#TravelTuesday has come around again, and the lockdown is still confining many of us to within our four walls. It’s important to maintain mental well-being, as well as social distancing, and education is a great tool for that because of the stimulus it creates. Looking at it from a photographer’s perspective, we know that we have two main elements to being creative: producing content and consuming content. We take and retouch photos to demonstrate our creativity, but we also read, watch, and learn from other sources to test our creativity and absorb ideas, opinions, and creative processes.
When learning about photography I turned to books, YouTube, KelbyOne, blogs, practice, all manner of methods. One thing worth noting here is that four of those five things are attainable during lockdown and the remaining one, practice, can be done indoors or out, so it isn’t 100% ruled out.
I have a couple of ideas to put out to you this week to help you learn and practice. Let’s start with learning: –
Reading about photography is a great insight into some of our favorite photographers’ minds, and these books are a wealth of valuable information because the time and effort that has gone into creating them to ensure their success is a huge priority for the authors and the publishers. If you haven’t read them already, some great places to start are with Scott’s The Landscape Photography Book, Glyn Dewis’ Photoshop Like a Thief, Dave Clayton’s How Do I Do That In InDesign?, and of course, I have a Northern Lights book out (and I think we may just about be back to normal in time for next season!).
When it comes to YouTube, Glyn is high on the list again, with an awesome recent video about printing. Among KelbyOne instructors, Terry White, Unmesh Dinda (PixImperfect) and Colin Smith (PhotoshopCAFE) have some great videos on Photoshop, while Larry Becker will show you some tech and how to use it.
KelbyOne classes are always a go-to for learning, but right now, as well as the plethora, née, the smorgasbord of classes, there are live streams accessible to all by Scott and the team.
In terms of blogs, you’re already on a great one, but there’s also Scott’s Lightroom Killer Tips, and I also write for DIYPhotography where there’s a load of inspiration and news.
But then, there’s the practice. If you want to practice at home, I made a terrible little eBook, which you can download here, and I have now taken it up a gear by making 31 of my RAW files from around the world available for download. So long as you only use them for personal use, you may do as you wish. I’d love to see your interpretation and retouching, so be sure to tag me – I’m @idavewilliams on every platform. Here’s what Cheeky Nando made from one of them, from the Lofoten Islands, Norway.
#TravelTuesday is lacking 50% of the elements required to fulfill the name right now, but we steam ahead regardless. Today my plan is to take you to some parts of the world for an insight into what’s going on with the members of Team Epic (or QuaranTEAM Epic, for now.)
Here in the UK, we effectively went into lockdown last night, so there will be some changes here for the coming weeks.
Team Epic is a rogue band of photographers of which I am a proud member, and we have members spread throughout the northern hemisphere. Let’s check in with them right here, right now, and see what self-isolation means for them.
I returned from a two week trip to India at the end of February this year just as it seemed the world had begun to shut its borders and whole cities started to go into lockdown.
When I left the UK, there were just three reported cases of COVID-19 in the whole country but at the time of writing, there are now 5,683 confirmed cases, with London (my city) making up a disproportionately large percentage of that number. It may come as no surprise then that I am currently five days into a 14 day isolation period, due to my wife presenting with symptoms of the virus last Tuesday! (She’s fine, BTW. Luckily for her, it was a few days of fever and achiness and now a dry cough.) As such, we are currently holed up in our house, so as not to spread the disease further.
As well as currently being isolated though, all of the weddings I was due to shoot over the next few months have now been postponed until later in the year. So what does a wedding photographer with all that time on their hands do? Well, I’m actually quite looking forward to doing all those little photography admin type jobs that are constantly being put off to shoot paid work. So I’ll be updating my website, curating new portfolio galleries for prospective clients and starting to design some new marketing material. There are also personal projects that I shot ages ago but never edited, images from the most amazing photo trips with friends that have yet to see the light of day and, most excitingly for me, I now have time to start building the YouTube studio in my garage that I’ve been planning for years and (hopefully!) eventually start making some photography related video content. None of this would have been possible without this enforced break in work.
So although things may look pretty bleak right now, it does at least give us a chance to stop, catch a breath and take stock of everything we’ve achieved and what is yet to be achieved with just a little hard work (and some unexpected spare time).
