It’s #TravelTuesday and I, Dave Williams, am back! Today, I want to touch on some colour science. Yes, “colour,” because I’m British – get over it!

Let’s start with the importance of colour. We all know that as photographers we are creating art with light, but from the outset, and then when we get into our post-processing, it’s important that we give due consideration to colour, as well. There are colours that naturally work together that create our epic sunset and sunrise images, which I’ve talked about many times before, and those are blue and orange. The reason we’re so attracted to these images deep within our subconscious mind is because of this complementary play of colours. On the colour wheel, we find that orange and blue are opposite one another. This is what essentially defines them as complimentary colours.

This colour psychology extends beyond merely being something that pleases our minds, though. There’s something physical going on when these colours are working together with our eyes.

I’m no ophthalmologist, but hear me out. In our eyes, we have rods and cones which are responsible for detecting colour and shade. These sit on our retina, which is at the back of our eye, and specifically, it’s the cones that deal with colours. Here’s a fun fact: – The rods work well in low light, and there are 20 times more rods than cones, which is why we find it hard to see in low light.

We have three types of cones: – those that see red, those that see green, and those that see blue. When these cones are activated in different combinations, we see the world in glorious technicolour. Interestingly, these are the colours that add up to being the primary colours RGB. Here’s another fun fact: – around 12% of women actually have four different kinds of cones, so they can see more colours than most people! That explains all the colours some people come up with!

Anyway, we can provoke our cones to demonstrate which ones are working and which aren’t in this simple little piece of science. Take a look at the heart below. Stare at it for 30 seconds straight with no movement whatsoever. When 30 seconds is up, immediately turn your eye to a white surface, like a wall or a piece of paper.

What should have happened is that you should have, for a couple of seconds, seen a red or pink heart on the white surface. This is because the other cones have been stimulated but the red has not, so the red receptive cones created the image in the absence of the other colours. It’s a pretty cool demonstration of the way our eyes work and of the balancing of colours.

Anyway, when we shoot, we should consider complementary colours, as well as other colour harmonies, and, luckily for us, Adobe has given us a helping hand in the form of this colour wheel. We can see various colour principles at play and create a colour palette that we can take into our Creative Cloud account and use in tandem with our creations across Photoshop, InDesign, and the entire range of Adobe apps that feature the Adobe Color Theme panel.

And with that, I wish you a good Tuesday!

Much love

Dave

New KelbyOne Course: The Biggest Mistakes Wildlife Photographers Make and How to Avoid Them with Juan Pons

Join Juan Pons to learn how to avoid the most common mistakes made by fellow wildlife photographers. By learning what to avoid we put ourselves in the best possible position to do all the right things when photographing wildlife. Juan pulls from his decades of experience leading photographic workshops to share stories, examples, and sage advice on how to create the best photographs you can while enjoying and savoring the experience of being out in nature.

In Case You Missed It: The Science of Wildlife Photography with Moose Peterson

Take your wildlife photography game to the next level! Join Moose Peterson as he shares the wisdom he’s earned from 30 years in the field photographing critters. By understanding the biology of your subject and its environment you’ll do a better job of creating photographs that make a difference. In this class Moose shares how he got started and the early lessons he learned, the importance of using the gear you already have, why dressing in the field for comfort in function is key, how to become a wildlife detective, why you need to get your camera settings nailed down so you can focus on what’s in front of the camera, and so much more. By the end of the class you’ll be itching to do your homework as you plan your next wildlife photography adventure!

Hi team! It’s #TravelTuesday and I, Dave Williams, am here again! This week, I’m coming at you from a piece of woodland on the English/Welsh borders where I’m topping and tailing some work, putting the van through its paces to make sure it stays in one piece under some extreme circumstances, and waiting to be joined by Kersten and Nick from the Camera Shake Podcast who are arriving tomorrow to do some recording with me. It’s all go! Here’s a water test I did yesterday with the van, making sure it could successfully ford a river.

It’s held up against everything here so far, including some very steep inclines and declines. Go Kofifernweh!

Today isn’t about the van or my life though, it’s about addressing something I’ve answered personally this past week when asked this particular question by someone, so I’m sure there must be more of you out there wondering the same thing. I’ll paraphrase the exact question, and here it is: –

Do I have a problem if my account is followed by inactive or fake followers?

The reason behind this question was an e-mail received, which I’m sure had informed the recipient that they had successfully performed a “scan” or “reviewed your account” and determined that they have lots of dangerous, inactive followers on Instagram. It’s strange how “scan” and “scam” are so linguistically close to one another, isn’t it? Well, it’s safe to say that while the identification and removal of ghost followers can do us a favour, I wouldn’t be paying someone else to do it. Not at the least because you’d have to give them your account password!

The first thing we can do is time travel somewhat and ensure we never do anything that will inherently bring ghost followers in the first place, like buying likes, subscribers, followers, comments, out anything similar where we’re promised “growth” or “boost” because these will all be fake. These will do more damage than good.

If we find ourselves in a position where we have ghost followers, we can deal with it ourselves. It may be quite a laborious and boring process though, so we need to determine whether it’s even worth it. Here’s your metric: –

If our account has an engagement rate of 5%, we’re doing good. If it’s above 3%, we’re doing fine.

To work this out just take a post…

…and look at the stats.

