Don’t Polarize Portraits

Got a glare on glasses? Tempted to polarize it away? Don’t do it!
In the Digital Photo Tip of the Week, learn how to fix glare on glasses in your portraits and why you shouldn’t use a polarizer.
Anytime I talk about fighting glare on glasses—be they the prescription kind or the sun-fighting kind—someone always asks whether they should just use a circular polarizing filter to eliminate the reflection. This might sound like a good idea but the problem is that, more often than not, it doesn’t work very well. Worse still, when you use a polarizer... Read more

The Sunny F/16 Rule

Extrapolate the Sunny F/16 Rule to work in a variety of outdoor lighting situations
the Sunny F/16 Rule
What’s the correct exposure on a normal sunny day? There’s a formula to answer that, don’t you know? The correct answer is a shutter speed of 1/ISO at ƒ/16. So, with ISO 100 dialed in to the sensor, the correct exposure on a normal sunny day will be 1/100 sec. at ƒ/16. This handy rule of thumb is very helpful as it always gives you an idea of... Read more

Fight Color Shifts At High Shutter Speeds

Many indoor light sources cycle and flicker, and you might see this in your photos at high shutter speeds
how to fix color banding
Have you ever seen a strange colorcast in part of a photo when it’s shot indoors at high shutter speeds? I’ve noticed this effect on some photo assignments, although it was never a problem I could re-create consistently. It was only when I read about a feature in certain new cameras that I realized what I was seeing. You see, artificial light sources... Read more

Portrait Photography Tip: Light Adds Up

Learn how the additive quality of light impacts metering and lighting ratios, so you can light your subjects for your desired look
photography lighting tips
In an effort to explain how some light plus a little more light becomes even more light, let me explain how this might matter in the first place. Let’s say you’re photographing a portrait in a studio setting, so you set up a light to illuminate the subject. (It could be a strobe, a hot light, an LED, in a softbox, with a snoot—as long as it’s... Read more

Level Your Horizons

Got a crooked picture problem? Here’s how to fix it.
In the Tip of the Week, learn how to level the horizon line in your photos easily using a camera’s built-in feature or these Photoshop tools.
I’m naturally crooked. I don’t mean psychologically, or even physically. I mean that when I handhold my camera and try to keep it level in relation to whatever horizon is in my picture, I almost always fail miserably. What my eye and hand think is level is always tilted to the right. You might find yourself producing similar results no matter how... Read more

Make Mystery With Lighting

How to create low-key, edge-light images that leave a lot to the imagination
low-key, edge lighting
Using a specular light source to create a dramatic image. Want to make a mysterious portrait? Or maybe you want to show the shape of something without showing all of its detail. It sounds like you might want to make a low-key, edge-lit image. The technique is simple and straightforward, and the result is dramatic. The key is to illuminate the subject... Read more

The Patch Tool

This Photoshop resource is magical when it comes to retouching large areas of a photo, particularly those of one color and luminosity with small details that need to be removed
Photoshop’s Patch tool is a pretty special retouching tool that works along the lines of the Healing Brush and the Clone Stamp. In fact, it’s found hidden beneath the Healing Brush on Photoshop’s toolbar. It works in a similar fashion to both of those spotting tools (to use the old-school darkroom vernacular), but it does a great job particularly... Read more

7 Steps To Getting The Best In-Camera Exposure

Use the benefits of digital imaging technology, but it’s essential to get the composition right in-camera. Follow these tips from Rick Sammon, with images from his workshop in China.
China, Rick Sammon
If you ever shot 35mm slide film, you know that it was essential to get a good exposure in-camera. Slide film was not forgiving, as opposed to negative film, which was forgiving, that is, your exposure could be “off” by a stop or two over or under the correct exposure and you could still make a good print. Slide film shooters had to spend time thinking... Read more

How To Interact With Portrait Subjects

Portrait shoots are no place for shy photographers. Here are a few tips for coming out of your shell to help portrait subjects come out of theirs.
portrait photography
Bedside manner is crucial for portrait photographers. But it wasn’t until I became a professional photographer that I realized the importance of personality. If you’re not a “people person,” portrait photography is going to be challenging for you. While it may not get the coverage of camera and lighting techniques, the truth is, it’s the photographer’s... Read more

Get Perfect Shots Every Time

By following these guidelines, it’s easy to get precisely exposed images of the outdoors with practice and patience
perfect exposures
With a wide range of highlights and shadows in this panorama of Glacier National Park’s Swiftcurrent Lake, understanding a camera’s exposure settings is key to a properly exposed image. When I talk with other photographers, many confess that they always shoot in one of the camera Program Modes. The consensus seems to be something along the lines... Read more