Category Archives Guest Blogger

When I was a kid, in lieu of hiring a babysitter, my mom would just plop me down in front of the television.

I think I learned more about life from Mike and Carol Brady than my own parents.

In fact, at the time, I looked a lot like Cousin Oliver, who was brought on the “The Brady Bunch” to boost sagging ratings, but, instead, only helped the show jump the shark.

So, where am I going with this trip back to before the remote control was invented?

Well, it isn’t because I caught the photo bug from the episode where Greg Brady inadvertently made a shot of a key football play while photographing his cheerleader girlfriend, but because I think I was subconsciously inspired to do street photography by another show I watched.

You see, my local public television station in Chicago would occasionally broadcast a syndicated program about photography.

Each week, a different thirty-minute episode would be shown.

One week, it was about a specific news photographer. The next, it was the sports photographer’s turn.

Then, one fateful week, I witnessed an episode about this crazy man, who wandered New York City snapping photos of people walking past or kissing in Central Park.

That man was Gary Winogrand.

At the time, I had no idea that I wanted to be a photographer, but, there was something about Winogrand that fascinated me.

He photographed unusual people in an unusual way.

Fast forward to 2010.

At this point, I had been a newspaper photographer for almost 25 years and was employed at the Chicago Tribune.

I had spent the majority of my career shooting newspapery things- sporting events, funerals, protests, business portraits, concerts and so on.

I never really thought about street photography, because I saw no point to it.

My newspaper had no interest in publishing a photo of a smoker walking down the street or a woman with a fabulous fur coat. There was no news hook.

Then two things happened simultaneously. I started doing a photo blog and I started getting tired of the staged nature of certain photo assignments- political rallies, press conferences, environmental portraits and the like.

After a couple weeks of doing “Shooting from the Hip”, I quickly realized that I didn’t produce enough interesting content to fill my blog.

As a typical photojournalist, I shoot a lot of things to simply feed the beast. Assignments that are necessary and somewhat interesting, but not interesting enough to stand on their own.

I, also, knew that when I had some free time, I couldn’t wander too far from the Tribune Tower.

So, I started to go on photo walks up and down Michigan Avenue.

A whole new photo world opened up for me.

I now had a reason to photograph the amazing situations and fantastic characters that in the past I would walk right by.

It took awhile for me to get the knack of shooting with my camera at my waist.

I began by pre-focusing about five feet out, but that yielded mostly out of focus images.

I realized, too, that the lens I was using, a medium zoom, was not wide enough.

Eventually, I settled on a 16-35mm zoom and using a technique where I focus
and shoot while walking past a scene.

I know that I look like a total creep, but it is the only way I can think of to consistently make pure images of real moments without any camera awareness.

I have never had a subject of my street photography get mad at me, but, for some weird reason, I get a hard time from people watching me do street photography. Some guy even pushed me into Michigan Avenue when I responded to his complaint about my shooting from the hip style.

I guess it is that Midwest value of protecting your fellow citizen or maybe there are a lot of crazy folk in the city.

So, after doing hardcore street photography for awhile, I started expanding what street photography meant to me.

First, I did a portrait series on the men and women who dress up as the Statue of Liberty or Uncle Sam to promote Liberty Tax Service.
For this series, I would introduce myself and ask if I could make the subject’s portrait with a 50mm lens set at f/1.2.

I traveled all around Chicago and it’s suburbs looking for the wavers.

By time I was finished, I had photographed about 25 different men and women.

The thing I found amazing was that each one was alike but also different at the same time.

Another one of my projects was on the tradition in Chicago called “dibs”.

Dibs is the Winter time practice of using a random piece of furniture or household item to reserve one’s newly shoveled out parking space.

After a huge snowstorm in early 2011, I drove around the Pilsen neighborhood only photographing different types of chairs that people used.

I ended up photographing nearly 50 in one hour and putting them together in grid form.

Some of my other subsets of street photography evolved from people that I witnessed on a daily basis- the homeless and down on their luck that populate downtown Chicago.

I started to notice last year, that more and more street people had stopped verbally asking for spare change but had instead switched to using home made signs to make their plea.

I don’t like photographing homeless people surreptitiously, so, I usually would photograph a sign holder then go back and introduce myself and explain what I was doing.

Not one person was upset that I had photographed them and they all were willing to be part of my project.

