Posts By David Williams

Dave Williams here again, just like every #TravelTuesday on ScottKelby.com, and this week I want to touch on some iPhone photography tips that might be useful. Today, the iPhone Photography Conference kicks off, with the pre-con having been held yesterday with Scott and Larry Becker. iPhone photography is huge—we all have a camera in our pocket and learning to use it properly will bring out a whole range of new skills and creative ideas. So, in preparation for these big moves, let’s take a look at some top iPhone photography tips:

The absolute top-of-the-list iPhone photography tip is something we often overlook, or perhaps we wait until it presents a problem rather than preventing the problem in the first place. It’s something we do with our main camera all the time, yet we forget to do it with our iPhone camera.

1.       Clean Your Lens

Our iPhone camera’s lens gets dirty from being in our hands, our pockets, our purses, and cleaning the lens with a lens wipe, microfiber cloth, or even just using our clothing will make our photos much sharper.

2.       Use the Grid

We can activate the gridlines overlay on our image preview from within our camera settings. Use these lines to their full advantage to help create better iPhone photos, particularly for better composition and a level horizon.

3.       Level Your Flat Lays

When we take shots straight down, such as flat lay shots, two plus signs appear on our screen: one white and one yellow. We can use these two plus signs to ensure our image is taken straight down by aligning them for a level image.

4.       Zoom with Your Feet

Just like we would with a prime lens, zooming with our feet when shooting on iPhone helps preserve image quality. When we are shooting at the native focal length we use the entire capacity of the sensor, however, when we zoom we’re actually performing a digital zoom and just cropping on pixels, thus degrading the image quality.

5.       Use Portrait Mode for Depth

Portrait Mode is a great feature of the iPhone camera and it takes the view of two lenses to create a quasi-bokeh effect. By utilising bokeh, like we would normally in our photography, we afford more focus to the subject of our photos.

6.       Live Mode

Live Mode gives us a lot more creative flexibility with our iPhone shots, including the ability to create a long exposure or a Boomerang. It also helps us to save a moment if it’s missed, but still happened just either side of us pressing the shutter button, because we can select the best frame from a series of images. To make sure Live Mode is enabled, open the camera app and tap the circles in the top right-hand corner, ensuring they are yellow.

7.       Shoot Wide

The 0.5 lens is an amazing wide-angle lens built right into the iPhone. Having an adapter mounted to shoot wide-angle is a thing of the past and we can now pack a lot more into the frame with no extra hardware to buy.

8.       Vertical Panoramas Are a Thing

Sometimes it can be in our interest to shoot a vertical pano in order to squeeze a lot more into the shot. Simply activate Pano Mode as normal, then turn your iPhone sideways, tilting up or down rather than from side to side.

These eight iPhone photography tips will immediately set you on your path to taking better iPhone photos, but there’s a whole load more to learn if you want to.

Until next week, I bid you adieu.

Much love,

Dave

#TravelTuesday today has more of a social media stance, in line with the upcoming iPhone Photography Conference. I’m Dave Williams and I’m here every Tuesday on ScottKelby.com.

Something we all look for on social media to help boost our performance and convert that performance into revenue, be that through sales or influence, is engagement. Engagement falls from several factors and one of those is likes. The problem that has come from this of late is the damage caused by likes on people’s mental health—feeling inadequate when a post doesn’t receive as many likes as they would perhaps like or in comparison with peers. Instagram, headed up by Facebook, has recognised this and has taken a bold step to relieve some of the pressure caused by the number of likes an image may attract.

Instagram now lets us hide the publicly visible like count on a post. Instagram said the reason behind this was to “depressurize people’s experience” on the platform, following a series of trials that have ended up with a global roll-out. The fact now stands that we no longer stand openly in comparison to other accounts and, therefore, perhaps the stigma associated with the feeling of under-performance can fade, giving people a better user experience when posting and leaving the metrics in place behind the scenes where, perhaps, they belong. The performance of a post is determined by those metrics, but there’s no real reason for them being on public display.

There are two ways to hide the like count of our posts: The first is to do it retrospectively, tapping the three dots in the top-right corner of a post and selecting Hide Like Count.

The second method relates to future posts, which we do in our settings by tapping on the three lines in the top right corner of your page, selecting Settings, then Privacy, and then Posts, and then turning on Hide Like and View Counts.

Our performance absolutely does affect our ability to monetise social media platforms but, as I’ve mentioned, this metric doesn’t necessarily need to be public, and if we take a step to reduce the negative aspects associated with engagement that result in detrimental effects on mental health, we can create a better platform for all. I, for one, have decided to hide my like counts.

Much love

Dave

#TravelTuesday is here again! Woop!

