Archive for February, 2021

How to Use Foreground to Create Depth in Your Images

28 Feb

The post How to Use Foreground to Create Depth in Your Images appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Anne McKinnell.

how to use foreground to create depth in your photos

What is the foreground, and how can you use it for stunning photos?

That’s what this article is all about.

I’m going to show you how you can identify and incorporate strong foreground elements in your photography – so that you end up with beautiful landscape shots, architectural shots, nature shots, and more.

And I’m going to explain my favorite way to use foregrounds:

To create depth.

(It’s a technique I use all the time in my own images, as you’ll soon see.)

So if you’re ready to become a foreground photography expert…

…let’s get started!

Cannon Beach, Oregon in the fog with sand ripples in the foreground to create depth

What is a foreground?

When you’re photographing a grand landscape scene, you can often divide it into three sections:

The background.

The middle ground.

And the foreground.

The foreground consists of anything that lies between you and your main subject.

Then there’s the middle ground, which is often the subject (i.e., the main point of interest in the photo).

And the background is made up of everything behind the subject.

Now, the foreground, middle ground, and background areas are not at fixed distances. They’re understood relative to one another.

For example, the scene below contains some colorful shrubs in the foreground, a pond in the middle ground, and trees in the background:

a pond in the woods

Another way to think about this is using a stage.

You have upstage, toward the back – that’s the background. It gives setting and context.

Center stage is the middle ground, where the bulk of the action takes place.

And downstage – the foreground – is closest to the audience, and therefore the most intimate part of a scene. Downstage is capable of whispering to the audience and luring them into the action. It is the most easily seen and heard part of the theater, and it can reveal the finer details of the story.

Trona Pinnacles, California with a nice foreground to create depth

One thing to note:

While many photos – especially landscape photos – contain a foreground, a middle ground, and a background, not all photos are so layered. Some images include only a foreground and a background. Others have no layers at all.

How should you use the foreground?

In general, you don’t want an empty foreground.

Instead, you should fill the foreground with some key point of interest, such as a human figure, a tree, a boat, some flowers, rocks, or anything else that is comparatively near to you.

So when you’re out shooting, once you’ve found a nice background, check the area around you for a good foreground element.

Then include that element in your composition!

(You may need a wide-angle lens for this; that’s how I captured most of the photos in this article.)

For instance, when capturing the photo below, I used the beautiful sky as my background, and the colorful rocks as my foreground element:

Green Point, Newfoundland with rocks in the foreground

One tip:

Don’t be afraid to change your perspective! If you find a nice foreground that won’t fit into the scene, try moving your camera higher, lower, or to one side to incorporate the foreground into the frame.

Why is a foreground so important?

A strong foreground is one of the simplest ways to create deep, three-dimensional photos.

You see, one of the biggest hurdles in photography is that majestic, three-dimensional scenes are rendered into mere two-dimensional images; the physical depth that the photographer experiences in real life is lost.

So how do you create the illusion of depth?

With strong elements in the foreground!

When you’re composing a photo and it’s looking a little too flat, simply adding some foreground interest can instantly improve depth.

For example, imagine a group of trees in a field, all standing in a row. If you photograph them head-on, they’ll look more or less identical – their size, distance, and sharpness will be the same, and the composition will likely be a flat, static one.

However, if you change your perspective and shoot the trees from one side, everything changes. One tree becomes closer and therefore larger, while the other trees shrink in comparison.

Like this:

Boone Hall Plantation, South Carolina

When a viewer sees the image, their eyes will immediately fall on the tree in the foreground first, and the implied line created by the row will pull their gaze inward toward the other trees. Suddenly, the composition has depth!

Now, scenes can have many potential foreground elements. For instance, you can lower your camera to incorporate rocks, flowers, or anything else on the ground. That use of foreground will provide a point for the viewer’s eyes to enter the image, and any lines created in the foreground will direct the viewer’s gaze toward the middle ground and background.

Tips for using a foreground in photography

As with any compositional element, the foreground is only helpful if it adds to your image. If the foreground doesn’t help tell the story or – worse yet – it distracts the eye, then it isn’t going to improve the photo. Your foreground should be an important part of the scene and not a distraction.

Hallgrimskirkja, Reykjavik, Iceland

Foreground elements can even be made of simple shapes and lines, like the foreground in the photo above.

In fact, your foreground elements can be nothing but shapes and lines, such as the paint on a stretch of road, the waves on the ocean’s shore, or the shadows cast across a windswept desert. Any lines that point toward your subject will be especially effective because they will guide the viewer toward the main attraction.

(Lines that point toward your subject are known as leading lines; these are a powerful compositional device!)

Similarly, a wall that stretches from foreground to background will carry the eye along with it. The corners of your frame are strong points, and anything that leads inward from these corners will have a significant impact.

Textures are another compositional tool that can make for an interesting foreground, like in the photo below:

sunset with rocks in the foreground for enhanced depth

Ultimately, however, the best foregrounds are those that you like the most!

So test out different foregrounds.


And capture some shots that are full of depth!

Using foreground to create depth: Conclusion

Now that you’ve finished this article, you should be well-equipped to create stunning, depth-filled images.

You know how to find powerful foregrounds.

And you know how to position them for gorgeous results.

So have fun with foreground photography!

Now over to you:

What do you think about using foregrounds to create depth? Do you plan to use this trick the next time you go out shooting? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

The post How to Use Foreground to Create Depth in Your Images appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Anne McKinnell.

Digital Photography School

Comments Off on How to Use Foreground to Create Depth in Your Images

Posted in Photography


SLC-2L-15: Cross-Pollination

28 Feb

Lighting with flash can give you more than just the ability to control the quality of your light. With the inherent consistency of light from (manual) flash, you can layer in slices of time as well. 