Another recent collection, that I worked on in 2011, documented the “Forever Marilyn” statue that was installed in Pioneer Court adjacent to the Tribune Tower.

The 26-foot sculpture by Seward Johnson has created quite a stir and has provided me with countless photo opportunities.

The great thing about street photography is that I can do it anywhere at anytime.

I love doing it on vacation, like my recent trip to Norway, where I photographed a sharp dressed man in Oslo while in the middle of an argument with my wife about me doing street photography while on vacation. Oops! Maybe vacation with my wife isn’t the best time for street photography. Strike that.

A great time for street photography is when I am out of town shooting a Chicago Bears’ game in London or New Orleans or on assignment in the Mecca of street photography- New York City.

In my next life, I will pattern myself after Winogrand and just wander the streets of New York enjoying life and making images of the hustle and bustle.

My newest street photography toy is the iPhone.

I just began a project where I do entire blog posts of Hipstamatic street photos on specific Chicago neighborhoods. I started with The East Side, where I grew up and have moved on to Chinatown, Hyde Park, Pilsen, Little Village and Wicker Park.

With over 200 neighborhoods in Chicago, this subset of street photography will keep me busy for a long while.

I don’t think I will ever do street photography full time, but, I am so glad to have the vibrant streets of Chicago right outside my workplace whenever I need a photographic boost.

You can see more of Scott’s work on his Shooting from the Hip blog and keep up with him on Twitter.

Think like a digital ninja.
First of all I’d like to thank Scott and Brad for inviting me to write – I’m a big fan of what they do and how they empower the world to be better creators. Without people like them spreading the amazing wealth of information we have at our fingertips it would have been more difficult for me to migrate from a zoological career catching snakes in the Australian outback to where I am now – creating conceptual imagery for brands and magazines.

We live in a time where what we imagine, we can make – there has never been a better time to be an artist.  I wanted to take this opportunity to talk about my digital workflow in the hopes that you will find it useful.

I deal in high-impact imagery. I try to photograph ideas more than portraits – directing scenes and characters to tell a story. I started out as a photojournalist shooting first wildlife, then wild places, and now; wild people and stories. I have a background in retouching and compositing, skill-sets which I now leverage to create images that would be impossible to make happen otherwise. As far as aesthetic qualities, my work is characterized by contrast, depth, rich color and texture. I also incorporate compositing into many of my images, one of the components of a digital workflow that we’ll be dealing with here. Rather than talk about them, you can check out my images here.

Photography, particularly in the commercial world, has become far more than just shooting film and handing it off to the client. The digital revolution has not only led to the incredible democratization of creation we see today (I highly recommend you watch press pause play), but also an entirely new way to approach creating images.

The digital workflow allows us to create anything we can imagine. I can shoot elements in Africa, Australia and Southern California and blend them seamlessly so that the image looks like it was shot in one frame. For example, I just finished a campaign working with Art Director Jethro Ames and local ad agency Parkerwhite where I built 8 different images that communicate the beauty and heroism of athletes in moments of peak action. About half the talent we shot in a studio on green screen and the other half were on location – where the background was remixed beyond anything we could have achieved in a single frame. This allowed us to create scenes in the same way that a painter or illustrator would build a scene. It’s difficult to describe, so check out a highlights video we put together here:

I’m going to go over some of the fundamental elements in a digital workflow the way that I see them.

Green screen
I refer to it as green screen, but…


Thank you Scott and Brad for the opportunity to participate as a Wednesday guest blogger.  I’ve been a long time reader and consider it an honor to be included.  I thought I’d share the story of how I was able to find a niche market and turn my love of photography into a viable business. Many part time photographers have another full time job to pay the bills and can’t possibly give up a reliable income to start all over.  This was my situation and yet my journey is a little unique. In 2008 my wife accepted an international assignment in Paris, France. I resigned from my day job; we packed up our Seattle home and soon settled into a classic Parisian apartment a few blocks south of the Eiffel Tower. The “package” she received allowed me to concentrate full time on my photography. I hit the ground running looking for work, scouring Craigslist for “creative” jobs.  I soon shot a wedding for a young couple, photographed a few apartment interiors to be rented and through a friend of a friend, I was asked to shoot the fashion shows during Paris Fashion Week.

