Monthly Archives July 2020

#TravelTuesday is back to relative normality, with travel corridors opened up in lots of Europe. Hopefully travel to and within the United States and Canada will also resume – getting infection rates down by reducing contact and wearing a mask when near anybody else will bring back travel and the economy. But anyway, I’m Dave Williams, and I’m here to talk photography!

Today I’m on day two of a takeover of the KelbyOne Instagram Story where I’m sharing some landscape photography tips from Iceland. One of the tips is about the relationship between foreground and background in a photo, and I’d like to explore that a little more with you right here.

Any great photo has a foreground and a background; most also have some sort of middle-ground. The foreground is simply the part of the image that is closest to the camera, the background is the part that’s further away, and the middle-ground falls somewhere in the middle. If we consider all three and a link between them we will end up with a better image.

No foreground – naughty photo!

There’s one simple trick to start composing stronger images by filling the foreground, middle-ground, and background of your images and it’s this: – 

Think before you press the shutter button. When I took the bad iceberg photo above, I’m sure there was something nearby that could have made for a more interesting foreground if I’d just looked for it. Another smaller iceberg in the foreground is far more inviting and adds a whole level of depth to the image.

Foreground ice – better!

For the better photo, I just took a few minutes to play around with different compositions until I found something I liked. It was simply a case of trying different foreground features. Once we start thinking deliberately, we’ll automatically start taking stronger photos.

One of the easiest ways to start using the foreground is to get close to something with wide-angle lens. In the photo below, I was just a couple of feet away from the rocks in the black sand which make up the foreground; the middle-ground and background then just happen naturally.

If we’re taking portraits, we probably won’t have much of a middle-ground, but the background is even more important. A bad background can distract from an otherwise great portrait. We can use a wide aperture and a good prime lens to make the subject the foreground element and isolate them from the background.

An isolated, blurry background doesn’t have to be boring. It’s still part of the image, and this is where we can play around with different textures and objects behind our subject.

As with any photography “rule”, play around with it and feel free to break it if you’ve got a good reason to. Sometimes your best photos will fly in the face of every convention.

While saying ‘make sure your photos have a foreground, a background, and, if possible, a middle-ground’ may seem like really obvious advice, you’d be surprised at how many photographers fail to consider it. Start thinking about what elements are in each part when you take your photos, try and link them together, and I guarantee you’ll become a better photographer.

Much love


Well, technically, it kinda starts today with a special session I’m doing at 11:00 AM ET for people who are new to Photoshop. It’s a crash course focusing on just the most important things so after that class, you’ll be ready to dive in to the full conference on Tuesday. Check out the video below for details (and you can get your tickets right here).

We already have over 1,000 folks signed up for the online event, but if you want to join in, it’s not too late. Here’s the link to sign up right now.

Very exciting stuff! Can’t wait to teach my pre-conference class today. Whoo Hoo we’re off and runnin’



It’s not a print on metallic paper — it’s actually printed on metal, and when you see it in person it’s like that day when you saw your first 4K TV at BestBuy and your jaw dropped. I got my first metal print back in 2009, from the same folks I got this one from — ImageWizards — and I have to say, I am once again absolutely blown away by how it looks. It’s like a 4K TV print.

Here’s a picture of the print (above); hanging in my living room. It was taken the day before my travel photography workshop in Guilin, China, last year. It was shot on a Canon EOS R (30.2 megapixels), and that print you see above is 60″x40″ (whoo hoo!), and it looks just stunning in person. Now all I want to do is order more prints on metal (and I’m going to do just that this weekend, but probably 24×36″ size or smaller for the rest).

One thing that really surprised my wife and me was — despite its ginormous size, it’s not really heavy. It’s surprisingly light (especially considering that it’s metal), and it comes mounted to a frame for hanging.

I found this video on their YouTube page (it’s embedded below) about how they prep your images for printing on metal. It’s less than 90-seconds long, and when you see the lengths they go when prepping your print for color accuracy and consistency, it’s pretty amazing. They call it a promo video, but again, it’s really about their process, so it’s worth a quick look:

They are offering a discount to my readers this weekend

I told them I was going to do this post about my print, and so they are offering my readers a 15% off deal right now, so go to and use the code Kelby 15 at checkout to get the deal. Thanks to the folks at ImageWizards for the deal, and for rockin’ that 60×40 print — it looks incredible (and makes me wish we could still travel).

