Posts By David Williams

Hey there! It’s me again, Dave Williams, which means it’s my favourite day of the week – #TravelTuesday – and that means I’m here, in your face, at Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider!

Now, if you were following along, you know that I jumped on my Triumph and spent nine days riding from London to the Atlantic Highway in Norway – 3,100+ miles if you’re asking. And guess what…I’m back! I’m still trawling through hours of footage to make a cool video to show you all, so keep an eye on my Facebook page to see when that lands. But, for today, I’ve seen inspiration in the amazing sunny weather we’re having here in London and I want to share with you this amazing little trick!

So, you know when you shoot into the sun and you get that cool bright spot and a little lens flare? Well, that’s what we’ll create here, so go ahead and choose a suitable shot or download mine right here. (Use my shot for the tutorial, use it to show us how you get on with the tutorial, but sell it and I’ll find you!) Let’s go!

First up, the prep: Open the shot into Adobe Photoshop and duplicate the layer with CMD + J (Windows CTRL + J), so we work non-destructively, then press D, then X to set your Foreground colour to white.

 

 

Down at the bottom of the Layers panel, click on the Create New Fill or Adjustment Layer icon and then choose Gradient from the pop-up menu.

 

 

In the Gradient Fill dialogue, set the Style to Radial. When that’s done, you can go ahead and move the radial gradient in the image, behind the dialogue, by clicking-and-dragging it, setting it up at the spot you want it. Next up, click on the Gradient thumbnail and a new dialogue will pop up.

 

 

What we’ll do here in the Gradient Editor is create a custom gradient just like I’ve done above. It’s tricky to explain in writing, so focus! To do this, first, select the left colour stop (the square at the bottom left of the colour ramp), then click on the Color swatch and, in the Color Picker, set it to a yellow that’s almost white. Now, select the right colour stop and set its colour to a midtone gray.

So far so good. We’ve set the centre point to a very bright colour to emulate the sun and set the outer edges to a gray, which will fade out. Now, select the centre colour stop (if you don’t have one, just click below the centre of the colour ramp and one will appear). Set this one to a very light orange, then slide that colour stop towards the lower end of the colour ramp. We’ll create two more colour stops to add some realism to what’s becoming our sun glare. We create them by clicking below the ramp, and when we select the colours, we stick with slightly different tones of yellow or orange. The result we need to achieve is that the spectrum of the gradient is very bright at the centre, the left, then changes to a darker and more orange colour for the first third, then fades to more of a yellow or even peach colour throughout the next third, and fading towards the right. Make sense? Thought so!

 

 

When we’re happy with the custom gradient we’ve made, hit OK and we’ll be taken back to the Gradient Fill dialogue. Here, we can change the Angle to suit the position within our image, and we can make it larger or smaller with the Scale adjustment. I’ve pushed mine to 120% here. When you’re happy, hit OK.

 

 

Now, near the top of the Layers panel, change the blend mode to Hard Light.

So, we’ve got the sun, and the glow, but we’re missing something. We can step this up now by adding a lens flare, so let’s go ahead and do that, too!

Click on Layer 1 in the Layers panel, and then select Filter>Render>Lens Flare.

 

 

I find that the most effective Lens Type here is the 50-300mm Zoom, so that’s what I’ve used but you can choose whichever suits your image. In the preview box, click on the centre of the sun, the gradient filter, and it will become much brighter and throw the lens flare across the image. From here, we’re almost finished; we just need to adjust the Brightness to suit the image. I’ve set mine at 125%, but set yours wherever it works and hit OK.

 

 

And, we’re done! We’ve added a very dramatic, warm, and convincing glow of the sun to our image. I hope you like it! Show me how you get on by tagging @capturewithdave when you upload to Twitter or Instagram, and until next week…..

 

Much love

Dave

 

PS – Here’s a top secret Platypod tip. Don’t tell anyone!

Hey hey! It’s me again! I’m Dave Williams, and every #TravelTuesday I’m right here at Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider to share some of my bountiful wisdom from the worlds of photography, Photoshop, travel, and life. Well, today it’s the last two—travel and life! I’m writing this post today from aboard the SuperSpeed ferry from Kristiansand, Norway to Hirtshals, Denmark, and I’ll try to explain my wanderlust.

