Category Archives Photography

From a very, very cold Lapland, #TravelTuesday is here! Right now it’s -13.5c (7f) and my mission to the cold, dark north has faced some setbacks, but overall it’s going well. I was in Norway, but yesterday I drove through to Finland because of the adverse weather and so far, so good here.

This is actually what has inspired what I want to share with you today. I use social media to show the world everywhere I go because it shares a sense of adventure, shows people the world, and also adds to my credibility and ability as a travel photographer, and you should do it, too!

Social media, in the age we live in, is so powerful to us as photographers and creatives, and we should be harnessing that power. There’s a reason the micro-influencer industry has been so well-received. Large, multi-national companies are utilising the influencers of social media to share their brands, dividing their budgets between multiple small campaigns, which exude a sense of trust and following rather than splashing out the entire budget in one big swoop on a TV or billboard campaign. That advertising translates to us, too. We have built or are building a following, and that following trusts us and trusts our opinion. Not only can we use that to promote others, but we must also promote ourselves!

It’s the holiday season and there’s no time like the present, so get started now on promoting yourself on social media, using Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and any other social accounts as a shop window, sharing with the world what your strengths are and where (and how) people can buy your products and book you!

Instagram has perhaps the best tools for this, followed closely by Facebook. We can share stories, showing people who we really are, and providing a sense of interaction for people who want a glimpse of us and our lives.

Here’s a shot I shared in my story yesterday, showing everyone what the conditions are like where I am and forming part of a bigger story about what I’m up to here. Intermittently, we can plug in links to the story to put people’s attention where we want it, which may be a blog or website or an online store.

Put it this way: – there’s a reason my new northern lights book is selling so well with only social media promotion, just as there’s a reason Scott shows you every time there’s a new book or new course, and just as there’s a reason we see sponsored posts and the hashtag #ad on Instagram posts.

Ladies and gents, the power of social media is huge, and it’s real. If you aren’t yet using it to its fullest potential, get started now! It really is your shop window!

Much love

Dave

(And on that note, check my story to see what I’m up to in Lapland)

It’s now T-Xmas (read: “T-minus Christmas”), and as we’re now in the holiday season for so many people of so many faiths, it’s time to share some holiday photo tips! Before I get too far I want to apologise for laying down last week’s #TravelTuesday post on what was, as a one-off, #TravelMonday— thanks to everyone who pointed it out, and I’m firmly blaming the jet lag, having just arrived back from Canada!

So, on the whole, we want our holiday shots to be light and airy, but as always, there are exceptions to the rules, so don’t think of them as hard and fast! I’ve been aided in this post with some fabulous images by some fabulous photographers, so be sure to check out their links to see more!

I’m Dave Williams, let’s do this! Go tips, go!

Crank your ISO!

We tend to have some atmospheric light going on around the holidays, with fairy lights and candles and all kinds of contrasts going on, and it’s a good idea to bump our ISO to let the light flood the sensor, giving our images a light and airy feel. What I mean by this is knowing the ISO limitations of your camera and pushing those limits to give a nice, bright, festive photo, without causing any damaging highlights. A good benchmark on a newer, higher-level mirrorless or DSLR is pushing to 6400 ISO, and with something like a Canon Rebel or Nikon 5300, try somewhere around the 1600 ISO range.

By Cathy Baitson

Throw some props around!

Santa hats, mistletoe, that weird little elf thing, it all adds up to setting the scene and making it crystal-clear when our shot was taken, acting as a souvenir shot for us or our customer. These little props really go a long way.

By Gilmar Smith

Get creative with composites!

Beautiful starry skies, flying snowmen, steam-puffing trains, and a ton of other things lend themselves nicely to a festive composite. Throw in the odd starburst, and check out some KelbyOne courses about how to create seamless composite images to really add some punch to your holiday image.

By Stephanie Richer

Get tight!

No, I don’t mean skimping on gifts, I mean getting in close to the details! The details of all the things that come out at the festive time of year are special, and it’s often in the little details themselves where the real meanings and feelings come out. Keep your aperture low and your focus on-point to make your image really special.

Think about the light!

Off-camera flash is way cooler than on-camera flash, so make the most of all the light sources around you at this time of year (including natural light). Take advantage of beautiful, bokehlicious backgrounds by making that aperture nice and wide to knock focus out and keep the attention on your subject in all its festive glory.

By Stephanie Richer

Tell a story!

