Take your Photos from Blah to WOW with Lightroom and Photoshop

Would you like to get started with black and white (or color) fine art photography, but don’t really know how to get the results you want? I will give you some insight in the process to take your photos to the next level and let you see how you can make the most of the not so ideal situation. I will explain how you can take your ordinary photo and transform it from this . . .


to this!

Img final

Take your Photos from Blah to WOW with Lightroom and Photoshop

For the creation of this photo I used both Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop (Note: any program that handles layers will also work including GIMP or Photoshop Elements). The beginning photo is just a black and white conversion of the color photo, as shot. It is important that when you go out and shoot, you have an idea of the final image in your head. If you are at a location, take a moment and think of what you would like to see as a final result. This way, it will take you less shots to get your winning photo.

First step the photography, how was this photo created?

This photo was shot with a Nikon D3000, Tokina 12-28mm f/4 (IF) DX AT-X PRO and Haida ND3.0 (10 stop neutral density filter). That’s right, it’s not a full frame camera! With good light conditions you don’t need one, spend money on lenses instead. I was aiming at an exposure time of minimum 25 seconds, to make the clouds and water smooth. I metered 1/60th at f/14, 100 ISO, so that would give me the 25-27 second exposure (with the ND3.0) I wanted.

You can find exposure tables online, and sometimes you get them with the filter you buy. If all the conditions were perfect (which wasn’t the case) I wanted to shoot until sunset, expanding my exposure time to over 1 minute. But clouds rolled in (wasn’t forecast) and ruined the light. After a few shots, I got what I wanted and was heading home.

Next step, post-processing your image

First load the photo in to Lightroom and give it some minor adjustments to contrast and clarity. Increase the contrast a bit and reduce the clarity of the bottom part of the photo (the water). This can be done with a graduated filter (keyboard shortcut “M”) and moving the clarity slider to the left.

Now move over to Photoshop to take care of the sky (you can export it directly from Lightroom, right click on the photo and select edit in Photoshop). I was aiming for a nice movement in the sky, but the clouds weren’t going fast enough for my maximum exposure time. So we are going to replicate that with the help of photoshop.

Duplicate the image and select the sky, using the magic wand selection tool (W). Use the current layer and a brush seize of 30 pixels. When you’ve got your selection (it won’t be perfect but that is fine), click on the add layer mask symbol. (below the layers on the bottom right side of the screen).

You can make the layer mask more accurate with the pen tool (p). Click on the edge of a building (and later on the bridge) and work your way around the skyline, by clicking on every corner. The pen too will automatically draw a straight path from one point to another. When complete (you have to get all the way back to the first point you made), right click on the image and select “make selection” (feather 0, and make new selection) hit OK in the new window. Now fill your selection with black and you have a nice and clean layer mask of the sky.

Add motion blur to the sky

Now you can add a zoom blur to the sky layer, so you get a nice washed out cloud formation. Here is how to do that:

  • Select the duplicated sky layer then select Filter -> Radial Blur
  • In the menu select Blur Method -> Zoom, Quality -> good and amount 70 (you can add more, but that depends on the photo) – don’t hit OK yet!
  • Nest select where the Blur Center is positioned in the right window by clicking and dragging it around (somewhere in the middle for this photo)
  • Hit OK
  • After this you need to clean up the layer, because it now runs over the buildings
  • Hold CMD (alt on win) and click on the layer mask for the sky. Click -> selection -> inverse (you now have everything but the sky selected and hit delete.

Now you should have something like this:


As you can see the sky is now very pleasing, full of movement. When you look closer you can see that all the wires from the bridge are gone. We will have to fix that next. The wires aren’t straight lines, so the selection process of these is a pain – but worth the effort.

Using the pen tool (P) you can select all the wires on the background layer (which took me quite some time). You can do this one by one. Select one complete wire and duplicate the selection into a new layer. When you have all of them, merge all of these layers to one and place it above the duplicated sky layer.

You could also use the Magnetic Lasso Tool (L) to select all the wires but because of the low contrast in some places it won’t work, and you have to correct it later on.

Using the pen tool is a complete chapter, and I’m feeling that explaining how to use the tool takes too much focus away from this tutorial. It can take some time to master but I highly recommend reading tutorials on how to use the pen tool. You will need it for this image, but for the most of the images you can just make straight selections.

Here is my selection of the wires:


Now you can add some adjustments to the contrast in the wires and bridge, using a Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer. I used: Brightness +3 and Contrast +24


Final adjustments in Lightroom

From this point we leave Photoshop and continue in Adobe Lightroom. You could, however, do the same in Photoshop with dodging and burning, but I like the workflow of Lightroom more and used it to get to the final stage of the image.

From here it is basically just adding and removing light (exposure, contrast, white point) to selective places in the photo and checking for some dust particles. I can go into the details here, but it’s your vision of what you would like to achieve with the photo. Use the gradient filter (M) and the adjustment brush (K) in Lightroom to add and remove light to selected areas of the image. You have to “color” the photo to your wishes and crop it when needed. You are in fact painting with light.

