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    What are the next great apps you need for your Android and your iPhone?

    There are many apps out there that are fun to use. In part two we bring you 10 more great apps for your smartphone (read part one here). Some of the ones listed below are for shooting, some are for creativity, and others are great tools for the landscape photographer. Most are available for both Android and iOS, some just available for iOS.

    Shooting apps

    #1 – ProCamera 10 – iOS – $4.99 9 More Great Apps You Need for Your Smartphone

    ProCamera gives you a lot of control over your settings while shooting with your iPhone. It is easy to use and offers advanced features such as RAW capture, a live histogram, and an anti-shake feature. In the new iPhones with multiple camera lenses, it has the ability to access either lens.

    The images come out sharp with accurate exposures. The reason is that
    you can separate the focus and exposure points to really create a sharp balanced composition.

    You can also shoot in either Manual, Semi-Automatic or Automatic mode with on-screen display modes of standard, medium or light to hide non-critical display elements. It also has a low light mode called Low Light Plus which captures up to 64 photos and combines them into one photo with reduced noise.

    9 More Great Apps You Need for Your Smartphone - ProCamera

    ProCamera 10 screenshots.

    9 More Great Apps You Need for Your Smartphone - VSCO#2 – VSCO Cam – for iOS and Android – Free with in-app purchases

    VSCO Cam is one of my favorite apps. This free app has a powerful built-in camera with very clear image resolution and the ability to separate exposure and focus points which is vital in creating optimal imagery with a smartphone. This app also has built-in presets as well as ones you can purchase. It has a very active community that shares photo “recipes” to gain inspiration and create similar photographic styles in post-processing.

    When taking photos in VSCO, you can have manual control of focus, exposure, white balance, and even ISO and shutter speed. Depending on the model of your phone, you can even shoot in RAW mode.

    A big part of this app is the VSCO community and the navigation can be a bit confusing, but the results are consistently great.

    Light Effects Apps

    10 More Great Apps You Need for Your Smartphone - Lens Distortions#3 – Lens Distortions – iOS only – Free

    Lens Distortions is a unique app that will change the way you see iPhone photo filters. The app’s editing platform allows you to combine subtle blur effects, light leaks, textures, sun flares, and sunbursts to help you enhance your images with light.

    Lens Distortions is a great app for any iPhone photographer who is looking for unique filter effects that are easy to control and can be used to highlight a specific subject rather than apply it to the entire image. When used properly, the effect can look like it was taken on a much more advanced camera. Since smartphones don’t have an aperture which allows you to create a sunburst or sun flare effect like you can on a DSLR, this app will let you apply a sunburst, and give a realistic effect of the sun’s rays.

    9 More Great Apps You Need for Your Smartphone

     10 More Great Apps You Need for Your Smartphone - Rays#4 – Rays App – iOS only – $0.99

    The Rays app is great for creating realistic light ray effects quickly and easily. The rays are only added to the bright highlight areas and have the effect of passing through objects while adding a three-dimensional quality to your image. You can add shafts of light streaming through trees, rays filtering through clouds, beams of light coming through the fog, or even rays coming out of some text. You can customize the color of the rays using a color picker and specify where the rays will be visible.

    9 More Great Apps You Need for Your Smartphone - Rays

    Blend Mode Apps

    Creating Your Own Textures

    Before introducing some blending mode apps, I want to introduce you to creating your own textures. You can create your own palettes by taking pictures of interesting tree bark, floors, walls, or anything that catches your eye and combine it in a blending program.

    Here are a few textures that I’ve used to create an interesting appearance in the background of an image.

    9 More Great Apps You Need for Your Smartphone

    There are several apps available that give you stock textures to add to your compositions, but why not create your own? It’s just another way to see creatively and use your smartphone to make something unusual.

    9 More Great Apps You Need for Your Smartphone - superimpose#6 – Superimpose – iOS / Android

    ($1.99 for IOS, $0.99 for Android)

    If you want a powerful app to combine images and textures, look at Superimpose. You can create professional level layered images on your Smartphone and easily blend one photo on top of another with this app.

    You can also use this tool to blend textures, overlay borders, or create double exposures while adjusting transparency with 18 different blend modes.

    To use this app, first load a background image. Then load a foreground image, masking out any unwanted elements in the foreground image. You can then move, scale, resize or flip the foreground and adjust colors and exposure. Then you can save the blended image to the photo library at full resolution.

    Use the textures you created in the exercise above to give your images a unique and creative twist.

    9 More Great Apps You Need for Your Smartphone - superimpose

    The rich brown hues of the copper background layer and the blend modes give a warmth to this image that it didn’t have before. You can move your background layer around to work with the foreground. Notice you don’t see the copper texture in the sky in this sample image. That was because it was rotated to work in that space with minimum texture.

    9 More Great Apps You Need for Your Smartphone - mextures app#7 – Mextures – iOS / $1.99

    Mextures app lets you create grunge patterns, textures, and light leaks quickly and easily. With Mextures, you bring in an image from your camera roll and decide what texture from their menu you would like to use as a background layer. Once you apply that texture to the first layer, you can add another layer of texture, pattern, or light.

    Layers are used in more advanced photography programs like Photoshop and are useful for making color and texture adjustments that won’t affect the whole picture. In this app, you can add texture in layer one, and then add gradient color in layer two. If you decide that you don’t like the gradient color, you can just delete that layer and redo it without affecting the texture layer.

    Layers in both Photoshop and apps like this work the same way. Imagine having a stack of tissue paper, and each tissue has an element that you can add to your image. One tissue layer could have color, one could have texture, and one could have light leaks. It’s easy to take them in and out or change them without affecting the layers above or below.

    This app gives you formulas that are saved presets which may be a combination of textures, colors, and gradients. You can even scroll through “Guest” formulas, and use them for your own images.

    9 More Great Apps You Need for Your Smartphone - mextures app

    Plumeria Flower created with Mextures App

    For Landscape Photographers

    9 More Great Apps You Need for Your Smartphone - Aurora app#7 – My Aurora Forecast and Alerts – For Android / iOS – Free

    Many photographers have shooting the Northern lights on their bucket list. This app will help you track the sometimes elusive Aurora Borealis and give you a forecast based on the Aurora activity. You can track the Aurora from your present location or at another location in the world. It will also give you alerts as to when the Aurora is active and in what location.

    An interesting way to use this app is to follow Aurora cams around the world and then set your alerts as to when these areas are active. Then you can tune in and watch the show!

    Get the app for Android here – and iOS here.

    9 More Great Apps You Need for Your Smartphone#8 – Geotag Photos Pro – For Android / iOS – Free

    Geotagging is the process of adding geographical identification metadata to your photographs or videos. This data usually consists of filename, folder location, city, GPS coordinates, date, and time captured.

    The Geotag Photos Pro app is meant to be used while you are shooting with your DSLR. It will record your position while you are taking photos and create a GPX file that you can export to your desktop app or to other apps and services like Lightroom, Flickr, and Apple Photos.

    This is a particularly good tool for landscape photographers or anyone who wants to know exactly their route or the specific location they shot a group of images. The images below show how you can set your interval time for the track log as well as watch the track log as it is being created.

    9 More Great Apps You Need for Your Smartphone

    Don’t worry, we weren’t walking in the ocean! The app did not recognize the pier in the route.

    It is a quick, easy, and cheap way to keep track of your locations and log a shoot. There is no need for any expensive bulky additions to the hot shoe of your camera. It’s all tracked by synchronizing the clock on the app with the clock on your camera. It will create a track log with custom interval settings that you set up.

    The best part is you can bring it into the Lightroom mapping module or connect with the Geotag Photo Pros online site and it will create a map of your shoot with thumbnail images along the route.

    9 More Great Apps You Need for Your Smartphone

    Mapped route after it was imported into Lightroom.

    9 More Great Apps You Need for Your Smartphone - sun seeker#9 – Sun Seeker – iOS / Android

    $9.99 for IOS$7.49 for Android

    Sun Seeker is a great app for landscape photographers as it shows the angle of the sun and where it will be setting and rising in several different views. It provides a flat compass view as well as a real time image with an overlay of the sun’s projected solar path. You can choose any date and location in the world to plan for optimal light conditions. It helps you to find the right time and location to set up for your landscape photography.

    9 More Great Apps You Need for Your Smartphone

    Views showing the projected trajectory of the sun in the Sun Seeker App.

    Conclusion

    Whether or not you are using your smartphone as your primary camera, or you’re using it as a tool to help you get the shot with your DSLR, these apps can add fun and functionality to any shoot. Give them a try and let me know what you think!

    If there are others that we’ve missed (check part one also) please give us the info in the comments below. What apps are your favorite?

    The post 9 More Great Apps You Need for Your Smartphone by Holly Higbee-Jansen appeared first on Digital Photography School.

