Posts Tagged ‘Photo’

dPS Weekly Photo Challenge: My Street

16 Oct

The post dPS Weekly Photo Challenge: My Street appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Sime.

Thanks to Marjorie over in our Facebook Group, this week we’re having a go at photographing our street “On the street where I live” So earlier, I grabbed my camera and headed to the top of my street and this was the first thing that caught my eye… (Someone that lives around here has done similar on many signs..)

Use the hashtag #dPSInMyStreet if you share your photograph on social media

Photo of a stop sign that says stop having kids
“Stop Having Kids”

What you choose to photograph in your street is entirely up to you, but it does have to be “on the street where you live” It can be a single image as mine is, or you can make it a triptych perhaps? (Simon, what’s a Triptych!?)

Remember: The aim of our weekly challenge is to get you to pick up your camera and make a new photograph, rather than dig through your archives for a photo you took in 1993 (unless you can’t, and then you can share a photo from 1993, but I’d really rather you went and took a new one)

Now we’re not necessarily looking for ‘Street Photography‘ though that can be what you shoot if you like, but just some element, or set of elements from your street.

Side note! Don’t forget the 5 Day Deal is happening right now, if that’s your thing! But meanwhile, go and take your photograph, share it in the comments below this post, share it on Twitter, share it on Instagram, or even pop across and share it in our private Facebook group.

Last thing before you go! If you want to suggest a topic for a weekly challenge, make sure you leave a comment on THIS POST or leave it with your photo in the comments under this post! Thanks

The post dPS Weekly Photo Challenge: My Street appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Sime.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Just Add Light

09 Oct

The post Weekly Photo Challenge: Just Add Light appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Sime.

I have been thinking about light a lot recently, adding light to images by using lots of different sources, flash, led panels, torches, bedside lamps etc, but I have to level with you, while I love experimenting with light, I’m not a master of ‘all of the settings’ and I mess up often – and that’s ok, we learn.

We thought it might be a fun idea to do another “more than one image” challenge to see what adding light, however you like, can lift an image.

Share your photo on social media and tag them #dPSWeeklyChallenge and #dPSJustAddLight

So today when I went with my 11yo and my camerabag to an often empty walking path nearby to take a couple of photographs of him hitting his Jigsaw Jump, the goal being to light him and get a dramatic photo in the spot I’d chosen, shaded by trees, almost like a tunnel of darker trees… All was well until I realised I’d forgotten my glasses and couldn’t find all the settings I needed on these new flashes, anyway! Onward!

The idea is that you have a photograph you take, and then you take it again but add a lightsource of some kind to change the image for better or for worse, and when you share them, you share the images together. You can use any lightsource, I’ve used a flash in the photo below.

Seb fighting against gravity

And in this photo of my grinder I used a torch and a small Aputure LED panel with a piece of red paper as my background.

Grinds You Down

You can either join two images into one image, or you can post two separately, whatever you would prefer! You can post in the comments below, or over in our private Facebook group.

The post Weekly Photo Challenge: Just Add Light appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Sime.

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From the T90 to the EOS R3 – a visual tour of Canon’s high-end cameras (photo gallery)

25 Sep

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Canon was a pioneer of electronic, multi-mode cameras, and some of the design decisions that the company made way back in the 1980s persist even now, in its high-end EF and RF cameras. From the T90 to the new EOS R3, high-end Canon cameras share a remarkable amount of DNA.

In this gallery, we’re taking a closer look at several Canon cameras, from the 1980s to the present day, to explore how the company’s approach to ergonomics has evolved (and when it hasn’t) over the years.

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How to Take the Perfect Selfie: The Right Angle, Lighting and Photo Editor

19 Sep

Taking great selfies requires the right light, angle, setting, and editing. Getting a great shot is so much more than just clicking a button. It requires skill, practice, and good technique. Come along and learn how to master the art of the perfect selfie using photography tricks and tools described below. In general, a great selfie is shot using an Continue Reading

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Luminar Neo to Offer Advanced AI Photo Editing (and Debut This Winter)

17 Sep

The post Luminar Neo to Offer Advanced AI Photo Editing (and Debut This Winter) appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jaymes Dempsey.

Luminar Neo to debut this winter

Skylum has announced yet another eye-catching photo-editing program, Luminar Neo, billing the software as “a creative image editor driven by AI technologies of the future.”

As the company behind Luminar 4 and Luminar AI – programs that debuted innovative, AI-based tools such as AI Sky Replacement and Composition AI – Skylum is no stranger to success in the AI photo editing market. And Luminar Neo aims to improve upon the Skylum formula, offering amateur photographers an AI route to pro-level edits, along with higher-level control for advanced shooters.

Yet Luminar Neo isn’t a simple Luminar AI iteration. According to Skylum, Luminar Neo “is a quintessence of all [the company’s] applications released to date,” and “will retain almost all of Luminar AI’s features” but add “all-new, cutting-edge, AI-powered tools.” 

For current Luminar AI users wondering whether it makes sense to upgrade, Skylum spells out the difference between Luminar AI and Luminar Neo:

“Luminar AI is the easiest-to-use image editor fully powered by artificial intelligence for those who prefer a time-saving, Template-driven workflow for quick results…Luminar Neo is for those who want more editing options and more creative control.”

In other words, while anyone – including complete beginners – will feel at home in Luminar AI, the new Luminar Neo pushes in the direction of programs like Luminar 4 and Adobe Lightroom Classic, both offering a slew of tools for enthusiasts and pros alike.

Skylum has already teased a handful of new Luminar Neo tools, including a powerful photo relighting option, intelligent background switching, sensor dust removal, power line removal, and some form of AI masking, but we’ll have to wait to learn precisely how these features work and who they’re for.

Luminar Neo has no release date – the promotional materials merely claim a “winter” launch – though you can expect an announcement sometime in the next few months. An early December release would make sense, given the upcoming holiday season. And if you know you want Luminar Neo, you can preorder a one-time license for $ 54 USD.

