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Improving Color Accuracy

If you’re new to the concept of color management, this tip is for you

If you’re new to the concept of color management, this tip is for you. The topic isn’t a whole lot of fun, because it’s not glamorous, and it’s less about creativity than technical accuracy. It can also be kind of a difficult subject to get your head around. Consequently, a lot of photographers completely avoid the subject and... Read more

Dark Backgrounds In Broad Daylight

No studio? No problem

No studio? No problem. When working with flash you’ve got the ability to turn any location into a studio—even bright daylight. Here’s how to overpower daylight and create a strobe-only exposure that can render even a bright midday background dark as night. First, start by positioning your subject far from the background. If you try... Read more

How To Cut Window Mats

In this digital world, the photographic print has become increasingly rare

In this digital world, the photographic print has become increasingly rare. Rarer still is the artfully matted and framed photograph, although this remains the preferred approach for showcasing fine photographs. If you want to prepare your work for framing, here’s my time-tested technique for measuring, cutting and finishing a window mat that’s... Read more

Five Methods for Bouncing Light

For many photographers, bouncing light means just one thing…

For many photographers, bouncing light means just one thing: using a reflector to lighten a subject’s shadow side. But bounced light can take many forms because it can be done for many reasons—like making “motivated light” or creating a softer, more natural looking source. Here are five examples of how you can bounce light for more... Read more

Breaking Bad Photographic Habits

We all have them. They come in infinite forms

We all have them. They come in infinite forms. They’re bad habits, from chewing with your mouth open to biting your nails. But the worst habits of all are the ones that compromise your photographs. If you want to start improving your photography, start working to break these habits. • Autofocusing all the time. Sure, it’s convenient,... Read more

Use A Hard Light For Portraits With Pop

The rules of portraiture say you have to use soft light to make your subjects look their best

The rules of portraiture say you have to use soft light to make your subjects look their best. While it’s true that soft light (from diffused sources like windows and softboxes) is definitely flattering for faces, it can also be somewhat boring when it’s not used carefully. So sometimes I move down the spectrum, away from soft light sources... Read more

How To Insure Photography Equipment

I recently suffered through a flood at my studio that caused many thousands of dollars in damage and many months of headaches

I recently suffered through a flood at my studio that caused many thousands of dollars in damage and many months of headaches. Thankfully, though, we didn’t lose any expensive camera equipment, and the computers, furniture and structures we did lose were covered by insurance. It got me thinking, though, about how many of us photographers are sure... Read more

Photographing Clear Objects

Lighting stuff is easy, right? You just point a light at it, and you can see it.

Lighting stuff is easy, right? You just point a light at it, and you can see it. But what if the thing you’re trying to photograph is transparent—as in crystal clear? In that case, simply pointing a light at it won’t work. You have to concern yourself with what can be seen through the object and with defining its edges in order to provide... Read more

Histogram Exposure Adjustments in Lightroom

We all know what a good histogram should look like, right?

We all know what a good histogram should look like, right? A “normal” scene should not be too heavily weighted toward the left side of the histogram—the shadow side—or else we risk underexposure. Likewise, a normal scene’s histogram shouldn’t spike heavily toward the right, the highlight side, or the image might be overexposed... Read more

Retouching Multi-Layered Files

The thing that really makes Photoshop an invaluable editing tool, in my opinion, is its ability to process images with layers

The thing that really makes Photoshop an invaluable editing tool, in my opinion, is its ability to process images with layers. Layers allow you to make edits without ever changing the original image-forming pixels. They sit there undisturbed on the background below. By the time I’m ready to do the final retouching—like spotting and blemish... Read more

How To Build A Book Light

I’m always studying soft lighting techniques in hopes of refining my portraiture repertoire

I’m always studying soft lighting techniques in hopes of refining my portraiture repertoire. The subtle differences between a simple softbox and a light bounced off a flat or through a silk are intriguing to me, because while each of these sources is “soft,” they’re both distinctly different. The type of “soft”... Read more

Get Higher Resolution With a Tilt-Shift Lens

Most photographers who employ a tilt-shift or perspective control lens do so for one of two reasons

Most photographers who employ a tilt-shift or perspective control lens do so for one of two reasons: to combat distortion in architectural images or to change the plane of focus. But there’s a third use for a tilt-shift lens that’s particularly powerful: It can create a wider angle of view and a higher resolution image file just through... Read more
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