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#TravelTuesday has come around again, and right here at Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider that means one thing… Dave’s here! Aren’t you lucky, lucky people! I’m Dave Williams and I’m a travel photographer, writer and educator from the UK, and I’ve got a little idea for you to try out.

First off, better late than never, Peter Treadway and I led a photowalk in London this past Sunday. We used to run them quite frequently, and this is our very late attempt at tagging on to the Worldwide Photowalk. With thanks to KelbyOnePlatypodBlackRapid, and Lonely Planet, we gave away some awesome prizes on the day, and we had an amazing yoga model come along too, who I couldn’t help but go head to her with (literally) for a crow-off!

 

 

Thanks to everyone who came along! Peter and I had a great time, and if you’re on our side of the pond keep an eye on our social media for the next one!

But, moving on, this week I want to plant a little idea in your mind for a winter challenge. A couple of years ago I was experimenting with reversing rings and I made some photos of snowflakes. It’s so simple to do it, but so difficult getting your head around all the intricate complexities of what’s happening to your glass with this technique. Here’s on example of what you can achieve, before I tell you how to achieve it: –

 

 

This was done with a reversing ring, and the lenses involved were a 50mm prime mounted backwards in front of a 28-300mm lens. A reversing ring is an inexpensive ring which has two threads, allowing you to mount the front ends of two lenses together and basically making a magnifying glass. I won’t go into too much detail on it, but I want to share some quick tips with you if you’re willing to take on the challenge and give this a go!

Firstly, the focal plane becomes insanely narrow so finding focus is hard work. You need to be absolutely rock-steady to keep everything in focus as best as possible, perhaps by mounting your gear onto a Platypod.

Secondly, there’s a lot of glass between the sensor and the subject, with a lot of lost light! You need to shoot with a higher than normal ISO, and the reversed front lens needs to have its aperture ring fixed open to maximise on the light. An extra source of light will help you, too!

Thirdly, because everything is reversed it’ll take a minute to find your feet and figure out what action is having what affect on your image. Some things work regularly, and some things work totally counter-intuitively, so give yourself plenty of time to familiarise yourself with cause and affect of all of your movements – they’re not always going to be what you expect! I’ll leave you to figure that out ;)

And finally, if you’re shooting snowflakes like I did in this example, act fast! Those little shards of natures beauty will melt faster than you’d believe. Literally, blink and you miss it. If you’re holding the front of your lens for stabilisation the heat from your hand will potentially melt your subject. Just keep that in mind!

 

 

So, challenge accepted? I’d love to see what your imagination creates with a reversing ring, and I’d love to see how you can handle the mind-frazzling flux of everything you thought you knew about focus and light that drastically changes when you mount a lens backwards! Show me what you come up with! I’m @capturewithdave on all platforms and I can ‘t wait to see what you make.

Until next week

 

Much love

Dave

But there’s more to it than just that!

So, it’s #TravelTuesday, and round these parts that means one thing. I’m back! I’m Dave Williams, and today I’m writing for you from France where I’ve just visited Mont St Michel. Look, proof: –

 

 

So, the rationale behind this post is that I tried to shoot this place a few weeks ago and failed. I hate to fail! What happened was that I wanted to go shoot sunrise at the only part of France that wasn’t occupied by the Germans during WWII (there you go, random factoid) but it was so cold riding through the night that I had to keep stopping to warm up and I didn’t make it. It sucked, and this place is somewhere I visited years ago when I didn’t really know what I was doing, and at in circumstances whereby I was only able to visit during the harsh light of day. Basically, I was staying in St Malo and go the bus, which wasn’t going to get me there before sunrise or bring me back after sunset. Importantly, at the time, I had ticked it off my enormous wish list of places to visit, but it became important for me to shoot it properly in the right light, hence the reason for the 9 hour ride having woken up at home and risen from my warm, toasty bed at 04:30 to get here for sunset today (Monday). Here’s one of the shots I got: –

 

 

What happened here is perseverance. Perseverance isn ‘t going to make you succeed, but without it you’re far less likely! It’s something that can be taken across into other walks of life, as well as applying to photography. For me in this example, it’s just photography.

When we set out to achieve anything, we must persevere. We will face setbacks and we will find things that will suck the motivation out of us. It’s just a fact of life. Perhaps we might get stuck on a path that isn’t really taking us anywhere and need to get off it in order to step things up a gear. Whatever it may be, if we persevere in our aspirations we will reach that higher goal, and in doing so those setbacks and motivation sappers will become easier to deal with and as such our goals will become bigger, breeding a new cycle of goals bigger than the last which we will persevere even harder to achieve. Thing is, you kind of need both because without a goal you won’t persevere, and without perseverance you won’t reach your goal.

