Posts Tagged ‘Tricks’

10 Cheap Photo Tricks for Creative Images

29 Aug

The post 10 Cheap Photo Tricks for Creative Images appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Rick Ohnsman.

As the coronavirus crisis drags on, you may find that you’re getting out less to make photos. You could probably use some fresh and fun photo ideas as a pleasant diversion from the gloomy news. Whether you call these photo tricks, techniques, projects, or whatever, I suggest you give them a try and see what new and interesting photos you can make.

Photo Tricks - Photo Elasticity
I think you’ll eat up these photo tricks with a fork and spoon! This is the last one in the collection, but be patient. Read the rest first, as there are some good ones; we’ll save this technique for dessert.

For a deeper dive

My intent here is not to get into great detail or give much “how-to” for these tricks. For some, I’ve already written complete articles and, where that is the case, I have linked to those articles so you can do a deeper dive into the subject.

For a few other tricks, I may not have written about them in-depth, but others have. The idea is that while these tricks may not be unheard of, this is a collection of photo tricks all in one place; it’s a jumping-off point for your photo exploration.

1. Bag a vignette

You may have heard of accessories called Lensbabies, a collection of adjustable and specialized lenses designed to give artistic, soft, blurred, and other looks to your image.

Now, I won’t pretend this trick will do for a few cents what specialized gear costing a few hundred dollars can do. But here’s a way to bag some interesting, Lensbaby-style images for dirt cheap.

Photo Tricks - Baggie Vignette
This photo accessory costs a few pennies and easily fits in your pocket: the “Baggie Vignette.”

Here’s what you do:

Get a plastic sandwich bag and tear a ragged hole in the bottom of it. Pull the bag over your lens so that portions of the bag intrude into the edges of the image. Focus on your subject.

Viola, you have “Baggie FX.”

Play with the positioning, the size of the hole, various apertures, and lighting. Photo accessories don’t get any cheaper than this.

2. Bokeh with flair

Pronounce it how you like; bokeh refers to the look and quality of out-of-focus elements in a photo. Bokeh becomes especially noticeable when the out-of-focus elements are specular highlights.

Different lenses with different optics, different aperture blade shapes, and different numbers of blades will produce different kinds of bokeh, as will the photographer’s choice of aperture.

Specular Light Bokeh effects with a wide aperture
A wide aperture combined with out-of-focus highlights will give some nice bokeh effects. The pattern of the bokeh shape will depend on the lens. The Canon 50mm f/1.8 gives this kind of look.

Here’s a way to go a step further and make patterned bokeh. Lay a filter the size of lens you intend to use on a piece of cardboard, trace around it, and cut out the cardboard. Now cut a shape, such as a small star, into the center of the cardboard disc you made. Place the disc over the lens and tape it there, or sandwich it between the lens and a filter.

Photo Tricks - Patterned Bokeh
Here, a star pattern was cut in a “bokeh filter,” and the specular highlights in a piece of aluminum foil produced the star effect. Then the image was layered with another shot to create the final result.

With a wide aperture (a 50mm f/1.8 prime, the “nifty fifty,” works great), shoot something with some specular highlights and ensure those highlights are out-of-focus. The highlights will now be the shape of your “bokeh filter.”

Rather than make your own bokeh filter, you can also buy patterned bokeh filter kits with more elaborate shapes than you could probably cut yourself. For folks into 3D printing, this could also be a good project.

3. Reflect on this

You can take a still-life or product photo up another notch by shooting it on a reflective surface. You might think a mirror would be a natural choice for this, but because both the glass surface of a mirror, as well as its silvered backing, are each reflective, you will get two sets of slightly separated reflections if you shoot objects on a mirror.

Photo Tricks - Reflections
A polished dark table proved just right for getting a reflection of the wedding rings. The jar of marbles was shot on a piece of black acrylic sheet and the bokeh effects were added with a string of Christmas lights in the background.

A better choice is a piece of acrylic plastic sheet, also known as plexiglass. You can get this in many colors, but I find a very dark black plastic sheet creates a look I like. (A piece of black tile would work well too, but I’ve not been able to find larger tiles.) Shoot with a black backdrop and you can isolate your subject nicely.

4. Big results with little lights

When we used film or less-sensitive digital cameras, big and often hot lights were needed for indoor photography. With the advent of LED lighting coupled with cameras offering low noise capabilities, we can now make images with very little light.

Also, when doing still-life photos, shutter speed can be anything you like: full seconds, or even minutes, if necessary. Now almost any lighting instrument can be used with some ingenuity. Small LED flashlights can also be used for light painting.

Photo Tricks - Big Results with little lights
LED flashlights like these can be found cheap at the hardware store. The second image shows how they were used…
Photo Tricks - Lighting with small LED Flashlights
…to produce this image. Having limited light isn’t a problem when shooting still life where long exposures are fine. Canon 6D | Canon EF 24-105 f/4 | 3.2 sec | f/3.2 | ISO 100.

