Happy #TravelTuesday everybody! It’s me, Dave Williams, taking over for the day as I do every Tuesday here on Scott Kelby’s blog. Let’s be honest, Scott deserves a break with Photoshop World East coming up soon, and I’m pretty excited to get over there and hope to see some of you!
Let’s start by addressing a little myth that’s circulating social media right now, and that’s the myth that Adobe has scrapped their £/$/9.99 Photography Plan. The answer is: – they haven’t! Go take a look at Adobe’s subscription plans if you don’t believe me, and if you’re quick, you’ll catch a flash sale they have, too.
Okay, onto the main event! Today, I want to address something rather important in photography. Can a photographer be “good” because they have good gear? Well, my immediate answer to that question on absolute face value is “no.” I think it’s much more important to work on your eye first, and here’s why: –
The most important thing a photographer can do is understand why. Whatever gear you’re using, if you’re just starting out or an old hand to the game, the most important thing really is to understand why. Why does a certain lens perform in a certain way? Why does a certain camera’s sensor give a particular look to the colour? Why does composition lend itself to conveying a particular message? Why does f/16 generally work in bright sunlight? Why does the exposure triangle make sense? Why does light soften as the source and subject get closer?
If you want to be a better photographer, you must understand why. The belief that a new camera makes you better, for example, is not true unless you understand why. Understanding why you want that new camera is crucial because if you don’t, you don’t know if it’s the right one. There’s the old adage, if you’re new to photography, that a pro photographer can do better with any camera than a rookie can do with a top of the range prosumer camera, and it’s true. You know why? It’s because the pro knows why. Having spent the time to understand not only what happens when they press the shutter, adjust the light, set the aperture, etc., the pro knows why these things happen. We all want to improve ourselves and our photography—it’s our human nature—but often the problem is that we can be mistaken that better gear makes us better photographers. It’s certainly true that the bokeh on a shiny new f/1.4 lens can be phenomenal, but without a good understanding of light and composition that can all be wasted. Perhaps, if you’re looking to spend money to improve your photography, consider spending it on training or on gaining experience and you’re on the fast track to understanding the answer to that all-important question: why?
When I started out in photography I thought I needed shiny new toys, loads of different lenses, and tons of megapixels. I quickly learned that what I, in fact, needed was answers and no amount of money spent on gear would substitute training and experience. The most important thing a photographer can do is understand why. Know why a camera or a piece of kit does what it does, and you’ll know which one best suits your purpose.
I hope that means something and makes a difference to your progression, no matter what stage you’re at. There is one exception, however: – buy a Platypod. ;)
I’m off to Paris today, so I wish you all a great #TravelTuesday and you can follow along with me at @capturewithdave if you like. I’d love to meet you in the comments!
When I was in Minneapolis for my new seminar and I had the day off before my seminar, so I went shooting with my buddy Jay Grammond who lives up there. I’m always on the lookout for classic old interiors and he came up with some really great ones.
We got to four locations in all (including some real gems), and I put together an Adobe Spark page with the story, behind the scenes shots, camera settings, and my favorite shots from the day of shooting in the Twin Cities.
Just 10-days to the East Coast Photoshop World Conference
It’s not too late to come and join us in Orlando. If you can’t make Orlando this month, we’re doing a West Coast Photoshop World Conference in Las Vegas at the Mirage Resort & Casino on August 21-23, 2019 and it’s going to be epic. Tickets and info on both conferences at photoshopworld.com
The Secrets To Restoring Old Photos with Dave Cross
Learn how to bring new life to old photos! Join Dave Cross for an in-depth look at various tools, techniques, and strategies for restoring old photographs. Dave starts with a look at options and considerations for capturing digital versions of your photos, then lays out his fundamental strategies for his restoration workflow. Dave builds on that foundation with a series of lessons that tackle the common scenarios you will encounter when working with old photos. From dealing with faded color to removing various types of spots to putting torn photos back together again, you’ll leave this class well prepared to tackle your next restoration project.
