I have a new post on the Pro Photo Blog (link) “Must Have Skills for Photographers: Enlarging Images and Large-Format Printing“
I provide custom image repair and resuscitation. I have “treated” literally thousands of images from other photographers – including scans from film,
digital raw files, and previously processed image files – for web, exhibition, gallery, or personal use. You’ll be amazed at the results!
Please contact me for details and pricing!!
I also have a new web page: PictureParamedic.com
Venue: Santa Clarita Center for Photography, Two evening sessions: July 14 and 21, 2010, 6:30 PM to 9:30 PM
Cost is $109 if registered by 7/7/10, $119 after. Pre-registration is recommended.
(Phone registration call 661-904-2092; link to registration form at the end of this post.)
This two-evening, focused workshop teaches an uncomplicated, efficient, professional process from start to finish. Learn how to successfully pre-plan your photo shoot, put your lighting setup together to match a particular “look”, capture your image successfully, plan your editing in Photoshop, and create an image you can successfully print or provide as a digital file. Scroll down to read more….
We’ll take you step by step through the process:
- Pre-session planning meetings with customers, clients/models, and others
- Identifying a look or theme, including use of printed examples, design ideas, and the like
- Pre-shoot coaching, with focus on making diplomatic suggestions for wardrobe and makeup
- Studio preparation, including backdrops, choosing a lighting style, and two or three light setups for portraits
- Classic vs. non-traditional lighting, using main and accessory lights
- Setting up your camera for successful capture
- Three-step fast and efficient editing in Photoshop
- Providing proofs to customers/clients
- Preparing for printing or publication
Hands-on work will include lighting setup and shooting.
You’ll leave the session with a list of action items in hand that will help you improve the quality of your work and improve your profitability!
To enroll, follow this link or call 661-904-2092
Had a very cool class on Viveza 2 and Color Efex Pro last night at SCV Center for Photography. As always, Mel Carll, the owner of the studio, was a great host!
We explored these applications along with some advanced layer techniques in Photoshop – the possibilities/flexibility are really impressive – so is the improvement in productivity and editing speed! (both applications work with Photoshop, Lightroom, and Aperture).
You can download free trial at Nik Software.
We’ll be getting a chance to field test and review the Leica S2 37.5 MP medium format digital camera in about ten days. Stay tuned for results and details. (the Medium Format saga continues!)
Reminder! Mastering Black and White Printing Workshop
David Saffir instructor
Take your fine art printing skills to a new level! Join us for a workshop focused on creating and printing Black & White images. You’ll learn how to manage your color,
and really dig into your Black and White techniques so your images sparkle!
Manage digital capture (in color) with black and white printing in mind
The process used in Photoshop to convert digitally captured color images to black & white, and custom edit as needed.
Learn in detail the use of Photoshop filters, presets, and adjustment layers. Customize tonal values, image density, highlight and shadow details, etc. Demonstrate using three examples: still life, landscape, and portrait images.
Understand using color management system to ensure color control, neutrality in black & white printing, and consistent print quality.
Evaluate edited images on screen (soft proofing using custom ICC profiles) for final output. Use custom adjustments and print variations facilitated by accurate soft proofing.
Understand the complete process needed to make fine art prints from a correctly prepared image file. This includes methods for creating proof prints that facilitate successful final prints, the use of paper/printer profiles, and using the Photoshop printer dialog and the printer driver.
Create prints and evaluate. Learn troubleshooting and problem solving techniques.
Learn methods of print finishing and coatings for photographic style, fine art, and canvas media.
Bring a file or two – we’ll be making sample prints from selected student’s images on our wide-format printer.
Cost is $109 for students who pre-register.
Call (661)904-2092 to register (preferred) or:
Click here to register online for a workshop.
The Ultimate Adjustment Layer in Photoshop – Using Smart Objects
Most of us begin editing our RAW files using Adobe Camera RAW. It’s a great tool – there’s all kinds of goodies tucked away behind tabs, links, and the like.
Here’s one some may not be aware of: you can set Camera RAW to open your image as a Smart Object.
Well, so what? The benefit is that a RAW file which is opened in Photoshop as a Smart Object can be re-edited again and again in Camera RAW with a simple mouse click!
Here’s how it works:
Open your image in Camera RAW. Make your adjustments as you normally do.
Next, note the link at the bottom of the Camera RAW dialogue box (red circle).
If you click on it, you’ll see this:
This dialogue provides tools for color space, image size, etc. Note the red circle at the bottom, which indicates the check box where you can tell Photoshop to open this image as a Smart Object. Click on this, and then click OK.
