#TravelTuesday with Dave is here again! Mostly because it’s Tuesday….

I have recently switched things up a little (after what I’m going to label as occasional passive-aggressive pressure from Mr Kelby) and I just thought I’d offer an explanation. I was using the handle @capturewithdave but made the switch to @idavewilliams. Let me tell you why.

Every week I interrupt proceedings on ScottKelby.com to give you something inspirational from the world of Photography, Photoshop, Travel or Life, and this week is no exception.

Firstly, I’ll point out that I’m losing some link-backs here and there because of this in that there are lots of blogs and what-not out there with my name shown as @capturewithdave so it was hard for me to actually make this move (and if anyone operating any of these blogs wants to retroactively switch my handle, I’m ok with that!) because of losing those links, but I reckon the pros outweigh the cons. Here’s why: –

It’s important that we have a uniform approach wherever possible on social media, which means having the same handle with the same identifiable profile photo (more on that shortly) because we need to be sure that people recognise us when switching from one place to another. When they see us in the Twitter ecosystem for example, they should be able to easily recognise and find us in the Facebook ecosystem. I hope you appreciate my use of the term ‘ecosystem’ there, and of course it applies across all platforms and to our blog/website. Bottom line – it should have our name in it! Along with this we must also be clear about what it is that we do. If we’re a wedding photographer, we must make it clear in the profile that we’re a wedding photographer. Ultimately, we’re looking to get attention so we can sell ourselves as photographers, and often this is right where it all starts and the traction can build.

My ‘set selfie’
My ‘hold on, this might be important’
whats wrong with my other profile picture?’

So, the profile photo. Again, Scott put a little pressure. Apparently I looked a little moody in my last one so last time I was over at the KelbyOne studios I was cornered and told I was getting a new shot done. I complied, offering little resistance in the Florida heat after a day recording on set, and was looking straight down the barrel of Scotts lens. It took a while – I’m not used to having my photo taken – I’m a role model, not a fashion icon, after all. We went through the usual – you know, shabang and all that – and following a little bit of me fooling around we ended up with a shot that made me kinda look like I know what I’m talking about and that, at the end of the day, is what we need for a profile photo. We need to convey the message to our prospective clients that we are the one they need to hire and a profile photo for a photographer is actually kind-of a big deal. Think about it, is a photographer with a poor profile shot likely to get hired? No, because how can a good photographer possibly have a bad headshot?! 

So, take a minute and assess your tag and your headshot. Please.

Much love


Images Copyright Scott Kelby 2k19 ;)

By the way… I wrote a book all about the Northern Lights. It’s called ‘The Complete Aurora Guide for Travellers and Photographers’ and it’s out now. If you’re heading to the cold, dark north, this is the book that will help you find and shoot the Aurora, complete with Eskimo stories and everything :)

We had one heck of a great discussion on last Wednesday’s live episode of “The Grid.” It started with a discussion about whether or not taking a photo of someone else’s art (in our discussion, a sculpture in downtown Chicago), make it suddenly “your art” or is it just a picture of someone else’s art?

Photographer and photography app wizard Troy Plota joined us (he was awesome), and we went down into the rabbit hole in a big way, and it was such a great episode I wanted to share it with you here today.

Today’s the Deadline for Entering The Worldwide Photo Walk Contest

If you participated in the Worldwide Photo Walk, today is the deadline to enter your best image taken during the official walk into the photo contest. Make sure you head over to the site; upload your image, and your local leader will be announcing the winner for your walk very soon.

One week from today I’m doing my new full-day seminar in Richmond

…and this Thursday I’m in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, so come on out and spend the day with me. We already have hundreds of photographers signed up, so don’t be the only one to miss out. Also, coming to Atlanta next month. Looking forward to seeing everybody. Tickets and info here.

Behind-the-scenes shot from my workshop in Guilin, China.

Thanks for checking out my China pics!

Thanks so much to everybody who checked out my images here on Friday from my workshop trip to China with Rick Sammon. Thanks for all the very kind comments — it really was an incredible experience, and I was tickled to get to share it with you. If you didn’t have a chance to check them out, here’s the link if you’ve got a sec.

Also, if you’re a KelbyOne Pro member, I did a members-only Webcast about the trip, including lots of tips about shooting in rural locales like this. Here’s the link if you want give it a look – we got lots of great comments.

