Today I’ve got a really quick little video for ya, and these aren’t “keyboard shortcuts,” these are “moves” (little things you do that save you time and trouble. There’s some pretty sweet ones in there — check it out:
Hope you found that helpful.
Hey, if you’re in to Lightroom… I’m kicking off my nationwide Lightroom Seminar tour next month — I’m in Boston on March 10th, and then Philadelphia on March 13th. I hope you can come out and join me for the day.
Here’s wishing you a fun and romantic Valentine’s Day! (aaahhhh, love is the air…)
Yesterday we looked at my picks for the best Guest Blog posts from this past year, and today we’re continuing my “Best of 2016 on the Blog” with a look at some of the most popular posts overall.
Here are the 10 most popular posts of 2016:
1. GOOGLE AWESOMELY MAKES THE NIK COLLECTION PLUG-INS TOTALLY FREE AND EVERYBODY’S PI$S@D! When I announced that Google made the Nik Collection free, it started a stream of whining that I just was not anticipating. Then I realized, “Oh, I forgot. This is the internet.”
2. SCOTT’S TOP FIVE LIST OF EVERYTHING! (REVISITED) One of my readers tweeted that he’d love to see me redo this popular post from 2008, so I did it. It took a long time, but it was fun seeing how many of my picks had changed or stayed exactly the same.
3. A NEW PHOTOSHOP IS HERE!
I did a bunch of demo videos and explained stuff, answered some questions, and shared the scoop all about the new version of Photoshop CC.
4. “FIRST LOOK” FIELD REPORT OF THE JUST ANNOUNCED CANON EOS 1DX MARK II
I got to borrow a Canon 1Dx Mark II just before it was released to shoot a college bowl game, and an NFL game, and I shared a few shots and impressions from both shoots. Best sports camera ever (even though I’m still using my old 1Dxs. Still don’t have a Mark II yet. Tear).
5. IF YOU FEEL LIKE YOU’RE NOT GETTING BETTER AT YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY, COULD IT BE THAT YOU’RE “NOODLING” INSTEAD OF “PRACTICING?”
I feel like this was probably the most helpful post I wrote during 2016. It used a guitar analogy (which is why I’m playing an EVH guitar above), and it had two little 20-second videos (that are critical to the story), but the message could help you grow and improve as a photographer in a very meaningful way.
6. WHEN YOUR “TECHNICALLY CORRECT” PHOTO DOESN’T LOOK GOOD
I wrote about the difference between an artistic shot and one that is technically correct, and I used a shot from the New York Public Library as an example.
7. HOW TO REMOVE GLARE IN EYEGLASSES IN PHOTOSHOP
This is another Photoshop tutorial request from Twitter (it’s funny how the commenting workflow has changed. People read about a post on my Facebook or Twitter; they go read the post; then go back to social media to comment. I get it — we all want to comment where are friends already are). Sometimes a post here on the blog will get just one or two comments, or maybe even none, but then the Facebook post about that same blog post can have 100+ comments.
8. PHOTOS FROM MY 3-DAY PHOTO TRIP TO ICELAND
This post was me saying that had posted my Iceland trip images over on Exposure.co — I’ll save you from having to jump to that page, just to turn around and jump to Exposure, so here’s the direct link to the photo story on Exposure.co
9. MY CAMERA SETTINGS FOR SHOOTING FOOTBALL
I had been asked about them so many times, I thought I’d do a post and then when people asked about them on social media, I could just link them to this post. I didn’t expect it to get as much traction as it did.
10. SHOOTING WITH THE DOLPHINS (AND SOME REMOTE CAMERA STUFF!)
This is another one that I was surprised made it to the top 10 (even if just barely). It was about my awesome experience shooting with the Dolphins, and about how I used a simple remote camera set-up to get the shot you see above (from the Dolphins live Twitter feed during the game), and a bunch of others. Lots of behind-the-scenes shots. Such a blast!
Well, there ya have it — the top 10 from 2016. I might wrap up the year with one more “best of” on Friday, but it’ll already be February by then…so… ;-)
Hope your Tuesday is a really great one!