My engagement is therefore 9.48% on this post. If we do this a few times for different posts, we can get a rough idea of our engagement rate. If percentage isn’t your thing, make a note of this: –

( (Likes + Interactions) / Accounts Reached ) x 100 = Engagement

So, what about the ghost follower thing? Well, it all depends on whether you think it’s affecting your engagement. Here’s why: –

If we’re being followed by accounts that are not offering anything to our engagement, they’re no good to us. The total number of followers may be great for your street cred, but it does nothing when it comes to monetising and valuing your account. If we had a bunch of followers who aren’t engaging with our posts, or even seeing them at all, they’re just no good to us.

We can deal with them by trying to identify them ourselves. A ghost account has a strange username, a disproportionate number of people it’s following in relation to the number who follow it, and a highly suspicious set of photos, if any photos at all. Take a look at this one: –

No profile picture, no posts, and following 6,409, whilst somehow followed by 1,681 with no content…. very odd!

It can be a good idea to go through your followers and remove these by simply blocking them, thus removing them from your follower count. This will help a little, and if you’ve ever paid for followers, it will help your engagement a lot to remove them.

Good luck with the ‘gram!

Much love
Dave

PS. You can see more about my van here.

Want to do something for your photography journey that will absolutely, positively make make an impact? Stop what you’re doing, and right now take two minutes and make a print.

If you don’t have your own printer, send it to an online lab (I use both BayPhoto Lab and MPIX.com — both make great prints and both have world-class customer service, and if you don’t already have a lab, try either of these — you’ll love them). You just open an account, upload your image, choose your size and they take it from there. In a day or so, your print arrives. Couldn’t be easier.

Make it a large sized print

You can get a 16″x24″ print from BayPhoto.com or MPIX.com for around for $24. There are few ways you can spend $24 today and effect you or someone you love (a gift?) that can have a bigger impact than a print.

OK, let’s make this happen (you’ll be so glad you did)!

Have a great “Make a Print” Monday! (our first one this year). :)

-Scott

P.S. The Photoshop World Conference is just a few weeks away. Details and tickets here.

How Would I Edit Your Photo with Scott Kelby | The Grid Ep. 481

Have you ever sat down to edit photos after a take and wondered to yourself, “How would Scott Kelby edit this image?” Well, now is your chance to see! On the latest episode of The Grid, Scott takes viewer photos and shows how he would approach their processing. This episode is full of great examples of editing, so you won’t want to miss it.

New KelbyOne Course: Working a Scene: Building with Small Flash with Joe McNally

“Lighting tools have evolved to a place where even small, hot shoe style flashes can be brought to bear in complex ways to create an entire scene that has nuance, color, depth, and dimension. Environmental portraiture and the idea of lighting an entire place was often regarded as the province of big flash. Not so anymore. In this session, our unique studio (formerly a bank) is transformed via small flash into a complex dramatic location photograph.

Every person or situation that presents itself in front of the lens to photographers is unique and demands equally unique solutions and reactions at the camera. But often in the tumult of an actual assignment, there is no time to parse out the exact look of an umbrella, a softbox, or a beauty dish, or how all these can work together in concert. In this fast-paced session, we’ll take light shaping tools, and work with the same face, in the same environment, and observe.”

I, Dave Williams, am back again for another #TravelTuesday on ScottKelby.com. I’ve been busy settling into this van of mine and trying to work out where everything goes whilst still working hard on my many projects. My plan to hit the road out of the UK is still on track and, as of today, there are 66 days to go until departure day. It’s all very exciting and I can’t wait to go, but I need to be patient and make sure everything is exactly as it should be before I leave to save myself from any nasty surprises.

These past few days I’ve been tucked away in the New Forest, one of the UK’s few National parks. It’s on the south coast not far from the city of Southampton and it’s famous for its roaming horses and deer. Whilst out exploring, I came across some of the local wildlife.

I was prepped for horses, so the donkeys came as a surprise and I just had to go and say “Hi!” A little herd of them were hanging out and as soon as I parked up they wandered over and immediately tried to make friends—probably in an attempt to get hold of whatever goodies I had in the van. They seemed to like it and I was surrounded. They were rubbing up against it, licking it, chewing it, and clearly having a great time. Herein lies the first tip for taking photos of animals: –

When we shoot images of animals it makes a huge difference if we change our perspective and get to their level. When we shoot from our usual perspective, which is usually straight down, there’s not a lot in the photo to grab people’s attention or be interesting enough, whereas when we get to the animal’s level and shoot them from a different perspective, we’re onto a winner. So that’s tip one— stick it in the bank—get to their level.

The next day I was busy minding my own business, as I usually am, when I was surprised to see another animal I wasn’t expecting. A hairy highland cow! I hope you’re ready for tip number two because it’s coming!

This time I opted for a different technique. Do you notice how this cow looks larger than life, almost like a hero? Well, that’s all down to getting lower than the subject. It applies to humans just as much as it does to highland cattle. If we get a perspective that’s lower than the subject and makes us look up at them, breaking the horizon by a long way, we make the subject look like a hero. Think about it—Superman standing with his cape flapping in the wind, with his gaze fixed on the distant scene of impending doom that he’s no doubt about to resolve…it’s seen from below.

Here’s the difference: –

Okay, maybe there’s a bit of exaggeration there, but hopefully, you get the point. Changing our perspective and making the subject a hero can make a massive change to our images.

Much love

Dave

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