Here is a video showing my edit of one of my photos. In it, I show you the software I used, the basic techniques, and why I did what I did.
Watch the video in the player on this page, and switch to full screen to see better. HD also helps see more detail.
Thank you for watching!
DxO and Lightroom
When used together, DxO software and Lightroom work very well. However, I noticed an issue with my workflow and it was the color of the images. The greens and reds were noticeably stronger in DxO than in Lightroom, for the exact same photo. Here’s what I found out was the problem… Continue reading
How to Take Great Night Photos
What a lot of people don’t know is that it is relatively inexpensive and easy to take great night photos. The Milky Way, stars, and Moon are all within your reach. You can get some extremely cool-looking photos of them without a lot of effort. Here’s how…
If you’ve ever submitted a photo to a stock photo site such as iStockphoto, Bigstockphoto, Fotolia, or any of the stock and microstock photo sites, then you may have heard from them that “your photo has artifacts.” But what are these “artifacts” they speak of? And, more importantly, how can you get rid of them?
Some Guidelines (from my experience)
“Expose to the right” has been a popular saying and method of exposure for digital photographers for years, and it works in some cases. I’ll show you how to go the other way and make it work also. Maybe the time of “expose to the right” is almost over (in some cases). Here’s why… Continue reading
Why Copyright? Why not?
With the software for image processing and the cameras available today, is there any reason why someone would not apply copyright information to their photos? Why, yes, yes there is — it’s called “oversight” and “stupidity.” For as easy as it is, there really is no excuse not to apply your copyright to your images. Protect them. They’re yours.
I use Lightroom software to import and touch up my photos, and there is a provision for applying copyright information to the metadata of your image right at the point of import. I simply fill in the field that applies metadata and save it as my own preset. When the photos are imported from my camera into Lightroom, the copyright notice is automatically applied.
Testing the GoPro Video Camera Modes
The GoPro video camera has a lot of video modes and settings for shooting videos and time-lapse sequences, so how can anyone know which settings are correct? This was my dilemma, and it kept me from shooting anything because I didn’t know what settings to use. But, I said “screw this” and just went ahead and shot with whatever. By trial and error, I think I’ve figured out what works best. Here’s what I learned. Continue reading
A Bold Statement
I’ll go against the crowd here when I say “first try the “auto” tone adjustment in post-processing your images.” Why? “Auto” has a good idea for you. Here’s how I use it… Continue reading
When it comes to your photos, how sharp is sharp enough? Almost everyone wants crisp, detailed photos without blur and in good focus. In addition some sharp edges look great in the right places. But how to achieve all of this? Continue reading
To watermark or not to watermark, that is the question. Often it is a good idea to put your name on the images you place on the internet – especially if they may be re-shared or, worse, stolen. Although theft is less likely that you think, it still happens and a benign way to prevent that and gain some peace of mind is through watermarking. Here’s how I do it and a few alternatives…
Ludington Michigan on the West coast of Michigan’s lower peninsula is a beautiful lakeside city. Sitting on the shores of Lake Michigan, it attracts visitors who are eager to get away from the cities and towns, and who are looking to enjoy the lake. This photo was taken on the beach at Ludington, late in the day.
I got down low for this shot because I really wanted to capture that look and feel of a late summer day on the beach. However, the land and sky were hardly cooperating with me! I made do though and here’s how…
GoPro Hero cameras are fantastic as movie cameras and also for taking still photos. The Hero 3 is the latest version and has options for 12 Megapixel Wide Angle, Medium Angle, or Narrow. The wide angle is by far the best for getting all of a scene in view, but the distortion around the edges is difficult to compensate and all objects appear curved toward the edges. Here is my formula for getting lens corrections in Lightroom for this camera. Continue reading
Sometimes a photo will have just too much of a particular color (color cast) or overall too much color such as from a polarizing filter. The Singh-Ray LB Color Combo filter sometimes does this to my photos and I have to “tone them down” in Lightroom. Here’s what I do to achieve more pleasing color in these types of images: Continue reading
Do you know where you were when you took all of your photos? Should you care? When someone asks you where you took that photo of yours, could you tell them with any accuracy where? Maybe you need to geotag your photos… Continue reading
I’m sure you’ve see what you think are “over-saturated” photos — those with too much color. But how much is too much?
The traditional way to judge this is purely subjectively by your own opinion and taste. Maybe you like more saturation or maybe you don’t. Maybe it fits with a particular subject and not with others. There are many variables to this and each needs further explanation and a breakdown. You’ll see, you have some decisions to make and a few tools that will help you: Continue reading
Adobe Lightroom has some good sharpening tools built into it, but what are the best settings to use? It is not an easy question, but I’ll tell you what I do and hopefully make it easier to get started. Continue reading
Should you apply output sharpening to photos before printing? What is output sharpening anyway? I’ve had these questions, maybe you have too. Here’s what I have found works best for me… Continue reading
Want to remember what filter you used when you shot a photo? Want it to stay with the photo in the metadata?
I’ve been looking for a way to do this for a long time. I use filters when I shoot my photos, and I like to remember what filters or combination of filters that I used when I took each one. This helps me know what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to using filters.
Until now, I haven’t found a way to get that information into a photo’s metadata (the technical data that is attached to each photo in the file itself). There just wasn’t a field for it. Continue reading
Chromatic aberration (purple fringe or other color anomalies around bright to dark transitions) is an annoying thing in photos and can easily sneak into one of your’s!
You can see it in the photo I have here around the dark legs of this structure. It is the magenta lining on the left and the aqua on the right of each of the legs. Click on the photo to see it larger if needed.
