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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
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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

Three Great Uses For A 50% Gray Layer

The whole idea behind editing an image on different layers in Photoshop is to employ non-destructive editing

The whole idea behind editing an image on different layers in Photoshop is to employ non-destructive editing. Any edit you make doesn’t irretrievably change the actual image-forming pixels, but rather these edits happen on layers above the original, unmodified background. A layer filled with 50% gray, when combined with a layer mode like Overlay... Read more

How To Find A Lens’ Sharpest Aperture

There’s an old photographer’s rule of thumb that states the sharpest aperture on a given lens can be found about three stops from wide open

There’s an old photographer’s rule of thumb that states the sharpest aperture on a given lens can be found about three stops from wide open. That means on a lens with a maximum aperture of ƒ/2.8, the sharpest aperture is likely to be around ƒ/8. In practice, it’s different with every lens, but it’s always somewhere near the... Read more

How To Fake A Ring Light Strobe

Ring lights are popular light sources, especially for fashion and glamour photography

Ring lights are popular light sources, especially for fashion and glamour photography. The strong direction of the frontal source and its unique shadow outline are hard to replicate any other way—unless, of course, you don’t have a ring light, and you want to fake it, as I did here. All you need to create a fake ring light is a round... Read more

Making Multiple Exposures In Camera

Did you know your DSLR might make it easy for you to make in-camera multiple exposures

Did you know your DSLR might make it easy for you to make in-camera multiple exposures? DSLRs are increasingly outfitted with multiple exposure options, and I’d be surprised if sooner than later it wasn’t standard for every camera. In the old days of film, you had to mechanically trick your camera into not advancing the film to... Read more

The Ten Commandments Of Studio Product Photography

I drafted this list of ten commandments to help these young photographers maximize their chances of tabletop photography success

I teach a product photography class, and I’m consistently surprised when fairly advanced students still get confused on some basic do’s and don’ts of camera settings for working in the studio, particularly with subjects that aren’t moving. So I drafted this list of ten commandments to help these young photographers maximize... Read more

How To Up-Res An Image File

I recently sent an image file to a client who had plans to enlarge it to more than five feet wide for a trade show display

I recently sent an image file to a client who had plans to enlarge it to more than five feet wide for a trade show display. Straight out of the camera, my file was more than 5,000 pixels on the long side, and the printer’s specifications said it should be 7,000 pixels, so I fired up Photoshop, used the Image Size controls to increase the... Read more

Give New Life To Old Lenses

As much as I hate to admit it, when it comes to my gear, I can be a bit of a cheapskate

As much as I hate to admit it, when it comes to my gear, I can be a bit of a cheapskate. It’s not that I won’t invest in good gear. On the contrary, I like to invest in good gear and then keep it for years and years and eke out every last drop of usability before I buy something to replace it. Which is why it still troubles me that... Read more

Layer Images To Eliminate Noise

As great as digital camera sensors have become at combating noise, this film-grain-reminiscent interference can still rear its ugly head

As great as digital camera sensors have become at combating noise, this film-grain-reminiscent interference can still rear its ugly head at high ISOs and in long exposures. So, removing excessive noise—literally improving the signal-to-noise ratio—is as important as ever. There are plenty of traditional approaches to eliminating noise—from... Read more
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