    9 More Great Apps You Need for Your Smartphone

    https://digital-photography-school.com/?p=139086
    http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/DigitalPhotographySchool/~3/tDaDz7vWs7s/

    What are the next great apps you need for your Android and your iPhone? There are many apps out there that are fun to use. In part two we bring you 10 more great apps for your smartphone (read part one here). Some of the ones listed below are for shooting, some are for creativity, […]

    The post 9 More Great Apps You Need for Your Smartphone by Holly Higbee-Jansen appeared first on Digital Photography School.

    Wed, 17 Jan 2018 18:00:00 +0000

    If you’re like me, you may be wondering, “What exactly is commercial photography?” Well simply put, it is taking photos for commercial use. Common uses include ad space, websites, product placement, and items for sale. As you can imagine, having a working understanding of the essential elements of product photography can be extremely beneficial. Commercial shots influence consumers immensely. You can spruce up a client’s Etsy store, eBay listing, or even personal website with well done commercial shots.

    Practical Tips for Doing Commercial Product Photography

    Commercial photography is a great way to sell your prints to businesses as well. Many businesses love to have nice, professional shots of their product hanging in their office space, hallways, or lobbies. Have fun shooting products you enjoy, and you never know if the business will be interested in buying and displaying the print.

    Practical Tips for Doing Commercial Product Photography

    Practical Tips for Doing Commercial Product Photography

    In this article, I’m going to talk about some essential tips for nailing commercial work. We’ll talk about how to set up a lightbox, selecting gear that’s right for the shoot, placing the product in flattering light, and how to touch up the image once it’s shot.

    Equipment for commercial photography

    First, it is highly beneficial to have a lightbox or light tent to use. The particular model I use folds and snaps together using magnets. You will first assemble your lightbox into its standing shape and then select the backdrop. Commonly used backdrop colors are black and white, and you will see that these are the ones I prefer to shoot against.

    Feel free to have fun with the colors though! After all, you are the one behind the camera, so you call the shots. The use of a small stand may also be very beneficial for you. One tip though – be sure to position your camera in a way that the product will obscure the stand in the shot.

    Practical Tips for Doing Commercial Product Photography

    Lens choice

    My all-time favorite lens for commercial work is the Nikon 105mm f/2.8 macro. In fact, all of the images included in this article were shot with this lens. Macro lenses are great, in particular for small objects, to reveal extreme detail in the item.

    Remember, that is a core component of shooting product photography – you want to advertise how great the item is to the audience of consumers! All the details matter, and all the resolving power of the lens counts. One thing to be wary of is that exact resolving power.

    The magnification of macro lenses can become a heavy problem because they will make things like dust, scratches, and fingerprints appear clearly prevalent. Thankfully, I will share my tips to help edit these things out in Lightroom and Photoshop later.

    Practical Tips for Doing Commercial Product Photography

    Lighting

    Most light boxes, like mine, come equipped with a set of LEDs that are programmable or can be dimmed to various ratios of light. You will want to position the item you’re photographing so that the LEDs can light it in a flattering and dynamic way. Depending on what you’re shooting, you may want softer lighting or something that will really pop.

    Be careful to avoid things like glare when positioning the item, as this problem will only become a headache in the touching up part of the job. In terms of positioning, I love to mess around with the shadows that are cast against the backdrop of my lightbox.

    Practical Tips for Doing Commercial Product Photography

    Get ready to shoot

    Now, it’s almost time to shoot! I would recommend canned air to blast some dust and dirt off the subject if it needs it. A tripod is also a MUST for this sort of work.

    I generally shoot at small apertures to keep the images as sharp as possible, with as much in focus as possible. However, sometimes it can be nice to shoot wide to create a nice depth of field perspectives with the shots. There is a delicate balance between showing artistic intent and making the shot distracting when advertising a product, so be sure to keep the client’s intent in mind when shooting.

    Here you can see a real-world example of what the setup could look like when using a lightbox to shoot a product.

    Practical Tips for Doing Commercial Product Photography

    A remote trigger is also very helpful, as commercial work necessitates eliminating camera shake. If you don’t have a remote trigger, my advice is to use the delayed-timer on your camera. Simply set the camera (mounted to the tripod) on self-timer for 10 seconds or so, focus the shot, depress the shutter release, and wait. Naturally, this method can add time to the process, so it isn’t a bad idea for you to invest in a remote trigger.

    Post-processing

    Now that you have the shots you want, it’s time to touch them up. This part can be long and tedious, but it makes a huge difference in the end product. I generally lean toward Lightroom when touching up shots, but for commercial macro work, in particular, I gravitate to Photoshop. I will explain the process for each.

    In Lightroom: I normally boost highlights and whites to blow out the backdrop and create a nice glow to the product. You can do this by sliding the adjustment sliders for both highlights and whites to the right. The amount really varies shot to shot, but don’t be afraid to experiment! Exposure can also be adjusted by moving the exposure slider to the right, however, make sure to not clip the highlights! I also may adjust clarity and make slight contrast adjustments. The real work comes in with spot removal on the dust specks, which I generally do in Photoshop.

    Here you can see the lightbox shown with unattractive shadows and blacks, which can be boosted as explained above, to white out the background as shown in the image below.

    Edits are done in Lighroom showing the effect on the image.

    In Photoshop: You should always clean your product before shooting, but some dust will not be avoided. Luckily, with Photoshop, you can select Filter > Noise > Dust and Scratches. From here, you can select the radius in pixels to target the dust specks. You will have a tendency to lose some sharpness since the filter isn’t perfect. It can have a tendency to smooth out sharp edges or features you intended to remain in the shot.

    For this reason, I always create new layers of areas I want to filter and then re-stack the layers to show the changes while leaving sharp edges unaffected. Select certain areas to target with the lasso tool, then copy those layers, run the filter, and restack the layers.

    Original image showing the dust specks.

    The masked image with the dust specks removed.

    Restacked layers with the dust removed.

    Outside of this dust removal, I generally reopen the image in Lightroom and do any other necessary edits there. Generally the discussed touch ups I talked about for Lightroom in conjunction with the dust/scratch removal in Photoshop is enough for my taste as long as I shot the frame with correct exposure and settings.

    Conclusion

    While commercial photography can be intimidating at first, I find that it can be extremely rewarding and versatile alongside other ventures. I’ve found it to be on the lucrative end of the photographic spectrum in terms of genres, and I definitely recommend it as a skill set to add to your photographic tool belt.

    Be sure to pay attention to details when shooting product work, and also pay attention to how you market these images to organizations and businesses to ensure the highest possible level of success within the genre. Above all else, go out, purchase a small light box and shoot! You may find that you love commercial work as much as I do!

    I hope these tips help you with your commercial product photography. Please share your images and thoughts in the comments below.

    The post Practical Tips for Doing Commercial Product Photography by Michael Neal appeared first on Digital Photography School.

    Practical Tips for Doing Commercial Product Photography

    https://digital-photography-school.com/?p=141241
    http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/DigitalPhotographySchool/~3/uN-8JCwQkgI/

    If you’re like me, you may be wondering, “What exactly is commercial photography?” Well simply put, it is taking photos for commercial use. Common uses include ad space, websites, product placement, and items for sale. As you can imagine, having a working understanding of the essential elements of product photography can be extremely beneficial. Commercial […]

    The post Practical Tips for Doing Commercial Product Photography by Michael Neal appeared first on Digital Photography School.

    Wed, 17 Jan 2018 13:00:00 +0000

    “I really don’t need any more photography equipment in my gear bag”, said no photographer ever!

    We all know that is this far from the truth. Even if you have not voiced this thought out in the open, you have certainly thought it. Especially when you see a photographer that you admire rave about a certain piece of gear that they absolutely cannot live without.

    We, photographers, get very upset when strangers compliment our gear over our skill. Yet we seem to fall into that same trap when we don’t quite get the shot we really want.-If only I had that fast lens, if only my camera could handle a low light situation, if only I had image stabilization on my lens, or if only I had a camera that takes more frames per second, etc., etc., etc.

    Rocking the Photography Equipment You Currently own Versus Buying New Gear

    Before you get ready to give up on the gear you have, I encourage you to look at your pictures with a critical eye and analyze if it is truly a gear limitation versus user error or inexperience. Now, I am not saying that the user is at fault in every situation. I will admit that in some situations gear is very important. For example, photographing a leopard chasing down its next meal or that sports car as it races around the track.

    But in most cases, depending on your skill level AND the intended use of your pictures, you can get the shot with the equipment you already own. Here are some tips to help you.

    #1 Perfect your composition skills

    There are several different composition techniques that you can use to take your photographs from boring to interesting. Often just a small change can create a big impact. Are you finding yourself using the same center focused composition time and again? Try using the rule of thirds instead. Are you always photographing at eye level? Change your perspective and perhaps photograph from top-down or at a 45-degree angle.

    Rocking the Photography Equipment You Currently own Versus Buying New Gear

    A cloudy gloomy day in Vridhavan, India gave me the perfect opportunity to capture reflections on this relatively still river. I intentionally chose an off-center composition to add additional interest to this image.

    #2 Take your camera everywhere

    If you are really serious about improving your photography, one of the first things to do is to understand your gear. The best way to do that is to take lots of photos. Take your camera with you everywhere you go.

