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Tag Archives: Post-production

Must-Have Filters for Landscape Photography

Must-Have Filters for Landscape Photography

By Nasim Mansurov

While I was photographing the beautiful scenery of the Glacier National Park at sunrise, I realized that some filters are pretty much required to get good results when photographing landscapes. While many photographers think that some of the built-in tools in Lightroom and Photoshop can simulate filter behavior, making filters redundant in the digital age, some filters in fact can never be simulated in software, while others help in getting even better results in post-processing. If you do not know what filters are and what they are used for, I highly recommend reading my “lens filters explained” article before you continue to read this one.

1) Polarizing Filter

B+W Circular Polarizing Filter

A polarizing filter is a must-have tool for landscape photography. It is typically the first filter landscape photographers buy to instantly improve their pictures and and add vividness and contrast to them. A polarizer can reduce reflections from objects such as water and glass and can be used to darken the sky, bring out the clouds and even reduce atmospheric haze, making the scene look much more vivid. For all normal lenses that have a filter thread in the front, you can get a circular polarizing filter, also known as a “circular polarizer”. A circular polarizer is very easy to use and once you attach it on the front of your lens, all you need to do is rotate it clockwise or counter-clockwise to get a different amount of polarization. Polarizing filters work by blocking certain light waves from entering the lens. Rotating a polarizer allows certain types of light waves to pass through, while blocking other ranges of light waves. Thus, you could turn a sky from light blue to very dark blue or increase/decrease reflections by simply rotating the filter.

The effect of polarization cannot be reproduced or simulated in post-processing, especially when dealing with natural reflections. Take a look at the below image:

Read more about Neutral Density Filters and more via Must-Have Filters for Landscape Photography.

 
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Posted by on January 27, 2012 in HDR, Landscape, Post Processing, Technique, Tutes & Tips, Worth a Look

 

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How to properly resize images in Photoshop

How to properly resize images in Photoshop

By Nasim Mansurov

If you like sharing your photographs online, whether on Facebook or on your own blog, you should learn how to properly resize your images. While your camera can take very high resolution photographs, it is always a good idea to down-size or “down-sample” those images, not only because most websites won’t accept large images, but also because making those images smaller will actually make them look better, if done correctly. In this quick tutorial, I will show you the proper way to resize images in Photoshop. I have seen people employ all kinds of different techniques when it comes to resizing images in Photoshop. The below method is how I personally do it and it has been working great for me, at least based on your feedback. You can employ this technique to any photograph – whether it is a portrait or a sweeping landscape.

When I wrote about the benefits of a high-resolution sensor, I used the word “down-sampling” when talking about reducing noise and increasing sharpness in high-resolution images. Right after I posted the article, I got plenty of questions from our readers, asking about what the down-sampling process is like and how it can be done. I then realized that many photographers are used to the term “resizing” and have never heard of the term “down-sampling” before. I often use the word “down-sampling”, because “resizing” applies to both increasing and decreasing image resolution (and hence its size), while “down-sampling” only applies to reducing an image.

Read more via How to properly resize images in Photoshop.

 
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Posted by on January 27, 2012 in General, Post Processing, Technique, Tutes & Tips, Worth a Look

 

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RAW vs JPEG (JPG) – The Ultimate Visual Guide tutorial

RAW vs JPEG (JPG) – The Ultimate Visual Guide

October 2, 2010

RAW vs JPEG (JPG) The Ultimate Visual Guide

Overview

Shooting RAW vs JPEG is a question that every photographer faces at some point. There are many articles out there that cover the topic from the basics of size and quality, to all of the advanced technical details regarding color bits per channel, compression, firmware DCT processing, etc.

So, here is the disclaimer, if you want the technical details regarding RAW vs JPEGs, Digital Photography School has a great technical primer discussing the basic technical differences, a brief Google search will also unearth loads of additional more in depth technical resources as well.

This article is designed to teach you the differences between RAW and JPEG (JPG) from a pragmatic real world point of view. Thus, we will be using a lot of actual image examples to help show the exact concrete differences. In addition, we are going to leave out most of the technical mumbo jumbo that won’t really help you beyond being exceptionally proficient at speaking “nerd.”

via RAW vs JPEG (JPG) – The Ultimate Visual Guide tutorial.

 
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Posted by on January 12, 2012 in Featured, General, Technique, Tutes & Tips, Worth a Look

 

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Want your B/W’s to POP?…a quick and easy tutorial

This will also work on color photos, however, I really like what it does for black and whites. Here you go:

1) use whatever process you prefer to convert your image to B/W (but do so while maintaining the color channels)

2) open up the channels palette (that’s one of the tabs you’ll see on the top of your History palette)

3) hold the control key (on PC’s, Mac may be Alt key??) and click on the RGB selection in the Channels palette. You will see the marching ants show up in your image

4) make a new layer (Ctrl J) and click on Overlay (Softlight will also work with a little less intensity)..WOW!

