Category Archives Travel Photography

The title is equal parts question and statement this week for #TravelTuesday and I, Dave Williams, am going to attempt to tackle the title and open some conversations around what inspires us as photographers.

As creative human beings. What is it that inspires that creativity? We can be inspired by many things at various times, perhaps before we’re anywhere near our shutter button. Social media is an almost endless source of inspiration and it often hits us subconsciously, bestowing inspiration upon us without us even realising it or perhaps hitting us in a way that the inspiration locks into our memory only to come back out when we need it later on. Image-centric social media, in particular, can be packed full of amazing ideas and inspiration, ranging from subject matter to locations, and the images we see are often accompanied by detailed instructions about how a particular image was created. In summary, social media is a killer source of inspiration.

When we’re freezing a moment in time, it’s important that we utilise any inspiration we have available to help us explore our limits or creativity. Perhaps we take it from the way the light falls on the subject at a particular time of day, or maybe it’s rooted in something technical, like a lens choice. Maybe the inspiration is more challenging and it’s, in fact, something that’s missing from our scene.

Our love of photography often shines through and encourages us to seek out inspiration—finding it when it’s well hidden. To truly love our photography it helps to be shooting the style or genre of photography that we really engage well with. Put it this way: – if someone really enjoys shooting food but is shooting real estate simply to pay the bills, their inspiration can be lacking. If food photography is our passion, we need to find a way to make that our primary style.

The reason we love our particular style of photography is another great source of inspiration. Perhaps it’s the bold colours, or the complexity of the subjects, or even the romance of the models. Whatever the source of the inspiration is, if we remember why and how it inspires, we know we can actively seek it out to rekindle that inspiration.

Personally, I love to explore the world and shoot in such a way that makes people want to explore as well. I try to find angles and compositions that balance an explanation with an inquisitiveness to make people want to be there in that place. Remembering this when I have my finger on the trigger is crucial to achieving my aim and keeping me inspired whilst simultaneously engaging my audience.

Everyone has a different inspiration and a different reason for being a photographer. Whatever your reason, keep it at the forefront of your mind and don’t allow yourself to forget. At times when creativity may be lacking, seek out the inspiration that is particular to yourself and push forward with it active in your mind. If you need it, don’t forget that we have an amazing community.

Much love
Dave

I’m Dave Williams and this is #TravelTuesday on ScottKelby.com—the moment you’ve, undoubtedly, been waiting for all week, right? Well, I’m afraid today is going to be a bit disappointing. Today is going to be very, very boring…

Today, I want you to take on a photo challenge. Today, I want you to take something very boring and make it look very interesting. It’s as simple and as complicated as that!

Photography is something all of us here have in common. Photography is the thing that brings us all together, removing our differences. I’d love to see how we can all come together to share inspiration and learn from each other in taking a boring, mundane, everyday, commonplace object or scene, and put our artistic spin on it to make it something interesting.

If you’re up for the challenge, I would love to see what you shoot. So, if you post it on Instagram or Twitter, be sure to use the hashtag #BoringScott so the entire community can see it.

Taking on photo challenges or projects is a fantastic way to learn, develop, and stay energised as a photographer. This particular challenge has its own set of hurdles in that we often look to capture something beautiful and show it in its best light. What’s happening here is that we may have to create that “best light” in order to show off the boring subject. I realise also that each of us will have a different perception of what is boring. What’s boring for some may not be so boring for others, and it will be interesting to see these differences. 

If you’re looking for a new challenge, a new project, or something to reignite your passion during the pandemic, this challenge is perfect. You didn’t get that camera to let it collect dust. You got it to learn what it does, how it does it, and make awesome art. Only boring people get bored, as they say. Play with perspective, pick out details, look for patterns, seek symmetry, or just find the boredom around you and find out what’s defining it. I wish you luck!

Much love

Dave

This is a question my buddy Terry asked me this week:

“If COVID were completely behind us, and it was 100% safe to travel to anywhere, where is the first place you’d choose to go shooting travel photography?

Location Italy. Green pin on the map.

It didn’t take me long to come up with an answer. Hands down, it would be Italy. Why Italy? It’s one place that pretty much has it all (as you’ll see in a moment), and because of the country’s small physical size (it’s actually smaller in size than the state of California), and its excellent train system and roadways, you can get to pretty much all of quick and easy, covering a lot of ground in a short time, without rushing around.

Italy has everything from snow-capped mountains, to gorgeous sprawling summer lakes, to hilltop villages, to ancient cities, to seaside hideaways, to big metropolitan cities, to floating cities, and landscape photo opportunities as far as the eye can see.

Here are my top picks for travel photography cities and regions in Italy:

Venice. One of the most unique cities on earth. No roads, no cars, no bikes — just canals and bridges, and wonderful architecture. It’s as close to a magical place as you can get.

Rome. Ahhhhhh, Roma. It’s got everything from ancient architecture to stunning cathedrals, from where Chariots raced to small winding alleys with quaint cafes and coffee shops. The Vatican is here, too, and a treasure to photograph inside and out. There are so many things to shoot in Rome — it, by itself, is a photographer’s paradise.