This time of year, no matter your faith or creed, is packed with awesome, meaningful stories. So, bring that to your photography and tell a story of your own, while making some awesome memories of the 2019 holiday season!

These images, in order of appearance, have kindly been provided by Cathy Baitson, Gilmar Smith, and Stephanie Richer, with thanks!

Much love

Dave

Welcome to the online version of my “14th Annual Gonzo Holiday Gear Guide,” which is featured in this latest issue of Photoshop User magazine.

I know it’s hard to believe I’ve been writing this for 14 years, which must also mean that I’ve apparently amassed a huge collection of stuff that’s now horribly outdated. This is precisely why it’s so critical that I create a new “Holiday Gear Guide” each year, and sell the old stuff on eBay to pay for all my new stuff. It’s a vicious cycle and one that I’m certain drives my wife crazy. But don’t let our holiday gift discord dissuade you from making the same mistake I have, because it’s the holidays and time to unwrap a bevy of spectacular holiday gems that are perfect for the petulant photographer on your holiday gift list. 

As always, these items are gifts and gadgets that I use myself, and not only have I fallen hopelessly in love with them, but like a pacemaker or the new chicken sandwich from Popeyes, I also now find it hard to go on living without them. My job here is simple: Transfer my dependence on these items to you this holiday season, therefore completing the circle of life. 

Just remember, giving one of these gifts by itself isn’t enough. The real magic of the holidays is when you can use social media to make others feel less adequate by taking cell phone pictures of all the stuff you bought, and all the stuff you got and sharing it online. It’s what separates us from the animals. 

The Rules

These are my self-imposed guidelines for which products make it into the guide—it’s just two rules actually. To be listed here, they have to be: (a) products that I use myself; and (b) if a product makes the guide, it has to be one I’d recommend to a close friend without hesitation (especially if I wasn’t that crazy about this particular friend—more of an acquaintance, really). 

Also, to make things easy, we added direct links to all the products I picked so you don’t have to wonder if you’re getting exactly the right one. (Note: Depending on the product, clicking on the links below will either take you to the manufacturer’s website or if the product is available at B&H Photo or Amazon, then clicking on the links will take you to those websites.) 

As is my sacred holiday tradition for more than a 14th of a century, I’m breaking things into three distinct categories: 

  • Stocking Stuffers: But you can use these as actual holiday gifts if this person has ever asked you for a loan.
  • Great Value Gear: Stuff that’s a really good deal for the money, so it will look like you spent more than you did, and they’ll think you’re actually a better person than you are. So essentially, these are the perfect gifts.
  • Cha-Ching!: Stuff you’d buy for the Disney executive or Wall Street hedge fund manager on your Holiday gift list. These will often require a credit check in advance and putting up some sort of collateral.

STOCKING STUFFERS

PhotoPills (for iPhone & Android)

PhotoPills is the app every landscape, nature, or travel photographer should have. It’s like having your own photo assistant out in the field with all the answers to things such as, “When’s sunrise?” “What time is blue hour?” “How long should I keep the shutter open on this long exposure?” and a ton more. But beyond just numbers, it can do everything from tell you exactly which day and time a full moon will be over a particular mountain or lake you want to photograph, or which direction the sun will be coming from at any date and time in the future. Plus, it has a built-in augmented reality feature that can even superimpose the Milky Way’s position over a scene so you’ll know exactly where to set up and compose your shot. It’s easily worth $100, but it’s only $10. It’s truly a killer app! 

Price: Incredible deal at $9.99 (link)

Endangered Beauty by Carol Freeman 

The tagline for this book is “Images and Stories of the Rarest Species in Illinois,” but this book is really for anyone who loves great wildlife photography. Carol worked on this inspiring book for more than 20 years, and it’s just stunning from cover to cover. Goodreads calls it “…a glorious tribute to some of the most amazing life on our planet.” For a $50 donation to the Team Green Environmental Network, you not only get a printed edition (180 pages softcover) of Carol’s wonderful book, you also get her printed 2020 calendar as well. So you’re getting the book, the calendar, and donating to a good cause, so there’s something in this one for everybody! 

Price: $50 donation (includes both her book and calendar) (link)

A Nice Roll of Gaffer Tape 

Buying someone a roll of tape as a stocking stuffer may sound like just one step above a lump of coal, but that’s only because you may not realize the magic and wonder that gaffer tape can bring to the life of a photographer. Developed in Hollywood for use in movies and TV shows, this tape does something very special: When you remove it from a wall, equipment, your mother-in-law, etc., it doesn’t pull off paint (or skin) or leave a sticky residue. That’s why photographers love it—it’s easy to tear, easy to use, and doesn’t mess up stuff when you’re done.