So stay safe, stay well and especially important #stayhome to beat this thing!
Right now I am self-isolating and have been doing so for the past week, except on Mother’s Day when I went to the beach to photograph sunrise and it was so quiet that social distancing was easy enough.
During that time, I’ve been busy catching up on editing my work from previous weeks but from next week onwards I plan to do as much as I can on my very long “to-do” list, starting with making a new website, which Roby Pisconti has kindly offered to help me with. But, for now, I can be found on Instagram.
Also on my list is to make some digital backgrounds for my newborn photos, knit some hats and maybe an outfit for them too. I also want to learn digital painting but that might take me a bit longer than a few weeks.
Ireland has many Instagram accounts that are giving daily photography challenges, workouts and musicians playing live to keep everyone’s spirits up.
So whatever you do during these weeks in isolation, make the most of it, enjoy it and #staysafe.
This is Chicky Nando reporting from a secret bunker near Lisbon, Portugal. Well, not really secret, and certainly not a bunker. Just like everyone else, I’m stuck at home! So far, so good.
I’ve been really busy riding the coronavirus tsunami the best I can, running my IT company and trying to run my photography business. While photo walks are not possible at the moment, and neither is Lightroom training in class, being stuck at home, I have reinventing myself and I’m now working as your personal Lightroom Classic tutor, helping Lightroom users one-to-one. I’m also cooking a lot, taking care of my mom and my son, and checking on my daughter who lives in a different country. I’m also in contact with friends across the world, and that includes Team Epic, obviously! I’ve been mostly worried for my friend Roby Pisco who is in Italy: in case something bad would happen to him, he promised me his lens as long as I wouldn’t tell his family how much he paid for them! I prefer to be able to shoot with him again, even though he does have some nice gear… 😊
Soon, everything will be fine, and we will all have a blast at Photoshop World (or whatever it will be called in 2021). Stay healthy! Stay inside! And wash your hands!
It’s the fifteenth day of quarantine here in Padua in the Veneto region, the second Italian region most affected by Covid-19. The latest decree issued today by President Giuseppe Conte orders the closure of any unnecessary activity that adds to the closure of schools, bars, restaurants and all places of congregation. We can only leave the house if we have a proven need, such as to go shopping, go to work or provide assistance to the sick, and we must bring a self-certification with us. If we leave without reason, we are liable to a fine in case of a police check. In the evening the silence is surreal, looking out from my balcony I can’t even hear a voice in the distance. Sounds like an apocalyptic scenario, doesn’t it? Instead, it is the strength of a Country that reacts to the threat of the virus with the only weapon available – isolation.
How do you spend day after day at home? Well, you have no idea how many things you can do when you have so much time to spend. They have already told you about books, the internet, online courses etc., but here are five things that will surely commit you and make your day productive:
1. Reorder the drawers. We all have a drawer at home where, for years, we have accumulated all sorts of things: – old photos, odds and ends, keys we don’t know what door they open.
2. Change the arrangement of furniture in a room. In addition to being rewarding, it is also excellent exercise. Once you are done you will find that it was better before but this is another story.
3. Experience new types of photography. For three years I had everything needed for the “Water Drop Photograph” in the drawer (the one in point 1), I finally used it and the results were really satisfying.
4. Learn to play the ukulele. Contrary to popular belief, the ukulele is a complete fun instrument and thanks to its small size, once the quarantine is over, you can always carry it with you and your friends will thank you very much.
5. Paperclip Game. I’ll let you find out what it is by clicking here. Just know that it is addictive.
As you can see, staying at home for many days creates a lot of opportunities. For example, I discovered that the floor of my kitchen has exactly sixty-two tiles and that to go from the bathroom to the bedroom it takes nine steps, eight if I have slippers, only eight can you believe it? Staying indoors also does not create any problem for your mental health, believe me, the pink unicorn, Goofy and the king of rock and roll Elvis who are sitting in my living room confirmed it to me two minutes ago.
To conclude seriously, I want to leave you some advice derived from my experience. Wash your hands often, avoid crowded places, stay home as much as possible, call neighbors to find out if they need anything. The period is bad and it will probably get worse but together we will be able to overcome it.
