This tutorial has been transcribed from the SLR Lounge Lightroom 4 Workshop on DVD, a 14 hour Lightroom 4 A – Z guide with over 130 tutorials for mastering Lightroom from start to finish. The Digital download can be purchased from SLR Lounge while the physical copy is available through Amazon Prime.
In Part I of the Portrait Retouch on a Male Subject Series, we went over basic color correction on our image. I produced the image with a darker, more dramatic stylized look. However, grading and color stylization is all subjective. Retouch on the other hand is a bit less subjective. There are definite do’s and don’t when it comes to retouch. In this article, we will take our color graded portrait and use strictly Lightroom 4 to do some more advanced portrait retouching.
As we mentioned in the last article, Lightroom can be a very efficient tool when retouching portraits. Lightroom does not have all of the tools and capabilities as Photoshop. However, we find that for most of our retouching needs it is quite sufficient. We also save time by editing directly from Lightroom and not having to take each image into Photoshop. So in this Part II of our three-part series we will show you how to remove blemishes as well as apply a skin softening mask right within Lightroom.
Using the Spot Removal Tool to Remove Blemishes
We use the Spot Removal Tool to remove various small objects such as dust or unattractive details from our images. However, we can also use it effectively to remove blemishes. This subject does not have many blemishes, however, he does have quite of few freckles. Now of course we do not want to remove all of the freckles because these are distinguishing marks individual to him. We have a general rule when it comes to removing blemishes vs actual facial details. When it comes to removing blemishes, you can remove them all without a care. However we want to be very cautious when it comes to things like freckles, beauty marks, or other identifying facial traits. Removing such items will actually make the person cease to look like themselves. For this image, we will however remove a few freckles in order to present a bit of a cleaner look. Mainly we are looking to remove freckles that are distracting, and not identifying features.
We do this by selecting our Spot Removal Tool by hitting “Q” on the keyboard or by selecting it on the Adjustment Tool Bar above the Basic Panel. We will then zoom in to 100% on our image by simply clicking on it. To use the spot removal tool, adjust your brush size to the smallest possible brush that will completely cover what you are trying to remove. The second circle, which is the sampling area, will appear and Lightroom will try and guess an area of the image that matches what you are attempting to remove. If Lightroom does not correctly place the sampling area, select an area of the image that most resembles the area you are trying to clone or replace.
Use your judgement on what you would like to remove. Of course blemishes such as acne is something we will always remove. If a client or model has a strong facial trait that is being somewhat distracting, a tip would be to diminish but not to remove it. To diminish, simply bring down the opacity on the Spot Removal Tool so that it only has a softening effect. The Opacity slider controls transparency of the brush and is located in the drop down panel of the Spot Removal Tool.
Here is our image after cleaning up some of the freckles. Notice how left the few freckles right on his cheek and a couple above his eye brows because those are strong identifying freckles.
Using Adjustment Brushes to Soften Skin
Next we will will apply a subtle skin-softening mask. With portraits of men we always keep this effect pretty understated. This is because men do not usually want to look like they have baby soft skin, so we like to keep a little bit of ruggedness to their portraits. To create and apply our mask we will select the Adjustment Brush Tool by hitting “K” on the keyboard or selecting it from the Adjustment Tool Bar above the Basic Panel. You can reset the current brush settings by holding down “alt” on a PC and ”opt” on a Mac and clicking the word “Reset” on the upper left corner of the Adjustment Brush drop down panel.
Then we bring down our clarity and sharpening settings. Reducing the sharpening and clarity has a softening effect similar to Gaussian blur in Photoshop. Once again, we keep this effect very minimalistic for men. For now we will start with -15 for the Clarity and -15 for Sharpness. We can always come back and adjust these settings after applying the mask.
Now we will adjust our brush size to a large brush and paint all of the skin showing in the image. You can show your mask overlay by hitting “O” on your keyboard. This will show what you have painted on your image in red.
Once you have completely covered the area that you would like to soften, we will go back in and refine the mask. We can do this by holding “alt” on a PC and “opt” on a Mac while you have the brush over the image. By holding down “alt”, your brush will remove the mask you had applied. We are going to refine the edges, as well as remove the softening effect from his lips, eyes, and eye brows. Always make sure to completely remove the softening mask from these areas. If it is not fully removed there can be quite a strange effect to your portrait.
You will notice we are not being extremely careful when removing this mask. This is because the mask is so subtle that there is no need to spend the extra time making sure it is perfect. However, if your softening settings are very powerful, you do want to make sure you spend the time making a perfect mask. Once you have your mask where you would like, you can remove the overlay but hitting “O” again. Now we have a finished retouched portrait. Hit “\” to see your before/after versions.
The SLR Lounge Lightroom 4 DVD Guide
Stay tuned for Part 3 of the Advanced Portrait Retouch Series where we will go over how to enhance and brighten a subjects eyes, as well as enhance detail and contrast in hair and other parts of the image! If you enjoyed this tutorial then we know you will love the SLR Lounge Lightroom 4 Workshop on DVD featuring 130 tutorials and nearly 14 hours of training covering Lightroom 4 from A – Z, nearly half of which is devoted strictly to image processing techniques.
eDVD Digital Download available at SLR Lounge
Physical DVD available for purchase at Amazon Prime
Post originally from: Digital Photography Tips.
