Posts By David Williams

It’s #TravelTuesday and I, Dave Williams, am coming at you from Austin, Texas. Yep, I’m still here! Honestly, though, I’m melting. It’s a far cry from the nordic winter I just experienced. With the word ‘winter’ mentioned I’m now set to let you know that today we’re going ‘off piste’. This post has nothing to do with creativity and everything to do with creativity all at the same time. Let’s go!

The roots of creativity differ with all of us. Some people need constant stimulation, while others need tranquility. There are many things that influence our creativity and I can say with absolute confidence that I know exactly what to do to kick start mine if there’s something lacking. The thing I need is a change of scenery, and it works a treat when I’m in a creative rut. I’m working on a few projects right now, including a book. Being here in Austin is perfect because not only have I changed my scenery simply by being here, I can also change my scenery within Austin when a paragraph doesn’t quite flow right and I need to give myself a boost.

That boost is currently coming to life in the form of a coffee and BBQ tour led by expert tour guide and creative guru, Mark Heaps.

There’s something to be said about how creativity inspires itself. The creativity of the city around me is inspiring the creativity inside of me and I’m getting much more done in this environment. When I feel like there’s a lull, all I have to do is go and sit somewhere else and take inspiration. As I said, the root of creativity is different for each of us. That said, I firmly believe that each of us can be inspired by a change of scenery, even if it’s just by facing the other direction or stepping outside. You can check many of my other posts for creative inspiration, too. Whatever it is that inspires you is something you should keep close to the front of your mind. Whenever you feel your creativity running downhill, pull out that card and play it.

See. Nothing and everything to do with creativity. Now, I have to get back to book writing and lesson planning. If you happen to be in the Austin area, I’ll be speaking at Precision Camera this weekend. Keep an eye on my social feed for details.

Much love
Dave

It’s #TravelTuesday and I, Dave Williams, am here to share. This week I write from Austin, Texas, and with the Photography Gear Conference coming up, I want to first take your mind elsewhere and talk about how we can broaden our photographic minds by taking influence from other creatives.

We’ve all heard countless times about how graphic designers and photographers should work with similar things in mind. Copy space is the go-to example that I always use to highlight the importance of keeping graphic design in mind when we take photos. In that example, I point out that we should be thinking about copy (words) and leave room for titles, graphics, and everything else we see in magazines and on posters. These photos tend to perform the best on photo stock libraries like Adobe Stock and Getty Images because of their versatility when it comes to their final use. I learned a lot more than that recently at an Adobe event – Russell Brown’s Rock & Roll Reunion.

The two most important take-away points I feel were offered at the conference are the two I want to focus on today:

1 – Work happy, not harder

Mark Heaps created this tagline to best explain that we use far more time than we should in parts of the process that could be automated or simplified, leaving us with a lot of wasted time that could better be spent on something creative and therefore make us happier. Mark speaks about this concept regularly and has absolutely nailed the process. We should be looking for ways to work smarter, automating elements of our workflow and giving ourselves the time to focus on our photography and retouching. The application of this concept translates from graphic design into photography and it’s a great point that we should focus some energy on if it allows us to be more creative in the future.

2 – Create a story, and an ecosystem

When graphic design projects are undertaken they tell the story of the brand or the campaign. We should always be looking to do this in our photography. Telling the story of the scene in a single image, or across the series for multiple images, is a way to connect with our viewer that is often overlooked. We can focus on the subject, the composition, the light, or any other factors of our image, and use them to try to tell the story of what is happening in our shot to draw our viewer that little bit closer. This can help us to keep someone’s attention for longer on social media and drive our engagement, or it can be the difference we need to convert that engagement into a revenue stream. Telling stories through photography is something that Ansel Adams himself did, and something that seems to be lost here and there. The importance cannot be stressed enough and just as designers are trying to tell stories with typefaces and shapes, we should be doing just that with our photos.

Much love
Dave

It’s #TravelTuesday and I, Dave Williams, am here as always. This week I write from California on my first trip to the USA since the ’thing’ happened, and it’s great to be here!

