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Ladies and gents of the Internet, I’m here this week to hit home a point!

I’m Dave Williams and I’m here at Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider every Tuesday, which is more commonly referred to as #TravelTuesday. You can catch up on who I am over on my little website – – or on the Gram. But enough #ShamelessSelfPromotion, I have a serious point to make!

The title right up top there, “Time is Precious,” kind of makes the point itself. What I’m telling you is that if you have a goal in mind, you absolutely need to get up and go for it! Do you think Ansel Adams would’ve been who he was had he not gone out and worked hard? Do you think Annie Leibovitz would be where she is if she hadn’t gone out asking to shoot people’s portraits? How about Kaylee Greer? Had Kaylee not gotten up and pushed for what she loves and wants she wouldn’t have the cover of NatGeo. Dave Clayton wouldn’t be such a graphic design guru without tireless hours working out what’s what in the world of fonts and line art, nor would Richard Branson be such the entrepreneur that he is if he hadn’t invested the dedication required to be the master of his field. So, that said, answer me this: what is your goal and what’s stopping you from reaching for it?

If you want to shoot travel like me, get on Skyscanner and find some cheap flights, spend a few minutes finding an Airbnb, and get out there shooting! Build your portfolio, pitch your work, and get the recognition you deserve!

Portraits? Get out in your local area and shoot somebody’s photo. Make them look great, make yourself known, be approachable, and be good!

Weddings? Somebody you know knows somebody who knows somebody who’s getting married. Don’t go ruining their big day if you’re not ready for it yet, but you have to start somewhere so why not offer them a pre-wedding shoot. Take an hour or two out of your day to take a beautiful couple to a stunning place and shoot them so good that they tell all their engaged friends at their wedding!

Want to shoot real estate? Well, that’s easy – just go shoot some houses near you! Make sure you have an excuse ready for when you’re busted by the homeowner when they come outside and see you standing there with your rig on a tripod, though!

Ladies and gents, what I’m trying to say is this: –

The only way you’ll get where you want to be in your photography (and, in fact, other walks of life) is to get out there, put in the time rather than letting time pass you by, and work hard at being the best you can be. No excuses, no postponing, no false evaluation of where you are already, just work hard and make the most of your time. Time is precious. Too precious for “what if?” Get out there and work hard!

To plug where a plug is deserved, you can improve your base knowledge by taking courses from KelbyOne and you can seek inspiration from Instagram, 500px, and I hear that even Flickr is still a thing, however nothing but nothing beats getting out there, making the most of your time, and working hard to realise your ambitions!

Much love


Adobe just released another update to Photoshop CC, and while there’s lot of important stuff in this update (including a ba-jillion bug fixes), the feature that the folks who read this blog will fall in love with is the “Select Subject” feature (Adobe recently sneak-peeked this technology at an Adobe event in Japan and it blew people’s minds, but nobody thought it would be released this soon, because this is the next level stuff).

What this new feature does is save you a TON of time in making the initial selection of your subject before you start the making process in the newly improved Select & Mask. It does this using Machine Learning and some future technology Adobe probably got from visiting aliens from another planet, because this works WAY better than I thought it would after watching their sneak peek. It’s going to change the way we make selections forever.

Check out my short video below and this will all make sense.

Besides the new Select Subject (and bringing the color Decontamination slider from Refine Edge over to Select to Mask in CC), here’s what else is new (according to Adobe):

  • Improved support for high DPI monitors on Windows
  • Microsoft Dial can control many Photoshop brush settings while brushing (size, opacity, jitter, etc.)
  • Increased max zoom level from 3,200% to 12,800%
  • Improved Copy SVG support for multiple text styles

OK, so the other stuff doesn’t set my world on fire (especially since I’m not on Windows and don’t use Microsoft dial), but the zoom level increase is actually really helpful.

Photoshop CC subscribers can download the new version of Photoshop CC from the Creative Cloud App, and start using it today.

Hope you found that helpful, and hats off to Adobe’s amazing engineering team for coming up with Select Subject. It kicks @$%! :)



No time for an intro; this topic is way too important!

One of the most important skills in photography is the ability to see light. It may sound stupid, perhaps even too obvious, but it’s a thing. It’s a thing that if you think you understand, you probably don’t. When you know, you know. You don’t think you know. You know you know. You know? I’m talking direction, diffusion, tone, colour, intensity, contrast; I’m talking about really seeing light.

– It’s like speaking a secret language that every photographer must know

I firmly believe in being the master of your trade. Knowing all there is to know, and if you don’t know it, go and learn it! It all starts with breaking down the basics—understanding the fundamentals. Seeing light will determine whether you get “lucky shots” or whether you deliberately smash it time after time, and I don’t know about you, but smashing it time after time is absolutely what I’m going for!

