Look Up To Portrait Subjects

Create a hero angle by getting low when shooting portraits
Look Up to Portrait Subjects
I’ve been studying the work of master portrait photographer Annie Leibovitz lately and something finally caught my eye. Not about her pictures, which are consistently great for going on five decades now, but about her process. No, it’s not about how she typically uses a single light source balanced with the ambient light. And no, it’s not about... Read more

DIY Studio: Build a Faux Brick Background

Make your suburban garage look like a downtown loft with a whitewashed faux brick wall
DIY Studio: Build a Faux Brick Background
I have a big, empty wall adjacent to my shooting space that is ripe for transformation into something more usable for photography. This wall typically collects clutter; lights and stands end up leaning there, as do tables and chairs and really anything that needs an out of the way home for a little while. In an effort to turn the fairly plain space... Read more

Use Color Fill For Mood Modifications

From vibrant to subtle, toning an image with color is a great way to impact the feel of a shot
I regularly add a subtle color overlay to my images in order to help influence the mood of the finished photo. For a portrait in which I want to convey a sense of warmth and comfort, for instance, I’ll use a warm color like yellow, red or orange, applied ever so lightly. I like to use an adjustment layer in Photoshop in order to add this hint of color... Read more

Customize Photoshop’s Info Panel

Fine-tuning the information displayed by Photoshop’s Info Panel puts all sorts of useful data at your fingertips
One of the many windows you can have open in your Photoshop workspace is the Info Panel. By default, this window shows you RGB and CMYK color values of pixels as you mouse over them, along with the mouse coordinates on X and Y axes and width and height measurements of any selections or transformations. This information can be very useful, but it’s... Read more

Making Multiple Exposures In Photoshop

For a fun and funky portrait, consider combining multiple exposures using Photoshop’s layer modes and masks
Multiple exposures have made a comeback in recent years, with some digital SLRs allowing photographers to combine frames in camera to mimic the approach taken in the film era when photographers would make multiple exposures by exposing the same piece of film twice. The effect produced can definitely be quirky, and with some practice, photographers can... Read more

Compact, Low-Output, Super-Affordable Strobes

A rundown of five priceless options in the low-power, low-price studio strobe category
There are many ways to spend a whole lot of money buying photographic lighting equipment. From LED panels the cost of a reliable used car to high-power studio strobes that take a home equity loan to fund, there’s no shortage of really great but really expensive lighting options out there. But what fun is a new lighting toy when you have to go into... Read more

The Importance Of Subtlety With Low-Key Fill

When you’re producing low-key lighting, subtle fill light becomes especially important
The Importance Of Subtlety With Low-Key Fill
When you create a low-key lighting scenario, it’s especially important that you implement a fill light—but not too much fill light. Otherwise, the shot can simply turn into an abyss of shadow without any detail or, at the other extreme, you can overfill and eliminate the drama inherent with low-key lighting. Low-key lighting is any scenario in which... Read more

Selective Control With Photoshop’s Black And White Adjustment Layer

Combine multiple black and white adjustment layers for total tonal control in Photoshop
Combine multiple black and white adjustment layers for total tonal control in Photoshop
One of the best ways to convert a color photograph into black and white is to utilize Photoshop’s black and white adjustment layer. Simply open any color image, open the Adjustments palette and click on the “Black and White” icon found there. (It’s a square divided vertically in half, one side dark, one side white. Simple.) This will immediately... Read more

Importing and Exporting Photoshop and Lightroom Presets

How to update a new computer with the presets and shortcuts that make Lightroom and Photoshop work as you want them to.
Adobe allows the installation of its Photoshop and Lightroom software on two different computers. If you work on different machines, as many of us do, it can be incredibly handy to have the same presets, shortcut keys and settings apply when working with Photoshop and Lightroom, no matter which machine you’re working on. For me, I have a desktop computer... Read more

Photoshop’s Puppet Warp Tool

No other Photoshop tool provides the intuitive, hands-on control of Puppet Warp.
Photoshop’s Liquify tool gets a lot of attention for its ability to do some pretty remarkable things simply by clicking and dragging on scene elements in order to stretch, distort and reshape them. But there’s another tool that works in a similar fashion and provides its own unique set of controls. It’s the Puppet Warp tool, found under the Edit... Read more

When To Work For Free

Should you ever trade photography in exchange for no money?
There are a lot of young photographers out there working to figure out how to earn income with their cameras. Making the transition from “shooting for fun” to “shooting for pay” can be challenging, especially when young photographers are so often inundated with generous offers to work for free. Cheapskates offer “exposure” and the promise... Read more

Cloud-Based Storage for Photographers

A look at the options for cloud-based storage of image files, with applications for professional photographers and amateurs alike.
Whether you’re a professional photographer churning out gigabytes of image files every week or an occasional smartphone snapshooter, every photographer needs a place for the long-term storage of their image files. Sure, that’s what hard drives are for, but hard drives fail. And they don’t exactly make it easy to access files remotely. To solve... Read more
Menu