The “Secret Sauce” for Fine-Art Image Processing
Photography, like any other medium, is a craft. In woodworking, you produce a finished product through a serial application of sandpaper, working from coarse to fine. The best finish is only obtained after using the finest-grit sandpapers, sometimes even between coats of lacquer. So it is, too with photography.
Your camera settings apply the foundation of the image, but they cannot refine the image in the same way your editing software can. Even seemingly small adjustments can be the difference between a snapshot and a gallery print. For years, my “secret sauce” has been to finish images with the “Big 3” Nik Collection plug-ins (Color Efex/HDR Efex/Silver Efex).
For a limited time, my collection of PDF guides to the Nik Collection by Google are available for only $9.99 each. Or, you can purchase the set of three guides for only $24.99. No coupon code necessary!
Each PDF guide is user-printable and also includes a set of installable custom presets for the Nik Collection plug-ins.
- The Photographer’s Guide to Color Efex Pro 4
My go-to plug-in for transforming landscape and urban images into fine-art masterpieces
- The Photographer’s Guide to HDR Efex Pro 2
Learn the art of HDR Tone-mapping, from natural to surreal
- The Photographer’s Guide to Silver Efex Pro 2
The powerful monochrome conversion tool that delivers fine-art quality results
Nik Collection PDF Bundle
Includes all three guides listed above
*Special Note: These products contain multiple files and are delivered as a ZIP archive. To download the files to an iPad, you will need a free ZIP utility, such as iZip for iOS. Android users should consider using WinZip. Otherwise, download and extract the files to a Mac or PC and then transfer them to your tablet device.
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)
Hope you all had a great new year, and welcome to 2016!
I use Smart Collections in Adobe Lightroom to create a dynamically updated virtual folder of my favorite shots from the past year, which I can then triage down to my best ones. The trick is to use Attribute tags in Lightroom (Flags, Stars, and Labels) and then set up a Smart Collection. Here’s how I do it:
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Dodging and burning techniques have been around for over a hundred years. While you may think of these techniques as a method of adjusting and balancing tones, they also serve a more distinct purpose: enhancing and diminishing areas of interest in an image. Psychologically, your eye will be drawn towards bright, colorful areas in an image and away from dark, dull areas. With modern digital processing tools, we can take a 21st century approach to dodging and burning. Here’s a short video on how to accomplish this using Adobe Lightroom.
For a complete tutorial on using brushes in Adobe Lightroom, check out Lightroom: Mastering Brushes & Gradients (video workshop)