P.S.My new Lightroom on tour full-day seminar is kicking off in Boston on March 10th, and in Philadelphia on the 13th. Hope I get to see you there (here’s the link with details).
Hi Gang: it’s my annual tradition to kick off the New Year with a look back at the best, most popular, and most commented-upon posts of the previous year, (and if I don’t sneak this in before January ends, well…it would just be bad form, so I’m squeaking this in just under the wire).
Today we’re honoring my picks for “Best Guest Blog Posts of 2016”
It was an amazing year for guest posts, and I cannot tell you how hard it was to narrow it down to just ten, because it was one of our best years for guest blog posts ever!
By the way: If you’re wondering how many posts we put up in the course of a year, in 2016 it was 248 posts (Whew!). Also, in case you were wondering: I actually do write all my own posts with the exception of Guest Blog Wednesday and Free Stuff Thursday which are handled for me by the awesome Brad Moore, for which I am boundlessly grateful (thank you so much, Brad!). :)
OK, here we go for “The Best Guest Blog Posts of 2016” (in no particular order):
Stephen Bollinger (above)
His post, “See like a dancer” was inspirational, insightful, and included some absolutely beautiful dance (and sports) images, and his message is spot on.
Jeremy Cowart When There’s More Than Photography — Jeremy’s post about his dream to create “The Purpose Hotel” reminds us that we can think beyond our photography and grow in ways we never imagined. When you read this one, be sure to watch the videos in the post. This is so worthwhile. You’ll dig it.
Glyn Dewis His “Photograph Like a Thief” is a wonderfully empowering, informative, well-researched and illustrated story that will change your perception on so many things. Brilliantly done. You will learn a lot (and a lot about yourself).
Monica Carvalho Don’t let the first image in her post creep you out (even though it is a bit creepy) you’ll smile, laugh, and love her compositing, and her story. Very well done.
Alan Hess Alan’s post on Photo Releases for shooting concert photography, and his “day in the life” type of coverage of one of his photography gigs takes you “behind the curtain” to see a side of the business you rarely see. If you shoot bands, or dream of shooting concerts, this should be required reading.
It’s All About Perspective, Mike’s post about why you should be considering different angles, and even different lenses, to get more epic sports shots (and exactly how it’s all done, with lots of great behind-the-scenes shots), was so well illustrated, written, and received.
Sean Berry What a fantastic post! It was about Sean’s “first week as the photographer for the Dallas Stars” which he said, “was one of the craziest weeks in my professional career. In the span of 5 days, I became a new photographer.” First, great story. Secondly, his examples, videos, and the step-by-step GIF of how the group shot you see above came together, and all the post processing stuff is just absolutely outstanding. So, so well done, and a great read. You will love it.
There’s an incredible amount of knowledge, passion, inspiration and soul shared in these posts. I’m so grateful to all the photographers and Photoshop experts who shared their thoughts, teaching and ideas through the my Guest Blog program, and of course a big thanks and high-five to the awesome Brad Moore for wrangling, managing and producing them all. It’s a lot of work, and he runs it all like a boss.
Hope you enjoyed this look back. Tomorrow it’s the 10 most popular posts of 2016 — hope you’ll join me for that.
Hi gang, and happy Friday. Today I thought we’d do a simple lighting tutorial — one where we’re working on balancing the existing light in our location with the light from our flash so the image doesn’t look so much like it’s lit with a flash (even though of course we know that it is). We’re going to do this by adjusting our shutter speed to control the existing room light (the ambient light) behind our bride to get that perfect mix between it and the flash.
Above:First, here’s the final image
We’re not breaking any new ground here positioning wise — it’s a classic “Bride standing in the aisle” shot. The area behind her is dimly lit but we want to see it in our image (seeing the church she was married in is very important the bride), so we’re going to work to control the lighting in the background so we get a nice blend.
Above: Get the flash in position, then turn it off for Step One
This behind-the-scenes shot shows the simple, one-light set-up I’m using for this shoot. I’m using an Elinchrom Ranger Quadra, with one flash head running off a small portable battery pack and a small square 27 softbox. Of course, you can do this exact same thing with a hot shoe flash and a 24” Lastolite pop-up EZ-Box soft box (after all, they both create the same thing — a bright flash of light).