Think about your Adobe Photoshop adjustments. It’s the light we’re really playing with at the start. It’s the Exposure, the White Balance, the Contrast, the Highlights and Shadows, the White and Black points, and the Clarity. These elements make up the light we saw, and accordingly, we adjust them to how we want things in post. It’s these things we use in post that we must translate to the real world in order to understand light. To understand the behaviour of light and how we represent it.

This is Antelope Canyon in Arizona, USA. It’s possibly one of the best ways to demonstrate the effects of light that I can think of. How it changes tone, fades from intensely bright to barely perceptible darkness and gives us contrast across the image. Here’s what I mean, take a little look at this:



That’s the view straight up whilst inside the slot canyon, minus the sky in this case. The light hits spots on the wall and highlights them, leaving other areas in total shadow. The detail in some places island incredible demonstration of the beauty of nature, and similarly the areas in shadow give us this same beauty, combined with mystery because we know that details are there too, we even see a bit of it, but the light fades off in such a way that leaves us guessing a bit. It’s this ability to see light, and therefore choose the right composition that gives this image the edge over a regular “tourist snapshot,” and here’s what it is that we’re seeing in terms of light:



This is a blurred version of that same image, removing all detail completely and leaving the light behind. You can see that the light hits a couple of the compositional techniques we love—it bisects the top-left third, it is diagonal across the image, and it pretty much fits a golden spiral, too. Having the light do that, rather than physical elements of the image, is building the time the viewer spends looking at our shot and demonstrates, so long as it was on purpose, that we can see that light. Let’s look at another:



Everything in this shot of sunflowers in Germany that we want the viewer to look at is bathed in light. The highlights catch nicely, the setting sun isn’t too overpowering, and the areas of shadow aren’t so dark that they distract. It’s from reading this light and dealing with it correctly, according to what it presented, that allowed this shot to come to life. Here’s the blurry version showing the light:



It’s hard to explain; it’s something to keep going at until you’ve got it. Keep practicing, be it with landscapes or with models or however you like to shoot. Look at shots in magazines and see what exactly it is that attracts you with the light. Take a closer look at portraits, like those in movie posters, and try to see what’s going on in the reflection in the eyes. Practice, practice, practice, and when you can see light, your photography will take a whole new turn.

This vase sitting on the floor caught the warm, diffused (by cloud) light and was just asking for me to shoot it. It’s recognising this light that means I was able to get this shot of what is otherwise a rather mundane object sitting on the floor and making it look just that little bit more special. As I said, it’s a secret language that every photographer must know.



So, here’s the truth about seeing light, if you hadn’t picked up on it so far: it’s all about practice! They say that practice makes perfect, and they say that for a reason. Have your eyes all about you and try to see light in everything you’re doing. Set yourself a challenge and take an object or a person and move all around it or them, shooting from as many angles as possible. Once you’re done, take a good look at the results and take notice of the differences based on the light—you’ll see distinct differences and it will all help in learning to speak light.

Much love


Happy #TravelTuesday to you all! It’s time for #HybridDaveTuesdays, once again, here on Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider, and this week I’ll be telling you all about some clever AI I’ve come across to help with your Instagram hashtagging and keywording.

I’m Dave Williams, I’m a travel and aerial photographer, educator, and influencer right here in sunny London, UK, and every Tuesday you can catch my musings right here. If you like it, don’t forget to share it, and go find me, Hybrid Dave, on social media. :)

So, I’ve been putting a lot of work into my hashtag process lately, and I’ve come across a couple of awesome tools to help. I thought you guys might like to see them:

First off, hashtagging is pretty crucial in effectively reaching your desired audience on Instagram. Tagging your photos on the world’s leading photo sharing site with appropriate labels will maximise your engagement and show off your work to the world who wants to see it. It will gain you followers, comments, and likes. I write about it here pretty frequently because it really is that important for growth.

So, here’s the first one: it’s called AutoHash (currently available for Android). It’s a simple app, which scans your photo, determines what’s in it, then it scours Instagram for look-alikes and appropriates what it deems to be the right hashtags. Now, we all know that AI is a new technology and isn’t always going to always shoot and score. Take a look at this:

Yes. It’s goats in a tree.

So, it got it right throughout most of the hashtags, but there are a few clear errors: First, because I took this photo in Morocco, and then processed it and saved it to my Google Drive, then downloaded it from there onto my phone, then uploaded it to Instagram, and then uploaded this photo into the app from the “saved from Instagram” folder on my phone, the geotagging has totally failed and put it in my current location. So, that’s out. Second, it can’t seem to comprehend that there would be goats in a tree and, as such, has decided that they’re monkeys instead. My personal favourite tag here is #barbaric, but other than that, it’s pretty good. So, then I tried this one:

Old Harry Rocks in Dorset, UK

It’s a pretty accurate set of hashtags again, but it’s picking them based on the photo rather than picking hashtags known to attract engagement. It’s a good demonstration that AI can figure out what the photo is, but that’s not quite what I need.