So who should think about buying Luminar Neo? The new program should suit serious hobbyists all the way up through advanced amateurs (and potentially even pros). If you like the idea of creative AI effects but still want to be in control, Neo is likely a better pick than Luminar AI. On the other hand, if you’re looking for an ultra-easy, no-effort-necessary editor, Luminar AI is the better option.

Now over to you:

What do you think of Luminar Neo? Will you purchase it? Does it sound good? Bad? Are you disappointed? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

The post Luminar Neo to Offer Advanced AI Photo Editing (and Debut This Winter) appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jaymes Dempsey.

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Affinity Photo vs Luminar: Which Editor Is Best in 2021?

09 Sep

The post Affinity Photo vs Luminar: Which Editor Is Best in 2021? appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Dawn Gilfillan.

affinity photo vs luminar: which is best?

Are you struggling to choose between Affinity Photo vs Luminar 4? We’ve got you covered.

In this article, we’re going to take a careful look at these two programs and evaluate their features, prices, user friendliness, and more. So whether you’re looking to buy your first image editing program or you want to upgrade from different software, you’ll leave knowing which of these programs is the better buy.

Let’s jump right in, starting with a quick overview:

Affinity Photo vs Luminar: overview

Both Affinity Photo and Luminar 4 offer a lot of functionality for the price. Interestingly, many of their features are worlds apart, though the programs do offer RAW support and conversion for photographers working with RAW files.

Affinity Photo

Affinity photo vs luminar

Affinity Photo’s goal? To be Photoshop on a budget. The program offers plenty of advanced features and tools (like channel mixing, liquify, and masking options) for fine-tuning and high-level image retouching. Affinity Photo also caters to graphic designers, thanks to its array of text tools and other design-centric features.

(In fact, if you’ve ever used Photoshop, Affinity Photo will certainly look familiar!)


  • A huge array of tools and adjustment features
  • Batch processing
  • RAW support
  • 90-day free trial
  • Focus stacking, panoramas, HDR, and astrophotography tools
  • Print and canvas options


  • No image management or organization features
  • Beginners may struggle to make sense of the layout
  • Not many presets, overlays, or LUTs available inside the software; here, the internet is your best bet

Luminar 4

affinity photo vs luminar

Luminar 4 takes a different approach to image editing. While it offers some similar features, such as layers and blending modes, it’s based around creative enhancements using Luminar Looks (Skylum’s version of presets), LUTs, and AI editing tools.

Luminar catalog

Unlike Affinity Photo, Luminar packs a photo organization panel. It’s very user friendly and easy for beginners. However, more experienced image editors and retouchers will miss a lot of advanced tools, such as in-depth compositing options, text tools, channel mixers, and LAB color.


  • Image library and organization
  • Very easy to use
  • Lots of built-in presets (Luminar Looks) and LUTs
  • Creative editing options (AI Sky Replacement, Sunrays, texture overlays, etc.)
  • RAW support
  • Integration with SmugMug, 500px, and more
  • Batch processing


  • Not many advanced editing tools, and some (like Dodge & Burn) are not the most accurate for detailed retouching work
  • No text or graphics tools

Layout and ease of use

Which has the better interface and ease of use, Affinity Photo or Luminar? Let’s take a closer look:

Luminar 4

Luminar welcome screen

The home screen in Luminar is well-designed. Although there is a lot crammed into the space, it isn’t overwhelming. Hover your mouse over an icon to learn what it is, and click to view the workspaces (which are organized into different categories: Essentials, Creative, Portrait, and Professional).

The Luminar Looks presets show up as a film strip along the bottom of the screen, so you can see from the thumbnails how a preset will look before applying it. You will also find different categories of Looks, including Aerial, Portrait, Landscape, and Dramatic. A handy button on the top menu bar lets you see the Before/After split screen, and I find this really useful for determining whether I’ve gone too far with my edits.

Luminar Edit module

There are plenty of tutorials available for Luminar 4 beginners, and the welcome screen gives you a quick run-through on importing images when you open the program for the first time.

Affinity Photo

Affinity Photo editing

As mentioned earlier, Affinity seems to have emulated Photoshop’s layout, which is fine if you’re already used to the Photoshop-style interface, as you’ll have an idea where each tool is and what it does. If you’re a beginner, though, it’s a bit of a steeper learning curve compared to Luminar.

Affinity Photo editing

Instead of workspaces, Affinity Photo uses something called Personas. There’s one for Photo, Liquify, Develop, Tone Mapping, and Export. Click on your chosen Persona to see the tools you’ll need for the job; for instance, in Develop, the huge plethora of tools down the left-hand side of the screen are replaced by a few editing essentials, perfect for getting basic editing processes out of the way.

You won’t find many presets in Affinity Photo, but you will find tools like Mesh Warp, Pen, Rectangular Marquee, and Clone Stamp. There’s only a limited range of built-in LUTs, but you can always find more on the internet. Plus, Affinity Photo offers every kind of advanced editing/retouching/graphic design tool you can imagine, as well as printing options.

Editing tools

Which program offers superior editing capabilities? It’s a close call.

Luminar 4

Luminar 4 utilizes AI technology for some of its editing tools, including AI Sky Replacement and AI Augmented Sky. With Luminar, it’s all about getting your editing done quickly and with minimum fuss, and the AI tools work okay, but I still have some reservations. At full strength, they often look a bit too strong, though you can always adjust the strength slider for a more natural look.

I’m impressed by the AI Sky Replacement (and had a lot of fun playing around with this!), plus there’s a huge range of skies to choose from, including sunsets, starry skies, and bright blue skies. I used a landscape shot of the beach and sea to test the sky enhancement functions, though you should be careful when applying AI Sky Replacement to images with objects along the horizon.

Luminar Essentials

Interestingly, the Luminar workspaces cater to different types of photographers. In the Essentials workspace, you’ll find all the basic (essential!) adjustment tools like Exposure, Highlights, Shadows, Smart Contrast, Denoise, and Saturation. There are also more advanced tools, including Details Enhancer, Vignette, and B&W Conversion.

