How to use Photoshop’s Quick Selection Tool to Change a Background

It’s the question I get asked the most in my workshops and classes – “How do you change the background of an image?” Or “How can I cut my subjects out of an image and place them on a new background?”

A quick capture of my parents at a coffee shop.

Perhaps, despite your best efforts at placing your subjects in a pleasing, non-distracting environment, the situation made it impossible. Maybe you used your smartphone to capture a spontaneous moment and now the image needs a little background work? Maybe you want to cut your subjects out of the background to isolate them or use them on a website banner or other marketing material? Whatever the reason, this task has challenged every photographer, beginner or pro, since the invention of the camera! I’m going to show you how to use one of Photoshop’s most underrated tools for easily extracting your subjects from the background.

How to use your flashgun for more creative images

How to use your flashgun for more creative images

Although they may be totally competent in using their camera and setting exposure, many photographers are nervous about using a flashgun. There’s something about employing this light source that they find a little intimidating. But actually, when you’re shooting with a digital camera you have very little to lose, if a shot doesn’t work you just change the settings and give it another go. So for this week’s challenge, we’d like you to put any fears or trepidation to one side and get to know your flashgun

7 photography tips you’ve never heard before

What happens when you’ve topped up on photo tips and are looking for some advice that you may never have heard before? We can help there. While there is, of course, a chance you may have heard one of the tips below, you won’t have heard them in quite the same way before…

7 photography tips you've never heard before: familiar holding you back
Tip 01: Get rid of your baggage
If you find yourself regularly driving past a scenic view and saying to yourself ‘that would make a great picture – I must do that one day’, then stop and take the shot. Otherwise you can end up spending years driving past the same spot saying exactly the same thing.

Now here’s the thing: you might find that the potential you’ve perceived in the scene doesn’t work out.

A Speedlight Primer for Photographers

You don’t need a huge studio lighting setup to get professional results. Joseph W. Carey proves that all you need is a speed light to get started with flash. Watch his in-depth presentation to see how you can shoot big with a small flash:

Carey considers himself to be an available light shooter, and he explains why that’s important in the video. Using speed lights is way easier for him because they are small and portable, and they’re able to sync with the camera at practically any speed—unlike studio flashes that are controlled mainly by your aperture (and of course their power settings). He breaks the process of using a speed light down into three steps:

Lightroom Tips: how to use the Tone Curve panel to fine tune tone values

Lightroom Tips: how to use the Tone Curve panel to fine tune tone values

In this quick Adobe Lightroom tutorial we’ll show you how to take more precise control over the tones in your photographs by tweaking specific values using Lightroom’s powerful Tone Curve panel.

How to use Lightroom’s Tone Curve panel

5 Tips for Using Pinterest for Photography Inspiration

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Let me just come right out and say it – I think Pinterest is amazing. Not only is it a wealth of information when it comes to recipes and easy craft projects for my two kids, but it is also an incredible source for both photography instruction and inspiration. As a photographer, I am constantly inspired by the images that I see while browsing the “Photography” category on Pinterest, and I think it can be a really valuable tool in terms of identifying your personal style in photography as well as pushing yourself as a photographer.

3 Video Tutorials – How to Use On-Camera Flash

This week I have found some great videos to help you to understand how to use on-camera flash to your advantage. Flash can be confusing to understand and using on-camera flash incorrectly can make unflattering light, or worse yet ruin your photos completely. Have a watch of these tutorials on flash and see if you can pick up some helpful tips:

Video #1 Ed Vorosky – On-camera fill flash basics

Ed Vorosky covers some of the basics you will need to get a grasp on using flash on-camera. He goes over some of the settings to look for on your flash, different lighting situations, and which camera shooting mode to use. There’s a helpful demonstration of using Flash Exposure Compensation and how it affects your photo as well.

Video #2 Tony Northrup – Bounce Flash Basics

In this second video tutorial Tony Northrup goes into a little more detail using on-camera flash indoors and bouncing it for various different looks. He shows the results using just ambient light, flash straight on, and bounced off both the ceiling and side walls. You can see how just a small adjustment with your flash can completely change the look of your image or portrait.

Video #3 Mark Wallace – On-camera flash basics

In this last video Mark Wallace covers some of the basic flash settings for both Canon and Nikon flashes, then he goes outside to demonstrate how to control the exposure on the background (ambient) using both systems. Then he goes back indoors and shows several options for using the flash on-camera in that environment including bounce flash techniques.

[post syndicated from Digital Photography School]

5 Interior Photography Tips and Techniques

Taking attractive photos of interior spaces can be challenging, but it’s a skill that any photographer can develop. Struggling with challenging lighting, dealing with a rapidly changing landscape, and unknowing subjects are part of the fun and difficulty of interior photography. Here are five tips to get started with interiors, all of which you can try with minimal gear.

interior photography tips

1. Include People

5 Quick Reasons to Use the Nifty Fifty for Landscape Photography

The 50mm prime lens, or as it’s more commonly known, the Nifty Fifty; we all know the name, even inexperienced photographers have likely heard of it. Most of us know it for its outstanding qualities; an inexpensive, quality, prime lens that is in plenty of photographers’ bags around the world, and one of the most popular lenses of all time.

What we might NOT think of it as, however, is a lens normally used for landscape photography. The zoom is tight, and doesn’t possess a field of view wide enough to usually be considered proper for this sort of work.

But I have. For four years, the 50mm f/1.8 has been my workhorse for portfolio building (which is primarily nature and landscape), and even though I’m branching off with other lenses, I can’t stress the usefulness of the Nifty Fifty. And I’m not alone.

50mmLens

How to get the best from your camera lenses

You don’t necessarily need to spend thousands on a pro-spec camera lens. Here’s how to get the best landscape shots with any lens you have.

How to get the best from your camera lenses

Look at most great landscape photos, and they are crisp, sharp and detailed. So getting the best results from your lenses on your DSLR is one of the best ways to improve your landscapes.

Buying expensive professional lenses is one way to get sharper results, but you can get great results using the most basic Canon EF-S 18-55mm kit lens. You just need to use the right settings, techniques and software to get the best results – and these techniques are still necessary to get the benefits of the higher quality optics.

There are four main optical problems that can affect any lens, which are sharpness, distortion, fringing and vignetting. Cheaper lenses tend to suffer more than expensive lenses, but even spending thousands on a lens won’t eliminate these problems entirely.