lauantai 15. joulukuuta 2018

PictureCorrect.com: Interesting Photo of the Day: Magical Winter in Yosemite

At first glance, this almost feels like a shot from the movies, but Oxus007 manages to capture an ice cold moment at Yosemite. Yosemite is no stranger to tourists as an attraction during the winter season. Many plan camping trips to enjoy skiing, ice skating, and stargazing, along with several other activities during the winter time. But sometimes, you may just be lucky enough to capture a solitary, magical scene frozen in time like this one:

frozen-yosemite-california

Magical Winter in Yosemite by Oxus007 (Via Reddit. Click image to see full size.)

Taking an in depth look at the photo, Oxus007 gets close enough to capture a long exposure shot while the warm sun gazes over the Yosemite peaks. The perfect mix of ice cold snow and solitude with no one in sight. The contrast of the bright whites seemingly implies time has frozen, while the sun represents change and life as it shines down from the hills upon the frozen river.


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PictureCorrect.com: Twilight Photo Editing Tutorial in Luminar

Related note: only a little while left for the Pre-order Sale on Luminar 3 with Libraries

If you’ve never edited an image before, you may be wondering why you should bother, and if you’re used to editing being part of your workflow you may be wondering what Luminar can do to enhance your images that other image editors can’t.

For those who are wondering why you should bother with editing, the reasons are simple. Post-processing your images is like putting the final touches on your masterpiece! It lets you adjust exposure, color, contrast, and much, much more. You don’t have to get into the realm of fantasy composites to do a good, basic edit on your images, and it will make all the difference to the final image.

Luminar is a fast, powerful image editor that will grow with you as your skills progress, and it offers the power of artificial intelligence to help speed your editing workflow along.

Today, we’re going to look at ways to make your images stand out by using manual adjustments, filters, layers, LUTs, and presets.

This is our starting image—a good travel shot, but it could do with some tweaking to really bring out the best in it.

luminar 2018 tutorial

There are several routes you can take to enhance this image in Luminar, so let’s have a look at some manual adjustments first.

Develop Panel

On the right-hand side of the screen you will see the Develop panel, with the basic tools such as exposure, contrast, highlights, shadows, etc. These basic tools will serve as a starting point for the edit, but before I do that, let’s look at the Lens tab. Clicking this tab will enable us to correct any lens distortion. This is what the panel looks like:

luminar menu

By moving the sliders, you can correct both distortion and remove any unwanted vignetting (dark areas around the outside of your image) that’s been caused by your lens.

I adjusted the exposure, shadows and highlights a bit in order to make the image a little lighter but without making the highlights brighter.

develop module

The image still has quite a lot of dark areas in it, so we will turn on the Shadow Clipping warning at the top left hand side of the histogram. This warning is a little triangle which turns orange when activated. There is one on the right hand side of the histogram too, for the Highlight Clipping warning.

Once activated, these handy warnings tell us when there is no detail left in certain areas of the image, and that these areas have gone dark black or bright white. With shadows, it will show up as a blue color on your image, with highlights it will turn burned-out areas red. This is the shadow clipping on this image:

processing with luminar

As you can see, there is still a bit of blue color in the tree branches on the left-hand side of the frame, but it’s not much at all. I’m happy with that, as I don’t want to go too far in lightening the shadows.

LUT Mapping

LUT stands for Look Up Tables, which are mathematical formulas that can be applied to an image to give it a certain look or feel. The most common in recent years has been the ‘cinematic’ look, so that your images look like a still shot from a movie. LUTs have been used by the film and video industry for years, and now photographers are seeing the benefits of using them to color grade and tone their images in one quick step.

You will find the LUT Mapping panel in the Filters menu under the Professional tab. LUTs are meant to be applied after you have done all your basic editing, such as exposure, white balance, etc. Bear in mind that they are not a quick fix for mistakes in your image, such as being over/underexposed. They work best when you start with a properly exposed and corrected image.