In Case You Missed It
Ideally, every photo we take would be perfect: perfect exposure, perfect white balance, no backlighting, no harsh shadows. Of course the reality is that some images need to be fixed, and in this course Dave Crosswill look at ways to deal with common photographic problems. In each lesson Dave will fix a problem image, real-time, step-by-step.
I did it — I went mirrorless this week when I bought the new Canon EOS R Mirrorless body and I’m super-psyched. I mentioned this on “The Grid” this week and I had a flood of questions, so I thought today I answer some of the most common questions I’ve been getting about the switch. Here goes:
Q. Why did you wait so long?
A. Mostly because of all the rumors about Canon coming out with a pro-level mirrorless camera later this year, but my fear is the pro-level one when it comes out, will be more than I need (more megapixels, a lot more money, heavier, etc.). Plus, I have my Paris Workshop coming up next month, and while I could rent one from LensProToGo.com, I already know I really like the EOS R, and when I saw a great deal on it on B&H Photo, I finally pulled the plug and bought it.
Q. I thought you already had a EOS R?
A. That was just a loaner from Canon. They let me try one for 60-days when it first came out. I’ll say this. It worked — I wound up buying one. I also borrowed one from CPS (Canon Professional Services) for my Aircraft Carrier Trip last month. On that trip, I fell in love with it all over again.
Q. What does it do that your Canon 5D Mark IV doesn’t do?
A. It actually takes almost an identical image, since I believe it uses an updated version of the 5D Mark IV sensor, but it has so many things that my 5D Mark IV doesn’t, like a fully articulating pop-out rear LCD touch screen. I shoot a lot down low for my style of shooting (often on a Platypod), so being able to move that screen anywhere I want was a very big thing for me (that LCD screen is a higher resolution than my 5D Mark IV’s screen, too). There are a half-dozen other things that the EOS R does, that my 5D Mark IV doesn’t (stuff like the new Eye-AF feature, 4K screen grab, an assignable touchbar, fully silent shooting modes, built-in Bluetooth, way more autofocus points, double the RAW buffer, better auto-focus in low light), and those are all more icing on the cake for me. So, my images will look about the same, but it will be a better shooting experience for me and that’s really important to me.
Q. OK, give me one more thing.
A. That’s not a question (it’s more of a bossy order), but I do a lot of long exposures, and it has a really nice feature where you use its touch screen to take the shot (no cable release necessary) and then it times your long exposure for you on the big LCD screen [with big easy-to-read numerals). Well, there’s that and it’s just easier to do long exposures on a mirrorless camera. Of course, that applies to any mirrorless, but together it’s another plus. I know you only asked for one, but one thing I love is when you turn off the camera to change lenses; a little door comes down over the sensor opening, so junk doesn’t get on your sensor. I super dig that.
Q . So, does your 5D Mark IV now become your backup camera?
A. Yup, pretty much. I sold my old 5D Mark III (which was my backup camera) and my old 16-35mm f/2.8 lens on eBay and those pretty much paid for my upgrade. Now my 5D Mark IV will be my backup camera in most cases, but I could still see me using it for studio work. I’m not sure how I feel about an Electronic Viewfinder in the studio — I’ve done it, but not enough to make a final call.
Q. Does it tether to Lightroom Classic yet?
A. It does, but only for the past few days. Tuesday’s Lightroom Classic update included the ability to tether the EOS R into Lightroom. Whew! Just in the nick of time.
Q. I always thought Canon sent you all your cameras for free?
A. I hear that a lot (saw some comments that said that same thing on The Grid this past Wed). Unfortunately for me, they do not. I have to buy them, but again, B&H Photo had it for $300 off, so I bit (thanks B&H). Really glad I did.
Q. I see from the picture up top that you bought the Control Ring Mount Adapter. What does it do, and why did you get it?