5) adjust your slider opacity to taste Flatten layer

Please feel free to share your comments and your results

via Want your B/W’s to POP?…a quick and easy tutorial.

 
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Posted by on June 6, 2011 in Software, Technique, Tutes & Tips

 

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TUTORIAL: What’s your time of day? (Part 3) The Midday Sun

By tom dinning via Light Stalking

Noel Coward wrote that only mad dogs and Englishmen would dare go out in the midday Sun. Fortunately for us, Noel didn’t include photographers in those that shouldn’t.

Now that we have been up since 4am for the First Light at the beach and spent a pleasant morning strolling through the gardens in the Second Light, we may as well stick it out for the rest of the day. I still have some space on my CF card. Do you? So lets get out from under this tree and enjoy the rest of the day.

11.01am

My watch says 11.01am and it’s heating up. It’s going to stay this way until about 2pm so some preparation is in order. Looking out there, you might think there isn’t much to offer. But you are very much mistaken.

11.10am

Other than some UV cream and a hat, a comfort stop and a cool drink, I’m ready. I’ve snapped on a wide zoom (17-35mm) because I’m not heading anywhere special. That’s my ‘nothing special in mind’ lens. I’m going to wander to see where life takes me. Since I cast only a little shadow to follow I’ll let my nose lead the way. It’s big enough not to loose sight of in a crowd.

11.24am

I’ll do a quick pass by the beach to see if there is anything going on. The glare will be severe so I’ll slip on a polerising filter to cut back on the reflections and increase the blueness of the sky. You might be lucky enough to spot some interesting landforms as well ….. whatever your preference.

11.26pm

11.27am

11.35am

Last week the storms made the sky a bit more interesting but you take what you can get when it comes to the weather.

11.55am last week

And when things start to happen you don’t consult your watch to find out if its within your allocated shooting time.

Just because its midday, there’s not reason to be wasting your time in a library with a good book – or not!

12.08pm

If you’re looking for people doing interesting things, go have lunch with them. People, for some reason, swarm around food outlets at this time of the day. I don’t have a lot of luck with my pick-up lines but you might try: ‘I like the look of that pasta. Can I have a bite?’

12.22pm

If the weather permits, stay outdoors and shoot over the top of your sandwich. The wide angle will help here. Since there will be plenty of light, find a good depth of field and the focus will take care of itself. This is candid stuff – not museum masterpieces, so enjoy the moment without the hassles of perfect picture control.

12.50pm

You might be lucky enough to have a local market handy if it’s the weekend. The colours will be bright in this full sun so search out those in the red end of the spectrum.

12.59pm

If you are near a local Mall, have a walk down the thoroughfare. If it’s too hot you may have the place to yourself. Look around for those colours again. Assume that anyone who looks a bit strange has been affected by the Sun’s heat and give them some space; cranky fairies included.

1.00pm

Keep in mind the shadows will be about 8 stops below the sun lit promenade, so don’t expect too much detail up alley ways and through doorways.

The contrast at this time of the day is extreme and it can be used to your advantage. If you have some countryside nearby look out for full sun on textured surfaces. The sky might get a bit burnt out here so keep your horizon high or totally out of the picture.

1.02pm

If you choose to include the horizon, convert to B&W and darken the sky with the blue slider in the B&W adjustment layer. It looks better than a big blob of white overhead.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with doing the tourist thing and taking that shot from the lookout with the busload of grey nomads on their ‘Round The World Expedition. I fit right in.

1.07pm

I love the fountains at this time of the day. The water sparkles but you might need to walk around to find the right angle. Then wait for the lunchtime crowd to pass by. Someone will catch your eye.

1.10pm

Of course, if you live in some miserable climate like Brighton or Vancouver and it rains all the time, you can still go out. The wet streets provide a great atmosphere for you to practice your skills or just record your memories.

1.27pm

The old buildings are worth a look. Because the Sun is high in the sky, the shadows will be short. You will find one side of the building in light shadow, though. This is probably a bit easier to work with as far as exposure is concerned.

1.29pm

But don’t neglect the sunny side. Again, the contrast will be extreme and this can give you some interesting textures and shadows to play with.

1.32pm

Those hours between 11am and 2pm when most people are having a siesta, lunch or a respite in the air-conditioning can be a rewarding and exciting time for you with your camera if you are willing.

Oh, and save some memory for our early afternoon shoot. There’s always a sunset on the way.

2.00pm

Besides. if you’re making excuses for not taking photographs you’re only half serious.

via Light Stalking » TUTORIAL: What’s your time of day? (Part 3) The Midday Sun.

 
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Posted by on May 28, 2011 in Composition, Featured, Landscape, Technique, Tutes & Tips, Worth a Look

 

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How to Create a Realistic HDR Image: A Simple and Fun Method to Create a HDR Image, without Photomatix

From the Digital Photography School:
How to Create a Realistic HDR Image: A Simple and Fun Method to Create a HDR Image, without Photomatix.