But first, you’ll want to lock down two things: the ambient light portion of your exposure, and your camera’s physical position.

Read more »

Comments Off on SLC-2L-15: Cross-Pollination

Posted in Photography


How to Make a Low Key Portrait (Step by Step)

27 Feb

The post How to Make a Low Key Portrait (Step by Step) appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Sean McCormack.

low key portrait photography

If you’re looking to create a stunning low key portrait, then you’ve come to the right place.

Because in this article, I’m going to give you a simple, step-by-step process for creating low key photos.

In fact, it’s the same setup I use when capturing my own low key shots, so you know it works.

(And I include quite a few examples, so you can see what I’m talking about!)


Let’s get started.

What is a low key portrait?

A low key portrait has tones that are mostly dark. Like this:

Low key portrait of a man

Compare it to a high key image, where most of the tones are lighter than 50% gray.

Low key portraiture replaces a light, airy feel with a more moody, dramatic look. And your histogram will be bunched up on the left-hand side.

That’s not to say you’re underexposing the subject to get a low key look. You’ll still need correct exposure on the face.

A lot of action movies or thrillers have posters with a low key feel. Think drama, and you’re in the ballpark for how a low key portrait will turn out.

The background and lighting

Your background needs to be dark, usually dark gray or black. And your subject’s clothing needs to be dark, too (though black clothes aren’t necessary). Also, avoid clothes with patterns, as this will draw attention away from your subject’s face.

Low key portrait of a man

Set your lighting to create drama; I recommend loop lighting, Rembrandt lighting, or some other form of sidelight. Take your cues from film noir.

The photos don’t need to be in black and white, though you may find that the absence of color in low key images can lend itself to this look.

Lighting a low key portrait

You don’t need to use artificial lighting to get a low key portrait. You can always use natural window light.

But to control the natural light, you must close the curtains down to a tiny slit. Then, with the room lights off, place your subject in the light and expose for their face.

Low key portrait of a woman

You can also shoot in the studio, so let’s discuss how to light a low key studio portrait.

You’ll need a lighting setup that is flattering and controllable. A strip box will help control the light, as will a beauty dish. If you don’t have either, you can add some material over a standard softbox to create a strip light.

If you have a grid, even better. As long as you can control where the light goes, you’ll be able to nail a low key portrait. You can even block your light from the background using a black card (items that block light are referred to as flags).

Creating a low key portrait from scratch

For the examples below, I used an Elinchrom softbox with a white beauty dish and a white reflector.

However, as I’ve mentioned, you don’t need this exact gear to get these shots. Gear is only a small part of the equation.

It’s how you use the gear that counts!

Making the background darker

In this first shot, you’ll see the model against the wall, photographed with a butterfly lighting pattern.

Though the tones are dark, the image itself is too bright to be considered a low key portrait.

woman portrait against a gray wall
setting up a portrait

By moving both the model and the light away from the wall, you’ll notice the light on the subject stays the same, but the background gets darker:

portrait with a darker background
Moving the model away from the wall means the light falls off and the background gets darker.

Move the light to the side

If you move the light around to the side into a short lighting position, you’ll see the background darkens even more and the shot becomes dramatic. We still have some light spilling onto our background, though:

Low key portrait of a woman
Moving the light to the side means even less light falls on the background, which darkens it further.
Low key portrait setup

Add a grid to your lighting modifier

By adding a grid to your modifier, you can control the light even more.

The grid restricts the light to a narrower beam; when a grid is in place, no light bounces around or spills past your subject.

Low key portrait of a woman
A low key portrait with a grid added to the light.
Low key portrait of a woman setup
Light with a grid added.

Add light onto the hair

While you’ll now have a very cool low key effect, you’ll see that the hair is starting to blend in with the background. If you want separation between the hair and the background, you need to add a fill light.

You could use a reflector, but a second light offers more control. For the photo below, I added a strip light on the other side of the subject (opposite the main light).

Make sure the hair light doesn’t hit your lens; otherwise, you’ll get flare. Use a grid or a flag to block your modifier, if necessary.

Low key portrait with a hair light
Low key portrait setup with a hair light
Here you can see two lights: the main light plus a hair light.

Low key portraits: Make sure you practice!

Hopefully, these steps will help you create your own stunning low key portraits.

The trick is to control the light so you darken the surroundings. Use the narrow curtain trick if you don’t have any lights.

You can even try putting a flash outside a window to replace the natural light source for more control.

Good luck with your portraits!

Now over to you:

What type of low key portrait do you plan to take? Please share your plans in the comments below!

The post How to Make a Low Key Portrait (Step by Step) appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Sean McCormack.

Digital Photography School

Comments Off on How to Make a Low Key Portrait (Step by Step)

Posted in Photography


Weekly Photo Challenge – Texture

27 Feb

The post Weekly Photo Challenge – Texture appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Sime.

Texture is one of the seven elements of art. Rough vs smooth, patterns, contrast. We have many ways to show texture and this week we want to see how you interpret and show texture in a photograph. I’ve gathered a few examples of what ‘texture’ is, to me, and I guess we can interpret it in our own way and it might be different for you – but anyway! here are a few examples…

This Week Your Challenge Theme is #dPSTexture

Weekly Photo Challenge – Texture

There are some great examples and articles on #dPSTexture on the blog, too! Make sure you pop across and take some extra inspiration from them!

  • How to use texture to create compelling images.
  • 17 highly detailed images that show texture.
  • Tips for abstract macro photography using texture and light.

You can upload your photo here (comments down below) or over in our Facebook Group.

