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

Go Wild!

Make your wildlife park pictures look like Out of Africa images

An African photo safari is a dream come true for wildlife photographers. Not all wildlife photographers, however, have the time or the funds to make that dream come true. Still following their love for wildlife photography, photographers who can’t make the trek to Africa enjoy photographing at wildlife parks. With some creative composition techniques... Read more

Expand Your Range

Look, ma! No HDR (high-dynamic-range) program or HDR plug-in! That’s right, HDR fans.

ORIGINAL Look, ma! No HDR (high-dynamic-range) program or HDR plug-in! That’s right, HDR fans. The opening image was created in Photoshop using basic adjustments, which I applied with Photoshop Adjustment Layers. In my how-to feature in this issue, we consider when to use HDR techniques and the capabilities of specialized software like Photomatix... Read more

From Flat To Fairy Tale

When you photograph and process your images in the digital darkroom, try to think like a painter

When I teach digital enhancements, I suggest to my students that the subject itself often recommends a certain special effect, filter or plug-in. For example, a grunge effect may look great on an image of an old car in a junkyard, but that same effect probably wouldn’t look so great on a beautiful landscape. When you photograph and process your... Read more

Ends Of The Day

Saving and enhancing sunrise and sunset shots

We all love photographing beautiful sunrises and sunsets. When everything comes together—the correct camera settings, the light, the composition, the foreground subject, the background, the mood and the all-important clouds—we get a near-perfect in-camera photograph. Of course, there are times when our photographs need a bit of workin’ and... Read more

Beautiful Backlight

Taking and enhancing a backlit shot

Light—it’s the main element in every photograph. It’s light that photographers endlessly chase in the field, strive to create and shape in the studio or artfully enhance in the digital darkroom. It’s light that creates the mood in a scene—and in a photograph. Simply put, it’s all about the light. Light can illuminate a... Read more

Altered Reality

Create artistic images with these seven techniques

Most photographers are artists at heart. Some are well aware of their artistic side, while others need a quick fix to awaken the artist within. In this column, I’ll share with you seven techniques for creating artistic images by removing some of the reality from a scene—because when you remove some of the reality, your pictures can look more... Read more

Create An Out-Of-This-World Image

Go from average to awesome in just a few minutes

If you’re like most photographers, you go to popular locations and attend popular events to make pictures. Not surprisingly, your straight-out-of-the-camera shots may look similar to those of your photographer buddies. Happens to me all the time. A quick fix is to use digital darkroom enhancement to remove or alter the reality from the scene.... Read more

Dramatic Black & White

Keys to seeing, shooting and processing monochrome photos

Making beautiful black-and-white images is easier than ever before, thanks to powerful adjustments in Lightroom and Photoshop, as well as specialized conversion software like Google’s Nik Silver Efex Pro, Perfect B&W from onOne Software, Tonality Pro from Macphun and B&W Effects from Topaz Labs. You can play around with the sliders in... Read more

Enhancing The Light

Shooting and processing tips for luminous images

Photographers are basically light chasers—we get up early and stay out late to seek out and capture the best light. When we find that light, we look for a cool subject and determine our composition. We shoot knowing that image capture is just the start of the image-making process. When we enhance a digital file in Lightroom, Photoshop or other digital... Read more

Playing With Color

In Photoshop and in Lightroom, as well as in most image-editing apps, we can control the color in our photographs.

In Photoshop and in Lightroom, as well as in most image-editing apps, we can control the color in our photographs. We can increase color by increasing saturation, and we can reduce color by reducing saturation. Increasing contrast can make colors more vibrant, and vice versa, too. Adjusting Levels and Curves can also change the color in an image. We... Read more

Images With Impact

Techniques to enhance the visual experience of a scenic photo

One of my digital photography workshop participants, Gary Potts, strives to make images with impact. That’s an admirable goal, and it’s something to add to our photo hit list when we’re out shooting. Like Gary, I enjoy making images with impact, but that’s not always possible. What’s more, not every image should have... Read more