A Guest Post by Piper Mackay from www.pipermackayphotography.com.
1. Do your Research
Taking an international trip to an exotic location, especially if you are going solo, can be a large investment. Whether you choose to go solo or join a group you need to take proper time to do your research. There are many area’s that I have researched for well over a year prior to committing to the expedition. What is the best time to come, are there events or festivals at certain times of the year, is it the rainy/dry season, how does that effect the roads and the environment that you are shooting in, how far are the accommodations from the subject you are photographing? Take the proper time to ask all the important questions and learn all the details to maximize your photographic opportunities.
2. Find the Right Guide
YOUR GUID WILL MAKE OR BREAK YOUR TRIP This is critical so either team up with someone who has been there or do your research.
Search for guides on google, in travel and photography forums, and through sites like flicker. Try to get to know your guide by email first. Once in the country meet for tea or coffee and test their knowledge and experience. Have they worked with photographers before? How flexible are they and can they take you to where you want to go and get you there on time? Do you feel safe with this person, can you trust them with your life? Take time to negotiate a price with them, in most cultures this is part of the relationship building process.
3. Know your Outcome
Just going to enjoy taking photographs would be the most fun but if you are doing this professionally then you need to manage your expectations by knowing in advance what your expected outcome is. Are you taking stock travel shots, editorial, fine art, or all three? Create a shot list in advance so that you can check from time to time to make you are covering everything. Include the simple basics such as Vertical, horizontal, cover, wide angle…. this is to help you, not hinder you. When you get to an exotic location the excitement and the adrenalin is rush you don’t want to come and home and say – why didn’t I shoot more verticals, cover shots, opening shoots, food, etc.
4. Get Organised
Don’t spend all your time frantically searching for stuff and miss out on photo opps. Organize your photo bag so everything has a place/pocket and always put it back in the same place. However that does not always happen so decided on ONE convenient go to place in your photo bag, side duffle pouch, a separate bag, an area that can be with you everyday and when you are in too much of a hurry throw it in there but then put it back where it goes before heading off for sleep. Items that are not in your photo bag, categorize and put in separate bags. I have different color bags; one holds chargers, one holds audio, one holds cell and internet accessories… I think you get the picture…. I always know were everything is right when I need it.
5. Back Up
Have a back up workflow and stick to it. Download in the evening, lunch, twice a day, whatever works best for you, but do it consistently the same way/time everyday. Make a minimum of two copies and three if possible. Keep one copy on you and one copy in a separate bag or with your guide, just like off site storage. When flying keep one copy on you and one under the belly. If something were to happen and a bag is stolen then you would have another copy somewhere else. Bring back up batteries, camera body, card reader and the likes. *Bring a power bar with the electrical outlet of the country or buy one right when you arrive.
6. Slow Down
When you arrive in the big city, if possible, drive to your remote location and use the time to slow down, decompress from modern life, let go of your preconceived idea’s, and get into the rhythm of the culture and place. Plan to arrive at midday when the light is harsh, leave the camera in the car and just wonder about getting a sense of place. If you are photographing people take the time to meet them, have tea, show interest in them and their lifestyle.
You will create more compelling images when you experience what you are photographing. If you are going to an event or festival put down the camera, participate, experience the moment and then photograph the experience. If you are photographing indigenous cultures, sit and have a meal with them, immerse yourself into their lives and culture and your images will be more powerful because of the connection you have with your subject.
8. Work the Light
Use different light sources to create an extraordinary photograph of an extraordinary subject or place. Use reflectors to bounce golden light or diffusers to soften shadows. Use fill flash or even better take that flash off camera. Try underexposing the background and using off camera flash with jells to light your subject for a very dramatic image. Paint with light, even in a remote location. Photographers tend to want to pack light and leave these type accessory items behind, but these are exactly the items that can add drama to your images and make your travel images stand out from the crowd.
Don’t forget to look behind you as that maybe where the best shot is. When photographing people I have deliberately set up shots against the light anticipating the behavior that may occur behind me and then turned around and grabbed a great natural moment. Lie on the ground and shoot up, climb a tree and shoot down, change your perspective and change the outcome.
Remember more than a photograph is the experience. A great photo does not have to be new, it has to be you; your vision and your experience.
Piper Mackay is a professional travel and wildlife photographer whose work is heavily based in Eastern Africa. She is currently leading both wildlife and cultural safaris in Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Ethiopia. Her work is represented by Getty images and she is and instructor for the Travel and Editorial track at Calumet. View her work at www.pipermackayphotography.com.
Post originally from: Digital Photography Tips.
Many of us have a fascination for transport, be it cars, trains, planes or ships. These, mobile marvels can make wonderfully evocative images, from the nostalgia of an old steam train to the sheer power of a fighter jet. In this brief article we will have a look at some types of transport and where to shoot them.
