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Using High-Speed Flash Sync

Want to shoot with a flash but don’t want to be limited by the slow sync speed? You need to use high-speed sync.
Using High-Speed Flash Sync
A major advance in the world of speedlight photography was the introduction of high-speed sync. High-speed sync allows for shutter speeds faster than a camera’s traditional flash sync speed to be used. A camera’s sync speed is determined by the shutter, and is most often 1/250th of a second or less. Beyond 1/250th of a second, a focal plane shutter... Read more

Better Flash Exposures With Flash Exposure Lock

The push of a button can make your flash smarter and your exposures better
Better Flash Exposures With Flash Exposure Lock
No matter how brilliant the electronics, every once in a while even amazing flashes with awesome automatic capabilities can be fooled. It’s the nature of auto anything: it’s probably going to be right most of the time, but every once in a while it’s tricked into delivering the wrong amount of flash. Usually that’s because it wants to compensate... Read more

All About Flash Exposure Compensation

Not sure what flash exposure is ideal? No problem. Try flash exposure compensation to automatically nail the right light.
All About Flash Exposure Compensation
One of the benefits of working with a dedicated speedlight flash unit is that it opens up a whole world of excellent automatic flash exposure possibilities. In many cases, smart flashes are designed to provide the speed and ease of automatic exposures with the accuracy and control of manually adjusted flash outputs. Still, sometimes smart flashes get... Read more

Recovering Photos From Faulty Flash Media

How to prevent data loss, and what to do when a CF or SD card is corrupt

After recently donating my time—on a Saturday morning, no less—to shoot photos for a worthy charity, I returned to my office to download the 600-plus images I’d just shot. I stuck the CF card into my reader, but nothing happened. I ejected the card, tried again and still nothing. After a reboot of my system with the same result, I decided to check... Read more

Macro Photography for Spring Flowers

Tips for making the most of new blooms and warm weather

This time of year presents a wonderful photographic opportunity: longer days and warmer weather, as well as the emergence of spring flowers that bloom full of color and interest. One of my favorite ways to photograph spring flowers is with a macro lens. So here are a handful of tips for photographers who want to try their hand at macro photography of... Read more

Paint Your Own Custom Portrait Background

The big-time pros use hand painted backgrounds, now the rest of us can too

There are several prominent commercial portrait photographers who I’ve noticed rely on an advantage over the rest of us: they have beautiful, custom-painted portrait backgrounds. Sure, there are plenty of background options from a number of resellers, and at a variety of affordable price points. But as is so often the case, you get what you pay for.... Read more

Adding Copyright Information In Camera

Your ownership information can be embedded directly in EXIF metadata from the moment of capture. Here’s how.

I’m a big believer in using every technological advantage possible. So that means that if I can use EXIF metadata to embed all sorts of information in my image files, well then I’m definitely going to take advantage of that. One of the most practical uses of image metadata is to append files with data about their creator—the copyright holder of... Read more

Advice On Output Sharpening

Your picture isn’t finished until you prepare its pixels for printing

For the last few weeks I’ve been discussing image sharpening in Photoshop and Lightroom. This is done, typically, for three reasons: to compensate for the in-camera sharpening that is not performed on RAW image files; to creatively sharpen select areas of a scene in order to match the aesthetic you have in mind; and to sharpen the finished image in... Read more

Creative Sharpening In Photoshop And Lightroom

How to selectively apply sharpness and blur

Last week I discussed the importance of capture sharpening, because RAW files don’t come out of the camera sharp enough. This week I want to talk about the next in the triumvirate of image sharpening: creative sharpening. The term creative sharpening comes from the concept that this sharpening is done for more aesthetic reasons rather than to remedy... Read more

Always Be Sharpening

Raw image files are great, but they come out of the camera half-baked. If you’re not sharpening your RAW image files, your images won’t look their best.

Last month I had the opportunity to get up close and personal with some rare birds—raptors, owls and eagles—at a wildlife rehabilitation facility. With a long zoom in hand and a light snow falling, I managed to get a few interesting photos, one of which is included here. I knew in an instant the shot was a keeper, but when I looked at it close up... Read more

Options For Instant-Print Cameras

A guide to great compact cameras that make small prints on the spot

I recently gave my daughter an instant-printing point-and-shoot camera. Seeing how much she loved it, and what a kick she got from making actual photographic prints, reminded me just how much fun I’ve had with instant-printing cameras—especially since the digital era has largely erased the fun of cheap, quick prints from our lives. So in an effort... Read more

Lightroom’s Awesome Painter Tool

Better organize and edit images with that strange little spray paint can

One day you’ll look at your screen while Lightroom is in Library mode, and you’ll think to yourself, “Why is there a can of spray paint at the bottom of the preview pane?” Lightroom’s spray paint can isn’t for painting pictures in Develop mode. It’s actually very useful when it comes to organizing image files in your library. ... Read more