Here is what I came up with for the final image:

Img final

“Catch the light” – Rotterdam (The Netherlands)

Do you have any additional tips for processing for that wow factor? Please share in the comments below.

The post Take your Photos from Blah to WOW with Lightroom and Photoshop by Martijn Kort appeared first on Digital Photography School.

Mastering Color in Lightroom using the HSL Tab

Mastering colour in Lightroom

Color in Camera

Mastering color in Lightroom occurs in two steps. The first is when you take the photo. Successful color photography requires an awareness of the colors in the scene and how they work together. If you read about the topic of color composition you will come across a lot of advice, including articles about the emotional values of color. It’s all good background knowledge, but if there’s one tip I can give that will help you compose better color images right away it is to simplify. Color is powerful, and if there are too many colors in the photo they will either clash or weaken each other. Simplify the use of color to make your images stronger. This works because the colors you choose to leave in have more impact when there are fewer other hues in the frame to distract from them.

Here’s an example below. In the photo on the left the use of color is not as good as it could be. There are too many conflicting hues. The red stripes on the flag compete with the orange flowers on the porch, and the blue and violet paintwork. It is more of a snapshot than a carefully composed image.

In comparison the photo on the right is dominated by red and yellow, and the colors are much stronger.

Mastering colour in Lightroom

An easy way to simplify color is to use a telephoto lens to simplify the composition. Another is to use a wide aperture to blur the background. Click the links to read my articles on those topics.

You can go into the topic of color in more depth by reading Mitchell Kanashkevich’s ebook Captivating Color.

Color in Lightroom

The next step, after you have taken your photo, is to get the best out of it in Lightroom. Today I’m going to focus on the first two tabs in the HSL / Color / B&W panel, and show you how to use them. If you’re a Photoshop user, you will find the same sliders in Adobe Camera Raw.

The HSL and Color tabs are essentially the same, but with the sliders arranged in a different order. In the Color tab, the sliders are grouped in eight colors.

Mastering colour in Lightroom

Mastering colour in Lightroom

Click on one of the colored squares at the top to show the sliders from a single color group.

The HSL tab groups the same eight color sliders into three categories: Hue, Saturation and Luminance. It is the tab I prefer to use as I find it easier to adjust by property (ie. hue, saturation or luminance) rather than color. It also has a Targeted Adjustment Tool (I will show you how to use that further on in the article), which the Color tab doesn’t.

Mastering colour in Lightroom

H=Hue, S=Saturation, L=Luminance

Now it’s time to take a look at the sliders under the HSL and Color tabs to see what they do. You can carry out most of these adjustments within either tab, but the examples I show you will all use the HSL tab.

Hue adjustment sliders

Hue is another word for color. The Hue sliders let you replace colors in your photo with neighbouring hues from the color wheel. Let’s take a look at the earlier photo again to see how it works. The image is dominated by the color red. This diagram shows you approximately where those red hues occur on the color wheel.

Mastering colour in Lightroom

When you move the Red slider under the Hue setting to +100 Lightroom replaces red with orange tones, located nearby on the color wheel.

Mastering colour in Lightroom

When you move the Red slider to -100 Lightroom replaces red with purple tones, located in the other direction on the color wheel.

Mastering colour in Lightroom

It is possible to make dramatic differences to the colors in your images using just the Hue sliders. Here, the right hand version of the image was created by setting Red to +100 and Blue to -100. Lightroom replaced the red and blue tones in the photo with other colors.

Mastering colour in Lightroom

Before left – after Hues adjusted on the right.

The Targeted Adjustment Tool

The Targeted Adjustment Tool gives you an alternative way to do the same thing. It is more precise than the sliders because most of the hues within your photos will fall somewhere between the color sliders in the HSL tab. The Targeted Adjustment Tool lets you target those colors exactly.

Start by clicking on the Targeted Adjustment Tool icon. Use the mouse to lay the crosshair over the hue you want to adjust. Click and hold the left mouse button down while you move the mouse upwards to replace the hues underneath the crosshair with neighbouring colors from the color wheel in one direction, and down to replace them with colors from the other direction.

When you do this, Lightroom moves colored sliders in whatever combination is required to adjust the color you have targeted. In the following example I used the Targeted Adjustment Tool to target the red colors in the wall. Lightroom moved both the Red and Orange sliders, indicating that the targeted color was comprised almost equally of those colors.

Mastering colour in Lightroom

You can use the Targeted Adjustment Tool to target colors with precision exactly the same way when you adjust Saturation and Luminance.

Saturation adjustment sliders

The term saturation refers to the strength of a color. If you increase Saturation, the color becomes stronger. Decrease it and it becomes weaker. Note: My article Color Composition: Using Subtle Color goes into the topic of using subtle colors in more detail.

One way to emphasize color in Lightroom is to desaturate surrounding colors. Here’s an example. The starting point is an image of an old car I took in Alaska. The composition is simple – the red paintwork on the car contrasts against the blue wooden shingles on the house behind it and the patches of greenery.

