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At my seminar last week in Salt Lake City (great folks there, by the way — had a blast!), I was talking with a gentleman and he told me his photos were backed up already because he backs-up his Lightroom catalog once a week. Ack! Another guy there thought the same thing — that backing up your Lightroom Catalog also backs up the photos you have in Lightroom.

Backing up your Lightroom catalog DOES NOT backup your photos. These are two separate processes.

Your Lightroom catalog is simply a database of edits you’ve made to your images and a collection of thumbnails of those images. It’s a list of your sorting and organization, but that’s it. Backing up this catalog is important (and to a separate hard drive I might add), because if your computer ever had a serious crash and your hard drive died, or your computer gets damaged or stolen, you’d be starting over from scratch in Lightroom, but that backup of your catalog does not include any actual photos.

Above: When you Quit Lightroom, this Back Up Catalog window appears. Hit the Choose button to choose a location to save your Lightroom catalog, and I would recommend saving to an external hard drive, or to Dropbox (as I have here) or a cloud backup. 

After you’ve backed up your Lightroom catalog, you need to back up your photos separately, and I would recommend:

(1) Putting your photos all on an external hard drive

(2) Buy a 2nd external hard drive as a 2nd backup of all those same images (ideally in a different location. That way if your house burns down or you get robbed, you still have a backup offsite. I keep one drive at the office, and a 2nd at home, and I sync them up once-a-month).

(3) I would have a third backup in The Cloud (I use Backblaze.com) because if your area experiences a natural disaster (ask folks in Houston, South Florida, New England Coast, Louisiana), you’d lose all your photos in both locations – home and office – at once.

So, most importantly — make a backup of the photos on your computer. Today if possible. And get a 2nd backup. Hard drive dies. Always. Especially when it’s the least opportune time possible, so protect yourself with a backup of your entire photo collection. Then get to backing up your Lightroom catalog.

Hope that helps you sleep better at night. :)

Only 10 more days ‘till the Photoshop World Conference! Whoo Hoo!!!
Even though we’re only 10-days away, people are signing up every single day — you can too, and join us in Orlando, May 31 – June 2nd. Tons of Lightroom training every day of the conference. Details/tickets here. 

Here’s wishing you a great Monday, and a kick-butt week!

Best,

-Scott

If you are, I think I can help you come back with some of the best images you’ve ever taken. Check these out these courses this weekend:

> If you’re heading to Europe, check out one of my “Photographer’s travel guides” on where to shoot in:

I hear from photographers all the time who tell me how helpful these were to them, and what a difference it made in the images they brought back from their trip.

>> If you’re heading to New York City this summer, next week we’re releasing my “Photographer’s Guide to New York City” and it’s not the same ol’ places you’re used to (well, it’s a few of them, but lots of interesting and fun places you might not have known about). Should be out next Thursday. Can’t wait to share this one with you.

> If you just want to learn about Travel Photography in general, check out my Travel Photography course on KelbyOne — it’s a two-part course: Part one is on the shooting, and Part 2 on the post-processing, and it’s filmed on location in Paris.

> Rick Sammon has a great travel photography course that’s a great compliment to the one I did in Paris. He has lots of great insights — totally worth checking out. Here’s the link. 

> Another great online course — this one from Colby Brown — it’s on How to Make a Living as a Travel Photographer. Here’s the link — really great info. 

> We also have some awesome members-only Webinar you can watch, streamed on-demand, including my “A Walk in Lisbon” travel photography Webinar, and “A Walk in Venice” and another — From Prague to Budapest” – plus join Rick Sammon and me for a members-only Travel Photography Webinar.

> A while back I did a talk on my trip to Cuba, and it had lots of tips and locations, so if Cuba is on your travel list, you can watch this one right on YouTube. Here’s that link. 

Whew! That’s a lot! Hope those help you to get your very best travel images yet! :)

Have a great weekend everybody — it’s a perfect one to start prepping for those summer photo trips.

Best,

-Scott

P.S. Just 12-days until the annual Photoshop World Conference in Orlando. People are signing up every day (a bunch signed up just this week). You can still sign up and join in. Detail/Tickets right here.Hope you can make it.

How to Create Realistic Shadows for Composites with Bret Malley
Realistic shadows are an essential component of a realistic composite. Join Bret Malley to learn how to create custom shadows in a variety of lighting situations from diffused overcast light to hard direct light. In this class Bret demonstrates tips and techniques for creating soft shadows, hard shadows, custom shadows with the Pen Tool, shadows on natural terrain, and finishing touches like realistic reflections to tie it all together. Nothing can ruin a composite faster than a poorly crafted shadow, so it is critical to get them right.

