Why You Should be Familiar with Photo Editing

For any serious photographer, it is vital to be familiar with the process of editing photos. There are many out there who deem photo editing as a non-essential step of photography and even term edited photos as fake. What they fail to realize is that photo editing goes far beyond slamming filters on photos and making them look like graphic art rather than realistic pictures.

What Constitutes ‘Photo Editing’

The term contains a lot of information within itself. In the simplest of terms, any change you make to the visual aesthetic or character of a photo is termed as ‘editing’. Now, this does not have to be something that completely changes the look of your image, of course. It can be something as simple as changing the exposure, adding more contrast, turning a photo black and white etc.
So, we’re sure you can see right away why every photographer should know how to edit their photos because, let’s face it, getting a completely perfect photo right out of the camera isn’t often possible.

Types of Photo Editing to Try

Despite its simple definition, photo editing is a process that comprises of many possible steps. There are various types of editing you can practice to get the best result from your photos. You can also visit various websites that talk about tips and tricks of editing photos, detailing what steps you can follow and which photo editors you can use. For now, let’s take a brief look at the different ways you can edit your photos.

Basic Exposure Control: The first and simplest type of edits you can make in your images revolve around exposure and contrast control. The right exposure is key to creating the perfect photo, and it can really make or break your photo. Similarly, contrast plays a very important role in how punchy or muted your photo looks. If you don’t like editing your photos too much, you should be okay with simply adjusting the exposure and contrast.

Advanced Exposure Control: Most photo editing software out there allows you to take exposure control a step further by allowing you to tweak the highlights and shadows of your photos. If you find that your image is too overexposed or underexposed, adjusting these settings can help a lot in achieving a balanced exposure.

Color Control: An image’s colors are one of the most important factors you should take care of. During the process of editing, you can decide if you want to turn your photo black and white or keep it in color. You can also adjust the colors by making them more or less saturated, changing their tone by making them warmer or cooler, or even play around with the exact hues if you use a RAW editor.

Object Removal: Did you know you could remove unwanted objects from your photos with an image editor? The process is fairly easy with something like Adobe Photoshop and can go a long way in saving a shot that you may have thought of as useless because of something that popped up in your frame without you realizing it.

Selective Editing: If you feel like your photo is perfect except for that one small corner at the top right that needs some careful exposure control, you can use a selective editing tool in programs like Capture One or Lightroom to do just that. Selective editing makes the lives of photographers very easy, as they don’t have to worry about changing the look of an entire image simply to get one small area look better.

Filters and Effects: We hear so many photographers talking badly about the use of filters and effects, but the fact is that many modern photo editors come with excellent filters and presets that can be used as a base for all your subsequent photo editing. Filters are not just for Instagram to develop, nor are they just to make your photo look artificial. They can be used very tastefully to give your images a little extra kick if you’re short on time.

Pixel-Level Editing: And finally, if you are a hybrid of a photographer and graphic designer/illustrator, you’ll love Photoshop’s ability to allow pixel-level editing to completely change the look of your photos. This can be very helpful if you like taking your own photos for your digital artwork or simply can’t find the kind of image you are looking for in order to create the perfect digital landscape.

As you can hopefully see, photo editing is almost essential for every photographer to get to grips with. It’s not always just to make pictures look like they came out of a computer but is rather helpful in various situations, depending on your own personal needs. So dump your preexisting notions about photo editing as something bad or ‘wrong’, and get on with creating stellar photos!

How To Use In-Camera HDR

By now, you should be familiar with how and when you should be taking HDR photos. It’s a great way to preserve a lot of the information in a scene’s highlights and shadows, and can come in handy more often than you’d think.

We have also mentioned what programs can be used to merge photos into an HDR image. Programs like Aurora HDR (www.aurorahdr.com) and Photoshop can be used for the purpose. However, most people don’t realize that their cameras might have the ability to shoot HDR photos automatically.

 

In-Camera HDR is Easy

First of all, you need to know if your camera supports creating HDR images by itself or not. If it does, you’re in luck. Simply choose the HDR mode, set the parameters like the number of brackets to be shot, and click the shutter to get an almost instant HDR photo. It is important to actually know when you should use this function, however.

HDR photos are best for landscape or architectural shots where there are extreme highlights and extreme shadows in your scene. This especially helps when your subject is backlit. Also, keep in mind that you’ll need to keep your camera very steady to use the in-camera HDR functionality to make sure that your photos are overlapped with one another perfectly.

