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I’m Dave Williams and I’m back, which means it must be #TravelTuesday! Good morning to you all from the sunny UK! This morning I got up at 03:45 to walk up a hill and shoot a castle at sunrise, but this post is not about that. Here’s what it’s actually about (right after the scene-setting selfie): –

Whilst I was busy doing nothing, sitting on the side of the hill waiting for the light to be right when I heard a little noise from the bush beside me. From inside the bush, out crept two beautiful fox cubs. Sharp as a tack, I was ready with my iPhone camera. I always have my iPhone camera ready when I’m shooting because it’s great to have a second camera primed and ready for anything that quickly develops, just like this. In this instance, the photo wasn’t going to be ‘art’, more like proof that a thing happened. I slowly pivoted around to point the iPhone at the fox cubs but they’d spotted me, clearly having been absolutely oblivious to my presence before because I hadn’t been moving! Here’s what I caught: –

It sucks! The cubs had started to run back into their den by the time I hit the shutter button so all I got was a blur of panicked foxes. Keen to not disturb them and to get my castle shots I remained still and kept half an eye on the rest of the bush waiting to see if they emerge again, still primed and ready, but I wondered whether I’d be able to save the shot I’d gotten. I managed to get a frame with one of the foxes looking right at me, and here’s how: –

Because I’d taken the shot with Live Mode active I could check through the sequence of frames that had been captured. We know we’re shooting in Live Mode because the symbol on our camera app that resembles a target is yellow. By finding this image in my camera roll and hitting ‘Edit’ in the top right corner, a range of options opened up to me. The one I was interested in was on the bottom row to the left – that same ‘Live Mode’ symbol. Here’s what we get when we tap it: –

The grey circle is the shot the iPhone has determined will be our ‘Key Frame’ but by tapping through the frames ourselves we can select the key frame we want instead, which is exactly what I did, resulting in this: –

I now had the frame of the fox cub looking at me, and although it wasn’t a great shot it’s a good example of what we can use Live Mode for on our iPhone if we think we’ve messed up a dynamic shot.

Just for some viewing pleasure, here’s a shot of the fox cub from my camera this morning as well :)

This is one of many features of our iPhone camera that we can take advantage of, and there are plenty more to learn in the upcoming iPhone Photography Conference. I hope to see you there!

Much love

Dave

Hey hey! #TravelTuesday is here again and I, Dave Williams, have another little post for you all.

We photographers are in a strange, unique field. We obviously sell ourselves predominantly through our images, but there are lots of amateur photographers and that’s part of what makes our industry unique. There are few like it – for example it’s rare to find an amateur receptionist. I say rare. If you’ve ever heard of one, please tell me! And while there are other hobbies that tandem as occupations, such as floristry or mechanics, it’s still not quite the same as what we do.

We can step up our imagery by giving it a story or an explanation through blogging. Just as I’ve explained before that it’s important as part of our marketing to shoot and share behind the scenes images, it’s also very productive to share behind the scenes stories through blogging.

If we maintain a blog on our website it doesn’t just act as a story segment to our website. Search engines are trawling through websites constantly to see what additions there are, and if we post to our blog we’re demonstrating that we’re active and therefore boosting our score and giving ourselves a greater opportunity to appear high in the search results.

Every genre of photography is suited to blogging. Just take a look at these: –

Stephanie Richer – weddings and proposals

Brad Moore – music photographer

Gilmar Smith – portrait photographer

These blog posts all have something in common – they tell a story and they’re fun to read. If they’re too long, that isn’t ideal. If they’re too short, that’s not ideal either. It needs to be something that makes a point, that flows, that doesn’t take too long to read, and ideally has one theme throughout for a good story.

Almost every hosting platform, including WordPress, SquareSpace, has a bold hosting section that allows us to post regularly. Go find yours and start using it!

Much love

Dave

#TravelTuesday is here again with me, Dave Williams, and today I want to talk about documenting our journeys.

I’ve talked a lot before about shooting behind the scenes so our friends and followers can gain an insight into what we do, how we do it, and a little extra on who we really are. More important perhaps than that is shooting behind the scenes for ourselves.

I’ve also often said that we need to take travel photos that are above and beyond a souvenir shot so we can stand out amongst a crowd and sell our images. Forget that for a moment…. only a moment, of course.