In my part of the world, Nashville just went into lockdown like NYC and LA, and all bars and restaurants are closed statewide, the exception being the latter can do takeout and delivery. Some people are worried because a lot of people came into the Smoky Mountains area for their Spring Break (schools are normally closed for a week this time of year). They brought tourist dollars but did they also bring COVID-19?
Right now, most of Tennessee’s cases are in Nashville. So, what am I doing? Well, there is my book writing. But I am also thinking of how my business will recover financially. A lot of people will come back to work slowly and I think photographers have to make some adjustments to help them. I may offer different price points, as an example. But when this passes, I do think people will have a greater appreciation for what is important in life.
Expect more weddings, more celebrations – and above all, MORE BABIES!
I’m in the self-isolating crew, too, with the exception that I sometimes have to isolate myself at the office for webinars (see above), where I’m the only one on the set, so we all keep a safe social distance from each other. My co-host for The Grid, Erik Kuna, is across the room from me on a different set, and we only have one person in the broadcast booth (either Jason or Ron), and no cameraman on set — they set the cameras in place before I get there, so the set is literally empty when we broadcast, but we’re preparing for an official lockdown where Erik and I will Skype in from our homes to do The Grid and webcasts so we won’t even be in the same building.
Yesterday I did a live online full-day seminar for the photographers in Houston who signed up for my live seminar (I was supposed to actually be in Houston teaching), and tomorrow I’ll do the same thing for photographers in Los Angeles. It’s weird because when we took our lunch break, we’re all sitting 20-feet from each other, but that’s the way it has to be for now.
I’m not really doing anything shooting-wise, but I’m watching online videos and trying to learn new things, which I love, so I feel I’m still moving ahead even though I’m not actually holding a camera in my hands.
At home (we don’t go out, and haven’t for a while now), I’m working on putting together a home recording studio (for music, not webcasting), and so I’m working on some songs right now (I’m in the middle of recording all the instruments for Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar On Me” — I download the original vocal track from youtube, then I recreate all the instruments myself, playing all the guitar parts, bass guitar, and drum parts). My goal is to make it so you can’t tell the difference from the original, and that takes a lot of time and research, and of course, I have to learn to play all those parts. The whole process can take up to two weeks for one song, but if you don’t go to those lengths, it sounds like karaoke, so it’s a lot of work, but a lot of fun when it starts really coming together.
The kids are all here, so that makes it so much fun, and we play card games, and board games and playing online games together. Everybody stays indoors all day, but sometimes my daughter gets stir crazy so we take a 30-minute drive. We don’t get out of the car — just a change of scenery. Kalebra is spending time in her studio, mostly drawing and listening to smooth jazz (LOL), but she loves it in there. The doggos are having a ball with everybody here — they’re getting even more attention than usual (if that’s possible).
We’re trying to make the best of this downtime, and enjoying being together as a family, but I can’t wait until this is all behind us. I worry about my friends, like my friends in Team Epic, and I worry about our staff, and our friends and family, and our country and the economy, and the world. I worry about the photographers struggling to find work right now, and I worry about restaurant servers and staff and their situation. I guess I’m doing a lot of worrying, but I’m also doing a lot of praying for everybody, too. We could all use another prayer or two. Thanks to everybody who sent me a note that they’re saying ones for me and my family. It means more than you know. Hope you all stay safe. Brighter days are ahead.
As portraits of people is now a little harder due to social distancing, my aim for this time is to get some great portraits of my two rescue dogs. They are notoriously terrible models, as they never listen and I more often than not get their back ends whilst they’re walking away! (See image for example!) So I’m going to watch Kaylee’s class on KelbyOne to grab some tips for dog photography and fingers crossed, get some print-worthy shots of my fur babies! I’ve been meaning to do this for a while now, so this is giving me the time to really focus on this goal!
#TravelTuesday doesn’t seem to involve a lot of travel right now, but nevertheless I, Dave, am here for you! I’ve got your back, people! I’ve done the whole COVID-19 topic already, and we all know what we know about that, so let’s focus on something a little happier—spring!
