Monthly Archives September 2020

There’s a tremendous amount of content created every day for photographers, and since I follow so many sites, and photographers on social, I see an awful lot of it (and create some of it), and a lot of it is people covering the same subjects and topics over and over again. If I read one more “It’s not about the gear” article I’m going to jump out the window. ;-)

This one is different. It’s called “This is the best camera you will ever own” and (a) it’s not what you think it’s about (b) the examples are fantastic, and (c) it’s one of the best articles I’ve read on photography in quite a while — it’s not the same old thing — it’s a way of thinking that is really well thought out and perfectly illustrated.

It’s from fstoppers.com (really great site), and the article itself is by Iain Stanley, and it’s one that today I think every photographer should take a moment and read. It’s that good.

Here’s a direct link to the article. My hats off to Iain, and fstoppers — this is really great stuff.

Hope that helps get your week off to a great start! Stay happy and healthy, and check back tomorrow for “Travel Tuesdays with Dave.”

Cheers,

-Scott

First, before we get to today’s post, I wanted to thank everybody who joined us for ‘The Landscape Conference” this week. What a wonderful, gracious, fun crowd to present to (over 1,400+ photographers attended live), and it was such a blast. My humble thanks to spending a few days with us — we’re very grateful and hope you all learned a lot!

Above: A stock photo used here simply as an example of the type of photo the photographer was talking about.

This question — what makes a particular photo a landscape photo versus a travel photo? — came up during my pre-conference session called “What Makes a Great Landscape Photo.” The question came from a participant who mentioned that he shoots islands in the Caribbean and Hawaii, and shooting those at dawn or dusk (like you normally would for landscape photos), doesn’t look good because without the direct sun, you don’t have that beautiful turquoise water. I mentioned during my session that I thought in this case that breaking the dawn/dusk shooting rule was totally fine because this sounds like more of a travel type photo. Later, in our closing Q&A session, he asked me to elaborate on why I felt it was a travel photo, rather than a landscape photo.

There is no official ruling body on this, so all I can give is my opinion on it, and here it is:

“When I look at an image like the island with palm trees surrounded by clear turquoise water, my first thought is, ‘I want to be there on vacation; on the beach, under an umbrella, with a piña colada, and a good book looking out at that scene.’ I’m thinking vacation, so I’m thinking travel photo. When I see a lake with a still water reflection with snow-capped mountains in the background, or a shot from Monument Valley or Yosemite, I’m thinking landscape. In short: I think the emotion or feeling a person has when viewing the image helps to determine to the viewer if it’s a landscape or a travel photo. I think of Norway as a landscape country, but at the same time, you can make wonderful travel photos there, but I leave it up to the viewer to decide which one a particular photo is.”

In the end, though — does it even matter? It’s not a negative thing if someone feels your landscape photo is a travel photo (or vice versa). What’s important is that they enjoy viewing the photo, and you enjoyed shooting it; not which category it falls into.

Hope that helps.

Thanks again to everybody who make the conference such a special event. I’m very grateful for the wonderful turnout, and for the honor of being in the company of such great instructors. It was a blast!

Have safe, happy, healthy weekend. #GoBucks, #GoTitans, and soon #rolltide!

-Scott

Milky Way Photography: Stacking & Tracking with Erik Kuna

Take your milky way photography to the next level! Join Erik Kuna in his follow up class to Demystifying Milky Way Landscape Photography, as he takes a deep dive into the practices, techniques, hardware, and software of tracking and stacking.

Tracking and stacking is all about increasing the signal and reducing the noise, and in this class you’ll learn the fundamentals of each technique, gain tips for putting them intro practice, and learn about the hardware and software used to get the job done. Be sure to watch Erik’s first class if you are new to milky way photography before moving to the next level with this one. 

In Case You Missed It: Post Processing Milky Way Landscape Photography

In this class Erik Kuna shares his Lightroom Classic and Photoshop techniques, tips, and tricks for bringing your Milky Way photos to life. Erik demonstrates each step in the process with examples taken during the first class.

You’ll learn how to nail white balance, correct distortion, adjust tonal values, add presence and color, make localized adjustments, reduce noise, composite multiple exposures together, and so much more. Erik reinforces the techniques with a start to finish workflow to bring it all home.

Photo by Anna Kuperberg

Big Secrets of Composition 

Have you ever been thrown off by composition? Or more exactly, been challenged by use of the same composition that you’ve used in dozens (if not 1000s) of images? Another way of putting it is, how can you avoid plagiarizing yourself and come up with fresh images?

If so, you’re not alone: how to compose images came up recently in a survey as the number one challenge our community had.

Friends Jumping Off Sand Dune, Moro Bay, CA

And there’s a reason for it: there are two big false beliefs I’ve found that cut right across learning composition. See if you’ve encountered either or both.

  1. There’s no way to teach composition since there are no rules or guides, it is something you just have to feel. I’m not going to name, names here, to protect the guilty, but I’ve heard if often, how one has to just develop this sense of what makes for good composition.
  2. On the other side of this pendulum lives the school of the rules of composition: The rule of thirds being the leading law cited by this camp. It’s almost as though the photo-police will issue you a citation for any violations – ooh, your subject is right in the center, how could you?
Fausto in Window, Sierra Madre, Mexico

As with most things in life, it turns out the answer lies somewhere in the middle. What I have found to be true is, yes, there are no rules, but there are guides that you can follow and from these are able to develop your visual vocabulary.