Luminar 2018 has a wide choice of LUTs, and I have applied the LUT called ‘Grace’. I reduced the amount to 60 percent and dropped the contrast, as it was too strong at the default levels. I also boosted the saturation a little, too.

luminar lut menu

Here is the before/after split after applying the LUT:

lut before after

LUTs can really make your image stand out, and save you a lot of time doing so.

Accent AI Filter

If you are pushed for time, or if you are totally new to editing images and don’t know where to start, the Accent AI filter is a great tool. It uses the power of artificial intelligence to examine the data in your image and make tailored adjustments to it automatically. It can fix a lot of the issues found in images straight from the camera, and you still get to control how much of a change it makes by using the Boost slider to adjust the amount.

This before/after split is of the original image and the Accent AI version:

accent ai

It has automatically adjusted the shadows, contrast and colors for me, giving a richer and better-rounded image.
Presets and Adjustment Layers

Luminar comes with a wide variety of presets that you can apply to your image in a single click. These presets will work with all kinds of images, from landscapes to portraits, and you can find them by clicking this little icon along the top of the menu bar:

icon

A film strip of presets will appear underneath your image, showing a preview of what it will look like with the preset applied. To find the preset categories, click on the Categories button, and this screen will appear:

luminar presets

Some categories are signature collections by photographers such as Joel Grimes and Brian Mattiash, and for this image we’re going to apply a preset by Joel Grimes:

joel grimes preset

This is his ‘Dramatic Detail’ preset, and it has really brought the detail in the image to life, especially in the snow-capped mountain and the cityscape.

Presets allow you to choose the strength being applied to your image, and each one is fully adjustable. This is how I tweaked the preset in the develop module:

preset adjustments

In this way, you get to use the preset as a starting point for your own adjustments, or you can leave it as is.

You can also combine two or more presets for dramatic results. This is done by clicking on the + icon near the Layers panel. This will give you an adjustment layer on top of the preset you’ve just applied. You then click on the preset you want to add to the first one, and you get to see the combined result. I have added the preset ‘Portrait Pop the Blues’ to the ‘Dramatic Detail’ preset in the image below:

pop the blues preset

Again, I used this as a starting point and made my own adjustments, such as boosting the vibrance and saturation.

There are black and white presets if you want to create an eye-catching monochrome image. I took the photo back to its original state by using the History tool. If you were wondering how to go back to your original, unedited image, this is a way of doing it. You will find the History along the top menu bar. Click it and you will get a drop-down list of all the adjustments you have made to the image.

history menu

Right at the bottom the last item will be when you loaded the image originally. Click it and it will reset everything.

Once I reset the image, I applied this black and white preset ‘Silver Crystals’ from the Travel preset collection:

silver crystals preset

It makes for a fabulously grainy and atmospheric image.

Luminar 3 with Libraries Pre-order Sale Ending Soon:

The new version of Luminar will start shipping to customers on December 18 and adds the ability to organize and edit multiple images simultaneously with the new Library panel. This addition transforms the photo editing software into a comprehensive, all-in-one imaging package.

luminar-with-libraries

Luminar with Libraries (Click to See How it Works)

Luminar 3 is a sophisticated image editor and library, which uses artificial intelligence to allow anybody, working with digital images to make better photos with intuitive and time-saving workflows. Luminar 3 makes processing, managing and editing photographs quicker and easier than with conventional software packages.

Deal found here: Luminar 3 with Libraries Pre-order Sale


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PictureCorrect.com: Winter Portrait Studio Photography Tutorial

Winter can be a tough time for photographers and models alike. Chilly weather, harsh conditions, and poor lighting all combine to make the job a tough one. Does this mean you should take a photography break when it’s cold outside? Photographer Gavin Hoey from Adorama doesn’t necessarily think so. Check out how he manages to bring winter into the comfort of his home studio for a great portrait session:

A winter photo feels incomplete without some snow. And replicating real snow inside a home studio can get messy. So, Hoey’s idea is to first take the photo and add the snow later in post.

To set the winter mood, Hoey has the model wear warm clothes and sit on a park bench replica. He uses a black background for the shoot and has a three-light setup.