Mastering colour in Lightroom

First I used the Targeted Adjustment Tool to reduce the saturation of the green patches. Lightroom reduced Saturation in the Yellow and Green sliders accordingly.

Mastering colour in Lightroom

This simplifies the color composition even more, leaving red and blue as the dominant hues.

Mastering colour in Lightroom

Then I used the Targeted Adjustment Tool again to reduce the saturation of the blue paint. Lightroom reduced Saturation in the Aqua and Blue sliders.

Mastering colour in Lightroom

This is the result. I’ve placed the original and the final versions together so you can see the difference.

Mastering colour in Lightroom

Here’s another technique you can use. I set every Saturation slider except Red to zero. This desaturated most of the colors, turning the entire image black and white with the exception of the red paintwork on the car. I added a slight vignette using the Post-Crop Vignetting tool and increased Contrast and Clarity in the Basic panel to arrive at this black and white conversion.

Mastering colour in Lightroom

Luminance adjustment sliders

Luminance is the brightness of a color. You can make colors brighter to make them stand out more, or darker to subdue them. Depending on how bright the color was to start with, reducing luminance may also increase saturation, and increasing it may reduce saturation.

Here’s a example showing the difference when I used the Targeted Adjustment Tool to reduce the luminance of the blue paintwork.

Mastering colour in Lightroom

Lightroom reduced luminance in the Blue and Purple sliders when I made this adjustment.

Mastering colour in Lightroom

Note that with some images the colors may go a little weird when you adjust luminance too much. Watch out for this and ease back on the luminance sliders if this happens to you.

Your turn

Now it’s your turn. How do use you use the HSL and Color tabs when processing your photos in Lightroom or Adobe Camera Raw? Have you come up with any interesting techniques you can share with our readers? Let us know in the comments.

Mastering Lightroom: Books One, Two and Three

Mastering Lightroom ebook bundle

My Mastering Lightroom ebooks are a complete guide to using Lightroom’s Library and Develop modules. Written for Lightroom 4 & 5 books One and Two take you through every panel in both modules and show you how to import and organise your images, use Collections and creatively edit your photos. Book Three shows you how to create stunning black and white images in Lightroom.

The post Mastering Color in Lightroom using the HSL Tab by Andrew S. Gibson appeared first on Digital Photography School.

Textures Made Simple

A contribution from Lori Peterson

One of the most intimidating editing for some photographers is integrating textures. Textures can transform the mood and overall effect of an image. It can bring about a change that makes the image go from a nice photograph to a piece of fine art. There are an abundance of textures that can be found on the Internet and yet photographers are sometimes hesitant to use them because they feel overwhelmed or don’t understand that using them can actually be very simple. Once you get used to using textures you can usually decide what tones you want to bring in and how you want to use them.

We are going to do two edits on the same image with the same texture but use two different techniques. Typically I will change the technique I use based on the amount of editing I think the image needs in order to really use the texture. You can use multiple textures and stack them in Photoshop and change their opacity. You can even vary which technique you use on each layer. The fun thing about Photoshop is that if you use layers you can play around with your image. If you don’t like the effect, you simply delete the layer!

We are going to start by opening and image and a texture.

Image 1

Now we will just drag the texture on top of our image. Size it over your image by using CTRL + T and dragging the corner to make it fit.

Image 2

I typically will change my blending mode to screen or multiply (depending on the image) so that I can see the image underneath.

Image 3a

Now we need to remove the texture off her and her skin. We can do this one of two ways.

First of all we can just add a layer mask and then remove it off of her and her skin using a soft brush.

Image 4

It can be tedious to do it that way because as you get into parts of hair and closer to where her skin meets the texture you will need to make your brush smaller.

If you prefer, you can remove the texture this way instead:

Once you overlay your texture, go ahead and change the opacity so that you can see underneath the texture. Add your layer mask, you will need that to correct any mistakes or to refine the technique we are about to do.

Make sure that the texture itself is what is highlighted. Select your lasso tool and then go around your subject. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it will take you a little practice to get the hang of it!

Image 5

Once you have your subject highlighted using the lasso tool, then go up to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur.

Image 6

Push the slider all the way over to the right.

Image 7

This will blur the texture on the subject. It doesn’t blur the subject!

Now we need to refine the removal of the texture off our subject, which is much easier now that the texture is blurred.

Click on the layer mask and use your soft brush at a lower opacity to take off the parts of the texture you really want to remove. Since it has been blurred already, it’s not as difficult and tedious to remove.

Image 8

Then you can change your blending modes to fit the look you are trying to get for your image. You can also stack textures and leave the parts that you want or remove the parts you don’t.

Textures can really enhance and change the look of your overall image. They can bring more depth and more color. They can change the mood. They are fun to experiment with and once you learn how to use them fluidly you can really do a lot in Photoshop to change your images.

This was my final image using the Tendons texture overlay.

Image 9

Here’s the before and after so you can really see how the image changed.

