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#TravelTuesday has come around again and I, Dave Williams, am here as always! My departure date is getting closer and closer and I’m busy preparing and testing for my mission in Kofifernweh. I’ve been making minor adjustments and I’m happy to report that the turbocharger is now fully operational again. But that’s not what I’m here for – I’m here to talk pixels. More specifically, gifting them!

With a special time of year approaching it’s time for us to get thinking about what to do in the way of gifts. A random gift from Amazon may solve the issue of being empty-handed, however we can use our skills as photographers and artists to give a gift that really has meaning instead.

A portrait photographer can gift a portrait, a landscape photographer can gift a landscape, and a photographer with too many to choose from can gift a calendar. We have so many fans amongst our family and close friends that offer constant praise and act as personal cheerleaders to our growing photography skills that we could think smart and offer something bespoke that they would really love.

Having seen the headline of this post you could have very easily guessed what it was about and you’ve just read it, so surely there can’t be a lot left to say. Well, here comes the curveball!

Gifting photos to promote our business and to open doors is very, very effective. I’ve told the story of how I shot inside St Pauls Catherdal in London with a tripod – a feat only ever achieved by the BBC when they record and broadcast ceremonies – and it was all down to the promise of a print.

I got in touch with the marketing manager (who is always a good person to start with) and ensured I addressed them personally, by name. I asked very nicely what I wanted to ask without beating around the bush or wasting their time, offering a brief explanation of the circumstances, the intended result, and who I was. At the end as well as the usual line of ‘you can have copies of the images’ I added, ‘and I would love to print one for your office.’

That offer of a print, or the surprise gift of a print, is a fantastic way to market ourselves, make ourselves memorable, and form a lasting relationship. It’s also the best tool for leverage!

Short but sweet, but valuable, that’s todays post. Honestly worth its weight in gold!

Much love

Dave

This week for #TravelTuesday, we’re going to sleuth around and learn to easily and quickly find any images we may feel have been stolen and used online. I’m Dave Williams, and every week I’m here for Travel Tuesday with Dave. Let’s crack on!

I’ve written recently about the problem with image theft and the problems it causes. In the post, I mentioned reverse image searches. This is a search function incorporated well by Google into their search engine, but it’s particularly well done with the Google app. Here’s an image I took from Cape Canaveral a couple of years ago, having been told about the spot by Erik “the Rocketman” Kuna.

The reason I’m choosing to search this image is because I know it’s out there on the internet, so Google should be able to find it wherever it exists. I said in the intro that there’s a very easy way to do this in the Google app, and here it is:

First up, fire up the app.

At the right side of the search bar, there’s a camera icon. Go ahead and tap that.

Google Lens will open up. This is a very smart searching tool so I encourage you to try it out, but what we’ll do instead is change the mode to the image search by tapping the framed image beside the shutter/search button.

We now have our camera roll, and from here we can choose the image we want to search. I’ve selected the image and this screen came back to me:

The top match is presented, along with the option to “See more.” This top result is from The Express, a British newspaper.

Now we can simply go over the results to make sure any use of our images complies with any permissions or licenses we’ve granted. It’s as simple as that!

Much love

Dave

Hi team! Dave here for #TravelTuesday again, and this week my congratulations go out to Italy for winning the European Championships over here on this side of the pond! It didn’t come home, but there’s always next time. Personally I think we have some work to do in terms of dealing with hate first, though. But that’s another story.

Shifting the focus back to photography, this week I want to touch on watermarks.

If, like me, you’re a member of any photography groups on Facebook, you’ll notice that the question of whether or not to watermark an image is a good idea. By ‘good’ I mean whether it offers any advantage to us in terms of protecting our photos and therefore protecting us as photographers and creators.

Ultimately the decision is yours. I’ll get straight to highlighting my stance, but I’ll offer arguments for both cases. But mostly mine ;)

Team Yes

The base argument for Team Yes is that applying a watermark to an image, be it bold and aggressive or minimally intrusive on the content, means that anyone considering using an image where they perhaps shouldn’t had a moral dilemma. If they misappropriate our watermarked image they are displaying to the world (or the one viewer, whichever it may be) that they have taken it from elsewhere and it belongs to someone else. The watermark itself may even prevent this from happening in the first instance.