Lighting Setup

Hoey uses an eVOLV 200 as the key light, placing it off to the side to avoid flat lighting. In order to avoid light spill and to have better control over the light, Hoey uses a grid as well. This is very important for a small home studio. The result is an image that appears to be lit by an elevated lamp post from the side.

winter image with key light

He uses another eVOLV 200 behind the model to act as a separation light. The light is set up to light the model’s shoulders and hat and separate her from the black background. This light also illuminates the smoke to give a hazy winter effect. Also, to emphasize the cold winter look of the image, he uses a blue gel on the back light. By setting the light’s power to 1/64 power, he is able to get a subtle effect.

indoor winter portrait

The key light illuminates one side of the model’s face, leaving the other half in shadow. Hoey uses a fill light powered at 1/128 and covered with a blue gel to add color to the shadows. This further adds to the cold winter feeling.

winter image with fill light

Winter Photo Shoot Technique

Besides creative use of lighting, Hoey makes use of a smoke machine to give a hazy look to the image. He also sprays some fake snow on the model to make the post-processing a bit easier.

snow photoshoot image

Post Processing

In the image above, the model has some “snow” on her when it isn’t even snowing. While you could use some more fake snow during the shoot for a realistic effect, the same can be achieved in post. Hoey demonstrates how you can add snow using Photoshop:

  1. Download and install his free Photoshop action from his blog.
  2. Open the image in Photoshop.
  3. Using Hoey’s action, select the kind of snow you want and click on the play button to run the action. After the action runs successfully, you will notice snow in your image.
  4. To remove the snow from unnecessary areas of the image, select the snow layer and paint over the snow using the brush tool with black selected.
  5. Once you’re happy with the image, go to Layer > Flatten Image.

To take things one step further, Hoey uses the Camera Raw filter in Photoshop to light the old lantern:

  1. Select the Adjustment brush tool.
  2. Set the temperature, tint, exposure, highlights, and clarity all the way to maximum. Leave everything else at zero.
  3. Reduce the brush size and click on the lantern a few times to give it a glowing effect.

Next, Hoey adds a warm glow around the lantern:

  1. Take a new Adjustment brush and leave the temperature and tint at maximum.
  2. Bring the exposure down to about under a stop and set the highlights and clarity to zero.
  3. Then, increasing the size of the brush, click on the lantern to add a warm glow around it.

Finally, to add some finishing touches, Hoey adds a radial filter to darken the area on the model’s left side. And to give viewers a feel that there’s actually a street lamp where the key light was placed, Hoey takes a large soft brush with a light blue color and paints on the corner. To make it realistic, he drops its opacity down for a subtle effect.

final snow photoshoot image

This tutorial is just perfect for those times when you want to take a winter-themed photo while avoiding actual winter photography struggles.


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perjantai 14. joulukuuta 2018

PictureCorrect.com: Stunning Timelapse for the Holiday Season Captured Through a Snow Globe

Snow Globes easily remind us of Christmas season — and that was exactly what lead photographer Colin Mika used to create a modern Holiday Christmas Card commissioned by a law firm using time-lapse photography. This rather beautiful experience was named Around The Globe. And here is the kicker, all the effects were created in camera with no added VFX!

Should you be familiar with time-lapse photography, the process requires a thorough concentration and a planning expertise to make the imagery work at the end. “Around the Globe” is no exception, as it was shot in over two weeks in six different cities, including Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Québec City, Montréal and London (England).

The equipment is also quite familiar, using a custom DSLR rig, with Macro and Tilt-Shift lenses, and Bokeh shapes to create this delicious, dramatic and Christmassy effect:

snowglobe-timelapse-photography-2
If your interested, here is the final version delivered to the client:


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PictureCorrect.com: Lightning Photography: 8 Important Tips To Consider

Lightning photography is self-explanatory: photographing lightning. Because lightning is a very unpredictable force of nature, the actual process of photographing lightning presents unique challenges to photographers. It is, however, possible to be an outstanding lightning photographer if you are equipped with the necessary skills. Below are 8 useful tips that will help you capture stunning lightning shots:

lightning photo tips

Photo by Nick Olejniczak; ISO 200, f/14, 2-second exposure.

