Author: PictureCorrect Contributor

New: Colorful Cityscapes Photography Guide

Would you like to capture bold and vibrant cityscapes anywhere you go? This new eBook recently launched and is currently 80% off today for the first 500 customers if you want to check it out. Launch sale found here: Colorful Cityscapes Guide at 80% Off

colorful cityscapes

New: Colorful Cityscapes (see inside)

This 500-page eBook shows you 30 techniques to capture colorful and clean architecture photos.

This includes applying creative composition rules… removing distracting elements… enhancing or changing colors… expanding patterns, and more…

All this while using the gear you already own, even in your current neighborhood.

The only limit is your imagination, and with 30 of author Yener Torun’s best ideas to choose from… you’ll never be short of inspiration.

With “Colorful Cityscapes”, you’ll soon discover:

  • 30 unique projects for creating your fun version of reality.
  • Simple ways to use Photoshop to turn ordinary buildings into colorful urban scenes.
  • Easy-to-follow case studies that walk you through each project step-by-step.
  • The best methods to add vibrant colors to blank buildings.
  • The most effective way to create powerful compositions on-the-go.

cityscape challenge cards

The case studies average 12 pages in length, with detailed photos to walk you through every step.

You don’t have to read the book all at once, or even in order.

Pick the image you want to recreate, read through the tutorial, print off the “Urban Challenge Card”… and start shooting!

How to Get the eBook for a Discount Today:

The Colorful Cityscapes eBook is currently 80% off for the launch sale for the first 500 customers (normally $199, currently $39). They have also thrown in bonus video tutorials and layered photoshop files so you can see exactly how each final result was created. It all comes with an impressive 90 day happiness guarantee so there’s no risk in trying it.

Ending soon: The Colorful Cityscapes Guide at 80% Off

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The post New: Colorful Cityscapes Photography Guide appeared first in the Photography Tips category on PictureCorrect.

Reaching New Heights with Commercial Action and Lifestyle Photographer Ross Woodhall

There’s a certain magic in the mountains. Hikers, athletes and explorers often speak of the awe-inspiring views and unforgettable moments they experience when reaching the summit or shredding down slopes. For photographer Ross Woodhall, a pure passion for snowboarding in the 90s led to a grand adventure in the mountains of Europe and New Zealand,…

The post Reaching New Heights with Commercial Action and Lifestyle Photographer Ross Woodhall appeared first on PhotoShelter Blog.

How to Define Yourself as a Photographer

There comes a point in time when you will need to decide what type of photography you like and the specific genres you want to focus on. Most of us start out as generalists, shooting anything and everything that tickles our fancies. But eventually you need to decide on what type of photographer you are or want to be.

Pretty soon after my journey into SLR photography I decided what I liked and what I wanted to focus on. The world of close-up and macro photography was my passion. The worlds within worlds and the finer details of those worlds intrigued me. So I gradually bought the equipment that would help me create better close-ups. I began defining myself as a photographer.

Your photographs are a very personal thing, as they reflect how you see the world and what interests you. So there are a few things you need to do in order to define yourself as a photographer. We are not talking professionals here but ordinary people.

1. Take time for a little introspection

You need to look inside yourself and examine who you are and what you like. What pushes your buttons and what inspires you to create photos. The better you know yourself the better photographer you will become. I am a detail man, so close-ups really make me come alive. Whatever makes you come alive will help define you as a photographer.

introspection

photo by withbeautiful

2. Photograph what you like

All of us have very clear likes and dislikes. So with this in mind, identify all of your likes. Sit down with a piece of paper and jot down everything that you enjoy in life. Then work through this list and see if you would enjoy shooting photos of the likes. Cross out all the ones you don’t want to shoot, and there you have your list.

3. Study the pros

This is as simple as going to a library or bookstore and looking at the type of books that interest you. If it’s wildlife photography then look at photo books by great wildlife photographers. If it’s cars or trucks, then study those books. See the angles, lighting, and compositions they use and get an idea of how they have created their images. You will learn a huge amount from the pros.

4. Allow yourself to dream

Visualizing what you like and what you want to shoot will help motivate and distill in your own mind the specifics you want to shoot. Vision, plan, and goals. This can be what type of images and perhaps what kind of equipment you want to own. Working toward a goal will allow you to become what you want and help define you as a photographer. Which of the pro photographers would you like to become? Knowing this will help clarify what type of photographer you define yourself as.

5. Define your audience

By defining your audience you will also define yourself. If you want your photographs to be appreciated by people, what type of audience should they be? As a car photographer the bulk of your audience will be men of a certain economic class who pride themselves in having a great car. A pet photographer will have a different audience to wildlife photographer, and so it will go on.

You may ask why it’s necessary to define yourself. It may not be essential for you to know this, but most photographers who are successful have an in depth understanding which is reflected in their images. If you don’t know your definition as a photographer it will be hard to concentrate on a genre and make a success of it.

About the Author:
Wayne Turner has been teaching photography for 25 years and has written three books on photography. He has produced 21 Steps to Perfect Photos, a program of learner-based training using outcomes based education.

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The post How to Define Yourself as a Photographer appeared first in the Photography Tips category on PictureCorrect.

