Nothing could be simpler than increasing contrast of your image in Photoshop, right? But as is my usual, I prefer control over convenience and take my contrast boosting a little more seriously than perhaps I should. In the interest of bringing some convenience back into the matter, I've created an Action for you to try out which showcases my most common contrast boosting method.
Sharpening your images in post has been discussed time and again in every manner of tutorial under the sun, and everyone has a preferred method that works for them. For me, I found I enjoy the look of a partial sharpen done with the classic high pass filter (and requisite blending mode) along with an appropriate luminosity mask to blend it where I want it. These days I've gone and made an Action for the process that seems to work for about 80% of my images. Let's review it.
Even though I am not a landscape photographer and I have never attempted any sort of astrophotography, I have always appreciated beautiful photographs of nightscapes. Recently, I borrowed the new Tamron SP 15-30mm f/2.8 Di VC USD lens and tried to photograph an interesting night scene here in Charleston. Truth be told, it was quite the learning experience. In this video, I will share my first ever approach to shooting the night sky and hopefully give you a few things to think about when tackling this interesting genre of photography.
In the retouching world, graphics tablets are pretty much a standard. I don’t know of many retouchers that only use their mouse to get the job done. Graphics tablets allow for a more precise, and thus refined, work. They also used to cost a fair amount of money, but that was until Huion came along.
Black and white photography may well be the ultimate classical expression of the art form, after all it is how photography started. It's still a continually popular aesthetic, even now well into the digital age. However, black and white images, in my opinion, should be simply more than the removal of color. Thankfully many thousands of photographers and designers agree with that, and the usage of black and white conversion methods and approaches is prevalent in the post production world.
Our second tutorial with Elia Locardi: Photographing the World: Cityscape, Astrophotography, and Advanced Post-Processing was all about different types of cities. We started in Cinque Terre, a region of Italy where cities are basically built into the side of a natural landscape. We then moved on to Rome to shoot ancient architecture. Next we moved on to Singapore and Hong Kong for something a little bit more modern.
Current cameras' sensors are getting better year after year. Unfortunately, they cannot create noise-free images at high ISO just yet. I am sure the day will come soon, but in the meantime, there is a very simple technique using Adobe Photoshop or Affinity Photo to create the illusion of a clean file.
When Pixellu came out with its too easy to believe drag and drop album creator that synced with every popular album company's layouts, those who were not Mac users were certainly bummed to hear they would be missing out. But today, after Pixellu released SmartAlbums 2 for Mac, the SmartAlbums version for Windows is here and it comes at a generous $50 discount for those who have waited so patiently.
Users of Adobe Bridge will be pleased to learn that the latest release of the software includes several performance enhancements and new features. Available today for Creative Cloud subscribers, Adobe notes that this release "will lay the foundation for future development."
I don't rate my photos nearly as much as I should. And part of it has been because I've been too lazy to look this exact tip up! Thankfully, Adobe has provided us with one of their now famous under-a-minute Lightroom Coffee Break videos to quickly explain how to auto-advance as you rate your photos. This trick also works for auto-advancing while flagging photos. The key to the trick? Caps lock.
Keeping a fair amount of texture seems to be an issue for a lot of photographers and retouchers. No matter what technique they use to clean the skin of a model, I often hear people trying to find a solution to get a more natural and visible texture. Here is one for you!
Big movies mean big budgets, which usually mean big visual effects. The Moving Picture Company (better known as MPC) recently released another one of those mesmerizing VFX breakdown videos for their most recent feature film, “The Martian.” The breakdown reveals some aspects of the film and of Matt Damon's performance that were both challenging and impressive, like the fact that the helmets worn in the film didn't feature physical windscreens. Those were added later with matching reflections to the scenery.
In this tutorial, Aaron Nace from Phlearn takes a beautiful nighttime cityscape and shows you how you can create a custom brush to add your own stars to an image in Photoshop. Nace begins the tutorial by showing you how to make a custom brush in a new document. He continues to show you how to save the brush as a preset, use it on your image, and make adjustments that will change the amount and size of the stars you paint in. He goes further, showing how to add a nice glow to the stars and create a slight motion blur to make them look more realistic.
Computational photography is quickly becoming one of the leading threads for the future of our industry. Whether we realize it or not, it is already deeply integrated into our DSLRs and cameraphones in a supporting role, while other manufacturers have embraced it as the fundamental basis for equipment. Recently, I chatted with the team from Algolux about how they’re tackling some of the most relevant problems in photography to enable a future in which software and hardware work more in tandem than ever before.