In Case You Missed It
Join Tim Wallace as he takes you through his entire process, from planning through completing the final composite, of photographing an airplane for a commercial project. In this class you’ll learn how Tim approaches the job, the planning that goes into each element of the final image, what factors you need to keep in mind when shooting, and how Tim pulls it all together in post processing. Through each step in the process, Tim shares tips and techniques he’s learned and developed from years of shooting similar commercial transport projects all over the world.

Photo by Sam Haddix

I Believe In Magic – Discovering the Magic in Your Photography
You are a magician, a sorcerer, an illusionist. You wield power that can inspire the soul and expand the imagination. Are you using it? Like any good story, you are yet to unlock its full potential. You overlook the opportunity sitting right in front of you. No, sadly, this is not your new age letter to wizarding school, nor is this the beginning of your superhero origin story. This is an invitation. An invitation to start wielding a type of magic that can suspend disbelief and change the impossible to reality. You are a photographer, and this is your chance.

My journey into the world of photography started six years ago. Like many of you reading this, I started by taking pictures of everything. Friends, family, landscapes, pets, wildlife, events, products, and weddings… you name it, I shot it. I waited for something to stick. I narrowed down what I shot, but nothing set my soul on fire. When the “real world” got busy, my hobby was put on the shelf. There it sat until 2016 when I moved to central Florida and became a Walt Disney World local. Here I rediscovered the magic of photography and found the spark I searched for.

November 1st, 2016, months after my move, I was bored. I settled into my new job, apartment, and life. I wanted to start something big. A soul-searching endeavor to help fill the void in the creative side of my life. I longed to find beauty and joy in my surroundings. My mind felt dull and sluggish, so I made a commitment to form a new habit. I forced myself to create something on a daily basis. My goal? Post once a day on Instagram for thirty days. With nothing but my cell phone and a mission, I set out on a new adventure that felt oh so familiar. I searched for a subject and found myself drawn to the theme parks.

My life changed.

Disney World was the setting of my dreams. Fireworks for long exposure, the dynamic lights of Tomorrowland, the beauty of princes and princesses that came alive on a daily basis. Yup, this is something I could get in to. I was a fan of Disney and Walt Disney World practically since birth, so it was natural that I gravitated there searching for inspiration. After thirty days of posting consistently I had built a habit, I kept posting, I couldn’t stop. I purchased my first DSLR in six years so that I could continue to do more with the subject I fell so deeply in love with. The theme parks of central Florida had awakened in me a desire to shoot and create again.

After hundreds of photos had passed through my workflow and out onto the web I felt stuck. All my pictures looked the same. The spark of creativity that was once a roaring flame dulled to the somber glow of embers. Something had to change, this is when I discovered the magic hidden in my images.

How could I take the same subjects I fell in love with and turn them into something new? Walt Disney World was less than likely to let me start construction in their parks, set up massive scenes with props or bring large groups of people in costumes to take my pictures… so I turned to post-production.

My first attempt? I added stars to a blank sky, adding some “pixie dust” to an image that needed something extra. It looked strange. I posted it anyway. I braced myself for ridicule and relentless comments for faking part of my image.

What happened? Nobody noticed.

The real kicker? My audience felt something. They loved the image. They believed, even just for a moment, that the beautiful starry sky behind Cinderella Castle was real. They got their fix of Disney magic for the day, and for those who can’t visit the parks often that is a big deal. This was exactly what I wanted. I made people who loved Disney as much as I do feel “Home” for just a moment.

I continued to add stars, change skies, and add sunsets to my images. Every so often I get a respectful private message asking what had been changed and how I did it, but never the outrage I originally expected. My social media platform became a mix of images edited to different extremes. Many images I barely touch, slight changes to exposure, contrast, and colors and I’m set. Others I’ll add a small sunburst, lens flare, or stars. In a select few I’ll create a composite with many photos to create a complete fantasy scene.

The variety of edits has created an environment where the lines of reality are blurred. What is real? What has been faked? Is empty Main Street USA really empty or were people removed? The end result for me can only be summed up as Magic. My camera is my wand and my computer is my spellbook. Together with a little creativity, we wield the power to awe and inspire. This magic has opened doors for me, and taught me some very valuable lessons.

The first lesson is that by using different techniques, post-processing, or just by traveling to somewhere new, we can create an environment where fantasy and reality meet. Our viewers can escape the norm and allow themselves to get entangled in the world that we have created for them. This escape is not only welcome but often sought after. Who doesn’t love searching for something impossible? Remember your way doesn’t have to be my way. Think back to the first time you saw star trails or long exposures of fireworks, it was almost otherworldly! These did not come from post processing but different techniques.

The second is that our images don’t have to be perfect; mine rarely are. What they should be is something we enjoy doing. The emotion we put into the process is felt by the viewer in the images we share. Do it with love even when you’re frustrated. Don’t beat yourself up when you’re on a downswing either. We all hit those and have to fight our way out!

