Good day! It’s #TravelTuesday and I’m here, fresh from a red-eye flight from Calgary to London, and because it’s Tuesday it’s not Scott but Dave Williams, coming at you loud with some kind of photographic wisdom!

Today I want to touch on reverse engineering a photo, and this is something you can learn a lot more about from Glyn Dewis’ book ‘Photograph Like a Thief’ if you want to dig deeper. Let’s do it!

So, in Banff National Park there’s an iconic photo and I wanted it. I’ve preached time and again about being original, but I just wanted this shot bad! There’s a train line running through the park as part of the Canadian Pacific network, and one curve in particular facing up to the mountains home to Lake Louise and Moraine Lake. It’s Morant’s Curve, named after the Canadian Pacific photographer who took the first photo of the new rail line here.

As you can see here, it’s so popular because of the original shot that there’s a viewing area and railings.

when it comes to reverse engineering a photo it’s a lot about light. When it comes to photos of people we can usually work out the lighting quite easily by looking at the edges of the person and the reflection in their eyes to see how they were lit, but when it comes to landscapes it’s more about working out the location and the timings, which we can do quite easily with maps and PhotoPills.

I hat we’re looking for with the light is the time of day, dictating the direction, and other clues that will help us with the scene like the temperature and tone, and the softness.

We also need to reverse engineer the shutter speed and focal length used so we can apply it to our image, or add a creative flair to it if we want to put our own spin on it.

The whole process of reverse engineering a photo is a combination of science and art, and we can use it to apply the exact look from the original photo, or put it ‘into our own words’ if we want. That’s what I wanted to do, and here’s my shot: –

What I’ve done here is pick a spot slightly back from the gap, giving the train a piece of the image but not the entire focus. The front end creeps through the gap in the trees looking somewhat like a face, and then the rest of the train twists and turns as a leading line towards those epic mountains behind. The whole scene is of course iconic, but it has my little spin on it, too.

Reverse engineering a shot like this is a good skill to apply, and a great way to learn. Have a go at it, I promise you’ll enjoy it, and it will help you in critiquing yourself as well as deconstructing and analysing a photo.

Much love

Dave

I remembered this tip when I was recording a new class on all the updates, changes, new features and enhancements Adobe has added to Photoshop in the past year (and there are way more than you’d probably think). However, this one is not new — it’s “old school” but I’ll bet ya don’t know this one (it’s that little known). So, first the tip, then more on the course.

Here’s a little teaser about my new Photoshop 2020 course, which will be released later this week.

I’m up in Seattle today for my seminar tomorrow —  the “Ultimate Photography Crash Course.” It’s not too late to join me tomorrow – Here’s the link. 

Have a great Tuesday, everybody!

-Scott

I’m very excited to announce that submissions open today for the prestigious Malta International Photo Awards (MIPA), and I am so honored to be a part of the international judging panel and to be among such an esteemed group of judges.

Here’s a short video (below) about the awards, and the international judging panel.

MIPA Autumn 2019 Intro Video

The MIPA Autumn 2019 Edition is getting closer. Our founder Anja Goder goes through all the recent changes in MIPA as we prepare for this exciting next edition.Submissions will open soon. Stay tuned to this page for more information and details.

Posted by Malta International Photo Award on Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Here’s a link to their official site for more details and to submit your image(s). I hope you’ll consider entering — it’s like I always say, ya never know, right? :)

Good luck everybody, and have a great weekend!

-Scott

P.S. Don’t miss my post today over at LightroomKillerTips called “Why is Lightroom so hard for you?”

The Secrets to Properly Convert Your Images to Black & White with Viktor Fejes

There are a lot of ways to convert a color photo to B&W, but have you ever considered what goes into doing it with the highest level of control by harnessing some of Photoshop’s most powerful tools? If not, then join Viktor Fejes for a deep dive into how to properly convert your photos to B&W. No matter what method you use to convert to B&W you are always concerned with removing color, controlling contrast and tonality, and enhancing detail.

In this class Viktor steps you through his B&W workflow and demonstrates techniques for using adjustment layers, creating a LUT for re-use, dodging and burning, manipulating tonal values locally, bringing out detail, adding grain, and so much more to achieve that B&W mood you had in your minds eye from the start. You’ll come away with a new set of techniques and a greater understanding for the fundamentals of B&W conversions.

In Case You Missed It – Advanced Photoshop: The Psychology and Science Behind Color Grading

Join Viktor Fejes for an advanced look at essential elements of color theory. From understanding color models and the science of RGB, to how to apply this knowledge when performing practical tasks such as color correcting and color grading. Viktor starts with the fundamentals and works up to advanced techniques used in cinema. If you want to manipulate color at will, understand the reasons why, and make your images look fantastic while doing it, then this class is for you.

How To Grow In Your Work

Did you ever feel creative block? Or found yourself feeling less excited by what you do?

Many times such feelings appear from creative stagnation, when you allow your creative process to settle into routine.

