The Details Of Portraiture

Learn to notice the subtleties for more expressive photos

Photographers, in essence, are storytellers. Instead of words, we use images to tell our stories. In traditional portraiture, we most often focus on the face of our subject to narrate the shot. We look to capture just the right curve of the mouth, the twinkle in the eye or the tilt of the head and rely on facial expressions to reveal the heart and soul... Read more

Go Macro

So you want to dive head-first into the great big world of photographing little bitty things?

So you want to dive head-first into the great big world of photographing little bitty things? That’s great, because macro photography is interesting, fun and rewarding, and it doesn’t take too much expertise to make awesome images right off the bat. What it does take is a bit of planning and the right equipment. Here’s what you need to know, followed... Read more

Smoother Skin In Minutes

If you want to be a portrait photographer—whether pro or weekend warrior—you need to know how to light a person for soft and flattering lighting.

If you want to be a portrait photographer—whether pro or weekend warrior—you need to know how to light a person for soft and flattering lighting. You also need to know how to create the soft-focus look in the digital darkroom. The opening picture for this column started out as a sharp shot and then was softened in Photoshop. In the digital... Read more

Noise-Reduction Basics

In the days of film, we worried about grain, and higher ISO speeds resulted in larger, more pronounced grain.

In the days of film, we worried about grain, and higher ISO speeds resulted in larger, more pronounced grain. Now we have noise. Digital noise is also affected by ISO, but unlike grain there are many ways to eliminate it before and after exposure. Before Shooting Advances in DSLR sensors allow photographers to now shoot at ISO 4000 much as they once... Read more

Photo Flexibility

Several months ago, I attended a wedding in northern Michigan.

Several months ago, I attended a wedding in northern Michigan. Originally, I planned on spending only a few days, but found the area so interesting, I stayed nearly two weeks. My only other visit to Traverse City was several years earlier on a cold winter evening in the middle of a snowstorm. I was there to photograph a baseball-bat inventor... Read more

Holiday Scenes & Portraits

The holidays are here, and no matter what you celebrate, you’re sure to enjoy photographing holiday lighting displays.

The holidays are here, and no matter what you celebrate, you’re sure to enjoy photographing holiday lighting displays. Here are some easy tips to make good exposures. 1. Use a tripod. Tripods make almost every image better, but for night and low-light indoor exposures, they’re essential. If I don’t have a tripod, I’ll settle for resting my... Read more

Winter Photo Tips

I always look forward to the holiday season. Everyone has time off from work, the mood is festive and snow is falling through the air.

I always look forward to the holiday season. Everyone has time off from work, the mood is festive and snow is falling through the air. The holidays are also a great time for photography. Beautiful winter scenes are plentiful, parties provide portrait opportunities and holiday lights produce colorful twilight images. This winter season, make sure to... Read more

Better B&W With Digital Toning

Long ago in the darkroom, just when I thought I understood black-and-white printing, my teacher introduced another challenge: toning.

Long ago in the darkroom, just when I thought I understood black-and-white printing, my teacher introduced another challenge: toning. Toning adds a hint of color to a chemical print and can aid in its archival stability by augmenting silver with more stable metals. In the digital world, toning has nothing to do with archival processing, but the technique... Read more

Blur It!

I don’t know about you, but when I look at a photograph on my monitor, I sometimes wish I had used a different shutter speed (to freeze or blur action) or a different aperture (for more or less depth of field).

I don’t know about you, but when I look at a photograph on my monitor, I sometimes wish I had used a different shutter speed (to freeze or blur action) or a different aperture (for more or less depth of field). Well, in Photoshop or Photoshop Elements, accomplishing that feat is sometimes possible—to a degree. In this column I’ll show you how... Read more

Thinking In Video

Chances are, if you recently bought a digital still camera, it also has the ability to shoot video.

Chances are, if you recently bought a digital still camera, it also has the ability to shoot video. Not only that, but the quality of the video is really good. The digital camera race has shifted from the megapixel count to video quality. Why the big shift? Because exciting creative techniques are possible using interchangeable-lens cameras. If you... Read more

A Sharper Image

A common misunderstanding about image sharpening is that it can save a blurry or out-of-focus image.

A common misunderstanding about image sharpening is that it can save a blurry or out-of-focus image. It can’t. Sharpening tools can do a lot to enhance your pictures, but don’t try to use it to fix an out-of-focus original. That said, all images shot digitally, regardless of how well you capture them, usually require some sharpening to match... Read more

RAW Workflow Basics

Capturing digital photos in RAW mode provides a variety of benefits, such as the ability to fine-tune color temperature after capture, greater exposure latitude than JPEG capture and the opportunity to work with high-bit data.

Capturing digital photos in RAW mode provides a variety of benefits, such as the ability to fine-tune color temperature after capture, greater exposure latitude than JPEG capture and the opportunity to work with high-bit data. Despite these benefits, many photographers opt for JPEG capture because RAW is perceived as being overly complicated. The truth... Read more
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