Posts By David Williams

The title is equal parts question and statement this week for #TravelTuesday and I, Dave Williams, am going to attempt to tackle the title and open some conversations around what inspires us as photographers.

As creative human beings. What is it that inspires that creativity? We can be inspired by many things at various times, perhaps before we’re anywhere near our shutter button. Social media is an almost endless source of inspiration and it often hits us subconsciously, bestowing inspiration upon us without us even realising it or perhaps hitting us in a way that the inspiration locks into our memory only to come back out when we need it later on. Image-centric social media, in particular, can be packed full of amazing ideas and inspiration, ranging from subject matter to locations, and the images we see are often accompanied by detailed instructions about how a particular image was created. In summary, social media is a killer source of inspiration.

When we’re freezing a moment in time, it’s important that we utilise any inspiration we have available to help us explore our limits or creativity. Perhaps we take it from the way the light falls on the subject at a particular time of day, or maybe it’s rooted in something technical, like a lens choice. Maybe the inspiration is more challenging and it’s, in fact, something that’s missing from our scene.

Our love of photography often shines through and encourages us to seek out inspiration—finding it when it’s well hidden. To truly love our photography it helps to be shooting the style or genre of photography that we really engage well with. Put it this way: – if someone really enjoys shooting food but is shooting real estate simply to pay the bills, their inspiration can be lacking. If food photography is our passion, we need to find a way to make that our primary style.

The reason we love our particular style of photography is another great source of inspiration. Perhaps it’s the bold colours, or the complexity of the subjects, or even the romance of the models. Whatever the source of the inspiration is, if we remember why and how it inspires, we know we can actively seek it out to rekindle that inspiration.

Personally, I love to explore the world and shoot in such a way that makes people want to explore as well. I try to find angles and compositions that balance an explanation with an inquisitiveness to make people want to be there in that place. Remembering this when I have my finger on the trigger is crucial to achieving my aim and keeping me inspired whilst simultaneously engaging my audience.

Everyone has a different inspiration and a different reason for being a photographer. Whatever your reason, keep it at the forefront of your mind and don’t allow yourself to forget. At times when creativity may be lacking, seek out the inspiration that is particular to yourself and push forward with it active in your mind. If you need it, don’t forget that we have an amazing community.

Much love
Dave

#TravelTuesday has come around again and I, Dave Williams, am back here again on ScottKelby.com as always with a little tidbit from the world of travel, photography, and Photoshop. Today it’s all about the latter but it applies across the board. Let’s not waste time with the intro, here goes!

When we take photos in RAW we see a preview on the back of the screen which is a JPEG representation of the RAW image. This means it has been ‘filtered’ somewhat and looks slightly different to how the RAW image will look. One of the differences will be the saturation, and we often move the saturation slider in Adobe Photoshop when we’re back in post to get the image back to looking how it looked on the preview screen when we took the photo. The image right there with it, Vibrance, does something visually similar, but do you know the difference between them? If not, you aren’t alone!

What I’ll do today is go over the differences by splitting Saturation and Vibrance and explaining each of them, giving you an understanding of what those sliders are doing.

Saturation

The Saturation slider is so fiercely debated it could probably start a war. The Saturation slider adjusts the colours in the image. All of them! When we slide the Saturation slider to the left we gradually remove colour from the image (and at this time I’ll take the opportunity to point out the spelling of colour – I’m British – deal with it.) 

Note my choice of words there – ‘all of them.’ The saturation slider adjusts all the pixels in the image. In a practical sense, this means each pixel, regardless of the saturation it already has (high or low) which in turn means that if we slide the slider too far we’ll end up blowing out the pixels that already have high saturation.

Note my choice of words there – ‘all of them.’ The saturation slider adjusts all the pixels in the image. In a practical sense, this means each pixel, regardless of the saturation it already has (high or low) which in turn means that if we slide the slider too far we’ll end up blowing out the pixels that already have high saturation.

Vibrance

Now we know the Saturation gives the same, indiscriminate treatment to every pixel in our image, let’s see what the difference is with Vibrance. The Vibrance slider only applies a change to the least saturated colours in the image. This means it’s less likely to blow out pixels because it only focuses on the least saturated pixels and leaves the more saturated ones.