Having the right mindset and having clear, conscious thought is key. It’s often described as ‘thinking right’ and it’s absolutely true that having the correct way of thinking, perhaps the positive mental attitude, will help realise those goals and make the challenges faced along the way much easier to deal with. I like quotes, which you will know if you follow my Instagram, and whenever I see a good one I screenshot it. There’s one which sits just right here that I saw a few days ago, and it’s this: –

Currently not letting anyone f&$k with my flow

Am I right? Or am I right? Getting perspective, having achievable goals, and having that mindset, all go together to give the strength required for perseverance, and perseverance is what will help you to realise your dreams and achieve your goals. I persevere a lot in getting the shots I want for my portfolio, and I’m talking about my professional and personal portfolios. Having the right mindset will help you to do the right things, and surrounding yourself with positivity will bring out the positive within you. Please, persevere to achieve your goals, but remember all the other ingredients that work alongside it to make it happen.

Much love

Dave

It’s #TravelTuesday again, so right here on Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider, that means only one thing…I’m back! I’m Dave Williams, and I’m here to lay down some wisdom! Well, today, I’ve decided the subject of friendship wins, rather than photography or Photoshop. Hear me out!

So, you probably noticed, if you follow any single one of us on social media, Team Epic has reunited!

 

 

That’s right! What a fantastic collection of photographers from around the world! Let’s run through the team:

Representing the United States, none other than Scott Kelby, who you may be familiar with, along with Erik “Rocket Man” Kuna, KelbyOne’s Vice President, and thunderbolt and lightning themselves, Jeff Kelby and Mike McCaskey.

Straight outta Dublin is Cathy Baitson, a wedding and newborn photographer with some sick shooting skills and an acute nose for tracking down a good Guinness.

All the way from Iran (and Italy, and Canada) is Mimo Meidany, a gifted long exposure black-and-white photographer, who instructs for KelbyOne and leads workshops sharing his skills. This man is worth knowing, so long as you can figure out what he’s saying!

KelbyOne community leader Fernando “Chicky Nando” Fernando hails from sunny Lisbon, Portugal where he works on photography projects and shoots an epic portrait. Nando is the kind of guy who has the rare talent of being able to get you out of about as much trouble as he gets you into!

We all know the legend that is Roberto “Pisco” Pisconti from Padova, Italy, who spends his time shooting pretty much anything he can, and he does it well! He’s also a bit handsy…if you know what I mean!

And finally, from London, UK, there’s me, Dave Williams, and Peter Treadway. Peter is an international wedding photographer extraordinaire and is honing a talent for long exposure and architecture photography. If you can’t find him, look for Cathy and you’ll find him on the next barstool!

 

 

So, here’s point #1: Friendship is about finding people who are your kind of crazy! Having good people in your life, who see things in a similar way to you, who fuel your passion, and who light up your soul, they’re worth keeping around! This is certainly true of Team Epic, and each one of us can always rely on the rest at any time in a way that you’d expect from a family. Spread across multiple cities, in multiple time zones, I know that whoever I called for some advice would answer and give it. This squad gives strength to one another and makes each other believe in themselves. It’s truly awesome.

 

 

So, onto point #2! And, I know this one is going to hit a nerve here and there, but bear with me. In the world of photography, you have very little real and direct competition! You know what that means? It means stop keeping secrets, start sharing, and start making friendships in the industry! What I mean by that, to interpret it into a real-world example, is this: If you’re a wedding photographer in London or a real estate photographer in New York, there are going to be a lot of other photographers there around you shooting the same thing, so it’s easy to see that as competition and make it negative. But, those other photographers aren’t really the competition at all. The other wedding photographers in London are shooting at different price ranges, with different specialities, with different styles, and with different personalities. When Peter and I ran a wedding photography business together we quickly noticed at consultations that the clients weren’t buying into our work anywhere near as much as they were buying into the two of us as people. Similarly, the real estate photographer in New York is surrounded by a whole bunch of other real estate photographers, but they also are shooting differently with different styles, at different prices, and they, too, have different personalities. Taking that into consideration, the true competition we have as photographers is slim to none, and there are plenty of other photographers out there who we could be making friends with and learning with.

