Ctein_ND_2008_2

Eliminate Harsh Tones and Improve Your Photos

How the Shadow/Highlight tool, History brush, and Dodge tool can enhance portraits
written by: Ctein

There are many kinds of f laws that make a photo scream “amateur,” but poor tone and contrast characteristics are among the most common. Amateur photographs often have a lot of midrange contrast, with tones in the highlights and the shadows pushed far towards the pure black and white. Faces suffer especially. They acquire hard lines and sunken eyes, aging a person 10 years, and excessive contrast can make a placid expression seem glowering. Fortunately, problems like these can be easily fixed in the computer (unlike, say, awful focus or composition). The Shadow/Highlight adjustment Difficulties arise when you want to Read more »

Creating Panoramas with Photoshop CS, CS2, or CS3

written by: Barry Haynes

I’ve been making panoramas with Photoshop for a long time. I’ve made them using 35mm film images and digital camera images– many of them without the very helpful Photomerge filter in Photoshop CS3. This article assumes you’re shooting with a digital SLR camera or some digital camera that allows you to shoot in Camera Raw mode. If you are not using a digital camera, or if your camera doesn’t shoot in Raw mode, then the steps would be similar after the section about the Raw filter. Although you can create panoramas with earlier versions of Photoshop, I’d recommend using Photoshop Read more »

Chambers_SO_2008_1

Digital Infrared, Part II: Post-Capture Processing

In part II of this series: Developing the potential of your infrared captures
written by: Lloyd Chambers

Unlike color images, which can satisfy as JPEGs right out of the camera, digital infrared images almost always benefit from post-capture adjustments that bring out their unusual qualities. After all, infrared is “beyond visible,” so there is no right or wrong approach, unlike color photography. To produce compelling images, this post-processing should be done with an open mind for artistic possibilities. Infrared by its nature has no real color or brightness; unlike regular color photography, the human eye offers no guidance as to how infrared should be rendered. On the photo- graphic continuum, visible-light color photography maps most closely to Read more »

Ctein_SO_2008_1

Vertus Fluid Mask

This powerful tool speeds up mask creation– but has a few downsides
written by: Ctein

Many folks don’t understand how valuable selections and masking are for working on their digital photos. It’s true that compositing is an important use of masking, but that isn’t the only or even the primary use of selections and masks. I’m entirely a fine- art photographer these days, and I frequently use masks to improve my photographs. Masks are way of exercising local control over a photograph. They let you control what parts of an image get affected by your manipulations. A mask is nothing more than a grayscale image that has the same dimensions as the photograph you’re working Read more »

Lambrecht_SO_2008_1

Fine-Tuning Exposure and Contrast

Optimizing prints for the discriminating human eye
written by: Ralph Lambrecht

The old axiom for creating high-quality negatives is “expose for the shadows and develop for the highlights.” When it comes to printing negatives in the darkroom, this recommendation appropriately changes to “expose for the highlights and control the shadows with contrast.” That is good advice, but as experienced printers know, there often is a small difference between a good and a mediocre print. So, when it comes to fine-tuning exposure and contrast, how concerned do we really need to be about the optimal settings? How much deviation is acceptable and how little is recognizable? What are the smallest increments we Read more »

Haynes_MJ_2008_10

Compositing Bracketed Photos (Part two)

written by: Barry Haynes

The image Ship Rock Fire Sunset, on the cover of my book Photoshop CS Artistry, is a composite of two bracketed photos created from one original 120 film 6×4.5 shot. In the first of this two-part article ( PT, March/April 2008), I showed you how to create and work with both digital- and film-bracketed images, and how to line up several images. Here I’ll cover exactly how this Ship Rock image was created, how to create masks from channels, and how to separately adjust the colors from each image that went into Ship Rock Fire Sunset. The following steps are Read more »

Mulligan_MJ_2008_1

The Art of Composition

written by: Steve Mulligan

As crucial as technical expertise, a strong composition takes a photograph to a new level. When a photograph displays a high level of technical expertise, it has passed the first mile-stone of photography. The next hurdle is composition; no matter the level of technical expertise displayed in a print, if the composition and subject matter fall short, the final image will fail. As with most creative endeavors, composition requires a strong balance between creation and execution, between reality and intuition. Cropping A photograph is a carefully selected excerpt from the world around us. Choosing the boundaries of the scene is Read more »

Mulligan_MA_2008_1

The Art of Dodging and Burning

No matter how well you perform these vital photographic tasks, you can still do them better
written by: Steve Mulligan

Dodging and burning offer the final, finishing touches to the process of creating a fine black-and-white photograph. These subtle manipulations allow a photographer to elevate a decent print into the sublime. A fantastic amount of control is available by delicately altering certain tonal areas and by changing local contrast within select areas of the print. The golden rule for either technique is that no modification should be noticeable in the final print. Dodging Dodging is the technique employed to selectively lighten certain areas within the print by withholding light during enlargement, and it needs to be applied during the base Read more »

Siskin_MA_2008_1

Does HDR Mean You No Longer Need Lights When Shooting Digitally?

written by: John Siskin, Richard Lynch

[John Siskin reports the first part of this article]. Architectural shots are an important part of my business. When I do a shot with strobes, I often work for a couple of hours and move a couple of hundred pounds of equipment in the process. That is a pretty normal way of doing architectural lighting for me.The newer HDR (High Dynamic Range) feature in Photoshop, introduced with Photoshop CS2 and improved with CS3, has potential for making my job easier by reducing the need for all that equipment and automating the process of merging multiple exposures. The purpose of HDR Read more »

Haynes_MA_2008_1

Compositing Bracketed Photos

Achieve more control over images and improved dynamic range
written by: Barry Haynes

The image Ship Rock Fire Sunset, on the cover of my book Photoshop CS Artistry, is a composite of two bracketed photos created from one original 120 film 6×4.5 shot. In the first part of this two-part article, I’ll show you how to create and work with both digital- and film-bracketed images, and how to line up several images. In part two, I’ll cover how this image was created, how to create masks from channels, and how to separately adjust the colors from each image that went into Ship Rock Fire Sunset. Bracketing exposures When you are shooting in a Read more »