Getting High – Aviation Photography
Photographing aircraft for the vast majority of us will be from the ground. The two best places are your local “busy” airport or at an airshow. If you plan to visit your local airport, check out the rules and regulations before you go, in some countries it may be illegal or at least sensitive. The best place to find information on major airports is actually through plane spotting websites, these will often have the latest information on the best locations at a given time of day and any issues you may come across.
Airshows can be very specific, for example showing only World War Two aircraft or major trade shows which will have the latest and greatest in modern civil and military aircraft with flying displays and static ground exhibits. By their nature the shows are often crowded and sometimes its worth paying extra to get seats in a grandstand area.
In either case, you are going to need a long lens. For APS sized sensors, a 200mm will be the minimum, on full frame 300mm. If you really want to get close on the action look at 400mm and above. Watch your exposure, particularly on grey days, the camera’s meter will be fooled by the abundance of light and will possibly underexpose. Add about 1 stop of exposure to the metered reading and check you histogram. You are also going to need a high shutter speed and good panning technique to freeze the action. Using the camera on continuous shooting mode will increase the chances of getting the best shot.
Stay on Track – Shooting Trains
In some countries such as the UK it is relatively easy to photograph modern trains. The best policy is to have a chat with the station master and ask permission to shoot. Very often you will be allowed to shoot on a tripod if you are not obstructing the platform. This is useful for getting great shots of trains speed through the station. By shooting towards the front of the train as it approaches, with relatively slow shutter speed you can get some dramatic shots.
The other option for trains is of course restored steam railways. These are usually very photographer friendly and allow you to get up close and personal with the engines. As well as looking for the wide, encompassing shots, look also for the details, steam engines are wonderfully complex pieces of machinery and make great subjects for a photographer, as can the steam billowing from the engine. Most steam museums have renovated their stations to reflect the period that the locomotives are from and the combination of the loco and station together can make for great nostalgia shots.
Fours Wheels – Photographing Automobiles
As with aircraft, often the best place to shoot cars is at a car show. There are many of these shows per year, some based solely on one manufacturer, other one era. The cars will be in pristine condition and the owners are often proud to have their pride and joys photographed. As with steam trains look for those exquisite little details, the chrome lights or the famous old marque on the bonnet. There are some places in the world where it is still possible to see older cars on the roads. Cuba is famous for it’s 1950’s American cars whilst Malta has a wonderful collection of old British buses, all painted in the same orange livery and fully operational.
One way to get dynamic shots of more recent car models is at track days. Many circuits allow drivers to run their own cars around the tracks and also allow photographers in to shoot them. As with aviation you will need a long lens to get in close. The best locations to shoot will be need bends when the cars are turning in or accelerating out. Pan with the car using a shutter speed that will freeze the car itself but add some motion blur to the background. Depending on how good the autofocus on your camera is, you may get better results by manually pre-focusing and use your camera’s continuous shooting mode to make sure you capture all the action. By their very nature cars are highly reflective and the use of a polarizer will help reduce the reflections and saturate colours.
So that covers planes, trains and automobiles, there is of course many other modes of transport that can yield great photos, one of which is maritime photography. In a later article we will cover the many aspects of shooting boats and ships.
Jason Row is a British born travel photographer now living in Ukraine. You can follow him on Facebook or visit his site, The Odessa Files. He also maintains a blog chronicling his exploits as an Expat in the former Soviet Union
While not an entirely new technology, mirrorless cameras manufacturers have been enjoying a steady rise in interest of the compact cameras among amateurs and professionals alike. Initially marketed at serious amateurs who were looking for more from their point-and-shoots, but were not interested in a DSLR, the mirrorless camera, has helped fill a gap in camera technology. Their lightweight design offers users the comforts of carrying only a compact camera and their DSLR sized sensors produce images which rival some of the most popular DSLRs on the market.
How Does a Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera Work?
In a nutshell, cameras traditionally record images by taking light (thus, an image) in through the lens, reflecting it up to the viewfinder and then sending it back to the film or digital sensor using a mirror that flips up and down when the shutter release is triggered. This is how the term single lens reflex came to be.
As technology advanced, digital point-and-shoot cameras entered the market which eliminated the need for a mirror by electronically sending light to an LCD viewfinder which displayed it as a live preview. With the removal of the mirror from the camera came a great reduction in it’s size which appealed greatly to novelty photographers everywhere. These mirrorless point-and-shoots were perfect for the average person, but their small sensor size (usually about 1/12th the size of a DSLR sensor) left a bad taste in the mouths of discerning photographers who wanted more control of their cameras. This spurred the need to create a compact sized camera that packed a little bit more wallop.
Enter the mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. To maintain the compact size, the interchangeable lens variety of mirrorless cameras use the same electronic viewfinder system as their compact point-and-shoot cousins, but incorporate large, professional-grade sensors, advanced camera controls, and interchangeable lenses.
