Throughout the history of photography, many photographers have blended multiple exposures into one final image. Obviously, they didn’t shoot the exposures at the same time, but at some interval to achieve something.
One really common purpose is to remove people by shooting several photos and making sure that all areas are covered without any people and then blend all the images into one image. Another purpose of shooting multiple images is bracketing for HDR. Yet a different purpose is to compress a long time into one photo.
In this article, you will learn how to make an image that compresses a long time-span into one image. It is a bit like a time-lapse movie sequence, but instead of making a movie you create one final image.
Like in time-lapse photography you will shoot several photos shot over a period of preferably several hours to see a change in the scenery. To make it more interesting, you shoot the photos during a change of light, like from daylight to nighttime. When you put such photos together, you get something really fascinating.
To be able to make such a photo you must have a camera and a tripod or similar device. While you shoot, you need to avoid touching the camera more than you have to. Therefore a cable release or remote trigger is recommended.
You will be standing still for several hours and the temperature will most likely change quite a bit. Remember to bring clothes for a change of temperature.
Where to Shoot
In theory, you can shoot these kinds of photos anywhere and of anything. But since you are putting a lot of time into one single image, it is recommended that you have an excellent composition of an interesting scene.
When to shoot
You should shoot when the light changes the most, which is from daytime to nighttime or the other way around. It is this change that will make it into a remarkable photo. If you just shoot for four hours around midday, you will get a midday photo.
How to Shoot
When you shoot photos that you intend to blend into one final image, it is essential that you make sure to have an almost identical composition in each frame. You can do that by stabilizing your camera, typically on a tripod. Minor pixel shift differences can be handled later in the post-processing phase, but big differences in the composition will be really hard, if not impossible to blend.
You can either use a remote control to trigger the camera for each shot or put the camera into a time-lapse mode. The advantage of triggering the shutter release remotely yourself is that you can time your shots if something interesting happens.
As the light changes, you will need to change the camera settings.
During the daytime put your camera in Aperture Priority mode at ISO 100 and set the aperture around f/8. This mode makes sure that the images have the same depth of field and therefore are identical, except for the change of light. Do a couple of trial shots to make sure you don’t blow out the highlights or the shadows. If the image is too bright or dark, use the exposure compensation to adjust.
As it gets darker, the camera will make longer exposures and when you hit the 30-second mark, you will need to increase the ISO. You will typically end up at ISO 800 or 1600.
You most likely want to switch off autofocus before it gets dark. It depends on the scenery. City photos often offer good low light autofocus points, while the contrast disappears in landscape photos and makes autofocus impossible. Alternatively, you can use Back Button Focus.
How many photos do you need?
You need at least two different photos, but any number larger than one will work. For my photo of Sydney, I used a couple of night shots. For the morning part, I only used two.
If you shoot the “many people” variation, you will need photos with interesting people in all those areas you want to be populated with people. For the photo of Manarola, Italy I used approximately 60 photos from a batch of around 200.
How to handle high dynamic range?
Some situations are hard or impossible to capture in one exposure because the dynamic range gets too high. Typically this happens in nighttime city photos or if the sun enters the frame. The difference between the strong light source and the shadows is too great to capture in one single exposure.
In these situations, you must either switch to Auto Exposure Bracketing (AEB) or do some manual exposure compensation.
How to blend the photos
You can use any layer-based photo editing tool to blend the photos together. I will demonstrate using Photoshop, but Photo Affinity, GIMP or any other similar photo editing tools can do the same.
The overall process is to pick one of the good photos from the shoot as the base photo. Then you handpick a set of other photos that you want to blend into the base image.
The technique you are going to use to blend is called “Layer Masking”.
Put all the photos you have picked into an empty folder on your computer. JPEGs are fine, but you can also use RAW files.
Pick your base photo and open that in Photoshop.
Pick another photo with different light. Load that in into Photoshop by dragging the file onto the base image. Position the photo and press enter.
Notice that you now only see the top layer.
Add a mask to the top image, by selecting the top layer and clicking Layer > Layer Mask > Hide All. You have now added a Black Mask. Notice that you can now see the lower image layer again.
Select the layer mask by clicking on the black mask and then select the brush tool. Select white as your brush color and set the opacity to around 50% and hardness to 0%. You want to work with a BIG soft brush for most stuff. When you need to do more detailed work, increase hardness to around 50%.
Start painting in some areas and see how the image changes. Each time you click the mouse and paint in an area, the more the top image becomes visible. Play around until you see something you find interesting.
Add more photos by dragging them into Photoshop one at a time and make sure the new layer is the top one. You can drag it to the top of the stack if it is not. Then repeat steps 4-6 again.
The final image
In the end, you will end up with several layers containing photos from which you have used bits and pieces, to create your own unique and quite fascinating image. In the image of the idyllic alp town of Hallstatt in Austria, I used 18 photos to create my image.
Additional things to consider
8-bit or 16-bit?
Normally you should never use 8-bit mode for image editing, but if you are blending 20+ photos, you will run into serious performance issues at 16-bit, even with a high-performance computer. One workaround is to use 8-bit at the cost of image quality. You can change the mode by going to Image > Mode > 8-bit/Channel. The downside of using 8-bit is that you may end up having banding which is when you can see the colors transition from one to the other (they do not graduate smoothly).
You have probably had to adjust the camera while shooting and most likely you will find that the images are slightly misaligned. It may not be more than a pixel or two.
You use the Move Layer tool to micro adjust the misaligned layer using the arrow keys.
Addition tip – try to make more than one final image from the same photos, by switching around the night and day photos.
