Top Photo Spots – a New Way to Find Locations for Photography

Top Photo Spots is a hugely ambitious project headed up by James Brandon (a regular  dPS writer) that aims to take the guesswork out of travel photography. James has asked me to introduce TPS here on Digital Photography School in hopes of bringing attention to the project and helping bring his vision to life. It’s a great idea and one, that if it can be accomplished, could become a go-to resource for photographers looking to find locations for photography around the world – however it’s a long way from that point right now.

So what is Top Photo Spots?


The best way to introduce TPS is to take a quote from the man who created it - from James himself.

You can Google something like “best places to photograph in Big Sur” and while you might get some helpful information, it will mostly be from random one-off websites and it won’t always be geared towards photographers.

In essence TPS aims to solve the problem of searching the web, which is filled with tourists photos of various locations, inaccurate or confusing information on where and how the photographs were taken, and replace that with something that’s geared specifically towards photographers.

The concept, layout and design are there

Overall TPS has a unique concept that will fill a huge need in this industry, the layout and design are modern, easy to navigate and complement the concept well, but – oh yes there’s a but – the big hurdle that TPS needs to conquer is content (which I’ll touch on in a bit). So, let’s focus on the good first.

As I said, the design is great and well thought out. Each location that’s been added to TPS has a sample photograph, Google map with location pins for points of interest, and a description of what to expect.


After the brief introduction to the overarching location, in this case Santa Cruz, California, there are sub-posts that describe various photographic opportunities within the location in more detail.

Moving into one of these sub-locations will provide you with a sample photograph from that specific location as well as another Google map giving you exact coordinates to get you there and of course more information on the location itself. It’s a really well thought out concept and I can see these guides being very helpful to people visiting locations and looking for not only ideas of things to photograph, but exactly how and where to take photographs.

Now – about the content problem

Currently James has TPS listed in a beta status while he builds content and brings in contributors. As I’ve said from the start of this article – this is an ambitious project – it’s going to take a lot of time and effort to get it to the point where it needs to be in order to truly be meaningful to the majority of people searching for locations to photograph.

Currently there are only a few dozen locations, most of which are within the United States, so the location you are traveling to probably isn’t yet listed – which means there’s a lot of room to grow. But this is where you can help!

TPS is openly looking for contributors to help fill out the site with locations around the world. If you’ve got an interesting location and know a bit about writing for the web I’d suggest that you check out the write for TPS page and help James get the site rolling – it could be the next big thing in travel photography.

Final Thoughts and Suggestions

Top Photo Spots is a great concept that is too ambitious for the vast majority of people to even attempt – which is why it’s such a good idea. If James can succeed in his vision I think that TPS will become an extremely valuable resource for photographers looking for spots to photograph on their next trip.

That said, I do have a few suggestions for James, and I’m sure he’ll entertain more in the comments – here are the three big things that I’d like to see integrated into the site at some point in the future.

  • A visually appealing way to browse through all the currently available locations – sometimes people don’t know where they want to travel, but rather are looking for something to inspire them.
  • The ability to print and download guides, or save them to a mobile device. Ideally I’d want to have quick and easy access to the guide when I’m on location without having to refer back to TPS – especially if the location is in a remote location where access to the internet might be limited.
  • Integrate TPS with other photographers around the world who are willing to set up photo walks and guides of locations that are featured on TPS. This could take some time – but I think that a site like TPS is set up perfectly for this and would be a huge benefit to people traveling to the new locations. Not only that, but it would set it even further apart from the ‘Google search’ method that we are currently using to find places to photograph.

So go have a look at Top Photo Spots and check out what James has put together so far. Then come back here and tell us what you would add to the TPS wish-list above.

For more on travel photography:

The post Top Photo Spots – a New Way to Find Locations for Photography by appeared first on Digital Photography School.

[post syndicated from Digital Photography School]

How to Remove People and Objects from a Photo Background in Photoshop

This tutorial will teach you four different ways you can remove people and objects from the background of any photo. It’s not meant to get rid of those close-up photo bombers out there, but it does the trick for anyone that snuck into your shot accidentally.

How to Remove People and Objects from a Photo Background in Photoshop

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How to combine texture and stock photos in Photoshop, part 1


Some of the original tutorial files are from We have provided a link to these images in the word doc below, but have also compiled a list of free images that we think would be good substitutes.

Download full list of stock images

Blend texture and photos in Photoshop


More Clever Ways To Mount Foam Board Reflectors and Flags

As I mentioned in my last post, one piece of gear that I use in almost every photo set up is a piece of white foam board. I just like it’s non-specular, soft, even bounce. So, last time I talked about making your own white foam board holder. but I have a couple other little…

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[post syndicated from DIY Photography Net]

How to Watermark Images in Lightroom 5

The main benefit to working in Adobe Lightroom 5 is the control it gives photographers to batch edit images. This is especially useful when watermarking your work—why copy and paste each watermark when you can create a uniform logo and essentially hit “apply to all”? In the video below, Courtney Slazinik shows users how to get the most out of Lightroom’s watermarking tool:

How to Create Image Watermarks

Understanding Flash Metering Modes


Flash Metering Systems TTL, A-TTL,  E-TTL and E-TTL II

Terms used in this article are Canon specific but there are the same or similar terms for Nikon, Sony, Olympus and other camera manufacturers. _J6L0002-Edit-Edit

When you use your camera’s metering system, the meter will measure the reflected light from your subject (see Metering Modes and How Your Camera Meter Works).  This is not the case when you use your camera with a flash, either a pop-up or mounted on your camera’s hot shoe and set to one of the TTL modes. (TTL is an acronym for Through The Lens) Irrespective of which TTL flash mode you choose, the exposure is not based on reading the ambient light,  (see: Balancing Flash and Ambient Light with a Light Meter)  it is based on the flash output. Measuring flash output can be achieved by either measuring a fixed output pre-flash and evaluating the exposure, or by measuring the flash output as it is fired. This data is then used to calculate the flash output required to expose the scene correctly.

So on to understanding flash metering modes . . .

There are three flash metering modes

TTL or through the lens metering

This is the standard metering mode, typically used when your camera has a pop-up flash or a dedicated external flash heads. The exposure is based on the flash firing. The quantity of the flash output is monitored through the lens by a flash sensor that is mounted below the mirror.

How to Add Rain to a Photo in Photoshop

Capturing rain in a photograph can sometimes be tricky. Without the right lighting and camera settings, your photo will still look wet, but you won’t see any of the actual rain drops.

This tutorial will teach you how to create some realistic rain drops to instantly enhance the mood of any photograph.

How to Add Rain to a Photo in Photoshop

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8 Reasons You Should Organize Your Photo Collection

Editing and organizing our websites, print portfolios, business collateral and promotional material is something every professional photographer does at least once if not several times a year. It allows us to present the best possible vision of our work to our clients.

After a build-up of new work it was time for me to edit my portfolio as well. I’ve spent the last several weeks working on a vigorous edit in preparation for a large annual marketing and meeting push – and it occurred to me this would make a good post for dPS. While the purpose of my organizational edit is for business reasons, you don’t need to be a professional photographer to benefit from a good organization of your images. Every level of photographer will find something valuable in it.

Here are eight reasons why you should consider spending a bit of screen time and organize your photo collection.

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