So, if you’ve been following along on the KelbyOne Instagram story, you’ll know that I’m currently on a mission where I’m riding across Europe from my hometown of London. The purpose of the trip is twofold: (1) to have a little adventure, and (2) to shoot and write for three projects for companies who are involved in my trip—namely Platypod, Triumph, and Sim Imaging. It’s point number 1, though, that I will be exploring with you here.

My wanderlust, my thirst for travel and adventure, is strong and deeply rooted. A little-known fact about me is that I lived in South Africa for eight months, in a little place named Franskraal, just outside Gansbaai which sits between Cape Town and Cape Aghulas. I lived in this tiny little village on the coast, spending my days exploring the countryside and seeking out wildlife, and I spent my evenings dining on fresh, local fish and meat whilst watching the sun go down over the South Atlantic Ocean as the whales leapt and waved their fins at me. Before this, I’d been to a handful of countries whilst growing up—Spain, Greece, France, Barbados, Germany, and the U.S. (Disney World in Florida). It’s this experience that kick-started my desire to travel and see the world. But, then there’s another factor that comes into play: the camera.

I remember being given a camera by my parents on my 14th birthday—a Nikon F40, I think. I’d looked at photography and I wanted to be able to do it, too. I wanted to be able to make great images. To show the world as I see it. Through my eyes. I spent quite some time coming to grips with how it all worked. I wasn’t reading much, but I was experimenting. I was getting used to what happened to my photos when I changed various settings. I was learning about composition. I fancied myself as a bit of a ‘”proper photographer” and kept learning through doing.

Fast forward a number of years and combine the two, and now I was in a place where I’d returned home from South Africa after a few fails. I knew that one thing I wanted to really push harder with was my photography and another was my desire to see more of the world. I got my first DSLR, a Sony Alpha. I was now able to make more photos and spend less money doing it! I was coming to grips with Photoshop too, starting with the cheesy things we all hate like selective colouring, but also the essential things to learn how it all worked!

So, pushing on a bit more, my first “big” solo trip was to Iceland. I fell in love with it, and in fact, with what I can only describe as difference. I like to compare the world with my world. See how other people live. See what’s good about other cultures. It’s true to say that you only appreciate what you have when it’s gone. And, this relates here because it’s only when you go deep into another culture or another place that you really see what you have at home and appreciate it more, while also bringing back positive influences and ideas from the places you visit. Take the Danish concept of Hygge, for example. This mindset, which apparently makes the Danes the worlds happiest people, can give us so much in our lives and it’s only through exploring this idea and this culture, then comparing it with our own, that we can really benefit from it. The Icelandic have a phrase that I absolutely love, and it’s only through coming into difficulty while in Iceland that I know about it. I was in the Westfjords at the Arctic Fox Centre shooting a pair of awesome fox cubs. My camera broke, it was a very expensive one, and it had sustained water damage from a waterfall. I was able to borrow a camera for the rest of my trip, so the few days remaining weren’t wasted, and I was told at the time, “thetta reddast.” My expression must’ve reflected the ultimate confusion when it was uttered to me, but when I asked what it meant it made perfect sense. The explanation I was given from Midge, who’d said it to me, is this:

“Thetta reddast. It means everything will turn out fine. Things happen, you have no control over them, and whatever is happening just know that it’ll all work out and everything will be alright.”

Well, that nailed it! It’s hard to understand sometimes, of course, but everything will be fine. Everything will work itself out. So, it’s little things like this, little bits of learning from across the world and the feeling of accomplishment and knowledge when I go visit another part of the world, along with seeing new landscapes and the amazing things we have on our planet, that drives me to see as much as I can. It’s only been a few years that I’ve been traveling hard, and in that time my goal was to get the number of countries I’ve visited higher than my age. I’m happy to say that I’ve achieved that and I fully intend to keep it that way for as long as I possibly can!

I love to travel and to see the world and all the amazing things it has to offer, and I love to share the images I make, too. I ran this quote past Scott and he laughed at its weirdness, but I’ll put it out there:

“Lend me your eyes and I’ll show you what I see.”

I will. Let me show you what I see, and let me inspire you to please see as much of this world as you can. You only get one shot, after all. Don’t let things pass you by, grab opportunities and, indeed, make them, too. Wanderlust is real.

Much love

Dave

It’s #TravelTuesday right here at Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider, which means that I, Dave Williams, get to drop in again and share a little something with you all! Aren’t you lucky!