Before After Image

Lori Peterson is an award winning photographer based out of the St. Louis Metro Area. Her dynamic work ranges from creative portraits to very unique fine art photography. Lori’s work can be seen at http://www.loripetersonphotography.com and also on her blog at http://www.loripetersonphotographyblog.com. You can follow her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/LoriPetersonPhotography.

Post originally from: Digital Photography Tips.

Check out our more Photography Tips at Photography Tips for Beginners, Portrait Photography Tips and Wedding Photography Tips.

Textures Made Simple

Techniques for Working Textures Into Your Photography


Where do you begin when you are considering using textures in your photography? I suggest you begin with the absolute best photo possible. Adding a texture to a bad photo does not make it a good photo. You want to make sure you have it exposed correctly, composed well, have a clear subject and not too much in the competing in the background competing. Textures work best with photos that are not too busy to start. Once I have chosen the photo I am going to work with, I do all of my edits before I add the texture, including adjusting the colors and sharpening.

In this article I’ll share some of my techniques for working textures into your photography.

Sharpening your image

You want to sharpen your photo before you add the texture. This is so that your subject is sharp and the texture isn’t over sharpened compared to the subject. You want the texture to enhance your photo, not compete with it. When I sharpen the photo I use the high pass filter as opposed to the unsharp mask. I like this method best because it defines and clears up all the edges of your subject without over-sharpening all the fill areas. Below is how I do this and the settings:

  1. Duplicate your background layer and while that duplicate copy is still highlighted, go up to the Filter menu and select: Other > Highpass filter
  2. Set the filter radius between 6 and 10 pixels (or higher) depending upon how sharp you need to have your photo, but be careful not to over sharpen.

    Sharpening highpass pop up

  3. Next change the blending mode of this layer to “Softlight” or “Overlay”. Overlay is stronger than Softlight, so test out each option to see what works best for your image.


Finished image with texture and vintage paper applied

Once I am finished adding my textures to the photo I might do a final sharpen at the end if needed.

How to erase texture and still retain tone, plus a few extras

Once you are finished with your edits and sharpening, you are ready to add the texture. One concern people have in adding texture is how to erase the texture from the subject without it being obvious. You wouldn’t want to have the face of a baby be texturized, for instance, but you would want the face to match the rest of the photo in color and tone.

5 Steps:

  1. Place the selected texture on your photo. Do this by going to: “File > Place” in the top menu. Then select the texture image you want to use. It opens up as a new layer on top of your photo, ready to resize. Do that, then I right click the texture layer and choose “rasterize”, so it will no longer be a Smart Object. Change the blend mode and opacity of the texture layer to suit your image, such as “Softlight” or “Overlay”. At this point you are just manipulating the texture and not worrying about erasing it yet.
  2. While the texture layer is still highlighted, there are a few techniques you can do to the layer before you move on. Adjust the levels, curves, and the saturation of the texture layer to make the texture more vivid or pronounced, but not more opaque. I work in Softlight mode a lot as it brings out some of the texture without changing the mode.

    Levels curves saturation

  3. Once you are happy with the way the texture is working with the image, duplicate the texture layer and apply a Gaussian blur set to about 60 pixels to the bottom texture layer so it gives you the exact tones of the texture. Get to the Gaussian blur box by going to “Filter > Blur > Gaussian blur”. Next, turn off the bottom layer that you just added the blur to.

    Gaussian blur

  4. Add a mask to the top layer. With a soft black brush, set to about 30% opacity, ybegin to brush off the texture in any areas where you don’t want it. By using a low opacity you can slowly build up the amount you are removing. If you remove too much simply change the brush to white ,and wipe some of the texture back on. Make sure while you are doing this that you have the mask box selected (it will have square brackets around it) not the image itself.

    Sharpening mask

  5. Once you are happy that the texture is removed from all the important areas – select the mask box, hold down “Shift + Alt” and drag the mask box from the top texture layer to the bottom texture layer. Now you have applied the mask to the blur layer, and you have inverted it at the same time. Turn that layer back on and you will notice the tone where you erased the texture has the same coloring as the rest of your photo.

    Sharpening finished

Using vintage papers in your photography

Working with vintage papers is another fun aspect of textures that you can use in your photography. I get vintage papers from several great sources including my own family documents from the mid 1800’s, flea markets, online searches, Etsy, etc. I have curated several collections on my website for sale if you don’t want to go through the trouble of searching for them yourself. I especially love vintage French papers because of their wonderful scripts, markings, and fancy headers.

Part One

Working with the vintage papers is the same as working with textures. Place the paper on your photo in the approximate location that you want to use it. You will notice in the sample that I have placed it on the top of the many textures I have used in this photo, but you can place it on any layer that you want, to get the look you are trying to achieve.

Textures vintage paper

Part Two

Next, adjust the layer using the darkening blending modes: darken, darker color, color burn, linear burn, and multiply. Experiment with them all to see which one works best on the photo. The goal is to make the paper part of the document disappear, and have just the writing remain. Then just adjust the opacity to suit your taste. You can add a mask to this layer if you want to strategically erase some of the text which I do quite often.