A Guest post by Jacob Shultz

HDR photography – It has become a term synonymous with overly-saturated, cartoony looking photographs with large halos. This tutorial will explain the benefits of HDR photography, and how you can take your own high quality HDR photos which look amazingly realistic – without the use of Photomatix.

11.jpg

The method I am about to show you is used in many of my photographs. It uses the same principal as normal HDR photography, however there are two large differences. The ’stereotypical’ HDR photography uses a method called tonemapping, which creates the obnoxious halos and often over saturated look. This tutorial looks at a method which makes use of High Dynamic Range, without tonemapping, and with full manual control.

To start off, you need to take some photos. Choose a suitable location, for me it was the local beach. Just as if you were taking a normal HDR, you will need to ‘bracket’ your photograph. ‘Bracketing’ simply means to take the same photo at differing exposures. This ensures that different elements in the photograph are all exposed correctly in at least one of the images. Take as many photographs as you need to cover all ranges of light in the composition. In my photograph, I used four images. In situations with more extreme levels of light (sun, shadows, etc.) you may need to use more images. However, you can often get away with two images, one exposed for the foreground, and one exposed for the background. Shooting in RAW is also highly recommended.

Once you have downloaded your images to your computer, the first step is to edit them initially in Adobe Camera Raw (select all files and then press CTRL+R). The first step is to apply straightening and/or cropping to every photo (do this by selecting each photo on the left hand sidebar). Next, establish what element each image is going to effect. For example, image number 1 is going to be the foreground. Edit the photo, only paying attention to the foreground.

These were the settings I used:

1.jpg

Image 2 will affect the ocean. My edits:

2.jpg

Image 3 will take care of the top portion of the sky:

3.jpg

And finally image 4 will be the bottom portion of the sky, closest to the horizon:

4.jpg

Once you have finished the rough editing of individual photos, open them all into Photoshop, and then duplicate them into the one document:

5.jpg

The next step is to basically ‘erase’ portions of each image, so that all parts blend together and show a higher dynamic range – HDR. Apply a layer mask to image 1, and use a soft black brush to rub out everything but the general area that this photograph is affecting (we will make more detailed adjustments later). Then continue this for each image:

6.jpg

7.jpg

8.jpg

Great work! You now have a basic idea of how your final image will look. Now, go through each layer and make finer adjustments to improve the quality of the image. Use a white brush to paint back or show the image, and a black brush to rub it out again. This is called non-destructive editing. Note: try to eliminate cloud ‘ghosting’ by making sure clouds blend between images without any abrupt or unnatural shifts.

9.jpg

Once you are satisfied with the image, save the file as a PSD document. The next steps will cover the final edits before the image is finished. Merge all the layers in your document to one layer (if you want, keep a separate group with the individuals layers there, but hidden), then save as a.JPG file. Open Adobe Bridge, then select the .JPG you just saved and press CTRL+R. We are now going to re-edit the HDR photograph. Here are the changes I made:

10.jpg

Open the edited file back up in Photoshop, and apply any final editing that suits your workflow. In my case, I cloned out some sensor dust, added a bit more purple into the photo and applied some sharpening. Finally, save the image, and you have completed the tutorial! This is a great way to enhance the dynamic range of a photograph, without the need of a HDR tonemapping program such as Photomatix. You can apply the same method with differing extremes – using two photos to subtly enhance a minimal image, or use 5 or 6 photos to fine tune every detail of a complex composure. If you struggle to get realistic results, then keep trying! Practice makes perfect. This is a technique I’ve been using for over 6 months, but it has only been recently that I have really started to really finetune my workflow. Above all though – have fun!

Final product:

11.jpg

About the Author: See more of Jacob Shultz’s work at his blog, Facebook page and Flickr account.
Read more: http://www.digital-photography-school.com/how-to-create-a-realistic-hdr-image-a-simple-and-fun-method-to-create-a-hdr-image-without-photomatix#ixzz1KXRtarSm

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2011 in Featured, HDR, Software, Technique, Tutes & Tips

 

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Merging HDR in Photoshop CS3, CS4 Tutorial

I found a fantastic tutorial for HDR (High Dynamic Range) at Photoshop Cafe that shows step by step how to apply it to your photographs. It’s important to note that bracketing (taking three pictures of the same scene at three different exposure settings) can make HDR much easier than trying to obtain it from one image alone. (FYI, Single frame HDR is called Pseudo-HDR).

The tutorial will show you how to go from these three images:

To this:

Now I have to admit, that I don’t personally believe the image used shows off HDR to its full effect, but the tutorial for Photoshop is very simple to follow and that makes it worth a look!

Photoshop HDR tutorial. | Merging HDR in Photoshop CS3, CS4 Tutorial.

 
 

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