I’m Dave Williams and every week I’m here with something from the world of travel photography, and this week is no exception. Here’s a little something I’ve been up to.

Last week I wrote about the features of iPhone live mode in assisting finding the best shot of a bunch, but this week I’ll focus on the same shoot and show something I used that morning.

After a slight delay because of Covid it was awesome to get a Platyball Elite in my hands. This was a pre-production model for beta testing ahead of general release which is anticipated to be in December. I know there are a lot of people that backed the Kickstarter and are keen to get theirs, so I figured I’d shows how everything’s back on track!

Here it is in all its glory, mounted on a Platypod Max with a misty background of Corfe Castle in Dorset, here in the UK. I put the Platyball Elite through its paces here, moving across the terrain and seeing how quickly I could adjust the angle to compensate for each different surface using the chunky, ergonomic buttons to tighten and loosen the hold. I’m doing this I discovered a brand new form of entertainment, and perhaps the best new game in photography. The game is this: –

The aim of the game is to line up the cross in the middle of the screen! It’s great fun! The Platyball Elite features a screen showing the perfect alignment of the horizon and the tilt, helping us get a perfectly level horizon, or in pointing our camera dead-ahead if we want a 50/50 horizon line. This level indicator is an excellent feature of the Elite, and was especially useful for the slope I was on at the tim when used in tandem with the spikes on the Max to hold everything in place.

All this followed a 3:45 alarm call, and I can’t stress how great that actually felt. It’s a ridiculous time, and I’m well aware that some people didn’t even realise that 3:45 had an AM, but getting up with nature and being in position ready for the sun to warm the earth ready for the day is something that gets better every single time I do it. Here’s what I got, using the Platypod Max and Platyball Elite together for real for the first time.

Unfortunately the mist didn’t dip low enough for the castle to fully emerge, which was the shot I’d planned, but this contrast of warm and cold with a 1,000 year old demolished castle lurking within it will have to do.

Set your alarm early and go shoot a sunrise. Even if it doesn’t go to plan, it won’t disappoint.

Much love

Dave

I’m Dave Williams and I’m back, which means it must be #TravelTuesday! Good morning to you all from the sunny UK! This morning I got up at 03:45 to walk up a hill and shoot a castle at sunrise, but this post is not about that. Here’s what it’s actually about (right after the scene-setting selfie): –

Whilst I was busy doing nothing, sitting on the side of the hill waiting for the light to be right when I heard a little noise from the bush beside me. From inside the bush, out crept two beautiful fox cubs. Sharp as a tack, I was ready with my iPhone camera. I always have my iPhone camera ready when I’m shooting because it’s great to have a second camera primed and ready for anything that quickly develops, just like this. In this instance, the photo wasn’t going to be ‘art’, more like proof that a thing happened. I slowly pivoted around to point the iPhone at the fox cubs but they’d spotted me, clearly having been absolutely oblivious to my presence before because I hadn’t been moving! Here’s what I caught: –

It sucks! The cubs had started to run back into their den by the time I hit the shutter button so all I got was a blur of panicked foxes. Keen to not disturb them and to get my castle shots I remained still and kept half an eye on the rest of the bush waiting to see if they emerge again, still primed and ready, but I wondered whether I’d be able to save the shot I’d gotten. I managed to get a frame with one of the foxes looking right at me, and here’s how: –

Because I’d taken the shot with Live Mode active I could check through the sequence of frames that had been captured. We know we’re shooting in Live Mode because the symbol on our camera app that resembles a target is yellow. By finding this image in my camera roll and hitting ‘Edit’ in the top right corner, a range of options opened up to me. The one I was interested in was on the bottom row to the left – that same ‘Live Mode’ symbol. Here’s what we get when we tap it: –

The grey circle is the shot the iPhone has determined will be our ‘Key Frame’ but by tapping through the frames ourselves we can select the key frame we want instead, which is exactly what I did, resulting in this: –

I now had the frame of the fox cub looking at me, and although it wasn’t a great shot it’s a good example of what we can use Live Mode for on our iPhone if we think we’ve messed up a dynamic shot.

Just for some viewing pleasure, here’s a shot of the fox cub from my camera this morning as well :)

This is one of many features of our iPhone camera that we can take advantage of, and there are plenty more to learn in the upcoming iPhone Photography Conference. I hope to see you there!

Much love

Dave

#TravelTuesday has come back around and I, Dave Williams, am here again with another post as always. This week here in the UK has seen summer quite obviously arrive with some scorching heat, which will no doubt shortly be replaced with dreary, grey skies, but for now, us Brits will make the most of the big orange thing in the sky. Back on topic though, The iPhone Photography Conference is coming up and I’ll be teaching two classes, so it’d be great to see you there (virtually, of course.) On that note, I want to reel off a list of my favourite iPhone apps for photography planning, because we all know that great planning often yields great results. Here goes!

