Category Archives Photoshop

It’s #TravelTuesday right here on Scott’s blog, and that means that I, Dave Williams, am here!

It has been a full-on week with lots of prep and planning for a couple of upcoming missions for me. I’ve been working through files from my most recent trip to Norway, and I’m lining up ideas for a little trip to Dorset this weekend for my birthday. It’s all go here, and to top it all off, I’m formulating ideas for an awesome project that has already started rolling: The Diary of the Traveling Platypod, which sees a Platypod Ultra travel the world to help create amazing images (#TravelingUltra)! Larry, the creator of Platypod, sent it to Gilmar Smith to begin its journey, and now I have it! You can sign up here if you want to host the Ultra on its global journey.

But, let’s get back on track and take a look at a cool Adobe Camera Raw trick that can help you create an HDR look from a single file.

HDR (High Dynamic Range) is a look that has come in and out of fashion, but the concept behind it remains very useful. With this trick, you can take a single exposure, so long as it isn’t overly clipped either way, and create an HDR look from it by ignoring every piece of advice I’ve ever given you and going to 100 on a few sliders! Watch this: –

Here’s a fairly bland shot of a Norwegian road in Senja, turning a corner along the edge of a fjord, with the rugged mountainscape background (mountainscape—definitely a real word).

You can see it’s pretty “regular” looking—more of a snapshot than a creative photograph. By opening this RAW file in Camera Raw and maxing out some sliders, we can really bring it to life.

If we first consider what HDR processing involves, we can start by replicating it. We’ll do this by bringing in the darkest elements of the brightest exposure and the brightest elements of the darkest exposure by setting the Highlights slider to –100 and the Shadows slider to +100. We can give some “punch” to the image by also setting the Contrast slider to +100 and the Clarity slider to +100, increasing the contrast across the entire dynamic range of the image.

Once this is done, we’ll likely end up with something a little bit dodgy looking, but stick with me. The last little tweak is the Exposure slider. We’ll just move this slightly in order to reduce that overly dramatic hit. In this image, I’ve moved it to 0.60, and it has done just the trick.

We now have that HDR look from a single exposure, and it was incredibly easy!

Catch you all next week and, in the meantime, please do keep in touch over at @CaptureWithDave on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Much Love

Dave

It’s one from Adobe’s big update back in November, and it’s a really simple thing, but man is it sweet! In the short video below, I’m going to show what the feature is, and how to use it to make your images look more awesome.

Hope you found that helpful. :)

I made the top 50! Whoo hoo!

A big thanks and shoutout to the folks at PhotoBlog.com who included me in their list of “50 Photography Portfolio Websites From The Best Photographers In The World” – I’m honored to be included in a list of so many photogrpahers I look up to.

Here’s the link to the full list: https://www.photoblog.com/learn/50-beautiful-photography-portfolio-websites/

My top 5 favorite New Features in Lightroom’s Book Module

Since we’re doing “favorites” today, Adobe added a bunch of new features to Lightroom Classic’s book module (including one that’s a real game-changer) and if you’ve got a sec, here’s the link to check them out over at my other daily blog at LightroomKillerTips.com

Here’s wishing you all an awesome week, and here’s to learning awesome new features! :)

-Scott

Here are seven more of my favorite Photoshop keyboard shortcuts — ones I use every day in my work and I hope you find them useful in yours. Here goes:


To move your current layer up one layer (in the layer stack), press Command-] (Windows: Ctrl-]). To move it down a layer in the stack, press Command-[ (Windows: Ctrl-[).  Note: the left and right brackets keys are just to the right of the letter “P” on your keyboard.

When you have the Crop tool, you can press the letter “x” to flip the orientation of the crop from wide to tall (or vice versa)

To fill the current layer with your Foreground color, press Option-Delete (Windows: Alt-Backspace). This works if you have a selection in place, too.