Do You Have a Photography Checklist? Here is a Quick Start

Modern DSLR and Mirrorless cameras have so many features that it is sometimes difficult to keep track of all the settings. One of my biggest concerns is that a shot will be ruined because some switch was not in the correct setting for what I wanted to create. I don’t want to be like the wedding photographer who accidentally shot an entire wedding with the camera set to the small JPEG setting.

why you should have a photo checklist

Photo by Cat Mayer

To help ensure that such things are unlikely to happen, I decided to take a lesson from the way pilots operate. Pilots don’t just jump in the pilot’s seat and take off. Instead, they have a list of items that they check. Similarly, photographers can have a list of things to check before starting a photo session. Thus, the subject of this article is creating a photographer’s list of things to check to make sure that everything is done right.

Camera Items to Check

Sensor: Is the sensor free of dust?

Lens: Are the lenses and filters clean?

Battery: Is there enough power in the battery? Are spare batteries easily accessible?

Memory: Is there enough space on the memory card? Are spare memory cards easily accessible?

Image Recording Quality: Is the image quality set properly?

Image Settings: If not shooting raw, are the image settings set properly?

ISO: Is the proper ISO for the shot selected?

White Balance: Is the white balance set correctly?

Metering Mode: Is the proper metering mode selected?

Shooting Mode: Is the camera in the correct shooting mode (e.g., fully automatic, manual, aperture priority, or shutter priority)?

Drive Mode: Is the drive mode set properly (e.g., single or continuous shooting)?

Auto focus: Is the auto focus turned on?

Scene Items to Check

Image Periphery: Are any objects protruding into the image from the periphery?

Objects in the Image: Are there any unwanted objects (e.g., an old beer can) in the image?

Tripod Items to Check

Camera Level: Is the camera level (this is best done with a bubble level)?

Tripod Levers/Knobs: Have all of the tripod levers/knobs been tightened?

Tripod Weighted: If desired, has the tripod been weighted?

Remote Switch: If desired, has a remote switch been connected to the camera?

Mirror Lockup: If desired, has the mirror lockup been enabled?

checklist for good photography

Photo by Kevin Law; ISO 800, f/4.0, 1/1000-second exposure.

That’s pretty much it. At some point, this all becomes automatic. Until then, it is not a bad idea to memorize your list.

About the Author:
Ron Bigelow (www.ronbigelow.com) has created an extensive resource of articles to help develop photography skills.

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The post Do You Have a Photography Checklist? Here is a Quick Start appeared first in the Photography Tips category on PictureCorrect.

How to Use Curves Adjustment Layers in Photoshop

This is a complete introduction that will get you comfortable using and understanding the fundamentals of the curves adjustment layer. It will not go into any technical detail that you don’t need. Everything I explain here is useful for you to know when actually using the tool. The first section will be an overview of the Curves adjustment layer and its most important options/settings.

curves layer tutorial

Curves 101

The second section goes on to give you some further practical, real-world usage examples, so you can put the theory stuff into practice. But before we get to either of those sections, the very first thing I want to do is give a quick explanation of the difference between the “Curves Adjustment” and the “Curves Adjustment Layer”.

The difference between the “Curves Adjustment” and the “Curves Adjustment Layer”

Many of Photoshops “adjustments” are available in 2 modes.

  1. As a regular adjustment
  2. As an adjustment layer

A regular adjustment is applied to a pixel layer in your Photoshop document and is known as a “Destructive Edit”, because it irreversibly changes the pixels of the layer it is applied to.

An adjustment layer is applied independently of any other layers, and by default affects the layers that are visible underneath it in Photoshops Layers panel. An adjustment layer can be added, adjusted, updated, duplicated, deleted etc independently of any other layer, which is what makes it a “non-destructive edit”.

For the purpose of this tutorial, we will be using the Curves Adjustment Layer because this is what I generally recommend everyone use most of the time. Only in very specific instances would there be a good argument for using the pixel-changing Curves adjustment.

Part 1: An Introduction to How Curves Adjustment Layers Work

How to Add a Curves Adjustment Layer to Your Image

You can add a curves adjustment layer to your image a few ways, but here are two:

In the Layers panel, click the “New Fill Or Adjustment Layer” button near the bottom (circled). Then choose the “Curves” link from the popup menu.

select curves

Choose curves

Alternatively, if you have the Adjustments panel open, click the curves icon within it (circled).

curves icon

Curves icon

Fundamental Curves Concepts

Once you add a curves adjustment layer to your image, its properties panel will appear on screen.

If you close the properties panel at any time, you can re-open it by double-clicking on the adjustment layer in the Layers panel.

reopening curves

Double-click to re-open Curves 1 properties

The main area of the Curves adjustment layer properties panel contains a view of your image’s histogram, with a diagonal line running from bottom-left to top-right.

Throughout the rest of these instructions, I will refer to this diagonal line as “The Curve”, because we will be creating different “curved” shapes from this otherwise straight line to change the appearance of the image.

the curve

The Curves Properties Panel

To adjust the shape of the curve, we add control points to it (by clicking on the curve with the mouse), and then moving those control points up, down, left or right (by clicking and dragging a control point).

For example, to brighten the image you would add a point to the middle of the curve and then drag it upwards. To darken the image, you would move that same control point downwards:

brighten or darken

Brighten and darken

Shadows, Midtones, and Highlights

To explain what’s happening with each of the above curves, picture the histogram divided into 3 sections – Shadows, Midtones, and Highlights.

shadows midtones highlights

Shadows, midtones and highlights

In the above example, the control point was added to the middle of the curve, so it will be primarily affecting the Mid Tones of the image.

