OK, it’s official – I’m making every Friday here on my blog, “Photoshop Down & Dirty Tricks Friday” where I’ll share a simple, hopefully helpful, and certainly fun Photoshop special effect — the type of effects you see in ads, on the Web, in banners, etc.
This one I’m showing you today I especially like because I’m showing how I created a perspective text effect for the Facebook promos I did for my last seminar tour (my “Shoot like a Pro Tour”), but I’m using the date of the next stop in my “all new” tour (my “Reloaded!” seminar), so it’s both a Photoshop trick, and a subtle plug of my upcoming Phoenix live seminar stop on Tuesday, September 22nd (like the way I worked that in there?).
Anyway, here’s how it goes (and it uses a filter a lot of folks haven’t tried, the Vanishing Point filter, which is designed to do the math for you on creating perspective effects).
STEP ONE: Open the image you want to add a perspective text effect to in Photoshop, like the road sign shown here (it’s a stock image – you can get one like this to practice on for a buck at dollarphotoclub.com).
STEP TWO: Get the Type tool and create your type. In this case, I’m trying to make it look like a road sign so I used Helvetica Bold, and I left lots of leading between the lines like they do in real road signs.
STEP THREE: Go to the Layers panel; hold the Command key on Mac (the Ctrl key on Windows), and click directly on the “T” thumbnail icon to put a selection around your type (as seen above). Now press Command-C (Windows: Ctrl-C) to copy that selected text into memory. Now you can delete that Type layer by dragging it into the Trash can at the bottom of the Layers panel. You’ll want your perspective text to appear on its own layer, so add a new black layer above your sign layer, and then press Command-D (Windows: Ctrl-D) to Deselect your text.
STEP FOUR: Go under the Filter menu and choose Vanishing Point to bring up the Vanishing Point window, seen above. Click on the 2nd tool from the top (it’s called the “Create Plane” tool). You’re going to click it once just inside each corner of the sign (it works kinda like the Polygonal Lasso does, but with a rubber-band effect, dragging out a straight line as you move your cursor. It just takes four-clicks — one in each corner until you create the full four-cornered shape, and it applies a blue grid like you see here, to let you know the shape you created worked. NOTE: If you see a yellow grid instead, that’s a warning that’s it’s probably not exactly right, so you might want to futz with it a bit, moving your cursor slightly one way or the other until it turns blue. It the grid turns red, and the grid disappears, so you just see the outside border, that’s letting you know that you’re way off, and it’s not going to work. But never fear, this filter helps you out pretty well and chances are you won’t have a problem.
STEP FIVE: Press Command-V (Windows: Ctrl-V) to Paste your copied text into Vanishing Point. It’ll appear just floating there doing nothing special, up in the left corner, as seen here.
STEP SIX: Click your cursor inside your text and drag it down over your grid and all of a sudden it just snaps into the grid with the proper perspective automatically applied, (as seen here). The text here is a little too big for the sign (it’s cutting off the bottom of the letters in the bottom row), but we can fix that easy enough in the next step.
STEP SEVEN: Switch to the sixth tool down in the toolbar on the right — that’s the Transform tool (shown selected here). It kind of works like Free Transform, so hold the Shift key (to keep things proportional); grab a corner point and drag inward until the text fits on the size without any problem, as seen here. You can reposition your text anywhere within that grid (moving it up/down/left/right) using that same tool. When it looks good to you, click the OK button in the top right corner, and it applies the perspective effect to your text, and renders it on that blank layer you created right before you open the Vanishing Point window.
STEP EIGHT: Now you can see the text added to the sign with the proper perspective effect (the letters are larger on the left and get smaller as they move to the right side of the sign proportionally, like they would in real life). Lastly, we want the letter to not look so “Added after the fact” and a great, simple trick for that is simply to lower this layer’s opacity a bit so the letters look more like they’re on the sign (in real life, those letters wouldn’t be 100% solid white — the ink would have bled into the sign, and been washed out a bit by the sun), so I always lowered the Opacity for these signs to 83% (as seen here).