Price: A roll of ProTapes Pro Gaffer Tape (2″ x 55 yards) at B&H goes for $20.59 (link)

Rick Sammon’s Bestselling Book, Photo Therapy Motivation and Wisdom: Discovering the Power of Pictures 

Over the years, Rick has written 40 books on photography, and this is his bestselling book ever. Ironically, there’s not a single photo in the book—it’s all words, but powerful words they are. People absolutely love it, and so will the photographer on your holiday gift list. Really great stuff (at a really great price)! 

Price: $15.99 (link)

Think Tank Photo Secure Pixel Pocket Rocket (Black) 

I love mine because it securely stores all my memory cards, including CF and SD cards, and the design is just right on the money. There isn’t a photographer that wouldn’t love finding this one in their stocking (and if they don’t like it, they really weren’t your friend in the first place now, were they?). Of course, if you really feel close to them, you could always fill those empty card slots with actual memory cards, in which case you should move this entry from Stocking Stuffers to the Cha-Ching! category. 

Price: $21.75 (stylist black with gray trim, but also available in bright obnoxious colors) (link)

Platypod Stackable Gooseneck (2-Pack) 

If the photographer on your holiday gift list has a Platypod (and if you were really paying attention to last year’s Gift Guide, they do), then what better follow-up gift could there possibly be than the new two-pack of flexible, bendable gooseneck arms. These allow you to mount things such as small portable lights or flashes, or a microphone directly to your Platypod and place them wherever you’d like. The folks from Platypod brought some of these to the PHOTOPLUS Expo in NYC back in early November, and they created a sensation. They not only sold out of every one they had, they even sold their sample. So cool! 

Price: $30 (link)

Focus Pyramid: Autofocus Lens Calibration Tool

If you’ve ever heard your photographer friend say something along these lines, “Ya know, this lens used to be really sharp,” then the Focus Pyramid is for them. It helps them use the in-camera adjustment to get their lens back to being super sharp. (Over time, lenses can lose some of their sharpness for a variety of reasons, like being tossed 700 times into a camera bag, or dropped, or being dipped in molasses, etc.) This will help bring it back to its former glory. Plus, it’s very easy to set up and use. 

Price: $24.95 (link)


GREAT VALUE GEAR

Think Tank Photo Airport Essentials Backpack 

When I was at a workshop up in Canada, one of the participants had this backpack. I fell in love with it, and I ordered one as soon as I got back. It’s just about the perfect size for those times when you don’t want to lug the whole kitchen sink with you (which for me these days is pretty much always). It’s light, so cleverly designed, and still holds a good amount of gear without overloading you. Really well built and thought out. They will super dig it (and super dig you, too!). 

Price: $199.75 (link)

B&H Photoo Gift Card

This is always the perfect gift, because B&H Photo is the greatest camera store in the world, and whatever the photographer on your gift list wants, they have it, in stock, ready to ship. They’re the magical unicorns of camera stores. Get them a gift card from here and they’ll follow you anywhere. 

Price: Starting at $25 (link)

Westcott X-Drop Vintage Gray Canvas Backdrop by Glyn Dewis

Photographer, retoucher, and KelbyOne instructor Glyn Dewis has really made a name for himself through his inspirational and touching portraits of World War II veterans, The 39-45 Portraits Project. This backdrop was designed by Glyn himself, so you can get the same style portraits with your subjects, even if they weren’t in any world wars. 

Price: $119.90 (link)

ON1 Photo RAW 2020 Photoshop Plug-In

The folks at ON1 have been on a roll, and they have fans of their plug-ins all over the planet. Part of the reason is their new AI stuff is pretty incredible. Of course, as the name says, it’s a RAW photo processor, but it’s really so much more, wrapping organization, special effects, RAW processing, and more into a plug-in that your photographer giftee will lose their mind over! It’s really incredible what ON1 has done. You’ll be a champ for picking up this one! 

Price: $99.99 (link)

Samsung Portable SSD T5 1TB Drive

This drive is so incredibly small and lightweight, but it holds a freakin’ terabyte of data and it’s faster than a greased pig (and you know how fast greased pigs can be—well, if you don’t, they’re really, really fast). The person you give this to can take their high-res images with them on vacation, and use the drive to back up images, too. These drives are just incredibly awesome. No way they won’t love this! You can even get a 2-terabyte version for around the same size and weight, but throw another hundo on the fire (totally worth it). 

