Photo Exercise: Simplicity

Less can be more for stronger, meaningful images

Contrary to our natural inclination to fit as many elements as possible into the frame, keeping things simple can result in images that are strong, purposeful and soulful. Simple doesn’t have to be boring. A single subject against a clean background can be utterly captivating. We can achieve simple and strong images by choosing interesting subjects... Read more

Adjusting Canvas Size with a Batch Process

Photoshop’s Canvas Size tool gets even better once you know how to apply it to several images at one time

Some Photoshop functions seem so simple, what could you possibly have to learn about them? Take Canvas Size for instance. It’s the function found under Photoshop’s Image menu, and it’s most often used to increase the size of the “canvas” on which a digital image file sits. Canvas size is different from image size in that it does not offer... Read more

Transforming (Weaker) Images With B&W

Black-and-white has the magical power of rescuing some images that didn’t quite make it as color photos, if you know how to look at them

Long gone are the days when photographers shot with black-and-white film and developed it in a darkroom or waited for the technicians to send our rolls back so we could see once and for all what magic our lens wrought in that tricky, elusive medium. Because digital cameras capture in color and black-and-white is done in postprocessing, in order... Read more

Seeing In Black & White

How to determine what types of scene characteristics will create compelling black-and-white images

As much as I like color, there’s just something that’s compelling about black-and-white images. Maybe it’s the purity, grit or tension, but black-and-white continues to be a popular medium in photography. Thanks to digital capture, we can convert any image into black-and-white, but not all color images are created equal when it comes to black-and-white... Read more

Photoshop’s Top Time-Saving Automation Tools

How to record actions and use batch processing to speed up a workflow

Recording actions and batch processing are, in my opinion, Photoshop’s best time-saving features. Any time you’ve got a repetitive task to perform, a recorded action makes it quicker. Any time you’ve got that repetitive task, or a series of tasks, to perform on more than one image file, batch processing will save the day. Let’s say you always... Read more

Minimalism & Monochrome

Bring simplicity and space to your black-and-white photography

As we embrace winter, I think about accepting the lack of sunlight and how this affects my photography. The leaves have all fallen, leaving us in the depths of “stick season,” the snow flies and washes out all color. Darkness comes before dinner, and I have hibernation and warm cups of tea on my mind. Winter is a season that drives composition and... Read more

Five Techniques For B&W Improvement

Not everyone is a great black-and-white photographer from the get-go. These techniques will help refine your monochrome eye.

What does it take to really master black-and-white as a photographer? If the perfect flash or reflector was the only thing required, we’d all be winning prizes by now. No, what’s required is a daily practice where you go straight to your edges and allow yourself to truly explore the world in black-and-white. For some, taking your big camera here,... Read more

Winter Photography Warm-Up

Equipment and tips to help you make the most of cold-weather photography

Along with the new year, winter has arrived. If you pocketed a little money over the holidays, here’s some suggested equipment you can invest in for your cold weather photography adventures, as well as a few tips to help ensure you make the most of your valuable time outdoors this winter. COLD IS GOOD… TO A POINT You want your camera cold, but... Read more

How To Align Layers In Photoshop

Two techniques for perfectly precise alignment of multiple frames in a single file

Aligning layers is one of the most common tasks I perform in Photoshop, particularly if I’m trying to composite two exposures or subtly different compositions of the same scene. One approach is simply to move the top layer around, nudging to and fro, until it looks about right, then turning off the layer visibility to check the alignment. This is,... Read more

Time To Get Connected?

Connected cameras may represent the future of photography. But are they ready for prime time?

DxO ONE Olympus AIR A01 The connected camera market launched rather suddenly in 2014 with the arrival of the Sony QX1. A sort of mashup between a lens and a camera, the QX1 attached to a mobile device and used the phone (or tablet) as the brains for image capture and sharing. It might have seemed like a novelty had new products not arrived... Read more

Frequency Separation Is Easy!

This powerful skin-retouching Photoshop technique doesn’t have to be daunting

Frequency separation is a powerful retouching technique for improving a portrait subject’s skin quality without the risk of looking overly retouched. You know what an overly retouched portrait looks like, right? The subject’s face seems nice and clear, but when you look a little closer, it appears their skin tone has been sprayed on with paint or... Read more

Lightroom 6 For Landscapes

An intro to Lightroom’s new HDR Merge and Panorama Merge tools

Creating landscapes has just become a lot easier. With version 6 of Lightroom (and updated Lightroom CC), our ability to stitch together panoramas, and blend images to create HDR files, now can all be done without leaving the Lightroom environment. The tool is called Photo Merge, and although it’s new to Lightroom 6 and CC, there’s something... Read more
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