1. Use a tripod or steady surface.

This is one of the most important tips to consider. Although a tripod works best, any steady surface will do the trick. Because lightning is accompanied by storms, it is obvious why a tripod or steady surface is important.

2. Consider long shutter times.

Lightning is unpredictable; it is very hard to make decent captures tripping the shutter every time you see a flash. For this reason, you should consider investing in a good camera with slow shutter speeds, preferably 30 seconds.

3. Set the horizon.

Most lightning action takes place in the sky. For this reason, the field of view must be set from the horizon up or skewed to the sky. Depending on how close lightning strikes, you will be including more blank sky than normal. You shouldn’t worry about this, because the sky will be more exciting when lightning strikes.

lightning photo tips

Photo by Jeff Wallace; ISO 250, f/10, 6-second exposure.

4. Include something interesting.

Although the main focus should be on the sky, you shouldn’t forget to include something interesting in the frame to give your photo relevance and/or perspective. For instance, you can choose to include buildings or vegetation or other things that show how big a storm is.

5. Use manual focus.

It is better to use manual focus when taking lightning photos, because lightning is best seen at night when there is enough darkness. Instead of letting your camera hunt for focus automatically when taking every new shot, get a suitable manual focus and leave your camera there.

6. Set shutter speed and aperture manually.

If you are using a camera with the ability to set shutter speed, pick a suitable shutter time like mentioned above and choose a fairly wide aperture. The depth of field should be shallow unless you have nearby objects you would like to include.

7. Consider using stacking software.

This tip is useful if you succeed in capturing steady shots one after the other. You can use stacking software to combine multiple images into one. Most spectacular lighting photos are a a result of stacking, because a single strike usually captures faint cloud action or a single lightning strike.

8. Exercise patience.

This is the last most important tip to consider about lightning photography in this list. Because lightning is unpredictable, you have to be patient. You also need to prepare yourself for multiple camera adjustments in an effort to capture the best shot.

About the Author:
Swee Shiong Chong writes for sgeastphoto dot com, a photography blog on techniques and equipment that is used in creating all types of photography from around the world.


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PictureCorrect.com: Interesting Photo of the Day: Christmas Tree Zoom

Zooming is one of many cool effects that can be achieved using longer exposures. This particular photo was taken by zooming out during a nine second exposure of a Christmas tree:

cool christmas tree lights effect

Christmas Tree Zoom by baks9 (Via Imgur. Click image to view full size.)

You can do this both ways—zooming in or zooming out. Just wait for the tree to be properly exposed, then zoom in to create the streaks of light from the Christmas tree lights or zoom out to create the streaks.

The technique can be utilized with flash, as well. You can set longer exposures and the flash to second curtain, then use the lens mechanics to create light effects for your portraits. You can zoom in and out, twist, turn, move and so on, and when the flash fires at the closing of the shutter, it will freeze your portrait, keeping your subject sharp.


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torstai 13. joulukuuta 2018

PictureCorrect.com: Deck the Halls: Magical Photos of Christmas Lights

Christmas is here! All those wonderful decorations and lights around your house make magical scenery. Take the opportunity to  capture all that beauty. You can photograph during the day, but some of the most evocative images can be found at night. Here’s some inspiration:

christmas lights

photo by Chris Jones

photographing christmas lights

photo by Ben Morlok

holiday decorations photography

photo by Kristina Servant

christmas tree photos

photo by That Boy

angel holiday lights

photo by Alcino

holiday lights bokeh

photo by James Offer

christmas photography

photo by Lois Elling

long exposure christmas tree photography

photo by Dawn

christmas globes

photo by Mike Thomas

christmas bokeh

photo by Anthony Quintano

christmas light painting

photo by Duane Schoon

We’d love to see your holiday photos. If you need a few pointers, check out our Christmas light photography tips!


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