Tag Archives: Digital Photography Tips

  • Advanced Luminosity Mask Techniques

    Rainier-Sunrise-Reflection

    May 10 & 11, 2014

    Presented by the Cascade Center of Photography

    Where: Bend, Oregon

    Price: $395

    Registration Page

    Luminosity Masks provide a very advanced and finely tuned method of applying image adjustments in Photoshop based on the luminosity values of an image. In this intensive two day class, Sean Bagshaw will demonstrate and teach a variety of the advanced and powerful Luminosity Mask techniques that he uses in his image developing. Each day of the class will be divided between instruction time and work time in which participants will have the opportunity to practice the techniques on laptops with Sean's guidance.

    Learning to successfully incorporate Luminosity Masks into a Photoshop workflow can be quite challenging, so being able to watch, ask questions and learn directly from Sean should prove helpful and valuable. The basic outline of the photo workshop will be based on Sean's popular video tutorial series, The Complete Guide to Luminosity Masks, and will incorporate the use of Tony Kuyper's Photoshop actions and custom TK_ACTIONS panel.

    For participants who do not already own the actions and/or the video tutorials but would like to, they are available for purchase here on OutdoorExposurePhoto.com.


  • Sizing Images Made Easy (Easier?) On The PhotoCascadia Blog

    Sizing images for screen and print output may be one of the most confusing and misunderstood concepts in digital photography, which is deceiving because it appears pretty basic on the surface. Even after more than a decade of moderately hardcore Photoshop use I still find new ways to confound myself in this area. This topic is steeped in misunderstanding, urban legend, faulty logic and general confusion. Screen resolution vs. print resolution? What is the correct resolution for the web? To resample or not to resample? How much can I enlarge an image for printing? Why shouldn't I upload a bunch of full resolution 21 megapixel images to Facebook or email them to grandma?

    I have published an article on the Photo Cascadia Blog that I hope will help clear things up a bit and allow folks to get a firm grasp on exactly how best to size images for different purposes. However, if you are a recreational photographer who isn't concerned with optimal image output, you should maintain your blissful state of mind and avoid reading this article at all cost.

    If you are already involved in using Photoshop or other photo processing applications to size your images then it could be a worthwhile read. You might be interested to know that screen images don't need to be 72 ppi (pixels per inch) and that, in fact, ppi resolution doesn't have any affect on how images appear on the screen? And what about always printing at a certain resolution such as 300 or 360 ppi? The reality is that resolutions as low as 180 ppi can produce prints that look the just as good to the eye as higher resolutions and sometimes even better. Check out the article to learn more and find out my personal guidelines and workflow tips for sizing images.

  • New Blog On PhotoCascadia - Dust Spot Removal

    My most recent article is now up over on the PhotoCascadia blog. Dust spots are a constant thorn in the side of the digital slr photographer. It seems that no amount of cleaning and care in changing lenses ever fully keeps dust from sneaking back on to our sensors. I hate to think how many hours of my life have been spent cloning dust spots off of my images. Even worse than having to remove the spots is to find out that not all of the spots were visible in the unprocessed raw file, but after making contrast, luminosity and clarity adjustments they show up. Depending on the developing techniques used it can be anywhere from difficult to near impossible to get the spots out without artifacts at this late stage in the game. The worst is when they go unnoticed until the image has been enlarged and printed.

    In my article I share a very simple technique that can be used to help reveal sneaky dust spots so they can be dealt with right at the beginning of the Photoshop workflow. You can read the article on the PhotoCascadia blog.

  • Digital Image Processing Video Tutorials

    Digital cameras and image processing have revolutionized photography. There was a time when photographers had a holistic view of photography, mastering both the technical skills with a camera and the artistic skills in the darkroom to develop and process their images to perfection. Embracing the two sides of photography, capture and processing, allowed them to showcase their personal vision in their images. The advent of 35mm color slide film photography shifted the focus away from processing and placed greater emphasis on camera technique, with certain limitations. While camera technique is as important as it ever was, digital image processing has provided a path for photographers to get back in the "darkroom" and regain the creative control of developing and processing images.

    In three separate video tutorial series I share knowledge, philosophy, guiding workflow and specific techniques that I use to process and develop my photographs.