I have a collection of various flashlights (aka “torches”) and other LED lighting gear, which I’ve typically bought for just a few dollars online or at the local hardware store. Finding new ways to creatively use these little lights has allowed me to make some creative images. Take a look at this article which explores this topic further.

5. CD rainbow macros

Before you toss that scratched CD, add it to your bag of photo tricks. Mount a macro lens on your camera, or use whatever means you have to get close to your subject. Put the CD down with the reflective, non-printed side up. Then, with an eyedropper or other tool, place small water droplets all over the surface of the disc.

Photo Tricks - Water drops on a CD
Waterdrops on a CD shot with a macro lens and lit in various ways can produce some colorful abstract images.

Focus your shot and get creative. The lighting is purely up to you. Perhaps try some shots in direct sunlight where the intense light will really pop the rainbow spectrum. Maybe try a small flashlight. Try a long exposure and light-paint the droplets. Anything goes when you’re making abstract images.

6. Oil and water abstracts

I wrote a complete article on this technique, which is another way to get some interesting and colorful abstract images. With minimal equipment and whatever lighting you like (even shooting outdoors with natural light), you can have a whole afternoon of fun.

Photo Tricks - Oil and Water Abstracts
Oil and water don’t mix, and that’s a good thing for this technique. A glass dish shot from above and through the mixture with some colorful objects in the background is the technique here.

7. Up in smoke

Add this to your collection of photo tricks to make some smokin’ hot images. An incense stick and some care with your lighting will get you going. Then take your shots to the computer where you can add additional effects. Have a look at my article here on DPS, “How to Make Interesting Abstract Smoke Photos,” for a full write-up on this technique.

Photo Tricks - Smoke and Mirrors
This is a straight, side-lit shot of the smoke pattern rising from an incense stick.
Photo Tricks - Smoke and Mirrors
Take the straight shot on the left, mirror it in editing, and colorize it. Then you have a firebird! (At least that’s what I see. What do you see in this abstract?)
Photo Tricks - The Gordian Knot
The original smoke photo mirrored both horizontally and vertically and colorized in editing. Is this what they mean by “smoke and mirrors?”

8. Interaction with reflection and refraction

Find historic images of early photographers, and you might see them standing behind their cameras with black capes thrown over their heads. They did not have DSLRs, where the image entering the lens is reflected onto a mirror, through a prism, and then into the viewfinder right-side up. Instead, early photographers used the first “mirrorless” cameras, and the image came through the lens and displayed upside down on a ground glass at the back of the camera. The image was quite dim, which explains the need for the cape to better see the projected image.

Photo Tricks - Reflection and Refraction
The water-filled glasses refract the light while the black acrylic plastic sheet below reflects it. There’s a lot of light physics going on in these shots.

We won’t require you to take a course in optical physics so you can understand the behavior of lenses, light, reflection, refraction, or the differences in light transmission through various mediums. Just break out some glassware, pour in a little water, maybe use that piece of black plexiglass we mentioned earlier, find an interesting background, and go for it.

Photo Tricks - Refraction
You are getting sleeeepy… The water in the glass refracts the light and flips the image, much like a lens.

If you do want to dive deeper into understanding light behavior, take a look at my article “How to Understand Light and Color to Improve Your Photography.” Maybe take a look at this one as well: “Just Dew It – Fun with Macro Dewdrop Photography.”

Photo tricks - Water Drop Refraction
These tiny glycerin drops act as little lenses, focusing, refracting, and reversing the image behind them.

9. Zooming around

In our collection of photo tricks, this one is hardly a secret. You probably have done it before. No? Well, if not, and you have a zoom lens, it’s high time you tried the zoom blur effect.

The technique is simple enough. Set your exposure so you can get at least a one-second shutter speed, if not longer. This ought to be easy enough at night if you set the ISO to its lowest setting (such as ISO 100) and stop down the aperture to a small size (such as f/16 or f/22). If you’re shooting in the daytime and these settings alone don’t get you down to a second or more of exposure time, try adding a polarizing filter or a neutral density (ND) filter to reduce the light still further.

Photo Tricks - Zooming during the exposure
Lights at night make great subjects for the zoom blur technique. You’ll definitely need to work on a tripod.

You can do this technique handheld, but a tripod helps. Set your camera so you get the 2-second shutter delay, then with one hand on the zoom ring, trip the shutter. When you hear it click, zoom in (or out) during the exposure. Play with starting zoomed tight and then pulling out during the exposure, or starting wide and then zooming in. Lights at night can make for great looks. Try only zooming during the first or second half of the exposure. There’s no single way to do this, so play and discover what you can create.

Photo Tricks - Long exposures with zooming
Both these shots were zoomed during the exposure. See my fireworks article for the “Boom, Zoom, Bloom” technique.

10. Create a computer screen background

An interesting background can add to the story of your photo. If you have a good-sized computer monitor and are shooting a smaller object, being able to create a background on your computer screen opens all kinds of possibilities.