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I’m Dave Williams, here every #TravelTuesday on ScottKelby.com. Yesterday I got back from a mission in Norway where I was focussed on trying to capture some of the tranquillity and the ruggedness of the north at the change of the seasons, just at the end of the regular hiking season before the snow starts to fall. It got me thinking, which in turn made me think that I need to think about thinking. What was I thinking? What is it that makes my ‘thinking’ that of a travel photographer?

I was isolated everywhere I went – save for the odd camper or hiker here and there, it was just me. I was free to shoot what I wanted, how I wanted. But imagine the not all too unfamiliar sight of a bunch of photographers stood shoulder to shoulder, all shooting the same subject from the same perspective, no doubt using the same settings and composition. We’ve all seen it in popular places – a squad in a linear formation at the Place du Trocadéro awaiting the rising sun behind the Eiffel Tower, or the team abreast on the beaches of Malibu, CA, shooting the golden sunset beside a lifeguard tower. Each wants the perfect image, yet each has the same image.

Try as we might in situations like these our shot may be the best of the bunch, but it isn’t unique enough among a dozen similar shots. I say similar – perhaps I meant to say almost identical. Shooting that famous or familiar scene may be something we merely need to tick off our personal shot list, in which case please crack on and do it, but it isn’t the shot that’s going to bag us a buck or two. To achieve that we need to think like a travel photographer, which kinda involves thinking like a marketer as well as a photographer.

What is it about a location that makes people want to be there? What will make people want to visit? How can we represent that visually? Simply taking ten paces one way or another can make a huge difference to a scene, or even concentrating our efforts on something that is iconic of the place but not necessarily iconic in itself, like moving away from the majestic fjords and concentrating on the solemnity of a lake at a time many people won’t see it like in this shot: –

If we take a moment to think outside the box and think like a travel photographer, capturing the essence and the story of a place rather than simply it’s iconic sites, we stand a far better chance of making that sale and having our images stand out among the crowd.

The right balance of skills and inspiration can make a good photographer great. It can help us to think about what we’re doing, and what else we can be doing. A good photographer can make a mundane scene look wildly interesting and captivating, and it’s all down to the way we shoot it rather than what the actual subject is. It’s important to have a style because that helps us to create these kinds of images, but remember that our style is dynamic and our vision should be clear. When I am on an assignment it’s clear what my objective is, but when I’m shooting self-assigned it can be quite different so in those cases I like to assign myself, and I recommend you do too. Imagine the editor of National Geographic has given you an assignment – stick with it and achieve the goals and objectives in it. Make believe may seem a bit child-like, but just go with it! Think like a travel photographer, capture the essence of a place, and think about what it is that makes people want to go there and incorporate that into your shots.

Much love

Dave

PROGRAMMING NOTE: The Landscape Photography Conference starts tomorrow (it kicks off today, a day early, with a pre-conference orientation and then I’m doing a workshop at 11:00 am called “What makes a great landscape photo” for folks who are new to landscape photography. It’s not too late — you can still sign up and be with us from the start tomorrow. Details and tickets at KelbyOneLive.com – it’s a record-breaking crowd for us; hope you can make it!

This is the book I’ve been waiting for, but it’s not just me – so many people have been waiting for this one. It is from the awesomeness that is Kaylee Greer, the world’s most incredible dog photographer (and the result of what would happen if a magical unicorn and the leprechaun at the end of the rainbow had a baby), for the first time ever shares her proven techniques in a book all about getting the best dog photos ever!

I can’t believe it’s nearly here. Pre-order it right now, either direct from the book’s publisher, or from Barnes & Noble, or from Amazon, and be prepared to create images of dogs that a huge step above the rest. You will thank me!

Next Wednesday I’m Doing a ‘Book Chat’ for my New Book

I’m super psyched that this all new print version of my original classic (it’s literally the #1 bestselling book on digital photography of all time), arrived last week in Rocky Nook’s warehouse, and it’s on it’s way to book stores everywhere now. Next Wednesday at 7:00 PM ET (mark your calendar now) you’re invited to join me for a thrilling (probably not) book chat that is in the same vein as my other wonderful (stupid) book chats. I’ll share some tips from the book, I’ll answer questions about the book, about me, about life, and other time-wasting grifts that will enthrall, entrail, and enlighten (I’m not certain it will do any of those).

Plus, there will be deals. Oh yes, there will be deal.

During my awesome (lame) book chat, my publisher will be offering an insane deal on my book (and maybe a book bundle as well), and the price will probably be so low, that it will cause a horrible rift between me and my publisher, one that will probably land us in court, so take advantage of the deal that night, because the book will probably be placed under some injunction by the judge who is probably on the take to my publisher anyway. Don’t let that effect you, though — get it while it’s hot (meaning stolen, of course, but that’s for a crooked judge to decide).

If you can’t wait until next Wednesday (and I know you can’t because you’re so impetuous), you can pick it up from my publisher or Amazon or Barnes & Noble right now.

That’s it for today folks. Hope you have an absolutely fantastic week, and high five to for writing the best book on dog photography ever!

-Scott

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