This was all great fun and I made some money, but I soon grew weary of hustling up the next new job. I wanted to leverage the Internet and have business come to me, so I came up with the idea of conducting and leading photo tours. Paris is the most visited city in the world, so there’s an endless supply of camera-equipped tourists arriving daily, some with just a few days to spend in the City of Light.  My goal was to create a tour business to escort them to the iconic landmarks, find the hidden gems in between and show them interesting ways to compose their photos. After registering my domain name,, and building a simple website, I was up and running. I chose this domain name because it was a natural search phrase. I wanted, but it was already taken. Some time ago I learned that most online searches begin with the city name with the subject following. I’m not an online marketing expert, but knew I wanted to get as many inbound links as possible. I submitted my site to Google and Bing and any other travel-related site I could think of or find online. I left my business cards with many of the hotel concierges and encouraged them to reach out to me if their clients were looking for something interesting to do while in town. About three weeks later, the first photo tour inquiry arrived in my Inbox. To prepare for my first tour, I had already mapped out a walking route that included landmarks as well as interesting parts of Paris tourists may not find on their own.

My goal was to help my clients become better photographers, learn their camera settings and show off Paris. I went over some of the basics of photography like the rule of thirds, foreground, middle ground and background, and how shutter speed, ISO and aperture all work together. I explained that anyone could stand below the Eiffel Tower and take a snapshot that was similar to the millions of other shots, but moving over 100 feet and including a foreground made for a much more interesting photograph. I explained the composition I envisioned in my mind, shot the scene and then showed them my LCD screen. They would then eagerly use their cameras to capture their own photographs.

Roughly 75 percent of my clients use digital SLRs, while the remainder use point and shoot cameras. Of the digital SLR photographers, over half are new to the technology so they are shooting in Auto mode, yet wanting to learn more about exploiting the features of their cameras. I am a long time Nikon user, but quickly became very familiar with Canon camera settings. When I first struggled to figure out how to change a Canon setting for a particular camera, I would look it up on YouTube so I was ready the next time. Some of the more common settings we discuss are Auto rotate (turning it off or on), the over/under exposure button, programming a button to review images faster and more easily, viewing the histogram, etc.

Business grew dramatically each and every month. During my first year, almost every photo tour consisted of only a single photographer (I let non-photographers tag along free). By the second year, my business really took off. Initially I was doing a tour a day for groups of 3-5 photographers, but demand kept growing so I soon included an afternoon and evening photo tour to the mix.

One afternoon I took out a U.S. photographer living in Prague who was in a similar situation as me. His wife had taken a job in Prague and he wasn’t working. I suggested he start a Prague photo tour, but he said he didn’t know how to get it started. Instantly it dawned on me that I should start a Prague Photo Tours business! I went home and found was available, as was RomePhotoTours and many others. I invested in these names and built new sites for Rome, London, Prague and Venice. And when people wanted a photo tour in another city like Barcelona, Istanbul or Athens I would set it up for them as well. Once again, I leveraged the Internet. To find quality photographers in these cities, I placed a Help Wanted ad on Craigslist. I was inundated with responses and interest. I considered the quality of their responses and their online portfolios when selecting who to hire as contractors. I put a lot of faith and trust in these photo guides and relied on a gut feeling about their ability to lead a great photo tour. Once they complete a photo tour, I pay them via

One of the reasons my business has grown is my commitment to exceptional customer service. I respond to every email inquiry or question as quickly as possible. These speedy responses differentiate my service from my competition. Just think about how many times you’ve sent an email to a company without receiving a response, or receiving it so late it no longer mattered. I also offer a ‘No Fault’ cancellation policy. If clients need to cancel due to their travel plans changing or being cancelled, or if bad weather halts a photo tour, I refund their entire fee. Having a No Fault cancellation policy reduces risk so people feel more comfortable booking tours. Cancellations happen so infrequently that I more than make up for the loss with added bookings. I send every client an email in which I thank them for their business and include links to interesting photography sites and blogs (including Also, clients are more willing to book night tours (which are more expensive), because they can borrow tripods for free, which saves them the hassle of packing them.

After two years of living in Paris, my wife was reassigned back to the U.S. Fortunately, I found two excellent photographers to lead my Paris tours. Once back in Seattle, my former employer hired me back. Now I use the Internet before and after work to manage my photo tours business from home. It keeps me extremely busy working my day job and managing the photo tour business off hours. Although I’m not out taking photos on a daily basis any longer, I’m happy to be involved in the photography industry.

