Posts By David Williams

Happy Tuesday! For my post this week on Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider for #TravelTuesday I’ll share with you a little trick to create a rainbow in Adobe Photoshop.

A real rainbow in a photo is a pretty cool thing to catch. Here’s a little selfie example: –

This was taken in a little valley at the neck leading into the Icelandic Westfjords in 2016. Now, if you look carefully and cast your eye aside from the beautiful English gent you’ll notice that there is actually a rainbow in that shot ;)

We’ll take this as a brief rainbow study and see what we need to try and simulate with our fake Photoshop rainbow. Note that the rainbow is pretty thin, extremely transparent, and not as saturated as we’d perhaps expect. We need to keep these observations in mind with our editing, let’s do it.

First off, crack open that shot. I’m using a moody skied drone shot from Old Harry Rocks, Dorset, England.

Let’s get straight into it and get that rainbow in there. Firstly, let’s create a new Layer with CMD + SHIFT + N (Windows: CTRL + SHFT + N)

Working in this new Layer, hit G to select the Gradient Tool. From the Toolbar up top open the Gradient Picker, click on the Gear icon, and select Special Effects and hit OK.

From the Gradient options, select the rainbow on the right named ‘Russell’s Rainbow.’

Now, change the Gradient Type to a Radial Gradient.

With this Tool, create a rainbow with a realistic arc. I find that a nice wide circle works best. When we do this we’ll see the entire circle, so concentrate on the portion which is in the sky and we’ll deal with the rest shortly.

In the Layers Menu, change the Blend Mode to Screen. Now select the Rainbow Layer with CMD + A (Windows: CTRL + A) and then hit T to use the Transform Tool to resize and reposition the rainbow. Here we need to think about what we figured out earlier – rainbows are thin!

And now bearing in mind the rest of what we learned, we need to desaturate the rainbow and make it more transparent. We can usually achieve this in one go by using the Layer Opacity Slider. I’ve taken mine right down to 25%.

And that leaves us just with the piece of rainbow that’s currently sitting in the sea! Rather than Photoshop in a pot of gold, let’s fade it out. Normally a rainbow won’t go right down to the ground, there’ll be a bit of a gap. Let’s do it that way in our image. Hit G to select the Gradient Tool again, and go back to the gear icon and select Reset Gradients and hit OK. Now check the black and white gradient named Foreground to Background. We will work on a Layer Mask so go ahead and create one from the Rainbow Layer. Now, making sure the Linear Gradient is selected in the Toolbar, make a line from the bottom to the top of the rainbow and note what happens. The most effective line in this case is from just below the horizon to just above it, which causes this to happen: –

As always with our post process it’s hard to decide when we’re finished, but at this point we are in fact done!

You can take this method and apply it to any image it fits, and I would love to see what you do with ti! As always, tag me on Instagram where I’m @capturewithdave so I can see your rainbows!

Take care,

Much love!


Hello hello hello! Here I am again, right here on Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider, I’m Dave Williams and you’ll find me here every Tuesday – you lucky, lucky people!

This week I’m coming at you hard and fast with a top tip on improving what may otherwise be a ‘bog standard’ sunset shot that uses just one simple process, one layer, and three adjustments. Let’s go!

First off, load up your sunset shot into Adobe Photoshop. I’ve gone for a ‘bog standard’ one that I shot a couple of years ago in London’s Docklands.

Next up, on the Adjustments Panel on the right select the Channel Mixer.

In there you’ll notice that the Layers Panel takes care of itself and you are able to adjust the Red, Green and Blue Channels.

One tip at this point for any future use of this tool is that ideally your Total should add up to 100% with whatever setting you make in order to maintain a balanced colour.

In this panel to give our sunset some oomph we can change the Red to 200%, the Green to -50%, and the Blue to -50%.

That’s it. Literally that is it. The red tones have had a punch and the overall sunsetty feel (definitely the correct professional term) is enhanced enough to have made a positive impact but not so much that it has become unrealistic.

There are of course plenty of other things we can do to make this image more presentable, and now we’ve got the tones right we can get to work on it.

I hope you found the useful, it’s a very quick and easy tip with a great impactive affect! Here’s a side by side for comparison: –

As always, feel free to aim your questions my way and show me how you get on!

Much love


It’s that time of the week already! I’m Dave Williams, I’m right here every Tuesday on Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider, and this week I have a really quick and easy Photoshop tip for you.

Contrast can add a real punch to your images, and it’s an important consideration in virtually any post process. Contrast, used properly, can have a serious, attention-grabbing effect. With tonal contrast, specifically, we can do a very, very simple thing to see what kind of difference it makes. Generally better on images without a great range of contrast already, just do this: –

1. In Photoshop, duplicate your layer by pressing Command-J (Windows: Ctrl-J).

2. From the top of the Layers panel, select Overlay as the blending mode.

That’s it!