That’s it for this Monday. Don’t forget to check out today’s tip over at LightroomKillerTips.com (and tomorrow I have my another “Lightroom in 60-seconds” video tip over there). Hope you can check ’em out.

Here’s wishing you awesome, fun-filled, great weather week!


Mornin’, gang, and happy Friday! I finally got some of my favorite shots together from my recent workshop trip to rural China, and I shared the final images, with lots of behind-the-scenes shots and videos, and the stories behind it all.

Here’s the link if you’ve got a minute. I hope you can give them a look.

TIP: At the end of the post, I shared how I set up my three Custom Modes on my camera. Most cameras these days have the ability to set up your own custom modes, and man do they make your life easier! Hope you find those helpful.

Heads up: if you participated in the Worldwide Photo Walk last week, Monday is the deadline to enter the photo contest

The contest prizes this year are pretty amazing (including a Canon EOS RP Mirrorless Camera with a 24-105mm lens, and the Adobe Creative Suite, and a B&H Gift Card, a whole bunch more!). Even the finalist prizes are crazy good, so make sure you enter your best shot from the walk. Hey, ya never know, right?

Here’s wishing you all a great Friday, a rockin’ weekend (#rolltide), and hopefully you’ll stop back by on Monday to see what’s going on. :)


P.S. I shared a technique today over at LightroomKillerTips.com on how to edit in Lightroom Classic on your laptop when you’re traveling, and then how to merge all that you did; the images, sorting, editing — the works, with your main computer back home. Here’s the link if that sounds like something that might interest you.

Post-Processing Milky Way Landscape Photography with Erik Kuna

Join Erik Kuna for the post processing companion to his previous class, Demystifying Milky Way Landscape Photography! In this class Erik shares his Lightroom Classic and Photoshop techniques, tips, and tricks for bringing your Milky Way photos to life. Erik demonstrates each step in the process with examples taken during the first class. You’ll learn how to nail white balance, correct distortion, adjust tonal values, add presence and color, make localized adjustments, reduce noise, composite multiple exposures together, and so much more. Erik reinforces the techniques with a start to finish workflow to bring it all home.

In Case You Missed It: Demystifying Photo Pills

Learn how to get the most out of PhotoPills when planning your next outdoor photography adventure! Join Erik Kuna as he explains exactly what this app can do, why photographers should care about using an app like PhotoPills, and how best utilize all of the features and functions within the app.

In this class you’ll learn the basic terminology needed to use the planner, how to use the app to plan a photo shoot based around the position of the sun, the moon, or the milky way, how to discover when the next eclipse will occur at a given location, how to perform useful calculations, and so much more! Erik even breaks down all the steps he used in planning for a variety of different photographic scenarios. By the end of the class you’ll have a whole new appreciation for the ability to plan around celestial events using PhotoPills.

Photo by Nadra Farina-Hess

Things I Wish I’d Known Before Going Pro

Thank you to Scott and Brad for having me back here as a guest blogger. When Brad asked if I would be interested in doing another guest blog, I thought for a long time about what I could write about that would help those reading this blog. In past guest blog posts, I have talked about sorting and editing using Bridge, what it’s like to shoot a full day concert, photographing pets, and of course, more concert stuff. 

This time around I want to talk about what I wished I had known before giving up my day job and going into photography full time. I made lots of mistakes, and I still make mistakes. But I make fewer than when I started, which is a good thing. Many of you know that I am a concert photographer, but I earn most of my income from photographing corporate events, some private and some public. This post is about that work, as it’s where I earn my living and where I have made the most mistakes. So here are five things I wish I’d known before going pro.

Blues Traveler in concert. (Photo © Alan Hess)

You Have To Run A Business As A Business

I wish I had taken more business classes in college. An accounting class would have been really useful. I thought that being in a creative field like photography would mean less spreadsheets and more fun, but working for myself means that I have to deal with a lot of stuff that isn’t photography. I actually spend much more time on the non-photography stuff than I do making photos, like…

  • Finding the work (that’s a whole different blog post).
  • Creating budgets and scheduling the work.
  • Creating invoices, tracking payments, and keeping track of what’s owed and when.
  • All that business stuff isn’t taking photos or very creative at all.

I ended up going back to community college to take an accounting class just so I could understand the math behind my business. This ties right into being able to say no to work sometimes. You need to understand how to price your work. And if you don’t understand how to do that, how will you know when you should turn down a job offer because the money isn’t right? 

One more thing about running a business, you need to make sure you use contacts and legal forms. This protects you and the client. 

