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Holiday Season Photography Tips

Holidays are great times for getting pictures of family and friends. Everyone is together, and normally having a good time; it is people at their best.

family christmas photo

“Look What Else Santa Brought” captured by Jeff Smallwood

It’s also important from a historical perspective. You might be tempted to skip taking the camera, but think about how many times you’ve looked back on old photos of family and friends. For better or worse, those pictures mark the progression of your life. I’ve never looked back on any family event or place I’ve visited and wished I’d spent less time taking pictures—it’s almost always the opposite.

So take the camera. Here are a few tips for getting the most out of your holiday pictures, whether you have an inexpensive point-and-shoot or the finest DSLR on the market.

Control Camera Shake

When you can, brace yourself against a wall, a chair, or something sturdy to give yourself a little extra stability, particularly when shooting indoors. This is a bigger problem with small cameras using an LCD screen at arm’s length than with larger cameras, which you’re holding closer to your eye.

Check Camera Settings

I’m notorious for bumping my camera mode selector, so I check it religiously. Check to make sure your camera is on the proper setting. But don’t be afraid to deliberately fiddle with the settings to get a different look; just remember where they were when you started!

Watch Your Fingers

Yes, even pros get fingers in the way of the flash sensor and the lens, especially with those little point-and-shoot cameras. Stay aware of how you hold the camera.

Take Pictures at Odd Times

Everyone does group pictures before going their separate ways, so think of something different. Shoot pictures at the breakfast table, while traveling somewhere, or at other times.

family scenes photography

“Well.. once you get the hang of this job it’s pretty easy” captured by Trevor Leyenhorst

Use Odd Angles

Experiment. Lie on the ground. Find a higher perspective or some other unusual angle. I once took a picture from the perspective of the Thanksgiving turkey being carried to the table; it’s one of our family favorites. It costs nothing to delete digital pictures, so don’t be afraid to be creative.

christmas baby photo

“Reading” captured by Mish Mish

Use Natural Frames

Use doors and windows as natural frames. Framing adds visual impact, so use doors and windows to your advantage.

family vacation photo

“Family Vacation: Shanghai” captured by Kamal Zharif Kamaludin

Look for Details and Texture

Sometimes it’s textural details that spur the most vivid memories: a close-up of someone’s hands, the colors of a favorite shirt. Get in close and emphasize the details and textures of your subject.

thanksgiving photo

“Thanksgiving Turkey” captured by Tim Sackton

Use Leading Lines

Try to find a perspective where a road, path, or other picture element leads your eye to the subject. Instead of standing over there by that house, take a perspective farther back and use the path to lead in to the subject.

family trip photo

“Wales 2013″ captured by Jason Henry

Go Out in Bad Weather

Take pictures on bad weather days, too. Every day does not have to be a sunny day. Rainy days have their own special appeal, and dark clouds can add drama to any scene.

snowy family holiday photo

“Troodos in the Snow” captured by Mark Cartwright

Mainly, just have some fun. As I look back at my pictures, the ones I like the best are sometimes just pictures of nothing special. A grove of trees outside our old house, a picture of my mom in the kitchen with my nephew and his fiance, candid moments when I just pointed the camera and pushed the button without really even thinking about it.

About the Author:
Peter Timko writes on behalf of Proud Photography – which offers online photography courses on a variety of subjects.

Go to full article: Holiday Season Photography Tips

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Article from: PictureCorrect

[this post syndicated from Picture Correct]

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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.

The Quick Selection Brush works by seeking out similar colours and tones as you brush, snapping on to the edges in your image.

When using it, press ] and [ to resize the brush tip and keep your finger hovered over the Alt key.

7 ways to make precise selections in Photoshop

Sooner or later it’ll stray from the edge you want, so hold down Alt and paint to erase parts of the selection. It’s smart too.

As you paint and erase, the tool gets a better idea of the colours you want to include or exclude from the selection.

 SEE MORE: 34 Photoshop effects every photographer must try

How to make precise selections in Photoshop: step 2

How to make precise selections in Photoshop: 02 Refine Edge
Refine Edge enables you to turn hard-edged selections into something more refined and precise.

