Monthly Archives April 2020

I’m Dave Williams, here on every Tuesday (even in lockdown).

Something I do often, or at least I did often, pre-Corona, is use photography as a tool for mindfulness. Photography makes me happy; therefore, photography is therapeutic to me. Lately, with the lack of ability to travel (the other therapy for me), I’ve been seriously lacking creativity. To be honest, I even struggled with what to write here today, before I ended up deciding that, actually, the struggle to come up with something should perhaps form the inspiration for the content.

Writing is also something I find therapeutic, for the record. I often wondered whether to push my photography and writing beyond being hobbies because I worried that if I made them “work,” they’d become tedious, like any other job does. So far, so good, and I’m glad I pushed both fields. Keeping them fun, rather than making them become “work,” has been the result of mindfulness in the application of both jobs.

So, how does it apply? Let me give you some insight into how photography is good for your mind in two different ways: –

First up, taking photos. We know photography is good for the mind—that’s why we have it as a hobby in the first place. The reason we enjoy taking photos could be because the creative process involves creating and analysing the scene and the light, flipping it into ourselves to understand personal healing, growth, and both conscious and unconscious understanding. Active and passive exploration and reflection of our photographs help us develop, and can carry a far greater strength in times such as these. To that end, let’s look at that side of things.

One of the things I first found useful in self-critique was to describe the feelings I had at a place where I took a photo and tried to realistically see whether those feelings were conveyed in the photo or not. The reason for this is to see whether I could make someone feel like they were in that place, because travel photography to me is all about making somebody want to be there. If I’d succeeded in that, I’d done my job right.

Reflecting on your own photographs is great for mental well-being and creative development. In most instances, when looking at self-critique, we are looking at technical things, such as the correct sharpness, depth of field, colour, etc. What we can do, instead, is explore the creative elements. One major factor is composition. It really isn’t that easy to compose a shot well. It’s a knack, a kind of habit, to be able to do it time after time, and that comes from reflection and practice. The things that make it up are subject placement, framing, the makeup of elements within the scene, depth, and the proper, detailed, and no-holds-barred analysis of our own images. With regard, these things can really help to make us better photographers and fill some time whilst on lockdown and unable to get out and create more images. 

Taking this a step further, we can spend the time and effort also finding and reflecting our vision. Take an image to critique and think back to when and where you took it. At the time, what was the vision? Does this image describe this vision? Was your goal attained? Technical analysis aside, this is the skill that makes us consistent and separates us from others. If we are able to deliver images that are demonstrated in our portfolio. We need to create images that say more than, “Look, I was there.” We need to make images that people stop scrolling to really look at, and that make people want to be there in that place, having that experience. Taking this little bit of time in lockdown to reflect on our photos is, as I have said, good for both our mental well-being and our personal development. Here’s a little footnote rundown: –

Do we invest in time to consider our shot?

Do we consider the light?

Do we consider changing angles or perspective?

Do we crop enough on the subject?

Do we want to go back and shoot it again?

Much love


Here’s what’s coming up:

TUESDAY: “Lightroom: From Flat to Fabulous” (hands-on 1-hour Webinar)

These Webinars are usually just for KelbyOne Pro members, but in light of our “stuck at home” situation, we’re opening them to everyone everywhere.

Tomorrow it’s a hands-on class —  and we’re going to take a RAW landscape, portrait, and travel image from the original RAW file all the way to the final image. Click here to download my images I’ll be using so you can follow along. Note: If you don’t have Lightroom, you can still follow along in Photoshop’s Camera RAW (it’s the same sliders in the same order that do the exact same things).

Who: You and Me
What: “Lightroom: From Flat to Fabulous” (It’s a hands-on “Follow-Along Live” Webinar. I’m giving you the RAW files to download so you can follow-along live right with me).
When: Tuesday | 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM ET (New York Time Zone)
Why: ‘Cause we’re all in this together, and if when we’re focused on creative stuff we’re not focused on all the other stuff.

ALSO LATER TUESDAY: It’s “The Grid” and our topic is “Our Favorite Things”

We’re broadcasting a day early this week (on Tuesday at 2:00 PM ET rather than the usual Wednesday at 4). We’re got a really fun topic; it’s “Our Favorite Things!”

Yes, it will include some photography gear and software, but also our favorites of everything, from people to places, food to movies, TV shows and gadgets and more. Best of all, we want to hear YOUR favorite stuff and we’ll be giving away a Playtpod Ultra to whoever posts the best favorite (that’s a double-negative if I’ve ever heard one). Should be a blast, and we have LOTS of great fun “things” to share.

Who: Erik Kuna and Me
What: The Grid; our live photography talkshow video podcast. Our topic this week is “Our Favorite Things” (see text above for more on that).
When: 2:00 PM ET (New York Time Zone)
Why: Because this is what we do every week now for the past seven years. It’s free, open to everybody, and we take your questions and comments live on the air.