A lot more spreadsheets than I expected.
Freeman 90th Gala at the Winspear Opera House in Dallas, TX. (Photo © Alan Hess)

Can’t Do It Alone

This one took me a while to understand and even longer to embrace. I honestly thought the I was in direct competition with every other photographer in San Diego. While there is some competition (as there is with every job) having a group of photographers you can work with is way more beneficial than working alone. Let me give you a few examples of what Im talking about.

The first involves one of my best clients, a company that has hired me consistently over the past four years for multiple jobs in San Diego, Dallas and Nashville. This client only found out about me because another photographer here in San Diego gave them my name when he couldn’t take a job due to a scheduling conflict. If it wasn’t for the relationship I have with this other local photographer, I would never have been introduced to this client. 

Don Freeman photographed at the Freeman 90 year anniversary gala. (Photo © Alan Hess)
The cast of Scream Queens photographed for FOX/FX at San Diego Comic Con International. (Photo © Alan Hess)
Stan “The Man “ Lee photographed at the Fox booth during the San Diego Comic Con International. (Photo © Alan Hess)

For the last decade, I have been photographing the San Diego Comic Con for a variety of clients. You can hear all the details on the He Shoots He Draws podcast (episode 87). In this interview, I discuss how for the last three years I have had Hasbro as a client but I needed to put together a team of photographers to do the job.

I was able to reach out to a group of local photographers that I know, and trust, to work with me to get the client everything they need. Had I not had a good working relationship with a group of local photographers, I would not have been able to take the job at all. So just keep in mind that while there will always be some healthy competition, cooperation can really help move your business forward.

Learn To Say No 

This one might be the hardest lesson to learn, at least it was for me. I really thought that I needed to take every job that was offered to me. Boy, was that a mistake. I would say yes to jobs that didn’t fit my style or what I wanted to photograph. I would end up unhappy, and the client would end up unhappy which really didn’t help my business grow.

For example, I was recently asked to do a newborn shoot by someone I know from photographing concerts. They know me as a photographer, so they asked if I could do this for them. Knowing how important these types of shoots are and that it’s not something I do, I had to say no, but I did offer to put them in contact with someone better suited to their needs. This is another great example of why you need to have photographer you know and trust.

Dick Enberg and Bill Walton at the 2014 SLI Winter Conference. (Photo © Alan Hess)
Experience Freeman. (Photo © Alan Hess)

The other time I had to learn to say no is when the job would end up costing me more than I would make from it. That’s a great way to go out of business slowly. I know hard hard it is to say no to a paying photo gig, I used to just say yes to all of them. Then I started to think like a business person and did a little math and started saying no. I am not saying that you should never work for a low payment or even take a job for free now and then, just make sure that it is worth your time and energy. I still take photos at charity events for a greatly reduced fee and will still even shoot for free if I think the images created will help me book future work or its something I believe in. 

Consistency Is Key

Make sure the you can recreate the photos in your portfolio. Clients are going to hire you on your ability to create images for them in the style and look of the photos in your portfolio. Makes perfect sense, yet we tend to pack our portfolio with the very best images we have taken, even if those images were shot at workshops or when there was help with the lighting or styling. This is a huge mistake unless you are confident you can recreate the image yourself. The best way to avoid this, is to recreate the image in question and add that one to the portfolio instead. 

Every image in my portfolios (yes I have different portfolios for different job types) was taken by me without any help, and the look and style of the images can be recreated for my clients without worry. Most clients that hire me for my conference work want a full set of good images that can be used to show what the conference was like, and can be used if they ever put on that event again (or one like it). I have heard from clients that the sets of images I produced at past events are still being used to to this day. 

This type of image can be used by the client not just to show what was going on at the current event, but in the future. Think of it as a custom stock image for that client. (Photo © Alan Hess)
Knowing that I was going to have to photograph some award winners against the video wall, I made sure I took some practice shots before the ceremony took place. This allowed for consistent images of all the award winners. (Photo © Alan Hess)
Impromptu group portrait taken at the Winspear Opera House in Dallas TX, during the Freeman 90th Gala. I saw a spot where the light was just great and started to take multiple group shots of the attendees. You always have to keep your eyes open. (Photo © Alan Hess)

Have A Shot List

One of the reasons I have repeat clients is that they know what they are going to get from me. I make sure that we discuss the job beforehand and that I have no questions about their needs. When I started out, I assumed I knew exactly what the client wanted without actually talking to them. This led to some awkward moments when the client asked about a specific image and I didn’t have it. Now I make sure that I discuss the shot list in depth and if the client doesn’t have a shot list, I ask them to create one or we can create one together. 

