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It’s #TravelTuesday with me, Dave Williams, and today I’m in the KelbyOne studios recording some classes for you beautiful people! If you’re waiting to learn a little more about how to make some money and about how to prepare for travel photography, you’ll love my two new classes! But before they land, I’d love all you KelbyOne members to join me in an exclusive webcast about where to shoot in Iceland, and if you aren’t a KelbyOne member you can sign up for a free.

Today, I want to touch on something else. Right now I’m planning on changing my camera, and it made me think a little about that age-old conundrum: whether or not gear makes the photographer. Well, my answer is no, and my argument is that if you give a pro photographer a $700 camera, and give a rookie a $5,000 camera, the pro will produce the better image. One main reason for this argument is that the pro will be concentrating on the creativity whereas the rookie is more likely to be focused on the gear. Here’s why: –

When a pro photographer and a rookie photographer each shoot 100 images, the pro is more likely to say that one is good, and the rookie is more likely to say that 90 are good. If they then look at each other’s images, the pro is likely to say that one of the rookie’s is good, and the rookie is likely to say that 90 of the pro’s are good. Self-criticism lands front and centre, and the pro is far more critical of themselves than others. But it goes beyond that: –

When the pro screws up, they are far more likely to blame themselves than to blame the gear. They are probably shooting Manual, may have added some extra gear, such as filters or lighting, and have planned the shot. If something goes wrong, they are far more likely to blame the application of their knowledge than they are to blame the gear. Here’s the point: they will use the same gear and try again until they get it right, working on correcting their technique rather than switching out the gear.

There’s a lesson to be taken from this. Being honest about your skills, having the understanding to apply them, and giving objective evaluation to your creative vision will help you to become a better photographer and not to rely on the gear, rather to rely on yourself. I’ve been through this process and continue to do so, as does every other pro photographer, and it’s extremely valuable to think this way.

I hope to catch you all in the comments tomorrow on The Grid!

Much love

Dave

It’s #TravelTuesday with Dave! I’m Dave Williams and I’m here every Tuesday with something for you from the world of Photoshop, Photography, Travel, or life, and today was never going to be the exception! This past Saturday I had the pleasure of hooking up with The Kelby’s in my home town, London, England. Scott and his son, Jordan, were over in Europe on a trip and we went on a little jaunt to Greenwich in South East London, and this is the inspiration for today’s post.

Travel photography doesn’t actually require travel! Big news, right? Well here’s why: – the whole point behind travel photography is to make the viewer want to be there, in the photo, seeing the sights, smelling the smells, and feeling the feels. It doesn’t mean you, the photographer, have to be in another country, rather it means the viewer needs to be seeing a place with which they aren’t familiar or where they want to go. Whatever the underlying style, be it landscape, architecture, lifestyle, portraits, so long as the image makes the viewer want to be in the place depicted you’re succeeding as a travel photographer.

From this we know that travel photography can be a little closer to home for us, so that’s exactly what I did with Scott and Jordan. We went to Greenwich to shoot travel – architecture in this instance, but travel nonetheless. The location is just down the road from me, thousands of miles from Scott and Jordan, but regardless of distance it’s travel in that we wanted to show the location in its best light and, from our photos, make people want to be there. Well, Scott and I did. Jordan maybe not so much, but it seemed he was having a good time learning that the paint on the walls is probably older than the USA!

As Scott explained here yesterday, he was here to be a tourist. He wanted to get some shots checked off the list. For me the little exploration mission was travel photography, but it wasn’t travel. I hadn’t actually gone anywhere. It hit the point home that travel photography isn’t necessarily about the photographer travelling, rather it’s about everything else I’ve mentioned. We had a good look around at Greenwich before heading back to central London: –

What a pleasure it was to take Scott and Jordan on tour in London, and next week I’ll be writing from KelbyOne where I’ll be recording some classes. Show me your travel photography and keep up with mine on Instagram!

Much love

Dave

It’s #TravelTuesday again! Doesn’t it come around quick? It seems like only a week since the last one! Well, here at Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider that means the reigns are passed on to me, Dave Williams, to share something about Photoshop, photography, travel, and life. Today, I’m going to tackle a thing that us photographers are faced with over and over and over again. It’s “that question,” which comes at you constantly from all angles. You know the one:

“What camera shall I get?”