Well, here in London, it has stopped raining for a few minutes, so what better time to drop a top tip for shooting in the sunshine. In the upper half of the world, the days are getting longer, the sun is getting brighter, and the cocktails are tasting better. When we don’t perhaps have the time to shoot during the golden hour times the sun can be something of a hinderance, but that’s only if we let it be. With these tips, you can overcome the hurdles it presents and make the most of shooting at the time when we’re all told as photographers not to! Here goes!

The dynamic range in this shot at the Vatican is immense, but still, with seven bracketed shots and the right post-processing, we have all the detail across the entire spectrum

Shooting bracketed shots, three is usually enough, and merging them into an HDR image goes a long way in reducing the glaring highlights and dangerously deep shadows caused by bright, direct sunlight on a summer scene. I’m not talking over-processed, high-vibrance, unrealistic HDR here, I’m talking about using the benefits of a High Dynamic Range to bring balance back to a photo which would otherwise have a lot of contrast and, therefore, not show off your scene. Using the Merge to HDR function in Adobe Camera Raw is the most straightforward way to do this—just select the images you wish to merge, then Right-click and choose Merge to HDR.

This blend of 2 bracketed shots was just enough to expose for the highlights and the shadows touching down in Utah

High Dynamic Range shooting and processing is absolutely ideal for bright, sunny conditions where you lose details and where your image loses quality. You can have a potentially amazing composition of an amazing subject, but if your image is clipped or your shadows are hiding awesome details, then you’re letting your image down straight from the get-go. That’s what I’m trying to tell you, though—it doesn’t have got be that way! There are people out there who are still put off by HDR’s history of being a bit too “in-your-face-surreal,” but it’s just not like that anymore. Well, not unless you want it to be!

Any excuse to show goats in a tree! The three bracketed shots here are blended to keep the look as realistic as possible, with no high saturation and no surrealist look

When you shoot with your iPhone, turn on HDR or use Auto-HDR on a sunny day to capture well-balanced images, and when it comes to your DSLR or other camera make sure you know how to shoot bracketed images. Over on KelbyOne.com, you can learn all about the specifics of how to merge your images using different techniques that give different results, and I urge you to start doing it now that the sun’s back out!

Much love

Dave

Hey hey! It’s #TravelTuesday and, here on Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider, that means I’m back again! I’m Dave Williams, a travel photographer, and educator from London, UK, and this week I’m going to share what I’ve learned about using the power of Instagram to build your photography client base.

We know that Instagram is jam-packed with images and videos, and we know that the new algorithm is geared toward paid promotion. We also know that Instagram Stories are a key part of getting yourself seen. But, knowing that, it’s still a big platform for building clients and is a powerful marketing tool in itself, even a money spinner all on its own.

So, there are some guidelines that we should follow to help maximise our reach. Big corporations are paying people as full-time social media managers, and it’s these corporations who we need to have on board and who we want to notice us. We want our Instagram accounts to attract new customers, connect with other professionals, and to expose ourselves to the world!

We all love a list, and here’s my list of top tips for working Instagram the right way: –

1. Hashtag Your Posts

On all social media now, Facebook included, hashtags are a search term. There are hashtags out there which relate to places, to products, to moods, to companies—literally everything. When we post to Instagram, we can include up to 30 hashtags each time, either in the post itself or in the comments. Tagging your posts with relevant hashtags is a great way to get noticed by having them searched effectively. Bear in mind that there are hashtags which are just totally overused, so while it can be good to use these popular hashtags, they are actually very competitive, and you’ll quickly get lost in the feed. So, to combat that you should also use non-generic tags.

2. Connect!

If you want people to interact with you, it should go without saying that you need to interact with them too, right? So, if you post using a hashtag, you should search that hashtag for yourself and see who else is using it, what they’re doing with it, and reach out and connect with them. Pay a compliment—it may come back to you! Whoever your target audience is should also be part of your connection plan. Follow and interact with the accounts that fit your target audience—you’ll find that this is a great way to build connections.

3. Be Professional and Courteous

This kind of relates to connecting. If somebody leaves a comment on your post, leave a reply. They’ve taken the time out of their day to pay you a compliment, so take the time out of yours to be thankful.