Share them on Instagram or Twitter and use the hashtag #dPSTexture so we can see them!

How do I upload my photo to the comments?

Simply upload your shot into the comments field (look for the little camera icon in the Disqus comments section) and they’ll get embedded for us all to see. Or, if you’d prefer, upload them to your favourite photo-sharing site and leave the link to them.

Weekly Photography Challenge – Looking Up

The post Weekly Photo Challenge – Texture appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Sime.

Digital Photography School

Comments Off on Weekly Photo Challenge – Texture

Posted in Photography


Sigma Announces the 28-70mm f/2.8 – Small, Light, and Well-Priced

26 Feb

The post Sigma Announces the 28-70mm f/2.8 – Small, Light, and Well-Priced appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jaymes Dempsey.

Sigma 28-70mm f/2.8 announcement

Earlier this week, Sigma announced its upcoming lens:

The 28-70mm f/2.8 DG DN Contemporary, designed for Sony E-mount and Leica L-mount, and billed as “the world’s smallest f/2.8 standard zoom for mirrorless systems.”

Sigma already sells a 24-70mm f/2.8 ART lens, but the new 28-70mm features a few key improvements, including the smaller size, plus a near-50% weight reduction for an impressively portable package.

Unlike most f/2.8 zooms, the Sigma 28-70mm is ideal for travel photography, street photography, and even casual walkaround photography. I’m not sure I’d label it as truly compact, but it’s certainly small for an f/2.8 zoom, and will appeal to plenty of on-the-go photographers who require both low-light capabilities and flexibility.

If you’ve previously found yourself frustrated by the mirrorless, big-lens-on-a-small-body problem, the 28-70mm may be exactly what you need. Take a look at the lens mounted on a mirrorless body:

Sigma 28-70mm f/2.8 announcement

The setup looks comfortable, well-balanced, and just all-around nice to use.

Compared to most standard f/2.8 zooms, you do lose a few millimeters on the wide end. Is that a problem? That depends on your shooting style, because the difference between 24mm and 28mm isn’t trivial – you’ll lose out on the opportunity to get that sweeping wide-angle look – but assuming you don’t plan to use the 28-70mm for frequent landscape or architecture shooting, you should be fine.

Sigma claims “superb build quality,” and from the pictures, I can certainly believe it. Check out the 28-70mm f/2.8 up close:

Sigma 28-70mm f/2.8 announcement

There’s just something about the modern Sigma design that screams quality, and – bonus! – the lens looks pretty darn sleek.

Of course, no great lens is complete without stellar optics, and the 28-70mm f/2.8’s sharpness remains to be seen. But Sigma is confident in the 28-70mm’s performance, stating that “this large-aperture standard zoom delivers outstanding image quality that rivals Art line lenses.”

If Sigma’s evaluation is accurate, then I can certainly see the 28-70 making its way into the bags of quite a few photographers – including the aforementioned travel photographers and street photographers, but also portrait photographers, event photographers, and even landscape photographers who don’t mind the limited focal length.

As for the price, it’s a very reasonable $ 899. That’s cheaper than the Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 and the Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 (plus there’s the Nikon and Canon versions for mirrorless, but those are unmentionably expensive).

So if you’re a Sony mirrorless or L-mount shooter and you’re after a compact f/2.8 zoom that won’t put a huge dent in your wallet, the Sigma 28-70mm f/2.8 is certainly worth a look.

It’ll begin shipping on March 12th, but you can currently preorder the Sony version here and the L-mount version here.

Now over to you:

What do you think of this new lens from Sigma? Is it one you’ll consider purchasing? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

The post Sigma Announces the 28-70mm f/2.8 – Small, Light, and Well-Priced appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jaymes Dempsey.

Digital Photography School

Comments Off on Sigma Announces the 28-70mm f/2.8 – Small, Light, and Well-Priced

Posted in Photography


Sony a7S III gets S-Cinetone color profile with new 2.00 firmware update

25 Feb

Earlier this week, Sony Nordic accidentally sent out a newsletter with details of the next firmware update for its a7S III mirrorless camera. Now, firmware version 2.00 for the a7S III is live and ready to download for all.

As mentioned in our initial coverage, firmware version 2.00 now includes Sony’s S-Cinetone color profile, first seen in its F6X Cinema Line camera and ‘inspired by the color science used in Sony’s flagship VENICE cinema camera.’

The color profile, which Sony says ‘delivers natural mid-tones, plus soft colors and gorgeous highlights’ can be used for monitoring only or as a ‘baked-in’ look so the footage is graded for less work in post-production. The update also improves Active Mode with 5-axis optical in-body image stabilization.

You can download firmware version 2.00 for the Sony a7S III on Sony’s support website. Sony notes macOS Big Sur is not supported at this time.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (

Comments Off on Sony a7S III gets S-Cinetone color profile with new 2.00 firmware update

Posted in Uncategorized


12 Tips for Beautiful Long Exposure Night Photography

25 Feb

The post 12 Tips for Beautiful Long Exposure Night Photography appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Matt Murray.

long exposure night photography tips

Long exposure night photography can seem tough.

But it doesn’t have to be.

Because there are a few simple tricks you can use…

…that’ll ensure you get great long exposures, consistently.

And that’s what this article is all about. I’m going to give you 12 easy tips for long exposure night photos. Specifically, I’ll tell you:

  • Every piece of gear you need for pro-level night photography
  • The simple secrets for keeping your long exposure shots sharp
  • The best time of day to capture long exposure night photos (hint: It’s not at all what you’d expect!)

Plus a whole lot more.

Are you’re ready to become a master of long exposure night photography?

Let’s get started.

