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

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 camera... 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
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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

Content-Aware Fill

We’ve all taken images that are perfect except for some unwanted element in the frame.

We’ve all taken images that are perfect except for some unwanted element in the frame. Whether we had no choice but to compose it into the frame—or it just “snuck” in—removing objects from an image typically involves detailed masking and careful cloning. The newest version of Photoshop CS5 addresses this time-consuming work with a powerful... Read more

Basic Tech: Get To Know Your Metadata

Every photo captured with a digital camera has metadata attached to it. Metadata literally is “data about data.”

Every photo captured with a digital camera has metadata attached to it. Metadata literally is “data about data.” Digital photo metadata includes information about the image file and camera settings used at the time of capture. THE BENEFIT Reviewing your metadata is a great way to learn from your images. What worked, and what didn’t? What aperture... Read more

HDR Is The Question

You’re reading this article because you want to learn more about high-dynamic-range photography. Cool. HDR photography rocks.

You’re reading this article because you want to learn more about high-dynamic-range photography. Cool. HDR photography rocks. But here’s something else that’s important to know about HDR photography: There’s a time and place for it. For example, check out this image. It’s a sunrise photograph that I took of the Two Mittens in Monument Valley,... Read more

Haute Shot

Seven Steps to transform a favorite photo into painterly art

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. The French Impressionists should be very pleased because photographers have been borrowing from them for years. At the turn of the last century, a style of painting now called Fauvism came about in France that used bold colors along with stark outlines. Quite controversial in its time, this style... Read more

Digital Graduated Filters

Back in the age of film, I carried several graduated neutral-density filters.

Back in the age of film, I carried several graduated neutral-density filters. They were both hard to pronounce and hard to use. First, I had to decide which one to pull out: one, two or three stops? Hard edge or soft? Then, after mounting one on the lens, I struggled to adjust it. The transition—the “graduated” part of the filter—could be almost... Read more
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