We talked about all this on The Grid on Wednesday

I’ve embedded the episode, but I set it so it starts right when Erik and I start talking about the print, so you can pick it up right there — just hit play.

If you’re as passionate about printing as I am, I hope you’ll check them out. I just cannot recommend them enough (and no, they’re not a sponsor), but I’ve been getting prints from them since back in 2009, and it’s been a love affair with their work ever since. Great people, and a great product. If you get one of their metal prints, send me a pic on Facebook or Twitter — I’d love to see it! :)

Next Tuesday The Photoshop Conference Kicks Off

We’re going to have over 1,000+ photographers learning from an all-star crew of the best Photoshop instructors anywhere and you do not want to miss out. Don’t wait and hear how awesome it was after the fact — instead, why not be a part of it? It’s next Tuesday and Wednesday (July 14-15, 2020); it’s all live-streamed online so you can watch it wherever you are; plus all the classes are archived for you until the end of the year, and tickets are available right now at — You’ve been wanting to really learn Photoshop — now’s your chance! :)

Hope you all have a great weekend. Look out for each other. Stay safe, love your neighbor, and we’ll catch you back here next week.


Architectural Photography: Market, Shoot, Edit with Jeff Leimbach

If you are considering adding architectural photography to your business then this class is for you! Join Jeff Leimbach for a big picture look at what you need to know to get started as an architectural photographer.

Jeff opens the class with a look at the marketing side of the business, from what types of photography fall into this category to how to go about promoting your work and charging your clients. From there you’ll head out on a shoot at a Florida resort where Jeff discusses required gear and demonstrates his process for setting up and completing his shot list. Once the shooting is done you’ll head back into the studio for a look at post production workflow and preparing files for delivery to your client. Jeff wraps up the class with some closing thoughts to help you move forward and start shooting on your own.

In Case You Missed It: What To Shoot When There Is Nothing To Shoot

We’ve all had those days when you’re racking your brain for something to photograph. Join Jeff Leimbach for a class packed with inspiration for new ideas, places, and times to create photos! It’s always a good idea to have some additional photographic ideas in your back pocket for those occasions when your original plans just don’t work out.

No matter where you are, the time of day, or the type of weather, there’s always something to shoot if you are creative. By the end of the class you’ll be motivated to grab your camera, get out there, and make some photo magic.

Glenn Randall atop Peak 12,847 in January with Kit Carson, Crestone Peak, and Crestone Needle behind, Sangre de Cristo Wilderness, Colorado

The Tyranny of the Remembering Self

Pause for a moment, and try this thought experiment. Imagine your perfect vacation. It could be anywhere in the world, doing anything you choose, for one week. There is a catch, however. You will not be allowed to take any photographs or make any entries in a journal during your vacation, and at the end you will be given a potion that will erase all memories of the wonderful experiences you enjoyed. How much would you pay for such a vacation, in comparison to what you would pay for a vacation you could remember?

Aurora over Mt. Monolith, Tombstone Territorial Park, Yukon Territory, Canada

If you are like me, my wife, and our two adult daughters, nothing. To us, and to most people, the most wonderful experiences have little or no value if we cannot remember them. Psychologist Daniel Kahneman points out in his excellent book Thinking: Fast and Slow that we seem to have two selves, an experiencing self and a remembering self, whose needs and wants are not always congruent. As Kahneman puts it, “The experiencing self is the one that answers the question: ‘Does it hurt now?’ The remembering self is the one that answers the question: ‘How was it, on the whole?’ Memories are all we get to keep from our experience of living, and the only perspective that we can adopt as we think about our lives is therefore that of the remembering self.” He goes on to say, “The experiencing self does not have a voice. The remembering self is sometimes wrong, but it is the one that keeps score and governs what we learn from living, and it is the one that makes decisions. What we learn from the past is to maximize the qualities of our future memories, not necessarily of our future experience. This is the tyranny of the remembering self.”

The full moon setting over Longs Peak from the summit of Twin Sisters, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Our remembering self tends to value an episode not by the duration of pleasurable and painful periods, but by the peak intensity of the good or bad feeling and by the feeling we experience at the end of the episode. Kahneman calls this “duration neglect” and the “peak-end rule.” We remember the peak moments of a vacation and its ending rather than an average of all the moments. Our average experience, even on a vacation we remember as great, may in fact be rather boring.

