Posts By David Williams

I’m Dave Williams, and it’s time for another dose of knowledge to land here on Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider for #TravelTuesday. This week, that knowledge ties in with the first of my 10 tips that appear in the recent “19th Annual 100 Photoshop Hot Tips” issue of Photoshop User magazine!

Coming in at tip number 91 of 100 is “Blue Sells So Emphasise It!” There’s a lot to back up with this wild claim, so let me tell you all about it:

Take a look around at the clear attraction to the colour blue and its association with loyalty, faith, and trust. It also represents strength and dependability. It’s the colour of the sky on a nice day, and even for that reason alone, it’s a colour we love. There are so many global brands who use this colour for these very reasons, such as Facebook, Twitter, IBM, Flickr, NASA, AmEx, and even WordPress, which I’m using right now.

 

 

Research has been done by gender on favourite colours, and in a study it was noted that blue was the majority’s favourite colour, taking the lead at 57% of the vote amongst men and 35% amongst women.

It is, therefore, important to give serious consideration to the use of the colour blue in your photography because, as I claimed in that Photoshop User Hot Tip, blue sells! It’s obvious when you think about it—if the majority favour blue, then, of course, people will tend to spend more time looking at something blue and associating it to good things in their minds. But, how else can we work with the colour blue to make our work stand out?

 

 

Sitting equidistantly from blue on the colour wheel are yellow and red, which we can incorporate into our images for good contrast. Let’s take a very quick look at how that relates to real life with a sunset! We all love a sunset, and our sunset tends to match the blue sky with the red or yellow warmth of the setting sun. It’s familiar and it’s a perfect example of the use of these colours together. Taking it back to less contrast and having more complementary colours, going in either direction from blue on the colour wheel, we go towards purple and green. Using these colours together will tend to keep things much calmer and even incorporating some blue, gray, or white will complement the use of blue in our images.

And just as a final pointer, when describing colours it helps to give it a name. This is a secret pro tip for you: when describing the colour “brown,” if you use another word, such as “mocha,” you’ll get a far better response. So, when describing the colour “blue,” if you find a matching word such as “azure,” “sky,” “royal,” etc., you’ll notice a difference, and you can thank me later. ;)

Check out the rest of my Hot Tips, and the 90 others, in the latest edition of Photoshop User magazine right now on KelbyOne.com!

Much Love

Dave

 

It’s #TravelTuesday again, so right here on Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider, that means only one thing…I’m back! I’m Dave Williams, and I’m here to lay down some wisdom! Well, today, I’ve decided the subject of friendship wins, rather than photography or Photoshop. Hear me out!

So, you probably noticed, if you follow any single one of us on social media, Team Epic has reunited!

 

 

That’s right! What a fantastic collection of photographers from around the world! Let’s run through the team:

Representing the United States, none other than Scott Kelby, who you may be familiar with, along with Erik “Rocket Man” Kuna, KelbyOne’s Vice President, and thunderbolt and lightning themselves, Jeff Kelby and Mike McCaskey.

Straight outta Dublin is Cathy Baitson, a wedding and newborn photographer with some sick shooting skills and an acute nose for tracking down a good Guinness.

All the way from Iran (and Italy, and Canada) is Mimo Meidany, a gifted long exposure black-and-white photographer, who instructs for KelbyOne and leads workshops sharing his skills. This man is worth knowing, so long as you can figure out what he’s saying!

KelbyOne community leader Fernando “Chicky Nando” Fernando hails from sunny Lisbon, Portugal where he works on photography projects and shoots an epic portrait. Nando is the kind of guy who has the rare talent of being able to get you out of about as much trouble as he gets you into!

We all know the legend that is Roberto “Pisco” Pisconti from Padova, Italy, who spends his time shooting pretty much anything he can, and he does it well! He’s also a bit handsy…if you know what I mean!

And finally, from London, UK, there’s me, Dave Williams, and Peter Treadway. Peter is an international wedding photographer extraordinaire and is honing a talent for long exposure and architecture photography. If you can’t find him, look for Cathy and you’ll find him on the next barstool!

