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Using Lightroom Alongside Photoshop: Working with Smart Objects

19 Sep

What software do you use to process your digital images? As of the writing of this article, Adobe Lightroom sports over 1.4 million Likes on their official Facebook page. And Photoshop? That Facebook page is pushing 7.7 million Likes. If those numbers are any indication of the overall use of the editing software, then it’s safe to say that you are likely using one of the two programs right now (you’re reading this after all). Lightroom and Photoshop arguably set the standard for all other post-processing software platforms.

If you’re like me you use both of them, in tandem, to edit and process your photos. There are literally limitless possibilities when it comes to using Lightroom and Photoshop together. Out of those possibilities comes the idea of “Smart Objects”.

Do you know about Smart Objects? Have you ever used them before in your workflow? If not, I’m going to show you exactly how useful (or not) working with Smart Objects between Lightroom and Photoshop can be. Don’t worry, it’s all easy to understand. Let’s have a look at what Smart Objects can do for you and your photography when it comes to working with both Lightroom and Photoshop.

What are Smart Objects?

Think of Smart Objects as being a larger suitcase. All your edits in Lightroom are non-destructive. This is because you aren’t actually editing your original file in Lightroom. Rather, you are working with a virtual copy of your image. When you go from Lightroom to Photoshop, like this…

Using Lightroom Alongside Photoshop: Working with Smart Objects

You package everything into the suitcase and send it off to Photoshop Land. What do you put in your suitcase? You might put your Lightroom edits, the original file information, or a mix of the two. The key is that you don’t want to do anything to your photos that you can’t take back. While you can edit your images between Lightroom and Photoshop non-destructively, there are ways to remain more flexible than others. One of these is by using smart objects.

While you can edit your images between Lightroom and Photoshop non-destructively, there are ways to remain more flexible than others. One of these is by using smart objects.

Using Lightroom Alongside Photoshop: Working with Smart Objects

Smart Objects pack more into the suitcase when you move your editing between Lightroom and Photoshop. When your image opens as a Smart Object in Photoshop, you’ll notice a special little icon on the layer thumbnail.

Using Lightroom Alongside Photoshop: Working with Smart Objects

This lets you know that you are now working with a Smart Object layer. From here, work with your image in Photoshop as you do normally.

The benefits of using Smart Objects

The great thing about using Smart Objects when jumping from Lightroom to Photoshop is that you are taking an original version of your image with you so that editing becomes much more versatile once in Photoshop. Not only can you change the edits you made in Lightroom but you can also work more effectively when transforming or resizing your photo.

This all sounds a little complicated, but I can assure you it’s not. Let me show you some of the perks of using Smart Objects when working between Lightroom and Photoshop.

Real-time edits of Lightroom adjustments

Using Smart Objects, you can make dynamic changes to your Lightroom edits using Adobe Camera Raw just as you would in Lightroom itself. This lets you augment your Lightroom edits on the fly and when you save your image back to Lightroom there will be less need to make those final tweaks. Double click the Smart Object thumbnail and your photo will open in ACR.

Using Lightroom Alongside Photoshop: Working with Smart Objects

Apply any edits you want while in ACR and they will go back with you if/when you bring your photo back into Lightroom.

Smarter resizing and transforming

There’s a problem that plagues editors when it comes to downsizing and upsizing images in Photoshop. It’s pixelization. Because, spoiler alert, digital images are made up of pixels (except vector images). When you scale an image down in Photoshop, the program removes pixels to make the image smaller. This is all well and good until you decide you want to make the image larger again. Since you’re missing pixels, the photo can lose a lot of quality and look pixelated. Let me show you what I mean.

Here we have that same photo that we imported to Photoshop. I’ve duplicated the image with the one on the left being our regular “Pixel Image” and the one on the right is the same photo only converted to a Smart Object (select layer>layer menu>convert to Smart Object.).

Using Lightroom Alongside Photoshop: Working with Smart Objects

I scale both photos down to 10% of their original size.

Using Lightroom Alongside Photoshop: Working with Smart Objects

Then, being the hypothetical indecisive photographer that I am, I decide to then bring the photo back to its original 100% size. Which gives us this.

Using Lightroom Alongside Photoshop: Working with Smart Objects

Not much difference, right? Wrong. Let’s take a closer look. Here’s the regular image after scaling it back to its larger size.