Does this help explain the almost universal fascination with photography? Kahneman writes, “The frenetic picture-taking of many tourists suggests that storing memories is often an important goal, which shapes both the plans for the vacation and the experience of it. The photographer does not view the scene as a moment to be savored but as a future memory to be designed. Pictures may be useful to the remembering self—though we rarely look at them for very long, or as often as we expected, or even at all—but picture taking is not necessarily the best way for the tourist’s experiencing self to enjoy a view.”

Mt. Sneffels at sunset, Mt. Sneffels Wilderness, Colorado

#TravelTuesday is here and I, Dave Williams, have this week’s installment of wisdom for you, free of charge!

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but who are “they” and what else do “they” say? Sometimes, all we need is a little inspiration, a little motivation, and a little quote. From the world of travel and photography, here are some of my favourites to put you in the right frame of mind on this sunny Tuesday before travel comes back to life. Well, it’s sunny here in the UK! Hopefully, it’s sunny where you are, too!

Which is my favourite photograph? The one I’m going to take tomorrow.

Imogen Cunningham

It’s weird that photographers spend years or even a whole lifetime, trying to capture moments that added together, don’t even amount to a couple of hours.

James Lalroupi Kelvom

If I could tell the story in words, I wouldn’t need to lug around a camera.

Lewis Hine

Great photography is about depth of feeling, not depth of field.

Peter Adams

The camera is an excuse to be someplace you otherwise don’t belong. It gives me both a point of connection and a point of separation.

Susan Meiselas

My life is shaped by the urgent need to wander and observe, and my camera is my passport.

Steve McCurry

If you want to be a better photographer, stand in front of more interesting stuff.

Jim Richardson

You can look at a picture for a week and never think of it again. You can also look at a picture for a second and think of it all your life.

Joan Miro

All photographs are accurate. None of them is the truth.

Richard Avedon

You don’t take a photograph – you make it.

Ansel Adams

To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting an ordinary place… I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.

Elliott Erwitt

What I like about photographs is that they capture a moment that’s gone forever, impossible to reproduce.

Karl Lagerfeld

There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer.

Ansel Adams

I really believe there are things nobody would see if I didn’t photograph them.

Diane Arbus

Photography has nothing to do with cameras.

Lucas Gentry

The picture that you took with your camera is the imagination you want to create with reality.

Scott Lorenzo

Taking pictures is like tiptoeing into the kitchen late at night and stealing Oreo cookies.

Diane Arbus

It’s one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it’s another thing to make a portrait of who they are.

Paul Caponigro

Photography for me is not looking, it’s feeling. If you can’t feel what you’re looking at, then you’re never going to get others to feel anything when they look at your pictures.

Don McCullin

We are making photographs to understand what our lives mean to us.

Ralph Hattersley

Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film is captured forever… It remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything.

Aaron Siskind

When I have a camera in my hand, I know no fear.

Alfred Eisenstaedt

Photography is the story I fail to put into words.

Destin Sparks

The eye should learn to listen before it looks.

Robert Frank

It’s not enough to just own a camera. Everyone owns a camera. To be a photographer, you must understand, appreciate, and harness the power you hold.

Mark Denman

The context in which a photograph is seen affects the meaning the viewer draws from it.

Stephen Shore

The way that light hits objects, I think, is one of the more important things that sculpture and photography share.

Rashid Johnson

What do we feel when we look at a good photograph? We just want to be there, right at the exact moment that photo taken.

Mehmet Murat Ildan

When a moment in front of me appears to be particularly special, whether it be by beauty or experience, I capture it. I usually find a reason to justify taking that photo – symmetry, or color, or contrast – and it’s my hope that my photography sheds light onto what I see and do on a daily basis.

Connor Franta

The art of photography is all about directing the attention of the viewer.

Steven Pinker

It takes a lot of imagination to be a good photographer. You need less imagination to be a painter because you can invent things. But in photography, everything is so ordinary; it takes a lot of looking before you learn to see the extraordinary.

David Bailey

Ok, so that was 31, but who was counting?! I hope there was some inspiration in there for you and I hope you all have a great day!

Much love