The Best Way To Meter Exposure

What you need to know about handheld light meters

Your camera is smart and it gets the exposure nailed 99% of the time. But when you’re a control freak like me, you want absolute dominance over every aspect of your exposure process. And that means you want to be able to effectively meter the light and dial in a manual exposure. People like us need a light meter. I know you could just use the TTL... Read more

Creativity Unleashed!

10 simple techniques to develop your photographic vision

“You’re either born with it or you’re not.” This assertion about creativity has haunted many photographers through the years. If you were really lucky, you were born with this power. You simply grab a camera, point it at a subject, and miraculously every image is worth framing. It doesn’t matter what the subject is or what the lighting is... Read more

The Importance of Preparation (Sort of)

The Secret to Photo Shoot Success: Have a plan, but remain flexible

I’ve long been a believer in being really prepared for my photography assignments. Whatever I may be shooting, I want to have gone over the whole plan in my mind ahead of time, I want to have visualized the shots I plan to make, and I want to make sure I’m prepared for every eventuality. But there’s something else I do too: I make sure I’m ready... Read more

Idea To Image

Some thoughts on the creative photographic process

All of our photographs start with an idea. After we have our idea, we set a goal on how to create the image we see in our mind’s eye. We shoot, then we process. In this column, I’ll take you through the steps in one of my idea-to-image sessions, during which I made a photograph I call “Jewels of the Sea.” As you’ll see, there are many elements... Read more

Rectangular Marquee Cropping

Use Photoshop’s marquee tool to quickly break free from a cropping preset

Last week’s tip was all about canvas resizing. This week it gets even more action packed with a tip about a cropping shortcut. Will the excitement ever end? I know these tools may not be particularly glamorous, but they’re immensely practical—the kind of Photoshop shortcuts that I use them on most of the images I work on. So how do you make... Read more

Tilt-Shift Focus Effects

Create super-shallow depth of field with tilt-shift lenses and their Photoshop equivalents

Tilt-shift lenses are often used for architecture and product photography. The “correct” way to use a tilt-shift lens is to adjust the lens elements in order to minimize distortion or to shift the plane of focus for massive depth of field. But breaking the rules with a tilt-shift lens is a great way to create funky shallow focus effects. Here’s... Read more

Photo Exercise: Simplicity

Less can be more for stronger, meaningful images

Contrary to our natural inclination to fit as many elements as possible into the frame, keeping things simple can result in images that are strong, purposeful and soulful. Simple doesn’t have to be boring. A single subject against a clean background can be utterly captivating. We can achieve simple and strong images by choosing interesting subjects... Read more

Adjusting Canvas Size with a Batch Process

Photoshop’s Canvas Size tool gets even better once you know how to apply it to several images at one time

Some Photoshop functions seem so simple, what could you possibly have to learn about them? Take Canvas Size for instance. It’s the function found under Photoshop’s Image menu, and it’s most often used to increase the size of the “canvas” on which a digital image file sits. Canvas size is different from image size in that it does not offer... Read more

Transforming (Weaker) Images With B&W

Black-and-white has the magical power of rescuing some images that didn’t quite make it as color photos, if you know how to look at them

Long gone are the days when photographers shot with black-and-white film and developed it in a darkroom or waited for the technicians to send our rolls back so we could see once and for all what magic our lens wrought in that tricky, elusive medium. Because digital cameras capture in color and black-and-white is done in postprocessing, in order... Read more

Seeing In Black & White

How to determine what types of scene characteristics will create compelling black-and-white images

As much as I like color, there’s just something that’s compelling about black-and-white images. Maybe it’s the purity, grit or tension, but black-and-white continues to be a popular medium in photography. Thanks to digital capture, we can convert any image into black-and-white, but not all color images are created equal when it comes to black-and-white... Read more

Photoshop’s Top Time-Saving Automation Tools

How to record actions and use batch processing to speed up a workflow

Recording actions and batch processing are, in my opinion, Photoshop’s best time-saving features. Any time you’ve got a repetitive task to perform, a recorded action makes it quicker. Any time you’ve got that repetitive task, or a series of tasks, to perform on more than one image file, batch processing will save the day. Let’s say you always... Read more

Minimalism & Monochrome

Bring simplicity and space to your black-and-white photography

As we embrace winter, I think about accepting the lack of sunlight and how this affects my photography. The leaves have all fallen, leaving us in the depths of “stick season,” the snow flies and washes out all color. Darkness comes before dinner, and I have hibernation and warm cups of tea on my mind. Winter is a season that drives composition and... Read more
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