Vintage paper texture

Finished image

Finished image

I hope you will give some of these techniques a try whether you are new to textures or have been doing them for years. If you do, please share in the comments below!

Further reading on using textures in your photography:

  • How To Create Your Own Unique Textures and Apply Them To Your Photography
  • Textures Made Simple
  • How To Apply Textures To Your Photographs

The post Techniques for Working Textures Into Your Photography by Denise Love appeared first on Digital Photography School.

Sending Panorama Sequences from Lightroom to Photoshop

Sending Panorama Sequences from Lightroom to Photoshop

In addition to being able to send single images from Lightroom to Photoshop for editing you can also send a series of images to Photoshop to assemble into a panorama. This is a useful because the Photoshop panorama merge feature is pretty good (certainly since the improvements in Photoshop CS3 & CS4) and other Photoshop tools such as Content Aware Fill and the Lens Correction Filter are handy for finishing your panoramas. When you are done, click Save and the completed panorama will be sent back to Lightroom for further processing.

To see how this is done, begin inside Lightroom and select the images to assemble into a panorama. I like to put these into a collection so they are handy if I want to try multiple panorama options to select the best of them. I don’t typically process the images before sending them to Photoshop and, instead, I process the completed panorama when it returns to Lightroom. One exception to this is fixing the white balance if it were incorrectly set on the camera at capture time, for example.

Photoshop can assemble panoramas both vertically and horizontally and it can also take a mix of images such as I used here. This sequence is six shots horizontally across the front of a building and one extra shot to handle the building’s tower which wasn’t captured in the original sequence. If I’d been thinking, I would have captured some extra sky to use but we can solve that in Photoshop.

Sending Panorama Sequences from Lightroom to Photoshop 1

Select the images, right click and choose Edit In > Merge to Panorama in Photoshop.

Sending Panorama Sequences from Lightroom to Photoshop 2

Photoshop will open with the images you sent to Photoshop listed in the Photomerge dialog. Now you need to determine the Layout to use. In most cases the Auto setting will be a good choice – when you select this, Photoshop will analyze the images and determine the best of the other layout alternatives: Perspective, Cylindrical and Spherical to use.

Sending Panorama Sequences from Lightroom to Photoshop  3

Check the Blend Images Together checkbox so that the images will be seamlessly blended together – then you won’t have to do it yourself. You can also click Geometric Distortion Correction to remove the effect of any barrel, pincushion or fisheye distortion in the original images. If the edges of your images have some edge vignetting click Vignette Removal. If you’re unsure what to choose, check all three checkboxes. Click Ok and wait as the images are aligned and blended.

Once the panorama is assembled you can straighten the image if desired. To do this select all the layers and target the Ruler tool. Now drag along a line in the image which should be perfectly horizontal – you won’t be able to click the Straighten Layer button to rotate the image because you will have multiple layers selected. Instead, choose Image > Image Rotation > Arbitrary and click Ok to straighten the entire image to the angle of the Ruler line.

Sending Panorama Sequences from Lightroom to Photoshop  4

Most panoramas will then need to be cropped to a rectangle to eliminate uneven areas around the edge of the image. However, before you do this you may want to fill in some of the empty areas of the image using the Content Aware Fill tool so you can crop larger than you would otherwise be able to do. To do this you’ll either need to flatten the image to a single layer or you will need to create a new layer with the entire image on it to use. To flatten the image choose Layer > Flatten Image. To make a new layer with the image on it (but still retain the individual layers below) click the topmost layer and press Control + Alt + Shift + E (Command + Option + Shift + E on the Mac).

Sending Panorama Sequences from Lightroom to Photoshop  5

Select the area that you want to fill and then choose Edit > Fill, from the Use list choose Content Aware and click Ok. Photoshop will attempt to fill the missing area with details from the image around it. If the image contains sufficient detail you should be able to build up missing areas of sky and foreground, for example.

If you encounter problems with the Content Aware Fill feature this post will show you how to mask a layer to get better results when using it: http://digital-photography-school.com/smarter-content-aware-fill-in-photoshop. Crop the image when you have filled the edge area.

Sending Panorama Sequences from Lightroom to Photoshop 6

To fix unwanted distortion in an image you can use the Lens Correction tool. This tool works on a single layer and you run it by choosing Filter > Lens Correction > Manual. Adjust the Horizontal Perspective slider to fix problems with an image which has not been captured face onto the point of interest. Use the Vertical Perspective slider to adjust for keystoning – generally you will drag this slider to the left. Use the Geometric Distortion slider to remove barrel and pincushion distortion.

Sending Panorama Sequences from Lightroom to Photoshop 7

Once you have finished assembling the panorama choose File > Save to save the image and return to Lightroom where your panorama will be ready for further editing.

