I’ve always believed that Photoshop Elements is the best-kept secret that Adobe has hiding in their arsenal. If you haven’t played around with it, I think you’ll be shocked by its features: it boasts everything from advanced selections with the Refine Edge feature to simplified Guided Edits that keep your processing streamlined. Every time I chat with another photographer about software, they never can believe how much DNA Photoshop and Photoshop Elements share.
Every year, when Adobe introduces their new version of Elements, they always toss in a few fun, fresh features to keep PSE-loyalists happy. This year, I can’t believe how excited I am about two of their new Guided Edit styles: the Double Exposure creator and the Background Changer. These two photo editing methods are incredibly popular, but also tedious and can drive people crazy with making hand-drawn selections. Luckily, thanks to some quick steps, the process just got a whole lot easier!
True to its annual, autumnal form, Adobe today announced Photoshop Elements 2018, the latest version of the company’s image editing and organizational software for photographers, hobbyists, and, in Adobe’s parlance, “memory keepers.” As is the case with most of the yearly Elements updates, the new version doesn’t offer a ton of new features, but mostly adds new components to the Organizer and the Guided Edit modes in the product. (It also benefits from enhancements to the Photoshop engine found at the core of Elements.) Here are a few of the highlights in Elements 2018:
The Organizer adds a few new features designed to help folks work through large photo collections, including an Auto-Curate feature that automatically selects your best photos based on composition, faces, and “quality.” Like most machine-based tools, it will be hit or miss, but I found it fairly good in its execution.
The selection tools have been improved, making it much easier to create complex masks.
An ‘Open Closed Eyes’ feature can automatically copy the open eyes from one portrait and blend them seamlessly into a second one.
New Guided Edit options, including background replacement, double exposure creation, and a number of additional artistic effects.
Additional (and improved) options in the project creation module, including more powerful slideshows, expanded print-at-home projects, and more.
October 2, 2017 by Rick LePage & filed under Workshops
Ben is presenting an online image critique workshop on November 12:
Perhaps you’ve experienced this: you get up the nerve to show some of your images to someone else, but the images you think are great get a tepid response while images you almost didn’t include get lots of praise. In addition to being confusing, such responses can be demoralizing because they make you question your ability to recognize a good photo. The only way to learn what types of images resonate with people is through the process of critique—you have to show your images to someone who can speak clearly about what works and what doesn’t, and you need a variety of opinions.
One of my favorite recent photo essays is Fred R. Conrad’s Capturing Camaraderie in a Minor League Baseball Team, part of the New York Times’ excellent Lens blog. Conrad is a New York Times photographer who, drawing on the example of early 20th century sports photographer Charles Conlon, shadowed the Rockland Boulders, a minor league team based in Pomona, N.Y. Instead of using a digital camera, Conrad used an old Graflex 4×5 film camera to capture the intimacy and grace of the players in a fantastic collection of portraits and players in their environment. The 19 photos in the group are lovely, and worth your time, especially if you’re interested in portrait photography or baseball, or both. (You can find more of Conrad’s work on fredrconrad.com.)
You may have noticed that there’s a new voice behind the Complete Digital Photography blog. Hi, my name is Liz LePage! Let me give you a quick introduction into who I am and what I do:
I’m a professional photographer, a creative retoucher, a dedicated educator and a life-long artist. I was lucky enough to be raised in an artistic household, with a father who loved photography and a mother who loved quilting. They both taught me to always try new things and to never let fear stop me from living. Their lessons have carried on with me and seep into every part of my life: I’ve never thought of myself as just a photographer. And I think that’s my biggest asset. I’ve tried everything from paper making to screen printing to oil painting, and I am constantly searching for new ways to express myself. Read more »
Maria Svarbova’s In the Swimming Pool series is one of the most unique and beautiful photo projects I’ve seen in a while. Her mastery of light and color—reminiscent of Agfa’s classic slide films to me—and her attention to the pools’ symmetry and the swimmers’ forms make for stunning and captivating photos.
September 19, 2017 by Rick LePage & filed under General
This blog has been published in various forms since 2001. Ben started with hand-crafted HTML before moving on to the WordPress platform in 2004 (or thereabouts—our memories are hazy on these points), and I (Rick) have helped out here and there at various times over the years—and over on our dear, departed sister site, Printerville.
[If you’re interested, you can see the first version of the site over on the Wayback Machine, as well as some choice variations along the way. Be kind, please.]
Since the beginning, this website’s primary focus has been to support the various editions of Complete Digital Photography with example files and extra content, and that’s been our only constant since this site went live. The support page for the current 8th edition of the book is here; and you can still access the the 7th edition’s support page here.
There must be a million websites devoted to photography (Google says as much), ranging from gear coverage to portfolios, photo news, opinions, business, learning, and more. Given the nature of this (yet another) photo site, I have to pay attention to more than I probably should, but most of you probably have a few that you check from time to time. If you work within the Photoshop and Lightroom post-production world, I have one that you should add: Julieanne Kost’s blog over at Adobe.com. Julieanne is an evangelist for Adobe, and her 2006 book, Window Seat: The Art of Digital Photography & Creative Thinking, is a beautiful, thoughtful meditation on creativity, and one of the books I always have close to me for inspiration. It is unfortunately out of print, but you can still find used copies here and there, and, if you have an iPad (or Mac), you can purchase an ebook version for under $5. (She also recently published Passenger Seat, a tutorial-based book designed to help you develop your own photographic project.)
If you’re an old-school, ex-film photographer like me, you probably still have a fondness for light meters. These days, with everything being automated, most people don’t carry one around in their camera bag. Luckily, there’s an app for that! The Lumu Light Meter app—from Lumulabs—is well-designed, easy to use and extraordinarily useful. Lumulabs has thought of options that I could have never dreamed up, which help to make it the best incident meter of its kind.
Autumn is one of the best times to be a landscape photographer, with cooler weather, transitional light, and, of course, the amazing technicolor changes of the trees. The challenge is always in trying to time things so you’re in the right place at the peak of the foliage.
Luckily, the Internet is your friend: for the past few years, we’ve seen a few time-based “heat maps” that show the expected peak foliage colors across the US; the best and most reliable has been SmokyMountains.com’s Fall Foliage Map. It has a great map of the US, with a date slider that shows the anticipated foliage gradient (from minimal to past peak) across the country.
If you live in New England, the Disneyland of fall foliage, check out New England Today’s Peak Fall Foliage Map; it’s not as cool as SmokyMountains.com’s, but it does the trick.