You may miss it the first time looking at the photo because you’re interested in the composition or overall color, sharpness, etc. (as you should be). But, looking closely, you will find it in almost all of the photos you take. It is sometimes an aqua, magenta, blue, or yellow lining of darker objects on lighter backgrounds. In older cameras, it was purple, giving it the nickname of “purple fringe.” Fortunately, in Lightroom, there are two or three ways to get rid of this annoying item.
Here are the three ways that I get rid of chromatic aberration using Lightroom: Continue reading
If you are shooting for high dynamic range photos, then your camera should be capable of providing the dynamic range necessary. But how much dynamic range is really needed?
Since the goal in photography is to capture what you see, how much dynamic range can you see? You can see a maximum of about 13 – 14 stops (13 – 14 EV) when viewing any scene. So, you would want your camera to provide something close to this if you hope to capture what you saw. But digital cameras don’t provide as much range as your eyes, and they tend to come in at around 9 EV for the JPEG files they output.
But, if you shoot in RAW, you have an advantage – the RAW files always contain more data than the JPEG files and therefore more dynamic range. Just how much more range is dependent on your camera, but in general it is about 1.0 – 1.5 EV more on the highlight end and 1.0 – 1.5 more in the shadow end, with a total not usually exceeding around 2 EV more dynamic range. Here’s a list of dynamic ranges: Continue reading
I really like the added dynamic range that HDR offers, but dislike the over-use of HDR to the point where images look unreal. I want my images to look “real” and sometimes HDR oversteps that. I’ve tried a variety of software for HDR and I have found one underlying theme that always results in a realistic-looking photo that also has high dynamic range: Continue reading
Why would anyone want to add vignetting to a photo? It is usually something that photographers try to avoid! Lens and filter combinations that produce vignetting can be frustrating to photographers — often resulting in time spent in post-processing software to crop and remove the vignette. Even though vignetting is not always desirable in photos, it can be employed by the skilled photographer to create a “drawing” effect on the viewer. Here’s how . . . Continue reading
I’ve seen plenty of high-end photos with film grain visible in them. If you get right up to them and look, you can see it. I saw it in a Peter Lik photo when I was in on of his galleries in Waikiki and I thought “how could the great Peter Lik allow film grain in his photos?” But I realized shortly after, that great photographers do have film grain in their photos — usually because they shot on film!
So is it cool to have film grain in your photos? The answer is more complicated than a simple “yes” or “no”. But, generally yes.
Consider the panorama next time you take a “normal” photo. Why? Because with some cropping, you can have a panoramic image quite easily and without stitching multiple photos together in specialized software!
With photos of high resolution (high megapixels), cropping the photo to be panoramic does not lose a lot of resolution. I call these types of photos “cropped panoramics.” When taking the photo, you have to have the panoramic image in mind and set up your composition accordingly. But, with some practice, this can be an easy way to get panoramic images into your portfolio without a lot of extra work!
For example: Continue reading
I’ve tried all of the popular software packages for removing noise from my photos and I’ve found that Neat Image works the best. But, for as good as it works, there are settings that can be made that will make it work even better. Here’s what I’ve experimented with and found out about setting up this fantastic software.
First I would recommend that you get a noise profile for your input device (camera). There are profiles available at the Neat Image website and they are easy to install. This improves the profiling. If you don’t have a profile installed though, auto profiling works just fine too. Continue reading
Painting With Light
“Painting with light” is a term I give any photo where I selectively lighten or darken areas of it to make it more appealing.
Here is an example in Lightroom showing the original photo on the left and the enhanced one on the right. Tone adjustments were made to give color and luminance balance to the image, but then I lightened selected areas because it was still flat and drab. Lifeless. Continue reading
The sun is bright and when you look toward it, your eyes can’t see any detail in it. It is “blown out” in your eyes. Is this any surprise? No. Shocking information? No. Well then why do we as photographers complain when our photos show the sun as a feature-less blown-out highlight? It is, after all, what you would have seen had you been standing there behind the camera isn’t it? Of course it is.
Let’s say you’re standing in a dark ravine looking up with dark rocky outcroppings all around, but a bright sun shining above. Do your eyes see detail in the shadows? Of course not. Surprising? No. Something wrong with your eyes? No. It’s a high-contrast scene and this is what your actually seeing. So why do we as photographers when we look at the photo later, feel as if we’ve failed somehow because the shadows in our photo are black without much detail. It was, after all, exactly what we saw when we were there.
How well can you see details on the horizon? Are treelines perfectly clear to you? No. What about the haze in the air. Do those distant tress or mountains look perfectly clear? No. Could they be a little out of focus to your eyes? Sure. When we get behind the lens though, we want everything to be sharp and clear – but clearly not how we actually saw it. Why?
What is the Barbell Strategy?
I first read about the barbell strategy in Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s book The Black Swan. In it he claims basically that investments should be mostly (80%) safe, with a few (20%) very risky, but none in the intermediate. This strategy works for me with my investments where I have 20% in risky stocks (growth, emerging, etc), 80% in safe stocks (bonds, etc), and none (0%) in between . But what does this have to do with photography?
You can apply this same principle to your photography both in post-processing and during capture! Continue reading
Sooner or later you’re going to print one of your photos and you’re going to be disappointed by the result. The photo is most likely going to look too dark and the colors are going to be ‘off.’
This is a disheartening thing. You’ve spent so much time getting the photo to look perfect on the screen, and then when it returns from the printer it looks like crap! But know this – you are not alone. This happens to everyone. Here’s how to avoid it or at least see it coming: Continue reading