    If you really want to improve your photography, you have to take lots and lots of photos. By taking lots of pictures, you will start to understand how to use your camera in different lighting conditions and what works and what doesn’t. You can only do this if you give yourself many different opportunities to photograph different subjects in different lighting situations.

    Take this a step further by actually taking and using the gear you want to perfect. If you own a DSLR but find it too heavy or cumbersome, then perhaps it is time to buy a simple point and shoot or smaller mirrorless camera.

    Rocking the Photography Equipment You Currently own Versus Buying New Gear - horse photos

    I am always carrying my camera to the barn where my kids learn horse riding. There are so many interesting stories that unfold and the lighting is quite challenging especially during winter so it gives me a chance to practice difficult lighting techniques as well!

    #3 Learn to read and analyze light effectively

    One of the most important elements of photography is light and yet it is amazing how many photographers don’t understand this important concept. Also, not all light is equal.

    Light changes during the day and different types of light can affect images differently. Morning light is different from afternoon light which is different from evening light (a.k.a golden hour) which is yet again different from blue hour. In order to really improve your photography, you must learn to distinguish these different types of lighting situations and how to effectively work in each situation.

    Dark and Moody Lifestyle Equestrian Photos - Rocking the Photography Equipment You Currently own Versus Buying New Gear

    I saw this image long before I even took the photo. Just something about the light filtering from the right, the catch light and even the color of the horse just made this one of my favorite equestrian photos of all times!

    #4 Use a tripod

    A tripod is a very useful tool for you as a photographer. It opens up new opportunities for creative photography like low light or night photography. You can experiment with the light at night to capture really beautiful images.

    A tripod can let you capture sharp images of non-moving subjects and blur out moving subjects, creating very interesting photographs. You can take this a step further by using a remote trigger that will also enable you to take long exposure shots without fear of camera shake.

    #5 Learn to photograph in manual mode

    Your camera is a pretty sophisticated piece of machinery with a pre-programmed brain (shooting modes). These modes can be found on the top dial of your camera and are generally labeled as P (Program), M (Manual), Av/A (Aperture Priority), and Tv/S (Shutter priority), plus other automatic modes.

    Manual mode (or M on most cameras) is much like using an old film SLR, when they didn’t have buttons that do it all for you. Being the only option, photographers were forced to learn to use their cameras in Manual. In doing so, they fully learned how their cameras worked. Once you know how to properly use your camera, it becomes much easier to spot where you’re going wrong and to fix it.

    Semi-automatic modes are good for some situations but, once you know how to properly shoot in Manual, you’ll find there’s no need for them and you’ll get better results on your own. Manual mode also gives you the freedom to make mistakes, freedom to bend the “rules” of photography, and in turn, gives you the freedom to excel in your art.

    Car in a foggy day along a ridge road - Rocking the Photography Equipment You Currently own Versus Buying New Gear

    Manual mode on your camera gives you so much flexibility in terms of getting creative, photographing in different conditions and also allowing you to experiment with different techniques.

    #6 Find great locations to photograph

    Don’t just sit at home and expect great pictures to happen. Find local and state parks or perhaps even national parks that might be close to you (by close I mean within an acceptable driving distance) and look for potentially good spots for photography.

    When shootig landscapes, you will have to envision your image to see what could look good and what may not. For example, a still lake is a great way to produce a mirrored image where the clouds, trees, and other objects are reflected on the lake. For portrait photography, drive around and see if you can find locations that will look good in the background.

    The great thing about portrait photography is that a good background is often easy to find like a white wall, an old building, or an interesting fence. Use your imagination and you will soon be finding great spots all around you.

    Custer State Park Outdoor Photos - Rocking the Photography Equipment You Currently own Versus Buying New Gear

    #optoutside and I guarantee you will find amazing things to photography. Just being outside in nature changes our perspective and lifts the mood!

    #7 Understand basic post-processing

    Exposure or brightness, contrast, color balance, and tone/tint are some of the basic things you can fix in an image. There are many free post-processing software out there in the market that you can use to make basic adjustments to your image.

    If you want to learn advanced editing techniques there are many options for you like Photoshop, Lightroom, Luminar, etc. Adobe has great creative editing programs that are subscription based (a fee every month). Maybe invest in these programs on a trial basis and see if they will suit your editing needs.

     Custer State Park sunset photo - Rocking the Photography Equipment You Currently own Versus Buying New Gear

    I have a certain style of how I like my photos and I always look for elements that will work well with that style. I have a relatively easy hand in terms of editing my photos – minor adjustments in exposure, contrast, tonality and shadows/highlights and I am done. My preference is to keep the natural look and feel of my images intact – just my personal style of photography!

    #8 Photograph in RAW

    If you are still using JPEG for your pictures, it is about time to move to RAW. Most of the newer cameras today are capable of recording images in RAW format, so give it a try. A RAW image is called “raw” for a reason – it is an unprocessed image with a lot more colors to work with than a JPEG image.

    It might not look great at the back of the camera when you take the photo but when you import it into your editing software, you have a lot more options to adjust to give it the look and feel you want. One caveat is that RAW  images do take up more space than JPEG, so you might have to invest in memory cards with more storage and a larger hard drive.

    Custer State Park Paddle boarding in Lake Custer - Rocking the Photography Equipment You Currently own Versus Buying New Gear

    When we visited this state park, there were a lot of wildfires that were burning in the neighboring areas, so the sky had this general pink glow all throughout! By photographing in raw and editing in post, I was able to retain the look as I remember seeing the park when we visited!

    Conclusion

    I hope these tips help you understand your existing gear a little bit better. Sure, you may have reached a point in your career where an upgrade is absolutely required and essential.

    If not, rather than investing more money in gear that you may not be ready for, try to improve your craft with what you have and a little extra effort.

    The post 8 Tips for Rocking the Photography Equipment You Currently own Versus Buying New Gear by Karthika Gupta appeared first on Digital Photography School.

    8 Tips for Rocking the Photography Equipment You Currently own Versus Buying New Gear

    https://digital-photography-school.com/?p=137976
    http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/DigitalPhotographySchool/~3/yL8u1jWIaqU/

    “I really don’t need any more photography equipment in my gear bag”, said no photographer ever! We all know that is this far from the truth. Even if you have not voiced this thought out in the open, you have certainly thought it. Especially when you see a photographer that you admire rave about a […]

    The post 8 Tips for Rocking the Photography Equipment You Currently own Versus Buying New Gear by Karthika Gupta appeared first on Digital Photography School.

    Tue, 16 Jan 2018 18:00:00 +0000

    Grunge. It’s a great look for gritty, edgy, photos, and you couldn’t have it simpler than doing it in Luminar 2018. In this article, you’ll see how to examine Presets and use elements from those Presets to create your own custom Grunge look. Presets are fantastic, but the best way to improve your processing is through your own creative process. So let’s get started.

    Grunge look.

    Find the right image for a grunge look

    Open the photo you want to process. I have a winter woods scene here. It’s already moody, and you’ll find that using a photo that will benefit from a grunge look is a good place to start. No point starting with happy sunny day shots as it really doesn’t fit the style.

    How to Create a Grunge Look with Luminar 2018

    Presets

    As Luminar has a huge number of Presets, you should begin there. If you don’t see the Presets at the bottom, click the Presets panel icon, it’s the third one in from the right on the top toolbar. From the Categories, choose Dramatic. Two of these look appealing for a grunge look; Dramatic Grungy and Dramatic Look.

    Dramatic Grungy opens a custom Workspace with three filters: Dramatic, Clarity and Structure.

    How to Create a Grunge Look with Luminar 2018

    You’ll notice that Dramatic Look also uses three Filters. Dramatic is there, but the others are Raw Develop and Vignette.

    How to Create a Grunge Look with Luminar 2018

    The Dramatic Filter is common to both presets, and there are other filters that are in one and not the other, so perhaps a good start is to combine the five filters from both presets into your own custom workspace.

    Custom Workspace

    You can reset the image by going to Filters panel, clicking on “Custom Workspace” and choosing “Clear Workspace”. This gives you a fresh start to create your own grunge workspace.

    How to Create a Grunge Look with Luminar 2018

    Click Add Filters. You can find some of the filters immediately. Raw Develop, Structure and Vignette are in the Essentials section, Clarity is in Issue Fixers and Dramatic is in Creative. If you don’t see a filter immediately, just type a few letters in the Search box at the top of Filters Catalog to restrict the view to match.

    You’ve probably noticed that there’s a Clarity slider in Raw Develop, so you could choose to leave out the Clarity filter. But you might want even more Clarity and this allows you to double up the effect, and mask it to only apply to certain parts of the image.

    Finally, add one more filter to this set; Cross Processing. This will allow you to color tone the final look.

    Raw Develop

    The Raw Develop filter is where you use Luminar’s processing to bring out the most from your Raw file. This Raw file (as per most) is a bit flat to start, so needs some tweaking. Reducing Highlights and increasing Shadows will open up the photo a bit more, while decreasing Blacks and increasing Whites will add to the contrast of your photo. At some point, you may want to decrease the saturation of the photo, but for now, use Raw Develop to get the most out of your photo.

