Category Archives Travel Photography

Happy #TravelTuesday one and all! It’s that time of week again – kicking off 2k18 with #HybridDaveTuesdays right here on ScottKelby.com I’m going to impart some knowledge I’ve picked up from my journey in stock photography with an aim to help any of you wishing to start a journey of your own.

My personal experience lies largely with Getty Images, but I’ve recently explored Adobe Stock, too, and once you’re done here, you can learn a lot more about Adobe Stock in the KelbyOne classes by Terry White.

So, how much can you earn from stock? Well, it’s all dependant on just how good your images are, how well they can be found by those who need them, and how many images you can supply. Let’s break down each of those points to see how to make the difference between pocket money and salary gains.

 

 

How good are your images?

This speaks for itself in many ways, but to be specific it’s worth noting the following ‘Quality Control’ factors which come into play, and also that if you don’t hit them consistently, you may risk jeopardising your position. The application process is stringent enough with some agencies, and it’s not worth risking what you’ve achieved with a questionable shot. These ‘Quality Control’ factors include sharpness, resolution, over-processing, and many other similar measures.

Another consideration within this category is the suitability of your images. When submitting, you should think about the application of the shot and it’s relevance, determining, as a result, the likelihood of it being purchased and better yet, continually purchased.

 

Can your images be found?

One of the most important skills when it comes to the submission of stock images is their keywording. Look at it this way – if you want people to buy your photos, the customer must be able to find them! It’s so obvious, but so overlooked and keywording is a skill in itself. Take this example:

I’m a marketer looking for stock images of car materials, and I’m based in the UK. You’re a stock photographer based in the USA, and you have some photos that match what I’m looking for but in order for me to find them when I search the agencies images, you need to have keyworded them correctly. I’m looking for aluminium, and you’ve got a great shot of a sheet of worked aluminium. In order for me to find that image, you have to assume that I’m searching for my spelling. If your photo is also keyworded al, metal, material, shiny, silver, grey, gray, and any other related terms you can think to use, then your shot will be found more frequently in more searches, thereby being exposed to a greater audience and have more sales potential.

 

Are you submitting enough images?

The chances of your images being found and sold, even with excellent keywording, is still slim amongst the immense plethora of competition. Adobe Stock alone has a library of some 90 million images ready to be licenced! Anybody in the industry who makes a substantial income from stock photography has masses of photos and keeps up to date with demand and trends. By the way, food and sports make the biggest sales. ;)

 

 

The journey into stock photography can be packed with setbacks, but if you work hard and focus on overcoming those setbacks, you really can earn from stock. Think of it this way: you may as well submit the photos you’ve already taken anyway and turn it into some cash! Here are some quick-fire extra tips:

With keywording, practice and absolutely nail it! Look for traits and emotions, too. Basically, think like a buyer rather than a seller – think of what people could be searching for in order to return your image to the top of the pile.

Your critical eye isn’t always right. I’ve said before when writing about Instagram that it’s often the case that the photos I like don’t perform as well as I expect and, conversely, the photos I don’t like so much perform much better than I anticipated. Photographers really are their own worst critics. This applies equally to stock photography – you’ll find that photos you don’t like so much will sell time and time again. The big one for me is the photo below, entitled “Parisien Taxi,” which seems to appear on every single monthly statement I receive.

 

 

To my eye, its technical qualities are there, but in terms of creativity, I don’t like it. My point is that it sells and as I’ve said, maximising your reach through compiling a large library of stock will be the difference between making enough for a coffee and making enough for a new lens.

Be aware of brands. My first encounter with this issue was a lucky one really. I had an image up which was of a hand on a guitar fret. The machine head had a Fender logo on it. Fortunately, the client had made their mind up that my image was the one they wanted and the agency dropped me an e-mail requesting that I remove the logo and send it back. That tweak made me a $1,000 sale, and the image was used on a billboard in Michigan, OH. The reason for this is that commercially licensable images mustn’t contain brands or trademarks.

