Hot Hyperreal Sharpness Effects - 6/2/08
You’ve seen this hip look everywhere. Now you can make it your own. Fashionable trends make their way into all aspects of life-from clothing to television to music and art. The hot trend right now in photography seems to be a hyper-sharp look that's everywhere in advertising and editorial. It's tricky to describe, but it looks like a super-detailed, overly sharp image with extra detail in the shadows and what appears often as heightened grain. [To see examples, check out the work of Matthew Clark, Mitchell Funk and Gary Land in recent issues of PCPhoto and Digital Photo Pro.]
The Secret To Stronger Compositions - 5/26/08
Simplify your shots with shallow depth of field One of the simplest ways to improve your photographs is exactly that: simplicity. When things aren't working and you feel like your composition is too cluttered, go minimal. Step back, examine your scene, and figure out how you can boil it down to the essential details. One of the best ways to do that, of course, is to pick a single detail and use a shallow depth of field to isolate that detail from its surroundings.
Ten Tips For Better Low-Light Photos - 5/19/08
It’s easy to make great shots in great light, but what about when the light’s barely there? Low-light situations can be tricky, but they can also make for great shots you're up to the challenge. Here are ten great ways to turn low-light situations into fertile ground for fabulous photos.
1. Don't fight the light-think about new ways to make your compositions work. Maybe a silhouette is the perfect solution; it's often ideal when the day's last light is silhouetting a unique shape like a tree or a skyline or a body. Whatever the case, go with the sillo and you'll not only create an interesting shot but you'll get to hand-hold the camera because of the faster shutter speed it enables.
Darkroom Effects Improved In The Computer - 5/12/08
Mastering the art of digital solarization Sometimes digital techniques are barely adequate stand-ins for their original chemical counterparts. Other times, however, the computer provides so much control that the old darkroom method pales in comparison. Sabattier and solarization techniques are the perfect example of the new method improving on the old.
In the darkroom, solarization (or what is technically called the Sabattier effect) is achieved essentially by re-exposing the print or negative to light during processing. This made parts of the print reversed, turning dark areas light and light areas dark. The first time you create this effect in the darkroom it's very exciting. The first time you do it in the computer it makes you wonder how anyone ever accomplished anything in a darkroom.
Learn Lighting From A Point-And-Shoot - 5/5/08
Become a lighting genius with a little help from automatic camera modes
Whenever I pick up a point-and-shoot camera, the first thing I do is change the mode to "Night Portrait." It's a simple little setting that makes great effects, thanks to a long shutter speed combined with a flash exposure. It always seems to deliver a well balanced flash/ambient mix.
This ambient/flash setting doesn't always work well in bright sun or other well-lit situations, but when you're indoors or when the subject is in front of an illuminated background the combination of a longer shutter speed and stop-action flash makes for great results-the kind of thing you create when you're a lighting genius.
Try A Tilt/Shift Lens For Funky Focus - 4/28/08
Use tools the “wrong” way to shift the plane of focus and make unique photos out of everyday shots From casual family shooters to high-profile pros, many photographers use the same tools for vastly different effects. Sometimes the results from using a tool the wrong way are more interesting than when things are done by the book.
Architectural photographers have long used view cameras with movements to adjust the plane of focus and control perspective in their photographs of tall buildings and tight interiors. In the digital era, though, those movements are unavailable on dSLRs. Unavailable, that is, unless you have a special lens.
10 Tips For Green Photography - 4/20/08
In honor of Earth Day, the Earth-friendly photographer’s manifesto
Photography can be a very environmentally friendly medium. For those interested in trying to preserve the world they photograph, here are a few simple guidelines to help reduce, reuse, recycle and raise your eco-friendliness as a photographer.
Creating A High-Key, High-Fashion Look - 4/14/08
With the proper subject, background and positioning, a big-time overexposure can make a perfect shot The term "high key" gets tossed around a lot in lighting discussions, and it means different things to different people. It often refers to a relatively low lighting ratio-as in not much contrast between highlight and shadow. High key can also be when a photo consists of primarily bright tones. Or high-key shots can be created by lighting-more specifically, by overexposing in whatever light there is.
These intentional overexposures are a great way to break the rules and give your shots-especially portraits-a high-fashion kick. Ultimately, it doesn't matter what you know about lighting to create high-key photos. You can do it all with exposure, creating a high-energy, high-style photograph.
Great Portrait Light! - 4/7/08
Let nature worry about your lighting so you can focus on making great shots Portraits are always a big challenge-even bigger if you're photographing kids. So why not simplify the distractions so you can concentrate your efforts on making great shots? Instead of worrying about lighting effects and flash exposures, just go outside at any time of day, any day of the year, and find some open shade.
Pro Shots With Your Point-And-Shoot - 3/31/08
Use the features your point-and-shoot does have to make up for the manual controls it lacks Digital SLRs have all sorts of great features for subtle exposure adjustments-and for making them easy to make. As much as the manual-aperture controls and focus-lock buttons and exposure- compensation dials are awesome and invaluable to professionals, some of the same control can be had with even the most inexpensive digital point-and-shoot cameras just by knowing where and when to point the camera.
Better Pictures In Any Light - 3/24/08
Rescue lost shadow detail with the Shadow/Highlight tool I don't know if exposure accuracy has gotten better or worse in the post-light-meter, LCD-checking era, but I do know this: If I'm off by a little bit, I've got a lot of options to fix my shots in the computer.