    How to Create a Grunge Look with Luminar 2018

    The Photo is still a little cool toned so a bump in Temperature to 6000k will fix that and sit better with the tones in the photo.

    How to Create a Grunge Look with Luminar 2018

    You can leave Clarity at zero here and come back later if you want to add more.

    Structure

    What makes a photo grungy? Think of the things and feelings grunge evokes; dark, moody, edgy, and gritty. The Structure filter can definitely do the Edgy bit. Your Amount slider can go from really soft at -100, to really nasty at +100. 60 seems to look good for this photo.

    Softness changes your internal contrast in the photo. A setting of 30 keeps the skin from getting too blown out. Of course, if you want more of the effect in the background you could erase the effect a little on the subject using the masking tools.

    The final slider is Boost, which does indeed boost the effect. 60 looks great here. We’re already well on the way to making a grungy photo.

    How to Create a Grunge Look with Luminar 2018

    Vignette

    Vignette darkens or lightens the corners of the photo via the Amount slider. To draw attention to the center of your photo, you should darken the edges. Your first step should do is click Place Center, then click on your subject. That will target the area for the middle of the vignette to keep lighter.

    How to Create a Grunge Look with Luminar 2018

    To see your Vignette edge easier, set the Feather to 0, with Amount turned way down.

    How to Create a Grunge Look with Luminar 2018

    Using Size and Place Center, get the best position and radius for your vignette. Use Roundness to get the best shape; to the left, it’s more rectangular, to the right it’s rounder.

    Don’t worry if it looks too obvious, this is just for getting the placement and size right as it’s easier to see this way.

    How to Create a Grunge Look with Luminar 2018

    Finally, set the Feather to soften the edge of the vignette, and set Amount to the final darkness you want.

    How to Create a Grunge Look with Luminar 2018

    Edge vignette applied.

    Clarity

    Contrast darkens shadows and lightens highlights. Clarity tends to work away from these areas and work more in the mid tones. It’s a grit filter, so add your grit here. 100 is way too much, and 40 looks better here.

    How to Create a Grunge Look with Luminar 2018

    Dramatic

    You’ve already gotten quite a bit of drama to the image, so only a hint of this contrast-based filter is needed. The Dramatic Filter is one to play with for this.

    If you want to retain color, set Saturation up to full. Adding Contrast and Local Contrast will increase both the darker and lighter aspects of the photo, so Brightness is there to compensate for whichever is stronger. In this photo, you’ll find reducing it is necessary.

    How to Create a Grunge Look with Luminar 2018

    Cross Processing

    How to Create a Grunge Look with Luminar 2018

    While this was originally a way of changing colors by processing film in the wrong chemicals, Cross Processing is now more associated with color toning a photo. Luminar uses city names to define their various toning options.

    You should try each one with the Amount slider up high to find one you like. After looking at all the cities, I came back to Tokyo, which I’d found pleasing immediately. Then you can dial the effect back using the Amount slider until you find the look you want.

    How to Create a Grunge Look with Luminar 2018

    Reprocess

    The image is now suitably dark and gritty, but probably a little too dark. A quick trip back to Raw Develop to bump the Exposure slider will fix this.

    How to Create a Grunge Look with Luminar 2018

    Saving Presets or Workspaces

    Now is the time to save what you’ve set up. If you like your work, you should consider creating either a Preset to repeat the exact look you have here or set up a Workspace to have all the filters open for you to begin working from scratch (or both).

    To save your Preset, click Save Filters Preset at the very bottom right corner of the screen. A dialog appears allowing you to name and create your new preset. This will allow you to apply all the same filters and settings to any image with one click. Of course, you can always adjust any of them to suit the image or dial it back using the amount slider on the preset.

    How to Create a Grunge Look with Luminar 2018

    To save your new Workspace, go to the top of Filters, then click on Custom Workspace. From the drop-down menu and choose “Save as New Workspace”.

    How to Create a Grunge Look with Luminar 2018

    Name the Workspace and create it.

    How to Create a Grunge Look with Luminar 2018

    The new Workspace will now appear in the Workspaces list and will be selected (check mark next to it). Now it is available for you to use with any image. Clicking it will open those same five filters but not apply any of the settings.

    Other options

    Here is the before and after to show the full grunge effect.

    Before.

    Grunge look.

    With the look solidified, you could potentially add a texture to add even more grit to your photo. So, check out how to do this in our article How to Apply Creativity to Your Images with Texture Overlays Using Luminar.

    As you’ve seen, Luminar 2018 has great tools that you can use to achieve your processing goals quickly and repeatedly. Now, go out and grunge!

    Disclaimer: Macphun, soon to be Skylum, is a dPS advertising partner.

    The post How to Create a Grunge Look with Luminar 2018 by Sean McCormack appeared first on Digital Photography School.

    How to Create a Grunge Look with Luminar 2018

    https://digital-photography-school.com/?p=140312
    http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/DigitalPhotographySchool/~3/BKm5VY5uVsU/

    Grunge. It’s a great look for gritty, edgy, photos, and you couldn’t have it simpler than doing it in Luminar 2018. In this article, you’ll see how to examine Presets and use elements from those Presets to create your own custom Grunge look. Presets are fantastic, but the best way to improve your processing is […]

    The post How to Create a Grunge Look with Luminar 2018 by Sean McCormack appeared first on Digital Photography School.

    Tue, 16 Jan 2018 13:00:00 +0000

    Most of us are fascinated by soap bubbles and love playing with them since childhood. Watching bubbles float in the air and burst is a pleasure every child and even adults enjoy. Soap bubbles have an exciting range of color and textures. When light shines onto a bubble it displays vivid color that changes swiftly. Even though we see them on regular basis, we never actually observe them so closely to enjoy the thrilling beauty they hold within.

    They are stunning, amusing and mesmerizing but extremely short-lived. Soap bubbles usually last only for a few seconds and then burst either on their own or upon contact with another object. So how can you capture these beautiful soap bubbles and keep it forever? Let’s find out.

    Soap Bubbles 01

    What gear do you need?

    First, we’ll talk about the camera gear you need for photographing soap bubbles. These photos can be taken with any DSLR or even compact camera if it is capable of firing an external flash. And for the lens, it’s better to use a macro lens but if you don’t have one, any lens will work fine.

    Get or make a large light source

    The most important aspect of soap bubble photography is the light source rather than a camera. It requires a large light source. If you have a studio light with a large softbox or beauty dish that will work great. But if you don’t have one, it doesn’t mean that you can’t take this type of photo. It can be done by using off-camera flash with a DIY softbox too.

    For a DIY softbox, make a frame of two by two feet by using wood or iron wire and wrap it in white cotton cloth or butter paper. This frame, combined with an off-camera flash, will give the same impact as studio flash with a softbox.

    And if you don’t have an external flash, you may place this frame near the window (or hang a white bed sheet over a window) and use sunlight as your light source. The possibilities are endless, you just need to use your imagination.

    Steady the camera

    You will also need a tripod so you can fix your camera on it and free your hands to blow bubbles. If you have a shutter release cable (remote trigger) it would be great to use that as well.

    Other supplies

    Other than this, get a piece of black cloth or black paper to use as a backdrop. You’ll also need soap solution to blow bubbles. You can buy it from local stores or make it at home by adding two tablespoons of liquid soap and one tablespoon of glycerine in half cup of water and leave it overnight.

    Workflow

    Okay, now we have everything, let’s start shooting. First, switch-on your music system and start playing your favorite album. It’s not necessary but it’s always good to listen to music while you shoot.

    Now pour soap solution into a small bowl and place it on a table. Put a black cloth or black paper behind the bowl and set up your light source. Your light should be very near to the bubble (just 2-3 inches). If you want your bubbles to look like a floating planet, place the light source right above the bubble otherwise place it at 45 degrees downward.

    Soap Bubbles 19

    Soap Bubbles 12

    Set your camera on the tripod and attach the shutter release cable. Set a narrow aperture between f/11-f/16, so you can get deep depth of field and get the entire bubble in focus. Focus manually and change other settings like shutter speed and ISO according to the light. Now use a straw to blow bubbles and start clicking.

    Problems and Solutions

    Once you blow the bubble, you’ll notice that it doesn’t have the swirls of colors which you were expecting. Wait a few seconds, and the colors will begin emerging, which is your cue to start clicking pictures.

    Soap Bubbles 14

    Soap Bubbles 15

    Also, keep a close watch on the surface of the bubble. If it starts looking transparent, it means that the bubble is about to burst. To increase its lifespan, use a straw and blow on the bubble slightly. This will also add some unique texture to it.

    If you are using homemade soap solution which you made using the formula I talked about earlier, soap bubbles will have a longer life but if you are using other soap solution, bubbles will burst in very short time. If that’s happening, adding a few drop of glycerine will increase its lifespan.

