Posts By David Williams

Welcome to another #TravelTuesday here on Scott’s blog. I’m Dave Williams, and I’m here weekly, writing for you.

Light is something you should be seeing as a photographer. If you’re not, just keep practicing and practicing and, eventually, it will just click one day and you’ll see it. Today, I want to explain what a difference it makes to landscapes and how to apply it.

 

 

Photography is the art of portraying light, right? Using light to make the subject, the model, the landscape, look its absolute best is the art form we love. In the process of learning to see light, there are many techniques we can employ, but the important thing is to keep the end goal in sight.

Photography is subjective and we want people’s interpretation of our photography to be that it’s beautiful. To do this, we need beautiful light on our subject, whatever our subject may be. Without light, there are no photographs – it’s that important.

Seeing light is the key skill that will come one day through practice. Through reading, through watching tutorials, through shooting in different conditions, and learning what changes each time, it all contributes to us learning to see light. Not to “see,” don’t misunderstand – to “see light.” Ways to practice seeing light often don’t involve photography at all. Noticing subtle differences caused by different temperatures of light cast at different times of day, through different natural filters, and falling from different angles are all the things we need to pay attention to. Watching how it falls on our hand, on the faces of people around us, and how the shadows are cast, too, are all things to pay attention to and consider when we’re learning to see light.

 

 

Relating to landscapes, visit a location time after time in different conditions and at different times, and you’ll see how the light changes the entire scene, changes colours, and even moves the scene somehow. The difference is dramatic and it truly makes such an impactive difference to see a photo with great use of light versus a snapshot with flat, dull light.

There is, in most cases, nothing as good as using natural light effectively in portraiture, as well. The light cast from a well-filtered, softened natural source of light can make a subject really pop and evoke an emotional connection between the subject and the viewer, owing to the causal effect of good use of light and nothing more.

Taking the time as a photographer to really concentrate on light and learn how to really see it will, if you haven’t reached that level, take your experience to a totally different place, and if you can see light just don’t stop practicing!

Much love

Dave

It’s #TravelTuesday again right here on Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider. Usually I, Dave Williams, take the opportunity to use this platform to share some pearls of wisdom with you all about photography, Photoshop, travel, or life. Well today I’m using this platform to do something altogether different and share some wisdom from somebody else.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen, it is my pleasure to introduce 20 year old Abdulazez Dukhan. I won’t introduce him further than that, I’ll simply share the transcript of our conversation with you here, alongside some of his photos.

 

 

I am from Homs, Syria, and now I live in Belgium. After three years of war in my home we left for Turkey. It was there that my story with art began. I started to watch videos online to learn about Adobe Photoshop. In the beginning it was hard but I wanted to learn it and develop my new skill so that I could express myself in images rather than through lots of words. I have watched many different courses and put in a lot of hours of practice to try and get better in cutting images, understand colour, and all the other knowledge that goes into retouching. Since I started  to use Photoshop I became more interested in photography, but it was so hard to buy a camera as I never had enough money. In January 2016 we left Turkey and moved through to Greece. I found myself in a refugee camp along with thousands of other people, living without any knowing of what the next day had in store for us. There I decided to start with the photography that had been on my mind. In the beginning I took photos on my phone to document what was happening around me. I decided to start volunteering to improve my English. I met many volunteers in the refugee camps. One of them was an Italian named Annalisa. When she went back to Italy she insisted that she want to send me a gift to thank me for helping. I declined initially but eventually after she insisted I said, “a small trip camera would be really helpful as I can document the situation,” and so my story started with photography – I had my first small camera. I trusted myself that I can be a photographer and I started taking photos. I made a small album, put it online, and started to take more and more photos. A Spanish volunteer, Carles, saw my work online and wanted to support it. He very generously sent me a Nikon D3300 as a birthday gift. I had an upgrade and my photos started to get better as my understanding of light, composition, and the technical elements of creativity grew. This time my new camera had manual mode and it allowed me to start practicing more, and in a better way. I spent many hours every day practicing and trying to understand the difference between ISO, shutter speed, and aperture. After almost a year in Greece I asked a German photographer friend named Geo about a lens I was interested in and I was surprised when he said “I want to buy a new camera and I want to send you mine.” I was amazed and through such generosity I now have my own professional camera. A Canon 60D. Where I lived and what I have seen has always inspired me, those who didn’t know me but believed what I believed, that I can be photographer, gave me a feeling of strength through adversity. Living in hard conditions taught me that there is no such word as ‘impossible.’ I’ve thought hard about it and I’ve decided on the name ‘AzYeux,’ which is a combination of my name and the French word for ‘eyes.’ Creating a website and brand today makes me very glad. I always wanted to have all of my work on one website. I would love to take my photography and art to a more professional level, and do commercial work, commissions, travel, and work on big projects. I would love to meet other photographers and artists who I can learn from.