Long exposure night photography city from above

1. Scout your location ahead of time

Most photographers think that scouting is overkill.

But here’s the thing:

Knowing where the best locations are for night photography ahead of time can pay huge dividends.

It means you won’t have to work out where to set up when you arrive.

(And setting up is very stressful if you can’t find a spot and the sun is sinking rapidly!)

If you can, scout your location at the same time of day you plan on shooting. This will give you a good idea of what lighting to expect.

Have a good look around the area. And ask yourself:

Will there be any trees or obstacles blocking my view? Are there any lights in the vicinity – such as streetlights or floodlights – that will affect my images?

When choosing your location, also look for sources of movement, including:

  • Crowds of people
  • Cars that create dramatic light trails
  • Boats skimming across the water


Because movement is great for long exposure photos!

Long exposure night photography fair at night
In this photo of the Royal Queensland Show, both lights and people are creating a sense of movement.

If you’re not able to scout a location beforehand, consider your options.

For instance, you can turn up an hour or two before sunset to find the best location.

Or you can research the location by looking through social media. This will give you ideas for potential locations – including what they look like at night.

To learn more about the virtual scouting process, check out this article: Top Tips for Photographing the Best a City has to Offer in 48 Hours.

2. Consider taking multiple shots

Once you’ve determined your shooting location, here’s what to think about next:

Whether you will move your camera and tripod around on the shoot (changing locations, capturing different compositions, and/or using different focal lengths), or whether you will take a series of images that are exactly the same (perhaps for blending in Photoshop).

If you’ve decided on the latter, it can be worth taking a second camera and tripod with you; that way, you can take additional shots and make the most of your trip.

3. Use a checklist to pack your gear

Night photography requires a lot of equipment.

So before you go out to shoot, I highly recommend you create a checklist for packing your kit.

This is a great memory aid and will ensure that you don’t forget anything. Here are some of the things I have on my gear checklist:

  • Cameras and lenses
  • Fully-charged camera battery. If you’re capturing multiple images of the same scene to blend in Photoshop, you will have a very hard time lining them all up later on if you have to move your camera to change batteries.
  • Spare batteries
  • One or two tripods
  • Tripod base plates (these small rectangular bits of kit can be the difference between a successful shoot and a disaster!)
  • SD cards. Make sure you have a formatted card in your camera ready to go, as well as spares.
  • Water and snacks
  • Wireless headphones. Often, I’ll be in the same location taking images for several hours. If there’s not a fellow photographer to chat with, I listen to podcasts or music.

4. Set up early and be mindful of others

Try to arrive early so you can set up and be prepared at your preferred location.

When you set up your camera and tripod, be mindful of pedestrians, cyclists, and traffic in the area. Don’t place your gear where it will obstruct paths or where people could trip over it.

street corner with light trails
Always make sure your gear is not in the way of others during a night shoot in a busy area.

5. Shoot during blue hour for the best skies

If you want to create the most striking long exposure night photography, then I highly recommend you shoot during blue hour.

Specifically, start capturing images as the sun is setting, and keep photographing until all the color has drained from the sky.

That’s how you’ll get images with drama, like the one below:

blue hour photo of cityscape
The best time to take night photos is when there is still color in the sky!

6. Use a tripod

You must use a tripod for sharp long exposure night photography.

Otherwise, your photos will be full of blur.

I bought a Manfrotto tripod in 2005, and it’s still going strong! I also have a smaller, lighter MeFoto tripod for travel.

Owning several tripod quick release plates is also a good idea. That way, you can detach your camera from the tripod whenever you need (and stick it back on quickly, as well!).

tripod head
A good-quality tripod is a solid investment for long exposure night photographers.

7. Turn on your camera’s electronic level

Most cameras have a built-in guide or electronic level.

If your camera has one, then turn it on.

Why is an electronic level useful?

It’ll let you know if your camera is crooked, just like an old-fashioned spirit level. And you can adjust your camera so that every single image comes back straight.

(On my Fujifilm X cameras, this is a horizontal line across the screen that turns green when the camera is level.)

Of course, you can always straighten the horizon in a program such as Lightroom or Photoshop.

But this can get annoying, especially if it’s a frequent problem.

So find the electronic level, and make sure it’s active before you start shooting.

8. Use a remote release

When taking long exposures, you must minimize any movement of the camera during an exposure.

Which means that you cannot press the shutter button.


No matter how careful you are, when you tap the shutter, you may create camera shake. And end up with blurry images.

One way to avoid camera shake is to use a remote release. These are small accessories that plug into a socket on the side of your camera, allowing you to trigger the shutter without pressing the shutter button.

Many camera companies also have a smartphone app you can use to activate the shutter of your camera.

Long exposure night photography with a remote
You can trigger many cameras via an app.

9. Use the self-timer feature

Here’s a second way for you to minimize camera movement during an exposure:

Use your camera’s self-timer feature. I actually prefer this method of hitting the shutter button for two reasons:

  1. I usually take two cameras on shoots, so using a smartphone app is not an option since it can only connect to one camera at a time.
  2. The two cameras I take use different types of remote releases, and I’d rather not have to remember to bring both of those accessories.

Instead, I recommend you set up a two-second self-timer delay in advance. That way, you can hit the shutter button, wait for any vibrations to fade, then get a tack-sharp shot.

(Just remember to deactivate the self-timer feature after the shoot is over!)

Long exposure night photography with water
The self-timer feature is a great way to minimize camera shake.

10. Try interval shooting for great results

Do you want to capture the beauty of a scene over a long period of time?

Try interval shooting.

With interval shooting, you can fire off photos with a set time interval (so you capture one photo every two minutes, for example).