Price: $199 (1 TB); $299 (2 TB) (link)

The LitraTorch 2.0

This tiny little rechargeable light is kind of like the GoPro of little lights. In fact, it would be awesome with a GoPro camera, or for doing selfies with your phone, or for bright continuous light for iPhone videos. You can even connect it to a drone for drone lighting. It’s waterproof, and you can even mount it anywhere using the Platypod Gooseneck (see above). It just so tiny, and yet it’s surprisingly bright and flexible, plus there are a ton of accessories for it, and it’s pretty cheap. Well, inexpensive anyway. 

Price: $90 (link)
Add the LitraTorch Filter set to add lots of colors (includes holders): $35
(link)

Photography by Mark Wegner as displayed in The Gallery at KelbyOne

A Fine Art print from Bay Photo

You can either get a gift card for the photographer on your list so they can get one of their images printed, or you can give one of your own prints as a gift (which is a very personal gift). Either way, you’ll love the quality of Bay Photo’s Fine Art Prints. Want to give somebody a really memorable gift that’s more than just the product itself? This is it! 

Price: 16×24″ Fine-Art Print: $56.40 (link)

Photo by Erik Vlietinck

Luminar 4 Photoshop and Lightroom Plug-In

This is a special-effects plug-in that just keeps getting more and more incredible! It does everything from replacing skies to adding sunbeams to your photos to retouching skin to any one of a bunch of stuff that’s totally cheating. You’ll be a star for giving this one! You can order version 4 of this bad boy right now and save a few bucks, too. 

Price: A killer deal for $99 (this is a special deal that expires soon), plus you’ll get some pre-sets, too (and they’re normally $49 just for the presets!) (link)

3 Legged Thing Ellie PD Universal L-Bracket (Metallic Slate Grey)

This is the updated, newly advanced, “more better” version of their super popular Ellie L-Bracket. When shooting on a tripod, it lets you switch your camera from wide to tall in about two seconds. This is very popular with landscape photographers, who love these to death. The price is right, and it’s available in a lovely metallic slate gray or putrid orange (don’t get it in orange!). 

Price: $79.99 (available for preorder with delivery set for the end of November) (link)

XP-PEN Deco Pro Medium Graphics Drawing Tablet

If you’ve always wanted to buy a really nice graphics tablet for your photography friend (a tablet and pen are the pro retoucher’s tools of choice), but the price has kept a good one out of reach; that’s all about to change. Earlier this year I got my hands on the new XP-PEN Deco Pro tablet, and I have to say, I was blown away at the quality for the price. Personally, I like the smaller size tablets (one I can easily fit in my laptop bag or backpack and it takes up less room on my desk), so I’d go with the Small Deco Pro (9×5″), but if you think they’ll want something bigger, go with the Medium (11×6″). They’ll dig the way the double wheel works. Absolutely amazing for the price! (They’ll think you paid way more!) 

Price: $74.99 (Small); $90.99 (Medium) (link)


CHA-CHING!

Really Right Stuff BH-40 Ballhead

You might be thinking, “I dunno, Scott, $415 seems like a lot of money for a ballhead,” but I can tell you that’s only because it’s a lot of money for a ballhead. But, at least it happens to be the greatest ballhead in the entire recorded history of ballheads. It’s the single greatest ballhead ever, and you’d be the single greatest gift-giver ever to give one of these to the photographer on your gift list. You’d instantly elevate yourself to “most valued friend or relative.” They’ll cherish this one for many years because it will last forever (even after the Great Gas War of 2046). 

Price: $415 (link)

1.4x Lens Tele-Extender 

Every photographer wants to get close to the action, and this will help them by taking their existing lens and getting them 1.4-times closer. It’s like getting a longer lens for a fraction of the cost, and as long as you buy a quality extender (and I’d only list quality extenders here anyway), there won’t be any real visible loss of quality. These are so awesome and, after buying a friend one, he’ll look upon you with awe. Okay, that’s a bit of a stretch, but they’ll definitely want to nuzzle you (but I’m not sure that’s a good thing!).