In other words, we are saying “Take this mid tone value, and make it brighter (by pushing it up) or darker (by pushing it down).

Key Concept:

If the curve is ABOVE the original position, the image will appear brighter in that tonal range.

If the curve is BELOW the original position, the image will appear darker in that tonal range.

In the two example curves above, the entire curve went either above or below it’s original position.

However, it is possible to add multiple control points to the curve and push them in opposite directions so that part of the curve is above, and part of the curve is below its original position.

Which brings us on to…

Creating an S-Curve to Increase Image Contrast

To increase contrast in an image, you need to create more separation between the shadows and the highlights in the image.

Or in other words, make the brighter pixels brighter and the darker pixels darker.

To do this with a curves adjustment layer, you would add one control point near the top of the curve (Highlights) and drag it upwards (to make it brighter), then add a second control point near the bottom of the curve (Shadows) and drag it downwards.

Here’s what that looks like:

s-curve

Adjusting points

This adjustment is known as an “S-Curve” because it looks like a stretched-out letter S.

One of the key concepts of the Curves adjustment is this:

Key Curves Concept

  • Steep curve = increase contrast
  • Flat curve = decrease contrast

Now take a look at the angle of the curve between the two control points and notice how it’s on a steeper incline compared to its original position. This is what provides the increased contrast.

The opposite of this would be a fatter curve that decreases image contrast.

contrast comparison

Increased contrast, decreased contrast

It is important to note that this this concept can be used as a general rule for general contrast adjustments in your images, but there is a little more to it.

Take the S-Curve above and notice how the curve is only steeper between the two control points that were added to the curve.

The curve is flatter in the shadows and the highlights.

So, whilst the overall image contrast has been increased because the curve is steeper through most of the tonal range, the extremes have received the opposite effect and lost contrast.

If this results in an undesirable effect on the image, then I recommend using layer masks to “hide” this effect in the shadow and highlight areas.

Altering the Black and White Points of the Curve

Sometimes an image can have a “compressed histogram” indicating that it’s very low in contrast.

By “compressed histogram” I mean that the image data is kind-of bunched up around the middle of the histogram and doesn’t extend all the way to the edges.

Here’s what that may look like:

histogram points

Adjusting black and white points

The red lines are the black and white points of the histogram, but the data only stretches as far as the green lines creating a gap at either end of the histogram.

Luckily, there’s a simple way to correct this using the Curves adjustment layer!

The two control points at the very top and bottom of the diagonal line in the curves adjustment layer properties panel represent the black and white points of the tonal range of the image.

Simply drag the bottom (black point) control point rightwards until it just touches the first piece of image data in the histogram, and then the top (white point) control point leftwards until it just touches the end of the histograms data.

Like so:

before after histogram

Before and After

See how this affects the main image histogram:

image effect histogram

Before and After

The histogram now covers the full range of the histogram from black to white.

Note: This is a decent rule of thumb to keep in mind for processing your image, However, depending on the image, such an adjustment might not always be the best idea. For example, if you have a photo of a misty landscape that is naturally low contrast with no pure blacks and no pure whites, you wouldn’t want to make it over-contrasty by making this adjustment.

Adjusting, Altering and Resetting a Curves Adjustment Layer

Adjusting a control point

You can adjust any control points you’ve already added to the curve by simply clicking and dragging it in any direction.

For a more fine-tuned adjustment, you can click once on a control point and then use the arrow keys on your keyboard to move it up, down, left and right.

Deleting a control point

To delete a control point, click and drag it all the way out of the properties panel window.

control point

Click and Drag

Alternatively, you can click once on a control point with the mouse, then press the DELETE key on your keyboard.

The RESET Button

Sometimes you’ll want to scrap whatever changes you’ve made to a curves adjustment layer and start over. The most economical way to do that is by simply pressing the Reset button in the properties panel:

reset button

Reset button

Auto Curves

No doubt you’ve spotted the Auto button in the curves adjustment layer properties panel already. As you have probably guessed, when pressed, it makes an auto curve adjustment.

But what is it adjusting for? What is Photoshop trying to do when you click that Auto button?

It all comes down to a hidden set of options that you probably haven’t seen (because Adobe have NOT made it obvious how to access them).

To reveal the hidden set of Auto Curve options, hold the “Option” (Mac) or “Alt” (PC) key on your keyboard and simultaneously click the Auto button.

auto curve options

Auto Color Correction Options

When the Auto Curve options appear, you’ll see one of 4 options selected. This is your current default option that Photoshop will use every time you click the Auto curve button.

Unfortunately, the technical label for each option in the “Algorithms” section doesn’t really tell us in plain English what it does…

And when you hover the mouse over each option and wait for the tool tip text to pop up with the longer explanation, it only confuses matters even further.

Luckily, at the end of the long tool tip text description there is another short description that makes sense at a glance.

So for your convenience here’s the short layman’s description of each option:

  • Enhance Monochromatic Contrast: Auto Contrast
  • Enhance Per Channel Contrast: Auto Tone
  • Find Dark & Light Colours: Auto Colour
  • Enhance Brightness and Contrast: Content Aware Auto Contrast

The last one (Content Aware Auto Contrast) is like the first (Auto Contrast) except Photoshop analyses the actual image and adjusts the contrast, whereas the first option (Auto Contrast) makes its adjustments based purely on the histogram.