Many times the hardest shot to take are the ones the client thinks are the easiest. This usually end up being a large group shot in poor lighting conditions without any way to get everyone in the shot. In the two following examples, I made it work in really terrible lighting conditions without any extra gear or preparation time. In the second shot, I had people stand on furniture and I stood on a chair myself. 

A quick group shot of the early morning running crew at a workshop. With this few people, I just staggered the three rows and stood on a narrow staircase to get a little height. (Photo © Alan Hess)
After a great Guitars in the Classroom meeting at the NAMM show, we decided to get a quick group shot in a very poorly lit ballroom. The key was getting some of the subjects to climb up on chairs to stagger the three rows of people/ (Photo © Alan Hess)

I was recently on a four day job covering a conference / workshop with about 150 people. They wanted me to take a group shot of all 150 attendees on the last day inside the workshop area. I had never seen the location before, so I had to rely on my problem solving skills and my past experience on taking large group photos. Turns out the ceiling was really low and there were pillars in the middle of the room. I worked out a way to use the staircase and the landing, along with a couch to gain as much height as possible and got the shot. I was only able to get this shot (I can’t post it here due to client restrictions) because I had worked out the best way to do it and I have had practice in that type of image. Still, it was the most stressful part of the job.

I really hope that some of these help you if and when you decide to turn a hobby or passion into a business. 

You can see more of Alan’s work at AlanHessPhotography.com, check out his portfolio, and keep up with him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

#TravelTuesday has come round again, and I’m here on ScottKelby.com. I’m Dave Williams and this week, I want to start by saying, “well done” to all the walk leaders of events around the globe as part of Scott Kelby’s Worldwide Photo Walk®! Great work, team! To everyone who attended a walk, I hope you had a fantastic time and made some great, new friends! Don’t forget to enter the contests as there are some top-notch prizes on offer across all the categories!

The thing I want to address in today’s post is about photography on social media. Specifically, how to deal with a problem I recently encountered. You know those interactive panoramas on Facebook? Well, there’s a piece of code that figures out whether your image is suitable by checking whether or not it’s a panorama when you upload. It checks the height vs width ratio of your image as one factor, but this isn’t the deciding factor as to whether your image is posted as an interactive panorama or a 360° photo. I learned this to my frustration recently with this post.

When I was in Iceland last week I saw the most spectacular show Mother Nature has to offer—the Northern Lights were filling the entire sky, all night long, owing to a geomagnetic storm. I set up my tripod on the road at the top of a mountain pass in north-east Iceland, far away from civilisation, and shot 16 exposures over-lapped, covering an entire circle around my position. I used Adobe Photoshop to stitch the exposures together as a panorama when I got home, using Merge to Panorama.

I shot the images using my Nikon Z6 (remember this for a second). When I went to upload the panorama to Facebook, it was looking just like this: –

I wanted the image to be an interactive panorama, but the code in Facebook wasn’t picking up that it was a panorama for some reason, and I couldn’t work out why. I tried uploading from my computer and from my phone, but it just wasn’t making a difference.

I was reading about how Facebook decides whether a photo is a panorama, and whether it’s solely the aspect ratio. As I said already, it turned out this wasn’t the only deciding factor. The camera used to take a panorama is also a factor, so I had to manipulate Facebook and trick it into making my panorama one of those cool, interactive ones, just like I wanted. Here’s how: –

Facebook recognises images of a certain aspect ratio taken on a phone as being an interactive panorama, or a 360° photo, however, we know my image was shot on the Nikon Z6, not on a phone. I had to make Facebook think it was a phone shot, but how? Well, it’s quite simple: If you use an EXIF editor, you can change all manner of details about an image. One such thing is the make and model of camera used to take the shot. By simply uploading the image at theXifer.net and changing the EXIF data to show that the image was taken on an Apple iPhone, rather than a Nikon Z6, this was sufficient for Facebook to accept the uploaded file as a 360° photo, and allowed my social media followers to get a sense of what I was seeing at 2 a.m. on the top of a mountain pass in Iceland. Simple!

I’ll be sharing a lot more detailed info on the Northern Lights really soon, so stay tuned if you want to know more.

Much love