Photoshop Touch 1.0

April 3, 2012 by · 7 Comments
Filed under: Reviews 

iPad-toting Photoshop users finally have an actual version of Photoshop for their tablets. Photoshop Touch offers layers-based compositing, masking and retouching tools, and color correction, all wrapped up in a touch-based interface. The question, of course, is what exactly it gets you in the way of a tablet-based post-production workflow. In this detailed review, I take a look at the app from the point-of-view of the serious, working photographer.

Camera-Specific Training at Lynda.com

February 27, 2012 by · 7 Comments
Filed under: Features 

There’s a lot to know to be a capable photographer. Exposure theory, lighting, composition. On top of all that, there are all those buttons and dials on your camera. To help you understand exactly how your camera works, you might want to check out one of my camera-specific courses at Lynda.com. These courses will work you through all of the features of their respective cameras, and help you understand those features in the context of larger photographic theories. Courses are now available for the Canon EOS60D, the Nikon D7000, the Canon Rebel T3i, and the Nikon D5100.

Experimenting With Less Contrast

February 25, 2012 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Features 

In most of your image editing endeavors, you probably find yourself striving to achieve more contrast in your images. This probably leads you to crank up black points, and make sure your whites are as white as possible. There are times, though, when less contrast will give you a better image. I first covered this idea in 2005, in this article. Recently, the subject came to my attention again, as I decided that the best way to handle an image was to dramatically reduce the contrast. This time, I took a different approach to solving the problem.

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Foundations of Photography: Black and White

February 23, 2012 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Features 

Your digital camera is capable of producing incredible color images, but color isn’t always the best way to represent a scene. By choosing to express a scene in black and white, you’re stripping photography down to its barest essentials, and very often, you will achieve an image with more power than if you choose to capture rich, perfect color. This Lynda.com course covers every aspect of digital black and white, recognizing a good black and white scene to shooting, to black and white conversion and further retouching.

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Foundations of Photography: Composition

February 23, 2012 by · 19 Comments
Filed under: Features 

It doesn’t matter how technically perfect you are with your exposure, if you compose a boring shot, you’ll have a boring picture. If you find yourself shooting boring pictures, and would like to stop, you might consider checking out my Foundations of Photography: Composition course at Lynda.com.

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Photoshop Automator Actions 5.0.3 Update

February 17, 2012 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Automator Actions, Features 

The Photoshop Automator Actions v5.0.3 Updater is now available. This package updates delivers numerous bug fixes and tweaks, and adds Lion compatibility. Available for CS4 and CS5, the update is free to all users of both the free and Pro versions of the Photoshop Automator Actions Collection version 5. Updates are available here.

For this updater to work, you must have a copy of the version 5 package installed. (Obviously, you’ll need to install the updater package that matches the version that you have installed, either CS4 or CS5, free or Pro.)

Now Available: Foundations of Photography, HDR

November 1, 2011 by · 10 Comments
Filed under: General 

As amazing as current digital camera technology is, it can’t compare with those two squishy orbs in the front of your head. In addition to great autofocus, exceptional white balance, and amazing low light capabilities, your eyes also have tremendous dynamic range (that is, an ability to perceive an extremely wide range of dark to light). In fact, your eyes probably have almost twice the dynamic range as the digital camera you’re currently using.

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All Photos Are Manipulated

November 1, 2011 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: General 

Unlike film photographers, most of whom would never have considered carrying a darkroom with them, (though there are some that do) as digital shooters we expect to have a little post-production capability in the field, if for no other reason than to offload media. While I normally travel with a Macbook Air, or a netbook Hackintosh, for this trip, I decided to try to make due with only an iPad, for a few different reasons.

The whole story of what I did, and how it worked is detailed right here.

The iPad, the HyperDrive, and the Traveling Photographer

July 28, 2011 by · 9 Comments
Filed under: Features 

Like a lot of photographers, I like gear. Lots of gear. Sometimes I think that I like gear because buying new gear is easier than trying to take a good picture. But still, I buy more. But when it comes time to actually travel somewhere, all that gear presents a bit of a quandary. The sad fact is: while I like gear, I don’t like carrying it. When traveling, I used to carry a rather full kit – lots of lenses, flashes, anything I might possibly need. But these days, even for extended travel, I tend to go pretty stripped down. Usually just two lenses, no flash, possibly a lightweight tripod. On a recent 3-week trip to Turkey, I decided to go even more bare, and travelled with only a small backpack as my only luggage – both for clothes, and camera gear. Needless to say, this presented a bit of an issue in terms of gear choice.

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Re-considering Good Light

July 27, 2011 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Features 

No matter how good, or how experienced a photographer might be, there will be times when they hit a slump. If you’ve been shooting for any length of time, you’ve probably experienced this – that feeling that there’s simply nothing that catches your eye; that there’s nothing worth taking a picture of. Or maybe you feel like you’ve already shot every potential picture that you see, or that it’s a cliché. If this happens to you, one of the best ways to get out of it is to go back to basics, and there’s nothing more basic than light. In this article I take a detailed look at what makes some light good, and some light bad, and then offer some light-based exercises that will help get you back to seeing compelling scenes.

Foundations of Photography: Black and White

June 30, 2011 by · 6 Comments
Filed under: General 

In an effort to make the world less colorful, I recently produced a course on black and white photography for Lynda.com. That course is now live and, thanks to the incredibly talented Lynda.com crew, it looks great! They did a fantastic job of crafting evocative noirish sets using only light and shadow, all of which serve to reinforce the fundamental vocabulary of black and white shooting. Covering shooting, post-production, aesthetics, and how to “see” black and white images, the course is available for immediate viewing here.

