Category Archives Featured

Compositing Effects Bundle: Vintage Texture Design AND Human Torch Unmasked with Corey Barker

This week brings another creative bundle from Corey Barker!

Learn how to use textures to affect the look and feel of a design. In this first class Corey breaks down a design project with a distinctive vintage look that was made entirely in Photoshop. Starting with a range of photographs that serve as both design elements and sources for textures, Corey demonstrates the steps he followed to create the final project. From isolating each design element from its original background to layering them all together to create a completely customizable and fully editable effect, Corey teaches you techniques you can apply to projects of your own.

In this second class, you can learn cool new compositing effects! Here, Corey takes you step-by-step through the process of adding creative particle effects to a photograph to transform it into a realistic looking scene of a man bursting with fire. Using a variety of source photos for compositional elements and textures, Corey demonstrates techniques involving brush effects, layer styles, selections, and more to create the final realistic result. Be sure to catch the bonus lesson at the end on how to animate a particle effect.

In Case You Missed It: Hollywood Effects Bundle with Corey Barker

Take your Photoshop creativity to new levels by exploring Hollywood style compositing tricks with Corey Barker! In this class Corey teaches you how to create amazing effects using layers, brushes, masks, selections, and other Photoshop tools while building a movie poster. This project will expose you to a variety of techniques and give you a lot of ideas that you can use in other projects. Corey steps through the project from the base image to the background, and all of the cool atmospheric effects and textures that bind the final image into a masterpiece!

And don’t miss this fun project from Corey that creates a 3D scene from a flat 2D piece of art while exploring a certain part of movie history. Corey provides the original 2D art so you can follow along as he explains and demonstrates each step in the process. By the end of the class you’ll have your own version of the 3D scene and a new set of Photoshop 3D techniques that you can use in your own creative projects.

“Have Blimp, Will Travel”

That used to be the “shout out” to all the publicists and producers who hire set photographers for their feature films and TV series produced in Ontario, both Northern and Southern. I say, “used to,” as with the advent of mirrorless cameras and the electronic shutter, the SLR silenced by the blimp is becoming both redundant and anachronistic. 

I divide the Province in two as Northern Ontario, most notably Sudbury and North Bay, as they have become mecca for producers due to the tax credits available for labour costs.

And in the film and TV business, every nickel and dime is counted and watched by a number of levels within a production.

Hence this past March I worked up in North Bay on a show called “Cardinal” for CTV, in a frozen park full of little lakes, and came home with frostbite on my nose! Of all places… Did I think of greasing up that part of my body… nooooo. Call it a war wound… in -20 C. We had tents with heaters going for warmth between takes.

More than likely you’ll see me looking like the photo next to the wagon wheel as winter productions are not the norm. Cameras are rolling more likely from April – December in Ontario. 

Last year I worked on two productions in Northern Ontario, Honey Bee (see photo by the 24 hr. neon sign) and Bad Blood Season 2, both of which I was hired for the duration of each production, which simply means I got the job and shot all required photographic elements of and for the production.

These elements include: a) Set Stills on the days required by production for the publicity department, and that entails positioning myself as close to the A or B camera while they shoot the action, so I can get photos of the action.

An important aspect of set stills is rendering myself with “invisibility.” I use that word in an artistic sense, as it is a learned skill, just as a musician learns to play an instrument. Timelines and meshing with the crew are learned and practiced over the years. It makes life easier for the stills photographer, and also the actors. Typically the actor will never look directly at camera when shooting a scene.


With the recent launch of the iPhone 11 and an abundance of other great camera phones on the market, combined with the age-old saying that there’s no better camera than the one you have in your pocket, this week I’m going to lay down some phone photography tips. 

I’m Dave Williams, and every week I’m here on for #TravelTuesday—let’s do this!

Firstly, our phone is often the closest camera to hand when a moment arises out of nowhere that we want to put into pixels, and to this end, it can be a great benefit to be able to launch the camera app as quickly as possible. Get yourself familiar with the quickest way to launch your camera app with any shortcuts your phone offers, and if you enjoy using the camera built into Lightroom Mobile there’s an easy way access it through the iOS notification centre. 

Next up, remember that everything we know about photography still applies when we use our phones. Rules of composition, selective focussing, burst shooting, and bracketing for HDR exposures can all be applied, and in fact, should be applied to give us the best results and the best mobile photos possible. Just like quickly launching our camera app, it’s important to become acquainted with the methods to apply these techniques to our photography. There are compositional overlays, we can adjust for focus and exposure, we can apply HDR, and we can shoot burst mode. Everything we know still applies, so we should make the most of what our smartphones offer us for the absolute best photos. 

After we’ve captured the scene, we have a whole wealth of post-processing apps available to us. If you’re an Adobe Creative Cloud member, there’s Lightroom Mobile, and other apps are available which also deliver top-quality results, such as Snapseed, VSCO, LensDistortion, and of course, the editing features native to our phones operating systems. For example, as well as making final adjustments to our images, if we’re iPhone users, we can select a photo from our camera roll, swipe up, and then if we shot a Live Photo we can process our photo sequence into a long exposure—perfect for when we’d shoot waterfalls!

Take the time to learn your way around your camera phone and you’ll be surprised at what you can do with it!