    I also discovered that the temperature and the humidity of room play an important role in increasing the life of a soap bubble. If the temperature of the room is hot or atmosphere too dry, the bubbles would burst very quickly. This happens because soap bubbles have a layer of water between two thin layers of soap and when the water evaporates, it bursts. This is why it has a shorter lifespan in hot and dry environments.

    So, by adding glycerine and lowering the temperature of the room, you can increase the lifespan of the bubble up to five minutes. Soap bubbles show a whole range of colors and textures from their formation until they burst. Every second you’ll find different colors and patterns and you can get lots of different shots with just one bubble.

    Soap Bubbles 09

    Post-processing

    If everything has been set up properly, there is no need for heavy post-processing. Just level adjustments, some cleaning, cropping and sharpening would be enough and your image end up looking like scenes from the movie Interstellar.

    At last, keep trying until you get the desired results and share your photos in the comments below.

    The post How to Photograph the Sheer Beauty of Soap Bubbles by Ramakant Sharda appeared first on Digital Photography School.

    How to Photograph the Sheer Beauty of Soap Bubbles

    https://digital-photography-school.com/?p=141153
    http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/DigitalPhotographySchool/~3/RBTF6orHwpY/

    Most of us are fascinated by soap bubbles and love playing with them since childhood. Watching bubbles float in the air and burst is a pleasure every child and even adults enjoy. Soap bubbles have an exciting range of color and textures. When light shines onto a bubble it displays vivid color that changes swiftly. […]

    The post How to Photograph the Sheer Beauty of Soap Bubbles by Ramakant Sharda appeared first on Digital Photography School.

    Mon, 15 Jan 2018 18:00:00 +0000

    Do you remember that game called Stuck in the Mud we used to play as kids? It goes something like this; one kid is elected to be “it” and runs around to tag as many people as possible. When tagged, the other players have to freeze and stand with legs and arms apart, as if they were stuck in some glutinous mud. The only way to get free of the mud is when a non-tagged comrade climbs through the legs of the trapped players. It goes on until everybody inevitably gets stuck in the mud.

    I was thinking about this game rather nostalgically over the course of this project.

    Playing Stuck in the Mud - A Creative Exercise for Photography

    Um… What has mud got to do with photography?

    Actually, a fair bit sometimes. Fortunately, this project doesn’t involve wading in sticky mud (unless you want to).  This project is about parking your feet for a few minutes to have a good look around – as if you were stuck in the mud yourself.

    Even when going for a dedicated photography walk, you are bound to miss the subtle details of a landscape. You can’t help it. The brain prioritizes images that portend to the mission at hand – surviving. Physical activity, self-preservation – it’s all the ingredients a brain focuses on to sustain its host. That’s why the best way to draw more detail out of a location is to slow down.

    We know this because often when we see a potential photograph, we stop in our tracks to take the shot. So rather than halting for a brief second, the idea of this project is to and make a little extra time to investigate an environment. The shapes, colors, people, graffiti, or details in a window sill. There are countless moments that are ready for the taking, they just have to be caught.

    Playing Stuck in the Mud - A Creative Exercise for Photography

    How to play stuck in the mud with a camera

    It sounds terrible, doesn’t it? The thought of my camera even coming near mud makes me sweat. But playing photographic stuck in the mud is easy.

    The first step is to grab your camera and head out the door. Wander around, find a place to take a few shots and hold your position. Keep in mind that your spot doesn’t have to appear instantly enticing. In fact, choosing a boring location would be a quicker way to train yourself onto detail.  Plant your feet on the ground and have a good look around. I would recommend holding your position for a good one to two minutes at first. You’ll notice the time tends to go faster each try. In order to concentrate, set an alarm on your phone and get shooting!

    Rules of the game

    Apart from taking a few minutes to study the spot you’ve chosen, there aren’t any hard and fast rules to the stuck in the mud project. To advance, add a higher photo count or hang out in one spot for a longer period of time.

    Want to stop every 100 steps? Do you want to be able to swivel around in a circle? Want to halt at particular points on a map? It’s totally up to you. You could even go out with a friend and compare shots from the same spot after! But I do recommend staying in the one spot for at least a minute or so – to truly get into that state of mindfulness and awareness. Sometimes it can be hard to get into that creative flow, so slowing down your process can help activate what I like to call “The Photography Zone”.

    Also, it’s probably obvious, but don’t stop in the way of others or get yourself in a dangerous situation. This isn’t Pokemon Go, okay?

    Playing Stuck in the Mud - A Creative Exercise for Photography

    This is an example of a street corner I parked my feet on the other day. I was waiting for a friend and decided to take advantage of the surrounds. It doesn’t look like much, right? A fresh construction zone impeded by scaffolding. But, embracing the challenge I honed in on some of details that really make up the urban landscape.

    Playing Stuck in the Mud - A Creative Exercise for Photography

    This dark blue scaffold retains a sharp contrast in the midday sun.

    Playing Stuck in the Mud - A Creative Exercise for Photography

    A vibrant red scaffolding hanging just close enough to get a detailed shot.

    Playing Stuck in the Mud - A Creative Exercise for Photography

    Playing Stuck in the Mud - A Creative Exercise for Photography

    You never know what you are gonna find! A cute little button.

    Playing Stuck in the Mud - A Creative Exercise for Photography

    And of course, don’t forget the selfie!

    Pleasant Surprises

    This short collection below surprised me a little because I’ve walked the route many so times before. But that’s what is so great about this project. It slows down your photographic practice, making room for unusual subjects to peek through.

    Playing Stuck in the Mud - A Creative Exercise for Photography

    The black and white conversion was a no-brainer to match tones in this image

    Playing Stuck in the Mud - A Creative Exercise for Photography

    Playing Stuck in the Mud - A Creative Exercise for Photography

    I’ll often use these manholes to mark where I’ll stand next. This time, I decided to photograph one instead. I really enjoy the light filling out the overall image.

    Playing Stuck in the Mud - A Creative Exercise for Photography

    This tarp has been under construction for weeks but it took me a concerted effort to stop and explore the panorama of the city to capture this picture.

    Sometimes the stuck in the mud project yields a cohesive series in itself. This image is the remains of Honeysuckle Creek Tracking Station in Australia. But instead of walking around to hunt out the obvious subject matter, I took a few minutes to plant my feet and take a good look at the detail around me.

    It’s the act of staying put in the one space that allowed me to capture a different perspective of the old station.

    Playing Stuck in the Mud - A Creative Exercise for Photography

    The site of the Honeysuckle Creek Tracking Station. Before I set off to scurry around for subjects I deliberately took a minute or two to survey the details of the overall environment.

    Playing Stuck in the Mud - A Creative Exercise for Photography

    The results of a few minutes stuck in the mud. The detail of the ground around me lit up like an abstract artist’s canvas.

    The variation from one tile to the next is a striking contrast. Perfect for focusing on the historical site in a different light.

    Over to you

    I would love to see the results of your stuck in the mud sessions. By taking a few moments to truly check out a landscape, odd little moments become clearer. You’ll almost definitely leave your spot thinking, “Wow, I never noticed that before!” So have a go! and share your images in the comments below.

    The post Playing Stuck in the Mud – A Creative Exercise for Photography by Megan Kennedy appeared first on Digital Photography School.

    Playing Stuck in the Mud – A Creative Exercise for Photography

    https://digital-photography-school.com/?p=139426
    http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/DigitalPhotographySchool/~3/0L1qj6nZvfY/

    Do you remember that game called Stuck in the Mud we used to play as kids? It goes something like this; one kid is elected to be “it” and runs around to tag as many people as possible. When tagged, the other players have to freeze and stand with legs and arms apart, as if they […]

    The post Playing Stuck in the Mud – A Creative Exercise for Photography by Megan Kennedy appeared first on Digital Photography School.

    Mon, 15 Jan 2018 13:00:00 +0000

    Like most hobbies or professions, every photographer started out somewhere. This usually means they also made mistakes along the way from which they have learned.

    The thing to remember is that everyone makes mistakes – even seasoned pros might on the odd occasion get things wrong, but the key is to learn from your mistakes and move on. As you become more experienced the mistakes will get less and less, but in the meantime, here are six mistakes to avoid when you’re just starting out in photography.

    6 Mistake to Avoid When You're Starting Out in Photography

    #1 – Avoid Skipping Over the Camera Manual

    I often get asked if I have any advice for people starting out in photography and my first tip is to read the camera manual cover to cover. Even now, whenever I upgrade my camera I always read the manual a couple of times. Besides the fact that your camera is the tool you need to use to capture photos so you need to understand how to use it, the manual also has a wealth of information about photography.

    Set yourself a task of reading each part over and over again until you understand it, then practice it using your camera until it becomes second nature to you. In an instant, you should be able to change settings, focus points, review images, and so on.

    Cameras these days offer so many possibilities and you can only use your camera to its full potential if you know and understand everything about it.

    6 Mistake to Avoid When You're Starting Out in Photography

    #2 – Avoid Blaming Your Gear

    Every new photographer has probably at some point early on in their photography journey said the words, “If only I had a better camera I could take better photos”. While better cameras allow you to take better photos by giving you more control, bigger image sizes, less noise, etc., that alone will not make you a better photographer and thus make you capture better photos.