How to Compress Time Into One Photohttps://digital-photography-school.com/?p=142740
Throughout the history of photography, many photographers have blended multiple exposures into one final image. Obviously, they didn’t shoot the exposures at the same time, but at some interval to achieve something. One really common purpose is to remove people by shooting several photos and making sure that all areas are covered without any people […]
Sat, 24 Feb 2018 18:00:00 +0000
Do you want to make sure you get the most details out of your shot? How about making sure none of your post-processing is destructive? It sounds like a really smart way to set up your workflow right?
A workflow is a process that goes from initiation to completion. In the case of photography, that implies from the time of shooting to post-processing. So the first thing you need to do is to ALWAYS shoot in RAW mode. This is a format that changes file extension with every manufacturer but they all share one common thing: raw files store all the un-processed and un-compressed data received on the sensor of your camera when you make a picture.
Why shoot RAW?
What is the point of that? Well this means that your file can tolerate more post-processing adjustments and that you can alter some of the settings from the image in a non-destructive way.
As I mentioned before, RAW files have different file extensions and therefore need special software to process them. Your camera surely came with a software that handles your files. However, in this article, I am going to show you how to get the most out of them in Photoshop which supports most raw formats either by default or by using a plug-in.
When you open a RAW file in Photoshop you will see that you can adjust the image with the sliders on the tool palette on the right. Start moving those around to recover the most detail you can from both the highlights and the shadows so you can even out the exposure as much as possible. You can also control the tone of the white balance, the saturation and vibrancy of the colors, and so on.
Tweak the image using the sliders and local adjustments in ACR
Once you have the overall settings adjusted, you can start working the settings in different areas to fine-tune your image.
Use the Adjustment Brush that you’ll find in the Menu bar on the top; you can change its settings like size and hardness on the right. Whatever adjustments you make to contrast or exposure will be applied only to the part where you paint with the brush. This is very useful when you are processing images with a lot of contrast. You can keep going with the other tools like the gradient for other local adjustments.
Open as a Smart Object
If you are already familiar with processing RAW files, these are likely your normal post-processing steps, after which you would click the Open Image button so that the photo opens in Photoshop with the applied adjustments. However, there is one more step you can add to your process to really make your images pop. You can open your photo as a Smart Object.
Here’s how to do it. Instead of clicking Open Image, just press the Shift key and that same button will become Open Object, now you can click it. Having done this, the image will open in Photoshop as a Layer. Now right-click the layer thumbnail and choose New Smart Object via Copy and a second layer, containing a second smart object will be created.
IMPORTANT: Don’t just duplicate the layer or you won’t be able to process them independently; every adjustment would be applied to both smart objects!
You can now rename the layers to identify which adjustments you are going to do in each one. For example, I’m doing Highlights and Shadows for my image but maybe for another image, it’s better to call the layers Background and Foreground, it depends on your image and what it needs.
The cool part about Smart Objects is that when you double-click the layer, it will open again in the RAW editor, which means that you are back to all the data to keep processing without loss. You can make the adjustments that you need for a specific part of the image.
Now that you have done the best post-processing for each part is time to integrate it all into one amazing picture! Add a mask to the top layer by clicking the Layer Mask button on the bottom of the Layers Palette. With the layer mask selected you can start hiding the parts you don’t need. Remember that whatever appears in black on the mask means that you will see the layer underneath; whatever is white will show the top layer. I’ll turn off the bottom layer so that you can see what I mean below.
If you find it necessary, you can keep going with your adjustments, as you would normally do in Photoshop. You can add a filter or adjustment layer by clicking on the buttons at the bottom of the Layers Palette. Have a look at these before and after examples!
The post How to Create with a Good Workflow Using Smart Objects in Photoshop by Ana Mireles appeared first on Digital Photography School.
How to Create with a Good Workflow Using Smart Objects in Photoshophttps://digital-photography-school.com/?p=142722
Do you want to make sure you get the most details out of your shot? How about making sure none of your post-processing is destructive? It sounds like a really smart way to set up your workflow right? A workflow is a process that goes from initiation to completion. In the case of photography, that […]
The post How to Create with a Good Workflow Using Smart Objects in Photoshop by Ana Mireles appeared first on Digital Photography School.
Sat, 24 Feb 2018 13:00:00 +0000
You don’t need a fancy studio or lights to do good headshots, but there are a few things you need to get right like the lighting and posing.
Here are some tips for both to help with this week’s challenge:
- How to Make Headshots That Glow
- 3 Reasons to do Headshots with Natural Light
- How to Pose People for Headshots
- 3 Steps to Professional-Looking Headshots Using One Flash
- Video Tutorials – Portrait Posing Tips
Weekly Photography Challenge – Headshots
Simply upload your shot into the comment field (look for the little camera icon in the Disqus comments section) and they’ll get embedded for us all to see or if you’d prefer, upload them to your favorite photo-sharing site and leave the link to them. Show me your best images in this week’s challenge. Sometimes it takes a while for an image to appear so be patient and try not to post the same image twice.
Share in the dPS Facebook Group
You can also share your images in the dPS Facebook group as the challenge is posted there each week as well.
Weekly Photography Challenge – Headshotshttps://digital-photography-school.com/?p=142611
You don’t need a fancy studio or lights to do good headshots, but there are a few things you need to get right like the lighting and posing. Here are some tips for both to help with this week’s challenge: How to Make Headshots That Glow 3 Reasons to do Headshots with Natural Light How […]
Fri, 23 Feb 2018 18:00:00 +0000
Taking portraits is a challenging genre of photography, but add in posing and it can seem insurmountable if you’re just starting out in photography. Here are three videos I found to help you with some portrait posing tips. Practice with a friend and see tell us how it goes.
