Posts By David Williams

Good day, hey hey, happy #TravelTuesday one and all! Today this post goes live as I sit at 35,000 ft high, at a steady cruise of around 560 MPH, heading from London to Orlando in preparation for Photoshop World! It’s the creative event of the year and everyone who’s anyone will be there. You’ll see more on that elsewhere though so, for now, let’s hit a subject we can maybe learn a little something from, which today is the basics of a histogram.

So, my intention here is to explain what exactly a histogram is showing you and how to make use of it to improve your photography both in-camera and in post. It’s no masterclass, but I reckon it’ll be useful.

Why have I chosen to write about such an exciting subject? Well, it has come to my attention that there are a lot of people out there who just ignore the histogram. Sometimes it’s ignored out of ignorance and sometimes out of a lack of understanding, but its very prevalence should be sending a message that perhaps it’s quite an important tool.

A histogram is telling you all about the quantity of light in your shot, and here’s how: –

The x-axis of the histogram is showing the frequency—on the left, the darker areas and on the right, the lighter areas. The y-axis shows the quantity of these frequencies. If there are more shadows, there will be more spikes on the left. If there are more highlights, there will be more spikes on the right.

Here are the key points: –

– If you have a single floor-to-ceiling bar at the left, your shadows are clipped. Similarly, if you have one on the right, it’s your highlights that are clipped. This is causing a loss of detail in each of those respective areas.

– If your histogram is split into channels of red, green, and blue, you’ll be shown gray to indicate that all three channels are overlapping. If it’s two channels, you’ll get a different colour: yellow, cyan, or magenta. This helps to show us which channels are behaving in which way.

– A correctly exposed image gives us a histogram which is a central peak, whereas something underexposed peaks on the left and something overexposed peaks to the right.

– A histogram can help us understand the overall exposure state of an image. A histogram is, however, scientific. Science and creativity sometimes work together, but not always. This considered, remember that as well as reading a “good” or a “bad” histogram to determine correct exposure, it’s still good practice to use the histogram as a tool to help rather than as the ultimate decider.

So, what lesson is there to take from this today? Well, perhaps make it a habit to keep an eye on the histogram both in camera and in post. Learn the basics and once you have, there’s nothing wrong with staying right there. Having that base knowledge to help keep details in images and expose correctly can be a lifesaver, and although learning all the fine details of a histogram may or may not make you more of a pro, it’s certainly a good foundation in either case to grasp the fundamentals. The histogram is not optional. ;)

So for now, until next week….

Much love

Dave

Well hello! It’s #TravelTuesday and I, Dave Williams, am here as always to lay down some wisdom and stuff! So, did you know that Photoshop World is right around the corner? Of course you did! If you haven’t sorted out your ticket yet there’s still time, and even if you aren’t free to attend the whole (awesome!) conference, you can get yourself a one day ticket. I’m dying to meet as many of you as I can, so look for this guy at the bar: –

This is when Scott invited me to join him and Terry while The Grid was broadcast live from PSW in 2017. Bad move ;) I was sensible as well though!

 

This is what we in the industry refer to as ‘BTS’ ;)

 

See! Evidence that I was sensible!

 

So, let’s talk about Photoshop World today! It’s much, much more than a conference! Today, I want to share with you some of my experiences of Photoshop World, and I have all of you in mind but this is mainly geared towards the first timers out there. The legend that is Larry Becker will run an orientation for newbies right there at the conference, so take this as more of a glimpse of the things you can take away from Photoshop World—aside from the fact that you can attend a ton of classes on a range of tracks led by the cream of the crop from the creative industry. Here’s the real deal, let’s go!

First off, you know all those names you see on the KelbyOne Facebook page? The members’ images shared on the KelbyOne Instagram page? The names you hear mentioned when the comments are read out during The Grid? The names you see commenting on your Instagram posts because you’re both members of the KelbyOne community? You get to put faces to those names! Take a look: –

 

This is me with my brother from another mother, Peter Treadway, when we headed out for coffee with Gilmar Smith and Mark Rodriguez, having met them and become great friends solely because of KelbyOne and Photoshop World

 

This is me with Scott O’Neal. I’d met and chatted with him online all because of KelbyOne and it was at Photoshop World, whilst waiting to pick up my pass that I heard, “Hey, are you Dave Williams?” and we got to meet for real!

