Wading through a web full of camera misinformation
The Internet is full of amazing information—and some equally impressive misinformation, too. Receive a forwarded email enough times and it can start to look like fact! For pop culture myths, Snopes.com separates fact from fiction. For digital camera myths, it’s up to us. Here are a few urban legends about digital cameras to be debunked as junk.
Three exposure tricks that make any face look great
In Hollywood’s glamour era of the 1930s and 40s, the studio machine churned out star after star, all the while relying on gorgeous promotional portraits to aid in the process. The great names of the era—like George Hurrell and Clarence Sinclair Bull—certainly were master photographers who could retouch their images with the best of them.
Metadata can be almost anything—literally any information that provides information about other information. Easy, right? In photography terms, metadata usually refers to the information that digital cameras, photo software and individual users attach to their image files.
A beginner’s guide to adjusting image sizes and proportions
Let’s say I’ve got a great shot—maybe an interesting image of an interesting building. I really like this picture, but I don’t like its size or shape, or I’d like to simplify the composition by eliminating some extraneous information. Sounds familiar, right?
Most people start thinking seriously about backing up their data at precisely the wrong time: immediately after they’ve had a catastrophic meltdown and lost precious pictures and other important information.
Improve your pictures with selective focus effects
Sometimes it’s the little differences that take a photo from good to great. One of the greatest tricks to improve your photos is to simplify whenever possible. From eliminating clutter in the composition to selectively focusing on only the items you want sharp, simplifying almost always improves a shot.
Before the advent of digital capture, film photographers all seemed to have the same basic goal: the removal of all evidence of grain from their photographs. Low-ISO films touted ever-more-invisible grain structures, to the point that grain became a special effect—something you deliberately chose to add to a photograph for a reason.
The old adage “never say never” is often appropriate in life, but when it comes to digital imaging there are certain things you should never do. Be it for reasons of bad karma or bad technical results, take heed these warnings, friend. There are some things you should never, ever, ever do with Photoshop.
Subtle sharpening via Photoshop’s LAB lightness channel
Issues of sharpness—from too much to not enough—are always on photographers’ minds. While there are a million different methods for sharpening, and a million and one reasons to do it, there’s one rule that always holds true: understanding sharpening is important.
Mismatching white balance makes for great color effects
Sometimes the right white balance creates the wrong picture effect. When I recently photographed a puppet-maker’s shop I found the place fascinatingly odd—a workshop combination of cobbler, toymaker and sculptor. I realized that these interesting pieces could be photographed to look a little more interesting—even strange and disconcerting.
In the early years of photography, avant-garde artists realized that they could create pictures without even using a camera. Man Ray was a master of making Photograms—interesting images he created by placing objects directly on photo paper and recording the shadows and silhouettes. Photograms remained popular for decades, and they still are today.