How to pose a single portrait
In this video excerpt from a Lynda.com class, you’ll see how the photographer works with a single model. She helps him get comfortable in front of the camera and create poses that are flattering to him.
How to pose (direct) couples
In this video from Mango Street, you will see how to gently direct a couple in how to pose. Giving them a few suggestions and tips and letting them fall into their own comfortable pose makes the images look more natural.
How to pose people to get rid of a double chin
Finally, in this last video, photographer Joe Edelman shows several tips for posing to flatter your subject and get rid of or minimize a double chin. Where you position the camera is also important, taking a higher position can be helpful for posing.
Video Tutorials – Portrait Posing Tipshttps://digital-photography-school.com/?p=142610
Taking portraits is a challenging genre of photography, but add in posing and it can seem insurmountable if you’re just starting out in photography. Here are three videos I found to help you with some portrait posing tips. Practice with a friend and see tell us how it goes. How to pose a single portrait […]
Fri, 23 Feb 2018 13:00:00 +0000
I am a national parks buff – I mean I am really crazy about traveling to national parks all over the world. As a family, we have been known to pack our bags at the drop of a hat, load up the car and head out for a visit to our fabulous national parks. National parks provide some of the best landscapes and vistas you can find.
Because much of the land and natural resources are protected, you really get to see nature at its very best. There is so much to see, do, explore, and of course, photograph. Photography in national parks offers incredible opportunities to create some amazing photos and memories!
Additionally, there are a huge number of photographers who make a living photographing landscapes, animals, and vistas in these national parks – talk about it being a dream job.
But photography in the national parks is not an easy slam-dunk. There is a lot of preparing to do before and during a photography trip to a national park. Here are a few things to keep in mind when planning a trip to photograph your favorite national park.
#1 Preparation for a national park photography trip
Let’s just start from the very basics on how to prepare for a trip to photograph national parks. First and foremost, the National Park Service in the United States has a certain set of rules and guidelines for photography in the national parks. Before you plan a trip specifically for photography, make sure you have familiarized yourself with the latest rules and regulations.
This article in Backpacker Magazine is quite informative, but if you are confused on what is allowed and not allowed, feel free to call the park services directly. The rangers in almost all the parks we have visited have been very well informed and are very helpful with rules around photography. In a nutshell:
- Drones essentially are banned from National Parks and if caught, you can be fined.
- Permits are not needed if you are using basic tools (tripod, camera, and a lens) to photograph vistas that are accessible to the public.
- Permits are needed for commercial filming (still and video) and sets that involve props and/or models.
- You will likely need a permit to enter an area not accessible to the public.
- Backcountry rules may differ from front country rules, so definitely call the park to confirm.
Keep in mind that these rules are applicable for parks here in the US. If you are traveling outside the US, check with the local park authorities and/or check in other travel forums. Being prepared is an added bonus that will really pay off in the long run. The last thing you want is to get to your location only to find out that you don’t have the right paperwork and/or permit.
For example, parks and historic monuments in India that require an entrance fee have specific fees for Indians versus foreign tourists and an additional fee per camera (still and video). Some places don’t even allow camera bags and tripods – you have to check your camera bag pack into a locker prior to entry to the park.
#2 Rules and Regulations – Dos and Don’ts
Along the lines of rules and regulations, there are some basic dos and don’ts when it comes to visiting and photographing inside national parks. Most parks are very good about letting you know what is allowed and what is not allowed. Signs, posters, and even handouts are available in plain sight. Playing ignorance is not an option and isn’t going to let you off the hook.
Stay away from wildlife and help them remain wild
My friend works for the Yellowstone National park and every spring she puts up this message on her Facebook page, “Welcome to the season of the crazies. May this season be shorter than the last!”
While it might be amusing and make you smile, this is quite serious to the men and women who work at Yellowstone. People (a.k.a visitors and some photographers) seem to want to go to any lengths to get a selfie or award-winning photograph with bison, bears, and the hot thermal features that Yellowstone is so famous for.
People have lost their lives trying to get the perfect shot! Nothing is worth losing your life over and endangering the lives of innocent animals whose habitats we are encroaching upon. (Note: if an animal attacks you, it may get put down, so by not following the rules you’re endangering their lives as well as your own.)
Never feed wildlife just for the sake of a photo
I have seen this happen time and time again. One time, my daughter was so angry to see a group of people who were feeding a bunch of squirrels lettuce and nuts, that she went up and chastised them and reported them to a ranger! Any activity that alters the natural behavior of animals is unacceptable no matter what the reason.
Never jump the fence and get off the trail
Getting off trail affects the land, the soil, and the environment. Trail markings are there to keep visitors safe and out of harm’s way. Every season rangers and outdoor crew hike the trails to ensure they are safe and can handle visitor foot traffic.
Yet people seem to ignore the signs to stay away so that they can get the epic shot – standing on the edge of a rock, diving into a pond at the base of a waterfall, or climbing the face of a mountain and take a selfie.
#3 Playing fair and playing well with others
I really love reiterating this one time and time again. Over Christmas break, we traveled as a family to Zion National Park. If you have been to Zion you know that capturing the sunset against the Watchmen tower formations are iconic and almost every photographer (amateur or professional) is looking to capture that epic sunset.
