Category Archives: Tips and Tricks

Get Maximum Dynamic Range from RAW Image Files with Lightroom

Did you know that with a little tweaking, you can extract tremendous dynamic range from single RAW files in Adobe Lightroom without using HDR? The trick is to take advantage of Lightroom’s Camera Calibration panel. There, you set the initial tone curve of your image (contrast & color). By using a low-contrast tone curve, you can recover more highlight and shadow details than by using sliders alone. If you use Nikon DSLRs, you can choose the “Camera Flat” profile to get more dynamic range. If you don’t have a Nikon camera, you can create your own custom profile with a linear tone curve by using the Adobe DNG Profile Editor. My video above will show you how.

Discover more Lightroom processing secrets with my comprehensive PDF guide. 

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Color Management 101

Is the color cast in your image something real, or is it an artifact produced by your monitor?
This image is neutral. If it doesn’t look that way, it means your monitor needs profiling.

Updated: Jan 2017

Color is extremely important in photography. Getting accurate color is even more important. With digital photography, you are relying on a monitor to display your images properly so that you can make any necessary corrections and adjustments to brightness, contrast, and color. The problem with computer displays is that they just aren’t accurate. When your computer communicates with your display, it sends a command to generate a particular color value in the RGB universe. The monitor responds in turn by lighting up its phosphors or LCD elements accordingly. But your computer cannot “see” that the actual color produced by your display matches the command it sent. You see, most monitors have inherent flaws that prevent their actual output from matching what the computer told it to produce. What’s more, the human eye has an uncanny ability to compensate for color casts, so if your monitor is a little off, you might not even know it. Continue reading Color Management 101

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That’s No Moon! How to Add the Death Star to your Photos

If you enjoyed my Death Star image post, here’s a quick tutorial on how I did it. All you need is Photoshop and some layer blending prowess. Should Ewoks disable the shield generator, however, you’re on your own to defend it. The same technique works with overlaying images of the moon on cityscapes.

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Getting Great Holiday Portraits

It’s holiday portrait season again!

Originally published December 2010. Updated Dec. 9, 2016

‘Tis the season for family portraits.  If you’re like me, you’ve got friends and family who say “you’re a photographer, will you shoot portraits for me?”  Unfortunately, these people don’t always understand that photographing landscapes and wildlife is completely different from photographing people.  I mean, the camera is the same, but that’s about it.

So what should you do when asked to shoot portraits?  Here are some tips and gear recommendations that should get you started.

Continue reading Getting Great Holiday Portraits

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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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