Photoshop Quik Tip: Intensify a lens flare

Photoshop Tip: Intensify a lens flare

A trick to brightening a lens flare, or any layer involving a blend mode, is to duplicate it by pressing Cmd/Ctrl+J and then merging them together using Cmd/Ctrl+E to reduce the number of layers into just one.

What you’ll find is that Photoshop will combine the brightness values of both layers, making the flare stand out more.

[this post syndicated from Photoshop Daily]

Fine art photography: how to shoot – and print – an elegant portrait at home

Learn how to create a stylish piece of home art. Our fine art photography tutorial shows you how to shoot, edit and produce a high-quality print of a timeless black and white portrait.

Fine art photography: how to shoot - and print - an elegant portrait at home

We’re going to take you through the entire process of creating a fine art photography portrait in black and white, from the shoot to editing stage to producing a high-quality print. We’ll be editing the image in Photoshop Elements and printing our image on fine art matt paper, using an A3+ photo printer.

For our model shoot we’re going to use a simple home setup and a studio flash light. If you don’t have one of these you can use a flashgun, or even natural light and a reflector – if you’re using a reflector you may need to increase the ISO or open the aperture more than we suggest in our tutorial to get a good exposure.

If you’re using flash or studio lights you’ll need to set your shutter speed to 1/60 sec to sync with the lights, and balance the aperture setting with the strength of your flash.

SEE MORE: Fine art photography: what you need to shoot amazing photo projects at home

Set up to shoot and print fine art photography at home

Set up to shoot and print fine art photography at home: step 1

01 Model and styling
We’re going to shoot a vintage style sepia-toned monochrome portrait, so we’ve accessorised our model with vintage clothes, props and styled their hair and make up.

You could go for a similar style, or a Hollywood starlet look (in which case straight mono will look better than sepia), or stick with a straightforward portrait. We’re using a plain white wall for our backdrop.


Set up to shoot and print fine art photography at home: step 2

02 Shoot tethered
We’re using Canon’s EOS Utility to shoot tethered to a computer, but other methods will be similar. Set your camera up on a tripod and connect the camera and computer using the USB cable supplied with your DSLR.

Set your camera to Manual mode, then open EOS Utility and select the Camera Settings/Remote Shooting option – you can now control your camera settings via the shooting panel.

Set the shutter speed to 1/60 sec and the ISO to 100, and balance the flash and aperture to get an even exposure. We’ve also set the Picture Style to Monochrome, so that we have a better idea of how image will look when edited.


Set up to shoot and print fine art photography at home: step 3

03 Lighting setup
We used a single studio flash light for our shoot, which we positioned to the side of our model to create a soft shadow on one side of her face.

Set up to shoot and print fine art photography at home: step 3

We connected the flash to our camera using the supplied cable, set the flash to a low power and set our aperture to f/11 to ensure all of our model was sharp.

Set up to shoot and print fine art photography at home: step 3

If you don’t have a studio flash light you can use a flashgun, or just natural light and a reflector. You’ll need to fire off a few test shots to determine the optimum flash and aperture settings – the beauty of shooting tethered to a computer is that you can see the results on a large screen instantly.

SEE MORE: Photography lighting – how to take control of everything from natural light to off-camera flash


Set up to shoot and print fine art photography at home: step 4

04 Paper and ink
For the best results, stick to your printer manufacturer’s proprietary papers and inks. Manufacturers create ICC profile settings for their consumables, and although third-party inks can be cheaper you’re likely to find that your print colours won’t be accurate.

Professional printers aren’t cheap to run, so be prepared to pay to get top quality. A standard A4 home printer will typically use four separate ink cartridges.


Set up to shoot and print fine art photography at home: step 5

05 Framing
Adding a frame can greatly enhance your printed image, as well as keeping it protected – we found some stylish but inexpensive frames that suited our retro theme in a high street shop.

