Category Archives: Tips and Tricks

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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Nikon D500: Setting up a Focus Trap

Scratching my head and a Eureka! moment…

So, I’ve been playing with my new Nikon D500 and one thing was a real head-scratcher: the behavior of focus vs. release priority mode when using continuous servo (AF-C) focus. For some reason, I couldn’t get focus priority mode to work when using AF-ON mode.

The priority mode option (in theory) allows you to choose as to whether or not the shutter will fire when the camera’s active AF sensor indicates proper focus. In single-servo mode (AF-S), focus-priority is the default. In continuous-servo mode, release-priority is the default. Continue reading Nikon D500: Setting up a Focus Trap

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Fixing Color Casts with Photoshop and Luminosity Masks

See how I used a luminosity mask in Photoshop to correct the color in the background of this photo while protecting the subject.
See how I used a luminosity mask in Photoshop to correct the color in the background of this photo while protecting the subject.

Adobe Photoshop has some really good color correction tools hidden in the Curves tool, but sometimes they are too strong when you apply them globally. By targeting your color cast adjustments via a luminosity mask, you can fix color casts in specific tone ranges such as shadows, highlights, or midtones.

Download my free set of luminosity masking actions for Adobe Photoshop, and check out my complete PDF guide to creating and using luminosity masks with Photoshop, Mastering Luminosity Masks.

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Free Luminosity Masking Actions for Photoshop

A powerful way to
adjust images in Adobe Photoshop

What are luminosity masks?

Luminosity masks are grayscale pixel images based on the brightness values in your image. Because they are created from your individual photographs, each mask blends in perfectly and allows for precise tone-based selections. Luminosity masks allow you to adjust brightness, contrast, and color on specific tone ranges in your image without the need for brushes or other selection tools.

Luminosity masks let you target adjustments to tone ranges and are based on the pixels in your photographs.
Luminosity masks let you target adjustments to tone ranges and are based on the pixels in your photographs.

Why should you use luminosity masks?

Continue reading Free Luminosity Masking Actions for Photoshop

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Expanding Dynamic Range On Single RAW Files in Adobe Lightroom (with Video)

Chicago skyline at sunset, processed using Lightroom and Photoshop to expand dynamic range.
Chicago skyline at sunset, processed using Lightroom and Photoshop to expand dynamic range.

Dynamic range is a way of describing the range of brightness values your digital camera (or film) can faithfully record. Newer cameras, especially the ones from Nikon and Sony, have sensors that deliver as many as 14 stops of dynamic range. The trick, however, is how to extract that information when processing your shots.

If you use Adobe Lightroom, the Camera Profile (under the Camera Calibration Panel) will dictate the starting point for dynamic range. If you use the manufacturer’s RAW converter, then the as-shot settings (e.g., Nikon Picture Control) is applied by default. The in-camera settings set the contrast (tone curve) and color for how your images are processed. By using a low-contrast setting, you’ll be able to expand the dynamic range of your shot. Continue reading Expanding Dynamic Range On Single RAW Files in Adobe Lightroom (with Video)

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