Posts By David Williams

Top Tips for Better Travel Photography – Here on Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider for #TravelTuesday it’s me, Dave Williams, and on the eve of Photoshop World East (which I hope to see you at) I have an offering of top tips for travel photography.

I’m going off-piste here though with no bullet points and no numbers, I’m bucking the online click-bait trend and I’m going to simply hurl the tips at you, paragraph style – let’s go!

Everyone with a phone in their pockets has had a go at travel photography – it’s a genre that’s so broad it may as well not actually be a genre because in fact it incorporates a range of other genres in itself. Everything from National Geographic’s magazine covers down to the holiday snap that goes no further than your phone’s camera roll is a travel photo, be it a landscape, portrait, macro, wildlife, nature, almost anything really. Travel photography is invaluable in many senses, being the million dollar business that sells people vacations and gives the world an insight into life and experience. The best way to achieve the kind of shots worthy of that Nat Geo cover is to do the following: –

They say that the best part of the camera is the few inches behind the lens – that’s the photographer. Getting great travel shots includes getting great shots of people, and great shots fuelled by people. Chatting to locals and building a rapport, perhaps throwing down some of the local language, can help no end in either getting shots of the locals themselves or in getting extremely valuable information about the best places and things to shoot in a location you’re unfamiliar with. If you’re shooting street photography it can be slightly different in that generally you’ll be shooting people in stealth mode, however for travel it’s normally a different story in that you’d usually want to build a rapport and get them on side before shooting a posed portrait (and maybe even having them sign a model release too!)

Further to preparing yourself with people, it’s important to prepare yourself with gear. The best way to achieve preparedness with gear is to have a versatile gear. I just got back from Paris where I was travelling with minimal gear. This made me mobile and saved my back from weight because of the miles of walking. The thing about the gear I took is it was versatile – I was able to achieve a lot using just a little. I took my Nikon D810 with a Three Legged Thing L-bracket, BlackRapid strap, and a Platypod Ultra – together giving me a tripod and effective means of carriage – and I took a Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 and Nikkor 28-300 f/3.5-6.3. With that bare minimum I was armed to shoot a huge range which is the ideal position for a travel photographer because of the unpredictability of the subjects being photographed and to avoid missing moments when switching lenses.

Shooting at golden hour and blue hour is key. These times offer the best light, and in the morning the water is still, the air is quiet, and nobody is awake yet so you can get shots that are empty of tourists with beautiful light. Setting an early alarm may be a struggle, but it absolutely pays off. When you are up bright and early, try experimenting with new composition. There’s time to play with different angles and positions, and to try and use your photos to tell a story.

Travel becomes a strategy for accumulating photographs, and travel photography encapsulates a range of styles into one. The things we are ultimately aiming to achieve are to convey a timeless feel, and to make the viewer want to be there.

Much love

Dave

Happy #TravelTuesday everybody! It’s me, Dave Williams, taking over for the day as I do every Tuesday here on Scott Kelby’s blog. Let’s be honest, Scott deserves a break with Photoshop World East coming up soon, and I’m pretty excited to get over there and hope to see some of you!

Let’s start by addressing a little myth that’s circulating social media right now, and that’s the myth that Adobe has scrapped their £/$/9.99 Photography Plan. The answer is: – they haven’t! Go take a look at Adobe’s subscription plans if you don’t believe me, and if you’re quick, you’ll catch a flash sale they have, too.

Okay, onto the main event! Today, I want to address something rather important in photography. Can a photographer be “good” because they have good gear? Well, my immediate answer to that question on absolute face value is “no.” I think it’s much more important to work on your eye first, and here’s why: –

The most important thing a photographer can do is understand why. Whatever gear you’re using, if you’re just starting out or an old hand to the game, the most important thing really is to understand why. Why does a certain lens perform in a certain way? Why does a certain camera’s sensor give a particular look to the colour? Why does composition lend itself to conveying a particular message? Why does f/16 generally work in bright sunlight? Why does the exposure triangle make sense? Why does light soften as the source and subject get closer? 