Crowds start to gather almost an hour or more before sunset and getting a prime spot can get competitive and sometimes ruthless! There is also a path that leads down from the bridge to the water’s edge for tourists and anyone looking to hike along the river. One evening we were waiting for the sun to set, cameras ready to fire, when a few families decided to walk down to the river essentially getting into the frame of each and every photographer waiting on the bridge above.
Suddenly someone in the group decided to shout at the visitors – essentially asking them to leave the area. I was so mortified and embarrassed about being on that bridge that day with all those people. The National Parks and all its beauty is for everyone to enjoy – being a photographer does not take precedence over being a visitor taking in all of Mother Nature’s beauty. Thankfully a few others felt the same way and spoke up to let the photographer know we didn’t agree with his sentiments.
Long story short, be respectful and aware of your surroundings. These special areas are for all to enjoy – you don’t have special privileges just because you have a camera (however big or small). Most people are well aware of photographers and if they see you all set up, will try and avoid getting into your shot or quickly move away. If this doesn’t happen, just move or patiently wait it out. I never ask people to move just because they are in my shot, especially in national parks.
#4 Making the most out of the trip
Before heading out, do some research on what the areas are famous for. Is it the epic vistas? Is it the magical sunset and sunrise glows? Or maybe it’s the wildlife? What are some of the famous monuments and landscapes to photograph and what are some of the lesser known areas?
Just because an area is not on the “must photograph list” does not mean it is not spectacular in its own right. Once you know what all YOU want to photograph, plan your time wisely. Look for road closures and construction notices. If possible stay in the park. This eliminates the need to travel into and out of the park daily – some of the popular parks have major clogs at the entrances especially during popular times. This can cause a lot of traffic delays and you might just miss that epic sunset (and I speak from experience!).
#5 Getting the shot
Now that you have planned your trip, figured out what and where you want to photograph, you understand the rules and know what to do and what not to do, here are some ways you can actually get those epic photographs.
Get out before sunrise and stay out after sunset
Get out when it is still dark outside and experience a different side of the park. Chances are the only other people out at this time of the day are photographers and people who really want to enjoy some quiet and solitude. This is a time when the park is quiet and animals tend to be out and about.
Morning mist, if present, adds so much interest and drama to a photo. In addition, the wind is usually calm at this time of day, making for easy reflection shots. The same holds true for sunset shots. The average person will spend a few minutes admiring the sunset and get back inside. Stay out past sunset and you have some incredible lighting all to yourself!
Find your primary subject and then try something new
When you find an interesting subject, try to look at it from different angles. This not only will change your perspective, but also allow you to see how the light affects and changes the image. Try it with the sun on the side, at the back, and in front by simply moving your feet.
Enjoy your surroundings beyond your viewfinder
I am very very particular about this! There have been numerous occasions where I have not looked past the viewfinder and come home feeling frustrated and irritated. Travel and the outdoors mean the world to me, photography is just icing on the cake. If I don’t get to enjoy my cake, just filling up on the icing, it is a moot point, don’t you agree?
So during the day when the light is not that great, I try to put the camera in my backpack and enjoy time with my family hiking the park. Plus this gives me a chance to scout locations to visit later in the trip, specifically for photography.
Hike into the backcountry – away from the crowds
I find that most people in the parks stay in or near their cars when taking pictures. To get a different picture (literally) find a trail and head out. You may find that you can leave the crowds behind, have a better experience, and make better pictures.
Be sure to plan ahead by checking out the park’s map for safety tips and any route closures. And of course, follow all safety rules of hiking in the trails and in the backcountry.
I hope these tips were helpful. One of the most important events in history was the establishment of the world’s first national park on March 1st, 1872. Since then, thousands of national parks, national monuments, and preservation areas have been set aside for the enjoyment and pleasure of the common person.
So get out there and enjoy nature while creating some amazing photos and share your images of national parks near you in the comments section below.
5 Tips for Doing Photography in National Parkshttps://digital-photography-school.com/?p=141493
I am a national parks buff – I mean I am really crazy about traveling to national parks all over the world. As a family, we have been known to pack our bags at the drop of a hat, load up the car and head out for a visit to our fabulous national parks. National […]
Thu, 22 Feb 2018 18:00:00 +0000
Photography is a key part of advertising a property for real estate sales. But just as stunning images show the property looking its best, the opposite is also true. Poor photography, with blurred, sloping rooms, and out of focus images does little to inspire viewings.
Here are some basic, but important, steps to help you improve the quality of your interior photos. You’ll see what causes photographs to turn out blurry, and get some handy tips on equipment and techniques to avoid falling into these traps.
Preparing for the shoot
The best techniques for getting sharp photographs can be let down by poorly working equipment, or badly chosen or untidy scenes. So it’s important to start your session with good preparation and follow your check-list. Here are a few things that should be on your list.
1. Check your equipment
Make sure your equipment is okay, batteries are charged, extra lights working, tripod joints tight and in good condition, and that the lens is completely clean. Loose tripod joints, broken lights, and dirty lenses make problems for you later, so good preparation is worthwhile.
2. Make sure everything is clean and tidy
Dirty windows still look dirty in photographs, so take a household cleaning cloth and some glass cleaner. Cleaning everything is always easier than removing debris in post-production.
3. Set the scene
Tidy and set the scene, removing unwanted items from window sills, adjusting furniture positions and cleaning the windows. Don’t forget to look through the window too – a washing line of underwear probably isn’t what your client wants to see!
Think about the final image and what you want, then keep that in your mind throughout the photography session.
Using a tripod
Three common issues ruin a real estate photograph: blur, poor focus, and sloping rooms.