Photo Tricks - Computer as background
Create a unique background to go along with the theme of your photo by putting up something appropriate on a computer screen in the background of your shot.

Photographing screens would seem a simple process, but can be more tricky than you think. If you plan to do much of this, reading up on the best camera techniques for shooting screens would be time well spent.

Cheaper by the dozen

The title said 10 photo tricks, but I’m going to throw in two more for free and make it an even dozen. I really like the looks I can get with these last two.

11. Action sequences with Microsoft ICE

I wrote the article “Make Easy Panoramic Images with Microsoft ICE,” which focused primarily on how to use this free and very powerful tool from Microsoft to make panoramic images. That is good fun in itself and a very useful technique.

Toward the end of that article, I touched on something else you could do with ICE: sequential action images. These are great for showing the progressive steps of action, and ICE makes the technique quite easy. Follow the link, read through the article, and see how you can make images like this:

Photo Tricks - Sequential Action Images using Microsoft ICE
Pan with the action while shooting multiple images in continuous mode, then use the free Microsoft ICE software to assemble them. Quite easy, actually!

Here’s an alternative way to make sequential action photos with a completely different technique, one that’s more well-suited to capturing very fast action: “How to Use Multi-flash to Capture Compelling Action Photos.”

12. Phun photos with photoelasticity

Combine physics with fun and you get Phun, right? With this technique, you will be exploring what is called photoelasticity or, more specifically, birefringence.

Photo Tricks - Photo Elasticity
Clear plastic tableware goes cosmic with this technique. Learn about birefringence.

You don’t have to understand what’s going on, and this isn’t hard to do. It just works and looks cool. Here’s what you’ll need to do:

  • Your light source will need to be an LCD computer monitor, TV or, for smaller subjects, a tablet, or even a cellphone. LCD screens emit polarized light, and using polarized light to backlight your subject is part of what’s needed to make this work.
  • Try to limit any other ambient light. The effect will be stronger if the LCD light is dominant in your shot.
  • Use subjects made of hard, clear plastic. Polystyrene is what is used for most clear plastic cutlery and drinkware, so these make good subjects. Often the plastic in cheap picture frames is made from similar materials. Glass objects will not work for this.
  • You will need a polarizing filter on your lens. Standard circular polarizing (CPL) filters work well.
Photo Tricks with Birefringence
Polarized light plus a polarized lens reveals the “mechanical stress patterns” within certain types of plastics. Clear styrene plastic usually works well.

Now, get ready to say “Wow!” Place your subject in front of the LCD light source. Bring up an image that will create a totally blank, white, bright screen so that light backlights your subject. You won’t see anything until you look through the camera viewfinder and through the attached polarized filter. Cool, huh?

Now rotate the filter. The computer screen will be white, black, or intermediate shades, while the plastic subject will show the rainbow birefringence effect. The patterns will be showing the mechanical stress within the plastic, with tighter patterns where the curves of the object are tighter.

Photo tricks - Photo Elasticity
Is it okay to still say “Groovy, man?” A second sheet of plastic was held in front of the lens, producing the colored background. Aside from some exposure and saturation adjustments, this effect is what you see through the lens while making the shot, not added later on the computer.

Just a tip when you are seeking potential subjects for this kind of photography:

Your LCD cellphone screen is a polarized light source. If you have a pair of polarized sunglasses, objects held in front of a blank white screen on the phone and viewed while wearing the glasses will show the effect if they are the right kind of material. You may have to tilt your head to get the same effect as rotating a circular polarizing filter.

Now go play

So there’s a dozen new things to try with your camera. You will also find that these kinds of photography will force you to use different exposure, focusing, camera control, lens selection, and editing skills than perhaps you normally might use.

Remember, even failed experiments can be lessons when you seek to determine what went wrong and then try again to get it right. Now go try some of these photo tricks, have fun, and post some of your images in the comments section. If you have any questions, feel free to post those, too.

The post 10 Cheap Photo Tricks for Creative Images appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Rick Ohnsman.

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Landscape Photography: Complete Guide for Beginners; Equipment, Settings, and Tricks

26 Aug

The breathtaking landscape before you is just begging to be photographed. The only problem is that you don’t know how to do it. You try taking a few images, but upon reviewing them your disappointment sinks in. They don’t hold a candle to the real thing — and they certainly don’t look like those gorgeous landscape images that show up Continue Reading

The post Landscape Photography: Complete Guide for Beginners; Equipment, Settings, and Tricks appeared first on Photodoto.


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10 Tips & Tricks to Make Your Instagram Images Look Beautiful For Beginners

29 Jul

Instagram has undoubtedly become one of the most popular image sharing sites. It is also a sweet spot for photographers and enthusiasts looking to get their pictures noticed. Of course, the popularity of Instagram has led to fierce competition. To help you stand out on this social media platform, I decided to share some Instagram photo tricks to make your Continue Reading

The post 10 Tips & Tricks to Make Your Instagram Images Look Beautiful For Beginners appeared first on Photodoto.


