Magic Hour Lighting Variations

Not all sunsets are equal! Understand the nuances of sunset, dusk and twilight to determine the ideal time for your photo.
Everybody knows magic hour lighting makes for beautiful pictures because the color is warm, full of glowing gold and pink tones, and the angle of the light produces more interesting illumination with shadows that show shape and build drama. Or, after the sun dips below the horizon, it produces a beautiful softbox of diffuse illumination across the sky.... Read more

Make Lightroom Library Filters Permanent

How to make your preferred filter settings sticky to see exactly the images you want by default
Make Lightroom Library Filters Permanent
One of the most powerful capabilities in Lightroom’s Library module is its ability to show you the images you want to see and only those images you want to see. Used in combination with ratings and flags, you can create filter presets to winnow down your project gallery quickly to show you all four-star rated images, for instance, or only those images... Read more

Noise Reduction Tools In Lightroom, Photoshop And Beyond

High ISOs are cleaner than ever, but they still create noise. Deal with that noise by using a software fix in post.
Noise Reduction Tools In Lightroom, Photoshop And Beyond
With high ISOs come increased noise. And even though that noise is much less pronounced in current cameras than in the earlier days of the digital revolution, increased noise still correlates with increased ISO. And while ISO 6400 is very easily usable, under close inspection you’ll still see noise. So why not learn to minimize this noise and make... Read more

Five Tips For Better Low-Light Photos

It’s never been easier to make great photos without great light. Here’s how.
Five Tips for Better Low-Light Photos
Halloween is almost here, and lots of folks will be taking pictures after the sun goes down. But how many of them will succeed at making great photos after dark? Use these five tips to take better pictures in low light, both indoors and out. 1. Use the Maximum Aperture Opening up to the widest available aperture—denoted by the smallest f/number—allows... Read more

Optimize Lightroom’s Performance

Make Lightroom work as fast as possible with these settings and suggestions
Make Lightroom work as fast as possible with these settings and suggestions
Lightroom works fast out of the box. But if your computer isn’t up to par and the application isn’t configured correctly, you might find the software isn’t performing as efficiently as it should be. When it comes to optimizing Lightroom’s performance, it comes down to ensuring your hardware is top-notch and that the computer and application... Read more

Control Your Camera With A Smartphone

A wireless camera trigger that enables exposure adjustments and provides a live view from the palm of your hand
I recently purchased a Sony a7R III mirrorless camera. What I was delighted to discover is that I could use a smartphone as a camera remote control for my new Sony. More than just a wireless connection, smartphone camera controls change the way long exposures and multiple exposures are made. Specifics vary by camera model, but with the a7R III, by... Read more

The Secret To Even Background Lighting

With two lights and a handheld meter, you can make perfectly consistent lighting across a background
When working in the studio, one particular challenge is making an evenly illuminated background. Sure, in most cases it will look fine as long as the background is reasonably lit. Even the spill from a one-light setup can make the background work. But in some cases, precision really matters. It might be when shooting video on a chroma key background... Read more

Save An Image With A Transparent Background

How to use Photoshop to save a photo with a transparent background for use online
There are lots of reasons to save an image with a transparent background. You may want to create a collage, for instance, layering one image atop another. Or, more likely, you might need to use the image online, with a background generated by the website. This is a common approach for everything from portraits and product photos to logos and graphics... Read more

Retouch Better By Zooming In Closer

Seeing the small details will take your Photoshop editing skills to the next level
Retouch Better By Zooming In Closer
Photoshop is remarkable no matter how you look at it, but it gets even better when you look up close by zooming in to see the fine details. Think about it: All that resolution in camera sensors goes to waste if you don’t enlarge the photo to 100 percent or beyond when you’re editing in Photoshop. When it comes to making an image the highest quality... Read more

Brush-On Selections In Photoshop

Use the select and mask tool to quickly paint a selection—or a mask—wherever you want it
Brush-On Selections In Photoshop
As part of my portrait retouching process, I like to select areas of the face in order to smooth skin tones and eliminate wrinkles and blemishes. And one of the ways I like to quickly make this selection is to use the Select and Mask tool to brush on the selection rather than encircling the area with a lasso. This technique of painting a selection is... Read more

Using Black Glass As A Versatile Tabletop Background

The mirror-like surface of black Plexiglas is great for making unique backgrounds for product photography
Using Black Glass as a Versatile Tabletop Background
Want to photograph an object on a white background? You can use white paper, or even white Plexiglas, or even clear glass. But one unique approach is to use something that’s pure black: black Plexiglas. Believe it or not, this black glass can be used to make a white background—or a gray one, a black one, a blue one or just about anything else you’d... Read more

Understanding Digital Image Resolution

Resolution can be confusing. Here’s a simplified way to understand the actual sizes of digital image files.
Understanding Digital Image Resolution
I’m regularly reminded that people who should have a solid understanding of how resolution works often don’t. When it comes to understanding digital image resolution and how it pertains to image size, ultimately all that matters is the number of pixels contained in the file. It’s not about DPI or PPI or how many inches Photoshop says your... Read more
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