LR PS panoramaMerge 8

If you are not using Lightroom you can assemble a panorama from Bridge or from inside Photoshop. In Bridge select the panorama sequence and choose Tools > Photoshop > Photomerge in Bridge. In Photoshop, first open the images to use then choose File > Automate > Photomerge and click the Add Open Files button. In either case you will probably want to fix the image in Photoshop once the panorama is complete. If you are using Lightroom you may prefer to finish processing the panorama in Lightroom.

Layout Options

Each of the panorama Layout options in Photoshop results in a different looking panorama. Choosing Auto tells Photoshop to select the best of the options Perspective, Spherical and Cylindrical for your particular sequence of images.

Here is the result of each of the other Layout options used with our image sequence, these results haven’t been edited except to straighten the image and brighten it a little. You may want to experiment with any given sequence of images to see which of these options gives you the most pleasing result:

Perspective Layout

The panorama is assembled in relation to the middle image of your sequence of images. The middle image is placed in position and the other images arranged either side of it and skewed and repositioned as needed. This often results in edges which are taller than the middle giving rise to the term ‘bow-tie” distortion.

LR PS panoramaMerge perspective

Cylindrical Layout

This layout avoids the bow-tie distortion by showing the images as they might look if placed on an unwrapped cylinder.

LR PS panoramaMerge cylindrical

Spherical Layout

This layout arranges the images as if to cover the inside of a sphere. It is a good choice for 360 degree panoramas and can also give good results with other shorter panorama sequences.

LR PS panoramaMerge spherical

Collage Layout

This layout aligns the images matching overlapping content. If necessary, image layers are transformed and rotated.

LR PS panoramaMerge collage

Reposition Layout

This layout aligns the images matching overlapping content but without transforming or rotated the images.

LR PS panoramaMerge reposition

Post originally from: Digital Photography Tips.

Check out our more Photography Tips at Photography Tips for Beginners, Portrait Photography Tips and Wedding Photography Tips.

Sending Panorama Sequences from Lightroom to Photoshop

The post Sending Panorama Sequences from Lightroom to Photoshop by Helen Bradley appeared first on Digital Photography School.

What’s new in Photoshop CC for Photographers

Photoshopcc for photographers opener

The new Photoshop CC hasn’t launched without a lot of controversy. There are some very valid reasons not to like the fact that the only way to get your hands on this new release is via the Creative Cloud. However, putting delivery methods and subscription software issues aside, let’s look at what is in the new Photoshop CC for photographers so you can see what you’ll get if you upgrade or what you’re foregoing access to if you don’t.

Photoshop CC has a few new additions and one update that will be of interests to photographers. There’s little here that you can’t live without but some of these additions you may want to live with!

Liquify as a Smart Object

In previous versions of Photoshop the Liquify filter was one of the few filters that you could not apply to a Smart Object layer. That meant that any changes that you made using the Liquify Filter were permanent changes to the image which could not be undone, and they couldn’t be easily altered or blended back into the image in a non-destructive way. Now it’s possible to apply the Liquify Filter to a Smart Object layer so that the edits that you make to the image using the liquify filter can be edited later on if desired. They can be removed by disabling the filter, they can be blended using a layer blend mode, masked and edited.

Photoshopcc for photographers 1

ACR as a Filter

New to Photoshop CC is the ability to apply changes which previously could only be made in Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) to an image from inside Photoshop. The new Camera Raw Filter lets you apply ACR edits to a layer and even to a Smart Object layer in Photoshop. This makes almost all the tools in ACR available to be used in Photoshop as an editable filter. To access this feature, choose Filter > Camera Raw filter.

Photoshopcc for photographers 2

Squaring up objects with Upright

While not technically an addition to Photoshop, the Upright feature is new to Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) for Photoshop CC. So, if you have Photoshop CC, you have access to Upright in ACR (and as a filter adjustment via the Camera Raw filter too).

The Upright tool can automatically straighten an image and remove keystone distortion which is apparent when shooting tall buildings, for example. It is found in ACR in the Lens Correction panel – click the Manual tab.

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Fix blurry images

The new Shake Reduction filter in Photoshop CC helps deal with blurry images. It won’t fix them all and, of course it’s always preferable to get the image sharp in camera, but it can fix some burry shots particularly those captured in good light with a zoom lens and it can help sharpen text in images.

To find the tool, choose Filter > Sharpen > Shake Reduction.

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ACR features in Photoshop CC

In addition to the Upright feature available in ACR there are other new and improved features in ACR that you can access if you have Photoshop CC. These include the improved Spot Removal tool which can be used like a paintbrush to select an element in an image to fix – this makes it easier to use where the problem area is not circular. In addition the new Radial Gradient tool lets you add a radial gradient to an image to apply fixes and creative effects.

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A Better Upsampling algorithm

You may already know that there are problems inherent in enlarging images because Photoshop needs to make additional pixels where pixels did not previously exist. The new resizing algorithm in Photoshop CC improves the results when you are enlarging an image.