And now look at our Smart Object…

The smart object image has kept its clarity and sharpness because Photoshop didn’t touch the pixels when it was downsized and used the additional information in the Smart Object to edit non-destructively. This is the power of working with Smart Objects when using Lightroom and Photoshop together.

The Downside

No, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows when working with Smart Objects. The biggest problem is that since you are including the RAW file information when you jump from Lightroom, the final file sizes can become rather large after you edit your image in Photoshop. Depending on the size of your original image file this can make for a lot of hard drive real estate being consumed resulting in poor performance during your processing.

Final thoughts on Smart Objects

Using Lightroom alongside Photoshop essentially gives you the best of both editing worlds. You have the simplistic adjustment capacity Lightroom while being able to perform more intricate edits using Photoshop. Smart Objects simply sweeten the pot. Using Smart Objects allows you to edit your images more efficiently and completely non-destructively.

Resizing images from Smart Objects means no loss of quality when you upscale or downscale. Throw in the fact that you have the fluidity of accessing and changing your Lightroom edits while in Photoshop using ACR and you quickly begin to run out of reasons not to incorporate this into your editing workflow. The increased file size, in my opinion, will be well worth the added benefits Smart Objects will bring you.

Have some of your own processing tricks while using Lightroom and Photoshop together? Please share them in the comments below.

The post Using Lightroom Alongside Photoshop: Working with Smart Objects by Adam Welch appeared first on Digital Photography School.


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Photographer caught using someone else’s public domain photo to win awards

06 Sep

Swiss photographer Madeleine Josephine Fierz has been stripped of two photography awards after it was revealed that she’d won them using someone else’s photo.

The contest-winning image, seen above, was taken by Thai photographer Sasin Tipchai, who had uploaded it under a CC0 license to stock photography website Pixabay. Fierz submitted the image as her own, ultimately receiving first place in the Moscow International Foto Awards (MIFA) and second place in the Fine Art Photo Awards.

The deception was discovered after Sasin posted on Facebook about Fierz’s use of his images, and someone else shared it with the Moscow International Foto Awards’ Facebook page. That brought it to the attention of officials who, after looking into the matter, revoked Fierz’s award and removed the image from its website. The image has also been removed from the Fine Art Photo Awards website.

In a statement to Khaosod English, MIFA jury member Hossein Farmani commented on the matter, saying:

[Fierz] claimed since she bought these photos, she thought that she could manipulate it a little and claim it as her art. As a jury of MIFA we take these allegation very seriously and we investigate and delete images in question as soon as we can verify the facts. It’s almost impossible for us to know which images belong to whom unless photographers let us know, like you did.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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How to do Color Correction Using the Photoshop Curves Tool

05 Sep

One of the most powerful Photoshop tools at your disposal is Curves. Though it’s often only used to tweak contrast, the curves tool is also hugely effective in correcting color. What’s more, learning how to use it gives you a greater knowledge of image editing in general. It’ll enhance your understanding of the histogram and teach you how to edit photos by numbers.

The idea of correct color

Correcting color in images is about removing unwanted color casts. The “unwanted” part is important because some color casts are desirable. For instance, you wouldn’t want to neutralize the warm hue of a sunset. However, you might want to remove the blue color cast that sometimes pervades photos taken on overcast days or in hazy conditions. By removing an unwanted color cast, you’ll reveal the true color of the objects and subjects in your photo and make the image “pop”.

The content of a photo will dictate how you edit it, so you shouldn’t obsess over correcting color in every photo. Many times, you’ll want to do little or nothing to the color. An appreciation of the curves tool and the numbers around it will help you decide what each photo needs.

A neutral histogram

When working with curves, histograms, and RGB numbers, it’s useful to know what the histogram is telling you. There’s no such thing as a right or wrong histogram, per se, since it only mirrors the pixel data of the image, but it will highlight potential problems.

By looking at all three RGB (red, green and blue) histograms at once, you can immediately get an idea of whether or not the image has a color cast. If there’s no color cast, the three histograms will look very similar. A black and white RGB image illustrates this perfectly because it’s completely neutral. In that case, the three RGB values will be equal in every part of the image and the histograms are identical.

Black and white photo with RGB histograms. How to do Color Correction Using the Photoshop Curves Tool

In this black and white RGB image, you can see that the red, green and blue histograms are identical. You won’t get this in a color photo, but if the histograms look similar, especially from the middle to the right-hand side, there is unlikely to be a noticeable color cast.