Take a look at what a difference this makes:

Before and after, and once more…

It’s a really cool way to give your image some contrast impact, which is achieved in this particular blend mode by combining the Multiply and Screen blending modes, which results in dark blacks and bright whites.

Contrast is, generally, attractive and eye-catching, so make sure your workflow includes a good look at it! You can show me (@capturewithdave) and @Kelbyonepics your results over on Instagram, we’d love to see!

Much love


Hey hey! Thanks for dropping by Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider today. I’m Dave Williams and this week I’m going to talk to you about the importance of personal projects.

First off, it’s important to note that personal projects are important! What projects do you have on the go or in the pipeline? During this post, some images will pop up. The disclaimer is this: – I’ve pulled these images from my archive and some are very old. As such, they should not be used to judge me. ;)

As a travel photographer, it’s fair to say that what that actually means is that I shoot a very broad range of subjects—landscapes, cityscapes, people, food, still life, long exposures. It really is a lot of different stuff. Every little personal project can, therefore, be a little extra experience, a little extra practice, a little extra notch in the belt, and a step towards perfection (not that I’ll ever get to that point) when it comes to my everyday shooting and my built-in “autopilot.” Here’s an example: –



Both of these personal projects helped me to understand light. On the one hand, it was about creating and controlling directional light, leaving nothing to fall on the background and creating the “invisible black background” (Glyn Dewis, 2010), and on the other, it was all about an even bathe of light, minimal highlights and shadows, across a flat-lay inspired by World War One. These helped when I translated them across a number of photographic “arenas,” including weddings and promotional Instagram posts to name just two.

What I’m trying to say here is that it’s the care and attention, the discovery of techniques and the understanding of different dynamics in the world of photography, which were picked up whilst working on projects, that have helped me to become more efficient and competent in my everyday photography.

It’s not just projects that relate to your particular field of photography that help, however. For example, I spent a lot of time working on a macro project. (And, I’m aware that there’s a very, very strong chance that Scott will disapprove of me posting this, but for what can be gleaned from this I’m taking that risk for you all. ;) Scott, close your browser now!)


I wanted to understand the mechanisms of lenses and depth of field. What better way to explore this than with macro photography? Understanding depth of field through the use of true macro 1:1 lenses, and through more extreme macro using reversing rings, helped me to also better understand light, the quantity and quality of light required, the effects of movement of lens glass—literally so much came from this project it’s unreal. That leads me to how it goes a step further from the camera and into retouching.



Once you’ve taken the shot in-camera, learning the ins and outs of Photoshop through these projects is also extremely beneficial. It can be an exploration of different tools and features and this, again, can translate to a faster workflow and a deeper understanding, which brings huge benefits to your everyday photography.

Most of us are stuck in habits with both our photography and our retouching, and bringing personal projects into your flow can bring you out of that “rut” and broaden your photographic horizons—sometimes to no end! Stepping out of your comfort zone, removing that safety net for the sake of development, and allowing yourself to be open to new ideas brings with it new skills and, potentially, new customers, too!

The other benefit is opening yourself up to a whole new community. Getting stuck and trying to figure out what you’re doing wrong can lead to engagement in online forums and groups from which you can learn and share. Win-win, right?

Think about it—we never stop learning, and if you can catalyse your learning and develop new skills through personal projects, you’ll keep yourself at the top of your game!

If you need inspiration for your personal project, just take a look at the massive range of photographers work up on the @kelbyonepics Instagram page, find something you don’t know how to do or that you’d like to improve on, and get on with it!
I hope this rapidly paced post has been helpful!

Much love


Hello there! It’s Tuesday, so I’m back to gatecrash the blog again! This week, it’s all about Auto Tone!

So, I’ve been asked this question twice, which therefore automatically merits a blog post about it. Trust me, that’s how that works. ;)

‘What is Auto Tone?’

Well! First of all, what does it do? Photoshop’s Auto Tone (along with Auto Contrast and Auto Color; all found under the Image menu) can instantly fix colour and contrast problems in your images. The click of a button sends the Photoshop algorithms into action, the whole image is assessed, and from that assessment, Photoshop applies what it has determined is “right” for the image. What’s happening, in reality, is that all that work you did with the Exposure, Contrast, Shadows, Highlights, Whites, and Blacks sliders, along with the White Balance you decided upon, are all being looked at and adjusted again right after you adjusted them. That image you worked hard on and made pinpoint adjustments on is being changed and what you thought was best, Photoshop perhaps didn’t! It’s essentially a fight between what is popular and what is right, so here’s what it’s actually doing: –

Auto Tone samples the entire image and assesses the colour values individually. It goes into the Red layer, sets the darkest pixel as black, sets the lightest pixel as white, and redistributes all the other values in between the two. It then does the same for the Green layer, then finally for the Blue layer. Each colour has been dealt with alone, and the result is a combination of the three. Each now has its contrast adjusted, essentially, and the result when you’ve changed each of these layers and combined them can often be quite dramatic because we now have a totally different combination of colours.