The flash is mounted on a lightweight regular ol’ light stand. So, why not a monopod mount like I often use? It’s because when you want a break between shots, you don’t have go looking for a place to lean it against or a table to sit it on — you just put it down on the floor, so it’s totally a convenience thing.
When I’m shooting on-location flash, I have a three-step formula for getting the look I’m after:
(1) Turn off the flash, switch your camera to Manual mode and set your Shutter Speed to 1/125 of a second. This is my standard shutter speed starting point when I’m shooting location flash. It’s kind of a nice, safe starting point that just works. Now move your f/stop until the meter inside your viewfinder shows your exposure is correct (it’s not under or over-exposed; it’s the proper exposure). On Nikons, this meter appears on the right side inside of your viewfinder; for Canon cameras, it’s along the bottom of the viewfinder. If you can’t get to an f/stop that makes a proper exposure (it can get pretty dark in a church), you may have to raise your ISO a bit, maybe from 100 to 200 (or 200 to 400).
Above:Now under-expose by around two stops
(2) Now, I darken the exposure by around two stops (so now I’m intentionally under-exposing. If my camera said that at f/2.8 my exposure was correct, I’d raise it to at least f/5.6 or higher to darken it by at least a full stop) and take another test shot. I’m trying to make the bride so dark she’s nearly a silhouette. I’m doing this because I want the bride lit with only the light from my flash — not the ambient light in the church. I want the ambient light to only light the area behind her.
I do see one problem with the shot above, and it’s that the background (the church) is a little too dark. This is where the Shutter Speed control comes in because it controls the room lights. Think of it as a dimmer switch for the church lights. If you need to turn up the lights a bit, all you have to do is lower the shutter speed a bit so lowering the shutter speed to 1/60 of a second would add more light behind her (as seen in the following image, where I did that).
Above:Now turn on the flash with a very low power setting
Once your subject looks like a silhouette, turn on the flash with a very lower power setting (like 1/4 power) and take a test shot (seen above). The light from the flash itself looks “OK” but the whole scene just looks a bit too bright and that keeps the light from mixing well so it doesn’t look really beautiful quite yet. However, you can really see the difference lowering the shutter speed from 1/125 down to 1/60 did — the church behind her is much brighter. In fact, I think it’s now too bright, so that was too big a drop in shutter speed, so I’m going to have to split the difference — trying 1/80 of a second. That will dim the background lights from where they are now. This doesn’t change the power or brightness of the flash — this just affects the background room lighting (remember the dimmer analogy).
Above:Another Behind the Scenes shot: I’m raising the Shutter Speed to 1/80 of a second and taking another test shot
So here I’m turning the camera to get a vertical shot and trying that slightly higher shutter speed of 1/80th of a second. I haven’t changed the power of the light yet at all — it’s still at 1/4 power.
Above: Here’s the shot and you can see we’re starting to get there. The 1/80th of a second seems like the sweet spot, so now if I make any changes, I’ll probably slightly raise or lower the power of the strobe itself to make sure the light isn’t too bright — a very common mistake and the thing that makes your shot look too “flashy.” If we want it to blend and look natural, it can’t look “flashy.” It has to make you wonder, “Is that lit with a flash?”
Above:Using Photoshop’s Camera Raw to enhance your lighting (you can do this in Lightroom just the same)
To make the lighting look even better and more dramatic, I edit it with Photoshop’s Camera Raw (or Lightroom’s Develop Module — they are the exact same thing), where I go to the Effects panel, and under Post Crop Vignetting I drag the Amount slider to the left (as shown here), which darkens the edges all the way around your image. This helps to create a more directional look to your lighting — it looks like the light is centered on your subject and it falls off to dark around here. It’s a simple thing, but it has pretty big impact.
Above:Adding a reflector
After looking at the previous image up close, I felt that the area around her eyes looked a little dark, so I had my First Assistant Brad Moore bring in a reflector to bounce some of the light from the flash back into her eyes. We took a test shot using the silver side of the reflector and it was just too bright and too harsh, so we flipped over the reflector to the white side and that did the trick.