The photo tour business model isn’t new. There are several companies in Paris offering the same type service. In fact, I have a professional relationship with one in which we exchange leads when we are overbooked. In Seattle, there are three companies offering photo tours and I helped a friend set up a photo tour business in Melbourne, Australia.

Business has been very good and extremely rewarding. I’ve taken out photographers from over 35 countries. Several men have shared their plans to propose mid-tour and asked me to capture the special moment. Many clients have become friends of mine; we keep in touch via email and Facebook and we often share photos.

You can see more of Randy’s work at and check out his photo tours at

You know that moment when you are sitting in a bar and the pretty girl keeps looking over at you, she approaches you, then walks right past as she was actually looking at the good looking guy behind you? Well, when I got the email from Brad asking if I wanted to be a guest blogger here, my first reaction was to text Glyn and say “I think Brad meant to send you this email mate.” I would like to stress that I don’t think of Brad as the pretty girl nor Glyn as the handsome guy, that is a scenario none of us need to think about!

Hi, I’m Dave Clayton, a.k.a ‘NAPPMEMBER UK’, a.k.a The NAPP UK Evangelist, a.k.a The Earl of Grey & Lord Chappyton Jollybottom (the latter two thanks to Scott Kelby).

I’m not a photographer but one day hope to be within touching distance, I still have my ‘Learner’ plates on. I do love graphic design, I would call myself a graphic designer more than a photographer, not quite in Corey Barker’s league but if anything’s going to help me improve it’s his new Down & Dirty Tricks book!

I’m Dave. Dave the NAPP member, Dave the Dad, Dave the husband, Dave the mate. And Dave dislikes himself for referring to himself in the third person just then …it’s so not ‘Dave Clayton!’

So here I am writing a blog post for Scott Kelby. Incredible! If I wasn’t ‘NAPPMEMBER UK – the UK NAPP Evangelist’ I would be sitting where you are reading about another inspiring photographer (amazing post from Glyn last week by the way!), so I apologise for that break in continued inspiration!

So what is a NAPP Evangelist?
Despite it’s religious connotations it also means “an enthusiastic advocate” and by that it means I am an enthusiastic supporter of The National Association of Photoshop Professionals and all that is connected to it. I guess keeping with this year’s Photoshop World theme I would also be a ‘campaigner.’ I am also an enthusiastic supporter of my football team, Queens Park Rangers and where possible I will try to convince you that they are the greatest team in the World and hope that you believe me. Sadly, in that instance it’s not strictly true, some days they are not even the best team in their own postcode (zipcode) but I love them all the same.

With NAPP / Kelby Training it’s different. This is my other team, a team that only gets better and better, pushing boundaries, trying new things and always looking to give the absolute best to its members. They have the best instructors, the best selling books and authors, amazing classes on their training site, live seminars, a twice yearly event like no other and the darn nicest people (even Brad Moore!) you could wish to meet. That’s why I am enthusiastic and why I became a full member 4 years ago after years of buying Photoshop User magazine wherever I could find it in the UK (not easy) since around 2001.

Where it all began
It all started with a letter in Photoshop Creative magazine late 2009, Scott saw it, blogged about it (he mentioned two chaps by the name of Tim Wallace and Glyn Dewis – whatever happened to those guys?) and was encouraged enough to promise a trip to London in 2010 on the back of it. Scott knew nothing of me back then. It was Nancy Masse, a wonderful young lady who goes beyond superlatives when I describe her, that started the process. We emailed each other, I told her that I’d like to get more NAPP love for the UK and so it began. There were no terms and conditions, just “please spread the word and we’ll love ya”. That was good enough for me! I was chuffed to bits, such an honour. “Dave Clayton – NAPP UK Evangelist” – it’s up there with a Blue Peter badge (UK will get that one) ;)

I then set about recruiting members and generally spreading the word where I could. I was determined to show that there was great potential for more interest in the NAPP organization across the proverbial pond. The organization helped with a joining incentive for UK members and with that I built my first blog site at followed by a Twitter page and a Facebook page. I was so convinced that it was totally worth the £65 a year I just started mentioning NAPP wherever possible and I might have even suggested we would get more in good time (gulp).