Supply the demand. Take a look at the market, and you’ll find both clues and instructions as to what’s hot right now. If you can quickly put a shoot together based on these generic briefs, then there’s money to be made!

So, now that you’re armed, go get yourself into stock and start making money while you sleep!

Let me know how you get on; I’d love to see the links to your stock portfolios! As always, I’m happy to help, and you can reach out on any social platform – find me at Hybrid Dave.

Much love,

Dave

Good Tuesday, one and all! This week for #HybridDaveTuesdays, on #TravelTuesday here at ScottKelby.com, I’ll share a little bolt on to a previous post about shooting in the cold from a couple of weeks ago. It’s something particularly useful if you’re planning a shoot in the high Arctic areas of Norway, Finland, Sweden, Russia, Alaska, Canada, Greenland, or Iceland, so if any of these places are on your list during the winter, make sure to pay attention and tell all your friends!

There is a lot said about golden hour and blue hour in our world. You’ll struggle, in fact, to get through a photography tutorial without hearing one of those phrases. The reason for this post is to share with you my experiences in losing the ‘hour’ from these terms during the Arctic winters I’ve experienced and arming those of you who are planning to visit the far north (or south) with the knowledge you’ll need for planning your time.

The Arctic winter is a funny thing. Right now, everything from 66 degrees north and up has no sunrise – they said goodbye to the sun a short time ago and look forward to seeing it again sometime in January.

 

Jökulsárlon, Iceland at 1pm and zero degrees

 

The absence of a sunriseliterally changes everything we know of blue hour and golden hour, and that means, we have to change the way we think. Daylight hours are much shorter, affording us drastically less time to get any bright daylight shots. Everything is darker, but that’s just the start of it!

What happens to the sun during an arctic summer is pretty strange – it just bobs up and down in the sky, never setting for weeks. Arctic winters are the polar opposite – the sun bobs up and down BELOW the horizon, never really rising, but still providing some light depending on how far into the cycle you are. At the beginning and end of winter, the sun pokes above the horizon, and as you get toward the middle of winter, it gets further and further below the horizon.

What this makes us notice is that twilight sort of period – the bit right between golden hour and blue hour – hangs around for longer. A lot longer, in fact. The whole day, at times, can be akin to a sunrise or sunset, casting an ambient glow across the landscape for hours with virtually no direct light.

Solheimasandur, Iceland at 11:30am and -4 degrees

 

It really is important as a photographer to be aware of the sunrise and sunset times when visiting the Arctic, particularly the high Arctic, and plan properly around it – especially when you consider that you could potentially lose light earlier during snowstorms!

The bonus, on top of having this tranquil sunset-esque light all day, is having awesome colours and tones alongside noticeably less harsh shadows. Of course, I couldn’t give you a bonus without bringing you back down with a thud, so I’ll also tell you about it being a lot darker. Our eyes, the wonderful things that they are, adjust appropriately to the lack of light, but trust me – when you start sorting your camera settings, you’ll notice from the ISO and shutter speeds that you’ll have to select that it’s a lot darker than you think!

When the sky looks blue, but you can see all the stars, is just when you realise this, and it’s great that blue hour hangs on in there for longer!

 

3pm and -12 degrees in Finnish Lapland

 

My advice to consider, if you’re travelling to the higher or lower latitudes on a photography mission, is to pay very close attention to sunrise and sunset times and plan your days carefully around them. Make back up plans, scout locations, and take advantage of anything that presents itself to you…here’s why:-

I’d visited Strokkur before and captured a sequence of shots showing its aquatic eruption. I’d made the shot some time ago, so I wanted to get back and improve on it. Here’s the shot I’m talking about:-

Problem is that when I got there, I was fighting through a blizzard, unable to feel my nose, and was struggling to get a clean shot. Here’s me with my buddy John Parry to give you a feel:-

The situation had ruined my plan, but making the most of the change in conditions and lessening daylight hours, I caught a scene which has become one of my favourite shots ever:-

 

The extreme north can be so beautiful, but simultaneously so harsh and unexpected. Be forearmed and expect the unexpected – you can really maximise on it and capture its awesomeness!