The Creative workspace is where you’ll find all the fun special effects, including Glow, Fog, Sunrays, and AI Sky Replacement. The Portrait workspace has tools for enhancing eyes and whitening teeth, while the Professional workspace offers tools like Split Toning, Advanced Contrast, and Adjustable Gradient.

Luminar Looks

One of the big things missing from Luminar 4 is a set of selection tools, but unless you specifically need these, it shouldn’t be a deal-breaker.

Affinity Photo

Affinity Photo has a panel titled Adjustment, which includes basic enhancements such as Brightness, Levels, White Balance, and Contrast, along with advanced tools like Split Toning, Channel Mixer, LUT, and Threshold. Like Luminar 4, you can preview different editing effects before actually applying them.

Plus, you can easily combine adjustments and effects. Affinity Photo treats every adjustment as a layer, allowing you to control the opacity and blend modes for more creative control. One of the cool features offered in Affinity Photo – and absent from Luminar 4 – is the Tone Mapping tool. This creates an HDR image, which opens in a new window with a range of tone-mapped styles to choose from, including Natural, Detailed, and Dramatic.

Affinity Photo editing

Finally, the Develop Persona is used for RAW file editing, and it features tools such as Lens Corrections, Noise Reduction, and Chromatic Aberration Reduction.

Also note that exporting is easy with Affinity Photo. You get a big range of options to choose from:

Exporting in Affinity Photo

Bottom line: Affinity is bursting with tools for the advanced image editor. Some elements are even as good as Photoshop but at a significantly cheaper price. No, it’s not an editor I would recommend for a beginner, but it will probably suit those looking for more than automatic adjustments and a slew of presets.

Speed and performance

The power of your computer and graphics card make a big difference when using photo and video editing software. Both Affinity Photo and Luminar 4 are processor-intensive programs, so make sure you have enough memory available before hitting the download button.

I use a Windows 10 laptop that is more than capable of running both programs at once, but I trialed each program separately to see how well they performed. Luminar froze on occasion, but was faster to load images and adjustments than Affinity Photo. Affinity froze on me several times, and I did get the dreaded “Program not responding” message, but it was simply a case of waiting for a few moments before it started working smoothly again.


When Adobe changed Photoshop and Lightroom over to subscription-only models, they annoyed a lot of photographers. In response, many software developers created their own one-time-license programs – including the makers of Affinity Photo and Luminar.

Both programs can be bought for a one-off price. Affinity costs just $ 54.99 USD (great value for the money, in my view). And you can install Affinity on up to two computers for individual commercial use, or up to five computers for home non-commercial use. Bear in mind that, if you have both Mac and Windows devices, you’ll have to buy a separate license for each operating system.

Luminar starts at $ 79 USD and can be installed on up to two computers (depending on the version you get). A single license can be used on a mixture of operating systems, so if you have both Mac and Windows computers, you’ll appreciate this extra convenience.

Affinity Photo vs Luminar: Which program is right for you?

Affinity Photo Layers

Both Affinity Photo and Luminar 4 are worth considering. However, you must determine what’s important to you before buying.

For instance, if you like quick, easy fixes, presets, image organization, and a whole workflow from start to finish, then Luminar 4 may suit you best. It’s easy to save your own custom presets for use on multiple images, too (which is a big time-saver if you need to apply the same style and color to shot after shot). Luminar 4 is a lot of fun to use, and it’s also beginner friendly.

Luminar Essentials edits

If you need to do deeper, more detailed edits or retouching, Affinity Photo is the better option. It’s also good for unique, creative images, thanks to tools such as liquefy, painting, drawing, and text. Landscape photographers, food photographers, and macro photographers will like the focus stacking features, too. It’s also excellent value for money, and you can start with a 90-day free trial, too.

Ultimately, there’s no outright winner, as each program will suit different types of photographers. But hopefully we’ve made your decision easier!

The post Affinity Photo vs Luminar: Which Editor Is Best in 2021? appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Dawn Gilfillan.

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Lightroom vs ON1: Which Photo Editor Is Right for You?

18 Aug

The post Lightroom vs ON1: Which Photo Editor Is Right for You? appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Dawn Gilfillan.

Lightroom vs ON1 Photo RAW: which editor is best?

Which program is best for photo editing, Lightroom vs ON1 Photo RAW?

In this comparison, we lay it all out for you. We discuss the pros and cons of these two popular programs, including:

  • Editing features
  • Photo organization capabilities
  • Price
  • Ease of use

By the time you’re done, you’ll know exactly which editing program is the better buy! Let’s dive right in.

Lightroom vs ON1: Overview

Lightroom Classic has been around for a while now, and the program has plenty of die-hard fans; when it was first released, it attracted a lot of attention, thanks to its user-friendly tools and helpful presets.

ON1 Photo RAW is the newer program of the two. It draws on Lightroom’s immense success while attempting to improve upon some of the latter program’s faults, making it an innovative, potentially appealing Lightroom alternative.

Here, we’ll run through a quick list of pros and cons for both programs before moving on to an in-depth look at their individual features.

Lightroom Classic

Lightroom Classic

Lightroom’s catalog system is very versatile and good for backing up your images. The library organization is similar to ON1, but it does have more sorting tools, like AI keywording and facial recognition.

There are more preset packages and third-party tools available in Lightroom compared to ON1, and it is also generally faster. You have the option to edit Lightroom images offline.

On the other hand, Lightroom doesn’t have adjustment layers (and ON1 does). Lightroom also doesn’t do focus stacking in panoramas and in HDR images, while ON1 offers these handy features.

ON1 Photo RAW

ON1 Photo RAW 2021

You don’t need to import photos into ON1 to edit them. Instead, as soon as you install the program, it will find all your photos; you can easily see them in the Albums section. ON1 also makes use of adjustment layers, and they are very similar to those in Photoshop. ON1 doesn’t have as many available preset packages as Lightroom, but the built-in options are very good.