 

 

So, here’s point #1: Friendship is about finding people who are your kind of crazy! Having good people in your life, who see things in a similar way to you, who fuel your passion, and who light up your soul, they’re worth keeping around! This is certainly true of Team Epic, and each one of us can always rely on the rest at any time in a way that you’d expect from a family. Spread across multiple cities, in multiple time zones, I know that whoever I called for some advice would answer and give it. This squad gives strength to one another and makes each other believe in themselves. It’s truly awesome.

 

 

So, onto point #2! And, I know this one is going to hit a nerve here and there, but bear with me. In the world of photography, you have very little real and direct competition! You know what that means? It means stop keeping secrets, start sharing, and start making friendships in the industry! What I mean by that, to interpret it into a real-world example, is this: If you’re a wedding photographer in London or a real estate photographer in New York, there are going to be a lot of other photographers there around you shooting the same thing, so it’s easy to see that as competition and make it negative. But, those other photographers aren’t really the competition at all. The other wedding photographers in London are shooting at different price ranges, with different specialities, with different styles, and with different personalities. When Peter and I ran a wedding photography business together we quickly noticed at consultations that the clients weren’t buying into our work anywhere near as much as they were buying into the two of us as people. Similarly, the real estate photographer in New York is surrounded by a whole bunch of other real estate photographers, but they also are shooting differently with different styles, at different prices, and they, too, have different personalities. Taking that into consideration, the true competition we have as photographers is slim to none, and there are plenty of other photographers out there who we could be making friends with and learning with.

 

 

This terrible selfie is another example to help make my point. So, a couple of days ago, Team Epic descended upon Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, Germany. The team lined up to shoot the castle from Marienbrucke, which is the spot everybody goes to if they want to capture the back end of the castle. That itself is a problem for me as a travel photographer, so in my previous visits to the castle, I went off the beaten track to find another vantage point which would enable me to get a shot that didn’t look like everybody else’s. I took Peter and Mimo through the forest to this spot, as well, knowing that although they, too, would capture the same view as me, they’d do it totally differently and it wouldn’t impact in the slightest on my sales of shots from this location, but would enhance our friendships and afford them a unique perspective, too. Making sense? Here’s the shot I got from there, and I guarantee it’s different to anything else you’ve seen of Neuschwanstein, but it’s a secret that was worth sharing!

 

 

Let’s bring ourselves together as photographers and build friendships the likes of Team Epic, putting the fear of losing out to one side and helping each other to grow instead. The Worldwide Photo Walk, just a few days ago, is the perfect opportunity to kick things off, and if any other little Team Epics pop up, I’d love to see them!

 

 

Much love

Dave

(and Scott, Jeff, Mike, Erik, Cathy, Mimo, Pisco, Peter, and Chicky Nando)

#TravelTuesday sure does come around quick! That means that I, Dave Williams, have a slot for the day to spread cheer and joy. What a responsibility! Well, today is no different, and I have some killer info for you right here, right now!

This weekend sees the annual Scott Kelby’s Worldwide Photowalk land in a town near you, and I certainly hope you’re signed up for one! Today, I want to lay down a few top tips to help you enjoy yourself and make some great images while you’re at it. The accompanying images, by the way, are from my previous walks. Largely selfies. Deal with it. Ready? Go!

 

 

Be comfortable

I’ve run photo walks where there’s been a lot of moving around, and if you’re going to be doing that, you must be comfortable! Check the weather ahead of time and dress for it, and please make sure you have the right footwear on. Nothing ever goes to plan, and I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, but if your walk is scheduled for 2 hours, it’ll likely be about 3. On top of that, if you’re carrying gear around, you want to be comfortable while you’re doing it.

 

 

Be all over your settings

If you’re doing a walk which involves a different type of photography than you’re used to, make sure you check and double-check your settings so that you have tack sharp, well-exposed images at the end of the walk.

 

 

Make friends

The Worldwide Photowalk is a fantastic way to meet photographers near you, and I’ve met many this way. It’s a great opportunity to see who else in your area is shooting. On that note, forget about having competition! In fact, forget that altogether – we should all be learning from each other. If there’s a secret to share, share it! There are a lot of photographers out there who keep things to themselves because they fear a competitor will “steal” their tricks, however, when you really think about it, there isn’t truly any direct competition. Everybody shoots different genres, and even those who shoot the same genre have a different style, and further to that, those who shoot the same style and genre as you are likely to work a different area anyway. So, nobody’s going to steal your clients if you share some secrets. It’s how we learn and develop.

