Hey there everyone,
Sorry I haven’t been around for a while. I’ve been working hard these past couple months on a new website. You can check it out at http://www.awesomefamilyphotos.com
I decided that instead of trying to just post tips here I would build a new site dedicated to helping people improve their photography skills.
The new site I put together is different than most. If you search for photography training on Google, just about every site you come across will tell you the same thing, “get out of auto, learn to shoot in manual“. Well, I don’t believe you need to do that. You can get great images using the auto and scene modes on your camera, and I want to show you how.
I am also going to cover some basic editing techniques that can be done with free or low cost software. In addition, I am going to show you how to share your pictures on the internet.
If you or someone you know is interested in getting better results from your camera, and really doesn’t want to endure the time and expense it takes to learn all the hard stuff, then I think this new site is just the ticket.
Everything on the site is free. I do have some affiliate links to try and help pay for the hosting fees, but they are separate from the regular content.
So, head on over and take a look. You can also contact me there if you have any questions. I will read and respond to all emails and comments.
I hope to see you there!
P.S. – Now that all the hard work is done there, I will be continuing with this site also. I will use this one to share my images and adventures and keep the tips on the other site.
I have never had any luck trying to get good results from the HDR Pro module built into Photoshop, but I learned a cool technique the other day that has made it much easier. I wish I had known about this a long time ago, it would have saved me a lot of wasted time and headaches. I do not know how to grab a screen shot of the program, so I’ll just have to describe it. Don’t worry, it’s really easy.
1) Open your bracketed files like you usually do in Lightroom or Bridge.
2) Adjust each one individually. The dark one for the sky, the light one for the foreground detail, and the normal exposure for the overall feel.
3) Select the photos and open in HDR Pro in Photoshop like you usually would.
4) Once in the HDR module, do not make any adjustments. Instead, click on the drop down at the top right and change it to 32 bit.
5) Check the box that says make adjustments in camera raw, then click open on the bottom.
What this does is take all of the bracketed exposures (I use three) and combine them into a super-raw file that contains all of the dynamic range and information from all of the files. You can then easily make all of your adjustments like you would on a normal file, but you will have a lot more range in what you can do. I made the picture below using this technique. I did not take the original pictures, I got the raw files as part of a course I bought. But I did the processing.
Give it a try. I found this to give a much better result than the HDR PRO does.
32 bit HDR made in Camera Raw
A young couple enjoying a special moment
One of my personal projects is converting some of my pictures into watercolor paintings in Photoshop. I use the Topaz Simplify plug-in to do these conversions. The plug-in makes it quick and easy to be creative and come up with alternate ways to process my images. The scene above was repeated several times around the lake by young couples in love. There were large crowds of people enjoying the nice weather and all the cherry blossom trees that were in bloom.
The house below is part of a reconstruction of a traditional Korean village located on the campus of Yeungnam University in Daegu. One of the things I like most doing these conversions is that it’s a good way to save a bad picture. For instance, the sky in the picture below was washed out and dull, which made for a boring scene, but as a painting I think it looks great. Another good use is to save blurry photos. If you had a great composition, but for some reason the picture came out blurry, it doesn’t matter if you convert it into a painting. So much detail is removed during the conversion process that you can’t tell anyway.
A Traditional Korean Style House
If you would like to try some of these out for yourself you can download a free 30 day trial of the plug-in here.
If you would like to see some more pictures like this one, check out my galleries at the top of the page, and if you enjoyed this post, please like and share using the links below.
HDR style image done with layer blending in Photoshop
This is my first attempt at using layer blending in Photoshop to simulate a photorealistic HDR look. I have tried to use the HDR processing in Photoshop, but I was never happy with the results. I also wanted a more natural style and not the typical crazy HDR look.
The image was created from three bracketed shots taken at +2ev, 0, and -2ev. I first processed each image seperately for the part I wanted. The -2ev shot was developed for the sky, the regular exposure for the overall look, and the +2ev for the highlights in the shadows under the eaves of the house. These were also done handheld by being extra careful not to move.
I won’t go into the exact process, but rather I’ll let the master, Serge Ramelli, show you himself in this video.
More to come later in the week. Thanks for stopping by! If you liked this picture please share it using the links below.