Rama Cay, Nicaragua. 2013.

When did you fall in love with photography? Can you remember the moment of perfect cohesion when your brain and heart infused the clunky object in your hand and the wild world was captured through a lens? It stirred something inside you and you realized, “There’s my voice. There’s my sight.”

Were you once too shy to step out before you allowed your camera to become a buffer, a connection when you felt so disconnected? Were you too unrestrained and scattered, yet the camera benevolently forced you to slow down, listen, and compose order from chaos?

Yeah, me too.

And then there was this one day in 2009 as I sat on the floor of an orphanage in New Delhi, India. I handed my Canon 30D to an 8-year-old named Simon and taught him the essential functions of the camera. I watched him move about the room, interacting with his friends, and focusing with such intent concentration for an 8-year-old. I saw this familiar spark begin to grow in him and expand with each shutter click and smile as he viewed his images on the dusty camera screen.

Simon. New Delhi, India. 2009.

“My God, he gets it too,” I thought, amazed.

And though I was in India to use my photography as a “voice for the voiceless,” Simon helped me discover that he already had a voice, he just had no way to express it.

Over the next few years, my job title shifted from photographer to educator to non-profit-person in rapid succession.

Jinja, Uganda. 2017.

I founded Picture Change in 2011 in response to the realization that the people in front of my camera were able to tell their own story, they just lacked the education and resources to do so.

“Mi Madre” by Magdiel Castro. Chichigalpa, Nicaragua. 2015.
Magdiel and his mother. Chichigalpa, Nicaragua. 2015.

Picture Change invests 6 – 10 weeks in students living in areas struggling under poverty or social injustice. We begin with photography basics and then move into documentary storytelling technique and basic business skills. They choose someone in their community to feature in a photo story, implementing listening and interview abilities they’ve learned while documenting the lives of their subject.

Barbara on assignment. Jinja, Uganda. 2017.

The students facilitate a “giving back day” in which they use their new photography skills to benefit others, such as photographing and distributing family portraits or  “glamour pics” for widows in the village. For many recipients, it was the first printed photo they had of themselves.

Kalpana photographing residents at the Ashia Home for the Physically and Mentally HandiCapable. Ooty, India. 2012.

To conclude each project, we host a community-wide gallery show championing the students’ hard work and celebrating the lives they have documented in a fun, public event. We make every effort to bring in local professional photographers during the project and connect our students to further opportunities in the months following. The donated gear is entrusted to our partner organization so the can students continue their photography and have an opportunity to earn their own camera. Thus far, Picture Change has worked in India, Montenegro, Uganda, four unique projects in Nicaragua, and with refugees resettled in Nashville, Tennessee. 

Kate and Gloria during the very first Picture Change gallery show in Padre Ramos, Nicaragua. 2011.
Chang and his family during our “Redefining Refugee” gallery. Nashville, Tennessee. 2014.

Most of our students have experience being in front of the camera and though, undoubtedly, most of the photographers/missionaries/NGO’s were well-intentioned, the results left a negative impression.

I asked our students in Uganda, “Based on what you see on social media and the news, what is a stereotype about Africans?”

“That we are all poor! We are all dirty beggars! That we all have HIV!” they responded.

“Is this true?”

“No!!!”

“Then show me with your photography what is the truth. Show me Africa by Africans.”

Jackline documenting a women’s farming initiative in Jinja, Uganda. 2017.
“Africa by Africans” by Yusuf Musambu. Jinja, Uganda. 2017.
Yusuf and Gideon. Jinja, Uganda. 2017.

One of our students has taken her photography education further than anyone ever imagined. Rosa Lisseth Umanzor Diaz lived in a small fishing village in Nicaragua and had learned English by attending school in El Salvador. She was my translator and first photography student in the village of Padre Ramos, Nicaragua, our flagship project in 2011. With the skills she acquired and equipment donated by Picture Change supporters, Rosa adopted the vision of Picture Change as her own. She built a business as a freelance photographer, taught classes in her community, and has been hired by international companies and photojournalists. We also recently hired her as Picture Change’s social media manager.

Kate and Rosa. Ometepe, Nicaragua. 2016.