    A good photograph requires that many elements come together and regardless of the camera that you have, a boring or uninspiring subject will still be boring and uninspiring even shot with the latest high-end camera.

    If you really want to improve your photography, first you need to improve the creative and visual elements. Things like being able to light the scene or subject nicely, compose/frame your image correctly and actually find interesting opportunities to photograph. Once you have mastered these parts, your photos will look better regardless of the camera you are using.

    6 Mistake to Avoid When You're Starting Out in Photography

    #3 – Avoid Skipping the Theory Parts of Learning

    Like most things, the more you practice photography the better you will become. It’s easy to forget that there is actually some science and theory behind photography.

    Now while you don’t need to understand every intricate part of the theory (unless you want to) and be able to recite color temperatures off by heart, it still does help if you know some of the basics. It can help you in your photography, but also it can give you an indication of the limitations of modern day DSLRs.

    The great thing is that there is tons of information about photography online these days and you can learn as much or as little as you want to, at your own pace, in your own time.

    6 Mistake to Avoid When You're Starting Out in Photography

    #4 – Avoid Comparing Yourself to Others

    When you are starting out in photography there will always be a part of you that looks at your work and compares it to other people’s. While you should always look at other photographer’s work and be influenced by those who you admire, trying to compare yourself to others is not only a pointless exercise but it might actually be detrimental to your long-term success.

    You will find yourself trying to copy other people rather than developing your own style which is what can help you and your photos stand out from the crowd. So don’t get consumed by comparing your work to others, view other people’s work with admiration but never envy.

    6 Mistake to Avoid When You're Starting Out in Photography

    #5 – Not Being True to Yourself

    One of the great things about photography is that you could send a brief to multiple photographers and they will all likely come back with different work. Whether it’s in their interpretation, their vision or their style – the key is that their work will all probably look different even if that difference is subtle. It’s this uniqueness that makes photography such a wonderful art form to be involved in. But all of those photographers have one thing in common and that is that they stay true to their own way of working.

    Sure, at times you’ll have to adapt when working for clients on a brief, but when photographing for yourself, there should always be a synergy in your work. If you want a test to see if you have developed your own style, lay out a whole load of your photos on a table. You should immediately see a connection between them. If you don’t, then ask yourself why and try to understand what is different.

    6 Mistake to Avoid When You're Starting Out in Photography

    #6 – Not Doing What You Love

    Most photographers will tell you that they absolutely love what they do, and they wouldn’t want to be doing anything else.

    If photography is a hobby for you, why would you want to photograph something you don’t enjoy? Most people get into photography with a part of it that they really enjoy. For some, it’s travel images, for others, it might be food or weddings. Some people like shooting wildlife photos and others like sports photography.

    Whatever your passion is, you’ll be far better off focusing on the things you love photographing rather than things you don’t enjoy as that passion will likely be shown in the quality of your work.

    6 Mistake to Avoid When You're Starting Out in Photography

    Conclusion

    While this may seem like an obvious list, it’s incredible how often people still fall into these pitfalls. If you want a few more mistakes to avoid – go here.

    Photography for many people is a hobby, and as such should be like any other hobby, an enjoyable activity. Avoid these beginner pitfalls and you’ll be sure to enjoy your photography even more and it will show in your work.

    The post 6 Mistake to Avoid When You’re Starting Out in Photography by Kav Dadfar appeared first on Digital Photography School.

    6 Mistake to Avoid When You’re Starting Out in Photography

    https://digital-photography-school.com/?p=139241
    http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/DigitalPhotographySchool/~3/Lc7ma1-OddE/

    Like most hobbies or professions, every photographer started out somewhere. This usually means they also made mistakes along the way from which they have learned. The thing to remember is that everyone makes mistakes – even seasoned pros might on the odd occasion get things wrong, but the key is to learn from your mistakes […]

    The post 6 Mistake to Avoid When You’re Starting Out in Photography by Kav Dadfar appeared first on Digital Photography School.

    Sun, 14 Jan 2018 18:00:00 +0000

    Professional architectural and landscape photographers use tilt-shift lenses to avoid converging vertical lines and to get the entire scene in sharp focus. Portrait and food photographers use them to create interesting effects using blur and shifts in the plane of focus. Tilt-shift lenses are exciting creative tools, but they are also specialist items. That means they’re expensive to buy, especially for hobbyists.

    Lensbaby Edge 50 lens - How to Lens Tilt-Shift Photography with the Lensbaby Edge 50

    But there is a way you can apply a tilt-shift style effect (although there are no shift movements) with a relatively inexpensive camera lens – the Lensbaby Edge 50.

    The Edge 50 is a 50mm lens attachment that fits in the Lensbaby Composer Pro II. The two are sold together, or you can buy the Edge 50 separately if you already have a Composer Pro II. It’s available for all major camera mounts.

    How to Lens Tilt-Shift Style Photography with the Lensbaby Edge 50

    The Lensbaby Edge 50 (with an inexpensive lens hood that I bought on Amazon) and Composer Pro II mounted on a Fujifilm X-T1 camera. The Edge 50 lens is tilted down in this photo.

    On my APS-C Fujifilm camera, the Edge 50 is a short telephoto lens ideal for portraits and many other subjects. If you own a full-frame camera then you’ll get the same field of view and a similar effect with the Edge 80 optic.

    How to Lens Tilt-Shift Style Photography with the Lensbaby Edge 50

    The Edge 50 lens lets you tilt the plane of focus so that it runs in any direction across the frame you like.

    How to Lens Tilt-Shift Style Photography with the Lensbaby Edge 50

    The red lines show the direction of the plane of focus in the photos above.

    Why buy a Lensbaby Edge 50?

    So, why buy the Lensbaby Edge 50 optic? For me one of the driving factors was curiosity. I had so many questions. Could I make interesting photos with this lens? Is it any good for portraits? What happens if I add an extension tube to make close-up photos? The images in this article will provide some answers.

    What I didn’t expect is that I would love using this lens. There’s something strangely fascinating about viewing the world through a lens that has tilt movements. The Edge 50 is so much fun to use there’s a genuine danger that you use it all the time and forget about your other lenses!

    How to Lens Tilt-Shift Style Photography with the Lensbaby Edge 50

    The Edge 50 can help you make photos with a miniature effect created by tilting the lens. These work best when you have a high viewpoint overlooking the subject.

    Practicalities of using the Edge 50 lens

    There are some differences between the Edge 50 lens and regular camera lenses that you need to know about before you buy one.

    The Edge 50 is a manual focus lens

    This is not an autofocus lens and you need to take great care when focusing for accuracy. It’s easier to focus with cameras that have electronic viewfinders and focus peaking. Or you could use Live View.

    How to Lens Tilt-Shift Style Photography with the Lensbaby Edge 50

    The Edge 50 lens is perfect for fine art black and white photos like these.

    The Edge 50 doesn’t come with a lens hood

    This is disappointing as it means you can’t point the lens anywhere near the sun without getting lens flare. I bought a metal lens hood from Amazon for a few dollars. The lens hood reduces lens flare and protects the front element from accidental damage when the camera is hanging at your side.

    How to Lens Tilt-Shift Style Photography with the Lensbaby Edge 50

    You can experiment with shifting the plane of focus, photographing the same scene in multiple ways.

    Depth of field is very narrow at the widest aperture of f/3.2

    I’ve learned to stay away from the widest aperture setting and stop down to f/4 or f/5.6 to get the best results. You will also have to use a higher ISO to get the correct exposure in low light than you would with a regular 50mm prime lens.

    How to Lens Tilt-Shift Style Photography with the Lensbaby Edge 50

    The Edge 50 lens with an extension tube can create close-up photos like this.

    You can shift the plane of focus in all directions

    With this lens, you can position it so that the plane of focus lies horizontally, vertically or at any angle in between. This allows you to get creative and experiment with different focusing effects.

    For example, portraits are very effective when the plane of focus is horizontal, as you can focus on the model’s eyes and throw the rest of the scene out of focus.

    How to Lens Tilt-Shift Style Photography with the Lensbaby Edge 50 - portrait

    The Edge 50 is great for close-ups when combined with an extension tube

    I use a Fujifilm MCEX-16 extension tube with this lens for taking close-ups of flowers. It lets me shift the plane of focus around and create interesting effects in a way that you can’t do with a conventional 50mm lens.

    How to Lens Tilt-Shift Style Photography with the Lensbaby Edge 50

    Conclusion

    The Lensbaby Edge 50 lens is a great addition to my camera bag and one that I’m very happy to have made. If you like creative photography, interesting bokeh, and blur effects, or if you’re looking for something a little different for your portraits, then the Edge 50 could be just what you need.


    Would you like to learn more about lenses and your camera? My ebook Mastering Lenses teaches you everything you need to know. The buying guide alone will save you many times the cost of the ebook!

    The post How to do Tilt-Shift Style Photography with the Lensbaby Edge 50 by Andrew S. Gibson appeared first on Digital Photography School.