Also, when any of the first three options are selected, the “Snap Neutral Midtones” and “Target Colours & Clipping” options become active. However, for the purpose of this 101level tutorial, we can skip those for now and pick them up in a future tutorial.

You can toggle between the 4 options and see the effect of each one previewed on your image, with the actual adjustments to the curve previewed in the properties panel.

Then when you’re happy with one of the options click OK.

If you want to change the default value, check the “Save as defaults” box before clicking OK.

Adjusting the Curve in Individual Color Channels

The curves adjustment layer properties panel includes a dropdown box with options to select RGB (Default), Red, Green, and Blue.

dropdown rgb selection

RGB

This gives you the ability to adjust the curve in the individual colour channels separately, which is useful for making colour corrections or creative adjustments.

For example, if your image has a green colour cast, you can select the green channel and drag the curve downwards.

Or if you want to increase the warmth in the highlights of an image, you can select the red channel, add a control point to the Highlights end of the curve, then push the curve upwards.

For the purpose of providing a practical understanding of adjusting individual channels for the time being (because there’s a more technical explanation than this, but it’s beyond the scope of this intro-level tutorial) don’t worry for now about the concept of “contrast” in the colour channels.

Simply use them to “add” or “remove” colours from your image by selecting the desired channel and dragging control points upwards to increase that colour, and downwards to decrease that colour.

I’ll give you some examples of this in the “Practical Applications” section of this tutorial.

Eyedroppers

The Eyedropper tools can be used to give you a kind-of semi-automatic contrast and colour adjustment.

In order from top to bottom in the Properties panel (circled) they can be used to set the Black, Grey, and White points in your image by clicking on parts of your image that “should” be those colours.

eyedroppers

Eyedroppers circled

Let’s say you have an area within your image that should be absolute black, but it doesn’t look black.

To fix this, you would click once on the Black eyedropper tool to turn it on, then click once on the area in your image that should be black.

Same goes for White but using the White eyedropper.

This CAN work out of the box, but there is a problem.

Whichever pixels you click on in your image with the eyedropper tool, the curve will be adjusted to make those pixels absolute black, or absolute white.

That’s great, because the tool is doing exactly what you’re instructing it to do.

But if you just happened to click on a pixel that LOOKED like it should be pure black (or pure white), but actually it shouldn’t be that way or if you clicked on the wrong part of the image and made something black that shouldn’t be black, then you’ll end up with a curves adjustment that is clipping pixels in your shadows and/or highlights resulting in too high a contrast image with blown out areas.

This is why I personally don’t use these eyedroppers at all in my workflow. There are ways of working around this problem, but I prefer to make most of my adjustments by eye.

The grey point eyedropper is much more forgiving though and can be used to remove colour casts from your image in virtually one click.

With the grey eyedropper turned on, click on a colour in your image that should be neutral grey and the curves adjustment will update each of the RGB channel curves to make it so it is.

If you don’t have an area in your image that is an obvious candidate for middle grey, feel free to click around potential areas until you find one that creates a pleasing result, but if nothing looks right, then revert to adjusting each of the colour channels curves by eye.

Part 2: Useful Curves Adjustment Examples

In this next section of the tutorial, I will provide some examples of some common useful adjustments you can make with a Curves adjustment layer. These examples should be used as a guide for you to create similarly shaped curves from rather than duplicating their settings precisely.

Brighten an image

Add a control point near the middle of the curve and move it upwards. The further up you move it, the brighter the image will become.

brighten image

Brighten an image

Darken an image

Add a control point near the middle of the curve and move it downwards. The further down you move it, the darker the image will become.

darken image

Darken an Image

Increase image contrast

Add one control point near the top of the curve and move it upwards to brighten the highlights.

Add another control point near the bottom of the curve and move it downwards to darken the shadows.

increase image contrast

Increase image contrast

Correct colours in an image

Curves is a great tool for correcting colour casts in an image. You can do this by eye by adding or altering the red, green, or blue values in each of the individual colour channels within the curves adjustment layer, as mentioned earlier.

But here is another great way to correct colours that doesn’t rely on your eye knowing what looks right (because sometimes it can be very difficult to tell!).

Here are the steps to follow:

Step 1 (Optional)

Look at your image’s histogram. If there are gaps at both ends of the histogram, then move onto STEP 2.

If either end of the histogram is touching the black or white points, then do this:

histogram points

Adjustment

Add a curves adjustment layer and then move the black point up a bit, and the white point down a bit:

points adjustment

Moving points

(Note how the diagonal line is now fatter, indicating a lowering of the image contrast as mentioned earlier!)

With a small gap at either end of the histogram, you’re ready to add the actual colour correcting curve.

Step 2

Add a new curves adjustment layer. Select the Red channel from the dropdown and then move it’s black and white points to meet the first bit of red image data in the histogram. Then repeat for the Green and Blue channels:

green blue channels

Repeat for other channels

If your image is of a colourful sunrise or sunset, you may find that this adjustment neutralises the colours too much, in which case feel free to tweak the individual colour channels curves to “put back” some of the desirable colour cast that it initially removed.

Add warmth to image highlights (great for sunrise / sunset)

Select the red channel in a new curves adjustment layer, then add one control point to the centre of the curve. Do not move this control point, because its purpose is simply to “pin” the curve in place at the midpoint so it doesn’t move when you add the next one:

warmth image highlights

Adding warmth to image highlights

Add a control point near the top of the curve and move it upwards to increase the reds in the highlights of the image.