Getting ready

Before you start in curves, there are a couple of things you’ll need to prepare in Photoshop:

  • Be sure that the “Layers” and “Info” windows are open.
  • Select a “3 by 3 Average” or “5 by 5 Average” sample size for the eyedropper tool.

Easy one-click color correction using mid-tones

Whenever a photo contains an area that should be neutral gray in your estimation, you can use the mid-tone eyedropper tool in either levels or curves to quickly correct any color cast. Simply clicking on the supposedly gray portion of the image will correct the color. It’s usually worth clicking a few times in different areas until you achieve a result that pleases you. There are ways of calculating precise mid-tones in an image to make this method more precise, but guessing often works well and is far quicker.

RGB values of a magenta color cast - How to do Color Correction Using the Photoshop Curves Tool

By dragging the eyedropper tool over this gravestone, we can see that the green value is less than that of red or blue. We might reasonably expect this stone to have a neutral gray color, which would give roughly equal RGB values, but the green deficit (RGB 160, 149, 160) indicates a magenta (opposite of green) cast.

magenta cast color correction - How to do Color Correction Using the Photoshop Curves Tool

By opening curves or levels and clicking on the stone using the middle eyedropper, the magenta cast is corrected. As a result, the green in the photo is stronger.

Using curves and the info palette to correct color

By introducing the info palette into the equation, you can make far more precise color corrections. The technique you’re about to learn also teaches you to evaluate and edit photos by the numbers. Think about this – when you have nothing to compare an image to—no alternative version—it often looks “okay” at first glance. By studying the RGB values, you’ll get a clear idea of any potential problems in the photo.

Before you proceed, it’s important to note that an image always needs “neutral” areas for color correction to succeed. That’s because a neutral tone provides a known reference point that you can work from. Neutral pixels always have identical RGB values (e.g. 128, 128, 128). Any photo that doesn’t contain a neutral tone is difficult to accurately correct. This is true whether you’re adjusting color yourself or hitting an auto-color-correct button. Photographers often use gray cards to introduce a known neutral into the image for color correction later.

10 Steps to Color Correction with Curves

Here are the steps you might take to correct color using curves, the info panel, and histograms:

Step #1 – Select the eyedropper

With your image open, select the eyedropper tool from the Photoshop tools palette.

hotel in Switzerland - How to do Color Correction Using the Photoshop Curves Tool

This is a picture of a hotel in Switzerland before any color correction. There is no strong color cast, but you might detect its cool bias.

Step #2 – Check white RGB values

Hover the eyedropper tool over a diffuse white highlight in the photo with RGB values in the 230s or 240s (try to avoid high 250 values). Use the info palette to see these values.

How to do Color Correction Using the Photoshop Curves Tool

Hovering the eyedropper tool over diffuse white highlights, I can see the blue channel has consistently higher numbers than red or green. The difference isn’t drastic, but it does indicate a blue color cast.

Step #3 – Create a sample point

Hold down the Shift key and click to create a sample point from this white area, which will show in the info palette as #1. It’s possible to move a sample point after you’ve created it by holding down the Shift key and dragging.

Step #4 – Repeat with mid-tones

Repeat this procedure with a neutral gray mid-tone, if you can find one, with RGB values of around 120-140.

color correction info palette - How to do Color Correction Using the Photoshop Curves Tool

Here, we’re creating a mid-tone sample point. Again, you can see from the numbers (RGB 111, 120, 137) that there’s a strong blue presence. The highlight sample point that I’ve only just recorded is stored on the depicted info palette at the left, third down (marked as #1).

Step #5 – Repeat with shadows

Do the same thing with any black, shadow areas with values of about 10-30. After that, you’ll have created three sample points. Since color casts in shadows are inherently harder to see, this third sample point can often be skipped without ill effect.

color correction sample point shadow - How to do Color Correction Using the Photoshop Curves Tool

A shadow sample point from the trash bag records at RGB 20, 21, 29. We can see now that a cold color cast runs through the entire image from highlights to shadows. Once I’ve clicked on this, my three sample points are all stored and displayed in the info palette.

Step #6 – Analyze the three samples

Looking at the three RGB samples you’ve created, you should get an idea of any color casts that are present. You’ll typically see the same problem across all tones from highlights to shadows, though not always. Remember that a low RGB value in any of the three channels indicates an opposite color cast. Thus, a low red value indicates a cyan cast, low green is magenta, and low blue is yellow. This only applies in areas that should be neutral in color (i.e. white, gray, black).

