Monday May 15th sees me travel to North Wales for 3 days of landscape photography.
Its an area I havent visited properly since I was a child but have always been captivated by the beauty of the surroundings and the tranquility and peace that you can find in the area.
Living in Milton Keynes, i'm a bit short of epic landscapes, so I need to add a few great compositions to my portfolio and then make them available to buy as prints, so wandering the hills and lakes of Snowdonia will cover a few bases and give me some shots I've been looking for.
I have a few new bits of kit to try out namely ND and graduated filters so im going to road-test these out.
Check out my you tube video below on how to add ND filters to your camera set up.
Look out in the portfolio section for the finished shots.
These are 3 quick tips I’d like to share with fellow photographers:
1: Always keep practising. The more you know your camera, the better your images will look.
2: Use the Internet...I’ve watched endless hours of youtube workshops, photoshop, lightroom etc and online editing courses. If you want to see your style and images grow, the best way to do that is learn new techniques and skills.
3: Stay inspired by shooting what you love!
Photographing smoke is not particularly difficult and doesn’t require any more than your camera, flash and rather common objects. It’s important that your camera has a manual exposure mode, so you can select shutter speed, aperture and ISO. You also want to maintain control of the zoom function of the lens. You’ll use a flash unit off camera, so it must be able to operate independent of the hot shoe. Control of the flash will be with a wireless remote device or cable.
To create even light around the smoke trail, you’ll also need a reflector. It’s best to use a tripod to steady your camera, and a black background, either a board or drop.Since photographing smoke is an indoor project, you don’t want an actual open flame as the source of the smoke. Incense is your best choice because the tip just smolders. Plus, an incense stick or cone produces a substantial, steady column of smoke and it smells much nicer than other substance you could burn.
For safety purposes, use an appropriate incense burner and a large fireproof plate on which to set it. You should also pick a room or space that is ventilated. Incense will cloud the entire room with a haze that could distract from your smoke photos. With a well-ventilated room, the air space around the smoke is kept clean and the background will remain dark, or black.To create your little smoke photo studio, use a small tabletop or other surface for the incense container. Position the dark background approximately 3 to 5 feet behind it. Your lighting set-up is easy: Place the off-camera flash unit 2 to 3 feet to the right or left of where the smoke will rise from the incense. The reflector is positioned 180 degrees to the flash, on the opposite side of the incense burner. Start with your camera and tripod approximately 2 to 4 feet in front of the smoke source.
Don’t hesitate to try various set-ups, but the best will not allow light to illumination the background or cause lens flare.Before you start creating smoke photos, you must select the correct settings on your camera and flash. As a newcomer to smoke photography, it’s best to shoot images with the movement of the smoke frozen; therefore, a fast shutter speed is required. Select a narrow aperture for more depth of field, so the three-dimensional nature of a smoke column is clear and totally in focus. You also want to select a low ISO number to eliminate any graininess, or digital noise. The combination of fast shutter speed, narrow aperture and low ISO means the flash should be set to full power.
Before beginning your smoke photography shoot, make sure any doors or windows are closed, so strong air currents don’t blow the smoke almost horizontal. Light one incense stick for thinner smoke trails, or use two for thicker or dual trails “dancing” around each other.
I am a self-taught photographer. Photography is something I have dabbled in as a hobby while trying to do my 'day job'. I learned photography by reading books, participating in online forums and through trial and error. It’s been a long hard road but it’s been well worthwhile.
I learned most of my post-processing by watching YouTube videos. Serge Ramelli in particular. It has become one of my favorite ways to learn. There’s some inspirational stuff available that you can use to teach yourself all kinds of different skills. It’s a lot of fun, and the benefit of learning in this way is that you can go at your pace.
This type of learning is perfect for my lifestyle, and I’m sure for many of you the same factors apply. It always amazes me what we can teach ourselves when we put our minds to it.
Now that we are on the path to self-directed learning I would like to share with you three Lightroom shortcuts, hacks, tricks, or whatever you want to call them.
1 – The Alt key
In the Develop module, the Alt key is very useful when setting black and white points in your images. Hold down the Alt key while hovering your cursor over the Blacks slider. The image will go completely white and as you move the slider from side to side (move it left to darken or add black) you will be able to see when the blacks begin to clip in your image.
2 – Navigator Window
The Navigator window is very useful when you need to zoom in. This is probably really obvious and silly to those who have formal Lightroom training. Before discovering this little trick, I would zoom in and out applying the adjustment brush to small sections of the image. It was very tedious.