Team No

Team No generally have one of two thought processes. Either they don’t care if their image is stolen, or they will allow it to be stolen and deal with the matter afterwards, proportionally and professionally. I take the latter stance. Images contain metadata and although this can be altered, it takes someone who knows a little about what they’re doing to make the necessary changes and even so it doesn’t change the fact that the copyright belongs to us. There are also reverse image search engines, Google being the simplest to use, that we can employ to find our images if we fear they have been used. This is easy, but quite arduous. We can have this done automatically by using services like Pixar.com to find our images for us and even issue takedown notices or proceed with legal action.

The reason I don’t watermark my images is because I will use these systems to find my images and take action where it’s appropriate. If someone shares my photo on Facebook it’s no biggie deal to me, but if a company uses my image to advertise their services or products it definitely is a big deal and I’ll send them a bill along with an explanation. I haven’t had anyone refuse to settle the bill yet. If I’ve created a photo for a client with any exclusivity, I simply won’t be sharing it and therefore there’s no risk of it being stolen.

Watermarks are horrible looking things that take a lot away from an image I created and I’d much rather deal with image theft than ruin my photos. Looking over the responses to this question on the Facebook groups I belong to it’s quite clear that there’s a strong divide between those who watermark and those who don’t.

So with my two cents, here’s the big question: –

Are you Team Yes or Team No?

Much love

Dave

Hi all! Dave Williams here for another #TravelTuesday post. I hope you’re all well and that you all had a great day on Sunday for the 4th!

Straight off the bay, I couldn’t come up with a better feature image for this post than what I’m going to call ‘real life Photoshop’ with my bestie Peter Treadway.

Today I want to touch on something that’s come off the back of a bit of news from Norway. Legislators there have made it a legal requirement for influencers and advertisers to label images that have been retouched or have filters applied in a bid to address “body pressure in society.”

The law is an amendment to the marketing Act 2009 and was passed with an overwhelming majority support of 75 to 15 in Norwegian Parliament.

The law, due to be introduced shortly, will require that any sponsored or advertising posts need to declare where a “body’s shape, size or skin has been changed by retouching or other manipulation” be clearly marked to declare the presence of edits. Failure to mark such images will result in a fine being issued.

The changes are outlined with a list of examples that includes enlarged lips, narrowed waists, pronounced muscles, and other such edits. But what’s behind all this?

We all know that it’s extremely rare for one of our images to be Straight Out Of Camera (SOOC) and not edited or retouched in some way. If we take this news at first glance, that is to say that we haven’t made ourselves familiar with the finer details about the extent of the retouching done, it can appear that almost every image on social media in Norway is to display this label of having been retouched. Society has normalised retouching but it is in a different way to that we expect as photographers. When we retouch images we tend to approach it from the perspective that we are looking to make the image more appealing, to gain more traction, or to attract more clients for ourselves because of the quality and calibre of our work both in camera and in post. We’ve ended up in a situation where we are stuck in a bit of a touch position because the world uses the word ‘Photoshop’ as a verb, so an image that looks good is seen as something that must have been ‘Photoshopped’. An unfortunate circumstance that has come out of this is that the youth of our society are influenced, hence the term ‘influencer’ I suppose, but with that come negative implications in that body dysmorphia comes to the forefront, sometimes to quite extreme ends.

Young people, particularly young girls, grow up receiving the influence of the world around them and with that comes an impression cast upon them of what they are meant to be like, and look like. There are those breaking the trend, of course, but this is still commonplace and carries a certain mental health stigma in that people will go to extreme lengths in order to appear a particular way because of something or someone they’ve seen on social media, such as a Kardashian with a warped door frame behind their retouched body parts, or extra hands for example. There was a campaign some years ago by Snickers that highlighted this quite well. I took a moment to retouch Snickers advertising image and ‘fix it’. Here’s the image highlighting the errors: –

It isn’t these errors that are causing a problem, of course. It’s the photos that are passing as genuine and in turn having a negative impact on the youth worldwide who pick up on the retouched images and perceive them as being real, altering their habits and aspiring to be something that isn’t real because society is leaving that impression. I for one hope none of us are the cause of this and that it actually is the influencers and advertisers, but it’s important that we, as photographers, consider our actions when retouching and the impact it could have. Perhaps Norway have taken a step in the right direction.