I set my camera to take a photo every two minutes during the early part of my shoots, then – when the light starts to get interesting and the city lights come on – I set my camera to take a photo ever 20 or 30 seconds.

You can also set this feature to stop after a certain number of exposures.

Handy, right?

Interval shooting essentially sets your camera on autopilot, leaving you free to take images with a second camera.

Just be careful not to bump or move your main camera when adjusting settings during your shoot.

11. Turn off image stabilization

If you want sharp long exposure photos, you must turn off camera and lens image stabilization.

Now, you’re probably thinking:

What? Image stabilization makes photos sharper, not blurry!

And you’re right…


But remember:

You should always use a tripod for long exposure night photography.

And when image stabilization meets a tripod, it causes problems. You see, your tripod should be completely still, yet your image stabilization technology will often move your camera and/or lens slightly – resulting in unwanted blur.

Some newer lenses can sense when a camera is mounted on a tripod and turn off image stabilization automatically.

But I recommend you check, just to be sure.

12. Always stay safe!

This is of paramount importance when taking photos at night.

Always be aware of your surroundings and pay attention to who is nearby. I usually have my bag zipped up and next to me at all times.

Often, I put one of my bag straps around my leg so no one can try to run off with my kit.

And while I take wireless headphones, I would only ever use them in busy locations where I feel safe.

lighthouse at night
Always be aware of your surroundings when shooting in remote places or late at night.

Long exposure night photography: Final words

I hope you’ve enjoyed this guide to long exposure night photography.

While shooting at night may seem difficult, with some extra thought and planning, you’ll capture some stunning images!

Of course, the best way to improve your photography is to get out there and practice as much as you can.

Now over to you:

Which of these long exposure night photography tips is your favorite? Which one do you plan to use the next time you’re out shooting? Let me know in the comments below!

The post 12 Tips for Beautiful Long Exposure Night Photography appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Matt Murray.

Digital Photography School

Comments Off on 12 Tips for Beautiful Long Exposure Night Photography

Posted in Photography


NASA’s Juno spacecraft recently captured a stunning image of Jupiter

24 Feb

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS

With all the recent excitement surrounding NASA’s Perseverance rover landing on Mars and new images, we’ve got space on the brain. This month, NASA published a beautiful image of the gas giant Jupiter that its Juno spacecraft captured in late 2020.

NASA’s Juno spacecraft has been orbiting Jupiter since July 5, 2016. The spacecraft was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on August 5, 2011. The latest image, seen below, was captured on December 30, 2020, during Juno’s 31st close flyby of Jupiter.

‘Citizen scientist Tanya Oleksuik created this color-enhanced image using data from the JunoCam camera…At the time, the spacecraft was about 31,000 mi (about 50,000 km) from the planet’s cloud tops, at a latitude of about 50° South.’ Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS. Click to enlarge.

This excellent shot shows Jupiter’s turbulent atmosphere and includes several of Jupiter’s southern jet streams. Jupiter’s famous Great Red Spot is visible on the horizon as well. With the aid of imagery and the numerous scientific instruments onboard Juno, scientists discovered that the planet’s atmospheric jet streams extend further than previously thought. Recent evidence shows that the jet streams and belts penetrate up to 1,800 mi (3,000 km) down into the planet.

JunoCam (JCM) is a visible-light camera/telescope. Malin Space Science Systems built the camera. It has a field of view of 58° and includes four filters, three of which are used for visible light photography. The camera is fixed to Juno, so it gets one chance for observation when Juno orbits Jupiter. JCM uses a Kodak image sensor, the Kodak KAI-2020, and records 1,600 x 1,200 pixel images, which is fewer than 2MP. Due to the incredible distance of Juno from Earth, which is more than 550 million miles, only limited data can be transmitted from Juno to Earth during each 11-day orbital cycle.

Image credit: NASA. Click to enlarge.

Citizens are encouraged to download and process JunoCam images. Raw images are available to view and download here. If you’d like to learn more about NASA Citizen Science projects, visit the dedicated Citizen Science website.

Artist concept of Juno. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The Juno mission’s primary objective is to improve our understanding of Jupiter’s origin and evolution. Juno and its onboard instruments are used to determine how much water is in Jupiter’s atmosphere, analyze the planet’s atmosphere, map magnetic and gravity fields, explore the planet’s magnetosphere, and more. As of now, the Juno mission is due to end in September 2025, so there’ll be plenty of more images to come in the next few years. You can learn more about Juno here.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (

Comments Off on NASA’s Juno spacecraft recently captured a stunning image of Jupiter

Posted in Uncategorized


How to Remove Wrinkles From Clothes in Photoshop (Fast and Effectively)

24 Feb

The post How to Remove Wrinkles From Clothes in Photoshop (Fast and Effectively) appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Ana Mireles.

how to remove wrinkles from clothes in Photoshop

Did you know that you can easily remove wrinkles from clothes in Photoshop?

Wrinkled clothing is one of those details that gets easily overlooked. You just don’t notice them until you get back home, open your image, and see a big, ugly wrinkle ruining your photo.

Fortunately, there are several simple ways to get rid of those wrinkles and keep clothing looking as good as new!

And in this article, I’ll show you the techniques for quick and easy wrinkle removal.

Let’s get started.

Why do you need to remove wrinkles from clothes in Photoshop?

Wrinkles are distracting.

In fact, most people underestimate how eye-catching wrinkles can be.

And if you’re after a great image, then everything in the shot needs to work together and guide the viewer’s eye toward key compositional elements.

That’s why wrinkles can have such a negative impact. Viewers will get fixated on the flaw instead of considering what they love about your photo.

And if you plan on doing professional portraiture, you must get wrinkles under control.

