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.
Paint Your Pictures Like Van Gogh - 8/18/08
Simple impressionistic techniques for the digital age When I was a kid I never could paint very well. Maybe that's why I became a photographer. These days, though, I get to pretend I know how to paint, thanks to the powerful features of my favorite photo-editing program. Photoshop's got a million filters and tools that I haven't mastered yet, but that just means I get the experience of continually discovering how to use new ones-like when I recently figured out that a single filter can help me turn my photos into something similar to impressionist paintings that Vincent Van Gogh would envy.
Six Steps To Eliminating Lens Flare - 8/11/08
Fighting flare one shot at a time Shooting directly into the sun-or at least with it somewhat behind your subject-is a great way to add depth to any photograph. But there's one big problem that comes when pointing your camera into the vicinity of any light source: lens flare.
Lens flare is often thought of as shafts of light that dart across a scene when a pinpoint source is shined directly into the lens. The problem is that not all light sources are pinpoint, and so not all flares are this noticeable, dramatic, or even desirable.
Turn The Worst Light Into The Best Light - 8/04/08
Shooting shadows makes sunny days more interesting Some photographers can take the extraordinary and make it look ordinary. Others can take the ordinary, and through their creative vision, make it look outstanding. That's part of the fun; you never know what you'll encounter when you're out with your camera.
When I'm faced with a seemingly impossible situation—where I can't find anything extraordinary, and I'm shooting under the horrid midday light—I remember to wait and look for something ordinary so that I can turn it into something great. It's then that I remember the most ordinary, yet almost always interesting subject: shadows. The light on these bright, sunny days also happens to provide the best shadow-shooting opportunities.
Darkroom Tips For The Digital Age - 7/28/08
Use the computer to recreate film reticulation effects Happy accidents. Serendipity. The silver lining on a dark cloud. Whatever you call it, it's the moment when something goes horribly wrong but eventually ends up being really, really right. These moments are everywhere in art and photography. Back in the days of film, there were countless mistakes in processing and exposure that creative types turned from tragedy into triumphant special effect. A leading contender in the photographic happy accident category? Reticulation.
Two Simple Steps To Whiter Smiles! - 7/21/08
With Photoshop, whiter, brighter smiles are just a few clicks away Nobody likes the dentist, and nobody likes to look bad in a portrait. Whether the cause is poor dental hygiene or just bad luck, you can now give your portrait subjects a better smile in just two easy steps. Best of all, they never have to know how you helped their smile.
There are lots of effective digital tooth-whitening approaches, but my own favorite is effective, quick and easy. I use Photoshop's desaturation sponge and the dodging tool to whiten dingy smiles with just a few clicks.The first step is to choose the sponge in the tools palette and set it to "desaturate." Scale the brush to fit easily within the teeth without overlapping onto the lips and gums, but keep it large enough to provide even coverage. Reduce the flow to 25 or 35 percent and begin the desaturation process with large even strokes. After desaturation, the smile isn't yet white, but at least it isn't an awful shade of green.