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How to Create Your Own Lightroom Presets

There are mundane tasks in Lightroom that you carry out on almost every photo you import. You can save time by creating Develop Presets to perform these jobs automatically upon import, so that you don’t have to do them later. Read more →

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10 things you may not know about your camera (but probably should)

If you think a cursory read of your camera manual is all you need to know, then think again. There are many hidden power features inside that you often forget are there, and when somebody points them out it’s something of a revelation. With this in mind here is a reminder of some must-know camera tips and not-necessarily-obvious time savers and tweaks….

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How to Make a Triptych in Lightroom

The triptych – three images laid out side by side – is a traditional way of doing this. While there is no way of creating a triptych in Lightroom’s Develop module, it’s easy to do in the Print module. Read more →

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A layman’s guide to good photo composition

What is photo composition and why is it important? If you’re new to photography you might understandably have a few questions about how to compose a photograph. In our latest layman’s guide we answer some of the most common questions new photographers have.

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Diagonal Leading Lines in Photography Composition

Of all the lines used in photography, diagonals are the most dynamic. You can use them to create a strong impression of movement or you can use them to create a tremendous sense of depth. All images are created with lines—some vertical, horizontal and others converging—but knowing how to place them affects the mood and composition of the final image.

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Over sharpening images – how to spot it and how to avoid it

One consequence of the digital revolution is that we have all become that much more concerned about sharpness.

That’s not to say that film photographers never worried about being images being soft, it simply means that it’s become a lot easier to check sharpness with digital images, whether by zooming into freshly taken images on the back of the camera or by blowing them up at 100% on the computer screen.

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Black and White Portrait Photography Tips

There are no hiding places in a black and white portrait. With no distraction from color, the physical characteristics of the subject are revealed. Monochrome exposes intimate details such as bone structure, texture, and expression to a much greater level than an equivalent color image. Read more →

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Tutorial: Capturing Stories in Coffee Cup Reflections

Dina Belenko is a creative still-life photographer from Russia and incredibly successful 500px Prime photographer. Her artistic images capture magical stories behind everyday inanimate objects. In this tutorial, Dina shares an amazing technique for capturing shapes in the reflections of coffee and tea. Read on, stay inspired, and enjoy!


Coffee cups are probably my favourite subject to shoot. I love all their different shapes and forms, and I love the light reflecting on the surface of tea or coffee. There’s something so dreamy in these round reflections.

So, why do not use them to tell a small, cozy story?

1. Sketch.

First of all, we need to make a sketch. We need to find something that will connect the reflection in the cup and all objects around it. Why do you have a sea horse in your cup? Because you’re dreaming about sea and holding a shell in your hands. Why are all these ferns surrounding your cup? Because you have a ghost dinosaur inside it.

I think, the best way to come up with an idea for a shot like this is to think about your character, your hero.
Who is it? A child who wants to be an archaeologist? A reader obsessed with fairy tales? A traveller who flies
all around the world? Good. What would your character think about? Dinosaurs, dragons, airplanes, sea waves, elves, Sahara landscapes, anything!

Catch your character’s thoughts and make a reflection silhouette from them.

Coffee for dreamers

Coffee for travelers

Gardener's tea

2. Cutting out

Now we need to cut our figures out from paper. Remember that we will not need the figure itself, but a cutout of it in the paper. So be careful and use the sharpest knife you have (you are very lucky if you have a plotter, but it’s not very hard to do it by hand).

2 Cut it out

3. Lighting

You can use any lighting scheme you like just as long as you have a soft light right above your cup, so it can make a bright spot on surface of coffee. If you have only one light source, a big reflector above the cup will also will do the trick.

3 Light (1)

3 Light (2)

3 Light (3)

I used two light sources: a key light on the right side (I put a couple glass bottles in front of it to make some nice flares) and fill light on the top.

4 Light

4. Shooting

Put the sheet of paper with the cutout figure between the fill light and the cup so you can clearly see a fancy reflection. Sometimes, the right size of reflection comes with your hand in the frame, but you can always capture two shoots and combine them later, so don’t worry about that.

I’m not very good at photo manipulation, but using a tripod makes it a very simple even for me.

5 Reflection (1)

6 Reflection (2)

7 Reflection (3)

5. Processing

After combining the pairs of photos into a final, shot all that remains is to slightly adjust the tones and enjoy the finished picture! Here are the three I created:

Coffee for dreamers

Coffee for travelers

Gardener's tea

Stay inspired and good luck!

Post syndicated from 500px

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Graficalicus Vintage Lightroom Presets

7 Tips to Take Better Family Photos

Regardless of the type of photographer you are, family photos are among the most important pictures you’ll ever take. Here are some things to keep in mind.

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Oak Island Sunrise Photography & Free Download

I got up really early while on vacation. I have always wanted to try doing some sunrise photography, so these are some of my first attempts.

All the settings I used are saved in the EXIF; if you don’t have an exif reader, here they are:

  • Nikon D3300
  • Nikkor 60.0 mm f/2.8
  • Neewar wide-angle adapter
  • ƒ/8.0
  • ISO 200
  • I used my handy Sony tripod (duh!)
  • Shot while tethered to my Samsung Note4 using DSLR Dashboard app
  • As the sun rose, I varied between 1-13 second exposure times
  • Processed in Lightroom 5 with a new preset created just for sunrise photography (download it below!)

I also have posted these to my Facebook page and my Flickr & 500px feeds – hope to hear your feedback!

 


Sunrise Lightroom 5 preset Wow! Downloaded 30 times so far!