To get you ready for Christmas (and by you, I mean me), please join with me in this holiday sing-a-along (sing it out loud for extra Christmas spirit) to the tune of “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” by Brenda Lee.

I’m taking off Christmas Week…
and the week after that one, too.
Here is something that you won’t see
Any tips or stuff from me.

I’m taking off, the next week, too…
To let the Christmas Spirit ring.
Later I’ll have some pumpkin pie
and not do any posting.

You will get a sentimental feeling
When you see… 
This same stinkin’ graphic all week long
Come back January 7th, and please stay strong.

I’m taking off, on Christmas Week…
But I’ll be back a week into the new year.
So thanks for giving me and Dave a coupla weeks off
I hope I get…some…cool…new… gear!

That’s right folks, I am kicking back and relaxing with the family for a few weeks. I’m not working, blogging, breathing, eating, posting; also there’s no Grid episode next week; just joyous rest, relaxation, and the sounds of distorted guitar played up loud between football games. So, take a brief moment to soak in all the wonder and magic that is a stock image with text added in Photoshop, and then let’s not think about any of this until the week after next. Deal? Deal!

I wish you and your family a safe, happy and wonderful Holiday filled with all the joys His season can bring.

Merry Christmas to all…and to all there’s no blog! 😉

Best,

-Scott

Without going into a bunch of boring details, here’s essentially what happened; I imported a folder of images from my Rome workshop trip onto my laptop. At some point, a copied just my Picks over onto an external hard drive — but (and here was my big mistake), I used the same name for both folders. I named both ‘Rome Workshop.’ That wouldn’t usually be a problem, except one folder had all the photos from Rome, and one had just my Picks. You can already see what’s about to happen, but it’s worse than you think. Not only did I later overwrite all the Rome photos with the smaller set of just Picks, I then took that set, and replaced all my backups not realizing I was deleting about 1,000 images.

Last week, when looking for a particular photo from Rome, I noticed that I was missing a TON of photos, and I realized what I had done. I didn’t panic. I went to my backup copy. Same thing there. I went to my third backup. Same thing. Now I’m in a full panic. I went frantically searching through my memory cards, but no luck — My Rome workshop was in September, and so those cards were already. reformatted and overwritten. I was crushed. That 1,000+ shots from Rome, my RAW originals, are gone forever. That’s when I remembered something so wonderful. My laptop backs up every night wirelessly to an Apple Time Capsule (Apple doesn’t sell these anymore, so at some point, I’ll have to replace it, but for now, mine works like a champ). I know, you’re probably thinking, “But won’t that just have the same Rome Workshop folder of picks that would have backed up last night?” Yes, it would. However, here’s what I always felt made Apple’s Time Machine feature so wonderful (and here’s how it saved my butt):

Time Machine Rocks!
My wireless backup uses Apple’s wonderful Time Machine technology, where you can literally go back in time (in my case, all the way back to April 2018) and look at every backup copy it’s made of your computer or laptop, even if they were made months ago.

 

I simply entered Time Capsule (seen above); I scrolled back to a date in September of this year, soon after the workshop, and it displayed exactly how my laptop looked like back then, on that day in December, when it automatically backed up my laptop. Sure enough — there was the original folder with all my images from Rome. I just clicked on it; choose Restore, and in just a few minutes all my overwritten images were back. Whew! That was a close one. That’s the 2nd time that’s happened to me over the years, but that two times too many. Thankfully, both had a happy ending because both times Time Capsule saved the day.

Thank you, Apple
I know I’m sometimes complaining about Apple decisions, but giving me a wireless backup with the ability to jump back in time, is a wonderful thing, and I’m very grateful indeed.

Hope that inspires you to take good care of managing your backups, and if you’re a Mac user and you’re not using Apple’s Time Machine, maybe it’s a good time to give it look.

Have a great Holiday weekend, everybody. I’m going to be pretty much taking the holidays off to spend time with family, so here’s wishing you a Merry Christmas, and may your New Year be filled with joy, good health, and prosperity, surrounded by those you love.

Happy Holidays, and Best Wishes!