Now that you know this technique, on some level doesn’t it make you subconsciously want to come spend the day with me in just about three weeks learning some really cool, really intriguing, and really inspirational photography stuff? It does? Great! Then just follow this link to sign up and we’ll spend the whole day together on that Tuesday (I wish all my effects worked this well as a seminar promo). ;-)
Hope you all have a great weekend. I’m shooting the Bucs/Browns game tomorrow night (sad to hear Johnny Manziel probably won’t be taking any snaps due to soreness in his arm — I was hoping to get some “Johnny Football” shots). It’ll still be a blast, even shooting in the Florida heat (and it’s crazy hot here right now), but it’s still football, so I’ll be there with a big smile and a long lens or two). :)
P.S. We just released my “Retouching Brides” online training class. If you shoot weddings, I think you’ll really find it helpful. You can watch it right now, online for just $19.95 – here’s the link – and after you’re done, you can watch all my other classes too, because that $19.95 gets you a full month of unlimited access to the entire library of all our online photography, Photoshop, and Lightroom classes (not just my classes – all of ’em!). Just sayin’- that’s a pretty awesome deal. :)
The Lightroom CC Power Tour with RC Concepcion
It’s time to harness the power of the new Lightroom CC with RC Concepcion’s newest tour. You’ll walk through everything you need to get up to speed in Lightroom CC – from start to finish. If you are a new user, you will leave finally understanding how to best use Lightroom CC like a pro. If you are already using Lightroom – RC will give you some key strategies to get you organized, prepare you for larger collections, and help you work your images as fast as possible. You’ll also master the latest features found in the newest release that will keep you and your skills at the head of the class.
Click here to find out all of the upcoming tour dates, and leave a comment for your chance to win a free ticket to one!
Last Week’s Winner
Shoot Like A Pro: Reloaded Ticket
– Kim E.
If that’s you, we’ll be in touch soon. Have a great Thursday!
One of the things I encounter a lot during talks with attendees to my workshops or seminars is that a lot of photographers struggle with their light. Now I don’t want to generalize, but I think for a lot of shooters out there this is a reoccurring problem.
One could almost say, “Most photographers are controlled by their lighting, while a photographer should be in control of their lighting.”
In photography light is our language, so it’s of vital importance to learn to speak that language. I hear you thinking, “But I don’t have expensive gear to fight the sun, or to manipulate light.” And I agree, some images that you see online will be hard to get without a powerful strobe, but don’t worry. That’s not what this blog is about.
Take Photoshop As An Example. When you start Photoshop it all looks incredibly intimidating right?
Where to start?
What to do?
The same thing happened to me. And some books or videos don’t help either, it just makes it more complicated. For me a lot changed when I learned about Scott. He explained things very easily and gave me the tools I needed to progress. No smoke and mirrors or overcomplicating stuff, just the bare essentials from which you can build and add (ending up with some more complicated actions, but understanding what they do and why you use them).
When we look at lighting, we see the same thing. Often things are explained the “wrong” way or just way too complicated. I always tell my students to remember one thing… Photography is an old art, so this means that in the past people with very primitive gear were able to do it. You should be able to do the same (or even better), but also it’s an art form. Now let’s look at two topics and give you some tips to improve your photography (almost instantaneous).
- Photography Is Light
This shouldn’t come as a surprise. Without light there would not be anything to register (unless you love taking the same black/depressing shot every time). The excuse often heard is that someone doesn’t own brand X or modifier Y, so he/she is limited in what they can do….Let’s be honest. We all used the excuse at least once.
In essence it’s very important to realize that light is everywhere. There is absolutely no light source that should be labeled as “not fit for photography.” For example, take the following shot which was done with one bare light bulb.
We used two painted walls we put together in a slight angle to get the walls close together and get a sort of “captured” feeling. The thing to remember is to get the lightbulb close to the model, due to the light fall-off that will be faster when the lightbulb is close, the contrast in the scene will be greater and in my opinion more dramatic.
Now up the ante a little bit and use chandeliers you can buy from eBay.
This shot was done with just the light from the chandelier. We added some extra elements between the same walls (now repainted), and also added another light source in the form of the branches with lights. You do need to shoot on high ISO for this and a longer shutter speed, so coach your model to stay still. Oh and don’t worry about the high-ISO noise. In today’s cameras this will be a non-issue for print or web. If you look at your screen 1:1 you will see noise but that will not show up on most prints, and otherwise just…. Call it intentionally arty :D
As soon as you master this, what holds you back to add a little bit of strobes and maybe some smoke?
By chancing the position of the chandelier you can control the lighting. We used some smoke in the back to create a mood, and we created a small opening between the two walls and placed a strip light behind it on the lowest possible setting. Because the walls are taking away a lot of light, you can get away with this. If your strobe is emitting too much light try to put the modeling light on full power and don’t trigger the strobe (thus making the strobe another constant light source).