A. The Adapter part lets me use my existing Canon lenses on this new mirrorless body. The Control Ring part lets me assign a camera function to a ring that goes around the adapter. For example, I like to assign Exposure Compensation to that ring. My hand is already right there, so it’s incredibly convenient. I fell in love with that feature when I had the loaner. It’s so brilliant, I’m surprised someone else didn’t think of it first.
Q. How do you feel about the Electronic Viewfinder?
A. I’m getting used to it. It’s definitely different and it has a few nice features to it, but if given a choice I still like my regular ol‘ viewfinder. I’ll probably get used it. Well, I’m pretty sure I will, because it’s now my main camera.
Q. How much lighter is it than your old body?
A. Not enough to matter. Around 1/2 pound. It is physically a smaller camera, but for the most part, the whole “Mirrorless is lighter” thing on any platform (Sony, Nikon, Canon, etc.) is pretty much negated by the fact that as soon as you put a nice f/2.8 lens on it, it’s about as heavy as your old DSLR rig. I didn’t go mirrorless for lower weight anyway (especially since it really doesn’t exist in any meaningful amount); I did it for all the other reasons (well, that and the fact that it’s pretty much the future).
Q. Will you be buying any new lenses for it?
A. I will. When they release a 70-200mm (which apparently they have already officially announced is coming this year), hopefully, I’ll be getting that one, because it actually is smaller and lighter. Also, the lenses I’ve tried that Canon has made for their Mirrorless line so far have been absolutely stellar. Crazy, ludicrously sharp. So, in short “I’m in.”
Q. Have you talked with other EOS R users about their experience with the camera?
A. I have, and I haven’t talked to a single one that doesn’t absolutely love it. Plus, when I did a post about this on Facebook, lots of folks who already have (or literally just got their EOS Rs) shared comments about their love for this new mirrorless.
Q. Hey, Scott, I saw a number of comments over on your Facebook page today asking “Is this a sports photography camera?” So, is this a sports photography camera?
A. I’m gonna say “not really.” Of course, it will take a picture of whatever you aim it at, and at 8 frames-per-second it’s faster than my old 5D Mark IV (at 7 fps) which I have used as my 2nd camera for some pro sporting events, but it’s really not made or, or aimed at that market.
Q. So you’re not giving up your 1Dx?
A. I am not. I bought this EOS R to replace my old 5D Mark III, not my 1Dx. By the way — a used 1Dx is a stellar deal for sports or wildlife photographers, as I think it’s one of the best cameras ever made (the only thin beating it, in my opinion, is the 1Dx Mark II). You can get a used one in good shape at BH for around $2,600. Amazing low noise and like 14 fps. You’ll see this camera at every major sporting event.
Q. But it only has one card slot. How will you possibly manage to shoot with a card with only one-card slot?
A. Somehow, I’ll manage. I have a number of bodies with two slots and rarely do I ever actually put two cards in them. Over the years I have had a memory card go bad. Thankfully not many, but it happens. Maybe once every three years or so. In every case, I’ve been able to retrieve all the images off the damaged cards, so it’s never been an issue. So, for me, the two card slots mania isn’t a big issue, but in the big picture — it should have two card slots. At least two SD-slots — heck, they’re so thin, how much could it have added to the size or weight? Anyway, I imagine when Canon releases their Pro Mirrorless, it will certainly have two card slots (or spontanious Twitter death will rain down on it from above).
Q. Anything you don’t like so far?
A. Its battery life. It’s not awful, but it ain’t great. Not nearly as good as my 5D Mark IV’s battery. I generally carry 4 extra batteries (in my awesome little Think Tank Battery Holder), so it’s not a big issue, but I do wish the batteries lasted longer. Also, although you can just tap the rear screen to set focus and move your focus point, I miss the little rocker switch dial thingy from my 5D Mark IV. The EOS could use a few extra buttons for stuff like that.