 

 

Think composition

It’s easy to see a shot waiting to be captured and simply raise the camera and click, especially on a fast-paced photo walk. Take a moment to be conscious of your composition, perspective, timing, and then go ahead and shoot. There are prizes – win one!

 

 

Slim your profile

Sounds cool, right? What I’m saying is, simply, go light. If you’re going to be moving around a lot, both in terms of walking and body movements, you want to make it as easy as possible. If you can get away with it, take just one lens. If you need to take a camera bag, don’t cram it full of heavy gear that you won’t use.

 

 

Know the rules and be aware

As a big group of photographers, you’re going to stand out, most notably to thieves and security guards. Make sure you know what’s happening around you all the time and keep a close eye on your important gear, as well as other things like traffic and other people. As well as this, be aware of the rules – perhaps you’re going to a place that doesn’t allow tripods, for example. Platypod… just saying. If you’re confronted about any photos you’ve taken, don’t make it worse. Not today. ;)

 

 

I hope you all have a great walk! If you haven’t found one yet, you can find one here.

I’m not running a walk this year, but you can keep an eye on my Instagram Story to see the walk I end up on. ;)

 

Much love

Dave

#TravelTuesday at Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider means one thing: I’m here! I’m Dave Williams, a travel photographer and writer from the UK. I like long walks, I can spin a pen around my thumb, I can partially dislocate my jaw to fit more food in my face, and I have a disturbingly good memory for anything I’m told except for your name! Enough about me, though. Let’s talk about self-promotion online!

There’s a fine line in the creative industry when it comes to self-promotion, particularly with respect to social media. It kind of relates to giving away too much, such as with pricing. A lot of people who find us on social media and online searches will be looking for prices because projects are more often than not determined by budget rather than the actual content. It’s from this, of course, that the photographer, in particular, wants to respond to the question, “How much is it?” with, “What’s your budget?

 

 

Here’s the thing, though: even with a budget-driven approach, that content and its quality is usually the first thing noticed in either case. It’s important, therefore, to focus properly on marketing, social media, and the larger umbrella of “shameless self-promotion.”

Getting that right is tricky. It brings to mind a little nugget of wisdom I was told by Glyn Dewis a few years ago. He said to me, “Don’t take yourself too seriously, but take what you do seriously.” It makes me think of being at school and being told that nobody likes a show-off!

Striking a balance between what is productive and what is destructive is the trick. It’s certainly true that engagement leads to reciprocated engagement, but you have to give people something to engage with if that’s the aim. It’s also true to say that you don’t always need to post something positive to get that engagement. In fact, being overly positive can potentially lead to destructive consequences and criticism. The thing is, people like to feel like they know something. If you feed information, it can be positive and be shared, which means you yourself are being shared.  Also worth noting is that it’s okay to make mistakes sometimes. Leading on from people liking to feel like they know something if you make a simple mistake, the swathe of people wanting to point it out and correct it will, itself, drive engagement to the post.

There are some pretty stubborn people out there using their social media to observe rather than promote, and to those people, I say this: There is always going to be someone out there working harder than you and there is always going to be someone out there better than you. If you’re the one standing out from the crowd on social media or blogs, you’re the one who’s going to get the next gig because you’ve made yourself noticed. The risk of being told something you don’t like isn’t something worth considering. If you stand out, you face being criticised as a result of having yourself and your work examined by an army of keyboard warriors, but that risk is negligible against the potential gains. In this industry, we face challenges and this is just one of them. Marketing yourself effectively and efficiently is an art. Your knowledge, art, brand, experience, and YOU are things you should be marketing to grab that next client or agency, and with a little practice and a little commitment this shameless self-promotion will pay off.

Some ideas: 

  • Team up on Instagram and provide content for larger accounts—paid or unpaid, it leads to engagement, which leads to cold, hard, cash! I’ve done Instagram takeovers and projects with KelbyOne, Platypod, Lonely Planet, Extreme Iceland, and a few others. It ALWAYS generates something.
  • Show people behind the scenes. It gives away some of the secrets, and people absolutely love that!
  • Write for blogs to get your name spread further. There are plenty of blogs, particularly those of the products you use, who are willing to feature a good story if you just dig around a little and find the right person to send it to.
  • Tag accounts relevant to a social media post. For example, tag a product you used to take the shot or the location in which you made the image. Get their attention!

