An Intro to Panning Your Camera for a Blurry Feeling of Speed

Looking to add some drama or action to your photos but not quite sure how? Look no further… In simple terms, camera panning (or motion tracking as some people call it) is a technique where you follow a moving subject, shooting with a slower shutter speed to create a feeling of speed or action. If done correctly and with a little patience, you’ll be able to create some amazing images that really pull your attention to the subject and add a new dimension to your photos. I’ve been spending quite a lot of time in London recently and occasionally take
Continue reading "An Intro to Panning Your Camera for a Blurry Feeling of Speed"

Shooting a Day-to-Night Timelapse the Cheap and Easy Way

Shooting a day-to-night time-lapse doesn’t have to be hard. In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to create one of these “holy grail” timelapses the easy way.

What You’ll Need to Shoot

  • A camera (any camera — even a phone — will do)
  • A tripod or mount
  • A trigger/intervalometer (can be a hardware remote or controlled in camera via software)

What You’ll Need to Edit

  • Adobe Lightroom
  • Adobe Photoshop

Shooting the Photos

First, set up your camera in a secure spot and make sure it won’t move. Turn off Image Stabilization (both in camera or in lens) if you have
Continue reading "Shooting a Day-to-Night Timelapse the Cheap and Easy Way"

A Beginner’s Guide to the Basic Studio Lighting Setup for Portraits

Want to get started with shooting portrait photos with studio lighting? Here’s a helpful 8-minute video by Adorama with photographer Mark Wallace that introduces the different types of studio lighting and the specific job they each perform.

Key Light

A key light is your main light. It’s “the cornerstone of your lighting setup,” and you’ll most often only be using one of them for your shoot. All of your metering efforts will begin with the key light, and subsequent lights are positioned and metered in relation to the key light.

Fill Light

The fill light is used to fill in
Continue reading "A Beginner’s Guide to the Basic Studio Lighting Setup for Portraits"

Photoshop CC Easter Eggs: Monkey, Banana, Coffee, and Toast

Did you know that hidden within Photoshop CC are a number of “easter eggs” that customize the photo editing app in wacky ways? Three that you can activate in the latest version of Photoshop CC are “Layer Monkey,” the “Banana Toolbar,” and “Coffee & Toast.” Here’s a quick look at how you find each one (keep in mind that these are entirely for fun, i.e. completely useless):

Layer Monkey

While you have a document open, select Window->Layer Comps. Create a new Layer Comp. Rename that Layer Comp to “Layer Monkey 0”, and you’ll suddenly see a
Continue reading "Photoshop CC Easter Eggs: Monkey, Banana, Coffee, and Toast"

7 Ways to Enhance Eyes in Photoshop

Here’s an in-depth 28-minute tutorial from the Photoshop Training Channel that will show you how to enhance and create amazing eyes in portrait photos using Photoshop. Each technique forms a different step to a thorough eye enhancement, but all adjustments should be made on separate layers so that your edits are not destructive.

1. Remove the Red Lines

The first step to better eyes is to remove those unwanted red lines in the whites of the eye. At this point, you can also remove unwanted eyelashes that look unattractive and obtrusive.

2. Selecting the Eyes

To make it easy to
Continue reading "7 Ways to Enhance Eyes in Photoshop"

How to Post-Process Soft and ‘Dreamy’ Portraits of Children

Here’s a 47-minute tutorial from PiXimperfect about how to create those soft, dreamy portrait photos of children using Photoshop. First things first, import your file into Photoshop and make those initial raw adjustments.

Adjust the Structure

The first major step you have to do is to get the structure right. That’s all the details in the face and skin. For example, for images of children that look pretty displeased about getting their photo taken, you can remove that grumpy frown. Using the Liquify tool in Photoshop, size the brush appropriately and move the drooping corners of the mouth back upwards.
Continue reading "How to Post-Process Soft and ‘Dreamy’ Portraits of Children"

Make a DIY Automated Turntable for Product Photography

Here’s a 2-minute tutorial overview from Circuito that will show you how to make your own automated turntable for photography. With the ability to start, stop, and trigger the camera all by itself, this turntable is great for people looking for a streamlined product photo workflow. The turntable allows you to set the number of angles you want captured of the item on the turntable, and then it will rotate and pause to take an image at each point (the build uses an infrared LED trigger for Canon cameras, but you can rework it for Nikon). You can even use
Continue reading "Make a DIY Automated Turntable for Product Photography"

How to Combat Mirror Shock Using a Camera’s Mirror Delay

SLRs all suffer from the same problem: that mirror flapping up and down causes the camera to move at the time of exposure. “Mirror shock’ is what’s caused by the mirror itself and not the photographer’s ability to hold the camera still. Some cameras allow you to program an extra delay on the mirror, and this goes a long way to getting rid of mirror shock. Recently I was on a set and the photographer was using small HMI lamps with the Hasselblad H and IQ back. He was handholding the camera at 1/125 wide open and was getting what
Continue reading "How to Combat Mirror Shock Using a Camera’s Mirror Delay"

How to Photograph Star Trails: Here’s a Beginner’s Guide

Here’s an 8-minute tutorial from Nature TTL and astrophotographer Matthew Saville about how to photograph star trails. Considered by some as the holy grail of astrophotography, this technique harnesses the rotation of the Earth for captivating images. Photos like this can be created by those brave enough to stand in the cold throughout the night with their cameras pointed upwards: Saville starts by reminding photographers not to use in-camera noise reduction for star trails or you might start seeing stars disappearing from the shot. If you’re shooting in a cold environment, the temperature will reduce the amount of color noise
Continue reading "How to Photograph Star Trails: Here’s a Beginner’s Guide"