Choose Image > Image Size and enlarge the dialog so that you can see things clearly on the screen. Set the final image size, for example if you want to enlarge by 200 percent set 200 percent as the width and height. Click the Resample checkbox and from the dropdown list choose the new Preserve Details (Enlargement) option. The preview image shows the result of upsizing using this option.

This new algorithm helps you enlarge images for printing retaining the sharpness in the image and avoiding pixelated edges.

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Updated Smart Sharpen Filter

Sharpening has been improved in Photoshop CC with changes to the Smart Sharpen filter. To see it at work choose Filter > Sharpen > Smart Sharpen and again enlarge the dialog so that you can see the effect on the image. You can now adjust the Amount and the Radius for the sharpening. Typically radius should be in the region of 0.5 to 1.5 pixels for most images. You can also choose to reduce noise as you sharpen. The shadows and highlights area allows you to fade sharpening, for example, in the shadow areas applying it more strongly to the highlights where noise will be less visible. You can also select to remove Gaussian blur, Lens blur or Motion blur if these blur issues affect your image.

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Adaptive wide angle

The new Adaptive Wide Angle Filter helps you remove problems encountered when shooting with wide angle lenses. Choose Filter > Adaptive Wide Angle and choose the problem to correct from the Correction dropdown list. Set the sliders for the Focal Length and Crop factor to remove distortion. You can also draw on the image to add constraints. These lines should be positioned over objects in the image that you want to be straight. Photoshop will use the constraints to determine the correction to apply to the image and, as a result, you can remove much of the distortion problems with an image. This filter can be applied using a Smart Object layer so that the results will be editable.

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Behance integration

Behance is a community where you can showcase your work so that others, including businesses looking to find creatives, can find you and examples of your work. If you use, or plan to use, the Behance online creative community then you will appreciate that you can now post images from Photoshop CC direct to Behance. To do this you choose File > Share to Behance.

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Regular Program Updates

One benefit of the new Photoshop CC which Adobe is encouraging is program updates. Delivery via the Creative Cloud means that Adobe can now deliver program updates as they become available rather than having to wait for the next new release. This means that fixes for problems can be rolled out more quickly. Of course this can be a double edge sword – if you’re on a slow connection or you have a capped internet service – the frequency and size of these can be time consuming and expensive to download and install.

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New Pricing for Photographers

Adobe copped a lot of flak from users over the bundling and pricing of its Creative Cloud applications. As a result, it was recently announced that users with Photoshop CS3 or later could sign up for the Photoshop Photograph Program. This limited time offer (it expires December 31, 2013), gives you access to Photoshop CC, Lightroom 5, Bridge CC, 20GB of cloud storage and a Behance ProSite. It requires an annual commitment and is USD $9.99 plus taxes billed monthly (check the website for the cost in your local currency).

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Post originally from: Digital Photography Tips.

Check out our more Photography Tips at Photography Tips for Beginners, Portrait Photography Tips and Wedding Photography Tips.

What’s new in Photoshop CC for Photographers

So You’re Going to Shoot A Wedding: Part 3 of 3 [editing, etc.]

It’s done. You survived it. It was the longest day of your photography career, you’re exhausted, and all you can think about is how right I was (it’s cool-I get that a lot). But…….You. Did. It. And chances are you didn’t get locked in a bathroom, or miss the kiss, or have a complete equipment failure, or faint face-first into the cake. You shot a wedding. What’s next?


Back-up everything. Possibly several times

As no-brainer as this is, when I shoot portraits, I’m not a diligent about it as I should be. I’m more of a “cross my fingers/hope for the best/fly by the seat of my pants” kind of gal in most areas of my life. But a wedding is different. Good luck explaining to a new bride that your laptop played a vanishing act with the images and you need her to re-do the whole wedding for photographic purposes. It’s my greatest fear. My greatest fear used to be a complete equipment failure at a wedding, but then I had that happen a few weeks ago and somehow survived it, so I’ve graduated my fear list a bit. As soon as I get home from a wedding, no matter that I can barely see straight, I upload everything to my computer, and then back-up everything to an external drive or disc. Additionally I don’t erase my memory cards until I need them again and I have cloud storage. Because I’m neurotic like that. Weddings are often thousands of images and this takes both time and space. Having both of those things is yet another factor in the expense of wedding photography (see: never shoot a wedding for free). In most other areas of my life, I am totally okay with just hoping for the best and surrounding it with good thoughts. But this isn’t one of them.


Give a sneak peek

These images are going to take you a long time to go through, edit, and deliver. Unless you have some sort of crazy amazing one day editing process, which if you do, I’m going to need you to email that to me immediately. While everyone is anxious to see pictures, no one is more anxious than a still-glowing bride. Give them a little taste and buy yourself some time to ice your camera-strap-indented neck and regain clear vision. Social media is a fabulous option for this if it’s available to you. That way everyone can see them and fawn over how great the images are, giving you a little boost of confidence and the newly minted couple a little attention-both of which work in your favor for the long editing road ahead. (Oh friend, it’s a long road.)


