Better portraits are all in the eyes - 4/13/09
Improving eyes in the camera and the computer Eyes are the windows to the soul, or so they say. Photographically speaking, that means that in any given portrait one of the first places a viewer will look is the subject’s eyes. And if they look dark, or murky, or tired or anything other than ideal… well, the person in the portrait just won’t look their best. That’s why so many photographers put so much emphasis on making the eyes look perfect. Here are some tried and true tips to make sure the eyes have it—in the camera and in the computer.
Debunking Digital’s Urban Legends - 4-6-09
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.
Beautiful Beauty Shots Without Retouching - 3/30/09
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.
Four Ways to Use Metadata Effectively - 3/23/09
Improving your image files with metadata 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.
Three Easy-to-Use Photoshop Tools for Cropping and Resizing - 3/16/09
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?
Permanently Preventing Data Loss - 3/9/09
Build a Better Backup Plan 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.
Focus Attention Where You Want It - 3/2/09
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.
Better Pictures By Going With the Grain - 2/23/09
Adding digital grain adds texture and interest 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.
Five Things to Never Do with Photoshop - 2/16/09
The list of digital don’ts 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.
Perfect Sharpness Every Time - 2/9/09
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.
Setting the Mood With Color - 2/2/09
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.