Q. When are you going to share some images from the EOS R?
Are you a Photographer, Retoucher or Graphic Artist?
This article was inspired by an interaction I had with a member of a Facebook photography group I belong to. A member posted an image of a bride standing in front of a jungle gym on a playground. He removed the jungle gym and was looking for praise in the form of asking for critiques. When he didn’t get the positive feedback he was hoping for, he proceeded to argue why he felt the image was his best work. I simply asked him if he is a photographer, retoucher, or graphic artist. His reply set the tone for my advice.
Proper Advice For The Proper Level
As an educator, my job is to inspire and help others, not tear them down. Before I give advice I ask what level the person wants me to critique their work — beginner, intermediate, advanced, or professional making a living — then I give proper advice for the proper level. So when I asked him, “Are you a photographer, retoucher, or graphic artist and at what level?” he proclaimed he is proficient in all three. Here is a sample of the interaction.
Guy on Facebook: Art, art, art. You know what I’m saying. That’s why you see Rihanna in the movies while she’s a singer.
Vanelli: You can be all three. BUT, for each discipline, you need to do it right. Unless there was no other way to get the shot of the bride, and I mean zero chance of moving her to a different location, then you move to plan B and use Photoshop to FIX and REPAIR. Think how long it took you to take the shot and then to edit it. Sometimes it’s quicker to fix it in post or for the sake of “ART,” you get the quick shot then manipulate it after. Again, decide which one you are IN THAT MOMENT. I hope this helps.
This statement didn’t help him and he continued to comment why everyone is wrong and he is right. I ended my participation in the conversation. I want to show his image, but out of respect I can’t. Instead, I’ll continue by using a bad image I took early on in my career when I thought I knew lighting.
Photographers Strive To Get It Right Before They Take The Shot
I was excited after I took this image. I had just learned how to use a light meter and didn’t have to guess at achieving proper exposure. I was even excited that I got the model to strike an interesting pose. I received praise from friends, local photographers, and even the model — who proclaimed I was the best photographer she had ever worked with. I was feeling pretty full of myself, until I asked the late great Jim DiVitale to review my portfolio at Photoshop World. Looking back, I realized how kind he was in choosing the right words to teach me about feathering the light, using grids, and how sometimes, to light a scene, you need to remove or redirect light. That was one of the best Photoshop Worlds I attended.
Retouching Should Enhance The Image, Not Repair It
Over the years I’ve developed my editing and retouching skills. I rose through the ranks while creating presets, looks, and creating educational content for a variety of photography-related companies. This skill set landed me a position with Skylum Software as a member of their Education Development Team. I still consider myself a photographer first. If I want to remove a blemish on a subject or ensure they have perfect skin, I hire a makeup artist. If there isn’t room in the budget for a makeup artist, THEN I fix it in post.
Recently I was asked to create a tutorial on how to develop a dramatic portrait using Luminar. This was a perfect opportunity to once again share the knowledge Jimmy D gave me many years ago. In this short 3-minute video, I show how to use Luminar to develop a dramatic portrait, and what photographers can do to achieve the same look as they take the photo.
A Graphic Artist Has The Ability To Transport Us To A Different Reality
Software such as Luminar was designed with photographers in mind and has some graphic tools — layers, masking, blending modes — to help their artistic efforts. Photoshop, on the other hand, was designed with graphic artists in mind and has tools photographers can use, making it a perfect choice to augment or change reality. I am by no means a Bert Monroy, Corey Barker, or Brooke Shaden. The graphic skills I’ve achieved came from the many years of attending Photoshop World and learning from some of the greats. When something inspires me, I do my best to be able to achieve it in camera. When that’s not possible, I enhance it in Luminar and then take it Photoshop to complete the vision.
For the image below, from my Assassin series, I didn’t have access to a rooftop with the New York skyline. So, instead, I found a rooftop image on Adobe Stock and photographed my assassin on a dark background to match the scene.