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Tips and Tricks to Achieve a Graffiti Effect in Photoshop

12 Jul

The post Tips and Tricks to Achieve a Graffiti Effect in Photoshop appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Ana Mireles.

tips for creating a graffiti effect in Photoshop

Are you a fan of street art? Creating a graffiti effect is a great way to give an urban look to your designs or photos. In this article, I’ll show you some tips and tricks to get more realistic results using Photoshop.

Prep Work

You’ll need to do a little prep work to get you started on your way to making a realistic graffiti effect in your images.

Reference images

Whenever you’re recreating something that’s based on real-life, it is good practice to have a reference. Create a library from your own photographs or use online resources like Pinterest. That way, you have a visual guide to make your graffiti effect as realistic as possible.

Pinterest gallery for visual reference
Resources like Pinterest are great for finding graffiti resource images.

Get a photo of a wall

First, photograph the wall you want to use for your graffiti effect. (If you can’t photograph one yourself, look to stock libraries or free-use images online.) There are no specific rules to follow, but the more texture it has, the better the effect will look. For example, you can use a brick wall, a rough concrete wall, a corrugated iron fence etc.

Red brick wall

Then you need to create a black and white version of your image that is highly contrasted. This will serve as your displacement map.

There are many ways to do this, so feel free to use your own technique. I like to add adjustment layers. Use the Hue/Saturation to make it greyscale by moving the saturation slider all the way to the left. Then add a Brightness/Contrast one to increase the contrast.

High contrast black and white displacement map

Once you’re done, save it as a PSD format for later use.

Create your graffiti

There are many types and styles of graffiti: Blockbuster, Throw up, Tag, Stencil, Piece, etc. If you want to achieve a good graffiti effect, you should pick one of them for your work. I don’t intend for you to be a street art expert, nor do I pretend to be one, that’s why you can use the reference pictures. That way, the effect will be more realistic.

1. Blockbuster

This is one of the most common text-based graffiti. In simple words, it’s the one that has colorful chunky letters with thick borders.

Blockbuster graffiti style

If you want to buy or download a specifically designed graffiti font, you’re welcome to do it. If you want to make it more unique, you can also use a default font and modify it.

Using the Text tool, you can choose your font in the Options bar. Type your text, and it will be created in a separate text layer. If you right-click on that layer, choose “Convert to Shape.”

Shape text for a graffiti effect

Once it’s a shape, you can modify it using the pen tool.

In the toolbar, under the Pen tool, you’ll find the Convert Point tool. With it, you can drag any of the anchor points to modify the shape.

Modify fonts for a graffiti effect
Select and drag any of the anchor points to change the shape of the letters to what you want.

Note: Using the pen tool, you could create the letters from scratch too, but unless you’re a painter or a graphic designer, it’s easier to have something to get you started.

Now, using Layer styles, add the colors, edges, and shadows to mimic the effect from the graffiti you chose.

Layer styles give your text a graffiti effect

2. Stencil

Another style of graffiti is Stencil. This can be as easy or complex as you want it to be. It’s often one color (but can be more) and without internal details or depth. So, a basic way to do them is by using the Shape tool. You can use predetermined shapes or create your own with the Pen tool.

Shapes for a stencil graffiti effect

Just like you did for the text, use the Convert Point tool to modify your shapes at any time.

3. Piece

The third choice you have is to use a photograph in order to create a Piece (as in masterpiece). For this, you just go to File->Place and select the image of your choice. This will open it as a Smart Object.

A graffiti piece is more of a drawing, so it will be less detailed than a photograph. To get a better result, you can turn it into a painting or a cartoon before you apply the graffiti effect.

Give your photo a graffiti effect using filters

Try using the filter’s gallery to simplify your work. Go to Filter > Filter Gallery and apply different styles until you find the one you like. Notice that you can build up many of them if you feel like experimenting.

Finishing Touches

Once you have chosen the type of graffiti effect you would like to use, there are a few more steps to make it realistic.

1. Displacement Filter

It doesn’t matter if you did a Blockbuster, a Stencil, or a Piece, you need to integrate it into the wall in order to make a graffiti out of it. This is where the displacement map you created in the prep work comes into play.

Just go to Menu->Filters->Distort->Displacement. In the pop-up window, select the values you want. I’ll use a value of “10” in both. Click “OK” and it will open a window for you to browse your files.

Choose the grayscale image of the wall you did in the prep work and apply it.

Apply a displacement map

To fully incorporate this ‘distorted’ image into the wall, right-click on the empty part of the layer and choose Blending Options from the menu. Then use the “Blend If” sliders until you’re happy with the results.

Blend if for a graffiti effect

2. Adding perspective

This step is completely optional, but if you want to give more depth, you need to add a vanishing point. For this, make a new layer that merges all of the other by pressing Shift+Ctrl+Alt+E for PC or Shift+Command+Option+E for Mac.

Vanishing point for perspective

Now select it and go to Edit->Transform->Perspective. Pull one of the corners up and stop when you’re happy with the result. Apply the transformation and your Graffiti effect is ready.