To Hide everything and just show your image on screen surrounded by a nice clean black background, press F-F-Tab. To get out of it, press F-Tab.

When you’re zoomed in tight on an image, hold the Spacebar down and your cursor temporarily changes to the Hand tool so you can click and drag your image around, rather than using the scroll bars which don’t work well when you’re zoomed in.

To create a new blank layer, press Shift-Option-Command-N (Windows: Shift-Alt-Ctrl-N). This is a really handy one — start using it now and it’ll be 2nd nature in two weeks.

To move a selection as you’re drawing it, hold the spacebar and you can reposition it as you drag. This is better than it sounds — try selecting something in your image that’s round, then try this trick. Pretty awesome, right? :)

Hope you found those helpful. 🙂

You keep sayin’…
…that one of these days you’re going to go to the Photoshop World Conference. Why not this year? If you register now you can save $100 with the Early Bird discount, plus right now you can snag a hotel room right at the Hyatt Regency (our host hotel) at a special discount rate for attendees. Plus, airfares are cheap to Orlando now. Come on, say it with me — “This is the year. I’m going!” All the details are at PhotoshopWorld.com

One more thing…
I’ve got 5 handy tips for making photo books in Lightroom Classic thanks to the new features that were added in a recent update – it’s over on my daily Lightroom blog, LightroomKillerTips.com. Here’s the link if you’ve got a sec. 🙂

Have a great Monday, everybody!

Best,

-Scott

A few weeks back I got an email asking about what can be done in Photoshop if you caught your subject with one eye partially closed when you pressed the shutter. I’ve had that happen so many times over the years that I already had a fix for it. In fact, it literally only takes two-minutes if that (well, maybe three minutes the first time you try it, but after that, you’ll have it down to two-minutes flat). Here goes:

Above: Here’s our original image and her eye on the left is partially closed (it was the only one I shot that day where her eye was like this), but luckily the fix is easy because her other eye is fully open and that’s what we’ll use to do our quick retouch.

STEP ONE: Zoom in tight and use Photoshop’s Lasso tool to make a very loose selection around her open eye, as shown here. Now press Command-J (PC: Ctrl-J) to put that eye up on its own separate layer.

STEP TWO: Using the Move tool, drag the copy of her open eye over so it covers the partially closed eye (which is what I did here), but you can just leave it at that because she’d have two right eyes (and that would look weird). To fix that, press Command-T (PC: Ctrl-T) to bring up Free Transform (it puts a bounding box with handles around that copy of her eye) and then right-click anywhere inside that bounding box to bring up the pop-up menu you see here. Choose Flip Horizontal as shown here. Because she’s leaning over quite a bit in the image, it won’t be a perfect match to the other eye — you’re going to need to rotate the flipped copy into place, so move your cursor outside the Free Transform bounding box and your cursor changes into a two-headed arrow cursor. Click and drag in a circular motion to rotate her eye to where it looks about right (as seen here as well).

STEP THREE: To really make sure you get the eye at just the right position and angle, here’s a trick I use that works wonders. While you’re still in Free Transform, go over to the Layers panel and lower the Opacity for this layer down to around 60% or so. Now you can see through this copied eye, to the original eye’s position on the layer below it, and you’ll now be able to rotate the eye easily to the exact right amount, and then move your cursor inside the bounding box and drag the eye copy until it lines up perfectly (as seen here). Now press Return (Windows: Enter) to lock in your transformation, then raise the opacity of this layer back up to 100%. Before we move on, you can see the problem here — the shadows aren’t right, and that’s because the eye we copied was on the side of her face that was farther away from the light, and was partially in shadows. This isn’t going to be a problem, because we don’t need all that area around her eye; all we really need is the Iris and whites of the eyes to make it look open (which we’ll fix in the next step).