Well, basically, there is no right answer! There’s that old adage thrown around pretty much daily: the best camera you can have is the one in your pocket. If anyone asks you which camera to get, feel free to direct them right here!

The best advice, really, is this: buy the camera that you can afford!

Getting a new camera for yourself or as a gift for a loved one getting into photography is quite an overwhelming and potentially daunting experience. Every camera out there claims, in one way or another, to be the best one. Every shop wants you to buy from them. Every salesperson seems to know best and wants to upsell whatever they have in stock. It can all be a bit too much, particularly when you don’t know what you’re looking for. Well, here’s what you’re looking for!

  •  Manual mode – This allows you to take complete control of the camera. It isn’t something a beginner will necessarily want to do from the outset, but it absolutely is something to work up to. And, having that feature there will mean you won’t have to splash out on another camera when you get to it.
  • ISO – The ISO is the sensitivity to light. Look for a camera that performs well at about ISO 1600 so that you can produce clean images in low light.
  • Autofocus – A decent, fast autofocus system can make the difference between getting the shot or not, particulary in fast-paced situations.
  • Megapixels – It’s not all about the megapixels, but the more the merrier, right? If you want to print your shots, which I suggest you do, the megapixels matter. The more megapixels, the bigger you can print.
  • RAW – A camera that shoots in RAW format will make for a far better experience in editing the photos in Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom because every bit of data that makes the image is stored in detail rather than being compressed in the JPEG format.
  • Ergonomics – Obviously, this is an important factor. The look and feel of a camera can be just as important as your clothing style. If it doesn’t suit you, will you be encouraged to use it? Similarly, the size and weight will be a consideration for how often it gets used, too.

So, all that considered, how about brands? Well, if you ask a photographer which camera to buy, you’ll likely get a response encouraging you to buy their brand. #TeamNikon right here will push you towards a Nikon, whereas if you ask Scott you’ll probably be told all about #TeamCanon, or Glyn Dewis may persuade you to join #TeamSony. Photographers are aggressively true to their brand, on the whole. The reason is quite practical in that if you start off using a brand, you are stuck with that brand’s glass and accessories, which is a very expensive thing to switch from. It’s all masked by a fued of commitment and alliegance to the brand! Right now the top three brands are Canon, Nikon, and Sony.

So, what about the type of camera? 

  • DSLR – This means Digital Single Lens Reflex. Which translates to “it has moving parts and you can look through it.” The image from the lens is reflected on a mirror to the viewfinder, and when you hit the shutter release button, the mirror quickly flips out of the way and the shutter curtain shoots across the sensor to let the light create an image. They’re generally big, heavy, and pretty delicate. They are also the best option in terms of accessories and lenses because they’ve been around for so long and are essentially the grandchildren of film cameras.
  • Mirrorless – These cameras are becoming very popular because they also have interchangeable lenses, but they’re smaller and have far fewer moving parts. They perform differently and they mostly have cropped sensors, meaning smaller images.
  • Point and shoot – These are far smaller, lighter, cheaper, and more or less completely automatic. It might be what you need, though!

Where shall I buy it?

The best place is a proper camera store like B&H in New York or London Camera Exchange in London. You’ll find a good variety of kits, and some pretty sound advice because the people who work in camera stores tend to love photography and know what they’re talking about. Amazon comes in next, but mostly because there’s so much on offer at good prices.

Does that answer the question? Probably not, because there isn’t really an answer, but hopefully it’s enough to steer you in the right direction.

Much love

Dave

Hello, internets! It’s #TravelTuesday again, so I’m here to impart some kind of wisdom onto you, and today it’s all about tweaking colour with Camera Raw’s Hue sliders. But first!

I’m writing this post from a Starbucks just outside of the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park in Scotland, fresh from an overnight stop before I head farther north towards the Isle of Skye. I’m shooting a couple of little projects involving drone photography and Platypod tripods. You can keep up with what I’m doing on this trip by following me on social media (look for @capturewithdave) and by watching the @kelbyonepics Instagram story!

On with the blog!

