churchill

At one point in my life, change was a constant. It’s the one thing in life you can count on, right? In today’s world, change is something you can’t escape. And it’s happening faster than ever before. Our world is at a tipping point. Ask anyone. Even the most cynical and jaded observer will agree.

Truth be told, I never started out to be a wedding photographer. I earned a degree in commercial advertising photography and worked my butt off to be the best I could be as a professional photographer. My 20 year career has been an amazing journey. Not only have I seen and survived the complete revolution digital brought to my profession, I’ve traveled to amazing locations, photographed celebrities, world leaders—but best of all, I’ve witnessed and captured the most amazing stories of love. Stories that have left an impression and inspired me.

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  • Randy,

    Your post made me cry.

    I am so proud of you.

    Keep me posted of your progress. Send me some pics along the way.

    If you can dream it, you can do it. I believe in you!

    Kim :)ReplyCancel

  • Good luck in London. I am just starting a major life change so I look forward to following yours.ReplyCancel

  • Cheryl G

    What an awesome gift you have given Kim & Randy, you have grabbed the camera by the lens (well, that sounded better than the bull by the horns) and I know will use this wonderful opportunity to enhance and advance yourself. As a reader of Kim’s emails, I am thrilled for you.

    The 20 pound note has some significance and meaning to me. I have tired of giving to many worthwhile charities, and have made some wonderful friends through Facebook. Right now, I am paying $600 to a wonderful young man in Kenya who is furthering his education on the keyboard. He plays at his church, but as the sole support of his elderly mother, the $100 per month does not cover their expenses. This investment will allow him to be certified and then turn around and teach others, and will give him more income at church as well. I do this because it is my heart to give, and I wish I could do more, but I am disabled and on a limited income, so can only do what I can do. There are so many in the world in need… sometimes a small need, and (as in your case) sometimes a big need, but when we can touch other people’s lives, miracles happen.ReplyCancel

  • bonnie

    My daughter takes pictures as her living, your story is close to my heart, she is always telling me her client’s stories.ReplyCancel

  • Kim… Thank you for inspiring me and believing in me. My life and the lives of so many other people have been blessed by you and your vision.

    I promise to let the photos do the talking… this was one of the longest posts I’ve ever written, but there was so much to share and it is about a major change in my life.

    How often can you say you were there, sitting on the sidelines witnessing such monumental change in a person’s life?

    I’m dreaming and believing!ReplyCancel

  • Thank you for the comments. It’s inspiring to read your stories and comments. I appreciate you stepping out of the shadows and taking the time to post. It makes it all worthwhile and has made my day.ReplyCancel

  • Turn your face to the sun every morning, Randy and go in the direction your gut tells you to go. We’re all here cheering you on.ReplyCancel

  • Craig Minty

    Thoroughly enjoyed your story, website and photos. Looking forward to your progress and future updates. Thanks for the inspiration!ReplyCancel

  • Fred Von During

    Mr. Kepple Your message is wonderful the thoughts expressed done so well. Your use of English and the intelligence it shows is very impressive to this old man of 64! I think what Kim Komando has done for you is just the ticket to kickstart your career or should I say a great “octane booster additive” and as I say either way you will be able, if necessary, to change directions in your financial career with your way with words, I consider you to be one of the best salesmen I have ever heard! I have been a Kim listener for a long time probably not a day one’er but close maybe! She is the best thing I have discovered on Radio or elsewhere and constantly recommend her and am now very impressed again by this trip of kindness she has provided, so much more impressive than any other business sponsored giveaway, and it’s really not a giveaway it’s more like a sponsorship and stands “way tall” when compared to the other type of stuff we see! I wish you the best and will continue to hear how you are doing and how this “sponsorship” pans out… safe and make us proud!!ReplyCancel

  • Barbara Levich

    We had that sudden drying up of business this year and found ourselves unexpectedly retired. We had been in advertising for 25 years and though we are of retirement age, we didn’t plan to retire just now. Know how disoriented you feel. So happy you are getting a chance to move on and grow. Best wishes for the future.ReplyCancel

  • Brian Laurent

    You told me once, “Leap. And the net will appear.” I believed you then and I believe in you now. Your courage and heart, your humor and wisdom, are a great inspiration and will continue to serve you as you touch and change the lives of those around you and as you change your own. I applaud the humility and honesty offered in this post. Your grace will carry you to the next level.ReplyCancel

  • Judy

    Wish you well in your adventure. My husband was a photographer and I know what it means to you. Thank you for telling your story.ReplyCancel

  • Thank you friends for sharing your thoughts and comments. Fred… I agree. What Kim has done proves with action that who she is and what she represents is more than a corporate facade with meaningless promotional prizes. This was personal and custom tailored to reach down and offer me a hand up in a way that would never have happened on my own.

    I’m so thankful for the people who have found their way here and are inspired. I have no idea what is in store for me as I step upon that plane on Tuesday, but I’m dragging all of you along with me. :)ReplyCancel

  • Hi Randy,

    This is a great story ripe with emotion. I can relate to it in so many ways. From living in Surrey, Kim’s show, iStockphoto changing my life, lifelong passions, friendships . . .

    It’s a great inspiration for every creative, particularly photographers. I can’t wait to see your images and hear how fantastic everything was. Enjoy every step of the journey!!!

    Try not to let the iStockers fill you with too many pints. :)ReplyCancel

  • Xavier Arnau

    Great story Randy !
    See you in a few days in London, Looking forward to meet you :)ReplyCancel

  • A.J. Rich


    Don’t look back. I am here in London and will be meeting you soon. Just have an open mind and be willing to try new ideas and you will do well. My iStock story started five years ago, and it has been the best career blessing in my life.

    –A.J. (member RichVintage)ReplyCancel

  • Brother, you know I feel and share your mid-life growing pains. Good luck on your adventure.
    P.S. Hurry back, I’ve got a couple of coding questions for you.ReplyCancel

  • Randy, This is so very exciting! I just checked back in on your blog and learned your news. Can’t wait to see how it all unfolds. I applaud you.ReplyCancel