Category Archives Travel Photography

#TravelTuesday is here and I, Dave Williams, have this week’s installment of wisdom for you, free of charge!

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but who are “they” and what else do “they” say? Sometimes, all we need is a little inspiration, a little motivation, and a little quote. From the world of travel and photography, here are some of my favourites to put you in the right frame of mind on this sunny Tuesday before travel comes back to life. Well, it’s sunny here in the UK! Hopefully, it’s sunny where you are, too!

Which is my favourite photograph? The one I’m going to take tomorrow.

Imogen Cunningham

It’s weird that photographers spend years or even a whole lifetime, trying to capture moments that added together, don’t even amount to a couple of hours.

James Lalroupi Kelvom

If I could tell the story in words, I wouldn’t need to lug around a camera.

Lewis Hine

Great photography is about depth of feeling, not depth of field.

Peter Adams

The camera is an excuse to be someplace you otherwise don’t belong. It gives me both a point of connection and a point of separation.

Susan Meiselas

My life is shaped by the urgent need to wander and observe, and my camera is my passport.

Steve McCurry

If you want to be a better photographer, stand in front of more interesting stuff.

Jim Richardson

You can look at a picture for a week and never think of it again. You can also look at a picture for a second and think of it all your life.

Joan Miro

All photographs are accurate. None of them is the truth.

Richard Avedon

You don’t take a photograph – you make it.

Ansel Adams

To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting an ordinary place… I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.

Elliott Erwitt

What I like about photographs is that they capture a moment that’s gone forever, impossible to reproduce.

Karl Lagerfeld

There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer.

Ansel Adams

I really believe there are things nobody would see if I didn’t photograph them.

Diane Arbus

Photography has nothing to do with cameras.

Lucas Gentry

The picture that you took with your camera is the imagination you want to create with reality.

Scott Lorenzo

Taking pictures is like tiptoeing into the kitchen late at night and stealing Oreo cookies.

Diane Arbus

It’s one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it’s another thing to make a portrait of who they are.

Paul Caponigro

Photography for me is not looking, it’s feeling. If you can’t feel what you’re looking at, then you’re never going to get others to feel anything when they look at your pictures.

Don McCullin

We are making photographs to understand what our lives mean to us.

Ralph Hattersley

Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film is captured forever… It remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything.

Aaron Siskind

When I have a camera in my hand, I know no fear.

Alfred Eisenstaedt

Photography is the story I fail to put into words.

Destin Sparks

The eye should learn to listen before it looks.

Robert Frank

It’s not enough to just own a camera. Everyone owns a camera. To be a photographer, you must understand, appreciate, and harness the power you hold.

Mark Denman

The context in which a photograph is seen affects the meaning the viewer draws from it.

Stephen Shore

The way that light hits objects, I think, is one of the more important things that sculpture and photography share.

Rashid Johnson

What do we feel when we look at a good photograph? We just want to be there, right at the exact moment that photo taken.

Mehmet Murat Ildan

When a moment in front of me appears to be particularly special, whether it be by beauty or experience, I capture it. I usually find a reason to justify taking that photo – symmetry, or color, or contrast – and it’s my hope that my photography sheds light onto what I see and do on a daily basis.

Connor Franta

The art of photography is all about directing the attention of the viewer.

Steven Pinker

It takes a lot of imagination to be a good photographer. You need less imagination to be a painter because you can invent things. But in photography, everything is so ordinary; it takes a lot of looking before you learn to see the extraordinary.

David Bailey

Ok, so that was 31, but who was counting?! I hope there was some inspiration in there for you and I hope you all have a great day!

Much love

Dave

Zoo photography counts as travel photography, so for #TravelTuesday today I want to share my top tip for photographing animals in the zoo. I’m Dave Williams and I’m here every Tuesday on ScottKelby.com—let’s begin!

I realise that zoos aren’t for everyone, so let’s get that out of the way straight off. Personally, I’m careful to ensure that any zoo I visit has credibility in conservation because, as an animal lover, there’s nothing I loathe more than visiting a zoo with animals that aren’t properly cared for. There is a difficult balance, I realise that, but so long as there’s no mistreatment etc., I’m happy to visit.