-Scott

Family Photography: Pro Tips for Getting Great Sibling Shots with Tracy Sweeney
Join Tracy Sweeney to learn how she creates authentic and dynamic photos of siblings in rain or shine. In this class Tracy shares from her treasure trove of secrets to ensure you can achieve the shots that parents just cannot create on their own. From the importance of managing expectations and planning a session to capturing the final images, Tracy teaches you what she’s learned from years of experience. You’ll even get to watch Tracy work her magic during several on-location shoots. By the end of the class you’ll be on the road to developing an effective workflow that’s guaranteed to give you confidence and wow those family clients.

In Case You Missed It
Learn how to cultivate beautiful memories for your client families! Join Tracy Sweeney as she shares her years of experience as a family photographer to help you prepare for success in this business. Tracy starts off the class with a focus on planning, preparation, and scouting; all of which will help you get the most out of your session while feeling confident and looking professional. From there you’ll witness Tracy at work with two different families in a park and on the beach. Tracy talks through her approach to lighting, to working with the families, the importance of building a relationship with the family members, and how she poses them as a group and one-on-one. After the shooting is done, you’ll head to the studio where Tracy teaches you her post processing workflow from Lightroom through Photoshop to create the final images that go on to become family treasures for years to come.

Everyone Is A Photographer Or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love My Phone
I distinctly remember the first day I saw a credentialed photographer in the photo pit with an iPhone, and only an iPhone. My fellow “professional” photographers and I were beyond annoyed; we were seriously offended by his mere presence in our workspace. We saw it as a sign of the end of days for us.

And not long after that our fears seemed confirmed when the Chicago Sun-Times decided to lay off their entire photo team in one fell swoop, leaving photography to their journalists armed with iPhones. In the years following that, my Facebook feed/echo chamber has become regularly populated with fatalistic articles and angry status updates about the decline and commoditization of photography at the hands of more and more affordable and accessible cameras enabling more people to become photographers. Cameras that in fact are in most people’s pockets right now.

What Happens When Everyone Has A Camera?
It’s been 5 years since the fateful day when the Sun-Times heralded the beginning of a serious change in the photography world. There are now over 2 billion smartphone owners globally. That’s nearly a third of the population of the entire planet taking photos on their phones. When anyone can do it, what happens to the value of photography? All of the Sun-Times journalists had iPhones which were capable of taking technically decent photos, so why would they bother keeping on seasoned photographers? As many subsequent news articles were quick to point out, this logic didn’t really hold up in practice. The Sun-Times struggled to provide decent imagery for important events after their decision and have released a string of embarrassingly bad covers. This is because although almost everyone has a quality camera, relatively few people are actually good photographers.

A beautiful photo straight from my iPhone using the Full Spectrum camera app

A Lower Barrier To Entry Poses Risks, But The Rewards Far Outweigh Them.
Right now, anyone almost anywhere in the world can start an Instagram account featuring only photography from their phone and launch an entire legitimate career. If you’re over the age of 30 or so I want you to really think about that. What did you have to go through to buy your first professional grade camera? How much did you save up, and how old were you when you got it? I’m willing to bet that whatever your story is, it was a lot more challenging than the scenario I just outlined. That’s because the barrier to entry for photography used to be much higher, and the number of working photographers reflected that.

The repercussions of a low barrier to entry are annoyingly well documented. They make people angry and scared, and that’s the sort of viral content that catches like wildfire online. If you’re a professional photographer you probably didn’t need anyone to tell you your business is in peril; you’ve likely noticed it first hand. At best, you’re wasting your time getting angry about the state of things. At worst, you can easily slip into negative thought patterns that become extremely self limiting. Instead of focusing on how to market yourself better in this new terrain, you’ll end up stagnant and mad about how unfair things are.

