Monthly Archives August 2021

Hi team! It’s #TravelTuesday and I, Dave Williams, am here again! This week, I’m coming at you from a piece of woodland on the English/Welsh borders where I’m topping and tailing some work, putting the van through its paces to make sure it stays in one piece under some extreme circumstances, and waiting to be joined by Kersten and Nick from the Camera Shake Podcast who are arriving tomorrow to do some recording with me. It’s all go! Here’s a water test I did yesterday with the van, making sure it could successfully ford a river.

It’s held up against everything here so far, including some very steep inclines and declines. Go Kofifernweh!

Today isn’t about the van or my life though, it’s about addressing something I’ve answered personally this past week when asked this particular question by someone, so I’m sure there must be more of you out there wondering the same thing. I’ll paraphrase the exact question, and here it is: –

Do I have a problem if my account is followed by inactive or fake followers?

The reason behind this question was an e-mail received, which I’m sure had informed the recipient that they had successfully performed a “scan” or “reviewed your account” and determined that they have lots of dangerous, inactive followers on Instagram. It’s strange how “scan” and “scam” are so linguistically close to one another, isn’t it? Well, it’s safe to say that while the identification and removal of ghost followers can do us a favour, I wouldn’t be paying someone else to do it. Not at the least because you’d have to give them your account password!

The first thing we can do is time travel somewhat and ensure we never do anything that will inherently bring ghost followers in the first place, like buying likes, subscribers, followers, comments, out anything similar where we’re promised “growth” or “boost” because these will all be fake. These will do more damage than good.

If we find ourselves in a position where we have ghost followers, we can deal with it ourselves. It may be quite a laborious and boring process though, so we need to determine whether it’s even worth it. Here’s your metric: –

If our account has an engagement rate of 5%, we’re doing good. If it’s above 3%, we’re doing fine.

To work this out just take a post…

…and look at the stats.

My engagement is therefore 9.48% on this post. If we do this a few times for different posts, we can get a rough idea of our engagement rate. If percentage isn’t your thing, make a note of this: –

( (Likes + Interactions) / Accounts Reached ) x 100 = Engagement

So, what about the ghost follower thing? Well, it all depends on whether you think it’s affecting your engagement. Here’s why: –

If we’re being followed by accounts that are not offering anything to our engagement, they’re no good to us. The total number of followers may be great for your street cred, but it does nothing when it comes to monetising and valuing your account. If we had a bunch of followers who aren’t engaging with our posts, or even seeing them at all, they’re just no good to us.

We can deal with them by trying to identify them ourselves. A ghost account has a strange username, a disproportionate number of people it’s following in relation to the number who follow it, and a highly suspicious set of photos, if any photos at all. Take a look at this one: –

No profile picture, no posts, and following 6,409, whilst somehow followed by 1,681 with no content…. very odd!

It can be a good idea to go through your followers and remove these by simply blocking them, thus removing them from your follower count. This will help a little, and if you’ve ever paid for followers, it will help your engagement a lot to remove them.

Good luck with the ‘gram!

Much love

PS. You can see more about my van here.

Want to do something for your photography journey that will absolutely, positively make make an impact? Stop what you’re doing, and right now take two minutes and make a print.

If you don’t have your own printer, send it to an online lab (I use both BayPhoto Lab and — both make great prints and both have world-class customer service, and if you don’t already have a lab, try either of these — you’ll love them). You just open an account, upload your image, choose your size and they take it from there. In a day or so, your print arrives. Couldn’t be easier.

Make it a large sized print

You can get a 16″x24″ print from or for around for $24. There are few ways you can spend $24 today and effect you or someone you love (a gift?) that can have a bigger impact than a print.

OK, let’s make this happen (you’ll be so glad you did)!

Have a great “Make a Print” Monday! (our first one this year). :)


P.S. The Photoshop World Conference is just a few weeks away. Details and tickets here.

How Would I Edit Your Photo with Scott Kelby | The Grid Ep. 481

Have you ever sat down to edit photos after a take and wondered to yourself, “How would Scott Kelby edit this image?” Well, now is your chance to see! On the latest episode of The Grid, Scott takes viewer photos and shows how he would approach their processing. This episode is full of great examples of editing, so you won’t want to miss it.

New KelbyOne Course: Working a Scene: Building with Small Flash with Joe McNally

“Lighting tools have evolved to a place where even small, hot shoe style flashes can be brought to bear in complex ways to create an entire scene that has nuance, color, depth, and dimension. Environmental portraiture and the idea of lighting an entire place was often regarded as the province of big flash. Not so anymore. In this session, our unique studio (formerly a bank) is transformed via small flash into a complex dramatic location photograph.

Every person or situation that presents itself in front of the lens to photographers is unique and demands equally unique solutions and reactions at the camera. But often in the tumult of an actual assignment, there is no time to parse out the exact look of an umbrella, a softbox, or a beauty dish, or how all these can work together in concert. In this fast-paced session, we’ll take light shaping tools, and work with the same face, in the same environment, and observe.”

I, Dave Williams, am back again for another #TravelTuesday on I’ve been busy settling into this van of mine and trying to work out where everything goes whilst still working hard on my many projects. My plan to hit the road out of the UK is still on track and, as of today, there are 66 days to go until departure day. It’s all very exciting and I can’t wait to go, but I need to be patient and make sure everything is exactly as it should be before I leave to save myself from any nasty surprises.