Then one day I discovered that if I click the 1:1 button on the Navigator (preview) window and then slide the square around on the screen, I could apply the adjustment brush without the tedium of closing the adjustment brush and moving out to the full-screen view.
3 – Lights Out in the Library
When you press the letter L on your keyboard, it dims the surrounding panels so that you can focus more on the image at hand (press L again for total black around your image, and once more to return to normal). This same tool works well in the library module. I now use the “Lights Out” feature to isolate specific images. Simply select the images you wish highlight then hit the “L” button.
This same tool works well in the library module. I now use the Lights Out feature to isolate specific images. Simply select the images you wish highlight then hit the “L” button.
We live in an age when we are lucky to have so many resources available to us. The internet is a true cornucopia of opportunity. Don’t be afraid to try different things. You really can’t break the program.!
Here's a great picture showing you how, when in manual mode to get the right amount of light on to your image.
White balance is a term that is often used in photography, but may be a little confusing to new photographers. Fortunately, it isn’t too difficult to learn. And even if you do mess it up the first few times, if you’re shooting in RAW, it’s easily correctable once you know what you’re looking at. We’ll touch on that in this article too, but first, let’s discuss what white balance is.
In short, white balance is important because you want the colors in the photo you are taking to be as accurate and realistic as possible. At least most of the time. There are, of course, exceptions to every rule. However, for the sake of this article, we’re going to assume you want things to be as realistic as possible. Have you ever put on a pair of tinted sunglasses that made everything a look different colors? That’s what using the wrong white balance will cause your photos to look like. You’ve probably seen photos before that have a weird blue, orange, yellow, or,perhaps, green tint to them. That’s a result of using the wrong white balance.
I highly recommend you shoot in RAW whenever available. Memory cards are inexpensive, so we can’t use their file size as an excuse. The beauty of shooting in RAW when it comes to white balance is how easy it is to correct during post processing. In fact, many photographers will set their cameras to an auto white balance feature and forget about it. All it takes is a simple push of a slider in Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop to correct any inaccuracies in the color temperature or white balance of a photo.
That being said, it’s always best to understand why and how things work, so take your time to learn about white balance, even if you do always shoot in RAW. Knowing how to correct white balance in camera is never a bad idea!
So in the time I have been using SLR and DSLR cameras I dont think I ever came across a more useful picture than this one.
It's something that I recommend all serious photographers copy and print off and keep with you.
I dont know the original creator so I cant credit them.
As you can see it clearly shows the 3 things any photographer needs to know.
The f-stop numbers, shutter speed and ISO values. Quite self explanatory and a great picture.
Please check out my latest youtube video on the limited edition, signed, framed print currently available.
These are limited to 50 and there are still some left as I write this blog.
Raw files are unprocessed images that reflect the image data coming from your camera sensor. Camera Raw Images cannot be directly printed or processed by regular, bitmap based processing or image editing software.
A special raw processor is necessary to interpret and process the image data.
With the use of proper software the files can be processed for further manipulation or printing into a tiff or jpeg file.Raw files are also often referred to as digital negative files.
While most common raw files are mainly based on the tiff format standard, they can be differences in the file syntax: Different image headers, image tags, file encryption and so on.
DNG is Adobe’s Digital Negative format which is not camera native and their standard is described as an extended tiff 6.0 format including several open image standards such es exif, xmp, iptc, icc profiles and more.
How To Process RAW files
As already stated, you will need a piece of software that provides you with the capability of reading the different camera raw formats and to process them.
There are Different companies providing such software such as Adobe, Phase one, Hasselblad and different software companies. Most of them are going to cost money.
You can try using free software to process your raw files but I recommend sticking to the known sowtware which has its place in the industry for a reason.
You might have to import your images first in order to process them correctly. After being processed the raw files need to be exported into a comon known format depending of further use.
As you intend to retouch your images, you will need to export them as psd files or as tiff files. Those formats are commonly used for retouching and can be open within your image editing software of choice. We recommend using Photoshop for your retouching work.
Why retouching RAW Vs. Jpeg
Raw files provide more image data as jpeg files. They are unprocessed, are used in a much larger color space and therefore give you more options to shift, change and control saturation of colors. They also give you the opportunity to use icc and dng based camera profiles to correct your image data when shot with different lenses and bodies to make them look the same (colourwise).
In general, raw files contain more data, more bit depth and can be compressed as to show more detail in shadows and highlights than a captured jpeg format can.
Shooting raw is associated with being a professional. Within the retouching industry it is basically the same. You want to start with good images, when it comes to the file format. This is as important as the image content, model, lighting, posing, composition,…