In 2010 the organization came through with a visit from both Joe McNally in July and Scott Kelby in October (just after PSW) for seminars at The Design Centre in Islington. Scott’s visit was the first time I met him properly and also Glyn. What an introduction, a day with Scott Kelby to meet a new friend! Spending time with those guys wasn’t hard, it was like being with two mates you’ve known for years, I’m sure that day felt like years to Scott too – to quote him “I hate those guys” ;) Between these two events I had traveled to Photoshop World in Las Vegas to introduce myself properly (met Scott very briefly)  and show I was serious. Best decision ever – if you’ve never been to a Photoshop World then really try and make an effort. 100% satisfaction, trust me!

What happened next…
2011 built on the events of 2010 and was more than I could ever have hoped for. Among some of the highlights were:

A ‘shout out’ by Scott at the start of the live streamed Photoshop World Keynote in Vegas.
Scott’s personal visit to London in May hanging out with Glyn Dewis and myself.
Dave Cross visiting for the Focus on Imaging expo and his & Marlene’s first visit to a QPR game with me.
An acknowledgment in Alan Hess’ iPad 2 book. Brilliant & unexpected!
Meeting Calvin Hollywood and Gabor Richter on their UK visit. Lovely blokes!
My first mention in Photoshop User magazine and numerous mentions on The Grid, Photoshop User TV etc.
Scott congratulating me on my marriage to Andrea in June on the live ‘Day with Jay Maisel’ webcast and Jay’s subsequent nod of approval. Jay is so cool ;)

I believed in the value of the organization when I began to evangelize but to have met the people that I have along the way only drives me further to do them proud. We all do the things we do for some kind of reward, whether it be financial or personal. My involvement with the organization has been very personal. Sure, I’ve learnt a lot of cool techniques to use in my work or creative endeavours, but it’s the exposure to people at all creative levels that I wouldn’t ordinarily have and the friends I’ve made and continue to that makes it worth the effort. When you turned over your first $99 for membership it may have been simply a means of getting the knowledge to further your career or your hobby, but I’ll be willing to bet that your relationship too will become personal.

I will say this, I’m 46 years old, I’ve had a great life, made good friends, I’ve enough life experience to know the kind of people I like to be around and consider to be friends. All the people I know through being a NAPP member and my association with all at Kelby Media fit into that mould. I’m no ‘hero worshipper’ (apart from maybe Pele and Stan Bowles – Google them), I have people I admire greatly and a lot of that is also down to their ability, professionalism and personality. This NAPP Evangelist gig feels right, it feels natural to me and it’s part of what I am proud to add to my life achievements. I’m in this for the long term and its pretty blooming exciting !


Where am I going?
Now in 2012 I am happy that my ‘evangelist’ role is pretty self explanatory to most and becoming more recognised but my work is nowhere near done. The UK (even Europe) community of photographers and Photoshop users is massive and I will continue to find new and creative ways to spread the word and encourage more people to join NAPP and Kelby Training. Already this year we have convinced a 10 strong group to travel from UK/Europe to attend Photoshop World in Washington DC (MISSION:PSW was also featured in a full page spread in Photoshop Creative magazine in January) and Scott has just confirmed his Light It, Shoot It, Retouch It tour in Islington London for 28th April 2012, lets sell that one out and try for another later in the year!!

Let’s be clear, those of us with the moniker of ‘NAPP Evangelist’, including my cohorts in the U.S. are not employees of NAPP. Personally, I hold down a regular full time marketing job, I have a small freelance design company, I’m married to the amazing Andrea, we are proud parents to four wonderful children (two fantastic teenage boys, 14 & 15, and two beautiful daughters aged 2 and 3) and my spare time is very limited which makes my NAPP work that much more special. But I wouldn’t enjoy what I love doing and the new skills I learn without NAPP or any of the fine services provided by the Kelby Media group and its associates. My reward is the help and support of my peers in what I am trying to achieve.

Ultimately I want and hope that I have created a role that others around the rest of the world can take on to the extent that I feel I have done and spread this community far and wide. Let’s see Kelby seminars around the world and make the ‘National’ truly ‘International’. I will support and help anyone who wants to become an Evangelist, don’t be afraid to put yourself forward if you are anywhere in the world, other than UK of course ;o) I’d eventually love to be leading a Worldwide ‘collective’ of evangelists so let’s make this happen. If you can put in the time it’s totally worth it.