Spring is right around the corner and that means changing photographic opportunities. For me, it means less snow and ice, or a different kind at least. I have a trip to Iceland coming up (fingers crossed) and spring there is just beautiful, but what opportunities can springtime bring us in general? What can we focus on?
Seeing as everyone loves a list—here’s a list!
1 – Consider the Wider Scene
There can be a temptation to shoot narrow. The spring vibe is all about flowers, blossoms, birds, and bees. To shoot these subjects, we tend to focus on them, and them alone. We can shoot these things within a larger scene, allowing them to be a feature of the photo rather than the subject of it. I feel like I’ve said that a lot—maybe it should be my tagline! But it’s true, we can take a step back and let composition be king. Blossoming flower beds rather than an individual flower can, if shot correctly, be awesome! Take a look at this shot at Provence in France for an example to iterate my point—the building is a feature, the lavenders are a feature, and the composition makes it all come together.
2 – Early Mornings
The mornings are warming up and wildlife gets up early. So, drag yourself out of bed before the crack of dawn to make the most of the change of seasons and the reaction of the world that comes with it. Sunrise is amazing, and the world is so much more still at sunrise than sunset. The sunrises during spring and autumn/fall are so much more dramatic than in summer, so let’s take advantage. This stag in London’s Richmond Park was shot at sunrise a few springs back, and he’s clearly taking note of the season changing around him at dawn.
3 – Pick Out Some Details
Firstly, point number one still stands strong! While it can be effective to shoot wide and nail a composition, it can also be very effective to crop in tight and pick out some detail. If you want to practice macro, try following some bees around and see how you get on with this tricky style, but if not, pick a stand-out subject and shoot it as the main focus of a considered image. This image went through to the final round of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year, and probably because it has got a definitive subject with no distractions. Whether you have a macro lens or not, get out and try to shoot something (big or small) and make it the definitive subject of the frame.
4 – April Showers
With the rain that accompanies the spring in much of the world, plan for those April showers! Getting indoors and shooting some awesome architecture is a great way to deal with staying dry, and it’s often part of my contingency when I’m traveling. I always know what’s nearby in terms of interiors, just in case that rain falls, and it’s something you should have in your back-up arsenal, too. This is from one of my trips to Paris—the beautiful stained glass of St Chapelle.
5 – Keep Learning
Take every opportunity to learn that you can! I know for a fact that Scott and all the KelbyOne instructors will back me up on this—we must always learn in order to stay in top shape and on top of our game. When we stop learning and become complacent it shows in our photography, so as spring arrives, keep learning, keep practicing, and keep developing as a photographer!
With everything that’s happening around us lately, we’re having all sorts of events cancelled, and these events are lost opportunities to learn and network. It’s a shame and it’s a huge loss, but what can we do? If, like me, you were due to attend an event that has been cancelled over Coronavirus issues, there are other ways to continue learning.
Practice every day. Seriously, every day, all day. Whenever you see an opportunity, take it. I find that quite often the shots that end up performing best to an audience aren’t the ones I expected to, and aren’t the ones I’d planned prior. In fact, it’s normally the photos that were completely unplanned, that were completely spontaneous, are often the ones I end up liking the most, too.
While in isolation, quarantine, or simply stuck at home rather than at one of these cancelled events, there’s a great opportunity to learn in other ways, and practicing every day is one of these ways to learn.
Number one on my list is jumping onto KelbyOne.com to watch some courses. If you aren’t already a KelbyOne member, you can sign up for a Free membership and get access to 22 courses, or 800+ courses with the Pro membership.
If you want to enhance your skills in other ways, you could pick up a podcast. I’d start with He Shoots He Draws, Picturing Success, or Behind The Shot. There are tons of creative podcasts out there, and they’re well worth a listen if you want to get the creative juices flowing.
Top of the list is practice. They do say practice makes perfect, and it’s for good reason. Take every opportunity you can to get out and take photos, or to just take photos where you happen to be. We all have a camera on us most of the time, right on our phone. Taking this camera and shooting what we see is a great learning experience. One way to set a challenge is to simply stop somewhere and find five things to take a photo of, forcing yourself to be creative and find composition and subjects. Taking this up a step, we can then use Lightroom Mobile or another app to retouch the resulting image and get used to using the correction tools to deliver a result. All this comes out of nothing.