We mounted our print onto the backing card first, using an aerosol adhesive so our image remains flat in the frame – if you’re doing this make sure you use an adhesive designed for use with photos, such as Photo Mount.

Think about whether you want to include a mount around the image, and also if you want to include glass – while glass protects the print, it also reduces the intensity of the image’s colours, and creates reflections.

PAGE 1: Set up to shoot and print fine art photography at home
PAGE 2: How to edit your fine art photography
PAGE 3: How to print your fine art photography


Fine art landscape photography: pro camera skills for stunning scenic pictures
Fine art nude photography: tips, techniques and free pdf guide
Black and white photography – what you need to know to make perfect mono pictures
14 portrait photography tips you’ll never want to forget
Studio Lighting – 4 seriously simple lighting techniques to try at home

[syndicated from Digital Camera World]

5 histogram examples of common photographic subjects

Get to know your camera’s histogram. No, really, do. This scientific approach to exposure offers essential insights into the make-up of an image. In our latest infographic we’ve illustrated 5 classic histogram examples from common scenes you’re likely to shoot.

It might look like a rather daunting technical graph at first glance, but the histogram is the most useful tool you have to help you capture the exposure you want, every time. And it’s actually not nearly as daunting as it appears.

A histogram is essentially a graph that illustrates the range of tones in your image, from black on the far left to white on the far right with a mid-tone (18%) grey in the middle.

While your camera’s LCD display can give you an idea of how your image’s exposure might look it’s not particularly accurate and is better used to help with composition.

The histogram, on the other hand, is the perfect tool for exposure assessment. You’ll be able to see in an instant if you’ve got detail in your highlights or whether you’ve overexposed and they’re ‘clipped’.

Every DSLR and even compact cameras will have a display mode that shows the histogram, and we recommend keeping it on all the time.

In our cheat sheet below we’ve provide several histogram examples of common scenes most photographers will shoot to show you how your exposure graph will look in each situation

5 classic histogram examples

5 histogram examples of classic photographic subjects

Click on the infographic to see the larger version, or drag and drop to your desktop.


01 Shadows
The darkest parts of the scene correspond to the left edge of the histogram

02 Midtones
The medium tones in the picture form the centre of the histogram

03 Highlights
The brightest parts are over at the right-hand end of the histogram

Navigating the histogram

You’ll find most of the tones crowded at the left (shadow) or right (highlight) sections of the histogram.

The tones are mostly in the centre of the histogram, with very little in the shadow or highlight areas of the graph.

The dark background means a big peak in the shadows, and a smaller peak for the skintones in the middle.

The white background and high-key exposure means nearly all the tones are clustered at the right.


Histogram: photography cheat sheets for achieving perfect exposure
How to read a histogram: free photography cheat sheet
Using histograms: 6 ways to respond to exposure problems
10 common exposure problems every photographer faces (and how to fix them)

[syndicated from Digital Camera World]

Photoshop Tip: How to improve the look of skin


Photoshop Tip: How to improve the look of skin


Smooth skin with Reduce Noise

Create a duplicate of the Background layer (Cmd/Ctrl+J) and then go to Select>Color Range.

Photoshop Tip: How to improve the look of skin

In the Color Range menu, set the Select drop-down to Skin Tones and hit OK. This will tell Photoshop just to select skin and ignore everything else.

Go to Filter>Convert for Smart Filters and then go to Filter>Noise>Reduce Noise.

Photoshop Tip: How to improve the look of skin

In the Reduce Noise filter, set Strength to 8, Reduce Color Noise to 0, Sharpen Details to 0-10% and untick Remove Jpeg Artifact.

Now, slide the Preserve Details adjustment up and down to vary the amount the skin is soften by. A setting of around 16% works well.

Photoshop Tip: How to improve the look of skin

As a Smart Filter, the Reduce Noise filter can be adjusted at any time by double-clicking on it in the Layers palette. Also, blend modes can be applied as well as Opacity controls as this is a separate layer in the composition.