In 2017, Rosa flew (for her first time) to Uganda to work as an assistant teacher with Picture Change. She was a true cultural ambassador and an incredible inspiration to our African students. She, like them, grew up struggling to meet day-to-day needs and overcame enormous obstacles for an education or finding a decent job. Yet, because of photography, she has been able to support her family, meet needs in her community, and eventually found herself traveling halfway around the world to share her skills and story with others.   

Rosa teaching class. Jinja, Uganda. 2017.
Rosa (from Nicaragua) led a group of our Ugandan students in distributing and documenting solar lights donated by MPowerd Inc. 2017.

In fact, Rosa recently told me, “I have only cried of happiness twice in my life. The first time was when I had just finished a photography job in the northern part of my country and was on the bus coming home. There I was, a Nicaraguan woman traveling alone, earning my own money, and using my skills to help others.”

Photography is communication without words. It can be a tool for empowerment and activism, bringing hope that things can change and YOU have a role, a voice, in changing the world for the better. Not all of my students become professional photographers but all learn to see themselves and the world around them with more clarity and greater understanding. It is my privilege to work with (rather than for) those in poverty and share this gift which has changed my life – the power of storytelling through photography.

Albijon photographing his family in Konik Refugee Camp, Podgorica, Montenegro. 2016.
Solar Light distribution documentary team. Jinja, Uganda. 2017.
Ooty, India. 2012.

Thank you.

If you’d like to help Picture Change empower more students to have an impact through photography, you can find out more about donating equipment (such as camera gear, smartphones, or laptop computers) or financially right here.

You can also help Picture Change by using your voice via business connections, relationships, or social networks to raise awareness of Picture Change and champion the work of our students.

To learn more about Picture Change, see student photography, or find more ways to be involved, visit Picture-Change.org or email Kate at info@picture-change.org.

“You are important because you exist and your circumstances do not define you.”

Kate is available for speaking engagements via kategazaway.com. You can also see more of her work at Kate-Gazaway.squarespace.com, and keep up with her on Instagram. Be sure to follow Picture Change on Instagram as well!

 

I’m Dave Williams, and it’s time for another dose of knowledge to land here on Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider for #TravelTuesday. This week, that knowledge ties in with the first of my 10 tips that appear in the recent “19th Annual 100 Photoshop Hot Tips” issue of Photoshop User magazine!

Coming in at tip number 91 of 100 is “Blue Sells So Emphasise It!” There’s a lot to back up with this wild claim, so let me tell you all about it:

Take a look around at the clear attraction to the colour blue and its association with loyalty, faith, and trust. It also represents strength and dependability. It’s the colour of the sky on a nice day, and even for that reason alone, it’s a colour we love. There are so many global brands who use this colour for these very reasons, such as Facebook, Twitter, IBM, Flickr, NASA, AmEx, and even WordPress, which I’m using right now.

 

 

Research has been done by gender on favourite colours, and in a study it was noted that blue was the majority’s favourite colour, taking the lead at 57% of the vote amongst men and 35% amongst women.

It is, therefore, important to give serious consideration to the use of the colour blue in your photography because, as I claimed in that Photoshop User Hot Tip, blue sells! It’s obvious when you think about it—if the majority favour blue, then, of course, people will tend to spend more time looking at something blue and associating it to good things in their minds. But, how else can we work with the colour blue to make our work stand out?

 

 

Sitting equidistantly from blue on the colour wheel are yellow and red, which we can incorporate into our images for good contrast. Let’s take a very quick look at how that relates to real life with a sunset! We all love a sunset, and our sunset tends to match the blue sky with the red or yellow warmth of the setting sun. It’s familiar and it’s a perfect example of the use of these colours together. Taking it back to less contrast and having more complementary colours, going in either direction from blue on the colour wheel, we go towards purple and green. Using these colours together will tend to keep things much calmer and even incorporating some blue, gray, or white will complement the use of blue in our images.

And just as a final pointer, when describing colours it helps to give it a name. This is a secret pro tip for you: when describing the colour “brown,” if you use another word, such as “mocha,” you’ll get a far better response. So, when describing the colour “blue,” if you find a matching word such as “azure,” “sky,” “royal,” etc., you’ll notice a difference, and you can thank me later. ;)

Check out the rest of my Hot Tips, and the 90 others, in the latest edition of Photoshop User magazine right now on KelbyOne.com!