WEDNESDAY: My full-day “Ultimate Photography Crash Course” seminar presented live in it’s entirety just for photographers in the UK

Here’s the video that explains the full-day event (below), and it’s only open to photographers in the UK. You also get 30-day on-demand access to the entire day, plus a digital download of the 153-page workbook. And yes, I am broadcasting live at 5:00 am here in the US, so we can start at 10:00 AM in the UK. Looking forward to chatting with everybody on Wednesday!

Who: Me and a whole bunch of photographers in the UK
What: My entire “Ultimate Photography Crash Course” presented live for photographers in the UK.
When: 10:00 AM – 17:15 (London Time Zone)
Why: Because of this awful virus I can’t get there in person this time around, which breaks my heart — I love the UK, the British people, and I have so many friends I will miss, but this is the very next best thing.

May 5-6, 2020: The KelbyOne Lightroom Conference

We officially launched the two-day, two track Lightroom Conference on Friday and photographers all over the world are already signing up to be a part of this history-making event. You can join us, too — we made it incredibly affordable to everybody could take part. Check out the video below for all the details, then head to for tickets. This is going to be something really special as it’s all presented LIVE!

Who: You and the best Lightroom instructors on the planet!
What: The KelbyOne Live Lightroom Conference
When: May 5-6, 2020 | 10:00 AM – 5:45 ET (New York Time)
Why: Because we can still move our skills ahead; we can still bring photographers together online for a shared learning experience, and it’s two days we can focus on positive, creative learning (and learn a ton will absolutely will!).

Lots of cool stuff still happening as we adapt to this current situation, but I’m thrilled we’re in a position to help so many folks, and to keep the education flowing to photographers all over the world.

Stay safe, wash your hands, do all the things we’ve been told a thousand times to do, and we’ll get through all this. Brighter days are ahead. :)



What The Flash? Controlling Your Light with Bob Davis

Take an in-depth look at how to control your light with Bob Davis! Join Bob as he takes you through his core kit of gear, then begins to build a strong foundation for how to control your light, no matter what light source it is, through a variety of shooting situations.

In this class you’ll join Bob for an engagement shoot, a model shoot in an abandoned building, a complete wedding shoot, and a really fun shoot using a variety of DIY lighting tools. Each lesson builds on foundational concepts to help you learn how to accomplish the vision you have in your minds eye.

In Case You Missed It: Just One Flash

You cannot believe all the stuff you can do with just one flash! Join Scott Kelby as he starts from scratch and covers everything you need to know to get the kind of images you’ve always dreamed of when using your flash. You’ve got to love your flash, and in this class Scott shares all the things he’s learned over time to teach you the settings you’ll use, how to control your flash wirelessly, how to diffuse the light, and how to do it all without breaking the bank.

This class contains three live shoots that demonstrate how to put all of these concepts and equipment to work for you, both indoors and out. Your flash is a great instrument, and with the right settings, the right accessories, and the right attitude you can fall in love.

It’s two full days, live online with with two simultaneous training tracks, and an instructor team of the very best in the business. Best of all, it’s all online, and it’s so affordable anybody can be a part of it.

I am super-psyched to announce the KelbyOne Lightroom Conference — sponsored by Adobe and produced by KelbyOne Live. Check out the video below to see what it’s all about:

We’re bringing the Lightroom superstars together to make this the Lightroom training event of the year, and we’d love for you join uas for this remarkable training experience.

…and it all happens in just a few weeks from now:

May 5-6, 2020
11:00 AM – 5:45 PM (EDT)

This live-streamed event is open to everyone, and you can register today at – photographers from all over are already signing up (we sneaked the news on my show “The Grid” on Wednesday), so sign up early to get the best pricing.

Thanks in advance to everyone for helping us spread the word. Whoo hoo we’re off and running! :)

Stay healthy, keep washing those hands and staying a safe distance (1.2 miles) from each other and we’ll catch you back here on Monday. Have a great weekend. :)


P.S. Tonight at 9:00 PM ET – I’m doing my first ever “Book Chat” over on my Facebook page. It’s kind of like an “author talk” at a bookstore, but without the bookstore. I’ll be talking about my three latest books, giving away two $50 Rocky Nook publishing gift cards, I’ll be doing a “dramatic reading” of some of my quirky chapter intros, taking your questions and comments. It’ll either be lots of fun or a total disaster, but you’ll only know if you come and check it out. Lower the lights, bring some wine, maybe some cheese (or spray cheese) and I’ll see you there tonight. Here’s the link.

Voice & Representation

Who I Am

My name is Idris Talib Solomon. I am a Brooklyn native. I am a creative director, photographer, filmmaker and podcaster. I am a self-taught artist. One thing I learned in school is that I don’t learn the way everyone else does. I’ve always needed to be hands on and engaged in a project so I can make mistakes. Mistakes have always birthed new lessons for me in unorthodox ways; they weaken the grip of fear.

My Photo Journey

I’ve worked as an art director in several advertising agencies throughout New York City. Often, I’ve been the only black art director in the office. There is a pressure that comes with being “the only.”