Much love

Dave

It’s that time of week again here at ScottKelby.com – it’s #HybridDaveTuesdays on #TravelTuesday – and this week, I’m going to answer a question I’ve been frequently asked, and then I’ll break it down a bit more!

Take a look at my posts on Instagram, and you’ll notice a theme: they’re all geotagged with the coordinates, along with a marker pin denoting the country right there at the top of the caption. It look’s a bit like this:-

 

 

The question I’m most often asked is not “How do you do it?” but “How do you remember?”

We live in a world where you can have GPS right there in your D-SLR, but mine doesn’t have that, so I have to have a system for remembering where I take photos, particularly those in the middle of nowhere or of something potentially nondescript in and of itself.

The first and primary thing I tend to do is, when using my D-SLR, I will also take the same photo with my iPhone with my geotagging turned on, thereby marking the shot on a map. It’s so simple, and it’s a really good reminder of what was where when I’ve been away on a trip taking hundreds of photos one after another. There are, of course, things which stand out in my memory, but those things which don’t can be easily tagged on a map right in my pocket.

Here’s an example, starting with the (festive, because it’s nearly Christmas) D-SLR shot:-

 

Of course, we know this is the Rockefeller Center tree, but suppose we didn’t. All we’d need to do is take a shot at the same place on the iPhone (or another brand, whichever, but preferably an iPhone!), and then go into the photo on the phone and swipe up:-

 

Right there, it’s sitting on the map, showing us the exact spot the photo was taken. It’s a GPS solution to tagging photos that we already have right there in our pockets.

My second option is simpler still: once you’ve taken a photo, have a look around and see if there’s a sign you can shoot – a street name, a tourist sign, a shop name, anything that will jog your memory later would be great for getting a praise location for your photo.

 

 

This is a Svalbard reindeer, the smallest reindeer sub-species. He’s looking down my lens from the edge of Longyearbyen on Spitsbergen. The glacial water flowing off into the sea through Adventdalen is pretty familiar, so as a reminder, in this instance, here’s what I did:-

 

Easy, right? Too easy to be telling you about? Well, it’s one of those things – it’s simple when you know what to do, but if you don’t do it, you’ll end up racking your brain trying to remember the name of a place you took a photo, so you’ll thank me when you start doing this!

I hope this was useful. Remember to check in here every week to see what other wisdom I have to impart from the world of travel photography and retouching, and you can reach out if you have any questions or topics for me by searching for me, Hybrid Dave, across social media :)

 

Much love

Dave

Hello one and all, and thanks for dropping by again for #HybridDaveTuesdays on #TravelTuesday here at Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider. I’m Dave Williams and I’m here once a week to share something with you from the world of Photography and Retouching, and this week it’s a little note on noise in your images and using the Reduce Noise Filter. Let’s get going!

So, last week I told you all that I was in Tromsø, Norway, and despite the -12 celsius conditions and occasional blizzard I persevered and got some awesome nights of Aurora and had some stunning views before me through the fjords and snow blanketed terrain. One image in particular though, the view from my hotel, was the inspiration for this post. Here it is:-

 

The view from the Magic Mountain Lodge in Lyngseidet, Norway

This was a snapshot caught right at the start of the day before a long drive north. The light was very low, the ISO was very high, and the grain in the image is testament to that. For me the most noticeable noise is up in the snow around the mountain to the right. So sometimes it’s good to leave the noise there, it’s quite a good characteristic to have, but often in the world of commercial photography it’s just not acceptable.