Smart phones like the iPhone level the playing field when it comes to photography and even film making. I think it’s nothing short of amazing that billions of people all over the world who otherwise may have never had the means to document their lives visually can now do so. And why shouldn’t that be the case? When people ask me what camera to get to be a “good photographer” I have always said that the best camera is simply the one you have. Our gear has never been what makes us good photographers. We have to remember that even with a third of the world capable of taking photos, a truly good photographer is still not a dime a dozen. If you feel threatened by the presence of 2 billion other people with cameras, it’s time to revisit your creative process. Your vision is not a commodity. How can you position yourself to tell stories only you can tell?

Change Is Good. I Promise.
My career as a photographer has changed drastically since its inception 15 years ago. These changes routinely forced me out of my comfort zone and challenged me to explore new territories as a photographer and creative. Our changing professional landscape inspired me to to learn how to code and even led me to creating a pretty successful photography app on iOS for awhile. Scary slow periods between gigs compelled me to work on passion projects that ended up being recognized in publications like WIRED. If I didn’t embrace change and face these challenges, I’d be seriously struggling trying to be the exact same photographer I was 10 years ago. Instead, I went from being that angry photographer in the photo pit to, of all things, an Art Director for Apple’s #ShotOniPhone campaign and helped launch their official Instagram account, @apple. How things come full circle!

Photography can be a particularly difficult career to manage because it’s a unique blend of being both a trade and art. As a profession it brings the challenges and rewards of both. The major changes that have happened over the last 5 years are the growing pains of a trade. Our tools have changed, our process has changed. But photography is still an art, and art isn’t going anywhere. If we gave 2 billion people paint and a canvas, how many Picassos would there be? There will always be a demand for compelling imagery, whether that’s printed and hung on a wall or on the screen of a phone. The changes of our trade have put us all in a position to make an important decision: will we change too?

Ellie Pritts is a photographer and director based in Los Angeles. Her imaginative work has captured the attention of esteemed publications such as WIRED and TIME, who named her one of the top photographers to follow in the U.S. She now additionally works as a marketing consultant for professional creatives. Check out more of her work at ElliePritts.com, and keep up with her on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

We’re nearly out of #TravelTuesday’s for the year! How sad! I wonder what the 2019 #TravelTuesday situation will be. The Tuesdays of the future will probably be shinier and more streamlined, but for now I have one of the last 2018 #TravelTuesdays for you. I’m Dave Williams, and as usual I’m here for you, laying down what I’ve learned on my journey as a travel photographer. I hope you’re picking up what I’m putting down! Let’s go!

So, today is all about halves. The half rule, in particular. This is something that will always stick with me since I heard about it, and something that is up there with the most valuable pieces of retouching advice I have heard and can offer back to you.

Firstly, the disclaimer. Very rarely will you see a photographer’s unprocessed RAW file. You’re about to see one of mine. No judging, please!

 

 

So that’s Iceland. More specifically, if you were wondering, it’s up on the hill above the church in Vik at the southern tip of Iceland, facing east. The image is of course quite flat and unsaturated, among other things, that being the very nature of a RAW file. The retouching process comes next as part of every photographers flow, and it’s this to which the half rule applies. Let’s go to work: –

 

 

Here’s the result of my labour. The image has been processed, the sliders have been slid, and the image coming out the other end has far more dynamic range, far more saturation, far more clarity, etc etc. This aesthetically driven approach is how we all work, shifting the sliders around and judging the image by eye. The thing that happens and that we need to be mindful of is that the difference between the flat looking original versus the saturated looking result is actually quite stark but, albeit quickly, that difference is the result of a relatively gradual process whereby we see all the changes occurring along the way. What we perceive at this moment to be a great image may actually be overdone. and that’s not something we want. The half rule is applied now.

By taking the position of all the sliders to the half way points between the neutral and the resulting positions we of course apply half of the adjustment, however that half is often actually enough to have a great looking image without it being ‘overcooked.’ Take a look: –

 

 

The sliders here compared to the last version are more or less half way, with little tweaks here and there as necessary. It’s better than the original, it’s more natural looking than the second shot, and it’s done! The half rule can make a huge difference in keeping our slider-happy tendencies in check!

 

 

I’d love to know how this works for you, feel free to get in touch on my social media – you’ll fine me everywhere as @capturewithdave

Much love

Dave

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