Photoshop Tip: How to improve the look of skin

[this post syndicated from Photoshop Daily]

Focus Bracketing Technique: Never Miss a Shot

When it comes to photography, the word “bracketing” can mean a lot of things. Essentially, it just refers to the practice of taking the same shot several times using different camera options, but it can be done in so many ways. By making so many different images of the same scene, you can then choose the most successful, or in some cases, blend them all together (this is how HDR photography is done). Bracketing your aperture – taking the same shot at f/4, f/5.6, and f/8, for example – gives varying depths of field, while bracketing your shutter speed produces different degrees of motion blur. Bracketing your overall exposure value creates both underexposed and overexposed photos. In this video, though, photographer Scott Morvay teaches us about focus bracketing – a much underdiscussed technique:

He describes two distinct methods that have the same result – “body rocking” and “safe cracking”, as he calls them. The idea behind both is altering your focus ever so slightly, either through the lens or through your body’s position. This is a very useful technique when shooting large-aperture lenses wide open. With such a shallow depth of field, it becomes almost impossible to get your focus spot on – particularly in the low-light conditions that so often demand the use of these very lenses. Focus bracketing may give you more pictures to sort through, but it can seriously alleviate the pain of missing the focus on an otherwise perfect shot.

photography tips

Both the body-rocking and safe-cracking methods require you to use manual focus; he also suggests being in continuous drive shooting mode for fluid operation. To bracket your focus, simply:

  1. Frame and focus on your subject.
  2. Take your first shot.
  3. Either:
    a) Lean back and shoot. Straighten up, shoot. Lean forward, shoot – or;
    b) Turn your focus knob a little to the right, shoot. Turn it back to the middle, shoot. A little to the left, shoot.
  4. Repeat.
  5. Back at your computer, you can view each shot side-by-side and choose which of them has the best focus. Voila! You’ve just tripled your chances of a perfect photo.

[this post syndicated from Picture Correct]

Water reflection techniques: how to increase the impact of your landscapes

Nothing can bring your landscape photography to life more than a sharp, stunning water reflection. In this tutorial we explain how to photograph a reflection and suggest several key techniques and tips for finding suitable subjects.

Words and pictures by Mark Hamblin

Water reflection techniques: how to increase the impact of your landscapes

Water in its many forms is an integral part of landscape photos. One element that never fails to catch the eye is reflections: there is something magical about a reflection, transforming an ordinary scene into something special.

A water reflection not only adds another layer of interest to the photograph but it also introduces an element of depth.

There are many forms of reflections and many different ways to photograph them. One of the classic examples is a landscape with its reflection mirrored in tranquil water. This kind of image relies on shooting in flat, calm conditions.

Early morning is usually best, but check out the weather forecast the evening before and choose a location where the water is sheltered. Smaller, shallower pools provide the best chance of ripple-free water. Remember that it’s possible to create effective water reflection shots with just a puddle!

Most subjects with a perfect reflection make great pictures. These might include colourful autumnal trees, mountains, buildings in either rural or urban settings, harbours and boats.

The best time to shoot a water reflection

The best time to shoot a water reflection

Shots taken in early morning light look fantastic when warm tones are reflected in the cooler colours of the shaded water. This differential lighting, where light is falling on the main subject but the water itself is in shadow, is very effective and often leads to dramatic images.

If you’re in a new location, use a compass or phone app to work out when the sun will come up, then place some calm water between you and the scene with the sun at your back.

Slightly rippled water can produce stunning results. Often the wind begins to pick up an hour or so after sunrise, creating small ripples across the surface. The distorted water reflection caused by the ripples adds a sense of intrigue to the picture and gives it more of an abstract feel.

This effect can be exaggerated by excluding the main subject from the picture and concentrating solely on the reflection. Lakeside trees work well with this treatment, and the effect is colourful during the autumn.