The Reduce Noise Filter

Filter > Noise > Reduce Noise

This tool has been hanging around in Photoshop for a while. It’s generally pretty good but it’s worth noting the name. It’s called the Reduce Noise Filter, not the Remove Noise Filter. The reason I point this out is because it’s pretty hard to remove the noise in an image without losing detail. This is because Photoshop is taking a look at an area of the image and trying to determine which pixels don’t fit, then replacing them with an average of the surrounding pixels. Make sense? So if I have a 9×9 grid with a white pixel in the centre and black pixels surrounding the edges, the noise filter will notice that the white pixel is the one which is out of place and stick a black pixel there. What this does on a larger scale is pretty catastrophic if you think about it. We invested in an awesome camera which we use to shoot RAW, capturing the precise colour and tone of each individual pixel, then we stick it through a noise reduction process which changes each one of those pixels based on it’s neighbour and spews out an average which it’s decided works better. That’s what you need to have in the back of your mind when you use noise reduction, along with this:-

“Nobody ever threw away a photo of their relative, their wedding, their partner, or their cat because it was noisy.”

-Hybrid Dave, 2017

So let’s break it down. One type of noise that the Reduce Noise Filter can deal with is Color (I think that means Colour) noise. This type of noise is red, blue and green dots scattered across your image, often in the form of splodges rather than individual pixels, but it could be either.

When using this filter it’s best to reset the sliders to zero each time to start off, thereby effectively hitting the reset button on the filter and seeing the preview with no filter applied.

Back to the Color Noise, with the slider at zero give it gentle progress to the right until the color noise starts to blend with the rest of the image. Be careful not to slide too far!

 

 

Luminance Noise is next up on the list here. Unlike Color Noise, Luminance Noise is made up of dots which are grayscale, anywhere between white and black. Here’s a closer view from the bottom right of the image showing these dots:-

 

Removing the Luminance Noise comes as a two part process, with the Preserve Details slider activating once you move the Strength slider. What happens here is you effectively smooth out the image using the Strength slider, then bring the detail back with the Preserve Details slider. With the Strength slider set to zero, slowly move it to the right until you’re happy with the effect it’s had on the Luminance Noise. Once you’re happy here, start increasing the Preserve Details slider to bring back the detail without reintroducing the noise. This is simple to understand, and easy to use once you do understand, but without that prior knowledge of what’s actually going on it can be just a random set of sliders being moved up and down. Let’s move on…

 

 

Switching the radial selection from Basic to Advanced will open up the option to apply the noise filter to single channels of colour. It’s the exact same principle as the Color filter, but applied to Red, Green, or Blue only. If you’ve noticed that only one channel needs the filter more than the others it’s a handy tool to have, and it comes with the Strength and Preserve Details sliders right there.

The last thing to look at here is the box entitled Remove JPEG Artefact. This tackles the problem caused by compression in JPEG files. Each time a JPEG is saved the quality gets worse, and it wasn’t great in the first place! This check box will do what it can to reduce the noise caused by the processes a JPEG file is put through in order to try to preserve it from the compression effects.

So that’s my breakdown for you all today on the Reduce Noise Filter right there in Adobe Photoshop. It’a a fairly simple tool, but understanding it will help you to better utilise it, and I hope I’ve helped.

As always, I’d love to see what you’ve made, and I’m on Instagram and Twitter if you want to reach out. Keep an eye on my Instagram story today and tomorrow, I’m currently in the air heading across the pond to New York City to have a little look at how they do Christmas over there!

Much love

Dave

Winter is coming people!

It’s that time again, I’m back to share my weekly dose of photographic wisdom under the lovingly crafted hashtag – #HybridDaveTuesdays

This week it’s something I feel I have a good standing to talk about due to my love of cold places. I’m going to tell you about shooting in the cold in the form of a list. If the internet has taught me only one thing it’s that everybody loves a list, right? By the way, I realise that winter is only approaching in the northern hemisphere and I’m kinda excluding half of the population of the entire world, but I’m finding peace from that with the knowledge that you southerners are about to have your Christmas BBQ’s fired up!

So here goes!

 

Here’s some snow…… it’s authentic Finnish

 

Tip #1 – Never delete anything in camera!

Snow is a funny old thing. It tricks our cameras as well as our eyes. There WILL be shots you look at of snowy scenes on the back of your camera that look terrible, but then when you get them up in Lightroom or Camera Raw they’ll look amazing following a tweak or two.

