#TravelTuesday with Dave has come round again, and this week I want to jump into learning photography. I’ve been asked time and again about when I got into photography and where I learned, most recently on the Drobo blog.
I’ve told the story of my first camera many times over: – my parents got me a Nikon F40 for my birthday when I was a teenager. That’s the very short version of the story! If I were starting now, I reckon it’d be a lot quicker to make progress versus back then when I was shooting on film rather than with a screen on the back of the camera. In fact, I recently took hold of a film SLR and it was very strange that there wasn’t a screen back there!
The way I learned to shoot initially was simply by picking up the camera and shooting anything and everything—flowers, my pet dog, landscapes, people, literally anything that happened to get in my way! It was so frustrating, though, because I wasn’t immediately seeing results. Oftentimes, I couldn’t quite remember what I had done when I’d gotten things right and wrong. It was all about making mistakes, then subsequently remembering what the mistakes were!
When I moved to South Africa I had another camera, as well as my Nikon F40—I had a little digital point-and-shoot. I was learning from both together, taking the “pure photography” skills from what I was doing with the SLR and taking note of composition and colour and various other things from the digital camera, and kind of mangling and intertwining the two to form a bigger picture in my head of what was happening in photography.
It was a few years after my return to the UK that I started to take it much more seriously, investing in a digital SLR and really taking note of what an aperture really was, how shutter speed affects things, and getting my head around ISO. I discovered that I really did love photography as much as I’d thought and I stepped it up a gear again, scouring the internet for all the information that was available and investing in all manner of books for my shelf.
The truth is, moving on from then to now, that I’m still learning and I’m positive that if you ask Scott whether he’s still learning, he’ll give you that same positive answer. And, Scott is someone who I’ve learned so much from with KelbyOne and his amazing books and from shooting together.
The community of photographers incorporates all of us at every skill level, and it’s a great community. It’s one which we should treasure and respect because of its value to us all because, ultimately, wherever and however you learn about photography, you’re learning from a photographer.
Speaking of learning, Photoshop World West is right around the corner, and if you’re there I’d love to meet you!
Hi, everybody! I’m back from my trip to Belfast/The Faroe Islands/Iceland. Such a fantastic time, but I’m glad to be back home, and back to work. Lots of pics and stories to share soon, but holy cow I cannot believe it’s only NINE days until Photoshop World Las Vegas.
Here’s some important stuff if you’re going (or thinking of going – it’s not too late. Airfare’s are still cheap and even though our room block is 100% sold out, you can can still get some great rates at The Mirage, our home for the conference. Details, tickets and travel info at photoshop world.com)
If you’re coming early…
There are still a few spots left in some of the pre-conference workshops (these are optional workshops held the day before the conference. Some go on location or have live shoots for you to do, some are more classroom-based, some are both). These are really popular because they give you a chance to deep dive into a particular topic you’re interested in a smaller, more intimate setting. Here are three, I know you will love (but they are all first-rate workshops from top to bottom):
The Art of Photographic Storytelling, with Karen Hutton
Karen is a creative wizard and in this workshop, you’re going to learn a process of how to be creative on the spot. It’s about learning to be an artist, instead of a traffic cam. How to think like an artist. Create like an artist. Explore new ideas and unlock your creative side. It’s part classroom, part shooting, lots of self-discovery and learning. Karen is a joy. You will learn so much about photography that doesn’t have to do with settings or lenses. Details here.
Mastering the Model Shoot, with Frank Doorhof
People come to The Netherlands from all over the world to learn lighting, posing, and how to work with models from Frank. He’s the author of the bestselling book “Mastering the Model Shoot” and he’s one of the best lighting guys out there. I’ve learned a ton from Frank’s workshops, and you will too. This is a class where you’ll be working and shooting the models, too, so bring your camera for sure. Details here.
Master The Dramatic Portrait With Joel Grimes
Joel is one of the best lighting instructors in the world, and earlier this year I saw a glimpse of what Joel will be teaching in this class, and I was blown away. You’re going to learn portrait lighting and posing techniques that are change everything for you. Joel is one of the most fun, engaging, and passionate teachers and his ability to communicate his techniques and really make it stick are what make him so special. What an amazing opportunity for some lucky photographers. Details here.
That’s just three workshops, but there are still just a few spots left in some of the others (some workshops are already sold out, so lock down your spot right now). Details here.
Grab One Of The Last Few Party Tickets Now!
Cause I’m getting the band back together, and not only are we playing live at the attendee party the first night, but we’re also inviting some of our instructors up for an “Instructor Jam Session” (Wait ’till you hear Frank Doorhof shred on guitar!). It’s going to be a fun night of music, drinks, and dancing, but there are a limited number of tickets left, so grab yours right now while you still can. Tickets here.
I’ve got a lot to work to do before now and conference – lots to get ready for, but this is such a fun time. Can’t wait to see everybody in Vegas! Hope I see you there! Whoo hoo!
P.S.The week after Photoshop World I’m up in Boston and Philly with my new “Ultimate Photography Crash Course” full-day seminar. Come on out and spend the day with me. It’s 100% money-back guaranteed if it’s not the best photography seminar you’ve ever been to, at any price, anywhere, period! Here’s the link with more details and tickets.