Blur and bad focus often come from camera movement during the long exposures you need when photographing interiors. Rooms appear sloping when the camera is not level.
You can resolve all three problems by securely mounting the camera on a sturdy tripod, which is why a tripod is highly recommended when photographing interiors.
Here are some pro tips for using a tripod:
- Hang your camera bag from the center of the tripod (if it has a hook, as seen above) to increase stability.
- Set the tripod exactly where you’ve decided to take the photographs, and extend the thicker sections of the legs first as they provide most stability. Avoid extending the center column as this is the least stable section and will reduce the stability of the tripod.
- Give the tripod a gentle prod to make sure it won’t slip on the floor or wobble.
- Mount the camera on the tripod, ensuring that the base plate and mounting are tight and cannot move around.
- Adjust the tripod head until the camera is perfectly level and the image doesn’t slope to the left or the right. By getting the camera level, you ensure the room won’t look as if it slopes sideways.
For more on getting sharp images with a tripod, read: 5 Tips to Get Sharp Photos While Using a Tripod.
Eliminating sources of camera shake
There are also other sources of blurriness in photos. One of these is called mirror shake.
DSLR cameras have a mirror which sits in front of the camera sensor and helps you see the view through the lens by reflecting the image up to the eyepiece (through a prism). The mirror snaps up and out of the way when you take the photo, creating vibrations that can cause blurring.
You can eliminate this problem by setting it in the up position before taking any photographs. Look in your camera menu for the Mirror LockUp setting.
With good preparation and technique, and the right equipment, you can consistently get sharp, crisp interior photographs. When you set out to capture that image, remember:
- Set the scene by making the room look neat and clean.
- Make good use of a tripod.
- Choose an appropriate lens.
- Keep your camera stable and free from vibration.
The video tutorial expands on some of these tips, as well as showing other helpful hints for getting sharp photographs like choosing an appropriate lens and focusing correctly.
Watch the video to learn more about tripods, lenses, focusing, and keeping the camera steady.
Please share any other tips you have for taking sharper interior photographs of real estate in the comments area below.
Disclaimer: HDRsoft is a paid partner of dPS
The post Tips for Getting Sharper Real Estate Interior Photographs by David Robinson appeared first on Digital Photography School.
Tips for Getting Sharper Real Estate Interior Photographshttps://digital-photography-school.com/?p=142854
Photography is a key part of advertising a property for real estate sales. But just as stunning images show the property looking its best, the opposite is also true. Poor photography, with blurred, sloping rooms, and out of focus images does little to inspire viewings. Here are some basic, but important, steps to help you […]
The post Tips for Getting Sharper Real Estate Interior Photographs by David Robinson appeared first on Digital Photography School.
Thu, 22 Feb 2018 15:00:00 +0000
What is it that makes one picture appear dull and another more striking? What is it that makes some tones appear detailed and others smooth and transient? The answer to both of these questions involves the issues of color hue, color purity, and tone distribution.
The science of color and tone
All color detail is determined by these three elements. In the Photoshop/Lightroom world, you’ll recognize these terms as HSL or Hue, Saturation, and Luminance. The world of photography is both an art and a science. The science part is filled with graphs, measurements, and strange words that most people don’t encounter every day.
These terms come from the scientific vocabulary of engineers, chemists, and mathematicians in the photographic trade. When digital cameras were introduced to the general public years ago, suddenly everybody could push around the colors and tonal range in their own pictures. While Adobe Photoshop provided a serious workshop, it showed up with a boatload of technical color science terms.
Unfortunately, if you don’t fully understand the terms, you may not be taking full advantage of the controls they provide. In this article, I’ll do my best to bring these terms down to Earth and make them understandable. We’ll get past the technical jargon and get into the practical application of these terms.
Hue, Saturation, and Lightness
Hue, Saturation, Lightness (luminance) are the irreducible minimum building blocks involved in good color editing and reproduction. While there are many more issues to be addressed in the processing of an image, these three are the make-or-break elements that must be understood and adjusted if you want your color images to catch a viewer’s eye.
Incidentally, when editing your images, these elements should be addressed in that very order; value (hue), intensity (saturation), and tonality (luminance). While hue and saturation concern color, luminance refers to the tonal structure of an image; pretty much an issue of dark versus light.
The Saturation slider affects the intensity of the color in an image. This is a powerful tool; exercise restraint.
A Primer on Image Detail
Contrast usually refers to the overall light-to-dark extremes of an image but the real power of post-production editing is in pushing the tonal values around inside the overall range.
But if you really want to make the detail in your image stand out, you must adjust the internal contrast of the image. The biggest difference-maker adjustment should be the middle tones of your images; tones in-between the lightest and the darkest in your image.
The middle slider in Photoshop’s Levels dialog is referred to as the gamma slider. Gamma is another one of those legacy scientific terms that you can think of as a “mid-tone” adjustment. Moving this elementary slider from left to right actually shifts the entire middle range of tones from lighter to darker.
Photoshop’s Levels tool is the most basic of tonal controls. There are actually several much more effective tonal shaping tools available in Photoshop and even more comprehensive controls in Adobe Camera Raw and Lightroom. We won’t get into a thorough discussion of these tone adjustment tools and workflow recommendations in this article (perhaps at a later time).
Editing for Tonality
There’s a reason why tone adjustment should be your number one issue in image preparation; even more critical than color accuracy.
Your eyesight has tonal perception and interpretation capabilities that far exceed the dynamic range of any digital camera. Make no mistake, capturing seven stops of light range is an amazing feat. But capturing this wide range of tones doesn’t automatically translate into detail, image definition, or good tonal distinction.