STEP FOUR: Hold the Option key (Windows: Alt key) and at the bottom of the Layers panel, click on the 3rd icon from the left to add a black Layer Mask over your image (its icon looks like a white rectangle with a black circle in the center). This hides the eye-copy layer behind that black mask so you can no longer see that layer, but that’s exactly what we want. We don’t want to see the whole eye copy — just the Iris and whites of the eyes. Set your Foreground color to white (if it isn’t already); choose a small soft-edged brush from up in the Brush Picker on the top left side of the Options Bar across the top, then paint over just the areas where you want to reveal the eye on the top layer. Here I pained over her eye on the left with that small soft-edged brush and it reveals just that part of the eye from the top layer. If you look closely, you can see my circular brush cursor painting on the far right side of her left eye. I’m careful not to paint in too much or it will start showing those shadows, so I’m pretty much just staying inside the eye area and not going onto the eyelashes or lids too much. We still have a problem. The catch-light in her left eye is on the wrong side.

STEP FIVE: To fix the catch lights, first we’ll create the missing one. Get the Clone Stamp tool; choose a soft-edged brush and make the size of the brush just a little larger than the white catch light in her right eye. Move your cursor over that eye; hold the Option key (Windows: Alt key) and click once to sample that white catch light. Now move over the left eye, where you catch-light should be (on the upper left side of her iris) and click once, and it clones the white catch-light from the right eye over onto the top left of her iris on the left eye. Of course, now she has two catchlights in the left eye, so we’ll need to remove the extra one so it matches the other eye.

STEP SIX: Get the Spot Healing Brush tool; make your brush size cursor just a little larger than the extra catch-light; then click once to remove the extra catch light. Easy peasy!

Above: I zoomed out here so you can see the final retouch, quick and easy. :)

Hope you found that helpful.

I was in the studio all day today…
The shot you see above was from a few years back — today I was in our studio at KelbyOne HQ making new images while recording an update to one of my most-popular online courses, it’s called “10 Essential Studio Techniques Every Photographer Needs to Know.” This new course will replace the original which was recorded nearly 8 years ago. The recording session today went great, and I was really tickled to get to redo the class using today’s tools and today’s techniques, and applying some of the things I’ve learned in the past eight years. I think (well, I certainly hope) it will help a lot of photographers who want to break into shooting in the studio. I’ll let you know when it comes out — shouldn’t be too long now.

Hope you all have a fantastic SuperBowl weekend. Don’t forget, when the Patriots lose, America wins! #GoRams!

Thanks,

-Scott

Above: That’s our awesome group of ice warriors!

Hi, everybody — I’m back from four wonderful days up in Canada at snow-covered Banff National Park with my friend and KelbyOne instructor Ramtin “Rammy” Kazemi at a workshop he was hosting, and it was just glorious! Great weather (not too cold and not windy at all); great food, met some really great folks (that’s us above after a dawn shoot), took a bunch of photos, just had a ball all the way around – and best of all — I wasn’t there working; I was just there to learn and make images. Absolutely loved it!

Above: That’s Rammy. On ice. Such a great trainer, and a really great guy all around. I loved his workshop and learned a lot. Here’s a link to his photography site. 

A lot of times we were down on a frozen lake, shooting from a low perspective (either splaying out our tripod legs or using Platypods), and to get everything in focus from the ice chunks down low directly in front of us to the mountains off in the distance, just using f/11 or f/16 won’t do it. Instead, to get we used a focus-stacking technique. Focus Stacking is where you focus on the object right directly in your foreground, then you move your focus point up a bit and focus on the next area back, and then move it upward to the next, and the next, and finally the mountains in the back, then in Photoshop you put them all together (actually, in many cases Photoshop will do all the work for you).

Above: Q. Scott, where’s your Platypod? A. Out on loan. I took two of them but offered them up to other students to try. Q. Hey, isn’t that a Nikon D-850? A. Yup. Q. Wait…did you switch back to Nikon? Q. Well yes, I did. Well, just for this one picture (that’s Rammy’s camera). Had ya going there for a minute, didn’t I? 