It’s particularly invaluable for fuzzy areas such as hair. Make a selection, then go to Select> Refine Edge (or click the button in the tool options).

How to make precise selections in Photoshop: step 2

Use the Radius slider to control the area of refinement along the edge – a larger radius will look further afield for similar pixels. Paint with the Refine Radius brush over hair to increase the radius even more.

The Smooth slider rounds off jagged edges, Feather blurs the edge, Shift Edge moves it in or out, and Contrast sharpens up blurry parts along the radius.

SEE MORE: Best monitor for photo editing – 10 top models tested and rated

How to make precise selections in Photoshop: step 3

How to make precise selections in Photoshop: 03 Channel selections
The tonal information in an image can be used to make complex selections in seconds. Go to the Channels panel and click each channel to find the one that gives the greatest contrast between the area you want to select and its surroundings.

Drag the chosen channel to the new channel icon to copy it. The idea is to make one part white, and the other black.

How to make precise selections in Photoshop: step 3

Use Levels to increase the contrast and paint with the brush tool (set the brush mode to Overlay to target blacks or whites).

Finally, hold down Cmd/Ctrl and click the channel to load the white area as a selection.

SEE MORE: Best free photo editing software – 11 image editors to download today!

How to make precise selections in Photoshop: step 4

How to make precise selections in Photoshop: 04 Color Range
Color Range enables you to select parts of an image by targeting different colours. It’s like the Magic Wand with the contiguous setting unchecked, only with much greater control.

Go to Select>Color Range, then use the eyedroppers to select colours.

How to make precise selections in Photoshop: step 4

It’s often most effective if you grab the ‘plus’ eyedropper, then drag over coloured areas to zero in on multiple shades of the colour – useful if, for example, you want to select a blue sky or the leaves in a tree.

Use the Fuzziness slider to make the tool more or less choosy- a low setting will restrict the colours to a specific shade, while a higher setting will make it look for other similar shades.

How to make precise selections in Photoshop: 05 Handy shortcuts
You can add to any selection by holding Shift while using a selection tool, and subtract by holding Alt. Shift+Alt enables you to intersect.

By adding and subtracting, you can make complex selections while playing to the strengths of different selection tools.

Another useful selection shortcut is to load the shape of any pixel layer, text layer, shape layer, channel, mask, vector or path as a selection, simply by Cmd/Ctrl+clicking the layer thumbnail.

SEE MORE: Best photo editing plug-ins – 6 post-processing add-ons tested and rated

How to make precise selections in Photoshop: step 6

How to make precise selections in Photoshop: 06 Marquee tool tips
When using the Elliptical or Rectangular Marquee tools, hold down Shift to keep the selection perfectly circular or square.

To begin the selection from the centre, hold Alt as you drag. Hold Space to reposition it.

How to make precise selections in Photoshop: 07 Select Focus Area
CC subscribers who have updated to Photoshop CC 2014 can access one of the most exciting selection tools to come along in recent years.

Focus Area (Select>Focus Area) enables you to automatically target in-focus parts of an image, making it very easy to cut out the subject from an out-of-focus background.

Use the parameters to control what’s included, add or subtract with the eyedroppers, and head to Refine Edge to improve the selection when you’re done.


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The post 7 ways to make precise selections in Photoshop appeared first on Digital Camera World.

[syndicated from Digital Camera World]

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How to Create a 2015 Calendar in the Lightroom Print Module

Create a calendar in the Lightroom Print module

The Lightroom Print module is a great tool for creating print layouts, but one thing it is not designed to do is make calendars (hopefully Adobe will introduce this feature in future versions of Lightroom). Luckily, in spite of that it is not too difficult to create a calendar once you know how, and you are prepared to put the work in to create the month and day parts of the calendar.

Or – you can let someone else do all the hard work. That somebody is photographer Ed Weaver, who has created some Print module calendar templates that anybody can download from his website for free.

Ed updates the templates every year, and has recently added templates for 2015. There are two versions, one with the week starting on Sunday, and the other with it starting on Monday. Just select the one that is appropriate for your part of the world (the links are at the bottom of the web page) and download the files.