In the main Camera RAW dialogue, the Open button will change to Open Object. Click on this.
Your image will open in Photoshop as it normally does, with one exception – the preview in the Layers panel will look different.
In the lower right corner of the Layer preview, you’ll see a new icon (layer panel preview circled in red). This indicates that your layer is now a Smart Object.
If you double-click on the preview icon, your image will open again in Camera RAW, with all your previous adjustments in place. You can change those adjustments any way you wish – when you’re finished, click OK and the image will re-open in Photoshop as a Smart Layer once more.
So, you don’t have to dump an image you’ve adjusted in Camera RAW and start over – just use a Smart Object as the Ultimate Adjustment Layer!
Written by guest author, Ron Brewer
A dark background can draw the viewer’s attention into an image, and create a dramatic effect that is unique and compelling. Subtleties of lighting in the foreground or mid-ground, for example, become more noticeable and have great impact on the “feeling” of the image.
The easiest, quickest way to create a black background for your image is to make it happen in-camera and not in post-production work (such as in Photoshop).
Shoot in a dimly lit room. Use a light source that falls only on the subject. The speedlight (flash) you use in your camera’s hotshoe will work fine for this, but you will want to take it off-camera to create this effect. A remote trigger is best.
And if you don’t have a speedlight, don’t fear. You can even use a flashlight (more on this is a later post).
The first method you could use involves use of a black piece of material in the background of the shot. Place the background at least 4-6 feet behind the subject. Keep the light that is on your subject from illuminating the background, so it stays dark in the image.
I prefer a different method. It is called “working above the ambient” by David Hobby of Strobist fame (www.strobist.com). This method is rather easy to create indoors. It can be done outdoors, but in this case, we are going to focus on an indoor shot.
We want to eliminate the influence of ambient light in the picture. The only light you will be working with will be from the flash. Your camera’s exposure will be set so as not to pick up any ambient light, and then you will bring the power of the flash to the right setting to get a proper exposure on the subject. Sounds challenging? Experiment and it will quickly become second nature.
- Use a room or space that has low light
- Set your ISO to 100 or 200; at least the lowest “native” setting offered in your camera
- Set camera to manual exposure
- Set shutter speed to highest available flash sync, usually 1/125, 1/200, or 1/250
- Take a test shot without flash. Set aperture small; anywhere from f/11 to f/22. You want the result to be a completely black frame.
- Evaluate the histogram. Increase aperture size (from f/22 to f/18 for example) by steps until you start to see ambient light in the frame, and back off to the previous setting.
Next, you’ll start working on lighting the subject. We’ll discuss using flash first:
- With your flash off-camera, set it to a power that is sufficient to properly expose your subject. You might start with the flash about two feet from the subject and to its side (for example, let’s say the subject is something small, like a single flower bloom). Try setting the power to 1/128 or whatever the lowest power setting is on your flash. Take the shot and check the LCD and histogram. If the shot is over exposed, then lower the power of the flash or move it farther away from the subject
- If under exposed, then up the power of the flash or move the flash either closer away until the proper exposure is achieved.
- Do not adjust the camera exposure settings or you will start recording the ambient light again. Camera exposure settings are set to remove the ambient light from the picture, not to set the exposure of the subject.
- Put another way: set the exposure for the subject by adjusting the power setting on the flash or by changing the distance between the flash and subject. In essence, you are going to adjust the amount of light on the subject until it properly exposes the subject at the exposure settings you have already set into your camera.
(red circle is the subject)
- If you find that you are still getting some light on the background, then use something to block the light from hitting the background. Such items are called a “gobo” which will “cut” the light. You can even use a small piece of cardboard. Set the cardboard up close to the flash head, placing it between the flash head and the background. The light will hit the cardboard and be blocked from hitting the background.
- Using a black background in your shots will provide a unique look to your photographs. Using a black background makes the foreground colors of the subject really pop. And it guides the viewer’s eye to go straight to the main subject and not drift out of the borders.
- With practice, you’ll find that this is a very simple process which you can execute very quickly in most indoor situations. Not only is it a lot of fun, you can end up with some great pictures.
Written by Ron Brewer, January 2010 www.ronbrewerimages.com
One of the most intriguing tools in Photoshop is layer alignment and blending. One practical use for these is macro photography – I have been experimenting with creating images that have depth of field that is nearly impossible to get in a single frame. (this post was originally written in Jan 09; updated Dec 09)
Here’s how it’s done:
Use your camera of choice, preferably with a macro lens. Create the normal setup with the camera on a tripod. Set up or manage lighting, put the camera on aperture priority, and meter. I typically use mirror-up mode as well, and shoot with a remote. Shoot in RAW format if you can. (I used a Nikon D3 digital camera, and the new Nikkor 105mm Macro VR lens).
