Monthly Archives July 2022

It’s #TravelTuesday and I, Dave Williams, am here as always, this time writing from Pisa, Italy, where I’ve been applying the Eiffel Tower Effect on the Leaning Tower of Pisa and trying to shoot it with a different look. So far, so good, but it made me think about the preview screen on the back of the camera, and here’s something you absolutely need to know about it.

The preview screen is showing us a JPEG preview of the scene we shot, at all times. Our camera is very quickly applying presets, running algorithms, and kicking out a finessed representation of the photo onto that preview screen. As such, what we see is never going to be quite something we can call ‘straight out of camera’, or ‘SOOC’. A bunch of work has been done to the image by the camera already, so the processing has begun before we hit Adobe Lightroom when we’re shooting JPEG.

Here’s where it gets really interesting: – That image preview is still a JPEG representation when we’re shooting raw. Don’t get me wrong, we are getting a raw file to edit, but the image preview is the processed JPEG and therefore isn’t quite what the raw file is going to look like.

The reason I write this is to address the purists out there who don’t believe in editing an image at all, rather just shooting and saving. The argument that often comes up is that you should get it right in camera and although I agree in most cases it’s beneficial to get as much right in camera as possible, we now have incredible processing power on tap and very simple processes available to help us create amazing photos. Neural Filters in Adobe Photoshop, for example, are very powerful and effective, and they’re a step in the right direction for simplifying the edits we often want to make.

Next time you look at your preview screen just bear in mind that it’s showing you a photo that’s already been slightly processed and, whilst shooting, think of what you can do in post to make that photo epic.

Much love

These tips, from photographer Craig Alexander, are really helpful and right on the money (and he gets all three in under a minute. Check it out:

Craig has an entire online course over at all on selling your landscape images (here’s the link — give it a watch this weekend). Check out the official course trailer (below):

Have a great, safe, dry weekend everybody!


P.S. I’m heading up to the NECCC Photography Conference later this week – I’m speaking Friday, Saturday and Sunday. If you’re going, I hope you’ll drop by and say hi. :) 

Blind Photo Critiques with Scott Kelby & Erik Kuna | The Grid Ep. 520

It’s time for blind photo critiques again on The Grid with Scott Kelby and Erik Kuna! This week, they tackle portraits, sports, landscape, travel, nature and more. Tune in to see what tips you can apply to improve your photography

New KelbyOne Course: Getting Up to Speed with Boris FX Optics 2022 with Erik Kuna

Get your visual effects on! Join Erik Kuna as he gets you up to speed with Boris FX Optics 2022, a plug-in for Photoshop and Lightroom Classic as well as a standalone program. Boris FX has been a leader in visual effects for video and now for stills. In this class you’ll learn how to perform color grading, lighting effects, light leaks, particle generations, and more using Boris FX Optics. Starting from Lightroom Classic and Photoshop, Erik takes you step-by-step through different example workflows, from basic to more and more advanced, to help you create photographs that more closely match what you saw in your mind’s eye or even your imagination when the photo was created.


Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in 2010, and has long been one of my favorite posts of this entire long-running guest blog series. I wanted to share it here again as a reminder that, though we may not all be magazine photographers with editors, we are very often our own editors and can improve our work by heeding the advice shared here.

Mr. Loengard was one of the most influential people in the world of photography, and to me personally as his books helped me learn to see in a different way. Sadly, Mr. Loengard passed away in 2020, but his influence lives on through anyone he worked with, or who encountered his work and books. I hope this post brings wisdom and guidance.

The Role of the Picture Editor

It is not important if photographs are “good.” It’s important that they are interesting. What makes a photograph interesting? I’ll count the ways: It can be our first look at something. It can be entertaining. It can evoke deep emotions. It can be amusing or thrilling or intriguing. It can be proof of something. It can jog memories or raise questions. It can be beautiful. It can convey authority. Most often, it informs. And, it can surprise.