If you’re a Lightroom user…
…head over to LightroomKillerTips.com for my post today which shows how to take your focus stacked images in Lightroom over to Photoshop to where you just two clicks away from a perfectly stacked image. Here’s the direct link.

For Photoshop users, here’s what you do: 

STEP ONE: If you’ve already got your focus-stacked images open in Photoshop, go under the File menu, under Scripts and choose “Load Files Into Stack” (as shown above).

STEP TWO: Doing that takes each open image and puts it into one document with each on its own separate layer in Photoshop’s Layers panel (shown above).

STEP THREE: In the Layers panel, select all your layers (in this case, all five images), then go under Photoshop’s Edit menu and choose “Auto-Blend Layers.” When the Auto-Blend Layers dialog appears (shown above) choose “Stack Images” and turn on the checkbox for Seamless Tones and Colors.

STEP FOUR: Click OK in that Auto-Blend dialog, and it analyzes the images on each layer and only leaves the sharp areas, masking away the areas that aren’t sharp with a layer mask and it creates a new merged layer at the top of the layers panel (as seen above). The layer masks are handy if the Auto-Blend didn’t do a perfect job — you already have a mask in place which you can edit.

STEP FIVE: That merged layer on top has that expanded depth of field where the bubbles trapped in the ice in front are tack sharp, and so is the ice behind it, and behind that, and even the mountains in the background — all in sharp focus, and all in one image. There’s also a manual way to combine the sharp part of each image — I’ll cover that in a separate post with a video sometime soon. Again, all of this only works if you focused on different parts of your image during the shooting phase, then the rest is up to Photoshop.

Hope you found that helpful (and don’t forget to head over to LightroomKillerTips.com for the other part of this tutorial.

Win a free trip to Photoshop World 2019
Just a few days left to register — if you win we fly you to Photoshop World 2019 (your choice, Orlando in early summer or Vegas in late summer), and we pick up your hotel and meals, and you get the whole VIP experience on us. But you can’t win if you don’t enter. Go right now, enter the giveaway, and here’s hoping you win and we’ll see you at the conference. :)

Have a great week everybody!

-Scott

In the Photoshop CC update Adobe released in December, they added a new feature that I’ve been begging for, for years and I even got to nudge it along a bit.

Last year when some folks on the Photoshop team at Adobe asked me for some ideas for their “JDI” projects (little tweaks, enhancements, and fixes that they do to each Photoshop upgrade to existing features), here what I wrote them:

“Here’s the idea: I have a multi-layered document. All the layers I want are visible. There are some layers I turned off during the design stage. I flatten the image, and I get a dialog box asking if I want to also discard the hidden layers. Of course I do — otherwise, they wouldn’t be hidden. In fact, I never want a flattened image with two or three layers on top that I’m not using and are hidden.

So, what’s missing? A “Do not show again” checkbox in that dialog.

I never, ever need to see that dialog — I always click “Yes, delete those hidden layers” – but yet I have to see it, and deal with it, every single time I flatten. That would speed my workflow every single day”

Back in November, I got an email from one of the folks on the Photoshop team to let me know this checkbox would be in the December Photoshop CC update (and that’s it above, in the current version of Photoshop CC). I was thrilled when I heard, and now that it’s here, even more so.

Thank you Adobe for making our Photsohop lives a little easier. :)

I’m off to Atlanta on Sunday
I’ll be up at PPA’s Imaging USA Expo (first photography trade show of the 2019 season). I’ll be doing a book signing at the Rocky Nook Booth on Sunday at 3:oo pm, so if you’re at the show, I’d love to say hi – I hope I’ll see you there. :)

Then I’m off to Canada
I’m excited to be heading to Banff National Park right after that to finally get a chance to shoot there in while it’s a snow-covered winter wonderland. No work, just fun. Can’t wait!

Have a great weekend, everybody!

Thanks,

-Scott

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