Understanding what light does is the first step in becoming a better photographer. I strongly believe that if one starts out shooting with the most simple light sources, one could progress very quickly. Instead, some people start out with a complete studio kit and a DSLR they hardly know; it’s a recipe for disaster. The best tip I can give someone is to start learning their camera. Know it by heart so you don’t struggle on the set. When you know what all the little knobs do, start shooting with the free light source available to everyone, “Natural light.” Yep, it’s all around us and it’s called the sun. Don’t be afraid of the harsh quality of the sun during midday, for model photography this can be a blessing. In fact I always joke around that where landscape photographers have to get up in the early mornings and wait for that last piece of light in the afternoon, we fashion shooters can actually work all day. But then again I just love those harsh shadows.
All natural light shots. Always remember that shadows are the soul of a shot. They create dimensionality and could be labeled as “the photographers best friend (if understood).”
- the power of the shot
Some people call it storytelling, some call it the WOW factor… In essence it doesn’t matter as long as you know what I mean, and that is making a shot that make people look again and again, or in short how to go from okay to WOW.
I have to be honest… For years I’ve been trying to describe this process and I simply can’t, so I just ended up calling it the “X-factor.” Yeah, pretty lame right? But it’s true.
And sometimes it’s just an expression like this shot. We took this on the boat to England for our UK tour. It’s just available light with the boat in the background, but the model’s expression does it for me.
But often it’s also the styling, the angle and the expression/pose of the model like in this pure natural light shot.
In fact one can shoot a model in great styling in front of a cathedral with awesome lighting, but it can still be very boring. However…. Choose a lower angle, include the sun in the picture and make the model pose a bit more powerfully, and voila! We go from, “Nice model and nice location,” to, “WOW what an awesome shot!”
Without a doubt, one can learn and master lighting, but that “X-Factor,” that’s a bit trickier. I always tell people to look at photography they love and analyze WHY they love it. When you really dig deep into your psyche, it’s almost never JUST the lighting. It’s always something more… Styling, mood, expression, it’s “always” the whole feel of the picture. And now we are actually back at square one.
When you look at those old photographs you hardly see any spectacular strobe work, for the simple reason that there were no spectacular strobes back then, what you do see is a capture of someone’s character, of the perfect pose, clothing in combination with for example an animal (think about Avedon’s model with an elephant), or just a street scene that really captures your imagination.
We as fashion/people photographers are often relying way too much on our gear, as long as we use loads of strobes (10 preferred) and throw the model in front of the most awesome location with extreme clothing… it will work… However we often forget the most important thing about photography….
We Tell Stories With Light
So don’t forget the story, but most of all…. Master your lighting and with todays tools like KelbyOne and the internet in general there are many places to learn. Don’t skip to the heavy stuff however, but start with controlling your camera and a simple light bulb and build from there. Because, trust me on this one, if you understand your lighting you can really focus on the story.
You can see more of Frank’s work and blog at FrankDoorhof.com, follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, pick up his book Mastering The Model Shoot, and keep an eye on KelbyOne tomorrow for his brand new class Shooting Fashion On Location!
Just a quick update on my “8th Annual Worldwide Photo Walk:”
(1) We now have Photo Walk organized in 280 cities around the world (and we just officially launched a few days ago!).
(2) Check out some of these awesome cities that just added walks:
- Egucigalpa, Honduras
- Clinton, Tennessee
- San Antonio, Columbia
- Elora, Ontario, Canada
- Tyler, Texas
- Marikina, Philippines
- Tooele, Utah
- Meridian Charter Township, Michigan
- Cairo, Egypt
- Ogunquit, Maine
- Manila, Philippines
- Bangkok, Thailand
- Kuala Lumpur
- Karmiel, Israel
- Paris, France
- Canon City, Colorado
- Sydney, Australia
How cool is that! More cities are being added daily.
(3) We are preparing a media kit that will probably go out today to help walk leaders publicize their walks, so keep an eye out for that in your email if you’re a Walk Leader.
(4) I just recorded six videos with camera tips, composition tips, gear tips, and a whole bunch more to help you get the most of your upcoming Photo Walk. You’ll get a link to those in a “Walk wide” email newsletter we’ll be sending out each week leading up to the Walk, so keep an eye out for it (the sender will be KelbyOne, that’s our online educational community).
(5) Have your ordered your “Official Photo Walk T-shirt?” Lot of folks wear these on the walks themselves, and so we see them everywhere. Why do so many people buy the t-shirts? Well, beside looking really cool, and being a souvenir from a really fun and memorable day, 100% of the profits go to the Springs of Hope Orphanage in Kenya (and who doesn’t want to help Orphans, right?). Here’s a link to order yours today.