Untitled by Roni G, on Flickr using a Panasonic Lumix G1 mirrorless interchangable lens camera and Lumix G Vario 45-200mm
What Are The Advantages of A Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera
By now, the advantages of a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera are probably becoming fairly obvious. Compared to their DSLR counterparts, the MILCs are small in size. Depending on which lens you have mounted, most of the cameras will slide right into a pocket for easy on-the-go photography. As we mentioned earlier, the sensors in most MILCs are full sized. Meaning they have sensors as large as the ones that go into our coveted DSLRs, giving us excellent image quality.
Another perk of using a MILC is how quiet they are. Less moving parts, i.e. a mirror, make these powerhouses nearly silent. It’s not just average person looking for a high-end compact camera who’s taking notice either. Having combined size and image quality with their overall unassuming appearance and serious street photographers everywhere began taking notice. They are almost ideal to have when you are trying not to draw attention to yourself.
The Drawbacks of MILCs
No, the MILC isn’t quite perfect yet. As manufacturers continue to improve their technology, users of the MILC are forced to take the ups with the downs. One of the main shortcomings of many MILCs is their somewhat sub-par performance in low-light settings, despite having a large sensor. Granted, low-light performance on a MILC is light years ahead of most compact camera’s, many MILCs struggle a bit compared to a DSLR.
The auto-focus feature, too, is bit more sluggish than a DSLR, making it difficult to capture sharp images of fast moving objects. That’s a deal breaker for sports photographers and is something that will hopefully be improved upon in the near future.
You may also want to check into what lenses are available before you dive into purchasing a MILC. Brands like Pentax stuck with their K-mount, meaning you can use any Pentax lens with your MILC, but not all manufacturers were so kind. There is a wide assortment of lenses available for all brands of MILCs, however, if you prefer to use a specific lens, check to make sure one is available to fit before purchasing the camera. In some instances, it may be as simple as using an adapter to make your current lenses fit.
voigtlander f0.95 MFT Lens by Aural Asia, on Flickr — This Voigtlander lens will fit both Panasonic and Olymypus MIRC’s. (And yes, that’s f/0.9, not f/9!)
Which Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera is Right For You
Let’s not get into the exhaustive task of comparing all the different models, as there are plenty reviews available on the internet. The Panasonic Lumix G Series is very popular and already have a rather cult like following. Panasonic also makes the Lumix DMC-GH2, which is geared towards shooting video, something it does an outstanding job at. Other popular models include the Sony NEX and the Olympus Pen Series. Pentax is also taking grip on the market with it’s oddly designed Pentax K-01.
Bottom line, MILCs are the closest we’ve come to combining the best of both worlds and can be both a joy and a pain to operate. And yes, they can be expensive! Especially if you to chose to buy additional lenses for them. Make sure you do your research beforehand and talk to people who have used one before to help you choose the right system. If you have or currently use an MILC, be sure to share your experiences in the comments below!
Photographer Thomas David recently published a beautiful series of images on Flickr by the title of Dust and Dance where he shot a dancer in action – with the action enhanced with Dust spraying off her. Here’s an example (used with permission).
He also created this short behind the scenes video that shows how it was done.
Check out the full series of Thomas’s shots on his Flickr account here including the setup for his shoot here.
Post originally from: Digital Photography Tips.
A Guest Post by Todd Sisson from www.sisson.co.nz.
As a landscape photographer I am constantly seeking that next X-factor shot – an image that leaps from the screen or page and demands the viewer’s attention – preferably attention of the favourable variety.
If you spend an hour or two on a photosharing site like Flickr viewing landscape images in un- curated groups you will note that a very small percentage of the total image population stands out from the crowd.
However, if you view a carefully curated collection of top-shelf landscape images you will probably start to notice some themes appearing. Certain visual cues and devices appear across multiple images – there will often be subtle commonalities between these attention hogging photos.
In many instances these images will possess the qualities of what I consider a dynamic landscape image.
What is a Dynamic Landscape Image?
Summer Storm, Queenstown New Zealand. An example of a dynamic landscape image. To maximise the number of dynamic elements in this image I locked this composition off in the field and shot multiple images. The best of about five wave-action frames were then blended together to form the final image.
There is no dictionary entry that defines a Dynamic Landscape Image* – heck, there’s not even a Wikipedia entry – so it is a somewhat personal interpretation.
To my mind, a dynamic landscape image is one that in some way conveys the energy and scale of the natural world. Dynamic images also often seek to breach the confines of their 2D medium by inferring a sense of depth – many truly dynamic image have an almost 3D quality about them.
*As far as I am aware, the term Dynamic Landscape was first popularised by the late Galen Rowell – one of the most influential American landscape photographers of his generation. Rowell used the term to demarcate his work from the somewhat literal colour landscape photography that dominated the early 1970′s. Although he was certainly not the only photographer employing these principles in his work, he appears to have been an excellent self-promoter and the term is somewhat synonymous with his name.
Composition is the backbone of all great photos – dynamic or otherwise – but it is essential in the creation of a truly strong landscape image.