Team, make the most of the difficulties you face and create a positive from them. We face difficulties and demanding situations, and this period seems to be one of them at various degrees depending on where in the world you are. Hang in there, make the most of it – you got this.
It’s #TravelTuesday, and I’m back again! Dave Williams here, and today, I’m going to summarise the implications of the biggest news worldwide right now, and the effect it’s having on travel and photography. It’s not exactly a fun topic, but it’s one we need to be aware of.
First, though, I implore the Americans reading to take heed of what DJI has recently released, relating to the news that the FAA has plans to require drones to have the equivalent of a transponder. You can read about it here and sign against the requirement here.
So, Coronavirus! If you hadn’t already done the background reading, it’s a virus not dissimilar to MERS and SARS. It can cause illnesses ranging from a mild cold to a severe, acute respiratory difficulty. It’s been causing problems since its discovery by doctors in December 2019 of the strain COVID-19. Now, on March 3rd, there are more than 87,000 confirmed cases worldwide.
It’s having an effect on our industry, with Peak Design sending out an e-mail just a couple of days ago warning of delays in shipping of their new travel tripod.
Let’s start with Apple. Issues with production caused by Coronavirus have led to Apple releasing a statement about this quarter’s revenue, with warnings suggesting a low. Manufacturing throughout China, which accounts for some 28% of global manufacturing output, has also hit a record low.
Over to Fujifilm, who closed production for a period. They are unable to confirm when they will be able to begin shipping the new X-T4, and are experiencing delays in the production of the X-T3 and X-T30 due to operating at a reduced level since re-opening.
Canon has announced that they are closing (or have closed) five factories because the supply chain has been so disrupted they simply don’t have the components available.
Nikon and Sony are also feeling the effects, along with everyone else who manufacturers in China. Despite many of these companies being Japanese, they outsource production to China for the vast majority of their ranges, aside from the exception of Sigma who are the only notable photographic company to manufacturer their entire range inside Japan.
Unfortunately, we don’t know what happens next. The re-opening of factories and restarting of production depends entirely on what happens with regard to containing COVID-19.
In terms of travel, that also depends on containment. I have plans to travel, but I’m watching very closely to see whether I actually can. We need to be aware of this—just aware, not in fear. Precautions are necessary to ensure our health, and to support the industry we love so dearly. We know there’s a lot of support for our industry and it demonstrates great resilience when it needs to, so let’s hope it gets to nothing more than a few late orders.
Hi folks! Dave Williams here, fresh from moving house for you on #TravelTuesday. A little advice before I go on…don’t move house! It’s so much hassle! I had no idea I own a whole holdall worth of tripods and more photography gear than I think I’ll ever need.
The whole move has put me out of action for about a week, with very minimal access to my laptop and camera, while I deal with packing, moving, and unpacking. It has put me in a strange position because this hasn’t happened for a long time, and now I’m finding myself wondering which project to pick back up or what new project to start. It’s from that thought that I lay down these words for you today.
Like any other professional industry, photography constantly demands that we demonstrate our A-game, and constantly evolve to meet the flux of the battlefield we work in. However, unlike any other professional industry, photography is also an art. As artists, we combine this with constant learning and development. This learning is the key to growth as a photographer.
To this end, not only should we constantly be furthering our skillset through personal projects, but also through education. This means we should be setting ourselves goals and attaining them. The end goal should be big, but the steps should be little. Here’s why: –
If we want to get from A to Z, we pass B, C, D, E, F, G, etc., all the way to Z. If we liken this to our goals, we should have an end goal of Z and many smaller goals all along the way. Every time we meet an objective, we feel the success and we’re fuelled from it to drive us onto the next one. It gives us many successes all the way through to our goal, and it also gives us the opportunity to re-evaluate the goals as we’re moving. The other huge positive is, counterintuitively, in the negatives. If we fall, we only fall back one step rather than falling the whole way back to point A, so it’s far easier to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and push forward again.
Easy, right? So get your end goal in sight, plot your course, and meet your goals!