Tuscany. The hills of Tuscany — the light at dawn and dusk — the quaint villages and roads to wander for miles (er, kilometers), you could spend a month there and not see it all.

Cinque Terre. It’s a collection of five little coastal villages on the Italian Riviera that are so picturesque it looks like Disney made them. Incredible vistas, beautiful color, and charming as all get out.

The Dolomites. It’s a mountain range in Northern Italy that has become very popular with landscape and travel photographers. It’s incredible. Like a bit slice of the Swiss Alps right there in Italy.

Portofino. I’ve been there twice, and while very tiny and compact, there is still much more to be uncovered. One of the most beautiful harbor views you’ll ever see.

Sienna. It’s a hilltop village deep in the heart of Tuscany, and while it takes a few stairs to get up there, once there, you’ll be rewarded with many photographic opportunities. How cool is it that people live there and wake up each day surrounded by this magical place?

Luca. It’s another amazing town in Tuscany, with a unique circular town square that’s…well…it’s not square, and surrounded by charming buildings.

Florence. With its famous bridge extending over the river, and the amazing Santa Maria del Fiore cathedral dome rising over the city (not to mention the statue of David), so many people fall deeply in love with Florence and return to it again and again.

The Amalfi Coast. Another area with the most charming seaside villages, incredible views, places you’d want to move there to live, and so many wonderful shooting opportunities around every corner.

Pisa. Yup, the place with the Leaning Tower, and it’s cooler to see (and shoot) in person than you’d think, and the drive there (from wherever you are in Italy), is just beautiful.

Lake Garda. Another Northern Italy locale that is so charming and interesting and just fun. You’ll find a ton to shoot along the road that rings the lakes, winding through cute little storybook villages. You’ll dig it.

You’re crazy close to the South of France. When you’re in Portofino and Cinque Terra, you’re literally just three hours by car from a whole ‘nuther world — the South of France (Cannes, Nice, Marseilles, Saint-Tropez, and Monte Carlo is right there, too), and it’s so different than Italy but completely charming and awesome. You’re also pretty close to the rolling Lavender fields of Valensole — just a short drive and so worth it at the right time of year. Heck, it’s worth it in the off season.

Plus, have I mentioned Naples, or Genoa, or the super vibrant colors of Burano (seen above – just outside Venice) or Capri, or Ravello, or San Gimignano? I could go on and on because there are so many incredible places everywhere you roam in this amazing country. There’s still so many places in Italy I haven’t been, and I want to capture a piece of them all. :)

The Italian people are warm and wonderful

It’s one of the things that just takes any trip to Italy over the top. The language is among the easiest to learn (well, for Americans anyway), but almost all the folks you’ll deal with in your travels speak some (or a lot) of English anyway, so you don’t have to worry too much about the language barrier. In face, I’d say it’s not a barrier at all.

Did I mention the food?

I don’t have to tell you how incredible Italian food is, but the Italian food you get in Italy and that crazy next level stuff you only get there. My single favorite restaurant in the world is in Rome, it’s Mimi e Coco. Just indescribable and every bit as charming as a 20-seat restaurant tucked away down an alley in Rome can be. The food is worth the trip…but take your camera just in case. ;-)

I hope this inspires you to add Italy to your travel photography wish list — there’s just no place like it, and you’ll come back with pictures and memories that will stay with you forever.

Ciao, ciao!

-Scott

P.S. If you’ve got a sec, I shared some of my favorite images from my last workshop in Rome, along with the stories and behind-the-scenes photos. Here’s the link.

In this challenging time in life, it can also be challenging for us to find inspiration for our photography. (By the way, top writing tip: – never use the same adjective twice in one sentence!) Anyway, let’s dive into today’s post. I’m Dave Williams, this is #TravelTuesday with Dave, and we still can’t travel…I’m not bitter; I’m just saying.

Something I’ve found myself doing, and I’m sure many of you are in a similar situation, is watching more Netflix than a healthy human being should. This got me thinking about another way we, as photographers, are able to take inspiration from the everyday things in life.

Although there are, of course, some exceptions and some bad examples, the majority of what we see on our screens is well-planned, well-choreographed, well-executed photography. Whether it’s a drama, a nature documentary, or a blockbuster movie, the scenes we see are packed full of ideas we can take away into our photography.

The biggest pointers we can take, in most cases, are light and composition.

When it comes to light, be it natural or artificial, take a moment to notice it. I mean, really notice it. Being a photographer is centered around the ability to see light. By that, I mean noticing the shadows and highlights, recognising a light source or multiple light sources, and recognising the colour of light. Applying this to what we see when we “Netflix and chill,” thinking about what it is we’re seeing, and making a concerted effort to reverse engineer how we would recreate that style of lighting, is a brilliant way to stimulate our technical and creative mind, and to stay energised and focussed when photography may be just out of our grasp.