The final lesson is to embrace the journey, not just the end result. I’m not ashamed of my beginnings. If you’re brave enough to venture deep into the early photos of my Instagram feed, there are some horrendous things lurking with far too many HDR filters and vibrancy that could blind you. If I submitted them to the Grid for a portfolio review, it’s likely that the studio would explode. I keep these images there as a reminder of where I’ve come from, and the potential of how far I can go.

With each new step you take in your creative journey, take pride in your failures. I fail often, more than I would like. Each time I fail, I try to learn something from it and apply it to my next image. Consistency in your work ethic is the key. There is no magic formula, just keep pushing forward! There will be a moment where you finally produce an image you love, look back on all those other images and realize the follies of your past were just the stepping stones to that moment.

Thank you for reading and being a part of my adventure. It has been an honor and a privilege being a guest blogger and will go down as a milestone in my photographic journey. I truly hope you find your own brand of magic in your photography and it brings you as much joy as I’ve found in mine.

Have a truly magical day,
Doug

You can view more of Doug’s work and connect with him on Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook.

Well hello! It’s #TravelTuesday and I, Dave Williams, am here as always to lay down some wisdom and stuff! So, did you know that Photoshop World is right around the corner? Of course you did! If you haven’t sorted out your ticket yet there’s still time, and even if you aren’t free to attend the whole (awesome!) conference, you can get yourself a one day ticket. I’m dying to meet as many of you as I can, so look for this guy at the bar: –

This is when Scott invited me to join him and Terry while The Grid was broadcast live from PSW in 2017. Bad move ;) I was sensible as well though!

 

This is what we in the industry refer to as ‘BTS’ ;)

 

See! Evidence that I was sensible!

 

So, let’s talk about Photoshop World today! It’s much, much more than a conference! Today, I want to share with you some of my experiences of Photoshop World, and I have all of you in mind but this is mainly geared towards the first timers out there. The legend that is Larry Becker will run an orientation for newbies right there at the conference, so take this as more of a glimpse of the things you can take away from Photoshop World—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 page? 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! Take a look: –

 

This is me with my brother from another mother, Peter Treadway, when we headed out for coffee with Gilmar Smith and Mark Rodriguez, having met them and become great friends solely because of KelbyOne and Photoshop World

 

This is me with Scott O’Neal. I’d met and chatted with him online all because of KelbyOne and it was at Photoshop World, whilst waiting to pick up my pass that I heard, “Hey, are you Dave Williams?” and we got to meet for real!

 

And again, this time in Vegas 2016, this is me with Peter and Graham Jones. Graham had flown to Vegas from the UK, and despite it being halfway across the world, it’s another one of the many examples of making and maintaining friendships through KelbyOne and Photoshop World!

 

The friendships that are made because of Photoshop World with fellow members of the amazing creative industry are a huge reason to get involved! I won’t hammer this point; I could go on about just this one thing for ages, but I’ll leave it here! Kinda clockwise from me:  Brad Moore, Dave Clayton, Jesus Ramirez, Peter Treadway, Mark Rodriguez, JR Maddox, and Cathy Baitson.

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

I mean, 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 Video 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!

 

Here’s a reason: exploration! Attending Photoshop World likely means you’re in a whole new place. So why not make the most of it and rent a Mustang and go find gators?

(Okay, my lawyer said that if you go looking for gators, it’s not my fault when you find one! Just saying!)

On the topic of exploring, this helicopter ride cost $25 and it’s right down the road from the conference ;)

 

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!

Peter and I were lucky enough to have been sitting around a table at the Light party in Vegas with Mike Kubeisy and Meredith Holt learning what a tater tot is (I’m British, I don’t know these things!). But, it was just the coolest thing having spent a day totally broadening my creative mind to then go party the night away and make new friends.

 

Last year at B.B. King’s, there was an awesome live gig with Scott killing it on every instrument he touched, and I’ve heard a little rumour that this year a whole bunch of PSW instructors are getting up on stage to play! Make sure you get tickets for this one!

 

This is what happened in Vegas 2016 when Photoshop World took over a bar – no half measures, even the party had PSW all over it!

So, what about exploring the fact that even though it’s called Photoshop World, it’s not all about Photoshop…

Dave Clayton teaches InDesign, and this year he has a brand new class – Get Inspired by Graphic Design – where not only will you get to explore avenues away from photography and Photoshop but you can also come away with some great freebies!

 

Even the Keynote speakers at the start of Photoshop World are impactive. The energy created at the opening keynote will leave you on a high and give you all you need to survive a few sleepless days soaking up all the creative goodness like an Adobe sponge!

