Photography

Understanding Masking in Photoshop

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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?

4 ways to get the best effects possible from your polariser filter

With the advances in post-production software, it’s now possible to do almost anything to your images after you’ve fired the shutter, but there’s one filter that’s difficult to replicate effectively, and that’s the polariser filter. In this tutorial we show you 4 simple ways to use your polariser filter to its maximum potential.

4 ways to get the best effects possible from your polariser filter

A polariser filter has many uses, but its primary function is to reduce the amount of glare from non-metallic reflective surfaces such as water.

It also removes the small reflections from leaves and other foliage, saturating the colour and giving the landscape extra punch. Its other main use is for intensifying the colour of blue skies and making white clouds stand out. A polariser also helps to reduce atmospheric haze.

SEE MORE: 5 essential photography filters (and why you can’t live without them)

How to use a polariser filter for maximum impact

How to use a polariser filter for maximum impact: know the two types of polarisers

Two types of polariser
The most common type of polariser is the circular screw-in type made by the likes of Hoya and B+W. These come in various diameters, and you’ll need to buy one for each size of lens you own. A slot-in polariser, such as from Lee or Cokin, is used with a filter holder.

 SEE MORE: 9 filter mistakes every photographer makes (and how to avoid them)

How to use a polariser filter for maximum impact: how to use your filter

How to use one
The effect of a polariser can be seen by rotating the filter on the front of the lens or in the holder. The degree of polarisation depends on your shooting position in relation to the angle of sunlight. It’s most noticeable when you’re photographing at a right angle.

SEE MORE: Best circular polariser filter – 5 top models tested and rated

How to use a polariser filter for maximum impact: when to use your polariser filter

When to use one
A polariser is typically used when shooting in bright sunlight, but it can also be effective in overcast conditions to increase saturation, although the results tend to be more subtle. A polariser reduces the amount of light reaching the sensor by upto around two stops.

 SEE MORE: 4 tips for using your polarizer to shoot the perfect sky

How to use a polariser filter for maximum impact: be careful at wide angles

Watch out for…
Polarisers often produce uneven results when using a wide-angle lens because some parts of the sky are more polarised than others. It’s most noticeable in a blue sky, with the more polarised area appearing darker. The effect can be lessened by increasing the focal length.

Final Tip
Polarising filters can cause vignetting when fitted onto a wide-angle lens. Get an ultra thin version to minimise the effect

READ MORE

How to blur moving clouds with an ND filter (and how to calculate exposure)
How and when to use ND filters (and what the numbers mean)
Best photography accessories – transform your images for less than £100!
What is the best filter to have in your bag? Read one pro’s verdict!
Camera filters: which type is right for you?

[syndicated from Digital Camera World]

4 Basic Steps to Improve Your Photography Skills

Anyone can take good photographs, regardless of experience, training, or even equipment. What it all comes down to is how well a person understands the art of taking a photo. And as it turns out, there really are only a few things that are absolutely essential. Now, this article might not launch your National Geographic career, but it certainly could make your photos stand out amongst the sea of drab images that flood Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.

1. Focus On The Upper Third

Our eyes don’t naturally go to the center of a picture when we first look at it; they scan the thirds of the images. Simply by placing the main focus of your picture in the upper third area you can drastically improve the quality of your photograph. It’s really that simple; just put someone’s eyes in the upper third of a photo the next time you take their picture.

portrait composition

2. Think Before Using Your Flash

Next time you’re more than 20 feet away from whatever you’re taking a picture of remember the following analogy and think whether or not your flash is actually going to help:

If you had a flashlight and pointed it at a truck that was driving away from you, how far do you think the truck would drive before the flashlight no longer illuminated the back of the truck? Ten feet? One hundred feet? Either way, we can all acknowledge that eventually the truck would be too far away for the flashlight to illuminate it properly. The flash on your camera is actually really similar, except that unlike a flashlight it’s meant to flood a relatively small area with a lot of light, whereas a flashlight usually covers a much greater distance with a narrow beam of light.

This is important because if the camera fires the flash it will assume that whatever you were aiming at was lit by the flash, leaving you with underexposed (dark) photos if your subject was too far away.

portrait with flash

3. Read Your Camera’s Manual

As simple as a camera is (light is focused by the lens on a sensor, which records the information) the software that operates the camera usually has dozens of controls and strange names for operations. This is true if you’re using anything better than a cell phone, and even more true if you’re using a DSLR. So make sure you keep the manual handy at all times.

If you, like most people, threw your camera’s manual away, or lost it somewhere amongst countless other manuals that you never read, don’t panic. Pretty much any manual for anything ever can be found online, usually on the manufacturer’s website. Just go ahead and Google the exact name of your camera and you’ll probably find all kinds of interesting information. The task may seem daunting, but try to look at it as a learning opportunity.

4. Keep It Fun

Taking pictures should be fun above all else. The tips provided above are good tips that will help you improve your technique, but they are by no means a comprehensive guide on how to be a better artist. Try not to take advice or implement practices that make photography feel less enjoyable.

fun photography

So, we’re interested—have you read your camera’s manual? If so, did you find it useful? If not, why not? What other fundamentals would you suggest to a novice photographer?

About the Author
Daniela Brannon is an Account Manager for Swagger Media. They have a blog on marketing skills. Swagger Media offers video production services, post-production services, animation, marketing and strategy, and everything in between. Reach out to us with any questions, comments, or rate inquiries.

[this post syndicated from Picture Correct]