I’d like to take this opportunity (because I don’t normally have this many viewers !! ) to give a huge thanks to Scott, Nancy and all at NAPP/Kelby Media, David Rogers and Alan Brusky for their constant valued input, Alan Hess, Kim Brockie,  the #curryclub chaps, Gareth Davies (Studios), also some people for helping out with our Photoshop World trip: Brian at ThinkTank photo & Snapperstuff, Stewart at LensesForHire, Danny at 3leggedthing , Jeff at SnapilyPro and Simon at Photoshop Creative. Of course  all the UK (and US/Worldwide) supporters and new members who Re-Tweet, Share, +1, Like and engage who have become good friends – especially my old buddy and cohort Mister Glyn Dewis – my brother from another mother. When Glyn got asked to teach at Photoshop World I felt like a proud big brother, he is worth all the trust they have put in him. Glyn even encouraged me to do my first modelling gig at one of his workshops, that image is about to grace the front cover of top German photography magazine, ‘Pictures’ !! Since then we’ve done two more, both great fun indeed!!

It goes without saying but I will because I can, a massive thank you to my wonderfully gorgeous wife Andrea, with four children its hard to find time to do much for ourselves and she is superb and very patient in letting me spend some of that time doing the NAPP UK work. I love you Mrs Jollybottom! x


So, now when you hear my name and any associated (all in good humour) verbal abuse on ‘The Grid’ you’ll know who I am and why I am – so please follow, share, like and tell your UK and European friends. I have swag and I’m not afraid to use it !!! Thanks for reading if you got this far – usual service resumed next Wednesday ;)
Please come and find me at PSW and say hello, always good to put faces to names.

If you have any questions, suggestions or constructive criticism or want to somehow sponsor NAPP UK by way of prize items or discounts then please contact me over at at I am also, @nappmember_uk and

So who is Glyn Dewis? Well believe me, that’s a question I’ve struggled with more times than I care to remember. Don’t get me wrong, I know who I am as a person: I’m Glyn, 40 years of age (only just I hasten to add), I’m married and I live just outside of Oxford in the UK…that bit is easy. What I’m talking about here is who am/what am I when it comes to Glyn the Photographer?

Roughly 7 years ago one of my Uncles, who was always known as our family photographer, showed me how he could remove ‘red eye’ from his photographs using a piece of software called Photoshop. Literally in a split second it was gone and I was like ‘Wow!’ Now as someone who was brought up using computers, my first being an Amstrad CPC464 with the green screen monitor no less, I was immediately hooked.

Anyway, I managed to get hold of Photoshop 7 as it was at the time, but being the kind of person that I am I couldn’t just ‘play’ at it…oh no, I had to totally immerse myself and learn as much as I could and as quickly as I could.

I remember the first time I used Photoshop though; I was sat there with a coffee at my side all excited but rather than the expected ‘Hallejulah’ moment when it started up it was more like ‘Now what?’

My immediate reaction was to scour the internet for some kind of tutorial to set me on the right path and that’s exactly what I did. On the very first page that came up there was a link to something called the ‘National Association of Photoshop Professionals’; it looked really good, and the 3 guys Scott Kelby, Matt Kloskowkski and Dave Cross seemed to know a thing or two. So on complete and utter blind faith I signed up and became a member.

A few months later Photoshop CS was released and I found myself in Las Vegas, my very first trip to the USA, on my own at Photoshop World. Well, I say on my own but in no time at all I’d met up with and was hanging out with other attendees; people who to this day are still very special friends.

Photoshop World was incredible…I learned so much, made so many great friends and came home completely fired up. The motivation led me to studying for the Adobe ACE qualification which I took and passed. My knowledge of Photoshop grew to the point where I started retouching other photographers’ work and then eventually doing more with my own camera, a Nikon D200. I went on quite a few courses both in the UK and abroad and started building up a client base. However after a year or 2, feelings of confusion, frustration, wanting to throw the towel in and everything else that comes with it set in.

You see I’d started to feel lost…I didn’t know what I was as a Photographer. I mean was I a Wedding Photographer or a Portrait Photographer? Or did I want to take family photographs?…I just didn’t have a clue. One thing I did know though was that I needed to start making some money and fast… if not just to start building up the bank balance, but to show to my wife that she was right to believe in me and that I could make it happen and we could make a very good living out of my photography.