I feel that the goal of a successful composition is to draw the eye into image and hold it there for as long as possible – which is seemingly, a maximum 15 milliseconds these days*. The following image is an example of an image that I feel achieves this objective.
Sunrise Over The Moeraki Boulders, Otago New Zealand. Seascapes lend themselves to the creation of dynamic landscape images.
This image combines all of the elements that I feel comprise a Dynamic Landscape Image:
- Leading or converging lines
- Interesting perspective
- Visually interesting foreground elements
- Visually interesting mid-ground & background elements
- Vivid colour or incredible light
- Vision-locking tonal control
- Suggestion of movement
It is important to note that not all dynamic landscape images possess all of these factors. In fact, it is depressingly rare to have it all come together in one moment. It must also be stated that what follows is not a recipe for creating great images. Photography can only be practised as an art when personal interpretation is injected into the process – only use this information as a guideline for evolving your own images.
So let’s have a very quick look at each of these Dynamic Landscape factors.
Leading Lines & Converging Lines
One of the simplest ways to draw a viewer’s attention into an image is to use converging or leading lines. Converging lines have been used by painters for centuries to create the illusion of depth within a 2 dimensional medium.
This is why photos of wharves, roads, and rivers make such successful photographic subjects. Although many consider such subjects to be cliches, I strongly council my workshop students to shoot them heavily to build an awareness of the power of a line in an image.
Leading lines not only draw attention into the image, they can also help to hold the eye within the confines of the image.
Check out the crudely overlaid wharf image below combines the strong converging lines of the wharf with secondary supporting lines in the water, hills and clouds.
Look for these lines whenever you are shooting – they are almost everywhere.
The Wharf at Frankton, Queenstown New Zealand. Shoot 'cliched' subjects like wharves and roads until it hurts a little. The pain is just your visual muscles growing stronger. Shooting man-made lines will teach you to look for more subtle lines in nature.
Although the wharf is the primary leading line device in this image there are a number of leading lines present in the water, hills and clouds. The darker reflected lines in the water help hold the eye in the central region of the frame.
As a photographer you are an artist not a forensic documentarian. You get paid the mega-bucks and live the champagne lifestyle to show your audience something a little different – that is your raison d’être.
Hence I rarely find myself shooting at my natural standing position. For some reason, compositions seem to get more dynamic the closer you are to the ground/mud/ snow/ice-encrusted cow turd – it’s just the way it is.
This is especially apparent when using an ultra-wide lens. Subject matter becomes incredibly diminutive and interesting leading lines really lose their visual power when viewed from 5 or 6 feet high – so try getting uncomfortably close and low.
Aim high also. Look for ways to gain elevation to find that privileged viewpoint – I find that this often works really well when shooting telephoto lengths for some reason. Try scrambling up banks, standing on cars and sitting on your wife’s/husband’s shoulders (sans tripod) in an effort to find an interesting perspective.
Paddock Bay, Lake Wanaka New Zealand. Getting uncomfortably low in this instance dramatically altered the perceived form of the rock on the lower right of the frame. B y moving about I was able to create the satisfying impression of the rock 'interlocking' with the reflection. Note the strong leading line formed here also.
I believe that a dynamic image almost always possesses a strong foreground element, or elements, that complement the greater scene.
Take a sunset/sunrise for example. Sure, spectacular light makes for great images, but personally photos that contain nothing but vast expanses of super-saucy red clouds do little to engage me as a viewer.
The best dynamic images typically have a strong point of interest in the lower half, or foreground. This is your visual entree into an image. If your foreground element happens to include leading lines you are quite possibly onto the much vaunted money-shot.
Lupin(e)s, Fiordland New Zealand. Yeah, this is cheating – foreground elements don't come much easier than this. That aside, keen observers will note the subtle converging lines formed out of the lupin pattern. This was accentuated by deliberately placing a bloom in each corner and leaving a little empty space at the bottom of the frame. Sunstars make an exceptional background element (segues niftily to my next point)
Visually interesting Background Elements
I often compose back to front. Firstly I will find the subject of my image, say a spectacular sunset playing out on mountains, and then I will run around like a deranged prison escapee in search of a foreground element to complement the background.
It is very much a balancing act – defining who or what element gets to play the lead role in your composition. Ideally the background is where the eye should gravitate to and the foreground should pick up a gong for best supporting actor.
Milford Sound, Fiordland New Zealand. The star of this image is the dramatic light playing out in the clouds over the eye- catching form of Mitre Peak – the foreground & mid ground elements are critical supporting parts of the whole composition but don't hog the lime-light.
Unusually, I didn’t scramble to find a foreground element for this image – I staggered. Four minutes earlier I had been happily sleeping in the back of my truck – my alarm went off and I saw this – panic ensued….
Vivid Colour or Incredible Light
By now it should be obvious that I have some un-checked colour-dependancy issues. I love colour*, especially natural light shows. However, I feel that vivid colour needs to be kept in balance and be a part of the overall composition. Too often I see images that rely solely upon dollops of super- saturated colour.
For a dynamic landscape image to work, balance must prevail. Hence I attempt to avoid filling the frame with too much colour (yes, there is such a thing – see below).
