You will also want to look for something called “Color Correction,” or an option with a similar name. In Irfanview, the color correction editor can be accessed by using G. Experiment with your various options, which will usually include the ability to make adjustments to the saturation, gamma contrast and brightness, among other qualities. Play around with these until you get the best-looking original photograph you can, and save either the newly-improved photo, or its new settings, depending on what software you are using. Only then should you go into editing. Many of the effects that are popular today really harken back to earlier times – from styles popular in the Renaissance to the mid-1990′s, it seems everything old is new again. Here are some common effects that can lead to uncommon results.Try Instagram – The big success story of the last few years for photographic effects for the amateur photographer were Instagrams. This system allowed users with mobile devices to take photos, edit them online by adding filters (pre-set effects) and share them with friends and family. The effect, for anyone who has not yet seen it, is like a photo from a SX-70 camera from the 1970′s, combined with the bright technicolor hues of 1960′s TV. Instagram is free on the web at www.Instagram.com. Don’t be afraid to go back to black and white – The advances in photography since the days of black and white film-driven cameras have been extensive and highly useful. However, once in a while, a picture looks better in black and white than it does in color. This is especially true of snow, mountains, and wide landscapes. Don’t be afraid to channel your inner Ansel Adams, and try editing your color photographs with a stark black and white look.
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Try a fill light or reflector – if you have a second light, position it on the opposite side of the camera from your keylight. Aim it so that it softens the shadows from your main light. If you do not have a second light source, you can fill in with a piece of white poster board, with a small hole in the middle, attached to a tripod, and fastened with a washer and nut. Aluminum foil can be used to create an even more reflective surface, and the board can be moved in and out and/or angled toward the model to create different effects.Most of the time, we want the background behind our subject to be easily passed over by the viewer’s eye. Sometimes, however, the background plays a vital role in the composition of the photograph. If this is the case, the third light you should consider using is called a background light. This lights up just the background, bringing out detail behind the model.
After taking the shots, then remember to fix the blemishes and light in tools like Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop. The new spot healing tool in Lightroom 5 is great to remove lines under the eyes or stray pieces of hair.
Like everything else in photography, you should experiment and try different things. What works for you in one situation may not work for someone else another time.Try paying more attention to your lighting the next time you do portrait photography – you may be glad you did!
Photographing clouds can be a challenge at times, but it can also produce truly awe-inspiring results. Cloud photos can lead viewers into a nearly-surreal state that naturally strikes conversation. There are many types of clouds that are worth of photography, from puffy white fair-weather clouds to dark storm clouds that portend a coming storm. Clouds are one of the things that connects us as human beings like no other, as we see them all our lives.
But how do you get really great photos of clouds? There are many schools of thought, but there are some which stand out as near-essentials if you are going to be taking photographs of clouds.1) First, photograph the clouds when they look interesting. Keep your eyes up – especially on partly cloudy days, and look at what the clouds are doing. If they are intriguing, take a photo of them; you can always delete the shots later. (You can you “mist” the shot) Just before a storm rolls in is one of the best times of all to get out there with your camera to photograph clouds at their most exciting.
2) If you do not already have one, you will want to purchase a polarizing filter, which can cut out a lot of the atmospheric glare that will send unwanted light into your camera. The first thing you will notice when you begin to use a polarizer is that it makes the whole sky darker – that is due to the reflected light being absorbed by the filter. Keep in mind, however, that these filters only work when the Sun is at your sides. If the sunlight is coming from either directly ahead of you or behind you, the effects of a polarizing filter will be negligible.3) Another option is to equip your camera with a graduated filter. The sky can be shaded out, while leaving the ground cover showing brightly. Of course, the trouble with these is that the filter doesn’t know the details of your shot, meaning that some foreground items will be shaded and/or sky left unshaded. A sky filter can also serve the purpose of cutting down ambient light in order to add more detail to your cloud photos. Photo Credit: Colby Brown Photography
4) Another trick is to photograph only the cloud – don’t get any landscape into your photograph. As clouds can often be a couple stops brighter than objects on the land, you risk not being able to expose both land and clouds correctly if you photograph them together. (more…)
Here are some simple tips to help you take great photos in the middle of winter.
First – Keep a polarizing filter handy. Not only can it enrich colors and deepen the sky, but they also greatly reduce glare. Sunlight bounces off snow, much like it would off the surface of a still lake. This can be quite a beautiful effect, but it can be challenging to balance the brightness of the reflected light with the (usually backlit) background. This can lead to the reflected sunlight being over-exposed and the rest of your frame being under-exposed and washed-out. One way to prevent this is to use a polarizing filter on your lens, which will block out much of the glare, while retaining most of the light from other sources. A graduated neutral-density filter is another good idea. This will darken the skies in your photos, while leaving foreground objects unaffected.
Second – Remember that the Sun will be much lower in the sky than normal. This means that during outdoor daytime photography, objects will cast long shadows. If this is not the effect you want, then the best photos will be taken near noon. We must remember though, that this can be the worst time to photograph in almost every other sense, as far as lighting is concerned. But, sometimes the best photos come from breaking the rules. However, long shadows can cast eery effects, providing a foreboding feeling to landscapes and portraits. So, dramatic shots may be taken in the evening during the winter months.