Step #7 – Open a curves adjustment layer

Open a curves adjustment layer. Hold down the Ctrl and Shift (Cmd + Shift) keys and click once again exactly on the center of the second, mid-tone sample point you created (#2). This has the effect of placing a mid-tone point along each of the individual RGB curves.

How to do Color Correction Using the Photoshop Curves Tool

Holding down Ctrl + Shift (Cmd + Shift in Mac) and clicking with the eyedropper tool places a sample point on each of the three RGB curves. This is useful for adjusting specific mid-tones. Here, I’ve opened the red channel to illustrate this. To correct color, you have to adjust the individual red, green and blue channels until the corresponding output numbers on the info palette match.

Step #8 – Correct the color cast

Now it’s time to correct the color cast. On a curves graph, the top right point represents highlights and the lower left shadows. In between are any mid-tone points that you placed on the curve.

Starting with highlights (your #1 sample), open the individual red, green and blue curves channels one at a time and move the top right point either left or down along the outer edge of the graph so that, eventually, the three values match. As you move each point on the graph, the info palette gives you the updated output value.

Usually, it’s best to choose the lowest or middle of the three existing highlight values and match the other two to that (see “tip” below).

curves color correction - How to do Color Correction Using the Photoshop Curves Tool

This is an exaggerated example of a curves highlight adjustment in the blue channel. I’ve pulled the highlight point to the left, which has added blue to the image (far too much blue). Moving the point down the right-hand side of the graph would increase yellow. In reality, these edits will usually be very slight, moving only a small amount either way. The info palette will reflect these changes in the RGB output numbers.

Step #9 – Repeat for all three points

Repeat this process with the mid-tone and shadow points, so that all of the chosen neutral points in the image are in fact neutral. The bottom-left shadow point is also moved along the outer edge of the graph, either upwards or right. The mid-tone point you’ll drag either up or down. If the color looks wayward at the end of this process, it typically means that you’ve picked a sample point that wasn’t neutral. Ensure that your sample points contain no color noise or reflected color. Zoom in on the area you sample to make certain of this.

color correction curves info palette - How to do Color Correction Using the Photoshop Curves Tool

Here you’ll see that all three sets of RGB values have been equalized – for each point, you see the before (left) and after the (right) value (Red on point #1 went from 238 to 239, Blue from 244 to 239). 

Now all points are roughly similar, in other words, all the sample points I took that were estimated to be neutral have been made neutral. Note that the numbers don’t have to match perfectly like this as long as they’re close. In the curves graph, the red channel has been lifted and the blue channel pulled down slightly as a result of my edits. The green channel was untouched in this instance, so the corresponding line cuts straight through the middle.

Step #10 – Remove samples and save

Once the correction is complete, the sample points are removable by holding down Ctrl + Alt (Cmd + Option) keys and clicking on them. You should see the scissor icon when you hold these keys down. To finish, either save the image with its adjustment layer intact or flatten the layers, as required.

Before – uncorrected image.

color corrected image - How to do Color Correction Using the Photoshop Curves Tool

This is the color-corrected image. With the blue cast gone, other colors in the photo can breathe. In particular, the yellow color of the hotel and the green in the grass and trees are more prominent.

Tip: Since moving the endpoints of the curve line affects all highlights and shadows, you should edit conservatively. In particular, avoid choosing the highest of the three RGB values as the target when matching red, green and blue highlight channels. Otherwise, you may find that you blow out wanted detail in the brightest part of the image. Flaws in the shadows are generally less noticeable, but you still risk blocking detail if you adjust all the shadow RGB points to the lowest of the three values. In general, turn the numbers away from their extremes.

Mixed Lighting

The types of correction discussed in this article work best when there are naturally occurring color casts in the image. In mixed lighting, where the light sources are radically different (e.g. incandescent lighting and daylight), you’ll need to painstakingly address each affected area of the image using layers in Photoshop or the adjustment brush in Lightroom. Avoid this type of lighting wherever possible, since it’s difficult and time-consuming to correct in processing.

Finally

I don’t expect that you’ll use these techniques on every image, but I hope they’ll improve some of your pictures and that you’ll enjoy experimenting using curves in Photoshop. This type of mathematical editing gives you a good understanding of histograms and the meaning of RGB values.