For this next image, “Shipwreck,” I used my photography skills to achieve a beautiful blue sky by cross filtering. I set the white balance in the camera to Tungsten to make everything blue, then applied a CTO (color temperature orange) gel to color correct the light illuminating the model. Once again, I searched Adobe Stock for images of stars and the moon.
For the image below, from my Aviator series, I took images of vintage planes at an air show, then photographed the aviator on a white background to make it easier to extract her and to match the scene.
So ask yourself, are you a Photographer, Retoucher, or Graphic Artist? With discipline, you can achieve all three! But decide which one you are IN THAT MOMENT and use that skill to the best of your ability.
Photoshop World is coming up soon, and with two events this year it’s set to be amazing! I’ve said of Photoshop World before: –
You should never underestimate the power of networking provided by Photoshop World, as well as the learning, inspiration, motivation, and everything else on offer! You never know who you might be talking to and everyone there is your friend.
Dave, last year
It’s because of the people at KelbyOne and Photoshop World that I have gotten where I am today. I started my journey as a travel photographer a few years ago and developed my skills as a writer and instructor as well, partly due to what I’ve learned and experienced at Photoshop world. I’m proud to be a KelbyOne instructor, a writer for Photoshop User magazine, the editor of Layers Magazine, and the dude who writes for you every Tuesday for #TravelTuesday on ScottKelby.com.
Photoshop World is the best place in the industry to make and maintain connections, bar none. It’s funny because when you learn to write for editorial there are a whole bunch of rules, one of which is that when you want to emphasise something you put it in italics—you don’t make it bold and underline it, but I just can’t make this point strongly enough!
Photoshop World is much, much more than a conference! Aside from the fact that you can attend a ton of classes on a range of tracks led by the cream of the crop from the creative industry. Here’s the real deal, let’s go!
First off, you know all those names you see on the KelbyOne Facebook Page? The members’ images shared on the KelbyOne Instagram feed? The names you hear mentioned when the comments are read out during The Grid? The names you see commenting on your Instagram posts because you’re both members of the KelbyOne community? You get to put faces to those names!
So, what else?! I mean, surely life-long friendships alone are a pretty good reason to look forward to the other side of Photoshop World, but what else?
The Partner Pavilion’s pretty sweet. You know that there’s a huge gathering of awesome creatives showing their wares there too, right? So, the likes of B&H Photo and Platypod Tripods are joined by so many other awesome companies that we all love right in one place, waiting to meet you too! That’s a pretty “mainstream” thing about Photoshop World though, and that’s not the point of this post. It’s meant to be the other things!
And then there are all the extra-curricular activities! There is a whole load of things going on in the evenings. When you hear about a party being announced or “tickets being released tomorrow morning” or anything like that, jump on it!
So, there’s all that, there’s the t-shirt toss, there’s the shipment of the biggest pile of Krispy Kreme donuts you’ve ever seen at Midnight Madness, and I feel like I’m laying down a sales pitch now, but there’s good reason for that—Photoshop World is the creative event of all creative events!
Live events, in general, provide unique learning and career building opportunities that aren’t matched anywhere else. Taking a break from your day job, particularly when in our creative and ever-evolving industry, to sharpen your skills and pick up new tips and techniques will always make us more effective and efficient. Not only is it an opportunity to meet your business idols, making connections can lead to finding your next mentor and your chances of learning are greatly improved among an actively engaged and like-minded crowd. Hands-on demos and workshops afford an opportunity to ask the questions you want to ask. Breaking out of your comfort zone, albeit in comfortable surrounds, engages different parts of our minds and that’s exactly what we sometimes need to break out of old ways of thinking and step into new ones. There are just so many reasons to attend Photoshop World, which I have personally experienced and benefited from, that I could make this list last forever, but ultimately, if you want to improve yourself, invest in yourself at Photoshop World!