Google Maps

This is by no means a photography app, so I apologise, but for photography planning it is awesome. Not only for the “on the day situations, such as getting to our location, but for much more. Most of us already have the Google Maps app and if we use its features well, it can be particularly useful for us.

When we sign into the app with our Google account we can cross over to a desktop, laptop, or tablet to work on a bigger screen for our planning if we want to and put some serious research into a travel destination. Personally, I like to research fairly hard and make a shot list of all the places I want to check off when I go somewhere. We can do that by adding labels and by saving locations, viewing them under “Your Places,” and instantly knowing where to find it and seeing what is there.

We can change the view of our map as well, switching from a satellite view to terrain mapping, to a regular plan view, and even further into a street view. On top of this, if we’re going to a location with little or no cell service, we can download chunks of Google Maps into our device, so we can see them offline. Google Maps is one of the best planning apps for travel photography.

Weather Apps

This is a kinda vague one, I know. Weather apps are very, very useful to us for the short-notice weather info, giving us critical information to help us when we’re deciding whether to commit to plan A or resort to plan B on our shot plan. So, when I say “weather apps” I mean the local weather app. The local app, serviced by the local meteorological office, will give us the best info. In the UK, it’s the Met Office weather app, in Iceland it’s Veður, in Norway it’s Yr. With a little web search, we’ll find the local weather app wherever we are (or wherever we’re going). I cannot stress how important this is in our planning.

PhotoPills

This one was bound to make the list. PhotoPills is the ultimate resource for forecasting the sun and moon, among many other things. When we want to know the angle and trajectory of the sun for a sunrise or sunset shot at any location on Earth, at any date and time, this app gives us and shows us the answer. It does so, so much more, but in terms of photography planning this is #1 for this information.

LE Calculator

Long Exposure photography is very popular, and it can sometimes require very, very long exposures. So long, in fact, that maybe we’ll lose count of how long. LE Calculator is a simple app, but very effective. The thing that sets the app apart from simply using the timer is that it gives us an alert when we need to close the shutter, but backtracking from that it actually calculates the exposure time based on our inputs of the meter reading and the aperture we’re using. It’s seriously smart and seriously useful.

Instagram, et al.

Our photo-centric social media apps are great for our photo planning. The research we put into a location by using these apps can reveal some great inside tips from people who have previously shot a location we’re planning on visiting, such as the best spots to go to or the times of day or year to visit, as well as showing us what kind of images people have already made, so we can choose to stay on track or break-free and come up with something totally original. The apps I’m mainly referring to, as well as Instagram, are 500px, Flickr, Facebook (mostly Groups) and LocationScout

So there you have it—some killer apps for photography planning ahead of the iPhone Photography Conference. I’m going to make the most of this glorious sunshine, and I’ll be back again next week, right here.

Much love

Dave

Hi all! Dave Williams here again for another #TravelTuesday post!

Here in the UK, we’ve recently had all kinds of weather thrown at us. We’ve had hail, rain, howling wind, and bright sunshine, all on the same day. It got me thinking about how we often go searching for the best conditions to shoot great photos, but actually, this bad weather can be the best for photography.

Bad weather gives us great atmosphere. The contrast between the dingy clouds and bright, setting sun is particularly beautiful and offers us unique opportunities to shoot something that could be an “everyday” scene with great backgrounds.

The subtle, yet notable contrast between the warmth of the setting sun and the storm clouds rolling across the sky here, in this shot of Hohenzollern Castle in Germany, is a good example of how it’s true to say that stormy weather adds atmosphere to our photography.

Even if we remove the sun from our bad weather images, we can achieve some cool, atmospheric results. This shot of a cable car rising up through the clouds adds elements of danger and of the unknown, meaning that if we get our composition right and use the scale to tell a story, we also end up with something cool.

The thick fog in Iceland, which is the result of thermals and dew points following a snowstorm, leaves a hazy view of the horses searching for food as the sun lights up the fog behind them, giving us another awesome view of bad weather.

Also in Iceland, but this time on Diamond Beach, this iceberg is illuminated by the low light of the moon and sits in contrast against the rolling clouds of the night sky and crashing North Atlantic surf.

My point is that we shouldn’t let the weather deter us too much. Sure, sometimes it will just be so bad that we don’t want to get ourselves (or our gear) cold and wet, but the moment just after a storm or the sun peeking under a moody cloud at sunset can give us some great, unique photography conditions and we should always remember – bad weather makes great photos!

Much love

Dave

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