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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Simply Realistic Retouching

The key to easy and effective skin retouching is minimizing the bad without obliterating the good

I have a theory about skin retouching: The only thing worse than an unretouched portrait is an overly retouched portrait. My goal is always to improve the subject’s skin without creating an image that looks fake. That’s the biggest challenge ultimately. Anybody can make skin pretty with diffusion and blur, but retouching skin without obliterating... Read more

Show Clipping For Black & White

Use this handy Lightroom feature to ensure deep blacks and bright whites

In addition to the histogram, one of the most useful tools for checking your exposure in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 is the Show Clipping option. You can toggle it on and off in the View menu or with the keyboard shortcut “J”. Show Clipping identifies shadow and highlight areas at the extreme ends of the range where your current exposure... Read more

Converting To Black & White

Using Adobe Lightroom’s powerful tools for translating color images to monochrome

It’s easy to convert a digital image from color to black-and-white. The challenge is to do it well. Replicating the richness of silver-based black-and-white images is the ultimate goal, and while there are lots of options out there, there’s one ubiquitous photo management and RAW editing tool that’s full of straightforward, but powerful... Read more

Instagramification

Tips for finding an audience with the popular Instagram App

Instagram has become a leading social network with its highly addictive feed of visual candy. Photographers can network with each other, sharing inspiring images and new techniques, and connect with potential clients by showcasing new work on a regular basis. With loose rules, you’re free to personally define your own approach to the Instagram... Read more

Multi-Shot Noise Reduction

As great as digital camera sensors and processors have become at combating noise, this film grain-reminiscent interference can still rear its ugly head at high ISOs and in long exposures.

As great as digital camera sensors and processors have become at combating noise, this film grain-reminiscent interference can still rear its ugly head at high ISOs and in long exposures. So, reducing excessive noise, or literally improving the signal-to-noise ratio, is as important as ever. There are plenty of traditional approaches to eliminating... Read more

Workflow, Start To Finish Part 3

Backup is the stuff of nightmares, or dreams, depending on how you back up.

Backup is the stuff of nightmares, or dreams, depending on how you back up. As with all workflow, backup will vary from photographer to photographer based on shooting habits, computer systems, work environment and your own conscience. But with all things considered, backup has one end goal: If your hard drive crashes, all your files, programs and images... Read more

Workflow, Start To Finish Part 2

In the first part of this three-part workflow series, we looked at downloading and browsing images after your shoot.

In the first part of this three-part workflow series, we looked at downloading and browsing images after your shoot. With your images downloaded into your database, the next step is image optimization. One important point should be made right at the beginning. I don’t optimize all of my images. I’ll make a collection of my best images from... Read more
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