Price:
Sony FE 1.4 Teleconverter (for E-mount lenses): $548
(link)
Canon Extender EF 1.4X III (for EF-mount lenses): $429 (link)
Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III (for F-mount lenses): $496.95 (link)

Canon RF 24-240mm F4–6.3 IS USM Lens

This is my new go-to travel/walk-around lens and I absolutely love it! Wider than most all-in-one lenses like this (most are 28mm), it’s very lightweight, beautifully designed, and sharp as the dickens. (See how I worked a Charles Dickens reference in there? I know. It’s a gift.) Anyway, this is one kick-butt lens and now it goes with me on every trip. Perfect for the Canon EOS R mirrorless user on your holiday gift list (plus, the price is actually pretty amazing). They’ll lose their minds when you give them this! 

Price: $899 (link)

Tamron SP 85mm F/1.8 Di VC USD Lens

The 85mm range for portraits and weddings is a pretty magical one, with its look and style, along with those creamy out-of-focus backgrounds. The f/1.8 range is also the range I recommend (rather than the heavier more expensive f/1.4 or f/1.2 lenses, because their depth of field is so incredibly thin that if you’re not 100% right-on-the-money with your focus technique, you’ll wind up with a lot of out-of-focus shots). With an f/1.8 like this, you’ll save money, it’s much lighter, and you’ll get a lot more shots in focus. I mean to say, “They’ll get a lot more shots in focus.” You’re not buying this for yourself now, are you? ;-) 

Price: $749  
Canon
(link)
Nikon
(link)
Sony (no VC)
(link)

Profoto C1 Plus (Serious Lighting for iPhone Shooters)

Beautifully designed and built (like all Profoto gear), this super-portable studio strobe (it fits in the palm of your hand) lets iPhone photographers light their subjects like a pro. This is what I’d call the first “serious” flash for serious iPhone shooters, with its soft light and slick design—it’s just so cool! It works with iPhone 7s and up, and you can control the strobe with Profoto’s free app. It has flash and continuous lighting options, and you can even control the light’s color temperature and power output. You can get some nice accessories for it as well, such as gels, a grid, and a dome that snap on its magnetic mount. If your photographers are serious about their iPhone portrait photography, they’ll love this on a crazy level. It’s a can’t-miss gift. 

Price: $499 (link)

Tether Tools ONsite Power Bundle

If the photographer on your gift list shoots on location, man are they going to love this! It’s a small, specially designed battery power pack and adapter from the folks at Tether Tools that let you power and charge your laptop, camera batteries, flash or strobes, phone, and most any other USB devices, all while out in the field where you don’t have access to an AC wall outlet. It’s really pretty brilliant, and while I put this in the Cha-Ching! section, the price is actually a bit less than Cha-Ching. It’s more “Cha-Less-Ching” at a little under $270. It’s really well made and cleverly thought out. 

Price: $269.98 (link)


STUFF FROM US

One of My Fine-Art Prints

The gallery YellowKorner sells three of my fine-art prints of classic interiors at various sizes (you can get some really nice large sizes) and styles and I, for one, would be honored if you saw fit to give one as a gift. Imagine how tickled I’d be if you gave three or four? Or even three or four hundred? The mind reels, doesn’t it? Anyway, they’d make a great addition to your collection (says the author, so his opinion is somewhat tainted, but correct nevertheless). If you purchase one, please post a pic on social and tag me in it so I can share it, as well. 

Price: From $145 (link)

My New Book, The Natural Light Portrait Book

This one is literally on press now and will be available before Christmas. It’s my new book completely focused on how to take really amazing natural-light portraits, and it uses the same style and layout as my Digital Photography Book series: Just one topic per page, so it’s quick-and-easy to digest, and you can turn right to the page you want, for the thing you want to learn, and boom! You’re off and shooting. Be one of the very first to get a copy by pre-ordering now. 

Price: $28.83 (paperback); $23.99 (Kindle) (link)

My Other New Book, The Landscape Photography Book

It just came out earlier this year and it’s already in its third printing (meaning, the first two print runs of the book completely sold out). It’s my bestselling book in years, and if the photographer on your holiday gift list shoots landscapes (and at some point, we all shoot landscapes, right?), they’ll get a lot out of this book. Well, so I’ve been told. 