ON1 just isn’t as fast as Lightroom for most tasks, and there is currently no offline editing feature. ON1 utilizes a database system instead of catalogs, which doesn’t offer as much versatility or security when backing up your images.

1. Photo organization capabilities

One of the main differences between Lightroom vs ON1 is in terms of how they store the edits you make to your images.

Lightroom Classic

Lightroom interface

Lightroom’s catalog system can seem a bit confusing, but it’s basically just a single (catalog) file that saves all the edits you make to every image. It also saves keywords, ratings, and other changes.

Lightroom offers non-destructive photo editing, which means your original files are always kept safe and unaffected by user adjustments. This is a major benefit – after all, everyone makes mistakes, and there are times when your editing will go too far astray. Thanks to non-destructive editing, you can scrap your changes and start fresh with the original.

ON1 Photo RAW

ON1 Photo RAW interface

ON1 uses a database system and creates a collection of files (not just one single file, as with Lightroom’s catalog). When you open ON1, all the photos on your computer will appear in the program so you don’t have to go searching for them. While this is nice, it picks up every single image on your computer, even files that you have downloaded from the internet – which can be an annoyance.

Also, like Lightroom, ON1 is a non-destructive photo editor.

One downside to ON1? You can’t back up the database within the software. You’ll need to put another system in place, such as backing up to an external hard drive or cloud.

2. Layout and ease of use

Both image editing programs are intuitive, but the layouts differ somewhat, and Lightroom is the more user-friendly of the two.

Lightroom Classic

Importing images into Lightroom is a breeze: simply click on Import Photos and Video in the File menu. This menu is also where you can optimize your catalog, import develop profiles and presets, export images, manage plugins, and lots more.

Once uploaded, you can select your images for editing and click Develop. You are then taken to a screen with a relatively easy-to-understand layout. Presets are arranged on the left-hand side of the screen, while editing tools are found on the right:

Lightroom editing layout

Lightroom’s interface is clear and uncluttered, so even a beginner will find the layout easy to navigate. Personally, I’m a big fan of the simple and user-friendly layout – both for importing and editing.

ON1 Photo RAW

The ON1 Photo RAW layout is slightly more confusing. Because the program has so many editing features, the tools appear crammed onto one screen. As with Lightroom, presets are on the left-hand side and editing tools appear on the right. However, that’s where the similarities end.

ON1 Photo RAW editing layout

As you can see in the photo above, the Mask, Text, Transform, and Crop tools are positioned near the presets instead of alongside the other editing tools. The presets are also shown as icons instead of text, which takes up even more room on the screen.

Overall, the effect is cluttered, and the editing interface is a lot to take in for a complete beginner.

3. Editing tools

Both programs have a good selection of editing tools, but ON1 has the edge here; it does the job of both Lightroom and Photoshop. Whereas Lightroom is designed for RAW conversions, adding presets, and basic editing prior to Photoshop work, ON1 Photo RAW is designed as an all-in-one, comprehensive editing program that lets you apply basic edits, but also create layers, add text, and more.

Lightroom Classic

Lightroom is an excellent RAW converter, and the range of presets you can buy is incredible. It was Lightroom that first pioneered the concept of adding presets to images, and this has been adopted by almost every image editing program on the market.

Run your mouse pointer over the Lightroom preset list (even if you haven’t purchased presets, Lightroom comes with plenty of built-in options), and your image will change accordingly. You’ll see a a preview of the preset in action, which is a great time-saver (especially if you have hundreds of presets to consider). ON1 Photo RAW doesn’t have this functionality; you must apply a preset to the image to see how it looks.

Over on the right-hand side, you have the main editing tools, starting with a histogram. Underneath this, you’ll find the Crop tool, the Graduated Filter, the Adjustment Brush, etc. Next are the essential adjustments like exposure, white balance, and contrast. Scroll even farther and you’ll find more advanced tools: color grading, lens corrections, sharpening, and more.

Lightroom advanced tools

That’s about it for editing, but along the top menu bar you also have the option to print, upload images to the web, create a slideshow, or design a photo book. I don’t often print from Lightroom, as I find it easier (and more color accurate) to do this in Photoshop, but there are plenty of templates to choose from.

Lightroom photobook template

ON1 Photo RAW

ON1 advanced tools

ON1 Photo RAW matches all of Lightroom’s editing features – except the range of specialist print options. This means you can print a photo, but there’s no option to design slideshows or photo books. ON1 also doesn’t have a color grading tool like Lightroom.

That said, ON1 does have layers and easy-to-apply effects like polarizers. ON1’s masking and retouching features aren’t as good as Photoshop’s, so professionals will struggle to gain the necessary fine control when editing, but beginners and enthusiasts should find the editing tools varied and useful.

Unlike Lightroom, ON1 has a very good, easy-to-use text tool with a variety of fonts available. Another great feature in ON1 is Portrait AI, which automatically evaluates images using artificial intelligence and applies adjustments to create the best possible result.

ON1 text feature

4. Speed

Which program is faster, Lightroom or ON1? All image editing programs are power-hungry, and it does depend on your computer. But in my experience, Lightroom is more responsive and faster than ON1, which can lag and freeze up.

If you’re concerned about speed, check out the Lightroom and ON1 program requirements before buying, and make sure your computer exceeds the disk space and memory recommendations.

5. Price

Lightroom plans

Lightroom is available only as a Creative Cloud subscription. Prices start from $ 9.99 USD per month for Lightroom and Photoshop with 20 GB of storage. However, the best value for money is the Photography Plan, which costs $ 19.99 USD per month. Here, you get Photoshop, Lightroom Classic, and Lightroom CC with 1 TB of online storage space, which lets you back up and sync around 20,000 RAW files or 200,000 JPEGs on your desktop and mobile devices.

ON1 plans

ON1 Photo RAW, on the other hand, can be purchased outright, though you can also go the subscription route. For a one-time purchase, you’ll pay $ 99.99 USD. If you’d prefer to subscribe to ON1 Photo RAW, plans start at $ 7.99 per month with 200 GB of storage, and go up to $ 179.99 yearly with 1 TB of storage.

