Category Archives: Tips and Tricks

The Long Exposure Technique That Doesn’t Require A Tripod

Create unique abstract images with a swipe

long exposure swipe image
Fireweed (camera swipe)

When I find myself overwhelmed or just need a burst of creativity, I look no further than using a deliberate pan blur, or “swipe” to create an abstract photograph. The idea behind a swipe is to use a relatively long exposure and move the camera either up/down or left/right while dragging the shutter. I find that with the right subjects, I can create some pretty fun images!

Swipes are just one of the many topics I cover in my complete guide to long exposure photography.

Video: How to perform a long exposure swipe
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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

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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

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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.

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