In-Camera vs. Off-Camera

While HDRs taken directly inside the camera are great and can really help when you’re in a pinch, creating them with a dedicated software on your computer is obviously going to prove much more effective if you want the best possible detail and quality. That is because, in a dedicated HDR editor, you can tweak the images exactly how you want them and showcase various details just as you want them.

Despite that, it’s always handy to have an HDR functionality baked right into your camera for those quick shots that you simply don’t have the time to process later on.

How to Take Great Formal Portraits

Many new photographers struggle with taking professional looking portraits for things like company profiles, resumes, or other formal needs. Here are some tips to help you take better portraits in the studio.

Choose the Right Backdrop

Having a cluttered backdrop will pretty much ruin a formal photo. Your backdrop should be clean, preferably plain, and very subtle. This will make your subject stand out and not what’s behind him.

Use Soft Lighting

Do not use a big flash and fire it right in your subject’s face. Use softer lighting. Diffuse your flashes, bounce them off of walls, and try to get an even lighting with no harsh shadows.

Focus on the Eye

To get a tack sharp photo, put your camera’s focus point on the subject’s eye. This ensures that the overall portrait is sharp, and also help in developing that eye-to-eye connection between the subject and the viewer.

Don’t Go Too Wide

Your lens might be able to go super wide at f/1.2 or something, but you don’t have to open the aperture that much. Otherwise, parts of your subject’s face, especially the ears will go out of focus. So make sure you experiment a bit with which aperture value works best.

How to Use the Built-in Camera Flash

Most DSLR or mirrorless cameras come with built-in flashes. These are tiny ones that pop up in Auto Mode when the lights go down and can be manually triggered if you’re shooting in any other mode.

However, many new photographers find that using the flash creates horrible images especially when they’re taking photos of people. Here are some ways you can make use of the built-in flash effectively.

Bounce It

When in indoor situations, try to bounce the flash off of a wall or the ceiling. This can be done by placing a white card at an angle in front of the flash. The card should be placed in a way so it pushed the flash up towards the ceiling, bouncing it and creating a much softer light.

Diffuse It

Another great way to use the built-in camera flash, especially when taking portraits is to diffuse it to create a softer effect. Use a DIY diffuser if you can’t buy an expensive one, or just put a white plastic bag over your flash.

Against the Sun

It might sound weird but using the flash on a portrait where the sun is at the back is a great way to ensure optimum exposure. The direct sunlight makes the flash appear much softer than it is while still allowing you to add some fill light to your subject.

Why a Remote Shutter is a Good Idea

Many new photographers find themselves confused about what accessories they should get for their cameras. Some of these accessories, like flashes and tripods, are more popular amongst new photographers than many others.

Today, we will see how an often ignored camera accessory, the remote shutter release, can help you in many sticky situations.

It Helps Stabilize Your Photos

Even if you use a tripod, pressing the shutter button with your finger can cause the camera to shake just enough to ruin your photo. While it is possible to put your camera on timer mode to avoid this shake, it is much easier to just use a remote shutter release for getting that tack sharp focus.

It Helps in Long Exposures

Other than allowing you to reduce camera shake, a remote shutter release will also let you take long exposure photos at night. The reason why it is considered essential for really long exposures is that it allows you to use your camera in Bulb Mode, which lets you keep the camera’s shutter open for as long as you want for those breathtaking star trails.

It Helps with HDRs

If you want to create HDR photos, then taking three sharp images of the same scene at different exposures is very important. A shutter release comes in handy in such a situation by letting you minimize camera shake.

If you would like some more information about HDR photography, head on to www.aurorahdr.com.

It Helps with Wildlife Shots

You can’t sit behind your camera all the time when photographing wildlife. Whether it is a rabbit that can easily get scared away or a lion that can literally shred you to pieces, having a remote shutter release will help you get the much-needed distance from your subject while taking their photo.

 

So if you are planning to use your new camera for anything mentioned in this short guide, be sure to invest in a good remote shutter release so you don’t have to make compromises in the field.

Should You be Shooting in RAW?