Price: $18.27 (paperback); $17.36 (Kindle) (link)

A One-Year KelbyOne “Pro” Membership

You’ve probably heard again and again (or you’re already a member and you know firsthand) about all the incredible 700+ online courses, the online community, the webcasts, the magazines, and the discounts that are part of a KelbyOne Pro membership. Now you can share all that with a photographer you super-dig. It’s only $199 for a year, with full access to everything! They’ll devote the rest of their natural life to let you know how thoughtful, caring, and generous you were to change their life in such a meaningful way. Okay, that’s perhaps a best-case scenario, but I think they’ll love you for it (and so will I). 

Price: $19.99/month; $199/annually (link)

A One-Year KelbyOne “Plus” Membership 

If they love online training, we have a special membership level that focuses on the online classes themselves (with access to more than 300 courses), but it goes for just $9.99 a month. Give ’em a 12-month membership and they’ll love you all year.

Price: $9.99/month; $96/annually (link)


Well, there ya have it, folks. Remember, it’s not how many gifts you get. It’s about how many gifts you get me! ;-)

Happy Holidays!

-Scott

Good day! It’s #TravelTuesday and because it’s Tuesday, it’s not Scott but me, Dave Williams, fresh from a red-eye flight from Calgary to London, coming at you loud with some kind of photographic wisdom!

Today, I want to touch on reverse engineering a photo, and this is something you can learn a lot more about from Glyn Dewis’ book Photograph Like a Thief if you want to dig deeper. Let’s do it!

So, in Banff National Park, there’s an iconic photo and I wanted it. I’ve preached time and again about being original, but I just wanted this shot bad! There’s a train line running through the park as part of the Canadian Pacific Railway network, and one curve, in particular, facing up to the mountains’ home to Lake Louise and Moraine Lake. It’s Morant’s Curve, named after the Canadian Pacific photographer who took the first photo of the new rail line here.

As you can see here, it’s so popular because of the original shot that there’s a viewing area with railings.

When it comes to reverse engineering a photo, it’s a lot about light. When it comes to photos of people, we can usually work out the lighting quite easily by looking at the edges of the person and the reflection in their eyes to see how they were lit. But, when it comes to landscapes, it’s more about working out the location and the timings, which we can do quite easily with maps and PhotoPills.

What we’re looking for with the light is the time of day, dictating the direction, and other clues that will help us with the scene, like the temperature and tone and the softness.

We also need to reverse engineer the shutter speed and focal length used, so we can apply it to our image, or add a creative flair if we want to put our own spin on it.

The whole process of reverse engineering a photo is a combination of science and art, and we can use it to apply the exact look from the original photo or put it “into our own words” if we want. That’s what I wanted to do, and here’s my shot: –

What I’ve done here is pick a spot slightly back from the gap, giving the train a piece of the image but not the entire focus. The front end creeps through the gap in the trees looking somewhat like a face, and then the rest of the train twists and turns as a leading line toward those epic mountains behind. The whole scene is, of course, iconic, but it has my own little spin on it, too.

Reverse engineering a shot like this is a good skill to apply, and a great way to learn. Have a go at it. I promise you’ll enjoy it, and it will help you in critiquing yourself, as well as deconstructing and analysing a photo.

Much love

Dave

I’m very excited to announce that submissions open today for the prestigious Malta International Photo Awards (MIPA), and I am so honored to be a part of the international judging panel and to be among such an esteemed group of judges.

Here’s a short video (below) about the awards, and the international judging panel.

MIPA Autumn 2019 Intro Video

The MIPA Autumn 2019 Edition is getting closer. Our founder Anja Goder goes through all the recent changes in MIPA as we prepare for this exciting next edition.Submissions will open soon. Stay tuned to this page for more information and details.

Posted by Malta International Photo Award on Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Here’s a link to their official site for more details and to submit your image(s). I hope you’ll consider entering — it’s like I always say, ya never know, right? :)

Good luck everybody, and have a great weekend!

-Scott

P.S. Don’t miss my post today over at LightroomKillerTips called “Why is Lightroom so hard for you?”

Happy #TravelTuesday one and all! Yes, that’s right, it’s so much of thing that it’s entirely appropriate to wish people a good day on #TravelTuesday! And with that I, Dave Williams, am here on ScottKelby.com, coming at you with wisdom and news and whatever musings have crossed my mind this week!

Firstly, just to recap on what I’ve been up to: I arrived back from the Faroe Islands on Friday and I loved it! If you ever have the opportunity to explore this off-the-beaten-track cluster of 18 awesome islands, do it! As for the next mission, well I’m currently in the air over the Atlantic bound for Calgary where I’ll be picking up a rental and heading to the Rockies—keep up on that over on my Instagram and Facebook if you so wish, and feel free to drop me a line with any suggestions while I’m there!