4. Have a “Look”

It’s, hopefully, obvious that if you want to be searchable on Instagram your account needs to be public, and when people find you it’s important that you stand out from the crowd and that you have a brand or a look that makes them want to connect with you. Write a simple, effective bio that tells people exactly who you are, what’s going on here, and why they should hit Follow. Then, taking a look downward, your feed should be considered a kind of portfolio. That’s your showcase. Your highlight reel. That’s what you’re giving the world if they follow you, and it’s also what a marketing exec who finds you can see and base their decisions on! Make sure you are showing off what you can do and demonstrate your photographic skills here.

5. Network

If you take a good look around, you’ll notice that a lot of the big name accounts in each industry all communicate with each other. In the photographer’s genre, they can quite often be seen mingling in each other’s stories. There’s a reason for this, and it’s the power and value it offers your business from recommendations and, of course, from recognition. Instagram is a part of social media. It’s this word—social—which is the big clue here! Instagram is a fantastic way to build relationships. Harness that!

Most of all, enjoy the experience! Your photography business can be built on Instagram, or it can be built with Instagram. In either case, use these tips to build relationships and to build opportunities! You can start by connecting with me and if there’s anything I can do to help, just reach out!

 

Much love

 

Dave

Hey hey! Welcome to #TravelTuesday, right here on Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider. I’m Dave Williams, I’m here every Tuesday, and today I’m coming at you with a quick-fire Photoshop tip on how to sharpen without hitting that Sharpen button!

This technique works across the board, from landscapes to portraits, and can be used to make your images more visually impactive. It’s a clever little technique, which improves contrast across the entire range of tones, particularly within the smaller detailed elements (such as hair in a portrait or plants in a landscape), and it enhances the textures and, of course, the sharpness of the picture.

The reason this technique should be considered in many cases, rather than the Sharpen filter, is because the Sharpen algorithm samples pixels and looks for what it considers an edge, and then it applies some contrast to those edge pixels. This technique uses a different method of contrast-specific blend modes to quickly and easily enhance detail in your shot by using the actual edges, rather than guessing what’s an edge. Here’s how it’s done:

Open your image and duplicate the layer with CMD + J (Windows: CTRL + J).

Next, apply the High Pass filter (found under the Filter menu, under Other) by selecting a Radius value that gives you a clear contour on edge elements in your shot—usually between 1 and 6 px.

Now, we need to set the blend mode to Overlay using the pop-up menu near the top left of the Layers panel.

That’s it! I told you it was easy! The differences between using the Sharpen filter and using this technique give you, in most cases, a fantastic result, bringing your image to life!

Much love

Dave

Welcome, welcome, welcome! It’s #TravelTuesday and here at Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider that means, like every Tuesday, I’m here to share some love! This week I want to kick off a little series of Bucket List Photography destinations and tell you all about why Norway is on the list.

 

 

Norway is certainly one of the most photogenic countries in the world, offering the entire range from modern cities through to barren wilderness. With clearly defined seasons it’s not what I’m used to in the UK where everything tends to merge together in a wet cloud of grey, where the day can have glorious sunshine followed immediately by sub-pro temperatures and sideways rain. In Norway at least you know that if it’s cold, it will be consistently cold!

 

 

The magnificent fjords of Norway mean that going from A to B can take a while as you meander the contours of the landscape, however it also gives Norway 62,706 miles (100,915 km) of coastline! The only country that beats this coastline length is Canada. If you’re a fan of the coast then Norway is for you!

 

 

Sticking to fjords, the sheer cliff faces and gushing waterfalls sitting below glacier caps offer what I think is up there with the worlds most beautiful of views. Beautiful arctic light cast on lush green fed by melt water from those glaciers must be on your bucket list too, surely?

 

 

The northern cape, crossing the arctic circle at 66 degrees north, takes you into a whole new world. The cold is cold, the aurora shine bright across a star filled sky, and fishing villages sit on a rugged coast. Killer Whales, Arctic Tern, Reindeer, a wildlife photographer with a little patience will have nothing but rich pickings up here.

 

 

Norway is designed for photographers. Literally, I heard that from a good source, a photographer listed all the amazing things they want to see and one day Norway just appeared. There was also an angry man with a great big beard and an axe there. True story.

 

 

I’ll keep the bucket list destinations trickling through here on ScottKelby.com – have you been to Norway? What was your favourite sight?

 

 

Get in touch right here in the comments, or find me anywhere by searching @CaptureWithDave, I’d love to see your Norway shots! I’m heading back to Norway in just a couple of weeks and you can follow my mission on my Instagram Stories as I ride from London, through France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Denmark, and into Norway, I’d love you to see it!

Much love

Dave

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