 

And again, this time in Vegas 2016, this is me with Peter and Graham Jones. Graham had flown to Vegas from the UK, and despite it being halfway across the world, it’s another one of the many examples of making and maintaining friendships through KelbyOne and Photoshop World!

 

The friendships that are made because of Photoshop World with fellow members of the amazing creative industry are a huge reason to get involved! I won’t hammer this point; I could go on about just this one thing for ages, but I’ll leave it here! Kinda clockwise from me:  Brad Moore, Dave Clayton, Jesus Ramirez, Peter Treadway, Mark Rodriguez, JR Maddox, and Cathy Baitson.

So what else?! I mean, surely life-long friendships alone is a pretty good reason to look forward to the other side of Photoshop World, but what else?

I mean, the Partner Pavilion’s pretty sweet. You know that there’s a huge gathering of awesome creatives showing their wares there too, right? So, the likes of B&H Photo Video and Platypod Tripods are joined by so many other awesome companies that we all love right in one place, waiting to meet you too! That’s a pretty “mainstream” thing about Photoshop World though, and that’s not the point of this post. It’s meant to be the other things!

 

Here’s a reason: exploration! Attending Photoshop World likely means you’re in a whole new place. So why not make the most of it and rent a Mustang and go find gators?

(Okay, my lawyer said that if you go looking for gators, it’s not my fault when you find one! Just saying!)

On the topic of exploring, this helicopter ride cost $25 and it’s right down the road from the conference ;)

 

And then there are all the extra-curricular activities! There is a whole load of things going on in the evenings. When you hear about a party being announced or “tickets being released tomorrow morning” or anything like that, jump on it!

Peter and I were lucky enough to have been sitting around a table at the Light party in Vegas with Mike Kubeisy and Meredith Holt learning what a tater tot is (I’m British, I don’t know these things!). But, it was just the coolest thing having spent a day totally broadening my creative mind to then go party the night away and make new friends.

 

Last year at B.B. King’s, there was an awesome live gig with Scott killing it on every instrument he touched, and I’ve heard a little rumour that this year a whole bunch of PSW instructors are getting up on stage to play! Make sure you get tickets for this one!

 

This is what happened in Vegas 2016 when Photoshop World took over a bar – no half measures, even the party had PSW all over it!

So, what about exploring the fact that even though it’s called Photoshop World, it’s not all about Photoshop…

Dave Clayton teaches InDesign, and this year he has a brand new class – Get Inspired by Graphic Design – where not only will you get to explore avenues away from photography and Photoshop but you can also come away with some great freebies!

 

Even the Keynote speakers at the start of Photoshop World are impactive. The energy created at the opening keynote will leave you on a high and give you all you need to survive a few sleepless days soaking up all the creative goodness like an Adobe sponge!

So, there’s all that, there’s the T-shirt toss, there’s the shipment of the biggest pile of Krispy Kreme donuts you’ve ever seen at Midnight Madness, and I feel like I’m laying down a sales pitch now. They’re never convincing so I opened the floor, so to speak, and asked a bunch of other KelbyOne family members their take on this. Here’s what they had to say!

Whether your mojo is lost, asleep, or a little unmotivated, it will sure be recharged after being in such a creative environment. You’ll get to network with some of the best creatives in the industry. You’ll leave the conference with a bag full of new tricks that will sure improve your business. You’ll make lifetime friendships and probably have a big hangover but it will be worth it! – Gilmar Smith, Gilmar Smith Photography, 5 PSW’s

For me, I’d say the best alternative thing is meeting the community. Those people you connect with on social media. It’s a great place to develop those relationships and go off and do your own trips or photo walks. I’ve made many friends from extra curricular trips as Photoshop World. Then there’s the vendor floor, getting to talk to the people who make the stuff you use and ask them questions. The prizes for feedback forms is always worth taking notice of for the last day! Filling in those feedback forms on the Photoshop World App is really important for the instructors . Check out the expo for extra classes and demos too! There’s a community area this year so make it the trip that you make new friends and create your own experience! Dave Clayton, KelbyOne instructor, 8 PSW’s

Where else can you get hands on and talk to the phoptpographer who wrote the books on the subject you’re reading? It’s a lot about interaction. Think of this as an investment. As a college course where you get to interact with the teachers who are leading their fields. Networking is huge in our industry and PSW is a great opportunity for you to do this.Robert Vanelli, Vanelli and Friends, lost count of PSW’s!

