Category Archives Photoshop

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. :-)

This is one of those things you just kind of stumble upon, and think to yourself, “Hey, that looks kinda cool,” but you’re not sure why (well, now I know why, but I didn’t when I first found it).

The idea for this came to me while I’m working in Lightroom one day. I normally work in a view called “Fit” which fits your entire image inside the center preview area, with a bit of gray canvas area around it (as seen above).

But for some reason, on this particular day I had my View set to Fill (so your image fills the entire center preview window, as seen above). Probably did it by accident.

Normally, when I want to focus on just the photo, without all the distractions of Lightroom’s panels, I press Shift-Tab, which hides the top, bottom and side panels from view, so all you see is the photo, but on this particular day, instead I hid just the side panels (as seen above), and I’m looking at the screen and I’m thinking “Man, that wide cropping really looks kind of cool.” I didn’t quite know at the time why, but I went over to Matt Kloskowski’s office and he loved it. Next stop, RC Concepcion’s office and when I showed him this on one of his photos in Lightroom—he loved it.

But it was when RC said, “I kind of makes it look like a widescreen movie,” that it hit me why I liked it so much—it’s got that cinematic movie feel to it. So, he and I spent a while trying to figure out exactly what this wide cropping ratio was, and how we could apply that widescreen crop to our images in Photoshop the easy way. We made some screen captures of the image in Lightroom with that on-screen cropped look, and then starting counting pixels. We even brought Corey Barker over to look at it, since he’s a total movie freak, because we though if anyone would know how this relates to a movie style cropping, he would know.

As it turns out, Photoshop has a built-in New Document Preset that was literally within a pixel or two of being the exact same cropping ratio as what we had captured in Lightroom. To find this, press Command-N (PC: Ctrl-N) to bring up the New Document window, then choose Film & Video from the Preset pop-up near the top. Now from the Size Presets choose NTSC D1 Widescreen Square Pixel (as shown above), and it creates a new document with guides already in place for a widescreen image like the one we captured in Lightroom.

However, when you size the image to fill within the inside guides, there’s white space left over on the top and bottom. But, at least now I could drag my image onto this document, size it to fill left to right, then I could crop the document down so just the image is visible, and then I would know in inches (or pixels) how large to make my Custom Crop. That way, I could just create “Cinematic Style Cropping” from here on out, without having to create this new document, and all extra these steps.  The cropped size turned out to be a 12.111″ x 5.389″ size at a resolution of 240 ppi (or in pixels, 2907 x 1293).

So, now you can create a custom crop in Photoshop you can apply to any standard digital camera image to give it an instant “Cinematic Style Widescreen Crop” by simply clicking on the Crop Tool, going up to the Options Bar (shown above) and then typing in 12.111 inches as your width and 5.389 inches as your Height, and then set your resolution at 240.

Now, when you drag out the crop tool so it fits side-to-side in your image (as seen above), the area that appears inside that cropping border will get the Cinematic Crop.

Here’s what it looks like (above) with the crop applied to that image.

If you want to take it up another notch, and really give it the Cinematic feel, add the letterbox look you get with anamorphic widescreen movies. You do this by going under Photoshop’s Image menu and choosing Canvas Size. When the dialog appears (seen above), turn on the Relative checkbox, then for Height enter 1 inch. Lastly, for Canvas extension color (at the bottom of the window), choose Black from the pop-up menu (as seen above), then click OK.

Here’s what it looks like with the black Canvas area added in Photoshop.

And here’s what the final image looks like, with the Cinematic cropping and letterbox added.

So, at this point, it’s just a simple custom crop, and you can save that custom crop, with those dimensions and resolution as a Tool Preset by clicking on the Tool Preset icon at the top left corner of the Options Bar (as seen here), then click on the New Preset button (shown above). Now, anytime you want this crop, you’re just one click away.

Now, it’s entirely possible that there’s a way easier way to do all this—-to create a Cinematic Cropping inside Photoshop, but I haven’t figured it out. Yet. ;-)

UPDATE: Just learned from @ersphoto (Enrique San Roman, who follows me on Twitter) that you can enter the Crop Ratio 2.39 to 1 in Lightroom’s Crop Tool to get the same cropping. Just click on the Crop tool, then click on the pop-up menu to the immediate left of the lock icon and choose “Enter Custom” then type in 2.39  and 1.00 in the Aspect Ratio pop-up menu (as seen above), and you’ve got that crop. Enrique noted that the crop ratio is based on Panavision film. Thanks Enrique, and I’m sending you a signed copy of my Lightroom 3 book today for helping me out! :-) Also, thanks to Mike Reeves who pointed out that this also works with Camera Raw’s Crop tool as well.

Anyway, give this a try on some of your photos and see what you think. Of course, if you have Lightroom, just open any image, set the View to Fill (in the Navigator panel), and then just hide the left and right panels from view (press F7 and F8 to hide them), and there you have it—Cinematic Style Widescreen Cropping (without having to actually crop).


I loved doing this interview, because the Interviewer (Sophia Betz) asked some really great questions. We went into stuff like:

Q. What do you find is interesting to talk to photographers about these days in terms of new technologies that didn’t exist even three or five years ago?

Q. What tips do you have for photographers branching out into video?

Q. When you’re out talking to photographers or taking photos, how do you define success in an image?

Q. For first-timers to Photoshop World like myself, what advice would you give?

Q. Do you have any other advice for up-and-coming photographers?

And a bunch more. You can read it right now right here.


Yesterday Nik Software announced a brand new HDR plug-in for Photoshop and Lightroom (and compatible software) for creating HDR images called “HDR Efex Pro” (that’s it shown above).

It’s slated for release sometime in October, but I’ve been playing around with a pre-release version, and I have to say—-it’s pretty cool. True to Nik form, it’s got a great interface. I particularly like the previews of the built-in presets along the left side, and the fact that Vignetting, Levels, and Curves adjustments are build right in, so after you’re done with the Tonemapping, you don’t have to head back to Camera Raw for final tweaking—you can do it all right in the plug-in.

Plus, it has “Viveza-like” control points which let you adjust individual areas in the image. The noise seems very low too, which is big.

Anyway, head over to and check out their great video on HDR Efex Pro (click on the video on the lower left side).