If you led a photo walk as part of my 10th annual Worldwide Photo Walk™ last year, check your email — we’ve sent out invitations for you to have the first opportunity to lead a Photo Walk in your city again this year for our 2019 walk.
If you’ve changed your email address in the last year, or if for any reason you didn’t already get an invite from us, just leave me a comment here and we’ll reach out to you directly to get you set-up with a new walk this year (you can choose a different location, different route, etc.).
The official walk date and our open call to the public to lead walks are coming soon, so lock down your local walk now — it’s going to be an awesome event (and we so appreciate you leading a walk last year, and considering leading one again this year. Hope you do! :)
Update on my travels We left the Faroe Islands a couple of days ago, and on Wednesday we spent the day shooting in Vestmannaeyjar, Iceland, which is a very small island just off the coast from Vik, Iceland. You can drive from one tip of the island to the other in about 15 minutes. Small as it is, it’s awesome in so many ways. Beautiful scenery, great views, fascinating rock formations, no waterfalls (at least that I could find), and photographers haven’t found this place yet so no elbowing people out of the way just to get a shot — you’ve pretty much got the place to yourself.
I’ll be sharing shots from there, also from Reykjavik and the surrounding area where we went shooting yesterday (we only had one day there, so I don’t have a ton of new shots from there, but loads from the Faroes to share when I get back). Today, by the time you read this I’ll already be heading back home. What a fun trip this has been. There are so many fascinating, fun, interesting, and just awesome places in this world, and getting to photograph them is a joy, and a blessing, and one I don’t take for granted. I’m so thankful and grateful for the opportunity (more on this later).
Gotta run — lots of flying today. :) Thanks for stopping by, and have a great weekend! :)
How to Make Money With Your Travel Photos with Dave Williams
Learn how to earn from your vacation photos with Dave Williams! As a professional travel photographer Dave shares his insider information on different ways you can turn your travel and vacation photos into an income stream.
In this class you’ll learn the importance of planning before you travel, how to get into stock photography and how to caption and keyword your photos so that they can be found, how to get started as an Instagram influencer, and how to network with the right people to market your work directly to the people who are looking for content.
There are endless opportunities for creating images that will appeal to tourist boards, magazines, stock libraries, hotels, and others in the travel industry. Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity, so join Dave and get prepared for your next travel adventure!
In Case You Missed It – The Photographer’s Guide to Traveling Right: What Gear to Take, How to Pack it, and Killer Accessories for Travel
Whether you are going on a big photo safari or a vacation with family, join Scott Kelby and Larry Becker as they share their killer tips for how to travel right.
In this class Scott covers everything from choosing the right bag for your gear, tips for ensuring you are within size and weight restrictions, what accessories can make your experience more successful, what to consider about tripods, strategies for backing up on the road, what to do when you get back home, and so much more.
All through the class Scott and Larry share their experiences and advice to help you decide what gear to bring, how to get it there, and how to bring it all home with you. Safe travels!
Victoria Pavlov will be teaching at Photoshop World Las Vegas, taking place August 21-23, so register now to come see her in person!
Five Best Practices You Need To Have In Your Pocket When Working With Models
I have been working very closely with models for the past 15 years. During these years I had a lot of bumps in the road. I implemented these five best practices in my studio, which made my model photography workflow much easier. I respect my time, so I don’t like wasting it on something that needs to be fixed if I can easily avoid it before or during my session.
1. Tell A Story
Always work with a model who can tell a story. We are not shooting just because we have nothing else to do. We are shooting because this is a job or we love shooting in our free time. Our shooting time is our “intellectual investment.” Like with any other investment, we expect a positive return from our “intellectual investment.” Choosing the right model for your sessions is a critical decision you need to make. If you take your photography seriously, this is what you should do.
When I first started in my studio and opened my first casting call, 9 out of 10 models who responded to my casting call had the same attitude. “I am beautiful. I think this is all photographers are looking for, so I am good for your casting call.” I was very frustrated because this is not what I was looking for. I am always looking for a model who can tell a story with her eyes, facial expression, and pose. I am looking for a model who can give me different expressions in every single frame or two.
It took about 4-5 months for me to find the circle of models who were on the same page of what photography was about. It’s about storytelling. That’s it. I don’t care how beautiful my “subject” is. I care about storytelling.
Right now, in the 21st century, we are not impressed by anyone with good lighting. If you are a professional photographer, people expect you to have it. People are also expecting you to tell a story with the image. Every single image you capture should tell a story because only this will connect you to your audience. Only this will make your audience wait in anticipation for your next post, exhibit, or update.
2. Invest In Your Session
Trust professionals. I am not talking about photography equipment when I say “invest” here.
Even if you shoot with a model for TF (Trade For), always hire a makeup and hair stylist. Some makeup and hair stylists are building or updating their portfolios, and they are looking for photographers for TF sessions as well.
Never try to do makeup or hair by yourself or trust your model to do it. Why? Models usually are not professional makeup or hairstylists. If they do it by themselves, you will end up with the wrong makeup. I can assure you that your model will apply the makeup that she likes the most and the worst part is, you will spend a lot of time trying to fix it in post-production later because this is not what you were looking for.