I won’t mess around with a clickbait-esque title—I’ll cut to the chase. My number one tip for photographing animals in the zoo is…

Make it look wild!

It can be tricky to achieve this, but making the scene look wild will add so much to our images. Freeing the animal back into the wild gives a much greater connection to the animal’s natural environment, and that connection will cause the viewer to lend more appreciation to our image.

To achieve this our best tactic is to ensure the background is absolutely clear of any “zoo clutter.” By this I mean any unnatural enclosure features, like cheesy fake rocks, fences, walls, cables, walkways, all the stuff we see at the zoo that makes it so fake.

Something else we can do is crop in close on the animal, perhaps not dissimilar to a portrait shoot showing just the head and shoulders. This will bokeh out any unwanted background and give star-focus to the animal we’re photographing, revealing their character. When we do this a key portrait rule applies: always focus on the eyes! Bonus tip: if the animal is at an angle, focus on the closest eye.

And, finally, also themed around aperture, is this: –

When shooting through a mesh fence, like in a predator enclosure, we can lose the fence by shooting wide open if the subject is a reasonable distance from the fence. This wide aperture pushes our plane of focus and depth of field away from us (and from the fence), so we can often get a cool image with no fence in it.

I hope that tip was useful, and if you keep an eye on my Instagram for the next few days you can catch a few more tips!

Much love

Dave

Whether you shoot for fun or you’re an amateur turning pro, this little list contains the secrets to success. I’m Dave Williams, it’s #TravelTuesday, and it’s time to get on with things!

1 – Be committed

Take the sunrise analogy. If we’re committed, we’re there for the first light of the day, ready and keen to get started. If we’re willing to sacrifice a warm, comfortable bed in exchange for a cold, early morning, we’re demonstrating our commitment to travel photography and to ourselves.

2 – Think laterally

If we go where the crowds go, we’re more likely to take a shot that the crowds already got. If we think outside the box, however, we’re far more likely to create something unique that stands out amongst the crowd. It’s worth putting in the work to create something unique.

3 – Research hard!

If we put in the research behind our shots, we can plan for things that don’t often happen, like obscure moon phases or annual events. Putting ourselves in the right place at the right time will allow us to achieve something different, and meticulous planning results in us knowing where to be and when to be there. This research should present itself in the form of a shot list, allowing us to prioritise and plan whilst on a trip.

4 – Know your gear and techniques

Practicing hard and educating ourselves with regard to our gear and the techniques we can use will pay dividends when we’re on location. Having our methods honed so they become second nature means we can get far more done in a shorter time, and react to any changes effectively. We don’t need to travel to far-away locations to practice, we can do it close to home. When we are well-practiced it shows in our work.

5 – Learn patience

Patience is the most important tool in our bag—this is something I’ll always remember hearing Scott say. One characteristic of a great travel photographer is identifying and composing a photo, then waiting for everything to be right. The right light, the right colours, the right mood, the right anything—it often takes patience to have everything right.

6 – Be ready

Despite the need for patience, we also need to have the ability to reach quickly, responding to situations that develop around us. We need to understand the exposure triad (ISO, shutter, aperture) and know how to quickly apply it by touch only, so a fleeting moment doesn’t pass us by.

7 – Understand composition

We need to know when and how to apply the rule of thirds, leading lines, diagonals, the golden spiral, and every other compositional technique, as well as knowing when to break these rules with patterns, contrast, and depth.

8 – Self critique. A lot!

At the end of the day, when the shooting’s done, examine your work very carefully. Then take a break and come back to it again for another examination. Critique yourself and actively look for your mistakes so you know where to improve next time.

Photography is competitive, in some cases, more so than others. The most important thing is to have fun, and if we practice hard and achieve the most we possibly can, it becomes less stressful and easier to have fun.

Much love
Dave

#TravelTuesday comes again, which means I’m back! I’m Dave Williams and I’m here every Tuesday. For the past nine weeks or so I’ve lacked motivation. I’ve had to suspend projects and slow down a lot, and I’ve had to cancel trips. I’m busy writing a book and even that’s been hard to focus on because, for me, this whole pandemic has severely dented my creativity. In a twist, now that we’re starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, I have plans to go north as soon as possible. It’s picked me up, and it’s meant I can make a plan.