If you want to be a better photographer, you must understand why. The belief that a new camera makes you better, for example, is not true unless you understand why. Understanding why you want that new camera is crucial because if you don’t, you don’t know if it’s the right one. There’s the old adage, if you’re new to photography, that a pro photographer can do better with any camera than a rookie can do with a top of the range prosumer camera, and it’s true. You know why? It’s because the pro knows why. Having spent the time to understand not only what happens when they press the shutter, adjust the light, set the aperture, etc., the pro knows why these things happen. We all want to improve ourselves and our photography—it’s our human nature—but often the problem is that we can be mistaken that better gear makes us better photographers. It’s certainly true that the bokeh on a shiny new f/1.4 lens can be phenomenal, but without a good understanding of light and composition that can all be wasted. Perhaps, if you’re looking to spend money to improve your photography, consider spending it on training or on gaining experience and you’re on the fast track to understanding the answer to that all-important question: why?

When I started out in photography I thought I needed shiny new toys, loads of different lenses, and tons of megapixels. I quickly learned that what I, in fact, needed was answers and no amount of money spent on gear would substitute training and experience. The most important thing a photographer can do is understand why. Know why a camera or a piece of kit does what it does, and you’ll know which one best suits your purpose.

I hope that means something and makes a difference to your progression, no matter what stage you’re at. There is one exception, however: – buy a Platypod. ;)

I’m off to Paris today, so I wish you all a great #TravelTuesday and you can follow along with me at @capturewithdave if you like. I’d love to meet you in the comments!

Much love

Dave

Photoshop World is coming up soon, and with two events this year it’s set to be amazing! I’ve said of Photoshop World before: –

You should never underestimate the power of networking provided by Photoshop World, as well as the learning, inspiration, motivation, and everything else on offer! You never know who you might be talking to and everyone there is your friend.

Dave, last year

It’s because of the people at KelbyOne and Photoshop World that I have gotten where I am today. I started my journey as a travel photographer a few years ago and developed my skills as a writer and instructor as well, partly due to what I’ve learned and experienced at Photoshop world.  I’m proud to be a KelbyOne instructor, a writer for Photoshop User magazine, the editor of Layers Magazine, and the dude who writes for you every Tuesday for #TravelTuesday on ScottKelby.com.


Photoshop World is the best place in the industry to make and maintain connections, bar none. It’s funny because when you learn to write for editorial there are a whole bunch of rules, one of which is that when you want to emphasise something you put it in italics—you don’t make it bold and underline it, but I just can’t make this point strongly enough! 

Photoshop World is much, much more than a conference! 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 feed? 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!

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

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 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!

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!

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, but there’s good reason for that—Photoshop World is the creative event of all creative events!

Kirk marsh, matt divine, mark Rodriguez, brad Moore, Gilmar smith, Scott Kelby, Dave Williams, jr Maddox, Larry Becker, Doug young, Kaylee Greer, dalton Hamm, group shot selfie at photoshop world conference east Orlando

Live events, in general, provide unique learning and career building opportunities that aren’t matched anywhere else. Taking a break from your day job, particularly when in our creative and ever-evolving industry, to sharpen your skills and pick up new tips and techniques will always make us more effective and efficient. Not only is it an opportunity to meet your business idols, making connections can lead to finding your next mentor and your chances of learning are greatly improved among an actively engaged and like-minded crowd. Hands-on demos and workshops afford an opportunity to ask the questions you want to ask. Breaking out of your comfort zone, albeit in comfortable surrounds, engages different parts of our minds and that’s exactly what we sometimes need to break out of old ways of thinking and step into new ones. There are just so many reasons to attend Photoshop World, which I have personally experienced and benefited from, that I could make this list last forever, but ultimately, if you want to improve yourself, invest in yourself at Photoshop World!

Much love

Dave

Hi all! It’s #TravelTuesday and here on Scott’s blog, that means one thing: I’m here! I’m Dave Williams, normally found hiding behind the guise of Capture With Dave, and I’m offloading some know-how for you all! Today, it comes in the form of my favourite Adobe Photoshop power keyboard shortcuts!

It’s fair to say that we’re all, in every sector, looking to optimise and streamline our flows and processes. One surefire way to achieve this aim is to hit buttons on the keyboard rather than to carefully and daintily manoeuvre the mouse about the desk. So, to that end, I’d like to share some of my favourite, lesser-known keyboard shortcuts—the power shortcuts!