(6) Is there a walk in a city near you? There’s only one way to find out. Go to the official site; click the “Find a Walk” button and search for your city. If there’s not one there, maybe you could lead one? You get a cool prize, and loves of love and affection for leading a way. Click the “Apply to Lead a Walk” button at the same link.
(7) There really isn’t a #7, but just having 6 sounded kinda cheesy. Hope you all have an awesome Tuesday. Don’t forget to spread the word about the walk to your friends, photo groups, online groups, group groups, Groupon, Groovy groups, Gravy groups, etc.
P.S. Here’s the link to sign up for a walk (it’s free). I know I already posted it somewhere in all that stuff, but I wanted to make it easy to find. Feel the love.
I’m very excited to invite you to be a part of my 8th Annual Worldwide Photo Walk™ (it’s a worldwide phenomenon with walks in over 1,000 cities last year). Here’s a quick Q&A with all the details:
Q. When is the official Photo Walk day?
A.The official date is Saturday, October 3, 2015
Q. What do you do on a Photo Walk?
A. You start by meeting with up to 50 other photographers at a central meeting point. Then a Photo Walk Leader leads the group on a leisurely paced stroll through an area that is photographically interesting; you take lots pictures; you can chat with other folks (photo walkers are very friendly by nature); you laugh, you enjoying being outside with a group of like-minded folks; and then after around 2-hours you wind up at a local restaurant, pub, cafe, etc. (chosen in advance by the walk leader), where you can have a meal, maybe a snack, some drinks, maybe lots of drinks,
you can get totally plastered), and make some new friends. It’s a social event, and it’s really a blast (and you get to make some cool pictures, which is always good).
Above: That’s a group shot of the local photo walk I led in Paris a couple years of ago — we’re posed on the steps of the Sacré-Cœur Basilica. Look how happy we all look!
Look how cold we all look! Forget that last line.
Q. Is there a fee to participate?
A. It’s totally free. But if you’re feeling charitable, each year we “Walk with a Purpose” to raise money for the Springs of Hope Orphanage in Nakuru, Kenya, to help them feed, clothe and care for some very wonderful children who need our help. When you sign up for a walk, you’ll have the option (it’s totally optional), to donate just $1 to the orphanage via Paypal. 100% of your donation goes directly to the orphanage, and last year we were able to raise more than $37,000, which is just amazing (and they were absolutely thrilled!). This year, we’re shooting for $50,000. You cannot imagine what a difference this makes to the orphanage (and it would mean a lot to me that you’re helping. :) So, if you could donate just $1 when you’re on the site (just one buck) that would be awesome (and you’ll be helping more than you know), but again, it’s totally optional.
Q. Where do I sign up to join a walk in my city?
A. Visit the official Worldwide Photo Walk Website, and click the “Find a Walk” button to see if there’s a walk set-up in a city near you. If there is, and there are spots still available, you can sign up right there for free and join that walk. If there isn’t a walk in your city, maybe you can start one and lead it yourself (more on that in a moment).
Q. What happens when a local walk fills up?
A. We have a waiting list for each sold out city, so if someone cancels, it automatically adds (and notifies) the next person on the list.
Q. How many is full?
A. Each Photo Walk is limited to a maximum of 50 photographers. If that doesn’t sound like a lot, you haven’t seen 50 photographers coming down the sidewalk at the same time, and later all converging at once on a restaurant or pub. It’s more like a scary bike gang (except without the bikes, or gang, or scariness).
Q. Why do we limit each Photo Walk to just 50 photographers?
A. Click here for the explanation.
Above: That’s a group shot from the walk I led last year in London. It was a bright sunny day and everybody had
a criminal record a great time. A really great group of folks (except for Dave and Peter). Even Brad was there (see far left)!
Q. So Scott, are you leading a Local Walk again this year?
A. Absolutely! I’m leading a local photo walk in Sydney, Australia (I just posted my walk details this morning — I hope if you live in the Sydney area you can join me). :)
Q. If I led a walk last year, can I lead a walk this year?
A. We would love that! Check your email inbox — we sent out invitations already to last year’s leaders (the email comes from us at KelbyOne and it was sent on August 6th). The subject line reads “A special invitation.”
Q. Is there a photo contest again this year?
A. You bet! The best photo in each city (as chosen by your local Walk Leader) will get the ebook edition of my bestselling book — “The Lightroom Book for Digital Photographers” (it lists for $39.95) and their winning image is also entered into the main photo competition vying for thousands of dollars in prizes. From those local walk winners I will choose 10-finalists, who all get tons of great prizes, and then I choose a Grand Prize winner, who just gets an insane amount of stuff.