“The plan” is exactly what I want to talk about today. “The plan” is the thing that motivates and inspires us to achieve big!

When I say “have a plan,” I mean a specific plan and an overarching “grand plan.” What I mean by this is we need to have targets, and we need to work out a way to achieve them. If we have a big target, the best way to get to that point is to break down the journey into smaller targets, so we have more successes along the way, and a shorter fall if we fail one small step versus falling the whole way to the starting point if we’d had one big goal alone. I’ve talked about that all before, so this time let’s go over how to have a plan for a small step and why it’s so important.

When we have a plan and we succeed at it, it gives us a huge psychological boost. The resulting confidence helps us to achieve the next goal, as part of the next plan. Look around at the photographers you follow and you’ll see that they all have a shot list—a plan—and this is their measure of whether they’ve succeeded or not. If Paul Nicklen, National Geographic and Sea Legacy photographer, wants to shoot leopard seals he plans meticulously. He scouts locations, checks weather forecasts and maritime forecasts, and he prepares his kit. Alongside this and many other things, he has a shot list. On this shot list, which may be quite minimal, there’ll be that one shot he wants to achieve from the project. The planning all amounts to one thing: getting the one shot. Secondary to that, there may be other locations or other shots, and together these make up the shot list. When it all comes together and the shots on the list are attained, the project is a success. Tertiary to the “one shot” and the rest of the list, any extras which become keepers, which we may call “lucky shots” in our business, are a bonus. It’s a kind of “above and beyond” scenario if this happens, but the goal is the goal, and combining all these projects together pushes us along on our master plan.

Paul Nicklen, Scott Kelby, and all the other successful, working photographers out there today follow these principles, albeit through slightly different iterations. There’s a master plan, then there are all the little plans, and in the little plans, there’s a shot list. Success with a shot list means success with the plan, and success with the plan means success with the master plan.

As life goes back to normal and your camera sees more action again, make a plan and make a shot list. Trust me, having small, simple goals—like which mountain you want to shoot at sunrise, or which setting you want to shoot a family member’s portrait in—will help pick everything back up again and the success will push you to work harder and achieve more, and lead, in turn, to the next goal, and the next, and the next. As the sights close in on the success of the master plan, move the goalposts and aim higher.

Much love
Dave

#TravelTuesday has landed again, and I’m here! I’m Dave Williams, and I’m here every Tuesday on ScottKelby.com with something from the world of travel photography for you all. Right now I have seriously itchy feet and I just keep scanning the internet for somewhere to go. Iceland is high up the list and I’ve also been looking at Patagonia, Canada, Greenland, Norway, Finland, and some sunny places, too. Anyway, the problem at the moment is quarantine – nobody is letting anybody in without quarantine, and the quarantine period is longer than the trip. But what about attracting people to the country or destination? How does that actually work and how do we play our part as photographers?

Travel photography explores and shares the dream of visiting faraway places, and perhaps that has never before been so true as it is now. Social media provides a seemingly endless supply of wanderlust-inspiring content and with a click or a scroll we can see almost anywhere in the world. As a profession, travel photography is all about creating images which do the following: –

Travel photography takes landscape and light and culture, a sense of place with no sense of time, while crucially encapsulating the essence of the destination and containing, within one frame, everything required to attain and retain the attention of the viewer and working to make that viewer want to be in the photo.

Travel photography that achieves this aim is all around us because this is the point of travel photography. We can see it in magazines, on postcards, on travel websites, on tour operator social media, literally everywhere that is trying to sell us the concept of travel, because these are the images that make the sale – the ones that make us want to be there.

Take a look at @STATravel on Instagram and notice how, on this account and many like it which sell travel, there’s a huge range of images which make us want to be in these places. There’s no consistent style, no consistent theme per se, no consistent subject, and all the images vary in their style. The one thing they all have in common is the feeling or, if you like, the result. They all make us want to be there.

Moving ahead in travel photography and learning how to develop yourself as a travel photographer is therefore about two things: –

First, we need to know and understand the technical and artistic elements of photography.

Second, we need to learn how to employ all the methods we learn to convey the sense of wanting to be in the images we create to everyone who looks at them.

