Category Archives Photoshop

…if you’re one of those really serious types that’s going to post a “Mr. Kelby, I am very disappointed in you…” comment.

It’s a hilarious Photoshop rap music video, but besides being so cleverly written and well produced, it actually has a few real Photoshop tutorials within it, which makes it even funnier.

WARNING: The video has some suggestive and otherwise offensive language and other PG-13 visual stuff, and if that type of stuff offends you, and you’re just waiting around for something to come along that lets you express your personal outrage, I’m begging you, “Please do not watch this video!” You’ve been warned, so if you watch it and you get upset, no complaining or whining allowed. Just laughing. :)

Hey everybody, Matt Kloskowski here. First off, a big thanks to Scott for letting me write about this, as I’ve been wanting to for a while now. So here’s the question: “Is Photoshop a bad word?”

Personally, for photographers, I think it’s 100% necessary if you want to compete today. Technology has changed everything. The world knows that Photoshop exists. The standards by which photography was judged, even just 10 years ago, don’t hold up against today’s standards. We expect more from a photo.

It All Starts with A Good Photo
Of course you expect a guy that makes a living teaching Photoshop to say this right? Before I get too far into it, let me set the record straight. As a professional photographer, I realize it all starts with a good photo right out of the camera. Like many of you, we spend way too much money on tripods, lenses, lighting, camera bodies, etc… to just accept any photo out of the camera and say “I’ll fix it in Photoshop”. Lighting on a person, for example, is impossible (or really difficult) to fix later. Same holds true for landscape and outdoor photography. You can’t reproduce the light you get from sunrise or sunset. Photoshop can’t make a blurry photo sharp. I totally get it. That said, I think there is a time to fix it in Photoshop (yes, I said “fix it”. Not just to finish, but fixing is perfectly acceptable too).

When to “Fix” It?
I once watched a photographer doing a live demonstration where his photos were showing up on screen as he took them. Well, part of the light was hitting the area behind the subjects and the photographer proceeded to spend the next 10 minutes working through the issues that this brought up. He was very quick to say, “Sure, you could fix this in Photoshop but I prefer to get it right in camera”. Being a Photoshop guy, it wasn’t really the statement that got to me, but it was the way it was said. The tone of that (and several other things he said) led the audience to believe that Photoshop was something you should be ashamed of. It was almost as if Photoshop was a bad word.

If you’re on a shoot, you’ve got your time, your client’s time, your assistant’s time, rental fees and many other factors that favor you moving quickly. As a photographer, you should know that this was a 20 second fix with a brush in Photoshop vs. the collective 40 minutes he wasted (photographer, assistant, and two models). And if you don’t know how to fix it, I think your job is to hire some one who does.

A Quote
I was watching a video from Jeremy Cowart and he said something that really stuck with me.

“Photoshop has changed the game, and every once in a while, Photoshop is the game”.

I think he nailed it. Photoshop has changed the game. Everyone you photograph knows Photoshop exists and expects you to retouch the photos. Every client you shoot for knows Photoshop exists and expects you to retouch the photos. Even your friends (if you’re a hobbyist photographer) know about Photoshop. If your photos aren’t seeing Photoshop (by you or your retoucher) then I’d have to venture to say you’re not getting noticed today. And take Jeremy’s work for example. Some of what helped build his career would be nearly impossible without Photoshop. It allows us to take a budget consisting of one person standing on white seamless and produce a movie poster that looks like it was shot on a mountain top with smoke machines, a race car, and the most dramatic sky ever seen.

So where does this dislike of Photoshop come from? Personally, I think it comes from not knowing Photoshop. Scott and I talk about this a lot after workshops and seminars. You can pretty much guarantee that when we hear some one criticizing Photoshop, it doesn’t take too long to realize that they don’t know it. Yep, 100% of the time when I ask the person that just said “I don’t like Photoshop” if they know how to use it, they say no. But here’s the thing and the key point I’d like to get across: if you’re a photographer, now it’s your job to know it. You’ve either got to learn it yourself or, if you lack the time/interest and have the budget, then find some one who is good at it to work on your photos for you.