Decide if you are interested in doing this again

Every wedding I have ever shot has led to at least one referral. In general, I don’t photograph weddings. Yet, there I am, every summer, finding myself wanting to pass out from heatstroke with a 10 pound black box in front of my face. Why? Because I’m a sucker. I suppose I could tell you that it’s because I love weddings and true love and all that, but the truth is: I’m a sucker. Throw a few compliments at me and I’ll do about anything that doesn’t involve roller coasters. I hate roller coasters. (I also hate those rides where you spin on something that’s spinning. I’d like to have a long talk with the guy who thought that was a good idea for your internal organs.) Even if you didn’t hand out a single business card……even if you don’t have a single business card…..they will find you. Unless you were a miserable human being to be around (I don’t judge-I’ve been there), you will get a call about another wedding. Decide right now if this is something you ever want to do again so you can handle that call that will come later. There is nothing wrong with saying no, thank you. It might not be your cup of tea. Or quad carmel latte (I’m becoming a really expensive coffee date lately). There is also nothing wrong with having loved it. The point is that you need to decide quickly because there is literally a barista of sorts waiting on your order and she has a whole line of impatient people behind you and a smoke break coming up.


Don’t overdo it

The last wedding I shot came in at just shy of two thousand images. There were 26 guests, and that’s including the dog ring bearer. I shot for less than 4 hours. I’m an over-shooter. I know this. In my defense: WHAT IF I MISS SOMETHING??? For this said wedding I have no less than 40 images of “the kiss”. Truth? They all look the same. Don’t get me wrong-it was an amazing kiss. Record books, in fact. But, those 40 images I shot in probably 30 seconds of time all look pretty much the same. Yet I want them to see every one!!! What if they love one that’s slightly different than another?? What if the clouds moved just a bit and it makes for the best of forty? I don’t know. What I do know is that to the average person, all 40 of those images look exactly the same. Pick one, edit it to loveliness, and move on. No one knows you have forty of them. And likely, no one cares.


Deliver the images with deserved fanfare

I personally don’t do any printing; if you book a session or a wedding with me, your flat fee includes my time, the finished (edited) high resolution images on a disc, and a full printing and usage release. This is how I have been doing it for years and I find that not having to mess with an 8 10 print of this one or a 5 7 of that one or marking-up my printing costs to cover everything is a much easier way of doing things. And easy works best for me because I am a terrible insomniac (see numerous references to coffee above) and when I get overwhelmed with work (which is often), I go lock myself in my closet and cry a little. However, just handing over a disc feels like a near let-down when I’ve been editing for weeks and, as previously mentioned, spent an extremely long and tiring day just shooting the images. I like a little fanfair, and because wedding photography is such an investment, I think my clients should get a little ribbon and bow. Or maybe a horn section. Depends on what I have access to at the time. I like to put together a “highlight” slideshow of 50 or so of the images that the couple can send to their friends and family to watch online. Additionally, I usually put together a little gift of sorts to give along with the disc-maybe a large print that I put in a readymade frame or for a smaller wedding, I might print off 4 6 prints of each image and put these in a pretty box so theycan make awedding album easily. It honestly just depends on the couple and what I charged. My goal here is only to hand them over something more lovely than a cold silver flat circle.


Wedding photography was never my goal, nor do I consider myself a wedding photographer. I have never advertised or marketed for it, though I have shot about 70 of them in the last decade. It’s tough-I’m not set-up to be a wedding photographer, both from an equipment and time perspective, yet I find myself doing several a year even still. All joking aside, I don’t EVER take on a wedding just for the money or just out of wanting to do something wonderful for a loved one. Every wedding I have ever shot I only ended up there because I truly felt that I was the best person for the job. Many times I was right (this isn’t a time to be humble), but a couple times I was wrong and it makes for a painfully long event day and editing process.


The reason wedding photography is met with such passion by veterans and hobbyist alike is because it’s a big deal; there are no re-dos, no second chances. It’s a type of photography that is all it’s own. So only shoot the weddings where you feel confident that you and the couple feel similar about the end vision. Only shoot the weddings where you genuinely like the couple; if you wouldn’t want to have a beer with them, you’re not going to want to spend a 10 hour day with them. Only shoot the weddings that will give you more than a paycheck, whether that be experience, a day of fun, or that good feeling of doing something wonderful for someone else and knowing you did a good job. It doesn’t matter if you believe in true love or soul mates, it doesn’t matter if you feel like weddings are too over-the-top and unnecessary, it doesn’t matter if one of the biggest highlights was the free piece of cake (I’m a big fan of cake), what matters is that you went in there knowing that you were the person for the job, that you stayed there feeling like you were doing a great job, and you left there happy to have done it.

me at jillandty

Tired and glad for it to be over, but happy to have done it.

Post originally from: Digital Photography Tips.

Check out our more Photography Tips at Photography Tips for Beginners, Portrait Photography Tips and Wedding Photography Tips.

So You’re Going to Shoot A Wedding: Part 3 of 3 [editing, etc.]