Personal and professional growth is an essential component for any photographer, as well as continuous source of inspiration. Such growth can and should be stimulated, by challenging yourself, broadening your horizons and allowing some downtime for free experiments without any pressure or expectations. Not just as means of acquiring better clients, but as a means to feel more confident and satisfied with our own work. But all the pressures from content-consumption and the race to get more visibility and business, makes us miss out on this crucial part of our self-expression.

Many creatives and photographers (read: almost all) go into the field for the love of photography and creation. Creating for the sake of creation, for the joy of the process and opportunity to self-express, is a human trait.
However, when we make it our business, we inadvertently put speed limitations onto our creative engine.

Below I have given few steps within two major factors that contribute to growth and how you can apply them within your craft.

Bring Back The Fun

Authors like Daniel Pink have proven that introducing expected external reward or condition on our behaviour has a negative effect on motivation and dampens our creative drive.

When your work becomes contingent on external factors, including appreciation, your mind turns potential opportunity for fun into work, and creativity faces pressure. It is not just results that gets affected, but the joy from the process itself. It makes us feel the creative process is no longer “our own.” It is “for something else.”

Simply put, when you expect to be paid or evaluated, you enjoy the process less. How many times have you enjoyed doing chores if your parents asked you to? But how many times you found yourself cleaning up your place on a whim, as a way to unwind and enjoy it simply because it felt rewarding to take care of something that is your own.

In the same way, working as a photographer may affect how much we love photography.

To reduce this negative side effect, you need to allow yourself time and instances of “pure creation,” time just for you that brings back the fun, the game.

1) Have at least 2 days a month where the shoot you do is just for you.

Is there a lighting you wanted to try?

New camera technique? 

It may be a personal project that you had in mind.

Those two days are “you time” to execute all the things you were planning or thinking of trying. 

Make these days only about learning and practicing that new thing or executing your personal idea.

2) Have at least one freestyle day.

What is a freestyle day? It’s when you come on a shoot with no plan, no set rules or expectations of results.

Important criteria here is that you have to let go of all expectations, and I mean- ALL:

  • Do not plan on publishing your work or for anyone to see it.
  • If you work with models, make sure to take the model you are most comfortable with and who will be okay if you will not release the images. It does not mean that, if in the end of it, you will end up liking them, you can’t release them. But making sure while you shoot, you are not having the pressure of having to show it to anyone.
  • Just take your camera and submerge yourself into the process. Take photos as you feel like, even if some of them will end up not looking good.

At the end of such shoot you are guaranteed to remember all the reasons you picked up a camera in the first place and feel the pure joy of the process again.

3) One for yourself.

Make sure on every shoot you take at least one image that is shot a way you would have never shot. Something very different, weird. This is how you develop flexibility of mind and can discover unexpectedly good new ways of shooting.

You can try using items around you as props, from the light bulb cover to mobile phone surface, to almost anything you can find, but something that you did not expect to use. Our brains thrive on challenge.

At the same time, we are so used to “how it is usually done” that we rarely allow ourselves to approach things differently. The true uniqueness and creativity can come from breaking the norms of the “expected” and brings back the child-like curiosity towards putting objects to unintended use.

Do Not Stop Learning

1) Have a moodboard of techniques and light that you like.

Get into the studio and try to replicate that light. Don’t copy the frame and the shot, but just replicate the light. Without Googling the set up. It will bring enormous amounts of learning, and you will grow to understand lighting better and be comfortable with it.

When we focus on only the result and forget the process, we end up only scratching the surface of experience. We can never master it.

Creative growth requires understanding of how the back-end of techniques works. Once you understand how lighting flows and what difference changing it one way or the other makes, you will find yourself confident in trying to experiment with it. You will be able to come up with your own unique combinations and techniques.

2) Once a day, learn at least one new thing… no matter how small.

Watching a tutorial, reading few pages of a new book, deconstructing the light set-ups…there is a vast world of new thing to learn out there. In sight of a big goal, we forget that any big achievement consists of small daily victories we have, small steps towards that creative goal.

Similarly, these small daily learnings, lingering at the back of your mind, once acquired, can help you improve overall quality of your work, serve as an inspiration, broaden your creative horizons and add to the feeling of self-confidence.

3) Self-rule

Give yourself small challenges once in a while. Slay your dragon and feel like a hero.

It boosts your confidence, and that confidence, in turn, will make you more open to experiments and help you feel like you can do anything, no matter how hard.

For example, I once challenged myself to read at least 100 pages of a book every day for a week. By the end of that week I did not just feel more educated, I also felt excited to try new techniques as the confidence of that small victory gave me extra energy.

Each of these steps is closely connected with one another. They provide mutual support. And all together jump-start your creative engine making it a speedy joyride.

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

Happy #TravelTuesday one and all! Yes, that’s right, it’s so much of thing that it’s entirely appropriate to wish people a good day on #TravelTuesday! And with that I, Dave Williams, am here on ScottKelby.com, coming at you with wisdom and news and whatever musings have crossed my mind this week!