Come to Photoshop World Expo Pavilion. Meet industry leaders and the people behind the products. Get your hands on some amazing equipment and accessories, try before you buy, and seek out some hot deals and discounts!Larry Tiefenbrunn, CEO of Platypod, 3 PSW’s

As a UK based photographer who travels internationally for work, aside from the obvious inspiration and learning to be had, PSW is a huge networking event for me. In attending the conference, I’ve made some lifelong friendships and built up a number of fantastic working relationships that have resulted in me returning to the U.S. for more work. If you’re keen to go pro, then the opportunities to collaborate with other likeminded creatives can not be overstated. Simply put: You’d need a really good reason not to go, if full time photography is your goal.  Peter Treadway, Peter Treadway Photography, 2 PSW’s

Being in a building with hundreds of other brilliant creatives makes me pulse to life with inspiration and helps me push my dreams to even wilder heights. To meet people from all over the globe who are each chasing down their passions with individual fire is the greatest way to get reinvigorated and refocused on my own journey. That energy and that unparalleled artistic company is what makes Photoshop World so completely unique and so precious to me. – Kaylee Greer, KelbyOne instructor, 4 PSW’s

PSW has some of the best classes and instructors in the business. PSW has so many fun things set up to keep you in and part of the entire experience. The workbook is worth the trip alone. They have every single class in one book, so if you miss a class you don’t need to worry, it’s all right there in the book for you. One of my favourite reasons to go to PSW is to meet other great creatives in the industry. They are such a great wealth of knowledge but not only that, the inspiration I get is priceless! – JR Maddox, JR Maddox Photography, 6 PSW’s

Reason #1 – I’ll be there! Reason #2 – It’s the one place where you can learn your favourite Adobe Creative Cloud apps from the best instructors. Reason #3 – I’ll be there! Reason #4 – It’s Orlando. Reason #5 – It’s the one conference that combines learning and fun (mostly fun!) Reason #6 – It’s where all the cool kids go. Reason #7 – There’s no better place to learn Photoshop. – Terry White, KelbyOne Instructor and Adobe worldwide evangelist, All the PSW’s!

 

 

See you there!

Much love

Dave

Hey there! It’s me again, Dave Williams, which means it’s my favourite day of the week – #TravelTuesday – and that means I’m here, in your face, at Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider!

Now, if you were following along, you know that I jumped on my Triumph and spent nine days riding from London to the Atlantic Highway in Norway – 3,100+ miles if you’re asking. And guess what…I’m back! I’m still trawling through hours of footage to make a cool video to show you all, so keep an eye on my Facebook page to see when that lands. But, for today, I’ve seen inspiration in the amazing sunny weather we’re having here in London and I want to share with you this amazing little trick!

So, you know when you shoot into the sun and you get that cool bright spot and a little lens flare? Well, that’s what we’ll create here, so go ahead and choose a suitable shot or download mine right here. (Use my shot for the tutorial, use it to show us how you get on with the tutorial, but sell it and I’ll find you!) Let’s go!

First up, the prep: Open the shot into Adobe Photoshop and duplicate the layer with CMD + J (Windows CTRL + J), so we work non-destructively, then press D, then X to set your Foreground colour to white.

 

 

Down at the bottom of the Layers panel, click on the Create New Fill or Adjustment Layer icon and then choose Gradient from the pop-up menu.

 

 

In the Gradient Fill dialogue, set the Style to Radial. When that’s done, you can go ahead and move the radial gradient in the image, behind the dialogue, by clicking-and-dragging it, setting it up at the spot you want it. Next up, click on the Gradient thumbnail and a new dialogue will pop up.