It didn’t help when all around me everyone else seemed to be having a ball; a never ending stream of clients, shooting loads, everything they touched turning to gold and never suffering doubt and frustration. So when Zack Arias released his Transform video it was like ‘Thank God…finally someone is telling the truth!’ Knowing that I wasn’t the only one who had feelings like this made a huge difference to me and was definitely one of the turning points.

So there I was knowing that the feelings I’m experiencing are normal, but still not knowing who or what I was. I certainly didn’t want to be known as a one trick pony, but I did atleast want to be able to give a credible answer when someone asked ‘What are you?’ Did I say Portrait Photographer, Editorial Photographer, Commercial Photographer? What did I specialise in…Family Photos, Headshots, Weddings, Sports, Music or Physique? Oh and one more thing ‘what was my style?’ Oh my god I hadn’t even thought about that. Not only did I not know what I was, but I didn’t know what my style was either!

So what about now?

Well I do now know who I am when it comes to my photography and my Photoshop. I’m nowhere near where I ultimately want to be, but knowing who I am and what I am means I can concentrate on constantly working on me, my business, and my skill level rather than having a head full of confusion and frustration. On that note I’d like to share a few thoughts with you that have certainly helped me to reach the point I’m at now, and I hope may in some way help you too…

Finding my Style:
On my blog I have a regular feature where I interview well known photographers and pose certain questions. One question concerns style and how on earth you get one. Each and every time I get the same response in that it just evolved; no conscious effort was made to have a style but rather it was something that seemed to appear over time. One person I interviewed put it another way in that he said he believes each and every time we take a shot we’re taking a photo of ourselves. Initially that was like ‘Whoa heavy!’ but when he explained it, it made perfect sense. Style is very much influenced by your life and your experiences, and once you’ve become competent in the art of photography and know your equipment like the back of your hand, then your style will begin to show itself. Up to that point it’s more a journey of discovery and for want of a better word ‘copying’

Style I believe isn’t something you can force. So if this is something that concerns you, take some of the stress away by just accepting that if you continue to shoot regularly it WILL reveal itself. Come to think of it look at certain photographers around the world, Zack Arias and Alan Hess for example…seems kind of natural they shoot what they do and the way they do right? I honestly don’t think it’s a coincidence but rather photography has naturally led them there.

Very much like the power of association in that you become those who you associate with, your style comes from the life you lead and the experiences you’ve had.

I can’t for the life of me remember who it was said this but:

Madness is defined as sitting at home on your computer and expecting to be ‘discovered’ and for the clients to come knocking on your door

Marketing is something I find doesn’t come naturally to me. In the past I’ve struggled with it and still do to some extent, but it’s an area I’m constantly working on. Facebook and Twitter are great tools but honestly…how many clients have you gained from them? Sure I do get clients that way but certainly not enough to sustain a healthy business, so it means I have to get out there face to face and meet people and do things the old fashioned way; scary stuff however…

An average photographer who’s great at marketing will make a fortune but a great photographer who’s poor at marketing will make very little

My goal, and this is something I always explain to people who come to my workshops, has always been for clients to hire me because they like what I do and they like ‘me’ as opposed to looking around and seeing that everyone is doing the same kind of thing, so who’s the cheapest…does that make sense?

Spinning too many Plates
When I first started my business and put my website out there for the public to see I thought the best thing to do was to show everything. My portfolio was made up of all kinds of sections: Portraits, Weddings, Food, Physique, Commercial and Personal but I soon found out that this was doing more harm than good; let me explain…

About 3 years ago Air New Zealand were scouting for a photographer to work with them on their new advertising campaign and my name was put forward by a previous client. Long story short, I didn’t get the contract. Out of curiosity I asked for feedback as to why I wasn’t picked and was told quite bluntly “We don’t know what you are.”

You see, by me showing all kinds of work on my site as opposed to focusing on a particular expertise, I’d confused a potential client. The answer? I slimmed everything down and resorted to one portfolio…Portraits. Fast forward 12 months and Air New Zealand are launching another campaign, so I put myself forward and guess what…I win the contract, and the email from the same art director 12 months previous said ‘Now we get you’

Practice, Practice, Practice
Apart from him being a complete wizard with Photoshop,. one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned from my good friend Calvin Hollywood is to practice, practice, practice. Calvin is one of the hardest working guys I know…constantly pushing forward not just his skill level, but developing his business and himself.