    Photoshop Basics For Nature Photographers Price: $39.99
    Add to CartView Cart

    New to Photoshop? Learn to apply Photoshop to your outdoor, landscape & nature photography including Bridge and Camera Raw, plus the basic layout, tools, palettes, adjustments and filters you need to know to get started processing your outdoor photographs using the power & precision of Photoshop CS.

    This tutorial series is for Photoshop beginners or those who want to fill in gaps in their skills. Based in CS5, almost all of the content is also applicable to earlier versions of CS and Photoshop Elements.
    Includes 23 video tutorials with over three and a half hours of content.

    Digital Processing Workflow For Nature Photographers Pre: $44.99

    Add to CartView Cart

    This tutorial series helps you establish an organized, best practice, non-destructive workflow . The workflow progresses through image organization, raw processing, and non-destructive Photoshop techniques. Topics include image clean up, color and contrast, selections, adjustment layers, masks and soft proofing for print as well as creative processing techniques that I use.

    These tutorials are based in Photoshop CS5 but most of the workflow is also applicable to earlier versions of CS and Photoshop Elements.

    Includes 30 video tutorials with over four hours of content.

    Processing For Extended DynamiRange Price: $44.99

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    These advanced tutorials provide instruction in powerful techniques that will help you overcome the limitations of cameras to properly record high dynamic range light. Techniques include raw processing, Photoshop adjustments, exposure blending and luminosity masking.
    These tutorials do not teach how to use HDR software. The techniques are all based on Photoshop adjustments and layer masking techniques. Proficiency with Photoshop CS is essential. Not compatible with Photoshop Elements.
    Includes 29 video tutorials with over four and a half hours of content.
    Digital Workflow And Extending Dynamic Range Set Price $79.99 Add to CartView Cart
    Get Digital Processing Workflow For Nature Photographers and Processing For Extended Dynamic Range together at a special price.

    Tutorial Samples

    Photoshop Basics

    Processing Workflow

    Extending Dynamic Range

  • How Many Exposures To Bracket For Exposure Blending Or HDR?

    As photographers we frequently struggle to overcome the limitations of our equipment in order to create the photographs we envision. One of the biggest limitations of traditional photography is the narrow dynamic range of light that can be contained in an image compared to what we see.

    Techniques for blending exposures vary from simple to highly complex. They can be accomplished using skilled layer masking techniques in Photoshop. We also have the option to use one of a rapidly growing list of exposure blending programs commonly referred to as High Dynamic Range (HDR) software.

    One of the most common questions I'm asked in classes and workshops on the topic of bracketing exposures for exposure blending and HDR imaging is, "how do you know how many exposures you need to bracket?"

    The goal is to capture all the dynamic range tonal information in a scene in a series of exposures. The sequence of images below shows four exposures I took of a high dynamic range scene on the Columbia River. Having all the shadow and highlight information recorded in the various exposures allowed me to blend them using layer masks to create the final image. I could have also used one of many HDR applications to blend the exposure values.

    To read the full article I wrote on the Photo Cascadia Blog go HERE.

    In the first exposure I noticed that both the shadows and highlights extended beyond the ends of the histogram.

    By underexposing a stop I was able to contain most of the highlights.

    Underexposing two stops enabled me to retain detail in even the brightest highlights.

    Finally I overexposed by two stops to get an exposure in which no shadow detail was clipped. I did take an exposure one stop over exposed but didn't end up using it in the final image.

    After careful blending using layers masks I did some additional processing for color and contrast to arrive at the final image.

    You can read the complete article on the PhotoCascadia.com blog.

    Please leave a comment or question below.

  • Important RAW Adjustments For The Best Large Prints

    As a fine art landscape and nature photographer, one of my goals is to create the very best quality master files of my images that will produce prints with great detail, sharpness and clarity even at very large sizes. While the topic of how to create the highest quality prints in a digital workflow is deep and complex, I am going to share three simple RAW adjustments that are often overlooked but can make a big difference in the final quality of large format printed images.

    RAW sharpening, RAW noise reduction and removal of chromatic aberrations could determine the success of this image as a large gallery print.

    My latest article on the Photo Cascadia blog covers three simple but often overlooked adjustments that can be made during the processing of RAW files that will add subtle but critical quality to images destined to be printed as large format fine art or gallery prints.