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. They’re never convincing so I opened the floor, so to speak, and asked a bunch of other KelbyOne family members their take on this. Here’s what they had to say!

Whether your mojo is lost, asleep, or a little unmotivated, it will sure be recharged after being in such a creative environment. You’ll get to network with some of the best creatives in the industry. You’ll leave the conference with a bag full of new tricks that will sure improve your business. You’ll make lifetime friendships and probably have a big hangover but it will be worth it! – Gilmar Smith, Gilmar Smith Photography, 5 PSW’s

For me, I’d say the best alternative thing is meeting the community. Those people you connect with on social media. It’s a great place to develop those relationships and go off and do your own trips or photo walks. I’ve made many friends from extra curricular trips as Photoshop World. Then there’s the vendor floor, getting to talk to the people who make the stuff you use and ask them questions. The prizes for feedback forms is always worth taking notice of for the last day! Filling in those feedback forms on the Photoshop World App is really important for the instructors . Check out the expo for extra classes and demos too! There’s a community area this year so make it the trip that you make new friends and create your own experience! Dave Clayton, KelbyOne instructor, 8 PSW’s

Where else can you get hands on and talk to the phoptpographer who wrote the books on the subject you’re reading? It’s a lot about interaction. Think of this as an investment. As a college course where you get to interact with the teachers who are leading their fields. Networking is huge in our industry and PSW is a great opportunity for you to do this.Robert Vanelli, Vanelli and Friends, lost count of PSW’s!

Come to Photoshop World Expo Pavilion. Meet industry leaders and the people behind the products. Get your hands on some amazing equipment and accessories, try before you buy, and seek out some hot deals and discounts!Larry Tiefenbrunn, CEO of Platypod, 3 PSW’s

As a UK based photographer who travels internationally for work, aside from the obvious inspiration and learning to be had, PSW is a huge networking event for me. In attending the conference, I’ve made some lifelong friendships and built up a number of fantastic working relationships that have resulted in me returning to the U.S. for more work. If you’re keen to go pro, then the opportunities to collaborate with other likeminded creatives can not be overstated. Simply put: You’d need a really good reason not to go, if full time photography is your goal.  Peter Treadway, Peter Treadway Photography, 2 PSW’s

Being in a building with hundreds of other brilliant creatives makes me pulse to life with inspiration and helps me push my dreams to even wilder heights. To meet people from all over the globe who are each chasing down their passions with individual fire is the greatest way to get reinvigorated and refocused on my own journey. That energy and that unparalleled artistic company is what makes Photoshop World so completely unique and so precious to me. – Kaylee Greer, KelbyOne instructor, 4 PSW’s

PSW has some of the best classes and instructors in the business. PSW has so many fun things set up to keep you in and part of the entire experience. The workbook is worth the trip alone. They have every single class in one book, so if you miss a class you don’t need to worry, it’s all right there in the book for you. One of my favourite reasons to go to PSW is to meet other great creatives in the industry. They are such a great wealth of knowledge but not only that, the inspiration I get is priceless! – JR Maddox, JR Maddox Photography, 6 PSW’s

Reason #1 – I’ll be there! Reason #2 – It’s the one place where you can learn your favourite Adobe Creative Cloud apps from the best instructors. Reason #3 – I’ll be there! Reason #4 – It’s Orlando. Reason #5 – It’s the one conference that combines learning and fun (mostly fun!) Reason #6 – It’s where all the cool kids go. Reason #7 – There’s no better place to learn Photoshop. – Terry White, KelbyOne Instructor and Adobe worldwide evangelist, All the PSW’s!

 

 

See you there!

Much love

Dave

This trick, in particular, is for that nasty noise you can sometimes get in long exposure images — especially if you have to brighten the image, but it can work in all kinds of instances.

Now, before I show you this trick, I do want you to know that I normally don’t mess with trying to fix noise in my images. It has to be really, really, really bad for me to even try to deal with noise, because (1) noise reduction techniques and plug-ins simply blur your image to hide the noise, so you’re trading one bad thing for another, and (2) only other photographers even notice noise — the public is pretty much immune to it, but in the case you’re going to see below, I would (and did in the final image I posted on Instagram), fix the noise, but I didn’t use a noise reduction scheme, which is what makes the trick so helpful. Check it out:

Hope you found that helpful (and I hope you listened all the way to the end). :-)

 17-days to the Photoshop World 2018 Conference
It’s not too late – you can still come and join us for three days of Photoshop, Lightroom, Design, and photography training from the best instructor roster ever assembled. May 31-June 2nd in Orlando, Florida. Details, travel info, and tickets at http://photoshopworld.com

Have a great Monday everybody – I’m on my way to Salt Lake City for my seminar there tomorrow. Hope I see you there!

Best,

-Scott

 

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