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.
Make Photos Into Art, Warhol-style - 3/17/08
Turn your photos into pop art masterpieces in just four steps Argue all you want about Andy Warhol's art, you can't deny it's unique. It's unique, but not so difficult that you can't do it yourself. With a few basic computer techniques you can put a fun twist on your favorite photographs-and get them gallery ready in no time.
Whether you're an advanced Photoshop user or you'd rather work with a basic graphics program, converting photos to Warhol's silkscreen style is relatively straightforward. I'm using Photoshop for this shot, but the same principles apply to almost any image-editing program. Look around in yours and your bound to find the same sorts of features and filters.
Head In The Clouds - 3/10/08
Download some fancy Photoshop brushes to add some interest to boring skies Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy. I have to confess, though, that I get a little kick out of clouds, too. While it may be more fun to shoot outside on a nice, bright, sunny day under a cloudless sky, your photographs aren't likely to be as interesting as they might be with some cloud cover.
To The Rescue! - 3/3/08
What to do when your hard drive crashes and you think you’ve lost all your photos Just last week, I had an experience that I knew was bound to happen eventually (even though I always secretly hoped it never would). My hard drive failed. I was searching for an archived photo on an external disk, and in midsearch, the computer locked up and I had to reboot. I don't know which came first-the crash or the drive failure-but it didn't really matter: my disk was no longer readable.
White Balance Creativity - 2/25/08
Use custom white balance settings to add a colorful twist to otherwise bland shots Some days I feel blue. Downtrodden and depressed, I can make myself feel a little better by making my photos blue, too. Or red if I'm angry. Or any other color to match any other mood I'm in. So many times we think about camera white-balance features just for making our photographs neutral or "correct"-appropriately matched to the color temperature of the light source we're shooting under.