Lightroom vs ON1: Which program is best?

Now that you’ve read a bit about Lightroom vs ON1 and seen the features, layout, and pricing, hopefully you have a better sense of which program will work best for you.

In my opinion, Lightroom is particularly suited to beginners because of the user-friendly interface. It’s also great for those who want to add presets and upload images to social media or create photo books and prints.

Ultimately, Lightroom is one of the best RAW converters out there, and if you need more advanced editing options than Lightroom alone can provide, you can purchase an Adobe plan that includes Photoshop. That way, you can do your initial RAW conversion and editing in Lightroom, then switch your images over to Photoshop for removing objects, masking, layers, composites, and blending modes.

Lightroom Classic

ON1 Photo RAW is an all-in-one image editor, meaning you can go from start to finish in the single program. It will suit photographers who like to use cutting-edge technology like the Portrait AI feature, which can save time when you have a lot of images to process.

ON1 will also suit those who want to take advantage of the available presets, texture packs, and LUTs. The text tool is a great addition to ON1, too.

The only real issue with ON1 is the cramped and cluttered layout, but the program is still usable and is liked by plenty of beginners.

If you’re still on the fence, you can try out ON1 Photo RAW for 14 days. Lightroom also has a 7-day trial option – so try both and see which works best for you!

ON1 Photo RAW

Lightroom vs ON1 FAQs

Can ON1 import a Lightroom catalog?

Yes, by using the Migration Assistant. This is intended for a one-off migration, not a constant syncing of your Lightroom images to ON1.

Does Lightroom Classic work on a mobile device?

Sort of. The mobile version of Lightroom works well on iPhones, iPads, and Android devices. And it’s free to download and use (though to access certain app features, you’ll need a Lightroom subscription).

Does ON1 Photo RAW work on a mobile device?

Yes, you can download and use the ON1 Photo RAW app for both iOS and Android devices. The app itself is free, but if you are a registered user of ON1 Photo RAW, you’ll get access to more advanced mobile editing features.

Can I use ON1 as a plugin in Lightroom?

Yes, you can! There are two main ways to use ON1 with Lightroom: via the Plug-In Extras command in the File menu, and via the Edit In command in the Photo menu.

The post Lightroom vs ON1: Which Photo Editor Is Right for You? appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Dawn Gilfillan.

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Photo Contest Alert: Announcing a (Free!) Billboard Contest From Fine Art America

09 Aug

The post Photo Contest Alert: Announcing a (Free!) Billboard Contest From Fine Art America appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jaymes Dempsey.

Fine Art America billboard contest

Have you ever dreamed of seeing your art displayed large – for everyone to admire?

Then you’ll love Fine Art America’s new Billboard Contest, which will award a giant billboard display to 20 artists. Win the contest, and your eye-catching work will be featured on a 24-foot billboard in a major city, such as Chicago, Atlanta, or Los Angeles, accompanied by a title plus your name or social media handle. 

Here’s the type of stunning showcase winners can expect:

example billboard for photo contest

Each billboard will stay up for a month, giving viewers plenty of time to appreciate the winning art.

your art goes on this billboard

How to take part

The contest is currently open and free to enter. Simply create a Fine Art America account and upload one to three files on the contest page. The contest closes on August 31st, and the winners will be announced on September 15th. 

Note that entry is not exclusive to photographers; Fine Art America accepts submissions from all 2D artists, including painters, graphic designers, and illustrators.

Vote, vote, vote: the selection process, explained

After you’ve submitted your entries, you can encourage family, friends, and followers to vote for your art on Fine Art America’s website. All entries receiving 100 votes will then proceed to the next round, where contest judges will choose the top 20 pieces for billboard display.

There are also a number of fun prizes and promotions along the way:

  • Get 25 votes, and you’ll receive a Pixels t-shirt
  • Get 100 votes, and your image will be featured on the Fine Art America Instagram account
  • Get 250 votes, and you’ll receive a free 24’’ x 36’’ canvas print of an image of your choosing

It all comes down to the voting – so as soon as you’ve uploaded your entries, head over to social media and drum up some interest!

By the way, if you’re looking for contest inspiration or you simply want to vote for your favorite art, you can see all current entries here. Click on each piece to view its vote count and register a vote of your own, and don’t forget to check out the top-voted artwork here (you’ll find plenty of stunning bird photos, landscapes shots, paintings, and more!). 

What is Fine Art America?

Billed as “the world’s largest online art marketplace,” the company’s website,, acts as a one-stop shop for photographers, painters, illustrators, graphic designers, and more – and it also welcomes non-artists who simply appreciate great art.

On the Fine Art America website, you can:

  • Order custom prints of your own art, including posters, metal prints, wood prints, canvas prints, printed t-shirts, and printed smartphone cases
  • Sell your art to interested buyers as prints, t-shirts, greeting cards, etc.
  • Buy beautiful art sold by artists around the world

The Fine Art America Billboard Contest is yet another example of the company’s dedication to artists. As explained by the CEO, Sean Broihier, “For 15+ years, we’ve been promoting our artists and their incredible artwork almost exclusively online. It’s time to showcase them in the real world. Our upcoming billboard campaign gives us an incredible opportunity to reach a new audience of art buyers, build brand awareness for Fine Art America, and introduce the incredibly talented artists who use Fine Art America to sell canvas prints, framed prints, greeting cards, and more.”

So take a look at Fine Art America – and in the meantime, be sure to enter the Billboard Contest. Remember: It’s open until August 31st and the entry process only takes a few minutes, so give it your best shot! 

the world's greatest art contest

Fine Art America is a paid partner of dPS.

The post Photo Contest Alert: Announcing a (Free!) Billboard Contest From Fine Art America appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jaymes Dempsey.