*I am even partial to the American version – colour.
Sunrise from Mt Taranaki / Egmont, New Zealand. In this image the main act was the rapidly dissipating beams of sunrise goodness and the rich colour in the clouds. Lens choice and composition mean that the sunrise colour is just one component of the image. I often like to keep dark forms in my images (anathema to the HDR readers amongst you) as a counterpoint to the extreme lightness of a sunset/sunrise. I find the dark hills here quite mysterious in contrast to the sunstar and clouds.
Too much colour. This was one of the most intense sunrises that I have ever witnessed. I should have just sat and enjoyed it – this is just too much colour for my tastes – it looks un-realistic. This shot has actually been partially de-saturated in an effort to tame the colour.
Vision-locking Tonal Control
I am tempted to trademark this term – it sounds like a mind-control experiment deployed by shady branches of the US intelligence community.
Basically all I am referring to is the phenomenon of vignetting.
The eye is drawn towards lightness within an image, particularly near the centre of frame. Furthermore, the eye is restrained by darkness at the edges of the frame.
When employed deftly, the viewer’s eye is gently drawn into the image by lightness and held there by the darker edges of the image.
Look at all of the images above and you will see this technique in use. Often this happens in- camera just by virtue of the composition and through use of ND grad filters. However, I will often darken the top edge of an image in post and even add a subtle vignette as the last thing I do. Weird Cloud formation & Road to Nowhere. Alexandra New Zealand. In order to achieve vision-lock here I painted in a brighter layer near the central portion of the image. A little vignetting was added to further enhance the effect.
Suggested motion, by way of blur or frozen motion is not always an achievable, or desirable, element to utilise within an image – but it can add another layer of dynamism to a composition.
Don’t just get locked into shooting long exposures either – frozen, or partially-frozen motion can convey movement just as well as a long exposure in some circumstances (see the first image, Summer Storm, for an example of this).
Moeraki Boulder, Otago New Zealand. Long Exposure motion blur creates a dynamic tension between the static boulder and the relentless sea. Note the other dynamic ingredients added to this image - interesting perspective, use of colour, vision-lock, foreground/background interest.
Can Dynamic Landscape Images be B&W?
Absolutely. There are many thousands of truly incredible B&W dynamic landscape images. No style renders texture and contrast better than B&W – at it’s best it is magnificent.
In order to compensate for their ‘lost’ colour Black & Whiters will often apply industrial grade quantities of Vision Locking Tonal Control (that’s why vignette sliders to go -100) and rely heavily upon strong graphical elements such as leading lines (you will find a lot of B&W photos of wharves and sewerage pipes heading out to sea).
I would show you an example of this, but I am mono-challenged. If you want to see B&W Dynamic landscapes at their best check out the work of Mitch Dobrowner & Hengki Koentjoro.
So Are All Good Landscape Images ‘Dynamic’?
Not at all. Stunning images can be made by avoiding almost all of the techniques that I have just espoused in this essay. Dynamic Landscape composition is just one style of landscape photography.
In fact, many of my favourite images by others are beautifully composed static, flat compositions. These ‘static’ images respectfully comply with the two dimensional constraints of the photographic medium and rely upon a separate set of visual devices in order to ‘succeed’.
If they will have me back here at DPS, these static landscapes will be the topic of my next blog post.
Todd & Sarah Sisson are full-time landscape photographers based in Central Otago New Zealand.
Post originally from: Digital Photography Tips.
One of the big challenges of landscape photography is incorporating elements into a landscape that you perhaps might prefer were not there. One of the common visual pollutants in our world is power lines running through pristine country. We think these photographers have made a great effort of incorporating power lines or even making them a dominant part of their compositions. Share your own efforts in the comments!
Cincinnati – Mason Community "Power – Nature & Man-Made" by David Paul Ohmer, on Flickr
Recently MCR American Pharmaceuticals debuted a new cold fighting remedy called Congestinex C that aims to relieve flu like symptoms.
The newest MCR American Pharmaceuticals product called Congestinex C was released two weeks ago and is marketed directly to medical professionals and the general public.
Congestinex C is an antihistamine, available in grape flavor and is recommended for patients who have post-nasal drip cough. Congestinex C can help calm a runny nose and may stop sneezing.
For the most part, FDA experts do not recommend young children consume cold-fighting over-the-counter medications, yet Congestinex C is safe for those older than age two. MCR American Pharmaceuticals designed Congestinex C to suit young children by using lower doses of Chlorpheniramine, and Dextromethorphan.
“We created Congestinex C to relieve cold and flu-like symptoms for even the youngest of our patients,” said David Ambrose, an executive at MCR American Pharmaceuticals.
Since MCR American Pharmaceuticals sells its medications directly to medical professionals and consumers, patients receive the medications at a reduced price. Rather than work with a middleman, MCR American Pharmaceuticals works directly with its customers, thus the company removes the unnecessary costs of paying a distributor and is able to sell its own products at a more affordable price.