When I arrived I joined friends and was treated to a tour of the Big Sur area along Highway 1. The whole experience was a reminder of where my passion for travel photography comes from.

After a failed relationship and finding myself alone about 12 years ago, thats when i decided to find out who I actually am and get out to see the world that I’d always wanted to see. I started small, taking short flights to nearby European cities that I deemed worthy of exploration. These trips triggered something inside me and I suddenly realised who I was.

The same sensation comes over me when I explore, even after racking up more air miles than I can count and visiting a quarter of all the countries in the world.

The power that’s unlocked in our minds as inquisitive photographers has remarkable qualities. Exploring new places and finding the angles and compositions that show our vision and develop our skills is so rewarding. There’s something about seeing and shooting an unfamiliar location that we don’t get when we shoot a place we’ve visited before. It’s good for our mind and our creativity, and now the world is truly opening again for travel I can’t wait to explore more. Give it a go and see what happens to your photography as a result. Fine new places, and show them the way you see them.

Much love

Dave

It’s #TravelTuesday and I, Dave Williams, am here as always. Today I’m preparing for a trip without the van. I’ll be headed to the USA later this week to impart some knowledge at Russell Brown’s Rock & Roll Reunion, then I’m headed to Texas for a few weeks to immerse myself in creativity and adventure with Mark Heaps. It’s this topic that I want to touch on today.

I shoot travel, but I’ve shot a range of subjects over the years. This process began when I first picked up a ‘proper’ camera at 14 years old. Just like 99.9% of photographers, I shot everything. We often criticise this process and it results in endless jokes. Everyone has shot flowers, everyone has tried editing with selective colour, and everyone has taken a portrait, somewhere along the line. This is all part of the process of figuring out what our subject matter is, and it leads on to figuring out what our style is.

It’s a combination of these two things that determines the photographer we are, and it shouldn’t only be part of the initial journey. Finding inspiration is a dynamic thing and it’s important that it continues.

I set out on a project several years ago, and it remains fairly hidden to this day. I didn’t have a lot of confidence – I was quite introverted. We know that’s changed now. In order to build my confidence and simultaneously enhance my photographic skill I decided to walk around London and approach strangers, asking them a series of 5 questions and taking their portrait. I called it ‘The Cast Of London’ and it went a long way to helping me as a photographer, and as a person. I found that it gave me a lot of inspiration, not only with my camera gear but with my perspective of humanity. I hadn’t been living in London for long and I’d grown up in a completely different environment.

This is just one example of combining inspiration with furthering our skillset. Now, nothing inspires me more than finding a brand new location and getting out there, finding a way to shoot it differently and give the image my own vision. Photos have an incredible power of providing happiness. They can make the photographer happy in most cases, but they also make newlyweds happy, they make proud parents happy, and they can bring back fond memories of places and events. This is an inspirational effect in itself, and I would love for you to dig deep and work out what inspires you in your photography, particularly in the moments when it can be overwhelming and creativity starts to dry up. It happens to all of us, and a little inspiration can go a very long way.

Much love
Dave

It’s #TravelTuesday and I, Dave Williams, am writing today from the Isle of Skye, Scotland. The weather is typically Scottish, which can be considered secret code for ‘it’s raining’. I’m waiting patiently for the sky to give me some decent light for a particular hike I want to do that goes half way up a mountain for a spectacular view, but so far all I’ve done is send the drone up there. This has made me think about the 5% of time that actually gets dedicated to photography.

As a professional photographer we are only around 5% photographer. Honestly, it’s so boring at times. Developing and driving a photography business is largely about everything else. It’s about social media, marketing, blogging, accounting… it’s about everything that keeps the photography going. The accounting element in itself can break down into general accounts, invoicing, purchasing, and a little more. The marketing includes maintaining a website, dealing with e-mails, finding clients, creating ways for clients to find us, and that list also goes on.