Taking his advice I now put time in my diary every day where, for 30 minutes, I have to read some kind of self help, personal development or business skill book. At the moment I’m reading ‘The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs’ by Carmine Gallo, which I highly recommend if you ever give presentations or teach.

On the subject of books, anyone who knows me would testify that I am indeed a serial book buyer, but rather than before when I was almost behaving like a Trainee Librarian filling up my bookshelf with books I had hardly touched and some I hadn’t actually opened, I now set myself a goal of going through 1 complete book a month. I’m a slow reader so that to me is realistic but that’s still 12 books a year which is heck of alot of extra knowledge. Audio Books are great too; understandably not so for the Photoshop but as for self help, personal growth and business they work a treat.

I also set aside 30 minutes each day where I’ll concentrate on learning something new in Photoshop. This could mean spending time in forums, watching some kind of training video or simply experimenting and seeing what I can come up with.

If I don’t do something every day (however little), then how can I expect to improve?

Inspiration and Motivation
I’m always looking at other photographers work that I like for inspiration but try not to make the mistake of comparing myself as I used to do…a lot! This only creates negative thoughts and I liken this to my bodybuilding days in that it didn’t matter how big and strong I became there would always be someone bigger and stronger so there really is no point comparing.

The Answer to my Dreams
One of the biggest lessons regarding ‘gear’ I learned came from Zack Arias. Photography is one of those things where new kit is being developed constantly. The latest all singing all dancing bit of kit that will be the answer to your dreams seems to be invented on an almost daily basis. Zack’s philosophy is to use what kit you have so much that you get to the point where you totally know its limitations. Then and only then go out and get that new piece of kit because you’ll understand why you need it. Up until I’d followed this advice, I had a camera bag that was literally overflowing with kit that I very rarely used…if at all.

So who am I?
I love what I do: the process of making photographs, working through challenges to get exactly the shot I need, being creative with Photoshop, teaching others and all the people I’m meeting and friends I’m making along the way; genuine, good, honest people, the calibre of whom I’d never encountered before becoming involved in this industry.

The Photography world can be a frustrating one at times for sure, but I love it. It feels right and natural to me that I’m doing what I’m doing, and I truly wouldn’t want to be doing anything else. Sure there are many ups and downs and challenges ahead, but that’s just the nature of beast and I embrace that.

Within this wonderful community are people who will support and guide you, people who genuinely want to see you move forward and do so because they totally love what they do and this blog you’re on now belongs to one such person.

Thank you never seems enough, but there are people I’m proud to call friends and without whom I may never have picked up a camera and progressed with Photoshop, let alone have my own business: Scott Kelby, Calvin Hollywood and Matt Kloskowski amongst others…each of whom epitomise friendship.

It’s bizarre to think we’ve only known each other a relatively short time but meeting and becoming close friends with my buddy Dave Clayton was definitely a highlight of 2011 and then of course there’s my beautiful wife Anne: my ultimate motivation and motivator.

So who am I? I’m Glyn Dewis: Photographer, Retoucher, Trainer and Photoshop World Instructor :)

You can see more of Glyn’s work at and 500px, keep up with him on his blog, like him on Facebook, follow him on Twitter, and add him on Google+

How important is it to accentuate your subject’s jawline in a portrait?  For me it’s major, and more often than not the first direction that comes out of my mouth toward anyone in front of my camera. I believe it’s our job to pull the best out of our clients, so we need to be feeding them constant direction in order to do that.

As photographers, we all use direct direction in order to get a client into a position that makes them physically look better.  So since this one area means so much to me, I thought I’d share some tips on it in this little video.  In it you’ll see how adamant I am about having my clients bring their jawline towards my camera day in and day out.  This simple technique instantly improves the images I’m taking of my clients, and I hope you gain a few insights here that you find helpful and can implement on your next shoot.  Enjoy!

You can see more work from Peter at, follow him on Twitter, and like him on Facebook. And if you want more tips on shooting headshots, check out his 4-hour The Art Behind The Headshot DVD!