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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

Well, hello there!

It’s #TravelTuesday here at Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider and I’ve just completed a mission and a half! Let me tell you about it!

I’m currently running a challenge and I want you to get involved. It’s a sunrise challenge!

Until July 15th, I want to see your sunrise photos. Just upload them to Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook, use the hashtag #SunriseWithDave, and you can win a KelbyOne membership and a Platypod Ultra!!! That’s definitely worthy of all three of those exclamation marks!

So, here’s how I started it: –

Last night, I shot the sunset at Land’s End, the western-most point in England.

 

 

I quickly retouched the shot, uploaded it, and then I got on my motorcycle and headed east. This morning—450 miles later and with 5 minutes to spare—I arrived at Ness Point, the eastern-most point in England. The race against the sun was to kick off the sunrise challenge, but unfortunately, Mother Nature gave me a typical British sunrise: –

 

 

But, never mind, the point of the challenge and the contest is to encourage as many people as possible to shoot sunrise. I can’t wait to see the images you make this week!

Check out all of the details here.

 

 

For me, I’m finishing my coffee and headed home to think up the next stupid idea!

Much love

Dave

Hi there! It’s me, Dave Williams, coming at you again this #TravelTuesday at Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider. I’ve just returned home from a Stateside mission and returned to a rather gloomy London Town, and I’m a little exhausted from the adventure and the jet lag so massive apologies for posting so late today! I have a little nugget of wisdom though, so I hope it’s worth it for you all. It’s a little tip which I’ve learned from many times on my journey as a travel photographer, and it’s the result of anticipation, climax, anticlimax, and reward! I had this experience again just a few days ago, so I’ll share it through that story to show you why I’m saying what I’m saying.

So, I was in Rhode Island and went to meet up with Kaylee Greer for an awesome adventure. I headed to Kaylee’s place and before we went out I was lucky enough to have my portrait shot by Sam Haddix, which I can’t wait to see! We were all discussing where to go and what to do, which ended up being the Cliff Walk near Newport, RI. The plan was to be there for sunset but you may have sensed already by the words I chose to use there that we weren’t! As is so often the case in the world of travel photography, things change. They may go wrong, they may be somehow cancelled, they may just not be achievable. In this case it was the latter.

Kaylee and I were in Newport having a little explore around the shops there. We had about 4 hours until sunset and everything was in sight. But then it started to go wrong. Right then I saw a postcard stand outside one of the souvenir stores and I was explaining to Kaylee: –

Whenever you go to a new place, one of the best sources of inspiration for shots is the local postcards

And right then I saw something awesome. I had been looking online for the local lighthouses during my entire trip, but right there on one of the postcards was an awesome looking lighthouse on a rocky outcrop, surrounded by azure blue water with waves breaking all around it. I had to shoot it myself! Out came Google Maps and I found the lighthouse, probably 1/4 mile offshore. The problem then became real. That lighthouse was an hour away. Things in the plan were starting to change. Determined to shoot the lighthouse and get back to the Cliff Walk for sunset, we pressed on!

 

 

That little lighthouse shoot took longer than anticipated, with a drone battery change required and a few other nice little scenes noticed and shot, which meant that getting back to the Cliff Walk was going to be tight if indeed it happened at all. Turns out it didn’t! But here’s the thing. The intention to shoot the Cliff Walk as the sunset shoot was now flipped out completely, which for me would once have ended up with me in somewhat of a sulk, stubbornly refusing to do anything else in my determination to get there despite knowing full well that I wouldn’t. The moral of the story is this: –

Whenever and wherever you get a sunset, shoot it right there!

A golden hour opportunity is often too good to waste. In this case we were totally in the wrong place according to the plan, but when the sun started to change the light of the entire sky we just stopped in the first ‘slightly nice’ place we saw, which turned out to be a little marina in Tiverton, RI. The change in light made what would likely have been a mediocre scene change into something else. Something worth shooting. Certainly something worth shooting rather than risking shooting nothing by driving on and arriving in the dark, or by stubbornly not shooting anything because the plan had changed! A sunset, wherever it may be, is often worth shooting for either the practice, or for getting a sky to switch out in another photo, or just for the experience of watching another day come to a beautiful close. Us photographers can so often be such a stubborn breed, so don’t let that get in the way of an opportunity!

 

 

Many thanks to Kaylee for putting up with me for the day and for sharing that sunset!

 

 

Much love

Dave (and Kaylee)

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 – capturewithdave.com – 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

Dave

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 @$%! :)

Best,

-Scott

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

Dave

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