Third – Buy or make a shade for your viewfinder. With the Sun so low in the sky, you may have trouble seeing the scene on the LCD display. Even a simple triangle folded in three pieces and taped to the back of your camera can provide you with enough shade to easily frame your photograph most of the time.
Fourth – If possible, try shooting with a water-resistant or even an underwater camera if possible. Winter can bring unexpected precipitation, as well as accidental falls and slips, resulting in your camera landing in a snowbank. I have a waterproof camera that I use for winter photography, and bringing it along has proven itself to be a wise choice on more than one occasion.
Fifth – Use this opportunity to frame subjects in shadow. The long, pale casts provide high-contrast situations, which lend a feeling of foreboding and can emote feelings from indecision to evil. This effect was used widely in silent films to provoke fear in the audience without the use of dialog. It still works in photography today.(more…)
Plugins are small programs, or applications (“Lightroom Apps” would be a more modern name), that allow you to do something concrete to your images. Examples of this might be exporting photos to various programs or cloud storage. Plugins are largely designed for use within the library module of Lightoom.
One example of a plugin for Lightroom allows a photographer to easily modify and save the metadata attached to the photo. Metadata is not seen by humans, but is picked up by search engines in order to index results. This allows a person to quickly “tag” their photos so that they can easily be found online – a handy addition for anyone selling photos online.
Another type of Lightroom plugins are apps that allow you to sort photos by any number of different criteria. Still others allow Lightroom the ability to publish to Facebook or any number of other social media outlets.
Lightroom Presets, on the other hand, are imported settings to create different effects on your photographs. One popular example of an effect which can be achieved this way are instagrams, which produce a look similar to old SX-70 photographs, with highly-contrasting colors and a lot of saturation. If you want any sort of strange effect in an image and don’t want to do it yourself, you can download the preset for your favorite effect and use it on your images. Presets, therefore, mainly work within the develop module within the program.
Lightroom is a very powerful, highly-useful photo editing program that allows you to do quite a lot with your images. Using a combination of plugins and presets can serve to make Lightroom an even more powerful program.
Let’s say you go on vacation to Greece and arrive home with hundreds of photographs, some of which you want to sell on your blog. Well, first, import the pictures into Lightroom so see which of them you want to edit. You can use various presets to get effects that you want out of images (pictures of ancient Greek buildings done in a mosaic setting, for instance). Other popular presets might include the ability to make your photos look like a daguerreotype picture, or give it the Technicolor feel of a 1960′s sitcom.
Then, within Lightroom, you can edit the photos manually using the tools provided within that program. You can then publish personal pictures to Facebook or other online accounts through the use of plugins. Using a plugin like Metadata Wrangler will allow you to “prime” your photos for search engines before loading them onto your website or e-commerce site for sale.
Remember that you are also going to want to make sure that your photos are safe, so store them on the cloud using a service like Mosaic Archive. You’ll also want to share them with your friends on a number of platforms, something Mosaic View can make happen for you.
If you use Lightroom, you know what a great editing program is already provided to you with the standard software. There is not one plugin which will do everything that you might need, and there is not one preset that will provide an effect that would be great for every photo. But, using a combination of the right plugins and presets, you can customize Lightroom to match your personal tastes, preferences and needs. So, try a few different plugins and presets, and let us know about your experiences.
Comets PanSTARRS and ISON are racing toward Earth and will potentially provide stunning shows for the inhabitants of the planet in spring and late autumn this year. Although the paths and behavior of comets is difficult to predict, comet PANSTARRS, coming in the spring, is currently forecast to be about four times brighter than 1997′s Hale/Bopp comet. And in November and December, Comet ISON should treat observers to a comet over 2000x brighter than 1997′s celestial treat.
Although slim, there exists the possibility that ISON could put on the most spectacular cometary show since 1965, if not become the greatest comet since 1680. As photography aficionados, many of us will want nothing more than to record what could be a once-in a century, if not once-in-a civilization type of event. But, there are many questions about how to photograph comets PanSTARRS and ISON, especially with digital cameras. After all, digital camera technology for consumer use was in its infancy at the time. In this article, we will concentrate on how to take digital photographs of these comets.
As far as equipment goes, you will be well-served to have a DSLR camera, which allow you to change lenses. What focal length of lens to use depends entirely on the size and brightness of the comet at the time you go out, as well as what sort of picture(s) you are looking to achieve. Most people will be tempted to use a telephoto lens, or a lens with a long fixed focal length. These can be just the tool you are looking for if the comet is small and bright, or to photograph the bright head (coma) of the comet. However, if want to photograph the entire comet, particularly with a landscape as a backdrop, you will be better-off using a lens with a very short focal length.
Before the comets get here, try practicing with your camera, taking photographs of various objects in the night sky. Some of the brightest stars will be about as bright as PanSTARRS should become at its brightest, so take lots of photographs of the brightest stars you can see to get used to what your camera will do under these conditions. Since you will (hopefully!) be getting to a dark area in order to take your photographs of the comets of 2013, take your test photos under those same dark skies.
Comet ISON could be about as bright as a quarter-Moon on November 29th, so your natural test subject here will be a quarter Moon! Comet ISON will also be visible low on the western horizon just after sunset. So, go out just as the quarter Moon is rising, early in the evening or after midnight, and photograph our celestial neighbor while it is low in the sky.(more…)