More Lightroom Control Tips
Friday, November 12, 2010
After reading Helen Bradley's advice for localized tonal control in Lightroom that I mentioned yesterday, I continued digging a little deeper for specialized tools to provide more control over local adjustments within Lightroom. Sure enough, DPS came through again with a tutorial about using a couple of existing tools together for a brand new effect—erasing graduated filter effects with precision. Let's say you've got a portrait of a person on a blue background. You could use a graduated filter to darken the top of the background, blending it downward with the natural effects of the filter. The problem is, you might darken the subject's face as well. As Elizabeth Halford points out in her DPS post, you can effectively erase the graduated filter by using the adjustment brush. If you dropped brightness -20 with the graduated filter, you can boost it +20 with the brush to selective erase the effect. It's a simple trick, but a great one for extending the value of Lightroom local adjustments—which is always a bonus if you're looking to streamline your workflow.
Lightroom Tonal Control
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Helen Bradley sure knows her Lightroom. In a recent post at Digital Photo School, Helen taught me another great thing about the photo management and RAW processing program I've slowly been learning this year. Normally, in my RAW processing workflow, I reach a certain point at which I output the image into Photoshop to make targeted adjustments to particular tones within a picture. Often these are as simple as pulling down nearly blown out highlights, or saturation and contrast adjustments to particular colors. I've long used gradient tools in Lightroom to help make adjustments in various regions of the frame, but not until I read Helen's wonderful piece did I really understand how to put adjustments to work across particular tones in any part of the frame. Reading Helen's DPS piece gave me a better understanding of how I can make finer tonal adjustments within Lightroom. Anything that makes Lightroom an increasingly efficient image editing tool can simplify your workflow without compromising image quality.
All about model releases
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Do you ever photograph people? I thought so. Do you always get model releases? I didn't think so. I'm no model release expert, but I'm working on it. I know I need to request model releases from more of my subjects, but I don't always do it. You should too, especially since the ASMP is always offering assistance for photographers who want to utilize releases to make photographs more commercially viable. In a series of recent posts, the ASMP has provided further examples of why we should get model releases whenever possible.
The first real world story comes from a famous photographer who profited greatly, and legally, from the sale of an image portraying a subject who ultimately sued. True, the photographer eventually won the lawsuit, but the idea that you'd win in court because the law is on your side is not a suitable replacement for a model release. It could very well be the case that you'd win, but if your subject is wealthy enough and committed enough, it could get incredibly expensive and time consuming along the way. A model release may have prevented the suit—or at least cut it significantly shorter.
Another ASMP post offers answers to photographers' most frequently asked model release questions—such as when and where you're at risk for losing a lawsuit from someone who doesn't approve of the manner in which you've utilized their images.
Lastly, lest you think you need to create a release that covers you at all times regardless of the rights of the subject being photographed, consider one important thing: would you sign the release you're asking others to sign? If not, review your terms and conditions and make the necessary adjustments to create a document that's fair to all parties, and one that you won't have trouble convincing your subjects to sign. Maybe then you'll be better about getting those releases all the time.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
There are tools, tips and tricks in Mike Moats' recent post on the Tamron Angle of View blog all about light control when working with macro lenses. Sure, it's the Tamron blog, but the tips work just as well no matter what brand of macro lenses you're using. Just because you’ve got a macro lens doesn’t mean that you’re ready to go macro; you’ve got to deal with lighting for macro differently too. The nice thing about light modifiers for macro work is that the tools, like the subjects, are small: no need for massive scrims or softboxes and stands. Little clamps and diffusers no bigger than a foot around can do as much for a macro shot as a 4x8 softbox can for a full sized scenario. Check out the post and you’ll have more control over the lighting in your next macro setup.
More on back-button focusing
Monday, November 8, 2010
Remember a few weeks ago when I mentioned my personal discovery of "back-button" focusing? Well here's a video about using the technique courtesy of Nikon Blog. With simple use of the AF On button, you can easily separate focus activation from the shutter release. This makes it especially easy to start and stop focus tracking to have a better shot at precisely capturing a fast-moving subject. That's why sports shooters seem to be so keen on the technique. But even if you're not a sports photographer, there's bound to be a back-button focusing approach that works for you. The video is especially useful for Nikon shooters, but the principles apply across other camera brands too.
Photography and the law
Friday, November 5, 2010
This is a must read for every photographer—unless of course you never take pictures outside of your own home. It’s a post from Black Star rising, linked to via A Photo Editor, all about the complex legal issues surrounding photography. It helps us understand what we as photographers need to know about our rights. It’s an increasingly important issue both for photographers and for an actively engaged citizenry. You can get a lot of good insights from the comments on the APE post as well. Know your rights, understand the law, make great pictures.
The most expensive roll of Tri-X ever
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Last month The Online Photographer ran a great post about Phase One's black & white digital back. That's right: A medium format digital camera back that only records black & white images. If I know one thing about photographers, it's that there is not a huge clamor for a $40,000 digital camera back that only records black & white images. So why do I want to point it out? Because it offers a great look at the way digital cameras record light, and how they utilize a filter array to turn a black and white image (which is what all but the Foveon sensor captures) into a faux color image. That's also right: your digital camera's color is faked from a black & white original. One of the neat things about this digital back is the increased sharpness (or at least the claims of increased sharpness) because the light doesn't have to travel through a Bayer filter. That’s the thing that makes your digital camera capture in color. The whole idea is just a neat little footnote in the annals of photography because, for the most part, the buyers of this camera are scientific and military users. Though if you're a solely black & white shooter, why should the digital revolution leave you behind? This camera's perfect for you—assuming you've got 40-grand to dedicate to your next black & white camera.
How to photograph your pregnant wife
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Perfect timing! Well, perfect for me, anyway. My wife and I are expecting our first child, and so far we've been documenting the progress with a monthly profile portrait of her growing tummy. So this DPS post couldn't have arrived at a better time. I especially like the idea of making tummy portraits outside. I think those will show our future daughter how her mommy got out and about with baby in tow. It seems that outdoors shots might also help us make pretty pictures rather than, well, creepy belly shots. I've seen some of those before, and I don't think I want any part of that. I know my wife doesn’t. So if you're expecting, or if you might be called on to photograph an expectant mother, check out these tips for making better maternity portraits.