Flare: Push-button image editing effects

May 9, 2011 by · 7 Comments
Filed under: Reviews 

Whether you’re an experienced Photoshop user, or a casual image editor, there will be times when you want to quickly and easily get a stylized look on an image. The Icon Factory’s Flare 1.0 is an inexpensive, capable little application that makes it easy to get stylized treatments and borders onto an image through a simple push-button interface. Check out my full review here.

An Easy Way to Try Out Micro Four Thirds

May 2, 2011 by · 4 Comments
Filed under: Features 

If you’re not already familiar with Micro Four Thirds, you should be. A standard camera spec that offers a nearly perfect compromise between the size of a high-end point-and-shoot, and the image quality and shooting flexibility of an SLR, Micro Four Thirds might be the perfect companion for your SLR, or high-end point-and-shoot. (You can learn all about Micro Four Thirds – what it is and why you should care – here. The best way to find out if Micro Four Thirds is right for you is to try it, and that’s now easier than ever thanks to Borrowlenses.com, which now rents Micro Four Thirds cameras and lenses. Check out their offerings, rent a camera, and see if Micro Four Thirds is right for you.

nik Silver EFex Pro 2.0

April 18, 2011 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Reviews 

There are lots of ways to convert color images to black and white. In Photoshop, you can use a grayscale mode change, or convert the image to L*A*B color and then extract the Luminance channel. Or, you can pull a single RGB channel, drain the saturation out of an image or use Photoshop’s excellent Black and White conversion tool. The list goes on and on, but in my opinion, the best way to perform black and white conversion (more accurately called grayscale conversion is with nik’s Silver Efex Pro 2, a plug-in for Photoshop, Aperture, and Lightroom.

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Foundations of Photography: Lenses

February 11, 2011 by · 7 Comments
Filed under: General 

Many of the creative options available to a photographer hinge on an in-depth understanding of lenses. Foundations of Photography: Lenses, will give you that in-depth understanding, as you learn how to choose lenses and take full advantage of their creative options. This 2.5 hour course covers fundamental concepts that apply to any camera, such as focal length and camera position, and shows how to evaluate and shop for DSLR lenses. The second half of the course focuses on shooting techniques: controlling autofocus, working with different focal lengths, and managing distortion and flare. You’ll also learn about filters, cleaning, maintenance, and more. You can find it all right here on the Lynda.com web site.

Choosing the Best Resolution for Inkjet Photo Printing

February 11, 2011 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Features 

The last step of any photo workflow is to sharpen and output. If your final goal is an image for the web or email, then output simply means resizing and saving your image. If your final output is to print using an online printing service, then you’ll need to follow their size, resolution, and format specifications very carefully. Similarly, if your final destination is your own desktop printer, you’ll also need to set size and resolution before you print. While choosing size is pretty simple – you just resize the image to the printing dimensions that you want – choosing a correct resolution is a little trickier. In this article, we look at exactly what you need to consider when choosing a resolution for desktop inkjet printing.

Foundations of Photography: Exposure

January 3, 2011 by · 27 Comments
Filed under: General 

If you’re new to photography, or have been shooting for a while but still don’t feel comfortable with the fundamental theories of exposure, then you’ll want to check out my new Lynda.com course Foundations of Photography: Exposure. This three-and-a-half hour video training course works you through every fundamental aspect of exposure theory. You’ll learn what the exposure controls on your camera are for, and how to use them. In addition to learning how exposure control can help you solve problems, you’ll learn how to use exposure control to expand your creative palette. Shot on location in Southern California, this all “live-action” course was a lot of fun to make, (especially when the horses and mules got involved) and should get you a deep understanding of some of the fundamental concepts that you have to know to move beyond the auto modes on your camera.

Is the 13″ Macbook Air A Good Laptop for the Digital Photographer?

November 11, 2010 by · 21 Comments
Filed under: Features 

I travel a lot, and when on the road I typically carry several cameras, a computer, my Kindle, all the associated chargers, cords, extra hard drives and other accoutrements necessary to move my digital world with me. If there’s any room left over, I also consider taking clothes and those other secondary items. Needless to say, my bag’s heavy, so I’m constantly looking for ways to lighten it. For the past couple of years I’ve been carrying a 13" Macbook, which has been a great computer, and fully capable of everything I need for months-long excursions. But it was very difficult not to note the new 13" Macbook Air upon its release. More specifically, to note that it weighs 1.5 pounds less than my 13" Macbook. What wasn’t obvious was whether it was enough computer to handle a digital photo workflow. So I bought one. Here’s how it stacks up.

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Icelandic Horse Roundup

October 6, 2010 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: General 

My friend, photographer Paul Taggart has been on assignment in Iceland, shooting the historic annual round-up of horses. Each year, traditional herdsmen round up thousands of highland horses for the winter. Paul and photographer Lindsay Blatt have spent the last few weeks, living with the herdsmen and following them across the Icelandic landscape. You can see some of the fruits of their labor at the Herd In Iceland site. (You can also follow the project on Facebook and Twitter.)

Photoshop Automator Actions v5.0.1 Update

September 17, 2010 by · 13 Comments
Filed under: Automator Actions 

The Photoshop Automator Actions v5.0.1 Updater is now available for free download. This package updates 18 actions and delivers numerous bug fixes, some additional features and two new actions. Available for CS4 and CS5, the update is free to all users of both the free and Pro versions of the Photoshop Automator Actions Collection version 5

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