5 posts

Bursting the Straight Out of the Camera Bubble

A movement has grown in recent years amongst digital photographers called Straight Out of the Camera, or SOOC. Please note, this commentary relates only to digital photography; film is a different animal.

The idea behind the movement is to spend more time actually taking pictures and less time editing pictures. The general idea is laudable. We would all love to spend more time in the field than behind a computer screen. Unfortunately, the broader mindset behind the movement is utter nonsense.

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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

Don’t Give Up On Your Vision

I think we’ve all experienced something like this.  We’ve got an idea and put finger to shutter release with the goal of executing the idea.  When we get back to home base and start working on the image(s), the idea we had at the time just isn’t seeming to come across in the captured photos.  Frustration.  Perhaps we go out and try again and it still doesn’t work.  More frustration.  The important thing is not to give up. 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

High Pass Sharpening – Tutorial

The typical last step in editing a photo is to apply sharpening. Sharpening is necessary because photos straight out of a digital camera or scanned film images tend to be a bit ‘soft’. That is, they don’t have the crispness that we may want.

The most common method of sharpening is to use the Unsharp Mask (Filter>Sharpen>Unsharp Mask). The USM filter will be familiar to those who’ve worked in a wet darkroom because it works the same way the unsharp mask worked in making wet prints. USM isn’t necessarily the best way to sharpen a digital photo; however. First, it’s a destructive method of sharpening. That is, it alters pixel values in the image file. This can be worked around if sharpening is applied on a separate layer but even then it’s less than perfect. Second, it can be a bit finicky to use at times. Getting just the right amount of sharpening can be difficult. It’s also easy to overdue the effect. Overcook the sharpening and you’ll end up with unpleasant bright halos around the edges of elements in the photo. Continue reading