For the sake of perspective, and for not leaving them out, here’s how Auto Contrast and Auto Color work, too: –

Auto Contrast samples the three colour values combined rather than splitting them apart, still adjusting the darkest pixel and lightest pixel, and still redistributing a bit in between. The result should, hopefully, be that any colours that needed a little extra punch now have it.

Auto Color starts off the same as Auto Tone in that it splits up the colours and sets the darkest pixel to black and the lightest pixel to white, but rather than redistributing that remainder, it makes an attempt at getting the colours right rather than just spreading it all out. What it does, instead of redistributing the colours, is it neutralises the midtones a little to correct any unwanted colour cast and emphasises that boost in contrast.

So now that we know that, we can further understand why I said, “it’s a fight between what is popular and what is right.” Take a look at what’s popular. It often has crushed tones, blacks that aren’t black, or a range of contrast so slim that in terms of “picture perfection,” it won’t be winning any contests. However, in terms of popularity, it’s scored #1. Here’s an example: –

This is a shot of mine taken practically from the hip. I was in Santa Monica with Peter Treadway and Stephanie Richer, just as the sun was dipping down, when I quickly snapped the palm trees (a rarity for me) in silhouette. The first shot is how I set the sliders, setting the image for myself at what I deemed to be pleasing and the more “popular” edit.



This second one is what happened to the image when I hit Auto Tone (Mac: CMD+SHIFT+L; Windows: CTRL+SHIFT+L, if you’re interested).



Now, I like my edit, obviously. But, what has happened with Auto Tone isn’t wrong, it’s actually a far better representation of what should be going on there in terms of the colours and tones present at that time on that day. Here are the two intermingled for a good comparison: –



So, the conclusion is this: I’ve explained Auto Tone, Auto Contrast, and Auto Color, so hopefully you understand them if you didn’t before. It’s often seen as a bit of a cop-out button, purely because it has the word “Auto” in it, suggesting that the creative flow is taken away from the creative, but it’s actually a metric ton of useful because of this: –

Set everything up the way you want it, then hit Auto Tone, Auto Contrast, Auto Color, or all three, and check out the result. What you actually end up with should be a considered version taking all you’ve seen into account, knowing what’s popular and what’s right! That’s my tip, you can have that for your back pocket, and I hope you all have a great week!

Much love


Heads up! I’ve rebranded somewhat – I was using the guise Hybrid Dave and have switched it all over now to Capture with Dave. You’ll find me by using the handle @capturewithdave across all platforms, and at I’m still the same guy, and I’m working on some great content for you all, so watch this space. Let’s kick this off!

Combining the awesome features of Adobe Spark Post and Instagram Stories will make your stories stand out from the crowd, affording you a winning combination of animation and interactivity to give you the creative edge.

Your Adobe Spark Post app is included in your Adobe Creative Cloud subscription, along with Adobe Spark Page and Adobe Spark Video. Here are my seven killer tips for combining Adobe Spark Post with Instagram Stories – let’s go!

1. Select a template that matches the dimensions of a phone screen. Don’t forget they’re all slightly different, so allow some bleed as if you’re printing, and then go in and set the palette and font to match your brand.

2. Once you’re happy with your own template, create your first post and save it. That way, every time you create a new post, you can simply work off the last one by opening it up, duplicating it, and making the necessary changes.

3. Make the most of the animation features that you can apply to the background and the text. Make it dynamic and eye-catching!

4. Don’t forget which features you can only use effectively within Instagram. These include tagging accounts, locations, weather conditions, and polls. If you intend to use any of these features, be sure to leave space in your post on Adobe Spark Post and add that element in Instagram when posting your story. If you tag an account, for example, in the text on Adobe Spark Post, it won’t work within Instagram as a tag and the tagged account won’t be notified, nor will your viewers be able to click on it! Similarly, if you want to tag a location (which will give your post a chance of being featured on that location’s story), you must do it in Instagram – again, a tag within Adobe Spark Post won’t be recognised by Instagram.

5. Use your Live Photos to make quirky clips. When you open a Live Photo from your iPhone in Adobe Spark Post, it gives you two options: use Live Video or use the still. This Live Photo of Roberto Pisconti (@robypisco), standing in front of his name in lights when he visited London last week, was perfect for that!

6. If you record a screen capture and want to change it, like in this clip, to have a practically seamless change of content from an Instagram element (in this case a poll) to an Adobe Spark Post element (the moving text), then consider options to help you do this, such as taking a screenshot, which is how I ended up using two Instagram Story posts to make this.

7. Make the most of the design features of Adobe Spark Post to give your story the best feel and the biggest impact. You can do all kinds of things with the text in the post – just play around with it and see what potential it has!

Thanks for checking this out! If you watched my Instagram takeover from Iceland in January, this is how I made house posts. I’d love to see what you do, so when you use Adobe Spark Post to create your story, tag me – @CapturewithDave – I want to see what you can do!

Much love