I’ll be posting shots from my phone to my Instagram Story starting on Friday when I arrive in Iceland, so make sure you follow along right here

Much love


  • Chiyoda City, Tokyo, Japan
  • Mont Saint Hilaire, Quebec, Canada
  • Ogden, Utah, USA
  • San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • Mount Jewel, Pennsylvania, USA
  • Greater London, England
  • Victoria, British Columbia
  • Lewis County, Washington, USA
  • Tehran, Iran
  • Jirays Village, Egypt
  • Plock Mazoweickie, Poland
  • Cagayan de Oro, Hilagang Mindanao, Phillipines
  • Katy, Texas, USA

These are all cities that recently added photo walks as part of my 12th Annual Worldwide Photo Walk (sponsored by the awesome folks at Canon USA).

We are just 12-days away from the walk on Saturday, October 5th
Whoo hoo, it’s gettin’ close! We have already approved leaders in over 1,010 walks in cities around the world, and over 800 of them are already online for you to join a walk near you!

To find out if there’s a photo walk near you, click here. 

Lots of fun, and new friends, and new photos await. The photo walk is free, and you might win some amazing prizes if you submit an image to the photo contest (totally optional, but entry is free, too). Grab a group of your friends and sign up to be a part of the walk, today! :)

I’m off to Nashville or my seminar there on Wednesday!
I just got back from China yesterday, but there’s no rest for the weary — I’m on my way to Nashville tomorrow for my “Ultimate Photography Crash Course” full-day seminar. While I’m there, I’m trying to stay away from one of of the greatest guitar stores in the world — Gruhn’s, but I can’t make any promises. Looking forward to see a whole bunch of you on Wednesday (it’s not too late to come out and spend the day with me — here’s the link for tickets).

Have a great week, everybody!


P.S. The next stop for my seminar tour is Dallas/Arlington next month. Come on out and join me. Tickets here.

Demystifying Milky Way Landscape Photography with Erik Kuna

Learn how to capture breathtaking photos of the Milky Way with Erik Kuna! In this class Erik gets you up to speed on the gear you’ll need, the settings you’ll use, tools to help you plan your shoot, essential information about the Milky Way, and techniques to get tack sharp stars, all before heading out to some dark sky locations in the American Southwest. Erik wraps up the class with a review of some of the photos captured and some tips to help you move forward.

In Case You Missed It – Under the Milky Way: Lightpainting and Photographing Stars

Join Dave Black for some lightpainting under the stars in Mono Lake and Bodie Ghost Town. Dave starts off with a walk through of all the gear needed for lightpainting before taking us through the importance of a site survey. Over the course of six different shoots in a variety of locations Dave shares all of the steps and settings needed to create stunning lightpainted starscapes. Each lesson is packed with tips, tricks, and lessons learned from Dave’s decades of experience. Dave is a master teacher, and his love for creating these photographs is truly infectious.

The Importance of Play

Being a creative in 2019 can be tough sometimes. There is this expectation of perfection everywhere you look. There is the need to outdo your last piece of work. There is the race for more follows and likes. There is a constant fight for attention and affirmation that didn’t exist before.

Technology has changed the way we view and present work: We post our work online to social media instead of as prints in homes or galleries. It has changed the way people respond to work: A constant barrage of imagery and content online has desensitized viewers and has made them less likely to react to anything in a meaningful way. Technology has changed the way our work receives attention and praise: We get double taps, tags, and “likes” instead of clients and gallery print sales.

I actually recently found an Instagram account called @insta_repeat, that displays this idea all too well. Everyone is so busy fighting for attention, that they’re more willing to recycle and blatantly imitate something they’ve already seen get a good reaction, rather than try to invent compelling imagery for themselves. Why bother putting in the effort to make something that might not get as many likes as a “behind the model, holding hat, staring at beautiful landscape shot?”

The pressure to be consistently great is exhausting, at best, and crippling at worst. It makes us (at least me), not want to create anything that isn’t meticulously thought out. I found myself not wanting to shoot anything unless I had the session completely mapped out in my brain, from what hair and makeup was going to look like, what every piece of our wardrobe was going to be, to exact lighting, and what the set was going to look like. Don’t get me wrong, these things are important to keep in mind and plan for, but there was a certain, unyielding rigidity to the way I went about doing it.

I didn’t like having to be flexible if there was a change in plans for a certain look or shot. I didn’t push myself to venture outside of the box of static images I had already pre-planned in my head. And the worse part is, if I didn’t nail something exactly the way I saw it in my head, I felt like the entire shoot was ruined and like I was the worst photographer in the world.

Then, something happened a few months ago: It was my birthday and my plan was to spend a quiet day in my pajamas playing video games and drinking wine. However, instead of doing that, I ended up spending 13 hours in front of my computer racing to meet a retouching deadline.

By the time I was done with that work, the LAST thing I wanted to do was spend MORE time in front of the computer, home alone, on my birthday. So instead, I got dressed, grabbed my camera, and went downtown to the venue where my husband’s band was playing.

My only motivation that night was to go out and have some fun. I people watched, I took some photos of the band, of new friends I had made, of the dancing crowd, and around downtown at night. There were zero expectations of me from clients or otherwise. I was shooting because I wanted to, not because I had to.

That night I had the most genuine fun with my camera that I have had in a long time.