Tips, Tricks and Observations
Before you go out:
- Plan your shoot – Know where you are going and what time of day you need to be there. Check online for sunrise and sunset time or Moon rise and Moon sets for the location. timeanddate.com or Photograher’s Emphemeris at www.photoemphemeriess.com . Check the times for any transport you are photographing or need to use to get to location. Check the weather. There are many apps you can put on your phone or android and they are free. Write down a list of things you what to take a picture of when on the location. Go on goggle and find other photographers images of the same location and see if you can think of a different and better image.
- Camera Cards- Always format cards in camera not on your computer this can corrupt the card when done on computer. Always buy the best and fastest cards available. Check that you have a camera card in camera and spares in your camera bag. Have a place in your camera bag to place used cards or a gadget to hold them. If you worry about losing images from less reliable cards buy small cards such as 8 or 16Gbt instead of the larger 64Gb and above.
- Batteries – always buy the manufacturers camera batteries, other brands may not hold the charge and will empty a lot faster than the manufacturers. Check that your batteries have full charge in them and that you have a battery in camera and spares in your camera bag. Keep batteries in the dry, warm and waterproof place.
- Put your camera on auto and/or its equivalent, just in case that when you get on location the image you want is right in front of you and you need to take an image at that precise moment.
- Check that you have the right lens for the images you want to take and always take a mid range lens as back up for example 24-105 and/or the equivalent.
- Polarisers – always buy the best glass available, cheap Polarisers may degrade your image. Keep to the same brand of filters sometimes matching different types results in colour casts.
- Take some tissues with you.
- Take some silver foil, it acts as a good reflector for close/macro shoots for that little bit of extra light.
- Make sure you clean your lens before you put them in your camera bag and take a cleaning cloth with you.
- Have a compass, large bag for lying on or for covering your camera in wet weather or a towel, a pen and note pad to record where you went and what was there and anything of interest.
- Take your business card with you.
- Have a back up plan just in case the location is not what you thought it might be.
- Have a walk around the location before you take out your camera; see what is there and what the conditions are. Make a note of what you see and where, so that you can come back to the spot again.
- If you have come with a partner, spilt up you don’t need to take the same images.
- When taking your camera out of the bag make sure you put the camera strap around your neck as well as the camera bag. A good camera strap to have that doesn’t slip off your shoulder is by UPstrap pro upstrap-pro.com .
- Check your settings on the camera. If you have it on auto and like using auto take the shot or set your camera to a shutter speed of 1/200, a F stop to suit the location and auto ISO and the camera will change the ISO to suit, otherwise start to assess the image you want and change the settings to suit the image required.
- Make sure you have a Polariser on your lens,
- When the camera is up to your eye, look around the frame is everything you want in the image there and check your exposure meter, is it in the right place for the image you want to take
- Don’t crop too much in camera; come out a little you can always crop again in software but it is very difficult to put something in.
- Don’t be afraid to up your ISO it is better to get a shot than not get the shot.
- If in doubt press the shutter and TAKE the SHOT.
- Focusing – remember to use the Hyper focal distance rule to determine what you want to be in focus. Photopills has an app for android and phone photopills.com and they also explain what it is and how to calculate the distance.
- Turn your camera off when changing the lens, camera card or battery just to be on the safe side.
- When you camera card is full or your camera battery is empty, put it back in your camera bag or a gadget away from the camera cards or batteries that have not been used. Mark the card/battery as used with a piece of paper or elastic band or other means of identification.
- Be careful of condensation for example in and out of hot or cold environments as your lens will mist over and you will not get the correct image. Also the sensor can get damaged by continuously being in and out of hot and cold situations i.e. air conditioning in the car on a hot day.
- When taking a picture of a group of people set out the chairs/location and get someone to sit in the middle or stand so that you can get your settings in camera correct and take a sample shot, then get the group to pose and take the shot.
- If in a cold climate, keep your camera and flash batteries in a warm place, for example in a shirt/blouse pocket close to you, so that your body heat keeps them warm.
- If photographing a wedding and you have just taken images inside the church and then moving outside, turn your camera settings to AUTO when you are outside take a few images and then change the settings to suit to the lighting conditions. At least you will have an image and not a white wall of nothing.
- If it is a sunny day and photographing people make sure that the sun is behind them and use a flash in front of them to balance out the exposure difference.
- If your shoot has a number of different themes for example like a wedding or a fashion shoot, change your camera card after each theme, that way if one of your cards fail you have only/or may only lose one part of the shoot rather than all of it.
After the shoot
- Turn off your camera and put your settings to auto.
- Make sure you have all of your equipment have you left anything behind.
- Refer back to your notes, did you go to all the location areas you wanted and did you get the images you wanted.
- Put your camera equipment in the boot out of sight.
- Download your images onto your computer into a new folder and on an external hard drive, make sure that you have at least 2 copies of the raw data. Keep the camera card in a safe place DO NOT format at this time.
