3 Essential Photoshop Tools for New Portrait Photographers

Opening Photoshop for the first time is kind of like going on your first date; your hands sweat, your eyes glaze over, you completely lose all sense of direction and time. At least that was the scenario for me.


Photoshop is an incredibly complex program that can be used as an artistic tool for positive enhancement, or gross distortion when it comes to portraiture. It’s all too easy to over-edit, get carried away with the sheer number of the tools at your fingertips, or attempt elaborate cover-up schemes for poorly shot images when first starting out. There are certain tools I grasped at the beginning of my learning curve, however, that were essential for editing clean and simple portrait images. Three years after my initial dumb-struck encounter, and countless hours of reading and practicing later, there are three tools that I still use in almost every photo I push through Photoshop. I’ve since discovered that users at every stage continually apply these tools to their photography workflow, as well.

Everyone has to start somewhere, so if you know nothing else about it yet, start by familiarizing yourself with these three Photoshop tools and you’ll build a solid foundation for taking your portrait photography editing to the next level.

Beyond the Postcard – 14 Tips for Creating Unique Photographs in Iconic Locations

Photography has been around since the early 1820’s. Of course, back then the technology of “picture taking” was not accessible to the common person. But have things ever changed! With the availability of digital cameras ever present, even in our cell phones, take a moment to consider these facts. Every two minutes today there are as many photos taken as were taken in the entire 19th century (1800s), and ten percent of all the photos ever taken were snapped within the last twelve months!

The Postcard: The Start Westward Monument in Marietta, Ohio. (18mm 1/80th of a second at f/5, ISO 100)

So, with nearly 200 years worth of photographs in our collective albums and portfolios, it has become challenging to find an iconic view or subject that hasn’t been overdone by millions of photographers, especially when it comes to state and national outdoor landmarks. In order to look beyond the “postcard shot”, you need to research unique perspectives and techniques to capture that popular subject in a way that creates an original image. But first, go ahead and take that “postcard shot”. (You know you want to!) Then consider the following 14 different suggestions for creating unique photographs of the most popular spots.

The Most Effective Way to Reduce Noise in Your Photos Using Photoshop

Advancing technology has improved image quality, and while digital noise isn’t as much of a problem as it once was, it is still an issue that needs attention in some photographs. Watch as Bryan O’Neil Hughes walks us through the process he uses to reduce noise using Photoshop:

Hughes starts his noise reduction workflow in the Camera RAW plug-in. In Photoshop CC click Filter > CameraRAW. This will open the module where you can navigate to the adjustment sliders and make any corrections needed to exposure. O’Neil points out that, when working with luminance and sharpening, it’s best to zoom in to about 200 percent so you can be sure to get a close up look at how the image is being affected.

There are several ways to reduce noise in Photoshop.

Once you’ve settled on the basic image adjustments, you can open the Details Panel in Camera RAW. This will present you with options to adjust Sharpening and Luminance. Use the Color Noise slider to clean up the shadows and the Luminance Detail slider to fuzz out any leftover noise. Just be careful or your image will start to look like a painting.

You can also hide some of the noise by pulling down the Blacks slider in the Basic panel.

Hughes warns that the intuitive option of using Filter > Noise > Reduce Noise to reduce digital noise is no longer the best option. Use his other suggested techniques for best results.

[this post syndicated from Picture Correct]

DIY Photography Hacks: how to make your own softbox

Eliminate harsh flash without breaking the bank! Our DIY Photography Hacks series starts up again with a simple tutorial showing you how to make your own softbox to create soft, direct light.

DIY Photography Hacks: how to make your own softbox

Hotshoe flash is a great way to add light to a portrait. But even if your flash comes with its own softbox, its small size and proximity to the flash often limit its effectiveness when it comes to reducing glare.

Creating your own flash softbox is a cinch. You can make one using a few household items: white card, silver foil, tape, a rubber band and a piece of white fabric to create the diffusion panel.

With a craft knife at the ready, here is how you can create your own DIY photography softbox…

How to make a DIY softbox: steps 1-3

How to make a DIY softbox: step 1

01 Prepare the plans
First, measure the width and length of the flash head: this is for the part of the box that will slot on. Mark four pieces of 10-inch square card – one for each side of the box.


How to make a DIY softbox: step 2

02 Create the structure
With a ruler, draw from the top of the box shape to the top edges to form a trapezoid shape. Draw tabs on two cards so there’s something to join the sections together. Click here for more step-by-step on creating the structure


How to make a DIY softbox: step 3

03 Add foil and assemble
To maximise light, stick silver foil to the inside of the triangular sections. Using tape, assemble the sections as a funnel to slot over the flash head. Check the fit.

PAGE 1: How to make a DIY softbox – steps 1-3
PAGE 2: How to make a DIY softbox – steps 4-6


DIY Photography Hacks: why a blank CD case makes the perfect rain guard for your lens
How to use a tablet or laptop as a light source for your portraits

Best studio flash kits: 6 models tested and rated
Flash photography basics: every common question answered

[syndicated from Digital Camera World]