Properly reassigning those internal tones to more closely match what your eyes see is where the real editing magic happens. Hang with me here because this will get a bit involved, but I think it will definitely be worth your time.
Camera View – Human View
Your camera’s image sensor records light quite differently than your eye perceives it. The camera actually records a lot of data from the lighter portion of the scene and very little data from the darker portion. The image sensors capture light in a linear fashion. Unfortunately, humans view the lighting in scenes in a logarithmic fashion.
You might say that original camera files usually benefit from a “fashion” adjustment, generally lightening the middle tones. Camera images that don’t get their tonal values adjusted almost always lose detail in the darker areas of the image. Virtually all camera images benefit from internal adjustments.
Chrominance and Luminance Explained
Chroma refers to the color in an image while luma describes the non-color or tonal part. Achromatic is a fancy scientific word that is pretty simple to understand. Remember your high school English… the prefix “a” means “without,” so a-chromatic literally means without color.
In the HSL model of color, hue, and saturation fall in the chrominance column while tonality and contrast are on the luminance column (the structural or tonal backbone of an image).
Basic Luminosity Adjustments
Where does the term “luminance” come from? Light is measured in lumens. A lumen is the smallest measurable unit of light visible to the human eye. Luminosity then is the measure of lumens reflecting from (or transmitted through) a light source and perceived by your eye. The more lumens, the brighter the light. Light measurements are also made in increments called candelas. A candela is roughly the value of light produced by a single household candle.
Just as “horsepower” is a carryover index of a measurement of power (relating to the pulling strength of multiple horses) candelas is an index of the cumulative light emitted from multiple candles. These legacy terms are sometimes confusing, and it would be nice if photographic color science terminology were simplified for those just entering the process, but until then, you’ll have to get acclimated.
I’ll take it slow, as you can easily drown in the scientific terminology minutia. I’ll keep the terminology on a basic digital imaging level so that you can make practical use of what you learn.
Basic Color Science
As stated before, all color is composed of three elements; value, intensity, and luminosity. Value (or hue) refers to the “color” of color, or what differentiates red from orange or purple. Intensity (or saturation) refers to the purity color, distinguishing pastels to pungent colors (the more white light is combined with pure color, the more the color strength is diluted). Luminosity is the measure of the brightness and relates to the image’s lightness or darkness.
The detail in digital imaging terminology is the degree to which colors and tones distinguish themselves from each other. While hue, saturation, and luminance all play a significant role in detailing an image, the heavy lifting of detail is done by luminance or the shaping of the internal tones in an image. Detail is a product of contrast, and contrast is almost completely controlled by the luminance element. This is why post-production professionals perform all their sharpening adjustments in the luminance channel exclusively.
Contrast, like audio equalization, cannot be effectively accomplished by using a linear (bass-treble) type control such is the luminance slider in the HSL panel which simply lightens or darkens an image. The effective shaping of an image requires the individual adjustment of five specific tonal regions of an image; highlight, quarter-tone, mid-tone, three-quarter tone and shadow. I use a variety of controls to shape my tonal contrast.
Ansel Adams once stated, “Half the image is created in the camera, the other half is created in the darkroom.” Though you may never use a darkroom to produce a photographic image, the essence of his statement is still true. Capturing pixels with your camera is only your first step in producing a good picture, what you do with the image that comes out of your camera will determine your skills as a photographer.
Digital photography provides almost limitless avenues for personal expression. Shaping the color and tonality in your images is the backbone of great photography. Determine to learn something new about this fabulous art form every day. Push pixels around and stay focused.
The post How to Understand the Science of Photography and Technical Terms for Mastering Image Tonality by Herb Paynter appeared first on Digital Photography School.
How to Understand the Science of Photography and Technical Terms for Mastering Image Tonalityhttps://digital-photography-school.com/?p=142565
What is it that makes one picture appear dull and another more striking? What is it that makes some tones appear detailed and others smooth and transient? The answer to both of these questions involves the issues of color hue, color purity, and tone distribution. The science of color and tone All color detail is […]
The post How to Understand the Science of Photography and Technical Terms for Mastering Image Tonality by Herb Paynter appeared first on Digital Photography School.
Thu, 22 Feb 2018 13:00:00 +0000
Waterfalls are some of the most beautiful natural features you will ever get the chance to photograph and are a very popular subject for landscape photographers. Photographing waterfalls provides a great way to get outdoors and explore nature.
There is something magical about the patterns and sounds of flowing water that really heighten your senses and make you feel at one with nature. Although waterfalls look great, you may be wondering well how do I photograph them? Here are six tips to help you on your way.
1 – Get the right equipment
You will be better equipped to photograph waterfalls if you have the right equipment. A wide-angle lens is essential to broaden the angle of view and ensure you are able to photograph the whole waterfall. You will also be able to get up close to the falls rather than photographing them from a distance.
Once you have found a great waterfall and have the right equipment to capture it, you are ready to take some photographs.
2 – Experiment with different shutter speeds
So now that you have the gear, how do you take photos that capture the authenticity and beauty of the scene?
When photographing waterfalls, finding the ideal shutter speed involves a lot of experimenting. This step is all about trial and error, which is part of the fun. Try taking shots with different shutter speeds and check out the results to see the differences.
I would recommend taking pictures with both fast and slow shutter speeds ranging from between 1/500th of a second to a few seconds and see which style of image you prefer.
3 – Freeze motion
How you shoot waterfalls effectively depends on the look and feel of the image you are trying to achieve. If you want to capture the water in a static way, you will need to choose a fast shutter speed to freeze the motion of the water. This isolates the water in motion and gives a very different result to using an extended shutter speed.
