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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.

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.

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.

Lightroom Tips: how to use the Tone Curve panel to fine tune tone values

Lightroom Tips: how to use the Tone Curve panel to fine tune tone values

In this quick Adobe Lightroom tutorial we’ll show you how to take more precise control over the tones in your photographs by tweaking specific values using Lightroom’s powerful Tone Curve panel.

How to use Lightroom’s Tone Curve panel

5 Tips for Using Pinterest for Photography Inspiration

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Let me just come right out and say it – I think Pinterest is amazing. Not only is it a wealth of information when it comes to recipes and easy craft projects for my two kids, but it is also an incredible source for both photography instruction and inspiration. As a photographer, I am constantly inspired by the images that I see while browsing the “Photography” category on Pinterest, and I think it can be a really valuable tool in terms of identifying your personal style in photography as well as pushing yourself as a photographer.

Photoshop Tutorial: How I made “Rainy Sidewalk”

Rainy Sidewalk

Some of the best effects you’ll see in some digital images are often the easiest, simplest & fastest effects to achieve. I’m not talking about “push-a-button” plugins or “do-the-work-for-you” actions or macros – I’m talking about open-the-file, use-the-tools, improvise-where-needed, do-it-yourself image editing.

Take a quick run-through with this tutorial for either Photoshop or Photoshop Elements – you’ll be surprised at how great an image you can create from scratch.


Starting Gradient

Start with a gradient

Fire up Photoshop or Elements. Create a new document – for this image, I made it 758 x540 pixels, 72dpi with a transparent background.

Now set your colors. Open the swatches palette (Window>Swatches), click the little triangle in the top right to get the menu popout, then click Reset Swatches.

From the reset swatch, make your foregorund color a 35% light gray and set your background color to a darker gray (65% from the palette).

Grab the gradient tool and make your settings like these:

Draw a linear gradient from top to bottom (darker on top, lighter on bottom).

Draw a few cracks with Paintbrush and a small, soft brush

Next, grab the paintbrush tool and a small brush – for this image, I’m using a 7px soft-edged one from the basic brushes palette (remember that you can increase & decrease your brush size on-the-fly by pressing the bracket keys – [ and ] - on your keyboard).

Using a slightly darker gray – I’m using 50% gray – draw some sidewalk lines & cracks.

Next, click over to Filters>Noise>Add Noise and use these settings: Gaussian, Monochromatic and amount about 4 or 5%.

Then click Filters>Artistic>Plastic Wrap and use 11 for Highlight Strength, 9 for Detail and 2 for Smoothness.

To adjust for “camera angle”, click Edit>Transform>Perspective and drag one of the bottom two handles out to adjust perspective a little bit. Change the Opacity of this layer to somewhere between 70 & 80% for this result:

Slightly transformed to fix perspective

Now create a new layer and move it to the bottom of the stack – fill this new layer with 50% Gray.

To add some rain, duplicate the sidewalk layer by dragging it into the New Layer icon at the bottom of the Layers palette.

Click Filters>Brush Strokes>Angled Strokes… and use Direction: 79, Stroke Length: 19 and Sharpness:2.

Change the Layer Opacity to about 45%, and you may want to try changing the blend mode to Lighten or Screen…:

Rainy Sidewalk

Rain added


Open the image that you want reflected in the sidewalk (a building, some trees, a person, etc.). I’m using this photo of an old jailhouse:

Drag that image into the sidewalk project (press V to get the move tool, and simply drag it into place on the other opened image; you may need to click Window>Arrange>Tile in order to see both opened images) and arrange it between the two sidewalk layers – the plastic wrapped one and the rain one.Click Edit>Transform>Rotate>180 so it’s upside-down – remember, this is a reflection, so if there happens to be type in your image, you should also flip it horizontally by clicking Edit>Transform>Flip Horizontal).

Move the image around or resize it so it fits in the sidewalk where you want it.

Click Edit>Transform>Perspective and pull one of the bottom two handles out to adjust for perspective, if necessary.Click Filters>Distort>Ripple and add about 450% – 500% – yes, 450 – 500%! You’ll need a lot of ripple to make this effect believeable:

 

Flipped and rippled

 

Now, just change this layer’s blend mode to to Hard Light/Soft Light/Multiply and adjust opacity.

Experiment with the different blends and opacities of the other layers until you get your image looking just right.

Then grab an umbrella, because it looks like rain out on the street!

Rainy Sidewalk manipulation

Final Rainy Sidewalk image

3…2…1…Actions!! A Guide to Using Photoshop Actions to Speed-Up Your Workflow

Do you find yourself doing the same processes in Photoshop over and over again? Do you wish you knew a way to quickly do amazing things to your photos without going through a bunch of steps? If you haven’t entered the world of ACTIONS yet, let me be your guide! I’m going to teach you how to install Photoshop Actions that you purchase or download on the web, and even better, how to create your very own Actions.

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There are tons of places to find Actions on the web. Some cost a lot, some are free. There are a lot of great ones, and a lot that aren’t really worth using. I look for Actions that fit my style, and are fully adjustable. Which means that I can turn every layer off or on, adjust the opacity of each layer, and customize to fit my style and each individual photo.

Note: numerous Photoshop / Photoshop Elements actions are available in my shop for all kinds of effects and workflow, and most come with a handy dandy Elements installer. Check them all out here and here

In-Depth Milky Way Timelapse Tutorial for Beginners

Making a timelapse is usually a long and hard process. There are so many things that you need to keep in mind. To help you out along the way, Ian Norman has created a pretty detailed tutorial for shooting motion timelapse sequences of the Milky Way:

Scouting a Location

The thing that you need to keep in mind is that you’ll need some experience in astrophotography before you tackle a timelapse. Finding your way around in pitch darkness isn’t that easy, nor is manually setting your focus and all the accompanying issues that come with night sky photography.

7 ways to make precise selections in Photoshop

Follow these seven expert tips for making better, faster, more precise selections in Photoshop, no matter what you want to select.

7 ways to make precise selections in Photoshop

How to make precise selections in Photoshop: 01 Quick Selection

Whether you need to isolate the subject from its background, quickly select a sky, or make any kind of cut out, the Quick selection Brush is usually up to the job. It’s our go-to tool for most selections.