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12 Phone Photography Ideas for Fun Photo Outings

25 Jun

The post 12 Phone Photography Ideas for Fun Photo Outings appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Anthony Epes.

phone photography ideas

I will be honest: I didn’t want to love taking photos with my phone. But then I fell in love with having a small, portable camera at hand at all times, and I was both shocked and exhilarated by what my photography could become with an extra piece of kit in my pocket.

And you can fall in love with phone photography, too! That’s why, in this article, I’m going to share 12 phone photography ideas – so you can have plenty of fun with your phone camera and start capturing some amazing mobile photos.

(I’ll also share plenty of practical tips along the way!)

Let’s get started.

gas station with moody clouds

1. Photograph the light

“Light makes photography. Embrace light. Admire it. Love it. But above all, know light. Know it for all you are worth, and you will know the key to photography.”

George Eastman

If you ask me what I like to shoot, I will answer: light. Light is the number one subject in all of my photos. 

I don’t really care what I am shooting; my eternal search and my greatest passion is light. That is why I am not a genre-specific photographer – I always think of light as my subject.

I love light in all of its formations – the subdued winter light when the cloud cover is thick, which creates a feeling of melancholy. Dappled spring light making shapes on a brick wall, which feels fresh and joyful and fun. The hard light of a summer’s afternoon, creating cutting shadows and making the world look flat.

If I were to offer one piece of advice for phone photography, it would be to get to know light. You may think you already know light, but most people don’t notice the endless variations of light all around them. 

close-up of an eye fun phone photography idea

Become familiar with how light behaves and what it’s doing to your subject, and your photography will automatically take big leaps forward. 

shadows on a window

Tip: To make sure your photos aren’t under- or over-exposed (i.e., too dark or too bright), you can manually adjust the exposure (brightness). Most good phone cameras allow you to do this. It’s usually as simple as tapping on the phone where you’d like to focus; an exposure slider will appear, and you can make the image lighter or darker from there.

2. Look for interesting textures 

Textures make up the world. They are everywhere, and they can be infinitely fascinating.

Exploring textures can help us find beauty in even the most mundane of subjects. I like to look for textures at my feet, on walls, and around buildings. I look for natural textures, too, such as slick shiny stones or porous old wood. 

Textures are all around, so explore them with your phone camera! 

For me, the key to getting the best shots is to use the natural qualities of our phones to improve the composition. Specifically, phones are amazingly mobile; I am always bending down and shooting reflections in puddles, or delving into corners or crevasses, finding little tufts of grass or cool patterns.

So use the mobility of your phone camera to help you change perspective. Seek new and interesting angles that reveal cool textures!

shadows on a wall
I also make sure the light is interesting when I shoot these textures. Interesting light makes every subject interesting!

Tip: Make sure your subject is in focus. (It’s something people often forget with phone photography.) To set the focus, simply tap the part of the scene you want to stay sharp, and your phone will do the rest of the work!

3. Use the rule of thirds

The rule of thirds is one of my favorite compositional rules. It lets you compose interesting shots, and it’s a helpful way to determine where to place key elements in a scene.

So here’s how it works:

Divide the frame into thirds both horizontally and vertically. You’ll end up with a grid of nine equal parts, like this:

rule of thirds grid

Then place your subjects and supporting elements along the different lines and intersection points. This will prevent your photos from becoming too boring – including a subject sitting in the left or right third of the image, with another element in the opposite space, can be a lot more interesting than a centered subject. 

street with palm trees
Can you see how this photo is separated into thirds? 

Tip: All phones have a built-in camera grid (i.e., a rule of thirds overlay!). This can be super useful when you’re composing with the rule of thirds. So go to the camera settings, find the grid option, turn it on, and compose away!

4. Don’t be afraid to photograph landscapes

sunset landscape over hills

In general, landscape photography is considered very technically demanding, and landscape photographers tend to own some of the biggest, priciest gear available. Yet I was astonished by the quality of the landscape photos I captured in Vietnam with my phone. Of course, it helps to have an astonishing landscape in front of you, but it also has to do with phone cameras and their now-impressive capabilities.

So give it a try and experiment with landscape photography. 

I recommend shooting landscapes during the early morning or late afternoon/evening golden hours. I’d also recommend heading out during interesting weather – clouds generally add an interesting texture to the sky, for instance.

Try composing your scene with layers – specifically, it helps to find foreground, midground, and background points of interest to create depth. That’s what I did for the photo below:

green mountains with beautiful light

Tip: I have a tiny tripod that my kids bought for making stop-motion films. It’s super useful for low-light landscapes (you can combine it with your phone’s self-timer to prevent camera shake). 

5. Shoot panoramas

Capturing a panorama on your phone is so easy – you simply activate the Pano setting, and your phone does all the work for you. It will either ask you to move the camera across the scene or to take several photos which it then stitches together. Super cool!

I love panoramas because it’s hard to capture the full scale and wonder of a landscape without seeing the vastness of the location. Panos are particularly useful for city shooting, where it’s often tough to capture the expanse of a view in a single frame. 

Tip: It may sound obvious, but for the best image quality, clean your lens. Phones sit in pockets and bags attracting all kinds of dust and dirt, and this makes the lens get dirty, fast. Blow the lens to remove any grit, then wipe with a soft cloth.

panorama of agricultural area

6. Take selfies

selfie through a window

I used to really dislike selfies. But then I realized they’re a great way to record myself in the places I travel to. I don’t know about you, but I am always the photographer in my family or friend group – which means I almost never have my photo taken! 

I also think shooting ourselves puts us more in touch with the experience of shooting portraits and helps us empathize with our subjects. Most people don’t mind having their photos taken, but there are people who are reluctant. So experiencing life on the other side of the camera is immensely useful when trying to put portrait subjects at ease. 

Tip: Try shooting yourself in reflections. It adds to the playful feeling of a selfie!

7. Look for color

Color is joy. One does not think of joy. One is carried by it.

