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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…

The Importance Of Waiting To Sharpen For Final Output

The last thing you do to your image file should be sharpening. If you resize after that, you’re going to be disappointed.
By William Sawalich
This isn't intended to be your typical sharpening primer, nor an exploration of all of the myriad creative ways to sharpen your image files. This post is designed exclusively to drive home one of the most important sharpening fundamentals: sharpening for final output. If you sharpen an image file too…

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…
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