Merely hovering the eyedropper tool over a picture while watching the numbers will tell you something about it. If there are no naturally occurring “neutrals” in the photo and you want consistent or accurate color, a high-quality gray card provides a solution.

Please don’t hesitate to fire questions my way if anything is unclear.

The post How to do Color Correction Using the Photoshop Curves Tool by Glenn Harper appeared first on Digital Photography School.


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Tutorial: How to shoot a martini splash photo using only speedlights

03 Sep

Photographer Dustin Dolby of workphlo is back with another of his straightforward, easy-to-follow lighting tutorials. This time, he’s showing us how to shoot (and post-process) a professional-looking splash photography shot—a very popular ad style—using just the affordable speedlights in his home studio.

As usual, his setup is extremely affordable. To start, he places the empty glass-and-lime combo onto a sheet of plexiglass, with two diffusers behind it and a cheap Yongnuo speedlight behind that. Then he uses a second speedlight off to the side to light the garnish, and that same speedlight is what he’ll use to light the splashes once he adds water and begins throwing in his fake ice cube.

From start to finish, here are all of the exposures he captured and combined in post to create his final image:

$ (document).ready(function() { SampleGalleryV2({“containerId”:”embeddedSampleGallery_8047647474″,”galleryId”:”8047647474″,”isEmbeddedWidget”:true,”standalone”:false,”selectedImageIndex”:0,”startInCommentsView”:false,”isMobile”:false}) });

Along the way Dolby offers a bunch of little tips and tricks that help really round out the final image, and produce something beautiful. Here’s the final shot, after a bit of post-production magic:

To see the full tutorial, click play above. And if you love product photography his YouTube channel is definitely worth a look.


All photographs by Dustin Dolby/workphlo and used with permission.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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Effect of multivitamin using in usa 2015 pdf

01 Sep

Dark chocolate and most nuts and seeds are rich in copper but have relatively less zinc, could this vitamin A be causing the peeling? Atlantic Cod is an over, but fish oil capsule supplements effect of multivitamin using in usa 2015 pdf not. Or doesn’t state, herbs beyond their reccomended dosages. Are you vegetarian; which […]
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How to know whether my pc is hacked using pdf

30 Aug

Senior officers had not allowed the estate to be sealed off immediately after the attack, for stolen goods. See Rose 1992, the notes show him asking: “Who told you that? Rose writes that the pathologist, Two police officers were attacked with bricks how to know whether my pc is hacked using pdf paving stones at […]
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Challenge: Shooting portraits using just an iPhone, a flashlight, and a Big Mac box

30 Aug

Great gear can make a big difference when it comes to the quality of your photographs, but we all know that good gear does not a great photographer make. What’s more, a great photographer can do amazing things using really mediocre equipment.

Case in point: watch portrait photographer Philippe Echaroux take on what he’s calling “Big Mac Portrait Challenge.”

Usually Echaroux uses Hasselblad digital cameras, Elinchrom lights and other expensive (for a reason) equipment to capture his professional portrait work. But he was recently asked to make due without any of that; instead, he would be using an iPhone for shooting and retouching, a small flashlight, and a Big Mac box from McDonald’s. Yeah… seriously.

The final shots benefit from a lot of post-processing, of course. In all, Echaroux used VSCO, Photoshop Fix, and Lightroom Mobile to tease out something that looks a lot more professional than you’d expect from his meager setup. But The basic gear and lighting was all the same: iPhone, flashlight, Big Mac box.

Whether you’re shooting an astronaut in a darkened Soyuz capsule with a 10-year-old DSLR and an iPhone flashlight, or taking the so-called Big Mac Portrait Challenge, don’t let lack of gear intimidate you. If nothing else, it might lead to a cool story or creative video.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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The Nikon D850 can scan film using the new ES-2 digitizing adapter

25 Aug

There’s a neat trick baked into the new Nikon D850 that you may not have noticed yet. Hidden away among the many features broken down in the D850 announcement is this line:

Negative/Positive Scanning: With the optional ES-2 Film Digitizing Adapter and compatible Micro-NIKKOR lens, the camera enables super high-resolution digitizing of 35mm slides or negatives and converts them in-camera to positives

For Nikon shooters who occasionally get their film photography on, this is actually a pretty interesting and useful feature. Basically, the D850 allows you to eschew the film scanner, pop a Nikkor macro lens onto your DSLR—Nikon recommends the AF-S Micro NIKKOR 60mm f/2.8G ED—and take pictures of your negatives or slides using the FH-4 Strip Film Holder or FH-5 Slide Mount Holder.

