Photoshop CS5 for Landscape Photographers

If you’re interested in landscape photography, then you might want to check out my new Photoshop CS5 for Landscape Photographers course at Lynda.com. This six-and-a-half hour video training course takes you from shooting through post-production, with thorough discussions of all of the landscape-related technical and aesthetic issues that you’ll face along the way. For more info, take a look at the preview, after the jump.

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Editing and Printing iPhone Images

Only a couple of years ago, I wouldn’t have spent any time talking about shooting with a cell phone camera. It’s not that I have anything against lo-fi imagery, it’s just that for years, cell phone cameras were more akin to no-fi photography. The iPhone offers a very good camera (for a cell phone) as well as the ability to edit images on the device, and print. (If you haven’t seen this, it’s worth a look to see an extremely serious application of the iPhone camera.) If you’ve been wondering about editing your iPhone images, this article will help you get started, while this will walk you through printing – both from the phone, and from your computer.

White Balance 101

Understanding white balance is an essential part of getting consistently good color. And while the auto white balance features on today’s cameras are very good, there will still be times when you need to take more control, and override your camera’s automatic white balance mechanism. This article walks you through the basics of white balance, to help you get better color in more situations.

CS5 Optional Plug-ins now available from Adobe

As mentioned earlier, CS5 doesn’t ship with the optional plug-ins that were bundled with CS4. But now, Adobe has posted CS5-compatible versions for free download. Picture Package (formerly ContactSheet II), PatternMaker, PhotomergeUI, Web Photo Gallery, Script for Layer Comps to Web Photo Gallery, Texture presets for Texturizer, TWAIN, a few additional formats and some other odds and ends. You can download the whole package here.

Migrating From Bridge CS4 to CS5

While Photoshop tends to get most of the press during major upgrades, Bridge users have a few things to be happy about with the CS5 release. The new Export tab, which bundles Photoshop Image Processor-like functionality right into Bridge; the Mini Bridge which bundles Bridge right into Photoshop; new Batch Rename functionality and new Output features, and other tweaks and modifications make Bridge CS5 a welcome upgrade. Unfortunately, as with Photoshop, Adobe has not seen fit to add any migration features for moving Bridge database information into CS5. However, with a few file copies, it appears that you can move the bulk of your important Bridge data to the new version. Read more »

Revisited: Do you need a full-frame sensor?

Five years ago, I wrote this piece on whether you should buy a full-frame or cropped sensor digital camera. At the time, cameras with a full-frame sensor were substantially more expensive than cropped-sensor cameras, and a lot of people believed that, eventually, cropped-sensor cameras would be phased out and replaced by more affordable full-frame cameras. Five years later, we’ve seen that that’s not going to happen, but the question remains: do you need full-frame or is a cropped sensor camera okay? Read more »

Choosing the Right Photo Paper

Call me old-fashioned, but I don’t really feel like an image is done until it’s on paper. I find reflected color to be much prettier than the garish color that comes out of a computer monitor, and there’s just something about having a physical object that is very enjoyable. However, choose the wrong paper, and you can easily end up with a very disappointing final product. These days, paper choice is a good news, bad news situation. The bad news is that there are lots of papers out there to choose from, so it’s easy to become overwhelmed. The good news is that there are lots of papers out there to choose from, so you should be able to find something that precisely meets your needs.

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Why You Need a Pressure-Sensitive Tablet

Over the years, I’ve found that photographers tend to fall into two categories: those that edit heavily, and those that rarely edit at all. Of course, this is a generalization, and most users do some kind of editing. But in general, it seems like photographers either edit heavily, or they simply try to work with what comes out of the camera. If you’re the type who edits heavily, then you should seriously consider getting a pressure-sensitive tablet. For re-touching, cutting masks, or performing any painting-based edits, a tablet can make your editing process much easier, and even enable some edits that are impossible, or extremely difficult, with a mouse. If you’re not clear why you might want a tablet, here’s a detailed discussion of the advantages, and a look (with video) at the new Wacom Intuos 4 Wireless tablet..

Quantity Leads to Quality

One of the most common mistakes I see in photo classes is that students don’t shoot enough. I don’t mean that they don’t spend enough hours out taking pictures, I mean that when they see a potential subject they don’t shoot enough frames of it. Many people have the mistaken idea that a good photographer walks into a situation, sees their subject, determines how best to shoot it, takes the final shot, and then goes home to wait for that image to appear on the cover of a magazine. Alas, this isn’t true. To get good results, you have to shoot a lot of frames of your subject. This process of working your subject can be a difficult one for some people to learn, but here’s an example of what I’m talking about.

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Build Your Own Network Attached Server (Drobo)

I’ve been writing about digital photography for a long time, and I’m not sure how many times I’ve written something to the effect of: “one of the great things about digital photography is that you can shoot and shoot without having to pay for film and processing.” And while this is true, it completely ignores the fact that you still have to pay for disk storage. As your image archive grows, choosing a storage strategy can become fairly complicated. I recently found what I think is an ideal solution, in the form of a do-it-yourself Network Attached Server called an unRaid. My unRaid has many of the best features of other systems such as RAIDs or Drobos, but for far less money.

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