Workflow – What is it good for?

If you read the musings here you’ll know that I like to co-opt song titles and lyrics. So, with a nod to Edwin Starr we’re going to talk about the idea of ‘workflow’.

What is workflow? It’s a term used a lot in photography but is it a term that people generally know what it means? Continue reading

Matrix Metering – The Silver Bullet?

This post was inspired by a conversation I had with another photographer recently.  He had taken some outdoor portraits and placed his subjects in a shaded area.  The background was in sunlight.  He used flash to light the subject but the background was, predictably, still quite bright.  He spot metered on his subject to come up with his exposure settings. Continue reading

Photo Basics – White Balance

Do you want your whites their whitest?  Use Tidy Det…. no, wait, wrong commercial.  Do you want your whites their whitest?  Use White Balance.  That’s better.  OK, I’ll stop with the bad humour now.

In this instalment of the ongoing Photo Basics series, we’re going to look at a camera control that can be confusing but really shouldn’t be:  White Balance.  In very simple terms, white balance is used to keep white things white.  Or grey things grey.  And all other colours their ‘proper’ colour too.  Note that I’ve highlighted the word ‘proper’.  We’ll come back to that later in the article.  Essentially white balance is used to maintain a ‘neutral’ colour balance.  Continue reading

Image Blending With Luminance Masks

In a recent article we looked at using luminance and density masks as a tool for sharpening images.  Today we’re going to look at using luminance masks as a tool for blending images to extend dynamic range.  It’s a very slick trick and much easier than manual blending using layer masks and painting in the image. Continue reading

Sharpening Using Luminance & Density Masks

There are countless ways to sharpen an image.  Unsharp Mask, Smart Sharpen, High Pass.  A while back I wrote an article on sharpening using Smart Objects to make your sharpening more versatile.  Today we’re going to look at a different way of doing creative sharpening using luminance and density masks. Continue reading

Intelligent Sharpening

There are many ways to go about sharpening digital images. Some very simple, others very complex. Some better than others. One of my personal favourites is the High Pass method which I wrote about in an earlier tutorial.

Something that seems nearly universal is the desire for ‘editable’ sharpening. That is, being able to go back and change it in the future if desired. The simple, straightforward methods like Unsharp Mask or Smart Sharpen don’t allow this. There are several ways to have adjustable sharpening; however, and we’ll talk briefly about a few of them and in more detail on one in particular. Continue reading

Photo Basics – Composition V

In the last article, we looked at the technique of ‘leading lines’.  In this article, we’re going to concentrate on one particular use of leading lines and something that can be a by-product of leading lines.

The particular form of leading line we’re going to look at this time is the S-Curve.  Last time we concentrated on straight lines as a way to lead the viewer into and through the image.  At the end of the article I showed an image that was shot two different ways and the second method produced an S-Curve.  So let’s look at it more closely. Continue reading

Photo Basics – Composition IV

In the first two articles of this series on composition, we looked at ways to break up the viewfinder to frame an image and place important scene elements off centre for enhanced visual interest.  In this instalment, we’re going to look at using elements that exist in the scene to create that visual interest through the use of Leading Lines. Continue reading

Photo Basics – Composition III

In the last instalment, we looked at a millenia-old compositional tool called the Golden Mean.  This time we’re going to look at one that’s popular more in photography and also can be a bit controversial.  It’s called The Rule of Thirds. I know, there’s that nasty “rule” word. Despite the name, again, think of it as a guideline rather than a hard and fast rule. The reason it’s one of the most basic is because it’s so simple to implement. The reason it’s so controversial is because some treat it like a dogmatic edict from the Mount Olympus of Photographic Art and think every image must adhere to it without wavering in the slightest. The simple part is true. The dogmatic edict part is pure codswallop. Or as some of my UK friends would say, bollocks. Continue reading

Photo Basics – Composition II

In the first instalment of this series, we looked at why the guidelines of composition work and we defined what composition is.  Now we’re going to start looking at some of the actual compositional tools artists use in creating imagery. Continue reading