And trust me. Those people are out there. They’re photographers who grew up with a digital camera and computer and have never known anything else. And they’re GOOD! They’re fast, they’re hungry and motivated and they’ll never know “what it was like back the film days” so trying to tell them is like trying to get toothpaste back in the tube. I can vouch for this. I’m 37, so I grew up with film. I didn’t touch my first digital camera until 8 years ago and I know my eyes glaze over every time I hear a “before your time, back in the film days” story :)

The Pros Know This
Whether you realize it or not, the pros already know this. In fact, they’ve known it all along. Even back in the film days there were a whole slew of things that were happening to photos before we saw them. The difference is that back then, those tools (and the time it takes to use them) weren’t easily available to the world so we never really heard about it. Today though, we have Photoshop, Lightroom, and even Photoshop Elements (and lots of books to learn how to use them ;-) ). So for as little as $59, anyone can use these techniques that simply weren’t available just 10-15 years ago. And whether you know it or not, just about every photographer (a general exception would be editorial photographers) you follow is either really good at Photoshop or has a retoucher/assistant that is. Photoshop is indeed being used, whether the photographer talks about it or not.

One More Thing
One last thing. Don’t be ashamed of using Photoshop. If you know it (or you’ve got a good retoucher), then you’ve got one helluva a competitive advantage out there today. A great image is a great image, and it loses nothing if we learn that Photoshop was a big part of it. And remember, anyone that does give you a hard time about it probably isn’t that good at Photoshop. So don’t justify or make excuses when showing your work. If some one asks if Photoshop was used, you simply say, “Of course!”.

So, my question to you still stands: is Photoshop a bad word? Do you long for the days when Photoshop wasn’t around? Or does Photoshop actually make the photography process better for you? If you’re like me, sometimes I love the artistic post-process just as much as taking the photo in the first place. Feel free to chime in with a comment and most of all, thanks for reading. See ya!

– Matt K.

I forgot to post this fisheye shot from the game in Miami last week, but when I was getting ready to post it, I thought, “I wonder if I should correct the fisheye distortion?” So, I gave it a shot.

In Photoshop CS5, it’s an automated process—just open the image in Camera Raw, go to the Lens Correction panel, and turn on the Profile correction and it does the rest in all of two-seconds flat. Here are the results:

(Above: Here’s the original uncorrected photo, taken with a Nikon 10.5mm fisheye—a DX cropped lens on a FX full-frame body. I love how this DX lens looks on the Full frame body—it’s not too over the top).

(Above: Here’s the fisheye effect corrected, removing all the roundness that comes with shooting a fisheye lens, using the Photoshop technique I mentioned above).

The top one looks more “classic fisheye” but then when I look at the bottom one, I think, “Well, this looks a lot more like what it really looked like in the stadium that night” but I’m not really sure I like it better.

What do you guys think? Uncorrected (and round) or Corrected and flat? I’m really curious to see what you guys think.

I’ve got one more for you, but this one was taken by my buddy Mike McCaskey (who was shooting along side me that night). He sent me a bunch of his images from the game, and I just fell in love with this one, of Chicago Bears Linebacker Lance Briggs, and I asked Mike if it was OK if I shared it with you guys. That’s the kind of smile that says “We’re winning this one!” And, of course, they did. And the next one, too! Go Bears! (8-3).

In looking at the two fisheye images now posted on the blog (I looked at a preview before the final post went live), I think I need to darken the handrail going down the stairs. I think it’s kind of distracting. A 15-second fix in Photoshop:

#1. Add a Levels Adjustment Layer and drag the center Midtone slider to the right to darken the midtones
#2 Drag the far right Output slider to the Left to darken the overall image (as shown below);

Then press Command-I (PC: Ctrl-I) to invert the Adjustment Layer Mask. Get the Brush tool. Make your brush size very small. Set your Foreground color to white, and paint right along the railing to darken it. The final result is shown below.

(Above: The final image with the rail darkened. Why didn’t I try that on the corrected version? Just bein’ lazy.). ;-)

After I did that post last week about my shooting the Notre Dame vs. Tulsa game, and I showed that commemorative poster I was making for my buddy Jim who went with me (Jim’s a long time Notre Dame fan), I got a number of comments and emails asking how I did it, so I put together this short video, which starts with just the image, goes into Photoshop for the layout stuff, and then lastly to to turn it into a framed print (I show the final framed image in the video). Hope this helps. :-)

I gotta tell ya—I wasn’t there long, but I had a blast!!!!