Remember that makeup and hair are part of the storytelling.
3. Always Keep Someone Next To You During Your Photo Session
When we shoot, usually we are paying attention to model’s poses, or expression and we are not paying attention to the all the “small” details such as flying hair, wrinkles on their outfit, or the part of the makeup that needs to be refreshed. If someone is next to you during your photo session, they will be paying attention to all these details. You will significantly bring down your post-production time because you will not be retouching all the things which could easily be fixed during the session.
NEVER say, “I can fix it in Photoshop later, right?” Never fix in Photoshop anything that could be fixed during the session in camera. You can fix flying hair in a second during the session, but you will spend a lot of time fixing the same flying hair in Photoshop later because you will need to fix the same flying hair over and over in every single image you need to deliver.
4: Get Everything Ready Before Your Session
If you have a model in your studio, that means you have some ideas you want to bring to life. A storytelling session includes hair, makeup, and wardrobe as well. We talked about makeup and hair above. Now it’s time to talk about wardrobe.
Trust your vision. Before the session, put together the outfit you want to shoot with. You can rent a unique outfit (this is something that is not always inexpensive, but sometimes it’s necessary), or you can buy the entire outfit. From where? Goodwill, eBay, Amazon. Sometimes you can put together a very impressive outfit for as little as $15. The best part is you can build your own wardrobe collection month by month. Never trust your model to bring the wardrobe. The chances are you’ll get random looks that may not represent your vision.
5. Build Your Circle
Build a circle of artistic people who love creating art and telling stories. Stay connected with all the people you worked with and who share the same “storytelling” vision. Finding people who share the same vision as yours is not too easy. So if you find them, stay connected, create “storytelling” images all the time. For fun, for work, for training, for discovering something new. It doesn’t matter, just create.
One More Thing: Never Get Stuck In A Box
Taking pictures using your camera is a form of “creating art.” So you don’t have to be stuck in a box only with your photography. Did you capture an image you love? That’s great! After that, try to paint it (even if you have never painted before, you can create a very unique and beautiful painting in Photoshop using my “Painting for Photographers” technique.
Try compositing images together to create something different. Be creative. Transform your photography art into a painting or compositing art.
#TravelTuesday with Dave sure comes around quick, doesn’t it! I’m back!
From time to time we may need to remind ourselves about why we work so hard at photography and don’t seem to get anywhere, be it for any number of reasons ranging from being stuck in a rut or for trying to achieve something time after time that fails. Like me, trying to get a shot of a lighthouse in front of a huge chalk cliff and failing several times in my efforts before finally getting the shot!
It took me three attempts to get that shot, and I even got capsized in my kayak in the process. But anyway, the point is this: –
Make your big goals more manageable by breaking them into smaller tasks.
Remind yourself why you’re doing it.
Remember the good feelings.
Use your strengths.
Decide to take action.
That’s it, that’s the list!
Okay, I’ll explain. If we have a big goal, it’s harder to achieve it. If we have a setback, it’s likely to put us off altogether if our goal is big. Whereas, if we break up our big goal into smaller, more manageable tasks we’re far more likely to succeed because those small tasks are accomplishments that together lead to achieving our big goal. If we fail at one of the small tasks, we’re far more likely to keep trying to overcome the problem because of number three—the good feelings.
The good feelings we get when we achieve something stick with us, but in moments where we feel that perhaps we aren’t hitting our targets or realising our goals, taking a moment to remind ourselves of the good feelings will help to spur us on even further. Taking that feeling and reminding ourselves why we’re doing something is valuable. That reminder as to why can often be enough to pick us up when we feel like we aren’t getting anywhere, and perhaps it’s that one occasion when we remind ourselves that we suddenly make progress where we weren’t before.
Pushing to number four (because this is obviously in order from the above list), we need to use our strengths, and in order for that to happen effectively, we need to recognise them—and our weaknesses! Knowing comprehensibly what our strengths are will help us to achieve goals, but knowing what our weaknesses are will help as well.
And, finally, take action! There are a lot of people out there doing nothing much aside from telling other people how they should be doing things. Don’t be that person—the person who says it can’t be done is usually interrupted by the person doing it.
So, if you have a shot in mind that’s particularly challenging, don’t give up on it! Persist, come up with a game plan, and keep trying. Pick yourself up when you fail, dust yourself off, and get it done.
The thing that motivated me to write this is the shot above. I was researching shots of Beachy Head Light in the UK and noticed they’re all very much alike. I wanted to be different. I knew the topography of the area was such that the enormous white, chalk cliff was essentially a hill, tapering off on either side of the lighthouse, and I wanted to feature that in my shot. I tried three times to get the shot, capsizing in a kayak and sliding all the way down the hill on my behind, but I didn’t let these things put me off and I got my shot.
Don’t give up. If something fails, try something else. And, then something else. Remind yourself why you did it, identify which of your strengths will help you, break down the task, remember the good feelings, and take action.
P.S. My Sunrise Challengehas just one week left – get your entries in for a chance to win big!