    Before chromatic aberration removal

    After chromatic aberration removal

    Many photographers are educated on how to best prepare RAW files for white balance, contrast, clarity, and color but either don't know or forget to also make adjustments for RAW sharpening, noise reduction and removal of chromatic aberrations. All three are quick and easy to deal with and can create serious problems in large fine art prints if they are not attended to.

    My article goes through each adjustment, what it does and how to use it, along with before and after examples. If you are using expensive camera equipment, practicing careful camera techniques and spending quality time processing your images in the computer for best print output, then you should absolutely know how to use these three simple RAW adjustments. The full article can be viewed on the Photo Cascadia blog HERE.

  • Announcing The Launch Of Photo Cascadia!

    I am very proud and honored to be a member of Photo Cascadia, a group of talented photographers from the Pacific Northwest who are now pooling their vision, knowledge and imagery to inspire others to learn, create and explore. The group includes Kevin McNeal, David Cobb, Chip Phillips, Adrian Klein, Zack Schnepf and myself. I am very privileged to be associated with such accomplished and creative individuals who are helping to push the boundaries and recreate the art of outdoor photography.

    This is our announcement video that is being released around the web:

    Photo Cascadia Announcement Video

    You can also visit the Photo Cascadia website to learn more about the group, view our photography and access the blog and workshop schedule.

    So, what exactly is Photo Cascadia? Photo Cascadia is a team of six of the Northwest’s best outdoor photographers who were brought together by their mutual passion for pushing the envelope in creating powerful fine art photographs of the natural world. Photo Cascadia forms a platform from which we can have a meeting of the minds and a way to a share our imagery, knowledge, experience and vision. Our goals are to promote conservation, provide learning opportunities for aspiring photographers, be a valuable resource for publishers, photo buyers and photographer colleagues and to share our photographs with a large and growing audience of like minded adventurers, nature lovers, photography appreciators and art collectors.

    We see great potential in the future of our collaboration. To start, Photo Cascadia will be a source of photography instruction and a place to be inspired by the beauty of the natural landscape and the need for conservation. The blog already contains a wealth of photography information and all six of us will continue to share our knowledge and passion there. The workshops and photo tours offered by members of Photo Cascadia provide another way for enthusiasts to improve their photography skills and visit some of the most spectacular wild and scenic locations in the Northwest and around the country. You can also connect with Photo Cascadia on Facebook and Flickr.

    I'm looking forward to a great adventure as a member of this exciting group. I hope you will find Photo Cascadia a place to access helpful information, get inspired, appreciate natural wonder or just take a break from your day to enjoy some breath taking photography.

  • Photo Tip: Blurry Trees


    Much of my photography is of the greater landscape and I'm often trying to present sweeping vistas with sharp detail. However, I also like to photograph more intimate scenes and abstracts. One of my favorite abstract techniques is motion blur. This can be achieved a few different ways and is a particularly good technique for emphasizing leading lines in a photo while smoothing out distracting elements. The final result can often look more like a painting than a photograph.

    I really like to use motion blur with trees that have staight trunks. The technique is more an art than a science, so a lot of experimentation and throw away images are required to get something that I like. I start by setting a relatively slow shutter speed and making a vertical pan (movement) with my camera. I have found that shutter speeds between 1/4 of a second and 1/20 of a second work best. I move the camera up or down, in as straight a line as possible and depress the shutter release as the camera is moving. At slower shutter speeds I pan slower and at faster shutter speeds I pan faster. It is hard to know exactly what will be in the frame so I repeat the process over and over so that I will have many images to select from. Panning the camera while it is on a tripod can help keep the motion steady and smooth, but also limits flexibility.

    Physically panning the camera is often all I need to do to achieve the abstract look I'm going for. Other times I selectively add more blur by using the Motion Blur filter in Photoshop (Filter>Blur>Motion Blur). To do this I'll create a duplicate layer of the background image and blur the duplicate. Then I'll add a layer mask to the blurred layer and paint with a black brush on the mask to bring through any detail from the original image that I want to keep. This digital blurring technique can also be applied to images that were taken in focus without panning the camera. Digital blurring often takes just as much trial and error as panning the camera.

    Several of my favorite photographers have used these techniques to create some wonderful abstract images, including Jesse Spear, Eddie Soloway and William Niel.

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