Because here’s the truth:

Often, the difference between a professional photo and one taken by a beginner is merely attention to detail.

(Detail such as wrinkles!)

Removing wrinkles from clothes in Photoshop: The basics

There are many tools you can use to easily remove wrinkles from clothes in Photoshop.

But the most popular options are the healing tools.

Now, there are three healing tools in Photoshop: the Healing Brush tool, the Spot Healing Brush tool, and the Patch tool. Each of these can be used to “iron” your clothes and remove wrinkles in Photoshop.

When you heal an image, Photoshop samples pixels from the area’s surroundings and then matches the texture and lighting to the pixels being healed. That way, the retouch blends with nearby elements.

Using the spot healing brush to remove wrinkles from clothes in Photoshop

Now, the Spot Healing Brush will automatically determine the best pixels to sample, so all you have to do is set the size and hardness of the brush and paint over the wrinkle. Photoshop takes care of the rest.

Note that the Mode menu (in the top bar) allows you to choose the Spot Healing Brush painting mode. For removing wrinkles in clothes, the best option here is Replace. You see, fabric always has texture, and the Replace mode allows you to preserve this even as you heal away wrinkles.

You can then choose the Healing Type. You have three options: Content-Aware, Create Texture, and Proximity Match.

There’s no single “best” pick; instead, just experiment to see which one works best for your photo. In the example above, I found that Content-Aware gave the best results.

The Healing Brush tool works the same way, except that you choose the pixels you want to sample. Simply hold the Alt/Option key and click on the area from which you want to sample, then release the Alt/Option key and click on the pixels you want to heal.

Finally, the Patch tool lets you draw a selection around the area that you want to heal, then drag it toward the pixels that you want to source.

The Patch tool will allow you to work faster, as you can cover large areas with each retouch. Don’t overdo it, though. If the area is too big, the Patch tool won’t do a great job – so you need to find the right balance.

You can also move the Diffusion slider to adjust the blending speed and quality. Use lower values for pixels that have a lot of detail and higher values for smoother areas.

Using the Patch tool to remove wrinkles from clothes in Photoshop

Challenges when removing clothing wrinkles

these wrinkles looked fake when removed

When you are removing a single, isolated wrinkle, things are not very complicated. However, when there are many wrinkles or you have large areas to cover, you can run into trouble.

Some of the most common issues when using any of the healing tools – as well as the Clone Stamp tool – are the accidental patterns you can create.

To avoid this, adjust the size and hardness of your brush. Also, change the source point and distance to avoid any recognizable repetitions. Finally, vary the blend mode and the opacity.

Keep in mind that, while you don’t want to create accidental patterns, you do need to follow the patterns of the fabric’s design and texture.

That’s the challenge.

Another difficulty is maintaining luminosity. Always clone or heal from places where the brightness appears to match the surroundings, though this doesn’t necessarily mean you should source pixels from right next to your wrinkle.

Otherwise, while you might not notice your heal on the first brushstroke, you will after a handful of strokes.

So when you have to work with big areas, it’s better to use an advanced technique (which I explain in the next section).

An advanced technique for removing wrinkles from clothes in Photoshop: Frequency separation

Frequency separation is a popular, high-level technique for retouching skin blemishes.

But it’s also fantastic for getting rid of wrinkles in fabric.

The basic idea is that you separate the texture and the color into two different layers.

To do this, create two copies of the original layer.

Then hide the top copy by clicking on the eye icon next to it.

Select the middle layer (i.e., the layer sandwiched between the top copy and the original). If you want, you can rename it Color.

Select Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur. Drag the slider until you don’t see the details of the fabric.

adding a Gaussian blur when removing wrinkles

Now enable the top layer again and select it. You can rename this one Texture.

Select Image>Apply Image.

In the dialog box, choose the layer called Color. Then select Subtract as the blending mode.

Finally, set the Opacity to 100%, the Scale to 2, and the Offset to 128. Then click OK.

using the Apply Image option when removing wrinkles

Now head to the Layers panel. Make sure the Texture layer is selected, then set the blend mode to Linear Light.

And that’s the basics of frequency separation – now your photo is divided up into Texture and Color layers. And you can heal each layer separately!

Frequency separation when removing wrinkles from clothes in Photoshop

Also, if you feel that the subject is too flat after applying this frequency separation technique, you can dodge and burn to bring back some dimensionality.

How to remove wrinkles from clothing in Photoshop: Conclusion

example with wrinkles removed

You should now be able to confidently remove wrinkles of any type – with just a few quick edits in Photoshop.

In fact, I used very extreme examples for this article, and it’s unlikely you’ll face wrinkles that serious unless you don’t iron anything at all.

(In fact, I recommend you or your client/model do a bit of ironing before a photoshoot, just to save time in editing later.)

I hope that, the next time you need to remove wrinkles from clothes in Photoshop, these techniques can be of help!

Now over to you:

Have you ever been faced with frustrating wrinkles in your photos? How did you get rid of them? Share your thoughts and images in the comments below!

The post How to Remove Wrinkles From Clothes in Photoshop (Fast and Effectively) appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Ana Mireles.

Digital Photography School

Comments Off on How to Remove Wrinkles From Clothes in Photoshop (Fast and Effectively)

Posted in Photography


What’s the Best Aperture for Portraits?

23 Feb

The post What’s the Best Aperture for Portraits? appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Simon Ringsmuth.

the best aperture for portraits

Choosing the best aperture for portraits doesn’t have to be complicated…

…but there are some guidelines to follow if you want your shots to look stunning.

And in this article, I’m going to break it down for you. I’ll share with you my favorite apertures for different types of portraits – so that you can confidently pick the perfect aperture whenever you’re out shooting!