How to Take Your Next Step

This guide should get you up and running with using Curves adjustment layers in Photoshop in no time at all.

However, this really is just the tip of the iceberg compared to everything (Read more…)

Winter Photography

Of all the seasons of the year, winter is probably the most difficult one for photographing. The main reason is the effect snow has on the light and the resulting exposure problems. Also the lack of shadows will result in loss of texture. But before going into the technical issues, the first thing is to make sure your camera is ready to work in cold conditions and is protected against the climate factors that cannot just ruin your photos but even damage your camera. Here are a few tips on how to make sure your equipment is ready to work in the cold.

winter photo

Photo captured by Sean Pierce

Using the camera with gloves is often awkward and it’s tempting to keep the camera warm so that it can be held in one’s bare hands. It’s easier yes, but what happens when a warm camera is suddenly exposed to the cold? Condensation! And once you have condensation in a digital camera you’ll get a warning and the camera may stop working. You will be stuck waiting for the condensation to evaporate before you can do anything. If you do get the condensation warning, do not try to open the camera and dry it with a towel or a hair drier. Just leave the camera in a warm dry place until it’s ready to work again and then allow it to get cold in stages so the problem does not reoccur.

If you want to do great winter photography you have to tough it out a bit. If your car is too warm, guess what will happen when you camera goes out in the cold? Condensation. Dress up extra warm and keep your car temperature as low as you can. It’s also easier to get out fast when you see a photo opportunity if you’re dressed for it.

When you finish taking photos, place the camera in a tight camera bag before returning to your car or entering a building. The bag will act as insulation and prevent the camera temperature from changing too fast. This will prevent rapid warming and our same old enemy – condensation. Take the memory card out before placing the camera in the bag so that it can be left to warm up, safely while you put the card in it for immediate use.

Also, if you are in falling snow, brush it off the camera with your hand or a brush. Do not blow the snow away. Your warm breath could cause the snow to melt on the camera surface, which, if it’s cold enough, will freeze into an icy film.

Batteries do not like the cold and in extreme winter conditions they may not work, or have little power available. Keep two sets of batteries with you – one in a warm inner pocket and one in the camera and when you see the power levels of the batteries in the camera begin to drop, switch them with the ones in your pocket. The cold batteries will regain their power as they warm up and you can keep switching the batteries around.

About the Author:
Peter Timko writes for Proud Photography, an online photography school.

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The post Winter Photography appeared first in the Photography Tips category on PictureCorrect.

Cyber Monday for Photographers

Cyber Monday is typically the busiest day of the year for online shopping and this year is expected to be the biggest ever. Many of the Black Friday deals are ending today and there are a couple new ones we found for Cyber Monday as well.

Many of them expire at midnight so you may want to check them out!

topaz photography

For the photos where exceptional quality matters. Get all the Topaz AI image quality editors for the lowest price of the year.

infinite exposure

An in-depth course designed to cover everything you need to take stunning long exposure photography.

photo ebook

Over 250 pages of insider tips & tutorials on how to take better landscapes, cityscapes, and advanced trick photography such as long exposure light painting. 10 presets included.

luminar neo

Offers everything a modern photographer needs for photo editing, including new filters powered by artificial intelligence.

iPhone Photo Academy is an in-depth online course that will show you how to take incredible iPhone photos.

A premium collection of over 100 presets designed and developed specifically for landscape photographers but any photographer can benefit.

iPhone Editing Academy is an online course that reveals how to use photo editing apps to make ordinary photos look spectacular.

dslr crash course

Takes you by the hand and leads you step-by-step in discovering photography skills using your DSLR.

By following a proven ‘recipe’ you can quickly improve your photography skills and gain the confidence to capture professional results.

fundamental photo editing

Digital photography is so intrinsically tied to the editing process that you can’t really consider doing one without doing the other.

photographing flowers

An in-depth eBook offering a step-by-step method for shooting delicate, gorgeous, & perfectly lit flower photographs.

photo action cards

Printable project sheets that will give you over 200 photography assignments, covering everything you can imagine.

lightroom made easy

Master the Lightroom skills and secret pro tricks that will transform your photos today. By this time tomorrow you could be a Lightroom expert.

contrastly lightroom

The 1,100+ Lightroom presets included in the Complete Lightroom Presets Bundle were designed by and for photographers.

You can study them at home or print and slip them into your camera bag (or load them onto your phone or tablet), for a full-sized guide on-the-go.

One of the most important photo editing skills to learn is called “Masking” and a new in-depth guide was just released to help photographers master it.

photograph-fireworks

Fireworks photography is indeed one of the most daunting types of photography. This eBook explains the process from start to finish.

photoshop basics

In this course you get the stuff you absolutely must know, the techniques that you’ll use on every photo, day after day, to turn out beautiful, professional-looking work.

Aims to transform your photography into whimsical, jaw-dropping images that just cannot be created in any other manner.

bh photo video holiday

B&H is world renown as the place to go for all your photo, video, pro audio and digital imaging needs.

event photography

Designed to teach photographers the techniques used by professionals to get great photos – every time – even in the most difficult conditions.

understanding-light

This popular guide is meant to give you an understanding of how light works, and how you can manipulate it. Marked down to just $9, it’s never been priced this low.

light-guide

Study this eBook, and you’ll become a master of light. It is carefully crafted and designed to give you the ability to recognize, control, and harness LIGHT.

advanced-composition

Create truly visually stunning images that tell your story, express your vision, and captivate any audience.

landscape-guide

237 pages jam-packed with training, illustrations, and assignments. Get ready to absolutely transform your landscape work…

How to use shutter speed to not merely capture what your eyes see…but create what your mind imagines.