 

 

What we’ll do here in the Gradient Editor is create a custom gradient just like I’ve done above. It’s tricky to explain in writing, so focus! To do this, first, select the left colour stop (the square at the bottom left of the colour ramp), then click on the Color swatch and, in the Color Picker, set it to a yellow that’s almost white. Now, select the right colour stop and set its colour to a midtone gray.

So far so good. We’ve set the centre point to a very bright colour to emulate the sun and set the outer edges to a gray, which will fade out. Now, select the centre colour stop (if you don’t have one, just click below the centre of the colour ramp and one will appear). Set this one to a very light orange, then slide that colour stop towards the lower end of the colour ramp. We’ll create two more colour stops to add some realism to what’s becoming our sun glare. We create them by clicking below the ramp, and when we select the colours, we stick with slightly different tones of yellow or orange. The result we need to achieve is that the spectrum of the gradient is very bright at the centre, the left, then changes to a darker and more orange colour for the first third, then fades to more of a yellow or even peach colour throughout the next third, and fading towards the right. Make sense? Thought so!

 

 

When we’re happy with the custom gradient we’ve made, hit OK and we’ll be taken back to the Gradient Fill dialogue. Here, we can change the Angle to suit the position within our image, and we can make it larger or smaller with the Scale adjustment. I’ve pushed mine to 120% here. When you’re happy, hit OK.

 

 

Now, near the top of the Layers panel, change the blend mode to Hard Light.

So, we’ve got the sun, and the glow, but we’re missing something. We can step this up now by adding a lens flare, so let’s go ahead and do that, too!

Click on Layer 1 in the Layers panel, and then select Filter>Render>Lens Flare.

 

 

I find that the most effective Lens Type here is the 50-300mm Zoom, so that’s what I’ve used but you can choose whichever suits your image. In the preview box, click on the centre of the sun, the gradient filter, and it will become much brighter and throw the lens flare across the image. From here, we’re almost finished; we just need to adjust the Brightness to suit the image. I’ve set mine at 125%, but set yours wherever it works and hit OK.

 

 

And, we’re done! We’ve added a very dramatic, warm, and convincing glow of the sun to our image. I hope you like it! Show me how you get on by tagging @capturewithdave when you upload to Twitter or Instagram, and until next week…..

 

Much love

Dave

 

PS – Here’s a top secret Platypod tip. Don’t tell anyone!

Hey hey! It’s me again! I’m Dave Williams, and every #TravelTuesday I’m right here at Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider to share some of my bountiful wisdom from the worlds of photography, Photoshop, travel, and life. Well, today it’s the last two—travel and life! I’m writing this post today from aboard the SuperSpeed ferry from Kristiansand, Norway to Hirtshals, Denmark, and I’ll try to explain my wanderlust.

So, if you’ve been following along on the KelbyOne Instagram story, you’ll know that I’m currently on a mission where I’m riding across Europe from my hometown of London. The purpose of the trip is twofold: (1) to have a little adventure, and (2) to shoot and write for three projects for companies who are involved in my trip—namely Platypod, Triumph, and Sim Imaging. It’s point number 1, though, that I will be exploring with you here.

My wanderlust, my thirst for travel and adventure, is strong and deeply rooted. A little-known fact about me is that I lived in South Africa for eight months, in a little place named Franskraal, just outside Gansbaai which sits between Cape Town and Cape Aghulas. I lived in this tiny little village on the coast, spending my days exploring the countryside and seeking out wildlife, and I spent my evenings dining on fresh, local fish and meat whilst watching the sun go down over the South Atlantic Ocean as the whales leapt and waved their fins at me. Before this, I’d been to a handful of countries whilst growing up—Spain, Greece, France, Barbados, Germany, and the U.S. (Disney World in Florida). It’s this experience that kick-started my desire to travel and see the world. But, then there’s another factor that comes into play: the camera.

I remember being given a camera by my parents on my 14th birthday—a Nikon F40, I think. I’d looked at photography and I wanted to be able to do it, too. I wanted to be able to make great images. To show the world as I see it. Through my eyes. I spent quite some time coming to grips with how it all worked. I wasn’t reading much, but I was experimenting. I was getting used to what happened to my photos when I changed various settings. I was learning about composition. I fancied myself as a bit of a ‘”proper photographer” and kept learning through doing.