Firstly, just to recap on what I’ve been up to: I arrived back from the Faroe Islands on Friday and I loved it! If you ever have the opportunity to explore this off-the-beaten-track cluster of 18 awesome islands, do it! As for the next mission, well I’m currently in the air over the Atlantic bound for Calgary where I’ll be picking up a rental and heading to the Rockies—keep up on that over on my Instagram and Facebook if you so wish, and feel free to drop me a line with any suggestions while I’m there!

So, this week I want to show you some photos from Team Epic and tell you why they rock! The idea behind this post is to offer you a range of motivation, and show you some critique (albeit unwarranted; the team will only find out when they read this post that I actually did it!) Let’s do it, starting with Peter Treadway!

https://www.instagram.com/p/B4O6eyGgol6/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

This photo rocks because not only does it demonstrate the lengths Peter went to in order to get the shot, it also demonstrates his understanding of colour and tone. He has balanced the light beautifully to give a good dynamic range across the scene, using his skill with controlling what our eyes are drawn to with a combination of light and depth. The image is nicely framed, with the boat entirely in the frame and considerately close enough to the edges to not waste space, but not so close that it looks off. Finally, keeping it brief, the actual moment itself with the clear love in the expression on this couple’s faces just tips it over the edge for a win. That’s why this photo rocks. Next up, Mimo Meidany.

Okay, this image clearly rocks, but here’s the reason why: – The framing is so well-considered, using the final distance of the lens in tandem with the actual distance from the doorway and the Louvre pyramid to get each positioned and sized just right. That also reflects in the framing here where Mimo has used a bold framing, which despite being quite large contains elements that break it up like the highlighted gates and the tire markings on the ground. Further to this, as well as Mimo’s signature hyper-long exposed clouds with their awesome streaks, this image technically shows a serious contrast between true black and white but has been adjusted in post to offer a range in between those two values, which somehow doesn’t appear to show a great deal of contrast. This image rocks! And next up, Mr. Fernando Santos!

Check this beauty out! Somewhere in deepest, darkest Austria lies a twisty-turns Alpine road with a quaint church nestled in the foothills, featuring towering peaks in the background. Utilising this scene to its full advantage, Chicky Nando has created a scene of warmth, depth, and of beautiful sectioned leading lines all pointing to one spot. Whether it’s the road, the grass, the hill, the tree line, or the Alpine peaks, each of the lines crossing through the three dimensions of this image points straight back to one spot: – the church! Very, very nicely done, and that’s why this photo rocks! And, I guess that leads us to Mr. Roberto Pisconti.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B3J0DfSoLTp/

With Pisco, let’s mix it up with one of his epic portrait shots. Take a look here, firstly, at how technically perfect this image is with those eyes tack sharp and a great creative use of the light where the attention is drawn to the features of the face, falling off where it meets the shoulders and neck just enough that they remain an unobtrusive element of the image, but not so much so that they pull our attention. The top of the head is cropped just right where it’s enough that it’s deliberate, but not so much that it negatively impacts the look. In post, the toning has been expertly done, with quite a complicated set of colours, combined with a skin tone to add a massive punch of pizazz to the shot! Mr. Pisco, this photo rocks! And, on to Mr. Kuna.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B1GtsVsh6fw

A portrait of an entirely different kind, Mr. Rocket Man has composited a series of images here, blending them seamlessly to create a picture-perfect frame of a young astronaut with one of Mr. Musk’s finest rockets soaring into orbit overhead. When compositing images it’s important to create something that could pass as real in terms of blending the images, and this means matching the tones and where necessary, lining up the pixels. Erik has nailed it with this amazing image; it rocks! And now, Cathy Baitson.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BzZQMBQiZ6l/

Take a look at how captivating this image is. The scene we see is a metal worker in a forge, with a roaring fire off in the background and the sense of someone who has stopped for just a moment amidst a busy day at work. The feeling he gives of connecting with the viewer is no doubt a result of the expert direction of Cathy, and the consideration she’s given to the composition here is what helps to draw us in, but balances nicely that all that’s going on is a compliment to the scene rather than a distraction. Nice one Cathy; this rocks! Next up, the boss!

Founding member of Team Epic, Scott Kelby, has smashed it in this rocking Parisien scene. There’s depth, composition, framing, atmosphere, and most importantly, there’s this: – The Eiffel Tower, an absolute icon worldwide, has not been used as the subject of the image, but as a feature within it. This helps us to depict such iconic places in a new light and means we are likely to draw in an audience to an unfamiliar view of a familiar object.

And with that, I invite you to follow Team Epic on Instagram via their images above and to consider this unwarranted critique when it comes to creating your own images. Thanks for reading, and as always, you’re welcome to reach out to me if anything in this article needs a little more explanation!

Much love

Dave

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