Let’s get started.

Best Aperture for Portraits family by a forest
Nikon D750 | Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 | 185mm |1/350s | f/4 | ISO 2000

Why is aperture important in portrait photography?

Aperture matters for several reasons:

First, aperture is one of the three components of exposure. If you don’t get your aperture right, you might end up with a too-dark or too-light image.

And, because of its effect on exposure, your aperture limits your shutter speed and ISO.

The right aperture also puts your viewer’s attention squarely on your subject and regulates your depth of field to get just the right amount of background blur.

Now, the best portrait lenses have wide apertures of f/2.8 to f/1.2. With these lenses, you can capture photos in virtually any lighting condition, plus you can create dreamy bokeh behind your subject.

As you consider what aperture to use when shooting portraits, you also need to pay attention to the focal length of your lenses, as well as how close you’ll get to your subjects.

A wide aperture on a 35mm lens won’t blur the background as much as a wide aperture on an 85mm lens. Also, longer focal lengths require fast shutter speeds to reduce vibration, unless the lens or camera has built-in stabilization. Wide apertures can help get those fast shutter speeds without requiring a high ISO (and a high ISO might result in unwanted noise or grain).

girl sitting on a trail
Nikon D750 | Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 | 200mm | 1/180s | f/2.8 | ISO 250

What is the best aperture for portraits?

The best aperture for individual portraits is f/2 to f/2.8. If you’re shooting two people, use f/4. For more than two people, shoot at f/5.6.

These aren’t the only apertures you can use, and there are certainly other elements to consider. But if you want great results, you can’t go wrong with these rules of thumb.

They’ll help ensure your portraits are sharp and your subjects are all in focus.

Best Aperture for Portraits woman headshot
Nikon D750 | Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 | 200mm | 1/350s | f/4 | ISO 2000

Apertures in portrait photography: A detailed breakdown

Unfortunately, there is no single best aperture for portraits. There are myriad factors that affect the final photo, so you’ll need to adjust your aperture depending on your subject.

Let’s take a closer look at some different shooting scenarios and the apertures I recommend:

The best aperture for individual portraits

While I stand by my earlier recommendation for an f/2 to f/2.8 aperture, you should consider those apertures as starting points, or as an insurance policy of sorts. Depth of field is so thin at wider apertures that it’s best to start a bit smaller than your lens’s maximum aperture value, simply to make sure your bases are covered.

After all, shooting at f/1.2 can keep a person’s eyelashes in focus while their iris ends up blurry!

Best Aperture for Portraits senior graduation
Nikon D750 | Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 | 200mm | 1/250s | f/2.8 | ISO 100

Note that, when using a wider focal length, you can shoot at larger apertures, because the depth of field won’t be as shallow.

For example, if you use a 35mm prime lens, you can go all the way to f/1.8 or wider and keep plenty of your subject in focus.

One caveat: Some lenses, especially less-expensive zooms and even some primes, lose sharpness at maximum apertures. For that reason, I recommend shooting conservatively and not always going as wide as you can.

Of course, each lens is different, so test out different apertures and see what you’re comfortable with.

Best Aperture for Portraits child smiling
Nikon D7100 | Nikon 35mm f/1.8 | 1/750s | f/1.8 | ISO 200

I like to take a two-pronged approach when shooting portraits.

First, I always use Aperture Priority mode paired with Auto ISO. This lets me specify the aperture while my camera takes care of the shutter speed and ISO.

Since the aperture is my primary consideration, I need to get that right. As long as my camera doesn’t drop below a certain shutter speed or go beyond a specific ISO value, I know my photos will be fine.

Second, I always start by taking several shots with a smaller aperture. It’s how I cover my bases; that way, I know I have at least some shots where everything is in focus and the depth of field isn’t too shallow.

Then, like stepping on the gas pedal of a sports car, I spin my camera dial and widen the aperture. This lets me turn my portraits up to 11, and clients love the results – but I know that, if my depth of field does turn out too shallow and something isn’t in focus, I can always rely on the narrow-aperture shots I started with.

Best Aperture for Portraits senior closeup
Nikon D750 | Nikon 85mm f/1.8G | 1/180s | f/1.8 | ISO 250. I took lots of shots at f/2.8 and then went all the way to f/1.8, knowing I had a fallback plan if the wide-aperture photos didn’t turn out sharp. Fortunately, the f/1.8 shots were great!

The best aperture for small group photos

Selecting the right aperture for small groups depends on a number of factors.

Though you can’t go wrong with f/4, there are variables to consider that will help you get the best shots possible.

(One reason f/4 works well is that it gives you depth of field wiggle room while still producing great results.)

When photographing a single subject, it’s essential to get the eyes in focus, or at least the one eye that is closest to the camera.

But when working with small groups, you ideally want everyone’s eyes in focus. So the depth of field should be wider, which requires a smaller aperture.

Fortunately, when shooting groups, you’ll be positioned farther back from your subjects, and this will deepen the depth of field.

An f/4 aperture strikes a great balance between blurring the background, sharpening your subjects, and giving your clients frame-worthy photos.

parents and child
Nikon D750 | Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 | 200mm | 1/250s | f/4 | ISO 900

Note that apertures wider than f/4 can work, but people must be aligned perfectly with one another; otherwise, there’s a good chance someone will be out of focus.

So apertures such as f/3.5 and f/2.8 tempt fate, and you might not realize it until it’s too late.

In fact, if your subjects are too far out of alignment, even f/4 won’t do the trick. Look at the photo below; the mother is holding her son on her lap, and his eyes are sharp while her head is blurry. She is only a few inches behind her son, and f/4 resulted in her being out of focus:

mother and child
Nikon D750 | Nikon 85mm f/1.8 | 1/250s | f/4 | ISO 800. The mother’s eyes are just a bit blurry, which could have been fixed by using a smaller aperture of f/5.6.