 

 

This terrible selfie is another example to help make my point. So, a couple of days ago, Team Epic descended upon Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, Germany. The team lined up to shoot the castle from Marienbrucke, which is the spot everybody goes to if they want to capture the back end of the castle. That itself is a problem for me as a travel photographer, so in my previous visits to the castle, I went off the beaten track to find another vantage point which would enable me to get a shot that didn’t look like everybody else’s. I took Peter and Mimo through the forest to this spot, as well, knowing that although they, too, would capture the same view as me, they’d do it totally differently and it wouldn’t impact in the slightest on my sales of shots from this location, but would enhance our friendships and afford them a unique perspective, too. Making sense? Here’s the shot I got from there, and I guarantee it’s different to anything else you’ve seen of Neuschwanstein, but it’s a secret that was worth sharing!

 

 

Let’s bring ourselves together as photographers and build friendships the likes of Team Epic, putting the fear of losing out to one side and helping each other to grow instead. The Worldwide Photo Walk, just a few days ago, is the perfect opportunity to kick things off, and if any other little Team Epics pop up, I’d love to see them!

 

 

Much love

Dave

(and Scott, Jeff, Mike, Erik, Cathy, Mimo, Pisco, Peter, and Chicky Nando)

Happy #TravelTuesday to you all, from me, Dave Williams. Today I want to pull inspiration from a legend, Mr Dave Clayton, in a little tip post. More on that shortly, though. First on the agenda is this: –

Mimo Meiday, Scott Kelby, Rome! Come on! Thats some serious education and banter right there!

Next up – the Worldwide Photowalk! It’s October 6th, and it’s everywhere! Get yourself signed up to the world’s largest social photography event!

And third, linking in with today’s subject matter, there’s a brand new class on KelbyOne by Dave Clayton! It’s Dave’s Top 25 Photoshop Tips For Designers. Go check that out!

So, here’s the real deal – the whole point of today’s post – lines!

The reason behind this topic today is that Dave Clayton has it all absolutely bang on the mark. Whether you’re a photographer (shoots) or a designer (draws) you’re a visual artist. All of us visual artists have one common goal. We want to create an image and give it impact. The difference, perhaps, is the canvas. Where a photographer starts with a full canvas, which is the scene ahead, and has to decide how to make a composition from that and what parts of that scene stay and what goes, the designer generally starts way over at the opposite end with a blank canvas and constructs their ‘scene’ from nothing. In either case, from either starting point, the two roles will meet at the end point.

The graphic designer will create their own vectors and arrange their own composition, but the job of the photographer is to use what you’ve got already in place and position it (and position yourself) to create the scene. We bring order out of chaos. We arrange elements in front of us. We evaluate the scene and generally, perhaps without even realising, we utilise rules and elements of design to create the image.

Once you realise what the common elements of design are and you begin to actively look for them, you may be surprised at how often you’ll see them in the world around you! It’s one of those which I want to talk to you about today…

Lines

Lines are the Billy Basic, the rule numero uno, the fundamental. Lines are what direct us in real life, and what direct us in imagery. They give our viewer a path to follow across the image we’ve made, and understanding the sheer power of lines in both graphic design and photography will give you an edge in your photography.

Different lines have different uses and effects.

Leading lines are the ones we hear about time and time again. Leading lines can come from almost anywhere and they lead our viewers eye to the focus point or the main subject of our image.

Vertical lines portray strength and grandeur. They’re tall trees, towering skyscrapers, mighty waterfalls, and they give our image a sense of power!

Horizontal lines are our horizons and they’re calming. They exude a sense of peace.

Diagonal lines often represent movement and energy. They’re roads, train lines, and they’re fast!

Curved lines are the (excuse me) curve ball! They’re bridges, arches, spirals, and they take the viewers eye on a journey through the image.

Ladies and Gents, lines in our imagery have power in photography just as they do in graphic design, and I implore you to learn more about graphic design and translate those skills into your photography. You’ll thank me, and you’ll certainly thank Dave Clayton when your image is more impactive than you ever thought it could be!

For now, that’s that

Much love

Dave

How’s that for a title? Absolute hooker, right? Here I am again, Dave Williams, on Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider for your weekly dose of #TravelTuesday wisdom—let’s get this show on the road!

First up, a little introduction for anyone who hasn’t landed on this site before: I’m Dave, and I’m a travel photographer. My job is to make you want to go somewhere, which means I have to use a range of skills and techniques on location and in post, and it’s one of those post-processing skills I want to share with you here today.

The success of your image can be pretty much determined from the moment you open the file. It all boils down to the first things you do, really. When you open up your RAW file in Adobe Lightroom or Adobe Camera Raw and make those first few adjustments, you’re either setting yourself up for awesome success or for an epic fail. Here’s why:

There’s a common saying in everyday life: “less is more.”

