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Understanding Masking in Photoshop


Masking is one of those techniques that will change the way you use Photoshop. Understanding this technique can help you to jump from being a beginner level Photoshop user, to a more advanced one. In this article, I will explain how masking really works in Photoshop, its few key concepts, and how Masking helps you to perform non-destructive editing.

The skills you need to get started masking in Photoshop are being able to use the brush tool to paint color, understand two colors black and white, and knowledge of how layers work in Photoshop, which I assume you have very sound knowledge on.

What is masking what does it do in Photoshop?

3 Essential Photoshop Tools for New Portrait Photographers

Opening Photoshop for the first time is kind of like going on your first date; your hands sweat, your eyes glaze over, you completely lose all sense of direction and time. At least that was the scenario for me.


Photoshop is an incredibly complex program that can be used as an artistic tool for positive enhancement, or gross distortion when it comes to portraiture. It’s all too easy to over-edit, get carried away with the sheer number of the tools at your fingertips, or attempt elaborate cover-up schemes for poorly shot images when first starting out. There are certain tools I grasped at the beginning of my learning curve, however, that were essential for editing clean and simple portrait images. Three years after my initial dumb-struck encounter, and countless hours of reading and practicing later, there are three tools that I still use in almost every photo I push through Photoshop. I’ve since discovered that users at every stage continually apply these tools to their photography workflow, as well.

Everyone has to start somewhere, so if you know nothing else about it yet, start by familiarizing yourself with these three Photoshop tools and you’ll build a solid foundation for taking your portrait photography editing to the next level.

The Most Effective Way to Reduce Noise in Your Photos Using Photoshop

Advancing technology has improved image quality, and while digital noise isn’t as much of a problem as it once was, it is still an issue that needs attention in some photographs. Watch as Bryan O’Neil Hughes walks us through the process he uses to reduce noise using Photoshop:

Hughes starts his noise reduction workflow in the Camera RAW plug-in. In Photoshop CC click Filter > CameraRAW. This will open the module where you can navigate to the adjustment sliders and make any corrections needed to exposure. O’Neil points out that, when working with luminance and sharpening, it’s best to zoom in to about 200 percent so you can be sure to get a close up look at how the image is being affected.

There are several ways to reduce noise in Photoshop.

Once you’ve settled on the basic image adjustments, you can open the Details Panel in Camera RAW. This will present you with options to adjust Sharpening and Luminance. Use the Color Noise slider to clean up the shadows and the Luminance Detail slider to fuzz out any leftover noise. Just be careful or your image will start to look like a painting.

You can also hide some of the noise by pulling down the Blacks slider in the Basic panel.

Hughes warns that the intuitive option of using Filter > Noise > Reduce Noise to reduce digital noise is no longer the best option. Use his other suggested techniques for best results.

[this post syndicated from Picture Correct]

DIY Photography Hacks: how to make your own softbox

Eliminate harsh flash without breaking the bank! Our DIY Photography Hacks series starts up again with a simple tutorial showing you how to make your own softbox to create soft, direct light.

DIY Photography Hacks: how to make your own softbox

Hotshoe flash is a great way to add light to a portrait. But even if your flash comes with its own softbox, its small size and proximity to the flash often limit its effectiveness when it comes to reducing glare.

Creating your own flash softbox is a cinch. You can make one using a few household items: white card, silver foil, tape, a rubber band and a piece of white fabric to create the diffusion panel.

With a craft knife at the ready, here is how you can create your own DIY photography softbox…

How to make a DIY softbox: steps 1-3

How to make a DIY softbox: step 1

01 Prepare the plans
First, measure the width and length of the flash head: this is for the part of the box that will slot on. Mark four pieces of 10-inch square card – one for each side of the box.


How to make a DIY softbox: step 2

02 Create the structure
With a ruler, draw from the top of the box shape to the top edges to form a trapezoid shape. Draw tabs on two cards so there’s something to join the sections together. Click here for more step-by-step on creating the structure


How to make a DIY softbox: step 3

03 Add foil and assemble
To maximise light, stick silver foil to the inside of the triangular sections. Using tape, assemble the sections as a funnel to slot over the flash head. Check the fit.

PAGE 1: How to make a DIY softbox – steps 1-3
PAGE 2: How to make a DIY softbox – steps 4-6


DIY Photography Hacks: why a blank CD case makes the perfect rain guard for your lens
How to use a tablet or laptop as a light source for your portraits

Best studio flash kits: 6 models tested and rated
Flash photography basics: every common question answered

[syndicated from Digital Camera World]

How to enhance a sky to mimic a graduated neutral density filter

In this advanced photo editing tutorial we’ll show you how to use an adjustment layer and the Gradient tool to mimic the effect of a graduated neutral density filter.

How to enhance a sky to mimic a graduated neutral density filter

When you photograph a high-contrast scene with lots of dark tones in the foreground and a lighter sky, the sky will often look bland and washed out, because your DSLR has exposed for the foreground.