Typical aperture on these shots ranges from f/8 to f/16 in the 35mm class – higher f/stops tend to soften the image through diffusion error. Start at f/8 or f/11.
I usually work close to the lens’s minimum focusing distance. I shoot several frames of the subject, changing the focal point to different parts of the subject, left to right and/or top to bottom. The camera must be absolutely still so that the frames will register with one another. If we could mark the focal points, they might look something like this:
Transfer the images to a folder on your computer. Open the folder with Bridge. Select the images you’ve captured (in this case four), press Command-R to open them in Adobe Camera RAW. You’ll see this screen:
Make your adjustments to the first picture only. Be conservative. Now click “select all” in the upper left corner of the dialogue, and then click “synchronize”. All of the RAW files will be updated.
Now click “Done” (blue arrow) in the lower right hand corner. Camera RAW will close and return to Adobe Bridge.
The four images will still be highlighted in Bridge. Go up to the main menu, choose Tools>Photoshop>Load Files Into Photoshop Layers.
The images will be loaded into a single Photoshop image with, of course, four layers. Open the layers dialogue and select all the layers.
Once this is completed (may take a while) go to the main menu, and click Edit>Auto-Align Layers. You’ll see a bigger dialogue, again just click Auto.
Once this is finished, go back to the Edit menu, click Edit>Auto-Blend Layers. Click on Stack Images, and Seamless Tones and Colors. Click OK.
Photoshop will launch into an analysis of all the layers, create layer masks to use the best portions of each layer, and blend the images. You should see an amazingly sharp image with significant depth of field. This is truly something new under the sun! Here’s an example:
My good friend photographer Ted Dayton told me about this, and I should add one of his points here: “take more pictures, with more focal points, than you think you need.” He’s right – once the images are blended, you’ll see the difference.
Announcing a new workshop series with SCV Center for Photography and David Saffir:
Tuesday, January 5, 2010 6:30pm to 9:30pm and Wednesday, January 6, 2010 from 6:30pm to 9:30pm. Cost: $139 total for both nights (and includes the Mastering Digital Color book). This is a 2 evening workshop.
Instructor: David Saffir
Mastering digital color isn’t just about having the ability to control color from start to finish in a creative project – it’s also about using color to maximize creative opportunities, and bring your vision to life. Color management is a wonderful point of leverage in every way that counts – cost, quality and competitiveness!
Mastering color in photography involves a stream of decisions that, at first glance, can seem unworkable, or even intimidating. The reality is that leveraging your color is based on a handful of basic principles – and once you have your color system refined and dialed in, you can go in almost any direction imaginable.
This is a down-to-earth, practical seminar that will help you make your color dance, and also help you improve your photography business.
In summary, we’ll cover:
- Color in “real life”
- What happens to color in the camera, computer, and printer
- What you need to do to make creative color control routine, easy and efficient
- Special tips and tricks to use color as a creative tool in capture, editing, and printing
Class highlights include, but are not limited to:
- Color space – that box of crayons you use every day
- Top tips for in-camera color control
- Important computer-based color controls
- What should a photography production guide look like?
- Why your display gives you good color – or why it may not
- How to choose color-savvy displays, printers, and other technology
- Managing consumer-level, and pro-level image editors for max color
- Important differences between Photoshop, Lightroom, Aperture, and iPhoto
- Why most photographers calibrate their display, and why they often
fail at screen to print match
- Advanced color tools – hardware and software – and why you probably don’t need most of them
- How inkjet printers handle color and what you can do about it
- Profiling is not a dirty word
- Maximizing color results with inkjet printers on selected paper types: gloss/satin, fine art/watercolor, canvas, and “synthetics”
- Quality control checks for each stage – inspection, correction, and troubleshooting.
- Compare color quality issues between different output devices: dye, dye-sub, and pigment printers among them
- Creative Color control and outdoor lighting
- Creative Color Control and studio lighting
Attendees will also receive a free copy of the book “Mastering Digital Color” (250+ pages), by David Saffir.
To sign up, please call the SCV Center for Photography, (661) 904-2092, email email@example.com or visit www.scvphotocenter.com
Coming in February 2010 is the second workshop in the series “Mastering Printing.”