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Identifying And Repairing Banding

Eliminate this artifact that renders continuous tones and gradations in a blotchy manner.
Repairing Banding - Banding example
One of the most annoying digital-specific image problems is the banding that can appear in areas of solid color, such as skies and studio backgrounds. Banding typically occurs when a color is graduated across a number of shades—like light blue to dark blue in a sky. In a continuous tone image, the transition from one tone to the next is seamless.... Read more

Is The New iPhone 7 Plus A Must-Have For Photographers?

Photographer-friendly features make this smartphone uniquely qualified for taking pictures
iPhone 7 Plus
After a few years of abuse, my old phone was on its last legs when Apple announced the new iPhone 7 and 7 Plus this summer. My old phone limped into the fall when I finally got my hands on the iPhone 7 Plus, and boy was I surprised by just how capable the camera is. I never thought I’d seriously see a smartphone camera as a useful photographic device.... Read more

The Benefits Of Low Camera Angles

When eye level just won’t cut it, getting low is a great way to make your pictures stand out.
Low Camera Angle
Robert Capa famously said that if your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough. To that, I’d like to add that you also might not be low enough. A low camera angle, in my opinion, is one of the easiest ways to make a dull photo more interesting and to simplify a photo by eliminating some of the layers of depth between subject and... Read more

Mixing Lights With The Help Of Orange And Blue Gels

How to combine light sources of different color temperatures and still nail a neutral white balance.
Orange Gels - Gel on flash
If you want to mix your flash with indoor ambient light, you’re going to find some color problems. Namely, if you balance for the flash the indoor lights will look orange. Or if you balance for the indoor lights the flash will look blue. The same problem occurs when shooting a scene with strong window light as well as indoor tungsten light. In these... Read more

Lighting Hack: The Ultra-Affordable, Super-Portable, Instant Softbox

Need a big diffused light source? Try this simple trick for easy and beautiful light in a snap.
I’m sort of a soft light aficionado. I’ve got giant softboxes and small ones. I’ve got a seven-foot-tall octabank and a variety of homemade strip lights and bounces. I’ve got shoot-through umbrellas, silver umbrellas, brolly boxes, diffusion frames, pop-up silks and just about every kind of light-diffusing tool you can imagine. But while my... Read more

What’s New In Adobe Photoshop CC 2017

The features in the top-of-the-line image editing software that photographers will want to know about.
Adobe Photoshop CC 2017 In-application search
Earlier this month, when Adobe sent out its newest batch of updates to its Creative Cloud software, it also launched a new version of Photoshop: CC 2017. The application features a bunch of improvements for photographers and designers. Here’s a quick rundown of the newest features that make photographers’ lives easier and how to put them to use. In-Application... Read more

How To Speed Up Lightroom

A few simple tweaks can make Lightroom run much faster
Lightroom Speed up
When you’ve been working with Lightroom for a while and your catalog starts to get cumbersome, you may notice the application’s processes starting to slow. You can also notice slowdowns when processing large groups of data-rich RAW files or particularly large files, like layered TIFFs. Here’s how you can get under the hood, so to speak, and rev... Read more

Light Direction And Color

How the position of your light source affects the colors in your photographs
Light Direction sample image 1
When we think about light in terms of its affect on colors, we usually go straight to color temperature. A tungsten light, for instance, is warmer than a flash or daylight. A sunset, too, is warmer than normal daylight, which is warmer than the cool blue of shade. But these aren’t the color effects I’m thinking of today. In fact, there’s another... Read more

My Camera Displays an “L” When I Try to Change the Aperture

Can’t adjust your f/stop due to an “L” error on your camera? Here’s why.
L Error
There are lots of unfortunate error codes that digital SLRs can produce. Canon users may be familiar with ERR 01, which means the lens isn’t correctly mounted on the body and the two aren’t communicating effectively. Nikon shooters may have seen the “CHA/CHR” error message, which tells them there’s a problem with their memory card. But what... Read more

Protecting Lenses And Cameras From Condensation

Temperature changes can produce damaging moisture on, and in, your camera.
It’s autumn in the United States and for many of us, that means changing weather. Here in the Midwest, we’re still dealing with summer-like high temperatures, while cool evenings are beginning to take hold. All of these changes have got me thinking about the dangers of wide temperature swings on my cameras and lenses. If you’re not careful, they... Read more

Beyond Perspective Control

More great reasons to use a tilt-shift lens.
Regular readers know that I love my tilt-shift lenses. Also known as “perspective control” optics, these devices are really neat. They bring view camera movements into the world of the DSLR. And every time I connect one to my camera I’m struck by how uniquely they let me view the world. Most folks who employ tilt-shift lenses use them for perspective... Read more

Correct Architectural Distortion Easily in Photoshop

You don’t need a perspective control lens if you know the simple Photoshop tool that eliminates architectural distortion.
As long as there have been cameras, architectural photographers have struggled to keep straight lines straight when they point those cameras up at their subjects. You see, when the focal plane is not parallel with the planes of a building—its walls—the lines appear to converge. The more you tilt up, the stronger this distortion becomes.To solve... Read more