When we apply Vibrance we achieve a result that’s less surreal in comparison to using the Saturation slider. The result also appears to have more contrast, which can often be a nice touch.

Have a go at comparing the extreme ends of the Vibrance and Saturation sliders to see the difference between the two now you know this and I’m sure you’ll turn out far better images. Just remember, as always, to use the half rule for retouching: Once you’ve moved your sliders, put them to half the value and see if the result is more realistic ;)

Much love
Dave

I’m Dave Williams and this is #TravelTuesday on ScottKelby.com—the moment you’ve, undoubtedly, been waiting for all week, right? Well, I’m afraid today is going to be a bit disappointing. Today is going to be very, very boring…

Today, I want you to take on a photo challenge. Today, I want you to take something very boring and make it look very interesting. It’s as simple and as complicated as that!

Photography is something all of us here have in common. Photography is the thing that brings us all together, removing our differences. I’d love to see how we can all come together to share inspiration and learn from each other in taking a boring, mundane, everyday, commonplace object or scene, and put our artistic spin on it to make it something interesting.

If you’re up for the challenge, I would love to see what you shoot. So, if you post it on Instagram or Twitter, be sure to use the hashtag #BoringScott so the entire community can see it.

Taking on photo challenges or projects is a fantastic way to learn, develop, and stay energised as a photographer. This particular challenge has its own set of hurdles in that we often look to capture something beautiful and show it in its best light. What’s happening here is that we may have to create that “best light” in order to show off the boring subject. I realise also that each of us will have a different perception of what is boring. What’s boring for some may not be so boring for others, and it will be interesting to see these differences. 

If you’re looking for a new challenge, a new project, or something to reignite your passion during the pandemic, this challenge is perfect. You didn’t get that camera to let it collect dust. You got it to learn what it does, how it does it, and make awesome art. Only boring people get bored, as they say. Play with perspective, pick out details, look for patterns, seek symmetry, or just find the boredom around you and find out what’s defining it. I wish you luck!

Much love

Dave

Let’s have a slightly colder #TravelTuesday this week here on ScottKelby.com, I’m Dave Williams and I want to lay down two quick tips for snow photos.

After you’ve read this I’d love you to check out my new class exclusively on KelbyOne, Photographing the Arctic and the Aurora.

Following on from the Aurora tip in the video above, here are some hot snow photo tips:

Firstly, White Balance. Our camera measures the white balance by finding 18% gray in the scene, or determining what 18% gray should look like, and it measures from that point to determine what it thinks white should look like. From there it works out all the other colours and tones. There’s some serious math going on in this process and it’s all happening at lightning speed. Sometimes our camera gets it wrong, and sometimes what’s right in reality just doesn’t look right. It’s for this reason that we should shoot raw – it affords us full creative control over our white balance in post, regardless of the white balance we shot at.

When we shoot a scene blanketed in snow or encased in ice our camera can be fooled when trying to find the 18% gray it’s looking for. This often throws the white balance off, usually resulting in photos that turn out too blue. Shooting in raw and shifting the colour slider in Adobe Lightroom of Camera Raw to the right a little will help us bring things back to a truer representation of what we really saw.

The second tip is for the camera and relates to Exposure. Looking again at a scene covered in snow can fool another piece of sensing in our camera – the Exposure Meter. When we point our camera towards the subject or scene it is reading the amount of light, displaying what it determines to be the correct exposure through our viewfinder or on our screen. The large amount of snow reflecting light in our photo often causes the meter to think the scene is too bright, showing an incorrect reading and causing us to underexpose our photo. To combat this, it’s often a smart move to overexposed by 1/2 a stop to one stop when shooting a scene full of snow.

Short, sweet, and to the point, that’s my input for the week. If you want to learn more, be sure to check out my class. Have a great Tuesday!

Much love

Dave

In this challenging time in life, it can also be challenging for us to find inspiration for our photography. (By the way, top writing tip: – never use the same adjective twice in one sentence!) Anyway, let’s dive into today’s post. I’m Dave Williams, this is #TravelTuesday with Dave, and we still can’t travel…I’m not bitter; I’m just saying.

Something I’ve found myself doing, and I’m sure many of you are in a similar situation, is watching more Netflix than a healthy human being should. This got me thinking about another way we, as photographers, are able to take inspiration from the everyday things in life.

