I’m Dave Williams, here every #TravelTuesday on ScottKelby.com. Yesterday I got back from a mission in Norway where I was focussed on trying to capture some of the tranquillity and the ruggedness of the north at the change of the seasons, just at the end of the regular hiking season before the snow starts to fall. It got me thinking, which in turn made me think that I need to think about thinking. What was I thinking? What is it that makes my ‘thinking’ that of a travel photographer?

I was isolated everywhere I went – save for the odd camper or hiker here and there, it was just me. I was free to shoot what I wanted, how I wanted. But imagine the not all too unfamiliar sight of a bunch of photographers stood shoulder to shoulder, all shooting the same subject from the same perspective, no doubt using the same settings and composition. We’ve all seen it in popular places – a squad in a linear formation at the Place du Trocadéro awaiting the rising sun behind the Eiffel Tower, or the team abreast on the beaches of Malibu, CA, shooting the golden sunset beside a lifeguard tower. Each wants the perfect image, yet each has the same image.

Try as we might in situations like these our shot may be the best of the bunch, but it isn’t unique enough among a dozen similar shots. I say similar – perhaps I meant to say almost identical. Shooting that famous or familiar scene may be something we merely need to tick off our personal shot list, in which case please crack on and do it, but it isn’t the shot that’s going to bag us a buck or two. To achieve that we need to think like a travel photographer, which kinda involves thinking like a marketer as well as a photographer.

What is it about a location that makes people want to be there? What will make people want to visit? How can we represent that visually? Simply taking ten paces one way or another can make a huge difference to a scene, or even concentrating our efforts on something that is iconic of the place but not necessarily iconic in itself, like moving away from the majestic fjords and concentrating on the solemnity of a lake at a time many people won’t see it like in this shot: –

If we take a moment to think outside the box and think like a travel photographer, capturing the essence and the story of a place rather than simply it’s iconic sites, we stand a far better chance of making that sale and having our images stand out among the crowd.

The right balance of skills and inspiration can make a good photographer great. It can help us to think about what we’re doing, and what else we can be doing. A good photographer can make a mundane scene look wildly interesting and captivating, and it’s all down to the way we shoot it rather than what the actual subject is. It’s important to have a style because that helps us to create these kinds of images, but remember that our style is dynamic and our vision should be clear. When I am on an assignment it’s clear what my objective is, but when I’m shooting self-assigned it can be quite different so in those cases I like to assign myself, and I recommend you do too. Imagine the editor of National Geographic has given you an assignment – stick with it and achieve the goals and objectives in it. Make believe may seem a bit child-like, but just go with it! Think like a travel photographer, capture the essence of a place, and think about what it is that makes people want to go there and incorporate that into your shots.

Much love

Dave

PROGRAMMING NOTE: The Landscape Photography Conference starts tomorrow (it kicks off today, a day early, with a pre-conference orientation and then I’m doing a workshop at 11:00 am called “What makes a great landscape photo” for folks who are new to landscape photography. It’s not too late — you can still sign up and be with us from the start tomorrow. Details and tickets at KelbyOneLive.com – it’s a record-breaking crowd for us; hope you can make it!

This is the book I’ve been waiting for, but it’s not just me – so many people have been waiting for this one. It is from the awesomeness that is Kaylee Greer, the world’s most incredible dog photographer (and the result of what would happen if a magical unicorn and the leprechaun at the end of the rainbow had a baby), for the first time ever shares her proven techniques in a book all about getting the best dog photos ever!

I can’t believe it’s nearly here. Pre-order it right now, either direct from the book’s publisher, or from Barnes & Noble, or from Amazon, and be prepared to create images of dogs that a huge step above the rest. You will thank me!

Next Wednesday I’m Doing a ‘Book Chat’ for my New Book

I’m super psyched that this all new print version of my original classic (it’s literally the #1 bestselling book on digital photography of all time), arrived last week in Rocky Nook’s warehouse, and it’s on it’s way to book stores everywhere now. Next Wednesday at 7:00 PM ET (mark your calendar now) you’re invited to join me for a thrilling (probably not) book chat that is in the same vein as my other wonderful (stupid) book chats. I’ll share some tips from the book, I’ll answer questions about the book, about me, about life, and other time-wasting grifts that will enthrall, entrail, and enlighten (I’m not certain it will do any of those).

Plus, there will be deals. Oh yes, there will be deal.

During my awesome (lame) book chat, my publisher will be offering an insane deal on my book (and maybe a book bundle as well), and the price will probably be so low, that it will cause a horrible rift between me and my publisher, one that will probably land us in court, so take advantage of the deal that night, because the book will probably be placed under some injunction by the judge who is probably on the take to my publisher anyway. Don’t let that effect you, though — get it while it’s hot (meaning stolen, of course, but that’s for a crooked judge to decide).

If you can’t wait until next Wednesday (and I know you can’t because you’re so impetuous), you can pick it up from my publisher or Amazon or Barnes & Noble right now.

That’s it for today folks. Hope you have an absolutely fantastic week, and high five to for writing the best book on dog photography ever!

-Scott

I’m very excited to be the guest tomorrow on Terry White’s “Photography Master Class” live stream, and I’m doing a presentation called “Photo Recipes” where I share a final image, and then show how to make a similar shot, with behind-the-scenes photos and camera setting and such.

It’s free and open to everybody – we’re live from 10:55 AM to 11:55 AM ET, and you can watch it right here on the blog below (and if you miss the live stream, and can watch the archive here as well). :)

Hope you can make it (or rewatch it above if you missed the live stream).