I flew out Wednesday night, got there Thursday at 8:08 am (slept a bit on the plane), and by the time I got to my hotel and caught a quick 45 minute nap, I grabbed my camera and headed out the door to meet Dave Clayton and Glyn Dewis (two faithful readers of my blog, and otherwise horrible people).

(Above: That’s Dave and I posing in front the famous Leaning Tower of Big Ben. Notice how un-touristy I look wearing a Chicago Bears jacket. Photo by Glyn Dewis).

Dave and Glyn took me to an awesome place in Covent Garden called “Gourmet Burger Kitchen” for lunch. Yummy burger, and lots of laughs, and then we set out to find a Starbucks so I could charge my iPhone.

(Above: That’s Glyn and I caught in a totally un-posed, spontaneous moment, pondering the age-old question; “Would this gray overcast day look better as an HDR?” Photo by Her Majesty’s Royal Photographer in Waiting, Dave Clayton).

After that we went on a mini-photo walk around London. It was kind of a gray, overcast, chilly day, but that didn’t stop me from taking some of the most uninspiring, blah photos ever! I couldn’t wait to delete them off my card.

(Above: We found a mirrored wall, and couldn’t help ourselves. Photo by one of us, I’m pretty sure. Probably Dave).

We goofed off most of the day–shooting, talking about the great weather, and the two of them had the best fake British accents you’ve ever heard (They kept saying stuff like, “Cor Blimey Chappy. Cheerio Guv’nah” and stuff like that. Why they sounded just like Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins. Dave was dressed in a red Beefeater uniform the whole day). ;-)

I feel bad teasing Dave, because the very next day, right before the seminar, he gave me what may seem like a small gift, but to me, it was out of this world. His brother had worked on the Rolling Stones last world tour, and he gave me five guitar picks from the Stones, with their names on them (see below). I was so psyched!!! (I know—it’s the little things). :)

My buddy Ed Davis met us that night for dinner, and surprisingly enough, he too had the fake British accent. ;-)  I originally met Ed years ago at a Photoshop World in Florida, where he’s won numerous Guru Awards, and since then we’ve become friends and he’s written articles for Photoshop User, and he’s just a great guy all around.

The morning I came up with the original idea to host a Worldwide Photo Walk (it was during a breakfast meeting at Photoshop World with my publisher Nancy Ruenzel), I walked out of the breakfast restaurant and ran right into Ed Davis. He was the first person I saw after hatching the idea, so I told him the idea and asked that if we actually did this, would he host a walk in London? Ed said “Absolutely!” and that was it—we were off and running (I’ll always be thankful for running into Ed that morning. His immediate positive reaction gave me confidence to charge forward. Of course, at that point we were hoping for 50 cities around the world to participate. We had no idea….).

The Day of the Seminar
I walked up the street to grab some breakfast at Pret a Manger (a little walk-up restaurant down the street from my hotel), and I met half a dozen people on their way to the seminar who stopped me on the street. Everybody was so incredibly gracious that I talked with (though they seemed surprised to see me walking the streets of Islington). One of them told me, “Hey, your buddies are over at Starbucks,” so I stopped in there and Glyn, Dave, and some friends were all in there hogging up all the power outlets and drinking American coffee, while still faking British accents (I heard “You are the weakest link” several times. Shameful!).

I left them to their Bangers and Mash (which is weird, since they don’t serve that at Starbucks), and I grabbed some breakfast at Pret a Manger, then headed back to the Business Design Centre (where we held the event. Great place by the way—iPhone photo of the front entrance below).

I cannot tell you how genuinely friendly and warm the crowd was. It was hands down one of the very best crowds I presented to all year. They were totally into it, really focused, and not afraid to have some fun. I answered lots of questions between breaks, at lunch, and since I didn’t have to fly out until Saturday, I offered to stay until every single person had their question answered one-on-one, so we were there for quite a while afterwards, but I didn’t mind one bit. Everyone was so gracious, and patient. Really a tremendously fun day!

(Above: Here’s a close-up during the seminar. Notice the liquor bottles  to the far left, on the corner of the stage. I was hammered all day. Of course, only later did I learn they were just bottled water. Also, noticed I cleverly positioned myself so there would always be a green sign with an arrow aiming right down at me. Photo by The Duke of Clayton).

