Monthly Archives July 2018

Yes, it’s me again! Dave Williams, the #TravelTuesday blogger here at Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider, and freshly appointed editor at I’ve kicked off a new series of #MondayMotivation posts over there and I’d love for you to go check out the first one by Gilmar Smith!

I’m fresh back from a mission to Turkey where I predominantly shot the hot air balloons over Göreme in Kapadokya. It’s home to the densest hot air balloon airspace in the world, with the dawn skies filled with them.

The town is unique in that the buildings are carved and tunnelled into the rocky landscape. I’ll share more about it over on my blog,, another day, but today, right here, is all about this shot from the trip: –



Here’s the caveat, and it’s very important you aren’t disappointed by this: So, you know how this blog is entitled, “Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider,” right? The clue’s in the name.



This is a composite of two images: one of the cave interior and one of the balloons in the sky. Now, I’ll say at this point, anticipating any comments about how I shouldn’t be faking this, that actually it is a view that is attainable at this location. I just wasn’t in the caves at the right time of day to see it! I was limited by time and didn’t know my way around to find the right spots in the dark before dawn. Anyway, here’s the tip: –

We’ll use a different pair of images, which you can download the PSD file here to try it yourself.

When compositing images, it’s obviously very important to make the result look convincing! As well as good cut-outs and realistic placement of elements, matching the tone is very important. What I’m going to show you is a very quick, very easy, and very good way to match those tones.

First off, get everything cut out and in position.



The layers are set out in no fancy way for this technique; they’re simply stacked in order. On top, create a new layer and fill it with 50% gray.



Now, change that new layer’s blend mode to Luminosity. The colours will change, revealing the differences going on in your image. To see them more clearly, add a Saturation layer to this and boost the saturation right up. What we’ve done here is create a representation of the colour in the image.



From here, add a Selective Colour adjustment mask. When faced with the Properties panel, select the Neutrals from the Colours option, which actually contains most of the colour information. Adjust the sliders to balance out your image and match the colours – it’s hard to explain it because it varies wildly on an image-by-image basis, however when you do it and see it yourself it’ll make sense, I promise!



The Layers panel should look something like this one below. And, to finish off the image, we just need to remove the Hue/Saturation layer and the gray layer.



This leaves us with an image which has balanced tones, leaving it looking realistic.



It’s a simple and fast way to balance tones in a composite, and I’d love to see how it works for you!

Now, this experience is called a “once in a lifetime” thing, and that played on my mind when I was out in Turkey. I wrote a little piece about that, which I’d love for you to read over on my blog.

So, for now,

Much love


Before we get to today’s tip: just a heads up: Today the last day to enter for your chance to win the same Profoto B1x Strobe I used in that behind-the-scenes fashion shoot video I shared here on Friday. It’s not a photo competition, it’s a straight-up giveaway, so all you have to do it enter for your chance to win. Click on the graphic below, or go to this link to enter right now. Hey, ya never know — you could be the person to win that awesome Profoto B1x.

OK, on to today’s tutorial
I wound using Photoshop’s Content-Aware SCALE last Friday when I was creating the YouTube Thumbnail for my Behind The Scenes shoot, and the image didn’t fit like I wanted it to. After it quickly fixed my problem, I was once again reminded of what an extraordinary feature it is, and how little-used, or even known about, it is. So, today, I’m showing you how to use it, including a few tips that make it even better. Check out the video below:

Hope you found that helpful!

Hey, Lightroom Users in the Washington DC area:
I’m coming with there with my full-day Lightroom seminar on Friday, August 17th. Come on out.

Have a great Monday everybody!


Last Friday I got a chance to go on location and try out my new Profoto B1x in a fashion shoot on location at the Rialto Theatre in Tampa. Kalebra was the Creative Director for the shoot and she came up with a really fun, intriguing story for us to create (we have such a blast on these shoots). Anyway, our video crew was there and put together this short behind-the-scenes video (below) so you can see what it was like.

After the video, please check out my Adobe Spark with the full story, more BTS images, and finals (link below the video).

The shoot as told on Adobe Spark
If you’ve got a sec, I hope you’ll check out the finals and story over on Adobe Spark Page.

Here’s the link. 

I always do a course on whatever gear I’m using (software or hardware), and in a little, over two weeks I’ll be doing a class on how I use the Profoto B1x’s for location shoots. We’ll start in the studio by going over all the gear, and then we’ll out in the field for the shoot. Can’t wait to share it with you as soon as it’s ready for release.

Here’s wishing you all an awesome, restful, fun, battery-recharging, creative weekend. :)



P.S. Check back here Monday for some really fun news! :)

Travel Photography: Capturing The Essence Of A City with Scott Kelby
Join Scott Kelby as he shows you how to capture the essence of the locations you visit when you travel. Though this is set in Venice, this is not a class on photographing Venice as the tools and techniques you’ll learn can be applied to any city that you visit. Scott shares his big picture perspective on how his travel photography has evolved, the gear and camera settings he uses, tips for scouting locations before you go and after you arrive, tips for shooting exteriors and interiors of buildings, how to photograph people, and so much more. The ultimate goal is being able to tell a story with your photographs that captures the timelessness of the city, and makes your audience go “wow, I want to go there!”

