Tip of the Week

Creating a Top-Down Still Life Setup

Shooting from directly above a subject can be difficult. Here’s how to do it well
By William Sawalich
Sometimes, it's necessary to place your camera in a difficult position in order to get the shot you need. No position is trickier than trying to shoot straight down from above. Imagine you need to photograph a process that's taking place on a surface—like a cooking show, for instance, or…

Build a DIY Fluorescent Ring Light

This inexpensive, neat little light works well for photos, and videos, too
By William Sawalich
Ring lights are cool. They produce a unique, near shadowless, slick, frontal illumination when used as a key light, and they're an ideal on-axis fill. The only problem is, most ring lights are pretty darn expensive. So why not save a few bucks and build your own ring light. Rather…

Blend Mode Basics

Layers are one of the things that makes Photoshop such a powerful image editing tool
By William Sawalich
Layers are one of the things that makes Photoshop such a powerful image editing tool. And one of the things that makes layers so powerful is the flexibility of blend modes. Blend modes dictate how one layer will interact with the layers below it, modifying colors, contrast and exposure to…

Three Steps For Total Contrast Control

Contrast control is at the very heart of photography
By William Sawalich
Contrast control is at the very heart of photography. Too much contrast means the loss of important image-forming details, either in the highlights, or the shadows, or—worst of all—both. So here are a few techniques to help you control contrast and ensure detail-rich photos without blown out blacks or whites.…

Opening RAW Files As Smart Objects

One of the things that makes Lightroom such a useful tool in many photographers’ workflows is the fairly seamless way it integrates with Photoshop
By William Sawalich
One of the things that makes Lightroom such a useful tool in many photographers' workflows is the fairly seamless way it integrates with Photoshop. A click of a button will open a RAW image file right in Photoshop, ready to be worked on with Photoshop's even greater range of precision…

Light Meters Still Matter

Here’s how, and why, to use a handheld light meter effectively
By William Sawalich
There are some pretty cool things happening in the world of handheld light meters these days, like Sekonic's L-478 touchscreen light meter, which can do all sorts of amazing things like create custom profiles for cameras and lenses. But the fundamental task of handheld light meters has remained unchanged for…
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