See the difference between the three images below and how the change in shutter speed affects the water. (Images courtesy of dPS Managing Editor, Darlene Hildebrandt)
4 – Blur motion
Using a slow shutter speed will help you to capture the water’s movement. You will find that the longer the shutter is open, the smoother the water will be. Be careful not to use a shutter speed that is too slow if the water is very fast flowing as the water may become one large white mass without any definition.
Generally, you will obtain better results by using an extremely slow shutter speed of over a second. However, this will not be possible if you are hand holding the camera due to excessive camera shake, which brings us to the next tip.
5 – Use a tripod
Investing in a tripod will help to keep the camera more stable and enhance your chances of getting good images. The main advantage of using a tripod is that you are more likely to capture images of waterfalls that are sharper as the camera is less prone to movement during slower exposures.
Using a tripod will allow you to use slower shutter speeds to give you a smoother look and feel to your waterfall images. Images captured using long shutter speeds tend to look more dramatic and the silky water looks more appealing and pleasing to the eye.
If you do not have a tripod, you could set your camera on a stone or some other object to capture part or all of the waterfall.
6 – Use a polarizing filter
One of the best ways to add some color to your images is to use a polarizing filter. This is a great way to deepen colors by increasing their saturation. But be aware that the polarizer also cuts the amount of light entering the camera, and thus increases your exposure by up to two stops of light.
Polarizers also help to eliminate glare and reflections from the surface of the water and can be used to increase contrast. This is especially true when shooting during the day in bright conditions.
When adding a polarizer, the water you capture should become blurred, depending on how fast it is flowing. The advantage to using a polarizer is that you can increase the exposure time and slow the shutter speed, as the amount of light going through the lens is decreased. This allows you to create images with motion and silky-smooth water action.
With these practical tips, it’s time for you to get out there and start photographing your next waterfall!
6 Tips for How to Photograph Waterfallshttps://digital-photography-school.com/?p=142541
Waterfalls are some of the most beautiful natural features you will ever get the chance to photograph and are a very popular subject for landscape photographers. Photographing waterfalls provides a great way to get outdoors and explore nature. There is something magical about the patterns and sounds of flowing water that really heighten your senses […]
Wed, 21 Feb 2018 18:00:00 +0000
Avoid photographing towards the sun is one of the most common tips you’ll hear for landscape photography. In fact, it’s a tip that I’ve shared previously myself.
While it’s not without a reason that’s it’s a well-known tip, it might not be as relevant today as it was several years ago. Today’s sensors and post-processing opportunities are much more forgiving and what once was a bad idea can now be an opportunity.
In this article, I’ll show you how including the sun in the frame can enhance the atmosphere and add an extra dimension to your images as well as sharing my best tips for doing so.
Why you should include the sun in your images
I’m sure that many of you are ready to jump straight into the comment section right now and tell me how much of a bad idea it is to shoot towards the sun. But give me a minute to explain a few reasons why it’s something you might want to consider doing with your landscape photography.
The greatest benefit of adding the sun in the frame is that it adds depth to the image. Take the image above as an example. Remove the sun and the image becomes flat and much less interesting. With the sun included, the image comes to life and drags you into it.
Compositionally it can also be beneficial. Of course, this depends on where you place the sun. In the example above, the bright sun serves as a focal point. Naturally, the viewer’s eye is guided along the cliffs and up towards the bright area.
Keep in mind that our eyes are naturally attracted to the brighter parts of the image.
Another benefit of shooting towards the sun is that you often get beautiful shadows striking towards you. This serves as additional leading lines and benefits the composition.
Tips for including the sun in your images
Now, there’s one thing I need to make clear; including the sun in an image won’t always be beneficial. There are certain conditions or methods you should take advantage of for this to work. Here are some tips.
The time of day matters
While there are exceptions, the best images come when the sun is low on the horizon. The sun then creates a soft glow and gives a nicely balanced light.
During midday when the sun is positioned higher in the sky, the light is harsh and less pleasing to the eyes. Generally, this is something you want to avoid.
Consider the sun’s placement within the frame
I’ll start by saying this, there’s no one single correct spot to place the sun within your image. Sometimes it’s beneficial to place it in the center, while other times it’s better to place it on the side.
This is where trial and error, and experience come into play.
In the image above, I chose to place the sun at the very edge of the frame. Partly obscured by the clouds, it doesn’t take too much attention but instead, you’re drawn to the beautiful light hitting the landscape.
If you are familiar with semi-advanced post-processing techniques, you might be aware of a processing style called light bleed. This is a technique that involves heavy dodging and enhancing/creating a light source that strikes through the image. However, this is an effect you’re able to get in-camera as well by placing the sun at the corner or edge of your frame.
Other times, you want to place the sun in the center of the image. In the image above, placing the sun in the center adds a light source that your eyes naturally go toward. Had I instead placed the sun to the side, this image would be less balanced.
Obscure the sun
In my opinion, one of the most efficient ways of including the sun in your image is by partly obscuring it. Combining that with a narrow aperture, you get a nice sun-star or sunburst.
Use a Graduated ND Filter
Since the sun is so much brighter than the surrounding landscape, it can be hard to capture a well-exposed image when including it in the frame. By using a Graduated ND Filter you’re able to darken the sky in your image – meaning that you can capture a well-balanced image even with the sun in the frame.
Unfortunately, a Graduated ND Filter is not always ideal. Since the transition between darkened and transparent parts of the filter is a straight line, it can create some unwanted effects if you’re photographing a scene where something is projecting above the horizon.