    How to do Tilt-Shift Style Photography with the Lensbaby Edge 50

    https://digital-photography-school.com/?p=139808
    http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/DigitalPhotographySchool/~3/L_wepotY6wY/

    Professional architectural and landscape photographers use tilt-shift lenses to avoid converging vertical lines and to get the entire scene in sharp focus. Portrait and food photographers use them to create interesting effects using blur and shifts in the plane of focus. Tilt-shift lenses are exciting creative tools, but they are also specialist items. That means […]

    The post How to do Tilt-Shift Style Photography with the Lensbaby Edge 50 by Andrew S. Gibson appeared first on Digital Photography School.

    Sun, 14 Jan 2018 13:09:00 +0000

    When doing engagement photos, it is very important both to you and to the couple that everyone feels relaxed so that you can capture them being their truest selves. When your clients are relaxed and comfortable in front of your camera, it makes a huge difference in the images you capture and ultimately the client’s experience.

    Engagement photos tips 0008

    Here are a few tips that can help settle your nerves and your clients’ so that you rock the session and are able to photograph them at their best.

    1 – HAVE A CONSULTATION BEFORE THE SESSION

    Have a simple meeting, either in person or via email, where you and the couple can talk about what the session will entail. The who, where, what, when, and how of their engagement photos. A few questions can help you narrow down the location, or locations if you’re up for doing more than one, clothing changes, and perhaps special information about the couple.

    Start this conversation by asking how their wedding is coming along and how they met. This gives you great insight as to who they are as a couple. In addition, it conveys to the couple that you are interested not only in the session but in them as people. Let the conversation flow between topics and session details.

    Ask questions like, “What do you envision for the feel of your engagement photos? Something more earthy or perhaps a more urban feel?” This will help you get an idea of what kind of surroundings they want for their photographs as well as where they’d feel most comfortable for their session. Another great idea is to offer shooting at a location that is special to them, so ask about that too.

    Add something special just for them

    Engagement photos tips 0002

    Perhaps the place where they met, or where they went on their first date might be great locations if they are local and accessible. If they do reveal a place that is feasible, offer it up as one of the locations. They will love that you took interest in finding out such a place and recreating a special memory for them. If not, then go with the previous ideas and
    narrow down some places where you like to shoot that go along with what they are envisioning for style and feeling.

    Any additional details you can get during the consultation are key to helping you be more confident on the day of the shoot. Knowing a little more about the couple helps to have a few conversation starters as well, which will become important on the day of the engagement photo shoot.

    Engagement photos tips 0017

    Each couple is different, so it helps when you can get to know them on a more personal level rather than showing up at the location and having an awkward beginning. It isn’t unheard of for clients to turn into friends after photo sessions!

    2 – PREP YOURSELF BEFORE THE SESSION

    Now that you have the details of the session planned out and a little insight as to the personality of the couple, it’s time to begin preparing yourself for the session.

    Aside from the obvious gear preparations, it’s good to go over some inspirational photos that you would like to try. Have at least 10 on your phone so that you can look at them during the session when you need a refresh or want to try something new. Having a set of images to help you with ideas for posing or lighting will make you more confident on the day of the session in the event you get stuck with a pose or need to change it up.

    It’s a good idea to confirm with the couple a few days before the session and ask them if they have any questions for you. Being accessible reassures the couple that they have chosen a friendly photographer, which in turn helps them to feel more comfortable when the time comes to be in front of your camera.

    Get to the chosen location early, even if it’s a place where you have shot before. Going early can help you make a plan of where you want to start shooting and move through your session. Having a plan makes the session run smoothly without losing momentum.

    Engagement photos tips 0012

    3 – BE A FRIEND, NOT JUST A PHOTOGRAPHER

    You’ve already set the groundwork for being friendly during the pre-session consultation and the confirmation and now it’s time to really be genuine.

    When the couple shows up, don’t start shooting right away. Spark up a conversation with them. You will have much more relaxed clients this way and it will also relax you a bit if you’re nervous. Which, by the way, is completely normal! Plenty of seasoned photographers still get nervous before big shoots.

    During the entire session, keep the conversation going. In between locations, clothing changes, and through the entire session. It relieves a little bit of the awkwardness between the clients and the professional, you. It speaks volumes when you can give your clients more of a personal experience by finding common interests, discussing the news, or even sports, anything. When your client has a good time, especially if they are nervous during the session, talking about common interests will aid in getting genuine expressions.

    4 – KEEP THE SESSION MOVING

    Each session and each couple is different. It’s important to keep the session moving smoothly throughout or the couple could tire quickly or become bored. This is why getting to the location and making a plan of where to shoot is so handy. Try different places within the location to shoot, offer clothing changes when you feel you’ve got enough with what they arrived wearing.

    Engagement photos tips 0014

    If a pose isn’t working, don’t say so, otherwise, you could make the couple feel like they’re doing something wrong. Keep going and try a different pose. Make sure that when you get a great shot, show them! This can build their confidence quickly and help them be more engaged during the session.

    5 – BE IN CHARGE BUT ALLOW YOUR CLIENTS TO BE PART OF THE PROCESS

    Whether this is your first engagement session or you’re worried because sessions sometimes go in a different direction than you hope – you simply need to take charge.

    Direct the couple by showing the poses you’d like for them to do by demonstrating them first. Allow yourself to direct the flow of the session.

    It sounds scary, however, you are the photographer. You’re the one who knows what to do and taking charge of the session speaks to the couple that you are confident in your work. Over time, it will become natural to you.

    Once your clients become more relaxed in front of your camera, they will offer ideas, poses, and locations. Always allow them to be part of the creative process, as it makes them more confident and offers up more shooting opportunities where they are just being themselves.

    6- HAVE FUN

    You got into photography because it was fun for you, so why not have fun during your session as well? You should enjoy the shoot as much as the couple.

    If you feel nervous that the session tends to go stale, have the couple do actionable poses. For example, have them dance, walk, tell each other a secret, or whisper something funny into their loved one’s ear. This will unwind them and you’ll be able to capture their real expressions.

    Conclusion

    Engagement photos tips 0004

    All of these tips are here to help calm your nerves and allow the clients to be themselves in front of your camera. Being prepared, friendly, having a good momentum during the session, and most importantly, having fun all contribute to real expressions and real moments. Your clients will appreciate how real and relaxed you made them feel during their session and in turn, refer you to more people!

    The post 6 Tips for Better Engagement Photos by Jackie Lamas appeared first on Digital Photography School.

    6 Tips for Better Engagement Photos

    https://digital-photography-school.com/?p=141182
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    When doing engagement photos, it is very important both to you and to the couple that everyone feels relaxed so that you can capture them being their truest selves. When your clients are relaxed and comfortable in front of your camera, it makes a huge difference in the images you capture and ultimately the client’s […]

    The post 6 Tips for Better Engagement Photos by Jackie Lamas appeared first on Digital Photography School.

    Sat, 13 Jan 2018 18:00:00 +0000

    As the market for digital cameras has intensified in recent years, the options available for post-processing software has exploded as well. There are dozens of great options for casual, enthusiast, and professional image-makers who are looking to get the most out of their images.

    Programs like Lightroom, Luminar, CaptureOne, Affinity Photo, GIMP, DarkTable, and AfterShotPro, are all highly capable photo editors. It can be a daunting proposition to try and pick one that’s right for you.

    Fortunately for Mac users, there is a fantastic option already available to you for free sitting right on your own computer. Apple Photos is a program you might have overlooked in the past, but with steady improvements over the years, it is now a serious contender when it comes to post-processing your pictures.

    Apple Photos: An Under-Appreciated Post-Processing Software Powerhouse

    A Brief History

    The story of Apple Photos starts in 2002 with Apple’s late CEO Steve Jobs introducing an all-in-one program to let users catalog, edit, and share their digital pictures. This new software called iPhoto was revolutionary at the time, giving casual users a way to manage all their digital imaging assets in a way that was fast, simple, and easy to understand.

    I used iPhoto from the first version that was released and even now it’s kind of amazing how well that initial offering worked, though it was clearly lacking many features we take for granted today. A few years later Apple waded into the professional photo editing market with Aperture, a program that was like iPhoto on steroids and was seen as a direct competitor to Adobe Lightroom.

    Merger of Aperture and iPhoto

    As the decade wore on and Apple saw how much people were using their mobile phones for taking and editing pictures it decided to kill off Aperture and iPhoto and replace them with a single program called Photos. This new application offered users a way to manage, edit, and share their photos much in the same way iPhoto and Aperture functioned, but also gave people the ability to sync their photo collections and even individual photo edits across all their devices.

    With Photos, it was possible to crop a picture on your iPhone and then have that same cropped version of the picture show up on your Apple desktop a few seconds later – a syncing nightmare that was virtually impossible using the panoply of programs previously available from Apple.

    Apple Photos: An Under-Appreciated Post-Processing Software Powerhouse

    Evolution of Photos

    One significant tradeoff when consolidating apps and enabling cross-device editing with Apple Photos was a lean feature set that, compared to Aperture, was downright anemic and even came up short when compared to iPhoto. Photographers hopeful for a fresh new program with all of their favorite features were dismayed and abandoned Apple Photos in droves only to rush headlong into the welcoming arms of Adobe, Macphun (now called Skylum), Corel, and other developers.

