Number One: If you have read any of my previous photography guides then you probably know that I strongly recommend shooting in RAW format. Why is this so important? The answer simply boils down to control.
Shoot in Camera RAW Format
When you set your digital camera to automatically convert your images to JPEGs, you give up a great deal of processing control. Most digital cameras automatically apply sharpening, saturation, and tonal adjustments during the conversion process. The image is also compressed into an 8-bit file removing a great deal of the exposure latitude that you had with the original photograph (up to 16-bits for many cameras).
Essentially the camera automatically applies a standard set of processing routines to the image and then throws out roughly one third or more of the data during the compression process. The JPEG file format is destructible in that it compresses and recompresses the image (and thereby removing file information) each time it is saved. If you do shoot in JPEG format, be sure to save your processed files as PSDs or TIFFs to avoid additional compression and to retain all of your Photoshop layers.
Feather a Selection with Masking: In this Photoshop tutorial, we are going to explain to you the elegant art of Feathering a Selection in your image. When you Feather a Selection, you bring into focus that part of your image which is most important.
Where do you begin when you are considering using textures in your photography? I suggest you begin with the absolute best photo possible. Adding a texture to a bad photo does not make it a good photo. You want to make sure you have it exposed correctly, composed well, have a clear subject and not too much in the competing in the background competing. Textures work best with photos that are not too busy to start. Once I have chosen the photo I am going to work with, I do all of my edits before I add the texture, including adjusting the colors and sharpening.
In this article I’ll share some of my techniques for working textures into your photography.
Sharpening your image
You want to sharpen your photo before you add the texture. This is so that your subject is sharp and the texture isn’t over sharpened compared to the subject. You want the texture to enhance your photo, not compete with it. When I sharpen the photo I use the high pass filter as opposed to the unsharp mask. I like this method best because it defines and clears up all the edges of your subject without over-sharpening all the fill areas. Below is how I do this and the settings:
Great pictures don’t necessarily come from high-end cameras and expensive lenses. Here are tips that you can apply even when using cameras like the one on the iPhone. If you can use these principles to get great pictures using basic cameras, imagine how much better a photographer you’ll be with serious photography gear!
1. Use Available Light
Available light usually means natural sunlight, but it can also include available sources of artificial light, e.g. an overhead dining table lamp. With the light positioned correctly, you can get professional looking pictures without any additional flash equipment.
“Untitled” captured by Whitney Stapleton (Click image to see more from Stapleton.)
More and more photographers are turning to Adobe Lightroom 5 as their choice post-processing software. While Adobe Photoshop CS6 equips all manner of visual artists with tools for their various crafts, Lightroom is a streamlined processing software tailored to photographers who need advanced image editing and management capabilities without unnecessary clutter.
However, without an effective workflow, even Lightroom can become needlessly time-consuming.
In this video, landscape photographer Robert Rodriguez explains his creative workflow process in Lightroom, with particular emphasis on showing the “why” behind each step and providing tips for developing a personalized workflow that maximizes efficiency, flexibility, and accuracy:
An effective workflow is one that is flexible, efficient, and accurate as it works towards the goal of realizing the photographer’s vision for a particular photograph. To that end, Rodriguez offers three principles that guide his own workflow process.
If you delve into the incredible world of macro photography, with the aid of a few digital photography tricks, you can take photographs of insects that will blow your mind.
“Summer Mantis” captured by Gary Vernon (Click image to see more from Vernon.)
A normal housefly may seem just annoying, but up close and personal, you can capture a macro image that reveals every single hair on its body and the millions of tiny dots that make up its eyes. You see an array of magnificent colors that you do not perceive with the naked eye. Once you have truly experienced macro photography, you will never see tiny creatures in quite the same way again.
If you’re new to the world of photography, you may hear other photographers talk about their photographic style quite a bit. But what does this mean and how do you find your own style? I’m sure you’ve heard of photojournalism (shooting moments with no posing), traditional photography (completely posed), and lifestyle photography (which is a blend of the two). But a photographer’s true style is more than just a description of his or her shooting method. It encompasses the whole look of the photographer’s art. Below are four questions you can ask yourself to help pinpoint your style.
“Untitled” captured by Irina Oreshina (Click image to see more from Oreshina.)
What do you like to shoot?
This can sometimes take awhile to discover, especially if you’re new to photography. Most photographers discover that there is one subject in particular that they really enjoy shooting more than any other. Sometimes that’s weddings or newborns, or maybe it’s kids and families. Whatever you prefer to document directly affects your style. The way you photograph kids is probably completely different from how you would document a bride and groom. So knowing this can prove to be a huge indicator of your style.
Where do you like to shoot?
Though this may not seem like a contributing factor to your style, it can play a role in the look and feel of your images. For example, I love shooting outdoors, preferably in a park, forest, or reserve. Somewhere beautiful and natural. But one of my good friends loves to shoot in grungy, dirty, dilapidated areas. The locations she likes to shoot, coupled with the grunge overlays she adds to her portraits, sets her style apart from my more natural, pretty, and soft artwork.