Much love

Dave

PS – here’s my ‘fixed’ version

PPS – if you’re interested in finding out what’s behind my van situation, here’s a little bit of reading

#TravelTuesday today has more of a social media stance, in line with the upcoming iPhone Photography Conference. I’m Dave Williams and I’m here every Tuesday on ScottKelby.com.

Something we all look for on social media to help boost our performance and convert that performance into revenue, be that through sales or influence, is engagement. Engagement falls from several factors and one of those is likes. The problem that has come from this of late is the damage caused by likes on people’s mental health—feeling inadequate when a post doesn’t receive as many likes as they would perhaps like or in comparison with peers. Instagram, headed up by Facebook, has recognised this and has taken a bold step to relieve some of the pressure caused by the number of likes an image may attract.

Instagram now lets us hide the publicly visible like count on a post. Instagram said the reason behind this was to “depressurize people’s experience” on the platform, following a series of trials that have ended up with a global roll-out. The fact now stands that we no longer stand openly in comparison to other accounts and, therefore, perhaps the stigma associated with the feeling of under-performance can fade, giving people a better user experience when posting and leaving the metrics in place behind the scenes where, perhaps, they belong. The performance of a post is determined by those metrics, but there’s no real reason for them being on public display.

There are two ways to hide the like count of our posts: The first is to do it retrospectively, tapping the three dots in the top-right corner of a post and selecting Hide Like Count.

The second method relates to future posts, which we do in our settings by tapping on the three lines in the top right corner of your page, selecting Settings, then Privacy, and then Posts, and then turning on Hide Like and View Counts.

Our performance absolutely does affect our ability to monetise social media platforms but, as I’ve mentioned, this metric doesn’t necessarily need to be public, and if we take a step to reduce the negative aspects associated with engagement that result in detrimental effects on mental health, we can create a better platform for all. I, for one, have decided to hide my like counts.

Much love

Dave

#TravelTuesday is here again! Woop!

I’m Dave Williams and every week I’m here with something from the world of travel photography, and this week is no exception. Here’s a little something I’ve been up to.

Last week I wrote about the features of iPhone live mode in assisting finding the best shot of a bunch, but this week I’ll focus on the same shoot and show something I used that morning.

After a slight delay because of Covid it was awesome to get a Platyball Elite in my hands. This was a pre-production model for beta testing ahead of general release which is anticipated to be in December. I know there are a lot of people that backed the Kickstarter and are keen to get theirs, so I figured I’d shows how everything’s back on track!

Here it is in all its glory, mounted on a Platypod Max with a misty background of Corfe Castle in Dorset, here in the UK. I put the Platyball Elite through its paces here, moving across the terrain and seeing how quickly I could adjust the angle to compensate for each different surface using the chunky, ergonomic buttons to tighten and loosen the hold. I’m doing this I discovered a brand new form of entertainment, and perhaps the best new game in photography. The game is this: –

The aim of the game is to line up the cross in the middle of the screen! It’s great fun! The Platyball Elite features a screen showing the perfect alignment of the horizon and the tilt, helping us get a perfectly level horizon, or in pointing our camera dead-ahead if we want a 50/50 horizon line. This level indicator is an excellent feature of the Elite, and was especially useful for the slope I was on at the tim when used in tandem with the spikes on the Max to hold everything in place.

All this followed a 3:45 alarm call, and I can’t stress how great that actually felt. It’s a ridiculous time, and I’m well aware that some people didn’t even realise that 3:45 had an AM, but getting up with nature and being in position ready for the sun to warm the earth ready for the day is something that gets better every single time I do it. Here’s what I got, using the Platypod Max and Platyball Elite together for real for the first time.

Unfortunately the mist didn’t dip low enough for the castle to fully emerge, which was the shot I’d planned, but this contrast of warm and cold with a 1,000 year old demolished castle lurking within it will have to do.

Set your alarm early and go shoot a sunrise. Even if it doesn’t go to plan, it won’t disappoint.

Much love

Dave

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