Fast forward a number of years and combine the two, and now I was in a place where I’d returned home from South Africa after a few fails. I knew that one thing I wanted to really push harder with was my photography and another was my desire to see more of the world. I got my first DSLR, a Sony Alpha. I was now able to make more photos and spend less money doing it! I was coming to grips with Photoshop too, starting with the cheesy things we all hate like selective colouring, but also the essential things to learn how it all worked!

So, pushing on a bit more, my first “big” solo trip was to Iceland. I fell in love with it, and in fact, with what I can only describe as difference. I like to compare the world with my world. See how other people live. See what’s good about other cultures. It’s true to say that you only appreciate what you have when it’s gone. And, this relates here because it’s only when you go deep into another culture or another place that you really see what you have at home and appreciate it more, while also bringing back positive influences and ideas from the places you visit. Take the Danish concept of Hygge, for example. This mindset, which apparently makes the Danes the worlds happiest people, can give us so much in our lives and it’s only through exploring this idea and this culture, then comparing it with our own, that we can really benefit from it. The Icelandic have a phrase that I absolutely love, and it’s only through coming into difficulty while in Iceland that I know about it. I was in the Westfjords at the Arctic Fox Centre shooting a pair of awesome fox cubs. My camera broke, it was a very expensive one, and it had sustained water damage from a waterfall. I was able to borrow a camera for the rest of my trip, so the few days remaining weren’t wasted, and I was told at the time, “thetta reddast.” My expression must’ve reflected the ultimate confusion when it was uttered to me, but when I asked what it meant it made perfect sense. The explanation I was given from Midge, who’d said it to me, is this:

“Thetta reddast. It means everything will turn out fine. Things happen, you have no control over them, and whatever is happening just know that it’ll all work out and everything will be alright.”

Well, that nailed it! It’s hard to understand sometimes, of course, but everything will be fine. Everything will work itself out. So, it’s little things like this, little bits of learning from across the world and the feeling of accomplishment and knowledge when I go visit another part of the world, along with seeing new landscapes and the amazing things we have on our planet, that drives me to see as much as I can. It’s only been a few years that I’ve been traveling hard, and in that time my goal was to get the number of countries I’ve visited higher than my age. I’m happy to say that I’ve achieved that and I fully intend to keep it that way for as long as I possibly can!

I love to travel and to see the world and all the amazing things it has to offer, and I love to share the images I make, too. I ran this quote past Scott and he laughed at its weirdness, but I’ll put it out there:

“Lend me your eyes and I’ll show you what I see.”

I will. Let me show you what I see, and let me inspire you to please see as much of this world as you can. You only get one shot, after all. Don’t let things pass you by, grab opportunities and, indeed, make them, too. Wanderlust is real.

Much love

Dave

It’s #TravelTuesday right here at Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider, which means that I, Dave Williams, get to drop in again and share a little something with you all! Aren’t you lucky!

Well, here in London, it has stopped raining for a few minutes, so what better time to drop a top tip for shooting in the sunshine. In the upper half of the world, the days are getting longer, the sun is getting brighter, and the cocktails are tasting better. When we don’t perhaps have the time to shoot during the golden hour times the sun can be something of a hinderance, but that’s only if we let it be. With these tips, you can overcome the hurdles it presents and make the most of shooting at the time when we’re all told as photographers not to! Here goes!

The dynamic range in this shot at the Vatican is immense, but still, with seven bracketed shots and the right post-processing, we have all the detail across the entire spectrum

Shooting bracketed shots, three is usually enough, and merging them into an HDR image goes a long way in reducing the glaring highlights and dangerously deep shadows caused by bright, direct sunlight on a summer scene. I’m not talking over-processed, high-vibrance, unrealistic HDR here, I’m talking about using the benefits of a High Dynamic Range to bring balance back to a photo which would otherwise have a lot of contrast and, therefore, not show off your scene. Using the Merge to HDR function in Adobe Camera Raw is the most straightforward way to do this—just select the images you wish to merge, then Right-click and choose Merge to HDR.