 

I asked Abdulazez to briefly explain some photos of his that stood out to me. Here they are, along with his explanations: –

 


Sometimes falling down isn’t like our world. Sometimes falling down is going up, or falling up. It reminds me a lot of pain. At some points on my journey I really felt I was making the wrong choice, but then I was surprised that it was better than the others.

I have always heard about Superman but everyone knows he is just a superhero character from movies, so I wanted to show that it is not in a movie. There are many real supermen, not in the superpower or the clothes maybe, but the goals.

I wanted to make it very clear for many people why refugees leave their countries. I used art to cut the original photo and edit it.

I took this photo in Karamanlis refugee camp in Greece. The text wasn’t exactly that, it was “save me and my children it is very cold” but as it was with the kid it didn’t work so I asked permission and changed the text to message I wanted to reach to people.

Sometimes there are just scenes you see in your mind before you make a photo. While swiping photos of Syria, I saw it as something different in my mind so I took what I learned about compositing and I made it into what I was seeing.

Through photos I tried to focus on the situation, to try to reach to media and reach out to people. People have been stuck in camps for a long time and this was an idea just to try and say, “we are still here.” #IDeserveLife

Photos in the ‘I wish I could be’ series that I have taken and edited show that these kids deserve to live and have dreams just like any other kids in the world

Thank you so much for taking the time to read a little into Abdulazez’s story and taking a look at the photos he’s made through self-taught creative skills which were realised because of the opportunities he was given from the kindness of strangers. You can find him on Instagram or on his website if you’d like to see more. I’d like to thank Abdulazez for letting me share this portion of his story and his journey, and a massive thanks to KelbyOne for giving him access to their courses to further develop his skill, and to Platypod and BlackRapid for giving him an Ultra and a Sport Breathe strap to add to his collection of gear.
Much Love
Dave

Are you a little like me in that you’ve lost track of what day it is? Between Christmas and New Year’s it all kind of melts and mashes into one, but let me remind you what day it is today…it’s #TravelTuesday! Yes, that’s right, it’s time for a sprinkle of wisdom to be laid down from me to you, so let me tell you what it’s all about today!

If you want to make your photography contribute to your bank account, I’m going to show you some ways to do that. Happy New Year to you all, let’s make 2019 the year you make money from your images!

First of all, Instagram. Instagram is an easy way to make a little pocket money and some people even make their entire living from it. Take a look at Jeremy Jauncey, the founder of Beautiful Destinations. This account got in there in the early days of the gram and quickly rose to be one of the biggest corporate accounts. Now reviewing hotels and travel destinations the world over, this account puts food on the table for a whole bunch of influencers and employees. To get your Instagram account monetised you need just a handful of things: –

Consistency, engagement, and a trusted following. With these things set, which is fairly easy to do, you can apply to micro-influencing agencies who will either send you briefs or have open briefs which you can apply for. A good agency to start with is Takumi. If you don’t yet have the three key ingredients listed at the start of this paragraph, build on that first. Engagement leads to engagement, so if you interact with others it encourages them to interact with your account too. Consistency means a defined look, style or topic. And the trusted following means that your followers are actual people, not bots and not paid for!

 

 

Next up is stock. Stock can, at first, make small amounts owing to the proportion of the sale retained by the agency making the sale for you. You may get something as little as 20% of the sale, however, look at it like this: – if you get 20% of $1000 you are still making a decent whack, and in any case, 20% of something is way better than 0% of nothing.