What I need is the ability to have hashtags generated, which are on trend, as well as on theme. Recognising the content of the photo, and then assigning hashtags, which are aligned to that particular theme of image on Instagram is important for engagement. Have a look at this, which I’ve recently discovered:

This is Photerloo’s hashtag and tag app, which is online based. To use it, simply upload a photo on desktop or mobile, and it selects tags for keywording, as well as separately for hashtagging. Its functions allow users to change the number of tags, and it also allows the selection of more popular or less popular tags, which is particularly useful. Here’s why:

If you tag a photo using a popular tag, there are more photos constantly being added after yours, which causes your photo to move down the chronological feed a lot quicker, thus showing your photo to fewer people versus using a less common tag, keeping your image higher in the feed for longer. Having your photo in a feed longer gets noticed by Instagram’s engagement measuring algorithm, which raises your chances of being one of the nine top posts.

Basically, if you want engagement on Instagram, you need to use certain features to maximise your chances, and the correct use of appropriate hashtags, which differ on each post, is one of the biggest points to note.

Have a go and see what difference it makes for you. Let me know how you get on.

Much love,


Unfortunately, we are going to have to delay the announcement of the winner of the Worldwide Photo Walk’s Youth Competition (we’re waiting for a final age verification because for some reason MANY, MANY adults entered the youth competition). and our People’s Choice Winner (we’re awaiting the results from ViewBug who ran that part of the competition).

So, because we can’t know for certain if or when either of those is expected today, we’ll do the announcement this coming week. My humble apologies for the delay – our crew has been working day and night to have these ready and they’re nearly as disappointed as you are, but we want to make sure the proper winners are verified before we make the announcements.

Thanks for your patience and understanding. :)



Take a deep breath in…hold it…now exhale….

Mindfulness is filling our world right now. Our world is hectic, ever digital, shorter-scheduled, higher-pressured, and it creates angst. Perhaps the cause is right there in that sentence, but whatever it is we’re constantly looking for ways out. Yoga seems the most popular, but for me it’s photography. No matter the stress caused by taking photos or retouching them, the rewards are ever greater, but is there any scientific basis here or is it just me? And perhaps, more importantly, how do we keep photography fun and not let it become ‘labour’ in terms of mindfulness? It’s this specific point I’ll try to address.

My friend Mimo Meidany seems happy enough to escape with a camera here in Portugal

Simply holding a camera can induce mindfulness—having it in your hand and being ready, being aware. Scanning the environment around you for that great shot, and singling out the good qualities of the world into one scene. Photography, in this sense, isn’t just about having your ‘main camera,’ though, it’s also about recognising when you’ve chanced upon something beautiful and reaching for your phone to document it, supporting the awareness of the immediate experience and bringing it focus, alongside creativity, rather than putting it aside. It’s often the case, in fact, that the memory of taking the photo is echoed every time you see it. Take this photo:

I love this photo. I took it in Norway, not too far from Odda. It wasn’t deliberate at all. My intention was a day hiking to Trolltunga, but when I arrived at the start of the signposted route, and was met with busloads of tourists and a car park packed full of people with much the same intention as me, I decided that perhaps it wasn’t going to be the idyllic, desolate walk I’d anticipated and my attention turned elsewhere. If I hadn’t met that thought, I would never have taken this shot and regardless of its eventual use or its technical constitution, it remains one of my favourite photos. The photo is underlined, twice, with mindfulness. It’s making the best of the bad situation—finding beauty elsewhere, focussing my attention, and aligning my mindset.

Doing this, and maintaining positivity in photography, is so, so important. Photography is pretty unique as it stands in a gray area, somewhere between occupation and hobby. As we all know, monotony and tedium will push through to varying extents in any job we do. If photography is our job, we need to be aware of this, and take control of this negativity and maintain our ‘happy place’ in our mind when practicing. If it starts to become tedious, or the fire and passion that made photography so attractive to us start to dwindle, then an assertive drive to rekindle it must begin. See something new, find some beautiful light, do something fresh, and reflect on exactly why you take photos. For me, it’s about sharing what I see in the way I see it. That’s why, if you take a look on my social media channels, you’ll see the phrase, ‘Let me show you what I see’.

Me in my happy place

Try this: The next time you chance upon something and your reaction is to raise a camera and capture it, try to bring yourself into that moment. Immerse in what it is that made you do that and just be present. Everybody loses track of things once in a while, feels like throwing down their camera and forgetting it all, and that’s fine. Just don’t make it permanent. If you picked up a camera in the first place, there’s a creativity flowing through you which expresses who you are and what you see, and it takes hold of your soul and makes you who you are. Bring yourself back into the moment and remind yourself why you’re doing it all.

Mindfulness isn’t difficult, we just need to remember to do it.




a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings,
thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.