How to Match Saturation in Composite Photos Using Photoshop

Once you’ve matched the color tones in a composite photo, you can then move on to matching the saturation for proper realism. Here is a 5-minute tutorial from Antti Karppinen that shows how you can do so using Photoshop. First, create a selective color adjustment layer over your composite. In the pop-up dialog box, select the red tones and move the “Blacks” slider to -100. Do the same for yellow, green, cyan, blue, and magenta. For the whites, blacks, and neutrals, move the slider to +100. The result is a color map that shows you saturation levels across the scene.
Continue reading "How to Match Saturation in Composite Photos Using Photoshop"

How to Optimize Images for Your Online Portfolio

As a photographer, designer or artist, your professional ethics could be wrapped into one line: work hard, (dis)play hard. You dedicate a lot of time to the creation of beautiful and meaningful images. And as you should, you want them to be showcased in the most professional way possible. This is especially the case when designing your online portfolio, the equivalent of your persona on the web that will help you grow a community and attract more clients. Full disclosure: This post was sponsored by Wix. The most challenging part? More often than not, the mere act of
Continue reading "How to Optimize Images for Your Online Portfolio"

How to Shoot Water Drop Photos, from Start to Print

Want to try your hand at water drop photography but don’t know where to begin? Here’s an 11-minute video from First Man Photography that runs through the entire process, from starting out to making a print. Using flash is essential for this type of photography. Rather than freezing the motion with a fast shutter speed, it is actually frozen using the flash. This is done by using a low power as that shortens the duration of the flash itself. The tutorial has one flash being used as a main light pointing at the water bath and another being used to
Continue reading "How to Shoot Water Drop Photos, from Start to Print"

Why Leveling the Horizon in Photos Isn’t Easy

It might seem like one of the simplest parts of photography: leveling your horizon. Most photographers want their horizons to be straight, of course, but this isn’t an area of photography that gets too much attention. And why would it? Leveling the horizon is a very easy task — right? In practice, though, it requires more care than many people think. You can’t just rely on your camera’s “virtual horizon,” or your post-processing software’s “auto straighten” tool. Our perception of a level horizon is more complicated than that.

The Easy Cases

Sometimes, leveling the horizon isn’t tricky at all. In
Continue reading "Why Leveling the Horizon in Photos Isn’t Easy"

Tip: Use a Mannequin Head to Practice Portrait Lighting Without a Model

Want to learn portrait lighting but don’t have a model you can spend hours and hours with? Here’s a 4-minute video in which photographer Ed Verosky offers a simple suggestion: Buy a cheap mannequin head to practice your skills. Using a real model to fine-tune your skills can be uncomfortable and boring for the subject. By using a mannequin, you’ll have a simple test subject that won’t mind getting blasted by studio lights all day. You don’t even need a full-body mannequin. A Styrofoam mannequin head is cheap and can serve you well. Just stick it on a spike in
Continue reading "Tip: Use a Mannequin Head to Practice Portrait Lighting Without a Model"

Building a Custom Wood Surface for Product Photos

A few days ago, my girlfriend, Victoria was trying to take some photos of a bridesmaid gift she received the night before. She was trying to take these images on her phone and was not having any success. After a few unsuccessful attempts, she gave into my suggestion of taking these photos on her X-T10. She then ran into the issue of having a couple of photos that were poorly framed and somewhat noisy. After some more convincing we had her camera mounted on a tripod. We spent the next few minutes rearranging the objects in the photo and adjusting
Continue reading "Building a Custom Wood Surface for Product Photos"

Which Filters to Use in Landscape Photography and Why

Filters are the bread and butter of landscape photographers. Here’s a 12-minute video from Nature TTL that will teach you what filters every landscape photographer should have in their bag, as well as why to use them in the first place. The video is presented by official Nikon Ambassador Ross Hoddinott, who’s an incredibly experienced landscape photographer. While out shooting on the coast, Ross talks through his choices of filters and what real situations are making him apply them. A crucial piece of takeaway information is to not use a filter just because you have it. So many photographers fall
Continue reading "Which Filters to Use in Landscape Photography and Why"

How to Shoot Double Exposure Concert Photography

I recently shot a series of double exposure photos of the band I Don’t Know How But They Found Me at The Knitting Factory, and they’ve received a great response. So, I thought it would be worth explaining how I took them! If you also have a Nikon D750 or similar Nikon camera, here’s how you can experiment like I did:

1. Visualize your final image

This can be difficult to do in an unpredictable live music setting – your subject might be bouncing around the stage! But if you can see in your mind how you’d like the
Continue reading "How to Shoot Double Exposure Concert Photography"

The Difference Between Levels and Curves in Photoshop

Here’s a 6-minute video from PiXimperfect that looks at the difference between the Levels and Curves functions in Photoshop. While the two may seem similar in purpose, there are some very clear differences between them. An analogy instructor Unmesh Dinda gives is a comparison between a standard calculator and a scientific calculator. Levels is your “normal” calculator, performing basic functions like adding, subtraction, division, and multiplication. Curves is like a scientific calculator. While it’s more complicated to use, it can perform more advanced functions and calculations. You can achieve everything Levels can do by using Curves, but you can also
Continue reading "The Difference Between Levels and Curves in Photoshop"