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Frequency Separation Retouching… For Hair!

This popular skin retouching technique is also great for taming flyaway hair

The frequency separation technique is particularly popular among portrait retouchers who want a subject’s skin to look its best without appearing overly retouched or, heaven forbid, downright fake. As good as the process is for skin, it’s also quite effective when retouching hair—for eliminating flyaways and stray hairs, in particular.... Read more

Digital Toning For Beautiful Black And White

How to use Lightroom and Photoshop to add dimension to black-and-white photos

Split Toned Before For generations of darkroom print makers, toning a black and white print was not only a way to add beauty via a subtle gold, sepia or blue tone, but it also added longevity as well. Bonding metals such as gold and selenium to the silver in black and white photo paper made beautiful prints that were more archival. A dual benefit.... Read more

How To Make A Photo Look Like An Oil Painting

Photoshop’s art history brush is a fast and fun way to emulate the look of an oil painting

Before If you’ve got a photo you’d like to makeover with a painterly flair, consider using Photoshop’s Art History Brush. It can transform any photograph into a virtual impressionist painting. I find that it works particularly well on landscapes, flowers, and naturalistic images in general. Found just beneath the History... Read more
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Change Your Lens Or Move Your Feet?

The difference between zooming your lens and zooming with your feet

In the development of every photographer, at some point we figure out that there are multiple ways to approach the composition of any scene. For instance, if you know you want to shoot a portrait of a person in the park, and you want to photograph her from the waist up and fill the frame, you’ve got one major choice right off the bat: should I... Read more

The Peripheral Vision Retouching Technique

How do you determine which spots need fixing? Look Here, Click There.

One of the most useful ways to put Photoshop to work improving a photograph is to use it for simple spotting and retouching of tiny distractions in any shot. With a portrait, for instance, small blemishes, pores and wrinkles serve to keep a portrait subject from looking his or her best. It can be obvious sometimes which blemishes need to be removed,... Read more

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
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