“This is a win-win situation for everyone,” said David Ambrose. “Doctors receive their medications faster and patients receive cheaper medications.”
MCR American Pharmaceuticals manufactures other cold-fighting product families such as Maxiphen, Maxifed and Super-Tuss. Each medication group consists of products that are sold on the company’s Web site and aim to relieve patients from colds and flu-like symptoms.
“MCR American Pharmaceuticals is dedicated to providing individuals with self medication products for in-home treatment and prevention of medical conditions and ailments,” David Ambrose said. “We continuously strive to manufacture products that really make a difference.”
More About MCR American Pharmaceuticals
Brooksville-based specialty pharmaceutical company MCR American Pharmaceuticals is focused on the marketing and development of the highest quality pharmaceuticals. MCR American Pharmaceuticals was founded by Jack Reagin in 1991 in Birmingham, AL. and quickly expanded to several states in the Southeast. In 1999, MCR American Pharmaceuticals was purchased by David Ambrose and was relocated to Brooksville, FL. and in 2008 the company was acquired by Neuro-HiTech. Today MCR American Pharmaceuticals’ products are marketed throughout the United States and sold directly to the general public as well as medical offices, wholesalers, distributors and local pharmacies.
Camera features on cell phones, tablet computers and even MP3 players have made it easy for everyone to capture their lives in a series of images. If you just need proof of the crazy things your friends do, any simple camera’s basic features should suffice. If you want to take a more professional approach to photography, though, some high-quality apps can set you above the photo-shooting pack.? ?
?If you want to own the rights to your photographs free and clear, which makes it legal for you to sell the photos commercially to magazines or as prints, you must have a model release for every photo that contains an identifiable person or persons. Easy Release is the app for that. The Easy Release app gives you the tools to collect digital signatures with each photograph that you take.??Easy Release is made for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, and integrates with each device’s built-in camera. If you shoot on a separate camera, consider taking a single shot with your iPhone, iPad or iPod for identification purposes, collect the model signatures in the app, and then just shoot freely with your external camera, knowing you have proof of your subjects’ consent safely stored. The $9.99 price tag is worth the peace of mind.??
If you use an external camera with manual settings for picture-taking and want to get the perfect lighting conditions every time you take a shot, you’ll benefit from a light meter. A light meter reads the lighting conditions in a location, and displays the appropriate settings to help you get the perfect shot. You can buy a light meter to carry along with your camera, or you can download Pocket Light Meter to your iPhone, iPod or iPad for free. The app offers the same features as a traditional light meter, and has undergone an upgrade since its initial design, which gives it better performance in low light. For a serious photographer, it’s an absolute must.
Even if you’re an incredible photographer, you’re bound to end up with an occasional photo that doesn’t come out the way that you want it. That’s why many regular photographers are also regular users of Photoshop, one of the most popular image-editing programs. Adobe Photoshop Express is the mobile equivalent of the desktop edition of Photoshop. Express has fewer features than desktop Photoshop, but it does provide the tools you need to sharpen, brighten, and crop photos directly on your phone or mobile device. So you get great photos before they even leave your phone. Adobe Photoshop Express is available free for Apple devices, including the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, as well as for Android.
Uploading photos to the Internet, or sharing photos with other people, can be a risky business. The Internet has become a hotbed of creative thievery, and once your digital photos start traveling through cyberspace, there’s no telling where they might end up. That’s why many photographers choose to put watermarks on their photos. When done well, watermarks mark photos to a point that they are hard to steal, while still allowing the underlying image to be seen without too much difficulty.
Impression, available for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch provides a simple tool to watermark your photos directly on the device, so that you can upload them directly to the Internet without having to pass through a desktop computer. You can downloaded the app for $1.99
If you’ve always wanted to be able to capture those incredible panoramas that you’ve seen online or in stores, Photoaf Panorama is the app for you. The free Android app works by using the camera’s built-in sensors to determine the angle of each shot, allowing you to match the angles of each picture you take of a cityscape or landscape. Once the photos are taken, the app pulls the photos together into a single seamless image, giving you a 360-degree view of the place you’ve been. The panorama can then be viewed by scrolling across on the screen of the Android device. It’s an ideal app for travelers who encounter a lot of beautiful scenery.
When it comes down to it, most cameras built into cell phones, MP4 players or tablets don’t have the features to compete with quality digital cameras. With a few upgrades to your mobile device, though, you can enhance the quality of your onboard camera, bringing it closer to par with external digital cameras, or enhance your photography experience with your external camera by keeping useful tools, like model releases and a light meter, right at hand.
What’s your favorite photography app?
Lisa is a Salt Lake City native who loves a great sunset photo. When she isn’t hiking around the Wasatch mountains, she is blogging for SatelliteTV.com home of the best Dish TV specials.
Post originally from: Digital Photography Tips.
This is the third in a series of four articles about exposure by Andrew S Gibson – author of Understanding Exposure: Perfect Exposure on your EOS camera. You can read the first lesson, which explored the reasons for using program, aperture priority and shutter priority modes, here, and the second lesson, which explained why your camera’s meter gets exposure wrong, here.