Q. I see on the site that Canon is the Platinum Sponsor. Does that mean the Grand Prize might include a DSLR and a lens?
A. Why, yes it does! Our friends at Canon are giving the Grand Prize Winner Canon EOS 5D Mark III with a cool Lens. How sweet is that!
Q. Are there more prizes for the photo competition part?
A. You bet! Our official sponsors are awesome and have kicked in everything from subscriptions to the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Bundle (high-five Adobe!), to Wacom tablets (love Wacome!), B&H Photo Gift Cards (best camera store on earth), and more for the finalists and grand prize winners. I’ll have a blog post about ALL the prizes soon, but the list is getting cra-zay!
Q. Are any cities with Photo Walks organized yet?
A. Yes! We already have 250 walks set-up all over the world, with more being added every day! From Cairo, Egypt, to Ogunquit, Maine — from Tübingen, Germany to Quito, Pichincha, Ecuador — from Isfahan, Iran to Puyallup, Washington — from Lleida, Spain; to Dubai, and New Orleans — there are walks all over the world who would love to have you join them!
Q. How can I find out if there’s a walk in my area?
A. Go to the official Worldwide Photo Walk website and click on the “Find Walks” link at the top right, then type in the city, state, and/or country where you want to walk, and if there are any walks already organized in your area, they’ll be listed on the right side (and you’ll see pins on the map). And if you don’t see any in your area, keep checking back because, like I said before, new walks are being added every day.
Q. What does it take to become a Photo Walk Leader?
A. We’re looking for people who have experience leading groups, so if you’re the president of your local camera club, or a college teacher, or photography instructor, or you run a local camera store, or you’ve lead Photo Walks in your area before, so your familiar with keep a group of up to 50 people happy, safe and healthy, etc., you’re likely to get accepted fast to be a leader. We ask for your qualifications on the leader application, and that’s the type of experience we’re looking for.
Q. What if my city already has a Photo Walk, but I want to lead a walk, too?
A. Most big cities can accommodate more than one walk, and so as soon as one starts to fill up, we add a 2nd or even a third or fourth depending on the response and city size. Also, if the walks are held geographically far from each other but technically in the same major city, we usually add those, too. (For example, New York City could have walks in Central Park, SoHo, Chinatown, and Times Square, and probably a half dozen other locations)
Q. Do I have to enter the prize competition?
A. Absolutely not — it’s totally optional — you don’t have to upload even a single photo for the contest).
Q. Do I get anything for being a Photo Walk LEADER?
A. Love. You gets lots of love. And admiration from your walkers (and me). You also get a copy of the same ebook the winner of your local walk gets, as our way of saying “thank you.”. You also get to pick the best shot from your local Photo Walk group and award them with the book as well (and judging a photo competition is a lot of fun. It’s often hard to narrow things down to just one winner, but it’s also fun because you get to see lots of beautiful images).
Q. Is there a separate Contest For Photo Walk LEADERS?
A We have that, too! We started it three years as a way to honor the photographic work of our leaders.
Q. Do we have cool t-shirts for Walkers & Leaders?
A.You betcha! Each year, our friend Rob Jones from Towner Jones Photography, who came up with idea of selling t-shirt to raise money for (you guessed it), Springs of Hope Orphanage in Kenya. 100% of the profits from the sale of these t-shirts go to feeding and care for these great kids. Last year we raised over $7,000 just from these t-shirt sales alone (imagine how much $7,000 means to the orphanage) I’m so grateful that Rob wanted to help us once again this year (Rob rocks!). Order you t-shirts right now at this link (and feel the good karma coming back to you!).
NOTE: We have special LEADER shirts as well (Leaders — you’ll find the link on your leader’s dashboard).
Q. I want to know more about this Photo Walk thing. Where do I go?
A. There’s a detailed FAQ on the Website (here’s the link).
Q. Where do I go for the latest Photo Walk information?
A. Stay up-to-date by following us on our Twitter page and Facebook Page (If you talk about the walk on social – we would love it if you would include the hashtag #wwpw2015).
Plus, I’ll shoot you an email once a week leading up to the walk with some photography tips, camera tips, post processing tips, and fun stuff to get you ready for the big walk on Saturday, October 3rd all over the world.
I hope you join us this year as we “Walk with a Purpose” to help the Springs of Hope Orphanage in Kenya and as we make worldwide photographic history once again!
All my best,
P.S. We want as many people to participate as possible, so anything you can do to help us spread the word about the walk would be greatly appreciated. Could you share it on forums, on social, with your camera clubs, and anywhere cool photographers hang out? Many thanks. :)