 

Tip #2 – Keep your gear cold

When you take your gear from cold to warm (like in and out of a hotel or rental car) it puts a strain on it. Once it’s cold, keep it cold. It can short out the electrics if condensation forms inside the camera. The worst thing you can do is to actively try and warm your gear up or try to make it warm near the heat vent or under your ski jacket. Furthermore, if you see that shot and pull out your camera but it instantly fogs you’ll have nothing to show your friends! I remember shooting in Finnish Lapland where I visited the Wild Spirit Animal park and just after meeting Romeo the wooly pig and before meeting Spike the Husky I was taken into a small, round cabin with a fire burning inside for a hot drink to warm me up. I left my camera outside on a pile of wood so it stayed cold and was ready to shoot again as soon as I was back out.

 

Cold enough for an Arctic Fox

 

Tip #3 – Except your batteries. Keep them warm!

There’s some science here. I mean, I don’t know what it is, but it’s here! So basically, if your batteries are exposed to the cold they’ll lose power quicker. I’ve experienced this first hand, it definitely happens. I was shooting the northern lights in the Icelandic Westfjords up on top of a mountain. I couldn’t feel my face, it was that cold. Whatever was happening to my batteries due to the cold happened pretty quick. The power was just going. What I discovered is that if I kept my batteries in my inside pockets my body heat kept them going for longer.

 

Tip #4 – Then warm your gear back up slowly!

I learned this the hard way! Kirkjufellsfoss, shown below, is an iconic Icelandic waterfall with it’s namesake mountain right behind it. Take a look here though – I have a nice wide lens mounted on my Nikon D810 but the middle of the shot is all hazy and soft. This is a direct result of having moisture build up inside the lens. It’s virtually impossible to remove in post because it ruins a whole portion of the image. Bottom line is to consider ways to warm your gear up slowly. Put it in the boot of the rental car where it’s that little bit colder and far from the heating, and put it inside your bag (closed) when you take it indoors so that it gradually adjust to the new, warmer climate. If your camera does get moist for any reason, keep it somewhere dry and of a consistent temperature, and leave ALL of the ports wide open to give the moisture an easy escape.

 

Kirkjufellsfoss, with Kirkjufell in the background – Iceland

 

Tip #5 – Overexpose for white snow

What our eyes see as pure, white snow filling the landscape, our camera sees as overexposed and so brings your camera down a notch or two. To combat this, it’s a wise idea to shoot a little over. It’s the number one tip you’ll always see on advice for shooting snow but it’s easily overcome so just be mindful of it and shoot over – you can always bring things back down in Photoshop if you’re way too bright. On a sidetone, your Auto White Balance will often change things a little towards to blue end – another thing to bear in mind. If you’re the type to use a grey card or a light meter then fine, but I’m not and I consider it all in post.

 

Some snowy bushes in Iceland

 

Tip #6 – Don’t concentrate only on snow

There’s so much more going on and snowy scenes are in themselves very romantic, I find. This shot below is of a couple stood alone outside the beautiful House of the Roundheads in Riga and although they’re only a tiny feature of the images, they add to it just enough. As with everything you shoot, snow has a tendency to get very ‘samey’ and breaking it up with details, much like you would when shooting a wedding, you’re giving it a new perspective and engaging your audience and lifting interest.

 

House of the Roundheads – Riga, Latvia

 

Tip #7 – Shoot the fauna

Even if it’s hard to find some! There are two animals which epitomise Iceland – horses and puffins – and here’s 50% of that combo! Shooting animals helps give a sense of their hardiness to the testing climates they find themselves in and if you get it right, showing their character, it can give the viewer an intense connection!

 

An Icelandic Horse

 

Tip #8 – And the flora

Good luck finding some! Much like the animals, showing the hardiness of the plant life can create a connection between the viewer and the image. It mixes up and breaks up the images of snow scene after snow scene too!