Create a graffiti effect in Photoshop
The finished artwork uses Blockbuster, Stencil and Piece graffiti effects.


Graffiti is a very rich and complex art form that is very difficult to sum-up in just one article. However, I hope these tips and tricks will help you achieve a real graffiti effect.

There really is a lot of material to get creative in this area, so try it out, and have fun. Share your results and tips in the comments section.

The post Tips and Tricks to Achieve a Graffiti Effect in Photoshop appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Ana Mireles.

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Tips and Tricks for Photographing Your Own Dog

06 Jan

The post Tips and Tricks for Photographing Your Own Dog appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Anabel DFlux.


Whether you’re a seasoned animal photographer or just someone who loves their pup, you’ll find that photographing your own dog can be a bit more difficult than anticipated. I work as a pet photographer, and have always found photographing someone else’s furry best friends easier than my own little beast!

As such, I’ve devised a little guide here for those of you wanting to snap images of your own dog that are as perfect as those sparkling images on the internet. Your dog’s Instagram account will thank you for it (admit it – you have one!)

The difficulty in photographing your own dog

Image: This is my rescue dog, Lorelei. She’s not as easy to capture as she appears.

This is my rescue dog, Lorelei. She’s not as easy to capture as she appears.

Sometimes, photographing our own pets is easy. We know our pets inside and out. But maybe that’s also the problem. We know our pets too well, and they know us too well.

It tends to be easier to photograph someone else’s pet because you don’t have the same emotional connection to one another. Sure you’ll be an interesting commodity for a short period of time, but that pup will still gravitate back to its owner and away from you (making for better images). With your own dog, you are the main attention.

For the hyperactive and overly invested, this means a dog too close in your face all the time – especially when you get low to the ground for those really amazing eye-level compositions.

For the shy, this means a dog that will turn away from you the moment they see a lens or go hide somewhere. Doing basic obedience can become a chore as the dog becomes impatient with you as you set up your camera equipment. So many negative variables at hand here!

There is also an emotional component and, oftentimes, more frustration involved with utilizing our own pets as photography models. We know when our pups look best, how they are capable of behaving, and what we want them to do. However, because it’s us, they may push the buttons and not want to particularly cooperate.

There is a lot more leniency involved in photographing someone else’s pet, and we often forget that leniency with our own animals (akin to parents and their own children versus parents watching someone else’s children). We become so set on getting a specific type of shot that we forget the beauty of being a bit more spontaneous!

Tips and tricks for less headaches

Tips and Tricks for Photographing Your Own Dog

Fret not, fellow pet lovers, there are some solutions. Here are our tips and tricks to ease you on making sure your pup’s photographs are all perfectly delightful.

Note: If you are using a DSLR or Mirrorless camera, before even getting into these tips, make sure your camera is set to Continuous Autofocus Mode (AI Servo in Canon, AF-C in Nikon and Sony) which allows your camera to refocus on your pup despite their erratic movements. Set your shutter to High-Speed Continuous/Burst Mode (depending on camera brand) to take advantage of the camera’s frames-per-second and take many fast photos!

Tip 1: There is some training required

Tips and Tricks for Photographing Your Own Dog

Unlike our cameras, dogs aren’t ready straight out of the box! It requires some training to get those epic dog shots.

First and foremost, getting your dog used to the camera is a huge key to success. Show that the camera is not something scary, something to get overly excited about, or something to chew (yikes). I am a big positive reinforcement proponent. Reward your dog for doing good around the camera and make sure that Fido is aware that they are doing a terrific job. Make the camera a good experience for your pup, not something to be afraid of.

Secondly, some basic commands go a very long way. A good ‘sit and stay’ will do wonders for you, allowing the distance you need to capture the right image. A ‘down’ is also helpful, as is a ‘mark’ (in which the dog is trained to put their paws up on something you set as a marker). This is how those canine actors do it too!

Training is a great bonding tool for you and your dog and makes for a good canine citizen. So this doesn’t just have a photographic benefit tied in.

Tip 2: A tired dog is a good dog!

Tips and Tricks for Photographing Your Own Dog

Each old saying has a grain of truth to it, and in this case, significantly more than just a grain. An animal that is tired is less likely to have the energy to misbehave!

A key tip in working with pets is getting them too tired to exert their boisterous behavior or protest having to stay still. Playing, running, and stimulating your dog before taking pictures will keep them mellower when it comes time to take the photographs.

Tip 3: Filters, use them!

Tips and Tricks for Photographing Your Own Dog

Filters are the nifty little panes of glass that screw on to the front element of our lenses. This glass can protect expenses lenses from scratches, dust, and most definitely wet dog noses! The problem I often have with my own beast is that she wants to come right into the glass element of my lens, the filter offers extra protection for those times when she’s faster than I am!

Equally so, the glass absorbs the shock of impacts, such as accidentally getting the camera bumped out of our hands by an overexcited pooch.