Graduated ND Filters are better to use when the horizon is flat, such as the image below:
… Or bracket multiple exposures
Another more flexible method of capturing well-balanced images with the sun included is to bracket multiple exposures and blend them in a photo editor. This is the better choice when the sun is at the highest position in the sky, as the contrast is even greater.
For the image below, I captured three images; one exposed for the landscape, one exposed for the sky and one even darker to balance out the brightest parts.
Hopefully, I’ve been able to convince you that shooting towards the sun isn’t a complete no-no anymore. Have you captured any images that are shot towards the sun for your landscape photography? I would love to see them in a comment below!
The post Tips for Shooting Landscape Photography Towards the Sun by Christian Hoiberg appeared first on Digital Photography School.
Tips for Shooting Landscape Photography Towards the Sunhttps://digital-photography-school.com/?p=139969
Avoid photographing towards the sun is one of the most common tips you’ll hear for landscape photography. In fact, it’s a tip that I’ve shared previously myself. While it’s not without a reason that’s it’s a well-known tip, it might not be as relevant today as it was several years ago. Today’s sensors and post-processing opportunities […]
The post Tips for Shooting Landscape Photography Towards the Sun by Christian Hoiberg appeared first on Digital Photography School.
Wed, 21 Feb 2018 13:07:00 +0000
The Canon 100mm macro lens was on my Want List for such a long time, next to the Canon 10-22mm Ultra Wide-Angle. Oddly, once I did get it, I never used it, and it sat gathering dust in the cupboard for a couple of years. Now it is my go-to lens for doing still life, food and of course, macro photography.
Why is it my favorite lens?
Sharpness, image quality, color, and versatility – it has it all!
I know when using this lens it is going to pick up absolutely every detail, and when it is sharp it is crystal clear. Unfortunately, due to the combined weight of the lens (625g) on my Canon 7D MK II, I find it difficult to handhold and get sharp shots. So I use it on my tripod to guarantee the focus is bang on.
Merits of the Canon 100mm macro lens
This lens has a richness to the colors that I appreciate, it gives the best color reproduction of any of my lenses. Also when you are shooting at its native 2.8, the soft background blur is quite delicious as well.
Finally, the versatility of this lens, given it is a macro lens, is impressive. I use it for macro, food photography, flower photography, and other still life subjects. It is also a favorite lens for portrait photographers due to the factors that make it my personal favorite.
It’s quiet, it’s fast and it’s a lovely lens to use. Once I mastered the art of fine focusing with a really tiny depth of field and was able to consistently get sharp shots, the quality of the images impressed me more and more.
How I use it
1 – Food Photography
Working with natural light in my home studio sometimes means the light is not always abundant. Or possibly you need to filter it quite heavily so you don’t blow out the highlights on some whipped cream or icing. So working in slightly less than ideal light conditions is where I find this lens really comes into its own.
With a 67mm filter diameter, it has a lot of surface area to bring in the available light. The native f/2.8 aperture captures all the light possible. While I might have to increase ISO a small amount, it is not enough to affect the quality of the image.
With such high image quality, capturing the finest small details really adds character to food shots taken with this lens. Water droplets on fruit or the tiny hairs on a raspberry become things of wonder, brought into view by the capabilities of this lens.
2. Flower Photography
Doing photography of flowers is what finally forced me to get my Canon 100mm lens out of storage and start using it. I had become interested in still life photography and was using flowers as the subject to base my compositions around.
Flowers offer so many opportunities to be creative with this lens, you can shoot the whole flower, move in to shoot just a portion of it, or really get into the macro side of things.
The lovely colour and soft bokeh suit flower photography very well, and I enjoy using it a great deal. It is a lot of fun to experiment with areas of selective focus or just using depth of field in unexpected ways.
3. Macro photography
There is a whole world of things too small for our eyes to see naturally that suddenly become revealed when we shoot with a macro lens. It is fascinating to uncover tiny details in everyday objects.
Playing with abstracts of textures or just exploring the things we cannot normally see are possible with the 100mm macro lens. The ordinary becomes extraordinary when you can get up close and personal. When my camera is mounted on my tripod, I know that I can get sharp focus with a very narrow depth of field on a very small subject.
4. Other options
I am not a portrait photographer but I do have cats, and they are fun to shoot with this lens as it picks up so much detail. I personally struggle to sucessfully handhold my 7D Mark II with this lens and get sharp images, so I don’t shoot with it off my tripod very often.
The Canon EF 100mm F2.8 IS L Macro lens – full specifications on Canon site – 625g, minimum focus distance 300mm, Hybrid Image Stabilization for handheld macro shooting.
- Depth of field
- Bokeh is smooth
- Hybrid Image Stabilizing
- EF and EFS compatible
- 1:1 magnification
- Comes with a lens hood and carry bag
- Heavy and can be difficult to handhold, requiring a tripod
- 300mm minimum focus distance
Overall for me, the pros of shooting with this lens far outweigh the cons. Have you used the Canon 100mm macro lens or one similar? Please share in the comments below if you enjoy it as much as I do.
dPS Writer’s Favourite Lens: Canon 100mm Macrohttps://digital-photography-school.com/?p=142069
The Canon 100mm macro lens was on my Want List for such a long time, next to the Canon 10-22mm Ultra Wide-Angle. Oddly, once I did get it, I never used it, and it sat gathering dust in the cupboard for a couple of years. Now it is my go-to lens for doing still life, […]
Tue, 20 Feb 2018 18:00:00 +0000