These past few days I’ve been tucked away in the New Forest, one of the UK’s few National parks. It’s on the south coast not far from the city of Southampton and it’s famous for its roaming horses and deer. Whilst out exploring, I came across some of the local wildlife.

I was prepped for horses, so the donkeys came as a surprise and I just had to go and say “Hi!” A little herd of them were hanging out and as soon as I parked up they wandered over and immediately tried to make friends—probably in an attempt to get hold of whatever goodies I had in the van. They seemed to like it and I was surrounded. They were rubbing up against it, licking it, chewing it, and clearly having a great time. Herein lies the first tip for taking photos of animals: –

When we shoot images of animals it makes a huge difference if we change our perspective and get to their level. When we shoot from our usual perspective, which is usually straight down, there’s not a lot in the photo to grab people’s attention or be interesting enough, whereas when we get to the animal’s level and shoot them from a different perspective, we’re onto a winner. So that’s tip one— stick it in the bank—get to their level.

The next day I was busy minding my own business, as I usually am, when I was surprised to see another animal I wasn’t expecting. A hairy highland cow! I hope you’re ready for tip number two because it’s coming!

This time I opted for a different technique. Do you notice how this cow looks larger than life, almost like a hero? Well, that’s all down to getting lower than the subject. It applies to humans just as much as it does to highland cattle. If we get a perspective that’s lower than the subject and makes us look up at them, breaking the horizon by a long way, we make the subject look like a hero. Think about it—Superman standing with his cape flapping in the wind, with his gaze fixed on the distant scene of impending doom that he’s no doubt about to resolve…it’s seen from below.

Here’s the difference: –

Okay, maybe there’s a bit of exaggeration there, but hopefully, you get the point. Changing our perspective and making the subject a hero can make a massive change to our images.

Much love


Happy Monday, everybody. I had planned on sharing my Oshkosh Airshow photos today, but I’ve been so swamped with other stuff (getting ready for Photoshop World, working on my next book, etc.), I really haven’t had to chance to work on ’em yet (other than what I showed on last week’s Grid). However, one of these memory card tips came up at the house where all the guy’s were staying last week, and I thought I share it (and a couple more) tips to kick this week off right. Here we go:

TIP ONE: Seeing Which Cards Are OK To Use At a Glance

This is one I’ve been using for years and it’s really helped keep me out of trouble. First, I keep my cards in a card wallet (I use the the Think Tank Photo SD Pixel Pocket Rocket), and it holds 9 of my Lexar Pro SD cards. That’s not the tip.

Once I’ve filled up a card in my camera, I take the card out and swap it with a fresh one, but the tip is: when you put the used card in your wallet you turn the card backward (as see above top right) so the label is facing away from you. That way, you know at a glance which ones are full and which ones are fresh and ready to go.

TIP #2: Protecting Your Images

Once you’ve filled an SD memory card, if you want to make certain you don’t accidentally erase that card (and lose al your images), there’s a small switch on the side of the card (shown circled above in red) you can toggle on/off that locks the memory card and keeps you from accidentally erasing important images. If you put the card in your camera it will tell you the memory card is locked (and it won’t let you write to it until you switch that lock button off).

TIP #3: When it’s OK To Erase Your Card

Some of the best tips you learn the hard way (ouch), and here’s one that will keep you out of trouble. It’s a rule I go by and that is: Before I erase any memory card (even if I’m on the road and have limited cards with me), I don’t erase any memory card until I know I have TWO other separate backups, in two different place. So, one could be on my laptop or iPad, and one would need to be somewhere else, like an external hard drive, but until I know I’ve got two backup copies, I won’t erase that memory card. Once you’ve got two backups, you’ve got some peace of mind that you’ve covered.

Hope you found those tips helpful. :)

The Photoshop World Conference kicks off at the end of this month

It’s going to be epic! Three days, three tracks, an incredible team of instructors, and it’s all online, so anybody anywhere can be a part of it. Tickets, the list of instructors and class schedule are right here.

Have a great Monday, everybody!


P.S. Today over on LIghtroomKillerTips I did a short video tutorial on how to move your Lightroom images from a laptop or a desktop computer to an external hard drive without all hell breaking loose. Here’s the link if you’ve got a sec.

Getting Great Photos at an Airshow with Larry Grace | The Grid Ep. 480

This week on The Grid, Scott Kelby is joined once again by aviation photographer Larry Grace to talk about how to get great photos at an airshow! As an Air Force veteran and the president of the International Society for Aviation Photography, plus experience photographing 75+ airshows and air-to-air work, Larry is the perfect person to help set you up for success.

New KelbyOne Course: A Photographer’s Guide to Model Release Forms and More

Join Jack Reznicki & Edward Greenberg for a close up look at releases used in photography. Commonly referred to as model releases, but it would be more accurate to think of them as person releases, which can apply to anyone from a professional model to your neighbor down the road. Jack and Ed discuss the laws that cover releases, various types of releases, exceptions to those releases, what makes someone recognizable in a photo, as well as their thoughts on photographing in public places. Be sure to download the provided files to add to your photographic toolbox.