This little saying is used to express the fact that, in artistic and aesthetic matters, a minimalistic approach is more effective. There is value in simplicity, and often more can be accomplished with less. Synonymously, the saying “don’t overdo it” is thrown about a lot, but the thing with us photographers is that there’s never usually an end.

When we’re out shooting, there’s always that one last shot, and then another last shot, and then just one more. Before we know it, it’s been an hour since that last shot and we’re still going. When it comes to the post-process, it’s not dissimilar; we all too often will retouch and retouch, and retouch some more. It’s hard to draw that line in creativity. It’s hard to say when it’s done.

So, on that note, now aware that my little spiel is drifting away and making this look like clickbait, here’s the BEST advice that I promised you: Go back to that first point, back to when you open up that RAW file. That’s what I said above, and that’s what I’ll explain right now.

We all have our own methodology when it comes to those sliders, ranging from those who just hit Auto through to the minuscule adjustments made using a Loupedeck, and everything in between. But, once we make some adjustments, it’s sometimes hard to know when to stop. Whilst stumbling over my thoughts, trying to come up with a simile, this sprang to mind:

You know how if you lose weight you don’t really notice because to you it’s been gradual, but then someone you haven’t seen for a while says, “Hey, you’ve lost weight!”? Yeah, that. You’ve seen the gradual changes to the image, not just the before and after. The changes you’re making when you push those sliders around look one way to you as you’re doing it, but potentially quite another relative to the initial image.

That’s where the best piece of advice falls in. Right there, in between the initial image and the “where I am right now” version, there is probably something better. Nine times out of ten it’s better, in fact. There’s a place where the adjustments are more realistic, more minimalistic, more “less is more,” and thereby more pleasing. That place is about half way, so here’s what you do:

Whatever slider adjustments you’ve made, make them half. If you’ve pushed clarity to +20, move it to +10, and then take a look at the difference it makes. Take a look at whether the image you now have achieves what you want it to in a more realistic way, rather than running the risk of being over-processed by our creative desire to please, which results in our photos never quite being done.

Have a go, and let me know what you think. You can find me on Twitter, Instagram, and on Facebook.

Much love

Dave

Be honest, and I know you will, we’ve all been in a place where we’ve felt stuck in our creative journey. Whether it’s professionally or as amateurs, there’s always been a time we’ve hit a block or a feeling of routine – a lack of progress perhaps. 

 

 

There are times when we live and breathe photography, but then there are others when we feel like we’re taking the same shots time and time again, or perhaps don’t even feel like picking up the camera. The enthusiasm fluctuates, and that’s normal. There are so many resources available to learn new techniques and so many ways to pull inspiration into your creative flow and get back on track. Let’s explore some here today. 

  1. Start (and finish) a personal project

It’s great to pull an income from photography, but that tends to focus heavily on consistency. That very consistency, albeit positive to your economic growth, may hinder your creative growth. The worst thing to feel is a drain on creativity, and knowing it can be caused by the lack of a challenge is inspiration enough to give yourself one. Personal projects can last for anything from one single shoot to a series across a number of years. They are a way to relight the fire and challenge yourself to launch that passion and learn new tricks. Choose a personal project that is stimulating and achievable, and then get on with it!

  1. Learn something new

Perhaps there’s a style of photography that doesn’t fit with what you’re currently doing but you’d like to learn it. Maybe you never need to use a flash but you’d like to give it a go. Having a goal and striving for it will spark that creative mind you have and translate over to your day to day photography. Make sure you set aside a little time to reach your goal and have a game plan in place that you can stick to. There are tons of resources out there to learn from, and the amazing line up of KelbyOne instructors is a great place to quench your thirst for knowledge from the best in the industry. 

  1. Go rogue

Sometimes a change of scenery helps. We all know, across all walks of life, that change is refreshing and tends to make positive impact, so bring that into your photography. Do something you don’t normally do. If you’re a portrait photographer, go shoot some landscapes. If you’re a wedding photographer, find some wildlife to shoot. If you shoot on a DSLR all the time, pick up your iPhone and shoot something with that. Don’t think about it, just go rogue and do something different for a change. Enjoy photography without any external or undue pressure. 

 

 

With a little thought and by maximising on the opportunities, resources, and inspiration out there, anybody can be motivated and take a fresh look at their creativity in photography. The art of capturing light is a beautiful way to harness your creativity – keep yourself inspired and keep challenging yourself to grow!

Much love

Dave

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