The download includes a set of calendar graphics and Lightroom Print Templates, along with instructions. All you have to do is import the calendar images into the Lightroom Catalog and add the Print Templates to the Print module. It only takes a few minutes and you’re ready to go.

Creating a calendar

Follow these instructions to make your first calendar using Ed’s templates.

1. Open the folder containing the templates you want to use. Import the JPEGs into Lightroom. There are two JPEGs for every month in 2015, one with large numbers, the other with small numbers (see below), giving 24 in total.

Create a calendar in the Lightroom Print module

2. Go to the Library module and create a Collection for the calendar. Add both the calendar JPEGs you just imported plus any photos you may wish to use in the calendar.

Create a calendar in the Lightroom Print module

3. Go to Lightroom’s Print module, then select Print > New Template Folder from the menu. Give the folder an appropriate name (i.e. 2015 Calendar). Right-click on the folder name and select Import. Navigate to the folder where Ed’s calendar templates are stored, select them all and click the Import button.

Create a calendar in the Lightroom Print module

4. Open the Template Folder you just created. There are ten templates to choose from. When you click on a template, Lightroom displays it in the Content window (see below). The templates use the Custom Package layout style, which means that Lightroom doesn’t add photos to the layout automatically. Instead, you have to do it yourself by dragging the photos from the Filmstrip.

Create a calendar in the Lightroom Print module

5. Drag photos and calendar templates as needed from the Filmstrip to create your calendar. With this template, you need just one of each.

Create a calendar in the Lightroom Print module

6. Click the Create Saved Print button in the top right corner of the Content window (see below). Give the print a name in the Create Print window and click the Create button. Lightroom creates a Print Collection (marked by a printer icon in the Collections panel) containing only the images used in the print. Now you can leave the Print module and return to your print at any time without losing any changes.

Create a calendar in the Lightroom Print module

7. Repeat for the rest of the months in the year, and you have a complete calendar.

Here are some examples using some of the other templates:

Create a calendar in the Lightroom Print module


Create a calendar in the Lightroom Print module


Create a calendar in the Lightroom Print module

Modifying template files

Ed’s templates are great, but there is no easy way to change the colours, fonts, or any other aspect of the design of the JPEG files, at least not in Lightroom. If you want to change the style, you should open the files in Photoshop or Photoshop Elements. Using layers, it is relatively straightforward to replace the font Ed used with that of your own choice, or change the colours. Of course, you could also start completely from scratch and create your calendar files to use with Ed’s templates.

Changing background colour

Create a calendar in the Lightroom Print module

You can change the background colour of the calendar from its default white by going to the Page panel and ticking the Page Background Color box. Click the swatch on the right to choose a colour. Just bear in mind that adding a background colour uses more ink if you print the calendar on an inkjet printer.

Create a calendar in the Lightroom Print module


Mastering Lightroom: Book Five – The Other Modules ebook coverMastering Lightroom: Book Five – The Other Modules

My new ebook Mastering Lightroom: Book Five – The Other Modules shows you how to use Lightroom’s powerful features to create fun and interesting projects using the Map, Book, Slide show, Print and Web modules. Whether it’s geotagging, putting together a photo book, printing your best photos or creating web galleries all the information (and inspiration) you require is right here.


The post How to Create a 2015 Calendar in the Lightroom Print Module by Andrew S. Gibson appeared first on Digital Photography School.

[post syndicated from Digital Photography School]

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6 Tips for Beautiful Candid Photography

Candid photography focuses on what the subject is naturally doing and not on what the subject must be doing. It is a photo similar to that of a stolen shot. Most images taken in candid photography are of people not looking directly at the camera. Read on for five helpful tips to successfully snap a candid photo:

candid street photography

“And the beat goes on…” captured by Sarah Horrigan

1. Always Carry Your Camera

Bringing cameras along with you as you go about your everyday routine will help you take better candid pictures. You must be alert to any situation and be very observant about what is happening in your immediate surroundings. Taking candid pictures is naturally easy, but you can’t take a second picture that looks like the first one, because every moment is unique. So when you see an opportunity to take candid shots, focus on that, and then click the shutter. Point and then shoot must be the initial reaction.