The Brush tool (B) is frequently used, and there are shortcuts specifically designed to speed up our flow when using it. It’s commonly known that the bracket keys ([ and ]) make the brush size decrease and increase respectively, but did you know that you can use the comma and period keys to cycle through the brush styles, or that you can switch the crosshair on/off for precision brushing using the Caps Lock key?

When it comes to viewing your project it’s important to view everything correctly. As well as hitting the Z key to select the Zoom tool and “scrubby” zooming by sliding our mouse left and right with the left mouse button held down, we can quickly move around an image, whilst still having the Zoom tool selected, by holding the Space Bar and moving the image around right in front of us. Furthermore, from wherever we are on an image, at whichever zoom level, we can quickly and easily zoom back out and fit the image into our view by pressing Command-0 (zero; PC: Ctrl-0), which quickly gives us an overview of the finer work we’re completing.

When it comes to working with layers, we can utilise some handy shortcuts here for commonly used tasks, too. For example, to select the top layer, we just need to hit Option-. (period key; PC: Alt-.) or replace the period key with the comma key to get to the bottom layer. To move up and down through the layers stack, just hit Option-[ (PC: Alt-[) or Option-] (PC: Alt-]), and to move a selected layer up or down in the stack, press Command-[ (PC: Ctrl-[) or Command-] (PC: Ctrl-]). To select all the layers, it’s simply a case of hitting Command-Option-A (PC: Ctrl-Alt-A) or to merge all the visible layers, press Command-Shift-E (PC: Ctrl-Shift-E).

And, finally, if you frequently use certain blend modes, you can apply them quickly with these power shortcuts, but make sure you have the right layer selected and the Move tool (V) active: –

It’s always Option-Shift (PC: Alt-Shift) together with: –

N – Normal
I – Dissolve
K – Darken
G – Lighten
M – Multiply
O – Overlay
U – Hue
T – Saturation
Y – Luminosity

Or, cycle through the blend modes with Shift-+ (plus sign) or Shift-– (minus sign).

I hope you can make use of these power shortcuts to speed up your Photoshop flow! Until next week.

Much Love

Dave

From sunny South America, I’m Dave Williams and today is #TravelTuesday, which means I’m here on Scott’s blog with something for you on travel, photography, Photoshop, or life. Today, a little on business in photography!

I’m currently in Rio de Janeiro where, together with Lonely Planet, I’m on my never-ending quest for the world’s best coffee, and I’m hunting the best views the rainforest city has to offer. It’s all over on my social media—you can find me anywhere hiding behind the alias @capturewithdave. :)

All the times I can remember shooting, I remember the “last shot” has, in fact, never quite been the last shot. When I shot weddings, as part of a tandem outfit with my best mate and business partner Peter Treadway, we often joked that we wanted to take “just one last shot,” and we both knew that whenever the other uttered those words, we’d have at least another 15 minutes shooting. But, why was that? Why were we, on one level, keen to finish, but at the same time, carrying on with the shoot in search of that “one more shot.”

Perhaps it was something relating to confidence. Perhaps we knew there was still a shot there, which would stand out above the rest, but we didn’t quite have it yet, owing to either our ability or simply to the absence of that shot. Perhaps we already had the shot but had such competitive determination that we simply didn’t want to stop because we were chasing a shot that just wasn’t going to happen. I mean, we certainly had the tenacity to know where to start and, when it wasn’t happening, when to stop. Maybe that was why—maybe when it was happening, we wanted it to keep happening. But, maybe it was something else altogether.

Good enough isn’t good enough. 

Maybe we both knew this. Maybe we already had, in our subconscious, the knowledge that good enough wasn’t good enough and in order to stand out, we actually had to excel, not just settle. In a crowd, it’s the one who has a little something special, the one who sticks their neck out—that’s the one who gets noticed.

Sunrises get noticed.

Proper lighting gets noticed.

Personality gets noticed.

Concentrate on these things and others, which will make you get noticed, and don’t settle—good enough isn’t good enough if you really want to go far as a creative.

Much love
Dave

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