Category Archives: Tips and Tricks

The Photoshop Techniques Every Lightroom User Should Know

lr-psDespite the fact that I’ve owned a copy of Adobe Photoshop since the 1990’s, I’ve rarely made a big deal about it in my workshops and presentations. That’s because the cost of ownership presented a huge barrier to amateur photographers. Moreover, Lightroom has become quite powerful in its own right; many users simply find they didn’t need to leave the Lightroom editing environment.

If you’re using Lightroom via the Adobe Photography Plan (Creative Cloud subscription), then you’re getting the complete version of Adobe Photoshop right along with it. If you have access to this powerful tool, you ought to know how to use it (at least in terms of your photos).

There are so many tools in Photoshop that it’s easy to get lost and intimidated. However, there are a few things that Photoshop lets you do that you can’t do in Lightroom, and for certain photos, those tools can be tremendously useful. Read on to see my list of “go-to” tools.

Continue reading The Photoshop Techniques Every Lightroom User Should Know

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Shooting the Supermoon

Shoot for the moon!
Shoot for the moon!

Tonight is yet another “supermoon” event, in which the moon is closer to the Earth than usual. Of course, Astrophysicist Neil Tyson has already pointed out that the difference in the moon’s apparent size is in reality, quite small. Nevertheless, the moon is still a fun subject to photograph, if you do it right.

There are two kinds of “moon shots.” Landscapes, and close-ups. Both of these shots have challenges, because the full moon is so bright that it requires a daylight (sunny-16 exposure) to preserve details.  For landscape shots, it’s important to be able to photograph the moon when it rises near sunset or blue-hour. The sheer brightness of the moon will cause it to become blown-out if you are exposing for a dark foreground. For telephoto shots, it’s important to use a fast shutter speed to prevent the moon from blurring out due to its apparent motion in the sky. You’ll want to use a shutter speed of at least 1/250s to keep the moon sharp.

Learn more

For my full set of pro tips for shooting the moon, stars and Milky Way, download The Night Sky Photography Guide.

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Focus-Stacking Landscape Photos

Infinite depth of field and maximum sharpness without a tilt-shift lens

Get infinite depth of field in landscape photographs with focus-stacking
Get infinite depth of field in landscape photographs with focus-stacking

Focus-stacking is a technique that macro photographers have used for years to maximize depth of field in close-up images. You can apply the same technique to landscape photos, too. While dedicated focus-stacking software has been around for a long time, this tool is now built-in to Adobe Photoshop CC (you just have to know where to find it). That means if you have the Adobe Photography subscription package, you can start experimenting with focus-stacking right away.

Free Download: Focus Stacking Tutorial (PDF)

I’ve put together a FREE focus stacking tutorial eBook (PDF format), which is free to all my newsletter subscribers. Continue reading Focus-Stacking Landscape Photos

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Nikon DSLR Secrets: My Menu

The secret to finding frequently used items in your Nikon Menus

The My Menu item in Nikon DSLRs lets you save frequently used items.
The My Menu item in Nikon DSLRs lets you save frequently used items.

Have you ever been shooting with your Nikon DSLR and find yourself needing to change a menu setting quickly but cannot remember where it’s located? The “My Menu” option in Nikon DSLR cameras allows you to custom configure your own menu panel with the items you frequently use. Here, I’ll show you how to access and add items to the My Menu panel in Nikon DSLR cameras.

What’s in My Menu?

I currently have the following items in My Menu:

  • Time Zone and Date
  • Exposure Delay Mode
  • Long Exposure NR
  • Multiple Exposure Mode
  • Interval Timer Shooting
  • Monitor Brightness
  • Lock mirror up for cleaning
  • Battery info
  • AF fine-tune
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How to Photograph Fireworks

Fireworks at Chicago's Navy Pier.
Fireworks at Chicago’s Navy Pier. Nikon D810 with 28-300mm Nikkor lens. 3 s f/8 ISO 100

It’s July, and that means many of us in the USA will be able to watch fireworks demonstrations. If you’ve never photographed fireworks before, you don’t want to have to troubleshoot camera settings in the dark. Most fireworks displays are under 30 minutes in duration, so you’ll want to be prepared! Here are my tips for photographing fireworks displays: Continue reading How to Photograph Fireworks

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