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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
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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

You Need A Cable Release

To make sharp pictures, get your hands off your camera with these tools and techniques.

If you go back far enough in the history of photography, you’ll get to a time where photographers absolutely had to use a cable release in order to trigger the shutter. And this was a good thing, as it usually makes for sharper pictures. Consequently large format photographers have been employing cable releases since day one, and they’re... Read more

If You Can Only Have One Background…

…A white seamless is your best bet. Here’s why.

– When you want your background to look white in pictures, it’s much easier to start with a white background. True, you could dump enough light on a gray background that you overexpose it and make it look white, but this presents a number of challenges that are usually alleviated by simply starting with a white background. –... Read more

Turn A Hollow-Core Door Into A Long-Lasting Studio Reflector

How to DIY a versatile, rolling reflector that’s built to last

Foamcore and insulation sheeting make nice reflectors when you need something large—say, four feet or more in any dimension, and especially if you want a big ol’ 4×8 sheet reflector. But the problem with these paper-based products is that they don’t hold up well to use and abuse. So that’s why at my studio, we discovered that... Read more

The One-Click Trick To Make Photoshop Adjustment Layers More Useful

A tiny little button makes a real big difference with Adjustment Layers

When working with Layers in Photoshop, one of the most powerful tools for lossless editing is the use of adjustment layers. Rather than actually changing the pixels in the content layer (i.e. altering the original image), you can use an adjustment layer to virtually put a filter over the layer and make the layer hold the adjustment for you. Turn off... Read more

Lightroom’s Adjustment Brush Auto Mask

Keep an eye out for unwanted artifacts from Lightroom’s automatic masking aid

Lightroom has a little tool called Automask that lives inside the Adjustment Brush. It’s intended to help photographers by making their retouching jobs easier, automatically creating a virtual mask that limits adjustments to an automatically selected area. And while I like the idea of this tool a lot in theory, I don’t really like it at... Read more

Make A Paint Chip Gray Card

Find a neutral gray paint chip and you’ve got an ideal, inexpensive, easily replaceable white balancing aid

The other day, as I was perusing paint chips while trying to select a color to paint my dining room, it occurred to me that these paint chips could be useful for photography. A truly neutral gray paper paint sample would make an ideal inexpensive (i.e. free) and very portable white balance aid. In the spirit of using a sample pack of gels to adjust... Read more

How To Photograph Basketball

Simple tools and techniques get you closer to the action than in any other sport

The NBA Playoffs are in full swing, so I thought why not offer some tips for photographing basketball. When I was a young photographer, there was nothing I enjoyed more than covering a high school or college basketball game. No sport puts you closer to the action with your camera, so it can really be a lot of fun to shoot. I’m not expecting you... Read more
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