People lay out on the sand Long Beach while fog covers most of the cityscape in front of them.

Nothing is more important than the trust of photographers. Since they are not employees, but freelancers, photographers often operate from a disadvantaged position. Remember that:

  • You are the photographers’ advocate. No one else will be.
  • You are the photographers’ counselor, explaining the magazine to them and them to the magazine.
  • You are the final arbiter when disagreements arise with other members of the staff.

Smooth the way for the photographer. Make certain that the proper research has been done before an assignment and that there is actually something to photograph. (It sounds unbelievable to say photographers can arrive to find their subjects don’t exist but it happens.)

You should back photographers’ good ideas with conviction and shield them from misguided suggestions: Often, something that sounds intelligent doesn’t look good in photographs. Intelligent thoughts are often better in the mind’s eye than in the camera.

Other editors, with the story’s text in hand, may judge photographs by what they have read. Don’t join them. The reader sees before he ever reads and may never read if there’s nothing interesting to see.

A good subject for one photographer may not be good for another. Some photographers create a graphic and dramatic structure of a scene and then record it. Others leave a scene alone, intent on catching the ring of truth in a moment’s natural activity. Some do a bit of both. Label the extremes “posed” and “candid.”

Alfred Eisenstaedt at Jones Beach, New York.

You must spot young talent and encourage it, giving these tyros more than occasional assignments. Give those you select enough work to allow them to develop, but remember that when photographers start out, they often imitate one famous photographer or another. Challenge them to be themselves. When a photographer such as Alfred Eisenstaedt or Annie Leibovitz makes his or her reputation in your publication, everyone, including the reader, benefits.

Assistant Robert Bean and Annie Liebovitz on a gargoyle extending from the 61st floor of the Chrysler Building.

It’s #TravelTuesday and I, Dave Williams, am back once again on Scott’s blog with another micro-takeover. This week I want to cut straight through a strange thing among photographers and that thing is mutual appreciation.

Social media is a tricky playing ground right now. The algorithms on all platforms are changing constantly and it’s difficult to keep up. We’re all looking to grow and generate engagement on our posts, which we’d ultimately like to convert into clients. To do this, we need to work as a team.

Social media is awash with photos of the same places, shot time and again as a result of the rise of the influencers. I’ve recently published a book explaining how to play the algorithm and how to shoot differently so that our photos stand out, entitled The Eiffel Tower Effect. I named it this because the Eiffel Tower is perhaps the worlds most photographed landmark and it’s particularly difficult to shoot this subject in a unique way.

Back on track, though! We can do a lot to help each other by simply engaging and sharing each others social media posts, training the algorithms to see the value we bring to the party. If we want to receive engagement, we should give it. It’s a two way street and it’s definitely a team effort. We’re all in this together and in order to defeat the algorithm we have to prove within the fist hour of posting that our content provides value, otherwise it simply isn’t going to be shown. The algorithm determines that our post has value based on the engagement it receives, and on a more personable level we’re far more likely to receive engagement from others if we dish it out ourselves.

Think of this, also: – as photographers we aren’t truly in direct competition with one another. It’s ok to show appreciation for other photographers work by engaging and sharing. There will be no consequences on our own work based on our engaging with others.

That post was a hard hitting one, I know, so I won’t hammer the point too hard, but it’s something worth doing.

I’m currently in France and if you’d like to keep up to speed with what I’m up to, you’ll find my story over on Instagram.

Until next week…

Much love

A while back we did a special 4th of July episode of ‘The Grid’ all about how to take great fireworks shots. Erik (the real Rocket Man) Kuna and I covered everything from the gear to the techniques to the post-processing in Photoshop and Lightroom and lots of helpful tips along the way.

We get right to it from the start (we have a lot to cover), and if you’re looking to make great fireworks shots tonight, we give the exact time-tested recipe of settings that can’t miss!

Here’s wishing you and your family a happy, safe, and fun 4th of July. Hope you get some great shots! :)