Tip 4: Location makes all of the difference

Tips and Tricks for Photographing Your Own Dog

Much like with people, the location you are shooting in makes a world of difference. Is your dog an adventurer? Why not capture shots of your pup doing what they love best – exploring a beautiful hike! You can capture their love for the outdoors while your pet is distracted by something beautiful.

Do you have a lazy bum? Maybe the house is their favorite place to be? Catch a lovely in-home session with your dog playing with a favorite toy or hanging out on the couch!

Some dogs are more difficult to capture in unfamiliar locations as they get either nervous and anxious or over-excited. You know your dog best. Do what you think is best to get them comfortable with their surroundings before taking a photograph.

Remember, your dog’s comfort and happiness is first on the priority list; photographs are second.

Tip 5: Get their attention!

Ears up, ears up! You want to get those ears up and those faces smiling. As such, this requires a bit of attention-grabbing on your end. Whether through high-value treats (foods that your dog finds irresistible) or their favorite toy, you know your pooch best when it concerns getting their ears up.

Tip 6: Patience is a virtue

Tips and Tricks for Photographing Your Own Dog

Patience is a virtue indeed and is even more valuable when capturing our own pets. As stated before, patience seems easier with someone else’s dog than with our own, and that’s a frustration that comes out of something that is yours. Remember to breathe and relax, as your anxiety affects your pup. Be patient and the right moment will come!

Tip 7: Rapid shutter fire!

As mentioned above, when you set your camera to burst mode or high-speed continuous shooting, you take advantage of your camera’s speed. This is especially important for animal photography in which pups move rapidly! Capturing a whole sequence of movements allows you to pick out the best of the best shot.

Tip 8: Bring a friend!

Tips and Tricks for Photographing Your Own Dog

It’s okay to bribe your friends with pizza in order to get them to help pose your dog! Having a second person around always helps. That’s the reason photographing someone else’s dog is much easier too.

A second pair of hands can catch your dog’s attention, help you make sure the pup isn’t running away, and generally help when photographing your own dog.

Final thoughts

Photographing your own dog may not always be a simple endeavor, but it is always a worthwhile one! Just remember to have fun and keep it all lighthearted, and you’ll do great.

Do you have any other tips for photographing your own dog? If so share with us in the comments. We’d also love to see the pictures you have taken of your own dog, so feel free to share those with us too!

The post Tips and Tricks for Photographing Your Own Dog appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Anabel DFlux.

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Video: 10 in-camera tricks for capturing unique images without Photoshop

01 Nov

Jordi.Koalitic, a creative photography project from photographers Jordi and Arnau Puig, has published a video detailing 10 ways photographers can add interesting effects to their images without using editing software. These in-camera tricks include spraypainting alphabet pasta to simulate letters falling on a book, gluing dirt inside a pot to imitate shooting through a hole in the ground and more.

Other effects detailed in the video include simulating action shots involving fruit, marbles, and a tennis ball, using a mirror to creatively capture a subject from a unique angle, using a slinky toy to create a swirly effect extending from the camera to subject and using glass to safety shoot water being thrown at the camera. The video includes sample images and the camera settings used to capture them.

Additional images can be viewed at the team’s Jordi.Koalitic Instagram account.

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10 Awesome Photoshop CC Tricks You Wish You Knew

27 Oct

The post 10 Awesome Photoshop CC Tricks You Wish You Knew appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kevin Landwer-Johan.


All photographers want their photos to look fantastic and part of the path to great images is the post-processing. You can do so much with the right tools if you know how to use them well. Photoshop is such an amazing tool for photographers. The more you use it the more you find that it can do. The more you realize you have to study to be able to make the most of it. In this article, I will share with you ten cool Photoshop CC tricks I love using when I work on my photos in Adobe Photoshop.

1. Photoshop search

10 Awesome Photoshop CC Tricks You Wish You Knew

Photoshop articles like this or video tutorials often suggest tools to use that you may not be familiar with. It’s easy enough to remember the tool but forget its location within photoshop. This is where the Photoshop search comes in helpful.

Up in the top right of the main photoshop window, you will find a search icon. Click on it to search not only to find that tool you want but other things too. You can also search for tutorials, Lightroom and Adobe stock images.

2. Manage keyboard shortcuts

10 Awesome Photoshop CC Tricks You Wish You Knew

When working with any complicated software, it pays to learn at least some of the keyboard shortcuts. Knowing the shortcuts for the tools you use the most will help speed up your workflow.

In photoshop you have the capacity to customize your keyboard shortcuts. It’s easy enough to do. If you’ve been using photoshop for a while you will know which tools you use often and will want to know the shortcuts.

To find them, all you need to do is go to the top menu and select Edit->Keyboard Shortcuts. This opens up a window where you’ll see all the information you need to learn the shortcuts and change them.

Most keys and many combinations have shortcuts assigned. These can be customized to suit your working style.

One key that has no default shortcut assigned is the ‘n’ key. You can assign your favorite tool to it without disrupting any of the other shortcut keys.

