Killer Lightroom tips: 10 things you never knew you could do in Adobe’s software

Killer Lightroom tips: 10 things you never knew you could do in Adobe's Photoshop alternative

Adobe Lightroom is one of the most popular raw conversion and image editing software packages around, and now that it is supplied with Photoshop CC as part of Adobe’s photography plan, it’s being used by even more people. In this article we take a look at a few Lightroom tricks that this powerful package has up its sleeve.

5 Ways to Create Better Images Without Buying More Gear

You are a photographer. You love getting out there and doing your best to create great images. Photographers also love something else. Camera equipment. Sometimes you may find that you spend more time searching for a new lens, filter or accessory than actually photographing with it. When you meet other photographers you will hear them talking about the latest piece of equipment that has just launched.

Why is this? Why are some photographers obsessed with equipment. My personal opinion is that we fall into the marketing trap. Sometimes we really do think that a new lens, or new camera body, will improve our images simply because it is a better piece of equipment. That might be true, but it’s only half true. A new lens might make your images a little sharper or have better bokeh, but the best way to get better images is to improve your ability as a photographer. Here are some thoughts that may help you create better images.

The key ingredient in any image is light

1. Become a light snob

Cut your workflow with Custom White Balance

Last week we posted a blog talking about 3 ways to cut your workflow time in half. One key area we talked about was finding bottle necks that slow down your editing. One of the BIGGEST time suckers in editing other than retouching, is adjusting exposure and color in all of your images. Today, we are going to help you reduce the amount of time you spend doing that by around 90%! How? Read on if you are ready to get your life back!

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How the Camera Thinks

Using Composition to Create More Powerful Portraits

As part of my series on portrait photography, in this article, I will discuss composition, one of the most important aspects of creating a good portrait image.

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  • Are there any laws regarding framing a portrait?
  • Can I leave hands, fingers, or part of the head out of the frame?
  • Does a portrait have to include a face?

I will answer these questions that my students often ask. It is important to keep in mind that as in all aspects of art, there are no “rules” or “must dos” here, because you can do anything as long as it works for you. So, I will describe techniques that work for me and I hope that they will work for you, resulting in much stronger portrait photography portfolio.

What is a good portrait?

A good portrait is an image of a person that manages to tell a story. A good portrait evokes emotion. A good portrait tells us something about the person in the image, and composition is a key element that helps us create a storytelling portrait.

Raw Versus JPG – Why You Might Want to Shoot in RAW Format

If you have ever shared a photo by email, or posted one online, you might have seen a three or four-letter extension at the end of the file name that looked like “.jpg” or “.jpeg”. Almost every camera – from cell phones to point and shoots to expensive DSLRs takes pictures in this format – with good reason. You can fit thousands of JPG photos on a memory card, and they are generally good quality and easy to view on a computer or mobile device. You don’t need any special software to open a JPG file, and if you do want to edit one, almost any application from iPhoto to Photoshop can do it. However, all DSLRs, and even some point-and-shoot cameras, are able to shoot in another format called RAW which has some incredible benefits for you. Some people swear by the RAW format, others use JPG, and some use both. There is no correct answer in terms of which one is better, instead it’s important to find a solution that works for you. To illustrate why you might want to show in RAW format, here are a few reasons I use it instead of JPG.

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The Secret to Capturing the Best Image Quality with Your Digital Camera

Many modern digital cameras boast incredible ISO speeds. Where ISO 400 or 800 was the top speed in the film era, usually accompanied by grain the size of golf balls, today’s digital cameras can give you top ISOs of 6400, 12,800, 25,600 or even higher. Camera makers boast of these high speeds and use this information to increase camera sales.

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Inexperienced photographers will be tempted to jack up the ISO on their new cameras, and keep it there. However, just because the feature is there doesn’t mean you should use it all the time. In fact, the best practice is to keep your camera set at its lowest ISO setting by default so you will capture the best possible image.

With experience you will learn that higher ISO settings are more appropriate when shooting sports, street photography, photojournalism, and low-light situations where you need to stop action. Low ISO images will be cleaner (no digital noise), have a wider dynamic range (more shadow and highlight details), and produce better color depth (smoother color transitions). This is a better choice for travel, landscape and portrait photography, where good detail and accurate skin tone are important.

Let’s geek out

Creative Photoshop ideas: how to merge portraits with graphics for fantastic effects

Recently we showed you a simple way to create dream-like double-exposure portraits in Photoshop. In our latest Photoshop Elements tutorial we show you how to merge portraits with some of the free graphics that come with the software to make creative, surrealist images.

Creative Photoshop ideas: how to combine portraits with graphics for fantastic effects

This surreal effect may look intricate and complicated, but merely by making use of the graphics and backgrounds that ship with Elements, it’s something that anybody can do, and on any portrait they like.

We’re making use of a simple graphic called Brass Leaves, which you’ll find within the hundreds of graphics, frames and effects that come with Elements, in our tutorial. However, if you prefer, you could always use one of the other graphics.

By duplicating and reshaping the leaves in different ways you can build up an entire bush.

Once that’s been done, all you have to do is duplicate the cut-out face we’ve provided and ‘clip’ it to each layer, before applying a Drop Shadow layer style and changing the colours.

To round things off, drop in a suitably green leafy background, also taken from the Elements graphics library.

Along the way we’ll repeatedly use one of Photoshop’s most useful and underused shortcuts – the humble Alt key.

Let loose on the Layers Panel, it enables you to make speedy copies of layers, styles, masks and adjustments. It also lets you ‘clip’ a layer to the shape of the layer beneath. Here’s how it works…