How to capture the world’s hidden beauty with macro photography using basic gear and at-home setups through in-depth video tutorials.

contrastly-photoshop

Create gorgeous photographs quickly and easily. The 135 Photoshop actions in this bundle were carefully crafted to make the lives of photographers easier.

cameras-ebook

In this ebook you will learn not only how to capture a strong photograph, but also how to develop the images to match your unique vision.

Pictures so striking and vibrant that others might accuse you of outsourcing your processing to a professional.

natural light course

You don’t need to spend more money on gear. You don’t need assistants. The most powerful tool is free. That tool is natural light.

What if you could create awe-inspiring time-lapse movies, without having to invest in expensive equipment or software… would that make it more accessible to you?

A premium collection of 50 presets designed and developed specifically for street photographers but any photographer can benefit.

One of the most common misconceptions about creative photography is the need for a bunch of fancy gear.

Do you want a simple way to capture real estate photography that books viewings fast? How to capture photos that rent and sell properties at higher prices.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Did you appreciate this newsletter? Please help us keep it going by Joining Our Patreon Supporters

What are your thoughts on this article? Join the discussion on our Facebook Page

PictureCorrect subscribers can also learn more today with our #1 bestseller: The Photography Tutorial eBook

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The post Cyber Monday for Photographers appeared first in the Photography Tips category on PictureCorrect.

How to Photograph Christmas Lights

Holiday lights brighten the mood no matter where they are. They might be in a downtown area, at a mall, or even at your own home. For those who love taking pictures, those lights can represent an opportunity to capture beautiful, out of the ordinary images.

Taking pictures of holiday lights can be fun and exciting as well as a little tricky at times. So in this article, we will cover the most important things to know about photographing holiday lights.

christmas dog

Photo by mgstanton; ISO 1600, f/2.8, 1/125-second exposure.

The best time to photograph outdoor holiday lights is after the sun goes down but before it is totally dark. When you take pictures of holiday lights when it is very dark, you will be able to see the lights, but the remainder of the scene will probably be too dark and lack detail in the shadow areas.

The solution to this would be to take the pictures earlier in the evening. Pictures that are taken right after sunset and before total darkness will show the holiday lights as well as details in the shadow areas of the rest of the scene.

That is because during that time period, there is still a touch of ambient light in the atmosphere. Yet it is dark enough so that the lights will not look dull or become overpowered by daylight. That time period is usually less than ½ hour, probably more like 15-20 minutes.

Realistically, unless you plan it out, you might not be able to get to where you want to take your pictures of holiday lights during that time period. However, you can still get some good shots later in the evening. It will depend on your subject.

For instance, if you want to take pictures of a brightly lit Christmas tree late in the evening, and that is your main focus, then your pictures should come out fine. If the tree also happens to be in an area that is somewhat lit, the details of the surrounding area should be visible in your image.

christmas photo tutorial

Photo by Alby Headrick.

Lastly, taking pictures of very bright lights that may be in trees or hung between buildings late in the evening should not be a problem. Especially if there are interesting patterns that look good by themselves. In fact a very dark sky might enhance the lighting itself.

The next item of concern when photographing holiday lights is the camera’s shutter speed. Since it will be practically dark when you are taking the pictures, a slower shutter speed, often ¼ second to 2 seconds or more will be required.

Pictures will come out blurred due to camera shake when the camera is hand held at those shutter speeds. The best solution to avoiding blur in your images due to camera shake is to use a tripod.

If there is no tripod available, try placing the camera on a steady surface when taking the pictures of holiday lights. It’s also a good idea use the camera’s self-timer feature to avoid camera shake that could occur just from pressing the camera’s shutter release.

If neither of those alternatives will work for you, another solution would be to increase your camera’s ISO setting. This will make the camera’s image sensor more sensitive to light, which will allow you to choose a faster camera shutter speed. Hopefully it will be a shutter speed that is fast enough to allow you to hand hold the camera without the camera shake.

photographing christmas

Photo by Hernan Pinera.

Although increasing the ISO setting allows you to use higher shutter speeds, it is preferable to use lower ISO settings around ISO 100 or 200 for better picture quality. Many cameras will begin to show digital “noise” and a decrease in color brightness once ISO settings above ISO 400 are used. However, if using a very high ISO setting is the only way to get the shot, then go for it.

Turn your flash off when taking pictures of outdoor lights. If you’re very close to the lights you’re photographing, it will tend to wash them out. If you’re far away from the subject it will just be ineffective.

When taking pictures of holiday lights indoors, try turning the house lights down so that the holiday lights can stand out more and the effect will be more dramatic. Don’t forget to use a tripod or steady the camera when taking the pictures.

On the other hand, using a flash to take indoor pictures of, let’s say, a Christmas tree with lights won’t necessarily ruin the shot. You will still have a beautiful shot of a nicely decorated tree, but the lights won’t be as dominant in the image.

Also, quite often you might want to include someone in the picture with the lights as the background. Using a flash in that situation is probably the best way to avoid blur from subject movement, particularly with children or pets.

holiday lights using flash

“Munch-kin” captured by Amanda Y.

Neither way of taking those inside pictures is better than the other. You will just have different looks.