So, this week I want to show you some photos from Team Epic and tell you why they rock! The idea behind this post is to offer you a range of motivation, and show you some critique (albeit unwarranted; the team will only find out when they read this post that I actually did it!) Let’s do it, starting with Peter Treadway!

https://www.instagram.com/p/B4O6eyGgol6/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

This photo rocks because not only does it demonstrate the lengths Peter went to in order to get the shot, it also demonstrates his understanding of colour and tone. He has balanced the light beautifully to give a good dynamic range across the scene, using his skill with controlling what our eyes are drawn to with a combination of light and depth. The image is nicely framed, with the boat entirely in the frame and considerately close enough to the edges to not waste space, but not so close that it looks off. Finally, keeping it brief, the actual moment itself with the clear love in the expression on this couple’s faces just tips it over the edge for a win. That’s why this photo rocks. Next up, Mimo Meidany.

Okay, this image clearly rocks, but here’s the reason why: – The framing is so well-considered, using the final distance of the lens in tandem with the actual distance from the doorway and the Louvre pyramid to get each positioned and sized just right. That also reflects in the framing here where Mimo has used a bold framing, which despite being quite large contains elements that break it up like the highlighted gates and the tire markings on the ground. Further to this, as well as Mimo’s signature hyper-long exposed clouds with their awesome streaks, this image technically shows a serious contrast between true black and white but has been adjusted in post to offer a range in between those two values, which somehow doesn’t appear to show a great deal of contrast. This image rocks! And next up, Mr. Fernando Santos!

Check this beauty out! Somewhere in deepest, darkest Austria lies a twisty-turns Alpine road with a quaint church nestled in the foothills, featuring towering peaks in the background. Utilising this scene to its full advantage, Chicky Nando has created a scene of warmth, depth, and of beautiful sectioned leading lines all pointing to one spot. Whether it’s the road, the grass, the hill, the tree line, or the Alpine peaks, each of the lines crossing through the three dimensions of this image points straight back to one spot: – the church! Very, very nicely done, and that’s why this photo rocks! And, I guess that leads us to Mr. Roberto Pisconti.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B3J0DfSoLTp/

With Pisco, let’s mix it up with one of his epic portrait shots. Take a look here, firstly, at how technically perfect this image is with those eyes tack sharp and a great creative use of the light where the attention is drawn to the features of the face, falling off where it meets the shoulders and neck just enough that they remain an unobtrusive element of the image, but not so much so that they pull our attention. The top of the head is cropped just right where it’s enough that it’s deliberate, but not so much that it negatively impacts the look. In post, the toning has been expertly done, with quite a complicated set of colours, combined with a skin tone to add a massive punch of pizazz to the shot! Mr. Pisco, this photo rocks! And, on to Mr. Kuna.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B1GtsVsh6fw

A portrait of an entirely different kind, Mr. Rocket Man has composited a series of images here, blending them seamlessly to create a picture-perfect frame of a young astronaut with one of Mr. Musk’s finest rockets soaring into orbit overhead. When compositing images it’s important to create something that could pass as real in terms of blending the images, and this means matching the tones and where necessary, lining up the pixels. Erik has nailed it with this amazing image; it rocks! And now, Cathy Baitson.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BzZQMBQiZ6l/

Take a look at how captivating this image is. The scene we see is a metal worker in a forge, with a roaring fire off in the background and the sense of someone who has stopped for just a moment amidst a busy day at work. The feeling he gives of connecting with the viewer is no doubt a result of the expert direction of Cathy, and the consideration she’s given to the composition here is what helps to draw us in, but balances nicely that all that’s going on is a compliment to the scene rather than a distraction. Nice one Cathy; this rocks! Next up, the boss!

Founding member of Team Epic, Scott Kelby, has smashed it in this rocking Parisien scene. There’s depth, composition, framing, atmosphere, and most importantly, there’s this: – The Eiffel Tower, an absolute icon worldwide, has not been used as the subject of the image, but as a feature within it. This helps us to depict such iconic places in a new light and means we are likely to draw in an audience to an unfamiliar view of a familiar object.

And with that, I invite you to follow Team Epic on Instagram via their images above and to consider this unwarranted critique when it comes to creating your own images. Thanks for reading, and as always, you’re welcome to reach out to me if anything in this article needs a little more explanation!

Much love

Dave

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