    However over time, Apple has delivered on its promise to improve Photos and with each iteration, the program becomes more capable, not to mention speedier, than ever before. It can now hold its own against many of the other post-processing software options available on the market. It’s safe to say that if you haven’t used Apple Photos in a while you might be surprised at how good the current version is, and if you have never even tried the program you are in for a real treat.

    Sunflower photo processed in Apple Photos app.

    Photo management simplified

    The core principle of Apple Photos has always been simplicity. Even back to the original days of iPhoto, Apple’s philosophy has been to make their image-editing programs as easy to use as possible. I can personally attest to this with my dad as an example.

    He is a retired railroad mechanic who prefers working on small engines in his garage instead of tinkering on the computer. But he is perfectly capable of connecting his Canon Rebel T4i to his Mac, offloading his images into Photos, and post-processing them using the tools provided. Underlying that simplicity is a powerful set of editing tools that started out all too basic but have grown to be quite competent over time.

    One library

    The Photos app is built around the concept of a unified photo library, such that any photos you take on your phone automatically sync with your computer and vice versa. Because of that, the interface looks much the same whether you’re on a desktop, laptop, iPad, or iPhone.

    Your pictures aren’t stored in the cloud per se, but Apple does use its cloud-based infrastructure to sync all your pictures while keeping the actual image files stored on your individual devices. To enable this all you have to do is click a checkbox in Apple Photos on your desktop and flip a slider on your iPhone and the program will take care of the rest.

    Apple Photos: An Under-Appreciated Post-Processing Software Powerhouse

    Organization

    Photos organizes your images based on time data and does its best to group pictures into what it calls Events based on time and location data. Scroll through your library and you will see images grouped by categories such as People, Places, Favorites, and Memories as well as Albums which are collections of photos that you create manually or automatically using metadata (i.e. all photos with the keyword “Vacation” and “Kansas”.)

    Unlike Google Photos and some other cloud-based services, none of your images are analyzed by Apple for the purpose of gathering data that can be used in advertising. A boon to privacy advocates and others who just want to keep other companies away from their pictures.

    Apple Photos: An Under-Appreciated Post-Processing Software Powerhouse

    Sorting and viewing images

    However, some degree of machine learning is present in Photos, as the software attempts to group your images automatically with Memories based on time and location data. It also automatically looks for faces which it uses to populate the People category.

    If you have ever scrolled through your near-endless Lightroom Library you might be surprised at how well Photos handles the presentation element of photo management. You can use the options buttons at the top of the screen to organize your images by Photos, Moments, Collections, or Years. All your images are available in each view, but the Photos app groups them dynamically so as you scroll up and down you will see them grouped together in specific ways. If you click Moments your images are grouped almost like day-to-day activities, whereas Collections shows photos in larger groups and Years literally displays an entire year’s worth of images at once.

    Apple Photos: An Under-Appreciated Post-Processing Software Powerhouse

    Grouping options for how to display your thumbnails – Moments, Collections or Years (shown here).

    All this is fairly simple and intuitive, and if you have a trackpad on your Mac you can mimic the pinch-to-zoom feature found on iPhone and iPad devices to zoom in and out of your entire photo library. Longtime Lightroom users will note several deficiencies in this design methodology, though, and a host of missing features like Compare, Survey, and fine-grained sorting criteria not to mention Lightroom’s far superior Library Filter.

    This illustrates the point that Apple Photos is not intended to be a full-on replacement for Lightroom. Nevertheless, it can be a good starting point for amateurs or even enthusiasts looking to get a little more control over their image organization.

    Powerful post-processing editing features

    Image management is one thing, but post-processing or editing is a whole other matter entirely. Unfortunately, this is where Apple Photos has traditionally fallen flat. The first version of Photos had an editing feature set that was positively anemic and downright infuriating to longtime users of Aperture. They felt they had been hung out to dry by Apple, and it was not even worth comparing to programs like Lightroom, Photoshop, and others.

    But like the fabled tortoise racing against the hare, Apple has steadily injected an ever-growing list of editing tools into Photos. It’s now not only competent but worth considering for anyone who wants to dive deeper into more professional-style editing.

    Basic and advanced tools

    Select a photo and click the Edit button to open up a cornucopia of editing tools. They cover all the basic options you would expect to find in any prominent image editor and even a few surprises. Of course, you can perform basic edits like Crop, Red Eye Removal, and White Balance and if that’s all you want then you’re good to go.

    There are also highly advanced tools like RGB Levels and RGB Curves in which individual color channels can be edited, Selective Color that lets you adjust Hue, Saturation, and Lightness for Red, Yellow, Green, Cyan, Blue, and Magenta colors. Also present is a Noise Reduction option that allows for Luminance and Color noise, and even a Lightness tool with the freedom to adjust seven different parameters including Exposure, Brilliance, Highlights, Shadows, and Contrast.

    Apple Photos: An Under-Appreciated Post-Processing Software Powerhouse

    Filters

    Apple Photos also has a nice array of filters. They work just like those in Instagram or other programs like Luminar, with one-click presets such as Vivid, Dramatic, Mono, Noir, and more. Add to this a pretty good auto-enhance option and the ability to undo edits one at a time or revert to the original with one click, and you can see how this program might be worth a second look. I remember using it when it first launched and was immediately put off by its overly-simplistic workflow and lack of features. But now I would honestly recommend it to anyone who is considering buying a subscription to Lightroom or investing in any other image editing post-processing software options on the market.

    Apple Photos is not perfect, but it could suit your needs better than you might realize. The best part is it’s absolutely free if you own a Mac computer, iPhone, or iPad. There’s something special about editing a picture on your desktop, picking up your phone and seeing all your changes automatically synced, and then realizing it’s all happening without any monthly fee or another type of additional payment.

    Apple Photos: An Under-Appreciated Post-Processing Software Powerhouse

    Caveats and Limitations

    All of this editing and organizational finesse comes with a rather large asterisk or two, as there are some significant drawbacks to Apple Photos that savvy photographers need to be aware of.

    The most important is that this is an Apple-only program, so if you use Windows or Linux you’re out of luck. The mobile version is firmly ensconced in Apple’s infamous walled garden which means it never has been, and never will be, available for Android phones.

    Also despite the lack of a subscription model, if you want to take full advantage of the iCloud-based storage options you will need to shell out some cash for iCloud Drive. Apple only gives users a paltry 5GB for free. Fortunately, iCloud plans are quite reasonable, and I am perfectly happy with my 50GB plan that only costs 99 cents per month.

    Apple Photos: An Under-Appreciated Post-Processing Software Powerhouse

    If you want to take full advantage of Photos’ cloud-based options, you might want to purchase additional storage. Fortunately, this is optional and it’s entirely up to you whether you want to do this, and how much storage to buy.

    What’s missing

    Finally, there are some notable features missing from Apple Photos that users of Lightroom, Luminar, and other apps will likely bemoan – and rightly so. There’s no history panel, no brush adjustments, no radial or graduated filters, no way to share presets, no plugin architecture for third-party expandability, no way to sync edits across multiple photos, and the list goes on.

    Even simply exporting a photo can be frustrating. You only have a few options available by default like sharing to online social media sites or setting an image as a desktop background. These can be customized albeit not nearly to the same level as many other programs. It’s safe to say that if you want to give Apple Photos a chance it’s best to keep your expectations in check.

    Apple Photos: An Under-Appreciated Post-Processing Software Powerhouse

    Unless you want to post images directly to Facebook or Flickr, you might get a little frustrated with the default sharing options.

    Conclusion

    I hesitate to make a solid recommendation regarding Apple Photos because it really is dependent on the needs of each individual user. Other than to say a once low-end unimpressive program without much going for it has now been transformed to the point that I think it could really be useful for a lot of people.

    While it’s still not up to par with its Aperture ancestor and continues to lag behind a lot of other options on the market in terms of features and capability, it’s a free, powerful, highly effective photo manager and editor that just might surprise and delight you if you give it a chance.

    The post Apple Photos: An Under-Appreciated Post-Processing Software Powerhouse by Simon Ringsmuth appeared first on Digital Photography School.

    Apple Photos: An Under-Appreciated Post-Processing Software Powerhouse

    https://digital-photography-school.com/?p=139461
    http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/DigitalPhotographySchool/~3/bIdE7yCsaT0/

    As the market for digital cameras has intensified in recent years, the options available for post-processing software has exploded as well. There are dozens of great options for casual, enthusiast, and professional image-makers who are looking to get the most out of their images. Programs like Lightroom, Luminar, CaptureOne, Affinity Photo, GIMP, DarkTable, and AfterShotPro, […]

    The post Apple Photos: An Under-Appreciated Post-Processing Software Powerhouse by Simon Ringsmuth appeared first on Digital Photography School.

    Sat, 13 Jan 2018 13:00:00 +0000