Much Love

Dave

 

Hi, gang and greetings from Los Angeles where this morning Adobe will take the stage for their huge annual conference, Adobe MAX 2018 — held this year at the Los Angeles Convention Center. I’m very excited to be teaching at the conference this year — I’m teaching a class today and tomorrow called “How to Present Like a Pro” and I can’t wait to share a bunch of really helpful techniques with the folks here at the conference.

I’m not sharing anything out-of-turn or secret here, but I will tell you that historically Adobe releases big updates to products like Photoshop and Lightroom during their opening Adobe MAX keynote, (along with other products in the Adobe Creative Cloud, and sometimes they even launch new products), so it could potentially be a really exciting morning!

If anything substantial happens for Lightroom during Adobe’s keynote address, we would cover that over at our sister site, LightroomKillerTips.com – but again, that’s not a guarantee of future events, so…maybe there’s nothing new at all. But if Adobe does announce anything cool, don’t worry — we’d be “on it.”

Heads up KelbyOne Pro Members:
If anything big is announced today, we would generally release an issue of Photoshop User magazine covering anything new announced in the Keynote having to do with Photoshop that very same day (which would be, today). So, if they do wind up announce something cool, look for an issue of the mag to appear right away. Hey, ya never know.

I know it’s a whole lot of conjecture, based on things that have happened at past Adobe MAX keynotes, but if they do have some interesting announcements, at least you know we’ll be on it for you right away!

Hope I see you here at the conference, and hopefully in one of my classes.

Here’s to what could be a very exciting week!

Best,

-Scott
West Coast. West Coast! [Say that in a Snoop Dogg voice].

If you haven’t uploaded your best image from this past weekend’s Worldwide Photo Walk, now’s the time. Pick that one best image from your shoot – Upload it at the site (more on that in a moment), and you’re entered. Entering the contest is free, so whatdaya have to lose? (Heck, maybe you’ll win!).

STEP ONE: Go to the official Worldwide Photo Walk site (link), and find the page for the city where you did your walk. This is the page (above) from the walk I led in Innsbruck, Austria. Click on the Contest tab at the top (shown circled here in red).

STEP TWO: Click the “Choose File” button; navigate to your best image (in JPEG or PNG format) and then hit the Upload Image button seen here. That’s all there is to it.

Hey, ya never know — you might have the best image from your local walk, and if so, you’ll be entered into the main contest where you’ll be competing for $thousands in prizes!!! (click the Prize link at the top of the page when you’re at the site, but it’s lots of amazing goodies). Now, go do it right now, while you’re thinking about it. If you don’t enter, it’s impossible to win.

Going to Adobe MAX next week?
I’m teaching a class on their Career Track called “How to Present Like a Pro” and I’d love it if you came by. This isn’t the same stuff you read about presenting on the Internet — I’ll be sharing concepts and ideas and tips and tools I haven’t seen shared by anyone anywhere. I promise — you’ll super-dig it. I’m teaching the class twice — once each day, and I already have over 1,100 people signed by,j so come by and spend an hour with me — I’ll make it worth your while.

Going to Photo Plus Expo in New York City?
If you want a free Expo Pass to the Photo Plus Expo in NYC later this month, I can hook you up. Use this link to get in the Expo for free (or you can get 15% off a conference pass using the same link), or you can even sign up for my “Advanced Lightroom Workshop” I’m teaching at the expo, too. Hope I see you at the show in NYC. https://l.feathr.co/PPE18_Scott-Kelby-O

Have a great weekend everybody. I’m off to LA on Sunday — hope to see you at Adobe MAX. 🙂

Best,

-Scott

 

Hands On With The Canon EOS R: Everything You Need To Know To Get Great Shots with Scott Kelby and Larry Becker
Join Larry Becker to learn the ins and outs of the amazing Canon EOS R! Whether you just picked one up or are thinking about adding one to your kit, you’ll want to learn all the hidden features and pro tips that set this camera apart. From features such as programmable controls to flexible priority mode to shooting video, Larry teaches you how to set them up (and more!) and get the most out of them. Larry wraps up the class with three interviews with professional photographers, Joel Grimes, Roberto Valenzuela, and Rick Sammon who have a lot of insights to share from their early hands on experience with the EOS R.

