Crafting A Monochrome Image

Plug-ins aren’t your only software solution when converting to black-and-white. Try the power of Lightroom and Photoshop for sophisticated results.

There are some excellent monochrome plug-ins for Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom, but it’s not necessary to use these plug-ins to get great monochrome conversions; you just need the native controls. While plug-ins like Google’s Nik Silver Efex Pro, ON1 Photo 10, Alien Skin Exposure 7, Tiffen Dfx v4, Macphun Tonality, Topaz B&W Effects, DxO... Read more

The Develop Module’s “Solo Mode”

Clean up your interface and streamline your workflow with this simple setting

One of my favorite things about Lightroom is that it’s a one-stop shop for organizing and editing images. I use the program’s Library mode to sort, edit, keyword and generally organize my image files from all of my assignment work and personal photography. Then I simply click over into Develop mode to make edits to my Raw image files—everything... Read more

An Everyday Opportunity

How a photo project with purpose and deadlines can ignite creativity

Creative inspiration can come in a number of ways. Quite often it hits when we least expect it. There’s no denying when it strikes us, when we are reignited with photographic passion to capture the world around us with fresh eyes. But what happens when we don’t want to wait? It can be tricky to crack the code on coaxing the muse of inspiration... Read more

Room For Improvement

Don’t give up on an image when one element or another isn’t cooperating—consider transforming color photos to monochrome

Being intentional with my photography is always in the forefront of my mind. My creative process, like many artists, often includes careful consideration and a lot of forethought. In my professional work, that can translate into plotting, planning and time-consuming setup. I can recall working in the studio, capturing portraits with a medium-format... Read more

Shooting A Series

Ordinary moments become a collection of family treasures

Long before the days of #hashtags, dipping back in time when social media was a new phenomenon, photographers shot in series to collect a grouping of “similars”—images that documented a specific location or subject over time. This is an interesting practice that not only shows how you grow as a photographer, but shows how the location changes... Read more

The Best Lights For Matching Ambience

Easily match ambient light, from tungsten to daylight, with a bi-color LED

In recent years, more and more of my portrait clients have shied away from formal, studio-style poses and lighting, preferring instead a natural, realistic appearance. That means more often I’m working with ambient light—be it daylight, window light, or tungsten-lit interiors—and augmenting it with my own source. In the old days I’d overpower... Read more

The Best Way To Meter Exposure

What you need to know about handheld light meters

Your camera is smart and it gets the exposure nailed 99% of the time. But when you’re a control freak like me, you want absolute dominance over every aspect of your exposure process. And that means you want to be able to effectively meter the light and dial in a manual exposure. People like us need a light meter. I know you could just use the TTL... Read more

Creativity Unleashed!

10 simple techniques to develop your photographic vision

“You’re either born with it or you’re not.” This assertion about creativity has haunted many photographers through the years. If you were really lucky, you were born with this power. You simply grab a camera, point it at a subject, and miraculously every image is worth framing. It doesn’t matter what the subject is or what the lighting is... Read more

The Importance of Preparation (Sort of)

The Secret to Photo Shoot Success: Have a plan, but remain flexible

I’ve long been a believer in being really prepared for my photography assignments. Whatever I may be shooting, I want to have gone over the whole plan in my mind ahead of time, I want to have visualized the shots I plan to make, and I want to make sure I’m prepared for every eventuality. But there’s something else I do too: I make sure I’m ready... Read more

Idea To Image

Some thoughts on the creative photographic process

All of our photographs start with an idea. After we have our idea, we set a goal on how to create the image we see in our mind’s eye. We shoot, then we process. In this column, I’ll take you through the steps in one of my idea-to-image sessions, during which I made a photograph I call “Jewels of the Sea.” As you’ll see, there are many elements... Read more

Rectangular Marquee Cropping

Use Photoshop’s marquee tool to quickly break free from a cropping preset

Last week’s tip was all about canvas resizing. This week it gets even more action packed with a tip about a cropping shortcut. Will the excitement ever end? I know these tools may not be particularly glamorous, but they’re immensely practical—the kind of Photoshop shortcuts that I use them on most of the images I work on. So how do you make... Read more

Tilt-Shift Focus Effects

Create super-shallow depth of field with tilt-shift lenses and their Photoshop equivalents

Tilt-shift lenses are often used for architecture and product photography. The “correct” way to use a tilt-shift lens is to adjust the lens elements in order to minimize distortion or to shift the plane of focus for massive depth of field. But breaking the rules with a tilt-shift lens is a great way to create funky shallow focus effects. Here’s... Read more
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