The HSL  (Hue/Saturation/Luminance) Adjustments panel in Adobe Camera Raw is very useful, but perhaps most confusing are the Hue options. While the Saturation and Luminance sliders enhance the colours, the Hue sliders actually change them. There are some pretty powerful things you can do with the Hue sliders—you can even change the seasons in post if you tweak the colours the right way.

What’s actually happening when you adjust a colour slider in the Hue tab is that you’re moving its position on a colour wheel. In terms of its practical application, I’ll use the Hue sliders to adjust this photo and make the grass greener, whilst maintaining the other colours.

 

 

In this shot, the tones up in the sky are beautiful—the sun lowering in the sky (it’s 9pm) is casting a fabulous orange glow—but I feel like the grass should be just a little bit greener. We can take advantage of the Hue sliders and make this adjustment easily right in Camera Raw.

 

 

Using the Hue sliders to shift the colours within sections of the colour wheel, if we move the Yellows slider (the colour of the grass in this case) towards the green end, and compensate with the Oranges and Greens sliders to maintain the actual green and retain that orange in the sky by moving those sliders away from the yellow ends, we’ve easily achieved our goal! It’s as easy as that!

 

 

 

That grass is now greener, which to me is more realistic and more pleasing, and all it took was an understanding of what’s going on with the Hue tab’s sliders.

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)

Hello, hello, HELLO! Happy #TravelTuesday one and all, from right here at the prep for Photoshop World in Orlando, Florida!

Last Wednesday, I had the privilege of being invited to join Scott on The Grid when I visited the KelbyOne offices (a long way away from my hometown of London, UK) for super-secret meetings and super-awesome burgers! It was (technically) my third Grid appearance, but the first where I had actually been on set, and it was flippin’ sweet! So here’s the thing…the topic was all things travel photography. Where to shoot, when to shoot, what to bring, all that lovely stuff. But, the thing is, we had a whole load of awesome questions coming in and not enough time to answer them all! So, here’s what I’ve decided to do today:  I’m going to expand on an answer I provided to one of those great questions, and that question is right under this epic photo!

 

 

“How do you make your photos tell a story?”

 

In my answer, I related to a trip to Paris. You can go to Paris and shoot the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, and the Champs-Elysée, but when you only have those three photos you don’t have a story, you just have those three photos. What makes your trip a story is the things which happen before, during, and after the point at which you stood in front of the Eiffel Tower and shot it. Just like this: –

Before you shoot your all-encompassing story it’s a good idea to know what the story will be. If you want to capture the hustle and bustle of a city or the tranquility of the countryside, those are very different things which are caught in different ways, but both, equally, are stories worth telling and which can be told. Having anything between a rough idea to a storyboard for your story idea will help you when you’re on location so that you know exactly what you want to shoot, how you want to shoot it, and how you want to portray it as an element within your story. It’s this little bit of homework beforehand (which, I think, we in the business call “research”) that helps get you as prepared as you can be to make your story epic!

 

 

Next up, what is it that makes the “story shots” different from those Eiffel Tower shots? Well, it’s the element and feeling of belonging. As I already answered, it’s the things like the restaurant frontage, the car parked out front, the chefs and waiters, the Parisienne taxi, all of these other details which make up a scene when they’re put together, or which could potentially be anywhere. But, again, they paint the picture and tell the story of Paris when they’re put together.

 

 

Think of it like this: Way, way, way back, our ancestors sat around a fire telling stories. The stories were there in place of Facebook, Instagram, TV; they were handed down and told through the generations. They were twisted a little and evolved like a Chinese Whisper, but they essentially stayed the same and their morals certainly sat solidly within the story. The story is essentially timeless. Its narration was integral to our lives and cultures, and that has evolved into reportage or photojournalism, which has become practically synonymous with wedding photography and can and should be translated to travel photography.

 

 

The bottom line is that it’s more about the series of photos than just the one photo. It’s the combination of recognisable landmarks with details, close up crops, people, and things nearby. It’s the things which poke and evoke the other senses and perceptions. One way to practice, if you’re so inclined, is to make a few stories on Instagram Stories or Facebook Stories and ask your friends and followers for feedback.

Let me know how you get on, and show me by finding @capturewithdave on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter.

 

Much love

(come find me at PSW!)

Dave

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