Sean McCormack from the Lightroom Blog traveled over from Ireland to see the seminar, and we got a photo taken together (here’s the link). Great guy, and it was nice to finally meet Sean in person, after reading his blog for so long (link).

(Above: After the seminar, I stuck around, answered questions, posed for photos, and generally tried to avoid Dave and Glyn as long as possible, but Dave got this photo any way).

All Good Things…
After the seminar, I grabbed a quick bite with my seminar team, and then we headed back to the hotel to print boarding passes (exciting, eh?). Then it was off to sleep, a quick taxi ride to the airport (which cost only half of my ride from Heathrow Airport to the hotel when I got there. It literally cost me $160 US, from a licensed black taxi. That’s more than a Photoshop CS5 upgrade).

As I write this, I’m in New York, at JFK Airport, waiting for my flight back to Tampa. I just want to thank everyone who came out to make the seminar such a success. Great people, great times, and a big thanks to Dave, Glyn, and Ed for being such wonderful hosts, and friends, and for making me feel so at home, so far away from home.

Hi. My name is Scott, and I’m a JPEG shooter.

I wanted to step up and make this shocking admission after I read this comment (from reader Tom Bruno) on my blog post from Friday (link):

Great shots, Scott! I’m green with envy, not just at how good your shots are, also that you get passes to shoot from the sidelines. But I am shocked — Shocked! — that you shot in JPEG.

I know. Imagine how much better they would have looked had I shot in Raw. ;-)

True Confessions
OK, truth be known, I only shoot in JPEG on one single occassion: when I’m shooting sports. However, I’m not alone. Most of the professional sports photographers I’ve talked with shoot in JPEG as well, because when it comes to sports, JPEG offers a number of advantages to the sports shooter:

(1) More Continuous Shots Per Burst
The most important advantage probably being that you can shoot more continuous shots in JPEG mode than in Raw mode without filling your camera’s internal buffer. A lot of fast action sports are shot in high-speed continuous mode by holding down the shutter button as it rapidly fires up to 9 frames per second. That will fill your buffer mighty quick, and all of sudden, you’ve missed “the shot” because your camera’s buffer start to stutter.

I did some checking, and on DP Review (a respected source for this type of data), they broke it down this way:

  • Shooting in RAW: You fill the buffer with about 17 Raw photos.
  • Shooting in JPEG: You fill the buffer with about 65 or so shots.

If you’re using a fast memory card (I use 600X high-speed Lexar cards), that means shooting in JPEG, my buffer really never gets full because of how fast the cards write to the card which clears up the buffer.

(2) JPEGS take less time to process
If you’re covering a game for a news outlet, JPEGs are going to save you processing time, because they’re already processed. By that, I mean they’ve already had contrast, color enhancements and sharpening applied within the camera itself, so JPEG images look more “finished” and are ready for uploading without a lot of tweaking.

When you set your camera to Raw mode, it turns all that in-camera processing (contrast, sharpening, color enhancements) off, because you’ve chosen to do all that yourself later in Camera Raw or Lightroom. That processing of the Raw image takes time, and so does re-saving the files as JPEG for uploading when you’re done. Of course, you could shoot Raw+JPEG, but that has its disadvantages, including eating up memory cards much faster, and taking longer on import.

Also, if you’re covering a game for a wire service or news outlet, the editing you’re allowed to do is very limited in the first place, so JPEG files are pretty much ready to lock and upload. The smaller file sizes make it faster to download off your memory card, and faster to upload to your client as well.

(3) JPEGs Don’t Eat up Much Space
You can fit an awful lot of JPEG files on a single memory card, which means not only will you have to be swapping out memory cards much less during the game—you might not have to swap out at all. Remember my post from a few weeks back about fitting more than 4,000 JPEGs on my single memory card? (here’s the link).

So What am I Really Admitting To Here?
What I’m saying here is that there are times when it makes perfect sense to shoot in JPEG, depending on what you’re shooting. Remember, better shots than you and I will ever take in our lifetimes were taken in JPEG format long before their was a Raw format. It’s just a file format. Not a religion.

What if you totally disagree?
Then shoot your sports photos in Raw. :-)