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I took a week off for the kids’ spring break, and when I got back to the office last week, on my desk, I found a thank you card from a teacher at the University of Wisconsin who attended last year’s Photoshop World conference. She included this photo (above) taken at the conference. :)

There was something in her card that really struck me, so I reached out to her and asked if I could share her note and she was kind enough to allow me. Her card read:

Dear Scott, Thank you for a spectacular Photoshop World in Orlando. I cannot tell you how much of a positive impact it had on me — not only as a photographer, but also as a human being.

It was an absolute honor to meet you and attend your classes. Thank you for telling us to print our photographs. I’ve taken that to heart, and I’ve started to print my photos because you made such excellent points — they make an impact and they are our photo backup.

I’m including a photo of us from PSW. Thank you for everything. I appreciate it more than you know!

Best,

Alyssa Nepper

The thing that stuck out to me was the effect it had on her as a person. I just wrote about this very topic to our members recently — there are things beyond the classes, the instructors, and the learning that makes being at Photoshop World very special. Something that being there does to you, and an effect it has on you that’s beyond all that.

When we come together at Photoshop World we get totally engrossed in our passion, in being creative and being surrounded by other creative people, something wonderful happens. I wrote to our members: “This shared passion, the amazing community experience at the conference, and spending a few days getting inspired, motivated, and making new friends — I’m not sure if it’s ever been more important than it today,” and I truly believe.

I’m grateful to Alyssa for sharing her experience, and for allowing me to share it with you. In responding to my request to share her story, she forwarded me the image you see below — one she put together about her Photoshop World story, and I just love it.

While the conference is still called “Photoshop World,” Photoshop is only a part of it. There are entire tracks on photography, on lighting, on Lightroom, on design, and you’ll find everyone at Photoshop World now. Designers, retouchers, landscape photographers, teachers, students, creatives, portrait pros, Photoshop wizards, and Photoshop beginners. Tattoo artists, video experts, and people who are there to learn Lightroom, or the business side of things, or folks who want to be inspired, recharge their batteries and awesome people like Alyssa.

This is our 20th year of producing the Photoshop World Conference, and we’re celebrating by holding two full conferences: an East Coast Photoshop World in Orlando (May 31 – June 2nd), and a West Coast in Las Vegas, at our new home — The Mirage Resort and Casino (which I predict will be our best venue for Photoshop World ever!). Come and experience it for yourself. Tickets, details, and travel info are at photoshopworld.com – I hope I’ll get to hang out with you at one or the other.

I wish you the best this week. :)

-Scott

P.S. If you’re thinking about coming to Orlando, don’t miss out on the Early Bird special, $100 off before April 29th.

It’s #TravelTuesday again right here on Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider. Usually I, Dave Williams, take the opportunity to use this platform to share some pearls of wisdom with you all about photography, Photoshop, travel, or life. Well today I’m using this platform to do something altogether different and share some wisdom from somebody else.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen, it is my pleasure to introduce 20 year old Abdulazez Dukhan. I won’t introduce him further than that, I’ll simply share the transcript of our conversation with you here, alongside some of his photos.

 

 

I am from Homs, Syria, and now I live in Belgium. After three years of war in my home we left for Turkey. It was there that my story with art began. I started to watch videos online to learn about Adobe Photoshop. In the beginning it was hard but I wanted to learn it and develop my new skill so that I could express myself in images rather than through lots of words. I have watched many different courses and put in a lot of hours of practice to try and get better in cutting images, understand colour, and all the other knowledge that goes into retouching. Since I started  to use Photoshop I became more interested in photography, but it was so hard to buy a camera as I never had enough money. In January 2016 we left Turkey and moved through to Greece. I found myself in a refugee camp along with thousands of other people, living without any knowing of what the next day had in store for us. There I decided to start with the photography that had been on my mind. In the beginning I took photos on my phone to document what was happening around me. I decided to start volunteering to improve my English. I met many volunteers in the refugee camps. One of them was an Italian named Annalisa. When she went back to Italy she insisted that she want to send me a gift to thank me for helping. I declined initially but eventually after she insisted I said, “a small trip camera would be really helpful as I can document the situation,” and so my story started with photography – I had my first small camera. I trusted myself that I can be a photographer and I started taking photos. I made a small album, put it online, and started to take more and more photos. A Spanish volunteer, Carles, saw my work online and wanted to support it. He very generously sent me a Nikon D3300 as a birthday gift. I had an upgrade and my photos started to get better as my understanding of light, composition, and the technical elements of creativity grew. This time my new camera had manual mode and it allowed me to start practicing more, and in a better way. I spent many hours every day practicing and trying to understand the difference between ISO, shutter speed, and aperture. After almost a year in Greece I asked a German photographer friend named Geo about a lens I was interested in and I was surprised when he said “I want to buy a new camera and I want to send you mine.” I was amazed and through such generosity I now have my own professional camera. A Canon 60D. Where I lived and what I have seen has always inspired me, those who didn’t know me but believed what I believed, that I can be photographer, gave me a feeling of strength through adversity. Living in hard conditions taught me that there is no such word as ‘impossible.’ I’ve thought hard about it and I’ve decided on the name ‘AzYeux,’ which is a combination of my name and the French word for ‘eyes.’ Creating a website and brand today makes me very glad. I always wanted to have all of my work on one website. I would love to take my photography and art to a more professional level, and do commercial work, commissions, travel, and work on big projects. I would love to meet other photographers and artists who I can learn from.

 

I asked Abdulazez to briefly explain some photos of his that stood out to me. Here they are, along with his explanations: –

 


Sometimes falling down isn’t like our world. Sometimes falling down is going up, or falling up. It reminds me a lot of pain. At some points on my journey I really felt I was making the wrong choice, but then I was surprised that it was better than the others.

I have always heard about Superman but everyone knows he is just a superhero character from movies, so I wanted to show that it is not in a movie. There are many real supermen, not in the superpower or the clothes maybe, but the goals.

I wanted to make it very clear for many people why refugees leave their countries. I used art to cut the original photo and edit it.

I took this photo in Karamanlis refugee camp in Greece. The text wasn’t exactly that, it was “save me and my children it is very cold” but as it was with the kid it didn’t work so I asked permission and changed the text to message I wanted to reach to people.

Sometimes there are just scenes you see in your mind before you make a photo. While swiping photos of Syria, I saw it as something different in my mind so I took what I learned about compositing and I made it into what I was seeing.

Through photos I tried to focus on the situation, to try to reach to media and reach out to people. People have been stuck in camps for a long time and this was an idea just to try and say, “we are still here.” #IDeserveLife

Photos in the ‘I wish I could be’ series that I have taken and edited show that these kids deserve to live and have dreams just like any other kids in the world

Thank you so much for taking the time to read a little into Abdulazez’s story and taking a look at the photos he’s made through self-taught creative skills which were realised because of the opportunities he was given from the kindness of strangers. You can find him on Instagram or on his website if you’d like to see more. I’d like to thank Abdulazez for letting me share this portion of his story and his journey, and a massive thanks to KelbyOne for giving him access to their courses to further develop his skill, and to Platypod and BlackRapid for giving him an Ultra and a Sport Breathe strap to add to his collection of gear.
Much Love
Dave

#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

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