If you are even a little experienced with photography by now, you must have heard the term RAW photography. A RAW photo is basically an uncompressed image file that contains all the data captured by your camera’s sensor during a shoot. So why should you be shooting in RAW? Here are some reasons:

  • Image Quality – A RAW photo will give you the best possible image quality your camera sensor can produce. This is because there is no compression, no changed settings, no over-sharpening, and no filters applied.

 

  • More Tweak-ability – Where a JPEG image captures in 8bit, a RAW image does so in 12 or 14bit. This gives you much more control over the exposure settings of your images. You can tweak the look of your photos without sacrificing image quality, unlike JPEGs.

 

  • Control over White Balance – With a RAW file, you have the option to easily set your white balance however you want in post processing. This lifts the added stress of nailing your white balance settings in-camera every time you take a shot.

 

 

  • Non-Destructive Editing – As mentioned earlier, RAW image files have all the image data captured by your sensor. When you edit this data, you’re not doing anything to the actual image but rather telling this data how it should be saved when your export it as a TIFF or JPEG image file. This gives you heaps of control over how your image looks without affecting the actual image quality.

So if you haven’t shot in RAW before, maybe it’s time you gave it a shot. You never know how creative your mind may get once you see the amount of control you can have as to how your final photos look.

How to Choose Your Shooting Mode

All high-end cameras come with a variety of shooting modes to let you choose the amount of manual controls you want over your images. These modes are designed to help photographers use their cameras in the most efficient way possible in any given situation. But just which mode is best for your particular needs? Read on to find out how you can maximize the efficiency of your photography:

Automatic Modes:

These modes are the ones that most beginner photographers use to grasp the controls of their cameras. They utilize the camera manufacturers’ preset processing parameters to create the best image for a given situation. Most cameras’ Auto mode fluctuates between various presets like Sports, Macro, Portrait, and Night on its own by changing every setting of the camera automatically.

Manual Modes:

If you want more control over your images, you need to be familiar with three of the most useful manual modes on your camera:

  • Shutter Priority:

Like the name suggests, Shutter Priority mode lets you set the shutter speed of your camera and then adjusts the aperture value on its own to achieve the ideal exposure for your given shutter speed and ISO. This is most useful in sports photography and other events where you need to freeze movement.

  • Aperture Priority:

Aperture Priority mode allows you to set the aperture of your camera sensor, and the camera then adjusts the shutter speed accordingly. This is most useful when you need to control the depth of field in your image, for example in portrait or landscape photography.

  • Manual Mode:

Manual Mode offers complete control over your camera settings. You can adjust the shutter speed, aperture value, as well as the ISO value of your camera in manual mode. This option is preferred by many professional and fine art photographers who want to achieve a very specific look for their photos.

What Are Camera Autofocus Points?

Modern cameras are seeing a constant improvement in their autofocusing mechanisms by using a large amount of autofocus points, among some major technological advancement. If you’ve never used a camera with autofocus points, or don’t know how to use them properly, this article will help you a great deal.

A Brief Description

When you use your digital camera to take a photo, you must have seen a number of small boxes appear on the viewfinder or the screen. These are called autofocus points, and they are used to get the best possible focus for your shot.

While using automatic focusing on your camera, you can tell which part of your image the camera is focusing at by seeing which autofocus points are lighting up. This is a great way to be sure that your camera is focusing on the part of the image that you want it to focus at.

Manually Selecting AF Points

While autofocusing systems on modern cameras are being improved every day, they can’t be accurate all the time. This is why you should manually set the AF points on your camera if you want it to focus on a very specific part of the image. Most cameras these days allow you to manually select either one focus point or a cluster of them. Both these options are useful in certain situations. For example, if you are taking a portrait, then choosing one point and placing it on the subject’s eye is going to give you the best focus. Similarly, choosing a cluster could be helpful in taking a group photo of people standing in a certain part of your frame.

 

Whichever camera you own, always remember to use the correct kind of focusing system for any given situation. This will ensure that you never miss a great shot because your camera decided to act up a little while trying to get the focus.

When and How to Shoot HDR

Having a good amount of dynamic range in your photos is very important, especially in the case of outdoor shots like landscapes or architecture. If your photos lack the necessary dynamic range, they may either be too bright to the point where the sky appears white or too dark where you lose all the details from the shadows.

This is why it can be very helpful to shoot HDR photos instead of normal ones. HDR, or High Dynamic Range, photos are a combination of two or more photos of the same scene but at different exposure settings. Merging these multiple exposures ensures that the final image you get has all the necessary details. You can visit aurorahdr.com to see how this works in more detail.