There are many techniques to help achieve this: good composition, enticing leading lines, a clear and engaging subject, a sense of timelessness, and many other elements – the thing is, if it’s a well-considered shot at the time of taking it, this consideration will carry forward to those viewing the image and the passion of the photographer will shine through.

Take the time to consider your shots and think about what, in each particular scene, will make people want to be there.

Something to think about! Catch you again next week!

Much Love

Dave

With things slowly easing up the world over, it’s time #TravelTuesday got more travel focussed again. I’m Dave Williams and I’m here again, crossing my fingers and checking airline and government notices daily to see when I can go explore again!

I want to share with you the way I find the most cost-effective ways to get shots when I’m self-assigned. When someone else is commissioning a shoot it’s easy—just wait for the tickets and reservations to land in your inbox. But, for self-assignment when shooting stock, for example, it’s a little trickier and every penny counts. That’s why I have developed a system for finding the best prices for flights, hotels, and cars, and it’s this system I want to let you in on today. Being based in the UK it will vary slightly for those of you in the US or other parts of the world, but the system remains similar in all locations.

First up, I need to work out where I need to go. If I’m flying from London to Paris, there are many options, which means there’s healthy competition. London has several airports: Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton, Stansted, and a couple of others. Paris, similarly, has multiple airports. Charles De Gaulle and Orly, serving the city from the north and the south. This range of options means airlines are competing to get you there, and this reflects in the price. Take a look at Stockholm, Sweden, and notice there are three airports: Arlanda, Skavsta, and Bromma. Similarly, New York has JFK, La Guardia, and Newark. Most major cities have multiple airports, which helps to drive the prices down and the options up. But how do I find the best options?

I constantly monitor Hopper to find out the best time to book, and what I mean by this is how far in advance. There’s a whole load of mystery around flight pricing and we know there are controls in place to fill the flights up to make the most profit for the airlines, but what Hopper does is it monitors the prices for major worldwide routes to suggest the best time to book a specific ticket. Once I know this, I know how far ahead to be planning.

Next up, I can do the searching. I tend to start with Skyscanner to gauge the routes available. Skyscanner lets us input a city or an airport, and allows us to select dates or view a range of dates to compare prices. The result is the cheapest ticket. We can select different airlines for different legs of the journey and even different airports for each direction. When I see the results I will go to the airline’s own website to check their price, because although Skyscanner is usually the cheapest option, there is the odd occasion when the airline’s website shaves a couple of quid off the price.

With the flight sorted, I’ll source accommodation. Knowing that I’ll be spending a lot of time out rather than in, it’s more important to me to choose a tactical location than it is to choose the services, etc., that may be available. Some of my favourite places to stay have been in the middle of nowhere, waking up to the sounds of sheep bleating at the door of a mountain in Iceland, with nothing but a bed and a lamp in the room, but perfect positioning to explore the landscape. The best places to find these sorts of accommodations are Booking.com, Hotels.com, and AirBNB. The way I use these is to search the dates and locations, then switch to the map view to view the results geographically, selecting the most appropriate option in terms of price and location to ensure I can get the job done, on-budget. I have an account with each of these companies, and this gives me access to cheaper rates and extras, like early check-in and late check-out, which I’d definitely recommend.

Last on the list is cars. Rentalcars.com is the winner, but a close second is Hotwire. These are price comparison sites as well, and for some reason, I always find the cars cheaper here than with the rental companies themselves. The off-airport companies are always cheaper, but it’s a trade-off whether you’re willing to wait 45 minutes for the agency to send someone to the airport to collect you and to return the car that much earlier at the end of the rental, as well. My top tip for making this cost-effective is to consider that the full insurance is rarely included, and it’s always worth having. The price of a small scrape can run into the hundreds, so unless you have a permanent rental insurance policy, get the insurance (but don’t over-buy it.) Buying it from the rental company when you arrive is the best way to do it to bring down deposits and excesses, rather than buying it through Rentalcars.com or whichever company you used in the first place.

Essentially, it’s important to shop around and put in the research to make your trip as cost-effective as possible. When you’re running a business, this will increase your margins. When you’re not, it’ll save you enough money to be able to see more places! I hope this has been useful.

Much love
Dave

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