One solution is to fit a graduated neutral density (ND) filter to your lens to retain colour and detail in the sky; but while filters can be effective, you’re stuck with the look that they produce – if the graduated darkening effect is in the wrong place, or too strong, there’s not much you can do to alter it.

An alternative is to replicate the ND grad effect in Photoshop Elements. In this tutorial we’ll show you how to darken a shot with a Levels adjustment layer, and how to draw a gradient on the layer mask to restrict the effect to just the sky, so the correctly exposed landscape isn’t altered.

The beauty of this photo editing technique is that you can alter the density and position of the gradient to get exactly the effect you want.

[Note - Graffi's technique is here]

Photoshop Versus Lightroom: Which is Right for You?

As a photographer, whether it be professional or hobbyist, you have several skill sets to juggle and many hats to wear; you’ll need to be an artist when composing your photo’s scene, technically proficient with your camera and settings, and in the case of professionals, an adept businessperson who can maintain a business and satisfy clients consistently.

Lightroom versus photoshop

One of the most important roles you play as a photo enthusiast is that of image editor. Rarely do our images come straight out of the camera exactly as we had envisioned, so before release we are required to put our shots through the post-processing phase; this is where our raw photos are enhanced, adjusted, toned, and sharpened to give us the final image we want to deliver.

Although we have many tools at our disposal these days to help us through this phase of processing, the industry juggernaut has undoubtedly been Adobe Photoshop since its first version’s release in 1990. The software has been used by amateurs and professionals alike year after year, and is considered an essential part of most photographer’s toolboxes.

Another 15 Cheat Sheets, Printables and Infographics for Photographers

Editor’s note: Last week we shared a list of some great resources for photographers. It was so popular we thought we’d bring you another set compiled for dPS by Julia May, enjoy.

More Photography Tech and Creative Process

The basics every photographer must know. Click the links to see the original article and source.

Continued from #15 from last weeks: 15 of the Best Cheat Sheets, Printables and Infographics for Photographers

#16 Digital Macro and Close-Up Photography for Dummies

(click the link to read the full summary and see the whole sheet)

18 macro dummies

#17 Quick Guide Natural Light Settings

(Click the image to get a larger view of this graphic)

18 natural light 600

#18 Exposure Guide: Road to Photography

19 digital photography exposure guide

#19 Photoshop CS6 Shortcut Cheatsheet

20 photoshop cs6 shortcuts

#20 How to Take Pictures Like a Pro

(Click the image to get a larger view of this graphic)

21 photography pro 600

#21 Is Photography Dead? Mobile Photography Explosion

(Click the image to see the full graphic)

22 mobile photography

#22 21 Simple Poses to Get You Started With Photographing Children - a dPS article!

(Click the link above for the full article and all images)

23 posing guide children

#23 Using Nikon Metering Modes

24 Nikon DSLRs metering modes full

#24 Portrait Posing Ideas (Printable)

(Click the image to see the full graphic)

25 Portrait Ideas

(Click the image to see the full graphic)

25 Portrait Ideas part2 cropped

Photography Business and Legal

Learn how to get started with your own photography business and check if your marketing strategy includes all the latest techniques.

#25 9 Ways to Grow Your Photography Business in 2014

(Click the image to see the full graphic)

26 photography business plan

#26 9 Free Photography Contracts

(Click the link above for the full article and get the contracts)

27 photo contracts

#27 Creating a Marketing Plan That Works (Printable Worksheet)

(Click the link above for the full article – click the image below for the full printable sheet)

28 marketing photo worksheet

#28 Know Your Rights As a Photographer

(Click the image to see the full graphic)

29 Photographers rights

#29 Photography Marketing Cheat Sheet (SEO, Social Media, Classic Marketing, Email Marketing)

(Click the image to see the full graphic)

30 defrozo photography marketing cheat sheet

#30 Top 15 Photographers Under 25 by Defrozo

(Click the image to see the full graphic)

30 photographersunder25 600

[post syndicated from Digital Photography School]

Directing your Viewer’s Eyes with Lightroom to Make a More Powerful Image

One key to a successful photograph is that it directs the viewer’s attention towards the subject in question. There are many ways that this can be achieved through composition and lightning in the field, but did you know, you can also direct the attention of your viewer’s eyes through post-production?

truck edit-2

You still need an interesting subject for this to work, as directing your viewer’s eyes to a boring location within a frame is still going to result in a boring photograph. For the sake of this tutorial I’ll be using this photograph of an abandoned utility truck, but you could use anything from an interesting tree, to a model, to your pet, and achieve similar results.

Some Retouching Basics for Graphic Designers and Photographers

We’ve got important Photoshop techniques here for you, all focused on improving your photo manipulations and retouches. This tutorial will teach you how make skin smoother, and how to make charming eyes. By simply adjustment layers you will make better colors. Then, you will make grain on skin, to more realistic look.

Preview of Final Results

With this tutorial you will create amazing beauty retouch, which can be used in printed media – like in magazines, flyers, adverts and more. You can use this knowledge in your designs, or even if you are photographer! You’ll need Photoshop CS5 or newer to follow this tutorial.


Tutorial Resources

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