the Photoshop Workbook


I have a great appreciation for creatives. I know so many amazing photographers it’s not even funny. I know even more amazing designers who have taught me more than I ever thought I could learn. It’s a rare thing when great photographers are also incredible designers and Glyn Dewis is both – and more because he’s also an inspiring instructor.

Great photographers and great designers know the secret to realizing their vision is to see the final image in your mind and then use the tools at your disposal to fulfill that vision. Cameras and software are tools but having vision is something you need to find within. What Glyn has created with his first book, appropriately titled: “the Photoshop Workbook”, is an instruction manual to using one of the most important tools that can help you start thinking about your final images in a whole new way.

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Extending Focus Depth with Photoshop


Today I want to share a trick I use for Extending Focus Depth with Photoshop. It turns out there’s a feature in Photoshop that makes this super easy. I use this technique for lots of different situations but for this article I’ll talk about how it helps me when I’m shooting macro with a long lens. Continue reading

Test Driving Perfect Effects


 

I’m a big believer in finishing an image. Back when I used to shoot Film my pictures were finished by a lab that developed my film and created the prints. Choices like film type and what kind of paper you printed on made a huge difference in how a final print turned out. Now, with digital photography, we can use software to develop our pictures to represent our unique vision of a shot. While some people resist the idea of modifying an image after it was shot, I’m at the other end of the spectrum. Not only do I embrace the idea, I like to push the boundaries. My tools of choice are Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop but there’s plenty of other choices when it comes to picture editing software.

But editing images can be time consuming and may require extensive training and experience. One popular solution to these problems is using plug-ins. Two companies (onOne and Nik) have dominated the plug-in market. I like to try new things so recently I installed a plug-in from onOne Software to give it a try. For this blog entry I’ll talk about my first experiences using Perfect Effects and I’ll share a before and after of an image.

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My HDR Workflow | Part 2


In this blog entry I’ll finish sharing my current HDR workflow. In the first part of this series I talked about camera settings, using Lightroom to process a bracketed set of images, using Photoshop to merge the bracketed set into a 32 bit per channel HDR file and tone-mapping with Photoshop HDR Pro. If you haven’t read part 1 you can find it here.

This blog will share the remainder of my HDR workflow including how I tone-map images with Lightroom 4 and how I use layers (in Photoshop) to combine the best parts of two different versions of an image. I’ll also about some of the more technical details of HDR photography. I’ll be using the same F-4S Phantom II images I used in Part 1 for this entry including the 32 bit per channel .tiff file I saved after merging a three shot bracketed set with Photoshop.

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My HDR Workflow | Part 1


I’ve been creating images for a long time now and one of the things I’ve come to appreciate is the importance of post processing. There’s more than one way to process a digital image and there’s no one result that is always the right one. When we share our pictures with others they represent our own unique vision of an image (our photographic style) and I’ve used post processing on all of my images to create my own “signature style” of photography.

I’ve changed my thinking about what my final images should look a number of times over the years. And if there’s one form of photography where my post-processing has evolved the most it’s HDR photography. In this blog entry I want to talk about how I can take a single set of images and use them to create three or four different looks. Once I have a few options I can choose the best one or I can use layers, blend modes and masks to combine what I like most about different versions into a single final image.

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Finishing HDR Images


I love sharing my HDR images on Google+ (and other places online). Sometimes I mention the techniques I used to arrive at my final image and I’ll say: “and this image was finished in Photoshop.”

My personal thoughts about HDR photography and post-processing HDR images has been evolving for over five years now. The shot of the lathe (above) is a good example of how I like to process HDR images now and it looks totally different from how I  processed HDR images in the past.

I got my start with HDR photography a long time ago when I was certified to operate the Spheron 360 VR camera for Ford Design North America. That is one super cool camera that really taught me a lot about 32 bit images. For his blog post I don’t want to talk about equipment, camera settings, using a tripod or tone-mapping software. Instead I want to talk about how I finish my HDR shots in Photoshop and I’ll be concentrating on some of my personal theories about color, contrast, sharpness and blur.

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Single Shot HDR with Photoshop


Part 3  |  The Photoshop technique

Above is the end result I got from applying my new HDR toning technique. When I start to create an image like this I don’t have anything specific in mind. I prefer to just see what happens when I start making adjustments. Here’s the complete Photoshop workflow I am now using to create an HDR look with a single image.

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Single shot HDR with Photoshop


PART 1  |   The idea behind my technique

Introduction

People who are new to my blog may not know how much I like to work in Photoshop. I process every image I deliver to my clients and between jobs I often revisit images to practice old techniques and explore new techniques. While I try to keep my processing time to a minimum when I’m on deadline, I will spend a little more time in Photoshop when I’m creating special images (composites, HDR’s, or images that will be blown up and sold as fine art prints). A good rule of thumb for me is to keep my processing time well under 5 minutes per shot and to do as much in camera as I can.

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