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Make Digital Photos Look Like Film

Three simple things that add an authentic film look to digital image files
Make Digital Photos Look Like Film
I love my clean, crisp digital image files, don’t get me wrong. But, sometimes, whether it be for nostalgia’s sake or just for a creative change of pace, I want to make an image that looks a little more like film. So, I do a few simple things in Lightroom and Photoshop to make my digital images approximate film. 1. Color When it comes to film photos,... Read more

Flash-Based Motion Blur

How to mix flash with ambient to create intentional motion blur
Flash-Based Motion Blur
I admit it: I love using strobes. And I love using strobes because they allow creative photographers to do things with light that simply aren’t possible with ambient-only lighting or continuous light sources. One of my favorite strobe-specific creative tricks is to create a blurry edge around my sharp subject to enhance the separation between them... Read more

Use Smart Objects For Nondestructive Editing

This versatile Photoshop tool provides a great way to preserve detail and increase image-editing options
Use Smart Objects For Nondestructive Editing
Introduced back in Photoshop CS2, Smart Objects allow photographers to preserve image detail and make edits that don’t modify the original image-forming pixels. This is called nondestructive editing. Yes, duplicating an image onto a new layer and using adjustment layers always preserves image-forming detail, but Smart Objects work a little bit differently... Read more
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Using Metadata Presets In Lightroom

The easy way to add your copyright and contact information into every file you import
Using Metadata Presets In Lightroom
Lightroom’s metadata preset functionality makes it easy to add all sorts of information to digital images the moment they’re imported. For instance, I use a handful of default presets that are accessed with a single click to add my name, phone number, website and copyright information to every image during import. I want to make it as easy as possible... Read more

Three Ways To Warm Your Portraits

Pictures of people often benefit from a bit of added warmth. Here are three techniques for adding warmth to a portrait.
Three Ways To Warm Your Portraits
I photograph portraits practically every day, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that the vast majority of people look better with a bit of warmth added to their portrait. Here are three techniques I use to make my portraits warmer with lighting, in Lightroom and in Photoshop. Lighting The simplest way to make a portrait warmer—more... Read more

Continuous Light

A new generation of lights has hit the market, including some innovative continuous light sources. Here's a look at the advantages and disadvantages of these different types of lights.
Continuous Light
If you’re a portrait photographer, chances are you started out with a continuous light source. I remember my first “hot lights,” inexpensive tungsten lights reflected through a simple silver reflector. Imagine a household lightbulb being reflected by a large silver dinner plate, and you get the idea. As the name implies, the lights were hot, and... Read more

Cold Weather Camera Tips

Keep your expensive equipment warm, safe and dry when shooting this winter
Cold Weather Camera Tips
Cold weather has arrived all across the United States, though the definition of cold is different for each of us. Minnesotans, for instance, are soon to be dealing with sub-zero temperatures for months, while Southern Californians and Floridians may just feel a little chill as the mercury occasionally drops to 50. When the temperature falls below freezing,... Read more

Lighting For White Background Portraits

Illuminating bright backgrounds requires the right know-how and deliberate positioning of the subjects, the lights and the light modifiers
For consistent white background illumination, place two lights behind a subject on each side of the frame. This ensures even lighting without hotspots. One of the most popular requests I get from portrait clients is to photograph them in front of a white background. It’s for good reason, too. The look has a timeless quality, plus it’s clean and... Read more

Preventing Camera Shake

Keeping the camera steady and choosing the right shutter speed are crucial for sharp pictures
Preventing Camera Shake
Want to ensure your pictures are sharp every time? Then you’d better get good at keeping the camera steady and choosing the correct shutter speed based on the lens you’re using. Most of us know that a too-slow shutter speed won’t freeze a fast-moving subject—like an athlete running or speeding car—but those are pretty specialized circumstances.... Read more

Composing People

Great candids and portraits aren’t always as simple as getting the right expression
Composing People
If this photograph had been shot from a position more directly behind the woman taking a snapshot, the three people who are her subject would have been blocked or overlapped by her body. Shooting from a position more to the left caused the photographer (in the image) and her subjects to be horizontally more separated—especially important in a two-dimensional... Read more

Photography Goals For 2020

Kick off the New Year on the right foot by conquering three photography challenges
Photography Goals For 2020
It’s that time of year again when we’re all making New Year’s resolutions to improve our diets, kick our bad habits and take care of all those things we keep putting off every year. Why not add to the annual to-do list with a handful of things to improve your photographic pursuits as well? Here are three suggestions to help get every photographer’s... Read more

Shooting In Manual Mode

Learn to control aperture and shutter speed independently for technical and creative control
Shooting In Manual Mode
Many photographers have the same simple goal on their to-do lists: to learn to master manual exposure control. And while photographers shouldn’t feel bad for relying on automatic assistance, it’s understandable why so many of us want to get good at making manual exposures. It’s because manual exposure settings offer complete technical control,... Read more
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