How to Shoot HDR

Making HDR photos is very simple. As mentioned, all you have to do is expose your photos for different parts of the image. For example, if you are shooting a portrait on a bright day in an urban setting you should take at least three exposures. One of these should be exposed to capture the details of the subject’s face. Another one should capture the details of the sky, and a last one should get the details of the surroundings. When you merge all three of these images in post processing, you’ll see that the resulting image is well exposed all around.

 

So you see how easy it is to make HDR images in a matter of minutes. You don’t need high end equipment for such images. All you have to do is be mindful of whether the scene you are shooting requires to be shot in HDR mode or not.

How to Clean Sensor Dust

For any photographer, having specks of dust ruin otherwise perfect photos is very frustrating. Luckily, there’s a very easy way you can get rid of this sensor dust without spending a lot of money.

Use your Camera’s Auto Clean Feature

Many of today’s DSLR cameras have a function inside them that can vibrate the sensor slightly to shake off the dust. This doesn’t work most of the time if you have a lot of dust on your sensor, but for basic cleaning it should do the trick.

Use a Pressured Air Can

To clean small amounts of dust that have found their way onto your camera sensor, all you need to do is use a pressured air can to blow it out. To do this, simply pop off the lens from your camera body, insert the nozzle of the air can slightly into the opening, and blow the air onto the sensor. Most types of dust will just be blown out of the body.

One thing to remember is to keep the camera facing downwards so that when you blow air into it, the dust falls down rather than going farther up into the body.

So you see how easy it is to clean your camera’s sensor? All you need are a few minutes of your time and an air can to blow that dust out of your precious DSLR.

What are Camera Drive Modes?

If you use a DSLR, you must be familiar with the different drive modes that can be used to take a photo. Today, we are going to take a look at how these modes affect the way a camera takes a photo.

Single Shooting

By default, your camera’s drive mode is set to Single Shot. This means that when you press the shutter button, the camera takes one shot. If you want to take another image, you just press the button again. This works in most everyday situations, and many people won’t need to change to another mode most of the time.

Continuous Shooting

If you are an action photographer or just like to take backup photos so you can later choose the best one, you should set your drive mode to Continuous or Burst. This allows you to keep pressing the shutter button and your camera will keep taking photos until you release the shutter.

Delayed Shooting

The third type of drive mode is a Timer or Delayed Shooting option. This is useful when you want the camera to be still after pressing the shutter for a long exposure shot, or if you simply want to join in on the family picture after pressing the shutter.

Remote Shooting

For cameras with compatible remotes, you can use the Remote Shutter option to take a picture through the remote control. This also helps in avoiding any kind of movement or vibration that could be caused in the camera when you press the shutter. It also helps in taking wildlife shots, where you may not want to get too close to the animal and scare it.

 

So there are the basic drive mode options that you can find on your DSLR camera. The next time you’re taking a shot, be sure to select the right kind of drive mode for that particular situation.

A guide to perfect picture

The photo blogs are also known as photo log. It is a great way of the modern technology to stay connected at all the times and share as much information about photography with the virtual strangers as possible. In fact, the photo blogging is essential for the phenomenon of photo sharing and publishing in the form of a blog. With the tremendous advancements in the digital camera technology, people can take the wide varieties of photographs in these days and also post them directly to a photo blog from the camera. The photo blogs are usually existed on the personal domains and the blogging services were specifically designed for the text content, which accommodate high quality images. Setting up the photo blog usually involves the similar procedures of a normal text blog. If you are really confident about the quality of your photos, you just try to promote your photo blog exactly the same way as the text blog is promoted.

Nowadays, the blogging has become very popular for sharing useful information in all over the globe. In fact, the photo sharing methods are one of the most popular methods of blogging. The normal photo blogs mainly focus on the text, whereas the photo blogging is mainly focused on photographs. The content management system is an important requirement for the photograph blogging in which the author needs to manage their photo log in the most effective manner. Usually, there are a few words beyond the pictures in photo blogging. This picture blogging is one of the best ways for bloggers to share their opinions or views via the images. If you want to entertain the readers through your blog, you must go for adding some funny photos and humor look, which makes the readers absolutely laugh as well as feel happy.