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How To Travel Light As A Photographer

Shaving pounds and ounces can make the difference between a traveling struggle and a truly pleasurable adventure

I love photography, and I love to travel. Problem is, I don’t necessarily love to travel for photography. The issue, of course, is figuring out how to get all the necessary equipment from point A to point B safely and efficiently. The best way to make this task easier is to travel light. Of course, it can be a challenge figuring out how to do that... Read more

Creating Faux Infrared In Photoshop

No need for infrared film, filters and processing. You can make any image appear infrared with a few easy editing steps.

It’s easier than ever to recreate the look of an infrared black and white photograph with the help of Photoshop. Using a Black & White Adjustment Layer, you can easily turn landscapes and portraits into faux infrared masterpieces. Here’s how. First, open your image file in Photoshop and keep it in full color RGB, or convert it to... Read more

Add Pop to Portraits in Post

Soft lighting is flattering, but a little drama can add interest

I’m always striving to keep my portraits from being flat and boring. Consequently I find myself reaching for harder, contrastier light sources to give my photos pop and pizazz. The problem is, contrasty lights don’t look good on everybody. On most people, in fact, they accentuate wrinkles and blemishes and texture. It’s not a popular portrait... Read more
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Break The Rules: Use Lens Flare As An Artistic Tool

Creative uses for the good kind of lens flare

I’ve noticed a trend toward photographic rule breaking in recent years. After generations of investment in better technology and improved fidelity, suddenly photographers are in love with the imperfect—whether that’s the faded nostalgia of Instagram or the artful use of blurry images. But the trend that I find most intriguing, the one... Read more

The Importance Of Waiting To Sharpen For Final Output

The last thing you do to your image file should be sharpening. If you resize after that, you’re going to be disappointed.

This isn’t intended to be your typical sharpening primer, nor an exploration of all of the myriad creative ways to sharpen your image files. This post is designed exclusively to drive home one of the most important sharpening fundamentals: sharpening for final output. If you sharpen an image file too early in its life cycle, what you may find... Read more

Creating a Top-Down Still Life Setup

Shooting from directly above a subject can be difficult. Here’s how to do it well

Sometimes, it’s necessary to place your camera in a difficult position in order to get the shot you need. No position is trickier than trying to shoot straight down from above. Imagine you need to photograph a process that’s taking place on a surface—like a cooking show, for instance, or a drawing on a desk—or perhaps you simply need... Read more

Build a DIY Fluorescent Ring Light

This inexpensive, neat little light works well for photos, and videos, too

Ring lights are cool. They produce a unique, near shadowless, slick, frontal illumination when used as a key light, and they’re an ideal on-axis fill. The only problem is, most ring lights are pretty darn expensive. So why not save a few bucks and build your own ring light. Rather than making a strobe version, though, we’re going to use... Read more

Blend Mode Basics

Layers are one of the things that makes Photoshop such a powerful image editing tool

Layers are one of the things that makes Photoshop such a powerful image editing tool. And one of the things that makes layers so powerful is the flexibility of blend modes. Blend modes dictate how one layer will interact with the layers below it, modifying colors, contrast and exposure to subtly or dramatically change the look of an image. Here’s... Read more

Three Steps For Total Contrast Control

Contrast control is at the very heart of photography

Contrast control is at the very heart of photography. Too much contrast means the loss of important image-forming details, either in the highlights, or the shadows, or—worst of all—both. So here are a few techniques to help you control contrast and ensure detail-rich photos without blown out blacks or whites. – Start with the right... Read more

Opening RAW Files As Smart Objects

One of the things that makes Lightroom such a useful tool in many photographers’ workflows is the fairly seamless way it integrates with Photoshop

One of the things that makes Lightroom such a useful tool in many photographers’ workflows is the fairly seamless way it integrates with Photoshop. A click of a button will open a RAW image file right in Photoshop, ready to be worked on with Photoshop’s even greater range of precision editing tools. By default, that image file is opened... Read more

Light Meters Still Matter

Here’s how, and why, to use a handheld light meter effectively

There are some pretty cool things happening in the world of handheld light meters these days, like Sekonic’s L-478 touchscreen light meter, which can do all sorts of amazing things like create custom profiles for cameras and lenses. But the fundamental task of handheld light meters has remained unchanged for generations: They’re simply a... Read more

Skin Retouching With Frequency Separation

I recently met a professional portrait retoucher who taught me all about her preferred method for skin retouching, commonly called the Frequency Separation technique

I recently met a professional portrait retoucher who taught me all about her preferred method for skin retouching, commonly called the Frequency Separation technique. It’s a great way to separate the texture of skin from the tonalities. It’s important to eliminate unwanted texture like wrinkles and blemishes while not eliminating good texture... Read more
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