Water reflections don’t have to be of a grand landscape. For example, cutting out the sky from the picture can sometimes produce a much stronger image. Smaller aspects such as reeds and rocks also make good subjects when they are skilfully composed to include areas of colourful reflections in the water – from a blue sky or at sunrise or sunset.

This technique can work best when the foreground elements are in shadow. By then exposing for the brightest part of the water, the foreground is thrown into silhouette to create an image strong on shape and colour.

Shoot subjects plus their reflection or just the reflection – still water or ripples. If you add foreground interest such as rocks or a boat, there is no shortage of ideas to create pictures that pack a double punch. That’s something worth reflecting on…

PAGE 1: Best subjects and times to shoot a water reflection
PAGE 2: Three must-know techniques for shooting a water reflection
PAGE 3: Final tips for shooting water reflections successfully


Water photography: make stunning pictures of water in any environment
The 10 Commandments of Landscape Photography (and how to break them)
What is a polarizer filter: how to reduce reflections in pictures of water
The landscape’s greatest challenges: a free photography cheat sheet
10 common landscape photography mistakes every photographer makes

[syndicated from Digital Camera World]

Break the rules of photography: 4 clever effects from using ‘wrong’ exposures

Once you know the rules of photography, you’ll be able to use them in creative ways – particularly when it comes to exposure. But breaking the rules of photography doesn’t merely mean getting the exposure wrong. It means deliberately choosing to expose ‘imperfectly’ to create a specific effect.

Things that might spoil most photographs can add a new dimension in certain situations. Over-exposing a low-contrast subject and background can add delicacy and an ethereal quality to portraits, for example, while under-exposing can give a shot a dramatic, moody feel to interiors, portraits and many other subjects.

Four ways to play with exposure and break the rules of photography

Four ways to play with exposure and break the rules of photography: Contre Jour

All images by Ben Brain

Effect 1 Contre Jour
Shooting into the light, otherwise known as ‘contre jour’, is one of the more challenging situations to work in. The bright light of the sun will confuse your reading, clump the histogram to the far right and throw your highlight clipping alert into a blinking frenzy.

However, it can also be a great way to add depth and emotion to your shots. In these conditions the best solution is switch to manual mode and use your camera’s LCD screen and highlight alerts to make sure you’ve got detail where you want it, but don’t be afraid to let some areas burn out completely. A winning shot doesn’t always need detail in the deepest shadows and brightest highlights.

SEE MORE: Digital camera effects from A-Z


Break the rules of photography: 4 clever effects from using 'wrong' exposures

Effect 2 Shake down
Using a slow shutter speed is a great way to capture the swirling motion of water. Usually when using a slow shutter speed you’d expect to mount your camera on a tripod so that the static parts of the scene remain sharp.

In this shot we were experimenting with slow shutter speeds but using the camera handheld and moving it sightly during the exposure. It might break some conventions of wisdom, but the impressive results show that challenging conventional wisdom can work too! You’ll need to be prepared to experiment as there’s a element of trial and error.


Four ways to play with exposure and break the rules of photography: Low key

Effect 3 Low key
Much of the shadow areas of this image have gone to pure black, and the histogram is clumped to the left – this was our intention as it’s a great way to create a moody atmosphere.

SEE MORE: 44 essential digital camera tips and tricks


Four ways to play with exposure and break the rules of photography: High key

Effect 4 High key
Through a cunning combination of lighting and exposure it’s possible to create beautiful high-key images. The trick is work on the limits of the histogram without blowing out the highlights.

There’s a big difference between a high-key image and an over-exposed one, so be careful to make sure you always have just a little detail or tone to your whitest areas, such as the delicate details in the lace of our model’s top in the example here.

This effect is easiest to achieve if you have a low contrast in tones between the subject and background.


10 common exposure problems every photographer faces (and how to fix them)
What is exposure compensation: free photography cheat sheet
Exposure bracketing: how to capture fine detail in shadows and highlights
How to use a camera: exposure modes made simple

[syndicated from Digital Camera World]