In my last article I looked at the fundamental reason why your camera’s meter sometimes gets exposure wrong. Camera meters measure reflected light, and will give an incorrect exposure reading if the subject is lighter or darker than average (you can read the article again for a full recap).
But there’s another reason why your camera’s meter may get the exposure wrong – and it’s to do with the metering modes that your camera has. Most cameras have several exposure modes (my Canon camera has four). Each exposure mode is designed with for a different purpose, and works a specific way. If you are struggling with exposure, it may be because you don’t fully understand the way the metering mode that you are using works.
Most digital SLRs have the following exposure modes:
This mode weights exposure towards the centre of the viewfinder, as per the diagram above.
Centre-weighted metering works well if your subject is in the centre of the frame. If not, you have to point the centre of the viewfinder at your subject, hold the shutter button half-way down to lock in the exposure, then reframe.
Centre-weighted metering has been around a long time – if you own an old film camera it may be the only metering mode that it has. It’s predictable and easy to use once you understand that the camera is metering from the centre of the viewfinder.
The camera takes an exposure reading from a circle in the centre of your viewfinder. The diagram above shows the spot metering circle in the viewfinder of the EOS 5D Mark II.
Spot metering takes practise. Remember in the last lesson we learnt that cameras measure reflected light, and that the camera is expecting the tones within the area that it meters to average out to mid-grey? If you point the spot metering circle at a tone that is lighter or darker than mid-grey, the camera will give you an incorrect exposure reading.
One way to use the camera’s spot meter is to point it at something in the scene that is mid-grey in tone. Grass is a good example, and one approach to metering is to simply use the spot meter and take a reading off any grass or greenery in the scene.
Another technique is to use an 18% grey card (you can buy these from photo retailers). I’ve seen these used by portrait photographers. They ask the subject to hold the card up, take a reading from the card, then put it away, set the camera to manual mode and use those settings. They only need to re-meter if the light changes.
Another situation where spot metering comes in handy is when you have a bright subject against a dark background. This can happen during a theatre performance or a concert. You can take a reading from the subject and the camera will ignore the background.
Works just like spot metering but with a larger circle. Like spot metering, it works well for metering brightly lit subjects against dark backgrounds. You can use partial metering for taking a reading from a larger part of the subject than the spot meter.
Note: Evaluative metering is Canon’s term and the one that I’ll use in this article. Nikon uses matrix metering and Pentax and Sony use multi-segment metering.
Centre-weighted, spot and partial metering all take an exposure reading from the centre of the frame. Given that most photographers prefer to place the main subject off-centre for compositional reasons, this means that taking an exposure reading with one of these modes is not always the easiest way to work.
Evaluative metering was developed by the camera manufacturers to make it easier to measure exposure with off-centre subjects. The camera divides the viewfinder up into zones and compares exposure readings from each zone to come up with a suggested exposure setting. The above diagram shows the way the viewfinder is divided up into 63 zones on some EOS cameras.
The camera weights the exposure reading towards the active autofocus point (or points) as they are likely to be covering the main subject. It takes into account the readings from nearby zones and analyses the contrast of the scene to come up with an exposure setting.
Each camera manufacturer uses a slightly different process in their evaluative metering modes. While the manufacturers don’t release precise details of how their cameras calculate exposure in evaluative metering mode, there will be a guide in the instruction manual. It’s well worth a read so you understand how it works on your camera.
My preferred way of working is to use evaluative metering, take a photo, look at the histogram and then adjust the exposure if necessary. For me, this is the simplest way of arriving at the optimum exposure. However, everybody works differently and once you understand how the other metering modes on your camera work you may find one of the others is best for you.
Now that you understand more about your camera’s exposure modes, and why they may get the exposure wrong, you need to know what to do when the exposure is incorrect.
If you are using an automatic exposure mode, the easiest way is to use your camera’s exposure compensation function.
If you’re unsure how to set exposure compensation then check your camera’s manual – each camera is different. On mine, I just turn the Quick Control dial (circled above) on the back of the camera with my thumb. I like this way of working because I can dial in exposure compensation while looking through the viewfinder.
If the photo is underexposed, use exposure compensation to increase the exposure by a stop or two. Then check the histogram to see if the exposure is correct (if you’re unsure how to read the histogram, then read this excellent article).
If the photo is overexposed, you can use exposure compensation to reduce the exposure.
The amount of exposure compensation applied should be displayed in the viewfinder. Again, check your manual. On my Canon cameras the display looks something like the diagrams above. The top display shows zero exposure compensation, the middle display shows +1 stop exposure compensation and the bottom display -1 stop exposure compensation.
The next lesson is the last in the series. I’ll take a look at manual mode, show you how to use it and, more importantly, explain why you should use it.
Andrew S Gibson is a writer and photographer. He’s the Technical Editor of EOS magazine and writes for Craft & Vision. The techniques in this article are explored in more detail in his ebook Understanding Exposure: Perfect Exposure on your EOS camera.
Post originally from: Digital Photography Tips.