We already have over 1,000 attendees for next week’s Landscape Photography Conference

It’s not too late to join us — it starts with a pre-conference session I’m teaching on “What makes a great landscape photo” and we also have a first-timer orientation class from Larry Becker to help you make the most of the virtual conference. Here’s the link to get your ticket — don’t miss out.

Have a great weekend everybody, and thanks to Terry for having me on his awesome show (which airs each week at this same time. Always great info).

Stay safe and sane, and we’ll catch you back here next week (well, at least that’s what I’m hoping). :)

-Scott

The Grid: Photography Website Critiques

Looking for ways to improve your photography website portfolio? Join Scott Kelby and Erik Kuna above on The Grid to see their critiques of photographers who asked for feedback on their sites!

New KelbyOne Class: The Complete Guide to Lightroom Classic & CC with Serge Ramelli

Get ready to master the entire Lightroom ecosystem! Join Serge Ramelli as he takes you through all of the features of Lightroom CC and Lightroom Classic.

Serge begins the class with a look at the cloud based version of Lightroom, often referred to as Lightroom CC, and then transitions to a thorough exploration of Lightroom Classic. After getting oriented to the interface and tools, Serge dives deep with a series of start to finish projects using both versions of Lightroom.

Over the course of 80 individual lessons, Serge will teach you his entire workflow and explore all of the features you need to know to become a Lightroom master!

Newborn Baby Photography

I am so happy, thrilled actually, to be on the blog this week! Thank you for having me.

I am Tracy Sweeney, child/family photographer and owner of Elan Studio in Bristol, Rhode Island. I want to share with you my approach to newborn photography, specifically how I style newborns using various textures to craft natural, sweet, and emotional images. I will teach you how to create multiple images within the same set to maintain efficiency while crafting creative images guaranteed to impress your clients and fans.

I do this specifically through my ONE SET, MANY IMAGES approach. This begins with preparing one full set.


FULL BODY/FULL SET

Position baby comfortably in full set. Layer natural textures, soft fabrics to create interest and contrast. Wrap or swaddle baby to keep limbs close to body. Use extra swaddling blankets underneath layers to help position baby, lift head, support arms/legs etc. so that baby is comfortable and his/her body rests peacefully.


SLIGHT PROFILE

Using the same set/position, photograph baby from a side angle, focusing on a slight downward profile image. Keep eye closest to you in focus and shoot with a large aperture to soften features.


HANDS

Use a Macro lens to focus on baby’s bitty features.


LIPS/NOSE

Continue to focus on additional features within the pose. Consider alternative angles and closeups.

(more…)

I write this from the departure lounge of London Gatwick Airport – quite apt for #TravelTuesday with me, Dave Williams, on ScottKelby.com today and every Tuesday. I am a little apprehensive, though, because there’s a chance I may not be allowed entry to the country I’m flying to today. Keep an eye on my Instagram story or Facebook page to see where it is and whether I made it in!

(Clue: – the Aurora can shine bright!)

Today I want to talk to you all about luck. Luck is something a lot of us need during times like these. To keep our photography business or hobby going with strength during a global pandemic is just one of many problems we’re faced with right now. For me, it’s the cancellation after cancellation of trips, trade shows, and missions, causing a distinct lack of opportunity and content to shoot and write about. The thing is, it’s all too easy to take a back seat and go with the flow when we get beaten down as we’ve been. Perhaps models and clients are less available to you, or maybe locations to shoot are closed or limited. Whatever the problem is, it’s down to us to get lucky and find a solution.

The thing about luck is that it goes hand in hand with opportunity. When we’re presented an opportunity, we’re said to be lucky, and we should take it. So, is luck the opportunity? Do we wait to have an opportunity and, in turn, wait to be lucky?

No. The answer is no.

Luck can be described perfectly: Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. We are in control of our own luck. To a great extent, we control our destiny, our fate. If now is a time when you feel like you need a little luck, be prepared to take whatever opportunity you find or whatever opportunity you can create.

Two weeks ago, I lost the opportunity to go to Greece (and the money invested in that trip). Similarly, last week I lost the opportunity to go to Hungary. Iceland has also been lost, and Canada. For a travel photographer and writer, this is a huge blow, but it’s down to me and me alone to prepare, to create another opportunity, and to make myself lucky. It’s down to the luck that I created that I’m sitting and writing this post today from the wiped-clean, dishevelled, disgusting green seat of Gatwick airport’s departure lounge, waiting anxiously for my gate number to appear on the screen amongst only a handful of flights.

For me, I need to travel. It’s a necessity of the job that I d, although there are “workarounds” I can take to travel closer to home. More than that, it’s in my spirit. I am simply not me without travel. I need to be me, and this is how I need to do it. I’ve created my own luck exactly as I described – I prepared and made an opportunity. I’m being entirely complicit with all immigration requirements, hence the number of cancellations I’ve faced. But against the odds and in spite of the circumstances – I’m lucky.

Whatever it is you do, and whether it’s related to photography or just to your everyday life, remember that you are in control of your luck.

Put in the hard work, take some leaps of faith, be positive, and improve your odds. I promise, it will all work out in the end.

If you need help or advice from myself, any of the other KelbyOne instructors, or like-minded friends, there’s plenty of us out there willing to push you in the right direction. A great community accessible to all is the Friends Of The Grid Facebook Group, or the KelbyOne Member Community to start with.

Now go get lucky!

Much love

Dave

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