nik Silver EFex Pro 2.0

There are lots of ways to convert color images to black and white. In Photoshop, you can use a grayscale mode change, or convert the image to L*A*B color and then extract the Luminance channel. Or, you can pull a single RGB channel, drain the saturation out of an image or use Photoshop’s excellent Black and White conversion tool. The list goes on and on, but in my opinion, the best way to perform black and white conversion (more accurately called grayscale conversion is with nik’s Silver Efex Pro 2, a plug-in for Photoshop, Aperture, and Lightroom.

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Choosing the Best Resolution for Inkjet Photo Printing

The last step of any photo workflow is to sharpen and output. If your final goal is an image for the web or email, then output simply means resizing and saving your image. If your final output is to print using an online printing service, then you’ll need to follow their size, resolution, and format specifications very carefully. Similarly, if your final destination is your own desktop printer, you’ll also need to set size and resolution before you print. While choosing size is pretty simple – you just resize the image to the printing dimensions that you want – choosing a correct resolution is a little trickier. In this article, we look at exactly what you need to consider when choosing a resolution for desktop inkjet printing.

Is the 13″ Macbook Air A Good Laptop for the Digital Photographer?

I travel a lot, and when on the road I typically carry several cameras, a computer, my Kindle, all the associated chargers, cords, extra hard drives and other accoutrements necessary to move my digital world with me. If there’s any room left over, I also consider taking clothes and those other secondary items. Needless to say, my bag’s heavy, so I’m constantly looking for ways to lighten it. For the past couple of years I’ve been carrying a 13″ Macbook, which has been a great computer, and fully capable of everything I need for months-long excursions. But it was very difficult not to note the new 13″ Macbook Air upon its release. More specifically, to note that it weighs 1.5 pounds less than my 13″ Macbook. What wasn’t obvious was whether it was enough computer to handle a digital photo workflow. So I bought one. Here’s how it stacks up. Read more »

Pixelmator 1.6 – Inexpensive Image Editing

Photoshop’s a great image editor, and all, but you need a lot of money to get it. If you’re a Mac-based photographer who’s been looking for a more affordable alternative, and iPhoto is not for you, then you might want to consider Pixelmator, an incredibly speedy Photoshop alternative that offers a fair amount of power at a reasonable price. Read the full review here.

Alien Skin Exposure 3

A photographer friend recently sent me this extraordinary collection of color images shot during the Depression. One of the things that’s fascinating about looking at them is that we simply are not accustomed to this subject matter being in color. It’s a fine example of McCluhan’s “medium is the message” idea. Your choices of black and white or color, grungy or sharp, saturated or muted – all of these have a huge impact on the reaction the viewer will have. For film photographers, many of these decisions are determined by film choice, and the ability to choose specific films to achieve a particular look or feel is one of the great advantages of film shooting. Alien Skin Exposure, a sophisticated film-simulating Photoshop plug-in, gives this same power to digital photographers. Read more »

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.

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.

Photoshop CS5 Full Review

Photoshop CS5 has been shipping for a couple of weeks now, and if you follow such things, you’ve probably already heard about its new features. Photoshop serves many markets, from photography to graphic design to movie and web site production, so determining an overall assessment of the program can be tricky, as different markets have different needs. For photographers, though, Content-Aware Fill and the new Camera Raw are reason enough to upgrade. Many other features abound, and you can read about them in my comprehensive review.

Wacom Cintiq 21ux

As I’ve said before, anyone who performs a lot of image editing needs a pressure-sensitive tablet, and no one makes better tablets than Wacom. A lot of people, though, don’t like the coordination of drawing in one place while looking at another. For these people, Wacom has long sold the Cintiq line of screen/tablet combos. These are LCD screens that have a built in pressure sensitive tablet.

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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 »