The camera will then convert these into positives in-camera and save them as JPEGs. Sure, you’ll still want to use some sort of light table or flash to light the film up for the shot, but it’s quite convenient and definitely quicker than scanning.

The ES-2 was announced quietly alongside the D850 last night, will retail for $ 150, and is already available for pre-order on the Nikon website.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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Tips for Using Off-Camera Flash at Weddings

21 Aug

Over the past eight years of shooting weddings, I have slowly evolved in how I work. I believe that’s normal for most photographers. Most will start as “natural light” photographers. I actually began a little ahead and was using one on-camera flash, bouncing it off of the ceiling. Next, I dabbled in some off-camera flash very lightly and steadily grew my skills over the years.

I will say, that life is so much easier for me now, and I can create so much more with off-camera flash than I could when I began. I’m not sure where you are in your journey, but I’m here to help you speed up the process. In this article, I’m going to share all of my different off-camera lighting setups for weddings.

Off camera flash weddings 02

Use flash when needed

Let me start off by saying that I don’t use off-camera flash the entire day. I still use natural light when I need to and I’ll use on-camera bounce flash when that’s appropriate. These on and off-camera flashes are just tools that I use to create, just like a painter uses different brushes and paints. I can’t necessarily tell you when to use them; that’s up to you and your personal preference. My suggestion would be to keep an open mind, practice these ideas, and see what works best for you.

Photographing details

I start using off-camera flash pretty early in the wedding day when I’m shooting details. For most situations, I try to keep it simple and use one flash at a 45-degree angle to the subject. To keep light from going everywhere and to create a more dramatic photo, I usually use a MagGrid from MagMod.

Off camera flash weddings 01

I’ll use this setup for ring shots, a few of the dress, flowers, possibly shoes, and other details. It works really well for the ring shot because I’m usually shooting at such a high aperture that I need a lot of light. I also make sure to take some with natural light or a bounce flash just in case the couple doesn’t like the dramatic look.

Off-camera flash for portraits

The newest way I’ve been using off-camera flash, and I just love it so much, is for creating portraits. If you really want to create something cool and different for your clients, this is the way to do it. There are many ways to do this (too many to mention here), but I’ll share some of my favorite setups.

Off-camera flash setups for wedding portraits

The groom usually doesn’t get much attention on the wedding day. He is just along for the ride. I try, though, to give him the spotlight and create something fun. This setup is basically the same as the detail shot. I’ll use one single flash with a MagGrid. The big difference is I lower the ambient light so the flash is really all that is seen.

Tips for Using Off-Camera Flash at Weddings

One light dramatic setup for the groom.

To do this, start off without the flash. Adjust the ISO, shutter speed, and aperture until the photo is pretty dark. Then, bring in the flash. Try to position the off-camera flash at a 45 degree angle, in relatively close to the subject. The further away the light is the more it will spread. I try to keep most of the focus on his face.

Another fun trick is to do this with all the groomsmen and put it together later in Photoshop. I did this recently with a group that all had super hero shirts under their suits. It created a very dramatic, fun photo. All you have to do is move your flash to one person, take a photo, and then move to the next one. Either put the camera on a tripod or try to keep it in the same position and height. Then, later, you just line them all up and use layers to hide and reveal the parts you want.

Tips for Using Off-Camera Flash at Weddings

The bride and her dress

The bride is the star of the show, so you need to make sure you create lots of photos of her and the dress. I will usually spend twice as much time with the bride as I do the groom. I also use a few different lighting patterns with her to give her more variety.

I don’t do it often, but you can actually use the same lighting setup that we did for the groom, with the bride. It’s going to create a dark portrait, but one thing I do differently is I make sure there aren’t any crazy shadows on her face.

Sometimes I have the bride turn her head toward the light or I rotate the flash more to light her entire face. It’s good to try this out occasionally, but make sure you give her some other options.

Tips for Using Off-Camera Flash at Weddings

Grid for Bride Tips for Using Off-Camera Flash at Weddings

One flash dramatic lighting setup.