In Case You Missed It
If you are new to DSLR photography, then this class is for you. Join Scott Kelby as he takes you through the ten most important things every photographer should know about their camera. We all want to get great images, and taking the time to get to know the ten or so most important features on our cameras can really help keep our photos sharp, clean, well exposed, and showing the right colors whether we’re shooting moving subjects or still landscapes. This class may be named the top ten, but Scott manages to pack a whole lot more into each lesson, providing a firm foundation for getting the most out of every tip and technique.

 

On My Birthday, I Am Deleting My Instagram as a Gift to Myself.
When I was approached by Brad to be featured on this guest blog a few months ago (back in June to be exact) I had a whole different set of ideas for what I wanted to talk about to a community of photographers and photography lovers alike.

Well, when I sat down to get to it in the more recent weeks, I realized how ever changing our entire worlds can become in just a matter of months, and where my head is at now…it is a very familiar place for all of us creatives in 2018. This may feel a lot more like a journal entry then advice about photography or a career related conversation topic, but I think that is what we all seek anyway when we create anything; a way to connect to others, to empower each other by sharing stories, and share things that we feel are important to us.

I spend the last minutes/hours of my night like a lot of you, on Instagram. Getting inspired, growing upset, laughing, sending memes to my best friends, or all of the above. I was born in 91’ and am a millennial through and through. BUT I am a millennial type who has hopes and intentions of using my technology powers for good in this world, and not to replace life happening in front of me, or a reason for utter laziness.

As some of you can likely relate, how I feel hours after perusing “the gram” is really just a crap shoot, it could be wildly inspired or it could be utterly disgusted at my own pathetic work. It really started to grow increasingly upsetting night after night to find pages of models, photographers, actors, and just humans in general that I had never heard of with millions, MILLIONS of fans/followers. Most of whose posts felt contrived, ad-based, and disingenuous in content. It is not some ground breaking social analysis to say that we have in large part come to the conclusion that a social following doesn’t equate to success or happiness.

But in my world, as a full-time freelance photographer, and maybe in some of yours, it does mean visibility, social currency, more potential clients, and some validation that your imagery/work is widely liked. That being said, I jumped for joy when my photo page it 1,000 followers this year… and I have spent the last 6 months toying with the idea of deleting my account all together.

I can’t seem to settle on some middle ground of using it for work, but ignoring the temptation to scroll endlessly and not to let comparison day after day steal the joy of where I reside in my own journey. Which at the very least is as a full-time photographer making a living! BUT, I have settled on a birthday gift (on October 15th) to myself, of removing it from my phone, I will keep it on my iPad to continue sharing work I am excited about.

Here Is Why:
I need to feel free again. To be on my own journey. To stop comparing myself to every other creative person out there and wondering why I feel stuck at times. I need to stop looking for validation and visibility and magazine covers and stick to shooting endlessly and growing my network along with my technical tool box. Making local connections. Keep finding what is beautiful in my world and capturing it. Collaborating with people that I am inspired by. Leaving my phone at home and taking a friend and a roll of film out to a new place. Making mistakes, ruining a roll or 2 and feeling that sting. I need to be intentional with my composition and make technical choices that make the photograph work for me.

And so do you.

I guess I am here to say, wherever you are in your journey, that is my wish for you. That you can take a moment and look at how your work has grown over the last year, or 3, or 5 and be excited for what is to come without worrying about your age or your own personal timeline compared to those around you. Keep sending emails and taking meetings, reaching out to people you think may never respond.

My most successful shoots have been where preparation met luck in some sort of creative sweet spot. I am going to keep chasing that magic pocket, and peddling along, and not worry so heavily about what external validation I can find from the work. I hope you find your magic often enough to never grow tired of looking for it too.

You can see more of Nicol’s work at NicolBiesek.com, and keep up with her on Instagram, Instagram, and Facebook.

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