 

 

A behind the scenes shot can be anything from a complex look at a studio setup explaining the whats, wheres, and whys, or it can simply be a selfie with an albino kangaroo you’d been shooting just outside of Melbourne, Australia! People love to talk about themselves, and other people love to hear about it! There’s a reason selfies are such a big deal!

You may be the world’s best photographer, but you won’t be getting work if nobody can see just how amazing you are. Generally, we create our work out of a passion for our art rather than a thirst for profit, and that is sometimes what hinders this selfless self-promotion we need to be getting involved with. Work out which platforms you want to be using, be it Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, 500px, Flickr, LinkedIn, Google+, whichever, and start being consistent with it. Work out when your followers are more likely to engage, and give them something to engage with. Put your marketing hat on and sell yourself. Show people behind the scenes. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll thank me. ;)

Much love

Dave

#TravelTuesday has come around again, and so soon! Right here at Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider, that means I, Dave Williams, get to share something with you from the world of photography, Photoshop, travel, and life. Today, I’ve opted for photography and I’m going to lay down some tips to step up your shooting, right after I check in with the latest news!

Over at Layers Magazine, the new #MondayMotivation series of guest posts is going great! Yesterday, we saw a superb piece by Douglas Young, who goes by the monicker Doug Does Disney. It was so sparkly and inspirational—I loved it! If you haven’t seen it, go check it out!

Just one more thing I wanted to mention: my next foreign mission is to Norway, and when that happens, I’ll be taking over the KelbyOne Instagram Story, so be sure you follow that and follow me!

Right, let’s go!

Have a subject

This is something that puts landscape photography in the forefront of my mind. The specific thought is Moose Peterson, smiling and pointing at me, saying, “stop shooting sticks and stumps!” Well, it’s those sticks and stumps that are the subject. The foreground interest. Maybe Moose is right, maybe we should switch out the sticks and stumps for something more interesting! The important thing here is that when we’re shooting a large scene, what’s often happening in the thought process that made us bring the camera up to our eye and shoot is that being there, present in the scene at that time, it looked beautiful to you. The difference is that it doesn’t always translate that way into something beautiful to the viewer who wasn’t there—it’s simply a large expanse. We’ve taken that huge scene, flattened it, and made it into a little rectangle. Adding that foreground element into our large scene, whether it be right in front of the lens or simply close enough relative to the background, will create a feeling of depth and allow our eye and mind to really be entertained looking at that image.

When we start out in photography, we learn from a whole range of sources. Everybody’s different, so whether you’re the type to watch videos, read books, or get hands-on with courses, you’ll still end up in the same place with the same kind of knowledge. The knowledge comes from education, but also from practice and experience. I’ve had a lot of messages over on my Instagram lately, asking about how to get good photos, so today I’ll take it to grassroots and flip that around, giving my best advice for stepping up your shooting. The aim here is to gift new photographers with some knowledge and simultaneously remind the more seasoned of us what we should be considering when we have the camera in our hands.

 

 

This shot from Massachusetts, USA, is cool. It has colour, it has reflection, but more importantly it has a subject. Without that cute little family of birds swimming in for bedtime, it would just be a sunset. With the birds, there’s something about it to focus on and to make it more interesting. (By the way, when I took this shot, Kaylee Greer was standing next to me making the strangest noises over how cute this little family was. I think she wanted to take them home!)

Get Closer

I remember Scott saying to me once, “That could be closer.” I was a little miffed—I’d taken what I thought was an absolute cracker of a shot. He was right. If you think your photos aren’t good enough, get closer! The art of the crop is something I’ve written about before, and there’s good reason for it. Closing in on the subject and filling the frame right up is a technique to force the viewer’s attention on the detail. It conveys emotion whilst, at the same time, removing the sense of place and other things we think about when we scan an image. This leaves only one thing to think about: the subject.

 

 

Take this shot of a peacock I took in Maidenhead, UK. It is cropped in tight, giving absolutely no reference of the location, but forcing us to look at nothing but the detail. If I’d shot the whole bird and its surroundings, it would’ve been pretty, but this steps it right up and removes all those distractions, creating a totally different image. Do the same thing to someone’s face in a portrait and their emotion is conveyed so much clearer to the viewer, too.