In most cases, I use a much softer light with the brides, to open up shadows instead of creating something dark. I use my small flashes for some situations, but when we are outside I usually go to my larger flash, the Xplor 600. This gives me more power and I can put a softbox or octabox on it to soften the light.

My go-to bride setup is to put the sun behind the bride and then light the front of her. A lot of wedding photographers will do it this way without adding the light to the front. This can work, but you are left with a blown out background and possibly deep shadows in the eyes.

With my lighting setup, you can have the background exposed correctly and remove those nasty shadows. I still place the flash at a 45 degree angle but there are a few other things that make the photo look completely different. One, using a softbox or Octabox softens the light and allows it to illuminate most of the subject while the MagGrid kept the light pretty hard and focused.

One flash off-camera balanced with natural light.

 

Also, the exposure is going to be different. Turn off the flash and get a proper exposure for the background instead of it being pitch black. Then, turn the flash back on to light your subject and adjust power as needed. As far as setting the background exposure, I prefer bumping up the shutter speed versus bumping up the aperture. You can only do this, though, if your flash can do high-speed sync.

Off-camera flash setups for group photos

Another tough situation to light is the family portrait setup. If we are outside that isn’t really a problem, but if we’re indoors, the light is usually pretty bad. To keep everyone in focus, I also use a smaller aperture, which just makes matters worse.

I’ve used a few different off-camera flash setups for family portraits, and honestly, I’m not sure which I prefer. If you only have one flash, I’d put it at about a 30-degree angle.

If you have two flashes, there are two different ways to set it up. You can put both flashes, at equal power, at opposite 45 degree angles. This will cover everything, but it can make some weird shadows. The other option is to keep one light at 45 degrees and bring the other closer to the camera and lower the power. This is the basic main light and fill light setup.

Family portrait Tips for Using Off-Camera Flash at Weddings

Family portrait lighting with two flashes.

Tips for Using Off-Camera Flash at Weddings

The problem I’ve run into with this is that the people further away from the main light don’t get as much light. The last thing to consider is whether to bounce it or use direct flash. Bouncing is going to create a more even lighting, but it uses more power and doesn’t work if the ceilings are dark or if you’re outside. Direct flash takes less power, but the light tends to be harsher and create darker shadows.

Sometimes I will try one setup and then quickly switch to another if things aren’t working. You might find yourself doing this as well.

Off-camera flash at the wedding reception

Creating lighting for the dance is one of my favorite things to do. You really can create some amazing shots. My general setup is two off-camera flash, opposite each other, with MagGrids attached. This really creates a moody effect, but you can get some dark shadows.

Tips for Using Off-Camera Flash at Weddings

Dance lighting setup, two flashes.

With this setup, I keep a flash on top of my camera, and sometimes I’ll use it to bounce some fill light into the scene. When I’m done with the first few dances and the big groups get out there, I remove the grids so the light will cover a larger area. As far as my position, you can move around with this light setup and get some really different looks. For the most part, I try to keep one light beside me at a 45-degree.

One quick warning: make sure your lights are secure and out of the way. People will run into them and knock them over, and you don’t want broken equipment and/or injuries and a potential lawsuit.

Off-camera flash for creative wedding portraits

The last scenario that I use off-camera flash at weddings is for doing creative portraits with the couple. I really enjoy taking them away from the action once it has gotten dark to create something special. These are more of a creative, artsy portrait, and they are often my favorite shots from the wedding day.

Tips for Using Off-Camera Flash at Weddings

Two-light backlit setup with blue gel on the background.

The possibilities are pretty endless with this, so I’m just going to run through how I do it in general. The first thing I do is find an interesting background. This could be the front of the venue or some place with an interesting structure and hopefully some kind of lights. Next, I figure out where I want to place the couple. I like to have them be part of the environment, so I position them where I can do a full length shot and still capture the background.

Now we are ready to figure out the off-camera lighting setup. My go-to setup is a front light at 45 degrees with a grid and another flash behind the subject. With the backlight, I’ll either have the light aimed at the couple to give them a glow, or I’ll aim it at the background to show off the structure more. If you want to get a little funky or artsy, throw a colored gel on the backlight. After I’ve done that, I usually remove the front light and just aim the backlight at them and make a silhouette. If you know what you’re doing, you should be able to pull these shots off in less than 10 minutes and send the couple back to the party.

Off camera flash weddings 05

Tips for Using Off-Camera Flash at Weddings

One light backlit setup.