As far as exposure settings for taking pictures of holiday lights, there is not a one size fits all solution since light intensities can vary from one scene to another. It is best to take a test shot first and make adjustments after you see the results.

If you’re using a basic compact camera outdoors, try using one of the camera’s scene modes such as Night Landscape. That type of setting will keep the shutter open long enough for a good exposure. Once again, remember to use a tripod or steady surface when taking the picture.

outdoor christmas lights

Photo by Jamie Davies; 105mm; ISO 4000, f/4.0, 1/60-second exposure.

If you’re using a DSLR or some other type of camera in which you can control the exposure settings, take a test shot in one of the semi-automatic modes or in the manual mode. Check the image in your viewfinder and then tweak your aperture and/or shutter speed settings to find an exposure you are satisfied with.

Overall, getting a good shot of holiday lights can sometimes be a challenge, but it can also be fun and rewarding. Just like everything else in photography, being prepared and practicing will get you to your best shot.

About the Author:
For more information on photography related subjects, Keith Jones writes for https://www.easybasicphotography.com/. There are plenty of other photography tips and topics at the site to help you better understand the basics of photography.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Did you appreciate this newsletter? Please help us keep it going by Joining Our Patreon Supporters

What are your thoughts on this article? Join the discussion on our Facebook Page

PictureCorrect subscribers can also learn more today with our #1 bestseller: The Photography Tutorial eBook

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

The post How to Photograph Christmas Lights appeared first in the Photography Tips category on PictureCorrect.

Black Friday Photography Deals

black friday photography dealsBlack Friday is upon us and it can be a very good day of savings for photographers!

As the craziness around this shopping day only increases every year; retailers, publishers, and service providers are rolling out amazing discounts for the holiday season.

Here is a comprehensive list of the best Black Friday deals we found tailored to photographers. Many of them expire at midnight so don’t miss them!

photo ebook

Over 250 pages of insider tips & tutorials on how to take better landscapes, cityscapes, and advanced trick photography such as long exposure light painting. 10 presets included.

expert bundle

From basic skills like Landscape and Lightroom to more advanced and exciting topics like creative photography and the Milky Way.

topaz-labs-tunnel

For the photos where exceptional quality matters. Everything you need to create beautiful, clear, and crisp images.

Offers everything a modern photographer needs for photo editing, including new filters powered by artificial intelligence.

iPhone Photo Academy is an in-depth online course that will show you how to take incredible iPhone photos.

photo stick

Automatically find, backup, and organize all your photos and videos in minutes. Keep memories safe.

Give your photography a huge boost. Go from the essentials to creative shooting with your DSLR or mirrorless camera.

A premium collection of over 100 presets designed and developed specifically for landscape photographers but any photographer can benefit.

dslr crash course

Takes you by the hand and leads you step-by-step in discovering photography skills using your DSLR.

How to capture the world’s hidden beauty with macro photography using basic gear and at-home setups through in-depth video tutorials.

capture one tools

The Toolkit contains 40 Ready Looks, Color Shift styles, Dynamic Symmetry grids, Social Media and Cinema aspect ratios, and 50 Style Brushes.

fundamental photo editing

Digital photography is so intrinsically tied to the editing process that you can’t really consider doing one without doing the other.

How to take magazine-quality pictures of the night sky without being a pro photographer and without fancy equipment.

photographing flowers

An in-depth eBook offering a step-by-step method for shooting delicate, gorgeous, & perfectly lit flower photographs.

This book will show you how to use Lightroom Classic to its full potential through teaching you the basic premises of the software.

By following a proven ‘recipe’ you can quickly improve your photography skills and gain the confidence to capture professional results.

Serge Ramelli is a photography educator with many leading in-depth courses. He is currently discounting them for Thanksgiving.

photo action cards

Printable project sheets that will give you over 200 photography assignments, covering everything you can imagine.

lightroom made easy

Master the Lightroom skills and secret pro tricks that will transform your photos today. By this time tomorrow you could be a Lightroom expert.

contrastly lightroom

The 1,100+ Lightroom presets included in the Complete Lightroom Presets Bundle were designed by and for photographers.

You can study them at home or print and slip them into your camera bag (or load them onto your phone or tablet), for a full-sized guide on-the-go.

One of the most important photo editing skills to learn is called “Masking” and a new in-depth guide was just released to help photographers master it.

photograph-fireworks

Fireworks photography is indeed one of the most daunting types of photography. This eBook explains the process from start to finish.

photoshop basics

In this course you get the stuff you absolutely must know, the techniques that you’ll use on every photo, day after day, to turn out beautiful, professional-looking work.

Aims to transform your photography into whimsical, jaw-dropping images that just cannot be created in any other manner.

bh photo video holiday

B&H is world renown as the place to go for all your photo, video, pro audio and digital imaging needs.

event photography

Designed to teach photographers the techniques used by professionals to get great photos – every time – even in the most difficult conditions.

understanding-light

This popular guide is meant to give you an understanding of how light works, and how you can manipulate it. Marked down to just $9, it’s never been priced this low.

light-guide

Study this eBook, and you’ll become a master of light. It is carefully crafted and designed to give you the ability to recognize, control, and harness LIGHT.

advanced-composition

Create truly visually stunning images that tell your story, express your vision, and captivate any audience.

landscape-guide

237 pages jam-packed with training, illustrations, and assignments. Get ready to absolutely transform your landscape work…

How to use shutter speed to not merely capture what your eyes see…but create what your mind imagines.

contrastly-photoshop

Create gorgeous photographs quickly and easily. The 135 Photoshop actions in this bundle were carefully crafted to make the lives of photographers easier.