 

Lapland

 

Tip #9 – Capture the festivities

There’s a 50% chance (hemispherically) that winter means it’s Christmas! Alongside this, there’s so much going on and it all tends to give contrast to the cold. Warm fires, hot chocolates and fairground rides – it’s all beautiful, especially when you capture it right. Going to a Christmas market with a camera can yield some awesome results.

 

One of many Christmas markets in Berlin, Germany

So there’s 9 tips for shooting in the cold, I hope you can use them! Right now I’m in Tromsø, Norway, way up in the Arctic Circle (oh the power of the internet!) and you can check my progress on my Instagram story or on Facebook to see the snow I’m seeing :)

 

Until next time!

Much love

Dave

 

Above: That’s me in Copenhagen back in 2011 shooting an all-in-one 18-200mm lens (photo by Terry White).

Greetings from Denver (I’m here for my Lightroom seminar today).

Last week I did a post responding to a flood of emails, texts, Facebook comments, direct messages about which is the best lens to use for travel photography and in that post I gave my lens picks for full frame camera users. Today we’re covering crop sensor lenses, and here it’s a whole lot easier because the lens I’m going to recommend is made by pretty much every lens manufacturer. As a remember: my goal is to travel with just one lens that does it all — that covers such an awesome range that:

(a) I don’t have to carry a 2nd lens at all

(b) Which means I don’t have to carry a camera bag with me either (it stays in my hotel room, mostly empty) and I don’t’ have to worry about someone snatching my camera bag because I don’t have one with me.

(c) I can still enjoy my vacation, which is really important.

Today, I’m just covering lens for Crop Sensor bodies (since I covered full frame lens picks last week).

Nikon Shooters: Get the Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G  VR II Lens ($646 at B&H Photo). This is a very lightweight, inexpensive, not super sharp lens. Yes, it’s not that sharp, but it’s sharp enough. I have a huge 60×40 print I took with it hanging it my house and it looks sharp as anything and people always comment on how sharp the shot looks (of course, I sharpened the image in Photoshop like I do any image), but at the end of the day, the lens is pretty decent. It’s a great deal for the money, and really convenient, and don’t listen to the goobers in online forums talk you out of it — you’ll really enjoy using this lens.

Canon Shooters (like me): Get the Canon 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 IS Lens for Canon (it’s $699 at B&H Photo.). Canon makes one in this same 18-200mm sweet spot and it’s really lightweight, coming in a just over a pound. Pretty decent sharpness at longer lengths; I remember it being not as sharp all the way out wide, but still — it’s sharp enough, and the price is so right.

Sony Shooters: Sony has their own 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS Lens (around $848 at B&H), which is a little pricey compared to the Canon and Sony models. I haven’t used this particular lens myself (so I’m just going on the range), but from the research I did online, it’s sharpness seems pretty much in line with the Nikon and CanonSony lenses, in that it doesn’t have awesome sharpness (and in this low price range, I’m not sure you’re going to experience “awesome sharpness”), but again, it seems sharp enough. There is always a trade-off, on any of these low-priced, lightweight, lens and the tradeoff is usually sharpness.

 

You might want to consider…

The Tamron 16-300mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD MACRO (the Macro part just means you can focus so close with it, it’s considered within “macro” range, but it’s a regular zoom lens). This is a really intriguing range because it’s wider than 18mm and 100mm longer on the long end, and it’s available for Canon, Nikon, and Sony. The reviews on it have been pretty much like the reviews for the 18-200mms I talked about above. The price is pretty insane ($499 at B&H), and it’s not too heavy at 1.7 lbs.

Tamron has announced an 18-400mm f/3.5-6.3, but it’s not out yet, but I think I’d rather have the 16mm wide, which is more useful for travel (for me, anyway) than the 400mm end would be (great for Safari or birding though).

Hope you found that helpful. Have a great weekend, everybody!

Best,

-Scott

P.S. We released an awesome class with football photography superstar Dave Black — it’s called “How to shoot High School Football Like a Pro” and it’s an update of Dave’s classic class we did five years ago. Dave is amazing! Here’s the link to the course. 

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