Although there are, of course, some exceptions and some bad examples, the majority of what we see on our screens is well-planned, well-choreographed, well-executed photography. Whether it’s a drama, a nature documentary, or a blockbuster movie, the scenes we see are packed full of ideas we can take away into our photography.

The biggest pointers we can take, in most cases, are light and composition.

When it comes to light, be it natural or artificial, take a moment to notice it. I mean, really notice it. Being a photographer is centered around the ability to see light. By that, I mean noticing the shadows and highlights, recognising a light source or multiple light sources, and recognising the colour of light. Applying this to what we see when we “Netflix and chill,” thinking about what it is we’re seeing, and making a concerted effort to reverse engineer how we would recreate that style of lighting, is a brilliant way to stimulate our technical and creative mind, and to stay energised and focussed when photography may be just out of our grasp.

A great way to reverse engineer TV- and movie-related photography is in movie posters. Next time you see a movie poster with a photo, rather than a graphic or CGI, take a long, hard look at it and work out what lighting you think was used to achieve that result. Top secret tip: – if there are people, take a close look at their eyes and see if you can find any softbox reflections that may give you a clue!

The other thing to look out for is composition. Almost every scene is carefully composed with writers, directors, and photographers having input into how the scene is shot. With this in mind, would you adjust the composition of any scene? Take note of the headroom given to scenes cropped on a person or a couple of people. Take note of the cut off points of people’s bodies—is it cropped at a joint, such as an elbow or at the waist, or is it different? How about depth? Is there any suggestion of depth in the scene with a distinct foreground and background? Do you recognise any compositional techniques you already use, or can you spot any you’d like to try?

Next time you find yourself letting time pass you by with your eyes glued to the big (or little) screen, take a moment to engage your photographic mind and try to develop your knowledge by recognising what is happening in order to create the scene. One big pointer here is that if a scene executed well, you won’t even consciously notice why that’s the case.

Whatever our field of photography, we can learn a lot just from Netflix.

Much love

Dave

What a start to 2021! Most of the world is in some sort of lockdown, quarantine, or isolation, and travel is certainly not on the table for a little while. #TravelTuesday today is focussed on inspiration and I hope the ways I stay inspired are just as useful for you as they are for me. I’m Dave Williams, let’s do this.

1. Take a Walk

Getting exercise when we can’t really go anywhere is essential for our physical and mental well-being. Taking the camera with us helps to keep our pixel game strong, too. Even if we just have our smartphone, we have a camera. Setting ourselves the challenge of capturing a few moments from our daily exercise is a great way to force us to look for compositions and forces us to look at the world around us in a new light to get these images and to see things we wouldn’t otherwise pay attention to.

2. Learn Something New

Picking up a new skill in photography helps us to develop our skills in many ways. The key point, in my opinion, is that anything we learn will contain transferrable skills that we can take back to our usual genre, stimulating our mind, refreshing our creativity, and boosting our skillset. Photography books, blogs, and tutorials are a great way to do this.

3. Watch Videos

There are so many awesome YouTube channels focussed on photography where ideas and techniques are openly shared and discussed. Taking inspiration from others, and perhaps even living vicariously through the lives and experiences of others, is a great escape from the walls we find ourselves contained within.

4. Gear Overhaul

You can take this one however you want to. Whether a gear overhaul to you means buying new toys or simply refreshing what you already have, that’s up to you. If you want to get something new, take advantage of this time of limited shooting to put some work in and research new gear, read reviews, and make any investment as wise as possible. If new gear isn’t an option, take the time to properly clean and refresh everything, taking stock as well of what you have that you use the most or what you don’t use at all.

5. Remember Why You Started

Taking yourself back to the foundations of your photography journey and remembering why you do it, how exciting it is, how much it makes you smile, and how it unlocks the creativity within you is so fun. Reconnecting with the origins of your passion and bringing all that into the present, along with all the ups and downs experienced along the way (and all the selfies) is one of the most important ways to keep our minds engaged and our sanity in-check while we wait for life to resume.

Whatever you do with your photography, don’t lose sight of the end of this predicament and the moment we can pick up our normal lives and get back on track with the goals we perhaps set before the world went a bit weird!

Much love
Dave

Close