candid photo

“Behind You” captured by Tom

2. Avoid Complicated Lighting Techniques

Using complicated lighting techniques is not always advisable when taking candid photos. Always remember that having a perfect photo is not really necessary. What is important is for the photo to capture real-life, unscripted shots.

candid color photography

“Street Candid, Canterbury” captured by Chris Beckett

3. Blend In With the Environment

Taking candid pictures requires great discipline. This is because it requires the photographer to blend in with the environment. Candid photographers should not be too obvious if they want to produce the most unscripted shots of frozen moments. Take photos without holding the camera up to your eye as often as possible. For example, you could put the camera near your waist to take the shot. This will also help you to see the pictures from another angle.

4. Use a Long Lens

Using the camera’s fullest zoom will also help you get a good, candid photo. As long as you are not seen, the subject will act naturally. When you are a fair distance away from the subject, you can use the telephoto lens. Avoid taking pictures of people’s backs.

black and white candid photography

“Look Out!” captured by Magdalena Roeseler

5. Capture the Subject in Black & White

Converting the picture to black and white is another great idea, because it will help you capture the subject’s emotion. Taking pictures of people who are doing things or are in constant motion is the best situation for taking candid shots. Capturing the essence of a person’s task in black and white will emphasize the emotion on the subject’s face.

candid portrait

“Candid Street Portrait, Man from Peru” captured by Peter McConnochie

6. Ask for Permission

Never forget to ask permission when appropriate. Although for some shots it is okay not to, asking for permission is always a safe and appropriate decision. This will prevent conflict and intrusion of someone’s right to privacy.

candid moment

“It’s All About Love” captured by Candida.Performa

The best way of capturing a candid picture is to experiment often. Explore everything, try every angle, and don’t forget to look at other photographers’ work for inspiration.

About the Author:
This article was written by Patricia Strasser from Foto TV. It was founded in 2007 by Marc Ludwig and is headquartered in Cologne.

For Further Training on Candid Street Photography:

This 141 page eBook covers everything about the genre even down to specific post processing techniques that can bring the best out of street scenes (& includes a bonus eBook of interviews). We were able to arrange a 25% discount for our readers. Simply use the code picturecorrect at checkout.

Found here: The Essentials of Street Photography

Go to full article: 6 Tips for Beautiful Candid Photography

What are your thoughts on this article? Join the discussion on Facebook or Google+

Article from: PictureCorrect

[this post syndicated from Picture Correct]

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On the Tenth Day of Christmas Free Lens Simulator Actions!

This is a completely updated set from the earlier version of lens simulators I’ve posted here in my blog. They are based on the original Kodak Wratten lens filters / optical filters that are used in photography to filter out certain colors of light, giving you a lot of control over the final output. They are excellent for fixing or altering white balance for either adjustment or effect. Read more →


15 Project Ideas to Spark Your Creativity

Here are 15 creative photography ideas (aka 15 photography project ideas) to try as you head into 2015 Read more →

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Simple Yet Effective Photography Tips

If you’re new to photography and looking for some simple ways to get your photos looking better, this article will give you 7 useful photography tips. Read more →


10 Ways To Boost Your Photography (Even If You’re a Beginner)

These pointers will give your images a massive kick start in terms of quality, and it doesn’t matter what camera you have. Read more →

Use Lightroom to Set Custom White Balance

Are you looking for a quick way to instantly improve your photography? Aren’t we all? Phil Steele has some great tips for taking it up a notch by understanding how to work with and customize white balance in the following video:

Steele says that if you want accurate color in your photographs, you need to know how to set white balance. He gives us two ways to do so: setting white balance directly in your camera while shooting, and altering white balance in post-production.

Customizing White Balance in the Field

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7 Ways to Handle High Contrast Scenes

Perhaps the greatest challenge you will face in outdoor photography is the high contrast created by the sun and the bright sky versus a darker foreground. That is one of the reason photographers try very hard to shoot at dawn or sunset. Read more →