Improve Your Digital Imaging Skills In One Simple Step - 11/3/08
Rely on recipes to repeat your retouching successes
Experimentation is crucial for any photographer's creative growth. How many successful pros have you seen profiled in these pages that cite rigorous experimentation as the key to their success? This is particularly due to post-processing and retouching. It seems like the vast majority understand the importance of fiddling around on the computer to find new ways to make interesting photos.
The Subtle Twist That Makes Any Image More Interesting - 10/27/08
Use off-kilter framing for unique angles anywhere The names are great: Dutch angle, oblique, tilt, cant, and the British even call it a Batman angle. Whatever you call it, the effect is almost always great-an off-kilter composition that does wonders for an otherwise humdrum scene.
Hollywood has utilized the Dutch angle for decades, frequently to represent disorientation or confusion. In funkier films, Dutch angles are often used in lieu of square compositions. You can use it for a dramatic purpose, or to just make your shots more interesting; either way, there's probably no easier special effect to achieve than the Dutch angle.
When Wrong Is Right - 10/20/08
Set your work apart from the crowd by shooting in the wrong direction Ever lug your camera a really long distance to get a shot-to the rim of the Grand Canyon for a great vista, or all the way to Paris for a snap of the Mona Lisa, only to find that not only has someone beat you to it, but that someone is actually in the way of your great shot?
Add Impact To Photos With A Simple Vignette - 10/13/08
Vignettes put the focus exactly where you want it When working in a chemical darkroom one of the first things a photographer learns is the importance of placing emphasis on a photo's subject. The easiest way to do this is with the technique of vignetting. By simply darkening (or even lightening) the corners and edges of a print, those extraneous areas manage to recede into the psychological background while simultaneously placing the point of focus squarely in the center of the frame-right where you want it, on the subject.
If It's Boring, Backlight It! - 10/6/08
Simple steps to add depth to any photo When I was 20 years old, I was fortunate enough to participate in a sports-photography workshop at the United States Olympic Festival. Sponsored by some of the biggest names in sports photography, it afforded participants the opportunity to work alongside some of the most respected names in the industry. And although I don't shoot sports any more, I'll never forget one lesson I learned that week. It was probably the simplest thing I learned, and it applies to all sorts of photographic situations. Though the Sports Illustrated photographer said it more eloquently than this, I think I can condense the lesson even further: If it's boring, backlight it.
Great Shots Through Windows And Glass - 9/29/08
Simple steps to eliminate reflections and improve your rate of success A newborn baby in the maternity ward. A wild animal display at the zoo. A beautiful sunset viewed from a high-rise office building. How many times are you faced with a perfect subject only to be challenged by a barrier of glass between you and it? It's usually a big bummer because it's tricky to shoot through glass without ending up with pictures full of weird splotches and highlights. Armed with these tips, though, you can maximize your chances to get great shots even when you're forced to shoot through a window.
Secret To Maximizing The Magic Hour Light - 9/22/08
Using manual white balance for great sunset picturesWay back when I first switched from shooting film to digital, I kept wondering why my magic-hour photos (the pictures you take when the sun is setting or rising and creating those beautiful warm oranges and cool pinks and bold blue hues in the sky) weren't as dramatic as they were with film. If you're shooting with a digital camera and you want great magic-hour color, there's a simple secret I learned that makes all the difference in the world.
Achieving The Most Unique Perspective - 9/15/08
For the best vantage point go above and beyond Perspective is one of those things in life that everyone's always searching for. The same is true for photography, particularly when it comes to exploring a new location. What better way to get a feel for a place than to take it all in at once? And what better way than to gain some perspective by getting to higher ground or going up in the air?
Making Photos Look Like Sketches - 9/8/08
Simple secrets to a dynamite drawing effectThere seem to be a million special effects filters in Photoshop, and they all do what they do very well, but sometimes they look a little too...generic. When it comes to making a photo look like a sketch, for example, readymade filters do a good job of offering a lot of options-filters like colored pencil, dry brush and smudge stick, all found under the Artistic section of the filters menu. To do a great job, no matter what effect you're after, there's nothing quite like a custom do-it-yourself approach.
How To Get Great Shots In Stadiums And Arenas - 9/1/08
Say no to flash and yes to ambient light Whenever I watch a sporting event or a concert on TV-anything that shows an arena packed full of people-I'm constantly amazed at the incessant sparkle of camera flashes from all over the stadium. And all I can think of is one thing: those shots aren't going to turn out.
Make Perfect Exposures With Any Camera - 8/25/08
Stop shooting all-auto-all-the-time and you’ll quickly learn to make great pictures Some people say that the best way to learn the basics of photography is to rely on a camera's all-automatic functions until you're comfortable with the effects each control creates. I didn't learn this way so I can't verify how well this method works. I can say, however, that for decades and decades photography was taught on manual cameras with little or no automatic controls-even in the electronic and digital eras.