Seeing In Black-And-White

How to identify the elements that make for better black-and-white photographs
Seeing Black-and-White 2
“Learn to see in black-and-white.” Hang around with photographers long enough, and it’s a phrase you’re sure to hear repeated. It’s supposed to be a truism about how to make good black-and-white images. First, they say, you have to learn to see in black-and-white. But how, exactly, does a person with color vision living in... Read more

Harnessing The Power Of HDR

Rescue detail in high-contrast scenes with this simple technique
HDR Basics 1
There’s a common misunderstanding about what HDR (High Dynamic Range) photography actually means, and what it was designed to do. HDR is often confused with tone mapping, a technique that simulates an extended dynamic range by reducing contrast in an image while brightening and saturating colors. Tone mapping is a way to tackle overly high contrast... Read more

Soft Focus And The Global Village

Add style and dimension to your travel images with this versatile, often-misunderstood technique
Travel seems to be a compulsion with serious photographers. We’re a horde of camera-toting gypsies, wandering our shrinking, relentlessly more familiar planet, the so-called “global village,” searching for some fabulous piece of geography that hasn’t already been photographed to death. There are, of course, scores of useful approaches to making... Read more

Step Up To Adjustment Layers

Improve brightness, contrast and color with Photoshop’s simplest and most powerful nondestructive editing tools

One of the many things that makes Photoshop so powerful is its ability to facilitate nondestructive image editing. Traditionally, anytime a pixel is altered—even if it’s just an adjustment to its luminance or color—image data has been modified in a way that can’t be undone. Additional edits degrade data even more, and soon enough, the subtle... Read more

Crafting A Monochrome Image

Plug-ins aren’t your only software solution when converting to black-and-white. Try the power of Lightroom and Photoshop for sophisticated results.

There are some excellent monochrome plug-ins for Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom, but it’s not necessary to use these plug-ins to get great monochrome conversions; you just need the native controls. While plug-ins like Google’s Nik Silver Efex Pro, ON1 Photo 10, Alien Skin Exposure 7, Tiffen Dfx v4, Macphun Tonality, Topaz B&W Effects, DxO... Read more

Frequency Separation Is Easy!

This powerful skin-retouching Photoshop technique doesn’t have to be daunting

Frequency separation is a powerful retouching technique for improving a portrait subject’s skin quality without the risk of looking overly retouched. You know what an overly retouched portrait looks like, right? The subject’s face seems nice and clear, but when you look a little closer, it appears their skin tone has been sprayed on with paint or... Read more

Lightroom 6 For Landscapes

An intro to Lightroom’s new HDR Merge and Panorama Merge tools

Creating landscapes has just become a lot easier. With version 6 of Lightroom (and updated Lightroom CC), our ability to stitch together panoramas, and blend images to create HDR files, now can all be done without leaving the Lightroom environment. The tool is called Photo Merge, and although it’s new to Lightroom 6 and CC, there’s something... Read more

Photographic Lessons In The Internet Era

Photographers once had to toil as apprentices in order to learn their skills. Today, the Internet provides more resources than any photographer could wish for.

Mastering photography is a lifelong endeavor, one that’s constantly evolving and changing as new technology emerges. However, the Internet has altered the landscape for learning about photography, as well as understanding the newest techniques and technological advances that are available for both beginners and seasoned veterans. Back in the day,... Read more

Curves For Color

Use this simple, yet powerful technique for perfectly neutral color, by the numbers

Maybe your white balance setting was off, or you’ve scanned an old slide, or you were dealing with difficult-to-control mixed light. Or, maybe your image looks pretty good, but you want to be sure you have perfectly neutral color, regardless of how accurately your monitor is calibrated. Working with Photoshop’s Color Sampler Tool and a Curves... Read more

All About Histograms

How to read a histogram for better exposures and post-production efficiency

What exactly is a histogram? In general, it’s a way to visualize exposure via a bar graph that displays the luminance values of every pixel in a digital image file. From left to right across the X axis of the graph, pixel brightness values from 0 to 255 are displayed. The 0 value is on the far left (pure black) and the 255 value is on the far... Read more

Pro Black & White Printing

Tips for getting the best results when working with a professional photo lab

Before digital, enjoying and sharing photographs meant either slideshows, or more commonly, prints. Printmaking is an art unto itself, and that’s no less true in digital photography. Some photographers prefer to master this part of the craft and make their own prints with a fine-art photo printer, but others prefer the convenience of working with... Read more

Apple OS X Photos

The replacement for iPhoto and Aperture sets a course between the two

Compromise isn’t necessarily a bad thing, except when it is. How you’ll feel about the new Photos app from Apple depends on what app it’s replacing for you and what you typically do with your photos. When Apple announced the development of this new app, they also announced that both iPhoto and Aperture would be discontinued. For iPhoto... Read more
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