Conclusion

I know that was a lot of information and you may be overwhelmed. If you are feeling confused, reread each section and look at the diagrams. If you’re still confused, feel free to comment, and I’ll help you out.

Also, don’t feel like you have to try all of these setups at once. Remember, weddings are a once in a lifetime event, so avoid going in there if you aren’t confident in what you are doing. Practice at home and start by trying one of these setups. Practice some more and then try out other setups. Do this for one year and at the end of that year, I bet you’ll be in a whole new level, and you’ll never go back to your old way of shooting weddings.

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How to Easily Add a New Element to Your Image Using Photoshop

09 Aug

This is an article for beginners in Photoshop. You will learn how to simply add an element to your photo and transform a daylight image into a nighttime one.

Open your selected images in Photoshop

First thing you want to do is select a photo of a mountain (in raw format). For that, open Photoshop then go to File > Open, it will open a window where you can select the photo that you want. Here we select raw file of the mountain:

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Raw adjustments first

Because we opened a raw file it is going to pop up in Adobe Camera Raw and we are going to retouch it to make it look like night first. Let’s set the White Balance towards the blue, so move the Temp slider to 4150. Then you want your Exposure to be very low so it looks dark, try -1,90, lower your Highlights to -84, add some Contrast to +39, boost the Blacks to +28, and lower the Whites to -46. Basically bring down the bright parts and boost the darker parts to give the image a night mood.

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Now click on the sentence under your photo: ProPhoto.. and select Open in Photoshop as a Smart Object.

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Open the element you want to add

Once you have done that you can come back and open an image or element to add to the first image. We are going to select a moon that we want to add to this mountain. Go to File > Open and select one photo of a moon in jpg.

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Arrange your workspace

You should have the photo of the moon and the mountain in tabs on the top of your Photoshop interface. If you don’t see that, you can go to Window > Arrange > Consolidate all tabs:

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For this tutorial we need a workspace with two windows on the right, one is to show Layers and one is for Properties. For that you need to select “3D” from the pull-down menu for Workspace in the upper right corner.

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Move the moon or element onto the mountain image

Go to your moon photo and grab the Move tool, it is the first icon on your left side (tools palette), the keyboard shortcut is V.

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Using the Move tool you need to click on the moon, hold your mouse button, drag it over to the tab of the mountain and let go of the mouse to drop it.

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Blending the images together

You can see that we have black around the moon still, so we are going to blend that out. In the layer window there are different options for Blending Modes, For this one we are going to use Screen. Pull it down and select Screen from the options.

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That took most of the black out.

Resize and place the element

To make the moon even bigger, go to Edit > Free Transform.

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Using the shift key to maintain its proportions, you can extend the moon by grabbing the corner and pulling it down.

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You can also move the moon or your element around, and see where you want to put it. It looks pretty cool already but now we are going to get into masking. For this you will need to click on the Eye icon next to the moon layer number (to turn it off) and click on the layer of the mountain to select it.

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You should see this now.

Select the Quick Select Tool (W on your keyboard) and drag your mouse over the sky to select it.

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Turn the moon layer back on and click on the little square icon at the bottom to create a layer mask (shown in red below).

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This is going to create a mask and because we have an active selection, a part of the moon is now hidden.

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If you want to reposition the moon you just have to select the moon layer and click on the little chain on the side to unlink the image of the moon from the mask.

Side note: if you make a mistake you can select Cmd/Ctrl+Z to go back or undo the last step.

PHOTO 16

Fine adjustments

You can see that there is a difference of color around the moon because of the layer, so to fix grab the Brush tool. (hit B for brush on the keyboard) or the select the Brush on the tool palette).

PHOTO 17

Make sure that the opacity is at 100% and that black is your foreground color. Right-click and set the hardness to zero. This makes your brush very soft and you can brush over the white to remove it.

Side note: Click on the Control and Alt keys to make your brush or any tool in Photoshop smaller or bigger.

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Here you can see where I painted on the mask.

Finished!

Add moon photoshop 19

There you go! You have added a moon to your landscape!

I hope you liked this article and you feel more comfortable using Photoshop so you can add the moon or another element into your landscapes and create this cool effect.


If you enjoyed this tutorial and want to learn more about how to use Photoshop, check out Serge’s course Photoshop for Photographers 2017. Use the special promotional code – DPS65 – to get 65% off as a dPS reader!

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