Using a Hand-Held Light Meter for Landscape Photography

written by: David Saffir

How many photographers wrestle with exposure issues in landscape and scenic photography−whether it’s backlighting, wide dynamic range, or an uncooperative in-camera meter? And yet, how often is a hand-held meter overlooked? A hand-held meter can be a wonderful tool in landscape photography. In this article I’ll cover some of the fundamentals involved in using one for primary exposure evaluation, or as a supplement to an in- camera meter. I’ll limit this discussion to working with digital photography, and not dive into metering with the Zone system (Figures 1 and 5 are examples of images made using a hand-held meter). Light Read more »


Get Hitched to Streamline Your Workflow

written by: David Saffir

Most people know that it’s possible to capture images while the camera is connected to a laptop or desktop computer. It’s been my experience, however, that most photographers don’t do this—instead they rely on the camera LCD for their histogram and image preview information. When conditions permit, in the studio or on location, shooting tethered can give you more control over image quality and in many cases streamline overall workflow−saving you time and money. Advantages Of Shooting Tethered Include: • A larger image preview (even on a small laptop) • Near-immediate preview of captured images • Availability of a number Read more »


The Fuji X-E1: Pint-Sized Photo Powerhouse

written by: David Saffir

Author notes: After I finished my first review of the Fuji X-E1, I had felt at the time that available RAW processing software had not quite caught up with the demands of the new processor provided in that camera.  And as so often happens in the digital world, things have changed again!  Adobe just released Camera RAW version 7.4. Long story short, it apparently includes upgrades to processing for the Fuji’s images. I downloaded the update and reprocessed some of the flower images I had taken with the X-E1.  I definitely see improvements, sharpness foremost among them. The small details Read more »


Selective Color Adjustments in Adobe Photoshop

written by: David Saffir

There are quite a few ways you can edit color in Photoshop, even down to the colors of leaves on a tree. The advantages? You can target specific parts of an image for a simple color boost, change the color completely, add a color tint or color cast, improve dimensionality and more. I define selective color adjustment to also include selective color replacement. I encourage the use of Photoshop, because many of these techniques can be applied to a new layer, or an adjustment layer, or a series of layers. This gives you maximum flexibility in editing although it can Read more »

This image shows the scene from behind and to the right of the photographers.

Getting It Right in the Camera

written by: David Saffir

A short time ago I was shooting images for my fine art portfolio in the Eastern Sierra Mountains of California. This article describes the main steps of the process from start to finish, from making a successful capture to an outline of fundamentals of raw processing and image editing. Note the flat lighting. The sun was setting to camera left. Clouds were passing overhead, creating changes in brightness, and at times letting some directional light through. The photographer on the left (me) is using a Hasselblad H-series camera with a Phase One back; the photographer on the right (Rick Russell) Read more »

custom portfolios, david saffir, photo technique

Creating Custom Folios for Self-Promotion & Presentation

written by: David Saffir

A teacher of mine once told me “nothing matters except your book” –referring of course, to my portfolio. Photographers use portfolios for self-promotion, to share a story or point of view, to help create a body of work, or to establish or reinforce professional identity. The range of options in portfolio design and presentation makes for a number of choices—format, size, paper type, books, boxes, albums, printing processes and more. Other considerations: Budget? How much time to invest? Can new work be added, or can old work easily deleted? How do I pitch my work to different audiences? In this Read more »


Determining Optimal Digital Camera Settings: No Light Meter Required?

written by: David Saffir

This article describes managing digital image capture to achieve optimal, or at least intended, dynamic range and how to determine the most appropriate camera range settings to accomplish this. The Zone System The simplest takeaway from the oft-misunderstood Zone System, is that an image should be exposed to utilize most or all of the range from black to white, without unintended clipping of near-whites, or blocking up of near-blacks. If the image does not incorporate the full dynamic range in a scene, the photographer should have done this by intent. In digital photography, the most commonly recommended camera settings involve Read more »

david saffir, digital black and white, digital photography

The New Black & White

Digital Negatives for Large Format Printing
written by: David Saffir

I’ll always remember my first experiences in the darkroom, watching my prints come up, feeling like something magical was afoot. In recent years, I’ve frequently wished that there was an effective way to use my digital images in the darkroom, and make prints on fiber-based paper that has that special silver-based depth and luminosity. Hewlett Packard Company has developed updated technology* that makes it possible to create a “digital negative” using a digital file or film scan. That digital negative can be used in a traditional darkroom to make prints of any reasonable size. HP calls this the Large Format Read more »