Category Archives: Tips and Tricks

Travel Photography Secrets

The one photo accessory you can’t afford to leave at home

travel tripod
A boat passes under a bridge along a canal in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

With summer travel season quickly approaching, it’s time to think about our photo adventures. Whether you’re in a group or traveling alone, there’s one photo accessory that you simply cannot afford to leave at home, and you already know about it. Continue reading Travel Photography Secrets

Luminar 2018 Updated

Luminar 2018 Jupiter Released by Skylum

Luminar 2018 Jupiter
Luminar 2018 “Jupiter” is a free update to Luminar 2018 users, and boasts significant performance enhancements.

Skylum Software (formerly Macphun) have announced the immediate release of Luminar 2018 “Jupiter.”  I’ve updated to this version and it is much faster and more responsive, especially when I’m working with large files from my Nikon D850. I strongly recommend that current users upgrade to Luminar 2018 Jupiter.

Luminar Jupiter is a free update for existing Luminar 2018 users.

Read my review of Luminar and download my free Luminar Workspaces   Continue reading Luminar 2018 Updated

Texture Blending 101

Texture Blending 101

texture blending 101
Texture blending isn’t hard if you know how to work with Layers.

Step-by-Step Guide to Texture Blending

Texture blending is a fun way to get creative with your photos and transform them into something new and unique. In a nutshell, all you need to add textures is an image editor that supports layers, such as Adobe Photoshop. Some other editors, such as Luminar, have a built-in texture blending feature. Here are the basic steps to get you started, aka “Texture Blending 101.”

  • Open a photograph in your image editor, such as Adobe Photoshop
  • Drag a texture image file from a browser window (I use Photo Mechanic) onto the image editor, or use the “Place Embedded” command in Photoshop and choose a texture file. Note that high-resolution texture images work best, as they won’t produce artifacts during resizing.
  • Size the image to fit over your original photo and press Enter on your keyboard
  • In the Layers panel, blend the texture by changing the blending mode to something other than Normal. Try Multiply, Overlay, Screen, or Hard Light modes for starters. Then adjust the layer opacity to blend in the texture and reveal the photo underneath it.
  • You can also use Layer Masks to blend the texture in. Use brushes to “paint” out the texture from areas of your photo you wish to reveal.
  • Don’t stop there! Try using multiple texture layers, too!
  • Once you’re finished, adjust contrast and color on the final image. You can also finish your images in Lightroom after saving them.
Get Textures!

I’m pleased to offer four different royalty-free texture packs.

  • Luminescent Painterly Textures
  • Abstract Painterly Textures
  • Digital Painterly Textures
  • Digital Painterly Expansion Set

Each set of textures includes high-resolution (24 megapixel) royalty-free images and a PDF quick-start guide.

Lightroom Classic CC 7.3 Update

What’s New in Lightroom Classic CC 7.3 (April, 2018)

Lightroom Classic CC 7.3
In Lightroom Classic CC 7.3, camera profiles are now at the very top of the interface, in the Basic Panel.

Yesterday, Adobe released Lightroom Classic CC 7.3. It includes some of the biggest changes to the Adobe Lightroom Develop Module in quite some time, so let’s take a look at what’s new in Lightroom Classic CC 7.3.  Continue reading Lightroom Classic CC 7.3 Update

My Go-To Focus Setting For Birds In Flight

Better BIFs Starts With Better Focus

Nikon Group Area AF
Good flight shots start with fast focus acquisition.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve struggled with photographing birds in flight for years. The number one problem I and others have is focus acquisition. With birds in flight (BIFs), the ideal situation is to lock focus early while the animal is still at distance, track the approaching bird, and then capture a rapid burst of shots when the bird begins to fill the frame.

For me, my struggles have always been two-fold. First, when birds are very far away, it’s often hard for the camera to discern the difference between the subject and the background. Often times the camera will focus on the background instead of the bird. When this happens, you need to quickly re-cycle the focus system (pump the focus). The other challenge is when the bird drops below a background object such as trees or a mountain ridge. Again, the focus system can quickly lose track of the subject unless it’s fairly large in the frame. Continue reading My Go-To Focus Setting For Birds In Flight