In Case You Missed It
Join professional photographer Scott Kelby on his trip to Paris. He walks through realistic travel scenarios including night time photography, avoiding tourists, and weather, and offers tips and techniques on how to best handle them to get the iconic photos you want. Make sure to check out Part II of this series “Travel Photography – Post Processing” to learn how to edit all of your travel photos. This class is perfect for a beginner photographer looking for tips for shooting on vacation.

Hi guys! It’s my first time writing for this blog and it feels great to get to share some stuff with you. I’m currently on tour in Europe with a Colombian band called Bomba Estéreo, and we’re driving into Bilbao, Spain. It’s almost sunset, everyone is busy doing something so it’s finally the perfect time for me to sit down and do this. Today, I’m going to talk about a technique I’ve been using to do portraits that’s gotten a lot of attention from my peers. It’s a very old trick that’s been around forever but people still seem very curious about the results.

The “secret?” Vaseline!

About a year ago I was a little bored with the look of my images. I had seen some band promo photos from the 70’s using the Vaseline trick at a gallery show and since then I had been wanting to try it out. I do a lot of portraits of artists and musicians so I have a lot of freedom to be creative and experimental.

The first thing I did was buy a pack of UV filters that I could rub vaseline on and use specifically for this purpose. I tried it around photographing friends first, and a couple weeks after I found myself in Vegas shooting with Arcade Fire. I knew it was time to try it out for real! It was my first time covering a concert for what happens to be my favorite band so I really wanted to do something great. I shot the first part of the concert without it to be safe and then I pulled out my “vaseline filter” and shot away. As soon as I took the first shots I knew it would totally work. I realized this technique works really well when the subject is back lit. It gives the image a super dreamy effect and the lights take the shape of the trace of vaseline.

The more Vaseline you rub on the filter, the bigger the effect of course. I usually have to take some of it off because to create the effect all you need is a little bit. For example, for these images of sister duo Farrow, I wanted to do something a bit more subtle. This first image of them definitely has a touch of it but it looks crisp and clean.

For the second image I went little bigger and played around with bokeh. The girls had referenced some whimsical images before the shoot so I thought they would love something like this, where they seem to be bathing in light type of thing. I also find that the bigger the depth of field, the more noticeable the effect.

Another thing I noticed while playing around, was that metallic things really shine. I shot these images of artist Asian Doll in a dingy green room at a club in New York and I loved how they turned out. Her belt shining does it for me. It was pretty dark in the room, so the images are a little grainy, but I think it totally works. The glitter looks nice too!


How’s that for a title? Absolute hooker, right? Here I am again, Dave Williams, on Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider for your weekly dose of #TravelTuesday wisdom—let’s get this show on the road!

First up, a little introduction for anyone who hasn’t landed on this site before: I’m Dave, and I’m a travel photographer. My job is to make you want to go somewhere, which means I have to use a range of skills and techniques on location and in post, and it’s one of those post-processing skills I want to share with you here today.

The success of your image can be pretty much determined from the moment you open the file. It all boils down to the first things you do, really. When you open up your RAW file in Adobe Lightroom or Adobe Camera Raw and make those first few adjustments, you’re either setting yourself up for awesome success or for an epic fail. Here’s why:

There’s a common saying in everyday life: “less is more.”

This little saying is used to express the fact that, in artistic and aesthetic matters, a minimalistic approach is more effective. There is value in simplicity, and often more can be accomplished with less. Synonymously, the saying “don’t overdo it” is thrown about a lot, but the thing with us photographers is that there’s never usually an end.

When we’re out shooting, there’s always that one last shot, and then another last shot, and then just one more. Before we know it, it’s been an hour since that last shot and we’re still going. When it comes to the post-process, it’s not dissimilar; we all too often will retouch and retouch, and retouch some more. It’s hard to draw that line in creativity. It’s hard to say when it’s done.

So, on that note, now aware that my little spiel is drifting away and making this look like clickbait, here’s the BEST advice that I promised you: Go back to that first point, back to when you open up that RAW file. That’s what I said above, and that’s what I’ll explain right now.

We all have our own methodology when it comes to those sliders, ranging from those who just hit Auto through to the minuscule adjustments made using a Loupedeck, and everything in between. But, once we make some adjustments, it’s sometimes hard to know when to stop. Whilst stumbling over my thoughts, trying to come up with a simile, this sprang to mind:

You know how if you lose weight you don’t really notice because to you it’s been gradual, but then someone you haven’t seen for a while says, “Hey, you’ve lost weight!”? Yeah, that. You’ve seen the gradual changes to the image, not just the before and after. The changes you’re making when you push those sliders around look one way to you as you’re doing it, but potentially quite another relative to the initial image.

That’s where the best piece of advice falls in. Right there, in between the initial image and the “where I am right now” version, there is probably something better. Nine times out of ten it’s better, in fact. There’s a place where the adjustments are more realistic, more minimalistic, more “less is more,” and thereby more pleasing. That place is about half way, so here’s what you do:

Whatever slider adjustments you’ve made, make them half. If you’ve pushed clarity to +20, move it to +10, and then take a look at the difference it makes. Take a look at whether the image you now have achieves what you want it to in a more realistic way, rather than running the risk of being over-processed by our creative desire to please, which results in our photos never quite being done.

Have a go, and let me know what you think. You can find me on Twitter, Instagram, and on Facebook.

Much love