- There are numerous places where you can store your images that are Network Assist Storage (NAS) for example Icloud or Amazon Prime. With Icloud there is a search facility that you can use to quickly locate your image(s) by name or keyword. Be careful read the terms and conditions, make sure no-one has access to your images without you knowing.
- If your card fails to download there is software available online that will recover your data at a cost, or you can buy a gadget that will do the same thing.
- If you are using large capacity camera cards then the download make take some time depending on your computer capabilities, smaller capacity cards will be quicker.
- If using LightRoom (LR) use the keyword facility when importing, this will make things easier to find your images at a later date.
- In LR Develop module use the AUTO button in the basic setting panel to give you an idea of what the image could look like then you can change it to suit your tastes click again and LR will make another suggestion.
- Write down your favourite processing steps, so that you can refer back to them for the next time.
- Format your card in camera when you are happy that your images raw and processed are safe and in at least 2 locations.
- Clean your lens, camera and filters and set your camera to Auto
- Clean your camera bag, service your tripod occasionally.
- Replace any used items such as large bag and towel etc.,
- Don’t offer to take someone else’s images in for processing, you don’t know what is on them and you could get a surprise.
- You could put your name and address on a piece of paper and take a picture of it on your camera card(s) then if your card was to get lost, whoever found it would know who it belong too.
- Don’t be in too much of a rush to take the picture when you first get to a location.
- Always have a back up camera if possible, even if it is only a point and shoot.
- Always take a portable flash with you, even for landscapes you as you might want to take some macro shots or close ups.
- Always take some Full & Graduated Neutral Density Filters when doing landscapes to allow for longer exposure time shots or to even out any exposure issues.
- Give yourself plenty of time when travelling
- Always have a back-up plan should the location turn out not to be what you expected.
The following High-Pass sharpening procedure can be undertaken in either Photoshop or Photoshop Elements but should be done after you have completed all of your processing. It is not always the case that you want to sharpen everything in your picture. The reason the High Pass filter technique works so well at sharpening images is because any areas in the image which are not an edge are left untouched. The only areas that have sharpening applied to them are the edges, which is exactly what you want, To achieve this you create a high-pass sharpening layer and layer mask and use the brush tool sharpen only those parts I want sharpened. The process is as follows images shown are for Photoshop but Elements is similar. :-
- Duplicate Layer
Once you have finished working on your image the final step is to sharpen the places that require sharpening. The first thing we need to do is to make sure we have a layer at the top showing the final image. this could be the background layer as you have flattened your image or you have merged visible. I can see in my Layers palette now that I have my original Background layer at the bottom, which contains my original pixel information, and the duplicate of it, which Photoshop automatically names “Layer 1”, above:
Change The Blend Mode Of The Duplicate Layer To “Overlay”
Next, we need to change the blend mode of the duplicate layer from “Normal” to “Overlay”. The reason is that the High Pass filter is going to turn all non-edge areas of the image into neutral gray, and the Overlay blend mode leaves all neutral gray areas alone, which means no sharpening will be applied to any of those areas. So to do that, go up to the Blend Mode options in the top left corner of the Layer Styles dialog box, click on the down-pointing arrow to the right of the word “Normal”, and select Overlay from the list:
Apply The “High Pass” Filter To The Duplicate Layer
Now that we have the blend mode set to Overlay, which is going to allow us to see a preview of what we’re doing, we can apply the High Pass filter. To do that, go up to the Filter menu at the top of the screen, choose Other down near the bottom, and then choose High Pass. This brings up the High Pass filter dialog box:
Photoshop’s High Pass filter is very simple to use. It has a slider bar at the bottom to increase or decrease the intensity of the filter (the “Radius” value), as well as an input box if you’d prefer to type a value directly into it, and that’s all there is to it except for the large preview area and the “Preview” checkbox in the top right corner.
To sharpen your image with the High Pass filter, keep an eye on your image in the document window and adjust the Radius value by dragging the slider bar left or right. As you drag towards the right, you’ll be adding more sharpening, and as you drag to the left, you’ll be reducing the amount of sharpening. You’re going to want to start off with a very low radius value, somewhere between 2-5 pixels, and even that may be too much depending on the pixel dimensions of your image. I’m using a small version of the image for this tutorial, and I can already see that what I have chosen may be too high. If you go too high, you’ll begin to see a halo effect around the edges of your image, and you want to avoid that, so back off on the radius value by dragging the slider bar to the left once the halos begin to appear.
For my image, and again I’m using a small version of the photo for this tutorial, I’m going to set my Radius value to 10 pixels, which gives me a nice amount of sharpening around the edges in the image without sharpening any non-edge areas:
At this point the sharpening is on the whole of the image where there are edges. we now want to limit where we want the sharpening
Create a black mask
Go to the bottom edge of your screen where you will find the following ICONS. below selecting the box with a circle within it on a MAC hold down the ALT key on your keyboard and then click the layer mask icon,
What has happened now is that the sharpening is no longer visible the black mask has hidden it so we now need to brush in with white the areas we want to show the sharpening.