When I decided to pursue a certificate in photography I recognized a similar pattern. I was the only Black student in my cohort. My instructors never shared the work of photographers who looked like me. The photographers I learned about were all talented. I learned a lot in the program. At the same time, I questioned why I didn’t see myself reflected in the curriculum. This highlighted the importance of representation. It showed me how important it is to have a voice.

I decided that I would use my art to document stories in the Black community that go unnoticed.

Finding My Voice

My first photography project focused on The Dance Theatre of Harlem. This is a ballet school created for young black and brown dancers. I began to photograph this project through an invitation from a college friend. She saw photos of mine on Facebook and invited me to photograph an event.

When I arrived, I wandered backstage, down corridors and staircases. I thought the world happening backstage was more interesting than the performances. I offered the school my photos in return for access to the school.


Amid lockdown and isolation, #TravelTuesday just isn’t the same right now. Regardless, I’m full of optimism and hope that this will be over soon, and I’ll be able to get moving around the planet once again. I’m Dave Williams, here every Tuesday on, from the UK to all of you.

This week, my post is inspired by the seemingly endless reminder that I’ve had three trips cancelled or postponed, along with two conferences. I can’t wait to be back to normal and get out on some photographic missions, and I know I’m not the only one.

What I want to do today is show you where I most want to go back to, and ask you where you most want to go.

Monument Valley, summer of 2019, as seen at sunrise from the balcony of my hotel. Monument Valley is a strange place. It has a feel to it. It feels naturally peaceful and powerful. This Colorado plateau is packed with tales of lore from the Navajo Nation, and from every angle, at every time of day, there’s something incredible to cast our eyes on. These buttes have featured in many movies, including Forrest Gump and many movies by director John Ford, and when you see them, you’ll understand why. Taking the 17-mile dirt road through the park is worth every last moment, with such enchanting names for the features as Hunts Mesa, Artist’s Point, and Mystery Valley.

A Rocky Mountain sunrise, like this one in the Canadian Rockies just outside Jasper, Alberta, is simply incredible. The vast expanse of nothing but wilderness in all directions, save for a small town here and there, really puts nature and life in perspective. Approaching the Rockies from the plains of Alberta is stunning in itself, with these gargantuan mountains rising suddenly out of nothing, and the range itself has so many inaccessible valleys and unchartered peaks that there really could be anything going on there and we’d be none the wiser. If I were isolating here, rather than at home, there’d be no shortage of inspiration.

Zermatt, Switzerland, is the picturesque and iconic inspiration behind the Toblerone logo. Or rather the Matterhorn is. The pointed, angled mountain rises above the skiing town of Zermatt, which in turn lies at the end of the road (and train tracks) and is a force for green efficiency. The only vehicles allowed in the town are electric, and this has resulted in an unrivaled peacefulness nestled in the Swiss Alps. The view over the town towards the epochal mountain is a nice easy walk away from the cafes and chocolate shops of the middle of town.

The Bean, or Cloud Gate, in Chicago, IL, is something you can see all alone, but right now, I wonder how many fewer people are seeing it than usual. Inspired by liquid mercury, the design reflects the city skyline and distorts it to focus the attention to the sculpture, whilst simultaneously merging it with its surroundings. To see this all alone requires a very early alarm call, and the hope that yours was the only one.

Plitvice Lakes in Croatia—normally heaving with tourists, both local and international—is one of the major draws to the country, alongside the Game of Thrones filming locations in Dubrovnik and Split. An isolated experience in Plitvice is rare but well worth hunting down for the serenity of the peaceful, running water and the azure blue hues of the lakes as they cascade into one another.

When I visited Estonia I wasn’t anticipating the remoteness of the farmland outside of Tallinn. The wintry scenes were akin to something straight outta Lapland.

If you want next-level remote, the Faroe Islands is where you’ll find it. The population of sheep outnumbers the human population, and the only airport (with both of its gates) is at the exact opposite end of the country to Tórhavn, the capital. The chances of bumping into somebody on even the most popular hiking trails are slim to none. It has a feeling which combines Scotland and Iceland, with extraordinary, dramatic scenery.

Speaking of Iceland, sparsity is easy to find here. The power of nature is demonstrated with every turn through this rugged, young landscape. Geothermal activity is evident throughout the whole country, divided diagonally with a rift separating the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates. It’s no surprise that tourism here has skyrocketed, with tourists significantly outnumbering residents at quite a rate. I know I go on about Iceland a lot, but there’s a reason!

Brazil has been hard-hit by the Coronavirus, so hopefully, their recovery will be good, but here’s a view of the beach at Copacabana with just one person walking with his display of sunglasses to sell to the unprepared tourists. The bustle of this contemporary city is shown in relative calm here.

In stark contrast, Venice is a place I can’t wait to see filled with guests again. This region of Italy has been hit hard by the virus and Venice is basically a ghost town. The local economy, like many others, is highly-dependant on tourism to survive, so when all this is over I can’t wait to revisit some of my favourite places on this planet to show my support and do my little bit to bring everything back to life.

Much love