Ernst Haas

For me, color is a key language in photography. Color is powerful; it can communicate feelings and atmosphere. It can even tell stories. I love to encourage people to play with color and discover the emotions and meanings different colors bring to their images. 

sunset with palm tree silhouettes

It’s definitely worth investigating what the colors in your photos mean to you!

looking up at flowers phone photography idea

Tip: If you want to get more control over color and go a little deeper with your editing, use the Snapseed app (for Android or iOS); it’s very powerful, and it’s also free!

8. Drop your expectations about what you want to see

cityscape at night

One of the greatest enemies of finding interesting photos is your expectations.

This is especially true when you arrive in a famous location. You might expect to capture certain iconic places. You may even have a few specific shots lined up in your head.

Here’s the problem:

When you have expectations, you are essentially focusing your attention on the obvious. You’re limiting your awareness so that you may fail to see what is truly in the location around you.

If you expect to see certain things, your brain focuses on those things and blocks out other visual information. For example, if you’re going to Paris, you may fixate on obtaining a good Eiffel Tower shot. So you fixate on the Eiffel Tower – yet you don’t see all of the interesting subjects surrounding it, which may offer a better shot, better angle, or better elements.

This problem sounds simple, but I see it time and time again on my workshops: people tunnel-visioned by their expectations. Drop the expectations, focus on finding original shots, and you will see so much more. 

building with fluffy clouds

9. Take your time, wander, and get lost

Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.

Pablo Picasso

Without a big camera around your neck, when you go out wandering, you could be anyone doing anything. You can blend into the background and nobody will see you as a photographer. It’s a freeing experience, and it lets you capture more honest, authentic moments.

To me, using a camera phone is all about roaming, getting lost, and figuring out how to photograph the place at which you end up. So take your phone, wander, and have fun. Then try to absorb the atmosphere and life of each place you choose to shoot. 

Tip: Investigate your phone camera’s hardware and software. Many phones have added lenses and offer more control with every iteration. So check out your phone manual or look up the specs online. 

pool of water at sunset

10. Photograph the moments of life

Taking pictures is savoring life intensely, every hundredth of a second.

Marc Riboud

Did you know that you can use photography to create something extraordinary from your life at any moment? Focusing parts of our life on creating and not just consuming or doing brings so many benefits.

This is where using a phone camera to keep a diary of the interesting moments of your life really comes into play. Personally, I want to savor my life. I want to weave being creative into my everyday activity!

So look around you. Appreciate what’s going on. And photograph moments of interest.

Now, when you always have a camera at hand, it can be tempting to just snap away and record everything you do. I don’t encourage that. Instead, live the moment, be in the moment, and – at times – use your camera to be intentionally creative.

dog looking over a ridge

Tip: When I am shooting fast-moving subjects – like my kids! – my phone’s burst mode offers a great way to get the subject in motion. Depending on your phone, you may be able to hold down the shutter button and capture a burst (and if that doesn’t work, check your manual for instructions specific to your phone).

person below a sign

11. Look for emotion

Photography for me is not looking, it’s feeling. If you can’t feel what you’re looking at, then you’re never going to get others to feel anything when they look at your pictures.

Don McCullin

Admit it: Most photos you see on social media or on your camera roll are boring. But why?

One very common reason is that they lack any type of feeling; they have no emotional impact. The photos are flat and uninteresting because the photographer was so busy focusing on the technical aspects of shooting, or on the subject and composition, that they forgot to include that magical element of emotion

Humans are emotional beings, and we communicate through our emotions (just think about how adverts play on our emotions and manipulate us into wanting to buy stuff!).

It boils down to this: If you stand in front of your subject and don’t feel anything, it’s unlikely your future viewers will feel anything, either.

So look for subjects, places, people, things that make you feel something. It’s an easy way to figure out what to shoot. And you can feel any emotion: sadness, joy, awe, excitement, or delight. 

beautiful sunset over a beach

Tip: Most up-to-date phones now come with a Night mode, and it helps the camera compensate for limited light. With Night mode on, you can do handheld shooting even at night. On most phones, you need to manually activate Night mode (but iPhones will do it automatically when they sense the low-light conditions). 

12. Train your eye with mini-seeing projects

To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place…I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.

Elliott Erwitt

There are billions of pieces of visual information around us at all times. But our brains block most of it out – otherwise, instead of getting to the task at hand, we’d be constantly looking around and feeling overwhelmed by all that we see.

While blocking out all this visual noise is helpful for getting things done, it’s not helpful when we are trying to discover interesting shots. We want to see more of what’s around us. We want to open up our awareness.

old photos on a wall

I recommend using mini-seeing projects to help you do this. Specifically, pick a subject – and take a picture every time you encounter it. Yellow cars, discarded gloves, people with red hair, snail trails; the world is full of items worth noticing!

You’ll soon start to see how much you miss because you are basically just distracted with your life. 

I always have something like this going on. I’m currently collecting photos of torn posters, interesting cloud formations, and things crushed in the street. It’s a really fun way to develop your seeing skills. 

And of course, phones are a great way to do these mini seeing projects, because you can carry one with you at all times!

skull with a red hat

12 phone photography ideas: final words

So that’s it for my phone photography ideas! Hopefully, you’ll feel more excited and liberated as you go out and shoot with your phone.

Now over to you:

Do you have any additional phone photography ideas? Do you have any mobile photos you’re proud of? Share your thoughts (and images!) in the comments below.

flowers against a blue sky phone photography ideas

The post 12 Phone Photography Ideas for Fun Photo Outings appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Anthony Epes.

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How to Make a Photo Essay: 5 Tips for Impactful Results

19 Jun

The post How to Make a Photo Essay: 5 Tips for Impactful Results appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Christina N Dickson.

how to make a photo essay

Want to tell meaningful stories with your photos? That’s what a photo essay is all about: conveying concepts and narratives through a series of carefully chosen images.

While telling a story with photos can be a daunting task, there are several easy tips and techniques you can use in your photo essays to create striking, stunning, eye-opening results.

And that’s what I’m going to share in this article: five photo essay tips that you can immediately apply to your photography. You’ll leave as a better photo essayist than when you arrived!

Let’s get started.