3. Temporary tool select

Another helpful trick that aids smooth workflow is being able to temporarily select a tool.

Say you’re working on an image with the Burn tool and you see a small blemish you want to remove with the Clone tool. You can simply press and hold the ‘s’ key to select the Clone tool. Once you’ve removed the blemish, release the ‘s’ key and your cursor will revert back to the Burn tool.

This can be used with most keyboard shortcuts.

4. Open the same image in two windows


Opening the same image document in two windows gives you some great flexibility. You can have one instance of the file zoomed and be working on the details and the other showing the entire frame. This lets you see the changes you make in the detailed view as they happen in the full-frame window also.

To open two image documents, go to ‘Window’ in the top menu and select Arrange->New Window for [the file name of the opened file]. Click on this file, and a new instance of the file will open. Now you can select Window->Arrange and select the display option you prefer. Here I have selected to show 2-up Vertical.

This trick is very cool if you are working with two or more monitors.

5. Creating selections of Highlights and Shadows


Selecting only the highlights or dark areas of an image can give you more control when making certain adjustments.

To do this, choose the type of adjustment you want to make. For this example, I have added a Curve Adjustment Layer. This is from the menu at the bottom of the Layers panel. Once I have the new adjustment layer, I then delete the layer mask.

Here’s where the magic happens. Press Ctrl+Alt+2 (Cmd+Opt+2 on Mac) and all the bright pixels will be selected. When you click on the Curves icon in the Layers panel, you will not only be making adjustments to the brightest pixels. In the Properties panel of the mask, you can choose to invert the selection and work on the darker pixels.

6. Pen tool tips


Learning to use the Pen tool in photoshop is frustrating for many people. At first, it can be difficult to make the line go where you want it to. Here are some tweaks you can make so your learning curve is not so steep.

When you have the Pen tool selected, click the Cog icon on the top menu. Here you can alter the settings for how the line looks and responds. You can determine the weight and color of the line. This can be helpful in allowing you to see where you’re drawing more easily.

Probably the most helpful aspect of the Pen tool settings is the Rubber Band checkbox. With this setting active, you can see where your line is as you draw. This allows you to see where your line will be in real-time. Without the Rubber Band box checked, you will not see where your line will be drawn until you click on a point.

Two more helpful tips with the Pen tool are:

  1. Use the spacebar as you click. Hold the spacebar to allow you to place the point precisely where you want it to be.
  2. Once your line is complete, use Alt+Click to modify the handles on a point so you can alter the curve of the line.

7. Select colors from any application

10 Awesome Photoshop CC Tricks You Wish You Knew

Matching a color you want to use in photoshop with a color in another program or app is easy and can be very useful. Pulling the same color and applying it to text, a brush or fill means you can precisely color match what you are working on.

Shrink your photoshop window and place it over the area you want to select the color from. Simply select the tool for how you want to apply the color. In my example, I want to fill the background of my logo with a specific color from a photo on my website. Click and hold the Alt key as you drag your mouse to hover over the color you want to match.

When you release your mouse, Photoshop will use it as the selected foreground color. Now you can apply it as you wish.

8. Control Color Luminosity


By creating a new black and white Adjustment Layer and setting the Blend mode to Luminosity, you can darken or brighten each color in your image. Simple drag the slider for each color you want to adjust until you are satisfied with its luminosity.

9. Transparency using ‘Blend If’

10 Awesome Photoshop CC Tricks You Wish You Knew

The ‘Blend If’ mode is a powerful tool when you know how to use it. Selecting and manipulating layers using the Blend If functions allow you to alter the luminosity or color channel of a layer.

In this example, I wanted to eliminate the black background from my logo and replace it with an image. The image is on the layer underneath my logo. Bring up the Layer Style panel by double-clicking on the layer you want to work on. With the Blend If mode set to Gray, use the slider below it to remove the darker or lighter pixels. In this example, I have moved the slider on the left towards the right to take out the black background of the logo.

Making the altered layer a Smart Object will make those hidden pixels transparent for even more flexibility.

10. Non-destructive Spot Healing Brush

10 Awesome Photoshop CC Tricks You Wish You Knew

Adding a new layer above the image you are working on allows you to work non-destructively with the Spot Healing Brush. Often with highly textured images, the Spot Healing Brush provides an unsatisfactory result. Adding an extra blank layer gives you more flexibility.

The key to making this work is to ensure you check the Sample All Layers checkbox in the top menu bar.


I hope there are a few new tips and tricks on this list of Photoshop CC tricks that you can find helpful. As with all things Photoshop, everyone works differently. There are also many ways to reach the same end result.

If you know of some other cool Photoshop CC tips or tricks let us know what they are in the comments below.

The post 10 Awesome Photoshop CC Tricks You Wish You Knew appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kevin Landwer-Johan.

