5 ways to get natural skin tones in your portraits

Natural skin tones are essential to most successful colour portraits and they’re easy to achieve if you follow this simple guide from the team at Photoventure.

5 ways to get natural skin tones in your portraits: 01. Shoot raw

1. Shoot raw

We’re always banging on about shooting raw files, but it really is the best way to get natural skin tones. It ensures that you’ve got the maximum amount of data available for post-capture adjustment, which is vital when you tweak colour or exposure.

It’s not just about correcting mistakes, it’s about gathering the maximum amount of data available.

Flower Photography Tips and Techniques

To succeed at flower photography, you won’t need any fancy equipment, but you will need to pay attention to detail. If you want to take beautiful flower pictures, like the ones in magazines, this article will help show you how it can be done.

The first thing to do is plan to take your flower pictures when the lighting is good and the wind is still. Even the most gentle breeze can cause enough of a quiver in the stem to create blur in a close up. Usually the calmest time of day is around dawn. Dawn is also the time when you can usually find the best lighting.

flower photography tips

Basic Portrait Processing in Lightroom

Over the past few years I have learned a great deal about doing portraits, especially of young kids. I think it’s because I get so much enjoyment out of these types of shoots that I end up doing them more, though at some point it hardly seems fair because I wonder if I’m having more fun than the children whose pictures I am taking.

While each session is unique, I have developed my own style (which, in many ways, will always be a work in progress as I continue to learn new things) when it comes to both the shooting and editing process, and I thought it might help those who are new to this type of photo session to see a few examples along with an explanation of the creative choices I made along the way. I do all my edits in Lightroom, and while I sometimes need to do some more in-depth adjustments in Photoshop, 98% of all the pictures I give to clients don’t need anything more than what Lightroom can do. If you don’t have this software, I highly recommend it!


How to make Landscape Photos POP with Lightroom + free download

It seems like virtually all outdoor or landscape photographs suffer from the same illness when they come out of the camera. The symptoms are:

  • An overly bright sky
  • Foreground that is too dark
  • A general lack of color and contrast.

Sound familiar?

Fortunately, there is a cure for this ailment. Actually, as anyone who has worked with post-processing software for any length of time knows, there are a lot of different cures. But I want to show you a super simple way to fix pictures with these problems. I performed these fixes in Lightroom, but you can also do them on the Adobe Camera Raw screens of Photoshop or Photoshop Elements.

Note:  grab this free Lightroom Preset to apply these changes to your images:

Landscape Pop Lightroom Preset Downloaded 18 times so far.

You might also want to check out Add-O-Matic to quickly put presets into Lightroom with a drag and a drop:

Add-O-Matic is now in its 8th edition, starting with the first Add-O-Matic from way back for Photoshop Elements 5, and it is still the most popular Elements utility available! 

New Now Add-O-Matic now will put all your Lightroom presets away for you, too!
You can grab an Add-O-Matic fast-n-easy by clicking the button below:

Add-O-Matic 12 for Photoshop Elements 11-12 & Lightroom

Tips for Better Composition of Seascape Photographs

I do not believe that in photography there are absolute rules of composition, but it is undeniable that certain compositions work better than others.

Why? Probably because our brain is the result of millions of years of evolution, and as in two dots and a line we recognize a face (you don’t believe me? Have a look here.), in the same way we recognize some images as more pleasant to look at than others.

So let’s look at a few tricks to keep in mind during your next visit to the seaside.

Start following rules

Before trying to break rules, try to follow them. Start with the Rule of Thirds: divide your image into nine equal parts by two equally spaced horizontal lines and two equally spaced vertical lines. Then place important compositional elements along these lines or their intersections. The result will be that your photo becomes more balanced. In a seascape shot, for example try to put a Lighthouse on one of the vertical lines and the horizon on one of the horizontal ones.

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Important elements (the lighthouse and the horizon) are positioned along the lines and at the intersections

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Easy Spot Removal With Lightroom tutorial

Whether it’s fine lines, acne, or a stain on a shirt, quick spot removal techniques are always welcomed by photographers. Although Photoshop is king when it comes to intense editing, Lightroom is a great program for a wide range of editing needs. Adam Lerner shows us how easy it is to remove unwanted areas in a photograph with Lightroom 5‘s spot healing brush:

Save the heavy airbrushing for magazine covers. When editing your portraits keeping a small amount of facial lines and texture helps to keep things looking natural. This technique is great for removing bumps and dark spots, and lessening the intensity of wrinkles and lines.

Pseudo Panning Photoshop Action Download – free!

Pseudo Panning Action for Photoshop and Elements

The action as it appears in the Photoshop Elements Effects palette

Pseudo Panning Photoshop Action Download – free!

What is “Pseudo Panning”? I have no idea – but it’s what came to mind when I was creating this Photoshop action download.

I was trying to create an effect of rain running down a window and blurring, distorting and twisting what was behind it, but instead I wound up with an effect that looks like the camera was jostled or jiggled while the shutter was pressed.

Usually, that leads to images that are throw aways, but I thought that on certain types of images – images with strong vertical lines, like buildings or trees – this effect is pretty cool. I can think of several applications: advertisements, backgrounds, posters or labels, just off the top of my head.

Try it! The blur effect is adjustable, so you can decide how much or how little your image needs.

Pseudo Panning Action Wow! Downloaded 23 times so far!

I’d love to hear your feedback or see what you create with it! Here are a few sample images I’ve done using Photoshop Elements 13, with before & after images

Not sure where to put Actions in Photoshop Elements 6 – 12? Check this out:

Add-O-Matic is now in its 8th edition, starting with the first Add-O-Matic from way back for Photoshop Elements 5, and it is still the most popular Elements utility available! 

New Now Add-O-Matic now will put all your Lightroom presets away for you, too!
You can grab an Add-O-Matic fast-n-easy by clicking the button below:

Add-O-Matic 12 for Photoshop Elements 11-12 and Lightroom

Add-O-Matic for Elements 6-10

How to Crop Like a Boss in Photoshop

I have a habit of shooting for the crop (see my previous article ‘No Telephoto lens No Problem – Shoot for the crop‘) which often means that my final vision is a 4:2 proportion, or even a 4:1 panorama style image, instead of the most common 3:2 that is the default for most digital cameras.

With Photoshop’s latest crop tool this has never been easier, so let me show you how to crop like a boss!

How to crop like a boss in Photoshop

How to use Photoshop’s Quick Selection Tool to Change a Background

It’s the question I get asked the most in my workshops and classes – “How do you change the background of an image?” Or “How can I cut my subjects out of an image and place them on a new background?”

A quick capture of my parents at a coffee shop.

Perhaps, despite your best efforts at placing your subjects in a pleasing, non-distracting environment, the situation made it impossible. Maybe you used your smartphone to capture a spontaneous moment and now the image needs a little background work? Maybe you want to cut your subjects out of the background to isolate them or use them on a website banner or other marketing material? Whatever the reason, this task has challenged every photographer, beginner or pro, since the invention of the camera! I’m going to show you how to use one of Photoshop’s most underrated tools for easily extracting your subjects from the background.

How to use your flashgun for more creative images

How to use your flashgun for more creative images

Although they may be totally competent in using their camera and setting exposure, many photographers are nervous about using a flashgun. There’s something about employing this light source that they find a little intimidating. But actually, when you’re shooting with a digital camera you have very little to lose, if a shot doesn’t work you just change the settings and give it another go. So for this week’s challenge, we’d like you to put any fears or trepidation to one side and get to know your flashgun