What is a photo essay?

A photo essay is a collection of images placed in a specific order to convey certain emotions, specific concepts, or a progression of events.

In other words:

The photo essay tells stories just like a normal piece of writing, except with images instead of words. (Here, I’m using the term “story” loosely; as mentioned above, photo essays can encapsulate emotions or concepts in addition to traditional, time-based narratives.)

fire in the street photo essay

Plenty of world-class photojournalists use photo essays, including Lauren Greenfield, James Nachtwey, and Joachim Ladefoged. But the photo essay format isn’t exclusive to professionals, and photo essays don’t need to cover dramatic events such as wars, natural disasters, and social issues. Whether you are a complete beginner, a hobbyist, or a professional, the photo essay is a great way to bring your images to life, tell relevant stories about your own surroundings, and touch your family, friends, and coworkers.

So without further ado, let’s look at five easy tips to take your photo essays to the next level, starting with:

1. Find a topic you care about

Every good photo essay should start with an idea.

Otherwise, you’ll be shooting without a purpose – and while such an approach may eventually lead to an interesting series of photos, it’s far, far easier to begin with a topic and only then take out your camera.

As I emphasized above, a photo essay can be about anything. You don’t need to fixate on “classic” photo essay themes, such as war and poverty. Instead, you might focus on local issues that matter to you (think of problems plaguing your community). You can also think about interesting stories worth telling, even if they don’t have an activism angle.

For instance, is there an area undergoing major development? Try documenting the work from start to finish. Is there a particular park or nature area you love? Create a series of images that communicate its beauty.

a nice park

One key item to remember:

Photo essays are most powerful when you, as the photographer, care about the subject. Whether you choose to document something major and public, like an environmental crisis, or whether you choose to document something small and intimate, like the first month of a newborn in the family, make sure you focus on a topic that matters to you.

Otherwise, you’ll struggle to finish the essay – and even if you do successfully complete it, viewers will likely notice your lack of passion.

2. Do your research

The best photo essays involve some real work. Don’t just walk around and shoot with abandon; instead, try to understand your subject.

That way, you can capture a more authentic series of photos.

For instance, if you document a newborn’s first month, spend time with the family. Discover who the parents are, what culture they are from, and their parenting philosophy.

a newborn child

If you cover the process of a school’s drama production, talk with the teachers, actors, and stagehands; investigate the general interest of the student body; find out how the school is financing the production and keeping costs down.

If you photograph a birthday party, check out the theme, the decorations they plan on using, what the birthday kid hopes to get for their gifts.

If you’re passionate about your topic, the research should come easy. You should enjoy learning the backstory.

And then, when it comes time to actually shoot, you’ll have a much clearer understanding of the topic. You’ll know the key players in the story, the key ideas, and the key locations. You’ll be able to hone in on what matters and block out the flashy distractions.

Make sense?

3. Find the right angle

Once you’ve done your research, you’ll know your topic inside and out.

At which point you’ll need to ask yourself:

What is the real, authentic story I want to tell?

Every story has a hundred different angles and perspectives. And trying to share the story from every perspective is a recipe for failure.

Instead, pick a single angle and focus on it. If you’re documenting a local issue, do you want to focus on how it affects children? The physical area? The economy? If you’re documenting a newborn’s first month, do you want to focus on the interaction between the newborn and the parents? The growth of the newborn? The newborn’s emotions?

a parent and their child photo essay

As you’ll find out during your research, even stories that seem to be completely one-sided have plenty of hidden perspectives to draw on.

So think about your story carefully. In general, I recommend you approach it from the angle you’re most passionate about (consider the previous tip!), but you’re always free to explore different perspectives.

4. Convey emotion

Not all photo essays must convey emotion. But the most powerful ones do.

After all, think of the stories that you know and love. Your favorite books, movies, and TV shows. Do they touch you on an emotional level?

Don’t get me wrong: Every photo essay shouldn’t cover a sappy, heartstring-tugging tale. You can always focus on conveying other emotions: anger, joy, fear, hurt, excitement.

(Of course, if your story is sappy and heartstring-tugging, that’s fine, too – just don’t force it!)

How do you convey emotions, though? There’s no one set way, but you can include photos of meaningful scenes – human interactions generally work well here! – or you can simply show emotion on the faces of your photographic subjects. Really, the best way to communicate emotions through your photos is to feel the emotions yourself; they’ll bleed over into your work for a unique result.

a protester with lots of emotion

5. Plan your shots

Once you’ve done the research and determined the angle and emotions you’d like to convey, I recommend you sit down, take out a pen and paper, and plan your photo essay.

Should you extensively visualize each photo? Should you walk through the venue, imagining possible compositions?

Honestly, that’s up to you, and it’ll depend on how you like to work. I do recommend that beginners start out by creating a “shot list” for the essay. Here, you should describe the main subject, the narrative purpose of the image, plus any lighting or composition notes. Once you become more experienced, you can be looser in your planning, though I still recommend you at least think about the different shots you want to capture.

You can start by planning 10 shots. Each one should emphasize a different concept or emotion, but make sure to keep a consistent thread running through every composition; after all, the end goal is to create a powerful series of images that tell a story.

One final tip:

While you should stick to your plan pretty closely, at least at first, don’t ignore the potential for spontaneity. If you see a possible shot, take it! You can later evaluate whether it’s a worthwhile addition to your essay.

a toxic container on a beach

Photo essay tips: final words

Now that you’ve finished this article, you know all about what photo essays are, and – hopefully! – how to create a beautiful essay of your own.

a community gardening event photo essay

Just remember: storytelling takes practice, but you don’t have to be an incredible writer to pull off a powerful photo essay. All you need is a bit of photographic technique, some creativity, and a lot of heart.

Once you start to tell stories with your photos, your portfolio will never be the same!

Now over to you:

Do you have any tips for doing photo essays? Do you have any essays you’re proud of? Share them in the comments below!

The post How to Make a Photo Essay: 5 Tips for Impactful Results appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Christina N Dickson.

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