Paint with white
Make sure your foreground colour is white. You can do this by checking to your right the foreground and background colour boxes.
Now get a soft brush with the Opacity set to 100% and flow set to 100%. This may seem high but we can adjust the layer opacity later we are only adjusting the brush opacity and flow at this point.
Make sure you are targeting the black mask, you can see if this is the case as a high-lighted box will be shown around the mask. Now paint on your images where you want the sharpening to appear. You can see from the image above I only wanted the centre of the Orchid sharpened so the mask is showing white paint in that location.
Change the layer opacity and name layer
The next step is to reduce the layer opacity to a level where the sharpening is to your liking. For this image I reduced the opacity to 72%. last but not least name the layer “Sharpening”, so you don’t forget.
Buy using a mask to determine where you want your sharpening means you have control of where it appears. Should you decide you don’t like what you have done you can delete the mask and start again or just paint the mask back to Black.
Note: If you are experienced at using photoshop then on step 5 you can alter your method. If you keep the brush Opacity to 100% but reduce the flow to 80% you can paint over the areas where you want more sharpening, then you can reduce the flow again to say 60% where you don’t want as much sharpening and then your can keep reducing the flow to your liking. Even though you do this you might need to do Step 6.
The following steps are a guide to those of you who have Photoshop and would like DS Colour labs to print off your images. This is the way I do it, but others might have another ways. Basically I create a new document in Photoshop and paste my image onto the new document. I then brightened the image and save it as a JPEG, then I download it onto the DSCL site.
So this is how I do it.
- Go to the DSCL website and find the printing size you want, write down or remember the size needed. As a rule I use the 12X16” print size or smaller.
- Open up your image in Photoshop, making sure it is processed and to your liking.
- Open up a new document in Photoshop by going to file – NEW- Name the new document as required. Change the Width to inches and Height to inches,
Change the values in each to those you want for printing for example 12×16”.
Change resolution to 300. Colour mode should be RGB and Background contents should be White.
- Go to your image and flatten your layers. Now select (CMD A) your image and copy (CMD C).
- Go to your new document and paste (CMD V) your image into it. Your image should be larger than the new document in which case Free Transform (CMD T keeping the perspective) your image and resize as required. Once re-sized brighten your image by at least +10 using a brightness and contrast layer. The reason for doing this is because our monitors have light at the back
of them and printers don’t so your image always looks brighter on your screen than what it really is.
- Go back to your original image and UNDO your action to flatten your image. Close this document down you no longer need it.
- Go back to your new document and SAVE AS the document ensuring that you save it as a JPEG, the quality must be 12 and at Maximum.
- Close down your new document or you can if wish save this too as a PSD or another file extension.
- Go to DS colour Labs site and download your images. The site will take you to the final page showing you what your images will look like. If you have
chosen the right size there should be no issues.
If you image when pasting onto your new document is smaller than the new document do not free transform to make it bigger this will spoilt the image (unless it is less than 10% of the original size). Go back to your original image and either resize it using photoshop or use one of the applications available to you. I use ON 1 resize application for this.
Remember before mice we used to use a keyboard well many programs stil have keyboard short suts that can improved your workflow see
Following on from last nights theme of How do I do That Dave Carter has submitted the following like to an article on Photographic Distortion And Perspective Correction
Not 50 shades of grey I hasten to add
During the recent Show & Tell session various techniques were discussed about how to lighten or darken an area of an image aka Dodge and Burn.
One technique that seem’s to be used a lot with varing success particularly on sky’s when the original image really needed a graduated ND filter, is to select the sky, apply a large feather selection and then create a levels adjustment layer in which you move the black point on the histogram to the right to darken. This technique is often then followed by inverting the selection, creating a new levels adjustment layer and then moving the white point on the historgram left to lighten the foreground. The disadvantage of this technique is if you over do it by moving either the black or white point beyond the ends of the histogram you tend to leave a halo effect along the selection boundary i.e.
An alternative method which has been discussed before is the 50% grey adjustment layer with an overlay blend mode. Martin Godfrey discribed this method last season as a way of implementing a non distructive Dodge and Burn.
To recap I will discribe this in relation to Adobe Photoshop elements.
Open your image in PSE
Create a Solid Colour Adjustment layer
Select the colour
In the layer pallette you should now have
You can simplify the layer
The Layer pallette should now look like
Set the blend mode to Overlay (Soft light has a similar but not quite so dramatic effect)
If the colour you selected for the solid colour was black it would cause the final image to be darker i.e.
If you had choosen white the final image would be lighter i.e.
But if you choose 50% grey you would see no difference
Martins discussion then showed how you could use a paint brush to paint on this adjustment layer either white to lighten, or black to darken an area of the image also if you use a low opacity you can build up the effect
Another option is to use a gradient fill to apply a foreground to transparent fill
where you set the forground to white to lighten or black to darken and by implement two fills you can lighten the foreground and darken the sky in one go