I’ve found that all this can be quite detrimental to creativity. In fact, scratch that. It can be very detrimental. It’s extremely important for us to stay on our creative toes when we’re neck deep in ‘admin’ work.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Personal projects. Having a personal project, either aligned to our regular photography or something totally different, will keep our creativity and our sanity. This is not something that’s unique to photography. Let’s take a look at plumbing, for instance. A plumber spends a lot of time buying parts, sending invoices, marketing their business, and everything else we do as photographers, but here’s the difference: –

A knock in our creativity as a photographer will have a huge impact on our business unless we keep it in check. We need to proactively deal with it. We need to nurture our creativity whilst we’re doing the 95%.

Message of the day, therefore, is this: – Engage in personal projects to keep on top of your creative ‘A’ game.

Much love
Dave

It’s #TravelTuesday and I, Dave Williams, am here on ScottKelby.com as always. Today, I write from a cold, rain-soaked Scotland.

Tomorrow on The Grid there’s going to be something epic happening. If you’ve been keeping an eye on the Platypod social media feeds, you’ll know there’s a new product dropping, but what could it be?

Platypod has a great history of Kickstarter projects, each time unleashing a ground-breaking new product on the market, and this time is bound to be no different.

I’ve been a big fan of Platypod from the first moment I had my hands on the Ultra. It’s a fantastic piece of kit, and a solution to a problem so many photographers have, but what are its capabilities?

Today, I want to explain why I don’t go anywhere without a Platypod. Let’s do it!

First up, the tripod police!

We come up against a lot of situations as photographers whereby the use of tripods is banned. Most of the time we are completely unable to see why, and it’s usually backed up by the words “health and safety,” and enforced by an over-zealous security guard. Well, the Platypod isn’t a tripod, and that’s a workaround that has always worked in my experience. With a Platypod, I’ve been able to shoot in The Palais Garnier, Paris, St Stephens Basilica, Vatican City, The Royal Portuguese Library, Rio Di Janeiro, and a huge list of other places where tripods are otherwise banned. When I use a Platypod I can get away with placing it down right under the nose of the same security guards that would have kicked me out with a tripod, and it gives me the stability to get shots of some stunning interiors with a lower ISO and higher shutter speed. Perfect.

Coming in second, space-saving

I often find myself in situations where savings in space and weight are important. Having a Platypod instead of a tripod in certain situations is the perfect way to save this space and weight, meaning I can trek with a less awkward camera bag and still get the stable shots I need a tripod for. I’ve found that the creative expression that comes from moving a tripod around to find a particular perspective can be achieved just as easily with a Platypod, so there’s no disadvantage to losing the height. There are usually places to put a Platypod that still allow us height in our shots, and when we’re exploring with another person it’s often the case that our photography comes in at “second place” and, therefore, we may not want to be carrying all our gear anyway. If we are exploring a new place on vacation and we’re out all day, carrying a huge camera bag with all our gear can be quite cumbersome. In these cases, I’ll pick the lens I want for the day and attach it to my camera, then stick a Platypod under the camera and use my Blackrapid Sport Breathe to carry the whole rig. This gives me the option to take longer exposures and more stable shots, but also means I’m carrying only the bare minimum.

The best low perspectives

Shooting low, particularly for interior architecture shots, is a great perspective and really shows off the walls and ceilings of locations that are ornately decorated, and opens the spaces up. The floor in such places is normally quite bland, so getting low and cutting that floor into a slither whilst concentrating upwards gives a fantastic viewpoint. Cutting out the floor completely and just shooting upwards, focusing on the ceiling details in places such as the Vatican City, where there are large crowds to consider and a lot of beautiful artwork above us, is another option the Platypod affords us. We can be in and out in a flash with shots like this, which allows us to either turn out more photos, or simply kick back and enjoy the place we’re visiting.

I can talk about the advantages of a Platypod all day, but I’ll stop there for now. Feel free to check out my more detailed posts over on the Platypod blog, but I’ll leave you with this: –

Tomorrow, Wednesday 6th April, the creator of this epic piece of kit will be alongside Scott on The Grid, and there’s something big coming! Be there in the live feed on Scott’s Facebook page to make sure you don’t miss anything, including the special offers for first backers of this brand new piece of magic!

Much love
Dave

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