 

 

To get involved in stock photography the key is, generally, having a library of images which are retouched in a realistic way, and having a lot of them! Get yourself on Adobe Stock, Getty Images, iStock, ShutterStock, or any of the big stock vendors by registering for an account and uploading a test submission. Take note of the submission guidelines and make sure you adhere to the rules, and once you’re in make sure you upload as frequently as possible, taking into account market trends, and bear in mind that if you offer images exclusively to one vendor it’s likely to make you more money than offering the same image across multiple libraries.

 

 

Next up is to approach publications that match your genre. Writing to editors of magazines or blogs to pitch your photography is a great way to have people license your images directly, offering exclusivity to someone in need of images like yours. This method is going to result in rejection more often than not, so make sure you’re ready for that. When you do get through to someone interested in your work, it’s worth all the hard work!

Ladies and Gents, make 2019 your year in photography! If you need any extra advice, you can always reach out to me, Dave Williams, or get involved in the discussion in the KelbyOne community.

Much love

Happy New Year!

Dave

We’re nearly out of #TravelTuesday’s for the year! How sad! I wonder what the 2019 #TravelTuesday situation will be. The Tuesdays of the future will probably be shinier and more streamlined, but for now I have one of the last 2018 #TravelTuesdays for you. I’m Dave Williams, and as usual I’m here for you, laying down what I’ve learned on my journey as a travel photographer. I hope you’re picking up what I’m putting down! Let’s go!

So, today is all about halves. The half rule, in particular. This is something that will always stick with me since I heard about it, and something that is up there with the most valuable pieces of retouching advice I have heard and can offer back to you.

Firstly, the disclaimer. Very rarely will you see a photographer’s unprocessed RAW file. You’re about to see one of mine. No judging, please!

 

 

So that’s Iceland. More specifically, if you were wondering, it’s up on the hill above the church in Vik at the southern tip of Iceland, facing east. The image is of course quite flat and unsaturated, among other things, that being the very nature of a RAW file. The retouching process comes next as part of every photographers flow, and it’s this to which the half rule applies. Let’s go to work: –

 

 

Here’s the result of my labour. The image has been processed, the sliders have been slid, and the image coming out the other end has far more dynamic range, far more saturation, far more clarity, etc etc. This aesthetically driven approach is how we all work, shifting the sliders around and judging the image by eye. The thing that happens and that we need to be mindful of is that the difference between the flat looking original versus the saturated looking result is actually quite stark but, albeit quickly, that difference is the result of a relatively gradual process whereby we see all the changes occurring along the way. What we perceive at this moment to be a great image may actually be overdone. and that’s not something we want. The half rule is applied now.

By taking the position of all the sliders to the half way points between the neutral and the resulting positions we of course apply half of the adjustment, however that half is often actually enough to have a great looking image without it being ‘overcooked.’ Take a look: –

 

 

The sliders here compared to the last version are more or less half way, with little tweaks here and there as necessary. It’s better than the original, it’s more natural looking than the second shot, and it’s done! The half rule can make a huge difference in keeping our slider-happy tendencies in check!

 

 

I’d love to know how this works for you, feel free to get in touch on my social media – you’ll fine me everywhere as @capturewithdave

Much love

Dave

It’s that time of the week again! I’m back! I’m Dave Williams and this week for #TravelTuesday, on Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider, I’m going to pick on a subject that seems to always be looming, but never fully addressed. It’s a topic that is absolutely not helping to lift any negative reputation on photographers.

With news this week floating across the internet that photographer Andreas Hvid was caught atop the Great Pyramid in Egypt, the question again has popped up: –

“What are the limits?”

I wrote before about how Russia has popularised the selfie sensation to the extent that they had to restrict certain areas and locations, owing to the risk of death and serious injury following ridiculous photographic exploits. Similarly, there has been news of people free climbing monuments and buildings for the thrill and the selfie from the top, and the whole train track thing is so ridiculous it’s basically unfathomable why people would do it. I mean, I take risks in making my photos, but the risk is calculated and manageable.

Andreas hit the headlines in Egypt having snuck around the Giza plateau and climbed to the summit of the Great Pyramid, with what he has called a “friend,” and taken a series of photographs. The images show the pair nude and in sexual poses, which quite rightly owing to the importance and sensitivity of the location, has caused fury and upset to the Egyptians.