Filling our personal photo album with memories of our journeys is a huge part of life. When we go somewhere as photographers we can often become so focussed on shooting the location with our ‘big camera’ that we forget about our phone or our compact, or even our back-up camera. Don’t do that!

Souvenir shots of ourselves or out friends and family when we’re out shooting are invaluable. They serve as reminders of everything about that shoot, even evoking memories of the sounds and smells, and the temperature!

I’ll be totally honest and give this tidbit of info here and here only, and it’s a once only offer so don’t quote me saying this in any other context: –

It doesn’t even need to be a good photo!

Souvenir photos – which are important memories – are essential to bring our journeys back to life. Forget social media, I’m talking about shooting for yourself. Next time you’re out and about on a photographic mission, take some memory shots.

Much love
Dave

It’s #TravelTuesday again and I, Dave Williams, am here as always with something from the world of travel photography. This week I want to take you all vicariously out of quarantine for your morning cup of coffee to one of my favourite places on earth. I’m actually still a little sore over the fact that I was meant to be in this place but the flight was cancelled (thanks ‘rona!), however it’s something I’ve enjoyed seeing via social media. Also, I’m not entirely sure of my punctuation combination in that previous sentence, but I’m giving myself a break and letting it slide! Who says you can’t use a comma after an exclamation mark?!

I’d like to begin by introducing two friends – Ása and Dagur. They’re both photographers and travel professionals based in Iceland.

Ása is happiest outdoors and grew up surrounded by rugged, extreme landscapes. She’s established herself with an outstanding Instagram presence and works with many Icelandic brands.

Dagur is a qualified fine art photographer. He specialises in tailored, private tours of the island showing off the dramatic landscapes and dancing northern lights.

So, every now and then we’re presented with a once in a lifetime opporunity. Right now in Iceland there really is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and these two talented legends have both been fortunate enough to be in a position to take that opportunity.

On the Reykjanes peninsula, the south-west point of the fault line that runs all the way through Iceland. It’s the fault line that seperates the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. If you’ve ever been here you’ll know it’s a spectuacular landscape formed by the twisting and splitting of land, filled back in with emerging lava from the earths core. One of the most famous spots to see an example of the two plates is the Bridge Between Continents. Iceland is home to very many volcanoes and, very cleverly, utilises the energy from them to generate power and heat their hot water – geothermally.

We all know of the infamous eruption of Eyjafallajokull in 2010, throwing airspace around the world into chaos because of the ash cloud that came alongside it. But did you know there’s an eruption occuring right now? Right on the Reykjanes peninsula, following weeks of tremours and earthquakes, the magma finally reached the surface just outside the town of Grindavik. It’s all fairly safe, as far as volcanic eruptions can be, and locals have been visiting and exploring the area.

Here’s one of Dagur’s images showing visitors to the site, which I imagine would be starkly different if we weren’t in a global pandemic. Even so , there’s a fair amount of people who have hiked out to see it with their own eyes (and lenses).

Ása has explored by helicopter and drone, as well as on foot. Here’s one of her images from the site of the eruption.

The point fo the post today is to impress upon you all the fact that once in a lifetime opportunities are just that – they’re once in a lifetime. There are very few people who have the opportunity to witness magma oozing from the earth like this. Whenever we’re presented with such a chance, we should take it.

Along with the amazing sights presented with this spectacle, which we can all use our skills to capture in photographs, come other things. In this case the smells of the sulphur and the mesmerising flow of lava must be incredible to experience first hand, and this kind of experience is translatable to many others which we can seize on our journeys as photographers. I implore you to take a moment to look at Ása and Dagurs work, and I will leave you with this line: –

Once in a lifetime as often as you can.

Much love

Dave

I’m Dave Williams and I’m here for #TravelTuesday to talk a little about websites and why it’s important to get it right.

Our website and our social media presence are our shop window as photographers. Much more often than not we are found on social media and anyone we have captivated through there will explore us through our website. With this in mind, it’s crucial we engage our target audience on our website and have everything laid out just right to show off who we are and what we’re capable of doing, and providing the pathway to be contacted.

Step one is absolutely nailing our landing page. There isn’t one single correct way to do this, but there are certainly ways to not do it. What’s definitely one of the right things to do is to have an easily accessible menu with clear options. For example, a button to lead to our portfolio, a button to lead to our experience, and a button to lead to our contact page should be clear and easy to find. These are, after all, the most important things to somebody considering booking us.