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Tips & Tricks: A Survey of Iconic Family Lifestyle Photography

06 Oct

Family lifestyle photography is a unique and incredibly exciting subsection of the photographic field. This is a method that is widely practiced, though to be done right, one needs to properly understand its history, its limitations, its necessities, and how it can be executed to get the most incredible and poignant photos possible. First, defining lifestyle photography is imperative: here, Continue Reading

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5 Must-Know Photoshop Tricks For Photographers

18 Jul

For every photographer, it is a dream to get everything right in the camera. However, it is not possible every time, you cannot always get your shots right. Sometimes, magnificent moments happen in a flash. In such cases, you cannot meticulously adjust your camera setting and look for the perfect lighting to get the perfect picture. For example, if you Continue Reading

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6 Great Lightroom Tricks You Probably Didn’t Know About

18 Jul

The post 6 Great Lightroom Tricks You Probably Didn’t Know About appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kav Dadfar.

Adobe Lightroom is an essential tool for any photographer. Whether you are a professional or amateur, Lightroom can make your workflow faster and more efficient. But there are also a whole host of editing tools available. Some of which you may not even know existed. So here are 6 great lightroom tricks that you probably didn’t know about.

Crop overlay options

Cropping your photos can sometimes mean the difference between a good photo and a great one. You can access the Lightroom crop tool by pressing R on your keyboard in the Develop module. Perhaps you already knew that, but what you may not have known is that when your cropping tool is open, you can change the overlay that shows on your image.

By pressing “O,” you will be able to get a whole host of different overlays on the image to help you crop effectively. Everything from the “Rule of Thirds” to the “Fibonacci Rule” can be accessed to help turn an okay photo into a great one.

Lights Off Mode

Sometimes when you are editing a photo, it is easy to get distracted by all of the side panels and options available. A great way to really see your photo is by looking at it in the “Lights Out” mode. By pressing the “L” key once on your keyboard, everything dims except your image. Pressing it one more time, you will see just the image on a black background without the distracting side panels. Press it a third time to make the side panels re-appear.


Full-Screen Mode

Another useful trick, especially when working on smaller screens such as laptops, is to view your image at full screen. Because of the screen size, naturally the actual photo you are working on looks pretty small on a laptop screen.

To get a better view hit “F” on your keyboard and you’ll get to see the image as big as possible on the screen.

To come out of full-screen mode press Esc on your keyboard.

Know if your image is clipped

One of the key elements of taking a photo or post-processing it is to ensure that your highlights and shadows are not overexposed or underexposed to the point where there is no detail in those areas. This is a term that is known as clipping.

It can be difficult to judge by eye if any areas of your photo suffer from this. Thankfully, Lightroom’s clever tool can make it much easier to see where this occurs.

Click the little triangles on the corners of your histogram, and if there are clipped areas in your photo, they will show in red for highlights and blue for shadows. You can then tweak the different sliders to correct these issues. You can also access the clipping highlights by pressing “J” whilst in the Develop module.


Please note that on older versions of Lightroom these sliders might be different.

Pick and organise

I have over 100,000 photos in my collection. They are for a variety of assignments and clients, and they need organizing in a way that makes it easy for me to access them. One of the most useful aspects of Lightroom is being able to organize and flag your photos effectively. The three easy ways to organize your photos are 1) flagging them (i.e., putting a flag on the ones you want to), 2) adding 1 to 5 stars, 3) color-coding them in red, yellow, green, blue and purple.

You can access these by using the following shortcuts:

  • “P” flags a photo (to unflag a photo press “U”). You can also reject a photo by pressing “X”
  • Add stars by using the relevant number key between 1 – 5 (press zero to remove stars)
  • Color code your image by pressing 6 – 9

How you use these ultimately depends on your workflow. However, for example, you may decide to utilize the colors like a traffic light system (i.e., Green for the ones that you love, yellow for the okay ones and red for rejects). Alternatively, you may simply star the ones you really like with 5 stars. The choice is yours.

Speed up your editing

Often whenever you are at a location, you will take multiple photos. Sometimes you may even take a set of photos from the same scene. When it comes to editing them, it wouldn’t be very efficient to edit each one individually as the light and conditions won’t change much in a few seconds. Lightroom has a couple of great options to help.

Whilst in the Develop module, if you click on the “Previous” button (at the bottom of the right-hand panel), Lightroom pastes the same settings as the last image you were on to the selected image.

If you select multiple images on the film strip in the Develop module, you’ll notice that the “Previous” button changes to “Sync.” Press this and whichever image is selected will be used as a basis to paste the adjustment from to all images you’ve selected.

Once you have clicked on “Sync,” you’ll get a pop up where you can select which settings you want to add. This is a great option when, for example, you shot a scene in burst mode where all the conditions are similar from one photo to the next. You can always make further adjustments to a photo if needed.



These are just some of the simple yet effective editing tools that you may not have known about in Lightroom. There is so much more Lightroom can do. If you learn how to use it, it will become an invaluable software in your workflow.

Don’t forget to let us know your great Lightroom tricks below.



The post 6 Great Lightroom Tricks You Probably Didn’t Know About appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kav Dadfar.

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