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Emulating Open Shade With Strobes

To create broad soft light with strobes, bouncing is key

Open shade is one of the most beautiful portrait lights there is. It can be found anywhere, practically any time of the day, almost always outside. Open shade is brighter than "heavy shade," because indirect light is reflected off of open sky, nearby buildings or even the ground. It’s this indirect, bright, diffuse light that makes open... Read more

The Super-Simple Fix For Common Moiré

Got Moiré? Here’s the fastest, easiest way to eliminate it in Photoshop.

Have you ever encountered moiré? It’s the discolored rainbow pattern that can pop up in digital images at the most inopportune times. It shows up when tight patterns in a subject’s clothing (most often, I find, in the fine patterns of men’s suits) create virtual interference due to the way they align with the equally tight pattern... Read more

Photoshop Tip: Automatically Select The In-Focus Area Of Any Image

Believe it or not, Photoshop can tell what’s in focus and what’s not.

Last week readers learned about a powerful, efficient, easy-to-use Photoshop selection method called Color Range. This week we’ll discuss another tremendous selection tool, in many ways the "sister" to the Color Range since they’re found right next to each other in the Select menu. It’s called Focus Area, and it uses what... Read more

Make Precise Selections With Photoshop’s Color Range Tool

The simple approach to making crazy-accurate selections a snap

When working in Photoshop, accurate selections can be a time-consuming, sometimes confounding challenge. And while there are lots of tools to aid in selecting various parts of a scene, not all of them are as efficient and easy to use as others. If you find yourself always falling back on the magic wand or the lasso tools, allow me to introduce you to... Read more

Road Lighting Hacks

In a pinch, almost anything can become a light modifier

There are a lot of great light modifiers out there. From scrims to grids, diffusers to flags, if you’ve got the money, you can buy some beautifully constructed items from any number of manufacturers for shaping, modifying and controlling light. At my studio we own quite a few versatile light modifiers, but still sometimes my pea-sized brain gets... Read more

How To Use A Large Format View Camera

An introduction to how 4×5 film cameras work

I recently sold a camera on eBay. It was a Linhof large format 4×5 studio camera. In the process, a potential buyer emailed to inquire about how to use the camera because his plans were to learn the process of using a view camera with this Linhof. It occurred to me that as simple as large format cameras might be, they might be daunting to photographers... Read more

Learning to See in Black and White

Simple techniques to turn a platitude into a practical bit of photographic advice

It’s a cliché that even I have used from time to time: to become a better black and white photographer, you’ve got to start to see the world in black and white. I don’t mean moral extremes here. I’m talking about physically interpreting a scene in the unique ways that black and white film would render that scene. That means... Read more

Using Lightroom’s Radial Filter

The radial filter is a great tool for vignetting and blurring off-center subjects.

One of the best ways to edit images inside Lightroom’s Develop module is to put adjustments to use with the Graduated Filter and the Adjustment Brush. With the addition of the Radial Filter to this lineup, powerful adjustments now have a new level of control, and one that makes vignetting effects—whether based on exposure or sharpness—easier... Read more

Save Retouching Notes Right In A File

Photoshop is a powerful program, made even better by the addition of simple note taking

Way back in the early 1990s, one of my first digital imaging instructors talked about the importance of making recipes for the digital edits we were making in Photoshop. That way we could always go back and adjust those changes later, or recreate them on a different image file. That instructor was advocating writing good notes on paper, but today Photoshop... Read more

Deciphering Memory Card Tech

There’s a lot of cryptic code on CF and SD cards. Here’s what it all means.

How do you know what kind of memory card you should use in your camera? Check the owner’s manual right? Well sure, that will tell you the appropriate format, but what about all the other variables that come with flash memory cards—like speed ratings, classifications and the many acronyms plastered across most cards? Here’s what all those... Read more

Delivering Digital Image Files, Part 2

Sending High-Resolution Finished Image Files

Last week we addressed my favorite methods for sending low-resolution proof files to subjects and clients. This week I’ll explain part two of the delivery process: sending those pesky high-resolution finished digital image files. In the early years of the digital revolution, I found myself delivering high-resolution image files to clients on physical... Read more

Delivering Digital Image Files, Part 1

Sending Digital Proofs

Isn’t it great, living in the future? In the old days we only had one option for delivering pictures to our clients: prints. But these days we’ve got all those old options that we can produce from our digital image files (like prints, albums and books) as well as a slew of new options for delivering the actual digital image files. It’s... Read more
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