So, our portfolio. This should have enough images, but not too many images. Vague, I know, but you’ll know when it’s right! If we have just a few images people may not be satisfied and will get to the last image too soon, but on the other hand if there are too many images we lose the sense of leaving people wanting more. It’s as if we need a clear, definable set of images to reflect our clear, definable style. On that note, it’s very important that our portfolio is a true reflection of our style of photography. I mean that in two senses: firstly, we need to have a clear style laid out so that somebody booking us knows the style of image we will create for them. Secondly, we need to be able to recreate that style time after time, and that means not adding images in a style we can’t reproduce. Our portfolio is an advert, and it’s a reflection of our creative skill and ability. It deserves a lot of our time and attention to create it and get it just right. Here’s a top tip – if an image you’re considering putting in is ‘good enough,’ it probably isn’t good enough! Only the best go in our portfolio.

Our ‘About Us’ or our experience page needs to be a place where we show off. Don’t hold back here! People browsing our website are looking to see what we can do and what we’ve done in the past. This is our ‘no holds barred’ space to sing our praises, plug our awesome reviews, show behind the scenes images, and get that prospective client to move on to the contact page!

Contact is the first step to securing the booking, so making ourself contactable is important. Personally I like to give options. Flip things on their head and turn yourself into a consumer – imagine you’re on the Amazon contact page. What do you want to see? You want options, right? Depending on the problem or my mood I’d want to choose between email, phone or whatever else. If we incorporate this thinking into our own website we afford people options and therefore we don’t close down channels of communication. A contact form is a standard feature on many website design platforms, but also include an email address and a phone number, or even point out that your phone number is available for WhatsApp or you have a Facebook page with Messenger. The more options people have to contact us, the more chance we have of satisfying our client with a communication medium they’re happy with.

This week, or even this month, take the time to critique your website and make it work for you to reach and attract more clients. It can also be a good idea to ask others in the community to critique it for you. Just don’t ask your family – they’ll always say it’s amazing!

Much love

Dave

#TravelTuesday has come around again and I, Dave Williams, am back here again on ScottKelby.com as always with a little tidbit from the world of travel, photography, and Photoshop. Today it’s all about the latter but it applies across the board. Let’s not waste time with the intro, here goes!

When we take photos in RAW we see a preview on the back of the screen which is a JPEG representation of the RAW image. This means it has been ‘filtered’ somewhat and looks slightly different to how the RAW image will look. One of the differences will be the saturation, and we often move the saturation slider in Adobe Photoshop when we’re back in post to get the image back to looking how it looked on the preview screen when we took the photo. The image right there with it, Vibrance, does something visually similar, but do you know the difference between them? If not, you aren’t alone!

What I’ll do today is go over the differences by splitting Saturation and Vibrance and explaining each of them, giving you an understanding of what those sliders are doing.

Saturation

The Saturation slider is so fiercely debated it could probably start a war. The Saturation slider adjusts the colours in the image. All of them! When we slide the Saturation slider to the left we gradually remove colour from the image (and at this time I’ll take the opportunity to point out the spelling of colour – I’m British – deal with it.) 

Note my choice of words there – ‘all of them.’ The saturation slider adjusts all the pixels in the image. In a practical sense, this means each pixel, regardless of the saturation it already has (high or low) which in turn means that if we slide the slider too far we’ll end up blowing out the pixels that already have high saturation.

Note my choice of words there – ‘all of them.’ The saturation slider adjusts all the pixels in the image. In a practical sense, this means each pixel, regardless of the saturation it already has (high or low) which in turn means that if we slide the slider too far we’ll end up blowing out the pixels that already have high saturation.

Vibrance

Now we know the Saturation gives the same, indiscriminate treatment to every pixel in our image, let’s see what the difference is with Vibrance. The Vibrance slider only applies a change to the least saturated colours in the image. This means it’s less likely to blow out pixels because it only focuses on the least saturated pixels and leaves the more saturated ones.

When we apply Vibrance we achieve a result that’s less surreal in comparison to using the Saturation slider. The result also appears to have more contrast, which can often be a nice touch.

Have a go at comparing the extreme ends of the Vibrance and Saturation sliders to see the difference between the two now you know this and I’m sure you’ll turn out far better images. Just remember, as always, to use the half rule for retouching: Once you’ve moved your sliders, put them to half the value and see if the result is more realistic ;)

Much love
Dave

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