There’s still a problem… Which someone pointed out when I posted the image on Twitter. They noted the bright area of light in the stained glass window to the left of the bride and pointed out that if this was someone else’s image and I were critiquing on our weekly show “The Grid” (where once-a-month we do blind critiques of submitted images), that I would point out that it was distracting. He was right — that’s exactly what I would have said, and so I used Photoshop’s “Patch” tool to remove it.
Above:To use the Patch tool to fix that bright spot in the stained glass behind her — take the tool and draw a loose selection around what you want to remove [as seen here].
Above:Then click inside that selected area and drag to an area with similar tones somewhere else in the image (as seen here where I dragged the selected area to a lower area of the stained glass.
Above:Now release the mouse, and it snaps back into place and the problem is gone! It really works amazingly well in most cases.
Above: I finished the image off with nothing but the standard portrait retouching stuff (removing blemishes, smoothing skin, etc.).
To finish up: I hope this article helped you “see the light” (totally intended pun) on two things:
(1) The shutter speed controls the amount of light in the room (if you wanted it completely dark black behind her, raise the Shutter speed to 1/200 of a second with strobes, and 1/250 of a second with hot shoe flash). And…
(2) your job is to balance the flash and the room light, while keeping the lighting looking soft and subtle by doing test shots and then looking at the shot and seeing if it looks too bright and thus too “flashy.” Less is more in situations like this, so if you were going to ‘under-light’ or ‘over-light,’ it’ll look more natural underlit (but the goal, of course, is simply to balance it correctly).
If you dig flash stuff like this, and you want to get more into lighting, here’s a class to watch this weekend — it’s called “Just One Flash”. It’s one of our most popular (and I love the instructor. So devastatingly handsome he is). Here’s the official trailer:
Above:Sadly, it has been a few years since an obvious clerical error or database corruption had the AARP accidentally sending me this card much earlier than was appropriate for someone of obvious youth. Of course, I quickly disregarded this travesty, but I must admit, for someone my age, that zip-away shopping tote offer was mighty tempting.
Now that I am apparently “Officially Old,” I thought it was time to share some of the Photohop secrets that I usually just share with other folks like me while having dinner at 4:30 pm. Here we go:
Note:Please read the headers (shown in red below) in “grumpy old man” voice:
The Fonts are too darn small!!! Go to Photoshop’s Preferences panel (on Mac, it’s under the “Photoshop” menu; On Windows it’s under the Edit menu — and shown above), and in the list of preference on the left choose “Interface.” Where it says ‘UI Font Size’ Small — click and hold on that menu and choose either Medium or Large, and now Photoshop’s own font will appear larger and easier to read throughout the program.
I can’t see my layer thumbnails!!! Go to the Layers panel; right-click in any space below your Background layer and from the pop-up menu that appear, choose “Large Thumbnails” as seen above, and it triples the size of the default thumbnails.
There’s too many darn tools! Go under the Edit menu and choose Toolbar. When the window appears (shown above), drag any tools you don’t want to see again from the left column to the right column. When you’re done, click done.
I can’t remember all these keyboard shortcuts! To change the keyboard shortcuts to ones you’ll remember, go under the Edit menu and choose Keyboard Shortcuts. Click on the little triangle to the immediate left of the menu that has the shortcut you want to change (this reveals all the items under that menu). Double-click on the one you want to change and type in the shortcut you want, based on people you play Bridge with (like Command-M for ‘Mildred’).
OK, there’s probably more, but I’ve gotta go — it’s time to go watch reruns of ‘Golden Girls.’ ;-)
Tomorrow on the Grid Join me and “old guy” Larry Becker at 4pm. We’ll be talking about Fiber and how to get senior discounts at McDonalds.
Happy Tuesday, y’all. This is just a quickie, but it’s really handy if you shoot really wide angle lens for anything from landscapes to group shots. Don’t take points off because its so darn easy to do (in fact, it’s more about what not to do, instead of what you need to do). Here ya go:
Hope you found that helpful.
Here’s wishing you a packed-with-awesomeness kinda Tuesday!