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Using Photoshop’s Vanishing Point Filter

Clone and stamp with the appropriate perspective to make clean edits against receding patterned backgrounds
vanishing point filter
Sometimes when I’m retouching an image in Photoshop, I need to remove an element of the picture that’s unfortunately on a geometric background. If the element—let’s say it’s a tree branch—was against a blue sky, well, that’s no problem to clone stamp away with a few clicks. But when that tree branch is against a brick wall, and the brick... Read more

Combat Backlighting With Exposure Compensation

Light from behind the subject can fool your camera. Here’s how to trick it back in place for the perfect exposure.
combat backlighting with exposure compensation
In certain lighting situations, your camera’s auto-exposure capabilities will be limited. To put it bluntly, in some scenarios your camera is going to get it wrong. One of the main offenders in the “fool your camera’s exposure meter” arena is backlighting. These are situations where the light behind the subject is much brighter than the frontal... Read more

Tripod Maintenance And Repair

How to take care of your tripod so it has a long and healthy life
tripod maintenance and repair
Tripods get taken for granted. But the day you find your tripod has a loose leg or a wobbly head is the day you realize how essential a fully functional tripod really is. Here’s information on repairing common tripod troubles and instructions to help keep your tripod in good working order. A little bit of preventive maintenance will go a long way... Read more

Shutter Speed Basics: Panning For Motion

Intentionally add motion blur to enhance the sense of speed for creative effect in your photos
panning for motion
One way to deal with fast-moving subjects in your photographs is to use the fastest shutter speed possible to ensure every moving piece is frozen in place and rendered tack-sharp. This is the traditional approach to preventing blurry pictures, which, according to conventional wisdom, are bad. But, in fact, motion blur in photos can be a benefit. By... Read more

A Foolproof System For Model Releases

Property and model releases are important. Learn how to keep them safe, secure and easily accessible.
model release
If you have any plans to use a photograph of a person or their property for commercial purposes, model releases and property releases are necessary. They really should be part of the best practices of any professional photographer. I recommend carrying them in your camera bag, and keeping a virtual release app on your smartphone in order to ensure you’ve... Read more

Camera Basics: Start With Shutter Speed

When it comes to learning your camera’s manual exposure controls, the place to begin is with your shutter speed
shutter speed
Cameras are simple: just a light-tight box with three modifiers. Those modifiers, which are adjusted in conjunction with one another to make every exposure, are ISO (formerly film speed in the pre-digital era), aperture (also known as iris, ƒ-stop or lens opening) and shutter speed. Each has a different impact on the picture, so how do you know where... Read more

Eliminate Extra Lightroom Modules

Clean up your workspace to streamline your Lightroom workflow
eliminate extra Lightroom modules
If you’re anything like me, you tend to use Lightroom for a whole lot of your workflow, but you don’t take advantage of all the amazing things the application can do. For instance, I spend tons of time in Lightroom’s Library and Develop modules, but only occasionally do I make prints and step over to the Print module. And, though I use Lightroom... Read more

How To Photograph A Painting

Simple steps to follow for proper copying of flat art like paintings, drawings and photographs
photograph a painting
If you want to copy a painting, drawing or photograph, your main challenges are to ensure the piece remains perfectly flat (in order to minimize glare and optical distortions) and to light it evenly so it’s well represented and doesn’t show any distracting shadows or highlights. The easiest way to do this without any special equipment is to hang... Read more

The Pros And Cons Of LED Lights

Considering investing in lights? LED panels are a great option, but only if you’re also aware of their limitations.
Litepanels Astra
At my studio, we invested in a pair of Litepanels Astra bicolor LED lights. These panel-style lights consist of an array of multiple diodes (like a whole bunch of little light bulbs) spread across a housing about 12 inches square. They don’t use a lot of power so they’re really energy efficient and even can be run off a battery. They’re really... Read more

Using Snapshots And Virtual Copies In Lightroom

Built-in tools that make undoing your work and creating editing variations a breeze
Lightroom Snapshots and Virtual Copies
Many times when working on editing digital image files in Lightroom, you may find yourself at a point you might eventually like to come back to, almost like saving a video game to protect your progress in case the zombies up ahead eat your brain. In Lightroom, saving your work in a particular state is done by taking a snapshot of the current state.... Read more

Are DSLRs Still Relevant?

Why DSLRs still rule (and when they really don’t)
There are more camera options available today than ever before, which means a lot of good reasons why even serious photographers should consider compact mirrorless and point-and-shoot cameras. But the DSLR is still in many ways the king of the hill. Here’s why you should think of the DSLR first when considering a new camera, and a few reasons why... Read more

Don’t Get Scammed!

There are photographer-specific email scams out there. Here’s how to spot them.
Tip Of The Week
There are a lot of bad people out there, trying to trick you out of your hard-earned dollars—Nigerian royalty, a long-lost friend stuck in Istanbul, work-from-home scams and more. There’s even a type of scam out there specific to photographers. When the bad people find out you’re a photographer—by scraping your email from your photo-related... Read more