So, what about all the other headlines that have cropped up recently? The one of the engaged couple, who died after falling from a cliff edge into a canyon, springs to mind, as do the tributes paid to a photographer who fell to his death from the top of a building. These things, as I said, are very damaging and quite rightly cause us to be looked at with a great caution when we do the not so dangerous things. The term “photographer” is also brought into question with this subject; what is a photographer? What does it mean to be a photographer? It seems that in cases like these it’s used to describe anyone who takes a photo, rather than anyone who makes a living from photography or who is known for their photography. The use of the term is damaging to those of us who do make a living this way, and it effectively brings us into disrepute. To that end, my personal message to Hvid and anyone else who discredits photographers by climbing national monuments, scaling tall buildings, cranes, posing on train tracks, or overhanging cliff edges, is this: –

You are not a photographer, you are not acting as a photographer, and you are damaging the industry in which I make my living. Your acts of clowning and fooling around are damaging my reputation and my livelihood, and your behaviour is immature and utterly ridiculous. 

To take a risk that is calculated, manageable, and in the interests of art is one thing, but to push that risk beyond any control and literally put your life on the line is quite another.

Respect the industry and know the limits.

Much love

Dave

Hello, and welcome! It’s #TravelTuesday here at Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider, which of course means that I, Dave Williams, am here, in your face, loud and proud with some industry nuggets of gold to share with you!

First off, news time:

Workshop – If you’re up for a workshop in Iceland, I’ll be running one this summer alongside my brother from another mother, Peter Treadway. Keep your eyes peeled over on my social media (@capturewithdave) for more info!

Webinar – On January 5th, on the amazing Photoshop and Photography Facebook Group, I’ll be hosting a webinar all about drones and drone photography. It’ll go live at 9 p.m. UK time, 4 p.m. EST, and 1 p.m. PST.

Photowalks – Following the awesome time we all had in London on our recent photowalk, it is my intention to run more! The good folks at BlackRapid thought this was a brilliant idea, and they’ve thrown a whole bunch of straps my way to give away at future photowalks. So, if you’re in London (or willing to get there), watch my social for more walks!

Seminar – Sorry to those of you in the USA and the rest of the world, but here’s another UK one: – In the new year, I’ll be hosting a seminar at the Sim Imaging gallery in Hatfield, Herts, and it’d be great to have you there! Again, details will go live over on my social.

So, the blog!

There are Christmas markets dotted throughout the world right now and they bring an amazing atmosphere, beautiful decorations, and sparkly lights.

The best time to take Christmas photos is during the hours of darkness when the decorations and displays are enticing and almost magical. I highly recommend that you get out and find a Christmas market or two, and get some awesome shots yourself!

Now, you and I know that rules are meant to be broken, so I’ll start with a rule-breaking example from Riga, Latvia. Christmas photos may be best at night, but that doesn’t mean they must be taken at night. Take a look: –

 

 

 

But, when we are shooting the Christmas markets and decorations at night, we need to consider the light and the action, as well as the detail.

 

 

Capturing those actions is a great opportunity to play with long exposures. With this giant Ferris wheel, I’ve taken an exposure of a few seconds to capture the movement in a very slight trail of light. It’s only possible to do this with a solid base, such as a tripod or Platypod, but carrying that extra piece of kit with you is totally worth it when you see the results.

 

 

This shot is inside the Brandenberg Gate in Berlin, Germany. When shooting a location at Christmas it’s worth incorporating the location to give the viewer a sense of place. In this image, I’ve got that hint of Christmas from the tree in view, just slightly tucked away, adding a little festivity to an otherwise ordinary scene.

 

 

At the other extreme, you can go full-on Christmas mode! In this shot, I’ve filled the entire frame with two trees, one foreground and one background element, giving the viewer an overwhelming yet beautiful feel for the season.

 

 

Going back to the sense of place, this time the situation is reversed in that the place becomes part of the Christmas scene, rather than the other way around. Christmas has clearly taken over here and overcome its surroundings, but highlighting those surroundings in amongst the action makes for a winning shot.

So, now that the Christmas holiday season has landed, spreading joy, peace on earth, and goodwill to all men, etc., etc., get out there with your camera and capture it!

Much love

Dave

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