Break The Rules: Use Lens Flare As An Artistic Tool

Creative uses for the good kind of lens flare
By William Sawalich
I've noticed a trend toward photographic rule breaking in recent years. After generations of investment in better technology and improved fidelity, suddenly photographers are in love with the imperfect—whether that's the faded nostalgia of Instagram or the artful use of blurry images. But the trend that I find most intriguing,…

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…

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.…
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