Even though f/4 is my go-to aperture for small group photos, it’s a good idea to get shots at smaller apertures, as well. Otherwise, things can get so chaotic that you might not have time to check all your shots, and only after you load your images in Lightroom will you realize that you didn’t get everyone in focus.

This has happened to me more than I care to admit! For that reason, I recommend taking some pictures at f/5.6 even if you’re pretty sure you nailed the shot at f/4.

And by all means, go wider, too. Just be aware that, as the number of people increases, you are far less likely to get everyone in focus.

husband and wife
Nikon D750 | Nikon 85mm f/1.8 | 1/250s | f/3.3 | ISO 500. I opened up the aperture after getting several great shots at f/4, and I ended up with some beautiful images.

The best aperture for large group photos

The larger the group, the smaller the aperture, right?

Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Smaller apertures mean less light enters the lens, so you have to use slower shutter speeds and/or higher ISO values.

Plus, shrinking the aperture keeps the background sharp – so you won’t get the creamy background that many clients love.

Therefore, f/5.6 is a great place to start when dealing with large groups.

Best Aperture for Portraits family walking
Nikon D750 | Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 | 130mm | 1/180s | f/5.6 | ISO 1100

There are exceptions to this guideline. You can use a wider aperture if you’re able to get everyone positioned (somewhat) in alignment.

Of course, this isn’t always possible, especially when kids are involved, since they tend to be somewhat less predictable. But if you have the option, it’s worth trying larger apertures.

That is, as long as you’ve already captured some small-aperture photos to make sure your bases are covered!

Best Aperture for Portraits family standing
Nikon D750 | Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 | 200mm | 1/180s | f/4 | ISO 1250

When doing large group shots, you are usually standing much farther away, so depth of field isn’t as much of an issue compared to single-person portraits.

You still have to be careful when using wide apertures, but sometimes you simply need to let in a lot of light and a wide aperture is the best option.

When shooting the image below, I was losing daylight as a light drizzle came on. I lined everyone up on my homemade photo benches and shot this picture at f/4.

family sitting
Nikon D750 | Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 | 200mm | 1/500s | f/4 | ISO 2200

After getting a couple of shots at f/4 and f/5.6, I went all the way down to f/2.8. The result is okay, but the adults in the back row are just a bit out of focus. The image isn’t worthy of printing; let it serve as a cautionary tale about the importance of using smaller apertures like f/5.6 for large groups.

family sitting
Nikon D750 | Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 | 200mm | 1/400s | f/2.8 | ISO 1100

The best aperture for close-up portraits

Doing extreme close-up portraits, whether with macro lenses or close-up filters, can be exceedingly tricky.


Because the depth of field is incredibly thin. Wider apertures further increase this issue, so it’s best to shoot in well-lit conditions and use a small aperture like f/5.6.

child closeup
Nikon D750 | Nikon 50mm f/1.8 with a close-up filter | 1/90s | f/5.6 | ISO 6400

Wide apertures can work fine when doing macro photography with still subjects, but people (especially young children) move around so much that it helps to have some depth of field breathing room.

baby closeup
Nikon D750 | Nikon 50mm f/1.8 with a close-up filter | 1/180s | f/5.6 | ISO 6400

The best aperture for portraits: Final words

Choosing the best aperture for portraits isn’t difficult, but it does take a bit of experience and practice.

I recommend starting with the advice I’ve laid out here, but don’t be afraid to tweak it to suit your own style.

For example, you can’t go wrong shooting single-person portraits at f/2.8 – but over time, you may decide you prefer going much wider.

Or perhaps your clients like the look of smaller apertures with more depth of field. The choice is yours, and as long as you like the results, then there’s no bad option!

husband wife portrait
Nikon D750 | Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 | 200mm | 1/500s | f/2.8 | ISO 800
Q: Is f/2.8 enough for portraits?

A: Certainly! Many lenses have a maximum aperture of f/2.8 and this is a great middle ground for letting in enough light while still keeping the depth of field under control.

Q: I only have a kit lens. Can I use it for portraits?

A: Kit lenses work just fine for portraits, though they typically don’t have apertures that go as wide as prime lenses. I recommend zooming in as far as your kit lens will go and using your maximum aperture, even though it might only be f/5.6. This will blur the background as much as possible.

Q: Can I shoot large group portraits with very wide apertures?

A: Yes, but make sure everyone is lined up so your depth of field is under control. I shot this group photo at f/2, and it only worked because everyone was in a straight line:What's the Best Aperture for Portraits?

Q: I want to use a very wide aperture in bright sunlight, but my photos always turn out overexposed. How can I prevent this?

A: You’ll either need a very fast shutter speed or an ND filter.

Q: Do I need to get an expensive f/1.4 lens to shoot portraits?

A: Absolutely not! F/1.8 prime lenses are outstanding for portraits and won’t break the bank. Canon and Nikon make affordable 50mm f/1.8 lenses, and many other manufacturers have relatively inexpensive options, as well. Don’t ever fall into the trap of thinking you have to spend thousands of dollars to get great portraits!

Q: My camera has a Portrait mode. Should I use that for portrait photography?

A: You can, though I recommend using Aperture Priority mode; it lets you select the exact aperture you want to use. Portrait mode tries to make decisions based on available light and can give you apertures that are wider or narrower than what you might want.

The post What’s the Best Aperture for Portraits? appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Simon Ringsmuth.

Digital Photography School

Comments Off on What’s the Best Aperture for Portraits?

Posted in Photography