A great way to reverse engineer TV- and movie-related photography is in movie posters. Next time you see a movie poster with a photo, rather than a graphic or CGI, take a long, hard look at it and work out what lighting you think was used to achieve that result. Top secret tip: – if there are people, take a close look at their eyes and see if you can find any softbox reflections that may give you a clue!

The other thing to look out for is composition. Almost every scene is carefully composed with writers, directors, and photographers having input into how the scene is shot. With this in mind, would you adjust the composition of any scene? Take note of the headroom given to scenes cropped on a person or a couple of people. Take note of the cut off points of people’s bodies—is it cropped at a joint, such as an elbow or at the waist, or is it different? How about depth? Is there any suggestion of depth in the scene with a distinct foreground and background? Do you recognise any compositional techniques you already use, or can you spot any you’d like to try?

Next time you find yourself letting time pass you by with your eyes glued to the big (or little) screen, take a moment to engage your photographic mind and try to develop your knowledge by recognising what is happening in order to create the scene. One big pointer here is that if a scene executed well, you won’t even consciously notice why that’s the case.

Whatever our field of photography, we can learn a lot just from Netflix.

Much love

Dave

What a start to 2021! Most of the world is in some sort of lockdown, quarantine, or isolation, and travel is certainly not on the table for a little while. #TravelTuesday today is focussed on inspiration and I hope the ways I stay inspired are just as useful for you as they are for me. I’m Dave Williams, let’s do this.

1. Take a Walk

Getting exercise when we can’t really go anywhere is essential for our physical and mental well-being. Taking the camera with us helps to keep our pixel game strong, too. Even if we just have our smartphone, we have a camera. Setting ourselves the challenge of capturing a few moments from our daily exercise is a great way to force us to look for compositions and forces us to look at the world around us in a new light to get these images and to see things we wouldn’t otherwise pay attention to.

2. Learn Something New

Picking up a new skill in photography helps us to develop our skills in many ways. The key point, in my opinion, is that anything we learn will contain transferrable skills that we can take back to our usual genre, stimulating our mind, refreshing our creativity, and boosting our skillset. Photography books, blogs, and tutorials are a great way to do this.

3. Watch Videos

There are so many awesome YouTube channels focussed on photography where ideas and techniques are openly shared and discussed. Taking inspiration from others, and perhaps even living vicariously through the lives and experiences of others, is a great escape from the walls we find ourselves contained within.

4. Gear Overhaul

You can take this one however you want to. Whether a gear overhaul to you means buying new toys or simply refreshing what you already have, that’s up to you. If you want to get something new, take advantage of this time of limited shooting to put some work in and research new gear, read reviews, and make any investment as wise as possible. If new gear isn’t an option, take the time to properly clean and refresh everything, taking stock as well of what you have that you use the most or what you don’t use at all.

5. Remember Why You Started

Taking yourself back to the foundations of your photography journey and remembering why you do it, how exciting it is, how much it makes you smile, and how it unlocks the creativity within you is so fun. Reconnecting with the origins of your passion and bringing all that into the present, along with all the ups and downs experienced along the way (and all the selfies) is one of the most important ways to keep our minds engaged and our sanity in-check while we wait for life to resume.

Whatever you do with your photography, don’t lose sight of the end of this predicament and the moment we can pick up our normal lives and get back on track with the goals we perhaps set before the world went a bit weird!

Much love
Dave

This is all getting a bit strange now. It’s nearly a year of #TravelTuesday with Dave, but without the travel! I posted my review of 2020 on my own blog recently and the numbers compared to previous years are just not worth talking about. Coming up with new and inspiring content is becoming a challenge, but it’s a challenge I’m accepting. That said, this week I aim to give you all two ideas of productive things to do for yourself and your photography at a time when perhaps, like me, you’re confined to your home because of government measures.

Thing number 1: – Sort out your social situation

Being unable to interact for real means social media is fairly important for us, and even more so in order to promote ourselves and our businesses. Things change constantly behind the scenes on social media platforms, which makes it tricky to work out what will perform well and what won’t. So, instead of trying to do what most people do and concentrate on what photos to post, when to post them, and other such things to try and stay ahead of the algorithm, try this: the key is engagement. If we expect people to engage with us, we must also engage with them. Make it a priority in 2021 to dedicate time to engaging sincerely with other photographers if something you want to do is grow your social media presence and, therefore, your photography business.

Thing number 2: – Sort out your filing

I’m talking about having photos across hard drives and cards in nonsensical, lacklustre filing systems bearing no semblance of organisation. If your file management isn’t on point, just take a moment to consider this: if you don’t have your images, you don’t have your photography history. The most critical part of this is to ensure a good system of file management is met with a good system of backups. Losing an image, be it a RAW file or a final edit, is devastating to any photographer. There’s never a good time for it to happen and there are never good consequences. We must do all we can to prevent the loss of our images and having a good back-up system in place will achieve this, so we never have to experience the cost of losing images, or memories. 

So, welcome to 2021! Let’s see how this goes….

Much love
Dave

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