Shoot tack sharp

That phrase “tack sharp,” has been lifted straight from Scott’s books. It makes perfect sense and it’s a nice, catchy reminder to check focus constantly. Having intentional blur in an image can look great when it’s done right, but when focus is missed, it can have disastrous consequences. There are so many tutorials out there on how to achieve perfect focus by concentrating on ISO and aperture, and their relationship to shutter speed. Further to that, there are a whole bunch of tutorials teaching us what exactly to lay our focus spot on when we take a shot. The important thing to remember is that focusing correctly can make or break an image.

 

 

I shot this pair of Icelandic horses one cold day in January 2016, and getting focus in such difficult conditions with numb fingers and trying to lock on to the eyes of a pair of frolicking horses was tricky. Had I not spent the time getting it right, however, I would’ve ended up never being able to show this image and I would’ve been cold for nothing!

Compose

Watch your horizon, scan your scene for its various elements, and line everything up nicely to match a compositional technique that works. Get this done when you’re there taking the shot and you’ll be well on your way to a winning image. You may have to move, and it may take a little consideration to get everything right, but it’ll pay off. One thing that shows the difference between a photographer and a “camera owner” is composition, so give it all due consideration.

 

 

Take a look at this image I made on the roof of a monastery in Piazza de San Francisco, Havana, Cuba. We’ve got a lot of compositional elements working together here. First, the subject, the couple, are showing you where to look, but so are the lines on the building to the right. The horizon is straight and it’s sitting at about the top third. There’s a wall to the left boarding the image, which is subliminally bouncing your eye away from that edge and keeping it in the frame. All too often we’ll see something cool, stop dead, and pick up the camera and fire off a shot, then turn and walk away. Taking the time to put all the pieces together in a nice, considered way will show that you know exactly what you’re doing.

I hope this has been useful!

Much love

Dave

Hey all! It’s #TravelTuesday right here at Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider and today I, Dave Williams, want to share with you a little bit about how photo intentions affect travel. Today, I want to provoke your thoughts.

On that note, Scott has a new class out now on KelbyOne called The Photographer’s Guide to Traveling Light. Go check that out!

 

 

Take a look around and note how much influence media has on our everyday lives. I’m talking about the entire range from personal Instagram accounts, right through to National Geographic and other such epic documentaries. You’ll even find influence coming from KelbyOne in respect of what I’m talking about today. The travel industry, in particular, is absolutely dominated by social media and influencers, so it’s absolutely no surprise that travel and photography are intrinsically linked. More and more often we are finding that our travel plans are weighed up against how “Instagrammable” (definitely a real word) the destination is. It’s actually my job to do that very thing.

Here’s something very interesting, which has popped up recently; something that’s worth giving a little thought: Studies have recently shown that us humans are now very likely to recall our experiences and our photos from a third person perspective. What we’re doing, as I’m sure you will have noticed, is showing the world our images with the intention of gaining likes, comments, shares, and engagement. We’re no longer looking to have experiences, but rather we’re looking to share. It seems that our number one priority is not to reflect on the moments within ourselves, but to consider how the perception of our experience would be evaluated by our followers.

 

 

This information is worth keeping in the front of our minds because travel (and indeed travel photography) is about experience. Our travel experience is tragically becoming hindered by sharing. We give undue consideration to our photo sharing over our internal forbearance and reflection on the circumstances we face to give us the experiences we see and feel in travel, and this is a necessary evil in some regards and some situations, particularly for myself as a professional travel photographer and writer. The fact that social media has a massive impact on our experiences is now a part of everyday life, and we are still getting used to it. It has hit us all in the face, and in some cases has become a genuine obsession. We can, if we aren’t careful, become obsessed with getting something “grammable,” something worthy of a Facebook post, and the subsequent likes and follows. It can take over us and take us beyond the reason we shoot and travel. The focus. The present moment.

It takes discipline to deal with social media effectively and productively, but similarly, it takes discipline to not let social media steal your time. With respect to how this is becoming “the norm,” just remember this:  if you’re always trying to be normal, you’ll never know how amazing you can be. In a world where everything is disclosed, perhaps it’s sometimes a good thing to remain a mystery. Make experiences, remember to actually experience them yourself, and don’t use your social media to try to impress people. Use it to make an impact. Give it value.

Much love

Dave

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