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The Sunny F/16 Rule

Extrapolate the Sunny F/16 Rule to work in a variety of outdoor lighting situations
the Sunny F/16 Rule
What’s the correct exposure on a normal sunny day? There’s a formula to answer that, don’t you know? The correct answer is a shutter speed of 1/ISO at ƒ/16. So, with ISO 100 dialed in to the sensor, the correct exposure on a normal sunny day will be 1/100 sec. at ƒ/16. This handy rule of thumb is very helpful as it always gives you an idea of... Read more

Fight Color Shifts At High Shutter Speeds

Many indoor light sources cycle and flicker, and you might see this in your photos at high shutter speeds
how to fix color banding
Have you ever seen a strange colorcast in part of a photo when it’s shot indoors at high shutter speeds? I’ve noticed this effect on some photo assignments, although it was never a problem I could re-create consistently. It was only when I read about a feature in certain new cameras that I realized what I was seeing. You see, artificial light sources... Read more

Level Your Horizons

Got a crooked picture problem? Here’s how to fix it.
In the Tip of the Week, learn how to level the horizon line in your photos easily using a camera’s built-in feature or these Photoshop tools.
I’m naturally crooked. I don’t mean psychologically, or even physically. I mean that when I handhold my camera and try to keep it level in relation to whatever horizon is in my picture, I almost always fail miserably. What my eye and hand think is level is always tilted to the right. You might find yourself producing similar results no matter how... Read more
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Make Mystery With Lighting

How to create low-key, edge-light images that leave a lot to the imagination
low-key, edge lighting
Using a specular light source to create a dramatic image. Want to make a mysterious portrait? Or maybe you want to show the shape of something without showing all of its detail. It sounds like you might want to make a low-key, edge-lit image. The technique is simple and straightforward, and the result is dramatic. The key is to illuminate the subject... Read more

The Patch Tool

This Photoshop resource is magical when it comes to retouching large areas of a photo, particularly those of one color and luminosity with small details that need to be removed
Photoshop’s Patch tool is a pretty special retouching tool that works along the lines of the Healing Brush and the Clone Stamp. In fact, it’s found hidden beneath the Healing Brush on Photoshop’s toolbar. It works in a similar fashion to both of those spotting tools (to use the old-school darkroom vernacular), but it does a great job particularly... Read more

How To Interact With Portrait Subjects

Portrait shoots are no place for shy photographers. Here are a few tips for coming out of your shell to help portrait subjects come out of theirs.
portrait photography
Bedside manner is crucial for portrait photographers. But it wasn’t until I became a professional photographer that I realized the importance of personality. If you’re not a “people person,” portrait photography is going to be challenging for you. While it may not get the coverage of camera and lighting techniques, the truth is, it’s the photographer’s... Read more

Retouching Basics: The Clone Stamp And Spot Healing Brush

New to Photoshop? Start here for your quick fix of digital magic.
Photoshop retouching
Portrait after retouching in Photoshop If you’re a new Photoshop user and you want to know what tools you should try first, keep reading. In my opinion, the most magical, and simultaneously most useful, Photoshop tools are the Spot Healing Brush and the Clone Stamp. The former is a one-click fix for spots, repairing and replacing them seamlessly with... Read more

How And Why To Use Auto-Exposure Bracketing

In tricky lighting situations, hedge your exposure bets with auto-exposure bracketing
auto-exposure bracketing
When you’re working in difficult lighting conditions—say, a contrasty midday scene, a backlighting situation or a scene that’s very dark or very light—it can be difficult to determine the correct exposure. In this situation, you might think it’s best to use automatic exposure controls, like program mode or shutter priority or aperture priority.... Read more

Better Pose, Better Portrait

Help portrait subjects feel at ease by giving them something to hold on to
portrait photography
When photographing people—whether that’s in studio, in their living room or in the great outdoors—there’s one posing trick that will help the subject look and feel more comfortable every time. It’s giving the subject something to ground them. Frequently this involves providing the subject with something to sit on, lean against or physically... Read more

Lighting Modifier Must-Have: Cinefoil

This matte black, heavy-duty aluminum foil is a tremendous lighting solution
Cinefoil
There’s a product in your kitchen that works great as a lighting modifier. It’s affordable and disposable, and it won’t catch fire no matter how hard you try. It’s aluminum foil, the same stuff you wrap your leftovers in. Technically, the studio variety of aluminum foil, also called Cinefoil or black wrap, is matte black in color, and it’s... Read more

Studio Safety: Coiling Cables

Lighting for photo and video involves lots of cords and cables. Most people don’t know how to handle them properly.
coiling cables in the studio
Discussing the proper way to coil and deploy electrical cables and extension cords may seem ultra-nitpicky, but trust me when I tell you it’s one of the most important skills you can master when you’re working in a studio. Whether you’re doing a quick portrait shoot or working on a big blockbuster movie set, it’s really important for your safety... Read more

Camera Settings For Capturing JPEGs

From Large and Fine to Small and Basic, which JPEG settings are ideal for a given photographic situation?
JPEG camera settings
Let’s start this tip with a caveat: I think it’s best to capture full-resolution RAW image files in-camera. This is how I do it, and it’s how I ensure the highest-quality image file with the most options after capture. But sometimes I need to shoot JPEGs, too. Some might say they shoot JPEGs “instead,” but I still prefer to save those high-quality... Read more
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