This total editing solution for your landscapes includes 84 presets and 25 brushes to enhance various types of landscapes.

cameras-ebook

In this ebook you will learn not only how to capture a strong photograph, but also how to develop the images to match your unique vision.

Pictures so striking and vibrant that others might accuse you of outsourcing your processing to a professional.

natural light course

You don’t need to spend more money on gear. You don’t need assistants. The most powerful tool is free. That tool is natural light.

What if you could create awe-inspiring time-lapse movies, without having to invest in expensive equipment or software… would that make it more accessible to you?

A premium collection of 50 presets designed and developed specifically for street photographers but any photographer can benefit.

One of the most common misconceptions about creative photography is the need for a bunch of fancy gear.

Do you want a simple way to capture real estate photography that books viewings fast? How to capture photos that rent and sell properties at higher prices.

Organic marketing course for photographers. How to rank your website, outrank your competitors, and get more clients organically.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Did you appreciate this newsletter? Please help us keep it going by Joining Our Patreon Supporters

What are your thoughts on this article? Join the discussion on our Facebook Page

PictureCorrect subscribers can also learn more today with our #1 bestseller: The Photography Tutorial eBook

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

The post Black Friday Photography Deals appeared first in the Photography Tips category on PictureCorrect.

Food Photography: Recipe for a Great Image

Of all the types of photography that I am involved with, I seem to get more questions about food photography than just about everything else combined.

food photography

Photo by Jed Owen; ISO 100, f/5.6, 1/160s, 31mm.

I appreciate that not everyone who drives a car wants to know how the engine works so—with that principle in mind—I have prepared this checklist that should yield more than satisfactory results when photographing food:

  • Blur the background.

This forces the focus to be on the food. A good photograph has to guide the viewer.

  • Use a very narrow depth of field.

This strengthens the image by focusing the viewer’s attention even more.

  • Use a window as the background but not with direct sunlight coming through.

This gives a light, airy feel to the photograph.

  • Use fill flash otherwise the subject will be too dark.

The bright background would silhouette the food without some help from the flash

photos of food

Photo captured by Stephanie Kilgast

  • Diffuse flash with either greaseproof paper or purpose made diffuser.

Undiffused flash light is very harsh and causes hard shadows. Hard shadows are the enemy of the food photographer.

  • Shoot on a level with the food and not looking down on it.

People see the top down view every day. A different angle stimulates the brain. This angle also works best with the light through the window background.

  • Make sure all ordinary household lights are switched off.

Different lights have different temperatures and camera sensors see this even though we don’t.

  • Check that camera white balance is set for sunlight.

This will give the clean white light that the best food photography uses.

  • If photographing in the kitchen, check that the range hood light is off.

Again, this is related to color temperature. The range hood light will cast a nasty orange glow over anything nearby.

  • Use a tripod and either a remote shutter release or the timer on the camera.

This will make the image pin sharp by removing camera shake from the equation.

what to know about food photography

Photo by Wine Dharma; ISO 100, f/2.5, 1/80-second exposure.

  • Use as low an ISO setting as the camera allows.

This will eliminate noise, which will make for a sharper looking image.

  • Use white plates and a plain surface. Brushed stainless steel is ideal.

White plates and brushed steel give really nice understated reflections that add great depth to an image.

  • Remove clutter. Leave only the plate and the food.

A simple compositional point helps the viewer to focus on the food.

food photography list of tips

“Coffee” captured by Filippo Diotalevi

  • Don’t overfill the plate unless the photograph is for a fast food chain.

The reason for this is twofold. It helps the viewer and it contributes to the general airiness of the image.

  • Use a sprig of a fresh herb to add a dash of color.

Food is often beige, and a splash color can really make an image come alive.

  • Make the plate big in the image.

Obvious one this but the plate should occupy at least 80 percent of the width of the photograph.

  • Don’t be scared to crop the plate. Use the plate’s edge as a compositional element.

A shot with just half of the plate in frame makes for a really pleasing composition.

food photography composition tips

“would you like some breakfast?” captured by Kalyan Chakravarthy

  • On the computer use a little sharpening but not too much.

Generally speaking some sharpening is a good thing, but overdoing it makes the edges very unnatural looking.

  • Crop to tighten up the composition if required.

It is best to get as close to the final composition as possible with the camera. Viewfinders do not always show the image exactly as it will appear in the final photograph, so a little cropping may be required.

food lighting

Photo captured by Chad Miller

This may seem like a lot to remember, but it does become second nature very quickly. Remember, though, that these are only guidelines and not hard and fast rules. The best photographs are taken by those that are prepared to take risks and to learn from the process.

About the Author:
For more about food photography and minimalist cooking including examples of my photography check out my guest post on my wife’s blog Minimalist Cook. I have been fascinated by minimalism for many years, especially as it pertains to photography and the arts.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Did you appreciate this newsletter? Please help us keep it going by Joining Our Patreon Supporters

What are your thoughts on this article? Join the discussion on our Facebook Page

PictureCorrect subscribers can also learn more today with our #1 bestseller: The Photography Tutorial eBook

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

The post Food Photography: Recipe for a Great Image appeared first in the Photography Tips category on PictureCorrect.