This blend of 2 bracketed shots was just enough to expose for the highlights and the shadows touching down in Utah

High Dynamic Range shooting and processing is absolutely ideal for bright, sunny conditions where you lose details and where your image loses quality. You can have a potentially amazing composition of an amazing subject, but if your image is clipped or your shadows are hiding awesome details, then you’re letting your image down straight from the get-go. That’s what I’m trying to tell you, though—it doesn’t have got be that way! There are people out there who are still put off by HDR’s history of being a bit too “in-your-face-surreal,” but it’s just not like that anymore. Well, not unless you want it to be!

Any excuse to show goats in a tree! The three bracketed shots here are blended to keep the look as realistic as possible, with no high saturation and no surrealist look

When you shoot with your iPhone, turn on HDR or use Auto-HDR on a sunny day to capture well-balanced images, and when it comes to your DSLR or other camera make sure you know how to shoot bracketed images. Over on KelbyOne.com, you can learn all about the specifics of how to merge your images using different techniques that give different results, and I urge you to start doing it now that the sun’s back out!

Much love

Dave

Hey hey! It’s #TravelTuesday and, here on Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider, that means I’m back again! I’m Dave Williams, a travel photographer, and educator from London, UK, and this week I’m going to share what I’ve learned about using the power of Instagram to build your photography client base.

We know that Instagram is jam-packed with images and videos, and we know that the new algorithm is geared toward paid promotion. We also know that Instagram Stories are a key part of getting yourself seen. But, knowing that, it’s still a big platform for building clients and is a powerful marketing tool in itself, even a money spinner all on its own.

So, there are some guidelines that we should follow to help maximise our reach. Big corporations are paying people as full-time social media managers, and it’s these corporations who we need to have on board and who we want to notice us. We want our Instagram accounts to attract new customers, connect with other professionals, and to expose ourselves to the world!

We all love a list, and here’s my list of top tips for working Instagram the right way: –

1. Hashtag Your Posts

On all social media now, Facebook included, hashtags are a search term. There are hashtags out there which relate to places, to products, to moods, to companies—literally everything. When we post to Instagram, we can include up to 30 hashtags each time, either in the post itself or in the comments. Tagging your posts with relevant hashtags is a great way to get noticed by having them searched effectively. Bear in mind that there are hashtags which are just totally overused, so while it can be good to use these popular hashtags, they are actually very competitive, and you’ll quickly get lost in the feed. So, to combat that you should also use non-generic tags.

2. Connect!

If you want people to interact with you, it should go without saying that you need to interact with them too, right? So, if you post using a hashtag, you should search that hashtag for yourself and see who else is using it, what they’re doing with it, and reach out and connect with them. Pay a compliment—it may come back to you! Whoever your target audience is should also be part of your connection plan. Follow and interact with the accounts that fit your target audience—you’ll find that this is a great way to build connections.

3. Be Professional and Courteous

This kind of relates to connecting. If somebody leaves a comment on your post, leave a reply. They’ve taken the time out of their day to pay you a compliment, so take the time out of yours to be thankful.

4. Have a “Look”

It’s, hopefully, obvious that if you want to be searchable on Instagram your account needs to be public, and when people find you it’s important that you stand out from the crowd and that you have a brand or a look that makes them want to connect with you. Write a simple, effective bio that tells people exactly who you are, what’s going on here, and why they should hit Follow. Then, taking a look downward, your feed should be considered a kind of portfolio. That’s your showcase. Your highlight reel. That’s what you’re giving the world if they follow you, and it’s also what a marketing exec who finds you can see and base their decisions on! Make sure you are showing off what you can do and demonstrate your photographic skills here.

5. Network

If you take a good look around, you’ll notice that a lot of the big name accounts in each industry all communicate with each other. In the photographer’s genre, they can quite often be seen mingling in each other’s stories. There’s a reason for this, and it’s the power and value it offers your business from recommendations and, of course, from recognition. Instagram is a part of social media. It’s this word—social—which is the big clue here! Instagram is a fantastic way to build relationships. Harness that!

Most of all, enjoy the experience! Your photography business can be built on Instagram, or it can be built with Instagram. In either case, use these tips to build relationships and to build opportunities! You can start by connecting with me and if there’s anything I can do to help, just reach out!

 

Much love

 

Dave

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